End of Show Mixes: - UKPMX - Gx2 -Oh My Bosh - Danny Loos-Secret Agent Paul-Stepford Wives-PlaceBoing- Dave Courbanou - Able Kirby - Jungle Jones - Chris Wilson - Tom Starkweather - Conan Salada - Future Trash - Phantomville Billy Bon3s
I n 1950, 300 Chicagoans installed a new box that allowed them to order movies directly onto their televisions by calling the Zenith Radio Corporation. Phonevision subscribers paid $1 '' worth about $10 today '' for the device to unscramble offerings such as ''Pride of the Yankees'' or ''Bambi.'' This early experimental service not only pioneered video-on-demand, it marked the first time that a content provider knew exactly what an individual household was watching.
Today, many of our video services '-- whether delivered via Smart TVs (which are essentially televisions linked to the Internet), cable and satellite providers, or through on-demand streaming devices such as Apple TV '-- can know and track what we watch over time. This ability is turning all televisions '' as well as computers and smart phones '-- into digital-age megaphones announcing our viewing habits every second.
''One hundred percent of people I have ever spoken to about this issue have gotten weirded out when I talk about what is capable.''
Most people have learned that advertisers track their activity on the Internet. If we search for a pair of shoes or a vacation destination, related messages follow us for days. Yet few consumers realize that their televisions and related accessories know '-- and share '-- a great deal of data about them in increasingly sophisticated ways.
''It's like a Trojan horse. I bring this TV into my house and it literally is keeping track of everything I am watching,'' says Bob Meyers, a New York-based executive who has previously served as president of media at Playboy, CNBC's senior vice president of primetime programming, and head of the research and analytics subsidiary of TiVo, TRA.
''One hundred percent of people I have ever spoken to about this issue have gotten weirded out when I talk about what is capable, even though I say 'Oh, it is all unidentifiable because your personal information is not being recorded, it is just your viewing patterns,'' Meyers said. ''And they look at you like '' 'you expect me to believe that?'''
The situation has become concerning enough that the Federal Trade Commission is planning a conference on the topic for later this year. ''The golden age of television has arrived with the golden age of television tracking,'' the agency noted in its description of the meeting, scheduled for December.
For the most part, TV-related businesses '-- like companies advertising online '-- say they are simply grappling with how best to harness the power of big data without upsetting the customers whose information they seek. ''A lot of us are learning on the fly,'' says Adam Lowy, general manager of advanced television at DISH Network. ''It is a different world than it was five years ago.''
F or most of television's history broadcasters had no idea what programs any specific individual might be watching. They sent signals over the air which home receivers converted into television pictures. In their early years, cable companies also transmitted on a one-way path.
The initial Phonevision experiment in 1950 lasted only 90 days and subsequent efforts by the company never really caught on. In any case, they only knew when someone ordered a pay-per-view movie, not when the household was watching ''The Lone Ranger'' on regular TV.
In the 1970s, several companies sought to capitalize on two-way television. In 1977 in Columbus, Ohio, Warner Communications rolled out the first U.S. interactive television system , with 30 channels, including ten pay-per-view, in a costly experiment called QUBE.
Another service introduced in 1978 in Los Angeles called SelecTV offered impulse pay-per-view programming. To buy a program, subscribers pressed a green button on the set-top box which authorized the unscrambling of the signal and stored details of the purchased program. Once a month, each SelecTV set-top box automatically communicated with a company central computer using a telephone device built into the set-top box, and sent in a list of viewed programs for billing.
''Half of my friends told me I was crazy because no one would buy pay-television services because they got television free, and the other half thought I was going to put commercial television out of business,'' recalls Robert Block, 88, the company's founder.
Two-way cable TV communications via set-top boxes eventually became more common, principally to save money by not sending all programming down the pipe all the time but also to expand offerings such as pay-per-view and to thwart piracy. These new back-channels for data also allowed cable operators to sell what is called set-top box viewership data '-- a business that has grown significantly over the past decade.
With such data, cable providers remove the subscriber's name but may leave in other details such as a computer IP address before sending it to a data broker, whose big players include Experian and Acxiom. These companies, in turn, figure out to whom the data belongs and append details such as demographic information and shopping histories. Companies engage in this elaborate data dance to comply with a 1984 law on cable television. But the end result is akin to a nurse asking a patient to strip down and put on a hospital gown, only to have the doctor see everything anyway.
Bill Livek, president and executive vice chairman of comScore, a leading audience measurement company which does such matching, emphasizes that individual consumer information data is long gone by the time companies decide ad placement, and at no time is personally identifiable information available commercially. The process is more like making soup, he says, where different ingredients are blended together. ''You put salt in, and the salt disappears.''
Still, the result of all this data science are reports segmenting different households into large groups of like-minded consumers so that anyone from a political party to a luxury car maker can easily find potentially receptive audiences. ''You can merge auto registration info with set-top box viewing information and then you can start looking at what television shows have a high propensity of folks that may currently own a competitive make and model,'' Livek says. ''So you can target in on those programs.''
Data sales are not universal among the 660 U.S. cable companies. Some operators do not want to license their information to others, do not have the technology, or have privacy concerns about harvesting it.
The leading audience measurement company, Nielsen, has long relied not only on bulk data from millions of viewers but on a representative sample of the U.S. population. Much as pollsters forecast elections by surveying far fewer voters than the total electorate, Nielsen now tracks about 100,000 TV sets and 50,000 TV-connected devices in roughly 40,000 households, which receive incentives for participating.
Late last year, a new rival, Symphony Advanced Media, started paying a panel of 15,000 people $5 to $13 to download an app that tracks not only TV viewing, but media consumption across social, mobile and PC platforms, says Charles Buchwalter, the company president. They found one unexpected trend: Many people consume multiple sources of the media simultaneously, such as perusing Facebook, sending tweets and watching TV at the same time.
Representative audience sampling has a long history, yet in the era of big data, TV manufacturers, cable, satellite and streaming content providers are increasingly seeking new insights by studying millions of viewers rather than relatively small panels. ''What we know from our subscribers is much richer than what one might get from panels or Nielsen,'' says Adam Lowy of DISH Network. ''There is nothing more powerful than knowing what is going on in that machine.'' (Nielsen is at least partially convinced: In April they announced a long-term deal to buy data from DISH).
DISH is also a pioneer in targeting some broadcast ads to individuals based on what they know from outside sources. For example, a Walgreen's loyalty card member who subscribes to DISH might see a relevant ad from the pharmacy chain, Lowy says. In another recent campaign, the satellite operator aired a mortgage company ad for renters but not homeowners.
S mart TVs, whose popularity has grown dramatically in the past decade, are likely to fuel another dramatic expansion in data collection. That's because they can log not only video from cable or satellite, but Netflix, Amazon, Roku and other sources that have been reluctant to share their viewership data with others.
''Nielsen might be enough for some companies, others might be looking for different sources,'' says Nick Colsey, the vice president of business development Sony Electronics who helped introduce the first Sony Smart TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2007. ''We think the TV is a data source that hasn't been exploited seriously up to now, and now it can be.''
Vizio has led the way in Smart TV data gathering, and wrote enthusiastically about the business potential in an October 2015 filing for an initial public offering. ''Our Inscape data services capture, in real time, up to 100 billion anonymized viewing data points each day from our over 8 million VCUs,'' it wrote. ''Inscape collects, aggregates and stores data regarding most content displayed on VCU television screens, including content from cable and satellite providers, streaming devices and gaming consoles.''
Smart TV manufacturers can learn what their customers watch by adding special hardware to the set and partnering with companies specializing in automatic content recognition, a process that occurs via audio fingerprinting. This method identifies unique patterns in audio and/or video signals seen on a TV screen '' whether from traditional broadcasters or a streaming source such as Hulu '-- and compares them with a central database of fingerprints.
A second possible technique, watermarking, places a video or audio signal into about every second of a program '-- perceptible only to their software. Because watermarking requires the cooperation of a broadcaster, it is more cumbersome and incomplete. They are not yet widely used by Smart TVs, but are employed by Nielsen in its viewing meters, according to industry officials.
Amid criticisms, many TV manufacturers and content providers would rather keep quiet about how they use customer data.
Such techniques require extensive computer processing. Chicago-based 4C Insights monitors over 2,100 channels in 76 countries, and rents a small space in 210 U.S. cities to relay local television feeds to their data center in New Jersey, says Mark Green, the chief operating officer. Some content needs manual human review, which occurs in the Netherlands and in India. The ultimate goal of such efforts is to target and synchronize advertising across television, smart phone, tablets and other devices.
TV manufacturers still face challenges in drawing conclusions from the data they collect. To start with, many homes own a mix of Smart and older TVs that do not transmit data. In addition, each manufacturer only knows what owners of its televisions see and does not know if mom, dad or the kids are watching.
''The part about Smart TVs and collecting data '-- they are evidently capable of collecting data, but they have the same issue that the cable operators have in that they don't know the who,'' says
Scott Brown, Nielsen's senior vice president of engineering and strategic relations.
Advertisers could learn a lot more if different manufacturers pooled their data. ''It's a beautiful technology; it's more elegant than set-top data,'' says Bill Harvey, an industry innovator who has worked in media and advertising research since the early 1970s. ''But the logical stuff isn't happening '-- the assembly of all of the data into one cooperative, which would be such a natural.''
N ot surprisingly , some aspects of this brave new world of viewer measurement have stirred concern '' when and if the public learns about them. Vizio faces a spate of lawsuits after customers realized that their sets automatically share detailed viewing histories '-- programs watched, what time of day, channels etc. '-- unless they opt out of ''Smart Interactivity.'' Some Smart TV makers do ask buyers to opt into sharing data, which they might call something confusing such as ''SyncPlus'' or ''Live Plus.''
Samsung also faced an outcry last February amid concerns that its voice recognition feature could record private conversations. The policy said: ''Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.'' The company later issued a statement declaring: ''Samsung Smart TVs Do Not Monitor Living Room Conversations.''
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wrote a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on the issue. The group is also concerned more broadly about growing data gathering related to television and video viewing. ''The information that these companies are able to glean '... is all very sensitive data,'' says Claire Gartland, EPIC's consumer protection counsel. ''It produces a very intimate portrayal of a person.''
Amid such criticisms many TV manufacturers and content providers would rather keep quiet about how they use customer data. Executives from LG, Samsung, Vizio, Comcast, Cox, Cablevision, Hulu, Netflix, Time Warner and PBS, as well as several companies involved in automatic content recognition including Gracenote, declined or did not respond to interview requests for this article. Experian and Acxiom also did not share details.
With customer tracking increasingly common across the Internet as well as television, some experts say that openness and choice is the best and perhaps only viable long-term strategy.
''There are ways of doing this where you don't lose the public trust, where you offer a full disclosure, you offer consumer choice, you don't try to trick them in any way, you tell them what you are going to do with the data,'' says industry veteran Bill Harvey. ''If you do anything else it is certainly immoral, if not illegal.''
Adam Tanner is a fellow at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science and author of ''What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data '-- Lifeblood of Big Business '-- and the End of Privacy as We Know It,'' which came out in paperback this month.
The simplicity of dropping Google in 2018 - macwright.org
A few months ago, I stopped using Google for everything personal: I switched from Gmail to FastMail for mail and calendars, and that was the end of the era.
I remember how incredible Gmail was in the early days - I signed up when it was still 'in testing' around 2005 and you needed an invite code to get in. All of the previous systems had such low quotas that you'd constantly delete mail. The search functionality was so bad that you'd have to organize everything manually. And for a while, every new Google product was genre-defining: Google Calendar freed us from desktop software, Google Code was GitHub before GitHub, Google Docs changed the default mode of working.
But slowly, and without intention, I left it all behind: they shut down Google Reader, and I switched to Feedly. GitHub replaced Google Code. I switched from Google Search to DuckDuckGo. From Docs to Dropbox Paper, iA Writer, and Notion. From Picasa to Flickr and a simple folder of images. Google Analytics grew obtuse and unusable, so I switched to gaug.es, and then eventually removed analytics from all my sites. Google Groups, once a forum for discussion, has been overtaken by Discourse, Slack, and GitHub Issues.
Switching off of Google in 2018 is easy because you've probably abandoned most of their products anyway, and the ones you're still using are stagnating.
Case in point is Gmail, the last thing on my list. The new paint job they released this week is the first in years, and still doesn't answer the question of whether Gmail or Inbox is the future.
FastMail isn't perfect - the spam filter is less accurate than Google's, the mobile app a little less slick. And the transfer from Gmail was slow - but mostly because of Gmail's unbelievably low rate limits. In all other ways, it's an excellent - and better - product.
Which is the pattern: alternatives to Google services aren't half-baked knock-offs, they tend to be superior. Google Reader was great, but Feedly is a more polished, better-maintained product. During their co-existence, there was just no comparison between Google Code and GitHub: GitHub was the better product.
I didn't expect it to turn out that way: if Gmail had improved at the same pace from 2009 to 2018 as it had from 2004 to 2009, it would be unbeatable.
Not about securityWhen I've mentioned FastMail to folks, a lot of them are interested in the security implications. Email security is complex, and, frankly, it wasn't one of my motivating factors. As FastMail has written themselves, they don't support PGP, which is the only popular method of end-to-end email encryption. Which makes sense to me: PGP is renowned for terrible usability and hacked-together workflows.
FastMail has other, excellent security standards. They probably don't take part in intelligence-gathering for nation-states, like Google did with PRISM. There are reasons to feel positive. But, practically, you're going to write an email to your uncle with an AT&T account who undoubtedly uses a 5-character dictionary word password, and you'll need to consider that message as a public artifact.
So '' if you're thinking about taking the leap, now's a pretty good time to try out life without Google: the alternatives are strong and switching isn't too painful. The Google Dashboard is arguably one of their best-maintained products, and it's your ticket out - it's the interface that lets you download and delete your data from Google.
Judge blocks publication of plans for 3D printed plastic guns - Sky News
Campaigners say free access to easily manufactured plastic weapons will prevent authorities controlling the use of firearms.
By Philip Whiteside, news reporter
04:34, UK, Wednesday 01 August 2018
A judge has blocked the publication of blueprints for parts of a gun that can be made by a 3D printer and, it is claimed, would be undetectable.
The Trump administration had previously given the go-ahead for the online publication of the plans, which show how to make a firearm from printable parts.
The gun's components can be made with a printer that uses plastic instead of ink. Layers of plastic are built up until they make three-dimensional plastic pieces.
The company behind the plans, Defense Distributed, reached an agreement with the federal government in June allowing it to make the plans for the guns available for download, starting this week.
Image: A 3D printed gun that has been fired is displayed at the Science Museum
It would have allowed anyone with access to a printer to potentially build a lethal weapon, which opponents say cannot be seen by a metal detector or tracked to a licence holder.
But US District Judge Robert Lasnik has now issued an order that prevents that, for now.
The right to access the blueprints was originally forbidden by the State Department after the printable gun was invented in 2013 by a gun-rights activist Cody Wilson.
A four-year legal battle followed between digital weapons publisher Defense Distributed, pro-gun activists the Second Amendment Foundation and the federal government, which concluded with a surprise decision that US citizens can "access... use and reproduce" the plans.
Video: US students in mass walkout over gun controls
It has been reported that, although the blueprints were supposed to be made available from Wednesday, they were released early and have already been downloaded thousands of times.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said that if President Trump did not block sale, blood was "going to be on his hands".
The US president appeared to agree with the concerns when he tweeted he was "looking into" the issue of the guns and had spoken to the National Rifle Association about it.
He added that it didn't "seem to make much sense!".
Video: Scientists invent handheld 3D skin printer
Other Republicans have also expressed concern, with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski tweeting: "Even as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment - this is not right."
Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson had announced on Monday that he would be suing the State Department to get it to change its mind on the so-called "ghost guns".
In a statement, Mr Ferguson said: "These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history."
The NRA said in a statement that "anti-gun politicians" and some members of the news media had been wrongly claiming 3D printing technology would "allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms."
Video: Boy gets kidney transplant thanks to 3D printing
A 1988 federal law - drafted with NRA support - barred the manufacture, sale or possession of an undetectable firearm.
But Eric Soskin, a lawyer for the US Justice Department, told Tuesday's federal hearing in Seattle, the government had reached a settlement with Defense Distributed because the regulations were designed to restrict weapons that could be used in war, and the online guns were no different from the weapons that could be bought in a store.
Democrats Sound The Alarm Over 'Ghost Guns' After Courts Declare Them Legal | The Daily Caller
Senate Democrats are expressing outrage over a settled lawsuit allowing Americans access to detailed firearms blueprints, which will enable a roadmap to designs that can be recreated with a 3-D printer at home.
The lawsuit was brought about after Cody Wilson, founder of the nonprofit digital publishing firm Defense Distributed, sued the U.S. Department of State for infringing on his First Amendment rights.
Defense Distributed published the blueprints for the Liberator, a plastic single-shot pistol, in 2013. The blueprint was downloaded more than 100,000 times before the State Department demanded its removal, citing violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
The Department of Justice settled the lawsuit, which was finalized in June, permitting Americans the ability to ''access, discuss, use, reproduce or otherwise benefit from the technical data.'' (RELATED: The Government Will Allow Gun Designs To Be Distributed Online, A Blow To Gun Control Efforts)
Senate Democrats are up in arms over the decision and urging both the State Department and the Department of Justice to intervene.
''I am sounding an alarm that come Aug. 1, America is going to get a lot less safe when it comes to the gut-wrenching epidemic of gun violence,'' Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. ''Ghost guns are not only scary, they're outright dangerous in the way they can mimic the look and the capacity of a hardened, fully semi-automatic weapon.''
''This decision to allow ghost gun blueprints to go unchecked across the internet will come back to haunt the feds and cost lives,'' Schumer continued. However, it is unclear what constitutes a ''fully semi-automatic'' weapon.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida tweeted a copy of a letter written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticizing the settlement and ''demanding answers.''
The Trump administration is reversing a rule that banned people from posting instructions on how to make a fully-functioning gun at home with a 3D printer. DOJ will allow people to start posting these blueprints Aug 1st. This is a dangerous decision and we are demanding answers. pic.twitter.com/9GSoka37Ju
'-- Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) July 25, 2018
The letter called the decision ''inconsistent with DOJ's previous position and is as dangerous as it is confounding.'' It was signed by four other senators in addition to Nelson.
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on him to urgently reconsider the Department's position.
''It is hard to see how making it easier for criminal and terrorist organizations to obtain untraceable weapons is in the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States,'' Menendez wrote Wednesday. ''Moreover, the domestic risk cannot be understated, especially with the high rates of gun violence in our schools, churches, clubs and public gathering places.''
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Gun Advocates to Post 3-D Weapon Plans on New Site - WSJ
Updated Aug. 1, 2018 9:35 p.m. ETHours after a federal judge forced a group in Texas to remove online blueprints for 3-D printed firearms on Tuesday, gun-rights groups in California said they were publishing the files on a separate website.
The Firearms Policy Coalition and other groups pulled the plans off the website of pro-gun group Defense Distributed before the court order and are now sharing those same files on a new site, said Craig DeLuz, a spokesman for the group.
Hours after a federal judge forced a group in Texas to remove online blueprints for 3-D printed firearms on Tuesday, gun-rights groups in California said they were publishing the files on a separate website.
The Firearms Policy Coalition and other groups pulled the plans off the website of pro-gun group Defense Distributed before the court order and are now sharing those same files on a new site, said Craig DeLuz, a spokesman for the group.
''This is a free-speech case,'' said Mr. DeLuz. ''There is no law prohibiting the online publication of this information.''
U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday to eight states seeking to block Defense Distributed from posting the files online, writing that the proliferation of 3-D printed guns would have many negative effects. Defense Distributed complied with the order and pulled its files off its website.
The court case followed a settlement between Defense Distributed and the U.S. State Department that allowed the files to be posted. The State Department had included the design files on a list of munitions subject to export controls, barring their distribution. Defense Distributed fought back in court, arguing among other things that it was violation of free-speech rights. The State Department settled the case, reversing its position and allowing the files to be posted.
Gun-control advocates said the files would enable individuals to avoid background checks by using 3-D printers to make guns at home.
On Tuesday, Judge Lasnik wrote in his seven-page ruling that if an injunction isn't issued, ''the proliferation of these firearms will have many of the negative impacts on a state level that the federal government once feared on the international stage.''
Judge Lasnik wrote that the government ''shall preserve the status quo'' as if ''the modification had not occurred and the letter had not been issued'' that allowed Defense Distributed to post the blueprints.
''After yesterday's order, federal firearm import and export laws once again prohibit the distribution of these downloadable gun files,'' said Bob Ferguson, Washington state's attorney general, who won the order on behalf of the states. ''Anyone who posts downloadable guns to the internet is violating federal law.''
Mr. DeLuz said his group wasn't party to that legal action'--and that no law prevents the group from posting the files. ''We're going to dare these eight attorneys general to challenge us,'' said Mr. DeLuz.
By the end of the day Wednesday, the California gun-rights groups' website was offline. Mr. DeLuz said the site was shut down after Amazon Web Services sent a message saying the content wasn't in compliance with the temporary restraining order.
Amazon declined to comment.
''We will definitely be putting the site back up,'' said Mr. DeLuz.
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Glasses always needed
Paul Manafort's Trial Is About More Than Him or Mueller - The Atlantic
The longtime Manafort aide who was a pawn of Russian intelligence.
Barack Obama's White House counsel Greg Craig and his top-drawer law firm, Skadden Arps, abetted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's efforts to smash the political opponents who might get in the way of his thievery. Manafort arranged for the firm to publish a report justifying the arrest of a former Ukrainian prime minister, who had been denied counsel at crucial moments of her trial. (Last April, Craig retired under a cloud of scandal. Another Skadden associate who worked with Manafort has pleaded guilty to misleading Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators.) Tony Podesta, a leading Democratic lobbyist of his generation, has watched his own power firm collapse after Mueller revealed his complicity in Manafort's efforts. These are not stray villains, but representative figures: American law firms play an essential role in protecting global kleptocracy and helping it relocate money to the United States.
Manafort was, of course, the most important enabler of them all. During the decade he spent in Ukraine, he helped a clique of former gangsters seize control of the country's governmental machinery, a feat he achieved by bringing state-of-the-art campaign strategy to a barely developed democracy. He hired a network of former European politicians to apologize for the regime, to whitewash its history of corruption and illiberalism. Back in Washington, Manafort would escort oligarchs around town, taking them to think tanks and meetings with politicians, helping them achieve the legitimacy that they hoped would protect their ill-gotten fortunes.
It doesn't require any imagination to see how money stolen from Ukrainian coffers, money won in rigged privatizations and crony contracts, money obtained after the brutal murder of rivals, ended up with Paul Manafort. Clean money doesn't need to travel through shell companies in Cyprus, unlike the millions that Manafort poured into accounts there. And Manafort allegedly used the same techniques of his dodgy clients to repatriate the money in the United States, taking advantage of gaps in the enforcement of anti-money-laundering laws to sneak cash into the country through real estate, expensive rugs, and tailored suits.
What's increasingly clear is that Manafort also attempted to exploit the Trump campaign with similarly kleptocratic aims. Take the story of Stephen Calk, which has emerged in the course of Mueller's pretrial filings. Calk owns a small Chicago bank. In the summer of 2016, Manafort applied for a loan from the bank'--and the claims in Manafort's loan applications were obviously shaky. According to Mueller, bank officials were quite adamant in expressing their reservations about Manafort's application. But there was apparently a backstory that these officials didn't know. Calk had won a place on Trump's board of economic advisers, one of 13. Mueller's lawyers have said that they plan to prove that Calk landed this official title only after promising Manafort loans. So even as Manafort departed the campaign amid widespread allegations of misdeeds, Calk extended him loan after loan'--$16 million in total. (The loans represented 22 percent of the bank's total equity capital.)
This small tale is just one instance of a larger genre repeated across this administration'--the hints that foreign countries are financing deals that profit the president's own family; the long list of officials (see also: Scott Pruitt, Tom Price) abusing the perquisites of their office. And those stories are just a subset of an even larger narrative still, of an American elite increasingly at home in the ranks of international kleptocracy. Thanks to Robert Mueller, that racket is now on trial.
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Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for
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How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. He is the former editor of
The New Republic
DRAINING THE SWAMP-Mueller's Digging Exposes Culture of Foreign Lobbying and Its Big Paydays - The New York Times
Over the past year, Robert S. Mueller III and the Justice Department have pursued cases both under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and related to foreign influence operations more broadly. Credit J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press WASHINGTON '-- The mandate given to Robert S. Mueller III and his team was broad: to investigate not just Russian election interference but also any related crimes they might unearth. So when this group of seasoned prosecutors began rooting around Washington, they pounced on a ripe target '-- lobbyists taking millions of dollars from foreign governments.
At the trial of Paul Manafort, an unflattering picture has emerged of lawyers, lobbyists and consultants from both political parties winning big paydays for work on behalf of a Kremlin-aligned former Ukrainian strongman. Some spent the money on cars and homes, prosecutors said, and a jacket made of ostrich for Mr. Manafort.
The vigor with which Mr. Mueller has investigated the flows of foreign money from Ukraine, Turkey and other countries into Washington could be as much a part of his legacy as special counsel as whatever he discovers about possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign or presidential obstruction of justice.
The Manafort case is part of a broader inquiry into the lucrative work done on behalf of the former president of Ukraine, Viktor F. Yanukovych, and Mr. Mueller has handed some elements of the investigation to prosecutors in Manhattan. Beyond the special counsel's office, the Justice Department has also recently been pursuing foreign influence cases with greater urgency.
All of this has prompted lobbyists to hunt for advice about how to comply with laws governing that sphere, long viewed as toothless. ''The phone rings much more often with this question than it did two years ago,'' said Tom Spulak, a partner at the King & Spalding law firm who advises on lobbying compliance.
Over the past year, Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department have pursued numerous cases both under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, and related to foreign influence operations more broadly. FARA prosecutions were once almost unheard-of, according to a Justice Department inspector general report: For nearly a half-century, from 1966 until 2015, the department pursued only seven.
In addition to Mr. Manafort, the recent cases include the special counsel's indictments against Russians who disseminated stolen information and used disinformation to influence how Americans perceived the candidates in the 2016 presidential election. Also among them is the complaint against Maria Butina, the Russian accused of acting as a foreign agent and plotting to gain Republican support for pro-Russia policies.
Even the case against Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, included allegations that he had lied to investigators about lobbying work he did on behalf of the Turkish government.
Taken together, the cases shine a light on foreign influence operations that have become deeply embedded in Washington, and the culture of lobbyists who get rich helping their foreign clients affect how laws and policies are made in the capital.
To be sure, federal law enforcement officials took a more aggressive stance on foreign influence before the appointment of Mr. Mueller. They increased enforcement of FARA as part of a move to do ''everything we could to meet the counterintelligence mission of the Justice Department,'' said David Laufman, the former chief of the department's counterintelligence and export control section who oversaw the enforcement surge.
The department began to write more aggressively worded letters to lobbyists seeking information about their work. After receiving letters of inquiry from the Justice Department last year, four Russian news media companies, including RIA Global and RTTV America, have registered as agents of a foreign principal under FARA. In retaliation, Russia passed a law to designate international news media companies as foreign agents.
But because of the intense attention it has drawn, Mr. Mueller's investigation shined a spotlight on the waves of foreign money washing through American politics in a way that the other Justice Department efforts never could.
Image At Paul Manafort's trial, an unflattering picture has emerged of lawyers, lobbyists and consultants winning big paydays for work on behalf of a Kremlin-aligned former Ukrainian strongman. Credit Reuters The number of new primary FARA registrations grew to 102 in 2017 from 69 in 2016, and was on pace to rise again in 2018, according to figures from the Justice Department published by the law firm Holland & Knight.
The first days of Mr. Manafort's trial offered exhibit after exhibit of this lavish world, beginning with his extravagant purchases, including cars, Persian rugs and expensive clothes.
It also revealed bipartisan largess. One 2014 email presented in court on Tuesday showed the Democratic consultant Thomas A. Devine proposing a ''day rate'' of $10,000 to do work in Ukraine on behalf of Mr. Yanukovych, the Russia-aligned former president who was a longtime client of Mr. Manafort.
''You would need to make the travel arrangements, and transfer the $50G before the trip,'' he wrote to Rick Gates, Mr. Manafort's partner for the Ukraine work. ''If you want me to come on Monday and leave Thursday it would be $40G.''
Mr. Devine, who is known as Tad, went on to become the chief strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
In addition to the investigations of Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates, who pleaded guilty in February to numerous financial crimes and became a cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation, Mr. Mueller's team pursued three other investigations into lawyers and lobbyists who did work in Ukraine.
The cases involve Gregory B. Craig, who served as the White House counsel under President Barack Obama before leaving to work for the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Tony Podesta, an influential Washington lobbyist whose brother, John D. Podesta, was chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign; and former Representative Vin Weber, Republican of Minnesota, who joined the lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs after leaving Congress.
None have been charged with any crimes. Mr. Mueller's referral of those cases several months ago to federal prosecutors in New York was revealed in news reports on Tuesday.
Whereas the public once thought of the Justice Department's counterintelligence mission as primarily trying to catch foreign spies seeking to obtain government secrets, the department has made clear in a recent cybercrimes report and congressional testimony that influence has become as great a threat.
The government's case against Ms. Butina, which was not brought under FARA, could be a template for future prosecutions, said a former Justice Department official, who predicted they could spread to influence peddling from Eastern Europe and China as well as Russia.
Ms. Butina was charged with acting as a Russian agent, a more serious crime than a typical FARA violation. The charge allowed prosecutors to impanel a grand jury and issue subpoenas to subjects of investigations '-- tools not available in most FARA inquiries. Bills to give the Justice Department the power to compel records in FARA cases are sitting in Congress but have gained little traction.
The lobbying industry last faced intense scrutiny after the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff was caught up in a sprawling corruption and bribery investigation. He went to jail in 2006 for fraud. That case put a temporary chill on the industry, and some Washington lobbyists made up for lost business with foreign clients trying to exert influence on American politicians.
The Justice Department will continue to pursue foreign influence operations inside the United States, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, vowed last month.
Russian schemes to influence the presidential election, he said, are ''just one tree in a growing forest.''
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CNN: Robert Mueller Refers Tony Podesta Inquiry to Southern District of N.Y.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has referred numerous high profile D.C. lobbyists to federal prosecutors, including befallen Democrat powerbroker Tony Podesta, to probe whether they did work for other governments without registering as foreign agents.CNN reports:
Since the spring, Mueller has referred matters to SDNY involving longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his work for his former firm, the Podesta Group, and former Minnesota Republican Rep. Vin Weber and his work for Mercury Public Affairs, the sources said.
One source said that former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, a former partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, is also part of the inquiry.
None of the entities involved have been charged with wrongdoing, and there is no indication the SDNY inquiry will result in criminal charges.
It's not clear whether they are considered one case or separate matters, these people said, though all involve inquiries into whether the men improperly performed work on behalf of groups associated with Ukraine without registering with the Justice Department as foreign agents.
Federal law requires that an entity representing a foreign political party or government file public reports detailing the relationship.
At least one of the matters, involving Podesta, was referred to SDNY by Mueller's team shortly before the FBI executed searches of Cohen's home, office and hotel room in early April, according to the sources, though there is no sign that the timing was related to the Cohen investigation. It couldn't be determined if the other matters were referred at the same time.
Read the rest of the article here.
Mueller's Star Witness Against Manafort Vanishes; Judge Snaps After Feds Admit They Want to Hide Rick Gates During Trial '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Politics SecurityMueller's Star Witness Against Manafort Vanishes; Judge Snaps After Feds Admit They Want to Hide Rick Gates During TrialIn a shocking admission Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said Rick Gates may not testify in the trial of his former business partner Paul Manafort.
Mr. Gates, who oversaw some of the financial dealings of Mr. Manafort's consulting business, was expected to be a key witness for the government.
But prosecutor Uso Asonye said jurors may not hear from Mr. Gates after all.
''He may testify, he may not,'' Mr. Asonye told Judge T.S. Ellis III.
The revelation sent journalists and others out of the courtroom to report the disclosure.
''That's news to me and about 25 others who scurried out of here like rats on a sinking ship,'' Judge Ellis shot back.
Mr. Asonye attempted to backtrack, telling Judge Ellis that the evidence presented will determine if Mr. Gates' testifies.
That drew a sharp rebuke from Judge Ellis.
On Tuesday, Mr. Manafort's attorneys accused Mr. Gates of being the mastermind behind the crimes lodged against their client. READ MORE:
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Avenatti Targeted in Person by QAnon, the Crazy Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory
Police are investigating a man photographed outside the office of Stormy Daniels's attorney after 'Q,' the theory's leader, sent followers there.Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti is the latest target for supporters of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon, with police investigating a man's appearance near Avenatti's office after the building was mentioned in QAnon posts.
QAnon believers claim that a series of cryptic clues posted to internet forums 4Chan and 8Chan are coming from a high-level Trump administration insider, describing a world where Trump has teamed up with the military to take on a global cabal of powerful elites, celebrities, and pedophiles.
''Q,'' the online poster whose messages make up the basis of the QAnon theory, targeted Avenatti on Sunday by posting a link to Avenatti's website and pictures of his Newport Beach, California, office building.
''Buckle up!'' the post, made on 8Chan, read.
About 45 minutes later, Q posted a picture of a man standing in the street near Avenatti's office. The man, who has his back to the camera, is holding what appears to be a cellphone in one hand and a long, thin object in the other.
Avenatti said that the man in the picture might be holding a shank.
''That's not a set of keys,'' Avenatti told The Daily Beast. ''It also looks like he's wearing a toupee of some sort. And not a very good one, I might add.''
A few minutes after posting the picture of the man, Q posted again, saying the man's appearance at Avenatti's office meant that a ''message'' had been sent.
A spokesperson for the Newport Beach Police Department said police are investigating the man's appearance near Avenatti's office: ''We're just looking into what is categorized as suspicious circumstances.''
Avenatti, who shot to prominence in the media after he started representing Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump, told The Daily Beast that the number of threats against him has quadrupled since he was mentioned in the QAnon posts on Sunday.
''I consider my new prominence among these conspiracy theorists to be a badge of honor, because it shows that many consider me to be a threat to this president, as they should,'' Avenatti said.
If the man outside Avenatti's office is linked to QAnon, it won't be the first time one of the conspiracy theory's believers have taken action in the real world. In June, an armed QAnon adherent allegedly blocked a bridge near the Hoover Dam with an improvised armored truck. Now facing a terrorism charge, the man has attempted to send Trump and other politicians letters filled with QAnon slogans from jail.
What is QAnon? Explaining the bizarre rightwing conspiracy theory | Technology | The Guardian
If you happened to be watching YouTube videos on Monday morning and were struck by an urge to check in on one of America's most beloved movie stars, you were in for a nasty surprise.
''Sarah Ruth Ashcraft says Tom Hanks is a pedophile'', read the title of the top video search result for the actor's name. ''Tom Hanks' Alleged 'Sex Slave' Speaks Out'', read another top search result.
Indeed, the top five results '' and eight out of the top 14 '' were variations on the pedophilia theme, interspersed with the hashtags #QAnon, #Pizzagate and #Pedogate.
These bizarre results, first spotted by the NBC reporter Ben Collins, are not the result of the latest #MeToo era investigation reporting. Instead, they are the entirely unsubstantiated manifestation of a sprawling rightwing conspiracy theory known as QAnon.
Here's our best effort at explaining what you do '' and don't '' need to know about QAnon.
Meet QOn 28 October 2017, ''Q'' emerged from the primordial swamp of the internet on the message board 4chan. In a thread called ''Calm Before the Storm'', and in subsequent posts, Q established his legend as a government insider with top security clearance who knew the truth about a secret struggle for power involving Donald Trump, the ''deep state'', Robert Mueller, the Clintons, pedophile rings, and other stuff.
Imagine a mix of Pizzagate, InfoWars and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, multiplied by the power of the internet
Since then, Q has continued to drop ''breadcrumbs'' on 4chan and 8chan, fostering a ''QAnon'' community devoted to decoding Q's messages and understanding the real truth about, well, everything.
What do followers of QAnon believe? It's hard to say. The conspiracy theory is generally pro-Trump and anti-''deep state'', but it is not exactly coherent, and '' like many conspiracy theories '' is flexible enough to adapt to any new developments that might disprove it.
New York magazine and the Daily Beast have written articles explaining more of the basic beliefs of QAnon, but chances are that the more you read about it, the more confused you will be. Imagine a volatile mix of Pizzagate, InfoWars and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, multiplied by the power of the internet and with an extra boost from a handful of conservative celebrities.
So celebrities believe in QAnon? Before she was fired from her own sitcom for her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, Roseanne Barr raised eyebrows with a series of tweets that invoked QAnon. Barr's tweets focused on the supposed existence of hundreds of pedophile rings, including in Hollywood, that Trump is personally breaking up.
Another high-profile QAnon is Curt Schilling, the former Major League Baseball pitcher who now hosts a podcast for Breitbart.
Does anyone else believe in QAnon? Yes, but it's not clear how popular it actually is. Joseph Uscinski, a University of Miami professor who studies conspiracy theories, said by phone that QAnon remains a ''fringe'' belief held by ''a very small number of people''. ''Don't confuse the popularity of this with the popularity of Kennedy assassination theories,'' he said.
Most QAnon followers are Trump supporting evangelicals, Uscinski said, who are predisposed to believe a pro-Trump, anti-liberal narrative. Uscinski also cautioned against treating QAnon followers as any more gullible than other people.
''People believe all sorts of crazy stuff,'' he said. ''We shouldn't come at this from the standpoint that most people believe sane stuff and this is just crazy. Like all conspiracy theories, this has a foot in reality.''
The idea that the ''deep state'' is working to take down Trump might be far-fetched, he said, but chances are there were many government bureaucrats who did not welcome his presidency. As for accusing beloved stars like Hanks of being pedophiles:
''Bill Cosby was America's dad,'' Uscinski pointed out. ''Now it turns out he's a serial rapist. So how much should we be blaming people for thinking 'Hey, maybe there's something beneath the surface?'''
Does any of this really matter? Sort of. Not because it's true, but because people who believe it's true might act on that belief.
People respond very strongly to the threat of sexual violence against children. In 2016, a Washington DC pizza restaurant became collateral damage in the #Pizzagate conspiracy theory. The fear of satanic sex abuse rings in the late 1980s led to many criminal convictions, with some of the accused only being exonerated after serving years in prison.
Indeed, there have already been some incidents where QAnon followers have taken their search for pedophiles into the real world.
''We need to be really careful, because we have a history of witch-hunts,'' said Uscinski.
Can we get back to the part about YouTube? Sure. Here's the part about YouTube.
For years now, YouTube has been a quagmire of conspiracy theories, the more outrageous and thinly sourced the better. Under pressure from the mainstream media for the platform's tendency to promote inflammatory and false information in the aftermath of mass shootings and other breaking news events, YouTube has introduced reforms that it claims will promote more ''authoritative'' news sources.
A YouTube spokesperson provided a statement that did not directly address the Guardian's questions about the Hanks videos, but noted that the company's work to ''better surface and promote news and authoritative sources'' is ''still in its early stages''.
By Monday afternoon, hours after the Guardian first queried YouTube, the search results for ''Tom Hanks'' had reverted to videos of the actor's appearances on various talk shows. Search for ''Tom Hanks pedophile'', however, and you're back in the world of QAnon.
Prosecutors: Rosenstein gave Mueller OK to probe, indict Manafort - POLITICO
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has sometimes been the focus of President Donald Trump's ire. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
The new disclosures come in response to a motion Manafort's lawyers filed asking to have the criminal charges pending against him thrown out.
President Donald Trump's No. 2 appointee at the Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein, specifically authorized special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and approved his indictment, prosecutors said in a court filing late Monday night.
Some Trump allies have suggested that by pursuing charges of money laundering, tax fraud and unregistered foreign lobbying against Manafort, Mueller is straying from his core mission of probing alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia prior to the 2016 election.
Story Continued Below
However, Mueller's team submitted a previously undisclosed memo to a federal court in Washington showing that a few months after Mueller was appointed last May, Rosenstein gave him explicit authority to target Manafort over the financial aspects of his lobbying work for the Ukrainian government '-- in addition to allegations he was linked to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"The May 17, 2017 [appointment] order was worded categorically in order to permit its release without confirming specific investigations involving specific individuals," Rosenstein wrote in the Aug. 2, 2017 memo. "The following allegations were within the scope of the Investigation at the time of your appointment and are within the scope of the Order: ... Allegations that Paul Manafort: Committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government's efforts to interfere with the 2016 election for President of the United States, in violation of United States law. Committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych."
Large chunks of the text of the three-page "scope" memo placed in public court files Monday were blacked out because they contain classified and sensitive law enforcement information, prosecutors said. However, those portions appear to identify various subjects and topics Mueller was authorized to investigate at the outset of the investigation.
Prosecutors also said Rosenstein '-- who has sometimes been the focus of Trump's ire '-- gave a specific go-ahead for Manafort's indictment and Mueller's other critical moves in the probe.
"Every key step in this case '-- including the investigative path and the Indictment itself '-- has been authorized by the Acting Attorney General through ongoing consultation," Mueller's team wrote in a brief opposing Manafort's bid to throw out the D.C. case.
The new disclosures about the Justice Department's internal handling of the Manafort investigation came in response to a motion Manafort's lawyers filed last month in U.S. District Court in Washington asking to have the criminal charges pending against him there thrown out on the grounds that Mueller's appointment was defective and that he exceeded his authority in going after Manafort.
Manafort's legal team also filed a lawsuit earlier this year challenging Mueller's authority to prosecute him in any legal venue. Judge Amy Berman Jackson is scheduled to hold a hearing on that suit Wednesday.
Manafort and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates were first indicted in Washington last October on charges of money laundering, failing to report foreign bank accounts and failing to register as foreign agents in connection with their Ukraine-related work. In February, Mueller's prosecutors brought additional bank and tax fraud charges against the pair in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The bank-account reporting charges were also effectively moved to the Virginia case.
Soon thereafter, Gates agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller's team.
Rosenstein said in congressional testimony last December that he is carefully monitoring Mueller's probe and is kept aware of any developments. However, he did not offer many of the details contained in the Monday court filing. Rosenstein was also vague about whether he expanded Mueller's authority in any way since he was appointed last May.
However, the new court filing seeks to downplay the notion that Mueller is a rogue operator roving far and wide in search of crimes to prosecute.
"The Appointment Order validly defines the Special Counsel's jurisdiction, and the indictment in this case falls well within the Special Counsel's authority," Mueller's team wrote. They also revealed that before the tax-related charges were brought, lawyers in the Justice Department's Tax Division approved them, and before the foreign-lobbying charges were filed, attorneys in Justice's National Security Division signed off.
Prosecutors also pushed back against Manafort's argument that he would have never been prosecuted if Mueller wasn't brought in as a special counsel, although they did not explicitly reject the possibility that Manafort's role in the Trump campaign and the allegations of Russian interference led the Justice Department to dust off allegations that prosecutors had previously put on the back burner.
"Manafort's invitation to speculate about what may have transpired if the Special Counsel never pursued these matters is untenable," prosecutors wrote. "It would require a court not only to review the record of this case or the factual approval of the DOJ chain of command, but also to look backwards at what facts were already known to agents and attorneys and what steps were already underway, and then to imagine how quickly other attorneys and other offices would have pursued the investigations, how they would have prioritized cases competing for their attention, and what evidence they would have uncovered. ... An inquiry of this nature would impose tremendous costs on the criminal justice system."
Manafort is expected to bring a similar motion in connection with the Virginia charges, on which he is set to face trial July 10. The trial on the Washington charges is set for Sept. 17.
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Manchester bomber was rescued by the Royal Navy from Libyan warzone | Daily Mail Online
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi (pictured) was rescued from Libya by the Royal Navy
The Manchester suicide bomber was rescued by the Navy from war-torn Libya three years before his pop concert atrocity, the Mail reveals today.
