rgl7194 + gov2.0   4067

Mueller investigation news: Paul Manafort advised White House on how to attack investigation of Trump and Russia - Vox
We now have details as to how the indicted former campaign manager worked with the president to undermine federal law enforcement.
Paul Manafort, who served as the manager for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, provided advice to the president and senior White House officials on the FBI’s Russia investigation during the earliest days of the Trump administration. He gave guidance on how to undermine and discredit the FBI’s inquiry into whether the president, his campaign aides, and family members conspired with the Russian Federation and its intelligence services to covertly defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, according to government records and interviews with individuals familiar with the matter. Manafort himself was under criminal investigation by the FBI during this same time, a fact then known to the White House.
Last Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller alleged in court filings that Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” to FBI agents and prosecutors, in violation of the cooperation agreement between Manafort and the special counsel’s office. Among those, Mueller charged, were lies by Manafort to investigators that he had not been in contact with anyone in the White House.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
15 hours ago by rgl7194
Trump Russia affair: Key questions answered - BBC News
For nearly two years the Trump-Russia affair has dominated front pages and mired the president's administration in conflict and controversy. But what is it exactly? How did it begin? And where is it going?
The inquiry is being led by Robert Mueller, a widely respected former director of the FBI. Holed up in an unremarkable office in Washington DC, Mr Mueller's team is quietly going about one of the most high-profile political inquiries in US history.
Five people connected with Donald Trump's campaign and presidency have been charged with criminal offences.
One of them, his former lawyer Michael Cohen, could be jailed on Wednesday on several charges, making him the first member of the president's inner circle to be imprisoned in relation to the inquiry.
President Trump denies any wrongdoing and says the charges against his former staff are "peanuts".
We've put together a straightforward guide to what we know, what we don't know, and what Mr Mueller may know that we don't.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  bbc 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Trump inaugural committee under criminal investigation - CNNPolitics
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee is currently being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for his inauguration, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The investigation was first reported by The Wall Street Journal Thursday afternoon.
Citing conversations with people familiar with the investigation, which is being handled by the US Attorney's office in Manhattan, the Journal reported that prosecutors are also looking into whether the committee accepted donations from individuals looking to gain influence in or access to the new administration.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Mueller should try to indict Trump. It would guarantee his report goes public. - The Washington Post
The attorney general would have to tell Congress about denying a request to prosecute the president.
Now that Michael Cohen has placed President Trump squarely in criminal crosshairs, a constitutional crisis appears to be looming: If there is evidence that Trump committed a crime, can he be indicted while in office?
This isn’t settled law, though most legal analysts conclude that an indictment is unlikely — the Justice Department has had an internal policy since 1973 that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. But there is another policy that can use the 1973 Office of Legal Counsel opinion to its advantage and achieve the same effect as an indictment without having to issue one: the special counsel regulations under which Robert S. Mueller III is appointed.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  op-ed 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Saudi Arabia Declares War on America’s Muslim Congresswomen – Foreign Policy
Gulf Arab monarchies are using racism, bigotry, and fake news to denounce Washington's newest history-making politicians.
Ever since the midterm election, conservative media in the United States have targeted with special zeal Ilhan Omar, an incoming Somali-American Democratic congresswoman and a devout Muslim who wears hijab. In response to Democrats’ push to remove a headwear ban on the House floor to accommodate Omar, conservative commentator and pastor E.W. Jackson complained on a radio show that Muslims were transforming Congress into an “Islamic republic.”
The Democratic Party has several rising political stars with Arab or Muslim backgrounds, all of whom have become objects of such conspiracy theories. But it’s not only American conservatives who have been indulging in this culture war. The organized attacks have also been coming from abroad—specifically, from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
religion  middle_east  gov2.0  politics  women  congress  propaganda  fake_news 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Does Australia's access and assistance law impact 1Password? | 1Password
Australia recently passed the so-called Assistance and Access Act. This law (correctly) has many digital security and privacy experts worried. We’d like to offer some preliminary remarks on how it may impact the privacy and security of 1Password customers and how it may affect the way we work.
Even at this early stage we can remind everyone that we do not currently, and will not introduce back doors into our products, and we will continue to operate in a way that would make it difficult for a back door to be inserted.
Our remarks on the Assistance and Access Act (discussed under the hashtag #aaBill) must be preliminary at this point. There is a great deal of vagueness in the law in its current form, and we do not know how it will be interpreted and used when it goes into effect in March. Nonetheless there are a number of things that we can clearly (re)state now.
privacy  security  encryption  gov2.0  politics  australia  technology  business  1password 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Does Australia's access and assistance law impact 1Password?
Does Australia's access and assistance law impact 1Password?
One of the most disturbing things about the Assistance and Access Act is that it apparently authorizes the Australian government to compel someone subject to its laws to surreptitiously take actions that harm our customers’ privacy and security without revealing that to us. Would an Australian employee of 1Password be forced to lie to us and do something that we would definitely object to?
There's a lot of desperation in world governments as encryption outstrips their previously secret capabilities. They've enjoyed feeding at the trough of private data for a decade. Now it's drying up and the result will be rushed and poorly devised legislation, like Australia's. Without a course correction, my guess is that Australia will become a country that has no employment in tech firms. The questions raised by Agile Bits highlight problems that I'm sure every major tech company is considering. Can they trust their own employees now that obligations as a citizen are directly contrary to obligations as an employee? I'm looking forward to the "Not made in Australia" badge showing up on webpages.
privacy  security  encryption  gov2.0  politics  australia  technology  business  1password 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Subpoenas Coming Soon In Trump Emoluments Lawsuit : NPR
The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia are preparing to move forward with subpoenas for President Trump's businesses in their lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clauses.
U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte gave the order for discovery in the case to proceed to D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who have accused Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency. The list of subpoena targets will be released on Tuesday.
"We will now serve subpoenas to third-party organizations and federal agencies to gather the necessary evidence to prove that President Trump is violating the Constitution's emoluments clauses — our nation's original anti-corruption laws," Racine said in a statement.
fraud  trump  corruption  legal  gov2.0  politics  scam 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Trump's countless scams are finally catching up to him | Rebecca Solnit | Opinion | The Guardian
The daily news drip can make it difficult to recognize the immense scale of the president’s legal troubles
The news is generally reported piecemeal, with a focus on what just happened or the specifics of one story. The result is that the cumulative effect often escapes detection. Journalism tends to describe the fragments and not the pattern they make up, which for readers can be like watching a movie shot entirely in closeups. So it is with the travails of Donald J Trump. He is in so many kinds of legal hot water, and the explosive new stories tend to erase the earlier ones from view, just as his own transgressions tend to overshadow his earlier misconduct.
Who talks of how grotesquely he groveled before Vladimir Putin and denied his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions in the long-ago, far-away world of July 2018 when so much has happened since? Who remembers the abrupt firing of the FBI director James Comey in the ancient days of May 2017, when the abrupt firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on 7 November is so fresh? The Washington Post’s running list of lies (up to 5,000 in September) and the New York Times catalogue of people, places, and things he’s insulted on Twitter (548 as of Monday) are helpful.
fraud  trump  corruption  legal  gov2.0  politics  scam 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Flynn Memo: Mueller’s Not Just Chasing Process Crime - The Atlantic
The word lie has lost its power in the Trump era. Try replacing it with fraud.
The Trump administration has introduced the country to a colorful troupe of liars like none other in memory. Starting with the president himself, the past two years have brought to the national stage a phenomenal array of promiscuous fabricators. It therefore stands to reason that so many of the offenses ferreted out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller are crimes of dishonesty. Prosecutors take their crimes where they find them, particularly as they work their way up the ladder to the most important targets.
