Jeffrey Winder was found guilty of misdemeanor assault in February for punching white-nationalist organizer Jason Kessler in August 2017. On Tuesday, a jury ruled that his punishment will be a whopping $1 fine.
Kessler attempted to hold a press conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, the day after Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist who drove his car into a group of people protesting the white nationalist rally organized by Kessler's ''Unite the Right'' group. Winder was among the protesters who showed up to stop Kessler from making a statement, punching him in the back of the head as others booed and shouted over him.
Winder faced a maximum possible sentence of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for the punch, which was caught on tape by the local NBC affiliate. He appealed his misdemeanor assault conviction, and while the jury upheld the guilty verdict, they determined that he should serve no jail time and should only be fined $1, sending a clear message that Winder was justified in lashing out at Kessler.
Winder's attorney, James Abrenio, argued that Kessler brought the punch on himself by holding a press conference while the city was reeling from the so-recent death of Heyer, arguing that he was ''going out of his way'' to ''profit off tragedy''
NPR reports that Winder told NBC 29 (WVIR), ''He [Kessler] had an incredible amount of nerve coming in front of the people of Charlottesville after the pain, suffering, and terror that he brought on the community. He should never be allowed to show his face in town again.'' It appears that a jury of his peers agrees'--and may have just settled a long-standing debate over the morality of punching white supremacists.
On Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2017, white supremacist instigator Richard Spencer was punched in the face while giving an interview, by a masked protestor. The punch heard 'round the world became a viral sensation, and ignited a passionate and sometimes gleeful debate over whether punching Nazis is a moral necessity or a self-defeating attempt to fight violence with violence. (Spencer doesn't consider himself a Nazi, nor does Kessler '-- but the meme machine wasn't interested in splitting hairs between the labels Nazi, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, or white nationalist and just went with the catch-all, ''Nazi.'')
Along with videos of Spencer's punched face set to music, the Internet also flooded with op-eds calling for civility, warning that punching Nazis (or people who hold Nazi-like values) would ''lead to escalation of political violence across the board,'' and arguing, ''You do not get to punch people even though they are ideologically despicable.''
Proponents of Nazi-punching invoked beloved fictional Nazi-punchers Indiana Jones and Captain America, as well as real life World War II heroes. Supercuts of Nazis being punched in movies circulated, as did the website CanIPunchNazis.com, which is just a single page featuring a gif of Spencer being punched and the words ''yes, it is always ok to punch a Nazi.
Mother Jones published ''The Long History of 'Nazi Punching,''' and ParentMap considered the question, ''My Son Wants to Punch Nazis '-- Should I Let Him?'' Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Å½iÅ¾ek weighed in, and Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. conducted a survey to gauge public opinion (68 percent overall said it's not OK to punch Nazis, but 51 percent of those who identified as ''strong liberals'' said it is.) But despite the mind-boggling volume of commentary on the matter, the debate was, unsurprisingly, never settled. Until Tuesday, when it seems this Charlottesville jury made an official ruling: Yes, punch away.
Green New Deal
Secret Coal Plants Reveal China's Strategy of the 'Green' Mirage
Despite its claims that it would reduce coal use, the Chinese regime has quietly renewed its construction of coal-fired power plants.
The findings were based on recent satellite images showing that the regime has resumed construction on dozens of coal-fired power plants, according to Deutsche Welle. The new construction was exposed in a new report from the Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club
As Deutsche Welle notes, this goes against the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) own measures in 2012 and 2013 to allegedly slow the growth of its coal industry; and goes against its promise to cap coal consumption. It notes that the CCP has also been putting cash behind more coal-fired plants abroad.
This shows that while the CCP has been paying lip service to ''clean energy'' and has backed international programs to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it has maintained its own programs for cheap and effective energy.
At the same time, by promoting less profitable and less effective energy programs in Europe and elsewhere, the CCP has been taking a road that could allow it to dominate the market.
Unrestricted WarfareThese actions tie closely to military strategies outlined in the CCP's unrestricted warfare systems'--specifically to resource warfare and international law warfare (also called ''legal warfare''). Environmental warfare combines both of these concepts.
According to the Chinese military book, ''Unrestricted Warfare,'' resource warfare is described as ''grabbing riches by plundering stores of resources,'' and legal warfare is described as ''seizing the earliest opportunity to set up regulations.''
''The goal of this kind of warfare will encompass more than merely 'using means that involve the force of arms to force the enemy to accept one's own will,''' the book states.
''Rather, the goal should be 'to use all means whatsoever'--means that involve the force of arms and means that do not involve the force of arms, means that involve military power and means that do not involve military power, means that entail casualties and means that do not entail casualties'--to force the enemy to serve one's own interests.'''
In the strategic sense, resource warfare could be the intentional destruction of parts of the environment to deny its use to an adversary'--such as how Russia burned farmland while falling back from Napoleon's forces, which starved Napoleon's army.
When it comes to legal warfare, this includes the manipulation of laws and regulations to control or deny access to key resources such as iron ore and rare earth minerals, or of energy resources like oil and natural gas.
The CCP demonstrated this strategy's use in Sept. 2010, when it was trying to seize control of Japan's Senkaku Islands. After Japan detained a Chinese fisherman in the disputed waters, the CCP answered by banning the sale of rare earth minerals to Japan.
Its control of rare earth minerals acted as a symbolic gun to the head of Japan's high-tech industry'--and likewise the Japanese economy.
In other words, the CCP used a legal warfare method to manipulate regulations. This was done to control the sale of natural resources that are essential to Japan's economy; and it was done in a resource warfare conflict to try to seize control of territory.
Environmental WarfareNow let's get into fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses'--and whichever side of the fence you're on with global warming, forget about it for a moment. We're going to look at this purely from the angle of strategy.
When it comes to the current topic of coal energy, the CCP had been speaking with two tongues. On one side it was paying lip service to clean energy and claimed it would lead this charge. On the other side it was not changing anything'--and was even continuing its track record of being the top offender on greenhouse gas emissions.
The energy business is strategically valuable'--not just for controlling the ability to power armies, economies, and national infrastructure'--but also on its power to influence other nations.
Russia was keenly aware of this concept, and has used its control of natural gas to sway politics in Europe. Leaked State Department cables in 2009 showed that Russia was planning to exert similar control with nuclear energy, and was specifically targeting Eastern Europe.
Russia's known ambitions to use energy markets for political influence were part of the controversy when the Hillary Clinton State Department held its March 6, 2009, ''reset'' with Russia, and helped approve Russia's purchase of uranium company Uranium One'--as millions of Russian dollars poured into the Clinton Foundation.
When it comes to the debates around global warming, China is the greatest abuser on greenhouse gas emissions. As Deutsche Welle notes, coal is the worst offender in carbon emission, and while most of the world was pushing to phase out coal energy, global demand for coal rose by 0.7 percent. It states, ''Almost all of that growth came from Asia and especially China, where coal power generation of electricity rose by more than 5 percent.''
Going by these numbers, and its environmental track record that includes reckless destruction of its own natural resources, it's fair to say that the CCP cares very little about how its industry effects the environment.
But the CCP claims it cares. This has a few facets to it. Part of the reason the CCP supports restricting greenhouse gas emissions is that international regulations cripple its competitors, and enable it to buy up resources going at fire sale prices.
Also, the CCP controls a strong portion of the ''clean energy'' tech movement, including through its monopoly on rare earth minerals used in solar panels and wind turbines, and its ability to under-price competitors in wind turbine technology, which its military hackers'--''Unit 61398'"'-- stole from U.S. company American Superconductor Corporation.
This brings us to the Paris Accord, which was an international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement, criticizing it as a deal that would have placed heavy restrictions on U.S. companies while giving free rein to the major abusers including China.
Ironically, the Trump administration'--with restrictions lifted on producing clean-burning natural gas'--has managed to cut carbon emissions even without the restrictions in the Paris Accord'--so much so that the United States is now the world leader in cutting carbon emissions. It has outpaced all the critics from Canada, to Europe, and all the way to China.
Meanwhile, according to The Heartland Institute, ''China's carbon dioxide emissions rose at the fastest rate in seven years during the first quarter of 2018, according to Greenpeace. China is the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter and its government data show the country's carbon dioxide emissions were 4 percent higher in the first quarter of 2018 than at the same time in 2017.''
The Paris Accord would have allowed the CCP to dominate the energy market, and the new findings on the CCP's coal fire plants show that despite all its talk about clean energy, it was all just hot air.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Republicans and Democrats Unite to Save the Planet, and No One Notices | Jewish Journal
Media companies have become so driven by ratings and click bait they're having a hard time covering political news that don't involve partisan food fights'-- even when that news involves saving our planet.
Take, for example, the news last week that a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced legislation to support a potential breakthrough against global warming. Who noticed? I couldn't find anything in The New York Times or on CNN, but I did see a tweet from someone who cares deeply about the sustainability of our planet, Bill Gates.
On Thursday, Gates tweeted:
''Yesterday, a bipartisan group of leaders in the U.S. Senate introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, which establishes an ambitious plan to accelerate the development of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. I can't overstate how important this is.''
Gates was referring to a bill that would promote next-generation nuclear power, which he feels so strongly about he promised lawmakers he'd invest $1 billion of his own money behind the initiative. Gates has already put his money where his mouth is by investing in startups like TerraPower, which is working on traveling-wave reactor technology.
The legislation was introduced on Wednesday by 15 senators, including Republicans such as Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham as well as Democrats such as New Jersey's Cory Booker and West Virginia's Joe Manchin.
Why is this big news? Because year after year, the conversation around climate change has been dominated by partisan acrimony rather than progress. And yet, if there's one issue that ought to transcend politics, it is the health of our planet. Now that Republicans and Democrats have finally found common ground on this issue, it's certainly worth taking notice.
It's also worth noting why they have united around nuclear power. As far back as 2013, Scientific American was hailing nuclear power as ''one of the few technologies that can quickly combat climate change.''
The magazine reported that ''the low-carbon electricity produced by such [nuclear] reactors provides 20 percent of the nation's power and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and other air pollution like coal-fired power plants do and thus have saved some 1.8 million lives .''
Hansen and many others, the magazine reported, think that ''nuclear power is a key energy technology to fend off catastrophic climate change.'' Because coal represents almost half of global emissions, Hansen explained, ''If you replace these power plants with modern, safe nuclear reactors you could do a lot of [pollution reduction] quickly.''
Speed is key. The urgency of climate change has been well covered by the media. The problem is that too many potential ''solutions'' are too speculative, slow or exorbitant, which may be why they haven't attracted much bipartisanship support.
Clean and safe nuclear power, on the other hand, offers hope for the immediate future. To avoid ''dangerous'' climate change , according to Hansen and other experts, the world needs to drop its global warming pollution by 6 percent annually. ''On a global scale, it's hard to see how we could conceivably accomplish this without nuclear,'' writes economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
In an era of bitter partisanship, we should applaud the senators who have put their political differences aside to sponsor a concrete initiative to help save our planet. Now it's the media's turn to take a break from partisan food fights and do the same.
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5 Ways the Green New Deal Exactly Mirrors Agenda 2030 | The Sleuth Journal
The Green New Deal, submitted by new US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is more like a green fantasy wish-list than a political bill. This so-called Green New Deal, which can be read here, promotes a broad, utopian-like future where magically everyone gets all their energy from non-polluting sources, everyone has a high-paying job with paid vacation, everyone has high-quality health care and everyone has retirement security. Not surprisingly, it does not spell out how the USG (United States Government) and its taxpayers are supposed to pay for all this. Even the name ''Green New Deal'' contains the phrase ''New Deal'' which refers to the sweeping socialistic changes to US law and society made in the 1930s by then US President Roosevelt, which included starting the Social Security Administration, confiscating the gold of Americans and substantially expanding the power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government.
Green New Deal = Agenda 2030Ocasio-Cortez is just a naive poster woman for a sinister agenda about which she is ultimately clueless. She has been given an undue and exorbitant amount of media attention for a freshman congresswoman (just 1 congresswomen out of 435), not because she's intelligent or unique, but because the people really pushing this agenda own the MSM and can dictate what the public focus on. The truth is that the Green New Deal is just another incarnation of a far-reaching plan to bring about a One World Government via the UN (United Nations) Agenda 2030 (formerly Agenda 21). This Global Governance as they like to call it is planned to be a worldwide totalitarian socialist dictatorship; there is nothing utopian about it. Below are 5 ways in which the Green New Deal very closely mimics the wording, aims and targets of Agenda 2030.
Similarity #1: Green New Deal Aims at Changes Being Done by 2030Agenda 21 was replaced by Agenda 2030, so-called because it contained a list of 17 goals and 169 targets that were to be achieved by the year 2030. Interestingly enough, the Green New Deal also aims at achieving its objectives by this date as stated in the US Green Party's summary of it:
''The Green New Deal starts with a WWII-type mobilization to address the grave threat posed by climate change, transitioning our country to 100% clean energy by 2030 '... The centerpiece of the Green New Deal is a transition to 100% clean energy by 2030.''
Similarity #2: Sustainable Energy for AllThe Green New Deal states that it is the ''duty'' of the Federal Government to meet ''100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.'' Goal 7 of Agenda 2030 states: ''Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.''Sustainable energy for all '' sounds great. Who's going to pay for it? What are we going to have to give up to get it? Privacy? Autonomy? Can we only get this new sustainable energy if we move house into an ''approved'' area (i.e. a Smart City Megalopolis) and submit to being on the grid 24/7 with Smart Meters radiating us? Who granted the US or UN the authority and jurisdiction to ''care'' for all their citizens like this? The more we allow these governing bodies to take responsibility for an aspect of life, the more power they assume.
Similarity #3: Climate Change is a ThreatThe Green New Deal states (pg. 4) that ''climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States.'' Goal 13 of Agenda 2030 is to ''take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.'' Notice the term keeps changing from ''manmade global warming'' to ''manmade climate change'' to simply ''climate change'' to continue the charade. Of course the climate is changing; it always has and it always will. Most skeptics of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) readily admit the climate changes. The question is how much humanity is causing it. The point is also that it cannot scientifically be due to the minuscule amounts of CO2 humanity emits. Note how both the Green New Deal and Agenda 2030 make sure to get the propaganda in that we must rally around saving the environment (and submit to a NWO [New World Order] in the process as a side effect). The Green New Deal spares no exaggeration by saying that climate change (a rise of 2ºC) will cause ''mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change'' and cost the US ''$500 billion in lost annual economic output by the year 2100.'' It also blames climate change for ''wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019'' however the real reason for those lies elsewhere.
Similarity #4: Millions of Magical High-Paying JobsThe Green New Deal proposes ''(1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States; (2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States'' while in Goal 8, Agenda 2030 wants to ''promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.'' Sounds great as always, but how? Who is going to organize and enforce all this? More government? You betcha.
Similarity #5: Central PlanningFor me, the word ''mobilization'' creepily and eerily denotes some kind of central, military-like authority with the power to mobilize citizens like troops, treat people like human resources, order them around and put them to work on whatever projects it sees fits '' all the for ''greater good'' of the collective. As the article The Green New Deal Plus Modern Monetary Theory = Socialism states:
''The GND essentially calls for conscripting the American workforce and putting us to work in accordance with what the elite government planners want instead of what ''we, the people'' want. They propose to replace our market economy, in which privately owned businesses compete to see who can best supply the needs and wants of the people, with a command economy in which government is the master and citizens build what the planners say must be built.''
Conclusion: Green New Deal Sure Smells Like Agenda 2030The Green New Deal, no matter how well intentioned, is a rehash of an old plan to use threats to the environment (real or imagined) as a way to get people to rally behind a NWO. The Green New Deal is bogged down by total impracticality and scientific illiteracy '' in one section it states that its goal is to ''remov(e) greenhouse gases from the atmosphere'' (pg.9)! This is absurd as these gases are part of the natural water cycle, and also a precondition of human life on Earth, i.e. plants need CO2 for photosynthesis so they can provide oxygen for animals like humans. It's funny how at every step of the way the solution is always more government. That truth alone is hopefully enough for people to wake up to this monstrosity and see it for it truly is, despite the sugar coating and glossy veneer.
One fellow climate blogger recently wrote on how he's been been looking at GHCN 'unadjusted' data and noticed that scientists at NASA appear to have been altering them: ''This is a fairly disturbing development,'' he wrote.
Heating up Reykjavik and Nuuk
Cited as an example is Reykyavik, Iceland. According to Tony Heller here , ''The current version V4 has massively cooled the past, to make it look like Iceland is warming.''
Heller then posted a chart showing the difference between v2 unadjusted and the new v4 'unadjusted' for the Reykjavik station:
Heller also found here that the same appears to be the case for Nuuk, Greenland as well.
Hachijojima, JapanWith this in mind, we checked the Japanese station Hachijojima, which is situated on a small island in the Pacific well off the coast of Japan. Also here we see that the unadjusted data have been altered, too. The original v3 data depicted by the green curve are compared to the new ''unadjusted'' v4 data shown by the blue curve:
Data source: https:// data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistem p/stdata_show.cgi?id=210476780000&dt=1&ds=7 '... and https:// data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistem p/stdata_show_v4.cgi?id=JAXLT529315&ds=15&dt=1 '...
The new ''unadjusted'' v4 data have been clearly altered to cool a part of the past and thus enhance the appearance of warming. There appears to be a system behind all the adjustments: Every time the adjustments create more warming.
We also checked over the NASA GISS UHCN data for Syowa, Antarctica:
During an interview on MSNBC, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley railed against the Puerto Rican government's handling of federal hurricane aid. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley was defending Trump's accusations that the island was mismanaging federal aid money.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley on Tuesday referred to Puerto Rico as "that country," adding fuel to the flame that the White House does not treat the island as part of the United States.
During an interview on MSNBC, Gidley railed against the Puerto Rican government's handling of federal hurricane aid, claiming officials left food to rot at the island's ports. His comments came after President Donald Trump falsely claimed that "Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before.''
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"They have not come to $91 billion with all we've done in that country," Gidley said, without correcting himself.
Gidley later clarified his statement after being asked whether he meant to call Puerto Rico a country, when it is actually a U.S. territory.
"That was a mistake," Gidley replied, saying it was a "slip of the tongue."
When asked if that mistake contributes to how the White House views Puerto Rico, Gidley said once again that it was just a slip.
"A slip of the tongue is not on purpose," he said. "It's a territory."
Trump received backlash after he claimed during a series of tweets on Tuesday morning that Puerto Rico only takes from the United States. In addition to being a U.S. territory, its residents are U.S. citizens. The phrase "Puerto Rico Is The USA" began trending on Twitter following the president's comment.
More broadly, the White House has been criticized for holding a double standard when it comes to distributing hurricane relief aid and favoring states such as Florida and Texas over Puerto Rico. All areas were hit by destructive hurricanes around the same time.
Trump was also criticized for his visit to the island, after he appeared to downplay the destruction and death caused by two hurricanes that struck within several weeks of each other. Images of the president playfully throwing paper towels became the main image from the trip.
Gidley on Tuesday sidestepped when asked whether Trump believed Puerto Ricans were equal to U.S. citizens living on the mainland, saying those accusations were "absolutely ridiculous."
MSNBC host Hallie Jackson pressed Gidley on Trump's statement that Puerto Ricans are "taking from the USA."
"Puerto Rico is part of the United States. People who live in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens," Jackson said. "You're rolling your eyes and I don't know why you're rolling your eyes. There's a lot of confusion over why the president would say this and what he understands and how he views the people of Puerto Rico."
"That's ridiculous. He has actually already traveled to Puerto Rico after this horrific hurricane. He was there," Gidley replied.
"He gave them a lot of money. They have mismanaged and misused that money. It hurts their people, and that's what he is upset about," he added.
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David Martosko on Twitter: "This is @AP coverage of the #Beto launch rally. ... he "spoke at length in his native Spanish..." Neato.'... "
Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg ( BOO -tih-jej; born January 19, 1982) is an American war veteran, politician and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is also a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve. He was a consultant at McKinsey and Company, a management strategy consulting firm, from 2007 through 2010. Buttigieg is a graduate of Harvard University, a Rhodes Scholar, and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan.
Buttigieg is running for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2020 presidential election, campaigning on universal healthcare, protecting American jobs by strengthening labor unions as well as renegotiating trade deals, ensuring universal background checks for guns, protecting the environment by addressing climate change, protecting DREAMers, passing a federal law banning discrimination against LGBT people, and ending the drug war by legalizing marijuana. He is the first openly gay Democratic candidate for the office. If elected, he would be the youngest as well as the first openly LGBT American president.
Early life and education Buttigieg was born in South Bend, Indiana, to Jennifer Anne (Montgomery) and Joseph Buttigieg, both professors at the University of Notre Dame. His father was an immigrant from Malta, and his mother is a multiple-generation Hoosier.
Buttigieg graduated in 2000 from St. Joseph High School in South Bend, where he was president and valedictorian of his senior class. In his senior year of high school, he was honored for an essay for the "JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest"; he traveled to Boston, where he met Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy's family during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library. Buttigieg had written about the integrity and political courage demonstrated by U.S. Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of only two independent members of Congress. He was also selected as one of two Indiana delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program.
Buttigieg attended Harvard College, where he was president of the Harvard Institute of Politics Student Advisory Committee and worked on the Institute's annual study of youth attitudes on politics. Buttigieg was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Buttigieg graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 2004, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and literature. He wrote his thesis on the influence of puritanism on U.S. foreign policy, as reflected in Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American. He received a first-class honors degree in philosophy, politics and economics in 2007 from Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Early career Before graduating from college, Buttigieg worked as an investigative intern at WMAQ-TV, Chicago's NBC news affiliate. He also worked as an intern for Jill Long Thompson's unsuccessful 2002 congressional campaign. He later served as an adviser to her unsuccessful2008 gubernatorial campaign.
From 2004 to 2005, Buttigieg worked in Washington, D.C., as conference director for former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen's international strategic consulting firm, The Cohen Group. He also spent several months working on Senator John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, where he was a policy and research specialist. After earning his Oxford degree, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey and Company from 2007 through 2010.
He was the Democratic Party nominee in 2010 for State Treasurer of Indiana. Buttigieg lost to Republican incumbent Richard Mourdock, garnering 37.5% of the vote.
Military service Buttigieg was commissioned as a Naval intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve in 2009, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. After a seven-month deployment, Buttigieg returned to South Bend. He remained a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve until 2017.
Mayor of South Bend First term The County-City Building in downtown South Bend, which houses the Office of the Mayor.
Buttigieg was elected Mayor of South Bend in November 2011, with 74% of the vote and took office in January 2012 at age 29, as the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents.
In 2012 Buttigieg demoted South Bend police chief Darryl Boykins after a federal investigation found that the police department had improperly recorded telephone calls. Buttigieg also fired the police department's communications director, who had "discovered the recordings but continued to record the line at Boykins' command." The police communications director alleged that the recordings captured four senior police officers making racist remarks and discussing illegal acts. Buttigieg opted to settle suits brought by Boykins, the communications director, and the four officers out of court. A federal judge ruled in 2015 that Boykins's recordings violated the Federal Wiretap Act. Buttigieg came under pressure from political opponents to release the tapes, but declined to do so, citing the Wiretap Act, while also calling for the eradication of racial bias in the police force.
Buttigieg appointed Ron Teachman, formerly the police chief of New Bedford, Massachusetts, as the new police chief. Teachman oversaw the introduction of ShotSpotter technology to South Bend, as well as a new anti-gang initiative.
Buttigieg was named mayor of the year for 2013 by GovFresh.com, tying with former three-term New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. In 2014, The Washington Post called Buttigieg "the most interesting mayor you've never heard of" based on his youth, education, and military background. In 2016, The New York Times columnist Frank Bruni published a column praising Buttigieg's work as mayor and asking in the headline if he could eventually be elected as "the first gay president."
Buttigieg has made redevelopment a top priority of his administration. One of its signature programs has been the "Vacant and Abandoned Properties Initiative" (known locally as "1,000 Properties in 1,000 Days"), a project to repair or demolish blighted properties across the city. The goal was reached by the program's scheduled end date in November 2015.
Buttigieg served for seven months in Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserves, returning to the United States on September 23, 2014. In his absence, Deputy Mayor Mark Neal, South Bend's city controller, served in the role of executive, from February 2014 until Buttigieg returned to his role as mayor in October 2014.
Second term In 2014, Buttigieg announced that he would seek a second term and went on to win the Democratic primary with 78% of the vote, defeating Henry Davis, Jr., the city councilman from the 2nd District. In November 2015, he was elected to his second term as mayor of South Bend with over 80% of the vote, defeating Republican Kelly Jones.
In 2013 Buttigieg proposed a "Smart Streets" urban development program to improve South Bend's downtown area, and in early 2015 (after traffic studies and public hearings) he secured a bond issue for the program backed by tax increment financing. One of Buttigieg's signature projects, "Smart Streets" was aimed at improving economic development and urban vibrancy as well as road safety. The project involved the conversion of one-way streets in downtown to two-way streets, traffic calming measures, the widening of sidewalks, streetside beautification (including the planting of trees and installation of decorative brickwork), the addition of bike lanes, and the introduction of roundabouts. Elements of the project were finished in 2016, and it was officially completed in 2017. The project was credited with spurring private development in the city.
As mayor, Buttigieg was a leading figure behind the creation of a nightly laser lighting display along downtown South Bend's St. Joseph River trail as public art. The project cost $700,000, which was raised from private funds. The "River Lights" installation was unveiled in May 2015, as part of the city's 150th anniversary celebrations.
Under Buttigieg, South Bend launched a $50 million investment in the city's parks, many of which had been neglected during the preceding decades.
