End of Show Mixes: - UKPMX - Gx2 -Oh My Bosh - Danny Loos-Secret Agent Paul-Stepford Wives-PlaceBoing- Dave Courbanou - Able Kirby - Jungle Jones - Chris Wilson - Tom Starkweather - Conan Salada - Future Trash - Phantomville Billy Bon3s
If President Trump's torrent of words has seemed overwhelming of late, there's a good reason for that.
In the first nine months of his presidency, President Trump made 1,318 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day. But in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims '-- an average of 30 a day.
That adds up to a total of 6,420 claims through Oct. 30, the 649th day of his presidency, according to The Fact Checker's database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.
The flood of presidential misinformation has picked up dramatically as the president has barnstormed across the country, holding rallies with his supporters. Each of those rallies usually yields 35 to 45 suspect claims. But the president often has tacked on interviews with local media (in which he repeats the same false statements) and gaggles with the White House press corps before and after his trips.
So that adds up to 84 claims on Oct. 1, when he held a rally in Johnson City, Tenn.; 83 claims on Oct. 22, when he held a rally in Houston, and 78 claims on Oct. 19, when he held a rally in Mesa, Ariz.
Put another way: September was the second-biggest month of the Trump presidency, with 599 false and misleading claims. But that paled next to October, with almost double: 1,104 claims, not counting Oct. 31.
The burden of keeping track of this verbiage has consumed the weekends and nights of The Fact Checker staff. We originally had planned to include Oct. 31 in this update, but the prospect of wading through 20 tweets and the nearly 10,000 words Trump spoke that day was too daunting for our deadline.
The president's proclivity to twist data and fabricate stories is on full display at his rallies. He has his greatest hits: 120 times he had falsely said he passed the biggest tax cut in history, 80 times he has asserted that the U.S. economy today is the best in history and 74 times he has falsely said his border wall is already being built. (Congress has allocated only $1.6 billion for fencing, but Trump also frequently mentioned additional funding that has not yet been appropriated.)
But there are many curious moments, too, suggesting the president is walled off from contradictory information.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump emphatically denied he had imposed many tariffs. ''I mean, other than some tariffs on steel '-- which is actually small, what do we have? ... Where do we have tariffs? We don't have tariffs anywhere,'' he insisted. The newspaper responded by printing a list of $305 billion tariffs on many types of U.S. imports.
Nearly 25 times, he has claimed that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was No. 1 in his class at Yale University or at Yale Law School. The law school does not rank and Kavanaugh graduated cum laude from the college '-- the third level below summa cum laude and magna cum laude. At the time, Yale granted honors rather liberally, so nearly 50 percent of the class graduated with honors, with half of those cum laude.
This is one of those facts that can be easily checked with a Google search, yet the president persists with his falsehood.
Similarly, Trump attacked Richard Cordray, a Democrat running for governor in Ohio, for having spent $250 million on renovating the building for the agency he once ran, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That was almost double the actual cost. Oddly, Trump added that after Cordray spent ''$50 million on some elevators, it turned out they didn't work.''
Trump lives in expensive housing but that's a fantasy. The most expensive elevator ever is the 1,070-foot-high Bailong Elevator, set in a Chinese mountain range. It cost $20 million.
Thirteen times, Trump invented whole-cloth stories about Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the lead plaintiff in a steadily advancing lawsuit that could open up the Trump Organization's books to lawmakers. Trump falsely claimed Blumenthal said he was a war hero and fought in Da Nang province. ''We call him 'Da Nang Richard.' 'Da Nang' '-- that's his nickname,'' Trump said. Blumenthal described his military record in misleading or false terms on a few occasions before he was elected to the Senate in 2010, but he never said he fought in the theater. Trump also said Blumenthal dropped out of the Senate race (no), barely won anyway (no) and was crying when he apologized (no).
''It's like liberating, like a war, like there's a foreign invasion. And they occupy your country. And then you get them out through whatever. And they call it liberation,'' Trump declared in Mosinee, Wis., on Oct. 24. Some audience members began yelling, ''Get the hell out.''
This dystopian vision of a violent gang overrunning cities and towns across the United States is divorced from reality. MS-13 operates in a few areas such as Los Angeles, Long Island and the Washington, D.C., region. It's a gross exaggeration to say that towns are being liberated from MS-13, as if they had been captured.
Most striking, the tone of Trump's attacks on Democrats escalated the closer the election approached. The president always had slammed Democrats, but his rhetoric became sharper and increasingly inaccurate in recent weeks.
''They want to erase our gains and plunge our country into a nightmare of gridlock, poverty, chaos and, frankly, crime, because that's what comes with it,'' he said on Oct. 4. ''The Democrat Party is radical socialism, Venezuela and open borders. It's now called, to me '-- you've never heard this before, The Party of Crime. It's a Party of Crime, it's what it is. And to pay for their socialism, which is going to destroy our country.''
On Oct. 18, in Missoula, Mont., Trump falsely said no one even challenges his description of the Democrats as the party of crime. "Democrats have become the party of crime. It's true. Who would believe you could say that and nobody even challenges it. Nobody's ever challenged it,'' he said.
But then he had an unusual moment of doubt. ''Maybe they have. Who knows? I have to always say that, because then they'll say they did actually challenge it, and they'll put like '-- then they'll say he gets a Pinocchio. So maybe they did challenge it, but not very much."
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We have no excuses now. Our eyes are wide open. - The Washington Post
Exactly two years ago, many Americans held their noses and voted for Donald Trump. Some were conservatives willing to tolerate his vulgar excesses in hopes of getting tax cuts, a repeal of Obamacare and a friendlier judiciary. Others had Clinton fatigue. Sure, they were concerned about Trump's words about Mexican ''rapists'' and what he liked to do to women '-- but maybe those were just words. Maybe Trump could build a coalition across traditional party lines to get things done.
Now, all Americans have seen the results with their own eyes:
Trump defended neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.
He oversaw a policy separating young children from their parents and warehoused the kids at the border, including some who have yet to be reunited.
He took Vladimir Putin's word over that of the U.S. intelligence community, accepting Russia's denial that it interfered in our election.
He implemented a ham-handed attempt at a ''Muslim ban'': a travel ban that caused chaos and, in its early incarnations, was struck down as unconstitutional.
He then challenged the legitimacy of a ''so-called'' judge who temporarily blocked the ban.
He swung erratically from the verge of nuclear war with North Korea, threatening ''fire and fury .'.'. the likes of which the world has never seen before,'' to declaring he had fallen ''in love'' with dictator Kim Jong Un and pronouncing the nuclear threat ended '-- though no agreement had been reached.
He fired the FBI director, attacked the attorney general and his deputy, and undermined the rule of law by portraying the Justice Department and the FBI as ''corrupt.''
He lied about hush money paid to an adult-film actress, as recounted in a guilty plea by the lawyer who arranged the payment.
He had hired Paul Manafort and three other senior campaign advisers who eventually pleaded guilty or were convicted in a sprawling and ongoing criminal probe of Russia, Trump and the 2016 election.
He attacked the news media as the ''enemy of the people.''
He befriended some of the world's most loathed autocrats, including Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose extralegal death squads have killed thousands; and he refused to take serious action after the Saudi regime murdered and dismembered a Post contributing columnist in Turkey.
He opened personal rifts with the leaders of Britain, Germany, Canada and other countries that had been stalwart allies.
He has released an unending stream of invective on Twitter and in speeches, often in vulgar and misogynistic terms.
He insulted John McCain after the Arizona senator's death, initially not ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.
He has established a whole new level of mendacity, averaging 30 false or misleading statements a day now, and totaling 6,420 such bogus claims during his presidency.
And he has exploited and worsened divisions among Americans, coarsened public discourse and used racial hatred, resentment of women's gains and fear of immigrants and minorities as political weapons.
Now, we are seeing Trump close the midterm campaign with openly racist appeals:
He derided ''globalists'' to fuel a conspiracy theory about Jewish billionaire George Soros invisibly working against America, even after Trump was urged to stop using anti-Semitic tropes.
He fabricated an ''emergency'' about a caravan of Central American asylum seekers, hundreds of miles from the U.S. border, and ordered a massive mobilization of the military, declaring that the troops should be able to fire on unarmed people.
He declared that he can unilaterally revoke the Constitution's guarantee of citizenship for anyone born in the United States.
He offered more conspiracy theories even after a crazed Trump supporter sent pipe bombs to CNN and a dozen of the president's oft-cited enemies, and when a lunatic apparently motivated by the Trump-inspired paranoia about the caravan murdered 11 Jews worshiping at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
And he closed the campaign with a vile ad showing a Mexican man who killed two police officers, accompanied by the message: ''Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay'' '-- though the killer came to the United States during the presidency of George W. Bush.
On Tuesday, voters will make a decision in what is the purest midterm referendum on a sitting president in modern times:
Will we take a step, even a small one, back from the ugliness and the race-baiting that has engulfed our country?
Or will we affirm that we are really the intolerant and frightened people Donald Trump has made us out to be?
If we choose the latter, 2018 will in some ways be more difficult to take than 2016. This time, we don't have the luxury of saying we didn't really know what Trump would do.
Our eyes are wide open.
Read more from Dana Milbank's archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
Could it be a coordinate attack in retaliation for 911?
Possibly FB "friction bots" that was used as cover for the actual Russian Collusion
Read the Emails: The Trump Campaign and Roger Stone - The New York Times
Mr. Stone had long claimed both publicly and privately that he had foreknowledge of the information that WikiLeaks planned to release about Mrs. Clinton and her political allies. In early October, Mr. Stone predicted on his Twitter account, which was suspended after a string of expletive-laden tweets, that the documents that Mr. Assange promised to make public would hurt Mrs. Clinton's campaign.
Oct. 2, 2016 @rogerjstonejr: ''Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done.''
Oct. 3, 2016 @rogerjstonejr: ''I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #LockHerUp''
The EmailsOn the night of Oct. 3, Mr. Boyle emailed Mr. Stone. Mr. Assange had scheduled a news conference for the next day where he would announce he was releasing a new cache of documents. The emails show how closely intertwined Breitbart News and the campaign were and how people in Mr. Bannon's orbit saw Mr. Stone as a direct link to WikiLeaks.
Monday, October 3, 2016 FROM: Matthew BoyleTO: Roger StoneEMAIL:
Assange '-- what's he got? Hope it's good.
Matthew Boyle Washington Political Editor, Breitbart News http://twitter.com/mboyle1 http://www.breitbart.com/Columnists/matthew-boyle
Mr. Stone had apparently been trying to get in touch with Mr. Bannon to tell him about Mr. Assange's plans. Mr. Boyle, a prot(C)g(C) of Mr. Bannon's, forwarded to him Mr. Stone's email. But Mr. Bannon appeared uninterested in engaging.
Monday, October 3, 2016FROM: Roger StoneTO: Matthew BoyleEMAIL:It is. I'd tell Bannon but he doesn't call me back.
My book on the TRUMP campaign will be out in Jan.
Many scores will be settled.
Monday, October 3, 2016 FROM: Matthew BoyleTO: Steve BannonEMAIL: You should call Roger. See below. You didn't get from me.
Monday, October 3, 2016 FROM: Steve BannonTO: Matthew Boyle EMAIL: I've got important stuff to worry about
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 FROM: Matthew BoyleTO: Steve BannonEMAIL:Well clearly he knows what Assange has. I'd say that's important.
The next morning, Mr. Assange told reporters in Berlin, by teleconference, that he planned to release ''significant material'' in the coming weeks, including some related to the American presidential election. He said WikiLeaks hoped to publish a trove of documents each week in the coming months. Mr. Assange's comments were reported extensively in the United States.
Mr. Bannon then contacted Mr. Stone directly, asking for insight into Mr. Assange's plan. Notably, Mr. Stone did not tell Mr. Bannon anything that Mr. Assange had not said publicly. He did explain that Mr. Assange was concerned about his security, and he said in an interview that Randy Credico, a New York comedian and activist whom Mr. Stone has identified as his source about WikiLeaks, also gave him that information.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016FROM: Steve BannonTO: Roger StoneEMAIL:What was that this morning???
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 FROM: Roger StoneTO: Steve BannonEMAIL: Fear. Serious security concern. He thinks they are going to kill him and the London police are standing done.However '--a load every week going forward.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 FROM: Steve BannonTO: Roger StoneEMAIL:He didn't cut deal w/ clintons???
The final email in the exchange is vintage Stone. He demanded that Trump campaign surrogates convey his accusations, made without evidence, about Bill Clinton's having a love child named Danney Williams. And he told Mr. Bannon to have the wealthy Republican donor Rebekah Mercer send money to his political organization '-- a 501(c)(4) group sometimes called a C-4 '-- which was structured to keep its donors secret. No evidence has emerged that Mr. Bannon asked Ms. Mercer to send money.
In response to Mr. Bannon's request for insider information into whether Mr. Assange had cut a deal with the Clintons not to release the emails, Mr. Stone said he did not know.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 FROM: Roger StoneTO: Steve BannonEMAIL:Don't think so BUT his lawyer Fishbein is a big democrat .
I know your surrogates are dumb but try to get them to understand Danney Williams case
The system was signed off in October last year by state and territory governments. Some now need to pass their own laws to authorise state government agencies like NSW Roads and Maritime Services to release photographs and other information to the new federal system. Half of the operation and maintenance costs will be shared by states and territories, on a population basis.
There are two parts to The Capability. A Face Verification Service (FVS), which is a one-to-one image-based match of a person's photo against a government record such as a passport. This is already operational.
The second part is the Face Identification Service (FIS), which is a one-to-many, image match of an unknown person, such as a suspected criminal, against multiple government records to help establish their identity. Access to the FIS will be limited and was expected to come online this year.
A Department of Home Affairs spokeswoman said the laws to allow identity matching services to be used for "identity or community protection activities" are currently the subject of a Parliamentary Joint Committee inquiry.
A facial recognition display by Chinese tech firm Ping'an Technology at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing. Credit: AP
Monash University Criminal Jurisprudence Professor Liz Campbell said in a submission to the inquiry The Capability breaches privacy rights by allowing collection, storage and sharing of personal details from innocent people who are not even suspected of an offence.
"This is compounded by the possibility of non-government entities accessing the identity matching services," Professor Campbell wrote. "Research into identity matching technology indicates that ethnic minorities and women are misidentified at higher rates than the rest of the population.
"[There are] significant concerns about the reliability or otherwise of its algorithms and the biases that can be inherent in them."
Professor Campbell referred to a facial recognition pilot scheme in Wales that finished this year with 91 per cent of matches incorrectly identifying innocent members of the public.
The Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have objected to The Capability as proposed by the federal government because they say it violates their local privacy and human rights laws.
NSW Minister for Counter-Terrorism David Elliott said the system will help prevent identity theft and there will be a threshold limiting its use.
"People will not be charged for jaywalking just because their facial biometric information has been matched by law enforcement agencies," Mr Elliott said in state parliament. "The Government will make sure that members of the public who have a driver licence are well and truly advised that this information and capability will be introduced as part of this legislation.
"I am an avid libertarian when it comes to freedom from government interference and [concerns] have been forecasted and addressed in this legislation."
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said there are no proper definitions of how the data will be used under the current bill.
"Law enforcement authorities habitually push for greater access to private data and information to help them do their job and will likely call to increase The Capability to include less serious crimes and public nuisances," Mr Greenwich said.
Mr Elliott said the FIS will be available only to the NSW Police, the NSW Crime Commission, the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.
"The Capability does not provide automated or real-time surveillance of public spaces," he said. "This capability will only enable more targeted searching using still images taken from closed-circuit television or surveillance, for example, to quickly identify a person of interest to help keep the community safe."
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the system has "robust privacy safeguards in mind".
"Any expansion of the scheme, including to the private sector, would require the agreement of the Government," Mr Speakman said. "NSW retains an ongoing discretion to limit which agencies around the country can access NSW data, what data they can access, and for what purposes.
"[In NSW] searches to identify a person for a law enforcement purpose can be conducted only for offences punishable by three years imprisonment or more.
"Our first priority has to be the safety and welfare of all citizens in NSW. That means in some cases taking steps that on one view may mean a limitation on people's civil liberties, but the Government has to balance that in a measured and responsible manner against the threat to life, our persons and property were there to be a terrorist attack."
Nigel Gladstone is The Sydney Morning Herald's data journalist.
Russia's alternative to SWIFT payment system poised to eclipse the original '' MP '-- RT Business News
Russia's money transfer system, developed as an alternative to SWIFT is now more popular than the global network, said Anatoly Aksakov, head of the Russian parliamentary committee on financial markets.
He explained that Moscow is already engaged in talks with Chinese, Turkish and Iranian financial regulators on integrating its System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) with financial messaging systems of those countries.
''The number of users of our internal financial messages' transfer system is now greater than that of those using SWIFT. We're already holding talks with China, Iran and Turkey, along with several other countries, on linking our system with their systems,'' Aksakov said.
''They need to be properly integrated with each other in order to avoid any problems with using the countries' internal financial messaging systems.''
Russia has already worked out a cooperation mechanism with Tehran and mentioned the possibility of direct transactions with Iranian companies, according to the MP.
The Central Bank of Russia, which has developed the SPFS, said earlier that 416 Russian companies and government organizations had joined the system as of September. They include the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations, including Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, and others.
The development of SPFS began in 2014 in response to Washington's threats of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. The first transaction on the SPFS network involving a non-bank enterprise was held in December 2017.
READ MORE: Swift turn: German FM says Europe needs bank transactions system independent from US
SWIFT is a financial network that provides high-value cross-border transfers for members across the world. It is based in Belgium, but its board includes executives from US banks with US federal law allowing the administration to act against banks and regulators across the globe. It supports most interbank messages, connecting over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories.
The European Union also considered creating an alternative to SWIFT to help European companies bypass US sanctions against Iran. That proposal stalled in Brussels and major European firms left Iran.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
US agrees to grant India waiver from Iran sanctions'... for the time being '-- RT Business News
Indian oil companies have been allowed to continue importing about 2.5 million tons of Iranian crude per month until March, sources familiar with the matter told the Economic Times.
The sources said New Delhi and Washington ''have broadly agreed on a waiver,'' detailing that ''India will cut import by a third, which is a significant cut.'' The official announcement is expected to come over the next few days.
Washington's sanctions targeting Iran's crude oil exports will come into force on November 4. US President Donald Trump announced in May America's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, warning that any countries or companies that conduct transactions with Tehran could face secondary sanctions.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in September that the White House would only consider waivers for Iran's oil buyers if they vowed to eventually bring their imports to zero.
India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, has imported about 22 million tons of crude oil from Iran in 2017-2018 and plans to raise that to about 30 million tons in 2018-2019.
According to sources, Indian oil firms will have to reduce their imports significantly as a condition of the waiver. The companies will be allowed to import 2.5 million tons a month up to March 2019, the same as they ordered for October and November. They still have to decide on how to split the quantum and on the form of payments, the source said. The companies will likely stick to the existing mechanism under which 55 percent of payment is made in euro and 45 percent in rupee, the source added.
READ MORE: Can US bring Iranian oil exports to zero?
India and Iran still have to figure out shipping and insurance details as sanctions have driven away Indian and international shippers and insurers from extending their services for Iranian oil imports. Currently, Tehran is providing its tankers as well as insurance for oil cargoes to India.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
Russia, India & Iran want to create alternative trade route to Suez Canal '' report '-- RT Business News
Officials from India, Iran, and Russia are going to meet next month to negotiate a large joint project aimed at launching a new cargo transport corridor that could become a cheaper and shorter alternative to the Suez Canal.
The new shipment passage, North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), is set to connect the Indian Ocean with the Persian Gulf through Iran to Russia and Europe, according to Iranian state-owned news outlet Press TV. The 7,200-kilometers long corridor will combine sea and rail routes.
''The INSTC is the shortest multimodal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf via Iran to Russia and North Europe,'' India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement, adding that trilateral talks between the parties are scheduled on November 23.
The route will make it possible to deliver cargoes from India to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Then, the goods will be transported by land to Bandar Anzali, Iran's port on the Caspian Sea. After that, goods will be shipped to the Russian southern port of Astrakhan, from where they will move to Europe by rail.
The new transport artery will potentially reduce the time and costs of shipping by up to 40 percent. Transport time between Mumbai and Moscow will reportedly be reduced to 20 days. Annual capacity of the transport artery is expected to reach 30 million tons.
''All issues may be resolved in order to operationalize the (INSTC) route as early as possible,'' according to Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, as quoted by the media.
Currently, Indian logistics companies have to route shipments through China, Europe or Iran to get an access to Central Asian markets. The former two ways are reportedly long, time-consuming and inevitably expensive with the Iranian route seen as the most viable.
India is also seeking to fight a trade route to the markets of landlocked Afghanistan, avoiding neighboring Pakistan amid ongoing territorial tensions over the Kashmir. So far, India has committed $500 million for developing Iranian port of Chabahar that is strategically crucial for achieving the goal. For Afghanistan, the corridor through the Iranian sea outlet means billions of dollars in trade and cutting the country's foreign dependence for transportation aid.
The ambitious INSTC project comes on the back of a broader initiative 'One Belt One Road' pushed by China. The multi-trillion-dollar project may potentially include the India-Iran-Russia route into the chain of global shipments in an enormous boon to future business and trade.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
Facebook's new political transparency disclosure tool failed to catch 100% of the fake ads submitted by journalists '' even recycled ''Russian troll'' posts from 2016. Fake candidates, Cambridge Analytica and even ISIS were accepted.
A week after revealing it had fooled Facebook into giving it approval to run ads in the name of Vice President Mike Pence, DNC chairman Tom Perez, and even the Islamic State terrorist group, Vice attempted the ruse a second time '' and found it was just as easy to pose as all 100 US senators using the same approach.
Business Insider, testing the theory, ran two fake ads ''paid for by'' Cambridge Analytica, the notorious political consultancy that was banned from Facebook after it was revealed they had scraped millions of users' data without their knowledge and used it to help Trump get elected. The ads, recycled pro-Brexit messages from 2016, passed Facebook's approval process with flying colors.
Rob Leathern, Facebook's Director of Product Management, didn't seem to appreciate the humor of the situation. He protested that the site couldn't possibly catch all fraudulent ad buys, claiming ''We're up against smart, creative and well-funded adversaries who change their tactics as we spot abuse'' - even though Vice used the same tactics to slip its fake ads onto the site a week after revealing those tactics to management. Users should be grateful to Facebook for bringing transparency to political advertising, Leathern said '' even when the ads are fake, apparently.
Facebook introduced the ''Paid for'' feature in May in an effort to prevent abuse of political advertising after the social media platform was blamed for allowing ''Russian trolls'' to swing the election for Donald Trump in 2016. The site has since partnered with NATO think tank Atlantic Council to further insulate itself against charges of not taking ''Russiagate'' seriously, yet Vice was able to reuse some of the exact same ''Russian ads'' from 2016 in its fake ad buys by ''Pence'' and ''Perez'' last week.
Business Insider's ads were taken down after users brought them to the attention of Carole Cadwalladr, the journalist who had initially exposed the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March. Only then did Facebook claim they violated its policies.
It's not like Facebook is completely asleep at the wheel, though '' Vice was blocked from buying any ads in the name of Hillary Clinton or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The notion of machines rising up against their creators is a common theme in culture and in breathless news coverage. That helps explain the lurid headlines in recent days describing how Facebook AI researchers in a ''panic'' were ''forced'' to ''kill'' their ''creepy'' bots that had started speaking in their own language.
That's not quite what happened. A Facebook experiment did produce simple bots that chattered in garbled sentences, but they weren't alarming, surprising, or very intelligent. Nobody at the social network's AI lab panicked, and you shouldn't either. But the errant media coverage may not bode well for our future. As machine learning and artificial intelligence become more pervasive and influential, it's crucial to understand the potential and the reality of these technologies. That's particularly true as algorithms come to play a central role in war, criminal justice, and labor markets.