HMS Enterprise plucked Salman Abedi, then 19, from the Libyan coast and took him to Malta for a flight home to Britain in August 2014.
Last May he set off a bomb in Manchester Arena that killed 22, including seven children.
Abedi's younger brother, Hashem, who is in jail in Tripoli facing trial over the attack, was also rescued by HMS Enterprise.
The pair had been caught up in fighting in Libya and were among more than 100 British citizens taken to safety.
Photographs released by Ministry of Defence officials at the time showed the group being brought on board the Navy vessel.
A Whitehall source said: 'For this man to have committed such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal.'
The revelation will enrage families who lost loved ones in Abedi's despicable attack. It is also likely to raise fresh fears over possible intelligence failures.
British survey ship HMS Enterprise evacuated more than 100 British citizens from Libya in August 2014
Abedi was known to the security services and was being monitored at the time of his trip to Libya. However, just one month prior to his rescue, MI5 closed his case as a result of mistaken identity.
The presence of the Abedi brothers among the 110 evacuees from Libya in 2014 was confirmed by family friends in Libya. One said: 'They were sent together by the Royal Navy to Malta.'
Sources in London also confirmed Salman was on HMS Enterprise.
After being dropped off in Malta, Salman and his 21-year-old brother '' the British-born sons of Libyan migrants '' flew back to Manchester where they were living at the time.
Salman, who was on a gap year from Manchester College, went on to study business management at Salford University, before dropping out and descending into a fanatical spiral that culminated in last year's suicide bombing at the age of 22.
The Abedi brothers shuttled back and forth between Manchester and Tripoli because their parents '' Ramadan and Samia '' had returned to Libya.
Ramadan is thought to have gone back in time for the 2011 revolution, allegedly fighting against the Gaddafi regime with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
It is not certain whether the two brothers were with their father at the time of the revolution or instead in neighbouring Tunisia.
But they were on holiday in Libya in August 2014 when civil war fighting broke out and British officials offered to evacuate UK citizens.
The Royal Navy was tasked with picking them up, along with other British nationals, on a list provided to sailors.
HMS Enterprise arrives in Malta in 2014, with Abedi among the 110 evacuees from Libya
By that time, the Foreign Office had already changed its official travel advice to warn Britons in Libya to 'leave immediately by commercial means' because of the fighting around Tripoli and the wider instability nationwide.
The advice said those unable to leave independently could seek 'assisted departure'.
Senior security sources stressed they did not believe Abedi had been radicalised at the time of the Royal Navy rescue. He later became brainwashed after watching bomb-making videos on Google-owned YouTube and terror material on other internet sites, they believe.
A senior source told the Mail: 'He was a British citizen so it was our job to safeguard him. Salman was one of many people in that mix and we absolutely had to evacuate him.
'He was not a threat at the time and it was in a very different context.'
Other sources have claimed Abedi was on the front line and was hospitalised fighting alongside jihadis in Ajdabiya, eastern Libya.
Abedi was on a gap year from Manchester College and he later went on to study business management at Salford University
However, a family friend was adamant that Abedi was there for innocent purposes. The friend said: 'Salman and Hashem were not involved in fighting at all and they had spent a lot of time with their mother in Tunisia.'
At the time of the rescue, there were increasingly brutal battles between various militia groups fighting for control of Tripoli's airport and dozens were killed.
As a result the Foreign Office announced it was temporarily closing its embassy and other consular operations in Libya.
Amid fierce fighting UK citizens were taken in small boats from the port of Tripoli to HMS Enterprise, a survey ship on a routine deployment in the Mediterranean. There were joined by two Irish citizens and a German.
It is not known if the flights home to the UK were paid for by the British government.
A security source downplayed claims that Abedi was involved in fighting and said he could have just been visiting his family.
'When they leave the UK it becomes a lot more challenging to keep track of them, especially when they have family links in other countries,' said the insider.
'But his visits were not necessarily for nefarious purposes. He did things largely alone. The internet played a large role when it came to his terror training.'
A report into the handling of the Manchester bombing by David Anderson QC revealed that Abedi was first actively investigated in January 2014 '' seven months before the rescue.
Published in December last year, the report said he was investigated because it was 'thought that he might have been an individual who had been seen acting suspiciously with a subject of interest' to counter-terrorism police.
Evacuees collect bottles of water and food from British officials in August 2014
Abedi did know the suspect but turned out not to have been the individual seen with him and his record was closed in July 2014. He was classed as a low residual risk.
He came to the attention of the authorities again in October 2015 because of his supposed contact with an Islamic State figure in Libya.
The report found that this allegation was wrong and his file was closed once more.
Abedi attended Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester between 2009 and 2011 before going to Manchester College until 2013. Two people who knew him from his college days claim they called an anti-terrorism hotline to warn police about his extremist views.
A community support worker, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they had informed the authorities after Abedi publicly said 'he was supporting terrorism' and that 'being a suicide bomber is OK'.
Two people who knew Salman Abedi from his college days claim they called an anti-terrorism hotline about him
Greater Manchester Police found no record of the phone calls, however.
The Anderson review concluded that the investigative actions taken in relation to Abedi, and the subsequent decision to shut his file, were sound on the basis of the information available at the time.
At the time of the rescue in 2014, the MoD released a statement from HMS Enterprise's commanding officer, Cdr Mark Varta, saying: 'This is a period of uncertainty for UK citizens based in Libya but we have been proud to play our part in enabling their move to safety.'
The then defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, said: 'I thank the crew of HMS Enterprise for their support and professionalism in carrying out this important task.'
The 90-metre-long survey ship, normally based in Plymouth, had been eight weeks into an 18-month mission carrying out surveys in the area.
Last night, a Government spokesman said: 'During the deteriorating security situation in Libya in 2014, Border Force officials were deployed to assist with the evacuation of British nationals and their dependents.'
Now put bomber's brother on trial: Two brothers were saved by the Royal Navy from warzone. Today, one is dead after his devastating attack on Manchester '-- the other sits in a Libyan jail fighting to avoid justice
The Manchester bomber wasn't the only member of his family to be rescued by the Royal Navy on that day in August 2014.
Salman Abedi's brother Hashem was also picked up by brave servicemen '' to return to Britain and play a key role in the atrocity carried out by Salman.
Hashem '' alleged to have helped to buy materials for the Manchester bomb '' is back in Libya, languishing in prison in Tripoli under a militia guard as the Libyan and British governments wrangle over his extradition to the UK.
He is being held by the Special Deterrence Force, also known as Rada, at a sprawling base at Mitiga airport. Discussions on bringing him back to Britain are believed to have stalled. When the brothers were rescued by the Navy, it was three years after Colonel Gaddafi had been ousted and Libya was again in the grip of outright warfare. 2014 marked the start of a particularly bloody conflict known as the second civil war.
Salman Abedi's brother Hashem (pictured) is alleged to have helped to buy materials for the Manchester bomb
Rival tribal groups fought bitterly for control of the country. Some were aligned with the 'Libyan government', elected democratically in June that year. Violently opposing was a hodgepodge of Islamist militias.
Amid the turmoil, the UK embassy in Tripoli was closed and the Ministry of Defence scrambled to evacuate British citizens stranded in the war zone.
But Salman was hardly some idle tourist caught up in the mayhem. Though born and bred in Britain, Abedi went on his school holidays to the war in Libya, where he may have learnt to kill as a 16-year-old.
While his Manchester classmates were embarking on A-levels, Abedi was taking up arms on a 'gap year' at the front line. The teenager had been taken to Libya by his father Ramadan Abedi to fight in the revolution.
Mr Abedi Snr was rejoicing in the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi. He had been an active opponent of the Libyan tyrant in the early 1990s, and when he was forced to flee the regime, he was given political refuge in Manchester where his second son Salman was born on New Year's Eve 1994.
British police believe Hashem helped his brother buy the materials to build the bomb detonated at Manchester Arena
Friends said Salman Abedi grew up a typical teenager, supporting Manchester United and enjoying parties, drinking and smoking cannabis. He was teased with the nickname Dumbo at school for his big ears.
But when the revolution against Gaddafi erupted, his father seized the chance to take him back to his homeland to join the battle against the despot.
Mr Abedi had long been a prominent member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant organisation founded to pursue the violent overthrow of Gaddafi's dictatorship and establish an Islamist state.
Many of its followers had waged jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets, and in the late 1980s and early 1990s their aims overlapped significantly with British foreign policy. Britain had cut off diplomatic ties with Gaddafi's regime after Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie and policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was murdered in London.
It was even claimed '' although denied '' that MI6 encouraged a coup attempt in 1996 by the Islamist group.
Either way, by the early Nineties, many senior members of the LIFG were being pursued by Gaddafi and given sanctuary by Britain, with many settling in Manchester.
Among them was Mr Abedi, a one-time employee of Libya's notorious secret police, who fled first to Saudi Arabia in 1991 and then to Britain a year later.
The scene outside Manchester Arena in May 2017 following the deadly bombing
Mr Abedi and his wife Samia Tabbal '' described as an incredibly bright nuclear engineer who graduated top of her class from Tripoli university '' lived in the Whalley Range district of Manchester on the same street as another LIFG member, Abd al-Baset Azzouz, an expert bomb-maker.
But life for the LIFG veterans in Manchester started to get uncomfortable in 1999 when Tony Blair began the process of bringing Gaddafi in from the cold.
Diplomatic relations were resumed and sanctions were lifted. But in Manchester, the old LIFG warriors found their organisation designated as a terror group by the UN and the Home Office. Many of the Libyans living in Britain were placed under control orders.
Then came the Arab Spring in 2011, and Britain turned its back on Gaddafi once more.
David Cameron's government sent warplanes to support the uprising against him. British-Libyans queued up to return home to join the fight. Ramadan Abedi swiftly signed up to the cause.
In the years that followed, Salman and Hashem, divided their time between Manchester and the war in Libya, using their British passports to travel freely between the two. Their parents relocated to Tripoli, effectively leaving the boys to look after themselves in the UK.
Salman quit Manchester College in 2013 with 'anger management issues' after punching a girl for wearing a short skirt and telling the head teacher there were 'a lot of things going on' with his family and 'fighting in Libya'.
Friends said he was 'slow and unintelligent', a heavy cannabis user and increasingly violent to women. In 2014, he was back in Libya when full-blown war returned following the June parliamentary elections that squeezed the Islamist factions to a minority of seats.
Rather than accept the result, Islamist leaders accused the new parliament of being dominated by supporters of the dictator and battled the nationalist militia.
By August, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were launching airstrikes against the Islamists who had seized control of Tripoli airport. To make matters even more chaotic, fanatics from the Islamic State group were establishing a stronghold in coastal areas, broadcasting gruesome videos of their self-proclaimed warriors beheading captured Christians.
It was around this time that the Royal Navy ship was dispatched to help Britons make their escape from the hellish situation. Salman and Hashem '' who had been spending the summer in Tripoli with their family '' took their chance to join the evacuation.Back in Manchester, Abedi enrolled at Salford University, collecting about £7,000 from the taxpayer-funded Student Loans Company. He pocketed the money and dropped out.
By now Salman '' who was chanting in the streets and putting the bins out wearing Islamic robes '' had become fully radicalised.
He used the taxpayers' cash to help bankroll his terror plot, travelling to and from Libya where he became increasingly battle hardened. Then on May 22 last year, he took his explosives-packed rucksack bearing a logo of the Union Flag and wrought terrible carnage on the country that gave his parents safe haven and rescued him from a war zone.
Hashem, 21, was arrested in a remote farmhouse outside the Libyan capital a day after the suicide bombing in May last year.
The British government requested in October last year that he be extradited to face trial over the massacre. He is separately facing allegations that he was part of a plot to kill a British ambassador in Libya. Hashem is held is in a prison section specifically for IS suspects, of which there are around 250. His father Ramadan, was also detained outside his home in a Tripoli suburb but later released.
British police believe Hashem helped his brother buy the materials to build the bomb detonated at Manchester Arena. He has also been linked to a suicide plot to kill Peter Millett, the UK's envoy to Libya. But in May this year senior Libyan sources told the Mail that Hashem could escape UK justice by refusing to face trial here.
Killer's vile thank you '' a nail bomb he set off among happy families
Salman Abedi waited until he was surrounded by happy families before detonating his bomb.
Metal nuts and bolts packed into his rucksack tore through his victims, many of them teenage girls. Seven of the 22 dead were children.
Abedi, 22, blew himself up in the foyer of Manchester Arena at 10.31pm last May 22, just as tired-but-happy teenage fans were leaving after the performance by American singer Ariana Grande.
His devastating bomb killed people standing up to 20 yards away. The youngest victim was an eight-year-old girl and the eldest a woman of 51.
Abedi's devastating bomb killed people standing up to 20 yards away - including an eight-year-old girl
Dozens of survivors suffered life-changing injuries, including the loss of limbs.
More than 21,000 fans had been at the sold-out concert. Many had received tickets as birthday and Christmas presents.
Just as Miss Grande finished her encore, and the first fans were leaving for home, Abedi pressed his trigger.
The atrocity united Manchester after it left 22 people dead and dozens of survivors suffered life-changing injuries, including the loss of limbs
Among those killed were a brave aunt who shielded her 11-year-old niece from the nail-bomb blast and parents who were waiting to collect their children.
Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, was killed after becoming separated from her mother and sister at the venue.
Martyn Hett, 29, a Coronation Street superfan who was due to go on a two-month trip of a lifetime to America, was also killed. Georgina Callander, who had met Miss Grande backstage at a previous concert, died in hospital with her mother by her side. The 18-year-old was described as the kind of girl who 'lit up the room'.
Just as Ariana Grande finished her encore, and the first fans were leaving for home, Abedi pressed his trigger
The cruel randomness of the blast determined who lived and who died.
Off-duty police officer Elaine McIver, 43, was killed but her husband and children survived with injuries.
Caroline Davis had just walked into the foyer with her best friend Wendy Fawell when the bomb exploded. Wendy, who was 50, died instantly while Caroline suffered shrapnel wounds, a dislocated shoulder and was knocked unconscious.
Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, was killed after becoming separated from her mother and sister at the venue
Photographs showed stunned survivors, including then 14-year-old Eve Senior, being taken to safety. She was seen with her jeans torn, a bandaged knee and blood streaks down her arm.
Eve, who was just five yards from Abedi, suffered 18 shrapnel wounds, burns and a severed nerve in her leg. She has since spoken of her desire to go into nursing.
'Before Manchester I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grow up,' she said.
'But staying in hospital and seeing what the nurses do and how good they are '' when I'm older I want to be a nurse.' Other survivors remain traumatised. Amelia Tomlinson, 18, who was just 6ft from the bomb, told a BBC documentary: 'My face is all marked from where the shrapnel hit. When I used to put moisturiser on sometimes I'd feel little bits of shrapnel coming out, like little grains of metal. It's the first thing I see when I look into the mirror.
'I remember going up into the air and then hitting the floor. I saw people with blood on their faces, like a lot of blood, and like half their face missing and their hair was very burned. And I saw people with no legs and no arms.'
Some victims were forced to wait two hours for help from firemen after 'risk-averse' bosses kept them away, a report found earlier this year.
As ambulances flooded to the scene, fire chiefs moved officers to a station three miles away because they feared a marauding terrorist was still on the loose.
Abedi's atrocity was carefully planned. He bought a Nissan Micra on April 13, two days before leaving the country for Libya, and officers believe bomb parts were stored in it until he returned on May 18.
A Group of Top Government Spooks & Hackers on the FBI's Payroll Just Tore Mueller's Russian Indictments to Shreds; "Piles" of Fabricated Evidence Detailed Here '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Featured Politics SecurityA Group of Top Government Spooks & Hackers on the FBI's Payroll Just Tore Mueller's Russian Indictments to Shreds; ''Piles'' of Fabricated Evidence Detailed HereWe asked a number of government spooks and hackers and contractors who have worked for the FBI and other spooky federal agencies to examine Robert Mueller's latest indictments of 12 alleged Russian ''operatives.''
Their conclusion? HOAX. Mueller's team fabricated evidence.
And a whole lot of evidence.
What kind of evidence? It's all right here. Whether you understand IT or not, the evidence Mueller claims points to Russia actually also points to India, Pakistan and of course China. Funny though, Mueller never mentions that in his indictment.
President Trump has called it a witch hunt. And a number of spooks now are backing that claim. The evidence in Mueller's indictment DOES NOT check our. Any defense attorney will have a field day with this. If they even care to counter the charges since the defendants are in Russia.
Here is a collective breakdown we orchestrated and pieced together proving Mueller's case is a fabricated hoax.
****Circling the wagons around the Russian HOAX****
In Mueller's July 13, 2018 Indictment he lists Organization 1, which from here on out we're going to assume is Crowdstrike.
CrowdStrike is the private 3rd party company that the DNC hired after multiple warnings by FBI that their systems were compromised.
CrowdStrike is the company that did the analysis on the servers. The same servers that the DNC wouldn't give to the FBI for independent analysis.
CrowdStrike eventually gave the FBI a ''system image'', which Comey, for some odd reason, deemed acceptable.
Windows uses BIOS/EFI for standard system imaging, which is not a forensic backup. BIOS doesn't allow corrupted information to be saved for recovery.Forensic imaging of a hard drive is obtained by using a separate set of controls that bypass safety protocols that BIOS would use during imaging.Simply put, the system image obtained though BIOS is wholly unacceptable for forensic analysis and would not be considered for analysis, nor would adhere to proper traceability of the original state of the system during the ''hacks.''
President of CrowdStrike Services & CSO was and still is Shawn Henry.
September 15, 2010 FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III named Shawn Henry Executive Assistant Director of the the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch (CCRSB).March 2012, Shawn Henry named President of CrowdStrike Services & CSO.Bloomberg has Shawn Henry listed on the Board of Directors of SignatureLink, Inc. with his ''Primary Company'' listed as the FBI.CrowdStrike didn't only make headlines on the DNC hack, they also came out with a report on December 22, 2016 called ''Danger Close.'' where they allege Russian's hacked Ukrainian military android phones that used a D-30 howitzer application for targeting, using Fancy Bear X-Agent; one of the same tools they also reported being used in the DNC, DCCC 'hacks.'
Needless to say, they did a major rewrite after the Ukrainian Defense Minister called them on their BS analysis and report. VOA shows the HUGE walkback of shame from CrowdStrike.
NOTE: When a cyber tool is used, it NO LONGER can be attributed to whoever claims development of it. Once it's out, it's out and ANYONE can do what they want with it, so attributing all attacks using X-Agent to ''Fancy Bear'' from Russia does not make any sense.
NOTE: X-Agent first showed up on the scene in 2012 targeting Windows. In 2014 a Linux variant came out. In 2015 a variant for Apple iOS and later Android, and in 2016 X-Agent was found on DNC servers.
Mueller claims, or rather CrowdStrike (aka Comapany 1) that X-Agent was used to communicate with GRU-registered linuxkrnl[.]net domain.
Many ran a basic ''whois'' on that domain and came up with an Amazon server in Ashburn, VA with IP 126.96.36.199. It took some extra steps and came up with the below.
Profiling linuxkrnl[.]net returns 3 profileslinuxkrnl[.]netlinuxkrnl[.]net.tumblr[.]com (username = linuxkrnl[.]net, url = tumblr[.]com)mail.linuxkrnl[.]netWhen performing initial DNS history for linuxkrnl[.]net with multiple historical data loggers we get:
Tracking nameserver information, well, the information we could get outside of what Amazon wiped out (possibly directed to do so), we find ns1.carbon2u[.]com & ns2.carbon2u[.]com, ns1.hostkey.ru & ss.hostkey.ru associated with domain linuxkrnl[.]net.
Would you be surprised that there are over 500 domains that have been registered within the ''zone file'' that ns#.carbon2u[.]com is attributed to, where the majority have a Mail Exchange (MX) in Malaysia, AND used HOSTKEY-NET (Mueller's indictment states ''GRU'' used MX in Malaysia), including linuxkrnl[.]net? Many of these domains go back as far as 2011, some before that.
When cross-referencing the above DNS History chart with ns#carbon2u[.]com we pick up some more info: NOTE: When it comes to ''first seen'' & ''last seen'' dates, multiple databases need to be checked. The logging times fluctuate from one to the other and depend on the time zone too.
All of the nameservers at ''DUMMY[.]com'' resolve back to Amazon Technologies Inc. in Dublin, Ireland. See (*) in first graph.
ns#.carbon2u[.]com = carbon2u[.]com. (associated with APT28/Fancy Bear) See DNS History trace below:
Note: domain carbon2u[.]com is registered with Internet Domain Service BS ( internet[.]bs ), a Bahamas based domain registrar, who is owned by CentralNic out of London since 2014.
*Mail Exchange (MX): 188.8.131.52 = mail.carbon2u[.]com, and reverse DNS = anemone12.steeldns[.]com.
Note: anemone is a flower genus, aka buttercups. Also it's a song on a rock album by ''Virgin Steele'' out of New York (The House of Atreus, Act 1 & Act 2); It's no ''Crossfire Hurricane'' by the Rolling Stones out of London, but to each their own.
DNS history of steeldns[.]com: These are *proxy registered route objects.
DNS server records for steeldns[.]com (Shinjiru Technology)ns1.steeldns[.]com (184.108.40.206)ns2.steeldns[.]com (220.127.116.11)mail.steeldns[.]com (18.104.22.168)Reverse DNS on above IP'sns1.steeldns[.]com 22.214.171.124ns2.steeldns[.]com 126.96.36.199prawn23.ip-asia[.]com 188.8.131.52' All resolve to Malaysia and all have the owner Shinjiru Technology within our target time frame.' linux[krnl[.]net domain on IP 184.108.40.206 shows as first seen July 15, 2018, so this can be mostly discarded as it's not a target within our time frame.
linuxkrnl[.]net.tumblr[.]com (first post March 20, 2018) belongs to an Indian programmer. Basic steganalysis on a few posted images doesn't seem to show *obvious* embedded malicious code, but there are inconsistent binary strings in some jpg images, which could be due to many things. Since the first post was this year, we didn't bother going any further.
NOTE: X-Agent first showed up on the scene in 2012 targeting Windows. In 2014 a Linux variant came out. In 2015 a variant for Apple iOS and later Android, and in 2016 X-Agent was found on DNC servers. X-Agent, at this point, cannot be attributed to the original developer.
No one knows who Guccifer 2.0 is. No one knows who APT28 players are, but by golly Mueller and Crowdstrike sure seemed to hobble some sh*t together and crack the case by pointing it at 500+ domains registered, most proxies, with netblocks in Russia, attributed to IP's that all host malicious sites and links, predominately for phishing, and grab that one little linuxkrnl[.]net out of the bunch and say it's Russian military intelligence. Sounds good, anyway '...right '...
Hell, they even know what computers were used! Amazing! if the perps didn't know how to spoof their user agent(s), utilize a virtual machine on their host system in conjunction with a VPN or proxy chains, which renders 2 different IP's (or more if they're dynamic or rotating), and allows the user to use MULTIPLE operating systems on the host computer. But whatever. That's just standard.
The output is only as good as the input, and Crowdstrike has junk input in their analysis. Remember what they did to the Ukraine with their ''Danger Close'' ''analysis?''
There's plenty more data that can be hashed out but it's outside of this scope.
This could just as well be connected to the Steele-Fusion GPS dossier operation, or Chinese APT, Indian APT, Pakistani APT, you name it. You think Russia is special when it comes to espionage and cyber attacks in the U.S? Ha, take a look at China.
Guccifer 2 used a cracked version of Microsoft Office Suite from ''Grizzli777'', likely on a Windows 7 virtual machine setup. 1000's of cyber criminals & freeloaders alike, from different continents use the exact same setup using the well known Grizzli777's pirated software. See, this whole thing is a witch hunt and a hoax, and the 3rd party analysts exclusively used to tout the 17 intel agencies theme, who solely relied on these DNC ''for hire'' private companies ''analyses'' are lacking in their sophistication.
DNS can be spoofed, masked, or encrypted. Caching can be set up locally instead of at the ISP. User agent can be changed. MAC address can be spoofed or temporarily changed. IP's are *rarely* used for tracking, it's the DNS that matters and as stated, all of that can be pointed wherever the attacker wants, ESPECIALLY if you own the servers like the GRU would. Why transfer over the transoceanic cables anyway!?! Answer, you wouldn't unless you're just a low level cyber criminal group.
Where's the NSA on this?
Yeah, exactly. They don't want to be linked to this hoax or prop it up.
So they are keeping quiet.
Too late now.
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Manafort, Podesta Group highlight DC swamp culture | TheHill
Back in February I wrote a piece titled, ''No one mentions that the Russian trial leads to Democratic lobbyists.'' The article described the ties between ''hired-gun'' Washington lobbyists and their rogue's gallery of Russian and Ukrainian clients '-- some fugitives, others barred from entry into the United States '-- along with companies closely allied with the Kremlin.
Rogue oligarchs hire Washington's heaviest hitters among public-relations firms and establishment lawyers, including many names associated with Democratic Party interests.
Many D.C. power players apparently are not picky in their choice of clients. Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump, went straight to the top of the Democratic establishment '-- the Podesta Group '-- when soliciting lobbying power for his client, former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych.
Manafort is now under indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller; one of the charges is failing to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. The Podesta Group, which Manafort hired, also failed to register in a timely fashion and could face similar charges.
According to the official text of the indictment, Manafort stands indicted on 12 charges, along with a business associate. The most serious charge is the laundering of some $75 million received between 2006 and 2016 as payment for his consulting services to then-President Yanukovych and to Yanukovych's Party of Regions.
After Yanukovych's flight from Kiev in February 2014, his Party of Regions morphed into the Opposition Bloc, which is the strongest political party in Ukraine's troubled East today.
Manafort first came to public attention as a consultant for the Russian-leaning Yanukovych in Ukraine's 2010 election. Yanukovych won handily, thanks in part to the feuding among his pro-European opponents.
Yanukovych fled Ukraine as the Maidan demonstrations intensified. In 2014, Ukraine's chief prosecutor accused Yanukovych of stealing roughly $100 billion from Ukraine, much of it hidden in offshore accounts.
According to the indictment, from 2006 to 2014, Manafort ''engaged in a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign in the United States at the direction of Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, and the (then) Government of Ukraine.'' He did so without ''providing the disclosures required by law'' under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
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The indictment further reads that, in February 2012, Manafort ''solicited two Washington, D.C., firms (Company A and Company B) to lobby the United States on behalf of Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, and the government of Ukraine."
Although Company A was told that it would be representing the government of Ukraine, the nominal client was to be a European Centre for Modern Ukraine, purportedly founded by Yanukovych. Manafort remained in contact with Yanukovych and passed on instructions to Company A and B.
Company A and B were paid through Manafort's offshore accounts and not by the nominal client, the European Centre for Modern Ukraine, according to the indictment.
According to news reports, Company B is the Podesta Group, which claimed to lobby on behalf of the European Centre for Modern Ukraine.
This was its excuse for not registering as an agent of a foreign government, although it was in fact lobbying in the interests of Yanukovych and the Party of Regions. If the Podesta Group understood that the European Centre for Modern Ukraine was a cut-out to avoid registration, they could be subject to the same non-registration charge that Manafort faces.
President Trump Donald John TrumpClinton maxes out to 19 Democratic House candidates Tucker Carlson slams immigrant lawyer as 'citizen of country controlled by conquistadors' Trump highlights praise from judge on reuniting families his administration divided MORE has railed against the ''swamp'' of Washington, D.C. There could be no better illustration of how that swamp operates than the Manafort-Podesta affair. We do not know whether Mueller will pursue other aspects of the D.C. swamp, such as the Clinton Foundation and its pay-to-play antics.
After reading the Manafort indictment, it seems that Trump '-- and, by extension, the American people '-- dodged a bullet by getting rid of Manafort as soon as he realized that Manafort was himself a swamp creature.
Paul Gregory is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Gregory has written extensively on Russia and the former Soviet Union, including, "The Political Economy of Stalinism," (Cambridge, 2004), which won the Hewett Prize, an award given annually for an outstanding monograph on the political economy of Russia, Eurasia and/or Eastern Europe, published in the previous year .
Tony Podesta under investigation following special counsel referral
Rebecca D'Angelo | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Federal prosecutors are investigating former lobbyist Tony Podesta, former Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., and former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, NBC News confirmed, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter.
CNN first reported the existence of the investigation.
Prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York opened the investigation following a referral from the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources told NBC.
NBC previously reported that Mueller had been looking into Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm as part of its broader investigation into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Tony Podesta is the chairman of the Podesta Group. His brother, John Podesta, was the campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton and is not currently affiliated with the lobbying firm. He is also not part of the investigation.
A representative for Tony Podesta declined to comment to CNBC.
WATCH: The Trump-Russia ties hiding in plain sight
FISA documents reveal FBI collusion | Boston Herald
Credit: Associated Press FILE - In this file July 7, 2016, photo then-FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Oversight Committee to discuss Hillary Clinton's email investigation, at the Capitol in Washington.
Our media's valiant efforts to distract us notwithstanding, information continues to seep out that underscores how badly a housecleaning is needed in Washington, D.C.
Last week saw the release of the applications used to obtain warrants from the FISA court to spy on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump presidential campaign. Obtained by Judicial Watch, the 400-plus pages of (heavily redacted) documents support the conclusions earlier drawn by the House Intelligence Committee (and denounced by Democrats as hysteria): the FISA warrants were obtained through obfuscation and deceit.
As various commentators predicted would be proven, the bulk of the information that formed the basis for the FISA warrant applications was the ''dossier'' of allegations about Donald Trump's activities in Russia. This dossier was provided to the FBI by British spy Christopher Steele. Steele was hired during the 2016 presidential campaign by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, who was paid by Hillary Clinton's law firm Perkins Coie, who was paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. The allegations were scandalous and completely unverified, in violation of federal statutes and FISA court rules.
In other words, the FBI used oppo research paid for by the Democrats as justification for government spying on a political opponent and other Americans.
But there's more. In another incredible coincidence, Fusion GPS had hired scholar and professor Nellie Ohr as a ''paid Russian expert.'' Nellie Ohr happens to be married to Bruce Ohr, deputy attorney general in the Justice Department. Bruce Ohr is alleged to have passed his wife's anti-Trump research to the FBI. He was demoted for failing to disclose not only his wife's employment with Fusion GPS, but also his own meetings with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
The FISA court was never told any of that. They were never supposed to know. None of us was ever supposed to know.
When thousands of DNC emails were leaked to the public through Julian Assange's organization WikiLeaks, we learned that Hillary Clinton had abused the primary process, nearly bankrupted the DNC and effectively stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders. We also learned the press played favorites with Clinton, getting her approval before running stories and forwarding debate questions to Clinton in advance. (The official line is Russians hacked the DNC computers and gave the emails to WikiLeaks. Assange and former U.S. and U.K. intelligence officials vehemently deny this, and maintain it was an inside ''leak,'' not a hack. The DNC refused to turn over their servers to the FBI for inspection.)
And then there is Hillary Clinton's misuse of a personal email server to handle classified State Department information. We now know that then-FBI director James Comey decided not to prosecute Clinton before the investigation was even concluded. We also know that FBI attorney Peter Strzok rewrote Comey's initial report to change Comey's description of Clinton's conduct from ''grossly negligent'' '-- which was a violation of the applicable federal statute '-- to ''extremely careless.''
This is the same Peter Strzok who expressed his loathing for Donald Trump in many of the tens of thousands of texts he exchanged with his lover and fellow FBI attorney Lisa Page. Strzok infamously assured Page that they had an ''insurance policy'' and that they ''would stop'' Trump from becoming president. At a congressional hearing two weeks ago, Strzok arrogantly insisted that his bias did not affect his job performance.
He must think we're all idiots.
But then, we were never supposed to know any of this.
Hillary Clinton was supposed to win. No one would know the FBI ''investigation'' into her violations of federal statutes was a foregone conclusion that would exonerate her. No one would know that members of the FBI and the DOJ were using their government powers to attack and discredit the man who wasn't ''supposed'' to win, but did.
Trump's unorthodox presidency has been a great gift. It has exposed the corruption in our government, and the betrayal of the American public by so much of the press.
Laura Hollis is a syndicated columnist.
What Is QAnon: Explaining the Internet Conspiracy Theory That Showed Up at a Trump Rally - The New York Times
Do you remember Pizzagate? It's a little like that: a web of baseless conspiracy theories. And its supporters were highly visible at an event for the president in Florida.
Some attendees at President Trump's rally in Tampa on Tuesday wore T-shirts with a block letter Q. Credit Chris O'Meara/Associated Press Those watching President Trump's rally in Tampa on Tuesday couldn't help but be exposed to a fringe movement that discusses several loosely connected and vaguely defined '-- and baseless '-- conspiracy theories.
In one shot on Fox News, the president was partially obscured by a sign in the crowd reading ''We Are Q.'' In another shot during the president's speech, a sign promoting the debunked Seth Rich conspiracy theory, with the hashtag #Qanon, came into focus in the center of the screen. Some attendees wore T-shirts with a blocky Q. Others held up signs with the letter.
They were all self-described ''followers of Q,'' an anonymous person or group of people who claim to be privy to government secrets. That supposedly classified information has been revealed on the 4chan and 8chan message boards and spread around mainstream internet platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Q has attracted people '-- the exact number is hard to know '-- eager to consume his ''bread crumbs,'' or new details in a sprawling web of conspiracy theories.
What is going on?
Just give me the basics so I can minimally understand what's going onHere is the short version: Q claims to be a government insider exposing an entrenched, international bureaucracy that is secretly plotting all sorts of nefarious schemes against the Trump administration and its supporters. The character uses lingo that implies that he or she has a military or intelligence background.
It's a stew of various, but connecting, conspiracy theories that generally hold Mr. Trump as a conquistador battling a cabal of anti-American saboteurs who have taken over government, industry, media and various other institutions of public life in a plan to '... well, the overarching goals of the nefarious actors are not clear.
Image A woman holding a ''Q'' sign at a Trump rally in Florida on Tuesday night. Credit Rod Millington/EPA, via Shutterstock Image Credit Rod Millington/EPA, via Shutterstock The slightly longer versionA growing group of people (more on the scale and scope of that community below) are coalescing around a collection of theories and half-thoughts that they believe reveal an untold story of current world events. To decode what they believe is actually happening, followers of Q sift through the president's tweets, government data sets or news articles.
Ben Decker, a research fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, described followers of the QAnon narrative as ''an interactive conspiracy community.''
Sometimes followers of Q just look for signs that he exists. A popular Rosetta Stone they use is to look for uses of the number 17 (the letter Q's placement in the alphabet). So when Alabama's football team presented Mr. Trump with a jersey with the number 17, it was taken as coded signaling of Q's influence. (The team was visiting the White House as the champions of the 2017 college football season and had presented President Barack Obama with a jersey bearing the number 15 when it visited after winning a championship in 2015.)
Q's followers ascribe secret coordination and hidden motives to an endless parade of politicians, journalists, and leaders of industry and other institutions. Often, their theories are wildly at odds with reality.
The community uses the language of mind-bending pop culture alternate realities like ''The Matrix'' or ''Alice in Wonderland.'' It is common to tell stories of how followers have been ''redpilled,'' or have come to believe that observable reality is false and the QAnon narrative is real.
The shared rush to interpret clues from a ''drop'' of information from Q resembles something close to what video gamers call an MMO, or massive multiplayer online game.
Why should I care about a fringe corner of the internet?Because QAnon is not limited to a fringe corner of the internet. In addition to its front-and-center presence at Mr. Trump's rally, it has been promoted by celebrities including Roseanne Barr and Curt Schilling, the former baseball star who has a podcast for Breitbart.
The paranoid worldview has crossed over from the internet into the real world several times in recent months. On more than one occasion, people believed to be followers of QAnon have shown up '-- sometimes with weapons '-- in places that the character told them were somehow connected to anti-Trump conspiracies.
''The biggest danger is you are one mentally unstable person away from the next massive incident that defines whatever happens next,'' Mr. Decker said. ''The next Pizzagate, which for better or worse did define the political conversation for a while.''
In June, a man armed with a rifle and a handgun drove an armored vehicle to the Hoover Dam on what he said was a mission from QAnon: to demand that the government release the Justice Department's report from its inspector general on the conduct of F.B.I. agents during the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
The report had actually been released the day before, but Q's followers believed there was a secret, second report that contained far more damning information about the F.B.I. There is no indication that such a report exists. The man was arrested after a standoff with the police.
Most recently, a suspicious and possibly armed man showed up at the law offices of Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film performer known as Stormy Daniels, after Q posted a link to Mr. Avenatti's website and a picture of the office building. The man did not enter the premises.
In an interview, Mr. Avenatti said he had received a large number of threatening emails and social media posts in recent months, ''but this one we have significant reason to believe posed a significant threat.'' He said local law enforcement was investigating the incident.
''I do think it is dangerous, absolutely,'' Mr. Avenatti said. ''And I think it is incumbent upon the president to quash this nonsense as opposed to feeding it.''
Mr. Decker said the prominence of QAnon T-shirts and signs at Mr. Trump's televised rally in Tampa, and the elevation of that imagery via cable news coverage of the rally, were troubling. ''In a sense, the internet won,'' he said.
''These are communities craving attention, they're craving media appearances, they're craving exposure so they can further propagate,'' he said. ''It is very concerning to exponentially increase the audience of this content to eight-, nine- or 10-figure populations.''
What else can we say about the size and scope of this community?The /r/GreatAwakening subreddit board vibrantly shares memes with 49,000 followers, making it a medium-size board. There are Facebook groups, one of the most popular of which has nearly 40,000 members sharing hundreds of posts with one another a day.
Video explainers of Q followers talking through potential connected topics have racked up millions of views on YouTube, and the numbers of tweets out there are too numerous to count (and the difficulty in discerning genuine posts versus bot activity makes Twitter a poor measuring stick anyway).
But perhaps the greatest signal of the sustained, dedicated audience for this discussion can be found in the seismic traffic to websites and apps set up to collect and curate preferred 4chan posts about Q.
In April 2018, an app called ''QDrops'' was among the 10 most downloaded paid iOS apps in the Apple Store, according to an NBC report that cited an analytics site.
The Qanon.pub site was created in March 2018 and has quickly established an audience of over seven million visits a month, according to the web analytics company SimilarWeb.
Read more about conspiracy theories and their effect on the real world
Justin Bank is a senior editor for internet and audience. He was previously a senior editor at The Washington Post. @ bankonjustin
Liam Stack is a political reporter. Before joining the politics team, he was a general assignment reporter based in New York and a Middle East correspondent based in Cairo. @ liamstack
Daniel Victor is a New York-based reporter, covering a wide variety of stories with a focus on breaking news. He joined The Times in 2012 from ProPublica. @ bydanielvictor
Who is Q? Behind conspiracy theory erupting at Trump rallies
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) '-- Amid the "Trump 2020" placards, the "Women for Trump" signs and the "CNN SUCKS" T-shirts, the most inscrutable message that came out of Donald Trump's Tampa rally on Tuesday evening was a letter.
People wore T-shirts with the letter emblazoned on the front. Others carried signs containing the letter: "Q WWG1WGA Trump 2020 Keep America Great! MSM is the enemy." Another held a dog-eared and slightly crumpled piece of paper in the air. It said, simply, "We are Q."
The entire, loose movement has been called everything from "a deranged conspiracy cult" (The Washington Post) to a grassroots movement "about the covert battles being waged between the deep state and President Trump" (according to Tyler, a guy at the Tampa rally who held a metal coin emblazoned with the letter and showed it to WPLG, a TV station from Miami).
Here's a look at the trend that's sweeping certain dark corners of the Internet:
WHO IS Q?
In late October 2017, an anonymous user posted on 4chan, a shadowy site known for, among other things, cruel hoaxes and political extremism. Under the title "The Calm Before the Storm," the poster claimed to have a high-level government security clearance '-- Q clearance to be exact '-- and referred to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, political parties and former President Barack Obama.
Q gives readers "breadcrumbs" so they can ferret out details on their own. There's other lingo as well. Bakers are amateur sleuths who follow the crumbs. Anyone who tries to debunk Q is "a clown." (This includes CIA agents, shadowy operatives and most likely reporters, although there's separate terminology for them).
Like Tyler, the man at the Tuesday rally in Tampa, many believe the mainstream media is lying to them.
Other 4chan users have pointed out that "Q'' uses the plural "we."
Keep in mind, users can, and often do, post anonymously on 4chan.
EVERYBODY ON THE INTERWEBS TALKS ABOUT TRUMP, CLINTON, OBAMA AND SOROS. WHAT MAKES Q DIFFERENT?
Many on 4chan seemed to enjoy discussing the cryptic posts and the clues, and Q spread like wildfire. Terminology was born. Inside jokes and theories blossomed. Q subreddits swelled to 30,000 followers. Q's Twitter account has 80,000 followers.
A YouTube video posted by "prayingmedic" on July 28, titled, "Something Big is About to Drop," has 275,000 views. It is an hour and eight minutes long.
It is unclear if anything actually dropped.
Joseph Uscinski, a University of Miami professor who co-authored the book, "American Conspiracy Theories," said Q "is just hitting the right audience at the right time given the right circumstance."
Q's topics appeal to many who already are inclined to believe conspiracy theories, Uscinski said. Those conspiracy-minded folks have always been around in the country.
"There is no way to know if it's an embedded deep state operative or if it's a prankster," he added.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ROSEANNE BARR?
The actress has tweeted about Q and retweeted posts from the "QAnon" account. In Nov. 2017, she tweeted "Who is Q?" and reportedly asked Q to direct message her. In May, Barr posted a racist tweet about former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, who figures in some QAnon conspiracy theories. In response, ABC cancelled her hit TV show.
WHAT DOES Q BELIEVE?
Uscinski, who has studied Q over the last month, says the user's posts are often about the "deep state" battling Donald Trump, using bureaucratic inertia. Which isn't that farfetched, he said, given that many in federal government didn't likely vote for Trump.
Q and the QAnon supporters refer to "The Storm" often, which is a reference to an October 2017 meeting between Trump and military leaders during which Trump said, "the calm before the storm."
But then, things get nutty.
Q has posted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller isn't investigating Trump at all '-- he's really investigating Hillary Clinton, John Podesta and Barack Obama. Other theories involve familiar players in conspiracy theories such as the Freemasons and the Illuminati, while others mention The Titanic, pedophile rings in Hollywood, and the possibility that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin wears an ankle monitor. Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, the Rothschild family and Satan also make appearances in discussions.
Sometimes the posts are cryptic, throwing the bakers into a frenzy of riddle solving, such as:
HOW LONG DO EXPERTS THINK Q WILL CONTINUE POSTING?
Said Uscinski: "Very few conspiracies have the staying power of a JFK."
Praying Medic on Twitter: "86) Apparently, Avenatti called the police to investigate the Q post. How did a lone grifter on 8chan manage to bring the entire world to his front door? https://t.co/pRoZaTpdfE"
President Trump said on Twitter that he and A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, had discussed ''the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, 'Enemy of the People.' Sad!'' Credit Tom Brenner for The New York Times BRIDGEWATER, N.J. '-- President Trump and the publisher of The New York Times, A. G. Sulzberger, engaged in a fierce public clash on Sunday over Mr. Trump's threats against journalism, after Mr. Sulzberger said the president misrepresented a private meeting and Mr. Trump accused The Times and other papers of putting lives at risk with irresponsible reporting.
Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he and Mr. Sulzberger had discussed ''the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, 'Enemy of the People.' Sad!''
In a five-paragraph statement issued two hours after the tweet, Mr. Sulzberger said he had accepted Mr. Trump's invitation for the July 20 meeting mainly to raise his concerns about the president's ''deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.''
''I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,'' said Mr. Sulzberger, who became publisher of The Times on Jan. 1.
''I told him that although the phrase 'fake news' is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists 'the enemy of the people,''' Mr. Sulzberger continued. ''I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.''
This is particularly true overseas, Mr. Sulzberger said, where governments are using Mr. Trump's words as a pretext to crack down on journalists. He said he warned the president that his attacks were ''putting lives at risk'' and ''undermining the democratic ideals of our nation.''
