Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Facebook's Fire Hose

Related: Global Conflagration

"Facebook cryptocurrency Libra skewered on Capitol Hill" by Renae Merle Washington Post,July 16, 2019

WASHINGTON — Skeptical lawmakers questioned Facebook’s plan to help create a global currency Tuesday, arguing that the Silicon Valley giant is seeking unprecedented influence over the financial system.

‘‘Facebook is dangerous,’’ Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the cryptocurrency project. ‘‘We would be crazy to give them a chance to experiment with people’s bank accounts.’’

Republican Senator Martha McSally of Arizona added: ‘‘I don’t trust Facebook . . . Instead of cleaning up your house, you are starting a new business model.’’

Facebook says the cryptocurrency, known as Libra, would bridge a gap in the financial system for people who lack access to traditional banking. The project would ultimately allow Facebook’s 2.4 billion users worldwide to send and transfer money quickly — and with almost no fees, the company says, but the project, unveiled last month, sparked immediate concerns from leaders around the world about whether Libra would threaten government-backed currencies, encourage money laundering, and jeopardize consumers’ data. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said criminal misuse of cryptocurrency is a ‘‘national security issue,’’ and last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that Libra raises ‘‘serious concerns.’’

What you see there, buried at the bottom of page B9, is the ab$olute $tranglehold that the Federal Re$erve has upon the government and politicians.

‘‘We agree with all of the concerns,’’ said David Marcus, head of Calibra, the Facebook subsidiary focused on cryptocurrency. Libra will not be launched until all of regulators’ questions are addressed, he said.

David Marcus, head of Facebook’s cyrptocurrency subsidiary Calibra, testified during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Tuesday on Capitol Hill. The committee held the hearing on "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations."
David Marcus, head of Facebook’s cyrptocurrency subsidiary Calibra, testified during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Tuesday on Capitol Hill. The committee held the hearing on "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations." (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Many lawmakers focused on whether Facebook, which has been engulfed in controversy for more than two years, should be trusted with such a potentially powerful technology. Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission approved a $5 billion settlement with the company over its privacy practices.

Marcus repeatedly attempted to relieve lawmakers’ concerns, promising Facebook would not directly control Libra. The tech giant is one of nearly 30 members of a coalition that would control the cryptocurrency, Marcus said. ‘‘I know that we will have to earn people’s trust for a very long period of time in order to get the benefit of them wanting to use’’ the program, he said.

Some Republicans came to the company’s defense. Libra has a lot of potential and ‘‘to strangle this baby in the crib is premature,’’ Senator Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said. ‘‘I think we should be exploring this and considering the benefits and concerns.’’

Still, Facebook faces a tough task winning over many lawmakers. Marcus is scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. That committee is led by Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, who has introduced legislation that could block Libra.

She is corrupt as $in, and likely being lobbied off.

The bipartisan drumming of Libra could also slow efforts to sign up more corporate sponsors. The project has already received a pessimistic reception from Wall Street, which is weary of Silicon Valley encroachment on the financial industry and questioned whether Libra would face the same strict, and often cumbersome, oversight as does a traditional bank.

Yeah, you don't run afoul of those guys.

‘‘As long as it’s [a] level playing field reviewed by regulators, we have no problem with what anyone does,’’ Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

Just a few years ago, Dimon drew the ire of the crypto community when he called bitcoin a ‘‘fraud,’’ but since then, JPMorgan, the country’s largest bank, has begun preparing a pilot program for an internal cryptocurrency, JPMCoin. Its reach would be limited to internal transactions with the bank’s corporate clients.....



"Banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Tuesday that its second quarter profits grew by 16 percent from a year ago, helped by lower taxes and the ability to charge businesses and consumers more to borrow money. The nation’s largest bank by assets said Tuesday that it earned $9.65 billion, or $2.82 per share, up from a profit of $8.32 billion, or $2.29 per share, a year earlier. The results beat the forecasts of analysts, who were looking for JPMorgan to earn $2.50 a share, according to FactSet."

Yeah, that's billion with a B! 

Averages out to about $3 billion in profit per month, if you can get your head around that.

That's what they want to protect.

"Consumer banking giant Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter on Tuesday, despite remaining under heavy restrictions by regulators for an assortment of scandals in recent years. The San Francisco-based bank reported second-quarter earnings of $6.21 billion, a 19 percent increase over the $5.19 billion for the same period last year. Like other banks, Wells Fargo has benefited from a rise in interest rates, which has somewhat offset the restrictions placed on the bank by regulators. Last year, the Federal Reserve capped the size of Wells Fargo’s assets after an assortment of scandals, beginning in 2016 with the uncovering of millions of fake checking accounts its employees opened to meet sales quotas."

I'm $tumpfed that they are not as good as JPMorgan.

Also see:

Fidelity launches index mutual funds with lower expense ratios

Tesla cuts price of Model 3 sedan after federal tax credit is cut

Stock indexes end lower, breaking a 5-day winning streak

A surprisingly good retail sales report for June had little impact on consumer product makers, though as "US retail sales rose at a solid pace last month, providing crucial support to the economy at a time when other drivers of growth have faded, the Commerce Department said Tuesday....."

