TOPSHOT - U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, fly past the Washington Monument during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images The ''Resistance'' warned us that if we elected an authoritarian such as Donald Trump, eventually there would be tanks in the streets of our nation's capital. Well, on Thursday, their predictions finally came true.
I'm kidding, of course, but some on the left are not. Harvard Law professor Laurence H. Tribe tweeted a photo of tanks arriving in Washington for Trump's ''Salute to America'' and declared ''The resemblance to days before Tiananmen Square is chilling.'' At Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, the Chinese regime broke up pro-democracy protests with tanks and troops in a military action that resulted in a still-uncertain number of deaths that is believed to range between several hundred and several thousand. Totally comparable situation.
Of all the stupid freak-outs we have experienced since Trump was elected, the hyperventilation over his Fourth of July address and celebration on the Mall may be the stupidest.
His critics called his decision to insert himself into the Independence Day celebrations virtually unprecedented. Sorry, but Trump is not the first U.S. president to give a major speech on the Fourth of July. Harry S. Truman once delivered an Independence Day address in front of the Washington monument. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all gave Fourth of July addresses from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. And, in 1986, Ronald Reagan delivered a Fourth of July address from the deck of an aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy, strategically placed in front of the Statue of Liberty.
Trump's address took this tradition to new heights on Thursday. Democrats complained before the speech that Trump was politicizing the Fourth of July. He did nothing of the sort. In a speech reminiscent of his outstanding remarks last month at Normandy, Trump delivered a soaring presidential address '-- a celebration of the greatness of our country. ''As we gather this evening, in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,'' Trump said. ''Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told '-- the story of America.''
He went on tell that story '-- from our struggle for independence, the fight to abolish slavery and secure women's suffrage and civil rights. He called out the many great Americans who ''defined our national character'' from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Jackie Robinson. He celebrated our inventors and explorers '-- from Lewis and Clark to Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart and the Apollo 11 astronauts. And he vowed ''we will plant the American flag on Mars'' because ''for Americans, nothing is impossible.''
He also called out modern-day heroes in the audience '-- such as Emil Freireich, a doctor who revolutionized the treatment of childhood leukemia, and Clarence Henderson, who helped lead the sit-in at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. in 1960. And Trump celebrated each individual branch of the U.S. armed forces, telling stories of their heroism interspersed with dramatic flyovers by each service's aircraft. It was a stunning combined display of presidential eloquence and American military might.
Millions of ordinary Americans who tuned in to watch must have been wondering what the fuss was all about. Democrats promised they would witness a partisan address. But instead, they saw the president deliver a deeply unifying speech that celebrated America's accomplishments, and the courage of our men and women in uniform. With each passing minute, the president looked larger while his critics looked increasingly petty and small.
Eugene Robinson: Trump tried to make Independence Day all about him. He ended up looking small.
Post Opinions Staff: Block parties, the census and women's soccer: Nine things to celebrate this July 4
The Post's View: George Washington's story is worth revisiting this Fourth of July
Theresa Pierno: Trump is funding his Fourth of July stunt at the expense of our national parks
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Colin Kaepernick on Twitter: "''What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine'...There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of thes
NEW YORK '-- Nike's sales have only grown since it seized attention with its ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. So, the shoemaker deferred to its star endorser when he raised concerns over a sneaker featuring an early American flag.
Nike pulled the Air Max 1 USA shoe, which included a Revolutionary-era U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle on the heel. Kaepernick reached out to Nike after learning they planned to release the sneaker to explain that the flag recalls an era when black people were enslaved and that it has been appropriated by white nationalist groups, a person familiar with the conversation told The Associated Press.
The person requested not to be named because the conversation was intended to be private.
Nike decided to recall the shoe after it had been already sent to retailers to go on sale this week for the July Fourth holiday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The decision caused an instant backlash among conservatives who accused Nike of denigrating U.S. history, with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeting that he is asking the state's Commerce Authority to withdraw financial incentives promised to Nike to build a plant in the state.
Others expressed surprise that the symbol known as the ''Betsy Ross'' flag, so named after the beloved Philadelphia woman credited with designing it, could be considered offensive. Although some extremist groups appear to have appropriated the flag, it is not widely viewed as a symbol of hate, and is used in museums that focus on 18th century U.S. history.
The Anti-Defamation League does not include it in its database of hate symbols. Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow for the ADL's Center on Extremism, said extremist groups have occasionally used it, but the flag is most commonly used by people for patriotic purposes.
''We view it as essentially an innocuous historical flag,'' Pitcavage said. ''It's not a thing in the white supremacist movement.''
Nike said in statement that ''it pulled the shoe based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday.'' The company pushed back against criticism that the decision was being ''anti-American.''
''Nike is a company proud of its American heritage and our continuing engagement supporting thousands of American athletes including the U.S. Olympic team and U.S. Soccer teams,'' Nike said.
Nike is showing consistency by listening to Kaepernick, the star of the brand's ''Just Do It'' campaign last year that ultimately proved a win for the company, said Chris Allieri, founder of New York public relations firm Mulberry & Astor.
''Listening to somebody that has helped the brand in so many countless ways, it makes sense. It would be completely hypocritical for them not to listen to him,'' Allieri said.
Kaepernick was the first NFL athlete to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Some people called for boycotts after Nike featured him in a campaign last year that included a print ad featuring a close-up of his face and the words, ''Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.''
The boycott calls fizzled.
Nike's annual sales have jumped 7% to more than $39 billion, according to the company's last quarterly report. Its stock is up 12% since the start of the year. And Nike CEO Mark Parker has said the Kaepernick campaign inspired ''record engagement with the brand,'' an important goal for a company trying to strengthen its direct-to-consumer business.
Because the Betsy Ross flag is not widely considered a racist image, it's difficult to judge whether Nike should have designed the shoe in the first place.
''Can a brand be expected to know everything possible that could be offensive? That's probably tough, but that's why you have to have inclusive teams,'' Allieri said.
While some took to Twitter to thank Nike and Kaepernick for yanking the sneaker, several Republican politicians were quick to condemn the company.
''If we are in a political environment where the American flag has become controversial to Americans, I think we have a problem,'' said Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Ducey ordered Arizona to withdraw a grant of up to $1 million that was slated for Nike, said Susan Marie, executive vice president of the Arizona Commerce Authority, which administers the grant. But the governor has no authority over more than $2 million in tax breaks over five years that were approved Monday by the City Council in the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear, where Nike committed to opening a $185 million factory that would employ more than 500 people.
Nike is unlikely to suffer financially over the flag flap, said Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst at NPD Group Inc.
''I'm sure there are plenty of states out there that would love to have a Nike factory that would employ 500 people,'' Powell said. ''Today's consumers really want brands to be vocal on social issues, especially the younger consumers. This very much aligns with the social position of their core consumers.''
Indeed, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham responded to Ducey's tweet with her own: ''Hey @Nike, Let's talk.''
The abandoned shoe sparked a discussion on social media and beyond about the Betsy Ross flag itself.
In 2016, a Michigan chapter of the NAACP said the flag has been ''appropriated by the so-called 'Patriot Movement' and other militia groups who are responding to America's increasing diversity with opposition and racial supremacy.'' The statement came in response to a high school football event where the NAACP said some white students used the flag while attempting to intimidate players from a predominantly black school.
The Anti-Defamation League says ''Patriot movement'' describes groups that include militias and others who have adopted anti-government conspiracy theories. The ADL says there is some overlap between the ''Patriot'' movement and the white supremacist movement, but that overlap has shrunk over time.
Lisa Moulder, director of the Betsy Ross House in Philadephia, said she has never heard of the flag being used as a hate symbol.
''Personally, I've always seen it as a representation of early America,'' Moulder said. ''The young nation was not perfect, and it is still not perfect.''
Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, Jonathan Cooper in Phoenix, and Summer Ballentine in Jefferson City, Missouri contributed to this story.
Conservatives in the culture wars have claimed their fair share of well-meaning brands, including Gillette Razor's #MeToo-inspired commercial and the backlash against the backlash against Nike's Air Max 1 July 4th sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross flag. Now, even humble Oreo cookies are the subject of a new right-wing boycott '-- for taking the controversial position of celebrating inclusiveness.
Nabisco's Oreo created a line of pronoun-themed packaging to coincide with the New York City Pride parade, in collaboration with the National Center for Transgender Equality. The Pronoun Packs come in corresponding colors and pronouns of the transgender pride flag: pink with she/her, white with they/them, and blue with he/him. The oreos are also printed with the pronouns; Nabisco also created an Oreo-themed button that says ''Ask me my pronouns.''
The Pronoun Packs were not available for purchase in stores, but they were distributed free of charge at NYC Pride. Oreo also confirmed that they are making a donation to the NCTE. '''ªWe're proud to celebrate inclusivity for all gender identities and expressions,'' wrote Oreos on social media. Of the collaboration, Mara Keisling, the executive director of the NCTE, told Newsweek that ''We are so proud to partner with Oreo on this campaign and grateful for their support for our work.''
Still, no good deed goes unpunished, and conservatives on social media were swift to condemn the move. Commenters on Oreo's Facebook and Twitter pages pledged to boycott the product, citing a ''political agenda'' they did not agree with.
It goes without saying that most, if not all of the criticism is transphobic in nature. Many mocked the inclusive move with jokes of the ''I identify as xyz , can I get my own cookie?''
facebookAnd this is why I'm glad that my diet doesn't allow your cookies. You've lost a customer. Get woke, go broke.
'-- ð'®ð'ð''ð''ð' ð'ð'ð'ð''ð'ð''ð'ð'ð' (@CThanewulf) July 1, 2019
Nabisco thinks it's smart to cater to 4% of the population while disgusting many more.
'-- Michael Reith (@MichaelSReith1) July 2, 2019
Is it possible to just make good cookies instead of stupid political statements??
'-- Lee Cummings (@lee_cummings) July 3, 2019
Luckily, the Pronoun Pack Oreos were applauded by many more social media fans, including actress Patricia Arquette. It just goes to show that love wins against hate every single time. Beautiful! Hooray!!
'-- Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) July 1, 2019
Almost all iCloud services down for some users - 9to5Mac
Apple is experiencing issues with most of its iCloud services today. Users are having trouble signing into iCloud and accessing their accounts, along with Photos, Mail, Backup, Find My Friends, Contacts, Calendars, and more seeing downtime. Apple Stores are also reportedly affected by the outage and not currently able to process transactions.
Update: Almost all of Apple's iCloud and other services that saw downtime are back up and running with the exception of Calendars, Contacts, and Reminders still affected by the outage.
Many users have shared the issues with iCloud today on Twitter. Apple's system status page is noting the downtime across almost all of its iCloud services, including problems signing in and accessing accounts as ''ongoing.''
Almost every iCloud service is currently labeled with the issue ''Users may be experiencing a problem with this service.''
Because of how widespread the issues are across Apple's services, many applications will be affected, including developer tools and third-party apps.
One user who was trying to get her iPhone fixed at an Apple Store was told that the outage is nationwide.
@AppleSupport when is iCloud going to be working again? My phone is broken and @Apple store says they can't help me today because it's a national outage to transfer my data and they have never seen this before.
'-- Shannon Benovitz (@SBenovitz) July 4, 2019
Other users are confirming that the outage is preventing Apple Stores from being able to complete transactions, and could even be a worldwide issue.
Apple Pay is also affected for some users with the downtime not allowing to them make purchases or edit their Apple Pay cards.
With Find My Friends and Find My Phone suffering from the outage, some users won't be able to locate friends and family, play a sound on their device, wipe, or put it in Lost Mode.
Here's a look at all the iCloud services seeing downtime at the time of writing.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
UK ISP group names Mozilla 'Internet Villain' for supporting 'DNS-over-HTTPS' | ZDNet
(Image: Mozilla) The trade association for internet service providers in the UK has nominated Mozilla for this year's award of "Internet Villain" because of the browser maker's plans to support the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol in its Firefox browser.
In a statement published this week, the Internet Services Providers Association (ISPAUK) claimed that Mozilla plans to support DNS-over-HTTPS "in such a way as to bypass UK filtering obligations and parental controls, undermining internet safety standards in the UK."
The trade association's comments come after two months of constant criticism aimed at both Mozilla and Google, from both the UK government and various advocacy groups, and all are centered around the new DoH protocol.
What is DoH and why do ISPs hate it?The DNS-over-HTTPS protocol (IETF RFC8484) works by sending DNS requests via an encrypted HTTPS connection, rather than using a classic plaintext UDP request, as classic DNS works.
The other difference is that besides being encrypted, the DoH protocol also works at the app level, rather than the OS level.
All DNS-over-HTTPS connections take place between an app (like a browser or mobile app) and a secure DoH-compatible DNS server (resolver).
All DoH traffic is basically just HTTPS. DoH domain name queries are encrypted and then hidden in regular web traffic sent to the DoH DNS resolver, which then replies with a domain name's IP address, also in encrypted HTTPS.
As a side-effect of this design, this also means that each app controls the privacy of its DNS queries, and can hardwire a list of DNS-over-HTTPS servers (resolvers) in its settings, and not depend on the operating system's default (and most likely DoH-not-compatible) DNS servers.
This protocol design means that a user's DNS requests are invisible to third-party observers, such as ISPs; and all DoH DNS queries and responses hidden inside a cloud of encrypted connections, indistinguishable from the other HTTPS traffic.
In theory, the protocol is a dream from privacy advocates, but a nightmare for ISPs and makers of network security appliances.
UK fears DoH will cripple its national web blocking schemeIn the UK, ISPs are legally forced to block certain types of websites, such as those hosting copyright-infringing or trademarked content. Some ISPs also block other sites at their discretion, such as those that show extremist content, adult images, and child pornography. These latter blocks are voluntary and are not the same across the UK, but most ISPs usually tend to block child abuse content.
By planning to support DNS-over-HTTPS, Mozilla is throwing a monkey wrench in many ISPs' ability to sniff on customers' traffic and filter traffic for government-mandated "bad sites."
While some UK-based ISPs, such as British Telecom, have shown public support for the DoH protocol, the vast majority have not.
The jab from the ISPAUK trade association follows a two-month period during which both Google and Mozilla have been criticized in the UK for their plans to support DNS-over-HTTPS in their respective browsers, Chrome and Firefox.
In mid-May, Baroness Thornton, MP for the Labour Party, brought up the DoH protocol and its impending support from browser makers in a session of the House of Commons, calling it a threat to the UK's online safety.
Similarly, the GCHQ, Britain's intelligence service, has also criticized both Google and Mozilla, claiming the new protocol would impede police investigations and that it could undermine its existing government protections against malicious websites.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a British watchdog group with a declared mission to minimize the availability of online child sexual abuse content, also criticized both Google and Mozilla, claiming the browser makers were ruining years of work in protecting the British public from abusive content by providing a new method for accessing illegal content.
The Tor conundrumBasically, Google and Mozilla's support for DoH effectively narrows down to the same moral dilemma that surrounds the Tor Project and the Tor network.
Browser makers must now decide if it's worth supporting a tool that brings privacy improvements to millions, at the expense of a few that may have to suffer.
Currently, DoH is not supported in the stable versions of Chrome and Firefox. Google is still testing DoH support in Chrome, while Mozilla has completed a successful DoH test in Firefox, and officially said it plans to support the feature in the stable branch, but did not give out a timeline.
Mozilla is nominated for ISPAUK's "Internet Villain" prize together with US President Donald Trump (for causing a huge amount of uncertainty across the complex, global telecommunications supply chain in the course of trying to protect national security) and the EU's Article 13 Copyright Directive (for threatening freedom of expression online by requiring 'content recognition technologies' across platforms).
Asked for comment on its nomination, Mozilla sent back the following reply.
"We're surprised and disappointed that an industry association for ISPs decided to misrepresent an improvement to decades old internet infrastructure," a Mozilla spokesperson told ZDNet. "Despite claims to the contrary, a more private DNS would not prevent the use of content filtering or parental controls in the UK.
"DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) would offer real security benefits to UK citizens. Our goal is to build a more secure internet, and we continue to have a serious, constructive conversation with credible stakeholders in the UK about how to do that," the organization said.
"We have no current plans to enable DoH by default in the UK. However, we are currently exploring potential DoH partners in Europe to bring this important security feature to other Europeans more broadly."
On the other hand, for "Internet Hero," ISPAUK has nominated Sir Tim Berners-Lee (for spearheading the 'Contract for the Web' campaign to rebuild trust and protect the open and free nature of the Internet in the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web), Andrew Ferguson OBE, Editor, Thinkbroadband (for providing independent analysis and valuable data on the UK broadband market since the year 2000), and Oscar Tapp-Scotting & Paul Blaker, Global Internet Governance Team, DCMS (for leading the UK Government's efforts to ensure a balanced and proportionate agenda at the International Telecommunications Union Conference).
Article updated on July 5 at 3pm ET with Mozilla statement.
More browser coverage: Germany to publish standard on modern secure browsersMicrosoft Edge gets 'Tracking Prevention' featureGoogle Chrome to block heavy ads that use too many system resourcesBrave defies Google's moves to cripple ad-blocking with new 69x faster Rust engineFirefox to get a random password generator, like ChromeFirefox finally fixes the problems with antivirus apps crashing HTTPS websitesHow to use the Tor browser on an Android device TechRepublicBrave's privacy-first browser ads arrive with promised payout for you CNET
You Can Opt Out Using Facial Recognition to Board a Flight
Image: PexelsA few months ago during a layover in Atlanta, I came across an unusual sight: facial recognition being used in the boarding process.
The technology, which is currently in beta testing for international Delta flights leaving the airport, replaces a gate agent physically checking your passport before you board. When it comes time for you to get on the plane you'll stand on a circle, look at the camera, and then wait for a green light indicating that the tech has determined that you are who you say you are and are supposed to be on the flight. A gate agent will give you a thumbs up, and you'll take a receipt from the machine and board your plane.
Photo: E.PriceThat means in this case, your face is your boarding pass. You don't need to pull out a ticket or your passport again to get on board, just look at the camera.
Beyond the actual boarding process, the scanners also come into play when you check in as well as with TSA at security, provided you're traveling on one of the beta-tested flights. The Points Guy gave the service a try during one of its first runs late last year.
Ultimately, the idea is that facial recognition might replace that interaction with the TSA agent altogether.
While the tech might things faster, it also involves allowing a government agency to scan your face, something you may or may not be ok with. And if you're not ok with it, it's important to know you have options.
The sign advertising the tech beside the gate I saw noted that the use of the technology is optional and suggests seeing a gate agent if you have questions or concerns about the process. It turns out, the information about it being voluntary might not be as obvious to others.
This week Wired posted a story from a reporter that opted out of the service in Detroit. In her case, she found out about the feature at the gate rather than at check-in since she started her journey at another airport. While the sign was front and center for me, it wasn't in her case.
That makes this a simple case of knowing your rights and knowing you have options. Pay attention when you check in for an international flight to make sure your flight isn't one using biometric scanning (you'll be asked to opt-in at check-in), and if you do see it happening at your gate and you're not interested, tell a gate agent you'd rather do things the old fashioned way.
How Amazon and the Cops Set Up an Elaborate Sting Operation That Accomplished Nothing - VICE
Image: On the left, an image of the 7P Solutions GPS tracker from the Aurora Police Department, obtained by Motherboard. On the right, Amazon boxes from Flickr.
For Amazon, fear is good for business.
If customers fear their neighbors, and fear they might steal a package, customers are less likely to be mad at Amazon if they don't get a package they ordered. They're also more likely to buy an Amazon-owned Ring doorbell camera, which is marketed as way of surveilling your stoop for package deliveries and package thieves'--especially on Neighbors, the Ring-owned ''neighborhood watch'' app.
New documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information request show how Amazon, Ring, a GPS tracking company, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service collaborated on a package sting operation with the Aurora, Colorado Police Department in December. The operation involved equipping fake Amazon packages with GPS trackers, and surveilling doorsteps with Ring doorbell cameras in an effort to catch someone stealing a package on tape.
The documents show the design and implementation of a highly elaborate public relations stunt, which was designed both to endear Amazon and Ring with local law enforcement, and to make local residents fear the place they live. The parties were disappointed when the operation didn't result in any arrests.
The Aurora Police Department received 25 Amazon boxes, Amazon-branded tape, and Amazon lithium ion stickers as a part of the operation. It also received 15 Ring doorbell cameras and 15 GL300W GPS trackers from 7P Solutions. ''Operation Grinch Grab,'' as it was called internally, involved seven Aurora zip codes. These companies spent days with the Aurora Police Department preparing them for the operation, and discussing local news coverage and rewriting press releases.
''As of now, we have not yielded any arrests,'' Aurora Police Department captain Matthew Wells-Longshore wrote in an email on December 19. ''I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad about that! Ha. Maybe happy that no one in the areas we are in are victims of package theft but sad that we won't be able to showcase an arrest.''
Wells-Longshore added that ''there probably won't be any footage of an actual arrest.'' Morgan Culbertson, Public Relations Coordinator for Neighbors, the free ''neighborhood watch'' app developed by Ring, responded to Wells-Longshore a few minutes later.
''Unfortunate that none were apprehended this time around but I am sure your community will appreciate that Aurora PD is being so proactive on their behalf,'' Culbertson said.
Motherboard previously published documents describing a similar operation in Hayward, California. The police departments of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Jersey City, New Jersey have also conducted comparable package theft sting operations.
An employee of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the federal law enforcement branch of the USPS, was copied on several emails related to the operation, and a USPIS logo was included on an Aurora Police Department press release. Eric Manuel, the USPIS employee copied on the emails, said that the USPIS provided support to the operation.
''USPIS contributed to the sting operation on December 19, 2018 by providing Postal Inspectors in unmarked law enforcement vehicles to assist with surveillance of the dummy packages placed in neighborhoods in southeast Aurora,'' Manuel told Motherboard. ''Postal Inspectors were prepared to provide investigative assistance to APD in the event a package theft suspect was identified and was in possession of stolen U.S. mail.''
Image: A watermark from a press release about the package theft sting operation from the Aurora Police Department shared with Motherboard.
Emails also shed light on a closely-coordinated public relations campaign involving Amazon, Ring, 7P Solutions, and the Aurora Police Department. Representatives from all parties coordinated the timing and content of Facebook posts and press releases.
''We want to do a big P.R. push on this too,'' Captain Redfearn wrote to representatives from Amazon, Ring, and 7P Solutions, ''so I will give our [public information officer] office Morgan's email to network about press/coverage.''
An email from Ring/Neighbors public relations coordinator Culbertson on December 17 asks the police department to make several changes to the Aurora Police Department's planned press release, including removing the Amazon logo and changing the operation name. The Aurora Police Department complied with all of the requests.
Image: An email from Gibson of Amazon's Loss Logistics and Prevention unit to members of the Aurora Police Department.
The emails and documents also reveal details about the delivery of the Amazon-branded packages, tape, and stickers, the operation ''training'' session organized by 7P Solutions, and public relations-related requests from Amazon during the operation.
Emails reveal that Amazon requested Aurora Police Department members to come to their office to pick up Amazon-branded packages, tape, and stickers, but Amazon representatives ultimately came to the Aurora Police Department offices directly.
An email exchange shows that the Aurora Police Department was considering using doorbell footage from private citizens that purchased Ring doorbells for their homes. As reported by the Intercept, Ring gives local police departments the ability to obtain a neighborhood portal for cops which displays a neighborhood map. The map can display footage from doorbell cameras, if the owners of the doorbell cameras give the police department permission.
''Quick question.. for the Ring doorbells if we have someone's home we want to use and they already have a Ring doorbell can we use the existing one or do we still need to install one of the new Rings you are sending?'' Aurora Police Night Duty Captain Redfearn asked five Amazon representatives in an email on December 14, five days before the operation.
''Yours to do what you will sir,'' Gibson from Amazon's Logistics Loss Prevention team replied.
When reached by Motherboard for comment, officer Wells-Longshore said that the Aurora Police Department does not have access to a Ring law enforcement neighborhood portal, but they asked residents for Ring doorbell footage access, and offered to give some residents free Ring cameras.
''Local resident volunteers were given the option to receive a donated Ring device or use their existing system in the hopes that helpful footage captured would be shared with our department,'' Wells-Longshore said.
''The short term goal is an arrest but the long term is educating the community about package thefts and taking a proactive approach to reducing crimes thereby improving overall safety,'' he continued. ''As we work to reduce crime, apprehending criminals is part of the process but making arrests is not our primary goal. By inviting media to publicize the operation, we hope to deter what would be package thief's and further educate the public on these types of crimes.''
Image: Emails from December 14, 2018 obtained by Motherboard. Emails redacted by Motherboard.
Emails and Google Calendar invitations indicate that representatives from Amazon and 7P Solutions also trained Aurora Police Department members prior to the launch of the operation.
The Google Calendar invitation'--which was titled ''Aurora CO Training / Amazon'''--was organized by Matt Clark from 7P Solutions, and it was sent to three representatives from the Aurora Police Department. It took place on Tuesday December 18, one day before the sting operation.
Image: Google Calendar invitation obtained by Motherboard. Emails redacted by Motherboard.
When reached for comment, a 7P Solutions representative said, ''Any comments would be through Amazon.''
''We appreciate the effort by local law enforcement to tackle package theft in their communities, and we remain committed to assisting them in their efforts however we can,'' an Amazon spokesperson said in an email.
''As we continue on our mission to make neighborhoods safer, we support law enforcement's efforts to educate the community and prevent instances of crimes like package theft,'' a Ring spokesperson said in an email.
As reported by Motherboard earlier this year, the free Ring-associated ''neighborhood watch'' app Neighbors has a deeply-rooted problem with racial profiling. Posts on neighbors have resulted in at least one and most likely several arrests. Earlier this month, a Ring Facebook ad showed footage of a woman suspected of a crime and asked users to identify her.
Amazon has also been fostering a relationship with law enforcement through the promotion of Rekognition, a real-time facial recognition software that's relatively inexpensive. San Francisco, California and Somerville, Massachusetts have both banned facial recognition from their cities, citing concerns about the safety and accuracy of the software.
These package theft sting operations show that Amazon and Ring are also engaging in intimate working relationships with specific police departments, and organizing the set-up of individual operations.
All of the documents obtained by Motherboard for this story are public and viewable on DocumentCloud.
Joss Whedon: 'Fascist' Trump Planning to 'Take 2020 Election by Armed Force'
Marvel movie director Joss Whedon celebrated July 4th with a warning that President Donald Trump is planning to steal the 2020 presidential election ''by armed force'' with the backing of ''illegal militias.''In a tweet sarcastically celebrating Independence Day, Joss Whedon also claimed that Trump's ''fascist'' administration was backed by ''illegal militias'' in a scenario more closely resembling a military dictatorship.
''We have a racist, fascist president who's using armed thugs in law enforcement & illegal militias to keep us cowed & hopeless & he'll take the 2020 election by armed force & blatant, treasonous criminality & that's us now, we're the country with concentration camps so happy 4th,'' he said, without providing any evidence for his claims.
We have a racist, fascist president who's using armed thugs in law enforcement & illegal militias to keep us cowed & hopeless & he'll take the 2020 election by armed force & blatant, treasonous criminality & that's us now, we're the country with concentration camps so happy 4th
'-- Joss Whedon (@joss) July 4, 2019
Whedon's remarks came hours after the White House hosted a ''Salute to America'' as part of Washington's July 4th celebrations, featuring military flyovers, musical performances, as well as a speech by the president himself.
The 55-year-old director, whose major works include the Toy Story and Avengers franchises, is one of Hollywood's most brazen anti-Trump activists, regularly tweeting out bizarre, unfounded, and hate-filled claims. Last April he publicly fantasized about Trump's death.
''Donald Trump is killing this country. Some of it quickly, some slowly, but he spoils and destroys everything he touches,'' Whedon wrote at the time. ''He emboldens monsters, wielding guns, governmental power, or just smug doublespeak. Or Russia. My hate and sadness are exhausting. Die, Don. Just quietly die.''
Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernie Sanders wrote an essay saying that women fantasize about rape
WASHINGTON '-- Just as Sen. Bernie Sanders' progressive presidential challenge to Hillary Clinton is gaining steam, an old essay of his has surfaced in which he says women fantasize ''being raped by 3 men simultaneously.''
''A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused,'' Sanders, 73, wrote in 1972 for an alternative newspaper called the Vermont Freeman.
''A woman enjoys intercourse with her man '-- as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.''
In another part of the article he wrote:
''Do you know why the newspapers with articles like 'Girl, 12, raped by 14 men' sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?''
Sanders was 30 at the time and was running for both the US Senate and governor of Vermont on the leftist Liberty Union Party line.
Sanders' campaign is now trying to distance him from the article, calling it a ''dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication intended to attack gender stereotypes in the 1970s'' that in ''no way reflects his views or record on women.''
''It looks as stupid today as it was then,'' said spokesman Michael Briggs.
Briggs characterized the resurfacing of the essay '-- which was first reported by Mother Jones magazine '-- as an attempt to distract from the real issues.
Sanders is determined to run a campaign about big problems and not ''salacious gossip and innuendo,'' Briggs said.
Sanders has a record in the US Senate of backing bills to protect women, including sponsoring a no-tolerance policy for sexual violence in prisons and the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
But the perception of the essay could create trouble for him as he seeks to defeat Clinton, who coined the phrase ''Women's rights are human rights.''
A new Quinnipiac poll found Clinton leading the 2016 Democratic primary with 57 percent, but Sanders is second at 15 percent.
Donald Trump Facebook election ads use models and stock video of Japan - Business Insider
President Donald Trump's 2020 election campaign published Facebook ads last week using stock footage.The videos appear to show Trump supporters such as "Tracey from Florida," but they include small disclaimers saying: "Actual testimonial. Actor portrayal."The footage actually came from as far afield as Tokyo, Turkey, and the Mediterranean '-- and there is evidence that efforts were made to disguise this fact.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A pair of Facebook advertisements for President Donald Trump's 2020 election campaign used models to depict real supporters and stock footage of a Japanese storefront to show a US business.
The ads were published on Facebook last week by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee. They began with excerpts of Trump speaking, and then a voiceover testimonial played over footage of models smiling.
In one, a female voiceover said: "President Trump is doing a great job '-- I could not ask for a better president of the United States of America." The voice was heard alongside images of a blond woman walking along a beach with the caption "Tracey from Florida."
Read more: The Trump reelection campaign's monster fundraising numbers should scare Democrats
In the second video, a male voiceover said: "President Trump and his family and the administration are in our prayers for strength and wisdom from God almighty. God bless." The video was of "Thomas from Washington," a bearded hipster-type leaning on the counter of a coffee shop.
However, as spotted last week by the journalist Judd Legum, the videos are stock footage. Tracey from Florida is actually walking next to the Mediterranean Sea, according to the stock video's description. The Associated Press reports that the footage of Thomas was shot in Izmir, Turkey.
Furthermore, the apparent exterior of the Washington coffee house, which the ad made look like Thomas' place of work, is actually a storefront located in Tokyo, according to stock footage on Getty Images' iStock.
The video even suggests that the campaign team tried to disguise the fact the store is in Japan. In the image below, the left-hand side shows an image from the Trump ad, and the right shows the original video on iStock.
A Trump ad, left, and the original stock footage. Facebook/Donald Trump/iStock/Business Insider
Legum found the ads in a YouTube video, which also included an older Hispanic man designated "AJ from Texas," a Democratic voter turned Trump supporter. The video of AJ did not appear in the Facebook Ad Library when searched by Business Insider.
The videos did feature small disclaimers that briefly flashed up saying: "Actual testimonial. Actor portrayal." The ads appeared on Facebook next to captions featuring a familiar Trump theme. "Despite the constant stream of lies from the FAKE NEWS media, my popularity is higher than ever," they said.
Both ads encouraged users to take part in a survey. They started running in late June but are now inactive, according to Facebook's Ad Library.
Facebook/Donald Trump/Business Insider
The distribution of the ads was most heavily concentrated in Texas, Florida, and California, according to Facebook. Facebook Ad Library stats show that overall Trump spent $392,000 on Facebook ads from last Monday to this past Sunday, the period when the ads ran.
This map shows the distribution of one of the "Tracey from Florida" ads, with 13% in Texas, 8% in Florida, and 6% in California. Facebook Ad Library
Business Insider asked Facebook whether the ads raised any concerns but did not immediately hear back. Trump officials declined to comment when contacted by NBC News.
More: Trump 2020 Facebook Ads Donald Trump Facebook
Combatting the Racial Homeownership Gap | Kamala Harris For The People
Kamala Harris knows economic justice and racial justice go hand in hand. A sign of economic justice in our country is the distribution of wealth, which is the measure of a person's or family's financial net worth. Wealth makes it easier for people to move between jobs and places, handle an emergency financial situation, and retire with dignity. But on our current trajectory, by 2053, the bottom 50% of Black households' liabilities will equal or exceed assets. Overall Black households will continue to have just a fraction of the wealth held by white households.
One major cause for this is historic redlining '' the Home Owners' Loan Corporation's practice of identifying neighborhoods, often majority Black neighborhoods, where traditional lenders should not lend. Redlining has resulted in households of color receiving just 2% of the FHA loans extended between 1934-1962, and formerly redlined neighborhoods are sites of deep racial disparities in home value and lending activity.
The second main cause was the G.I. Bill, which is credited with providing millions of low-income returning veterans with access to wealth-building opportunities that helped to create the American middle class. Veterans of color, however, were largely excluded because, under the G.I. Bill, private lenders were free to refuse mortgages and loans to Black borrowers.
Black and minority families were also disproportionately impacted by the subprime mortgage crisis and the subsequent Great Recession. Throughout the subprime market, Black borrowers were subjected to higher cost and higher risk loans than white borrowers, even when both had similar levels of creditworthiness. During the years of recovery, 2009-2011, the wealth gap between white households and households of color widened in part due to housing-market weakness.
Today, nearly three-quarters of white households (73%) are homeowners, while under half of Black households (45%) and Latinx households (47%) are homeowners. This percentage of Black homeowners has remained basically unchanged since 1968.
If we eliminate racial disparities in homeownership rates, median Black wealth would grow $32,113 per household, and the wealth gap between Black and white households would shrink 31%. Median Latinx wealth would grow $29,213 per household, and the wealth gap between white households would shrink 28%.
HERE'S HOW WE'LL DO IT: We'll invest $100 billion to provide down-payment and closing-cost assistance to four million homebuyers who rent or live in historically red-lined communities.
Our plan will create a 100-billion-dollar U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-administered grant to provide up to $25,000 in down payment assistance and closing costs. According to research from the Urban Institute, in early 2018, first-time homebuyers bought houses worth $245,320 with an average down payment of $22,561, and an interest rate of 4.43%.This $100 billion investment will provide at least 4 million families/individuals living in federally-supported or renting housing in these historically red-lined communities with down payment and closing cost assistance.In order to qualify for the program:The grantee must be purchasing a principal residence.The grantee must have lived for at least the preceding 10 years in a historically red-lined community that remains low-to-moderate income.Grantee families cannot have an annual income of over $100,000 or $125,000 in high-cost areas.Grantee individuals cannot make over $50,000 or $75,000 in high-cost areas.The max grant is capped at either $25,000 or 20% of the loan value plus closing costs.The maximum home price to qualify for the grant is $300,000 for consideration of high-cost areas.Consistent with our more inclusive credit-calculation proposals below, an individual or family would need to demonstrate an ability to pay the mortgage with the lender.We'll amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require the credit scores reported by credit reporting agencies to include payments of rent, phone bills, and utilities.
Credit scores are often calculated by taking into account payment history on items such as credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and mortgage payments. However, not all consumers have accumulated these assets.Today in America, 26 million people are ''credit invisible'' and 19 million people have ''unscorable'' credit files, including those who are deemed to have insufficient information or a ''thin credit file.''Many ''credit invisible'' consumers pay rent, utilities, and cell phone bills, in full and on time, but this responsible payment history is not positively reflected in their credit score.Expanding the calculation of credit scores to include payments made on rent, phone bills, and other utilities will increase access to credit for those with a limited or ''invisible'' credit history or poor credit scores.We'll require lenders to calculate debt to income on a monthly basis and expand the sources of income for purposes of the calculation.
Lenders currently calculate debt to income as total debt against one year of income. The resulting ratio tends to disproportionately negatively impact Black and LatinxWe'll require mortgage underwriters, when using Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, to calculate a borrower's debt-to-income ratio by using monthly expenses against monthly income.Mortgage underwriters will also be required to include in their income calculations non-W2 income like earnings from non-traditional work, and Black and Latinx workers are more likely to participate in the gig economy.This change to a debt-to-income ratio using monthly expenses against monthly income will impact 7.5 million Black households and nearly 5 million Latinx households.We'll strengthen anti-discrimination lending laws and implement stricter enforcement.
We'll update the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) to require that each loan receive a unique loan identifier to track the loan. These loan identifiers are intended to protect against redlining and ''steering'''-- a process where listing agents steer consumers into risky and high-cost loans.The HMDA currently requires any bank or credit union that makes more than 25 loans a year to report detailed loan characteristics such as interest rates, points and fees, loan terms as well as borrower characteristics like credit score, age, gender and ethnicity.We'll expand HUD's fair housing program to make public housing more inclusive by banning discrimination based on gender identity, marital status, source of income, and sexual identity.We'll direct HUD, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to conduct audits and fair housing tests to prevent discrimination at the point of sale.We'll make sure that the U.S. Department of Justice has the resources it needs to implement Stricter enforcement of housing anti-discrimination laws.And we'll prohibit regulatory relief for large banks and lenders that have had a history of wrongfully guiding borrowers into predatory loans.And to ensure these new homebuyers have the necessary financial literacy to stay in their homes, we'll increase funding for the Housing Education and Counseling (HEC) program.
The HEC program is aimed at providing financial literacy for first-time These additional dollars will be used to expand the program to include all low- and middle-income homeowners seeking educational resources.According to one study, participants in the housing education program were one-third less likely to become 90 or more days delinquent during the two years after they obtained their home loans.
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Opinion | It's Nancy Pelosi's Parade - The New York Times
''If the left doesn't think I'm left enough, so be it,'' she told me.
July 6, 2019 Image Illustration by Jimmy Turrell, photographs by Nolwen Cifuentes; Doug Mills and Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times; Tom Brenner and Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times; and ImageSource/Digitalvision, via Getty ImagesSAN FRANCISCO '-- Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump have a lot in common.
Neither one drinks, yet they have family vineyards. They both love big bowls of ice cream. Their last names are '-- depending on the shade of the state '-- curse words. Pelosi was once dubbed ''Mussolini in a skirt,'' while she has compared the Donald to Il Duce, clocking their shared need to be at the center of all conversations.
And the most powerful woman and most powerful man in the country are both devilishly good at trolling '-- usually one another.
''If he could be president, this glass of water could be president!'' Madam Speaker exclaimed disgustedly, as we ate omelets in a restaurant by the bay after she mingled with adoring constituents in last Sunday's glittery, feathery Pride parade. Many in the crowd were still grateful to Pelosi, now 79, that in her first moments on the floor of the House in 1987, as the plague decimating gay men raged, she defied the advice of Democratic elders and sang out that she had come to Washington to fight AIDS.
She regarded the little box of chocolates I brought her with delight and said, ''Now we're talking,'' popping one in her mouth as I asked about something less sweet.
Image Nancy Pelosi at San Francisco's Pride Parade last week. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times Some House liberals have been furious with the speaker since she capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates and agreed to pass a bill to send more funding to the border, giving up demands for stronger protections for the migrant children ensnared in the nightmare of shelters there.
''The Mighty Moderates,'' as The Times christened them, wanted to show that they weren't going to be pushed around by the liberals, who have so far gotten all the attention.
I asked Pelosi whether, after being the subject of so many you-go-girl memes for literally clapping back at Trump, it was jarring to get a bad headline like the one in HuffPost that day '-- ''What The Hell Is Nancy Pelosi Doing?'' The article described the outrage of the Squad, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are known.
Pelosi feels that the four made themselves irrelevant to the process by voting against ''our bill,'' as she put it, which she felt was the strongest one she could get. ''All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,'' she said. ''But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got.''
She has withstood attacks from left '-- and right '-- before, after all. Some top Democrats who called me before the 2018 midterms, urging me to write a column saying that it was time for Pelosi to go, admit now that they were wrong and that they love the way she put together a winning coalition and has gotten into Trump's head.
While Democrats have been wringing their hands over whether a woman can beat Trump, or whether they should settle for getting one on the ticket as a helpmeet to a white male, Pelosi has offered a master class, with flair and fire, on how a woman can spar with Trump.
She pinned the blame for the border bill on Mitch McConnell. In an era when millennials prize authenticity, she said, McConnell is ''authentically terrible.'' She has had a working relationship with him for years but now, she says, the Senate majority leader has ''really crossed a threshold with me.'' The trim speaker, wearing white pants and a purple cardigan to match her purple Manolo heels, stabbed her fork into one of my home fries.
Image For the parade, the speaker matched her purple jacket with purple Manolo heels. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times ''With all due respect, the press likes to make a story that is more about Democrats divided than the fact that Mitch McConnell doesn't care about the children,'' she said, referring to what she called ''trash'' stories about a supposed rift between her and Chuck Schumer. She also accused the press of ''constantly enabling'' Trump by allowing him to suck up all the oxygen and says journalists are ''accomplices to their own denigration.''
''You would think that within a couple of days, 48 hours or so, of seeing that little child with her father, there would have been some challenge of conscience,'' she said of Republicans. ''But understand this: They don't care.''
The fracas over the border bill illustrates the treacherous nature of Pelosi's job. Even with all her remarkable skill, it is a herculean task to weave together her anarchic progressives and the moderates who helped flip the House by winning in districts where Trump won in 2016.
On top of that, many Democrats see Pelosi as the thin blue line '-- albeit in fiery orange and hot pink hues '-- standing between them and a lawless Trump.
While the president was squandering millions to prove his manliness by rolling out tanks and jets on the Fourth, Pelosi was holed up at her vineyard getaway in Napa with her family, eating Mexican food, rereading the Mueller report and preparing to unman the president with a thousand legal and legislative cuts.
While the number of House Democrats who want an impeachment inquiry is growing '-- it's up to 80 now '-- Pelosi knows that giving in to that primal pleasure could backfire.
Is the Fifth Avenue trust fund baby who loves to play victim actually goading the Democrats into impeaching him?
''Oh, he'd rather not be impeached,'' she said. ''But he sees a silver lining. And he wants to then say, 'The Democrats impeached me but the Senate' '-- he won't say Republicans '-- 'exonerated me.' The thing is that, he every day practically self-impeaches by obstructing justice and ignoring the subpoenas.''
Pelosi announced in a letter to her members on Wednesday that the House will hold the Trump administration in contempt on the census donnybrook.
Image Pelosi making a point with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office, at a meeting last December. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times I asked about the Politico report that she privately told Jerry Nadler and other Democrats about the president: ''I don't want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.''
She said, ''I didn't exactly say that,'' and noted: ''You can't impeach everybody. People wanted Reagan impeached but that didn't happen. O.K., they impeached Clinton for something so ridiculous '-- getting impeached for doing a dumb thing as a guy. Then they wanted to impeach Obama.'' And now comes Trump, who she says, ''has given real cause for impeachment.''
I ask her if the president ever pressured her on the issue.
''He may have one time said something like, 'I'm glad you're not doing this impeachment because there's nothing there,''' she said. ''But that means nothing to me.''
The speaker, who is trying to keep the party center left, must know that getting Trump out of office is a goal that could be jeopardized by the fact that the Democrats lurched so far left in the first debates, with bilingual pandering and talk about busing and decriminalizing illegal border crossings and abolishing private health insurance.
This is the pol whose name was synonymous for decades with extreme San Francisco liberalism. (A ''Saturday Night Live'' sketch in 2006 depicted Pelosi, played by Kristen Wiig, talking to a pair of chain-and-leather-clad aides, one with a ball-gag in his mouth.) Now, astonishingly, the woman formerly scorned as a pinko is the voice of moderation, urging the kids to turn down the music and slow their roll or risk having a second unbearable helping of Trump.
''If the left doesn't think I'm left enough, so be it,'' she said, breezily. ''As I say to these people, come to my basement. I have these signs about single-payer from 30 years ago. I understand what they're saying. But we have a responsibility to get something done, which is different from advocacy. We have to have a solution, not just a Twitter fight.''
What does she think about the latest sexual assault accusation from E. Jean Carroll, the New York writer, who said Trump attacked her in a Bergdorf's dressing room in the '90s?
''I respect the case she has but I don't see any role for Congress,'' Pelosi said. Still, she marveled: ''How's he president? 'Access Hollywood,' porn stars, all the rest? So what else is new about him?''
I ask her if dealing with the Neanderthals who were still roaming the Capitol's marble halls when she first got to Congress taught her how to handle a cave man like Trump.
She said that the president is always ''courteous'' with her in private, but also conceded: ''I've never encountered, thought about, seen within the realm of my experiences as a child or an adult, anybody like this.''
Does she ever confront sexism anymore on the job?
For an answer, she picks up a mini-gavel emblazoned with a pride rainbow that she'd been carrying during the parade, and pounds it on the table, looking mischievous.
Image The Speaker, with her grandchildren and a rainbow mini-gavel, during the Pride Parade in San Francisco. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times Pelosi is womanly '-- often surrounded by her children and grandchildren '-- and yet she seems blithely unencumbered by insecurity about her gender.
This is in marked contrast to Hillary Clinton, the only other woman who rose to these heights in American politics. She was certainly tough enough, brainy enough and experienced enough to take on Trump. But she was always getting wrapped around the gender axel, ignoring Tina Fey's advice to take a bad-ass ''bitch is the new black'' approach.
Unlike Pelosi, who passionately fought the misbegotten Iraq war, Hillary enabled W.'s folly, afraid if she voted against it she would seem like a hippie chick. At the behest of Mark Penn, who said they don't call it the ''father of the country'' for nothing, Hillary ran emulating a man in 2008. Then she did a 180 and self-consciously ran as a woman in 2016, with a Katy Perry soundtrack and Lena Dunham guest spots, trying to lure back young women from Bernie Sanders.
Pelosi also seems impossibly untroubled by those years of being hated and mocked and underestimated by so many. A.O.C. has now replaced Pelosi as top villainess on Fox prime time and the more moderate Pelosi's poll numbers have risen. Beyond the veneer of San Francisco sophistication, she is always deftly channeling her father, Tommy D'Alesandro, the onetime boss of Baltimore politics. Trump's lame attempt at a nickname '-- ''Nervous Nancy'' '-- did not make a dent because she's anything but nervous.
Her experiences with the last two Democratic presidents were not exactly a stroll down the Embarcadero.
Bill Clinton upended his party with his reckless, selfish affair with an intern. Barack Obama never could have scooted past Clinton Inc. without Pelosi's well-manicured thumb on the scale for him, and he certainly could not have passed the Affordable Care Act without her muscle. But in the midterms that followed, Pelosi lost 63 of her foot soldiers and her gavel; some in the party felt that President Obama had failed to supply enough air cover for the members who had gone out on a limb for him after Pelosi cajoled and prodded in a manner that L.B.J. would have admired.
Image President Barack Obama with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, in 2009. Credit Charles Dharapak/Associated Press Now Pelosi is in her element, ready for the fight of her life with Trump.
''Everyone thought she was at the sunset of her career and she's written a whole new act,'' one of her former critics recently gushed to me.
Two of the men who tried to run her out of office '-- Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton '-- are now floundering in the presidential race, while Pelosi keeps moving forward, a shark with a permagrin.
Trump called Pelosi from overseas to congratulate her on passing the border bill.
''I actually think if he were here, we might have had a better shot'' at getting more of what the Democrats wanted in the bill, she said. ''One thing he understands is the public view of things.'' She said that when she urged Trump to speak to Xi Jinping about religious freedom for the Uighurs and democracy in Hong Kong, he typically was focused on the size of the crowd at the protests. ''Did you see they had two million people in the streets?'' he asked her, impressed.
If combating an inhumane Trump requires a superhuman effort, Pelosi may be just the woman to do it. Her staffers tell the story of how, last April, Pelosi was with a congressional delegation in Dublin, about to deliver a major address to the Irish Parliament. As she got into her Suburban in the motorcade, a 300-pound armored car door was accidentally closed on her right hand, crushing it in the locking mechanism. The attending physician could offer her only ordinary Band-Aids to stop the bleeding from the wounds on her hand and Advil for a tear so bad that doctors who stitched her up afterward said that she could have lost her fingers.
Pelosi not only managed to get through the speech. She shook hundreds of hands without flinching.
When I asked her about it, she was only rueful that she couldn't concentrate enough to speak the Gaelic she had practiced.
''But Bono came,'' she said with her bright grin. ''And that really was fabulous.''
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Russian Official, Linked to Trump Tower Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Is Dead
A Russian official accused of directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met senior Trump campaign officials in 2016, has plummeted to his death in a helicopter crash.
Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan was exposed in a Swiss court this year for a plot to enlist another nation's law-enforcement official as a double-agent for the Kremlin.
Media reports in Russia say he died Wednesday night when his helicopter crashed into a forest during an unauthorized flight in the Kostroma region, northeast of Moscow.
Karapetyan, 58, was intimately familiar with some of the most notorious operations carried out under the orders of Vladimir Putin. He worked closely with Veselnitskaya as well as running some of Moscow's most high-profile efforts to thwart international investigations into Russia's alleged crimes.
It was Karapetyan who signed a letter from the Russian government refusing to help the U.S. in a civil case it was pursuing linked to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was trying to expose a $230 million fraud in Russia. Leaked emails have since shown that Veselnitskaya helped to draft the document sent with that letter.
Karapetyan has been involved in efforts to foil international investigations for more than a decade. The Daily Beast reported that he was present for a meeting in Moscow where British detectives claim they were poisoned during efforts to track down the killers of Alexander Litvinenko, who died after a dose of radioactive poison in London in 2006.
Despite claims that they were trying to help, the general prosecutor's office did everything it could to block the Scotland Yard investigation.
Earlier this year, Karapetyan lashed out at Britain in the aftermath of the Novichok attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. He linked Skripal, Litvinenko, and Boris Berezovsky, a high-profile critic of Putin who died of suspected suicide in 2013.
''The British authorities have based the anti-Russian campaign surrounding the poisoning of former GRU officer Skripal and his daughter on a provocative scenario. A similar scenario was used in baseless allegations of Russia's attempt on the life of Boris Berezovsky in London in summer 2003 and the circumstances surrounding the death of Alexander Litvinenko in the U.K. in November 2006,'' Karapetyan said, according to Interfax.
On Wednesday night, the wreckage of a helicopter believed to have been carrying Karapetyan was found near the village of Vonyshevo. Video purported to be from the scene shows the chopper mangled and burnt out amid twisted tree trunks.
It is not known why experienced pilot Stanislav Mikhnov, 54, reportedly decided to take off after nightfall in adverse conditions without authorities' approval. A third man, Arek Harutyunyan, was also killed, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
Karapetyan's links to Veselnitskaya emerged this year, when a case in Switzerland exposed the pair's operation to recruit a high-level law-enforcement official who was supposed to be investigating the Swiss bank accounts of Russian oligarchs and mobsters.
The top investigator was fired for ''unauthorized clandestine behavior,'' and allegations of bribery and breaching secrecy laws. The Swiss authorities discovered that the officer'--who was identified only as Victor K.'--had met Karapetyan in Geneva and Zurich. Before Christmas 2016, Karapetyan telephoned the official and invited him to Moscow, where he was put up in a luxury hotel and asked to attend a meeting with Veselnitskaya.
It is likely that the meeting with Veselnitskaya concerned the fallout from the death of Magnitsky, who had been working to expose a massive fraud that implicated the Kremlin when he was incarcerated, beaten, and left to die.
In the aftermath of his death, the lawyer's client, Bill Browder, campaigned to enact a series of anti-corruption laws all over the world in his name. The U.S. Magnitsky Act was passed in 2012.
Veselnitskaya was one of the top advocates lobbying to overturn these global Magnitsky laws, which have reportedly absolutely infuriated Putin.
When she arranged to meet Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner at the infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016, she was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton allegedly given to her by Karapetyan's general prosecutor's office, according to the emails of introduction, which have since been leaked. Once inside, we now know that she attempted to lobby the senior Trump officials on the Magnitsky case.
Karapetyan and Veselnitskaya also worked together on another job linked to Magnitsky. The U.S. authorities brought a civil case against a company called Prevezon for its alleged links to laundering proceeds of the fraud that Magnitsky uncovered.
In April, emails obtained by Dossier, an anti-Putin campaign set up by former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and published by The New York Times, showed that Veselnitskaya had helped to draft a document on behalf of the Russian government that explained why Moscow would not help with the fraud case against Prevezon.
Rather than engage with the allegations against Prevezon, much of the document was a personal attack on Browder. The cover letter that accompanied the document was signed by Karapetyan.
The refusal to help provide documents from inside Russia'--orchestrated by Karapetyan and Veselnitskaya'--likely contributed to the authorities' ultimate decision to settle the case. Prevezon agreed to pay $5.9 million, but it did not admit any role in laundering the proceeds of the fraud.
Jeffrey Epstein, Billionaire Long Accused of Molesting Minors, Is Charged - The New York Times
New York | Jeffrey Epstein, Billionaire Long Accused of Molesting Minors, Is Charged Mr. Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking, had avoided federal charges a decade ago in a widely criticized plea deal.
Image Jeffrey Epstein in custody in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2008. Credit Credit Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post, via Associated Press Jeffrey E. Epstein, a billionaire New York financier long accused of molesting dozens of girls, was arrested on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors, an extraordinary turn of events in a long and sordid criminal case.
Two people with knowledge of the charges said on Saturday night that Mr. Epstein had been arrested in the New York area and was in federal custody.
He is expected to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday, more than a decade after he first gained notoriety with lurid accusations that he had paid dozens of girls for sexual massages in Florida.
Mr. Epstein had avoided federal criminal charges in 2007 and 2008 in a widely criticized plea deal whose lenient terms continue to roil the Justice Department and are facing new scrutiny in the #MeToo era.
Before the plea deal, Mr. Epstein, a former hedge-fund manager, had been friendly with Donald J. Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
He pleaded guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting prostitution, served 13 months in a county lockup and registered as a sex offender. His jail arrangement allowed him to get out of the Palm Beach County Stockade six days a week to work out of his office.
The United States attorney's office in Manhattan, which brought the charges against Mr. Epstein, declined to comment on Saturday night.
CBS Miami reported that Mr. Epstein was arrested late Saturday afternoon at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after his private jet landed there from Paris. He was taken into custody by federal agents.
The television station said Mr. Epstein was arrested under a sealed federal indictment and charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Defense lawyers for Mr. Epstein could not immediately be reached for comment.
Women who said they were Mr. Epstein's victims have repeatedly assailed federal prosecutors for agreeing to a nonprosecution deal with him more than a decade ago.
Jack Scarola, a lawyer for two of the women, said he had not been informed of the arrest.
''But given his extensive pattern of past criminal conduct and the apparent addictive nature of his aberrant behavior, an arrest comes as no surprise,'' Mr. Scarola said on Saturday night.
The new charges against Mr. Epstein were first reported on Saturday night by The Daily Beast.
In the Florida investigation, the authorities found that Mr. Epstein paid cash to dozens of girls, some of them as young as 14 or 15, to give him nude massages that often ended in masturbation, oral sex or, in at least one case, rape.
Some of the girls were runaways or foster children; Mr. Epstein would ask some girls to recruit others to bring to his properties. The encounters took place from 1999 to 2005.
According to court records, in a 2007 interview with the F.B.I., one girl shared that at age 15 she began visiting Mr. Epstein and gave him massages '-- both in her underwear and then nude '-- for $200 each.
Over time, the encounters became increasingly sexual. Mr. Epstein also got the girl to bring other girls who worked with her at a local strip club.
The plea deal that protected Mr. Epstein from federal charges was signed by the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, Alexander Acosta, who is now President Trump's labor secretary.
In February, a judge in Florida ruled that the prosecutors led by Mr. Acosta violated federal law when they failed to disclose Mr. Epstein's nonprosecution agreement to his victims.
The agreement was negotiated in secret while victims were told prosecutors were still pursuing a possible federal criminal case.
Mr. Acosta has defended the handling of Mr. Epstein's case, saying the plea deal sent Mr. Epstein to jail and guaranteed that he would register as a sex offender.
But lawyers for his victims have fought for years against a punishment they saw as too lenient.
The case received new public scrutiny after an investigative report published by The Miami Herald in November quoted four of Mr. Epstein's victims, who are now adults, on the record for the first time.
One of the victims, Courtney Wild, now 31, was wearing braces when she first met Mr. Epstein. ''Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless,'' Ms. Wild told The Herald. ''He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right.''
Investigators had identified more than 30 victims. The Herald said it located about 60.
In February, the Justice Department said it had opened an investigation into the nonprosecution agreement. The inquiry is reviewing whether prosecutors committed professional misconduct in their handling of the Epstein case.
Derrick Bryson Taylor and Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting.
Patricia Mazzei is the Miami bureau chief, covering Florida and Puerto Rico. Before joining The Times, she was the political writer for The Miami Herald. She was born and raised in Venezuela, and is bilingual in Spanish. @ PatriciaMazzei ' Facebook
William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @ WRashbaum ' Facebook
Jeffrey Epstein Arrested For Sex Trafficking of Minors: Sources
Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was arrested for allegedly sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, and will appear in court in New York on Monday, according to three law enforcement sources. The arrest comes about 12 years after the 66-year-old financier essentially got a slap on the wrist for allegedly molesting dozens of underage girls in Florida.
For more than a decade, Epstein's alleged abuse of minors has been the subject of lawsuits brought by victims, investigations by local and federal authorities, and expos(C)s in the press. But despite the attention cast on his alleged sex crimes, the hedge-funder has managed to avoid any meaningful jail time, let alone federal charges.
The new charges allege that Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage girls in a now-familiar scheme: paying them cash for "massages" and then molesting or sexually abusing them in his Upper East Side mansion or his palatial residence in Palm Beach. Several employees and associates allegedly recruited the girls for Epstein's abuse, and some victims eventually became recruiters themselves, according to law enforcment. The girls were as young as 14, and Epstein knew they were underage, according to police.
Epstein's attorney, Martin Weinberg, declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast on Saturday night.
In an era where #MeToo has toppled powerful men, Epstein's name was largely absent from the national conversation, until the Miami Herald published a three-part series on how his wealth, power and influence shielded him from federal prosecution. For years, The Daily Beast reported on Epstein's easy jail sentence and soft treatment by the U.S. Attorney's Office, which ultimately scrapped a 53-page indictment against Epstein. An earlier version of Epstein's plea deal included a 10-year federal sentence'--before his star-studded lawyers threatened to go to trial in a case prosecutors feared was unwinnable, in part because Epstein's team dredged up dirt on the victims, including social media posts indicating drug use.
Meanwhile, the financier has flitted among his homes in Palm Beach, New York City, and the Virgin Islands, as well as his secluded Zorro Ranch in Stanley, New Mexico, transporting young women on his private jet to facilitate the sexual abuse that's gone unchecked by authorities, his alleged victims say.
Yet, as early as 2003, Vicky Ward's Vanity Fair profile cracked into Epstein's enigmatic facade and, as Ward noted, revealed ''he was definitely not what he claimed to be.'' Back then, allegations of sexual abuse leveled by one accuser, Maria Farmer, and her family were excised from Ward's piece after Epstein pressured the magazine.
Epstein's bust comes mere months after a federal judge ruled his 2007 non-prosecution agreement'--secretly inked under former U.S. Attorney and current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta'--violated federal law by keeping Epstein's victims in the dark. Under the sweetheart deal, Epstein dodged federal charges that might have sent him to prison for life. He instead pleaded guilty to minor state charges in Palm Beach, and served 13 months in a private wing of a county jail, mostly on work release.
The alleged victims, who sued the government for violating the Crime Victims' Rights Act, asked the court to rescind Epstein's non-prosecution agreement and called for the feds to hold him criminally liable. The NPA also granted immunity to Epstein's co-conspirators, identified in the document as ''including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.''
Epstein reportedly supplied valuable intel to federal investigators in exchange for his lenient plea deal; it's been speculated this information may have been related to Bear Stearns executives' alleged crimes in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
Epstein's VictimsDuring his high-flying finance years, Epstein also allegedly harbored a dark secret: his widespread abuse of underage girls. But in 2005, Palm Beach police launched an investigation into Epstein after a 14-year-old girl told police an older man named ''Jeff'' had molested her at his residence, a two-story pink mansion on a dead-end street.
Authorities would discover a disturbing teen sex ring, where victims were allegedly paid to recruit other young girls to provide ''massages'' inside Epstein's lair. The victims would be led to Epstein's bedroom, and Epstein would enter and order them to remove their clothing, police said. The financier would then assault them'--sometimes forcing them into intercourse with him or a young woman he described as his ''sex slave'''--and pay them $200 to $1,000 per visit, according to court documents.
Police say Epstein's massages were booked with the help of his personal assistants, including Sarah Kellen, who kept a rolodex of underage girls.
But as The Daily Beast previously reported, the state attorney's office in Palm Beach declined to pursue serious charges against Epstein (filing only a single felony count of soliciting prostitution), claiming the girls weren't credible. The local police chief, Michael Reiter, accused prosecutors of giving Epstein special treatment and in 2006 referred the case to the FBI. By May 2007, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami drafted a 53-page indictment against Epstein, alongside an 82-page prosecution memorandum. That summer, however, Epstein's lawyers worked to unravel the case, claiming Epstein wasn't guilty of any federal crimes.
''The local police chief, Michael Reiter, accused prosecutors of giving Epstein special treatment and in 2006 referred the case to the FBI.''
Epstein and the feds drew up a non-prosecution agreement in September 2007. Without informing any of the victims, the two sides decided that Epstein would plead guilty to a pair of state charges (solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution) and waive his right to contest damages, if the victims decided to sue him over the abuse. He also agreed to pay for the girls' attorney's fees.
Indeed, the NPA stated that ''the United States, in consultation with and subject to the good faith approval of Epstein's counsel, shall select an attorney representative for [the victims], who shall be paid for by Epstein.''
The NPA also granted immunity to any ''potential co-conspirator'' of Epstein's and ensured the deal would ''not be made part of any public record.''
Epstein could have faced multiple federal charges, the NPA noted, including: sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion, 18 U.S.C. 1591; the use of a facility or means of interstate commerce to entice minors into prostitution, 18 U.S.C. 2422(b); and traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors, 18 U.S.C. 2423(b). The document states Epstein might have committed those crimes from around 2001 to September 2007.
Other women claim that Epstein's alleged abuse spanned many years and many locations, according to civil court filings.
''Epstein could have faced multiple federal charges, the NPA noted, including sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion.''
In an April 2019 affidavit, a woman named Maria Farmer said she met Epstein and Maxwell sometime in 1995, at one of Farmer's art shows in New York. In 1996, Epstein offered her a job to help him acquire art. But according to Farmer, she instead ended up manning the door at Epstein's Upper East Side mansion and keeping records of his visitors.
Some of those visitors, Farmer claimed, were underage girls in school uniforms who would be led to an upstairs bedroom for what Maxwell called interviews for ''modeling'' positions. Farmer witnessed Epstein's lawyer and friend, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, head upstairs where the girls were present, the affidavit stated.
Dershowitz has denied Farmer's accusations. ''Maria Farmer stopped working for Epstein before I ever met Epstein,'' Dershowitz told The Daily Beast. ''It's a totally perjured affidavit. It's all totally made up. For her lawyers to submit these obviously perjured affidavits raises serious questions about their role in this case.''
In the summer of 1996, Epstein allegedly arranged for Farmer to work on a special art project at Leslie Wexner's mansion in New Albany, Ohio. Farmer and her two younger brothers stayed at the property at the time.
Farmer claims Maxwell and Epstein sexually assaulted her at the Ohio property, and Wexner's security team refused to let her leave. She said she tried calling the sheriff's office but didn't get a response. Her father had to drive from Kentucky to help her.
Once she returned to New York, Farmer visited the NYPD's sixth precinct to report the Ohio assault, but offers there told her to contact the FBI. Farmer called the feds, but they didn't appear to take any action, the affidavit states.
Meanwhile, Farmer claims Epstein and Maxwell preyed on her 15-year-old sister, molesting her at Epstein's ranch in New Mexico. Epstein also held her sibling's hand at a New York movie theater, where he ''was rubbing her in a sexual manner without my knowledge,'' Farmer added.
''I was terrified of Maxwell and Epstein and I moved a number of times to try to hide from them,'' Farmer stated of the powerful pair's alleged threats against her and their alleged efforts to sabotage her reputation in the art world.
Another accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has long claimed that Epstein and Maxwell abused minor girls across the country and abroad, and that Epstein loaned his victims out to his famous friends, including Dershowitz and Prince Andrew.
Giuffre filed a declaration in 2015 as part of the Crime Victims' Rights Act suit and detailed Epstein's alleged sex ring. She said she met Epstein in 1999 after Maxwell approached her during her summer job at Mar-a-Lago. She was 15 years old.
Dershowitz and Prince Andrew vehemently denied Giuffre's claims, and Buckingham Place quickly released a statement: ''It is emphatically denied that HRH The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. The allegations made are false and without any foundation.''
''The story is totally made up,'' Dershowitz told the BBC after Giuffre's court filing made international headlines. He added, ''My only feeling is if she's lied about me, which I know to an absolute certainty she has, she should not be believed about anyone else.''
''It wasn't just sexual training'--they wanted me to be able to cater to all the needs of the men they were going to send me to.''
Maxwell allegedly offered Giuffre professional training in massages. But when Giuffre arrived at Epstein's Palm Beach home, she was allegedly forced into sexual activity with the billionaire and would become trapped in his web.
She said that when she began ''working'' for Epstein, he flew her to New York on his private jet and molested her at his Manhattan mansion. ''I was trained to be 'everything a man wanted me to be,''' Giuffre said in the declaration. ''It wasn't just sexual training'--they wanted me to be able to cater to all the needs of the men they were going to send me to.''
Maxwell and Epstein allegedly ordered Giuffre to pay attention to what the men wanted, so she could report back to them. Giuffre said she traveled with Epstein from 1999 through the summer of 2002, to his homes in New York, New Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Paris, France.
''I had sex with him often in these places and also with the various people he demanded that I have sex with,'' Giuffre stated. ''Epstein paid me for many of these sexual encounters. In fact, my only purpose for Epstein, Maxwell and their friends was to be used for sex.''
Giuffre added that ''Epstein had sex with underage girls on a daily basis'' and that his interest in minor girls was ''obvious'' to those in his orbit. His code word for this abuse was ''massage,'' and Maxwell would often have sex with the victims, too, Giuffre claimed.
Maxwell denied Giuffre's claims as early as 2011, after Giuffre gave an interview to the Daily Mail, releasing a statement that claimed ''the allegations made against me are abhorrent and entirely untrue and I ask that they stop.''
In 2015, Maxwell called Giuffre's allegations ''obvious lies,'' and Giuffre filed a defamation suit against the socialite. The Miami Herald and other news outlets have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to unseal all pleadings in that case, which was settled in 2017. Paul Cassell, one of Giuffre's lawyers, told the court that if the records are made public, they ''will show that Epstein and Maxwell were trafficking girls to the benefit of his friends, including Mr. Dershowitz.''
Epstein allegedly forced Giuffre to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew at least three times, including during an orgy. (The court filing includes a photo of ''Andy'' putting his arm around Giuffre's partially bare waist, while Maxwell smiles in the background.)
Giuffre said she was also forced to have sex with another Epstein confidant, Jean Luc Brunel, who runs the MC2 modeling agency.
Brunel supplied Epstein with girls as young as 12, luring aspiring models from poor countries or poor backgrounds to the United States, Giuffre alleged. ''Jeffrey Epstein has told me that he has slept with over 1,000 of Brunel's girls, and everything that I have seen confirms this claim,'' Giuffre stated. (Brunel, in a previous statement, denied being involved ''in the actions Mr. Jeffrey Epstein is being accused of'' and said ''I have exercised with the utmost ethical standard for almost 40 years.'')
Giuffre said she finally escaped Epstein's abuse after he sent her to Thailand to learn Thai massage and to recruit another young girl for his alleged sex ring. Instead, Giuffre met her future husband and relocated to Australia.
Years later, in 2011, two FBI agents from Florida visited Giuffre to discuss Epstein. In another declaration, Giuffre said the investigators ''seemed like they were being blocked from doing what they wanted to do'--which I thought was to arrest Epstein and his powerful friends for all their illegal sexual crimes.''
In 2014, Giuffre tried to contact the FBI again for an update on the Epstein investigation. ''I have never been able to figure out who was (and still is) stopping a prosecution,'' Giuffre stated in the declaration.
''Because nothing is being done,'' Giuffre added, ''it makes me think that Epstein was right when he told me he had so many people in his pocket. Maybe those people are still helping him escape being prosecuted for what he did against me.
''The justice system doesn't seem to respond to the victims in this case. It seems to favor those who have the most money and power and influence.''
Trump pal Jeffrey Epstein arrested for sex trafficking dozens of minors: report '' Raw Story
A notorious friend of President Donald Trump has reportedly been arrested.
''Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was arrested for allegedly sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, and will appear in court in New York on Monday, according to three law enforcement sources,'' The Daily Beast reported Saturday. ''The arrest comes about 12 years after the 66-year-old financier essentially got a slap on the wrist for allegedly molesting dozens of underage girls in Florida.''
''The new charges allege that Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage girls in a now-familiar scheme: paying them cash for ''massages'' and then molesting or sexually abusing them in his Upper East Side mansion or his palatial residence in Palm Beach. Several employees and associates allegedly recruited the girls for Epstein's abuse, and some victims eventually became recruiters themselves, according to law enforcement. The girls were as young as 14, and Epstein knew they were underage, according to police,'' The Beast reported.
''In an era where #MeToo has toppled powerful men, Epstein's name was largely absent from the national conversation, until the Miami Herald published a three-part series on how his wealth, power and influence shielded him from federal prosecution,'' The Beast noted. ''Meanwhile, the financier has flitted among his homes in Palm Beach, New York City, and the Virgin Islands, as well as his secluded Zorro Ranch in Stanley, New Mexico, transporting young women on his private jet to facilitate the sexual abuse that's gone unchecked by authorities, his alleged victims say.''
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'What Happened to Alan Dershowitz?' - POLITICO Magazine
NEW YORK '-- If you wanted to feel the full force of the intellectual whirlpool that is American politics in 2018, the place to go on April 2 was the Village Underground, a nightclub beneath West 3rdStreet, where Alan Dershowitz, the longtime Harvard Law professor and civil liberties lion, was debating the future of American democracy on the side of President Donald Trump.
Opposing him were a National Review writer and a former FBI agent, arguing that the special investigation into ties between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign is well within the bounds of American law. Dershowitz, along with a conservative columnist for the Washington Examiner, was making the case that the Mueller investigation is dangerous to our entire system. In the room, which is normally a comedy club, it was impossible to shake the feeling that something was off. Two years ago, it would've seemed far more natural for the quartet to swap partners and switch sides.
Story Continued Below
On our way out, my wife and I were handed free copies of Dershowitz's newest book, ''Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy,'' in which Dershowitz writes that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is subjecting Trump to ''the legal equivalent of a colonoscopy.''
The woman behind us in line took her free book, turned to her husband and asked, ''What happened to Alan Dershowitz?''
In certain circles'--the legal academy, defense attorneys, Martha's Vineyard'--it is the question. Dershowitz, an iconic civil libertarian and criminal defense lawyer, who circulates between the liberal redoubts of Miami, New York and the Vineyard, has emerged in the past year as the most distinguished legal defender of Trump. He's met Trump at Mar-a-Lago, and he dined with him at the White House the day after the FBI raid on Michael Cohen's office. He's a regular presence on TV, especially Fox News, where he's a reliable voice on the president's side against the investigation. In April, following the Cohen raid, Dershowitz appeared on ''Hannity'' nine times'--including three days in a row. His message is clear: Mueller's investigation is a witch hunt, and although he doesn't think Trump should fire Mueller, the president would be within his rights to do it.
''People everywhere ask what happened to him,'' said Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge and lecturer at Harvard Law School who has known Dershowitz for years. ''I get that from everyone who knows I know him.''
Anyone under 30 could be forgiven for seeing Dershowitz as just another talking head on Trump TV, but to Gertner and her peers, that's not even remotely who Dershowitz is. Gen Xers may know him as a celebrity lawyer, a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team. Baby boomers know him for clearing the socialite Claus von Bulow of poisoning his wife in the 1980s. But Dershowitz had a 20-year career before that, during which he established himself as one of the most prominent and consistent defenders of civil liberties in America.
In 1963, as a law clerk, he drafted a crucial memo for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg that led to the death penalty being ruled unconstitutional. (The ruling was later reversed.) At Harvard, he sued the university's all-male social clubs, and though he didn't prevail, he was ahead of his time: Harvard recently severed its ties with the clubs. His legal scholarship articulates an expansive view of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and even animal rights.
Over this storied career, Dershowitz's public persona has remained more or less unchanged: loud, provocative, brilliant and principled, if also relentlessly self-promoting. And, until recently, his positions have been tolerated, if not always embraced, by the legal academy and universally acknowledged for their moral seriousness.
About a year ago, after Mueller's appointment on May 17, that started to change. Around then, Dershowitz'--never one to overlook a celebrity being railroaded'--started getting more TV airtime for his argument that a sitting president could not be guilty of obstruction of justice. The liberal intelligentsia recoiled. Dershowitz speaks openly of having been shunned by friends and condemned by relatives since then'--even, he told me, at his family's recent Passover Seder, where his grandson and nephew urged him to dial down his public defense of the president. He's been harshly critiqued by former Harvard colleagues and within the small, tightly entwined community of civil libertarians. In late March, when legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin confronted him directly on Anderson Cooper 360'--''I don't know what's going on with you '... this is not who you used to be'''--it felt like a moment of collective catharsis for liberals who see Trump as a threat to democracy.
Alan Dershowitz during a 2010 interview in Jerusalem. | Getty Images
But is Dershowitz really a turncoat? I spent two months interviewing leading civil libertarians and Dershowitz's former colleagues, reading through his life's work, and interviewing him twice. In one view, Dershowitz, at the end of his career, has finally crossed the line, defending a demagogue who rejects and threatens the very principles of liberty and fairness to which Dershowitz has dedicated his life. In another view, the people who've lost their way are the liberals and civil libertarians, blinded by their rage for Trump, who have dropped their principles in a moment of political threat and are taking out their anger on a man who has been their staunchest ally.
Maybe the question isn't what happened to Alan Dershowitz.
Maybe it's what happened to everyone else.
When Alan Dershowitz arrived at Yale Law School in the fall of 1959, there was no road map on how to be an American civil liberties lawyer, let alone an Alan Dershowitz. Even now it's difficult to name anyone comparable. There have been other prominent lawyers who have represented controversial political causes and unpopular defendants'--Clarence Darrow, William Kuntsler and Ramsey Clark are obvious candidates'--but none carried on their careers with the publicness with which Dershowitz has conducted his life. ''There isn't another lawyer like Dershowitz,'' civil rights attorney Ron Kuby told me. ''Alan is sui generis and he knows it.''
At his Sutton Place apartment, overlooking the East River, Dershowitz explained to me that he had no role model. ''I have no lawyer heroes,'' he said. ''Every lawyer I know has been deeply flawed in one way or another.'' The closest comparison he could come up with was to Edward Bennett Williams, the Washington trial attorney who defended Jimmy Hoffa and Mafia boss Frank Costello'--''except that Ed Bennett Williams is to the Catholic Church as Judaism is to me.''
Maybe the question isn't what happened to Alan Dershowitz. Maybe it's what happened to everyone else.
The decision to pursue his path in the law was organic. ''I never decided to be a civil libertarian,'' Dershowitz said. ''I was born a civil libertarian. I was brought up a civil libertarian.'' At 14, against the wishes of his parents, Dershowitz signed a communist-inspired petition opposing the death penalty for Ethel and Julius Rosenberg as a matter of principle, even though he personally detested communism. But he hadn't heard the term ''libertarian'' until he took an ethics course at Brooklyn College with John Hospers, later the 1972 presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, and even then Hospers' libertarianism had an economic emphasis on free markets that didn't resonate with Dershowitz's left-leaning social politics.
Today, the idea of ''civil libertarianism'' still doesn't quite have a defined spot on the intellectual and political map. The right to bear arms, the school-choice movement, desegregation, abortion rights and fetal rights'--a set of issues wildly incompatible in the rest of public life'--have all been defended under the mantle of ''civil liberties.'' Dershowitz's conception of pure civil libertarianism resembles the ''original position'''--the thought experiment developed by the philosopher John Rawls, with whom Dershowitz was in a reading group at Harvard. Rawls, widely regarded as the most important political philosopher of the 20th century, suggested people should think about ethics as if they were operating behind a ''veil of ignorance'''--as if they were building a society without knowing what their race, gender and social standing would be, and were trying to develop rules that would work to everyone's benefit. It's an attempt to think about justice purely from the standpoint of fairness. In the contemporary context, the challenge might be to consider what you would think about, say, the Electoral College without knowing whether it would work to the benefit of your party or the opposition.
Rawls is ordinarily classified as a liberal philosopher, since ''justice as fairness'' requires equal rights, equal opportunity and, generally speaking, fair treatment of the powerless. But some of the neutral principles that would likely emerge from that approach'--say, ''every person should be entitled to the presumption of innocence and a vigorous legal defense'''--benefit not only the powerless but also the rich and powerful, like, say, Donald Trump.
''I call it the shoe-on-the-other-foot test,'' Dershowitz told me. Several days after our first talk, the FBI raided Michael Cohen's offices, and he appeared on Fox News to say much the same thing. ''You know, if this were the shoe on the other foot,'' Dershowitz told Hannity, ''if this were Hillary Clinton being investigated and they went into her lawyer's office'--the ACLU would be on every television station in America jumping up and down.''
Some of Alan Dershowitz's most prominent clients (clockwise, from upper left): New York hotel queen Leona Helmsley, who was defended by Dershowitz during her 1990 battle against charges of tax fraud; O.J. Simpson, shown here talking with Dershowitz and attorney F. Lee Bailey during Simpson's 1995 trial for the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman; televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, at a 1991 resentencing hearing for her husband, Rev. Jim Bakker, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for a combination of fraud and conspiracy charges; Danish socialite Claus von Bulow, who, in 1985, was acquitted on two counts of attempting to murder his wife, Martha ''Sunny'' von Bulow. | AP; Getty Images
Dershowitz's supporters see his position on Trump as consistent with the rest of his career. ''If you look objectively at what he's doing, he's applying neutral civil liberties principles to Trump, as he would to anyone else,'' said Harvey Silverglate, a civil rights lawyer in Boston and a longtime friend of Dershowitz's. Harvard professor Jack Goldsmith told me, similarly, ''Alan has obviously throughout his entire career been a principled defender of civil liberties, especially for those under criminal investigation. His commentary in the last year is entirely consistent with that lifelong commitment.''
In this telling, Dershowitz is a still point in a turning world, a zealot for neutral civil liberties so dedicated to his principles that he's willing to defend even people whose politics could undermine or destroy them. To Dershowitz's detractors, this is precisely the problem. They say Dershowitz has failed to recognize that we're in a new moment, when for the first time in our lives a president is flirting with authoritarianism in a way that, if unchecked, could bring down the very system that Dershowitz has spent his life defending.
Dershowitz is careful to say, over and over, that he's not Trump's lawyer. He's not providing legal advice to the president, and he's had no conversations under the cloak of attorney-client privilege. But his public statements, argued everywhere from Fox News to the Village Underground, amount to a case with a clear legal shape, the kind of thing a lawyer might argue, if it ever came to court.
The first pillar of the argument is intellectual: special prosecutors like Mueller are a really bad idea. They have enormous power, and to justify their existence they're prone to dive down rabbit holes, often barely connected to the original charge. (Bill Clinton's impeachment in December 1998, for perjury regarding his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, stemmed from an investigation into a real estate deal begun by special prosecutor Robert Fiske in January 1994'--almost five years earlier.) Moreover, special prosecutors simply aren't as good at getting an answer to a factual question as a select congressional committee or an independent commission, which is how Dershowitz says Russian election interference should have been investigated.
He has been sounding this note for years. ''The subjects of such investigations are often hounded and bankrupted. The independent counsel have no accountability or continuity,'' he wrote in his 1998 book Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis. And he has company. Special prosecutors are ''like dinosaurs roaming the Earth in search of prey,'' said NYU professor Burt Neuborne, former national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
''The sad reality appears to be that most people care about perjury only when they disapprove of the substance of the lie or of the person who is lying,'' Dershowitz said in Dec. 1998 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in regards to the looming impeachment of President Bill Clinton. | Getty Images
Every lawyer I spoke with for this story acknowledged the consistency and validity of Dershowitz's concern with special counsel overreach. ''This is a classic civil liberties position,'' Gertner said. In the case of Trump, some questioned whether Dershowitz has made clear that this is an institutional argument as opposed to a personal attack on Mueller. ''Any person who has listened to Alan on a regular basis would not think he only had a problem with the appointment of Mueller,'' Toobin told me.
Indeed, Dershowitz has critiqued several of Mueller's tactics specifically. Last August, he challenged Mueller's decision to empanel a second grand jury in the District of Columbia as a tactic to gain a more favorable jury pool in potential criminal trials; more recently, he's raised questions about Mueller's conduct as a U.S. attorney in Boston when four innocent people went to prison to protect an FBI informant named Whitey Bulger, and he has been harshly critical of the Cohen raid. It wasn't Mueller who sought the warrant, but it's the sort of rabbit-hole consequence that Dershowitz has been railing about.
The Cohen warrant has widened an already-existing rift in the civil liberties world. In normal times, the FBI raid is the kind of aggressive prosecutorial move that would drive civil libertarians crazy: it puts privileged communications at risk of being exposed. ''I see no adequate moral reason for invading one of the most sacred relationships in our constitutional democracy,'' Silverglate said. This seems like it should be a bread-and-butter type issue for the ACLU, but the organization has been nearly silent on the Cohen warrant. In an op-ed in The Hill, Dershowitz accused the organization of having ''abandoned its role as a neutral defender of civil liberties.'' He wrote, ''For the ACLU,'' he wrote, ''getting Trump, trumps civil liberties.''
This point is central to Dershowitz, who sees the ACLU as having turned ''away from traditional liberal values toward a 'progressive' politics.'' The ACLU declined my requests for an interview for this story; its national legal director, David Cole, emailed only to say, ''I think Alan Dershowitz is wildly overreacting'' and to refer me to a blog post on the ACLU website in which he writes: ''The ACLU is the nation's premier defender of privacy. But we also believe in the rule of law as an essential foundation for civil liberties and civil rights. And perhaps the first principle of the rule of law is that no one'--not even the president, let alone his lawyer'--is above the law.''
Dershowitz's argument isn't crazy. What's unclear is why he's making it at all.
Other civil libertarians acknowledged the legitimacy of Dershowitz's concern, but said it lacked important context. ''No-knock warrants are not unusual. Raiding a lawyer's office happens rarely but regularly. None of this is new,'' said civil rights attorney Ronald Kuby. ''It doesn't make it right. But it also doesn't make Donald J. Trump the victim of a rapacious criminal justice system.''
The second pillar of Dershowitz's argument is more technical, and more controversial: A president cannot be found guilty for exercising his constitutional authority, he argues, and his constitutional authority includes the right to fire anyone in the executive branch, even if that person is investigating him. In his view, President Richard Nixon did not obstruct justice by ordering the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Rather, Dershowitz says, Nixon obstructed justice by telling subordinates to lie to the FBI, by paying hush money to potential witnesses against him, and by destroying evidence. By this logic, Trump could fire Mueller or Rod Rosenstein for any reason without criminally obstructing justice.
Whether Dershowitz is right involves a complex legal argument that can't objectively be resolved. Those who disagree with him, including University of Chicago Law School professors Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner, argue that a president obstructs justice when he interferes with an investigation for a corrupt motive'--which, presumably, would include firing an investigator who might uncover something bad about him. Generally speaking, assessing motive is a dodgy business in the law'--and Gertner hastens to point out that firing Comey isn't the only basis for obstruction charges that could be levied against Trump'--but Dershowitz's argument isn't crazy.
What's unclear is why he's making it at all. Almost no legal experts think Trump will face criminal obstruction charges. A sitting president has never been indicted, and a pair of Justice Department legal opinions, from 1973 and 2000, hold that a sitting president cannot be tried or indicted. Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger recently argued that there's more wiggle room regarding indictment, and of course the opinions could be revisited, but criminal charges against Trump seem highly unlikely.
So what is the argument about? When TV pundits talk about ''obstruction of justice,'' they're not really talking about the statutorily defined crime. They're using it as a kind of shorthand for attempting to rise above the law'--the kind of thing that might trigger Congress to launch an impeachment proceeding. Arguing that Trump couldn't be impeached for corrupt actions'--as Dershowitz says is also true under certain fact scenarios'--is a fundamentally different matter. ''This isn't a civil libertarian position,'' Gertner said. ''It's an authoritarian position. If anything, it purports to talk about constitutional power. It isn't Alan's usual bailiwick and in my opinion it is false.''
''If Alan is right,'' Neuborne concluded, ''then the president is above the law and we have a very different system than we think we have.''
In the West Village, Dershowitz went even further down that path, and argued that the statutory definition of ''obstruction of justice'' would still be relevant in an impeachment trial, over which the chief justice would preside. Dershowitz argued that the presence of the chief justice at an impeachment trial, and the inclusion of criteria for impeachment in the Constitution, proves that the process is not purely political and that legal standards should still be relevant. In such a proceeding, Dershowitz said the first thing he'd do is to file a motion to dismiss'--in other words, a motion that the alleged conduct did not meet the minimal legal threshold. It's the weakest part of Dershowitz's argument.
''It is inconceivable to me that Chief Justice [John] Roberts would accept an argument that the president is above the law'--more immune than King George was,'' Neuborne told me from Stanford, where he is teaching this semester. ''In the real world, the argument wouldn't last five minutes.'' Silverglate said, ''What Trump has done isn't appropriate for criminal charges, but much of what he has done would be grounds for impeachment.'' Silverglate rejected the notion that somehow the Supreme Court would swoop in and dismiss impeachment charges on legal grounds. ''I don't see how a decision to impeach would be subject to judicial review,'' he said.
''If Alan is right,'' Neuborne concluded, ''then the president is above the law and we have a very different system than we think we have.''
Most of these scenarios are solely fodder for late-night talk shows. Almost all experts agree it's extremely improbable that Trump will be criminally charged, and that if he is impeached, it's unlikely to be just for this small set of clearly noncriminal acts. If all this is true, what is Dershowitz trying to accomplish?
The most impassioned criticisms of Dershowitz concern ''tone and audience'''--a polite way of saying that Dershowitz shouldn't air his concerns on Fox News. One can detect in this critique some measure of resentment and jealousy. Dershowitz is a terrific TV guest. It's also clearly true that Dershowitz is drawn to celebrity and attention. His clients and advisees have included Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Benjamin Netanyahu, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheldon Adelson, Natalie Portman, Mark Rich, Saul Bellow, David Mamet and, as of last week, Harvey Weinstein, who he is aiding in an effort to recover personal emails from his former company. Dershowitz has recounted many times that when he had dinner at Mar-a-Lago in March 2017, he was visited at his table by Trump himself, who ''started schmoozing'' and courting his vote for 2020. One has the image of iridescent moths drawn to each other's glow. At the age of 79, a time when many of his counterparts have long since dialed back their public presence, the Trump story has given Dershowitz a vehicle back into the thick of it.
When I asked Dershowitz in early April why he appeared so often on Fox News, he said he was furious with CNN for not booking him more often and had asked the network whether he'd been blacklisted. Dershowitz is on CNN more often now, he says, but his beef with the network seems to presume that he needs to offer his views on TV, and that if Fox News is the outlet that wants to put him on, then so be it. Toobin, who's been sparring with Dershowitz more regularly on CNN, asks, ''Is Alan Dershowitz so important that he has to be on all the time?''
Dershowitz at a Feb. 2016 event for Hulu's ''Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's Election Special.'' | Getty Images
The problem, as many see it, is that in going on Fox News'--a network whose hosts tend to operate as attack dogs for Trump and a kind of security blanket for his supporters'--Dershowitz is retailing an argument in a place where it has an entirely different meaning. The shoe-is on-the-other-foot moral test is ''the first, basic exercise in critical thinking that America needs to engage in,'' Kuby said, ''But that's not a conversation you can have on the Fox News channel.'' Neuborne agreed. ''I want to try and separate the intrinsic merits of Alan's concerns from the propriety of the venue'--whether we should be debating or expressing them on Fox News,'' he said. ''Alan knows the difference between a serious intellectual investigation and a political propaganda barrage.''
Dershowitz also knows, as everyone does, that the president is an avid Fox News watcher, to the point where he personally called into Fox & Friends on a recent morning. ''I talk to the president on television all the time,'' he told Isaac Chotiner of Slate. ''Apparently he listens.'' In this way, Dershowitz has publicly laid out several legal arguments to Trump, including the idea that it would be unwise to voluntarily speak with Mueller and that Rod Rosenstein should be recused. And Trump isn't the only important audience his views are reaching. Dershowitz himself has said that Trump should not fire Mueller, but no one has done more than he has to give cover to Republicans in Congress who might choose to look the other way were Trump to do so.
Watching Dershowitz's recent appearances on Hannity, one has the feeling that he's allowing himself to be used. In the lead-in to one segment, Hannity said of Mueller's tactics, ''This is what we expect in Venezuela. This is not the United States or anything.'' It's a moment crying out for Dershowitz to point out Hannity's own inconsistencies'--the conversations he's entertained about ''Lock Her Up,'' and whether Hillary Clinton should be tried for treason and executed for the unsubstantiated allegations surrounding the Uranium One sale, all of which have the ring of Venezuela. Hannity's response to Mueller's first charges was to tweet, ''When will @HillaryClinton be indicted?'' But Dershowitz says none of this.
''There's no question that everybody uses everybody on television,'' Dershowitz told me, when I confronted him with the concerns about his Fox appearances. Dershowitz also pointed out that he chastised Hannity for not disclosing his relationship with Cohen, that he's tried to strike a better balance in his appearances, and that his microphone is often cut off during the introductions to his segments. But Dershowitz said he thought the appearances important. ''I think of myself as a public educator,'' he said, adding, ''I always prefer to speak with audiences that disagree with me.'' He says that he gets a positive response from Hannity's audience and that many thank him for educating them about civil libertarian concerns.
''I'm sort of half-sympathetic for Alan pointing out that the left has been inconsistent, but that's only one side of the story,'' Neuborne said. ''Conservatives are inconsistent, too.'' On that point, Dershowitz agrees. ''Almost everyone's a hypocrite,'' he says.
As he sees it, the best way to achieve his goal'--and to get it the attention it deserves'--is by defending the most odious clients in the most provocative possible way on the very principles liberals claim to love.
Talking to him, it's not hard to get the impression that exposing that truth'--the hypocrisy of both sides'--may be his ultimate project. As he sees it, the best way to achieve his goal'--and to get it the attention it deserves'--is by defending the most odious clients in the most provocative possible way on the very principles liberals claim to love. One of Dershowitz's favorite quotes is H.L. Mencken's observation that ''the trouble about fighting for human freedom is that you have to spend much of your life defending sons of bitches.''
Watching Dershowitz do his thing is supremely challenging. It feels in-your-face, almost obnoxious, which is probably part of the point. What makes it especially tough to take is it seems as if Dershowitz thinks he alone is immune from the curse of hypocrisy. But his core point is worth reflecting upon. Keeping one's bearings in the Trump era is hard. So many tectonic plates have shifted that it's often impossible even for experts to figure out how they ended up standing where they are. Have civil libertarians ever defended FISA courts and no-knock warrants? It's one thing for the ACLU not to take the lead questioning federal agents barging into the office of the president's former lawyer, and quite another to issue a statement praising the ''rule of law.'' Would liberals really feel the way they do if the shoe were on the other foot?
''I do believe there will be a reckoning,'' Gertner told me. ''And people who enabled this corruption will have to be held to account.'' The question is, when the judgment of history is rendered, who will be deemed corrupt'--Republicans for turning a blind eye to blatant election interference, Democrats for politicizing apolitical institutions like the ACLU, or civil libertarians for wavering in their commitment to foundational principles? Likely there's blame enough to go around. But it's surely unfair to brand Dershowitz a ''racist,'' as Rep. Maxine Waters did in the aftermath of the D.C. grand jury controversy, or a ''Trump apologist,'' as have Slate's Dahlia Lithwick and Salon's Jefferson Morley, among others.
Dershowitz proudly voted for Clinton, he opposed the Trump travel ban ''as a matter of policy'' and he called allegations that Trump had shared classified information with Russia's foreign minister about ISIS's plans to use laptops as airplane bombs ''the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president.'' When I asked him, he flatly told me ''collusion should be a crime'' and that it ''should be illegal to fire a special prosecutor.'' At one point during the Village Underground debate, Dershowitz threw up his hands and exclaimed, ''Who's defending anything Trump did?''
Calling him names feels reductionist, convenient'--as if we'd rather lounge in the comfort of our own echo chambers than deal with the vexing and even annoying challenges that he's made a career of raising. ''Alan Dershowitz is one of the good guys,'' Kuby says bluntly. What does it say about us if we cast him out?
One's bottom line on this ultimate question almost certainly turns on one's perception of the gravity of the current threat to democracy. Perhaps Alan Dershowitz has a greater capacity than the rest of us to separate the transient anxieties of this moment from the bigger risks, and perhaps history will look back upon the Trump presidency as the sort of challenge that demonstrates the resilience of a liberal democracy'--a seminal ethical moment like the Skokie marches or the Nuremberg trials, in which society protects procedural rights as it simultaneously expresses profound disagreement with those whose rights are being protected.
Or perhaps the democratic project is under existential threat'--and history, if it survives as an independent academic enterprise, will look back pityingly upon civil libertarians who coddled power with their concerns about prosecutorial overreach while a fundamentally corrupt president undermined the great American project.
For his part, Dershowitz is optimistic. ''I think the fear is not substantial,'' he said of the threat to democracy. ''The media is very strong. We're seeing some Republicans draw red lines. We're seeing the academy stand up to him.'' If anything, Silverglate sees our treatment of Trump as the threat, and thinks Dershowitz does too. ''I have no doubt Alan feels danger to this society if Trump is run roughshod over,'' he said.
Others take a darker view, as a raft of seriously argued recent books about Trump and democracy attest. In How Democracies Die, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt identify four warning signs that a leader puts democracy at risk: a weak commitment to democratic rules, denial of the legitimacy of opponents, toleration of violence, and a willingness to curb civil liberties or the media. ''With the exception of Richard Nixon,'' they write, ''no major-party presidential candidate met even one of these four criteria over the last century.'' On the other hand, ''Donald Trump met them all.''
In this framework, empowering Trump'--even as a matter of dispassionate intellectual principle'--brings us one step closer to a regime that erases the very values that Dershowitz says he's defending. ''I fear Dershowitz has allowed his celebrity to stand as an apology for a great danger to the civil liberties he claims to cherish,'' said Northeastern Law School professor Michael Meltsner, former first assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. ''Alan is fiddling while Washington burns.''
Kuby said grand concerns with democracy are part of the reason he recently left talk radio. ''Someday my grandchildren will ask, 'Grandpa, what did you do in those extraordinary times.' I didn't want my answer to be, 'I entertained many of his supporters on radio while I made a lot of money.'''
Neuborne said, ''I think we're in about as risky a place as we've been in my lifetime.'' Dershowitz, he says, has convinced himself that ''only he can be the arbiter of principle, which is a dangerous psychological place to be. I've been there myself.'' But Neuborne takes heart in the upsurge of interest in the democratic process. ''I think the country is going to heal itself, and that's why I'm so sad about Alan. He could be part of the healing process instead of making the festering wound even worse.''
PARIS (AP) '-- France's lower house of parliament approved Thursday a small, pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook '-- and the French government hopes other countries will follow suit.
The bill aims to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-tax EU countries. Currently, the companies pay nearly no tax in countries where they have large sales like France.
The bill foresees a 3% tax on the French revenues of digital companies with global revenue of more than 750 million euros ($847 million), and French revenue over 25 million euros.
The bill adopted by the National Assembly goes to the Senate next week, where it is expected to win final approval.
The tech industry warns it could lead to higher costs for consumers.
It could affect U.S. companies including Airbnb and Uber as well as those from China and Europe. It primarily targets those that use consumers' data to sell online advertising.
The French Finance Ministry has estimated the tax will raise about 500 million euros ($566 million) a year this year but that should increase ''quickly.''
France failed to persuade EU partners to impose a Europe-wide tax on online giants, but is now pushing for an international deal with the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
For all of AP's tech coverage, visit: https://apnews.com/apf-technology
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Congress' Ending Homelessness Act gets push from LA, Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana and Riverside mayors '' Daily News
LOS ANGELES '-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that he plans to lead a coalition of mayors calling on Congress to pass the Ending Homelessness Act.
The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, would direct more than $13 billion to support the work of cities on the front lines of this crisis, deliver vital services to homeless residents and bring the unsheltered indoors, according to a statement from Garcetti's office.
Other mayors supporting this effort include Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
''Cities are fighting hard every day to turn the tide on this humanitarian crisis, and Washington has to match our urgency, our commitment, and the investment we're making to confront it,'' Garcetti said. ''Homelessness is a national emergency that requires federal action, and we need Congress to be part of the solution and supply resources that can bring housing, health care, and hope to Americans suffering on our streets.''
Waters' proposal would create new affordable housing to support people experiencing homelessness. Specifically, the bill provides $5 billion over five years to support 85,000 new permanent housing units. It directs $2.5 billion over five years to new Special Purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which would give preference to people experiencing homelessness and those most at-risk of becoming homeless. And it would add $1 billion to the National Housing Trust Fund, which is expected to create 25,000 new units for extremely low-income households.
In the coming months, Garcetti will lead this coalition to rally support for the legislation in Washington, D.C.; increase the number of cosponsors representing our cities; and testify in favor of the measure before the House of Representatives. Garcetti has proposed a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution endorsing the legislation and calling for its immediate passage.
In addition to the Ending Homelessness Act, Garcetti and his colleagues will push for action on two other pieces of legislation: the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act sponsored by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu that would establish a new $750 million grant program to provide homeless services; and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, which would increase the housing credit allocation by 50 percent and boost affordable housing production by an estimated 450,000 homes over the next decade.
Mayor Adler on Twitter: "Homelessness is a problem that transcends state lines and city limits. This investment at the national level would help a lot. https://t.co/NRteGYEzMR"
California Governor Jerry Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Shutterstock Had California and Germany invested $680 billion into new nuclear power plants instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, the two would already be generating 100% or more of their electricity from clean (low-emissions) energy sources, according to a new analysis by Environmental Progress .
The analysis comes the day before California plays host to a ''Global Climate Action Summit,'' which makes no mention of nuclear, despite it being the largest source of clean energy in the U.S. and Europe.
Here are the two main findings from EP's analysis:
Had Germany spent $580 billion on nuclear instead of renewables, and the fossil plant upgrades and grid expansions they require, it would have had enough energy to both replace all fossil fuels and biomass in its electricity sector and replace all of the petroleum it uses for cars and light trucks. Had California spent an estimated $100 billion on nuclear instead of on wind and solar, it would have had enough energy to replace all fossil fuels in its in-state electricity mix. The finding that Germany could have entirely decarbonized its transportation sector with nuclear is a significant one. That's because decarbonizing transportation is considered a major challenge by most climate policy experts.
Electricity consumed by electric cars will grow 300-fold between 2016 and 2040, analysts predict. That electricity must come from clean energy sources, not fossil fuels, for the transition to electric cars to mitigate climate change.
As a result of their renewables-only policies, California and Germany are climate laggards compared to nuclear-heavy places like France, whose electricity is 12 times less carbon intensive than Germany's, and 4 times less carbon intensive than California's.
France's nuclear-heavy electricity is 12 times less carbon intensive than Germany's, and 4 times less than California's.
EP Thanks to its deployment of nuclear power, the Canadian province of Ontario's electricity is nearly 90% cleaner than California's, according to a recent analysis by Scott Luft , an energy analyst who tracks decarbonization and the power sector.
California's power sector emissions are over twice as high today as they would have been had the state kept open and built planned nuclear plants.
California's political establishment pushed hard to close San Onofre nuclear plant in 2013 '-- triggering an on-going federal criminal investigation '-- and later to close Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which generates 15% of all in-state clean electricity, by 2025.
The political leadership of California and Germany have encouraged other nations to follow their example, and the results have been '-- consistently, following the new EP analysis '-- counter to the ostensible goal of climate protection.
Over the last 20 years the share of electricity from clean energy globally has declined because the increase in electricity coming from solar and wind wasn't enough to offset the decline of nuclear.
Carbon emissions rose 3.2% in California between 2011 and 2015, even as they declined 3.7% in the average over the remaining 49 states.
Ontario's electricity is nearly 90% cleaner than California's.
Scott Luft In 2016, emissions from electricity produced within California decreased by 19%, but 2/3 of that decline came from increased production from the state's hydro-electric dams, due to it being a rainier year, and thus had nothing to do with the state's energy policies, while just 1/3 of the decline came from increased solar and wind.
In the 1960s and 1970s, California's electric utilities had planned to build a string of new reactors and new plants that were ultimately killed by anti-nuclear leaders and groups, including Governor Jerry Brown, the Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC).
Other nuclear plants were forced to close prematurely, including Rancho Seco and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, while Diablo Canyon is being forced to close by California's Renewable Portfolio Standard, which excludes nuclear.
It remains to be seen if recently-passed SB100 , which allows 40% of electricity to be produced from any non-emitting energy source alongside the remaining 60% exclusively from renewables, will motivate the state to save its last nuclear plant.
Had those plants been constructed and stayed open, 73% of power produced in California would be from clean (very low-carbon) energy sources as opposed to just 34%. Of that clean power, 48% would have been from nuclear rather than 9%.
California nuclear abandonments
EP In 2016, renewables received 94 times more in U.S. federal subsidies than nuclear and 46 times more than fossil fuels per unit of energy generated. Meanwhile, a growing number of analysts are admitting that an electricity grid that relies on nuclear power has no need for solar and wind. More troubling, adding solar and wind to a nuclear-heavy grid would require burning more fossil fuels , usually natural gas, as back-up power
As it's become increasingly clear that Germany would not meet its climate targets, it is coming under criticism from leading renewable energy advocates, who may fear that Germany's poor record on climate change discredits renewable energy as a solution for climate change.
''If I were a citizen of Germany, I would be concerned about Germany being left behind,'' said Al Gore, who is a major renewable energy investor in addition to being a climate policy advocate, last June. ''The leadership provided in years past created a reality that now no longer exists.''
''If the world is serious about climate change, we should be keeping existing, safe nuclear power stations open, not shutting them prematurely,'' noted Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Michael Liebreich.
But the new EP analysis underscores that the problem is not just closing plants but also choosing to build solar and wind farms instead of new nuclear power stations.
California's nuclear abandonments locked in fossil fuels.
Build the Wall
Portland, Maine: an unlikely lure for weary migrants
Cots are set up for migrants in The Expo, a sports complex converted into an emergency shelter, in Portland, Maine -- hundreds of Africans have turned the city into an unlikely sanctuary (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)
Portland (United States) (AFP) - Converging from far-flung corners of the earth, and operating by word of mouth and social media, hundreds of African migrants have turned Portland, Maine -- population, 67,000 -- into an unlikely sanctuary.
The Wayemala family is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They heard of the Atlantic port city in the northeastern US state while living in Brazil, where they settled in 2016.
The Muenda family, also from the DRC, learned of Portland through an acquaintance in South Africa, where they had been living as exiles since 2003.
In all, some 300 Congolese and Angolan migrants, lured by a general aid program for asylum seekers, have arrived here in recent months after traveling halfway across the world.
The city is 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) from the US-Mexican border, where a constant flow of Central American and other migrants seeks entry into the United States, in the face of President Donald Trump's strict policies.
But it is nonetheless a new bright spot on the map for migrants looking for a better life.
On June 9, 39 Africans reached Maine by bus after traveling from San Antonio, on the border with Mexico.
That same day, an official from the Texas city warned authorities in Portland that hundreds more were on their way.
And the city got ready to receive them. Its main gym was turned into a shelter with hundreds of cots, and people were rounded up to serve meals and give vaccinations.
Pro-bono lawyers were mobilized, as were volunteers speaking French, Portuguese or Lingala, a language spoken in the DRC.
People in this mainly Democratic state chipped in: a warehouse filled up with clothing, shoes and toys. City hall received more than half a million dollars in donations, including $40,000 from horror novelist Stephen King and his wife, who live in Maine.
Teresa Wayemala and her husband Arthur said that after two tries at living in self-imposed exile since 2015, first in Angola and then in Brazil, they finally felt welcome -- like it could be home.
- 'We lost patience' -
In a soft voice barely audible above the cries of children, Teresa Wayemala recounted the three-month odyssey her family endured traveling from a shantytown in Sao Paulo to the US-Mexico border.
They covered a total of 8,000 kilometers with other migrants making the trek.
Wayemala sits on her cot and feeds her daughter Melissa as she lists the countries they traveled through, mainly by bus: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and then, finally, Mexico.
There were two especially harrowing moments on the trip.
One was crossing the Darien Gap, a swath of swampland and forest that forms the natural border between Colombia and Panama and is known to be infested with dangerous wild animals -- and bandits. Some have died trying to get through it.
Then there was their arrival at the US border with Mexico in mid-April,
The Wayemalas joined thousands of others waiting to file applications for asylum, which the Trump administration handles at what for many is an agonizingly slow pace.
The family slept out in the open and begged for food for six weeks.
Then, Wayemala said, "We lost patience."
At the risk of seeing their bid for asylum scrapped, they made a run for it and crossed the Rio Grande, Melissa riding piggyback.
"I had water up to my chest," Wayemala said.
Ikoko Baseke, a 43-year-old Congolese man who left Kinshasa for Sao Paulo in January, tells an almost identical story of his trek to the storied river that forms the US-Mexico border.
US border agents were waiting for them on the US side in Texas.
- 'I need to rest' -
The Wayemalas were held for six days while authorities processed them and set a court date for their asylum hearing. Then, a charity provided them with free bus tickets and off they went, bound for Portland.
They are hoping to obtain asylum and settle in the United States for good.
"We have moved around a lot," said Mrs. Wayemala. "I need to rest."
Some of the African migrants decided not to test their luck and left for Canada and its more open asylum policy.
Portland is handling the influx as best it can but officials are worried.
The city is hoping for help from surrounding towns and from Democratic Governor Janet Mills, who came to visit the shelter in mid-June.
But it has not yet received anything, said city hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin.
The city's program for asylum seekers provides each family with about $1,500 a month in aid, in the hopes that within six months to a year, the state assistance program will begin.
This combination of two sources of aid is unique and is probably what gave Portland such a good reputation among migrants seeking a new home, Grondin added.
But the city aid program had an annual budget of $200,000 and with around 70 new families to look after, some $1.2 million will be needed next year, she said.
"We are a city of 67 000 people and while we certainly are welcoming and want to continue being welcoming, there is a point where you say, 'What is the capacity that you can hold and what is the financial burden that we can assume?'" Grondin mused.
Trump-Mexico Deal Cuts Release of Illegal Aliens into U.S. by 70 Percent
President Trump's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released about 2,000 border crossers and illegal aliens into the interior of the United States over the last week, a nearly 70 percent drop since the administration reached a deal with Mexico to stem illegal immigration.From June 26 to July 1, DHS released about 2,000 border crossers and illegal aliens into the interior of the U.S. The federal data indicates that on average, over the last six days, DHS is releasing about 333 border crossers and illegal aliens into the country every day.
This is a nearly 70 percent reduction in the process known as ''catch and release'' since Trump struck a deal with Mexico to mitigate mass illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The deal dictates that border crossers seeking asylum in America must return to Mexico while they await their asylum process, rather than being released into the U.S.
Before the Trump administration's deal with Mexico, DHS was releasing more than 1,000 border crossers and illegal aliens into the country every day. Those numbers have steadily declined since June 18. In some of the last days of June, DHS was releasing about 375 border crossers and illegal aliens every day into the U.S.
Overall, since December 21, 2018, DHS has released a total of 213,000 border crossers and illegal aliens into the country. The vast majority, more than 150,000, have been released in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas.
The catch and release process often entails federal immigration officials busing border crossers into nearby border cities '-- as well as flying them into the interior of the country '-- and dropping them off with the hope they show up for their immigration and asylum hearings.
The overwhelming majority of border crossers and illegal aliens are never deported from the country once they are released into the U.S. Today, there are anywhere between 11 million and 22 million illegal aliens living across the country '-- the majority of which are concentrated in states like California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.
Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has detailed exclusively at Breitbart News three executive actions the Trump administration and DHS officials could take to immediately end catch and release '-- including creating additional detention space where immigration court hearings can be heard quickly. Kobach has also warned that wage hikes for America's blue-collar and working class will not continue while illegal immigration levels continue soaring at current rates.
Every year, the U.S. admits about 1.2 million legal immigrants with the overwhelming majority, nearly 70 percent, coming through the process known as ''chain migration,'' whereby newly naturalized citizens are allowed to bring an unlimited number of foreign nationals to the country. The mass inflow of legal immigrants is in addition to the hundreds of illegal aliens who are added to the U.S. population annually.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.
(Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Friday mass deportation roundups would begin ''fairly soon'' as U.S. migrant advocates vowed their communities would be ''ready'' when immigration officers come.
Trump, who has made a hardline immigration stance a key issue of his presidency and 2020 re-election bid, postponed the operation last month after the date was leaked, but on Monday he said it would take place after July 4.
''They'll be starting fairly soon, but I don't call them raids, we're removing people, all of these people who have come in over the years illegally,'' he told reporters at the White House on Friday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month said operations would target recently-arrived undocumented migrants in a bid to discourage a surge of Central American families at the southwest border.
ICE said in a statement its focus was arresting people with criminal histories but any immigrant found in violation of U.S. laws was subject to arrest.
Government documents published this week by migrant rights groups showed some past ICE operations resulted in more so-called ''collateral'' arrests of undocumented migrants agents happened to find, than apprehensions of targeted people.
Migrant rights groups said this generalized threat is harmful to communities, and the U.S. economy, as it forces adults to miss work and children to skip school out of fear they may be picked up and separated.
''We have to be ready, not just when Trump announces it, because there are arrests every day,'' said Elsa Lopez, an organizer for Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a New Mexico group which educates migrants on their civil rights and creates phone networks to send alerts if ICE enters their neighborhood.
The threatened raids come after migrant apprehensions on the southwest border hit a 13-year high in May before easing in June as Mexico increased immigration enforcement.
A rising number of migrants are coming from outside Central America, including India, Cuba and African countries. The Del Rio, Texas, Border Patrol sector on Friday reported the arrest of over 1,000 Haitians since June 10.
Slideshow (3 Images) Democratic lawmakers visited an El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol station on Monday and said migrants were being held in ''horrifying'' conditions, with women told to drink out of a toilet.
To ''dispel'' what he called ''the misinformation,'' Chief Border Patrol Agent Roy Villareal put out a video showing fresh water available from a cooler and a faucet in a cell at a Tucson, Arizona, sector migrant processing center.
''We're not forcing aliens to drink out of the toilet,'' said Villareal, head of an area that in May apprehended nearly six times fewer people than the El Paso sector, a stretch of border that has borne the brunt of the migrant surge.
Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Leslie Adler & Shri Navaratnam
Widespread Voting Fraud Scheme Targets Los Angeles' Homeless - NBC4 Washington
Prosecutors have accused the group of 14 felonies for a variety of alleged acts during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles By Eric LeonardPublished Jun 30, 2019 at 2:37 AM NEWSLETTERS Receive the latest national-international updates in your inboxAn indictment unsealed in Los Angeles charged nine people accused of participating in voting fraud schemes '-- in which homeless people were allegedly offered cash or cigarettes in exchange for forged signatures on initiative petitions and voter registration forms.
Seven of the accused pleaded not guilty early Friday. The two others have not yet appeared in court on the new case.
Prosecutors have accused the group of 14 felonies for a variety of alleged acts during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, including charges of circulating an initiative with forged or fictitious names, signing fictitious names, registering fictitious persons, and making payment for signatures, according to the indictment. None of the defendants faces all of the charges.
The alleged scheme was first reported by NBCLA last year, when officers from the LAPD's Central Division arrested several people who appeared to be offering cash to homeless people along Skid Row. Undercover officers approached and witnessed some of the transactions, police said.
Some of those first arrested were quickly released from jail amid confusion about the nature of the case, law enforcement officials told NBCLA. Felony charges were initially filed last November after FBI agents joined the investigation.
The LA County District Attorney's Office said each of the defendants could face more than four years in prison if convicted.
Bladder cancer destroyed by the common cold virus, researchers say '-- RT UK News
A strain of the common cold has successfully targeted and destroyed bladder cancer cells, an exciting study has revealed. The surprising results suggest the simple cold could revolutionize future cancer treatment.
Scientists from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital took a naturally-occurring strain of the common cold, coxsackievirus (CVA21), and used it on 15 cancer patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). The disease is the 10th most common cancer in the UK.
Also on rt.com Cancer patients welcome breakthrough 'living drug' that reprograms immune systems to fight disease The patients were given CVA21 through a catheter in their bladders a week before they were scheduled to undergo surgery to remove their tumors.
Examining the samples after surgery, the scientists could see that the virus only targeted the cancerous cells, infecting them and then replicating itself, causing the cancer cells to rupture and die. Urine samples taken during the trial showed 'shedding' from the virus, which demonstrates that the replicated virus continued to target and attack other cancerous cells in the body.
Also on rt.com Blood donation breakthrough sees scientists convert all types to O using gut bacteria NMIBC currently requires intrusive and lengthy treatment that is ''ineffective and toxic in a proportion of patients,'' study lead Hardev Pandha explained.
The cold virus appears to inflame the tumor, which prompts immune cells to target and kill the cancer cells. Normally, bladder tumors don't have immune cells so the body's immune system doesn't attack the cancer.
Also on rt.com 9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez dies from Ground Zero-related cancer The majority of the patients' tumors were found to have cell death, and in one patient, there was no trace of the cancer found during surgery after just one week of treatment. No significant side effects were found in any of the patients.
''Oncolytic viruses such as the coxsackievirus could transform the way we treat cancer and could signal a move away from more established treatments such as chemotherapy,'' Nicola Annels, Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, said.
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Amazon Seeks Permission to Launch 3,236 Internet Satellites
Amazon wants the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to give it the go-ahead to launch 3,236 satellites that would be used to establish a globe-spanning internet network. Seeking Alpha reported that Amazon expects "to offer service to tens of millions of underserved customers around the world" via the network, which the company is developing under the code-name Project Kuiper.
News of Project Kuiper broke in April, when Amazon uncharacteristically confirmed its work on the project to GeekWire. The company often declines to comment on reports concerning its plans; it seems the development of thousands of internet-providing satellites is the exception. The company had yet to seek FCC approval for the project, though, which is what Seeking Alpha reported today.
So what does this plan to offer space internet with a weird name actually involve? Amazon explained in April:
''Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world. This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision.''
Expanding Internet access has become something of an obsession among tech companies. Google offers fiber Internet services as well as its own cellular network, Facebook scrapped plans to offer internet access via drones in June 2018, and Amazon isn't the only company hoping to use low Earth orbit satellites to allow previously unconnected people to finally join the rest of the world online. It's a bit of a trend.
Project Kuiper could potentially bring Amazon closer to Blue Origin, the space exploration company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, should they collaborate on the satellite network. Even if the companies don't, connecting more people to the Internet could be a boon for Amazon. The company wouldn't necessarily have to convince those people to buy things from its marketplace, either, thanks to the variety of digital services it offers.
Everyone's going to the moon again. But why? | Science | The Guardian
A t 2.51am on Monday 15 July, engineers at India's national spaceport at Sriharikota will blast their Chandrayaan-2 probe into orbit around the Earth. It will be the most ambitious space mission the nation has attempted. For several days, the four-tonne spacecraft will be manoeuvred above our planet before a final injection burn of its engines will send it hurtling towards its destination: the moon.
Exactly 50 years after the astronauts of Apollo 11 made their historic voyage to the Sea of Tranquillity, Chandrayaan-2 will repeat that journey '' though on a slightly different trajectory. After the robot craft enters lunar orbit, it will gently drop a lander, named Vikram, on to the moon's surface near its south pole. A robot rover, Pragyan, will then be dispatched and, for the next two weeks, trundle across the local terrain, analysing the chemical composition of soil and rocks.
The Indian spaceship will not be alone on the lunar surface, however. China's Chang'e-4 has been operating flawlessly since it landed on the far side of the moon in January. Its arrival was later followed by the appearance of Beresheet, a probe built by the Israeli non-profit organisation SpaceIL. It reached the moon in April but crash-landed. SpaceIL has since announced that it intends to have another shot.
At the same time, the US has pledged to set up lunar laboratories in the near future, while Europe and Russia have also revealed plans to launch complex missions. Suddenly, everyone's going to the moon.
But why? What has suddenly made Earth's main satellite so popular? After Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's historic mission in July 1969, public and political interest in future human space flight evaporated rapidly. Already bogged down in a vastly expensive war in Vietnam, the US government abandoned its Apollo programme.
The decision disappointed scientists but, given that Apollo was costing 4% of the US federal budget at the time, the cancellation was not surprising. Since then there have been only a handful of robot missions to the moon, and human ventures have been restricted to missions in low Earth orbit, with special attention being given to the International Space Station. However, that focus now appears to be changing to more distant goals.
One reason for this shift is that the moon's exploitation has simply reached a stage that mirrors past explorations on Earth, says David Parker, director of human and robotic exploration for the European Space Agency. He sees particular parallels with our conquest of the south pole.
''The timetable of the exploration of Antarctica mirrors that of the moon in an uncannily close manner,'' Parker says. ''At the beginning of the century, there was a race to reach the south pole and then no one went back for 50 years '' just like the moon in the 60s. Then we started building bases in Antarctica. We are now approaching that stage with our exploitation of the moon.''
Antarctica was opened up by technological advances '' motorised vehicles, air transport, radio, and other developments '' that are mirrored in the new sciences of machine learning, sensor technology and robotics. These promise to transform lunar colonisation in one crucially important way: by reducing the need for the continual presence of humans in hostile environments.
''There is a huge cost gap between manned and unmanned missions, and it is increasing all the time,'' says Britain's astronomer royal, Martin Rees. ''With each advance in robots and miniaturisation there is less need to put a man or woman into space or on to the moon, and that saves money.'' For a space agency like Nasa, which has to manage on a budget that is little more than 10% of funding in its heyday, that is certainly a key issue.
And the success of China's Chang'e-4 probe provides an example of what can be achieved without human involvement. It is the first vehicle ever to alight on the moon's far side, and has continued to operate without problems, despite having to survive prolonged periods when temperatures have plummeted to below minus 180C during lunar nights. (These last for 14 Earth days. Apollo schedules were planned to make sure astronauts landed only during daytime on the moon.)
Exploiting these advances in robotics to aid human activity on the moon will form the backbone of the forthcoming US Lunar Gateway project. Nasa plans to use America's giant Space Launch System rockets and Orion crew-carrying capsules '' both in the final stages of development '' to build a smaller version of the International Space Station that would orbit the moon. Partners from Europe, Canada, Japan and other countries have been invited to take part in Gateway, which would be constructed over the next decade.
Gateway would be used by astronauts to operate robots working on the lunar surface a few dozen kilometres below them. These automated machines would be used to set up radio telescopes, to harvest minerals, to search for ice and water and to study how lunar rocks could be used as building materials for a lunar colony. Ultimately a craft would one day carry humans down to work on the moon in colonies prepared for them by robots.
''And that is good news for Europe,'' adds Parker. The European Space Agency is collaborating with Nasa over Gateway's construction '' by providing the propulsion units for the Orion spaceships that will ferry astronauts to the Gateway station in lunar orbit. ''We should therefore be in a strong position to have a European astronaut taken to the moon,'' he says.
The scientific gains from studying the moon from missions such as Gateway would be considerable, says Jeffrey Kargel, at the Planetary Science Institute in Tuscon, Arizona '' a scientist who is particularly keen to exploit the moon's geological history. On Earth, tectonic processes have wiped out rock records before 3.8 billion years ago. ''But on the moon we already know that Earth-derived meteorites [rocks blasted out from an impact with Earth] are preserved in accessible samples gathered by Apollo astronauts,'' Kargel says. ''From early Earth meteorites we could learn about the origins of our planet's continents, the first traces of an ocean on Earth, the composition of the primordial atmosphere '' and the origin of life.''
Parker is equally enthusiastic about the moon's potential for study. ''It has lain virtually undisturbed for the last 4.5 billion years,'' he says. ''It is a museum of the history of the solar system.'' He argues that the potential rewards from such a lunar outpost mirror those already gained from bases set up in Antarctica. ''The hole in Earth's ozone layer was discovered by polar scientists who are also doing crucial work on the impact of climate change and global warming on our planet. That is the kind of return we could get from setting up Gateway.''
There are other reasons to return to the moon, however. For many space enthusiasts, its exploration and exploitation is necessary if we are to make the next giant step in space: sending men and women to Mars.
''That is the real goal for humanity,'' says Parker. ''However, getting humans there safely is going to be an incredibly difficult undertaking. We will have to learn first how to conquer the moon.''
Soon there will be a time when there are no humans left with first-hand memory of another world. I will find that sad
In building and running the International Space Station, humans have learned how to master space close to Earth. It orbits about 400 kilometres above the Earth, says Parker. ''By contrast, the moon orbits 400,000 kilometres distant from the Earth, a thousand times farther away. Mastering a hostile environment that distant will require us overcoming all sorts of technological hurdles. Then we will be better armed when we start looking at Mars, which is 400 million kilometres away '' a million times farther from Earth than the space station. This is going to be a long process.''
Rees sounds a note of caution. ''There is a tendency to see Mars as the solution to all our problems on Earth. We will just move on to a new planet and save our species. But that is a dangerous delusion. We have to solve Earth's problems here and now. Coping with climate change may seem daunting but it will be a doddle compared with surviving on Mars.''
However, there is another, more poignant reason for returning to the moon and it is one that focuses on the individuals who visited 50 years ago. Only six Apollo missions made it to the lunar surface, each crewed by two men. Thus only 12 humans have ever walked on the moon. They all were male; were born in the 20s and 30s in midwest America; were either only children or the eldest in their families '' and, with the exception of Apollo 15's James Irwin, all had been Boy Scouts. On their way to and from the moon, each earned $8 a day, minus a fee for a bed on their Apollo spacecraft.
The crucial point is that these are the only humans who have ever had first-hand experience of standing on another world and only four of them are still alive: Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin (now aged 89), Apollo 15's David Scott (87), Apollo 16's Charles Duke (83) and Apollo 17's Harrison Schmitt (84).
''Given their age I think we could soon find ourselves in a time when there are no humans left with first-hand memory of another world,'' added Rees. ''Like millions of other people, I will find that sad.''
The question facing space scientists is therefore straightforward: is there a chance another human might walk on the surface of the moon before the last Apollo moonwalkers die? Until recently, the answer would have been ''probably not''. The timetable for Gateway's construction was modest and slow, and astronauts would probably not have used it to reach the lunar surface for at least a decade.
But that timetable was recently thrown into confusion when the US vice-president, Mike Pence, announced in March that the White House was directing Nasa to accelerate the human component of the Gateway project so that astronauts could fly down to the moon's surface by 2024. Many doubt that this will be possible. No lander craft to make this descent has yet been designed, for example.
Nevertheless there is the prospect that this change of timetable will allow a US astronaut in the near future to step on to the lunar surface so that a surviving Apollo astronaut will witness another human following in their footsteps.
The crucial point is that when the Apollo astronauts were flying to the moon, it seemed science fiction had come true, says Rees. ''It would be good if we can bring back that sense of wonder, if nothing else.''
Lame Cherry: Who really was behind Donald Trump's Presidency?
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Who knew after a year, in 2018 AD in the year of our Lord, that there was a controversy as to the identity of QAnon. Yes the person who said Hillary Clinton would be arrested.........this is a recent photo of Hamrod.......was outed after an absence in QAnon did not originate as a college boy version of Ulsterman, but was instead John F. Kennedy jr.The story was JFK faked his death a decade ago, and teamed up with Donald Trump to invoke an intricate plane to bring down the Deep State that blew his father's brains out in Dallas all over his Mum.The followers or Q though scoured the net as the stories went, and found pictures of John John at Trump rallies. Of course this was all discounted as Q reappeared on the scene and denounced RANON in trying to hide the fact that he was or was not John John, but someone was John John.In looking for evidence of this, I believe I have solved the mystery of Qanon and Ranon.What was the first clue in this was this photo of an elderly man at a Trump rally behind Donald Trump.It is astonishing in the man over Donald Trump's left shoulder looks familiar. Here is a blow up.Nom de Deus, this looks like John Kennedy Sr., if he had not died at Dallas, and has been in hiding all of these years. Yes this photo looks like a 100 year old JFK. Have we discovered the source of QAnon, who set up the take down of the Deep State, but John Kennedy himself?Was the story that on the operating table, JFK did not die, that he indeed did survive, went into hiding under the name John Q. Public, did therapy and has been biding his time to seek revenge on his assassins.It was then this photo of President Trump at another rally which was astounding, in again the face looks familiar in back of Donald Trump.In a blow up, the face is that of John John, if he really was not dead, had faked his death as Ranon stated, in order to take on the Deep State, but now with graying hair.Until July, QAnon supporters believed that “Q,” the anonymous online forum poster whose cryptic clues make up the conspiracy theory, was a high-ranking Trump administration official, or maybe even Trump himself. But now, a good portion of QAnon believers have become convinced that Q is none other than JFK Jr, even though he died in a plane crash nearly 20 years ago. In late July, whatever person or group is behind “Q” returned to posting and denounced “R,” its newfound rival for impressionable Trump supporters. Still, the Kennedy theory persists among a segment of QAnon believers.This all fits in QAnon began as a brat snowflake pedaling his daddy's deep state cover for tells, but was soon taken over by John Kennedy. JFK in the interim, suffered from an acute attack of lobster bisque. I know it sounds rare, but that is the story, and here is the proof.Jackie Kennedy Martha's Vineyard house for sale for $65 ... https://www.cbsnews.com /news/jackie-kennedy-marthas-vineyard-house-for-sale-for-65-million/ The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Martha's Vineyard Estate is listed for sale for $65 million. Her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, decided to sell because her children are grown. The compound includes a ...John Kennedy has been living in seclusion at Jackie's home at Martha Vineyard since he went into hiding. It was the lobster allergy which brought this all to a head, and he demanded that Carry sell that house as the smell of lobster would bring out the epipen.It was during this episode that John John reappeared as the guiding hand of Donald Trump as Ranon. This brought about the feud between Sr. and Jr. as Sr. recovered and wants to put Obama into prison for being a Birther and grant Hillary immunity to testify about Benghazi, but Jr. wants to put Hillary into prison and have Obama provide the damning testimony on Russian hacking. Jr. wants to honor Ted Kennedy who put the Kennedy mantel on Birther Hussein, but JFK is furious that Teddy put the mantel on Obama.Has the shadowy head known as the Control, who has been behind all of this, been John F. Kennedy. And get this for this barn burner in look at this photo from Facebook. The guy in the lower right looks just like Bobby Kennedy.Yes!!! RFK faked his own death too, to bide his time to found Facebook and use it as the mechanism to bring down the Deep State from within.Yes it was RFKanon who founded 4 Chan and 8 Chan the platform where his brother JFKanon as QAnon as the Kennedy Triumvirate backed Donald Trump to be their man to bring down the Deep State that put the hits out on the Kennedy's.Yes seeing is believing. The mystery of the anonymous has been solved. Who knew it was the final chapter in the Kennedy saga.Nuff SaidagtG
Queens District Attorney Primary Race Takes Surprise Twist - WSJ
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz took a surprise lead in the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney Wednesday night following a paper and affidavit ballot count.
Ms. Katz, who had the party's endorsement in the race, had trailed insurgent candidate Tiffany Cabn by more than 1,100 votes after the initial tally of the voting machines from the June 25 primary but before the New York City Board of Elections began the ballot count.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz took a surprise lead in the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney Wednesday night following a paper and affidavit ballot count.
Ms. Katz, who had the party's endorsement in the race, had trailed insurgent candidate Tiffany Cabn by more than 1,100 votes after the initial tally of the voting machines from the June 25 primary but before the New York City Board of Elections began the ballot count.
Ms. Katz now holds a slim 20-vote lead over Ms. Cabn after Wednesday's count. The board counted more than 6,000 paper and affidavit ballots and invalidated about 2,500.
The narrow lead has forced a manual recount to officially call the primary. However, Ms. Katz declared herself the winner Wednesday.
''We said from the beginning that every vote needs to be counted and that every voter needs to be heard, and now we see clearly why this must always be the case,'' Ms. Katz, 53 years old, said Wednesday night.
Ms. Cabn, a 31-year-old public defender, campaigned on a platform of overhauling the criminal justice system, prosecuting fewer crimes and giving shorter sentences. She had declared victory on the night of the primary, in which seven candidates vied to be the Democratic candidate for the borough's top prosecutor.
Ms. Cabn's campaign said Wednesday night that it was reviewing the roughly 2,500 affidavit ballots that weren't counted by the board.
"Queens voters are inspired by Tiffany Cabn's campaign and her vision for real criminal justice reform,'' campaign spokeswoman Monica Klein said. ''If every valid paper ballot vote is counted, we are confident we will prevail."
A manual recount'--in which the Board of Elections goes through every scanned vote'--is expected next week, board spokeswoman Valerie Vasquez-Diaz said.
Board of Elections officials on Wednesday counted the ballots until 9 p.m. before the new results were released, going through the affidavit and paper ballots for each district.
Ms. Vasquez-Diaz said that the board reviews every vote and that the affidavits are also given to each campaign to review. A vote can be invalidated or not counted if the voter is registered in a different party, or doesn't live in Queens or for other reasons, she said.
The Queens DA's race gained national attention, with Ms. Cabn receiving the endorsement of Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took down longtime Queens power broker Joseph Crowley in a primary race in 2018.
Write to Katie Honan at Katie.Honan@wsj.com
VIDEO - Roland: Attacks On Sen. Kamala Harris' 'Blackness' Is 'Black Self-Hate Cloaked In Black Self-Love' - YouTube
CHICAGO -- At least 5 people have been killed and 57 others wounded in gun violence across Chicago over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
More than 1,500 police officers will work extra hours or on special schedules this weekend to try and put a stop to the violence that seems to come with every July Fourth in Chicago.
The latest shooting happening Sunday morning in Lawndale.
Police say a 28-year-old man was wounded in a shooting Sunday in Lawndale.
He was walking on a sidewalk about 2:15 a.m. in the 1500 block of South Homan Avenue when a male approached on foot and opened fire, Chicago police said.
The man was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the back, police said.
No arrests have been reported. Area Central detectives are investigating.
Four people were wounded in a separate shooting Sunday morning in Englewood on the South Side, according to police.
They were outside about 1:10 a.m. in the 600 block of West 61st Place when someone unleashed gunfire and struck them, Chicago police said.
A 37-year-old man who was hit in the legs tried to drive to a hospital in a silver Chrysler 300 but crashed at Union Avenue and 61st Place, police said. He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in fair condition. Another man, 27, was shot in the buttocks and armpit, police said. He was taken to the same hospital in critical condition.
A man and woman, both 25, were taken to Stroger Hospital, police said. The man had gunshot wounds to the back and buttocks, and his condition was stabilized. The woman was grazed in the buttocks and is in good condition.
Police don't have a description of the shooter.
Area South detectives are investigating.
Chicago police say a 14-year-old girl was shot in the foot Sunday in Calumet Heights on the South Side.
She was sitting in a parked vehicle about 1:04 a.m. in the 9100 block of South Luella Avenue when a male unleashed gunfire from a gangway, police said.
Police say a relative took the teen to Trinity Hospital. Her condition was stabilized.
Area South detectives are investigating.
A major city holiday celebration ended in a chaotic scene as three people were stabbed and more than a dozen others were trampled in a stampede after a fireworks display at Navy Pier.
RELATED: 5 shot in WoodlawnIn fatal gun violence, a man was killed and another wounded Friday evening in Austin on the West Side. They were standing on a sidewalk in the 300 block of North Laramie Avenue at 7 p.m. when two males approached on foot and fired shots, Chicago police said. The shooters left in a gray car.
A 40-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died, police said. The Cook County medical examiner's office has not released his name. A 65-year-old man was shot in his face, arm and back of the head, police said. He was taken in critical condition to the same hospital.
Before dawn Friday, two people were killed in separate incidents within minutes of each other.
About 2:55 a.m., a 22-year-old woman was on the street in the 4200 block of South Wells Street in Fuller Park when a male approached her and shot her in the head, police said.
Akeelah D. Addison was pronounced dead at the scene, police and the Cook County medical examiner's office said. She lived in Marquette Park. According to social media posts, Addison was the niece of Felon Smith, the woman fatally struck by Red Line train as she retrieved a dropped cellphone.
Less than 10 minutes earlier, a man was killed and a woman hurt in a double shooting in Austin on the West Side.
They were involved in a fight about 2:47 a.m. Friday outside in the 900 block of North Lavergne Avenue when a male pulled out a gun and opened fire, police said. Oliver Booth, 37, was struck in the chest, authorities said. An acquaintance took him to West Suburban Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The 32-year-old woman was hit twice in the arm and took herself to Stroger Hospital, police said. Her condition was stabilized.
RELATED: 2 shot while setting off fireworks on West SideOn Thursday, another man was killed and three other people were wounded in Humboldt Park on the West Side. The group was standing outside about 11:30 a.m. near Iowa Street and Homan Avenue when a car drove by and someone inside fired shots, police said.
A 32-year-old man was killed, authorities said. The medical examiner's office has not released details. A 31-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the body and a 23-year-old man was shot in the leg.
Before dawn Thursday, a woman was killed after struggling over a weapon in a home in West Garfield Park. About 1:30 a.m., 34-year-old Lisheka Haggard was with a male inside a home in the 4300 block of West Wilcox Street when one of them pulled out a gun, authorities said. The weapon discharged as the two fought over it, police said. Haggard was hit in the head and was pronounced on the scene. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Additionally, five people were injured in a single shooting shortly after 2 a.m. Friday in Woodlawn on the South Side. Officers responded to reports of shots fired and arrived to find multiple people wounded.
An 18-year-old woman who was struck in the chest and arm was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, police said. An 18-year-old man was taken to the same hospital with gunshot wounds to his leg and chest. Both of their conditions were stabilized.
A 33-year-old man who was shot twice in the back was also taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition, police said.
A 20-year-old woman was struck in the ankle and took herself to Stroger Hospital, and a 26-year-old man was taken to the same hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg, police said. Both were in good conditions.
At least 20 others have been hurt by gun violence across Chicago since 12 a.m. on the Fourth of July.
WLS-TV contributed to this report (Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2019.)
VIDEO - Former Census Director: Citizenship Question To Hurt 2020 Accuracy : NPR
Host Michel Martin talks with former U.S. Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt about how public trust in the census has been affected by the battle over a citizenship question.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We're just over halfway through 2019, which means we are that much closer to 2020 and the once-in-a-decade census required by the U.S. Constitution. And President Trump is still pushing for one more question despite the Supreme Court's decision to block it. He said this yesterday.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're doing everything. We're finding out everything about everybody. Think of it. $15 to $20 billion, and you're not allowed to ask them are you a citizen.
MARTIN: Critics say that the question - are you a citizen of the United States? - seems simple enough, but it actually isn't. They say it will likely lead to less participation, particularly among immigrants and perhaps other minorities. And some critics go even further and have gone to court, saying that's exactly the reason the president and his allies want it.
Kenneth Prewitt knows this issue well. He was the director of the 2000 census. In January, he and five other former census directors sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, to say that adding the citizenship question would likely hurt the accuracy of the census. And Kenneth Prewitt is with us now. Professor Prewitt, thanks so much for joining us.
KENNETH PREWITT: Certainly.
MARTIN: So as we mentioned, the Trump administration is still trying to find a way to add this question to the census. We understand that the Census Bureau has reportedly already begun printing copies of the census. So, as somebody who's actually overseen this whole process, is this even logistically possible at this point?
PREWITT: Yes, it's logistically possible at an enormous cost - and that budget, of course, hasn't been discussed yet - and it's logistically possible up to a point. It's hard to say exactly what we're talking about, whether what would be happening would be an addendum, whether it would be a new printing on the questionnaire. The printing process, by the way, is huge. Some 2 billion pieces of paper have to be printed before the census mailings start out in early March.
So, yes, it's possible - the enormous investment of money and the possibility of scrambling other things that go on the census. There are dozens of moving parts in the census, not just getting the questionnaire in the hands of the public.
MARTIN: Would you talk a little bit more for people who still don't understand this issue why it is that a question like that could suppress people's willingness to participate?
PREWITT: The current environment in the United States is one of mistrust of government - having nothing to do with the census - and also anxiety about privacy - again, having nothing to do with the census, having to do with the Facebook revelations and so forth and so on. So it's a setting right now - a political setting in which it's kind of very hard to do this job. There's only one definition of a good census, and that's one that counts everyone, correctly, only once and only in the right place. That's what makes for good census.
MARTIN: Is it possible - forgive me for asking you to speculate. Is it possible the damage is already done just by hearing all this discussion around it?
PREWITT: I think a lot of damage has been done. And whether the question is put on or not put on, it'll be very hard to erase that damage. It's in effect. I hate to say this, but it is being described as if it's a tool of partisan interests, whether on the Republican side or the Democratic side. The census has never been part of the partisan process. And once you sort of turn it into something that political parties do for their own interest, then you have done really long-term damage, not just damage to this census but long-term damage.
MARTIN: You earlier raised the question of trust. In 2000, the year 2000, when you were census director, you issued an apology on behalf of the agency for the way that the Census Bureau used the 1940 census data to help round up hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent living in the United States. And, at the time, you wrote, quote, "census tabulations were directly implicated in the denial of civil rights to citizens of the United States who happened also to be of Japanese ancestry," unquote. I wonder if that - well, number one, does that inform how you think about the citizenship question? And do you think that other people have a similar scenario in mind?
PREWITT: The remarkable thing about what happened in 1942, basically, by using 1940 census data with the roundup of the Japanese Americans on the West Coast is that we're still talking about it 70 years later. Every census that comes along - once again, the Japanese case gets brought to the surface. And the argument always is you can't trust the Census Bureau. Look what they did back in 1940. So, yes, it cast a very long dark shadow. This is going to be a census as it's shaping up right now, which will leave a partisan marker on the census I think for a very long time.
MARTIN: You know, one little detail that I learned from the letter that you and the other former directors wrote is that Wilbur Ross, who's the Cabinet secretary of Commerce, under whose authority the census operates - he actually worked for you, that you were his crew leader in 1960. He was an enumerator. And I saw that in a footnote of your letter.
PREWITT: That is true.
MARTIN: That is a funny little detail.
PREWITT: It is a quirk (laughter). It's a quirk. And I wish I had trained him better back in 1960. I actually think Wilbur Ross really gets - when he was doing his own hearings to be confirmed, he said he really liked the census and believed in it. And I believed him. I do think he got caught up in a political process that sooner or later led to sort of misleading the Congress in sworn testimony. We now know that. And I just sort of think it's too bad that that's the way it's played out for him.
MARTIN: If the census is inaccurate, what effect does it have?
PREWITT: Well, if there's a differential undercount, that is, some groups are amiss at higher rates and other groups or some regions, geographic areas are amiss at higher levels in other regions, the amount of money that is tied to census results is in the billions. The amount of that money does not change. Only its allocation changes. So a state or demographic group which is undercounted in the census will get less than its fair share. And, by definition, those which were totally counted at 100% they will get part of an unfair share because they're getting the money that's left over from the people that were not counted.
So that's a big consequence because you're talking about health care. You're talking about transportation systems. You're talking about disaster preparedness. A large number of things which get federal support are allocated on the basis of the fundamental census count.
MARTIN: Is this fixable? Have you observed whether trust having been broken in something like this - is it possible to restore it?
PREWITT: There are going to be two censuses in effect - one of which is a huge outpouring of what we call complete count committees, of efforts on advocacy groups, of mayors, of heads of Chamber of Commerce - a very large network of people are going to try to make this a good census because they understand the value of it. The other thing that's going to be going on is this partisan fight, probably down to the wire, not to April 1 but to December 31 when you have to turn the data in. There will be arguments at that time that the census isn't good enough to use.
So there's a process in which it's going to be very enthusiastic. Contribute to the census. Answer the question when you get it. And then, another process, which is going to be arguing in the background about it was wrong because it had the citizenship question or it was wrong because it did not have it. And that argument will not go away no matter what the answer is.
MARTIN: That's Kenneth Prewitt. He was the director of the 2000 census. He's currently Carnegie professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University. Professor Prewitt, thank you so much for talking with us.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Biden Losing It '' 2015/2016 Russian Meddling ''wouldn't have happened under my watch'''... | The Last Refuge
This is sad'.... hopefully those around him -who care- will stop this soon; before it gets embarrassing for him. Former Vice-President Joe Biden appears on CNN for a friendly interview about his current candidacy. Unfortunately what follows is an exhibition in Biden's growing cognition issues.
Mr. Biden, referencing his position that Russia was meddling in the Brexit, U.S. and EU elections in 2015 and 2016, says those examples would not have happened under his watch:
This is only one snippet of the interview. However, even in this short snippet it's obvious something is wrong. Candidate Biden is losing his ability to cognitively compartmentalize multiple aspects of a conversation simultaneously.
Biden will not be the presidential nominee of the 2020 Democrats. That's clear now.
There have been stories about how the Biden team is increasingly working to keep him away from too much scrutiny. This interview with Chris Cuomo is a case study in: why.
Within political circles and debate prep there is a process called ''murder-boarding'', where you put your candidate in front of a pretend panel of three questioners. As the candidate answers a specific question the job of the two participants is to interrupt and inject related questions prior to the conclusion of the original thought response.
If Biden is in the next debate; and if Crazy, Spank-Me and How begin to challenge Biden during his responses; he will not be able to get through it. He's done.
Now, the DNC may make the decision, or instruct the other candidates, to back-off the Biden attacks; but that approach has limitations and can only help retain his viability for so long. Eventually the issue will overwhelm the ability of those around him to cover and assist.
There may be some twisted political purpose in assigning Biden the role of lead attack against President Donald Trump, but nothing within that motive will be intended to worry about Biden's best interests. He's in a tenuous space right now.
Candidate Biden cannot compartmentalize thought on-the-fly and then reassemble the short term cognition to continue a train of thought on multiple simultaneous issues. If we can see it, those who would be relying on Biden to campaign and interact with an increasingly narrow focused media apparatus can surely also see it.
In my humble opinion, Joe Biden likely won't make it to Iowa.
MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) '-- CBSMiami has learned that Florida-based billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested late Saturday afternoon after being indicted on new charges related to alleged sex crimes involving minors.
A source familiar with the case told CBSMiami, Epstein was arrested under a sealed indictment out of New York, charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. A bond hearing is set for Monday in New York.
He was taken into custody by federal agents at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after his private jet landed there from Paris, according to a CBSMiami source.
That source also told CBSMiami federal agents were at Epstein's New York home executing a search warrant.
Epstein previously evaded similar charges when he secured a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors in Miami.
The charges, contained in a sealed indictment, involve alleged sex trafficking crimes committed between 2002 and 2005, according to law enforcement sources. The indictment alleged that the crimes occurred in both New York and Palm Beach, Florida.
A team of federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, along with some in the public corruption unit, have been assigned to the case.
In November, the Miami Herald reported that when Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was a US attorney in Florida, he gave Epstein the ''deal of a lifetime.'' In a sweeping review of the politically connected billionaire's case, the Herald explained how Acosta had made an agreement with Epstein to avoid major repercussions for the hedge fund manager, even though a federal investigation had identified 36 underage victims.
The report said Acosta had brokered a deal with one of Epstein's attorneys, where he pleaded in 2008 to two state prostitution charges, ultimately serving only 13 months and avoiding a federal trial. He also registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to the victims identified by the FBI.
The agreement, the Herald said, ''essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe'' and further granted immunity to ''any potential co-conspirators'' in the case.
Acosta told CNN in February that he welcomed an investigation by Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility into his handling of Epstein's plea agreement.
Acosta also denied any wrongdoing.
Two months earlier, Epstein settled a separate lawsuit that could have allowed for several of his accusers to tell their stories in open court.
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VIDEO 12min15sec - Update On NXIVM Cult, Black Futures Lab, and Billie Holiday Theatre Presents "Yellowman" | 112BK - YouTube
On Saturday morning, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris let it be known to the crowd at the 2019 Essence Festival in New Orleans that whatever the current president means by ''Make America Great Again,'' she's not going back to it.
''What exactly does 'again' mean?'' Harris questioned. '' Back before the Civil Rights Act? Back before the Voting Rights Act? Back before Roe v Wade? Back before the Fair Housing Act?''
''Well, Essence, we're not going back,'' she said to raucous applause. ''In fact, it is time to turn the page. And it is time to write the next chapter.''
Harris also emphasized the need to pay close attention to Black life, underlining pivotal work done by the Black Census Project; led by civil rights activist Alicia Garza, it is largest survey of Black people conducted in the United States since Reconstruction.
Harris believes that Black life, and by extension, Black people's issues, are America's issues: such as the economy, health care, the racial wealth gap, national security, and more. Some of these entrenched inequities are the fuel behind Harris' $100 billion plan to invest in Black homeownership.
''I'll invest $100 billion to put homeownership within reach for those who rent or live in federally-supported housing,'' Harris said to applause. ''It would help up to 4 million families with down payments and closing costs.''By taking these steps we can shrink the wealth gap between Black and White households by at least one third,'' Harris continued. Still, the former prosecutor was clear that righting the institutional wrongs of the past are but a necessary precursor to shaping a just future.
''We cannot bridge the racial wealth gap just by addressing historical inequities, although we must do that, we also have to write the next chapter.''
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA '' JULY 06: Kamala Harris speaks on stage at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)Harris also used her time to talk about the policies she will push forward as president to fix these issues, reiterating her support for Medicare for All and discussing her signature maternal mortality bill, as well as the news for substantial investment in our education, specifically our HBCUs.
''The fight of Black women has always been fueled and grounded in faith and in the belief of what is possible,'' Harris said. ''We have always built the future that we can see and believe in and fight for.''
She added, ''And that's why Sojourner spoke. It's why Mae flew. It's why Rosa and Claudette sat. It's why Maya wrote. It's why Fannie organized. It's why Shirley ran. And why I stand here as a candidate for President of the United States.''
TOPICS: 2019 ESSENCE Festival
VIDEO - Harris releases $100 billion plan to close racial homeownership gap | TheHill
White House hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris Kamala Devi HarrisTrump slams Biden as a 'reclamation project' who won't win in 2020 What Trump's July 4 speech revealed, beyond his words Why Trump has reason for optimism in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) released a $100 billion plan to invest in black homeownership Saturday, saying the proposal was one step toward closing the overall racial wealth gap.
Harris cited a study saying eliminating racial disparities in homeownership could boost the median black wealth by $32,113 per household and shrink the wealth gap between black and white households by 31 percent. The plan would have similar impacts for Hispanic households.
''So we must right the wrong and, after generations of discrimination, give black families a real shot at homeownership, historically one of the most powerful drivers of wealth,'' Harris told the Essence Festival on Saturday in New Orleans.
The plan would establish a $100 billion-dollar grant through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, of which up to $25,000 can be given to families or individuals to help with down payments and closing costs. Harris's campaign said the grant could benefit up to 4 million families.
The grant is specifically for those who are purchasing a principal residence and have lived for at least 10 years in a historically redlined community. Grantee families cannot have an annual income of more than $100,000 or $125,000 in high-cost areas, and grantee individuals cannot make more than $50,000 or $75,000 in high-cost areas.
Redlining refers to the practice of banks to refuse to lend to poor and minority communities.
Harris's proposal would also strengthen enforcement of anti-discrimination laws to prevent discrimination in home sales, rentals and loans and expand funding for the Housing Education and Counseling program, which provides financial literacy for first-time homeowners.
''By taking these steps, we can shrink the wealth gap between black and white households by at least one-third,'' Harris said Saturday.
Harris, one of three black candidates running in the Democratic presidential primary, has sought to expand her appeal among African American voters in recent weeks, saying after last week's debate that she's still introducing herself to America. She hinted in New Orleans that she will roll out more policies to help close the racial wealth gaps in America.
''In the coming weeks, I'll announce new investments to support black entrepreneurs and business owners by increasing access to capital and credit,'' she said. ''By taking these challenges on, we can close that gap. And that not only lifts up black America; it lifts up all of America.''
VIDEO - HEY TEACHER, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE - YouTube
Starbucks made a huge mistake yesterday and could face a huge boycott!
A group of Tempe police officers was reportedly asked to move or leave a Starbucks coffee shop on the Fourth of July because a customer feels uncomfortable.
Tempre officers association Tweeted:
Don't appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect
Don't appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect pic.twitter.com/oGaDKhlYX3
'-- Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 5, 2019
1/4 A statement from the TOA on The July 4th incident and Starbucks' treatment of police officers:
Yesterday, on Independence Day, six Tempe police officers stopped by the Starbucks at Scottsdale Road and McKellips for coffee. The officers paid for their drinks'...
'-- Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 6, 2019
2/4 and stood together having a cup of coffee before their long 4th of July shift. They were approached by a barista, who knew one of the officers by name, because he is a regular at that location. The barista said that a customer ''did not feel safe'' because of the police'...
'-- Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 6, 2019
3/4 ..presence. The barista asked the officers to move out of the customer's line of sight or to leave.
Disappointed, the officers did in fact leave.
This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request..
'-- Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 6, 2019
4/4.. at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.We know this is not a national policy at Starbucks Corporate and we look forward to working collaboratively with them on this important dialogue.
'-- Tempe Officers Association (@ToaAz) July 6, 2019
The Tempe Officers Association reported that a barista at a Starbucks in the East Valley city approached the five officers who had already purchased their coffees and informed them a customer ''did not feel safe'' with them in the store, asking them to move out of the customer's line of sight or leave the store.
Although the officers did leave, two of them who are veterans were reportedly ''offended and frustrated'' by the incident.
Do you think that Starbucks deserves a boycott after this?
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Social media censorship is suppressing the truth about the dangers of globalism and brutal cultures infiltrating the west. Please share this article wherever you can. It is the only way we can work around their censorship and ensure people receive news about issues that Democrats and the mainstream media suppress.
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VIDEO - Angry CNN panel shreds Trump's Independence Day remarks, calls it 'Schoolhouse Rock' speech | Fox News
It appears that CNN can't take a holiday from its constant bashing of President Trump, as a panel on Thursday ripped the "Salute to America" speech he had just given to a huge Fourth of July crowd.
Following remarks that celebrated America's history and honored the U.S. military, the liberal news network launched a firing squad beginning with former President Obama official and CNN analyst John Kirby saying he was "troubled about the militaristic tone" of the event.
"We were treated to essentially eighth-grade history that was fairly sepia-toned and saccharine in its depth and context. In fact, it was lacking a lot of depth and context and I heard nothing other than a pledge to put the American flag on Mars," Kirby told the panel. "I could have gotten this off of watching 'Schoolhouse Rock' and I frankly didn't need all the militaristic, you know, displays of might. I think it's just, again, not who we are as a country."
TRUMP DEFIES OMINOUS PREDICTIONS WITH SPEECH NONPARTISAN JULY 4TH SPEECH
Senior political analyst Ryan Lizza knocked Trump's speechwriters, saying they "are not the best in the business" and noting that those from other presidencies have been a "whole lot better." He did credit the president, however, for not going on "lunatic tangents."
"Sometimes, it just seems like he's reading from a Wikipedia page about historical events," Lizza said.
Anti-Trump White House reporter April Ryan listed all the negatives things she was "reminded of" during Trump's speech, like the passing of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., when the president spoke about the military. She also connected his remarks about the women's suffrage movement to "voter suppression" taking place today and linked his praise for the Greensboro Lunch Counter protesters in the civil rights movement to his condemnation of the "exonerated" Central Park Five suspects.
"If you didn't know better, this president is trying to recreate his history before he celebrated the military," Ryan elaborated. "If you didn't know better, if you didn't fact-check and go back to what he said or had done about certain issues, it would be a soaring speech. But for someone who covers him day in and day out and understands some of the issues... there are a lot of things in this speech that he '-- it may have been 'Schoolhouse Rock Trump' version, but nonetheless we still have to fact-check and it was his attempt at a soaring moment for history."
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CNN's Phil Mudd also completely trashed the speech.
"On a professional level with over 25 years in national security, I hated it. And on a personal level, I hated it even more," Mudd said. "Can we actually have a day with hamburgers, hot dogs, and a few beers without a politician? Please, one day! And now we can't because now we've got a politician saying, 'Let's celebrate guns and aircraft and forget about the Founding Fathers who talked about being cautious with the standing military."
VIDEO - LOST MOON LANDING FILM REELS FOUND! '' The Rundown Live
A Wednesday panel discussion on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports tried to answer the question of whether a woman can get elected president. The subject began as a result of an article written by MSNBC contributor Lisa Lerer at The New York Times and the Vogue photo shoot that included the all of the Democratic women running for President with the exception of Marianne Williamson.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus began the conversation by stating that the question of female electability will continue until a woman gets elected, a point Mitchell interrupted to agree with. Marcus compared the public's perception of women candidates from, "A woman who is running, isn't that amazing. It's like a zoo animal'' to "we have a woman who is the front-runner and then the nominee, but she lost. Now we have an election that's quite fascinating where it's not one lone zoo animal or even one loan front-runner, but a number of significant, totally legitimate, to be taken seriously."
What the liberal Marcus didn't say was that the "zoo animal" attitude came mostly from liberals who are so caught up in the cult of identity politics that they don't look beyond the candidate's gender and they ignore any warning signs about the candidate's shortfalls and then cry sexism when they lose, a mistake she repeated later when she said that the Democratic women are or should "be taken seriously."
Later in the segment Heidi Przbyla stated that in 2016 it was hard to separate out the misogyny, which was "absolutely" there in 2016, from years of anti-Clinton sentiment, "of a woman who had risen to power and gotten the nomination and isolated that and had a discussion about whether we're ready to elect a woman, that would have been a clearer test case."
Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson then made the point that this entire discussion was essentially meaningless because, "You never get a clear test case on gender or on issues, for that matter. It's candidate versus candidate when you get to the general election and that's how people vote."
In words not often said before at NewsBusters, Euguene Robinson is right. Everybody knows that conservatives are never going to vote for Kamala Harris and that liberals are never going to vote for Nikki Haley. But only liberals and some in the media interpret their candidates losing as "Americans just aren't ready for a female president."
Here is a transcript for the July 3 show:
Andrea Mitchell Live
12:26 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: I want to bring up a subject of Lisa Lerer, our friend and colleague at "The New York Times," writing today that after ''nominating the first woman in history to head a presidential ticket, nearly six months after a wave of energized women swept Democrats into power in the House, and a record number of women run for president, the party still finds itself grappling with the strangely enduring question of the electability of women,'' Ruth? RUTH MARCUS: We're going to be asking this question, people are going to be asking this question'...
MITCHELL: Until a woman gets elected
MARCUS: '... until a woman gets elected. So I see this as an evolution. First it was ''A woman who is running, isn't that amazing. It's like a zoo animal.'' And then we have a woman who is the front-runner and then the nominee, but she lost. Now we have an election that's quite fascinating where it's not one lone zoo animal or even one loan front-runner, but a number of significant, totally legitimate, to be taken seriously womenMITCHELL: And to take them seriously, let me just point out that Vanity Fair has an Annie Leibovitz spread with some wonderful pictures -- I'm sorry, it's in Vogue, Vogue not Vanity Fair. Vogue's profile on the women running with Annie Leibovitz pictures, these wonderful pictures on these women, iconic pictures.
MARCUS: Someday this is not going to be a curiosity. It's going to be a normal fact of life. We're not quite there yet. Every election we get a little bit further.
HEIDI PRZBYLA: You know part of the problem was, Lisa and I covered, along with Andrea, the Hillary Clinton campaign and we absolutely saw and discussed it afterwards, we absolutely saw misogyny on the campaign trail, but it was very hard to separate that out from of just anti-Clinton, decades worth of anti-Clinton sentiment in the country and to separate out, so if you just took a pure example of a woman who had risen to power and gotten the nomination and isolated that and had a discussion about whether we're ready to elect a woman, that would have been a clearer test case because we're always grappling with that question of the legacy of the Clintons as well, we didn't have a perfect test case.
EUGUENE ROBINSON: You never get a clear test case on gender or on issues, for that matter. It's candidate versus candidate when you get to the general election and that's how people vote.