Mr. Sulzberger's lengthy, bluntly worded rebuttal was a striking rejoinder to the president by the 37-year-old publisher of a paper with which Mr. Trump has had a long, complicated relationship. And it apparently touched a nerve: The president fired off a series of angry tweets in the afternoon, accusing newspapers of being unpatriotic.
''I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,'' he wrote. ''The failing New York Times and the Amazon Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements '-- and they will never change!''
Mr. Trump, in his initial tweet from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Sunday morning, described the meeting with Mr. Sulzberger as ''very good and interesting.'' But in referring to the phrase ''enemy of the people,'' he did not make clear that he himself began using that label about the press during his first year in office.
He has continued to assail the news media at rallies and even at more formal presidential events, encouraging his audiences to chant ''CNN sucks!'' and to vent their anger at the reporters assembled in the back.
Speaking to veterans in Kansas City, Mo., last week, Mr. Trump said: ''Stick with us. Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.'' As members of the crowd booed and hissed at the press corps, he added, ''What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.''
The president invited Mr. Sulzberger to the Oval Office earlier this month, according to The Times, continuing a tradition of meetings between presidents and the paper's publishers. James Bennet, the editorial page editor of The Times, accompanied Mr. Sulzberger to the meeting.
Image Mr. Sulzberger had a different account of his meeting with Mr. Trump, which the president revealed after having asked that it be off the record. ''I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,'' Mr. Sulzberger said in a statement. Credit Benjamin Norman for The New York Times In a statement, Mercedes Schlapp, a White House communications adviser, said, ''The president regularly meets with members of the media, and we can confirm this meeting took place.'' She did not provide any further details of the meeting or explain why the president chose to publicize it.
The White House had requested that the meeting be kept off the record, according to the statement from The Times.
''But with Mr. Trump's tweet this morning,'' the statement said, ''he has put the meeting on the record, so A. G. has decided to respond to the president's characterization of their conversation, based on detailed notes A. G. and James took.''
In a telephone interview, Mr. Sulzberger described the meeting with Mr. Trump, whom he had met only once before, as cordial. But he said he went into the Oval Office determined to make a point about what he views as the dangers of the president's inflammatory language.
Mr. Sulzberger recalled telling Mr. Trump at one point that newspapers had begun posting armed guards outside their offices because of a rise in threats against journalists. The president, he said, expressed surprise that they did not already have armed guards.
At another point, Mr. Trump expressed pride in popularizing the phrase ''fake news,'' and said other countries had begun banning it. Mr. Sulzberger responded that those countries were dictatorships and that they were not banning ''fake news'' but rather independent scrutiny of their actions.
Still, Mr. Sulzberger said, by the end of the session, he felt that Mr. Trump had listened to his arguments. The president, Mr. Sulzberger recalled, told him he was glad that he had raised those issues and would think about them.
Mr. Sulzberger said he bore no illusions that his comments would prompt Mr. Trump to curb his attacks on the news media. He said he encouraged the president to complain about news coverage in The Times that he viewed as unfair. But he appealed to him not to systematically attack journalists and journalism around the world.
Tensions between Times publishers and presidents are nothing new. Early in Bill Clinton's presidency, Mr. Clinton complained to Mr. Sulzberger's father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who was then publisher, about the paper's editorials.
Mr. Sulzberger told the president he liked to think of them as ''tough love,'' according to Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones, who wrote a history of the Sulzberger family.
''Well, just don't forget the love part,'' Mr. Clinton replied.
A decade later, Mr. Sulzberger and top editors of The Times were summoned to the Oval Office by President George W. Bush in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the paper from publishing a long-delayed article about the National Security Agency's monitoring of phone calls without court-approved warrants.
''Generally speaking, presidents, in their dealings with newspaper publishers, have wanted to court them,'' said Martha Joynt Kumar, a longtime expert in the relationship between the press and the White House. ''They think if they bring the publishers in and explain their goals and intentions, that would be helpful.''
Mr. Trump regularly mocks ''the failing New York Times,'' but he has also visited its offices and spoken to its journalists. This weekend, The Times published an article about Mr. Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, which noted that they had invited the younger Mr. Sulzberger to a dinner at their home in Manhattan in honor of Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations.
A version of this article appears in print on
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Times Publisher and Trump Clash Over President's Threats Against Press
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Hans - Sitges - Gucci bags from the beach
A devastating report reveals 300,000 illegal migrants are living in one French suburb | Daily Mail Online
On a steamy summer's night, the sounds and smells are of Africa. Hawkers grill meat on fires built inside shopping trolleys.
Others sell corn, which pops on the flames. People jostle and sweat; thick smoke hangs in the air.
West African women '-- les Reines de Marchand, the Queens of the Market '-- sell fake designer clothes. Hustlers in sunglasses work the crowds.
'Burrha! Burrha!,' they shout, holding bags of counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes.
Some voices are from sub-Saharan Africa '-- Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sudan, Eritrea, Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone. Afghans shout and joke in Pashtun; others speak in languages I have not heard before.
There are thousands at this open market '-- haggling, eating and drinking.
Andrew Malone ventured into the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis for a week, a neighbourhood is home to as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants
At the World Express cafe, groups of men argue in Arabic. On side streets, men smoke shisha pipes and talk '-- again, in Arabic '-- on every corner. Women shop in veils and scarves, always accompanied by a male relative.
As a white European, I attract odd looks. When I take out my mobile phone for a photograph, a young man jumps in front of me, waving his index finger in my face, shouting: 'La! La! La!' (No! No! No!)
Yet this is not an exotic, far-flung destination. This is France. Moreover, this is Paris and only six miles from the Eiffel Tower.
The reason for all this activity '-- in an area which even the most optimistic estate agent would struggle to sell as 'cosmopolitan and bohemian' '-- is quite simple: immigration on a mammoth scale.
The area in question is called Saint-Denis in the north-east of the city, where the Basilica holds the resting places of many French kings and queens.
Recently, it was reported that this sprawling district now holds as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants, many of whom rely on crime or the 'black economy' to make money. The official legal population in Saint-Denis is estimated at 1.5 million.
Not only that, according to French parliamentarians in a new report that's causing much anguish across the nation, as many as 420,000 legal residents here are living 'below the official poverty line'.
The scale of the problem grows each day. An estimated 80 migrants arrive in Paris every 24 hours '-- 550 a week.
Many head for Saint-Denis because of its closeness to transport links, including the railway lines heading towards the North coast, and Britain.
Migrant camps, set up in tents along the Seine in this area of Paris, were destroyed by the police in May, with the occupants who didn't get away taken for processing in detention centres after a raid.
But there are still campers everywhere, as well as people sleeping on the streets.
There are an estimated 135 different nationalities in Saint-Denis, most extremely poor, including an estimated 600,000 Muslims from North African or sub-Saharan African backgrounds.
'The challenge,' says Paris senator Philippe Dallier, is 'to prevent Saint-Denis becoming a huge ethnic ghetto of two million inhabitants within 20 years.'
Bon chance, monsieur '-- as they don't say in this teeming quarter, where speaking Arabic is more useful than French.
Having spent several days in Saint-Denis, it's clear to me that the area is already lost to France '-- to the rule of French law, equality, religious freedom, and even access to the streets by the police themselves.
Indeed, this is a parallel state '-- a state within a state, with its own rules and religious courts '-- where allegiance to Islam comes ahead of fealty to France.
Police have reportedly admitted the area is a 'no-go' zone, and will only drive through the areas armed and four to a vehicle
Here, I saw a woman walking in full face veil '-- illegal under a French law introduced to promote integration. No one batted an eye.
People bought and sold drugs openly. What law there is takes place inside Sharia courts, where Islamic leaders dispense the same forms of justice practised in the countries from which many here fled.
And where, as I discovered, other faiths and religions are being driven from the area.
When helicopters flew overhead in training for the Bastille Day celebrations earlier this month, one man pretended to shoot at them with a machine gun.
Another pushed him away and pretended to fire a shoulder-mounted missile, tracing the missile with his hand towards its targets and shouting: 'Boom!' Everyone laughed.
Further down the street, there was a flurry of activity. A woman was surrounded as she opened a huge bag full of phones, shoes, sunglasses and handbags '-- clearly stolen from tourists or Parisians. The goods were quickly sold and the crowd melted away.
Police have reportedly admitted the area is a 'no-go' zone, and will only drive through the areas armed and four to a vehicle.
Meanwhile, politicians on the Left try to deny the problems: Anne Hidalgo, Socialist Mayor of Paris, announced she was going to sue Fox News, the Trump-supporting Right-wing U.S. TV channel, for claiming that there were 'no-go areas' open only to Muslims.
The suit was never filed, but it is surely impossible to deny that the number of impoverished migrants in France is causing a dangerous social dislocation.
The appalling attacks in November 2015 by home-grown Islamic State killers shone a pitiless spotlight on the problems that can grow out of immigrant ghettos.
The carnage started close to the Stade de France, the national sports stadium, which is in Saint-Denis, where some of the killers sought refuge after the attacks.
One hundred and thirty people died in a single night of violence involving suicide bombings and Kalashnikov fire around bars, caf(C)s and venues, including the Bataclan concert hall.
Five days after the attacks, the suspected mastermind was run to ground in an apartment by hundreds of security officers.
'The police had no idea who anyone was, and were pretty much shooting on sight because everyone was a suspect,' a local who witnessed the raid told me.
'The terrorists had rented rooms with no questions asked, and were left to get on with their crimes.'
At the time, Manuel Valls, the prime minister, spoke of a 'geographical, social and ethnic apartheid' and that 'these last few days have underlined a lot of evil that is gnawing at our country'.
The 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice left 87 dead '-- including the terrorist '-- and 458 injured, when a truck ploughed into revellers on the Promenade des Anglais.
Since then, as I discovered, in many ways the situation has worsened, although thankfully there has not been another major terrorist attack.
There are around 350 known jihadists living in Saint-Denis, while 1,700 are believed to have returned to France after fighting for IS in Syria, with 15,000 terrorism suspects in France.
In Saint-Denis itself, there is a record number of mosques '-- 160 official ones, and many more unofficial '-- compared with 117 Catholic churches and 60 Protestant. Yet it is the unauthorised mosques '-- set up in basements and garages '-- that the authorities fear the most.
'The radicalisers use these hidden places of worship to influence the young and impressionable,' said a veteran police officer who has worked in Saint-Denis for more than two decades.
He added: 'Salafists (followers of an extreme form of Islam) impose the rule of religion, so we can have very little influence. These radicalisers are the ones who motivate the young towards terrorism.'
Much of the money-raising activity comes from drug-dealing by gangs, many of them Muslim. At one high-rise block of flats not far from where I was staying, the scale of the operation was evident.
Like a department store, different drugs are sold on different floors. Moroccans and North Africans sell hashish for ten euros a bag on the third floor.
On the next floor up, two West African youths '-- one with his hair dyed pink, the other blonde '-- were dispensing skunk marijuana for 20 euros a bag.
Further up were older black Africans selling rocks of cocaine at 20 euros for a small plastic wrap. Above, heroin was being sold, and there was also, apparently, a room set aside for injecting.
At this point, I told one of the men I was a journalist and asked whether we could have a chat.
A chunky character in a red Ellesse sports shirt, he was relaxed, smiled at me and said politely to me in English: 'No '-- go.' I went.
Most blocks seemed to have the same operation, with youths guarding the front doors, 'spotters' on the streets opposite for signs of police or other gangs, and the drugs held and sold inside.
Rabbi Yisroel Belinow, 50, is either a fool or very brave. As I walked near a mosque, I saw him looking out of his window. His home was firebombed in 2009, and a kosher restaurant next door burned down.
He's since watched other Jews flee the area, and his dying father begged him to leave before it was too late. He came down to speak to me, but declined my invitation to stroll around the streets.
'My parents came here from Russia and Poland,' he told me. 'When I was a kid, there were the usual jokes between children; we made fun of each other, but there was always a limit. I could go anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted.'
'The problem is people coming to France and wanting to change it. And it's worse because they want to force people to change. I know I look different. The hatred is obvious '-- people spit when you walk past.
'I respect this country because I was born here. I respect the laws of this country. I respect Christmas even though it has nothing to do with being a Jew.
'Now they won't let Christmas happen. France has existed for thousands of years. If I didn't like those laws, I would move to another country.
'It wasn't always like this. In the beginning, [French people] wanted to help. The charity these people [recent migrants] were shown was tremendous. But you wake up and realise pretty soon that this works one way only. Many people have left.'
Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Jewish grandmother and Holocaust survivor, vowed never to leave Paris, but she was stabbed to death in her apartment in March.
Two men in their 20s have been charged with her murder, one of whom Mrs Knoll's family say was a Muslim neighbour they had known since he was a boy.
The dead woman's son said: 'At first we weren't sure [the killing] was due to anti-Semitism. We waited for police to say it, and now we know the truth.'
While only a few hundred attend weekly mass at the Basilica here, thousands of Muslims stream into the area's mosques for Friday prayers '-- so much so that, in a rare intervention, the authorities banned them from praying in the streets as well.
Women suffer the most. Not far from the drug dealers outside the station, I visited a women's refuge set up by Ghada Hatem, a senior gynaecologist, who says almost one in five of her patients have been victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) '-- the barbaric ritual of cutting the sexual organs of young women.
Now a specialist in the repair of such intimate mutilation, Hatem, who hails from Lebanon, says she is in daily contact with 'women who tell me about the horrors they experience at home'.
Sarah Oussekine, who has an Algerian background and who runs a group called the Voix d'Elles Rebelles (Voice of the Female Rebels) in Saint-Denis, says: 'When you ask girls why they are starting to wear the headscarf '-- and many more are '-- they tell you it is an act of faith, but actually when you dig deeper, they have to wear it to stay safe.'
All this, of course, has led to a toxic, incendiary atmosphere in this Parisian suburb '-- with Muslim groups countering that they suffer harassment, police violence and religious and racial discrimination.
Riots erupted in February last year after a young black man was allegedly sexually assaulted with a baton by police officers.
Migrant camps, set up in tents along the Seine in this area of Paris, were destroyed by the police in May, with the occupants who didn't get away taken for processing in detention centres after a raid
Yasser Louati of CCIF (Group Combating Islamophobia in France) said attacks and harassment of innocent Muslim communities had 'risen considerably since the terrorist attacks', even though many of the victims of the 2015 Paris outrage were Muslims.
Mosques have been firebombed, and Muslim centres daubed with pigs' blood. New powers for the security services make house searches and arrest easier, especially when suspects are targeted because of their 'physical [Arab] appearance', said Mr Louati.
The influx of migrants into Saint-Denis has been made worse because of a crackdown at Calais which has seen the infamous Jungle camp '-- used by migrants as a base to try to reach England '-- demolished and thousands of inmates dispersed.
One group I met comprised migrants trying to reach Britain who told me they were originally from countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Ghana, which may be troubled but are hardly war-torn. I also met men from Afghanistan.
'We will stay here until we can get to Britain,' I was told. 'In London they will give you a home; here, they just let you sleep in a park. I will make friends there and find a girlfriend.'
So what can be done? Extreme circumstances have prompted extreme responses, with one French intellectual, Professor Christian Moliner, even suggesting a parallel Muslim state should effectively exist in France, so that any Muslims who wished to do so could follow sharia law, in order to prevent civil disturbances.
He said that if this did not come about, there could be a civil war in France.
Moliner, an author on Islam, stated: 'We can never convert the 30 per cent of Muslims who demand the introduction of sharia law to the merits of our democracy and secularism.
'We are now allowing segregation to take place that does not say its name.'
Even Left-wingers belatedly acknowledge the scale of the problem. Veteran politician Jean-Louis Borloo, a former minister, was this year tasked by President Macron to research and write a report on the burgeoning problem of the Parisian suburbs.
As well as recommending that '¬5 billion be spent, he stressed the need for 'national reconciliation', especially in districts facing up to the withdrawal of French identity and community, which in turn fuels xenophobia.
Having had the good fortune to spend much of my working life reporting from around the world, and Africa in particular, I adore melting pots of different cultures, languages and races.
And I have almost always been treated with kindness and respect in Muslim countries.
Yet, frankly, the time I spent in Paris has convinced me of the difficulty of achieving genuine integration between these defiant, troubled inner-city Muslim communities and mainstream French society.
Indeed, the only person to shake my hand during my visit was the rabbi. Everyone else offered me their wrist, not wanting to touch hands with an infidel '-- someone unclean.
As a metaphor for what is happening in the French capital, it couldn't be more sad '-- or more troubling.
Crab Cakes no linger made in house at WF-5 oz instead of 6
Dogs are People Too
I fortuitously have a free 3 months of SiriusXM courtesy of T-Mobile, so I was
able to catch your appearance on replay. So great, really enjoyed your
perspective and glad to see you getting some respect for your time as a VJ. If
you do come to NYC and think you'll have enough time, let me know and I'll plan
a No Agenda meetup.
No Agenda memes keep popping up, I realize because you guys spot these things
from a mile away. This past weekend I went to the wedding of a millennial
couple, and their dog walked down the aisle with the groom and both of his
parents, and was part of the wedding party! It was pretty much a dog-themed
reception, with each table named after the couple's friend's dogs.
Anyway, hope all is well with you and Tina!
All the best,
Dame Tanya, Viscountess of NYC :-)
2020 Bitcoin Halving Countdown & Date ETA (Bitcoin Clock)
What is the Bitcoin Halving?New bitcoins are issued by the Bitcoin network every 10 minutes. For the first four years of Bitcoin's existence, the amount of new bitcoins issued every 10 minutes was 50. Every four years, this number is cut in half. The day the reward halves is called a "halving".
In 2012, the amount of new bitcoins issued every 10 minutes dropped from 50 bitcoins to 25. In 2016, it dropped from 25 to 12.5. Now, in the 2020 halving, it will drop from 12.5 to 6.25.
What is the Significance of the Reward Halving?The halving decreases the amount of new bitcoins generated per block. This means the supply of new bitcoins is lower.
In normal markets, lower supply with steady demand usually leads to higher prices. Since the halving reduces the supply of new bitcoins, and demand usually remains steady, the halving has usually preceded some of Bitcoin's largest runs.
In the image below, the vertical green lines indicate the previous two halvings (2012-11-28 and 2016-7-9). Note how the price has jumped significantly after each halving.
Bitcoin Halving ChartIn the image below, you can see Bitcoin's inflation rate during each period.
Each halving lowers Bitcoin's inflation rate. The orange line is Bitcoin's inflation rate during a given period, while the blue line is the total number of bitcoins issued.
Bitcoin Halving ScheduleThe Bitcoin halving is scheduled in block height, not date.
The reward halves every 210,000 blocks. The 2020 halving will happen on block 630,000. The 2024 halving will happen at block 840,000.
What Happens to Miners During Halvings?Many always speculate that miners will shut down after the halving. The reality is most miners are very smart and price in the halving, so they don't end up shutting down any miners.
When is the Next Bitcoin Halving, after the 2020 Halving?The 2024 halving will likely occur between March 2024 and June 2024.
Bitcoin Halving HistoryThis section will take a look at the previous two halvings.
2012 HalvingThe 2012 block halving was the first halving. It was mined by SlushPool by someone using a Radeon HD 5800 miner.
Reward Before: 50 BTC per blockReward After: 25 BTC per blockPrice on Halving Day: $12.35Price 150 Days Later: $127.002016 HalvingThe 2016 was the second one ever.
Reward Before: 25 BTC per blockReward After: 12.5 BTC per blockPrice on Halving Day: $650.63Price 150 Days Later: $758.81Current Bitcoin Block RewardThe current Bitcoin block reward is 12.5 bitcoins per block. When block 630,000 is hit in 2020, the reward will drop to 6.25 bitcoins (BTC) per block.
Bitcoin Halving PartiesThousands of Bitcoiners across the world celebrated the 2016 halving. There were parties in tons of major cities like Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, Athens, Dublin and dozens of other cities.
Here is a video from the 2016 halving party in Tel Aviv:
When party events are posted, we'll keep track of them here!
When Will All 21 Million Bitcoins be Mined?All 21 million bitcoins (BTC) will be mined by 2140. But more than 98% will be mined by 2030.
Is There a Litecoin Block Reward Halving Countdown?Yes, check this site. Litecoin is currently projected to have its halving a year before Bitcoin, in around August 2019. The Litecoin reward per block will decrease from 25 LTC per block to 12.5 LTC per block. Litecoin's block reward halves every 840,000 blocks.
Is There an Ethereum Block Reward Halving Countdown? Ethereum's block reward does not halve like Bitcoin's, so there is no countdown.
What is the Bitcoin Clock?The Bitcoin clock has been around since 2011. In 2018, the owner let the domain expire. We revamped the site and restored it to its original vision.
Is the Reward Halving Necessary?The reward halving is necessary. This is how Bitcoin controls its supply. Once the block reward expires, transaction fees will pay miners for securing the network.
Why Our Estimates Are the Most AccurateMost of the other reward halving date estimators use 10 minute blocks to calculate the estimated halving date.
Blocks, however, have been mined at less than 10 minute intervals for almost all of Bitcoin's history.
Our calculator uses data from Bitcoinity to get the average block time for the past 6 months. It then uses this block time (currently 9.308 minutes between blocks) to estimate the reward halving date.
While most of the other sites estimate the reward halving for late-May, the more likely outcome is an early-April reward halving.
July 31, 2018 at 6:22 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard Leave a Comment
More details on Bob Woodward's forthcoming book, Fear: Trump in the White House.
Politico: ''According to half a dozen former administration officials and people close to the administration, Woodward was never officially granted access to the White House or to the president, and the communications department did nothing to help him in researching or writing his book.''
''The result is what often happens in Trumpworld: Senior officials acting as lone wolves concerned with preserving their own reputations spoke to Woodward on their own '' with some granting him hours of their time out of a fear of being the last person in the room to offer his or her viewpoint.''
Said one former official: ''It's gonna be killer. Everyone talked with Woodward.''
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Iraq War Veteran Turned FBI Agent Notified Comey of Widespread FBI Corruption, Comey & McCabe Set Out to "Suicide Him" '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Featured Politics SecurityIraq War Veteran Turned FBI Agent Notified Comey of Widespread FBI Corruption, Comey & McCabe Set Out to ''Suicide Him''When Iraq War veteran turned FBI Agent Omar Montoya sent FBI Director James Comey a letter detailing widespread corruption within the Bureau, Comey quickly took action. And tried to ruin Montoya.
Did Comey try to clean up the FBI and right the wrongs Montoya spelled out in his detailed letter? If you read Comey's book '-- where he talks about integrity and leadership '-- the answer would appear to be yes, Comey righted the wrongs of the wayward FBI.
But unlike Comey's book and his public persona, Comey did the opposite. The FBI director moved to crush Montoya '-- even at one point moving to have him indicted '-- as a threat to the FBI, according to well-placed FBI sources.
Montoya is still in the FBI, assigned to its New Haven. Connecticut field office. Comey has since been fired.
This story has no fairytale ending where Montoya emerged unscathed from Comey's wrath, carried out by then FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his winged monkeys.
Yes, Comey and McCabe and even Montoya's New Haven SAC Patricia Ferrick are all gone now '-- fired and pushed out of the FBI. And while Montoya remains, his life and career are in tatters, FBI sources said.
''They fucking ruined this man,'' one well-placed D.C. FBI source said. ''They tried to suicide him.''
Montoya would not comment for this story but FBI insiders painted a vicious portrait of how the Iraq War veteran was treated after simply trying to clean up the FBI's wayward New Haven office.
It was Comey who personally visited the New Haven office and apologized to the men and women of the FBI for allowing the mismanagement under his predecessor Robert Mueller to get so out of control in the tiny office. Following that cue, where Comey said he would personally ensure turning that field office around, FBI sources said Montoya sent Comey a long letter just before the 2016 presidential election detailing favoritism, nepotism, fraud, illicit behavior, harassment, pay to play, FBI agents instructed to surveil and tail other FBI agents and potential crimes inside the New Haven FBI.
These are just a sampling of the corruption.
Comey handed the letter off to McCabe and instructed him to ''deal with this trouble maker,'' according to FBI sources. And deal with him, he did. Three weeks after Montoya delivered details of FBI corruption to Comey, Comey moved to investigate and possibly even indict Montoya.
Montoya is now on disability after years of psychological torture. McCabe and Ferrick, emboldened by Comey, painted Montoya as a potential terrorist who was an ''insider threat'' to the FBI and national security, sources said. He was marginalized, taken off the street. Ostracized until he had a breakdown.
''What D.C. did to Omar Montoya is a national disgrace,'' one FBI insider said. ''The goal was to have him eat his gun but no one knew how tough he was. You have to be strong to make it through this kind of gauntlet.''
A brutal gauntlet. This is what the FBI does to its own. They treat good agents like Montoya the same as they would a career criminal. There is little difference.
You want to take on the Bureau even if you've been treated capriciously, prepare for the fight of your life. It's the same techniques the FBI and Justice Department employ against criminal defendants who won't work a plea deal or seek a jury trial.
If things are that bad, why doesn't someone in the Justice Department or Washington, D.C. do something about it. Ferrick who until recently ran the New Haven office is a close associate of recently defrocked and fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Under McCabe's supervision, agents seldom filed complaints because they feared they would be ignored. Often, they were. Others who did file complaints were put through a vicious gauntlet designed by FBI brass.
McCabe's influence and management philosophy still has tentacles throughout numerous key FBI field offices, sources said. That includes New Haven, although it is on a much smaller scale compared to Las Vegas, Los Angeles or even Little Rock where McCabe's influence is still seen in the Bureau's leadership of each office.
Ferrick and her inner circle are accused of, among other infractions, running an office plagued with pay-for-play, favoritism, hundreds of thousands spent in legal fees to fight lawsuits and internal complaints, even alleged illegal surveillance on their own agents.
And retaliation. Lots of retaliation.
''New Haven has been a real shit show for a long time,'' one DEA agent said. ''Everyone in the northeast knows it, not just FBI. The U.S. Attorney's office up here is no better because they cover for them.''
Two agents in New Haven have uncovered just how rife the office is with corruption and downright pettiness that is costing taxpayers untold millions of dollars.
Special Agent Kurt Siuzdak filed a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department and then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2014 for serious workplace problems in New Haven.
It turns out the New Haven FBI might have messed with the wrong agent. Siuzdak is a 21-year FBI veteran and also a trial lawyer who worked in New York as a legal attache to Iraq for the Bureau before joining New Haven in 2009.
That's when the trouble began for the former Army veteran who was also one of the FBI agents who responded to and worked the World Trade Center bombings on September 11, 2001.
Siuzdak maintains he was passed over for promotions because New Haven's FBI leadership awarded promotions based on social affiliations: popularity, not achievement. Just like a high school prom committee. When Siuzdak complained that New Haven's leadership was feckless, dysfunctional and arbitrary, he was professionally minimized, harassed, retaliated against and even subjected to a baseless internal investigation.
That included being followed by colleagues like a common criminal, sources said.
It is hard to understand why Siuzdak was targeted so viciously. It was not a surprise '-- even after the agent blew the whistle '-- that New Haven wasn't the FBI's shining field office on a hill.
According to internal FBI employment surveys in 2012 and 2013, agents hammered the office with brutally-low ratings for leadership, employee treatment and overall office morale. A January 2013 an inspection by FBI headquarters of New Haven's violent crime task forces found that ''senior management was described as leading by fear and intimidation, negatively impacting both internal personnel and the liaison relationships with the FBI's external partners.''
As FBI Director, Comey visited the New Haven office in 2014 and vowed to clean it up. He also apologized to agents in a speech for the Bureau's past transgressions of workplace slights in New Haven. Four years later, agents said the office is worse than ever.
Just ask Montoya.
He sued the FBI, Justice Department, Jeff Sessions and Christopher Wray in September.
Montoya's case is entwined with Special Agent Kurt Siuzdak's case in a somewhat strange way. Before any FBI agent can file a case in federal court, they are required to file the grievances within the FBI's office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs (''EEO''). Montoya, who worked as a GS-11 electronics technician for the FBI, was also the internal FBI EEO counselor who was assigned to another agent's case in 2015.
Sources said Montoya recognized the unnamed agent's case was so well documented that he told supervisors and FBI brass in New Haven that they should settle the case, it was doubtful the FBI would win the case, specially if it reached federal court, sources said.
Outraged that Montoya would not string out a decision for a referral on the case '-- delay the case to frustrate the agent '-- FBI brass harassed and retaliated against Montoya.
From Montoya's federal lawsuit:
On or about April 24, 2015, plaintiff assisted an FBI Special Agent (''SA1'') initiate an EEO complaint against his FBI supervisors, including SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline. SA1's EEO complaint alleged, inter alia, claims of discrimination and retaliation against his FBI supervisors, including but not necessarily limited to SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline.
On or about April 24, 2015, as part of his duties as an EEO counselor, plaintiff interviewed both SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline in connection with SA1's EEO complaint and in an effort to mediate a resolution to the EEO complaint. When he interviewed SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline, however, both FBI supervisors resisted plaintiff's efforts to explore a mediated solution and demonstrated contempt for the EEO process. In fact, when plaintiff met with ASAC Kline to discuss SA1's EEO complaint, he became angry with plaintiff and attempted to intimidate him.
Soon after plaintiff interviewed SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline in his capacity as an EEO counselor in connection with SA1's EEO complaint and provided SA1 with his Notice of Right to File an EEO complaint, his FBI supervisors began to harass him and treat him differently and less favorably than other FBI employees.
On or about July 1, 2015 '' and shortly after he had interviewed SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline in connection with SA1's EEO complaint '' plaintiff sent an e-mail to the FBI executive management at the FBI's NHD, including SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline, reporting what he believed to have been an abuse of authority by an FBI supervisor.
Montoya maintains New Haven FBI brass canceled a promotion by ''falsely mischaracterized and misrepresented plaintiff's work performance as deficient in an effort to ensure that he would be denied a promotion to the GS-12 level.''
No such promotion was given. Montoya began to suffer medical problems from the stress at the New Haven FBI.
So far, FBI agents in New Haven have sued Eric Holder, the FBI, Jeff Sessions, Christopher Wray and that list could grow larger. Other cases working their way through the FBI's internal complaint process could blossom into federal civil cases, sources said.
Each case '-- whether it reaches federal court or not '-- requires lawyers from the Justice Department. And that gets expensive. If the FBI loses a case, the Justice Department has to not only underwrite its legal fees to fight the case, but also pay the plaintiff's legal fees. Then, taxpayers are on the hook for cash settlements which normally top out at $300,000 though many can exceed that amount based on back pay and lost promotions and benefits, sources said.
Then there are the man hours when supervisors assigned FBI agents to surveillance of other FBI agents who make formal complaints.
''Cars sat parked outside our house for weeks at a time, following us, keeping tabs on everywhere we went,'' one FBI source said. ''These agents weren't working cases, they were intimidating their colleagues and getting paid handsomely to do it.
''These are mutts. Who would listen to a supervisor and sit on an agent's house? The lowest of the low. It hurts morale. Kills it.''
And it is expensive. Very expensive.
That said, the shenanigans at the FBI's New Haven field office are literally costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
And while Montoya's lawsuit fails to detail another toll unseen on a balance sheet, FBI sources said FBI brass in New Haven targeted Montoya with a dirty trick that likely contributed to his stress-induced medical woes and health decline.
Montoya emigrated to the United States from Ecuador in 1993 and became a legal resident of the United States. By 1994, he was a legal citizen as was enrolled in the Army from 1994 through 2002, deployed to Saudi Arabia and South Korea. From 2003 to 2006 he was employed as a civilian contractor the U.S. Armed Forces, deployed to Iraq and central America as an aircraft mechanic. Then he enrolled in college and got his bachelor's degree.
The American dream, really.
At the time, FBI sources said Peter Strzok was running a program in Washington D.C. called the Post-Adjudication Risk Management plan, or PARM, an FBI program initiated to catch problematic and criminal associations of FBI agents with foreign contacts. FBI insiders said Strzok used PARM to label Montonya an ''insider threat'' because of his international travel and service for the U.S. military and being that he was born in Ecuador.
''It's the equivalent of being linked to terrorism inside the FBI,'' one insider said. ''Your career is frozen when you are designated an insider threat. McCabe and Stzok used this to silence many agents and Kerrick was behind this in New Haven. She dialed up McCabe to try and ruin Montoya, there is not doubt.''
Just to win a grievance over a promotion.
Sources said Montoya suffered multiple health issues after this and missed time at work, including a stint where he had to file for disability pay in order to keep up with his family's bills and obligations because FBI brass didn't want to pay him any more.
This is what the FBI does with agents who take on the system. They break good people. Some never come back.
Montoya's friends inside the FBI said he has exhausted his life savings fighting the FBI in court. They estimate his legal fees at $300,000 and climbing.
FBI Director Christopher Wray wanted to settle Montoya's case, one well-placed FBI source said to ''put this behind the FBI and move forward.''
But Wray has since changed his mind, the source said. This is how loyal FBI agents who want to do the right thing are treated.
And no one in D.C. headquarters even blinks. In fact, they join in.
If the FBI does this to its own, just imagine what they are capable of doing to you.
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The Full Story so far on Tommy Robinson's arrest and imprisonment
The well known journalist and anti-Islamisation activist Tommy Robinson was arrested, tried and sent to prison on May 26 2018 while live-streaming outside a court which is not NORMALLY illegal.
BackgroundTommy Robinson had (one year before) been arrested at his home in the middle of the night for live-streaming earlier that day outside Canterbury Court. During that live stream Tommy broke the technical British laws on NORMAL rules for reporting on court cases that are in progress. The UK chooses to protect Jurors from prejudicial information by drastically restricting the press, instead of drastically restricting the jurors access to the press (sequestration in the US).
During his live stream in Canterbury he did shout at the defendants going into court and call them Muslim pedo scum (or similar). He also failed to say ''the defendants pleaded not-guilty and the case continues.'' A ''real'' journalist would have done that.
His big mistake was to step into the courthouse while filming and that was a specific violation on all photography within the precincts of a court.
ArrestTommy's arrest, at home, in the middle of the night for committing an act of journalism, however, is unprecedented as far as I know. In any normal circumstances, especially for a non-violent crime, he should have been told, probably by phone, to hand himself in to a police station. He would have done that.
That Judge gave Tommy a 3 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months meaning that any significant further offence would activate that 3 months sentence. This only became public after the conviction of the Muslim pedophile gang who had gang raped a child above their restaurant and who had all been out on bail during the trial and continuing to run the same restaurant (it was this unreported detail Tommy was bringing attention to in his reporting).
This was my summary video about that case once all the details were made public (at the conclusion of the case).
MAY 2017 Tommy Robinson convicted of Contempt of Court and sentenced to 3 months in prison.
What happened in Leeds May 26, 2018Skip forward to Leeds May 26 this year. Tommy was trying to follow every normal UK court rule about not assuming defendants are guilty, not photographing within the precincts (or even on the steps) of the court. He even knew that the specific case in Leeds court he was at had ADDITIONAL reporting restrictions whereby he was there to hear the verdict and sentencing of the 2nd trial of a set of 3. He knew that once he HEARD those details he couldn't report those details until the conclusion of the 3rd trial later this year.
You can find the details of these ongoing trials, the names of the defendants and their charges on a number of mainstream and local news websites. If you read those out in public on a Facebook Livestream, it would appear you are guilty of the same contempt of court which sent Tommy Robinson to prison.
Following the RulesAfter following what he thought were the rules for 1hr 15 mins, he was summarily arrested. This is my understanding of what happened next. He was given a court appointed defence lawyer, he was not given enough time to get his own legal representation to Leeds. The Judge did not review all of this stream, nobody explained specifically how he was in contempt of court but the Judge found him to be. He was persuaded to plead guilty though it's not clear he knew to what he was pleading.
The Judge gave him a 10 month sentence, added that to the 3 month sentence from Canterbury, slapped a D-Notice on the entire proceedings (as an extension on the blanket ban on all reporting of his interconnected 3 trials and 29 defendant Muslim rape gang cases). Tommy was in Hull Prison by the end of the day and not given any time to talk to anyone.
Why are there secret courts operating in the UK? Tommy Robinson arrested, tried and imprisoned in a day
That weekend the story blew up across the internet based on scant details. The only people who knew what had really happened in Leeds and who'd been in court when Tommy was convicted, were prohibited from reporting. Early the next week the D-Notice was lifted
Tommy was in Hull Prison serving 13 months, 10 from the new conviction in Leeds and 3 from Canterbury. He was initially quite comfortable in the general population of Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Hull but that didn't last more than a couple of weeks. Tommy was summarily transferred to HMP Onley, somewhat closer to his family, but just before a weekend visit that had already been booked and was thus cancelled. HMP Onley, while a lower category of prison, expected to house less dangerous criminals than HMP Hull, does have a very high concentration of Muslim prisoners on the wings. Almost immediately Tommy had to request solitary confinement.
Meanwhile the story of Tommy Robinson's imprisonment went viral. It was picked up by Tucker Carlson who featured it speaking to Katie Hopkins and Douglas Murray. Even Donald Trump Jr tweeted about. Tommy made reference to this in a letter which was sent just before he was moved from HMP Hull. Donald Trump's Ambassador for religious freedom even raised Tommy's case with the British Ambassador in Washington DC.
In addition to world wide acts of spontaneous demonstration (including one in Tel Aviv) Raheem Kassam, with funding from Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum (MEF) and others organised two huge demonstrations featuring a host of international speakers in London.
Tommy's AppealOn July 18th Tommy's legal team, which has been heavily supported by the crowd funding effort of his old boss Ezra Levant from Rebel Media, put forward his appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London. The case was heard by a three judge panel led by the Lord Chief Justice, the highest Judge in the land.
In a very welcome surprise move, the team appealed not just the sentence but both convictions: the original Canterbury conviction and the second one in Leeds.
The key aspects for me:
Was the original reporting restriction by the Judge in Leeds lawful?Huge procedural problems with the conviction;Similar problems with the original Canterbury conviction;Deliberate mistreatment in the prison system;No similar treatment of a journalist in UK legal system recently.This was my quick summary just after that appeal was put forward:
Tommy Robinson appeal update my thoughts so far #FreeTommy and drone shots of beach
And two more videos the next day highlighting key aspects:
Tommy Robinson Second Appeal update is the Leeds Judges reporting ban lawful?
Did the judge in Leeds make a huge mistake jailing Tommy Robinson? #FreeTommy
Where are we now?The appeal judges have said they will be delivering their appeal verdict before the end of July. As of the time of writing this summary, that leaves Monday 30th or Tuesday 31st of July.
Follow me on Twitter and be sure to check back here for updates as soon as they come!
Streaming Killed the Music
Amazon Leads Masters of Universe in Push to Nationalize Music Industry | Breitbart
Amazon is at the forefront of a well-funded, powerful, Silicon Valley-led push to force the federal government to nationalize the music industry, thereby creating a system where the government props up certain companies '-- such as Amazon '-- to be beneficiaries of and have control over, while also profiting from, music production.The so-called ''Music Modernization Act,'' which already passed the House and is working its way through the Senate right now, would create, by government force if passed and signed into law, a ''collective'' that pays out to various parties. The major problem with said ''collective'' is that it would be run by the government, specifically the U.S. Copyright Office, making it prone to cronyism, corruption, and mishandling of intellectual property.
''The so-called 'middle-ground' Music Modernization Act will destroy the private sectors' progress by creating a federal mechanical license 'collective' which would collect payments and distribute them to the correct parties,'' Bryan Crabtree, a pro-Trump author, wrote in NewsMax:
This collective would be funded by a new fee on music services and housed at the U.S. Copyright Office. The bill is a solution in search of a problem. The creation of the collective threatens to pull the rug out of the marketplace, killing competition and establishing yet another monopoly in the music industry. Likely, the government would select just one or perhaps two services as their policeman on the beat. The most politically astute are the ones that often walk away with the deal, and by no means should anyone consider The Music Modernization Act to be an exception.
The bill passed the House with bipartisan support and made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee already. A messy floor battle filled with amendments designed to further foster competition '-- and not prop up just a handful of players like Amazon and other Silicon Valley powerhouses '-- is likely, sources with direct knowledge of the matter say. What's more, if the bill does end up passing the Senate, it would need to be signed by President Donald Trump to be approved.
Sources close to the White House and those in regular contact with President Trump and his closest associates say the president has a serious problem doing anything to help Amazon '-- especially creating a special government board that would allow the company billionaire Jeff Bezos owns to profit, with government assistance and control, from music royalties.
''The president was irate when he heard about this,'' a source close to the president said. ''He's calling it 'The Amazon Bill.' There is no chance he will sign that bill that passed the House.''
The major Silicon Valley powers behind this, per a document released by House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) listing supporters of the nationalization bill, include Amazon and the Amazon-led Digital Media Association (DiMA). Amazon is owned and operated by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who also owns the anti-Donald Trump Washington Post.
Amazon is so supportive of the bill, the company is actually listed twice on Goodlatte's document.
Mma Supporters by Breitbart News on Scribd
DiMA, the powerful interest group of which Amazon is at the forefront, according to its website also represents other powerful Silicon Valley companies and brands like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Napster, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube.
Supporters of President Trump in the grassroots are lining up against the bill, even after it passed the House and faces potential Senate passage.
''Without a doubt, music licensing is a complex, arcane, and often challenging issue for a layman to understand,'' San Diego-based pro-Trump radio host Andrea Kaye wrote in American Thinker in a piece against the bill:
The intricacy of the issue benefits the corporate stakeholders, who use their lobbyists and advisers to shape legislation in their favor by working with congressional staff who often have little expertise in these complex issues. That appears to be the sleight of hand used in the Music Modernization Bill, and someone is going to profit handsomely if the bill is not amended by the Senate. Rather than foster the growing marketplace addressing this complex issue, the bill imposes a Washington top-down approach that ostensibly benefits crony lobbyists and corporations while short-circuiting creative innovators. It is a classic example of a backroom swamp deal that robs Peter to pay Paul. In this case, Peter is the American people, and Paul is the biggest crony actors in the music industry.
A group of conservative organizations, in a late July letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), raise serious concerns with the ''collective'' government centralization payment portion of the MMA.
''We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to limited government and constitutional principles, are writing to voice concern about a provision in the Music Modernization Act (MMA) that was recently marked-up by the Senate Judiciary Committee,'' the conservative groups, including Campaign For Liberty, Less Government, Citizen Outreach, Capitol Allies, the Institute for Liberty, and the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, wrote. ''The MMA intends to ensure songwriters are compensated by digital music services in a timely manner for uses of their works. We support this overall objective. However, we are concerned that the creation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) would short-circuit a spirited marketplace, undercut competition, and grant unprecedented power to a handful of decision-makers.''
They added that the government-run ''collective'' that the legislation would create is a ''continuation of the same interventionist approach that has proven inadequate.''
Conservative Group Letter Opposing Collective_072318 by Breitbart News on Scribd
''Usefully, it calls for the creation of a comprehensive database of music copyright holders, though it lacks funding for the project,'' the conservative groups wrote to Grassley. ''Unfortunately, it also links the database with the functionality of a collective rights organization empowered to grant licenses, receive royalties, and remit payments to rights holders. In doing so, the MLC repeats past mistakes by relying on compulsory licensing and regulated rates, instead of encouraging direct negotiation and other forms of market competition.''
Text - H.R.5447 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Music Modernization Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
To modernize copyright law, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents .
(a) Short title .'--This Act may be cited as the ''Music Modernization Act''.
(b) Table of contents .'--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec.'1.'Short title; table of contents.
Sec.'2.'Rescission Of Unobligated Balances In The Department Of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund. Sec.'101.'Short title. Sec.'102.'Blanket license for digital uses and mechanical licensing collective. Sec.'103.'Amendments to section 114 . Sec.'104.'Random assignment of rate court proceedings. Sec.'201.'Short title. Sec.'202.'Unauthorized digital performance of pre-1972 sound recordings. Sec.'203.'Effective date. Sec.'301.'Short title. Sec.'302.'Payment of statutory performance royalties. Sec.'303.'Effective date. SEC. 2. Rescission Of Unobligated Balances In The Department Of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund .
Of the unobligated balances available under the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund, $47,000,000 is hereby permanently rescinded.
This title may be cited as the ''Musical Works Modernization Act''.
SEC. 102. Blanket license for digital uses and mechanical licensing collective .
(a) Amendment .'--Section 115 of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in subsection (a)'--
(A) by inserting '' in general '' after '' Availability and scope of compulsory license '';
(B) by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following new paragraph:
''(1) E LIGIBILITY FOR COMPULSORY LICENSE .'--
''(A) C ONDITIONS FOR COMPULSORY LICENSE .'--A person may by complying with the provisions of this section obtain a compulsory license to make and distribute phonorecords of a nondramatic musical work, including by means of digital phonorecord delivery. A person may obtain a compulsory license only if the primary purpose in making phonorecords of the musical work is to distribute them to the public for private use, including by means of digital phonorecord delivery, and'--
''(i) phonorecords of such musical work have previously been distributed to the public in the United States under the authority of the copyright owner of the work, including by means of digital phonorecord delivery; or
''(ii) in the case of a digital music provider seeking to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries of a sound recording embodying a musical work under a compulsory license for which clause (i) does not apply'--
''(I) the first fixation of such sound recording was made under the authority of the musical work copyright owner, and sound recording copyright owner has the authority of the musical work copyright owner to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries embodying such work to the public in the United States; and
''(II) the sound recording copyright owner or its authorized distributor has authorized the digital music provider to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries of the sound recording to the public in the United States.
''(B) D UPLICATION OF SOUND RECORDING .'--A person may not obtain a compulsory license for the use of the work in the making of phonorecords duplicating a sound recording fixed by another, including by means of digital phonorecord delivery, unless'--
''(i) such sound recording was fixed lawfully; and
''(ii) the making of the phonorecords was authorized by the owner of the copyright in the sound recording or, if the sound recording was fixed before February 15, 1972, by any person who fixed the sound recording pursuant to an express license from the owner of the copyright in the musical work or pursuant to a valid compulsory license for use of such work in a sound recording.''; and
(C) in paragraph (2), by striking ''A compulsory license'' and inserting '' M usical arrangement .'--A compulsory license'';
(2) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:''(b) Procedures To obtain a compulsory license .'--
''(1) P HONORECORDS OTHER THAN DIGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERIES .'--A person who seeks to obtain a compulsory license under subsection (a) to make and distribute phonorecords of a musical work other than by means of digital phonorecord delivery shall, before or within 30 calendar days after making, and before distributing, any phonorecord of the work, serve notice of intention to do so on the copyright owner. If the registration or other public records of the Copyright Office do not identify the copyright owner and include an address at which notice can be served, it shall be sufficient to file the notice of intention with the Copyright Office. The notice shall comply, in form, content, and manner of service, with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation.
''(2) D IGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERIES .'--A person who seeks to obtain a compulsory license under subsection (a) to make and distribute phonorecords of a musical work by means of digital phonorecord delivery'--
''(A) prior to the license availability date, shall, before or within 30 calendar days after first making any such digital phonorecord delivery, serve a notice of intention to do so on the copyright owner (but may not file the notice with the Copyright Office, even if the public records of the Office do not identify the owner or the owner's address), and such notice shall comply, in form, content, and manner of service, with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation; or
''(B) on or after the license availability date, shall, before making any such digital phonorecord delivery, follow the procedure described in subsection (d)(2), except as provided in paragraph (3).
''(3) R ECORD COMPANY INDIVIDUAL DOWNLOAD LICENSES .'--Notwithstanding paragraph (2)(B), a record company may, on or after the license availability date, obtain an individual download license in accordance with the notice requirements described in paragraph (2)(A) (except for the requirement that notice occur prior to the license availability date). A record company that obtains an individual download license as permitted under this paragraph shall provide statements of account and pay royalties as provided in subsection (c)(2)(I).
''(4) F AILURE TO OBTAIN LICENSE .'--
''(A) P HONORECORDS OTHER THAN DIGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERIES .'--In the case of phonorecords made and distributed other than by means of digital phonorecord delivery, the failure to serve or file the notice of intention required by paragraph (1) forecloses the possibility of a compulsory license under paragraph (1). In the absence of a voluntary license, the failure to obtain a compulsory license renders the making and distribution of phonorecords actionable as acts of infringement under section 501 and subject to the remedies provided by sections 502 through 506.
''(B) D IGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERIES .'--
''(i) In the case of phonorecords made and distributed by means of digital phonorecord delivery:
''(I) The failure to serve the notice of intention required by paragraph (2)(A) or paragraph (3), as applicable, forecloses the possibility of a compulsory license under such paragraph.
''(II) The failure to comply with paragraph (2)(B) forecloses the possibility of a blanket license for a period of 3 years after the last calendar day on which the notice of license was required to be submitted to the mechanical licensing collective under such paragraph.
''(ii) In either case described in clause (i), in the absence of a voluntary license, the failure to obtain a compulsory license renders the making and distribution of phonorecords by means of digital phonorecord delivery actionable as acts of infringement under section 501 and subject to the remedies provided by sections 502 through 506.'';
(3) by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:''(c) General conditions applicable to compulsory license .'--
''(1) R OYALTY PAYABLE UNDER COMPULSORY LICENSE .'--
''(A) I DENTIFICATION REQUIREMENT .'--To be entitled to receive royalties under a compulsory license obtained under subsection (b)(1) the copyright owner must be identified in the registration or other public records of the Copyright Office. The owner is entitled to royalties for phonorecords made and distributed after being so identified, but is not entitled to recover for any phonorecords previously made and distributed.
''(B) R OYALTY FOR PHONORECORDS OTHER THAN DIGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERIES .'--Except as provided by subparagraph (A), for every phonorecord made and distributed under a compulsory license under subsection (a) other than by means of digital phonorecord delivery, with respect to each work embodied in the phonorecord, the royalty shall be the royalty prescribed under subparagraphs (D) through (F) and paragraph (2)(A) and chapter 8 of this title. For purposes of this subparagraph, a phonorecord is considered 'distributed' if the person exercising the compulsory license has voluntarily and permanently parted with its possession.
''(C) R OYALTY FOR DIGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERIES .'--For every digital phonorecord delivery of a musical work made under a compulsory license under this section, the royalty payable shall be the royalty prescribed under subparagraphs (D) through (F) and paragraph (2)(A) and chapter 8 of this title.
''(D) A UTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE .'--Notwithstanding any provision of the antitrust laws, any copyright owners of nondramatic musical works and any persons entitled to obtain a compulsory license under subsection (a) may negotiate and agree upon the terms and rates of royalty payments under this section and the proportionate division of fees paid among copyright owners, and may designate common agents on a nonexclusive basis to negotiate, agree to, pay or receive such royalty payments. Such authority to negotiate the terms and rates of royalty payments includes, but is not limited to, the authority to negotiate the year during which the royalty rates prescribed under this subparagraph and subparagraphs (E) and (F) and paragraph (2)(A) and chapter 8 of this title shall next be determined.
''(E) D ETERMINATION OF REASONABLE RATES AND TERMS .'--Proceedings under chapter 8 shall determine reasonable rates and terms of royalty payments for the activities specified by this section during the period beginning with the effective date of such rates and terms, but not earlier than January 1 of the second year following the year in which the petition requesting the proceeding is filed, and ending on the effective date of successor rates and terms, or such other period as the parties may agree. Any copyright owners of nondramatic musical works and any persons entitled to obtain a compulsory license under subsection (a) may submit to the Copyright Royalty Judges licenses covering such activities. The parties to each proceeding shall bear their own costs.
''(F) S CHEDULE OF REASONABLE RATES .'--The schedule of reasonable rates and terms determined by the Copyright Royalty Judges shall, subject to paragraph (2)(A), be binding on all copyright owners of nondramatic musical works and persons entitled to obtain a compulsory license under subsection (a) during the period specified in subparagraph (E), such other period as may be determined pursuant to subparagraphs (D) and (E), or such other period as the parties may agree. The Copyright Royalty Judges shall establish rates and terms that most clearly represent the rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and a willing seller. In determining such rates and terms for digital phonorecord deliveries, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall base their decision on economic, competitive, and programming information presented by the parties, including'--
''(i) whether use of the compulsory licensee's service may substitute for or may promote the sales of phonorecords or otherwise may interfere with or may enhance the musical work copyright owner's other streams of revenue from its musical works; and
''(ii) the relative roles of the copyright owner and the compulsory licensee in the copyrighted work and the service made available to the public with respect to the relative creative contribution, technological contribution, capital investment, cost, and risk.
''(2) A DDITIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS .'--
''(A) V OLUNTARY LICENSES AND CONTRACTUAL ROYALTY RATES .'--
''(i) License agreements voluntarily negotiated at any time between one or more copyright owners of nondramatic musical works and one or more persons entitled to obtain a compulsory license under subsection (a) shall be given effect in lieu of any determination by the Copyright Royalty Judges. Subject to clause (ii), the royalty rates determined pursuant to subparagraphs (E) and (F) of paragraph (1) shall be given effect as to digital phonorecord deliveries in lieu of any contrary royalty rates specified in a contract pursuant to which a recording artist who is the author of a nondramatic musical work grants a license under that person's exclusive rights in the musical work under paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 106 or commits another person to grant a license in that musical work under paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 106, to a person desiring to fix in a tangible medium of expression a sound recording embodying the musical work.
''(ii) The second sentence of clause (i) shall not apply to'--
''(I) a contract entered into on or before June 22, 1995, and not modified thereafter for the purpose of reducing the royalty rates determined pursuant to subparagraphs (E) and (F) of paragraph (1) or of increasing the number of musical works within the scope of the contract covered by the reduced rates, except if a contract entered into on or before June 22, 1995, is modified thereafter for the purpose of increasing the number of musical works within the scope of the contract, any contrary royalty rates specified in the contract shall be given effect in lieu of royalty rates determined pursuant to subparagraphs (E) and (F) of paragraph (1) for the number of musical works within the scope of the contract as of June 22, 1995; and
''(II) a contract entered into after the date that the sound recording is fixed in a tangible medium of expression substantially in a form intended for commercial release, if at the time the contract is entered into, the recording artist retains the right to grant licenses as to the musical work under paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 106.
''(B) S OUND RECORDING INFORMATION .'--Except as provided in section 1002(e) of this title, a digital phonorecord delivery licensed under this paragraph shall be accompanied by the information encoded in the sound recording, if any, by or under the authority of the copyright owner of that sound recording, that identifies the title of the sound recording, the featured recording artist who performs on the sound recording, and related information, including information concerning the underlying musical work and its writer.
''(C) I NFRINGEMENT REMEDIES .'--
''(i) A digital phonorecord delivery of a sound recording is actionable as an act of infringement under section 501, and is fully subject to the remedies provided by sections 502 through 506, unless'--
''(I) the digital phonorecord delivery has been authorized by the sound recording copyright owner; and
''(II) the entity making the digital phonorecord delivery has obtained a compulsory license under subsection (a) or has otherwise been authorized by the musical work copyright owner, or by a record company pursuant to an individual download license, to make and distribute phonorecords of each musical work embodied in the sound recording by means of digital phonorecord delivery.
''(ii) Any cause of action under this subparagraph shall be in addition to those available to the owner of the copyright in the nondramatic musical work under subparagraph (J) and section 106(4) and the owner of the copyright in the sound recording under section 106(6).
''(D) L IABILITY OF SOUND RECORDING OWNERS .'--The liability of the copyright owner of a sound recording for infringement of the copyright in a nondramatic musical work embodied in the sound recording shall be determined in accordance with applicable law, except that the owner of a copyright in a sound recording shall not be liable for a digital phonorecord delivery by a third party if the owner of the copyright in the sound recording does not license the distribution of a phonorecord of the nondramatic musical work.
''(E) R ECORDING DEVICES AND MEDIA .'--Nothing in section 1008 shall be construed to prevent the exercise of the rights and remedies allowed by this paragraph, subparagraph (J), and chapter 5 in the event of a digital phonorecord delivery, except that no action alleging infringement of copyright may be brought under this title against a manufacturer, importer or distributor of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or against a consumer, based on the actions described in such section.
''(F) P RESERVATION OF RIGHTS .'--Nothing in this section annuls or limits (i) the exclusive right to publicly perform a sound recording or the musical work embodied therein, including by means of a digital transmission, under sections 106(4) and 106(6), (ii) except for compulsory licensing under the conditions specified by this section, the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute the sound recording and the musical work embodied therein under sections 106(1) and 106(3), including by means of a digital phonorecord delivery, or (iii) any other rights under any other provision of section 106, or remedies available under this title, as such rights or remedies exist either before or after the date of enactment of the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995.
''(G) E XEMPT TRANSMISSIONS AND RETRANSMISSIONS .'--The provisions of this section concerning digital phonorecord deliveries shall not apply to any exempt transmissions or retransmissions under section 114(d)(1). The exemptions created in section 114(d)(1) do not expand or reduce the rights of copyright owners under section 106(1) through (5) with respect to such transmissions and retransmissions.
''(H) D ISTRIBUTION BY RENTAL, LEASE, OR LENDING .'--A compulsory license obtained under subsection (b)(1) to make and distribute phonorecords includes the right of the maker of such a phonorecord to distribute or authorize distribution of such phonorecord, other than by means of a digital phonorecord delivery, by rental, lease, or lending (or by acts or practices in the nature of rental, lease, or lending). With respect to each nondramatic musical work embodied in the phonorecord, the royalty shall be a proportion of the revenue received by the compulsory licensee from every such act of distribution of the phonorecord under this clause equal to the proportion of the revenue received by the compulsory licensee from distribution of the phonorecord under subsection (a)(1)(A)(ii)(II) that is payable by a compulsory licensee under that clause and under chapter 8. The Register of Copyrights shall issue regulations to carry out the purpose of this clause.
''(I) P AYMENT OF ROYALTIES AND STATEMENTS OF ACCOUNT .'--Except as provided in paragraphs (4)(A)(i) and (10)(B) of subsection (d), royalty payments shall be made on or before the twentieth day of each month and shall include all royalties for the month next preceding. Each monthly payment shall be made under oath and shall comply with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation. The Register shall also prescribe regulations under which detailed cumulative annual statements of account, certified by a certified public accountant, shall be filed for every compulsory license under subsection (a). The regulations covering both the monthly and the annual statements of account shall prescribe the form, content, and manner of certification with respect to the number of records made and the number of records distributed.
''(J) N OTICE OF DEFAULT AND TERMINATION OF COMPULSORY LICENSE .'--In the case of a license obtained under subsection (b)(1), (b)(2)(A), or (b)(3), if the copyright owner does not receive the monthly payment and the monthly and annual statements of account when due, the owner may give written notice to the licensee that, unless the default is remedied within 30 days from the date of the notice, the compulsory license will be automatically terminated. Such termination renders either the making or the distribution, or both, of all phonorecords for which the royalty has not been paid, actionable as acts of infringement under section 501 and fully subject to the remedies provided by sections 502 through 506. In the case of a license obtained under subsection (b)(2)(B), license authority under the compulsory license may be terminated as provided in subsection (d)(4)(E).'';
(4) by amending subsection (d) to read as follows:''(d) Blanket license for digital uses, mechanical licensing collective, and digital licensee coordinator .'--
''(1) B LANKET LICENSE FOR DIGITAL USES .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--A digital music provider that qualifies for a compulsory license under subsection (a) may, by complying with the terms and conditions of this subsection, obtain a blanket license from copyright owners through the mechanical licensing collective to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries of musical works through one or more covered activities.
''(B) I NCLUDED ACTIVITIES .'--A blanket license'--
''(i) covers all musical works (or shares of such works) available for compulsory licensing under this section for purposes of engaging in covered activities, except as provided in subparagraph (C);
''(ii) includes the making and distribution of server, intermediate, archival, and incidental reproductions of musical works that are reasonable and necessary for the digital music provider to engage in covered activities licensed under this subsection, solely for the purpose of engaging in such covered activities; and
''(iii) does not cover or include any rights or uses other than those described in clauses (i) and (ii).
''(C) O THER LICENSES .'--A voluntary license for covered activities entered into by or under the authority of one or more copyright owners and one or more digital music providers, or authority to make and distribute permanent downloads of a musical work obtained by a digital music provider from a sound recording copyright owner pursuant to an individual download license, shall be given effect in lieu of a blanket license under this subsection with respect to the musical works (or shares thereof) covered by such voluntary license or individual download authority and the following conditions apply:
''(i) Where a voluntary license or individual download license applies, the license authority provided under the blanket license shall exclude any musical works (or shares thereof) subject to the voluntary license or individual download license.
''(ii) An entity engaged in covered activities under a voluntary license or authority obtained pursuant to an individual download license that is a significant nonblanket licensee shall comply with paragraph (6)(A).
''(iii) The rates and terms of any voluntary license shall be subject to the second sentence of clause (i) and clause (ii) of subsection (c)(2)(A) and paragraph (9)(C), as applicable.
''(D) P ROTECTION AGAINST INFRINGEMENT ACTIONS .'--A digital music provider that obtains and complies with the terms of a valid blanket license under this subsection shall not be subject to an action for infringement of the exclusive rights provided by paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 106 under this title arising from use of a musical work (or share thereof) to engage in covered activities authorized by such license, subject to paragraph (4)(E).
''(E) O THER REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS APPLY .'--Except as expressly provided in this subsection, each requirement, limitation, condition, privilege, right, and remedy otherwise applicable to compulsory licenses under this section shall apply to compulsory blanket licenses under this subsection.
''(2) A VAILABILITY OF BLANKET LICENSE .'--
''(A) P ROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING LICENSE .'--A digital music provider may obtain a blanket license by submitting a notice of license to the mechanical licensing collective that specifies the particular covered activities in which the digital music provider seeks to engage, as follows:
''(i) The notice of license shall comply in form and substance with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall establish by regulation.
''(ii) Unless rejected in writing by the mechanical licensing collective within 30 calendar days after receipt, the blanket license shall be effective as of the date the notice of license was sent by the digital music provider as shown by a physical or electronic record.
''(iii) A notice of license may only be rejected by the mechanical licensing collective if'--
''(I) the digital music provider or notice of license does not meet the requirements of this section or applicable regulations, in which case the requirements at issue shall be specified with reasonable particularity in the notice of rejection; or
''(II) the digital music provider has had a blanket license terminated by the mechanical licensing collective within the past 3 years pursuant to paragraph (4)(E).
''(iv) If a notice of license is rejected under clause (iii)(I), the digital music provider shall have 30 calendar days after receipt of the notice of rejection to cure any deficiency and submit an amended notice of license to the mechanical licensing collective. If the deficiency has been cured, the mechanical licensing collective shall so confirm in writing, and the license shall be effective as of the date that the original notice of license was provided by the digital music provider.
''(v) A digital music provider that believes a notice of license was improperly rejected by the mechanical licensing collective may seek review of such rejection in Federal district court. The district court shall determine the matter de novo based on the record before the mechanical licensing collective and any additional evidence presented by the parties.
''(B) B LANKET LICENSE EFFECTIVE DATE .'--Blanket licenses shall be made available by the mechanical licensing collective on and after the license availability date. No such license shall be effective prior to the license availability date.
''(3) M ECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall be a single entity that'--
''(i) is a nonprofit, not owned by any other entity, that is created by copyright owners to carry out responsibilities under this subsection;
''(ii) is endorsed by and enjoys substantial support from musical work copyright owners that together represent the greatest percentage of the licensor market for uses of such works in covered activities, as measured over the preceding 3 full calendar years;
''(iii) is able to demonstrate to the Register of Copyrights that it has, or will have prior to the license availability date, the administrative and technological capabilities to perform the required functions of the mechanical licensing collective under this subsection; and
''(iv) has been designated by the Register of Copyrights in accordance with subparagraph (B).
''(B) D ESIGNATION OF MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE .'--
''(i) I NITIAL DESIGNATION .'--The Register of Copyrights shall initially designate the mechanical licensing collective within 9 months after the enactment date as follows:
''(I) Within 90 calendar days after the enactment date, the Register shall publish notice in the Federal Register soliciting information to assist in identifying the appropriate entity to serve as the mechanical licensing collective, including the name and affiliation of each member of the board of directors described under subparagraph (D)(i) and each committee established pursuant to clauses (iii), (iv), and (v) of subparagraph (D).
''(II) After reviewing the information requested under subclause (I) and making a designation, the Register shall publish notice in the Federal Register setting forth the identity of and contact information for the mechanical licensing collective.
''(ii) P ERIODIC REVIEW OF DESIGNATION .'--Following the initial designation of the mechanical licensing collective, the Register shall, every 5 years, beginning with the fifth full calendar year to commence after the initial designation, publish notice in the Federal Register in the month of January soliciting information concerning whether the existing designation should be continued, or a different entity meeting the criteria described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (A) shall be designated. Following publication of such notice:
''(I) The Register shall, after reviewing the information submitted and conducting additional proceedings as appropriate, publish notice in the Federal Register of a continuing designation or new designation of the mechanical licensing collective, as the case may be, with any new designation to be effective as of the first day of a month that is no less than 6 months and no longer than 9 months after the date of publication of such notice, as specified by the Register.
''(II) If a new entity is designated as a mechanical licensing collective, the Register shall adopt regulations to govern the transfer of licenses, funds, records, data, and administrative responsibilities from the existing mechanical licensing collective to the new entity.
''(iii) C LOSEST ALTERNATIVE DESIGNATION .'--If the Register is unable to identify an entity that fulfills each of the qualifications set forth in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (A), the Register shall designate the entity that most nearly fulfills such qualifications for purposes of carrying out the responsibilities of the mechanical licensing collective.
''(C) A UTHORITIES AND FUNCTIONS .'--
''(i) I N GENERAL .'--The mechanical licensing collective is authorized to perform the following functions, subject to more particular requirements as described in this subsection:
''(I) Offer and administer blanket licenses, including receipt of notices of license and reports of usage from digital music providers.
''(II) Collect and distribute royalties from digital music providers for covered activities.
''(III) Engage in efforts to identify musical works (and shares of such works) embodied in particular sound recordings, and to identify and locate the copyright owners of such musical works (and shares of such works).
''(IV) Maintain the musical works database and other information relevant to the administration of licensing activities under this section.
''(V) Administer a process by which copyright owners can claim ownership of musical works (and shares of such works), and a process by which royalties for works for which the owner is not identified or located are equitably distributed to known copyright owners.
''(VI) Administer collections of the administrative assessment from digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees, including receipt of notices of nonblanket activity.
''(VII) Invest in relevant resources, and arrange for services of outside vendors and others, to support its activities.
''(VIII) Engage in legal and other efforts to enforce rights and obligations under this subsection, including by filing bankruptcy proofs of claims for amounts owed under licenses, and acting in coordination with the digital licensee coordinator.
''(IX) Initiate and participate in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges to establish the administrative assessment under this subsection.
''(X) Initiate and participate in proceedings before the Copyright Office with respect to activities under this subsection.
''(XI) Gather and provide documentation for use in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges to set rates and terms under this section.
''(XII) Maintain records of its activities and engage in and respond to audits described under this subsection.
''(XIII) Engage in such other activities as may be necessary or appropriate to fulfill its responsibilities under this subsection.
''(ii) A DDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES .'--Subject to paragraph (11)(C) and clause (iii), the mechanical licensing collective may also administer, or assist in administering, voluntary licenses issued by or individual download licenses obtained from copyright owners for uses of musical works, for which the mechanical licensing collective shall charge reasonable fees for such services.
''(iii) R ESTRICTION CONCERNING PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS .'--The mechanical licensing collective may, pursuant to clause (ii), provide administration services with respect to voluntary licenses that include the right of public performance in musical works, but may not itself negotiate or grant licenses for the right of public performance in musical works, and may not be the exclusive or nonexclusive assignee or grantee of the right of public performance in musical works.
''(iv) R ESTRICTION ON LOBBYING .'--The mechanical licensing collective may not engage in government lobbying activities, but may engage in the activities described in subclauses (IX), (X), and (XI) of clause (i).
''(D) G OVERNANCE .'--
''(i) B OARD OF DIRECTORS .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall have a board of directors consisting of 14 voting members and 3 nonvoting members, as follows:
''(I) Ten voting members shall be representatives of music publishers to which songwriters have assigned exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution of musical works with respect to covered activities and no such music publisher member may be owned by, or under common control with, any other board member.
''(II) Four voting members shall be professional songwriters who have retained and exercise exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution with respect to covered activities with respect to musical works they have authored.
''(III) One nonvoting member shall be a representative of the nonprofit trade association of music publishers that represents the greatest percentage of the licensor market for uses of musical works in covered activities, as measured over the preceding 3 full calendar years.
''(IV) One nonvoting member shall be a representative of the digital licensee coordinator, provided that a digital licensee coordinator has been designated pursuant to paragraph (5)(B). Otherwise, the nonvoting member shall be the nonprofit trade association of digital licensees that represents the greatest percentage of the licensee market for uses of musical works in covered activities, as measured over the preceding 3 full calendar years.
''(V) One nonvoting member shall be a representative of a nationally recognized nonprofit trade association whose primary mission is advocacy on behalf of songwriters in the United States.
''(ii) B OARD MEETINGS .'--The board of directors shall meet no less than two times per year and discuss matters pertinent to the operations, including the mechanical licensing collective budget.
''(iii) O PERATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE .'--The board of directors of the mechanical licensing collective shall establish an operations advisory committee consisting of no fewer than six members to make recommendations to the board of directors concerning the operations of the mechanical licensing collective, including the efficient investment in and deployment of information technology and data resources. Such committee shall have an equal number of members of the committee who are'--
''(I) musical work copyright owners who are appointed by the board of directors of the mechanical licensing collective; and
''(II) representatives of digital music providers who are appointed by the digital licensee coordinator.
''(iv) U NCLAIMED ROYALTIES OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE .'--The board of directors of the mechanical licensing collective shall establish and appoint an unclaimed royalties oversight committee consisting of 10 members, 5 of which shall be musical work copyright owners and 5 of which shall be professional songwriters whose works are used in covered activities.
''(v) D ISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMITTEE .'--The board of directors of the mechanical licensing collective shall establish and appoint a dispute resolution committee consisting of no fewer than six members, which committee shall include an equal number of representatives of musical work copyright owners and professional songwriters.
''(vi) M ECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE ANNUAL REPORT .'--Not later than June 30 of each year commencing after the license availability date, the mechanical licensing collective shall post, and make available online for a period of at least 3 years, an annual report that sets forth how the collective operates, how royalties are collected and distributed, and the collective total costs for the preceding calendar year. At the time of posting, a copy of the report shall be provided to the Register of Copyrights.
''(E) M USICAL WORKS DATABASE .'--
''(i) E STABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF DATABASE .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall establish and maintain a database containing information relating to musical works (and shares of such works) and, to the extent known, the identity and location of the copyright owners of such works (and shares thereof) and the sound recordings in which the musical works are embodied. In furtherance of maintaining such database, the mechanical licensing collective shall engage in efforts to identify the musical works embodied in particular sound recordings, as well as to identify and locate the copyright owners of such works (and shares thereof), and update such data as appropriate.
''(ii) M ATCHED WORKS .'--With respect to musical works (and shares thereof) that have been matched to copyright owners, the musical works database shall include'--
''(I) the title of the musical work;
''(II) the copyright owner of the work (or share thereof), and such owner's ownership percentage;
''(III) contact information for such copyright owner;
''(IV) to the extent reasonably available to the mechanical licensing collective'--
''(aa) the international standard musical work code for the work; and
''(bb) identifying information for sound recordings in which the musical work is embodied, including the name of the sound recording, featured artist, sound recording copyright owner, producer, international standard recording code, and other information commonly used to assist in associating sound recordings with musical works; and
''(V) such other information as the Register of Copyrights may prescribe by regulation.
''(iii) U NMATCHED WORKS .'--With respect to unmatched musical works (and shares of works) in the database, the musical works database shall include'--
''(I) to the extent reasonably available to the mechanical licensing collective'--
''(aa) the title of the musical work;
''(bb) the ownership percentage for which an owner has not been identified;
''(cc) if a copyright owner has been identified but not located, the identity of such owner and such owner's ownership percentage;
''(dd) identifying information for sound recordings in which the work is embodied, including sound recording name, featured artist, sound recording copyright owner, producer, international standard recording code, and other information commonly used to assist in associating sound recordings with musical works; and
''(ee) any additional information reported to the mechanical licensing collective that may assist in identifying the work; and
''(II) such other information relating to the identity and ownership of musical works (and shares of such works) as the Register of Copyrights may prescribe by regulation.
''(iv) S OUND RECORDING INFORMATION .'--Each musical work copyright owner with any musical work listed in the musical works database shall engage in commercially reasonable efforts to deliver to the mechanical licensing collective, including for use in the musical works database, to the extent such information is not then available in the database, information regarding the names of the sound recordings in which that copyright owner's musical works (or shares thereof) are embodied, to the extent practicable.
''(v) A CCESSIBILITY OF DATABASE .'--The musical works database shall be made available to members of the public in a searchable, online format, free of charge. The mechanical licensing collective shall make such database available in a bulk, machine-readable format, through a widely available software application, to the following entities:
''(I) Digital music providers operating under the authority of valid notices of license, free of charge.
''(II) Significant nonblanket licensees in compliance with their obligations under paragraph (6), free of charge.
''(III) Authorized vendors of the entities described in subclauses (I) and (II), free of charge.
''(IV) The Register of Copyrights, free of charge (but the Register shall not treat such database or any information therein as a Government record).
''(V) Any member of the public, for a fee not to exceed the marginal cost to the mechanical licensing collective of providing the database to such person.
''(vi) A DDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS .'--The Register of Copyrights shall establish requirements by regulations to ensure the usability, interoperability, and usage restrictions of the musical works database.
''(F) N OTICES OF LICENSE AND NONBLANKET ACTIVITY .'--
''(i) N OTICES OF LICENSES .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall receive, review, and confirm or reject notices of license from digital music providers, as provided in paragraph (2)(A). The collective shall maintain a current, publicly accessible list of blanket licenses that includes contact information for the licensees and the effective dates of such licenses.
''(ii) N OTICES OF NONBLANKET ACTIVITY .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall receive notices of nonblanket activity from significant nonblanket licensees, as provided in paragraph (6)(A). The collective shall maintain a current, publicly accessible list of notices of nonblanket activity that includes contact information for significant nonblanket licensees and the dates of receipt of such notices.
''(G) C OLLECTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF ROYALTIES .'--
''(i) I N GENERAL .'--Upon receiving reports of usage and payments of royalties from digital music providers for covered activities, the mechanical licensing collective shall'--
''(I) engage in efforts to'--
''(aa) identify the musical works embodied in sound recordings reflected in such reports, and the copyright owners of such musical works (and shares thereof);
''(bb) confirm uses of musical works subject to voluntary licenses and individual download licenses, and the corresponding pro rata amounts to be deducted from royalties that would otherwise be due under the blanket license; and
''(cc) confirm proper payment of royalties due;
''(II) distribute royalties to copyright owners in accordance with the usage and other information contained in such reports, as well as the ownership and other information contained in the records of the collective; and
''(III) deposit into an interest-bearing account, as provided in subparagraph (H)(ii), royalties that cannot be distributed due to'--
''(aa) an inability to identify or locate a copyright owner of a musical work (or share thereof); or
''(bb) a pending dispute before the dispute resolution committee of the mechanical licensing collective.
''(ii) O THER COLLECTION EFFORTS .'--Any royalties recovered by the mechanical licensing collective as a result of efforts to enforce rights or obligations under a blanket license, including through a bankruptcy proceeding or other legal action, shall be distributed to copyright owners based on available usage information and in accordance with the procedures described in subclauses (I) and (II) of clause (i), on a pro rata basis in proportion to the overall percentage recovery of the total royalties owed, with any pro rata share of royalties that cannot be distributed deposited in an interest-bearing account as provided in subparagraph (H)(ii).
''(H) H OLDING OF ACCRUED ROYALTIES .'--
''(i) H OLDING PERIOD .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall hold accrued royalties associated with particular musical works (and shares of works) that remain unmatched for a period of at least 3 years after the date on which the funds were received by the mechanical licensing collective, or at least 3 years after the date on which they were accrued by a digital music provider that subsequently transferred such funds to the mechanical licensing collective pursuant to paragraph (10)(B), whichever period expires sooner.
''(ii) I NTEREST-BEARING ACCOUNT .'--Accrued royalties for unmatched works (and shares thereof) shall be maintained by the mechanical licensing collective in an interest-bearing account that earns monthly interest at the Federal, short-term rate, such interest to accrue for the benefit of copyright owners entitled to payment of such accrued royalties.
''(I) M USICAL WORKS CLAIMING PROCESS .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall publicize the existence of accrued royalties for unmatched musical works (and shares of such works) within 6 months of receiving a transfer of accrued royalties for such works by publicly listing the works and the procedures by which copyright owners may identify themselves and provide ownership, contact, and other relevant information to the mechanical licensing collective in order to receive payment of accrued royalties. When a copyright owner of an unmatched work (or share of a work) has been identified and located in accordance with the procedures of the mechanical licensing collective, the collective shall'--
''(i) update the musical works database and its other records accordingly; and
''(ii) provided that accrued royalties for the musical work (or share thereof) have not yet been included in a distribution pursuant to subparagraph (J)(i), pay such accrued royalties and a proportionate amount of accrued interest associated with that work (or share thereof) to the copyright owner, accompanied by a cumulative statement of account reflecting usage of such work and accrued royalties based on information provided by digital music providers to the mechanical licensing collective.
''(J) D ISTRIBUTION OF UNCLAIMED ACCRUED ROYALTIES .'--
''(i) D ISTRIBUTION PROCEDURES .'--After the expiration of the prescribed holding period for accrued royalties provided in paragraph (H)(i), the mechanical licensing collective shall distribute such accrued royalties, along with a proportionate share of accrued interest, to copyright owners identified in the records of the collective, subject to the following requirements, and in accordance with the policies and procedures established under clause (ii):
''(I) The first such distribution shall occur on or after July 1 of the first full calendar year to commence after the license availability date, with at least one such distribution to take place during each calendar year thereafter.
''(II) Copyright owners' payment shares for unclaimed accrued royalties for particular reporting periods shall be determined in a transparent and equitable manner based on data indicating the relative market shares of such copyright owners as reflected by royalty payments made by digital music providers for covered activities for the periods in question, including, in addition to royalty payments made to the mechanical licensing collective, royalty payments made to copyright owners under voluntary licenses and individual download licenses for covered activities, to the extent such information is available to the mechanical licensing collective. In furtherance of the determination of equitable market shares under this subparagraph'--
''(aa) the mechanical licensing collective may require copyright owners seeking distributions of unclaimed accrued royalties to provide, or direct the provision of, information concerning royalties received under voluntary licenses and individual download licenses for covered activities; and
''(bb) the mechanical licensing collective shall take appropriate steps to safeguard the confidentiality and security of financial and other sensitive data used to compute market shares in accordance with the confidentiality provisions prescribed by the Register of Copyrights under paragraph (12)(C).
''(ii) E STABLISHMENT OF DISTRIBUTION POLICIES .'--The unclaimed royalties oversight committee established under paragraph (3)(D)(iv) shall establish policies and procedures for the distribution of unclaimed accrued royalties and accrued interest in accordance with this subparagraph, including the provision of usage data to copyright owners to allocate payments and credits to songwriters pursuant to clause (iv), subject to the approval of the board of directors of the mechanical licensing collective.
''(iii) A DVANCE NOTICE OF DISTRIBUTIONS .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall publicize a pending distribution of unclaimed accrued royalties and accrued interest at least 90 calendar days in advance of such distribution.
''(iv) S ONGWRITER PAYMENTS .'--Copyright owners that receive a distribution of unclaimed accrued royalties and accrued interest shall pay or credit a portion to songwriters (or the authorized agents of songwriters) on whose behalf the copyright owners license or administer musical works for covered activities, in accordance with applicable contractual terms, but notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary'--
''(I) such payments and credits to songwriters shall be allocated in proportion to reported usage of individual musical works by digital music providers during the reporting periods covered by the distribution from the mechanical licensing collective; and
''(II) in no case shall the payment or credit to an individual songwriter be less than 50 percent of the payment received by the copyright owner attributable to usage of musical works (or shares of works) of that songwriter.
''(K) D ISPUTE RESOLUTION .'--The dispute resolution committee established under paragraph (3)(D)(v) shall address and resolve in a timely and equitable manner disputes among copyright owners relating to ownership interests in musical works licensed under this section and allocation and distribution of royalties by the mechanical licensing collective, according to a process approved by the board of directors of the mechanical licensing collective. Such process'--
''(i) shall include a mechanism to hold disputed funds in accordance with the requirements described in subparagraph (H)(ii) pending resolution of the dispute; and
''(ii) except as provided in paragraph (11)(D), shall not affect any legal or equitable rights or remedies available to any copyright owner or songwriter concerning ownership of, and entitlement to royalties for, a musical work.
''(L) V ERIFICATION OF PAYMENTS BY MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE .'--
''(i) V ERIFICATION PROCESS .'--A copyright owner entitled to receive payments of royalties for covered activities from the mechanical licensing collective may, individually or with other copyright owners, conduct an audit of the mechanical licensing collective to verify the accuracy of royalty payments by the mechanical licensing collective to such copyright owner, as follows:
''(I) A copyright owner may audit the mechanical licensing collective only once in a year for any or all of the prior 3 calendar years, and may not audit records for any calendar year more than once.
''(II) The audit shall be conducted by a qualified auditor, who shall perform the audit during the ordinary course of business by examining the books, records, and data of the mechanical licensing collective, according to generally accepted auditing standards and subject to applicable confidentiality requirements prescribed by the Register of Copyrights under paragraph (12)(C).
''(III) The mechanical licensing collective shall make such books, records, and data available to the qualified auditor and respond to reasonable requests for relevant information, and shall use commercially reasonable efforts to facilitate access to relevant information maintained by third parties.
''(IV) To commence the audit, any copyright owner shall file with the Copyright Office a notice of intent to conduct an audit of the mechanical licensing collective, identifying the period of time to be audited, and shall simultaneously deliver a copy of such notice to the mechanical licensing collective. The Register of Copyrights shall cause the notice of audit to be published in the Federal Register within 45 calendar days after receipt.
''(V) The qualified auditor shall determine the accuracy of royalty payments, including whether an underpayment or overpayment of royalties was made by the mechanical licensing collective to each auditing copyright owner, but before providing a final audit report to any such copyright owner, the qualified auditor shall provide a tentative draft of the report to the mechanical licensing collective and allow the mechanical licensing collective a reasonable opportunity to respond to the findings, including by clarifying issues and correcting factual errors.
''(VI) The auditing copyright owner or owners shall bear the cost of the audit. In case of an underpayment to any copyright owner, the mechanical licensing collective shall pay the amounts of any such underpayment to such auditing copyright owner, as appropriate. In case of an overpayment by the mechanical licensing collective, the mechanical licensing collective may debit the account of the auditing copyright owner or owners for such overpaid amounts, or such owner(s) shall refund overpaid amounts to the mechanical licensing collective, as appropriate.
''(ii) A LTERNATIVE VERIFICATION PROCEDURES .'--Nothing in this subparagraph shall preclude a copyright owner and the mechanical licensing collective from agreeing to audit procedures different from those described herein, but a notice of the audit shall be provided to and published by the Copyright Office as described in clause (i)(IV).
''(M) R ECORDS OF MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE .'--
''(i) R ECORDS MAINTENANCE .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall ensure that all material records of its operations, including those relating to notices of license, the administration of its claims process, reports of usage, royalty payments, receipt and maintenance of accrued royalties, royalty distribution processes, and legal matters, are preserved and maintained in a secure and reliable manner, with appropriate commercially reasonable safeguards against unauthorized access, copying, and disclosure, and subject to the confidentiality requirements prescribed by the Register of Copyrights under paragraph (12)(C) for a period of no less than 7 years after the date of creation or receipt, whichever occurs later.
''(ii) R ECORDS ACCESS .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall provide prompt access to electronic and other records pertaining to the administration of a copyright owner's musical works upon reasonable written request of such owner or the owner's authorized representative.
''(4) T ERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BLANKET LICENSE .'--A blanket license is subject to, and conditioned upon, the following requirements:
''(A) R OYALTY REPORTING AND PAYMENTS .'--
''(i) M ONTHLY REPORTS AND PAYMENT .'--A digital music provider shall report and pay royalties to the mechanical licensing collective under the blanket license on a monthly basis in accordance with clause (ii) and subsection (c)(2)(I), but the monthly reporting shall be due 45 calendar days, rather than 20 calendar days, after the end of the monthly reporting period.
''(ii) D ATA TO BE REPORTED .'--In reporting usage of musical works to the mechanical licensing collective, a digital music provider shall provide usage data for musical works used under the blanket license and usage data for musical works used in covered activities under voluntary licenses and individual download licenses. In the report of usage, the digital music provider shall'--
''(I) with respect to each sound recording embodying a musical work'--
''(aa) provide identifying information for the sound recording, including sound recording name, featured artist and, to the extent acquired by the digital music provider in connection with its use of sound recordings of musical works to engage in covered activities, including pursuant to subparagraph (B), producer, international standard recording code, and other information commonly used in the industry to identify sound recordings and match them to the musical works the sound recordings embody;
''(bb) to the extent acquired by the digital music provider in the metadata in connection with its use of sound recordings of musical works to engage in covered activities, including pursuant to subparagraph (B), provide information concerning authorship and ownership of the applicable rights in the musical work embodied in the sound recording (including each songwriter, publisher name, and respective ownership share) and the international standard musical work code; and
''(cc) provide the number of digital phonorecord deliveries of the sound recording, including limited downloads and interactive streams;
''(II) identify and provide contact information for all musical work copyright owners for works embodied in sound recordings as to which a voluntary license, rather than the blanket license, is in effect with respect to the uses being reported; and
''(III) provide such other information as the Register of Copyrights shall require by regulation.
''(iii) F ORMAT AND MAINTENANCE OF REPORTS .'--Reports of usage provided by digital music providers to the mechanical licensing collective shall be in a machine-readable format that is compatible with the information technology systems of the mechanical licensing collective and meets the requirements of regulations adopted by the Register of Copyrights. The Register shall also adopt regulations setting forth requirements under which records of use shall be maintained and made available to the mechanical licensing collective by digital music providers engaged in covered activities under a blanket license.
''(iv) A DOPTION OF REGULATIONS .'--The Register shall adopt regulations'--
''(I) setting forth requirements under which records of use shall be maintained and made available to the mechanical licensing collective by digital music providers engaged in covered activities under a blanket license; and
''(II) regarding adjustments to reports of usage by digital music providers, including mechanisms to account for overpayment and underpayment of royalties in prior periods.
''(B) C OLLECTION OF SOUND RECORDING INFORMATION .'--A digital music provider shall engage in good-faith, commercially reasonable efforts to obtain from copyright owners of sound recordings made available through the service of such digital music provider'--
''(i) sound recording copyright owners, producers, international standard recording codes, and other information commonly used in the industry to identify sound recordings and match them to the musical works the sound recordings embody; and
''(ii) information concerning the authorship and ownership of musical works, including songwriters, publisher names, ownership shares, and international standard musical work codes.
''(C) P AYMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT .'--A digital music provider and any significant nonblanket licensee shall pay the administrative assessment established under paragraph (7)(D) in accordance with this subsection and applicable regulations.
''(D) V ERIFICATION OF PAYMENTS BY DIGITAL MUSIC PROVIDERS .'--
''(i) V ERIFICATION PROCESS .'--The mechanical licensing collective may conduct an audit of a digital music provider operating under the blanket license to verify the accuracy of royalty payments by the digital music provider to the mechanical licensing collective as follows:
''(I) The mechanical licensing collective may commence an audit of a digital music provider no more than once in any 3-calendar-year period to cover a verification period of no more than the 3 full calendar years preceding the date of commencement of the audit, and such audit may not audit records for any such 3-year verification period more than once.
