972: Menprovement

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 56m
October 12th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Baroness Sarah Bradley, Sean Motyl, Tammy Webster

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Chris Cowan, Seattle Straddler, Juan Tascon, Steve Fisher

Cover Artist: Joshatorium


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Clooney is a Spy!
How George Clooney was asked to spy on Gadaffi, before Hillary Clinton decided to destroy Libya '-- SGT Articles - SGT Report
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:50
by Alex Chrisoforou, The Duran:
George Clooney has been a vocal supporter for the ISIS-Al Qaeda sponsored White Helmets.
George Clooney has been BFFs with Hillary Clinton for years.
George Clooney has played many spies on the big screen.
George Clooney was a perfect candidate to spy on Libya and help the globalist cabal, under Hillary Clinton, dismantle what used to be the richest and most prosperous nation in Africa.
Clooney is the latest celebrity to be linked in documents from within the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, asking the hollywood star to spy on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his generals in Libya.
ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, asked several celebrities, including Cooney, to help in bringing war crimes committed by Colonel Gaddafi and his generals during the Libyan civil war to light.
Clooney's recruitment by the ICC never materialized, as then Obama Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly move ahead with here destruction of a stable Libya, before the hollywood stars could utilize their celebrity propaganda against Gaddafi government.
Via The International Business Times'...
A series of leaked emails, seen by The Sunday Times, revealed how the Argentinian prosecutor urged the Hollywood actor to focus a number of commercial satellites on Libya and ''put pressure on Gaddafi generals'' by documenting evidence of humanitarian crimes.
Clooney is the co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses commercial satellites to document war atrocities committed by the government in South Sudan.
Since the project launched in 2011, satellites have detected mass grave sites in the southern part of the Sudan, where the army has been accused of targeting a black ethnic minority.
Moreno Ocampo's offer was declined by Clooney who wrote in an email that the satellite was not yet ''sophisticated enough'' to carry out the proposed operation.
The actor is not the only celebrity Moreno Ocampo tried to recruit in his attempt to prosecute some of the world's most notorious warlords and dictators during his nine-year term at the helm of the ICC.
He also enlisted the help of actress Angelina Jolie in a plot to snare Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony at a honeytrap dinner. The prosecutor wrote in an email that Jolie had ''the idea to invite Kony to dinner and then arrest him.'' He planned to send Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt to the warlord's stronghold with US special forces, according to the leaked documents.
There are no further details in the documents about the proposed dinner, which appears not to have gone ahead.
Via Business Insider'...
Britain's Sunday Times has seen a cache of leaked emails from the ICC that include correspondence between former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and Jolie and Clooney. Moreno Ocampo also emailed actor Sean Penn, as well as the wife of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
The emails allegedly show:
'' Moreno Ocampo emailed Jolie to ask her to take part in a ''honeytrap'' dinner to capture Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, whose use of child soldiers was highlighted by a viral campaign in 2012. Moreno Ocampo wrote that Jolie ''has the idea to invite Kony to dinner and then arrest him,'' and said Jolie's husband at the time, Brad Pitt, may accompany her to the Central African Republic.
Read More @ TheDuran.com
Theresa May is under pressure to publish secret legal advice that is believed to state that parliament could still stop Brexit before the end of March 2019 if MPs judge that a change of mind is in the national interest - worldnews
Sun, 08 Oct 2017 20:03
Theresa May is believed to have been advised that article 50 notification can be withdrawn at any time before 29 March 2019. Photograph: Rupert Hartley/Rex
Theresa May is under pressure to publish secret legal advice that is believed to state that parliament could still stop Brexit before the end of March 2019 if MPs judge that a change of mind is in the national interest. The move comes as concern grows that exit talks with Brussels are heading for disaster.
The calls for the prime minister to reveal advice from the country's top legal experts follow government statements declaring that Brexit is now unstoppable, and that MPs will have to choose between whatever deal is on offer next year '' even if it is a bad one '' or no deal at all.
Disquiet has been growing among pro-remain MPs, and within the legal profession and business community, about what is becoming known as the government's ''kamikaze'' approach. Ministers insist that stopping Brexit is not an option, as the British people made their decision in last year's referendum, and the article 50 process is now under way, however damaging the consequences might turn out to be when negotiations are concluded.
Worry about lack of flexibility has intensified following the chaotic Conservative party conference in Manchester, and May's ill-fated speech. European leaders now doubt whether she has the political authority to move negotiations forward towards a satisfactory deal.
The prominent lawyer Jessica Simor QC, from Matrix chambers, has written to May asking her to release the legal advice under the Freedom of Information Act. Simor says she has been told by ''two good sources'' that the prime minister has been advised ''that the article 50 notification can be withdrawn by the UK at any time before 29 March 2019 resulting in the UK remaining in the EU on its current favourable terms.
''Such advice would also accord with the view of Lord Kerr, who was involved in drafting article 50, of Jean-Claude Piris, former director general of the EU council's legal service, and of Martin Selmayr, a lawyer and head of cabinet to the European commission president.'' She says ''there is no time to waste'' and adds: ''It is important that this advice is made available to the British public and their representatives in parliament as soon as possible.''
Leading figures who oppose a hard Brexit, and reject the idea that the process is unstoppable, argue that the public is being hoodwinked by ministers into believing that there is now no alternative to leaving. Simor says this is a ''policy'' judgment, not a legal one.
Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, who publishes a book this week on how to stop Brexit, told the Observer: ''The claim that article 50 is irreversible was always a myth put about by Brexiters who want to stop the British people from changing their minds. Theresa May's threat that MPs will have to vote for whatever deal she presents to them next autumn, otherwise the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal, is also patent nonsense. Article 50 was never the one-way conveyor belt to Brexit as claimed by the government. It can be stopped at any point.''
He said that MPs should ask themselves one question when they come to vote in a year's time: ''Does the deal measure up to the promises made by Brexiters to their constituents before the referendum? If not, MPs should reject the deal, urge the government and the EU to stop the clock, and give the country the opportunity to think again.''
Nick Clegg claims that the threat that the UK could crash out of the EU without a deal was 'patent nonsense'. Photograph: Chris WilliamsonClegg added: ''As countless EU leaders have said in private and in public '' most recently [French] President Macron '' there remains a route back for the UK into a reformed EU. This does not mean simply turning the clock back to the day before the referendum, but forging a new status for the UK in an outer circle of EU membership as the core countries proceed with deeper integration.''
Clegg suggests that former prime minister John Major and current Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte should co-chair a special UK-EU convention that would have the task of ''repositioning Britain in one of the outer rings of the EU's orbit''.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna said that, as it becomes clearer that the Brexiter pledges would not be met, the public had a right to know that leaving was not the only option. ''Brexit is proving hugely more complex than people were told it would be. Many of the promises made '' like the famous £350m extra per week for the NHS '' clearly won't be delivered. As a result, increasingly voters ask whether, if a good agreement cannot be reached and the final deal looks fundamentally different to that which they were promised, can the UK decide to halt the article 50 process? The consensus among lawyers is that we still have a choice.
''Legally, there is nothing inevitable about this process and the UK retains the right to change its mind. Politically, many EU partners have indicated they have no objections to this.''
There is also growing anger over the government's continuing refusal to publish studies it is conducting on the impact that Brexit will have on different sectors of the economy. Labour MP David Lammy said: ''It is frankly quite absurd that the Department for Exiting the European Union is refusing to publish these studies while ministers go around talking about the repatriation of parliamentary sovereignty and taking back control.''
A DExEU spokesperson said: ''We made our position clear in the supreme court. As a matter of firm policy, our notification will not be withdrawn. The British people voted to leave the EU and we will deliver on their instruction. There can be no attempts to remain inside the EU and no attempt to rejoin it.''
Lena Dunham: Harvey Weinstein and the Silence of the Men - The New York Times
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 21:14
The use of power to possess and silence women is as likely to occur in a fast-food restaurant as it is on a movie set, and Hollywood has yet another chance to make a noisy statement about what we should and should not condone as a society. A liberal-leaning industry, we have been quick to condemn Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes and, yes, the president. We do not accept sexual abuse as ''locker room talk.'' So why the deafening silence, particularly from the industry's men, when one of our own is outed as having a nasty taste for humiliating and traumatizing women?
This isn't anything new. Woody Allen, whose daughter has said, over his denials, that he sexually abused her as a child, is still getting the hottest young stars to work with him. Roman Polanski, whose victims continue to come forward, is considered a visionary worth fighting for, and I recently had a male star tell me that working with him would ''obviously be the ultimate.'' (In fact, Mr. Weinstein himself gathered Hollywood to sign a letter asking that Mr. Polanski's charges be dropped and he be allowed to return to America.)
Beyond these bold-name cases, ignoring bad behavior remains the signature move of men in Hollywood. I hear stories from victims themselves at a rate that feels positively dystopian. Last year, I was sexually harassed by a director of a show, not my own, and not on a set, and the response by the powers that be was to defend him, question the women ferociously and take ages before letting him go from the network. It was a move based less on his skill than on some ancient loyalty. It's that kind of behavior that normalizes this abuse of power.
The accusations against Mr. Weinstein, so clearly outlined and so completely horrifying, seemed impossible to dispute or ignore. I na¯vely expected that the reticence that Hollywood's powerful men have shown, the collective refusal to take sides in he-said she-said narratives, would be crushed in the face of this open secret being revealed definitively. The reason I am zeroing in on the men is that they have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative, and are probably not dealing with the same level of collective and personal trauma around these allegations. But here we are, days later, waiting for Mr. Weinstein's most powerful collaborators to say something. Anything. It wouldn't be just a gift to the women he has victimized, but a message to the women who are watching our industry closely. They need a signal that we do not approve of the abuse of power and hatred of women that is the driving force behind this kind of behavior.
In the fall of 2016, I performed at a benefit for Hillary Clinton organized by the Weinstein Company. I had heard the rumors. I felt that going onstage under his aegis was a betrayal of my own values. But I wanted so desperately to support my candidate that I made a calculation. We've all made calculations, and saying we're sorry about those calculations is not an act of cowardice. It's an essential change of position that could shift the way we do business and the way women regard their own position in the workplace. I'm sorry I shook the hand of someone I knew was not a friend to women in my industry.
Men of Hollywood, what are you sorry for? What will you refuse to accept anymore? What will you say to fill the void and change the standard? Are you afraid because you heard the whisperings but accepted a role or a position on a host committee or a glass of Champagne and a pat on the back? Are you embarrassed because you're in a photo with him smiling broadly or because he gave money to your organization or introduced you to your girlfriend or earned you your Oscar nomination? Are you operating under the assumption that this is very sad but that it is not your problem?
It is, unfortunately, all of our problems. It is the problem of the agents who sent their clients to meet with a man they knew was a predator, who shuffled them onto his sets. It is the problem of producers who turned a blind eye. It is the problem of actors who heard whispers but walked back to their trailers to play fantasy football. It is the problem of industry media that would not report their findings because they feared losing their place in Harvey Weinstein's good graces. It is not, as some have suggested, the problem of the women who are afraid to come forward with their own stories or who settled financially with Mr. Weinstein.
Hollywood's silence, particularly that of men who worked closely with Mr. Weinstein, only reinforces the culture that keeps women from speaking. When we stay silent, we gag the victims. When we stay silent, we condone behavior that none of us could possibly believe is O.K. (unless you do). When we stay silent, we stay on the same path that led us here. Making noise is making change. Making change is why we tell stories. We don't want to have to tell stories like this one again and again. Speak louder.
Continue reading the main story
Harvey Weinstein's Credit to Be Removed From All TWC TV Series | Hollywood Reporter
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 22:06
The Weinstein Co. is also considering changing its name in the wake of the allegations against its now-former co-founder.
Harvey Weinstein's TV credits are going to become a thing of the past.
Starting with Wednesday's episode of The Weinstein Co.-produced Project Runway, the now-former co-founder of the production company's name will no longer appear as an executive producer.
Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that TWC has reached out to multiple networks and granted them permission to remove Weinstein's name from the credits in the wake of his ouster from the company following multiple allegations about sexual harassment.
Insiders say TWC is also considering a name change as it looks to further distance itself from Weinstein.
Other shows that will see Weinstein's name removed from credits include History's Six (renewed for a second season) and Paramount Network's upcoming Waco miniseries, Kevin Costner drama Yellowstone and Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, the latter of which is produced by Lisa Bloom. Amazon's big-budget David O. Russell drama starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore and Matt Weiner's The Romanoffs will also see Weinstein's name removed. Weinstein TV's Dimension banner also exec produces MTV's Scream, with Weinstein's credit also removed from the upcoming third season. THR has also learned that Weinstein's name will no longer appear as exec producer on Les Miserables, the major six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel being produced with the BBC.
It was not immediately clear how Weinstein's credits will be handled in the upcoming films with which he is associated, but his name has been slated to appear on several titles. He was listed on the Toronto International Film Festival website as a producer of The Current War, the drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch, when the movie had its world premiere at TIFF last month, but shortly after the screening, he traded in a producer credit for an executive producer credit. The film is scheduled to open Nov. 24. The other producers on the movie are Timur Bekmambetov and Basil Iwanyk. Weinstein also served as an executive producer on The Upside, TWC's remake of the French film The Intouchables, which stars Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart and is set for release in 2018. Weinstein has also been listed on Artemis Fowl, an adaptation of Eoin Colfer's fantasy novel, that Kenneth Branagh is directing for Disney.
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Co. on Sunday after allegations of decades-long sexual harassment.
Gregg Kilday contributed to this report.
Police respond to call from Weinstein daughter saying HE'S SUICIDAL'... '' The Right Scoop
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 22:36
TMZ is reporting that Harvey Weinstein got into an emotional argument with his daughter this morning, and she ended up calling the police because she thought he had become suicidal.
According to law enforcement, Weinstein was at his 22-year-old daughter Remy's place when their argument spilled out onto the street. We're told Harvey yelled to her, ''You're making it worse'' '... and then flagged down a random vehicle driving past, begging for a ride.
We're told Remy convinced her father to go back in the house, and shortly thereafter '-- around 10:30 AM '-- LAPD and her alarm company showed up.
Law enforcement sources confirm officers responded to a call from Remy, who said her father was ''suicidal and depressed.'' When they arrived '... Harvey had already left the home.
Pathetic. At least it's good to know he has some remnant of a conscience after decades of assaulting women. But it's hard to muster any sympathy for him. If half of the stories and accusations are true, then he's a monster.
And apparently, the Department of Justice is going to look into his many crimes:
The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned.
DailyMail.com understands the move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul.
While it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein's friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.
Hopefully he won't slip away the way that Polanski did'...
[h/t Katsu ika odori-don's torn sclera.]
FBI Harvey Weinstein probe ordered by Trump Justice Dept | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 22:36
The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned.
DailyMail.com understands the move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul.
While it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein's friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.
The move by the DOJ came amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab '' leading to fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation where he dodges prosecution in the U.S.
The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U.S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe.
Among the allegations against Weinstein, which the FBI is expected to examine, is that he forced Lucia Evans, a student who wanted to be an actress, to perform oral sex on him in New York in 2004.
New York State has no statue of limitations on rape and criminal sexual acts - its legal term for forced oral or anal intercourse.
The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned
The move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein's friendship with Trump's rival Hillary Clinton
Hollywood powerhouse Weinstein has traveled the globe promoting his movies and the belief is that he could have committed sex crimes in several countries.
So far five accusers have given accounts of attacks in France, while allegations of attacks in London have also surfaced '' any of which could lead to charges there.
The FBI has field offices in both countries and could assist prosecutors there with their cases.
A spokesperson for the FBI in New York said: 'We do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.'
Although it is not yet known if Sessions gave the direct order or if Trump requested the investigation, Trump said he wasn't surprised by the sexual harassment and assault claims made against Weinstein.
Trump said shortly after news of the shock report on Thursday: 'I've known him for years. I'm not surprised.'
Weinstein was a big donor for Hillary Clinton, who finally denounced her longtime friend in a statement on Tuesday but was silent on the crucial issue of the vast amount of cash Weinstein donated directly to her and her family.
The move by the DOJ comes as it emerged the movie mogul has taken on top criminal defense lawyers Blair Berk and David Chesnoff.
The pair will join his expanding legal team following an article in the New Yorker, which alleged three women were sexually assaulted by him.
Up to 30 women have now come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct.
Berk has represented A-listers like, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lindsay Lohan, while Chesnoff's clients have included Vince Neil, Bruno Mars, Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio and the family of Michael Jackson.
Weinstein has donated heavily to Clinton and although she said she was shocked and dismayed by his actions, she hasn't returned any of his contributions
Finally: Hillary Clinton's statement, issued after three rape allegations were leveled at Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie said he harassed them
The movie producer is said to have plans to jet to Europe and to go to a sex rehab clinic '' although he was still in Los Angeles on Wednesday, The Blast reported, and TMZ reported they heard word of a suicidal threat call for him that morning.
Sources close to the case have told DailyMail.com they fear the movie mogul might be pulling a Roman Polanski.
Weinstein's sudden departure is reminiscent of Hollywood icon Polanski who was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. The director was arrested and charged in 1977 in Los Angeles with five offenses '-- rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.
He was able to work out a deal in which he'd plead guilty to 'unlawful sexual intercourse' in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the five charges, but when he learned he would likely go to prison, Polanski fled to England.
Polanski has never returned to the US and has lived in Europe, splitting his time between France and Poland, ever since.
Although there are significant legal differences, the potential for a lengthy extradition case is likely to be one the FBI would be keen to quickly close down.
There are roughly 70 countries that don't have any form of an extradition treaty with the United States, according to WLOX.
These include Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the Ukraine, which are all in Eastern Europe, and the tiny Andorra.
Despite having extradition treaties with the United States, some countries, including Bolivia, Iceland and Switzerland, have been known to refuse requests.
RJ Cipriani, AKA Robin Hood 702, a professional gambler/philanthropist and known FBI source, claims to have knowledge of the Weinstein case.
Weinstein's sudden departure is reminiscent of Hollywood icon Roman Polanski (left) who was accused of raping 13-year-old girl Samantha Geimer (right). The director was arrested and charged in 1977 in Los Angeles with five offenses
Before Polanski was sentenced for the rape of the teenager (pictured), he fled to England. Polanski has never returned to the US and has lived in Europe, splitting his time between France and Poland, ever since
He told DailyMail.com: 'My connections and sources within the law enforcement community have told me they're looking to bring a case against Harvey Weinstein for rape and various other charges.
'That's why they believe Weinstein left to go to Europe to rehab. He is trying to protect himself in case charges are filed and do the same thing Roman Polanski did to escape justice.
He continued: 'We must stop these sex predators from crossing any border to allow them to escape justice.'
Cipriani says he also reached out to one of the lawyers representing Weinstein, Patricia 'Patty' Glaser.
He says Glaser, a leading LA lawyer, is his close friend and his attorney and he was appalled to learn in the media she was representing Weinstein.
He said: 'Patty and I spoke by phone after I heard she was working for Weinstein.
'Patty is a dear friend and I expressed my complete shock and displeasure of what I heard.
'Although she wouldn't confirm or deny anything, I tried and tried to dissuade her from taking his case and even went as far as to offer her $1million not to take it.
'I believe, although I cannot confirm, I might have changed her mind in terms of her going after the girls involved in this. From what I'm hearing she is only representing him in the matter against The Weinstein Company.'
RJ Cipriani, AKA Robin Hood 702, a professional gambler/philanthropist and known FBI source, claims to have knowledge of the Weinstein case. He says Patricia Glaser (pictured together), a leading LA lawyer, is his close friend and his attorney and he was appalled to learn in the media she was representing Weinstein
He added: 'My hope is that Patty took my comments on board and has seen the light, she's a very dear friend and I don't want to hurt her in any way, but she's representing a scumbag sex predator.'
According to the Hollywood Reporter Glaser won't be representing Weinstein in connection with harassment claims or against media outlets.
Instead, her task is to negotiate with The Weinstein Co., which on Sunday night fired Weinstein after a unanimous vote by the board of directors.
'We hope to work it out,' Glaser told the magazine. 'However, we will do whatever we have to do to properly protect his rights vis a vis the company.'
Glaser, a named partner at Glaser Weil, has handled many high-profile employment disputes, including representing Keith Olbermann against Al Gore's former Current TV and Conan O'Brien against NBC.
Most recently, she also picked up Jamie Horowitz as a client after the former Fox Sports programming head was let go amid an internal investigation about sexual harassment claims.
DailyMail.com also contacted the DoJ but response has been received.
WEINSTEIN'S ACCUSERS Angelina Jolie said she had to turn down Weinstein's advances as a young actress
Cara Delevingne: The model turned actress said Weinstein tried to get her to engage in a threesome with him and another woman in a New York City hotel room
Gwyneth Paltrow: The star told the New York Times that Weinstein touched her and suggested having joint massages in the bedroom before she started shooting the 1996 film Emma. She said she told her then boyfriend Brad Pitt about the incident and he confronted the mogul.
Angelina Jolie: Jolie told the Times she had to turn down advances from Weinstein in 1998 and chose never to work with him again. She said she warned other women about him.
Louisette Geiss: Actress was called to a late night meeting with Weinstein in 2008. He allegedly emerged in a bathrobe and told her he would green light her script if she watched him masterbate. She left the meeting.
Judith Godreche: The French actress says Weinstein tried to massage her and pull off her sweater after asking her up to his Cannes suite to see the view in 1996.
Dawn Dunning: Aspiring actress says she was called to a meeting about future film projects in 2003. When she arrived Weinstein presented her with three scripts for his next three movies which he would let her star in, only if she had three-way sex with him. She fled the hotel.
Tomi-Ann Roberts: Weinstein met her when she was serving tables as a college junior in 1984 and told her to meet him at his home. When she arrived, she says, he was naked in the bath and told her she would give a better audition if she was nude. She says she refused and left.
Asia Argento: The Italian actress has accused Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her when she was 21. 'He terrified me, and he was big. It wouldn't stop. It was a nightmare.' She said she went on to have consensual sex with him over the years that followed. She documented the alleged attack in her 2000 film Scarlet Diva.
Katherine Kendall: The Swingers actress was told Weinstein had to stop off in his apartment to pick something up after a screening in 1993. He changed into a bathrobe and told her to massage her. When she resisted she said the mogul returned naked and chased her.
L ucia Evans: The actress, formerly known as Lucia Stoller, claims Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004. Speaking to the New Yorker, she said that she suffered years of trauma after the incident which occurred in a 'casting meeting' in a Miramax office in Manhattan. He reportedly called her late at night after the incident.
Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that Weinstein attempted to get her into a hotel bedroom and massage her when she was 22
Mira Sorvino: The Mighty Aphrodite actress told the New Yorker that Weinstein tried to massage her in a hotel room at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival. He then went to her home in the middle of the night but she called a male friend to protect her, she claimed. She said turning down the mogul adversely affected her career.
Rosanna Arquette: The actress also said her career suffered after she rebuffed Weinstein's advances in the early 1990s. At a hotel meeting he tried to put her hand on his erect penis, she claims.
Rose McGowan: The actress, who made her breakthrough in 1996 in the Weinstein-produced slasher revival movie Scream, reportedly sued Weinstein after he assaulted her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival. She signed a non-disclosure agreement at the close of the suit and has only referred to him obliquely in social media since. On Sunday she referred to being abused by a 'monster' and has previously referred to being raped by a studio head.
Career suicide: Mira Sorvino revealed how her career nose-dived after she turned down Weinstein's advances
Ashley Judd: Judd's film roles include the 1997 thriller Kiss the Girls - and says that during the filming of that movie Weinstein repeatedly asked her to watch him shower. She was one of the women who spoke out to The New York Times this week, saying: 'Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.'
Emma De Caunes: French actress Emma de Caunes said that she met Weinstein in 2010, soon after he told her he had a script he was producing based on a book with a strong female character. Weinstein offered to show her the script, and asked her up to his hotel room, where he began to take a shower. He then emerged naked and with an erection, asking her to lay down with him on the bed and telling her that many had done so before. 'I was very petrified,' said de Caunes. 'But I didn't want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited.'
Zelda Perkins was 25 when, as an assistant of Weinstein's in London, she reportedly confronted the mogul for harassing her and 'several' other women; she later settled out of court
Lauren O'Connor: A former employee of The Weinstein Company, she told executives there in the fall of 2015 that there was 'a toxic environment for women at this company' after one of her colleagues told her that Weinstein had pressured her into massaging him while he was naked, the NYT said.
Ambra Battilana: An Italian actress and model, she told the NYT that in March 2015 Weinstein invited her to his New York office. There, she said, he asked if her breasts were real before grabbing them and putting his hands up her skirt. She reported the alleged incident to police, but they did not press charges. According to the NYT, Weinstein later paid her off.
Jessica Barth: Weintein reportedly pressured Barth, an actress, to give him a naked massage in the Peninsula Hotel from 2011 onwards.
Laura Madden: An ex-employee, she told the NYT that Weinstein had asked her to give him massages from 1991 onwards, while they were both in London and Dublin. 'It was so manipulative,' she told the NYT. 'You constantly question yourself - am I the one who is the problem?' Weinstein denied knowledge.
Emily Nestor: Nestor was a temporary employee of the Weinstein Company for just one day in 2014 when Weinstein approached her and offered to boost her career in exchange for sex, the NYT reported.
Zelda Perkins: An assistant of Weinstein's based in London in 1998; then 25, she reportedly confronted Weinstein after she and 'several' others were harassed and later settled out of court.
Elizabeth Karlsen, an Oscar-winning producer, said a female executive told her almost 30 years ago that she had found Weinstein naked in her bedroom in a Miramax-rented property
Elizabeth Karlsen: The Oscar-nominated producer of Carol and The Crying Game, among others, told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday that almost 30 years ago, an unnamed young female executive who had worked at Miramax with Weinstein had found him naked in her bedroom one night. The exec was in a house rented by Miramax at the time to cut its overheads.
Liza Campbell: A freelance script reader, she told the UK's Sunday Times that Weinstein had summoned her to his hotel room in London before telling her to get in the bath with him.
Lauren Sivan: The former Fox news host said that Weinstein trapped her in a closed restaurant and masturbated in front of her to completion in 2007. He took her to a closed restaurant beneath a club she had visited and attempted to kiss her, then when she refused he cornered her and made her watch him touch himself, according to The Huffington Post.
Jessica Hynes: The British actress, best known for her roles in the Bridget Jones movies and for co-creating and co-writing the sitcom Spaced, said she was invited to audition for Weinstein when she was 19 - in a bikini. Hynes, formerly known as Jessica Stevenson, said she refused to wear the skimpy item - and lost the job.