"Amazon’s Prime Day gives an opportunity for shoppers to flex their deal-spotting muscles ahead of Black Friday — and their own chance to warm up for thieves, although the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas see far more parcel deliveries-and therefore, more brazen from-the-stoop thefts....."

"Athletes have long submitted to tests that measure how stress levels and sleep patterns affect their performance. Could workers be next? As devices that can monitor our personal metrics become more accessible, and widely used — think Fitbits and Apple Watches — researchers have started exploring how physiological factors can affect employees’ productivity at work, potentially unveiling a new avenue for improving job performance, and opening a Pandora’s box of privacy concerns....."


"You might be close to your manager. Perhaps he or she asks about your weekend, or where you got that delightful shirt with the bird print, but what if your boss knew how much you slept each night, how often you got up from your desk during the day, or how many times you picked up your smartphone? Researchers at Dartmouth College helped to create a system that monitors employees by recording their physical, emotional, and behavioral states at all times. The system is comprised of three components: a smartphone app, a wearable fitness tracker, and a Bluetooth beacon that sits on a desk or is attached to a keychain....."

Constant surveillance by your employer sounds great, doesn't it?

As it is, Alexa is already listening, and after the one day strike by the Minnesota warehouse workers you can now get back to business.

So where do you want to go for lunch?

"When it opened in May, the new Zuma Japanese restaurant inside the ultra-luxe One Dalton building had foodies marveling at the opulent splendor. The 12th location of the global restaurant brand has three open kitchens, 70 sakes, and a $69 roasted lobster with ponzu butter, but one thing it didn’t have was permission to use the Zuma name, according to a ruling last Friday in Suffolk Superior Court. That’s because back in 2008, the restaurant’s UK-based parent company, Azumi Limited, entered into a license agreement with B.B. Kitchen, which owns the Zuma Tex-Mex Grill, a Faneuil Hall restaurant known for its grilled fajitas and neon margaritas....."

I don't want Tex-Mex after hearing those prices and amid growing international concern over how to deal with ocean pollution (they haven't changed the name of the slave market yet?).

I would suggest having a pizza delivered, but Domino’s said aggressive discounting by third-party delivery services like DoorDash is hurting its US sales."


Ryanair cutting flights, closing bases because of Max 737 delays

It's Europe’s biggest airline, and it begs the question of how we got men to the moon, but I suppose the virtual blast off will convince you.

Time to head to the lunch room:

"Duterte outlaws catcalling, wolf-whistling, and sexist quips" by Regine Cabato Washington Post,July 16, 2019

MANILA — Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte has faced frequent accusations of sexism for his expletive-laden speeches featuring crass jokes about rape and other offensive remarks toward women.

He once kissed a married woman in front of thousands of supporters, saying she could tell her husband it was a joke. Last year he admitted to sexually assaulting a sleeping maid when he was a teenager.

Now, the president has left many here scratching their heads after he signed a law outlawing wolf-whistling, catcalling, and the telling of sexual jokes in public, among other forms of harassment. Penalties include imprisonment.

The law extends to public leering, intrusive gazing, stalking, and unwanted exposure, as well as commentary online. It requires bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses to install signs that include a hotline number for reporting sexual harassment.

Duterte’s spokesman told reporters Tuesday that the president recognized the need for the antiharassment measures and that he ‘‘will be the first one to obey’’ the new law, known as the Safe Spaces Act. He added that Duterte sometimes told lewd jokes because he wanted to make people laugh.

The irony of Duterte’s government approving such legislation wasn’t lost on women’s advocates, who have been among the firebrand leader’s most prominent critics.

The president ‘‘represents the single-most brazen violator of the law’s intent with his staple macho-fascist remarks,’’ the Gabriela Women’s Party, a leftist political group, said in a statement. Implementing the law under Duterte’s administration would ‘‘certainly be a challenge,’’ the group added.

‘‘Duterte is the misogynist-in-chief,’’ said Inday Espina-Varona, journalist and founder of the #BabaeAko, or I am Woman, campaign. ‘‘While this is a law that is long overdue, his signing it only rams home the truth: He believes himself to be above the law.’’

And he's a friend of ours.

Duterte signed the act in April but officials only released a copy of the law on Monday.

Duterte — best known for a drug war that has left thousands of Filipinos dead — has made many controversial statements about women since taking office in 2016. He has told soldiers to shoot female guerrilla fighters in the vagina and joked about raping an Australian missionary who was killed in 1989.

‘‘As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases,’’ he said in a speech in his home city of Davao last year.

When the Swedish ambassador to Manila criticized Duterte’s language last week, the president’s spokesman countered that foreign audiences ‘‘may not have the same acceptance’’ of Duterte’s humor as Filipinos.

‘‘The good Sweden envoy should judge the president not by his words but by his deeds,’’ spokesman Salvador Panelo said. Duterte has appointed women to government posts and passed pro-women laws, he added.

The new Safe Spaces Act corrects a prior legal restriction that only recognized harassment when committed by superiors toward subordinates.

Still, Duterte need not be personally concerned about the reach of the new law — at least, not for the moment. As president, he has immunity from prosecution for the duration of his six-year term.


