03/28/18

Lawsuits Against Facebook Growing

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Lauren Price has been on Facebook (FB) for eight years and claims she frequently saw political ads on the social network during the 2016 election. She is suing the companies on behalf of other US Facebook members whose information was also collected by Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked with the Trump campaign.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed Tuesday at the US District Court in San Jose, California. Price is seeking unspecified damages.

This is the first lawsuit brought by a Facebook user over the Cambridge Analytica news, but others are likely to follow. The lawsuit is part of a growing backlash against both companies.

On Tuesday, Facebook (FB) investor Fan Yuan filed a lawsuit against the company in federal court on behalf of other investors. The suit claims Facebook made “misleading statements” and neglected to disclose details about third-party access to data, which caused the company’s stock price to fall significantly.

Price’s complaint adds that the companies have violated the privacy of million of people in the U.S. alone, and that users now have a higher risk of identity theft as a result.

“There’s going to be a lot of litigation flowing from this,” said attorney Jay Edelson of Edelson PC in Chicago. He is not involved with either case, but his firm does plan on filing related lawsuits in the near future.

“The most direct liability is against Cambridge Analytica. We believe they have violated a host of city, state, and federal laws,” said Edelson. “The case against Facebook is less direct. On the surface, many believe that Facebook acted, perhaps, negligently. We believe we will be able to provide more context to how Cambridge Analytica fits Facebook’s overall business model.” More here from CNN.

SAN FRANCISCO

Civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Facebook for enabling housing discrimination.

The housing rights activists, led by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), alleged that Facebook’s ad practices allow landlords and real estate agents to avoid serving housing ads to certain groups of people. The NFHA said landlords are able to avoid showing housing ads to women and families, for example.

“Amid growing public concern in the past weeks that Facebook has mishandled users’ data, our investigation shows that Facebook also allows and even encourages its paid advertisers to discriminate using its vast trove of personal data,” Lisa Rice, NFHA’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Facebook’s use and abuse of user data for discriminatory purposes needs to stop. It is already a challenge for women, families with children, people with disabilities and other under-served groups to find housing.”

Earlier this month, it was revealed that a political consultancy group was able to exploit Facebook user data on behalf of the 2016 presidential campaign for Donald Trump. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg personally apologized, but the social media giant has remained mired in controversy regarding how third parties can access user data.

Shares of Facebook dropped another 4.9 percent Tuesday to close at $152.22. Since the data breach was widely publicized on March 17, the stock has plummeted 18 percent.

The federal lawsuit filed by NFHA alleged that the way Facebook’s ad service is built allows for discrimination when it comes to housing. Landlords can choose not to show ads to certain groups of people based on gender, family status and a series of other qualities.

“Facebook’s platform that excludes these consumers from ever seeing certain ads to rent or buy housing must be changed immediately,” Rice continued.

“Facebook ought to be opening doors to housing opportunities instead of closing them.”

Facebook has not released any comments on the NFHA lawsuit.

03/27/18

Russia And China Outpace US In Hypersonic Weaponry

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Russia and China are outpacing the United States in the development of super-fast missile technology, Pentagon officials and key lawmakers are warning. They are leaving us in the dust on this weaponry and it is a severe threat to national security.

Hypersonic missiles fly into space after launch, but then come down and fly at high speeds on a flight path similar to an airplane. Their lower trajectory makes them more difficult for U.S. missile defense satellites and radars to detect. Russia has openly stated it is developing high-speed air-launched missiles as well as underwater hypersonic drones.

“Right now, we’re helpless,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in advocating for more investment in hypersonics, along with missile defense. Unfortunately, the Air Force just delayed our hypersonic bidding contract once again. Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Boeing (BA), Raytheon (RTN), or Orbital ATK, which is being bought by Northrop, are in the running for a contract to build a hypersonic strike weapon that could be launched from fighters and bombers. The contract initially was supposed to be awarded sometime in federal fiscal Q1, which began in October and ended in December. In December, the Air Force said the contract would be awarded in federal fiscal Q2, which ends on Saturday. Now the Air Force is looking at an award in early spring, said spokeswoman Maj. Emily Grabowski.

Hypersonic weapons travel at five times the speed of sound and have the potential to be the most disruptive battlefield technology since the advent of stealth. While intercontinental ballistic missiles are faster, hypersonic weapons’ combination of speed, range, maneuverability and ability to take unpredictable flight paths make them extremely difficult, if not impossible, to shoot down with today’s technology.

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, described a hypersonic as a missile that starts out “like a ballistic missile, but then it depresses the trajectory and then flies more like a cruise missile or an airplane. So it goes up into the low reaches of space, and then turns immediately back down and then levels out and flies at a very high level of speed.”