''(II) The audit shall be conducted by a qualified auditor, who shall perform the audit during the ordinary course of business by examining the books, records, and data of the digital music provider, according to generally accepted auditing standards and subject to applicable confidentiality requirements prescribed by the Register of Copyrights under paragraph (12)(C).
''(III) The digital music provider shall make such books, records, and data available to the qualified auditor and respond to reasonable requests for relevant information, and shall use commercially reasonable efforts to provide access to relevant information maintained with respect to a digital music provider by third parties.
''(IV) To commence the audit, the mechanical licensing collective shall file with the Copyright Office a notice of intent to conduct an audit of the digital music provider, identifying the period of time to be audited, and shall simultaneously deliver a copy of such notice to the digital music provider. The Register of Copyrights shall cause the notice of audit to be published in the Federal Register within 45 calendar days after receipt.
''(V) The qualified auditor shall determine the accuracy of royalty payments, including whether an underpayment or overpayment of royalties was made by the digital music provider to the mechanical licensing collective, but before providing a final audit report to the mechanical licensing collective, the qualified auditor shall provide a tentative draft of the report to the digital music provider and allow the digital music provider a reasonable opportunity to respond to the findings, including by clarifying issues and correcting factual errors.
''(VI) The mechanical licensing collective shall pay the cost of the audit, unless the qualified auditor determines that there was an underpayment by the digital music provider of 10 percent or more, in which case the digital music provider shall bear the reasonable costs of the audit, in addition to paying the amount of any underpayment to the mechanical licensing collective. In case of an overpayment by the digital music provider, the mechanical licensing collective shall provide a credit to the account of the digital music provider.
''(VII) A digital music provider may not assert section 507 or any other Federal or State statute of limitations, doctrine of laches or estoppel, or similar provision as a defense to a legal action arising from an audit under this subparagraph if such legal action is commenced no more than 6 years after the commencement of the audit that is the basis for such action.
''(ii) A LTERNATIVE VERIFICATION PROCEDURES .'--Nothing in this subparagraph shall preclude the mechanical licensing collective and a digital music provider from agreeing to audit procedures different from those described herein, but a notice of the audit shall be provided to and published by the Copyright Office as described in clause (i)(IV).
''(E) D EFAULT UNDER BLANKET LICENSE .'--
''(i) C ONDITIONS OF DEFAULT .'--A digital music provider shall be in default under a blanket license if the digital music provider'--
''(I) fails to provide one or more monthly reports of usage to the mechanical licensing collective when due;
''(II) fails to make a monthly royalty or late fee payment to the mechanical licensing collective when due, in all or material part;
''(III) provides one or more monthly reports of usage to the mechanical licensing collective that, on the whole, is or are materially deficient as a result of inaccurate, missing, or unreadable data, where the correct data was available to the digital music provider and required to be reported under this section and applicable regulations;
''(IV) fails to pay the administrative assessment as required under this subsection and applicable regulations; or
''(V) after being provided written notice by the mechanical licensing collective, refuses to comply with any other material term or condition of the blanket license under this section for a period of 60 calendar days or longer.
''(ii) N OTICE OF DEFAULT AND TERMINATION .'--In case of a default by a digital music provider, the mechanical licensing collective may proceed to terminate the blanket license of the digital music provider as follows:
''(I) The mechanical licensing collective shall provide written notice to the digital music provider describing with reasonable particularity the default and advising that unless such default is cured within 60 calendar days after the date of the notice, the blanket license will automatically terminate at the end of that period.
''(II) If the digital music provider fails to remedy the default within the 60-day period referenced in subclause (I), the license shall terminate without any further action on the part of the mechanical licensing collective. Such termination renders the making of all digital phonorecord deliveries of all musical works (and shares thereof) covered by the blanket license for which the royalty or administrative assessment has not been paid actionable as acts of infringement under section 501 and subject to the remedies provided by sections 502 through 506.
''(iii) N OTICE TO COPYRIGHT OWNERS .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall provide written notice of any termination under this subparagraph to copyright owners of affected works.
''(iv) R EVIEW BY FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT .'--A digital music provider that believes a blanket license was improperly terminated by the mechanical licensing collective may seek review of such termination in Federal district court. The district court shall determine the matter de novo based on the record before the mechanical licensing collective and any additional supporting evidence presented by the parties.
''(5) D IGITAL LICENSEE COORDINATOR .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--The digital licensee coordinator shall be a single entity that'--
''(i) is a nonprofit, not owned by any other entity, that is created to carry out responsibilities under this subsection;
''(ii) is endorsed by and enjoys substantial support from digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees that together represent the greatest percentage of the licensee market for uses of musical works in covered activities, as measured over the preceding 3 calendar years;
''(iii) is able to demonstrate that it has, or will have prior to the license availability date, the administrative capabilities to perform the required functions of the digital licensee coordinator under this subsection; and
''(iv) has been designated by the Register of Copyrights in accordance with subparagraph (B).
''(B) D ESIGNATION OF DIGITAL LICENSEE COORDINATOR .'--
''(i) I NITIAL DESIGNATION .'--The Register of Copyrights shall initially designate the digital licensee coordinator within 9 months after the enactment date, in accordance with the same procedure described for designation of the mechanical licensing collective in paragraph (3)(B)(i).
''(ii) P ERIODIC REVIEW OF DESIGNATION .'--Following the initial designation of the digital licensee coordinator, the Register shall, every 5 years, beginning with the fifth full calendar year to commence after the initial designation, determine whether the existing designation should be continued, or a different entity meeting the criteria described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (A) should be designated, in accordance with the same procedure described for the mechanical licensing collective in paragraph (3)(B)(ii).
''(iii) I NABILITY TO DESIGNATE .'--If the Register is unable to identify an entity that fulfills each of the qualifications described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (A) to serve as the digital licensee coordinator, the Register may decline to designate a digital licensee coordinator. The Register's determination not to designate a digital licensee coordinator shall not negate or otherwise affect any provision of this subsection except to the limited extent that a provision references the digital licensee coordinator. In such case, the reference to the digital licensee coordinator shall be without effect unless and until a new digital licensee coordinator is designated.
''(C) A UTHORITIES AND FUNCTIONS .'--
''(i) I N GENERAL .'--The digital licensee coordinator is authorized to perform the following functions, subject to more particular requirements as described in this subsection:
''(I) Establish a governance structure, criteria for membership, and any dues to be paid by its members.
''(II) Engage in efforts to enforce notice and payment obligations with respect to the administrative assessment, including by receiving information from and coordinating with the mechanical licensing collective.
''(III) Initiate and participate in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges to establish the administrative assessment under this subsection.
''(IV) Initiate and participate in proceedings before the Copyright Office with respect to activities under this subsection.
''(V) Gather and provide documentation for use in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges to set rates and terms under this section.
''(VI) Maintain records of its activities.
''(VII) Engage in such other activities as may be necessary or appropriate to fulfill its responsibilities under this subsection.
''(ii) R ESTRICTION ON LOBBYING .'--The digital licensee coordinator may not engage in government lobbying activities, but may engage in the activities described in subclauses (III), (IV), and (V) of clause (i).
''(6) R EQUIREMENTS FOR SIGNIFICANT NONBLANKET LICENSEES .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--
''(i) N OTICE OF ACTIVITY .'--Not later than 45 calendar days after the license availability date, or 45 calendar days after the end of the first full calendar month in which an entity initially qualifies as a significant nonblanket licensee, whichever occurs later, a significant nonblanket licensee shall submit a notice of nonblanket activity to the mechanical licensing collective. The notice of nonblanket activity shall comply in form and substance with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall establish by regulation, and a copy shall be made available to the digital licensee coordinator.
''(ii) R EPORTING AND PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS .'--The notice of nonblanket activity submitted to the mechanical licensing collective shall be accompanied by a report of usage that contains the information described in paragraph (4)(A)(ii), as well as any payment of the administrative assessment required under this subsection and applicable regulations. Thereafter, subject to clause (iii), a significant nonblanket licensee shall continue to provide monthly reports of usage, accompanied by any required payment of the administrative assessment, to the mechanical licensing collective. Such reports and payments shall be submitted not later than 45 calendar days after the end of the calendar month being reported.
''(iii) D ISCONTINUATION OF OBLIGATIONS .'--An entity that has submitted a notice of nonblanket activity to the mechanical licensing collective that has ceased to qualify as a significant nonblanket licensee may so notify the collective in writing. In such case, as of the calendar month in which such notice is provided, such entity shall no longer be required to provide reports of usage or pay the administrative assessment, but if such entity later qualifies as a significant nonblanket licensee, such entity shall again be required to comply with clauses (i) and (ii).
''(B) R EPORTING BY MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE TO DIGITAL LICENSEE COORDINATOR .'--
''(i) M ONTHLY REPORTS OF NONCOMPLIANT LICENSEES .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall provide monthly reports to the digital licensee coordinator setting forth any significant nonblanket licensees of which the collective is aware that have failed to comply with subparagraph (A).
''(ii) T REATMENT OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION .'--The mechanical licensing collective and digital licensee coordinator shall take appropriate steps to safeguard the confidentiality and security of financial and other sensitive data shared under this subparagraph, in accordance with the confidentiality requirements prescribed by the Register of Copyrights under paragraph (12)(C).
''(C) L EGAL ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS .'--
''(i) F EDERAL COURT ACTION .'--Should the mechanical licensing collective or digital licensee coordinator become aware that a significant nonblanket licensee has failed to comply with subparagraph (A), either may commence an action in Federal district court for damages and injunctive relief. If the significant nonblanket licensee is found liable, the court shall, absent a finding of excusable neglect, award damages in an amount equal to three times the total amount of the unpaid administrative assessment and, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in section 505, reasonable attorney's fees and costs, as well as such other relief as the court deems appropriate. In all other cases, the court shall award relief as appropriate. Any recovery of damages shall be payable to the mechanical licensing collective as an offset to the collective total costs.
''(ii) S TATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR ENFORCEMENT ACTION .'--Any action described in this subparagraph shall be commenced within the time period described in section 507(b).
''(iii) O THER RIGHTS AND REMEDIES PRESERVED .'--The ability of the mechanical licensing collective or digital licensee coordinator to bring an action under this subparagraph shall in no way alter, limit or negate any other right or remedy that may be available to any party at law or in equity.
''(7) F UNDING OF MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--The collective total costs shall be funded by'--
''(i) an administrative assessment, as such assessment is established by the Copyright Royalty Judges pursuant to subparagraph (D) from time to time, to be paid by'--
''(I) digital music providers that are engaged, in all or in part, in covered activities pursuant to a blanket license; and
''(II) significant nonblanket licensees; and
''(ii) voluntary contributions from digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees as may be agreed with copyright owners.
''(B) V OLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS .'--
''(i) A GREEMENTS CONCERNING CONTRIBUTIONS .'--Except as provided in clause (ii), voluntary contributions by digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees shall be determined by private negotiation and agreement, and the following conditions apply:
''(I) The date and amount of each voluntary contribution to the mechanical licensing collective shall be documented in a writing signed by an authorized agent of the mechanical licensing collective and the contributing party.
''(II) Such agreement shall be made available as required in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges to establish or adjust the administrative assessment in accordance with applicable statutory and regulatory provisions and rulings of the Copyright Royalty Judges.
''(ii) T REATMENT OF CONTRIBUTIONS .'--Each such voluntary contribution shall be treated for purposes of an administrative assessment proceeding as an offset to the collective total costs that would otherwise be recovered through the administrative assessment. Any allocation or reallocation of voluntary contributions between or among individual digital music providers or significant nonblanket licensees shall be a matter of private negotiation and agreement among such parties and outside the scope of the administrative assessment proceeding.
''(C) I NTERIM APPLICATION OF ACCRUED ROYALTIES .'--In the event that the administrative assessment, together with any funding from voluntary contributions as provided in subparagraphs (A) and (B), is inadequate to cover current collective total costs, the collective, with approval of its board of directors, may apply unclaimed accrued royalties on an interim basis to defray such costs, subject to future reimbursement of such royalties from future collections of the assessment.
''(D) D ETERMINATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT .'--
''(i) A DMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT TO COVER COLLECTIVE TOTAL COSTS .'--The administrative assessment shall be used solely and exclusively to fund the collective total costs.
''(ii) S EPARATE PROCEEDING BEFORE COPYRIGHT ROYALTY JUDGES .'--The amount and terms of the administrative assessment shall be determined and established in a separate and independent proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Judges, according to the procedures described in clauses (iii) and (iv). The administrative assessment determined in such proceeding shall'--
''(I) be wholly independent of royalty rates and terms applicable to digital music providers, which shall not be taken into consideration in any manner in establishing the administrative assessment;
''(II) be established by the Copyright Royalty Judges in an amount that is calculated to defray the reasonable collective total costs;
''(III) be assessed based on usage of musical works by digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees in covered activities under both compulsory and nonblanket licenses;
''(IV) may be in the form of a percentage of royalties payable under this section for usage of musical works in covered activities (regardless of whether a different rate applies under a voluntary license), or any other usage-based metric reasonably calculated to equitably allocate the collective total costs across digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees engaged in covered activities, but shall include as a component a minimum fee for all digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees; and
''(V) take into consideration anticipated future collective total costs and collections of the administrative assessment, but also, as applicable'--
''(aa) any portion of past actual collective total costs of the mechanical licensing collective not funded by previous collections of the administrative assessment or voluntary contributions because such collections or contributions together were insufficient to fund such costs;
''(bb) any past collections of the administrative assessment and voluntary contributions that exceeded past actual collective total costs, resulting in a surplus; and
''(cc) the amount of any voluntary contributions by digital music providers or significant nonblanket licensees in relevant periods, described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (7).
''(iii) I NITIAL ADMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT .'--The procedure for establishing the initial administrative assessment shall be as follows:
''(I) The Copyright Royalty Judges shall commence a proceeding to establish the initial administrative assessment within 9 months after the enactment date by publishing a notice in the Federal Register seeking petitions to participate.
''(II) The mechanical licensing collective and digital licensee coordinator shall participate in such proceeding, along with any interested copyright owners, digital music providers or significant nonblanket licensees that have notified the Copyright Royalty Judges of their desire to participate.
''(III) The Copyright Royalty Judges shall establish a schedule for submission by the parties of information that may be relevant to establishing the administrative assessment, including actual and anticipated collective total costs of the mechanical licensing collective, actual and anticipated collections from digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees, and documentation of voluntary contributions, as well as a schedule for further proceedings, which shall include a hearing, as they deem appropriate.
''(IV) The initial administrative assessment shall be determined, and such determination shall be published in the Federal Register by the Copyright Royalty Judges, within 1 year after commencement of the proceeding described in this clause. The determination shall be supported by a written record. The initial administrative assessment shall be effective as of the license availability date, and shall continue in effect unless and until an adjusted administrative assessment is established pursuant to an adjustment proceeding under clause (iii).
''(iv) A DJUSTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT .'--The administrative assessment may be adjusted by the Copyright Royalty Judges periodically, in accordance with the following procedures:
''(I) No earlier than 1 year after the most recent publication of a determination of the administrative assessment by the Copyright Royalty Judges, the mechanical licensing collective, the digital licensee coordinator, or one or more interested copyright owners, digital music providers, or significant nonblanket licensees, may file a petition with the Copyright Royalty Judges in the month of October to commence a proceeding to adjust the administrative assessment.
''(II) Notice of the commencement of such proceeding shall be published in the Federal Register in the month of November following the filing of any petition, with a schedule of requested information and additional proceedings, as described in clause (iii)(III). The mechanical licensing collective and digital licensee coordinator shall participate in such proceeding, along with any interested copyright owners, digital music providers, or significant nonblanket licensees that have notified the Copyright Royalty Judges of their desire to participate.
''(III) The determination of the adjusted administrative assessment, which shall be supported by a written record, shall be published in the Federal Register during November of the calendar year following the commencement of the proceeding. The adjusted administrative assessment shall take effect January 1 of the year following such publication.
''(v) A DOPTION OF VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS .'--In lieu of reaching their own determination based on evaluation of relevant data, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall approve and adopt a negotiated agreement to establish the amount and terms of the administrative assessment that has been agreed to by the mechanical licensing collective and the digital licensee coordinator (or if none has been designated, interested digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees representing more than half of the market for uses of musical works in covered activities), but the Copyright Royalty Judges shall have the discretion to reject any such agreement for good cause shown. An administrative assessment adopted under this clause shall apply to all digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees engaged in covered activities during the period it is in effect.
''(vi) C ONTINUING AUTHORITY TO AMEND .'--The Copyright Royalty Judges shall retain continuing authority to amend a determination of an administrative assessment to correct technical or clerical errors, or modify the terms of implementation, for good cause, with any such amendment to be published in the Federal Register.
''(vii) A PPEAL OF ADMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT .'--The determination of an administrative assessment by the Copyright Royalty Judges shall be appealable, within 30 calendar days after publication in the Federal Register, to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by any party that fully participated in the proceeding. The administrative assessment as established by the Copyright Royalty Judges shall remain in effect pending the final outcome of any such appeal, and the mechanical licensing collective, digital licensee coordinator, digital music providers, and significant nonblanket licensees shall implement appropriate financial or other measures within 3 months after any modification of the assessment to reflect and account for such outcome.
''(viii) R EGULATIONS .'--The Copyright Royalty Judges may adopt regulations to govern the conduct of proceedings under this paragraph.
''(8) E STABLISHMENT OF RATES AND TERMS UNDER BLANKET LICENSE .'--
''(A) R ESTRICTIONS ON RATESETTING PARTICIPATION .'--Neither the mechanical licensing collective nor the digital licensee coordinator shall be a party to a proceeding described in subsection (c)(1)(E), but either may gather and provide financial and other information for the use of a party to such a proceeding and comply with requests for information as required under applicable statutory and regulatory provisions and rulings of the Copyright Royalty Judges.
''(B) A PPLICATION OF LATE FEES .'--In any proceeding described in subparagraph (A) in which the Copyright Royalty Judges establish a late fee for late payment of royalties for uses of musical works under this section, such fee shall apply to covered activities under blanket licenses, as follows:
''(i) Late fees for past due royalty payments shall accrue from the due date for payment until payment is received by the mechanical licensing collective.
''(ii) The availability of late fees shall in no way prevent a copyright owner or the mechanical licensing collective from asserting any other rights or remedies to which such copyright owner or the mechanical licensing collective may be entitled under this title.
''(C) I NTERIM RATE AGREEMENTS IN GENERAL .'--For any covered activity for which no rate or terms have been established by the Copyright Royalty Judges, the mechanical licensing collective and any digital music provider may agree to an interim rate and terms for such activity under the blanket license, and any such rate and terms'--
''(i) shall be treated as nonprecedential and not cited or relied upon in any ratesetting proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Judges or any other tribunal; and
''(ii) shall automatically expire upon the establishment of a rate and terms for such covered activity by the Copyright Royalty Judges, under subsection (c)(1)(E).
''(D) A DJUSTMENTS FOR INTERIM RATES .'--The rate and terms established by the Copyright Royalty Judges for a covered activity to which an interim rate and terms have been agreed under subparagraph (C) shall supersede the interim rate and terms and apply retroactively to the inception of the activity under the blanket license. In such case, within 3 months after the rate and terms established by the Copyright Royalty Judges become effective'--
''(i) if the rate established by the Copyright Royalty Judges exceeds the interim rate, the digital music provider shall pay to the mechanical licensing collective the amount of any underpayment of royalties due; or
''(ii) if the interim rate exceeds the rate established by the Copyright Royalty Judges, the mechanical licensing collective shall credit the account of the digital music provider for the amount of any overpayment of royalties due.
''(9) T RANSITION TO BLANKET LICENSES .'--
''(A) S UBSTITUTION OF BLANKET LICENSE .'--On the license availability date, a blanket license shall, without any interruption in license authority enjoyed by such digital music provider, be automatically substituted for and supersede any existing compulsory license previously obtained under this section by the digital music provider from a copyright owner to engage in one or more covered activities with respect to a musical work, but the foregoing shall not apply to any authority obtained from a record company pursuant to a compulsory license to make and distribute permanent downloads unless and until such record company terminates such authority in writing to take effect at the end of a monthly reporting period, with a copy to the mechanical licensing collective.
''(B) E XPIRATION OF EXISTING LICENSES .'--Except to the extent provided in subparagraph (A), on and after the license availability date, licenses other than individual download licenses obtained under this section for covered activities prior to the license availability date shall no longer continue in effect.
''(C) T REATMENT OF VOLUNTARY LICENSES .'--A voluntary license for a covered activity in effect on the license availability date will remain in effect unless and until the voluntary license expires according to the terms of the voluntary license, or the parties agree to amend or terminate the voluntary license. In a case where a voluntary license for a covered activity entered into before the license availability date incorporates the terms of this section by reference, the terms so incorporated (but not the rates) shall be those in effect immediately prior to the license availability date, and those terms shall continue to apply unless and until such voluntary license is terminated or amended, or the parties enter into a new voluntary license.
''(D) F URTHER ACCEPTANCE OF NOTICES FOR COVERED ACTIVITIES BY COPYRIGHT OFFICE .'--On and after the enactment date'--
''(i) the Copyright Office shall no longer accept notices of intention with respect to covered activities; and
''(ii) previously filed notices of intention will no longer be effective or provide license authority with respect to covered activities, but before the license availability date there shall be no liability under section 501 for the reproduction or distribution of a musical work (or share thereof) in covered activities if a valid notice of intention was filed for such work (or share) before the enactment date.
''(10) P RIOR UNLICENSED USES .'--
''(A) L IMITATION ON LIABILITY IN GENERAL .'--A copyright owner that commences an action under section 501 on or after January 1, 2018, against a digital music provider for the infringement of the exclusive rights provided by paragraph (1) or (3) of section 106 arising from the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a musical work by such digital music provider in the course of engaging in covered activities prior to the license availability date, shall, as the copyright owner's sole and exclusive remedy against the digital music provider, be eligible to recover the royalty prescribed under subsection (c)(1)(C) and chapter 8 of this title, from the digital music provider, provided that such digital music provider can demonstrate compliance with the requirements of subparagraph (B), as applicable. In all other cases the limitation on liability under this subparagraph shall not apply.
''(B) R EQUIREMENTS FOR LIMITATION ON LIABILITY .'--The following requirements shall apply on the enactment date and through the end of the period that expires 90 days after the license availability date to digital music providers seeking to avail themselves of the limitation on liability described in subparagraph (A):
''(i) No later than 30 calendar days after first making a particular sound recording of a musical work available through its service via one or more covered activities, or 30 calendar days after the enactment date, whichever occurs later, a digital music provider shall engage in good-faith, commercially reasonable efforts to identify and locate each copyright owner of such musical work (or share thereof). Such required matching efforts shall include the following:
''(I) Good-faith, commercially reasonable efforts to obtain from the owner of the corresponding sound recording made available through the digital music provider's service the following information:
''(aa) Sound recording name, featured artist, sound recording copyright owner, producer, international standard recording code, and other information commonly used in the industry to identify sound recordings and match them to the musical works they embody.
''(bb) Any available musical work ownership information, including each songwriter and publisher name, percentage ownership share, and international standard musical work code.
''(II) Employment of one or more bulk electronic matching processes that are available to the digital music provider through a third-party vendor on commercially reasonable terms, but a digital music provider may rely on its own bulk electronic matching process if it has capabilities comparable to or better than those available from a third-party vendor on commercially reasonable terms.
''(ii) The required matching efforts shall be repeated by the digital music provider no less than once per month for so long as the copyright owner remains unidentified or has not been located.
''(iii) If the required matching efforts are successful in identifying and locating a copyright owner of a musical work (or share thereof) by the end of the calendar month in which the digital music provider first makes use of the work, the digital music provider shall provide statements of account and pay royalties to such copyright owner in accordance with this section and applicable regulations.
''(iv) If the copyright owner is not identified or located by the end of the calendar month in which the digital music provider first makes use of the work, the digital music provider shall accrue and hold royalties calculated under the applicable statutory rate in accordance with usage of the work, from initial use of the work until the accrued royalties can be paid to the copyright owner or are required to be transferred to the mechanical licensing collective, as follows:
''(I) Accrued royalties shall be maintained by the digital music provider in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
''(II) If a copyright owner of an unmatched musical work (or share thereof) is identified and located by or to the digital music provider before the license availability date, the digital music provider shall'--
''(aa) within 45 calendar days after the end of the calendar month during which the copyright owner was identified and located, pay the copyright owner all accrued royalties, such payment to be accompanied by a cumulative statement of account that includes all of the information that would have been provided to the copyright owner had the digital music provider been providing monthly statements of account to the copyright owner from initial use of the work in accordance with this section and applicable regulations, including the requisite certification under subsection (c)(2)(I);
''(bb) beginning with the accounting period following the calendar month in which the copyright owner was identified and located, and for all other accounting periods prior to the license availability date, provide monthly statements of account and pay royalties to the copyright owner as required under this section and applicable regulations; and
''(cc) beginning with the monthly royalty reporting period commencing on the license availability date, report usage and pay royalties for such musical work (or share thereof) for such reporting period and reporting periods thereafter to the mechanical licensing collective, as required under this subsection and applicable regulations.
''(III) If a copyright owner of an unmatched musical work (or share thereof) is not identified and located by the license availability date, the digital music provider shall'--
''(aa) within 45 calendar days after the license availability date, transfer all accrued royalties to the mechanical licensing collective, such payment to be accompanied by a cumulative statement of account that includes all of the information that would have been provided to the copyright owner had the digital music provider been serving monthly statements of account on the copyright owner from initial use of the work in accordance with this section and applicable regulations, including the requisite certification under subsection (c)(2)(I), and accompanied by an additional certification by a duly authorized officer of the digital music provider that the digital music provider has fulfilled the requirements of clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (B) but has not been successful in locating or identifying the copyright owner; and
''(bb) beginning with the monthly royalty reporting period commencing on the license availability date, report usage and pay royalties for such musical work (or share thereof) for such period and reporting periods thereafter to the mechanical licensing collective, as required under this subsection and applicable regulations.
''(v) S USPENSION OF LATE FEES .'--A digital music provider that complies with the requirements of this paragraph with respect to unmatched musical works (or shares of works) shall not be liable for or accrue late fees for late payments of royalties for such works until such time as the digital music provider is required to begin paying monthly royalties to the copyright owner or the mechanical licensing collective, as applicable.
''(C) A DJUSTED STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS .'--Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in section 507(b), with respect to any claim of infringement of the exclusive rights provided by paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 106 against a digital music provider arising from the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a musical work by such digital music provider to engage in covered activities that accrued no more than 3 years prior to the license availability date, such action may be commenced within 3 years of the date the claim accrued, or up to 2 years after the license availability date, whichever is later.
''(D) O THER RIGHTS AND REMEDIES PRESERVED .'--Except as expressly provided in this paragraph, nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to alter, limit, or negate any right or remedy of a copyright owner with respect to unauthorized use of a musical work.
''(11) L EGAL PROTECTIONS FOR LICENSING ACTIVITIES .'--
''(A) E XEMPTION FOR COMPULSORY LICENSE ACTIVITIES .'--The antitrust exemption described in subsection (c)(1)(D) shall apply to negotiations and agreements between and among copyright owners and persons entitled to obtain a compulsory license for covered activities, and common agents acting on behalf of such copyright owners or persons, including with respect to the administrative assessment established under this subsection.
''(B) L IMITATION ON COMMON AGENT EXEMPTION .'--Notwithstanding the antitrust exemption provided in subsection (c)(1)(D) and subparagraph (A) (except for the administrative assessment referenced therein and except as provided in paragraph (8)(C)), neither the mechanical licensing collective nor the digital licensee coordinator shall serve as a common agent with respect to the establishment of royalty rates or terms under this section.
''(C) A NTITRUST EXEMPTION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES .'--Notwithstanding any provision of the antitrust laws, copyright owners and persons entitled to obtain a compulsory license under this section may designate the mechanical licensing collective to administer voluntary licenses for the reproduction or distribution of musical works in covered activities on behalf of such copyright owners and persons, but the following conditions apply:
''(i) Each copyright owner shall establish the royalty rates and material terms of any such voluntary license individually and not in agreement, combination, or concert with any other copyright owner.
''(ii) Each person entitled to obtain a compulsory license under this section shall establish the royalty rates and material terms of any such voluntary license individually and not in agreement, combination, or concert with any other digital music provider.
''(iii) The mechanical licensing collective shall maintain the confidentiality of the voluntary licenses in accordance with the confidentiality provisions prescribed by the Register of Copyrights under paragraph (12)(C).
''(D) L IABILITY FOR GOOD-FAITH ACTIVITIES .'--The mechanical licensing collective shall not be liable to any person or entity based on a claim arising from its good-faith administration of policies and procedures adopted and implemented to carry out the responsibilities described in subparagraphs (J) and (K) of paragraph (3), except to the extent of correcting an underpayment or overpayment of royalties as provided in paragraph (3)(L)(i)(VI), but the collective may participate in a legal proceeding as a stakeholder party if the collective is holding funds that are the subject of a dispute between copyright owners. For purposes of this subparagraph, 'good-faith administration' means administration in a manner that is not grossly negligent.
''(E) P REEMPTION OF STATE PROPERTY LAWS .'--The holding and distribution of funds by the mechanical licensing collective in accordance with this subsection shall supersede and preempt any State law (including common law) concerning escheatment or abandoned property, or any analogous provision, that might otherwise apply.
''(F) R ULE OF CONSTRUCTION .'--Except as expressly provided in this subsection, nothing in this subsection shall negate or limit the ability of any person to pursue an action in Federal court against the mechanical licensing collective or any other person based upon a claim arising under this title or other applicable law.
''(12) R EGULATIONS .'--
''(A) A DOPTION BY REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS AND COPYRIGHT ROYALTY JUDGES .'--The Register of Copyrights may conduct such proceedings and adopt such regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to effectuate the provisions of this subsection, except for regulations concerning proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges to establish the administrative assessment, which shall be adopted by the Copyright Royalty Judges.
''(B) J UDICIAL REVIEW OF REGULATIONS .'--Except as provided in paragraph (7)(D)(vii), regulations adopted under this subsection shall be subject to judicial review pursuant to chapter 7 of title 5.
''(C) P ROTECTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION .'--The Register of Copyrights shall adopt regulations to provide for the appropriate procedures to ensure that confidential, private, proprietary, or privileged information contained in the records of the mechanical licensing collective and digital licensee coordinator is not improperly disclosed or used, including through any disclosure or use by the board of directors or personnel of either entity, and specifically including the unclaimed royalties oversight committee and the dispute resolution committee of the mechanical licensing collective.
''(13) S AVINGS CLAUSES .'--
''(A) L IMITATION ON ACTIVITIES AND RIGHTS COVERED .'--This subsection applies solely to uses of musical works subject to licensing under this section. The blanket license shall not be construed to extend or apply to activities other than covered activities or to rights other than the exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution licensed under this section, or serve or act as the basis to extend or expand the compulsory license under this section to activities and rights not covered by this section on the enactment date.
''(B) R IGHTS OF PUBLIC PERFORMANCE NOT AFFECTED .'--The rights, protections, and immunities granted under this subsection, the data concerning musical works collected and made available under this subsection, and the definitions described in subsection (e) shall not extend to, limit, or otherwise affect any right of public performance in a musical work.''; and
(5) by adding at the end the following new subsection:''(e) Definitions .'--As used in this section:
''(1) A CCRUED INTEREST .'--The term 'accrued interest' means interest accrued on accrued royalties, as described in subsection (d)(3)(H)(ii).
''(2) A CCRUED ROYALTIES .'--The term 'accrued royalties' means royalties accrued for the reproduction or distribution of a musical work (or share thereof) in a covered activity, calculated in accordance with the applicable royalty rate under this section.
''(3) A DMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT .'--The term 'administrative assessment' means the fee established pursuant to subsection (d)(7)(D).
''(4) A UDIT .'--The term 'audit' means a royalty compliance examination to verify the accuracy of royalty payments, or the conduct of such an examination, as applicable.
''(5) B LANKET LICENSE .'--The term 'blanket license' means a compulsory license described in subsection (d)(1)(A) to engage in covered activities.
''(6) C OLLECTIVE TOTAL COSTS .'--The term 'collective total costs''--
''(A) means the total costs of establishing, maintaining, and operating the mechanical licensing collective to fulfill its statutory functions, including'--
''(i) startup costs;
''(ii) financing, legal, and insurance costs;
''(iii) investments in information technology, infrastructure, and other long-term resources;
''(iv) outside vendor costs;
''(v) costs of licensing, royalty administration, and enforcement of rights;
''(vi) costs of bad debt; and
''(vii) costs of automated and manual efforts to identify and locate copyright owners of musical works (and shares of such musical works) and match sound recordings to the musical works the sound recordings embody; and
''(B) does not include any added costs incurred by the mechanical licensing collective to provide services under voluntary licenses.
''(7) C OVERED ACTIVITY .'--The term 'covered activity' means the activity of making a digital phonorecord delivery of a musical work, including in the form of a permanent download, limited download, or interactive stream, where such activity qualified for a compulsory license under this section.
''(8) D IGITAL MUSIC PROVIDER .'--The term 'digital music provider' means a person (or persons operating under the authority of that person) that, with respect to a service engaged in covered activities'--
''(A) has a direct contractual, subscription, or other economic relationship with end users of the service, or, if no such relationship with end users exists, exercises direct control over the provision of the service to end users;
''(B) is able to fully report on any revenues and consideration generated by the service; and
''(C) is able to fully report on usage of sound recordings of musical works by the service (or procure such reporting).
''(9) D IGITAL LICENSEE COORDINATOR .'--The term 'digital licensee coordinator' means the entity most recently designated pursuant to subsection (d)(5).
''(10) D IGITAL PHONORECORD DELIVERY .'--The term 'digital phonorecord delivery' means each individual delivery of a phonorecord by digital transmission of a sound recording that results in a specifically identifiable reproduction by or for any transmission recipient of a phonorecord of that sound recording, regardless of whether the digital transmission is also a public performance of the sound recording or any musical work embodied therein, and includes a permanent download, a limited download, or an interactive stream. A digital phonorecord delivery does not result from a real-time, noninteractive subscription transmission of a sound recording where no reproduction of the sound recording or the musical work embodied therein is made from the inception of the transmission through to its receipt by the transmission recipient in order to make the sound recording audible. A digital phonorecord delivery does not include the digital transmission of sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work as defined in section 101 of this title.
''(11) E NACTMENT DATE .'--The term 'enactment date' means the date of the enactment of the Musical Works Modernization Act.
''(12) I NDIVIDUAL DOWNLOAD LICENSE .'--The term 'individual download license' means a compulsory license obtained by a record company to make and distribute, or authorize the making and distribution of, permanent downloads embodying a specific individual musical work.
''(13) I NTERACTIVE STREAM .'--The term 'interactive stream' means a digital transmission of a sound recording of a musical work in the form of a stream, where the performance of the sound recording by means of such transmission is not exempt under section 114(d)(1) and does not in itself, or as a result of a program in which it is included, qualify for statutory licensing under section 114(d)(2). An interactive stream is a digital phonorecord delivery.
''(14) I NTERESTED .'--The term 'interested', as applied to a party seeking to participate in a proceeding under subsection (d)(7)(D), is a party as to which the Copyright Royalty Judges have not determined that the party lacks a significant interest in such proceeding.
''(15) L ICENSE AVAILABILITY DATE .'--The term 'license availability date' means the next January 1 following the expiration of the 2-year period beginning on the enactment date.
''(16) L IMITED DOWNLOAD .'--The term 'limited download' means a digital transmission of a sound recording of a musical work in the form of a download, where such sound recording is accessible for listening only for a limited amount of time or specified number of times.
''(17) M ATCHED .'--The term 'matched', as applied to a musical work (or share thereof), means that the copyright owner of such work (or share thereof) has been identified and located.
''(18) M ECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE .'--The term 'mechanical licensing collective' means the entity most recently designated as such by the Register of Copyrights under subsection (d)(3).
''(19) M ECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE BUDGET .'--The term 'mechanical licensing collective budget' means a statement of the financial position of the mechanical licensing collective for a fiscal year or quarter thereof based on estimates of expenditures during the period and proposals for financing them, including a calculation of the collective total costs.
''(20) M USICAL WORKS DATABASE .'--The term 'musical works database' means the database described in subsection (d)(3)(E).
''(21) N ONPROFIT .'--The term 'nonprofit' means a nonprofit created or organized in a State.
''(22) N OTICE OF LICENSE .'--The term 'notice of license' means a notice from a digital music provider provided under subsection (d)(2)(A) for purposes of obtaining a blanket license.
''(23) N OTICE OF NONBLANKET ACTIVITY .'--The term 'notice of nonblanket activity' means a notice from a significant nonblanket licensee provided under subsection (d)(6)(A) for purposes of notifying the mechanical licensing collective that the licensee has been engaging in covered activities.
''(24) P ERMANENT DOWNLOAD .'--The term 'permanent download' means a digital transmission of a sound recording of a musical work in the form of a download, where such sound recording is accessible for listening without restriction as to the amount of time or number of times it may be accessed.
''(25) Q UALIFIED AUDITOR .'--The term 'qualified auditor' means an independent, certified public accountant with experience performing music royalty audits.
''(26) R ECORD COMPANY .'--The term 'record company' means an entity that invests in, produces, and markets sound recordings of musical works, and distributes such sound recordings for remuneration through multiple sales channels, including a corporate affiliate of such an entity engaged in distribution of sound recordings.
''(27) R EPORT OF USAGE .'--The term 'report of usage' means a report reflecting an entity's usage of musical works in covered activities described in subsection (d)(4)(A).
''(28) R EQUIRED MATCHING EFFORTS .'--The term 'required matching efforts' means efforts to identify and locate copyright owners of musical works as described in subsection (d)(10)(B)(i).
''(29) S ERVICE .'--The term 'service', as used in relation to covered activities, means any site, facility, or offering by or through which sound recordings of musical works are digitally transmitted to members of the public.
''(30) S HARE .'--The term 'share', as applied to a musical work, means a fractional ownership interest in such work.
''(31) S IGNIFICANT NONBLANKET LICENSEE .'--The term 'significant nonblanket licensee''--
''(A) means an entity, including a group of entities under common ownership or control that, acting under the authority of one or more voluntary licenses or individual download licenses, offers a service engaged in covered activities, and such entity or group of entities'--
''(i) is not currently operating under a blanket license and is not obligated to provide reports of usage reflecting covered activities under subsection (d)(4)(A);
''(ii) has a direct contractual, subscription, or other economic relationship with end users of the service or, if no such relationship with end users exists, exercises direct control over the provision of the service to end users; and
''(I) on any day in a calendar month, makes more than 5,000 different sound recordings of musical works available through such service; or
''(II) derives revenue or other consideration in connection with such covered activities greater than $50,000 in a calendar month, or total revenue or other consideration greater than $500,000 during the preceding 12 calendar months; and
''(B) does not include'--
''(i) an entity whose covered activity consists solely of free-to-the-user streams of segments of sound recordings of musical works that do not exceed 90 seconds in length, are offered only to facilitate a licensed use of musical works that is not a covered activity, and have no revenue directly attributable to such streams constituting the covered activity; or
''(ii) a 'public broadcasting entity' as defined in section 118(f).
''(32) S ONGWRITER .'--The term 'songwriter' means the author of all or part of a musical work, including a composer or lyricist.
''(33) S TATE .'--The term 'State' means each State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and each territory or possession of the United States.
''(34) U NCLAIMED ACCRUED ROYALTIES .'--The term 'unclaimed accrued royalties' means accrued royalties eligible for distribution under subsection (d)(3)(J).
''(35) U NMATCHED .'--The term 'unmatched', as applied to a musical work (or share thereof), means that the copyright owner of such work (or share thereof) has not been identified or located.
''(36) V OLUNTARY LICENSE .'--The term 'voluntary license' means a license for use of a musical work (or share thereof) other than a compulsory license obtained under this section.''.
(b) Technical and conforming amendments to section 801 .'--Section 801(b) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by redesignating paragraph (8) as paragraph (9); and
(2) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following new paragraph:
''(8) To determine the administrative assessment to be paid by digital music providers under section 115(d). The provisions of section 115(d) shall apply to the conduct of proceedings by the Copyright Royalty Judges under section 115(d) and not the procedures described in this section, or section 803, 804, or 805.''.
(c) Effective date of amended rate setting standard .'--The amendments made by subsections (a)(3)(D) and (b)(1) shall apply to any proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Judges that is pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of the enactment of this Act.
(d) Technical and conforming amendments to title 37, part 385 of the Code of Federal Regulations .'--Within 9 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall amend the regulations for section 115 in part 385 of title 37, Code of Federal Regulations to conform the definitions used in such part to the definitions of the same terms described in section 115(e) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a). In so doing, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall make adjustments to the language of the regulations as necessary to achieve the same purpose and effect as the original regulations with respect to the rates and terms previously adopted by the Copyright Royalty Judges.
SEC. 103. AMENDMENTS TO SECTION 114.
(a) Uniform rate standard .'--Section 114(f) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by striking paragraphs (1) and (2) and inserting the following:
''(1) (A) Proceedings under chapter 8 shall determine reasonable rates and terms of royalty payments for transmissions subject to statutory licensing under subsection (d)(2) during the 5-year period beginning on January 1 of the second year following the year in which the proceedings are to be commenced pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 804(b)(3), as the case may be, or such other period as the parties may agree. The parties to each proceeding shall bear their own costs.
''(B) The schedule of reasonable rates and terms determined by the Copyright Royalty Judges shall, subject to paragraph (2), be binding on all copyright owners of sound recordings and entities performing sound recordings affected by this paragraph during the 5-year period specified in subparagraph (A), or such other period as the parties may agree. Such rates and terms shall distinguish among the different types of services then in operation and shall include a minimum fee for each such type of service, such differences to be based on criteria including the quantity and nature of the use of sound recordings and the degree to which use of the service may substitute for or may promote the purchase of phonorecords by consumers. The Copyright Royalty Judges shall establish rates and terms that most clearly represent the rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and a willing seller. In determining such rates and terms, the Copyright Royalty Judges'--
''(i) shall base their decision on economic, competitive, and programming information presented by the parties, including'--
''(I) whether use of the service may substitute for or may promote the sales of phonorecords or otherwise may interfere with or may enhance the sound recording copyright owner's other streams of revenue from the copyright owner's sound recordings; and
''(II) the relative roles of the copyright owner and the transmitting entity in the copyrighted work and the service made available to the public with respect to relative creative contribution, technological contribution, capital investment, cost, and risk; and
''(ii) may consider the rates and terms for comparable types of audio transmission services and comparable circumstances under voluntary license agreements.
''(C) The procedures under subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall also be initiated pursuant to a petition filed by any sound recording copyright owner or any transmitting entity indicating that a new type of service on which sound recordings are performed is or is about to become operational, for the purpose of determining reasonable terms and rates of royalty payments with respect to such new type of service for the period beginning with the inception of such new type of service and ending on the date on which the royalty rates and terms for eligible nonsubscription services and new subscription services, or preexisting services, as the case may be, most recently determined under subparagraph (A) or (B) and chapter 8 expire, or such other period as the parties may agree.''; and
(2) by redesignating paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) as paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), respectively.
(b) Repeal .'--Subsection (i) of section 114 of title 17, United States Code, is repealed.
(c) Use in musical work proceedings .'--
(1) I N GENERAL .'--License fees payable for the public performance of sound recordings under section 106(6) of title 17, United States Code, shall not be taken into account in any administrative, judicial, or other governmental proceeding to set or adjust the royalties payable to musical work copyright owners for the public performance of their works except in such a proceeding to set or adjust royalties for the public performance of musical works by means of a digital audio transmission other than a transmission by a broadcaster, and may be taken into account only with respect to such digital audio transmission.
