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The FBI used a suspect's face to unlock his iPhone in Ohio case - The Verge
When Apple debuted Face ID with the iPhone X last year, it raised an interesting legal question: can you be compelled to unlock your phone by looking at it? In an apparent first, Forbes reports that the FBI got a suspect to unlock his phone during a raid in August.
In August, the FBI raided the home of Grant Michalski, looking for evidence that he had sent or received child pornography. They were armed with a search warrant [warning: this documentation contains explicit descriptions of sexual abuse] which allowed them to search Michalski's computer for evidence, and during the raid, agents recovered his iPhone X.
The agents who found the iPhone asked Michalski to unlock the device via Face ID, which he did. They ''placed the [phone] into airplane mode and examined it by looking through the files and folders manually and documenting the findings with pictures.''
There is a difference between a passcode and a facial or fingerprint recognition system
As my colleague Adi Robertson noted last year, courts have ruled that there's a difference between something like a facial or fingerprint recognition system, and a passcode that you type into your phone. As Apple and other companies have pushed for facial recognition systems, it was only a matter of time before a case like this would pop up.
While Michalski cooperated on the scene, the FBI was locked out of the device, because they didn't have his pass code. They asked for and were granted a second search warrant, which grants them the authority to conduct a more thorough search of the device. It doesn't appear that they will use Michalski's face again to unlock the phone; the affidavit notes that both the Columbus Police Department and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation possess devices that would allow them to bypass a phone's passcode.
Study: Limiting kids' screen time improves brain function
Cutting back on screen time, along with the right amount of sleep and physical activity, is linked to improvements in cognition among children, a study suggests.
The observational study analyzed data from a broader study funded by the National Institutes of Health, focusing on 4,500 children ages 8 to 11.
Researchers compared time spent on screens, sleeping and engaging in physical activity from that study against the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines, created by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology to advise how kids should spend their time in a given day.
The study associates kids who met the guidelines '' which include nine to 11 hours of sleep, at least one hour of physical activity and less than two hours on screens '' with improvements in cognition.
Researchers found even just limiting screen time or getting enough sleep had the strongest links to better cognition.
"Evidence suggests that good sleep and physical activity are associated with improved academic performance, while physical activity is also linked to better reaction time, attention, memory and inhibition," said Jeremy Walsh, the study's lead author who works with the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, in a statement.
The study was published last week in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
The study found only one in 20 children in the USA met all three guidelines, while nearly one in three met none of them.
Walsh said that although kids who spent more than two hours in front of screens were linked to poorer cognition, more research is needed to study the impacts of different forms of screen time, such as educational versus entertainment experiences.
More from USA Today: 'Mosquito-pocalypse is in full effect': North Carolina hit by blood-sucking pest outbreak Shark stalked bloody victim as rescuers rushed him to California beach Older women may benefit from bone loss drug given by IV, study finds
CEO who sold phones with ''totally unbreakable encryption'' takes plea deal | Ars Technica
Good day eh '-- Phantom Secure's Vincent Ramos to be sentenced soon; colleagues remain at large. Cyrus Farivar - Oct 3, 2018 1:00 pm UTC
The Canadian executive of a 10-year-old company that marketed its purportedly secure BlackBerry services to thousands of criminals (who paid at least $4,000 per year, per device) has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge, federal prosecutors in San Diego said Tuesday.
Vincent Ramos admitted that his company "facilitated the distribution" of hard drugs around the world by providing hardened BlackBerry devices "designed to thwart law enforcement."
In October 2016, for example, the company advertised: "Phantom Secure is a high-end communication service designed for sophisticated and exclusive executives who need an effective and proven solution for their mobile concerns," adding, "No identification is required for purchase."
As the Department of Justice said in a Tuesday statement:
To keep the communications out of the reach of law enforcement, Ramos and others maintained Phantom Secure servers in Panama and Hong Kong, used virtual proxy servers to disguise the physical location of its servers, and remotely deleted or "wiped" devices seized by law enforcement. Ramos and his co-conspirators required a personal reference from an existing client to obtain a Phantom Secure device. And Ramos used digital currencies, including Bitcoin, to facilitate financial transactions for Phantom Secure to protect users' anonymity and launder proceeds from Phantom Secure. Ramos admitted that at least 450 kilograms of cocaine were distributed using Phantom Secure devices.
Ramos also agreed to forfeit $80 million and tens of millions in ill-gotten assets, including a Lamborghini, and his various cryptocurrency accounts.
His co-defendants'--Kim Augustus Rodd, Younes Nasri, Michael Gamboa, and Christopher Poquiz'--remain at large. They also face racketeering charges.
The Vancouver resident, who was arrested and indicted in March 2018, will not be sentenced until December 17, 2018. He has agreed to spend the first five years in an American prison, before being transferred back to his home country.
At the time of his arrest, the Department of Justice said that the Ramos case was the "first time the US government has targeted a company and its leaders for assisting a criminal organization by providing them with technology to 'go dark,' or evade law enforcement's detection of their crimes."
The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy - Motherboard
A new study shows that after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again. The culprit: an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they're looking for.
Sandvine's new Global Internet Phenomena report offers some interesting insight into user video habits and the internet, such as the fact that more than 50 percent of internet traffic is now encrypted, video now accounts for 58 percent of all global traffic, and Netflix alone now comprises 15 percent of all internet downstream data consumed. But there's another interesting tidbit buried in the firm's report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.
According to Sandvine, file-sharing accounts for 3 percent of global downstream and 22 percent of upstream traffic, with 97% of that traffic in turn being BitTorrent. While BitTorrent is often used to distribute ordinary files, it remains the choice du jour for those looking to distribute and trade copyrighted content online, made easier via media PCs running Kodi and select plugins.
Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent's share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy. But Sandvine notes that trend is now reversing slightly, with BitTorrent's traffic share once again growing worldwide. That's especially true in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, where BitTorrent now accounts for 32% of all upstream network traffic.
One major reason for BitTorrent's rising popularity? Annoying exclusivity streaming deals.
''More sources than ever are producing "exclusive" content available on a single streaming or broadcast service'--think Game of Thrones for HBO, House of Cards for Netflix, The Handmaid's Tale for Hulu, or Jack Ryan for Amazon,'' Sandvine's Cam Cullen said in a blog post.
''To get access to all of these services, it gets very expensive for a consumer, so they subscribe to one or two and pirate the rest.'' Cullen said.
As more and more companies jump into the streaming race, they're cordoning off ''must have'' content into a wider and wider array of exclusivity silos. Disney, for example, will soon be pulling most of its fare from Netflix as it launches its own streaming service this year. Studies have shown that nearly every major broadcaster will have launched their own streaming service by 2022. And these companies are increasingly choosing to keep their own content as in-house exclusives in order to drive subscriptions.
On one hand that makes sense. Numerous streaming providers are now winning awards for the original, usually-exclusive content they develop in house in a bid to reduce content licensing costs. The better, more exclusive your content is, the more subscribers you can drive to your service.
The problem: consumers only have so much disposable income, and the growing laundry-list of services users now need to subscribe to if they want to watch all of their favorite movies and shows can not only become confusing, but prohibitively expensive. That's especially true overseas, where geographical viewing restrictions hamper access to popular U.S. content. As a result, these users are starting to drift back to piracy.
Keep in mind that BitTorrent usage numbers are likely higher than Sandvine estimates, given the high number of users that hide their BitTorrent traffic behind proxies and VPNs to not only dodge the prying-eyes of their ISPs, but avoid copyright trolls and industry lawsuits.
The content industry spent years trying to battle piracy via all manner of heavy handed-tactics and lawsuits, only to realize that offering users inexpensive, quality, legitimate services was the best solution. Many users flocked to these services because they provided a less-expensive, more flexible alternative to traditional cable. Now, if the industry isn't careful, it could lose a sizeable chunk of this newfound audience back to piracy by making it overly expensive and cumbersome to access the content subscribers are looking for.
The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies - Bloomberg
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China sees new world order with oil benchmark backed by gold - Nikkei Asian Review
DENPASAR, Indonesia -- China is expected shortly to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold in what analysts say could be a game-changer for the industry.
The contract could become the most important Asia-based crude oil benchmark, given that China is the world's biggest oil importer. Crude oil is usually priced in relation to Brent or West Texas Intermediate futures, both denominated in U.S. dollars.
China's move will allow exporters such as Russia and Iran to circumvent U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan. To further entice trade, China says the yuan will be fully convertible into gold on exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
"The rules of the global oil game may begin to change enormously," said Luke Gromen, founder of U.S.-based macroeconomic research company FFTT.
The Shanghai International Energy Exchange has started to train potential users and is carrying out systems tests following substantial preparations in June and July. This will be China's first commodities futures contract open to foreign companies such as investment funds, trading houses and petroleum companies.
Most of China's crude imports, which averaged around 7.6 million barrels a day in 2016, are bought on long-term contracts between China's major oil companies and foreign national oil companies. Deals also take place between Chinese majors and independent Chinese refiners, and between foreign oil majors and global trading companies.
Alan Bannister, Asia director of S&P Global Platts, an energy information provider, said that the active involvement of Chinese independent refiners over the last few years "has created a more diverse marketplace of participants domestically in China, creating an environment in which a crude futures contract is more likely to succeed."
China has long wanted to reduce the dominance of the U.S. dollar in the commodities markets. Yuan-denominated gold futures have been traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange since April 2016, and the exchange is planning to launch the product in Budapest later this year.
Yuan-denominated gold contracts were also launched in Hong Kong in July -- after two unsuccessful earlier attempts -- as China seeks to internationalize its currency. The contracts have been moderately successful.
Yuan-denominated gold futures have been traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange since April 2016. (C) Reuters The existence of yuan-backed oil and gold futures means that users will have the option of being paid in physical gold, said Alasdair Macleod, head of research at Goldmoney, a gold-based financial services company based in Toronto. "It is a mechanism which is likely to appeal to oil producers that prefer to avoid using dollars, and are not ready to accept that being paid in yuan for oil sales to China is a good idea either," Macleod said.
Yuan-denominated gold contracts have significant implications, especially for countries like Russia and Iran, Qatar and Venezuela, said Louis-Vincent Gave, chief executive of Gavekal Research, a Hong Kong-based financial research company.
These countries would be less vulnerable to Washington's use of the dollar as a "soft weapon," if they should fall foul of U.S. foreign policy, he said. "By creating a gold contract settled in renminbi [an alternative name for the yuan], Russia may now sell oil to China for renminbi, then take whatever excess currency it earns to buy gold in Hong Kong. As a result, Russia does not have to buy Chinese assets or switch the proceeds into dollars," said Gave.
Grant Williams, an adviser to Vulpes Investment Management, a Singapore-based hedge fund sponsor, said he expects most oil producers to be happy to exchange their oil reserves for gold. "It's a transfer of holding their assets in black liquid to yellow metal. It's a strategic move swapping oil for gold, rather than for U.S. Treasuries, which can be printed out of thin air," he said.
China has been indicating to producers that those happy to sell to them in yuan will benefit from more business. Producers that will not sell to China in yuan will lose market share.
Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, is a case in point. China proposed pricing oil in yuan to Saudi Arabia in late July, according to Chinese media. It is unclear if Saudi Arabia will yield to its biggest customer, but Beijing has been reducing Saudi Arabia's share of its total imports, which fell from 25% in 2008 to 15% in 2016.
Beijing has been reducing Saudi Arabia's share of its total oil imports. (C) Getty Images Chinese oil imports rose 13.8% year-on-year during the first half of 2017, but supplies from Saudi Arabia inched up just 1% year-on-year. Over the same timeframe, Russian oil shipments jumped 11%, making Russia China's top supplier. Angola, which made the yuan its second legal currency in 2015, leapfrogged Saudi Arabia into second spot with an increase of 22% in oil exports to China in the same period.
If Saudi Arabia accepts yuan settlement for oil, Gave said, "this would go down like a lead balloon in Washington, where the U.S. Treasury would see this as a threat to the dollar's hegemony... and it is unlikely the U.S. would continue to approve modern weapon sales to Saudi and the embedded protection of the House of Saud [the kingdom's ruling family] that comes with them."
The alternative for Saudi Arabia is equally unappetizing. "Getting boxed out of the Chinese market will increasingly mean having to dump excess oil inventories on the global stage, thereby ensuring a sustained low price for oil," said Gave.
But the kingdom is finding other ways to get in with China. On Aug. 24, Saudi Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, told a conference in Jeddah that the government was looking at the possibility of issuing a yuan-denominated bond. Saudi Arabia and China have also agreed to establish a $20 billion joint investment fund.
Furthermore, the two countries could cement their relationship if China were to take a cornerstone investment in the planned initial public offering of a 5% state in Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company. The IPO is expected to be the largest ever, although details on the listing venue and valuation are yet scant.
If China were to buy into Saudi Aramco the pricing of Saudi oil could shift from U.S. dollars to yuan, said Macleod. Crucially, "if China can tie in Aramco, with Russia, Iran et al, she will have a degree of influence over nearly 40% of global production, and will be able to progress her desire to exclude dollars for yuan," he said.
"What is interesting is that China's leadership originally planned to clean up the markets next year, but brought it forward to this year. One interpretation of that change is that they have brought forward the day when they pay for oil in yuan," said Simon Hunt, a strategic adviser to international investors on the Chinese economy and geopolitics.
Oil tanks at a Sinopec plant in China's Anhui Province (C) Reuters China is also making efforts to set other commodity benchmarks, such as gas and copper, as Beijing seeks to transform the yuan into the natural trading currency for Asia and emerging markets.
Yuan oil futures are expected to attract interest from investors and funds, while state-backed oil majors, such as PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) will provide liquidity to ensure trade. Locally registered entities of JPMorgan, a U.S. bank, and UBS, a Swiss bank, are among the first to have gained approval to trade the contract. But it is understood that the market will be also open to retail investors.
Dutch government says it disrupted Russian attempt to hack chemical weapons watchdog | Euronews
The Dutch government said they disrupted an attempt in April by the Russian intelligence service (GRU) to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The announcement was made at a news conference on Thursday by Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld who called on Russia "to stop its cyber activities aimed at undermining Western democracies".
According to the head of the Netherlands' military intelligence agency, four Russians were caught with spying equipment in a hotel near the OPCW headquarters in The Hague on April 10.
Around that time, the OPCW was working on verifying the identity of the substance used in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK.
The four Russians were detained three days later and sent back to Russia, said Dutch Major General Onno Eichelsheim, adding they had planned to travel to a laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, which is used by the chemical weapons watchdog to analyse the samples.
The Russian ambassador to The Netherlands has been summoned to the foreign ministry for an explanation, said Bijleveld.
NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's official Twitter account tweeted "NATO stands in solidarity with the Dutch and UK governments in calling out Russia on its cyber attacks against OPCW."
In September, the OPCW confirmed that the substance that killed 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, UK, was the same Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals.
'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Was Targeted by Russian Trolls, Study Says | Hollywood Reporter
An academic paper finds that half of criticism aimed at director Rian Johnson was politically motivated.
Did Star Wars: The Last Jedi destroy the franchise and permanently rupture the fandom as its critics (melodramatically) have accused it of doing? According to a new academic paper by researcher Morten Bay, the answer is clearly no.
The paper, titled Weaponizing The Haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation, examines the online response to 2017's Last Jedi, a movie that has come to be considered controversial amongst the larger fanbase of the franchise.
Bay suggests that reputation may not be earned, and instead ''finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments,'' as he writes in the paper's abstract. He continues, ''The likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society. Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation.''
The paper analyzes in depth the negative online reaction, which is split into three different camps: those with a political agenda, trolls and what Bay calls ''real fantagonists,'' which he defines as genuine Star Wars fans disappointed in the movie. His findings are fascinating; ''Overall, 50.9% of those tweeting negatively [about the movie] was likely politically motivated or not even human,'' he writes, noting that only 21.9% of tweets analyzed about the movie had been negative in the first place.
"A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls," Bay writes of the negative tweets.
Moreover, he suggests, complaints about Lucasfilm's reported politicization of the franchise by many of the disaffected fans says more about the fans than it does Disney or Lucasfilm's treatment of it. ''[S]ince the political and ethical positions presented in the new films are consistent with older films, it is more likely that the polarization of the Trump era has politicized the fans,'' Bay argues. ''The divisive political discourse of the study period and the months leading up to it, has likely primed these fans with a particular type of political messaging that is in direct conflict with the values presented in The Last Jedi.''
In response to a tweet announcing the release of the paper, Last Jedi director Rian Johnson shared the tweet, adding, ''Looking forward to reading it, but what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online.''
How Trump's son-in-law helped salvage the North American trade zone | Reuters
OTTAWA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Robert Lighthizer was the public face of arduous, year-long talks to rework NAFTA, but as he savored a successful conclusion in the White House Rose Garden on Monday, the U.S. trade representative singled out another man as the deal's architect.
''I've said before, and I'll say again, this agreement would not have happened if it wasn't for Jared,'' Lighthizer told reporters.
The 70-year-old veteran negotiator was referring to Jared Kushner, more than 30 years his junior and Donald Trump's son-in-law, whom the president had asked to help out on trade early in the presidency, especially on Canada and Mexico.
While Kushner's time in the White House has been turbulent - Chief of Staff John Kelly temporarily stripped him of his security clearance this year and he has been criticized for his dealings with the Middle East - his role in keeping the North American Trade Agreement afloat was fundamental, multiple sources said.
A 37-year-old real estate tycoon married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, Kushner has the trust of his father-in-law, and crucially, is close to Lighthizer, a Canadian source with knowledge of the talks said.
His friendship with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, whom he knows through Wall Street connections, helped defuse several blow-ups in that relationship and get a U.S.-Mexican deal over the finish line in August, another source close to the talks said.
''The deal fell apart more than once. And in every occasion it was one person that always found a way to put it back together: Jared Kushner,'' Videgaray told Reuters.
Kushner's help in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) could pay dividends down the road.
Kushner, who traveled to China with Trump last year, has a good relationship with the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said a source familiar with the situation. That may be useful when Trump moves to cool his trade war with the Asian nation.
The Trump administration slapped tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last month and is threatening duties on virtually all of the goods China exports to the United States. On Monday, flanked by Lighthizer and Kushner in the Rose Garden, the president said ''it's too early to talk'' to China.
Michael Pillsbury, a China expert and former national security official who served on the Trump transition team, said the new deal could encourage China to negotiate, but could also raise fears the United States was trying to contain it.
''Kushner's contacts with the Chinese ambassador and his skill at diplomacy can certainly help reduce Chinese paranoia and hopefully coax them into making their first negotiating offer,'' said Pillsbury, currently at the Hudson Institute.
TOXIC MOOD From early on in the negotiations, two of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's most trusted advisers - chief of staff Katie Telford and private secretary Gerald Butts - also forged ties with Kushner, Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said in a telephone interview. Yussuff was part of the NAFTA advisory council for Chrystia Freeland, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks and the country's foreign minister.
A second Canadian source said Telford and Butts flew to Washington to meet Kushner in the early days of the presidency.
Those connections came to the fore again last week, when the mood became toxic between Lighthizer and Freeland, as the U.S.-imposed Sept. 30 deadline to conclude the talks loomed.
A third Canadian source directly familiar with the talks said the Americans ''were incensed'' when Freeland took part in a Toronto panel entitled ''Taking on the Tyrant,'' which featured derogatory comments about Trump.
Trump summed up the atmosphere in typically blunt fashion, saying on Wednesday, ''We don't like their representative very much,'' as the Canadian team dug in on the issue of U.S. access to Canada's dairy market.
''There was a moment where the traditional channels of negotiations appeared to break down because they just could not get through some of the largest issues, dairy being one of them,'' said a person in Washington familiar with the situation.
Kushner kept talking to Butts and Telford, and on Thursday a message got through that the United States wanted to know what was non-negotiable for Canada. The answer went back that Chapter 19, a dispute resolution mechanism, was a red line.
By Friday morning it was clear the Trump administration was not going to fight for Chapter 19 anymore - ''the Americans blinked,'' said a fourth senior Canadian source with direct knowledge of the talks.
''I don't think the administration itself was that hung up on (Chapter) 19, I think Robert Lighthizer was,'' Yussuff said.
The breakthrough triggered concessions from Trudeau's team, most importantly on dairy. The fourth Canadian source described the thinking as ''better get dairy out of the way now'' rather than negotiating from a weaker position if talks failed and Trump hit them with 25 percent auto tariffs, the stick he had used to hurry along talks with Mexico and Canada since May.
On Friday, Kushner got Lighthizer on a conference call with Telford and Butts. ''Together the four of them worked through some of the outstanding issues and that led to a breakthrough in the negotiations, ultimately leading to the success of the deal,'' said the person in Washington.
With a deal in sight, Mexico and the United States canceled plans to publish on Friday evening the text of their bilateral deal to give Canada the chance to join by the Sunday deadline.
The talks intensified, with Telford ''talking on the phone the entire time,'' in the end with Kushner, said the fourth Canadian source.
The offices of Freeland and Trudeau did not respond to requests for comment. The White House declined to comment.
INTENSIFYING EFFORTS It was by no means a foregone conclusion that NAFTA would survive. After demanding early last year that it be reworked in favor of the United States, Trump repeatedly threatened to toss in the trash the $1.2 trillion, quarter-century-old agreement.
Tensions between the United States and Canada started at the top, with relations strained between Trump and Trudeau after acrimonious talks in Quebec City in June at a G7 summit.
''There was a lot of tension, I will say, between he and I - I think, more specifically,'' Trump told a news conference on Monday. ''You know when it ended? About 12 o'clock last night.''
At every slump in the talks, which began formally in August last year, multiple players helped stabilize the situation. One of the hairiest moments was in April last year, when trade experts say Trump was close to triggering U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA, prompting frantic lobbying from business groups.
Trump changed his mind, according to one source close to the talks, only after agriculture minister Sonny Perdue showed the president a map including all the Trump-supporting, farming states that would suffer lost exports if NAFTA collapsed.
The United States Department of Agriculture did not respond to a request for comment about this incident, which has been previously reported by Reuters and other media.
Similarly, there was more to bringing the talks to a last-minute finale than just Kushner's efforts. Outside factors were also pushing all sides toward a deal.
In the weeks following the announcement of the Mexico-U.S. deal, U.S. and Mexican officials increasingly understood a new trade accord might not pass Congress without Canada on board, said one U.S.-based source familiar with the process.
Anxious to avoid being left with nothing, Videgaray and Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico's lead in the negotiations, worked behind the scenes to ''triangulate'' communication between the Canadians and the Americans to try to land the deal, the source said.
Videgaray's relationship with Kushner was a safety valve that lowered tensions between Freeland and Lighthizer, the source said. Another source said Guajardo offered Freeland advice on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week about negotiating bilaterally with Lighthizer.
In the end, the talks went down to the wire, with Kushner abandoning plans to spend the Jewish festival of Sukkot with his family late on Sunday, the person in Washington said, as Canada and the United States thrashed out the last details of a deal. It was finally announced at 11:35 p.m. EDT (0335 GMT), just 25 minutes before the deadline.
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a dinner to honor evangelical leadership in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Leah MillisReporting by David Ljunggren and Steve Holland; additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington, Dave Graham and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; writing by Frank Jack Daniel; editing by Leslie Adler and James Dalgleish
Exercise increased caution in the Netherlands due to terrorism.
Terrorists continue plotting possible attacks in the Netherlands. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to the Netherlands:
Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and large crowded public venues.Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Netherlands.U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.
EU news: Italy anti-EU leader Salvini takes BRUTAL DIG at Juncker amid growing tensions | World | News | Express.co.uk
Italy's deputy leader Matteo Salvini slapped down the Eurocrat after Mr Juncker suggesting the eurosceptic Italian Government could catapult the country into a Greece-like economic crisis.
Jean-Claude Juncker said the European Union must do "everything to avoid" a new financial slump in the bloc after Italy put forward plans for a 2.4 percent deficit increase in its 2019 budget.
But Mr Salvini did not let the thinly-veiled threat slide, hitting back on La7 show Tagad on Tuesday: "I only speak to sober people who don't make unrealistic comparisons.
"In such a big family there are no first class or second class children. If someone in Brussels babbles because they regret the loss of a precarious and fearful Italy '' maybe to make business at a lower price using spread and the markets to scare people '' they found the wrong Minister and the wrong Government."
Mr Salvini had previously urged the EU Commissioner to "drink two glasses of water" before speaking or face demands for "compensation" from the Italian Government.
He continued: "The President of the European Commission, comparing Italy to Greece, is making the spread gap go insane. He could have spared us that.
"Before opening his mouth, he should drink two glasses of water and stop spreading inexistent threats. Or we will ask for compensation."
The eurosceptic politician appeared to echo similar digs at the European Commissioner from former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Speaking at the Tory Party conference on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: "I will reveal that I have one overriding anxiety about the current political scene, both domestic and international.
"It isn't global warming or terrorism or Rouhani's Iran or Putin's Russia '' real though all those challenges are. It's not the negotiating tactics of Jean-Claude Juncker '' before or after lunch."
In July, world leaders were filmed helping hold up Mr Juncker after stumbling and losing his balance ahead of a NATO dinner.
The EU Commission boss has previously blamed the unsteadiness on sciatica, which can cause numbness or weakness of the legs.
Speaking after the event, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas confirmed Mr Juncker had ''suffered from a particularly painful attack of sciatica" which was ''accompanied with cramps''.
When asked by a reporter if Mr Juncker was drunk, Mr Schinas said it is "more than tasteless that some press tried to make insulting headlines by exploiting President Juncker's pain."
European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein told Express.co.uk: ''The President's respect and, indeed, affection for Italy and the Italian people is well known.
''As far as the draft budget is concerned, the Commission will assess it once it is submitted, based on the rules and procedures in place '' as always.''
Riding the wave of discontent with the EU, Italy's other deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio warned the Government "won't stop" despite threats from Brussels.
Mr Di Maio said: "The EU threatens us but we won't stop. We are most definitely concerned about the spread but we have a different focus.
"Yesterday, someone was unhappy spread hadn't reached 350 yet so in the afternoon EU Commissioners and the Commission President came out with comments to create some tension and markets are sensitive to the statements of the Commission."
The Italian government is now obliged to send its draft budgetary play to Brussels by October 15, with the actual budget being published by October 20. The European Commission will then issue a response by October 22.
Dogs are People too
Pet Ownership in the USA - from LEA
Seattle institutional Racism from Producer Stephen Walker
The White House press room is overwhelmingly white. Does that matter?
Reporters raise their hands to be called on by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a news briefing in April. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)The New York Times hired its seventh reporter to cover the White House last month, giving the newspaper one of the largest contingents of correspondents on the beat. Aside from being top-flight journalists, the crew shares a common trait: All seven are white.
That's not exactly unusual around the White House press briefing room these days. The press corps that covers the president has long been overwhelmingly composed of white reporters. The White House reporting staffs of the largest and most prominent outlets, particularly newspapers and newswires, tend to be the least racially diverse of all.
Does it matter?
Does racial background affect how a reporter covers a story? Or is it just one factor that determines how a journalist sees the world, the way age, gender, education, religious affiliation, regional and economic background, ideological leanings, or military service might?
News organizations have declared their intention to diversify their staffs since at least the late 1960s, after the Kerner Commission report on the causes of the urban riots of that decade attributed some of America's racial divide to a highly segregated media. Newsroom recruiters often say the underlying goal of greater diversity isn't simply numeric, but journalistic: People from different backgrounds see the world differently and can offer these perspectives to readers and viewers.
The result of these efforts has been mixed, however. The number of women in journalism is gradually approaching parity with that of men and has more than doubled as a percentage of all professional reporters over the past two decades. But overall, newsrooms have only slowly become less white, lagging far behind changes in the general population.
Minority journalists accounted for 16.6 percent of the workforce in 2017, compared with 11.3 percent in 1997, according to surveys by the American Society of News Editors. By contrast, the U.S. population as a whole is 39 percent minority, including white Hispanics and Latinos, according to the Census Bureau.
As the Times's hiring showed, the White House beat '-- arguably the beat with the highest profile '-- may be among the most resistant to change.
The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) doesn't take a census of its 600 regular and associate members, said its president, Olivier Knox, so there's no official accounting of racial diversity. Still, there's a telling statistic about the WHCA: In its 104-year history, the WHCA has had only one nonwhite president, and only five nonwhite correspondents have served on its board, according to George Condon, a White House correspondent for the National Journal who is writing a history of the organization.
The number of minority journalists at the White House, particularly African Americans, has waxed and waned, rising during the Clinton and Obama presidencies and falling during the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, said April Ryan, a correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks who has covered the White House for 21 years.
''We've made some strides, but there's a long way to go,'' she said. Ryan, who is also a CNN contributor, reflects, ''Sometimes you think, 'It would be nice to have a press room that looks like America, that brings the texture of America'''' to reporting on the presidency.
Asked about the Times's minority hiring record, spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the newspaper has given priority to the recruitment of journalists ''of diverse backgrounds'' for all the beats it covers. She noted that 60 percent of the paper's new newsroom hires last year were female or minority journalists.
But she also said, ''At the White House currently, our lineup includes gender but not racial diversity, and that is something we're aware of and focused on getting right.''
Some of the leading print and text news organizations covering the White House and presidency have reporting staffs that look a lot like that of the Times.
Politico will have seven reporters on the beat when its latest hire comes aboard next month; none is a minority. The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and USA Today also have no minority reporters on their teams covering President Trump. The Associated Press has six reporters on the beat, one of whom is an African American.
Spokesmen for Politico and AP declined to comment beyond confirming their staff totals; the Wall Street Journal didn't return a request for comment. Reuters spokeswoman Heather Carpenter said, ''We continue to be committed to growing diversity in our newsrooms around the world.''
Other news outlets have somewhat more diverse rosters. The Washington Post's six-person team includes two nonwhite reporters; Bloomberg's eight-member White House reporting staff also has two.
The six leading television networks field a generally more diverse group of correspondents. Although white males are the lead White House reporters for ABC, CBS and Fox News, all of the networks employ women and nonwhite journalists in prominent reporting positions.
''We believe diversity matters and makes journalism better, whether at the White House or any other coverage area,'' said Ken Strickland, NBC News's Washington bureau chief. ''And that's why you see it in our White House team,'' which includes two African American reporters.
Those who advocate on behalf of minority journalists say the relative lack of diversity in the White House press room is a high-visibility symptom of a larger problem: Minority journalists and perspectives are often underrepresented in many areas of news reporting.
''The lack of diversity in the White House press corps is unsettling,'' said Sarah Glover, president of the National Association of Black Journalists. ''News organizations should have staff that reflect the communities they serve. .'.'. A White House press team without ethnic diversity is a complete missed opportunity.''
The limited number of minority reporters means that issues of concern to minority communities '-- such as Trump's controversial initiatives to change the nation's immigration system '-- are reported by people who probably don't have much personal connection to the issue, said Yvonne Leow, who heads the Asian American Journalists Association.
At the same time, news organizations as well as readers and viewers don't know what stories aren't being told as a result of the composition of their staffs, said Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Hispanics and Latinos don't want to hear only about immigration restructuring, the prism through which mainstream reporting about Latinos is typically filtered, he said. The topic is important, ''but to a community that is mostly U.S.-born, it's not the only area of interest or concern when it comes to government or motivation to vote.''
Balta says a lack of diversity among news managers perpetuates the status quo '-- and ''we see the quality of coverage and representation suffer.''
Paul Farhi is The Washington Post's media reporter. He started at The Post in 1988 and has been a financial reporter, a political reporter and a Style reporter.
California is 1st state to require women on corporate boards
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) '-- California has become the first state to require publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors, one of several laws boosting or protecting women that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sunday.
The measure requires at least one female director on the board of each California-based public corporation by the end of next year. Companies would need up to three female directors by the end of 2021, depending on the number of board seats.
The Democratic governor referenced the objections and legal concerns that the law has raised. The California Chamber of Commerce has said the policy will be difficult for companies to implement and violates constitutional prohibitions against discrimination.
"I don't minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its ultimate implementation," Brown wrote in a signing statement. "Nevertheless, recent events in Washington, D.C. '-- and beyond '-- make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message."
It is one of several measures affecting women that Brown signed Sunday, his last opportunity to approve or veto laws before the term-limited governor leaves office. He also approved legislation requiring smaller employers to provide sexual harassment training and banning secret settlements related to sexual assault and harassment.
But he vetoed a bill that would have required California's public universities to provide medication for abortion at campus health centers, saying the services are already "widely available" off campus.
Brown's actions come as the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct led to a reckoning nationwide that has ousted men from power. The latest high-profile allegations are against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has denied decades-old claims of sexual misconduct from three women.
The author of the California measure on corporate boards, SB 826, said she believes having more women in power could help reduce sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.
Having more women on the boards also will make companies more successful, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson said. Women tend to be more collaborative and are better at multitasking, the Santa Barbara Democrat said.
A fourth of publicly held corporations with headquarters in California don't have any women on their boards of directors. These companies have not done enough to increase the number of women on their boards despite the Legislature's urging, making government intervention necessary, Jackson said.
"This is one of the last bastions of total male domination," she said. "We know that the public and business are not being well-served by this level of discrimination."
The California Chamber of Commerce argued that the composition of corporate boards should be determined internally, not mandated by government. The chamber said the new law will prioritize gender over other aspects of diversity, such as race and ethnicity.
"It creates a challenge for a board on achieving broader diversity goals," said Jennifer Barrera, senior vice president for policy at the chamber.
The law applies to companies that report having their principal executive offices in California. Companies can be fined $100,000 for a first violation and $300,000 for subsequent violations.
The law also requires companies to report their board composition to the California secretary of state and imposes a $100,000 fine if a company fails to do so.
Some European countries, including Norway and France, already mandate that corporate boards include women.
Brown stopped short on Sunday of making California the first state to mandate public colleges and universities offer abortion medication at their health centers. A bill by Democratic Sen. Connie Leyva would have required all 34 University of California and California State University campuses to make the drugs available at their health centers by 2022.
The public schools now refer students to outside providers. Abortion rights advocates said that made it difficult for women without a car and also expensive because many private providers do not accept student insurance.
A group of private donors, some of them anonymous, had vowed to pay for up to $20 million in startup costs, including ultrasound equipment and training for both medical and billing staff.
Abortions using medication are induced by taking two pills, which can be given up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. One pill is administered in the clinic and a second drug is taken later at home. The drugs induce bleeding similar to a miscarriage.
Leyva vowed to reintroduce the bill under California's next governor; Brown is leaving office early next year.
"I am hopeful that our incoming Legislature and governor will agree that the right to choose isn't just a slogan, but rather a commitment to improving true access to abortion for students across California," she said in a statement.
Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed.
YT Reviewer in ATX
I live in Austin and work at one of these Content moderator
farms (YT though, not FB). You guys are on the money on the topic so far and if
you'd like any insight I'd love to provide details and answer any questions you
may have. Full disclosure, I am only a bottom rung tier 1 "agent" but
have access to the YT policies we implement. All the juicy Alex Jones banning
related details are unfortunately only for full time employees and up.
Obviously, I am not a FTE. YT contracts a company that hires workers who then
get contracted by a DIFFERENT company, or something like that. A buddy worked
for FB in Austin in the exact same way dealing the same companies. I started in
this project back in January and was assigned a 'queue' after training which is
basically a school of videos that you "specialize" in through the
training. I began in the adult content queue. As of about a month ago, I got reassigned
to the violent extremism queue (video uploads of recruiting and/or glorifying
FTOs, cartels/gangs, lone wolves, general incitement of violence). Barring all
the obvious horrible visuals, the porn queue was much more subjective
policy-wise. Most of the agents I work with now are Arabic speakers (80-90%)
from all over the Middle East and seem well equipped, mentally, to handle the
material. I consider myself mentally resilient as well and all is good so far.
I aplogize if I'm over the place as there is a lot to clarify. I will leave it
at that for now but please feel free to reply with any questions on the subject
if you guys are interested. Thanks again to you and John!
Kick 'em in the balls!
From Producer Esme
Hi uncle John and uncle Adam! Your long winded liberal stay
at home slave troll, Esme, here. A little insight for you on why we're not
taught uncle John's kick-em-in-the-balls trick. When I was in middle school a
local karate instructor came to all the girl's P.E. classes and taught us a few
self defense basics. While I did learn to get out of a few basic holds
including choking (arms above your head and turn your body) and even what to do
if someone bites you (knuckle between the lip and nose, works great on children
too) it always stood out to me how they dealt with the idea of kicking an
aggressor in the balls, since a classmate asked the obvious "why can't I
just luck a guy in the nuts if he's attacking me?". We were told that if a
man is determined enough he can ignore the pain of a ball-kicking and it will
only anger him, that even if it hurts there is a delay in the pain, long enough
for a man/potential rapist to get angry and take his anger out on you. The
emphasis was very deliberately placed on the idea that you get away from your
attacker first and foremost, and THEN yell for help while running away as fast
as possible. They also said don't bother yelling if he's got his hands on you,
he can just cover your mouth, which sounded dumb to me. They DID suggest biting
the hand if it's over your mouth though. It should be noted that the instructor
was a five foot nothing red headed young guy built like a swimmer, so it was
always a suspicion of mine that he was telling us to not kick balls because he
didn't want to demonstrate the technique to us. Or maybe it's just because we
Luckily a male friend in high school taught me and my
friends how to PROPERLY kick a guy where it counts, and he explained in better
ways what I think the karate guy was getting at, that you don't always hurt the
balls when kicking there.