Romola Garai: British actress Romola Garai said she felt "violated" following a meeting with Harvey Weinstein in his London hotel room when she was 18 in which he was in a bathrobe. Garai, best known for her role in "Atonement", said she had already been hired for a part but was told to audition privately with the Hollywood mogul because 'you had to be personally approved by him'. "Like every other woman in the industry, I've had an 'audition' with Harvey Weinstein," she told The Guardian. 'So I had to go to his hotel room in the Savoy and he answered the door in his bathrobe. I was only 18. I felt violated by it'.
Unnamed assistant: Weinstein allegedly behaved inappropriately toward a woman employed as his assistant in 1990. The case was settled out of court.
Another unnamed assistant: In 2015, Weinstein reportedly pressured another assistant into giving him a naked massage in the Peninsula Hotel, where he is also said to have pressured Barth.
Unnamed Miramax employee: At one point in the early 1990s, a young woman is alleged to have suddenly left the company after an encounter with Weinstein. She also settled out of court.
Unnamed woman: A woman who did not wish to be named because she feared Weinstein's connections told The New York Times that the producer had summoned her to his hotel at an unknown date and raped her.
Twitter Suspends Rose McGowan's Account
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:56
11:00 PM PDT 10/11/2017 by Abid Rahman
Rose McGowan had her Twitter account suspended on Wednesday night.
The actress, who is at the center of the storm of sexual misconduct allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, took to her Instagram and Facebook accounts to relay the news of her suspension, writing cryptically that: ''TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME. THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE. #ROSEARMY.''
She added a screenshot from a message from Twitter telling her that she had violated their terms of service and she would be locked out for 12 hours.
McGowan revealed her suspension on her Instagram and Facebook accounts.
Since the bombshell sexual harassment, assault and rape allegations about Weinstein were reported by the New York Times and The New Yorker, McGowan has used Twitter to excoriate the disgraced movie mogul, as well as board members of The Weinstein Company and a number of prominent actors such as Ben Affleck who she feels were aware of what was going on.
The NYT reported that McGowan reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein after an encounter in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.
Hillary Clinton Says She'll Give Donations From Harvey Weinstein to Charity
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:27
Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she plans to give away political contributions from Harvey Weinstein as part of her annual charity donations.
''What my former colleagues are saying is they're going to donate it to charity, and of course I will do that,'' she told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. ''I give 10% of my income to charity every year, and this will be part of that. There's no doubt about it.''
Several Democratic lawmakers said that they will donate the money they received from Weinstein to charities that help women following an explosive report in the New York Times report that revealed the Hollywood mogul and major Democratic donor had amassed three decades worth of sexual harassment allegations. Weinstein contributed more $20,000 to Clinton's campaigns since she ran for U.S. Senate in New York in 1999, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Read more!
Clinton's spokesperson did not immediately respond to request for comment and additional details about where that money would go. On Tuesday, Clinton released a statement claiming she was ''shocked and appalled'' by the revelations about Weinstein, and praised the women who had spoken out against him. That same day, more allegations emerged; The New Yorker reported that three women claimed Weinstein had raped them, and the Times reported more allegations from high-profile figures like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. A spokesperson for Weinstein denied ''any allegations of non-consensual sex'' in response to both reports.
In her interview with Zakaria, Clinton reiterated the sentiments she expressed in her statement, and said she had no idea any of this had transpired. ''This was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past,'' she said. ''I was just sick, I was shocked, I was appalled.''
Vegas Shooting
REPORT: Jason Aldean Skipped Vegas Show For Survivors So He Could Perform On SNL | Daily Wire
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 09:29
Country singer Jason Aldean rejected an invitation to play for survivors of and first responders to the mass shooting in Las Vegas '-- but then turned around and appeared on Saturday Night Live, according to the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Dana White said the country singer's team lied to him about why he couldn't perform. He said he contacted Aldean's camp to see if the singer would sing the national anthem at an ultimate fighting championship in Vegas on Saturday night. White says at least 15 survivors and hundreds of first responders were set to be in the house.
But White says Aldean's people rejected the invite, saying the singer might never perform live again. Aldean was playing at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival when Stephen Paddock, 64, began shooting into the crowd from the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street in what would become the nation's worst-ever mass shooting.
Aldean fled the stage, and his team said he was still too rattled to perform, according to White.
'‹That same night, though, Aldean appeared on Saturday Night Live in New York City. The show didn't do its usual political open, but instead featured Aldean paying tribute to both the victims of last Sunday night's massacre in Las Vegas, and Tom Petty, who died from cardiac arrest this past week at the age of 66.
Aldean performed I Won't Back Down, a 1989 hit by Petty.
Said Aldean on SNL: "This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone, I'm struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. They're all part of our family.
"So I want to say to them: We hurt for you. We hurt with you. But you can be sure that we're gonna walk through these tough times together every step of the way. Because when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit '-- it's unbreakable."
White wasn't happy with the singer. "F*ck* you Jason Aldean. Stay out of Vegas," White told TMZ.
White says he also reached out to several country music stars '-- telling us, "Country music was attacked. Those were country music fans."
White says every single country act turned him down.
"Those are people who buy your albums and none of you country music people could sing the anthem in front of survivors and 1st responders?"
White offered a ton of praise to Everlast '-- who stepped in and performed instead.
"This isn't about money. This is about the bad ass people who fought through this sh*t that this coward did."
Break-in at Las Vegas shooter's home in Reno confounds police '-- RT America
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 08:52
Published time: 11 Oct, 2017 03:39 Edited time: 11 Oct, 2017 07:41
FBI agents returned to search a house in Reno owned by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock after local police told them that someone had broken into the home over the weekend.
Reno police officer Tim Broadway said they were called to the house Sunday morning by a neighbor who saw lights on in the home owned by Paddock.
''Nobody really saw anything, just a light was on with nobody in the residence,'' Broadway said, according to the Associated Press.
Read more
Broadway said officers discovered that "someone had broken into the house'' and he immediately contacted the FBI.
He added that the suspects broke into the home through the front door over the weekend, but said he was not sure exactly how they gained entry. Police are not aware of any damages or anything that was stolen.
There are no suspects at this time or any descriptions of a suspect.
The FBI is working with Reno police to ensure ''there are no further incidents,'' Broadway told the Reno-Gazette Journal.
Paddock, 64, bought the house in the upscale retirement community in 2013 and lived there with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley.
Investigators previously searched the residence on October 3 and found five handguns, two shotguns, numerous electronic devices and a ''plethora of ammunition,'' according to KOLO.
During a news conference Monday, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said the FBI and behavioral analysis agents were revisiting Paddock's properties in order to possibly ''discern additional evidence.''
Key Witness in Las Vegas Shooting Kills Self and Daughter Following FBI Raid
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:41
on 8th October 2017 @ 10.09am
(C) Neon Nettle Las Vegas shooting witness John Beilman killed himself and his daughter A key witness in the Las Vegas shooting massacre has killed himself and his disabled daughter in a horrific murder-suicide shortly after the FBI raided his home.John Beilman was wanted for questioning by federal agents in connection with a communications device discovered in suspected shooter Stephen Paddock's hotel room.
Investigators searched Beilman's Fairport home the day before he shot his severely disabled daughter and himself, according to sources close to the investigation.
Agents executed a search warrant and raided Beilman's Williamsburg Drive home the day before he took his daughter, Nicole, into the backyard and shot her and then himself in the back of the head with a 12-gauge shotgun.
John Beilman's 27-year-old daughter, Nicole, had Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.
Nicole Beilman relied upon a wheelchair and was dependent on her parents for care.
According to this report, upon the FBI searching the Mandalay Bay Hotel room used by CIA gun runner Stephen Paddock, a cell phone charger was discovered that had no accompanying phone'--with SVR technology experts noting that this type of charger is used to charge a CP502520 3.0V 600mAh Li-MnO2 Non-rechargeable Thin Cell Battery used in various communication devices by both US Special Forces and CIA forces.
The company making this unique lithium battery, this report details, is Ultralife Corporation, based in Newark, New York, that specializes in military communications systems for the Pentagon'--and whose lead engineer for this particular communication systems development was John Beilman.
Listing himself as a ''product design and manufacturing professional'', this report continues, John Beilman was employed by Ultralife Corporation between 2007-2012 where he worked on various top-secret communications systems for the US military'--thereafter his leaving to become a top engineer at the General Motors research facility located in Rochester New York.
Fearing that Ultralife Corporation had been secretly funneling their US military communications systems to the CIA, this report notes, this past Tuesday (3 October), the FBI raided the home of John Beilman under a secret US Federal Court warrant'--and that caused Beilman, less than 12 hours later, during the early morning hours of Wednesday (4 October), to wheel out his severely disabled daughter Nicole into his home's backyard where she was executed, with Beilman then killing himself too'--and that was followed 48 hours later (6 October) by the Pentagon awarding Ultralife Corporation new contracts valued at over $49 million.
The CIA, this report further notes, has long been known to eliminate witnesses to their ''murder sacrifice'' ''false flag'' operations'--and that includes the hundreds of witnesses mysteriously killed following the 9/11 ''Tower Sacrifice'', and the, likewise, hundreds of witnesses mysteriously dying following the ''King Sacrifice'' murder of President John F. Kennedy'--and that London's Sunday Times reported the ''the odds against these witnesses being dead by February 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one.''
The FBI claim they didn't protect, or at the very least put under 24-hour surveillance, John Beilman following their raid on his home, due to American domestic intelligence experiencing a manpower shortage in their Las Vegas massacre investigation.
According to D&C, John Beilman committed the murder-suicide shortly after 5:20 a.m., Fairport police say.
Fairport police said Beilman's wife, Donna Beilman, was inside the home and did not hear the shots that took the life of her husband and daughter.
Fairport Police Chief Samuel Farina said John Beilman left behind a "goodbye note" to his wife that indicated the circumstances of the shooting but not a motive.
A neighbor of Beilman reported that he saw two police cars near the home the day before the killings. Farina said this week that police had not responded to any calls at the home.
The FBI and federal prosecutors declined to comment.
READ MORE: Las Vegas Shooting Victim: 'I Was Shot by a Gunman in the Crowd'A federal magistrate judge would have approved a search of the home. However, approval of a search does not ensure a crime was committed; instead, it is a search for evidence of a crime.
Records of federal searches are often filed under seal, and there was no public record available Friday of the search of the Fairport home.
Mystery Woman Seen With Las Vegas Shooter Identified
Mon, 09 Oct 2017 23:19
Police have confirmed that a woman seen with the Las Vegas shooter days before his attack has been identified.
For the past few days, police have been searching for a woman seen with Stephen Paddock just days before the Las Vegas shooting.
The woman Paddock was seen with was not his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was not in the U.S. when the massacre occurred.
The FBI has also gotten involved, questioning local prostitutes, as the girl was believed to be a call girl. A note found in Paddock's hotel room recorded several phone numbers.
The Sun reports:
Police have already said they are trying to trace a mystery woman who was seen with Stephen Paddock in the days before the atrocity.
And they believe she could hold key information that helps to shed light on a motive for the massacre '' which left 59 festival-goers dead and more than 500 injured.
A note found in the room of Paddock contained details of phone numbers, the official added.
The 64-year-old regularly hired prostitutes on his visits to Vegas, a family friend yesterday confirmed.
According to The Sun, one such prostitute, who saw paddock some nine times between 2015 and 2016, told police Paddock would ''rant about conspiracy theories'' and described him as ''obsessive'' and ''paranoid.''
Speculation that Paddock may have had an accomplice spread quickly after the attack. Police believe Paddock was alone in his hotel room, at least on the night of the shooting. However, he may still have had help in planning the attack.
The Sun continues:
Police are ''very confident'' he did not have an accomplice during the shooting '' but have not ruled out that someone else could have been in the room beforehand.
US news channel NBC last night claimed police could not account for a second phone charger found in the room '' a claim since debunked by cops.
A second theory suggests a key card was used to enter Paddock's room when he was known to be outside the hotel '' suggesting another person entered the room.
Police now say that they have identified the woman seen with Paddock days before the attack.
Officials told ABC News that the woman is a prostitute, though they haven't released her identity. The sheer number of guns found in his hotel room, along with the fact that some ammo was bought under a different name, led to some doubt that Paddock acted alone.
Anyone who knew Paddock or was in contact with him have been questioned to try and shed light on the strange case.
The Blaze reports:
Police have identified the woman they say was with the Las Vegas shooter just days before last Sunday's massacre, adding another twist to the profile of an already confusing criminal.
['...] According to KABC-TV, police have said the woman is a prostitute. Police did not release the woman's identity.
Police say they are investigating hundreds of leads to fully understand who Paddock was and why he chose to massacre innocent people.
They also said this week that he and Danley were frequent travelers and made stops in the Middle East in recent years on cruises. It's not clear if there is any connection between those trips and the fact that the Islamic State has taken responsibility for the crime. Police maintain their belief that the shooting was not an act of Islamic terrorism.
If the recently identified woman has any new details about Paddock's personal motives, new details are sure to emerge shortly, but so far authorities have found little luck trying to uncover either a motive for the attack or how he was able to inflict so much destruction alone.
Las Vegas Shooter Had Note With Wind, Trajectory, And Distance Numbers In His Room | Daily Wire
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:28
Steven Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter who murdered 58 people and wounded hundreds of others with bursts of gunfire from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, was so precise in his preparation for the massacre that he had with him a note containing handwritten numbers for wind, trajectory, and distance in his hotel room.
Interviewed on 60 Minutes, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer David Newton from the K9 unit stated that when he entered Paddock's hotel room, he saw the note. Newton told Bill Whitaker of CBS:
I did notice '-- a note on the nightstand near '-- his shooting platform. I could see on it he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet was going to be for the crowd. So he had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there.
Whitaker asked, ''What were the numbers? I am just trying to understand, were they calculations?"
Newton replied:
Yeah, he had written, he must have done the calculations online or something to figure out what his altitude was going to be on how high up he was '-- how far out the crowd was going to be and what at that distance and what the drop of his bullet was going to be. He hadn't written out the calculations; all he had was written out the final numbers that were on the sheet.
Asked what he saw when he entered Paddock's room, Newton said:
An armory. So many guns, so many magazines, stacks and stacks of magazines everywhere. In suitcases, all neatly stacked against pillars that were in the room, all stacked up, rifles placed all throughout, all kinds of monitors and electrical equipment he had in there. It just looked almost like a gun store. '... I saw a few phones, laptops, couple laptops he had in there, a lot of drills and drill bits, all kinds of tools '... the dust from the explosive breach, and you've got the flashing lights. I mean, it looked straight up from out of a movie.
Las Vegas gunman shot security guard a full six minutes before opening fire on concertgoers, police reveal - LA Times
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 03:31
Police have dramatically changed their account of how the Las Vegas massacre began on Oct. 1, revealing Monday that the gunman shot a hotel security guard six minutes before opening fire on a country music concert '-- raising new questions about why police weren't able to pinpoint the gunman's location sooner.
Officials had previously said that gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos after Paddock had unleashed his deadly volley at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, an assault that began at 10:05 p.m. and left 58 people dead, with hundreds more injured.
They had credited Campos, who was shot in the leg, with stopping the 10-minute assault on the concert crowd by turning the gunman's attention to the hotel hallway, where Campos was checking an alert for an open door in another guest's room.
But Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday that Paddock shot Campos before his mass shooting '-- at 9:59 p.m. '-- and they now didn't know why Paddock stopped his attack on the crowd.
Paddock, who had placed security cameras outside his room, shot Campos through the door of his suite, which was outfitted with a camera to survey the hallway, as was a room service cart parked outside. Police said Paddock fired 200 rounds into the hallway.
Investigators previously said that the security guard was shot after Paddock had already spent 10 minutes firing into the crowd of concertgoers gathered below the hotel.
In a timeline released last week, investigators said Paddock had stopped firing at the concert across the street at 10:15 p.m., and the first police officers arrived on the floor at 10:17 p.m. and encountered the wounded Campos at 10:18 p.m., who directed the officers to Paddock's suite.
Police were not in a hurry to enter Paddock's suite because the security guard's arrival had halted the shooting, police implied in previously describing the timeline. Paddock had killed himself by the time officers entered the room, they said.
In a news conference Wednesday, Lombardo said it was his ''assumption'' that Paddock stopped his shooting spree because the gunman, using his spy cameras, ''observed the security guard, and he was in fear that he was about to be breached, so he was doing everything possible to figure out how to escape at that point.''
In another news conference last week, Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said Campos "had notified his dispatch, which was absolutely critical to us, knowing the location, as well as advising the responding officers as they arrived.''
But on Monday, the timeline changed.
''Mr. Campos was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,'' Lombardo said at a Monday news conference.
Police officers who started searching the hotel after the shooting began didn't know a hotel security guard had been shot ''until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,'' Lombardo said. He didn't say whether Campos notified casino security after he was shot.
A police spokesperson did not immediately respond to several follow-up questions from the Los Angeles Times seeking clarification on the new timeline.
Charles "Sid" Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff's commander and tactical expert, said the new timeline ''changes the whole perspective of the shooting."
David Montero, Richard Winton and Ruben Vives
Heal said that if police had known immediately that a guard had been shot, they would have rushed the room while the gunman was still firing. He said it seemed to signal a breakdown in communication.
''It doesn't say much for hotel security,'' Heal said.
After Campos was shot, a maintenance worker appeared on the 32nd floor and ''Campos prevented him from receiving any injuries,'' Lombardo said.
Representatives for the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and the union representing the hotel's security guards did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Lombardo said investigators still had not uncovered a motive for Paddock's attack and had found ''zero'' evidence of a second gunman. Investigators said Paddock was not seen with anyone before the attack.
Lombardo also revised the date on which police believe Paddock checked into Mandalay Bay. While initially they said he had checked in on Sept. 28, three days before the shooting, they now believe he checked in on Sept. 25.
They continue to believe he was operating without a partner.
Lombardo said investigators had compiled 200 ''instances'' of Paddock moving around Las Vegas before the attack, and he was always alone.
The sheriff also revealed that Paddock had started drilling a hole next to the door of his suite, but the drilling apparently was not completed, and officials weren't sure what the hole was for.
Lombardo said investigators had found ''some evidence of medications'' used by Paddock but declined to give any more information.
Authorities have begun returning personal items to those who left them behind when fleeing the concert grounds. Clark County Deputy Fire Chief John Steinbeck said 99 people came Sunday to retrieve items from the Family Assistance Center at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
By late afternoon Monday, a slow trickle of people entered the heavily guarded doors of the center '-- some arriving on crutches and wearing bandages. A few emerged carrying bags or wheeling suitcases away into the parking lot.
In the solitary world of video poker, Stephen Paddock knew how to win. Until he didn't
Las Vegas shooting victims: Portraits of the fallen
A brotherly journey from Alaska to Vegas ends in sorrow
Twitter: @davemontero
6:10 p.m.: The story was updated with information about the release of concertgoers' personal possessions.
5:40 p.m.: The story was updated with details of previous police accounts of the shooting timeline.
5 p.m.: The story was updated with additional details from a news conference and background on the shooting timeline.
4 p.m.: The story was updated with additional details from a news conference and a comment from a security analyst.
The story was originally published at 3:25 p.m.
Did Stephen Paddock have an accomplice? FBI and Las Vegas police clash over co-conspirator theory
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:23
How Stephen Paddock orchestrated the Las Vegas massacre IBTimes US
Authorities in Las Vegas have clashed over whether Stephen Paddock acted alone when he shot at a music festival.
Police in Las Vegas have suggested that Paddock may have had outside help but the FBI have slapped down such claims.
Asked at a press conference if Paddock acted alone, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said: "You've got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point."
But Lombardo was rebuked by the FBI who disagreed with the idea that others were involved in the attack.
Aaron Rouse who runs the Las Vegas division of the FBI said: "Theories are great and everyone can have a theory.
"But I need to deal with facts. The sheriff needs to deal with facts. He's not going to make assumptions. I'm not going to make assumptions."
Lombardo argued that he "found it hard to believe" that he was able to carry out such a sophisticated attack unless he was a "super guy."
Police also revealed that former accountant Paddock had reserved a room overlooking another festival the previous week in the city but authorities were unsure what his purpose for the booking was.
A total of 58 people were killed in the attack and a further 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in living US history.
The attack took place on Sunday evening when 64-year-old Paddock, positioned in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel with a cache of high-powered weapons , opened fire on a crowd of 23,000 who were watching the closing moments of a three-day country music festival.
Paddock was found dead in his hotel with a self-inflicted gunshot.
On Wednesday 4 October, Donald Trump visited Las Vegas, praising the work of emergency services and condemning Paddock's act.
Air Force One departs Las Vegas past the broken windows on the Mandalay Bay hotel, where shooter Stephen Paddock conducted his mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip Reuters
You Cannot Monetize The Network
Google and Facebook could be forced to take responsibility for everything posted on their sites as Government considers crackdown
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:14
F acebook and Google could be forced to uphold the same standards as newspapers and other publications as part of a Government crackdown, it has emerged.
Ministers are looking at whether to classify social media giants as publications instead of communication platforms, which would bind them to strict rules and make them responsible for everything they host.
It came as the Culture Secretary announced new rules to protect children online, including an industry-wide levy - potentially millions of pounds per company - to be spent on education.
New plans revealed by Karen Bradley also include compulsory internet safety lessons to teach children about the dangers of posting naked photos or sending them to people they meet online.
The measures are part of a crackdown on internet giants amid fears young people are increasingly at risk when using the internet.
U nder current rules sites like Facebook cannot be sued for the content posted on their sites because it is published by an individual or group, unlike newspapers and other publishers which are held fully responsible.
Campaigners have long been calling for a change in the law as they believe it would force social media companies to take racist, sexist, terrorist material and child pornography posted on their platforms more seriously.
A spokesman for Theresa May confirmed that ministers are looking at a change in the law in a bid to address concerns.
It came after the chairman of media regulator Ofcom said businesses such as Google should be classed as publishers and lamented her inability to properly police their platforms.
T he Number 10 spokesman said: "We are looking at the role Google and Facebook play in the news environment as part of the digital charter.
"We will look carefully at the roles, responsibilities and legal status of the major internet platforms."
Appearing at the digital, culture, media and sport committee of MPs in Parliament yesterday, Dame Patricia Hodgson said: "Those particular distribution systems [Facebook, etc] are not within Ofcom's responsibility but we feel very strongly about the integrity of news in this country and we are totally supportive of steps that should and need to be taken to improve matters.
"My personal view is that they are publishers but that is only my personal view, that is not an Ofcom view. As I said Ofcom is simply concerned about the integrity of news and very supportive of the debate and the steps that are being taken.''
I t came as the Government announced plans to make "Britain the safest place in the world to be online".
M inisters want to crack down on cyber-bullying and exploitation by consulting with social media platforms and others about how to better protect children and young people.
Plans include better education, a new code of practice, a levy on companies and an annual internet safety transparency report.
Karen Bradley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the Government is considering the status of Facebook and other online companies.
She said: ''We are looking at their role and their responsibilities and we are looking at what their status should be.
''They are not legally publishers at this stage but we are looking at this issue.''
Meanwhile, she insisted the Tories were not ''backing away'' from a manifesto commitment to legislate to impose a levy on social media companies as she said a voluntary scheme could be preferable.
She said: ''We are consulting on what is the best way to do this and if the best way to do this is to legislate then of course we will legislate.
''But if we can do it without legislating, which is quicker, more effective, gets a better result for everybody, then let's not put ideology in front of actually delivering.''
T he NSPCC welcomed the changes but called for more focus on children. A spokesman said: "Social media companies are marking their own homework when it comes to keeping children safe, so a code of practice is definitely a step in the right direction but 'how' it is implemented will be crucial.
''However, there's no doubt a lack of focus on children is a missed opportunity. "
T eenagers are now 'digitally self harming' by posting anonymous hurtful comments about themselves online, researchers have warned.
Around six per cent of teens write abusive or critical posts about themselves on social media, according to a survey of more than 5,000 teenagers by the University of Wisconsin.
Writing in the Journal of Adolescent health, academics said the new phenomenon warranted 'additional attention' from schools and more research to find out if it was linked to physical self-harm or suicide.
Hate Trumps Love
Parents upset by multiple choice answer: 'shooting at Trump' | Schools | jhnewsandguide.com
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:21
(C) 2017 Jackson Hole News&Guide
Parents are upset about politics' pervasiveness in the classroom.
One of the answers a Jackson Hole High School English teacher gave her students on a multiple choice quiz Thursday was ''A) He was shooting at Trump.''
Teton County School District No. 1 confirmed the answer was on a quiz administered online by their secure learning management system. The quiz has since been taken down.
Jim McCollum was surprised when his son Rylee McCollum, a junior, came home and showed him a screenshot of the online test.
"I had to read it two times," McCollum said. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'"
McCollum, a self-described conservative who voted for President Donald Trump, said that while he "cringes at some of the things he says," the question was completely out of line.
"It's about respect for the office more than anything," he said. "That's enough of this. No way."
The test, McCollum said, was on George Orwell's novel ''Animal Farm.'' The full question was, "Napoleon has the gun fired for a new occasion. What is the new occasion?"
Possible answers were, "He was shooting at Trump," "his birthday," "for completion of the windmill" and "to scare off the attackers of Animal Farm."
"It was so inappropriate to show a name of a sitting president in that question," McCollum said. "To me, that is so wrong in light of the situation in our country and the divisiveness and all."
In a statement this morning, the district said, "TCSD #1 administration learned late yesterday that a quiz was administered to a class of high school students that contained an inappropriate answer to a multiple choice question. Administration is investigating this incident and verifying the information we have received.
''TCSD #1 takes seriously threats of any kind, regardless of the intent. We apologize to the students, families and community for this incident and will be addressing the issue with personnel."
McCollum graduated from Jackson Hole High School in 1985 and was "born and raised" in Jackson. He shared the question on Facebook, which took off with shares and angry comments similar to his own, as well as a few students defending the teacher.
"To see that in my son's class ..." he trailed off. "This is not OK."
McCollum said that "liberal bias" pervades other classes at the high school, too, leaving his son and other conservative students feeling like "the outcast" and impacting their ability to learn.
"He told me, 'Dad, they crapped on everything I believe in,'''' McCollum said.
"Rylee is very patriotic, very supportive of our military and of our country," McCollum said. His son plans to enlist in the Marines unless he gets a wrestling scholarship.
"My kid is full-blooded red, white and blue," McCollum added.
McCollum said that his son Rylee "loves the teacher" who wrote the test, English teacher Carin Aufderheide.
"He thinks she's a terrific person, a nice person," McCollum said, despite knowing she has different political beliefs. "He was really upset that she would do that. He was really disappointed."
McCollum wants the incident to be a learning lesson, not a disciplinary action for the teacher.
"I'm not looking to get rid of anyone's position," he said. "Heck, I've done and said enough dumb things throughout my life."