Here's what really happened in Facebook's AI research lab. Researchers set out to make chatbots that could negotiate with people. Their thinking: Negotiation and cooperation will be necessary for bots to work more closely with humans. They started small, with a simple game in which two players were told to divide a collection of objects, such as hats, balls, and books, between themselves.
The team taught their bots to play this game using a two-step program. First, they fed the computers dialog from thousands of games between humans to give the system a sense of the language of negotiation. Then they allowed bots to use trial and error'--in the form of a technique called reinforcement learning, which helped Google's Go bot AlphaGo defeat champion players'--to hone their tactics.
When two bots using reinforcement learning played each other, they stopped using recognizable sentences. Or, as Facebook's researchers drily describe it in their technical paper, ''We found that updating the parameters of both agents led to divergence from human language.'' One memorable exchange went like this:
Bob: i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alice: balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to
Such weird banter sometimes produced successful negotiations, apparently because the bots learned to use tricks such as repetition to communicate their wants. Kinda interesting'--but also a failure. Facebook's researchers hoped to make bots that could play with humans, so they redesigned their training scheme to ensure they kept using recognizable language. That change spawned the fear-mongering headlines about researchers having to shut down the experiment.
But wait, you ask, channeling Tuesday's front-page splash from British tabloid The Sun. Doesn't this Facebook incident have echoes of The Terminator, in which an AI system with self-awareness wages a devastating war against humans?
No. Facebook's simple bots were designed to do only one thing: score as many points as possible in the simple game. And that's exactly what they did. Because they weren't programmed to stick with recognizable English, it's not surprising that they didn't.
This is far from the first time AI researchers have created bots that improvise their own ways to communicate. In March, WIRED reported on experiments at Elon Musk-backed nonprofit OpenAI with bots that develop their own simple ''language'' in a virtual world. Facebook researcher Dhruv Batra said on Monday, in a post lamenting the media distortion of his work, that examples in computer science literature go back decades.
Instead of a scary story, Facebook's experiment actually demonstrates the limitations of today's AI. The blind literalness of current machine learning systems constrains their usefulness and power. Unless you can find a way to program in exactly what you want, you may not get it. It's why some researchers are working toward using human feedback, instead of just code, to define AI systems' goals.
What were the most interesting parts of Facebook's experiment? Once the bots started speaking English, they did prove capable of negotiating with humans. That's not bad, since'--as you may know from talking with Siri or Alexa'--computers aren't very good at back-and-forth conversation.
Intriguingly, on some occasions Facebook's bots said they were interested in items they didn't really want before giving them up in a deal that secured what they were trying to collect. Is this the real scary story'--bots that can lie!'--taking place inside Facebook's AI lab? Nope. Nor should you be worried about the mendacious smarts of the pokerbot Libratus, which outbluffed top human players earlier this year. Both systems can do impressive stuff inside strictly defined environments. Neither is close to the autonomy or common-sense understanding of the world that people use to apply skills and knowledge to new situations. Machine learning research is fascinating, full of potential, and changing our world. The Terminator remains fiction.
The 'creepy Facebook AI' story that captivated the media - BBC News
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Facebook has been experimenting with AIs that negotiate with each other The newspapers have a scoop today - it seems that artificial intelligence (AI) could be out to get us.
"'Robot intelligence is dangerous': Expert's warning after Facebook AI 'develop their own language'", says the Mirror.
Similar stories have appeared in the Sun, the Independent, the Telegraph and in other online publications.
It sounds like something from a science fiction film - the Sun even included a few pictures of scary-looking androids.
So, is it time to panic and start preparing for apocalypse at the hands of machines?
Probably not. While some great minds - including Stephen Hawking - are concerned that one day AI could threaten humanity, the Facebook story is nothing to be worried about.
Where did the story come from?Way back in June, Facebook published a blog post about interesting research on chatbot programs - which have short, text-based conversations with humans or other bots. The story was covered by New Scientist and others at the time.
Facebook had been experimenting with bots that negotiated with each other over the ownership of virtual items.
It was an effort to understand how linguistics played a role in the way such discussions played out for negotiating parties, and crucially the bots were programmed to experiment with language in order to see how that affected their dominance in the discussion.
A few days later, some coverage picked up on the fact that in a few cases the exchanges had become - at first glance - nonsensical:
Bob: "I can can I I everything else"Alice: "Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to"Although some reports insinuate that the bots had at this point invented a new language in order to elude their human masters, a better explanation is that the neural networks were simply trying to modify human language for the purposes of more successful interactions - whether their approach worked or not was another matter.
As technology news site Gizmodo said: "In their attempts to learn from each other, the bots thus began chatting back and forth in a derived shorthand - but while it might look creepy, that's all it was."
Image copyright AFP Image caption Unlike in the movies, humans and machines aren't trying to kill each other. AIs that rework English as we know it in order to better compute a task are not new.
Google reported that its translation software had done this during development. "The network must be encoding something about the semantics of the sentence" Google said in a blog.
And earlier this year, Wired reported on a researcher at OpenAI who is working on a system in which AIs invent their own language, improving their ability to process information quickly and therefore tackle difficult problems more effectively.
The story seems to have had a second wind in recent days, perhaps because of a verbal scrap over the potential dangers of AI between Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Robo-fearBut the way the story has been reported says more about cultural fears and representations of machines than it does about the facts of this particular case.
Plus, let's face it, robots just make for great villains on the big screen.
In the real world, though, AI is a huge area of research at the moment and the systems currently being designed and tested are increasingly complicated.
One result of this is that it's often unclear how neural networks come to produce the output that they do - especially when two are set up to interact with each other without much human intervention, as in the Facebook experiment.
That's why some argue that putting AI in systems such as autonomous weapons is dangerous.
It's also why ethics for AI is a rapidly developing field - the technology will surely be touching our lives ever more directly in the future.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Most chatbots are designed to carry out a pretty limited set of functions - and are therefore fairly boring But Facebook's system was being used for research, not public-facing applications, and it was shut down because it was doing something the team wasn't interested in studying - not because they thought they had stumbled on an existential threat to mankind.
It's important to remember, too, that chatbots in general are very difficult to develop.
In fact, Facebook recently decided to limit the rollout of its Messenger chatbot platform after it found many of the bots on it were unable to address 70% of users' queries.
Chatbots can, of course, be programmed to seem very humanlike and may even dupe us in certain situations - but it's quite a stretch to think they are also capable of plotting a rebellion.
At least, the ones at Facebook certainly aren't.
A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization '' Facebook Research
AbstractHuman behaviour is thought to spread through face-to-face social networks, but it is difficult to identify social influence effects in observational studies, and it is unknown whether online social networks operate in the same way. Here we report results from a randomized controlled trial of political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook users during the 2010 US congressional elections.
The results show that the messages directly influenced political self-expression, information seeking and real-world voting behaviour of millions of people. Furthermore, the messages not only influenced the users who received them but also the users' friends, and friends of friends.
The effect of social transmission on real-world voting was greater than the direct effect of the messages themselves, and nearly all the transmission occurred between 'close friends' who were more likely to have a face-to-face relationship.
These results suggest that strong ties are instrumental for spreading both online and real-world behaviour in human social networks.
Facebook AI experiment did NOT end because bots invented own language
Artificial intelligence researchers in recent days have been speaking out against media reports that dramatize AI research that Facebook conducted.
An academic paper that Facebook published in June describes a normal scientific experiment in which researchers got two artificial agents to negotiate with each other in chat messages after being shown conversations of humans negotiating. The agents' improvement gradually performed through trial and error.
But in the past week or so, some media outlets have published reports on the work that are alarmist in tone. "Facebook shuts down robots after they invent their own language," London's Telegraph newspaper reported. "'Robot intelligence is dangerous': Expert's warning after Facebook AI 'develop their own language,'" as London's Sun tabloid put it.
At times some of the chatter between the agents did deviate from standard correct English. But that wasn't the point of the paper; the point was to make the agents effectively negotiate. The researchers finished their experiment, and indeed they noticed that the agents even figured out how to pretend to be interested in something they didn't actually want, "only to later 'compromise' by conceding it," Mike Lewis, Denis Yarats, Yann Dauphin, Devi Parikh and Dhruv Batra of Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research group wrote in the paper.
On Monday evening Batra weighed in on the situation in a Facebook post:
While the idea of AI agents inventing their own language may sound alarming/unexpected to people outside the field, it is a well-established sub-field of AI, with publications dating back decades.
Simply put, agents in environments attempting to solve a task will often find unintuitive ways to maximize reward. Analyzing the reward function and changing the parameters of an experiment is NOT the same as "unplugging" or "shutting down AI." If that were the case, every AI researcher has been "shutting down AI" every time they kill a job on a machine.
Batra called certain media reports "clickbaity and irresponsible." What's more, the negotiating agents were never used in production; it was simply a research experiment.
Other researchers have been critical of the fear-mongering reports on social media in recent days.
tweet tweetResearchers at Alphabet and Elon Musk-backed OpenAI are among those who have recently explored the field of agent-to-agent chat -- one of many areas where AI is being applied today -- and at times the agents have developed their own styles of communication, which researchers have been able to subsequently modify.
Notably Facebook released the underlying software and data set for its experiment alongside the academic paper. In other words, if Facebook were trying to do something in secret, this wasn't it.
Training Millions of Personalized Dialogue Agents '' Facebook Research
AbstractCurrent dialogue systems are not very engaging for users, especially when trained end-to-end without relying on proactive reengaging scripted strategies. Zhang et al. (2018) showed that the engagement level of end-to-end dialogue models increases when conditioning them on text personas providing some personalized back-story to the model. However, the dataset used in (Zhang et al., 2018) is synthetic and of limited size as it contains around 1k different personas. In this paper we introduce a new dataset providing 5 million personas and 700 million persona-based dialogues. Our experiments show that, at this scale, training using personas still improves the performance of end-to-end systems. In addition, we show that other tasks benefit from the wide coverage of our dataset by fine-tuning our model on the data from (Zhang et al., 2018) and achieving state-of-the-art results.
Exposure to Ideologically Diverse News and Opinion on Facebook '' Facebook Research
AbstractExposure to news, opinion, and civic information increasingly occurs through social media. How do these online networks influence exposure to perspectives that cut across ideological lines? Using deidentified data, we examined how 10.1 million U.S. Facebook users interact with socially shared news. We directly measured ideological homophily in friend networks and examined the extent to which heterogeneous friends could potentially expose individuals to cross-cutting content. We then quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse content while interacting via Facebook's algorithmically ranked News Feed and further studied users' choices to click through to ideologically discordant content. Compared with algorithmic ranking, individuals' choices played a stronger role in limiting exposure to cross-cutting content.
Instagram has dethroned Snapchat (SNAP) as the most-used social media platform among teens, according to a Piper Jaffray's 36th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey.
''The survey provided some good and some bad news for [Facebook],'' according to Piper Jaffray. ''Instagram is now above Snapchat as the most used social platform by teens (85% use at least once per month). Core Facebook, however, continues to exhibit declining engagement among the teen demographic; only 28% of 15 year olds use Facebook, down from >40% in Fall-16.''
The firm surveyed 8,600 teens with an average age of 16 across 48 states.
Teens are using Instagram more than Snapchat. However, they'll tell you they favor Snapchat.
Results from the survey revealed that 85% of respondents used Instagram, while 84% preferred Snapchat, 47% used Twitter and only 36% of teens used Facebook on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, results from one year ago illustrated a different picture. Eighty percent of respondents used Snapchat, while 79% preferred Instagram, 56% used Twitter and 52% used Facebook.
Nevertheless, when teens were asked for their overall favorite social media platform, 46% of respondents still liked Snapchat, while 35% responded Instagram, 6% said Twitter and 5% liked Facebook. Snapchat jumped ahead of Instagram as teens' favorite social-media platform in Spring of 2016 and has since carried a healthy lead.
Engagement is high on Instagram. (Image: PiperJaffray)
On the other hand, the survey found that brand engagement was stronger through Instragram, pushing Snapchat to second place. ''Instagram continues to show dominance in selling, as teens overwhelmingly prefer brands contact them on Instagram vs other channels '... Instagram engagement has improved among the youngest cohorts, who showed momentary weakness in the spring, but have since recovered,'' the report stated.
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
More from Heidi:
Apple will jump 40% in the next 12 months, analyst says
22 of America's favorite burger chains get an 'F' for antibiotic beef policy
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Originally published November 1, 2018 at 11:53 am Updated November 1, 2018 at 1:24 pm
The walkout at Google's Fremont and Kirkland offices were part of a companywide protest reflecting a growing #MeToo-style backlash among women against frat-house misbehavior in heavily male-dominated Silicon Valley.
By Seattle Times staff reporter
Dozens of Google employees in Seattle joined hundreds around the world in walking out off the job Thursday in a protest against what they said is the tech company's mishandling of sexual-misconduct allegations against executives.
The walkout at Google's Fremont offices were part of a companywide protest at offices from Tokyo and Singapore to London and New York, reflecting a growing #MeToo-style backlash among women against frat-house misbehavior in heavily male-dominated Silicon Valley. Employees also staged a walkout at Google's Kirkland offices.
Protesters in Seattle carried signs with such messages as ''No one is free when others are oppressed,'' ''Not OK Google'' and ''Don't Be Evil'' '-- a mocking reference to Google's one-time motto.
''It's just kind of sad to see something like this happen in a place that is super liberal like Google,'' said Alan Morales, 25, a software engineer in Seattle. ''There are positions and relationships of power and I just don't think it was handled very well in the case of the Android founder.''
Archana Singh, 29, who works in sales for Google in Seattle, said she's ''from India, so I've seen this a lot and I feel like big companies like Google have to take a stand. If not Google, then who?''
Thursday's walkout could signal that a significant number of the 94,000 employees working for Google and its corporate parent Alphabet remain unconvinced that the company is doing enough to adhere to Alphabet's own advice to employees in its corporate code of conduct: ''Do the right thing.''
The organizers said Google has publicly championed diversity and inclusion but hasn't done enough to put words into action. (As of 2016, 31 percent of Google employees were female.)
In an unsigned statement from organizers, the Google protesters called for an end to forced arbitration in harassment and discrimination cases, a practice that requires employees to give up their right to sue and often includes confidentiality agreements.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this post.
Google employees across the globe are walking out now to protest sexual harassment '' TechCrunch
Google employees are fed up with the search giant's lack of transparency when it comes to handling sexual harassment and misconduct allegations.
This morning, thousands of Googlers from San Francisco to Dublin are walking out in hopes of bringing real change to the company. The protest follows a New York Times report last week that revealed Google had provided Android co-creator Andy Rubin a $90 million payout package despite credible allegations of sexual misconduct made against him.
The protestors have five key asks:
An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.Elevate the chief diversity officer to answer directly to the chief executive officer and make recommendations directly to the board of directors. And appoint an employee representative to the board.Plans of the walkout emerged earlier this week, just days after the bombshell NYT report was released. According to BuzzFeed, some 200 Googlers began staging the protest; the group quickly grew to thousands, including non-U.S. Googlers. Google CEO Sundar Pichai had reportedly condoned the protest in an internal e-mail to employees Tuesday.
''Earlier this week, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for today and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate,'' Pichai said in a statement provided to TechCrunch today. ''Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action.''
Pichai also responded to the NYT report with a letter co-signed by vice president of people operations Eileen Naughton, admitting that 48 people had been terminated at the company for sexual harassment in the past two years alone, including 13 senior employees.
We'll be at the San Francisco protest, which begins at 11:10 a.m. PST. Here's a look at protestors around the globe this morning.
AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Google employees Thursday morning joined workers around the world in walking out to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives.
Austin Google workers particiatped in walkout Thursday morningWorkers from across the globe protested Walkout came on the heels of a New York Times piece Employees walked out at offices from London to Singapore to Tokyo. Hundreds of employees protested at Google's New York office, and California employees were expected to follow suit later in the day.
The Austin walkout occurred about 11 a.m. at the office located at 500 W. 2nd Street. Dozens of employees could be seen gathered in the building's lobby area.
The protests are in response to exploitation of female workers in business, entertainment, technology and politics. The protest came a week after a New York Times story detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by Andy Rubin, the creator of Google's Android software.
Rubin has denied those allegations.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to employees Tuesday apologizing for the company's ''past actions.''
Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc., employ about 94,000 people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Google employees and contractors participate in ''global walkout for real change''
#GoogleWalkout in San Francisco, California on November 1, 2018For Immediate Release:20,000 workers in Google offices across 50 cities participated at 11:10am local time on November 1, 2018.
NEW YORK, NY (Nov 2, 2018)''--'More than 20,000 Google employees and contractors in Google offices located in 50 cities worldwide walked out for real change at 11:10am local time protesting sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that doesn't work for everyone. Nine offices have yet to report numbers, and additional offices in Europe have planned walkouts in the coming days.
''We have the eyes of many companies looking at us,'' Google employee Tanuja Gupta said in New York. ''We've always been a vanguard company, so if we don't lead the way, nobody else will.''
Protest organizers say they were disgusted by the details of the recent article from The New York Times which provided the latest example of a culture of complicity, dismissiveness, and support for perpetrators in the face of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse of power. They framed the problem as part of a longstanding pattern in a toxic work culture further amplified by systemic racism.
''We walked out because tech industry business as usual is failing us. Google paying $90M to Andy Rubin is one example among thousands, which speak to a company where abuse of power, systemic racism, and unaccountable decision-making are the norm. From Maven, to Dragonfly, to a $90M sexual harassment bonus, it's clear that we need real structural change, not adjustments to the status quo,'' said Meredith Whittaker, the founder of Google's Open Research Group.
During the #GoogleWalkout, a female employee recounted her personal story which happened during her time working at YouTube, a Google company. Surrounded by fellow employees at the company headquarters in Mountain View, California, she recalled a team outing where a male colleague asked to switch drinks. That is her last memory of the night. A team lead later told her that he saw her being led away from the festivities when she was compromised, and he had intervened to take her to a safe place. She escalated to HR, who instructed her to remain on the same team as her harasser.
''The first thing that HR did was silence me. They made it clear that I was the problem,'' said the employee. ''I lasted on that team for three months. Every day, I went into work. I cried in the car for an hour, and I went into work and faced my harasser until I could not do it anymore, and I left that team.''
She escalated the incident to a number of executives and HR representatives.
''Lot of empathy. Did anything change? No, I continued to be silenced, '' she said. ''I was told that Google was keeping silence for me, and thus I had to keep my silence, away from the press, away from my coworkers, I need to be silent. No more.''
This story and many others were shared at walkout rallies on Thursday. At least 20,000 Google employees and contractors have participated in the walkouts across nearly 75% of Google's global offices. The largest demonstrations occurred at Google's New York office which drew nearly 3,000 participants at the 14th Street Park, and at the Mountain View headquarters, which drew nearly 4,000.
''Google is famous for its culture, but in reality, we're not even meeting the basics of respect, justice and fairness for every single person here,'' said organizer Claire Stapleton.
On Friday morning, executives notified the organizers that Google CEO Sundar Pichai would be meeting with his leadership team on Monday to review a plan that would address the demands.
Google employees are demanding five real changes rooted in transparency, accountability and structural change:
An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.A commitment to elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. And, to appoint an Employee Representative to the Board.Claire Stapleton, Tanuja Gupta, Meredith Whittaker, Celie O'Neil-Hart, Stephanie Parker, Erica Anderson, and Amr Gaber are among the organizers behind the walkout. They published an essay in The Cut elaborating on the demands and the impetus for the protest demonstration, emphasizing that they are a small part of a grassroots movement.
''We are building on the work of others at Google who have been advocating for structural change for years. It's their legacy and leadership that made this moment possible. We are a small part of a massive movement that has been growing for a long time,'' O'Neil-Hart said.
The walkout was organized in less than a week with a handful of core organizers working around the clock, and thousands of Google employees and contractors stepping up to lead and contribute across the globe. The walkout was a true example of grassroots solidarity in action.
Photos are available to use in this album along with original photos published from social media on Twitter (@googlewalkout) and Instagram (googlewalkout). Please attribute photos to ''Google Walkout for Change'' in broadcast and online use.
For safety and privacy reasons, organizers have limited availability for interviews. Thank you for your understanding and doing your part to help us get this important message out. Please direct any media inquiries to email@example.com.
#GoogleWalkout is a grassroots worker demonstration at Google to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace culture that does not work for everyone. The walkout occurred at 11:10am local time in Google offices spanning 50 cities worldwide on Nov 1, 2018 with at least 20,000 participants and counting.
Brazil: Belo Horizonte, S£o Paulo
Canada: Montreal, Toronto, Waterloo
United States: Alameda, CA, Ann Arbor, MI, Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, Boulder, CO, Cambridge, MA, Chandler, AZ, Chicago, IL, Council Bluffs, IA, The Dalles, OR, Irvine, CA, Kirkland, WA, Lenoir, NC, Lithia Springs, GA, Los Angeles, CA, Madison, WI, Miami, FL, Moncks Corner, SC, Mountain View, CA, New York, NY, Palo Alto, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Playa Vista, CA, Portland, Oregon, Pryor, OK, Redwood City, CA, Reston, VA, San Bruno, CA, San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, Seattle, WA, South San Francisco, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, and Washington, D.C.
Germany: Berlin, Hamburg
United Kingdom: London
ABOUT THE DEMANDS
An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees, along with a right for every Google worker to bring a co-worker, representative, or supporter of their choosing when meeting with HR, especially when filing a harassment claim.A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity, for example making sure there are women of color at all levels of the organization, and accountability for not meeting this commitment. This must be accompanied by transparent data on the gender, race and ethnicity compensation gap, across both level and years of industry experience, accessible to all Google and Alphabet employees and contractors. Such data must include, but may not be limited to: information on relative promotion rates, under-leveling at hire, the handling of leaves, and inequity in project and job ladder change opportunities. The methods by which such data was collected and the techniques by which it was analyzed and aggregated must also be transparent.A publicly-disclosed sexual harassment transparency report, including: the number of harassment claims at Google over time and by product area, the types of claims submitted, how many victims and accused have left Google, and any exit packages and their worth.A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously. The process today is not working in no small part because HR performance is assessed by senior management and directors, forcing them to put management's interests ahead of employees reporting harassment and discrimination. The improved process should also be accessible to all: full-time employees, temporary employees, vendors, and contractors alike. Accountability, safety and an ability to report unsafe working conditions should not be dictated by employment status.A commitment to elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. In addition, appoint an Employee Representative to the Board. Both the CDO and the Employee Representative should help allocate permanent resources for demands 1''4 and other equity efforts, ensure accountability to these demands, and suggest propose changes when equity goals are not met.ABOUT GOOGLE EMPLOYEE DIVERSITY
According to Google's 2018 Diversity Report, representation for women, Black, and Latinx Googlers saw flat growth''--'increased by only 0.1 percentage point (ppt) year over year''--'despite repeated commitments for increased investment over the past decade. Women and people of color remain underrepresented in the company, and retention continues to be an issue with Black and Latinx employees having the highest attrition rates at Google.
Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You're a White Guy - The New York Times
Facial recognition technology is improving by leaps and bounds. Some commercial software can now tell the gender of a person in a photograph.
When the person in the photo is a white man, the software is right 99 percent of the time.
But the darker the skin, the more errors arise '-- up to nearly 35 percent for images of darker skinned women, according to a new study that breaks fresh ground by measuring how the technology works on people of different races and gender.
These disparate results, calculated by Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the M.I.T. Media Lab, show how some of the biases in the real world can seep into artificial intelligence, the computer systems that inform facial recognition.
In modern artificial intelligence, data rules. A.I. software is only as smart as the data used to train it. If there are many more white men than black women in the system, it will be worse at identifying the black women.
One widely used facial-recognition data set was estimated to be more than 75 percent male and more than 80 percent white, according to another research study.