Defenders of the president lately have taken to disparaging Mueller’s charges as mere “process crimes.” Senator Lindsey Graham called Michael Cohen’s Friday plea a “process crime,” and Rush Limbaugh chimed in that “every one of Mueller’s indictments is a process crime.” Presumably, Graham and Limbaugh would also apply that term to the case against Michael Flynn, who in December 2017 pleaded guilty to one charge of making materially false statements to the FBI. That case moved toward its conclusion Tuesday night with Mueller’s sentencing memorandum recommending no time in prison.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Michael Flynn has given 'substantial assistance' to the special counsel - CNNPolitics
Washington (CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller told a federal court Tuesday that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has given "substantial assistance" to the Russia investigation and should not get jail time.
Flynn has sat for 19 interviews with the special counsel and other Justice Department offices, and his early cooperation gave prosecutors a road map for their Russia investigation and may have helped to encourage others to cooperate, the filing states.
The new details explaining how Flynn has helped the special counsel investigation will ratchet up the pressure on President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt."
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
3 days ago by rgl7194
No Single News Event Will Take Down Trump - The Atlantic
It won’t be a single news event that takes down the president.
“Today is the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office,” said the legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin on CNN last Thursday.
“This is the beginning of the end for Trump,” declared Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general, on MSNBC.
“The deal may be among the biggest news in the nearly 18-month investigation,” wrote Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder, and Norman Eisen in The New York Times.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
3 days ago by rgl7194
The Mueller investigation is closing in on Trump | Jill Abramson | Opinion | The Guardian
What a catalogue of rogues – and what a tantalizing pile of clues. Surely we will soon know where all this leads
The rogues’ gallery exposed in Robert Mueller’s court filings last week make the Watergate burglars look positively classy.
Even veteran lawyers who were involved in the investigations of Richard Nixon say they’ve never seen this level of chicanery. Most importantly, last week’s events showed that Special Counsel Mueller is getting closer to exposing the scope and depth of it all. His most recent filings make clear that considerable evidence touches the president himself.
The disclosures from Michael Cohen, the former Trump fixer who is now a cooperating witness, drew the connection tighter. In his guilty plea to an additional charge of lying to Congress, Cohen revealed, and Trump confirmed, that the Trump Organization was pursuing a luxury skyscraper deal in Moscow while Donald Trump, identified as “Individual 1” in the latest court filings, was sewing up the Republican party presidential nomination.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Newly Disclosed Clinton-era Memo Says Presidents Can Be Indicted - The New York Times
Although nothing in the Constitution or federal law explicitly says presidents are immune from indictment while they remain in office, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel has asserted that they are. A newly disclosed legal memo from the office of Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Clinton, challenges that analysis. The National Archives made the memo public in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The New York Times.
gov2.0  politics  legal  POTUS  nytimes 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Constitution rules out immunity for sitting presidents - The Boston Globe
Only President Trump seems not to have noticed — or at least refuses to acknowledge — that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in his Dec. 7 memo regarding Michael Cohen’s sentencing, has laid the predicate for indicting the president for feloniously “directing” a scheme to defraud the public into voting for him under false pretenses.
Trump’s lawyers may well have advised him not to worry about that minor matter because the Justice Department policy of not indicting a sitting president will presumably be followed by all Justice Department prosecutors, including both special counsel Robert Mueller and the prosecutors of the Southern District.
gov2.0  politics  trump  legal 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Tragically Funny Quotes on Democracy - WhoWhatWhy
President Franklin D. Roosevelt said something in 1938 that — in 2018 — may no longer be true, or so it seems on bad days:
Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.
No “alien power over us?” Because Russia has influenced US elections, some Americans feel that indeed an alien power is over them. Others consider the US president himself to be an alien. A more realistic fear is that voters are not the “ultimate rulers” of the country because of the virulent spread of voter suppression, and something related that is just as dangerous: Apathy.
Below are some observations that are both horrible and wonderful — and they may cure your apathy, at least for a while.
gov2.0  politics  democracy  quotes 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Mueller Briefs: Bad News for Trump, Manafort, and Cohen - The Atlantic
Robert Mueller is closing in on the president and all his men.
Federal prosecutors filed three briefs late on Friday portending grave danger for three men: the former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, the former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, and President Donald Trump. In an age when Americans usually get mere squibs of breaking news from Twitter, Facebook, and red-faced cable shouters, many started their weekend poring over complex legal filings and peering suspiciously at blacked-out paragraphs. The documents were stunning, even for 2018.
In brief No. 1, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office argues that Paul Manafort breached his cooperation agreement with the government by lying to the FBI and the Special Counsel’s Office in the course of 12 meetings. The brief oozes a level of confidence notable even among professionally hubristic prosecutors: Mueller says he’s ready to present witnesses and documents, and that he gave Manafort’s lawyers an opportunity to refute the evidence but they could not. Mueller is sure he has the receipts.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
6 days ago by rgl7194
What If We Already Have The Mueller Report? | FiveThirtyEight
When he completes his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including possible coordination with Russia by the Trump campaign, special counsel Robert Mueller is required by federal regulations to submit a confidential report to the attorney general. Depending on how Mueller decides to approach his task, that could be an expansive report outlining all of the details of his findings.
But it’s also possible that the American public will never get to read Mueller’s report — at least not the full version. That’s because Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (assuming that he’s still in the job when the report comes in) and other Justice Department officials will give key members of Congress a brief overview of what’s in the report and then determine whether and how to make Mueller’s findings public. It’s not at all obvious that Whitaker, who has been critical of Mueller’s investigation in the past, will want to share the full report more broadly, and President Trump’s attorneys might even try to block its release.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Robert Mueller sentencing memo for former Trump advisor Michael Flynn
Mueller, in a court filing, says Flynn's "substantial assistance" to the special counsel's probe over the past year warrants a light criminal sentence, which could include no jail time.
The memo relates to lies Flynn told FBI agents about his conversations with Russia's then-ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, during the presidential transition.
Former national security advisor Michael Flynn has given special counsel Robert Mueller "first-hand" details of contacts between President Donald Trump's transition team and Russian government officials, a bombshell court document filed Tuesday says.
Mueller in a sentencing memo said Flynn's "substantial assistance" to his probe warrants a light criminal sentence — which could include no jail time for the retired Army lieutenant general.
That assistance, which includes 19 interviews with Mueller's team and Justice Department attorneys, related to a previously unknown "criminal investigation," as well as to Mueller's long-running probe of the Trump campaign's and transition team's links or coordination with the Russian government.
"The defendant provided firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials," the memo says.
Mueller's memo almost completely blacks out details of what Flynn might have said.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Why It Might Be Impossible To Overturn A Presidential Pardon | FiveThirtyEight
If the American president has a superpower, it might be the ability to grant pardons. With the stroke of a pen, the president can wipe away the consequences of a federal criminal conviction, without having to ask permission from Congress or prepare for a battle in the courts. In the past, presidents have used this power in a variety of sweeping and controversial ways, perhaps most famously when Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, for any crimes he might have committed while in office.
But President Trump has an undeniably expansive and unusual view of the pardon power. He has declared that he has the ability to pardon himself, but that question is far from settled, in part because no other president has tried to do it. And his recent refusal to rule out a pardon for his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, who tanked a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, has prompted speculation about whether Trump is considering pardoning Manafort or other subjects of the Russia investigation.
gov2.0  politics  trump  legal  538 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Policy Agenda | Economic Policy Institute
For too long, ordinary Americans have missed out on the gains of a growing economy. This wasn’t an accident. Policy choices allowed the rich to capture much more than their fair share of American income growth. It will take a bold and comprehensive policy agenda to restore the balance and ensure that our country’s prosperity is broadly shared.