The timing couldn't be worse to insinuate violence, McCollum said. Stephen Paddock's Sunday night shooting rampage in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured more than 500.
"The Las Vegas thing still weights on us," he said. "We are absolutely devastated. Just like any other American, we are devastated by what happened."
This is a developing story.
Contact education reporter Kylie Mohr at schools@jhnewsandguide.com.
Service Animals
Baltimore schools approve miniature horses as service animals
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:00
Baltimore City Public Schools recently approved the use of miniature horses as service animals for students.
arodPEI, Getty Images/iStockphoto
Ashley May, USA TODAY
4 weeks ago
Students in need of a service animal at Baltimore schools may now rely on miniature horses, according to guidelines approved Tuesday.
The Baltimore City Public Schools' board of commissioners said miniature horses, horses smaller than 34-inches-tall, are allowed on school grounds as service animals to students, staff and visitors if they are potty trained and obey their handler, The Baltimore Sun reports.
The horses can be used as an alternate to service dogs, also allowed on school property, the Sun reports.
More:Blind puppy to be trained as therapy service dog
More:Coworkers surprise employee with $18,000 for new service dog
According to the American with Disabilities Act, miniature horses should be permitted as service animals "where reasonable." That means in addition to only allowing trained horses, the facility must also be able to accommodate the animal's size. Plus, the horse's presence can't be a safety concern. (So, no horse parking by the emergency exit.)
Adult miniature horses can weigh up to 250 pounds, according to the American Miniature Horse Association.
Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets
APNewsBreak: Billions in Illinois bills not sent for payment
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:13
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) '-- Illinois is chasing a moving target as it tries to dig out of the nation's worst budget crisis, and a review obtained by The Associated Press shows $7.5 billion worth of unpaid bills '-- as much as half the total '-- hadn't been sent to the official who writes the checks by the end of June.
Although many of those IOUs have since been paid, a similar amount in unprocessed bills has replaced them in the last three months, Comptroller Susana Mendoza's office said Monday. That's in addition to $9 billion worth of checks that are at the office but being delayed because the state lacks the money to pay them.
The mound of past-due bills tripled over the two years Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly were locked in a budget stalemate, which ended in July when lawmakers hiked income taxes over Rauner's vetoes.
In some cases, agencies were waiting to send their receipts to Mendoza because lawmakers haven't approved the spending. For example, the Department of Corrections had $471 million in unpaid bills on hand as of June 30 largely for that reason.
"Ascertaining the precise nature of the state's past-due obligations and liabilities is an essential component of responsible cash and debt management," the Democratic comptroller wrote in a letter to Republican Rep. David McSweeney, a budget hawk from Barrington Hills who requested the review.
Mendoza and McSweeney plan to use the findings to urge lawmakers to override Rauner's veto of legislation that would require monthly reporting of bills not yet submitted for processing. The measure, authored by Mendoza's office, would include a breakdown of how old each bill is and which ones have received legislative approval to be paid.
"The governor supports more transparency on the state of our finances," Rauner spokesman Hud Englehart said in an email to AP. "He vetoed this bill because the State does not have adequate technology in place to cost effectively provide this information monthly."
The age of bills is important because many that are 90 days or older face a 1 percent-per-month late-payment fee; about $5.5 billion of the current $15.9 billion backlog is subject to the penalty. Mendoza estimates the state will ultimately pay $900 million in late-payment fees on the existing pile of debt.
The Department of Central Management Services, which handles personnel, procurement and employee health care, has most of the June 30 bundle, with $5.8 billion. That's mostly doctor's bills owed to employee medical providers under the state group health insurance plan.
McSweeney's call for the overview coincided with the current Oct. 1 deadline for publicizing the amount of bills held at agencies at a fiscal year's end. McSweeney said with Illinois swimming in debt, including a $130 billion shortfall in what's needed to pay employee pensions and other long-term borrowing, check-writers need more exact information.
"With a $16 billion backlog of unpaid bills, and $200 billion in total liabilities when you add in the pension debt, I don't trust this governor, I don't trust this administration," McSweeney said. "We need monthly reporting."
Typically, when a governor and Legislature agree on a budget, the legislation authorizing it includes appropriations bills. If money is spent that isn't approved, lawmakers must do it after the fact in a supplemental appropriation. Rauner has complained that the budget legislative Democrats approved in July is $1.7 billion short of being balanced. Democrats have countered that the governor spent money last year that wasn't approved. Neither side has elaborated.
Democrats have signaled they plan to attack Rauner's budget management during his 2018 re-election campaign
Mendoza, who beat Rauner's hand-picked candidate in a special election for comptroller last fall, has wrangled with the governor over issues related to the deficit and the backlog, including one spat over which fund to use to pay particular bills.
The Legislature returns for its fall session Oct. 24.
Contact Political Writer John O'Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/john%20o'connor
Sign up for the AP's weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas: http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv
Ministry of Truthiness
FCC Regulations
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 02:48
274the policy and regulatory landscapePart tWO
275Since the beginning of the Republic, government policies have affected'--sometimes profoundly'--the evolution of the news media. What follows is a description and evaluation of FCC and other governmental policies that have shaped'--and that continue to shape'--the news media landscape and the provision of civically important information to citizens on a community level and nationwide.We focus on those policies that relate to the concerns raised in Part One, especially regarding the health of local information, news, and journalism.We have tried to critically evaluate the FCC's own role. While some FCC policies have helped, some have not'--and crafting sound policy going forward requires the Commission to understand why. Sociologist Paul Starr has argued that we are currently in a rare ''constitutive moment,'' when today's decisions will shape media industry evolution for decades to come. Given the seismic nature of today's changes, it is imperative that we be conscious of what our policies are and what they are attempting to achieve.In general, our review indicates that: 1. some current FCC policy is not in synch with the nature of modern media markets; and 2. many of the FCC's current policies are not likely to help communities and citizens get the information they need.
27626 Broadcast radio and televisionThere is no doubT ThaT FCC poliCies have played a profound role in the development and growth of the modern broadcasting industry from its earliest days. Historically, some of the most significant Congressional and FCC poli-cies were:Promoting the creation of national radio networks: In 1928, the Federal Radio Commission, the FCC's prede-cessor, set aside national ''clear channels'' to allow for the creation of national radio networks. This allowed business models to develop more quickly since radio stations could attract national, not just local, advertising. These radio networks'--the National Broadcasting Company and the Columbia Broadcasting System'--later became the TV net-works that set the course for the future of TV.Licensing stations locally, creating a nationwide system: While allowing for the creation of national radio net-works, Congress and the FCC decided to award TV licenses locally, not nationally (as has been done in many other countries). To do this, and ensure nationwide availability, FCC engineers worked for years to define the contours of lo-cal stations and resolve interference issues. Licensing stations locally was intended to promote the availability of locally oriented content, competition, and control.Setting aside spectrum for noncommercial use: In 1952, the FCC set aside 242 television channels for educational use,1 and historically the Commission has sought to reserve approximately 25 percent of television channels for noncommercial educational use.2 Had it not, the public broadcasting systems might never have developed. Ownership rules: While some argue that FCC ownership rules have led to massive consolidation with baneful results and oth-ers insist that they have facilitated greater market efficiencies with beneficial results for the public, few disagree that they have had a significant impact. Must-carry rules: In general, Congress required major cable pro-viders to set aside up to one-third of their channel capacity for local broadcast stations. This dramatically increased the leverage of broadcasters in the cable industry's early days, and probably protected the primacy of local TV news shows.Digital and high-definition television: Between 1987 and 1997, the FCC adopted a series of decisions that began a transition from analog to digital television, paving the way for reallocation of 108 MHz of spectrum from television to other valuable uses.3 In addition to these decisions that shaped the structure of the broadcasting industry, a parallel track of regula-tions, in some form or another, has affected how content is developed and distributed. The government has played a greater role in shaping content in the broadcast industry than it has in the print industry for a simple reason: While the printing press belongs to private owners, the airwaves belong to the public. Because there is a finite amount of spectrum, and a much greater demand for licenses than can be accommodated, policymakers beginning in the 1920s had to decide who would get the spectrum and for what use. After all, if one broadcaster received a license it meant another could not have it, so it made sense to oblige those authorized ''speakers'' to meet broad community needs. Policymakers adopted a ''trustee'' model, in which, in exchange for public spectrum, broadcasters were required to serve public service goals. Companies that subsequently bought these stations did pay for them but that did not ab-solve them from having to fulfill the attendant public interest obligations. Yet, even though broadcasting was born with government help'--based on a grant of airwaves from the public'--once it took its first breath, it in some ways became ''the press.'' As such, broadcasters have, and should have, even though broadcasting was born with government help'--based on a grant of airwaves from the public'--once it took its first breath, it in some ways became ''the press.'' hence, government regulation of broadcasting is sometimes appropriate, yet circumscribed.
277special protections under the First Amendment, although these protections are less rigorous than those afforded other media such as newspapers. Hence, government regulation of broadcasting is sometimes appropriate, yet always circumscribed. Courts and Congress have, at various points, reaffirmed the FCC's authority to consider program con-tent in the exercise of its licensing function but to what extent and in what manner has been open to near constant debate. Over time, the combination of new court rulings and changing market forces have made policymakers less and less comfortable with highly prescriptive requirements. One court described the balancing act:''[T]he Commission walks a tightrope between saying too much and saying too little. In most cases it has resolved this dilemma by imposing only general affirmative duties'--e.g., to strike a balance between various interests of the community, or to provide a reasonable amount of time for the presentation of programs devoted to the discussion of public issues. The licensee has broad discretion in giving specific content to these duties, and on application for renewal it is understood the Commission will focus on his overall performance and good faith rather than on specific errors it may find him to have made.''4 Questions abound. Among them: When, if ever, is it permissible or wise to regulate content? What are the limits? What governmental actions indirectly affect content? These questions have challenged media policymakers for decades. In some cases, governmental involvement is not appropriate; in others it may be unnecessary and unwise; and in yet other instances, it depends on the circumstances. We discuss three sets of rules that illustrate this point: We look at sponsorship identification and disclosure rules as an example of regulation that potentially promotes a vigorous and informative press by requiring transparency. We consider the Fairness Doctrine as an example of gov-ernmental action that would likely harm the development of a robust media. Finally, we delve even more thoroughly into the issue of the public interest obligations of broadcasters. The Fairness DoctrineThe roots of the Fairness Doctrine go back to the Federal Radio Commission's 1929 Great Lakes Broadcasting decision, which denied licenses to a labor union-controlled radio station, on the grounds that ''the public interest requires am-ple play for the free and fair competition of opposing views.''5 In 1940, the FCC went further and decided that, because the public interest required stations to present ''all sides of important public questions fairly, objectively and without bias,'' stations must agree not to editorialize. The FCC stated that, ''radio can serve as an instrument of democracy only when devoted to the communication of information and exchange of ideas fairly and objectively presented.''6 As a commenter has noted, ''[l]icensees were thus put on notice that advocacy broadcasting would not be tolerated.''7 This speech-restrictive approach lasted eight years.In order to ensure that broadcasters covered important issues in their programming, and did so in a bal-anced manner, in 1949 the Commission introduced what has become known as the Fairness Doctrine. In its Report on Editorializing By Broadcast Licensees, the Commission stated, ''the public interest requires ample play for the free and fair competition of opposing views, and the commission believes that the principle applies to all discussion of importance to the public.''8 It established a two-part obligation for broadcasters:> provide coverage of vitally important controversial issues of interest in the community served by the station; and> afford a reasonable opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints.Stations were given wide latitude in deciding how they would present contrasting views; for instance, they might air segments during news or public affairs programs or broadcast distinct editorials. No particular party had a right to reply to an issue covered by the station. Rather, the station simply had to ensure that contrasting views on the issue were aired. But, a party that believed that a station had failed to honor this obligation could file a complaint with the Commission, which would be decided on a case-by-case basis. In time, two related rules were adopted: the ''personal attack rule,'' which required that when an attack was made on someone's integrity during a program on a controversial issue of public importance, the station had to inform the subject of the attack and provide the oppor-
278tunity to respond on the air; and the ''political editorial rule,'' which required a station that had endorsed a particular candidate for political office to notify the other candidates for that office and offer them the opportunity to respond on the air.9 These rules applied to broadcast TV and radio, but not to cable or satellite.In 1969, in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fairness Doctrine was consti-tutional, concluding that the print and broadcast media were inherently different in terms of regulatory First Amend-ment considerations, especially given the scarcity of available broadcast spectrum.10 The Court held, ''[i]t is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.''11As part of its 1980s deregulation of broadcasting, the Commission abolished the Fairness Doctrine, conclud-ing after an inquiry that ''the requirement that broadcasters provide balance in their overall coverage of controversial public issues in fact makes them more timid than they would otherwise be in airing programming that involves such issues.''12 The Commission's inquiry had provided numerous examples of this ''chilling'' effect, including Dan Rather's recollection of his time as a young reporter working at a radio station owned by the Houston Chronicle:''I became aware of a concern which I previously had barely known existed'--the FCC. The journalists at the Chronicle did not worry about it: those at the radio station did. Not only the station manager but the news people as well were very much aware of the Government presence looking over their shoulders. I can recall newsroom conversations about what the FCC implications of broadcasting a particular report would be. Once a newsroom has to stop and consider what a Government agency will think of something he or she wants to put on the air, an invaluable element of freedom has been lost.''13Since that time, lawmakers have periodically attempted'--unsuccessfully'--to enact legislation to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. Furthermore, in 2000, the Commission eliminated the ''personal attack'' and the ''political edito-rial'' rules after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a writ of mandamus directing it to do so.14 All of the current commissioners are on record as opposing its reinstitution. For instance, Chairman Genachowksi told a Senate Com-mittee in 2009: ''I don't support reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. I believe strongly in the First Amendment. I don't think the FCC should be involved in censorship of content based on political speech or opinion.''15Although the Fairness Doctrine is not in effect, it is referenced in the FCC's written rules. Section 73.1910 of the Commission's Rules states that:The Fairness Doctrine is contained in section 315(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which provides that broadcasters have certain obligations to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.16 It is unclear why the Commission did not eliminate this when it repealed the Fairness Doctrine policy. The sentence has no force of law or policy import, but, it should be said, the language remains ''on the books.''It is our view that its reinstatement would most likely chill the robust broadcast discussion of critical issues, because stations would simply avoid addressing controversial issues in their programming rather than risk Com-mission sanctions for their failure to have allowed all interested parties an opportunity to respond. With the growth of additional media sources, such as cable, satellite, and more recently the Internet, Commission regulation in this sensitive area seems particularly unnecessary and unwise. Disclosure Rules and On-Air DeceptionThe FCC has established as a central principle that ''listeners are entitled to know by whom they are being persuad-ed.''17 This concept is at the heart of several rules governing on-air disclosure.Beginning with the Radio Act of 1927, Congress required broadcasters to identify their sponsors.18 In 1969, the FCC applied similar disclosure rules to cable operators for programming they create.19 Significantly, the rules do not prohibit the use of sponsored material; they only require identification of the sponsor. Broadcasters and cable operators must identify sponsors and advertisers at the time of airing of any program-ming for which consideration has been received or promised. The relevant statute, section 317(a)(1) of the Communi-cations Act, provides:
279''All matter broadcast by any radio station for which any money, service or other valuable consideration is directly or indirectly paid, or promised to or charged or accepted by, the station so broadcasting, from any person, shall, at the time the same is so broadcast, be announced as paid for or furnished, as the case may be, by such person.''20The Commission only requires that the announcement occur once during the programming and remain on the screen long enough to be read or heard by an average viewer, although somewhat more rigorous identifica-tion rules apply to sponsored political speech.21 Other decisions are left to the ''reasonable, good faith judgment'' of the licensee.22 Stations are not required to post the disclosure on their website.23To make sure that broadcasters have the information necessary to decide whether sponsorship announce-ments are needed, station employees have a legal duty to notify the station management if they accept any gifts or compensation in exchange for agreeing to run programs. 24 A particularly troubling development in recent years has been the rise of sponsored news stories, character-ized by some as ''fake news stories'' or ''pay for play.'' (See Chapter 3, Television.) In the Television chapter, we saw some cases in which broadcasters appear to have entered into agreements with sponsors to run news stories promot-ing the sponsors' products or services, without disclosing such agree-ments on the air.25 The Enforcement Bureau recently entered into a consent decree with a broadcaster accused of airing particular news stories on behalf of a sponsor without appropriate sponsor identifi-cation.26 ''The evidence we've seen suggests that this is much more widespread than a few years ago,'' says Tom Rosensteil, director of the Pew Project on Excellence in Journalism. ''That's what I'm hearing from news directors.''27 These cases often rely on the Enforcement Bureau getting written evidence of quid pro quo, which is hard to come by. The Bu-reau usually begins investigations on the basis of complaints filed. Those wanting to file a complaint can do so confidentially if they call the Enforcement Bureau, but the web-based complaint system currently has no way to ensure the confidentiality of emailed tips.In addition, the penalties for such violations can be small. The base-level ''forfeiture'' per violation of the sponsorship-identification rules is $4,000.28 Moreover, the pay-for-play disclosure rules do not apply to most pro-gramming on cable. The only exception is programming that is directly controlled by a cable operator, such as a local all-news station.Sponsorship identification rules also govern the airing of video news releases (VNRs), described in Chapter 3, Television. With VNRs, sponsors create video clips that look like news stories, though they may use actors to play reporters.29 Some studies have indicated that in many cases, stations do not identify the nature or provenance of the VNRs.30 The FCC recently issued two Notices of Apparent Liability against TV stations for violating sponsorship iden-tification rules'--one for a station that had aired a VNR produced by General Motors and another for the airing of a VNR by the maker of a cold remedy. In both cases, the stations were fined $4,000.31 However, some argue that such enforcement actions violate First Amendment rights. FOX argued that its running VNRs did not violate sponsorship ID rules since it did not get paid to air them. FOX also objected ''to the issuance of the Commission's Letter of Inquiry and to the Commission's attempt to encroach upon broadcasters' dis-cretion in making editorial choices about what news to cover and how to produce local newscasts.'' FOX continued:''[ne]ws content lies at the very heart of the First Amendment...intrusive inquiries tread heavily on the core consti-tutional principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press...Faced with invasive inquiries into the newsgathering process, broadcasters likely will self-censor and eschew perfectly legitimate speech.''32 The Fox case remains pending.Another type of disclosure rule attempts to force transparency regarding the origins of aired programming.33 For instance, in 2007, the Enforcement Bureau issued a citation to the television personality Armstrong Williams and his production company for failing to disclose to TV stations that aired Williams' program that he had received a young dan rather stated: ''once a newsroom has to stop and consider what a Government agency will think of something he or she wants to put on the air, an invaluable element of freedom has been lost.''
280compensation from the U.S. Department of Education in exchange for his favorable on-air comments about the No Child Left Behind law.34 Though the Bureau concluded that the stations airing Williams' comments had not violated any FCC rules, stations do have an obligation to exercise ''reasonable diligence'' to learn of financial arrangements affecting the content35 and disclose those arrangements to the public.36 Finally, FCC rules call for disclosure of any programming sponsorship, including ''product placement'' and ''embedded advertising,'' that is done in exchange for money, service, or other forms of payment. A 2006 survey showed that out of 251 television news directors, 12.4 percent said they were either already doing or considering doing product placements within their newscasts.37 FITM (Fairness and Integrity in Telecommunications Media) also pro-vided research on embedded advertising (including references to McDonald's coffee being placed on local newscasts and Starbucks paying to have its products appear on an MSNBC cable newsmagazine show).38 (See Chapter 3, Televi-sion.) The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and others responded that the public is not being deceived or misled because stations generally provide disclosures through on-air announcements and on-screen graphics.39 The ''Public Interest'' StandardThe notion of imposing a public interest obligation on broadcast station operators was first put forth officially by Her-bert Hoover in 1924. As secretary of commerce for Republican President Calvin Coolidge, Hoover argued that radio ''is not to be considered as merely a business carried on for private gain. . . . It is a public concern impressed with the public trust and is to be considered primarily from the standpoint of public interest to the same extent and upon the basis of the same general principles as our public utilities.''40 In 1925, the Fourth Radio Conference, a gathering of congressmen, government officials, radio industry professionals, academics, and private citizens, accepted Hoover's ''public inter-est'' concept, and recommended that licenses be issued only to those who will ''render a benefit to the public; or are necessary in the public interest; or are contributing to the development of the [broadcast] art.''41 NAB supported the idea, declaring, ''The test of the broadcasting privilege [must] be based on the needs of the public served by the proposed station.''42In response to complaints about scarce spectrum, Hoover at-tempted to remedy interference problems by reallocating some of the spectrum and denying some license applications.43 Court rulings blocked these remedial efforts.44 At the same time, intolerable levels of interfer-ence were experienced in many major urban areas, in some cases making transmission virtually impossible. Under these circumstances, Congress passed the Radio Act of 1927, which created the Federal Radio Commission, giving it broad authority to classify sta-tions, prescribe the nature of service to be provided, assign frequencies, determine transmitter power and location, and issue regulations to avoid interference.45 What is more, it required that stations must serve ''the public interest, convenience or necessity'''--a phrase whose ambiguity would loom over communications policymaking for the next 80 years.46Although the Radio Act did not provide a public interest definition, it established a clear'--and dramatic'--principle for policymakers: these were ''the public's airwaves'''--and no person or corporation could own the electro-magnetic spectrum flowing through the air, any more than it could own the air itself.47 As a result, there would be a quid pro quo for the government's grant of spectrum use.48 The public, with the government as its agent, would hand over'--gratis'--a license to use its airwaves to operate a radio station for a fixed period of time. In exchange, the lucky recipient of this extremely lucrative asset would operate the station as a trustee for the public that owned its spectrum, with the obligation to perform certain functions for the greater good beyond merely airing entertainment programming.49 Congressman Wallace H. White, a sponsor of the Radio Act, comment-ed, ''If enacted into law, the broadcasting privilege will not be a right of selfishness. It will rest upon an assurance of public interest to be served.''50 In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt's administration sought to remedy deficiencies in the Radio Act by enacting the Communications Act of 1934, which created the Federal Communications Commission. The Communications Act announced the ''criterion governing the exercise of the Commission's licensing power'' using, once again, the phrase radio, herbert hoover argued, ''is not to be considered as merely a business carried on for private gain . . . [it] is to be considered primarily from the standpoint of public interest.''
281''public interest, convenience and necessity.''51 The Act also contemplated the application of this ''public interest'' stan-dard, beyond licensing and interference issues, to also govern programming issues and those of licensee conduct.52Defining the Public Interest During its early days, the Commission was quite prescriptive in defining how broadcasters should meet what came to be known as ''public interest obligations.'' In a 1939 memorandum, the FCC listed 14 specific kinds of programming material or practices not deemed to be in the public interest, including defamation, racial or religious intolerance, obscenity, and excessive playing of recorded music to fill airtime.53 On March 7, 1946, the Commission issued one of its first major policy statements on broadcast program-ming: a 59-page internal document entitled Public Service Responsibility of Broadcast Licensees. This so-called Blue Book encouraged stations to air programming of local interest and that stimulated public discussion, noting in particular the importance of news and information programming:''American broadcasters have always recognized that broadcasting is not merely a means of entertainment, but also an unequaled medium for the dissemination of news, information, and opinion, and for the discussion of public issues. . . . Especially in recent years, such information programs and news and news commentaries have achieved a popularity exceeding the popularity of any other single type of program. The war, of course, tremendously increased listener interest in such programs; but if broadcasters face the crucial problems of the post-war era with skill, fairness, and courage, there is no reason why broadcasting cannot play as important a role in our democracy hereafter as it has achieved during the war years.''54 The Commission concluded that it needed to look not only at technical issues but also ''the broadcaster's service to the community''55 and that ''the principal ingredient of such obligation consists of a diligent, positive and continuing effort by the licensee to discover and fulfill the tastes, needs and desires of his service area.''56 The FCC emphasized the health of local media. Each station was licensed to a particular community and was required to pro-vide service to that specific community. The process by which stations determined these local needs became known as ''ascertainment.''57 The Commission outlined 14 ''major elements'' of programming that are generally necessary in the service of the public interest, but noted that they ''are neither all-embracing nor constant:''''(1) opportunity for local self-expression, (2) the development and use of local talent, (3) programs for children, (4) religious programs, (5) educational programs, (6) public affairs programs, (7) editorialization by licensees, (8) political broadcasts, (9) agricultural programs, (10) news programs, (11) weather and market reports, (12) sports programs, (13) service to minority groups, (14) entertainment programs.''58 A premise of all these rules is that the ''trustee'' obligations of broadcasters meant that they were required to provide programming beyond what the market would normally produce. Policymakers implicitly were taking the position that some types of programming ought to be provided'--and are good for a community'--even if there isn't a large enough consumer demand to lead to its provision in a pure free market.''Ascertaining'' Community NeedsThroughout the 1960s and 1970s, great emphasis was placed on prodding stations to find out community needs, so the stations themselves could then better serve them. The Commission's 1972 Primer on Ascertainment of Community Problems by Broadcast Applicants gave detailed instruction on how to determine community needs.59 Notably, the Primer stated that the purpose of the ascertainment process was to help a station determine what the important issues were, which was different from determining what programming might be most popular.60 The Primer got quite granular, re-quiring principals and management-level employees to personally speak with community leaders.61 The goal was not for the FCC to determine what the significant local problems were, but rather to insure that the stations themselves were doing so, and then, at their discretion, producing relevant programming.Beyond ''ascertainment,'' the FCC ultimately tried to encourage a minimal level of non-entertainment pro-gramming. In 1973, the Commission revised its regulations in order to place initial determination of license renewal
282applications of TV stations maintaining 10 percent or more of ''non-entertainment'' programming in the hands of the chief of the Commission's Broadcast Bureau, thereby avoiding a more time-consuming and complex analysis by the Commission itself.62 So, if a station broadcast from 6:00 a.m. to midnight (18 hours), 10 percent would amount to one hour and 48 minutes per day. (The corresponding percentages were 8 percent for AM radio, 6 percent for FM.63) In 1976, the Commission amended these non-entertainment programming guidelines for commercial television, to require Commission action if the station had aired less than a total mix of 5 percent local and 5 percent informational (news and public affairs) programming per hour as part of its 10 percent non-entertainment programming.64 Throughout this period, some broadcasters bristled at the detailed nature of the guidelines, for instance being forced to meet with particular groups. And, in hindsight, it seems the government proffered jarringly detailed judg-ments about how a station's management ought to do its business, interact with its community, and cover stories. On the other hand, some who worked in the industry at the time argue that the requirement that stations make affirmative efforts to ''ascertain'' community needs had a positive effect. Steve Schwaid, who has spent three decades in broadcast news and is currently director of news and digital content at WGCL-TV in Atlanta, says ascertain-ment lunches were valuable: ''You listened to what people were talking about and hearing, what they wanted to discuss. That gave you an idea of what the stories were. The problem with newsrooms today is that we live in a bubble. We are in a newsroom all day long; we see the same sort of stuff all day long. Sometimes we try not to, but we worry more about what the other guy is covering. I think we have lost touch. Local stations as a whole can do a better job of being in touch with their communities. The ascertainment requirement forced them to do so.''65It is hard to conceive of it now, but media companies did not always expect news programs to turn a profit; they were viewed as part of the price of getting the license. Lee Giles, a 35-year broadcast pioneer who served as vice president and news director of WISH-TV in Indianapolis and is a member of both the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame and the Indiana Associated Press Hall of Fame, puts it this way: ''We all really felt that we were privileged to cover news for the public. I did operate in the public interest and necessity, and felt that was my mandate and charge to do so. Back then it made us conscious of our obligations. It kind of permeated all of what we were doing.''66Gayle Eichenthal, who spent nearly 35 years with all-news commercial radio station KNX-AM and public ra-dio station KUSC in Los Angeles, describes the impact of the ascertainment rules, from her firsthand perspective: ''We were so focused on the community. We were reporting every single aspect of the infrastructure of the city and surrounding cities . . . how do people live, what's happening with labor, what's happening with the arts, what's happening with housing, and every single aspect of the community. The assignment editor had a tremendous sense of responsibility in his position and he took it like it was a life's work to cover the people of the city and the city itself and to serve people by doing that.''67In the 1980s, the regulatory tide dramatically shifted, first under Jimmy Carter's FCC chairman, Charles Fer-ris, and then under Mark S. Fowler, appointed by Ronald Reagan. In 1981, Fowler argued that television was ''just an-other appliance. It's a toaster with pictures. We've got to look beyond the conventional wisdom that we must somehow regulate this box.''68 In his view, the public interest would be determined by ''the public's interest'': if the public did not like the way a broadcaster was operating its station, people would stop watching or listening, and, without the sufficient numbers of eyes and ears, advertisers would stop providing the station revenue. The operation would fail without the need for government safeguards or intervention. By eliminating many broadcast regulatory requirements and instead providing licensees with flexibility, he believed that stations would experiment and innovate more. The Commission then initiated a series of changes, some of which went as far as Fowler's initial rhetoric, some of which did not. The national association of broadcasters supported the idea of public interest obligations: ''The test of the broadcasting privilege [must] be based on the needs of the public served by the proposed station.''