(2) D EFINITIONS .'--In this subsection:
(A) T RANSMISSION BY A BROADCASTER .'--A ''transmission by a broadcaster'' means a nonsubscription digital transmission made by a terrestrial broadcast station on its own behalf, or on the behalf of a terrestrial broadcast station under common ownership or control, that is not part of an interactive service or a music-intensive service comprising the transmission of sound recordings customized for or customizable by recipients or service users.
(B) T ERRESTRIAL BROADCAST STATION .'--A ''terrestrial broadcast station'' means a terrestrial, over-the-air radio or television broadcast station, licensed as such by the Federal Communications Commission, including an FM Translator as defined in section 74.1231 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, and whose primary business activities are comprised of, and revenues are generated through, terrestrial, over-the-air broadcast transmissions, or the simultaneous or substantially-simultaneous digital retransmission by the terrestrial, over-the-air broadcast station of its over-the-air broadcast transmissions.
(d) Rule of construction .'--Subsection (c)(2) shall not be given effect in interpreting provisions of title 17, United States Code.
(e) Use in sound recording proceedings .'--The repeal of section 114(i) of title 17, United States Code, by subsection (b) shall not be taken into account in any proceeding to set or adjust the rates and fees payable for the use of sound recordings under section 112(e) or section 114(f) of such title that is pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of the enactment of this Act.
(f) Decisions and precedents not affected .'--The repeal of section 114(i) of title 17, United States Code, by subsection (b) shall not have any effect upon the decisions, or the precedents established or relied upon, in any proceeding to set or adjust the rates and fees payable for the use of sound recordings under section 112(e) or section 114(f) of such title before the date of the enactment of this Act.
(g) Technical and conforming amendments .'--
(1) S ECTION 114 .'--Section 114(f) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), is further amended in paragraph (4)(C), as so redesignated, by striking ''under paragraph (4)'' and inserting ''under paragraph (3)''.
(2) S ECTION 801 .'--Section 801(b)(1) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by striking ''The rates applicable'' and all that follows though ''prevailing industry practices.''.
(3) S ECTION 804 .'--Section 804(b)(3)(C) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(A) in clause (i), by striking ''and 114(f)(2)(C)'';
(B) in clause (iii)(II), by striking ''114(f)(4)(B)(ii)'' and inserting ''114(f)(3)(B)(ii)''; and
(C) in clause (iv), by striking ''or 114(f)(2)(C), as the case may be''.
SEC. 104. Random assignment of rate court proceedings .
Section 137 of title 28, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by striking ''The business'' and inserting ''(a) In general.'-- The business''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection: ''(b) Random Assignment of Rate Court Proceedings .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL .'--
''(A) D ETERMINATION OF LICENSE FEE .'--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in the case of any performing rights society subject to a consent decree, any application for the determination of a license fee for the public performance of music in accordance with the applicable consent decree shall be made in the district court with jurisdiction over that consent decree and randomly assigned to a judge of that district court according to that court's rules for the division of business among district judges currently in effect or as may be amended from time to time, provided that any such application shall not be assigned to'--
''(i) a judge to whom continuing jurisdiction over any performing rights society for any performing rights society consent decree is assigned or has previously been assigned; or
''(ii) a judge to whom another proceeding concerning an application for the determination of a reasonable license fee is assigned at the time of the filing of the application.
''(B) E XCEPTION .'--Subparagraph (A) does not apply to an application to determine reasonable license fees made by individual proprietors under section 513 of title 17.
''(2) R ULE OF CONSTRUCTION .'--Nothing in paragraph (1) shall modify the rights of any party to a consent decree or to a proceeding to determine reasonable license fees, to make an application for the construction of any provision of the applicable consent decree. Such application shall be referred to the judge to whom continuing jurisdiction over the applicable consent decree is currently assigned. If any such application is made in connection with a rate proceeding, such rate proceeding shall be stayed until the final determination of the construction application. Disputes in connection with a rate proceeding about whether a licensee is similarly situated to another licensee shall not be subject to referral to the judge with continuing jurisdiction over the applicable consent decree.''.
This title may be cited as the ''Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act'' or the ''CLASSICS Act''.
SEC. 202. Unauthorized digital performance of pre-1972 sound recordings .
(a) Protection for unauthorized digital performances .'--Title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:
''Sec. ''1401.'Unauthorized digital performance of pre-1972 sound recordings. '' § 1401. Unauthorized digital performance of pre-1972 sound recordings
''(a) Unauthorized acts .'--Anyone who, before February 15, 2067, and without the consent of the rights owner, performs publicly, by means of a digital audio transmission, a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972, shall be subject to the remedies provided in sections 502 through 505 to the same extent as an infringer of copyright.
''(b) Certain authorized transmissions .'--A digital audio transmission of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972, shall, for purposes of subsection (a), be considered to be authorized and made with the consent of the rights owner if'--
''(1) the transmission is made by a transmitting entity that is publicly performing sound recordings fixed on or after February 15, 1972, by means of digital audio transmissions subject to section 114;
''(2) the transmission would satisfy the requirements for statutory licensing under section 114(d)(2), or would be exempt under section 114(d)(1), if the sound recording were fixed on or after February 15, 1972;
''(3) in the case of a transmission that would not be exempt under section 114(d)(1) as described in paragraph (2), the transmitting entity pays statutory royalties and provides notice of its use of the relevant sound recordings in the same manner as is required by regulations adopted by the Copyright Royalty Judges for sound recordings fixed on or after February 15, 1972; and
''(4) in the case of a transmission that would not be exempt under section 114(d)(1) as described in paragraph (2), the transmitting entity otherwise satisfies the requirements for statutory licensing under section 114(f)(4)(B).
''(c) Transmissions by direct licensing of statutory services .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL .'--A transmission of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972, shall, for purposes of subsection (a), be considered to be authorized and made with the consent of the rights owner if such transmission is included in a license agreement voluntarily negotiated at any time between the rights owner and the entity performing the sound recording.
''(2) P AYMENT OF ROYALTIES TO NONPROFIT COLLECTIVE .'--To the extent that such a license agreement entered into on or after the date of the enactment of this section extends to digital audio transmissions of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972, that meet the conditions of subsection (b), the licensee shall pay, to the collective designated to distribute receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with section 114(f), 50 percent of the performance royalties for the transmissions due under the license, with such royalties fully credited as payments due under the license.
''(3) D ISTRIBUTION OF ROYALTIES BY COLLECTIVE .'--The collective described in paragraph (2) shall, in accordance with subparagraphs (B) through (D) of section 114(g)(2), and paragraphs (5) and (6) of section 114(g)), distribute the royalties received under paragraph (2) under the license described in paragraph (2). Such payments shall be the only payments to which featured and nonfeatured artists are entitled by virtue of the transmissions described in paragraph (2) under the license.
''(4) R ULE OF CONSTRUCTION .'--This section does not prohibit any other license from directing the licensee to pay other royalties due to featured and nonfeatured artists for such transmissions to the collective designated to distribute receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with section 114(f).
''(d) Relationship to State law .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL .'--Nothing in this section shall be construed to annul or limit any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, except, notwithstanding section 301(c), for the following:
''(A) This section preempts any claim of common law copyright or equivalent right under the laws of any State arising from any digital audio transmission that is made, on and after the date of the enactment of this section, of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972.
''(B) This section preempts any claim of common law copyright or equivalent right under the laws of any State arising from any reproduction that is made, on and after the date of the enactment of this section, of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972, and that would satisfy the requirements for statutory licensing under paragraphs (1) and (6) of section 112(e), if the sound recording were fixed on or after February 15, 1972.
''(C) This section preempts any claim of common law copyright or equivalent right under the laws of any State arising from any digital audio transmission or reproduction that is made, before the date of the enactment of this section, of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972, if'--
''(i) the digital audio transmission would have satisfied the requirements for statutory licensing under section 114(d)(2) or been exempt under section 114(d)(1), or the reproduction would have satisfied the requirements of section 112(e)(1), as the case may be, if the sound recording were fixed on or after February 15, 1972; and
''(ii) except in the case of transmissions that would have been exempt under section 114(d)(1), the transmitting entity, before the end of the 270-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this section, pays statutory royalties and provides notice of the use of the relevant sound recordings in the same manner as is required by regulations adopted by the Copyright Royalty Judges for sound recordings that are protected under this title for all the digital audio transmissions and reproductions satisfying the requirements for statutory licensing under section 114(d)(2) and section 112(e)(1) during the 3 years prior to the date of the enactment of this section.
''(2) R ULE OF CONSTRUCTION FOR COMMON LAW COPYRIGHT .'--For purposes of subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1), a claim of common law copyright or equivalent right under the laws of any State includes a claim that characterizes conduct subject to such subparagraphs as an unlawful distribution, act of record piracy, or similar violation.
''(3) R ULE OF CONSTRUCTION FOR PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS .'--Nothing in this section shall be construed to recognize or negate the existence of public performance rights in sound recordings under the laws of any State.
''(e) Limitations on remedies .'--
''(1) F AIR USE; USES BY LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES, AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS .'--The limitations on the exclusive rights of a copyright owner described in sections 107, 108, and 110(1) and (2) shall apply to a claim under subsection (a) for the unauthorized performance of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972.
''(2) A CTIONS .'--The limitations on actions described in section 507 shall apply to a claim under subsection (a) for the unauthorized performance of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972.
''(3) M ATERIAL ONLINE .'--Section 512 shall apply to a claim under subsection (a) for the unauthorized performance of a sound recording fixed on or after January 1, 1923, and before February 15, 1972.
''(4) P RINCIPLES OF EQUITY .'--Principles of equity apply to remedies for a violation of this section to the same extent as such principles apply to remedies for infringement of copyright.
''(5) F ILING REQUIREMENT FOR STATUTORY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS' FEES .'--
''(A) F ILING OF INFORMATION ON SOUND RECORDINGS .'--
''(i) F ILING REQUIREMENT .'--Except in the case of a transmitting entity that has filed contact information for that transmitting entity under subparagraph (B), in any action under this section, an award of statutory damages or of attorneys' fees under section 504 or 505 may be made with respect to an unauthorized transmission of a sound recording under subsection (a) only if'--
''(I) the rights owner has filed with the Copyright Office a schedule that specifies the title, artist, and rights owner of the sound recording and contains such other information, as practicable, as the Register of Copyrights prescribes by regulation; and
''(II) the transmission is made after the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the information filed under subclause (I) is indexed into the public records of the Copyright Office.
''(ii) R EGULATIONS .'--The Register of Copyrights shall, before the end of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this section, issue regulations establishing the form, content, and procedures for the filing of schedules under clause (i). Such regulations shall provide that persons may request that they receive timely notification of such filings, and shall set forth the manner in which such requests may be made.
''(B) F ILING OF CONTACT INFORMATION FOR TRANSMITTING ENTITIES .'--
''(i) F ILING REQUIREMENT .'--The Register of Copyrights shall, before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this section, issue regulations establishing the form, content, and procedures for the filing, by any entity that, as of the date of the enactment of this section, performs sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, by means of digital audio transmissions, of contact information for such entity.
''(ii) T IME LIMIT ON FILINGS .'--The Register of Copyrights may accept filings under clause (i) only until the 180th day after the date of the enactment of this section.
''(iii) L IMITATION ON STATUTORY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS' FEES .'--
''(I) L IMITATION .'--An award of statutory damages or of attorneys' fees under section 504 or 505 may not be made, against an entity that has filed contact information for that entity under clause (i), with respect to an unauthorized transmission by that entity of a sound recording under subsection (a) if the transmission is made before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the entity receives a notice that'--
''(aa) is sent by or on behalf of the rights owner of the sound recording;
''(bb) states that the entity is not legally authorized to transmit that sound recording under subsection (a); and
''(cc) identifies the sound recording in a schedule conforming to the requirements prescribed by the regulations issued under subparagraph (A)(ii).
''(II) U NDELIVERABLE NOTICES .'--In any case in which a notice under subclause (I) is sent to an entity by mail or courier service and the notice is returned to the sender because the entity either is no longer located at the address provided in the contact information filed under clause (i) or has refused to accept delivery, or the notice is sent by electronic mail and is undeliverable, the 90-day period under subclause (I) shall begin on the date of the attempted delivery.
''(C) SECTION 412 .'--Section 412 shall not limit an award of statutory damages under section 504(c) or attorneys' fees under section 505 with respect to an unauthorized transmission of a sound recording under subsection (a).
''(6) A PPLICABILITY OF OTHER PROVISIONS .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--Subject to subparagraph (B), no provision of this title shall apply to or limit the remedies available under this section except as otherwise provided in this section.
''(B) A PPLICABILITY OF DEFINITIONS .'--Any term used in this section that is defined in section 101 shall have the meaning given that term in section 101.
''(f) Application of section 230 safe harbor .'--For purposes of section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230), subsection (a) shall be considered to be a 'law pertaining to intellectual property' under subsection (e)(2) of such section.
''(g) Rights owner defined .'--In this section, the term 'rights owner' means the person who has the exclusive right to reproduce a sound recording under the laws of any State.''.
(b) Conforming amendment .'--The table of chapters for title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:
''14. Unauthorized digital performance of pre-1972 sound recordings 1401''. SEC. 203. Effective date .
This title and the amendments made by this title shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
This title may be cited as the ''Allocation for Music Producers Act'' or the ''AMP Act''.
SEC. 302. Payment of statutory performance royalties .
(a) Letter of direction .'--Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(5) L ETTER OF DIRECTION .'--
''(A) I N GENERAL .'--A nonprofit collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges to distribute receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with subsection (f) shall adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides, in circumstances determined by the collective to be appropriate, for acceptance of instructions from an artist payee identified under subparagraph (A) or (D) of paragraph (2) to distribute, to a producer, mixer, or sound engineer who was part of the creative process that created a sound recording, a portion of the payments to which the artist payee would otherwise be entitled from the licensing of transmissions of the sound recording. In this section, such instructions shall be referred to as a 'letter of direction'.
''(B) A CCEPTANCE OF LETTER .'--To the extent that the collective accepts a letter of direction under subparagraph (A), the person entitled to payment pursuant to the letter of direction shall, during the period in which the letter of direction is in effect and carried out by the collective, be treated for all purposes as the owner of the right to receive such payment, and the artist payee providing the letter of direction to the collective shall be treated as having no interest in such payment.
''(C) A UTHORITY OF COLLECTIVE .'--This paragraph shall not be construed in such a manner so that the collective is not authorized to accept or act upon payment instructions in circumstances other than those to which this paragraph applies.''.
(b) Additional provisions for recordings fixed before November 1, 1995 .'--Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(6) S OUND RECORDINGS FIXED BEFORE NOVEMBER 1, 1995 .'--
''(A) P AYMENT ABSENT LETTER OF DIRECTION .'--A nonprofit collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges to distribute receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with subsection (f) (in this paragraph referred to as the 'collective') shall adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides, in circumstances determined by the collective to be appropriate, for the deduction of 2 percent of all the receipts that are collected from the licensing of transmissions of a sound recording fixed before November 1, 1995, but which is withdrawn from the amount otherwise payable under paragraph (2)(D) to the recording artist or artists featured on the sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists' performance in the sound recording), and the distribution of such amount to one or more persons described in subparagraph (B), after deduction of costs described in paragraph (3) or (4), as applicable, if each of the following requirements is met:
''(i) C ERTIFICATION OF ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN A LETTER OF DIRECTION .'--The person described in subparagraph (B) who is to receive the distribution has certified to the collective, under penalty of perjury, that'--
''(I) for a period of at least 4 months, that person made reasonable efforts to contact the artist payee for such sound recording to request and obtain a letter of direction instructing the collective to pay to that person a portion of the royalties payable to the featured recording artist or artists; and
''(II) during the period beginning on the date that person began the reasonable efforts described in subclause (I) and ending on the date of that person's certification to the collective, the artist payee did not affirm or deny in writing the request for a letter of direction.
''(ii) C OLLECTIVE ATTEMPT TO CONTACT ARTIST .'--After receipt of the certification described in clause (i) and for a period of at least 4 months before the collective's first distribution to the person described in subparagraph (B), the collective attempted, in a reasonable manner as determined by the collective, to notify the artist payee of the certification made by the person described in subparagraph (B).
''(iii) N O OBJECTION RECEIVED .'--The artist payee did not, as of the date that is 10 business days before the date on which the first distribution is made, submit to the collective in writing an objection to the distribution.
''(B) E LIGIBILITY FOR PAYMENT .'--A person shall be eligible for payment under subparagraph (A) if the person'--
''(i) is a producer, mixer, or sound engineer of the sound recording;
''(ii) has entered into a written contract with a record company involved in the creation or lawful exploitation of the sound recording, or with the recording artist or artists featured on the sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists' performance in the sound recording), under which the person seeking payment is entitled to participate in royalty payments that are based on the exploitation of the sound recording and are payable from royalties otherwise payable to the recording artist or artists featured on the sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists' performance in the sound recording);
''(iii) made a creative contribution to the creation of the sound recording; and
''(iv) submits a written certification to the collective stating, under penalty of perjury, that the person meets the requirements in clauses (i) through (iii) and includes a true copy of the contract described in clause (ii).
''(C) M ULTIPLE CERTIFICATIONS .'--Subject to subparagraph (D), in a case in which more than one person described in subparagraph (B) has met the requirements for a distribution under subparagraph (A) with respect to a sound recording as of the date that is 10 business days before the date on which a distribution is made, the collective shall divide the 2 percent distribution equally among all such persons.
''(D) O BJECTION TO PAYMENT .'--Not later than 10 business days after the date on which the collective receives from the artist payee a written objection to a distribution made pursuant to subparagraph (A), the collective shall cease making any further payment relating to such distribution. In any case in which the collective has made one or more distributions pursuant to subparagraph (A) to a person described in subparagraph (B) before the date that is 10 business days after the date on which the collective receives from the artist payee an objection to such distribution, the objection shall not affect that person's entitlement to any distribution made before the collective ceases such distribution under this subparagraph.
''(E) O WNERSHIP OF THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS .'--To the extent that the collective determines that a distribution will be made under subparagraph (A) to a person described in subparagraph (B), such person shall, during the period covered by such distribution, be treated for all purposes as the owner of the right to receive such payments, and the artist payee to whom such payments would otherwise be payable shall be treated as having no interest in such payments.
''(F) A RTIST PAYEE DEFINED .'--In this paragraph, the term 'artist payee' means a person, other than a person described in subparagraph (B), who owns the right to receive all or part of the receipts payable under paragraph (2)(D) with respect to a sound recording. In a case in which there are multiple artist payees with respect to a sound recording, an objection by one such payee shall apply only to that payee's share of the receipts payable under paragraph (2)(D), and does not preclude payment under subparagraph (A) from the share of an artist payee that does not so object.''.
(c) Technical and conforming amendments .'--Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsections (a) and (b), is further amended'--
(1) in paragraph (2), by striking ''An agent designated'' and inserting ''Except as provided for in paragraph (6), a nonprofit collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges'';
(2) in paragraph (3)'--
(A) by striking ''nonprofit agent designated'' and inserting ''nonprofit collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges'';
(B) by striking ''another designated agent'' and inserting ''another designated nonprofit collective''; and
(C) by striking ''agent'' and inserting ''collective'' each subsequent place it appears;
(3) in paragraph (4)'--
(A) by striking ''designated agent'' and inserting ''nonprofit collective''; and
(B) by striking ''agent'' and inserting ''collective'' each subsequent place it appears; and
(4) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(7) P REEMPTION OF STATE PROPERTY LAWS .'--The holding and distribution of receipts under section 112 and this section by a nonprofit collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges in accordance with this subsection and regulations adopted by the Copyright Royalty Judges shall supersede and preempt any State law (including common law) concerning escheatment or abandoned property, or any analogous provision, that might otherwise apply.''.
SEC. 303. Effective date .
(a) In general .'--Except as provided in subsection (b), this title and the amendments made by this title shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) Delayed effective date .'--The effective date for paragraphs (5)(B) and (6)(E) of section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, as added by section 302, shall be January 1, 2020.
Passed the House of Representatives April 25, 2018.
115th CONGRESS 2d Session
H. R. 5447
To modernize copyright law, and for other purposes.
Author Bryan Crabtree: Privatize, Not Nationalize, the Music Industry
House Introduces Comprehensive Music Licensing Reform Legislation
April 10, 2018House Introduces Comprehensive Music Licensing Reform Legislation
Apr 10, 2018
SoundExchange Urges Support of New Music Modernization Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. '' April 10, 2018 '' House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and 28 original cosponsors today introduced sweeping bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation's antiquated music licensing laws, including providing federal copyright protection for sound recordings made prior to February 15, 1972.
The Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447) is consensus legislation that packages together several music licensing reform bills that have wide-ranging bipartisan support. The package includes the CLASSICS Act, the AMP Act, elements of the previously introduced Music Modernization Act and the rate standard parity provisions from the Fair Play Fair Pay Act. The legislation comes after a comprehensive review of copyright law in the Committee during Goodlatte's chairmanship.
The new Music Modernization Act contains many important changes in music licensing laws including:
Closing the pre-72 loophole by establishing federal copyright protection that will guarantee compensation for artists who recorded music before February 15, 1972;Establishing a ''willing buyer, willing seller'' rate standard requiring all digital platforms to pay fair market value for music;Codifying SoundExchange's longtime practice of honoring ''Letters of Direction'' from artists who want to share royalties with studio producers and other creative participants who work with them and;Creating a new process that will allow eligible participants in recordings made before the digital performance right was enacted in 1995 to share in digital royalties for those recordingsThe bill also includes the language of the original Music Modernization Act, including the creation of a single licensing entity to administer mechanical rights for musical works.
''We applaud Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler for their willingness to address many of the ancient inequities in our copyright laws that stand between music creators and fair compensation,'' SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe said. ''We urge the House Judiciary Committee to move swiftly in its consideration of this comprehensive music licensing reform package. Music creators have waited long enough.''
Inclusion of the CLASSICS Act (H.R.3301/S.2393) in the new reform package represents a major victory for legacy artists. It's been 46 years since Congress decided to leave sound recordings made before February 15, 1972, under a patchwork of state laws, rather than providing federal copyright protection to those sound recordings.
''This legislation is moving forward because Congress has heard the voices of music creators asking for copyright laws that reflect the realities of today's music marketplace. The modernization outlined in this bill is long overdue, and with the momentum created by its introduction, it's critical that music creators continue reaching out to their representative to urge swift consideration of this legislation,'' Huppe said.
After undertaking a thorough review of the Copyright Act during his tenure as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced comprehensive music licensing reform legislation (H.R.5447) with Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on April 10, 2018. On April 11, 2018, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously (32-0) to approve the legislation and on April 25, 2018 the full House voted unanimously (415-0) to pass the legislation.
On May 10, 2018, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Senate version of the Music Modernization Act (S.2823).
The Music Modernization Act is a bipartisan package that incorporates several pieces of consensus legislation.
The bill includes the CLASSICS Act (H.R.3301/S.2393), the AMP Act (H.R.881/S.2625) and rate standard parity provisions from the Fair Play Fair Pay Act (H.R.1836) and would:
Close the pre-72 loophole by establishing federal copyright protection that will guarantee compensation for artists who recorded music before February 15, 1972;Codify SoundExchange's longtime practice of honoring ''Letters of Direction'' from artists who want to share royalties with studio producers and other creative participants who work with them;Create a new process that will allow eligible participants in recordings made before the digital performance right was enacted in 1995 to share in digital royalties for those recordings; andEstablish a ''willing buyer, willing seller'' rate standard that will require all digital platforms to pay fair market value for music.The bill also reflects elements from the previously introduced Music Modernization Act (H.R.4706/S.2334) and would:
Reform Section 115 to ensure songwriters are being compensated in a timely manner by ending the bulk Notice of Intent (NOI) process, creating a single Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) funded by the digital services, and providing a publicly accessible database for song ownership information; andRepeal Section 114(i) which will allow courts setting public performance royalty rates to consider rates for sound recording royalties.SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe issued a statement on the introduction of the Music Modernization Act that you can read here.
North Korea only provided one dog tag with possible US remains - CNNPolitics
Washington (CNN) North Korea provided only a single dog tag to help identify the 55 cases of remains that were given to US officials on Friday, a US defense official told CNN.
Given the absence of any additional information to accompany the remains, the official said it "will take many months to a few years to identity" them based of previous experiences with the identification process.
"Other than a single dog tag, the Korean People's Army did not provide further information on where they recovered the remains or any other information," the official said.
"Based upon previous experiences with this type of turnover from the DPRK, most of the remains will take many months to a few years to identify," the official added using the official acronym for North Korea.
The presence of the single dog tag was first reported by the Associated Press.
Vice President Mike Pence will greet the remains of US service members returning to the US on Wednesday during a ceremony in Hawaii.
The remains will then be sent to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, where historians and scientists will work to help with identification.
The repatriation of the remains of American service members from the Korean War, which ended 65 years ago, was one of the four points listed in the joint statement President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un signed on June 12 during their historic meeting in Singapore.
"What we're seeing here is an opportunity to give those families closure, to make certain that we continue to look for those remaining," Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon Friday.
"We don't know who's in those boxes. As we discover it, they'll be returned and they could -- and they could go to Australia. They have missing, France has missing, Americans have -- there's a whole lot of us," Mattis added, referencing the fact that service members from other nations in the UN coalition that fought in the Korean War are unaccounted for.
Ombudsman slaat alarm: 'Het centrum van Amsterdam is 's nachts een wetteloze jungle' | TROUW
In het Wallengebied in het centrum van Amsterdam heerst in de nachtelijke uren wetteloosheid. Politie en andere handhavers hebben er geen gezag meer, waarschuwt de Amsterdamse ombudsman Arre Zuurmond. Nadat hij veel klachten kreeg van bewoners, besloot hij deze zomer een pand in het hart van de hoofdstad te betrekken om de overlast te onderzoeken.
Lees verder na de advertentie"Het centrumgebied wordt 's nachts een urban jungle", beschrijft hij, "waar crimineel geld leidend is, en het gezag niet langer aanwezig. De politie kan deze situatie niet langer aan." De Amsterdamse driehoek van gemeente, politie en justitie, zegt het beeld dat de ombudsman schetst te herkennen.
Zuurmond deed eerder onderzoek naar het Leidseplein. Hij liet er op drie locaties camera's plaatsen. "Wat bleek: in (C)(C)n nacht telden we 900 overtredingen. Vooral tussen twee en vier uur 's nachts is er een grimmige sfeer die uitmondt in rechteloosheid. Scootertjes racen tegen het verkeer in of door het voetgangersgebied. Er wordt geschreeuwd. In drugs gehandeld. Gestolen. Ge¼rineerd op straat, gepoept ook. Er is geweld. En er wordt net opgetreden. Je kunt er tegen een busje van de mobiele eenheid aan piesen, zonder dat de bestuurder daar wat van zegt." Iedere handhaver is volgens hem maar met een deeltje van de overlast bezig, en treedt niet 'breed' op.
De 'hardnekkige problemen' in de binnenstad staan hoog op de agenda van Femke HalsemaOok het Wallengebied staat al langer als slecht bekend. Met het zogenoemde 'Project 1012' - vernoemd naar de postcode - probeerde de gemeente vanaf 2007 de criminaliteit en misstanden als mensenhandel terug te dringen. Dat is alleen gedeeltelijk gelukt, concludeerde de Rekenkamer Metropool Amsterdam onlangs. De criminaliteit bleef.
Op de agendaDe ombudsman spreekt over 'een verdieping van de problemen', die over het hele centrum zijn uitgesmeerd. Zo zijn er 2000 illegale taxi's en ook 350 'snorrende boten' die zonder vergunning hun gasten 'zwart' rondvaren. Het zwarte geld is in het centrum van de stad overal, aldus Zuurmond.
"Ik sta achter een man in een dure kledingzaak die voor 3000 euro aan kostuums koopt. Daarvoor haalt hij uit zijn Albert Heijn-tasje een rol van 50 euro-biljetten en rekent cash af. Dan vraagt hij ""k nog eens om een btw-teruggave-formulier, 'want hij gaat immers naar het buitenland'. Opgeteld betaalt deze man dus maar 30 procent van de waarde van deze kleding, en de verkoper werkt daar gewoon aan mee."
Volgens de woordvoerder van burgemeester Femke Halsema staan de 'hardnekkige problemen' in de binnenstad hoog op de agenda. De kersverse burgemeester bezocht afgelopen nacht de drukke uitgaansgebieden om daar te praten met agenten, handhavers, ondernemers, bewoners en het uitgaanspubliek.
De bezem erdoorZuurmond woont deze zomer in hartje centrum. Hij moet wennen aan zijn nieuwe koffiezetapparaat en het scheutje melk warmt hij op in een grote soeppan. De Amsterdamse ombudsman Arre Zuurmond is nog zoekende. "In mijn eigen huis doe ik alles op routine, maar hier..."
Sinds twee weken woont Zuurmond in een historisch pandje aan de luidruchtige Olofspoort, hartje Amsterdam, aan de rand van het prostitutiegebied tussen de Warmoesstraat en het Centraal Station.
Ter plekke kijkenZuurmond is niet zo'n ombudsman die achter zijn bureau de klachten behandelt en af en toe een lijvig rapport afscheidt. Bij meerdere of aanhoudende klachten gaat hij ter plekke kijken wat er aan de hand is. De afgelopen jaren was hij met regelmaat op het Leidseplein, en concludeerde dat daar 's nachts sprake is van een 'onduldbare afwezigheid van de overheid'. Die intensiveerde daarop het toezicht, maar de klachten hielden aan.
Maar niet alleen op het Leidseplein is het mis, het geldt dus voor de gehele Amsterdamse binnenstad. En de problematiek zit veel dieper dan de overlast, ook al kan ook die zeer ingrijpend zijn.
Op de Wallen is het nu zo druk, dat er 's avonds in de openbare ruimte sprake is van een zeer onveilige situatieZuurmond registreert deze weken alles wat hij op zijn pad tegenkomt, en zet zijn bevindingen op Twitter. Hij doet 's nachts zijn rondes, maakt foto's en filmt. Op zijn mobiele telefoon heeft hij zelfs een geluidsmeter ge¯nstalleerd. Hij knoopt gesprekken aan met bewoners, en nodigt in zijn pandje beleidsmakers en bestuurders uit om de problematiek door te nemen. De hoofdcommissaris van politie komt op de koffie, en hij hoopt dat ook de nieuwe burgemeester Femke Halsema langskomt.
Natuurlijk woont Zuurmond momenteel in een levendig uitgaansgebied, en dat weten de bewoners van de binnenstad ook. "Die kunnen heus wel tegen een stootje. De rafelranden van de stad moet je koesteren. Maar hier is meer aan de hand."
In vergelijking met de jaren tachtig en negentig, toen vooral de Amsterdamse Zeedijk als 'slecht' bekend stond, zijn de problemen verbreed, verdiept en over het hele centrum uitgesmeerd.
Zuurmond: "Kijk alleen naar de extreme drukte. Het bestuur heeft bewust na de economische crisis het toerisme gestimuleerd, maar is vergeten om ook weer op de rem te trappen en aanvullende maatregelen te nemen. Op de Wallen is het nu zo druk, dat er 's avonds in de openbare ruimte sprake is van een zeer onveilige situatie. Bij een uitslaande brand of een hartinfarct kunnen de hulpverleners niet ter plekke komen. Mocht de politie al achter een crimineel aan willen, ze komt gewoonweg niet door de massa heen."
Op een willekeurig festivalterrein moet er op elke 250 bezoekers een handhaver aanwezig zijn, heeft de ombudsman inmiddels achterhaald. Maar wat betekent dat voor het 'festival Amsterdam'? Zuurmond: "Op sommige avonden zijn er in het Amsterdamse centrum 300.000 bezoekers. Reken maar uit hoeveel handhavers er net zijn."
Dubbele afkalvingDat gebrek heeft volgens hem grote consequenties. In een goed functionerende rechtsstaat zorgt het publiek voor vijftig procent van de handhaving: burgers spreken elkaar aan op de overschrijding van 'de norm'. Maar als het officile gezag er onvoldoende is, neemt ook de bereidheid van de bevolking af zich met de openbare orde te bemoeien. "Het is juist die dubbele afkalving die in Amsterdam zichtbaar wordt."
Voor de oplossing verwijst Zuurmond naar de 'schoonmaak' van de ondergrondse in New York. "Die stad heeft er twintig jaar geleden voor gekozen vol in te zetten op de schoonmaak van (C)(C)n station, en die nieuwe situatie ook vast te houden totdat deze schone, misdaad- en overlastarme halte de norm was. Daarna werd de volgende halte aangepakt, uiteindelijk de hele lijn, en toen stapsgewijs de volgende."
En welke 'halte' zou burgemeester Halsema als eerste moeten schoonvegen? "Dat is aan de politiek, maar ik zou zeggen: het Leidseplein. Iedereen ziet nu dat deze plek niet deugt, dan wordt het ""k goed zichtbaar als de bezem er doorheen gaat."
Hoe het tij kan worden gekeerd, terwijl er amper een agent aan te pas komt1. Intelligente overlast-microfoonsIn Amsterdam begint binnenkort een experiment waarbij omwonenden zelf de geluidsoverlast meten. In vijf gebieden komt een netwerk van 'intelligente microfoons' die de aard van het geluid registreren (muziek, gegil, motor) en het aantal decibellen. Overlastveroorzakers als horecaondernemers kunnen meekijken wat hun aandeel in de overlast is. Komen ze boven de norm, dan zien ze dat zelf en weten dat uiteindelijk een boete volgt. Ze kunnen beter zelf maatregelen nemen. Burgers die meedoen hebben zo het gevoel dat ze er weer toe doen. De microfoons zijn ontwikkeld in Afrika en met succes ingezet in de strijd tegen stropers.
In Nederland leven volgens de gemeente Amsterdam 160.000 personen die onherroepelijk zijn veroordeeld2. Signaleer voortvluchtigenIn Nederland leven volgens de gemeente Amsterdam 160.000 personen die onherroepelijk zijn veroordeeld, maar hun straf hebben weten te ontlopen. Volgens het ministerie van justitie moeten daarvan ruim 12.000 mensen nog een vrijheidsstraf uitzitten. Zo'n 10 procent van deze veroordeelden verblijft in Amsterdam. Die blijven volgens Zuurmond zelden op het rechte pad. Toch kunnen zij zonder enige controle bij het gemeentehuis w(C)l een nieuw paspoort aanvragen. Als de ambtenaar van Burgerzaken die check gaat uitvoeren, verdwijnen honderden potentile overlastgevers en criminelen van straat.
3. Traceer gestolen auto'sLange tijd hadden gestolen auto's geen prioriteit bij de politie. Op voorstel van Zuurmond is de registratie van de dienst Parkeerbeheer (die dagelijks grote hoeveelheden kentekens scant) gekoppeld aan het kentekenregister waarin ook gestolen auto's staan opgeslagen. Is er een 'hit', dan gaat deze melding naar het Landelijk instituut voertuigcriminaliteit. Als een gestolen auto 'heet' blijkt, gaan de gegevens direct naar de politie. Zo niet, wordt de gestolen auto door de gemeente weggesleept. De kosten zijn voor de verzekeringsmaatschappij die vermoedelijk de schade al heeft uitgekeerd, maar daar een verkoopbare auto voor terugkrijgt.
4. Pak onverzekerde taxi's aanIn de hoofdstad rijden afgezien van het grote aantal snorders 193 onverzekerde legale taxi's rond. Door de taxivergunningen te vergelijken met de gegevens van de Rijksdienst voor het wegverkeer, wordt duidelijk wie dat precies zijn. Een ambtenaar kan dan een briefje sturen dat intrekking van de vergunning kan volgen. Is er geen reactie, dan wordt de vergunning daadwerkelijk geschrapt.
5. Onderzoek AlbanezenIn Amsterdam staan 800 Albanezen ingeschreven bij de basisadministratie. Volgens de politie vormde deze groep lange tijd geen probleem. Totdat justitie op ingenieuze wijze op een bestaande Albanese website een aantal pagina's huurde gericht op Amsterdam. In (C)(C)n jaar tijd werden die pagina's vanuit de Nederlandse hoofdstad bezocht door 30.000 verschillende IP-adressen, doorgaans via de duurste iPhone-modellen en versleutelde crypto-telefoons. Relatief eenvoudig kon zo worden vastgesteld dat het Albanezenprobleem veel groter is dan gedacht, en kon het beleid van de politie worden bijgesteld.
6. Hinder bromscootersOm de hinder van vaak opgevoerde en gestolen bromscooters op het Leidseplein tegen te gaan, kunnen tien handhavers worden neergezet die de jongens aanhouden. Maar ook (C)(C)n rollerbank kan afdoende zijn. Als de jongens via sociale media melden dat er op het plein een kans op controle is, mijden zij deze locatie uit eigen beweging.
Lees ook:Halsema's eerste opdracht: burgemeester van lle Amsterdammers wordenMet de keuze voor Femke Halsema boekt de Amsterdamse gemeenteraad twee primeurs: ze zal de eerste vrouwelijke burgemeester zijn van de hoofdstad en de eerste afkomstig uit GroenLinks.
Grote bek, kleinerende opmerkingen en agressie: welkom in de 'wetteloze jungle' van nachtelijk Amsterdam | De Volkskrant
Kleinerende opmerkingen, scheldpartijen, agressie. Jody, handhaver in Amsterdam, maakt het dagelijks mee. Zij en haar collega's proberen nog wat orde te scheppen in wat de ombudsman een 'wetteloze jungle' noemt. De Amsterdamse burgemeester Halsema is intussen met de minister in gesprek over extra agenten.
Kaya Bouma 29 juli 2018 , 19:08Handhaver Jody is net begonnen een boete uit te schrijven voor een toeristensloep, als een van de passagiers begint te schreeuwen. 'Je hebt geen bewijs', roept de man, die een pet draagt met de tekst The quiet life. 'Wacht maar tot dit voor de rechter komt.'
De 22-jarige Jody (klein van stuk, lange blonde paardenstaart, blozende wangen) legt het nog eens uit. Twee collega's in burger hebben de boot vanaf de wal betrapt op het draaien van harde muziek. Versterkte muziek is verboden hier op het water van de Amsterdamse binnenstad. Ze hebben een foto van de sloep aan Jody doorgestuurd. Een eindje verderop heeft zij het bootje, dat de muziek in de tussentijd heeft uitgezet, vanaf het water aangehouden.
'Je kunt he-le-maal niets bewijzen', roept de man. 'We hadden he-le-maal geen muziek aan.' Naast hem slaat de schipper van het sloepje hem op de schouders. 'Weet je, laat maar. Het is een handhaver. Die verdient een tientje per uur.'
'Dit', zegt Jody als het toeristensloepje is weggevaren, 'is heel in het klein wat wij dagelijks meemaken.' Een grote bek, kleinerende opmerkingen, vaak in combinatie met agressie. De jonge handhaver ('liever geen achternaam, anders gaan mensen me lastigvallen via sociale media') heeft in de twee jaar tijd dat ze in de Amsterdamse binnenstad werkt 'het nodige meegemaakt', zegt ze.
Ze zag meerdere collega's gewond raken door confrontaties met uitgaanspubliek. De twee collega's die vanavond in burger rondlopen? 'Die moeten even rustig aan doen. Ze zijn allebei kortgeleden gewond geraakt tijdens het werk.' De een heeft gebroken vingers, de ander een gebroken arm.
OmbudsmanEen wetteloze jungle. Zo omschrijft Arre Zuurmond nachtelijk Amsterdam. De ombudsman van de gemeente sloeg dit weekend alarm. In een interview in dagblad Trouw schetste hij een grimmig beeld. De stad die oud-burgemeester Van der Laan een 'lieve stad' noemde, verandert volgens de ombudsman 's nachts in een 'urban jungle, waar crimineel geld leidend is en het gezag niet langer aanwezig'.
De Amsterdamse burgemeester Femke Halsema wil dat er snel extra agenten komen in het uitgaanscentrum van de hoofdstad. Ze is daarover in gesprek met minister Grapperhaus van Justitie en Veiligheid, zegt maandag een woordvoerder van Halsema na een bericht hierover in De Telegraaf. De burgemeester nodigt verder Tweede Kamerleden uit voor een nachtelijk bezoek aan de Amsterdamse binnenstad.
De belangrijkste problemen, zegt de Amsterdamse ombudsman Zuurmond tegen de Volkskrant, 'zijn hufterigheid en geweld' onder het uitgaanspubliek, handhavers die te weinig bevoegdheid hebben om in te kunnen grijpen, een tekort aan politieagenten, 'enorme hoeveelheden crimineel geld' en een circuit aan illegale taxi's en illegale rondvaartsloepjes. Dat alles in combinatie met enorme drukte door de groeiende toeristenstroom.
'Als de Wallen helemaal vol zijn, en dat zijn ze op bepaalde momenten van de nacht, komt de politie er niet meer door. Je kunt niet achter een crimineel aan die wegglipt. Als er brand is, kom je er niet bij. Als iemand een hartstilstand krijgt, kun je er niet door met de ambulance.'
Het zijn geen nieuwe problemen. Amsterdam worstelt al decennia met overlast, drugsgebruik en criminaliteit, met name op de Wallen. Maar Zuurmond heeft het vermoeden dat de situatie verergert. 'Dat is ingewikkeld te bewijzen, er is nader onderzoek voor nodig. Vast staat dat de toeristenstroom steeds groter wordt. De geregistreerde criminaliteit daalt, maar de omvang van het zwarte geld groeit. Dat is een indicatie dat de criminaliteit in feite toeneemt.'
De Amsterdamse driehoek van politie, justitie en gemeente laat in een reactie weten het beeld dat de ombudsman schetst, te herkennen. 'Dat er hardnekkige problemen bestaan in de binnenstad, staat vast', zegt een woordvoerder van de gemeente.
Burgemeester Halsema bracht vrijdagavond een bezoek aan de Wallen. Het aanpakken van de problemen staat hoog op haar agenda, zegt de woordvoerder. Of de situatie verergert, kan hij niet zeggen. 'Het is een feit dat het drukker wordt. Tegelijk zijn er ondernemers die zeggen: het was in de jaren tachtig erger.'
Visnetpanty'Meneer, geen alcohol mee aan wal.' Vanaf het water roept Jody naar een Brit die zojuist vanaf een bootje de kade is opgeklommen, gekleed in roze visnetpanty met op zijn hoofd een elandgewei. Terwijl zijn vrienden twee kratten Hertog Jan de kant op sjouwen, staart de Brit Jody lodderig aan '' in zijn hand een flesje bier. De handhaver heeft zich dan al tot de schipper gewend. Hij krijgt een boete omdat hij zonder vergunning passagiers rondvaart.
Hoe het in de jaren tachtig was, toen de Zeedijk het werkterrein vormde van drugsdealers, weet de handhaver niet. Ze weet wel dit: 'Mensen worden hier steeds agressiever. Ze schelden je uit of vallen je aan.' Net als de meeste collega's vaart Jody deze zaterdagavond door de grachten van de binnenstad. Ze proberen de geluidsoverlast dit weekend vanaf het water aan te pakken.
Normaliter staan ze aan wal en draaien ze nachtdiensten in de uitgaansgebieden. In de binnenstad zijn op vrijdag- en zaterdagavond zo'n zestien handhavers op de been. 'Dan maak je heftige dingen mee', zegt Jody. Vorig jaar werd ze samen met een collega na een voetbalwedstrijd belaagd door een twintigtal hooligans. 'De ME is ons te hulp geschoten, maar we waren aardig toegetakeld.'
Heftiger was de nacht na Koningsdag, dit jaar. In de buurt van de Nieuwendijk stuitte Jody op twee mannen die vochten, een van hen had een mes. Ze greep in. 'Toen raakte ik zelf in gevecht met die man met dat mes. Ik heb geen pepperspray, geen wapenstok. Uiteindelijk kreeg ik dat mes bijna in m'n keel.' Het liep goed af, collega's schoten te hulp. Jody: 'Maar ik heb me daarna afgevraagd: waarom doe ik dit werk eigenlijk?'
