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
China's sweeping, data-driven ''social credit'' initiative is sounding alarms. In a speech on Oct. 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described it as ''an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.'' But there's a small problem. The system doesn't actually exist'--at least as it's generally portrayed.
It's not surprising that myths about the system are spreading, given the shrinking space in China for civil society, rights lawyering, speech, investigative journalism, and religious belief; its increasingly ubiquitous, invasive surveillance capability; and the Chinese Communist Party's push to apply big data and artificial intelligence in governance. China's party-state is collecting a vast amount of information on its citizens, and its social credit system and other developments internally and overseas raise many serious concerns. But contrary to the mainstream media narrative on this, Chinese authorities are not assigning a single score that will determine every aspect of every citizen's life'--at least not yet.
It's true that, building on earlier initiatives, China's State Council published a road map in 2014 to establish a far-reaching ''social credit'' system by 2020. The concept of social credit (shehui xinyong) is not defined in the increasing array of national documents governing the system, but its essence is compliance with legally prescribed social and economic obligations and performing contractual commitments. Composed of a patchwork of diverse information collection and publicity systems established by various state authorities at different levels of government, the system's main goal is to improve governance and market order in a country still beset by rampant fraud and counterfeiting.
Under the system, government agencies compile and share across departments, regions, and sectors, and with the public, data on compliance with specified industry or sectoral laws, regulations, and agreements by individuals, companies, social organizations, government departments, and the judiciary. Serious offenders may be placed on blacklists published on an integrated national platform called Credit China and subjected to a range of government-imposed inconveniences and exclusions. These are often enforced by multiple agencies pursuant to joint punishment agreements covering such sectors as taxation, the environment, transportation, e-commerce, food safety, and foreign economic cooperation, as well as failing to carry out court judgments.
These punishments are intended to incentivize legal and regulatory compliance under the often-repeated slogan of ''whoever violates the rules somewhere shall be restricted everywhere.'' Conversely, ''red lists'' of the trustworthy are also published and accessed nationally through Credit China.
The scope, scale, diversity, and language of the evolving system have caused a lot of confusion, particularly with respect to the existence of a single social credit score. There is no such thing as a national ''social credit score.'' A few dozen towns and cities in China, as well as private companies running loyalty-type programs for their customers, do currently compute scores, primarily to determine rewards or access to various programs. That was the source of at least some of the confusion. Alibaba's Sesame Credit program, for instance, which gives rewards on Alibaba's platforms and easier access to credit through a linked company, was often cited as a precursor of a planned government program, despite being a private enterprise.
The government does assign universal social credit codes to companies and organizations, which they use as an ID number for registration, tax payments, and other activities, while all individuals have a national ID number. The existing social credit blacklists use these numbers, as do almost all activities in China. But these codes are not scores or rankings. Enterprises and professionals in various sectors may be graded or ranked, sometimes by industry associations, for specific regulatory purposes like restaurant sanitation. However, the social credit system does not itself produce scores, grades, or assessments of ''good'' or ''bad'' social credit. Instead, individuals or companies are blacklisted for specific, relatively serious offenses like fraud and excessive pollution that would generally be offenses anywhere. To be sure, China does regulate speech, association, and other civil rights in ways that many disagree with, and the use of the social credit system to further curtail such rights deserves monitoring.
China's credit reporting system, whose financial reports comprise a core component of what is considered ''social credit,'' may also have contributed to the myth. The Chinese term for credit reporting (xinyong zhengxin) is often translated as ''credit scoring.'' However, the primary financial credit reporting system for companies and individuals overseen by the People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank, does not provide credit scores or assessments with its standard reports and does not mention ''scoring'' in its definition of credit reporting. The PBOC's Credit Reference Center, like licensed private credit reporting agencies, does offer financial credit scores (xinyong pingfen).
Widely reported private credit scoring programs launched not by credit reporting agencies but by some payment platforms such as Alibaba's, which consider e-commerce and social media interactions as well as financial histories to determine customer scores, likely also contributed to the misconception of a social credit score. The PBOC, looking to expand its consumer credit coverage by sourcing data from online lenders and other nontraditional sources, in 2015 authorized eight companies'--some of which, including Sesame Credit, ran customer scoring programs'--to seek credit reporting agency licenses. None of those companies qualified.
However, this year the PBOC did license a national agency called Baihang Credit (Baihang Zhengxin), with those eight companies as shareholders, to provide credit reporting services to clients and contribute data from online microlenders and peer-to-peer lending platforms to the PBOC for compiling more accurate consumer credit histories. Baihang may offer credit scoring products, but those scores, as opposed to the data on which they are based, are not part of the official social credit system yet.
A second misapprehension is that the social credit system collects data on every citizen. The government does collect regulatory information on all companies and social organizations, and different departments maintain their own dossiers on individuals. Some of this information is made public, and the social credit system is intended to create a culture of greater trust and creditworthiness in society as a whole. However, at present the system prioritizes compiling and sharing public record-type data such as licensing, other regulatory information, and adverse court decisions on adults in key areas. Unless people are sole proprietors or company representatives, have taken a loan or credit card, violated the law, or defaulted on a court judgment, they're unlikely to be in the social credit database.
A third common error is the belief that social behavior, consumption habits, and political loyalty impact one's social credit and constitute a basis for imposing punishments. Again, that misconception typically arises from conflating private commercial rewards programs, which do consider shopping and social behaviors in assigning their own credit scores to customers who opt in to the program, with the government-sponsored social credit system. The core government documents, sectoral and local government regulations, and numerous multiagency joint punishment systems thus far rely on published standards of compliance with laws, regulations, and contractual obligations, rather than on loose concepts of appropriate behavior or one's random digital activity, to enforce the social credit system.
There are plenty of legitimate concerns. The massive amounts of data being compiled and shared heighten the dangers of hacking and leaking personal and other confidential information. Information security is a huge problem in China. In a recent survey, 85 percent of respondents reported they had suffered data leaks ranging from phone numbers to bank account details. National and local social credit and other documents do call for enhanced information security and privacy protections. However, China does not yet have an overarching privacy law or the ability to enforce these protections.
The social credit system's use of public blacklists and shaming'--what one scholar calls ''reputation mechanisms'''--as well as the joint punishment mechanism that essentially imposes yet another layer of penalty enforcement for legal offenses are controversial and problematic. The standards for getting put on blacklists, managed by different departments at multiple levels to enforce rules within their jurisdiction, are not always clear. The targets are not always notified and given a chance to contest the listing
Some blacklisted individuals have continued to face restrictions after their debt was repaid or the time period for the penalty expired, creating situations such as the man who discovered through denial of his credit card application that his bank was not informed of his removal from the blacklist, and the admitted student who was erroneously denied his place at a university due to his father's failure to pay back a bank loan. The technical challenges of running such a sprawling, complex system efficiently and minimizing mistakes are mind-boggling.
The danger that the Chinese party-state may attempt to develop a global citizen score and start using opaque algorithms to determine one's creditability for a variety of political as well as financial and regulatory purposes cannot be ruled out. China outlaws conduct such as reporting on protests, spreading online rumors, and growing ''abnormal beards'' in Xinjiang, and such offenses could certainly be used as a basis for imposing punishments under the social credit system. However, the Chinese party-state has many other tools to address public and political security issues. Moreover, given the diverse standards for assessing legal noncompliance and landing on any particular social credit blacklist, it would be challenging to devise a global score that would have a meaningful regulatory impact.
For now, while there are many things to be worried about in China, a single and all-pervasive ranking system isn't one of them'--yet.
Renault Stock Price Hit As CEO Carlos Ghosn Arrested In Japan
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Renault of France's stock price fell almost 10% after news CEO Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan over suspected financial violations.
Ghosn is also chairman of Nissan Motor of Japan and heads up the Nissan Renault alliance, which also now includes Mitsubishi Motors.
Investors worried that the long hoped for a full merger between Nissan and Renault might not happen.
In later trading on Monday, Renault shares recovered a bit to 58.72 euros, a 9% fall.
Nissan said it will seek Ghosn's removal over allegations he used company money for personal use, after an investigation.
"The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and (Greg) Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn's compensation," Nissan said in a statement.
"Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly's deep involvement has also been confirmed," the company said.
Neither Ghosn or Kelly commented on the charges.
According to Citi Research, Ghosn is viewed as the chief architect of the long-term revival of once ailing Nissan and the alliance with Renault, but it would survive without him.
''While we acknowledge that Mr. Ghosn is a key figure in the Alliance, we are confident that it can - at a minimum - continue in its current structure and continue to generate cost-efficiencies, even if Ghosn is ousted,'' Citi Research analyst Raghav Gupta-Chaudhary said.
Bernstein Research analyst Max Warburton said the allegations included ''other significant acts of misconduct'' which might imply other accounting irregularities.
''But the headlines seem to suggest personal misconduct by Ghosn - rather than accounting issues at Nissan itself. We do not immediately leap to the conclusion that this means Nissan has deep financial problems,'' Warburton said.
Warburton said this also probably means the end of Ghosn's reign at Renault, but he had already stated his intention to leave by 2022.
Renault bought a 44% stake in Nissan in 1999. Investors had for some time been pressing Ghosn to engineer a full merger with Nissan, which was seen as a big benefit to Renault shareholders.
''It is hard not to conclude that there may be a gulf opening up between Renault and Nissan,'' Warburton in a report headed '' Renault: Carlos Ghosn '' is this the ''Re-Japanization'' of Nissan and the end of the Alliance?''
''We do not believe an unraveling of the Alliance would be a total disaster for Renault shareholders - one could argue that selling the Nissan stake could actually realize more value than sitting with the current structure. The stock reaction may prove overdone,'' Warburton said.
F our days before the election that would return the Democratic Party to a majority in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi sat in a nearly empty restaurant on San Francisco's Embarcadero late in the afternoon, drinking green tea and eating a chocolate sundae. ''We have to be strategic in whatever we do,'' the leader of the House Democrats said, considering the desire some in her party had to zealously investigate the Trump administration.
''In terms of subpoena power, you have to handle it with care,'' Pelosi continued. ''Yes, on the left there is a Pound of Flesh Club, and they just want to do to them what they did to us.'' She shook her head emphatically. ''That's not who we are,'' she said. ''Go get somebody else if that's who you want.''
Pelosi is nothing if not purposeful. The following day, rallying with Democratic candidates in a San Francisco park, she would wear an orange pantsuit, explaining to crowds that orange was ''the color of gun-violence protection.'' This afternoon she had booked a table at Delancey Street, a restaurant that was famous, she said, for employing ex-convicts: ''Redemption,'' she added emphatically, in case I might have missed the point.
Pelosi told me that she and the House Democrats had every intention of working with President Trump on things like lowering prescription-drug costs, rebuilding America's infrastructure and protecting the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. She reminded me of her long stints on the House Appropriations and Intelligence Committees '-- panels on which, ''left to our own devices, we could always find our way in a bipartisan manner.''
There were a lot of Democrats, I suggested, who believed that bipartisanship had been rendered antique in the Trump era. ''Yeah,'' Pelosi replied, smirking, ''and I have those who want to be for impeachment and for abolishing ICE'' '-- Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the federal law-enforcement agency spearheading Trump's crackdown on immigration. ''Two really winning issues for us, right? In the districts we have to win? I don't even think they're the right thing to do. If the evidence from Mueller is compelling, it should be compelling for Republicans as well, and that may be a moment of truth. But that's not where we are.''
This was the question with which Democrats were wrestling, on the eve of their reconquest of the House and Pelosi's expected return to House speaker, the job she held once before, from 2007 to 2011: Was Pelosi where they were? Was this genius of orderly politics equipped for the daily earthquakes brought on by Trump's fulminations?
I asked her if she had any reason to believe Trump was willing to work together in good faith. She laughed. ''I don't think he knows,'' she said. ''You know how I talk to him?'' She put down her spoon. ''I just say it in public. That's what he hears: what people say in public. Now, President Bush: a gentleman, we have disagreements on the liberal-conservative spectrum, but it's not '-- my God.'' She laughed mirthlessly as she thought of Trump again. ''What's the word I could use instead of 'grotesque'?''
Pelosi shrugged wearily. ''We'll see,'' she said. ''We'll have a contrast between decency and dignity and openness and bipartisanship and oneness, and whatever he decides to wake up to be that day.'' But, she went on, what lay ahead was not a contest of manners, nor even of parties. In Pelosi's view, Trump seemed bent on threatening the institutions of democracy, beginning with his attacks on the free press. ''He's trying to destroy the collective consciousness of our country.''
When I half-jokingly protested that in fact Trump loved the press, Pelosi quickly replied: ''May I say something you're not going to like? I think the press loves him. All day on TV '-- and I don't even watch TV, except sports. But he says somebody had a horse face '-- all day we hear about that. We hear about Kanye West, all day. You just give him all day! So I don't want you to think I'm making an analogy'' '-- the descendant of Italian immigrants then laughed, unable to resist '-- ''but Mussolini, he didn't care what they said about him, as long as they were talking about him.''
For months, Pelosi has been openly campaigning to be the next speaker of the House should her party gain a majority in the midterm elections, as it did on Election Day. This second speakership would make her the principal counterweight to a president she unabashedly described to me as ''a very dangerous man.'' It would also most likely be the final act of the 78-year-old legislator's long career as the most powerful woman in the history of American politics. In interviews, she has audaciously declared herself to be a ''master legislator''; issued policy statements on behalf of the Democratic caucus; and implicitly dared any challenger to make themselves known while also quelling opposition to her speakership by hinting in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in October that she was open to being a ''transitional figure.'' When I asked Pelosi about this olive branch two weeks later, however, she abruptly walked it back: ''I think every leader is a transitional figure.''
Her torrid October schedule, spanning more than two dozen cities, involved meeting with candidates whose victories on Nov. 6 were mostly all but assured, while taking care to avoid hotly contested races where the presence of one of the least popular and most reliably demonized figures in American politics might cost a Democrat votes. Pelosi had spent the previous day in Arizona, rallying volunteers and donors on behalf of Ann Kirkpatrick '-- a candidate who, then seven points ahead of her Republican opponent in internal polls, didn't really need Pelosi's help. But Kirkpatrick had publicly stated that she would vote for Pelosi as speaker, and Pelosi was offering a display of gratitude. And no doubt when the time came for Kirkpatrick to ask for a plum committee assignment '-- the Appropriations Committee happened to be her first choice '-- the speaker would be only too happy to demonstrate what loyalty got you with Nancy Pelosi.
''She is, in my view, the best speaker I've ever seen,'' said David Obey, the cantankerous former Democratic congressman from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, who served under eight different speakers, including Pelosi, over the course of his 42-year congressional career. ''She understands her caucus, and she doesn't run it like a San Francisco liberal. She runs it by trying to find its center of gravity. She works harder than anybody I've ever seen, and I think she has more determination to stand for something than anybody I've ever dealt with.''
When I asked Obey whether such skills were of any use in negotiating with a president like Trump, he acknowledged with a grunt, ''Well, I think it's damn near an impossible task for anybody to work with him. But to the extent that it's possible, she's the one who would have the best chance. If Trump plays that game of agreeing to something and then backing off, she has the talent to unify her caucus so that they have a unified message to take to the American people '-- because in cases like that, only the American people can set matters straight.''
Pelosi is something of a paradox in the world of politics. A Gallup poll five months ago found her favorability rating to be at a dismal 29 percent, and yet '-- unlike other unpopular political figures such as Trump and Hillary Clinton '-- her 31 years in public life have been free of scandal. She has been excoriated from the right as the quintessence of California limousine liberalism. But she is also a practicing Catholic whose first career was as a stay-at-home mother of five children, with little in common with '-- and at times little patience for '-- the new generation of activists in her party, to whom she sometimes refers as ''the lefties.'' Pelosi '-- who with her husband, the investor Paul Pelosi, owns a large house in San Francisco's upper-crust Presidio Heights as well as a Napa Valley vineyard '-- is indeed rich. But 29 members of Congress, 18 of them Republicans, are richer.
What sets her apart from other legislators of her stature is her gender. Pelosi has been known to say: ''No one gives you power. You have to take it from them.'' The leitmotif of her three-decade ascent is that of a woman wresting power away from a male-dominated political machine, until one day the machine discovered she was its master.
Image Pelosi speaking at a news conference about the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 26. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times Pelosi arrived in San Francisco in 1969 at age 29 with an advanced degree in back-room Democratic politics. Her father, Tom D'Alesandro, was a Baltimore congressman and mayor on intimate terms with the leading Democrats of his day; President Franklin Roosevelt fondly addressed him as Tommy. Pelosi moved doggedly up the California Democratic ranks: first as a fund-raiser; then as the chairwoman of the Northern California party; then, in 1982, as the first party chairwoman of a large state; then the host committee chairwoman of the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco; and a year after that, as the finance director of the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Still, when Pelosi, at 46, first ran for Congress in a 1987 special election, she was derided by the campaign of her Democratic primary opponent Harry Britt as a pampered and unserious ''party girl.'' And as one of only 26 women in a body of 435 members, Pelosi soon learned that, as her first chief of staff, Judy Lemons, told me: ''Sexual harassment and sexual overreaching were absolutely institutionalized. It was part of the deal.''
Pelosi took the system as it was. It was never her way to complain about being called a ''gutsy broad'' by jowly old bulls like Dan Rostenkowski, a Democratic congressman from Chicago, and stared at like a filet mignon. She established herself as a formidable fund-raiser and made still more friends upon landing a seat in 1993 on the Appropriations Committee '-- which, before Congress curtailed the practice, controlled the process of distributing the lucrative earmarks that members sought for their districts, constituents and benefactors.
When I asked Pelosi whether Democratic leaders had ever encouraged her to rise in the ranks, she scoffed. ''They didn't ever invite me to a meeting,'' she said. ''The only time I was ever in the Democratic speaker's office was when I became speaker. When I decided to run, the first thing I heard was: 'Who said she could run?' Oh, light my fire, why don't you! Then they said, 'Why don't women just make a list of things they want done, and we'll do them?' We're not talking about the 1800s '-- we're talking about 19 years ago!''
In 2001, Pelosi ran for minority whip. The move, like Pelosi's determination more generally, was informed by the not-unfounded belief that if she didn't lead the Democrats, someone else was apt to bungle the job. ''What she really saw was a leadership that was marking time,'' George Miller, Pelosi's colleague in the California delegation and an ally in the whip campaign, told me. ''And one thing she doesn't do is mark time.''
Pelosi's two main opponents, the courtly Marylander Steny Hoyer and the celebrated civil rights leader John Lewis of Georgia, proved no match for her shrewd deployment of campaign donations to woo members into her camp. Years later, John Spratt, a South Carolina congressman who voted against her at the time, sheepishly told me, ''I couldn't quite see her as whip, because you need to be kind of tough to be whip, and I estimated her differently. I just didn't put two and two together.''
The speaker of the House is constitutionally the presiding officer of the lower legislative chamber and statutorily second in line to the presidency, after the vice president. But the power conferred by the office is almost entirely situational. A speaker can promulgate the majority party's legislative agenda and frame the parameters of what takes place on the House floor. But this is no guarantee of legislative success, even when one party controls every branch of government '-- as the current speaker, Paul Ryan, can glumly attest. Ryan's Republican House membership has spent its time in the majority fiercely split between those inclined to govern and those hellbent on ideological warfare. Unable to command the far right, either by reverence or by fear, and condescended to by the leader of his own party in the White House, Ryan, for much of his tenure, has been a curiously irrelevant figure.
By contrast, during Nancy Pelosi's four years as speaker, there was no confusion as to who was in control. Pelosi used the tools at her disposal '-- committee assignments, campaign donations '-- to establish a balance among her party's coalitions while also reminding everyone that her job was not simply to officiate and appease. As one of Pelosi's former senior staff members, describing Pelosi's outlook, told me: ''What do you call a person who's 99 percent loyal? Disloyal. She has a long memory.'' Crossing Pelosi, it was understood, came at a cost.
