An FDA Official Demanded Google Censor A YouTube Video The Agency Didn"t Like

An FDA Official Demanded Google Censor A YouTube Video The Agency Didn"t Like.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 4th, 2021

Shouldn"t Hillary Clinton Be Banned From Twitter Now?

Shouldn't Hillary Clinton Be Banned From Twitter Now? Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News Substack, Trial testimony reveals Hillary Clinton personally approved serious election misinformation. Is there an anti-Trump exception to content moderation? Last week, in the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked ex-campaign manager Robby Mook about the decision to share with a reporter a bogus story about Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank. Mook answered by giving up his onetime boss. “I discussed it with Hillary,” he said, describing his pitch to the candidate: “Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter… She agreed to that.” In a country with a functioning media system, this would have been a huge story. Obviously this isn’t Watergate, Hillary Clinton was never president, and Sussmann’s trial doesn’t equate to prosecutions of people like Chuck Colson or Gordon Liddy. But as we’ve slowly been learning for years, a massive fraud was perpetrated on the public with Russiagate, and Mook’s testimony added a substantial piece of the picture, implicating one of the country’s most prominent politicians in one of the more ambitious disinformation campaigns we’ve seen. There are two reasons the Clinton story isn’t a bigger one in the public consciousness. One is admitting the enormity of what took place would require system-wide admissions by the FBI, the CIA, and, as Matt Orfalea’s damning video above shows, virtually every major news media organization in America. More importantly, there’s no term for the offense Democrats committed in 2016, though it was similar to Watergate. Instead of a “third-rate burglary” and a bug, Democrats sent schlock research to the FBI, who in turn lied to the secret FISA court and obtained “legal” surveillance authority over former Trump aide Carter Page (which opened doors to searches of everyone connected to Page). Worse, instead of petty “ratfucking” like Donald Segretti’s “Canuck letter,” the Clinton campaign created and fueled a successful, years-long campaign of official harassment and media fraud. They innovated an extraordinary trick, using government connections and press to generate real criminal and counterintelligence investigations of political enemies, mostly all based on what we now know to be self-generated nonsense. The Clintons, and especially Hillary, have been baselessly accused of all sorts of things in the past, the murder of Vince Foster being just one example. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” was so successful that the Clintons ended up aligning with and helping fund its chief architect, David Brock, ahead of the 2016 cycle. Along with Perkins Coie and the research agency Fusion-GPS, headed by former Wall Street Journal reporter and current self-admiring sleaze-merchant Glenn Simpson, they engineered three long years of phony “collusion” headlines. No matter what papers like the Washington Post try to argue this week, this was an enormous scandal. The world has mostly moved on, since Russiagate was thirty or forty “current things” ago, but the public prosecution of the collusion theory was a daily preoccupation of national media for years. A substantial portion of the population believed the accusations, and expected the story would end with Donald Trump in jail or at least indicted, scrolling for a thousand straight days in desperate expectation of the promised justice. Trump was bounced from Twitter for incitement, but Twitter has a policy against misinformation as well. It includes a prohibition against “misleading” media that is “likely to result in widespread confusion on public issues.” I’m not a fan of throwing people off Twitter, but how can knowingly launching thousands of bogus news stories across a period of years, leading millions of people to believe lies and expect news that never arrived, not qualify as causing “widespread confusion on public issues”? ... Keep reading with a 7-day free trial... Subscribe to TK News by Matt Taibbi to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives...   Tyler Durden Fri, 05/27/2022 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 27th, 2022

The Great Resignation has spurred a new class of entrepreneurs. These 22 small business owners share how they turned side hustles into successful companies.

You could start a hair care business, a dog-walking service, or an urban farm. We put together a collection of guides to get started. A record number of people started new businesses last year, including dog walking, urban farming, and food trucks.iStock; Insider The pandemic upended many lives, but it didn't overturn the entrepreneurial dream. A record number of people launched new startups last year and that momentum hasn't faded in 2022. Here are 18 guides on how to start any business, from a modest urban farm to a food truck.  See more stories on Insider's business page. The pandemic upended many lives, but it didn't overturn the entrepreneurial dream. A record number of people launched new startups last year and that momentum hasn't faded in 2022.More than 5 million new business applications were filed last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — that's up from the 4.4 million filed in 2020. Many of these businesses are sole proprietorships or single entrepreneurs without employees. For those who want to chase their entrepreneurial passions, here are 18 guides on how to start a business, from a dog-walking empire to a modest urban farm, and even a food truck.1. Copywriting businessSarah Turner Agency offers freelance copywriting for clients in the medical and health sectors, content marketing strategy, and training programs for future copywriters.(Courtesy of Sarah Turner)Sarah Turner launched her eponymous copywriting agency in 2013, after leaving her job as a research assistant.Sarah Turner Agency offers freelance copywriting for clients in the medical and health sectors, content marketing strategy, and training programs for future copywriters. Last year, Turner booked $2.6 million in revenue, according to documents verified by Insider. Read more about how Turner launched her copywriting business. 2. Website flippingChelsea Clarke is the founder of Blogs for Sale.(Courtesy of Friday Eve Photo)Chelsea Clarke is the founder of Blogs For Sale, a company that flips little-known websites into desirable online businesses that can generate $16,800 in a year.Clarke said her startup took off last year as more people sought online revenue streams during the pandemic. In 2020, she earned $127,000 from flipping 13 websites and brokering sales for 50 more sites, documents reviewed by Insider verified. Read more about how Clarke built her website-flipping business.  3. Instagram side hustleToday, Plant Kween has 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.(Courtesy of Christopher Griffin)Christopher Griffin's Instagram account, which is under the moniker Plant Kween, is devoted to pictures of the 200 plants living in their Brooklyn apartment, tips on caring for the greenery, and useful botanical knowledge. They started the account in winter 2016 — as a means of learning about something new after graduate school — grew it steadily to 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.Griffin couldn't disclose what they earn with the music-streaming service but a partnership with the fashion line Tonle, that sold $42,000 of non-binary clothing last year, netted them around $8,400, according to Tonle. Read more about how Griffin built their Instagram side-hustle. 4. Urban farmHere’s how Joanna Bassi built an urban farm from scratch and her advice for fellow farming entrepreneurs, including how to pivot during a pandemic.(Courtesy of Joanna Bassi)Joanna Bassi turned her unused backyard — measuring 150 feet by 75 feet — into an urban farm that could grow fresh produce for local establishments.Bassi started from the ground up in January 2018, and by the following year, she netted nearly $6,000 in revenue from selling at farmers markets and local restaurants, according to documents viewed by Insider. In 2020, the pandemic temporarily closed Bassi's restaurant clients and hurt business. She still managed to book nearly $7,000 by creating new revenue streams. Read more about how Bassi built her urban farming business. 5. Pet care and dog-walking businessYou can teach your dog to shake your hand with a simple command.vgajic/ Getty ImagesJill Nelson took over her friend's 15-year-old dog walking and pet sitting startup Hot Diggity in 2015. Since then, she's scaled the Seattle office, opened a Vancouver location, and purchased Hot Diggity's Portland, Oregon, outpost. Revenue for Hot Diggity's three locations sank between 2019 to 2020 — Portland had the most drastic decline, falling from $2.1 million to $986,000, according to documents verified by Insider — but Nelson said the company weathered the storm and is already seeing an increase in bookings. Read more about how Nelson built her dog-walking and pet care business. 6. Hand-dyed yarn businessKenyon shared his advice for launching a business around your passion, building community support, and how he stands out in a crowded market.(Courtesy of Jake Kenyon)In January, Jake Kenyon left his full-time job as a speech pathologist to pursue his side hustle: A hand-dyed yarn business called Kenyarn. The pandemic drove many consumers to crafts, like knitting and crocheting, which helped boost Kenyon's business.Kenyarn's gross sales jumped from $33,000 in 2019 to $125,000 last year, and he's on track to surpass that figure this year, according to documents viewed by Insider. Read more about how Kenyon built his hand-dyed yarn business. 7. Food truckAlessio Lacco and Sofia Arango opened a pizza-focused food truck, tapping Lacco’s 15-year background making Neapolitan pies and the truck he already owned.(Courtesy of Atlanta Pizza Truck)Alessio Lacco and Sofia Arango launched Atlanta Pizza Truck last August as way to make money during the pandemic.In its first five months of business, the couple booked $82,000 in sales, according to documents reviewed by Insider. In the first three months of 2021, they netted $53,000 in sales and believe they are on track to at least double sales from 2020.Read more about how Lacco and Arango built their food truck business. 8. Hair care businessStormi Steele(Courtesy of Stormi Steele)Stormi Steele used to make hair care products in her kitchen while working in salon in 2012. She'd mix over-the-counter ingredients, such as flaxseed oil and vitamin E, in an effort to create a solution that would help her hair grow. Today, Steele is the founder of Canvas Beauty Brand, which booked nearly $20 million in revenue last year.Read more about how Steele built her hair-care business.  9. Pop-up bakeryOn January 21, Abby Love opened her first bakery, Abby Jane Bakeshop, in Dripping Springs, Texas.(Courtesy of Abby Love)When the opening of Abby Love's bakery was delayed due to the pandemic, she launched 10 pop-up bakeries around Dripping Springs, Texas to keep her brand alive, attract new customers, and boost revenue.Love partnered with local businesses for her pop-ups, choosing establishments that didn't sell baked goods and attracted the kind of customers who would appreciate her locally-sourced ingredients.Read more about how Love built her pop-up bakery business. 10. Craft brewery businessChristophe Gagne and Avery Schwenk are the cofounders of Hermit Thrush, a Brattleboro, Vermont-based brewery that exclusively makes sour beers.(Courtesy of Little Pond Digital)Christophe Gagne and Avery Schwenk are the cofounders of Hermit Thrush, a 7-year-old Brattleboro, Vermont-based brewery that exclusively makes sour beers. Today the brewery has 21 taps and its canned varieties are sold in 9 states, plus DC. The brewery's most popular concoction, Party Jam, is a collection of fruit-forward sours that typically sells for $19.99 on the company's website. What's more, Hermit Thrush booked $1.5 million in revenue last year, according to documents viewed by Insider. Read more about how Gagne and Schwenk built their craft brew business. 11. Furniture makingMatthew Nafranowicz, a master craftsman, started doing upholstery work more than two decades ago.(Courtesy of The Straight Thread Co.)In 2002, Matthew Nafranowicz opened his furniture upholstery storefront, The Straight Thread, in Madison, Wisconsin. Furniture upholstery represents an estimated $1 billion market in the US, and government data shows it employs roughly 30,000 people.Read more about how Nafranowicz built his furniture upholstery business. 12. Self-publishing(Courtesy of Sally Miller)Sally Miller is a self-published author who's written and co-authored 15 books on Amazon. She made $9,000 in royalties in January, her highest amount to date, according to documents viewed by Insider. "It meets my two criteria, which is that I'm making money and doing something I really enjoy," said Miller, who built a following through her subject matter, which focuses on how people can make money through various entrepreneurial ventures, like Airbnb and ghostwriting.Read more about how Miller built her self-publishing business. 13. Online clothing storePink Lily founders Chris Gerbig and Tori Gerbig.Courtesy of Pink LilyTori Gerbig started selling clothes on Ebay and Facebook as a side hustle to pay off student loans. In 2014, she and her husband Chris launched an online shopping site called Pink Lily with the goal to hit $50,000 by the year's end. They met that goal within four years and have been growing ever since. Today their company, based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, employs 300 people, operates a retail store, and has 200,000 square feet of warehouse space, Last year, the brand made $65 million in revenue, nearly double the previous year's revenue, according to documentation reviewed by Insider.Read more about how the couple scaled their business and gained a loyal customer base.14. Short-term rental startupErica Beers, left, and Rebecca Slivka created their short-term rental startup Pillow and Coffee in 2015, targeting business travelers who needed a place to work in Los Angeles.Courtesy of Pillow and CoffeeErica Beers and Rebecca Slivka created their short-term rental startup Pillow and Coffee in 2015, targeting business travelers who needed a place to stay in Los Angeles. Five years later, their properties are a haven for travelers who can work remotely.In 2019, the duo booked $3.8 million in revenue, nearly $800,000 more than the previous year, according to documents viewed by Insider.Read  their 5 tricks for making millions on sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Live shopping businessVivian Nguyen is the owner of Cyndercake.Courtesy of Vivian NguyenIn 2020, Nguyen's business Cyndercake made more than $60,000 in sales on the live shopping app Popshop Live and now it's helping her pay for college. She started as an influencer on YouTube selling "squishies," or foam toys with a viral following and her growth on the app led her to open an ecommerce site this year. As more small businesses and resellers in the US are using livestream shows to grow their businesses and personally connect with customers, the livestream shopping market is estimated to be worth $6 billion this year and $25 billion by 2023, according to Coresight Research. Read more about how Nguyen built her live shopping business.16. ResellingNicholas Waskosky has been selling thrifted clothing on Poshmark since he was 14.Nicholas WaskoskyAt the age of 14, Nicholas Waskosky began flipping his thrift finds at "buy, sell, trade" stores like Plato's Closet. Then he made his first listing on the resale app Poshmark: a pair of Birkenstocks for $20."I undervalued them and they sold almost instantly," he told Insider. "I got hooked and I've been doing it ever since."Once he turned 18, Waskosky registered NCI Resale as an official business, selling on other platforms like ebay and Instagram. On Poshmark alone, he sold $34,607 of goods in 2020, and he's done $26,835 in sales so far this year, which Insider verified with documentation. Read more about how Waskosky runs his resale business while attending college full time.  17. PainterIssac PelayoPietro ArredondoAfter being laid off from Disney in 2020, Issac Pelayo turned his passion for painting into a business. "Not having a steady income from Disney — it was extremely rough at first," Pelayo previously told Insider.He started painting every day and began networking with rappers, basketball players, and other artists through social media. With no art dealer, gallery representation, or formal training, Pelayo built a business on his own. He receives most of his commissions through Instagram direct messages, with his art selling for between $3,000 and $10,000. He even does tattoos, for which he charges up to $1,000. Last year, he sold more than $250,000 worth of paintings and prints and he expects to double that number again this year. Read how he used Instagram to scale his side hustle business.18. Career-coaching businessKathleen CameronKathleen CameronKathleen Cameron worked as a nurse for 12 years before launching her career-coaching business. At the time, she felt like something was missing from her job. She left her nursing job in 2019, worked in marketing for six months, and started Diamond Academy at the beginning of 2020. She was able to apply her leadership skills to the service-based business while earning more money and gaining greater flexibility, she said. In the first six months, she landed 100 clients. Now, she coaches more than 1,000 people and generated more than $11.5 million in revenue last year, which Insider previously verified with documentation. "I really want to create a life where I can go and do anything, anywhere," she previously told Insider. "The old way that I used to live was very structured and rigid."Read more about how Cameron built her coaching business and how she spends her days.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 27th, 2022

An AI Company Scraped Billions of Photos For Facial Recognition. Regulators Can’t Stop It