Also see:

"Pakistani journalists held nationwide protests Tuesday to denounce rampant censorship by the country’s powerful security services, massive layoffs due to budget cuts, and monthslong delays in payments of their wages. The rallies, dubbed Day of Protests, were spearheaded by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, which said that journalists, who face the roughest phase in the country’s history, have decided to ‘‘fight the unprecedented censorship.’’ Tuesday was only the ‘‘beginning of a protest movement,’’ said Afzal Butt, union president....."

They can start right here:

"The publisher of a neo-Nazi website should pay more than $14 million in damages for encouraging “an online anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation campaign” against a woman in 2016, a federal magistrate judge in Montana recommended Monday. The judge, Jeremiah Lynch, also recommended that the publisher, Andrew Anglin, be made to remove all blog posts from the website, The Daily Stormer, that encouraged readers to contact the woman, Tanya Gersh, and her family. The lawsuit came after The Daily Stormer published a series of articles attacking Gersh after dealings she had with the mother of white supremacist leader Richard Spencer......"

It was the Southern Poverty Law Center that filed the suit (how is Dees doing these days anyway?), and one can be forgiven for seeing a conspiracy to keep him off balance and in the back of the bus.

78 dead in Nepal as flooding wreaks havoc in South Asia

The main flooding is taking place in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, which is prone to monsoon floods because of overflowing rivers and the heavy onrush of water from upstream India, but the strange thing is at least a dozen people, mostly farmers, have been killed by lightning since Saturday.


"A man has confessed to raping and killing an American scientist whose body was found last week in a cave on the island of Crete, authorities said Tuesday. The disappearance of Suzanne Eaton, 59, a prominent developmental biologist who had been in Crete for a conference, set off an international online campaign by friends and family members to find her. Her remains were discovered July 8, six days after she was last seen alive. A coroner found that she had died of asphyxiation and ruled that her death had resulted from a criminal act. She had also suffered multiple rib and facial fractures as well as upper limb injuries, and had possibly been a victim of sexual abuse, police said in a statement Tuesday. They said the suspect had admitted to hitting her with his car, to disable her so that he could rape her. A 27-year-old man confessed to the crime after he was arrested Monday as the main suspect for her killing, the director of Crete’s police force, Konstantinos Lagoudakis, said in the statement. Eaton, who had a black belt in taekwondo, was last seen July 2, having lunch at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, which was hosting the conference....."


I'm further told that tire tracks at the site were a key piece of evidence, that the academy is nestled between the rocky shoreline and rugged hills, and she apparently went on her daily, 30-minute run — her running shoes were missing from her room, but her passport, wallet, phone, and cycling shoes were still there, while in his confession, the suspect said he saw her around noon heading toward a monument to the fallen Greek cadets of World War II, about a mile away from the academy, and hit her twice with his car. 

As for Eaton, she led a research group at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, was a professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Dresden University of Technology, and was described as “a world-renowned scientist who was a key player in developmental biology.” She lived in Dresden, Germany, with her husband, Anthony Hyman, also a biologist, and their two children. Originally from California, she graduated from Brown University and earned a doctorate at the University of California Los Angeles. “My mother was a remarkable woman,” her son Max said in a statement. “She managed to live a life with few regrets.”

Strange reaction to such a heinous end of life.

Time to hit the beachhead:

"The body of a 24-year-old Massachusetts man who went missing Saturday at Green Sand Beach in Hawaii was found Monday in waters off the beach, authorities said. His name and hometown weren’t immediately released, but his family has been notified, according to the US Coast Guard....."

Two new studies warn that a hotter world will be a more violent one

According to the Washington ComPost, there’s plenty of reason to suspect higher temperatures are a direct driver of violent behavior, and taken together, the two new studies are a reminder that all else being equal, a hotter world is destined to become a more violent one.

[Rather than issue a profanity, I'm just going to flip them off]

"Police in Italy recovered Nazi paraphernalia, guns, and a missile during a Monday operation that was part of a yearlong investigation into ‘‘Italian fighters with extreme ideologies.’’ One of the three suspects taken into custody had been flagged for trying to sell an air-to-air missile that was located in the northern Italian city of Pavia, authorities said in their announcement. The weapon did not have an explosive, police say, but was still usable. Authorities also found assault rifles, bayonets, pistols, and nearly a thousand cartridges and other weapons parts. Authorities say that the suspects attempted to sell the missile, believed to be a French Matra missile, over the messaging service WhatsApp, Reuters reported....."

I thought the thing stunk of a Gladio set-up at first; however, I later found out that the raid was born out of a yearlong investigation into Italian extremist fighters who were believed to have ‘‘taken part in the armed conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine.’’