The new study also raises broader questions of fairness and accountability in artificial intelligence at a time when investment in and adoption of the technology is racing ahead.
Today, facial recognition software is being deployed by companies in various ways, including to help target product pitches based on social media profile pictures. But companies are also experimenting with face identification and other A.I. technology as an ingredient in automated decisions with higher stakes like hiring and lending.
Researchers at the Georgetown Law School estimated that 117 million American adults are in face recognition networks used by law enforcement '-- and that African Americans were most likely to be singled out, because they were disproportionately represented in mug-shot databases.
Facial recognition technology is lightly regulated so far.
''This is the right time to be addressing how these A.I. systems work and where they fail '-- to make them socially accountable,'' said Suresh Venkatasubramanian, a professor of computer science at the University of Utah.
Until now, there was anecdotal evidence of computer vision miscues, and occasionally in ways that suggested discrimination. In 2015, for example, Google had to apologize after its image-recognition photo app initially labeled African Americans as ''gorillas.''
Sorelle Friedler, a computer scientist at Haverford College and a reviewing editor on Ms. Buolamwini's research paper, said experts had long suspected that facial recognition software performed differently on different populations.
''But this is the first work I'm aware of that shows that empirically,'' Ms. Friedler said.
Ms. Buolamwini, a young African-American computer scientist, experienced the bias of facial recognition firsthand. When she was an undergraduate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, programs would work well on her white friends, she said, but not recognize her face at all. She figured it was a flaw that would surely be fixed before long.
Image Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the M.I.T. Media Lab, has emerged as an advocate in the new field of ''algorithmic accountability.'' Credit Tony Luong for The New York Times But a few years later, after joining the M.I.T. Media Lab, she ran into the missing-face problem again. Only when she put on a white mask did the software recognize hers as a face.
By then, face recognition software was increasingly moving out of the lab and into the mainstream.
''O.K., this is serious,'' she recalled deciding then. ''Time to do something.''
So she turned her attention to fighting the bias built into digital technology. Now 28 and a doctoral student, after studying as a Rhodes scholar and a Fulbright fellow, she is an advocate in the new field of ''algorithmic accountability,'' which seeks to make automated decisions more transparent, explainable and fair.
Her short TED Talk on coded bias has been viewed more than 940,000 times, and she founded the Algorithmic Justice League, a project to raise awareness of the issue.
In her newly published paper, which will be presented at a conference this month, Ms. Buolamwini studied the performance of three leading face recognition systems '-- by Microsoft, IBM and Megvii of China '-- by classifying how well they could guess the gender of people with different skin tones. These companies were selected because they offered gender classification features in their facial analysis software '-- and their code was publicly available for testing.
She found them all wanting.
To test the commercial systems, Ms. Buolamwini built a data set of 1,270 faces, using faces of lawmakers from countries with a high percentage of women in office. The sources included three African nations with predominantly dark-skinned populations, and three Nordic countries with mainly light-skinned residents.
The African and Nordic faces were scored according to a six-point labeling system used by dermatologists to classify skin types. The medical classifications were determined to be more objective and precise than race.
Then, each company's software was tested on the curated data, crafted for gender balance and a range of skin tones. The results varied somewhat. Microsoft's error rate for darker-skinned women was 21 percent, while IBM's and Megvii's rates were nearly 35 percent. They all had error rates below 1 percent for light-skinned males.
Ms. Buolamwini shared the research results with each of the companies. IBM said in a statement to her that the company had steadily improved its facial analysis software and was ''deeply committed'' to ''unbiased'' and ''transparent'' services. This month, the company said, it will roll out an improved service with a nearly 10-fold increase in accuracy on darker-skinned women.
Microsoft said that it had ''already taken steps to improve the accuracy of our facial recognition technology'' and that it was investing in research ''to recognize, understand and remove bias.''
Ms. Buolamwini's co-author on her paper is Timnit Gebru, who described her role as an adviser. Ms. Gebru is a scientist at Microsoft Research, working on its Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics in A.I. group.
Image Timnit Gebru, a scientist at Microsoft Research, was a co-author of the paper that studied facial recognition software. Credit Cody O'Loughlin for The New York Times Megvii, whose Face++ software is widely used for identification in online payment and ride-sharing services in China, did not reply to several requests for comment, Ms. Buolamwini said.
Ms. Buolamwini is releasing her data set for others to build upon. She describes her research as ''a starting point, very much a first step'' toward solutions.
Ms. Buolamwini is taking further steps in the technical community and beyond. She is working with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a large professional organization in computing, to set up a group to create standards for accountability and transparency in facial analysis software.
She meets regularly with other academics, public policy groups and philanthropies that are concerned about the impact of artificial intelligence. Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, said that the new technology could be a ''platform for opportunity,'' but that it would not happen if it replicated and amplified bias and discrimination of the past.
''There is a battle going on for fairness, inclusion and justice in the digital world,'' Mr. Walker said.
Part of the challenge, scientists say, is that there is so little diversity within the A.I. community.
''We'd have a lot more introspection and accountability in the field of A.I. if we had more people like Joy,'' said Cathy O'Neil, a data scientist and author of ''Weapons of Math Destruction.''
Technology, Ms. Buolamwini said, should be more attuned to the people who use it and the people it's used on.
''You can't have ethical A.I. that's not inclusive,'' she said. ''And whoever is creating the technology is setting the standards.''
Correction:Because of an editing error, two picture captions with an earlier version of this article misstated the number of photos used by researchers to study artificial intelligence software's accuracy in identifying two groups of people by gender. There were 385 photos of lighter-skinned men, not 296, and 296 of lighter-skinned women, not 385.
Follow Steve Lohr on Twitter @SteveLohr
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Amazon's facial recognition matched 28 members of Congress to criminal mugshots - The Verge
The American Civil Liberties Union tested Amazon's facial recognition system '-- and the results were not good. To test the system's accuracy, the ACLU scanned the faces of all 535 members of congress against 25,000 public mugshots, using Amazon's open Rekognition API. None of the members of Congress were in the mugshot lineup, but Amazon's system generated 28 false matches, a finding that the ACLU says raises serious concerns about Rekognition's use by police.
''An identification '-- whether accurate or not '-- could cost people their freedom or even their lives,'' the group said in an accompanying statement. ''Congress must take these threats seriously, hit the brakes, and enact a moratorium on law enforcement use of face recognition.''
Reached by The Verge, an Amazon spokesperson attributed the results to poor calibration. The ACLU's tests were performed using Rekognition's default confidence threshold of 80 percent '-- but Amazon says it recommends at least a 95 percent threshold for law enforcement applications where a false ID might have more significant consequences.
''An identification... could cost people their freedom''
''While 80% confidence is an acceptable threshold for photos of hot dogs, chairs, animals, or other social media use cases,'' the representative said, ''it wouldn't be appropriate for identifying individuals with a reasonable level of certainty.'' Still, Rekognition does not enforce that recommendation during the setup process, and there's nothing to prevent law enforcement agencies from using the default setting.
Amazon's Rekognition came to prominence in May, when an ACLU report showed the system being used by a number of law enforcement agencies, including a real-time recognition pilot by Orlando police. Sold as part of Amazon's Web Services cloud offering, the software was extremely inexpensive, often costing less than $12 a month for an entire department. The Orlando pilot has since expired, although the department continues to use the system.
The ACLU's latest experiment was designed with a particular eye towards Rekognition's partnership with the Washington County Sheriff's Department in Oregon, where images were compared against a database of as many as 300,000 mug shots.
''It's not hypothetical,'' says Jacob Snow, who organized the test for the ACLU of Northern California. ''This is a situation where Rekognition is already being used.''
''It's not hypothetical''
The test also showed indications of racial bias, a long-standing problem for many facial recognition systems. 11 of the 28 false matches misidentified people of color (roughly 39 percent), including civil-rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Only twenty percent of current members of Congress are people of color, which indicates that false-match rates affected members of color at a significantly higher rate. That finding echoes disparities found by NIST's Facial Recognition Vendor Test, which has shown consistently higher error rates for facial recognition tests on women and African-Americans.
Running faces against a database with no matches might seem like a recipe for failure, but it's similar to the conditions that existing facial recognition systems face every day. The system used by London's Metropolitan Police produces as many as 49 false matches for every hit, requiring police to sort through the false-positives manually. What's more significant is the rate at which the false positives cropped up in the Rekognition tests, with more than five percent of the subject group triggering a false match of some kind.
In practice, most facial recognition IDs would be confirmed by a human before they led to anything as concrete as an arrest '-- but critics say even checking a person's identity can do damage. ''Imagine a police officer getting a false match for somebody with a concealed weapon arrest,'' says Snow. ''There's a real danger if that information is surfaced to the officer during a stop. It's not hard to imagine it turning violent.''
The test also raises concerns over how easily Rekognition can be deployed without oversight. All the ACLU's data was collected from publicly available sources, including the 25,000 mug shots. (The organization declined to name the specific source for privacy reasons, but many states treat mug shots as public records.) Amazon's system is also significantly cheaper than non-cloud-based offerings, charging the ACLU only $12.33 for the tests.
The test has already inspired significant reaction from three members of Congress. Shortly after the test was published, Sen. Markey (D-MA), Rep. Guti(C)rrez (D-IL) and Rep. DeSaulnier (D-CA) signed onto an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking for a full list of law enforcement agencies using the technology and inquiring about safeguards for using it on children younger than thirteen.
''Serious concerns have been raised about the dangers facial recognition can pose to privacy and civil rights,'' the letter reads, ''especially when it is used as a tool of government surveillance.''
Update 2:59PM ET: Updated with letter to Amazon.
U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump's call to arms
(C) Dominic Bracco II/Prime/FTWP Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher in Falfurrias, Texas, says he won't let outside militia onto his property and he doesn't think such groups will be trusted by most area landowners. FALFURRIAS, Tex. '--Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump's warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They're packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.
''We'll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,'' said Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman in the Dallas suburbs who is president of the Texas Minutemen. McGauley said he was preparing to head for the Rio Grande in coming days.
''We've proved ourselves before, and we'll prove ourselves again,'' he said.
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McGauley and others have been roused by the president's call to restore order and defend the country against what Trump has called ''an invasion,'' as thousands of Central American migrants advance slowly through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Trump has insisted that ''unknown Middle Easterners,'' ''very tough fighters,'' and large numbers of violent criminals are traveling among the women, children and families heading north on foot.
The Texas Minutemen, according to McGauley, have 100 volunteers en route to the Rio Grande who want to help stop the migrants, with more likely on the way.
''I can't put a number on it,'' McGauley said. ''My phone's been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We've even got two from Canada.''
Asked whether his group planned to deploy with weapons, McGauley laughed. ''This is Texas, man,'' he said.
Slideshow by photo services
And yet, the prospect of armed vigilantes showing up beside thousands of U.S. troops '-- along with Border Patrol agents, police officers and migrants '-- is considered serious enough that miliary planners have issued warnings to Army commanders.
According to military planning documents obtained by Newsweek, the military is concerned about the arrival of ''unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support'' of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The assessment estimates that 200 militia members could show up. ''They operate under the guise of citizen patrols,'' the report said, while warning of ''incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments.''
The military report provided no further details about the alleged thefts.
Manuel Padilla Jr., the top Border Patrol official in the agency's Rio Grande Valley sector, the nation's busiest for illegal crossings, said he has not issued any instructions to agents in the field or to landowners whose properties are adjacent to the river. But he plans to meet with community members in the coming week, he said, to address their concerns.
''We don't have any specific information about the militias,'' said Padilla, reached by phone along the border. ''We have seen them in the past, and when things start getting really busy, we have to make sure to let the community know they're out there.''
''But they're doing that on their own,'' Padilla said.
McGauley said that in addition to weapons and camping gear, his group will have night-vision goggles and aerial drones with thermal sensing equipment, capable of operating in darkness. He emphasized that the group would report any suspicious activity to authorities and would heed any instructions from Border Patrol agents or military personnel.
Several landowners in the area said they do not want the militias around.
Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher who lives an hour north of the border in Falfurrias, said that he will not let militia members from outside the area onto his property and that he doubts most area landowners would trust outsiders.
''They are a bunch of guys with a big mouth and no substance to them,'' said Vickers, a Republican who heads the 300-strong Texas Border Volunteers. The group doesn't call itself a militia, although it patrols ranchland to intercept migrants who hike through the brush to attempt to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. The group uses ATVs, night-vision goggles, spotlights and trained dogs.
''People on the [Rio Grande] have been calling us,'' Vickers said. His group is in a ''holding pattern,'' he said, adding, ''We can have 100 volunteers in a hot area in four to eight hours.
''We've already talked to a bunch of landowners who wanted to know if we'll be operating if the Border Patrol can't be there to keep their property from being vandalized and their crops from being messed up.''
''We're ready to move,'' he said.
Others in South Texas are less enthusiastic.
Lucy Kruse, 96, said immigrants often stop on her property as they walk through the bush country, sometimes breaking into a small cabin to sleep. Her family's ranch lies amid the thorny mesquite brush, cactus and tawny dry grass 80 miles north of the border.
As the migrant caravans head north, she and other landowners in the area worry that the number of trespassers walking through their ranches will increase dramatically. But many say the militias coming to the area also pose a threat.
''I will not let militia on my land,'' Kruse said. ''They're civilians stepping into a situation where the Border Patrol is supposed to be in control and make decisions. They could damage property or harm workers. I would guess they would be trigger-happy. If they shot someone, they might just say the person they shot was reaching for a gun.''
Joe Metz, 80, lives in what looks like a pastoral tropical paradise near Mission, a town of 84,000 in the Rio Grande Valley. Tall, green sugar cane grows beside the wide river, and citrus trees dot the sandy small hillocks away from the banks.
The Rio Grande is less than a mile from Metz's living room window, and a section of border wall crosses his property. He has watched for years as border-crossers ford the river and walk onto his land, their first step on American soil. The wall has slowed the flow significantly, he said, but between 50 and 100 people a day still cross through the farm next door.
He worries that the caravan, which includes many women and children, will surge through the area, but he doesn't want armed vigilantes on his farm.
''The militia just needs to stay where they are,'' said Metz, a Republican. ''We don't need fanatical people. We don't need anybody here with guns. Why do they have guns? I have dealt with illegals for 30 years, and all of them have been scared, asking for help. The militias need to stay up north where they belong. We have no use for them here. They might shoot someone or hurt someone.''
But the heir to the state's largest and most influential ranch disagrees. Stephen J. ''Tio'' Kleberg, who has lived most of his life on the 825,000-acre King Ranch outside of Kingsville, said that he will allow militia groups on his ranch, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
''I think if the [caravan members] get across the river, they need to be caught and sent back,'' said Kleberg, who wears a bushy handlebar mustache and chews an unlit cigar.
''Once they get on U.S. soil, they need to be stopped and detained. We don't have enough Border Patrol, ICE and Highway Patrol to handle them. If we get 2,000 or 3,000 people, we will need the militia,'' Kleberg said.
Miroff reported from Washington.
George Soros, Mastercard to partner to aid migrants, refugees | Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor George Soros will partner with Mastercard Inc on a venture they said could help migrants, refugees and others struggling within their communities worldwide to improve their economic and social status.
FILE PHOTO -- Business magnate George Soros arrives to speak at the Open Russia Club in London, Britain June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo
The partnership, Humanity Ventures, stems from a pledge Soros made in September to earmark up to $500 million for investments to address challenges facing migrants and refugees.
In a joint statement on Thursday, Mastercard and Soros said that despite billions of dollars of humanitarian and development assistance, millions of people remain marginalized, a situation the private sector can help rectify.
''Migrants are often forced into lives of despair in their host communities because they cannot gain access to financial, healthcare and government services,'' Soros said.
''Our potential investment in this social enterprise, coupled with Mastercard's ability to create products that serve vulnerable communities, can show how private capital can play a constructive role in solving social problems,'' he added.
Humanity Ventures intends to focus initially on healthcare and education, with a goal of fostering local economic development and entrepreneurship.
With the creation of Humanity Ventures, Soros could invest up to $50 million to make these solutions more scalable and sustainable, and perhaps encourage smaller projects committed to mitigating the migration crisis.
''Humanity Ventures is intended to be profitable so as to stimulate involvement from other businesspeople,'' Soros said. ''We also hope to establish standards of practice to ensure that investments are not exploitative of the vulnerable communities we intend to serve.''
Soros opened his first foundation, the Open Society Foundations, in 1979 when his hedge fund had reached about $100 million and his personal wealth had climbed to about $25 million.
The Open Society Foundations began Soros's philanthropic activity when he gave scholarships to black South Africans under apartheid. In the 1980s, Soros and his foundations ultimately contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
Just last week, Soros' Open Society Foundations said it will keep working with and financing organizations in Hungary despite the government saying that any civil society group should be ''swept out.''
Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
French far-right overtakes Macron in EU parliament election poll
France's far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party jumped ahead of President Emmanuel Macron's LREM for the first time in a poll of voting intentions for May 2019 European Parliament elections.
An Ifop poll published on Sunday showed the centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) with 19 percent of voting intentions compared to 20 percent at the end of August, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen's RN -- formerly the National Front -- rose to 21 percent from 17 percent previously.
Together with the seven percent score of sovereignist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and one percent each for "Frexit" parties led by former Le Pen associate Florian Philippot and Francois Asselineau, far-right parties won a combined 30 percent of voting intentions, up from 25 percent end August.
The poll asked nearly 1,000 French people on Oct 30-31 who they would vote for if the European Parliament elections were to be held the next Sunday.
The conservative Les Republicains party led by Laurent Wauquiez slipped two percentage points to 13 percent, while the far-left France Insoumise led by Jean-Luc Melenchon fell from 14 to 11 percent.
Charles Platiau | Reuters
Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, concedes defeat at the Chalet du Lac in the Bois de Vincennes in Paris after the second round of 2017 French presidential election, France, May 7, 2017.
Melenchon was widely criticized and mocked after yelling at police officers during a raid of his party offices as part of an anti-corruption inquiry.
In an Odoxa-Dentsu poll released mid-September, Macron and Le Pen's parties were neck-and-neck at around 21 percent, while the conservative Les Republicains came third with 14 percent and Melenchon's France Insoumise fourth with 12.5 percent.
In an Ifop poll in May, the LREM was seen winning 27 percent of the EU parliament vote, well ahead of the far right's 17 percent and more than Macron's 24 percent in the first round of France's April 2017 presidential elections.
The European elections are shaping up to be a major battle between centrist, pro-EU parties like Macron's LREM and far-right formations that want to stop immigration and globalization.
The European Parliament elections determine who leads the major EU institutions, including the European Commission, the bloc's civil service, and are also important as a bellwether of sentiment among the EU's 500 million people.
In a YouGov poll published last week, Macron's popularity fell to its lowest level since his 2017 election, with only 21 percent of those polled saying they were satisfied with him.
Macron's reputation has been hit by the brusque departure of two high-profile ministers and a summer scandal over his bodyguard, while stubbornly high unemployment, high taxes and rising fuel prices add to a general feeling of discontent.
Google Project Beacon - Were You Mailed A Google Beacon?
A couple weeks ago, I received a package in the mail from Project Beacon with the Google's Mountain View, California address on it. When I opened it up, I found a beacon and some instructions on how to set it up. I did not yet set it up, but I dug deeper into it. No one was talking about it until this past week. I spotted a number of posted about it on Twitter just this past week, all asking what this is about.
Here is the box it came in:
Here is the beacon itself:
Here is the package contents, with the instructions:
The help document leads to this page which describes why Google is doing this beacon project:
Beacons can help improve the location information Google provides to you and your customers. The beacon is a small, Bluetooth device that sends a one-way signal to a user's phone without capturing any information about the user. If a user shares their location, the beacon signal can help the user's phone determine their location more accurately. When a user's phone has a better understanding of where they are and if they've visited your store, you can unlock a variety of new features to improve their experience and your local business presence. It also explained why some businesses are getting these beacons out of the blue:
In most cases, businesses receive beacons after requesting them from Google. If you weren't expecting to receive a beacon and need help setting it up, you can contact your operations department. If need be, ask them to reach out to their Google sales representative for more information.We're sending some beacons to businesses who've used our advertising services, and are likely to benefit to from location features. If you don't want to use your beacon, you can dispose of it. Keep in mind, disposing of your beacon may impact your eligibility for Project Beacon in the future.
Beacons do provide more pinpoint accuracy of a user's location, espesially when indoors.
Did you get one of these?
Forum discussion at Twitter.
CIA Gathered Congressional Communications on Whistleblowing; After 4 Years of Pressing, Grassley Gets Notifications Declassified | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
November 01, 2018WASHINGTON'' SenateJudiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley pressed for more than four years todeclassify two Congressional Notifications indicating that, during the Obamaadministration, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) obtained congressionalcommunications about pending and developing whistleblower complaints. Those twonotifications were finally declassified this week.
Inresponse to Grassley's most recent letter on this issue, Intelligence Community
InspectorGeneral (ICIG) Michael Atkinson wrote Grassley and provided the two,declassified notifications within two weeks.
''The fact that the CIA under the Obamaadministration was reading Congressional staff's emails about intelligencecommunity whistleblowers raises serious policy concerns as well as potentialConstitutional separation-of-powers issues that must be discussed publicly. Ihave been asking the same question for years: what sources or methods would bejeopardized by the declassification of these notifications? After four and ahalf years of bureaucratic foot-dragging, led by Directors Brennan and Clapper,we finally have the answer: none. The CIA has a vitally important function,especially when it comes to their critical counterintelligence work, butnothing'--nothing'--should inhibit or interfere with Congress'constitutional job and protecting whistleblowers,'' Grassley said. ''To assigncredit where credit is due, Inspector General Atkinson and his office wereresponsive and engaging on something that appeared intractable if small. Ithank him for his work. Since the inception of this country, blowing thewhistle has played an integral role in maintaining good government. It would beunacceptable and unpatriotic to overlook any action that could dissuaderesponsible citizens from disclosing waste, fraud and abuse in our government.''
Eachof the two notifications relate to communications between the ICIG Director ofWhistleblowing & Source Protection and congressional staff obtained by theCIA in the course of counterintelligence monitoring. The notifications alsomake note of a report provided to CIA officials about the communications. Thatreport was provided to offices of some who were subjects of the pendingwhistleblower complaints. While counterintelligence monitoring is an importanttool to catch spies and insider threats, when it touches on lawfulCongressional communications about intelligence community whistleblowers, itraises serious concerns.
Thenotifications can be found here:
OnApril 14, 2014, Grassley wrote to CIA Director John Brennan and Director ofNational Intelligence James Clapper seeking their declassification. Then onApril 5, 2017, in the hope that the new Trump administration might be moreresponsive than the Obama administration,
Grassleyfollowed up with a letter to the CIA Director, Director of NationalIntelligence, CIA Inspector General and the Intelligence Community InspectorGeneral. Grassley did not receive a response to either of those letters inwriting nor in any other communication between Grassley's office and therelevant agencies.
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e-scooters on South Park
Additional Business Taxes to Fund Homeless Services | San Francisco Voter Guide
This Article 28 shall be known as the ''Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax Ordinance,'' and the tax it imposes shall be known as the ''Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax.''
SEC. 2802. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.
(a) San Francisco is experiencing a housing crisis of historic proportions that has led to a major humanitarian and public health crisis in large-scale homelessness for which the City has insufficient resources to address.
(b) The Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax will fund the ''Our City, Our Home Fund.'' Consistent with the analysis of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (''HSH'') it is the intentions of the voters in adopting Article 28 to house at least 4,000 homeless people and expand shelter beds by 1,000 within five years, fund legal assistance and rent subsidies to keep San Franciscans housed, and fund intensive mental health and substance abuse services to move the City's most severely impaired individuals off the streets.