Always be sure to use the top of your foot, not the toe or
tip, much like a soccer player doing a drop kick, this will get the most
surface area. Also when you make contact you're supposed to sorta mash or scoop
to one side or another, because you could possibly kick him between the balls,
spreading them and therefore not actually kicking his balls, doing less than
maximum damage, and maybe not even causing physical pain. This male friend
might have been a masochist and he's definitely a gross dude (and a great
friend of mine still) so there's a chance he enjoyed this little lunch-time
lesson... until myself and the other soccer player in our group took a turn. I
was terrible at soccer, she was a goalie and actually good at soccer, and we
were the only ones who got him to double over. After my goalie friend took her
turn my buddy, named Adam by the way, ended the lesson and slinked away to the
bathroom, presumably to throw up or cry or both.
Anyway, yeah, officially, they literally told us not to kick
attackers in the nuts.
Also, am I long winded cuz im a liberal or am I liberal cuz
im long winded.
Love the show! Practicing my shitty cursive to send in some
snail mail. GO PODCASTING!
occasional troll and future Dame
FBI interviews accuser; Yale friend remembers heavy drinker
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- FBI agents on Sunday interviewed one of the three women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct as Republicans and Democrats quarreled over whether the bureau would have enough time and freedom to conduct a thorough investigation before a high-stakes vote on his nomination to the nation's highest court.
The White House insisted it was not "micromanaging" the new one-week review of Kavanaugh's background but some Democratic lawmakers claimed the White House was keeping investigators from interviewing certain witnesses. President Donald Trump, for his part, tweeted that no matter how much time and discretion the FBI was given, "it will never be enough" for Democrats trying to keep Kavanaugh off the bench.
And even as the FBI explored the past allegations that have surfaced against Kavanaugh, another Yale classmate came forward to accuse the federal appellate judge of being untruthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the extent of his drinking in college.
In speaking to FBI agents, Deborah Ramirez detailed her allegation that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were students at Yale University, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to publicly discuss details of a confidential investigation.
Kavanaugh has denied Ramirez's allegation.
The person familiar with Ramirez's questioning, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said she also provided investigators with the names of others who she said could corroborate her account.
But Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, has not been contacted by the FBI since Trump on Friday ordered the agency to take another look at the nominee's background, according to a member of Ford's team.
Kavanaugh has denied assaulting Ford.
In a statement released Sunday, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh's said he is "deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale." Charles "Chad" Ludington, who now teaches at North Carolina State University, said he was friend of Kavanaugh's at Yale and that Kavanaugh was "a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker."
"On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive," Ludington said. While saying that youthful drinking should not condemn a person for life, Ludington said he was concerned about Kavanaugh's statements under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Speaking to the issue of the scope of the FBI's investigation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House counsel Don McGahn, who is managing Kavanaugh's nomination, "has allowed the Senate to dictate what these terms look like, and what the scope of the investigation is."
"The White House isn't intervening. We're not micromanaging this process. It's a Senate process. It has been from the beginning, and we're letting the Senate continue to dictate what the terms look like," Sanders said.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the investigation will be "limited in scope" and "will not be a fishing expedition. The FBI is not tasked to do that."
Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., requested an investigation last Friday '-- after he and other Republicans on the panel voted along strict party lines in favor of Kavanaugh's confirmation '-- as a condition for his own subsequent vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
Another committee member, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday that testimony would be taken from Ramirez and Kavanaugh's high school friend Mark Judge, who has been named by two of three women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
"I think that will be the scope of it. And that should be the scope of it," Graham said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called on the White House and the FBI to provide the written directive regarding the investigation's scope. In a letter Sunday, she also asked for updates on any expansion of the original directive.
Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday she is confident in the investigation and "that the FBI will follow up on any leads that result from the interviews." The Maine Republican supports the new FBI investigation and is among a few Republican and Democratic senators who have not announced a position on Kavanaugh.
Republicans control 51 seats in the closely divided 100-member Senate and cannot afford to lose more than one vote on confirmation.
Collins and Flake spoke throughout the weekend.
Senate Republicans discussed the contours of the investigation with the White House late Friday, according to a person familiar with the call who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had gathered Judiciary Committee Republicans in his office earlier. At that time, the scope of the investigation was requested by Flake, Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said McConnell's spokesman Don Stewart.
Murkowski is not on the committee, but also has not announced how she will vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Republicans later called the White House to discuss the scope of the probe, the person said.
McConnell's office declined to elaborate Sunday on which allegations would be investigated, reiterating only that it would focus on "current credible allegations." Stewart said the investigation's scope "was set" by the three GOP senators Friday and "has not changed."
But Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a Judiciary Committee member, doubted how credible the investigation will be given the time limit.
"That's bad enough, but then to limit the FBI as to the scope and who they're going to question, that - that really - I wanted to use the word farce, but that's not the kind of investigation that all of us are expecting the FBI to conduct," she said.
Trump initially opposed such an investigation as allegations began mounting but relented and ordered one on Friday. He later said the FBI has "free rein."
"They're going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They'll be doing things that we have never even thought of," Trump said Saturday as he departed the White House for a trip to West Virginia. "And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine."
He revisited the "scope" question later Saturday on Twitter, writing in part, "I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion."
Sanders said Trump, who has vigorously defended Kavanaugh but also raised the slight possibility of withdrawing the nomination should damaging information be found, "will listen to the facts."
At least three women have accused Kavanaugh of years-ago misconduct. He denies all the claims.
The third woman, Julie Swetnick, accused Kavanaugh and Judge of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women in the early 1980s, among other accusations. Kavanaugh has called her accusations a "joke." Judge has said he "categorically" denies the allegations.
Swetnick's attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Saturday that his client had not been contacted by the FBI but was willing to cooperate with investigators.
Ford also has said Judge was in the room when a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Judge has said he will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that will "confidentially investigate" sexual misconduct allegations against him and Kavanaugh. Judge has also denied misconduct allegations.
Sanders spoke on "Fox News Sunday," Conway appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and Graham and Hirono were interviewed on ABC's "This Week."
Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.
Orrin Hatch, the Supreme Court, and Trump's Pardons - The Atlantic
If Trump were to shut down the investigation or pardon his associates, ''the escape hatch, then, is for cases to be farmed out or picked up by state-level attorneys general, who cannot be shut down by Trump and who generally'--but with some existing limits'--can charge state crimes even after a federal pardon,'' explained Elie Honig, a former assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. ''If Hatch gets his way, however, a federal pardon would essentially block a subsequent state-level prosecution.''
Paul Manafort and Trump's pardon pattern
A spokesman for the senator denied that his brief was inspired by the Mueller investigation, noting that Hatch has ''worked for years to address the problem of overcriminalization in our federal code'' and wants the Court ''to reconsider the rationale'' for the doctrine ''in light of the rapid expansion of both the scope and substance of modern federal criminal law.''
But while Hatch has earned his bona fides in the arena of criminal-justice reform, the timing of his filing is nevertheless significant. For months, the Gamble case has been analyzed through the lens of the Mueller investigation, and Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee to replace the retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, could be on the bench by the time the Court reconvenes this fall. The justices decided to hear the case one day after Kennedy announced his retirement.
On its face, Gamble is entirely unrelated to the Mueller probe. It arose from the prosecution of Terance Martez Gamble, who was convicted of robbery in Alabama in 2008. His conviction meant that he could not legally own a firearm, but police found a gun in his car after pulling him over for a broken taillight in November 2015. Both state and federal prosecutors charged Gamble with the same offense'--being a felon in possession of a firearm'--based on the same incident, resulting in an extension of his prison sentence. He has repeatedly appealed, arguing that the dual convictions violate the double-jeopardy clause.
The federal government, meanwhile, has argued that overturning the dual-sovereignty doctrine would upend the country's federalist system. It's further claimed that the phenomenon of overcriminalization'--which Hatch has railed against'--makes states' ability to preserve their own sphere of influence and prevent federal encroachment on law enforcement more important, not less.
Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior counsel on the Whitewater investigation who serves as a senior fellow at the conservative R Street Institute, said he thinks the Hatch brief is ''wrong substantively.'' ''If overfederalization of crime is a problem, we should stop overfederalization,'' Rosenzweig said. ''Hatch's answer is to end federalism.''
But he cautioned that the case's implications may not be as significant as they seem. ''It is at least plausible that if the Court gets rid of the [doctrine], it would mean that an acquittal in state court would prevent a second trial in federal court and vice versa,'' Rosenzweig told me. But Trump's pardon power is ''explicitly limited in the text of the Constitution to pardons for 'offenses against the United States,''' Rosenzweig said. If that language is interpreted to mean federal criminal offenses specifically, a Trump pardon wouldn't protect against a state criminal prosecution, he said, no matter what happens to the double-jeopardy clause in Gamble.
Amid this legal murkiness, ''overall'' one thing is clear, Rosenzweig said: ''A result overturning 200 years of dual sovereignty would very much muddy the waters.''
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.
Natasha Bertrand is a staff writer at
The Atlantic where she covers national security and the intelligence community.
Many of us who watched Thursday's Senate hearing spent much of the time cataloguing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's lies. After hours of testimony, during which Christine Blasey Ford answered questions about her alleged sexual assault, the financing behind her lie detector test, and whether she was really afraid of flying, viewers were treated to more hours of testimony from Kavanaugh, a federal judge who struggled to give a single straight answer.
Kavanaugh strained credulity when he argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the ''Devil's Triangle'' '-- a phrase that appeared on his high school yearbook page '-- referred to a drinking game, a definition which, before Thursday, you'd have a hard time finding anywhere. (It actually refers to a sex act involving two men and a woman). He also unabashedly claimed that the term ''boof'' is a reference to ''flatulence,'' rather than other butt stuff , and that ''ralph,'' which means to vomit '-- implicitly from the overconsumption of alcohol '-- was a reference to Kavanaugh's weak stomach.
Kavanaugh claimed references to ''Renate Alumnius'' in his yearbook were allusions to his friendship with classmate Renate Schroeder Dolphin, and not, as many understood, a sexist smear about her promiscuity. (Dolphin told the New York Times days before the hearing: ''I can't begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.'') Kavanaugh even claimed to not really know Ford at all, despite her testimony that she ''went out with'' one of his close friends '-- someone whose name appeared in his now notorious calendar 13 times.
Kavanaugh's choice to lie about things that are easily disproved speaks to a kind of hubris that's fitting to someone of his pedigree.
Kavanaugh's choice to lie about things that are easily disproved speaks to a kind of hubris, or entitlement, that befits someone of his pedigree. He insinuated that he was of drinking age during the summer of 1982 because, back then, in Maryland, 18-year-olds could legally imbibe. With artful wording, he testified that drinking was ''legal for seniors,'' even though it was decidedly il legal for him '-- a rising senior who wouldn't turn 18 until the following year. At other moments, he claimed ignorance about the consequence of plainly relevant evidence '-- railing against the suggestion that his high school yearbook, a totem to debauchery and sexual frustration, could be relevant to the issue of whether he committed blacked-out sexual assault in high school. ''Have at it, if you want to go through my yearbook,'' he told Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., with disdain. As though the inquiry itself was made in bad faith.
In fact, Kavanaugh dissembled about whether he ever drank to excess at all '-- an incredible claim given the contents of his yearbook; his friend Mark Judge's damning memoir , which is titled ''Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk;'' and the sheer number of times Kavanaugh mentioned '' beer '' during Thursday's hearing. Although he admitted in his opening statement that '' sometimes I had too many beers, '' when pressed on how much was too much, he was evasive again: ''I don't know. You know, we '-- whatever the chart says, a blood-alcohol chart.''
Perhaps most gallingly, when Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., asked Kavanaugh whether he had ever blacked out '-- just after she empathetically offered that her own father had struggled with alcoholism '-- he turned on her and shot back: ''I don't know, have you?'' (Kavanaugh later apologized to Klobuchar.)
He even tried to play off Judge's memoir as ''fictionalized'' '-- this despite the book's title page, which reads: ''This book is based on actual experiences.'' No lie, it seems, is too small for Kavanaugh.
Christine Blasey Ford takes a break from testifying at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 27, 2018.
Photo: Erin Schaff, Pool/Getty Images
Among the most consequential of Kavanaugh's false claims, and the one Senate Democrats pushed back against the least, was his assertion that all of the witnesses who could corroborate Ford's testimony denied it ever happened.
In true Kavanaugh fashion, that's not quite right.
Ford testified that in addition to Kavanaugh, at least four other people were in the house on the night of the alleged assault: Mark Judge, who Ford alleges witnessed the assault; and P.J. Smyth, Leland Ingraham Keyser, and an unnamed boy '-- all of whom Ford said were downstairs when the alleged assault occurred.
Nine times during Thursday's hearing, Kavanaugh claimed that four of the teenagers, including himself, made statements affirming that Ford's version of events didn't happen.
In an exchange with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Kavanaugh argued, ''But the core of why we're here is an allegation for which the four witnesses present have all said it didn't happen.'' Later, in an change with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., the nominee claimed, ''The witnesses who were there say it didn't happen.''
But, apart from Kavanaugh, who denied the allegations, none of the named witnesses said the allegations didn't happen. Rather, they stated that they did not recall the house party, or have personal knowledge of the alleged sexual assault.
Having ''no recollection'' of the night in question, or no ''knowledge'' of the alleged events, is not the same as saying it didn't happen. Kavanaugh specifically argued that Judge had ''provided sworn statement saying this didn't happen.'' But in Judge's letter to the Judiciary Committee, sent on September 18, he wrote that he has ''no memory of this alleged incident,'' does ''not recall the party described,'' and ''never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.'' (On Thursday , after the conclusion of Kavanaugh's testimony, Judge followed up with a second letter, stating that he did ''never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.'')
Moreover, Keyser's statement , issued by her lawyer over the weekend, says only that she ''does not know Mr. Kavanaugh, and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.'' Not that the event ''didn't happen.''
Further complicating matters, Ford testified that after Keyser submitted her September 19 statement, she texted Ford ''with an apology and good wishes.'' And last weekend, the Washington Post reported that Keyser believes Ford's allegations '-- hardly the refutation Kavanaugh claimed.
Smyth's letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee stated only that he has no personal knowledge of what's alleged to have occurred between Kavanaugh and Ford. ''I am issuing this statement,'' he wrote, ''to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct [Ford] has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.''
Importantly, having ''no recollection'' of the night in question, or no ''knowledge'' of the alleged events is not the same as saying it didn't happen '-- especially since Ford never alleged that anyone but Kavanaugh and Judge witnessed the assault. So why would a judge, someone presumably familiar with the implications of what it often means when a witness avers they ''do not recall,'' so grossly mischaracterize the nature of those statements?
Kavanaugh's apparent willingness to perjure himself over accusations of underage drinking or sexual innuendo '-- which alone don't necessarily bear on his suitability for the bench '-- is troubling both because of what it implies about his integrity, and because of what it suggests about his reasoning as an adjudicator.
How should we judge someone who, during his testimony, repeatedly misrepresented facts and dissembled when pressed for detail? Should we understand these moments as lies, or as misinterpretations rooted in substandard analytical rigor? And given the importance of the position at hand, which is worse?
The law, in large part, is parsing hairs. Some of this may seem like parsing hairs, but the law, in large part, is parsing hairs. Easy questions don't make it to the Supreme Court. Slam-dunk cases settle out. Outside of constitutional issues, the Supreme Court only agrees to hear cases that are so subject to interpretation, they've been inconsistently decided between states or federal circuits. Analytical precision, therefore, is a big part of the job.
That being the case, it was concerning to hear a federal judge clamor for ''due process'' as he sidestepped an opportunity to call witnesses, hear evidence, or have his name cleared by a federal investigation. How should we view a federal judge who seems not to understand, or who for political reasons ignores, that he is not, in fact, on trial, but at a job interview? Who, either due to a lack of understanding or a surfeit of political ambition, emotes as though the stakes were that of a criminal proceeding, in which the high burden of proof would militate in his favor? Do we want a justice who artfully aims for what's ''technically'' true (and misses often), or one whose integrity is, well, unimpeachable?
Sen. Ted Cruz, center left, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, center, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, center right, gather during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27, 2018.
Photo: Matt McClain, Pool/Bloomberg/Getty Images
''Due process'' means fair treatment under the law '-- that an accused person has notice of the proceedings being brought against them and an opportunity to be heard before the government takes away their life, liberty, or property. The fundamental goal of due process is to prevent the state from depriving people of their most precious freedoms. But Kavanaugh isn't threatened with any of those deprivations. He's not facing jail time, a fine, or any confiscation of personal goods. The stakes are these: whether he will go from sitting on the bench of the second most prestigious court in the land, to the first.
What matters, then, is whether Kavanaugh is of sufficiently fit character to fairly and ethically interpret the law. Thursday's hearing, perhaps as much as the allegations against him, has thrown that into serious doubt.
A primary question here, and one that has largely been skipped over by the general public, is why, precisely, Kavanaugh's past behavior, up to and including Thursday's hearing, has any bearing on his ability to serve on the Supreme Court. What behavior would we consider disqualifying as a matter of principle? What qualities are nonnegotiable in the nation's top jurists '-- people whose decisions directly affect the lives of over 300 million citizens, and billions across the world who are often beholden to the toxic effects of domestic policy?
We would argue that honesty is key to administering justice.
A Supreme Court judgeship is a lifetime appointment. And as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., recently pointed out, members of the Supreme Court are asked to make dozens of decisions every year directly relating to the life, liberty, and happiness of Americans '-- half of whom are women, and all of whom deserve jurists who possess a baseline level of integrity.
As Blumenthal, the Connecticut senator, said at the Senate Judiciary Committee's Friday meeting, Kavanaugh's character and fitness give ample reason to vote ''no.''
Update: September 29, 2018Kavanaugh even lied about having no connections to Yale. ''I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,'' Kavanaugh said under oath about getting into Yale Law School after attending Yale as an undergrad. In fact, he was a legacy: His grandfather, Everett Edward Kavanaugh, also went to Yale for undergrad, as this yearbook shows.
Top photo: Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, 2018.
Kavanaugh won't return to teach at Harvard Law School next semester | TheHill
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will not return to Harvard Law School to teach a course that he was previously scheduled to teach in the winter 2019 term.
Harvard Associate Dean Catherine Claypoole wrote in an email to Harvard Law students on Monday evening that the school will not offer the course because Kavanaugh can "no longer commit" to teaching it.
"Today, Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered," Claypoole wrote, according to the Harvard Crimson.
Kavanaugh was slated to teach a course called "The Supreme Court since 2005."
A group of Harvard Law School students had previously urged the school to stop allowing Kavanaugh to teach there until there was an investigation into accusations of sexual assault made against him.
"Will Harvard Law School take seriously the credible allegation of Kavanaugh's sexual assault against a young woman before he is allowed to continue teaching young women?" Molly Coleman, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Jake Meiseles and Sejal Singh wrote in The Harvard Law Record. "Or will Harvard allow him to teach students without further inquiry?"
"Unless a full and fair investigation is conducted, Harvard Law School cannot allow Kavanaugh to continue teaching its students and the Senate cannot confirm him to the Supreme Court," the students continued.
Kavanaugh's confirmation process to the Supreme Court has been upended in recent weeks amid the accusations. Three women '-- Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick '-- have accused him of sexual misconduct.
President Trump Donald John TrumpKavanaugh polling: FBI on the hot seat Kanye West criticizes 13th Amendment on Twitter Feinstein calls on White House, FBI to release scope of Kavanaugh investigation MORE last week asked the FBI to reopen a background investigation of Kavanaugh focusing on those allegations after Sen. Jeff Flake Jeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeKavanaugh polling: FBI on the hot seat Flake: If I were running for reelection 'not a chance' I'd call for Kavanaugh investigation Flake: Elevator confrontation showed me Kavanaugh debate 'tearing the country apart' MORE (R-Ariz.) called for a probe.
Text messages suggest Kavanaugh wanted to refute accuser's claim before it became public
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WASHINGTON '-- In the days leading up to a public allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to a college classmate, the judge and his team were communicating behind the scenes with friends to refute the claim, according to text messages obtained by NBC News.
Kerry Berchem, who was at Yale with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has tried to get those messages to the FBI for its newly reopened investigation into the matter but says she has yet to be contacted by the bureau.
The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez's story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh's team and former classmates in advance of the story.
In now-public transcripts from an interview with Republican Judiciary Committee staff on September 25, two days after the Ramirez allegations were reported in the New Yorker, Kavanaugh claimed that it was Ramirez who was ''calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered it,'' adding that it ''strikes me as, you know, what is going on here? When someone is calling around to try to refresh other people? Is that what's going on? What's going on with that? That doesn't sound '-- that doesn't sound '-- good to me. It doesn't sound fair. It doesn't sound proper. It sounds like an orchestrated hit to take me out.''
The texts also demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated. Berchem's efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information to the FBI.
On Monday, a senior U.S. official confirmed that the White House has authorized the FBI to expand its initially limited investigation by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long as the review is finished by the end of the week. The New York Times first reported the change in scope.
NBC News reached out to Berchem for comment after obtaining a copy of a memo she wrote about the text messages. In a statement to NBC News, Berchem, a partner in the law firm Akin Gump, said: ''I understand that President Trump and the U.S. Senate have ordered an FBI investigation into certain allegations of sexual misconduct by the nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him. However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations. I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate."
On Sunday, Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough her memo. After getting no response, she resent the summary on Monday morning along with screenshots of certain texts that she thinks raise questions that should be investigated. ''I'm sure he's really busy and expect that he'll get back to me,'' said Berchem.
Berchem's memo outlining her correspondence with Yarasavage shows there's a circle of Kavanaugh friends who may have pertinent information and evidence relevant to the inquiry who may not be interviewed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already set in motion a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on the Senate floor for later this week.
Kavanaugh has strongly denied the allegation by Ramirez as well as accusations by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school and by Julie Swetnick that Kavanaugh engaged in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.
Berchem, 51, a graduate of Yale and a Connecticut resident, reached out to Sen. Richard Blumenthal's office last week. Blumenthal, a Democrat, sits on the Judiciary Committee.
''We heard from Kerry late on Thursday and submitted her summary to the Judiciary Committee early Friday,'' a spokeswoman for Blumenthal said in a statement to NBC News. ''After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself.''
George Hartmann, a spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said that ''the texts from Ms. Berchem do not appear relevant or contradictory to Judge Kavanaugh's testimony."
"This appears to be another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination with baseless innuendo by Democrats who have already decided to vote no," Hartmann said.
Berchem's texts with Yarasavage shed light on Kavanaugh's personal contact with friends, including that he obtained a copy of a photograph of a small group of friends from Yale at a 1997 wedding in order to show himself smiling alongside Ramirez 10 years after they graduated. Both were in the wedding party: Kavanaugh was a groomsman and Ramirez a bridesmaid at the wedding.
On Sept, 22nd, Yarasavage texted Berchem that she had shared the photo with ''Brett's team.''
But when Kavanaugh was asked about the wedding during a committee interview on Sept. 25th, he said he was ''probably'' at a wedding with Ramirez. Asked if he interacted with her at the wedding, Kavanaugh replied, ''I am sure I saw her because it wasn't a huge wedding,'' but added that he ''doesn't have a specific recollection.'' Lying to Congress is a felony whether testimony is taken under oath or not.
Berchem hired a lawyer on Sunday to help her get her information into the right hands. She has twice sent her memo to the FBI and has yet to hear a response, according to her lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He flagged two texts in particular.
In a series of texts before the publication of the New Yorker story, Yarasavage wrote that she had been in contact with ''Brett's guy,'' and also with ''Brett,'' who wanted her to go on the record to refute Ramirez. According to Berchem, Yarasavage also told her friend that she turned over a copy of the wedding party photo to Kavanaugh, writing in a text: ''I had to send it to Brett's team too.''
Bob Bauer, former White House counsel for President Barack Obama, said: "It would be surprising, and it would certainly be highly imprudent, if at any point Judge Kavanaugh directly contacted an individual believed to have information about allegations like this. A nominee would normally have been counseled to leave to his legal and nominations team the job of following up on any questions arising from press reports or otherwise, and doing so appropriately."
Further, the texts show Kavanaugh may need to be questioned about how far back he anticipated that Ramirez would air allegations against him. Berchem says in her memo that Kavanaugh ''and/or'' his friends ''may have initiated an anticipatory narrative'' as early as July to ''conceal or discredit'' Ramirez.
Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of Ramirez's allegation was in the Sept. 23 article in The New Yorker.
Kavanaugh was asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, when he first heard of Ramirez's allegations. Kavanaugh answered: ''In the New Yorker story.''
A Sept. 24 text shows Yarasavage clarifying that she did not refute Ramirez's claims to the New Yorker. Republicans and Kavanaugh have said that his former classmates, who gave an anonymous statement to the New Yorker, have refuted Ramirez's claim.
''I didn't say I would have known. '... I said she never told me, I never heard a word of this ever happening and never saw it. The media surmised (that I was saying she is lying),'' said Yarasavage.
Yarasavage declined to speak to NBC News as did other classmates named in Berchem's memo who may have information pertinent to the investigation.
Finally, Berchem is concerned about what she witnessed at the 1997 wedding where Ramirez and Kavanaugh were both in the wedding party.
According to the information Berchem provided, Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh at that wedding of their two friends, Yarasavage and Kevin Genda.
Ramirez, ''clung to me'' at the wedding, Berchem wrote to Yarasavage in a Sept. 24th text message. ''She never went near them,'' a reference to Kavanaugh and his friends. Even in the group photo, Berchem wrote, Ramirez was trying to keep away from Kavanaugh.
Video President Trump, in announcing a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, also fielded questions '-- and had a combative exchange with a reporter '-- about the open investigation into the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. Published On Oct. 1, 2018 Credit Credit Image by Al Drago for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- The White House authorized the F.B.I. to expand its abbreviated investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh by interviewing anyone it deems necessary as long as the review is finished by the end of the week, according to two people briefed on the matter.
At an event on Monday celebrating a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, President Trump said he instructed his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, over the weekend to instruct the F.B.I. to carry out an open investigation, but the president included the caveat that the inquiry should accommodate the desires of Senate Republicans.
The new directive came after a backlash from Democrats, who criticized the White House for limiting the scope of the bureau's investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court. The F.B.I. has already interviewed the four witnesses it was originally asked to question, and on Monday it reached out to others.
The broadening inquiry produced an unusual spectacle as friends and classmates from Judge Kavanaugh's past provided dueling portraits of the nominee in his younger days '-- either a good-natured student incapable of the alleged behavior or a stumbling drunk who could easily have blacked out and forgotten inappropriate behavior at alcohol-soaked parties.
How far the F.B.I. will now delve into these questions beyond the original high school-era sexual assault allegation lodged by Christine Blasey Ford remained unclear. Senate Democrats sent the bureau a list of two dozen witnesses they insisted must be interviewed for an inquiry to be credible. Another accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has given the bureau the names of more than 20 people she said witnessed Judge Kavanaugh exposing himself to her during a college party or heard about it at the time or later, according to someone involved in the investigation.
Image Judge Kavanaugh testified last Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times Mr. Trump said on Monday that he wanted a ''comprehensive'' F.B.I. investigation and had no problem if the bureau wanted to question Judge Kavanaugh or even a third accuser, Julie Swetnick, who was left off the initial witness list, if she seemed credible. His only concerns he said, were that the investigation be wrapped up quickly and that it take direction from the Senate Republicans who will determine whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed.
''The F.B.I. should interview anybody that they want within reason, but you have to say within reason,'' Mr. Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden. ''But they should also be guided, and I'm being guided, by what the senators are looking for.''
Senate Republican leaders made clear that they did not expect the investigation to prevent them from confirming Judge Kavanaugh. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said the Senate would take a procedural vote by the end of the week so it could move quickly to final confirmation by the weekend or early next week.
Chastising Democrats on the Senate floor, Mr. McConnell said that he would ''bet almost anything'' that they would be unsatisfied with the scope of the investigation regardless of how far it went. Reading through a selected summary of Democrats' comments about the matter, he said, ''Do these actions suggest this has ever been about finding the truth?''
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said that the White House should make public what it has told the F.B.I. and emphasize that it was not ''the partisan Republican Senate staff that is directing this investigation.'' In an interview, Mr. Schumer added, ''You can do a full investigation in the seven-day requirement, and that's what senators on both sides of the aisle expect.''
The revised White House instructions amounted to a risky bet that the F.B.I. will not find anything new in the next four days that could change the public view of the allegations. Republicans have resisted an open-ended investigation that could head in unpredictable directions, and the limited time frame could make it harder for the F.B.I. to resolve the conflicting accounts.
The contradictions were on public display on Monday. Dan Murphy, who lived in the same suite as Judge Kavanaugh at Yale University, said in a written statement that descriptions of a boorish drunk were ''simply wrong'' and incompatible with his experience. ''I never saw Brett black out or not be able to remember the prior evening's events,'' he said, ''nor did I ever see Brett act aggressive, hostile or in a sexually aggressive manner to women.''
But Charles ''Chad'' Ludington, another Yale classmate, told reporters outside his home in North Carolina that he saw Judge Kavanaugh so drunk that he could have forgotten his actions. Mr. Ludington said he did not think that loutish behavior at age 18 or 21 should condemn a person for life, but lying to the Senate at age 53 should matter. ''There were certainly many times when he could not remember what was going on,'' he said.
Another Yale classmate, Jennifer Klaus, said she often socialized with Judge Kavanaugh in college and vigorously disputed his relatively benign self-portrayal. ''He was a sloppy drunk '-- I remember him asleep on his feet slurring his words,'' said Ms. Klaus, a former roommate of Ms. Ramirez's. ''If he can lie about this, what else can he lie about?''
The furor continued to reverberate beyond Washington. Harvard Law School sent a message to its students on Monday saying that Judge Kavanaugh earlier in the day ''indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered.''
At the Rose Garden event, Mr. Trump again accepted Judge Kavanaugh's denials and portrayed his confirmation process as deeply unfair. But the president added that he would rethink the nomination if the F.B.I. turned up something that warranted it. ''Certainly, if they find something, I'm going to take that into consideration,'' he said.
Mr. Trump ordered the one-week F.B.I. investigation on Friday after Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona and a key swing vote, insisted the allegations be examined before he committed to voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. But the White House and Senate Republicans gave the F.B.I. a list of only four people to question: Ms. Ramirez and Mark Judge, P.J. Smyth and Leland Keyser, three people Dr. Blasey identified as being at the house where she said Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
All three have said that they did not remember any such party. Mr. Smyth's lawyer said on Monday that he told the F.B.I. ''that he has no knowledge of the small party'' that Dr. Blasey described nor of ''any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled.'' Agents plan to return to Mr. Judge, who she said was actually in the room at the time, for more questions.
Mr. Flake expressed concern on Monday that the inquiry not be limited and said he had pressed to make sure that happens. ''It does no good to have an investigation that gives us more cover, for example,'' he said during a public appearance in Boston. ''We actually need to find out what we can find out.''
Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, who worked with Mr. Flake to initiate the investigation, called Mr. McGahn on Sunday after reading reports about the narrow mandate. ''I said that doesn't strike me as credible,'' he recalled in an interview. ''The F.B.I. needs to be allowed to pursue all reasonable investigatory steps from the credible allegations in front of the committee.''
Image Christine Blasey Ford testifying last week about her sexual assault allegation against Judge Kavanaugh. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times Several former F.B.I. officials said that they could think of no previous instance when the White House restricted the bureau's ability to interview potential witnesses during a background check. Chuck Rosenberg, a former F.B.I. chief of staff, said background investigations were frequently reopened, but the bureau decided how to pursue new allegations.
''The White House normally tells the F.B.I. what issue to examine, but would not tell the F.B.I. how to examine it, or with whom they should speak,'' he said. ''It's highly unusual '-- in fact, as far I know, uniquely so '-- for the F.B.I. to be directed to speak only to a limited number of designated people.''
The F.B.I.'s security division is handling the background investigation, and the interviews will be given to the White House. Former officials said a short synopsis of the interviews might also be provided pointing out contradictions or commonalities.
In his comments on Monday, Mr. Trump expressed indignation that Democrats were questioning Judge Kavanaugh's youthful drinking and suggested that some of them were being hypocritical because they themselves abuse alcohol.
''I happen to know some United States senators, one who's on the other side who's pretty aggressive,'' he said. ''I've seen that person in some very bad situations,'' which he called ''somewhat compromising.''
Mr. Trump's comments came as Senate Republicans released a five-page report challenging Dr. Blasey's account. ''A 'he said, she said' case is incredibly difficult to prove,'' wrote Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona sex crimes prosecutor hired by Republicans to question Dr. Blasey during last week's hearing. ''But this case is even weaker than that.''
Noting that the other people reportedly in the house at the time did not corroborate Dr. Blasey's account, Ms. Mitchell added, ''I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the committee.''
Reporting was contributed by Maggie Haberman from Blountville, Tenn.; Farah Stockman from Boston; Robin Pogrebin, Rebecca Ruiz and Anemona Hartocollis from New York; and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Nicholas Fandos, Adam Goldman, Sharon LaFraniere and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Washington.
Follow Peter Baker and Michael Schmidt on Twitter: @peterbakernyt @nytmike.
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'I am ashamed': Beto apologizes for 'demeaning comments about women' - POLITICO
The review in Columbia University's student newspaper offers another glimpse of the former life of Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke. | Laura Roberts/Invision/AP Images
Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke is apologizing for once criticizing a Broadway musical with actresses ''whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.''
In 1991, the 19-year-old O'Rourke reviewed the Broadway musical ''The Will Rogers Follies'' for the Columbia Daily Spectator, the university's student newspaper. Writing under the byline Robert O'Rourke, he panned the performance as ''one of the most glaring examples of the sickening excesses and moral degradations of our culture.''
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He went on to bemoan the bevy of ''perma-smile actresses whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.''
The review in the Oct. 10, 1991, edition of the Spectator, which according to an archive search was the only article he wrote for the newspaper, offers another glimpse of the former life of the Texas Senate candidate, who has given Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) an unexpectedly serious reelection challenge. It also shows how drastically the sensitivities surrounding descriptions of women have changed over the past three decades: While it's unclear whether O'Rourke was criticizing the musical's use of scantily-clad women for effect or commenting on their bodies himself, his prose, in hindsight, is jarring either way.
''Basically, the show documents the life of Will Rogers, the 'lassoing fool,' who rose from being an insignificant side show attraction to one of the more prominent political pundits and cultural statesmen in our history. Yet it is produced and directed in such a showy, glitzy, and ultimately, tacky manner, that one cannot help feeling disgusted throughout the show. Keith Carradine in the lead role is surrounded by perma-smile actresses whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.''
In a statement sent to POLITICO shortly after this story was published, O'Rourke offered an apology.
"I am ashamed of what I wrote and I apologize. There is no excuse for making disrespectful and demeaning comments about women," he said.
While O'Rourke was no fan of the production, which had a more than two-year run at the Palace Theatre, the musical went on to win a half-dozen Tony Awards.
The column was flagged to POLITICO by a person who opposes O'Rourke's Senate campaign.
O'Rourke, who has acknowledged his arrests for DUI and trespassing in the mid-1990s, ended his review with a caveat.
''One thing that should be taken into consideration, however, is that I was the youngest person in the crowd by about 60 years,'' he wrote. ''Though I found it revolting, most people from that long-ago, faraway generation really enjoyed the show, and were very pleased with the performances.''
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NYLON · What Would Women Do If Men Weren't Allowed Outside Past 9pm?
Activist and trans woman Danielle Muscato posted a simple question on Twitter last week: ''What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?'' The question, and the dozens of answers that have come as a result, have since gone viral.
So many of the women's answers describe the same wish: to be able to exist alone at night without fear of what may happen to them. We could walk home or use public transit without the fear of being assaulted, or keep our windows open to let in a night breeze as we sleep, or take a run without having the sun beating down on us.
These tweets show the glaring inequality between men and women. There are so many obstacles women have to deal with that men don't even realize (like pay inequality, for one example), but the inability to walk outside when it's dark without our keys clutched in between our fingers is one that's so deeply ingrained that it seems impossible to even imagine feeling safe at night.