"The French environment minister, François de Rugy, under fire for lavish dinners on the public dime, resigned Tuesday as discontent mounted with President Emmanuel Macron’s political movement. The revelations about de Rugy, first reported by the French investigative website Mediapart, appeared as a potent symbol of Macron’s most vulnerable spot: the accusation that he is “president of the rich.” It was that charge that helped fuel the violent six-month “yellow vest” protest movement that shook Macron’s presidency, and the accusation has not gone away despite Macron’s efforts to proclaim himself humbler, wiser and less disdainful of his compatriots in the aftermath of the uprising.The scandal involving de Rugy — he hosted a series of lavish dinners for friends and professional acquaintances while he was the Macron-approved president of the National Assembly, before becoming the environment minister last year — revived all of the damaging accusations. Photographs of lobster tails on a table set with sparkling crystal at the Hôtel de Lassay, the assembly president’s official residence, and of de Rugy’s wife, Séverine, smiling next to a bottle of wine worth about $560, had a devastating effect. The yellow vests, who rose up in revolt precisely over outrage at the perceived overprivilege of the Paris political and economic elite, were back on Sunday, demonstrating on the Champs-Élysées during the Bastille Day celebrations and yelling, “We want lobsters, champagne, and caviar.” As late as Monday, Macron appeared to be standing by his minister, proclaiming, “I don’t make decisions based on revelations, but on facts, otherwise we turn into the Republic of Denunciation.” De Rugy lashed out at Mediapart over the revelations. Macron himself is known to dislike the website, to have disdain for journalists in general, and to hate appearing to cave in to articles that challenge him."

In the larger context, Macron is still a Rothschild scum but the dusting off of the yellow vests recently and the slip regarding macron's hatred of journali$ts, leads me to believe that pressure is being applied due to his softness on Iran and Palestine.

And speak of the devil:

"UAE-based oil tanker disappears in Iranian waters in the Strait of Hormuz" by Erin Cunningham The Washington Post, July 16, 2019

DUBAI — An oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates is missing after it stopped in Iranian waters three days ago and switched off its transponder, raising concerns that it may have been seized by Iran amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf.

My goodness, this swirling steaming pile of BS stunk up the whole page!

Smells like a fictitious event and more war propaganda.

Shipping tracking data showed that the Panama-flagged Riah stopped transmitting its position late Saturday when it was off the coast of Iran’s Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has a base.

Data showed that the ship was on its way to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates before diverting sharply and slowing to a halt in Iranian territorial waters.

An Emirati official denied that the tanker has links to the UAE, saying that the ship is ‘‘neither UAE owned nor operated’’ and ‘‘does not carry Emirati personnel.’’

Then whose was it, or does the ship even exist?

It ‘‘did not emit a distress call,’’ said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Yup, they shut off their transponder so we have no proof they were ever there, and now we are told not even a distress call. 

This has the stench of fake news and 100% war propaganda.

The US 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, was ‘‘aware of the reports’’ but had no further details, said a spokeswoman, Lt. Christina Gibson. A US defense official said the United States ‘‘has suspicions’’ that Iran seized the tanker, the Associated Press reported.


The WaComPo is reporting it as if it is an actual event, and it turns out this is all about covering the seizure of the Iranian ship off Gibraltar.

‘‘The vicious British government committed piracy and attacked our ship,’’ Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a speech Tuesday. Iran ‘‘will not leave such acts without a response,’’ he warned.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain would help facilitate the Grace 1’s release if Iran could provide guarantees that the ship’s cargo would not go to Syria. Iran has said that it is not subject to EU sanctions.

The confrontation comes as Europe struggles to keep Iran in a nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015. European nations have urged Iran to reverse recent moves to breach the agreement.

They pre$$ keeps pushing that charade and kabuki dance as if it were serious.

Also Tuesday, Iran’s judiciary confirmed the arrest of French Iranian scholar Fariba Adelkhah, the latest dual national to be detained by Iranian security forces. French President Emmanuel Macron called on Tehran on Monday to explain why Adelkhah, 60, was arrested.

‘‘What has happened worries me a great deal,’’ Macron told reporters during a visit to Belgrade, Agence France-Presse reported.

‘‘I have expressed my disagreement and asked President [Hassan] Rouhani for clarification,’’ he said.....

They then asked him about his disdain for journalists in general.


Turns out Iran wasn't a nuclear threat after all, as this page A4 World lead confirms:

"North Korea warns US to quit military drills with South Korea" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times, July 16, 2019

SEOUL — Only 16 days after President Trump set foot in North Korea to try to restart nuclear talks with its leader, North Korea on Tuesday escalated its pressure on the United States to cancel a planned joint military drill with South Korea, warning that it could scuttle efforts to resume dialogue with Washington and even prompt the North to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The vaguely worded threats were contained in two separate statements from the North Korean Foreign Ministry on Tuesday that complained about the military drill, called 19-2 Dong Maeng.

The statements said the planned exercise undermined a mood for dialogue created when its leader, Kim Jong Un, met with Trump at Panmunjom, a village on the inter-Korean border, on June 30. In the hurriedly arranged meeting, the two leaders agreed to restart working-level talks on the terms of denuclearizing North Korea.

Well, I just caught the New York Times in its first distortion. Meetings between such leaders are never "hurriedly arranged." They are simply made to appear that way by the narrative-creating pre$$.

On Tuesday, North Korea warned that if the joint military drill takes place in August, it “will affect” efforts to resume dialogue. At Panmunjom, Trump said dialogue could resume in two or three weeks, but the North on Tuesday appeared to link the resumption of such talks to the cancellation of the military drill.