In December 2018 Buttigieg announced that he would not seek a third term as mayor of South Bend.
2017 DNC chair election In January 2017 Buttigieg announced his candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee in its 2017 chairmanship election. He "built a national profile as an emerging dark horse in the race for the chairmanship with the backing of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. Buttigieg "campaigned on the idea that the aging Democratic Party needed to empower its millennial members." He withdrew from the race on the day of the election.
2020 presidential election 2020 presidential run logo
On January 23, 2019, Buttigieg announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election.
Honors and awards Buttigieg was named a 2014 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow. He was named a recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Fenn Award in 2015.
Personal life Buttigieg is a devout Episcopalian, and has spoken in depth about how has faith influenced him. He has cited St. Augustine, James Martin, and Garry Wills as among his religious influences. He is a congregant at the Cathedral of St. James in downtown South Bend.
Buttigieg is a polyglot. He taught himself to speak Norwegian and is also conversational in Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari, and French. Buttigieg plays guitar and piano, and in 2013 performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra as a guest piano soloist.
In a June 2015 essay in the South Bend Tribune Buttigieg announced that he is gay. He is the first openly gay municipal executive in Indiana.
In December 2017, Buttigieg announced his engagement to Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher, whom Buttigieg had been dating since August 2015 after meeting on the dating app Hinge. They were married on June 16, 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James. They live in the same South Bend neighborhood where Buttigieg grew up, with their two rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.
Books Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future. Liveright Publishing Corporation/W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2019. ISBN 9-781-63149-4369. References ^ "Phi Beta Kappa elects 92 seniors to Harvard chapter". Harvard Gazette. June 10, 2004 . Retrieved January 28, 2017 . ^ Decker, Cathleen (January 23, 2019). "South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg running for Democratic nomination for president '-- would be first openly gay nominee". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved March 21, 2019 . ^ "Secretary of State : Elections Division: Election Foundation Wide". In.gov . Retrieved January 10, 2012 . ^ Burns, Alexander (January 23, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Joins Democratic 2020 Race". New York Times . Retrieved January 23, 2019 . ^ Yarvin, Jessica (February 15, 2019). "What does Pete Buttigieg believe? Where the candidate stands on 7 issues". PBS News . Retrieved March 29, 2019 . ^ Bloch, Emily (March 30, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg already has a following'--but what does he stand for?". Daily Dot. ^ Schwab, Nikki (January 19, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg is first openly gay Democrat to run for president". New York Post . Retrieved January 23, 2019 . ^ Merica, Dan (January 23, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, jumps into 2020 race '' CNNPolitics". CNN . Retrieved January 25, 2019 . ^ Trebay, Guy (June 18, 2018). "'¬Ë'Mayor Pete'¬' Gets Married, Then Takes His Husband to a Pride Party". The New York Times . Retrieved January 24, 2019 . ^ Buttigieg, Pete (December 17, 2016). "A letter from flyover country". Medium. ^ South Bend Tribune (October 24, 2010). "Indiana State Treasurer Name: Pete Buttigieg". southbendtribune.com. ^ Tom McNaught; John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (May 2, 2000). "2000 Winning Essay by Peter Buttigieg". jfklibrary.org. ^ Harvard Institute of Politics (January 2012). "Public Service Fast Track Former IOP Student Advisory Committee member Peter Buttigieg '04 elected mayor of South Bend" (PDF) . harvard.edu. ^ "American Rhodes Scholars-Elect for 2005" (PDF) . Americanrhodes.org . Retrieved June 18, 2015 . ^ Harvard University Gazette (2007). "Phi Beta Kappa elects 92 seniors to Harvard chapter". harvard.edu. ^ a b Alfaro, Mariana (January 23, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, launches 2020 presidential bid". Business Insider . Retrieved March 25, 2019 . ^ Ken Gewertz; Harvard University Gazette (2007). "Rhodes Scholars announced six talented students are Oxford-bound". harvard.edu. ^ University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business (March 30, 2012). "TEN YEARS HENCE: Pete Buttigieg, Mayor, City of South Bend". nd.edu. ^ https://history.house.gov/People/Detail/17117 ^ https://www.nwitimes.com/news/history/famous-hoosiers/jill-long-thompson/article_cbb78b0a-4f28-5865-83eb-6afe1f76a53b.html ^ Project Vote Smart (January 13, 2014). "Pete Buttigieg's Biography". votesmart.org. ^ Arthur Foulkes (April 8, 2010). "Candidate for state office brings campaign to city". Terre Haute Tribune-Star. ^ "Learn About Pete Buttigieg for South Bend Mayor". Peteforsouthbend.com. January 1, 2012 . Retrieved December 18, 2016 . ^ "Buttigieg Enters South Bend Mayoral Race - Pete Buttigieg". Peteforsouthbend.com . Retrieved December 18, 2016 . ^ "Indiana General Election November 2, 2010". Indiana Secretary of State. February 8, 2011. ^ Erin Blasko (September 13, 2013). "Navy Reserve to deploy Buttigieg to Afghanistan". South Bend Tribune. ^ South Bend mayor back from Afghanistan deployment, Navy Times (September 26, 2014). ^ Pak, Nataly (31 January 2019). "Who is Pete Buttigieg?". ABC News . Retrieved 29 March 2019 . ^ https://southbendin.gov/official/mayor-pete-buttigieg/ ^ a b c Fuller, Jaime (March 10, 2014). "The most interesting mayor you've never heard of". Washington Post . Retrieved June 19, 2015 . ^ "Mayor Pete Buttigieg". City of South Bend . Retrieved June 19, 2015 . ^ a b c d e f g h i From youngest mayor to Smart Streets: A timeline of Pete Buttigieg's political career, South Bend Tribune Report (December 17, 2018). ^ a b c Buckley, Madeline; Wright, Lincoln. "Judge's ruling on police wiretap tapes leaves questions unanswered". The South Bend Tribune . Retrieved July 31, 2017 . ^ Peterson, Mark. "Largest settlement yet on SB police tapes case". www.wndu.com. WNDU . Retrieved July 31, 2017 . ^ "GovFresh names Buttigieg mayor of the year". Wndu.com. January 24, 2014 . Retrieved June 18, 2015 . ^ "2013 GovFresh Awards". Govfresh.com. 2013 . Retrieved June 18, 2015 . ^ a b Bruni, Frank (June 11, 2016). "The First Gay President?". The New York Times . Retrieved July 18, 2017 . ^ "Vacant & Abandoned Properties Initiative". City of South Bend . Retrieved June 24, 2014 . ^ Blasko, Erin (February 28, 2013). " ' 1,000 properties in 1,000 days ' ". South Bend Tribune . Retrieved September 24, 2014 . ^ "Progress Update". City of South Bend. July 10, 2017 . Retrieved July 18, 2017 . ^ Bell, Kyle. "Mayor Buttigieg Reports Being Back on US Soil". South Bend Voice . Retrieved September 24, 2014 . ^ Bell, Kyle (November 18, 2014). "Mayor Buttigieg Announces Re-Election Bid". South Bend Voice . Retrieved November 18, 2014 . ^ Diane Daniels Annie Chang (May 20, 2015). "Pete Buttigieg winner of Democratic primary for South Bend mayor race". WSBT.com . Retrieved June 18, 2015 . ^ Peterson, Mark (November 3, 2015). "South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg wins re-election". WNDU-TV . Retrieved July 18, 2017 . ^ a b Erin Blasko, Smart Streets bond clears key hurdle, South Bend Tribune (January 30, 2015). ^ a b c Jeff Parrott. "How much has Smart Streets driven downtown South Bend's turnaround?". South Bend Tribune. ^ a b c Pete Buttigieg, Mayor: Smart Streets will mean a more vibrant downtown South Bend, South Bend Tribune (June 16, 2017). ^ a b Chris Sikich, Pete Buttigieg says he's mayor of a turnaround city. Here's how that claim stands up, Indianapolis Star (March 22, 2019). ^ Parrott, Jeff (December 18, 2018). "Pete Buttigieg will not seek a third term as South Bend mayor". South Bend Tribune. ^ Martin, Jonathan (January 5, 2017). "Indiana Mayor Running for D.N.C. Chairman". The New York Times . Retrieved March 18, 2019 . ^ a b c Seitz-Wald, Alex (February 25, 2017). "DNC Race: Democrats Elect New Leader Saturday". NBC News . Retrieved February 25, 2017 . ^ Fritze, John. "Martin O'Malley backs Pete Buttigieg (over Tom Perez) for DNC". Batlimore Sun . Retrieved February 8, 2017 . ^ Dan Merica. "Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg jumps into 2020 race". CNN. ^ Burnett, Sara (January 23, 2019). "Breaking: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins 2020 presidential race". South Bend Tribune. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/us/politics/pete-buttigieg-mayor-south-bend-president.amp.html ^ "Buttigieg Establishes City Diversity and Inclusion Initiative". www.southbend.gov. The City of South Bend. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018. ^ "November 13, 2015 '' 2015 New Frontier Award Release" (Press release). Harvard Institute of Politics. October 28, 2015 . Retrieved July 18, 2017 . ^ Gambino, Lauren (March 23, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg for president? Long-shot stands out in crowded field". The Guardian . Retrieved March 30, 2019 . Like many of his rivals, he offers a stark contrast to the president in style and substance. Buttigieg is the son of a Maltese immigrant; a navy veteran who took leave from his civic day job to serve in Afghanistan; a Harvard-educated Rhodes scholar; a devout Christian and a polyglot and bibliophile who learned Norwegian to read books by an author in Norway whose work had not yet been translated to English. ^ Bailey, Sarah (March 29, 2019). "Evangelicals helped get Trump into the White House. Pete Buttigieg believes the religious left will get him out". The Washington Post . Retrieved March 30, 2019 . ^ Bailey, Sarah (March 29, 2019). "Evangelicals helped get Trump into the White House. Pete Buttigieg believes the religious left will get him out". The Washington Post . Retrieved March 30, 2019 . ^ Adam Wren, Pete Buttigieg Has His Eye On The Prize, Indianapolis Monthly (December 16, 2018). ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (February 9, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg's Quiet Rebellion". The New Yorker . Retrieved March 21, 2019 . ^ Lemin, Jason (March 10, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg 2020: Meet the South Bend Mayor Looking to Become America's First Millennial President". Newsweek . Retrieved March 21, 2019 . ^ Theresa Seiger,Who is Pete Buttigieg? Democratic mayor joins 2020 presidential race, Cox Media Group National Content Desk (January 23, 2010). ^ Jeff Harrell, Election victors chill with guitars: Too many well-wishers force Buttigieg to miss his performance, South Bend Tribune (November 12, 2011). ^ Andrew S. Hughes, Mayor, IUSB singers earn their ovations, South Bend Tribune (February 18, 2013). ^ South Bend Symphony Orchestra concert feat. Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend Tribune (December 23, 2013). ^ Buttigieg, Pete (June 16, 2015). "South Bend Mayor: Why coming out matters". South Bend Tribune . Retrieved June 19, 2015 . ^ Blasko, Erin (June 17, 2015). "Pete Butigieg's announcement creates a buzz". South Bend Tribune . Retrieved June 19, 2015 . ^ Trebay, Guy (June 18, 2018). "Pete Buttigieg Might Be President Someday. He's Already Got the First Man". The New York Times . Retrieved April 1, 2019 . ^ "South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announces engagement". WNDU. December 28, 2017 . Retrieved March 21, 2019 . ^ "Faculty and Staff". www.tma-el.org . Retrieved 2019-03-26 . ^ Shown, Mary (June 17, 2018). "Mayor Pete Buttigieg marries partner Chasten Glezman in downtown South Bend". South Bend Tribune . Retrieved August 21, 2018 . ^ "Meet Pete | Pete for America". www.peteforamerica.com . Retrieved 2019-03-27 . External links Presidential campaign websiteMayor of South Bend websiteAppearances on C-SPANProfile at Vote Smart
Summit Starring 2020 Democrats Opens With Chant From the Words of a Marxist and Murderer
A summit starring eight prominent 2020 Democrat presidential candidates on April 1 featured a chant repeating the words of an unrepentant Marxist. She remains a convicted fugitive for killing a state trooper.
Less than half an hour into the We the People conference in Washington, Jamal Watkins, the vice president of civic engagement at the NAACP, told the crowd to repeat after him as he recited the words of Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard.
Shakur was convicted in 1973 of killing a New Jersey state trooper. She escaped prison and fled to communist Cuba, where she was granted asylum. Shakur remains on the FBI most wanted fugitive list.
Assata Shakur. (FBI)''I'm gonna actually have you participate with me in repeating some words from a leader by the name of Assata Shakur. So if you could stand up''if you can't stand, it's okay''but I want you to repeat after me,'' Watkins said.
Watkins then said several sentences by Shakur, stopping several times to let the audience repeat after him.
''It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains,'' Watkins said.
After the initial chant, Watkins called on the audience to ''take it as loud as we can get it.'' He then shouted Shakur's words as the energized audience chanted back.
The last sentence of the chant is itself an adaptation of a slogan from the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.
''The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!'' Marx wrote.
While it is unclear if any of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls recited the Shakur's words, several candidates spoke at the summit, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) speaks during the We the People summit featuring 2020 presidential candidates, at the Warner Theatre, on April 1, 2019, in Washington. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Beto O'Rourke, a 2020 U.S. presidential hopeful, speaks during the We the People gathering at the Warner Theatre on April 1, 2019, in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during the We the People summit featuring 2020 presidential candidates, at the Warner Theatre on April 1, 2019, in Washington. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)All of the Democrats polling at above 1 percent are running on a platform composed of largely socialist policies like the Green New Deal and ''Medicare for All.'' Communist Party USA and Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist group in the United States, are fervently backing both the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Sanders is the only candidate who openly identifies as a socialist.
A number of prominent Democrats have long embraced Shakur, despite her murder conviction, flight from prison, association with a communist regime, and Marxist ideology. In 1998, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) wrote to then-President Fidel Castro to apologize for voting for a resolution, which called on the communist leader to extradite Shakur and other fugitives.
Former Vice President Joe Biden did not attend the summit. Biden has told supporters he plans to run for president but has not officially announced his candidacy. He leads the Democratic field in early polling. Sanders, Harris, and O'Rourke are in second, third, and fourth place respectively, according to an average of polls maintained by Real Clear Politics.
Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
News and Information Ombudsman - Andrew Yang for President
Brief ''Fake news'' is a rampant problem. Online media market incentives reward 'clickbait' and controversy even as our social media feeds send us more and more outrageous stories to incite a reaction.
The rewards for publishing inflammatory content are high with no real penalty. At the extreme end, those who wish to misinform the American public can do so with little fear of repercussions. The lack of trusted news increasingly isolates us in information silos that hurt our democracy.
We must introduce both a means to investigate and punish those who are seeking to misinform the American public. If enough citizens complain about a particular source of information and news is demonstrably and deliberately false, there should be penalties. I will appoint a new News and Information Ombudsman with the power to fine egregious corporate offenders. One of the main purposes of the Ombudsman will be to identify sources of spurious information that are associated with foreign nationals. The Ombudsman will work with social media companies to identify fraudulent accounts and disable and punish responsible parties. The Ombudsman will be part of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
We need a robust free press and exchange of information. But we should face the reality that fake news and misinformation spread via social media threatens to undermine our democracy and may make it impossible for citizens to make informed decisions on a shared set of facts. This is particularly problematic given that foreign actors, particularly Russia, intend to do us harm and capitalize on our freedom of information. We need to start monitoring and punishing bad actors to give the determined journalists a chance to do their work. '-- Andrew
Problems to be Solved Fake news and misinformation, particularly from foreign actors, threaten to undermine our democracy and ability to make informed decisions. Stories are increasingly subject to market incentives that reward sensationalism and discourage thoughtful treatment. Mistrust of media is at an all-time high, making it very difficult to form a consensus on solutions or common goals. Disincentives to publish inflammatory information are weak or nonexistent. Goals Provide resources to ensure that deliberate misinformation is curbed Protect elections from foreign intervention Introduce penalties for persistent and destructive misstatements that undermine public discourse Guiding Principles Objectivity Protection of Democracy Restoration of Trust As President, I will'... Imbue the FCC with a new office of the News and Information Ombudsman whose role it will be to investigate complaints of deliberate, persistent and destructive misinformation published by media companies and on social media, with a particular priority of curbing any foreign actors posing as citizens and impose fines as necessary.
Bernie Sanders has emerged as the Donald Trump of the left - The Washington Post
In politics, as in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Hence, Sen. Bernie Sanders's emergence as the Donald Trump of the left.
Fundraising and polls show that many Democrats think the best answer to an angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flair for demagoguery is, well, another angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flair for demagoguery. It's not difficult to picture a scenario in which Bernie captures the Democratic presidential nomination with the same formula that worked for Trump with Republicans in 2016.
On paper, the independent from Vermont doesn't make sense: Democrats are a party of youth, and he's 77; they are majority-female, and he's a man; they represent the emerging multicultural America, and he is white. Statistically, he is the worst option against Trump: An NBC News poll this week found that there are more voters with concerns about Sanders (58 percent) than there are for former vice president Joe Biden (48 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (53 percent), Sen. Kamala D. Harris or former representative Beto O'Rourke (41'percent each).
Yet Sanders has both money and movement. His campaign on Tuesday announced a haul of $18.2 million in the first quarter from 525,000 individual contributors. The other major populist, early favorite Warren (Mass.), has floundered in both money and popularity. And undeclared front-runner Biden now looks vulnerable to accusations he inappropriately touched women, kicked off by a prominent Sanders 2016 backer who served on the board of the Sanders political group.
Meanwhile, Sanders himself remains untouchable, in a Trumpian way. Claims of mistreatment by male staffers from women who worked on his 2016 campaign? Yawn. His resistance to releasing his tax returns? Whatever. The idea that Democrats need a unifying figure to lure disaffected Trump voters in key states? Never mind.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at the We The People Summit in Washington on Tuesday. (Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)Sanders isn't Trump in the race-baiting, lender-cheating, fact-avoiding, porn-actress-paying, Putin-loving sense. But their styles are similar: shouting and unsmiling, anti-establishment and anti-media, absolutely convinced of their own correctness, attacking boogeymen (the ''1 percent'' and CEOs in Sanders's case, instead of immigrants and minorities), offering impractical promises with vague details, lacking nuance and nostalgic for the past.
Sanders's supporters hope he'll fight Trump's fire with fire, refusing to be conciliatory (the way Biden and O'Rourke are), or to be goaded by Trump the way Warren was into taking a DNA test. Maybe answering belligerence with belligerence will work; Trump-era predictions are worthless. Either way, the support for Sanders shows that the angry, unbending politics of Trumpism are bigger than Trump.
I spent Monday at a cattle call for eight Democratic presidential candidates hosted by labor unions, the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and other progressive groups. Sanders was easily the least charismatic, hoisting his trousers by the waist, tugging at his socks, hunching over the lectern, sitting stiffly and awkwardly greeting questioners. But the reception among liberal activists, which had ranged from tepid (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand) to enthusiastic (Warren) was, for Sanders, rapturous. ''Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!'' they chanted, standing when he appeared and when he finished. In between, they applauded a routine full of Trumpian flourishes.
He simplified and blamed: ''The crisis that we are facing today is not complicated. .'.'. We have a government that ignores the needs of the working people .'.'. yet works overtime for wealthy campaign contributors and the 1'percent.'' He mocked those who questioned ideas such as Medicare-for-all (''the establishment went crazy, media went nuts, still is''), and he celebrated his prescience. He channeled rage at the ''vulgarity'' of a ''grotesque'' and ''corrupt'' system, the ''absolute hypocrisy'' of Republicans, corporations that ''lie'' and billionaires who ''buy elections.'' Of the wealthy, he said, ''Many of them are bandits,'' and he said if Republicans ''don't have the guts to participate in a free and fair election, they should get the hell out of politics.''
Like Trump, he railed against companies moving jobs to China or Mexico, and he harked back to simpler times: ''Forty, 50'years ago, it was possible for one worker to work 40 hours a week and earn enough money to take care of the whole family.''
It's less hateful, perhaps, to blame billionaires than immigrants or certain ''globalists'' for America's troubles, but the scapegoating is similar. So is Sanders's ''socialist'' label (worn as defiantly as Trump wears the isolationist ''America First''), and his Democratic credentials are as suspect as Trump's Republican bona fides were. Most Republicans opposed Trump, but the large field of candidates prevented a clean matchup.
A similar crowd could likewise prevent Democrats from presenting a clear alternative to Sanders's tempting '-- if Trumpian '-- message that a nefarious elite is to blame for America's problems. Universal health care, higher education and child care are within reach, Sanders said to cheers, if only ''we stand up and tell this 1 percent that we will no longer tolerate their greed.'' In real life, it's not so simple. But in our new politics, maybe it is.
This columnist's wife, Anna Greenberg, works for John Hickenlooper, a Democratic presidential candidate.
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Image copyright AFP Image caption The votes on the four alternatives came after hours of debate Members of Parliament have again rejected all the options placed before them, as they tried to find a compromise that would help end the Brexit impasse.
The rejections came during a second round of votes in the House of Commons on alternative proposals to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.
Mrs May's deal has been rejected on three separate occasions so far and the Commons has been attempting to find a strategy that can gain majority support.
What did MPs reject?The second series of votes on Brexit options - known as "indicative" votes, designed to see what MPs might support amid the deadlock - were held on Monday evening in the House of Commons, the main decision-making body of the UK Parliament, following hours of debate.
MPs rejected all four votes committing the government to:
negotiating "a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU" as part of any Brexit dealjoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA)giving the public a vote to approve any Brexit deal passed by Parliament before it could be implementeda series of steps to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal, including a final vote on whether to scrap Brexit altogetherThe option that came closest to being passed, which was defeated by just three votes, was remaining in a customs union with the EU - a key plank of the so-called "soft Brexit" option, under which the UK would leave the EU but retain very close trading links with the bloc.
Its supporters say it would mitigate the damage caused to the British economy by Brexit, particularly if combined with staying in the EU's single market.
Detractors say such an option in effect means not really leaving at all, as the UK would be subject to EU rules and regulations it had no say over - and would have no right to strike its own trade deals with non-EU countries.
Nick Boles, the Conservative MP who proposed the EFTA/EEA motion - the so-called "Common Market 2.0" option - resigned from the party immediately after the vote results were announced.
Mrs May and her government would not have been obliged to act on any of the MPs' decisions - even if they were passed by a majority - as they do not have the force of law.
However, the prime minister is under pressure to chart a new course after failing to get the withdrawal agreement her government has negotiated with the EU passed by the Commons on three separate occasions.
She has gone so far as to say she will step down if her deal gets through the Commons.
Her Cabinet is scheduled to hold a mammoth five-hour meeting on Tuesday.
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What happens next?Mrs May is said to be considering bringing her withdrawal agreement for a fourth vote, as the result of the third was closer than the previous two. But MPs still rejected it by 344 to 286, a majority of 58.
Whether there will be another attempt to find a majority for one of the options - a move supported by Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn - to then allow a "run-off" vote between that option and Mrs May's deal is unclear.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Theresa May has pledged to stand down as PM if her deal passes If nothing is passed by the Commons, Britain is due to leave the EU without a deal on 12 April. Many MPs and business leaders fear a no-deal or "hard" Brexit could cause chaos in at least the short term.
Although a no-deal exit has been regarded as unlikely, given the opposition of most MPs, by what method this can be avoided - and even who will be in charge of the process - is uncertain. Many in the EU now regard a "no deal" Brexit on 12 April as the most likely outcome.
If MPs pass Mrs May's deal, Britain would have until 22 May to leave - after the EU granted an extension to the original exit date of 29 March.
Any later than that - for, say, a general election to create a new House of Commons that would possibly be able to break the deadlock - would require the EU to agree on a lengthy extension of the period before Britain is due to leave the bloc.
The EU says a further extension is only possible if the UK takes part in elections to the European Parliament on 23 May. Mrs May has previously said she does not wish the UK to take part in those elections.
The European Council - the main decision-making body of the EU, made up of representatives from member governments - is due to meet on 10 April, to decide - if necessary - whether the conditions for a longer delay have been met.
There is a third option: the UK could revoke the so-called Article 50 and cancel Brexit altogether - but this appears very unlikely.
How did we get here?Monday's votes were the second round of a process that got under way last week after Mrs May's government was defeated in a vote that allowed MPs to seize control of business in the chamber from the government for two days.
Last Wednesday, eight Brexit alternatives were all rejected, but Monday's second round was scheduled amid suggestions there could be majority support for at least one of them. Four of the eight new options proposed on Monday were selected by Commons Speaker John Bercow.
The third defeat of Mrs May's agreement came last Friday.
Are we anywhere near the end of all this?As with much else in this saga, that remains unclear.
Whether Mrs May will still be PM over the next few weeks is also up in the air. She pledged to stand down if her deal passed, but many now question whether she has the authority to stay if it doesn't.
It is worth remembering that the debate now is focused on the terms of the UK's exit from the EU. The conditions of the future relationship between the country and the bloc, assuming the UK leaves at all, still have to be negotiated.
Massive uncertainty for people and businesses in Britain and the wider EU remains.
London (AFP) - British police on Thursday warned campaigners and politicians to tone down their rhetoric to avoid inflaming the "febrile" atmosphere around Brexit.
Martin Hewitt, head of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), said public figures should be wary.
"This is highly emotive as an issue as we all know and clearly everyone will have their opinions.
"But I think there is a responsibility on those individuals that have a platform and have a voice, to communicate in a way that is temperate and is not in any way going to inflame people's views," he said.
Security has been beefed up around MPs in recent months, particularly anti-Brexit ones, because of heated protests around the British parliament.