Keep scrolling for some of the best, and most relatable, responses to the tweet.
Kanye West Delivers Political Rant After 'Saturday Night Live' Ends '' Variety
UPDATED: Kanye West remained onstage after his performance on ''Saturday Night Live'' tonight and gave a politically themed speech to the audience after the broadcast ended. In reports to Variety and clips captured on social media, he was at times confrontational as he discussed his support for President Trump, his pledge to run for president in 2020, the need for a ''dialogue not a diatribe'' and other familiar themes similar to his recent statements.
Wearing a ''Make America Great Again'' hat, West said at one point, ''So many times I talk to a white person and [they] say, 'How could you like Trump, he's racist?' Well, if I was concerned about racism I would've moved out of America a long time ago.'' At another, he moves rapidly from topic to topic. ''You wanna see the sunken place? Okay, Im'a listen to y'all now. I'ma put my superman cape on, because this means you can't tell me what to do'... You want the world to move forward? Try love.''
The castmembers appeared embarrassed and two performers gently shook their heads in unison as he spoke. The audience was quiet and booed him at least twice. ''The entire studio fell dead silent,'' one eyewitness told Variety.
West thanked the show for the platform ''even though some of y'all don't agree,'' and then began singing, ''Try love,'' leading the band back into the song as he walked offstage.
Earlier in the rant, he'd said: ''They're laughing at me. You heard them? They screamed at me. They bully me. They bullied me backstage. They said 'Don't go out there with that hat on.' They bullied me backstage. They bullied me.'' However, it was unclear who he was referring to.
West was cheerfully tweeting by 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, first retweeting an online photo mashup combining him in the bottle suit with his wife Kim Kardashian's famous champagne photo session from 2016 and then claiming that Michaels had invited him to host the show later this year.
''Had so much fun at SNL,'' he wrote. ''Lorne agreed that I would host before the year is out. Need to set a date. Gonna be sooooooooo lit.''
Reps for West, NBC and ''Saturday Night Live'' declined Variety's requests for comment.
It had already been a bumpy evening: West and his accompanists veered between mediocre and bad on the three songs the show generously gave him. In the opening spot, West performed his latest single ''I Love It'' with Lil Pump. The pair were comically dressed as bottles of Perrier and Fiji water (respectively) that recalled Justin Timberlake's ''Liquorville'' skits on the show. While the song's chorus was self-censored to ''You're such a freaky girl,'' it sounded like a few profanities slipped out during the track's brief two minutes. The costumes were funny, but even many fans of the song agreed that the performance was not strong.
On Sunday, the President tweeted his approval of West's actions while slamming ''SNL.''
''I don't watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it),'' he wrote. ''No longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems.''
''Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told 'no'), was great. He's leading the charge!'' Trump finished.
Like many, I don't watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) '' no longer funny, no talent or charm. It is just a political ad for the Dems. Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told ''no''), was great. He's leading the charge!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2018
Most other reactions on social media were merciless.
For the second performance, he was joined by Teyana Taylor for an unreleased song that leaked over the summer (her ''K.T.S.E.'' was one of the string of five West-produced albums in five weeks that dropped in May and June). The two bounced through the track competently, standing still while the voiceover that ends the song ran for nearly a full minute.
Finally, instead of the show's usual sendoff '-- during which the cast and guests wave and chat while the credits roll and house band plays '-- the cast quickly left the stage to clear room for West, Kid Cudi and 070 Shake for ''Ghost Town.'' West took the stage wearing his ''Make America Great Again'' hat, which he hadn't worn during the earlier performances, and delivered his lines competently, but Cudi was painfully off-key and 070 Shake '-- who is strong on the album '-- was uneven. As the credit-roll ended, West was inviting the cast back onstage, and then launched into his speech shortly afterward.
West promised earlier this week that another album, ''Yandhi'' '-- his third of the year, including ''Ye'' and his ''Kids See Ghosts'' collaboration with Kid Cudi '-- would arrive on Saturday night, although it had not appeared on streaming services by noon ET on Sunday.
AMERICAN STEEL-Another Cracked Beam Found at $2B San Francisco Transit Terminal
A second beam in San Francisco's celebrated new $2 billion transit terminal shows signs of cracking, an official said Wednesday, a day after a crack in a nearby support beam shut down the building that opened just last month.
The first crack found by workers installing roof tiles Tuesday spans a beam holding up a park over the three-block-long facility and runs over a downtown street, Salesforce Transit Center executive director Mark Zabaneh said.
He said the problems were localized to that area of the transit hub but it would remain closed ''at least through the end of next week'' as inspections continued. It's not yet clear what caused the cracks.
Mayor London Breed said the facility would stay closed until it was safe to reopen. Its role in the broader transportation system is too important ''not to act quickly to have definitive answers for the public, and someone needs to be held accountable once the cause is determined,'' she said in a statement.
Engineers decided to shut down the station around 5 p.m. Tuesday, just as rush hour started, out of an ''abundance of caution,'' Zabaneh said.
''The behavior of the beam is unpredictable,'' he said.
The transit hub, a commanding presence in the city's South of Market neighborhood where construction is booming, sits adjacent to the so-called sinking condominium, Millennium Tower, which has settled about 18 inches (45 centimeters) since it opened over a former landfill in 2009.
Homeowners have filed multiple lawsuits against the developer and the city, some alleging that construction of the transit center caused the Millennium Tower to sink.
Zabaneh said he did not believe the cracked beam was related to ongoing problems at Millennium Tower.
The crack was found near a weld on a stress-bearing horizontal beam, Zabaneh said. Engineers are searching for other cracks in other pipes but are optimistic the damage is limited to the one beam.
Buses were rerouted to a temporary transit center about two blocks away that was used during the center's construction. A downtown street that runs under the beam also was ordered closed indefinitely, causing traffic chaos at the same time some streets were closed for a conference sponsored by Salesforce that was expected to draw 170,000 attendees.
Enveloped in wavy white sheets of metal veil, the five-level center includes a bus deck, a towering sky-lit central entrance hall and a rooftop park with an outdoor amphitheater. Zabaneh said American steel was used in the center's construction.
''A structural steel beam should never crack,'' Joe Maffei of Maffei Structural Engineering told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The newspaper previously reported that the complex faced delays in putting out contracts to bid, and the winning bids were ultimately higher than expected.
The terminal's cost rose from $1.6 billion at its 2010 groundbreaking to more than $2 billion in 2016 because of what one analyst called ''optimistic assumptions,'' according to the Chronicle.
The project is financed by land sales, federal stimulus grants, district fees and taxes, bridge tolls, and federal and state funds.
Numerous towering condo buildings have gone up in the booming South of Market neighborhood in the last five years and several multistory construction projects are still underway as San Francisco lures technology companies from Silicon Valley to the neighborhood.
The online business software company Salesforce, which opened its adjacent 61-story Salesforce Tower earlier this year, bought naming rights to the transit center in 2017 as part of a 25-year, $110 million sponsorship agreement.
The Salesforce Transit Center is operated by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
Cracks Close San Francisco Building, Snarl Traffic for Salesforce EventCopyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Kanye West says that 'no matter who they are, as an American, I support the president' | Fox News
Kanye West appeared on "TMZ Live" Monday. (Getty Images, File)
Kanye West appeared on "TMZ Live" Monday where he talked about his decision to wear a "Make America Great Again" hat.
Is it "fair to say the hat does not represent your support of Donald Trump?" host Harvey Levin, who said he personally had a "problem with what it stands for," asked West.
"First of all, I'm an American," the 41-year-old rapper replied.
He continued: "I support and give my ideas and my support and brilliance to whoever is up in office. That is my stance as an American. I support our president. Bottom line. No matter who they are, as an American, I support the president."
West also went on to reiterate what the hat "represents" to him.
"This represents: y'all can't bully me... you can't tell me what to do because that's what people used to do, they would snatch your hat off... and ain't nobody ripping my hat off again... It also represents to me masculine energy..."
Earlier in his appearance, West also explained his comments from the "Saturday Night Live" stage over the weekend, when he said: "They bullied me backstage. They said, don't go out there with that hat on."
"The bullying came from people around me close to me in my circle telling me why I shouldn't be wearing the hat. It put my energy in more of a reactionary place," West said clarifying that he wasn't referring to the "SNL" staff, according to E! News.
"For me, I've got the right to wear what I want. I have the right to think what I want and feel what I want," he added.
During his interview, West also revealed he extended an olive branch to controversial ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick to arrange a White House meet-up with Trump. In addition, he clarified an earlier remark calling to ''abolish'' the 13th Amendment from the U.S. Constitution, stating he "misspoke" and that "amend is the right language."
'They want us to be robots': Whole Foods workers fear Amazon's changes | Business | The Guardian
Whole Foods staff are worried that Amazon, the grocery chain's new owner, is trying to turn them into ''robots'' and are seeking to set up a union to protect their jobs.
Workers at ''America's healthiest grocery store'' say management is trying to cut jobs and reduce wages as they reshape the 38-year-old grocery chain in Amazon's image.
Sign up for the US morning briefing''No one trusts Amazon and there are fears in upper management that Amazon will clean house if sales rates aren't hit,'' said one of the founders of the Whole Worker community in an interview. Staff are reluctant to speak on the record for fear of retaliation and the company has recently started training managers to fight back against union organization.
''They're squeezing all they can out of the workers. Amazon gives little notice whenever they make changes. When they rolled in the Amazon Prime discount, they only gave stores ten to fourteen days of notice and no extra labor to handle the extra work.''
Whole Foods workers across the United States are beginning to collectively organize in an attempt to push back on changes made to the supermarket chain operations since Amazon acquired the company in August 2017.
On 6 September, a group of workers sent out a letter to Whole Foods stores across the country reaching out to fellow employees to discuss concerns with how Amazon has changed the company as part of the Whole Worker community.
They cited the ''order-to-shelf system'', which began three years ago and has accelerated under Amazon, and mass layoffs of certain positions as some of the primary reasons Whole Foods workers are now coordinating efforts to unionize.
The order-to-shelf system is a strict set of procedures for employees to follow that uses scorecards to prescribe specific ways to store, display, purchase items on store shelves and in stock rooms.
''The OTS system really aligns with Amazon's core practices. It's to make everyone interchangeable,'' said a Whole Foods employee in the New England area involved in labor organizing. ''They want us to become robots. That's where they are going, they want to set it up so they don't have to pay someone $15 an hour who knows all about the food, they can pay someone $10 an hour to do these small tasks and timed duties.''
Whole Foods has a history of union busting even before Amazon acquired the company.
In May 2016, Whole Foods paid the union-busting consulting firm Kulture Consulting more than $100,000 days before a union election for a distribution center in Pompano Beach, Florida.
In 2017, the National Labor Relations Board ruled against Whole Foods for union busting tactics, as they amended the employee handbook to ban recording of all work related activities without management approval, an infringement on collective bargaining rights and labor law.
''We want a return to where we were a few years ago,'' added the New England area-based Whole Foods employee. ''Store teams used to make more. We had much better pay and were taking more money on our paychecks than we were making from our hourly wage when the company was successful, when it wasn't self cannibalizing, when everybody had the tools to do their job.''
The employee explained that under Amazon, Whole Foods workers are expected to do more with restricted labor budgets and often perform duties above their rank without being properly compensated. In addition, his region's capital expenditure budget has been frozen. ''We just got bought by the second trillion-dollar company in the world and we don't have money to replace refrigeration units.'' Amazon recently followed Apple to become the second company ever to be valued at over $1tn.
Another New England area based Whole Foods employee told the Guardian that despite drastic differences in store traffic and sales between August, when customers are on vacation, and September, when children go back to school, his labor budget only increased by $300 despite a projected increase in daily sales of $100,000. ''We're left to try to figure out how to do the impossible on shifts with not enough people to work,'' the employee said. ''It's not the same place it was a year ago.''
A Whole Foods employee in Southern California said the culture at Whole Foods had changed as upper management has focused on maximizing profit and homogenizing stores. ''Local and speciality products have been cut and replaced with more conventional mainstream ones, and regional marketing and sign making has been removed,'' they said. ''We are losing the shopper and team members who helped make us who we were.''
Under Amazon's ownership, profit-sharing for employees '' once a major perk of working for the company '' has reportedly been eliminated. ''Jeff Bezos should not have earned $150bn while the majority of his workers live paycheck to paycheck and do not receive profit sharing,'' stated the letter sent out to Whole Foods employees by the Whole Worker community. ''The clandestine nature of Amazon offering stock options to store leadership without informing TMs (team members) is beyond problematic. It is insulting and unethical.''
Whole Foods has also gradually eliminated or drastically reduced classes of jobs, such as in-store graphic designers and payroll benefits specialists, and merged those duties into other positions without providing workers additional compensation. In a previous statement made in March 2018, Whole Foods said the cuts were made to support business needs.
''We work for the wealthiest man in the world and our stores can't afford to hire. If you actually want to build sales and increase market share, you need to spend the money to get it done,'' said a Whole Foods employee based in Illinois who helps coordinate the Whole Worker community. ''Corporations keep getting tax incentives, but when you don't raise wages and you need two jobs just to make a living, what's the point? We're not getting anywhere as a society.''
The employee added the short staffing and reduction in labor has fostered an environment at Whole Foods where employees are struggling to complete all their assigned duties, and unable to take the time required for customer service throughout the work day. ''Even stopping to help somebody feels like a burden and it shouldn't be that way.''
Whole Foods declined to comment for this story.
Housing Market Slows, as Rising Prices Outpace Wages - The New York Times
Image Workers at a Thrive Home Builders project in Denver. The company's chief executive said that the high cost of land, building permits and other fees, along with rising construction costs, make it difficult to build affordable homes. Credit Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times DENVER '-- By nearly any measure, this city is booming. The unemployment rate is below 3 percent. There is so much construction that a local newspaper started a ''crane watch'' feature. Seemingly every week brings headlines about companies bringing high-paying jobs to the area.
Yet, Denver's once-soaring housing market has run into turbulence. Sales and construction activity have slowed in recent months. Houses that would once have drawn a frenzy of offers are sitting on the market for days or weeks. Selling prices are rising more slowly, and asking prices are being slashed to attract buyers.
Similar slowdowns have hit New York, Seattle and even San Francisco, cities that until recently ranked among the nation's hottest housing markets. The specifics vary, but economists, real estate agents and home builders say the core issue is the same: Home buyers are reaching a breaking point after years of breakneck price increases that far exceeded income gains.
''The local economy is still fantastic, all the fundamentals are there, but obviously wages are not keeping pace,'' said Steve Danyliw, a Denver realtor. ''As the market continues to move up, buyers are being pushed out.''
Rachel Sandoval is one of them. An elementary schoolteacher in the Denver Public Schools, Ms. Sandoval earns about $50,000 a year, enough to afford a condominium or a modest house in most markets. But not in Denver, where the median sales price for all homes was $410,000 in August, and where even condos routinely top $300,000 '-- a price Ms. Sandoval calls ''not even close to feasible.'' She said she was scoping out jobs in Texas, where houses are cheaper and pay is higher, and considering leaving teaching in search of a higher salary.
For now, Ms. Sandoval, 41, is sharing a one-bathroom rental house with two roommates, a nurse and an adjunct professor. The three stick to a strict schedule to make sure they can all get to work on time.
''We are professionals, we have degrees,'' Ms. Sandoval said. ''This was not the plan.''
Nationwide, sales of previously owned homes fell 1.5 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. Residential building permits were down 5.5 percent over the past year, according to the Department of Commerce. Many economists say the housing market may have turned into a drag on the gross domestic product.
The recent slowdown, however, is unlikely to give would-be buyers like Ms. Sandoval much relief. Prices in Denver are still up 8 percent over the past year, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index. That's cool compared to the double-digit gains of a couple years ago, but well ahead of the 6 percent increase in average hourly earnings over the same period. Rising interest rates have also made buying homes more expensive.
Few analysts expect an outright decline in home prices anytime soon. That's because, unlike the speculative bubble of the mid-2000s, the recent run-up in prices has been driven primarily by economic fundamentals: People are moving to Denver faster than developers can build places to live. The Denver region has added more than 300,000 residents since 2010, making it one of the country's fastest-growing areas.
Introductory economics textbooks suggest that high prices should attract more supply or suppress demand '-- or both. Inventories of unsold homes have risen in Denver and other markets in recent months, and the real estate site Zillow found that price cuts have become more common.
Over all, however, the housing market is not behaving as the textbooks say it should. Inventories remain low despite the recent increases, and new construction is slowing, not picking up.
Part of the problem, local real estate agents say, is that the furious pace of price growth has essentially gummed up the market, making homeowners reluctant to sell for fear of being unable to find a new home.
Image A worker for Thrive Home Builders on a project in Denver. Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times Image The median sales price for all homes in the Denver area was $410,000 in August, and condos routinely top $300,000. Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times Rising interest rates are compounding the problem because would-be sellers do not want to give up their low interest rates, a phenomenon economists call the lock-in effect.
Brant and Annie Wiedel spent more than a year trying to get a foothold in Denver's housing market '-- and they are reluctant to give it up. The couple estimate that they looked at 160 houses before finally closing on a three-bedroom ranch house in Lakewood, a suburb, three years ago.
With two children and a third due in January, the Wiedels would like to trade up. With the rise in home prices some renovations, the house they bought for $350,000 could be worth more than $500,000.
But the family borrowed at about 3.5 percent three years ago. Today, they would pay closer to 5 percent. ''Even if we just saw houses at the same price, we'd have to pay more'' every month, he said.
Ultimately, the key to breaking the logjam is to build more homes. Downtown Denver is crawling with cranes, many of them erecting amenity-filled apartment complexes aimed at young professionals. A drive in almost any direction from downtown reveals freshly built subdivisions with names like Tallgrass, The Enclave and Green Gables Reserve.
Most of those new homes, however, will list for more than $400,000. And hardly any builders are selling properties for under $300,000 without government subsidies. Even many home builders worry they are pricing themselves out of the market.
''I see the biggest threat to our business as the affordability challenge, that we are building houses that people can't afford,'' said Gene Myers, chief executive of Thrive Home Builders.
The problem, Mr. Myers and other local builders say, is cost. The price of land, building permits and other fees can run close to $150,000 for a single-family lot '-- before construction.
Some of the challenges are specific to Colorado. Quirks in state law, for example, make it easy for condominium buyers to collectively sue builders over construction defects, making developers reluctant to build condos.
But other issues are common to many cities. Building materials have become more expensive, in part because of tariffs on lumber and other products that President Trump imposed this year. Labor costs are rising, too, especially for skilled trade workers. Restrictive zoning makes it hard to build denser developments that make cheaper homes profitable for builders.
Image Building materials have become more expensive, in part because of tariffs on lumber and other products that President Trump imposed this year. Labor costs are rising, too, especially for skilled trade workers. Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times ''They're producing what they can produce,'' said Sam Khater, chief economist for Freddie Mac, the government housing-finance company. ''The problem is, it's uneconomic for them to produce affordable.''
This big-city conundrum is spreading. People priced out of San Francisco moved to Seattle and Portland, driving up prices and displacing people who moved to Denver and Austin. Next on the list: Boise, Nashville and other cities offering some of the same attractions at lower prices.
Sure enough, the online real estate site Redfin this spring found that Denver had joined Seattle and San Francisco as cities with a ''net outflow'' of users '-- that is, there were more people on the site looking to leave Denver than to move there.
''City after city is going to face this,'' said Glenn Kelman, Redfin's chief executive. ''At some point, the buyers step back and say, 'Enough is enough.'''
More people are moving to Denver than leaving it, but migration has tapered off in recent years. J. J. Ament, chief executive of Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, said he had seen no sign that rising home prices were making the region less attractive. Last month, VF Corporation, an apparel maker that owns brands like The North Face and Vans, announced it would move its headquarters to Denver from North Carolina, partly because of the area's reputation for outdoor activities. The state also offered $27 million in incentives.
''I wouldn't use the word 'crisis,''' Mr. Ament said. ''The work force is still willing to move here.''
Plenty of people in Denver do use the word ''crisis,'' however. A January report from Shift Research Lab, a local research group, concluded that years of under-building have left the region with a shortfall of tens of thousands of housing units.
That shortfall could threaten Denver's growth, said Phyllis Resnick, a Colorado State University economist and one of the report's authors. The skilled workers moving to the area, who have been so important to attracting companies and jobs, want to be able to eat out at restaurants, drop off their dry cleaning and send their children to school, all of which require lower and middle income workers. If they cannot afford to live in the area, Ms. Resnick said, Denver will not retain its allure '-- and the economy will not keep growing.
Image Angela Kirkland-Vandecar recently moved into a condo in the Villas at Wheatlands in Aurora, Colo., east of Denver. Each lot in the development has three attached homes. Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times ''My concern is, at some point it sort of breaks because we can't house the folks that we need to fill out all the economic activity in the region,'' she said. ''I'm not convinced that in the near term it will correct itself just through market forces, unless that's through people moving out.''
Local governments and charities are trying to address the problem. The Denver City Council last month voted to double, to $30 million per year, the city's affordable housing fund, which is used to build and preserve homes for low-income residents. Late last year, nonprofit groups announced they had raised $24 million to start the Elevation Community Land Trust, which will buy land to create permanently affordable housing. Another new program aims to help public schoolteachers come up with down payments.
To have a big impact, economists say Denver and other cities have to build more homes affordable to middle-class families. That will require persuading communities accustomed to single-family homes to accept condos and townhomes.
''The only way to solve the riddle is through density,'' said Dave Lemnah, co-owner of Lokal Homes, a Denver builder.
That's why he is building projects like the Villas at Wheatlands, a 94-unit development in Aurora, east of Denver. Each lot has three attached units arranged like a jigsaw puzzle. Lokal sells the homes for less than $400,000; some go for close to $300,000.
One buyer, Angela Kirkland-Vandecar, an aesthetician and a single mother, has spent two years searching for a home she could afford on her roughly $50,000 income.
Image Ms. Kirkland-Vandecar said she spent two years looking for a home before finding one she liked and could afford. Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times When Ms. Kirkland-Vandecar began her search, she did not want to move to Aurora or to a condo.
''I've now done everything that in the beginning I said I was not going to do,'' she said.
But Ms. Kirkland-Vandecar feels good about her decision. Her monthly mortgage payment will be less than her $1,900 monthly rent, and she is happy not to have a lawn to mow. Her daughters, 11 and 13, will have their own rooms, and she will no longer have to store food in the laundry room, as she did in the cramped apartment she had been renting.
Walking through her nearly ready house recently, looking for defects, Ms. Kirkland-Vandecar opened a door in the kitchen and paused. A Lokal Homes worker asked if she had found a problem. She shook her head.
On Monday Sept. 17th,Christine Blasey Ford’s high school yearbooks suddenly disappeared from theweb. I read them days before, knew they would be scrubbed, and saved them. Whydid I know they would be scrubbed? Because if roles were reversed, andChristine Blasey Ford had been nominated for the Supreme Court by PresidentTrump, the headline by the resistance would be this: CHRISTINE BLASEY FORDAND THE DRUNKEN WHITE PRIVILEGED RACIST PLAYGIRLS OF HOLTON-ARMS. And it would be anaccurate headline. That’s why the yearbooks have been scrubbed. They are atestament to the incredible power these girls had over their teachers, parentsand the boys of Georgetown Prep, Landon and other schools in the area. In thepages below, you will see multiple photos and references to binge drinking andthe accompanying joy of not being able to remember any of it. These yearbooks are,therefore, relevant to the national investigation now being conducted in themedia, in homes, and in the halls of Congress. And they should not have beenscrubbed. If Brett Kavanaugh’s yearbooks are fair game, so are these. And you will wonderwhile reading them, why the hell did the faculty approve of these yearbooks?Why did the parents take out paid ads in these yearbooks? Animal House hadnothing on the infamous “Holton party scene”. The resistance media hasbeen singularly focused on Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbooks, which implythat he got drunk and threw up. There’s no need to imply anything from theHolton-Arms yearbooks. It’s all there in focus, and the written word too. Allof the sordid details as approved for publication by a “look the other way”faculty. And now it’s available for historical/evidentiary review. It is to this wild Holtonculture we must look in order to shed light on the last minute accusation by Christine Blasey. And in the official high school chronicles ofthis era, we find many names of people who can provide relevant evidence. Christine “Chrissy”Blasey alleges she cannot recall the exact date, place or names of people whowere at the party in question. This research is intended to refresh herrecollection and the recollections of others who may recall key facts. (In thisreport, last names have been redacted and faces obscured, other than thepicture of Chrissy Blasey seen below.) The yearbook title is SCRIBE.The relevant issues are SCRIBE 82, SCRIBE 83 and SCRIBE 84, corresponding toBlaseys’s sophomore, junior and senior years, when she and her classmates (andKavanaugh) were 15-17 year old juveniles. While preparing thisreport, I came across a biased viral article from Heavy.com that portrays Christine Blasey and Holton-Arms as the veryessence of high school purity. As for the school itself, when Blasey attendedit, nothing could be further from the truth, as you will see below. Brett Kavanaugh attendedGeorgetown Prep, graduating in the class of ’83. Blasey graduated fromHolton-Arms in the class of ’84. The Georgetown Prep boys are mentionedaffectionately multiple times in these brazen yearbooks. HOLTON FACULTY APPROVED BINGE DRINKING Scribe 84 is theyearbook for her senior year. Her name was Christine Blasey in high school, oftenreferred to as “Chrissy”. In the imagebelow, Blasey is pictured at a Halloween party in her junior year. The captionon the right says: “Lastly one cannot fail to mention the climax ofthe junior social scene, the party. Striving to extend our educationalexperience beyond the confines of the classroom, we played such intellectuallystimulating games as Quarters, Mexican Dice and everyone’s favorite, Pass-Out,which usually resulted from the aforementioned two.” The Halloween partypictured above would have taken place within sixteen weeks of the allegedassault, which Blasey claims happened in the Summer of ’82, after her sophomoreyear. 10th gradeseems to have been a ritual initiation into the “Holton party scene”. Anothersophomore girl threw multiple all night benders, the highlight of whichfeatured a male erotic dancer in gold g-string: [SCRIBE 84, pgs. 144-145,looking back on Blasey’s sophomore & junior years ] 1982 was a particularlywild year and Scribe 82 published multiple pictures of minors drinking heavily,beer cans stacked up, liquor repeatedly glorified, " boys, beer and “the ‘Zoo’ atmosphere”. The caption on the right side of theimage mocks the faculty and parents, “Come on, you’re really too young to drink.” [Scribe 82] [Scribe 82] Numerous passages in theyearbooks discuss the drunken keg parties held while parents were away fromhome: [Scribe 84] Scribe 83 joyfully recallspartying with the boys from Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh’s high school. Theeditors captioned a collage of alcohol themed photos as follows: “In case you weren’t into the Holton party scene,here is a brief glimpse at one of the calmer get-togethers.” FACULTY APPROVED RACSIM AT HOLTON-ARMS Another disturbing aspectof these yearbooks is evidence of overt racism therein. I debated long and hardas to whether to include the following pages. But it’s important that we closelyexamine the privileged Holton-Arms culture while Christine Blasey was a studentthere. Seeing such insensitiveracism in action at this prestigious girls academy, attended by mostly whiterich girls, provides context of the very privileged attitude exhibited by theHolton-Arms all female student body. That the Holton girls got these yearbooksapproved by faculty and paid for by their parents shows just how powerful theywere in their own right at such a young age. And the fact thatHolton-Arms had these yearbooks scrubbed from the web - just as ChristineBlasey Ford came forward with her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh - proves thatthey still know how to dominate. In doing so, they prevented the nation fromweighing relevant facts. This is why I have chosen to include the followingugliness in the report. The image below is takenfrom Scribe 84, Blasey’s senior year edition of Scribe. There are two verydisturbing examples of racism in it. Bottom right hand corner: “At Cheryl’s multi-class party…[Redacted name]came as an uncanny Buckwheat, although she washed the makeup and afro offbefore the guys showed up.” [Scribe 84, pg. 150] You may be thinking thatit was just one mean girl being insensitive, not reflective of the greaterHolton-Arms society at large. But when we expand the page the caption was takenfrom, at the top is a black girl with an afro. This is one of the very fewimages found in those yearbooks featuring an African-American. It does not seemlike a coincidence, but rather a probative example of Holton culture. [Scribe 84, pg. 150] Now scan the previouscaption from pg.150 of Scribe 84, this time down the left side. The editorsdiscuss a house party where, “we were confronted by…a pair of veiledterrorists, [two redacted names], were the guns real or did you just want toget served first?” Then turn back to pg.148, where the two Holton girls are pictured in makeshift burqas, holdingautomatic pistols: [Scribe 84, pg. 148] Also note that at thebottom of the caption above, the girls mention their male conquests with greatpride: “No longer confining ourselves to the walls of Landonand Prep, we plunged into the waters of St. John and Gonzaga with muchsuccess.” FACULTY APPROVED SEXUAL PROMISCUITY Scribe 82, pg. 260,shows racy images, including three minors dressed provocatively as Playboybunnies. The caption states: “Beach week culminated the year for those of uslucky enough to go. With school and our minds in temporary recess, we were ableto release all those troubling inhibitions of the past year. While dancing inthe middle of coastal Highway, Ann [redacted last name] and friends picked upsome men who passed out in their apartment…” Read the whole page. Ithas some weird Hitler jokes as well. [Scribe 82, pg. 260] Now we turn to the finalsentiments from Scribe 84, Chrissy Blasey’s senior year at Holton-Arms. Page 261gives the parting sentiment of her six-year Holton experience. There are tworelevant quotes. The first characterizes the senior girls as sexual predatorsupon younger boys: “Other seniors preferred to expand their horizonsand date younger men, usually sophomores, who could bring the vitality andfreshness of innocence to a relationship.” The Holton girls clearlyportray themselves as the sexual predators here. LET’S TALK ABOUT MEMORY In conclusion, pleaselook again at the page above. In the final passage, the joy of passing out andforgetting everything you did the night before is praised: “And there were always parties to celebrate anyoccasion. Although these parties are no doubt unforgettable, they are only amemory lapse for most, since loss of consciousness is often an integral part ofthe party scene.” _______________________________________________ Published September 19, 2018 by CULT OF THE 1STAMENDMENT.
What Kanye Said After the 'SNL' Cameras Turned Off | Complex
Kanye West had a lot more to say after the cameras shut off for the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.
Kanye West ended 'SNL' with a rant about Trump, the Sunken Place, and potentially running for president in 2020.
"You want to see the sunken place? Ok, I'ma listen to y'all now. I'll put my superman cape on 'cause this means, you can't tell me what to do," Kanye said. "Follow your heart and stop following your mind. That's how we're controlled. That's how we're programmed. If we want the world to move forward, try love. Thank y'all for giving me this platform, I know some of y'all don't agree." The rapper was then cut off.
This isn't the first time Kanye's talked about running for head of state before, however, it is the first time he's mentioned it since Trump has been in office.
Kanye also performed "I Love It," with Lil Pump, and a new song with Teyana Taylor called "We Got Love."
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4 Ways Fred Trump Made Donald Trump and His Siblings Rich - The New York Times
In Donald J. Trump's version of how he got rich, he was the master dealmaker who parlayed an initial $1 million loan from his father into a $10 billion empire. It was his guts and gumption that overcame setbacks, and his father, Fred C. Trump, was simply a cheerleader.
But an investigation by The New York Times shows that by age 3, Donald Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars from his father's empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after he graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father. The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s.
In all, financial records reveal, Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father's real estate empire.
Here are four ways that Fred Trump made his children rich.
Replay with audio
Additional production Russ Buettner, Brad Fisher, Tim Wallace, Grant Gold and Greg Chen for The New York Times
Fred Trump made his son not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, consultant and banker.
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Additional production by Susanne Craig, Brad Fisher, Tim Wallace, Grant Gold and Greg Chen for The New York Times
Fred Trump provided money for Donald Trump's car, money for his employees, money to buy stocks, money for his first Manhattan offices and money to renovate those offices. He gave him shares in multiple partnerships. He gave him $10,000 Christmas checks. He gave him laundry revenue from his buildings. He also gave him trust funds that were used to transfer a majority of Fred Trump's empire to Donald Trump and his living siblings.
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Additional production by Grant Gold, Greg Chen and Jamie Collazo for The New York Times
The biggest payday Donald Trump ever got from his father came long after Fred Trump's death. It happened quietly, without the usual Trumpian news conference, on May 4, 2004, when Donald Trump and his siblings sold off the empire their father had spent 70 years assembling with the dream that it would never leave his family.
Donald Trump's cut: $177.3 million, or $236.2 million in today's dollars.
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Additional production by Natalie Reneau, Aaron Byrd, Brad Fisher, Andy Mills and Grant Gold
Christine Blasey Ford Ran Mass ''Hypnotic Inductions'' of Psychiatric Subjects as Part of Mind Control Research
In another stunning bombshell about the hoax accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, we've now learned and confirmed that Christine Blasey Ford co-authored a science paper that involves her carrying out mass ''hypnotic inductions'' of psychiatric subjects as part of a mind control program that cites methods to ''create artificial situations.''
Internet sleuths are turning up an extraordinary collection of evidence that increasingly points to Christine Blasey Ford being involved in mind control programs at Stanford, which some claim are run by the CIA. We have confirmed that Stanford University, where Ford works, runs a ''CIA undergraduate internship program'' which is described in full at this Stanford.edu recruitment page for the CIA. The Stanford recruitment page for the CIA explains, ''You will be given the opportunity to work with highly-skilled professionals and see first-hand the role the CIA plays in supporting US officials who make our country's foreign policy.''
We can also now confirm that Ford is listed as a co-author of a study that carried out mass hypnosis and mind control on psychiatric subjects under the banner of ''psychoeducation,'' covered in more detail below.
A university professor named Margot Cleveland first tweeted the discovery, which is now spreading rapidly across the 'net:
BREAKING: This is HUGE (waiting for permission to h/t): One of Christine Ford Blasey's research articles in 2008 included a study in which participants were TAUGHT SELF-HYPNOSIS & noted hypnosis is used to retrieve important memories "AND CREATE ARTIFICAL SITUATIONS." pic.twitter.com/11n1JVnArM
'-- Margot Cleveland (@ProfMJCleveland) October 1, 2018
Christine Blasey Ford confirmed to be a co-author of the mind control study
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The study title, abstract and authors can be confirmed at this link.
Interestingly, the study was funded by the Mental Insight Foundation (see detailed financial records, below) and was overseen by Dr. Lisa Butler of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. You can confirm these facts at this link.
The full text of the research paper describes methods to ''create artificial situations.'' Here's some of the actual language from the paper, which can be viewed in full at this link from Academia.edu.
'...assist in the retrieval of important memories,and create arti?cial situations that would permit the client to express ego-dystonic emotions in a safe manner.
[Subjects] were given the Hypnotic Induction Pro?le (HIP; H. Spiegel & Spiegel, 2004) to evaluate their level of hypnotizability and were asked to complete a baseline packet of psychosocial questionnaires assessing life events, general functioning, satisfaction with life, and aspects of mood (including symptom levels), personality, health, social support, traumatic experience, and spirituality.
Therapist-led groups met once a week in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine to participate in an intervention that included either meditation and yoga exercises or group therapy with formal hypnotic inductions.
From this published paper, co-authored by Christine Blasey Ford, we know she is intimately familiar with mass hypnosis, self-hypnosis and mind alteration processes, all of which are being deployed in this staged ''false flag'' assault on Brett Kavanaugh. Through carefully crafted leaks, cover-ups and media narratives, almost half the nation has already been mass hypnotized into believing that an innocent man is a deranged serial rapist. Such is the power of CIA mind control, deployed on a nationwide scale. (It also underscores the realization that the entire purpose of the establishment media is not to inform people but to influence minds.)
The Mental Insight Foundation also funded a study on ''Interoception'' and ''neuroimaging'' to control the mind through biological intervention
If you venture even deeper down this rabbit hole, you find that the same Mental Insight Foundation that funded the mass hypnosis / mind control study on which Christine Ford work also helped fund another study called ''Interoception and Mental Health: A Roadmap.''
This study, completed in June of this year (2018), is available at this ScienceDirect link.
The abstract for this study describes the key focus of the research:
Interoception refers to the process by which the nervous system senses, interprets, and integrates signals originating from within the body, providing a moment-by-moment mapping of the body's internal landscape across conscious and unconscious levels.