Just wondering what the carbon footprint is on all the war drills.

On Tuesday, North Korea said the new drill would “violate the spirit” of the Singapore agreement. It even indicated that its decision to suspend nuclear and ICBM tests was contingent on the absence of joint military drills between the United States and the South.

“As the US is unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our rationale to stay in the commitments we made with the US,” the North said. It noted that neither Washington’s vow to cancel major exercises nor its moratorium on nuclear and missile tests was a legally binding commitment “inscribed in paper.” 

Don't take it personal; they do it to everybody (except Israel, of course).

The Hanoi talks in February collapsed when Kim demanded that Washington lift all major sanctions against his country in return for the dismantling of its nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, the capital. Trump insisted on a more comprehensive breaking up of the North’s nuclear programs, including its nuclear weapons and missiles.

Another distortion and lie coming from the times, for Kim didn't ask for all sanctions to be lifted. He wanted a phased-in approach as they dismantled, and the Trump team said no, total disarmament first.

Shall we continue with the distortions and war-promoting lies?

Despite the failure in Hanoi, both Kim and Trump have often boasted of their mutual “friendship” and willingness to engage in diplomacy.

Despite the pledge last month at the Korean border, low-level talks have yet to take place. By issuing a vague threat to resume nuclear and missile tests, North Korea appeared to put pressure on Washington even before bilateral talks resumed.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry’s statements came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged North Korea to change its demands while reconfirming Washington’s goal of achieving the “final fully verifiable denuclearization” of North Korea.

“I hope the North Koreans will come to the table with ideas that they didn’t have the first time,” Pompeo said in an interview Monday on “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox News.

“We hope we can be a little more creative, too,” Pompeo said. “The president’s mission hasn’t changed: to fully and finally denuclearize North Korea in a way that we can verify.”


I guess it's a good time to remember that "in 1944, during World War II, 320 men, two-thirds of them African-Americans, were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California, just before Nazi Germany surrendered."

The Port Chicago explosion had all the hallmarks of a nuclear blast, readers.

Was about the same time they were running the Tuskegee study, too.

Nearly fifty years later, "in 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Europe-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board, while in 2014, all 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists denied responsibility."

Maybe someday we will get the truth surrounding the failed cover-up regarding TWA 800, while the Malaysian flight marked a return to the Cold War.


That means a Civil War here:

Eric Garner’s death will not lead to federal charges for NYPD officer

Was today's National lead.


"In 2014, Eric Garner, an unarmed black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by New York City police officers; a video of the takedown showed Garner repeatedly saying, ‘‘I can’t breathe.’’ (Garner’s family received $5.9 million from the city in 2015 to settle a wrongful death claim.)"

At least the family was taken care of in the assassination that was triggered by a frisk stop, and you gotta have sympathy for de Blasio as we all choke on the racial division.

Also see:

Planned Parenthood to defy Trump abortion referral rule

Try to keep that behind closed doors, will ya'?

"Trump focuses on race, returning to his electoral strategy ahead of 2020" by Liz Goodwin Globe Staff, July 16, 2019

WASHINGTON — President Trump appears to have settled on a 2020 reelection strategy — and it looks a lot like his old playbook.

With a Sunday Twitter screed telling four first-term House lawmakers of color to “go back” to their countries, Trump signaled that stirring up racial animus will continue to be a key part of his strategy to reactivate his base heading into what’s likely to be a fierce reelection battle.

This worked for him last time, as voters delivered Trump a victory after he called for a wall on the Mexican border, expressed a desire to ban all Muslims from entering the country, and made a name for himself questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship, but the political ground has shifted under Trump’s feet since then. By fanning these same flames, he now risks activating the voters who delivered House Democrats a victory in the 2018 midterms — the same wave that swept the four women he’s targeting into power in the first place.

“The strategy was an epic failure in the midterms and not just because women in Orange County didn’t like it — they failed in many working-class white areas too,” said Ian Russell, the former political director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “There was a flop at the box office and for some reason they greenlit a sequel.”

Related: Divided House votes for resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks

Never mind the debt burning a hole in our pockets.

Trump doesn’t appear to be sweating the possibility of electoral damage from his comments, despite widespread criticism. Still, many on Trump’s staff appeared to struggle to defend his choice of words. “What’s your ethnicity?” Kellyanne Conway asked of a reporter in the White House driveway Tuesday in one awkward exchange. “My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.”


"Conway, responding to a reporter’s question Tuesday about President Trump’s racist tweet toward four Democratic congresswomen, asked the journalist: ‘‘What’s your ethnicity?’’ Andrew Feinberg, of Breakfast Media, had wanted to know what countries the president was referring to when he made the comment about Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Conway, standing outside the White House, defended the president. When reporters continued to push her for an answer, Conway said, ‘‘He’s tired. A lot of us are sick and tired in this country of America coming last to people who swore an oath of office.’’ Later, Conway tweeted that she’d meant ‘‘no disrespect’’ when asking about the reporter’s ethnicity. Conway’s husband, a frequent Trump critic, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post titled, ‘‘Trump is a racist president.’’ ‘‘Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president,’’ George Conway wrote. ‘‘Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear.’’