As evidence, Democratic members had only to look at that lion of the House, Michigan's John Dingell, who did not vote for Pelosi as whip in 2001 '-- after which Pelosi backed a Democratic challenger to Dingell's seat in 2002 and later offered backstage support to her California colleague Henry Waxman when he challenged and defeated Dingell for chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2008. In 2006, Pelosi supported her close ally John Murtha of Pennsylvania in his doomed and divisive quest to wrest the majority-leader post away from Steny Hoyer, her chief opponent in the 2001 whip race. Jane Harman, another California representative and a respected foreign-policy specialist, was denied the House Intelligence Committee chairmanship in 2007 owing to some mysterious falling out with Pelosi.
But as Newt Gingrich learned the hard way two decades ago, an autocratic speaker is a short-lived one. Pelosi's reign was successful because she understood the will of her caucus rather than bending it to hers. ''There are two sets of negotiating skills you need as speaker,'' said Chris Van Hollen, the Maryland Democrat who served as one of Pelosi's most trusted lieutenants in the House from 2003 until he departed for the Senate in 2017. ''There are the skills you use to bring the caucus together, and then the skills you use when you're dealing with the other party. Your ability on the latter depends on the former. If you turn around and your troops aren't with you, you've obviously lost your bargaining strength. So one of the things that's really set Nancy Pelosi apart is her uncanny ability to unite all the different Democratic coalitions around a negotiating position. And whether it was Bush or Boehner or Ryan, they never doubted that she had the votes to back up her position.''
Unifying Pelosi's caucus has meant more than just bridging the predictable racial, geographical and ideological divisions among the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, the Progressive Caucus and the moderate Blue Dog Coalition. ''There's an old saying in politics: If you don't know your jewels, know your jeweler,'' David Obey told me. ''She understands what each individual member needs.'' George Miller said: ''When we had the tough votes to take, there were times when she'd say, 'Just give me the names and then leave me alone.''''
Among the toughest of tough votes, Miller said, was the Affordable Care Act. As the sweeping health care reform bill took shape in early 2009, Pelosi confronted a landscape peopled with intransigent House Republicans, reluctant Blue Dogs, liberals demanding nothing less than a single-payer system, skittish White House advisers and Senate Democrats willing to waste months in quixotic pursuit of bipartisan cover.
Pelosi '-- who in her first floor speech in 1987 vowed to fight AIDS and who in 2002 was the most high-profile Democrat to vote against invading Iraq '-- fell back on the credibility she had with progressives to persuade them that the ''public option'' hybrid of single-payer and privately managed health care plans was now dead on arrival in the Senate. Then she persuaded Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, an anti-abortion Democrat, to drop his demand that the health care bill prohibit federal funds being used on abortion. When a host of other backstage deals with Blue Dogs '-- like reckoning with disparities among states in Medicare reimbursements '-- failed, Pelosi managed the fallout. Obamacare passed in the House by three votes.
''I'd remind people: We would not have health care today were it not for Nancy Pelosi,'' Obey said. ''There were all kinds of people, both in our caucus and in the White House, who were willing to settle for one-tenth of a loaf. And she said, 'To hell with that. We were sent here to do more.''''
If Pelosi played a decisive role in the passage of Obamacare, she was also a factor in its unpopularity. Less than two weeks before it cleared the House, Pelosi acknowledged the public's apprehensiveness about the bill by telling an audience at the National Association of Counties's annual legislative conference, ''We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.'' Pelosi was trying to convey that the bill's actual value would become clear to Americans once it was enacted, but her breezy explanation remains the most memorable gaffe of her political career.
Image President-elect Donald Trump greeting Nancy Pelosi while arriving for his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2017. Credit J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press For all her mastery of Washington's inside game, Pelosi has never been a deft public-facing politician. Early in her career, a close associate told me, Pelosi hired a speech coach and studied videos of herself, with no discernible improvement. An aide once gently informed her that a speech she had just given ''meandered at times'' '-- which Pelosi, who is notoriously tough on her staff, did not take well. ''How was that '-- did I meander?'' she said to the aide for weeks thereafter.
Pelosi's speaking style is less tangential than cubist, full of unexpected angles. At times, she seems to be carrying on three or four different conversations at once. Her prodigious memory can prove burdensome '-- everything seems to remind her of something else '-- and she often seeks to legitimize her assertions with quotations from Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., the Constitution or some other unassailable authority. She often quotes herself too, or party slogans commissioned by her and given a focus group's seal of approval: Six for '06 (in 2006), Reigniting the American Dream (2011), Ladders of Opportunity (2012), A Better Deal (2017), For the People (2018).
Still, Pelosi's foremost liability is the effectiveness of the attacks against her. In 2010, Republicans spent $65 million attacking Pelosi in ads; the Republican National Committee hung a banner from its headquarters that read FIRE PELOSI. The attacks have often borne more than a tinge of sexism; in 2012, when Pelosi, as minority leader, wielded less power than the Senate's Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, Republicans' negative television ads were seven times as likely to mention Pelosi as Reid, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising. The 2010 onslaught took its toll on Pelosi's public standing '-- her favorable rating dropped into the 20s '-- but otherwise did not faze her. She made clear to her caucus members that they should do whatever it took to win, even if it meant publicly distancing themselves from her. ''I don't know anyone in the world with thicker skin, or anyone about whom more callous things have been said, and she just truly doesn't care,'' a former Pelosi staff member told me. ''There's a small constituency she cares about: her members.''
That November, when the G.O.P. seized 63 House seats and Democrats briefly considered whether new leadership was in order, Republicans cheekily replaced the banner on the R.N.C. building with one that read HIRE PELOSI. For the next eight years as minority leader, though, Pelosi did some of her best work. She managed to keep her caucus unified, while John Boehner's remained unruly. Some of the Tea Party freshmen who came to power in 2010 railing against the ''Pelosi liberals'' would, when I interviewed them several years later, confide to me that they wished their Republican leaders possessed Pelosi's spine. Among Pelosi's proudest feats, she told me, was keeping enough Democrats together to routinely vote against the G.O.P.'s incessant efforts to legislatively chip away at Obamacare. Even if such bills passed the House and the Senate, President Obama could veto them, and Pelosi's magic number of 146 dissenting Democrats (just over one-third of the House's overall membership) would be enough to sustain the president's veto.
During budget fights, House conservatives watched in astonished fury as Pelosi obtained one concession after the next '-- like increased spending for community health centers and freezing the number of deportation officers '-- even after Trump became president. It helped that the minority leader knew, far better than the Republicans, where the votes were. But her negotiating prowess was also a result of understanding legislative substance better than her counterparts did. ''You have to have knowledge of the details,'' she told me, casually adding, ''That's how I was able to beat them on everything.''
But Pelosi's caucus also grew restive during its years in the minority. Younger members impatient to distinguish themselves in a body of 435 saw little hope of achieving committee chairmanships; Pelosi, unlike her Republican counterparts, maintained the tradition of allotting them based on seniority. She did this out of deference to the Congressional Black Caucus, according to several former staff members, because African-American members have historically not been granted high party standing except through longevity. But between the unavailability of chairman posts and a leadership pipeline clogged with 70-somethings '-- Pelosi; Hoyer, the minority whip; and James Clyburn, the assistant minority leader '-- younger House Democrats have been left to ponder other opportunities.
''You have some of the institutional members say, 'Who are these upstarts?'''' one of these younger Democrats, Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who was elected in 2012, told me in 2015. ''One member of Congress compared us to spoiled kids, like teenagers who want a car on their 16th birthday. But you look at my class: Tulsi Gabbard, she's not going to stay in the House for long '-- she'll run for governor. Joe Kennedy, the same. Pat Murphy, the same. And they're all talented, ambitious and good fund-raisers. I've just got to think that when you see that 20-year road to be in a position of consequence, other options look a lot more attractive.'' O'Rourke, of course, left this year to pursue those other options, following his fellow erstwhile rising House stars Xavier Becerra (who was appointed attorney general of California in 2017) and Kyrsten Sinema (whom Arizona elected to the Senate this month).
The growing unease born of being in the minority was not confined to these members, however. ''She faces more division in her caucus than she ever had before,'' the former Pelosi aide told me. After the disastrous 2010 midterms, Heath Shuler, a Blue Dog moderate from North Carolina, decided to run against her for minority leader. Following the devastation of the 2016 election, another centrist, Tim Ryan of Ohio, challenged her as well. Neither Shuler nor Ryan made much pretense of being a Pelosi-caliber legislative tactician. Their candidacies were more based on what they were not: not from San Francisco, not liberal. They were also not skilled vote-counters. Shuler managed to collect just 43 of the Democratic caucus's 193 votes; six years later, Ryan took 63, to Pelosi's 134.
Still, by the time of Ryan's challenge to Pelosi's leadership in November 2016, several Democrats were no longer hiding their dissatisfaction '-- itself a sign of Pelosi's diminished power. She responded by creating new leadership posts and appointed three young members '-- Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Hakeem Jeffries of New York and David Cicilline of Rhode Island '-- to oversee a ''rebranding'' of the party that was more an exercise in inclusiveness than a substantive reimagination. She also began assuring members that she did not intend to stick around forever. She insisted publicly, for example, that had Hillary Clinton won, Pelosi would have felt that the Democrats no longer required her stewardship.
Many doubted this claim, including former staff members with whom I spoke. Her closest political confidant, George Miller, told me that Pelosi had never made such an indication to him. Further, the minority leader's recent assertion that it was important for her to stay so that the American public would have ''a woman at the table'' struck some in her caucus as disingenuous, given that Pelosi's perceived favorites to succeed her throughout the years '-- Chris Van Hollen, Steve Israel of New York, Xavier Becerra and most recently Joe Crowley, who was beaten in a primary upset in New York this year by the Democratic Socialist first-time candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez '-- were all men.
But, Pelosi knew, nothing would mollify her caucus like victory. In paving a road back to the majority, she returned to the playbook that worked for her last time. ''The first thing we had to do in 2005 was take the president's numbers down,'' Pelosi told me, referring to Bush's approval rating. ''Bush was 57 percent in early 2005.'' The moment Bush introduced the idea of partly privatizing Social Security, Pelosi's Democrats pounced and began attacking the scheme as an assault on senior citizens. ''His numbers came down to 38 in the fall,'' she recalled, ''and that's when the retirements started to happen'' '-- nervous Republican congressmen who decided to vacate their seats.
Because Trump began his presidency as a polarizing force even within his own party, Pelosi said, the Democrats were best served by standing back while one fainthearted Republican House member after the next, facing variously a Trump-adoring base or a Trump-inspired anti-Republican backlash, announced their retirements '-- 39 House and Senate members in all. The new Democratic candidates by and large stuck to the disciplined campaign message prescribed by Pelosi's rebranding efforts: protecting health care, advocating better jobs and wages through infrastructure improvements, restoring integrity to government. By the fall of 2018, some pundits criticized the Democratic field for not pounding away on Trump. Pelosi's view, she recalled, was: ''Yeah, that's what Hillary did, not what we're doing.''
With the threat of a blue wave becoming more real by the week in 2018, the Republicans returned to the formula that had served them so well over the past decade. According to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, more than 135,600 House and Senate ads in the 2018 cycle mentioned Pelosi ''in an entirely negative context.'' Navigating these headwinds was easier in some places than in others. The Second Congressional District of Virginia, for example, had been in G.O.P. hands since 2010, when Republicans successfully tagged the Democratic incumbent, Glenn Nye '-- a moderate whose voting record was ranked the ninth most independent in the entire House '-- as ''Pelosi's congressman.'' Nye told me after the 2010 election that although Pelosi generously raised funds on his behalf, he still blamed her in part for his defeat. ''My feeling was kind of, a better way to help would have been to help me with the environment. Because the environment'' '-- by which he meant the liberal aura of Nancy Pelosi '-- ''defeated me more than anything else.''
This year's Democratic candidate for Nye's old seat was Elaine Luria, a 43-year-old former Navy commander. An entrepreneur who previously voted Republican, she was well suited to a district populated by conservative-minded veterans, and she carried no personal baggage. In her campaign, Luria emphasized her military service and her commitment to pocketbook issues, while criticizing the G.O.P. incumbent, Scott Taylor, for his vote against Obamacare. She also outraised him in individual contributions.
Though Luria had never met Pelosi, she did accept a $17,000 donation from Pelosi's PAC. A growing number of this year's Democratic candidates in Republican-leaning districts felt obliged to say publicly that if elected they would support a change in leadership; Luria would not say whether she would vote for Pelosi as speaker. The National Republican Congressional Committee attack ads echoed a familiar theme: ''Liberal Nancy Pelosi is pulling Luria's strings.'' ''Your vote determines if she becomes speaker again. ... Pelosi says amnesty to illegal immigrants and gun controls. It's what you get if Elaine Luria gets elected.'' Luria had jumped to the lead in August, but a poll in mid-October had her down by seven points.
Image Pelosi, with President Barack Obama, during a ceremony two days after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images On Election Day, the district was swamped with unusually heavy turnout. About a half-hour before midnight, Taylor called Luria and conceded defeat. Late that night, the congresswoman-elect received another call. It was from Nancy Pelosi. ''So glad to have you join us,'' she said.
Two days after the election, at just before 10 a.m., Pelosi let me into her office in the House minority leader's suite. She had gotten very little sleep, and was subsisting, she claimed, on ''very, very dark chocolate.'' She referred several times to the 19 women like Luria who had helped push the House Democrats well over the threshold of 23 seats needed to reclaim the majority. In 1992, Congress's so-called Year of the Woman, a record-breaking 106 female House candidates were on the ballot. This year there were 233, and more than 100 of them won.
Though Pelosi did not volunteer this to me, the infusion of women into the Democratic caucus carried considerable political significance to her. She lent financial support to many of them during the campaign and had every intention of tying her fate to theirs, as a close Pelosi associate told me shortly before the election: ''If you look at these women who are poised to win, the second generation of Year of the Woman, do you really think they're going to say, 'Let's not have a woman as speaker?''''
The day after the election, however, news leaked of a conference call among Pelosi's detractors in the caucus. The nine or so dissidents '-- led by Kathleen Rice of New York and Ed Perlmutter of Colorado '-- had begun reaching out to about a dozen successful Democratic candidates to see if they were now willing to make good on their publicly expressed skepticism about Pelosi as leader. Perlmutter, who backed Tim Ryan over Pelosi in 2016, told me, ''For me '-- and I'm even more emphatic about it than I was two years ago '-- this is about change. You look in the middle of the country, at the districts we picked up '-- a lot of the candidates said they wouldn't support her, or avoided the question. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent demonizing her, and it's permeated the public's view of her. That's not her fault. But what she hasn't done is have a succession plan. And that's an element of being a leader.''
A new speaker would need to win a total of 218 votes on the House floor. Assuming that the Democrats take 232 seats after the final ballot-counting, and assuming as well that no Republican votes in her favor, Pelosi could afford to lose 14 votes but no more. Perlmutter insists that Pelosi is beneath the 218 threshold '-- but the rebels have yet to find anyone in their caucus willing to present themselves as an alternative. Their best hope seems to be to play a game of chicken with the Democratic leader, threatening to withhold votes unless she agrees to certain concessions, like a clearly defined time limit to her tenure as speaker.
Pelosi told me a few days before the election that she wouldn't find it necessary to stay on if a Democrat became president in 2020. ''I could walk away from that,'' she said. ''We'd be in good hands.'' But she also mentioned that there were things she would like to accomplish that would probably be impossible under Trump, like addressing climate change. As always, Pelosi was preserving her options, assessing her leverage, committing to nothing until she had to.
Trump had called to congratulate her on election night, while she and other party leaders were gathered in a ballroom at the Hyatt near the Capitol. She could barely hear him over the cheering, but he said something about a willingness to work on infrastructure. Of course, Pelosi told me, Trump said the same thing to her on the phone just after he was elected. ''We just have to hope,'' she said. ''You always have to try.''
At least Trump ''didn't declare the election illegal,'' Pelosi said. ''We had a plan for that'' '-- though really, she acknowledged, the only workable plan was ''to win big. Had it been four or five seats, he would've tried to dismantle it.'' In his news conference the day after the midterms, Trump spoke respectfully of Pelosi: ''I give her a great deal of credit for what she's done and what she's accomplished. Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs.''
But Trump also warned darkly that if the House Democrats hounded his administration with investigations, he would urge the Republican-controlled Senate to investigate Pelosi's caucus '-- and, he said, ''I think I'm better at that game than they are, actually.'' Then, as if to test their resolve, Trump rounded off the day by demanding the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with Sessions's chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, who had been publicly critical of the Mueller investigation into possible Russian involvement in Trump's 2016 campaign.
In the Trump era, Pelosi told me, it was obvious that the Democrats could not afford to let the president dominate every news cycle. ''I do see the role as less work horse and more show horse now,'' she said. But she insisted that she would gladly cede the public advocacy to her caucus's more able communicators, like Adam Schiff, who would most likely be replacing Trump's ally Devin Nunes as the new House Intelligence Committee chairman. ''Oh, I prefer it,'' she said. ''And Adam, compared to Nunes '-- what a joke!''
But already, one of Pelosi's top lieutenants seemed to have wandered off-message: The conservative columnist Mollie Hemingway reported the day after the midterms that the incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler of New York, had been overheard on an Acela train by an unspecified source telling someone on the phone that he intended to investigate whether Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Though Pelosi was reluctant to discuss the matter with me, it was obvious from her pursed lips what she thought of Nadler's comments.
In addition to the daily combat with the White House, the probable speaker had a new caucus to tend to. Members of the Progressive Caucus were claiming that the Democrats had their energy to thank for the election results. ''The majority came from other districts,'' Pelosi noted wryly, but ''everybody's in a leveraging mood right now.'' Five days after Pelosi said this, Ocasio-Cortez joined activists staging a sit-in outside the minority leader's office for congressional action on climate change.
Meanwhile, requests for committee assignments were already pouring in, requiring the usual calibrations on her part: who needed a national-security-related credential, which caucuses and state delegations needed more representation where, who had been loyal to Pelosi, who had not. And which newer members should she lift into the ranks of leadership? Despite her debt to the dozens of new women, Pelosi did not appear to see it as her obligation to nurture them in any particular way. ''It's not a choice of whether I'd hand it to them on a silver platter or not,'' she said. ''It's, do members want somebody anointed? I don't think they do. The person has to emerge. People have to emerge. And it's hard.''
But, she believed, a new leader would materialize. ''We always say when the new ones come: 'Here are the freshman recruits. Who among them will be the leaders in this Congress? Or rise in other offices? Or be president of the United States? Let's see the opportunity.''''
For a moment I mistook her words as sentimental '-- hope springing eternal, opening day, the circle of life or some such. But no. This was Machiavellian. Power had to be seized from someone else.
I suggested that there were sometimes surprises you couldn't predict. The barest trace of a smile crossed Pelosi's lips. ''I don't think anybody could have predicted it in me,'' she said.
Robert Draper is a writer at large for the magazine. He last wrote about the Democrats and immigration.
Peanut allergy treatment around the corner but cost raises concerns | Society | The Guardian
The first medical treatment for children with peanut allergies is likely to be approved next year but there are concerns about its affordability, even though it consists essentially of peanut flour.
A study in the US and at the UK's Evelina children's hospital shows that gradually increasing a tiny initial dose of peanut protein over six months enabled two-thirds of children eventually to eat two peanuts without ill effects. The paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, follows a similar, smaller trial in Cambridge, UK, four years ago.
The latest results are from scientists funded by Aimmune Therapeutics, which was launched to investigate this treatment for peanut allergies. They believe they will have approval for their treatment, delivered in a capsule that is broken open and sprinkled over food, in the middle of next year.
The difference between their trial of a treatment they call AR101 in 550 children and those that have gone before ''is the rigour with which the whole process was undertaken'' said allergist Dr Stephen Tillis, professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and co-author of the study.
''It is a pharmaceutical-grade treatment product. It is not just peanut flour that you can buy somewhere.'' It is, he said, ''a grade that the FDA [Food and Drug Administration, which licences drugs in the US] here would be satisfied with''.
Children in the trial were given treatment in three phases, beginning with a very low dose, which was increased every two weeks for a minimum of 20 weeks, with daily dosing at home all the way through, up to 12 months.