More and more privacy watchdogs around the world are standing up to Clearview AI, a U.S. company that has collected billions of photos from the internet without people’s permission. The company, which uses those photos for its facial recognition software, was fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million) by a U.K. regulator on May 26. The U.K.… More and more privacy watchdogs around the world are standing up to Clearview AI, a U.S. company that has collected billions of photos from the internet without people’s permission. The company, which uses those photos for its facial recognition software, was fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million) by a U.K. regulator on May 26. The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the firm, Clearview AI, had broken data protection law. The company denies breaking the law. But the case reveals how nations have struggled to regulate artificial intelligence across borders. Facial recognition tools require huge quantities of data. In the race to build profitable new AI tools that can be sold to state agencies or attract new investors, companies have turned to downloading—or “scraping”—trillions of data points from the open web. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] In the case of Clearview, these are pictures of peoples’ faces from all over the internet, including social media, news sites and anywhere else a face might appear. The company has reportedly collected 20 billion photographs—the equivalent of nearly three per human on the planet. Those photos underpin the company’s facial recognition algorithm. They are used as training data, or a way of teaching Clearview’s systems what human faces look like and how to detect similarities or distinguish between them. The company says its tool can identify a person in a photo with a high degree of accuracy. It is one of the most accurate facial recognition tools on the market, according to U.S. government testing, and has been used by U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement and thousands of police departments, as well as businesses like Walmart. The vast majority of people have no idea their photographs are likely included in the dataset that Clearview’s tool relies on. “They don’t ask for permission. They don’t ask for consent,” says Abeba Birhane, a senior fellow for trustworthy AI at Mozilla. “And when it comes to the people whose images are in their data sets, they are not aware that their images are being used to train machine learning models. This is outrageous.” The company says its tools are designed to keep people safe. “Clearview AI’s investigative platform allows law enforcement to rapidly generate leads to help identify suspects, witnesses and victims to close cases faster and keep communities safe,” the company says on its website. But Clearview has faced other intense criticism, too. Advocates for responsible uses of AI say that facial recognition technology often disproportionately misidentifies people of color, making it more likely that law enforcement agencies using the database could arrest the wrong person. And privacy advocates say that even if those biases are eliminated, the data could be stolen by hackers or enable new forms of intrusive surveillance by law enforcement or governments. Read More: Uber Drivers Say a ‘Racist’ Facial Recognition Algorithm Is Putting Them Out of Work Will the U.K.’s fine have any impact? In addition to the $9.4 million fine, the U.K. regulator ordered Clearview to delete all data it collected from U.K. residents. That would ensure its system could no longer identify a picture of a U.K. user. But it is not clear whether Clearview will pay the fine, nor comply with that order. “As long as there are no international agreements, there is no way of enforcing things like what the ICO is trying to do,” Birhane says. “This is a clear case where you need a transnational agreement.” It wasn’t the first time Clearview has been reprimanded by regulators. In February, Italy’s data protection agency fined the company 20 million euros ($21 million) and ordered the company to delete data on Italian residents. Similar orders have been filed by other E.U. data protection agencies, including in France. The French and Italian agencies did not respond to questions about whether the company has complied. In an interview with TIME, the U.K. privacy regulator John Edwards said Clearview had informed his office that it cannot comply with his order to delete U.K. residents’ data. In an emailed statement, Clearview’s CEO Hoan Ton-That indicated that this was because the company has no way of knowing where people in the photos live. “It is impossible to determine the residency of a citizen from just a public photo from the open internet,” he said. “For example, a group photo posted publicly on social media or in a newspaper might not even include the names of the people in the photo, let alone any information that can determine with any level of certainty if that person is a resident of a particular country.” In response to TIME’s questions about whether the same applied to the rulings by the French and Italian agencies, Clearview’s spokesperson pointed back to Ton-That’s statement. Ton-That added: “My company and I have acted in the best interests of the U.K. and their people by assisting law enforcement in solving heinous crimes against children, seniors, and other victims of unscrupulous acts … We collect only public data from the open internet and comply with all standards of privacy and law. I am disheartened by the misinterpretation of Clearview AI’s technology to society.” Clearview did not respond to questions about whether it intends to pay, or contest, the $9.4 million fine from the U.K. privacy watchdog. But its lawyers have said they do not believe the U.K.’s rules apply to them. “The decision to impose any fine is incorrect as a matter of law,” Clearview’s lawyer, Lee Wolosky, said in a statement provided to TIME by the company. “Clearview AI is not subject to the ICO’s jurisdiction, and Clearview AI does no business in the U.K. at this time.” Regulation of AI: unfit for purpose? Regulation and legal action in the U.S. has had more success. Earlier this month, Clearview agreed to allow users from Illinois to opt out of their search results. The agreement was a result of a settlement to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in Illinois, where privacy laws say that the state’s residents must not have their biometric information (including “faceprints”) used without permission. Still, the U.S. has no federal privacy law, leaving enforcement up to individual states. Although the Illinois settlement also requires Clearview to stop selling its services to most private businesses across the U.S., the lack of a federal privacy law means companies like Clearview face little meaningful regulation at the national and international levels. “Companies are able to exploit that ambiguity to engage in massive wholesale extractions of personal information capable of inflicting great harm on people, and giving significant power to industry and law enforcement agencies,” says Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University. Hartzog says that facial recognition tools add new layers of surveillance to people’s lives without their consent. It is possible to imagine the technology enabling a future where a stalker could instantly find the name or address of a person on the street, or where the state can surveil people’s movements in real time. The E.U. is weighing new legislation on AI that could see forms of facial recognition based on scraped data being banned almost entirely in the bloc starting next year. But Edwards—the U.K. privacy tsar whose role includes helping to shape incoming post-Brexit privacy legislation—doesn’t want to go that far. “There are legitimate uses of facial recognition technology,” he says. “This is not a fine against facial recognition technology… It is simply a decision which finds one company’s deployment of technology in breach of the legal requirements in a way which puts the U.K. citizens at risk.” It would be a significant win if, as demanded by Edwards, Clearview were to delete U.K. residents’ data. Clearview doing so would prevent them from being identified by its tools, says Daniel Leufer, a senior policy analyst at digital rights group Access Now in Brussels. But it wouldn’t go far enough, he adds. “The whole product that Clearview has built is as if someone built a hotel out of stolen building materials. The hotel needs to stop operating. But it also needs to be demolished and the materials given back to the people who own them,” he says. “If your training data is illegitimately collected, not only should you have to delete it, you should delete models that were built on it.” But Edwards says his office has not ordered Clearview to go that far. “The U.K. data will have contributed to that machine learning, but I don’t think that there’s any way of us calculating the materiality of the U.K. contribution,” he says. “It’s all one big soup, and frankly, we didn’t pursue that angle.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 27th, 2022

Putin says he"ll open up grain and fertilizer exports if the West agrees to lift sanctions

British foreign minister Liz Truss slammed the suggestion, saying Putin is "weaponising hunger and lack of food amongst the poorest people." Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to help with food exports for the lifting of sanctions against his country.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin said he'll help export grain and fertilizers if sanctions are lifted. Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea have been blocked since Russia's invasion. British foreign minister Liz Truss slammed Russia's suggestions that sanctions be eased for food. Vladimir Putin said he'll open up grain and fertilizer exports if sanctions against Russia are lifted.The Russian president made the offer in a phone call to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, according to an official statement from the Kremlin.Putin said Russia "is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizers, provided that politically motivated restrictions from the West are lifted." He didn't say if the exports would be from Russia or Ukraine.The Italian Prime Minister's office said the two leaders talked about "a shared solution to the ongoing food crisis and its serious repercussions on the world's poorest countries." The statement did not mention sanctions.The White House told Reuters on Thursday there were no discussions about the easing of sanctions against Russia in exchange for grain shipments. It did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside regular business hours.Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea have been blocked since Russia's invasion on February 24, leaving more than 20 million metric tons of grains stuck in Ukraine, per Reuters. This disruption is exacerbating a world food crunch as  Ukraine accounts for 12% of global wheat exports and 17% of global corn exports, per ING Economics. It's also the world's largest sunflower oil exporter.Putin's comments follow those from a senior Russian government official who said the Kremlin would allow ships carrying food to leave Ukrainian ports in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, per Interfax news agency. Ukraine called the suggestion "clear blackmail," according to CNN.Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday the West has only itself to blame for the food crisis, as it has taken a number of "illegal actions" leading to shipments getting blocked. "They must cancel those illegal decisions that prevent the chartering of ships, that prevent the export of grain, and so on" so that supplies can resume, Peskov told reporters, per Reuters.Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, said on Thursday there is a "safe corridor" allowing access to the key Odesa port in Ukraine, according to a Reuters report. Ukraine needs to demine the waters before the safe corridors can be used, he said.British foreign minister Liz Truss slammed Russia's suggestions that sanctions be eased for food."It is completely appalling that Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom, and he is essentially weaponising hunger and lack of food amongst the poorest people around the world," Truss said during a visit to Bosnia on Thursday, Reuters reported."What we cannot have is any lifting of sanctions, any appeasement, which will simply make Putin stronger in the longer term," Truss added, per Reuters.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 27th, 2022

Visualizing beloved aquatic animals when we reach for plastic might just help us use less of it and protect our oceans

New research shows that photos of animals above recycling bins appeared to reduce people's behaviors around plastic consumption. The amount of plastic in the world's oceans is projected to outweigh fish by 2050.Jag_cz/Getty Images In 2020, the rate of plastic recycling in the US dropped by 5.7% from the prior year. New research shows that seeing pictures of ocean creatures can make people use less plastic. It's wise to protect oceans because plastic waste enters the food web, one expert told Insider. Your summer beach getaway: sun, surf, sand — and plastic. As many of us head toward the water for Memorial Day, it's more likely than ever that we'll find our oceans aren't just white with foam. They're also laden with plastic flotsam that never biodegrades but keeps breaking into smaller pieces.But maybe the thing to remember as we near the unofficial start of summer isn't how severe plastic pollution has become but how much we have to lose. That's because new research indicates that visualizing beloved ocean inhabitants can make more of us willing to go on a plastic diet.It's certainly one we need. We're using more plastic and often recycling less of it. The amount of plastic in the world's oceans is projected to outweigh fish by 2050. And in 2020, the rate of plastic recycling in the US, which was already low, dropped by 5.7% from the prior year.There might be a way we can use nature to help battle the plastic problem. Jiaying Zhao, a researcher with the University of British Columbia, and her colleagues found that placing pictures of marine life like sea turtles, whales, and dolphins above the recycling bins in a Vancouver office tower reduced overall plastic waste — either discarded or recycled — by 17% compared with before the signs went up.The photos of animals grappling with plastic waste in their aquatic homes were more effective than simple recycling signs or ones that asked office-goers to pledge to cut down on how much plastic they used.The decrease in plastic waste held even after the signs with animal pictures were removed, Zhao told Insider. She said that suggested office workers had begun to change their habits and perhaps do without things like single-use water bottles and utensils.When Zhao returned to the building to interview the workers who'd unwittingly been part of the experiment, those questioned by her team said they didn't remember seeing the animals on the posters."That was most surprising because I thought it would be memorable," Zhao said of the photos that showed a turtle chewing on plastic or a dolphin with a plastic bag caught on its fin. "If it elicited some kind of emotional response in me, and I felt bad for throwing away plastic stuff now — and I'm making a conscious effort to not do it — I should remember it, right?"Zhao said the animal pictures above the recycling bin appeared to be an effective nudge to change people's behaviors without proving so distressing that they were traumatized, as was the case with a viral video several years ago of a turtle with a straw lodged in its nostril. Outrage over that video pushed some consumers and businesses to ditch plastic straws.Happy turtles could help change behaviorIn some cases, less dire images might win out. Zhao said subsequent experiments she and her colleagues conducted using images of "happy" turtles and dolphins appeared to be even more effective in changing people's actions than unsettling images.There could be broader lessons in all this for the environmental movement, Zhao said, because many awareness campaigns ask consumers to commit to shifting their behavior in some way."A lot of the tactics are like making a pledge," she said. "I pledge not to do this or not to buy this. That didn't work in our study."The researchers found that when people made an emotional connection to the animals — even if they didn't remember it — the effect was more powerful.Linda Escalante, the Southern California legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said giving thought to the influence of our actions, including our reliance on plastics, was essential to maintaining a successful coexistence with marine life. Besides, she said, as plastic pollution breaks down into tiny bits, it makes its way back to us."It is penetrating the food web," she said. "You find this stuff all over the planet in places where you could never imagine because it is easily transported by water and air."That's why it's now in our lungs and in our blood. And it's why we consume a credit card's worth of the stuff every week. So doing more to protect water is in our self-interest.Escalante, who also sits on the California Coastal Commission, a powerful state agency, said she believed demand for beach days would increase because rising temperatures in many inland areas — and even wildfires in the parched Western US — would drive demand for access to water and cooler coastal areas. That's yet another reason it's so important to safeguard bodies of water, she said.She also pointed to humans' need to experience natural beauty, something on display during the height of the pandemic."We became more attached to getting out there, to the outdoors, to finding that connection," Escalante said. She said she didn't expect that to diminish, adding: "Our beaches, our coasts are going to be in very high demand."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 26th, 2022