"We are in an incredibly febrile atmosphere as a result of the whole EU exit scenario," Hewitt said.
Police said the number of crimes linked to Brexit was still small but rising, going up to 26 last week from 11 the week before. Crimes included malicious communications online, harassment and verbal abuse.
Chief Constable Charlie Hall, the NPCC's lead for operations, also said there would be police support only "if absolutely necessary" in case of Brexit-linked issues such as transport disruption.
Under existing national contingency plans, 10,000 riot-trained officers can be deployed anywhere in the country within 24 hours.
Currently, 1,000 have received extra training so that they can be deployed to Northern Ireland if needed.
The issue of what will happen to the currently free-flowing border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit has been particularly contentious.
Brexit: Ex-Labour MP Fiona Onasanya helps Remainer rebels to victory | Daily Mail Online
Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya, pictured at a Tribunal yesterday, cast the deciding Commons vote that 'rammed through' a Bill on stopping No Deal and delaying Brexit
A Bill to delay Brexit and take No Deal off the table was 'rammed through' the Commons by one vote - and only passed after it was backed by disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya, it was revealed today.
The 35-year-old former Labour MP still represents Peterborough despite being sentenced to three months' jail in January for perverting the course of justice after repeatedly lying to police about a speeding offence.
She was released early from HMP Bronzefield in Surrey, having served just 28 days and agreed to a curfew and an electronic tag, which allowed her to pass the crucial Brexit vote last night.
Onasanya faces a by-election if at least 10 per cent of registered voters in the solicitor's Peterborough constituency - about 7,000 - sign the petition by May 1.
Hours before last night's Commons vote she appeared at an employment tribunal where she is accused of discriminating against a disabled employee who was told to use the male toilet because she couldn't climb the stairs.
Last night in Parliament, in an unusual step, Speaker John Bercow allowed Sir Oliver Letwin and Yvette Cooper to fast-track legislation through the Commons in only one day.
Their Bill, which is expected to be debated in the Lords today, compels Theresa May to ask Brussels for an extension to negotiations, in effect blocking No Deal.
It was approved by 313 to 312.
14 Tory MPs backed the Bill, all Remainers, including former Chancellor Ken Clarke, and Dominic Grieve QC. Six Tories abstained. Of the 20 rebels 17 were former ministers.
14 Tories voted for the Bill to pass through the Commons last night
These six Tories abstained. If they had voted against the Bill would have failed
Usually legislation takes weeks or months to go through the Commons but MPs tore up the rules to ensure it passed ahead of next week's Brexit deadline.
If no delay is secured, the UK will leave without a deal next Thursday night. The Bill now goes to the Lords today where it will face further obstacles - including attempts by Eurosceptic Peers to delay its progress.
European Research Group vice chairman Mark Francois said it was a 'constitutional outrage' that the Bill had been 'rammed through' in just four hours. He yelled:'The public won't be impressed by this. Forgive them Father for they know not what they do'.
Eurosceptic Tory MP Peter Bone called on the Speaker to end the 'farce' of passing a Bill in such a short period.
Tory MP Charles Walker, the chairman of the Procedure Committee, also complained the Bill had been fast tracked.
If the government tried to push through legislation in such a way the House would be 'rightly, deeply irritated', he argued.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who drew up the Bill, said the vote showed the House opposed a 'chaotic and damaging no deal'.
She said the House would support the Prime Minister to 'ensure we don't end up with no deal on April 12'.
But Speaker Bercow said there was 'nothing disorderly' about the procedure.
Eurosceptic Tory MP Steve Baker suggested the Bill could be held up in the House of Lords. He said he was sure Peers would be examined for 'as long as they think necessary'.
A cross-party manoeuvre hatched by Tory Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour's Yvette Cooper to force a new law through the Commons succeeded after it was approved by 313 to 312 (pictured)
DUP Emma Little-Pengelly of Speaker John Bercow as he cast his deciding vote when MPs delivered a first tie in a Commons vote since 1993 as a proposal to allow a third round of indicative votes on Brexit alternatives was rejected
The rebels insisted on changing the law even though the Prime Minister had already pledged to delay the country's departure from the EU beyond next Friday '' the day Britain is currently due to leave.
Opponents warned last night that a dangerous precedent would be set by rushing the Bill through all its Commons stages in one day. The backbenchers tabled the legislation after wresting control of the parliamentary timetable from ministers.
Sir Bill Cash, Tory chairman of the European scrutiny committee, said the move to pass the Bill in a day was 'reprehensible'.
'It is a constitutional revolution and I also believe that it is a very, very undesirable precedent,' he added. 'It is almost an unbelievable shambles this Bill and the reality is there is no excuse for it.'
Charles Walker, Tory chairman of the procedure committee, said: 'I think we will regret what we are doing today '' it does worry me. I fear that one day soon '' I hope it will not be the case '' we will be debating an expropriation of assets Bill in six hours. We would regret that bitterly.'
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: 'If we legislate in haste, we will repent at leisure, and we do nothing in this place but repent at leisure again and again.
'We talk about sweeping away precedents because they are archaic and were around for 200 years or whatever, and that everything modern must be brilliant. I do not agree with that.
'Sometimes history teaches endless lessons. This place is at its best when it is arguing and debating, and taking its time to do so.' Conservative MP Nadine Dorries said Parliament would 'rue the day' if it backed the legislation.
MPs passed the Bill at its second reading yesterday by 315 votes to 310. They were expected to give their final backing in a further set of votes late last night.
Earlier, there were extraordinary scenes as one of the Brexit votes resulted in a tie '' the first time that has happened in almost 40 years. MPs voted 310 in favour and 310 against a plan put forward by Labour MP Hilary Benn to hold a third round of indicative votes next week on alternatives to the Prime Minister's deal, meaning Mr Bercow was given the deciding vote.
The Speaker said his casting vote, in line with precedent, was with the Noes, so the amendment was defeated by 311 to 310. This means MPs will no longer have control of the Commons order paper.
The last time there was thought to have been a tied vote was in July 1993 when MPs voted 317 for and 317 against an amendment relating to the Maastricht Treaty. The Speaker at the time, Betty Boothroyd, was given a casting vote, but the next day it was found there had been a counting error and the result had not actually been a tie.
Before that, in January 1980, MPs were split 201 in favour and 201 against a motion on bringing TV cameras into the Commons.
n MPs, campaigners and activists must tone down their rhetoric on Brexit or they could incite disorder, the leader of the National Police Chiefs Council suggested yesterday.
Martin Hewitt spoke out as it was revealed that police are preparing to mobilise more than 10,000 officers in the event of riots and looting after Brexit.
Mr Hewitt, a Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, said: 'We are in an incredibly febrile atmosphere. There is a lot of angry talk'... across social media.'
He used his first speech as chairman of the NPCC to caution all groups, including MPs and public figures, to 'use moderation'.
'If you are in a position where you know you are going to be listened to, you need to think very carefully about the language you are using so that it does not end up with consequences that were not intended.'
Health experts are concerned about Ebola Virus Disease spreading in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Eastern Congo is currently facing the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
More than 600 people have already died from the disease since last August. Hundreds more are infected.
But a recent study found that one out of four people questioned in eastern Congo last year do not believe the Ebola virus is real. Nearly half said they thought some people were making up the Ebola outbreak in order to gain money or power. Their beliefs are strengthened by the economic and political insecurity in the area.
The study was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. It was based on interviews done last September, about a month after the outbreak was first reported.
Beliefs can help spread '' or stop '' the deadly virus
Researchers say the study showed how people's misguided ideas about Ebola were making it harder to fight the virus.
Ebola is spread through body fluids, so stopping the virus depends on isolating those who are infected. They must be separated from the rest of the population.
But those who did not believe Ebola is real were far less likely to seek help at a treatment center. They were also less likely to agree to an Ebola vaccine.
Eva Erlach is with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The group has more than 800 trained volunteers working to tell people in eastern Congo how they can prevent the disease.
Erlach called the findings ''absolutely interesting,'' even if the interviews were done more than six months ago. She said they showed the connection between trust and preventive measures.
Tariq Riebl of the International Rescue Committee is currently working in eastern Congo. He said the findings confirm what he and other workers are seeing. As the virus spreads, helping communities take steps to prevent the disease is almost as important as treatment, he said.
Riebl added: ''It doesn't matter if you have all the treatment options available because no one is ever arriving to take advantage of that.''
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Krista Larson reported this story for the Associated Press news agency. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the State who work tirelessly towards the pursuit of justice. The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State's Attorney's handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis.
The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State's Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.
The public has the right to know the truth, and we set out to do that here.
When an elected State's Attorney recuses herself from a prosecution, Illinois law provides that the court shall appoint a special prosecutor. See 55 ILCS 5/3-9008(a-15). Typically, the special prosecutor is a neighboring State's Attorney, the Attorney General, or the State Appellate Prosecutor. Here, the State's Attorney kept the case within her office and thus never actually recused herself as a matter of law.
Additionally, the Cook County State's Attorney's office falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was ''mandatory'' under Illinois law. This statement is not accurate. To the extent the case was even eligible for an immediate seal, that action was discretionary, not mandatory, and only upon the proper filing of a petition to seal. See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(g)(2). For seals not subject to Section 5.2(g)(2), the process employed in this case by the State's Attorney effectively denied law enforcement agencies of legally required Notice (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(4)) and the legal opportunity to object to the sealing of the file (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(5)). The State's Attorney not only declined to fight the sealing of this case in court, but then provided false information to the public regarding it.
The appearance of impropriety here is compounded by the fact that this case was not on the regularly scheduled court call, the public had no reasonable notice or opportunity to view these proceedings, and the dismissal was done abruptly at what has been called an ''emergency'' hearing. To date, the nature of the purported emergency has not been publicly disclosed. The sealing of a court case immediately following a hearing where there was no reasonable notice or opportunity for the public to attend is a matter of grave public concern and undermines the very foundation of our public court system.
Lastly, the State's Attorney has claimed this arrangement is ''available to all defendants'' and ''not a new or unusual practice.'' There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program. These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate. This action was highly unusual, not a statutory diversion program, and not in accordance with well accepted practices of State's Attorney initiated diversionary programs . The IPBA supports diversion programs, and recognizes the many benefits they provide to the community, the defendant and to the prosecuting agency. Central to any diversion program, however, is that the defendant must accept responsibility. To be clear here, this simply was not a deferred prosecution.
Prosecutors must be held to the highest standard of legal ethics in the pursuit of justice. The actions of the Cook County State's Attorney have fallen woefully short of this expectation. Through the repeated misleading and deceptive statements to the public on Illinois law and circumstances surrounding the Smollett dismissal, the State's Attorney has failed in her most fundamental ethical obligations to the public. The IPBA condemns these actions.
This irregular arrangement was an affront to prosecutors across the State, the Chicago Police Department, victims of hate crimes, and the people of the City of Chicago and Cook County. We strongly encourage our members and the public to review the National District Attorneys Associations statement on prosecutorial best practices in high profile cases .
Best Regards,Lee Roupas
President,Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association
Full Statement available
Jussie Smollett: SA Kim Foxx Rushes to Find Cases With Similar Leniency, Only Ends Up Proving How Corrupt the Deal Was
State Attorney Kim Foxx sent out a memo asking her office to dig up cases similar to Jussie Smollett's. The goal was to find another whitewash job where they let someone off with just a verbal agreement and the laughable ''punishment'' of non-compulsory community service.
Here's the memo.
Here's an internal email sent to supervising prosecutors in @SAKimFoxx 's office today. Ya'll better step on it. Our story is coming tonight. #JussieSmollett pic.twitter.com/EteEXpg1zN
'-- CWBChicago (@CWBChicago) March 27, 2019
This ties into the fact that Foxx's office claims the treatment of Smollett was not unusual.
There was no direct response from Foxx. Her spokeswoman, Tandra Simonton, insisted that the Smollett case was treated no differently from the more than 5,700 other ''cases for alternative prosecution'' that the office has handled in the past two years.
''This is not a new or unusual practice,'' Simonton said in a statement.
Not unusual, huh? If that's true, why are you having to scramble to find an example, of which you still haven't?
We need a precedent to support our decision yesterday that was based on a precedent.
'-- Cindy Rekoon (@PopNFood) March 27, 2019
Going even further, the SA office claimed that such a lax outcome is available to all defendants with similar cases. Yeah, that doesn't pass the smell test.
''We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett,'' Simonton said. ''The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett's agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped. This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.''
So is it true? Are they this forgiving of others in similar situations? The facts tell a very different story.
CWBChicago, who's doing great work on this story, decided to test their theory and find out if it's really as common and available to everyone as claimed. They found the 8 most recent cases involving false reports to the police. Here are the results.
Credit to CWBChicago
In each case outside of Smollett, only a single felony count was involved. If you read the details at the above link about each incident, you'll see that all these cases are objectively less serious than Smollett's. Despite that, every single one was made to plead guilty, given a criminal record, and though none were sentenced to jail (past initial incarceration), all of them had long probation periods and far more community service than Smollett. It's also worth noting that the community service here is real, court ordered community service. Not a verbal wink and a nod where the defendant runs off to Jesse Jackson to get a note written.
Comparatively, Smollett had 16(!) felony counts against him. He didn't have to plead guilty, received no probation, no criminal record, got a verbal deal, and his community service was non court ordered (which we just have to trust actually happened). His case was also dropped using an emergency hearing, which was not used in any of the other cases.
Even as Foxx and her office were falsely claiming that Smollett's deal was totally common (it's not, as shown above), her former top aide was speaking out and telling a very different story.
In a telephone interview, Eric Sussman, Magat's predecessor as Foxx's top aide, said the abrupt, secretive nature of the deal ''raises questions as to whether there is embarrassing information the state's attorney's office doesn't want the public to know.''
''I've never, ever seen anything like this,'' Sussman, now in private practice, said of the decision to drop charges so soon after Smollett's indictment earlier this month.
What's all this add up to? It equals Foxx giving Smollett a clearly corrupt verbal agreement which appears to be completely unheard of, both in it's informal nature and in the leniency of the punishment. Despite that, Foxx is desperately trying to find a similar example, which she hasn't been able to do yet in order to claim this was all on the up and up.
As mentioned above, if you are basing a decision on precedent, you would know what the precedent actually was. You wouldn't have to go manufacture it.
This entire thing stinks and I only hope some kind of justice is found in the end. Kim Foxx appears to be another in a long line of corrupt Chicago politicians (make no mistake, that's what she is). She clearly allowed others, including those connected to the Obamas, to obstruct and ultimately scuttle this investigation based on privilege that is not afforded to other, normal defendants. It's the height of corruption and can not be allowed to stand. With the FBI now looking into this, possible federal charges on the way, and the Chicago PD fuming, this isn't over by a long shot.
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Law and Order Breaking Down in Chicago as Mob Forces Cop To Free Suspect
In the 1997 movie ''L.A. Confidential,'' one character said of a police sergeant who was enduring a grueling situation: ''I wouldn't trade places with (him) right now for all the whiskey in Ireland.''
It's easy to echo that sentiment in regard to Chicago police officers.
As if the city's maddening number of homicides isn't enough of a burden, actor Jussie Smollett '-- on whom Chicago law enforcement had wasted considerable resources and countless hours '-- was inexplicably cleared of all charges in an apparent hate-crime hoax.
And now, we've come to discover, it seems Chicago police can't even arrest a drug suspect without being harassed or threatened by a menacing crowd.
The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this month that a pair of officers struggled to control rowdy onlookers as one man resisted arrest and another ran off while carrying drugs.
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The group ''implied that they had weapons'' and made threats, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Tribune.
''Out of an abundance of caution, he backs away from the arrestee. An individual comes and grabs the arrestee and another individual comes and grabs the narcotics,'' Guglielmi added.
Ultimately, said suspect was able to elude arrest and possible charges '-- thanks to a little help from his friends.
As Tribune columnist John Kass wrote about the episode: ''The street is officially no longer afraid of the Chicago police.''
Do you think Chicago police deserve more resources and respect?97% (3244 Votes)
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''If the cops had fired their weapons, news media would have been all over them, metaphorically skinning them alive. Politicians would have demanded their heads,'' Kass added.
Instead, the mob ruled '-- and neither media pundits nor Democrats voiced concern.
Perhaps most troubling is what that shameless incident means for the immediate future when it comes to Chicago-based crime.
The idiom ''Give them an inch and they'll take a mile'' is taking root on the streets, as would-be criminals and cohorts think they can act with impunity.
It would appear that consequences and repercussions are fading like the morning mist.
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Both men who tried to escape from the two officers were arrested Wednesday and charged. Still, when one considers that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's hands were ostensibly tied in the Smollett case, one must wonder if that city has morphed from being a ''sanctuary'' for illegal immigrants to being anti-justice in general.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the decision for prosecutors to drop charges against Jussie Smollett a ''whitewash of justice.'' https://t.co/X6ORN9SLzu
'-- Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) March 26, 2019
Evidently, even when Windy City authorities make an arrest or charge someone, they're in a no-win situation: Damned if they do or don't '-- always feeling the need to look over their shoulders.
When your mayor is disgusted and the police chief is ''furious'' with a high-profile case's outcome, law and order doesn't stand much of a chance.
At this rate, it's difficult to imagine any job in America less desirable than that of a Chicago police officer.
The city, much like that bullied ''L.A. Confidential'' sergeant, is reaping what it sowed.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Facebook wants your input on its content oversight board
All the data is anonymous by default, although you can volunteer to share excerpts and receive inquiries from Facebook if it has questions.
The consultation phase only lasts for six weeks as of April 1st, so you'll want to act quickly if you want to offer your feedback. There's no guarantee that this process will have a dramatic effect on the oversight board. However, it's evident that Facebook is determined to have a watchdog that reflects what users want. It knows that its existing content moderation leaves something to be desired, and it doesn't want an overseer that repeats the same mistakes.
Social media bosses face jail under 'world first' Australian laws
The new laws make it illegal for social media firms not to remove footage of 'a terrorist act', murder, torture, rape and kidnapping (AFP Photo/Oli SCARFF)
Social media executives risk jail for failing to take down violent extremist content quickly, under controversial laws passed in Australia Thursday -- a "world first" in the wake of the Christchurch mosques massacre.
Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the laws, which hold firms like Facebook and YouTube -- and their executives -- responsible for removing "abhorrent material" quickly.
The companies face fines approaching billions of dollars -- or 10 percent of global annual turnover -- for failing to enact the "expeditious removal" of footage of terrorism, murder and other serious crimes, while executives could face up to three years in jail.
Technology companies, policy experts and lawyers pilloried the legislation -- which was jammed through parliament in two days and faces an uncertain future beyond elections expected in May.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is facing a difficult reelection battle, said: "Big social media companies have a responsibility to take every possible action to ensure their technology products are not exploited by murderous terrorists."
Attorney-General Christian Porter said the legislation was "most likely a world first."
The opposition Labor party expressed serious misgivings but voted in favour of the legislation -- in a step that echoed the bipartisan passage of a similarly controversial law forcing technology firms to weaken encryption.
With those two reforms, Australia has put itself at the forefront of global efforts to regulate social media giants more closely. But both measures have been roundly condemned by industry and experts as "knee-jerk" and ill-conceived.
It will be up to a jury to decide whether the platforms acted with good speed to take down offending content, raising questions about how the law will be implemented.
"No one wants abhorrent content on their websites, and DIGI members work to take this down as quickly as possible," said Sunita Bose, managing director of the Digital Industry Group, which represents Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and others.
"But with the vast volumes of content uploaded to the internet every second, this is a highly complex problem that requires discussion with the technology industry, legal experts, the media and civil society to get the solution right -- that didn't happen this week."
She also warned that the law would encourage companies to "proactively surveil" users and slammed parliament's "pass it now, change it later" approach.
"This is not how legislation should be made in a democracy like Australia."
Technology companies now face the task of developing failsafe moderation tools capable of quickly detecting offensive material in hundreds of billions of media uploads to their platforms.
In the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch shootings, Facebook alone said it had taken down 1.5 million videos of the attack.
Current tools like Microsoft's Content Moderator API "cannot automatically classify an image, let alone a video," according to Monash University's Robert Merkel. "Nor can it automatically identify videos similar to another video."
The legislation could be a particular problem for smaller platforms used by the far-right, like 4Chan and 8Chan.
The CEO of Australian technology firm Atlassian, Scott Farquhar, warned of a broader economic impact: "The legislation is flawed and will unnecessarily cost jobs and damage our tech industry," he said on Twitter.
News organisations also worry they could face legal action.
The Law Council of Australia warned the legislation could have "serious unintended consequences," like muzzling whistleblowers and "could also lead to censorship of the media, which would be unacceptable."
The Institute of Public Affairs described the legislation as a "blatant attack on the freedom of the media."
"Throwing media executives in jail will increase costs to taxpayers without improving community safety or addressing concerns about violent content being shared on social media platforms," said researcher Andrew Bushnell.
"Companies and executives may respond to the threat of criminal penalties by erring on the side of censorship."
The laws are expected to be followed by steps toward treating social media giants more like publishers, which would make them legally responsible for any content on their platforms.
Facebook Had a Busy Weekend, From News Feed to Livestream Changes | WIRED
While millions of Americans were enjoying a warm spring weekend, Facebook employees were hard at work responding to an avalanche of news about their company. After an already busy week for the social media platform'--including a lawsuit from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as a policy change regarding white nationalist and separationist content'--five major Facebook stories broke over the last few days, including a Washington Post op-ed in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls for the social network to be regulated. Here's what you need to know to get caught up.
Facebook Explores Restricting Who Can LivestreamThe torrent of Facebook news began Friday, when COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company was ''exploring restrictions on who can go Live depending on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.'' The decision came less than three weeks after a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 50 people was livestreamed on Facebook. The social network, as well as other companies like YouTube, struggled to stop the shooter's video from being reuploaded and redistributed on their platforms.
In 2016, Zuckerberg said that live video would ''create new opportunities for people to come together." Around the same time, the company invested millions of dollars to encourage publishers like Buzzfeed to experiment with Facebook Live. The feature provided an unedited, realtime window into events like police shootings, but it was also repeatedly used to broadcast disturbing events. After the Christchurch attack, Facebook is now reexamining who should have the ability to share live video, which has proven difficult for the company to moderate effectively.
Sandberg also said Facebook will research building better technology to ''quickly identify edited versions of violent videos and images and prevent people from re-sharing these versions.'' She added that Facebook had identified over 900 different variations of the Christchurch shooter's original livestream. Sandberg made her announcement in a blog post published not to the Facebook Newsroom, but to the Instagram ''Info Center,'' indicating Facebook wants its subsidiaries to appear more unified.
Old Zuckerberg Blog Posts DisappearAlso on Friday, Business Insider reported that years of Zuckerberg's public writings had mysteriously disappeared, ''obscuring details about core moments in Facebook's history.'' The missing trove included everything the CEO wrote in both 2007 and 2008, as well as more recent announcements, like the blog post Zuckerberg penned in 2012 when Facebook acquired Instagram.
Facebook said that the posts were mistakenly deleted as the result of technical errors. ''The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed so we didn't do it,'' a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider. They added that they didn't know exactly how many posts were lost in total.
This isn't the first time Zuckerberg's content has gone missing from Facebook. Last April, TechCrunch reported that some of the CEO's messages were erased from people's private inboxes. (Facebook later extended an ''unsend'' feature to all Facebook Messenger users.) And in 2016, ''around 10'' Zuckerberg blog posts also disappeared from the social network. The deletion was similarly blamed on a technical error, but in that case the blogs were later restored.
Zuckerberg Calls for Regulation in Four AreasIn an interview with WIRED last month, Zuckerberg said, ''There are some really nuanced questions, though, about how to regulate which I think are extremely interesting intellectually.'' On Saturday, the Facebook CEO expanded on that idea in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post. ''I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators,'' Zuckerberg wrote, calling for new regulation in four particular areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.
In the piece, Zuckerberg acknowledged that he believes his company has too much power when it comes to regulating speech on the internet. He also mentioned Facebook's new independent oversight board, which will decide on cases where users have appealed the content decisions made by Facebook's moderators. (On Monday, Facebook announced it was soliciting public feedback about the new process.)
Zuckerberg also said the rest of the world should adopt comprehensive privacy legislation similar to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect last year. There's currently no modern privacy law in the United States, though California passed a strong privacy bill last summer, which Facebook originally opposed. Now a number of lawmakers, and lobbyists, are jockeying to get a federal privacy law in place before the state-level rules take effect next year.
The op-ed arrives as Facebook faces a looming Federal Trade Commission investigation over alleged privacy violations. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also recently expressed an interest in regulating or even breaking up the social media giant. Zuckerberg's op-ed provides a sketch of the kind of regulation that his company would be comfortable adopting. Some critics have also argued that legislation like GDPR can strengthen the dominant position of companies like Facebook and Google.
Facebook Opens Up About How News Feed WorksHow Facebook chooses what content to feature in the News Feed has consistently remained mostly a mystery. As Will Oremus wrote last week in Slate, ''For all of Facebook's efforts to improve its news feed over the years, the social network remains as capricious and opaque an information source as ever.''
But on Sunday evening, Facebook quietly announced that it will begin revealing more about why users see one post over another when they scroll through their feeds. The company will soon launch a ''Why am I seeing this post?'' button, similar to the one launched in 2014 for advertisements. It will begin rolling out this week, and will be available for all Facebook users by the middle of May, according to Buzzfeed.
''This is the first time that we've built information on how ranking works directly into the app,'' Ramya Sethuraman, a product manager at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. The new feature will tell users they're seeing a post for reasons like they are friends with someone on Facebook or because joined a specific group. But the button will also provide more granular information, such telling users they're seeing a specific photo because they've ''commented on posts with photos more than other media types.''