In essence, this research seeks to find ways to control the mind through biological interventions by exploiting the ''roadmap'' of biology / neuro links. When the full map of how the mind interprets internal biological is understood, it allows a kind of reverse engineering of the mind through interventions in the human subject. If this sounds familiar, recall the recent revelations about the projections of inner voices through sub-audible frequencies that can essentially ''plant'' voices or even emotional moods into the minds of targeted subjects.It is well known that U.S. embassy workers in Cuba were recently attacked by secret ''sonic weapons'' that were widely reported in the media. As The Guardian reports, the level of mind control achieved through such biological interventions can cause targeted subjects to be unable to recall specific words that would otherwise be in their vocabulary. The Guardian says:
At least some of the incidents were confined to certain rooms with laser-like specificity, and some victims now have problems recalling specific words'...
The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he'd walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.
Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba.
Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds '' loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas.
Other symptoms have included brain swelling, dizziness, nausea, severe headaches, balance problems and tinnitus, or prolonged ringing in the ears.
Getting back to Christine Blasey Ford's work on interoception / neuroimaging, the paper funded by the Mental Insight Foundation openly admits that the neuroimaging ''roadmap'' can alter decisions, behavior and even consciousness. It explains, ''Recent years have witnessed a surge of interest on the topic of interoception due in part to findings highlighting its integral role in emotional experience, self-regulation, decision making, and consciousness. Importantly, interoception is not limited to conscious perception or even unique to the human species.''
Some other interesting text from the study:
While interoception research to date has typically focused on single organ systems, an expanded approach that assesses multiple interoceptive organ systems and/or elements is needed. Examples include targeting numerous interoceptive features simultaneously and employing different tasks that converge on the same feature (e.g., combining top-down assessments of interoceptive attention with bottom-up perturbation approaches in the same individual)'...
'...a host of novel tools are capable of inhibiting, stimulating, or modulating the activity of interoceptive brain networks. Noninvasive methods include the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (77), transcranial direct and alternating current stimulation (78), low-intensity focused ultrasound (79), temporally interfering electric fields (80), transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (81), presentation of information during different phases of visceral rhythms (e.g., cardiac systole vs. diastole) (82), and assessment of corticocardiac signaling (83).
Take a closer look at these diagrams found in the research, which details methods of ''changing the world through exteroactions'' and ''changing the body through interoactions'' in order to create ''combined percept of the body in the world.''
The study openly discusses altering behavior and beliefs through the application of neurotechnology ''inference-control loops'' that ''hijack'' human anatomy to control minds. In essence, they are modeling the neurology of a human being in terms of firmware / software / hardware, then hacking the system to install their own desired beliefs and behaviors. They even call it ''computational psychosomatics,'' and they talk about using torture techniques to force the neurological maps out into the open, saying, ''the degree of tolerance to being enclosed in a small dark chamber for 10 minutes might provide behavioral evidence verifying tolerance to triggers of interoceptive dysregulation.''
In the language of the science authors:
Eliciting surprise-minimizing (homeostasis-restoring) actions changes the bodily state and thus interosensations. This means that inference and control of bodily states form a closed loop. Inference''control loops that minimize interoceptive surprise can be cast as hierarchical Bayesian models (HBMs). Anatomically, HBMs are plausible candidates given that interoceptive circuitry is structured hierarchically 45, 94. Under general assumptions, HBMs employ a small set of computational quantities'--predictions, prediction errors, and precisions 37, 95. These quantities can support surprise minimization in two ways: by adjusting beliefs (probability distributions) throughout the hierarchy [predictive coding (95)] or engaging actions that fulfill beliefs about bodily states [active inference (96)]
Additional details about the Mental Insight Foundation
We are not alleging any nefarious, unethical or illegal activities on the part of the Mental Insight Foundation. However, to help other internet researchers follow the many leads now uncovered in all this, we're publishing public information about this foundation that's readily available in online public tax documents.
The Mental Insight Foundation took in a whopping $18+ million in 2015, according to tax records. Its address is 538 BROADWAY STE A, SONOMA, CA 95476-6602, which appears to be a single family house.
That address is the exact same address listed by Virginia Hubbell Associates, a small firm that says it offers ''consulting services for family foundations.'' Its client list, found here, includes not only the Mental Insight Foundation but also:
Codding EnterprisesLevi Strauss FoundationMcKesson FoundationPeat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.The Public Affairs CouncilSparkletts/Alhambra Water CompanyScience Alliance
Most of the clients appear to be genuinely helpful organizations for society, but they're probably worth a second look from internet researchers. Notably, the Levi Strauss company recently came out in favor of destroying the Second Amendment by pushing gun control.
What's especially interesting is that Virginia Hubbell Associates was paid $341,375 in just one year for ''foundation management'' services, according to this form 990-PF for 2015.
''Statement 11'' of the document lists the officers, directors, trustees and key employees of the Mental Insight Foundation. Notably, they are all paid nothing except for the treasurer. In other words, most of the directors are paid nothing, but the management consultant is paid $341K. We are not alleging any unscrupulous activities among these individuals. They are public officers of a public foundation, listed in a public document. These individuals are:
David Herskovits of Brooklyn, NYRobert P. Bunje of Foster City, CAIsabelle Kimpton of Incline Village, NVGraham Kimpton of Fairfax, CABarry Bunshoft of San Francisco, CALen Dell'Amico of Fairfax, CAJennifer Catherine Egan of Brooklyn, NYLaura Kimpton of Vineburg, CAKay Kimpton Walker of San Francisco, CA
If you're noticing a lot of ''Kimpton'' names in this list, that's probably because one of the primary sources of income for the Mental Insight Foundation is the Kimpton Hotel Group, LLC, which generated $2.3 million in revenue for the foundation in 2015. There's nothing illegal about that. It's just an interesting note.
The foundation donated money to the following groups. We're not alleging anything nefarious in this list, by the way. Rather, these are leads for other internet researchers to follow. Many of the groups this foundation donates to appear to be related to offering support for veterans, the homeless and integrative medicine:
Hoffman Institute, San Anselmo, CAAmazon Watch, San Francisco, CACenter for Mind Body Medicine, Washington, DCInstitute for Integrative Health, Baltimore, MDJericho Project, Brisbane, CASpirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
More research under way'... check back for more stories each morning and evening.
Is The FBI Investigation A Set Up Of Judge Kavanaugh
5 Oddities Of Everyday Language That Leave Experts Baffled | Cracked.com
And here's the thing: Just like the boss's son, if dummy pronouns went away tomorrow, it wouldn't affect productivity at all. That's what makes dummy pronouns so, well, dumb. They're completely unnecessary. Plenty of other language have figured this out and dropped them entirely. Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Turkish speakers all learned eons ago that saying "raining" is just as effective as saying "it's raining," or that you can just say "lot of people outside the cafe" without anything being lost. In fact, if you verbally say "lot of people outside the cafe" in English, it also sounds fine.
There's no reason English has arbitrarily decided to keep hanging on to dummy pronouns. They serve absolutely no purpose, we'd get by equally fine without them, and they keep spending company funds on cocaine.
How We Even Learn Language At All
This sounds nuts, but one of the least-understood elements of any language is how we acquire it. The human faculty for language is untouched by any other species, yet, as in the case of the intervocalic alveolar flapping in the introduction up there, humans are absolute dogshit at explicitly knowing the rules of their own language. So how do we teach our kids how to speak? Do we even teach kids to speak, or is this a Maybelline situation, where they're just born with it? Short answer: We don't know. Long answer: We have some theories.
Noam Chomsky argues that language is innate and comes pre-loaded into the brain, so when your kid arrives, you can just switch 'em on and they'll have the framework to learn whatever it is you're speaking. On the other end of the spectrum is the idea that we are born blank slates, and that every single thing we know about language is imparted to us by our parents and teachers -- otherwise known as linguistic empiricism. But there are some major flaws with both of those.
If humans were born with absolutely no preexisting framework for language, there's no way we would learn language as quickly as we do. The going rate for human fluency is that by three years, all healthy children are saying sentences that are grammatically correct 90 percent of time. There's no way we get these just by what our parents have taught us. Have you met most parents? Absolute shitshows. On the other hand, the idea that babies are born pre-loaded with software like an iPhone seems equally weird, although there are more supporting arguments to that than you'd think.
For example, all children, regardless of the language they're speaking, learn it in similar stages. Meaning that at one year, a child has a vocabulary of about 50 words, regardless of whether those words are Chinese, Greek, Tagalog, or English. At a year and a half, those same kids can differentiate between nouns and verbs. A rate of acquisition that quick can't simply be explained by good parenting, and this universal process is even more granular than that.
When it comes to pairs of opposites (long versus short, deep versus shallow, big versus little), studies show that children universally learn what's called the "positive member" before they learn the "negative member." Therefore, children know the concept of "long" before "short," "deep" before "shallow," and "big" before "little." For something that specific to be applicable in all languages across the globe, you know there has to be some degree of underlying framework at play. But obviously, that framework isn't complete, because if taken to the extreme, that would mean a Chinese baby adopted by Spanish-speaking parents would end up speaking Mandarin, since it's what they gestated with.
So yeah, if you want a new subject to bitterly argue with strangers about, study languages.
English too hard? Want to learn a new language? Try picking up one with Rosetta Stone.
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For more, check out 6 Language Tricks Your Brain Falls For Every Time and 6 Insane Prejudices People Have Based On How You Talk.
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It's a (Russian) trap! Negative tweets about The Last Jedi movie were Russian bots - report '-- RT US News
A new report analyzing online reaction to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie has identified an interesting and questionable culprit behind some of the negative tweets posted about the film: Russian bots and trolls.
In a paper titled ''Weaponizing The Haters,'' researcher Morten Bay looked into ''the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation'' and examined the online response to the Last Jedi movie, which received notoriously mixed reaction from the Star Wars fanbase.
But the negative reaction apparently was not simply the result of some fans enjoying the movie while others were less enthused. No, no. That would be far too straightforward. Indeed, Bay suggests that at least some of the negative reaction may have been fake news '-- and that the Russians could be partly behind it. In the report, Bay claims to have found ''evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments''.
Serious Study: Kremlin conspiracy to ''propagate widespread discord and dysfunction in American society'' by'--are you ready?'--tweeting out negative reviews of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The Alex Jones Force is strong here https://t.co/FafLhOm2Am
'-- Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) October 2, 2018Now, if you're wondering why Russia would care about the Twitter reaction to a Star Wars movie, you're probably not alone '-- but Bay has some thoughts on that. The ''likely objective'' of these kinds of political measures against Star Wars would be to increase the media coverage of the ''fandom conflict'' thereby ''further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society''.
Bay claims that persuading American voters that such dysfunction exists in society is a ''strategic goal'' for the the alt-right movement and the Russian Federation, he claims.
The paper categorizes the negative reaction to the movie into three sections: people with a political agenda, trolls and ''real fantagonists'' '-- the phrase Bay uses to refer to real Star Wars fans which were genuinely disappointed by the movie, but don't have a political agenda.
He found that more than 50 percent of the negative tweets about the movie were ''likely politically motivated'' or perhaps ''not even human'' (Wookie, Twi'lek?) '-- and that only 21.9 percent of the tweets about the movie overall were negative. But of those negative reactions, ''a number'' of them ''appear to be Russian trolls,'' Bay writes.
Bay also says that rather than any new effort by the Lucasfilm production company to politicize the franchise, it is likely the ''the polarization of the Trump era'' that has politicized the fan reaction to the more recent films. ''The divisive political discourse of the study period and the months leading up to it, has likely primed these fans with a particular type of political messaging that is in direct conflict with the values presented in The Last Jedi,'' he writes.
Last Jedi director Rian Johnson tweeted that he was looking forward to reading the paper, but said so far ''what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online.''
A bit of Morten's research came out awhile ago and made some headlines - here's his full paper. Looking forward to reading it, but what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online. https://t.co/MTRgmPxGgZ
'-- Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) October 1, 2018Russian ''bots'' were also out to have their say on Star Wars last year, launching a ''coordinated effort'' (according to Johnson) to ensure that the villainous General Armitage Hux survived in the Last Jedi movie.
The reality was a little less sinister, however. It turned out that it was real people rather than bots who wanted to save Hux, with one of them telling RT they were simply determined to keep the character played by Domhnall Gleeson ''for the entire trilogy''.
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Amsterdam's Plea to Tourists: Visit, but Please Behave Yourselves - The New York Times
Image Prostitutes behind display windows in Amsterdam's overcrowded red-light district. Credit Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times AMSTERDAM '-- It's not a problem many vacation destinations spend much effort worrying about or money trying to fix: the wrong kind of tourist.
But that is the challenge increasingly faced by Amsterdam, where visitor numbers have shot up more than 60 percent in the past decade, bolstered by low-cost flights, cheap accommodation and the ease of traveling across open European borders.
With its centuries-old canals, vibrant historic center and flourishing art scene, Amsterdam takes pride in its cultural riches. But there is a growing perception that some who come to the city are more interested in less high-minded pursuits '-- namely, marijuana and prostitution, both of which are largely legal '-- and may be doing more harm than good.
Other destinations have struggled under the sheer weight of visitors: the Galpagos Islands; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Venice have all expressed concern about ''overtourism,'' with technology, including apps like Airbnb, often cited as a driver of the problem.
Image A reveler on a stag night in the Dutch capital. City officials have introduced measures '-- including on-the-spot fines for public urination and drunkenness '-- to try to improve the behavior of visitors. Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times But in Amsterdam, it's not just the number of tourists that pose a problem. It's how they behave.
Officials are trying to address the issue. Femke Halsema, the new mayor, visited the red-light district in the De Wallen section of the city in July, the month after she took office. Soon after, her administration announced a set of measures intended to curb misconduct.
They include on-the-spot collection of fines as high as 140 euros, or about $165, for public urination, drunkenness or excessive noise (enforcement agents will be equipped with hand-held devices to take card payments); rigorous street cleaning; and the hiring of additional ''hosts,'' or security workers in orange T-shirts, who are trained to give information and remind people of the rules, which include no drinking in the streets and no photographing prostitutes.
Perhaps most important, the city is also betting on a marketing campaign to persuade visitors to respect the city and its rules.
Iain Mills, a 24-year-old Briton who recently traveled to Amsterdam with a group of friends, is the sort of visitor the city wants to reach. Having taken a low-cost flight leaving midmorning from London, Mr. Mills was enjoying a beer on a canal-side terrace by early afternoon.
The convenience of the trip was just one of the attractions, he said. ''It's not my first time in Amsterdam and won't be my last,'' he added.
Image The Amsterdam government is trying to tackle a new kind of problem: too many tourists. Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times Mascha ten Bruggencate, a city administrator who has been tasked with carrying out the new policies, said there was an obvious place to start. ''The red-light district is symbolic of the problem,'' she said.
On a recent Saturday night, Stoofsteeg, an alley in the district lined by red-lighted windows, was so crowded with tourists gawking at the women on show that walking 50 yards or so took at least 15 minutes of pushing and shuffling. A couple with a stroller gave up after a few minutes.
Last year, 20 million tourists visited Amsterdam. During the busiest times of the weekend, as many as 6,000 visitors can pass through that alley '-- or attempt to '-- every hour, according to city estimates.
Residents have complained that there are not enough police officers to guarantee everyone's safety, and that De Wallen is now so overcrowded that ambulances have a difficult time reaching the injured or ill. Arre Zuurmond, the city's ombudsman, described the scene as a lawless urban jungle, in an interview with the newspaper Trouw published in July. The prostitutes complain that the throngs of tourists deter paying customers.
Pim van Burk, 33, a corporate headhunter who lives above one of the brothels in the area, said that the noise did not bother him but that the crowds could make it difficult to get home. He said he had tried to solve the problem by installing a second bell on his bike. ''That way, people think it's more than one bike behind them,'' he explained.
Image ''The red-light district is symbolic of the problem,'' one city official said. Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times The city has taken aim at the red-light district before, notably with a decade-long urban development plan, called 1012, after the area's postal code. The gentrification project, which concluded this year, included closing more than 100 brothels and dozens of coffee shops (where cannabis can be bought), and trying to bring different kinds of businesses to the area.
Critics say that the 1012 plan has had unwanted side effects: By shrinking the red-light district, the city has effectively given the area over to characterless shops selling tacky souvenirs or refreshments.
''First it was the fight against prostitution, sex shops and coffee shops, and now it has changed to banning shops catering to tourists: ice-cream stores, even cheese stores,'' Ms. ten Bruggencate said.
Several measures to improve the experience of visiting Amsterdam were put in place starting in 2016, when the city first recognized that the tourist avalanche had downsides. Riding the unwieldy, multiple-person beer bikes (a kind of pub on wheels) into the city center was prohibited, and a deal was struck with Airbnb to collect tourism taxes. The authorities also tried to limit the number of tourist buses parked in the center of the city.
But the latest efforts go further. As well as the fines and increased presence of city workers on the streets, the ad campaign targets British and Dutch men ages 18 to 34. Those groups tend to visit the city to party, and they are a big part of the crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.
Image The morning after the night before in the red-light district. An ad campaign is trying to persuade visitors to respect the city and its rules. Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times The ads use annotated images to remind visitors that drinking and singing loudly are perfectly legal in bars but will incur hefty fines if done in the street. Likewise, they promise to hit the pockets of those engaging in obnoxious behavior, such as public urination and littering.
''We don't want to wag our finger at them, knowing this will be countereffective,'' said Camiel Verhey, who is in charge of the campaign at the ad agency WaveMaker. ''We just want to show them how to enjoy the freedom on offer.''
Most of the ads have been placed online, focusing on sites where would-be visitors book flights, look for accommodation or check the weather. The campaign also uses Facebook and Instagram ads. And geotagging technology '-- which uses GPS to show a cellphone user's location '-- helps push the messages to groups as they make their way to the city center.
The young men that the campaign is trying to reach tend to be on a tight budget, and city officials are hoping that reminders about the stiff fines and on-the-spot enforcement will help improve their behavior.
The city is also supporting a more low-tech approach, called ''I live here,'' a movement organized by residents who meet with tourists, run poster campaigns and generally try to raise awareness that not everyone who comes to De Wallen is there to drink and party.
''Sometime it is as simple as tourists not realizing that real people live here,'' said Edwin Sch¶lvinck, an organizer of the group and longtime resident of De Wallen.
And while he acknowledged that some of the tourists needed to behave better, he said he did not want them to go away completely. ''I like tourists, I like people coming here to have fun,'' he said.
Follow Christopher F. Schuetze on Twitter: @CFSchuetze.
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The American Civil War '-- Part II | The Seattle Times
Our divisions now feel worse than the divisions over Vietnam and civil rights because there were three huge forces holding us together back then that are missing today: a growing middle class, the Cold War and a sane Republican Party.
I began my journalism career covering a civil war in Lebanon. I never thought I would end my career covering a civil war in America.
We may not be there yet, but if we do not turn around now, we will surely get where we are going '-- which was best described by Sen. Jeff Flake on Monday: ''Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act.''
Sure, we have experienced bouts of intense social strife since the American Civil War of 1861. I grew up with the assassination of Martin Luther King and raging street battles over civil rights and Vietnam. And yet this moment feels worse '-- much less violent, blessedly, but much more broadly divisive. There is a deep breakdown happening between us, between us and our institutions and between us and our president.
We can't find common ground on which to respectfully disagree; the other side is ''the enemy.'' We shout at each other on television, unfollow each other on Facebook and fire verbal mortars at each other on Twitter '-- and now everyone is on the digital battlefield, not just politicians.
Across the land, before dinner parties or block parties, the refrain ''I hope none of them will be there'' is uttered with increasing frequency, referring no longer to people of another race or religion '-- bad enough '-- but to people from a different political party.
And nothing is sacred. Judge Brett Kavanaugh defended himself the other day with the kind of nasty partisan attacks and ugly conspiracy theories that you would expect only from a talk-radio host '-- never from a would-be justice of the Supreme Court. Who can expect fairness from him now?
And this fracturing is all happening with a soaring stock market and falling unemployment. Can you imagine what it will be like when we face the next recession?
This also feels worse than the divisions over Vietnam and civil rights because there were three huge forces holding us together back then that are missing today: a growing middle class, the Cold War and a sane Republican Party.
For much of the period after World War II, most Americans were sure that they would be in the middle class and that their kids would follow. Strong unions, a slower pace of technological change and only limited globalization meant an average worker, with middle skills, could be middle class. There was something called a ''high-wage, middle-skilled job.''
Also, the fact that the Soviets held a nuclear gun to our heads meant we had to stick together to some degree. It made compromise in Washington a necessity, not a luxury, on many issues.
But in the early 2000s, most high-wage, middle-skilled jobs disappeared. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job and a low-wage, low-skilled job. And that has fractured the middle class and left a lot of people behind. The end of the Cold War has meant that no foreign enemy cements us together anymore, save for a brief period after 9/11. And the Republican Party has lost its way.
That is why our generation's civil war is so hard to bring to a truce. There are so many fronts. There is the battle between those who feel the American dream has slipped from their grasp and those who can easily pass it on to their kids. There is the one between rural small-town Americans and ''globalized'' city slickers, who, the small-town folks are sure, look down upon them. There is the fight between the white working-class Americans who feel that their identities are being lost in an increasingly minority-majority country and the Americans who embrace multiculturalism. And there is the struggle between men who believe that their gender still confers certain powers and privileges and the women challenging that. There are so many fields of dispute.
And not only have we lost the buffers and cushions we once had, but a generation of leaders has come along, led by Donald Trump, who have made fueling our divisions their business model.
In essence, we have moved from ''partisanship,'' which still allowed for political compromises in the end, to ''tribalism,'' which does not, explained political scientist Norman Ornstein, co-author, with Thomas Mann, of the book ''It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.'' In a tribal world it is rule or die, compromise is a sin, enemies must be crushed and power must be held at all costs.
It would be easy to blame both sides equally for this shift, noted Ornstein, but it is just not true. After the end of the Cold War, he said, ''tribal politics were introduced by Newt Gingrich when he came to Congress 40 years ago,'' and then perfected by Mitch McConnell during the Barack Obama presidency, when McConnell declared his intention to use his RepublicanSenate caucus to make Obama fail as a strategy for getting Republicans back in power.
They did this even though that meant scuttling Obama's health care plan, which was based on Republican ideas, and even though that meant scuttling long-held Republican principles '-- like fiscal discipline, a strong Atlantic alliance, distrust of Russian intentions and a balanced approach to immigration '-- to attract Trump's base.
Flake, the departing Arizona Republican, called this out this week: ''We Republicans have given in to the terrible tribal impulse that first mistakes our opponents for our enemies. And then we become seized with the conviction that we must destroy that enemy.''
The shift in the Republican Party to tribalism culminated with McConnell denying Obama his constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court justice with almost a year left in Obama's term. As NPR reported: ''Supreme Court picks have often been controversial. There have been contentious hearings and floor debates and contested votes. But to ignore the nominee entirely, as if no vacancy existed? There was no precedent for such an action since the period around the Civil War.''
In a speech in August 2016, McConnell boasted: ''One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, 'Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.'''
That was a turning point. That was cheating. What McConnell did broke something very big. Now Democrats will surely be tempted to do the same when they get the power to do so, and that is how a great system of government, built on constitutional checks and balances, strong institutions and basic norms of decency, unravels.
My friend retired Marine Col. Mark Mykleby stopped by for a chat after the Kavanaugh hearing last week, and as we bemoaned this moment, he remarked: ''When I walked out of the Pentagon after 28 years in uniform, I never thought I'd say this, but what is going on politically in America today is a far graver threat than any our nation faced during my career, including the Soviet Union. And it's because this threat is here and now, right at home, and it's coming from within us. I guess the irony of being a great nation is the only power who can bring you down is yourself.''
When I look at all the people today who are propelling their political careers and fattening their wallets by dividing us, I cannot help but wonder: Do these people go home at night to some offshore island where none of this matters? Do these people really think their kids aren't going to pay for the venom they sell and spread? Don't worry, I know the answer: They aren't thinking and they aren't going to stop it.
What stops it? When a majority of Americans, who are still center-left and center-right, come together and vote only for lawmakers who have the courage to demand a stop to it '-- now, right now, not just when they are leaving office or on their deathbeds.
Wasted : Mark Gauvreau Judge : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Om te voorkomen dat er in de toekomst een grote groep pensioneerden met geldproblemen komt te zitten, zouden alle werkenden automatisch aanvullend pensioen moeten opbouwen.
Daarvoor pleit het Nationaal Instituut voor Budgetvoorlichting (Nibud). De maatregel zou ook voor zelfstandigen zonder personeel (zzp'ers) moeten gaan gelden.Het Nibud voorziet in de toekomst een groeiende groep gepensioneerden die moeite heeft met rondkomen. Het instituut wijst erop dat het voor de consument moeilijk is om vooruit te kijken en geld voor later apart te zetten.
Financin na pensioenVerder blijkt volgens de instantie uit diverse onderzoeken dat veel mensen niet uit zichzelf actief aan de slag gaan met hun financile situatie na pensionering.
Op dit moment komt een derde van de gepensioneerden moeilijk rond, aldus het Nibud. Van de voormalig zelfstandigen komt 44 procent moeilijk rond. Bij mensen die een scheiding achter de rug hebben, ligt dit percentage nog hoger.
Gepensioneerden met zorgHet Nibud maakt zich verder zorgen over gepensioneerden die zorg nodig hebben. Met name de lage inkomens hebben weinig ruimte om zorguitgaven te betalen. Verder denkt het Nibud dat het verstandig is als iedere Nederlander om de vijf jaar inzicht en toelichting krijgt in zijn inkomsten en uitgaven na pensionering.
Het pensioenadvies zou door werkgevers, pensioenfondsen en organisaties voor zelfstandigen, zoals de Kamer van Koophandel, mogelijk kunnen worden gemaakt.
Zzp'ers in de grote steden
Saving means non-refundable, non-cancer patients in panic | Interior | Telegraaf.nl
Het kostbare middel nivolumab, waarop zij al hun hoop hebben gevestigd, is door zorgverzekeraars doorgestreept als mogelijk te vergoeden zorg. Patinten en hun naasten zijn in paniek, melanoom-behandelaars verbijsterd.
Het besluit volgt na een negatief advies van een commissie van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Medische Oncologie (NVMO). Die vindt dat er onvoldoende ervaring is met dit medicament: twee in plaats van vijf jaar. Nivolumab zou bij melanoom worden ingezet na operatieve verwijdering van de tumor. Het medicijn zou terugkeer van de ziekte met circa 20 procent kunnen verkleinen.
Patinten zijn diep bedroefd. 'Ik weet niet of ik er over een paar jaar nog wel ben. De kansen die ik kreeg om het melanoom op mijn linkerschouder te overleven, zijn mij plotseling uit handen geslagen'', zegt de 29-jarige Madelief.
Artsen verbijsterdChirurg-oncoloog dr. Alexander van Akkooi van het kankercentrum Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (AVL) in Amsterdam noemt nivolumab 'heel effectief'. Hij moest 25 patinten plots 'nee' vertellen. 'Eigenlijk een vreselijke boodschap, die niet alleen ik aan mijn patinten heb moeten geven, maar al mijn collega's in het hele land. Ze zijn hier, net als ik, verbijsterd over.'' De afwijzende NVMO-commissie vindt dat artsen in hun spreekkamer 'wellicht tegenover hun patinten enthousiasme hebben getoond dat zij niet hebben kunnen waarmaken'.
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
Uitschrijven kan met 1 klik
Kent State's 'West Side Story' canceled after complaints about 'incorrect' race castings - The College Fix
The Kent State School of Theatre and Dance has chosen to cancel its production of ''West Side Story'' due to some students remaining dissatisfied with the production's casting decisions.
Theater major Bridgett Martinez, of Puerto Rican heritage, apparently thought her ethnic background alone would get her the play's lead role of Maria. She was disappointed that she was cast as Maria's understudy, reports KentWired.com, but got really upset upon seeing the full cast list.
''I was just blown away because it was not correct at all,'' she said.
''Not correct'' means several non-Latino students had gotten traditional ''Latino'' roles in the classic musical, including the leads.
Another theater major, Viviana Cardenas, was irked a role she wanted had gone to a black student.
''I don't get to tell other people's stories because of the color of my skin, but yet when there is this story that is about people of cultures like me, about people of color like me, and that gets taken away from me '... that was the most heartbreaking,'' she said.
And check it: Cardenas said she thought the chosen cast was ''based only on talent'' (emphasis added).
What a silly notion, that!
From the story:
The numerous concerns about the cast list led Eric van Baars, the director of the School of Theatre and Dance, to hold a town hall-style meeting in the E. Turner Stump Theatre on Sept. 4.
''I felt it was important that as a school we come together and talk about it '... and come to some sort of decision to do next,'' van Baars said.
He said he heard in the meeting ''the strength and the courage that came forward from many different voices in support of one another, in support of arts as an agency for change and in support of doing the right thing for the right reason.''
Representatives from the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion helped facilitate the discussion. Faculty members who attended included Terri Kent, the director of the musical theater program and ''West Side Story.'' '...
Van Baars eventually opted to cancel the show and picked ''Children of Eden'' as its replacement, as he did not feel it was the right place or time for the school to continue with ''West Side Story.''
''Telling a different story right now '... that maybe has a message of more hope and positivity moving forward,'' he said of his decision to select ''Children of Eden.''
Cardenas said she hopes the whole ''West Side'' squabble ''will lead to more progressive diversity efforts in the school for the future.''
For her part, Martinez advocated for a ''person of color'' to be ''in the room all the time'' when production decisions are made (auditions, callbacks, cast list) because, she said, ''we should have someone on our side.''
Read the full article.
MORE: Casting of white actors causes furor at Central Washington U.
MORE: Play canceled because whites might be cast as Asians
IMAGE: Denis Film/Shutterstock.com
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NKorea said to have stolen a fortune in online bank heists
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- North Korea's nuclear and missile tests have stopped, but its hacking operations to gather intelligence and raise funds for the sanction-strapped government in Pyongyang may be gathering steam.
U.S. security firm FireEye raised the alarm Wednesday over a North Korean group that it says has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars by infiltrating the computer systems of banks around the world since 2014 through highly sophisticated and destructive attacks that have spanned at least 11 countries. It says the group is still operating and poses "an active global threat."
It is part of a wider pattern of malicious state-backed cyber activity that has led the Trump administration to identify North Korea '-- along with Russia, Iran and China '-- as one of the main online threats facing the United States. Last month, the Justice Department charged a North Korean hacker said to have conspired in devastating cyberattacks, including an $81 million heist of Bangladesh's central bank and the WannaCry virus that crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of the use of malware by Hidden Cobra, the U.S. government's byword for North Korea hackers, in fraudulent ATM cash withdrawals from banks in Asia and Africa. It said that Hidden Cobra was behind the theft of tens of millions of dollars from teller machines in the past two years. In one incident this year, cash had been simultaneously withdrawn from ATMs in 23 different countries, it said.
North Korea, which prohibits access to the world wide web for virtually all its people, has previously denied involvement in cyberattacks, and attribution for such attacks is rarely made with absolute certainty. It is typically based on technical indicators such as the Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses that identify computers and characteristics of the coding used in malware, which is the software a hacker may use to damage or disable computers.
But other cybersecurity experts tell The Associated Press that they also see continued signs that North Korea's authoritarian government, which has a long track record of criminality to raise cash, is conducting malign activity online. That activity includes targeting of financial institutions and crypto-currency-related organizations, as well as spying on its adversaries, despite the easing of tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
"The reality is they are starved for cash and are continuing to try and generate revenue, at least until sanctions are diminished," said Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike. "At the same time, they won't abate in intelligence collection operations, as they continue to negotiate and test the international community's resolve and test what the boundaries are."
CrowdStrike says it has detected continuing North Korean cyber intrusions in the past two months, including the use of a known malware against a potentially broad set of targets in South Korea, and a new variant of malware against users of mobile devices that use a Linux-based operating system.
This activity has been taking place against the backdrop of a dramatic diplomatic shift as Kim Jong Un has opened up to the world. He has held summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and with President Donald Trump, who hopes to persuade Kim to relinquish the nuclear weapons that pose a potential threat to the U.S. homeland. Tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula have dropped and fears of war with the U.S. have ebbed. Trump this weekend will dispatch his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, to Pyongyang for the fourth time this year to make progress on denuclearization.
But North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, so there's been no let-up in sanctions that have been imposed to deprive it of fuel and revenue for its weapons programs, and to block it from bulk cash transfers and accessing to the international banking system.
FireEye says APT38, the name it gives to the hacking group dedicated to bank theft, has emerged and stepped up its operations since February 2014 as the economic vise on North Korea has tightened in response to its nuclear and missile tests. Initial operations targeted financial institutions in Southeast Asia, where North Korea had experience in money laundering, but then expanded into other regions such as Latin America and Africa, and then extended to Europe and North America.
In all, FireEye says APT38 has attempted to steal $1.1 billion, and based on the data it can confirm, has gotten away with hundreds of millions in dollars. It has used malware to insert fraudulent transactions in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT system that is used to transfer money between banks. Its biggest heist to date was $81 million stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh in February 2016. The funds were wired to bank accounts established with fake identities in the Philippines. After the funds were withdrawn they were suspected to have been laundered in casinos.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank, said in a report Wednesday that North Korea's cyber capabilities provide an alternative means for challenging its adversaries. While Kim's hereditary regime appears to prioritize currency generation, attacks using the SWIFT system raise concerns that North Korean hackers "may become more proficient at manipulating the data and systems that undergird the global financial system," it says.
Sandra Joyce, FireEye's head of global intelligence, said that while APT38 is a criminal operation, it leverages the skills and technology of a state-backed espionage campaign, allowing it to infiltrate multiple banks at once and figure how to extract funds. On average, it dwells in a bank's computer network for 155 days to learn about its systems before it tries to steal anything. And when it finally pounces, it uses aggressive malware to wreak havoc and cover its tracks.
"We see this as a consistent effort, before, during and after any diplomatic efforts by the United States and the international community," said Joyce, describing North Korea as being "undeterred" and urging the U.S. government to provide more specific threat information to financial institutions about APT38's modus operandi. APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat.
The Silicon Valley-based company says it is aware of continuing, suspected APT38 operations against other banks. The most recent attack it is publicly attributing to APT38 was against of Chile's biggest commercial banks, Banco de Chile, in May this year. The bank has said a hacking operation robbed it of $10 million.
FireEye, which is staffed with a roster of former military and law-enforcement cyberexperts, conducted malware analysis for a criminal indictment by the Justice Department last month against Park Jin Hyok, the first time a hacker said to be from North Korea has faced U.S. criminal charges. He's accused of conspiring in a number of devastating cyberattacks: the Bangladesh heist and other attempts to steal more than $1 billion from financial institutions around the world; the 2014 breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and the WannaCry ransomware virus that in 2017 infected computers in 150 countries.
Blasey Ford's Lawyers: The FBI Didn't Interview Her. The Investigation Doesn't Count. | Daily Wire
On Wednesday night, the attorneys for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser of Judge Brett Kavanaugh who testified in front of the Judiciary Committee, complained that because the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh conducted this week did not include an interview with her, the FBI investigation did not constitute a real investigation. In addition, they hilariously said that witnesses who corroborated her testimony (?) were not interviewed.
This, of course, was all too predictable; the attackers of Judge Kavanaugh have moved the goalposts numerous times to prevent the judge from gaining confirmation to the Supreme Court.
One might think the attorneys would be genuinely concerned about any inquiry the FBI might make into Ford's own story, since her ex-boyfriend has stated that she did, in fact, communicate with someone as to how to take a lie detector test and Ford testified under oath that she had never done any such thing.
Not only that, but just what corroborating witnesses are they talking about?
Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father - The New York Times
President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.
Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.
But The Times's investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father's real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.
Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents' real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.
These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president's parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.
The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.
The president declined repeated requests over several weeks to comment for this article. But a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Charles J. Harder, provided a written statement on Monday, one day after The Times sent a detailed description of its findings. ''The New York Times's allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,'' Mr. Harder said. ''There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.''
Mr. Harder sought to distance Mr. Trump from the tax strategies used by his family, saying the president had delegated those tasks to relatives and tax professionals. ''President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,'' he said. ''The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.''
[Read the full statement]
The president's brother, Robert Trump, issued a statement on behalf of the Trump family:
''Our dear father, Fred C. Trump, passed away in June 1999. Our beloved mother, Mary Anne Trump, passed away in August 2000. All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid. Our father's estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother's estate was closed in 2004. Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago, and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls.''
The Times's findings raise new questions about Mr. Trump's refusal to release his income tax returns, breaking with decades of practice by past presidents. According to tax experts, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump would be vulnerable to criminal prosecution for helping his parents evade taxes, because the acts happened too long ago and are past the statute of limitations. There is no time limit, however, on civil fines for tax fraud.
The findings are based on interviews with Fred Trump's former employees and advisers and more than 100,000 pages of documents describing the inner workings and immense profitability of his empire. They include documents culled from public sources '-- mortgages and deeds, probate records, financial disclosure reports, regulatory records and civil court files.