Monkyepox-Mania Authored by CJ Hopkins via The Consent Factory, Lock yourselves down inside your homes! Break out the masks and prophylactic face-shields! Switch off what’s left of your critical faculties and prepare yourselves to “follow the Science!” Yes, that’s right, just as the survivors of The Simulated Apocalyptic Plague of 2020-2021 were crawling up out of their Covid bunkers and starting to “build the world back better,” another biblical pestilence has apparently been unleashed on humanity! This time it’s the dreaded monkeypox, a viral zoonotic disease endemic to central and western Africa that circulates among giant pouched rats, squirrels, dormice, and other rodents and has been infecting humans for centuries, or millennia. Monkeypox causes fever, headaches, muscle aches, and sometimes fluid-filled blisters, tends to resolve in two to four weeks, and thus poses absolutely zero threat to human civilization generally. The corporate media do not want to alarm us, but it is their duty as professional journalists to report that THE MONKEYPOX IS SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE! OVER 100 CASES OF MONKEYPOX have been confirmed in countries throughout the world! MONKEYPOX TASKFORCES are being convened! Close-up photos of NASTY-LOOKING MONKEYPOX LESIONS are being disseminated! The President of the United States says “EVERYBODY SHOULD BE CONCERNED!” The WHO is calling it “a multi-country monkeypox outbreak!” Belgium has introduced a mandatory quarantine. The CDC has gone to “Alert Level 2!” “Enhanced precautions” are recommended! In New York City, the nexus of probably the most paranoid, mask-wearing, quadruple-“vaccinated” New Normal fanatics on the face of the planet, the Department of Health is instructing everyone to wear the masks they are already wearing to protect them from both Covid and monkeypox, and smallpox, and largepox, and airborne cancer, and God knows what other horrors might be out there! Here in the capital of New Normal Germany, Karl Lauterbach, who, despite wasting hundreds of millions of Euros on superfluous “vaccines,” attempting to compulsorily “vaccinate” every man, woman, and child in the country, and otherwise behaving like a fascist lunatic, remains the official Minister of Health, is excitedly hopping up and down and hooting like a Siamang gibbon about “recommendations for isolation and quarantine,” and other “monkeypox containment measures.” As Yogi Berra famously put it, “it’s like déjà vu all over again.” Except that it isn’t … or it probably isn’t. Before I could even finish this column, the United GloboCap Ministries of Truth started dialing down the monkeypox panic. It appears they’re going with “it’s a gay pandemic,” or an “LGBTQ pandemic,” or an “LGBTQIA+ pandemic,” or whatever the official acronym is by the time I click the “publish” button, and making other noises to the effect that it might not be absolutely necessary this time to order a full-scale global lockdown, release the drones and robotic dogs, inject everybody with experimental drugs, and start viciously persecuting “monkeypox deniers.” You didn’t really believe they were launching a shot-by-shot remake of Covid, did you? The showrunners at GloboCap may be preternaturally evil, but they aren’t stupid. Only the most hopelessly brainwashed New Normals would go along with another “apocalyptic pandemic” before the current one has even been officially cancelled. No, unfortunately, odds are, we’re just getting a preview of what “life” is going to be like in the New Normal Reich, where the masses will be perpetually menaced by an inexhaustible assortment of exotic pathogens and interchangeable pseudo-pathological threats. The New Normal was never about Covid specifically. It was always about implementing a new “reality” — a pathologized-totalitarian “reality,” not so much ruled as discreetly “guided” by unaccountable, supranational, non-governmental governing entities, global corporations, and assorted billionaires — in which Covid, or monkeypox, or kangaroopox, or any other viral zoonotic disease, or any climate-related or economic development, or aberrant ideological or behavioral tendency, could be used as a pretext to foment another outbreak of mindless mass hysteria and impose additional restrictions on society. That new “reality” has been implemented … perhaps not as firmly as originally intended, but implemented nonetheless. We are being conditioned to accept this new “reality,” as we were conditioned to accept the War on Terror “reality,” to pointlessly remove our footwear at the airport, place our liquids in travel-size containers, submit to groping by “security staff,” and otherwise live in a state of constant low-level fear of a “terrorist attack,” as we are now being conditioned to wear masks where we are told, submit to mandatory “vaccination,” and live in constant low-level fear of the next purportedly deadly pathogen. Sadly, most of us will accept this conditioning, and adapt to the “minor inconveniences” that are being imposed on us at every turn. After all, what difference does it really make if we have to wear a little mask on an airplane, or on public transport, or at the doctor’s office? And is it really such a breach of our fundamental rights to freedom of speech, freedom of movement, association, privacy, and basic bodily autonomy if we have to allow governments and global corporations to censor our political opinions, prevent us from traveling, forbid us to protest, and force us to submit to invasive medical treatments in order to hold a job? We got used to taking off our shoes at the airport and watching the “security staff” fondle our kids’ genitals, and invading and bombing other countries and murdering whole families with drones, didn’t we? Surely, we’ll get used to this. Or … OK, I won’t, and neither will you, probably, but the majority of the masses will. They just demonstrated that pretty clearly, didn’t they? As they demonstrated it during the Global War on Terror. As they demonstrated it during the Cold War. As they demonstrated it … oh, never mind. Sorry, I really wanted to end this column on a positive note. All right, here’s one! A little good news, finally! According to the professional fact-checkers at Reuters, it turns out “there is no evidence at all that the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting [which is taking place in Davos right now] was scheduled to coincide with these outbreaks of monkeypox,” and anyone who says there is, or implies there is, or who deviates from or questions the “facts,” or the “Science,” or whatever, is a “monkeypox-denying, conspiracy-theorizing, anti-vax, Putin-loving disinformationist,” and so everything is actually hunky-dory, or it will be as soon as we teach those evil Rooskies a little thermonuclear lesson! I don’t know about you, but that’s a load off my mind. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 08:05.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 26th, 2022

Sussmann Trial Day 7: How The FBI Hamstrung The Alfa Bank Investigation

Sussmann Trial Day 7: How The FBI Hamstrung The Alfa Bank Investigation Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary, Today in the Michael Sussmann trial, we received additional information regarding the FBI leadership’s involvement in the opening - and execution - of the Alfa Bank/Trump investigation. This included FBI Headquarters not approving an FBI agent’s repeated requests to interview the sources of the Alfa Bank “materials.” But first we’ll start with the examination of Trisha Anderson. Anderson is currently the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. Back in 2016, she was an FBI deputy general counsel and reported directly to then-FBI general counsel James Baker. The purpose of her testimony was to prove-up her notes from a September 19, 2016 meeting she had with Baker, where Baker discussed his meeting with Michael Sussmann. (The notebook was necessary because Anderson didn’t recall the meeting itself.) Anderson stated she knew of Sussmann prior to September 2016 but denied knowing he was an attorney for the DNC. In response, she was presented with an intersting e-mail discussing an FBI meeting with Sussmann, the DNC CEO, Shawn Henry of Crowdstrike, and another FBI official (Cyber Division’s James Trainor) to take place on June 16, 2016: For reference, that meeting took place two days after the DNC announced on June 14, 2016 that it had been a victim of Russian hacking and over a month before the DCCC said it had been hacked by the Russians. Curtis Heide Back in September 2016, FBI Special Agent Curtis Heide was assigned to the Alfa Bank “investigation in a co-case-agent capacity.” His trainee, FBI Agent Allison Sands, was the lead investigator on the case. The case came from FBI Headquarters in DC - specifically from Joe Pientka. While Heide understood the Alfa Bank allegations came from an “anonymous source,” Heide never learned the identity of that source: The Alfa Bank opening communication drafted by Heide said it was opened as a “Full Field Investigation.” He was “ordered” to open the investigation by FBI headquarters: Pientka made clear that the opening of the investigation was demanded by the FBI’s 7th Floor - including Director Comey - at the behest of Bill Priestap. This is the type of investigation, as Heide said, that “employs all of our resources.” As Agent Heide explained: “In order to open a full field investigation, we would need specific and articulable facts that a threat to U.S. national security has occurred or there’s been a violation of federal law.” This is in contrast to lower investigative levels - those for which the Alfa Bank allegations would be more appropriate - which “allows limited investigative techniques to see if an allegation or an investigation is warranted.” As to some of the Alfa Bank allegations brought by Sussmann? Q: Now, Agent Heide, what, if anything, did you find regarding these allegations and the purported findings in this white paper? Heide: We were not able to substantiate any of the allegations in the white paper. The FBI’s Cyber Division also discounted the Sussmann white paper: Heide: The cyber division “were also unable to substantiate any of the allegations in the white paper, and they deemed that the information provided was not in accordance with how the Russians would conduct cyber activities.” In fact, Agent Pientka (whom we have long-criticized) relayed the Cyber Division’s conclusions to Heide, stating: . Relatively early on in the investigation - on September 26, 2016 - Agent Heide sent a message to Pientka, requesting an interview of the source of the Alfa Bank white papers. By that time, Heide knew the white paper was bunk. He received no response from Pientka. He repeated this request on October 3, 2016. Agent Heide’s requests were rebuffed by his liaison at FBI headquarters: Regarding Heide’s background - he supported “the initial efforts of Crossfire Hurricane” and was involved in the George Papadopoulos case. He said he is currently under an administrative investigation by the FBI for intentionally withholding classified information in a Carter Page FISA warrant. When asked about the details of his involvement in the FISA applications, Heide said he “didn’t author any of the affidavits or any of the materials related to the applications in question.” Then there’s the testimony regarding another FBI confidential human source. According to today’s transcripts, another person provided information to the FBI regarding the Alfa Bank allegations: Who is this CHS? Someone with media connections (or someone in the media) close to the Joffe researchers with a political interest in the Alfa Bank allegations. The significance of this is two-fold. First, we have another source that needs to be identified. A source that is seemingly close to the Joffe “researchers” with politics that likely lean left. Second, not interviewing sources - and not providing information of the sources to the investigating agents - is part of Sussmann’s defense. Agent Heide admitted they didn’t interview Dagon. During their case in chief, and during closing, Sussmann’s attorneys will argue that it was the FBI, and not Sussmann, who prevented inquiry into Sussmann’s sources.More to come once we get the afternoon transcript… Tyler Durden Tue, 05/24/2022 - 20:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 24th, 2022

Vietnam"s rare commemoration of a deadly South China Sea battle is a quiet but direct message to Beijing

The unusual ceremony, which took place amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, was seen as a quiet message from Hanoi to Beijing. Students dressed as sailors prepare to perform a dance depicting Vietnam's defense of South China Sea islands during a ceremony at the start of a new school year, in Hanoi, September 5, 2016.HOANG DINH NAM/AFP via Getty Images In March, Vietnam's government commemorated a deadly 1988 clash with China in the South China Sea. The ceremony was a rare one, as Hanoi has long avoided public discussion the battle with its larger neighbor. This year's ceremony, taking place amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, was seen as a quiet message to Beijing. In March, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh paid homage to several dozen Vietnamese sailors and marines who were killed in a battle with Chinese naval forces at Johnson South Reef in 1988.In a ceremony at a memorial to the battle in Khanh Hoa province, Chinh laid a wreath, burned incense, and wrote a tribute to those killed in the fighting. The ceremony was accompanied by a front-page editorial in Nhân Dân, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam.The actions may seem unremarkable, but they were actually unprecedented.—Viet Nam Government Portal (@VNGovtPortal) March 13, 2022Vietnam has long avoided officially discussing or commemorating the battle, which was a stinging defeat and remains a source of anti-Chinese sentiment. In previous years, citizen-organized memorial events and demonstrations marking the battle have even been suppressed by Vietnamese authorities.The official reticence stems largely from a desire to keep that anti-Chinese sentiment from growing and to avoid antagonizing Beijing, which is Vietnam's largest trading partner.But the high-profile commemoration this year, along with Vietnam's recent actions in the South China Sea and its own military investment plans, may be a message from Hanoi to its larger, better-armed neighbor.A complicated history and long-standing disputeA Chinese outpost in the disputed Spratly Islands in 1988.Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesJohnson South Reef is part of the Spratly Islands, a group of over 100 islands, rocks, reefs, and other features in the South China Sea about 500 miles west of Vietnam's southern coast.With a total area of about 7.2 square kilometers, Johnson South Reef only has a few stretches that are naturally above water for a few hours a day during low tide. Johnson South Reef and several other features make up an area known as Union Banks, which forms the southwestern part of the Spratly Islands.The Spratly Islands, like other islands in the South China Sea, have long been the subject of intense territorial disputes.Beijing has made sweeping claims over the region that have been challenged by its neighbors, many of which have their own claims. An international tribunal has also ruled that Beijing's claims to rights within what it calls "the nine-dash line" were without legal basis.Protesters at an anti-China rally in downtown Hanoi, June 2, 2013.HOANG DINH NAM/AFP via Getty ImagesChina and Vietnam's history make their South China Sea disputes unique. As a fellow single-party communist state, China was Vietnam's biggest supporter as it fought France, South Vietnam, and the US — but historical divisions kept Beijing and Hanoi from forming an ironclad alliance.In 1974, China attacked and seized the all of the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam in a days-long naval battle that killed or wounded about 100 South Vietnamese soldiers, sank 1 corvette, and damaged three frigates.Despite being at war with the South, Hanoi protested Beijing's actions because it had its own claims on the Paracels but ultimately did nothing because it faced more pressing matters on the mainland.Sino-Vietnamese relations didn't get much better after Hanoi defeated South Vietnam in 1975. In 1979, the two countries fought an intense border war that lasted less than a month but caused large casualties and intermittent clashes in the area until 1991.Johnson South ReefAn aerial view of Chinese development on Johnson South Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in 2015.Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesFollowing the 1979 war, tensions between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea increased.By the late 1980s, China began to assert its claims to the Spratly Islands more aggressively, and in 1988 it began deploying soldiers and maritime militia on some of the islands, such as Fiery Cross Reef.Vietnam vigorously protested and began deployments of its own, a number of which were to the islands and reefs of Union Banks.Between March 11 and March 13, 1988, two armed Vietnam People's Navy transport ships and a landing ship were sent with some 100 soldiers and building materials to make outposts on Johnson South Reef, Collins Reef, and Lansdowne Reef.The Chinese had deployed to nearby Hughes Reef, which was under their control. By March 14, three Chinese frigates were in the area, monitoring the Vietnamese.Johnson South Reef, pictured here on May 25, 2018, is in the southwest portion of Union Banks in the Spratly IslandsDigitalGlobe via Getty ImagesIt remains unclear how battle erupted on the morning of March 14.The Vietnamese claim that their landing parties, who had placed multiple flags on the then-submerged Johnson South Reef, were confronted by Chinese soldiers who demanded that they leave. After an attempt to dislodge them failed, the Chinese frigates opened fire with 37mm anti-aircraft and 100mm naval guns.The Chinese claim that the Vietnamese on the reef and on one of the transport ships fired on them first.Regardless of how it started, the battle was a total defeat for the Vietnamese. Unable to hide or move on the submerged reef, 62 Vietnamese sailors and naval infantry were mowed down in a matter of minutes. The Chinese frigates then turned to the VPN ships and sunk the transports, killing two more Vietnamese sailors.The Vietnamese landing ship was damaged and its crew beached it on Collins Reef, where it was destroyed. By the end of the day, 64 Vietnamese were killed, nine were captured, three ships were sunk or destroyed, and Johnson South Reef was under Chinese control.Preparing for the futureChinese troops on patrol in the Spratly Islands, February 9, 2016.Thomson ReutersVietnam's official commemoration of the battle at Johnson South Reef this year was seen as an assertion of sovereignty and as a reminder of how Hanoi had defied its larger neighbor in the past — a message made necessary by Russia's attack on Ukraine.In the years since the battle, China has worked to turn the reefs and islands that it controls in the South China Sea into small fortresses. Through land reclamation, China has expanded existing features and built artificial islands to which it has deployed weapons and troops.Today, Johnson South Reef has a 27-acre artificial island with a port, helipad, a radar station, and close-in weapon systems for air and missile defense.The Vietnamese Navy's first Kilo-class submarine, named Hanoi, in Cam Ranh Bay, January 3, 2014.Vietnam News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesVietnam still claims all of the Spratlys, and it has tried to bolster the defenses on the islands still under its control.Hanoi has also been modernizing its military, including by acquiring six Kilo-class submarines and Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles from Russia.Vietnam has also improved its relations with its neighbors in recent years, likely with the goal of countering China. Hanoi has joined naval exercises with India and Japan, hosted Australian navy ships, and improved ties with its old enemy, the US.Though China and Vietnam have close economic ties, their tensions have never truly faded. As Beijing continues to bolster its military and grow its reach, Vietnam is looking to make sure it can defend its interests and avoid a repeat of the events in 1988.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 24th, 2022

Kim Jong Un was seen not wearing a mask at a state funeral amid North Korea"s severe Covid outbreak