Most of the children on the trial began with a reaction to anything more than 10mg peanut protein '' a US peanut contains about 300mg and a smaller UK peanut about 160mg. By the end of the trial, the median amount tolerated was 1000mg, or about four peanuts. ''To me that is astounding,'' said Tilles.
Scientists think children will have to continue to consume peanut protein to remain safe, possibly for life. Peanut allergy is a potential killer. Earlier this month, the owners of a takeaway restaurant in Lancashire were jailed over the death of 15-year-old Megan Lee who suffered an asthma attack after eating food widely contaminated with peanut protein. Two years ago Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after eating a Pret sandwich containing sesame seeds.
That makes a peanut allergy treatment both much needed and potentially highly lucrative. Tillis says their treatment will not be priced like a biological treatment '' which are extremely expensive. ''It will not be tens of thousands of dollars, but priced like an innovative new medication,'' he said.
Peanut allergy emerged in the 1990s and now affects over 100,000 children in the UK '' about one in 50 '' and more than 1.5 million in the US. It has been estimated the market for a treatment could be $4.8bn a year.
In Cambridge, Dr Andrew Clark and colleagues, whose Lancet paper in 2014 generated huge excitement, are also working towards a treatment which should come out in a couple of years. ''We have commercialised it,'' said Clark. He says he hopes theirs will be gentler, pointing out that 20% of children dropped out in the AR101 trial, including 12% because of side effects.
Since their report, they have treated 180 patients privately because the NHS will not fund it. Only four have dropped out, he says. Their treatment, now costing around £17,000 per child, is unlikely to be much cheaper than AR101, but includes the staffing and hospital costs involved in treating children safely.
Dr Michael Perkin, honorary consultant in paediatric allergies at St George's, University of London, says in an editorial in the NEJM that it is salutary to remember that the treatment used in Cambridge was ''a bag of peanut flour costing peanuts''.
''It's not like this is some sort of fancy wonder drug that's been created with a monoclonal antibody in some clever laboratory. They've got exactly the same peanut flour and shoved it inside a capsule,'' he told the Guardian.
But there are dangers in trying to desensitise a child at home. ''The ability to flake off the right amount of peanut or buy a bag of peanut flour to do it is going to be fraught with potential hazards. If a parent's hand wavers they could end up with 10 or 20 or 50 times the dose and trigger a significant reaction,'' he said.
It could mean families finding the money to put their child through the first six months with a licensed treatment '' and then buying peanuts to keep them protected.
''Certainly that is one scenario,'' said Tillis. Small groups in the US were already doing what he called ''off-label peanut immunotherapy'' '' treatment with something that does not have a medical licence. ''A lot of those patients end up with some store-bought food.'' But, he added: ''We don't know if that is the equivalent of the maintenance dose of AR101.''
EXC: MI6 battling Donald Trump over release of classified Russia probe documents
MI6 chiefs are secretly battling Donald Trump to stop him publishing classified information linked to the Russian election meddling investigation.
The UK is warning that the US president would undermine intelligence gathering if he releases pages of an FBI application to wiretap one of his former campaign advisers.
However Trump allies are fighting back, demanding transparency and asking why Britain would oppose the move unless it had something to hide.
It forces the spotlight on whether the UK played a role in the FBI's investigation launched before the 2016 presidential election into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin.
The Telegraph has talked to more than a dozen UK and US officials, including in American intelligence, who have revealed details about the row.
British spy chiefs have ''genuine concern'' about sources being exposed if classified parts of the wiretap request were made public, according to figures familiar with discussions.
''It boils down to the exposure of people'', said one US intelligence official, adding: ''We don't want to reveal sources and methods.'' US intelligence shares the concerns of the UK.
Another said Britain feared setting a dangerous ''precedent'' which could make people less likely to share information, knowing that it could one day become public.
Former FBI director and special counsel Robert Mueller has headed the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 Trump campaign Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
The current row is deemed so politically sensitive that staff at the British embassy in Washington DC have been barred from discussing it with journalists.
Theresa May, who already has a testing relationship with Mr Trump, has also been kept at arms-length and is understood to have not raised the issue directly with the US president.
Trump's two-year headache The row is about an FBI request to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, which was made in October 2016 - the month before the US election.
The FBI said it had suspicions Mr Page was being targeted for recruitment by the Russian government and cited classified intelligence to make its case.
The agency was granted approval for 90 days of surveillance by a secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [Fisa]. It was renewed a number of times.
Republican allies of Mr Trump in the US Congress have pounced on the application, claiming the FBI failed to follow due process and presented information in a flawed way. A heavily redacted version of the documents has already been released.
The Republican memo released by Congress alleged that the FBI abused its power to spy on Donald Trump Credit: ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images
International intelligence concerns Mr Trump wants to declassify 21 pages from one of the applications. He announced the move in September, then backtracked, then this month said he was "very seriously" considering it again. Both Britain and Australia are understood to be opposing the move.
Memos detailing alleged ties between Mr Trump and Russia compiled by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, were cited in the application, which could explain some of the British concern.
Numerous spokesmen for UK and US government bodies declined to comment. Mr Page has denied being a foreign agent for Russia.
The row comes as UK intelligence agencies are increasingly dragged into a heated and partisan battle in Washington DC over the origins of the Russian investigation.
Mr Trump's allies and former advisers are raising questions about the UK's role in the start of the probe, given many of the key figures and meetings were located in Britain.
Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who compiled a dossier on Donald Trump, was cited in the FBI's application to monitor Trump's advisers Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Ex-adviser renews accusations George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, has publicly claimed he was targeted by UK spies and told The Telegraph that he is demanding transparency.
Republicans are attempting to protect the US president by suggesting the Russia investigation, which continues to this day, was invalid from the start.
The probe, now overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, is looking into whether Trump campaign figures conspired with the Kremlin and whether the president obstructed justice.
By suggesting the investigation was created by shadowy intelligence figures who wanted to thwart Mr Trump's candidacy from the start, Republicans are making it easier for the eventual findings to be waved away.
However a result of the attack line is that Britain's spy agencies are being included in claims of ''deep state'' opposition to Mr Trump. It risks inflaming UK-US tensions at a time when Britain wants to deepen ties with America as it leaves the European Union.
The row over the Page wiretap application is not the only manifestation of the tensions.
Mr Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying about his conversations with Russian-linked figures, has begun publicly pointing a finger of blame at Britain.
In April 2016, Mr Papadopoulos was told by Joseph Mifsud, an academic allegedly tied to Russia, that the Kremlin had damaging emails about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, before the documents had been made public.
In May 2016, Mr Papadopoulos reportedly mentioned that fact over a drink with Alexander Downer, the Australian high commissioner in London - a boast which triggered the FBI to start 'Operation Crossfire Hurricane', which would eventually become the Russia probe.
In the last two-and-a bit months Mr Papadopoulos has been interviewed at least six times on Fox News - Mr Trump's favourite cable news channel - and pushed the idea that Western intelligence set him up.
He has suggested he was ''lured'' to London ''so that the British would spy on me'' and was targeted by a ''plot by Western intelligence''. The Fox News presenters have often echoed the suggestions.
Mr Papadopoulos told The Telegraph: ''The British Government has a lot of explaining to do. It's in their interest to be transparent. Why was the British intelligence apparatus weaponised against Trump and his advisers?''
George Papadopoulos, former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, left the federal court in Washington after being sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. His claims that Britain and Australia had colluded with the FBI were the start of the Mueller probe into Russian interference in the US Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Other Trump allies are pushing similar claims. One former top White House adviser to Mr Trump made similar insinuations, telling this newspaper: ''You know the Brits are up to their neck."
The source added on the Page wiretap application: ''I think that stuff is going to implicate MI5 and MI6 in a bunch of activities they don't want to be implicated in, along with FBI, counter-terrorism and the CIA."
Republican claims rebuked One former UK official warned that many of the attacks seem to originate from right-wing internet forums, such as 4chan. The claims must be treated with suspicion given they are often cited without hard evidence and bring a political benefit to the White House.
GCHQ, Britain's secret listening post, issued a rare on-record statement last year denying a suggestion quoted by Sean Spicer, then the White House press secretary, that it had helped wiretap Trump Towers. A GCHQ spokesman called the claim ''nonsense'' and ''utterly ridiculous''.
UK spy agencies MI6 (headquarters pictured) and MI5 have been criticised by Republicans Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Tony Blair, the former prime minister, also had to publicly deny a suggestion he told Jared Kushner, Mr Trump's son-in-law, that UK intelligence agencies may have been involved in surveillance of the Trump campaign.
The claim was made in Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury. Mr Blair said the suggestion was a ''complete fabrication'' from ''beginning to end''.
With Mr Mueller's probe appearing to be nearing its end, UK officials are braced for Trump allies to ramp up the claims as they look to protect the president from any damaging revelations.
Ook in Vlaanderen brandstofblokkades | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
De toevoer van tankstations komt daardoor stil te staan. Twee Shell-tankstations hebben sinds woensdagochtend geen diesel meer. De kans dat je in Belgi misgrijpt bij de pomp groeit met het uur.
Het brandstoftekort is een direct gevolg van de uit Frankrijk overgeslagen acties van de 'gele hesjes', zegt Shell tegen VTM Nieuws.
Shell is overgegaan op een noodplan. Langs de snelwegen worden de pompen het eerst gevuld.
Ook Total ondervindt hinder van de blokkades, zo schrijft Het Nieuwsblad. In Vlaanderen en Walloni zitten circa tachtig Total-stations zonder benzine of diesel.
Johan Mattart, algemeen directeur van Brafco (de Belgische federatie van brandstoffenhandelaars), zegt dat de blokkades in Walloni en Frankrijk de bevoorradingsplanning in de war hebben gestuurd. De situatie zou weer beter worden nu in Walloni weer opslagplaatsen open gaan.
Door de acties komen veel Waalse brandstoffenhandelaren voorraad halen in Vlaanderen en Brussel. In eerste instantie gaat het vooral om de depots dichtbij de taalgrens, bijvoorbeeld in Vilvoorde of in Neder-Over-Heembeek, maar als de wachttijden daar te lang oplopen of de depots niet voldoende bevoorraad kunnen worden, trekken de brandstoffenhandelaars verder het land in.
Het protest van de 'gele hesjes' op de snelweg E19 ter hoogte van Feluy liep woensdag volledig uit de hand. De snelweg werd opnieuw in beide richtingen geblokkeerd en de betogers gooiden molotovcocktails naar de politie. 39 mensen werden opgepakt.
Dagelijks tijdens de lunch het laatste nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
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FACT CHECK: Was Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Photographed Wearing a Confederate Soldier's Cap?
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith posted photographs of herself wearing a Confederate soldier's hat during a visit to the home of Jefferson Davis.
Amid criticism for her seemingly approving remarks about voter suppression and ''public hangings,'' a set of photographs posted by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi at the home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis were brought to light in November 2018.
The news site Politico first reported on the photographs, which were published in August 2014 on Hyde-Smith's Facebook page with a caption reading ''I enjoyed my tour of Beauvoir. The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library located in Biloxi. This is a must see. Currently on display are artifacts connected to the daily life of the Confederate Soldier including weapons. Mississippi history at its best!'':
The story, which was picked up by other news outlets, came hours before a 20 November 2018 debate between Hyde-Smith and her U.S. Senate challenger, Democrat Mike Espy. The two were headed to a runoff election for Hyde-Smith's seat on 27 November 2018. (We contacted Hyde-Smith's office seeking comment but did not hear back prior to publication.)
Hyde-Smith herself had been under increased scrutiny following the 6 November 2018 midterm election, during which she was captured on video saying of a supporter that ''If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row.'' She later called the remark an ''exaggerated expression of regard.''
A separate video showed Hyde-Smith seemingly declaring at a 3 November 2018 campaign stop that making it more difficult for ''liberal folks'' to vote was a ''great idea'':
And then they remind me that there's a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who '... maybe we don't want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that's a great idea.
A spokesperson for her campaign maintained Hyde-Smith was ''obviously'' joking and called the video ''selectively edited.''
The mounting criticism of Hyde-Smithled to retail chain Walmart and other companies' requesting that the senator's campaign refund their respective campaign donations.
''Sen. Hyde-Smith's recent comments clearly do not reflect the values of our company and associates,'' Walmart said on Twitter.
Hyde-Smith also reportedly accepted a $2,700 donation from reputed white supremacist Peter Sieve, who was sued by the state of Washington in 2011 for his anti-Muslim hiring policies. While he settled the lawsuit for $485,000 six years later and issued an apology, court documents revealed that among other policies, Sieve had instituted $1,000 bonuses for his almost all-white staff for marrying and having children:
When [our sons and daughters] choose to not repopulate and allow our wonderful country to be backfilled with rubbish from the desperate and criminal populations of the third world, I find that to be disgusting and I find those persons to make these decisions to be repulsive and I don't like them around me.
Heading into her debate with Espy, Hyde-Smith's campaign reportedly demanded that no news outlets besides moderator Maggie Wade and her panelists be allowed into the venue, nor that the debate be watched by a live audience. The debate was to be hosted by the Mississippi Farm Bureau, whose president, Mike McCormick, donated $500 to Hyde-Smith's campaign, while Ted Kendall, who was listed as the organization's central vice president, donated $3,500 to her campaign between June and October.
Arkin, James. ''Embattled Hyde-Smith Posted Photo of Herself in Confederate Hat.'' Politico. 20 November 2018.
Brice-Sadler, Michael and Deanna Paul. ''A Senator Refuses to Apologize for Joking About 'Public Hanging' in a State Known for Lynchings.'' The Washington Post. 12 November 2018.
Smith, Allan. ''Mississippi GOP Sen. Hyde-Smith Calls Voter Suppression 'Great Idea.' Campaign: 'Obviously' Joking.'' NBC News. 15 November 2018.
Legum, Judd. ''After Lynching Comments, Walmart Donates to Cindy Hyde-Smith.'' Popular Info. 19 November 2018.
Pittman, Ashton. ''Hyde-Smith Accepts $2,700 Donation from Notorious White Supremacist.'' Jackson Free Press. 16 November 2018.
Pittman, Ashton. ''Hyde-Smith Demanded No Audience, No Press for Tonight's Debate.'' Jackson Free Press. 20 November 2018.
Published 20 November 2018
Is it finally time for media companies to adopt a common publishing platform? >> Nieman Journalism Lab
Media companies are each independently trying to solve the same technical problems, rather than focusing on competing with Facebook. Is the usual answer to ''buy or build?'' changing?
One of the most important lessons I learned as Vice's chief technology officer was that while the operational needs of the company might feel unique, fundamentally those needs were no different from any other media company. Put another way, while our content was different from other media companies, our business processes and systems didn't need to be.
This was applicable to business systems like our ERP and CRM '-- but equally so to our digital publishing platform.
Given this reality, why had we at Vice '-- like so many other media companies '-- built rather than bought our publishing platform? The answer is that, until recently, we didn't have a viable ''buy'' option. All-in-one CMS/platforms like Drupal, CQ, and WordPress suffered from design limitations and a perception that they would be slow to adapt to changes in web technology. So most media companies choose to build their own proprietary platforms and content management systems.
Today, though, the commercial market for publishing platforms is maturing, and ''buy'' is finally becoming a viable option. I don't suggest ''buy'' casually, as I spent more than seven years building an international-first platform for Vice that was best in class. It spanned more than 12 brands and was used by offices in 35 countries. But the rationale I used for building rather than buying 10 years ago was predicated on a user experience and platform market that is dramatically different in 2018.
For the media industry as a whole, the stakes are high: If companies can set aside their (considerable) differences and use a single publishing platform, they could collectively mount a winning fight against Facebook.
How we got hereWhen I first built Viceland.com in 2001, its primary purpose was to reproduce the print version of Vice Magazine and to provide contact details to buy print ads. We optimized the site for dialup modems and 640480 screens.
By 2005, with broadband penetration and screen sizes growing '-- and more time being spent online '-- media companies started to seriously invest in their online properties. But with little understanding of the new KPIs '-- uniques, pageviews, and time on site '-- and few reliable ways to compare one site to another, media companies did what they do best: They built out experiences that mirrored their print editions. Branding was key; user experience not so much. As media companies built their own platforms, they in turn grew sizable engineering and product teams focused on their digital lines of business.
By 2011, with the mainstream acceptance of smartphones and the first iPads, the number of screen sizes proliferated and responsive design '-- the process by which a single page can adapt to different screen-sizes '-- started gaining traction. Over the next three years, most sites were redesigned to make them mobile optimized. By 2015, most media companies had crossed the 50 percent mark for content consumed on mobile versus desktop.
But with responsive design came an unintended consequence: When reading on mobile, you really couldn't tell one media property from another. A primary reason for building your own platform '-- to support a unique brand-focused design '-- was becoming irrelevant.
This matters a lot. If all sites look the same on mobile, and if mobile is the dominant means of consuming media in 2018, why use a custom platform?
One answer is that the ''built'' platform is still handling a ton of custom backend operations, from ad tech and third-party platform integrations (Apple News, Google AMP) to powering the CMS. But that means that the development teams are no longer tackling anything unique '-- they're just solving the same problems as everyone else. Which just doesn't make sense. It's as if every record label had their own dev team building their own version of iTunes or Spotify.
The alternativeStarting in 2014, several media companies began to take their own publishing systems and repurpose them as platforms that could be used by other publishers. Vox Media's Chorus, The Washington Post's Arc, New York Media's Clay, and Hearst's MediaOS are four such platforms that are now available for licensing.
Chorus is built by Vox Media, which is run by an executive team with significant technical experience. This is worth calling attention to, as it means they're well equipped to understand the resources that are required to build and support a platform for licensing. And through their acquisitions of Eater, Racked, Curbed, and Recode, they have experience in bringing new sites onto their platform (and a vested interest in making them as successful as possible). Chorus is SaaS software, meaning that Vox Media hosts the platform themselves, giving publishers a system that addresses all current publishing requirements, while at the same time receiving regular updates for future needs (think Google AMP, GDPR compliance, etc.). Most of the third party services a company currently uses for their sites '-- Google Analytics, Operative, DFP, Krux '-- can be used with Chorus after an initial configuration. Chorus also ties directly into Concert, Vox Media's publisher-focused programmatic marketplace, allowing companies that have been struggling with ad sales the possibility of both higher CPMs and sold-out inventory.New York magazine is hoping to get media companies to contribute to a common goal of building out a flexible, scalable platform. They open-sourced a significant portion of their own platform, Clay, and are licensing out a full enterprise version to publishers. Clay is not SaaS and an internal team is still needed to support the basic platform. But then any publisher can contribute additions through GitHub '-- or simply branch off and create their own add-ons while retaining the basic CMS/platform underneath. For publishers looking to support edge-case content modules (horoscopes, recipes, sports scores), Clay allows not only for their development, but also the sharing of those entities across publishers. Slate has already moved onto the platform and a number of other publishers using the system will be announced soon. Clay would be ideal for a company that wanted the advantages of a common platform but still needed to do significant development work to refine the user experience. (Node/Express and AWS skills are helpful to support development.) And for the procurement-minded, those devops contracts with Fastly, AWS, and Akamai are still needed as Clay is self-hosted.The Washington Post's Arc is another SaaS platform which aims to be a one-stop solution for almost all publisher needs. A company can go all in with Arc and leverage the system for everything from video livestreaming to analytics to hosting to CDN. While there's no Concert marketplace to tie into (yet), Arc comes with modules supporting A/B content testing, newsletters, subscriptions, and digital asset management. The Washington Post is working to position Arc as the SaaS based media platform and is heavily investing in the service. More than 30 major brands are now using Arc, including the the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and Le Parisien.And finally there's Hearst's MediaOS, a relative newcomer in this space, launching in 2016. Like Chorus and Arc, MediaOS is a SaaS solution. What makes it an interesting entry in this space is that MediaOS natively needs to support ''old-school'' and ''new-school'' properties, from digital-first (Digital Spy) to magazines (Cosmopolitan, Elle), to TV stations (KSBW) '-- globally. It was built with unity in mind '-- consolidating content creation, distribution, ecommerce, video, analytics, ad deployment, and operations within a single system. With some integration help, customers can keep their existing services or for a simpler deploy they can use the services that Hearst has already bundled into MediaOS. Also included is a suite of third-party tools that the Hearst development team carefully vetted and integrated into the greater ecosystem. The majority of the stack is proprietary, comprised of over 40 unique micro-services granting any contributing engineer the opportunity to become platform contributors.It should be noted that there are a number of modern CMSes that could also be considered, such as Brightspot, Contentful, and even good old WordPress. But because they're not purpose built for media companies by media companies, they need to be evaluated carefully. There are many use cases for media sites, especially around advanced ad-tech integration, that other industries don't need to worry about '-- so buyer beware.