283Two broad exceptions to the deregulatory policies Commission rules regarding political programming and children's television. FCC guidelines provide that commercial broadcasters can satisfy their duty to serve the needs of their child audiences by offering at least three hours a week of programs that serve the educational and informational needs of children aged 16 and under.69 Broadcasters must file quarterly reports describing the children's educational programming they offer.70 FCC rules also limit the use of commercials during children's programming.71 Radio DeregulationIn 1981, led by Charles Ferris, the chairman appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, the FCC deregulated radio.72 It determined that the public interest would be served by eliminating what it characterized as ''unnecessarily burdensome regulations of uniform applicability that fail to take into account local conditions, tastes or desires.''73 Specifically, the Commission moved to:> eliminate the license-renewal guideline requiring that stations have a certain percentage of non-entertain-ment programming, while retaining a general licensee obligation that stations offer programming responsive to local issues.74 It agreed that citizens needed to ''be well informed on issues affecting themselves and their communities. It is with such information that the citizenry can make the intelligent, informed decisions es-sential to the proper functioning of a democracy.''75 But, it concluded, ''stations will continue to present such programming as a response to market forces.''76 > eliminate its formal ascertainment requirements, while stressing that ''broadcasters should maintain contact with their community on a personal basis as when contacted by those seeking to bring community problems to the sta-tion's attention. What is not important is that each licensee follow the same requirements dictating how to do so.''77 Ac-cordingly, in place of formal ascertainment, it required that new stations explain in their license application how they would carry out their obligation to determine issues facing their communities ''by any means reasonably calculated to apprise them of the issues.''78 Thus, ascertainment changed its stripes but did not disappear. > conclude that while all radio stations were expected to con-tinue to air non-entertainment programming that addressed community needs, each station's programming need not be all things to all people. If station X was providing news, station Y need not:''We do not expect broadcasters to fit their non-entertainment programming into a mold whereby each station has the same or similar amounts of programming. Other than issue responsive programming, stations need not, as a Commission requirement, present news, agricultural, etc., programming. ''We believe the record. . . demonstrates that stations will continue to present such programming as a response to market forces . . . . We do not expect radio broadcasters to attempt to be responsive to the particular problems of each group in the community in their programming in every instance. We do not expect radio broadcasters to be responsive to the Commission's choices of types of programs best suited to respond to their community. What we do expect, however, is that marketplace forces will assure the continued provision of news programs in amounts to be determined by the discretion of the individual broadcaster guided by the tastes, needs, and interests of its listenership. We do expect, and will require, radio broadcasters to be responsive to the issues facing their community.79The Commission would defer to broadcasters' judgments about what actions best met community needs and limit itself to determining whether such judgments were 'reasonable': ''In other words, radio broadcasters will have what we believe to be the maximum flexibility under the public interest standard in 1996, policymakers lengthened the license term from three years to eight and effectively eliminated competition for licenses between existing and would-be broadcasters as an important element.
284as regards their non-entertainment offerings.''80> eliminate its renewal guidelines on the maximum number of commercials that could be aired, again largely on the grounds that if a station went overboard with commercials, listeners would punish them it by chang-ing the channel.81 > eliminate its requirement that licensees maintain and make available to the public and to the FCC detailed programming logs, which provided a comprehensive record of the amount, nature, and timing of every specified program type.82 Broadcasters had complained that ''the logs posed a tremendous record keeping burden. . . . ''83 Instead, the Commission would require stations to file annual issues/programs lists, noting five to 10 issues that the licensee had covered, along with examples of the related programming it aired.When a station failed to meet these stripped down obligations, members of the public would bring the sta-tion's shortcomings to the attention of the FCC in petitions to deny their renewal applications and by registering complaints with the Commission.A number of parties, including the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, objected to the new rules. In 1983, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit largely upheld the Commission's order'--but asserted that even the new deregulatory rules required stations to meet public interest goals. With regard to the elimination of the renewal application processing guidelines, it found that, ''contrary to the dire intimations of some petitioners, the Commission has not effectively foresworn all regulation of non-entertainment programming in favor of total reliance on marketplace forces.''84 It concluded that the Commission had retained ''an obligation to provide programming responsive to community issues,'' which it characterized as ''a reasonable interpretation of the statutory public interest standard.''85 The court similarly found that the Commission was within its jurisdiction in eliminating ascertainment procedures and commercialization application processing guidelines.86However, the Court did find fault with the Commission's elimination of the requirement that stations main-tain programming logs and make them available to the public, especially given that the FCC was relying on private citizens to police the behavior of local stations: ''Th[e] proposed renewal scheme would place a near-total reliance on petitions to deny as the means to identify licensees that are not fulfilling their public interest obligations. That the Commission would simultaneously seek to deprive interested parties and itself of the vital information needed to establish a prima facie case in such petitions seems almost beyond belief.''87The court and the Commission went back and forth until the FCC ultimately modified its rule to require that radio licensees maintain ''quarterly lists of programs, which in the exercise of the broadcaster's good faith judgment represent the most significant treatment by the station of the issues that the licensee believed to be a community concern.''88 Television DeregulationMark Fowler, the FCC chairman appointed by President Reagan, sought to further the deregulatory efforts begun un-der Ferris. In 1984, the Commission deregulated TV in much the same manner it had radio: It eliminated program-ming guidelines, commercial limits, ascertainment, and the program logging requirement, replacing the latter with a quarterly issues/programs list requirement. As it had with radio, the Commission stressed that TV stations were still required to ''provide programming that responds to issues of concern to the community.''89 However, as it had in the Radio Deregulation Order, it reiterated its belief ''that the market demand for informational, local and non-entertain-ment programming will continue to be met as the video marketplace evolves.''90 In this regard, as it had for radio, the Commission held that not all TV stations had to offer a full complement of non-entertainment programming:''[T]he failure of some stations to provide programming in some categories is being offset by the compensatory performance of other stations. In this respect, market demand is determining the appropriate mix of each licensee's programming . . . . We believe that licensees should be given the flexibility to respond to the realities of the marketplace by allowing them to alter
285the mix of their programming consistent with market demand. Such an approach not only permits more efficient competition among stations, but poses no real risk to the availability of these types of programming on a market basis. This is particularly true in view of the continuing obligation of all licensees to contribute issue-responsive programming and their responsibility to ensure that the strongly felt needs of all significant segments of their communities are met by market stations collectively.''91It added that the issues/programs lists would provide the public and the FCC with the information needed to assess licensees' performance under this new regulatory scheme, and that ''procedures such as citizen complaints and petitions to deny will continue to function as important tools in this regard.''92 The FCC extended the same policy changes to public radio and TV broadcasters. (See Chapter 30, Nonprofit Media.)Over the years, the FCC developed a ''comparative renewal'' system for when more than one party wanted a license.93 In theory this added a healthy element of competition. But the process had its limitations. Incumbent li-censees' actual performance records were being judged against the non-binding promises of prospective future license-holders. This led to concern that competing applicants were gaming the system to extract ''greenmail'' settlement payments from incumbent li-censees.94 In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress addressed license renewal issues by taking two important actions. First, it length-ened the license term from three years to eight years for both radio and television stations,95 thus providing tremendous security and stability to incumbent licensees. Second, Congress eliminated the comparative li-cense renewal process for commercial stations and formally required the Commission to consider competing applications only after first finding, pursuant to certain statutory factors, that the incumbent's license should not be renewed.96 Through these actions, policymakers effectively eliminated competition for licenses between existing and would-be broadcasters. Its license renewal application, FCC Form 303-S, asks applicants to certify that they filed their issues/pro-grams lists as required,97 but it does not ask for any programming information itself. Enforcing ''Public Interest'' Rules: Theory and PracticeIn reviewing the history of the public interest obligation, we found that the deregulatory principles espoused were not always put into practice.Some Stations' ''Issues/Programs'' Lists Are Impressive, Some Are . . . Not As noted above, after radio and television deregulation, all stations, even those that do not do news, have one concrete obligation. They are required to file an issues/programs list each quarter describing their ''programs that have pro-vided the station's most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period.''98 In theory, the existence of this requirement might encourage stations to offer non-entertainment programming'--such as news, public affairs, and governmental coverage'--that is relevant to the local community.But several factors have conspired to make this unlikely. First, the FCC rarely sees these lists, which licensees do not file with the FCC. Stations are required to prepare and file them in their public inspection files, ostensibly so members of the public can review them. In its renewal application, a station must certify that its public file is in order, was updated in a timely manner, and contains all required materials, including the issues/programs lists.99 If it checks that box, and no filings have been received from the public challenging the licensee's public interest performance, it is deemed to have met this basic obligation. In other words, in almost all cases, what FCC officials see is not the issues/programs list but a sheet saying that such a list exists. And, in cases in which the box is not checked or someone complains or the licensee otherwise discloses that it has not included all of the required lists in the public file, a nominal monetary forfeiture is imposed and the renewal is then granted. under the heading of ''community involvement,'' one station listed, ''america's next Top Model Casting Call at seven sushi ultralounge sponsored by sunny's hair and Wigs.''
286Second, in part because it almost never sees the lists, the FCC has given stations little ongoing guidance on what is supposed to be included in them.100 As a result, the range of quantity and quality is absurdly broad. Third, stations are not required to post these lists online.101 Citizens can view them only if they drop by the station's main studio and ask to see the public file. Few do. And, the main studio can be a substantial distance from its community of license. Stations that do not produce newscasts sometimes describe almost any local activity as constituting ''pro-grams that have provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues.'' For instance,102one Midwest-ern station included in its issues/programs file, under the heading ''Community Involvement'':''America's Next Top Model Casting Call . . . an open casting call for Cycle 14 of America's Next top Model on July 11th from 2''4 pm at Seven Sushi Ultralounge sponsored by Sunny's Hair and Wigs. ''[C]reate a fun and innovative contest for our viewers to win an 8" Dairy Queen ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for their birthdays.''[The local station]s and Little Caesars Pizza teamed up together and created a great way for viewers and their customers to join the Little Caesars text club. ''The [station] and Spalon Montage teamed up together and created a great way for viewers and their customers to join the Spalon Montage text club.''When an FCC researcher asked a New England station for its issues/programs list, an employee pro-vided copies of the station's programming schedule (''12:30 p.m., Frasier; 1:00 a.m., That 70s Show; 1:30 a.m., Family Feud...'').Some stations get creative by listing stories they happened to run under categories that sound as if they have to do with important community issues. For instance, in a filing otherwise full of substantive news mentions, a sta-tion in Texas created the category ''High Tech education,'' which turns out to include only one piece'--about Google considering the launch of a music service.Some stations list stories of national importance as if they addressed issues of local importance. For instance, under the community-coverage ''Crime'' category, a station in New Hampshire, listed a story entitled ''Authorities in Los Angeles revealed that crime rate in 2008 was the lowest in 40 years!'' Stations often list the public service ads (PSAs) they run. Many are worthwhile but many are not local in nature'--and some do not appear to be charity related. For instance, in 2010 one station noted that it ran ''Media Com Retran Notice (286591)'' 84 times in one month'--a PSA that turns out to be about a fight between broadcasters and a local cable operator over fees. Similar problems exist in radio. A New York radio station listed ''a 15 second PSA furnished by the National Association of Broadcasters that discusses the harmful affects [sic] of a performance tax on local radio,'' clearly more of a priority issue for the station airing the PSAs than for its listeners.In contrast, some stations take the reporting requirement quite seriously and detail news and public affairs programming addressing local issues. For instance, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles filed a 112-page report describing every minute of public affairs and news programming it broadcast during the third quarter of 2009, listing the date and time each program aired and the community issue addressed.103The FCC Almost Never Denies License RenewalsA telling statistic: during the FCC's more than 75 years in existence, it has granted well over 100,000 license renewals; only in four cases was a renewal application denied because the licensee failed to meet its public interest program-ming obligation:104 > In 1965, a federal appeals court forced the FCC to deny a license renewal to a TV station in Jackson, Missis-sippi, that had been shown to give less coverage to African-Americans.105> In 1970, the FCC denied a license to a radio station in Media, Pennsylvania, after a program host ''made false and misleading statements and deliberate distortions of the facts relating to various public issues such as
287race relations, religious unity, foreign aid'' and failed to air a program on interfaith issues, even though the station had made a commitment to the FCC to do so.106 > In 1972, public TV stations in Alabama were denied license renewal because they excluded African-Ameri-cans from programming decisions and avoided programming oriented toward their community.107> In 1980, in West Coast Media, Inc., the FCC denied a license renewal to a San Diego radio station after finding that the station broadcast almost no public affairs, news, or other public service programming.108In the last 30 years not one license renewal has been denied on the grounds of a station failing to serve the community with its programming. Why? It is not for lack of effort from citizens groups. Over the years, through petitions to deny license renewal applications, public interest groups have tried to make the case that particular stations did not merit renewals. But, in each case, the FCC either rejected the petition or declined to rule on the petition on procedural grounds. In some cases, the FCC has concluded that, when it comes to subjective judgments about appropriate quality or quantity, it is wise to defer to the discretion of the station. For example, various groups petitioned to deny six television stations (in 1990) and 10 radio stations (in 1993) serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,109 arguing that the licensees had failed to provide a sufficient amount of general issue-responsive programming to address the concerns of minority groups and maintain the required issues/programs lists.110 But the Commission held, ''the stations have provided programming to the extent and in a manner well within their broad discretion.''111 In 2004, the Chief of the Media Bureau's Audio Division denied the renewal application of WZFM in Nar-rows Virginia, after concluding that the station had violated section 312(g) of the Communications Act when it aired no programming from February 8, 1996 to February 8, 1997.112 WZFM filed a petition for reconsideration, along with a Declaration from H. Edward Hale, Vice President of Old Dominion Communications, WZFM's parent company. Hale explained that on ten occasions between November 3, 1996 and June 3, 2003, he ''turned on the transmitter and spoke into it.'' Hale further elaborated:''On every occasion. . . , I broadcast the station's call sign, community of license and authorized frequency. On every occasion. . . , I broadcast my name and stated that Old Dominion was testing the facilities of WZFM. . . . In addition, on every occasion. . . , I broadcast additional remarks to the public, for example, commentary on the weather and view from the mountaintop and other observations. Sometimes I broadcast jokes. The broadcasts . . . typically lasted about fifteen minutes in duration.113 Old Dominion argued that these fifteen minute ''broadcasts'' satisfied the requirement of section 312(g) that it transmit a broadcast signal continuously for 12 months. Based on this record, the division granted WZFM's petition for reconsideration and renewed its license in a summary public notice that did not contain any discussion of whether the station served the community or met its public interest obligations.114 The most recent broadcast renewal cycles ran from 2003 to 2006 for radio stations and from 2004 to 2007 for television stations. A total of 1,772 television stations (1,389 commercial and 383 noncommercial educational), and 15,168 radio stations (12,360 commercial and 2,808 noncommercial educational), sought renewal of their licenses. Of the television stations, the Commission received 224 challenges to the license renewals of 213 stations (153 petitions to deny against 144 stations, and 71 informal objections to the renewals of 69 stations). The Commission's staff has ruled on all but 45'--and in every case has rejected the license challenges. In fact, in no case did the Commission even designate a challenge for hearing, the normal next step if there are concerns about the advisability of granting renewal.The story is the same for radio. The Commission received 191 challenges to the renewal applications of radio stations (62 petitions to deny and 121 informal objections). Thirty-one of these challenges remain pending. Although 10 were granted in part, with the Commission assessing forfeitures for the violations, each license was renewed. These results are consistent with the conclusions reached in a 2010 study conducted by Georgetown Univer-sity Law Center's Institute for Public Representation, of the 2004 to 2007 television renewal application cycles. The study found that more than half of the challenges to applications either alleged that the station had failed to provide
288sufficient coverage of local issues in its programming or a sufficient amount of children's programming. It found that the Commission failed to act on a third of the filings and has denied all the others.115 In most cases, the FCC's Media Bureau denied the petition or objection by a brief letter to the filing party. Moreover, the Georgetown study concluded that it took the Commission a long time to render its decisions: from 114 to 1,543 days after a petition was filed (an average of 568 days). The study found that denial letters were relatively brief, disposing of the allegation of failure to air sufficient locally responsive programming by concluding that the petitioner had failed to show the station had shown ''bad faith'' in exercising its editorial discretion. Each letter typically closed by urging the petitioner to make any future concerns known directly to the station. The Georgetown study concludes, ''The fact that the FCC did not designate a single application for hearing during the entire renewal cycle suggests that relying on the public to bring license renewal challenges to ensure that television stations serve the public interest is not working well.'' It notes that the problem is not lack of public par-ticipation, but concludes that ''[i]f the FCC is not going to do anything when citizens complain, then citizens will lack the incentive to monitor and participate.'' It also notes that the incentive for public participation is further reduced by the eight-year license term and delays in FCC action on petitions.116 Accordingly, the study urges that stations be required to provide the public more information about their programming, reduce license terms, act more promptly on peti-tions, and take well-documented petitions more seriously. It suggests that ''the Commission should also consider whether it is realistic to place so much reliance on public participation in meeting its statutory public interest obligations.'' To be clear, this record does not result from negligence or leth-argy on the part of career staff. The unwillingness to press license deni-als'--which has characterized Democratic- and Republican-led commis-sions'--likely stemmed from a growing discomfort with the FCC making content judgments and/or an uncertainty about the Commission's constitutional authority to do so. On top of that, some Commissioners no doubt feared denying licenses would trigger contentious battles with broadcasters.117Some Stations Do No Local News at AllThe scores of unsuccessful petitions and other renewal challenges have sometimes involved the claim that particular existing news shows have done a poor job covering local communities in their news and other local programming. Worthy though that discussion is, the question of whether local newscasts do a good enough job may obscure an even more glaring issue: a large number of stations do not air news programming at all. A 2011 FCC staff analysis of data from Tribune Media Services found that there are 520 local stations that air no local news at all'--258 commercial stations and 262 noncommercial stations. Adding in those stations that air less than 30 minutes of local news per day, 33 percent of commercial stations currently offer little or no local news. Most of those that do not offer local news are independent stations with no affiliation with a broadcast network. A separate analysis by the Media Bureau's In-dustry Analysis Division, based on reviewing public schedule listings, came to similar numbers: 42.6 percent of all television stations do not air any local news (30.2 percent of commercial stations and 81.9 percent of noncommercial educational stations).118 (See Chapter 3, Television.)Industry Self-InspectionPrior to 1995, the FCC's Field Offices inspected broadcast stations as part of the commission's broadcast station license renewal process. After the FCC discontinued these routine licensing-related inspections, Field Offices con-ducted random inspections of broadcast stations to check for compliance with Commission rules. For staffing rea-sons, the Commission later shifted more of its inspection methodology to a complaint-based approach, whereby a complaint (e.g., from a competitor or a consumer) would trigger an inspection of the particular station at issue. Today, in addition to conducting complaint-based inspections and certain random inspections, the Commission utilizes the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP). in 1984, the FCC deregulated television as it had with radio, but stressed that television stations were still required to ''provide programming that responds to issues of concern to the community.''
289Under ABIP, a private party, usually a state broadcast association, enters into an agreement with the Enforce-ment Bureau to arrange inspections (and re-inspections, where appropriate) of participating broadcast stations to determine compliance with FCC regulations. ABIP was originally envisioned as a way for the Commission to focus its limited resources on other significant violations, rather than visiting all 30,000 broadcast stations. As the Com-mission noted in 1996, ABIP ''allows private entities to perform inspections of broadcast stations and certify compli-ance with technical rules, obviating the need for random inspections by Commission staff and freeing them to focus on problem areas.''119 The inspectors assess technical issues, such as compliance with power limits and transmission control, as well as antenna painting, fencing and lighting, Emergency Alert System (EAS) compliance, and the com-pleteness of the issues/programs and campaign advertising records. The Enforcement Bureau executed ABIP agreements with each of the state broadcast associations in 2003, followed by a small number of agreements with individual inspectors in 2004 and 2006.120 As of December 2010, about 26 percent of AM and FM radio stations and 48 percent of television stations participate in the program.121 Under the agreement, the association or individual inspector has full discretion as to the rates it charges broadcast stations that choose to participate in ABIP. Inspectors are required to conduct a standard FCC Enforcement Bureau full-station inspection,122 with very limited exceptions. The association or private inspector must then notify the local FCC District Office or Resident Agent Office, in writing, of those stations that pass the ABIP inspection and have been granted a Certificate of Compliance, which is then valid for three years. They are not required to inform the FCC, however, if they find stations out of compliance. Rather, the inspec-tors work with stations to make improvements until they fulfill the rules. Significantly, stations that have been certified compliant under ABIP are exempt from certain FCC inspec-tions. During the period for which its compliance certificate is valid, a participating station is generally not subject to inspection, investigation, or audit by the FCC, except for tower safety issue investigations, complaint-driven inspec-tions, and inspections involving EEO or political file issues. Because the FCC has limited resources, ABIP continues to be a useful means to promote broadcaster compliance with FCC rules, while conserving agency resources to focus on other priorities. However, it is not clear whether ABIP inspections are always as detailed as the full-station inspections conducted by FCC staff, whether ABIP inspectors are sufficiently independent of the stations they inspect, and whether ABIP inspectors adequately confirm that stations have fixed noncompliance observed during inspections before issuing a Certificate of Compli-ance. Moreover, the standard ABIP agreement raises other concerns, including its prohibition on audits of broad-cast stations that participate in the program, making it difficult for the FCC to gauge the quality of ABIP inspections and the efficacy of the program. ABIP also appears to prohibit the Commission from including ABIP stations in ''tar-geted inspections'' that are part of broader Commission projects, for instance, to evaluate compliance with a specific Commission rule like the requirement for operational Emergency Alert System equipment. Although ABIP appears to have many advantages, the Enforcement Bureau has not conducted a comprehen-sive review of the program since its inception. The ABIP agreements have three-year terms that automatically renew absent action by the Bureau or the other signatory party. The next agreements are set to expire in 2012. In the mean-time, the Bureau is engaged in ongoing discussions with broadcasters, inspectors, and others about the program, and is examining ways to revise ABIP to improve broadcaster accountability and compliance. Among other things, the Bureau is considering:> measuring and improving the effectiveness of ABIP; for example, by implementing record-keeping require-ments and/or auditing the program;> ensuring the independence of ABIP inspectors: for example, by requiring disclosure of conflicts of interest; > reserving the Commission's right to conduct certain ''targeted inspections,'' as discussed above; and> evaluating whether inspectors have sufficient guidance, binding and non-binding, regarding the Bureau's expectations about inspections, inspection follow-up, and re-inspections.