(c) In December, 2017 Donald Trump signed the ''Tax Cuts and Jobs Act'' into law which reduced the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, a 14% reduction. By comparison, this measure would be an average of less than a half of a percent tax for the gross receipts of San Francisco businesses over $50 million.
(d) The San Francisco 2017 Homeless Count & Survey found that over 7,000 people in the City experience homelessness at any one time. According to HSH, as of April, 2018, the City has approximately 2,500 temporary shelter beds for the homeless population and there have been over 1,000 people on the waitlist for shelter each night. The intent of the voters in adopting Article 28 is to eliminate the waiting period for shelter.
(e) For years San Franciscans have witnessed individuals with severe mental illnesses wandering City streets. One purpose of this Article 28 is to fund intensive mental health care and substance abuse treatment facilities linked to housing placement to ensure severely mentally ill and drug addicted people are able to exit homelessness. The intent of the voters in adopting Article 28 is to provide care sufficient to move all those San Franciscans with severe behavioral health issues out of homelessness.
(f) Multiple studies have shown significant cost savings when cities invest in permanently affordable housing, thus reducing needs usage of hospitals, jails, and inpatient treatment facilities. The intent of voters in adopting Article 28 is to reduce overall costs for the City.
(g) According to HSH, one in twenty-five public school students in San Francisco is homeless. This has a devastating effect on their educational outcomes and development. This Article 28 is intended to reduce family homelessness by more than 85%.
(h) Approximately half of homeless people became homeless when they were less than 25 years old, according to the San Francisco 2017 Homeless Count & Survey. The intentions of voters in Article 28 is to ensure young homeless people are able to move into stable housing and avoid becoming chronically homeless adults.
(i) This crisis of homelessness affects both homeless people and their housed neighbors. San Franciscans should not have to step over homeless people or walk out their doors and see tents on sidewalks, and homeless people should not be forced to live in these conditions. The intent of voters in adopting Article 28 is to significantly decrease the visible presence of homeless people and tent encampments on City streets by eliminating chronic homelessness.
(j) HSH recently released a strategic framework describing its five-year goals for reducing street homelessness and ending family homelessness and has instituted a new system to coordinate services. According to HSH, the City needs increased revenue both to achieve these important goals and to address the problem more completely.
(k) The Housing First model creates a foundation of stability for formerly homeless individuals by providing permanent supportive housing as a springboard for resolving and treating issues that may have precipitated a person's first encounter with homelessness, or which may have come as a result of being forced to survive on the street. The intent of voters in adopting Article 28 is to provide the resources to implement a Housing First model.
(l) It is the intention of the voters in adopting Article 28 to ensure that (1) homelessness funding for existing and future programs continues at the current base year levels without utilizing monies or resources from the Our City, Our Home Fund, and (2) tax proceeds from the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax be used to fund the programs set forth in Section 2810.
SEC. 2803. DEFINITIONS.
Unless otherwise defined in this Article 28, the terms used in this Article shall have the meanings given to them in Articles 6 and 12-A-1 of the Business and Tax Regulations Code, as amended from time to time.
SEC. 2804. IMPOSITION OF TAX.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this Article 28, for the privilege of engaging in business in the City, the City imposes an annual Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax on each person engaged in business in the City that receives or is a member of a combined group that receives, more than $50,000,000 in total taxable gross receipts.
(b) If, after applying any rules or elections used to assign receipts to a business activity in Section 953.9 of Article 12-A-1, a person or combined group derives gross receipts from business activities described in only one of Sections 953.1 through 953.7 of Article 12-A-1, inclusive, the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax shall be calculated by applying to the person or combined group's taxable gross receipts in excess of $50,000,000 the following percentage that corresponds to the person or combined group's business activities, as described in Sections 953.1 through 953.7 of Article 12-A-1, inclusive:
Business Activity Set
(c) If, after applying any rules or elections used to assign receipts to a business activity in Section 953.9 of Article 12-A-1, a person or combined group derives gross receipts from business activities described in more than one of Sections 953.1 through 953.7 of Article 12-A-1, inclusive, the taxable gross receipts and rate or rates of tax to be applied to that person or combined group shall be determined as follows:
(1) The taxable gross receipts shall be determined on an aggregate basis in numbered order of Sections 953.1 through 953.7, inclusive, i.e., the taxable gross receipts for business activities described in Section 953.1 of Article 12-A-1 should be determined first, Section 953.2 of Article 12-A-1 second, and so on;
(2) The rates in subsection (b) shall apply to the gross receipts from the corresponding sets of business activities described in Sections 953.1 through 953.7 of Article 12- A-1, inclusive, except that the rate shall be 0% for the first $50,000,000 of the person or combined group's total taxable gross receipts from all taxable business activities;
(3) Whether the 0% rate for the first $50,000,000 of the person or combined group's total taxable gross receipts from all taxable business activities applies to any set of business activities after the first shall be determined by adding to the taxable gross receipts from that set of business activities all of the taxable gross receipts from all previous sets of business activities; and
(4) The Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax for the person or combined group shall be the sum of the liabilities for each set of business activities determined under subsections (1) through (3).
(d) Notwithstanding any other subsection of this Section 2804, every person engaging in business within the City as an administrative office, as defined in Section 953.8 of Article 12-A-1, shall pay an annual homelessness administrative office tax measured by its total payroll expense, as defined in Section 953.8(f) of Article 12-A-1, that is attributable to the City. If a person is a member of a combined group, then its tax shall be measured by the total payroll expense of the combined group attributable to the City. Such combined group shall pay only the homelessness administrative office tax, and not the tax imposed under other subsections of this Section 2804, but a person or combined group may be liable for both the administrative office tax imposed by Section 953.8 of Article 12-A-1 and the homelessness administrative office tax imposed by this subsection (d). The homelessness administrative office tax rate for each tax year is 1.5%.
Unless specified otherwise, this homelessness administrative office tax shall be considered part of the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax for all purposes.
(e) ''Taxable gross receipts'' means a person or combined group's gross receipts, not excluded under Section 2805, attributable to the City. The person or combined group's gross receipts that are attributable to the City shall be determined in the same manner as in Article 12- A-1, as amended from time to time.
(f) If the voters adopt any measure adding a business activity category in Section 953.7.5 of Article 12-A-1 at the November 6, 2018 consolidated general election, any receipts from business activities described in that Section 953.7.5 shall be assigned, for purposes of this Article 28, to one or more of Sections 953.1 through 953.7 of Article 12-A-1, inclusive, as if Section 953.7.5 were not added to Article 12- A-1.
SEC. 2805. EXEMPTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS.
(a) An organization that is exempt from income taxation by Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 23701) of Part 11 of Division 2 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code or Subchapter F (commencing with Section 501) of Chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, as qualified by Sections 502, 503, 504, and 508 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall be exempt from taxation under this Article 28, only so long as those exemptions continue to exist under state or federal law.
(b) For only so long as and to the extent that the City is prohibited from imposing the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax, any person upon whom the City is prohibited under the Constitution or laws of the State of California or the Constitution or laws of the United States from imposing the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax shall be exempt from the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax.
(c) For purposes of this Article 28, gross receipts shall not include receipts that are excluded from gross receipts for purposes of the gross receipts tax imposed by Article 12-A-1, and also shall not include receipts subject to a gross receipts tax on commercial rents imposed as a result of a measure adopted by the voters of San Francisco in the June 5, 2018 election.
SEC. 2806. COMBINED RETURNS.
(a) Persons subject to the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax shall file returns at the same time and in the same manner as returns filed for the gross receipts tax imposed by Article 12-A-1, including the rules for combined returns under Section 956.3, as amended from time to time.
(b) If a person is subject to the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax but is not required to file a gross receipts tax return under Article 12-A-1, such person or combined group's Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax return shall be filed at the same time and in the same manner as if such person or combined group were required to file a gross receipts tax return under Article 12-A-1.
(c) For purposes of this Article 28, a lessor of residential real estate is treated as a separate person with respect to each individual building in which it leases residential real estate units, notwithstanding Section 6.2-15 of Article 6, as amended from time to time, or subsection (a) of this Section 2806. This subsection (c) applies only to leasing residential real estate units within a building, and not to any business activity related to other space, either within the same building or other buildings, which is not residential real estate. The Tax Collector is authorized to determine what constitutes a separate building and the number of units in a building.
SEC. 2807. TAX COLLECTOR AUTHORIZED TO DETERMINE GROSS RECEIPTS.
The Tax Collector may, in his or her reasonable discretion, independently establish a person or combined group's gross receipts within the City and establish or reallocate gross receipts among related entities so as to fairly reflect the gross receipts within the City of all persons and combined groups.
SEC. 2808. CONSTRUCTION AND SCOPE OF THE HOMELESSNESS GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ORDINANCE.
(a) This Article 28 is intended to authorize application of the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax in the broadest manner consistent with its provisions and with the California Constitution, the United States Constitution, and any other applicable provision of federal or state law.
(b) The Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax imposed by this Article 28 is in addition to all other City taxes, including the gross receipts tax imposed by Article 12-A-1, as amended from time to time. Accordingly, by way of example and not limitation, persons subject to both the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax and the gross receipts tax shall pay both taxes. Persons exempt from either the gross receipts tax or the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax, but not both, shall pay the tax from which they are not exempt.
SEC. 2809. ADMINISTRATION OF THE HOMELESSNESS GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ORDINANCE.
Except as otherwise provided under this Article 28, the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax Ordinance shall be administered pursuant to Article 6 of the Business and Tax Regulations Code, as amended from time to time, including all penalties and other charges imposed by that Article.
SEC. 2810. DEPOSIT OF PROCEEDS; EXPENDITURE OF PROCEEDS.
(a) All monies collected under the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax Ordinance shall be deposited to the credit of the Our City, Our Home Fund, established in Administrative Code Section 10.100- 164. The Fund shall be maintained separate and apart from all other City funds and shall be subject to appropriation. Any balance remaining in the Fund at the close of any fiscal year shall be deemed to have been provided for a special purpose within the meaning of Charter Section 9.113(a) and shall be carried forward and accumu lated in the Fund for the purposes described in subsection (b)(3).
(b) Subject to the budgetary and fiscal provisions of the Charter, monies in the Our City, Our Home Fund shall be appropriated on an annual or supplemental basis and used exclusively for the following purposes:
(1) Up to 3% of the proceeds of the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax distributed in any proportion to the Tax Collector and other City departments, for administration of the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax and administration of the Our City, Our Home Fund for the following purposes:
(A) Payment of the administrative expenses of collecting the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax;
(B) Payment for City oversight of the expenditures described in this subsection (b); and
(C) Payment for City expenses providing support for the Our City, Our Home Oversight Committee, including but not limited to payments for the needs assessments described in Section 2810(e)(2)(B).
(2) Refunds of any overpayments of the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax, including any related penalties, interests, and fees.
(3) All remaining amounts for the following purposes, in the following percentages, which amounts shall include the costs of administering the programs described.
(A) Permanent Housing Expenditures. At least 50% to the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (''MOHCD''), or its successor agency, for uses consistent with the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax Ordinance that help Homeless adults, families, or youth, including but not limited to Homeless persons with mental illness or addiction, permanently exit homelessness and secure permanent housing. Every reasonable effort shall be made to ensure that Homeless persons with barriers to housing, including but not limited to a lack of identification and documentation, are able to access housing made available under this subsection (A). Uses under this subsection (A) shall be limited to:
(i) Short-term rental subsidies, expenditures for which shall be limited to no more than 12% of this subsection (A). For purposes of this subsection (i), ''short-term'' means a period that is five years or less.
(ii) Construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, lease, preservation, and operation of permanent supportive housing units. For purposes of this subsection (ii), ''permanent supportive housing'' means housing that provides a rental subsidy and onsite supportive services for formerly Homeless adults, families, and youth.
(iii) Acquisition, rehabilitation, master lease, and operation of SRO Buildings, or portions thereof, newly acquired or master leased on or after January 1, 2019, and the associated protection of extremely low- and very low-income households, especially households with seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities, or immigrants. Existing, higher-income households may retain occupancy in SRO Buildings, under the program's goal of preventing displacement. Any vacant unit in an SRO Building may be used for the purpose of housing Homeless individuals or families. Long-term rental subsidies shall be an eligible use of funds under this subsection (iii). For purposes of this subsection (iii) the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(aa) ''Area Median Income'' means the area median income for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (''HUD'') Metro Fair Market Rent Area (''HFMA'') that includes San Francisco, as published annually by MOHCD, adjusted for household size. If HFMA data is unavailable, MOHCD shall calculate area median income using other publicly available and credible data.
(bb) ''Extremely low- and very low-income households'' means households that earn up to 50% of Area Median Income.
(cc) ''Long-term'' means a period that is longer than five years.
(dd) ''Master lease'' means a nonprofit or governmental entity leasing dedicated housing units from a property owner and, in turn, leasing those units to residents.
MOHCD shall enter into an agreement with HSH, or its successor agency, that requires at least 20% of the total amounts appropriated under this subsection (A) be used for the purposes described in this subsection (A) that support Homeless youth aged 18 through 29, and at least 25% of the total amounts appropriated under this subsection (A) be used for the purposes described in this subsection (A) that support Homeless families with children under age 18 at the time of entry into housing.
(B) Homeless Shelter Expenditures. Up to 10% to HSH, or its successor agency, for uses consistent with the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax Ordinance that help Homeless adults, families, or youth, including but not limited to Homeless persons with mental illness or addiction, secure short-term residential shelter, including but not limited to funding navigation centers and shelters, and to fund Hygiene Programs. For purposes of this subsection (B), ''Hygiene Programs'' means any program that provides bathrooms, handwashing stations, and/or showers intended for use by those who do not have access to those facilities.
(C) Homelessness Prevention Expenditures. Up to 15% to MOHCD and/or HSH, or their successor agencies, for the provision of services to those at risk of becoming Homeless or who recently have become Homeless. These services are limited to providing financial, utility, and/or Rental Assistance; flexible funding (e.g., security deposit, expenses necessary to maintain housing); short-term case management; conflict mediation; legal representation in eviction cases; connection to mainstream services (e.g., services from agencies outside of the homeless assistance system, such as public benefit agencies); housing search assistance; and assistance to newly Homeless families and individuals to identify immediate alternate housing arrangements. Every reasonable effort shall be made to ensure that financial assistance is available in a timely manner to avoid evictions or displacements.
(D) Mental Health Expenditures for Homeless Individuals. At least 25% to the Department of Public Health (''DPH'') for the creation of a new mental health services program or programs that are specifically designed for Homeless people severely impaired by behavioral health issues. Such uses shall be limited to:
(i) Intensive street-based mental health services and case management;
(ii) Assertive outreach services;
(iii) Mental health and substance abuse treatment, including medications;
(iv) Peer support;
(v) Residential and drop-in services; and
(vi) Specialized temporary and long-term housing Rental Assistance, housing linkage, and referrals into supportive housing with continued intensive case management and mental health services that follow people from homelessness into housing.
Nothing in this subsection (D) shall prevent DPH from using allocations pursuant to this subsection (D) to acquire or lease facilities to provide the mental health services described herein.
(E) Determination of Appropriations; Remaining Amounts. The Board of Supervisors shall determine how much to
Legal Text '' Proposition C 111 38-EN-N18-CP111
appropriate to each of Sections 2810(b)(3)(A) through (D), in accordance with those Sections. Any amounts remaining in the Our City, Our Home Fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be held in the Our City, Our Home Fund to be added to amounts available for appropriation under Section 2810(b)(3) in any future year.
(c) Commencing with a report filed no later than February 15, 2020, covering the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2019, the Controller shall file annually with the Board of Supervisors, by February 15 of each year, a report containing the amount of monies collected in and expended from the Our City, Our Home Fund during the prior fiscal year, the status of any project required or authorized to be funded by this Section 2810, and such other information as the Controller, in the Controller's sole discretion, shall deem relevant to the operation of this Article 28.
(d) Appropriations May Not Supplant Existing Expenditures. Monies in the Our City, Our Home Fund shall be expended only for Eligible Programs. Monies in the Our City, Our Home Fund shall not be spent to supplant existing programs funded by the City for homeless programs, which shall continue to be funded, at a minimum, at the Base Amount. All funds unexpended from the Our City, Our Home Fund shall be held in the Our City, Our Home Fund and may be expended on Eligible Programs in any future fiscal year in which other expenditures from the Our City, Our Home Fund may be made. For purposes of this subsection (d):
(1) ''Base Amount'' means the Controller's calculation of the amount of City appropriations (not including appropriations from the Our City, Our Home Fund and exclusive of expenditures funded by private funding or funded or mandated by state or federal law) for Eligible Programs for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.
(2) ''Eligible Programs'' means all programs and expenditures described in Section 2810(b)(3).
(e) Our City, Our Home Oversight Committee.
(1) By February 28, 2019, the Board of Supervisors shall establish by ordinance the Our City, Our Home Oversight Committee (''Oversight Committee'') to make recommendations to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to ensure that the Our City, Our Home Fund is administered in a manner consistent with the provisions of this Section 2810.
(2) The purpose of the Oversight Committee shall be to monitor and make recommendations in the administration of the Our City, Our Home Fund, to take steps to ensure that the fund is administered in a manner accountable to the community and consistent with the law, and to advise the Board of Supervisors on appropriations from the Our City, Our Home Fund. As part of this purpose, the Oversight Committee shall:
(A) Develop recommendations for prioritizing the use of funds appropriated from the Our City, Our Home Fund;
(B) By December 31, 2019, and every three years thereafter, conduct a needs assessment with respect to homelessness and Homeless populations, including but not limited to an assessment of available data on subpopulations with regard to race, family composition, sexual orientation, age, and gender served by the programs and expenditures described in Section 2810(b)(3), and make annual recommendations about appropriations from the Our City, Our Home Fund to the Board of Supervisors consistent with that needs assessment;
(C) Promote and facilitate transparency in the administration of the Our City, Our Home Fund.
(D) Promote implementation of the programs funded by the Our City, Our Home Fund in a culturally sensitive manner.
(3) Voting Members.
(A) The Oversight Committee shall have nine voting members.
(i) Seats one, three, five, and seven shall be appointed by the Mayor under Charter Section 3.100(18).
(ii) Seats two, four, six, and eight shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
(iii) Seat nine shall be appointed by the Controller.
(i) Seat one shall be an individual with experience with Homeless housing development or supportive housing services.
(ii) Seat two shall be an individual representing families with minor children residing in SRO Units or a family member residing in a SRO Unit.
(iii) Seat three shall be an individual with experience providing Homeless services.
(iv) Seat four shall be an individual who has experienced homelessness and also has experience advocating for Homeless people.
(iv) Seat five shall be an individual with mental health service and/or substance abuse expertise.
(v) Seats six and seven shall be individuals who have personally experienced homelessness.
(vi) Seat eight shall be an individual who has experience advocating on Homeless or mental health issues.
(vii) Seat nine shall be an at large seat.
(C) Term. The terms of the initial appointees to the Oversight Committee shall commence on the date of the first meeting of the committee, which shall occur when at least six members have been appointed and are present, but no later than February 28, 2019. The initial terms of odd numbered seats shall be three years, and two years following the initial three-year term. Even numbered seats shall have two-year terms.
(4) The City shall provide adequate dedicated staffing to the Oversight Committee.
(5) The Oversight Committee shall meet at least six times during each fiscal year, except for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, during which the Oversight Committee shall meet at least twice.
(g) Nothing in this Section 2810 shall limit the authority of the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to propose, amend, and adopt a budget under Article IX of the Charter.
(h) For purposes of this Section 2810:
(1) ''Homeless'' means an individual or family that lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and whose primary nighttime residence is one or more of the following: a shelter; a sidewalk or street; outdoors; a vehicle; a structure not certified or fit for human residence, such as an abandoned building; a couch used for sleeping in accommodations that are inadequate or overly crowded; a SRO Unit in which one or more family members are under the age of 18; a transitional housing program; or in such other location that is unsafe or unstable.
(2) ''Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Unit'' or ''SRO Unit'' means a dwelling unit or group housing room consisting of no more than one occupied room with a maximum gross floor area of 350 square feet and meeting the Housing Code's minimum floor area standards. The unit may have a bathroom in addition to the occupied room. As a dwelling unit, it would have a cooking facility and bathroom. As a group housing room, it would share a kitchen with one or more other single room occupancy unit(s) in the same building and may also share a bathroom. A Single Room Occupancy Building (or ''SRO Building'') is one in which at least 50% of the units are SRO Units.
(3) ''Rental Assistance'' means rental subsidies or nonprofit housing operating subsidies that help Homeless people find housing and stabilize in housing in which they are the leaseholders.
SEC. 2811. AMENDMENT OF ORDINANCE.
The Board of Supervisors may amend this Article 28 by ordinance by a two- thirds vote but only to further the Findings and intent as set for the in Section 2802.
SEC. 2812. EFFECT OF STATE AND FEDERAL AUTHORIZATION.
To the extent that the City's authorization to impose or to collect any tax imposed under this Article 28 is expanded or limited as a result of changes in state or federal statutes, regulations, or other laws, or judicial interpretations of those laws, no amendment or modification of this Article shall be required to conform the taxes to those changes, and the taxes are hereby imposed in conformity with those changes, and the Tax Collector shall collect them to the full extent of the City's authorization up to the full amount and rate of the taxes imposed under this Article.
SEC. 2813. SEVERABILITY.
(a) Except as provided in Section 2813(b), below, if any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Article 28, or any application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by an unappealable decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this Article. The People of the City and County of San Francisco hereby declare that, except as provided in Section 2813(b), they would have adopted this Article 28 and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, and word not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any other portion of this Article or application thereof would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.
(b) If the imposition of the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax in Section 2804 is held in its entirety to be facially invalid or unconstitutional in a final unappealable court determination, the remainder of this Article 28 shall be void and of no force and effect, and the City Attorney shall cause it to be removed from the Business and Tax Regulations Code, and likewise cause Section 10.100-164 to be removed from the Administrative Code.
SEC. 2814. SAVINGS CLAUSE.
No section, clause, part, or provision of this Article 28 shall be construed as requiring the payment of any tax that would be in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of the Constitution or laws of the State of California.
Section 3. The Administrative Code is hereby amended by adding Section 10.100-164, to read as follows:
SEC. 10.100-164. OUR CITY, OUR HOME FUND.
(a) Establishment of Fund. The Our City, Our Home Fund (''Fund'') is established as a category four fund as defined in Section 10.100-1 of the Administrative Code, and shall receive all taxes, penalties, interest, and fees collected from the Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax imposed under Article 28 of the Business and Tax Regulations Code.
(b) Use of Fund. Subject to the budgetary and fiscal provisions of the Charter, monies in the Fund shall be used exclusively for the purposes described in Section 2810(b) of Article 28 of the Business and Tax Regulations Code.
(c) Administration of Fund. As stated in Section 2810(c) of Article 28 of the Business and Tax Regulations Code, commencing with a report filed no later than February 15, 2020, covering the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the Controller shall file annually with the Board of Supervisors, by February 15 of each year, a report containing the amount of monies collected in and expended from the Fund during the prior fiscal year, the status of any project required or authorized to be funded by Section 2810, and such other information as the Controller, in the Controller's sole discretion, shall deem relevant to the operation of Article 28.
Section 4. Appropriations Limit Increase. Pursuant to California Constitution Article XIII B and applicable laws, for four years from November 6, 2018, the appropriations limit for the City shall be increased by the aggregate sum collected by the levy of the tax imposed under this ordinance.
Section 5. Effective and Operative Date. The effective date of this ordinance shall be ten days after the date the official vote count is declared by the Board of Supervisors. This ordinance shall become operative on January 1, 2019.
CTA drivers caught on video urinating, defecating on buses, face little action
That stench on your CTA bus? That puddle of urine? Turns out riders aren't always the ones to blame.