''Buy'' is still not for everyoneThese platforms aren't perfect '-- yet! Using a bought platform will always mean some level of tradeoff.
Companies that have unique content edge cases '-- say, a recipes site '-- may find these platforms to be square pegs in round holes for their content. With that said, each platform does allow for significant front-end customization, so supporting edge cases is possible, and if this is critical for your business, then Clay may be the best choice.Localizing content is possible in all four platforms, but none developed their CMS with localization as a core requirement. At Vice, we built out our platform knowing that 20-plus smaller offices would be translating content from larger markets, so it was key that the system be optimized to support that workflow. Media companies with local content needs may want to wait until one of the platforms can demonstrate that they have truly built out support for localization.Those media companies which have already invested in homegrown, common platforms to support multiple properties will see less benefits than others as they're already achieving an economy of scale with their current systems.And for media companies that do choose to migrate from a custom system, there are several other considerations:
Staff morale is a big concern. After years of building unique custom software, moving to a common platform may seem like admitting defeat. I'd recommend bringing the engineering and product teams into the decision making process '-- explain the cost savings and let them have a real say in which platform is chosen. Remember that keeping the current team happy isn't just something nice to do '-- they will be critical to migrating existing data and the ultimate success of the new platform.Depending on the platform chosen, existing contracts with vendors may no longer be needed. That means that timing of a move should be coordinated with sunsetting long-term, high-cost contracts. For companies considering the purchase of a platform in the next 1 to 2 years, it would be prudent to cap all new IT contracts to no more than 12-month terms or to require a 30-day out.For companies that have built out iOS or Android apps and feel that those apps are providing value, it will be important to work with the platform teams to understand how APIs can be connected to continue to push content to your existing apps.A united futureIf media could consolidate around a common publishing platform, it would allow players of all sizes to cut costs as well as better compete against Facebook as a media union, taking action collectively, and once and for all addressing their biggest revenue challenges.
For example, while technology exists to stop ad blockers by preventing those using them from viewing a site, most media companies are afraid that by employing an ad-blocker blocker, their visitors will simply go to their competition. But what if every site blocked ad blockers at the same time? Or concurrently deployed a paywall? Users couldn't simply go to the competition because everyone would be rolling out the change at the same time. (Side note: See Scroll for how publishers could be doing this right now.)
On the SEO front, when Google rolls out dramatic changes to how they index the Internet, in a united media world, any adverse impact that was not content related would be felt by all companies equally, preventing the unpredictable and brutal way some companies have suffered through recent Google updates.
For developers building services for media sites '-- especially those that require CMS integration '-- the need to support hundreds of different custom platforms is a tough barrier to entry and prohibits easy scaling. Imagine having to customize software for several hundred different systems, each requiring hand-holding from the companies' developers? Big developers can handle this, but smaller innovators struggle. The end result is that many developers steer clear of working on third-party media apps altogether. A common publishing platform would allow for plug-and-play integration, spurring far more third-party development.
At stake is a future where companies that transition to a common platform will be able to focus on what they do best '-- develop content '-- and leverage their development teams to optimize the ''last mile'' of user experience rather than solving problems that have already been solved by others.
Jesse Knight was the CTO/CIO at Vice Media from 2012 to 2017 and is now consulting on media, technology, and how to efficiently scale companies.
Mozart 2027 used under a Creative Commons license.
Jack Dorsey went to India to promote Twitter. He started a huge fight instead. - VICE News
Twitter's Jack Dorsey was accused of ''hate mongering'' and ''inciting violence'' Monday '-- by users of Twitter in India.
The CEO was pictured with women activists Sunday at a meeting in New Delhi, holding a poster that said: ''Smash Brahminical patriarchy.''
The political art refers to the demands of India's Dalit lower caste and other religious minorities to address sex-based and caste-based discrimination perpetrated by the elite Brahmins.
Dorsey is on a tour of Asia to talk to officials and activists about their experiences on the platform. His visit to India, one of Twitter's fastest growing markets, was to meet with groups ahead of the elections in 2019.
The CEO was handed the poster during a meeting with women journalists and activists. A picture was shared by one of the attendees that quickly went viral, sparking an immediate backlash.
T. V. Mohandas Pai, a former finance chief of software exporter Infosys, accused the Twitter chief of "hate mongering" against Brahmins.
Others called it an ''incitement to violence'':
One user labeled Dorsey ''Hinduphobic'':
A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Dorsey understood the poster's messaging.
READ: India pressured WhatsApp to address mob violence. They hired someone 8,000 miles away.
Twitter India said Monday that the poster is ''not a statement from Twitter or our CEO, but a tangible reflection of our company's efforts to see, hear, and understand all sides of important public conversations that happen on our service around the world.''
Vijaya Gadde, who heads up safety on Twitter and who accompanied Dorsey to India, went further and directly apologized. ''I'm very sorry for this. It's not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us '-- we should have been more thoughtful. Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India.''
But some activists have criticized what they see as Twitter's kowtowing to India's elite.
''If these people threw as big of a tantrum over what is actually happening in terms of gender-based and caste atrocities, we wouldn't have to make a poster,'' Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the executive director of Equality Labs, a South Asian community technology organization, told VICE News.
It was Soundararajan's colleague who gifted the poster to Dorsey. Soundararajan said that the Twitter CEO had now seen his own platform from a very different perspective.
''Jack Dorsey for a day got to experience what it is like to be a Dalit woman and guess what, it's not fucking pleasant, which is why so many of our people leave the platform,'' Soundararajan said.
Twitter has long struggled to contain hatred and incitement to violence on its platform. In India, where there is a direct link between online and offline violence, people no longer feel safe using the site.
''It's unsafe and no one wants to be exposed to rape threats and death threats, and we know in India in particular, online violence is a precursor to physical violence '-- just look at the WhatsApp lynchings," Soundararajan said.
Cover image: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addresses students during a town hall at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, India, November 12, 2018. (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)
Massive Data Leaks Keep Happening Because Big Companies Can Afford to Lose Your Data - Motherboard
The Weakest Link is Motherboard's third, annual theme week dedicated to the future of hacking and cybersecurity. Follow along here .
Listen to Motherboard's new hacking podcast, CYBER, here.
If you live in the United States, there's almost a 50 percent chance your personal data was lost in the giant Equifax data breach a year ago of 143 million records. Google had its own data breach in October this year that exposed data on as many as 500,000 accounts. Or the most recent Facebook breach of data from 29 million users. Or, over the last five years alone, major breaches at Anthem, eBay, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, Yahoo, Target, Adobe '... but you get the point. If it's day that ends in ''day,'' there must have been another major data breach that keeps criminal hackers gainfully employed by selling your information.
Bad guys keep getting smarter, experts say. Why not corporations? The short answer is, because it's not worth their trouble.
Companies take risks to make profits. When the downside is small, they stay risky.
The 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study from the Ponemon Institute and IBM pegs average costs per data breach globally at $3.86 million, including IT expenses, insurance, notification, and lost customers and business. In the US, the average is $7.91 million.
That might sound like a lot to you, but that number doesn't exist in a vacuum. The 477 companies studied had between 1,000 and 100,000 employees, with annual revenues from $100 million to more than $25 billion. To these companies, the cost of a breach "is a rounding error," said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the research firm, in a phone interview. "The company spends more money buying coffee for its office workers."
And then, the chance of a material breach over two years is 27.9 percent. That means an average annual cost globally of $538,000, or $1.1 million for US companies.
Costs of protection
On the other side of the equation are cybersecurity costs.
"You can't ever make your system 100 percent secure," said O. Sami Saydjari, author of Engineering Trustworthy Systems: Get Cybersecurity Design Right the First Time. "You have to make an investment decision."
On average, companies spend 3.3 percent of their revenues on IT, according to professional services network Deloitte. Saydjari says that cybersecurity budgets are usually 3 percent of that: 0.1 percent of total revenue.
And then there are cyber incident insurance policies that can cover a number of things, including data breaches. NetDiligence, a cyber risk assessment company, does an annual study based on reported insurance claims. The average amount spent by large companies on a breach, when it happened, was $5.9 million. Assuming for a second that companies pay insurance when the cost is less than the actual incidents, chances are that annual expense is even lower than the incident costs. To put it differently, cyber insurance costs make breaches even more affordable.
Executives focus on things that make a big difference to the company. Breach and protection costs are so small that they get little attention. Insurance is likely to be on the same scale or less. When management doesn't see something as an important financial priority, it doesn't get done.
Talking about my reputation
Saydjari argues that the full costs of a breach, particularly a massive one that attracts a lot of media attention, are much higher than executives realize. The Ponemon study agrees in part, estimating that for tens of millions of records, the price tag is more like $360 million, including expenses of addressing the problem, notifying customers, and lost sales and brand damage. But those breaches for a single company are usually rare. As part of standard risk management, companies will anticipate the costs and assign an annual contribution to overhead. The amounts are so small relative to revenue and other expenses, they quickly vanish to the unaided executive eye.
That doesn't count the impact on stock price or on potential consumer revolt: in other words, reputational damage. But how far does it go? Facebook saw a hit after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but the stock quickly recovered and headed toward new highs. The 20 percent drop in July was about slowed user growth and missed earnings, according to MarketWatch. After its data breach, Equifax stock lost more than a third of its value, took three months to even earn half of that back, and a year to get within 6 percent of the former price, which made it an outlier compared to other breaches. And the news surrounding it'--the CEO resignation with $18.4 million in pension benefits, the music-major chief security officer'--only added to its status as a breach far worse than the average.
The markets tend to forget quickly. We consumers do so even faster, according to trust studies Ponemon has done.
The firm examined Facebook user perceptions of trust after a major breach. The percentage of people trusting the company with their personal data plummeted from 78 percent to 25 percent overnight, according to a separate Ponemon study. But "very quickly the company went back up to 30 then 50 then 60 [percent]," Ponemon said. Within two months, everything was largely back to normal. He's seen the same pattern in other companies: 2 to 3 months later, people forgot about the issue. Part is because they wanted to keep using a service or product'--often ones without an easy replacement. And stocks of major companies that took big hits in the past don't seem permanently mired. In fact, for most you'd have a difficult time, looking at a stock chart, to pinpoint where the problem occurred.
It's a new meaning of too-big-to-fail. As long as we go back after major breaches, companies won't sweat the small stuff.
Ivanka Trump ignores rules because she doesn't treat the White House as a real job - The Washington Post
Ivanka Trump arrives for a White House ceremony to pardon the national Thanksgiving turkey. (Carolyn Kaster/AP) Elizabeth Spiers is the chief executive of
the Insurrection, a progressive digital messaging firm.
November 21 at 2:52 PMIvanka Trump arrived Tuesday at the annual White House turkey pardon with her three children in tow as musicians played Louis Armstrong's ''What a Wonderful World'' '-- a song about unity that would be perfectly appropriate for a Thanksgiving celebration designed to align everyone around the notion that not all turkeys deserve to die for the benefit of American gastronomes.
But much like the selected turkeys, Trump was playing a role. She is a cultural emissary for her father, the president, but she also often appears as his formal proxy in her role as a senior White House adviser.
So it was all the more remarkable that she has spent this week pleading ignorance for her failure to use proper channels for secure email communications. Her father, after all, spent most of 2016 talking about someone else's emails. Once ensconced in the White House, thanks in part to Hillary Clinton's own electronic correspondence habits, the first-daughter-slash-senior-adviser proceeded to send hundreds of emails via private channels in 2017, a good year after the American public was subjected to more literal words in mainstream newspapers about Clinton's emails than all of Trump's scandals combined, according to researchers at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center.
Trump claims she didn't know that her use of a private email account for government business was improper. For that claim to be credible, Trump would have to argue that she somehow missed all the news about the 2016 campaign or that she was too oblivious to understand the implications of it. So the simplest explanation is that she thinks the rules that applied to Clinton don't apply to her.
[Ivanka Trump wants power with no accountability]
To be fair, this is no surprise. Research suggests that ultrarich people genuinely believe that the rules don't apply to them, and the rich tend to break rules and violate norms more frequently as a result. They have reduced levels of empathy, because they're not accustomed to having to depend on others to lead fruitful, prosperous lives. They have very little understanding of the value of things like sacrifice for the greater good or, well '... public service for its own sake.
President Trump appears to believe the rules don't apply to him, either '-- or else he would have, as every other president in the past four decades has done, put his assets into a blind trust upon taking office and released his tax returns. He also reportedly uses unsecured phones despite warnings that Russia and China are probably listening in.
And like her father's, Ivanka Trump's own violations of norms and laws extend well beyond communications security. For instance, Ivanka has, reportedly, personally pocketed $3.9 million in profits from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the foreign proceeds of which are supposed to be remitted to the U.S. Treasury. And this is a violation for which we can publicly account: We have no idea how much money she is or isn't making overall. The entire Trump family is accustomed to operating from behind a protective wall of lawyers, PR people and secretive LLCs that mask the origins of their financing and the manner in which they choose to conduct business. No wonder email rules don't seem to apply to her: Actively avoiding transparency might not be the norm for the Oval Office, but it is for commercial real estate and for the Trump family.
This particular angle could well be the entire game for her. The outcomes of her tenure in the White House are very measurable in terms of accrual of money and power to Ivanka Trump. They are less apparent if we evaluate her in her role as senior White House adviser and public servant. What has she done for Americans that justifies paying for the travel, office, resources and access that she enjoys solely as a result of occupying a job for which she has no obvious qualifications beyond being the president's daughter?
The answer is nothing, which shouldn't be surprising, because she didn't take the job seriously in the first place. It has never been her primary mandate. Her official travels have been built around her business objectives and self-aggrandizing projects that allow her to network with people she couldn't access before her father became president. A state dinner with the president of China comes in handy when you're waiting on trademark approvals and your company manufactures clothing there, despite your public cheerleading of American workers and American-made products. And it's fine to give sunny speeches about women's empowerment in Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, if you have Saudi business partners who've just handed you $100 million for an investment fund.
[The game was rigged in Ivanka Trump's favor. How did her brand manage to fail?]
The reality is that Ivanka claims to care about working women but has done nothing to stop or even mitigate her father's administration's policies that harm them. She has had no effect on the xenophobic immigration policies of the administration in which she serves or its attempts to disenfranchise gay and transgender people. She has been ineffective and useless.
By this point, it's clear that she doesn't view her unpaid White House gig as her primary job. It's an extracurricular activity on a r(C)sum(C), gifted to her by her father. So in her mind, who cares about email protocols? Who cares if she sits in dad's chair at the G-20? Or if she eludes questions about her boss's sexual improprieties? We all know she's not a real government official, right?
But she is, no matter how nepotistically and inappropriately she got there. And she can't have it both ways. You don't get the high-powered government job without the security protocols.
Now the new Democratic House is sure to look into the whole thing. President Trump argues that because Ivanka's emails are a matter of public record, all of this is fine. If she did something wrong, that doesn't matter, because at least we all know about it.
This is a defining characteristic of Trump values or lack thereof: If you can get away with something in plain sight, it's not a crime in the first place. Another Trump value: If a core rule or norm doesn't matter to you personally, just ignore it, no matter how crucial it is to American democracy or the healthy functioning of society at large. You're rich, after all, and you don't need all of these other people to live the good life. Of what use is empathy? Or rules, when you can lawyer and spin your way around them? And why should any of it matter, really, when it's just a side gig, a lark? Your personal safety and security is intact and immutable.
And you think to yourself, what a wonderful world.
Ivanka Trump's West Wing job isn't just unethical. It's also dangerous.
How President Trump could use the White House to enrich himself and his family
I worked for Jared Kushner. He's the wrong businessman to reinvent government.
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Photo of new House members shows big gap in diversity between parties | US news | The Guardian
Proportion of Democrats who are white men will drop from 41% to 38% while Republican figure will climb from 86% to 90%
Democratic members-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Sharice Davids of Kansas pose for the 116th Congress members-elect group photoPhotograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesPictures of the newly elected members of the House of Representatives have highlighted a stark difference between the diversity of incoming Democrats and incoming Republicans.
The 2018 midterm elections helped Democrats elect a diverse class of incoming members but the losses suffered by Republicans made their House caucus even more white and male.
The proportion of white men within the Democratic caucus is set to drop from 41% to 38% next year, while the same percentage is set to rise among Republicans from 86% to 90%.
Republicans partly suffered because of a wave of retirements among female members.
Further, the Democratic ''blue wave'' led to the defeat of a number of potentially historic members of their caucus. In Florida, Carlos Curbelo, a leading moderate of Cuban descent, lost his seat and in Utah, Mia Love, a Haitian American, is trailing in a race that has yet to be called.
In California, Republican Young Kim, who would have been the first Korean American woman elected to Congress, is also in a race that is too close to call. Eddie Edwards, who would have been the first African American elected in New Hampshire, lost his race.
In contrast, Democrats celebrated numerous historic firsts on election night. Among them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became America's youngest congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim congresswomen, and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American congresswomen.
Is Pandora's Entry Into Podcasting A Good Thing? - Podcast Business Journal
Last week, Pandora announced it was launching a new podcast platform. Out of the gate, the launch (now in beta) will include about 420 shows.
That number is expected to grow in late December or early next year as Pandora rolls out more shows. Does having yet another platform to listen to podcasts confuse the already crowded platform field for users? Or should the industry be happy everyone is jumping into the podcasting pool? We heard from several podcasting veterans over the past few days and here's what they had to say'...
Rob WalchOn The Feed, the official Libsyn podcast (LISTEN HERE), Vice President of Podcast Relations Rob Walch said he's really happy to have Pandora supporting podcasts. ''This will be a destination where we all get real incremental growth. There are a lot of people in the U.S. that use Pandora every day. And soon, these people will have podcasting available to them in the app they are already using for audio, and that's key. It's not about another new aggregator app that has to try to steal market share from another aggregator app. It's about the largest U.S. audio listening platform making podcasts available to their listeners. Podcast listeners are a lot like cats. There is no herding cats. You need to get your podcast everywhere so that when your listeners promote your podcast to their friends, the person they mention it to can easily find it in the platform they like to listen to audio on. That means getting podcasts everywhere, and Pandora is a big part of that everywhere, in the US at least. This will mean incremental growth for podcasting overall. This announcement was a really good day for podcasting.''
Todd CochraneOn The New Media Show podcast (LISTEN HERE) Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane said when Pandora dips its toe into the podcasting water they are going to find out the water is boiling. ''Because people are going to say I have to be there, I have to be there, I have to be there. I would suspect the majority of the content is risk averse. Nothing too far right, nothing too far left. Calm, down-the-middle content. It's painful to do that because you have an entire valley of podcasters saying how come I wasn't picked? Why was I excluded? Therein lies my eternal bitch: that you alienate [so many podcasters]. All they have to do is ask us for the database and we'd be happy to export them a list with 75,000 shows. So, I guess we'll see what happens. We all want more distribution. More distribution is good. I have impatience, let's get everyone included.''
Rob GreenleeAlso on The New Media Show Voxnest Vice President of Podcaster Relations Rob Greenlee said Pandora does have the potential to have a significant impact on podcast listening in the U.S. ''They want to be able to analyze these shows at a very deep level, understand them, and make recommendations in the Podcast Genome Project. What Pandora is known for is a personalized linear playback experience. It's quite different than the user experience of podcasting. This may not be a perfect fit unless they are willing to adapt and make some concessions around their user experience for podcasting, and its yet to be seen if they're willing to do that.''