290We expect that the Enforcement Bureau's continued outreach and examination, and resulting program changes, can enhance ABIP's reliability and effectiveness, while preserving its substantial benefits. Reform ProposalsFrom among the many reform proposals that have been considered over the years,123 we highlight the four that have been most discussed. (In Part Three, we suggest a fifth approach).Spectrum FeesIn a February 1982 article titled ''A Marketplace Approach to Broadcast Regulation,'' then-FCC Chairman Mark Fowler and Daniel Brenner, his legal advisor, proposed moving broadcast regulation in a new direction that was consistent with free-market principles. The Commission, they wrote, should ''focus on broadcasters not as fiduciaries of the public, as their regulators have historically perceived them, but as marketplace competitors.''124 In addition to proposing deregulation,125 the authors also suggested two other ideas that might have more resonance today. First, recover and re-auction broadcast spectrum.126 Second, charge broadcast licensees a spectrum usage fee in exchange for exclusive rights to use their assigned spectrum, which should be considered a property right.127 The proposed spectrum fee could either be a percentage of the station's profits or a flat fee based upon band-width.128 In Fowler's view, the fee would recognize that broadcasters receive something of value in the exclusivity that the government provides them, similar to government franchises for offshore oil rights or food concessions in public parks, and analogous to the franchise fees that cable operators pay to local authorities.129Fowler proposed that these fees be applied, in part, to funding public broadcasting. In light of the value that public stations provide society in offering unique types of programming that commercial stations may decline to of-fer due to marketplace forces'--such as cultural, locally oriented, and children's programming'--he concluded that, although such value may not fit into his marketplace-oriented system, it is nevertheless desirable to have a source for such socially valuable alterna-tive fare.130Noting the traditional opposition from broadcasters and others to the imposition of spectrum fees, Fowler observed, ''Given the choice, many broadcasters might prefer the security of current regulation to true competition and a charge for their frequency exclusivity.''131 President George W. Bush repeatedly proposed assessing ''user fees.'' As his 2006 budget put it, ''To continue to promote efficient spec-trum use, the Administration also supports granting the FCC authority to set user fees on un-auctioned spectrum licenses based on public-interest and spectrum-management principles. Fee collections are estimated to begin in 2007 and total $3.1 billion in the first 10 years.'' Some conserva-tives prefer this approach because it is more market-oriented. Rather than proscribing certain behaviors, it simply ac-knowledges that TV stations have received something of value from the public and asks them to pay for it, and allows the funds to be targeted toward public purposes. They also believe that it would allow the market to drive spectrum toward the ''highest and best use,'' which in some cases might mean low-performing stations putting spectrum up in an incentive auction, wherein they receive a cash payment and the spectrum can be applied toward broadband wire-less use. Every White House budget proposal since 2006 has made this proposal.Some liberal experts'--who previously had been lukewarm to cool on the idea'--have recently come around to join the conservatives. Henry Geller, general counsel at the FCC under President Kennedy and FCC Chairman Newt Minow'--and formerly a strong supporter of the traditional public interest guidelines'--now advocates giving up on that system and switching instead to a spectrum fee system, with proceeds going to public broadcasting. ''The broadcast public trustee regulatory content system is anomalous in this century and will become more so in light of developments in electronic media, has difficult First Amendment strains if and when implemented quantitatively, has been very largely a failed regulatory scheme for seven decades,'' Geller stated at a Future of Media workshop.132 Rather than forcing stations to do public affairs programming, he argued, let them pay a spectrum fee to do what they a Georgetown university study concluded that it took the Commission a long time to render its decisions: from 114 to 1,543 days after a petition was filed (an average of 568 days).
291want, and use the revenue to fund those who are more committed to that kind of programming. ''If you fund the or-ganizations which want to do high-quality informational programming or children's programming, you now have the structure working for you. When you try to do behavioral content regulation to make somebody who's not interested in that, he's got an awful lot on his plate because of all this fierce competition. You're not going to get very far. . . . ''133 Norman Ornstein had co-chaired Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters in 1998, which recommended a series of public interest guidelines.134 Recently he switched positions, saying that such guidelines would inevitably be watered down. He now supports assessing a spectrum fee and using the proceeds for public media.135 Writing in the November/December 2009 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, Steve Coll, president of the New American Foundation, endorsed a similar approach.136Opposition to this approach comes from a few quarters. Commissioner Michael Copps has equated this with paying one's way out of the draft'--in other words, avoiding obligations by paying a fee. And, tellingly, the broadcast-ers themselves have opposed this. Others argue that station owners have invested in the community by airing local news and should not have to pay additionally.Enhanced DisclosureOn September 14, 2000, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, entitled ''Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest Obligations.''137 It proposed re-placing the issues/programs lists that television stations have to include in their public files with a standardized form seeking detailed programming information and requiring that the completed form be posted on the Internet, as well. On November 27, 2007, the Commission approved a Report and Order [adopting] these requirements.138 But this approach has not worked either. The form the Commission had proposed was eight pages long, with hundreds of programming-related data boxes that would need to be filled in.139 It required broadcasters to list detailed information about ''local civic affairs'' as distinct from programming about ''local electoral affairs,'' not to be confused with general ''local news.'' And they would have to do this comprehensively, covering 365 days a year. ''Form 355'' drew complaints from broadcasters that it would be unnecessarily burdensome.140 Beyond its being overly complex, there were other concerns, including that the rules did not require that the data be put in a format that would make it easy to analyze online, as advocates of government transparency recommend. Five parties appealed the action, and the FCC received nine petitions for reconsideration, including one from the National Association of Broadcasters'-- and it has not received the necessary approvals of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act. As a result, these changes have not gone into effect. LocalismIn August 2003, FCC Chairman Michael Powell launched an inquiry into ''broadcast localism'' by explaining: ''Foster-ing localism is one of this Commission's core missions and one of three policy goals, along with diversity and com-petition, which have driven much of our radio and television broadcast regulation during the past 70 years.''141 In the Notice of Inquiry, the Commission elaborated on why localism has been a policy emphasis:''The concept of localism derives from Title III of the Communications Act, and is reflected in and supported by a number of current Commission policies and rules. Title III generally instructs the Commission to regulate broadcasting as the public interest, convenience, and necessity dictate. . . .142 When the Commission allocates channels for a new broadcast service, its first priority is to provide general service to an area, but its next priority is for facilities to provide the first local service to a community. . . .143 Indeed, the Supreme Court has stated that '[f]airness to communities [in distributing radio service] is furthered by a recognition of local needs for a community radio mouthpiece. . . .144''A station must maintain its main studio in or near its community of license to facilitate interaction between the station and the members of the local community it is licensed to serve.145 For similar reasons, a station 'must equip the main studio with production and transmission facilities that meet the applicable standards, maintain continuous program transmission capability, and maintain a meaningful management and staff presence.'146 The main studio also must house a public inspection file, the contents of which must include 'a list of programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period.'147 The purpose of this requirement is to provide both the public
292and the Commission with information needed to monitor a licensee's performance in meeting its public interest obligation of providing programming that is responsive to its community.''148 Localism'--specifically in terms of preserving the benefits of free, over-the-air local broadcast television'--is one of the guiding principles of the must-carry rules.149 Congress made the judgment that a broadcaster's duty to pro-vide local news and public affairs programming was so critical that cable operators must be required to carry local chan-nels; even though cable operators objected and fought all the way to the Supreme Court, the law was upheld.150 In 1992, the Cable Act declared: ''A primary objective and benefit of our Nation's system of regulation of television broadcasting is the local origination of programming. There is a substantial governmental interest in ensuring its continuation.''151Chairman Powell's 2003 effort came in response to complaints that many stations were not adequately ad-dressing local needs and problems with their programming.152 The Commission held six field public hearings and reviewed over 83,000 comments. On January 24, 2008, under Chairman Kevin Martin, the Commission released its Report and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which suggested that some rules and procedures could be changed to help encourage localism efforts by stations.153 For example, it said that since the Commission relied on the public to scru-tinize station behavior, stations ought to note on their websites when they have filed a renewal application.154 While some of the recommendations made sense, others were overly bureaucratic. For instance, the Commission asked for comment on a proposal that would require stations to set up community advisory boards, and on one that would require staff to be on site whenever a station was on the air; and it inquired whether it should require licensees to provide reports on the quantity of local music played.155 The Copps Proposal FCC Commissioner Michael Copps proposes creating a ''public value'' test that broadcasters would need to pass in or-der to get their licenses renewed. The test would include more disclosure of information about political ads, enhanced disclosure of information about broadcasters, greater efforts to promote diversity, greater broadcaster commitment to preparing for emergencies, and these programming related requirements:''Meaningful Commitments to News and Public Affairs Programming: These would be quantifiable and not involve issues of content interference. Increasing the human and financial resources going into news would be one way to benchmark progress. Producing more local civic affairs programming would be another. Our current children's programming requirements'--the one remnant of public interest requirements still on the books'--helped enhance kids' programming. Now it is time to put news and information front-and-center. At election time, there should be heightened expectations for debates and issues-oriented programming. Those stations attaining certain benchmarks of progress could qualify for expedited handling of their license renewals. This requirement would have, by the way, important spill-over effects in a media environment where many newspapers are owned by broadcast stations'--although such cross-ownership is something I hope the Commission will put the brakes on. ''Community Discovery: The FCC, back when stations were locally-owned and the license holder walked the town's streets every day, required licensees to meet occasionally with their viewers and listeners to see if the programs being offered reflected the diverse interests and needs of the community. Nowadays, when stations are so often owned by mega companies and absentee owners hundreds or even thousands of miles away'--frequently by private equity firms totally unschooled in public interest media'--we no longer ask licensees to take the public pulse. Diversity of programming suffers, minorities are ignored, and local self-expression becomes the exception. Here's some good news: Community Discovery would not be difficult to do in this Internet age, when technology can so easily facilitate dialogue.''Local and Independent Programming: The goal here is more localism in our program diet, more local news and information, and a lot less streamed-in homogenization and monotonous nationalized music at the expense of local and regional talent. Homogenized music and entertainment from huge conglomerates constrains creativity, suppresses local talent, and detracts from the great tapestry of our nation's cultural diversity. We should be working toward a solution wherein a certain percentage of prime-time programming'--I have suggested 25 percent'--is locally or independently-produced. Public Service Announcements should also be more localized and more of them aired in prime-time, too. And PEG channels'--public, educational and government programming'--deserve first-class treatment if we are to have a first class media.'' 156
293Copps argues that the main defect in our current system is an unwillingness to enforce the rules. With the emphasis on quantitative standards, he argues, regulators can avoid having to make subjective judgments about programming. Such an approach would set broad requirements but allow stations flexibility on coverage decisions. It would clearly re-establish and clarify the quid-pro-quo, and would lead to greater commitment of journalistic re-sources to local communities.There are other ways of envisioning behavioral rules, too. For instance, one could say that for constitutional reasons it would be problematic to impose detailed behavioral rules on commercial broadcasters, but that is less true for public TV, as it receives public funds. One might therefore require each public TV station to have a few hours of local programming'--news, public affairs, local entertainment, high school sports. This may have the added benefit of stimulating local journalistic activity, as public TV stations are likely to seek partnerships with nonprofit websites, public radio, and the local newspaper to produce the content. Taking Stock of the Failure of the Public Interest Obligation SystemAs noted earlier, even during the peak period of deregulation, the basic requirement that all stations must serve the pub-lic interest endured. Instead of detailed formal ascertainment procedural and documentation requirements and prepa-ration of programming logs, the Commission required stations to update their public files every quarter with issues/programs lists that documented the ''programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period.''157 So while the Commission'--in deference to the First Amendment'--did not prescribe detailed and specific guidance on the programs broadcasters had to air in order to meet their public interest obligation,158 it never officially abandoned the concept that there needed to be some quid pro quo for the granting of the license'--nor that providing ''significant treatment of community issues'' was part of the bargain. Yet it is clear that the current system does not work.It is entirely up to stations to define what it means to serve their community. Some produce news and public affairs programming, while others argue that sponsoring an America's Top Model event counts. Some believe that serving local communities means offering programming of relevance to the area; others have fulfilled their obliga-tions entirely through occasional public service ads. It is tempting to ascribe cynical motives to some of the stations, but the truth is that the FCC has not made it clear, either through policy or enforcement, that any particular way is more desirable than any other. The FCC relies on people in the community to challenge licenses'--and yet has rejected those challenges in almost every case. Given that record, why should a community group or would-be broadcaster invest time and money in challenging a license? What we have is neither a free market nor an effectively regulated market'--but rather one that operates almost on auto-pilot to the benefit of current license holders. Sometimes that is good for a community; sometimes it is not.Some argue that the deregulated system best advances the public interest because of the power of free mar-kets, yet advocates of that position rarely grapple with the ways in which the current system does not resemble a free market. A true free market would operate more akin to the spectrum management system applied to newer technolo-gies like mobile. That spectrum is auctioned off to the highest bidder, with proceeds going to taxpayers. Broadcast licenses initially were given, for free, to various companies. Over the years, other companies have purchased them, but the taxpayers have not seen any of that money. Moreover, broadcasters do not pay any ongoing rent to use the spectrum'--another practice that free-market-oriented economists have recommended as a means to instill market principles. Finally, there is little opportunity for a competitive company to challenge licensure rights of an incumbent broadcaster. But while it is not a free market, it is also not a sensibly regulated system. The FCC requires stations to keep lists of programs'--but the regulators do not read those lists. The FCC invites community groups to challenges to licenses'--and then rejects nearly 100 percent of those challenges. The FCC says that stations have an obligation to serve their communities but then offers no definition of what that means. in the last 30 years not one license renewal has been denied on the grounds of a TV station failing to serve the community with its programming.
294Part of the paralysis stems from some genuinely difficult constitutional issues. Yes, it is the case that the spectrum belongs to the public, and the public lent it to broadcasters. In that sense, taxpayers (through their gov-ernmental representatives) have every right to demand certain behavior'--the quo that was supposed to be part of the original quid pro quo. But the challenge is this: once that spectrum becomes the property of a living, breathing broadcaster, how that broadcaster chooses to use it becomes, at least in part, an issue of free speech. Regardless of the origins of the license, once a broadcaster has it the broadcaster then becomes part of the fourth estate. When a slice of spectrum becomes an element of a ''media operation'' or ''the press,'' the ability for the government to do much about it becomes much more limited'--by the First Amendment--as it should. Monitoring to make sure that stations do an adequate amount of local news and public affairs would likely draw the FCC into difficult issues of defining what counts as ''adequate,'' ''local,'' and ''news.'' That does not mean the government cannot or should not do anything. Indeed, we believe the government can and should do better. But we should acknowledge that at least part of the disappointing history of the public inter-est obligations stems from the inherent difficulty of finding the right balance between constitutional principles and other public interest goals. One can both accept the idea that there are public interest obligations and still be vexed by the question of who, exactly, gets to decide how those goals are defined and met.We are left with a difficult situation. The public has granted stations something of huge value'--but because of the supreme importance of maintaining a free press, the public cannot actually use government to do all that much to make sure those licenses are well used. This leads to another question: Does it matter? Some broadcasters argue that, by virtue of their commer-cially-driven need to produce popular programming, whatever the stations decide to do will be more attuned to local needs than any regulatory guideline. At the March 4, 2010 Future of Media Workshop, senior vice president of Legal and Strategic Affairs of Allbritton Communications Company, Jerald N. Fritz, who served as chief of staff to FCC Chairman Mark Fowler, testified that ''broadcasters, as content creators, monitor what the public wants on a daily basis. We evaluate who they are, what they watch, where they watch, and how they watch. We even speculate on why they watch. The trick is to amalgamate large enough audiences that advertisers will pay to reach and offset the expenses necessary to provide that programming.''159 In his view, ''broadcasters are following the public and at-tempting to serve it. Our sincere hope is that the Commission will have the considered, good sense to keep out of our way as we do.''160 Other broadcasters, however, acknowledge that they have an obligation to provide services and programming beyond what might be most popular. Jane Mago, executive vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) testified:''Broadcasters have and will continue to take seriously their responsibility as broadcast licensees to serve the public interest. . . . Whatever specific elements have been in the regulatory spotlight, the essential core of the public interest obligation has remained constant. This core requirement focuses on whether a station is providing programming responsive to the local community. In NAB's view that core obligation should remain.''On balance, Mago argued, the system has worked well:''The current public interest standards, other than a few tweaks for digital television broadcasting (such as the requirement that each multicast stream contain at least three hours per week of children's programming) have been in place for more than two decades. They have served both the public and the broadcast industry well. . . .''The fact that quantified regulatory public interest standards are suspect does not, however, imply that the public interest obligation has no real meaning or that broadcasters do not take them seriously. To the contrary, it is clear that radio and television stations fulfill their public interest obligation and serve their local listeners and viewers.''161NAB and other broadcasters offered numerous examples of excellent local programming (our own examples can be found in Chapter 3, Television.) They maintained that local broadcasters offer $10 billion worth of public inter-est value, largely calculated in the form of ''lost'' advertising revenue when they instead air public service announce-
295ments (PSAs).162 And they note that local TV news is still the most popular source of local news, and that Americans give their local news teams higher favorability ratings than other media sources.163 Our view is that the ''public interest obligation'' system is broken, and it does matter.First, we fully accept the idea that many, and perhaps most, TV stations serve their communities well, or at least adequately. But the implicit verdict of the FCC's track record on license renewals and of the NAB statement is that 100 percent of them do. Second, though the lack of meaningful disclosure has made systematic study of local TV difficult, we have enough information from independent studies to believe that too many local TV stations are not serving their com-munities as well as they could. While many local broadcasters do an extraordinary job, some are letting advertisers pay to appear on-air as ''expert guests,'' without informing viewers; some are airing video news releases from companies without identifying them as such; and many are doing minimal reporting on issues of local importance. And those indiscretions are occurring among local TV stations that are actually producing local programming and local news. Literally hundreds of local stations do not produce any local news. Some of them argue that they meet community needs by helping to promote a local modeling competition, for instance, or running PSAs'--and that no additional programming about local communities is actually necessary. Third, if a station has little interest in serving its community, there are now better uses for the scarce spec-trum. It could be sold to another station or'--if Congress so authorizes'--stations could put the spectrum into an in-centive auction, where it could be purchased by a wireless company to help make wireless high-speed Internet access more available. The station would get part of the proceeds and media system would benefit from greater availability of high-speed Internet.Fourth, and most important, we believe that there is serious gap in some kinds of local reporting and infor-mation provision. TV stations are well positioned to fill that vacuum. In the olden days (a few years ago), it might be said that when a local TV station did little to serve its com-munity, it was a victimless crime. That is less true now. Contrary to the view of many old-time print journalists, we believe that local TV news can be great, often is great'--and, in these times, needs to be great. Commercial RadioMany of the policies affecting radio are mentioned in other parts of this report, but to recap:The licensing system for radio suffers from some of the same problems as that for TV. Stations are required to say how they serve the community but the FCC has not specified what serving the community means. The Working Group that produced this report did not comprehensively review radio issues/program lists, however, and so does not have as clear a sense of how stations fill those out.As noted in Chapter 2, Radio, local news has become less voluminous on commercial radio. Many experts told us that the combination of license and ownership deregulation likely led to, accelerated, or allowed that to happen.Other public policies, such as those that keep satellite radio from offering local programming (see Chapter 28, Satellite Television and Radio), have protected local broadcasters from threats to their advertising revenues but do not help encourage them to provide more local news and journalism. Scholar Paul Starr proposed that radio broadcasters be required to offer a few minutes of news each hour, in part to ensure that those who are not news junkies would nonetheless be exposed to current events.164 But such an approach could put radio at a competitive disadvantage, considering that the Internet and satellite radio have no such requirement. Finally, the decline of news on commercial radio has been partly remedied by an increase in local efforts by public radio. (See Chapter 6, Public Broadcasting.)Campaign Advertising Disclosures Since broadcast regulation began, Congress has consistently recognized the critical importance of broadcast media as a platform for political discourse and campaigning'--enacting laws ''to give candidates for public office greater access to the media so that they may better explain their stand on the issues, and thereby more fully and completely inform the voters.''165 Congress viewed this function as an important requirement for holding a license. ''The duty of broadcast licensees generally to permit the use of their facilities by legally qualified candidates . . . is inherent in the require-
296ment that licensees serve the needs and interests of the [communities] of license.''166 The Supreme Court agreed that it ''makes a significant contribution to freedom of expression by enhancing the ability of candidates to present, and the public to receive, information necessary for the effective operation of the democratic process.''167 The major laws governing TV stations' obligations during political campaigns include: Lowest Unit Charge: Section 315(b)168 requires broadcasters to sell political advertising time to all candidates at the ''lowest unit charge'' of the station'--for the same class and amount of time'--during the 45 days preceding pri-mary elections and the 60 days preceding general elections. The provision also applies to cable,169 satellite TV,170 and satellite radio operators.171Advertising Purchases: The Commission first required stations to maintain and make available records regard-ing requests to buy broadcast time on behalf of candidates in 1938.172 By using these records, competing candidates can track their opponents' buying strategies and figure out what equal opportunities they can request. The files, kept at the station, are supposed to document every request made by or on behalf of a candidate for broadcast time and the outcome of that request, as well as a record of any free time provided to a candidate by the station.173 Stations must also list the date and time of any non-candidate-sponsored broadcasts containing a positive candidate appearance of four seconds or more. As the Commission noted, ''[w]ith this material as a guide, candidates are in a position to exercise the right to equal opportunities.''1 74 The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA)175 added section 315(e) to the Communications Act, which included a requirement that stations retain similar information concerning requests to purchase time for certain issue-oriented ads.176 Stations must update the file ''as soon as possible,'' which the Com-mission has held to mean immediately, absent extraordinary circumstances. Cable,177 satellite TV,178 and satellite radio operators are also required to keep these records in their political files for two years.179 In 2008, the Commission adopted policies that require television broadcast stations to place their public files on their website, if they have a website, or on their state association website, if available. The Commission, however, exempted the political component of the file from this requirement,180 noting the multitude of requests, often on a daily basis, for political time and the resulting expenditure of station personnel resources and time to place the infor-mation on its website. The rules have not gone into effect. Reasonable Access: The Communications Act requires broad-cast stations ''to allow reasonable access to or to permit the purchase of reasonable amounts of time. . . . '' by legally qualified candidates for federal elective office.181 Stations may balance the needs of each candidate against such factors as the number of competing candidates and poten-tial program disruption. These provisions also apply to satellite TV182 and radio.183 The reasonable access provision does not apply to candidates for state and local elective offices. Prior to 1991, the Commission's policy had been that stations were ''expected to devote time to campaigns of state and local candidates in proportion to the significance of the cam-paigns and the amount of public interest in them.''184 But in 1991 the Commission concluded that state and local candidates did not have an affirmative right of access to broadcast facili-ties.185 In 2008, the Commission declined to take any further action, saying that it would be premature, given its deci-sion at the time to move ahead with the Enhanced Disclosure Proceeding.186 Alas, enhanced disclosure has not yet been implemented.Equal Opportunities: Section 315 of the Communications Act prohibits broadcasters from favoring one candidate over another in terms of the use of broadcast facilities. It requires that ''[i]f any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station.''187 The ''equal opportunities'' provision also applies to cable operators (section 76.205)188 and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers.189 The Commission also has held that these requirements apply to digital audio radio satellite operators.190 Congress exempted from the equal op-portunities requirements appearances by candidates in certain bona fide news programming'--specifically, newscasts, news interviews, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, including debates and news documentaries.191 ''broadcasters are following the public and attempting to serve it. our sincere hope is that the Commission will have the considered, good sense to keep out of our way as we do.''
297No Censorship: Section 315 of the Act also prohibits broadcasters from censoring candidates' advertisements.192 This provision also applies to cable,193 satellite TV,194 and satellite radio operators.195Origination Cablecasting: The rules for political programming on cable television, including the on-air dis-closure requirements for political and issue ads, apply only to ''origination cablecasting''196 programming ''subject to the exclusive control of the cable operator,'' such as a local news station run by the cable operator.197 The Commission did not specify in 1972 whether these rules applied to cable news networks, as very few existed at the time. Given the intent of the law, it would seem that they should probably apply to cable too, but the FCC has never formally ruled on whether ''origination cablecasting'' includes national cable network programming.198 Free Time In the 1990s, the Commission contemplated whether it should or could mandate that free airtime be provided to legally qualified candidates. The Commission ultimately rejected the idea on the grounds that it would be too bur-densome because, under the equal opportunities provision, providing free time to one candidate would result in an obligation to provide free time, if requested, to all opponents. Instead, in 1996, the Commission found that various novel programming proposals involving candidate appearances'--such as debates or candidate forums'--qualified as on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events and were, therefore, exempt from the equal opportunities provision under section 315(a)(4) of the Act.199 Recent Court RulingsIn the Citizens United decision in January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down restrictions on political ad spending, but'--significantly'--upheld BCRA's requirements for funding disclosure by eight to one. The Court found that disclosure does not prevent political expression and thus does not violate the First Amendment. In fact, Justice Kennedy's majority opinion held that funding limits could now be lifted only because the disclosure provisions of BCRA would serve as a counterbalance:''A campaign finance system that pairs corporate independent expenditures with effective disclosure has not existed before today [and] . . . many of Congress' findings in passing BCRA were premised on a system without ad-equate disclosure. With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation's political speech advances the corporation's inter-est in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are 'in the pocket' of so-called moneyed interests. The First Amendment protects political speech; and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way. This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.''200 This opinion echoed the Court's decision when it upheld disclosure requirements in Doe v. Reed. Justice Scalia wrote:''Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.''201
War on Ca$h
In a Cashless World, You'd Better Pray the Power Never Goes Out
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:17
By Ryan McMakenWhen Hurricane Maria knocked out power in Puerto Rico, residents there realized they were going to need physical cash '-- and a lot of it.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Fed was forced to fly a planeload of cash to the Island to help avert disaster:
William Dudley, the New York Fed president, put the word out within minutes, and ultimately a jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash landed on the stricken island...
[Business executive in Puerto Rico] described corporate clients' urgent requests for hundreds of thousands in cash to meet payrolls, and the challenge of finding enough armored cars to satisfy endless demand at ATMs. Such were the days after Maria devastated the U.S. territory last month, killing 39 people, crushing buildings and wiping out the island's energy grid. As early as the day after the storm, the Fed began working to get money onto the island,
For a time, unless one had a hoard of cash stored up in one's home, it was impossible to get cash at all. 85 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power, as of October 9. Bloomberg continues: "When some generator-powered ATMs finally opened, lines stretched hours long, with people camping out in beach chairs and holding umbrellas against the sun." '‹
In an earlier article from September 25, Bloomberg noted how, without cash, necessities were simply unavailable:
''Cash only,'' said Abraham Lebron, the store manager standing guard at Supermax, a supermarket in San Juan's Plaza de las Armas. He was in a well-policed area, but admitted feeling like a sitting duck with so many bills on hand. ''The system is down, so we can't process the cards. It's tough, but one finds a way to make it work.''
The cash economy has reigned in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria decimated much of the U.S. commonwealth last week, leveling the power grid and wireless towers and transporting the island to a time before plastic existed. The state of affairs could carry on for weeks or longer in some remote parts of the commonwealth, and that means it could be impossible to trace revenue and enforce tax rules.
Note the deep concern with "trac[ing] revenue" and "enforc[ing] tax rules" '-- as if making payroll for ordinary people were not the real problem here. Puerto Rico has been fortunate that the United States, so far, has not attempted to implement many anti-cash measures that have been popular among central bankers in recent years.
Abolishing cash, of course, has become de rigueur among mainstream economists who have long argued that physical cash is an impediment to "nontraditional" monetary policy like negative interest rates. Moreover, advocates claim, physical cash makes it harder to control the flow of money, collect taxes, and control black markets.
This drive to supposedly fight crime and corruption was given as the justification for the disastrous war against cash in India in 2016. Hatched as a scheme to assert more government control over the economy, the Indian government removed mostly large bills from circulation in India, which accounted for 85% of its physical cash by value.
The demonetization badly damaged the economy. The Wall Street Journal reported in December:
Not surprisingly, shock waves from the announcement continue to crash through the economy. The Asian Development Bank cut its growth estimate for India for the financial year ending March 31 to 7% from 7.4%. JP Morgan expects growth to decline by half a percent to 6.7%.
Meanwhile, falling sales have begun to translate into layoffs spanning various sectors, including construction, textiles and jewelry. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates the transaction costs alone of swapping out an estimated 14.2 trillion rupees' worth of currency to be 1.28 trillion rupees, or about $19 billion.