She is just taking one for the team (yikes).

On Tuesday, Trump indicated that his broadside was all part of a master plan to elevate the four women who are further to the left than many in the party, and to seize upon tensions between them and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of the 2020 election.

“Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party,” he tweeted of the four women. “See you in 2020!”

Republican political strategists expressed skepticism that Trump’s original tweets were part of any kind of carefully planned strategy.

“My guess is he was bored on Sunday morning and wanted to start a fight,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, but they do see potential in the tactic of making the four progressive lawmakers the face of the Democratic Party in 2020, given that one, Ocasio-Cortez, identifies as a democratic socialist. “The tactics are deeply flawed but the Squad makes an excellent foil for Trump,” Conant said.

Trump has attacked some of the Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination — tossing out “sleepy Joe Biden” and calling Senator Kamala Harris “nasty” — but nothing has seemed to stick.

“He wants to contrast with some of the more liberal elements of the party and that’s why he’s picked this group of liberal congresswomen,” said Ryan Williams, a former staffer on Mitt Romney’s presidential run, who added that he doesn’t support the way in which the president attacked the women.

There’s a long tradition of presidents and politicians creating foils who they think are easier to run against than the candidate who actually appears on the ticket. President Bill Clinton tied his opponent Bob Dole to the unpopular Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Senate majority leader Harry Reid used the specter of the billionaire donor Koch brothers to motivate Democrats in key Senate races.

The Bushes had Willie Horton.

Conservatives are already signaling that the Squad will be their foil for 2020. Fox News focuses on them, and particularly Ocasio-Cortez, so much that the satirical Onion website joked the cable network was debuting a premium channel featuring 24-hour coverage of her.

Democrats are skeptical that strategy will pay off, betting that instead, Trump targeting four progressive women of color will only motivate their side. “As far as we’re concerned, he declared war,” said LaTosha Brown, the cofounder of Black Voters Matter, a political group designed to expand the black vote. “Women are going to organize and activate.”


Far from worrying about the political fallout of elevating the Squad, Democratic activists see danger in the original cracks in party unity that Trump seized upon. It highlighted the division between Pelosi’s pragmatism — which is fueled by a need to reelect the moderate Democrats who created her House majority — with the more confrontational, and impatient, liberal wing of the party.

That was cat fight that has now been smoothed over.

Trump’s attack has papered over that division for now, with Pelosi leading the charge to censure the president for his words, but the stylistic and ideological differences remain, and further infighting could be a drain on Democratic enthusiasm in 2020.

Why, and wait a minute! I was just told this would motivate their side!

Getting those voters, including young people and people of color, to the polls would be crucial to Democratic victories.

One day they are chomping at the bit, the next day they are undependable. WTF?

“The big risk is for Nancy Pelosi to give an opening to Trump,” said Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, a national advocacy network of women of color. “I don’t fear Trump’s base of voters expanding as much as I do the core voters and women of color not to be motivated and to feel like the Democratic Party doesn’t have our best interest in mind.”

So get out there and vote Biden!



Facing their toughest challenge, members of ‘the Squad’ turned to Pressley for her ‘positive, loving tone’

Ayanna Pressley has done more than weather Trump’s attacks. She’s winning

Jeers for Trump, a cheer for ‘the Squad’

"The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued to halt a Trump administration rule that would bar most Central American immigrants from seeking asylum at the US border. “This is the Trump administration’s most extreme run at an asylum ban yet,” ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said Tuesday in a statement announcing the complaint filed in San Francisco federal court. “It clearly violates domestic and international law, and cannot stand.” 

Just as the Iraq invasion of Kuwait in 1990 could not stand, not after babies were thrown out of incubators on to the cold, hard floor.

"Activists representing farm workers, Haitian immigrants, and asylum seekers warned the new law banning ‘‘sanctuary’’ policies is spreading fear at a time when President Trump is announcing sweeps being conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The lawsuit filed by lawyers with the Southern Poverty Law Center argues the new legislation will erode trust in law enforcement and lead to racial profiling....."

They are all going to be moved to the interior thanks to the immorality of Mike Pence.

Chris Evans slams President Trump for ‘hateful and racist’ tweets

He was then nominated for an Emmy.

"Despite controversies, a ‘growing acceptance of Trump’ among Republicans in N.H." by James Pindell Globe Staff, July 16, 2019

The Mueller probe. Stormy Daniels. The longest government shutdown in history. Blaming “both sides” for violence following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and, most recently, racist tweets telling four congresswomen of color — all US citizens — to “go back” to their countries.

To many on the left, they were flashpoints in history that would spell doom — or at least impeachment proceedings — for President Trump, but in New Hampshire, a swing state that Hillary Clinton won by one of the slimmest of margins in 2016, a recent survey shows Trump to be as popular as ever among Republicans, and, in interviews, local Republican operatives said Trump’s consistent popularity in the party is driven by a healthy economy and a stream of controversies that have, altogether, amounted to noise.