The investigation also draws on tens of thousands of pages of confidential records '-- bank statements, financial audits, accounting ledgers, cash disbursement reports, invoices and canceled checks. Most notably, the documents include more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump, his companies and various Trump partnerships and trusts. While the records do not include the president's personal tax returns and reveal little about his recent business dealings at home and abroad, dozens of corporate, partnership and trust tax returns offer the first public accounting of the income he received for decades from various family enterprises.
[11 takeaways from The Times's investigation]
What emerges from this body of evidence is a financial biography of the 45th president fundamentally at odds with the story Mr. Trump has sold in his books, his TV shows and his political life. In Mr. Trump's version of how he got rich, he was the master dealmaker who broke free of his father's ''tiny'' outer-borough operation and parlayed a single $1 million loan from his father (''I had to pay him back with interest!'') into a $10 billion empire that would slap the Trump name on hotels, high-rises, casinos, airlines and golf courses the world over. In Mr. Trump's version, it was always his guts and gumption that overcame setbacks. Fred Trump was simply a cheerleader.
''I built what I built myself,'' Mr. Trump has said, a narrative that was long amplified by often-credulous coverage from news organizations, including The Times.
Certainly a handful of journalists and biographers, notably Wayne Barrett, Gwenda Blair, David Cay Johnston and Timothy L. O'Brien, have challenged this story, especially the claim of being worth $10 billion. They described how Mr. Trump piggybacked off his father's banking connections to gain a foothold in Manhattan real estate. They poked holes in his go-to talking point about the $1 million loan, citing evidence that he actually got $14 million. They told how Fred Trump once helped his son make a bond payment on an Atlantic City casino by buying $3.5 million in casino chips.
But The Times's investigation of the Trump family's finances is unprecedented in scope and precision, offering the first comprehensive look at the inherited fortune and tax dodges that guaranteed Donald J. Trump a gilded life. The reporting makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump's life, his finances were deeply intertwined with, and dependent on, his father's wealth.
By age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars from his father's empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after Mr. Trump graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father. The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s.
Fred Trump's real estate empire was not just scores of apartment buildings. It was also a mountain of cash, tens of millions of dollars in profits building up inside his businesses, banking records show. In one six-year span, from 1988 through 1993, Fred Trump reported $109.7 million in total income, now equivalent to $210.7 million. It was not unusual for tens of millions in Treasury bills and certificates of deposit to flow through his personal bank accounts each month.
Fred Trump was relentless and creative in finding ways to channel this wealth to his children. He made Donald not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant. He gave him loan after loan, many never repaid. He provided money for his car, money for his employees, money to buy stocks, money for his first Manhattan offices and money to renovate those offices. He gave him three trust funds. He gave him shares in multiple partnerships. He gave him $10,000 Christmas checks. He gave him laundry revenue from his buildings.
Much of his giving was structured to sidestep gift and inheritance taxes using methods tax experts described to The Times as improper or possibly illegal. Although Fred Trump became wealthy with help from federal housing subsidies, he insisted that it was manifestly unfair for the government to tax his fortune as it passed to his children. When he was in his 80s and beginning to slide into dementia, evading gift and estate taxes became a family affair, with Donald Trump playing a crucial role, interviews and newly obtained documents show.
The line between legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion is often murky, and it is constantly being stretched by inventive tax lawyers. There is no shortage of clever tax avoidance tricks that have been blessed by either the courts or the I.R.S. itself. The richest Americans almost never pay anything close to full freight. But tax experts briefed on The Times's findings said the Trumps appeared to have done more than exploit legal loopholes. They said the conduct described here represented a pattern of deception and obfuscation, particularly about the value of Fred Trump's real estate, that repeatedly prevented the I.R.S. from taxing large transfers of wealth to his children.
''The theme I see here through all of this is valuations: They play around with valuations in extreme ways,'' said Lee-Ford Tritt, a University of Florida law professor and a leading expert in gift and estate tax law. ''There are dramatic fluctuations depending on their purpose.''
The manipulation of values to evade taxes was central to one of the most important financial events in Donald Trump's life. In an episode never before revealed, Mr. Trump and his siblings gained ownership of most of their father's empire on Nov. 22, 1997, a year and a half before Fred Trump's death. Critical to the complex transaction was the value put on the real estate. The lower its value, the lower the gift taxes. The Trumps dodged hundreds of millions in gift taxes by submitting tax returns that grossly undervalued the properties, claiming they were worth just $41.4 million.
The same set of buildings would be sold off over the next decade for more than 16 times that amount.
The most overt fraud was All County Building Supply & Maintenance, a company formed by the Trump family in 1992. All County's ostensible purpose was to be the purchasing agent for Fred Trump's buildings, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. It did no such thing, records and interviews show. Instead All County siphoned millions of dollars from Fred Trump's empire by simply marking up purchases already made by his employees. Those millions, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County's owners '-- Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin. Fred Trump then used the padded All County receipts to justify bigger rent increases for thousands of tenants.
After this article was published on Tuesday, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said the agency was ''reviewing the allegations'' and ''vigorously pursuing all appropriate areas of investigation.''
All told, The Times documented 295 streams of revenue that Fred Trump created over five decades to enrich his son. In most cases his four other children benefited equally. But over time, as Donald Trump careened from one financial disaster to the next, his father found ways to give him substantially more money, records show. Even so, in 1990, according to previously secret depositions, Mr. Trump tried to have his father's will rewritten in a way that Fred Trump, alarmed and angered, feared could result in his empire's being used to bail out his son's failing businesses.
Of course, the story of how Donald Trump got rich cannot be reduced to handouts from his father. Before he became president, his singular achievement was building the brand of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire, a brand so potent it generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue through TV shows, books and licensing deals.
Constructing that image required more than Fred Trump's money. Just as important were his son's preternatural marketing skills and always-be-closing competitive hustle. While Fred Trump helped finance the accouterments of wealth, Donald Trump, master self-promoter, spun them into a seductive narrative. Fred Trump's money, for example, helped build Trump Tower, the talisman of privilege that established his son as a major player in New York. But Donald Trump recognized and exploited the iconic power of Trump Tower as a primary stage for both ''The Apprentice'' and his presidential campaign.
The biggest payday he ever got from his father came long after Fred Trump's death. It happened quietly, without the usual Trumpian news conference, on May 4, 2004, when Mr. Trump and his siblings sold off the empire their father had spent 70 years assembling with the dream that it would never leave his family.
Donald Trump's cut: $177.3 million, or $236.2 million in today's dollars.
Replay with audio
By Gabriel J.X. Dance, Natalie Reneau, Aaron Byrd, Brad Fisher, Andy Mills and Grant Gold By Gabriel J.X. Dance, Natalie Reneau, Aaron Byrd, Brad Fisher, Andy Mills and Grant Gold
Early experience, cultivated connections and a wave of federal housing subsidies helped Fred Trump lay the foundation of his son's wealth.
Before he turned 20, Fred Trump had already built and sold his first home. At age 35, he was building hundreds of houses a year in Brooklyn and Queens. By 45, he was building some of the biggest apartment complexes in the country.
Aside from an astonishing work ethic '-- ''Sleeping is a waste of time,'' he liked to say '-- the growth reflected his shrewd application of mass-production techniques. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle called him ''the Henry Ford of the home-building industry.'' He would erect scaffolding a city block long so his masons, sometimes working a second shift under floodlights, could throw up a dozen rowhouses in a week. They sold for about $115,000 in today's dollars.
By 1940, American Builder magazine was taking notice, devoting a spread to Fred Trump under the headline ''Biggest One-Man Building Show.'' The article described a swaggering lone-wolf character who paid for everything '-- wages, supplies, land '-- from a thick wad of cash he carried at all times, and whose only help was a secretary answering the phone in an office barely bigger than a parking space. ''He is his own purchasing agent, cashier, paymaster, building superintendent, construction engineer and sales director,'' the article said.
It wasn't that simple. Fred Trump had also spent years ingratiating himself with Brooklyn's Democratic machine, giving money, doing favors and making the sort of friends (like Abraham D. Beame, a future mayor) who could make life easier for a developer. He had also assembled a phalanx of plugged-in real estate lawyers, property appraisers and tax accountants who protected his interests.
All these traits '-- deep experience, nimbleness, connections, a relentless focus on the efficient construction of homes for the middle class '-- positioned him perfectly to ride a growing wave of federal spending on housing. The wave took shape with the New Deal, grew during the World War II rush to build military housing and crested with the postwar imperative to provide homes for returning G.I.s. Fred Trump would become a millionaire many times over by making himself one of the nation's largest recipients of cheap government-backed building loans, according to Gwenda Blair's book ''The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President.''
Those same loans became the wellspring of Donald Trump's wealth. In the late 1940s, Fred Trump obtained roughly $26 million in federal loans to build two of his largest developments, Beach Haven Apartments, near Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Shore Haven Apartments, a few miles away. Then he set about making his children his landlords.
Replay with audio
By Gabriel J.X. Dance, Russ Buettner, Brad Fisher, Tim Wallace, Grant Gold and Greg Chen for The New York Times By Gabriel J.X. Dance, Russ Buettner, Brad Fisher, Tim Wallace, Grant Gold and Greg Chen for The New York Times
As ground lease payments fattened his children's trusts, Fred Trump embarked on a far bigger transfer of wealth. Records obtained by The Times reveal how he began to build or buy apartment buildings in Brooklyn and Queens and then gradually, without public trace, transfer ownership to his children through a web of partnerships and corporations. In all, Fred Trump put up nearly $13 million in cash and mortgage debt to create a mini-empire within his empire '-- eight buildings with 1,032 apartments '-- that he would transfer to his children.
The handover began just before Donald Trump's 16th birthday. On June 1, 1962, Fred Trump transferred a plot of land in Queens to a newly created corporation. While he would be its president, his children would be its owners, records show. Then he constructed a 52-unit building called Clyde Hall.
It was easy money for the Trump children. Their father took care of everything. He bought the land, built the apartments and obtained the mortgages. His employees managed the building. The profits, meanwhile, went to his children. By the early 1970s, Fred Trump would execute similar transfers of the other seven buildings.
For Donald Trump, this meant a rapidly growing new source of income. When he was in high school, his cut of the profits was about $17,000 a year in today's dollars. His share exceeded $300,000 a year soon after he graduated from college.
How Fred Trump transferred 1,032 apartments to his children without incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift taxes is unclear. A review of property records for the eight buildings turned up no evidence that his children bought them outright. Financial records obtained by The Times reveal only that all of the shares in the partnerships and corporations set up to create the mini-empire shifted at some point from Fred Trump to his children. Yet his tax returns show he paid no gift taxes on seven of the buildings, and only a few thousand dollars on the eighth.
That building, Sunnyside Towers, a 158-unit property in Queens, illustrates Fred Trump's catch-me-if-you-can approach with the I.R.S., which had repeatedly cited him for underpaying taxes in the 1950s and 1960s.
Sunnyside was bought for $2.5 million in 1968 by Midland Associates, a partnership Fred Trump formed with his children for the transaction. In his 1969 tax return, he reported giving each child Fred Trump's 1969 federal gift tax return Read document 15 percent of Midland Associates. Based on the amount of cash put up to buy Sunnyside, the value of this gift should have been $93,750. Instead, he declared a gift of only $6,516.
Donald Trump went to work for his father after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. His father made him vice president of dozens of companies. This was also the moment Fred Trump telegraphed what had become painfully obvious to his family and employees: He did not consider his eldest son, Fred Trump Jr., a viable heir apparent.
Fred Jr., seven and a half years older than Donald, had also worked for his father after college. It did not go well, relatives and former employees said in interviews. Fred Trump openly ridiculed him for being too nice, too soft, too lazy, too fond of drink. He frowned on his interests in flying and music, could not fathom why he cared so little for the family business. Donald, witness to his father's deepening disappointment, fashioned himself Fred Jr.'s opposite '-- the brash tough guy with a killer instinct. His reward was to inherit his father's dynastic dreams.
Fred Trump began taking steps that enriched Donald alone, introducing him to the charms of building with cheap government loans. In 1972, father and son formed a partnership to build a high-rise for the elderly in East Orange, N.J. Thanks to government subsidies, the partnership got a nearly interest-free $7.8 million loan that covered 90 percent of construction costs. Fred Trump paid the rest.
But his son received most of the financial benefits, records show. On top of profit distributions and consulting fees, Donald Trump was paid to manage the building, though Fred Trump's employees handled day-to-day management. He also pocketed what tenants paid to rent air-conditioners. By 1975, Donald Trump's take from the building was today's equivalent of nearly $305,000 a year.
Fred Trump also gave his son an extra boost through his investment, in the early 1970s, in the sprawling Starrett City development in Brooklyn, the largest federally subsidized housing project in the nation. The investment, which promised to generate huge tax write-offs, was tailor-made for Fred Trump; he would use Starrett City's losses to avoid taxes on profits from his empire.
Fred Trump invested $5 million. A separate partnership established for his children invested $1 million more, showering tax breaks on the Trump children for decades to come. They helped Donald Trump avoid paying any federal income taxes at all in 1978 and 1979. But Fred Trump also deputized him to sell a sliver of his Starrett City shares, a sweetheart deal that generated today's equivalent of more than $1 million in ''consulting fees.''
The money from consulting and management fees, ground leases, the mini-empire and his salary all combined to make Donald Trump indisputably wealthy years before he sold his first Manhattan apartment. By 1975, when he was 29, he had collected nearly $9 million in today's dollars from his father, The Times found.
Wealthy, yes. But a far cry from the image father and son craved for Donald Trump.
Fred Trump would play a crucial role in building and carefully maintaining the myth of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire.
''He is tall, lean and blond, with dazzling white teeth, and he looks ever so much like Robert Redford. He rides around town in a chauffeured silver Cadillac with his initials, DJT, on the plates. He dates slinky fashion models, belongs to the most elegant clubs and, at only 30 years of age, estimates that he is worth 'more than $200 million.'''
So began a Nov. 1, 1976, article in The Times, one of the first major profiles of Donald Trump and a cornerstone of decades of mythmaking about his wealth. How could he claim to be worth more than $200 million when, as he divulged years later to casino regulators, his 1976 taxable income was $24,594? Donald Trump simply appropriated his father's entire empire as his own.
In the chauffeured Cadillac, Donald Trump took The Times's reporter on a tour of what he called his ''jobs.'' He told her about the Manhattan hotel he planned to convert into a Grand Hyatt (his father guaranteed the construction loan), and the Hudson River railroad yards he planned to develop (the rights were purchased by his father's company). He showed her ''our philanthropic endeavor,'' the high-rise for the elderly in East Orange (bankrolled by his father), and an apartment complex on Staten Island (owned by his father), and their ''flagship,'' Trump Village, in Brooklyn (owned by his father), and finally Beach Haven Apartments (owned by his father). Even the Cadillac was leased by his father.
''So far,'' he boasted, ''I've never made a bad deal.''
It was a spectacular con, right down to the priceless moment when Mr. Trump confessed that he was ''publicity shy.'' By claiming his father's wealth as his own, Donald Trump transformed his place in the world. A brash 30-year-old playboy worth more than $200 million proved irresistible to New York City's bankers, politicians and journalists.
Yet for all the spin about cutting his own path in Manhattan, Donald Trump was increasingly dependent on his father. Weeks after The Times's profile ran, Fred Trump set up still more trusts for his children, seeding each with today's equivalent of $4.3 million. Even into the early 1980s, when he was already proclaiming himself one of America's richest men, Donald Trump remained on his father's payroll, drawing an annual salary of $260,000 in today's dollars.
Meanwhile, Fred Trump and his companies also began extending large loans and lines of credit to Donald Trump. Those loans dwarfed what the other Trumps got, the flow so constant at times that it was as if Donald Trump had his own Money Store. Consider 1979, when he borrowed Sampling of money Donald Trump borrowed from his father Read document $1.5 million in January, $65,000 in February, $122,000 in March, $150,000 in April, $192,000 in May, $226,000 in June, $2.4 million in July and $40,000 in August, according to records filed with New Jersey casino regulators.
In theory, the money had to be repaid. In practice, records show, many of the loans were more like gifts. Some were interest-free and had no repayment schedule. Even when loans charged interest, Donald Trump frequently skipped payments.
This previously unreported flood of loans highlights a clear pattern to Fred Trump's largess. When Donald Trump began expensive new projects, his father increased his help. In the late 1970s, when Donald Trump was converting the old Commodore Hotel into a Grand Hyatt, his father stepped up with a spigot of loans. Fred Trump did the same with Trump Tower in the early 1980s.
In the mid-1980s, as Donald Trump made his first forays into Atlantic City, Fred Trump devised a plan that sharply increased the flow of money to his son.
The plan involved the mini-empire '-- the eight buildings Fred Trump had transferred to his children. He converted seven of them into cooperatives, and helped his children convert the eighth. That meant inviting tenants to buy their apartments, generating a three-way windfall for Donald Trump and his siblings: from selling units, from renting unsold units and from collecting mortgage payments.
In 1982, Donald Trump made today's equivalent of about $380,000 from the eight buildings. As the conversions continued and Fred Trump's employees sold off more units, his son's share of profits jumped, records show. By 1987, with the conversions completed, his son was making today's equivalent of $4.5 million a year off the eight buildings.
Fred Trump made one other structural change to his empire that produced a big new source of revenue for Donald Trump and his siblings. He made them his bankers.
Replay with audio
By Gabriel J.X. Dance, Susanne Craig, Brad Fisher, Tim Wallace, Grant Gold, and Greg Chen for The New York Times By Gabriel J.X. Dance, Susanne Craig, Brad Fisher, Tim Wallace, Grant Gold, and Greg Chen for The New York Times
The Times could find no evidence that the Trump children had to come up with money of their own to buy their father's mortgages. Most were purchased from Fred Trump's banks by trusts and partnerships that he set up and seeded with money.
Co-op sales, mortgage payments, ground leases '-- Fred Trump was a master at finding ways to enrich his children in general and Donald Trump in particular. Some ways were like slow-moving creeks. Others were rushing streams. A few were geysers. But as the decades passed they all joined into one mighty river of money. By 1990, The Times found, Fred Trump, the ultimate silent partner, had quietly transferred today's equivalent of at least $46.2 million to his son.
Donald Trump took on a mien of invincibility. The stock market crashed in 1987 and the economy cratered. But he doubled down thanks in part to Fred Trump's banks, which eagerly extended credit to the young Trump princeling. He bought the Plaza Hotel in 1988 for $407.5 million. He bought Eastern Airlines in 1989 for $365 million and called it Trump Shuttle. His newest casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, would need at least $1 million a day just to cover its debt.
The skeptics who questioned the wisdom of this debt-fueled spending spree were drowned out by one magazine cover after another marveling at someone so young taking such breathtaking risks. But whatever Donald Trump was gambling, not for one second was he at risk of losing out on a lifetime of frictionless, effortless wealth. Fred Trump had that bet covered.
Bailouts, collateral, cash on hand '-- Fred Trump was prepared, and was not about to let bad bets sink his son.
As the 1980s ended, Donald Trump's big bets began to go bust. Trump Shuttle was failing to make loan payments within 15 months. The Plaza, drowning in debt, was bankrupt in four years. His Atlantic City casinos, also drowning in debt, tumbled one by one into bankruptcy.
What didn't fail was the Trump safety net. Just as Donald Trump's finances were crumbling, family partnerships and companies dramatically increased distributions to him and his siblings. Between 1989 and 1992, tax records show, four entities created by Fred Trump to support his children paid Donald Trump today's equivalent of $8.3 million.
Fred Trump's generosity also provided a crucial backstop when his son pleaded with bankers in 1990 for an emergency line of credit. With so many of his projects losing money, Donald Trump had few viable assets of his own making to pledge as collateral. What has never been publicly known is that he used his stakes in the mini-empire and the high-rise for the elderly in East Orange as collateral to help secure a $65 million loan.
Tax records also reveal that at the peak of Mr. Trump's financial distress, his father extracted extraordinary sums from his empire. In 1990, Fred Trump's income First two pages of Fred Trump's 1990 income tax return Read document exploded to $49,638,928 '-- several times what he paid himself in other years in that era.
Fred Trump, former employees say, detested taking unnecessary distributions from his companies because he would have to pay income taxes on them. So why would a penny-pinching, tax-hating 85-year-old in the twilight of his career abruptly pull so much money out of his cherished properties, incurring a tax bill of $12.2 million?
The Times found no evidence that Fred Trump made any significant debt payments or charitable donations. The frugality he brought to business carried over to the rest of his life. According to ledgers of his personal spending, he spent a grand total of $8,562 in 1991 and 1992 on travel and entertainment. His extravagances, such as they were, consisted of buying his wife the odd gift from Antonovich Furs or hosting family celebrations at the Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn. His home on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates, Queens, built with unfussy brick like so many of his apartment buildings, had little to distinguish it from neighboring houses beyond the white columns and crest framing the front door.
There are, however, indications that he wanted plenty of cash on hand to bail out his son if need be.
Such was the case with the rescue mission at his son's Trump's Castle casino. Donald Trump had wildly overspent on renovations, leaving the property dangerously low on operating cash. Sure enough, neither Trump's Castle nor its owner had the necessary funds to make an $18.4 million bond payment due in December 1990.
On Dec. 17, 1990, Fred Trump dispatched Howard Snyder, a trusted bookkeeper, to Atlantic City with a $3.35 million check. Mr. Snyder bought $3.35 million worth of casino chips and left without placing a bet. Apparently, even this infusion wasn't sufficient, because that same day Fred Trump wrote a second check to Trump's Castle, for $150,000, bank records show.
With this ruse '-- it was an illegal $3.5 million loan under New Jersey gaming laws, resulting in a $65,000 civil penalty '-- Donald Trump narrowly avoided defaulting on his bonds.
Both the son and the father were masters of manipulating the value of their assets, making them appear worth a lot or a little depending on their needs.
As the chip episode demonstrated, father and son were of one mind about rules and regulations, viewing them as annoyances to be finessed or, when necessary, ignored. As described by family members and associates in interviews and sworn testimony, theirs was an intimate, endless confederacy sealed by blood, shared secrets and a Hobbesian view of what it took to dominate and win. They talked almost daily and saw each other most weekends. Donald Trump sat at his father's right hand at family meals and participated in his father's monthly strategy sessions with his closest advisers. Fred Trump was a silent, watchful presence at many of Donald Trump's news conferences.
''I probably knew my father as well or better than anybody,'' Donald Trump said in a 2000 deposition.
They were both fluent in the language of half-truths and lies, interviews and records show. They both delighted in transgressing without getting caught. They were both wizards at manipulating the value of their assets, making them appear worth a lot or a little depending on their needs.
Those talents came in handy when Fred Trump Jr. died, on Sept. 26, 1981, at age 42 from complications of alcoholism, leaving a son and a daughter. The executors of his estate were his father and his brother Donald.
Fred Trump Jr.'s largest asset was his stake in seven of the eight buildings his father had transferred to his children. The Trumps would claim that those properties were worth $90.4 million when they finished converting them to cooperatives within a few years of his death. At that value, his stake could have generated an estate tax bill of nearly $10 million.
But the tax return signed by Donald Trump and his father claimed that Fred Trump Jr.'s estate owed just $737,861. This result was achieved by lowballing all seven buildings. Instead of valuing them at $90.4 million, Fred and Donald Trump submitted appraisals putting them at $13.2 million.
Emblematic of their audacity was Park Briar, a 150-unit building in Queens. As it happened, 18 days before Fred Trump Jr.'s death, the Trump siblings had submitted Park Briar's co-op conversion plan, stating under oath that the building was worth $17.1 million. Yet as Fred Trump Jr.'s executors, Donald Trump and his father claimed on the tax return that Park Briar was worth $2.9 million Park Briar valuation in Fred Trump Jr.'s will Read document when Fred Trump Jr. died.
This fantastical claim '-- that Park Briar should be taxed as if its value had fallen 83 percent in 18 days '-- slid past the I.R.S. with barely a protest. An auditor insisted the value should be increased by $100,000, to $3 million.
During the 1980s, Donald Trump became notorious for leaking word that he was taking positions in stocks, hinting of a possible takeover, and then either selling on the run-up or trying to extract lucrative concessions from the target company to make him go away. It was a form of stock manipulation with an unsavory label: ''greenmailing.'' The Times unearthed evidence that Mr. Trump enlisted his father as his greenmailing wingman.
On Jan. 26, 1989, Fred Trump bought 8,600 shares of Time Inc. for $934,854, his tax returns show. Seven days later, Dan Dorfman, a financial columnist known to be chatty with Donald Trump, broke the news that the younger Trump had ''taken a sizable stake'' in Time. Sure enough, Time's shares jumped, allowing Fred Trump to make a $41,614 profit in two weeks.
Later that year, Fred Trump bought $5 million worth of American Airlines stock. Based on the share price '-- $81.74 '-- it appears he made the purchase shortly before Mr. Dorfman reported that Donald Trump was taking a stake in the company. Within weeks, the stock was over $100 a share. Had Fred Trump sold then, he would have made a quick $1.3 million. But he didn't, and the stock sank amid skepticism about his son's history of hyped takeover attempts that fizzled. Fred Trump sold his shares for a $1.7 million loss in January 1990. A week later, Mr. Dorfman reported that Donald Trump had sold, too.
With other family members, Fred Trump could be cantankerous and cruel, according to sworn testimony by his relatives. ''This is the stupidest thing I ever heard of,'' he'd snap when someone disappointed him. He was different with his son Donald. He might chide him '-- ''Finish this job before you start that job,'' he'd counsel '-- but more often, he looked for ways to forgive and accommodate.
By 1987, for example, Donald Trump's loan debt to his father had grown to at least $11 million. Yet canceling the debt would have required Donald Trump to pay millions in taxes on the amount forgiven. Father and son found another solution, one never before disclosed, that appears to constitute both an unreported multimillion-dollar gift and a potentially illegal tax write-off.
In December 1987, records show, Fred Trump bought a 7.5 percent stake in Trump Palace, a 55-story condominium building his son was erecting on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Most, if not all, of his investment, which totaled $15.5 million, was made by exchanging his son's unpaid debts for Trump Palace shares, records show.
Four years later, in December 1991, Fred Trump sold his entire stake in Trump Palace Record of one of the Trump Palace investments Read document for just $10,000, his tax returns and financial statements reveal. Tax document showing most of the write-offs for the Trump Palace investments Read document Those documents do not identify who bought his stake. But other records indicate that he sold it back to his son.
Under state law, developers must file ''offering plans'' that identify to any potential condo buyer the project's sponsors '-- in other words, its owners. The Trump Palace offering plan, submitted in November 1989, identified two owners: Donald Trump and his father. But under the same law, if Fred Trump had sold his stake to a third party, Donald Trump would have been required to identify the new owner in an amended offering plan filed with the state attorney general's office. He did not do that, records show.
He did, however, sign a sworn affidavit a month after his father sold his stake. In the affidavit, submitted in a lawsuit over a Trump Palace contractor's unpaid bill, Donald Trump identified himself as ''the'' owner of Trump Palace.
Under I.R.S. rules, selling shares worth $15.5 million to your son for $10,000 is tantamount to giving him a $15.49 million taxable gift. Fred Trump reported no such gift.
According to tax experts, the only circumstance that would not have required Fred Trump to report a gift was if Trump Palace had been effectively bankrupt when he unloaded his shares.
Yet Trump Palace was far from bankrupt.
Property records show that condo sales there were brisk in 1991. Trump Palace sold 57 condos for $52.5 million '-- 94 percent of the total asking price for those units.
Donald Trump himself proclaimed Trump Palace ''the most financially secure condominium on the market today'' in advertisements he placed in 1991 to rebut criticism from buyers who complained that his business travails could drag down Trump Palace, too. In December, 17 days before his father sold his shares, he placed an ad vouching for the wisdom of investing in Trump Palace: ''Smart money says there has never been a better time.'' Advertisement for Trump Palace Read document
By failing to tell the I.R.S. about his $15.49 million gift to his son, Fred Trump evaded the 55 percent tax on gifts, saving about $8 million. At the same time, he declared to the I.R.S. that Trump Palace was almost a complete loss '-- that he had walked away from a $15.5 million investment with just $10,000 to show for it.
Federal tax law prohibits deducting any loss from the sale of property between members of the same family, because of the potential for abuse. Yet Fred Trump appears to have done exactly that, dodging roughly $5 million more in income taxes.
The partnership between Fred and Donald Trump was not simply about the pursuit of riches. At its heart lay a more ambitious project, executed to perfection over decades '-- to create that origin story, the myth of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire.
Donald Trump built the foundation for the myth in the 1970s by appropriating his father's empire as his own. By the late 1980s, instead of appropriating the empire, he was diminishing it. ''It wasn't a great business, it was a good business,'' he said, as if Fred Trump ran a chain of laundromats. Yes, he told interviewers, his father was a wonderful mentor, but given the limits of his business, the most he could manage was a $1 million loan, and even that had to be repaid with interest.
Through it all, Fred Trump played along. Never once did he publicly question his son's claim about the $1 million loan. ''Everything he touches seems to turn to gold,'' he told The Times for that first profile in 1976. ''He's gone way beyond me, absolutely,'' he said when The Times profiled his son again in 1983. But for all Fred Trump had done to build the myth of Donald Trump, Self-Made Billionaire, there was, it turned out, one line he would not allow his son to cross.
Donald Trump tried to change his ailing father's will, prompting a backlash '-- but also a recognition that plans had to be set in motion before Fred Trump died.
Fred Trump had given careful thought to what would become of his empire after he died, and had hired one of the nation's top estate lawyers to draft his will. But in December 1990, Donald Trump sent his father a document, drafted by one of his own lawyers, that sought to make significant changes to that will.
Fred Trump, then 85, had never before set eyes on the document, 12 pages of dense legalese. Nor had he authorized its preparation. Nor had he met the lawyer who drafted it.
Yet his son sent instructions that he needed to sign it immediately.
What happened next was described years later in sworn depositions by members of the Trump family during a dispute, later settled, over the inheritance Fred Trump left to Fred Jr.'s children. These depositions, obtained by The Times, reveal something startling: Fred Trump believed that the document potentially put his life's work at risk.
The document, known as a codicil, First page of codicil to Fred Trump's will Read document did many things. It protected Donald Trump's portion of the inheritance from his creditors and from his impending divorce settlement with his first wife, Ivana Trump. It strengthened provisions in the existing will making him the sole executor of his father's estate. But more than any of the particulars, it was the entirety of the codicil and its presentation as a fait accompli that alarmed Fred Trump, the depositions show. He confided to family members that he viewed the codicil as an attempt to go behind his back and give his son total control over his affairs. He said he feared that it could let Donald Trump denude his empire, even using it as collateral to rescue his failing businesses. (It was, in fact, the very month of the $3.5 million casino rescue.)
As close as they were '-- or perhaps because they were so close '-- Fred Trump did not immediately confront his son. Instead he turned to his daughter Maryanne Trump Barry, then a federal judge whom he often consulted on legal matters. ''This doesn't pass the smell test,'' he told her, she recalled during her deposition. When Judge Barry read the codicil, she reached the same conclusion. ''Donald was in precarious financial straits by his own admission,'' she said, ''and Dad was very concerned as a man who worked hard for his money and never wanted any of it to leave the family.'' (In a brief telephone interview, Judge Barry declined to comment.)
Fred Trump took prompt action to thwart his son. He dispatched his daughter to find new estate lawyers. One of them took notes on the instructions she passed on from her father: ''Protect assets from DJT, Donald's creditors.'' The lawyers quickly drafted a new codicil stripping Donald Trump of sole control over his father's estate. Fred Trump signed it immediately.
Clumsy as it was, Donald Trump's failed attempt to change his father's will brought a family reckoning about two related issues: Fred Trump's declining health and his reluctance to relinquish ownership of his empire. Surgeons had removed a neck tumor a few years earlier, and he would soon endure hip replacement surgery and be found to have mild senile dementia. Yet for all the financial support he had lavished on his children, for all his abhorrence of taxes, Fred Trump had stubbornly resisted his advisers' recommendations to transfer ownership of his empire to the children to minimize estate taxes.
With every passing year, the actuarial odds increased that Fred Trump would die owning apartment buildings worth many hundreds of millions of dollars, all of it exposed to the 55 percent estate tax. Just as exposed was the mountain of cash he was sitting on. His buildings, well maintained and carrying little debt, consistently produced millions of dollars a year in profits. Even after he paid himself $109.7 million from 1988 through 1993, his companies were holding $50 million in cash and investments, financial records show. Tens of millions of dollars more passed each month through a maze of personal accounts at Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, UBS, Bowery Savings and United Mizrahi, an Israeli bank.
Simply put, without immediate action, Fred Trump's heirs faced the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars to estate taxes.
Whatever their differences, the Trumps formulated a plan to avoid this fate. How they did it is a story never before told.
It is also a story in which Donald Trump played a central role. He took the lead in strategy sessions where the plan was devised with the consent and participation of his father and his father's closest advisers, people who attended the meetings told The Times. Robert Trump, the youngest sibling and the beta to Donald's alpha, was given the task of overseeing day-to-day details. After years of working for his brother, Robert Trump went to work for his father in late 1991.
The Trumps' plan, executed over the next decade, blended traditional techniques '-- such as rewriting Fred Trump's will to maximize tax avoidance '-- with unorthodox strategies that tax experts told The Times were legally dubious and, in some cases, appeared to be fraudulent. As a result, the Trump children would gain ownership of virtually all of their father's buildings without having to pay a penny of their own. They would turn the mountain of cash into a molehill of cash. And hundreds of millions of dollars that otherwise would have gone to the United States Treasury would instead go to Fred Trump's children.
A family company let Fred Trump funnel money to his children by effectively overcharging himself for repairs and improvements on his properties.
One of the first steps came on Aug. 13, 1992, when the Trumps incorporated a company named All County Building Supply & Maintenance. First page of All County incorporation papers Read document
All County had no corporate offices. Its address was the Manhasset, N.Y., home of John Walter, a favorite nephew of Fred Trump's. Mr. Walter, who died in January, spent decades working for Fred Trump, primarily helping computerize his payroll and billing systems. He also was the unofficial keeper of Fred Trump's personal and business papers, his basement crowded with boxes of old Trump financial records. John Walter and the four Trump children each owned 20 percent of All County, records show.
All County's main purpose, The Times found, was to enable Fred Trump to make large cash gifts to his children and disguise them as legitimate business transactions, thus evading the 55 percent tax.
The way it worked was remarkably simple.
Each year Fred Trump spent millions of dollars maintaining and improving his properties. Some of the vendors who supplied his building superintendents and maintenance crews had been cashing Fred Trump's checks for decades. Starting in August 1992, though, a different name began to appear on their checks '-- All County Building Supply & Maintenance.
Mr. Walter's computer systems, meanwhile, churned out All County invoices that billed Fred Trump's empire for those same services and supplies, with one difference: All County's invoices were padded, marked up by 20 percent, or 50 percent, or even more, records show.
The Trump siblings split the markup, along with Mr. Walter.
The self-dealing at the heart of this arrangement was best illustrated by Robert Trump, whose father paid him a $500,000 annual salary. He approved many of the payments Fred Trump's empire made to All County; he was also All County's chief executive, as well as a co-owner. Sampling of checks to All County from Fred Trump businesses, signed by Robert or Fred Trump Read document As for the work of All County '-- generating invoices '-- that fell to Mr. Walter, also on Fred Trump's payroll, along with a personal assistant Mr. Walter paid to work on his side businesses.
Years later, in his deposition during the dispute over Fred Trump's estate, Robert Trump would say that All County actually saved Fred Trump money by negotiating better deals. Given Fred Trump's long experience expertly squeezing better prices out of contractors, it was a surprising claim. It was also not true.
The Times's examination of thousands of pages of financial documents from Fred Trump's buildings shows that his costs shot up once All County entered the picture.
Beach Haven Apartments illustrates how this happened: In 1991 and 1992, Fred Trump bought 78 refrigerator-stove combinations for Beach Haven from Long Island Appliance Wholesalers. The average price was $642.69. But in 1993, when he began paying All County for refrigerator-stove combinations, the price jumped by 46 percent. Likewise, the price he paid for trash-compacting services at Beach Haven increased 64 percent. Janitorial supplies went up more than 100 percent. Plumbing repairs and supplies rose 122 percent. And on it went in building after building. The more Fred Trump paid, the more All County made, which was precisely the plan.
While All County systematically overcharged Fred Trump for thousands of items, the job of negotiating with vendors fell, as it always had, to Fred Trump and his staff.
Leon Eastmond can attest to this.
Mr. Eastmond is the owner of A. L. Eastmond & Sons, a Bronx company that makes industrial boilers. In 1993, he and Fred Trump met at Gargiulo's, an old-school Italian restaurant in Coney Island that was one of Fred Trump's favorites, to hash out the price of 60 boilers. Fred Trump, accompanied by his secretary and Robert Trump, drove a hard bargain. After negotiating a 10 percent discount, he made one last demand: ''I had to pay the tab,'' Mr. Eastmond recalled with a chuckle.