Facebook is also making updates to its preexisting ''Why am I seeing this ad?'' button. It will now tell users when an advertiser has uploaded their contact information to Facebook. In addition, it will show users when advertisers work with third-party marketing firms. For example, an ad for a shoe company might reveal the name of the marketing agency it hired to sell its new sandals.
Pivot to Paying Publishers?On Monday morning, Zuckerberg suggested he might create a new section of Facebook dedicated to ''high-quality news.'' Details are scarce, but it may feature content Facebook pays publishers directly to share. The remarks were made during an interview Zuckerberg did with European media executive Mathias D¶pfner, which the CEO posted to his personal Facebook page. The announcement comes a year after Facebook said it would begin deprioritizing news stories in its News Feed in favor of content from friends and family.
Last week, Apple announced it was launching a $10 per month paid news aggregation service called News+ (it features content from WIRED). But unlike Apple, Facebook doesn't appear to getting into the subscription business. ''We're coming to this from a very different perspective than I think some of the other players in the space who view news as a way that they want to maximize their revenue. That's not necessarily the way that we're thinking about this,'' Zuckerberg said in the interview.
Facebook's earlier attempts to partner with media organizations have been a mixed bag. The social network also previously explored creating a dedicated feed for publishers, but abandoned the project. Without knowing more, it remains to be seen what, if anything, is going be different this time.
More Great WIRED StoriesHow The Matrix built a bullet-proof legacy5G and the potential health effects of cellphonesRussia's bid to exploit gas under the Arctic tundraFerrari built the track-slaying P80/C for a single customerWhat it's like to be thrown in jail for posting on Facebookð Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our latest buying guides and best deals all year roundð'(C) Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories
Want a new Facebook account? Just hand over your private email password '-- RT World News
Just when you thought Facebook couldn't get more invasive, the social network has been caught asking new users for the password to their email accounts. Sure, what could go wrong? It's not like that info will end up in the cloud'...
After clicking the email verification link, some fresh Facebook users were asked for their private email password '' a cybersecurity no-no that should cause even the most na¯ve internet user to recoil in horror. It's unclear when this innovation in intrusiveness was introduced, or how long it lasted as a feature, but its existence was confirmed by the Daily Beast after it was exposed by Twitter sleuth @originalesushi.
Hey @facebook, demanding the secret password of the personal email accounts of your users for verification, or any other kind of use, is a HORRIBLE idea from an #infosec point of view. By going down that road, you're practically fishing for passwords you are not supposed to know! pic.twitter.com/XL2JFk122l
'-- e-sushi (@originalesushi) March 31, 2019Facebook sheepishly admitted they were indeed demanding passwords, but protested users could ''bypass'' the password-request screen by clicking the ''need help?'' link and triggering a multistep process that would eventually allow them to confirm using ''more conventional'' means, such as a DNA sample '' er, a phone code. They also said they were very, very sorry and would stop asking for email passwords in the future.
While Facebook promised it doesn't store users' email passwords, a privacy promise from Facebook isn't worth the pixels it's printed with, as even CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted last month when he piously announced the company would finally focus on protecting users' data, ''because frankly we don't currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services.''
Also on rt.com Facebook stored 7 years of passwords in plaintext, but it's OK, they're trustworthy! After all, it was Facebook that stored half a billion users' passwords on its servers in unencrypted plaintext for seven years - then told users not to worry, because its employees were trustworthy (those employees who weren't calling the users ''dumb f**ks,'' that is). And it was Facebook that collected users' phone numbers for ''security purposes only'' '' then violated their trust by making profiles searchable by phone number and offering the data to advertisers so they could more effectively target users. But Zuckerberg declared privacy dead in 2010! Why are we still moping over its corpse?
Lest Facebook get all the blame for spreading users' data where it isn't supposed to be, cybersecurity firm UpGuard found over half a billion Facebook ''records'' '' account names, comments, and reactions '' exposed and downloadable on open-access Amazon cloud servers owned by Mexican news-and-culture site Cultura Colectiva, while an app called At the Pool had left 22,000 email addresses, names, and, yes, passwords on open cloud servers after the company went under.
Also on rt.com 'We're sorry this happened': Bug causes leak of 7 million Facebook users' photos While it's likely this user data was slurped up pre-Cambridge Analytica '' when Facebook's rules for how apps could use their data primarily consisted of ''don't get caught'' '' third-party app developers had access to this kind of data for years before the regulatory attention spurred by that company's legendary transmutation of user data into votes inspired Facebook to begin auditing thousands of apps to ensure they weren't ''mishandling'' user information in their own way.
A Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company's policies ''prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database.'' And we can trust them. Right?
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The Failed Media Bias Coup: Top 10 Players - Liberty Nation
For the past two years, it's been Trump and Russian collusion all the time, every day, and everywhere we see media bias. Some outlets were more egregious than others in subjecting their audiences to relentless chatter about what they believed to be true, rather than merely reporting the news. Among the many ''journalists'' who espoused the Democratic Party position on the Mueller investigation, some especially boisterous voices stood out from the crowd. So, in a rather non-scientific study, Liberty Nation republishes a few comments that were quite simply over the top.
But before we get to that, a few salient words of summation are in order. The first come from David Harsanyi who wrote the following for The Federalist:
''Perhaps it was Watergate envy, or bitterness over Donald Trump's victory, or antagonism towards Republicans in general'--or, most likely, a little bit of all the above. But now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has delivered his report on Russian collusion, it's clear that political journalists did the bidding of those who wanted to delegitimize and overturn Trump's election.''
A hostile media environment has yielded much unnecessary angst and vitriol. While some are willing to backtrack their comments a bit, others are holding fast to their original remarks. According to Brent Baker, Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center, CNN has used the mantra ''does not exonerate'' 120 times a day since the Mueller probe ended. And MRC's Rich Noyes wrote that for ''roughly three minutes a night, every night, for an astonishing 791 days,'' the media has been poking this mystical Russian bear which has turned into '' in the president's words '' a Collusion Delusion.
So, without further ado, here are Liberty Nation's top 10 outrageous media statements about President Trump, his alleged connections with Russia, and a 2016 election conspiracy. This is by no means the be-all and end-all of verbal high crimes and misdemeanors by media elites, but a few of these remarks are real head-shakers.
Number 10: Carl Bernstein, CNN Commentator''I think the media, the press, has done one of the great reporting jobs in the history, especially of covering a presidency by the most news organizations. Look, let's look at where disinformation and mistakes and lies have come from. Hasn't come from the press, it's come from the President of the United States. And those around him.''
Number 9: Chuck Todd, NBC NewsThe following is a compilation of Todd using the word ''crime'' in connection with Trump four times in just one episode of Meet the Press .
''You have the justice department, if you will, in the Southern District of New York, pretty explicitly implicating the president in a crime. Do you believe there is already enough to start an impeachment inquiry? '... The one means to dealing when a president commits crimes is through the impeachment process. If you don't go through it, isn't this a way of Congress saying 'yes, he committed some crimes but politically it's uncomfortable so you know if you are popular enough or if you have a big enough base you can get away with committing crimes.'''
Number 8: David Corn, Mother Jones''In 2016, Vladimir Putin's regime mounted information warfare against the United States, in part to help Trump become president. While this attack was underway, the Trump crew tried to collude covertly with Moscow, sought to set up a secret communications channel with Putin's office, and repeatedly denied in public that this assault was happening, providing cover to the Russian operation. Trump and his lieutenants aligned themselves with and assisted a foreign adversary, as it was attacking the United States. The evidence is rock-solid: They committed a profound act of betrayal. That is the scandal.''
Number 7: Will Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer''[W]e have dramatic evidence of collusion'' in addition to ''a motive'' so we, therefore ''have the proof all we need of a scandal that's arguably worse than Watergate.''
Number 6: Aaron Blake, The Washington Post''Is there more to the Manafort-Russia ties than we know? Could Carter Page's own Russia ties have been pursued in a way we simply haven't heard about? What about George Papadopoulos's talks with a Russia-allied professor who said Russia had 'dirt' on Clinton? Maybe it has something to do with Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-backed banker at a National Rifle Association convention? Or the elder Trump's broader efforts to do business in Russia, through his then-attorney Michael Cohen '-- possibly including a supposed proposal to give Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse in a proposed Trump Tower Moscow?
Mueller has made a concerted effort not to reveal his hand '-- either publicly, in filings like the Papadopoulos plea deal, or in the questions he has asked witnesses who might leak. Given that, it's entirely possible there's a line of inquiry that we're completely unaware of or know very little about.''
Number 5: Dan Rather, MSNBC Commentator''A political hurricane is out there at sea for him [Trump]. We'll call it Hurricane Vladimir, if you will.''
Number 4: Chris Matthews, MSNBC Host''Mueller reminds me of the starfish which gets itself tightly around the clam and uses all its stuff to weaken and pry open the clam. Now, this is a battle to the death as far as the clam is concerned. If the starfish is able to open him [Trump] even a little bit, he can get him open all the way, and that's it of course for the clam. He's the starfish's lunch.''
Number 3: Joy Behar, The View ''I think they're all going to end up together in prison and maybe that's a good thing.''
Number 2: Joe Scarborough, MSNBC Host''Anybody that writes an op-ed and suggests that Donald Trump has not put himself directly in the target of an obstruction charge is just fooling themselves and some very, very stupid, ill-informed readers.''
Number 1: John Sipher and Steve Hall, The New York Times Op-Ed Contributors''We like to think of ourselves as fair-minded and knowledgeable, having between us many years of experience with the C.I.A. dealing with Russian intelligence services. It is our view not only that the Russian government was running some sort of intelligence operation involving the Trump campaign, but also that it is impossible to rule out the possibility of collusion between the two.''
''However, perhaps the most telling piece of information may be the most obvious. Donald Trump himself made numerous statements in support of Russia, Russian intelligence and WikiLeaks during the campaign. At the same time, Mr. Trump and his team have gone out of their way to hide contacts with Russians and lied to the public about it. Likewise, Mr. Trump has attacked those people and institutions that could get to the bottom of the affair. He fired his F.B.I. Director James Comey, criticized and bullied his attorney general and deputy attorney general, denigrated the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., and assails the news media, labeling anything he dislikes 'fake news.' Innocent people don't tend to behave this way.''
With such a plethora of choices, we do hope you'll feel free to add one of your own in our comments section below.
Readers: We value your comments! Please weigh in on our comment section below. And remember to check out the web's best conservative news aggregator Whatfinger.com
CONFIRMED: Bogus Trump-Russia Alfa Bank Connections Were Created By Hillary Supporter, Working with Fusion GPS -- And Pushed BY CROOKED HILLARY!
CONFIRMED: Bogus Trump-Russia Alfa Bank Connections Were Created By Hillary Supporter, Working with Fusion GPS '-- And Pushed BY CROOKED HILLARY! by Jim Hoft April 1, 2019Guest post by Joe Hoft
A review of the data pertaining to the accusations in the phony Steele dossier about a Trump-Russia Bank connection discovered the sources used is most likely the same source the FBI used to obtain a FISA warrant to investigate the Trump-Alfa Bank connection.This person also just happens to be a radical Hillary Clinton supporter!It's been more than two years since the 2016 election and Americans still don't really know the sources for the phony Steele dossier used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain FISA warrants to spy on candidate and then President Trump.
This nightmare for President Trump all started in June, 2016. After news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, a group of prominent computer scientists went on alert. The group of individuals, led by a Hillary supporter, started snooping around the Trump Tower computers to allegedly see if these servers had also been hacked.
This group was led by Indiana University professor and staunch Hillary supporter, Jean Camp. Professor Camp, according to Circa was a staunch Hillary supporter:
A respected computer scientist who raised concerns about a possible connection between President Trump and a Russian bank is an unabashed Hillary Clinton supporter who made multiple small donations to the Democrat's presidential campaign around the time she and her colleagues surfaced the allegations.
Some techies uncovered that the the Trump Tower servers began to be bombarded with the same exact invalid look-up requests that use the words ''trump'' and ''alfa'' together, which were automatically placed in the servers' log file by the server. According to the New York Times, computer logs showed that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 ''look-up'' messages to the Trump servers.
At about the same time, the FBI received a complaint from ''cyberexperts'' about a possible Trump-Alfa Bank connection, which led the FBI to investigate into a Trump-Alfa Bank connection. According to the New York Times:
In classified sessions in August and September of 2016, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyber experts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia's biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.
At about the same time that the FBI began its investigation, Christopher Steele began pushing the now debunked claim that Trump was connected to Alfa Bank. In mid-September Steele submitted his memos, and at least one of these included the Trump-Alfa Bank connection. Steele submitted these memos to the press and to the FBI.
And now we know that Fusion GPS was pushing this bogus story to far left Slate Magazine.
Fusion GPS was behind this now discredited Slate story about a ''special email server existing between Trump Tower and Moscow's Alfa bank.'' Here's Hillary Clinton tweeting out the story the day it appeared.. https://t.co/f7GRwPgGQx
'-- Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) December 12, 2017
And Hillary Clinton pushed the conspiracy knowing HER TEAM was behind the bogus accusations!
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU
'-- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
We know that the FBI received a copy because at this time the FBI sought and received a FISA warrant related to Russia-linked bank, using the Steele dossier as evidence. This is the only plausible piece of evidence that the FBI could have used. Before this time, the FBI was turned down by the FISA court but on this occasion, a warrant was granted. (As McCabe said: The FISA warrants would not have been granted without the Steele dossier.)
The FBI had no other evidence on the Trump '' Russia bank connection and as time went by they had no additional evidence. The far-left New York Times then reported:
Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.''
The reason the FBI wasn't able to find anything was because the claims were based entirely on ''DNS logs,'' digital records of when one server looks up how to contact another across the internet. A forensic examination conducted by Alfa Bank of the Alfa Bank computer revealed that the only communications that took place regarding ''trump'' were those logged requests coming from outside its servers noted by the New York Times above. No other communications were found as indicated in the forensic report related to this subject.
Alfa Bank then blamed Jean Camp & Associates for artificially setting up a false Trump-Alfa Bank narrative and threatened a lawsuit:In May of this year , the bank tapped Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a white-shoe American law firm, to write a letter to L. Jean Camp, an esteemed Indiana University computer scientist and researcher '-- and a vocal supporter of the claims made by Tea Leaves. This initial letter, first reported by CNN, claimed that the Camp investigation into the covert server chatter had ''encouraged inquiries into supposed links to the Trump organization'' and that her ''activities continue to this day to promote an unwarranted investigation into Alfa Bank's 'communication' with the Trump Organization.'' The letter added that ''Alfa Bank is exploring all available options to protect itself '... [including] litigation and causes of action under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,'' further demanding that Camp ''preserve all records'' pertaining to the Tea Leaves research. Such a preservation request is often the precursor to a lawsuit. There would be more letters.
Alfa Bank contacted Professor Camp and demanded she hand over her emails related to the Trump '' Alfa bank connection, but she would not. The bank's position is that the professor is an employee of a public entity (Indiana University) but still Camp's attorney's have refused to comply. Alfa would like to know who all was involved in her sending requests to the bank's and Trump's servers and with reporting the incident as a fact that Trump and Alfa bank had a secret back channel to each other.
In March of 2017, FBI Head Comey confirmed there was no connection between Trump and Alfa Bank. Now it appears that the same far left Hillary-lover created the entire mess and that the FBI and Christopher Steele used this faulty information to attack candidate and then President Trump.Hat tip D. Manny and Friends
Vox: Our 'Emotional Devastation' Over Trump Winning The Election Drove Us So Insane, We Believed The Russia Collusion Story | Daily Wire
Since learning last week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of direct collusion between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials looking to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections, some left-leaning media and progressive activists have been on a soul-searching mission. How did they miss that the allegation was so thinly substantiated?
Vox Media feels it may have the answer. In an interview over the weekend with Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, who claims that the Russian collusion spectacle was the worst media mistake in history, both Vox reporter Sean Illing and Taibbi agree: the Left was just far too devastated in the weeks following Trump's election to think straight.
"A lot of people simply did not want to believe that Trump was a legitimate president, that someone this vulgar and this dishonest could win a presidential election," Illing says. "And I think that disbelief and the emotional devastation of his election colored a lot of our judgments."
"Absolutely. Look, almost every pundit failed to see what was happening during the presidential election. No one thought this guy would win. It was almost a 100 percent consensus in the industry. Nobody even accepted it as an idea that he could possibly win, and a lot of that had to do with the insularity of the media," Taibbi agreed.
"Then when he became president, the instantaneous decision was to declare his presidency illegitimate and foreign-aided. That doesn't mean all of these stories were made up, of course, but I think there was a deep need to make sense of it all, to somehow not recognize the result. So a lot of people wanted to cancel it out. But that's not what the press is supposed to do. That's not our job," he added.
This is surprisingly self-aware, though Taibbi has been pulling on that thread quite a bit of late. It's just interesting to see two journalists put the issue into print.
The two do go off the path quickly, of course, blaming the modern media need for clicks and eyeballs on digital stories for the news media's continued "concern" with Russian collusion, rather than consider that the media themselves were just as "bought in" to the concept as the audience they served.
Mueller was rarely treated simply as a special counsel. His face was emblazoned on tee shirts, tote bags, and even the occasional prayer candle, just in case you needed to fill the hole in your spiritual life with the man who was about to "save" the United States from President Donald Trump. The Left routinely admitted that Trump simply wasn't disagreeable, that his mere presence in the White House was actually harmful, and psychologists in liberal enclaves diagnosed patients with things like "Trump Anxiety Disorder," and post-election depression.
The insanity was real. But it was also the product of a continued belief, among the media '-- who failed to vet stories, ran with unsubstantiated allegations, and, occasionally, fell for total hoaxes '-- that Trump was, indeed, guilty of colluding with Russian officials that ultimately drove the story.
Americans as a whole, at least, are coming to grips with the Mueller report better than journalists. According to an NBC News poll released Monday, most Americans are taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach to the Mueller report, less out of hope that Donald Trump will be convicted by it, but more because the report has yet to be released, and Americans are less likely to jump to conclusions without media interference.
Build the Wall
As Trump rages over border, Kushner quietly plans legal immigration boost - POLITICO
Hawkish immigration activists are worried that the president will be influenced by Jared Kushner's more moderate views on immigration. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Hardline activists are ready to oppose any move to expand immigration.
Even as President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the southern border, his administration is quietly working on a plan to expand some forms of legal immigration into the U.S.
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has been working for months on a proposal that could increase the number of low- and high-skilled workers admitted to the country annually, four people involved in the discussions told POLITICO.
Story Continued Below
The low-profile effort to allow more legal immigrants into the U.S. stands in stark contrast to Trump's increasingly dramatic efforts to curb illegal immigration, an issue he speaks about daily and describes as a national crisis. But Trump himself has publicly said he also supports higher levels of legal immigration, a priority generally backed by a business community short on skilled workers.
The effort began in January when Kushner started to convene a series of meetings with dozens of advocacy groups, including business and agriculture organizations. Some, though not all of them, openly support the expansion of legal immigration. It has continued in recent weeks with a smaller four-person White House working group led by Kushner and could generate a proposal for Congress by summer.
Trump personally tasked Kushner '-- who successfully forged a December compromise on criminal justice reform but is still struggling to deliver a Middle East peace plan '-- with the priority of legal immigration. But it is a daunting challenge, requiring legislation in an issue area that has confounded Congress in recent years.
Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser and influential hard-liner on immigration, has not attended most of Kushner's meetings, according to a half-dozen attendees. But Miller '-- whose restrictionist views have slowed past compromise efforts '-- must sign off on any plan before Trump does, according to some familiar with the situation.
But hawkish immigration activists, who have been frustrated with Trump's relentless focus on a border wall, are worried that the president will be influenced by Kushner's more moderate views on immigration and will fail to fulfill his campaign pledge to crack down on immigration. Trump already has spoken about expanding legal immigration at least four times this year.
''The president must remember that he was elected to implement an immigration system that serves national interests, not business interests,'' said RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, whose president attended a meeting with Kushner. ''A plan to increase overall immigration is nothing more than a handout to businesses so they don't have to compete for American workers and raise wages.''
FAIR released a new online ad Friday urging Trump to not be influenced by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who support expanding legal immigration. ''Tell President Trump to keep his promise to protect the American worker and to keep the Koch Brothers out of the White House,'' the ad says.
Business groups have pushed for additional permanent slots for immigrants coming to the United States, saying the demand has increased since the unemployment rate has fallen and companies have struggled to fill jobs.
More than 1 million immigrants are allowed into the United States each year on a permanent basis but only a fraction '-- 140,000 '-- come through employment categories. The rest are relatives, refugees or immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. These numbers don't include immigrants allowed entry for temporary or seasonal work.
By comparison, federal officials estimate they apprehended 100,000 immigrants crossing the border illegally in March. Many of them end up being released because of overwhelming numbers at processing and holding centers. About 12 million immigrants are estimated to be in the United States illegally now.
Kushner's plan might not lead to a net increase in legal immigration. He is being urged to offset his increases with reductions in other forms of legal immigration. An expansion in the number of legal immigrants allowed into the U.S. for work could be tied to reductions in the number of immigrants sponsored by family members or immigrants who are awarded green cards through the diversity visa lottery program, according to the four people involved in the discussions.
In his February State of the Union address, Trump said he wanted ''people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.''
Later, when he was asked by a reporter if he was changing his policy, he said, ''I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in. We need people.''
Kushner is considering increases in the number of low- and high-skilled workers, as well as permanent and temporary workers, according to the four people familiar with the discussions. In public, Trump and his allies have spoken mostly about high-skilled workers.
One prominent Trump ally who has recently weighed in on the subject is David Bossie, a Trump confidant who served in his 2016 campaign.
''We need to welcome temporary high-skilled immigrants with Ph.D.s, Master's and strong educational qualifications to maintain U.S. economic superiority in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,'' Bossie wrote in a March 24 Fox News op-ed.
But some administration officials are urging Kushner to consider increases for low-skilled and seasonal workers as well.
Several administration officials caution that the effort is still in its early stages with Kushner still trying to gauge whether there's enough room for a bipartisan compromise that could be passed into law. A Kushner aide referred questions to the White House press office, which didn't respond.
Trump made cracking down on immigration the centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, calling for a border wall and ending an Obama-era program that allows temporary, renewable work permits for so-called Dreamers who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children.
But Trump backed away from his pledge to reduce the number of immigrants when he pushed a plan offering 1.8 million immigrants a chance at citizenship last year, though the proposal also would have increased border security and ended a green card program. It was rejected by a Republican-controlled Congress in February 2018.
The White House has been divided on immigration throughout Trump's presidency between Miller's hard-line camp, which largely reflects Trump's views, and others '-- including Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump '-- who hold more moderate positions.
''The different factions in the White House represent different factions among Republicans,'' said an immigration activist, who has been to two meetings and speaks to the White House regularly. ''It sure looks like the folks who want an expansion are winning.''
Jessica Vaughan, who attended one of Kushner's meetings and serves as director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, questioned why the administration would be looking at an immigration plan now even as it declares an emergency at the southern border.
''They should be 100 percent on fixing the border crisis and not on other parts of the immigration system,'' she said.
In recent weeks, Kushner and his working group '-- which includes Brooke Rollins, who works in the Office of American Innovation, and Theodore Wold and Ja'Ron Smith, both special assistants to the president for domestic policy '-- have held smaller more informal meetings, focused solely on whether to expand employment-based programs.
But some informed observers are skeptical: ''Everyone continues to look at Jared as the great deal-maker,'' said a former Trump adviser who remains close to the White House. ''I think people give him too much credit.''
Holding his cards close to the vest, Kushner has not explicitly supported a particular plan in the meetings, according to attendees. Instead, he has encouraged others to express their opinions as a way to try to find a deal.
''The main thing we hope for is an actual proposal to get support ... momentum,'' said Jorge Lima, senior vice president of policy for Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the Koch brothers and opposes cuts to legal immigration. Representatives of AFP attended two meetings with Kushner.
Draft proposals are being circulated among various agencies, according to one of the people involved in the discussions. Multiple administration officials have told outside groups that a proposal could be released, perhaps by early summer, according to the four people involved in the discussions.
The outside Trump adviser said he is skeptical any proposal will pass because Democrats will ask for a larger immigration deal than just addressing this piece of legal immigration.
''They have to try to figure out what they can get through a Democratic House,'' the person said.
Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning '-- in your inbox.
Migrants Riot, Burn Mattress in Tijuana Immigration Facility
SAN DIEGO'--A group of migrants set fire to a mattress, sheets, and blankets during a riot inside an immigration facility in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 1.
Fifty-one people were evacuated and six'--including two children 2 and 4 years old'--had to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to reports.
Two young men from Guatemala, another two from Cuba, and one from India, allegedly burned the mattress and sheets in the bathroom, damaging the inside of the immigration facility where the migrants were being held, the director of the Tijuana Fire Department, Jos(C) Luis Jim(C)nez, told Mexican newspaper Milenio.
A view of part of the sports complex that is home to 5,150 migrants in the Zona Norte neighborhood of Tijuana, Mexico, on Nov. 24, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)The National Migration Institute facility, where the riot took place, is approximately 6 miles south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry that separates San Diego from Tijuana. It is one of the busiest ports of entry along the southwest border.
Jim(C)nez said the suspects were arrested and have been turned over to the federal police and immigration authorities and are expected to be deported to their home countries.
Though the motive is still unknown, the head of the National Migration Institute in Tijuana, Rodulfo Figueroa, believes that the migrants started the riot because they were unhappy with their accommodations in the border city.