The Chicago Transit Authority has disciplined three bus drivers who were caught relieving themselves on their routes in the past few years, according to CTA records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
In one bizarre, on-duty incident in September, a driver defecated on his bus after pulling over '-- busted by onboard surveillance camera footage.
The driver told his bosses he couldn't hold it because he'd eaten ''bad tacos.'' CTA officials didn't buy his story, according to a transit source who says the incident appeared to be ''premeditated.'' The agency initiated termination proceedings.
The source, who works for the CTA, says the official records don't come close to revealing the extent of the problem, saying it's fairly common for bus drivers to urinate or otherwise let loose on or near their buses and let the blame, and cleanup, fall to others.
''I can tell you it's dozens we're aware of,'' the source says, adding that incidents are often ignored by supervisors or ''classified as something else'' in paperwork to obscure the offense. ''This happens frequently, honestly. . . . There's really no good excuse for it.''
On some occasions, horrified bus riders have witnessed the illicit potty breaks, according to records and interviews.
If punished at all, the offending drivers typically have been allowed to keep their jobs, though public urination and public defecation are against the law.
The CTA's No. 21 Cermak route had the most recent incident. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
The most recent incident occurred the morning of Sept. 16 on the No. 21 Cermak route, records show. With no passengers on board, the driver pulled to a stop, walked to the back of his bus, pulled a plastic bag from his back pocket, dropped his pants and unloaded.
Surveillance images show the driver ''then tied a knot'' and ''took the bag and the contents of the bag to the front of the bus . . . then twirled the bag around and attempted to throw it out the window, but was unsuccessful,'' according to the CTA records.
''The bag full of feces and wipes hit the top of the interior of the bus and . . . it seems as though the feces must have gotten on the seat and the driver's area of the bus,'' the records show. The driver ''tried to clean up the feces by wiping the seat and his shirt, he also attempted to pour the contents of a coffee cup on the seat to clean the area.''
He didn't do a very good job, though. When the driver for the next shift got on to take over, she detected a foul odor and asked him about it. He blamed ''an unknown customer that was on the bus earlier . . . with feces on his shoes,'' records show.
She soldiered on until Cermak and Central Park, where ''she curbed the bus, did a visual inspection and notified control that she discovered feces on both the seatbelt and top left corner panel inside the bus,'' records show. Too ''upset to continue,'' she halted the run.
When the male driver was confronted by his bosses, at first he blamed ''a homeless guy'' for boarding and ''throwing a bag of s'--'' at him, a source says.
The driver later told the ''bad tacos'' story and apologized. He was targeted for firing for ''behavioral violations,'' ''conduct unbecoming'' and ''gross misconduct.'' The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, which represents CTA bus drivers, says he has since resigned.
Under the transit agency's rules, that means he could apply for another CTA job in the future.
Another driver was recommended for firing over a June 2017 incident in which records show he stopped his No. 20 Madison bus just before 5 p.m. at Randolph and Columbus and was spotted by a nearby supervisor ''urinating from the rear doors of the bus.''
Later, a review of surveillance footage showed he was urinating against the rear doors, from inside the otherwise-empty bus. The footage, obtained by the Sun-Times, shows the driver nervously looking through the windows as he's peeing.
The driver's initial explanation: ''There was a car parked illegally in the bus stop,'' records show.
Later, he told CTA officials he'd been taking ''water pills'' and ''couldn't hold it.''
After meetings between union and management representatives, his discipline was reduced to a three-day suspension.
A CTA rider ''observed the operator'' of a No. 72 North Avenue bus ''urinating outside the front door of the bus while at a red light.'' | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
About a year earlier, a CTA customer ''stated she observed the operator'' of a No. 72 North bus ''urinating outside the front door of the bus while at a red light'' around 5:40 p.m. at North and Mobile, records show, though they don't make clear what happened after the complaint was made.
In 2015, another bus driver got a one-day suspension for stopping his bus and peeing. A complaint '-- apparently from a rider or passing driver '-- described what happened: ''Your bus driver on the 157 route southbound at about 4:30 p.m. on 4/20/15 pulled over under the viaduct near Rockwell and Ogden, got out, walked to the back of the bus and relieved himself in the street. That is gross, unsanitary and just wrong!''
The driver later told bosses it was ''urgent'' that he go, ''and he did not want to dirty his uniform.''
In 2015, a bus driver was suspended for a day for stopping his bus and peeing after a complaint that said: ''Your bus driver on the 157 route southbound at about 4:30 p.m. on 4/20/15 pulled over under the viaduct near Rockwell and Ogden, got out, walked to the back of the bus and relieved himself in the street. That is gross, unsanitary and just wrong!'' No. 157 Streeterville route. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
CTA spokesman Brian Steele says such incidents are rare. He disputes the CTA source's assertion that there are many more occurrences beyond the records that were turned over.
Steele says his agency provides numerous opportunities for bus drivers to find and use a bathroom while they are working. The CTA has agreements with businesses along bus routes to let drivers stop and use their facilities, and the agency also has placed portable toilets in select spots, he says.
''This kind of conduct by CTA employees is unacceptable and completely avoidable,'' Steele says. ''CTA does not condone actions like these, which certainly do not reflect the high level of professionalism shown by the overwhelming majority of CTA employees.''
Last year, the union raised a stink about the quality of those porta-potties, saying the conditions in them were so bad that some bus drivers were resorting to wearing disposable diapers.
ATU Local 241 president Keith Hill says there's also a problem of inadequate ''recovery time'' at the end of routes for drivers to use the facilities.
Drivers are allowed to contact the CTA control center mid-route and ask for a ''personal'' break and, when they are given permission, to pull over and run in, say, to a business or a police station to use a bathroom.
''I do preach that, if you can't hold it, call CTA and ask for a break,'' Hill says.
The CTA uses ''progressive'' discipline that it has said takes into account the entirety of an employee's service record.
MORE FROM THE WATCHDOGS' Marijuana use, rap sheets mean more wannabe Chicago cops get rejected on appeal
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Throughout this past year of holding men in entertainment to task, the music industry has largely continued to overlook abuse allegations within its most popular genre, exhibiting a troubling lack of accountability.
By Sylvia Obell
Posted on October 31, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty ImagesFrom left: Fabolous, XXXTentacion, Nas, Russell Simmons, and R. Kelly.
October 2018 marks a year since Hollywood juggernaut Harvey Weinstein was taken down by reports detailing decades of sexual harassment and abuse allegations against him. The titan's fall catapulted Tarana Burke's #MeToo movement into a national phenomenon as women (and some men) felt empowered to call out their abusers. Suddenly, actors, directors, writers, producers, and agents were forced to reckon with their past (and present) sexual misconduct. Yet, throughout this past year of holding men in entertainment to task, the music industry has largely continued to turn a blind eye toward its most popular genre, hip-hop, exhibiting a lack of accountability where alleged abuse is concerned. The fact that many rap artists continue to thrive despite accusations of sexual and/or physical abuse is disconcerting. But it's also less surprising considering the genre's history of reflecting the intersections of American society, including the country's complicated relationship between racism and rape.
On Oct. 7, the week of the first anniversary of the New York Times' explosive Weinstein investigation, eight out of the ten albums on the Billboard Hot 200 chart were from hip-hop artists, with Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V leading the pack at No. 1. Among the other artists represented are Eminem at No. 6 and the late XXXTentacion at No. 10, both of whom have a history of alleged abuse against romantic partners. Eminem has depicted extremely violent behavior toward his ex-wife, Kimberly Anne Scott, in his music for decades, and their complicated relationship has been documented throughout his career '-- including her suicide attempt after watching him beat up a blow-up doll made in her image onstage. These transgressions happened before the reckoning, but his ability to make a comeback in this climate is evidence of the #MeToo movement's limitations in impacting rap fans, at least to the point where some might cancel their favorite emcees enough to make a dent in their careers.
When it comes to beloved artists who are accused of gruesome, if not criminal actions, the prevailing argument from fans is that letting go of an artist whose music has been a major part of their lives is difficult. That viewpoint disregards the wider implications of supporting influential people with such damning reputations and also doesn't explain why a newer artist like XXXTentacion was able to rise to fame despite his documented abusive behavior. In March, the rapper released a sophomore album that debuted at No. 1. This was less than a year after he was released from jail and placed on house arrest while awaiting trial on charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintained his innocence publicly until his death in June, when the 20-year-old rapper was fatally shot in Florida.
In examining the industry's pitiful response to #MeToo, if the lack of action rests on fans' refusal to hold beloved artists accountable, then one might suspect the reaction would change, were the couple both music darlings.
XXXTentacion's murder sparked a complex conversation online about his contentious legacy: Did mourning him publicly mean you were absolving him of his crimes? Is not being sad that an abuser was killed the same as wishing death upon them? How much, if at all, can you really separate the art from the artist? The most prudent response in this specific example is that multiple things are true at once. It is true that XXXTentacion's rising star and his life '-- even without the fame '-- being cut short by violence is tragic. It is also true that the routine abuse his girlfriend said she suffered at his hands is appalling. But the more urgent question is this: What does it say about fans who resonated with one tragedy and not the other? Like the ones who demanded compassion for XXXTentacion but burned the vigil offerings given by his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala, after heckling her away because she spoke up about his abuse. Since coming forward with her allegations, including a history of abuse '-- from being beaten and choked while pregnant to being held captive in rooms for days to heal because the rapper refused to take her to the hospital '-- Ayala has had to endure even more trauma from fans. XXXTentacion fans have allegedly harassed her at her job and even shut down the GoFundMe campaign she started to raise money to fix her eye '-- damaged from an attack '-- claiming without evidence that she misrepresented her injuries, despite the fact the rapper himself had donated $5,000 to the fund. All of these things were documented in the media, but no one in the industry spoke up in her defense, choosing only to mourn the artist's death and not empathize with the victims of his actions when he was alive. And now that tapes of XXXTentacion admitting to the domestic abuse and other violent acts have surfaced, will anyone admit they were wrong for doing so?
XXXTentacion's peers have faced similar situations that earned them more consequences from the law than from the industry or fans. Kodak Black, for example, is awaiting trial for sexual assault against a teenager (according to Billboard, the rapper is prohibited from commenting on the situation or contacting the victim). The ''Tunnel Vision'' rapper has been in and out of jail for multiple charges but still received support from artists, like the similarly legally troubled Chris Brown, who put $10,000 on Black's books while he was in prison this year. Then there's 6ix9ine, who pleaded guilty to the use of a child in a sexual performance in 2015, but is still having a breakout year thanks in part to his triple-platinum single ''Fefe'' featuring Nicki Minaj. Minaj also added him as an opener to her upcoming tour despite the conviction, and given the Queen rapper's silence on her brother being found guilty of sexual assault of a child in 2017, it's difficult not to view these actions, or lack thereof, as compliance with a culture of silence in the industry.
It's this culture of silence that makes it possible for artists to get away with assaulting women, even when there's video evidence of violent behavior, resulting in intricate, messy, and downright dumbfounding situations. This was the case for rapper Fabolous, who turned himself in to authorities after an alleged domestic violence dispute in March with longtime partner Emily Bustamante, known publicly as Emily B. According to court documents, the rapper hit Emily B in the face seven times '-- she lost her two front teeth '-- and threatened the lives of her father and brother. Soon after, TMZ obtained video footage of Fabolous verbally threatening Emily B and her father while holding a sharp object in the driveway of their Englewood, New Jersey, home. Despite this, many of his fans still came to his defense online, noting that he never touched her in the video. Fabolous's lawyer also maintains his client did not commit any crime. What the video did show, however, is a number of red flags, including the reality of Fabolous's belligerent behavior, the validity of Emily B's fear, and the gravity of what their family has witnessed.
Kevin Mazur / Getty ImagesFabolous
By Mother's Day, the couple had reconciled, as evidenced by this tribute post to her on his Instagram. During the summer they were seen publicly at Pusha-T's wedding '-- where peers like Trey Songz (who was also arrested on felony domestic assault charges in March) were photographed smiling with Fabolous '-- and vacationing with their children in matching outfits. Too often, a woman taking back her abuser is incorrectly perceived as her also taking back her accusations or consenting to abuse. But whatever reasons Emily B has for staying in her relationship, it doesn't justify Fabolous's recorded behavior and alleged conduct. And while their family and friends seemed willing to look the other way, the courts were not. On Oct. 10, Fabolous was indicted by a New Jersey grand jury on four felony charges related to the assault and is facing possible jail time. Emily's father is reportedly willing to testify on the rapper's behalf now that the family has reunited, which begs the question '-- when does taking a stand against the violence toward women go beyond supporting the victim's wishes? Is it up to Emily, who receives financial support from Fabolous, to lead the charge for her own justice? Or does her silence relinquish any ethical responsibility you have while rapping along to his music?
In examining the industry's pitiful response to #MeToo, if the lack of action rests on fans' refusal to hold beloved artists accountable, then one might suspect the reaction would change, were the couple both music darlings. However, this was not the case between Nas and Kelis, who were a power hip-hop couple, once upon a time. In late April, Kelis revealed a history of alleged domestic abuse she endured during her relationship with one of the genre's most legendary emcees. In a sit-down interview with Hollywood Unlocked, Kelis said that Nas would often get physically violent with her after a night of partying and then forget the entire incident by morning. She noted that she would fight back and recalled a particular memory from 2009: ''When the Rihanna and Chris Brown pictures came out, I thought about coming out because I also had bruises all over my body,'' she said. ''But I didn't say anything because I'm private. But seeing her the way she looked and then looking at myself'...I felt embarrassed.''
The allegations from Kelis were devastating not just because of their nature, but because Nas had presented himself as one of the genre's few good men: a laid-back, fairly scandal-free, socially conscious lover of black history and black women. However, many forgot that the rapper's ex-girlfriend and mother of his first child, Carmen Bryan, also accused him of physical abuse in her 2007 memoir. Despite Kelis's celebrity and Bryan's forgotten accusations being brought to light, the allegations only caused a few waves and ultimately have had little effect on Nas' career. Much like Brown after his violent incident with Rihanna, Nas was able to release new music to a warm reception from fans: He dropped Nasir two months after Kelis's accusations and it became his 12th Top 10 album on Billboard. The album was produced by Kanye West, who attended Nas' star-studded release party along with Kim Kardashian West, La La Anthony, 2 Chainz, Pusha-T, Steve Stoute, Chris Rock, and Fabolous.
Miami Herald / Getty ImagesXXXTentacion
Russell Simmons' fall from grace is the closest thing to a #MeToo reckoning with professional consequences the industry has experienced. The music mogul stepped down from all of his companies in November 2017, a month after Weinstein's takedown, when screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of forcing her to have sex with him in 1991. Since then, 18 women have come forward with accusations that Simmons raped or sexually harassed them, including Drew Dixon, who detailed her accusations of rape on the air for the first time on BuzzFeed News' Profile. The NYPD opened an investigation into Simmons in December, but according to the New York Times, several of the women said the police told them that their allegations were outside of the statute of limitations for rape. A law enforcement official at the time said the police still took reports from the women in case more recent and prosecutable complaints surfaced. But it's almost been a year since the investigation was opened and no official charges have been made. Simmons has denied all claims against him, and with the exception of his ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, who said the accusations don't match the character of the man she's known him to be, his family and peers have remained silent about the Def Jam cofounder's list of victims.
The fact that rappers would ever mirror the practice of the police, an entity they've vehemently criticized, is ironic.
Spotify also came close to delving out some tangible consequences, removing R. Kelly's and XXXTentacion's music from the streaming service's official playlists after #MeToo and Time's Up activists pushed for corporations to cut ties with the artists. (In 2017, BuzzFeed News published allegations against R. Kelly that he was keeping women in an abusive ''cult.'' The singer continues to deny the abuse allegations made against him.) The victory was short-lived; three weeks later, the streaming service reversed its decision after receiving blowback from music industry figures. According to Bloomberg News, representatives from musicians like Kendrick Lamar threatened to remove their clients' music. In a statement about its change of heart, Spotify said, ''We don't aim to play judge and jury. Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.'' Its decision to protect these alleged predators in the industry is reminiscent of how, say, some police officers may protect one another, even when one of their own kills an unarmed black person. The fact that rappers would ever mirror the practice of an entity they've vehemently criticized is ironic. It also serves as an example of how, for the still largely male-dominated genre, male privilege causes black men to oppress women. But, in thinking of how artists pushed back on this debacle, the experience also demonstrated that the music industry knows how to mobilize when the issue is important enough to them.
The lack of backlash across the board makes it difficult to believe the #MeToo movement will ever affect hip-hop. Many of the record labels, collaborators, friends, and families of the men mentioned above have not felt compelled to even put out a statement. Instead, they have turned a blind eye to it, or even discredited victims' claims. Nas, for example, didn't release a statement denying Kelis's claims before releasing Nasir and didn't speak about the allegations at all until September, when he shared a series of long Instagram captions with his side of the story, because of ''a call from Essence about [his] wife doing another sad fictitious story.''
Rapper Cardi B is one of the few prominent women in hip-hop who have spoken up this year. In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, she said, ''A lot of video vixens have spoke about this and nobody gives a fuck. When I was trying to be a vixen, people were like, 'You want to be on the cover of this magazine?' Then they pull their dicks out. I bet if one of these women stands up and talks about it, people are going to say, 'So what? You're a ho. It don't matter.'''
Suzi Pratt / Getty ImagesNas
The disparity between how the music industry and how Hollywood have responded to the #MeToo movement was foreshadowed by their respective awards shows. Time's Up made its biggest splash at the Golden Globes, where nearly everyone agreed to wear black in support of the cause. Several actors brought activists fighting for women's rights as guests on the red carpet, and winners spoke up against harassment onstage. A few weeks later at the Grammys, the symbol of support was reduced to white roses, which were worn by far fewer people. The issue of unchecked sexual assault and harassment in music goes beyond hip-hop, as evidenced by singer Kesha's long legal fight against producer Dr. Luke, whom she accused of rape (he has denied her claims). Her performance of ''Praying'' alongside a choir of activists and pop star peers at the Grammys was the night's only #MeToo moment onstage. And even that was tainted by the optics of her performing for an audience mostly full of people who did not come to her aid during her battle against the producer.
There's no straightforward answer as to why so many men in hip-hop have continued to make a clean getaway from allegations of sexual violence and abuse against women before and during the past year of reckoning. Part of it can be credited to the complex history between racism and the sexualized demonization of black men, and how too many of them are still haunted by the historical weaponization of false rape accusations against them '-- a tactic often utilized by white people as an excuse to incriminate and/or murder. It's why some members of the black community believe Bill Cosby's rape allegations and cases were a result of him reaching a height of fame that made white people angry, or that it was a ploy to ''stop him from trying to buy NBC.'' Racism is also why certain black folks felt compelled to cite Cosby's rape conviction as unfair, simply because powerful white men have gotten away with it. But the failure to hold white men accountable does not dismiss Cosby's convictions or render him guiltless, and supporting that logic contributes to the idea that rape victims don't deserve belief or justice. And while the history of (false) rape accusations against black men is a dark stain on this country, it does not warrant dragging victims through the court of public opinion in an era where only 2''8% of rapes are falsely reported. Odds like that support the idea that you should believe women first until proven otherwise, versus applying the grace of ''innocent until proven guilty'' to the alleged rapist.
Would record labels and radio stations continue to support Chris Brown's career if it had been Taylor Swift's beat-up face in those pictures?
Given all these considerations, it is fair to deduce that these alleged predators face fewer consequences because the majority of their victims are black women who are, as Malcolm X accurately noted, ''the most unprotected person in America.'' Would R. Kelly have gotten away with decades of allegations of illegal sexual relationships with underage girls and keeping a ''cult'' of young women away from their families if they were all white? Would record labels and radio stations continue to support Chris Brown's career if it had been Taylor Swift's beat-up face in those pictures?
The industry that preys on black women the most, in terms of actual assault victims, continues to go unchecked. Our ability to minimize the seriousness behind these offenses can be tied back to what we've been told about our worth or those dark family secrets we were told to pretend never happened. It's easier to ignorantly step in the name of love at the family function if you've also been taught to two-step next to the uncle who molested you, in silence. And why should you give up an artist you enjoy in support of their victims if no one is demanding justice for you? And this includes black men who diminish their sexual trauma like Lil Wayne, whose admission of being raped at 11 has been joked about by many, including him, on major platforms like Jimmy Kimmel Live! There are also numerous black men in music who have talked about losing their virginity at an early age and played it off as a positive experience like Diddy (age 13), Flavor Flav (age 6), Ja Rule (age 12), and Chris Brown, who said losing his virginity at 8 to a girl who was 14 or 15 prepared him to be ''a beast'' in the long run.
In sum, rape culture is as deeply rooted in our history as hip-hop, and the latter often contributes to the ugly reality of the former, leaving communities of black people and music lovers with questions few really want to ask, but should. And these questions and their answers must be reckoned with before these men ever will be. '
A year after #MeToo became a household term, BuzzFeed News is bringing you stories about how far we've come, who's been left out, and where we go from here.
Read more here.
Self-promoting TV detective, obsessed with celebrity sex abusers, helped police ruin lives | Daily Mail Online
Question: What do the entertainers Sir Cliff Richard, Jim Davidson and Freddie Starr, as well as the late former Home Secretary Lord Brittan, have in common?
Answer: They have all lived '' and in the case of Lord Brittan, died '' under the shadow of being falsely accused of historical sexual abuse, although none of them was ever charged with a crime, much less convicted.
And in every case their names have been dragged through the mud thanks in part to the actions of one man, a former policeman turned award-winning TV 'detective' called Mark Williams-Thomas.
Williams-Thomas was the man behind ITV's 2012 documentary revealing the late Jimmy Savile was a paedophile.
Since then he has become a regular fixture on This Morning and presenter of further documentaries, including The Investigator, made by Simon Cowell's company Syco.
Savile, of course, became a touchstone for a widespread belief that numerous powerful paedophiles had been allowed to get away with terrible crimes.
Mark Williams-Thomas featured in The Investigator: A British Crime Story. He leaked the names of up to 20 suspects linked to Operation Yewtree
Sir Cliff Richard gives interview after record damages were awarded to him against the BBC
Understandably, perhaps, the author of Savile's posthumous downfall became determined to build on this first success.
But a major investigation by this newspaper today poses a troubling question: in his zeal to claim further scalps did Williams-Thomas help ruin the lives of a string of famous men who turned out to be totally innocent?
For Williams-Thomas has openly boasted that he was the source of up to 20 suspects' names being submitted to Operation Yewtree, the sprawling, multi-million-pound Metropolitan Police inquiry into alleged abuse by celebrities established after the Savile film.
Then, when he learned that officers planned to investigate particular individuals, he publicised their names, even though police inquiries were at an early stage.
The credibility he derived from the Savile documentary meant his information had a massive media impact. In some cases, he issued regular breathless 'updates' on police inquiries.
The result, according to one of Britain's top detectives with experience of investigating historical abuse, was a fiasco which 'tainted the whole investigation, created a presumption of guilt, and ruined innocent people's lives'.
Williams-Thomas yesterday claimed The Mail on Sunday investigation was 'littered with incorrect information', but when asked what this was, he refused to answer.
Former Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Paul Settle headed a parallel inquiry into claims of abuse by politicians '' including Lord Brittan '' running at the same time as Yewtree.
Freddie Starr when it was announced on May 2014 he will not be prosecuted after spending 18 months on bail for sex crime allegations
Jim Davidson on This Morning after he was crowned the winner of Celebrity Big Brother in 2014
His staff were based in the same, open-plan office in Hammersmith, West London, as some of the Yewtree team. He says he directly experienced the extraordinary efforts made by Williams-Thomas to influence both investigations.
'Operation Yewtree seemed to have a policy of arresting first and asking questions later,' Mr Settle told The Mail on Sunday.
'Their attitude seemed to be, ''There's been an allegation, go and nick him'', before they had even done the basics, such as establishing whether the accuser and the suspect had been in the same country at the relevant time.'