“Every major controversy was supposed to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but that doesn’t seem to happen,” said UNH pollster Andy Smith. “And until that happens, I am not going to believe it ever will happen.”

The survey showed Republicans more on board with Trump than ever. Eighty-six percent of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing, and the president has a 79 percentage point lead over the competition, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, in a New Hampshire Republican primary. Both numbers are all-time highs for Trump in the survey.

In addition, 70 percent of New Hampshire Republicans surveyed in the poll say that Trump is an above-average president, with 28 percent saying that he is one of the best presidents ever, and New Hampshire is hardly an outlier. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put the president’s nationwide approval rating at 45 percent. One year ago, the same survey showed his job approval was also at 45 percent nationwide.

Former New Hampshire attorney general Tom Rath, a leading Republican strategist and Trump critic, said the president’s consistent popularity in the GOP makes sense in the broader electoral and economic context.

“Despite all the noise, there is a growing acceptance of Trump among Republicans given that he faces no intraparty rivals and there is economic prosperity,” said Rath. “These polls are an accurate reflection of a Republican mindset that it is better to go all in with Trump right now, even if it means paying the price for the embarrassing things he says.”

The Never-Trumpers are now Democrats.

Former White House political director and New Hampshire Republican strategist Dave Carney described it as “the little-boy-cried-wolf syndrome. Every day there is some political crisis on cable news involving the president, and then the next day life goes on and it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

That's why I've stopped watching them.

“Over time, the outrage machine has lost its audience,” said Carney. “And when everyone — from both sides — calls everyone else racist, it means that when someone does actually do or say something racist it doesn’t get the proper attention anymore.”

Democrats point out that polls cannot capture the level of intensity within the Democratic base. In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats not only took control of the US House, but the party also turned out at historic levels for primaries.

In New Hampshire, voter turnout for the 2018 Democratic primary was 30 percent higher than the previous record set in 1992.

That's what illegals and vote fraud will do for you.

Yet in New Hampshire, where Republican Governor Chris Sununu is both a Trump supporter and very popular, at least one prominent Democrat is worried that Democrats haven’t figured out the best way to challenge Trump.

“There is real anger in America toward the elites,” said former representative Dick Swett, a Democrat. “And every time Trump says or does something no politician would say, no matter how awful, a lot of Americans see it as putting a thumb in the eye of the system and the elite. Unless Democrats figure out how to change that dynamic, I fear he will win again.”

The incumbency of a presidency is a powerful tool, and what's even worse is a spot just opened up on the Supreme Court.


Must be why they are jailing his supports (good thing Democrats want to let felons vote, 'eh?):

"N.H. white supremacist prison gang member gets more than 12 years in drug case" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff, July 16, 2019

A “menace to society” who is a member of a white supremacist prison gang was sentenced in federal court in New Hampshire to 12 ½ years in prison for possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute just a week after his release from a prior sentence, prosecutors said.

Jesse R. Lohman, 37, of Lempster, N.H., was sentenced Monday by Chief US District Judge Landya B. McCafferty.

Lohman’s attorney, Lawrence A. Vogelman, had requested a 10-year sentence and said in court papers that his client, who began using crystal meth at age 12 and grew up in an abusive home, “never really had a chance.”

In response, Assistant US Attorney John S. Davis wrote in a legal document filed last week that Lohman, a member of the Brothers of White Warriors prison gang based in New Hampshire, is a “menace to society . . . and a formidable and resourceful criminal who deserves every bit of prison time the advisory guidelines would accord him.”

Lohman pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, records show.

Davis wrote that Lohman was arrested just one week after his August release “in a stolen car with a fake license plate and a large stash of 99 percent pure methamphetamine, along with brass knuckles, a wooden club . . . a biography of Hitler” and other items.

While in custody awaiting the resolution of the case, Davis wrote, Lohman has racked up seven disciplinary infractions for violations that include fighting, possession of contraband, and testing positive for smuggled suboxone.

Davis described the Brothers of White Warriors as “a violent white supremacist prison gang in New Hampshire” and said Lohman “sports numerous tattoos that include a swastika, an iron cross, and the word ‘INFIDEL’ across his throat.”

The Anti-Defamation League says on its website that the group’s “most common symbol is an Iron Cross inside of which usually appear the group’s initials, jail bars, and a swastika, although the swastika can also appear below the Iron Cross and there are other variations.”

Lohman, Davis wrote, has prior convictions for crimes including burglary, escape, endangering a child’s welfare, receiving stolen property, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, and, Davis said, Lohman’s “criminal and domestic history includes a disturbing pattern of aggravated violence against women,” but Vogelman, who’s represented multiple death row inmates, pleaded in his earlier filing for the slightly lesser sentence.

“His upbringing almost guaranteed his present circumstances,” Vogelman wrote. “Mr. Lohman’s mother told probation that her second husband . . . was a violent and ‘abusive man’ and a ‘violent alcoholic and drug addict, who played a significant role in shaping the men her sons have become.’ ”

Vogelman said his client started using crystal meth as a child and continued abusing the substance until his arrest last year in the drug case. Lohman’s mother, Vogelman wrote, “indicated that, when the defendant was a teenager, the family home was replete with violence and drugs. She believes that Lohman’s drug use was a means for him to escape the chaos and to self-medicate his mental health issues.”