EPI’s policy roadmap plots a course to shift bargaining power back toward low- and  middle-wage workers, arrest accelerating income inequality, shore up the nation’s infrastructure and educational system, protect and expand social insurance programs, and help close gender and racial wage gaps.
economics  politics  gov2.0  business  jobs 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Fawning Coverage of Bush 41 Discredits the Media - WhoWhatWhy
George W. Bush delivered a eulogy for his father, the 41st president of the United States, George H. W. Bush. OK, not unusual. But someone else did too: Jon Meacham, the former editor of Newsweek, a major US news organization. That’s more unusual.
Meacham, who at one point ran an ostensibly hard-hitting magazine, went on to write a biography of the elder Bush so fawning and uncritical that he became like family for the Bushes. And then he delivered the tribute.
In an era of “fake news” and accusations that the media is biased, this is a bridge too far.
Yet hardly any media —none?— even noted the conflict of interest. And why should they? The vast majority of news organizations abdicated their roles as honest brokers for “Bush Week,” rushing to outdo each other in gushing with exaggerated and ill-founded praise for a former president once criticized for a broad range of transgressions — legal, moral, and otherwise.
bush  gov2.0  politics  news  RIP 
6 days ago by rgl7194
New Documents Show That Facebook Has Never Deserved Your Trust | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Another week, another set of reminders that, while Facebook likes to paint itself as an “optimistic” company that’s simply out to help users and connect the world, the reality is very different.  This week, those reminders include a collection of newly released documents suggesting that the company adopted a host of features and policies even though it knew those choices would harm users and undermine innovation.
Yesterday, a member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament published a trove of internal documents from Facebook, obtained as part of a lawsuit by a firm called Six4Three. The emails, memos, and slides shed new light on Facebook’s private behavior before, during, and after the events leading to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Here are some key points from the roughly 250 pages of documents.
facebook  tracking  contacts  privacy  security  email  data  uk  gov2.0  EFF 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Creative Politics | We Can Talk
“Confront the soft bigotry of low expectations”
–George W Bush
One of the most divisive topics in American politics has been “political correctness.”  In fact, what was perceived as “telling it like it is” or “saying what everyone’s thinking” (as opposed to merely spouting whatever comes to mind as one’s cranial sphincters weaken with age) is one of the key qualities that gave the current occupant of the Oval Office potentially as much as 46% of the vote in the last election (we’ll never know).
But division is definitely not politically correct, especially not now with all the challenges we face–politics is about compromise, or better yet, synthesis between opposing ideas and ideals.  Fortunately, it seems to us that there may be only a few particularly insidious key words and phrases that need to be changed (as political correctness is wont to do) to start us back on the road towards unity again.  Here are our first nominees, along with their proposed replacements, with hopes that you’all will add to the list...
gov2.0  politics 
6 days ago by rgl7194
Bush 41: The Triumph of Manners Over Truth - WhoWhatWhy
While President Donald Trump has used truculence, bluster, populism, and manufactured division to hide the true nature of his agenda, George Herbert Walker Bush used manners, civility, and grace to hide the truth of his and his family’s agenda.
Both are very similar in their objectives. Both have enabled the continued transfer of wealth to the upper echelons of society. Both have sought to protect the interests of corporations and rich friends. But as we witnessed this week, Bush and the Bush family were far more effective with honey than with vinegar.
To wrap up this week of seemingly non-stop hagiographic coverage of George H.W. Bush, Jeff Schechtman talks with Russ Baker about the Bush family and Baker’s blockbuster book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.
Baker notes that the job of journalism is to ask questions and present facts — NOT to be co-opted by the fawning of sycophants that today turn funerals into a form of entertainment.
bush  gov2.0  politics  family  books  podcast  transcript  corruption 
7 days ago by rgl7194
Australia passes new law to thwart strong encryption | Ars Technica
Apple previously decried Australian efforts: "Encryption is simply math."
Apple to Australia: “This is no time to weaken encryption”
On Thursday, the Australian parliament approved a measure that critics say will weaken encryption in favor of law enforcement and the demands of government.
The new law, which has been pushed for since at least 2017, requires that companies provide a way to get at encrypted communications and data via a warrant process. It also imposes fines of up to A$10 million for companies that do not comply and A$50,000 for individuals who do not comply. In short, the law thwarts (or at least tries to thwart) strong encryption.
Companies who receive one of these warrants have the option of either complying with the government or waiting for a court order. However, by default, the orders are secret, so companies would not be able to tell the public that they had received one.
"It's a big deal," Adam Molnar, a lecturer in criminology at Deakin University in Australia, told Ars.
privacy  security  gov2.0  politics  encryption  australia 
7 days ago by rgl7194
Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Bill—Here's Everything You Need To Know
Australia's House of Representatives has finally passed the "Telecommunications Assistance and Access Bill 2018," also known as the Anti-Encryption Bill, on Thursday that would now allow law enforcement to force Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal, and other tech giants to help them access encrypted communications.
The Australian government argues the new legislation is important for national security and an essential tool to help law enforcement and security agencies fight serious offenses such as crime, terrorist attacks, drug trafficking, smuggling, and sexual exploitation of children.
gov2.0  politics  encryption  security  privacy  australia 
7 days ago by rgl7194
AT&T/Verizon lobby misunderstands arrow of time, makes impossible claim | Ars Technica
USTelecom claims the 2018 net neutrality repeal boosted investment in 2017.
The telecom industry lobby group that represents AT&T and Verizon has consistently claimed that net neutrality rules hurt broadband investment. Yet the same lobby group has released data showing that fiber deployment grew significantly while net neutrality rules were in effect.
Even more surprising: the lobby group, USTelecom, also recently claimed that an increase in broadband network investment that happened before the net neutrality repeal was somehow caused by the repeal that hadn't yet taken effect.
USTelecom released a new analysis last week, saying that, "from the end of 2015 to mid-2017, US fiber deployment grew from 21 percent to 29 percent of homes and competitive availability of wired broadband at 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload [speeds] increased from 31 percent to 55 percent." Fixed wireless deployment has also helped expand broadband access, USTelecom wrote.
gov2.0  politics  fcc  ISP  net_neutrality  business  lobbying 
9 days ago by rgl7194
Internal Facebook documents show how the company makes deals for data - The Verge
The UK Parliament today released a 250-page cache of previously sealed Facebook documents, revealing internal deliberations at the highest levels of the company, as executives including Mark Zuckerberg made crucial decisions on how to handle users’ data.
Facebook has long said that it does not sell access to its users’ data, and nothing in the documents directly contradicts that claim. But the documents, released by British lawmaker Damian Collins, give a glimpse into how a company of Facebook’s scope makes decisions about deals surrounding data access, including when it decides to work with other companies — and when it decides to take action against them.
250-PAGE CACHE FROM UK PARLIAMENT
In emails released as part of the cache, Facebook executives are shown dealing with other major tech companies on “whitelisting” for its platform. According to Collins, the agreements allowed the companies access to user data after new restrictions were put in place to end most companies’ access. Companies offered access included Netflix and Airbnb, according to the emails.
facebook  business  data  sharing  uk  gov2.0 
9 days ago by rgl7194
GOP’s Scorched Earth Approach Makes a Mockery of Democracy - WhoWhatWhy
Instead of doing some soul-searching about why they got their clocks cleaned in last month’s midterm elections, Republicans across the country, in their latest democracy-defying stunt, are trying to overturn the will of voters — at least those voters they hadn’t already managed to disenfranchise.
It’s a pattern that should infuriate any American who cares at all about democracy.
After their big win in 2010, Republicans redrew state maps to make sure there would not be fair congressional elections for at least a decade.
After the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision in 2013, they passed a wide range of voter suppression laws to ensure there would not be any fair elections of any kind for as long as they were in charge.