The North Korean leader was spotted maskless days after he blasted officials for "slackness" in handling the country's Covid outbreak. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seen at the funeral of Hyon Chol Hae, the marshal of the Korean People's Army, in Pyongyang on Sunday.KNCA via Reuters North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was seen without a mask at a state funeral on Sunday. North Korea has urged its citizens to wear masks amid a severe Omicron outbreak, per BBC.  As of Monday, the number of "fevered persons" in North Korea has topped 2.9 million, KCNA said. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was seen without a mask at a state funeral on Sunday, days after he blasted officials for "immaturity" and "slackness" in handling the country's Covid outbreak.In pictures and video footage released by the country's state news agency, Kim was spotted maskless while carrying the coffin of top military official Hyon Chol Hae.According to AFP, the Korean People's Army marshal was reportedly Kim's mentor, who had helped prepare him to become the country's next leader before his father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, died in 2011. Kim was the only maskless pallbearer seen at the funeral.North Korea has urged its citizens to wear masks and, in some cases, has recommended wearing two, per BBC. Ever since the hermit nation confirmed its first-ever Covid case on May 12, the country has been ravaged by a fast-spreading Omicron outbreak. However, North Korean state media has maintained the "much-disputed claim" that its Covid wave is subsiding, per Associated Press.As of Monday, the total number of "fevered persons" in North Korea has topped 2.9 million, and 68 people have died from it, according to the state news agency KCNA. According to the BBC, the country has yet to refer to this "fever" outbreak as COVID-19, as poor testing capabilities have hindered its ability to diagnose cases.According to Associated Press, experts said it is also likely that the unvaccinated country is underreporting its actual death toll to protect Kim's political reputation.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 24th, 2022

"Anything We Touch Is A Weapon": New US PsyOps Recruitment Video Casts Spotlight On China Threat

"Anything We Touch Is A Weapon": New US PsyOps Recruitment Video Casts Spotlight On China Threat Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times, The phrase “A threat rises in the east” is superimposed over rolling footage of Chinese and Russian military parades. Ethereal, eerie music plays as cinematic impressions of the Eurasian alliance between China and Russia are interspersed with images of the last century’s most emblematic struggles for democratic values. The video "Ghosts in the Machine" by the U.S. Army's 4th Psyop Group displays an ominous warning about the threat from China and Russia. (Screenshot) There is footage of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a free speech protest in Hong Kong, the toppling of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, and the resolute stand of Tiananmen Square’s “Tank Man.” This is not some documentary about the myriad threats democracy has faced time and time again, but a new video created by the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group and shared on social media by U.S. Special Forces Command. Equal parts recruiting video and actual psychological warfare, the project might best be described as a proof-of-concept for the military’s capability to build confidence at home and to instill fear abroad. The video, aptly titled “Ghosts in the Machine,” opens with a quote from “The Art of War,” written by Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu some 2,500 years ago: “If your opponent is of a choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” At first glance, one might think that the quote suggests that the Chinese Communist Party has been pretending to be weak for years in order to lull the United States into a false sense of superiority. By the end of the three and a half minutes of growing unease, however, one wonders whether it has not been the other way around all along. Indeed, that may be just the purpose of Ghost in the Machine. After all, the video itself is psychological warfare. The Sugar-Coated Pill To realize the importance of psychological operations such as Ghosts in the Machine, one needs to look beyond its visage of cinematic splendor and intentional creepiness, and penetrate to the threat that the video is working against. According to innumerable reports from the nation’s think tanks and institutions of higher learning, the United States is in a war, though its leadership seems largely unaware of it. It is a war without conventional weapons, but that is nevertheless being fought in hearts and minds everywhere. Indeed, it is a war on the minds of Americans everywhere. It is the psychological campaign of unrestricted hybrid warfare perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with the purpose of eradicating the United States’ will to defend itself and preserve democratic values. According to one report (pdf) published by the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute earlier this month, this psychological warfare is one part of a suite of so-called cognitive operations used by China’s communist regime to undermine U.S. security. “Cognitive operations involve using psychological warfare to shape or even control the enemy’s cognitive thinking and decision-making,” the report stated. Indeed, the report quotes directly from the primary propaganda organ of the Chinese military, the PLA Daily, that the ultimate aim of cognitive operations is to “manipulate a country’s values, national spirit/ethos, ideologies, cultural traditions, historical beliefs, etc., to prompt them to abandon their theoretical understanding, social system and development path, and achieve strategic goals without victory.” In not so many words, it is a military campaign against the United States to convince Americans to give up their society without fighting. It is, according to a report by the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (pdf), a “long-standing Chinese government strategy to exploit foreign media to deliver Chinese propaganda.” The goal of which is to destabilize and otherwise interfere in the political processes of the United States by offering a “sugar-coated pill,” something easy to swallow but lethal to consume, often in the form of anti-American propaganda disguised as domestic information and reproduced online. “According to the PLA, China is already in constant battle over the narrative of China’s rise and the PLA’s intentions with other nations, both inside and outside of China, and, most prominently, against the United States,” the report said, referring to the acronym for the People’s Liberation Army, the official name of the regime’s military. The roots of the CCP’s psychological warfare go deep, and their tendrils can be seen crawling rampant across Western media in the form of Twitter bots, sponsored newspaper articles, and state-sponsored misinformation. And the onslaught has been going on for decades. Unrestricted Warfare The CCP’s current efforts can be traced back to the 1999 book “Unrestricted Warfare.” Written by two retired PLA colonels, the book described the strategy and operations through which China could overcome the United States—without being embroiled in kinetic warfare. Unrestricted Warfare argued that the United States’ weakness was the widespread belief among American military and political leadership that military dominance was solely dependent on technological means, rather than legal, economic, or social factors. The book, therefore, advocated the use of lawfare, economic warfare, terrorism, and data and supply chain network disruption as various means of undermining the U.S. military. Much of the book’s proposed strategy was later codified as the “Three Warfares Strategy” in a 2003 document published by the PLA and titled “Political Work Guidelines of the People’s Liberation Army.” Since then, the CCP has worked tirelessly to adapt the Three Warfares Strategy to the social media era, using social networking platforms as tools of war to combat the minds of the party’s enemies. Moreover, the introduction of Three Warfares has helped to underscore the promulgation of military-civil fusion, a CCP strategy that seeks to erode any boundary between civilian and military spheres, thus accelerating the erosion of distinctions between war and peace. To that end, it is vital to understand that the PLA is not a military of the Chinese state, but a wing of the Chinese Communist Party. Thus, the entire military apparatus of China is designed to defend and promote communism first and foremost. Party Above All How the Chinese military serves the whims of the CCP rather than the interests of the Chinese people was elucidated by retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding during an interview with EpochTV’s “China Insider” on May 12. “The People’s Liberation Army is the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party,” Spalding said. “In the West, we consider the military to be a protector of the state, which in a democracy includes the people. In China’s case, the People’s Liberation Army is actually a party army, so it protects the party’s prerogatives.” “Unlike a national army dedicated to the defense of a state and its people, the Chinese military’s purpose is to create political power for the party.” According to a report (pdf) by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, U.S. leadership believed for years that the CCP’s psychological warfare efforts were a thing of the past. Such beliefs were proven wrong, however, with the rise of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping in 2012, whose rule has overseen a resurgence of party initiatives pushing psychological operations as a core part of Chinese national strategy. Xi has referred to the work of organizations that engage in psychological operations for the CCP as China’s “magic weapons.” Those organizations include, most predominantly, the General Political Department within the PLA and the United Front Work Department, the latter of which is charged with overseeing the regime’s overseas influence operations and answers directly to the CCP’s Central Committee. Indeed, since the ascension of Xi, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua has gone so far as to explicitly characterize the PLA’s psychological warfare and political work as “thoroughly implement[ing] Xi Jinping’s thoughts on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.” Importantly, according to the Johns Hopkins report, the CCP’s psychological warfare units under Xi have sought to leverage social media as a key component of “cognitive domain operations” in order to scale Chinese propaganda to a global audience, and to sway, anger, and misinform the citizens of foreign nations to the benefit of the party. “China uses the tools of information and finance to advance political warfare on a global scale,” Spalding said. “It’s a type of warfare that is completely alien to the way that we think of warfare.” Thus, while U.S. military leaders and members of Congress have harped on budget proposals and the number of ships being built for the Navy, the CCP has already committed itself to winning a war without firing a shot. Brave New World At the heart of the CCP’s efforts to assault the minds of the American public, then, is the critical ability of social media and related technologies to create content that can have a real-world effect. “[T]he PLA is developing technologies for subliminal messaging, deep fakes, overt propaganda, and public sentiment analysis on Facebook, Twitter, LINE, and other platforms,” according to a report by the RAND Corporation (pdf). “Other articles also suggest that the PLA could blackmail or tarnish the reputation of politicians as well as co-opt individual influential civilian social media users to extend the reach of Chinese propaganda while obfuscating its Party origins.” It is through this “hostile social manipulation on foreign platforms” that the CCP can essentially launder state-backed propaganda through proxy channels in the way a mobster might launder ill-gotten gains through a front organization. By obfuscating the origin of social media posts and using technologies such as deep fakes, the party can more effectively diminish American confidence in the United States’ ability and worthiness. “What they’ve been able to do is use proxies in the West to have the same control over the narrative in the West that they have within China,” Spalding said. “We have no institution in the West that is tasked with understanding this form of warfare.” Spalding’s comments were in line with recent remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said that the CCP was exploiting the United States’ free and open information channels and social media networks to promote authoritarianism abroad and strike at the heart of American democracy. Ghosts in the Machine The sudden appearance of a recruitment video for psychological warfare units in the U.S. military is perhaps not such a mystery, given the battles being waged against the American mind. The primary objective of the CCP’s efforts is to create doubt, fear, and exhaustion to such an extent that American leadership will make mistakes in planning and executing strategy. Likewise, the U.S. Army’s “Ghosts in the Machine” video lifts the mirror at the effort. “Anything we touch is a weapon,” the video says, before flashing the motto of the 4th Psychological Operations Group, “Verbum Vincet”—”the word will conquer.” The message is clear enough, China’s transnational campaign of repression and psychological terror is not without recourse. The psychological warfare apparatus of the American military and intelligence communities have changed history before and can do it again. It is surely not by accident that images of the famous Tiananmen Square protests were interlaced with videos of pro-democracy revolutions, or that footage of the PLA marching was juxtaposed with the fall of the Soviet Union. The United States has toppled great powers from within and from without, the video implies, and can do so again. As the video so abruptly states, “We are everywhere.” Tyler Durden Fri, 05/20/2022 - 18:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 20th, 2022

Michigan"s chief election official said Trump called for her to be arrested and executed for treason after 2020 election: report

Jocelyn Benson told NBC News she heard about the comments from "a source familiar with Trump's White House meeting." A Trump representative said Benson "lied." In this Sept. 24, 2020, file photo, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in DetroitAP Photo/Paul Sancya, File Michigan's chief election official told NBC News Trump said she should be arrested and executed for treason. "It was surreal and I felt sad," Jocelyn Benson said. A spokesman for Trump said Benson "knowingly lied throughout her interview with NBC News."  Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told NBC News that President Donald Trump suggested in a meeting that she should be arrested and executed for treason after the 2020 election.Benson, the state's chief election official, said she heard about the comments from "a source familiar with Trump's White House meeting," per NBC News. It is unclear when or in what context Trump made the alleged comment.  "It was surreal and I felt sad," Benson told NBC News."It certainly amplified the heightened sense of anxiety, stress and uncertainty of that time — which I still feel in many ways — because it showed there was no bottom to how far he and his supporters were willing to stoop to overturn or discredit a legitimate election," she added of Trump. A representative for Trump, Taylor Budowich, accused Benson of making the whole thing up. "I have it on good authority that Secretary Benson knowingly lied throughout her interview with NBC News," Budowich told the outlet. Benson was one of the many election officials on the receiving end of attacks from Trump in the lead-up to the 2020 election. She also faced harassment and violent threats following the election as Trump and his allies falsely claimed he lost due to widespread fraud.  Trump first went after Benson for sending mail ballot applications out to all voters for Michigan's primary in the spring of 2020 amid the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a series of tweets, Trump called Benson "rogue" and threatened to pull federal funding from Michigan and Nevada, which held an all-mail primary election in 2020. Trump didn't follow through on his threats to pull federal funding from Michigan. But he and his allies sought to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the state. Trump also frequently accused his political foes of treason throughout his time in office and suggested that leakers and whistleblowers should be arrested for treason and punished. In September 2019, Trump told a crowd gathered at a private breakfast that the person who blew the whistle on his July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was "basically a spy" and guilty of treason. That conversation prompted Trump's first impeachment in the House on the grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress; he was later acquitted by the Senate."You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now," Trump said, according to video obtained by Bloomberg News. Author Michael Bender also revealed in his book "Frankly, We Did Win This Election" that an enraged Trump said the person who leaked to the press that he had gone to a secure bunker under the White House during protests over racism and police brutality in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2020 should be tried and executed for treason. "It was the most upset some aides had ever seen the president," Bender wrote, quoting Trump as yelling, "'Whoever did that, they should be charged with treason! They should be executed!'"Benson, a Democrat, is up for reelection for a second term in 2022. One of the Republicans running to replace her, Kristina Karamo, has embraced Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud and has the former president's endorsement for office.   Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 19th, 2022

Massive Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Fraud Still Being Stonewalled By State Of Illinois

Massive Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Fraud Still Being Stonewalled By State Of Illinois Authored by Mark Glennon via, How unemployment claims were mismanaged during the COVID pandemic is shaping up as a historic fiasco. It’s therefore no surprise that the State of Illinois is stonewalling the facts about its share of the problem so aggressively. Nationwide, the scope of unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic is stunning. Estimates of how much state governments wrongly paid out during the pandemic reach as high as $400 billion, which is fully half of the total $800 billion paid out, as reported by NBC. The latest official estimate is $163 billion lost to fraud, which is from the U.S. Department of Labor in March. Illinois’ share of that loss to fraud is unknown because the state won’t tell us, but it could easily be $6.5 billion, which would be its share of the Labor Department’s estimated loss. As far back as June 2021, the Chicago Tribune reported that “if the amount tracks with national estimates, it could involve billions of dollars.” For months, some Illinois reporters have hounded the responsible Illinois agency for answers. That’s the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). But neither it nor the Pritzker Administration has provided any useful answers on how much was lost, why or how it can be stopped in the future. The most recent chapter came last week in a Freedom of Information Act response by IDES  reported by CBS Chicago. “The agency has historically refused to publicly disclose the scope of pandemic-related unemployment fraud,” CBS said, and it FOIAd for tracer reports on one particular slice of the fraud story, which is known payments to legitimate recipients that somehow got intercepted by fraudsters. CBS had to go to the Illinois Attorney General to force an answer out of IDES, and the response showed at least 1,000 records of intercepted payments. That’s as if IDES merely threw CBS a bone. It tells us little because we have no idea how many other instances of intercepted payments occurred or how much fraud in other forms occurred, such as by claimants who were fictitious to begin with. And the CBS Chicago FOIA request only covered the period from March 1, 2021 through Nov. 30, 2021 — a timeframe in which in which CBS says “IDES sources said they began to see fraud numbers spike.” Why CBS would trust IDES on that is a mystery since the entire point is that IDES either doesn’t know or is hiding fraud numbers. Some other states have been far more open about efforts together to get to the bottom of pandemic unemployment fraud. In Ohio, for example, the state’s top auditor estimates their fraud losses at about $5 billion and says openly, “The system failed at almost every conceivable level.” California publicly posts its data on estimated losses and other unemployment fraud data. But in Illinois, we get almost nothing. About the only number IDES and the Pritzker Administration have provided is their unverified claim that they stopped some one million fraudulent claims. That’s nice, but what matters is how many they didn’t stop, how it happened and how to fix it. The biggest reward that will come to states that have been open and honest about the fraud problem is that they likely will better control it the next time an emergency demands massive unemployment assistance. In Illinois, we can expect mistakes to be repeated. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 19th, 2022