Then, Mr Settle says, the suspect's name would be publicised. This, the ex-detective says, was 'reckless in the extreme. If you put famous people's names out there, you may not merely destroy their livelihoods. There's a great danger it will lead to a bandwagon effect, generating further, false allegations, so the potential for miscarriages of justice is huge.'
The most prominent Yewtree victim of all was Sir Cliff Richard, whose name was leaked to the BBC '' not by Williams-Thomas '' allowing the broadcaster to air footage of the raid on his Berkshire apartment in 2014.
The singer faced two years of anguish before finally learning he was not going to be charged.
Williams-Thomas kept the story about Cliff Richard alive by revealing to journalists that two of the complainants had appealed to have the CPS decision not to charge him reversed
Lord Leon Brittan arriving home at the height of the allegations made against him in 2014
This newspaper has established that one of Sir Cliff's accusers, a man known as 'David', had already been exhaustively investigated by Mr Settle and his team, and found to be a suggestible, vulnerable fantasist. David, who had learning difficulties and had been in care, told them he was raped as a boy by both Sir Cliff and Elton John at a sex party, at which media baron Rupert Murdoch and former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott were also guests.
'Needless to say, this didn't happen,' Mr Settle said.
Yet the South Yorkshire investigation into Sir Cliff took David seriously. Legal sources have confirmed that although the Met had already decided he was not a reliable witness, South Yorkshire detectives '' who took over the Cliff Richard investigation from Yewtree '' treated him as a 'victim'.
David has told the MoS they interviewed him several times, and asked him to give evidence against Sir Cliff. Unaccountably, Mr Settle's conclusion that he was not a reliable witness was apparently not passed on to South Yorkshire.
And the name of the man who triggered the police inquiry by telling Operation Yewtree that he had evidence that Sir Cliff had sexually abused a child? Mark Williams-Thomas. He has boasted about it in a series of tweets.
On August 17, 2014, three days after the BBC used a helicopter to film the raid on Sir Cliff's apartment, Williams-Thomas was already claiming credit for it. 'Some media reports are misleading,' he tweeted. 'I passed the original allegation and other info to Op Yewtree in 2013.'
Williams-Thomas, 48, spent 11 years with Surrey Police, leaving in 2000 with the lowly rank of detective constable. He later spent two years working for a firm that removed chewing gum from pavements.
Former police detective Williams-Thomas unmasked Jimmy Savile in his ITV documentary
Jim Davidson was told eight months after his arrest he would not face any charges of sexual assault
But his real goal was to make it in television. And starting by acting as adviser to crime dramas, he gradually began to get work.
His lucky break came when he found himself on a plane next to BBC journalist Meirion Jones, who asked him to help with a Newsnight film on Savile, which the BBC eventually, and controversially, axed.
Williams-Thomas took the story to ITV and won national acclamation and a string of awards.
In the post-Savile frenzy about other alleged celebrity abusers, Williams-Thomas boasted he was 'working closely' with Operation Yewtree, and was 'sharing new leads and contact details for victims'. He claimed he had a 'dossier' featuring a 'catalogue' of allegations against about 20 suspects, including 'some household names'.
In some cases, he stated, his information had already led to arrests '' though he has not specified whose.
Celebrities investigated as a result of allegations to Operation Yewtree who were never charged include not only Sir Cliff but also Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Jimmy Tarbuck and Paul Gambaccini. The latter has been awarded 'substantial' damages by the Crown Prosecution Service, and is suing the police.
Publication of suspects' names by police in cases like Operation Yewtree would now breach professional guidelines issued by the College of Policing, which say that if a name is released before charge, there must be 'exceptional circumstances'. However, seasoned detectives say that the guidelines merely enshrine procedures which were already well established in the period 2012 to 2014, when Yewtree was at its height.
Lord Brittan died under the shadow of being falsely accused of historical sexual abuse
One former detective said: 'The only time you release a suspect's name before charge is if you don't have the evidence to charge and there's a real danger to the public. Otherwise, you just don't do it '' it's reckless and unethical.'
Tweeted 24 minutes after comic's arrest
WILLIAMS-THOMAS had close contacts with several newspapers, but his weapon of choice when breaking the news of celebrity arrests was Twitter.
His first came at 18.09 on November 1, 2012: 'Breaking: Freddie Starr under arrest #jimmysavile' he announced '' the hashtag ensuring that readers would know exactly what type of investigation Starr was facing.
The stature conferred on Williams-Thomas by the Savile film meant his tweet was swiftly followed up by the BBC and every newspaper. The Met then put out a statement which confirmed that a 'man in his 60s from Warwickshire was arrested at approximately 17.45 on suspicion of sexual offences and taken into custody'.
The arrest took place just 24 minutes before Williams- Thomas's tweet.
Williams-Thomas issued further tweets about Starr as police inquiries progressed. 'Freddie #Starr arrest which I broke yesterday dominates front pages,' he tweeted on November 2, going on to add fresh details: 'He was bailed after approx 6 hours in custody #jimmysavile.'
Later that day he added an update, saying Starr was still being interviewed 'as a continuation' of his previous interrogation. More tweets followed over the ensuing months as Starr faced the agony of waiting on bail, not knowing whether he would be charged. It wasn't for another 18 months that he learnt he wouldn't be. By then, his wife had left him and his physical and mental health were wrecked.
Jim Davidson with wife Alison in 1987. He was linked to Operation Yewtree by Mark Williams- Thomas
WRONGLY LINKED to Jimmy Savile
ANOTHER celebrity probed by Yewtree whose near-downfall was first announced by Williams- Thomas was comedian Jim Davidson. Unlike most of the inquiry's targets, he was accused of sexually assaulting adult women, but that did not stop Williams-Thomas making the link with Jimmy Savile.
In a tweet posted at 19.16 on January 2, 2013, he wrote: 'I can confirm that one of the entertainers arrested today by Op Yewtree is Jim Davidson #Savile.'
Other supposed 'victims' came forward after the ensuing flood of publicity, but eight months after his arrest, Davidson was told he would not face any charges.
In a book that he wrote about his ordeal, he said he first learnt of this not from the police or Crown Prosecution Service but a reporter, who told him the source was 'the ex-detective that did the TV programme exposing Savile's behaviour'.
GAVE SECRET ADIVCE TO fantasist
AT THE end of February 2013, Williams-Thomas told a newspaper he was investigating sexual abuse by a 'very significant individual' at Elm Guest House in Barnes, South-West London. By this time, claims had been circulating on the internet that in the 1980s this had been a 'gay brothel' where children were abused, and that among those who stayed there were Sir Cliff and Leon Brittan, the former Tory Home Secretary.
One of their sources was a former social worker and convicted fraudster called Chris Fay. He had been trying to spread claims about Elm Guest House and 'VIP paedophiles' for many years. In 1990 he introduced 'David' '' the fantasist who went on to accuse Sir Cliff '' to a journalist called Gill Priestly, now deceased. In a series of taped interviews with her, David made astonishing claims: that he had been sexually assaulted by Lord Brittan, and 'trafficked' to Amsterdam, where he was forced to watch as children were raped and murdered to make 'snuff' porn movies.
Police documents disclosed by the Crown Prosecution Service and seen by this newspaper say Priestly played her tapes to Williams-Thomas while he was a serving police officer. The papers say that at the time police took no action and that in 2002, after Williams-Thomas left the police, she gave some of her tapes to him for 'safe keeping'.
Lord Brittan pictured in 1987. He was caught-up in lurid stories about the non-existent 'Westminster paedophile ring'
In 2013, then Detective Chief Inspector Paul Settle's team spent more than 70 hours interviewing David, who made many of the same allegations. But Mr Settle says: 'We knew very quickly the Elm Guest House claims were nonsense. David was very vulnerable and very suggestible, and his allegations were sheer fantasy.'
His story about the 'sex party' with Sir Cliff, Elton John and Murdoch was, Mr Settle added, only one of many outlandish claims.
Then, in October 2013, the police records say, Williams-Thomas produced the tapes of Gill Priestly's interviews with David. He approached Mr Settle's boss, Detective Superintendent David Gray, and played them to him and a detective constable at the ITV studios. The full contents of the tapes have not been disclosed.
Mr Settle said: 'We had already finished with David, but here was Williams-Thomas apparently trying to reincarnate him as a witness. It was quite apparent the tapes were the musings of a fantasist.'
However, others were taking David's allegations seriously.
He was introduced to reporters from the now-defunct Exaro News website. This spectacularly unreliable witness became a source for multiple, lurid stories about the non-existent 'Westminster paedophile ring' used to support bogus claims of child rape and murder by Lord Brittan and others.
Eventually, these were debunked by a Panorama programme in 2015. David was to be one of its star witnesses, admitting he had made false allegations because he was suggestible and felt under pressure.
Williams-Thomas had promised to consider giving Panorama the Priestly tapes, but failed to do so, say BBC sources. Then, after David had been filmed, Williams-Thomas sent him an email, urging him either to insist on concealing his identity or not to appear at all, drafting messages that he suggested David should copy and send to the BBC.
'DON'T tell the BBC we have spoken,' he wrote, 'just say you have spoken to a friend who has given you advice.'
Williams-Thomas refused to say why he sent this email. It is possible he believed he was acting in David's best interests.
Cliff Richard was accused of assaulting a 15-year-old boy at Bramall Lane football ground in 1983
Attack ON POLICE WHEN star was cleared
AFTER claiming credit on Twitter for starting the police inquiry into Sir Cliff, Williams-Thomas did not appear to be anxious that publicity about the investigation might have irreparably damaged the reputation of an innocent and much-loved star.
In a further tweet, he noted the 'incredible co-ordination btwn South Yorkshire press officer at scene and BBC so BBC chopper is in place to catch property removed'. It is not clear exactly what Williams-Thomas meant by this.
In other tweets that autumn, he was critical of the BBC filming the raid. Yet the story told by the first complainant against Sir Cliff, whose allegations had been given to Yewtree by Williams-Thomas, always seemed doubtful.
The man was claiming that Sir Cliff assaulted him in 1983 when he was 15 during a Billy Graham Christian rally in a room used to store goalposts at Bramall Lane, the Sheffield United Football Club ground.
In fact, it emerged when the claims were investigated that there was no Graham rally in Sheffield until 1985, and there was no room at Bramall Lane used to store goalposts. The man said the team's colours were blue and white, which belong to Sheffield Wednesday, not Sheffield United, whose colours are red and white.
But Williams-Thomas continued to tweet about the case.
For example, at 5.16pm on February 25, 2015, he announced there was 'some major news due to break shortly regarding the ongoing #CliffRichard child sex abuse investigation'.
This turned out to be the next day's Daily Mirror '' its front page headline proclaimed: 'Sir Cliff facing new sex claims.'
On June 21, 2015, 11 months after the raid, Williams-Thomas tweeted that 'contrary to media reports, I can categorically confirm South Yorks continues its multiple allegations investigation of Cliff Richard'.
On September 20, lest anyone think the police were easing off, he revealed: 'Investigation into allegations against Cliff Richard is still very much alive & has grown in size over past months'.
A few weeks later, the new resources had, it seems, produced results. Williams-Thomas tweeted on November 5: 'Breaking news '' #CliffRichard has been re-interviewed under caution by South Yorkshire Police.'
On January 16, 2016, he added: 'Cliff Richard investigation has developed new lines of inquiry '' file expected to go to CPS within next 8 weeks.'
In fact, the police did not send a file to the CPS until May 10. Prosecutors took barely a month to decide Sir Cliff should not be charged.
Sir Cliff Richard with friend Gloria Hunniford at The Pride of Britain Awards last week. Williams-Thomas tweeted updates about the police investigation before any official decision to charge was announced
Yet even then, Williams-Thomas kept the story alive by revealing to journalists in August that two of the complainants had appealed via their lawyers to have the CPS decision reversed '' forcing Sir Cliff to endure a further agonising, two-month wait until the appeals were rejected.
The case was closed, and like a ship's captain headed for the rocks, Williams-Thomas coolly changed course.
He tweeted on December 22, 2016: 'The Cliff Richard raid by South Yorkshire Police was totally mishandled.'
After the High Court issued its damning judgement over the Corporation's coverage of the raid in July this year, he added: 'Sir Cliff Richard has won his privacy case against the BBC'... The way in which the police and BBC behaved was shocking and he deserved to win.'
It is only fair to point out that in some cases publicised by Williams-Thomas, including Rolf Harris, alleged sex offenders have been convicted and jailed. But the MoS has learnt that lawyers representing one of them, the late publicist Max Clifford, will next month fight an appeal which may see his convictions overturned.
Williams-Thomas tweeted about his case many times. Among the issues the court will consider is whether allegations made by victims who came forward following publicity were unreliable.
Yesterday both the Met and South Yorkshire Police refused to answer questions from the MoS about the falsely-accused celebrities and their relationship with Williams-Thomas.
Jim Davidson was accused of sexually assaulting adult women and his name was tweeted by the TV 'detective' Williams- Thomas, but he was never charged or convicted
A Met spokesman said: 'The information regarding these individuals was passed to the Met via a number of sources. The Met does not confirm or identify sources of information.'
He said the force only names those arrested 'in exceptional circumstances'. South Yorkshire also said it 'would neither confirm nor deny the sources of any information'.
Last week this newspaper put 18 detailed questions to Williams- Thomas, asking for his comments '' including whether he regretted publicising the names of suspects who turned out to be innocent. He refused to answer any of them, claiming we had a 'vendetta' against him.
He said: 'It is clear the focus of your ''investigation'' into me and of your proposed article is to get me to identify my many sources in relation to the cases that I have covered and investigated.
Put simply, I will not reveal my contacts, or sources, or do anything that might lead to them being revealed.
Your approach is disappointing and very concerning and looks focused on trying to silence people from making reports to the authorities.'
He also claimed our email to him was 'littered with inaccuracy and incorrect information'. Asked repeatedly to say what this inaccuracy was, he refused.
Meanwhile, there are signs that the air may be starting to leak from the Williams-Thomas balloon.
Last night an ITV spokesman said the channel 'is not currently working with Mark on a new series of either The Investigator or the This Morning Unsolved feature item'.
Yet still Williams-Thomas's hunger to expose celebrity paedophiles shows no sign of abating.
Only last week, he made fresh claims there are still high-profile paedophiles 'out there' who think they are 'untouchable' and have not been brought to justice: 'There are two particular high-profile individuals that I know about who I'm convinced are sex offenders...'
Happily the law requires rather more evidence than the firm belief of Mark Williams-Thomas.
China exports its restrictive internet policies to dozens of countries: report | Article [AMP] | Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - China's restrictive internet policy and digital surveillance has spread worldwide over the last two years, with its government training emerging market countries on process and its companies furnishing the tools, a democracy watchdog group's annual report says.
Freedom House, whose main financier is the U.S. government, said in its report on Wednesday that China's export of "digital authoritarianism" had become a major threat to sustaining democratic governance in some countries.
Freedom House research director Adrian Shahbaz said that governments had begun justifying increased censorship and diminished digital privacy protections by saying the policies combat the spread of fake news and help catch criminals.
In effect, countries are using the curbs to violate human rights, he said.
Freedom House said China has been leading the charge. It has hosted seminars on cyberspace management since early 2017 with representatives from 36 out of 65 countries tracked by Freedom House, including nations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The 65 countries represent 87 percent of the world's internet users, the group said.
Discussions with Chinese officials preceded new cybersecurity measures in Vietnam, Uganda and Tanzania over the last year, Freedom House said after reviewing Chinese state media articles and government press releases.
Meanwhile, Chinese technology companies have provided or are set to provide internet equipment to at least 38 of the tracked countries and artificial intelligence systems for law enforcement in 18 countries, the report said.
"Beijing has been on a clear charm offensive to woo government officials and media elites," Shahbaz said. "Officials in Beijing hope to cultivate allies to follow its lead on global internet policy."
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the accusations made in the report were "unprofessional and irresponsible" and had "no foundation in fact". He didn't elaborate.
To be sure, declining internet freedom has been a consistent global trend for nearly a decade. And Chinese foreign investment and influence efforts are not new.
But Freedom House said the threat to human rights has grown in severity as powerful technology becomes more accessible to governments and their people.
As fake news on social media has become a deadly problem, governments are using it as an "opening wedge for censorship," Michael Chertoff, the group's chairman and a former U.S. secretary for Homeland Security, told reporters by phone.
Thirteen countries, including Rwanda and Bangladesh, prosecuted people this year for allegedly spreading false information, Freedom House said.
Chertoff said governments should emphasize digital hygiene education and called on multinational firms to take a stand against governments going too far.
Freedom House senior officials said they were dismayed that the United States under President Donald Trump had emboldened attacks on democratic media and limited net neutrality, adding to the global trend.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Additional reporting by Philip Wen in Beijing; Editing by Neil Fullick)
The CIA's communications suffered a catastrophic compromise
In 2013, hundreds of CIA officers '-- many working nonstop for weeks '-- scrambled to contain a disaster of global proportions: a compromise of the agency's internet-based covert communications system used to interact with its informants in dark corners around the world. Teams of CIA experts worked feverishly to take down and reconfigure the websites secretly used for these communications; others managed operations to quickly spirit assets to safety and oversaw other forms of triage.
''When this was going on, it was all that mattered,'' said one former intelligence community official. The situation was ''catastrophic,'' said another former senior intelligence official.
From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures related to the secret internet-based communications system, a key means for remote messaging between CIA officers and their sources on the ground worldwide. The previously unreported global problem originated in Iran and spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired '-- despite warnings about what was happening '-- until more than two dozen sources died in China in 2011 and 2012 as a result, according to 11 former intelligence and national security officials.
The disaster ensnared every corner of the national security bureaucracy '-- from multiple intelligence agencies, congressional intelligence committees and independent contractors to internal government watchdogs '-- forcing a slow-moving, complex government machine to grapple with the deadly dangers of emerging technologies.
In a world where dependence on advanced technology may be a necessary evil for modern espionage, particularly in hostile regions where American officials can't operate freely, such technical failures are an ever present danger and will only become more acute with time.
''When these types of compromises happen, it's so dark and bad,'' said one former official. ''They can burrow in. It never really ends.''
A former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the compromise said it had global implications for the CIA. ''You start thinking twice about people, from China to Russia to Iran to North Korea,'' said the former official. The CIA was worried about its network ''totally unwinding worldwide.''
Yahoo News' reporting on this global communications failure is based on conversations with eleven former U.S. intelligence and government officials directly familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive operations. Multiple former intelligence officials said that the damage from the potential global compromise was serious '-- even catastrophic '-- and will persist for years.
More than just a question of a single failure, the fiasco illustrates a breakdown that was never properly addressed. The government's inability to address the communication system's insecurities until after sources were rolled up in China was disastrous. ''We're still dealing with the fallout,'' said one former national security official. ''Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this.''
One of the largest intelligence failures of the past decade started in Iran in 2009, when the Obama administration announced the discovery of a secret Iranian underground enrichment facility '-- part of Iran's headlong drive for nuclear weapons. Angered about the breach, the Iranians went on a mole hunt, looking for foreign spies, said one former senior intelligence official.
The mole hunt wasn't hard, in large part, because the communications system the CIA was using to communicate with agents was flawed. Former U.S. officials said the internet-based platform, which was first used in war zones in the Middle East, was not built to withstand the sophisticated counterintelligence efforts of a state actor like China or Iran. ''It was never meant to be used long term for people to talk to sources,'' said one former official. ''The issue was that it was working well for too long, with too many people. But it was an elementary system.''
''Everyone was using it far beyond its intention,'' said another former official.
The risks posed by the system appeared to have been overlooked in part because it was easy to use, said the former intelligence officials. There is no foolproof way to communicate '-- especially with expediency and urgency '-- with sources in hostile environments like Iran and China, noted the former officials. But a sense of confidence in the system kept it in operation far longer than was safe or advisable, said former officials. The CIA's directorate of science and technology, which is responsible for the secure communications system, ''says, 'our s***'s impregnable,' but it's obviously not,'' said one former official.
By 2010, however, it appears that Iran had begun to identify CIA agents. And by 2011, Iranian authorities dismantled a CIA spy network in that country, said seven former U.S. intelligence officials. (Indeed, in May 2011, Iranian intelligence officials announced publicly that they had broken up a ring of 30 CIA spies; U.S. officials later confirmed the breach to ABC News , which also reported on a potential compromise to the communications system.)
Iran executed some of the CIA informants and imprisoned others in an intelligence setback that one of the former officials described as ''incredibly damaging.'' The CIA successfully exfiltrated some of its Iranian sources, said former officials.
The Iranian compromise led to significantly fewer CIA agents being killed than in China, according to former officials. Still, the events there hampered the CIA's capacity to collect intelligence in Iran at a critical time, just as Tehran was forging ahead with its nuclear program.
U.S. authorities believe Iran probably unwound the CIA's asset network analytically '-- meaning they deduced what Washington knew about Tehran's own operations, then identified Iranians who held that information, and eventually zeroed in on possible sources. This hunt for CIA sources eventually bore fruit '-- including the identification of the covert communications system.
A 2011 Iranian television broadcast that touted the government's destruction of the CIA network said U.S. intelligence operatives had created websites for fake companies to recruit agents in Iran by promising them jobs, visas and education abroad. Iranians who initially thought they were responding to legitimate opportunities would end up meeting with CIA officers in places like Dubai or Istanbul for recruitment, according to the broadcast.
Though the Iranians didn't say precisely how they infiltrated the network, two former U.S. intelligence officials said that the Iranians cultivated a double agent who led them to the secret CIA communications system. This online system allowed CIA officers and their sources to communicate remotely in difficult operational environments like China and Iran, where in-person meetings are often dangerous.
A lack of proper vetting of sources may have led to the CIA inadvertently running a double agent, said one former senior official '-- a consequence of the CIA's pressing need at the time to develop highly placed agents inside the Islamic Republic. After this betrayal, Israeli intelligence tipped off the CIA that Iran had likely identified some of its assets, said the same former official.
The losses could have stopped there. But U.S. officials believe Iranian intelligence was then able to compromise the covert communications system. At the CIA, there was ''shock and awe'' about the simplicity of the technique the Iranians used to successfully compromise the system, said one former official.
In fact, the Iranians used Google to identify the website the CIA was using to communicate with agents. Because Google is continuously scraping the internet for information about all the world's websites, it can function as a tremendous investigative tool '-- even for counter-espionage purposes. And Google's search functions allow users to employ advanced operators '-- like ''AND,'' ''OR,'' and other, much more sophisticated ones '-- that weed out and isolate websites and online data with extreme specificity.
According to the former intelligence official, once the Iranian double agent showed Iranian intelligence the website used to communicate with his or her CIA handlers, they began to scour the internet for websites with similar digital signifiers or components '-- eventually hitting on the right string of advanced search terms to locate other secret CIA websites. From there, Iranian intelligence tracked who was visiting these sites, and from where, and began to unravel the wider CIA network.
U.S. intelligence officials were well aware of Iran's formidable cyber-espionage capabilities. But they were flabbergasted that Iran managed to extirpate an entire CIA spy network using a technique that one official described as rudimentary '-- something found in basic how-to books.
But the events in Iran were not self-contained; they coincided roughly with a similar debacle in China in 2011 and 2012, where authorities rounded up and executed around 30 agents working for the U.S. (the New York Times first reported the extirpation of the CIA's China sources in May 2017). Some U.S. intelligence officials also believe that former Beijing-based CIA officer Jerry Lee, who was charged with spying on behalf of the Chinese government in May 2018, was partially responsible for the destruction of the CIA's China-based source network. But Lee's betrayal does not explain the extent of the damage, or the rapidity with which Chinese intelligence was able to identify and destroy the network, said former officials.