Dan FranksPodcast Movement Co-Founder Dan Franks said one of the bigger arguments we've seen in recent years is whether or not there is a ''discovery problem'' when it comes to podcasts. ''Some would argue that podcast listeners have a hard time finding a 'what's next?' podcast, while I argue the discovery problem is much more aligned with 'what's a podcast?' or 'how do I listen to podcasts?''' The exciting thing about Pandora's Podcast Genome Project is it might just address both arguments. There are a lot of Pandora listeners who do not listen to podcasts, so will getting them in front of them help overall podcast consumption? And we know there are at least SOME podcast listeners who discovered a show they liked, but don't know what show to listen to next; so will the recommendation engine behind Pandora help these listeners? While I don't know the answer, and don't want to predict the future, there is no better way to see how it all plays out than it happening before our eyes.''
According to a Pandora press release, the company has partnered with several publishers including APM, Gimlet, HeadGum, Libsyn, Maximum Fun, NPR, Parcast, PRX+PRI, reVolver, Slate, The New York Times, The Ramsey Network, The Ringer, WNYC Studios, and Wondery, and will continue to feature existing podcast content including Serial, This American Life, and Pandora's original Questlove Supreme, with many more to come in the future. Genres will include News, Sports, Comedy, Music, Business, Technology, Entertainment, True Crime, Kids, Health and Science, offering inspiring audio experiences for a variety of diverse interests.
Walch, Cochrane, Greenlee, and Franks are all members of the Podcast Business Journal editorial board.
My email address is being used as return address in spamming??!! Help.
I don't know where to start. Please help me with answer or direct me to where I can be helped.
I am getting about 20-30 of the following every day. I am told that someone is using my email address as a return address in doing spamming. (My domain is registered with 1and1 and hosted with Lunarpages).
I would like this to stop. How can I get this to stop, short of cancelling that email address? Thanks.
"We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they'll be safe.'' SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk. (John Raoux/AP)NASA has ordered a safety review of the two companies it has hired to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, a months-long assessment that would involve hundreds of interviews designed to evaluate the culture of the workplaces, the agency said.
The review, to begin next year, would look at both Boeing and SpaceX, the companies under contract to fly NASA's astronauts, and examine ''everything and anything that could impact safety'' as the companies prepare to fly humans for the first time, William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration, said in an interview with The Washington Post.
The review was prompted by the recent behavior of SpaceX's founder, Elon Musk, according to three officials with knowledge of the probe, after he took a hit of marijuana and sipped whiskey on a podcast streamed on the Internet. That rankled some at NASA's highest levels and prompted the agency to take a close look at the culture of the companies, the people said.
NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs declined to comment on what prompted the review. But in a statement, he said it would ''ensure the companies are meeting NASA's requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment.''
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an interview that the agency wants to make sure the public has confidence in its human-spaceflight program, especially as the companies are getting closer to their first flights, scheduled for next year.
[Companies in the cosmos: Explore the new space race]
''If I see something that's inappropriate, the key concern to me is what is the culture that led to that inappropriateness and is NASA involved in that,'' he said. ''As an agency we're not just leading ourselves, but our contractors, as well. We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they'll be safe.''
Bridenstine said he has ''a lot of confidence in the SpaceX team.'' But he added that ''culture and leadership start at the top. Anything that would result in some questioning the culture of safety, we need to fix immediately.''
SpaceX said in a statement that ''human spaceflight is the core mission of our company. There is nothing more important to SpaceX than this endeavor, and we take seriously the responsibility that NASA has entrusted in us to safely and reliably carry American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.''
The company noted that it has worked alongside NASA for years and that it ''actively promotes workplace safety, and we are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements.''
Boeing said in a statement that its corporate culture ''ensures the integrity, safety and quality of our products, our people and their work environment. As NASA's trusted partner since the beginning of human spaceflight, we share the same values and are committed to continuing our legacy of trust, openness and mission success.''
The review comes after a tumultuous time for Musk, whose behavior led to a series of scandals.
Two months ago, Musk agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had charged that he lied to investors when he tweeted that he had ''funding secured'' to take the electric-car company private.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
'-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018Musk caused another uproar when he called a rescue volunteer working to save the children caught in a Thai cave a ''pedo'' and ''child rapist'' without proof. The volunteer has sued Musk for defamation.
Until the safety review, SpaceX, however, had been largely unaffected by the controversies, moving ahead with another successful year. So far it has launched 18 times '-- tying its record from last year '-- and says it is getting close to launching NASA's astronauts.
Gerstenmaier said the review would focus not on the technical details of developing rockets and spacecraft but rather the companies' safety culture '-- encompassing the number of hours employees work, drug policies, leadership and management styles, whether employees' safety concerns are taken seriously, and more.
''Is the culture reflective of an environment that builds quality spacecraft,'' Gerstenmaier said. The review would be led by NASA's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, which has conducted similar probes inside NASA. Gerstenmaier said the process would be ''pretty invasive,'' involving hundreds of interviews with employees at every level of the companies and at multiple work locations.
He added that the ''companies are responsible. If they see something, they'll take action.''
The review comes as the companies are working toward flying crewed missions from United States soil for the first time since the space shuttle was retired seven years ago. In 2014, NASA awarded contracts '-- $4.2 billion to Boeing and $2.6 billion to SpaceX '-- to fly its astronauts under what is known as the Commercial Crew Program. Since then, the companies have faced setbacks and delays as they work to develop their spacecraft.
Earlier this year, Boeing had a propellant leak during a test of its emergency abort system. A safety advisory panel also found recently that Boeing still has a number of key tests that it has not completed, included tests of its spacecraft's heat shield and parachute systems.
It also found that SpaceX is struggling with ''difficulties and problems'' with the spacecraft's parachute system. ''Clearly crew cannot be risked without complete confidence in the parachute design,'' the panel found.
Given the problems both companies are facing, the panel concluded that their schedules to fly crews ''have considerable risk and do not appear achievable given the number of technical issues yet to be resolved.''
Those technical issues are separate from the safety review. And SpaceX said it has made real progress in the development of the version of its Dragon spacecraft that is designed to fly humans. ''We couldn't be more proud of all that we have already accomplished together with NASA, and we look forward to returning human spaceflight capabilities to the United States,'' it said in the statement.
SpaceX is planning to a launch its spacecraft without crew in January and plans to fly with astronauts on board by June.
Boeing has said its first flight without crew would be in March, and with astronauts by the following August.
Rumours Rampant of De Niro Splitting Up With Wife Due to Her Backing Trump - Sputnik International
16:12 21.11.2018(updated 16:27 21.11.2018) Get short URL
Netizens instantly engaged in wild discussions after reports emerged that the star couple have called it quits, with posts on the subject running rampant on Twitter.
Actor Robert De Niro, 75, and his second wife Grace Hightower, have split up after a 21-year on and off relationship and having given birth to two kids, 20 year-old Elliot and six-year-old Helen Grace, Page Six, The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity website TMZ and People magazine all wrote, quoting anonymous sources. The pair have reportedly lived separately for some time.
(C) AFP 2018/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY
"Sometimes things don't work out the way you hope or want them to," People cites a source close to the family as saying.
This is not their first break-up, as they previously filed for divorce in 1999 but renewed their wedding vows five years later.
Over the past several years, the Oscar-winning star of such top-grossing films as The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, and Casino has kept his private life rather low-profile in a bid to escape the spotlight.
This is perhaps the reason why the news centering around the famed actor, which is a rare thing to happen, instantly started trending on Twitter, with many users appearing relieved to hear that reports are on nothing other than a split-up.
''When you see Robert De Niro trending thinking the worst, but find out it's only cause he and his wife are getting a divorce,'' one gasped out, accompanying the post with a hilarious meme.
Another remarked that these are merely reports:
The film industry icon being single naturally couldn't escape speculation:
Many reposted top trending rumours that their split-up is politically motivated since former waitress Hightower was a 'MAGA Trump fan,' making De Niro, who has been an outspoken critic of President Trump, 'go into panic, near heart attack modes, lose sleep':
Many indeed brought up the political dimension, recalling last month's news that the Hollywood star was among the Democrats to receive a suspicious bomb package, which was ultimately removed by a bomb squad unit. After the incident De Niro urged everyone to go and vote in the midterms, saying this is more 'important than bombs'.
''No wonder he is such an angry white old man he has a super smart beautiful wife that is leaving him,'' one netizen wrote, with another noting it is not only laughable, but 'scary' that a Trump supporter is married to De Niro:
Another user, although acknowledging it might be not true, still expressed 'hope' that it actually is:
Another went still further employing the powers of imagination to picture 'the red faced cursing':
'I hope it's true, he's a real a**,' one remarked, with another commenter assuming he is 'off his rocker and on his way to full blown dementia'.
One chimed in claiming De Niro has always been known for his love for 'black women':
''No. She found out he was in fact accused of being a Pedo,'' another suggested as a possible reason for the alleged separation.
De Niro and Hightower met in 1997 in London and shortly afterward got married, nearly ten years after De Niro divorced his first wife, actress Diahnne Abbott, who De Niro has two kids with. He is also the father to two children by model Toukie Smith, who he dated between the two marriages.
If you haven't heard, AirBnB made a corporate decision to single out Jews in Judea and Samaria aka ''The West Bank'' and remove those listings from the platform.
So what do I think? I think I love Airbnb. I use it often. I am friends with part of the executive team and I use Airbnb in literally every single talk of mine to illustrate the concept of disruption vs innovation/''inventing the wheel.''
I say ''If you look at the all winners, they invented and own nothing. Uber, Facebook, WeWork, and Airbnb, among others. They all took a concept, flipped it on its head and created a unicorn. They took an existing trillion dollar industry and disrupted it.'' Airbnb was a case study to me of how to build amazing companies.
As long as this decision is not reversed, which I want to believe it will be, although I have no indication that is the case, Airbnb is now a symbol of corruption, no longer of disruption.
Airbnb will go down in history as the weak company that gave into political pressure from extremists. And that is the best case scenario.
The reality is that this is a downright antisemitic decision. I can literally go into an Airbnb in Hebron if it is Arab owned. But if it's Jewish owned, it will be removed from the platform. I can find Airbnb properties in literally all disputed areas in the world except in israel's Judea and Samaria if the property is owned by a Jew.
The optics of it, if nothing else, just make your skin crawl.
This decision is as absurd as the UN's condemnations of Israel. Clear and obvious discrimination if I ever saw it.
Who knows if the fact that my entire feed is deactivating their Airbnb accounts will make a dent in this multi billion dollar business? I don't. But one thing is for sure, using this business, as far as I'm concerned, is now the equivalent of supporting blatant Jew hatred. Nothing less.
Some of Airbnb's backers must be protesting this. I know Ashton Kutcher is a huge supporter of Israel, both from his activity and from meeting him and discussing this. He loves Israel. He cannot be ok with this decision.
On the other hand, Chris Sacca and Paul Graham are most likely the investors of Airbnb who orchestrated this circus. They are among the top investors in Silicon Valley and they are among the biggest Jew haters I know.
Bottom line. I'm done with Airbnb. They should reverse this corrupt decision. They should apologize for this offensive move. And they should keep disrupting and stop getting involved in things they clearly know very little about.
For now, I loved you, Airbnb. I loved you a lot. But you f_cked up big time here and you'll pay the price, maybe now, maybe later but you are now officially changing lists from the list of incredible disrupters to the list of companies who misplaced their moral compass and went morally bankrupt.
Moral bankruptcy, if the universe has its way, eventually leads to financial bankruptcy. It's happened to literal empires, it can happen to a technology company. See the Roman Empire, the ancient Egyptian empire, the Greek empire. All gone. Moral bankruptcy didn't go too well for those folks.
Dear Airbnb, reverse this outrageous and deeply offensive decision and we can kiss and make up.
Until then, buh bye.
Airbnb will be fine despite my entire feed announcing they're deleting the app.
But down the road, history will remember this company as morally bankrupt. Yesterday, I used Airbnb as an example of disruption. From now, it is an illustration of corruption! https://t.co/Vy9VRUUYwp pic.twitter.com/dMfMoSdMmc
Hillel Fuld is a strategic advisor at various startups and startup incubators, startup mentor, and a tech blogger who contributes to sites such as The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Mashable, Gigaom, and others.
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'Lean In' Has Been Discredited For Good | The Nation
Sheryl Sandberg speaking at Harvard Business School's graduation, May 23, 2012. (Reuters / Brian Snyder)
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Sign up for our Wine Club today.Did you know you can support The Nation by drinking wine? Five years after its publication, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's corporate feminist manifesto, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, is back in the news'--although, perhaps, not how she ever envisioned it would be.Ad Policy
Just six months after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke open Facebook's shoddy oversight of user data, an explosive New York Times investigative report revealed that Sandberg, along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, downplayed Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, ignored warnings that the platform was being used as a propaganda tool for ethnic cleansing, and engaged its own disinformation campaign, taking brass knuckles to America's battered and increasingly vulnerable democratic institutions.
Sandberg also hired Republican operative Joel Kaplan, who pushed for a hands-off ''free speech'' approach while trolls planted conspiracy theories that rapidly spread across the platform. Sandberg also allied with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who raked in donations from the company while cajoling his own caucus to lay off interrogating its executives.
Consumed by global growth, optics, and near-cartoon capitalist ruthlessness, Sandberg had leaned in, all right'--and whatever feminist cred she'd accrued cheerleading the 1 percent's pink revolution vaporized overnight.
Lean In hit the market in 2013 with Gloria Steinem's endorsement and a social-media campaign featuring Beyonc(C). It sold more than 4.2 million copies worldwide, spawning book clubs and debates among feminists about its merits and flaws. Sandberg preached practical solutions to navigating systemic bias in the corporate world: use ''we'' instead of ''I'' in salary negotiations, gently guide your partner to taking on half of the household duties. Her basic premise was that ''more women in power'' was good for all women and, by extension, the world.
Not everyone bought it. Melissa Gira Grant called it ''trickle-down feminism'' in Jacobin, while Judith Schulevitz opted for ''Davos feminism'' in The New Republic. At the same time, a number of prominent feminists lined up in Sandberg's defense: Jessica Valenti argued that ''feminism could use a powerful ally'' in The Washington Post, and Rebecca Traister advocated to ''credit that Sandberg has chosen to announce herself, smartly and vociferously, not only as a woman but as a feminist.''
Last week's damning report about Facebook's actions ended that conversation for good. Jezebel snarked about ''leaning out,'' The Atlantic chided Sandberg for actions that ''just don't mesh with the girl-power clich(C)s that pepper her book,'' and Jessica Crispin, in The Guardian, contended that: ''Feminists gave Sheryl Sandberg a free pass. Now they must call her out.''Current Issue
Barbara Ehrenreich tweeted: ''Thanks to Sheryl Sandburg, this is the end of corporate feminism. Whatever the hell that was supposed to mean.''
Much of the controversy was located in Sandberg's framing Lean In as more than mere career advice: climbing the corporate ladder as a feminist cause. In a prelude to the book, Sandberg delivered a commencement address at Barnard College in 2011. She mixed invocations of noblesse oblige, reminding graduates of their ''privileged'' status and responsibility to change the world, with tough-talk about harsh realities (''men run the world'') and sly promos of her employer (Facebook, she told graduates, wanted to ''connect the whole world'' and make it ''more open and more transparent'').
''I hope that you'--yes, you'--each and every one of you have the ambition to run the world, because this world needs you to run it,'' she told that graduating class. ''Women all around the world are counting on you.''
Sandberg has achieved this goal, but it goes without saying that she's made the world worse, not better. Years after she graced the covers of Fortune, Forbes, and Time'--''Don't Hate Her Because She's Successful: Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and her mission to reboot feminism'''--America has started to sour on tech's empty idealism in all its forms. Silicon Valley executives shield their own kids from the very products earning them billions, while the underclass they promised to connect keep clicking. And fake news about the youngest woman elected to Congress is still ricocheting around Facebook with eye-popping engagement.
In the end, as Sandberg stared down her career, the demands of capitalism overtook that of feminism.
Even if Sandberg single-handedly illustrated the hollowness of her very own credo, there's more cleanup to do still. While Lean In has faded from the conversation, its commercial success casts a long shadow. In dislocating feminism from its more radical promise'--dismantling the patriarchy'--it spawned an entire genre in its likeness. In 2017, Ivanka Trump published her own brand-burnishing manifesto, Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, which copied the Lean In format by mixing personal anecdotes with spunky how-to advice, along with a resource website. And Megyn Kelly gave her 2016 memoir a similarly upbeat girl-power mantra: Settle for More.
Conservatives trumpeted Kellyanne Conway for being the first female to successfully run a presidential campaign, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, recently in the news for making a public hanging joke, for her potential as the first woman to represent Mississippi in either chamber of Congress. When critics skewered Gina Haspel for her record on torture, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, tweeted, ''There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel. Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite.''
This brand of fake feminism, of course, has little to offer the immigrant women whose children were forcibly removed at the border, still hundreds held in cages, nor those denied access to basic reproductive-health care or even the aspiring Lean In''ers struggling with crushing student debt. As it turns out, putting any woman in power may not be good for all women, after all.
When Lean In debuted, feminist theorist bell hooks warned on Feminist Wire: ''It is this patriarchal male dominated re-framing of feminism, which uses the body and personal success of Sheryl Sandberg, that is most disturbing and yes threatening to the future of visionary feminist movement'.... Sandberg uses feminist rhetoric as a front to cover her commitment to western cultural imperialism, to white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.''
Hooks turned out to be right. Try to pull yourself up by the pantyhose and they will assuredly rip. Sandberg may no longer lay claim to the feminist mantle, but the rest of us will be dealing with the wreckage she's made of a movement and democracy for a very long time.
House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi crushed an intra-Democrat revolt against her bid to retake the Speaker's gavel next year led by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) after a 2015 letter from Fudge backing a disgraced former Cleveland judge who was convicted of brutally beating his wife resurfaced in the wake of the man's alleged murder of her.Fudge, who had floated potentially running against Pelosi for Speaker and was pushed by anti-Pelosi rebel Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), had attacked Pelosi as an ''elitist'' and ''very wealthy person'' out of touch with ordinary Democrats in the wake of the midterm election where Democrats retook the majority in the House.
She had also signed a letter along with more than a dozen other Democrats pledging to vote against Pelosi on the floor of the House of Representatives in January.
But then, as Breitbart News reported earlier on Tuesday, a letter from 2015 surfaced where Fudge backed former Judge Lance Mason who was convicted of a 2014 assault on his wife. He was convicted of hitting his wife 20 times, and then smashing her head into the dashboard of their car while their children watched from the backseat. Fudge's letter backing his character, sent to the prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, said Mason's behavior toward his wife Aisha Fraser during that assault ''is out of character and totally contrary to everything I know about him.'' Fudge went on to write that Mason ''accepts full responsibility for his actions and has assured me that something like this will never happen again.''
That statement was written a bit too soon, perhaps. After a nine-month stint in prison for his conviction on this, he got out and got a job working for the mayor's office in Cleveland. Then, this weekend, his wife Fraser was stabbed to death''brutally murdered''and while police have not yet charged him, they have taken Mason into custody in the murder of Fraser.
In the wake of this development''and with Pelosi throwing her a plum subcommittee chairmanship next year''Fudge has dropped all opposition to Pelosi and endorsed Pelosi's bid for the Speakership of the House, effectively ending the rebellion against her.
''Last week I announced that I was strongly considering a run for Speaker of the House,'' Fudge said in a statement released Tuesday evening. ''My consideration was due in large part to the lack of sustained efforts that ensure diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the House. Further, despite the great success we experienced on November 6, voter protection and voter integrity are still at risk. The erosion of voting rights and civil rights was on full display in Georgia, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas. Our party should reflect the diversity of our changing nation and guarantee all our citizens the unfettered right to vote and to have every vote count. Leader Pelosi has granted me the opportunity to create the record necessary to satisfy the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, so that the protections of the Voting Rights Act will be reinstated and improved. She has also assured me that the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic party, Black women, will have a seat at the decision-making table. I am now confident that we will move forward together and that the 116th Congress will be a Congress of which we can all be proud. I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn.''