Get Ready To Be Muzzled: The Coming War On So-Called "Hate Speech"

Get Ready To Be Muzzled: The Coming War On So-Called 'Hate Speech' Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech.” - Benjamin Franklin Beware of those who want to monitor, muzzle, catalogue and censor speech. Especially be on your guard when the reasons given for limiting your freedoms end up expanding the government’s powers. In the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, carried out by an 18-year-old gunman in military gear allegedly motivated by fears that the white race is in danger of being replaced, there have been renewed calls for social media monitoring, censorship of flagged content that could be construed as dangerous or hateful, and limitations on free speech activities, particularly online. As expected, those who want safety at all costs will clamor for more gun control measures (if not at an outright ban on weapons for non-military, non-police personnel), widespread mental health screening of the general population and greater scrutiny of military veterans, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more surveillance cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do random bag searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more surveillance of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time. All of these measures play into the government’s hands. As we have learned the hard way, the phantom promise of safety in exchange for restricted or regulated liberty is a false, misguided doctrine that serves only to give the government greater authority to crack down, lock down, and institute even more totalitarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry. Add the Department of Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Governance Board” to that mix, empower it to monitor online activity and police so-called “disinformation,” and you have the makings of a restructuring of reality straight out of Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth polices speech and ensures that facts conform to whatever version of reality the government propagandists embrace. After all, it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act. If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry. It’s been a long time since free speech was actually free. On paper—at least according to the U.S. Constitution—we are technically free to speak. In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow. That’s not a whole lot of freedom, especially if you’re inclined to voice opinions that may be construed as conspiratorial or dangerous. This steady, pervasive censorship creep clothed in tyrannical self-righteousness and inflicted on us by technological behemoths (both corporate and governmental) is technofascism, and it does not tolerate dissent. These internet censors are not acting in our best interests to protect us from dangerous, disinformation campaigns. They’re laying the groundwork now to preempt any “dangerous” ideas that might challenge the power elite’s stranglehold over our lives. The internet, hailed as a super-information highway, is increasingly becoming the police state’s secret weapon. This “policing of the mind” is exactly the danger author Jim Keith warned about when he predicted that “information and communication sources are gradually being linked together into a single computerized network, providing an opportunity for unheralded control of what will be broadcast, what will be said, and ultimately what will be thought.” What we are witnessing is the modern-day equivalent of book burning which involves doing away with dangerous ideas—legitimate or not—and the people who espouse them. Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority. Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go and nothing left to say that cannot be misconstrued and used to muzzle us. Yet what a lot of people fail to understand, however, is that it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.  With every passing day, we’re being moved further down the road towards a totalitarian society characterized by government censorship, violence, corruption, hypocrisy and intolerance, all packaged for our supposed benefit in the Orwellian doublespeak of national security, tolerance and so-called “government speech.” Little by little, Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their freedoms. This is how oppression becomes systemic, what is referred to as creeping normality, or a death by a thousand cuts. It’s a concept invoked by Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond to describe how major changes, if implemented slowly in small stages over time, can be accepted as normal without the shock and resistance that might greet a sudden upheaval. Diamond’s concerns related to Easter Island’s now-vanished civilization and the societal decline and environmental degradation that contributed to it, but it’s a powerful analogy for the steady erosion of our freedoms and decline of our country right under our noses. As Diamond explains, “In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism… Why didn’t they look around, realize what they were doing, and stop before it was too late? What were they thinking when they cut down the last palm tree?” His answer: “I suspect that the disaster happened not with a bang but with a whimper.” Much like America’s own colonists, Easter Island’s early colonists discovered a new world—“a pristine paradise”—teeming with life. Yet almost 2000 years after its first settlers arrived, Easter Island was reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they failed to preserve paradise for future generations. The same could be said of the America today: it, too, is being reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they are failing to preserve freedom for future generations. In Easter Island’s case, as Diamond speculates: "The forest…vanished slowly, over decades. Perhaps war interrupted the moving teams; perhaps by the time the carvers had finished their work, the last rope snapped. In the meantime, any islander who tried to warn about the dangers of progressive deforestation would have been overridden by vested interests of carvers, bureaucrats, and chiefs, whose jobs depended on continued deforestation… The changes in forest cover from year to year would have been hard to detect… Only older people, recollecting their childhoods decades earlier, could have recognized a difference. Gradually trees became fewer, smaller, and less important. By the time the last fruit-bearing adult palm tree was cut, palms had long since ceased to be of economic significance. That left only smaller and smaller palm saplings to clear each year, along with other bushes and treelets. No one would have noticed the felling of the last small palm.” Sound painfully familiar yet? We’ve already torn down the rich forest of liberties established by our founders. It has vanished slowly, over the decades. Those who warned against the dangers posed by too many laws, invasive surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids and the like have been silenced and ignored. They stopped teaching about freedom in the schools. Few Americans know their history. And even fewer seem to care that their fellow Americans are being jailed, muzzled, shot, tasered, and treated as if they have no rights at all. The erosion of our freedoms happened so incrementally, no one seemed to notice. Only the older generations, remembering what true freedom was like, recognized the difference. Gradually, the freedoms enjoyed by the citizenry became fewer, smaller and less important. By the time the last freedom falls, no one will know the difference. This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls: with a thousand cuts, each one justified or ignored or shrugged over as inconsequential enough by itself to bother, but they add up. Each cut, each attempt to undermine our freedoms, each loss of some critical right—to think freely, to assemble, to speak without fear of being shamed or censored, to raise our children as we see fit, to worship or not worship as our conscience dictates, to eat what we want and love who we want, to live as we want—they add up to an immeasurable failure on the part of each and every one of us to stop the descent down that slippery slope. We are on that downward slope now. The contagion of fear that has been spread with the help of government agencies, corporations and the power elite is poisoning the well, whitewashing our history, turning citizen against citizen, and stripping us of our rights. America is approaching another reckoning right now, one that will pit our commitment to freedom principles against a level of fear-mongering that is being used to wreak havoc on everything in its path. Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, while we squabble over which side is winning this losing battle, a tsunami approaches. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 00:05.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 19th, 2022

Ben Bernanke On Inflation, ESG And President Biden

Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, May 16th. Following are links to video on The Fed’s Delayed Inflation Response Was A Mistake, Says Former Chair Ben Bernanke Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke On […] Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, May 16th. Following are links to video on The Fed’s Delayed Inflation Response Was A Mistake, Says Former Chair Ben Bernanke Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke On Inflation, ESG And President Biden PART I ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Welcome back to “Squawk Box.” Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is out with a new book this week. It’s titled, “21st Century Monetary Policy: Federal Reserve from the Great Inflation to COVID-19.” In an exclusive TV interview, I spoke with Ben Bernanke at his home in Washington, DC. I started out by asking him about the comparison of the great inflation of the 1970s to where we are today and how he thinks about it if we’re, if he were in this seat now. BEN BERNANKE: Well there are some big differences between the 70s and today and one of course being that the inflation in the 70s lasted for more than a decade. It was much higher than we have now so it was a, it was a worse episode. But I think the most important things, first of all, that the Federal Reserve has to take the lead. Arthur Burns, who was chair of the Fed in the 70s felt that other parts of the government, you know, should take the lead on inflation. Secondly, that you have to worry a lot about credibility and inflation expectations. The Fed’s credibility was completely shattered in the 70s. Nobody believed that the Fed was going to take action against inflation. And so, when Paul Volcker did, I mean he had a lot of credibility, but it wasn’t enough and that was part of the reason why the recession which followed his tightening was so much greater. And I think the third lesson from the 70s is that political interference with Fed policy can be very dangerous. In the 70s, Arthur burns again acted more or less as a member of the Nixon administration and Nixon wanted to be reelected in 1972 and so Arthur Burns said, well, we won’t tighten monetary policy then and that led to greater inflation. We have I think today both a more independent central bank and also I’m actually pleasantly surprised if you look at Congress and the President and so on, you’re not seeing a lot of people saying the Fed should not be doing anything about this inflation. There’s a lot of support for the fact that the Fed is tightening now even though obviously we see the effects in markets, you know, we’ll see the effects in house prices, etc. So those are some ways in which the current situation I think is better because we learned a lot from the 70s. SORKIN: And does that mean that we’ve acknowledged that actually you said the Fed should lead this. Is it because there is no other tool? BERNANKE: Well, in theory, the fiscal authorities could play a role. That is, this is what modern monetary theory says, you know, that by raising taxes and cutting spending and reducing aggregate demand and so on, the fiscal authorities could play the same kind of role as the Fed which basically reduce demand and get inflation down. Unfortunately, the Fed is just a lot more nimble and a lot better informed about markets and so on and it can respond quickly and it can provide guidance about its long run policy goals, etc. You know, for there are many advantages to fiscal policy, but nimbleness is not one of them. It takes a long time to come to agreement. only under very extreme circumstances does Congress really react in a powerful way so from a political economy point of view, I think the Fed really is the only game in town. SORKIN: I asked Ben Bernanke whether he thinks that with transparency and the forward guidance that effectively comes with that, if it locks in the Fed, for example, the most recent case of the 50 basis point raise, rate hike. BERNANKE: There’s no strategy that doesn’t have occasional downsides. I think the clearest case in most recent period is that the Fed said they weren’t gonna begin to raise rates until certain criteria were met, first of all, secondly, until they had QE had gotten to a certain point and they were going to taper first, etc, etc. So the forward guidance, I think, overall, on the margin slowed the response of the fed to the inflation problem last year to some extent. SORKIN: So does that mean it was a mistake? BERNANKE: Well, they were they had different. So this is a complicated question. The question is, why did they delay that? I think that why did they delay their response. I think, in retrospect, yes, it was a mistake, and I think they agree it was a mistake. There were a number of reasons for it. One of the reasons was that they wanted not to shock the market. They wanted to avoid, Jay Powell was on my board during the taper tantrum in 2013 which was a very unpleasant experience, he wanted to avoid that kind of thing by giving people as much warning as possible. And so that gradualism was one of several reasons why the Fed didn’t respond more quickly to the inflationary pressure in the middle of 2021. There were other reasons as well. SORKIN: What do you think? BERNANKE: Well, one of them was that in early 2021 after the American Rescue Plan was passed and this was something like $2.8 trillion dollars of new federal spending between the American Rescue Plan and the December program, you know, the Fed could have responded to that point but they looked around and said, well, look, there’s still a lot of slack because the unemployment rate was still close to 6%. The number of people working was still well below where it was before the pandemic. And so they they said that, well, there’s still a lot of slack in the economy, we should we should let this fiscal program do its job and bring the economy back to full employment. What we’ve learned since then is that because of the pandemic with a lot of people staying home, that the unemployment rate, for example, the number of jobs may not be a really good indicator of whether the labor market is hot or not. And so, they’re looking now at things like the number of job vacancies which show that employers are having a terrible time finding enough workers and that the labor market is is distorted. The other issue that they were looking at was the supply chain issue. You know, the pandemic has snarled supply chains around the world that has helped drive up prices. The Fed believed in the middle of 2021 that these factors would likely solve themselves over time that in other words that supply shocks were quote “transitory” and so that they didn’t need to respond to the early stages of inflation because it was going to go away by itself. That proved wrong. So they were they were a couple of, of issues I think that are related primarily to the pandemic itself and the way that it scrambled the usual indicators that made it harder for the Fed to read the economy. SORKIN: We did get into a question about how he read the economy at that time. BERNANKE: I wasn’t particularly on board with the view that the number of jobs was the right indicator of how tight labor market was because I knew first of all that immigration was low. I knew a lot of people were staying home not because they couldn’t find a job but because with the pandemic and Delta variants and so on raging, they weren’t looking for a job. But I I did believe that some of the inflation was coming from factors created by the pandemic including the supply chain problems through reduction in labor supply. The fact that people were shifting their demand away from services like restaurants towards durable goods like cars, and that was putting up the prices tremendously in those durable goods. So, we’ve seen big increases in car prices, for example. So I thought, I don’t know I didn’t have a specific timeframe in mind, but I thought that over this year that those things would begin to reverse. I still think they will reverse eventually but clearly they’ve been more persistent, more problematic than we, than we, I had thought. SORKIN: And over the years former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke has written a lot about inequality. I asked him about the debate over a wealth tax. BERNANKE: I’m not against taxing billionaires, but I think a better way to do it would be to raise capital gains taxes. You could, you could tax realized capital gains. I think an important thing what would be helpful would be to eliminate the provision that when you pass appreciated securities on to your heirs, the appreciation is not taxed at any time. So there are there ways to increase the tax burden on both the income and the wealth of rich people, which I think are much more, just more practical than than a straight wealth tax. And I know defenders of the wealth tax would disagree and there’s a great debate about that, but I don’t disagree with the objective but I think that you just need to find a method that will not be impossible to enforce. PART II SORKIN: Welcome back to “Squawk Box.” Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is out with a new book this week. It’s titled, “21st Century Monetary Policy: The Federal Reserve from the Great Inflation to COVID-19.” In an exclusive TV interview, I spoke with Ben Bernanke at his home in Washington, DC and I asked him about what he thinks of the idea that it is hard for the Fed to say it out loud that it’s just trying to reduce demand and trying to make things right. BERNANKE: Well, I think Powell can say that now because he has argued that we are beyond full employment. We’re not at full employment. We are at a point where work, where employers can’t find workers, where there’s two jobs available for every unemployed person. And so his argument is that we could cool things down a bit, raise the unemployment rate a little bit, reduce that ratio of vacancies to unemployed persons maybe to one to one let’s say without creating a lot of real hardship for workers in America so that you need for long run stability, you need to cool the economy down. SORKIN: We also talked about whether the former Fed chair thinks the Fed is going to become if it hasn’t already become politicized politicized. BERNANKE: I think at the moment that the Fed is pretty independent, and certainly nonpartisan. SORKIN: But you do write about efforts that previous administrations have made to politicize— BERNANKE: Yeah. SORKIN: The Fed and the pressures that have been felt. BERNANKE: Absolutely. And I and I think the changes really began to some extent with the first Bush but mostly with Clinton. And since Clinton until Trump, presidents have been pretty, pretty good about letting the Fed do what it thought was necessary. SORKIN: President Biden has said that inflation is his top domestic priority and has talked about higher taxes on the wealthy as a measure of something that he could do. Here’s what Bernanke thinks about President Biden or any elected official what they can do about inflation to this point. BERNANKE: It’s fairly limited. I mean, I think it’s appropriate that the Fed is taking the lead and I think the most important thing that President can do is support the Fed chair and let the Fed chair do what needs to be done even if it’s a little bit painful. There’s things in this particular case that there’s things that probably could help on the margin. I mean the thing that the White House has done to improve supply chains, for example, work to improve public health so we don’t have another pandemic and the effects of that, you know, things that make critical goods like health and education cheaper, more efficient, it’s not gonna do much for inflation, but it would be good for people who are, you know, feeling like their money is not going far enough. SORKIN: And given the price of oil today, here’s what he had to say about the ESG movement, a debate that we’ve had on this program a lot and some of the new ways that businesses have approached these types of investments. BERNANKE: The fact that people are willing to do ESG investments does suggest that they’re interested in, in helping on that side, but I think real real progress is going to take not just private actions, while we should all do what we can to reduce our carbon footprints and so on, but real progress is going to take a collective effort that would involve, you know, other tools. SORKIN: Do you think there’s real economic theory behind ESG? BERNANKE: There’s always demand for divesting, you know, unpopular stocks, let’s say in university endowments and so on and it’s fine to show your concern about about the way some country is behaving or the way some company is behaving and so on. But when you divest, you’re basically just selling the stock to somebody else who doesn’t have quite the same concerns and the effects on the issuer of the stock tend to be fairly modest. So, I’m not saying it has no effect at all, but it’s it’s a more limited approach than either community level or personal level efforts to reduce say carbon, or even better social wide effort to take strong actions to meet carbon goals. PART III SORKIN: We also talked out with Bernanke about the chances of a recession. Here’s what he had to say. BERNANKE: The more the Fed has to tighten in order to get inflation down, the bigger the chance of a recession and the more severe it will be. How much the Fed has to tighten depends in turn on what happens to these factors they can’t control like the supply chains and the commodity prices. So that prediction requires you to make a prediction not only about the Fed’s behavior but about a lot of other things the Ukraine war, etc. So it’s a very hard thing, very uncertain thing to say. I guess that I still tend to believe that some of these forces pushing up inflation like the supply chains, like the preference for durable goods or services and some of the commodity price increases gas prices and so on, that they will at least stabilize and begin to moderate sometime during this year which would mean that inflation will come down to some extent, not saying by itself, but without the Fed’s direct intervention. If that happens, the Fed would have to raise rates perhaps moderately above neutral. When they do that, they’ll slow demand. But as Jay Powell has pointed out, the economy is pretty strong. We’re not going into recession as often is the case with a troubled economy. In fact, the underlying economy as we recover from the pandemic is quite strong. We have a very strong labor market, for example, we have a strong financial system, we have strong balance sheets. So if if the inflation slows as I expect it ultimately will, although I’ve been disappointed about how slow that process is, than the Fed should not have to raise rates, you know, too far and what we would get that would be a slowing of the economy, maybe even a stall, but not a severe recession. The severe recession would only come if these other factors simply do not cooperate and in particular, the thing the thing people should watch most closely is inflation expectations. If inflation expectations as measured by breakevens in the Inflation-Protected and Securities market, as measured by surveys and so on, begin to move up in a significant way that people have lost confidence in the credibility of the Fed, the Fed will have to react much more strongly and the effects in the economy will be much more deleterious. And SORKIN: And how concerned are you about that? BERNANKE: For the moment, knock on wood. This is a big difference between today the 1970s. In the 1970s, inflation expectations were all over the place and nobody had any confidence in the Fed, that it would bring inflation back down. Today, most indicators suggests that people are still pretty confident that the Fed or maybe some combination of the Fed and the end of the pandemic will lead to more normal inflation in the future. SORKIN: And we couldn’t have a conversation without talking about Bitcoin. Take a look at this Bitcoin right now down a little under 30,000 and in Bernanke’s new book, he writes about the potential of the digital dollar. So of course, I asked him to share his point of view on cryptocurrency these days. This is what he had to say. BERNANKE: So Bitcoin and other currencies, cryptocurrencies whose whose value changes minute to minute, they’ve been successful as a speculative asset and people you’re seeing the downside of that right now. But they were intended to be a substitute for fiat money. And I think in that respect, they have not succeeded because if, if bitcoin were a substitute for fiat money, you could use Bitcoin to go buy your groceries. Nobody buys groceries with Bitcoin because it’s too expensive and too inconvenient to do that. We’re over the price of groceries, the price of celery varies radically day to day in terms of Bitcoin and so there’s no stability either in the value of Bitcoin. The main use of Bitcoin is mostly for underground economy activities and things that often things that are illegal or illicit. So I don’t think that Bitcoin is going to take over as an alternative form of money. It’ll be around as long as people are believers and they want to speculate in this but again, I don’t think it’s going to— SORKIN: And you don’t, you don’t buy into the idea of it as being a store of value or some kind of version of digital gold. BERNANKE: Well, as I said, it’s a speculative asset, but it’s, it’s one that whose underlying use value, gold has underlying use value. You can use it to fill cavities. The underlying use value of a Bitcoin is to do ransomware or something like that. So, one of the other risks that Bitcoin has is that it could at some point be subject to a lot more regulation and the anonymity is also at risk I think at some point. So, you know, investors in Bitcoin should be, should be aware of that. Updated on May 16, 2022, 11:11 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 16th, 2022