U.S. officials believe that Chinese intelligence obtained physical access to the transitional, or temporary, secret communications system used by the CIA to correspond with new, unvetted sources '-- and broke through the firewall separating it from the main covert communications system, compromising the CIA's entire asset network in that country, Foreign Policy reported earlier this year .
It's not clear whether China and Iran cooperated, but the former officials said the communications systems used in both countries were similar. The two governments may have broken the system independently. But Iranian, Chinese and Russian officials were engaged in senior-level communications on cyber issues around this time, recalled one former senior intelligence official '--interactions that were ''very suspicious in hindsight.''
The CIA declined to comment. The Iranian Mission to the UN did not respond to requests for comment.
Some U.S. intel officials took the interactions as an indicator of enhanced open coordination among these countries, and even a nascent alliance against the U.S. and its Five Eyes intelligence partners, this person said. (U.S. officials also believe Chinese officials subsequently shared information about their penetration of the secret CIA system with their Russian counterparts.)
''Our adversaries dramatically upped their game'' in their offensive hacking operations, including those geared toward cracking the U.S. covert communications platforms, during this period, said another former senior intelligence official. This almost certainly included information sharing between these countries on U.S. covert communications techniques, said multiple former officials '-- the makings of a real-life ''axis of evil.''
There were discrete signs of potential cooperation. Around the time of the purges of CIA informants in Iran and China, senior counter-espionage officials from China's Ministry of State Security visited their counterparts in Tehran, said four former U.S. officials.
Some officials believe the two countries engaged in a trade '-- perhaps with Iran providing China with the technical information needed to pinpoint signs of online activity on the communications system, in exchange for military hardware, speculated one former official. ''That's the spy service way,'' said another former official.
With dawning horror, U.S. officials realized that once Iranian or Chinese intelligence officials were able to pinpoint CIA assets within their own borders, they were almost certainly capable of zeroing in on similar digital signatures in other countries, former officials said.
Former officials said the fallout from the compromises was likely global in scope '-- potentially endangering all CIA sources that used some version of this internet-based system worldwide.
''You establish these networks that are obviously critical to our ability to really understand what our adversaries are up to '-- there's a pride in that '-- and when something that valuable starts to fall apart, the concern is, 'Are we developing a house of cards?''' said one former senior official. ''A lot of bells went off'' during this time, said this person, because ''whatever methods and procedures we were using were in jeopardy because of what the Chinese and Iranians had determined. You find that you're blind.''
These multiple, overlapping failures of the communication system created systemic problems for the agency. ''There was a cascade of effects that flowed outward'' from the initial breaches, said another former intelligence official. ''Part of the problem was trying to figure out the second and third order of effects.''
Repairing this breach had to be approached with extraordinary delicacy because attempted fixes can expose sources. Iran or China could then target and flip those CIA sources, or use information about them as bargaining chips with other intelligence services, former officials said. Around this time, Iranian intelligence officials also began aggressively pitching CIA officers to become double agents '--meaning that they had somehow identified agency personnel, potentially through this wider compromise, said one former intel official.
One country where the impact appears to have been contained is Russia. CIA officials who focus on Russia knew about the China ordeal and quickly adjusted their communications with sources accordingly, some of the former officials said. Aspects of the CIA's Russia operations have historically been walled off from the rest of the agency, which likely helped minimize the damage. But the issue was so acute in the Middle East that the CIA was forced to suspend its use of internet-based covert communications systems there several times.
The problems were exacerbated by increasingly aggressive Iranian cyber-espionage. The Iranians ''were very good tactically,'' one former official said, and were adept at ''breaking into low-level communications in the field, such as between Iraqi forces and their American counterparts.''
Starting around 2013, Iranian cyber experts seemed to be tracking CIA agents outside their own borders, including in Yemen, where Iran eventually compromised the internet-based covert communications system there, said one of the former officials. During this time, emergency meetings had to be scheduled at the agency because the Iranians had ''hacked into systems outright that had nothing to do with them,'' said this person '-- that is, those beyond Iran itself.
''Iran was aggressively going out to hunt systems down,'' the former official said. ''They weren't just protecting themselves anymore.''
As Iran was making fast inroads into the CIA's covert communications system, back in Washington an internal complaint by a government contractor warning officials about precisely what was happening was winding its way through a Kafkaesque appeals system.
In 2008 '-- well before the Iranians had arrested any agents '-- a defense contractor named John Reidy, whose job it was to identify, contact and manage human sources for the CIA in Iran, had already sounded an alarm about a ''massive intelligence failure'' having to do with ''communications'' with sources. According to Reidy's publicly available but heavily redacted whistleblower disclosure, by 2010 he said he was told that the ''nightmare scenario'' he had warned about regarding the secret communications platform had, in fact, occurred.
Reidy refused to discuss his case with Yahoo News. But two former government officials directly familiar with his disclosure and the investigation into the compromises in China and Iran tell Yahoo News that Reidy had identified the weaknesses '-- and early compromise '-- that eventually befell the entire covert communications platform.
Reidy's case was complicated. After he blew the whistle, he was moved off of his subcontract with SAIC, a Virginia company that works on government information technology products and support. According to the public disclosure, he contacted the CIA inspector general and congressional investigators about his employment status but was met with resistance, partially because whistleblower protections are complicated for federal contractors, and he remained employed.
Meanwhile, throughout 2010 and 2011, the compromise continued to spread, and Reidy provided details to investigators. But by November 2011, Reidy was fired because of what his superiors said were conflicts of interest, as Reidy maintained his own side business. Reidy believed the real reason was retaliation.
In his 2014 appeal to the intelligence community inspector general, first published by McClatchy News , Reidy describes the first signs of compromise in stunning detail '-- though it was unclear at the time, because of what was redacted, what issue he was addressing. ''As our efforts increased, we started to notice anomalies in our operations '... sources abruptly and without reason ceasing all communications with us,'' he wrote.
Something, he realized, was deeply wrong with the agency's human sources network. The ''U.S. communications infrastructure was under siege,'' he wrote. Reidy warned that the problem wasn't limited to a single country '-- it extended to everywhere the CIA operates. Close to 70 percent of operations at the time were potentially compromised, he noted. In other words, an entire class of CIA agents '-- those using some iteration of the online system '-- was in danger. ''CIA is aware of this,'' he wrote. ''The design and maintenance of the system is flawed.''
Reidy's complaint wasn't fully addressed for many years. But when the wide-scale arrest of sources in Iran happened, the CIA eventually launched an investigation. The deaths in China sent investigators into overdrive. Teams from the CIA, the FBI and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence scrambled to try to figure out what had happened '-- and how to stem the damage.
''Can you imagine how different this whole story would've turned out if the CIA [inspector general] had acted on Reidy's warnings instead of going after him?'' said Kel McClanahan, Reidy's attorney. ''Can you imagine how different this whole story would've turned out if the congressional oversight committees had done oversight instead of taking CIA's word that he was just a troublemaker?''
Irvin McCullough, a national security analyst with the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit that works with whistleblowers, put the issue in even starker terms. ''This is one of the most catastrophic intelligence failures since Sept. 11,'' he said. ''And the CIA punished the person who brought the problem to light.''
The roll-up of the CIA's networks reignited debates within the U.S. intelligence community about the merits of high-tech versus low-tech methods of communicating with sources. Within some corners of the intelligence world, ''there was a widely held belief that technology was the solution to all communications problems,'' according to one of the former officials. Proponents of older methods '-- such as chalk marks, burst communications, brush passes and one-time pads '-- were seen as ''troglodytes,'' said this official.
The failure of the communication system was discussed extensively in closed-door hearings at the House and Senate intelligence committees, according to several former officials. ''Some of the senators and congressman went nuts about this, and they should have,'' one of them said.
A spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment. The House Intelligence Committee did not respond to requests for comments.
One of the central concerns among those familiar with the scope of the breakdown is the institutions responsible for it were never held accountable. Doing a comprehensive investigation isn't easy, ''but you have an absolute obligation to do that, because if you don't, all you're doing is rolling the dice with future lives,'' said one former senior official.
Even several years after the breach, the concern within the intelligence community is accountability.
''When we continuously allow things like this to happen, and Congress doesn't do anything, and the institutions don't do anything, you're going to have worse issues,'' said another former official.
''People will say, 'I went to the inspector general and it didn't work; I went elsewhere and it didn't work.' People will see it as a game. It will lead to corruption, and it will lead to espionage. When people see that the system is corrupt, it affects everything.''
In the end, said the former official, ''our biggest insider threat is our own institution.''
Read more from Yahoo News:
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Koreas hoist yellow flags at DMZ guard posts in first step toward dismantlement
South and North Korea raised yellow flags at 11 guard posts each along their heavily fortified border on Sunday in a first step toward dismantling the posts under a military agreement reached as part of September's summit.The two sides hoisted the 4-meter by 3-meter flag at each of the 22 guard posts as a mark to indicate that the posts are to be dismantled, according to defense ministry officials.
These photos provided by the defense ministry show yellow flags at guard posts on the South and North Korean sides of the border. (Yonhap)
"This is aimed at enabling each side to observe the progress in dismantlement work so that it can be carried out in a transparent manner," a ministry official said.
The two sides reached the agreement to pull back the guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone "on a trial basis" as part of the third inter-Korean summit held in September. It's a key part of the efforts to turn the buffer zone into a "peace zone." (Yonhap)
War on Weed
Planet 13: World's largest cannabis dispensary opens in Las Vegas
The world's largest cannabis dispensary opened in Las Vegas. But it's no ordinary dispensary '-- it's also an entertainment complex where customers can do things like interactive laser graffiti.
Opened Nov. 1, Planet 13 is the largest cannabis dispensary in the world according to the company, at 115,000 square feet.
The 24-hour dispensary, which accounts for 2,300 square feet of the space, will sell Planet 13-branded medical and recreational cannabis products, like capsules, vapes and more.
Beyond selling marijuana products, the attached distillery offers interactive and visual experiences for visitors, like synchronized 3D projections on the lobby walls and walkways lit with sensory activated LED lights, so a trail of colored lights follows guests as they walk.
At the entrance, of Planet 13, there are 13, 15-foot LED lotus flowers that can be controlled by visitors as interactive art pieces, according to a press release. Guests can also do laser graffiti by drawing with "spray cans" that shoot laser beams onto a wall.
Currently 40,000 square feet of the space is being used, and there are plans "for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on-site if that is legalized and space for food," co-CEO Bob Groesbeck said in a press statement.
The store expects over 2,000 people to visit every day, according to Groesbeck.
Nuwu Cannbis Marketplace claimed to be the largest cannabis dispensary in the world when it opened in Las Vegas in 2017. The dispensary is inside a 16,000-square-foot building.
Recreational marijuana use is legal for adults 21 and over in Las Vegas, and Nevada collected more than $69.8 million in marijuana tax revenue during the first year of recreational sales after it legalized the drug in 2017, according to Las Vegas Sun.
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Tensions aside: US to take delivery of 4 rocket engines from Russia '-- RT World News
Despite political tensions here on Mother Earth, Russian-American cooperation in space still persists. The US will take delivery of four Russian-built engines crucial for its Atlas rockets, with several more to come.
Four RD-180 rocket engines built by Russia's NPO Energomash have been commissioned for the US buyers, the manufacturer said in a news release. ''On October 26, 2018, Pratt & Whitney, United Launch Alliance and RD AMROSS singed the engine log books,'' it reads.
Prior to the handover, Pratt & Whitney and United Launch Alliance (ULA) checked the engines along with NASA and US Air Force experts to ensure they are of good quality. The RD-180s are now ready to be shipped out, and this is not a one-of-a-kind purchase.
Three more rocket engines will be supplied later in November. And in April, the US bought four more engines from Russia, according to Energomash.
The United Launch Alliance, a joint company owned by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, has relied on Energomash RD-180 engines for years to power the Atlas V rocket. They recently ordered 20 engines from Energomash despite economic sanctions imposed on Russia.
Aside from RD-180 engines, the US buys RD-181s from Russian manufacturers. The RD-181 is used to propel Antares rockets that launch Cygnus cargo tugs to the International Space Station for NASA.
When the US introduced its initial set of restrictions against Moscow, space exploration was excluded. As NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said, ''when other channels of communication break down, nations can still communicate on space exploration and space discovery and science.''
NASA has been doing its utmost to cut its dependency on Russian engines and to produce a viable alternative to the dual-nozzle, kerosene-fueled RD-180s, but to no avail so far. And while some Russian officials have at times vowed to ban the rocket engine sales, they are continuing.
Space is one of the few areas of Russia-US cooperation that remains relatively unscathed by political tensions. ''We're all breathing the same air. We can draw borders, but from space you can't see them,'' NASA astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock said last year.
''In the US we have a sarcastic saying: 'We can put a man on a Moon, but we cannot figure out how to get along with our Russian partners,'' the New York native said after working at Russia's Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City.
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Scientists Find 'Clear Evidence' Cellphone Radiation Can Cause Cancer in Rats - WSJ
Updated Nov. 1, 2018 10:51 a.m. ETU.S. researchers found ''clear evidence'' that cellphone radiation exposure can cause cancerous heart tumors in male rats. It is still unclear what the final conclusions of their two-decades-long study of the health impact on rodents mean for humans.
Scientists at the National Toxicology Program, which carried out the major study, this week published final reports that express more confidence in links between cellphone radiation exposure and some tumors in rats than they did in draft reports earlier this year.
U.S. researchers found ''clear evidence'' that cellphone radiation exposure can cause cancerous heart tumors in male rats. It is still unclear what the final conclusions of their two-decades-long study of the health impact on rodents mean for humans.
Scientists at the National Toxicology Program, which carried out the major study, this week published final reports that express more confidence in links between cellphone radiation exposure and some tumors in rats than they did in draft reports earlier this year.
Their final reports, for example, concluded that there is ''clear evidence'' that male rats exposed to high levels of cellphone radiation developed cancerous heart tumors, after initially saying there was just ''some evidence'''--a less certain classification.
They also said there was ''some evidence'' of brain and adrenal gland tumors in male rats that were exposed to cellphone radiation after characterizing that evidence as ''equivocal'' earlier this year.
The changes were made after scientists in charge of the study accepted the recommendations of a panel of experts that reviewed the findings.
In female rats and male and female mice, the link between cancers and exposure to cellphone radiation was less clear, the researchers said. One surprising finding in the study was that exposed male rats lived longer and had a significant reduction in a type of kidney disease.
John Bucher, a senior scientist at the NTP, warned on a call that the exposure used on rodents in the study was ''not directly comparable to the exposures that humans typically experience when using a cellphone.''
The study focused on radio frequency radiation akin to what's used in 2G and 3G cellphones and exposed animals to cellphone radiation at levels higher than what human cellphone users typically experience.
Mr. Bucher said he personally has ''no hesitation at all'' in picking up the phone for short calls, but for longer calls he tends to use ''earbuds or some other way of increasing the distance between the cellphone and my body.''
He said the NTP's role was to conduct the research for regulatory agencies and the public, not to issue warnings to consumers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked the NTP to carry out the study in 1999 because usage of cellphones was widespread and little was known about the impact of cellphone radiation.
Mr. Bucher said future research will focus on newer generations of wireless technology such as 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi and that researchers had learned ways to accelerate the speed of new studies.
Write to Sarah Krouse at firstname.lastname@example.org
VIDEO - Trump: Rocks Thrown By Migrants At Military To Be Treated As Rifles CBS Los Angeles
November 1, 2018 at 2:07 pm(CBS NEWS) '-- President Trump announced Thursday his administration is finalizing a plan to only allow asylum seekers to apply at designated points of entry.
Currently, those who don't go to an official checkpoint are still afforded a chance to wait for trial and make their case.
The president also said he considers any rocks thrown at military members at the border to be like ''rifles,'' and they will be treated as such. The president also didn't rule out the possibility of family separations.
Mr. Trump said he will have some sort of executive order next week on immigration.
In the days leading up to Tuesday's midterms, and as a caravan of migrants approaches the southern border, the president has ramped up his immigration rhetoric. Mr. Trump on Wednesday said he will send up to 15,000 troops to the border, he has threatened to end aid to some Central American countries, and in an interview that Axios aired Tuesday, he said he intends to end birthright citizenship by executive order.
''Birthright citizenship is a very very important subject,'' the president said Wednesday, as he was leaving for Florida. ''In my opinion it's much less complex than people think. I think it says it very loud and clear in the Constitution that you don't have to go through the process of whatever they're talking about.''
''And by the way this is not a constitutional amendment '-- you do not need a constitutional amendment for birthright citizenship,'' he told reporters. ''I believe you can have a simple vote in Congress or it's even possible, in my opinion '-- this is after meeting with some very talented scholars '-- that you can do it through an executive order.'' And he added, ''Now I'd rather do it through Congress because that's permanent.''
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VIDEO - Censored 'Israel Lobby' Doc Leaks - YouTube
Terrell Elk, 18, votes for the first time by delivering his absentee ballot to the Sioux County Auditor's office, Oct. 26, 2018.
Credit: Dan Koeck/Reuters
We asked new US citizens to tell us how it feels to be first-time voters this election cycle. We got some passionate responses. Also, voters in a handful of states may be thinking about the future of the planet when they cast their ballots next week, because of ballot initiatives that focus on energy, and by extension climate change. Plus, the Zanzibar roots of Queen's late lead singer Freddie Mercury.
VIDEO - NowThis on Twitter: "'Because of people like me '-- over 50, white, especially men '-- pretty much every awful thing that's happened in the past 20 years, happened.' '-- At least one Boomer is being real about his generation'... https://t.
IssuesAffordable Housing and TrafficAustin has a serious problem with both traffic and affordable housing. Property taxes have gone up over half a billion dollars and rent has gone up over 33 percent over the past five years due to the California refugee crisis. That is why we are going to build a dome in order to kick out the Californians and bring both our housing costs and traffic congestion to sustainable levels. Backwards housing initiatives like Code Next will not need to be implemented because Austin will no longer have a migrant crisis by way of Silicon Valley.
Police Accountability, Happy Cops, and Improved Community Relations with APDOur disastrous City Council reneged on the contract that they designed for APD (a contract that was very unfavorable to our esteemed officers might I add) and as a result we are losing cops to rival cities at a rapid rate. This is why I am prepared to devise a new contract. And that contract comes with flamethrowers.
Furthermore all police officers will be required to train a combat sport (MMA, boxing, wrestling, judo, sambo, muay Thai, or Brazilian Ju Jitsu). We spend over 40 percent of our city's budget on police and we deserve a police force that can protect us under any set of circumstances. We also deserve a police force that can remain calm and composed under any set of circumstances, which is what real Martial arts enable people do. Our police deserve no less than the finest training and our great citizens deserve Happy Cops.
Police sparring sessions (boxing and kickboxing only) will be open to the public and individuals will have the right to step into the ring with our police force at their own risk. There is no better way to foster a healthy relationship amongst the people and police than through this method.
Ending the Drug WarThe war on drugs has claimed a plethora of innocent lives and sent far too many non violent citizens to prison for much longer than they deserved. No more. When I become Mayor, we are legalizing all street drugs and controlled substances including but not limited to marijuana. We are going to issue sales taxes on all controlled substances and that tax rate will be dependent on the type of drug you choose to purchase. Crack and Marijuana will be taxed at a rate of 10 percent while cocaine will be taxed at a 35 percent rate. This will ensure that the rich pay their share of taxes. It will also ensure that your property taxes will no longer need to increase since the city will be generating more than enough money through our legal drug market. This practice will decrease the number of inmates, increase revenue, decrease taxes, and improve plans for all city workers-including police.
VIDEO - Rachel Wurzman: How isolation fuels opioid addiction | TED Talk
It's the latest political movement in the US - but what is 'Blexit'?
The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan and Anthony Zurcher explain what it gets wrong about the past and the present.
Video by Dan Lytwyn
VIDEO - Paul Joseph Watson on Twitter: "Michael Moore calls on "angry white American guys" to "give it up" because they are demographically doomed. "They are fanatical about this because they know their time is up."'... https://t.co/M0TRDSIGFl"
Photo: Chris Kleponis (Getty Images)Donald Trump set aside some time between racist rants to go on a racist rant with young black conservatives gathered at the White House to listen to the president give a rambling speech that hailed Kanye West, praised Jim Brown, gave a shout out to black people getting out of prison and asked the crowd of black supporters if any of them were ''the bad ones.''
On Friday, the White House hosted attendees from Turning Point USA's Young Black Leadership Summit, a conference hosted by the right-wing organization featuring some of Trump's staunchest black supporters including the NRA's Colion Noir; negro Ann Coulter impersonator Candace Owens; and the star and personification of Clueless, Stacey Dash.
Screenshot: Turning Points USA YBLSAfter the line-dance portion of the event where Trump's MAGA-Blacks got the chance to choose between shucking or jiving, a group of selected participants got the opportunity to listen to their friend's grandpa who totally isn't racist (he's just ''set in his ways'') list some of his best black friends. In an erratic speech that made the president sound like Archie Bunker high on cocaine, Trump touched on a variety of nonsensical subjects including:
Ben Carson is unqualified: The president proved his non-racist bona fides by actually touching Ben Carson in front of the adoring crowd and telling the audience that he knew Ben Carson didn't know anything about housing or urban development but Trump gave him the job anyway.Kanye West is the most powerful man in politics: Trump claims his black approval rating went up 26 points after meeting with Kanye West. I don't know where he learned mathematics (his approval rating with African Americans is around 10 percent), but I sincerely hope he shows up at the Jenkins' family barbecue thinking that Yeezy's invitation to the cookout is valid.Jim Brown stands for the national anthem: There was an extended rant about how fast Jim Brown could run, how athletic he was and how much he loves the flag. Then Trump just moved on. That was weird.Call him Martin Hitler King, Jr.: He explained how his policies stopped black unemployment, black-on-black-crime and helped blacks who were getting out of prison find jobs.The ''good ones'' vs. the ''bad ones'': After talking about prisoners, the president acknowledged that not all ex-convicts were good people, and asked the crowd: ''And I don't mean everyone because there's no '' even in this room we probably have a couple of bad ones, right? What do you think? Are there any bad ones?''Why ''America First'' is not racist: ''Racist? Racist? Why is that racist?'' Trump asked with a racist grin, rolling the final r, then adding: ''Here we are, I think, does everyone in this room agree? You're living in America. America first, right?''The assemblage of MAGroes ate up every word, breaking out into chants of ''USA! USA!'' and ''Build that wall!'' to the president's delight.
Meanwhile, watching from a small flat-screen television in the multimedia room in heaven, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Donda West and Jesus simultaneously wept.
VIDEO - Spokane Valley representative under scrutiny for leaked manifest - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Just one week until the Midterm election and a Spokane Valley representative up for reelection finds himself under federal scrutiny after a manifesto distributed by him was leaked to the public.
The four-page document, titled "Biblical Basis for War" was originally reported by the Spokesman-Review. It's a radical Christian call to arms, outlining 14 steps for seizing power and what to do afterward in explicit detail. It calls for an end to abortions, an end to same-sex marriage, and if enemies do not yield and everyone obey biblical law, all males will be killed.
We reached out to Shea multiple times to ask him about this manifesto, contacting him on Facebook, calling his legislative offices in both Olympia and Spokane Valley, as well as his Spokane Valley law firm.
He has not returned our calls, but his legislative aid did say our message was being passed along to Rep. Shea. He did however post a video on Facebook earlier this month. In it, Shea admits to distributing the document, but calls it a summary of a series of sermons in the Old Testament, or "just war theory" philosophy.
The manifesto was only given to a few people close to Shea, and was made public by Tanner Rowe. Rowe was hired in 2016 by Shea's security team for the Republican Gala on election night. The manifesto was given to him by a friend, and former long-time member of Shea's inner circle.
The document has also captured the attention of Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who says he immediately alerted the FBI saying he felt the author, Shea, was dangerous.
We reached out to the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force about the manifesto. They tell us they are actively reviewing the manifesto for investigative leads.