And now, after all that was not enough to prevent Democrats from winning the House and flipping some governorships in key states, the GOP unveiled its latest anti-democracy trick: In a move that is reminiscent of two-bit banana republic dictators, Republicans in multiple swing states are trying to strip the incoming Democratic officeholders of important powers by making last-minute changes to election laws.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  voting  election  GOP  gerrymandering  rights  op-ed 
9 days ago by rgl7194
Bladen County Election Fraud and North Carolina Voter ID - The Atlantic
A congressional race in North Carolina suggests that the likeliest threats to the integrity of elections aren’t the ones that GOP lawmakers are addressing.
One early sign that something about McCrae Dowless wasn’t on the up-and-up came in November 2016.
With the race between North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper down to a razor-thin margin, Republicans filed claims of voter fraud with county boards of election around the state. The GOP was aiming to delegitimize Cooper’s lead and to legitimize years of effort to overhaul voting laws to make them more restrictive, claiming serious fraud.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  voting  election  fraud  GOP 
9 days ago by rgl7194
The North Carolina Absentee Ballot Scandal - What Happened and When? - WhoWhatWhy
Nov. 6: Mark Harris (R) declares victory over Dan McCready (D) late on election night with a 2,000-vote lead and 99 percent of districts reporting.
Nov. 7: With all precincts reporting, McCready — facing a 1,900-vote deficit — concedes to Harris.
Nov. 12–16: Harris, along with other freshman legislators, attends orientation in Washington, DC.
Nov. 27: By this time Harris’s lead drops to 905 votes due to absentee ballots. The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE), which is composed of four Democrats, four Republicans, and one independent, agrees to delay certifying the race. Joshua Malcolm, a Democrat on the Board, only cites “unfortunate activities” as the reason behind the delay. Although the Republicans on the board object, all nine members unanimously vote to delay certification.
Nov. 28: It is revealed that immediately after the election, the NCSBE’s chief investigator, Joan Fleming, visited Elizabethtown in Bladen County to analyze voting records, including absentee-by-mail ballot request forms and their return addresses. Harris had won Bladen County by 1,557 votes.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  voting  election  fraud  GOP 
9 days ago by rgl7194
Best Antidote to Blue Wave? Gerrymandering - WhoWhatWhy
Democrats are poised to win the national popular vote in House races by about 8.4 percent while netting 40 House seats.
In 2010, Republicans won a whopping 63 House seats — despite winning the popular vote by only 6.6 percent.
How can Republicans win more seats while receiving fewer votes? One factor is gerrymandering.
North Carolina is a perfect example of the devastating and anti-democratic effects of gerrymandering. Of 13 districts, 12 were contested, meaning a Democrat and a Republican were both choices on the ballot. (There was one race — NC 3 — where Republican Walter Jones faced no Democratic challenger.)
Of those 12 contested races, Democrats won the vote share 51 percent to 47.7 percent. Despite winning a majority of the votes, Democrats only secured three of the 12 seats. Republicans held the other nine seats — with a minority of the vote.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  gerrymandering 
9 days ago by rgl7194
How Roger Ailes Broke the News - WhoWhatWhy
New Documentary ‘Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes’
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has made lots of money peddling slanted news as “fair and balanced” on his Fox News Channel. The man who built it, Roger Ailes, retired in disgrace in 2016 and died a year later. He changed American media in many ways, and used fear as a driving force at Fox — and earlier in campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes is a new documentary that debuts on December 7 in theaters and online. We talk with producer/director Alexis Bloom about Ailes’s early work as producer of The Mike Douglas Show, where he met Richard Nixon. When he worked for George H.W. Bush’s campaign in 1988, Ailes deployed the infamous Willie Horton ad in one of his early assaults on the liberals he saw as the enemies of his cause.
documentary  politics  news  fake_news  conservative  gov2.0  GOP 
9 days ago by rgl7194
Poland saved Europe from ACTA: can they save us from ACTA2? | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Six years ago, Polish activists flooded the streets to oppose ACTA, an incredibly damaging, secretly negotiated Internet treaty hatched in the US to push both America and its European trading partners well beyond anything that could be democratically arrived at.
Six years later, as the EU fumbles its way to an even more extreme Internet censorship proposal through the new Copyright in the Single Market Directive, the spark of rebellion is being rekindled in Poland, where the Directive is being referred to as "ACTA2."
A massive coalition of 15,000 Polish creators whose videos, photos and text are enjoyed by over 20,000,000 Poles have signed an open letter supporting the idea of a strong, creator-focused copyright and rejecting the new Copyright Directive as a direct path to censoring filters that will deprive them of their livelihoods.
poland  europe  politics  gov2.0  copyright  internet  censorship  EFF 
9 days ago by rgl7194
George H.W. Bush: Father of Trumpism? - WhoWhatWhy
Yeah, I know, speak no ill of the dead, and all that. So, as the nation mourns the loss of former president, George H.W. Bush, this week, I take up my pen with some degree of trepidation.
We will hear a lot about what a decent man Bush was, and that’s true. He was a nice guy, a good family man, a war hero and, I say with no small degree of nostalgia, not crazy. (Yet, in light of the horror show of a president now in our White House, even Richard Nixon looks less evil.)
But GHWB marked a turning point for his party and the nation. I say that because I was there when it happened, and I have never forgotten it.
It was 1992, the Republican nominating convention in Houston, Texas. I was covering it for two publications, a business paper in New York, and Mother Jones magazine in San Francisco.
convention  GOP  gov2.0  politics  bush  conservative  90s  news 
9 days ago by rgl7194
In every state, the minimum wage is lower than what residents want, study says - The Washington Post
The United States has one of the lowest minimum wages of the world’s wealthy nations. It may come as no surprise, then, that minimum wage increases are popular with voters: An August 2016 Pew Research Center survey, for instance, found that 58 percent of Americans supported doubling the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15, with 41 percent opposed.
But Republicans in Congress have shown little interest in increasing the minimum wage in recent years. As a result, most minimum wage action now happens at the state level: In 2018 alone, minimum wage increases went into effect in at least 18 states.
But even at the state level, politicians aren’t particularly responsive to what voters want as the minimum wage. That’s been underscored in research published this month in the American Journal of Political Science and showing that in every state in the union, the minimum wage is well below what that state’s residents say they prefer.
gov2.0  politics  state  jobs  minimum_wage  economics 
9 days ago by rgl7194
Bush and the JFK Hit, Part 10: After Camelot - WhoWhatWhy
What possible connection could there have been between George H.W. Bush and the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Or between the C.I.A. and the assassination? Or between Bush and the C.I.A.? For some people, apparently, making such connections was as dangerous as letting one live wire touch another. Here, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination in November, is the tenth and final part of a series of excerpts from WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker’s bestseller, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. The story is a real-life thriller.
Note: Although these excerpts do not contain footnotes, the book itself is heavily footnoted and exhaustively sourced. (The excerpts in Part 10 come from Chapter 7 of the book, and the titles and subtitles have been changed for this publication.)
For Part 1, please go here; Part 2, here; Part 3, here; Part 4, here; Part 5, here; Part 6, here; Part 7, here;  Part 8, here; Part 9, here.
bush  corruption  gov2.0  politics  family  books 
9 days ago by rgl7194
Trump Hasn’t Needed The Wall To Remake U.S. Immigration Policy | FiveThirtyEight
President Trump and congressional Democrats are fighting over how much the U.S. government should spend on Trump’s proposed border wall, risking another government shutdown because of a dispute over immigration policy. However those negotiations turn out, though, here’s the thing: The massive wall, which Trump has said would stretch 1,000 miles across the U.S.-Mexico border, is very unlikely to be built, at least at that size. Mexico is not paying for it, and Congress is unlikely to put up much money for it.
You could call the wall’s meager prospects a major defeat for Trump, but that risks missing the point. The wall is something of an abstraction. Trump, in his two years in office, has already made U.S. policy much, much more resistant to immigration — without Congress agreeing to his wall or really any of his immigration ideas. There is no physical wall, but there are all kinds of new barriers for people who want to come to the United States and for undocumented immigrants who want to stay.