India's economy will eventually recover from this self-inflicted wound, but there's no question that demonetization has created doubts about Mr. Modi's competence. The decision, reportedly hatched in secret with a coterie of trusted bureaucrats, showcases the prime minister's faith in the command-and-control ethos of the civil service rather than in the ''minimum government'' he once promised.
One can only imagine how much more grim matters would be for Puerto Rico if most physical cash were made illegal as happened in India. It's unlikely, however, that any well-known economists '-- such as Kenneth Rogoff who has deemed physical cash "a curse" '-- will be recanting their anti-cash views.
If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs, and while some of the "little people" like Indian peasants and Puerto Rican workers might have to suffer greatly whenever the power goes out, we all have to make sacrifices.
Perhaps this is what Richard Thaler '-- the newly announced economics Nobel-Prize winner '-- had in mind when he came in out in favor of demonetization in India.
Certainly, abolishing cash is likely to devastate a poor economy more than a wealthy one. A wealthy country, with more advanced and reliable infrastructure, and with greater access to resources in general, is more fully weather a shortage of physical cash, and natural disasters. Overall, though, going cashless makes an economy more fragile, and makes ordinary people sitting ducks whenever there is a natural disaster, or even worse disruptions such as wars.
Agenda 2030
A Surprise From the Supervolcano Under Yellowstone - The New York Times
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:02
Ms. Shamloo later analyzed trace crystals in the volcanic leftovers, allowing her to pin down changes before the supervolcano's eruption. Each crystal once resided within the vast, seething ocean of magma deep underground. As the crystals grew outward, layer upon layer, they recorded changes in temperature, pressure and water content beneath the volcano, much like a set of tree rings.
''We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption,'' said Christy Till, a geologist at Arizona State, and Ms. Shamloo's dissertation adviser. Instead, the outer rims of the crystals revealed a clear uptick in temperature and a change in composition that occurred on a rapid time scale. That could mean the supereruption transpired only decades after an injection of fresh magma beneath the volcano.
The time scale is the blink of an eye, geologically speaking. It's even shorter than a previous study that found that another ancient supervolcano beneath California's Long Valley caldera awoke hundreds of years before its eruption. As such, scientists are just now starting to realize that the conditions that lead to supereruptions might emerge within a human lifetime.
''It's shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption,'' said Ms. Shamloo, though she warned that there's more work to do before scientists can verify a precise time scale.
Dr. Kari Cooper, a geochemist at the University of California, Davis who was not involved in the research, said Ms. Shamloo and Dr. Till's research offered more insights into the time frames of supereruptions, although she is not yet convinced that scientists can pin down the precise trigger of the last Yellowstone event. Geologists must now figure out what kick-starts the rapid movements leading up to supereruptions.
''It's one thing to think about this slow gradual buildup '-- it's another thing to think about how you mobilize 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma in a decade,'' she said.
As the research advances, scientists hope they will be able to spot future supereruptions in the making. The odds of Yellowstone, or any other supervolcano, erupting anytime soon are small. But understanding the largest eruptions can only help scientists better understand, and therefore forecast, the entire spectrum of volcanic eruptions '-- something that Dr. Cooper thinks will be possible in a matter of decades.
Correction: October 11, 2017An earlier version of a home page headline for this article misstated the location of a supervolcano that drives geological activity. It is beneath Yellowstone National Park, not Yosemite.
Continue reading the main story
Red Cross 'drastically reduces' presence in Afghanistan | Afghanistan News | Al Jazeera
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:07
The ICRC has been working in Afghanistan for the past three decades [Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press]
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has decided to "drastically reduce" its presence in Afghanistan after a series of deadly attacks on its staff, the aid agency said in a statement on Monday.
Monica Zanarelli, the head of delegation for the ICRC, told Al Jazeera that the decision will affect mostly the northern part of the country, where facilities in Kunduz, Faryab, and Balkh provinces would be closed or downsized.
"We will downsize our main office in Mazar-i-Sharif and also looking at possible handing over of our orthopaedic centre if we get a suitable solution for that," Zanarelli said.
"Our operation across the country, however, will continue."
She said that the last three serious incidents this year in which seven ICRC staff were killed and three others were kidnapped prompted the charity to take the decision.
Officials from the charity say the assessments are ongoing and could not say how many of its 1,800 staff would be affected.
The ICRC has been working in Afghanistan for the past three decades, but attacks against them have escalated, with seven killed this year so far. It reaches to tens of thousands of vulnerable people in remote areas.
"We are going to keep operating like we did in the past. However, we will have to look much more seriously at our exposure to risk. Security of our staff has become a priority nowadays," Zanarelli told Al Jazeera from Kabul, the Afghan capital.
The announcement underlines the deteriorating security for aid groups in Afghanistan, with the rise of Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS).
In February, the organisation put all of its operations on hold after six of its staff were killed in an attack on an aid convoy in the far north.
Last month, a Spanish Red Cross physiotherapist working in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif was shot dead by one of her patients.
In addition, three of its staff have been abducted over the past year.
According to US military estimates, the government controls no more than 60 percent of the country, with the rest either controlled or contested by the Taliban and other armed groups.
Judicial Watch: Court Will Review Clinton Emails over Objections of Tillerson State Department and Sessions Justice Department - Judicial Watch
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 21:00
September 09, 2017 (Washington, DC) '' Judicial Watch announced today that a federal judge will personally review, in camera, redacted material from emails discussing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of iPads and iPhones during her tenure at the State Department. Judge Kollar-Kotelly also ordered the State Department to file an affidavit addressing why it should not have to search new Clinton emails recovered. In taking these steps, the court rejected arguments by the Tillerson State Department and its lawyers at the Sessions Justice Department.
The court will review the blacked-out information so as to better ascertain whether the government misconduct exception would require the release of the full emails. Generally speaking, the government misconduct exception prevents government agencies from withholding information that would shed light on government wrongdoing under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The September 21 court order comes in connection with an April 28, 2015, FOIA lawsuit filed after the State Department failed to respond to a March 10, 2015, request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00646)). Judicial Watch is seeking:
All records of requests by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or her staff to the State Department Office Security Technology seeking approval for the use of an iPad or iPhone for official government business; andAll communications within or between the Office of the Secretary of State, the Executive Secretariat, and the Office of the Secretary and the Office of Security Technology concerning, regarding, or related to the use of unauthorized electronic devices for official government business.In March 2016, Judicial Watch obtained State Department documents in this case showing Cheryl Mills' (Clinton's then-chief of staff) efforts with the National Security Agency to address Clinton's demands for a secure BlackBerry.
In a related case, Judicial Watch released an email showing that National Security Agency personnel had denied Clinton's requests for a BlackBerry, telling Clinton staff to ''shut up and color.''
In June 2017, Judicial Watch submitted new evidence to the court showing that Clinton knowingly used an unsecure BlackBerry device despite being warned by ''security hawks'' against doing so.
''Hillary Clinton knowingly used an unsecure email system and risky iPads and smartphones to conduct classified and sensitive government business,'' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''It is frankly outrageous that Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions allow their agencies to cover up for and defend Hillary Clinton's scandalous and potentially criminal conduct.''
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Hungarian PM: 'The EU Insults Member-States, Abuses its Powers, and Eats from George Soros's Hand'
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:10
Speaking on Hungarian Kossuth Rdi" Viktor Orbn took eurocrats to task for attacks on Hungary which he believes are particularly motivated, singling out attempts to take legal action over a new law which requires foreign-supported 'civil society' organisations '-- many funded by Soros '-- to list their big overseas donors in a public register and be transparent about their funding sources in their publications.
''The whole of the European Union is in trouble because its leaders and bureaucrats adopt decisions like this,'' said Orbn.
''The people support the ideal of the European Union. At the same time, they can't stand the leadership of the EU, because it insults the Member-States with things like this, and it abuses its power. Everyone in Europe can see that. This is why the European leadership is not respected.''
Prime Minister Orbn told his interviewer that he believes the Hungarian government has ''accomplished something important: we've revealed a hidden underground network, the network of George Soros; and day after day we shall prove what the connections are''.
He said the European Commission bureaucrats currently preparing a report on Hungary are ''all Soros's people. They're featured on the list that was made public in the international press: the list of Soros's reliable allies. They're eating out of his hand. They're going to write a report which will conclude that it would be better if there was no fence, it would be better if we let in 'refugees', it would be better if we let in migrants and give them money, and it would be better if they were distributed [throughout the EU].
''We have revealed that there is a Soros Plan. The existence of this has been admitted to by the author himself, so revealing it was no great achievement, but at least we've placed it in the political spotlight.''
The conservative premier pulled no punches when addressing the actions of politicians in the European Parliament, who recently passed a resolution calling on the European Commission to launch Article 7 proceedings against Hungary '-- potentially leading to sanctions and suspension of its voting rights.
''What they are occupying themselves with is attacking from behind those who are protecting Europe,'' he said frankly.
''[O]ur soldiers and police officers stand fully-armed on the border, trying to apprehend, screen and eject from Europe people seeking to enter the continent illegally, and who may well be potential terrorists posing a threat to public security, human life and property.
''While we are doing this job, they sit in their comfortable offices and '' as we say in Budapest '' nit-pick in their pomp. Once again the European Union has clearly failed.''
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Dove slammed for ad of black woman becoming white | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 09 Oct 2017 23:21
Soap Company Dove is facing a wave of criticism after an advert they posted of a black woman seemingly taking off her shirt and skin to become a white woman went viral.
In the now deleted picture, the four-panel shot shows a black woman in a chocolate brown shirt taking it off and revealing herself to be a white woman in a off-white shirt.
The add also features a third panel of another woman but in the now heavily circulated pic, that is not included.
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Soap Company Dove is facing a wave of criticism after a four-panel shot shows a black woman in a chocolate brown shirt taking it off and revealing herself to be a white woman in a off-white shirt
After make-up artist Naomi Leann Blake first shared the now viral photo to which the company took to their social media to apologize.
'Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity,' the company said on Facebook.
'In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we'll use it to guide us in the future.'
They also took to Twitter to try to ease the anger felt by many.
'An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused,' added the company.
After make-up artist Naomi Leann Blake first shared the now viral photo to which the company took to their social media to apologize. 'Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity,' the company said on Facebook. 'In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we'll use it to guide us in the future'
'An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused,' added the company
But social media wasn't having it and hated the apology, blasting the company for its insensitivity following a similar incident by hair care company Shea Moisture in April.
One user said: 'Lol did this even look right to y'all? I mean your whole team sat down and cleared this b******t right here? How?'
'Dear dove, I assure you us 'women of colour' have actual skin with colour, not a tan that you can remove. Thanks,' added another.
'How many people saw this ad? If someone raised a concern and you didn't listen, please make them head of advertising,' said a user.
One user said: 'Lol did this even look right to y'all? I mean your whole team sat down and cleared this b******t right here? How?'
'Dear dove, I assure you us 'women of colour' have actual skin with colour, not a tan that you can remove. Thanks,' added another
'How many people saw this ad? If someone raised a concern and you didn't listen, please make them head of advertising,' said a user
And many had issues with the lackluster apology Dove offered to its customers and followers.
Sonia Gupta said: 'This is the most non-apology apology I've seen all week. Are you joining the Trump administration now? WTF is that ad even supposed to mean?'
It was a sentiment shared by user Senzelwe Mzila who added: 'White supremacy alive and well in boardrooms. Don't apologise @Dove we are the foolish ones thinking that black people mattered to you.'
'Your image has me scared s**tless at taking my clothes off and there is no way I'd consider turning white a good result. Shameful,' added another.
Sonia Gupta said: 'This is the most non-apology apology I've seen all week. Are you joining the Trump administration now? WTF is that ad even supposed to mean?'
Senzelwe Mzila added: 'White supremacy alive and well in boardrooms. Don't apologise @Dove we are the foolish ones thinking that black people mattered to you'
'Your image has me scared s**tless at taking my clothes off and there is no way I'd consider turning white a good result. Shameful,' added another
A few users brought up instances when the brand had other questionable marketing ploys that seemed to paint blackness as undesired.
Showing a campaign where two panels show 'before' and 'after' as three models from darkest to lightest stand in front of them, Nonhlanhla Mabhena simply said: 'You have done it in the past.'
Another user showed labeling on one of their products bottles that said 'nourishing lotion for normal to dark skin.'
Showing a campaign where two panels show 'before' and 'after' as three models from darkest to lightest stand in front of them, Nonhlanhla Mabhena simply said: 'You have done it in the past'
Another user showed labeling on one of their products bottles that said 'nourishing lotion for normal to dark skin'
That same user also posted an advert from Pear Soap from the early 19th century that featured a black baby being scrubbed clean and eventually becoming white.
'TALK ABOUT DISGUSTING!!! Uhg. This is beyond disappointing what the f**k?' they said.
A photo also circulated on Facebook showing other examples of brands with racist marketing strategies and showed the comparison from those advertisement campaigns to the one Dove did.
And to put a comedic spin on it all, a man filmed himself copying the popular trend of throwing things down the toilet and emptied a Dove bottle down the drain.
That same user also posted an advert from Pear Soap from the early 19th century that featured a black baby being scrubbed clean and eventually becoming white
'TALK ABOUT DISGUSTING!!! Uhg. This is beyond disappointing what the f**k?' they said
A photo also circulated on Facebook showing other examples of brands with racist marketing strategies and showed the comparison from those advertisement campaigns to the one Dove did
In The Navy
Report: Massive morale problems aboard US Navy ship
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:34
(CNN) Morale aboard a US warship operating in the Pacific reached such a low ebb that one sailor described serving aboard the ship as being akin to being on "a floating prison," according to surveys obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
The Navy Times obtained three command climate surveys featuring hundreds of pages of anonymous comments from sailors revealing widespread morale issues aboard the USS Shiloh, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser based in Yokosuka, Japan.
Two Navy officials told CNN that the information reported from the surveys was accurate.
According to the obtained surveys only 31% of the sailors who responded to the survey said yes to the prompt: "I trust that my organization's leadership will treat me fairly," compared to 63% under the previous commanding officer. The commanding officer at the time of the survey, Capt. Adam Aycock, no longer works on the Shiloh.
Additionally, only 37% agreed with the statement "I feel motivated to give my best efforts to the mission of the organization," compared to 69% agreeing to the statement under the previous leadership.
The Shiloh is one of 84 US ships equipped with the Aegis Missile Defense system, which is capable of shooting down hostile missiles from adversarial states like North Korea.
One sailor hinted that morale could affect the Shiloh's role in the US' entire missile defense architecture.
"I just pray we never have to shoot down a missile from North Korea," one said, "because then our ineffectiveness will really show."
US President Donald Trump touted the effectiveness of missile defense systems in a recent interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
"We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97% of the time," he said.
It's important to note not all military and weapons analysts share that level of confidence in US ballistic missile defense systems, as they have never been used in wartime.
More surveysThe Navy officials added that the poor results of one climate survey caused Navy leadership to increase the frequency of which such surveys were conducted to help prompt the commander, Capt. Aycock, to improve his performance.
One of the officials said they could not explain how Aycock managed to retain command in the face of the poor survey results.
Aycock served as the Shiloh's commanding officer from June 2015 to August 2017 and is now at the US Naval War College.
One official said that Aycock remains on active duty and was not prematurely reassigned from his command of the Shiloh.
The survey responses also showed that junior sailors were concerned about receiving harsh punishments from Aycock, including being placed in the brig and fed only "bread and water," an arcane form of punishment that is still available to commanding officers.
"Even the taxi drivers on base know us for being the 'USS Bread and Water,'" one survey respondent said.
Language prohibiting that form of punishment was placed into the current version of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act.
The Shiloh is part of the US Navy's 7th Fleet which has been beset by a series of problems including two deadly collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCain, both of which are also equipped with the Aegis system.
Officers in the 7th Fleet have faced a range of disciplinary actions and the Navy took the rare step of relieving the fleet's commander, Vice. Adm. Joseph Aucoin.
The ship made headlines in June when a US sailor who was thought to have gone overboard for seven days and was presumed dead was found alive aboard the ship after prompting a major search operation. The sailor was later subjected to a non-judicial punishment.
The string of incidents has fueled concerns about perceptions of the 7th Fleet's readiness and abilities.
"The Navy definitely has a perception problem, and the 7th Fleet in particular," Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center, told CNN.
"Those issues could worry US allies who rely on Aegis-equipped ships for missile defense -- What if states like Japan and South Korea start doubting the 7th Fleet's ability to shield them from a North Korean attack?
"There's an old saying that effectiveness not only has to be done, it has to be shown done. Perception is reality in these things," Schuster said. "They're going to have to address that perception."
VIDEO - Norton councilman apologizes for 'white trash festival' remark | fox8.com
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:15
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NORTON '' Councilman Dennis Pierson says he regrets a comment he made to a Norton police dispatcher last month, when he called due to residents' concerns on Easton Road.
''I regret what I said, it shouldn't have been said,'' Pierson told Fox 8 Monday.
He told the dispatcher he wanted to know where the police officers where located because they were having issues with dust from a sewer project made worse by speeders on Easton Road.
''I'd like to know where they are at, I know we have the white trash festival going on today,'' Pierson can be heard saying on the non-emergency recorded line.
The Norton Cider Festival was held that day at Columbia Woods Park.
Festival organizers and many in the community say it's a family friendly event.
Norton Mayor Mike Zita released the following statement:
To address the remarks made regarding the Cider Festival by the third ward councilman, Dennis Pierson: "I was disappointed to learn of the conversation Mr. Pierson had with a Norton dispatcher on several fronts. The Norton Cider festival is a time-honored tradition that Norton families enjoy with their children, extended family and friends.
For the past 29 years, countless hours have been invested by the Cider Festival Committee to plan, organize and oversee this wonderful event.
Additionally, many of the service organizations from Norton volunteer time toward different activities for the Cider Festival; many of which are fund-raising opportunities that allow them to help others or fund their own activities. I truly appreciate each and every person that dedicates their time toward the Cider Festival.
Each and every year families have the opportunity to enjoy the pageant, apple-decorating contest, parade, games, food, music, car show and some amazing cider. My family and I have enjoyed the festival since it began and I have participated in this event for the past 14 years as a city official.
Pierson said he never meant to offend anyone. ''It was unfortunately a malicious comment and I feel bad about the folks that took it personally,'' Pierson said. ''It really wasn't meant that way, I live in the community, it's a good community.''
Pierson said he called the dispatch center because residents in the area contacted him about the condition of the road and speeders. ''Numerous neighbors called me and walked over and complained because the dirt is mixed with concrete and sticking on their window frames and screens,'' Pierson said. ''They have complained ant they are frankly being ignored.''
Many living on Easton Road agreed with Pierson. One neighbor even had a sign up in the yard about the dust.
''Our city ignored it, our mayor ignored it and he lives in the area, and I think that's a shame,'' Pierson said. Pierson, however, said he does wish he would have handled the situation differently.
41.029222 -81.638179
VIDEO - New police hub to crack down on hate crime trolls - Sarah Hajibagheri - YouTube
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:07
VIDEO - Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence present at the #glaadawards - YouTube
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:00
VIDEO - Anti-bullying laws in Canada: Should parents be punished for their kids' bad behaviour? - National | Globalnews.ca
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:54
A New York town is cracking down on bullying by penalizing parents for their children's behaviour.
Under the new anti-bullying law, parents in North Tonawanda, N.Y., could face up to 15 days in jail or be slapped with a $250 fine if their kid is found bullying minors.
READ MORE: Parents of bullies could face jail time under anti-bullying law in New York
The town isn't the only place that puts the onus on the parents when it comes to bullying.
In 2016, a city in Wisconsin enacted anti-bullying legislation that fines a parent $366 if their child is found bullying others. If there is a second offence within a year, then the parent will be fined $681.
WATCH: Wisconsin city will fine parents if they cannot stop their kids from bullying
But what about in Canada? Can parents be legally punished for their kids' behaviour?
''The onus seems to be on the child in Canada,'' Toronto-based lawyer, Jodan Donich, said. There are cases of children being fined for bullying in Canada, he added, but generally, they are not on the parent.
These cases include:
AlbertaIn Hanna, Alta., police will hand out a $250 fine to a minor (18 years old or younger) caught bullying and then another $1,000 ticket if that person re-offends. If the tormenting gets out of control, the bully could face time in jail for up to six months or do community service hours.
WATCH: Are young kids with smartphones more susceptible to cyberbullying?
The town defines ''bullying'' as ''harassment of others by the real or threatened infliction of physical violence and attacks, racially or ethnically-based verbal abuse and gender-based put-downs, verbal taunts, name-calling and put-downs, written or electronically transmitted, or emotional abuse, extortion or stealing of money and possessions and social out-casting.''
The town of Grande Prairie, Alta., also has a law that punishes bullies. If a youth is charged under the bullying bylaw, RCMP will issue him or her a $250 fine.
SaskatchewanThe town of Grenfell, Sask., passed an anti-bullying law in 2013 '-- which applies to both minors and adults. Under the bylaw, bullies can be fined anywhere from $250 to $1,000.
Another Saskatchewan town, Eston, passed a similar bullying law in 2013. First-time offenders face a $250 fine while repeat offenders may owe as much as $1,000 for each offence. Failure to pay the fine could result in up to six months in jail.
READ MORE: Small Saskatchewan town enacts anti-bullying bylaw, hopes other follow lead
In 2006, Regina became one of the first Canadian cities to prohibit bullying. Under the law, bullies can be fined up to $2,000 and have to attend an anti-bullying course or be sentenced up to 90 days in jail.
In 2015, the bylaw was put to the test and two Regina teenagers were charged under the municipal anti-bullying law.
WATCH: Students face bullying charges for mocking schoolmate with Down syndrome
Do fines deter bullying?Rob Benn-Frenette, with BullyingCanada, says a monetary fine to minors can be a deterrent in some cases, but the organization encourages communities to look at other solutions against bullying, such as peer mediation or having youth work with victims of bullying.
''Research shows that bullying generally is a learned behaviour, so we rely on parents to play an active role in ensuring that children and youth understand the long-term effects of bullying,'' Benn-Frenette said.
Could parents of bullies face jail time in Canada?New York lawyer, Paul Cambria, told WGRZ News, the new anti-bullying law in New York could stick around.
''I think it could stick as long as it requires a reckless disregard by the parents, in other words, they have seen bullying and did nothing about it'...or there is a negligence here,'' Cambria said.
READ MORE: Wisconsin parents could face $366 fine if their kids are bullies
''If you have been notified that your child is a bully and do nothing about it'...I think they [law officials] can enforce a statute,'' he said.
But in terms of this law coming to Canada, Donich said he hopes it doesn't.
WATCH: Canada cracks down on cyberbullying
''It does not make sense. It is police telling the parents to be police,'' he said. ''And if you don't do your job, we will put you in jail. This is wrong. It's wrong to kick the onus back to parents because parents are not the police.''
He said Canada already has an existing framework to handle this, which is to punish the accuser.
READ MORE: Amanda Todd's accused cyberbully sentenced to 11 years in Dutch prison
''Police are trained to handle bullying or cyberbullying, parents aren't. It's just a lazy approach to try and solve the issue.''
BullyingCanada reached out to the town in New York about the new law, but Benn-Frenette said he has not heard back yet. He also believes fining parents may not be the best solution to curb bullying.
''While the parents do play an important role, we do not believe that parents facing jail time will curb the bullying incidents,'' he said.
LISTEN: AM640 legal analyst Joseph Neuberger weighs in on penalizing the parents of bullies
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VIDEO - 'Morning Joe' Unloads on Harvey Weinstein: 'The Silence is Deafening ... Where is Hillary Clinton' - YouTube
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:05
VIDEO - Old Clip Resurfaces of Kimmel Having Women Guess What's In His Pants: Maybe 'Put Your Mouth On It' | Mediaite
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:21
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the skeletons in other celebrities' closets have been coming out.
Twitter user Austen Fletcher shared an old clip of Jimmy Kimmel (from The Man Show) playing a game with women on the street where they had to guess what's in his pants using their hands.
It's worth noting that the women in the clip voluntarily played this game for a comedy bit, and is not equatable with Weinstein's actions (despite what some on social media have insinuated).
He suggested one woman ''use two hands'' and jokingly said ''maybe it'd be easier if you put your mouth on it.''
Kimmel asked another woman how old she was, which she said 18.
''Are you sure?'' Kimmel replied. ''Because Uncle Jimmy doesn't need to do time.''
When one of his contestants was aggressively feeling around his pants, he told her ''You're gonna make a fine wife.''
In the end, he revealed what he had in his pants: a zucchini with a rubber band on it.
Kimmel has gotten a lot of attention lately for weighing in on the health care debate and pushing for gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.
Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com
VIDEO - Las Vegas shooter's former co-worker speaks out - YouTube
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:58
VIDEO - Taylor Swift is launching her own social media platform
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:57
By Justin Enriquez For Dailymail.com 19:16 11 Oct 2017, updated 20:39 11 Oct 2017
Look what you made her do.
Taylor Swift revealed on Tuesday that she is launching her own social media platform called The Swift Life.
A 30-second promotional video was posted on YouTube which outlined the ambitious plans from the pop star.
Scroll down for video
Look what you made her do: Taylor Swift is launching her own social media platform called The Swift Life New horizon: A 30-second promotional video was posted on YouTube which outlined the ambitious plans from the pop starShe began the advert with a self-taken video as she said: 'Hey guys this is Taylor,I've got something pretty awesome that we've been working on for a while that I wanted to share with you.'
The advert boasts several features including connecting with Taylor via new and exclusive pictures, video, and music.
You could also connect with other Swifties through the social network and the popstrel herself could even see, like, and comment on the content.
Big news: The 27-year-old singer said: 'Hey guys this is Taylor,I've got something pretty awesome that we've been working on for a while that I wanted to share with you' Swift life: The app has a nice illustration of the star 'I have big news for you soon': No doubt it will be a place for Taylor to get intimate with fans Cool: The advert boasts several features including connecting with Taylor via new and exclusive pictures, video, and music Exciting: The app boasts that fans will be able to get exclusive Taylor thingsThere will also be custom animations including stickers and pictures as she will be taking after Kim Kardashian with her own 'Taymojis'.
Taylor ends the clip by jokingly saying: 'I think you guys are really going to like this. I mean I hope, it would be preferable if you did.'
Glu Mobile is developing the app as they have done celebrity games including Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Nicki Minaj: Empire.
Intimate: You could also connect with other Swifties through the social network and the popstrel herself could even see, like, and comment on the content Sweet tunes: Fans can even play music with new songs added every week Happy times: Taylor ends the clip by jokingly saying: 'I think you guys are really going to like this. I mean I hope, it would be preferable if you did'President and CEO Nick Earl said in a statement: 'We've worked closely with Taylor and her team to bring her creative vision to life.