The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support For The $40b War Package To Raytheon And CIA: "For Ukraine"

The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support For The $40b War Package To Raytheon And CIA: "For Ukraine" Authored by Glenn Greenwald via, After Joe Biden announced his extraordinary request for $33 billion more for the war in Ukraine — on top of the $14 billion the U.S. has already spent just ten weeks into this war — congressional leaders of both parties immediately decided the amount was insufficient. They arbitrarily increased the amount by $7 billion to a total of $40 billion, then fast-tracked the bill for immediate approval. As we reported on Tuesday night, the House overwhelmingly voted to approve the bill by a vote of 388-57. All fifty-seven NO votes came from Republican House members. Except for two missing members, all House Democrats — every last one, including all six members of the revolutionary, subversive Squad — voted for this gigantic war package, one of the largest the U.S. has spent at once in decades. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to a group of supporters during a rally at the U.S. Capitol on August 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) While a small portion of these funds will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the vast majority will go into the coffers of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the usual suspects. Some of it will go to the CIA for unspecified reasons. The extreme speed with which this was all approved means there is little to no oversight over how the funds will be spent, who will profit and how much, and what the effects will be for Ukraine and the world. To put this $54 billion amount in perspective, it is (a) larger than the average annual amount that the U.S. spent on its own war in Afghanistan ($46 billion), (b) close to the overall amount Russia spends on its entire military for the year ($69 billion), (c) close to 7% of the overall U.S. military budget, by far the largest in the world ($778 billion), and (d) certain to be far, far higher — easily into the hundreds of billions of dollars and likely the trillion dollar level — given that U.S. officials insist that this war will last not months but years, and that it will stand with Ukraine until the bitter end. Voice of America, Apr. 6, 2022 What made this Democratic Party unanimity so bizarre, even surreal, is that many of these House Democrats who voted YES have spent years vehemently denouncing exactly these types of war expenditures. Some of them — very recently — even expressed specific opposition to pouring large amounts of U.S. money and weaponry into Ukraine on the grounds that doing so would be unprecedentedly dangerous, and that Americans are suffering far too severely at home to justify such massive amounts to weapons manufacturers and intelligence agencies. Here, for instance, is the shocking-in-hindsight warning of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on March 8 — just two months before she voted YES on this $40 billion weapons package: Just as stridently, her progressive House Democratic colleague, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), appeared on Democracy Now on February 8 to discuss the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, and he explicitly and repeatedly demanded that no lethal arms be sent by the U.S. into Ukraine. Indeed, Khanna, while repeatedly denouncing Putin's aggression, heaped praise on former President Obama for long resisting bipartisan demands to send lethal arms to Ukraine — based on Obama's oft-stated belief that Ukraine is and always will be a vital interest to Russia, but will never be to the U.S. — and argued that such a move would be dangerously escalatory: I certainly join [House progressives] in the concerns of having increased aid, lethal aid, into that area. That will only inflame the situation. I also join them in the concern that we need restraint, that the last thing the American people want is an escalation which could lead us to some long war in Ukraine with Russia, that that’s a very dangerous situation, and no one in this country — or, very few people in this country would want that. There’s a reason President Obama didn’t send lethal aid into Ukraine and had a greater restraint in his approach. So, I do think we should do everything possible not to escalate the situation, while having the moral clarity that Putin is in the wrong in this case…. The arguments Khanna was endorsing from House progressive leaders came in the form of a January 26 press release from co-caucus-leaders Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). The progressive duo argued: “There is no military solution out of this crisis — diplomacy needs to be the focus.” Then they added this: “We have significant concerns that new troop deployments, sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions, and a flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons will only raise tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation. Russia’s strategy is to inflame tensions; the United States and NATO must not play into this strategy.” Just over three months later, both Lee and Jayapal voted not for a "flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons,” but to flood Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in lethal weapons. One would think that when a member of Congress engages in such a remarkable and radical shift in their position, they would at least deign to provide some explanation for why they did so. In the case of the Squad and dozens of House progressives, one would be very wrong. On Friday morning, I emailed and/or texted the press representatives of the five Squad members who have said nothing about their vote (only Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), in a doozy of a statement discussed below, bothered to explain), and directly texted both Omar and Khanna. Other reporters also have requested statements. More than seventy-two hours after they cast this enormously consequential war vote, they still have refused to explain themselves or even issue a cursory statement as to why they supported this (see update below). This vote, and their silence about it, is particularly confounding — one could, without hyperbole, even say chilling — given how rapidly Democrats’ rhetoric about Ukraine is escalating. As we noted on Tuesday, many leading Democrats, such as Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), have begun speaking about this war not only as an American proxy war — which it has long been — but as “our war” that we must fight to the end in order for “victory” to be ours, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) vows that there be “no off ramps” to end the war diplomatically, since the real goal of the war is regime change in Moscow. Even worse, the eighty-two-year-old House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), now in his twentieth term in Congress, went to the House floor on Friday to twice say that "we are at war” — meaning the U.S is now at war with Russia — and that it is therefore inappropriate to heavily criticize our president: As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has spent decades pointing out, there is nothing more dangerous to humanity than a war between the two nations with the planet's largest nuclear stockpiles. One might think that those who just voted to dangerously escalate such a war would at least deign to explain themselves, especially those who have repeatedly made recent statements violently at odds with the YES vote they just cast. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has thus far said nothing about this House vote, warned in The Guardian in early February, that while Putin is immoral and tyrannical, the West bears some blame for provoking this war with reckless NATO expansion and, more importantly, warned of the grave and unpredictable dangers of having the U.S. pursue a strategy of fueling the war rather than trying to solve it diplomatically. So exceptional is this headlong rush into this war that even The New York Times — usually loyally supportive of U.S. war policies and the Democratic establishment — published a highly unusual news article about the House vote which repeatedly and harshly criticized Congress for being too frightened to ask questions or express skepticism about Biden's war policy. The NYT took the members of Congress voting YES in both parties to task for being cowed into submission, meekly falling into line. The headline of the article told the story — “House Passes $40 Billion More in Ukraine Aid, With Few Questions Asked" — as the Paper of Record all but called these YES-voting members of Congress cowards and abdicators: The escalating brutality of the war in Ukraine has dampened voices on both the right and left skeptical of the United States’ involving itself in armed conflict overseas, fueling a rush by Congress to pour huge amounts of money into a potentially lengthy and costly offensive against Russia with few questions or reservations raised….[L]awmakers in both political parties who have previously railed against skyrocketing military budgets and entanglements in intractable conflicts abroad have gone largely silent about what is fast becoming a major military effort drawing on American resources…. That total — roughly $53 billion over two months — goes beyond what President Biden requested and is poised to amount to the largest foreign aid package to move through Congress in at least two decades….But stunned by the grisly images from Ukraine and leery of turning their backs on a country whose suffering has been on vivid display for the world, many lawmakers have put aside their skepticism and quietly agreed to the sprawling tranches of aid, keeping to themselves their concerns about the war and questions about the Biden administration’s strategy for American involvement….. And as Mr. Biden’s requests to Congress for money to fund the war effort have spiraled upward, leaders in both parties have largely refrained from questioning them…..The result has been that, at least for now, Congress is quickly and nearly unanimously embracing historic tranches of foreign aid with little public debate about the Biden administration’s strategy, whether the volume of military assistance could escalate the conflict, or whether domestic priorities are being pushed aside to accommodate the huge expenditures overseas. Perhaps the most remarkable part of this surreal episode is the statement issued by Rep. Bush, ostensibly explaining and justifying her YES vote. If you are able to discern some sort of cogent explanation from this statement, it means that you have better reading skills than I. While Rep. Bush at least deserves credit for bothering to try to explain her vote — in contrast to her fellow Squad members who have thus far refused to do so — by far the clearest and most significant part of what she says are her admissions of the horrible and dangerous parts of this bill, for which she just voted YES. Behold these admissions: Additionally, at $40 billion, this is an extraordinary amount of military assistance, a large percentage of which will go directly to private defense contractors. In the last year alone, the United States will have provided Ukraine with more military aid than any country in the last two decades, and twice as much military assistance as the yearly cost of war in Afghanistan, even when American troops were on the ground. The sheer size of the package given an already inflated Pentagon budget should not go without critique.  I remain concerned about the increased risks of direct war and the potential for direct military confrontation.  Imagine saying this about a bill — recognizing how wasteful and dangerous it is — and then snapping into line behind Nancy Pelosi and voting for it anyway to ensure Democratic Party unanimity in support of this war. Credit to Rep. Bush for candor, I suppose. One person whose name has not yet appeared in this article is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). That is because we published on Wednesday a comprehensive video report on Rumble, documenting how AOC's YES vote on this war package so violently contradicts virtually everything she has ever claimed to believe about questions of war, militarism and military spending. AOC, needless to say, has not bothered to reconcile this vote with the drastically divergent body of statements she has uttered her entire adult life because her blind followers do not demand anything of her, let alone explanations for why she does what she does (which is why she knew she could, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, attend the Met Gala — the nation's most gluttonous celebration of capitalist excess and celebrity culture — and attended to indoors by a team of masked servants while she and her boyfriend remained comfortably and glamorously unmasked, and then show total contempt for her fans by hilariously spray-painting a banal, inoffensive phrase on the back of her designer gown, knowing this would make them not only accept her behavior but celebrate her heroic subversiveness). The full video about how the Squad and AOC just permanently killed whatever was left of the U.S. left-wing anti-war movement can be seen on our Rumble page, or watched on the video player below. A full transcript of that video appears below for subscribers only. Only two months ago, those who observed that this was not a war between Russia and Ukraine, but really a proxy war between Russia and the U.S./NATO, were vilified as Kremlin propagandists. Now, U.S. leaders openly boast of this fact, and go further, claiming that the U.S. is actually at war with Russia and must secure full victory. That there is not a single Democratic politician willing to object to or even question any of this speaks volumes about what that party is, as well how dangerous this war has become for Americans and the world generally. UPDATE, Mar. 14, 2022, 6:56 a.m. ET: Rep. Khanna provided the following comment in response to our question of how he can reconcile his argument in his February 8 Democracy Now interview that the U.S. should not send lethal arms to Ukraine with his vote on Monday to send lethal arms: I wanted to do everything we could to prevent conflict through diplomacy and so did not want to escalate prior to invasion. But once Putin invaded and has been barbarically destroying towns and cities, I believe it is morally justified to stand firmly with Ukraine in defense of their territory and provide them with military and economic assistance. We at the same time need to be aggressively encouraging diplomatic talks and a ceasefire and enlisting countries who can play a mediating role to help us bring this brutal war to an end. Note that the assumption of that entire was interview was that Russia would invade Ukraine. Indeed, the first question to which Rep. Khanna responded, when arguing that the U.S. should not send lethal aid to Ukraine, was this one: “And do you support the threat of devastating sanctions against Russia in the event of any kind of Russian invasion of Ukraine?” Nonetheless, in contrast to many of his House colleagues, at least he is willing to account for the vote he cast. We will add any further comments in response to our requests for comment if and when we receive them. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Sat, 05/14/2022 - 11:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 14th, 2022