Here’s what we can measure, over the past two years...
trump  gov2.0  politics  immigration  538 
9 days ago by rgl7194
The Economy Killed Millennials, Not Vice Versa - The Atlantic
The American system has thrown them into debt, depressed their wages, kept them from buying homes—and then blamed them for everything.
When a staid American institution is declared dead, the news media like to haul the same usual suspect before the court of public opinion: the Millennial generation.
The 80 million–plus people born in the United States between the early 1980s and the late 1990s stand accused of assassinating various hallmarks of modern life. The list of the deceased includes golf, department stores, the McDonald’s McWrap, and canned tuna. Millennials tore up napkins, threw out mayonnaise, and mercifully disposed of divorce and Applebee’s before graduating to somewhat postmodern crimes: “Have Millennials Killed Serendipity?” With the national murder rate in long-term decline, it may even be said that Millennials are killing killing.
gov2.0  politics  education  economics  finances  millennials 
10 days ago by rgl7194
Without an Obamacare penalty, many are planning to drop health plans. The consequences could be dire - Los Angeles Times
Dana Farrell’s car insurance is due. So is her homeowner’s insurance — plus her property taxes. It’s also time to re-up her health coverage. But that’s where Farrell, a 54-year-old former social worker, is drawing the line.
“I’ve been retired two years and my savings is gone. I’m at my wit’s end,” said the Murrieta resident. So Farrell plans — reluctantly — to drop her health coverage next year because the Affordable Care Act tax penalty for not having insurance is going away.
gov2.0  politics  obamacare  health  insurance 
10 days ago by rgl7194
Mueller's breadcrumbs suggest he has the goods - Axios
Everyone's waiting for the "Mueller Report." But it turns out that special counsel Robert Mueller is writing a "report" in real time, before our eyes, through his cinematic indictments and plea agreements, Garrett M. Graff reports for Axios.
The big picture: One of the least-noticed elements of the special counsel's approach is that all along, he has been making his case bit by bit, in public, since his very first court filing. With his major court filings so far, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the "Mueller Report." And there are still lots of loose ends in those documents — breadcrumbs Mueller is apparently leaving for later.
Perhaps the best example is Mueller's oddly specific reference to the Russian hackers targeting Hillary Clinton "for the first time" after candidate Trump's still-unexplained "Russia, if you're listening" comment on July 27, 2016.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Who Is Michael Cohen? - WhoWhatWhy
President Donald Trump’s former in-house legal bulldog and top aide Michael Cohen has been on a rollercoaster ride the past couple of years. He started out by aggressively defending Trump, pumping his chest, and trying to clean up — or cover-up — the messes left by his former boss. Then he abruptly reversed himself in almost every respect, throwing himself at the mercy of prosecutors, even calling his old boss to task and saying he was voting Democratic in the last election.
On Thursday, he pled guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s real estate deals with Russia.
Of the hundreds of stories on Cohen from the major media, though, we have yet to see anyone really look at Cohen himself — how he came to Trump’s attention, why Trump hired him, what he did for Trump, and Cohen’s own murky ties to the former Soviet Union.
WhoWhatWhy did take such a look. Here’s our original piece — as relevant as ever in the ongoing effort to understand the relationship between Trump and Russia.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Deutsche Bank, Trump, and Russia: A WhoWhatWhy Primer - WhoWhatWhy
Early Thursday morning German authorities raided the global powerhouse Deutsche Bank in relation to a money laundering investigation. The raid was reportedly spurred by information garnered from the Panama Papers — the 2015 document leak that revealed how wealthy international figures hide their riches via offshore bank accounts and shady shell companies. The new House Democratic leadership may also investigate.
At WhoWhatWhy, we’ve been watching Deutsche for quite a while — particularly its activities in the United States, its involvement with Russia, and its ties to Donald Trump.  
Here’s our Deutsche primer...
banking  crime  gov2.0  money  oligarchs  politics  russia  taxes  trump  corruption 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Jill Stein’s Legal Victory Helps Pull PA Out of Election Integrity Dark Ages - WhoWhatWhy
Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has forced Pennsylvania to take a big step toward more transparent and accountable elections.
Following the 2016 election, Stein sued the state over its use of paperless voting machines. This week, the two parties reached a settlement that will ensure that all voters will use paper ballots in 2020.
“I think it’s a major victory for Pennsylvania voters and a major step forward for election integrity in the country,” counsel for the plaintiffs Ilann M. Maazel of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP told WhoWhatWhy.
state  politics  voting  election  gov2.0  legal  technology 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Canada led joint G7 statement condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine, Freeland says - The Globe and Mail
Canada has spearheaded a G7 foreign-ministers’ statement that condemns Russian aggression in Ukraine and urges the release of detained sailors, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says.
The joint communiqué says the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the high representative of the European Union, are concerned about Russia’s actions against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait and surrounding waters. On Sunday the Russian coast guard opened fire and seized three Ukrainian vessels, including their crews.
The foreign ministers urge restraint, respect for international law and no further escalation.
canada  foreign_relations  freeland  gov2.0  politics  ukraine  russia  war 
13 days ago by rgl7194
How Chrystia Freeland, Canada's feminist foreign minister, cut a trade deal with Trump - The Washington Post
OTTAWA —  For more than a year of North American trade talks, Canada’s foreign minister faced off with a president and a White House that seemed willing to say or do anything to get a better deal.  
President Trump threatened the “ruination” of Canada’s economy through auto tariffs. He slapped levies on steel and aluminum. He spewed hate over Twitter at the Canadian team.  
With her country’s economy on the line, Chrystia Freeland stood her ground in the talks and showed restraint, sticking to Canadian talking points and only occasionally launching into a defense of the “rules-based international order.”
Her handling of the deal, which will be signed Friday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, earned her the respect of many but drew ire from Trump himself.  
canada  foreign_relations  freeland  gov2.0  politics  trump 
13 days ago by rgl7194
Trump’s inner circle has always been a cesspool - The Washington Post
President Trump recently tweeted: “Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?”
It is usually a bad idea to raise a rhetorical question when the answer is both obvious and unfavorable. In the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, there are at least three offenses that could lead to indictment or impeachment. There is obstruction of justice — which Trump seems to attempt persistently, publicly and shamelessly. There is possible financial corruption concerning Russia on the part of Trump and the imperial family — about which the recent plea deal with Michael Cohen hints. This is likely to be interesting reading in Mueller’s report. And there is the initial matter of collusion with a hostile foreign power to influence a presidential election. This is hardly a fanciful charge, given that Trump, while a candidate, publicly invited Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails as a way to influence a presidential election.
trump  gov2.0  politics  corruption 
13 days ago by rgl7194
Trump adviser sought WikiLeaks emails via Farage ally, Mueller document alleges | US news | The Guardian
Ted Malloch was allegedly passed request to get advanced copies of emails stolen from Trump’s opponents by Russian hackers
An ally of Nigel Farage was asked to obtain secret information from WikiLeaks for Donald Trump’s team during the 2016 election campaign, according to US investigators.
Ted Malloch, a London-based academic close to Farage, was allegedly passed a request from a longtime Trump adviser to get advance copies of emails stolen from Trump’s opponents by Russian hackers and later published by WikiLeaks.
The allegation emerged in a draft legal document drawn up by Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any collusion with Trump’s campaign team.
In response to a series of questions from the Guardian, including whether he had acted on the request to make contact with WikiLeaks, Malloch said in an email: “No and no comment.”
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  uk  wikileaks 
13 days ago by rgl7194
The House Intelligence Committee Will Investigate Trump’s Company’s Plan To Give Putin A $50 Million Penthouse
Democratic members said they will look into the plan, reported by BuzzFeed News, when they assume control of the committee in January.