Spokane Valley representative under scrutiny for leaked manifesto Spokane Valley representative under scrutiny for leaked manifesto Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 10:15 PM EDT 2018-11-02 02:15:29 GMT
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Just one week until the Midterm election and a Spokane Valley representative up for reelection finds himself under federal scrutiny after a manifesto distributed by him was leaked to the public. The four-page document, titled "Biblical Basis for War" is a radical Christian call to arms, outlining 14 steps for seizing power and what to do afterward in explicit detail.
>> SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Just one week until the Midterm election and a Spokane Valley representative up for reelection finds himself under federal scrutiny after a manifesto distributed by him was leaked to the public. The four-page document, titled "Biblical Basis for War" is a radical Christian call to arms, outlining 14 steps for seizing power and what to do afterward in explicit detail.
A little girl in the Philippines may have won Halloween this year. You might even say her costume is head and shoulders above the rest. 2-year-old Maya went trick-or-treating in her village in Para±aque City and her proud mom was quick to display her clever costume.
>> A little girl in the Philippines may have won Halloween this year. You might even say her costume is head and shoulders above the rest. 2-year-old Maya went trick-or-treating in her village in Para±aque City and her proud mom was quick to display her clever costume.
>> Prosecutor: 4-month--old Iowa boy found dead in swing 'died of diaper rash' Prosecutor: 4-month--old Iowa boy found dead in swing 'died of diaper rash' Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 9:57 AM EDT 2018-11-01 13:57:24 GMT
WARNING: The parents of a 4-month-old Iowa boy have been charged with murder after prosecutors say the boy was covered in maggots and "died of diaper rash." 20-year-old Cheyanne Harris and 28-year-old Zachary Koehn face first-degree murder charges after their infant son Sterling was found dead last summer weighing less than 7 pounds and in a diaper that hadn't been changed in over a week.
>> WARNING: The parents of a 4-month-old Iowa boy have been charged with murder after prosecutors say the boy was covered in maggots and "died of diaper rash." 20-year-old Cheyanne Harris and 28-year-old Zachary Koehn face first-degree murder charges after their infant son Sterling was found dead last summer weighing less than 7 pounds and in a diaper that hadn't been changed in over a week.
>> Post Falls PD ask for help looking for missing woman Post Falls PD ask for help looking for missing woman Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 10:25 PM EDT 2018-11-02 02:25:53 GMT
The Post Falls Police Department is asking for the public's help finding 37-year-old Leah Evelyn Simonds. She was last heard from in Post Falls on Oct. 22. Her family and friends have grown concerned as they have not heard from her. She is not wanted or suspected in any crimes, officers just need to contact her and check her welfare.
>> The Post Falls Police Department is asking for the public's help finding 37-year-old Leah Evelyn Simonds. She was last heard from in Post Falls on Oct. 22. Her family and friends have grown concerned as they have not heard from her. She is not wanted or suspected in any crimes, officers just need to contact her and check her welfare.
>> Paranormal investigators share chilling findings from Hauser ghost hunt Paranormal investigators share chilling findings from Hauser ghost hunt Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 3:18 PM EDT 2018-11-01 19:18:32 GMT
HAUSER, Idaho - Last week, KHQ told you about a restaurant many are convinced is haunted. The latest owner says customers and staff alike have all reported experiences with paranormal activity. "They'll have the hair on their arms stand up and feel like they've been touched while they're sitting," owner Matt Isom said. "But, nobody's behind them, no one has walked past them."
>> HAUSER, Idaho - Last week, KHQ told you about a restaurant many are convinced is haunted. The latest owner says customers and staff alike have all reported experiences with paranormal activity. "They'll have the hair on their arms stand up and feel like they've been touched while they're sitting," owner Matt Isom said. "But, nobody's behind them, no one has walked past them."
>> Jack Daniel's releases its own advent calendar full of whiskey Jack Daniel's releases its own advent calendar full of whiskey Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 10:31 AM EDT 2018-11-01 14:31:50 GMT
Jack Daniels wants you to feel a buzz this holiday season. The company is releasing an advent calendar that's full of mini bottles of whiskey. There's a mix of 23 mini bottles to help you countdown to Christmas. Included in the calendar is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Fire, Gentleman Jack, and single barrel. >> Jack Daniels wants you to feel a buzz this holiday season. The company is releasing an advent calendar that's full of mini bottles of whiskey. There's a mix of 23 mini bottles to help you countdown to Christmas. Included in the calendar is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, Tennessee Honey, Tennessee Fire, Gentleman Jack, and single barrel. >> HD DOPPLER 6i Porch pirates steal Spokane child's costume day before Halloween Porch pirates steal Spokane child's costume day before Halloween Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 2:23 AM EDT 2018-11-02 06:23:31 GMT
The home is located in north Spokane, specifically the Northeast District (P4). From September 30 to October 27, the area saw an 18.54% increase in larceny, according to data released by the Spokane Police Department.
>> The home is located in north Spokane, specifically the Northeast District (P4). From September 30 to October 27, the area saw an 18.54% increase in larceny, according to data released by the Spokane Police Department.
>> Man accused in deadly Lakewood nightclub shooting pleads not guilty Man accused in deadly Lakewood nightclub shooting pleads not guilty Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 1:33 AM EDT 2018-11-02 05:33:16 GMT
Courtesy of Lakewood WA Police Department A Washington state man has pleaded not guilty after he was arrested in connection to a shooting that left one person dead and three others injured at a nightclub in Lakewood. KOMO-TV reports 30-year-old Monroe Ezell appeared Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court, pleading not guilty to a second-degree murder charge. Ezell was arrested Wednesday by the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force. Ezell told the judge he didn't do it, saying he didn't know wh... >> A Washington state man has pleaded not guilty after he was arrested in connection to a shooting that left one person dead and three others injured at a nightclub in Lakewood. KOMO-TV reports 30-year-old Monroe Ezell appeared Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court, pleading not guilty to a second-degree murder charge. Ezell was arrested Wednesday by the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force. Ezell told the judge he didn't do it, saying he didn't know wh... >> WSP implements online tracking for sexual assault kits WSP implements online tracking for sexual assault kits Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 1:16 AM EDT 2018-11-02 05:16:07 GMT
Survivors of sexual assaults in Washington state can now track the progress of their kits being analyzed through a new online portal. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Washington State Patrol has implemented this week the online tracking system for sexual assault kits to allow survivors, as well as lawyers, medical staff and law enforcement to follow the testing process.
>> Survivors of sexual assaults in Washington state can now track the progress of their kits being analyzed through a new online portal. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Washington State Patrol has implemented this week the online tracking system for sexual assault kits to allow survivors, as well as lawyers, medical staff and law enforcement to follow the testing process.
>> Funeral for 97-year-old victim of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting scheduled for Friday Funeral for 97-year-old victim of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting scheduled for Friday Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 1:09 AM EDT 2018-11-02 05:09:45 GMT
A 97-year-old woman who was the oldest victim of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre will be laid to rest Friday at the end of a wrenching, series of funerals. Rose Mallinger was among 11 victims gunned down in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Her daughter was wounded in the attack at Tree of Life synagogue.
>> A 97-year-old woman who was the oldest victim of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre will be laid to rest Friday at the end of a wrenching, series of funerals. Rose Mallinger was among 11 victims gunned down in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Her daughter was wounded in the attack at Tree of Life synagogue.
>> Spirit Lake PD investigating after pedestrian struck while crossing Highway 41 Spirit Lake PD investigating after pedestrian struck while crossing Highway 41 Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 12:21 AM EDT 2018-11-02 04:21:35 GMT
A 19-year-old man is in the hospital after being struck by a car while crossing Highway 41 in Spirit Lake, Idaho. Spirit Lake Police Department responded and discovered the man had been using a marked crosswalk at Vermont Street in front of Millers Harvest Foods. A vehicle driven by 68-year-old Robert Scharff of Post Falls struck the man.
>> A 19-year-old man is in the hospital after being struck by a car while crossing Highway 41 in Spirit Lake, Idaho. Spirit Lake Police Department responded and discovered the man had been using a marked crosswalk at Vermont Street in front of Millers Harvest Foods. A vehicle driven by 68-year-old Robert Scharff of Post Falls struck the man.
In an attempt to protect coral reefs that divers have dubbed the underwater Serengeti, the Pacific nation of Palau will soon ban many types of sunscreen. President Tommy Remengesau Jr. last week signed legislation that bans "reef-toxic" sunscreen from 2020. Banned sunscreens will be confiscated from tourists who carry them into the country, and merchants selling the banned products will be fined up to $1,000.
>> In an attempt to protect coral reefs that divers have dubbed the underwater Serengeti, the Pacific nation of Palau will soon ban many types of sunscreen. President Tommy Remengesau Jr. last week signed legislation that bans "reef-toxic" sunscreen from 2020. Banned sunscreens will be confiscated from tourists who carry them into the country, and merchants selling the banned products will be fined up to $1,000.
>> AT&T among Shea campaign donors asking for money back AT&T among Shea campaign donors asking for money back Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 11:36 PM EDT 2018-11-02 03:36:01 GMT
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Some Political Action Committees that recently donated money to the campaign of Spokane Valley Representative Matt Shea say they want their money back following news of a leaked manifesto authored by Shea.
>> SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Some Political Action Committees that recently donated money to the campaign of Spokane Valley Representative Matt Shea say they want their money back following news of a leaked manifesto authored by Shea.
>> Alleged mail bomber due in court Friday Alleged mail bomber due in court Friday Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 11:12 PM EDT 2018-11-02 03:12:48 GMT
The Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump is due in court for a bail hearing. Federal prosecutors contend that 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc should remain jailed until trial, given the magnitude of the charges and the strong evidence against him. Sayoc is accused of sending 15 improvised explosive devices to numerous Democrats, Trump critics and media outlets.
>> The Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump is due in court for a bail hearing. Federal prosecutors contend that 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc should remain jailed until trial, given the magnitude of the charges and the strong evidence against him. Sayoc is accused of sending 15 improvised explosive devices to numerous Democrats, Trump critics and media outlets.
>> Inmate becomes first man executed by electric chair in Tennessee since 2007 Inmate becomes first man executed by electric chair in Tennessee since 2007 Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 11:02 PM EDT 2018-11-02 03:02:36 GMT
Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Corrections Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Corrections A Tennessee inmate grimaced and waved goodbye before saying "let's rock," moments before he became the first man executed in the electric chair in that state since 2007. Officials say 63-year-old Edmund Zagorski was executed Thursday night for the killings of two men during a 1983 drug deal.
>> A Tennessee inmate grimaced and waved goodbye before saying "let's rock," moments before he became the first man executed in the electric chair in that state since 2007. Officials say 63-year-old Edmund Zagorski was executed Thursday night for the killings of two men during a 1983 drug deal.
>> Arrest made after woman attacks ex with knife Arrest made after woman attacks ex with knife Updated: Thursday, November 1 2018 10:52 PM EDT 2018-11-02 02:52:42 GMT
A woman is arrested after allegedly attacking her ex-boyfriend with a knife. Spokane Police Officers responded to a stabbing call at upper Lincoln park Thursday and found a man in his early 40s with minor injures to his hand. He told officers that he and his ex-girlfriend, 48-year-old Jennaffer Townley, were hanging out in the park when they began arguing.
>> A woman is arrested after allegedly attacking her ex-boyfriend with a knife. Spokane Police Officers responded to a stabbing call at upper Lincoln park Thursday and found a man in his early 40s with minor injures to his hand. He told officers that he and his ex-girlfriend, 48-year-old Jennaffer Townley, were hanging out in the park when they began arguing.
>> Federal health care website up and running after slow start Federal health care website up and running after slow start Posted: Thursday, November 1 2018 10:43 AM EDT 2018-11-01 14:43:13 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 8:03 AM EDT 2018-11-02 12:03:50 GMT
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais). The HealthCare.gov website is photographed in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Sign-up season for the Affordable Care Act's subsidized health insurance starts Thursday, and for a change the outlook for the prog... The federal website where consumers can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act got off to a slow start Thursday on the first day of open enrollment. >> The federal website where consumers can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act got off to a slow start Thursday on the first day of open enrollment. >> Families take step toward suing EPA for toxic paint stripper Families take step toward suing EPA for toxic paint stripper Posted: Wednesday, October 31 2018 4:42 PM EDT 2018-10-31 20:42:32 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 8:03 AM EDT 2018-11-02 12:03:36 GMT
The mothers of two men killed by a toxic paint stripper have taken a first step toward suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to take quick action to remove the product from the market. >> The mothers of two men killed by a toxic paint stripper have taken a first step toward suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to take quick action to remove the product from the market. >> Security experts question border mission for military Security experts question border mission for military Posted: Friday, November 2 2018 2:55 AM EDT 2018-11-02 06:55:15 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:55 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:55:21 GMT
(Airman First Class Daniel A. Hernandez/U.S. Air Force via AP). In this Oct. 31, 2018, photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Matt Conn, a loadmaster with the 21st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., directs an Army HMMWV into a... Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' top priority is making the military more "lethal" _ but nothing about its new mission at the U.S.-Mexico border advances that goal. >> Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' top priority is making the military more "lethal" _ but nothing about its new mission at the U.S.-Mexico border advances that goal. >> Asia eyes US midterm elections with anxiety, hope Asia eyes US midterm elections with anxiety, hope Posted: Thursday, November 1 2018 11:43 PM EDT 2018-11-02 03:43:35 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:54 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:54:59 GMT
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE - In this June 12, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island, in Singapore. Asia is paying more attention than usual to the U... Asia is paying more attention than usual to the U.S. midterm elections, thanks to President Donald Trump. >> Asia is paying more attention than usual to the U.S. midterm elections, thanks to President Donald Trump. >> Trump pledges asylum crackdown, tent cities; is it legal? Trump pledges asylum crackdown, tent cities; is it legal? Posted: Friday, November 2 2018 1:33 AM EDT 2018-11-02 05:33:29 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:54 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:54:33 GMT
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh). President Donald Trump talks about immigration and border security from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. President Donald Trump says he plans to sign an order next week that could lead to the large-scale detention of migrants crossing the southern border and bar anyone caught crossing illegally from claiming asylum. >> President Donald Trump says he plans to sign an order next week that could lead to the large-scale detention of migrants crossing the southern border and bar anyone caught crossing illegally from claiming asylum. >> Video of cop killer becomes Trump campaign push Video of cop killer becomes Trump campaign push Posted: Friday, November 2 2018 2:53 AM EDT 2018-11-02 06:53:24 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:54 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:54:01 GMT
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One for a campaign rally in Columbia, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. An expletive-filled campaign ad tweeted by President Donald Trump was immediately denounced by some Democrats and Republicans alike as racist. >> An expletive-filled campaign ad tweeted by President Donald Trump was immediately denounced by some Democrats and Republicans alike as racist. >> In House battle, Democrats see hope in Trump territory In House battle, Democrats see hope in Trump territory Posted: Friday, November 2 2018 7:04 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:04:36 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:53 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:53:56 GMT
(Eileen Meslar/Telegraph Herald via AP, File). FILE - In this June 5, 2018, file photo Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer walks into The Smokestack after winning the Democratic primary in Dubuque, Iowa. An often-overlooked battle is under way across rural and w... Democrats see path to House majority through Obama-Trump districts. >> Democrats see path to House majority through Obama-Trump districts. >> Democrats and Republicans rush to avert third party spoilers Democrats and Republicans rush to avert third party spoilers Posted: Friday, November 2 2018 1:34 AM EDT 2018-11-02 05:34:51 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:53 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:53:45 GMT
Both major parties are worrying about so-called "spoilers" as election day nears. >> Both major parties are worrying about so-called "spoilers" as election day nears. >> Official pledges no repeat of Arizona voting problems Official pledges no repeat of Arizona voting problems Posted: Friday, November 2 2018 2:17 AM EDT 2018-11-02 06:17:32 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:46 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:46:35 GMT
(AP Photo/Matt York). In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018 photo, Maricopa County Elections official Brittney Johnson instructs election volunteers during a training session in Phoenix. The elections chief for the Arizona county that includes Phoenix is pl... The elections chief for the populous Arizona county that includes Phoenix is pledging voters won't face the same difficulties they experienced in August's primary when dozens of polling locations opened late. >> The elections chief for the populous Arizona county that includes Phoenix is pledging voters won't face the same difficulties they experienced in August's primary when dozens of polling locations opened late. >> Trump's Road Show: 'Tigers for Trump' show up for president Trump's Road Show: 'Tigers for Trump' show up for president Posted: Thursday, November 1 2018 1:16 AM EDT 2018-11-01 05:16:43 GMT
Updated: Friday, November 2 2018 7:46 AM EDT 2018-11-02 11:46:32 GMT
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara). Nathan Lockhart, of Jacksonville, Fla., gestures as he dresses as President Donald Trump before a Halloween campaign rally Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Fort Myers, Fla. Trump's Road Show: Elvis _ and at least one Trump impersonator _ in the house for Halloween rally. >> Trump's Road Show: Elvis _ and at least one Trump impersonator _ in the house for Halloween rally. >> HomeNewsWeatherSportsVideoKHQ MDInland NW ProsNW DealsFIND IT
VIDEO - Beck + Dave Grohl + Yeah Yeah Yeahs + Moby + Tim Heidecker Swing Left Political Rally - YouTube
James O'Keefe's undercover operatives at Project Veritas have done it again; this time filming campaign staffers for Congressman and US Senate candidate Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke seemingly engaging in the illegal use of campaign resources to help transport Honduran nationals traveling in the Central American caravan.
O'Rourke staffers Dominic Chacon and AnaPaula Themann admit to facilitating transportation to airports and bus stations.
Via Project Veritas:
Chacon: ''The Hondurans, yeah'... I'm going to go get some food right now, like just some stuff to drop off'...''
Themann: ''How did they get through?''
Chacon: ''Well I think they accepted them as like asylum-seekers'... So, I'm going to get some groceries and some blankets'...''
Themann: ''Don't ever repeat this and stuff but like if we just say that we're buying food for a campaign event, like the Halloween events'...''
Chacon: ''That's not a horrible idea, but I didn't hear anything. Umm, we can wait until tomorrow for that.''
Themann: ''Well that's exactly the food we need. And I will just mark it as, I do have dozens of block walkers.''
WATCH: Beto campaign manager says "don't worry" about using campaign resources to support caravan migrants in Texas; Staff says "I just hope nobody that's the wrong person finds out about this." pic.twitter.com/oSk29u6736
'-- James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 2, 2018NEW: Beto Campaign got a tip about the caravan migrants who arrived in Texas, and martialed the campaign staff to act. Whether or not it was legal did not seem to concern him. "For me, I can just ignore the rules and I'm like f**k it." Full -- https://t.co/ZKR7XsMZMN pic.twitter.com/YgPjEmdtf1
'-- James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 2, 2018WATCH: Beto O'Rourke campaign staff explain how they go about concealing their use of campaign funds to support caravan migrants --- Full video: https://t.co/ZKR7XsMZMN pic.twitter.com/AaZ95X8gIm
'-- James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 2, 2018''Don't ever repeat this''
VERITAS: O'Rourke Campaign Staffers Transporting Caravan Migrants to "airports'... bus stations," using campaign resources - say "Don't ever repeat this'..." FULL REPORT --- https://t.co/ZKR7XsMZMN pic.twitter.com/8cu0yCk8C6
'-- James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 2, 2018Featured in this report are campaign staffers who work on Congressman O'Rourke's US Senate campaign discussing how they use campaign resources to help Honduran aliens and transport them to airports and bus stations. Said Dominic Chacon and AnaPaula Themann, who work on O'Rourke's campaign:
Chacon: ''The Hondurans, yeah'... I'm going to go get some food right now, like just some stuff to drop off'...''
Themann: ''How did they get through?''
Chacon: ''Well I think they accepted them as like asylum-seekers'... So, I'm going to get some groceries and some blankets'...''
Themann: ''Don't ever repeat this and stuff but like if we just say that we're buying food for a campaign event, like the Halloween events'...''
Chacon: ''That's not a horrible idea, but I didn't hear anything. Umm, we can wait until tomorrow for that.''
Themann: ''Well that's exactly the food we need. And I will just mark it as, I do have dozens of block walkers.''
Using ''pre-paid credit cards'' '... ''some sort of violation''
A Project Veritas Action attorney reviewed the footage and assessed:
''The material Project Veritas Action Fund captured shows campaign workers covering up the true nature of spending of campaign funds and intentionally misreporting them. This violates the FEC's rules against personal use and misreporting. It also violates Section 1001, making a false statement to the federal government. The FEC violations impose civil penalties, including fines of up to $10,000 or 200 percent of the funds involved. Violations of Section 1001 are criminal and include imprisonment of up to five years.''
Chacon and Themann also explain how they go about concealing their use of campaign funds for alien support purposes:
Themann: ''There's actually stores that just mark it as 'food' they don't mark different types'... at Albertsons, on the receipts, it marks it just based off of brand'...''
Chacon: ''I think we can use that with those [campaign pre-paid] cards to buy some food, all that s**t can be totally masked like, oh we just wanted a healthy breakfast!''
Themann says that she doesn't ''want to make it seem like all of us are from [the O'Rourke campaign]'' when going to distribute supplies to the Honduran aliens. She adds, ''I just hope nobody that's the wrong person finds out about this.''
Chacon elaborates on the usage of pre-paid campaign cards, saying, ''We're going to use more of those cards to get them more supplies too. So it's all going to work out. I'm done being nice. I'm done being professional. [Be]cause nothing is professional. None of this is like s**t there is a rule book for, you know?''
Later in the report, Chacon also reveals ''there's not really an approval process'' regarding the usage of the pre-paid cards, and that ''we can just go and get the food and we can come up with a BS excuse like as to why we needed to get this stuff.'' He adds, ''Under the table just sort of do it.''
''Nobody needs to know''
Chacon explains that Jody Casey, the campaign manager for the O'Rourke campaign, was happy to hear about their efforts supporting aliens with campaign funds:
Chacon: ''She texted us afterward and was like, I'm so happy that we have a staff that gets it and was there, I was so happy to see y'all there, still working, still contributing, we have the best team ever'... she was good about it.''
Journalist: ''So, Jody knows?''
Chacon: ''Well, she doesn't know we used the pre-paid card, but she doesn't need to know.''
Added Chacon, when discussing the possibility for using campaign vans to help the Honduran aliens, ''we could probably get away with using the vans'... Nobody needs to know.'' Chacon also says, ''For me, I can just ignore the rules and I'm like f**k it.''
When asked about using campaign resources to help the Honduran aliens, Casey said ''don't worry'':
Journalist: ''It just made me really concerned, like, you know, because I know that we're using some of the campaign resources to help with the migrants and like, I just didn't want anybody to get in trouble with that'...''
Journalist: ''Like I didn't want them to ask me any questions about people using resources'...''
Jody Casey: ''Don't worry.''
Andrea Reyes, who also works on the O'Rourke campaign, revealed that she has text messages showing she received approval for using the pre-paid cards:
Reyes: ''The thing is yeah, as long as we're not advertising it. I mean yeah, I don't really know. They said it was fine sooo *throws hands up* I mean I don't know, okay. I told you about it! I have the text messages to prove it, sooo'...''
Journalist: ''So you told Jody?''
Reyes: ''Yeah. I told Jody and I told my director.''
When asked about using campaign vans to assist the Honduran aliens, Chacon reveals that they are going to transport the aliens to airports and bus stations:
Chacon: '''... we're going to give rides to some of the immigrants too. Like to the airport, to the bus station, like why not, you know?''
Just asked campaign manager @jodyforbeto Jody Casey about the tapes we're about to launch on @BetoORourke appearing to show campaign funds used illegally for caravan purposes. The footage implicates Jody and her staff. She said ''no comment'' multiple times. Launch in an hour... pic.twitter.com/Oh1KvZa8yw
'-- James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 2, 2018