There was no mention of All County. Mr. Eastmond first heard of the company when its checks started rolling in. ''I remember opening my mail one day and out came a check for $100,000,'' he recalled. ''I didn't recognize the company. I didn't know who the hell they were.''
But as All County paid Mr. Eastmond the price negotiated by Fred Trump, its invoices to Fred Trump were padded by 20 to 25 percent, records obtained by The Times show. This added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the 60 boilers, money that then flowed through All County to Fred Trump's children without incurring any gift tax. All County purchase order and invoice Read document
All County's owners devised another ruse to profit off Mr. Eastmond's boilers. To win Fred Trump's business, Mr. Eastmond had also agreed to provide mobile boilers for Fred Trump's buildings free of charge while new boilers were being installed. Yet All County charged Fred Trump rent on the same mobile boilers Mr. Eastmond was providing free, along with hookup fees, disconnection fees, transportation fees and operating and maintenance fees, records show. These charges siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars more from Fred Trump's empire.
Mr. Walter, asked during a deposition why Fred Trump chose not to make himself one of All County's owners, replied, ''He said because he would have to pay a death tax on it.''
After being briefed on All County by The Times, Mr. Tritt, the University of Florida law professor, said the Trumps' use of the company was ''highly suspicious'' and could constitute criminal tax fraud. ''It certainly looks like a disguised gift,'' he said.
While All County was all upside for Donald Trump and his siblings, it had an insidious downside for Fred Trump's tenants.
As an owner of rent-stabilized buildings in New York, Fred Trump needed state approval to raise rents beyond the annual increases set by a government board. One way to justify a rent increase was to make a major capital improvement. It did not take much to get approval; an invoice or canceled check would do if the expense seemed reasonable.
The Trumps used the padded All County invoices to justify higher rent increases in Fred Trump's rent-regulated buildings. Fred Trump, according to Mr. Walter, saw All County as a way to have his cake and eat it, too. If he used his ''expert negotiating ability'' to buy a $350 refrigerator for $200, he could raise the rent based only on that $200, not on the $350 sticker price ''a normal person'' would pay, Mr. Walter explained. All County was the way around this problem. ''You have to understand the thinking that went behind this,'' he said.
As Robert Trump acknowledged in his deposition, ''The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.''
State records show that after All County's creation, the Trumps got approval to raise rents on thousands of apartments by claiming more than $30 million in major capital improvements. Tenants repeatedly protested the increases, almost always to no avail, the records show.
One of the improvements most often cited by the Trumps: new boilers.
''All of this smells like a crime,'' said Adam S. Kaufmann, a former chief of investigations for the Manhattan district attorney's office who is now a partner at the law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss. While the statute of limitations has long since lapsed, Mr. Kaufmann said the Trumps' use of All County would have warranted investigation for defrauding tenants, tax fraud and filing false documents.
Mr. Harder, the president's lawyer, disputed The Times's reporting: ''Should The Times state or imply that President Trump participated in fraud, tax evasion or any other crime, it will be exposing itself to substantial liability and damages for defamation.''
All County was not the only company the Trumps set up to drain cash from Fred Trump's empire. A lucrative income source for Fred Trump was the management fees he charged his buildings. His primary management company, Trump Management, earned $6.8 million in 1993 alone. First page of Trump Management's 1993 tax return Read document The Trumps found a way to redirect those fees to the children, too.
On Jan. 21, 1994, they created a company called Apartment Management Associates Inc., with a mailing address at Mr. Walter's Manhasset home. Two months later, records show, Apartment Management started collecting fees that had previously gone to Trump Management.
The only difference was that Donald Trump and his siblings owned Apartment Management.
Between All County and Apartment Management, Fred Trump's mountain of cash was rapidly dwindling. By 1998, records show, All County and Apartment Management were generating today's equivalent of $2.2 million a year for each of the Trump children. Distributions over a 17-month period reported by Maryanne Trump Barry in 1999 Read document Whatever income tax they owed on this money, it was considerably less than the 55 percent tax Fred Trump would have owed had he simply given each of them $2.2 million a year.
But these savings were trivial compared with those that would come when Fred Trump transferred his empire '-- the actual bricks and mortar '-- to his children.
The transfer of most of Fred Trump's empire to his children began with a 'friendly' appraisal and an incredible shrinking act.
In his 90th year, Fred Trump still showed up at work a few days a week, ever dapper in suit and tie. But he had trouble remembering names '-- his dementia was getting worse '-- and he could get confused. In May 1995, with an unsteady hand, he signed documents granting Robert Trump power of attorney Robert Trump granted power of attorney Read document to act ''in my name, place and stead.''
Six months later, on Nov. 22, the Trumps began transferring ownership of most of Fred Trump's empire. (A few properties were excluded.) The instrument they used to do this was a special type of trust with a clunky acronym only a tax lawyer could love: GRAT, short for grantor-retained annuity trust.
GRATs are one of the tax code's great gifts to the ultrawealthy. They let dynastic families like the Trumps pass wealth from one generation to the next '-- be it stocks, real estate, even art collections '-- without paying a dime of estate taxes.
The details are numbingly complex, but the mechanics are straightforward. For the Trumps, it meant putting half the properties to be transferred into a GRAT in Fred Trump's name and the other half into a GRAT in his wife's name. Then Fred and Mary Trump gave their children roughly two-thirds of the assets in their GRATs. The children bought the remaining third by making annuity payments to their parents over the next two years. By Nov. 22, 1997, it was done; the Trump children owned nearly all of Fred Trump's empire free and clear of estate taxes.
As for gift taxes, the Trumps found a way around those, too.
The entire transaction turned on one number: the market value of Fred Trump's empire. This determined the amount of gift taxes Fred and Mary Trump owed for the portion of the empire they gave to their children. It also determined the amount of annuity payments their children owed for the rest.
The I.R.S. recognizes that GRATs create powerful incentives to greatly undervalue assets, especially when those assets are not publicly traded stocks with transparent prices. Indeed, every $10 million reduction in the valuation of Fred Trump's empire would save the Trumps either $10 million in annuity payments or $5.5 million in gift taxes. This is why the I.R.S. requires families taking advantage of GRATs to submit independent appraisals and threatens penalties for those who lowball valuations.
In practice, though, gift tax returns get little scrutiny from the I.R.S. It is an open secret among tax practitioners that evasion of gift taxes is rampant and rarely prosecuted. Punishment, such as it is, usually consists of an auditor's requiring a tax payment closer to what should have been paid in the first place. ''GRATs are typically structured so that no tax is due, which means the I.R.S. has reduced incentive to audit them,'' said Mitchell Gans, a professor of tax law at Hofstra University. ''So if a gift is in fact undervalued, it may very well go unnoticed.''
This appears to be precisely what the Trumps were counting on. The Times found evidence that the Trumps dodged hundreds of millions of dollars in gift taxes by submitting tax returns that grossly undervalued the real estate assets they placed in Fred and Mary Trump's GRATs.
According to Fred Trump's 1995 gift tax return, obtained by The Times, the Trumps claimed that properties including 25 apartment complexes with 6,988 apartments '-- and twice the floor space of the Empire State Building '-- were worth just $41.4 million. Fred Trump's 1995 federal gift tax return Read document The implausibility of this claim would be made plain in 2004, when banks put a valuation of nearly $900 million on that same real estate.
The methods the Trumps used to pull off this incredible shrinking act were hatched in the strategy sessions Donald Trump participated in during the early 1990s, documents and interviews show. Their basic strategy had two components: Get what is widely known as a ''friendly'' appraisal of the empire's worth, then drive that number even lower by changing the ownership structure to make the empire look less valuable to the I.R.S.
A crucial step was finding a property appraiser attuned to their needs. As anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows, appraisers can arrive at sharply different valuations depending on their methods and assumptions. And like stock analysts, property appraisers have been known to massage those methods and assumptions in ways that coincide with their clients' interests.
The Trumps used Robert Von Ancken, a favorite of New York City's big real estate families. Over a 45-year career, Mr. Von Ancken has appraised many of the city's landmarks, including Rockefeller Center, the World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Donald Trump recruited him after Fred Trump Jr. died and the family needed friendly appraisals to help shield the estate from taxes.
Mr. Von Ancken appraised the 25 apartment complexes and other properties in the Trumps' GRATs and concluded that their total value was $93.9 million, tax records show.
To assess the accuracy of those valuations, The Times examined the prices paid for comparable apartment buildings that sold within a year of Mr. Von Ancken's appraisals. A pattern quickly emerged. Again and again, buildings in the same neighborhood as Trump buildings sold for two to four times as much per square foot as Mr. Von Ancken's appraisals, even when the buildings were decades older, had fewer amenities and smaller apartments, and were deemed less valuable by city property tax appraisers.
Mr. Von Ancken valued Argyle Hall, a six-story brick Trump building in Brooklyn, at $9.04 per square foot. Six blocks away, another six-story brick building, two decades older, had sold a few months earlier for nearly $30 per square foot. He valued Belcrest Hall, a Trump building in Queens, at $8.57 per square foot. A few blocks away, another six-story brick building, four decades older with apartments a third smaller, sold for $25.18 per square foot.
The pattern persisted with Fred Trump's higher-end buildings. Mr. Von Ancken appraised Lawrence Towers, a Trump building in Brooklyn with spacious balcony apartments, at $24.54 per square foot. A few months earlier, an apartment building abutting car repair shops a mile away, with units 20 percent smaller, had sold for $48.23 per square foot.
The Times found even starker discrepancies when comparing the GRAT appraisals against appraisals commissioned by the Trumps when they had an incentive to show the highest possible valuations.
Such was the case with Patio Gardens, a complex of nearly 500 apartments in Brooklyn.
Of all Fred Trump's properties, Patio Gardens was one of the least profitable, which may be why he decided to use it as a tax deduction. In 1992, he donated Patio Gardens to the National Kidney Foundation of New York/New Jersey, one of the largest charitable donations he ever made. The greater the value of Patio Gardens, the bigger his deduction. The appraisal cited in Fred Trump's 1992 tax return valued Patio Gardens at $34 million, or $61.90 a square foot.
By contrast, Mr. Von Ancken's GRAT appraisals found that the crown jewels of Fred Trump's empire, Beach Haven and Shore Haven, with five times as many apartments as Patio Gardens, were together worth just $23 million, or $11.01 per square foot.
In an interview, Mr. Von Ancken said that because neither he nor The Times had the working papers that described how he arrived at his valuations, there was simply no way to evaluate the methodologies behind his numbers. ''There would be explanations within the appraisals to justify all the values,'' he said, adding, ''Basically, when we prepare these things, we feel that these are going to be presented to the Internal Revenue Service for their review, and they better be right.''
Of all the GRAT appraisals Mr. Von Ancken did for the Trumps, the most startling was for 886 rental apartments in two buildings at Trump Village, a complex in Coney Island. Mr. Von Ancken claimed that they were worth less than nothing '-- negative $5.9 million, to be exact. These were the same 886 units that city tax assessors valued that same year at $38.1 million, and that a bank would value at $106.6 million in 2004.
It appears Mr. Von Ancken arrived at his negative valuation by departing from the methodology that he has repeatedly testified is most appropriate for properties like Trump Village, where past years' profits are a poor gauge of future value.
In 1992, the Trumps had removed the two Trump Village buildings from an affordable housing program so they could raise rents and increase their profits. But doing so cost them a property tax exemption, which temporarily put the buildings in the red. The methodology described by Mr. Von Ancken would have disregarded this blip into the red and valued the buildings based on the higher rents the Trumps would be charging. Mr. Von Ancken, however, appears to have based his valuation on the blip, producing an appraisal that, taken at face value, meant Fred Trump would have had to pay someone millions of dollars to take the property off his hands.
Mr. Von Ancken told The Times that he did not recall which appraisal method he used on the two Trump Village buildings. ''I can only say that we value the properties based on market information, and based on the expected income and expenses of the building and what they would sell for,'' he said. As for the enormous gaps between his valuation and the 1995 city property tax appraisal and the 2004 bank valuation, he argued that such comparisons were pointless. ''I can't say what happened afterwards,'' he said. ''Maybe they increased the income tremendously.''
To further whittle the empire's valuation, the family created the appearance that Fred Trump held only 49.8 percent.
Armed with Mr. Von Ancken's $93.9 million appraisal, the Trumps focused on slashing even this valuation by changing the ownership structure of Fred Trump's empire.
The I.R.S. has long accepted the idea that ownership with control is more valuable than ownership without control. Someone with a controlling interest in a building can decide if and when the building is sold, how it is marketed and what price to accept. However, since someone who owns, say, 10 percent of a $100 million building lacks control over any of those decisions, the I.R.S. will let him claim that his stake should be taxed as if it were worth only $7 million or $8 million.
But Fred Trump had exercised total control over his empire for more than seven decades. With rare exceptions, he owned 100 percent of his buildings. So the Trumps set out to create the fiction that Fred Trump was a minority owner. All it took was splitting the ownership structure of his empire. Fred and Mary Trump each ended up with 49.8 percent of the corporate entities that owned his buildings. The other 0.4 percent was split among their four children.
Splitting ownership into minority interests is a widely used method of tax avoidance. There is one circumstance, however, where it has at times been found to be illegal. It involves what is known in tax law as the step transaction doctrine '-- where it can be shown that the corporate restructuring was part of a rapid sequence of seemingly separate maneuvers actually conceived and executed to dodge taxes. A key issue, according to tax experts, is timing '-- in the Trumps' case, whether they split up Fred Trump's empire just before they set up the GRATs.
In all, the Trumps broke up 12 corporate entities to create the appearance of minority ownership. The Times could not determine when five of the 12 companies were divided. But records reveal that the other seven were split up just before the GRATs were established.
The pattern was clear. For decades, the companies had been owned solely by Fred Trump, each operating a different apartment complex or shopping center. In September 1995, the Trumps formed seven new limited liability companies. Between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8, they transferred the deeds to the seven properties into their respective L.L.C.'s. On Nov. 21, they recorded six of the deed transfers in public property records. (The seventh was recorded on Nov. 24.) And on Nov. 22, 49.8 percent of the shares in these seven L.L.C.'s was transferred into Fred Trump's GRAT and 49.8 percent into Mary Trump's GRAT.
That enabled the Trumps to slash Mr. Von Ancken's valuation in a way that was legally dubious. They claimed that Fred and Mary Trump's status as minority owners, plus the fact that a building couldn't be sold as easily as a share of stock, entitled them to lop 45 percent off Mr. Von Ancken's $93.9 million valuation. This claim, combined with $18.3 million more in standard deductions, completed the alchemy of turning real estate that would soon be valued at nearly $900 million into $41.4 million.
According to tax experts, claiming a 45 percent discount was questionable even back then, and far higher than the 20 to 30 percent discount the I.R.S. would allow today.
As it happened, the Trumps' GRATs did not completely elude I.R.S. scrutiny. Documents obtained by The Times reveal that the I.R.S. audited Fred Trump's 1995 gift tax return I.R.S. audit summary of Fred Trump's 1995 gift tax return Read document and concluded that Fred Trump and his wife had significantly undervalued the assets being transferred through their GRATs.
The I.R.S. determined that the Trumps' assets were worth $57.1 million, 38 percent more than the couple had claimed. From the perspective of an I.R.S. auditor, pulling in nearly $5 million in additional revenue could be considered a good day's work. For the Trumps, getting the I.R.S. to agree that Fred Trump's properties were worth only $57.1 million was a triumph.
''All estate matters were handled by licensed attorneys, licensed C.P.A.s and licensed real estate appraisers who followed all laws and rules strictly,'' Mr. Harder, the president's lawyer, said in his statement.
In the end, the transfer of the Trump empire cost Fred and Mary Trump $20.5 million in gift taxes and their children $21 million in annuity payments. That is hundreds of millions of dollars less than they would have paid based on the empire's market value, The Times found.
Better still for the Trump children, they did not have to pay out a penny of their own. They simply used their father's empire as collateral to secure a line of credit from M&T Bank. Line of credit from M&T Bank Read document They used the line of credit to make the $21 million in annuity payments, then used the revenue from their father's empire to repay the money they had borrowed.
On the day the Trump children finally took ownership of Fred Trump's empire, Donald Trump's net worth instantly increased by many tens of millions of dollars. And from then on, the profits from his father's empire would flow directly to him and his siblings. The next year, 1998, Donald Trump's share amounted to today's equivalent of $9.6 million, The Times found.
This sudden influx of wealth came only weeks after he had published ''The Art of the Comeback.''
''I learned a lot about myself during these hard times,'' he wrote. ''I learned about handling pressure. I was able to home in, buckle down, get back to the basics, and make things work. I worked much harder, I focused, and I got myself out of a box.''
Over 244 pages he did not mention that he was being handed nearly 25 percent of his father's empire.
After Fred Trump's death, his children used familiar methods to devalue what little of his life's work was still in his name.
During Fred Trump's final years, dementia stole most of his memories. When family visited, there was one name he could reliably put to a face.
On June 7, 1999, Fred Trump was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, not far from the house in Jamaica Estates, for treatment of pneumonia. He died there on June 25, at the age of 93.
Fifteen months later, Fred Trump's executors '-- Donald, Maryanne and Robert '-- filed his estate tax return. The return, obtained by The Times, vividly illustrates the effectiveness of the tax strategies devised by the Trumps in the early 1990s.
Fred Trump, one of the most prolific New York developers of his time, owned just five apartment complexes, two small strip malls and a scattering of co-ops in the city upon his death. The man who paid himself $50 million in 1990 died with just $1.9 million in the bank. He owned not a single stock, bond or Treasury bill. According to his estate tax return, his most valuable asset was a $10.3 million I.O.U. from Donald Trump, money his son appears to have borrowed the year before Fred Trump died.
The bulk of Fred Trump's empire was nowhere to be found on his estate tax return. And yet Donald Trump and his siblings were not done. Recycling the legally dubious techniques they had mastered with the GRATs, they dodged tens of millions of dollars in estate taxes on the remnants of empire that Fred Trump still owned when he died, The Times found.
As with the GRATs, they obtained appraisals from Mr. Von Ancken that grossly understated the actual market value of those remnants. And as with the GRATs, they aggressively discounted Mr. Von Ancken's appraisals. The result: They claimed that the five apartment complexes and two strip malls were worth $15 million. In 2004, records show, bankers would put a value of $176.2 million on the exact same properties.
The most improbable of these valuations was for Tysens Park Apartments, a complex of eight buildings with 1,019 units on Staten Island. On the portion of the estate tax return where they were required to list Tysens Park's value, the Trumps simply left a blank space and claimed they owed no estate taxes on it at all. Fred Trump's estate tax return Read document
As with the Trump Village appraisal, the Trumps appear to have hidden key facts from the I.R.S. Tysens Park, like Trump Village, had operated for years under an affordable housing program that by law capped Fred Trump's profits. This cap drastically reduced the property's market value.
Except for one thing: The Trumps had removed Tysens Park from the affordable housing program the year before Fred Trump died, The Times found. When Donald Trump and his siblings filed Fred Trump's estate tax return, there were no limits on their profits. In fact, they had already begun raising rents.
As their father's executors, Donald, Maryanne and Robert were legally responsible for the accuracy of his estate tax return. They were obligated not only to give the I.R.S. a complete accounting of the value of his estate's assets, but also to disclose all the taxable gifts he made during his lifetime, including, for example, the $15.5 million Trump Palace gift to Donald Trump and the millions of dollars he gave his children via All County's padded invoices.
''If they knew anything was wrong they could be in violation of tax law,'' Mr. Tritt, the University of Florida law professor, said. ''They can't just stick their heads in the sand.''
In addition to drastically understating the value of apartment complexes and shopping centers, Fred Trump's estate tax return made no mention of either Trump Palace or All County.
It wasn't until after Fred Trump's wife, Mary, died at 88 on Aug. 7, 2000, that the I.R.S. completed its audit of their combined estates. The audit concluded that their estates were worth $51.8 million, 23 percent more than Donald Trump and his siblings had claimed.
That meant an additional $5.2 million in estate taxes. Even so, the Trumps' tax bill was a fraction of what they would have owed had they reported the market value of what Fred and Mary Trump owned at the time of their deaths.
Mr. Harder, the president's lawyer, defended the tax returns filed by the Trumps. ''The returns and tax positions that The Times now attacks were examined in real time by the relevant taxing authorities,'' he said. ''The taxing authorities requested a few minor adjustments, which were made, and then fully approved all of the tax filings. These matters have now been closed for more than a decade.''
Donald Trump, in financial trouble again, pitched the idea of selling the still-profitable empire that his father had wanted to keep in the family.
In 2003, the Trump siblings gathered at Trump Tower for one of their periodic updates on their inherited empire.
As always, Robert Trump drove into Manhattan with several of his lieutenants. Donald Trump appeared with Allen H. Weisselberg, who had worked for Fred Trump for two decades before becoming his son's chief financial officer. The sisters, Maryanne Trump Barry and Elizabeth Trump Grau, were there as well.
The meeting followed the usual routine: a financial report, a rundown of operational issues and then the real business '-- distributing profits to each Trump. The task of handing out the checks fell to Steve Gurien, the empire's finance chief.
A moment later, Donald Trump abruptly changed the course of his family's history: He said it was a good time to sell.
Fred Trump's empire, in fact, was continuing to produce healthy profits, and selling contradicted his stated wish to keep his legacy in the family. But Donald Trump insisted that the real estate market had peaked and that the time was right, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
He was also, once again, in financial trouble. His Atlantic City casinos were veering toward another bankruptcy. His creditors would soon threaten to oust him unless he committed to invest $55 million of his own money.
Yet if Donald Trump's sudden push to sell stunned the room, it met with no apparent resistance from his siblings. He directed his brother to solicit private bids, saying he wanted the sale handled quickly and quietly. Donald Trump's signature skill '-- drumming up publicity for the Trump brand '-- would sit this one out.
Three potential bidders were given access to the finances of Fred Trump's empire '-- 37 apartment complexes and several shopping centers. Ruby Schron, a major New York City landlord, quickly emerged as the favorite. In December 2003, Mr. Schron called Donald Trump and they came to an agreement; Mr. Schron paid $705.6 million for most of the empire, which included paying off the Trumps' mortgages. A few remaining properties were sold to other buyers, bringing the total sales price to $737.9 million.
On May 4, 2004, the Trump children spent most of the day signing away ownership of what their father had doggedly built over 70 years. The sale received little news coverage, and an article in The Staten Island Advance included the rarest of phrases: ''Trump did not return a phone call seeking comment.''
Even more extraordinary was this unreported fact: The banks financing Mr. Schron's purchase valued Fred Trump's empire at nearly $1 billion. In other words, Donald Trump, master dealmaker, sold his father's empire for hundreds of millions less than it was worth.
Within a year of the sale, Mr. Trump spent $149 million in cash on a rapid series of transactions that bolstered his billionaire bona fides. In June 2004 he agreed to pay $73 million to buy out his partner in the planned Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. (''I'm just buying it with my own cash,'' he told reporters.) He paid $55 million in cash to make peace with his casino creditors. Then he put up $21 million more in cash to help finance his purchase of Maison de l'Amiti(C), a waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., that he later sold to a Russian oligarch.
The first season of ''The Apprentice'' was broadcast in 2004, just as Donald Trump was wrapping up the sale of his father's empire. The show's opening montage '-- quick cuts of a glittering Trump casino, then Trump Tower, then a Trump helicopter mid-flight, then a limousine depositing the man himself at the steps of his jet, all set to the song ''For the Love of Money'' '-- is a reminder that the story of Donald Trump is fundamentally a story of money.
Money is at the core of the brand Mr. Trump has so successfully sold to the world. Yet essential to that mythmaking has been keeping the truth of his money '-- how much of it he actually has, where and whom it came from '-- hidden or obscured. Across the decades, aided and abetted by less-than-aggressive journalism, Mr. Trump has made sure his financial history would be sensationalized far more than seen.
Just this year, in a confessional essay for The Washington Post, Jonathan Greenberg, a former reporter for Forbes, described how Mr. Trump, identifying himself as John Barron, a spokesman for Donald Trump, repeatedly and flagrantly lied to get himself on the magazine's first-ever list of wealthiest Americans in 1982. Because of Mr. Trump's refusal to release his tax returns, the public has been left to interpret contradictory glimpses of his income offered up by anonymous leaks. A few pages from one tax return, mailed to The Times in September 2016, showed that he declared a staggering loss of $916 million in 1995. A couple of pages from another return, disclosed on Rachel Maddow's program, showed that he earned an impressive $150 million in 2005.
In a statement to The Times, the president's spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, reiterated what Mr. Trump has always claimed about the evolution of his fortune: ''The president's father gave him an initial $1 million loan, which he paid back. President Trump used this money to build an incredibly successful company as well as net worth of over $10 billion, including owning some of the world's greatest real estate.''
Today, the chasm between that claim of being worth more than $10 billion and a Bloomberg estimate of $2.8 billion reflects the depth of uncertainty that remains about one of the most chronicled public figures in American history. Questions about newer money sources are rapidly accumulating because of the Russia investigation and lawsuits alleging that Mr. Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments.
But the more than 100,000 pages of records obtained during this investigation make it possible to sweep away decades of misinformation and arrive at a clear understanding about the original source of Mr. Trump's wealth '-- his father.
Here is what can be said with certainty: Had Mr. Trump done nothing but invest the money his father gave him in an index fund that tracks the Standard & Poor's 500, he would be worth $1.96 billion today. As for that $1 million loan, Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60.7 million, or $140 million in today's dollars, The Times found.
And there is one more Fred Trump windfall coming Donald Trump's way. Starrett City, the Brooklyn housing complex that the Trumps invested in back in the 1970s, sold this year for $905 million. Donald Trump's share of the proceeds is expected to exceed $16 million, records show.
It was an investment made with Fred Trump's money and connections. But in Donald Trump's version of his life, Starrett City is always and forever ''one of the best investments I ever made.''
The New York Times Proves President Trump Is a Crook
President Trump, white-collar crook. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
The New York Times has published a massive investigation of President Trump's finances, revolving around two important revelations. First, Trump was given far more financial support by his father than previously known '-- at least $413 million in today's dollars, not the measly $1 million he claims to have received. Second, the mechanisms by which he received these transfers often crossed the line from aggressive or creative maneuvering into illegality. That the Times presents these conclusions so baldly '-- accusing him of ''outright fraud'' in the first sentence '-- in the face of Trump's famous litigiousness, is a testament to the power and clarity of its findings.
That is to say, Trump was in the money-inheriting business. And that business was essentially, and not just incidentally, illegal. The Times found 295 income streams created by Fred Trump for his son, many of them illegal on their face. The English language has terms for people who make large sources of money from illegal activity: criminals.
The article makes clear that Trump is safe from criminal prosecution largely because tax-law enforcement is weak, and many of his apparently illegal activities took place too long ago to prosecute now. That does not minimize his culpability in any moral sense though. It's merely a testament to the general immunity from consequences that wealthy people enjoy, and regular people do not.
The revelations illustrated the degree to which Trump was paradoxically the most under-vetted presidential candidate since the invention of American mass media. It's not that there was a dearth of Trump coverage '-- just the opposite. There was so much Trump coverage, for so many years, that it overloaded the circuits. New Trump outrages kept crowding out old Trump outrages. Trump produced so much that was bizarre, offensive, unprecedented, or otherwise newsworthy that some of the basic vetting work could not be completed.
This was crucially abetted by his unprecedented financial secrecy '-- Trump was the only presidential candidate in four decades to refuse disclosure of his tax returns. That fact itself would have dominated the coverage of any normal candidate who tried it. But as Trump produced so many other extraordinary (and usually negative) stories about himself, the tax-return issue simply faded away.
So a man whose path to success was formed in large part by participating in schemes to hide and launder illegal handouts from his father managed to maintain the illusion that he was a successful law-abiding president. It probably would have mattered a lot if Trump had been widely described in the news media as the crook the Times reveals him to be. But there is no undoing his election now. It is an open question whether attacks on his crooked business activity will form a potent message against him in 2020, or whether voters will, more likely, dismiss it as irrelevant history.
One of the great accomplishments of Trump's presidency has of course been to make America a place of even more unequal justice. The IRS budget for enforcement of tax cheating by the rich is collapsing. Trump is making the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency tasked with cracking down on fraudulent credit cards and banking, almost helpless. It has taken sundry other steps to protect corporations that rip off consumers from facing any consequences.
Trump's presidency will enable more Trumps. His career as white-collar criminal who ran for president as an alleged business genius is a metaphor for the exact thing he is doing as president. He is the crook who got away with it.
Mueller shedding more attorneys in Russia investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Special counsel Robert Mueller is trimming more attorneys from his office, another sign his team of prosecutors is winding down parts of their investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign.
Two prosecutors detailed to the Russia investigation for the past year are returning to their duties in other parts of the Justice Department. They join two other attorneys who left the team over the summer.
The departures, confirmed by Mueller's office Tuesday, are the latest indication that the special counsel is wrapping up at least some pieces of an investigation that has shadowed Trump's presidency from the outset. But it's only a limited view into the tight-lipped Mueller's timetable or possible endgame. Critical investigative strands still remain, such as an active grand jury probe of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and ongoing negotiations over an interview with Trump.
Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said prosecutor Brandon Van Grack has already returned to the Justice Department's national security division but will continue to be involved in cases he was assigned to. That includes the investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is scheduled to be sentenced in December.
Prosecutor Kyle Freeny will end her detail to the special counsel later this month and will return to her position in the Justice Department's money laundering section, Carr said.
Van Grack and Freeny were on the teams prosecuting Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Besides the grand jury inquiry into Stone, other elements of the Mueller investigation remain active, including inquiries into whether the president took action to obstruct the probe and the central unresolved question of whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election.
But after a series of indictments and high-profile plea deals with Trump associates in recent months, Mueller's shown signs of narrowing his focus, referring cases to other offices of the Justice Department, letting other U.S. attorneys largely take over cases he brought and allowing prosecutors to leave his team without replacement.
Prosecutors in Manhattan, for instance, secured a guilty plea in August from Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, a case referred by Mueller. The U.S. attorney's office in Washington has been assigned to the special counsel's case against 13 Russians charged in a hidden but powerful social media effort to sway American public opinion.
That same office also prosecuted W. Samuel Patten, who pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent in a case also referred by Mueller's office.
Other lawyers who left the Mueller team earlier this year include computer crimes prosecutor Ryan Dickey, who worked cases against a Russian social media troll farm and 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democratic groups during the campaign, and Brian Richardson.
Richardson was part of a team that prosecuted former Skadden Arps attorney Alex van der Zwaan for lying to the FBI while they were investigating Manafort and others involved in his Ukrainian work.
All told, Mueller's team has obtained six guilty pleas, including from four Trump campaign advisers, and a jury conviction. He has pending indictments against 26 others and three Russian companies.
Follow Eric Tucker and Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/etuckerAP and https://twitter.com/ChadSDay
Je voelt het aankomen: George Soros is Joods, vermogend, invloedrijk, dat vraagt om antisemitisme | TROUW
Er was een man die uit eigen zak betaalde voor een nieuwe universiteit, bedoeld voor studenten van binnen en buiten Midden-Europa, zodat een intellectuele kruisbestuiving zou plaatsvinden. En dat in het tot dan toe ge¯soleerde Praag '' wat een prachtig initiatief. Die man was de miljardair George Soros, en zijn geesteskind was de Central European University.
Lees verder na de advertentie Overal is het voormalige Oostblok in de ban van een negentiende-eeuws nationalisme, dat haaks staat op de idealen van de 87-jarige SorosToen ik er ging kijken, ik denk dat het in 1992 was, viel ik in een college van de filosoof Ernest Gellner. Geen idee meer wat hij zei, maar alleen al het feit dat hij hier doceerde, sprak boekdelen: geboren in een Tsjechisch-Joods gezin, na de oorlog gaan studeren in Groot-Brittanni, naam gemaakt als wetenschapper, nu terug in Praag om een nieuwe generatie op te leiden. Waarbij hij vooral waarschuwde tegen 'gesloten denksystemen', wat ook de missie was van Soros' stichting; de Open Society Foundation.
Maar alles wat Soros deed, stuitte direct op tegenstand. De anti-Europese premier Vaclav Klaus dwong hem al in 1993 zijn universiteit te verhuizen van Praag naar Boedapest, en 25 jaar later dreigt premier Viktor Orbn hem ook daar weg te sturen. Overal is het voormalige Oostblok in de ban van een negentiende-eeuws nationalisme, dat haaks staat op de idealen van de 87-jarige Soros, die gelooft in een wereld van internationale samenwerking, democratie, rechten voor minderheden en migranten. Zaken die een tijd lang golden als westerse verworvenheden, maar nu ook bij ons gretig in diskrediet worden gebracht. Hetzelfde nationalisme dat in het Oosten het vacu¼m vulde dat het communisme naliet, rukt op in het Westen door de onvrede over neo-liberalisme en globalisering. En zo kon George Soros in Oost (C)n West uitgroeien tot de ideale demoon.
Geen middel geschuwdIn de oorlog die men tegen hem voert, wordt geen middel geschuwd. Soros werd in 1930 in Hongarije geboren als Gy¶rgy Schwartz, en dat hij als Jood de oorlog overleefde, was te danken aan het feit dat zijn vader een niet-Joodse ambtenaar betaalde om de jongen als 'pleegzoon' in zijn gezin op te nemen. Hij emigreerde na de oorlog en verdiende miljarden als belegger '' je voelt het aankomen: Joods, vermogend, invloedrijk, dat vraagt om antisemitisme.
En dat is er volop, niet alleen in de meest grove vorm op sociale media ('Soros verkocht mede-Joden voor geld aan de nazi's'), maar ook geraffineerder, via aloude mythes. Orbn bedient zich daarvan als hij spreekt over een 'tegenstander die anders is dan wij, niet direct, maar slinks, niet eerlijk, maar vals, niet nationaal, maar internationaal, niet werkend voor zijn geld, maar speculerend, zonder eigen land omdat hij denkt dat de hele wereld van hem is'.
Elke Soros-criticaster die niet-antisemitisch is, en die zijn er natuurlijk, zal afstand nemen van dergelijke mythes en zijn woorden zorgvuldig kiezen. Ik geloof dat Baudet daarin tekortschoot.
Drie keer per week schrijft Stevo Akkerman een column waarin hij de 'keiharde nuance' en het 'onverbiddelijke enerzijds-anderzijds' preekt. Lees meer columns op trouw.nl/stevoakkerman.
Lees ook:'Huurlingen' van filantroop Soros onder vuur in HongarijeOrganisaties die kritisch staan tegenover de regering hebben het moeilijk in Hongarije. In Pecs wordt mensenrechtenclub AEE het werken onmogelijk gemaakt
Anderson Cooper's Revelation Signals Shift in Views of Homosexuality - The New York Times
8:58 p.m. | Updated For one of America's best-known television news anchors to be identified as gay was, until very recently, seen as a potential career-killer.
But then, on Monday, it happened. And the TV nation seemed to shrug.
The acknowledgment by Anderson Cooper '-- who has been the biggest star on CNN for the better part of a decade '-- that ''I'm gay, always have been, always will be'' said as much, or more, about television audiences' changing views of homosexuality as it did about the anchorman himself.
There were long discussions online about the whys and hows of coming out. There were conversations at other networks about what it might mean for other national news anchors who are gay but who have not spoken publicly about their sexuality.
Mostly, though, there was chatter about how unremarkable it all was. Mr. Cooper's sexual orientation, after all, had been an open secret for a long time. Years ago, he confided in friends and colleagues that he dreaded being known as ''the gay anchor.''
Since then, openly gay anchors have made inroads in other time slots and on other television networks. At a rapid pace, television news and opinion channels have reflected the growing acceptance of gays in society '-- and perhaps have sped up that acceptance, just as TV shows like ''Ellen'' and ''Modern Family'' have.
Said Mr. Cooper, ''The tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.''
Mr. Cooper did so not on television, but rather in an e-mail message to the gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, who said he had e-mailed Mr. Cooper last week to ask him about the trend of relatively casual ''I'm gay'' statements by public figures. Mr. Cooper responded by continuing the trend.
By the time Mr. Sullivan published it on Monday morning, with Mr. Cooper's permission, the anchorman was out of the country on assignment for ''60 Minutes'' '-- avoiding all the subsequent interview requests and online debates. CNN said he would not be back on his prime-time program, ''Anderson Cooper 360,'' until Thursday.
Along with ''360,'' Mr. Cooper, 45, a son of the heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, hosts a daytime talk show on local stations, ''Anderson,'' and contributes to ''60 Minutes.'' The announcement on Monday makes him the most prominent openly gay journalist on American television.