A plan by Donald Trump’s company to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse will be in the crosshairs of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats take control of it in the new year, several members said. The plan, hatched during the 2016 election and involving the proposed but never realized Trump Tower Moscow, was reported Thursday by BuzzFeed News.
“If true, this story further underscores the need to finish the Committee’s counterintelligence investigation to determine what, if any, financial leverage the Russians may hold over President Trump and the Trump Organization, and what Trump may have hoped to gain by any financial offer to Putin,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News Thursday evening.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  congress 
13 days ago by rgl7194
The Trump Organization Planned To Give Vladimir Putin The $50 Million Penthouse In Trump Tower Moscow
During the presidential campaign, Michael Cohen discussed the matter with a representative of Putin’s press secretary, according to two US sources.
President Donald Trump’s company planned to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 campaign, according to four people, one of them the originator of the plan.
Two US law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed News that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, discussed the idea with a representative of Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
13 days ago by rgl7194
Former Trump Aide Michael Cohen Admits Lying to Congress - The Atlantic
The president’s former personal lawyer admitted lying to Congress about efforts in 2016 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
In a Manhattan federal court on Thursday, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timing of his negotiations to build a Trump Tower Moscow in 2016, and about how often he discussed the deal with Trump during the campaign. The guilty plea is the first Mueller has secured that is related directly to Trump’s business dealings—and may be just the tip of the iceberg in the ongoing investigation of business deals involving the Trump Organization and Russian financiers, inside and outside the Kremlin.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
13 days ago by rgl7194
Mueller and Michael Cohen Bring Trump-Russia Link Into the Open - Bloomberg
A new Mueller court filing describes how Michael Cohen negotiated with the Kremlin about a Moscow business deal during the 2016 campaign.
The key revelation of Michael Cohen’s new guilty plea is this: Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller is one step closer to showing links between Donald Trump’s business interests in Russia and his conduct as a candidate for president.
The criminal information filed by Mueller’s prosecutors in the Southern District of New York states that in a period that lasted until the middle of June 2016, Cohen asked the press secretary to Russian President Vladimir Putin for a meeting with Putin in Russia as part of a deal that would have led to a Trump Tower being built in Moscow.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
13 days ago by rgl7194
Cohen believed Trump would pardon him, but then things changed - CNNPolitics
Washington (CNN)Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of the President in discussions with federal prosecutors, according to two sources.
After a March 2018 visit to Mar-a-Lago, the President's private club in Florida, Cohen returned to New York believing that his former boss would protect him if he faced any charges for sticking to his story about the 2016 payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, according to one source with knowledge. Trump was also at Mar-a-Lago at the time of Cohen's visit.
Another source said that after the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen's office and home, people close to the President assured Cohen that Trump would take care of him. And Cohen believed that meant that the President would offer him a pardon if he stayed on message. It is unclear who specifically reached out to Cohen.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
15 days ago by rgl7194
The Untold Story of Robert Mueller's Time in the Vietnam War | WIRED
ONE DAY IN the summer of 1969, a young Marine lieutenant named Bob Mueller arrived in Hawaii for a rendezvous with his wife, Ann. She was flying in from the East Coast with the couple’s infant daughter, Cynthia, a child Mueller had never met. Mueller had taken a plane from Vietnam.
AFTER NINE MONTHS at war, he was finally due for a few short days of R&R outside the battle zone. Mueller had seen intense combat since he last said goodbye to his wife. He’d received the Bronze Star with a distinction for valor for his actions in one battle, and he’d been airlifted out of the jungle during another firefight after being shot in the thigh. He and Ann had spoken only twice since he’d left for South Vietnam.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
15 days ago by rgl7194
Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Says Manafort 'Often' Shared Mueller Questions: Report
Rudy Giuliani said Paul Manafort’s legal team gave President Donald Trump’s legal team regular briefings about the questions special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators were asking.
Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, told The New York Times that these briefings, authorized by Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, gave them valuable insights into the Mueller investigation that could contribute to the defense strategy.
One particular focus of Mueller’s questions, Giuliani told the Times, is if the president knew in advance about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior members of his campaign and a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin, as well as other Russians. Dirt on Hillary Clinton was allegedly promised before the meeting.
Trump denies any knowledge of that meeting—attended by, among others, the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Manafort—before it took place. "Mueller] wants Manafort to incriminate Trump," Giuliani said.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
16 days ago by rgl7194
Michael Cohen Is The 33rd Person Mueller Has Charged — And Could Be Among The Most Important | FiveThirtyEight
After a quiet period, there was a potential blockbuster development in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign this morning, when the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made a surprise appearance in a Manhattan courtroom to plead guilty to making false statements to Congress.
According to the formal charging document, Cohen lied about a Trump real-estate deal in Russia — specifically, the “Trump Tower Moscow” project. This doesn’t prove that members of Trump’s 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia. But according to the document, discussions of the Trump Tower Moscow project went on for longer than Cohen had previously indicated, and Trump was aware of the discussions. According to Cohen’s plea deal, he is cooperating with the special counsel investigation.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  538 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Michael Cohen pleads guilty, says he lied about Trump's knowledge of Moscow project - CNNPolitics
(CNN)President Donald Trump spoke with Michael Cohen more extensively about the proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow than Cohen previously told Congress, Cohen admitted in federal court Thursday.
Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, pleaded guilty Thursday to making false statements to Congress about the Russia investigation in a charge brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cohen had previously said talks about the Moscow project had ended in January 2016 just prior to the Iowa caucuses.
The Cohen revelations are potentially significant because they appear to show that Trump was engaged in business dealings with Russia in the midst of a campaign in which Moscow interfered to help elect him.
It could also intersect with other information that Mueller knows to create political and legal jeopardy for the President.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Michael Cohen Admits Talks for Trump Over Moscow Tower Occurred Well Into Campaign - The New York Times
Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, admitted in court on Thursday that he had engaged in negotiations to build a tower in Moscow for Mr. Trump well into the 2016 presidential campaign, far later than previously known.
Mr. Cohen said he discussed the status of the project with Mr. Trump on more than three occasions and briefed Mr. Trump’s family members about it. He also admitted he agreed to travel to Russia for meetings on the project.
The revelations, which came as Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, were a startling turn in the special counsel’s investigation of Mr. Trump and his inner circle.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  nytimes  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Obama Says Trump Doesn't Belong in the Oval Office - The Atlantic
At an appearance in Houston on Tuesday, the former president had no trouble explaining a reference to Trump as Voldemort.
How do you say you’re against everything—or even just most—of what Donald Trump stands for, and not get sucked into a constant nyah-nyah race to the bottom of just being anti-Trump? People across politics have been trying to figure that out, looking for how to resist a president chipping away at America’s core without having their words reduced to a zinger tweet or monster truck rally headline.
This is an issue for the Democrats gearing up to run for president who insist that their campaigns can’t just be about Trump, and for the few Republican critics left in Washington who want to have a debate outside of a Twitter feed.
But no one’s grappling with it quite like Barack Obama.
obama  politics  trump  gov2.0  interview  harry_potter 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Two key answers from Trump to Mueller - CNNPolitics
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
One source described the President's answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection.
This is the first insight into how the President responded to the Mueller team's written questions -- a key unknown as Mueller aims to wrap up his investigation and prepare his final report.
mueller  conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Manafort’s Lawyer Said to Brief Trump Attorneys on What He Told Mueller - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A lawyer for Paul Manafort, the president’s onetime campaign chairman, repeatedly briefed President Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators after Mr. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, according to one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and two other people familiar with the conversations.