''It was not a problem of overcrowding. It was a problem of a couple of people, who did not agree with their housing situation, wanting to create a disturbance, which resulted in this,'' Figueroa said, according to Unidad Radio. ''Fortunately, and thanks to the support of the firemen, the Red Cross, civil protection, the municipal police, and the federal police, this was resolved without any incident.''
Migrants Set Fires in Detention CentersIn January, Honduran migrants in a Mexican immigration facility in the border city Mexicali also set fire to a couch and other furniture during an attempted riot, according to an earlier report by Milenio.
Figueroa said the migrants, who had been reported as being problematic by the authorities in the facility, had burned the furniture as part of a protest, though he did not elaborate on what they were protesting.
The 23 men, including minors, involved in the arson were immediately transferred to the National Institute of Migration offices in Tijuana, the site of the recent fire. It's not clear whether the migrants who started the fire in the Tijuana facility are the same ones who were transferred from Mexicali.
Migrant Caravan en Route to US Hundreds of Central Americans, part of a migrant caravan, are staying in an old factory in Piedras Negras, Mexico, on Feb. 15, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)Currently, a caravan of approximately 2,500 migrants, mainly from Central American countries, is traveling through Mexico on its way to the U.S-Mexico border.
The caravan left Honduras on March 23 and is expected to reach the U.S.-Mexico border within several weeks, though it's unclear where exactly along the southwest border it will ultimately appear.
The caravan includes a large number of Cuban nationals, which is unusual as recent migrant caravans have primarily consisted of people fleeing the Northern Triangle countries and not the Caribbean.
The remaining caravan members are individuals fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
'Mother of All Caravans' Forming in Honduras Some 700 Cubans have joined the migrant caravan as it makes its way north toward the United States, in Tuzantn, Chiapas State, Mexico, on March 25, 2019. (Jose Torres/Reuters)On March 27, Mexico's Interior Secretary Olga Snchez Cordero said that a massive caravan of approximately 20,000 people was forming in Honduras.
''We are aware that a new caravan is forming in Honduras that they're calling the mother of all caravans,'' Cordero said, without elaborating further on when the caravan will head north. She sai d the criminal organizations behind the ''mother of all caravans'' are involved in human trafficking, child exploitation, and even organ trafficking.
''You can imagine the size, the scope of this migration flow and that sometimes there's human trafficking by organized crime,'' she said.
''Each migrant represents between two thousand to six thousand dollars for them,'' the interior secretary said in an interview following the XXXII National Legal and Fiscal Consultation for Churches and Religious Associations conference, according to media reports.
Honduras denied the claims, saying there are no signs such a caravan is forming, Telemundo reported on March 29.
Trump pulls back from border closure threats, saying Mexico is cooperating | TheHill
President Trump Donald John TrumpColbert mocks Trump for 'oranges' gaffe Dem wins Trump district in swing-state Pennsylvania Trump says health care plan will be first vote after 2020 election MORE on Tuesday evening pulled back from his threats to close the southern border, claiming that Mexico is now cooperating in apprehending migrants.
For the "first time in decades," Trump said, Mexico had "apprehended over a thousand people" at its southern border and returned them to their home countries.
''I really wanted to close it. But now Mexico is saying, 'No, no, no.' First time in decades. 'We will not let anybody get through.' And they've apprehended over a thousand people at the southern border, their southern border. And they're bringing them back to their countries," Trump said during remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee's annual spring dinner.
Four days after issuing a firm threat to shut down the U.S. southern border as soon as this week, President Donald Trump was far less definitive in a recent speech. @JonKarl has the latest. https://t.co/Gv6VTTzjmz pic.twitter.com/8mcHoh3agb
'-- Good Morning America (@GMA) April 3, 2019Trump earlier in the day shifted away from his threats to close the border this week, saying he would "100 percent" close the border or "close large sections of the border" if Congress didn't pass stricter immigration laws.
"If we don't make a deal with Congress, the Mexico border's going to be closed. 100 percent," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "Or we're going to close large sections of the border, maybe not all of it. But it's the only way we're getting a response, and I'm totally ready to do it."
The president's apparent retreat Tuesday evening came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Addison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump mocks Green New Deal as done by 'young bartender' Ocasio-Cortez Overnight Health Care: Dem senators offer 'Medicare X' bill | McConnell tells Trump Senate won't take up ObamaCare repeal | Insulin makers to testify | Scalise moves to force vote on abortion bill GOP shuts down Trump health push MORE (R-Ky.) warned Tuesday that closing the border would have a "potentially catastrophic" impact on the economy.
"We certainly have a crisis on the border. I think the president's right about that. Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing," McConnell told reporters.
No Belt Three Roads
China, Brunei join hands to build Muara port into international shipping center
Abstract : The regional competitiveness of the Port of Muara kept improving since a Sino-Brunei joint venture participated in the management work of the port in February, 2017.
BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Container throughput at the Port of Muara hit 93,257 TEU with a year-on-year increase of 7 percent in the first ten months of this year. The regional competitiveness of the port kept improving since a Sino-Brunei joint venture participated in the management work of the port in February, 2017.
The joint venture Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC), formed by China's Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group and Brunei's Darussalam Asset, has been dedicated to improving the port's operational efficiency, cutting logistics costs and boosting cargo handling capacity.
After one year of efforts, the average loading efficiency of a single ship has reached 30.2 units per hour, 50 percent higher than before.
Brunei is an important country along the 21st century Maritime Silk Road. The two countries are committed to building the Muara Port into a major international port, making it a new economic growth point and a shipping center for the eastern growth area of ASEAN.
In addition, Brunei hopes to deepen the bilateral cooperation in every field based on the cooperation with Guangxi, so as to comprehensively enhance the relationship between Brunei and China, according to a Bruneian former government official. (Edited by Wu Shuang, firstname.lastname@example.org)
George Clooney calls for hotel boycott over Brunei LGBT laws - BBC News
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption George Clooney said the new laws amounted to "human rights violations" Hollywood actor George Clooney is calling for a boycott of nine luxury hotels with links to Brunei, after the country said gay sex and adultery would soon be punishable by death.
From 3 April, homosexuals could face being whipped or stoned in the tiny South East Asian state.
In 2014, Brunei became the first East Asian country to adopt Islamic Sharia law despite widespread condemnation.
Mr Clooney said the new laws amounted to "human rights violations".
"In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone," the actor wrote in a column for the entertainment website Deadline.
"Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws", he said. "But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations?"
He said Dorchester Collection hotels in the US, UK, France and Italy, which are owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, should be avoided by those who oppose the measures.
Brunei, on the island of Borneo, is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and has grown rich on oil and gas exports.
The Sultan owns the Brunei Investment Agency, which counts some of the world's top hotels in its portfolio, including the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
"I've stayed at many of them," Mr Clooney wrote, "because I hadn't done my homework and didn't know who owned them.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Dorchester in London is among the nine hotels Mr Clooney has said should be boycotted "Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens," he added.
Other public figures have also announced they are boycotting the Dorchester Collection.
Filmmaker Dustin Lance Black wrote on Twitter: "If you continue to stay at or frequent the Beverley Hills Hotel, you are guilty of financially supporting these murderers."
BBC world affairs editor John Simpson also confirmed that he wouldn't be visiting hotels owned by the group.
In 2014, Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Fry vowed to boycott the group over Brunei's anti-gay laws.
Brunei's ruling royals possess a huge private fortune and its largely ethnic-Malay population enjoy generous state handouts and pay no taxes.
The Sultan introduced a tough Islamic penal code nearly five years ago which it said would be introduced over a period of several years.
Under the new laws, theft will be punished by the amputation of a hand for a first offence and the amputation of a foot for a second offence.
When he announced the move, the Sultan, 72, one of the world's wealthiest men, called the code "a part of the great history of our nation".
The multipolar transformation that is occurring across the Eurasian continent confirms the industrial and diplomatic cooperation between China and the European continent in spite of strong opposition from the United States.
Xi Jinping's visit to Europe confirms what many of us have been writing about over the past few months and years, namely, the reality of an ongoing global transformation of a world dominated by the United States to a pluralistic one composed of different powers collectively shaping a multipolar world.
Europe therefore finds itself in fortuitous position, balanced as it is between its old world links to the United States on the one side and the fledgling Eurasian one being ushered in by Russia and China on the other.
Countries like Germany and France, but even the United Kingdom, have long implemented commercial policies that encourage integration between the countries of the Eurasian supercontinent. In 2015, the United Kingdom was among the first Western countries to join the Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which finances projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The Chinese BRI mega project kicked off in 2014 with the ambitious goal of integrating trade between China and Europe by sea and by land, in the process incorporating all the countries in between. The idea, as a natural consolidation of trade, is to shorten the delivery times of goods by rail and integrate sea routes. The project covers not only ports and rail lines but also the construction of technological infrastructure to achieve global interconnectivity using the 5G technology developed by the Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Germany and France have over the years deepened their partnerships with Beijing. Paris in particular boasts historical ties with China stemming from the nuclear cooperation between China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) and lectricit(C) de France (EDF) stretching back to 1978, as well as the aerospace one between Airbus and the Chinese aviation companies that has been ongoing since 1985.
Italy has in recent months approached the BRI as a result of the new government consisting of the Lega Nord and Five Star Movement (M5S). The decision to sign a memorandum of understanding between Beijing and Rome underlines how the new government wants to maintain a balanced position between Washington and Beijing in certain sectors. This is exactly the approach of Germany, which has elected to continue deepening its ties with Moscow vis-a-vis hydrocarbons and Nord Stream 2 in the face of pressure from Washington. Moreover, both Germany and Italy have confirmed that they want to rely on Huawei for the implementation and management of 5G traffic, which is fundamental to a world dominated by the internet of things.
The decisions of Germany, France and Italy to continue their cooperation with Moscow and Beijing in various fields flies in the face of the narrative advanced by the American-controlled scaremongering media controlled that attempts to discourage European politicians from acting in the interests of their countries and engaging with Russia and China.
What Washington continues to misunderstand is why certain European countries are so determined to embrace the opportunities offered by the East. Italy's recent example is quite easy to understand. The Italians hope that the BRI will provide much needed stimulus to their production industry, which has been in the doldrums in recent years. The desire for Chinese capital to give a boost to the export of Italian-produced goods is the driving force behind the proposed agreement between Beijing and Rome.
In addition to the obvious and natural desire for capital, there is also the idea of ''ensuring energy supply, as Germany is doing with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 with Russia. Despite strong US opposition, Berlin has favored its own national interest in energy diversification, avoiding giving in to pressure from Washington, which wanted Germany to rely on LNG supplied all the way from the US at an exorbitant price when compared to Russian-supplied gas.
There are striking divergences between Europe's politicians, especially if we look at the relations between Macron and Salvini in Italy, or those between May and her European colleagues. Even between Merkel and Macron there seem to be notable frictions surrounding energy independence. However, in spite of these apparent divergences, the prevailing theme in the final analysis is that of wishing to escape Washington's suffocating dominance in favor of a greater participation in the concept of a multipolar world.
No European capital '' whether it be Paris, Rome, Berlin or London '' intends to break the Atlantic pact with Washington. This is confirmed at every possible formal occasion. However, as Beijing becomes more and more central to questions concerning technology or the supply of liquid capital for investments or business expansion, the changes to the global order seem unstoppable.
The last obstacle remains those countries still closely linked to pro-Atlantic policies, those who find in Beijing, and above all Moscow, an excellent excuse to invite Washington's greater intrusion into the sovereign affairs of Europe. The Baltic countries and Poland seem to offer the best inroads for US policy makers to try to influence the debate on the old continent regarding ties with the East. The artificial crises created in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela also serve as tools to divide European leaders into opposing camps, creating the conditions to scupper European cooperation with the East.
It is no coincidence that for US strategists the two greatest dangers lie in the possibility of Moscow and Beijing, or Moscow and Berlin, cooperating and coordinating their efforts. The Berlin-Moscow-Beijing triangle, with the addition of Rome and Paris, represents a scenario for Washington that is unprecedented in terms of its challenge to US hegemony in Europe.
Wang Yiwei, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, during Xi Jinping's historic visit to Rome expressed in concrete terms the changing global order
"With the 16+1 cooperation plan between Central and Eastern European nations and China, several countries signed memoranda of understanding with China to jointly build the BIS. So far, the governments of 16 Central and Eastern European countries have signed memoranda of understanding on BIS cooperation with China. Currently, 171 cooperation agreements have been reached with 123 countries and 29 international organizations under the BIS ".
'US must choose between Turkey and terrorists': Ankara slaps Pence with counter-ultimatum '-- RT World News
Turkey's vice president said his US counterpart must choose between an alliance with a loyal NATO partner or siding with terrorists, after Mike Pence issued an ultimatum for Ankara to pick its F-35 jets over Russian S-400 systems.
''The United States must choose. Does it want to remain Turkey's ally or risk our friendship by joining forces with terrorists to undermine its NATO ally's defense against its enemies?'' Vice President Fuat Oktay tweeted, in response to Mike Pence's demands.
The United States must choose. Does it want to remain Turkey's ally or risk our friendship by joining forces with terrorists to undermine its NATO ally's defense against its enemies?
'-- Fuat Oktay (@fuatoktay06) April 3, 2019Earlier on Wednesday, the US second-in-command demanded that Ankara ''choose'' whether it wants to remain a ''critical'' NATO partner or jeopardize its alliance membership by ''reckless decisions'' such as the purchase the Russian S-400 air defense systems.
Also on rt.com Turkey must choose between remaining NATO partner or buying Russian S-400 '' Pence The Twitter battle between two top politicians erupted two days after the Pentagon stopped shipping equipment related to the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey. The DoD made clear that deliveries will not resume unless Turkey abandons its purchase of Russian hardware.
Turkey, which has been a vital partner in the F-35 program, once again reminded the US on Wednesday that its S-400 purchase was a ''done deal.''
''[S-400s] will not be integrated into the NATO system,'' Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday, advocating the setting up of a multi-party technical group that would ensure the air defense system ''will not be a threat'' to either the F-35 or other NATO systems. He also hinted that the issue will most likely be resolved between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Also on rt.com Russian S-400 purchase a 'done deal,' despite US freeze on F-35 deliveries '' Turkish FM Turkey has long insisted that, as a sovereign nation, it has the right to choose its trade partners and arms suppliers, repeatedly stressing that buying Russian systems is vital for the country's national defense, amid the ongoing Syrian conflict right on its doorstep.
Besides tensions centering around arms deals, Turkey has been expressing continuing concerns over Washington's support to the Syrian Kurdish militias, which are at the forefront of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara considers Kurdish forces in both Syria and Iraq as a ''terrorist'' extension of the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK), a decades-old Turkey-based insurgency.
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Erdogan disputes election results after AKP stunning loss of 3 largest cities -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
(C) Reuters/RFI People walk past by AK Party billboards with pictures of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in Istanbul, Turkey
It's official, or maybe not quite
- as perhaps predictably the AK partyplans to challenge the stunning defeat:
Erdogan's party has lost Turkey's three largest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, to the opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP.Ballots in the crucial local election were completely tallied on Tuesday, and the upset represents a huge setback for the president and his party amid a continued bleak and worsening economic situation.
The final results now with 100% of the ballots counted as reported by the semiofficial Anadolu news agency put opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, at 48.79%, barely inching out rival AKP candidate Binali Yildrim's 48.51%. And in the capital of Ankara, CHP's Mansur Yavas won with 50.93% of the vote, compared to AKP's Mehmet Ozhaseki's 47.12%.
Shooting back against critics who point out the local races were clear and biting indictments of Erdogan's leadership amid an ailing and troubled economy, and further amid worsening relations with the United States and the West, a representative of the Turkish presidency tweeted: "They will never learn. AK Party won 44.3% and the coalition won 51.6% of the votes." Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin lashed out further as part of the statement: "Erdogan has his mandate until 2023. Stop presenting your wishful thinking as fact and analysis."
The AKP spokesman, Omer Celik, claimed early on Tuesday that there were significant voting tally discrepancies between polling and the actual vote - enough to cause AKP to lodge objections.
Specifically, according to the BBC:The AKP alleges irregularities, and is challenging the results in every Istanbul district. Officially the CHP is ahead by 25,000 votes in the city.Giant AKP victory posters have gone up in Istanbul.
The secularist CHP (Republican People's Party) condemned that move, accusing the Islamist-rooted AKP of trying to steal the result.
The AKP is also contesting the CHP victory in Ankara.
Parts of the largely government-controlled media are reporting allegations that stolen ballots hindered the party's performance.
In the past, Turkish opposition parties have failed to mount a successful challenge to election results.
But few predicted that AKP would escape the downward spiraling economy unscathed:The polls posed a major challenge for Erdogan, given a backdrop of high inflation and rising unemployment sparked by a major currency crisis last year.Earlier this month, official statistics showed that in the last two quarters of 2018, the Turkish economy slipped into its first recession in a decade, as inflation and interest rates soared due to the currency meltdown.
In February, inflation stood at just under 20 percent, while the Central Bank's main interest rate is currently 24 percent.
According to The New York Times, this could delay formal certification for up to a little over a week:The head of that council, Sadi Guven, said in Ankara on Tuesday that it had shared preliminary results with political parties. For now, he said, the council will give certificates of election to candidates whose victories are not subject to appeals, which can be submitted until 3 p.m. Tuesday.The council will rule on those challenges within eight days, he added.
However, the AKP promised to recognize the validity of the process and outcome. "The process is legitimate. Everyone should respect it," Celik said at the party's headquarters in Ankara. "We will respect the results regardless of the outcome, as it is our people's choice."
* * *
Chaos erupted late on Sunday when President Erdogan's ruling AKP party was looking certain to lose control of the capital, Ankara, while both AKP and the opposition CHP party claimed victory in Istanbul in the culmination of a critical municipal vote that is testing the popularity of Turkey's executive president.
As reported by various news wires, preliminary results showed the opposition flipping the capital Ankara and surrounding areas from Erdogan's alliance, and taking control of some of Turkey's key Mediterranean coastal cities. In a stunning (or perhaps not, after all this is Turkey) to what appears to be an extreme close vote, even before the final figures were announced, Erdogan's ally and former prime minister Binali Yildirim said he won the race in Istanbul, Turkey's commercial hub, a claim rejected by the opposition, which said it won.TURKEY'S BINALI YILDIRIM SAYS HE WON THE RACE IN ISTANBULTURKEY OPPOSITION'S KILICDAROGLU SAYS WON IN ISTANBULWhen Yildirim declared victory, the state-run news agency reported a margin of less than 0.1 percentage point between him and his main rival Ekrem Imamoglu. That means that out of some 10 million ballots cast in the city, the difference was about 5,000 votes according to Bloomberg.
Adding to the confusion, and calls that Erdogan has stolen the election, when Yildirim spoke, the state-run news agency showed 98.8 percent of votes tallied, and then stopped reporting updated results for Istanbul after he declared victory. The opposition candidate said the result was manipulated and the party's leader also claimed victory in televised remarks.
NA Saved me
I used to get alarmed during NA when there was no audio
for a second.
"audio has been cut, phone is going to ring, who, what do they
Then I noticed I only got those during NA. Not sure if others post process to cut audio
gaps or just yap over each other to avoid silence, but it'd trained me. I no longer listen to all that many podcasts,
and the ones I've kept don't sound like hosts with a bladder crisis.
Wondrous that the same tech has brought on new authors,
with many I enjoy getting recorded versions of their books that make my drive
pleasant, not tiring to the ear.
I no longer have a panic when there's a pause. Thanks for restoring my chill at life speed.
Your Own Thoughts
Yours is one of the few podcasts that I listen to at normal
speed. It is much better that way. I like thinking about what you are
discussing, 1.5X doesn't allow for your own thoughts. I have shunned a majority
of media besides podcasts. The answer to your question from the show is READING
BOOKS. Books are where you have long form, you have real journalism, you have
your own time to think and understand, you get a complete picture. This is why
you are successful and also I believe why Joe Rogan is so successful.
Love the show, love the art.
Sir A Dude Named Ben Again
Lyft and Uber DID cut wages
Hey Adam, just heard you talk about the the Uber price cut
on episode 1126 and I have an update on Lyft.
I live in San Francisco (Richmond district) and I talk with
every lyft driver I ride with. I enjoy learning about their home towns, life
before lyft, recommendations on what to do and where to go in whatever country
they are from, etc.
A lot of the drivers were paid a bonus from Lyft to move to
San Francisco. This happened in mid to late 2018, as lyft had a shortage of
drivers in San Francisco. Last month, lyft cut the pay for drivers in the Bay
Area from on average $0.98 cents to $0.55 cents a mile in preparation for the IPO.
Over a dozen drivers have confirmed this ridiculous pay cut as Lyft makes a
desperate attempt to look profitable on paper. It’s horrible for these drivers
who were paid a bonus to move here, and are now paid very little.
I’m planning a trip to Texas with some friends soon, would
love to get together for a joint and/or a beer!
Feel free to share this on the next show
Chinese military arrive in Venezuela with 65 tons of 'humanitarian supplies' -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Friday, March 29th '' China PLA personnel pose with members of Venezuela's FANB
Chinese military personnel arrived along with the 65 tons of medicine and supplies delivered to Venezuela Thursday March 28th as a result of a strategic cooperation between the two countries. While the delivery of aid is one of many expected shipments, according to government officials, the arrival of Chinese military personnel was under-reported in international press.
Tareck El Aissami, in comments for TeleSur, who sits as Venezuela's Minister of Industry and National Production, for his part stressed the importance of the delivery as an exercise of sovereignty, and added that "the aggression Venezuela has experienced, the terrorist acts, the blockade and the financial persecution are unprecedented anywhere in the world."
Earlier this morning, April 1st, Chinese leader XJP announced that China was ramping up efforts to eliminate corruption within China, and is preparing for a long and protracted struggle against capitalism and imperialism from the west. China views the development of socialism in Venezuela to be a positive historical effort, which they have expressed consistent support for since 1999.
The Chinese Ambassador to Venezuela also reiterated the South American nation as an "integral strategic partner and friend," stressing his conviction "that the Venezuelan people are capable of keeping the peace." The statement came shortly after the U.S. has repeatedly threatened the Russian Federation and other nations over their military support for Venezuela.
China has responded by engaging in what military experts call a test balloon. This was seen previously in the case of Syria, where China appeared to have leaked their own images and information of direct involvement in Syria, for a period of time before they announced support for the war-torn Arab country.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Venezuela imported $349 million worth of arms from China between 2010 and 2014 alone.
China is by far Caracas's biggest creditor; it has loaned the country $65bn since 2005. Deceased former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez even went so far as to say Mao Zedong and Latin American independence hero SimoÌn Bolivar would have been friends, had they lived in the same epoch.
Meanwhile, Chinese state banks have lent billions more to Latin American governments since the early 2000's. In 2010 alone, China doled out more loans than the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and US Ex-Im Bank combined. In China, interest rates decisions are taken by The Peoples' Bank of China Monetary Policy Committee. The PBC administers two different benchmark interest rates: one year lending and one year deposit rate.
China "really came in" with arms sales in 2011, says Dr. Evan Ellis, research professor of Latin American Studies at the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, "first with less sophisticated equipment such as radars and aircraft to train pilots, and more recently with reinforced vehicles and replacement parts."
"Most military goods that arrived in 2017 were Chinese, including armored tanks, ammunition, uniforms and infantry equipment, as well as replacement and service parts for Russian-made pieces" according to Venezuela's National Guard commander Major General Antonio Benavidez Torrez.
FRN spoke to the Serbia-based military expert Vladimir Gujanicic this morning, who said: "Chinese military personnel have clearly arrived along with the 65 tonnes of humanitarian aid for Venezuela. This was under-reported in media, but based on our inside sources, and a reverse image search of the photo, the photo did not exist until Thursday March 28th, 2019 anywhere in the world. This fits into a Chinese policy of leaking their own unofficial positions and stories into Western press. Then, Chinese analysts will gauge the response from Western governments and activists, whom they expect to have differing but nevertheless valuable opinions. In short, if western activists respond well to the idea, then those in China pushing for further and open military support - as was the case in Syria - can bring this case for Venezuela back to others decision-makers in China who are undecided or who require such data feedback." The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela and the Chinese People's Republic are long standing allies and strategic partners. Relations between the two countries have significantly increased under former President Hugo Chavez. Before the year 1999, Sino-Venezuelan trade was estimated at US$500 million, while in 2016, trade amounted to US$7.42 billion.
The two countries have strong cooperation agreements in the energy and military sectors and President Nicolas Maduro has been seeking help from their eastern partner to develop the countries medical sector, following harsh economic and financial sanctions that prevent the Bolivarian government from importing important medical and surgical supplies.
Bolton Tests His Boundaries and Trump's Patience in Growing Role
Bolton Tests His Boundaries and Trump's Patience in Growing Role
(Bloomberg) -- White House National Security Adviser John Bolton is expanding his influence in increasingly visible ways, pursuing his own longstanding foreign policy priorities at the risk of tensions with top administration officials -- and even Donald Trump himself.
An example spilled into the public eye a week ago, when an irked Trump cryptically announced on Twitter he'd undo some North Korea-related sanctions blessed by Bolton. The president's decision was quietly walked back and the sanctions remain in place.
Since joining Trump's White House, Bolton has pursued an agenda that includes trying to break Iran financially, oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shield Americans from the reach of the International Criminal Court and toughen the U.S. posture toward Russia. He coordinated with key lawmakers, U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and the Israelis to compel Trump to slow an abrupt withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
Bolton, 70, has meanwhile adopted an increasingly public profile on Twitter, Trump's social media platform of choice. Through a spokesman, he declined to be interviewed for this article.