''He's a role model to millions and now will inspire countless others,'' said Herndon Graddick, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a media advocacy group.
Some people close to Mr. Cooper had speculated over the years that he kept his sexuality a sort-of secret to avoid alienating some of his fans. (Out magazine, which has identified him as gay for years, in April called him a ''silver-haired heartthrob to countless middle-American housewives.'')
Gail Shister, a columnist for TVNewser.com, said that in a private conversation with her years ago, Mr. Cooper said ''he didn't want his sexuality to be connected to his profession.''
But his thinking changed over time, just as has the country's attitudes toward gays and lesbians.
''Our operating assumption,'' a former CNN executive said, ''was that anybody who cared, already knew, and that most people didn't care.'' The executive, like others interviewed for this article, asked for anonymity to preserve professional relationships.
Executives at CNN, a unit of Time Warner, declined interview requests on Monday, though they are said to be supportive of his decision.
In recent months, some television industry observers thought that Mr. Cooper might speak about his sexuality to gain attention for his one-year-old daytime television show, which had some ratings stumbles. The daytime talk format seemingly demands hosts to come forward with the personal details of their lives.
But Mr. Cooper never considered making a showy announcement on either his CNN newscast or his talk show, according to several of his colleagues.
His TV shows may have been an influence in another way, though. Mr. Cooper, according to his colleagues, was bothered by news accounts of bullying and other forms of discrimination against gays '-- accounts that he has covered extensively on his television shows. Those reports, one of his former producers said, along with the fact that ''it just isn't a big deal anymore,'' contributed to his decision to speak publicly about his sexuality.
Because of his stature on television, ''he feels that it will make a difference,'' the person added. ''He wanted to help.''
Mr. Cooper wrote in his e-mail on Monday that it was the mistaken impression that he was ashamed of his sexuality, combined with being ''reminded recently'' that there is value in standing up and being counted, that compelled him to come out. He did not elaborate on who or what reminded him, but some prominent gay journalists and commentators had made their point of view known.
The MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, for instance, said when asked about a competing television host a year ago, ''I do think that if you're gay, you have a responsibility to come out.'' Some thought that comment to The Guardian newspaper was a reference to Mr. Cooper, but she later denied that it was.
In his e-mail, Mr. Cooper said he still wanted to preserve some of his privacy. His CNN colleague Don Lemon, a weekend anchor who identified himself as gay last year, said he thought Mr. Cooper would be able to.
''People will stop chasing him,'' Mr. Lemon said. ''They'll stop hounding him. It'll no longer be a big deal.''
The American Cancer Society's estimates for cervical cancer in the United States for 2018 are:
About 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed. About 4,170 women will die from cervical cancer. Cervical pre-cancers are diagnosed far more often than invasive cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test. (This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early '' when it's small and easier to cure.) But it has not changed much over the last 15 years.
Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife and is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44. It rarely develops in women younger than 20. Many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. More than 15% of cases of cervical cancer are found in women over 65 . However, these cancers rarely occur in women who have been getting regular tests to screen for cervical cancer before they were 65. See Can cervical cancer be prevented? and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection for more information about tests used to screen for cervical cancer.
In the United States, Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and whites. American Indians and Alaskan natives have the lowest risk of cervical cancer in this country.
Visit the American Cancer Society's Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.
Netherlands to grant asylum to 27 Syrian White Helmets: report | NL Times
By Janene Pieters on October 2, 2018 - 08:49The Netherlands will grant asylum to 27 White Helmet rescue workers evacuated from Syria, in the midst of an offensive by the Syrian regime, in July. The White Helmets coming to the Netherlands are five families and three individuals, NRC reports.
A total of 422 White Helmets and their family members were evacuated from Syria. They were brought to safety in Jordan via Israel. The United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, France and Sweden all said they were willing to take in a number of them.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not tell ANP when the Syrian aid workers will be coming to the Netherlands, in order to protect their privacy.
NRC also reports that the Netherlands is stopping support to the White Helmets as of the end of this year. The Netherlands is the only European country to do so. Raed Alsaleh, director of the White Helmets, has the impression that the Dutch government is not differentiating between the White Helmets and other programs that were part of the so-called 'non-lethal assistance' the Netherlands gave to Syrian rebel groups, he said to the newspaper. The non-lethal assistance program was halted in the spring.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will debate this non-lethal assistance on Tuesday afternoon. The government promised that the assistance would only go to 'moderate' rebel groups. But Trouw and Nieuwsuur revealed that assistance went to at least one group that is considered a terrorist organization by the Dutch Public Prosecutor. The government was aware that the group is suspected of violating human rights when the support started. And the support was given without consulting the government's External Public Law Adviser, a position specifically created to advise on this type intervention in a foreign state.
An advert for Costa Coffee has been banned for urging customers to buy a bacon roll rather than avocados.
The radio ad featured a voiceover which said there was "a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados" but they will only "be ready to eat for about 10 minutes, then they'll go off".
The advert told people to choose the "better deal" of a roll or egg muffin.
Two listeners complained that the ad, which aired in June, discouraged people from opting for fresh fruit.
Smartphone doctor ads ruled misleadingThe advertising watchdog agreed with the complaints and upheld them.
Costa said its ad played on the "frustration and unpredictability of the avocado".
The chain claimed it was not suggesting that listeners must choose between the two breakfast options, but that it was instead telling people about its promotional offer.
Image copyright Getty Images
The organisation which clears ads for broadcast, Radiocentre, said consumers would see the ad as a "light-hearted remark" about the experience of buying non-ripe avocados.
But in its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority said consumers would interpret the ad as a comparison between the experience of eating an avocado and a bacon roll or egg muffin.
"We considered that, although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative, and in doing so discouraged the selection of avocados," the ASA said.
All radio and television adverts must comply with the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) which states that comparisons between foods must not discourage fruit and vegetables.
The advert must not be broadcast again, and Costa has been told to make sure its future ads do not "condone or encourage poor nutritional habits".
Christine Blasey-Ford Friend In Delaware Was Career FBI Agent and Likely Together During Accusation Letter Construct'... '' The Last Refuge
In a letter released last night from a former boyfriend of Christine Blasey-Ford, there was a name curiously not redacted. The name of Monica L McLean was revealed as a life-long friend who Ms. Ford helped with polygraph preparation.
The media has begun to focus on the letter as outlining a lie told by Ms. Ford during recent congressional testimony'... But the backstory to Ms. Monica Lee McLean is an even bigger story.
First the letter from the boyfriend:
In addition to boyfriend noting Ms. Monica L McLean in the current letter, Ms. Monica Lee McLean was also one of the signatories of another letter from the Holton-Arms class of 1984 bolstering the credibility of Ms. Blasey-Ford.
Some research into Ms. Fords life-long friend from school, Ms. Monica Lee McLean (DOB 03-15-66), reveals an almost guaranteed likelihood the polygraph assistance had something to do with the career path Ms. McLean would take.
Monica Lee McLean was admitted to the California Bar in 1992, the same year Ms Ford's boyfriend stated he began a six-year relationship with her best friend. The address for the current inactive California Law License is now listed as *''Rehoboth Beach, DE''. [ *Note* remember this, it becomes more relevant later. ]
According to her LinkedIn background, Ms. Monica Lee McLean, was a 24-year employee of the Department of Justice and FBI from 1992 to 2016. According to public records Ms. McLean worked in both Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY.
In a 2000 Los Angeles FBI declaration Ms. McLean describes herself as a Special Agent of the FBI, Associate Division Counsel, in the Los Angeles Division Legal Unit:
Sometime between 2000 and 2003, Ms. Monica L McLean transferred to the Southern District of New York (SDNY), FBI New York Field Office; where she shows up on various reports, including media reports, as a spokesperson for the FBI.
There was a family death in 2003, and Monica McLean then shows up with an address listed in Washington DC in 2003; so it would appear Ms. McLean spent about 10 years in California, and then returned to the east-coast.
'...''according to Monica McLean, spokeswoman for the FBI's New York office.'' [2009 citation]After 2003, Ms. Monica L McLean is working with the SDNY as a Public Information Officer for the FBI New York Field Office, side-by-side with SDNY Attorney General Preet Bharara:
(Document Source '' pdf)
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. McLean retired from the FBI in 2016, after 24 years of work. [*It should be noted that Ms. McLean's PIO partner in New York, Jim Margolin, is still currently employed there; and coincidentally attached to the case against President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen.]
It does not appear that Ms. Monica L McLean ever married. On the east coast her historic addresses are Current: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; and Former: Bethesda, MD; Potomac, MD; Washington, DC; Malibu, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Laguna Beach, CA; Marina Del Rey, CA and Laguna Hills, CA respectively. All addresses coinciding with her employment and transferred assignments therein.
In an April, 2016, article in the Delaware Cape Gazette, Mrs. McLean shows up at a wine tasting event; and is pictured within the publication:
Enjoying the tastes are In back (l-r) Kelly Devine and Nuh Tekmen. In front, Monica McLean, Karen Sposato, Catherine Hester, Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and Jennifer Burton. BY DENY HOWETH
Ms. McLean is pictured above with the large pink handbag. This article confirms the location of Monica McLean in relationship to the numerous public record citations of her Delaware residence.
Here's where things get really interesting.
Ms. Monica Lee McLean and Ms. Christine Blasey-Ford are life-long friends; obviously they have known each other since their High School days at Holton-Arms; and both lived in California after college. Their close friendship is also cited by Ms. Fords former boyfriend of six years.
Ms. Monica McLean retired from the FBI in 2016; apparently right after the presidential election. Her current residence is listed at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; which aligns with public records and the serendipitous printed article.
Now, where did Ms. Blasey-Ford testify she was located at the time she wrote the letter to Dianne Feinstein, accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh?[Transcript]MITCHELL: The second is the letter that you wrote to Senator Feinstein, dated the '-- July 30th of this year.
MITCHELL: Did you write the letter yourself?
FORD: I did.
MITCHELL: And I '-- since it's dated July 30th, did you write it on that date?
FORD: I believe so. I '-- it sounds right. I was in Rehoboth, Delaware, at the time. I could look into my calendar and try to figure that out. It seemed'...
MITCHELL: Was it written on or about that date?
FORD: Yes, yes. I traveled, I think, the 26th of July to Rehoboth, Delaware. So that makes sense, because I wrote it from there.
MITCHELL: Is the letter accurate? FORD: I'll take a minute to read it.
So we have Dr. Blasey-Ford in Rehoboth Beach, DE, on 26th July 2018. We've got her life-long BFF, Monica L McLean, who worked as attorney and POI in the DOJ/FBI in Rehoboth Beach, DE'.... Apparently at same time she wrote letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Ms. Blasey-Ford and Ms. McLean, the BFF she coached on lie detector testing, together for the four days leading up to the actual writing of the letter. July 26th to July 30th.
It would appear that Ms. Blasey-Ford was with Ms. Monica L McLean, the retired FBI agent and former New York field office spokesperson, at the time she wrote the letter to Senator Feinstein.
That would certainly begin to explain quite a bit about who exactly was handling Ms. Ford; and how there would be an intentional effort, from a subject matter expert, on how to best position the attack against Brett Kavanaugh.
Who better to help scrub the internet history, and know what processes and people to enlist in such preparatory work, than a retired lawyer who worked deeply inside the FBI?
Not only did Ms. McLean possesses a particular set of skills to assist Ms. Ford, but Ms. McLean would also have a network of DOJ and FBI resources to assist in the endeavor. A former friendly FBI agent to do the polygraph; a network of politically motivated allies?
Does the appearance of FBI insider and Deputy FBI Director to Andrew McCabe, Michael Bromwich, begin to make more sense?
Do the loud and overwhelming requests by political allies for FBI intervention, take on a different meaning or make more sense, now?
Standing back and taking a look at the bigger, BIG PICTURE'..... could it be that Mrs. McLean and her team of ideological compatriots within the DOJ and FBI, who have massive axes to grind against the current Trump administration, are behind this entire endeavor?
Considering all of the embattled, angry, institutional officials (former and current); and considering the recently fired DOJ and FBI officials; and considering the officials currently under investigation; and considering the declassification requests which will likely lead to the exposure of even more corruption'.... Could it be that these elements wanted to do something, anything to get back at the executive branch; and possibly change the tide?
If so, and I think the likelihood is pretty good, doesn't everything known just easily reconcile if you think of Ms. Blasey-Ford as a tool for those ideologues?
If Ms Monica Lee McLean and her allies wanted to strike, she couldn't be the visible face of the confrontation because she was retired FBI. It would be too obvious. She would need a patsy; a friend who could deploy the hit on her/their behalf. It would need to be someone she could shape, easily manage and guide etc. Someone who could be trusted, and at the same time would be trusting of them.
It is quite likely Ms. McLean selected/recruited her life-long best friend, Ms. Blasey-Ford.
Ms. Monica Lee McLean
My sinister battle with Brett Kavanaugh over the truth - by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Ambrose Evans-PritchardAmbrose Evans-Pritchard is International Business Editor of The Daily Telegraph. He has covered world politics and economics for 30 years, based in Europe, the US, and Latin America. He joined the Telegraph in 1991, serving as Washington correspondent and later Europe correspondent in Brussels.
3 OCTOBER 2018 ' 11:15 AM BST
Illustration by Kerry Squires
T wenty-three years ago I crossed swords with a younger Brett Kavanaugh in one of the weirdest and most disturbing episodes of my career as a journalist.
What happened leaves me in no doubt that he lacks judicial character and is unfit to serve on the US Supreme Court for the next thirty years or more, whatever his political ideology.
He was not a teenager. It related to his duties in the mid-1990s as Assistant Independent Council for the Starr investigation, then probing Bill and Hillary Clinton in the most sensitive case in the country.
Brett Kavanaugh sits behind Kenneth Starr during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the possible impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
To my surprise, the incident has suddenly become a second front in his nomination saga on Capitol Hill. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has accused him of violating secrecy laws by revealing the details of a federal grand jury.
''Disclosing grand jury information is against the law,'' she told Politico. She said it also showed he had misled the Senate by assuring categorically that he had never leaked grand jury material to journalists.
Sen Feinstein released a 'smoking gun' document from the archive files of the Starr investigation. It shows Mr Kavanaugh's efforts to suppress a news story about his wild cross-examination of a witness, including a wayward discussion of ''genitalia'' that particularly worried him.
This piqued my interest since I am named in the document and the witness '' Patrick Knowlton '' was in a sense 'my witness'.
Sen Feinstein is doubtless unaware of the larger, surreal story behind that week, and what it might suggest about rogue operations at the heart of the US federal system.
Brett Kavanaugh shakes hands with President Bill Clinton on board Air Force One Source: White House
The document is one of hundreds of papers released by the US National Archives this year. For me it has been a strange journey back in time, like reading your old STASI file in East Berlin. There is one handwritten note by a Starr prosecutor stating '' obliquely '' ''Ambrose about to go off the deep end''. OK, nobody is perfect.
There were debriefing memos of clandestine meetings I had with federal agents and prosecutors. One from Shoney's restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas; another from a dinner at the Occidental Grill in Washington (my old haunt).
Mr Knowlton had been called to the grand jury because of a story in the Telegraph. Little did I know then that I was about to turn this brave man's life upside down.
He was a crime scene witness in the death of Vincent Foster, the White House aide and ex-law partner of Hillary Clinton. At the time this was a mystery case, a big story during my tenure as the Sunday Telegraph's bureau chief in Washington.
I had tracked down Mr Knowlton and discovered that the Starr probe had never spoken to him, even though he had been the first person at the Fort Marcy death location and had highly-relevant information.
I showed him his FBI '302' witness statement from the earlier, superficial Fiske probe. He had never seen the words attributed to him before.
Mr Knowlton was stunned. It contradicted his express assertions. He said the FBI had tried repeatedly to badger him into changing his story on key facts. Each time he refused. Now it appeared they had written in what they wanted to hear. He agreed to go public and accused the FBI of falsifying his witness statement. This was to court trouble.
Key witness Patrick Knowlton
As soon as the print edition of the Telegraph reached Washington, the Starr investigation issued a subpoena calling Mr Knowlton to the grand jury. He was to face questioning by Brett Kavanaugh.
Mr Kavanaugh was then a cocky 30 year-old from the affluent WASP suburbs of Northwest Washington, very much the country club boy with a high sense of his status, and Georgetown Prep and Yale Law School behind him, though only with a humdrum Cum Laude. If anybody was going to wind up my hard-scrabble, salt-of-America witness, it was this child of privilege.
What happened first was an eye-opener. Before testifying, he suffered two days of what appeared to be systematic intimidation by a large surveillance team. This was observed by two other witnesses, including Chris Ruddy, now the powerful chief executive of NewsMax.
Mr Ruddy called me in shock from Dupont Circle to recount what he saw. A deeply-shaken Mr Knowlton contacted me from his home several times, until his phone was cut off.
Mr Kavanaugh, as aide to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, during a meeting in the Office of the Solicitor General in November 1996 Source: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
Veteran intelligence agents might recognise a method. It had the hallmarks of a boilerplate softening-up operation. In my view '' unprovable '' the objective was to frighten him before his grand jury appearance. It smacked of police state behaviour on the streets of Washington DC.
I informed Mr Starr's office that their grand jury witness was being intimidated. So did Mr Knowlton's lawyer, who asked for witness protection. Nothing was done. Mr Kavanaugh brushed it off, saying the Telegraph was behind all this mischief in order to ''sell newspapers''.
When Mr Knowlton appeared at the grand jury '' thinking he was doing his civic duty '' he says he was subjected to two and a half hours of character assassination by Mr Kavanaugh. There was little attempt to find out what he knew about the Foster death scene.
Could it be that the witness was distraught and imagined much of this? Possibly. But Mr Knowlton and his lawyer later filed a federal lawsuit against FBI agents he claimed were working for Brett Kavanaugh, alleging witness tampering and a conspiracy to violate his civil rights. This eventually reached the US District Court in Washington DC. The quixotic case was impossible to prove. Yet it was the action of a man who clearly felt wronged. To this day he blames Mr Kavanaugh personally.
Thousands of documents from the Starr probe are still secret. Others are redacted. It is impossible to know whether Mr Kavanaugh was linked to any intimidation or obstruction of justice, but there is no doubt in my mind that he failed to protect the rights of his own grand jury witness.
This is not the place to revisit the Foster case, the electric third rail of US politics. But it is worth noting two points that touch on Mr Kavanaugh.
Few people are aware that the US federal prosecutor handling the death investigation at the outset, Miquel Rodriguez, had resigned earlier from the Starr investigation after a bitter dispute.
His resignation letter '' later leaked '' said he was prevented from pursuing investigative leads, that FBI witness statements did not reflect what witnesses had said, that the suicide verdict was premature, and that his grand jury probe was shut down just as he was beginning to uncover evidence. An informed source told me his work had been sabotaged by his own FBI agents.
US federal prosecutor Miquel Rodriguez
The nub of the dispute was over compelling evidence of a wound in Foster's neck, which contradicted the official version that Foster shot himself in the mouth and had essentially been suppressed. The key crime scene photos had vanished and the FBI labs said others were over-exposed and useless.
Mr Rodriguez, by then suspicious, slipped them to the Smithsonian Institution and had them enhanced. One showed a black stippled ring like a gunshot wound in the side of Foster's neck. This remains secret but I have seen it.
The photo was pivotal. It confirmed what several people who handled the body had originally stated. I interviewed the first rescue worker on the scene and when I asked him about the mouth wound, he grabbed me, and said with frightening intensity: ''listen to me buddy, Foster was shot right here,'' jabbing his finger into my neck. He said the FBI had pressured him too into changing his story and that official narrative was a pack of lies.
Mr Kavanaugh's reaction to the findings of his colleague can be found in the stash of released documents from the Starr inquiry. One says in his hand-written notes: ''startling discovery'', ''blew up portions of photo '' trauma to the neck on rt side'', ''appears to be bullet hole''.
He was presented with a long analysis by Rodriguez that ripped apart the earlier Fiske report and called for an open homicide investigation. This had huge implications for the Clinton presidency and caused an internal crisis in the Starr office. A decision was made to shut down that part of probe. Miquel Rodriguez said he was ''forced out''. It was the end of the only genuine probe of the Foster death '' conducted under oath '' that had ever occurred.
Mr Kavanaugh faced a choice. He chose to go with the establishment rather than stick up for his colleague. This proved good for his career. He took over the grand jury, by then a legacy showpiece. His treatment of my witness revealed his colours.
Mr Kavanaugh went on to write the Starr Report on the Foster death. But Mr Knowlton got the last word, literally. He filed a 511-page report at the US Federal Court with evidence alleging a pattern of skullduggery, and asked that it be attached to the Starr Report.
The three top judges did not agree but they ordered that a shorter 20-page version be attached at the end, despite vehement protest from the Starr office. This had never happened before in the history of the office of the independent council.
This summary asserts that the FBI had ''concealed the true facts'', that there had been witness tampering, and that the report had wilfully ignored facts that refuted its own conclusions. There it sits in perpetuity, a strange rebuke for Mr Kavanaugh by his own fellow judges on the federal bench.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was the Sunday Telegraph's Washington Bureau Chief from 1992 to 1997
The existence of a monthly journal focused on ''feminist geography'' is a sign of something gone awry in academia. The journal in question'--Gender, Place & Culture'--published a paper online in May whose author claimed to have spent a year observing canine sexual misconduct in Portland, Ore., parks.
The author admits that ''my own anthropocentric frame'' makes it difficult to judge animal consent. Still, the paper claims dog parks are ''petri dishes for canine 'rape culture' '' and issues ''a call for awareness into the different ways dogs are treated on the basis of their gender and queering behaviors, and the chronic and perennial rape emergency dog parks pose to female dogs.''
The paper was ridiculous enough to pique my interest'--and rouse my skepticism, which grew in July with a report in Campus Reform by Toni Airaksinen. Author Helen Wilson had claimed to have a doctorate in feminist studies, but ''none of the institutions that offers such a degree could confirm that she had graduated from their program,'' Ms. Airaksinen wrote. In August Gender, Place & Culture issued an ''expression of concern'' admitting it couldn't verify Ms. Wilson's identity, though it kept the paper on its website.
All of this prompted me to ask my own questions. My email to ''Helen Wilson'' was answered by James Lindsay, a math doctorate and one of the real co-authors of the dog-park study. Gender, Place & Culture had been duped, he admitted. So had half a dozen other prominent journals that accepted fake papers by Mr. Lindsay and his collaborators'--Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University, and Helen Pluckrose, a London-based scholar of English literature and history and editor of AreoMagazine.com.
The three academics call themselves ''left-leaning liberals.'' Yet they're dismayed by what they describe as a ''grievance studies'' takeover of academia, especially its encroachment into the sciences. ''I think that certain aspects of knowledge production in the United States have been corrupted,'' Mr. Boghossian says. Anyone who questions research on identity, privilege and oppression risks accusations of bigotry.
Beginning in August 2017, the trio wrote 20 hoax papers, submitting them to peer-reviewed journals under a variety of pseudonyms, as well as the name of their friend Richard Baldwin, a professor emeritus at Florida's Gulf Coast State College. Mr. Baldwin confirms he gave them permission use his name. Journals accepted seven hoax papers. Four have been published.
This isn't the first time scholars have used a hoax paper to make a point. In 1996 Duke University Press's journal Social Text published a hoax submission by Alan Sokal, a mathematical physicist at New York University. Mr. Sokal, who faced no punishment for the hoax, told me he was ''not oblivious to the ethical issues involved in my rather unorthodox experiment,'' adding that ''professional communities operate largely on trust; deception undercuts that trust.''
But he also said he was criticizing an academic subculture ''that typically ignores (or disdains) reasoned criticism from the outside.'' He concluded: ''How can one show that the emperor has no clothes? Satire is by far the best weapon; and the blow that can't be brushed off is the one that's self-inflicted.'' Messrs. Lindsay and Boghossian were already known for a hoax paper titled ''The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,'' which they published in the journal Cogent Social Sciences last year under the names Jamie Lindsay and Peter Boyle.
Such hoaxes are unethical, and The Wall Street Journal doesn't condone them. The Journal expects op-ed contributors to be truthful about their identities and research, and academic journals also rely on the honesty of their authors.
But the trio defended their actions, saying they viewed the deception not as a prank but as a ''hoax of exposure,'' or a way to do immersive research that couldn't be conducted any other way. ''We understood ourselves to be going in to study it as it is, to try to participate in it,'' Ms. Pluckrose says. ''The name for this is ethnography. We're looking at a particular culture.''
Each paper ''combined an effort to better understand the field itself with an attempt to get absurdities and morally fashionable political ideas published as legitimate academic research,'' Mr. Lindsay wrote in a project summary. Their elaborate submissions cited and quoted dozens of real papers and studies to bolster the hoax arguments.
One of the trio's hoax papers, published in April by the journal Fat Studies, claims bodybuilding is ''fat-exclusionary'' and proposes ''a new classification . . . termed fat bodybuilding, as a fat-inclusive politicized performance.'' Editor Esther Rothblum said the paper had gone through peer review, and the author signed a copyright form verifying authorship of the article. ''This author put a lot of work into this topic,'' she said. ''It is an interesting topic, looking at weight and bodybuilding. So I am surprised that, of all things, they'd write this as a hoax. As you can imagine, this is a very serious charge.'' She plans to remove the paper from the Fat Studies website.
A hoax paper for the Journal of Poetry Therapy describes monthly feminist spirituality meetings, complete with a ''womb room,'' and discusses six poems, which Mr. Lindsay generated by algorithm and lightly edited. Founding editor Nicholas Mazza said the article went through blind peer review and revisions before its acceptance in July, but he regrets not doing more to verify the author's identity. He added that it took years to build credibility and get the Journal of Poetry Therapy listed in major scholarly databases. ''You work so hard, and you get something like this,'' he said. Still, ''I can see how editors like me and journals can be duped.''
Affilia, a peer-reviewed journal of women and social work, formally accepted the trio's hoax paper, ''Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism.'' The second portion of the paper is a rewrite of a chapter from ''Mein Kampf.'' Affilia's editors declined to comment.
The trio say they've proved that higher ed's fixation on identity politics enables ''absurd and horrific'' scholarship. Their submissions were outlandish'--but no more so, they insist, than others written in earnest and published by these journals.
Gender, Place & Culture, for instance, published a 2017 paper that wasn't a hoax analyzing the ''feminist posthumanist politics'' of what squirrels eat. This year Hypatia, a journal of feminist philosophy, published an analysis of a one-woman show featuring ''the onstage cooking of hot chocolate and the presence of a dead rat.'' The performance supposedly offers ''a synthaesthetic portrait of poverty and its psychological fallout.''
The trio say the biases in favor of grievance-focused research was so strong that their hoax papers sailed through peer review, acceptance and publication despite obvious problems. The data for the dog-park study, Mr. Lindsay says, ''was constructed to look outlandish on purpose. So asking us for the data would not have been out of sorts. It would have been appropriate, and we would have been exposed immediately.''
One hoax paper, submitted to Hypatia, proposed a teaching method centered on ''experiential reparations.'' It suggested that professors rate students' levels of oppression based on race, gender, class and other identity categories. Students deemed ''privileged'' would be kept from commenting in class, interrupted when they did speak, and ''invited'' to ''sit on the floor'' or ''to wear (light) chains around their shoulders, wrists or ankles for the duration of the course.'' Students who complained would be told that this ''educational tool'' helps them confront ''privileged fragility.''
Hypatia's two unnamed peer reviewers did not object that the proposed teaching method was abusive. ''I like this project very much,'' one commented. One wondered how to make privileged students ''feel genuinely uncomfortable in ways that are humbling and productive,'' but not ''so uncomfortable (shame) that they resist with renewed vigor.'' Hypatia didn't accept the paper but said it would consider a revised version. In July it formally accepted another hoax paper, ''When the Joke Is on You: A Feminist Perspective on How Positionality Influences Satire'''--an argument that humor, satire and hoaxes should only be used in service of social justice, not against it.
Ann Garry, an interim editor of Hypatia, said she was ''deeply disappointed'' to learn that the papers, which went through double anonymous peer review, may be hoaxes. ''Referees put in a great deal of time and effort to write meaningful reviews, and the idea that individuals would submit fraudulent academic material violates many ethical and academic norms,'' she said. ''It is equally upsetting that the anonymous reviewer comments from that effort were shared with third parties, violating the confidentiality of the peer-review process.'' Wiley, Hypatia's publisher, is investigating in accordance with industrywide ethical guidelines, she said.
After I contacted Gender, Place & Culture about the dog-park hoax paper, I received a statement from Taylor & Francis Group, the journal's publisher. Tracy Roberts, publishing director for the humanities and social sciences, said that after postpublishing checks raised questions about the author's identity, the editors launched an investigation several weeks ago. ''Helen Wilson'' never responded to their queries. ''We are now in the process of retracting this article from the scholarly record,'' the editorial team said in a statement.
Mr. Boghossian doesn't have tenure and expects the university will fire or otherwise punish him. Ms. Pluckrose predicts she'll have a hard time getting accepted to a doctoral program. Mr. Lindsay said he expects to become ''an academic pariah,'' barred from professorships or publications.
Yet Mr. Lindsay says the project is worth it: ''For us, the risk of letting biased research continue to influence education, media, policy and culture is far greater than anything that will happen to us for having done this.''
Ms. Melchior is an editorial page writer at the Journal.
Russian trolls targeted 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' online to amplify discontent: report | TheHill
Russian hackers reportedly targeted the release of Disney's ''Star Wars: The Last Jedi'' in 2017 to politicize the franchise and drum up discontent.
A new academic paper released this week from researcher Mort Bay at the University of Southern California found evidence online of ''deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments.''
Russian operators have exploited social media accounts to push political agendas, most notably during the 2016 presidential election, Bay wrote.
He found a number of Russian trolls disguised as fan accounts participating in online debates about the movie.
Online discussions comprised of three different audiences, according to Bay. There were trolls, those trying to stir up controversy because of a political agenda and genuine ''Star Wars'' fans.
''Overall, 50.9 percent of those tweeting negatively [about the movie] was likely politically motivated or not even human,'' he writes, noting that only 21.9 percent of tweets analyzed about the movie had been negative in the first place.
Bay wrote that the likely goal of the online trolls was to increase media coverage of the fandom's conflict, ''thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society,'' Bay wrote.
''Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation,'' he added.
The online ''Star Wars'' fandom is becoming more polarized in the Trump era, Bay wrote.
Bay noted that specific criticism of the films director, Rian Johnson, was largely political.
Of those who addressed Johnson on Twitter about their disslike for the movie, Bay found that more than half were ''bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality.''
Johnson took to Twitter on Monday to share Bay's research, saying it was ''consistent'' with his experience online.
''And just to be totally clear: this is not about fans liking or not liking the movie - I've had tons of great talks with great fans online and off who liked and disliked stuff, that's what fandom is all about,'' Johnson wrote. ''This is specifically about a virulent strain of online harassment.''
And just to be totally clear: this is not about fans liking or not liking the movie - I've had tons of great talks with great fans online and off who liked and disliked stuff, that's what fandom is all about. This is specifically about a virulent strain of online harassment.
NEW YORK '-- Both men were longtime taxi drivers from Romania. Both were worried about paying their bills as Uber decimated their industry. They were best friends. And both had struggled with depression.
Nicanor Ochisor's wife dragged him to a doctor in March to get help. Two days later, he hanged himself in his garage.
''I didn't know he was so depressed,'' his friend, Nicolae Hent, said.
Hent had taken antidepressants. He wished he could have told Ochisor that it would get better.
''I didn't know. I still feel bad even now '-- why I didn't know that,'' Hent said recently as he drove his taxi through Queens.
Ochisor was one of six professional drivers to die by suicide in New York in the last year '-- a crisis that has prompted a flurry of legislation to address the despair plaguing the industry. Most were men in their 50s and 60s anguished about their finances and feeling hopeless about being able to retire.
Many taxi drivers are under incredible stress, but Ochisor's story shows how difficult it can be to convince those with severe depression to talk about it. Life behind the wheel of a taxi can be solitary and the job tends to attract independent-minded people who might not feel comfortable talking about emotions that can carry a stigma.
But city officials are urging drivers to seek help. In August, the City Council approved a cap on Uber and other ride-hail vehicles '-- the first major U.S. city to rein in the booming apps. Now the council is considering a separate set of bills that would establish a health fund for drivers and create ''driver assistance centers'' for mental health counseling and financial advice.
One bill aims to help taxi medallion owners saddled with massive debt. Corey Johnson, the council speaker, said the city was considering several measures to do that, including a partial bailout or a hardship fund for medallion owners who drive their taxis '-- not for large-scale owners like Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer who with his wife owned more than 30 medallions.
''For the smaller individual medallion owners, what can we do to help them get out from under this crushing debt?'' Johnson said in an interview, adding that the council should vote on the bills by the end of the year. ''We're trying to figure out a way to do that.''
The recent string of suicides and the intense publicity they have received are now prodding drivers to speak more openly about their mental health '-- with each other and with their families. As their industry collapses, the conversations among drivers are different, from sharing photos of their grandchildren or talking about hobbies like winemaking, to discussing how they are going to survive.
Lal Singh, a taxi driver for three decades, said he had thought about suicide as he endured long hours driving his taxi and worried about paying off the loan he had taken out to buy it.
''When I hear that somebody did suicide, I was thinking about me,'' Singh said as he waited at the taxi parking lot at Kennedy International Airport on a recent afternoon. ''I'm going to be one of them one day.''
Singh, who is 62, owes about $6,200 a month on the taxi medallion he bought in 2000. He often drives a long stretch of Manhattan, from Harlem to Wall Street, looking in vain for passengers.
''When you have nothing to do, we are suffering,'' Singh said. ''What are you living for?''
At the airport taxi lot on a recent afternoon, taxi driver after driver complained of mounting debt and of feeling abandoned by the city, which has made millions of dollars selling medallions. A taxi medallion, the aluminum plate required to drive a cab in New York, once sold for more than $1 million but is now worth less than $200,000. Many drivers still owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans.
One taxi driver, Muhammad Anil, said his children had seen the headlines about the suicides and asked him if he was OK. Anil, 57, told them he was fine, though he is concerned about the more than $500,000 he owes on his medallion.
''I don't want them to worry about me too much,'' he said.
Middle-age drivers may be particularly vulnerable. The suicide rate for people between the ages of 45 and 64 has jumped in recent years, more than for other age groups, said Barbara Stanley, a psychology professor at Columbia University. Suicide is a deeply personal decision and it is difficult to know for certain the factors that drive a person to make that choice. The drivers, Stanley said, ''might have been depressed in the past or had a vulnerability to depression and you combine it with these terrible environmental stressors and that's a recipe for disaster.''
Still, many drivers are resistant to the idea of therapy.
''They've driven their whole lives,'' said Meera Joshi, the city's taxi commissioner. ''There's a tremendous amount of pride involved, rightfully so. Part of our messaging is that there's no shame to needing mental health help.''
At 70, Harbans Singh still works 12-hour shifts in his taxi to pay off his medallion debt. Singh said he was not interested in counseling, adding that he relied on his Sikh faith.
''We don't need counseling from the TLC,'' he said in reference to the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission, which oversees the industry. ''I don't trust the TLC.''
Many drivers have said the best way to help is to offer them financial assistance. But the city is in a difficult position. Any bailout of medallion owners could cost billions of dollars, and officials have said they cannot offer residents a payout unless they are indigent or legally broke. Lyft, another popular app, had discussed the idea of a $100 million ''hardship fund'' for drivers, paid for by the tech companies, but only if the city dropped the proposal for a cap.
Marlow Pierre, a taxi driver who leases his medallion, said the best solution would be to further restrict Uber.
''Let us get back to business,'' Pierre said. ''All these guys want to do is work.'' Two days before his death, Ochisor saw a doctor and started taking an antidepressant. But it was too late. ''He was worrying too much,'' Hent said. ''He told me many, many times, we have to work until we die.''
Gabriel Ochisor has taken over managing his father's taxi, which his mother Helen and another driver still operate. The taxi failed a recent inspection because of a ripped seat.
''I can see why you would get stressed and pull your hair out,'' Gabriel Ochisor said.
Hent sought help from a doctor around 2005 after a crippling anxiety attack, due in part to the stresses of his job. He started taking two antidepressants and learned coping strategies. He took up tennis.
''I saw how many people are sick in America'' with depression, Hent said. ''I said, 'Oh I can take care of this.'''
Now Hent, who is 62 and owes about $130,000 on his medallion, is pushing the city to assist taxi drivers. He spoke at a recent council hearing, waiting three hours for his turn '-- time spent away from making money in his taxi.
''I'm not going to kill myself,'' Hent said. ''I won't kill nobody. But I'll fight until I die.''