The arrangement was highly unusual and inflamed tensions with the special counsel’s office when prosecutors discovered it after Mr. Manafort began cooperating two months ago, the people said. Some legal experts speculated that it was a bid by Mr. Manafort for a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in hopes of a lighter sentence.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  gov2.0  legal  mueller  nytimes  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe. - The New York Times
A decade ago, the U.S. mandated the use of vegetable oil in biofuels, leading to industrial-scale deforestation — and a huge spike in carbon emissions.
This article is a partnership between ProPublica, where Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior reporter, and The New York Times Magazine.
The fields outside Kotawaringin village in Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, looked as if they had just been cleared by armies. None of the old growth remained — only charred stumps poking up from murky, dark pools of water. In places, smoke still curled from land that days ago had been covered with lush jungle. Villagers had burned it all down, clearing the way for a lucrative crop whose cultivation now dominates the entire island: the oil-palm tree.
The dirt road was ruler straight, but deep holes and errant boulders tossed our tiny Toyota back and forth. Trucks coughed out black smoke, their beds brimming over with seven-ton loads of palm fruit rocking back and forth on tires as tall as people. Clear-cut expanses soon gave way to a uniform crop of oil-palm groves: orderly trees, a sign that we had crossed into an industrial palm plantation. Oil-palm trees look like the coconut-palm trees you see on postcards from Florida — they grow to more than 60 feet tall and flourish on the peaty wetland soil common in lowland tropics. But they are significantly more valuable. Every two weeks or so, each tree produces a 50-pound bunch of walnut-size fruit, bursting with a red, viscous oil that is more versatile than almost any other plant-based oil of its kind. Indonesia is rich in timber and coal, but palm oil is its biggest export. Around the world, the oil from its meat andseeds has long been an indispensable ingredient in everything from soap to ice cream. But it has now become a key ingredient of something else: biodiesel, fuel for diesel engines that has been wholly or partly made from vegetable oil.
gov2.0  politics  pollution  climate_change  energy  nytimes 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Russia-Ukraine Fight Over Narrow Sea Passage Risks Wider War - The New York Times
MOSCOW — Ukraine’s president put his nation on a war footing with Russia on Monday, as tensions over a shared waterway escalated into a crisis that dragged in NATO and the United Nations.
Russia’s seizure a day earlier of three small Ukrainian naval vessels and 23 sailors — including at least three wounded in a shooting by the Russian side — was the first overt armed conflict between the two sides since the beginning days of the conflict in 2014, when Russian special forces occupied Crimea.
The opening of an additional front at sea, even if Ukraine lacks a real navy, introduced an unstable element into what had been a shadowy war. The conflict pitting Ukrainian soldiers against Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway Donbas region, in eastern Ukraine, has sputtered along for almost five years with more than 10,000 people killed.
gov2.0  navy  politics  russia  ukraine  war  nytimes 
17 days ago by rgl7194
NASA’s InSight Mission Has Touched Down on Mars to Study the Red Planet’s Deep Secrets - The New York Times
In the months ahead, the spacecraft will begin its study of the Martian underworld, listening for marsquakes and seeking clues about the dusty world’s formation.
The InSight lander, NASA’s latest foray to the red planet, has landed.
Cheers erupted on Monday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., which operates the spacecraft, when InSight sent back acknowledgment of its safe arrival on Mars. That was the end of a journey of more than six months and 300 million miles.
As InSight descended and each milestone of the landing process was called out, “the hairs on the back of my neck would start rising a little bit higher, a little bit higher,” Tom Hoffman, the project manager for the mission, said at a news conference after the landing. “And then when we finally got the confirmation of touchdown, it was completely amazing. The whole room went crazy. My inner four-year-old came out.”
space  travel  gov2.0  mars  photography  nytimes 
17 days ago by rgl7194
The Mother Caught In A Photo Fleeing Tear Gas Thought She Might Die
“I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled.”
TIJUANA, Mexico — The woman running with her two daughters in front of tear gas in the widely published photo from Sunday’s confrontation at the border between some members of the caravan and US border authorities feels like crying when she looks at the image.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Maria Meza, 39, of Honduras said she was standing by the border fence with her five children when Border Patrol agents fired at least three tear gas canisters at them.
“I felt sad, I was scared. I wanted to cry. That’s when I grabbed my daughters and ran,” Meza told BuzzFeed News. “I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled.”
The photo, taken by Kim Kyung-Hoon of Reuters, shows the single mother running from the gas in the Tijuana River bed, clutching her twin daughters’ arms.
gov2.0  immigration  mexico  photography  politics  trump  news  family 
17 days ago by rgl7194
U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.
The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.
climate_change  environment  gov2.0  politics  pollution  report  science  weather  nytimes 
17 days ago by rgl7194
What it was like to ‘watch’ NASA’s InSight land on Mars with the people who operate the spacecraft - The Verge
Hanging out at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Just before noon on Monday, every person in the Theodore von Kármán Auditorium at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California sat on the cusps of their seats. They stared straight ahead at a video screen showing a live view from inside JPL’s mission control center. On-screen, rows of engineers also sat entranced, transfixed by their computer consoles as a flight controller announced altitude measurements over an intercom.
“Altitude 400 meters. 300 meters. 200 meters. 80 meters. 60 meters.”
And then, a few moments later, the final call: “Touchdown confirmed.”
space  travel  gov2.0  mars  photography 
17 days ago by rgl7194
NASA’s InSight successfully lands on Mars after ‘seven minutes of terror’ - The Verge
That’s eight Mars landings and counting for NASA
NASA’s latest Mars lander, InSight, successfully touched down on the surface of the Red Planet this afternoon, surviving an intense plunge through the Martian atmosphere. It marks the eighth picture-perfect landing on Mars for NASA, adding to the space agency’s impressive track record of putting spacecraft on the planet. And now, InSight’s two-year mission has begun, one that entails listening for Marsquakes to learn about the world’s interior.
IT MARKS THE EIGHTH PICTURE-PERFECT LANDING ON MARS FOR NASA
After six and a half months of traveling through space, InSight hit the top of Mars’ atmosphere a little before 3PM ET. It then made a daring descent to the surface, performing a complex multistep routine that slowed the lander from more than 12,000 miles per hour to just 5 miles per hour before it hit the ground. To get to the surface safely, InSight had to autonomously deploy a supersonic parachute, gather radar measurements, and ignite its thrusters all at the right time. Altogether, the landing took just under seven minutes to complete, prompting the nickname “seven minutes of terror.”
space  travel  gov2.0  mars  photography 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Home - America's Concentration Crisis
Monopoly power is all around us: as consumers, business owners, employees, entrepreneurs, and citizens. When we purchase everything from washing machines to groceries, website domains to medical supplies, and even when we select a coffin for a recently deceased loved one, we are constrained by the small set of actors who increasingly control America’s commerce.
Due to extreme concentrations of wealth and political power, our country is experiencing severe economic inequality, stagnant household income, the collapse of business formation and innovation, and historic levels of political polarization. This report shows that such concentration is not unique to one or two economic sectors. It is persistent across a diverse range of industries. And it is often even more extreme in a regional, rather than national, context.
business  monopoly  gov2.0  politics  economics  report 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Chaos at the US border in Mexico - The Boston Globe
A peaceful march devolved into unrest when US agents fired tear gas to stop hundreds of migrants attempting to storm a border fence separating Mexico from the United States. Over 5,000 Central American migrants have been camping out at a sports complex in Tijuana.
photography  big_picture  mexico  immigration  gov2.0  politics  trump  foreign_relations 
17 days ago by rgl7194
NASA does it again by landing safely on Mars—something no one else has done | Ars Technica
Red-shirt clad engineers broke into cheers as InSight touched down.
LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif.—Since humans began trying in 1962, only seven lander and rover missions have ever touched down safely on the surface of Mars, phoned home, and prepared to carry out their scientific missions.