Rep. Fudge is not running for speaker, backs Pelosi after Pelosi says she'll bring back the subcommittee on elections and Fudge will be chair. pic.twitter.com/CgNtTEf13H
'-- Kate Nocera (@KateNocera) November 20, 2018
Meanwhile, Fudge's own credibility wanes in the wake of her complete cave on Pelosi:
Just throwing it out there that Marcia Fudge called Pelosi an elitist Thursday and suggested to me that there were racial undertones to her opposition to Pelosi '-- as in: Pelosi wasn't a strong enough advocate for African Americans '-- and Pelosi bought her off with a SUBCOMMITTEE!
'-- Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) November 20, 2018
I mean, if Marcia Fudge can say these things about Pelosi less than a week ago, and today announce her support for her, how seriously should I ever take Marcia Fudge's criticism of anything? https://t.co/U0vSpWnuoJ pic.twitter.com/fsx4l6846r
'-- Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) November 20, 2018
And it's not just Fudge's opposition to Pelosi that's hurting. Moulton, one of the other leaders of the rebellion, is hurting now too:
Rep. Seth Moulton was the very image of a Democratic rising star.
But his willingness to buck Nancy Pelosi '' one of the things that helped his star rise '' is now leading to a fierce backlash.
My report from last night in Amesbury:https://t.co/TbjwTjHHWt
'-- Kevin Robillard (@Robillard) November 20, 2018
While there are some similarities between the rebellion against former Speaker John Boehner from the Tea Party that led to his 2015 downfall and the current anti-Pelosi Democrat rebels, there are key differences too:
One important difference between the challenge to Pelosi and the challenge to Boehner:
While tea party activist types were largely supportive of coups against Boehner, the most committed grassroots progressives are on Pelosi's side.https://t.co/TbjwTjZiO1 pic.twitter.com/gr2oPHX7cW
'-- Kevin Robillard (@Robillard) November 20, 2018
It remains to be seen what happens next. But if you're going to take a shot at the king''or in this case, the queen''you best not miss. And these anti-Pelosi rebels seem to have missed, at least for now.
"What's Happening Now": Crypto Devastation Forces Miners To Literally Dump Mining Rigs | Zero Hedge
Cryptocurrencies have lost about $60 billion in less than a week following the collapse of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ether, and XRP, which hit their lowest levels since 2017. Bitcoin tumbled to $4,237, a 13-month low, before regaining some support in the late afternoon session. If $4,207 support is breached, Bitcoin could crash even more to the weekly 200sma at $3,130.
After months of low volatility and declining volume, everything has been flipped upside down, and cryptocurrency bulls are left scrambling after a 30% liquidity gap opened up in the last several weeks.
According to CoinMarketCap.com, digital assets have lost approximately $700 billion of market value since the crypto-mania peak in December 2017. Since the peak, Bitcoin has sustained 87% declines as hash rates have also taken a dip.
According to eToro senior analyst Mati Greenspan, Bitcoin hash rates have fallen to the lowest levels since August, and this has led some crypto miners to shut down their rigs.
Hash rates have been sliding since October, and the last time the Bitcoin hash rate printed 45,000,000 was in mid-August.
Greenspan pointed out that the Bitcoin hash rate might still be up from the start of the year, but the trend is now starting to reverse.
Meanwhile, the 2018 bear crypto market is forcing many miners to operate at a loss, "now it's more economic to turn it off and take it off from the rack to reduce cost on electricity and opex," tweeted Dovey Wan.
Wan shows alleged footage of a massive mining operation in China having difficult mining Bitcoin with depresses hash rates.
The video below shows a worker at one facility wheelbarrowing dozens of Avalon 741 7.3TH/s Asic Bitcoin Miners out of the building into a massive junk pile.
BRUTAL: this is what's happening now in a China based mining site .... ð¨ð¨ pic.twitter.com/gcN4lVTyBt
'-- Dovey Wan ð... (@DoveyWan) November 20, 2018Now, with the drop in Bitcoin hash rates, the difficulty to mine is also spreading to medium and small miners. They are now flooding their rigs on eBay as the crypto bubble collapses.
Administration Admits Border Deployment Was a $200 Million Election Stunt | Vanity Fair
Several weeks before the midterm elections, worried that Democrats would sweep the House and start digging into his finances, Donald Trump started telling a series of bald-faced lies in an attempt to get people to vote Republican. One of them was that his trade war with China was just about to wrap up. Another was that Americans could kiss their ''beautiful'' 401(k)s goodbye if Dems flipped just one chamber of the Congress. The most elaborate by far, though, was about a migrant caravan made up of asylum-seekers approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. First, the president claimed, with no evidence, that ''criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed'' in with the group. Then he spread the quite obviously false rumor that liberal hedge-fund manager George Soros has been paying these people. Later, he declared that the caravan comprised mostly of women and children fleeing violence and poverty is ''actually mostly men'' who were ''pushing the few kids right up to the front'' when the cameras are out, and that a group of people planning to surrender at the border and ask for amnesty through the proper legal channels is no different than a hostile invasion from a foreign country. (''You look at that, it almost looks like an invasion. . . . I think it could be considered an invasion of our country. We can't have it.'')
But evidently, Trump still felt he had to do more to show voters that their lives were in grave danger, and to really drive home the point that he and his fellow Republicans were the only thing standing between them and Democrats enacting a new policy wherein for every migrant allowed to stay in the country, three U.S. citizens have to go live in Honduras. So he pulled out the big guns: he deployed some 6,000 active-duty troops to the southern border, which from the get-go was a patently obvious political stunt given that (a) the military couldn't even make arrests while they were there, and (b) the caravan was hundreds of miles away (and traveling on foot). Obviously, the whole thing failed to stop Democrats from flipping the House. But one would think that even this administration would understand it should see the stunt through a little while longer, so that it wasn't, like, completely crystal clear that the president of the United States had turned members of the military into pawns in one of his cheap tricks. But: surprise!
The Pentagon is set to begin a drawdown of its 5,800 troops from the Southwest border as early as this week, the Army commander overseeing the mission told POLITICO today'--even as the approaching caravan of refugees prompted U.S. customs officers to close a port of entry near Tijuana, Mexico.
All the active-duty troops that President Donald Trump ordered sent to the border before the midterm elections should be home by Christmas, said Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who is running the mission from San Antonio, Texas.
In other words, the president spent millions in taxpayer dollars on a stunt that failed completely. Despite the withdrawal, Trump insisted on Sunday that the U.S. is basically under siege, tweeting ''the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it,'' saying that the caravan ''causing crime and big problems in Mexico'' and directing the migrants, who we're sure are checking social media right now to ''Go home!''
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Goldman Sachs thought maternity leave was the best time to fire a woman
According to former Goldman Sachs employee Tania Mirchandani, when the bank says women are entitled to four months paid maternity leave, they don't actually mean you're allowed to take the full four months, unless you plan to find another job upon return. Per Bloomberg:
In October 2016, weeks before [the wealth management V.P.] was scheduled to return, [Mirchandani's boss] John Mallory called her with some bad news: she was out of a job. ''I'm on maternity leave, John,'' she remembered telling him, as she fought back tears.
Mirchandani detailed her dismissal in a 2017 gender-discrimination complaint against Goldman'--a document only recently disclosed through a public-records request to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
In arbitration proceedings that are still ongoing, Mirchandani is seeking more than $1.5 million in damages, alleging that Goldman fired her because she took the entire four months paid family leave advertised to employees. She also claims that upon returning from her second maternity leave, a giant account she'd worked to win had been ''assigned to the team of a male adviser,'' and despite the client's insistence she be involved, she only received 20 percent of the commissions. In addition, she says that when she informed Mallory that she was pregnant with her third child, he expressed skepticism that she could handle a large family with a demanding job, allegedly telling her that three kids is ''a lot of mouths to feed,'' despite the fact that he has four of his own.
Goldman Sachs, which settled and denied the accusations in a 2010 lawsuit accusing it of pushing another female V.P. onto the ''mommy-track'' after her first pregnancy and firing her after she returned from having her second child, denied there was any bias in Mirchandani's dismissal. (Things it didn't deny: firing her during her maternity leave!) According to the bank, Mirchandani was simply terminated ''for strategic business-planning reasons,'' and that male managers were also let go as part of a review of the firm's private-wealth-management business.
Death. Taxes. Donald Trump promising to pay someone and stiffing them in the end
Back in July, his ''easy to win'' trade wars not exactly panning out as hoped, Donald Trump announced that the farmers badly hurt by the effects of his tariffs would be receive a $12 billion bailout. At the time, agricultural workers reacted with shock and anger, calling the onetime measure bad policy and a ''slap in the face,'' as they would have (vastly) preferred that the president revise his self-defeating, U.S.-interest-harming trade policies. Presumably, though, they expected the money to materialize, given the big show the administration made in announcing it, and the fact that Trump will rely on these people to re-elect him in 2020. But they expected wrong!
A $12 billion bailout program Mr. Trump created to ''make it up'' to farmers has done little to cushion the blow, with red tape and long waiting periods resulting in few payouts so far. According to the Department of Agriculture, just $838 million has been paid out to farmers since the first $6 billion pot of money was made available in September. Another pool of up to $6 billion is expected to become available next month. The government is unlikely to offer additional money beyond the $12 billion, according to Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary.
The program's limitations are beginning to test farmers' patience. The trade war shows no signs of easing, with China and the United States locked in a stalemate that has reduced American farmers' access to a critical market for soybeans, farm equipment, and other products. Europe is planning more retaliatory tariffs on top of those already imposed on American peanut butter and orange juice, and Canada and Mexico continue to levy taxes on American goods, including on pork and cheese.
Through mid-October, soybean sales to China'--the largest importer of the crop'--have declined 94 percent, with a subsidy rate of 82.5 cents per bushel not even covering half the farmers' losses. Lynn Rohrscheib, who farms soybeans and corn in eastern Illinois, told The New York Times that if the trade war with China goes on much longer, she'll have to lay off some of her 18 employees. ''We were all really supportive at the beginning,'' she said of Trump's tariffs. ''We figured we didn't know all the facts and something would happen and this won't be a long-term thing. Now it looks like this is going to be a several-year thing.''
Goldman: don't get too attached to that economic growth
''Growth is likely to slow significantly next year, from a recent pace of 3.5 percent-plus to roughly our 1.75 percent estimate of potential by end-2019,''Jan Hatzius,, the bank's chief economist, wrote in a note to clients on Sunday. ''We expect tighter financial conditions and a fading fiscal stimulus to be the key drivers of the deceleration.''
Ex-hedge-fund manager funding campaign to break up Facebook
Remember David Magerman? For those who need a quick refresh, he's the former Renaissance Technologies partner who sued his boss, Trump sugar daddy Robert Mercer, alleging that he was fired for telling the press Mercer had expressed a number of racist opinions to him, like that the U.S. had started going in the wrong direction after the passage of the Civl Rights Act; that the Civil Rights Act ''infantilized'' African Americans by giving them no incentive to work; that white people have no racial hostility whatsoever toward African Americans; and that the only real racists in the United States are black. (Magerman, who told The Wall Street Journal that Trump was destroying the country with Mercer's backing, ultimately dropped his suit.) Anyway, despite no longer working at RenTec, Magerman has reportedly been keeping busy:
Magerman was the initial donor behind a high-profile campaign urging regulators to break up Facebook, he confirmed to Axios for the first time on Thursday. Magerman has given more than $400,000 to the campaign'--''Freedom from Facebook'''--because he believes Facebook has too much power over how the world communicates.
In a statement, Magerman told Axios that Facebook has a ''huge financial disincentive to protect users' data,'' and that it is his goal to ''convince people that Facebook is not free, that it exacts a high price from users in the form of their private data, and I think users don't understand that transaction, to all of our detriment.''
Maxine Waters targets global banks with Financial Services shake-up (Axios)
Wall Street bankers are throwing excessive parties to dodge taxes (N.Y.P.)
With Facebook at ''War,'' Zuckerberg Adopts More Aggressive Style (W.S.J.)
Wall Street is betting that lawmakers want to humiliate big tech'--but not regulate it (The Hive)
Trump's Business to Face Sharp Scrutiny Under House Democrats (Bloomberg)
Soci(C)t(C) G(C)n(C)rale to pay $1.34 billion fine for sanctions violations (Reuters)
Theresa May says husband'--and alcohol'--helped her through Brexit (N.Y.P.)
Nissan to oust Ghosn after arrest for alleged financial misconduct (Reuters)
Is Trump country really better off under Trump? No. It's falling further behind. (Washington Post)
Italian town catches 58,000 speeding cars in two weeks (BBC)
More Great Stories from Vanity Fair'-- ''Who gets to live in Victimville?'' Why Monica Lewinsky decided to relive her past
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Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton - The New York Times
Image President Trump stoked his enmity for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race and since taking office has publicly and privately revisited the idea of prosecuting her. Credit Credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Glamour WASHINGTON '-- President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.
The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.
The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.
It is unclear whether Mr. Trump read Mr. McGahn's memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump about the issue. He has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.
A White House spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. declined to comment on the president's criticism of Mr. Wray, whom he appointed last year after firing Mr. Comey.
''Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president,'' said Mr. McGahn's lawyer, William A. Burck. ''Like any client, the president is entitled to confidentiality. Mr. McGahn would point out, though, that the president never, to his knowledge, ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey.''
It is not clear which accusations Mr. Trump wanted prosecutors to pursue. He has accused Mr. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with The New York Times in a memo that Mr. Comey wrote about his interactions with the president. The document contained no classified information.
Mr. Trump's lawyers also privately asked the Justice Department last year to investigate Mr. Comey for mishandling sensitive government information and for his role in the Clinton email investigation. Law enforcement officials declined their requests. Mr. Comey is a witness against the president in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
Mr. Trump has grown frustrated with Mr. Wray for what the president sees as his failure to investigate Mrs. Clinton's role in the Obama administration's decision to allow the Russian nuclear agency to buy a uranium mining company. Conservatives have long pointed to donations to the Clinton family foundation by people associated with the company, Uranium One, as proof of corruption. But no evidence has emerged that those donations influenced the American approval of the deal.
Image Mr. Trump has expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times Mr. Trump repeatedly pressed Justice Department officials about the status of Clinton-related investigations, including Mr. Whitaker when he was the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to a person with direct knowledge of the conversations. CNN first reported those discussions.
In his conversation with Mr. McGahn, the president asked what stopped him from ordering the Justice Department to investigate Mr. Comey and Mrs. Clinton, the two people familiar with the conversation said. He did have the authority to ask the Justice Department to investigate, Mr. McGahn said, but warned that making such a request could create a series of problems.
Mr. McGahn promised to write a memo outlining the president's authorities. In the days that followed, lawyers in the White House Counsel's Office wrote a several-page document in which they strongly cautioned Mr. Trump against asking the Justice Department to investigate anyone.
The lawyers laid out a series of consequences. For starters, Justice Department lawyers could refuse to follow Mr. Trump's orders even before an investigation began, setting off another political firestorm.
If charges were brought, judges could dismiss them. And Congress, they added, could investigate the president's role in a prosecution and begin impeachment proceedings.
Ultimately, the lawyers warned, Mr. Trump could be voted out of office if voters believed he had abused his power.
Mr. Trump's frustrations about Mr. Comey and Mrs. Clinton were a recurring refrain, a former White House official said. ''Why aren't they going after'' them?, the president would ask of Justice Department officials.
For decades, White House aides have routinely sought to shield presidents from decisions related to criminal cases or even from talking about them publicly. Presidential meddling could undermine the legitimacy of prosecutions by attaching political overtones to investigations in which career law enforcement officials followed the evidence and the law.
Perhaps more than any president since Richard M. Nixon, Mr. Trump has been accused of trying to exploit his authority over law enforcement. Witnesses have told the special counsel's investigators about how Mr. Trump tried to end an investigation into an aide, install loyalists to oversee the inquiry into his campaign and fire Mr. Mueller.
In addition, Mr. Trump has attacked the integrity of Justice Department officials, claiming they are on a ''witch hunt'' to bring him down.
Image Mr. Trump has accused the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, without evidence, of illegally having classified information shared with reporters. Credit Justin Tang/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press More significant, Mr. Mueller is investigating whether the president tried to impede his investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia's campaign to sow discord among the American electorate during the 2016 presidential race.
Mr. Trump stoked his enmity for Mrs. Clinton during the campaign, suggesting during a presidential debate that he would prosecute her if he was elected president. ''If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,'' Mr. Trump said.
''It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,'' Mrs. Clinton replied.
''Because you would be in jail,'' Mr. Trump shot back.
During the presidential race, Mr. Whitaker, a former United States attorney, also said he would have indicted Mrs. Clinton, contradicting Mr. Comey's highly unusual public announcement that he would recommend the Justice Department not charge her over her handling of classified information while secretary of state.
''When the facts and evidence show a criminal violation has been committed, the individuals involved should not dictate whether the case is prosecuted,'' Mr. Whitaker wrote in an op-ed in USA Today in July 2016.
Two weeks after his surprise victory, Mr. Trump backed off. ''I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't,'' Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Times. ''She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.''
Nonetheless, he revisited the idea both publicly and privately after taking office. Some of his more vocal supporters stirred his anger, including the Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro, who has railed repeatedly on her weekly show that the president is being ill served by the Justice Department.
Ms. Pirro told Mr. Trump in the Oval Office last November that the Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate the Uranium One deal, two people briefed on the discussion have said. During that meeting, the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, told Ms. Pirro she was inflaming an already vexed president, the people said.
Shortly after, Mr. Sessions wrote to lawmakers, partly at the urging of the president's allies in the House, to inform them that federal prosecutors in Utah were examining whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate Mrs. Clinton. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney for Utah declined to comment on Tuesday on the status of the investigation.
Mr. Trump once called his distance from law enforcement one of the ''saddest'' parts of being president.
''I look at what's happening with the Justice Department,'' he said in a radio interview a year ago. ''Well, why aren't they going after Hillary Clinton and her emails and with her, the dossier?'' He added: ''I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I am very frustrated.''
Michael S. Schmidt reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.
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Education Secretary DeVos steering students to substandard programs
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is once again failing students by allowing for-profit colleges to run amok. This time she's attacking the gainful employment rule, a measure designed to ensure that the education colleges offer their students actually prepares them for ''gainful employment,'' that is, a well-paying job.
Here's the scoop: Currently colleges are required to show that their graduates can earn enough money to pay back their student loans, and they must publish warnings if they are not meeting those requirements.
DeVos, part of the family behind Amway and secret for-profit armies, wants to roll back that requirement and she has stalled the release of data that could steer new students away from colleges and programs that have proved less successful in turning graduates into income earners.
Softening the regulations will have the most impact on attendance at for-profit colleges, some of which are notorious for taking students' financial aid money and providing substandard programs that leave them with student debt but insufficient skills to find work after graduation.
''Predatory practices by certain so-called colleges across the country have financially gutted working people'--many of them first-generation college students, veterans and people of color'--while offering them the false hope of a good job and a fair wage,'' says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). ''They get taxpayer funding, yet they are leaving students with heftier debt, have a remarkably high churn rate and, in many cases, aren't doing an adequate job to prepare students for the 21st century.''
This is not the first time DeVos has tried to loosen regulations that protect students.
She's also tried to eliminate loan forgiveness for students whose colleges failed so egregiously that they were forced to shut down. She's dialed back rules that prevent loan servicers from luring students into more debt by misinforming them of their loan repayment options. She's attempted to expand the definition of ''credit hour,'' which would allow schools to get more financial aid for less education through credit inflation. And she's tried to recalculate the amount of interaction students have with faculty, particularly in online learning platforms. The AFT has been monitoring these changes and speaking out at public hearings to protest any infringement on protections for students. Currently, it is partnering with the National Student Legal Defense Network to identify members who may be affected by the gainful employment changes'--people who are seeking to attend schools that are not publishing information about their graduates' employment failures.
A survey for AFT members is posted here (). The AFT is also urging potential students to consider programs at public colleges and universities, where tuition is typically far lower and programs are more reliable.