Davis, however, countered in his filing that Lohman presents a public safety threat, his personal challenges notwithstanding.

“No matter how unfortunate his upbringing and devastating his drug dependency, he is a dangerous man who will surely continue to harm others when he is released from prison,” Davis wrote.

Davis’s words were echoed Tuesday by New Hampshire US Attorney Scott W. Murray.

“The heavy prison term imposed in this case should send a message to those inclined to trade in methamphetamine in New Hampshire,” Murray said in a statement. “This is a dangerous substance, made more dangerous when appearing in this highly pure form. In order to deter the distribution of this drug, we will continue to aggressively seek the imposition of lengthy sentences against dealers.”

Another casualty of the war on drugs.

Lohman says on his Facebook page that he’s from Dössel, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. He’s also posted photos of the books “White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century” by Jared Taylor and “National Socialism: 30 Fundamental Truths for the Kämpfer of the 21st Century” by Kristof Von Kanwetzburg.

A Google Books summary of Taylor’s book says he asserts that “[d]iversity of race, language, religion, etc. is not a strength for America but a source of chronic tension and conflict.”

Von Kanwetzburg’s book, which has a swastika on its cover, is “no ordinary book for the masses, but rather a Sacred Text for the true National Socialist Kämpfer of the Twenty-First Century,” a Google Books summary says.


Time to go to the polls:

"It’s a three-way contest in New Hampshire primary, poll shows" by James Pindell Globe Staff, July 16, 2019

The 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary is a three-way contest, according to a survey released Tuesday, potentially setting up a major clash between two New England candidates.

Former vice president Joe Biden leads with 24 percent in the University of New Hampshire Survey Center/CNN poll. He’s slightly ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who are tied in second place with 19 percent.

Following the top trio, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 10 percent, and Senator Kamala Harris of California is at 9 percent. All other candidates each picked up 2 percent support or less.

Six months before the primary, which is expected to be Feb. 11, the numbers not only show a snapshot of the mood of the primary voters — but also the trajectory of the race.

For example, Sanders’s showing marks his lowest level of support yet in this poll in the 2020 cycle, but for Warren, the survey showed her best numbers to date, climbing up from just 5 percent in the last UNH poll, which was released in April.

That's hard to believe given the crowds.

As for President Trump, despite all of the recent controversies, his position remains relatively consistent in the survey of 864 randomly selected adults in New Hampshire, a swing state.

Trump had an approval rating of 45 percent in the poll — his highest ever in the state — and up from 44 percent from the last survey.

At the same time, 51 percent of those surveyed disapprove of Trump’s job performance, and for those who want to oppose him in a Republican primary, such as former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, it is important to note that 86 percent of likely Republican primary voters backed the president for reelection in the state (the sample size for this was 289 respondents, and the margin of error was 5.8 percent).

It’s worth noting that this UNH poll is one of the polls the Democratic National Committee uses to determine who can make the debate stage.

While the field is largely set for the next debate later in July in Detroit, candidates must receive 2 percent in at least 4 qualifying polls to qualify for the September debate in Houston.

For example, this survey is the fourth for former US representative Beto O’Rourke since June 28 in which he is at 2 percent, but it’s also a missed opportunity for other candidates on the bubble, such as Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who has reached the 2 percent mark in three other polls, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former housing secretary Julián Castro, who have each reached that mark in a single poll.....

Oh, some candidates are "on the bubble" -- as if it is the NCAA basketball or World Cup seeding selections, and maybe it is just that! 

The campaign is an exerci$e in which candidates will be $elected for us to vote yea or nay on.


Yeah, they are just winnowing the field a bit.


"Army Secretary Mark Esper made his case to become the nation’s next Pentagon chief before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday and received widespread support — apart from a broadside by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who raised questions about his years as a top defense company lobbyist and called his ethics commitments unsatisfactory. Esper, a former Army officer, Pentagon official, and congressional staffer, breezed through questions about Iran, NATO, and China, while striking notes of bipartisanship and echoing the views of former defense secretary Jim Mattis. Still, midway through the testimony, Esper confronted the biggest issue facing his confirmation: the years he spent as a top lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon. ‘‘I went to war for this country. I served overseas for this country. I stepped down from jobs that paid me well more than I was working anywhere else,’’ he said. ‘‘And each time, it was to serve the public good and the young men and women of our armed forces. So, no. I think for some reason the presumption is that anyone who comes from the business or corporate world is corrupt.’’ Several Republican senators on the panel quickly moved to defend Esper......"

She hasn't said anything about the merger, and then she hurried up to Maine to campaign:

"Maine’s Congressional delegation is getting involved in a push to extend federal aid to members of the state’s wild blueberry industry. Wild blueberries are an important crop in Maine, but the industry has struggled with low prices in recent years. Maine’s delegation says the US Department of Agriculture should include the industry in its Market Facilitation Program, which is designed to provide money to agricultural producers affected by trade disruptions."

Trump must hate blueberries.