On Monday, an eighth mission joined their ranks—NASA's InSight lander. During its descent, the spacecraft experienced up to eight Gs of force. Its heat shield burned away in the thin Martian atmosphere before its parachute deployed to slow it further.
Throughout the spacecraft's descent, two little CubeSats followed its trajectory from orbit and transmitted data for most of the journey. This is the first time CubeSats have gone interplanetary, and they played a critical role in providing real-time data as InSight slowed 20,000 km/hour from the top of the Martian atmosphere down to the surface.
space  travel  gov2.0  mars  photography 
17 days ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 November 27 - InSight's First Image from Mars
Explanation: Welcome to Mars, NASA Insight. Yesterday NASA's robotic spacecraft InSight made a dramatic landing on Mars after a six-month trek across the inner Solar System. Needing to brake from 20,000 km per hour to zero in about seven minutes, Insight decelerated by as much as 8 g's and heated up to 1500 degrees Celsius as it deployed a heat shield, a parachute, and at the end, rockets. The featured image was the first taken by InSight on Mars, and welcome proof that the spacecraft had shed enough speed to land softly and function on the red planet. During its final descent, InSight's rockets kicked up dust which can be seen stuck to the lens cap of the Instrument Context Camera. Past the spotty dirt, parts of the lander that are visible include cover bolts at the bottom and a lander footpad on the lower right. Small rocks are visible across the rusty red soil, while the arc across the top of the image is the Martian horizon dividing land and sky. Over the next few weeks InSight will deploy several scientific instruments, including a rumble-detecting seismometer. These instruments are expected to give humanity unprecedented data involving the interior of Mars, a region thought to harbor formation clues not only about Mars, but Earth.
space  travel  gov2.0  mars  photography  APOD  astronomy 
17 days ago by rgl7194
NASA's InSight Lander Sends Its First Clear Photo From Mars
After a half-year journey covering over 30 million miles, NASA’s InSight lander just touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its mission of studying the red planet’s deep interior. InSight also captured and sent back this first clear photo from the ground, a 1-megapixel selfie.
The photo was captured by InSight’s Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), which is found on the lander’s robotic arm. In the background is Elysium Planitia, a large plain located at the planet’s equator.
space  travel  gov2.0  mars  photography 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Major TV Network Refuses To Air Sarah Sanders Press Briefing, Tired Of The Lies · DC Tribune
Let's hope the rest follow suit!
In what looks like perhaps a new policy altogether for the network, MSNBC elected not to air the White House’s first press briefing in nearly a month — since October 29, before the midterm election — instead showing their normal programming of Velshi & Ruhle, who were discussing the disastrous effects of both Trump’s tariffs and his comments on General Motors, whose stock has taken a dive today after the President’s dizzying reversal of conservative policy regarding private business.
Earlier this month, the cable news powerhouse did the same with a speech from Trump on immigration, although in that instance they merely chose not to air it live. Anchor Nicole Wallace first reviewed the speech and fact-checked it in real time before airing the President’s remarks, which turned out to be not much more than a rant about immigrants in the caravan that the administration used to some effect in the run-up to the November 6 vote.
Lis Power of Media Matters for America tweeted a live shot of four main networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and Fox Business — while the director of Trump’s economic council, Larry Kudlow, was speaking at the presser...
news  gov2.0  politics  trump 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Comey to GOP on Trump tweets: "Why are your heads not exploding now?" - Axios
In an interview with WGBH, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that he is "a little bit numb" to President Trump's continued Twitter threats, but added that if a Democratic president acted the same way, Republicans' "heads would explode."
"I say that slowly because I hope Republicans listen to it and realize that if a Democrat were president and did that, their heads would explode. So my question is, why are your heads not exploding now?"
The big picture: The New York Times reported last week that Trump has privately discussed investigating and prosecuting Comey and Hillary Clinton, two of his most prominent political enemies. Comey has also been subpoenaed by House Republicans who want him to testify privately about his handling of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails. He told WGBH that he "would never just ignore a subpoena," but that he would prefer a public hearing to avoid selective leaking that creates some kind of "false narrative" about alleged FBI bias.
trump  FBI  politics  gov2.0  twitter  interview  congress 
17 days ago by rgl7194
Opinion | Maybe They’re Just Bad People - The New York Times
Not all Trump support is ideological.
Seven years ago, a former aide to Ralph Reed — who also worked, briefly, for Paul Manafort — published a tawdry, shallow memoir that is also one of the more revealing political books I’ve ever read. Lisa Baron was a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, hard-partying Jew who nonetheless made a career advancing the fortunes of the Christian right. She opened her book with an anecdote about performing oral sex on a future member of the George W. Bush administration during the 2000 primary, which, she wrote, “perfectly summed up my groupie-like relationship to politics at that time — I wanted it, I worshiped it, and I went for it.”
It’s not exactly a secret that politics is full of amoral careerists lusting — literally or figuratively — for access to power. Still, if you’re interested in politics because of values and ideas, it can be easier to understand people who have foul ideologies than those who don’t have ideologies at all. Steve Bannon, a quasi-fascist with delusions of grandeur, makes more sense to me than Anthony Scaramucci, a political cipher who likes to be on TV. I don’t think I’m alone. Consider all the energy spent trying to figure out Ivanka Trump’s true beliefs, when she’s shown that what she believes most is that she’s entitled to power and prestige.
nytimes  op-ed  trump  gov2.0  politics 
18 days ago by rgl7194
I was wrong on climate change. Why can’t other conservatives admit it, too? - The Washington Post
I admit it. I used to be a climate-change skeptic. I was one of those conservatives who thought that the science was inconclusive, that fears of global warming were as overblown as fears of a new ice age in the 1970s, that climate change was natural and cyclical, and that there was no need to incur any economic costs to deal with this speculative threat. I no longer think any of that, because the scientific consensus is so clear and convincing.
The Fourth National Climate Assessment, released Friday by the U.S. government, puts it starkly: “Observations collected around the world provide significant, clear, and compelling evidence that global average temperature is much higher, and is rising more rapidly, than anything modern civilization has experienced, with widespread and growing impacts.” The report notes that “annual average temperatures have increased by 1.8°F across the contiguous United States since the beginning of the 20th century” and that “annual median sea level along the U.S. coast . . . has increased by about 9 inches since the early 20th century as oceans have warmed and land ice has melted.”
op-ed  climate_change  politics  gov2.0  GOP 
18 days ago by rgl7194
CNN just brutally trolled Sarah Huckabee Sanders with real-time fact-check of her press conference
The conclusions of the federal government’s latest report on the effect of human-induced climate change and the looming threat of ecological apocalypse are the most urgent yet, but the Trump administration has only responded with derision and disdain.
Human civilization has a little more than a decade left to take drastic action and reduce the release of carbon into the atmosphere before it will be too late and the worst effects of climate change — frequent extreme weather events, substantial rise in sea levels, massive droughts, wildfires, and famines —will be unstoppable.
trump  news  gov2.0  politics  factcheck 
18 days ago by rgl7194
Trump’s Statement on Saudi Arabia, Explained! - The New York Times
The president makes the case for the crown prince: Iran, arms sales and oil.
WASHINGTON — President Trump released an exclamation-point-filled statement on Tuesday about the assassination of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. It took him some time to get to Mr. Khashoggi. But bear with it. The statement is a fascinating journey into the mind of the president. Mr. Trump, when he is not obfuscating, is sometimes startlingly transparent about why he makes decisions.
Here is the president’s statement, as released by the White House, with additional context.
Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia
America First!
The world is a very dangerous place!
Well, indeed it is! But not so dangerous, perhaps, that one should expect to be assassinated in a consulate while going to collect paperwork for a wedding.
trump  politics  gov2.0  conflict_of_interest  middle_east  foreign_relations  nytimes 
18 days ago by rgl7194
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