Handhaver Jody (22) patrouilleert op een boot in de grachten. Foto Marcel Wogram / de Volkskrant Verlies van gezagNaarmate de avond vordert, zegt Zuurmond, verliezen handhavers hun gezag in de binnenstad. 'Mensen zijn dronken, zitten onder de coke of andere verdovende middelen. Dan zijn ze in groepjes. Langzaam maar zeker zie je dat zo'n groep zo brutaal wordt dat een handhaver niet meer zoveel kan.' Er zijn de laatste paar maanden vier heftige geweldsincidenten geweest tegen handhavers, vertelt de ombudsman. 'Bij een van hen ging het om een poging tot wurging. Een ander is in elkaar geslagen. Daar kunnen ze zich niet tegen verdedigen.'
Het effect, zegt Jody, is dat ze niet altijd meer ingrijpen. 'We maken een afweging of we de situatie aankunnen. We moeten ook aan onze veiligheid denken en aan onze familie.' Na het incident met het mes heeft de handhaver een week niet gewerkt. 'Ik heb thuis gezeten en getwijfeld: moet ik niet iets anders gaan doen?'
Uiteindelijk besloot ze: dit werk is te bijzonder. 'Je loopt rond in een unieke omgeving, ik ben gehecht aan dit gebied. Er is altijd reuring.' Maar als Jody's dienst erop zit en ze terug kan naar haar 'rustige dorp', Hoorn, 'even heel eerlijk: dan ben ik altijd opgelucht.'
Amsterdam bij nacht: 'Hufterigheid, geweld, wetteloosheid'In de Amsterdamse binnenstad heerst 's nachts wetteloosheid, zegt de gemeentelijke ombudsman Arre Zuurmond. Hij trekt aan de bel. 'Er zijn de laatste paar maanden vier heftige geweldsincidenten geweest tegen handhavers. Ze kunnen zich niet verdedigen.'
Amsterdam bij nacht: 'geweld, wetteloosheid' - Nederlands Dagblad - Blendle
Amsterdam - Drugs, een schier oneindige stroom aan toeristen, ruim duizend straatdealers, gelal, vechtpartijen, een overvloed aan drank, tekort aan blauw op straat en als klap op de vuurpijl brakende bezoekers. Alleen door de tropische temperatuur is het in de nacht van vrijdag op zaterdag een warm welkom voor kersvers burgemeester Femke Halsema. De misstanden in het Centrum zijn vooral ijzingwekkend.
Met Cor van Dijk van sekstheater Casa Rosso neemt de nieuwe burgemeester de toestand op de Wallen in ogenschouw.
''¸ Rene Bouwman
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Canada says it is using DNA websites to identify some migrants - BBC News
Image caption Canadian officials used Ebrahim Toure's DNA in an attempt to establish his nationality Canada is using DNA and commercial genealogical sites to help determine the nationality of migrants whose origin is in question.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has confirmed the use of DNA testing "when other avenues of investigation have been exhausted".
The agency could not confirm how frequently such techniques are used.
One Canadian immigration lawyer says he is personally aware of a handful of such cases.
CBSA spokesman Jayden Robertson said the agency uses DNA testing to assist "in determining identity by providing indicators of nationality thereby enabling us to focus further lines of investigation on particular countries".
"The CBSA obtains consent from the clients before submitting their information to DNA websites," he said in a statement to the BBC.
Toronto-based immigration lawyer Subodh Bharati says he is concerned about how well the privacy of those whose DNA has been collected is being protected.
One such case involved Mr Bharati's client Franklin Godwin, who arrived in Canada in 1994 on a fraudulent Bahamian passport and requested asylum after disclosing to immigration officials that he was Liberian. He was granted refugee status and permanent residency.
He later lost his permanent residency status after being convicted on various drug charges.
Canada sought to deport Mr Godwin in 2003 and in 2005.
Liberia twice denied him entry despite issuing him travel document. In the latter instance, officials claimed he was not Liberian but Nigerian.
Mr Godwin maintains his Liberian nationality but Canada is seeking to confirm his identity.
In 2017, while being held in detention by the CBSA, officials conducted a linguistic test, an interview about his knowledge of Liberia and a DNA test.
Using genealogy websites, they found two distant relatives who claimed Nigerian ancestry and contacted them.
Mr Bharati says he doesn't believe that DNA testing offers Canada much value in determining someone's country of origin.
"It's clear DNA doesn't give someone's nationality," he said.
In another instance reported by AFP, DNA was used to attempt to establish the nationality of Ebrahim Toure, a failed refugee claimant who has been detained by Canadian immigration officials since 2013, pending his removal.
According to AFP, he had arrived in Canada on a fake French passport. He later claimed to be from Guinea, but was refused entry by Guinean officials.
Following a linguistic test, a search of his social media that revealed he had many Gambian acquaintances, and interviews with friends in Canada, officials sought to match his DNA with relatives in The Gambia.
The Toronto Star reports that Mr Toure says his transient upbringing complicates his nationality. He remains in detention.
In a statement to BBC, an Ancestry spokesperson said that protecting customers' privacy is the company's "highest priority".
"That starts with the basic belief that customers should always maintain ownership and control over their own data," the company said.
It said it does not work with border agencies.
FamilyTreeDNA told Vice News that the company does not work with Canadian law enforcement and has no knowledge of its platform being used to determine a migrant's nationality.
CDC urges Americans to stop washing, reusing condoms
MIAMI - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a reminder that some may laugh at. But apparently, it needs to be said.
They are urging Americans to stop re-using condoms. The message was posted on Twitter earlier this week.
"We say it because people do it: Don't wash or reuse #condoms! Use a fresh one for each #sex act."
Research has found that as many as three percent of people have tried to reuse condoms, and half us have put a condom on too late or removed it too soon, the Daily Mail said.
"Correctly using male condoms and other barriers like female condoms and dental dams, every time, can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis," the CDC said.
We say it because people do it: Don't wash or reuse #condoms! Use a fresh one for each #sex act. https://t.co/o3SPayRf9m pic.twitter.com/AwkPqE9YMl '-- CDC STD (@CDCSTD) July 23, 2018
For more information, click here.
Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.
Models With Fake Pregnant Bellies Walked the Runway at London Men's Fashion Week | Teen Vogue
The runway is a place where fashion designers get the opportunity to highlight their vision through the clothing, the setting and sometimes even the props. This week's London Fashion Week was no different as male models took to the catwalk rocking prosthetic pregnant bellies.
During the Xander Zhou show on June 11 models cradled padding that was strapped to their stomachs to mimic pregnancies, Cosmopolitan reports. Some even lifted their shirts to reveal the bellies (which were actually quite realistic-looking) over the course of the show.
The brand took to Instagram to share a photo of one of the models wearing a shirt that says ''New World Baby,'' with a caption that attempts to explain what was going on. ''At Supernatural, Extraterrestrial & Co., we're prepared to welcome a future of male pregnancy," they wrote.
As Fashionista points out, featuring pregnant models in campaigns has become a trend of late '-- brands like Opening Ceremony, Glossier, and Eckhaus Latta have all included them in campaigns '-- but this is the first time the trend has expanded to a men's week runway show.
Tim Whitby/BFC/Getty Images
NIKLAS HALLE'N/Getty Images
Whether the brand was making a statement about the present politics of gender and pregnancy or not is still unclear. It should be noted, however, that people of all gender identities can become pregnant. If you are currently trying to prevent unplanned pregnancy here are some helpful birth control methods to talk to your doctor about.
Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Lily Collins Has Some HARSH Words for Runway Casting Agents
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Gay Couple Forced to Separate on Alaska Airlines Flight So Straight Couple Could Sit Together - Towleroad Gay News
A gay man and his partner were forced to separate on an Alaska Airlines flight to make room for a straight couple who wanted to sit together. David Cooley, the owner of the West Hollywood nightclub The Abbey, wrote about the incident on Facebook.
Wrote Cooley: ''I have never been so discriminated against while traveling before. I was removed from an Alaska Airlines flight # 1407 from John F. Kennedy International Airport to LAX to give preferential treatment to a straight couple. After my traveling companion and I had been seated in our assigned seats for a while, we were approached by the flight attendant and my companion was asked to move from his premium seat to coach, so a couple could sit together. I explained that we were a couple and wanted to sit together. He was given a choice to either give up the premium seat and move to coach or get off the plane. We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane.''
Cooley added: ''I cannot believe that an airline in this day and age would give a straight couple preferential treatment over a gay couple and go so far as to ask us to leave. We will never be flying Alaska Airlines or their recently purchased Virgin Airlines Group ever again. Thank you to Delta Air Lines for getting us home safe. If you are an # LGBT person, please spend your travel dollars with an LGBT friendly airline like Delta.''
Alaska released a statement about the incident, acknowledging that it did take place: ''When boarding flight 1407 from JFK to LAX, a couple was mistakenly assigned the same seats as another couple in Premium Class. We reseated one of the guests from Premium Class in the Main Cabin. 'We are deeply sorry for the situation, and are investigating the details while communicating directly with the guests involved to try and make this right. Alaska Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, and our employees value inclusion for our guests and each other.'''
Lesbian teens are getting pregnant more than twice as often as their peers | News | LifeSite
August 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) '-- Statistics show that women who identify as "lesbian" become pregnant at a much higher rate than "straight" women and "homosexual" men are impregnating women at a significantly greater percentage than heterosexual men.
A Minneapolis Star Tribune graphic visually illustrates the disparity:
The pregnancy rates are verified by studies in several nations, all showing that homosexual pregnancy rates are two to seven times higher than heterosexual pregnancy rates. And pro-homosexual organizations acknowledge that ''unintended pregnancy is huge in the LGBT youth world.''
Additionally, both male and female homosexuals are significantly more sexually active than heterosexuals.
The Federalist's Glenn T. Stanton noted that with the pregnancy rate among homosexuals as much as seven times greater than heterosexuals, "That's a great deal of pregnancy-possible sex going on among teens and adults who are supposedly 'born that way' to want non-pregnancy-possible sex."
Stanton continued, "We must ask what's going in the emotional lives of these individuals that has them behaving in such a hyper-sexualized manner? What emptiness are they seeking to fill? Their own dignity and well-being demands honest investigation, free of ideological assumptions."
Drug and alcohol abuse before and during sex was rampant among LGBTQI youth, according to the statistics, especially among males.
Homosexual activists blame the promiscuity/pregnancy stats on outside influences, such as societal rejection, peer pressure, and a non-accepting home environment. Others point to insufficient sex-ed for gay youth.
To help solve the problem of LGBTQI promiscuity and pregnancy, legislators went to Planned Parenthood. Government officials gave the nation's largest abortion conglomerate $18 million to reduce pregnancies and STDs among homosexual youth in nine states.
Conservative critics complain that not only is the government's answer simply to throw money at the problem, but to throw money into the hands of the organizations that promote promiscuity.
Teenwise Minnesota, a pro-gay organization tasked with promoting sexual health, discovered the promiscuity/pregnancy disparity when student surveys included a question asking students about their "sexual orientation."
Ocasio-Cortez's Secret Relationship with George Soros Is Made Public - Page 2 of 2 - Chicks On The Right '-- Young Conservatives
Don't Miss an Update! Subscribe Now! It was a made for TV story.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old unknown from the Bronx, defeats the long-term Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in the 14th Congressional District in New York. Crowley, who some had touted as a possible successor to Rep. Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader was the fourth-ranked Democrat in the House.
But it was just a story because Ocasio-Cortez wasn't exactly an unconnected unknown.
Missing Updates? Subscribe to Chicks On The Right: It turns out she had some powerful backing including from the George Soros' Media Consortium.
Ocasio-Cortez was a Bernie Sanders organizer.
And as Rich Weinstein in a great Twitter thread points out, this is what her website looks like now:
But this is what it looked like last year according to the Wayback archive.
What is a Brand New Congress?
Their goal was to have 400 candidates to run for Congress by last year and each of those 400 is supposed to commit to a similar far left platform including immigration reform and the abolishment of ICE.
They seem to have far fewer than that, with only 29 including Ocasio-Cortez listed on their website. The other candidates you see Ocasio-Cortez campaigning for now like Cori Bush and Brent Welder are also part of this group to push into office.
In March 2017, BNC joined with Justice Democrats to help push their goals.
Justice Democrats were founded in part by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and former Bernie people. And they are promoting not just Congressional candidates but gubernatorial candidates like Cynthia Nixon in New York.
And as Ocasio-Cortez notes in this interview after with Uygur at the ten-minute mark that BNC and the Justice Democrats were instrumental in soliciting her and then promoting her ''after she left Standing Rock'' which means she was among the far left pipeline protesters.
Uygur doesn't, however, explain in the interview about his connection to the effort.
And Uygur's Young Turks is part of the Soros Media Consortium that provided wattage for the Ocasio-Cortez campaign. According to the MRC, this provides favorable coverage to 300 million people across the globe in a month.
However, as Weinstein points out, Uygur was forced out of his own organization after he got nailed for old sexist posts referring to women in derogatory ways including as ''whores.'' He's also an Armenian genocide denier, according to the Daily Caller.
Sounds so progressive. So how does Ocasio-Cortez feel about being backed by someone with these issues? Apparently not bad enough to reject the aid.
So no, she didn't just ''come out of nowhere'' and they are lining up other folks in the box with the specific idea of taking over.
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Linda Sarsour co-headline political action conference
Socialist Democratic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Women's March co-leader Linda Sarsour were featured speakers at the 16th Annual Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA) held on July 29, 2018.
Ocasio-Cortez and Sarsour claim they are progressive women and a champion of women's rights, but the UMAA is anything but progressive:
Shared Views on IsraelOcasio-Cortez doesn't hide her hatred towards Israel, but fumbled answers on the subject and admitted that she's ''not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.'' From The Times of Israel:
''The lens through which I saw this incident, as an activist, as an organizer '' if 60 people were killed in Ferguson, Missouri, if 60 people were killed in the South Bronx, unarmed, if 60 people were killed in Puerto Rico '' I just look at that [Gaza] incident more through just, as an incident, and to me, it would just be completely unacceptable if that happened on our shores,'' she said.''Of course the dynamics there, in terms of geopolitics '... is very different than people expressing their First Amendment right to protest,'' Hoover replied.
She called the killing of Palestinians at the Gaza fence a massacre. Terrorist group Hamas encouraged people to breach this fence and members of the group died at the the fence. Hoover brought this up:
''Yes,'' Ocasio-Cortez conceded, adding, ''But I also think that what people are starting to see at least in the occupation '... of Palestine [is] just an increasing crisis of humanitarian condition and that to me is just where I tend to come from on this issue.''When Hoover, a former aide to President George W. Bush, asked Ocasio-Cortez to clarify what she meant, Ocasio-Cortez paused and answered: ''I think what I meant is like the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas in places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes.''
In another interview, she ''drew parallels between Gaza and civil rights protests in America, a rhetorical turn that American Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League have criticized.''
There's a lot of evidence of Sarsour's hatred of Israel, but her appearance at an event in Chicago 2017 sticks out the most for me. That's where Sarsour embraced terrorist Rasmea Odeh, the woman received a ''prison term for a 1969 supermarket bombing in Jerusalem that killed two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner,'' and convicted ''for the attempted bombing of the British Consulate that same year.''
Sarsour Loves Ocasio-CortezI cannot find anything if Sarsour supported Ocasio-Cortez in her primary against incumbent Joe Crowley, but she gushed about the socialist after her victory.
Sarsour expressed disgust over the satire video from CRTV.
She also spoke to Democracy Now! about Ocasio-Cortez:
AMY GOODMAN: In a moment, we're going to talk about the travel ban, but Linda Sarsour is with us, director of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change. You supported Alexandria. This is a remarkable moment.
LINDA SARSOUR: I mean, in light of such horrible news yesterday with the travel ban and the Muslim ban, Alexandria is the hope that we've been waiting for. She is a young woman of color. She's Puerto Rican. She's a Socialist, just like me. We are both card-carrying DSA members. And she's pro-Palestine, and she's unapologetic. And the movement right now is elated, because this is what you're going to see, Amy, in this election season. It's a new day, a new generation. And Alexandria is what represents us and our values.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL VERSION OF THIS STORY
Study reveals the Great Pyramid of Giza can focus electromagnetic energy
Home Physics General Physics July 31, 2018 July 31, 2018 by Anastasia Komarova, ITMO University Propagation of electromagnetic waves inside the pyramids of Cheops at different lengths of radio waves (from 200 to 400 meters). The black rectangular position of the so-called King's Chamber. Credit: ITMO University, Laser Zentrum HannoverAn international research group has applied methods of theoretical physics to investigate the electromagnetic response of the Great Pyramid to radio waves. Scientists predicted that under resonance conditions, the pyramid can concentrate electromagnetic energy in its internal chambers and under the base. The research group plans to use these theoretical results to design nanoparticles capable of reproducing similar effects in the optical range. Such nanoparticles may be used, for example, to develop sensors and highly efficient solar cells. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physics.
While Egyptian pyramids are surrounded by many myths and legends, researchers have little scientifically reliable information about their physical properties. Physicists recently took an interest in how the Great Pyramid would interact with electromagnetic waves of a resonant length. Calculations showed that in the resonant state, the pyramid can concentrate electromagnetic energy in the its internal chambers as well as under its base, where the third unfinished chamber is located.
These conclusions were derived on the basis of numerical modeling and analytical methods of physics. The researchers first estimated that resonances in the pyramid can be induced by radio waves with a length ranging from 200 to 600 meters. Then they made a model of the electromagnetic response of the pyramid and calculated the extinction cross section. This value helps to estimate which part of the incident wave energy can be scattered or absorbed by the pyramid under resonant conditions. Finally, for the same conditions, the scientists obtained the electromagnetic field distribution inside the pyramid.
In order to explain the results, the scientists conducted a multipole analysis. This method is widely used in physics to study the interaction between a complex object and electromagnetic field. The object scattering the field is replaced by a set of simpler sources of radiation: multipoles. The collection of multipole radiation coincides with the field scattering by an entire object. Therefore, knowing the type of each multipole, it is possible to predict and explain the distribution and configuration of the scattered fields in the whole system.
The Great Pyramid attracted the researchers while they were studying the interaction between light and dielectric nanoparticles. The scattering of light by nanoparticles depends on their size, shape and refractive index of the source material. Varying these parameters, it is possible to determine the resonance scattering regimes and use them to develop devices for controlling light at the nanoscale.
"Egyptian pyramids have always attracted great attention. We as scientists were interested in them as well, so we decided to look at the Great Pyramid as a particle dissipating radio waves resonantly. Due to the lack of information about the physical properties of the pyramid, we had to use some assumptions. For example, we assumed that there are no unknown cavities inside, and the building material with the properties of an ordinary limestone is evenly distributed in and out of the pyramid. With these assumptions made, we obtained interesting results that can find important practical applications," says Dr. Sc. Andrey Evlyukhin, scientific supervisor and coordinator of the research.
Now, the scientists plan to use the results to reproduce similar effects at the nanoscale. "Choosing a material with suitable electromagnetic properties, we can obtain pyramidal nanoparticles with a promise for practical application in nanosensors and effective solar cells," says Polina Kapitainova, Ph.D., a member of the Faculty of Physics and Technology of ITMO University.
Explore further: Archeologists open burial chambers in Sudanese pyramid
More information: Mikhail Balezin et al, Electromagnetic properties of the Great Pyramid: First multipole resonances and energy concentration, Journal of Applied Physics (2018). DOI: 10.1063/1.5026556
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Pentagon Signs $885 Million Artificial Intelligence Contract with Booz Allen - CIO Journal. - WSJ
The U.S. Department of Defense will for the first time be using large-scale artificial intelligence systems that could automate mundane tasks and augment the work of military members as a result of an $885 million five-year contract, said Josh Sullivan, senior vice president at government consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
The technology will allow the Defense Department to better compete with nations including China and Russia, said Mr. Sullivan, who leads the analytics business for Booz Allen.
''Part of this is (about) making sure our government has the access to the best technology and using it responsibly in service of our citizens and warfighters,'' he said.
The use of AI systems such as neural networks that mimic the human brain could help the Defense Department sift through the ''overwhelming'' amount of data related to such areas as national security and health care. In turn, soldiers and military members can be freed up to identify threats on the battlefield sooner, spend more time with military patients and work on problems that require higher-level contextual reasoning, Mr. Sullivan said.
For example, hundreds of soldiers today watch video feeds from drones and cameras and do basic labeling and object identification, he said. With neural networks, an AI system can watch perhaps 12 or 15 feeds simultaneously and identify objects such as trucks, cars, weapons and hangars.
''That's a tremendous time saving for a soldier and frees them up to do a lot more interesting thinking about a problem,'' Mr. Sullivan said.
Specifics of the AI contract are still being developed, and Mr. Sullivan did not say if or how any of the proposed AI systems would be used in identifying and tracking potential drone targets.
Alphabet Inc.'s Google recently decided not to seek renewal of a Pentagon contract that had become the focus of internal debate around the use of the tech giant's AI technology related to the identifying and tracking of potential drone targets.
Mr. Sullivan said projects related to that would be classified, but that all AI initiatives will go through a review process to determine whether it meets Booz Allen's own standards and values.
AI systems also can help military doctors speed up the detection of growths such as lung cancer lesions, and reduce the number of false positives in health scans, he said. Cardiologists, on average, spend 20 minutes during each patient visit highlighting certain areas of photographic images of the heart. An AI system could help speed that process up, allowing doctors to spend more time with military patients, he said.
The contract also will go toward expanding AI-focused pilot programs that are already underway at the Defense Department. Those include using AI to find new approaches for treating traumatic brain injuries and to quickly measure key indicators of heart disease, Mr. Sullivan said.
The contract was awarded to Booz Allen by the General Services Administration's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center. The GSA is an independent agency within the government that oversees supplies and services for other federal offices including procurement for enterprise information technology.
The AI systems will be developed in part by vendors as well as software engineers and developers at Booz Allen and the Defense Department, Mr. Sullivan said. None of the systems are meant to replace soldiers or employees within the Defense Department, he said. Rather, they're aimed at making their jobs easier '-- a common theme among private sector users of AI, often known as ''AI augmentation.''
In 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity, according to forecasts from Gartner Inc.
Humans will still be needed to supervise the AI systems and to ensure that the data being used to train AI systems is unbiased, Mr. Sullivan said. Humans also will remain critical because advanced AI systems cannot yet explain the rationale behind their answers, he said.
A research effort at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is currently working to build ''explainable AI'' systems that can complex algorithmic-made decisions into language humans can understand.
''Humans are more important now than ever when it comes to applying AI because we have a moral compass, an understanding of legal and regulatory frameworks, and we care about preserving human life,'' Mr. Sullivan said. ''Machines are looking at math.''
MH370 FINAL REPORT: The International Conspiracy to Commit Airliner Terrorism Is Further Exposed
TO THE PROCEEDINGS IN MALAYSIA OF 30 JULY RE: MH370:When I traveled to Kuala Lumpur ( 15 April 2014 to 20 April 2014 ) and gave information to 4 government officials and 15 MAS officials on 2 different days of briefings it was elements of his ( Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad ) earlier administration to whom I spoke. 4 individuals from his 1981-2003 term were the individuals representing the government that were at my briefing. It was that group which included a state governor, a state chief of police, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad's personal and legal counsel and one additional representative to which I addressed my warning that if they did not make public the BUAP and ATI that they should expect a SECOND EXPLOSIVE EVENT prior to 1900 on 17 July 2014. The MH17 incident was that second explosive event and would be my testimony in any deposition or open court proceeding that may be arranged. Had the sitting government of Najib Razak shared that truth with the world MH17 could not have occurred because the airframe 9M-MRO would have been located and been deemed evidence of a crime. As you must know I am providing 100% of the intellectual property that will be displayed in an upcoming DocuDrama DVD titled ''WHERE DID MH370 GO?'' and it is very fortunate for all involved in the truth that Malaysia's FINAL REPORT will precede the November release the DVD as our DVD will become the standard by which all previous reports will be judged.
I believe the most critical consideration will be that on 3-9-2014 Abel Danger published BOEING UNINTERRUPTIBLE AUTOPILOT on YouTube, that Matthias Chang hosted me for 4 days in KL and that I provided expert testimony regarding how the BUAP and ATI were crucial to the remote capture of MH370. Matthias Chang has been aware since 22 March 2014 of the nature of the remote commandeering of MH370. Equally critical is that in August 2016 Matthias Chang made a statement regarding ''remote control'' that landed him in jail as Najib Razak's administration was linked to the event when I suggested to the government of Malaysia that if they did not release Matthias Chang from imprisonment I would provide testimony in a deposition in New York City or Washington DC regarding the BUAP and ATI. [ http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/lawyer-matthias-chang-arrested-under-sosma ]
The reason I agreed to be deposed in NYC is because of evidence of an apparent bribe of approximately $700M that flowed from Saudi Arabia to NYC to KL to Najib Razak. The reason I offered to be deposed in Washington is that is the location of the Court of Rosemary M. Collyer where CIVIL CASE 1:08-1600 (RMC) had a proceeding on 19 January, 2011 where, if the case had not been dismissed in a FRAUD UPON THE COURT the truth of the BUAP's links to 9/11 would have exposed the BUAP and ATI to the world and neither MH370 nor MH17 could have occurred.
Short answer'.....yes, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad is aware of my intellectual property and I am confident he will deliver truthful information when he addresses the subject tomorrow. Matthias Chang is also aware of my intellectual property as he was incarcerated in2015, began a hunger strike and was released by Najib Razak ONLY AFTER my offering to FBI in New York City and Washington DC to provide a deposition regarding the elements of truth regarding MH370, BUAP, ATI and my opinion that if the BUAP and ATI were not shared with the world that a SECOND EXPLOSIVE EVENT would occur ''no later than 1900 on 17 July 2014''. Najib Razak's government did not share the information but rather imprisoned Matthias Chang and the event that I had predicted occurred. The reason I suggested a second explosive event is because I knew they had to get rid of the evidence including airframe 9M-MRO and 239 corpses.
The script for upcoming DocuDrama DVD is in rough form and in a safe place concealed in the body of a collector car in Wisconsin. A final edit f the script will be completed very soon after MH370 FINAL REPORT is released to the internet following the event scheduled for Monday, 30 July, in Kuala Lumpur.
Regarding what Dr. Mahatir Tun Muhammed knows, I am confident he knows all that I know. It is my belief that he would also be well aware of your profusion of information as his personal counsel is an Attorney who in 30+ year practicing law never lost a case on which he was the ''lead attorney''. The point being Matthias Chang does PERFECT discovery. Armed with vast information from you in New Zealand and me in US I have great confidence that Dr. Mahatir Tun Muhammed will speak the truth. In my mind the government of his predecessor is responsible for obfuscating truth of MH370 and enabling MH17 to destroy the evidence both the airframe and the corpses.
Field McConnell Retired Delta Airlines Captain P O Box 39 Plum City WI USA +001 715 307 8222
ps'....the additional information below in green does not compel me to adjust my comments above but rather establishes more evidence that words to be spoken in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow will be truthful. The DVD DocuDrama ''WHERE DID MH370 GO'' will also be truthful and I see no indication that Minister of Transport Anthony Loke, Dr Mahatir Tun Mohammed, Matthias Chang and I have any points upon which we do not agree. None.
Malaysian prime minister to release final report on 370 monday.
It will be available online afterwards, however, the report will be delivered in a closed door briefing, followed by a news conference.
Minister of Transport, Anthony Loke says ''It will be tabled fully without any editing, additions, or redactions.''
Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, suggested a remote takeover took place to counter a hijacking attempt.
''The capacity to do that is there''. he said in March. ''The technology is there. You know how good people are now with operating planes without pilots. Even fighter planes are to be without pilots. Some technology we can read in the press but many of military significance is not published''.
My comment '' It will be interesting to see if the truth is revealed. This new administration is above board, unlike the Rajib lot before. The NZ Herald report states in it's headline that the final report will put the mystery of MH370 to an end. We can only hope this report presents the truth and truly does bring closure. The remaining factors will to get compensation for the surviving families, and to hold those responsible for their acts to justice and to expose to the world who and what were ultimately behind this criminal and cowardly incident.
Trump has said the EU's plans to build terminals for receiving gas from the US '' Russia news today
(C) AFP 2018 / Brendan SmialowskiÐÑÐµÐ·Ð¸Ð´ÐµÐ½Ñ USA Donald trump. Archival photo(C) 2018 AFP / Brendan Smialowski
The European Union is considering construction of a terminal for the purchase of liquefied natural gas from the United States. The President of the United States Donald trump said during a press conference with Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte.
As told by the American leader, it is about building from nine to 11 ports.
And we (the Americans '-- Approx. ed.) are already negotiating with the European Union regarding the construction from nine to eleven ports which will accept liquefied natural gas from the United States,>> said trump.
However, he added that the construction of these facilities will be paid from the EU budget.
Earlier it became known that Donald trump is in talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker received some concessions from Brussels in order to avoid a trade war .
Brussels agreed to consider increasing exports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S., lower industrial tariffs, to align standards for products of medical use, but also increase imports of soybeans,>> writes the Wall Street Journal, citing the EU official.
This information was later confirmed by the American leader.
In mid-July, the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that the attacks by the us administration for the project Nord stream 2>> are attempts to force the Europeans to purchase the more expensive liquefied natural gas from the United States.
Trump Says E.U. Will Build 9-11 Terminals To Buy LNG From U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shake hands at the conclusion of a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US President Donald Trump claimed that the EU would build 9 to 11 Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals for imports from the US during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
On July 30th, Conte visited the White House, following a visit by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. During their joint press conference, the Italian Prime Minister and the US President spoke about Italy's immigration policy, for which Trump had nothing but praise, the US-EU trade relationship. In addition to that, the leaders were asked to provide details on the development of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.
Trump's response was that he is interested in seeing ''a competing pipeline'', claiming that the European Union would pay for a dozen ports to import US LNG. His words were: ''So, Mr. Prime Minister, I hope you're going to be able to do that competing pipeline. And we are already talking to the European Union about building anywhere from 9 to 11 ports, which they will pay for, so that we can ship our LNG over to various parts of Europe. And that will be more competition.''
Conte emphasized that he discussed the issue with Trump and his administration was ''fully aware of the fact that this is strategic work in terms of energy supply to Italy and to the south of Europe and the Mediterranean area.'' However, he pointed out to ''uncertainties'' of local communities in areas ''where the pipeline will land.'' He also undertook that after returning to Italy, he would raise the question with the ''competent ministers'' and will meet local authorities to come to an adequate conclusion ''which will take into account the concerns of local communities.''
The 870-km long natural gas Trans Adriatic Pipeline is expected to link Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II field with Italy, starting from Greece through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and beyond. The ambitious project has been deemed a chance to reduce dependence on gas supplies from Russia. It is Trump's ambition that it will compete with Nord Stream 2, a project which Trump has numerous times spoken against. It also has to compete with TurkStream, which will bring gas from Russia to Turkey and then Central Europe, circumventing Ukraine. And finally, with Shah Deniz 2, which just started transporting gas from the Caspian to Turkey, will be extended into Greece, Albania and Italy.
After the meeting between Jean-Claude Juncker and President Donald Trump in the White House, on July 25th, the US President tweet that the EU would buy ''vast amounts'' of US LNG. Juncker, in turn, said that the bloc would build more terminals to handle the import.
Sputnik News referred to International Energy Agency that LNG imports to Europe are poised to almost 20% by 2040 from the 2016 levels. That is great news for European consumers since there is a lot of competition between LNG producers, as reported by the Washington Post. Qatar and Australia are the biggest exporters and they will rival the US even after the new US expert facilities come online. LNG also faces strong competition from Russia, where production costs are very low. Russia also has the added benefit that the cost of shipping gas by a pipeline is much lower than the cost of liquefying natural gas, sending it by a special tanker and turning it back into gas form.
VIDEO - The FDA Is About To Ban Almond Milk From Being Called 'Milk' | HuffPost
NEW YORK (AP) ' Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as ''milk'' may need to consider alternative language after a top regulator suggested the agency may start cracking down on use of the term.
The Food and Drug Administration signaled plans to start enforcing a federal standard that defines ''milk'' as coming from the ''milking of one or more healthy cows.'' That would be a change for the agency, which has not aggressively gone after the proliferation of plant-based drinks labeled as ''milk.''
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb talked about the plans this week, noting there are hundreds of federal ''standards of identity'' spelling out how foods with various names need to be manufactured.
''The question becomes, have we been enforcing our own standard of identity,'' Gottlieb said about ''milk'' at the Politico event Tuesday. ''The answer is probably not.''
Standards of identity have been the source industry spats as American diets have evolved, including fights about what gets to be called mayonnaise and yogurt. More recently, there are disagreements over what to call meat grown by culturing cells, a science that's still emerging.
The FDA can't just change the way it enforces a standard without warning, Gottlieb said. Since it plans to take a different approach to enforcement, he said the FDA will have to first develop guidance notifying companies of the change and ask for public comment. That guidance will probably be issued in a year, he said.
Gottlieb said the agency expects to get sued, since dictionary definitions are broader and say milk comes from a lactating animal or a nut.
The National Milk Producers Federation said it welcomes Gottlieb's recognition that the labeling practices of many ''plant-based dairy imitators'' violate federal standards. The industry group had recently renewed its push for the FDA to crack down on nondairy drinks calling themselves ''milk.''
The Good Food Institute, which advocates for plant-based alternatives, says the term ''milk'' should be permitted with modifiers for nondairy drinks.
''For the same reason that you can have gluten-free bread and rice noodles, almond milk and soy milk are the most clear and best terms for describing those products,'' said Bruce Friedrich, the group's co-founder.
The FDA declined to comment on whether the agency would enforce other standards, such as for yogurt.
VIDEO - Judge raps prosecutors over testimony on Manafort's luxuries
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) '-- Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort personally directed millions of dollars in international wire transfers to pay for high-end suits and more than $3 million in improvements at his various houses, witnesses testified Wednesday on the second day of his financial fraud trial.
The testimony was aimed at bolstering the prosecution's argument that Manafort hid millions of dollars in income from the IRS and used the funds for a lavish lifestyle. The witness accounts were also intended to contradict Manafort's lawyers, who have signaled they will pin blame for any illegal conduct on his longtime deputy, Rick Gates.
The prosecution's focus on Manafort's personal finances '-- at times laid out in painstaking detail '-- underscored the vast amount of documents accumulated by special counsel Robert Mueller's team in their case against the longtime political consultant. But it also tried the patience of U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who repeatedly scolded the government's attorneys for what he said was excessive and unnecessary information.
Ellis, who warned prosecutors against using the word "oligarchs" to describe wealthy Ukrainians, several times admonished them for spending so much time documenting Manafort's extravagant lifestyle.
The prosecution in the Paul Manafort trial focused on personal finances Wednesday, sometimes in painstaking detail. Associated Press Eric Tucker says the judge repeatedly scolded the government's attorneys about relevancy . (Aug. 1)
It's not a crime to be wealthy, he noted. And the pejorative term "oligarchs" and evidence of home renovations aren't necessarily relevant to the charges in question, he added.
"The government doesn't want to prosecute somebody because they wear nice clothes, do they?" Ellis said amid testimony that Manafort had spent more than $900,000 on clothing from a boutique retailer where he was one of only about 40 clients. "Let's move on."
Ellis even called out lawyers from both sides for rolling their eyes.
The trial is the first courtroom test for the special counsel, who was tasked last year with investigating Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election and to determine whether the Trump campaign was involved. So far, Manafort is the lone person to stand trial as a result of the ongoing probe, even though the charges of bank fraud and tax evasion are unrelated to possible collusion.
Still, the trial has pulled back the curtain on the former lobbyist who steered Trump's election efforts for a time, including descriptions of Manafort's $15,000 jacket made of ostrich and the more than $6 million in cash he put toward real estate. One witness, Maximillian Katzman, testified that Manafort spent more than $900,000 at his boutique retailer in New York. He said Manafort was the only business client of his who paid via international wire transfer.
An FBI agent described the July 2017 raid on Manafort's Virginia condominium, saying he knocked multiple times before entering with a key and finding Manafort inside. The searches described by agent Matthew Mikuska found expensively tailored suits and documents related to other luxury items allegedly bought by Manafort, including two silk rugs bought for $160,000 paid from offshore accounts.
But when prosecutors introduced photos of Manafort's high-end condo and expensive suits, Ellis interrupted so as to limit the growing list of evidence jurors would have to consider.
"All this document shows is that Mr. Manafort had a lavish lifestyle," Ellis said. "It isn't relevant."
On the term "oligarchs," Ellis said use of the word implied that Manafort was associating with "despicable people and therefore he's despicable."
"That's not the American way," the judge said.
Prosecutor Greg Andres argued that documenting Manafort's spending for the jury was important to the case.
"Judge, this is not an effort to prove Mr. Manafort lived lavishly," Andres said. "It's evidence of his income."
Ellis seemed to grow impatient after being told that attorneys on both sides were seen rolling their eyes after leaving the bench or in response to his rulings. The lawyers' facial expressions, Ellis said, appeared to show them thinking: "Why do we have to put up with this idiot judge?"
The proceedings clearly caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who defended his 2016 hiring of Manafort and suggested Manafort was being treated worse than mobster Al Capone. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president indeed felt Manafort had been treated unfairly.
"Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation," Trump tweeted Wednesday. "These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!"
Manafort's attorneys are putting the blame on Gates, Manafort's business associate.
Gates was expected to be the government's star witness at trial, but prosecutor Uzo Asonye said he could not say with certainty whether Gates would or would not testify. He later clarified to say that that uncertainty applies to any witness, not just Gates, as the prosecution team assesses the pace of the trial and the evidence it needs.
Asonye also told Ellis that prosecutors expect to rest their case next week, noting that they are "ahead of schedule."
Testimony was to resume Thursday morning with witnesses including bookkeepers and accountants.
Manafort has a second trial scheduled for September in the District of Columbia. It involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the U.S. government.
Follow Chad Day at https://twitter.com/ChadSDay and Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP
VIDEO - Blueprints For 3D-Printable Guns Put On Hold : NPR
A judge said these untraceable weapons that can be printed from directions downloaded off the Internet could end up in the wrong hands. But some plans have been on the Internet for days.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Late today, a federal judge ruled that online 3D blueprints of guns should be halted. The judge said these untraceable weapons which can be printed from directions downloaded off the Internet could end up in the wrong hands. But it's unclear how the temporary restraining order can be enforced because the plans have been on the Internet for days now after the federal government allowed them to be. The ruling came after several states sued. Matt Largey of member station KUT visited the company in Austin, Texas, that's at the center of the debate.
MATT LARGEY, BYLINE: This is a story about guns, but we're not going to hear any guns - no shots fired - because it's not a story about an actual gun. It's a story about the recipe for a gun and what that recipe means before the weapon is made into something real.
(SOUNDBITE OF SCREECHING)
CODY WILSON: That strange screeching sound is milling of a pocket in an AR-15.
LARGEY: This is Cody Wilson. He chews a toothpick as he walks around his machine shop at Defense Distributed in Austin. His company builds automated milling machines that people can use to make guns at home. Wilson's real goal is to design all kinds of guns, untraceable with no serial numbers, that can be made using a 3D printer or a milling machine. He put the blueprints online for anyone to download, and in the past few days, thousands of people have.
So I guess my question is why.
WILSON: Why provide the right to keep and bear arms for all time on the Internet?
WILSON: Well, let's say you're a radical and you actually believe that the individual should have the capacity to own this type of weapon. One way of ensuring that he has at least the measure beginning is to make sure that the digital content, this intellectual property is always available to him, but further, in the public domain, not something that's for sale but, like, literally part of the commons.
LARGEY: This all started back in 2013 when Wilson made his first 3D-printed gun. It was a single-shot pistol, mostly plastic with a few metal parts purchased at a hardware store. He called it the Liberator. Then he put the plans on the Internet. Soon the State Department told him he needed permission from the government to post those files because of international arms export rules. So he took files down and then sued the government.
KIT WALSH: Part of the issue in this case is the question of whether a computer file can be speech that's protected under the First Amendment.
LARGEY: Kit Walsh is an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit focused on civil liberties online. Walsh argues computer code is no different than a recipe.
WALSH: Traditionally, under the First Amendment, we don't keep people from talking about things just because they might be used in an illegal way.
LARGEY: The case wound its way through the courts. Gun control groups weighed in.
JONATHAN LOWY: We have laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to require background checks when you buy guns at gun stores.
LARGEY: Jonathan Lowy is with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
LOWY: That can be completely undercut if somebody can simply buy a 3D printer and crank out an AK-47 or AR-15 in their basement.
LARGEY: After three years of legal wrangling, something unexpected happened. The government agreed to a deal with Defense Distributed and would allow Cody Wilson to publish the gun designs online. Now he's done just that.
Do you understand why this all makes people uncomfortable?
WILSON: I do. I do. But sometimes it's uncomfortable to be responsible or, you know, move into a new age of technological possibility. I suppose then people's feelings are kind of beside the point.
LARGEY: Keep in mind it's always been legal to make your own guns at home. All you need is the right equipment and skills. What Wilson's doing is nothing new. He's just brought it into the 21st century. For NPR News, I'm Matt Largey in Austin.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Chuck Schumer Slams President Donald Trump Tweet On 3D Gun Access As 'Hypocrisy' | NBC News - YouTube
The term collusion might not be in the lawbooks but other crimes like conspiracy are. NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Georgetown law professor Paul Butler to break down what law says about collusion.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Let's turn now to another aspect of the special counsel's investigation - the extent of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. President Trump has repeatedly denied any involvement with Russia, but both the president and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, are now arguing that collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia wouldn't actually be illegal had it happened.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FOX & FRIENDS")
RUDY GIULIANI: I've been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime.
UNIDENTIFIED BROADCASTER: It's not.
GIULIANI: Collusion is not a crime. Everything that's been released so far shows the president to be absolutely innocent. He didn't do anything wrong.
CORNISH: That was Giuliani speaking yesterday on "Fox & Friends." He made a similar argument on CNN about the president's relationship with his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "NEW DAY")
GIULIANI: He was never involved in intimate business relationships with Donald Trump. I mean, that just - four months - they're not going to be colluding about Russians (laughter), which I'm not even - know if that's a crime, colluding about Russians.
CORNISH: This morning, the president echoed Giuliani on Twitter saying, quote, "collusion is not a crime, but that doesn't matter because there was no collusion" - parentheses here - "except by crooked Hillary and the Democrats." That's the president's tweet. To help us understand what the law actually says or does not say about collusion is Paul Butler. He's a former prosecutor with the Department of Justice. He focused on white-collar crime, and he joins us now. Welcome.
PAUL BUTLER: Hey, Audie. It's great to be here.
CORNISH: So both Giuliani and Trump - we see they're making the argument that collusion isn't illegal, that it's not in the criminal code. Tell us what you know. What's the fact here?
BUTLER: If you look at the very long federal criminal code, which contains over 4,000 crimes, you won't find a crime called collusion. But you will find crimes that punish people for hacking into email or computers or election fraud or violating campaign financing laws. And then other laws punish people for conspiracy, which means working with other people to commit crimes. So at the end of the day, it's really just kind of a rhetorical device to say that collusion isn't a crime because special counsel Mueller certainly understands that. And so what he's charged most frequently is conspiracy to defraud the United States.
CORNISH: I also want to hear your thoughts on something else Rudy Giuliani said. On CNN yesterday, he floated this idea - that it wouldn't be illegal to receive hacked information from the Russians. Here it is.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "NEW DAY")
GIULIANI: If you got the hacked information from the Russians here at CNN and you played it, would you be in jeopardy of going to jail? Of course not.
CORNISH: All right. So here he is making the argument that, look; reporters might get hacked information, and they use it. They're not worried about prison time. Are there, Paul Butler, different rules for a presidential campaign?