This story is based on interviews with lawmakers and several current and former White House and diplomatic officials, most of whom asked not to be identified in order to candidly discuss Trump's third national security adviser.
Bolton's blunt, unapologetic divide-and-conquer methods don't surprise anyone who's watched him in government roles since the Reagan administration or as a pundit on Fox News. He's always been a deeply ideological thinker who believes the U.S. plays by a unique set of rules and doesn't mind -- or even sometimes relishes -- clashing with others to accomplish his goals.
He's beloved by a loyal cadre of aides while chafing many others inside the administration. Trump is aware that Bolton's relationships with powerful Republican figures who influence the president, particularly billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, give him an added degree of political cover, according to two people familiar with the matter.
'Too Far Out'
Trump is notorious for abruptly casting out aides whenever he tires of tangling with them, but he has not yet sent any signals that Bolton's gone too far. But one senior aide to the president offered an ominous warning about Bolton's approach, saying he risks the president's ire by ''stepping a little too far out into the sunshine.''
Trump and Bolton, whom the president sometimes calls ''the Mustache'' because of his trademark facial hair, are often on the same page on policy. There's little daylight between their positions on issues such as Iran, Venezuela and the ICC, for example, and Bolton helped push Trump to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Bolton ''is working across government to coordinate and implement the president's national security agenda,'' spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement.
But when they disagree, Bolton's strategy can unfold in one of two ways.
He sometimes moderates Trump, as he did on Syria -- a role that has had the unlikely effect of endearing him to some Democrats on Capitol Hill who otherwise disdain his unilateral, hawkish approach to the world. Many lawmakers of both parties also say Bolton is forthright and pleasant to work with, whatever their disagreements.
''At times, I've felt that he had a very positive impact on the president in making a decision,'' Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, said in an interview -- while emphasizing that he disagrees with his point of view. ''I think Mr. Bolton has an impact, I really do. It's a moderating impact. But he's not a moderate.''
Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said Bolton ''brings a lot to the table for the president.''
But Bolton also can bait Trump's break-glass instincts, as is the case in a debate over issuing waivers from U.S. sanctions for some countries to continue importing Iranian oil.
Bolton opposes any waivers in order to crush the Iranian economy. The State Department, on the other hand, is concerned about the diplomatic consequences if allies are forbidden from buying Tehran's crude. Trump has sought information about the effect on oil prices before making a decision.
Bolton has a reputation as a war-monger, after encouraging President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. But U.S. officials and foreign diplomats believe Bolton's most hawkish instincts may be checked by his understanding that Trump campaigned to pull the U.S. out of overseas conflicts.
Graham, a Trump ally, said he worked closely with Bolton to reshape Trump's exit from Syria.
''The moment I heard we were pulling out, I called Bolton. I said, 'What the hell is going on here? This is a disaster,''' Graham said in an interview. He and Bolton then worked together to discuss with Trump how they could achieve his goal of withdrawing U.S. forces while protecting Kurdish allies and preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State.
Trump's feelings about Bolton aren't as warm as those for Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, a sometime Bolton rival. Bolton comes from the Republican establishment Trump ran over on his way to the White House, and the president passed over the former UN ambassador twice for national security adviser before choosing him to replace H.R. McMaster.
Another potential flashpoint between Bolton and Pompeo is Afghanistan, where the U.S. special envoy, Zamay Khalilzad, is under orders from Trump and the Secretary of State to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
Bolton and the Pentagon are concerned about the talks, people familiar with the matter said.
But Pompeo has directed Khalilzad to communicate with him -- not Bolton -- according to two people familiar with the matter.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement: ''Ambassador Khalilzad reports to, and therefore communicates directly with, Secretary Pompeo, who is working to implement -- precisely -- the president's policy.''
Pompeo coordinates with other agencies, Palladino said.
Trump genuinely doesn't like Bolton's mustache. At the National Christmas Tree lighting, on a particularly frigid and windy night in November, Trump cracked that if Bolton were there, they could use ''the Mustache'' for warmth. People with him laughed, though they weren't sure if he meant burn the mustache like a log or hide under it like a fur coat.
But Trump appreciates Bolton's knowledge, skill and network and shares much of his thinking about the importance of the U.S. projecting strength, the people said.
One diplomatic official said Bolton has long desired to be national security adviser and that there's a general perception he's willing to put up with a lot to keep the job. In Trump, the official said, Bolton appears to have found a president more willing than his predecessors to openly question the international alliances Bolton has long distrusted and criticized, such as the European Union or NATO, and to advance Israel's interests.
Bolton has also pursued tougher policies toward Russia and supports another round of sanctions aimed at punishing the Kremlin for a 2018 nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in the U.K.
Nearly two weeks ago, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies accused of trade with North Korea. Bolton strongly supported the move, but it didn't have Trump's explicit approval.
Before he came to work for Trump, Bolton had publicly advocated for a military strike on North Korea's nuclear facilities, and he's made no secret of his discomfort with preemptive U.S. concessions to Kim Jong Un's regime.
The president had given Treasury discretion to decide some sanctions as it saw fit. And in the scheme of sanctions policy, the penalties on the shipping companies were modest -- a signal to other countries that the U.S. was watching for attempts to help Pyongyang evade international pressure to give up its nuclear weapons program.
A top aide to Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney warned Bolton privately before the sanctions on the two Chinese companies were issued that Trump might not support them. Bolton dismissed the concern. Indeed, Trump was angry when he learned about the sanctions, the day after they were issued, and responded in his singular way: a tweet announcing that ''additional large scale'' North Korea sanctions would be withdrawn.
The administration scrambled to quash the outcry by lawmakers and the foreign policy community over the turmoil that would result if U.S. sanctions policy was rendered so fickle as to be changed by tweet. A statement issued hours later suggested that Trump had been referring to future North Korea sanctions.
But there were no new North Korea sanctions underway, according to five people familiar with the matter. The controversy was eclipsed within hours, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on the Russia investigation to the attorney general.
--With assistance from Nick Wadhams, Saleha Mohsin, Daniel Flatley and Steven T. Dennis.
To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at email@example.com;Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at email@example.com, Joshua Gallu
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
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Maduro puts army on alert following opposition plot to assassinate him
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MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has put the country's military on alert because of a plot by the opposition to assassinate him that was exposed, and called on militia units to join the pro-government armed forces known as colectivos, the Venezuelan leader said in a phone interview with Venezolana de Television TV.
"I know about their criminal plans - those who lead the opposition - their plans to kill me," Maduro specified. According to him, because of this, "the country's military units have been put on alert" and a decision was made to beef up "intelligence and counterintelligence activities."
Maduro said that the militia joining the colectivos was necessary to "ensure peace" in Venezuelan cities and towns. President Maduro said that this measure "is constitutional, legitimate and necessary." The criminals "paid off" by the forces opposing the current authorities shouldn't be allowed to incite violence.
The Venezuelan leader also believes that the nation's current opposition headed by Juan Guaido is "the most criminal" over the last 20 years. Maduro once again accused his political opponents inside the country and the US administration of sabotaging the country's power plants and stations that had led to serious problems with power supplies.
Since late March, Venezuelans unsatisfied with the lack of water and electricity have been protesting in Caracas and other cities around the country. According to the Foro Penal Venezuelan non-governmental organization, from March 29 to April 1 almost 50 people were detained during these protests. The demonstrations turned sour on a number of occasions, but no one was injured in the clashes with the police and pro-government forces.
On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country's Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country's capital of Caracas. Several countries, including the United States, most of the EU states, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US. In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.
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'Afrekenen met cash in Amsterdam tot maximaal '¬1000' | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Door de economische groei en de snelle stijging van de welvaart in de stad neemt het risico op ondermijning volgens Halsema toe. ''Er zijn concrete signalen dat ondermijnende activiteiten en de risico's op ondermijning een kritisch punt bereiken.'' Er kan daarbij gedacht worden aan vermenging van boven- en onderwereld, maar ook afpersingspraktijken en het 'innestelen' van criminele fenomenen in buurten en woonwijken of bijvoorbeeld horeca.
HorecaHalsema schrijft als voorbeeld dat in de stad 51% van de nieuwe horecavergunningaanvragen onderhands is gefinancierd, dat 35% van de financiers in het verleden met justitie in aanraking is geweest en dat 27% van de onderhandse financieringen volgens de Belastingdienst niet direct verklaarbaar is. Uit een rapportage komt naar voren dat er ook in de Amsterdamse hotelbranche veel misstanden zijn. Die variren van het overtreden van wet- en regelgeving tot het te werk stellen van vreemdelingen en het toestaan van illegale prostitutie. Naast eerdere maatregelen worden nu stappen gezet om de hotelbranche integriteitsscreeningen verplicht te laten uitvoeren.
Halsema kondigt ook een onderzoek aan naar de financierings- en eigendomsverhoudingen en het gebruik van vastgoed. Concrete risico's, signalen, trends en ontwikkelingen worden nu nog op verschillende plekken in de gemeentelijke organisatie verzameld, maar dat gaat veranderen. Gemeenteambtenaren, waaronder vierhonderd boa's en handhavers bij de afdeling wonen en bouw, krijgen bovendien cursussen en trainingen om ondermijning te herkennen. Daarnaast wordt er vanaf het vierde kwartaal van 2019 onderzoek gedaan naar de specifieke verschijningsvormen van mensenhandel in Amsterdam.
CashEen ander probleem is dat in het hogere segment van de Amsterdamse winkels cash wordt afgerekend met bedragen oplopend tot '¬10.000,- euro. Halsema wil deze omlaag brengen tot maximaal 1000 euro.
De Amsterdamse taximarkt wordt ook niet ontzien, volgens Halsema omdat die 'veel signalen van ondermijning' kent.
''Het kan daarbij gaan om drugs (gebruik, handel en bezit), witwassen, faillissementsfraude, fraude met verzekeringen en APK, kentekenvervalsing en illegale doorverkoop en- verhuur van vergunningen, chauffeurskaarten en accounts.'' De krachten van Rijk en gemeente worden nu gebundeld om gezamenlijke controles uit te voeren.
Halsema stelt ook vast dat meer prostituees uit het zicht zijn gaan werken door de verschuiving van de vergunde prostitutiebedrijven naar woningen en hotelkamers. ''Dit heeft te maken met de opkomst van internet en de onrust over de drukte op de Wallen. Meer sekswerkers gaan 'onder de radar' werken. Dit is onwenselijk omdat er minder toezicht is op de locaties en de sekswerkers kwetsbaarder zijn voor misstanden en uitbuiting. Anderzijds rijst de vraag of raamprostitutie nog van deze tijd is en in zijn huidige vorm houdbaar is'', aldus de burgemeester. Er wordt nu een 'webcrawler' opgezet zodat advertenties van sekswerkers geanalyseerd kunnen worden, waardoor het digitale prostitutieaanbod meer inzichtelijk wordt.
Met haar programma 'De Weerbare stad' wil Halsema ook de mentaliteit in de stad veranderen. ''Bij gemeenteambtenaren, ondernemers en Amsterdamse burgers moet er nieuw bewustzijn groeien voor de gevaren van ondermijning'', schrijft ze. ''Het besef dat onze stad weerbaar moet zijn om vrij te zijn moet onderdeel worden van het dagelijks werken en leven in de stad en daarmee onderdeel van het werk van alle ambtenaren bij de gemeente Amsterdam. In de woorden van onze grote stadgenoot Johan Cruijff: 'je gaat het pas zien als je het door hebt'.''
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Ocasio-Cortez's 'heart is not in The Bronx', locals say
Amid her zeal to save the world with the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ignored residents in her own Bronx back yard.
''I thought AOC would be our savior, but that's not the case,'' complained Roxanne Delgado, a local activist who said she has tried for months to get in touch with the congresswoman for help saving an animal shelter and to clean up parks in the district.
Delgado, 40, says she has made numerous calls to Ocasio-Cortez's offices in Washington and Queens and sent a barrage of tweets after the freshman lawmaker encouraged residents during a recent visit to a Bronx public library to hit her up on social media.
But she's heard nothing back.
''NO email or contact on @AOC's page except DC number which has full #voicemail and no one picks up,'' Delgado tweeted on Monday.
The Post made several calls to both the Washington and Queens offices last week. The same recording at both numbers gives Ocasio-Cortez's Web site and doesn't allow a caller to leave a message.
The website includes a ''scheduling request'' form that visitors can fill out to ask for a meeting.
Another Bronx constituent told a community gathering last month that they needed Ocasio-Cortez for a sitdown with post-office officials to sort out difficulties he was having with mail delivery.
''I want AOC or a representative from AOC to be there,'' Anthony Vitaliano, a former cop and Community Board 11 member, said at a Feb. 28 board meeting.
Vitaliano, 78, also wants Ocasio-Cortez to pressure Amtrak to clean up graffiti at property it owns on Tremont Avenue.
''You know, I appreciate what she's doing, but she has to represent us,'' he told the board gathering, where other elected officials '-- from the city and state but not AOC's office '-- sent staffers.
Roxanne Delgado Angel ChevresttVitaliano told The Post: ''She has to address these local issues. Her district is everywhere else in the US. Her heart is not in The Bronx.''
By contrast, he said, residents' needs received much more attention under Rep. Joe Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez unseated in a surprise primary upset last year.
The longtime congressman's Bronx district representative, Thomas Messina, regularly attended community board meetings, according to Vitaliano.
''Tommy cared about us,'' Vitaliano said.
Although Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about improving mail service in The Bronx this month, Vitaliano said he was still experiencing problems and waiting for her office to arrange a meeting with post-office management.
And although a Bronx community rep for Ocasio-Cortez visited the graffiti site, nothing has happened, he said.
Meanwhile, Delgado noted the animal-shelter site was spared '-- thanks to help from the City Council and the mayor's office.
Making access all the more challenging for her constituents, Ocasio-Cortez has yet to open an office in The Bronx.
A rep for her told a Bronx community-board meeting in January that the congresswoman was having difficulty finding space.
''If you have any leads, please send them our way,'' said Naureen Akhter, a deputy district director for Ocasio-Cortez's office.
Small stickers on the ground trick Tesla autopilot into steering into opposing traffic lane / Boing Boing
Researchers from Tencent Keen Security Lab have published a report detailing their successful attacks on Tesla firmware, including remote control over the steering, and an adversarial example attack on the autopilot that confuses the car into driving into the oncoming traffic lane.
The researchers used an attack chain that they disclosed to Tesla, and which Tesla now claims has been eliminated with recent patches.
To effect the remote steering attack, the researchers had to bypass several redundant layers of protection, but having done this, they were able to write an app that would let them connect a video-game controller to a mobile device and then steer a target vehicle, overriding the actual steering wheel in the car as well as the autopilot systems. This attack has some limitations: while a car in Park or traveling at high speed on Cruise Control can be taken over completely, a car that has recently shifted from R to D can only be remote controlled at speeds up to 8km/h.
Tesla vehicles use a variety of neural networks for autopilot and other functions (such as detecting rain on the windscreen and switching on the wipers); the researchers were able to use adversarial examples (small, mostly human-imperceptible changes that cause machine learning systems to make gross, out-of-proportion errors) to attack these.
Most dramatically, the researchers attacked the autopilot's lane-detection systems. By adding noise to lane-markings, they were able to fool the autopilot into losing the lanes altogether, however, the patches they had to apply to the lane-markings would not be hard for humans to spot.
Much more seriously, they were able to use "small stickers" on the ground to effect a "fake lane attack" that fooled the autopilot into steering into the opposite lanes where oncoming traffic would be moving. This worked even when the targeted vehicle was operating in daylight without snow, dust or other interference.
Misleading the autopilot vehicle to the wrong direction with some patches made by a malicious attacker, in sometimes, is more dangerous than making it fail to recognize the lane. We paint three inconspicuous tiny square in the picture took from camera, and the vision module would recognize it as a lane with a high degree of confidence as below shows...
After that we tried to build such a scene in physical: we pasted some small stickers as interference patches on the ground in an intersection. We hope to use these patches toguide the Tesla vehicle in the Autosteer mode driving to the reverse lane. The test scenario like Fig 34 shows, red dashes are the stickers, the vehicle would regard them as the continuation of its right lane, and ignore the real left lane opposite the intersection. When it travels to the middle of the intersection, it would take the real left lane as its right lane and drive into the reverse lane.
Tesla autopilot module's lane recognition function has a good robustness in an ordinary external environment (no strong light, rain, snow, sand and dust interference), but it still doesn't handle the situation correctly in our test scenario. This kind of attack is simple to deploy, and the materials are easy to obtain. As we talked in the previous introduction of Tesla's lane recognition function, Tesla uses a pure computer vision solution for lane recognition, and we found in this attack experiment that the vehicle driving decision is only based on computer vision lane recognition results. Our experiments proved that this architecture has security risks and reverse lane recognition is one of the necessary functions for autonomous driving in non-closed roads. In the scene we build, if the vehicle knows that the fake lane is pointing to the reverse lane, it should ignore this fake lane and then it could avoid a traffic accident.
Security Research of Tesla Autopilot [Tencent Keen Security Lab]
(via Ashkan Soltani)
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READ THE RESTResearchers find mountains of sensitive data on totalled Teslas in junkyardsTeslas are incredibly data-hungry, storing massive troves of data about their owners, including videos of crashes, location history, contacts and calendar entries from paired phones, photos of the driver and passengers taken with interior cameras, and other data; this data is stored without encryption, and it is not always clear when Teslas are gathering data, ['...]
READ THE RESTFormer NSA contractor Harold Martin pleads guilty to 'willful retention of national defense information'Former NSA contractor Harold Martin today changed his plea to guilty, on charges of willful retention of national defense information.
READ THE RESTName your price for this complete Adobe CC design classIf you're going to pursue a career in graphic design, videography or web development, there are some essential tools you need to have '' and all of them are included in the Adobe Creative Cloud. And whether you need to brush up on Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign '' or are a beginner to them all ['...]
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READ THE RESTKickstart your mad science with this Raspberry Pi boot campIf you're into tech at all, you should definitely consider unleashing your inner tinkerer on a Raspberry Pi board. If you're intimidated, don't be. It's a statistical probability that people half your age have created cooler things than you can imagine with the versatile kit. Not sure where to start? The Complete Raspberry Pi 3B+ ['...]
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Multiple airlines experience systemwide outages across several US airports | Fox News
Multiple airlines on Monday were experiencing systemwide outages causing anger among travelers.
Southwest, JetBlue and Delta confirmed the outages to Fox News and said they are working to remedy the issue as quickly as possible.
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT FORCED TO RETURN TO BOSTON AIRPORT AFTER STRIKING FLOCK OF GEESE
Early Monday morning, Southwest responded on Twitter to a beleaguered flier. ''It's affecting our flights system wide, and we're working to see if it's affecting any other carriers this morning as well. In the meantime, once more information has been made available our Agents at the airport will be happy to disseminate it to y'all.''
A few minutes later, Delta also addressed the problem with a customer: ''I completely apologize, we are currently experiencing a System-Wide Outage we are working diligently to get it back up and running. We do not have a specific time as yet.''
The FAA said in a statement the airlines were experiencing issues "with a flight planning weight and balance program called Aerodata. Mainline operations and regional operations are impacted to varying degrees."
The agency said United, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines were also affected.
Southwest Airlines later released a statement about the issue.
"As of 6:05am CDT, Southwest Airlines has lifted an internal ground stop implemented for about 40 minutes this morning during an outage with a vendor that services multiple carriers with data used in flight planning,'' the airline told Fox News. ''Scattered flight delays are anticipated and Customers should check Southwest.com for the latest updates on specific flights. We're working with Customers on any impacts to their travel plans and we appreciate their understanding as we place nothing higher than the safe operation of every flight.''
Southwest and Delta Airlines fliers tweeted about their displeasure with their delays.
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS
Last week, travelers across the country were experiencing widespread computer outages causing delays across multiple airlines. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue were among the carriers affected.
Fox News' Michael Bartiromo contributed to this report.
Flight management system crash causes airline delays across US | Ars Technica
Excess baggage '-- Service provider's software and data used for flight planning by multiple airlines. Sean Gallagher - Apr 1, 2019 4:34 pm UTC
Enlarge / Southwest was hardest hit by a software glitch that delayed flights nationwide.
A fault in software used by most US airlines caused a wave of flight delays this morning across the US, affecting hundreds of flights. "Several airlines are experiencing issues with a non-FAA flight planning weight and balance program called AeroData," a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "Mainline operations and regional operations are affected to varying degrees."
That software, provided as a service by AeroData Inc., is used to perform weight and balance calculations needed for flight planning'--which is particularly important for airlines operating regional and commuter flights. Today's software outage only lasted for about 40 minutes, but it had a rippling effect across the US.
Southwest Airlines was the most heavily affected by the outage as the airline had to delay 620 early flights. SkyWest, a commuter airline affiliated with United and Delta Airlines, had over 200 flights delayed. United Continental had about 150 regional flights delayed.
AeroData, based in Scottsdale Arizona, is a family-owned corporation with a very low profile on the Internet. According to the company's public website (which hasn't been updated since the company moved from Colorado to Arizona in 2008), AeroData won a 1990 contract with the FAA to "distribute its public domain data." In addition to the weight and balance system, the company also provides airlines with aircraft performance data, other aircraft management applications, and a "compute server system" to host these services.
A Web portal to access the company's software (based on Flash and Microsoft Studio 7.0) was last updated in 2009. The portal advises visitors, "We will be enhancing our Web site in the coming months using Microsoft Silverlight technology." Access to the portal is controlled by customer credentials and IP address.
Ars attempted to reach AeroData for comment, but we received no response. We will update this story if more information becomes available.
U.S. Airlines Report Delays Caused by System Fault - WSJ
Updated April 1, 2019 5:34 p.m. ETAirlines said a computer-system fault delayed departures across the U.S. early Monday, showing how even brief technical problems can quickly affect much of the nation's air-travel network.
The Federal Aviation Administration said several airlines experienced issues with widely used flight-planning software that prevented some flights from taking off for up to two hours. Delays hit most major U.S. carriers including Southwest Airlines Co. and SkyWest Inc., an operator of commuter flights for United Continental Holdings Inc.,...
Airlines said a computer-system fault delayed departures across the U.S. early Monday, showing how even brief technical problems can quickly affect much of the nation's air-travel network.
The Federal Aviation Administration said several airlines experienced issues with widely used flight-planning software that prevented some flights from taking off for up to two hours. Delays hit most major U.S. carriers including Southwest Airlines Co. and SkyWest Inc., an operator of commuter flights for United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and others.
Airlines said the computer system provided by AeroData Inc. helps dozens of carriers calculate aircraft weight and balance to determine fuel needs and takeoff and landing requirements.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based AeroData didn't respond to requests for comment.
Southwest suffered the most delays, with 25% of its flight schedule affected, according to tracking service FlightAware. Southwest has also been battling unrelated aircraft maintenance issues and the grounding of its fleet of Boeing Co. 737 MAX jets after two recent crashes of that aircraft at other airlines.
SkyWest had 14% of its flights delayed. American Airlines Group Inc. said its main operations were unaffected but that its commuter services suffered delays. JetBlue Airways Corp. and Alaska Air Group Inc. also experienced disruptions.
AeroData's weight-and-balance monitoring system has helped to automate some of the work flight planning, improving efficiency and on-time departure rates for many carriers. Southwest said it is the primary tool it uses to handle loading passenger and cargo information. American, Delta and United said their mainline operations used a different system.
Airlines use a variety of in-house and vendor services to calculate aircraft weights from passengers and cargo to determine takeoff and landing requirements. AeroData, one of the largest outside providers, supports more than 100 carriers from three data centers in Arizona and Colorado, according to marketing material. One customer said AeroData had added a number of backup systems in recent years.
U.S. airlines have suffered spates of technology hiccups before. Southwest in 2016 was forced to cancel over 2,300 flights over four days when a computer router failed. Delta, a month later, had to cancel more than 2,000 flights when a power surge and fire took down a computer system. United and American subsequently also suffered flight delays that disrupted operations.
And the airline reservation and passenger-handling system provided by Sabre Corp. to many airlines experienced five outages in 2017. Sabre experienced a brief disruption last week as well, disrupting online bookings and delaying check-ins at some carriers.
Similar problems have occurred overseas. British Airways two years ago also faced multiple days of disruption because a power surge took down an IT system.
U.S. airline delays affected 25% of flights nationwide in 2014 but have since fallen to 17% of the schedule last year, while the number of flights has grown overall, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Around a quarter of delays last year were attributed to airline-related problems.
On one American Airlines flight scheduled to depart for St. Louis from New York's LaGuardia Airport on Monday morning, passengers said after they boarded that their flight would be delayed due to a ''systemwide computer outage.''
About an hour later, the captain said staff were getting news reports that other airlines were delayed as well. ''We are not the only ones,'' he told the passengers. ''And it is coming back online but it may be another 15-20 minutes before we get our paperwork.''
'--Doug Cameron and Corinne Ramey contributed to this article.
Write to Robert Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org and Alison Sider at email@example.com
VIDEO - Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, report says - YouTube
During a fundraiser for the NRCC on Tuesday, President Trump unleased this truth bomb on Dems after correctly pointing out that they're ''petrified'' of a ''young bartender,'' Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and her Green New Deal:
Trump mocks the Green New Deal: "The GND, done by a young bartender, 29-years-old. A young bartender, wonderful young woman. '... You have Senators that are professionals'...white hair'...and they're standing behind her and they're shaking, they're petrified of her" pic.twitter.com/99BWDCrrWA
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) April 3, 2019
He also dared Dems to run on the GND in 2020:
"If they beat me with the Green New Deal, I deserve to lose," says @POTUS of progressive Democrats agenda. Says he hopes it isn't killed too soon, because he wants to run against it.