'The result is a deeply social environment where Taylor and her fans are able to better connect with one another while expressing themselves in an interactive community. We look forward to its worldwide launch later this year.'
Taylor has been keeping very active on social media as she recently took to Instagram to 'lurk' on Swift super-stans, sending comments, likes and even a few direct messages directly from the starlet herself.
Quite the team: Glu Mobile is developing the app as they have done celebrity games including Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Nicki Minaj: Empire Purr: It ended with an animation of a cat walking across the screen as Taylor is a known feline enthusiast Highly-anticipated: The app will be available later this yearThe superstar got super personal with her supporters, asking them about their projects, pets and health during the social media spree.
Taylor tuned into several fan's livestreams to surprise them with shout outs and compliments, while explaining that she found several of the fans from her old Tumblr or various fan groups.
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VIDEO - Tom Petty's final interview: There was supposed to have been so much more - LA Times
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:53
This is not the Tom Petty story that I intended to write.
Though I was more than thrilled to catch up with Petty, whom I had interviewed before, I had no clue that this would turn out to be the last, for me and for him '-- that he would die just a few days later after going into cardiac arrest at age 66.
This is not the way things were supposed to happen.
When I sat down with Petty in the outer room of the cozy but fully equipped recording studio at his home above Malibu beach, the idea was for him to reflect on the wildly successful 40th anniversary tour he and the Heartbreakers had wrapped less than 48 hours earlier at the end of three sold-out nights at the Hollywood Bowl.
It was a triumphant stand particularly rewarding to Petty, a Florida transplant who considered himself and his band mates California adoptees. He said as much from the stage each night, noting how the Heartbreakers, although composed entirely of musicians born or raised in and around Gainesville, Fla., had been born at the Village Studios in West Los Angeles.
''This year has been a wonderful year for us,'' he said now, sipping a cup of coffee he'd just poured at 4:30 in the afternoon and sinking into the plush sofa. Above his head hung a framed illustration of his departed friend and boyhood idol George Harrison, created by artist Shepard Fairey and presented to Petty by Harrison's son, musician Dhani Harrison. ''This has been that big slap on the back we never got, '' he said, referring to the popular, critical and financial affirmation that wasn't always apparent throughout the group's hard-working history.
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Tom Petty at his home in Malibu on Sept. 27, 2017.
Tom Petty at his home in Malibu on Sept. 27, 2017. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
But he did not see it as the end. There was supposed to have been so much more to come. Should have, would have, could have come.
Petty was excited about producing a second album for the upstart L.A. rock band he's been championing the last couple of years, the Shelters.
''They've been on the road for a year and we got together recently,'' he said. ''They played me some of their new stuff and I was just blown away.''
He was looking forward to continuing his involvement with the Tom Petty radio channel for the SiriusXM satellite radio service, including the show he organizes and hosts personally, ''Tom Petty's Buried Treasure,'' in which he picks songs that he loves.
''I love doing my 'Buried Treasure' show,'' he said, ever the rock star in his military-style jacket, loose fitting pants and aviator shades, even while espousing fan-boy sentiments. ''It keeps me listening like I used to do. I always listen. I could come home and I would spend the rest of the night just lying on the floor or the sofa listening to albums. It was like a movie to me. I still do really, and doing the radio show ensures that I'll be sitting there listening.''
After six rewarding but also physically demanding months on (mostly) and off (hardly) the road, Petty was supposed to get a moment to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the return to domestic life with Dana, his wife of 16 years, and the rest of their family, including his two adult daughters, Adria and Annakim Violette, from his first marriage; Dana's son, Dylan, from her previous marriage; and their 4-year-old granddaughter, Everly Petty.
Even though the notion of kicking back in a hammock sounds antithetical to everything he's ever believed in, or practiced, he said, ''I just have to learn to rest a little bit, like everyone's telling me. I need to stop working for a period of time.
Still, he confessed, ''It's hard for me ... If I don't have a project going, I don't feel like I'm connected to anything. I don't even think it's that healthy for me. I like to get out of bed and have a purpose.''
Petty always had a purpose, and a man like that, a man with a purpose, should have had more time '-- weeks, months, years'-- to practice what he called fishing and others call songwriting.
''It's kind of a lonely work,'' he said, ''because you just have to keep your pole in the water. I always had a little routine of going into whatever room I was using at the time to write in, and just staying in there till I felt like I got a bite.
''I compare it to fishing: There's either a fish in the boat or there's not,'' he said with a laugh. ''Sometimes you come home and you didn't catch anything and sometimes you caught a huge fish. But that was the work part of it to me. '... I just remember being excited when I had a song done, and I knew I had a song in my pocket, I always felt really excited about it.''
I always had a little routine of going into whatever room I was using at the time to write in, and just staying in there till I felt like I got a bite. '-- Tom Petty Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Tom Petty at his home in Malibu on Sept. 27, 2017.
Tom Petty at his home in Malibu on Sept. 27, 2017. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
I was one of many blindsided by the news of his death on Monday. As we sat, just a few days earlier, he was vibrant, full of enthusiasm, still the epitome of the coolest rock star you'd want to sit down for a chat with. He laughed easily and often, occasionally dropping his voice into a softer mode when outlining just how precious his band, his music and his family were to him. The only gripe he had was about the hip he cracked shortly before the tour started, which he was now finally addressing.
This is not the Tom Petty story I intended to write because I intended to write a ''next stage'' story.
Everyone assumed '-- fully expected '-- there would be more time for this fisherman to add yet more brethren to the bevy of beloved songs that have integrated themselves into American popular culture. Classic-rock staples including ''Breakdown,'' ''American Girl,'' ''Refugee,'' ''Even the Losers,'' ''Learning to Fly,'' ''Listen to Her Heart,'' ''Here Comes My Girl,'' ''Walls,'' ''Mary Jane's Last Dance.''
''To go into a studio and hear a band play [one of his new songs] for the first time is always exciting,'' Petty said. ''And usually when they play it, it became something I hadn't even pictured. Yes, I love the studio. I love the studio as much as I love playing live, easily. I'm pretty much in one every day, and I'm still at that.''
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Tom Petty performs with the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 21.
Tom Petty performs with the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 21. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Interviewed collectively backstage at the Hollywood Bowl as they prepared to saunter out into the dark, onto that stage, for the finale of their tour, the Heartbreakers '-- lead guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench, multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston, bassist Ron Blair and drummer Steve Ferrone '-- were unanimous in their expressions of surprise that anyone might think they were ready to put the Heartbreakers into mothballs.
When I visited Tench two days later on my way to see the head Heartbreaker, a broad smile came to his face as he quipped, ''Tell Tom we should get the band back together!''
Petty laughed heartily when the sentiment was relayed.
''He would too,'' Petty said. ''He'd leave tonight, probably. You know, I love it. It's amazing that we're still doing it, and doing it well.''
No, this wasn't supposed to be the end of the road for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, even though the group's namesake talked about what might cause that to happen '-- one day, perhaps, far down the line.
''If one of us went down,'' he said, ''or if one of us died '-- God forbid '-- or got sick '...,'' letting his voice trail off at the thought of it.
''We're all older now,'' he said softly. ''Then we'd stop. I think that would be the end of it, if someone couldn't do it.''
Until then, he said, there would be no talk of any proscribed retirement day '-- for this singer, songwriter and guitarist, or his band of brothers.
''On the back side of your 60s, most people aren't working,'' he said with an air of pride. ''This keeps us young. I think it keeps me young.''
He was still wearing the thick beard he had grown during the tour and he smiled through it.
''When I see people I knew from earlier in life and I run into them now, they're very different than me,'' he added. ''And they look different. I think this has kept us all thinking young and feeling young.''
Not that he had any near-future plans for a tour as extensive as the 53-show 40th anniversary run.
''It is grueling to do a very, very long one,'' he said. ''This was quite a long one. It's sometimes physically hard. But then the lights go down, you hear the crowd and you're all better. You feel like, 'OK, let's do it.'''
Besides, Petty already seemed to have weathered his allotted bout of infirmity during August when he came down with laryngitis and had to postpone a few shows.
Did the incident spook him?
''Yeah, because I don't think I've missed a show in many, many years,'' he said. ''It freaked me out so bad, because it came out of nowhere. '... My doctor said 'I don't think you've been sick '-- I'm looking in my records '-- in over 17 years, since I've seen you sick with anything. And I'm always like, 'I don't get sick.' But, [stuff] happens.
''My doctor said, 'Despite great evidence to the contrary, it seems you're human,''' he said with a laugh. ''But I take care of myself on the road. If you're a singer, you've got to be responsible, it's a physical thing, you have to be in shape. It's athletic. I have to make sure that I get enough sleep, that I eat right, that I don't abuse my voice. Don't talk too much. Don't go to the bar and talk for three hours if you have a show the next day. I've learned that it's just instinct, it's built into me from all the years of touring.''
And after six months on the road, Petty was supposed to get some time to forget about those rules, just a little.
''The only happy thing about being off the road is I don't have to worry about keeping myself ready to go the next day,'' he said.
If this was the story I intended to write, if everything had gone the way it was supposed to, Petty and the Heartbreakers would still be looking down the road at more chances to engage in the unique form of worship known only to those who've spent decades together in recording studios,cramped vans, dingy bars and anonymous hotel rooms.
''The thing about the Heartbreakers is, it's still holy to me,'' he said with no air of loftiness or pretense. ''There's a holiness there. If that were to go away, I don't think I would be interested in it, and I don't think they would. We're a real rock 'n' roll band '-- always have been. And to us, in the era we came up in, it was a religion in a way. It was more than commerce, it wasn't about that. It was about something much greater.
''It was about moving people, and changing the world, and I really believed in rock 'n' roll '-- I still do,'' he said. ''I believed in it in its purest sense, its purest form. '... It's unique to have a band that knows each other that long and that well.
''I'm just trying to get the best I can get out of it,'' said Tom Petty, head Heartbreaker and fisher of music, ''as long as it remains holy.''
That, in reality-induced retrospect, is the part of my story on Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers that is, and remains, exactly as it was supposed to be.
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Tom Petty's death investigated by L.A. County coroner
Why losing Tom Petty feels like losing a piece of ourselves
The heartbreaking Instagram dispatches Tom Petty's daughter sent as the rock star clung to life
Musicians, creators and celebs react to the death of Tom Petty
9:30 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details on the circumstances of Tom Petty's death.
This article was originally published at 3 a.m.
VIDEO - Police: Airbnb unit in Florida rigged with hidden cameras - wptv.com
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:53
LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. - An Indiana couple who was rented an Airbnb home on Longboat Key said they noticed something weird about one of the smoke detectors in the master bedroom.
RELATED: What's your right to privacy?
They then realized it was actually a camera disguised as a smoke detector and was pointing right at their bed.
Derek Starnes told WFTS-TV that he and his wife are freaked out by what happened.
Starnes said he works in the tech world and noticed a black hole on the side of the smoke detector. He took it down and realized that that black hole was a camera recording onto an SD card. Starnes immediately called the police.
''We seized a lot of computer storage data devices, hard drives, computers, laptops SD cards anything that would store data,'' Lt. Bob Bourque said. ''We don't know if there are local victims someone who may have been dating him or a companion that doesn't realize they are being videotaped, and then we have the other side of who he rented to through Airbnb.''
Wayne Natt, 56, was arrested and charged with one count of video voyeurism. Bourque said Natt's account has been active on Airbnb for two years. Starnes said he had more than 40 reviews on Airbnb.
Starnes shared a photo he took off the device that shows him and his wife staring up at the camera. Starnes hopes other people that rented from Natt at the address, located at 623 Cedars Ct. in Longboat Key, will come forward. Starnes said he knows the video captured him walking through the bedroom naked.
''My wife and I are distressed by this situation. I hope more victims will come forward,'' Starnes said.
After Natt's arrest, police said he gave them a statement with his lawyer present.
Bourque said he told them everyone gave him consent to be filmed and that he admitted there are dozens of videos of people engaged in sex parties he hosted at the home.
''He says that everyone videoed had knowledge he was videoing them,'' Bourque said. What we said to that was '... if people are consenting to recording sexual activity, 'Why is it hidden in a smoke alarm?' He said, 'It was for recording sexual activity.'''
Bourque said Natt's reason for hiding it in the ceiling ''was it gave him a better angle.''
WFTS-TV reached out to Airbnb for comment. A representative from Airbnb, Ben Breit, sent us a statement:
We are outraged at the reports of what happened; as soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests. Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior.
Police are urging anyone who rented from Natt on Airbnb, or was inside his condo, to contact them.
Copyright 2017 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
VIDEO - ESPN Suspends Jemele Hill For Two Weeks | The Daily Caller
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:44
ESPN suspended pundit Jemele Hill for two weeks Monday after she suggested fans should boycott the sponsors of the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL.
The sports network released the following statement:
Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.
ESPN's Statement on Jemele Hill: pic.twitter.com/JkVoBVz7lv
'-- ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 9, 2017
Hill tweeted that fans should boycott the sponsors of the Cowboys after owner Jerry Jones said players who disrespect the national anthem would be benched.
This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers. https://t.co/LFXJ9YQe74
'-- Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
Her first offense came when she called President Donald Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. It looks like ESPN is intent on sending a strong signal to employees who pose a financial risk to the NFL.
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VIDEO - American Pravda, NYT Part I '' Slanting the News & A Bizarre Comey Connection - YouTube
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 21:29
VIDEO - From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories | The New Yorker
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 19:10
Since the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. As the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, he helped to reinvent the model for independent films, with movies such as ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape,'' ''The English Patient,'' ''Pulp Fiction,'' ''The Crying Game,'' ''Shakespeare in Love,'' and ''The King's Speech.'' Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein combined a keen eye for promising scripts, directors, and actors with a bullying, even threatening, style of doing business, inspiring both fear and gratitude. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations, and, at the annual awards ceremonies, he has been thanked more than almost anyone else in movie history, just after Steven Spielberg and right before God.
For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now'--Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her'--because she feared that Weinstein would ''crush'' her. ''I know he has crushed a lot of people before,'' Argento said. ''That's why this story'--in my case, it's twenty years old; some of them are older'--has never come out.''
Last week, the New York Times, in a powerful report by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, a story that led to the resignation of four members of his company's all-male board, and to Weinstein's firing from the company.
The story, however, is more complex, and there is more to know and to understand. In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times' revelations, and also include far more serious claims.
Three women'--among them Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans'--told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015 and made public here for the first time, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is ''used to.'' Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.
Weinstein admits to groping a woman, in a recording secretly captured during an N.Y.P.D. sting operation.
Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein's companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein's films and in the workplace. They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models. All sixteen said that the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Messages sent by Irwin Reiter, a senior company executive, to Emily Nestor, one of the women who alleged that she was harassed at the company, described the ''mistreatment of women'' as a serial problem that the Weinstein Company was struggling with in recent years. Other employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein's places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe. A female executive with the company described how Weinstein assistants and others served as a ''honeypot'''--they would initially join a meeting, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman.
Virtually all of the people I spoke with told me that they were frightened of retaliation. ''If Harvey were to discover my identity, I'm worried that he could ruin my life,'' one former employee told me. Many said that they had seen Weinstein's associates confront and intimidate those who crossed him, and feared that they would be similarly targeted. Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them. Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him; these sources feared that they might be similarly targeted. Several pointed to Gutierrez's case, in 2015: after she went to the police, negative items discussing her sexual history and impugning her credibility began rapidly appearing in New York gossip pages. (In the taped conversation with Gutierrez, Weinstein asks her to join him for ''five minutes,'' and warns, ''Don't ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.'')
Several former employees told me that they were speaking about Weinstein's alleged behavior now because they hoped to protect women in the future. ''This wasn't a one-off. This wasn't a period of time,'' an executive who worked for Weinstein for many years told me. ''This was ongoing predatory behavior towards women'--whether they consented or not.''
It's likely that women have recently felt increasingly emboldened to talk about their experiences because of the way the world has changed regarding issues of sex and power. These disclosures follow in the wake of stories alleging sexual misconduct by public figures, including Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, and Donald Trump. In October, 2016, a month before the election, a tape emerged of Trump telling a celebrity-news reporter, ''And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. . . . Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything.'' This past April, O'Reilly, a host at Fox News, was forced to resign after Fox was discovered to have paid five women millions of dollars in exchange for silence about their accusations of sexual harassment. Ailes, the former head of Fox News, resigned last July, after he was accused of sexual harassment. Cosby went on trial this summer, charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman. The trial ended with a hung jury.
On October 5th, in an initial effort at damage control, Weinstein responded to the Times piece by issuing a statement partly acknowledging what he had done, saying, ''I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.'' In an interview with the New York Post, he said, ''I've got to deal with my personality, I've got to work on my temper, I have got to dig deep. I know a lot of people would like me to go into a facility, and I may well just do that'--I will go anywhere I can learn more about myself.'' Weinstein went on, ''In the past I used to compliment people, and some took it as me being sexual, I won't do that again.'' In his statement to the Times, Weinstein claimed that he would ''channel that anger'' into a fight against the leadership of the National Rifle Association. He also said that it was not ''coincidental'' that he was organizing a foundation for women directors at the University of Southern California. ''It will be named after my mom and I won't disappoint her.''
Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Weinstein, issued a statement in response to the allegations in this article. It reads in full: ''Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.''
While Weinstein and his representatives have said that the incidents were consensual, and were not widespread or severe, the women I spoke to tell a very different story.
Lucia Stoller, now Lucia Evans, was approached by Weinstein at Cipriani Upstairs, a club in New York, in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College. Evans wanted to be an actress, and although she had heard rumors about Weinstein she let him have her number. Weinstein began calling her late at night, or having an assistant call her, asking to meet. She declined, but said that she would do readings during the day for a casting executive. Before long, an assistant called to set up a daytime meeting at the Miramax office, in Tribeca, first with Weinstein and then with a casting executive, who was a woman. ''I was, like, 'Oh, a woman, great, I feel safe,' '' Evans said.
When Evans arrived for the meeting, the building was full of people. She was led to an office with exercise equipment and takeout boxes on the floor, where she met with Weinstein alone. Evans said that she found him frightening. ''The type of control he exerted, it was very real,'' she told me. ''Even just his presence was intimidating.''
In the meeting, Evans recalled, ''he immediately was simultaneously flattering me and demeaning me and making me feel bad about myself.'' Weinstein told her that she'd ''be great in 'Project Runway' '''--the show, which Weinstein helped produce, premi¨red later that year'--but only if she lost weight. He also told her about two scripts, a horror movie and a teen love story, and said one of his associates would discuss them with her.
''At that point, after that, is when he assaulted me,'' Evans said. ''He forced me to perform oral sex on him.'' As she objected, Weinstein took his penis out of his pants and pulled her head down onto it. ''I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't,' '' she said. ''I tried to get away, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. I didn't want to kick him or fight him.'' In the end, she said, ''He's a big guy. He overpowered me.'' At a certain point, she said, ''I just sort of gave up. That's the most horrible part of it, and that's why he's been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it's their fault.''
Weinstein appeared to find the encounter unremarkable. ''It was like it was just another day for him,'' Evans said. ''It was no emotion.'' Afterward, she said, he acted as if nothing had happened. She wondered how Weinstein's staff could not know what was going on.
After the encounter, she met with the female casting executive, who sent her the scripts, and also came to one of her acting-class readings a few weeks later. (Evans does not believe that the executive was aware of Weinstein's behavior.) Weinstein, Evans said, began calling her again late at night. Evans told me that the entire sequence of events had a routine quality. ''It feels like a very streamlined process,'' she said. ''Female casting director, Harvey wants to meet. Everything was designed to make me feel comfortable before it happened. And then the shame in what happened was also designed to keep me quiet.''
Evans said that, after the incident, ''I just put it in a part of my brain and closed the door.'' She continued to blame herself for not fighting harder. ''It was always my fault for not stopping him,'' she said. ''I had an eating problem for years. I was disgusted with myself. It's funny, all these unrelated things I did to hurt myself because of this one thing.'' Evans told friends some of what had happened, but felt largely unable to talk about it. ''I ruined several really good relationships because of this. My schoolwork definitely suffered, and my roommates told me to go to a therapist because they thought I was going to kill myself.''
In the years that followed, Evans encountered Weinstein occasionally. Once, while she was walking her dog in Greenwich Village, she saw him getting into a car. ''I very clearly saw him. I made eye contact,'' she said. ''I remember getting chills down my spine just looking at him. I was so horrified. I have nightmares about him to this day.''
Asia Argento, an actress born in Rome, played the role of a glamorous thief named Beatrice in the crime drama ''B. Monkey,'' which was released in the U.S. in 1999. The distributor was Miramax. In a series of long and often emotional interviews, Argento told me that Weinstein assaulted her while they worked together.
At the time, Argento was twenty-one and a rising actress who had twice won the Italian equivalent of the Oscar. Argento said that, in 1997, one of Weinstein's producers invited her to what she understood to be a party thrown by Miramax at the H´tel du Cap-Eden-Roc, on the French Riviera. Argento felt professionally obliged to attend. When the producer led her upstairs that evening, she said, there was no party'--only a hotel room, empty but for Weinstein: ''I'm, like, 'Where is the fucking party?' '' She recalled the producer telling her, ''Oh, we got here too early,'' before he left her alone with Weinstein. (The producer denies bringing Argento to the room that night.) At first, Weinstein was solicitous, praising her work. Then he left the room. When he returned, he was wearing a bathrobe and holding a bottle of lotion. ''He asks me to give a massage. I was, like, 'Look, man, I am no fucking fool,' '' Argento said. ''But, looking back, I am a fucking fool. And I am still trying to come to grips with what happened.''
Argento said that, after she reluctantly agreed to give Weinstein a massage, he pulled her skirt up, forced her legs apart, and performed oral sex on her as she repeatedly told him to stop. Weinstein ''terrified me, and he was so big,'' she said. ''It wouldn't stop. It was a nightmare.''
At some point, Argento said, she stopped saying no and feigned enjoyment, because she thought it was the only way the assault would end. ''I was not willing,'' she told me. ''I said, 'No, no, no.' . . . It's twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you. It's a scary fairy tale.'' Argento, who insisted that she wanted to tell her story in all its complexity, said that she didn't physically fight him off, something that has prompted years of guilt.
''The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible,'' she said. ''Because, if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn't. And so I felt responsible.'' She described the incident as a ''horrible trauma.'' Decades later, she said, oral sex is still ruined for her. ''I've been damaged,'' she told me. ''Just talking to you about it, my whole body is shaking.''
Argento recalled sitting on the bed after the incident, her clothes ''in shambles,'' her makeup smeared. She said that she told Weinstein, ''I am not a whore,'' and that he began laughing. He said he'd put the phrase on a T-shirt. Afterward, Argento said, ''He kept contacting me.'' For a few months, Weinstein seemed obsessed, offering her expensive gifts.
What complicates the story, Argento readily allowed, is that she eventually yielded to Weinstein's further advances and even grew close to him. Weinstein dined with her, and introduced her to his mother. Argento told me, ''He made it sound like he was my friend and he really appreciated me.'' She said that she had consensual sexual relations with him multiple times over the course of the next five years, though she described the encounters as one-sided and ''onanistic.'' The first occasion, several months after the alleged assault, came before the release of ''B. Monkey.'' ''I felt I had to,'' she said. ''Because I had the movie coming out and I didn't want to anger him.'' She believed that Weinstein would ruin her career if she didn't comply. Years later, when she was a single mother dealing with childcare, Weinstein offered to pay for a nanny. She said that she felt ''obliged'' to submit to his sexual advances.
Argento said that she knew this contact would be used to attack the credibility of her allegation. In part, she said, the initial assault made her feel overpowered each time she encountered Weinstein, even years later. ''Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was twenty-one,'' she told me. ''When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak.'' She broke down as she struggled to explain. ''After the rape, he won,'' she said.
In 2000, Argento released ''Scarlet Diva,'' a movie that she wrote and directed. In the film, a heavyset producer corners the character of Anna, who is played by Argento, in a hotel room, asks her for a massage, and tries to assault her. After the movie came out, women began approaching Argento, saying that they recognized Weinstein's behavior in the portrayal. ''People would ask me about him because of the scene in the movie,'' she said. Some recounted similar details to her: meetings and professional events moved to hotel rooms, bathrobes and massage requests, and, in one other case, forced oral sex.
Weinstein, according to Argento, saw the film after it was released in the U.S., and apparently recognized himself. ''Ha, ha, very funny,'' Argento remembered him saying to her. But he also said that he was ''sorry for whatever happened.'' The movie's most significant departure from the real-life incident, Argento told me, was how the hotel-room scene ended. ''In the movie I wrote,'' she said, ''I ran away.''
Other women were too afraid to allow me to use their names, but their stories are uncannily similar to these allegations. One, a woman who worked with Weinstein, explained her reluctance to be identified. ''He drags your name through the mud, and he'll come after you hard with his legal team.''
Like other women in this article, she said that Weinstein brought her to a hotel room under a professional pretext, changed into a bathrobe, and ''forced himself on me sexually.'' She said no, repeatedly and clearly. Afterward, she experienced ''horror, disbelief, and shame,'' and considered going to the police. ''I thought it would be a 'He said, she said,' and I thought about how impressive his legal team is, and I thought about how much I would lose, and I decided to just move forward,'' she said. The woman continued to have professional contact with Weinstein after the alleged rape, and acknowledged that subsequent communications between them might suggest a normal working relationship. ''I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job,'' she told me. ''It just increases the shame and the guilt.''
Mira Sorvino, who starred in several of Weinstein's films, told me that he sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into a physical relationship while they worked together. She said that, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, 1995, she found herself in a hotel room with Weinstein, who produced the movie she was there to promote, ''Mighty Aphrodite,'' for which she later won an Academy Award. ''He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,'' she recalled. She scrambled for ways to ward him off, telling him it was against her religion to date married men. (At the time, Weinstein was married to Eve Chilton, a former assistant.) Then she left the room.
A few weeks later, in New York City, her phone rang after midnight. It was Weinstein, saying that he had new marketing ideas for the film and asking to meet. Sorvino offered to meet him at an all-night diner, but he told her he was coming over to her apartment and hung up. ''I freaked out,'' she told me. She called a friend and asked him to come over and pose as her boyfriend. The friend hadn't arrived by the time Weinstein rang her doorbell. ''Harvey had managed to bypass my doorman,'' she said. ''I opened the door terrified, brandishing my twenty-pound Chihuahua mix in front of me, as though that would do any good.'' When she told Weinstein that her new boyfriend was on his way, Weinstein became dejected and left.