White House Finally Condemns "Violence" Following Protests Outside Supreme Court Justice Homes, Vandalism At Catholic Churches

White House Finally Condemns "Violence" Following Protests Outside Supreme Court Justice Homes, Vandalism At Catholic Churches Authored by Nick Ciolino via The Epoch Times, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made a plea for “peaceful” protests on Monday following a weekend of Catholic churches being vandalized, arson at an anti-abortion group’s headquarters, and pro-choice protestors marching on the homes of Supreme Court justices. In opposition to a draft majority Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade leaked to the press on May 2, pro-abortion advocates protested outside the Maryland homes of Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and John Roberts on Saturday evening. There were also reports of multiple Catholic churches across the country being spray painted with pro-choice messaging and profanity over the weekend. Police also said a fire was set at the headquarters of the pro-life group Wisconsin Family Action in Madison. There were also reports of vandalism at a pro-life pregnancy clinic in Oregon. “Violence, threats, and intimidation have no place in political discourse,” Psaki told reporters at Monday’s White House press briefing. “We have not seen violence or vandalism against Supreme Court Justices. We have seen it at Catholic Churches—that’s unacceptable; the president does not support that. We have seen it at some conservative organizations—we don’t support that,” she added. This came hours after Psaki posted to Twitter with similar messaging. “@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety,” wrote the outgoing press secretary. At the briefing, while Psaki empathized with the motivations driving any riotous behavior, she urged for peaceful protest, saying: “We know the passion. We understand the passion. We understand the concern, but what the president’s position is, is that should be peaceful.” Also during the briefing, one reporter pointed to a law in the U.S. Code that explicitly prohibits protesting outside the homes of judges. Psaki responded by saying, “We’re certainly not suggesting that anyone break any laws.” This is somewhat of a departure from Psaki’s messaging last week, when she was asked about the addresses of Supreme Court justices being doxed publicly and said she didn’t “have an official U.S. government position on where people protest.” Republicans responded with ire to this statement. House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) posted video of Psaki’s comments on Twitter writing: “WATCH → The White House refuses to condemn radical abortion groups posting maps with private home addresses of Supreme Court Justices for protestors to find. They know this is dangerous. But they don’t care. Because it benefits their agenda. They’re going to get someone hurt.” Republicans have also condemned the attacks on pro-life groups. “-Threatening churchgoers -Throwing Molotov cocktails at pro-life offices -Going to the homes of Supreme Court justices All because the “party of science” doesn’t believe life begins at conception,” wrote Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Oh.). Tyler Durden Tue, 05/10/2022 - 12:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 10th, 2022

Nonprofit Watchdog Uncovers $350 Million In Secret Payments To Fauci, Collins, Others At NIH

Nonprofit Watchdog Uncovers $350 Million In Secret Payments To Fauci, Collins, Others At NIH Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times, An estimated $350 million in undisclosed royalties were paid to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and hundreds of its scientists, including the agency’s recently departed director, Dr. Francis Collins, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to a nonprofit government watchdog. “We estimate that up to $350 million in royalties from third parties were paid to NIH scientists during the fiscal years between 2010 and 2020,” Open the Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski told reporters in a telephone news conference on May 9. “We draw that conclusion because, in the first five years, there has been $134 million that we have been able to quantify of top-line numbers that flowed from third-party payers, meaning pharmaceutical companies or other payers, to NIH scientists.” The first five years, from 2010 to 2014, constitute 40 percent of the total, he said. “We now know that there are 1,675 scientists that received payments during that period, at least one payment. In fiscal year 2014, for instance, $36 million was paid out and that is on average $21,100 per scientist,” Andrzejewski said. “We also find that during this period, leadership at NIH was involved in receiving third-party payments. For instance, Francis Collins, the immediate past director of NIH, received 14 payments. Dr. Anthony Fauci received 23 payments and his deputy, Clifford Lane, received eight payments.” Collins resigned as NIH director in December 2021 after 12 years of leading the world’s largest public health agency. Fauci is the longtime head of NIH’s National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. Lane is the deputy director of NIAID, under Fauci. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins holds up a model of the coronavirus as he testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee looking into the budget estimates for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the state of medical research, on Capitol Hill on May 26, 2021. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP) The top five NIH employees measured in terms of the number of royalty payments that they received while on the government payroll, according to a fact sheet published by Open the Books, include Robert Gallo, National Cancer Institute, 271 payments; Ira Pastan, National Cancer Institute, 250 payments; Mikulas Popovic, National Cancer Institute, 191 payments; Flossie Wong-Staal, National Cancer Institute, 190 payments; and Mangalasseril Sarngadharan, National Cancer Institute, 188 payments. Only Pastan continues to be employed by NIH, according to Open the Books. “When an NIH employee makes a discovery in their official capacity, the NIH owns the rights to any resulting patent. These patents are then licensed for commercial use to companies that could use them to bring products to market,” the fact sheet reads. “Employees are listed as inventors on the patents and receive a share of the royalties obtained through any licensing, or ‘technology transfer,’ of their inventions. Essentially, taxpayer money funding NIH research benefits researchers employed by NIH because they are listed as patent inventors and therefore receive royalty payments from licensees.” An NIH spokesman didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment. Andrzejewski told reporters that the Associated Press reported extensively on the NIH royalty payments in 2005, including specific details about who got how much from which payers for what work, that the agency is denying to Open the Books in 2022. “At that time, we knew there were 918 scientists, and each year, they were receiving approximately $9 million, on average with each scientist receiving $9,700. But today, the numbers are a lot larger with the United States still in a declared national health emergency. It’s quite obvious the stakes in health care are a lot larger,” Andrzejewski said. He said the files Open the Books is receiving—300 pages of line-by-line data—are “heavily redacted.” “These are not the files the AP received in 2005 where everything was disclosed—the scientist’s name, the name of the third-party payer, the amount of the royalty paid by the payer to the scientist,” Andrzejewski said. “Today, NIH is producing a heavily redacted database; we don’t know the payment amount to the scientist, and we don’t know the name of the third-party payer, all of that is being redacted.” Federal officials are allowed to redact information from responses to FOIA requests if the release of the data would harm a firm’s commercial privilege. The undisclosed royalty payments are inherent conflicts of interest, Andrzejewski said. “We believe there is an unholy conflict of interest inherent at NIH,” he said. “Consider the fact that each year, NIH doles out $32 billion in grants to approximately 56,000 grantees. Now we know that over an 11-year period, there is going to be approximately $350 million flowing the other way from third-party payers, many of which receive NIH grants, and those payments are flowing back to NIH scientists and leadership.” Fauci and Lane told AP that they agreed there was an appearance of a conflict of interest in getting the royalties, with Fauci saying that he contributed his royalties to charity. Lane didn’t do that, according to Andrzejewski. The governing ethics financial disclosure form in the past defined the royalty payments as income recipients received from NIH, which meant the recipients weren’t required to list their payments on the form. But Andrzejewski said NIH has refused to respond to his request for clarification on the disclosure issue. “If they are not, none of these payments are receiving any scrutiny whatsoever and to the extent that a company making payments to either leadership or scientists, while also receiving grants … then that just on its face is a conflict of interest,” he said. Open the Books is a Chicago-based nonprofit government watchdog that uses the federal and state freedom of information laws to obtain and then post on the internet trillions of dollars in spending at all levels of government. The nonprofit filed a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeking documentation of all payments by outside firms to NIH and/or current and former NIH employees. NIH declined to respond to the FOIA, so Open the Books is taking the agency to court, suing it for noncompliance with the FOIA. Open the Books is represented in federal court in the case by another nonprofit government watchdog, Judicial Watch. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/09/2022 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 10th, 2022