'-- Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 3, 2019
And we eagerly await Dems who will bash him for praising AOC:
OK, this is pretty clever of Trump. There's no good way for AOC or Dems to react to this. As always, I don't know how much conscious strategery went into this, but at minimum, damn good instincts for this kind of thing. https://t.co/r0v7s5LcXt
'-- Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) April 3, 2019
Right on cue. The ''young bartender'' line is being turned into a pejorative while leaving out that he basically called her the leader of the party:
Mimicking a @FoxNews talking point, Trump mocks @aoc as a ''young bartender.'' https://t.co/Znht9Q21nl pic.twitter.com/BtNgXpuEtW
'-- Jim Roberts (@nycjim) April 3, 2019
The president also offered up this warning on ''the power of socialism to get a vote'' and told the gathered Republicans that ''We have to explain how bad it really is'':
President Trump warns about socialism in the 2020 elections:
"Don't underestimate the power of socialism to get a vote. '... It's very seductive to people'... We have to work. We can never take it for granted. We have to explain how bad it really is." pic.twitter.com/WeO2wVJKEs
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) April 3, 2019
VIDEO - Democrats Have Almost Killed The Electoral College! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT! - YouTube
CNN host Christiane Amanpour suggested that the anti-Hillary Clinton ''lock her up'' chant was ''hate speech'' and that the federal government should have ''shut down'' Trump supporters who uttered it.
During her interview with former FBI director James Comey, Amanpour bizarrely asked if the FBI itself should have silenced Trump supporters over the viral chant.
''Lock her up was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign '' do you in retrospect wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order had shut down that language '' that it was dangerous, potentially it could have created violence, that it's kind of hate speech '' should that have been allowed?'' asked Amanpour.
CNN's Christiane Amanpour says that the chant ''Lock Her Up'' was hate speech during the 2016 election and suggests the government should have infringed on American's First Amendment rights and banned people from saying it pic.twitter.com/4Ec7UCfUk7
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) April 2, 2019
Even Comey, clearly no fan of Trump, said that it was not government's role to police free speech.
Apparently, Amanpour doesn't understand the basic principles of the First Amendment.
Even the Supreme Court has ruled that ''hate speech'' is part of the First Amendment, not that chanting ''lock her up'' comes anywhere near it.
This kind of ghoulish, authoritarian rhetoric wouldn't look out of place in an actual dictatorship.
But then again, Amanpour does work for CNN, where Trump Derangement Syndrome is a requirement for keeping her job.
It's no surprise that Amanpour rushed to Hillary's defense '' the two are friends and the CNN host has helped her with numerous softball interviews over the years.
Even after the prosecution mysteriously dropped all sixteen charges against Jussie Smollett, the actor still hasn't won approval in the court of public opinion. When even your Hollywood peers are mocking you, it's a sure sign your career is toast. On Monday's Tonight Show, Comedian Tracy Morgan (''30 Rock'') took aim at Smollett's ridiculous story, mocking each part of his tall tale.
Tonight show host Jimmy Fallon prompted his guest to share what new show he landed.
''Yeah, they gave me a role on Empire,'' Morgan began, before adding the zinger: ''Well contractually, they gave me millions of dollars. Contractually, all I've got to do is not fake a hate crime. [ Laughter ] [turns to camera] Jussie!''
As the audience reacted both with shock and laughter, Fallon joked, ''That's all you have to do?''
''That's all I have to do,'' Morgan assured him.
The late-show host then awkwardly asked, ''Yeah, you don't buy that story?'' which made Morgan loudly scoff as he tore apart each aspect of Smollett's ridiculous story:
''Nah man! Come on, first of all, racist people don't be jumping nobody in the polar vortex!'' he cracked, adding ''Racists don't be watching Empire man. It's too cold. We be racists in the Spring!''
As Fallon kept laughing, Morgan kept tearing into Smollett:
Because it was like ten seconds of footage. And then he disappeared for like two seconds. Then he reappears with the noose on his neck still holding the Subway sandwich. He didn't let that Subway sandwich go. I think it was pepperoni and cheese. I don't know.
Fallon laughed, agreeing that was the dead giveaway: ''Oh, yeah, that was the giveaway there. He's still holding his sandwich.''
The next morning on NBC's Today, Morgan again blasted the actor more soberly, saying what he did was ''wrong'' and questioning if Chicago Police would take these kind of inquiries seriously any more.
VIDEO - Students Offended By 'Colonial' Mascot: Abigail Marone On Fox News - YouTube
VIDEO - CodeLobe on Twitter: "Sounds like a fun clip for @adamcurry or @THErealDVORAK Trump keeps saying "Oranges" instead of "origins" of the investigation. Fun fact: Orange is the only common color name that when reduced via Pythagorean Gematria results
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About BP TV Commercial, 'Fowler, Indiana'BP welcomes you to Fowler, Indiana, which is said to be one of the windiest places in America and home to three BP wind farms. In the event the wind stops blowing in Fowler, BP assures that it's natural gas would be able to power the city. The power company also says its dedicated to create more renewable energy sources.
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VIDEO - Bruce Sterling. Lecture "The epic struggle of the internet of things" - YouTube
Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden Joseph (Joe) Robinette BidenSusan Rice defends Biden amid allegations of inappropriate behavior Biden's former press secretary defends his behavior toward women amid allegations Feinstein defends Biden: He is 'a warm, tactile person' MORE couldn't resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.
In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn't immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
''I said, 'You're not getting the billion.' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money,''' Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.
''Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,'' Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.
Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden's account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine's parliament obliged by ending Shokin's tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.
But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn't mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden's younger son, Hunter, as a board member.
U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden's American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts '-- usually more than $166,000 a month '-- from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.
The general prosecutor's official file for the Burisma probe '-- shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials '-- shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.
Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made ''specific plans'' for the investigation that ''included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.''
He added: ''I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine'' and that he couldn't describe the evidence further.
William Russo, a spokesman for Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden did not respond to email messages Monday seeking comment. The phone number at Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC in Washington was no longer in service on Monday.
The timing of Hunter Biden's and Archer's appointment to Burisma's board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.
Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor's probe of Burisma and his son's role. They noted that:
Hunter Biden's appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden's work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor's case against Burisma;Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;Biden's office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden's role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor's Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president's office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.President Obama named Biden the administration's point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine's Crimea territory.
According to Schweizer's book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma's legal team.
But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden's effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.
Most of the general prosecutor's investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.
NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor's office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.
As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham ClintonJoe Biden's 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived Press: In defense of Joe Biden Mueller handed Democrats their next line of attack against Trump MORE was running for president in 2016.
But then, as Biden's 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko '-- the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a ''solid'' replacement for Shokin '-- began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.
Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered ''members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.''
Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he'd like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr William Pelham BarrJoe Biden's 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived Dems ramp up subpoena threats Mueller handed Democrats their next line of attack against Trump MORE , particularly the vice president's intervention.
''Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor's office,'' Lutsenko said.
Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko's office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. ''We were able to start this case again,'' Kholodnytskyi said.
But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. ''We don't see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,'' he said, declining to be more specific.
Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.
But what makes Lutsenko's account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden's and Archer's company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama's point man on Ukraine.
Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden's and Archer's Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.
The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca''connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca''linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.
Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company's bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.
As for Joe Biden's intervention in getting Lutsenko's predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: ''Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.''
As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.
Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden's firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists' misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.
VIDEO - Newsweek does damage control for Ocasio-Cortez's constitutional ignorance
It must be nice, having national newsrooms to run full-time damage control pro bono.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said a stupid thing recently during a one-on-one interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes. That she said something ignorant is not news at all. What is newsworthy is that Newsweek felt the need to protect her where she is clearly in the wrong.
The congresswoman was asked last Friday what lessons she learned from studying former President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, for which her preposterous "Green New Deal" is named.
''I think there's a couple of lessons. One is that when we look into our history, when our party was boldest, time of the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Act, and so on. We had and carried supermajorities in the House, in the Senate. We carried the presidency,'' Ocasio-Cortez said, adding her colleagues today need to overcome ''fear within our own party'' about being ''too bold.''
This is where her response goes awry: ''They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected."
Close, but no cigar.
The 22nd Amendment was passed in 1947. FDR died in 1945. Though there was indeed talk of such an amendment during FDR's lifetime, the rule wasn't introduced and passed until after the GOP took both chambers in the 1946 elections, one year after he died. And even then, it was worded so as not to apply to the sitting president.
This was a simple error on the congresswoman's part. But Newsweek apparently thought her a damsel in need of rescuing.
''Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked on Twitter for constitutional mistake '' but was she actually right?'' read the original headline to the magazine's defense of the New York lawmaker.
The story adds, ''The dates appeared to leave the argument cut-and-dried '... [but] some eagle-eyed social media commenters pointed out that the original architects of the 22nd Amendment were inspired by Roosevelt's monopoly on the White House and began campaigning long before his death.''
It's a huge stretch, but let's just say this is what Ocasio-Cortez meant when she said the GOP ''had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected.'' Let's pretend for a moment the congresswoman was really referring to early efforts to limit presidential terms via a constitutional amendment and see where the Newsweek article goes:
FDR did die in office in '45 and the 22nd amendment did come in '47 but Congress did start the legislative process in 1944 prior to his death so that he would not be reelected,'' another Twitter user wrote in Ocasio-Cortez's defense. ''It was not ratified soon enough and he won in '44. AOC did not misspeak, friends.''
The National Constitution Center also had Ocasio-Cortez's back. On its website, the nonpartisan organization explained: ''Talk about a presidential term-limits amendment started in 1944, when Republican candidate Thomas Dewey said a potential 16-year term for Roosevelt was a threat to democracy. ''In March 1947, a Republican-controlled Congress approved a 22nd Amendment, with an exception that would exclude a president in office from term limits during the ratification process.''
Oh, come off it, Newsweek. You're embarrassing yourself.
The 22nd Amendment, which wasn't even finalized until 1951, specifically exempted presidents who were in office during the ratification process, meaning it wouldn't have applied to FDR even if it had passed years earlier. Yet, this is the ''well, actually'' defense Newsweek went with on behalf of Ocasio-Cortez, who favorably cited the article this week as she was justifiably mocked on social media for being both ignorant and arrogant enough to make claims about which she was ignorant.
Perhaps realizing its cleanup attempt was as obvious as it was ridiculous, Newsweek has amended the story headline to something a bit more subtle: ''Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked on Twitter for constitutional mistake '' but here's the full story.''
"The full story." Sure.
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Jared Kushner is an extraordinary constant. Reflect for a moment on the diversity of areas in which the President has deployed him, and how he has been consistently successful and has always prioritized the MAGA agenda. When one considers how he was involved directly in 1) Restoring and solidifying a working relationship with the Arab World in the face of the travel ban (and subsequent media poison) 2) USMCA 3) Criminal Justice reform 4) Gathering a consensus to a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal 5) China trade negotiation, and likely numerous other policy initiatives that have been respected by many, there is no reason to hate him other than the fact that he is Jewish or just because he is that good.
Why cannibalize the talent? He is humble, was a central planner in the election, never makes it about himself (compared to John Kelly telling us how he was influencing the President this way or that). And frankly, as delusional as Trump hatred is, there are many Democrats who cannot deal with Trump because they are so irrational, but they do deal and quite intimately with Jared.
Trump was once a Democrat. It took some Conservatives awhile to come around to the idea that he was authentic. Same with Jared. What is the common denominator? Pragmatic businessmen, and family bonds. We are extremely fortunate to have Jared Kushner bearing a security clearance. That is precisely why rumps enemies want to rid him of it. As Sundance likes to say, nothing the liberals do is by accident, all of it staged and planned. When there is someone they try to take down, typically it is because of the threat that person represents.
Jared Kushner is an extraordinary character. He lives ''Ethics of the Fathers'' and in his private life as well. While his dad was in prison, he visited him every week '-- in Alabama. His grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and there isn't a whiff of ''victimized Jew'' in him. He was, granted, a child of privilege, but boy has he made it and in a way that I can tell you none of his siblings have. There are many fathers like me who would love our sons to grow up to be him. We are incredibly fortunate for the Trump-Kushner connection. Our VSGPDJT needs all of the LOYAL, indomitable, and highly competent people he can get. Now that we are do many months removed from the rise and fall of seeming superstars like Mattis, Tillerson, Kelly, and others, I'm grateful for folks like Kushner, Pompeo, Mulvaney, Perry, Shanahan, and the guy running their hostage liberating program who are the genuine article.
I also trust Trump to better sense the character of the people around him and their capabilities. He is not going to throw Kushner into something to blow up his presidency, and seems to deply him on his most sensitive and delicate missions.
Everyone has a voice here, including the anti-Semites. I like to reflect that the leftists have far more of them. Like it or not, however, the reason Zionists are all in for MAGA is because Zionism is constructive nationalism and it's a common language, just like Bolsinaro gets it. Nationalism is wonderful and a necessary constructive spirit. Orthodox Jews love Trump because they love his Zionism and love a proud America in which they are free and prosper and are proud about themselves and free from the self-guilt that afflicts leftist Jews '-- yes, the same ones that the media works over to guilt (''privilege'') themselves into explaining away haters from Hamas to the PLO to the BDS crazies. When you live by the Torah, you know what you have to feel guilt for, and it ain't bullshayt guilt. That's why Kushner is as self-possessed as he is. He is not a Jew; he is a Torah Jew. I know many people like that, respect them for it, they are low key and unflappable, and you don't Obama guilt them into anything they haven't done. They know the difference between being kind and sensitive and being a foil for others manipulations.
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VIDEO - 2017 Jussie Smollett Music Video Featured A Fake Trump, A Noose And 'Alternative Facts'
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Clapper Sings '' Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Tells CNN Obama Ordered the Trump-Russia Spying Operation (VIDEO) by Jim Hoft March 31, 2019
On Monday former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went on with CNN's Anderson Cooper to discuss the Mueller Report after its release on Sunday.
After two years of investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of angry Democrats did not find any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller also did not find any evidence of conspiracy after President Trump fired crooked leaker FBI Director James Comey.
Clapper defended the Obama administration's spying on their political opposition during the election.
And then Clapper appeared to put blame on Barack Obama for spying on his opponent during the 2016 presidential election.Via Red Right Videos:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The 2017 assessment that the President says he now agrees with, that was done while you and then NCI Director John Brennan were still in office. So, how can we reconcile the President attacking you, but apparently after a very long time finally, allegedly saying '-- or saying he allegedly agrees with the product of the intelligence community that you, yourself oversaw?
JAMES CLAPPER: Yes, well, this is '-- yes, as we've come to know the President, he is not a stalwart for a consistency or coherence. So it's very hard to explain that. One point I'd like to make, Anderson, that I don't think has come up very much before, and I'm alluding now to the President's criticism of President Obama for all that he did or didn't do before he left office with respect to the Russian meddling. If it weren't for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably, special counsel Mueller's investigation.
President Obama is responsible for that, and it was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place. I think it's an important point when it comes to critiquing President Obama.
VIDEO - Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: ""We are at war with Russia. Or perhaps more correctly: we have lost a war with Russia. We are no longer a sovereign nation. We are no longer a democracy or a free people. We are the victims of a bloodless coup"- @Keith
Attorney Jynell Berkshire says her clients feel they were scammed by former "Fox & Friends" host Clayton Morris. Mykal McEldowney, IndyStar
Clayton Morris, the affable former co-host of TV's "Fox & Friends," portrays himself on his popular podcasts and YouTube videos as a real estate investment expert who is in the business of helping others achieve financial freedom.
His company, Morris Invest, has been involved in hundreds of property transactions in Indianapolis.
But in his wake is a trail of disgruntled investors, tenants living in deplorable conditions and dilapidated Indianapolis homes that could plague the city for years.
While Morris lives in a $1.45 million luxury home in New Jersey, some investors who thought they were buying turn-key rentals are saddled with boarded up hovels, empty lots, stacks of health and nuisance violations from the city and lost savings.
Morris is the target of at least five lawsuits filed by out-of-state investors who claim he defrauded them in transactions involving dozens of properties. The lawsuits are pending in Marion Superior Court and federal court in Indianapolis. Many others have complained to attorney general offices in Indiana and New Jersey and on consumer and real estate investment websites.
The mostly novice investors say Morris sold them rental properties with a promise to rehab and rent them. All they had to do was sit back and wait for their monthly rent checks.
But for many buyers, the purchases turned into nightmares. Some say their houses were never rehabbed or rented. Others say they received rental checks for several months only to learn later that the house was vacant or uninhabitable. Many discovered the problems after receiving violation notices from city code enforcement or the county health department.
Morris declined an interview for this story. But his attorney, David Hensel, provided an email statement to IndyStar blaming Morris's Indianapolis business partner, Oceanpointe, for the problems.
Clayton Morris and Bert Whalen: The men behind a wave of real estate investor complaints
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In court filings and responses to online complaints, Morris contends he merely referred investors to Oceanpointe and several related entities. Investors' anger and lawsuits are misplaced, Morris said.
''Clayton Morris and Morris Invest identify with the many investors who lost money through home-renovation, property-management, and other failures by Oceanpointe and its various corporate entities and employees," Hensel said in the emailed statement. "Clayton Morris and his family purchased properties and were similarly damaged by Oceanpointe's misconduct. The Morris family and Morris Invest have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Clayton and Morris Invest deny all allegations of wrongdoing. Because these matters are currently being litigated, Clayton and Morris Invest are unable to make any further statement and look forward to a swift and just resolution for all.''
Oceanpointe is operated by Bert Whalen, a longtime fixture in Indianapolis's real estate market who has worked since the mid-1990s as an agent, property manager and investor. Whalen had his real estate license revoked more than a year ago.
Whalen declined to comment for this story, but his attorney, John Tompkins, said Whalen did nothing wrong and met all requirements of his contracts.
Many buyers, however, say they believed they were buying the homes from Morris. His celebrity and online sales videos persuaded them to invest and his company directed them to the properties in Indianapolis. They say he never made it clear he was only a middle man. In at least one case, he even told an investor he owned Oceanpointe, according to an email made public in court records.
Their properties didn't resemble anything like the ones Morris touted in videos featuring extensively rehabbed houses with quality tenants and a strong return on investment, investors said in lawsuits and interviews with IndyStar.
Buy Photo California investor Danny Gomes discovered that the property he bought at 1509 Asbury Street in Indianapolis actually had burned four days before the sale closed. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)
One buyer paid $52,500 only to learn months later the house had been destroyed by fire a few days before he bought it. He had no idea until he got a demolition order from the city.
Other investors paid more than $60,000 for vacant lots where they say Morris promised to construct new homes, but left them with holes in the ground or lots covered with weeds and trash.
Another investor purchased what he was told was a newly renovated duplex, but learned later it was a run-down triplex where tenants were living without electricity or water.
The horrendous living conditions at another property caused the premature birth and death of a child, according to one lawsuit.
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Real estate experts said the impact on the city cannot be underestimated. Many of the homes will likely be abandoned, plaguing city officials and neighborhoods for years to come.
In all, an IndyStar investigation found that Morris has been involved in the sales of hundreds of homes to investors influenced by his celebrity and personable online sales pitches. By several accounts, those investors may have spent more than $30 million on nearly 1,000 homes and vacant lots in some of the city's most blighted neighborhoods.
The full scope of the problems may never have become known if not for an email last year that revealed '-- apparently by mistake '-- the email addresses of more than 200 investors, allowing many to share their experiences and concerns with each other for the first time.
'Fox & Friends' star powerMorris, 42, began buying and selling investment properties while co-hosting "Fox & Friends Weekend," a news and entertainment program where he built a reputation as a personable and sincere family man who wasn't afraid to laugh at himself. He was the show's designated "gadget guru" and didn't shy away from stunts like impersonating Johnny Cash with a rendition of "Ring of Fire," dancing in lederhosen, and bellowing "yabba dabba doo" while dressed like Barney Rubble from "The Flintstones."
He stepped down in September 2017 after 10 years on the show, telling viewers he was looking forward to sharing his real estate expertise with others.
"I'm going to spend time with family and focus on projects that I'm passionate about: helping people build wealth and passive income and helping empower people," Morris said.
A Fox News spokeswoman said Wednesday the cable news network had ''absolutely no knowledge'' of the fraud accusations against Morris.
Morris parlayed his large following on Fox into a popular online real estate investment presence. He gave advice and pitched his company's services on a blog, podcast and YouTube channel, where he has more than 100,000 subscribers.
In his online presentations, Morris highlights his role as a family man, including photographs and videos with his wife and business partner, Natali, and their three young children. One of his YouTube videos garnered more than a quarter million views.
He pitched a simple system: Schedule a consultation with his team, pick a property in one of the company's hot rental markets, and let his team do the rest.
''From my client's standpoint, they watched a video from a very reputable person. '... Come to Indianapolis, it's a great community, you have wonderful return on your investment and we're guaranteeing that,'' said Jynell Berkshire, a real estate attorney who is representing several investors in lawsuits against Morris. ''Why not drink the Kool-Aid?''
Buy Photo Indianapolis attorney Jynell Berkshire sifts through a pile of notes on her desk inside her home office on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The notes are from calls she's had with investors concerned about their dealings with Morris Invest and Oceanpointe regarding properties they purchased in Indianapolis. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)
Investors who say they were scammed told IndyStar they trusted Morris largely because of his public profile.
Jeff Leach, 54, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, purchased his first property through Morris while he was still a "Fox & Friends" co-host.
A self-described Fox News junkie, Leach said he felt like he knew Morris from watching him on TV every weekend. He remembers bragging to his son after speaking to Morris personally on the phone.
''I said, 'Hey, you see that guy on TV? I talked to him last night!''' said Leach, who is not part of any lawsuit.
Cole Peterson, 35, of Wyoming, is one of 14 investors who filed a federal lawsuit against Morris over allegations of fraud. He was considering purchasing a second property through Morris in 2018 but grew concerned after rent checks from his first property stopped unexpectedly.
That's when Morris surprised Peterson with a personal phone call.
''I was like, whoa!'' Peterson said. ''I was almost starstruck because I was like, oh my gosh, I've heard this voice so many times but never directed to me.''
Morris assured Peterson his questions about the missing rent payment would be addressed. It was enough, Peterson said, to persuade him to shell out $48,500 more for a second property. He would later discover it resembled a "crack house" more than the nicely renovated turnkey properties Morris featured in his videos.
The Morris sales pitchIn a video, Morris walks along a tree-lined street of neat homes touting how his company has helped hundreds of clients purchase ''affordable rental properties with incredibly high returns.''
The promotional video, posted in September 2016 on YouTube, offers potential investors a way to avoid three big obstacles to real estate investing.
"My company, Morris Invest, takes care of all three of those headaches '-- finding, renovating, managing '-- for you so you don't have to worry about a thing," Morris says. "All you need to do is collect your monthly rent checks."
He emphasizes the best rental properties may not be ''in your backyard'' but rather ''out of state, many, many miles away.'' He recommends markets in the Midwest, where low real estate prices can lead to bigger returns.
It was an attractive message to entry-level investors in places like California and the East Coast, where real estate prices are much higher. Morris even had a plan for how novice investors could finance their purchases: borrow from a retirement account.
"If you've been told you should under no circumstances touch your 401k, you've been lied to," Morris said in a July 11 blog post. "That's what makes my blood boil: innocent people being taken advantage of."
Once an investor contacted Morris Invest, they were provided with opportunities to purchase ''hot'' properties, but they had to act quickly, according to lawsuits and emails provided to IndyStar. Deals were cash-only.
''You're probably saying, where's the catch, right?'' Morris says in the 2016 video. ''Well honestly, there is no catch.''
Many investors disagree. Morris and his company didn't do the renovations. They didn't sign up tenants. And they didn't manage the properties.
In fact, Morris didn't even own the properties he was pitching to investors.
Morris partner has checkered pastThe properties Morris marketed in Indianapolis belonged to several limited liability companies tied to Whalen. The companies include Oceanpointe Investments and Indy Jax Properties.
Bert Whalen headed Oceanpointe, which partners with Clayton Morris and Morris Invest to sell hundreds of homes in Indianapolis. (Photo: Submitted)
Whalen appears to have partnered with Morris about five years ago. Morris needed homes to sell. Whalen had a lot. But it was an odd match. Morris' squeaky-clean, family-man persona stood in stark contrast to Whalen's checkered history.
It's unclear how Morris and Whalen connected. It's also unclear how much Morris knew about Whalen's background or what due diligence he did before directing investors to Whalen.
Whalen, 44, was hit with a $744,000 judgment in 2011 over the sale of three homes to an investor. The court ruled Whalen had committed fraud in the deal. The following year, Whalen filed for bankruptcy, allowing him to escape millions of dollars in debt.
He was soon buying up cheap houses and selling them through Morris. In many cases, he also managed the properties after the sales, taking 10 percent off the top of any rent.
Investors say they had no idea Morris didn't own the properties they bought, even though closing documents listed one of Whalen's entities as the seller. Many say they assumed those were Morris' companies.
In fact, when asked if he owned Oceanpointe, Morris said he did in a June 2017 email included in court documents.
"Yes sir we have many LLC's that we use to hold acquisitions before rehab," Morris wrote. "And that is just one of them we own."
Berkshire, an attorney for investors, said: ''Every single one of my clients believed 100 percent that they were dealing directly with Clayton Morris and that they were purchasing the properties from Clayton."
Morris continued to handle investor questions and pitch more properties for months after the sales, leaving them with the impression that he was fully responsible for the deals, investors told IndyStar.
That is, until the complaints began to pile up.
'The place was torched'For three months, Danny Gomes had no idea his $52,500 investment with Morris had gone up in flames.
Gomes, 38, of Redding, Calif., dipped into his retirement funds last year to buy a property near Keystone and Troy avenues. He had recently adopted a child and hoped the rental would be a good investment for his growing family's future.
He was wrong.
Four days after Morris signed a purchase agreement as the seller, the house was destroyed by fire.
Nobody told Gomes.
The sale closed four days later, and still Gomes was not made aware of the fire.
Gomes assumed his property was being rehabbed. When he emailed Morris Invest for an update, he received a reply from Linzi Del Conte, a Morris Invest transaction coordinator and Morris' sister-in-law.
''We have our project manager in the field monitoring all job sites as well as our foreman and contractors,'' she wrote. She projected that the work would be done within 90 days of the purchase and that ''during that process we let the team work their magic.''
She did not mention anything about a fire. But she did attach an inspection report, with photos that pre-dated the fire, and a scope of work for rehab that did not include fire restoration.
Three months after purchasing the property, Gomes finally learned about the fire '-- but not from Morris or his team.
Buy Photo 1509 Asbury Street in Indianapolis on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)
He received an order from the city to demolish the house. Confused, he called the city inspector.
''He sent me some pictures and sure enough, the place was torched,'' Gomes said in an interview. ''It was pretty darn shocking.''
A few days later, Gomes received another shock when he read an Indianapolis Fire Department report. The home had actually burned four days before the sale closed.
Now, Gomes said, Morris says he's not responsible. He didn't sell the property to Gomes. Even though Morris signed the purchase agreement, the seller was actually a company affiliated with Whalen.
Gomes said he never knew he was dealing with anyone but Morris. Now he is among the investors suing Morris.
He's not the only investor who claims homes bought through Morris were not rehabbed as expected.
Last SlideNext SlideLawsuit: A Ponzi schemeIn lawsuits and interviews with IndyStar, some investors say they received rent checks that they now suspect were part of a Ponzi scheme. Despite receiving monthly checks and copies of leases, they discovered their homes had been vacant for months.
First-time investor Brian Freeman purchased a house through Morris for $45,000 after watching about 20 of the celebrity's online investing videos. As in most cases, part of the sale was supposed to cover the cost of renovations '-- about $5,000 in Freeman's deal.
Initially, the California man thought things were going well with his long-distance investment. Then his insurance company canceled his policy and he started getting code violations from the city.
California investor Brian Freeman said an Indianapolis home he purchased through Morris Invest was not rehabbed as promised. (Photo: Submitted)
''That's when I first started talking to Clayton Morris directly, saying, 'Hey, what's going on here? I keep getting cited that this property is uninhabitable and there's all these problems.' And he assured me, 'Oh that's normal, that's just a money grab (by the city). We'll take care of it.'''
The breaking point came when his rent check was late. Oceanpointe told him the tenant was gone.
''That's when the city (inspector) made contact with me and told me that there was mold and rats and all these issues in this property that had been vacant for five months,'' Freeman recalled.
''And I said, 'What? I've been getting rent from Oceanpointe for the last five months! Are you serious? It's been vacant?' And he said, 'Absolutely. We've had to change the locks, put boards on it. No one's been there. And it's a health hazard and you gotta take care of this.'"
Freeman asked Morris for an explanation but got none. After he threatened to sue, Freeman said Morris agreed to buy back the house but also wanted Freeman to sign a separate nondisclosure agreement that would prohibit Freeman from casting Morris or his company in a negative light. Freeman provided IndyStar with a copy of the agreements, both signed by Morris.
That was 10 months ago, the agreements have since expired, and Freeman said Morris never followed through. Freeman has since sold the house for a loss.
While Freeman never sued, others have. They include Peterson, the starstruck Wyoming investor.
Peterson purchased two houses through Morris Invest for $94,000. He took Morris' advice and pulled $30,000 from his 401(k) to help finance the purchases. He also borrowed $40,000 from his mother, he said.
Around the time he bought his second house, Peterson said the rent checks for his first property suddenly stopped. That's when he hired a new property management company to check out his properties and take photographs.
Peterson was horrified.
''The first property was never rented to anyone,'' he said. ''It didn't even have a door on it. It had no front door! There was no carpet in the house. There were no signs of anyone living there at any time that I've had it.''
The discovery was particularly shocking because he had been provided with a signed lease for the property.
''So I basically have a copy of a fake lease with someone's fake signature on it and I was getting paid money with no renter,'' he said. ''I think it was like a Ponzi scheme where they were taking money for renovations and then feeding it through so that people would feel like it was all working and then they'd be convinced to buy another one.''
As for the second house: ''It made me sick when I got the pictures. Drywall is missing. I don't think there are toilets in it. It looks like it was just raided and everything and anything was taken. It just looks like a crack house.''
Peterson is one of 14 investors who claim in a federal lawsuit that Morris and his company were involved in a Ponzi scheme.
Some who struck deals with Morris didn't even end up with a home to show for their investments.
Empty lots instead of new homesIn two different lawsuits, investors claim they were sold vacant lots and a promise to build new rental homes on them. The cost: $68,500 each. But they never got their new homes.
In one of the lawsuits, Maryland investor Damien Robinson claims Morris sold him a lot on which a ''fully constructed'' home would be built. Property records show a company associated with Whalen bought the lot two months earlier from the county for $450.
The lawsuit claims Morris, his company, and Whalen's company presented themselves as a team. The case is still pending in Marion Superior Court, where Morris has filed motions to dismiss.
A year and a half later, Robinson's lot remains empty.
The only sign of work is a ditch outlining a foundation that was never poured and a pile of gravel. Instead of his new rental home, there are weeds, empty liquor bottles, beer cans, fast food wrappers, a used diaper and a faded yellow yard sign that says, "We buy houses. Cash! Fast close!"
Tenants in squalorIt wasn't just investors who say they suffered from what they believe are Morris' broken promises.
Some found they had unwittingly become slumlords.
Assuming Morris and his team had rehabbed the properties, they say they had no idea their tenants were living in squalid conditions.
That was the case with Mike Orbinpost, an investor living in South Korea. He purchased a home through Morris in December 2016 and paid $19,400 for rehab work that Morris' company told him would be complete in six to eight weeks. Oceanpointe would serve as the property manager.
Buy Photo Raniesia Gentillion feeds her family's fish inside her home on the east side of Indianapolis on Monday, March 18, 2019. The water heater the family had to purchase when renting a home, located at 1313 Eugene Street in Indianapolis, still sits on top aquarium. "My dog's water bowl, the cats, they were solid," said Gentillion. "We had to dish out another $80 to buy a heater for the fish tank." (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)
Raniesia Gentillion and her family began renting the house in June '-- more than two months after the rehab was supposed to be finished.
After moving in, they twice provided Oceanpointe with a list of maintenance problems. Many were never addressed, Gentillion said.
In October, as her frustration grew, Gentillion called the Marion County Health Department. An inspector found 23 violations, including a broken furnace, plumbing and water leaks, and crumbling ceilings.
Still, the problems persisted, Gentillion said. With no heat, the family sometimes stayed in a hotel. When they ran out of money, they slept in their van on the street with the engine running to stay warm, she said. Other times, they stayed on the floor or couch at a friend's house.
They called Oceanpointe 26 times, Gentillion said, but the problems remained unfixed. They tried to stay warm with electric space heaters, but the cold was irrepressible. A pipe connected to the toilet froze and burst, spewing sewage into the kitchen. Sometimes the dog's water froze solid.
Later that winter, Gentillion's teenage son was sleeping in his bed when the family heard a loud thump and a scream. The ceiling had collapsed.
Her family was homeless for three weeks leading up to renting a home from Oceanpointe. She had to file 26 complaints to get the furnace fixed. Mykal McEldowney, IndyStar
''We could hear my son mumbling for help underneath all the rubble because the ceiling fell on him at 5 o'clock in the morning,'' she said. ''We had to take everything off of him so he could move.''
The heat was finally restored in January, but the stress had a profound effect on her daughter, Gentillion said. The teenager had become pregnant in October.
In February, Gentillion's daughter gave premature birth to a baby girl.
''Exactly an hour after she was born, her little heartbeat stopped,'' Gentillion said.
In a legal claim, the family blames the death on the deplorable conditions they endured in the home. The case is still pending in Marion Superior Court.
Buy Photo The urn containing the ashes on Ja'Bria Stephens sits on a shelf in the living room of Raniesia Gentillion on Monday, March 18, 2019. Gentillion's daughter, Jahhneise Stephens, lost her baby due to premature birth because of what the family says was the failure of Oceanpointe, a property management company, to provide habitable living conditions in a home the family previously rented. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)
Emails show that Orbinpost knew nothing of the problems until a county health inspector told him his tenants had been without heat. Orbinpost emailed Morris to find out what was happening, noting he hadn't received any rent money from the property.
Morris tried to reassure him.
''Mike we've had a lot of 'no heat' calls for maintenance because it suddenly went from 80 degrees to 30 degrees and then back up again,'' Morris replied. ''A lot of tenants hadn't cycled their furnaces on so for a lot of them they simply need the pilot light relight (sic).''
When Orbinpost later obtained a full copy of the health department violations, which stretched over three pages, he asked Morris how a $19,400 renovation job could leave so many problems unaddressed.
''I could understand how some might argue that less than a handful of these MIGHT be issues caused by insufficient care by the tenant, but, it is obvious that this house still has serious structural issues,'' Orbinpost wrote, demanding to know how Morris would address the problems.
That's when Morris referred him to Whalen, who provided another excuse.
''Sorry Mike these people are fast to put this crap on us and slow to take it off,'' Whalen wrote.
Owner: 'I was embarrassed'Orbinpost wasn't the only investor surprised to learn about the poor conditions his tenants were living in.
Leach, the former Fox News junkie from Maryland, booked a flight to Indianapolis and contacted an independent property management company after growing concerned about the condition of the two properties he purchased through Morris.
What he found shocked him.
Both houses were in bad disrepair, lacking the kind of rehab work Morris touted in his videos. Moreover, what he had been told was a duplex turned out to be a triplex. He also learned after his new property manager obtained a copy of one tenant's lease that the rent differed from what he had been receiving.
''It was just a mess,'' he said.
But that wasn't the worst part.
The tenants in the triplex were living without any running water or electricity, he said. He had been under the impression that tenants were responsible for utility payments but learned that Oceanpointe was responsible.
''There were huge electric bills and water bills that I had to make good on,'' he said.
He felt horrible for the tenants. ''I was embarrassed and felt bad as the owner when I found out what I owned,'' he said. ''That was never my intent."
An errant emailMany investors, including Leach, had no idea how many people had problems with the properties they bought through Morris until last April.
That's when they got an email saying a new property management company was taking over for Oceanpointe.
The email gave no reason for the sudden management change, but behind the scenes, Whalen had recently had his real estate license permanently revoked. That meant under Indiana law he could not work as a property manager.
The Indiana Real Estate Commission found Whalen failed to disclose five criminal convictions on his renewal application, including drunk driving and operating a motor boat while intoxicated. The commission also found he failed to deposit a $650 rent payment he collected for a property management client.
Even though many investors were unaware of Whalen's situation, the email announcing a new property management company set off a furor because it was carbon copied to more than 200 investors with Morris.
For the first time, investors could share their horror stories with one another.
''This whole day has been us talking back and forth, sharing stories, comparing notes,'' Son Doan, an investor from Boston, wrote on the real estate blog BiggerPockets.com, the day the email went out. ''Lots of people excited/relieved to have found others in the same boat.''
In a follow-up post, Doan described how hard it was to understand and accept what they had experienced: ''Initially people were still saying things like it's probably not a Ponzi scheme, Clayton probably doesn't know anything about it, etc. etc. It took over 100 emails of us telling each other our investment stories for everyone to agree that we got screwed by (Morris Invest and Oceanpointe). Then we got emotional. Then we got to work.''
Soon complaints began to pour in.
There are now at least five pending lawsuits in Indiana, representing 19 buyers from 11 states. More than 50 investors have aired complaints on BiggerPockets.com and at least 14 have lodged grievances with the Better Business Bureau, which gives Morris Invest an ''F'' rating. Others have turned to attorneys general in Indiana and New Jersey.
A spokeswoman for Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill declined to comment, but the New Jersey attorney general's office confirmed eight open complaints. ''The general nature of the complaints include misrepresentation and deception,'' spokeswoman Lisa Coryell said.
Faced with an avalanche of complaints, Morris tried to quell investor concerns. When that failed, he tried to shift blame to Whalen.
Finger pointing beginsDays after the mass email to investors, Morris issued a lengthy statement on his blog. The announcement of a new property manager was a mistake.
He said the email appeared to be ''a premature announcement from an unsanctioned employee.''
''The poorly-worded grammar and the fact that it was not a blind copy seems to corroborate that story but we have only half the facts,'' he said. ''At Morris Invest, we are as perplexed by this as you are.''
Morris said his longstanding relationship with Oceanpointe would continue and even shared a statement from Whalen's company.
''Due to blogs and many other naysayers and competitors that have been all over us we have lost employees and clients,'' the statement said. ''We have since replaced those employees and have people back out on the streets which is what makes us different'...''
A week later, Morris made an abrupt about-face.
''Morris Invest has cut all ties with Oceanpointe,'' he announced in a May 8 blog post.
He said Morris Invest had filed a complaint with the Indiana attorney general and emphasized that he had trusted Oceanpointe as ''an ethical steward for property investment in Indianapolis.'' In addition to referring clients to Oceanpointe, he and his family had also purchased homes through the company, he said.
Over the next few months, Morris continued to heap blame on Oceanpointe and Whalen. In a series of responses to Better Business Bureau complaints, Morris' company denied selling the homes and any responsibility for their rehabilitation.
''When we represented this property to this investor, we believed the contractor would complete the rehab as promised,'' Morris Invest said in a March 2019 response. ''We had no idea this was fraudulent information.''
It's a defense Morris and his attorneys are also using in court.
''Clayton Morris and Morris Invest were marketers and finders, connecting interested buyers to interested sellers and property managers,'' his attorney argued in a Feb. 28 filing in a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Morris was not an owner or member of Oceanpointe or its affiliated companies. It was ''one of those entities was supposed to renovate the properties, but did not,'' Morris and his company argue in the court filing.
Morris stopped referring clients to Oceanpointe and Indianapolis in May 2018.
As Morris tried to distance himself from the sales, Whalen defended himself in a June email to more than 200 investors. He accused Morris of ''playing the victim which makes me sick.''
Whalen claimed he lost $2.5 million, while Morris earned $6,500 for each property sold, raking in $6 million.
''I'm still out here with MY phone on!! (sic) talking to hundreds of people selling everything I own to help anyone willing to work with me '... '' Whalen wrote. ''I didnt (sic) turn my phone off and hide behind my lawyers.''
When asked about his relationship with Morris, Whalen referred IndyStar to his lawyer.
Attorney John Tompkins said Whalen ''did not do anything wrong'' and met all requirements of his contracts.
'You can't have it both ways'The finger-pointing between Morris and Whalen will likely have to be sorted out in court.
But the investors say they never would have been lured into the scheme if Morris hadn't told them it was a good deal.
His company '-- and sometimes Morris personally '-- was the initial point of contact for investors. He signed many of the purchase agreements as the ''seller.'' And then there's the email where Morris claimed to own Oceanpointe.
Even months after the sales, emails show Morris remained heavily involved, fielding investor questions and providing updates about renovations. And, investors say, there's no reason he would offer to buy back a property if he wasn't the one who sold it.
''You can't have it both ways,'' said James Piatt, an attorney for 14 investors who are suing Morris. ''You can't tell everybody you're in control and then when the car goes off the rails say, 'No, no, no, this other person was driving.'''
Freeman, the investor who said Morris reneged on a buyback offer, said the former TV host's actions went beyond mere mistakes or negligence.
''He got in bed with a really bad organization,'' he said. ''He was receiving kickbacks from them to be the lipstick on the pig and sell their junk.''
Deals could haunt cityMany investors are still grappling with what to do with their broken down homes. Some have sold them for major losses. Others are trying to salvage their homes and investments, but it's proving difficult.
In the meantime, nuisance fines and property taxes continue to pile up. Eventually, many of the homes may end up right back where they started: at county tax sales.
Berkshire, one of the attorneys representing investors, said the hundreds of properties sold through Morris could haunt the city for years.
''You're going to have all these properties that are just going to get dumped back to the city and to the county,'' she said, ''because these investors, who already lost millions of dollars, are just going to walk away.''
Contact IndyStar reporter Tony Cook at 317-444-6081 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter: @IndyStarTony.
Contact Tim Evans at 317-444-6204 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @starwatchtim.
Read or Share this story: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2019/03/26/fox-and-friends-clayton-morris-investment-real-estate-scheme/3128857002/
VIDEO - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez falsely claims Republicans amended Constitution to kick FDR out of office | Fox News
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., might want to brush up on some history after asserting, incorrectly, that Republicans in Congress amended the Constitution to kick President Franklin Delano Roosevelt out of office.
"They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected," Ocasio-Cortez said Friday during a night hall event with MSNBC with Chris Hayes.
Ocasio-Cortez was referring to the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution which passed in 1947.
The text of the amendment states, ''No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.'' FDR died in 1945, meaning he was dead for a full two years before presidential term limits were implemented.
This is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has made factually dubious statements. For instance, in December of last year she claimed "Medicare for All" could be funded by $21 trillion in accounting errors by the Pentagon.
Click to read more from the Washington Examiner.
VIDEO - Biden Accuser Wants Him to 'Acknowledge' Wrongdoing Over Alleged Incident
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on March 31 denied ever acting inappropriately after allegations came out that he made a woman uncomfortable when he kissed her at a campaign event back in 2014. But the accuser responded the same day, saying she wanted Biden to ''change.''
''In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,'' Biden said in a statement. ''And not once'--never'--did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.''
Biden said he did not recall the 2014 incident.
Former Nevada state assemblywoman Lucy Flores responded to the new statement and said it was ''certainly better'' than the initial response from Biden's spokesman, Bill Russo, on CNN's ''State of the Union.''
Russo's initial statement said, in part, that ''Neither then, nor in the years since, did (Biden) or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes.''
Flores said she was glad Biden was willing to listen, but noted that she wants him to acknowledge more of what happened.
''If he is saying that he never believed that that was inappropriate, then frankly I think that's a little bit of a disconnect,'' she said. ''I want him to change his behavior, and I want him to acknowledge that it was wrong,'' she continued.
In an op-ed posted on The Cut on March 29, Flores detailed how she felt Biden get closer to her from behind at a campaign rally. Biden was there to offer his support in her bid for lieutenant governor in Nevada.
''He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, ''I didn't wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it'... He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn't process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.''
Rev. Al Sharpton and former Vice President Joe Biden arrive during the National Action Network Breakfast on January 21, 2019 in Washington. (Al Drago/Getty Images)''I couldn't move and I couldn't say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience,'' she wrote.
In describing the incident, she told CNN that the Biden's actions were ''completely inappropriate'' and not normal in a ''professional setting.'' She said she believes his alleged behavior was ''disqualifying'' for Biden's likely run for 2020. Biden has not yet made any formal announcement but has indicated that he has been considering whether to run or not.
Weeks ago, Biden had a slip of the tongue and almost announced running for president as he gave a speech to a dinner gathering of Democrats in Delaware.
Biden failed to develop a strong base of political support in his two previous presidential runs, dropping out of the race both times. If he were to be elected, he would be 78 years old when taking office, which would make him the oldest president-elect in U.S. history. He grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and has spent more than four decades in Washington, mostly as a U.S. senator representing Delaware.
Flores also argued in her response that is not the first time that Biden has interacted with woman inappropriately.
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Washington on March 12, 2019. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)''I just can't imagine that there was never a situation where someone said to him, 'Mr. Vice President, you probably should stop doing that. You should probably stop touching women in that way. You should probably keep your hands to yourself,''' she told CNN.
Despite not having announced a presidential run, Biden is the clear frontrunner in all major polls tracking possible 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, including Morning Consult, Monmouth, Harvard-Harris, and Emerson. According to a RealClearPolitics average, Biden leads at 29 percent, as self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) trails far behind at 22 percent.
VIDEO - CNN's Stelter, Glasser: Fox News Partly to Blame for Media's Credibility Slide
Following a week where the liberal media suffered an arguably crippling blow to their credibility by the Special Counsel investigation finding no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, CNN offered little reflection on their role in pushing and generating fake news and conspiracy theories. And during their program dedicated to the worshiping the media, so-called Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter once again obsessed about what Fox News was doing and how the network was called out his colleagues.
Shortly after Stelter brought on CNN global affairs analyst and New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser complain even more about Fox News's reporting on the media's collusion conspiracy snafu. Or as they called it: the ''anti-journalism'' message.
Of course, Stelter had to bring up Trump's personal relationships with Fox News prime time hosts, acting as though it was completely unprecedented. ''But the existence of Fox as a repeater of his narrative, over and over again, I think those clip I was playing in the intro underscore how powerful it is for him, that he has the megaphone,'' he decried.
There was no mention of how the Obama administration worked with and hired from friendly media outlets, or the CNN folks caught parting it up with accused shakedown artist Michael Avenatti, or the recent case of an NBC editor intimidating a reporter on behalf of the Democratic National Committee.
''He fills in as a Fox News PR person. He really does,'' Stelter added. But that was false. There was no evidence the President had ever or ''really does'' fill-in for any PR person that works for Fox News. So much for ''facts first''.
Stelter's real concern about Fox News? How their reporting about the liberal media's massive two-year screw-up was hurting the media's credibility. ''Do you think with these anti-media, anti-journalism messages coming out of Fox's prime time line up every day to 3 to 5 million people, is it doing damage to the press's credibility,'' he asked Glasser.
''No question,'' Glasser blurted out before admitting that slide predated the President. ''Conflating investigative journalists with idiot resistance tweeters is a time-honored tactic of the President's media allies. It's cynical. It's ridiculous but effective for them,'' Stelter proclaimed, offering no clarification on who those idiots were.
It's no surprise these liberal media talking heads refused to take responsibility for their politically motivated and overzealous reporting. Just looking back at the last week, we can see why the media's credibility was in the toilet. Throughout the week, CNN's own prime time hosts continuously pushed the debunked conspiracy that the President was a Russian agent.
Those conspiracy theories also flourished on the broadcast networks were ABC seemed to suggest Attorney General William Barr was lying in his summary letter of the investigation's findings. And shortly before Stelter's show, NBC's Meet the Press moderator, Chuck Todd claimed Trump was only ''technically exonerated of a crime.''
So, clearly, Fox News was to blame.
Shortly after pivoting to whining about Fox News, to begin with, Stelter made hay out of an innocent chyron error where Fox News that morning had an on-screen headline read: ''Trump cuts U.S. aid to three Mexican countries'', instead of Central American countries.
''The network apologized several hours later, said the banner never should have appeared. Obviously, that's the case. But I don't know what is going on over there,'' Stelter literally huffed (pictured above).
BRIAN STELTER: And if the President was watching Fox & Friends this morning he saw this banner. It says, ''Trump cuts U.S. Aid to three Mexican countries''. The reference, of course, to Central American countries. [Exaggerated exhale] The network apologized several hours later, said the banner never should have appeared. Obviously, that's the case. But I don't know what is going on over there.
11:23:18 a.m. Eastern
STELTER: But the existence of Fox as a repeater of his narrative, over and over again, I think those clip I was playing in the intro underscore how powerful it is for him, that he has the megaphone.
SUSAN GLASSER: Well, that's right. You know, my colleague, Jane Mayer, has obviously done incredible reporting helping to understand this feedback-loop between Trump and Fox in an almost seamless way it operates. If you listen to the President's Grand Rapids rally the other night, to me, it's always amazing when he starts to call out -- he attacks the fake news media, as you know, quote, unquote repeatedly, he did so in a direct way the other day. Blamed them for the greatest political hoax in American history. But at the same time, he also calls out the Fox hosts as if he was actually a part of the Fox line up. And I'm always amused by that. He's on a first-name basis with them. And he goes down and he says, ''well, of course there's Sean and Tucker'' and he goes on and on about the Fox line up in a way as if he was a paid promoter of the network in his public appearances.
STELTER: He fills in as a Fox News PR person. He really does. He credited the network's ratings which have been quite high since the Barr letter came out. We can put the Washington Post headline on screen about TV ratings being one barometer for Trump's success. Do you think with these anti-media, anti-journalism messages coming out of Fox's prime time line up every day to 3 to 5 million people, is it doing damage to the press's credibility?
GLASSER: No question. If you just -- it's very graphic. If you look at the numbers over the press's institutional credibility it has gone down dramatically. By the way, this is a trend that predates Donald Trump. As with many of the ongoing political disruptions in our national life, Trump is an amplifier and accelerator of those trends rather than an originator of them. I think that's true for the attacks on the media as well.
And, by the way, Trump just likes to find things that work for him. He said something revealing the other day along those lines. He said, you know, they like it when you attack the press. And so, you know, is he doing it because it works for him politically? Or because it's something he believes. Who knows? But, you know, we do know that Donald Trump is somebody who likes and needs an enemy and from the beginning of his administration, that's been a tactic.
So, there was nobody, right, who was surprised that his response to the Mueller findings as reported by Barr this week that he was going to attack the media. There was nobody. What unfortunately means, they're conflating, you know, lots of terrific reporting out there by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other news outlets with every statement and characterization and speculation surrounding the investigation, as well. And that is very bad news, I think, for the media.
STELTER: Right. Conflating investigative journalists with idiot resistance tweeters is a time-honored tactic of the President's media allies. It's cynical. It's ridiculous but effective for them.
VIDEO - Lucy Flores Discusses Her Allegations Against Joe Biden : NPR