Sorvino said that she struggled for years with whether to come forward with her story, partly because she was aware that it was mild compared to the experiences of other women, including another actress she spoke to at the time. (That actress told me that she locked herself in a hotel bathroom to escape Weinstein, and that he masturbated in front of her. She said it was ''a classic case'' of ''someone not understanding the word 'no'. . . I must have said no a thousand times.'') The fact that Weinstein was so instrumental to Sorvino's success also made her hesitate: ''I have great respect for Harvey as an artist, and owe him and his brother a debt of gratitude for the early success in my career, including the Oscar.'' She had professional contact with Weinstein for years after the incident, and remains close friends with his brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein. (She said that she never told Bob about his brother's behavior.)
Sorvino said that she felt afraid and intimidated, and that the incidents had a significant impact on her. When she told a female employee at Miramax about the harassment, the woman's reaction ''was shock and horror that I had mentioned it.'' Sorvino appeared in a few more of Weinstein's films afterward, but felt that saying no to Weinstein and reporting the harassment had ultimately hurt her career. She said, ''There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it.''
In March, 2015, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who was once a finalist in the Miss Italy contest, met Harvey Weinstein at a reception for ''New York Spring Spectacular,'' a show that he was producing at Radio City Music Hall. Weinstein introduced himself to Gutierrez, who was twenty-two, remarking repeatedly that she looked like the actress Mila Kunis.
Following the event, Gutierrez's agency e-mailed to say that Weinstein wanted to set up a business meeting as soon as possible. Gutierrez arrived at Weinstein's office in Tribeca early the next evening with her modelling portfolio. In the office, she sat with Weinstein on a couch to review the portfolio, and he began staring at her breasts, asking if they were real. Gutierrez later told officers of the New York Police Department Special Victims Division that Weinstein then lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt while she protested. He finally backed off and told her that his assistant would give her tickets to ''Finding Neverland,'' a Broadway musical that he was producing. He said that he would meet her at the show that evening.
Instead of going to the show that night, Gutierrez went to the nearest N.Y.P.D. precinct station and reported the assault. Weinstein telephoned her later that evening, annoyed that she had failed to appear at the show. She picked up the call while sitting with investigators from the Special Victims Division, who listened in on the call and devised a plan: Gutierrez would agree to see the show the following day and then meet with Weinstein. She would wear a wire and attempt to extract a confession or incriminating statement.
The next day, Gutierrez met Weinstein at the bar of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. A team of undercover officers helped guide her through the interaction. On the recording, which I have heard in full, Weinstein lists actresses whose careers he has helped and offers Gutierrez the services of a dialect coach. Then he presses her to join him in his hotel room while he showers. Gutierrez says no repeatedly; Weinstein persists, and after a while she accedes to his demand to go upstairs. But, standing in the hallway outside his room, she refuses to go farther. In an increasingly tense exchange, he presses her to enter. Gutierrez says, ''I don't want to,'' ''I want to leave,'' and ''I want to go downstairs.'' She asks him directly why he groped her breasts the day before.
''Oh, please, I'm sorry, just come on in,'' Weinstein says. ''I'm used to that. Come on. Please.''
''You're used to that?'' Gutierrez asks, sounding incredulous.
''Yes,'' Weinstein says. He later adds, ''I won't do it again.''
After almost two minutes of back-and-forth in the hallway, Weinstein finally agrees to let her leave.
According to a law-enforcement source, Weinstein, if charged, would have most likely faced a count of sexual abuse in the third degree, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of three months in jail. But, as the police investigation proceeded and the allegation was widely reported, details about Gutierrez's past began to appear in the tabloids. In 2010, as a young contestant in a beauty pageant associated with the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Gutierrez had attended one of his infamous Bunga Bunga parties. She claimed that she had been unaware of the nature of the party before arriving, and eventually became a witness in a bribery case against Berlusconi, which is still ongoing. Gossip outlets also reported that Gutierrez, as a teen-ager, had made an allegation of sexual assault against an older Italian businessman but later declined to co¶perate with prosecutors.
Two sources close to the police investigation said that they had no reason to doubt Gutierrez's account of the incident. One of them, a police source, said that the department had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein. But the other source said that Gutierrez's statements about her past complicated the case for the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr. After two weeks of investigation, the District Attorney's office decided not to file charges. The D.A.'s office declined to comment on this story but pointed me to its statement at the time: ''This case was taken seriously from the outset, with a thorough investigation conducted by our Sex Crimes Unit. After analyzing the available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties, a criminal charge is not supported.''
''We had the evidence,'' the police source involved in the operation told me. ''It's a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time.''
Gutierrez, when contacted for this story, said that she was unable to discuss the incident. According to a source close to the matter, after the D.A.'s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez, facing Weinstein's legal team, and in return for a payment, signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein, including an affidavit stating that the acts Weinstein admits to in the recording never happened.
Weinstein's use of such settlements was reported by the Times and confirmed to me by numerous sources. A former employee with firsthand knowledge of two settlement negotiations that took place in London in the nineteen-nineties recalled, ''It felt like David versus Goliath . . . the guy with all the money and the power flexing his muscle and quashing the allegations and getting rid of them.''
Last week's Times story disclosed a complaint to the Weinstein Company's office of human resources, filed on behalf of a temporary front-desk assistant named Emily Nestor in December, 2014. Her own account of Weinstein's conduct is being made public here for the first time. Nestor was twenty-five when she started the job, and, after finishing law school and starting business school, was considering a career in the movie industry. On her first day in the position, Nestor said, two employees told her that she was Weinstein's ''type'' physically. When Weinstein arrived at the office, he made comments about her appearance, referring to her as ''the pretty girl.'' He asked how old she was, and then sent all of his assistants out of the room and made her write down her telephone number.
Weinstein told her to meet him for drinks that night. Nestor invented an excuse. When he insisted, she suggested an early-morning coffee the next day, assuming that he wouldn't accept. He did, and told her to meet him at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills, where he was staying. Nestor said that she had talked with friends in the entertainment industry and employees in the company who had warned her about Weinstein's reputation. ''I dressed very frumpy,'' she said.
Nestor told me that the meeting was the ''most excruciating and uncomfortable hour of my life.'' After Weinstein offered her career help, she said, he began to boast about his sexual liaisons with other women, including famous actresses. ''He said, 'You know, we could have a lot of fun,' '' Nestor recalled. ''I could put you in my London office, and you could work there and you could be my girlfriend.'' She declined. He asked to hold her hand; she said no. In Nestor's account of the exchange, Weinstein said, ''Oh, the girls always say no. You know, 'No, no.' And then they have a beer or two and then they're throwing themselves at me.'' In a tone that Nestor described as ''very weirdly proud,'' Weinstein added ''that he'd never had to do anything like Bill Cosby.'' She assumed that he meant he'd never drugged a woman. ''It's just a bizarre thing to be so proud of,'' she said. ''That you've never had to resort to doing that. It was just so far removed from reality and normal rules of consent.''
''Textbook sexual harassment'' was how Nestor described Weinstein's behavior to me. ''It's a pretty clear case of sexual harassment when your superior, the C.E.O., asks one of their inferiors, a temp, to have sex with them, essentially in exchange for mentorship.'' She recalled refusing his advances at least a dozen times. '' 'No' did not mean 'no' to him,'' she said. ''I was very aware of how inappropriate it was. But I felt trapped.''
Throughout the breakfast, she said, Weinstein interrupted their conversation to yell into his cell phone, enraged over a spat that Amy Adams, a star in the Weinstein movie ''Big Eyes,'' was having in the press. Afterward, Weinstein told Nestor to keep an eye on the news cycle, which he promised would be spun in his favor. Later in the day, there were indeed negative news items about his opponents, and Weinstein stopped by Nestor's desk to be sure that she'd seen them.
By that point, Nestor recalled, ''I was very afraid of him. And I knew how well connected he was. And how if I pissed him off then I could never have a career in that industry.'' Still, she told the friend who referred her to the job about the incident, and he alerted the company's office of human resources, which contacted her. (The friend did not respond to a request for comment.) Nestor had a conversation with company officials about the matter but didn't pursue it further: the officials said that Weinstein would be informed of anything she told them, a practice not uncommon in smaller businesses. Several former Weinstein employees told me that the company's human-resources department was utterly ineffective; one female executive described it as ''a place where you went to when you didn't want anything to get done. That was common knowledge across the board. Because everything funnelled back to Harvey.'' She described the department's typical response to allegations of misconduct as ''This is his company. If you don't like it, you can leave.''
Nestor told me that some people at the company did seem concerned. Irwin Reiter, a senior executive who had worked for Weinstein for almost three decades, sent her a series of messages via LinkedIn. ''We view this very seriously and I personally am very sorry your first day was like this,'' Reiter wrote. ''Also if there are further unwanted advances, please let us know.'' Last year, just before the Presidential election, he reached out again, writing, ''All this Trump stuff made me think of you.'' He described Nestor's experience as part of Weinstein's serial misconduct. ''I've fought him about mistreatment of women 3 weeks before the incident with you. I even wrote him an email that got me labelled by him as sex police,'' he wrote. ''The fight I had with him about you was epic. I told him if you were my daughter he would have not made out so well.'' (Reiter declined to comment, but his lawyer, Debra Katz, confirmed the authenticity of the messages and said that Reiter had made diligent efforts to raise these issues, to no avail. Katz also said that Reiter ''is eager to co¶perate fully with any outside investigation.'')
Though no assault occurred, and Nestor completed her temporary placement, she was profoundly affected by the incident. ''I was definitely traumatized for a while, in terms of feeling so harassed and frightened,'' she said. ''It made me feel incredibly discouraged that this could be something that happens on a regular basis. I actually decided not to go into entertainment because of this incident.''
Emma de Caunes, a French actress, met Weinstein in 2010, at a party at the Cannes Film Festival. A few months later, he asked her to a lunch meeting at the H´tel Ritz in Paris. In the meeting, Weinstein told de Caunes that he was going to be producing a movie with a prominent director, that he planned to shoot it in France, and that it had a strong female role. It was an adaptation of a book, he said, but he claimed he couldn't remember the title. ''But I'll give it to you,'' Weinstein said, according to de Caunes. ''I have it in my room.''
De Caunes replied that she had to leave, since she was already running late for a TV show she was hosting'--Eminem was appearing on the show that afternoon, and she hadn't written her questions yet. Weinstein pleaded with her to retrieve the book with him, and finally she agreed. As they got to his room, she received a telephone call from one of her colleagues, and Weinstein disappeared into a bathroom, leaving the door open. She assumed that he was washing his hands.
''When I hung up the phone, I heard the shower go on in the bathroom,'' she said. ''I was, like, What the fuck, is he taking a shower?'' Weinstein came out, naked and with an erection. ''What are you doing?'' she asked. Weinstein demanded that she lie on the bed and told her that many other women had done so before her.
''I was very petrified,'' de Caunes said. ''But I didn't want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited.'' She added, ''It was like a hunter with a wild animal. The fear turns him on.'' De Caunes told Weinstein that she was leaving, and he panicked. ''We haven't done anything!'' she remembered him saying. ''It's like being in a Walt Disney movie!''
De Caunes told me, ''I looked at him and I said'--it took all my courage'--but I said, 'I've always hated Walt Disney movies.' And then I left. I slammed the door.'' She was shaking on the stairs down to the lobby. A director she was working with on the TV show confirmed that she arrived at the studio distraught and that she recounted what had happened. Weinstein called relentlessly over the next few hours, offering de Caunes gifts and repeating that nothing had happened.
De Caunes, who was in her early thirties at the time, was already an established actress, but she wondered what would happen to younger and more vulnerable women in the same situation. Over the years, she said, she's heard similar accounts from friends. ''I know that everybody'--I mean everybody'--in Hollywood knows that it's happening,'' de Caunes said. ''He's not even really hiding. I mean, the way he does it, so many people are involved and see what's happening. But everyone's too scared to say anything.''
One evening in the early nineties, the actress Rosanna Arquette was supposed to meet Weinstein for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up the script for a new film. At the hotel, Arquette was told to meet Weinstein upstairs, in his room.
Arquette recalled that, when she arrived at the room, Weinstein opened the door wearing a white bathrobe. Weinstein said that his neck was sore and that he needed a massage. She told him that she could recommend a good masseuse. ''Then he grabbed my hand,'' she said. He put it on his neck. When she yanked her hand away, she told me, Weinstein grabbed it again and pulled it toward his penis, which was visible and erect. ''My heart was really racing. I was in a fight-or-flight moment,'' she said. She told Weinstein, ''I will never do that.''
Weinstein told her that she was making a huge mistake by rejecting him, and named an actress and a model who he claimed had given in to his sexual overtures and whose careers he said he had advanced as a result. Arquette said she told him, ''I'll never be that girl,'' and left.
Arquette said that after she rejected Weinstein her career suffered. In one case, she believes, she lost a role because of it. ''He made things very difficult for me for years,'' she told me. She did appear in one subsequent Weinstein film, ''Pulp Fiction,'' which she attributes to the small size of the role and Weinstein's deference to the filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino. (Disputes later arose over her entitlement to payment out of the film's proceeds.) Arquette said that her silence was the result of Weinstein's power and reputation for vindictiveness. ''He's going to be working very hard to track people down and silence people,'' she explained. ''To hurt people. That's what he does.''
There are other examples of Weinstein's modus operandi. Jessica Barth, an actress who met Weinstein at a Golden Globes party in January, 2011, told me that Weinstein invited her to a business meeting at the Peninsula. When she arrived, he asked her over the phone to come up to his room. Weinstein assured her it was ''no big deal'''--because of his high profile, he simply wanted privacy to ''talk career stuff.'' In the room, Barth found that Weinstein had ordered champagne and sushi.
Barth said that, in the conversation that followed, he alternated between offering to cast her in a film and demanding a naked massage in bed. ''So, what would happen if, say, we're having some champagne and I take my clothes off and you give me a massage?'' she recalled him asking. ''And I'm, like, 'That's not going to happen.' ''
When she moved toward the door to leave, Weinstein lashed out, saying that she needed to lose weight ''to compete with Mila Kunis,'' and then, apparently in an effort to mollify her, promising a meeting with one of his female executives. ''He gave me her number, and I walked out and I started bawling,'' Barth told me. (Immediately after the incident, she spoke with two individuals who confirmed to me that she related her account to them at the time.) Barth said that the promised meeting at Weinstein's office seemed to be purely a formality. ''I just knew it was bullshit,'' she said. (The executive she met with did not respond to requests for comment.)
Weinstein's behavior deeply affected the day-to-day operations of his company. Current and former Weinstein employees described a pattern of meetings and strained complicity that closely matches the accounts of the many women I interviewed. The employees spoke on condition of anonymity, they said, because of fears about their careers in Hollywood and because of provisos in their work contracts.
''There was a large volume of these types of meetings that Harvey would have with aspiring actresses and models,'' one female executive told me. ''He would have them late at night, usually at hotel bars or in hotel rooms. And, in order to make these women feel more comfortable, he would ask a female executive or assistant to start those meetings with him.'' She said that she was repeatedly asked to join the meetings but refused.
The female executive said that she was especially disturbed by the involvement of other employees. ''It almost felt like the executive or assistant was made to be a honeypot to lure these women in, to make them feel safe,'' she said. ''Then he would dismiss the executive or the assistant, and then these women were alone with him. And that did not feel like it was appropriate behavior or safe behavior.''
One former employee said that she was frequently asked to join for the beginning of meetings that, she said, had in many cases already been moved from day to night and from hotel lobbies to hotel rooms. She said that Weinstein's conduct in the meetings was brazen. During a meeting with a model, the former employee said, he turned to her and demanded, ''Tell her how good of a boyfriend I am.'' She said that when she refused to join one such meeting, Weinstein became enraged. Often, she was asked to keep track of the women, who, in keeping with a practice established by Weinstein's assistants, were all filed under the same label in her phone: F.O.H., which stood for ''Friend of Harvey.'' She said that the pattern of meetings was nearly uninterrupted in her years working for Weinstein. ''I have to say, the behavior did stop for a little bit after the groping thing,'' she said, referring to Ambra Battilana Gutierrez's allegation to the police, ''but he couldn't help himself. A few months later, he was back at it.''
Two staffers who facilitated these meetings said that they felt morally compromised by them. One male former staffer said that many of the women seemed ''not aware of the nature of those meetings'' and ''were definitely scared.'' He said most of the encounters that he saw seemed consensual, but others gave him pause. He was especially troubled by his memory of one young woman: ''You just feel terrible because you could tell this girl, very young, not from our country, was now in a room waiting for him to come up there in the middle of the day, and we were not to bother them.'' He said that he was never asked to facilitate these meetings for men.
None of the former executives or assistants I spoke to quit because of the misconduct, but many expressed guilt and regret about not having said or done more. They spoke about what they believed to be a culture of silence about sexual assault inside Miramax and the Weinstein Company and across the entertainment industry more broadly.
Weinstein and his legal and public-relations teams have conducted a decades-long campaign to suppress these stories. In recent months, that campaign escalated. Weinstein and his associates began calling many of the women in this story. Weinstein asked Argento to meet with a private investigator and give testimony on his behalf. One actress who initially spoke to me on the record later asked that her allegation be removed. ''I'm so sorry,'' she wrote. ''The legal angle is coming at me and I have no recourse.'' Weinstein and his legal team have threatened to sue multiple media outlets, including the New York Times.
Several of the former executives and assistants in this story said that they had received calls from Weinstein in which he attempted to determine if they had talked to me or warned them not to. These employees continued to participate in the article partly because they felt there was a growing culture of accountability, embodied in the relatively recent disclosures about high-profile men like Cosby and Ailes. ''I think a lot of us had thought'--and hoped'--over the years that it would come out sooner,'' the former executive who was aware of the two legal settlements in London told me. ''But I think now is the right time, in this current climate, for the truth.''
The female executive who declined inappropriate meetings told me that her lawyer advised her that she could be exposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits for violating the nondisclosure agreement attached to her employment contract. ''I believe this is more important than keeping a confidentiality agreement,'' she said. ''The more of us that can confirm or validate for these women if this did happen, I think it's really important for their justice to do that.'' She continued, ''I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have stopped it. And this is my way of doing that now.''
''He's been systematically doing this for a very long time,'' the former employee who had been made to act as a ''honeypot'' told me. She said that she often thinks of something Weinstein whispered'--to himself, as far as she could tell'--after one of his many shouting sprees at the office. It so unnerved her that she pulled out her iPhone and tapped it into a memo, word for word: ''There are things I've done that nobody knows.''
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VIDEO - Trump NOT shocked by Harvey Weinstein allegations | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:53
President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he has known movie mogul Harvey Weinstein 'a long time' and that he's 'not surprised' by the revelations he paid eight women money to settle sexual harassment claims over the past three decades.
When asked by a reporter how the Weinstein revelations were different from an Access Hollywood tape in which Trump is overheard saying he grabs women by the genitals, he replied: 'That's locker room. That's locker room.'
The president made the remarks to reporters at the White House on Saturday. They came as the scandal became politically charged with many on the right pointing out Weinstein's links to the Hillary campaign.
Clinton is yet to comment on the scandal but her daughter Chelsea retweeted a series of posts attacking the right for politicizing the Weinstein expose and bringing up his political donations.
President Donald Trump (seen waving to the media on Saturday on the South Lawn of the White House) said that he has known movie mogul Harvey Weinstein 'a long time' and that he's 'not surprised' by the revelations he paid eight women money to settle harassment claims
Trump and his wife, Melania, are seen above with Weinstein (far right) and his wife, Georgina Chapman, in New York in December 2009
Trump's comments about Weinstein were made nearly one year to the day that an audio tape of him bragging about 'grabbing women by the p***y' was leaked.
Trump was overheard using crude language about women while speaking with Billy Bush during a taping of an Access Hollywood segment in 2005.
The 'p***ygate controversy' which erupted during last year's presidential campaign threatened to derail Trump's candidacy.
Trump apologized for the remarks, which he attributed to 'locker room talk'.
Trump's comments were also made one day after Weinstein took an indefinite leave of absence as the co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, the hit-producing Hollywood studio.
When asked by a reporter how the Weinstein revelations were different from an Access Hollywood tape in which Trump is overheard saying he grabs women by the genitals, he replied: 'That's locker room. That's locker room.' Trump is seen on the 2005 Access Hollywood segment with Billy Bush (far right) and Arianne Zucker
In the wake of 'p***ygate,' Bush was fired from his job at NBC. He had been a regular presence on the TODAY show
The New York Times on Thursday published a bombshell story saying that Weinstein paid eight different woman financial settlements following claims of alleged sexual harassment.
Weinstein is on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded while it conducts an investigation into the allegations.
Trump wasn't the only member of his family to weigh in on the Weinstein saga.
Donald Trump Jr. joined the growing number of people calling on Hollywood heavyweights to condemn Weinstein over his decades of sexual harassment on Saturday.
The president's son took to Twitter to first dare Oscars-host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel to comment on the scandal, writing: 'Thoughts on Weinstein? #askingforafriend.'
Kimmel had just poked fun at Donald Trump for complaining about the 'unfunny' late night hosts who constantly berated him.
Donald Trump Jr (left) took to Twitter to first dare Oscars-host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel (right) to comment on the scandal, writing: 'Thoughts on Weinstein? #askingforafriend.'
He swiftly responded to Trump Jr.'s challenge but didn't take exactly take the bait, instead retorting with a quip about how the New York Times - the Trumps' media nemesis - broke the Weinstein story.
'You mean that big story from the failing, liberal, one-sided New York Times? I think it is disgusting,' he responded.
Trump Jr., echoing his father's earlier complaints that Kimmel and other late night show hosts' criticism of their family was becoming repetitive, carried on the spat.
'Great I look forward to your monologues next week. You're probably due for a change if only for a moment or two,' he said.
Ramping up the tone of their exchange, Kimmel fired back with a clip to his father's infamous 2005 Access Hollywood 'grab them by the p***y' tape'.
Kimmel has faced criticism along with fellow late night TV hosts Stephen Colbert, Seth Myers and Jimmy Fallon for not making mention of the Weinstein scandal in their shows this week.
They all rely on Hollywood and television stars to interview in order to draw high ratings.
Kimmel has been vocal in the past about his views on gun control and healthcare reform, dedicating the opening monologue of his show to each issue.
Don. Jr. has been on a mission to convince vocally liberal Hollywood stars to speak out against Weinstein.
Donald Jr, his sister, Ivanka Trump, and Weinstein all reportedly have something else in common - they were spared criminal charges by a Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr (pictured above), who received campaign donations from their attorneys
Weinstein is seen far left with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in New York in 2013
It was reported on Wednesday that in 2012, New York City prosecutors recommended criminal charges against Ivanka and Don Jr (above) for allegedly 'misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell'
Vance declined to pursue criminal charges against the Trump children three months after a meeting with Marc Kasowitz (above), the Trump family attorney. Kasowitz was one of Vance's largest campaign donors
He has found himself on the same side as anti-Trump stars like Patricia Arquette, Lena Dunham, Rose McGowan and Brie Larson who have so far been the only prolific voices in Hollywood to condemn Weinstein's behavior.
Donald Jr, his sister, Ivanka Trump, and Weinstein all reportedly have something else in common - they were spared criminal charges by a Manhattan district attorney who received campaign donations from their attorneys.
It was reported by ProPublica on Wednesday that in 2012, New York City prosecutors recommended criminal charges against Ivanka and Don Jr for allegedly 'misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell.'
But the district attorney, Cyrus Vance, declined to bring charges after he received a visit from the Trumps' lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.
Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance's re-election campaign, making him one of the largest donors.
Three months after Kasowitz asked Vance to drop the case, the DA obliged.
On Thursday, International Business Times reported that Vance declined to press sexual assault charges against Weinstein in 2015 after a complaint by an Italian model.
Months later, Vance received $10,000 in campaign donations from David Boies, Weinstein's lawyer.
'David Boies has been a supporter of the District Attorney since long before 2015, including before he was first elected, and has never spoken to him about Harvey Weinstein,' a spokesperson for Boies told IBT.
A spokesperson for Vance also denied any impropriety.
'David Boies did not represent Harvey Weinstein in 2015 during the criminal investigation,' Joan Vollero, communications director for Vance, told IBT in an email.
Meanwhile, many conservatives on the internet have seized on the Weinstein scandal because of his known political affiliations with the Democratic Party.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and several Democratic politicians including Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer said Friday they will re-route Weinstein's political donations to women's rights groups.
'The DNC will donate over $30,000 in contributions from Weinstein to EMILY's List, Emerge America and Higher Heights because what we need is more women in power,' DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.
Weinstein was also a prominent supporter of the Democratic nominee for president, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The movie mogul hosted numerous fundraisers for Clinton and former President Barack Obama.
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, broke silence on Saturday on the Weinstein sexual harassment allegations by sharing a lengthy Twitter thread attacking reports that have attempted to politicize the Hollywood scandal.
Without making a formal confirmation, the former First Daughter turned businesswoman appeared to also support the reports bashing Weinstein after news erupted this week claiming the movie mogul had been paying off his accusers for decades.
Clinton took to Twitter this afternoon to retweet a seven-part thread published by ThinkProgress editor, Judd Legum, which detailed Weinstein's 'despicable' behavior addressed into detail in a New York Times report.
Meanwhile, many conservatives on the internet have seized on the Weinstein scandal because of his known political affiliations with the Democratic Party. Weinstein was a major fundraiser and supporter of Hillary Clinton (seen above with Weinstein in New York in 2012)
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and several Democratic politicians including Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer said Friday they will re-route Weinstein's political donations to women's rights groups. Weinstein is seen second from left with then-Senators Barack Obama (far left), Frank Lautenberg, and Schumer
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, broke the ice Saturday on the Weinstein sexual harassment allegations by sharing a lengthy Twitter thread attacking reports that have attempted to politicize the Hollywood scandal
Clinton took to Twitter this afternoon to retweet a seven-part thread published by ThinkProgress editor, Judd Legum, which detailed Weinstein's 'despicable' behavior addressed into detail in a New York Times report
Legum wrote: Weinstein's conduct, as documented in the NYT, is despicable ... Also despicable, are those that are using the story exclusively as a political narrative, with no actual concern for the victims or issue.
'Core issue here is not Weinstein's political donations, but the powerful in Hollywood who knew about the conduct but stayed silent,' Legum said.
'It's an issue of powerful institutions protecting predatory men. If you care about this, you'll talk about that.'
He then continued: 'Instead it's being absorbed by the right into their slime machine ... This isn't just an effort to weaponize it politically against 'liberals.' It's also an effort to distract from the actual discussion.
'FACT: Most of the folks talking about Weinstein on the far right don't even believe sexual harassment is a problem.'
Before bringing attention to Legum's stance on the investigative claims, Clinton shared a tweet from one of Weinstein's newest accusers - former Fox News anchor, Lauren Sivan.
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