If you are one of the people considering attendance at a for-profit school, you can help protect yourself and other students by filling out the three-question survey
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The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday announced sanctions on a network involving the Iranian regime and Russian companies that provide oil to the Syrian government. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that the scheme bolsters the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and generates money for "Iranian malign activity." Among the targets of sanctions are Syrian citizen Mohammad Amer Alchwiki and his Russia-based company, Global Vision Group. The sanctions freeze assets of the individuals and companies that are under U.S. jurisdiction and bar Americans from doing business with them.
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Move fast and regulate things: Inside cities' response to the e-scooter invasion ' MuckRock
2018 was the year of the electronic scooter. As investors poured billions into startups, e-scooters appeared overnight on sidewalks across the country. These companies took treasured childhood memory, threw in a GPS unit and a battery, and proclaimed a dockless micro-mobility ''revolution.''
Some e-scooter startups, with ex-Lyft and Uber executive Travis VanderZanden's Bird Rides leading the pack, arrived unannounced. ''The places where there are no laws, that's where we go in,'' explained VanderZanden at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in October, referencing the fact that many cities' laws made no reference to e-scooters before this summer.
City planners, some veterans of the Airbnb and ride-sharing takeovers, quickly moved to remedy the situation. Many instituted pilot programs and solicited public comment. E-scooters were divisive, to say the least. Officials in Austin, Texas, drafting scooter regulations were unfazed:
To take a closer look into e-scooter policies across the country, MuckRock filed public records requests with 18 cities in October, asking for local laws governing e-scooter operators, applications by companies for operating permits, data-sharing agreements, and impound lists. The results show city officials with similar concerns - rider safety, minimization of sidewalk clutter, transportation data sharing, and equitable access - and scooter companies desperate to keep a competitive edge in a market spawning start-ups. Here are the major takeaways:
Cities want usage dataProponents bill e-scooters as a solution to the last/first mile problem of public transit, the distance between someone's origin or destination and the nearest bus stop or subway station. E-scooter users essentially sign-up to have their movement through the city tracked by GPS. The six cities that responded to MuckRock's requests all mandated that companies share usage data.
The surveyed cities differ in what information companies must share. Some, like Oklahoma City, Oklahoma's draft e-scooter ordinance, mandate monthly reports. Portland, Oregon's data-sharing agreement, on the detailed side, gives a sense of the range of information other cities want access to in real-time.
Some cities, including Austin and Washington D.C. make limited summaries of this data publicly available online. D.C. also mandates that companies that allow public access to an API detailing, at minimum, the current location of all e-scooters.
None of the surveyed city governments released all of the information collected.
Scooter companies hate caps, but cities stand by themOn November 11th, David Estrada, Head of Government Partnerships for Bird Rides, wrote a public letter to the newly elected mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser. Estrada condemned the city's proposed e-scooter regulations, which will take effect in 2019 at the conclusion of D.C.'s ongoing pilot program.
Bird and other e-scooter providers argue that caps on the number of permitted units they can operate in a city incentivize neglect of underserved areas and are ignorant of purportedly high demand. D.C. allows companies to propose quarterly increases in scooter counts. Austin also allows fleet increases if companies can demonstrate that e-scooters are being used regularly.
Bird and Lime, both of which operate in Austin, used the public comment period on dockless mobility rules to make their case, unsuccessfully, against the caps.
Officials in Salt Lake City raise caps if companies place scooters in ''underserved'' areas of the city, defined by city government on a zone map.
Many of the cities surveyed stuck by the caps, preventing a flood of scooters into their cities, choosing to exercise caution and wait for user data to aggregate. In the meantime, Austin's finest rounded up rogue scooters found in the public right-of-way.
Some companies want permitting materials exempt from disclosureTwo of the cities' surveyed, Spokane, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah, make specific reference to the the records and permitting applications shared by companies with cities are available for public disclosure under state public records law.
Two other cities that returned documents, Austin and Portland, redacted all or part of the companies' permitting applications. In response to MuckRock's request, lawyers retained by Uber's micro-mobility arm, JUMP Bikes (also operating e-scooters), submitted a nine-page letter to Texas's attorney general outlining why all of the company's permitting materials should be exempt. It cited ''trade secrets'' exemptions and argued that release of the documents would cause ''substantial competitive harm.''
JUMP's e-scooters currently operate only in Austin and Los Angeles, California according to the company's website. Although LA wasn't surveyed, the kind of information JUMP argues shouldn't be disclosed by Austin's city government (insurance policies, marketing and outreach plans, technical specifications, safety measures, and other application materials) is public record in other cities.
Portland's response to MuckRock's request revealed varying levels of exempted information depending on the company. They city cited trade secrets, confidential submissions, and personal privacy exemptions. Bird's permitting application submitted to the Portland Bureau of Transportation had whole pages redacted, including sections detailing its user equity and economic opportunity plans, safety and complaint history reports, launch schedule, service rates, and a communications and outreach plan.
In contrast, an application submitted to Portland by Bird's competitor, Germany-based Byke Mobility, includes almost all of this information, unredacted.
Cities disagree over e-scooter safety measuresEmergency room doctors and personal-injury lawyers have labelled e-scooters as threats to their riders, although companies reject the idea that they are uniquely dangerous. Speed limits, helmet requirements, and sidewalk riding policies varied between the cities surveyed. All mandated companies educate users on safe riding, proper parking, and applicable local laws. Some also developed their own materials (in Austin called the ''Dockless Mobility Code of Ethics.'')
Mandated speed limits for e-scooters (enforced by companies through GPS) varied between ten and 20 miles per hour. The lower end, soon to be law in D.C., was criticized by Bird representatives, who claimed a large disparity between automobile and e-scooter speeds could endanger riders on the roadway. Harried pedestrians wrote into the Washington Post saying 10 miles per hour was not low enough. In Austin, where the speed limit is 20 miles per hour, the debate played out in the public comment on proposed e-scooter rules.
For a full comparison of e-scooter safety measures and other aspects of e-scooter regulations, see MuckRock's comparison chart.
Image via Austin City Clerk
'We Have Targets on Our Backs': How Jacksonville Became America's Transgender Murder Capital
As the Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches on Nov. 20, black transgender women in Jacksonville aren't just mourning. They are also afraid.
Out of the 22 reported killings of transgender people in the United States in 2018 so far, three took place in Jacksonville, more than in any other city.
All three of those homicide victims were black transgender women: Celine Walker was shot in a motel on Feb. 4, Antash'a English was gunned down in a June 1 drive-by shooting, and Cathalina Christina James was killed in a motel on June 24. Another transgender woman was shot repeatedly in June, but survived'--and police charged her alleged attacker in July.
After LGBT advocates criticized the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for misgendering these victims'--rather than using the names and genders by which they were known in the community'--the JSO created a nine-officer LGBT Liaison Team in August, as WJCT reported, in order to forge better ties with the community.
But now, months later, some black LGBT advocates say that relationships with the police remain strained.
''Everything is pretty much the same here in Jacksonville,'' Paige Mahogany Parks, a local black transgender advocate and founder of the Transgender Awareness Project, told The Daily Beast. ''Transgender women are still walking around here like we have targets on our backs.''
When Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams publicly introduced the LGBT Liaison Team at a community forum in August, Parks was one of about 20 advocates in attendance who ended up walking out of the room, as the University of North Florida student newspaper reported.
She said back then that the LGBT Liaison Team was a ''publicity stunt'' and she maintains now that her impression of it has not changed in the interim.
''It was just created to keep everybody quiet,'' Parks told The Daily Beast. ''But there's nothing been done, trust me. I make a full point of everything here when it comes to the transgender community in Jacksonville. Nothing has been done. Once we had that one meeting, that was it. They haven't reached out to me or any of the other organizations to try to find out what the needs are'--none of that, none of that.''
Asked for comment on the activities of the LGBT Liaison Team to date, JSO Public Information Officer Christian S. Hancock told The Daily Beast, ''The team has attended several community meetings as well as met with numerous groups and individuals in the community'--to further build relationships and open lines of communication.''
When asked to provide examples of groups and individuals with whom the LGBT Liaison Team had met, Officer Hancock wrote: ''I have not been given a list of the specific individuals and/or groups that have been met with at this time.''
Due to the number and frequency of the shootings earlier this year, the transgender community was initially concerned that the killings could be the work of a serial killer. Sheriff Williams, however, has said that the crimes are unrelated. There are still no official updates on the three homicide cases.
''These cases continue to be active investigations,'' said Officer Hancock. ''No new information has become available for dissemination at this time.''
A local news report shows that at least one change has been made due to the formation of the LGBT Liaison Team: In October, as First Coast News reported, the JSO updated its Code of Conduct for police officers interacting with transgender people, instructing them to use pronouns consistent with a person's gender identity, to refrain from asking them invasive questions, and to ''enter the individual's chosen name in the parenthesis'' on official reports.
According to Christina Kittle, a black queer organizer in Jacksonville who works with both the Coalition for Consent and the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, the JSO has been successful in convincing ''some people'' that the LGBT Liaison Team ''is doing something,'' as she told The Daily Beast.
But Kittle is still firmly of the belief that the LGBT Liaison Team is ''a publicity stunt.''
''Creating this team literally was just to stop the momentum'--and to split us up against the affluent white gays who were upset at first,'' she told The Daily Beast, alleging that the Liaison Team has been selective about who they meet with: ''They don't want to talk to me and they don't want to talk to people like Paige [Mahogany Parks].''
One of the primary points of tension between the black transgender community and police in Jacksonville has been the JSO's handling of external communications around this year's homicide victims.
Despite outcry from the local LGBT community, the JSO maintained that they were in the right to refer to transgender victims using their legal names and by the sex listed on their government documentation, as The Daily Beast previously noted.
Such policies can impede investigations into transgender homicides, LGBT anti-violence advocates say, because many in the transgender community won't recognize a deceased friend by their legal name and therefore can't provide information to police until it is too late.
In fact, it is often the case that local communities do not even know that a transgender person has been killed until Houston-based blogger and transgender advocate Monica Roberts confirms it by cross-checking local media reports with social media accounts.
For example, as the Human Rights Campaign noted, when Celine Walker was killed, she ''was not identified as trans until several days after her death was reported.''
If police exclusively refer to Celine Walker by her legal name, says Kittle, they shouldn't be surprised if they don't catch a suspect within the first few critical hours. When Celine Walker is referred to as a man with a different name, ''nobody knows who the hell that is,'' Kittle told The Daily Beast, ''so of course the murderer gets away.''
''What is the liaison force going to do if the first thing they do is not an apology? They don't even acknowledge where they messed up. To move forward, you have to at least acknowledge where the mistake was made.''
'-- Paige Mahogany Parks
As far as Kittle is concerned, until the JSO apologizes for the repeated misgendering of transgender homicide victims earlier in the year'--an apology Paige Mahogany Parks asked for when the LGBT Liaison Team was first introduced to the public'--relations with the community are not going to improve.
''What is the liaison force going to do if the first thing they do is not an apology?'' she asked. ''They don't even acknowledge where they messed up. To move forward, you have to at least acknowledge where the mistake was made.''
In the absence of meaningful change, says Parks, the mood among black transgender women in Jacksonville is grim. She said that black transgender women can't live publicly: ''They're too scared to be outed'--because they're too scared to be killed.''
None of this year's killers have been apprehended'--and Parks continues to perceive the LGBT Liaison Team as ''an empty gesture,'' one that was intended more to silence criticism and defuse national media attention than to actually help the community.
''Jacksonville is not a trans-friendly city to come and live,'' she told The Daily Beast. ''And I advise anyone that's trans that's thinking about moving here, honey, turn the car around, because it's just not the city for transgender folk.''
Ideally, Parks would like to see Sheriff Williams and the LGBT Liaison Team hold town halls with the transgender community. She would like to see the city's homeless shelters take in transgender women of color so that they don't have to do sex work for survival. She would like city council to institute job training to help black transgender people'--often the victims of employment discrimination'--find work and make rent.
''Jacksonville is not a city for black transgender women. It's not even really a city for LGBT people, period. But gays and lesbians can make it better in Jacksonville than a transgender woman of color can.''
'-- Paige Mahogany Parks
But given the length of that wish list, Parks may simply move away from Jacksonville once her lease runs up to find a friendlier'--and safer'--place to live.
Despite passing LGBT protections last year, the Northeast Florida city is challenging even for non-transgender people: As the Florida Times-Union reported earlier this year, one 2017 study found that 75 percent of the LGBT community in the region reported experiencing ''chronic disrespect, threats, or harassment.'' Black transgender women, said Parks, are the least likely to be able to weather that prejudice.
''Jacksonville is not a city for black transgender women,'' she said. ''It's not even really a city for LGBT people, period. But gays and lesbians can make it better in Jacksonville than a transgender woman of color can. Even a white transgender woman has it better'--she can walk on through the radar. But a black transgender woman has no hope here in Jacksonville.''
Gov. Jerry Brown proposes easing logging rules to thin forests '' Santa Cruz Sentinel
Faced with the worst summer fire season in 10 years, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing broad new changes to California's logging rules that would allow landowners to cut larger trees and build temporary roads without obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests across the state.
The proposal '-- which has the support of the timber industry but is being opposed by more than a dozen environmental groups '-- would represent one of the largest changes to the state's timber harvesting rules in the past 45 years.
The legislative session ends for the year next Friday. On Thursday, the details were still being negotiated by legislative leaders and the governor's office behind the scenes and had not yet been formally introduced in a bill or put up for a vote.
''They are trying to get to some kind of a deal,'' said Rich Gordon, the president of the California Forestry Association, a timber industry group. ''They are looking at what can get done politically.''
Under Brown's proposal, private landowners would be able to cut trees up to 36 inches in diameter '-- up from the current 26 inches '-- on property 300 acres or less without getting a timber harvest permit from the state, as long as their purpose was to thin forests to reduce fire risk. They also would be able to build roads of up to 600 feet long without getting a permit, as long as they repaired and replanted them.
Timber industry officials say the changes are needed to cut red tape and increase incentives for landowners, particularly in the Sierra Nevada, to thin pine and fir forests that have become dangerously overgrown after 100 years of fire fighting.
Before the Gold Rush in the 1850s, forests burned naturally every few decades in California from lightning strikes or Indian tribes' burning. That cleared dead wood and left mostly larger, healthy trees. But without those fires for the past century or more, today's forests are much more dense, with up to 10 times as many trees per acre in some places. The dense brush and increased numbers of small, spindly trees cause fires burn much hotter now and climb more easily into the tops of trees, creating massive blazes that burn for months.
Thinning forests often is a money loser, however, because taking out the small brush and diseased or insect-ridden trees costs money but brings little or no economic return. Allowing landowners to cut some larger healthy trees, which can be turned into lumber, provides them a return, supporters say.
''How do you get people to go in and take out stuff that has no value?'' said Gordon. ''If you allow them to get some value '-- to break even '-- on the cost of thinning, you can get more thinning projects done.''
Gordon also noted that under the governor's proposal, a formula would remain in place that requires the overall diameter of trees in a forest to be larger after a thinning project than before.
''If you take out a 36-inch tree, you have to take out a heck of a lot more small trees in order to get the diameter to work in the equation,'' he said. ''If you take out a 26-inch tree you don't have to take out as many smaller trees. The administration is arguing if we bump it up we'll have more thinning.''
Environmentalists say they support some relaxation of the logging rules to make thinning overgrown forests easier to limit fire risk. But they worry that Brown's proposed changes, which are expected to be introduced into a bill by a legislative deadline Tuesday, would allow loggers to cut large redwoods on the coast in wetter forests that don't burn often, and other trees '-- some over 100 years old '-- without enough protections.
''We acknowledge there is a problem,'' said Kim Delfino, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group. ''The idea of trying to get a handle on it is a good thing. But this is an over reach. You don't need to be putting such large trees on the chopping block.''
Delfino noted that scientific studies show that larger trees are the most fire resistant. She said the state should be offering more incentives, like using proceeds from its cap-and-trade auctions, to help landowners defray the costs of thinning projects.
Further, when landowners get a timber harvest permit to do logging on their property, which has been state law since the 1970s, they are required to draw up a plan that shows where they plan to cut, how many trees they want to remove, on what kinds of slopes and which species, like endangered salmon or other wildlife, will be affected. That plan is a public document and the subject of a public hearing.
Timber harvest permits, which can be hundreds of pages and cost tens of thousands of dollars for a professional forester to prepare, also must be approved by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board, who look at the logging impacts on erosion, streams and wildlife, and try to reduce the impact of logging on the environment.
The Brown administration is proposing that its changes to the law be inserted into AB 425, a bill written last year by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.
Caballero, whose district runs from Morgan Hill south to Big Sur, and includes Gilroy, Salinas and the Salinas Valley, said Thursday that while the governor's proposal goes further than she originally intended with the bill '-- which proposed to ease road-building rules on forest thinning projects '-- she supports the intent.
''My interest is getting that dead fuel out of there and doing it in a way to generate some revenue and have people working,'' she said. ''I'm not interested in clear-cutting. This wouldn't do that. There's got to be a happy medium.''
Baby boys and girls receive different nutrients in breast milk | Science | The Guardian
Levels of nutrients in baby milk have effects on a child's growth, behaviour and temperament that may last a lifetime. Photograph: AlamyBaby formula should be tailored for boys and girls to reflect the differences in milk that mothers produce depending on their baby's sex, researchers say.
Tests on mothers' milk in both monkeys and humans have showed that levels of fat, protein, vitamins, sugars, minerals and hormones vary enormously, but there is evidence that milk made for female and male babies is consistently different.
The make-up of the milk has a direct impact on the child's growth, but also on his or her behaviour and temperament, which may last for the rest of their life. Scientists suspect that breast milk may be tailored by nature to meet the different growth needs of the sexes.
The findings have led some researchers to suggest that baby formula should come in boy and girl formulations to match the differences seen in breast milk.
"We have good reason to be sceptical of a one-size-fits-all formula," said Prof Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago, Hinde described her work in rhesus monkeys that showed mothers produce milk with 35% more fat and protein for male babies, and even richer milk when the male was first-born.
But when mothers fed female babies, their milk was less fatty and had more calcium, probably to support the faster growth of their skeletons. Mothers produced more milk overall for females, and over the course of their breast feeding, they received the same amount of fat as the males.
"The recipes for milk for sons and daughters may be different, and the difference may be greater depending on where the mother is at in her reproductive career," said Hinde.
"Boys and girls have different developmental trajectories, so if they are not getting what they need, their development will not be optimal."
In another study, Hinde looked at levels of the stress hormone cortisol in mothers' milk and how they affected the babies' behaviour. The research builds on previous work in humans that found milk with higher concentrations of cortisol made baby girls more irritable and harder to calm down.
Hinde measured levels of cortisol in breast milk for 108 baby monkeys at one month old, and later when the animals were three or four months old. She found some subtle but important differences. Female monkeys became more nervous when cortisol was high early on in their breast feeding. Male monkeys behaved more nervously when cortisol rose over time.
Taken together, the work suggests that mothers make breast milk differently for male and female babies, and that male and females respond to the milk they drink in their own ways.
Hinde said far more work was needed to understand not only how and why milk varies for boys and girls, but also why constituents of milk affect them in different ways.
Lame Cherry: Under Macron all the French will be dead, but the world will be saved.