BUTLER: There are not different rules, but the issue is criminal intent. And so if a campaign operative solicits or pays money for hacked email or if he or she knows that they're coming and deploys them in politically strategic ways - that is, they're welcoming this information because they want to use it to help elect a candidate - again, that goes to their mens rea, which is a fancy legal word for their knowing that they're doing something wrong.
CORNISH: Then there's this idea that campaigns are barred from accepting a thing of value from a foreign government. Could something like an email be considered a thing of value?
BUTLER: (Laughter) That's something that a judge would have to decide. So typically a thing of value - a campaign contribution is cash money. So the idea is if it's something different - for example, opposition research or dirt on Hillary Clinton - does that count as a thing of value? I think a judge could go either way.
CORNISH: What questions are you going to have going forward?
BUTLER: There's rarely a smoking gun in cases like this. And so as a prosecutor, what you do is look at documents and email and bank records. Sometimes, if you have cooperative witnesses, you have more of an insight into what the person's intent was. But these are often difficult cases to make. The Department of Justice there to just - they don't bring a case unless they think they can get a jury to convict. And so it takes a lot as a prosecutor to actually bring one of those cases.
CORNISH: That's Paul Butler. He served in the Justice Department under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He's now a professor at Georgetown Law. Thank you so much for speaking with us.
BUTLER: Great to be here.
(SOUNDBITE OF THE GUESS WHO SONG, "HAND ME DOWN WORLD")
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Facebook Says It Removed Pages Involved In Deceptive Political Influence Campaign : NPR
Facebook says it is still in early stages of an investigation and is sharing information with U.S. law enforcement and Congress. Thibault Camus/AP hide caption
toggle caption Thibault Camus/AP Facebook says it is still in early stages of an investigation and is sharing information with U.S. law enforcement and Congress.
Thibault Camus/AP Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET
Facebook announced Tuesday afternoon that it has removed 32 Facebook and Instagram accounts or pages involved in a political influence campaign with links to the Russian government.
The company says the campaign included efforts to organize counterprotests on Aug. 10 to 12 for the white nationalist Unite The Right 2 rally planned in Washington that weekend.
Counterfeit administrators from a fake page called "Resisters" connected with five legitimate Facebook pages to build interest and share logistical information for counterprotests, Facebook said. The imminence of that event was what prompted Facebook to go public with this information.
In a blog post from the head of Facebook's cybersecurity policy, the company says that those accounts were "involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior" but that their investigation had not yielded definitive information about who was behind the effort.
However, Facebook's top security officials said the campaign involved similar "tools, techniques and procedures" employed by the Russian Internet Research Agency during the 2016 campaign.
There are not many details presented about the origin of these pages, but there is a link established between a page involved in organizing Unite The Right counterprotests and an IRA account.
Facebook noticed that a known Internet Research Agency account had been made a co-administrator on a fake page for a period of seven minutes '-- something a top Facebook official called "interesting but not determinative."
The actors behind the accounts were more careful to conceal their true identities than the Internet Research Agency had been in the past, Facebook said.
While Internet Research Agency accounts had occasionally used Russian IP addresses in the past, the actors behind this effort never did.
"These bad actors have been more careful to cover their tracks, in part due to the actions we've taken to prevent abuse over the past year," wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook. "For example, they used VPNs and internet phone services, and paid third parties to run ads on their behalf."
Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate intelligence committee were less reserved about placing the blame for this campaign on the Russian government.
"The goal of these operations is to sow discord, distrust, and division in an attempt to undermine public faith in our institutions and our political system. The Russians want a weak America," said Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of that committee.
Added Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel, "Today's disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation."
This most recent political influence campaign consisted of pages with names like "Aztlan Warriors," "Black Elevation," "Mindful Being" and "Resisters."
The pages were created between March 2017 and May 2018 and had a total of 290,000 followers. Over this time period, they generated 9,500 posts and ran 150 ads for about $11,000. They also organized about 30 events, only two of which were slated for the future.
Facebook says it is still in early stages of an investigation and is sharing information with U.S. law enforcement and Congress.
Lawmakers and Trump administration officials have been continuously warning that Russian continues to interfere with the American elections process.
"We expect to find activities focused on the [2018 congressional] midterms as our investigations continue," Gleicher said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon.
VIDEO - Acosta on Facing 'CNN Sucks' Chant at Trump Rally: 'It Felt Like We Weren't in America Anymore' | Breitbart
Wednesday, on HLN's ''S.E. Cupp Unfiltered,'' CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta said being shouted at by Trump supporters at a rally in Tampa, Florida, last night, ''felt like we weren't in America anymore.''
Acosta said, ''I mean, honestly, it felt like we weren't in America anymore. I don't know how to put it any more plainly than that. Americans should not be treating their fellow Americans in this way. But unfortunately, what we've seen'--and this has been building for some time since the campaign'--I've been talking about this as an issue since the campaign. When the president, during the campaign, referred to us as the dishonest media, the disgusting news media, liars, scum, and thieves, and so on, and then he rolled that right into the Oval Office, and started calling us the fake news and the enemy of the people, he is whipping these crowds up into a frenzy, to the point where they really want to come after us.''
He continued, ''And my sense of it, S.E., is that these opinions that these folks have at these rallies, they're shaped by what they see in the primetime hours of Fox News and what they hear from some conservative news outlets that just sort of give them this daily diet of what they consider to be terrible things that we do over here at CNN. It's very unfortunate, but it's a pitting of American against American and honestly, it needs to stop.''
He added, ''I think it's been dangerous for some time. I was worried during the campaign that a journalist was going to get hurt, and it has been building. But when you refer to members of the press as the enemy of the people, you're essentially putting targets on our backs and it's not just some Joe Schmo on a barstool in Kalamazoo saying this. This is the president of the United States. And that comes with a serious force behind it. And he has a lot of people out there who are extremely angry at us.''
Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO - How the false, fringe 'QAnon' conspiracy theory aims to protect Trump | PBS NewsHour
In the crowd at President Trump's rally in Tampa on Tuesday night were supporters who believe in a conspiracy theory claiming that a shadowy cabal within the U.S. government is at war with Trump -- and that he will soon purge the country of these people. Judy Woodruff learns more about this conspiracy and how it's spread with the NewsHour's P.J. Tobia.
Last night, President Trump spoke at a rally in Tampa. The crowd was visibly angry at reporters who were there to cover the event, and wasn't afraid to show it.
Today, the president retweeted some of this video.
Also in the crowd last night, people who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon claims that a shadowy cabal within the U.S. government is at war with President Trump, and that the president will soon purge the nation of these enemies.
For more on this conspiracy and how it's spread, I'm joined by "NewsHour"'s P.J. Tobia, he's been following this.
P.J., first of all, what is QAnon?
So, this all started last fall on 4chan, which is an anonymous online message board.
And last fall, a user calling himself QAnon began posting little nuggets of information. Q is actually a reference to the Q clearance. It's one of the highest security clearances in the U.S. government.
Q claims to be highly placed in the government and has built visibility into a kind of conspiracy of globalists, a permanent criminal government that's been running the U.S. government for decades. This, of course, includes the Clintons, the Obamas, the financier George Soros, and many, many others.
The conspiracy goes on to posit that President Trump will team up with the U.S. military and crush this '-- and crush this cabal by throwing them all in jail, starting with Hillary Clinton.
Do they have any evidence that this is going on, that the Obamas, the Clintons are trying to overthrow President Trump?
So what they're claiming as evidence are Q's posts on 4chan. And then it migrated to another board called 8chan.
And these are these cryptic little '-- he calls them bread crumbs, because that's really what they are. And they're '-- they're little clues, watch for this, look for that. And people take them and unpack these bread crumbs and read into it kind of what they will.
And things like President Trump's tweets, where it's well known that he misspells things occasionally or maybe uses improper grammar. He says those are actually clues, part of the '-- of the president '-- actions that the president is about to take to crush this cabal.
So who's on board with this? Who are the people who have '-- who are following this?
We know there were people at this rally last night in Tampa that were wearing T-shirts or holding signs saying QAnon. Who are these folks? Do we have any idea, or how many of them?
When it comes to conspiracy theories or a lot of fringe groups on the right or the left, it's really hard to quantify and get numbers.
But YouTube pages where QAnon's bread crumbs are unpacked and discussed have hundreds of thousands of hits. Twitter accounts dedicated to this have tens of thousands of hits. So there's a lot of folks who are engaging in this content online.
Now, some folks who '-- some people who are experts who watch conspiracy theories and conspiracy groups say it's probably not nearly the number of people who, say, believe that the moon landing was faked or that they're '-- a conspiracy about the JFK assassination.
But, still, some prominent celebrity Trump supporters, like former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and Roseanne Barr, have tweeted and said things positively about the QAnon conspiracy.
And there was one of the people who believe in this, you said, who showed up at the Hoover Dam in June?
Exactly right. In June, a young man showed up at the Hoover Dam. Resulted in an armed standoff with law enforcement.
He had a sign that said "Release the OIG report." That was '-- that was referring to a Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server.
Now, interestingly, when this young man did that, that report had already been released, but QAnon said in a posting that the real report hadn't been released yet and that there were actually other reports, OIG reports, that were much more critical of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats and could result in them getting arrested.
And that's what he wanted released.
So, P.J., where does this go from here? Do authorities watch this kind of thing? There's nothing illegal about it, is there?
No, there's nothing illegal about it at all.
I mean, they're just talking on social media. But as these people start appearing in the real world, I think we're all going to be watching them much closer.
Look, the bottom line about this conspiracy theory is that it's a conspiracy to protect Trump. So things that to the rest of us might seem like bad news for Trump, like the Mueller investigation, they look at as actually part of Trump's grand strategy. You see, he was colluding with '-- he wanted to make it look like he was colluding with Russia on purpose, so that Robert Mueller would be hired, and he could team up with Trump, Mueller and Trump teaming up together to investigate the Clintons and the rest of the deep state and their global pedophile sex ring.
So, that is '-- that takes a lot of thinking to get that far.
And a lot of talking. They spill a lot of digital ink online about this stuff.
P.J. Tobia, who has been following this and I know will continue to follow it, thank you, P.J.
Thank you, Judy.
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VIDEO - Judge Napolitano Doubles Down: Says Paul Manafort was Exonerated 8 Years Ago -- May Call Rosenstein as First Witness (VIDEO)
We report the truth - And leave the Russia-Collusion fairy tale to the Conspiracy media
Judge Napolitano Doubles Down: Says Paul Manafort was Exonerated 8 Years Ago '-- May Call Rosenstein as First Witness (VIDEO) by Jim Hoft August 1, 2018
Judge Napolitano dropped a bomb Tuesday on FOX and Friends.The FOX News legal analyst told the audience that Paul Manafort was already exonerated eight years ago on these same charges and'... Rod Rosenstein was the lawyer who exonerated him!
Here's the Transcript via Bizzy Blog:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Here's Manafort's defense: I was investigated for all this by the government eight years ago, and I was exonerated. And I'm going to put on the stand as my first witness the young lawyer who exonerated me.
You know who that young lawyer is? Rod Rosenstein.
STEVE DDOCY: What?
NAPOLITANO: Yes! So this is going to be quite a show if they succeed in getting Rosenstein, who now runs the Justice Department '--
DOOCY: So why was I innocent then and guilty now?
NAPOLITANO: There you go.
That's correct!Manafort was ''exonerated'' by federal prosecutors led by Rod Rosenstein.
Napolitano On Manafort Exonerated '-- F&F 073018 from Thomas Blumer on Vimeo.
Judge Napolitano made the same points again on Tuesday afternoon.
And, once again, Judge Napolitano says that the Manafort team may call Rod Rosenstein in for their first witness.Via BizzyBlog:
VIDEO - nwsltr on Twitter: "Watch a nervous @maxboot whine like a schoolgirl while he gets schooled by Professor Stephen Cohen about Boot's suggestion that President Trump should threaten Russia'--and that Cohen is an apologist for Russia. https://t.co/sC
@zenwabi @KurtSchlichter @MaxBoot That's the kind of stinging, witty comeback that's enabled you to amass a whopping 285 followers since you joined Twitter in 2012. Gonna watch and learn. Goooooo Jeff!!!!!! You're awesome.
View conversation · Pleh Ecilop @ EcilopPleh
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@nwsltrMe @MaxBoot More like mini slipper than Max Boot.
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VIDEO - YouTube - Bitcoin & Economics: What would a Bitcoin standard look like? - Saifedean Ammous
The Chicago Cubs celebrate their win against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 22, and three children in attendance got to celebrate with foul balls. David Banks/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption David Banks/Getty Images The Chicago Cubs celebrate their win against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 22, and three children in attendance got to celebrate with foul balls.
David Banks/Getty Images We live in times of instant mass outrage. Someone does something, says something or is seen doing something and they can be demonized with a click. The next time you might be tempted, think of this:
In the fourth inning of Sunday's game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs' first base coach tossed a foul ball to a smiling youngster in the stands who wore a Cubs hat endearingly too large for him. The kid bobbled the baseball. What people saw next in video clips that zapped around the world was a man with close-cropped hair, who sat behind the boy, scoop up the baseball and give it to the woman next to him.
Tweets and other social media posts began a barrage about the man who filched a foul ball from a little boy. There could be no doubt. We saw it.
The Cubs front office quickly dispatched a staffer down to the seats. He gave the youngster a new ball signed by Javy Baez, the Cubs shortstop. The little boy smiled under the brim of his boat-sized hat, and held up two baseballs.
The Cubs tweeted the photo to say, "A @javy23baez signed ball should take care of it."
What the Cubs discovered from people nearby was that the man in question wound up with four balls during the game, and gave three to children, including the young man who had appeared to be swindled. He also gave one to his wife; it was their anniversary.
Julian Green of the Cubs said in a statement, "Unfortunately, a video that was quickly posted and unverified has made a national villain out of an innocent man."
The man doesn't want to be identified, but said through the team, "Many foul balls came our way that day and were happily shared among the children in our area. No one left disappointed. I am not 'that guy' that the media and social media made me out to be."
And the mother of the little boy issued her own endorsement of the stranger who sat behind her son and so freely shared the baseballs he snared: "The fans in his section left the game giddy with excitement from a great game," she said. "Most of all our son, who had one of the best days of his life."
I almost retweeted that 12-second video myself, no doubt with some caustic comment. I think I would have, if the man with close-cropped hair had been a Yankees fan. I wonder how many people who passed along that video to condemn a man with a click will now pass along the true story of his kindness?
How many of us today would rather be outraged than informed?
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Ocasio-Cortez's Secret Relationship with George Soros Is Made Public - Chicks On The Right '-- Young Conservatives
Don't Miss an Update! Subscribe Now! It was a made for TV story.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old unknown from the Bronx, defeats the long-term Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in the 14th Congressional District in New York. Crowley, who some had touted as a possible successor to Rep. Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader was the fourth-ranked Democrat in the House.
But it was just a story because Ocasio-Cortez wasn't exactly an unconnected unknown.
Missing Updates? Subscribe to Chicks On The Right: It turns out she had some powerful backing including from the George Soros' Media Consortium.
Ocasio-Cortez was a Bernie Sanders organizer.
And as Rich Weinstein in a great Twitter thread points out, this is what her website looks like now:
But this is what it looked like last year according to the Wayback archive.
What is a Brand New Congress?
Their goal was to have 400 candidates to run for Congress by last year and each of those 400 is supposed to commit to a similar far left platform including immigration reform and the abolishment of ICE.
They seem to have far fewer than that, with only 29 including Ocasio-Cortez listed on their website. The other candidates you see Ocasio-Cortez campaigning for now like Cori Bush and Brent Welder are also part of this group to push into office.
In March 2017, BNC joined with Justice Democrats to help push their goals.
Justice Democrats were founded in part by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and former Bernie people. And they are promoting not just Congressional candidates but gubernatorial candidates like Cynthia Nixon in New York.
And as Ocasio-Cortez notes in this interview after with Uygur at the ten-minute mark that BNC and the Justice Democrats were instrumental in soliciting her and then promoting her ''after she left Standing Rock'' which means she was among the far left pipeline protesters.
Uygur doesn't, however, explain in the interview about his connection to the effort.
And Uygur's Young Turks is part of the Soros Media Consortium that provided wattage for the Ocasio-Cortez campaign. According to the MRC, this provides favorable coverage to 300 million people across the globe in a month.
However, as Weinstein points out, Uygur was forced out of his own organization after he got nailed for old sexist posts referring to women in derogatory ways including as ''whores.'' He's also an Armenian genocide denier, according to the Daily Caller.
Sounds so progressive. So how does Ocasio-Cortez feel about being backed by someone with these issues? Apparently not bad enough to reject the aid.
So no, she didn't just ''come out of nowhere'' and they are lining up other folks in the box with the specific idea of taking over.
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Bermuda Triangle mystery 'solved,' scientists claim | Fox News
Bermuda Triangle mystery 'solved'British scientists believe 100ft 'rogue' waves could be the reason why so many boats have been sunk in the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. Rogue waves, which only last for a few minutes, have been known to measure 30 meters (nearly 100ft) high.
British scientists believe 100ft 'rogue' waves could be the reason why so many boats have been sunk in the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.
The infamous body of water in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean stretches 700,000 square km (270,271 square miles) between Florida, Bermuda and Puerto-Rico.
Also known as the Devil's Triangle, the area features multiple shipping lanes and has claimed over 1,000 lives in the last 100 years.
But experts at the University of Southampton believe the mystery can be explained by a natural phenomenon known as ''rogue waves.''
Appearing on Channel 5 documentary ''The Bermuda Triangle Enigma,'' the scientists use indoor simulators to re-create the monster water surges.
SECRETS OF THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE
Rogue waves '' which only last for a few minutes - were first observed by satellites in 1997 off the coast of South Africa.
Some have even measured 30 meters (nearly 100ft) high.
The research team built a model of the USS Cyclops, a huge vessel which went missing in the triangle in 1918 claiming 300 lives.
And because of its sheer size and flat base, it does not take long before the model is overcome with water during the simulation.
Dr. Simon Boxall, an ocean and earth scientist, says that infamous area in the Atlantic can see three massive storms coming together from different directions '' the perfect conditions for a rogue wave.
MORE THAN 100 YEARS LATER, THE 'GREAT MYSTERY' OF THE VANISHED USS CYCLOPS REMAINS UNSOLVED
Boxall believes such a surge in water could snap a boat, such as the Cyclops, in TWO.
He said: ''There are storms to the south and north, which come together.
''And if there are additional ones from Florida, it can be a potentially deadly formation of rogue waves.
''They are steep, they are high '' we've measured waves in excess of 30 metres.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.
Barack Obama Releases List of Dem Midterm Endorsements (See If You Can Spot Ocasio-Cortez) | Mediaite
Obama's Army Barack Obama Releases List of Dem Midterm Endorsements (See If You Can Spot Ocasio-Cortez)
Barack Obama has come out of relative political hiding to endorse an array of Democratic candidates in the midterm elections.
The former president released the list of 81 candidates on Twitter Wednesday '-- in elections as large in scale as Governor, as well as smaller races such as State Senate.
Today I'm proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates '' leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they're running to represent: pic.twitter.com/gWzalQhFas
'-- Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 1, 2018
''I'm confident that, together, they'll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,'' Obama said of his picks. ''But first, they need our votes.''
This is just the first wave of endorsements from 44 for these midterms, but it leaves out a few pretty large names, including New York's rising star, socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez gained quick fame after defeating Democratic establishment candidate Joe Crowley (D-NY) in the race for New York's 14th congressional district. She campaigned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for a Democratic primary candidate in Kansas and is a vocal champion of human rights, speaking out about injustices on the campaign trail and on social media.
No word yet from her campaign about the snub.
[image via screengrab]
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Now You Can Just Pay Celebrities to Say Stuff - The New York Times
Remember Nikki Blonsky? She was the unknown Long Island teen plucked from a Cold Stone Creamery and cast as the star of the 2007 movie musical ''Hairspray.'' Now, a decade after that big splash, her acting career has slowed to a drip. Recently she lent her voice to ''Pup Star,'' a direct-to-digital entry in the ''Air Bud'' extended universe. Soon she'll appear in a horror movie opposite Gary Busey's son. But lately Ms. Blonsky has found a new performance platform: Cameo, a service that allows fans to pay low- to midrange celebrities to send them short, personalized video messages.
Ms. Blonsky is the bard of Cameo. She excels at the projection of intimacy. She takes a few spare details about her subject '-- an upcoming birthday, a career milestone '-- and spins them into a sugar-voiced pep talk filmed as a dim, shaky selfie. The heady mix of heartfelt emoting and janky video quality creates the illusion of a bridged gap between celebrity and fan. The experience costs $20. I bought one for myself:
Cameo is an intriguing new development in celebrity-fan relations. Commoners have always had a tenuous relationship with the stars. Their images and life stories exert a strong gravitational pull over our own, and the internet has provided the opportunity for the masses to yank back. Attempting to assert control in the confines of celebrity culture can take the form of fanatical image monitoring (as is the case with celebrity Photoshop-obsessed communities like Pretty Ugly Little Liar); creepy body fixations (indexing and cataloging celebrity parts on sites like WikiFeet and CelebHeights.com); erotic fan fiction (where you can write your favorite star into any scenario you choose); and criminal invasions (hacking and trading nude images).
Cameo offers something new. It's a kind of celebrity ventriloquism '-- the opportunity to project your voice through a famous host. It's the ''Being John Malkovich'' of apps.
Here's how it works: Browse an array of available Cameo ''talent'' '-- the list includes ''The O.C.'' star Mischa Barton (current rate: $75), the N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer Terrell Owens ($350), the former boybander Lance Bass ($125) and a raft of ''Real Housewives'' socialites '-- and choose your favorite player. Then type in some credit card information and a set of instructions.
The dummy copy reads: ''My buddy Shia (pronounced SHY-UH) is graduating from college on Saturday (my name is Jason). Played football with him for three years, loves all your content. Our favorite saying is 'okay pal?'. Please wish him a happy graduation.''
If the celebrity accepts the request, a video will materialize in your inbox within a week. If he or she doesn't, you'll receive a sad GIF and won't be charged. Cameo ''talent'' is free to reject any request found ''confusing, difficult, or not in line with an athlete's or influencer's image,'' so the potential thrill of being recognized by a B-list celebrity always comes with the risk of being rebuffed by one.
Steven Galanis, a former LinkedIn account executive who is C.E.O. of Cameo, realized a couple years ago that ''the celebrity selfie is the new autograph'' and set out to democratize the experience with the help of co-founders Devon Townsend, a former Microsoft engineer, and Martin Blencowe, a producer and N.F.L. agent. Now, you no longer need to hope for a random celebrity run-in to secure such an image; you can pay Cameo to engineer it for you.
But Mr. Galanis's even-more-valuable intuition was this: Famous people are willing to do a lot more for money than was previously assumed. Mr. Galanis recalled asking the New York Knicks player Lance Thomas, a friend of his from college, how much it would cost for him to make an appearance at a Long Island bar mitzvah, and he replied, ''Bro, I'll go anywhere for $2,000.''
Mr. Galanis did the math: Maybe three hours at the event, plus one hour of travel each way, amounted to about six dollars a minute. But boil an ''appearance'' down to just the few minutes is takes to shoot a video, and such experiences could be made available on a wide scale '-- ''the greatest gift ever, and cheaper than a ticket to a Knicks game,'' Mr. Galanis said. Mr. Thomas is now a Cameo investor and on its talent roster.
Along the way, Cameo has unwittingly created a new style of performance. Some practitioners are more skilled than others. Occasionally, requested messages enter the celebrity's brain and come out garbled. Others just seem insincere.
Even a ''bad'' Cameo offers something of value, which is a totally new way of analyzing a celebrity persona. Dina Lohan, best known for giving birth to Lindsay, has struggled to adapt to the form. In her Cameos, she regularly appears perched in a striped armchair next to an enormous silk curtain contraption, filmed from across the room by an unseen handler. Her messages come off as scripted and rote, which, of course, they are. She has received such feedback from users as ''She said 31st birthday instead of 35th'' and ''She doesn't seem to be having fun.'' But there's also something wonderful about receiving a text message containing an artifact like this. It's like a direct injection of her arid momager essence.
A few celebrities appear to be using Cameo as a one-on-one image rehabilitation service. When I requested a Cameo from Jon Gosselin of ''Jon & Kate Plus Eight,'' he made sure to casually drop this: ''I'm so busy I had to do it from my car.'' $40.
Rebecca Black, who rose to infamy as an awkward teenager in 2011, when a low-budget music video for her puzzling and atonal single, ''Friday'' went viral, has re-emerged on Cameo, where she seems to have found her calling. Now 21, she is suddenly gorgeous and self-assured. In her videos, she appears winkingly gracious to her ''fans'' for listening to ''Friday,'' then performs a twee ukulele version. Her voice sounds amazing. $30.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Cameo is not the videos but the site itself, where famous people from every corner of modern celebrity '-- music, sports, YouTube, reality TV, viral infamy '-- assign a dollar amount to their self-worth. Celebrities set their own rates; Cameo takes a 25 percent cut. The real-life ''Wolf of Wall Street'' Jordan Belfort has offered himself up for $1,000. Mr. Owens once charged $500 but has since dropped his rate to $350. The model Adriana Lima (who has the same name as a Victoria's Secret model) costs $40. Lee Garrett, a former ''Bachelorette'' contestant perhaps best known for his racist comments, goes for $5.
In addition to soliciting Cameos from Ms. Blonsky and Mr. Gosselin, I bought videos from the celebrity gossip Perez Hilton, the youth culture queen Bella Thorne and Ms. Lohan. Because I am a sadist, I asked them to say ''Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.'' They mostly did, and now I feel strangely tender toward them all.
Except for Ms. Lohan. Instead of repeating the tongue twister, she sat in her chair, told ''me,'' I guess, that she had just returned from opening Lohan Beach Clubs in Greece, and wished my family ''love, laughter, and great health.'' She didn't say my name. $75.
Correction:An earlier version of this article misidentified a model who is listed on Cameo. She is not Adriana Lima the Victoria's Secret model, but another model who has the same name.
Amanda Hess is a critic-at-large. She writes about internet culture for the Arts section and contributes regularly to The New York Times Magazine. She has written for such publications as Slate, ESPN the Magazine, Elle and Pacific Standard. @ amandahess ' Facebook
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Thieves steal Swedish crown jewels, flee in motor boat, chase ensues
Thieves have made off with priceless Swedish crown jewels, in a daring heist reminiscent of a Hollywood movie.
According to Swedish radio the offenders took two crowns and a royal orb known as a 'riksapple' from the ancient cathedral in Strangnas, west of Stockholm, around lunchtime on Tuesday.
They were the funeral crowns of Karl IX and his wife Queen Kristina, who died in the early 17th century.
Two men were seen to jump into a motor boat moored just below the church.
Police quickly mobilised and pursued the thieves by sea, on land, in helicopters and planes.
''We are on land, in the water and in the air,'' a police spokesman said.
But the pair somehow evaded pursuit and vanished.
The spokesman said they could have left the motorboat and jumped in a getaway car heading west into the hinterlands, or east to Stockholm.
''We are spreading out in all directions.''
Police chief spokesman Thomas Agnevik told Swedish TV the lost objects were ''invaluable objects of national interest''.
By 9.30pm there had still been no arrest.
Photo: APThe royal regalia were originally buried with the couple but were later exhumed and put on display.
At the time of the theft the church was open and staff were on duty. A spokesman said no-one had been injured ''physically or mentally'', but they had decided to keep the church closed for the rest of the day.
Ohio health agency gets 518 inquires in potential Chipotle outbreak
Food is served at a Chipotle restaurant on in Chicago, Illinois.
The number of potential customers that were affected by a food borne illness outbreak at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Ohio may be much higher than initially believed.
The Delaware General Health District said Wednesday that it had received a total of 518 inquiries '-- 95 emails and 423 calls '-- related to a possible outbreak stemming from a Chipotle in Powell, Ohio.
So far, staff at the local health department has been able to interview more than 200 people who self-reported nausea, diarrhea and fever, among other symptoms, after eating at the restaurant. In addition fecal and food samples have been delivered to the Ohio Department of Health for laboratory testing.
The health department said it will be testing for salmonella, shigella, E. coli, and norovirus in both samples. The food samples will also be tested for bacillus cereus and clostridium perfringens, two bacteria that can cause the symptoms that have been reported.
Laurie Schalow, a spokeswoman for Chipotle, declined to comment.
Chipotle is not the only restaurant to face food safety issues. McDonald's recently recalled salads at about 3,000 of its U.S. restaurants due to an outbreak of cyclosporiasis tied back to lettuce tainted by the cyclospora parasites, which is transmitted in fecal matter.
Still, Chipotle's history with foodborne illness issues has made its investors wary. The stock remained flat in aftermarket trading Wednesday. It closed up 2 percent Wednesday, recouping some of the steep losses logged in wake of the reported outbreak.
Chipotle is already facing backlash from customers, too. An Ohio man sued Chipotle Tuesday, asking for $25,000 after he purchased three chicken tacos on July 29 from Chipotle and then started experiencing nausea, headaches and hot flashes, according to the lawsuit filed in Delaware County in Ohio. He was undergoing medical treatment, the lawsuit says.
They ate raw centipedes -- and then the headaches began - CNN
Story HighlightsTwo people's neurological symptoms were caused by rat lungworm infections, according to a new reportThey acquired the infections by eating raw centipedes purchased at a market in China(CNN) '-- After two people in Guangzhou, China, were admitted to the hospital with headaches and other neurological symptoms, doctors pinpointed an infection with a unusual backstory: They had eaten raw centipedes, according to a report published Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.The first patient, a 78-year-old woman, came to the hospital in November 2012 with a headache, sleepiness and cognitive impairment. Weeks later, her 46-year-old son also came to the hospital with a headache that had lasted for more than 20 days. Both patients had stiff necks, a sign of possible meningitis. Scans showed two suspicious spots in the woman's brain, and one nodule in the man's right lung.
Both patients had something in common: They had eaten raw centipedes from a vegetable market in Guangzhou.
Lab tests confirmed that they were infected with rat lungworm, otherwise known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which had caused a type of meningitis.
The parasite can fully mature in rats, not humans. "So when it gets in a human, it can get lost, and it will go to the brain, and it'll stay there," Heather Stockdale Walden, an assistant professor in the department of infectious diseases and pathology at the University of Florida,
previously told CNN."When it gets to the brain, you can have eosinophilic meningitis," she said, referring to an inflammation of the thin membrane covering the spinal cord and brain.
Humans have become infected with the parasite by eating contaminated plants and animals -- including snails, slugs and even monitor lizards. But it was not known to be caused by eating centipedes, which have long been used in
Chinese traditional medicine.Still, it is rare to eat them raw, and "centipedes are not a normal diet," Dr. Lingli Lu, one of the report's authors and a neurologist at Zhujiang Hospital in Guangzhou, told CNN in an e-mail.
"The male patient believes eating raw centipedes are good for health," and so he ate some and gave some to his mother, Lu said.
To confirm that it could have been the centipedes, the researchers purchased 20 of them from the same market where the two patients had gotten theirs. They found rat lungworm larvae in seven of the specimens -- an average of 56 larvae per centipede.
"To our knowledge, this is the first report of A. cantonensis infection through the consumption of centipedes," they wrote.
"We do know that people can acquire the parasite by consuming raw or undercooked snails and slugs," Janice Okubo, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii State Department of Health, told CNN last year when
the state saw a number of cases.More than 140 species of mollusks, such as snails and slugs, have been found to be potential intermediate hosts in nature and in scientific experiments, according to the authors of the new report.
Other animals that feast on these snails and slugs, including some frogs and fish, may also become infected. But as the name of the parasite suggests, the rat is the definitive host.
The parasitic worm, after being ingested by rats, makes its way from the intestine to the bloodstream, and then to the brain. They
molt and mature in the brain and migrate back down to the lung's arteries, where adult worms are found. An adult female may lay 15,000 eggs per day.
Rats cough up these worms and
subsequently swallow them. This is how the parasites tend to end up back in rats' fecal matter, where they are then eaten by slugs or snails -- and so the cycle continues.
In humans, the parasite can't survive for long, so most infections eventually resolve on their own. But in rare cases, it can cause serious complications and even death, according to the
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."Angiostrongylus cantonensis can present differently in adults and children. So usually, in adults, one of the main things that you hear complaint of is a headache," Walden said. She added that adults commonly report neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting.
"In children, it's more the nausea and vomiting, not so much the headache," she said. Children will also run fevers and feel abdominal pain more than adults.
The ingested parasite "can also move to the eye, and you can get ocular Angiostrongylus," Walden said. "If the parasite goes to the eye, sometimes you can surgically remove it."
People do not become contagious, so they cannot transmit the infection to someone else.
The patients in the new report recovered well after 15 days of treatment, which included an antiparasitic drug and a steroid, the authors wrote.
Doctors generally look for clues and base their diagnoses on possible exposure to the parasite, through food or water, while living in or visiting an endemic region. Over 2,800 cases have been reported in about 30 countries, most of them in parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands, with fewer cases appearing in the Caribbean and Africa.
The CDC recommends washing vegetables thoroughly and boiling any frogs or snails you might be eating for three to five minutes. According to the agency, you may also want to cover any beverages to thwart any snails or slugs on a mission.
Garbage Human ð on Twitter: "Meet the newest member of the New York Times editorial board. I'd say that these tweets were part of her resum¨ when she applied for the job. https://t.co/CLgFvPeAgM"
Madonna suggested in a new interview that she relocated her family from their Manhattan base across the Atlantic Ocean to Portugal to escape Donald Trump.
The singer spoke to Vogue Italia about the motivation behind her big move saying "this is not America's finest hour."
"I felt like we needed a change, and I wanted to get out of America for a minute," the singer told the magazine, according to News.com.au.
Another reason why Madonna moved to the European country was to help further her son David's budding soccer career.
"I've been desperate to get him into the best academies with the best coaches, but the level of football in America is much lower than the rest of the world," Madonna explained. "I saw his frustration, and I also felt it was a good time."
The singer, who turns 60 on August 14, said as a "soccer mom" she has "no life in a way."
"Any woman who is a soccer mom could say it kind of requires you to have no life in a way, because things change from week to week and games change from weekend to weekend '-- sometimes they're in the city, sometimes they're not, and we would never know until Thursday night whether they're on Saturday or Sunday, if at twelve o'clock or later," she shared.
The "Material Girl" singer said that even if David doesn't become the next Cristiano Ronaldo, she just wants all of her kids to be "good human beings."
"A lot of people say to me, 'You must really want your son to be a successful soccer player, your oldest daughter (Lourdes) to be a dancer, Rocco to be a painter'...And I always say, 'No, what I want my children to be is loving, compassionate, responsible human beings.' That's all I want."
Laura Loomer '' on Twitter: "Funny how the Canadian Media is not hounding the @TorontoPolice for more information about ISIS terrorist Faisal Hussain, & his brother who had 42 kilos of carfentanil, and dozens of illegal guns. Carfentanil can be used
Become a VolunteerThe campaign for California independence requires supporters on the ground, on the phones, and online. We need you to help us spread the message of California's future throughout California and the rest of the country. Everything we have achieved so far we owe to the hard work of volunteers '' the Calexiteers. We can't do this without you.
Hillary Clinton Adapting 'The Woman's Hour' for TV With Steven Spielberg
Amblin TV has optioned the rights to Elaine Weiss' 'The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote," with the former secretary of state and first lady attached as an executive producer.
Hillary Clinton is setting her sights on a new office: executive producer.
The former secretary of state is teaming with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television to bring Elaine Weiss' critically acclaimed book The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote to the small screen. The drama will mark Clinton's debut as an exec producer.
The book, published in March, follows the activists who led the decades-long fight to grant women the right to vote and sheds light on how close the battle to ratify the 19th Amendment really was. The book celebrates those who changed history and laid the foundation for the civil rights movement that came decades later.
After optioning the book, Amblin plans to adapt it as either a TV movie or a limited series. A writer is not yet attached. Amblin TV, a division of Spielberg's Amblin Partners, will shop The Woman's Hour to premium cable (think HBO, Showtime) or streaming platforms (a la Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Hulu). Clinton will exec produce alongside Amblin TV co-presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and author/journalist Weiss.
"At the heart of democracy lies the ballot box, and Elaine Weiss' unforgettable book tells the story of the female leaders who '-- in the face of towering economic, racial and political opposition '-- fought for and won American women's right to vote. Unfolding over six weeks in the summer of 1920, The Woman's Hour is both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for everyone, young and old, male and female, in these perilous times. So much could have gone wrong, but these American women would not take no for an answer: their triumph is our legacy to guard and emulate," Clinton said. "I am thrilled to be working with Elaine, Steven and everyone at Amblin Television on bringing this important project to audiences everywhere."
Sources say as Weiss was writing the book, she was struck by the parallels between the women's suffrage movement and the 2016 presidential election between Clinton and Donald Trump. It then became a priority for the author and journalist '-- whose work has appeared in multiple publications and on NPR '-- to get her book in Clinton's hands. Eventually, she met a bookstore owner who delivered The Woman's Hour to Clinton. The latter, sources say, loved the contemporary and relevant issues the book tackled and felt it would be an important story to tell on TV while also creating strong roles for women. Clinton called her attorney, Robert Barnett at Williams Connolly, and eventually met and hit it off with Weiss before calling frequent supporter Spielberg, who brought in Amblin TV.
The expectation is that Clinton will be actively involved in the search for a writer and eventually the script, director and casting.
The Woman's Hour arrives as women continue to battle for rights amid a political landscape in which male lawmakers have attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, among other efforts, and in a culture in which sexual misconduct has exposed how pervasive the problem is in every corner of society.
Clinton's TV efforts arrive as Barack and Michelle Obama recently inked a multiple-year deal to produce films and series with Netflix and as Bill Clinton is adapting his book The President Is Missing with James Patterson as a scripted drama for Showtime.
Clinton, who will guest-star in the upcoming fifth season premiere of CBS' Madam Secretary, is repped by Barnett and Michael O'Connor at Williams Connolly and Steven Burkow at Ziffren Brittenham. Weiss is repped by WME.
Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg Adapting 'The Woman's Hour' for TV | THR News
Flash - France adopts law on asylum, immigration - France 24
PARIS (AFP) - France's parliament Wednesday signed into law a controversial asylum and immigration bill -- despite opposition on the left which decried an effort to limit arrivals while the far right saw the measure as not going far enough.
The bill is designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time to 90 days after entering France from 120 currently.
The text was adopted on a final reading by 100 votes in favour to 25 against with 11 abstentions.
The senate had rejected the bill on Tuesday, but the lower house passed the text as President Emmanuel Macron's La Republique En Marche party holds a large majority, even if the law has exposed divisions within his own camp.
As well as slimming down the time taken to overcome administrative hurdles the text cuts to six months, from 11, the time limit to make an asylum claim while facilitating both the expulsion of those rejected and the acceptance of those whose bid succeeds.
"We are giving ourselves the means of preserving a right to asylum which, had nothing been done, could rapidly have been called into question as one fears may happen in a number of European countries," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told parliament.
But the extent of the doubts harboured by some lawmakers had already been laid bare by one member of Macron's party -- former Socialist Party MP Jean-Michel Clement -- who left the party after voting against the text on an earlier reading for the first time in the assembly since the president's election 15 months ago.
The government insists the law, as Europe struggles to find common ground on how to deal with the ongoing migration crisis, will allow "controlled immigration, an effective right to asylum and successful integration" of those accepted.
Some lawmakers on the left lamented what they saw as a move to limit the scope of asylum cases and decried the law's doubling of maximum detention from 45 days to 90, concerned at the possibility of "children behind bars" for up to three months.
By contrast, some on the right slammed the text as "lax" and a "little law" which they feared would ultimately see more migrants obtain legal status in France.
With the migration crisis leading to deep splits across Europe, despite arrivals falling sharply since the summer of 2015, France and Italy in June urged the European Union to set up asylum processing centres in Africa to prevent "voyages of death" across the Mediterranean.
The EU's current asylum rules put the migrant burden on their port of entry to Europe -- with Italy and Greece most seriously affected, although arrivals have also been on the increase in Spain in recent months.
(C) 2018 AFP
Gillibrand fires back at Soros over her calls for Franken to resign | Fox News
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., fired back at left-wing billionaire George Soros Wednesday after he criticized her for leading the barrage of condemnation that forced Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Dem, to resign last year over groping allegations.
Soros criticized Gillibrand in a June interview with The Washington Post, saying that she was the only Democrat he would not like to see succeed in a potential run for president in 2020.
The Hungary-born philanthropist and political activist accused Gillibrand of pushing Franken, "whom I admire," out of the Senate "in order to improve her chances" of getting the Democratic nomination.
"If standing up for women who have been wronged makes George Soros mad, that's on him," Gillibrand said in a statement to HuffPo. "But I won't hesitate to always do what I think is right."
FRANKEN RESIGNS FROM SENATE AMID NEW CLAIMS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, BACKLASH FROM DEMS
"It is clear that we must put our morals and the valuing of women ahead of party loyalty," Gillibrand added. "When someone does something wrong, you have to speak up and be counted, whether it's President Trump, or a Democratic colleague."
Former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member and writer, announced his resignation from the Senate in December after at least eight women accused him of groping them and trying to force kisses. Gillibrand was one of 10 female Democratic senators who called on Franken to go, saying "enough is enough."
In his resignation speech, Franken said that some of the complaints against him were "simply not true," while he remembered other alleged encounters "differently." He also noted that Trump was facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault during his campaign in 2016.
JOY BEHAR GRILLS SEN. GILLIBRAND ON WHY SHE PUSHED FRAKEN TO RESIGN
In January, Gillibrand was confronted by "View" co-host Joy Behar about her role in Franken's Senate exit.
"Why did you push Franken out?'' Behar asked. "How about a hearing first?"
"He's entitled to a hearing," Gillibrand answered. "But he's not entitled to my silence, Joy."
"It's not OK to grab women without their consent," Gillibrand added. "So why would you want to hold our elected leaders to the lower standard and not the highest standard? We should be holding all our elected leaders to the highest standard. I can't be a good mother, and I can't be a good senator if I'm silenced just because he's my friend."
Earlier this week, Franken told a Minneapolis TV station that he had not ruled out seeking office again.
Fox News' Ben Florance and Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.
Ottawa to scale back carbon tax amid competitiveness worries - BNN Bloomberg
The federal government is planning to scale back the scope of its proposed carbon tax in the wake of concerns around Canada's competitiveness.
A spokesperson for Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna confirmed to BNN Bloomberg that Ottawa will adjust the carbon tax imposed on provinces that don't adopt a strategy that meets federal standards. The move was first reported by the Globe and Mail.
''We are engaging broadly with Canadian industry to ensure that the clean performance standards will successfully reduce emissions at the lowest cost while at the same time driving innovation and protecting Canada's competitiveness,'' the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to BNN Bloomberg.
McKenna's office said after consulting with industry producers, the government has decided require companies to pay tax on 20 per cent of their greenhouse gas emissions '' down from the 30 per cent required in its original plan '' and a small number of sectors will only be taxed 10 per cent.
Ottawa unveiled the details of its national carbon pricing plan in January 2018. The government has since faced backlash, including from Ontario's newly-elected Premier Doug Ford, who is scrapping the province's cap-and-trade program, and Saskatchewan's Scott Moe, who plans to challenge the carbon tax in court.
''This climb-down from the federal government is an acknowledgement of the serious economic impacts of their job-killing carbon tax,'' said Rod Phillips, Ontario's minister of the environment, conservation and parks, in an emailed statement to BNN Bloomberg.
''Our government remains opposed to any carbon tax, of any size, and is committed to using all available resources to oppose the federal government's plan to impose a carbon tax that would increase the cost of living for the people of Ontario.''
McKenna's spokesperson said the government expects to provide new draft regulations this fall.
''We will continue to engage with Canadian industry throughout the process of developing these regulations,'' the statement read.
Here's an analysis from Saskatchewan on the 'new' carbon tax:Previous Made-in-Ottawa Carbon Tax:
- does nothing for the environment- reduces jobs- takes money from familiesNew, Watered-down Made-in-Ottawa Carbon Tax: