submitted 15 hours ago by Likeitirish
And it works remarkably well.
submitted 15 hours ago by Likeitirish
And it works remarkably well.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the 35-year-old Trainwreck star will no longer play the title role in Sony’s upcoming film based on the popular Mattel doll and will no longer write the screenplay.
“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” Schumer said in a statement. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”
Schumer had signed on to the project in December, with Deadline reporting that Sony chief Tom Rothman personally pitched the script to the actress. Schumer had reportedly completed a rewrite of the script before her exit.
“We respect and support Amy’s decision,” a Sony spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing Barbie to the world and sharing updates on casting and filmmakers soon.”
Sony is hoping to release Barbie on June 29, 2018, though the film does not currently have a director.
The Hollywood Reporter also reported Thursday that Schumer had signed on to star in the dramedy She Came to Me alongside Steve Carell and Nicole Kidman from writer-director Rebecca Miller and OddLot Entertainment.
The actress — perhaps best known for her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer — is set to appear next in Snatched, a mother-daughter comedy co-starring Goldie Hawn due out for release May 12.
Schumer made headlines this week when she took to Instagram to accuse Internet trolls of deliberately tanking the ratings of her Netflix stand-up comedy show, The Leather Special. The stand-up special was flooded with one-star reviews shortly after its release.
MEXICAN AMERICANS WILL NO LONGER BE COVERED FOR THIS UNDER RYANCARE
by Brad Stone (Bantam Press £20)
VALLEY OF THE GODS
by Alexandra Wolfe Simon & Schuster £12.99)
On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, two unknown entrepreneurs were in Washington DC to watch history being made: the swearing-in of America’s first black president.
What they didn’t know was that they too would become history-makers.
Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had just founded an obscure website called Airbedandbreakfast.com, which enabled users to stay — often on airbeds, hence the name — in the homes of strangers.
Geek charm: Dating is different in Silicon Valley
The company would evolve from that simple notion, which they dreamt up as a way of making ‘a few bucks’ from their own San Francisco apartment, into Airbnb, an online hospitality service currently valued at more than $30 billion.
But that week it was still little more than an idea and, with every hotel room in the U.S. capital snapped up, the two men, both in their 20s, used their own website to find cheap accommodation on someone’s floor.
Also at the inauguration were another two entrepreneurs, Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, who were both in their early 30s and already high-achievers, although no one suspected they were about to change the face of global transportation.
Camp, a Canadian with a restlessly busy mind, was trying to entice his friend Kalanick with his latest vision for a business: he wanted to enable anyone with a smartphone to summon a car at the touch of a button.
Their experience that bitterly cold day, as they looked in vain for a taxi to get to an inauguration party, helped to convince Kalanick of the need for what would become Uber.
Now, Uber is valued at $68 bn. It continues to overcome legal challenges, not to mention irate taxi drivers, and has become one of the world’s largest car services. Yet it owns hardly any cars. Similarly, Airbnb can be described as the biggest hotel company on the planet, without owning any actual hotel rooms.
THE UPSTARTS by Brad Stone (Bantam Press £20)
Eight years ago, the four men who wrought this peculiarly 21st century phenomenon were anonymous faces in the Washington DC crowd. Now they are multi-billionaires, and feted by presidents.
In 2014, when Uber needed someone to run media strategy, the company had the clout to hire the very person who had managed Obama’s triumphant 2008 campaign, David Plouffe The Uber story is particularly fascinating, and in a way it began with James Bond.
In 2008, while watching a DVD of his favourite Bond film, Casino Royale, Camp sat up a little straighter during a scene where Daniel Craig, as Bond, was driving through the Bahamas, on the trail of the villain, Le Chiffre.
During the pursuit, Bond glanced down at his mobile phone, checking on a moving icon of his own car on a map.
That image stuck in Camp’s mind; what if he could adapt it for people trying to get round cities?
He was already determined to challenge the way metropolitan taxi firms operated, and had made himself notorious among San Francisco’s yellow-cab companies by habitually calling all of them and taking the first car that arrived.
Uber grew out of his own frustration with waiting times, but to those prosaic origins he added a dash of James Bond. So now, when people summon Ubers, what they see on their phones as the vehicle approaches was inspired by one of Q’s gadgets for 007.
Of course, brilliant ideas are not enough in Silicon Valley, the 1,500 square miles of California that is home to so many hi-tech industries and internet start-ups. They also need funding.
VALLEY OF THE GODS by Alexandra Wolfe Simon & Schuster £12.99)
Stone chronicles some jaw-dropping tales of investors who gambled on Uber and Airbnb and made fortunes, and those who haven’t stopped kicking themselves for declining the opportunity.
Ron Conway, the so-called godfather of Silicon Valley, who acquired fabulous wealth by backing the ‘holy trinity’ of Google, Facebook and Twitter, reckoned that Uber would conk out in the face of too much opposition. He said no, and advised his friends to do likewise.
Conversely, when the venture capitalists at a company called Sequoia recognised the potential of Airbnb, they backed their hunch to the tune of $585,000. The value of their stake, in December 2016, was $4.5bn.
But there is another side to Silicon Valley, and that is explored by Alexandra Wolfe, a Wall Street Journal reporter (and the daughter of celebrated novelist Tom Wolfe), in VALLEY OF THE GODS .
She follows the stories of three young entrepreneurs desperate to become the next Brian Chesky or Travis Kalanick, in the case of one young man by ‘asteroid mining’ — travelling into space to extract valuable minerals from asteroids.
As yet, it doesn’t look like too bright an idea, but maybe its day will come.
Wolfe also documents the curious lifestyle of Silicon Valley, where extreme wealth isn’t outwardly detectable and the richest person in the room ‘is often wearing flip-flops and a hoodie’.
The number of billionaires in Silicon Valley
The funniest manifestation of this is ‘Cougar Night’. Every Thursday evening, women in their 40s, sometimes older, gather at the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel, just a stone’s throw from Stanford University, in the hope of finding themselves a fresh-faced billionaire.
Or maybe not fresh-faced; maybe spotty. Because on Cougar Nights, all the usual predatory practices are overturned.
As Wolfe writes, back home, wherever they come from, these scrawny, bespectacled nerds ‘would be unlikely to score a mate. Here at Cougar Night, women were crawling on just this type of specimen’.
That’s Silicon Valley, where nothing is as it seems, and everyone is trying to guess who is who, and what will happen next . . . but nobody quite knows.
Gwyneth Paltrow is not shy about talking about sex. On her website, the Goop founder has dishes on swingers’ parties, preferred sex toys, lube, and S&M.
In the latest issue of her newsletter — The Sex Issue — the 44-year-old tackles orgasms, more sexy toys, casual sex, and porn.
She also includes a whole article about anal sex, in which she consults an expert to compile a comprehensive guide to the taboo sexual act.
Breaking through the taboo: Gwyneth Paltrow published Goop’s Sex Issue today, which includes an article about anal sex
The dirty: The article includes tips for making the act comfortable, like relaxing sphincter muscles
‘First it was shocking, then it was having a cultural moment, now it’s practically standard in the modern bedroom repertoire — or so a quick scan of any media, from porn to HBO, will tell you,’ the mother-of-two begins her piece. ‘But the reality about anal is not, actually, that everyone’s doing it.’
Though it may not be quite as ubiquitous as the media makes it seem — she cites a CDC report stating that 30 to 40 per cent of heterosexual men and women have tried it — it certainly is becoming less taboo.
‘If anal turns you on, you are definitely not alone,’ she goes on. ‘But its prevalence doesn’t change the fact that it’s the riskiest sexual behavior in terms of HIV and other STDs.’
Speaking to research psychoanalyst and The Guide to Getting it On! author Paul Joannides, Psy.D., she offers up answers to some of the most common questions about the deed.
Honest: Though she opens a frank discussion, the 44-year-old doesn’t speak about her personal experience (pictured with boyfriend Brad Falchuk)
Joannides attitudes the rise in discussion of anal sex to the porn industry moving online.
‘I’d say that by 2005, porn had totally blurred the distinction between a woman’s anus and vagina,’ he said, attributing it to a need for shock value.
While porn brought anal sex more out into the open for heterosexuals, he added, it doesn’t really accurately depict what the act is like. For one thing, women who want to be entered that way have to ‘teach their sphincter muscles to relax’ first.
‘The anus isn’t designed to have a penis thrust up it; nature did not spec it to handle incoming, as she did with the vagina,’ he explained. Lube is also necessary.
Condoms are also often not present in porn, but are even more likely to be needed to prevent STDs when practicing anal — Johannides says women are 17 times more likely to get HIV from anal.
No secrets: Gwyneth (pictured with ex Chris Martin in 2014) is often open about her sex life
There are other risks, too: pain, fecal matter can enter the man’s urethra, and generally making a mess.
‘During anal intercourse you’re basically putting a plunger up someone’s butt. Accidents are likely to happen at one time or another,’ he said.
Finally, Johannides offered some tips for making the experience enjoyable. First, he said, it is necessary that both partners want to participate, and neither is being pressured. Second, it’s necessary to find the right angle, so the penis doesn’t hit the rectal wall.
Third, he warns against having anal sex while drunk or stoned, or using numbing lube, all of which can dull pain.
‘Pain is an important indicator that damage can occur if you don’t make the necessary adjustments, including stopping,’ he explained.
Comprehensive: The new issue also includes articles on porn and orgasms, as well as a shopping guide
If anal sex isn’t enjoyable but the parties are still interested in the region, he suggests using a gloved and lubed finger instead.
In addition to the anal sex guide, the new issue also includes a round-up of sex toys, including a few tried and true favorites that have turned up on Goop gift guides in the past.
There are costumes and lingerie, an intro bondage set, rope and handcuffs, games, vibrators, and even apps.
She also links to a rentable dungeon in Los Angeles (which seems surprisingly well-lit), as well as a $1,800 photography book full of sexy photos.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey facing calls to step down amidst fake account scandal; possibly responsible for 48 million fake accounts to artificially boost Twitter’s popularity, fraud on investors. (investopedia.com)
Univision ratchets up it’s hate speech and pretty much begs for a boycott of all of Univision, and Univision advertisers, by promoting dramatic racist hate diatribe! Univision is the primary promoter of illegal immigration in order to pad voter rolls for the DNC!
| by Brian Anderson
The immigration debate managed to get a whole lot dumber. Univision anchor Jorge Ramos just said that the United States doesn’t actually belong to Americans, but rather Mexican illegal aliens. As you can see, we have no right to enforce our immigration laws because a Mexican newsman says our country doesn’t even belong to us. This is as insane of a liberal argument as there is.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 9, 2017
Ramos was on Tucker Carlson Wednesday and this bile spewed out of his mouth:
“This is our country” said Ramos in a thick Spanish accent.
Ramos, who was born in Mexico, may have become an American citizen in 2008, but there is some confusion over this. That doesn’t really matter because he advocates for open borders and amnesty for all illegal aliens. When he says America is his country, he’s talking as a Mexican and means that Mexicans have just as much a right to be here as actual Americans.
“The interesting thing is that with the Trump administration and many people who supported Donald Trump thinking it is their country, it is a white country and they are absolutely wrong,” Ramos continued.
So according to this illegal alien advocate, any white person who thinks the US is their country is mistaken. Get ready for a great explanation as to why:
“This is not a white country. This is not their country; it is ours and that is precisely what I am saying,” said Ramos.
Okay, maybe that wasn’t a great explanation. As far as I can tell, Ramos feels like white people who were born in the US are no more legitimately American than Mexican illegal aliens. Actually, he seems to indicate that Mexicans have more of a claim on this country than white Americans.
Ramos tries to qualify this nonsense by saying that eventually whites will be a minority in the US so therefore he surmises that America really belongs to Latinos. This is preposterous and it doesn’t really address the fact that he believes that foreign nationals have just as much, if not more, of a right to be here than natural born American citizens.
Ramos goes on to say that America has a responsibility to treat illegal aliens better. It’s unclear what he means by that statement, but going by his previous positions, it’s safe to assume that he thinks we should let them stay and give them all of the benefits that come along with citizenship. Considering that he just stated that the country belongs to illegal aliens it’s not a bad assumption to say that he wants to just open up the border and do away with any sort of immigration enforcement.
Despite a degree from the University of Miami and decades of living in the US, Ramos’ command of the English language is terrible. Maybe he was trying to say something else and it just came out wrong. It seems unlikely because he’s a vocal Trump-hater and illegal alien supporter, but I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. If he actually meant what he said, it’s one of the worst things a person could say about the United States. This country belongs to Americans; not foreigners, not Mexicans, and certainly not illegal aliens.
Of 35,529 FISA warrants sought over the first 34 years of the court’s existence, only 12 have been denied. The first FISA warrant against Donald Trump was denied last June.
By the way, FISA is an acronym for, The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It is a court that meets in secret. It was established to oversee surveillance warrants against foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and the intelligence agencies.
The first FISA request on Trump Tower came AFTER the infamous meeting of Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch on the tarmac at the Phoenix Airport.
The second one came AFTER Wikileaks started publishing the first batch of John Podesta emails.
OBAMAGATE: FISA COURT Records Now in Trump’s Hands Seem To Prove He Was Bugged.
And from Reddit:
Big tech companies pay some of the country’s best salaries. But workers claim the high cost of living in the Bay Area has them feeling financially strained
“I didn’t become a software engineer to be trying to make ends meet,” said a Twitter employee in his early 40s who earns a base salary of $160,000. It is, he added, a “pretty bad” income for raising a family in the Bay Area.
The biggest cost is his $3,000 rent – which he said was “ultra cheap” for the area – for a two-bedroom house in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He’d like a slightly bigger property, but finds himself competing with groups of twentysomethings happy to share accommodation while paying up to $2,000 for a single room.
“Families are priced out of the market,” he said, adding that family-friendly cafes and restaurants have slowly been replaced by “hip coffee shops”.
Silicon Valley’s latest tech boom has caused rents to soar over the last five years. The city’s rents, by one measure, are now the highest in the world.
The prohibitive costs have displaced teachers, city workers, firefighters and other members of the middle class, not to mention low-income residents.
Now techies, many of whom are among the highest 1% of earners, are complaining that they, too, are being priced out.
The Twitter employee said he hit a low point in early 2014 when the company changed its payroll schedule, leaving him with a hole in his budget. “I had to borrow money to make it through the month.”
He was one of several tech workers, earning between $100,000 and $700,000 a year, who vented to the Guardian about their financial situation. Almost all of them spoke only on the condition of anonymity, or agreed only to give their first names, fearing retribution by their employers for speaking publicly about their predicament.
Complaints from well-compensated tech workers will sound like chutzpah to many of the other 99% who are struggling to get by on a fraction of their income. But there appears to be a growing frustration among tech workers who say that they are struggling to get by.
Facebook engineers last year even raised the issue with founder Mark Zuckerberg, asking whether the company could subsidize their rents to make their living situation more affordable, according to an executive at the company who has since departed.
The cost of housing is a common complaint among Bay Area techies. Engineers can expect, according to one analysis, to pay between 40% and 50% of their salary renting an apartment near work.
One Apple employee was recently living in a Santa Cruz garage, using a compost bucket as a toilet. Another tech worker, enrolled in a coding bootcamp, described how he lived with 12 other engineers in a two-bedroom apartment rented via Airbnb. “It was $1,100 for a fucking bunk bed and five people in the same room. One guy was living in a closet, paying $1,400 for a ‘private room’.”
“We make over $1m between us, but we can’t afford a house,” said a woman in her 50s who works in digital marketing for a major telecoms corporation, while her partner works as an engineer at a digital media company. “This is part of where the American dream is not working out here.”
The prospect of losing her job and not having health insurance is a particular concern, given that she had cancer a couple of years ago. “If Obamacare goes away and I lose my job I am deeply screwed,” she said.
Michelle, a 28-year-old tech worker who earns a six-figure salary at a data science startup said her only chance of buying a home would be if she combined income with a partner. “For all the feminist movement of ‘you can do it all’, the concept of home ownership is really truly out of reach,” she said. “For me that’s disheartening.”
Another tech worker feeling excluded from the real estate market was 41-year-old Michael, who works at a networking firm in Silicon Valley and last year earned $700,000. Sick of his 22-mile commute to work, which can sometimes take up to two and half hours, he explored buying a property nearer work.
“We went to an open house in Los Gatos that would shorten my commute by eight miles. It was 1,700 sq ft and listed at $1.4m. It sold in 24 hours for $1.7m,” he said.
Although he said his salary means he can afford to live a decent life, he finds the cost of living, combined with the terrible commute, unpalatable. He’s had enough, and has accepted a 50% pay cut to relocate to San Diego.
“We will be unequivocally better off than we are now.” He said he won’t miss some of the more mundane day-to-day costs, like spending $8 on a bagel and coffee or $12 on freshly pressed juice.
Michael isn’t the only tech worker considering leaving Silicon Valley in search of a better life. A Canadian IT specialist in his late 40s, earning more than $200,000, has a similar plan. “When I came to the Bay Area the amount of money they were going to pay me seemed absurd,” he said. However, the cost of rent and childcare, which cost “more than I paid for my university education in Canada”, has been hard to swallow.
Sam, 40, lives with his wife and three kids in San Jose, earning around $120,000 a year at a multinational software company. “I get paid a very good wage, but I have three kids, childcare is ridiculously expensive so my wife mostly takes care of them,” he said.
He feels pressure being the sole breadwinner. “I’ve got no safety net,” he said. “I have credit cards, but this is not sustainable. If something bad happened I’d be out of the house in a month.”
Fred Sherburn Zimmer from San Francisco’s Housing Rights Committee agreed that housing is too expensive in the Bay Area, but points out that there are much graver consequences for people not working in tech.
“For a senior whose healthcare is down the street, moving might be a death sentence,” she said. “For an immigrant family with two kids, moving out of a sanctuary city like San Francisco means you could get deported.” She described a building in San Francisco where there are 28 people living in “studio-like closets” in a basement, including a senior and families with children.
For their part, many well-paid tech workers complaining about their own predicament say they also sympathize with the plight of people on more ordinary incomes.
“We think a lot about how people with normal jobs afford to live here,” said the Canadian IT specialist. “The answer is: they don’t. They commute from farther and farther afield.”
The digital marketer added: “During the first dotcom boom we had secretaries commuting three hours into work … It’s happening again. It was absurd then and it’s absurd now,” she said, adding that she and her husband both “know what it’s like to be poor”.
Sam, who works at the software company, isn’t optimistic about the future. “The only solution I see is a huge reset and we’ve already done that once in the last decade. It was really painful for a lot of people, including myself,” he said, referring to the dotcom crash in the early 2000s.
Some tech workers expressed a sense of guilt about their complaints when so many people are worse off, including San Francisco’s desperate homeless population.
“You are literally stepping over people to get to your job to make hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Michael. “How do you go about your daily life as if it doesn’t matter?”
He suggested venture capitalists should stop investing in “stupid applications” and funnel some money into solving real societal problems like homelessness.
“You are caught in this really uncomfortable position. You feel very guilty seeing such poverty and helplessness,” added Michelle, the 28-year-old on a six-figure wage. “But what are you supposed to do? Not make a lot of money? Not advocate for yourself and then not afford to live here?”
Sam agreed. “The whiny millennial snowflake type would say ‘you’re a terrible person making things worse for us’. The truth is, if I gave up, what would I do? Should I knit sweaters and trade them?”
A former Uber senior executive who once served as Barack Obama‘s campaign manager has been fined $90,000 by the Chicago Board of Ethics for illegally lobbying Mayor Rahm Emanuel on behalf of the ride-sharing company.
The board voted 5-0 to find that David Plouffe violated city ethics rules by failing to register as a lobbyist after contacting Emanuel to help the company on regulations for picking up travelers at Chicago’s two airports.
Plouffe’s lobbying violation only became public after Emanuel in December released hundreds of personal emails related to public business under the pressure of two open records lawsuits alleging the mayor violated the state’s open records law.
Included was a message Plouffe sent to the mayor Nov. 20, 2015.
“Assume both of us thought the airport issue was settled and we would never have to discuss again, but unfortunately two significant new hurdles were introduced,” wrote Plouffe, the political strategist who managed Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and in 2015 was Uber’s senior vice president of policy and strategy. “Coming to you because of their severity that would prevent us from operating. We were all set to announce Monday we were beginning pickups.”
Plouffe, who like Emanuel served in the Obama White House, went on to describe concerns Uber had about pickup fees and the requirement to display an airport pickup placard in Uber vehicles.
“Sure this comes as much of a surprise to you as us, since there was an agreement in place,” Plouffe wrote. “I hope we can resolve these issues before the holiday. Our team is eager to move forward and begin operating at the airports in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday — as you called for and we’d like to deliver on the schedule for you.”
Emanuel, who was traveling at the time, quickly responded.
“Please speak to Negron and David on my staff. Impossible for me to address from China,” wrote Emanuel, referring to Michael Negron, the mayor’s chief of policy, and David Spielfogel, then his senior adviser.
Plouffe’s communication with Emanuel came as City Hall had weighed how to regulate the emerging ride-share industry, eventually settling on rules that are less stringent than those placed on the city’s taxi companies. The mayor’s brother, Hollywood talent agency CEO Ari Emanuel, is an investor in Uber.
Last June, aldermen attempted to pass stronger regulations on ride-sharing companies to even the playing field for the taxi industry, only to have them watered down. When aldermen pushing for the stronger rules, which included fingerprinting drivers, tried to use a parliamentary maneuver to delay the action, Emanuel threatened to adjourn the City Council meeting. In the end, the watered-down version Emanuel preferred remained intact.
In its final determination to issue its reprimands, the Board of Ethics stated that both Uber and Plouffe “do not dispute the allegations” of violating the city’s lobbying ordinance or contest the possibility of a fine. Uber and Plouffe argued he should only be subject to a $1,000 fine, according to the ethics board.
The city’s ordinance, however, calls for a $1,000 fine for each lobbying violation and that “each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense to which a separate fine shall apply.” The board handed down a $90,000 fine because Plouffe did not register until April 13, 2016, long after the five business day requirement for registration after he first lobbied Emanuel. The fine reflects the 90 business days he was not registered after first contacting the mayor.
“Mr. Plouffe and the company argue that this leads to an absurd result by having the board punish those, like him, to the same degree it would punish a person who actually had engaged in lobbying every day during this period,” the ethics panel wrote in its determination. “The board rejects this argument.”
The board said handing down only a $1,000 fine would encourage unregistered lobbying activity until someone was discovered or caught.
“There would be no deterrent effect as to unregistered lobbying at all,” wrote William F. Conlon, the board’s chairman. “At the core of Chicago’s lobbying law is the prompt and public disclosure of lobbying activity.”
Plouffe could not be reached for comment.
The Board of Ethics fined Uber $2,000, the penalty the city’s ordinance requires for each act of hiring a lobbyist who violates the city’s lobbying laws. Uber spokeswoman Molly Spaeth said the company accepted the ethics panel’s decision.
“We work hard to ensure our registrations are accurate and up to date,” Spaeth said in an emailed statement. “We regret that in this instance we made a mistake and we will comply with the board’s assessment.”
The start date the ethics board used to tally Plouffe’s fine was the Nov. 20 date of the email, but the lobbyist indicated in his message he had communicated with Emanuel previously on the topic by referencing that the two likely thought the ride-share regulations were an issue “we would never have to discuss again.”
Asked when Plouffe began to reach out to Emanuel personally on behalf of Uber, Spaeth responded, “I don’t have any additional details to share at this time.”
Emanuel released the email from Plouffe as part of a settlement with the Better Government Association that sought official emails from the mayor’s nongovernmental accounts. The settlement was announced in December, 12 days after the Chicago Tribune won a round in its ongoing lawsuit alleging the mayor violated the state’s open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business Emanuel conducted through personal emails and text messages.
In the Tribune case, a judge has ordered Emanuel to produce an index of certain emails and text messages the mayor sent and received on his personal devices. No such requirement was part of the BGA settlement, which relied on Emanuel’s personal attorney and City Hall’s Law Department — not an independent party — to determine which emails were public records.
The leftist heretic and popular scourge of religion Christopher Hitchens wrote in his superb Bill Clinton takedown, No One Left to Lie To, that the essence of American politics is “the manipulation of populism by elitism.” Unfortunately, this tactic didn’t work so well for the Clintons in November, as the reviled populists had the last irrational, racist, sexist, brutish and barbaric word on the matter (according to assembled liberal punditry). But the statement still rings true. This is, after all, the job description of corporate media. As The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald says, the “supreme religion of the U.S. press corps is reverence for power.” Their priesthood is a cabal of anonymous sources; their catechism is war everlasting. And so, the vulgar philistines on the plains, who foolishly prefer peaceful relations, steady work, and free healthcare to profiteering wars abroad, must be endlessly misled.
Don’t expect this to change in the wake of the navel-gazing mainstream’s historic whiff on the election–despite the occasional mea culpa and promise to overhaul its approach. Mostly because 90 percent of the MSM is owned and operated by six conglomerates that have little interest in changing the system that profits them, or in changing the editorial narratives that support the system. And most probably, like Barack Obama and Madame Secretary, because the media believes Trump voters are “a basket of deplorables” that are too unfixably ignorant to understand why Hillary was the right choice.
After all, these mainstream flacks have been happily disguising the neoliberal gutting of the American economy for decades. They are so distanced from the reality of the 99 percent, it probably does seem unreal to them. Yet now, pundits unironically tell us, we live in a post-factual era. Even though the MSM has been producing counterintuitive propaganda for a long time. Do you remember the early Nineties, when the MSM started the cult of personality around CEOs like Jack Welch, who was feted for sending thousands of GE jobs to factory ghettos in India? Captain Jack knew the score, didn’t he? Or who can forget–or fail to retchingly remember–countless Thomas Friedman columns telling American workers they’d better suck it up, get with the program, and learn how to compete in a global economy. You remember the typical free trade shtick: Wave goodbye, comrades, to your coddled lifestyle and that full-time manufacturing job replete with extravagant benefits and a superfluous living wage; now you must fight tooth and nail for peasant wages against several billion proletarian youth with zero wage expectations and no knowledge of OSHA; spare me your tired complaints and pop some Zoloft for the pain, comrade; get some job retraining at the nearest overcrowded unemployment center (double up on the meds before you go); and then get excited about your new job emptying bedpans at the nearby hospital for pennies on the inflating dollar; and don’t forget to celebrate globalization on Independence Day. One can see big Thom sitting back in his leather chair to re-read his 1100 words of scintillating prose while lustily fingering his Pulitzer.
Then, fast forward to this fall, and witness the MSM spending the entirety of 2016 labeling all Trump supporters as white supremacist racist xenophobes clustered around their gun cabinets in landlocked flyover states. To be fair, they also spent a fair amount of time tediously whitewashing Hillary’s bloodbath in Benghazi so the liberal intelligentsia could reaffirm their sagacious tropes about the moral universe being “…not black and white, but shades of gray.”
Still Shilling War and Demonizing Dissent
Despite some interesting caterwauling about identity politics and the white poor, the MSM continued to miss the connection between the anger of the working class and the imperialism of the ruling class. The former is made poorer because of the latter. Spending on war usually means not spending on society. And the media has done yeoman’s work enabling both, principally by justifying nearly every imperial war as humanitarian necessity and erasing the working class from the American tableaux (except when stereotyping them as illiterate bigots, the vieux jeu herd that Friedman warmly chides, “Suck on this!”). Not understanding populist indigestion to the rancid policy platter it’s been serving up for years, what does the establishment media do? Continue shilling for imperialism, largely by spreading misinformation about Syria and ratcheting up the Russian threat with libelous claims.
This is important because, short of sustained media support, backing for imperial warfare would collapse; no imperial war can sustain itself in the presence of a free press. The Syrian war, or at least our role in it, could’ve ended a long time ago if the MSM had done their job and challenged the White House on any number of fronts. They might have, and might still do if they wanted, pointed out how the Assad government’s rejection of a Qatari oil pipeline immediately preceded the eruption of violent “protests” in eastern Syria. Mr. President, was this mere coincidence or was this pipeline the backbone of our plan to unhitch Europe from Russian energy and destroy the Russian economy? They might have asked President Obama why the CIA was arming, training, and funding intolerant jihadist terrorists in Jordan. What was St. Augustine’s rationale for this, Mr. President? (Surely, this was discussed when Obama and CIA eminence John Brennan warmly explored Augustine’s just war theories on “terror Tuesdays” before perusing the drone “Kill List.”) They might have asked Secretary of State John Kerry whether the Assad smear campaign was really necessary and whether the State Department expected anyone to believe the word of stooge informers like “Caesar,” given the experience of “Curveball” in the Iraq War. They might also have asked the president why he almost bombed Damascus based on a handful of piddling YouTube videos hastily typed up in a two-page report by Kerry’s lemmings at State. Alas, twas not to be.
Given their unwillingness to do their job, the imperial lies roll on. The New York Times began a recent article thus, “With the Syrian government making large territorial gains in Aleppo on Monday, routing rebel fighters and sending thousands of people fleeing for their lives, President Bashar al-Assad is starting to look as if he may survive…”
This is a fairly neutral opening except for the euphemism “rebel” and the unmissable, “…thousands of people fleeing for their lives,” which leaves the haphazard, scan-the-news-over-coffee reader grumbling against the misfit Syrian government. Perhaps said reader has also heard, in passing, UN Ambassador Samantha Powers’ braying theatrics over nonstop war crimes in east Aleppo, further coloring his or her view of the evil optometrist in Damascus.
Outside the mainstream, alternative news providers–known as Russian propagandists in the MSM–are calling this the thankful defeat of a NATO-sponsored terrorist army, adding that thousands are fleeing “into the arms of the Syrian Army,” escaping years of imprisonment at the hands of Western mercenary jihadists. While “into the arms of the Syrian Army” stretches anyone’s credulity, the rest appears accurate.
And instead of owning up to the real reasons they were whipsawed on Election Day, the MSM decided that it was the evil alternative media that forced the electorate to pick the wrong candidate. They huddled in editorial conclave at the Washington Post, and emerged with a long list of “fake news” websites and a giant conspiracy theory about vile Vladimir Putin ruining the democratic process from his pontiff’s chair in the cloud-draped Kremlin.
Fortunately, many on the left have admirably treated the Post’s disgraceful gutter-trolling with richly deserved contempt. For a mainstream press that regularly smears leftists as ‘conspiracy theorists,’ its Russian propaganda theory simply dwarfs most of the conspiracies it disparages. Clear-eyed journalists like Glenn Greenwald, John Pilger, Dave Lindorff, and staunch foreign policy realists like Ron Paul, have seen through the flimsy ruse.
Still Tone-Deaf In Presidential Suite
But few in the precincts of power are likely to change course either. The U.S. House and Senate bills authorizing U.S. intelligence operations–which at last count included 17 such “operations”–has decided to launch a new body “aimed at thwarting covert Russian political interference around the world.” So it seems as though, should it die in the press, some kind of McCarthyite black list will reappear at the federal level.
Despite his interest in avoiding war with Russia, Donald Trump is busily stuffing his cabinet with Wall Street insiders and military hawks, an encouraging sign for capital that the billionaire ‘outsider’ will not attempt anything that might unsettle neoliberal elites, whose comfort and perpetual enrichment is the nation’s highest calling. Advisor Steve Bannon’s trillion-dollar infrastructure project seems increasingly marginalized. Chances are the Trump White House may avert war with Russia, but will speed implementation of the neoliberal schemes both parties support.
In a breathtaking instance of an entire government swallowing its own doctrinal absurdities, the EU Parliament passed a ridiculous “resolution” to combat the nonexistent worldwide Muscovite conspiracy. This parchment ought to be pasted to the tombstone of the European Union (and the corpse itself buried with a pair of Euros over its eyes and a copy of Don Quixote under its arm).
The neoliberal dominoes continue to fall across the European continent, as the ignorant establishment recycles its feckless conceits about deregulation, privatization, and austerity to incredulous populations. Despite the Brexit stunner, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, perhaps thinking he could skate by on his youthful looks and pleasing oratory, proposed a referendum to “slash the power of the Italian Senate to speed up lawmaking.” Why would any neoliberal elitist even propose a referendum after Brexit? Especially one that is a farcical ploy to lessen democracy by creating the same kind of fast-track legislative restrictions perfected by the forked-tongued figureheads Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Recall how they used fast-track to hurry malicious corporate investor agreements past prying public eyes before the rot was scented in the air.
Renzi wanted to alter the constitution to reduce Parliamentary representatives by two-thirds. Had the PM not witnessed Donald Trump ascend the throne on the backs of disgruntled proletariat and a smattering of xenophobes with handguns? Sure enough, the Northern League’s Matteo Salvini called the result, “the revenge of the people.” Renzi tendered his resignation with immediate effect late last Monday. Both the EU and the U.S. efforts are transparent acts of attempted thought control. More than anything else, they tell us that if the press hasn’t learned its lesson, neither has the ruling class.
Out of Ideas and Out of Time
So, a month on from the world-historical upset that sent upwardly-mobile bi-coastals into fits of apoplexy, we find things much the same. The media is incorrigible and recalcitrant, unable to separate itself from power worship. Donald Trump is being gently shepherded into the arms of the comprador elite with each passing feast at Jean-Georges in Trump Tower. The cries of the voiceless dead are yet inaudible in the land of liberty. It seems that war, capitalism, and inequality still own the day.
But you have to ask yourself, is the American establishment out of ideas? Is the empire running on fumes? The hysteria produced by the YouTube surge of beheading videos by black-garbed, sword-brandishing jihadists, deep in the desert, couldn’t last forever. In its place, Washington and its lackey media have been ransacking the archives for odious enemies to prop in front of the somnolent population. They must be kept awake and alarmed. As Martin Amis wrote of his protagonist in The Information, “He needed no alarm clock. He was already comprehensively alarmed.” Frenzy is not a durable state; hence the need for relentless stimulants. CNN is Adderall for the electorate.
Lacking new ideas, finding no new enemies, and unwilling to look at the twitching Cyclops in the mirror, Washington has resurrected the Cold War and is actively resuscitating the McCarthy Era. Most of us had hoped these two miserable epochs in our history had been interred forever. But given our decade-long obsession with zombies, it’s no surprise the establishment is anxiously reanimating these rotting cadavers.
But what does it say about our so-called leadership when they slip into nostalgia for the past when facing the rubble and ruin of their modern ideology? That neoliberalism has peaked and is accelerating toward its inglorious finale? After all, history’s encore is farce, to paraphrase Marx. The tragedy of neoliberalism culminated in 2008. Perhaps the question is whether the disorganized left can glue itself together long enough to offer a fresh vision that doesn’t alienate the penny capitalist or the diehard socialist, but which does cast aside the exhausted creed of market-led globalization and its ‘humanitarian’ corollaries, which all but a few have finally seen through. The duopoly and its media minions will doubtless continue to peddle such fictions, but they are wounded and stumbling and lashing out in all directions, a savage ideology cornered by an angry electorate. We should hasten their demise. Tit for tat. For every unnamed source, we should attach a burden of proof. For every piece of patriotic jingoism, a Dickensian qualifier. And for every article of false faith, a bill of indictment.
And then we just ghost them when we’ve lost interest
Any young person who’s tried to explain the concept of “seeing” someone to their parents will be able to testify that the dating arena has changed enormously over the past couple of decades.
It’s no longer as simple as going for dinner and a movie and instantly becoming boyfriend and girlfriend – we “see” people, often more than one at a time.
The extent of this trend has been revealed in a new study which claims it’s now normal to date an incredible six people at once.
Money problems main reason for relationship breakdown
Assuming the average person isn’t out on a date every night of the week, we can also infer that two dates with the same person must be pretty spread-out too.
The results of the study, carried out by eHarmony Australia, reinforce the idea that in today’s dating society, people are loath to commit to one person, seemingly always wanting to keep their options open.
And although there seems to be a new dating tactic arising every week – have you been benched, breadcrumbed or unghosted of late? – it seems the trend for ghosting, where you simply stop replying to a potential suitor’s messages and inexplicably disappear, is still going strong.
The researchers found that over the past year, 64 per cent of singletons have been ghosted by a date. But there’s a good chance a lot of those aren’t perfect either, with 51 per cent of those studies admitting to ghosting someone themselves.
Although considered by some to be rude and inconsiderate, the allure of ghosting is the opportunity to avoid having to explain why you’ve lost interest in someone and just hope they’ll work it out themselves.
Couples meeting on dating apps is the norm now, but could it be that knowing there are always more potential love interests just a swipe away is leaving us spoilt for choice and confused?
“The research here and around the world shows there is a lot of dissatisfaction in the outcomes of many dating apps,” Nicole McInnes, Director of eHarmony Australia, told Cosmopolitan.
But with new apps launching all the time, it doesn’t look like a dating app backlash is going to happen any time soon. So, best start lining up your next six dates then.
“Infidelity is simply defined as the breaking of trust and the keeping of secrets in an intimate partnership.” — Rob Weiss … Infidelity ‘Only’ Online No Less Painful.
. behaviour. Sexual infidelity online is no threat to a male’s certainty of paternity. … What to Say (and Not to) in a First Online Dating Message.
Consider that online dating website are flourishing, offering a new, easy and quick way to meet your future mate—whether or not you’re already married.
… Does the internet make infidelity easier? That’s the question recovery.org, a site that helps …
… I recently went on the “cheating” dating site Ashley Madison while gathering information for my eBook on online dating. And wow—what an …
. Research finds cheaters believe the internet has made infidelity … e.g. cybersex, exchanging sexual self-images, online flirting and dating).
There’s absolutely no question it’s best to meet someone online. It’s more discreet and you’re less likely to be caught. Plus, it’s much easier to meet someone …
The typical affair used to start in the office and move to a seedy motel room, but the vast reach of the Internet has brought infidelity into many couples’ homes …
Stories outside corporate agenda dismissed...
Elon Musk says he will do it but nobody wants him near a mission critical task like that because his rockets always blow up and the FBI is closing in on his epic political corruption.
F111 has proposed sending a smaller spacecraft into space to grab a stagnant asteroid, already in our solar system, and ram it into the “Death Asteroid”
NASA has missed a number of “Surprise Asteroids” that suddenly appeared without warning. It is time to “Man Up and go kill some Asteroids” say scientists.
More than 100 scientists have have voiced their support for a 2020 mission to do a test deflection of an asteroid to prepare for the possibility of a future collision with Earth.
How do you stop an asteroid headed directly at Earth?
That’s the question that scientists have been asking for decades now. For most of human history, the only answer to such a question would be a shrug. But as asteroid detection continues to improve, scientists say they might be able to have enough time between spotting an incoming meteor and its impact to actually keep it from hitting our planet.
While scientists believe that asteroids like the kind that wiped out the dinosaurs are rare, smaller asteroids can still cause massive damage all over the world. In order to prevent these destructive collisions, more than 100 scientists published a letter in support of a joint NASA/ESA mission, set to launch in 2020, to study and ultimately deflect an asteroid. The mission would enable humanity to learn more about the threat posed by near-Earth objects and would mark the first time an asteroid has been deflected away from Earth in a dry run for planetary defense against near-Earth objects on a more destructive course.
“Of the near-Earth objects (NEOs) so far discovered, there are more than 1700 asteroids currently considered hazardous. Unlike other natural disasters, this is one we know how to predict and potentially prevent with early discovery,” reads the letter. “As such, it is crucial to our knowledge and understanding of asteroids to determine whether a kinetic impactor is able to deflect the orbit of such a small body, in case Earth is threatened.”
The letter, which can be signed by any concerned Earthling, describes the proposed 2-part AIDA mission to the binary asteroid system, Didymos and Didymoon. The first probe, ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM), will study the asteroids from orbit when it arrives in 2022. It will then be able to watch NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) as it collides with Didymoon about four months later, knocking it off course in a demonstration of technology that may one day save lives.
“We are really optimistic, because it is a very unique opportunity,” Cornelius Schalinski, deputy head of business development for OHB, the German private space company charged with leading the implementation of AIM, told Space.com. “It has to go in 2020. Otherwise, the opportunity is lost. It is an asteroid that gets pretty close to Earth, so we can, with comparatively small cost and effort, test technologies that we need for future missions that are further away.”
The timing of the AIDA mission is crucial, which is why the letter is important. In early December, ESA’s council of ministers will meet to determine whether or not to provide funding for the mission.
Scientists have been abstractly concerned with the problem of an asteroid impact for over a century. But recently, that problem has become much more concrete, as the Christian Science Monitor’s Joseph Dussault recently explained:
On the morning of June 30, 1908, a large meteor exploded in mid-air near Russia’s Stony Tunguska River. No casualties were reported, as the area was sparsely populated, but the so-called Tunguska event flattened nearly 800 square miles of forest. New York City, by comparison, is just over 300 square miles.
In 2013, a significantly smaller meteor – just 65 feet wide, compared to the 200-650 foot estimate of the Tunguska object – burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. The blast was around 30 times more powerful than the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima, and injured 1,500 people.
The Chelyabinsk meteor was a wake-up call for the world’s space agencies. Several had already initiated a number of “spaceguard” missions in the 1980s and 1990s, designed to track the orbits of near-Earth objects (NEOs) which might enter the atmosphere. In 1992, NASA even sponsored an “asteroid interception workshop” in New Mexico.
As scientists continue to discover more and more near-Earth objects, some of which could pose a threat to populations on Earth, the upcoming AIDA mission has the potential of acting as a safety net for human beings in the line of fire. But the mission would also have great scientific value as well, giving us important insights into the early history of planet formation in our own cosmic neighborhood.
“Asteroids are marvels of planetary systems, in particular our Solar System,” the scientists point out in the AIDA letter. “Like comets, they are left over matter from the formation of planets, rich in minerals and rich in scientific knowledge of the early history of our Solar System.”
Blood plasma from young people has been found to rejuvenate old mice, improving their memory, cognition, and physical activity. The method has the potential to be developed into a treatment for people, says Sakura Minami of Alkahest, the company behind the work.
Previous research has found that stitching old and young mice together has an interesting effect. While sharing a blood system works out well for the older mouse, the younger one isn’t so lucky. The young animals started to show signs of brain ageing, while the brains of the older mice started to look younger. “We see a rejuvenation effect,” says Minami.
The key to youth appears to be in the blood plasma – the liquid part of blood. Several studies have found that injecting plasma from young mice into old mice can help rejuvenate the brain and other organs, including the liver, heart, and muscle.
Could blood plasma from young people have the same benefits? To find out, Minami and her colleagues took blood samples from 18-year-olds, and injected them into 12-month-old mice. At this age, the equivalent of around age 50 for people, the mice start to show signs of ageing – they move more slowly, and perform badly on memory tests.
The mice were given twice-weekly injections of the human plasma. After three weeks of injections, they were submitted to a range of tests. The treated mice’s performance was compared to young, 3-month-old mice, as well as old mice who had not received injections.
They found that human plasma does have the power to rejuvenate. Treated mice ran around an open space like young mice. Their memories also seemed to improve, and they were much better at remembering their way around a maze than untreated mice.
“Young human plasma improves cognition,” says Minami, who presented her findings at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, California, on Monday. “Their memory was preserved.”
“It’s more or less what we would expect,” says Victoria Bolotina, at Boston University in Massachusetts. “The blood of young people must have something in it that’s important for keeping them young,” she says.
The team then examined the brains of the treated and untreated mice. They looked for clues on the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus – a process called neurogenesis, which is thought to be important for memory and learning. Sure enough, the treated mice appeared to have created more new cells in their brain. “Young human plasma treatment can increase neurogenesis,” says Minami.
Minami says she has identified some factors in young blood that might be responsible for these benefits, but that she won’t reveal what they are yet. Some of them seem to be crossing into the brain, while others may be acting remotely, elsewhere in the body, she says.
She hopes to one day translate the findings into an anti-ageing treatment for people – one that might help those who start to experience the effects of an ageing brain. “There’s anecdotal evidence that people experience benefits after blood transfusions,” she says.
The company she works for, Alkahest, has already started a trial of young blood in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Turkey has blocked Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube, according to censorship monitoring site, Turkey Blocks.
The group broke the news today around 1am local time, saying the government was throttling these services. This is a method of slowing down websites to the extent that they become difficult to use or unusable.
— Turkey Blocks (@TurkeyBlocks) November 3, 2016
Initially, issues with the social media and messaging apps detected on national provider TTNet, Turkcell, and they were soon reported on other big internet providers as well.
The block follows the arrest of 11 politicians from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) overnight in the south-east of the country. Many reports are linking the social media block to these arrests, with the HDP the main opposition party to that of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The internet was entirely shut down in Turkey’s southeast region earlier this week, a problem that was said to have affected around six million people.
Last month, after a leak of private emails that belonged to Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, the government had limited access to cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
This is the first time that WhatsApp has experienced restrictions in a whole nation, according to the Independent.
— Turkey Blocks (@TurkeyBlocks) November 3, 2016
After a failed military coup in July, president Erdogan declared a state of emergency, allowing his government to draft new laws without approval of the parliament.
The government also recently announced that they would propose to make Erdogan “executive president”, increasing his power further.
Turkey is one among many countries with a history of blocking online services for political reasons, or as a form of censorship to allegedly avert civil unrest.
An FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation is likely to lead to an indictment unless the Justice Department interferes, two sources familiar with the probe told Fox News.
The Clintons are accused of running a pay-for-play operation out of the State Department that favored donors to their charity – a charge they have denied.
But the feds are ‘actively and aggressively pursuing this case,’ Fox’s Brit Hume and Bret Baier reported Wednesday, and they have an ‘avalanche’ of evidence.
A Wall Street Journal report says the FBI’s pursuit of the case is rooted in recordings of a suspect in a different corruption case who spoke about the Clinton Foundation’s alleged dirty dealings.
Hillary Clinton boards her campaign plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix today. Coincidentally, she was taking off from the same airport that her husband met Loretta Lynch at in June for a tete-a-tete that caused headaches for both sides. It has now been revealed that the FBI is likely to hand out an indictment in the Clinton Foundation case
The FBI, lead by James Comey, is ‘actively and aggressively pursuing this case,’ the sources said. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department keeps telling the FBI to stand down, a second report revealed
The FBI’s pursuit of the case is rooted in recordings of a suspect in a different corruption case who spoke about the Clinton Foundation’s alleged dirty dealings
The FBI, under the leadership of director James Comey, believed those conversations were enough to move forward with the probe, the Journal says. Justice Department prosecutors disagreed because the source was not an employee of the Clinton Foundation.
They considered the talk to be hearsay and did not think it would be enough to sway a grand jury.
Fox is now reporting that federal investigators have collected ‘a lot of’ evidence, including Wikileaks emails to and foundation officials.
The law enforcement agency has at least four other investigations open that involve the Clintons and their close friends, as well.
The FBI’s probe into the foundation is much larger than has previously been reported, the network says. Some witnesses are being interviewed for a third time.
It is a ‘very high priority,’ Fox’s sources said.
An indictment is likely to be handed down in the case, Fox says, unless investigators are obstructed by the DOJ’s prosecutors.
The Journal says that as recently as August 12 the FBI was told to stand down by DOJ in a terse phone call.
‘Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?’ the FBI’s deputy director Andrew McCabe reportedly replied. The Justice Department official on the other end of the line said, ‘Of course not.’
That was before Wikileaks began publishing hacked emails from Clinton confidante John Podesta’s account ripping the lid off foundation operations.
McCabe’s wife’s Virginia senate campaign was backed heavily by a political action committee belonging to the Clintons’ close friend Terry McAuliffe. Hillary Clinton headlined a fundraiser for the PAC, Common Good VA, a month before it started donating to the FBI official’s spouse.
The McAuliffe PAC gave Jill McCabe $467,000 for her losing bid. The Virginia Democratic Party donated another $207,788 to her. All told, McCabe received $675,000 from the two entities.
Andrew McCabe was promoted to his current position at the FBI in February, around the time the bureau and DOJ began to butt heads over the Clinton Foundation.
Republicans have suggested McCabe went too soft on Clinton in her email investigation, which ended last summer without an indictment but restarted last week as new messages were uncovered, because of their personal connection.
House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz reportedly asked McCabe to recuse himself from the case.
The Wall Street Journal’s reporting indicates that the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is holding up the Clinton Foundation probe.
In February, the FBI presented its case to DOJ public-integrity prosecutors. Lawyers at the Justice Department thought the case against the Clinton Foundation was too weak.
‘The message was, “We’re done here,” ‘ a Journal source said.
This email from Peter Kadzik to John Podesta started a new WikiLeaks firestorm, and Trump wasted no time in weighing in
Donald Trump predicted Thursday that President Barack Obama’s administration would ultimately decline to prosecute the former cabinet secretary.
‘The system is rigged. Just remember that,’ he said Thursday in Jacksonville, Florida. ‘Reports also show the political leadership at the Department of Justice is trying to protect Hillary Clinton, and is interfering with the FBI’s criminal investigation.’
Trump accused Clinton of engaging in ‘massive, far-reaching criminal conduct, and equally far-reaching cover-up.’
‘She engaged in corrupt pay-for-play at the State Department for personal enrichment. She lied to the FBI and she lied to the American people many, many times,’ he said.
The attorney general came under scrutiny over the summer as the FBI finished its review of Hillary Clinton’s emails and home brew server for allowing Bill Clinton to board her plane in Phoenix, Arizona.
She says the department’s inspection of Mrs. Clinton did not come up during their tarmac talk. The perception of impropriety was enough for her to back away from the Clinton case and say she would accept the FBI’s final recommendation at face value.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) believes there’s more to the story and is suing for more information about her June 27 meeting with Bill at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta (left) once boasted that Peter Kadzik (right), Podesta’s attorney during the Lewinsky years, kept him out of jail
Another DOJ official with longstanding ties to Podesta – he was the former Bill Clinton chief of staff’s lawyer during the Monica Lewinsky scandal – was caught in Wikileaks emails giving his friend a ‘heads up’ on a congressional hearing on Clinton’s server.
‘There is a HJC [House Judiciary Committee] oversight hearing today,’ Peter Kadzik wrote in 2015, ‘where the head of our Civil Division will testify.’
The assistant attorney general told Podesta the DOJ lawyer testifying was ‘likely to get questions on State Department emails.
‘Another filing in the FOIA [Freedom Of Information Act] case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.’
Podesta copied another senior campaign staffer on a response email that said the hearing would provide ‘additional chances for mischief.’
Kadzick was the same DOJ official who provided lawmakers with a statement this week on the FBI’s examination of the new Clinton emails.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House’s Benghazi committee, told Fox he has ‘many differences’ with the Justice Department official, but he isn’t worried about a conflict of interest.
‘Peter Kadzik is not a decision maker, he is a messenger,’ Gowdy assessed.
The FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation is just one of five its pursuing that directly or indirectly involves former President Bill Clinton and his wife, the Democratic nominee for the White House.
A probe of Anthony Weiner’s sexts to a 15-year-old led the FBI to stumble upon new emails from his estranged wife Huma Abedin’s account that linked back to the original, Clinton classified information review. Comey said last week that he authorized agents to reconsider that case as it reviews the recently discovered emails.
The FBI is also looking at a $120,000 donation that ex-Clinton aide and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe received from a Chinese businessman who has given to the Clinton Foundation in the past.
Lobbyist Tony Podesta, co-founder of the Podesta Group, a shop he started with his brother John, the chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign, is caught up in an investigation of a corrupt Ukrainian politician his firm advised.
Tony Podesta is also a bundler for the Clinton campaign.
The progress of the Clinton Foundation investigation and the one into McAuliffe were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The FBI does not generally comment on investigations, so it is possible there are more under way.
FIVE FBI INVESTIGATIONS: HOW CLINTON’S INNER CIRCLE ARE CAUGHT UP IN WEB OF ‘CRIME’ PROBES WHICH THREATENS TO SHADOW HER IF SHE WINS
Almost all of Clinton’s inner circle – the cast of advisers known as Clintonworld – and many of their family are caught up in an FBI dragnet.
The scale of investigations under way is unprecedented in electoral history.
There are five separate investigations:
Here we examine who is caught up and how.
What does she know: Huma Abedin has been Clinton’s shadow for 20 years but now finds herself off the campaign trail and facing new FBI interest
Huma Abedin: secrets and access – and perjury?
Probes: Clinton emails; Clinton Foundation
Who is she: Currently vice-chair of the Clinton campaign she was has worked with Clinton for 21 years, since she was 19, as among other things, intern, ‘body woman’, chief of staff and senior adviser.
Huma Abedin is now represented by attorneys as the FBI begins the lengthy process of examining a laptop seized in the inquiry into her estranged husband’s sexting relationship with a 15-year-old.
It is the most recent stage in the Clinton emails investigation in which the FBI has looked into whether Clinton and her staff broke strict laws on the handling of classified material while she was Secretary of State through their use of the now notorious Clintonemail.com server.
The case appeared to be closed in July when James Comey, the FBI director announced that Clinton would not be prosecuted. It was later made clear there would be no other prosecutions.
However last week’s bombshell announcement that new emails were being examined put the focus squarely on 40-year-old Abedin.
Although the decision had been made not to prosecute, that was on the basis of the existing evidence at the time. But if the search finds new evidence of breaking laws about the handling of classified material, there is nothing to stop a prosecution of Abedin – or anyone else.
That, however, is not the only potential for a brush with the law for Abedin.
The FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation also drags her into the spotlight.
The probe, the Wall Street Journal reported, is into whether the Foundation was involved in financial crimes or influence-peddling.
That would directly draw in Abedin. Her overlapping series of roles while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State has been unmasked by emails published either as a result of lawsuits against the State Department, or hacked from John Podesta’s account.
She was at various times Clinton’s White House deputy chief of staff; her senior adviser; a consultant for Teneo Holdings; working for the Clinton Foundation.
It was also revealed that while she was at the State Department where she was Clinton’s gatekeeper, Abedin received emails from Doug Band – Bill Clinton’s right-hand man at the Clinton Foundation – asking for help and access for ‘friends’ or ‘friend of ours’.
And finally there is the possibility of a federal perjury case.
The discovery of a laptop during the Anthony Weiner sexting investigation by the FBI appears at odds with testimony she gave under oath as part of a deposition in a federal case that she had passed on all relevant devices to the FBI.
Best of friends: Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe with Hillary Clinton as she headlined a fundraiser for the PAC he controls. It then gave $500,000 to the wife of the now FBI deputy director for her own political ambitions
Terry McAuliffe: Clinton cash from China
Probes: Clinton Foundation; links to foreign donations
Who is he: Currently Democratic governor of Virginia. Has previously been prolific Clinton fundraiser and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and chairman of Hillary’s failed 2008 run for the White House.
McAuliffe was a board member of the Clinton Foundation from at least 2004, so he will surely be caught up in investigations conducted by the FBI’s Washington DC field office into whether it was used as a front for influence-peddling.
But the overlaps between him and the Foundation go further than that and into his own campaign for governor and related campaigning.
The Washington Post reported in 2015 how he and the foundation had 120 overlapping donors, who had given him, his campaign or his political action committee $13.8 million.
That political action committee then went on to fund another campaign – that of Dr Jill McCabe, whose husband Mark is currently the deputy director of the FBI. He was the assistant FBI director when Jill McCabe was running for state senator in Virginia.
The PAC controlled by McAuliffe, which had received money from Clinton Foundation donors, gave Jill McCabe more than $500,000, prompting her husband to stand back from the Clinton Foundation investigation.
Chinese government front? Wang Wenliang, the billionaire McAuliffe at first claimed he had never met, filmed entering a fundraiser attended by the governor at Clinton’s home
Part of the $13.8 million is, however, involved in a second FBI investigation which focuses on McAuliffe personally regarding donations of $120,000 from a Chinese man called Wang Wenliang.
The FBI is investigating whether donations made were in breach of a ban on foreign governments influencing US elections. Wenliang, a billionaire according to Forbes, is a member of the one-party state’s parliament – as well as a donor to the Clinton Foundation.
He is also a US permanent resident and his donations came through a US firm.
This weekend’s tidal wave of revelations also shed new light on an FBI investigation into the donations.
McAuliffe’s attorney was reported by the Wall Street Journal to have said that the investigation focused on whether he had previously failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity.
In May, when the revelation of the FBI foreign donations probe emerged, McAuliffe denied ever meeting Wenliang. Then he backtracked – saying ‘I did not deals’ – when told by his staff that there were ‘likely’ several meetings.
DailyMail.com revealed footage of him going to a fundraiser also attended by Wengliang.
The venue was Hillary Clinton’s Washington DC home and the attendees included Huma Abedin.
The governor’s lawyer told the Wall Street Journal the probe is focused on ‘whether he failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity’.
Cheryl Mills: Woman at center of Clintonworld
Cut a deal: Cheryl Mills gained partial immunity from the FBI in return for opening her laptop
Probes: Clinton Foundation; Clinton emails
Who is she: Long-term Clinton lawyer who advised Bill during impeachment then Hillary over emails; Foundation director; State Department chief of staff.
Cheryl Mills is unusual among Clinton insiders; she has already cut a deal with the FBI.
She exchanged partial immunity from prosecution in return for opening her laptop to FBI review during the Clinton email investigation.
Mills was chief of staff under Clinton at the State Department and communicated extensively on the Clintonemail.com private server.
The deal with the Justice Department – headed by Attorney-General Loretta Lynch – was hugely advantageous as it also limited the search to no later than January 31, 2015, the point at which the server’s existence became known to a Congressional committee.
In March backups of Clinton’s emails were destroyed by a technician, a move which could have been seen as illegal destruction of evidence.
And the deal allowed for the destruction of Mills’ laptop. Heather Samuleson, another more junior aide, cut the same deal.
Mills went on to sit in with Clinton on her FBI interview in early July as her attorney, an unusual arrangement given that she had previously been a focus of the investigation.
However the renewed move by the FBI to examine the Huma Abedin emails on the Weiner laptop could set the immunity aside.
If they find new emails, those could open the way for prosecution. Equally, if they examine emails already seen on her laptop and conclude that they represent a case for prosecution over the handling of classified material, that too would be unlikely to be covered by the immunity deal.
Foundation role: Cheryl Mills was deeply involved in the Clinton family charity during a war between Chelsea and Doug Band, her father’s right-hand man
In fact, any part of Mills’ role in setting up the server could now be back in play. She was clearly identified in one of the Wikileaks emails as part of the reason for secrecy around Clinton.
That is only one of Mills’ roles in Clintonworld which the FBI are concerned with.
The other is her role as director of the Clinton Foundation for two periods, 2004 to 2009 and then from 2013 on.
The influence-peddling investigation has not been the subject of public commentary by the FBI but would involve anyone who held a high-level role.
Mills was heavily involved in the Foundation not just as a director, but while she was working at the State Department.
During that time it was at the center of a fierce battle between Chelsea Clinton and Doug Band, in which Band was effectively forced out.
Mills drew up a new structure for all of Bill Clinton’s operations – at the time it was the William J. Clinton Foundation – and, Wikileaks publication of John Podesta’s email shows – took part in a number of exchanges about it.
The State Department has previously said that Mills paid her own way to go to Clinton Foundation meetings in New York.
But neither the department nor the Clintons have addressed whether the FBI is looking at whether the Clinton Foundation monetized access to the Secretary of State through the overlapping roles of, among others, Mills and Abedin.
At her side: Phillipe Reines was effectively Hillary Clinton’s chief spin doctor when she was Secretary of State – the point at which the email and Foundation probes center on
Phillipe Reines: What does he know of emails and access?
Probes: Clinton emails; Clinton Foundation
Who is he: Hillary Clinton press secretary when she was senator; press secretary to failed 2008 presidential campaign and spokesman for Chelsea during it; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Hillary; played Donald Trump in debate prep.
As one of her inner circle at the State Department, Phillipe Reines was one of those – he told the FBI – who Clinton turned to for help with her IT issues.
He also bought her an iPad in June 2010, when the technology was new.
Clinton was to go on to claim she only had ‘one device’. Reines meanwhile used both his state.gov email and his personal gmail for government business while in office.
Reines was also deeply involved in responding to the Benghazi committee’s demands for information about the server and the public relations response to it, Wikileaks emails from John Podesta’s gmail have revealed.
However the other Clinton Foundation probe could also drag in Reines.
Reines was a key member of the inner circle when Clinton was Secretary of State.
His official title was ‘deputy assistant undersecretary’ for strategy, effectively her most powerful public affairs adviser.
That means that any knowledge he has of how the Clinton machine in the State Department interacted with the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton Inc machines in Manhattan would be crucial to the FBI investigation
Key role at center of the Clinton web: John Podesta, whose leaked emails were leaked. He took the helm of the Clinton Foundation, which is being probed on whether it peddled access
John Podesta: ‘Dean’ of Clintonworld
Probes: Clinton Foundation
Who is he: Bill Clinton’s first White House deputy chief of staff and later chief of staff; founder of DC lobbying firm Podesta & Podesta, now the Podesta Group; took charge of the Clinton Foundation in 2011 ; now Hillary campaign chairman; at 67, often seen as the ‘dean’ of the Clinton political machine.
The leaks from John Podesta’s emails revealed by Wikileaks have shown how he was a key player in the Clinton Foundation – at precisely the time that the focus of the FBI influence-peddling investigation is likely to be.
At the time Clinton was Secretary of State and Doug Band, who had effectively run the foundation, wrote a memo which emerged in Podesta’s leaked emails.
In it, Band detailed the overlap between the commercial activities of Bill Clinton and the charitable fundraising of the William J. Clinton Foundation (now the Clinton Foundation) – material which is likely to be pertinent to the influence-peddling case.
Podesta’s role at Foundation lasted into 2012, so his knowledge of how it interacted with Hillary Clinton’s aides – particularly Cheryl Mills, with whom he was in frequent contact, according to the emails – would be relevant to the FBI probe.
Lobbyist: Tony Podesta is the brother of Clintonworld ‘dean’ John Podesta but is being investigated by the FBI over taking a contract from a firm which may have been a front for corrupt cash from Ukraine’s deposed president Viktor Yanukovych – an ally of Vladimir Putin
Tony Podesta: Dined with Hillary, lobbied for Putin’s ally?
Probe: Undeclared lobbying for foreign government
Who is he: Older brother of John Podesta, with whom he founded what is now The Podesta Group of which he is chairman; social acquaintance of the Clintons; Democratic fundraiser
The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating possible ties to alleged corruption involving the former president of Ukraine – and Podesta’s firm is one of those targeted.
Perhaps surprisingly, the investigation also lapped at the Trump campaign, as its then chairman Paul Manafort stepped down in August when it was revealed that his company was also being investigated.
The broad-based investigation is looking into whether U.S. companies and the financial system were used to enable corruption by the party of former pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, CNN reported.
The Podesta Group hired an independent legal firm to investigate whether it had been misled by the Center for a Modern Ukraine, a not-for-profit group linked to the ousted Ukrainian government, a spokeswoman for the group said in a statement to Reuters in August.
The key to the FBI investigation is that Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates may have been paid by the Yanukovych government to push its case in Washington without declaring that the money came from abroad.
One of the firms Gates appears to have hired to help push the Center for a Modern Ukraine was The Podesta Group.
The FBI will therefore look at whether Podesta knowingly or negligently breached laws requiring all foreign attempts to influence U.S. politics to be registered.
Yanukovych was ousted as Ukranie’s leader in 2014 – and is exiled in southern Russia, after long-term accusations that he was a friend of Vladimir Putin.
The older Podesta, his brother’s emails disclosed, remains extremely close to John, sharing the use of an apartment in New York until earlier this year. Official records also show he is a ‘bundler’ for Clinton who had raised $62,000 by the end of June.
It is a long-standing relationship. One email forced out of the State Department showed how in 2012 the Clinton Foundation used the then Secretary of State to host a dinner at her home where attendees included donors – and Podesta.
Body man: Doug Band was Bill Clinton’s personal aide at the White House but went on to effectively run the Foundation – then boasted in a leaked memo of making the ex-president rich
Doug Band: Man who made Bill rich
Probe: Clinton Foundation
Who is he: Bill Clinton’s ‘body man’ in the White House; his chief aide after leaving office until 2011; CEO of Teneo Holdings.
The FBI investigation into whether the Clinton Foundation committed financial crimes or was involved in influence-peddling will inevitably focus on one man in particular: Band.
Band was at Bill Clinton’s side to the same extent as Huma Abedin was at his wife’s, starting as his ‘body man’ in the White House, putting himself through law school in the evenings, and then running Bill Clinton’s post-presidency life.
His emails to Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin which have emerged in lawsuits forcing publication by the State Department show how he sent messages asking for meetings for people described as ‘friend’ or ‘good friend of ours’.
Any influence-peddling or financial crimes committed by the Foundation appear to have some connection to them, if they were to exist.
His explosive memo detailing the project to make Bill Clinton rich which he sent to John Podesta made clear how involved he was in 2011 in the Clintons’ lives and finances.
‘Independent of our fundraising and decision-making activities on behalf of the Foundation, we have dedicated ourselves to helping the President secure and engage in for-profit activities – including speeches, books, and advisory service engagements,’ he wrote.
‘In that context, we have in effect served as agents, lawyers, managers and implementers to secure speaking, business and advisory service deals.’
It also put a figure on Bill Clinton’s personal gains via Band.
‘Since 2001, President Clinton’s business arrangements have yielded more than $30 million for him personally, with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years should he choose to continue with the current engagements,’ it said.
His current exact status in the Clinton inner circle appears unclear. On the one hand he has not been pictured with the Clintons in many years or listed at their events.
On the other hand, he continues to donate to the Clinton cause and to those of its allies – he was one of the donors to Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe’s PAC which was used to pay $500,000 to the FBI assistant director’s wife for her failed campaign bid.
And in 2013 he asked John Podesta to help remove any stain on his reputation with a glowing letter of reference. Podesta obliged by redrafting it for him.
Inner circle: Justin Cooper set up the Clinton email server and edited Bill’s autobiography – but the FBI is also looking into the Foundation he was involved in
Justin Cooper: Smashed BlackBerry with a hammer
Probes: Clinton Email; Clinton Foundation
Who is he: Staff assistant for Oval Office operations in Bill’s White House; Doug Band’s right-hand man; edited Bill’s memoir My Life; registered the notorious Clintonemail.com server; now works for Teneo with Band.
Justin Cooper’s role in the Clintonemail.com secret server started at the very beginning of its operation: he registered its existence.
At the time he was being paid by the Clintons as a family aide and through the Clinton Foundation.
He told one Congressional Committee – the Oversight and Government Reform Committee – that he had no security clearance.
However as the man with complete control over the server, he had unlimited access to its contents. He also destroyed devices which had been linked to the server, including a BlackBerry smashed with a hammer.
He was not prosecuted under the initial inquiry but if the Huma Abedin-Anthony Weiner record leads to new evidence, such a deal would be off the table.
He was also at the very center of the Foundation’s operations during much of the time Hillary Clinton was in office.
He frequently appears in the leaked John Podesta emails as ‘email@example.com’ and is involved in a series of key meetings.
That would make him a key focus for the other investigation into the foundation he was so intimately involved in was a front for influence-peddling or financial crimes.
Unhappy together: Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner were seen on the day DailyMail.com revealed he had sexted a 15-year-old girl, setting off the explosive chain of events leading to the renewed FBI probe
Anthony Weiner: Sexual sleaze
Probe: Sexting 15-year-old girl
Who is he: Former New York congressman when Clinton was senator; estranged husband of her key aide Huma Abedin; notorious serial sexter.
The FBI probe into Anthony Weiner is unlike any of the other Clinton associates and their family members.
Weiner is being investigated after DailyMail.com revealed how he had had a sexting ‘relationship’ with a 15-year-old girl who told him he was underage.
Notorious image: This is the picture Weiner sent a girl, 15, which was part of the DailyMail.com bombshell which prompted the FBI probe
The girl told DailyMail.com that Weiner spoke about rape fantasies with her. She showed messages in which he spoke about being ‘hard’ and how he ‘would bust that tight p****’.
The revelations came a month after Abedin had announced that her six-year-old marriage to him was over when he was caught sexting a woman in her 40s to whom he sent a picture of himself in bed, apparently aroused, with his son by Clinton’s chief aide sleeping by his side.
The FBI moved on Weiner in the wake of the DailyMail.com revelations and seized all his mobile and electronic devices.
It was on a laptop he had used that they found emails ‘relevant’ to the discontinued Clinton email server investigation – setting off a bomb under the presidential election.
Weiner’s computer was apparently being searched for child pornography at the time of the discovery.
The FBI now have a fresh search warrant which will allow them to examine the material found on the laptop which had apparently been stored by Huma Abedin.
The material could impact almost every one of the investigations listed by DailyMail.com.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ABOUT GOOGLE
European Commission via Margrethe Vestager
Margrethe Vestager , counsel to interest group Margrethe Vestager .
Per the FT article at https://www.ft.com/content/fb3a6be4-a1cc-11e6-aa83-bcb58d1d2193
our alliance is writing to you to say that we know Google, we have been part of Google, some of us worked at Google and others of us know the founders and financiers of Google. We know what all of Google’s plans have been and are. We know what Google’s owners intentions are and how Google’s technology really works.
We are writing to tell you that you have it wrong.
Your accusations about Google doing coordinated crimes in order to manipulate the public moods, perceptions, voting habits, buying habits and trends does not fully appreciate Google’s potential.
In fact, Google’s capabilities and plans are far worse than you imagine.
Many of us were there before Google even existed. Rajeev Motwani taught Larry Page and Sergy how to build a science project. The CIA and the Democrats “adopted” their little project and turned it into a global manipulation tool.
Google now exists for the sole purpose of the ideological interests of corrupt Silicon Valley campaign finance billionaires. Google paid for and rigged Barack Obama’s campaign. Google gets insane amounts of cash from U.S. state and federal treasury funds through a convoluted contracting payola scheme. Google exists to hide White House screw-ups and glorify those Silicon Valley financiers (Larry Page, Elon Musk, John Doerr, Steve Westly, Steve Spinner, Steve Jurvetson, Tom Steyer, etc.)
Google manipulates the information of over 4 billion humans around the world. Many of those people are too naive, or too blinded by Google’s control of information to see that they are being manipulated. The CIA, GCHQ, MI5, KGB, Mossad and other intelligence groups, will all tell you that it only takes 5 days to brainwash a human if you control all of their news and information. Google has optimized that process.
The EU is out to protect the public and, currently, the rape of Europeans, by outsiders, is pretty big news in Europe. Google is an outsider that is raping the minds of Europeans.
Google spends a hundred million dollars a day on it’s payroll. It has armies of people who can sit around and write, co-edit and rationalize the kinds of 100 page responses that you just received from Google’s attorneys. That response is full of flowery, rationalizations and reverse-logic justifications that seek to bend reality to the absurd. If Google wrote the same kind of response for Hitler it would explain that gassing the Jews was “good for them because it provided them with an optimized path to heaven via a value-added green-energy solution which used minimal electricity and provided recycling of the gold fillings in their teeth. The EU is viewing Hitler in a negative light because Google and Hitler have both used mass public deployment tools in an effective manner.”
Google’s owners and executives are deranged men who live in a self-fulfilling power bubble built from hookers, private jets, elitist privilege and and the hubris and impunity that come from the knowledge that 500 of their staff work for The White House. That White House has ordered every American law enforcement and regulatory agency to ignore Google’s crimes.
The EU should triple down on prosecuting Google. Google is a Mafia-like political organization. Americans, and world citizens, beg you to help us overcome the Google Coup D’Etat!
© REUTERS/ Brian Snyder
New emails from the Wikileaks cache show that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had Google’s Eric Schmidt draw her up a campaign plan.
And she secretly met with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs after some interpreted remarks she made as being against the ‘sharing economy.’
Schmidt sent a detailed plan to Cheryl Mills, who had served as Clinton’s chief of staff when she was secretary of state, in April 2014, a full year before the Democratic politician announced her bid for the White House.
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Google’s Eric Schmidt (left) gave Hillary Clinton’s (right) team a campaign plan a full year before she announced her intentions to run for president
The Google titan outlined a number of things, including one Clinton definitely listened to – where she should base her campaign headquarters.
‘Its important to have a very large hiring pool (such as Chicago or NYC) from which to choose enthusiastic, smart and low paid permanent employees,’ Schmidt argued.
He also nixed Washington, D.C., as an idea, even though it’s a thriving city for millennials.
‘DC is a poor choice as its full of distractions and interruptions,’ he wrote in the memo, emailed to Mills.
She then passed it along to John Podesta, whose emails were hacked and made public by Wikileaks.
The note was also addressed to Robby Mook, who became Clinton’s campaign manager, and David Plouffe, a veteran of President Barack Obama’s campaign, who now works for Uber.
Uber’s Rachel Whetstone (left) was among those invited to attend a closed-door roundtable with Hillary Clinton after the candidate ruffled feathers for worrying about how workers were treated by companies doing business in the ‘sharing economy’
Airbnb’s Brian Chesky (left) and Lyft’s Logan Green (right) were invited to attend a closed-door meeting with Hillary Clinton last August, Wikileaked emails reveal
In the memo, Schmidt also argues for transparency when it comes to financial transactions.
‘All investments and conflicts of interest would have to be publicly disclosed,’ he wrote. ‘The rules of the audit should include caps on individual salaries and no investor profits from the campaign function,’ he said, adding in parentheses, ‘For example, this rule would apply to me.’
Tri Tran – CEO and co-founder of Munchery
Conrad Chu – Co-founder of Munchery
Nate Fagioli – Vice president of finance for Munchery
Brian Chesky – CEO and co-founder of Airbnb
Stacy Brown-Philpot – COO of Taskrabbit
Rachel Whetstone – Senior vice president of policy and communications for Uber
Aaron Levie – CEO, co-founder and chairman of Box
Logan Green – CEO and co-founder of Lyft
Kevin Gibbon – CEO and co-founder of Shyp
Scott Stanford – Co-founder of Sherpa Ventures
Apoorva Mehta – CEO and founder of Instacart
Clinton engaged with a broader swath of Silicon Valley about a year and a half later, sitting down for a secret roundtable with tech leaders in August of 2015.
The reason for this meet-and-greet, explained Stephanie Hannon, Clinton’s chief technology officer, was because a speech Clinton gave at the New School a month before had ruffled some in the community’s feathers.
‘Many in the technology community embraced YOUR comments and acknowledged that the rise of new technologies raises important questions about workplace protections, but some in the community interpreted them as challenging the promise of the on-demand economy,’ Hannon wrote to Clinton, explaining that relationship building was the point of the meeting, in which press was banned.
The group, which included leaders at the top of Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Instacart, Munchery and others, was assembled so that Clinton could listen to them and reinforce that she was ‘the candidate of the future.’
‘Accordingly, the attendees have been selected with an eye toward fostering a positive atmosphere,’ Hannon wrote.
‘No everyone in the room will be a partisan Democrat, and some may wish to make their case for why on-demand economy companies do not compromise workers’ rights, but all intend to participate constructively and should be open to your message,’ Hannon said.
The former secretary of state was then provided with bios of the participants, which did include a note if someone was a donor.
‘Aaron is a significant supporter and has maxed out primary contributions,’ the email said of Aaron Levie, the chief executive officer, co-founder and chairman of the storage space start-up Box.
Munchery’s Tri Tran spilled the beans on the meeting to the website Inc.com in 2015, while Wikileaks gave the public more details this week
Word of Clinton’s secret meeting eventually did make it to the press, with Munchery’s CEO Tri Tran, who hosted the meet-and-greet, spilling details to Inc.com.
‘The sharing economy and on-demand services are already growing at an alarming rate and entering mainstream culture throughout the nation, so it’s best policy makers and tech leaders work together to make this new economy as successful as it can be,’ Tran emailed to reporter Tess Townsend about the off-the-record meeting.
In the room, Tran said executives didn’t criticize Clinton for her views that some of these sharing companies were taking advantage of workers.
The executives discussed there potentially being a new, third classification of workers, beyond the W-2 or 1099 tax forms, ‘that characterized the employment of someone who only drives for Uber and Munchery for a living, as well as possibly hosting on Airbnb.’
Tran told Inc.com that Clinton did not express a difference of opinion with the CEOS, but ‘was warm and receptive to all of our thoughts.’
He then argued that the former secretary of state was ‘rightfully critical’ of certain elements of what Inc.com called the ‘gig economy,’ but was also generally interested in what the entrepreneurs had to say.
‘She seems like an advocate and interested in making this new economy work well for all the workers, leaders and policy makers involved,’ was Tran’s takeaway.
Leaks Reveal Elon Musk Is A Fraud Who Is Protected By Obama in Exchange For Funding DNC Campaigns
The Federal Reserve Bank, The Federal Trade Commission, The Securities and Exchange Commission, The Internal Revenue Service, The Department of Transportation, The Department of Energy, and other top federal departments have White House orders to, not only, “stay away from Elon Musk” but to give him exclusive extra government perks!
It is a fact that all of the above agencies have received reams of complaints about Musk and his companies but, so far, they have slow-walked or “stood-down” on all investigations.
Will the FBI do better?
HERE IS A REPORT SUBMITTED TO FEDERAL AGENCIES: is-elon-musk-a-fraud
Demands have been filed for a Special Prosecutor to be assigned by the Department of Justice but, so far, those please have fallen on deaf ears.
Senate Republicans are discussing an insurrection unless they see “real” law enforcement action prior to the Election.
It is all part of a quid-pro-quo kick-back deal between Musk, Larry Page, John Doerr, Steve Westly and the White House. It has removed nearly a trillion dollars from the taxpayers pockets and put that taxpayer cash in the bank vaults of these Silicon Valley Insiders.
Elon Musk is believed to be the largest financier and promoter of anti-coal, anti-oil and anti-hydrogen fuel cell efforts in the world. His acrimonious stealth attacks have earned him the title of “The George Soros of Cleantech”. Coal companies have not only ratcheted up their attacks on Musk but have begun a massive “Doxxing” campaign to disclose Musk’s corruption links.
Musk and his Bromance buddy: Larry Page, work together to rig all Google news reports in order to hide any of the revelations about Musk and maintain a constant state of puff pieces and self-aggrandizing Musk glory stories on the web to run the smoke-screen.
The following item is thought to have come from Coal doxxers:
Urgent Public Notice About Tesla Motors
What the world thinks about Tesla Owners: For the, relatively, small number of cars produced, Tesla has had the largest number of crashes by drunk drivers, sexual harassment charges against those owners, and tax evasion investigations against those owners. Tesla owners have, by far, been involved in the most divorce filings, by volume, in which “abuse of spouse” is the key issue than any other car company. This means that in addition to the “douchebag” perception that driving a Tesla carries with it, scientific and demographic evidence now proves that Tesla owners have a lower moral character. Be certain that you want the world to see you inside of a Tesla. This chart shows the sociological facts behind the poor ethics that driving a Tesla reflects on it’s owners:
many people have been killed in order to profiteer on corrupt lithium mining wars. Tesla isn’t “Green”. Tesla uses toxic, self-igniting, explosive, cancer-causing, fetus-mutating lithium batteries that contain a massive soup of deadly chemicals inside them. The chemistry gets more explosive over time and poisons the Earth when the batteries are used up. 40% of the workers who make the batteries die from getting poisoned by making the batteries. Panasonic, who promotes the batteries, has had over 40 international corruption, bribery and dumping charges filed against them over these batteries. Lithium batteries just blow up whenever they want to.
You are promoting organized Crime by owning a Tesla: Elon Musk took Tesla away from its founders in a hostile takeover. He and his Silicon Valley Cartel did this to exploit their corrupt lithium mining scam. His Cartel placed their own people in the Department of Energy in order to get them to give Tesla exclusive taxpayer cash because, as Elon Musk said on 60 Minutes, he was just about to go bankrupt because nobody wanted to buy the cars. Tesla has used bribes, illegal campaign financing, illegal stock and asset exchanges with Senators and stock market manipulation enhanced by Tesla co-owner, the privacy abusing company: Google.
By Bill Britt
Alabama Poliical Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Firings at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has led to the closing of several criminal investigations, including one involving State Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City), according to several sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Law enforcement officers have confirmed, that Special Agent Jack Wilson was ordered by State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) Director Gene Wiggin to close several high-profile cases after Governor Bentley placed ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier on medical leave.
Bentley told al.com, that he was also punishing Collier for not following his order not to give an affidavit to the Attorney General related to Speaker Mike Hubbard’s criminal felony case. Collier was place on a three month medical leave.
In the days following, Bentley replaced Collier with Acting Secretary Stan Stabler. After Bentley tapped Stabler, ALEA’s internal affairs, known as Standards and Integrity, questioned Agent Wilson about the Williams case and others, according to sources.
According to sources familiar with the actions surrounding the cases sometime after the interrogation, Wilson was ordered by SBI Director Wiggins to close the cases. Law enforcement officers confirm that closing these criminal investigations would have been approved by Stabler.
Reportedly, Wilson was troubled by what had occurred and wanted to report the cases being closed to other law enforcement agents only to be warned-off his plan by his superior officers. According to a source, Wiggins threatened Wilson with insubordination if he talked to other law enforcement agencies about the file.
Sources close to Gov. Bentley report that Sen. Williams had contacted the Governor about his case, Williams’ contact with the Governor was also reported around ALEA. Williams, according to law enforcement, was being investigated for possible ethic violations related to consulting clients.
On Williams’ latest ethics Statement of Economic Interests, he lists 43 professional or consulting clients. When elected in 2010, he listed no such clients.
Williams claimed these were reoccurring litigation clients, however, a search of court records found he had only three reoccurring litigation clients, not 43, as he has claimed.
According to those in law enforcement, the investigators believed they had a solid case against Williams, and were close to presenting their findings to a Grand Jury. This was all stopped when Bentley replaced Collier.
Wilson was reassigned back to Mobile. John “Hal” Taylor was also reassigned.
JT Jenkins, ALEA’s second-in-command, Jay Howell, Camilla Gibson, and Collier’s personnel assistant, Merritt Hayes, were all relieved of their duties.
Stabler and Wiggins did not return phone calls. The Governor’s office has failed to answer request for information about the firings and the closed cases.
October 13, 2016
Haim Saban, the billionaire chairman of Univision Communications, America’s largest Spanish-language media company, flew to Jerusalem in his private jet on Sept. 29 to attend the funeral of his friend Shimon Peres, Israel’s former prime minister. It was an event attended by numerous world leaders. Saban gave one of them a lift: former U.S. President Bill Clinton. In Saban’s telling, it wasn’t a big deal. “I called and asked, ‘Are you going to go?’ ” he says, recalling his conversation with Clinton. “He said, ‘Yeah, I’m going.’ I said, ‘I’m going, too. Do you need a ride?’ ” So Saban picked up Clinton and his entourage at a small airport in Teterboro, N.J.
After the funeral, Saban would have been happy to fly Clinton home, but his passenger got a better offer. President Barack Obama invited Clinton to ride back on Air Force One, which idled on the same tarmac as Saban’s jet. Saban channels Clinton looking back and forth between the two planes: “It was like, ‘Air Force One, Saban Air, Air Force One, Saban Air? OK, I’ll go with Air Force One!’ ” Saban says he understood.
Gossip about powerful friends, a lot of uncheckable dialogue, and a punchline—that’s typical Saban. The 72-year-old Israeli-American speaks five languages and is a gifted storyteller whose ability to entertain has helped him become an almost royal personage in Hollywood. “He’s one of the most charming people I have ever met in my whole life, and he’s really funny,” says reality TV star and entrepreneur Simon Cowell, with whom Saban developed Univision’s La Banda, an unscripted show about the search for the “ultimate” boy band and, more recently, girl band. Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, another of Saban’s friends, says, “He’s perceptive and perseverant. All that wealth that he created for himself, he did on his own.” Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, pays Saban the ultimate Hollywood compliment: “It’s easy to be charmed by Haim. But underneath that, there is just a laser-focused, razor-sharp, take-no-prisoners killer.”
Saban, who’s worth $3.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has two targets at the moment. He wants to take Univision public. He and a group of private equity investors bought the network for $12.3 billion in 2007, when it was a solely Spanish-language operation, and have transformed it into a bilingual platform aimed increasingly at young, multiethnic viewers.
His other goal is to elect Hillary Clinton president. It’s something that Saban, a longtime defender of Israel whom the Jerusalem Post recently named the world’s No. 1 “most influential Jew,” has been pushing since 2004. Last summer he told Bloomberg TV that he would give “as much as needed” to ensure her victory, and so far this election cycle he and his wife have donated $10 million to Clinton’s super PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Saban gives Clinton his unsolicited advice, too. Recently, he told her to stop shouting on the stump. “I think that she has gotten the message from a couple of people,” he says. “You can see in the last few weeks that the shouting is gone.” Saban says he doesn’t see Clinton much these days, but on the rare occasions that they’re photographed together, they look like confidants.
Saban’s two crusades are converging in a way that recalls previous windfalls in his career, when he made big, early bets that paid off in both money and clout. The conventional wisdom has been that Clinton can’t win without strong turnout from Hispanic voters, who helped Obama reach the White House twice. Saban’s company boasts that it is “the gateway to Hispanic America” in the U.S., reaching 40 million people in the demographic each month. Since June 2015, when Donald Trump announced his campaign with a pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border and deport millions of immigrants, some of whom he said were rapists, Univision has taken an adversarial stance. Nine days after Trump’s comments, the network canceled its plans to broadcast his Miss USA pageant. Trump filed a $500 million breach of contract lawsuit, alleging Saban was interfering to benefit Clinton. (The suit was settled confidentially.) The next month, Trump had Jorge Ramos, Univision’s leading news anchor, tossed out of a news conference in Iowa when Ramos questioned his immigration policies and ignored Trump’s command to “sit down” and “go back to Univision.” If many English-speaking Americans had until that point been only vaguely aware of Univision, they were now paying attention.
Since then, Univision has co-hosted a Democratic primary debate, sought to register 3 million Latino voters, and promoted a mid-October concert along the U.S.-Mexican border called “RiseUp As One.” The network’s growing influence comes as Saban waits for the right moment to do the initial public offering—a process that has dragged on longer than expected and might play out more favorably under President-elect Clinton than under Trump. Saban says he has nothing to do with Univision’s news coverage, but some Republicans find this hard to believe. “He has been quoted as saying he will do everything in his power to get Hillary Clinton elected,” says Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “I take him at his word.” On Oct. 10, WikiLeaks published hacked 2015 e-mails that show Saban persuading the Clinton campaign to make more of Trump’s anti-Hispanic rhetoric. In another message, on the subject of Univision’s perceived Clinton “boosterism,” Saban wrote: “i NEVER tell our news dep. what to cover.,,,unlike some of my peers.”
Saban lives in one of the Los Angeles area’s exclusive gated communities, high in Beverly Hills, in a compound with a winding, pebbled driveway, sculpted shrubbery, fountains, and his baronial residence. On a recent afternoon, he sits at a long table in his home office sipping cappuccino and munching on a salty Middle Eastern pastry. Saban wears a slim-fitting black shirt, black pants, no socks, and black slip-on shoes with a vaguely aquatic look. His dark hair is slicked back and falls over his collar. The cream-colored walls are decorated with pictures of Saban with various world leaders. There’s also a poster from the classic Mel Brooks movie The Producers, with the quote “If you got it … flaunt it!”
Like so many of Univision’s viewers, Saban, who speaks English with a heavy accent, has his own immigrant story. He was born in Egypt in 1944. When he was 12 years old, his family was forced to leave after President Gamal Abdel Nasser sought to rid the country of Jews. Saban and his family ended up living in one room next to a bus station in Tel Aviv. He served in the Israeli army, where he says he fought in two wars and was a garbage man and a disciplinarian. “I know,” he says, sitting in front of a large picture window through which you can see the late afternoon sun reddening the lush grounds outside. “You’re looking at me and thinking, ‘You were in charge of discipline?’ Yes, I was.” (It’s so not hard to believe.)
While still in the military, Saban entered the music business. He talked a local band into jettisoning its bass player and took the position himself, even though he couldn’t really play. Saban sometimes performed with his amp turned off until his musicianship improved. In time, Saban became the band’s manager, taking them to London, where they signed with PolyGram Records. He bounced from Israel, where he managed more bands and learned about promotion, to Paris and then the U.S., where music production led him into the cartoon business. During a visit to Japan in 1984, he saw a spasmodic TV show featuring teen superheroes in candy-colored outfits. To American eyes, it might have looked at best like trash and at worst a seizure risk. “I thought it was brilliant,” Saban says. “Kids in Spandex battling rubber monsters? It sounds beautiful. It does. I mean, I loved it. What can I say? I don’t know why.”
He wanted to bring a version of the show to the U.S. It would come to be titled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But when he showed it to the executives at his production company, they told him he was “deranged,” he recalls. “No, seriously,” he says. “They said, ‘Look, I mean, you’re doing so well. Why in the world would you take a risk of spoiling your reputation with this piece of crap?’ ”
Saban shopped the show around Hollywood for years until one day he hosted a meeting at his office with Margaret Loesch, then head of Fox Kids. She told Saban she needed a weekday morning show that would appeal to young boys. Loesch remembers Saban saying, “Just a moment, dalink.” Then, “he ran down the hall and came back waving a Power Rangers videocassette.” Loesch told Saban it was perfect.
Saban and Loesch split the $100,000 cost of an 18-minute pilot, which they tested in Burbank with a group of children, each of whom was furnished with a dial. If the kids liked the show, they were supposed to turn the dial to the right. Turning the dial left would mean they hated it. “Guess what?” Saban says. “It was to the right the whole show.” He says Loesch told him she’d never seen anything like it in her 20-year career. Power Rangers became a hit when the show made its debut in 1993. Saban says Fox soon moved Power Rangers to the afternoons, where it boosted the ratings for the local news shows of the company’s affiliates that followed because so many were watching.
Afterward, Saban says, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy his production company. “I said, ‘Bubbie, forget about it, I don’t need your money. Let’s create a partnership. You put in the network. I put in my content.’ ” Murdoch, Saban says, told him he was out of his mind—but eventually came to see the appeal. Together they formed Fox Kids Worldwide, a company they hoped would compete with Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Time Warner’s Cartoon Network.
The quickest way to get the network into a lot of homes would be to rebrand an existing channel. Saban targeted televangelist Pat Robertson’s Family Channel, the home of The 700 Club. Mel Woods, Saban’s chief operating officer at the time, recalls what transpired next. “Rupert Murdoch had a conversation with Pat Robertson,” Woods says. “The message came back to Haim: ‘They’re not interested.’ Chase Carey [then News Corp.’s co-COO] had a conversation—came back to Haim and said, ‘No, I don’t think they’re interested.’ Haim said, ‘Is it OK if I ask?’ ” Saban and Carey went to dinner with Tim Robertson, the televangelist’s son. “During that dinner, I spoke as a member of the top Fox management, even though I wasn’t,” Saban says. “I said, ‘We’ll give you movies. We’ll give you television shows. We’ll open the vaults. And Chase Carey is sitting there thinking, ‘What the heck is he saying?’ ”
In the end, the Robertsons sold the Family Channel to Saban and Murdoch for $1.9 billion. “I said, ‘Hallelujah, praise the Lord,’ ” Saban recalls.
The new owners renamed their prize the Fox Family Channel. It never caught up to Nickelodeon, and in 2001, Saban and Murdoch decided to sell the network. Murdoch, a dealmaker of the first order, and his executives scoffed when Saban said it could sell for $5 billion. “They were kind of like, ‘Yeah, really? Good luck,’ ” says former News Corp. President Peter Chernin. But the following year, at the annual Allen & Co. retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, Saban persuaded then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner to make a bid.
As Saban tells it, he brought Murdoch to the meeting and told him to sit quietly while Eisner made his offer. Instead, Murdoch started to laugh when Eisner said he was willing to pay $5.3 billion. Saban called for a break and took Murdoch aside. “I said, ‘What’s so funny about this?’ Rupert said, ‘He’s crazy. It’s not worth that.’ I said, ‘But you’re on the receiving end, so it’s not crazy.’ ” Murdoch declined an interview request for this story. So did Eisner, who was widely thought to have overpaid for the network, which became ABC Family.
As a billionaire, Saban has lavished money on causes and candidates, reaping the resulting friendships. Politically, he’s for Israel, abortion rights, and universal health care. In 2002 he and his wife, Cheryl, attended a presentation by Terry McAuliffe, then chairman of the Democratic National Committee, at the Clintons’ home in Washington. McAuliffe lamented that the Republican National Committee had much nicer headquarters than his organization’s. Saban says, “Cheryl bent over to me and said, ‘We’ve got to do something, and we’ve got to do it big.’ ” Saban gave $7 million to fund a new building. (McAuliffe didn’t respond to an interview request.)
The same year, Saban contacted Martin Indyk, the U.S. ambassador to Israel under Bill Clinton, and told him he wanted to start a think tank devoted to the Middle East. Indyk remembers the conversation well. “I said, ‘Well, you know, I already did that. I set up the Washington Institute for Near East Policy before I went into government, so why don’t you just give your money to them?’ ” Indyk says. “Haim said, ‘No, you don’t understand. I want my own.’ ” Indyk suggested that Saban establish his think tank at the Brookings Institution, a D.C. fixture for almost 90 years. Indyk recalls that Saban asked: “What’s Brookings?” That’s true, Saban says now, mocking himself. “Yeah, I didn’t know what Brookings was. Are you guys to the left? Are you to the right? Are you in the center? What are you? What do you do? I don’t know nothing.” He endowed Brookings’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy in May 2002. Its annual forum let its namesake rub shoulders with heads of state from America, Israel, and the Arab world. (It’s now called the Center for Middle East Policy.)
Saban could easily afford it. In 2003 he and a group of investors won the bidding for ProSiebenSat.1 Media, a German TV company that Saban describes as the equivalent of a combined ABC, CBS, and CNN. Saban learned the deal had gone through while he and his family were touring Dachau, the Nazi death camp in Germany. “I’m standing in the crematorium, and the phone vibrates in my pocket,” he says. He stepped outside to take the call. Saban and his partners bought control of the company in a deal that valued it at $3 billion. Four years later, they flipped it in one worth $8 billion.
In 2006, Saban testified before the U.S. Senate about how he, along with several other wealthy businessmen, used an offshore shelter to lower his taxes. He handled it as smoothly as everything else, pleading ignorance. “I am neither a lawyer nor a tax expert, in fact my formal education ended when I finished high school,” Saban said, adding that he was in the process of settling up with the IRS.
Soon after, he and some of the same partners bought Univision. It was the most popular TV network among American Hispanics, the country’s fastest-growing ethnic group, who devoured the network’s prime-time telenovelas, soapy dramas often about life in rural Mexico. The shows were produced south of the border by Televisa, Mexico’s largest TV company. It was lucrative for Univision, which was buying content produced for pesos and collecting ad revenue in dollars.
Univision also had a genuine bond with its audience, many of whom were new immigrants. Unlike many English-speaking viewers, who DVR’ed shows and bypassed ads, Hispanics tended to watch live. They also seemed to trust Univision more than the U.S. government. “They call us to find out where to send their kids to school, what the best hospitals are to send their kids if they get sick,” says Randy Falco, Univision’s CEO. “They’ve actually called us when their houses are on fire.”
If the value of a Latino-focused media company seems obvious now, Saban gets credit for realizing it a decade ago. He was similarly ahead of the curve on the presidential prospects of Hillary Clinton, whom he encouraged to run in 2004. She demurred and then lost the Democratic primary in 2008 to Obama. Saban was devastated, refusing to write Obama checks for the general election. “It took me a couple of years to heal, because I was so passionate about Hillary,” he says.
Things weren’t going much better at Univision. When the financial crisis struck in 2008, advertising revenue plummeted, and Univision took a $3.7 billion write-down that year. Meanwhile, Televisa, its main programming supplier, believed it had been historically underpaid by Univision and had gone to court to sever ties. Saban persuaded Televisa CEO Emilio Azcárraga Jean not only to extend his company’s programming agreement with Univision until 2020, he also got Televisa to contribute a much needed $1.2 billion in exchange for 5 percent of the company. “Haim Saban is one of the toughest and most persistent negotiators I have met,” Azcárraga said in a statement. And like so many others, he came away smitten, extolling Saban’s charisma and “great sense of humor. … We not only became partners, but also great friends,” he said.
Saban spent the next few years overseeing his company’s expansion. Univision created cable stations such as Univision Deportes (sports) and Univision TLnovelas (all-telenovelas-all-the-time). In 2013, Univision announced a venture with Disney to create Fusion, a cable network for young English-speaking Hispanics. Univision would provide the programs, and Disney would handle ad sales and get the network into major cable companies’ listings. But Fusion’s premise was flawed. In focus groups, young Hispanics said they “didn’t want to be treated as a tribe,” says Isaac Lee, Univision’s chief news, entertainment, and digital officer who oversees Fusion. “They also didn’t want to consume content that was only about Hispanic things.” Univision shifted Fusion’s target audience to what it describes as “multicultural millennials.” Disney pulled out of the venture last year. Fusion, which lost $64 million in its first three years, has yet to be picked up by Comcast, America’s largest cable operator.
Univision was also losing its own touch with programming. Its average prime-time viewership tumbled from 3.6 million people in the 2012-13 season to 2 million three years later, according to Nielsen, as its audience tired of Televisa’s pastoral fare. “I don’t want to see a novela with a hacienda,” says Lisa Torres, head of ad agency Publicis Media’s multicultural division. “I don’t know what a hacienda is. I have never been on a hacienda. I don’t know how to raise horses. That’s not my lifestyle.” Spokespeople for Univision and Televisa say their top executives met in Mexico City on Oct. 4 to discuss how to make better shows.
Saban has used acquisitions to bolster the Internet audience of the Fusion Media Group, recently formed to run the company’s newer TV and web ventures. Last year, Univision purchased The Root, a website aimed at African American audiences co-founded by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. In January it bought the Onion’s satirical empire. And in August it won an auction for Gawker Media, whose flagship website was known for scabrous takedowns, one of which led to a courtroom loss and bankruptcy. Gawker founder Nick Denton says he’s pleased Univision has picked up the remnants of his company. “Hipsters and Hispanics,” he says. “Two of the fastest-growing demographics in the U.S.”
Lee says Univision plans to create TV shows around its recently acquired websites. “At the end, it’ll be all of them, but we have to start with the most important,” he says. “There’s a Gawker property called Kotaku. It’s about gaming. The fandom in the Hispanic community about gaming is crazy.” He says the more Fusion can deliver an audience of young African Americans, Hispanics, and other groups, the better chance it has of pressuring Comcast into carrying Fusion.
Not everybody believes Univision’s strategy to court millennials regardless of language will pay off. Some analysts suspect that Saban is just trying to pretty up the profitable but heavily indebted Univision for the IPO. “They did it to get a higher [price] multiple,” says Harold Vogel, a New York-based media analyst. “It was going to make them cool and sassy and, you know, attractive to the market. And I’m saying, wait a minute, there’s nothing there.”
If Saban and his partners do take Univision public—the company notified the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of its intent a year ago but hasn’t yet set a date—they may already have a buyer for a significant block of shares. Last year, Univision disclosed that it had a plan to enable Televisa, which now owns almost 10 percent of the company, to increase its position to as much as 40 percent. But that would require the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, which must review any proposal to raise foreign ownership of a U.S. broadcast company beyond 25 percent. To pull this off, Saban needs a supportive administration in Washington. “Hillary is more likely to bless any expansion of foreign ownership between the two than Trump is,” says veteran media analyst Porter Bibb. “If Trump should win, Jorge Ramos really is dead in the water. I think Trump would probably figure out a way to ban him from the airwaves.”
It’s hard to overstate the influence of Univision’s top news anchor in the Hispanic community. Years ago, English-language networks had iconic news anchors such as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley, whose Olympian utterances swayed millions. Their modern counterparts aren’t nearly as powerful, but in the world of Hispanic media where so many people still watch broadcast television, it’s different. “Jorge Ramos is one of our most beloved journalists,” says Torres of Publicis Media. “I mean, he is our Walter Cronkite.”
Ramos, whose daughter works for the Clinton campaign, says he’s just a journalist asking tough questions, but he’s a crusader on matters like immigration. “If you have a candidate like Donald Trump who made racist remarks about Mexican immigrants, we cannot stay silent, impassive as journalists,” he says. “We saw a couple of weeks ago that the L.A. Times, Washington Post, New York Times, and Politico decided to call Donald Trump a liar,” he says. “But we did it in August of 2015.”
In a recent column in Time, Ramos warned that anybody who doesn’t take a strong stand against Trump’s transgressions will be judged in the future for being on the wrong side of history. But what Ramos sees as principle, others see as evidence that he can no longer report the news objectively. “The problem with him is that he doesn’t realize that if you’re a hard news reporter, you cannot give opinion,” says Alfonso Aguilar, head of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles in Washington and a political analyst for Univision’s chief rival, Telemundo. “He has a right to give us his opinion, but he can’t be the anchor and provide hard news. Because you are biased.”
Jorge Bonilla, a contributing writer at MRC Latino, a conservative watchdog group that tracks what it perceives to be liberal leanings in Spanish-language media, says he considers Ramos just one part of a broader problem at Univision. “When you look at the softball interviews that have been given to Hillary Clinton over the last couple of years and Haim Saban’s public statements, it is very evident that the network is committed to the election of Hillary Clinton,” Bonilla says.
That’s not true, says Saban. He notes that he was in the front row at a Democratic primary debate in March that Ramos moderated. The anchor’s first question to Clinton: “Would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?” Saban winces at the memory. “I’m thinking to myself, Could it be the second question, the third question? Why the first question?” he says. “For crying out loud! I had a friend with me. He said, ‘I thought you were supportive of Hillary.’ I said, ‘I am supportive of Hillary, but I don’t tell this guy [Ramos] what to say. You know, he says what he wants to say.’ ”
Election forecasting models give Clinton more than an 80 percent chance of winning the White House. It might be the right time for Unvision to go public, too. “The stock market is very buoyant, and the prognosis for the next 12 months is pretty strong,” says media analyst Bibb. “If I was Saban, I’d pop that thing right now.”
At his Beverly Hills home, Saban says he’s not looking for anything if Clinton is elected—not even a chance to be a back channel between the White House and the Israeli government, as some have speculated. “I will tell you exactly what I want,” he says. “And no one in the world, be it the president of the United States or the prime minister of Israel or whomever, can give me that. Only I can give me that. I just want to be Haim Saban, owner of Gawker Media’s character assassination empre. That’s all. I don’t want to change anything in my life.”
The documentarian found a typically offbeat way to infiltrate the church’s secretive world but the result is just as powerful and evocative as Going Clear
Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie pulls off the neat trick of finding a revelatory approach to a topic that’s been well covered of late: the Church of Scientology. For longtime Scientology obsessives, the last few years have puked up a glut of Scientology exposés. Paul Thomas Anderson downplayed similarities between The Master and the early years of L Ron Hubbard’s group, but the film still gives a good idea of how it may have developed. More worrying for Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, was Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear – rich in accounts from church apostates, lawyered-up and fact-checked to the nth degree – and the no-less-excoriating Alex Gibney documentary based on it. Both book and film were devastating for Scientology’s reputation.
If Going Clear had a failing, it was in its reluctance to fully call to account some of its witnesses, including a figure who reappears in Theroux’s movie, former church disciplinarian Marty Rathburn. Theroux takes an indirect approach. Basing himself in LA, he puts out a casting call for people to play Scientology followers, as well as Miscavige and Tom Cruise.
The intent is to replicate on film, with the help of Rathburn, alleged practices never witnessed by outsiders: an E-meter session (newbies are probed for emotional weaknesses); a “bull-bait” drill (designed to instil fortitude through extreme belittlement); and a disciplinary session in “The Hole” (allegedly a trailer in the California desert), with Miscavige – played by actor Andrew Perez – abusing his disgraced senior management. (Of the three, the church only recognises E-meter sessions as official practice.)
These exercises, essentially actors’ workshops guided by Rathburn, are evocative and powerful, particularly the scenes in The Hole, which Theroux calls “the extreme but logical extension of the core principles of Scientology”. They are the movie’s most extraordinary moments.
But this is the super-paranoid Church of Scientology, and soon they are on Theroux’s tail, trailing his car, implicitly threatening Rathburn, openly filming them, and harassing them with legal threats (they aggressively blanket-deny everything). This prompts the movie’s other masterstroke: Theroux undermining Marty Rathburn’s authority by reminding him that these abusive strategies were originally invented by… Marty Rathburn. Marty doesn’t like that one bit, and can’t hide it. I think Rathburn is – on balance – an anti-Scientology hero, but we deserve the more ambiguous, troubling portrait sketched here.
For these reasons, My Scientology Movie belongs in the company of the most serious work done on the church. The more sunlight that falls on this dark organisation, the better for all of us.
My Scientology Movie is in cinemas from 7 October
DONALD TRUMP: HE WON’T SET YOUR PENIS
ON FIRE AS BAD AS THE EXPLODING IPHONE 7
Syed Abedin, the father of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma, outlined his view of Sharia law and how the Western world has turned Muslims “hostile” during a wide-ranging video interview that shines newfound light on the reclusive thinker’s world views, according to footage exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Abedin, a Muslim scholar who was tied to the Saudi Arabian government until his death in 1993, has remained somewhat of a mystery as the media turns its eye to his daughter Huma, a top Clinton campaign aide who recently announced her separation from husband Anthony Weiner following his multiple sex scandals.
Syed Abedin explained his views on the Muslim world and spread of Islam during a 1971 interview titled The World of Islam, which was first broadcast on Western Michigan University television.
Abedin said that Arab states must police the upholding of Sharia, or Islamic law, and explained why the majority of Muslims view Israel and the Western world in primarily “hostile” terms.
The video provides a window into the Abedin family’s ideology, which has been marred by accusations it is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abedin, who was then a professor in the university’s college of general studies, said that Western intervention in the Arab world has sparked a backlash among many faithful Muslims.
“The response to the West has been of two kinds,” Abedin said. “By and large the response has taken more of a hostile form.”
“The first impulse of the average Muslim in the Islamic world is that this kind of borrowing [culturally] would be somehow an alien factor into our social fabric and thereby destroying the integrity of our ethos … the integrity of our culture,” he added.
In a separate discussion on the state’s role in a person’s life, Abedin said it is necessary to police the application of Sharia law.
“The state has to take over” as Muslim countries evolve, he argued. “The state is stepping in in many countries … where the state is now overseeing that human relationships are carried on on the basis of Islam. The state also under Islam has a right to interfere in some of these rights given to the individual by the Sharia.”
“Suspicion” runs rampant in the Muslim world, Abedin said, citing it as a reason why Western governing values have not been quickly adopted in the region.
“In the contemporary Islamic world, religious leadership is of very crucial significance because any change that will be abiding, that will make any positive contribution to the development of Muslim life, must come from that source, and that is one reason why ideologies like socialism or communism that have been introduced into the Muslim world have never really taken root,” Abedin said. “They have always been considered as foreign importations. … It’s a kind of suspicion.”
Abedin also discussed the clash between modernity and the Islamic world.
“When you talk of an Islamic state … does it have to have a caliph?” he asked. “What does it mean? What is the Islamic concept of good in the present day world?”
Any cultural change, Abedin concluded, will have to be validated by the tenets of Islam.
“The main dynamics of life in the Islamic world are still supplied by Islam,” he said. “Any institution, as I said before, any concept, any idea, in order to be accepted and become a viable thing in the Islamic world has to come through … Islam.”
Abedin’s views on religion have become a central topic among those who have questioned Clinton’s choice to elevate Human Abedin into such a prominent role.
The Abedins helped create the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a publication accused of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and of promoting a hardline Islamic ideology.
Huma Abedin served as an assistant editor of the journal for 12 years and also played a role in its offshoot, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think-tank established in Saudi Arabia by an accused financier of the al Qaeda terror group, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The lawsuit, filed and announced Monday by the Department of Labor, threatens the complete cancellation of every contract Palantir has with the federal government — a penalty worth $340 million, the lawsuit claims, which would end the company.
The claims in the lawsuit are laughable. The Obama administration alleges that Palantir discriminated against Asians. But it has to admit that Palantir, in fact, hired many Asians — 11 out of 25 software engineers, for example. The government does not even bother to claim that Palantir deliberately excluded Asians. Rather, it argues that since only 44% of Palantir’s software engineers are Asian, but 85% of the applicant pool was Asian, Palantir must, statistically, have discriminated against Asians.
In other words: almost all of the software engineers at Palantir have to be Asian, or else it is guilty of “racial discrimination.” Apparently left-wing concern for “diversity” in the workplace is a flexible concept, based on political expediency.
(It is notoriously difficult for anyone, Asian or otherwise, to be hired by Palantir, which deals with very sensitive and advanced intelligence-oriented projects — a fact that is well-known in the tech, defense, and public policy communities.)
The lawsuit is obvious revenge for Thiel’s support of Trump. In his speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Thiel blasted the government for its technological backwardness: “[T]oday our government is broken … it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all.”
Thiel’s government clients clearly did not take kindly to that — and wanted to send a message to other potential Trump fans in the business and tech communities.
One expert interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News was highly skeptical of the lawsuit’s merits:
“This is unusual,” said Buck Gee, a former Cisco executive who studies Asian diversity in Silicon Valley, said of the accusations against Palantir. “If it’s true, it would be an anomaly.”
But Gee said Asian employees are less likely to be promoted once they are hired. At Facebook, for example, just 21 percent of the company’s senior leadership staff is Asian.
As for the Palantir lawsuit, Gee is skeptical about the discrimination claims. The complaint leaves out key information, he said, such as what percentage of the company’s overall workforce is Asian. And the Labor Department didn’t explain how it determined which rejected applicants were qualified for the engineering jobs in question.
The Department of Labor hopes to weaponize the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling last year in Texas Housing on so-called “disparate impact” discrimination to bully Thiel and others. Thiel, who was recently revealed as the main force behind a years-long battle against Gawker, probably has the guts to fight back. But others will not.
U.S. Department of Transportation Covering Up Tesla Safety Issues?
By John Connerly
Erick Strickland was the head of Automotive Safety for the Obama Administration. For years he had received written reports on the tremendous and potentially lethal safety issues of two of Obama’s biggest campaign financiers: General Motors and Tesla Motors. He, and his office did absolutely nothing about these dangers because the White House said it would “embarrass” the White House’s campaign financiers.
People died because of this.
When Strickland was told that the cover-up was going to go public. He quit 48 hours later.
The GM airbag and ignition switch issues then went public and some of the Tesla fires began to be disclosed.
Those were only a few of the dangers.
For over five years, a number of companies have been sending written notices to the U.S. Department of Transportation via the DOT Press Office, the Inspector General and the GAO.
These written notices informed the DOT of over 42 known and potentially deadly safety issues with the Tesla Motors cars.
At no time over the last five years did any party from DOT reply to the providers of these safety tips.
It seems as if the DOT does not want to have to do their job.
Worse; it seems as if the DOT wants to cover up Tesla safety issues in order to protect the White House’s Silicon Valley campaign finance billionaires, who all own parts of Tesla and Tesla’s suppliers.
Many of the people submitting safety defect issues were Tesla owners and Tesla factory workers.
If you are an agency that gets a safety tip you are supposed to investigate the safety issue ASAP. Every tipster that I spoke to said that they clearly stated that they had more information to provide DOT and that it was obvious that their letters were incomplete and that DOT needed to contact them for more information and follow-up. In no case did DOT contact them or follow-up.
It is now widely documented that Elon Musk got tens of billions of dollars from the Obama White House and that he is somehow involved in financing Obama’s campaign. The details are dark and sticky.
No matter what, though, to put the lives of American taxpayers at risk because a public hazard will make for some awkward moments is a crime.
DOT officials are as guilty of the deaths as any defective circuit in any Tesla.
When will these cover-ups end?