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.The Lame Cherry is stunned in looking into the American future as France, in there are national protests now erupting in that nation with people wearing Yellow Vests, because for some asstard reason President Manu Macron has ordered all French drivers to have bright yellow vests in their cars, or it is a crime against the French State.What is at the heart of this are those damned Paris Accords, which are nothing but robbery against the people who have money in a carbon tax (Remember Mike Pence and the Kushner's were promoting that with James Baker of the Bush regime after Pence attended the Super Bowl in 2009?Just think HW of Pence as your Jeb in the White House This is what President Trump has been hinting at in rejoining completely after he signed off on a number of the provisions in this draconian accord for dictators. What has been unleashed though in France is Manu Macron raising petrol prices when the French can not afford the fuel.In France the cars there wisely use diesel fuel as those engines last longer and are more robust. The problem though in France is the cost of fuel and Macron.French diesel in the Paris Accords is currently almost 7 dollars a gallon. That is beyond ridiculous as imported crude oil is not that expensive, and the French should be paying at most what Americans are paying in 3 dollars a gallon diesel or as it sold in France, 75 cents a liter. French people pay 1.71 American a liter as fuel is that expensive.When one considers people eating cake caused the French Revolution and tea caused the original revolution in America, this price gouging in France should have sparked a revolution. Instead being ordered to wear dork vests in your car, has become a protest of blockades where Manu Macron is now hosing down the French with Tear Gas if the French get too close to the royal Macron. No Fuel in France but plenty of Gas for the People Yes the President of France has had people beaten up and now is gassing his own people like a Nazi on steroids. What follows in this, the guillotine for the French out of their yellow vest or not bowing low enough to this despot?France is supposed to be a civilized society, and yet it is making her people carbon tax slaves and is unleashing draconian gas attacks on the public. It is time that President Donald Trump appeal to the United Nations for peacekeepers to be sent in to protect the French People from Manu Macron. Macron is now guilty of crimes against humanity and must answer before The Hague, as he is the dictator now making French people wear yellow vests as Nazi made Jews wear yellow stars.The answer to this for Macron is not to stop raping the French on higher fuel taxes, but is instead for the Paris Accords handing out more fuel entitlements to "poor families". Translate that as those swarthy Muslims of the Paris ghettos.Almost 7 million people will be receiving a payment just to be able to try and afford to put fuel in their vehicles after the Paris Accords.On Wednesday, the government announced action to help poor families pay their energy and transport bills.Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that 5.6 million households would receive energy subsidies. Currently 3.6 million receive them.A state scrappage bonus on polluting vehicles would also be doubled for France's poorest families, he said, and fuel tax credits would be brought in for people who depend on their cars for work. See Donald it is right here on Stalin's Manual of Genocide on UkraineI can have France free of the French by the end of the year. If you missed the above, Manu Marcon is also dictating that people can not own "bad" cars. Bad cars are those which are not new, and being forced upon poor people to purchase which are the "good" cars which will no doubt fall apart at the last French payment.Most of these protesters bought into Macron's lunatic climate disaster in voting this lunatic into office.“I happily voted for Macron in 2017, but he’s really making fun of us,” said Dominique Jouvert, 63, a retired civil servant demonstrating in Lyon’s city center. “There’s no discussion to be had with him, no dialogue, he’s arrogant.“What’s certain is that I won’t vote for him again.”It is time for the French to save themselves from Manu Macron. It is time for Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to call for the ouster of this despot in Macron, who was behind the murderous attack on Russians in Syria earlier this year. New elections must take place immediately in France, and as Manu Macron will never do the right thing for the French People, he should face forced removal by the European Union.Yes under Macron all the French will be dead, but the world will be saved.- Lame CherryThis is the future of the United States as Americans are gouged in ridiculous fuel prices and being forced to wear dork vests, probably with LED flashing lights as that will be much DOE safer.The French like the Americans are being eaten by wolves, eaten by high energy prices and so accepting of enslavement that there is more intrigue in their regimes than in Edward III"s court.Is there a French Joan of Arc who will free the French from tyranny, not from England this time, but from the very French palace of Manu Macron. That is doubtful as doubtful that Americans will see any deliverance fro their MAGA savior who talks allot, but like the lily of the valley does not spin.Nuff SaidagtGComme un autre Lame Cherry exclusif en matière anti-matière. La Lame Cherry est abasourdie par le regard porté sur l'avenir américain en France, où des manifestants nationaux portant des gilets jaunes manifestent maintenant dans ce pays, car, pour une raison quelconque, le président Manu Macron a ordonné à tous les chauffeurs français de voitures, ou c'est un crime contre l'État français. Ce qui est au cœur de tout cela, ce sont ces maudits accords de Paris, qui ne sont que des vols contre ceux qui ont de l'argent dans une taxe sur le carbone (Remember Mike Pence et les Kushner en faisaient la promotion avec James Baker du régime Bush Bowl en 2009? C’est ce que le président Trump a laissé entendre en s’associant complètement après avoir signé un certain nombre de dispositions de cet accord draconien pour les dictateurs. Ce qui a été déclenché en France, c’est Manu Macron qui a augmenté le prix de l’essence alors que les Français n’ont pas les moyens de payer le carburant. En France, les voitures y utilisent judicieusement le carburant diesel, car ces moteurs durent plus longtemps et sont plus robustes. Le problème cependant en France est le coût du carburant et de Macron. Le diesel français dans les accords de Paris coûte actuellement près de 7 dollars le gallon. C’est ridicule, car le pétrole brut importé n’est pas si cher, et les Français devraient payer au maximum ce que les Américains paient en dollars américains le gallon ou en dollars américains, soit 75 cents le litre en France. Les Français paient 1,71 litre américain le litre car le carburant coûte si cher. Quand on considère que les gens mangent la galette causée par la Révolution française et que le thé est à l’origine de la révolution d’origine en Amérique, cette hausse des prix en France aurait dû déclencher une révolution. Au lieu de recevoir l’ordre de porter des gilets de dork dans votre voiture, c’est devenu une protestation contre le blocus. Manu Macron met maintenant les Français au gaz lacrymogène si les Français s’approchent trop près du royal Macron. Pas de carburant en France mais beaucoup d'essence pour le peuple Oui, le président de la République française a fait tabasser des gens et il gaze maintenant son propre peuple comme un nazi sous stéroïdes. Qu'est-ce qui suit dans cette situation, la guillotine des Français hors de son gilet jaune ou ne s'inclinant pas assez bas devant ce despote? La France est censée être une société civilisée. Pourtant, elle asservit son peuple à la taxe sur le carbone et lance des attaques gazières draconiennes contre le public. Il est temps que le président Donald Trump lance un appel aux Nations unies pour que des Casques bleus soient envoyés afin de protéger le peuple français de Manu Macron. Macron est maintenant coupable de crimes contre l’humanité et doit répondre devant La Haye, car il est le dictateur qui oblige les Français à porter le gilet jaune alors que les Juifs fabriqués par les nazis portent l’étoile jaune. La réponse à cette question pour Macron ne consiste pas à arrêter de violer les Français pour des taxes sur les carburants plus élevées, mais à ce que les Accords de Paris accordent davantage de droits en matière de carburant aux "familles pauvres". Traduisez cela comme ces musulmans basanés des ghettos de Paris. Près de 7 millions de personnes recevront un paiement juste pour pouvoir essayer de se permettre de mettre de l'essence dans leurs véhicules après les accords de Paris. Mercredi, le gouvernement a annoncé une action visant à aider les familles pauvres à payer leurs factures d’énergie et de transport. Le Premier ministre Edouard Philippe a annoncé que 5,6 millions de ménages recevraient des subventions énergétiques. Actuellement, 3,6 millions les reçoivent. Les primes de mise à la casse sur les véhicules polluants seraient également doublées pour les familles les plus pauvres de France, a-t-il déclaré, et des crédits de taxe sur l'essence seraient mis en place pour les personnes qui dépendent de leur voiture pour leur travail. Si vous avez manqué ce qui précède, Manu Marcon dicte également que les gens ne peuvent pas posséder de "mauvaises" voitures. Les mauvaises voitures sont celles qui ne sont pas neuves et que les pauvres doivent acheter, qui sont les "bonnes" voitures qui s'effondreront sans doute au dernier versement français. La plupart de ces manifestants ont souscrit au désastre climatique de Macron en votant pour le remplacer. «J’ai voté pour Macron avec joie en 2017, mais il se moque vraiment de nous», a déclaré Dominique Jouvert, 63 ans, fonctionnaire à la retraite qui manifestait dans le centre-ville de Lyon. «Il n’ya aucune discussion à avoir avec lui, pas de dialogue, il est arrogant. "Ce qui est certain, c’est que je ne voterai plus pour lui." Il est temps que les Français se sauvent de Manu Macron. Il est temps que le chancelier Sebastian Kurz appelle à l'éviction de ce despote à Macron, qui était à l'origine de l'attentat meurtrier contre les Russes en Syrie plus tôt cette année. De nouvelles élections doivent avoir lieu immédiatement en France et, comme Manu Macron ne fera jamais ce qui est juste pour le peuple français, il devrait être expulsé de force par l'Union européenne. Oui, sous Macron, tous les Français seront morts, mais le monde sera sauvé. - Lame Cherry C’est l’avenir des États-Unis, alors que les Américains se font piéger à des prix de carburant ridicules et forcé de porter des gilets de dork, probablement avec des lumières clignotantes à LED car ce sera beaucoup plus sûr. Les Français, comme les Américains, sont dévorés par les loups, les prix élevés de l’énergie et acceptent ainsi l’esclavage qui fait qu’il ya plus d’intrigues dans leurs régimes que dans la cour d’Edouard III. Y at-il une Jeanne d’Arc française qui libérera les Français de la tyrannie, pas d'Angleterre cette fois-ci, mais du palais très français de Manu Macron, ce qui est douteux et douteux que les Américains voient une délivrance de leur sauveur de MAGA qui parle beaucoup, mais comme le muguet ne tourne pas.
VIDEO - CNN commentator: All Trump voters are racist - YouTube
WASHINGTON '-- In a highly unusual public statement, Chief Justice John Roberts rebutted President Donald Trump's statement that a ruling against the administration was made by "an Obama judge."
Asked Wednesday by the Associated Press about the president's comment, Roberts responded, "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."
He added on the day before Thanksgiving that an "independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."
It's the first time the Republican-appointed leader of the federal judiciary has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has previously blasted federal judges who ruled against him.
The president responded several hours later in a string of tweets, claiming there are, in fact, "Obama judges" and attacking the Ninth Circuit court.
Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ''Obama judges,'' and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country. It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ''independent judiciary,'' but if it is why......
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018 .....are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned. Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security - these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018 ''79% of these decisions have been overturned in the 9th Circuit.'' @FoxNews A terrible, costly and dangerous disgrace. It has become a dumping ground for certain lawyers looking for easy wins and delays. Much talk over dividing up the 9th Circuit into 2 or 3 Circuits. Too big!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018Trump made his initial comment on Tuesday about the "Obama judge" in response to questions about Monday's ruling by Federal District Court Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco that put a temporary hold on the administration's plan for refusing to consider asylum applications from immigrants who cross the border illegally.
"You go the 9th Circuit and it's a disgrace," Trump said. "And I'm going to put in a major complaint because you cannot win '-- if you're us '-- a case in the 9th Circuit and I think it's a disgrace. This was an Obama judge. And I'll tell you what, it's not going to happen like this anymore."
Tigar was nominated by President Barack Obama, but Roberts has consistently pushed back against claims that judges made decisions based on political considerations.
"I will not criticize the political branches," he said in a speech in October. "Our role is very clear. We are to interpret the Constitution and laws of the United States and ensure that the political branches act within them."
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chief Justice John Roberts as he arrives to deliver an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Feb. 28, 2017. Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool via Getty Images fileEven so, Roberts has had resisted responding directly to Trump's attacks on judges.
Trump said it was a "so-called judge" who issued the first federal ruling against his travel ban. During the 2016 presidential campaign, after calling for a wall on the southern border, he said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel might be biased against him in a trial over Trump University because of the judge's Mexican heritage.
Trump's latest remarks come as the Supreme Court is enmeshed in controversy over his appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Several justices have spoken out about judicial independence and the danger of having the court viewed as a political institution that is divided between five conservative Republicans and four liberal Democrats.
The White House had no immediate response to a request for comment on Roberts' criticism on Wednesday.
Pete Williams Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.
VIDEO - (1) China's Bike-Sharing Disaster - YouTube
During a survey of San Francisco's dirtiest streets, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit discovered what appeared to be graffiti laced with feces along sidewalks on two different blocks By Bigad Shaban, Robert Campos, and Tony RutanooshedechPublished Nov 19, 2018 at 8:43 AM | Updated at 6:48 PM PST on Nov 19, 2018High-priced San Francisco is known for launching trends, however, feces-laced graffiti may be the most peculiar and disgusting one yet.
While surveying parts of downtown San Francisco, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit discovered graffiti that appeared to look as if it were made from feces. The markings were found along sidewalks on two different blocks: 700 block of Ellis Street, between Polk and Larkin Streets, and the 500 block of Larkin Street, between Eddy and Turk Streets. Piles of excrement were also found near each of the markings. However, NBC Bay Area did not test the graffiti to confirm the presence of feces.
Following the investigative report, some weighed in on social media with their own thoughts on the graffiti. "That's not feces," @TheChiropractor wrote on Twitter. "That's foam caulking that can be scraped off."
That's not feces, that's a foam caulking that can be scraped off
'-- Dr. Austin Davis (@TheChiropractor) November 14, 2018
Mayor Promised Cleaner City Within 90 Days
The Investigative Unit spotted the graffiti while revisiting 20 of San Francisco's dirtiest blocks. The team surveyed streets and sidewalks in search of trash, needles, and feces. The Investigative Unit first inspected the area in January and repeated the process in early November in order to compare the level of cleanliness before and after Mayor London Breed took office. As a candidate, Breed promised a cleaner San Francisco within three months, if elected. Breed was sworn in more than four months ago on the steps of city hall during a ceremony on July 11.
''There is a huge difference in certain parts of the city,'' Breed told the Investigative Unit. ''I'm not seeing as much of what I used to before I took office.''
SF Mayor Won't Say When Stepping on Feces Will No Longer be the Norm
When Will Stepping On Feces No Longer Be the Norm?
In comparing Breed's first three months in office with the three months prior, San Francisco 311 data reflects an 8 percent increase in complaints regarding used needles, 3 percent increase concerning trash, and 30 percent increase regarding human feces.
"I don't think it's because the city is actually dirtier," Breed said. "I think it's because more people are reporting the challenges that exist."
While Breed acknowledges "there is still work to be done" in cleaning up San Francisco, she no longer appears willing to attach any type of time table to future progress. When asked when stepping over feces will no longer be the norm in San Francisco, she quipped, "soon rather than later." When pressed for more specifics, Breed, with a smile, repeated herself, "sooner rather than later."
SF Received Nearly 21,000 Requests to Clean Human Feces Last Year
The mayor recently assembled a new crew dubbed the ''Poop Patrol'' to clean feces across San Francisco seven days a week. Last year, San Francisco received 20,960 requests to clean human feces from streets and sidewalks. The number of complaints in 2018 is expected to exceed that figure based on the 11,944 cleaning requests received in just the first six months of this year.
San Francisco is home to the highest rent prices in the world with the average apartment renting for $3,500 per month, according to a recent study released by Walletwyse, a financial advice website.
San Francisco has spent more than $308 million cleaning up its streets since fiscal year 2013, yet, the city has struggled to develop trusted metrics to measure its job performance. In 2003, voters approved a measure that requires San Francisco to annually inspect and rate street cleanliness across the city. Over the past five years, San Francisco paid a public relations firm, JBR Partners, more than $400,000 to conduct those inspections.
Public Relations Firm Awards SF Nearly Perfect Cleanliness Score
A recent NBC Bay Area investigation revealed the firm awarded San Francisco a nearly perfect cleanliness score for fiscal year 2016-17. As a result, in December 2017, the city concluded the data could be flawed and pledged to overhaul its process for measuring job performance within the city's street cleaning program. Despite the realization from the city that the data may not be accurate, San Francisco continued to pay JBR Partners to conduct another annual survey for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which resulted in similar cleanliness scores, boasting high marks. The effort to reform the city's assessment process, which began prior to Breed's term in office, is still ongoing.
JBR Partners has yet to respond to repeated requests for comment.
"Unfortunately, I can't control what's happened in the past," said Breed. "I can only control what I'm doing now as mayor to move the city forward."
VIDEO - Smug Barack Obama Mockingly Explains How He Thinks He's Better Than Most People He's Worked With - YouTube
Former President Barack Obama hinted that Donald Trump's 'mommy issues' are part of what makes him incapable of fixing the nation's problems.
Obama told the audience at a talk at the Obama Foundation summit, held at the Mariott Marquis hotel in Chicago, on Monday that the world 'badly needs remaking.'
And he insisted fixing issues around climate change, education, agriculture and so on are not nearly as complicated as they are made out to be.
Without mentioning Trump by name, Obama said 'the reason we don't do it is because we are still confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism, mommy issues.'
Trump has previously credited his mother Mary MacLeod Trump, who died in 2000, for 'so much of what I've done and so much of what I've become.'
Former President Barack Obama speaks to attendees at the second Obama Foundation summit at the Mariott Marquis hotel in Chicago on Monday
Mommy dearest: Mary MacLeod was an immigrant from a remote Scottish island who spoke English as her second language. Her son's predecessor as president accused him of having 'mommy issues' - although he pointedly did not use his name
But she was reported to have been greatly embarrassed by her son's antics throughout the 1990s, when his personal life and failing business often became tabloid fodder.
'What sort of son have I created?' she once famously asked Trump's first wife Ivana, whose highly-publicized divorce came following the revelation that Trump had cheated on her with Marla Maples.
Since leaving office, Obama has pointedly avoided direct criticism of his successor, making a calculated effort not to utter Trump's name.
But the gloves came off as he campaigned ahead of the midterm elections and assailed Republicans for failing to keep Trump in check.
'What happened to the Republican Party?' asked Obama in September in a speech where he accused Trump of 'capitalizing' on 'fear and anger.'
Calling out the president by name, Obama said Trump was a 'symptom, not the cause' of broader ailments in the nation's politics.
And in another dig at Trump on Monday, Obama suggested the US was a better place before he was sworn into office.
In a conversation with author Dave Eggers, Obama also repeated his belief that if you could choose a time and place to be born, you would choose the US.
But he amended that thought and said: 'You'd choose now '' or maybe two years ago.'
Obama made the remarks during a conversation with author Dave Eggers at the summit
The former president (left) told the audience that the world 'badly needs remaking'
At the summit on Monday night, Obama also maintained that what prevents change that would make the world a better place is the people involved.
'What prevents us from implementing most of the things that we would probably collectively agree would make the world better is not the absence of technological solutions, it's because there are humans involved and that the dynamics of the society,' he said.
'Do we care about these kids? Because maybe we don't'...They look a little different to us.'
Obama also urged community organizers and social innovators to be patient in their pursuits of wide-scale change.
'You can remake the world right now, because it badly needs remaking,' he said.
He noted that patience is needed because societies are 'complex, organic things that you don't turn (like) switches. They evolve. They shift. They change.'
But he said he has faith in the next generation because they are 'ahead of the curve.'
He added: 'The thing that inspires me whenever I come to these gatherings'... is that this generation behind us is smarter, more sophisticated, more tolerant, more welcoming, more innovative, more creative, certainly than I was.
'I'll go ahead and speak for my whole generation, I think. Y'all are ahead of the curve. And you're no less idealistic, in some ways, you're more idealistic.
'And you feel a greater sense of urgency about wrongs that need to be righted.'
Obama also talked extensively about his background as a community organizer, his experiences as a politician and writing his book.
He joked writing the book is a 'brutal' process that is causing strain in his marriage now that Michelle Obama has launched her book tour.
'I'm just sitting there, I type two words'... delete them. You know what? Michelle's out there, go buy her book right now.
'This is causing some strain in our marriage. The fact that she is finished and I am not.'
The Obama summit is a two-day conference that brings together civic innovators and community activists from around the world to network, exchange ideas.
VIDEO - (20) David Knight on Twitter: "Gatekeepers CNN will keep us from ð Trump evil CNN will keep us from ð Trump evil #SocialMedia will censor YOU from ð evil You're too stupid to decide on your own (maybe you ARE too stupid if you watch CNN)
@libertytarian This is going beyond censorship, can you imagine what they would come up with on a daily basis, it would be a fairytale where evil dragon Trump would be slayed by Prince Valium Jim Acostya each and every time
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VIDEO - (2) Face The Nation on Twitter: ""This broad brush criticism that the president is somehow undermining our democracy, I always wonder like, what exactly are we talking about?" @DanCrenshawTX tells @margbrennan @FaceTheNation https://t.co/ac7ve4LCf
VIDEO - The Pledge on Twitter: ""We have been disrespected" - @MichelleDewbs thinks Brexiteers have been disrespected "since the second this referendum happened" #ThePledge'... https://t.co/MeI5hs7Sc1"
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VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress '-- Uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the H