Protecting Retirement Savings from Volatile Crypto Digital Investments

Did you hear? You may be able to allocate some of your 401(k) retirement savings to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Case in point, retirement juggernaut Fidelity. Fidelity launched a plan in April 2022 that could let workers invest up to 20% of their 401(k) contributions directly in bitcoins — directly from the account’s main menu. […] Did you hear? You may be able to allocate some of your 401(k) retirement savings to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Case in point, retirement juggernaut Fidelity. Fidelity launched a plan in April 2022 that could let workers invest up to 20% of their 401(k) contributions directly in bitcoins — directly from the account’s main menu. Fidelity says it is the first in the industry to allow such investments without a separate brokerage account. And one employer has already agreed to offer the service later this year. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Previously, if you wanted to invest in crypto for your retirement, you would have to turn to options like a Bitcoin IRA. Basically, it’s a self-directed IRA, but you invest in cryptocurrency instead of mutual funds. You could also use crypto to sponsor a 401(k) through the partnership between ForUsAll and Coinbase. A self-employed person can set up their own retirement plan via a solo 401(k) or SEP IRA, which can include bitcoin investments. But, the plunge that Fidelity is taking could be a game-changer. And, to be fair, it’s easy to see why. Crypto for Retirement is Becoming More Popular Last year, as the market surpassed $3 trillion in value, many cryptocurrencies soared, enticing a growing number of retirees to invest in cryptocurrencies. In addition, a survey published by Capitalize revealed that 20% of American employees nearing retirement are presently investing in the form of digital assets. “On the other hand, a more sizable 63% of Generation X and Baby Boomers feel that investing in digital assets such as crypto, among others, could result in major losses,” explains Pierre Raymond in a previous Due article. However, the situation is somewhat different for younger workers than those in these two groups. “The same survey indicates that around 56% of Gen Z workers already include some form of crypto in their retirement strategy, while 54% of Millennials are doing the same,” adds Pierre. However, older workers are less optimistic about digital coins and crypto. The Pros and Cons of Investing in Crypto for Retirement Why are younger investors all in on crypto for their retirement? Well, there’s potential for higher returns. It can also help protect your retirement balance through diversification. In addition, by investing in a tax-advantaged account, like a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, you don’t have to worry about taxes if the securities and money remain in the account. However, crypto is still a gamble. So, here are some ways to protect your retirement savings from volatile crypto digital investments. On the flip side, there are some valid concerns regarding crypto, particularly regarding your retirement. For example, the following concerns have forced the Department of Labor to issue a compliance assistance release for plan fiduciaries focused on 401(k) plan investments in cryptocurrencies. Valuation concerns. Cryptocurrencies are valued differently by financial experts. Due to cryptocurrencies not being subjected to the same reporting and data integrity requirements as traditional investment products, these concerns are compounded. Inflating crypto-currencies prices with false information allows scammers to sell their own holdings to make a profit before the value of the currency drops. Prices can change quickly and dramatically. In the past, cryptocurrency prices have fluctuated dramatically. Obstacles to making informed decisions. Plan participants with little appreciation of the risks involved can easily invest in these investments with expectations of high returns. For example, when 401(k) plan fiduciaries offer cryptocurrency options, they indicate to plan participants knowledgeable investment experts have approved them. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true, and unfortunately, this can cause significant losses for plan participants. Evolving regulatory landscape. Legal rules and regulations are rapidly changing. Protecting Retirement Savings from Volatile Crypto Digital Investments The good news? It’s still possible to jump on board the crypto bandwagon without jeopardizing your retirement savings. Don’t invest more than you can afford to lose. Cryptos are extremely volatile investments, something that can’t be overemphasized. Be prepared to see their value rise or fall extremely dramatically. What’s more, they’ve often fluctuated by double-digit percentages within just a few hours. Past performance, unlike stable investments, isn’t always indicative of future results when it comes to risky investments. And cryptos are no exception. Here’s the bottom line; don’t lose more than you can afford to lose. Do your research. Not surprisingly, cryptocurrency exchanges have been the target of damaging hacking attacks and scams. As such, it’s advisable to choose an exchange that has strong security features and low fees, and easy use. Also, find out what users are saying about the exchange before deciding to transact. The whitepaper of the crypto should also be read. This document, which is standard for every new currency, allows you to understand the cryptocurrency’s use cases and its scalability, and future plans. In addition to your own research, you might benefit from joining a cryptocurrency forum online. Finally, researching a crypto’s reputation and track record may also yield useful information. Keep your crypto portfolio diversified. In general, it doesn’t make sense to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to risky investments — or your retirement portfolio as well. In the case of cryptocurrency investment, it’s especially vital to diversify your crypto portfolio in the following ways, according to Paulina Likos over at U.S. News; Buy cryptocurrencies with different use cases. Investing in cryptocurrency with varying uses can help diversify your crypto holdings. As a means of exchange, cryptocurrencies are used for goods and services transactions, but that’s not all they do. In addition to being a store of value, Bitcoin can be used in preserving and growing wealth since investors have seen outsized returns from it. However, Ethereum, the second-largest crypto network, allows digital programs to be created with its smart contracts. In addition to stablecoins, crypto investors can also invest in underlying assets such as fiat currency. For example, the crypto market is less volatile due to stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC). Invest in different cryptocurrency blockchains. Cryptocurrencies function due to blockchain technology. On the other hand, Blockchain platforms have much more functionality, and they are in high demand in virtually every sector because of the solutions they can generate. The Ethereum blockchain is the most popular due to its ease of use, the ability to execute agreements without a third party, and the ability to build dApps on its platform. Cardano (ADA), which aims to be scalable, secure, and efficient, is a competing blockchain. Blockchain service provider EOS (EOS) offers smart contracts, cloud storage, and decentralized applications. Diversify by market capitalization. Bitcoin may occupy the majority of the crypto market share, but there are a number of altcoins worth considering that have different market caps. For example, the market cap of one crypto might mean it’s more stable and has more robust fundamentals, but the market cap of another crypto might mean it’s growing fast. Diversify crypto projects by location. You can experience a wider variety of innovations by crypto businesses if you select cryptocurrency projects from countries worldwide. However, keep your distance from crypto projects in places where crypto is banned or restricted. Instead, focus on innovation areas, such as El Salvador and Portugal. Invest in different industries. Different industries offer cryptocurrency opportunities. In particular, the financial sector has been a significant adopter of crypto. Using a peer-to-peer blockchain network, DeFi allows people to conduct digital transactions without being governed by a third party such as a bank. A growing number of users are trading virtual assets in a global market using crypto in the world of video games at the same time. Branch out to different asset classes. Investing in digital assets is part of several asset classes, giving investors even more diversification options. Asset classes most commonly include cryptos used as a store of value or a medium of exchange, like Bitcoin and Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. Another type of asset is utility tokens, which grant access to a platform for specific products. Among utility, tokens are Basic Attention Token (BAT), Golem Token (GLM), and Filecoin (FIL). Another class of digital investments is non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Diversify by risk level. When you build a crypto portfolio, it might be a good idea to allocate more to the cryptos that have been around the longest, like Bitcoin and Ether. Then, for portfolio risk management, stablecoins could be added. After that, you might add a smaller percentage of riskier emerging crypto projects with various applications. Buy puts to protect your assets. Puts can be bought speculatively or to protect existing positions or portfolios. “Once you buy puts, profits get generated when the cryptocurrencies value drops in value relative to another,” explains Marius Bogdan Dinu for Crypto Adventure. “Puts offer the buyer the right to sell his cryptocurrencies at a specific price and a particular date.” For instance, let’s assume you bought a put option for $10 on BTC/USDT with a strike price below market (BTC = $200) of $180 for 28 days, and the price fell to $120 at the expiration date. By then, you’ll have generated a profit of $50 (or $60 to $100), almost five times what you paid. “Puts have one significant advantage; losses are limited, and the most you can lose is the premium you paid for the put,” he adds. It is important to note that not everyone has the perfect strike price or expiration date,” Bogdan states. Setting a strike price for crypto should always consider your risk tolerance and your bias towards the market. When the strike price locks in a minimum value of assets in your portfolio, you will achieve dependable portfolio protection at a fixed cost. Dollar-cost averaging can lower your risk. Instead of investing a large sum in cryptocurrency all at once, break your investment down into smaller amounts. For those unfamiliar with this, it’s called dollar-cost averaging. And, it’s possible to invest smaller sums automatically at regular intervals on many crypto exchanges. Using dollar-cost averaging will lower your exposure to market swings and eliminate the need to constantly judge the market’s mood. Additionally, it reduces the temptation to make emotional investments. Maintain liquidity. The dollar-cost averaging approach is great, but there’s no harm in accumulating some extra dry powder (or dry money), ready to scoop up assets at a steep discount if the market crashes. However, you’ll need liquidity to do this. To put it another way, you can’t jump on market opportunities if all your money is invested in investments. A typical investment strategy is to lock up money to earn a return. Users of vaulted crypto deposits get a yield on their deposits while maintaining liquidity. While some platforms require lockups for interest earners, Vauld offers users the option of not locking up their earnings. HODLing and long-term thinking. There is some truth to the statement “there is no loss until you sell.” Unrealized losses only occur once you sell your assets for less than the price you paid for them when the value has gone down since you bought them, explains the Coinbase team. Since its inception, Bitcoin has shown a consistent upward trend. Price falls are likely to bounce back due to economic drivers such as scarcity, even if caused by a temporary correction or a longer bear market. In the future, many people believe that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will continue to rise in price due to this limited availability. Positive price movement can be considered temporary if your investing timeframe is longer than weeks or months (years rather than weeks or months). Bitcoin has proven to be the most successful asset in the last decade, as it has been held for long periods of time. In countries like the United States, holding cryptocurrency for a longer period of time may also be tax beneficial, they add. It may be more advantageous to hold for a year or longer than sell immediately. Get crypto insurance. I’m sure you know that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an independent agency of the federal government, insures up to $250,000 per person and per bank. This includes all checking, savings, money market deposit, and certificate of deposit accounts. Unfortunately, at the moment, cryptocurrency is not covered — but the FDIC is considering it. In short, there’s no federal protection for cryptocurrency. That means you’re on your own. But, there may be a solution through insurance. First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Private insurance does exist for crypto like Bitcoin. However, at present, private crypto-insurance is not generally available to consumers; instead mainly purchased by exchanges and crypto-wallets. This policy covers crime and theft, custodial insurance coverage, and commercial insurance. The good news? There’s at least one exception. With its Crypto Shield product, Breach Insurance offers crypto investors a regulated insurance product. The company has licenses and regulations in 10 states, including Massachusetts, California, and New York. Purchase of a policy is restricted to residents of the states listed. But, the company is expected to expand into more states. At present, Breach Insurance covers 20 kinds of coins within exchanges such as Coinbase, CoinList, Gemini, or BinanceUS. Breach Insurance does not cover those in third-party wallets. Whether your crypto is stored cold or hot, the policy will cover hacks and exploitations of exchange wallets. Your deductible can range from 5%, 10%, or 15% of the policy amount. Coverage ranges from $2,000 to $1 million. Consider alternatives. A token purchase is the simplest way to get started with cryptocurrencies. But, there are ways to explore the crypto world without risking considerable swings in your investment, such as; Invest in crypto companies. Crypto companies are commonly listed on public exchanges. Instead of buying the coin itself, you can buy shares of Coinbase Global or PayPal Holdings, which benefit from the business proceeds from their crypto-related operations. Furthermore, you can purchase shares of companies that manufacture cryptographic hardware, like Nvidia and AMD. Buy cryptocurrency ETFs or derivatives. You can invest in crypto with exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Stocks, commodities, and bonds make up an ETF, and in the case of crypto, they follow an index or sector. For some crypto products, options and futures are available, but these advanced types of investment vehicles also come with risks. Find a job in the crypto industry. Companies like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster list thousands of crypto job openings. A boom in blockchain jobs is happening whether you come from a finance background or a software engineering background. You can also find blockchain jobs on Cryptocurrency Jobs. It’s ultimately up to you whether or not to jump into the crypto waters, but keep in mind that it’s not the only place you can invest. Likewise, cryptocurrencies aren’t the only digital assets to consider, as NFTs are also digital assets. Finally, make sure that if you decide to dive into digital currencies, you have a good wallet to store them. Frequently Asked Questions About Adding Crypto to Your Retirement Portfolio How can I fold crypto into my retirement plan? Self-directed IRAs and solo 401(k) plans are the most convenient ways to purchase crypto in retirement accounts. Bitcoin IRA, BitIRA, iTrust Capital, and IRA Financial, among others, offer crypto-backed IRAs. Nevertheless, retirement account giant Fidelity has made it possible for workers to put up to 20% of their 401(k) savings in bitcoin, all from the account’s main investment menu. Regardless of the exact plan you chose, the self-trading area of the platform allows you to trade digital assets inside your self-directed retirement account once your account is funded. Another option is to invest directly in digital currencies on a crypto exchange, such as IRA Financial. With the help of a U.S.-based exchange, investors can purchase all the significant cryptocurrencies directly with their retirement funds. The account holder’s responsibility is to control 100% of the account, and they can trade whenever they desire. What coins should I choose? For the most part, cryptocurrency experts prefer established coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum to upstarts. Coin selection is correlated with the level of risk an investor is willing to take. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two biggest cryptos with the least risk. However, they are still subject to price fluctuations. For example, the value of bitcoin dropped from $65,000 in late 2021 and early 2022 to $31,000 within just a few months. In May 2022, it was trading at around $39,000. In addition, smaller, less established cryptocurrencies may have a higher level of volatility. How much money should I invest? According to a Yale study from 2019, between 4% and 6% of a portfolio should be allocated to cryptocurrency. The study included all cryptos, including bitcoin, XRP, and ether specifically. Financial advisors, CFPs, and other money experts increasingly recommend a crypto asset allocation of 1% to 5%. Some investors, however, may be able to allocate up to 10% of their risky investments to cryptocurrencies, and possibly even more for young investors. Ultimately, this depends on your age, level of wealth, and level of risk tolerance. What’s more, the allocation of crypto needs to remain in alignment with investment objectives. If I make money on crypto trades, do I have to pay taxes? Short answer, yes. Whether they are purchased, sold, or exchanged, Cryptocurrencies need to be declared to the IRS. Crypto investments are generally treated like other investments, including stocks and bonds, depending on your particular circumstances. If you didn’t sell or exchange your crypto for another type, you do not need to report it on your tax return. You also do not need to report buying or holding crypto. However, as with stocks and bonds, you’ll need to report any gains or losses you realize if you sell or exchange cryptos. What are the risks of investing in crypto? Investors in cryptos should be aware that there is almost no protection for them. Moreover, this digital currency is a concern due to its volatile and hype-driven nature. Specifically, there are valuation concerns, and prices can dramatically change quickly. Crypto scams should also be on your radar. Pump and dump schemes are often used to scam people into buying a specific token, resulting in its value rising. As a result, scammers sell out, dropping everyone’s price. Furthermore, criminal activity, including theft and hacking, is a possibility. Millions of dollars have been lost due to cyberattacks in cryptocurrency’s short history. As of now, you’re on your own based on the US government’s policy. Unlike bank accounts, crypto does not have deposit protection at this time. However, following President Biden’s March executive order, which directed agencies to examine digital assets for risks and benefits, this may begin to change. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine, Finance Expert by Time and Annuity Expert by Nasdaq. He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on May 9, 2022, 3:56 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 9th, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Greenwald: Homeland Security"s "Disinformation Board" Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems

Greenwald: Homeland Security's "Disinformation Board" Is Even More Pernicious Than It Seems Authored by Glenn Greenwald via, The most egregious and blatant official disinformation campaign in the U.S. took place three weeks before the 2020 presidential election. That was when dozens of former intelligence officials purported to believe that authentic emails regarding Joe Biden's activities in China and Ukraine, reported by The New York Post, were "Russian disinformation.” That quasi-official proclamation enabled liberal corporate media outlets to uncritically mock and then ignore those emails as “Russian disinformation,” and pressured Big Tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor the reporting at exactly the time Americans were preparing to decide who would be the next U.S. president. Official government portrait of Nina Jankowicz, appointed to serve as Executive Director of the new “Disinformation Board” to be housed within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (posted by Jankowicz to Twitter) The letter from these former intelligence officials was orchestrated by trained career liars — disinformation agents — such as former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Yet that letter was nonetheless crucial to discredit and ultimately suppress the New York Post's incriminating reporting on Biden. It provided a quasi-official imprimatur — something that could be depicted as an authoritative decree — that these authentic emails were, in fact, fraudulent. After all, if all of these noble and heroic intelligence operatives who spent their lives studying Russian disinformation were insisting that the Biden emails had all of the "hallmarks" of Kremlin treachery, who possessed the credibility to dispute their expert assessment? This clip from the media leader in spreading this CIA pre-election lie — CNN — features their national security analyst James Clapper, and it illustrates how vital this pretense of officialdom was in their deceitful disinformation campaign: This same strategic motive — to vest accusations of “disinformation” with the veneer of expertise — is what has fostered a new, very well-financed industry heralding itself as composed of “anti-disinformation" scholars. Knowing that Americans are inculcated from childhood to believe that censorship is nefarious — that it is the hallmark of tyranny — those who wish to censor need to find some ennobling rationale to justify it and disguise what it is. They have thus created a litany of neutral-sounding groups with benign names — The Atlantic Council, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, various "fact-checking” outfits controlled by corporate media outlets — that claim to employ “anti-disinformation experts” to identify and combat fake news. Just as media corporations re-branded their partisan pundits as "fact-checkers" -- to masquerade their opinions as elevated, apolitical authoritative, decrees of expertise -- the term "disinformation expert" is designed to disguise ideological views on behalf of state and corporate power centers as Official Truth. Yet when one subjects these groups to even minimal investigative scrutiny, one finds that they are anything but apolitical and neutral. They are often funded by the same small handful of liberal billionaires (such as George Soros and Pierre Omidyar), actual security state agencies of the U.S., the UK or the EU, and/or Big Tech monopolies such as Google and Facebook. Indeed, the concept of “anti-disinformation expert” is itself completely fraudulent. This is not a real expertise but rather a concocted title bestowed on propagandists to make them appear more scholarly and apolitical than they are. But the function of this well-funded industry is the same as the one served by the pre-election letter from “dozens of former intelligence officials": to discredit dissent and justify its censorship by infusing its condemnation with the pretense of institutional authority. The targeted views are not merely wrong; they have been adjudged by official, credentialed experts to constitute "disinformation.” This scam is the critical context for understanding why the Biden Administration casually announced last week the creation of what it is calling a "Disinformation Board” inside the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There is no conceivable circumstance in which a domestic law enforcement agency like DHS should be claiming the power to decree truth and falsity. Operatives in the U.S. Security State are not devoted to combatting disinformation. The opposite is true: they are trained, career liars tasked with concocting and spreading disinformation. As Politico's Jack Schafer wrote: Who among us thinks the government should add to its work list the job of determining what is true and what is disinformation? And who thinks the government is capable of telling the truth? Our government produces lies and disinformation at industrial scale and always has. It overclassifies vital information to block its own citizens from becoming any the wiser. It pays thousands of press aides to play hide the salami with facts….Making the federal government the official custodian of truth would be like Brink’s giving a safe-cracker a job driving an armored car. The purpose of Homeland Security agents is to propagandize and deceive, not enlighten and inform. The level of historical ignorance and stupidity required to believe that U.S. Security State operatives are earnestly devoted to exposing and decreeing truth — as CNN's Brian Stelter evidently believes, given that he praised this new government program as “common sense” — is off the charts. As Jameel Jaffer, formerly of the ACLU and now with the Columbia’s Knight First Amendment Institute put it, most troubling is “the fact that the board is housed at DHS, an especially opaque agency that has run roughshod over civil liberties in the past.” Typically, any attempt to apply George Orwell's warning novel 1984 to U.S. politics is reflexively dismissed as hyperbolic: a free and democratic country like the United States could not possibly fall prey to the dystopian repression Orwell depicts. Yet it is quite difficult to distinguish this “Disinformation Board” from Ingsoc's Ministry of Truth. The protagonist of Orwell's novel, Winston Smith, worked in the Ministry of Truth and described at length how its primary function was to create official versions of truth and falsity, which always adhered to the government's needs of the moment and were subject to radical change as those interests evolved. That the Board will be run by such a preposterous and laughable figure as Nina Jankowicz — a liberal cartoon, a caricature of a #Resistance Twitter fanatic who spent 2016 posting adolescent partisan tripe such as: “Maybe @HillaryClinton's most important point so far: ‘A @realDonaldTrump presidency would embolden ISIS.’ #ImWithHer” — has, in some sense, made this board seem more benign and harmless. After all, Subscribers can read the rest here. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/04/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 4th, 2022