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments - BBC News
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cern, based in Switzerland, is one of the world's largest centres for scientific research A senior scientist who said physics "was invented and built by men" has been suspended with immediate effect from working with the European nuclear research centre Cern.
Prof Alessandro Strumia, of Pisa University, made the comments during a presentation organised by the group.
He said, in comments first reported by the BBC's Pallab Ghosh, that physics was "becoming sexist against men".
Cern said on Monday it was suspending Prof Strumia pending an investigation.
It stated that his presentation was "unacceptable".
"Cern always strives to carry out its scientific mission in a peaceful and inclusive environment," the statement reads, calling the presentation "contrary to the Cern Code of Conduct".
The organisation said it was "unfortunate" the views of the scientist, who works at a collaborating university, "risks overshadowing the important message and achievements of the event".
Prof Strumia, who regularly works at Cern, was speaking at a workshop in Geneva on gender and high energy physics.
He told his audience of young, predominantly female physicists that his results "proved" that "physics is not sexist against women. However the truth does not matter, because it is part of a political battle coming from outside".
He produced a series of graphs which, he claimed, showed that women were hired over men whose research was cited more by other scientists in their publications, which is an indication of higher quality.
He also presented data that he claimed showed that male and female researchers were equally cited at the start of their careers but men scored progressively better as their careers progressed.
Image caption Prof Strumia claimed there were examples where men were discriminated against Image caption Another one of the slides from Alessandro Strumia's talk at Cern When the BBC contacted Prof Strumia he said: "People say that physics is sexist, physics is racist. I made some simple checks and discovered that it wasn't, that it was becoming sexist against men and said so."
Last month, Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell told the BBC she believed that unconscious bias against women prevented them from getting jobs in physics research.
And a major study published in 2012 in the US scientific journal PNAS showed that science faculty members rated identical job applications more highly when presented to them with a male name rather than a female name.
Scientists reacted to Prof Strumia's presentation on social media, complaining about discrimination they had suffered in the course of their work.
Cern - which currently has its first ever woman director-general - said in an earlier statement the organisers were not aware of the content of the talk prior to the workshop.
A Cern spokesman confirmed that there was a video recording of the presentation. Senior managers would decide whether to release part or all of it, it said.
In 2015, Nobel laureate Prof Tim Hunt resigned from his position at University College London after telling an audience of young female scientists at a conference in South Korea that the "trouble with girls" in labs was that "when you criticise them, they cry".
Are you a female scientist or a woman studying science? What is your reaction to this story? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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Asia Argento admits having sexual encounter with underage co-star '-- but disputes accuser's account | Euronews
Italian actress Asia Argento has admitted she had sex with young actor Jimmy Bennett in 2013. The 43-year-old '-- who last month denied ever having a sexual relationship with Bennett '-- said during an Italian TV show interview on Sunday that she "froze" at the time.
The 22-year-old actor gave his account on September 24 on Italian TV, saying, "It turned into her placing her hands on me and following that was when she pushed me onto the bed and took my pants off."
He was 17 at the time and the legal age for consent in California is 18.
But Argento, who was 37 at the time of the alleged incident, denies Bennett's account of events and said: "He started kissing me and touching me, but not as a mother and child as I saw him, but as a boy with raging hormones ... And that froze me."
"He literally jumped on me (...) He was on me, and he came. Me, I didn't feel anything, I didn't react because for me it was unthinkable," added the actress.
"He told me it was a fantasy he'd had since the age of 12. For him, I was a hunting trophy," she said.
It's reported Bennett then asked for $3.5 million ('¬3 million) from her to keep quiet. Argento's then-boyfriend, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, allegedly paid him $250,000 ('¬215,316).
After Bourdain's suicide in June, Argento apparently stopped the payments.
Bennett's allegations came after she accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape and she became a leading figure in the #MeToo movement. Weinstein has repeatedly denied accusations of non-consensual sex.
Kavanaugh Was Questioned by Police After Bar Fight in 1985 - The New York Times
Image Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Credit Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times NEW HAVEN '-- As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report.
The incident, which occurred in September 1985 during Mr. Kavanaugh's junior year, resulted in Mr. Kavanaugh and four other men being questioned by the New Haven Police Department. Mr. Kavanaugh was not arrested, but the police report stated that a 21-year-old man accused Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him ''for some unknown reason.''
A witness to the fight said that Chris Dudley, a Yale basketball player who is friends with Mr. Kavanaugh, then threw a glass that hit the man in the ear, according to the police report, which was obtained by The New York Times.
The report said that the victim, Dom Cozzolino, ''was bleeding from the right ear'' and was treated at a hospital. A detective was notified of the incident at 1:20 a.m.
Mr. Dudley denied the accusation, according to the report. For his part, speaking to the officers, Mr. Kavanaugh did not want ''to say if he threw the ice or not,'' the police report said.
The report referred to the altercation, which occurred at a bar called Demery's, as ''an assault.'' It did not say whether anyone was arrested, and there is no indication that charges were filed.
Image A police report after a bar fight in New Haven in 1985 named Brett M. Kavanaugh. Personal information has been redacted. Credit The New York Times Image Page 2 of the police report. Credit The New York Times The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. Mr. Dudley did not respond to phone and email messages. Reached by text message, Mr. Cozzolino declined to comment.
The outlines of the incident were first referred to in a statement issued on Sunday by Chad Ludington, one of Judge Kavanaugh's college classmates and a member of the Yale basketball team.
''On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man's face,'' Mr. Ludington said in the statement. Mr. Ludington, a professor at North Carolina State University, said he came forward because he believed Judge Kavanaugh had mischaracterized the extent of his drinking at Yale.
Mr. Ludington said that he had been in touch with the F.B.I.
He said that the altercation happened after a UB40 concert on Sept. 25, when he and a group of people went to Demery's and were drinking pints. At one point, they were sitting near a man who, they thought, resembled Ali Campbell, the lead singer of UB40.
''We're trying to figure out if it's him,'' he said.
When the man noticed Mr. Ludington, Mr. Kavanaugh and the others looking at him, he objected and told them to stop it, adding an expletive, Mr. Ludington said.
Mr. Kavanaugh cursed, he said, and then ''threw his beer at the guy.''
''The guy swung at Brett,'' Mr. Ludington continued. At that point, Mr. Dudley ''took his beer and smashed it into the head of the guy, who by now had Brett in an embrace. I then tried to pull Chris back, and a bunch of other guys tried to pull the other guy back. I don't know what Brett was doing in the melee, but there was blood, there was glass, there was beer and there was some shouting, and the police showed up.''
Demery's, which closed in 1994, was a well-known bar that served big slices of pizza and cheap beer, especially after 9 p.m. It drew a crowd that included ''older Yalies and younger ones with good fake IDs,'' according to thepolitic.org.
Image Chris Dudley, right, in his Yale yearbook photo, and in another 1987 yearbook photo in the back row center with the Yale men's basketball team.Mr. Dudley, who after Yale went on to the N.B.A. and was the Republican nominee for governor of Oregon in 2010, has spoken out in support of Judge Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and disputed reports that he drank excessively.
Several Yale classmates, including a former roommate and Mr. Ludington, have described Judge Kavanaugh as sometimes aggressive when he was drinking.
Emily Bazelon reported from New Haven and Ben Protess from New York. Reporting was contributed by Robin Pogrebin, Rebecca R. Ruiz, Sarah Lyall and Steve Eder.
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At Beery Yale, Curses, Fists, Glass, Blood And a Student
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Alex Jones runs the InfoWars website, which touts a range of conspiracy theories US radio host Alex Jones is suing PayPal, claiming bias against conservative views was behind its decision to block his website.
The conspiracy theorist has been banned from most major web services, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Mr Jones is alleging PayPal's ban is "viewpoint discrimination", calling it a "dangerous precedent".
PayPal told Courthouse News that the case was without merit and that it would vigorously defend itself.
PayPal decided to stop processing payments for InfoWars in September, claiming it violated their policies on promoting hate and violence.
The ban affected revenue Mr Jones made from selling Infowars-branded goods and right-wing literature.
"It is at this point well known that large tech companies, located primarily in Silicon Valley, are discriminating against politically conservative entities and individuals, including banning them from social media platforms such as Twitter, based solely on their political and ideological viewpoints," Mr Jones's company, Free Speech Systems, states in a 15-page complaint.
"Having effectively cornered the market, [PayPal] is now using that market power to restrain conservative trade and commerce," it adds.
Mr Jones is himself being sued over alleged defamation by the parents of two children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, which he has claimed was a hoax.
Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials '' Foreign Policy
The Trump administration on Monday began denying visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees, and requiring those already in the United States to get married by the end of the year or leave the country.
The U.S. Mission to the U.N. portrayed the decision'--which foreign diplomats fear will increase hardships for same-sex couples in countries that don't recognize same-sex marriage'--as an effort to bring its international visa practices in line with current U.S. policy. In light of the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the U.S. extends diplomatic visas only to married spouses of U.S. diplomats.
''Same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses,'' the U.S. mission wrote in a July 12 note to U.N.-based delegations. ''Consistent with [State] Department policy, partners accompanying members of permanent missions or seeking to join the same must generally be married in order to be eligible'' for a diplomatic visa.
But critics says the new policy will impose undue hardships on foreign couples from countries that criminalize same-sex marriages.
Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, denounced the new policy on Twitter as ''needlessly cruel & bigoted.''
''State Dept. will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of UN employees get visas unless they are married,'' she tweeted, noting that ''only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage.''
In July, the U.S. mission sent out diplomatic notes to the United Nations and representatives for foreign diplomatic missions explaining the new policy, which reversed a 2009 decision by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to grant visas to domestic partners of U.S. and foreign diplomats. The 2009 policy, however, did not allow a heterosexual domestic partner of a U.S. or foreign diplomat to enter the country on a diplomatic visa.
The new policy '--which enters into force Monday'--requires that foreign domestic partners of diplomats and U.N. officials posted in the United States must show the State Department proof of marriage by Dec. 31, or leave the country within 30 days. As of today, domestic partners of diplomats and U.N. officials based abroad will need to show they are married in order to enter the country on a diplomatic visa. The latest policy change, the United States explained in the note, was aimed at ensuring all couples were treated equally.
''The Department of State will not issue a G-4 visa for same-sex domestic partners,'' the U.N. human resources chief explained in a note distributed to staff last month. ''As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners '... seeking to join newly arrived U.N. officials must provide proof of marriage to eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change in such status.''
There are currently at least 10 U.N. employees in the United States who would need to get married by the New Year to have their partners' visas extended.
The new policy poses a number of risks for same-sex partners, according to Alfonso Nam, the president of U.N. Globe, a U.N. LGBTI staff advocacy organization.
Same-sex couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalizes homosexuality or same-sex marriages.
The United States informed foreign governments that they would allow ''limited exceptions'' to its new policy in cases involving diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal. But that government would have to provide documentation proving that same-sex marriage was illegal and commit to accepting same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats.
Yet that exception was not offered to U.N. officials.
''With this change, the State Department is enforcing parity in the way they recognize opposite-sex partnerships and same-sex partnerships,'' U.N. Globe said in a statement. ''It is an unfortunate change in rules, since same-sex couples, unlike opposite-sex couples, have limited choices when it comes to marriage.''
Spotify unveils new podcasters portal for you to submit your show
Spotify, the second-largest podcast platform in the world, has today released a dedicated podcasters portal. The website now lets you instantly add your podcast, even if you're not with a partner host; and promises audience consumption data including gender, age and location. Unlike Apple Podcasts, there is no editorial approval process.
Because Spotify normally caches your audio, stats from Spotify won't appear within your normal podcast host's stats, and won't be measured by Podtrac and similar services. The bot uses Spotify/1.0 as a user-agent; and comes and grabs all older episodes as soon as you submit. Spotify's systems also appear to check your RSS feed as often as your TTL figure says so. If you're already listed in Spotify, you should continue using your host to get statistics, and you cannot use this new portal.We've updated our list of where to submit your podcast, and our podcast app user-agents. And as if you've not already realised: our daily podcast is now on Spotify. Do us a favour and please subscribe.Apple Podcasts last week suggested that podcasters use AAC rather than MP3. The makers of the Castro podcast app crunched the numbers: only 11.8% of all episodes released in the past ten days are AAC; 86.5% were MP3. (We would recommend sticking with MP3.)
Edison Research unveiled some data about in-car audio. Podcasting appeared not to be in the list, so we checked - it's part of the "other" category, at less than 4% of all audio listened-to in the car . Larry Rosin, who presented the data, told us:
"While podcast listening is clearly growing, for most people, listening to a podcast in the car is just more trouble than it's worth. The radio that is baked into the car is easy to use, comes with a life time of habituation, and provides great (or good enough) content for the overwhelming majority of people. Blend that with the fact that most individual rides are not that long, and bothering with a podcast (or audiobook) is just not worth it for most people."
Ofcom, the UK media regulator, released data showing UK podcast listening is "booming". "The number of weekly podcast listeners has almost doubled in five years '' from 3.2 million in 2013 to 5.9m in 2018" - 11% of UK adults are listening to podcasts. While not entirely comparable, Edison Research data claims that figure is 17% in the US.
Also of note: "Among the most commonly used [sources to listen] were the BBC website and app (used by 36% of podcast listeners), YouTube (26%) and iTunes (25%)."Data from the Indian podcast market - Aman Goklani from Audioboom shared consumption data, including that 77 per cent of the listeners in India are consuming podcasts on mobile phones. You can watch his full speech here.
Gimlet Media have unveiled their Q3 2018 lineup. It includes a horror show, and Alex Blumberg has a new interview show.
The Australian ABC is announcing tomorrow the outcome of their AU$1m podcast fund, which was announced last year.
The Podcast Brunch Club's playlist for October is all about the sharing economy.
Adam Curry doesn't like CJR's assertion that the podcast bubble has burst.
PANIC: Amazon has started making its own mattresses.
JobsJunior Quality Assurance Technician at StreamGuys (San Luis Obispo CA, USA)Podcast Producer at SBS, Sydney NSW, AustraliaJobs are freePodcastsMad Influence is GQ magazine's new podcast. "Legendary actor Ethan Hawke" is the first interviewee. (Libsyn)Chicago Beer Pass is celebrating five years of podcasting. (LooseKeys)The Pulp Tales of Gwendolyn Gween, P.I. is an episodic comedic podcast series in the vein of old radio dramas. It follows Gwen Gween, a junior P.I., as she takes on New York City's strangest cases. (Soundcloud)Jones.Show is a new podcast from Randy Jones and the original voice of Siri, Susan C Bennett, and promises Thought-Full Conversation.Round the Houses is the debut podcast from UK property television star Sarah Beeny. "Episode 1 features Sarah's visit to notorious comedian Julian Clary's home, where she unearths the shocking behaviour of Noel Coward's lively cigar smoking ghost" (Audioboom)The New Yorker Radio Hour has kicked off a special short documentary series called The Long-Distance Con. Maggie Robinson Katz received an inheritance when her father died: a suitcase crammed with some 150 audio tapes and old papers from her dad's office. Since then, Maggie has tried to piece together who her father really was.Listicle cornerThree Food Podcasts That Will Make You Hungry for More (Podcast Review)The best French podcasts (and part two)The best podcasts on EU politics (PolicyLab) (stay awake at the back there)Thank you to Veritone One for your kind support.
Previously...<< Google Podcasts turns on Chromecast; and Podcast Awards 2018 winners
Russian MP blames internet for teenage masturbation, calls on nationwide campaign '-- RT Russian Politics News
A senior MP in charge of education and science has apparently started an anti-masturbation crusade as he alleged the practice to be extremely harmful to health and called for special classes in schools to deal with the issue.
In a radio interview, 67-year old Gennadiy Onishenko said masturbation was an acute problem and that it was especially spread among the younger generation. Then he alleged that the main reason behind this situation was the universal reach and availability of the internet. He said that the web had a ''particular specialization'' on masturbation and that even that it ''encouraged'' kids into playing with themselves.
Onishenko, the deputy chair of the science and education committee in the lower house, went on to state that masturbation posed a great threat to the health of children and teenagers, girls and boys alike and proposed to introduce a special course in schools that would warn the younger generation about the potential perils of such activities. Another proposal was to work with parents who can detect the problem and explain the alleged potential consequences to their children.
READ MORE: 'Nothing positive comes from sexual abstinence' - Sex therapist advises World Cup masturbation
However, the lawmaker admitted that in some regions, like those with predominantly Muslim population, people would not understand such interventions on the part of the state and suggested that the campaign should first be launched in ''hyper-urbanized'' areas.
Onishchenko made himself a name with controversial and downright bizarre statements when he occupied the position of Russia's Chief Sanitary Inspector (1993-2004) and then headed the state consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor (2004-2013).
On these posts, Onishenko proposed, among other things, to ban drinking kefir (Russian fermented milk product similar to buttermilk or yoghurt) and driving and to restrict the consumption of sushi which he described as ''worm-infested fish''. He also called common crows ''feathered wolves'' and said that ordinary citizens should participate in mass culling of these birds and denounced street rallies as a place where participants can catch a dangerous infection.
Onishchenko left his post in Rospotrebnadzor because his working contract expired and joined the lower house of parliament through a by-election in 2016. The ex-official continued to apply his extensive media skills at the new position, proposing, among other things, a universal ban on tobacco products and a ban on imports and sales of US-made medical products.
So far these proposals have not been realized as laws.
Russian schools had special lessons called ''Ethics and psychology of family life'' in mid- and late 1990s but currently this course is optional.
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China Censors Bad Economic News Amid Signs of Slower Growth - The New York Times
Image A market on the outskirts of Harbin, China. Negative economic news could undermine the careful message that Chinese officials have tried to transmit to the public in recent months. Credit Credit Hallie Gu/Reuters BEIJING '-- China has long made it clear that reporting on politics, civil society and sensitive historical events is forbidden. Increasingly, it wants to keep negative news about the economy under control, too.
A government directive sent to journalists in China on Friday named six economic topics to be ''managed,'' according to a copy of the order that was reviewed by The New York Times.
The list of topics includes:
' Worse-than-expected data that could show the economy is slowing. ' Local government debt risks. ' The impact of the trade war with the United States. ' Signs of declining consumer confidence' The risks of stagflation, or rising prices coupled with slowing economic growth ' ''Hot-button issues to show the difficulties of people's lives.''
The government's new directive betrays a mounting anxiety among Chinese leaders that the country could be heading into a growing economic slump. Even before the trade war between the United States and China, residents of the world's second-largest economy were showing signs of keeping a tight grip on their wallets. Industrial profit growth has slowed for four consecutive months, and China's stock market is near its lowest level in four years.
''It's possible that the situation is more serious than previously thought or that they want to prevent a panic,'' said Zhang Ming, a retired political science professor from Renmin University in Beijing.
Mr. Zhang said the effect of the expanded censorship strategy could more readily cause people to believe rumors about the economy. ''They are worried about chaos,'' he added. ''But in barring the media from reporting, things may get more chaotic.''
The directive didn't appear to affect run-of-mill daily coverage of economic data, which could still be widely found online in China on Friday. Instead, the directive appeared to be aimed at easing the overall tone.
Indeed, another notice sent on Friday instructed online news outlets to remove comments at the bottom of news articles that ''bad-mouth the Chinese economy.''
These topics pertain to ''China's economic downturn,'' ''China's stagflation,'' ''new refugees,'' ''consumption downgrading'' and ''other harmful remarks that criticize the development prospects of China,'' according to a copy of the notice reviewed by The Times. Consumption downgrading refers to Chinese consumers looking for ways to spend less.
China's propaganda department couldn't be reached late Friday for comment.
Negative economic news could undermine the careful message Chinese officials have tried to transmit to the public in recent months. They have said that the country's vast and growing ranks of consumers, as well as China's increasing sophistication in technology and other areas, would help it weather any ill effects from rising American tariffs.
At the same time, officials have made moves to juice the economy. The government has loosened restrictions on big but costly local government projects like subways and light rail lines. It has also promised tax cuts for businesses and other efforts to generate more construction.
The trade war could certainly worsen the economic climate if it lingers, leading to job losses and even weaker consumer sentiment. But China has more deep-seated economic problems.
Officials are trying to clean up huge debts accumulated by local governments. Curbing debt could mean slower economic growth, as it deprives borrowers of the funds they would otherwise spend.
China has long maintained a tight grip on the media, though the economy traditionally has been one of the freer domains of reporting. Even after China began more closely managing its economic message following market turmoil in 2015, aggressive journalists have covered the fallout of peer-to-peer online lending schemes and the problems posed by local government debt, among other issues.
On paper, China's gross domestic product, its main economic figure, indicates smooth sailing. But the figure is widely doubted, and many economists are forecasting a slowdown to varying degrees.
Mark Williams, chief Asia economist of Capital Economics, said the firm expects the Chinese economy to slow down to 5 to 5.5 percent from 6.9 percent last year. Despite the lower forecast, he stressed that it was ''not a weak number'' for the Chinese economy.
''One of the problems is there's a lot of doubt about official Chinese data,'' Mr. Williams said. ''And when they come out with these directives, it just raises more questions.''
In the past year, domestic news media have had to write their stories on the economy with a gentler tone, said a journalist covering finance for a Chinese business newspaper, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Censors have also erased online commentary that contained the phrases ''consumption downgrade,'' taxes, debt and unemployment, according to the Journalism and Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong, which monitors censorship on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media service.
One post that was removed by censors said: ''The bad news in the market is exploding, pessimistic viewpoints are spreading, many retail investors are in despair.''
Another read: ''Will the emergence of robots free up labor or cause unemployment and poverty?''
The scrutiny over economic news adds to a broader pattern of the tightening of control over media since President Xi Jinping came into power in 2012. Particularly online, the Chinese government has centralized and beefed up regulatory agencies that monitor content. Recently, the agencies have come down harder on entertainment news and celebrity gossip, in addition to political and social issues.
On Wednesday, Phoenix News Media, a Hong Kong-based outlet with big operations in mainland China, said the Chinese authorities had instructed it to ''rectify'' its news portal, ifeng.com. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's main internet regulator, said that Phoenix had ''disseminated illegal and harmful information, distorted news headlines and shared news information in violation of rules.''
Two weeks earlier, NetEase, an online news portal, said it had to suspend updating its financial platform ''because of serious problems.''
Sui-Lee Wee reported from Beijing, and Li Yuan from Hong Kong
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Brendan Eich writes to the US Senate: we need a GDPR for the United States | Brave Browser
Brendan Eich, the CEO of Brave, has written to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to present the case for GDPR-like data protection standards in the United States.
The full text of this letter is copied below. You can download the PDF here.
The Honorable John ThuneChairmanCommittee on Commerce, Science, and TransportationUnited States Senate512 Dirksen Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510
The Honorable Bill NelsonRanking MemberCommittee on Commerce, Science, and TransportationUnited States Senate512 Dirksen Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510
28 September 2018
Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy
Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson,
I write to commend the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for engaging with this most pressing issue. It is our view as a company born and based in the United States, and as leading technologists, that the new framework for privacy regulation in the European Union represents a model that should be followed here.
I view the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a great leveller. The GDPR establishes the conditions that can allow young, innovative companies like Brave to flourish.
As regulators broaden their enforcement of the new rules in Europe, the GDPR's principle of ''purpose limitation'' will begin to prevent dominant platforms from using data that they have collected for one purpose at one end of their business to the benefit of other parts of their business in a way that currently disadvantages new entrants. In general, platform giants will need ''opt-in'' consent for each purpose for which they want to use consumers' data. This will create a breathing space for new entrants to emerge.
The character of the GDPR is congruent with the United States' understanding of privacy. Indeed, the primary principles of the GDPR are based on principles that the United States already endorsed in 1980, in the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. These previously endorsed principles include a GDPR-like definition of ''personal data''. It is also worth noting that many features of the GDPR have been sought by the FTC for over a decade.
In the coming years, common GDPR-like standards for commercial use of consumers' personal data will apply in the EU, Britain (post EU), Japan, India, Brazil, South Korea, Argentina, and China, for civil and commercial use of personal data. These countries account for 51% of global GDP. A common standard reduces friction and uncertainty, allowing companies from these countries to operate and innovate together with greater efficiency. A United States GDPR-like standard will ensure our position and competitive edge as leaders in technology and innovation in the global marketplace.
The online media and advertising industry
A GDPR-like standard in the United States will also establish the foundation of trust to enable innovation and growth. This certainly applies in our own online media and advertising industry. Contrary to some of our industry colleagues, I believe that it is not tenable for any platform, publisher, technology vendor, or trade body, to claim that they must track people in order to generate revenue from advertising.
The enormous growth of ad-blocking by people across the globe (to 615 million active devices by late 2017) proves the terrible cost of inadequately regulating the tracking-based advertising system. Trust will only return as the GDPR-like laws begin to curtail the online advertising industry's worst practices.
The economic benefit of ''behavioral tracking'' to publishers' businesses is questionable. The IAB, an ad targeting industry trade body, recently funded a lobbying study on ''The economic value of behavioral targeting in digital advertising'' that claimed that publishers (in Europe) rely on tracking for their advertising revenue. It is now public knowledge that a startling omission was at the heart of this report. Without any indication that it was doing so, the report combined Google and Facebook's massive revenue from behavioural ad tech with the far smaller amount that actual publishers receive from it. Inclusion of Google and Facebook revenues enormously and incorrectly inflated the benefit that publishers derive from permitting ad tech companies to surveil and profile their visitors.
The GDPR is also an important regulatory tool to fight political micro-targeting, and the attendant issues of micro-targeting. Currently, a person browsing the Web is tracked across nearly every webpage they visit by ''online behavioral advertising'' (OBA), which leverages persistent data collection to select the ads that are displayed. There is a massive and systematic data breach at the heart of this system that causes web users' personal data to be leaked in such a way that can be harvested by unscrupulous data brokers. It is highly likely that this contributes to micro-targeting user data profiles.
Furthermore, so-called ''dark ads'' on websites, targeted using OBA, may be considerably less traceable than those served on social media, because the websites themselves are not aware of what ads they serve. Unlike Facebook, the OBA industry consists of a vast array of third party networks, operating behind the scenes with opaque processes, with no central authority to hold to account.
For these reasons, I urge you to consider the GDPR as a model to pursue. I would be delighted to provide further information, or to meet and brief you, to assist in your deliberations.
Brendan EichCEO, Brave Software
Louis C.K. at the Comedy Cellar: The disgraced comedian stopped in for another surprise set.
Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell was hired by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans to question Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford.
Her report is damning of Ford's evidence, which hysterical protesters (and too many journalists) insist must be believed without question because, you know, she's a woman and Kavanaugh a man:
In the legal context, here is my bottom line: A ''he said, she said'' case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that. Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them. For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.
1. Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened:
In a July 6 text to the Washington Post, she said it happened in the ''mid 1980s.'' In her July 30 letter to Senator Feinstein, she said it happened in the ''early 80s.'' Her August 7 statement to the polygrapher said that it happened one ''high school summer in early 80's,'' but she crossed out the word ''early'' for reasons she did not explain. A September 16 Washington Post article reported that Dr. Ford said it happened in the ''summer of 1982.'' Similarly, the September 16 article reported that notes from an individual therapy session in 2013 show her describing the assault as occurring in her ''late teens.'' But she told the Post and the Committee that she was 15 when the assault allegedly occurred. She has not turned over her therapy records for the Committee to review. While it is common for victims to be uncertain about dates, Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the timeframe to a particular season and particular year
2. Dr. Ford has struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name:
No name was given in her 2012 marriage therapy notes. No name was given in her 2013 individual therapy notes. Dr. Ford's husband claims to recall that she identified Judge Kavanaugh by name in 2012. At that point, Judge Kavanaugh's name was widely reported in the press as a potential Supreme Court nominee if Governor Romney won the presidential election. In any event, it took Dr. Ford over thirty years to name her assailant. Delayed disclosure of abuse is common so this is not dispositive.
3. When speaking with her husband, Dr. Ford changed her description of the incident to become less specific:
Dr. Ford testified that she told her husband about a ''sexual assault'' before they were married. But she told the Washington Post that she informed her husband that she was the victim of ''physical abuse'' at the beginning of their marriage. She testified that, both times, she was referring to the same incident.
4. Dr. Ford has no memory of key details of the night in question'--details that could help corroborate her account:
She does not remember who invited her to the party or how she heard about it. She does not remember how she got to the party. She does not remember in what house the assault allegedly took place or where that house was located with any specificity.
Perhaps most importantly, she does not remember how she got from the party back to her house. Her inability to remember this detail raises significant questions. She told the Washington Post that the party took place near the Columbia Country Club. The Club is more than 7 miles from her childhood home as the crow flies, and she testified that it was a roughly 20-minute drive from her childhood home. She also agreed for the first time in her testimony that she was driven somewhere that night, either to the party or from the party or both. Dr. Ford was able to describe hiding in the bathroom, locking the door, and subsequently exiting the house. She also described wanting to make sure that she did not look like she had been attacked. But she has no memory of who drove her or when. Nor has anyone come forward to identify him or herself as the driver. Given that this all took place before cell phones, arranging a ride home would not have been easy. Indeed, she stated that she ran out of the house after coming downstairs and did not state that she made a phone call from the house before she did, or that she called anyone else thereafter.
She does, however, remember small, distinct details from the party unrelated to the assault. For example, she testified that she had exactly one beer at the party and was taking no medication at the time of the alleged assault.
5. Dr. Ford's account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as having attended'--including her lifelong friend:
Dr. Ford has named three people other than Judge Kavanaugh who attended the party'-- Mark Judge, Patrick ''PJ'' Smyth, and her lifelong friend Leland Keyser (n(C)e Ingham). Dr. Ford testified to the Committee that another boy attended the party, but that she could not remember his name. No others have come forward. All three named eyewitnesses have submitted statements to the Committee denying any memory of the party whatsoever.
Most relevantly, in her first statement to the Committee, Ms. Keyser stated through counsel that, ''[s]imply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.'' ... Moreover, Dr. Ford testified that her friend Leland, apparently the only other girl at the party, did not follow up with Dr. Ford after the party to ask why she had suddenly disappeared.
6. Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of the alleged assault:
According to her letter to Senator Feinstein, Dr. Ford heard Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge talking to other partygoers downstairs while she was hiding in the bathroom after the alleged assault. But according to her testimony, she could not hear them talking to anyone. In her letter, she stated, ''I locked the door behind me. Both loudly stumbled down the stairwell, at which point other persons at the house were talking with them.'' She testified that Judge 'Kavanaugh or Mark Judge turned up the music in the bedroom so that the people downstairs could not hear her scream. She testified that, after the incident, she ran into the bathroom, locked the door, and heard them going downstairs. But she maintained that she could not hear their conversation with others when they got downstairs. Instead, she testified that she ''assum[ed]'' a conversation took place. Her account of who was at the party has been inconsistent. According to the Washington Post's account of her therapy notes, there were four boys in the bedroom in which she was assaulted. She told the Washington Post that the notes were erroneous because there were four boys at the party, but only two in the bedroom. In her letter to Senator Feinstein, she said ''me and 4 others'' were present at the party. In her testimony, she said there were four boys in addition to Leland Keyser and herself. She could not remember the name of the fourth boy, and no one has come forward. Dr. Ford listed Patrick ''PJ'' Smyth as a ''bystander'' in her statement to the polygrapher and in her July 6 text to the Washington Post, although she testified that it was inaccurate to call him a bystander. She did not list Leland Keyser even though they are good friends. Leland Keyser's presence should have been more memorable than PJ Smyth's.
7. Dr. Ford has struggled to recall important recent events relating to her allegations, and her testimony regarding recent events raises further questions about her memory:
Dr. Ford struggled to remember her interactions with the Washington Post. Dr. Ford could not remember if she showed a full or partial set of therapy notes to the Washington Post reporter. She does not remember whether she showed the Post reporter the therapist's notes or her own summary of those notes. The Washington Post article said that ''portions'' of her ''therapist's notes'' were ''provided by Ford and reviewed by'' the Post. But in her testimony, Dr. Ford could not recall whether she summarized the notes for the reporter or showed her the actual records....
Dr. Ford refused to provide any of her therapy notes to the Committee.
Dr. Ford's explanation of why she disclosed her allegations the way she did raises questions. She claimed originally that she wished for her story to remain confidential, but the person operating the tipline at the Washington Post was the first person other than her therapist or husband to whom she disclosed the identity of her alleged attacker. She testified that she had a ''sense of urgency to relay the information to the Senate and the president.'' She did not contact the Senate, however, because she claims she ''did not know how to do that.'' She does not explain why she knew how to contact her Congresswoman but not her Senator....
8. Dr. Ford's description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions:
She maintains that she suffers from anxiety, claustrophobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The date of the hearing was delayed because the Committee was informed that her symptoms prevent her from flying. But she agreed during her testimony that she flies ''fairly frequently for [her] hobbies and '... work.'' She flies to the mid-Atlantic at least once a year to visit her family. She has flown to Hawaii, French Polynesia, and Costa Rica. She also flew to Washington, D.C. for the hearing...
She alleges that she struggled academically in college, but she has never made any similar claim about her last two years of high school. It is significant that she used the word ''contributed'' when she described the psychological impact of the incident to the Washington Post. Use of the word ''contributed'' rather than ''caused'' suggests that other life events may have contributed to her symptoms. And when questioned on that point, said that she could think of ''nothing as striking as'' the alleged assault.
9. The activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford's attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford's account...
How on earth can allegations this vague and self-contradictory be treated by so many journalists as so damning.
Answer: because they really, really want it to be true, and do not care how unjust they are.
Clapping banned at Students' Union events - The Mancunion
MancunionNews Clapping banned at Students' Union events Written by Amy Wei on 28th September 2018. Posted in News
Jazz hands will be used instead of traditional clapping, whooping, and cheering at University of Manchester Students' Union (SU) events, following a motion voted through the first Senate session of the academic year, held on Thursday 27th September.
It was argued that the loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping pose an issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues. BSL (British Sign Language) clapping '' or, jazz hands '' would be a more inclusive form of expression.
Liberation and Access Officer Sara Khan authored the motion, called 'Making Senate More Accessible'. It resolved to swap out audible clapping for BSL clapping at SU events, and to ''encourage student groups and societies to do the same, and to include BSL clapping as a part of inclusion training''.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has been using BSL clapping since 2015. Khan's motion received little opposition in Senate.
Thrice per semester, the SU holds a Senate session where students can bring forward motions to amend the SU constitution.
All motions are voted on by attendees, which include a variety of stakeholders in the student community: for example representatives from University halls, student media representatives, random members of the student body, and our SU exec officers. Each motion needs a 66% majority to get passed.
Sara Khan also proposed a second motion to the September Senate, campaigning for greater QTIPOC (Queer, Trans, and Intersex People of Colour) inclusion and advocacy.
The motion steers the SU to ''ring-fence £500 for QTIPOC events and campaigns'' and ''include representation of, support for, and advocacy for QTIPOC in the role descriptions for part-time BME, LGBTQ and Trans officers''.
Sara Khan herself was absent from Senate. This meant the Senate's questions about which fund the £500 would be ring-fenced from were unanswered. As a consequence, they voted to postpone the motion for the next Senate session, which will be held on Thursday 8th November.
The September Senate passed another motion titled: 'Lobbying UoM to Make Resit Examinations Flexible for International Students'. This motion resolved to ''actively lobby the university to enable international students to undertake resit exams in their home countries''.
Author Riddi Viswanathan noted: ''Other Russell group institutions enable their international students to undertake resits in their home countries through partnerships with British council centres or other university verified assessment centres''.
One Senate representative questioned the exclusionary nature of the motion to domestic students: ''If you live 600 miles away in Scotland, you'll still have to travel 6 or 7 hours to resit an examination.''
Viswanathan expressed interest in expanding the accessibility of remote resits to national students, after it proves successful with international students.
The fourth motion was to 'Make Islamophobia Awareness Month, Black History Month, LGBT history Month and Global Week Compulsory Campaigns'. This motion was not passed.
A number of Senate attendees were made uncomfortable by the word 'compulsory'.
''Might this mean exec officers have to forsake some of their other duties to accommodate this?'' Laura, the Fallowfield Community Officer, asked.
Shamima Khonat, the Community, Campaigns and Citizenship Officer, who proposed the motion, responded that she was confident there would not be any problems: ''This is what we were elected for.''
Riddi argued for the motion: ''The SU needs to be mandated to carry them out no matter who carries them out. Who carries them out is not known.''
This did not convince the Senate. One attendee closed the debate off: ''We can resubmit it next month, with the wording changed from 'compulsory' to 'priority', and with proper steps laid out with a hierarchy of who the responsibility will fall to. You don't pass something that's sub-par.''
Tags: banned, BSL clapping, Clapping, Jazz hands, QTIPOC, Resit Examinations, Students Union, University of Manchester