Last November, China conducted two tests of a ballistic missile with a hypersonic glide vehicle that U.S. assessments expect to reach initial operating capability around 2020. They have already conducted at least seven tests of experimental systems from 2014 to 2016. And I would not be surprised if the weaponry wasn’t operational far sooner than estimated. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a flashy state of the nation address this month to show off a bunch of new weapons, including a hypersonic missile he claimed was “invincible” against U.S. missile defenses. About a week later, Russia claimed it successfully tested a hypersonic weapon. The intercontinental hypersonic missile, dubbed Avangard, is capable of reaching targets at 20 times the speed of sound and will strike “like a fireball,” Putin said.

At the time of Putin’s announcement, the Pentagon said it was “not surprised” by the report and assured the public that it is “fully prepared” to respond to such a threat. But just last week in front of Congress, Hyten conceded U.S. missile defense cannot stop hypersonics. He said that the U.S. is instead relying on nuclear deterrence, or the threat of a retaliatory U.S. strike, as its defense against such missiles. That goes beyond foolish right into suicidal. “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Hyten is advocating space-based sensors as a defense. “I believe we need to pursue improved sensor capabilities to be able to track, characterize and attribute the threats, wherever they come from,” he said. “And, right now, we have a challenge with that, with our current on-orbit space architecture and the limited number of radars that we have around the world. In order to see those threats, I believe we need a new space sensor architecture.”

Asked if the U.S. is really falling behind Russia and China on hypersonics, Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was very blunt: “Yes.” “And the reason is the U.S. hasn’t been doing anything near the same pace both in terms of developing our own capabilities but also failing to develop sensors and shooters necessary to shoot down theirs,” he continued. Terrestrial sensors are limited in their ability because of the curvature of the earth, Karako said, but “you can’t hide from a robust constellation of space-based sensors.”

Karako pointed out that the last five administrations have all identified space-based sensors as a critical need on paper, but nothing has come to fruition on it. “One of the reasons that we haven’t prioritized the hypersonic threat is we were slow to kind of appreciate not merely the Russia and China problem, but the Russia and China missile problem,” Karako said. And why is that? We’ve all known for a long time that Russia and China are our two top military threats. We also know they have been racing to develop military weaponry, especially high-tech weaponry. So, why haven’t our military tacticians figured out the hypersonic missile threat posed by these two communist regimes? In a word, Barack Obama.

The Trump administration is reversing some of this, but we are far, far behind. The National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review focus on a “great power competition” with Russia and China. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, likewise cited them as helping the U.S. get back on track in the area of hypersonics. “I think we are aware of the capabilities that our adversaries have, and … whether it’s the Nuclear Posture Review, National Defense Strategy, these are all laid out because of the identification of the threats we have,” she said.

In addition to the nuclear review, Pentagon officials have been touting budget proposals that would put more money toward hypersonics and missile defense that they say will help close the gap with Russia and China. Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there’s $42 million in the fiscal year 2019 budget for the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency to work on a prototype for space-based sensors. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, meanwhile, told the House Armed Services Committee last week her fiscal 2019 budget includes $258 million for hypersonics. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Director Steven Walker touted his $256.7 million fiscal 2019 budget for hypersonic missile development as well.

Inhofe said he’s most worried about the missile defense issue, adding there “appears to be no defense” against hypersonics. To him, the answer is reversing defense budget cuts, which Congress has taken steps to do in a two-year budget deal and a recently passed appropriations bill for fiscal 2018. “We need to make up the losses that we had during the Obama administration by putting a priority, which we are doing now, on the military,” he said. Let’s just hope we catch up in time before our enemies use hypersonic weapons against the U.S.

03/27/18

Ironic: Al Sharpton’s Half-Brother Charged In Shooting Murder After Marching Against Guns

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Rev. Al Shapton’s half-brother Kenneth Glasgow of Dothan, AL, was charged in a murder Sunday after his group participated in the anti-gun March For Our Lives rally Saturday.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is in the news again and this time it’s not for being a radical racial agitator and Marxist. His half-brother, Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, who is also an activist, had just finished marching in the anti-gun “March For Our Lives” rally when he was arrested and charged in a shooting death in Dothan, Alabama.

According to police, Glasgow was the driver in a car that is linked to the murder of 23 year-old Breunia Jennings of Dothan by passenger Jamie Townes, 26. Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish said that Glasgow and Townes allegedly searched for Jennings, who they believe had stolen Townes’ car. When they found her, Townes allegedly shot Jennings as she drove, hitting her in the head. She died some time later. “Instead of him notifying law enforcement, he took matters in his own hands and jumped in Mr. Glasgow’s vehicle to find Breunia Jennings,” said Parrish, according to a report in the Dothan Eagle.

Police do not believe that Glasgow, 52, pulled the trigger. But under Alabama’s complicity statute – their aiding and abetting law – he is culpable for the murder. Dothan is about 110 miles south of Montgomery, AL. Authorities said several people are believed to have been in the car at the time and additional arrests may occur.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, is seen with Kenneth Glasgow, as they deliver holiday meals on Thanksgiving Day in 2006 in Dothan, Ala. (AP/Rick Helmke)

Sharpton and Glasgow have been activists on numerous projects together. Glasgow is an ex-convict. He started a ministry in Alabama called The Ordinary People Society. He has been campaigning for restoring the voting rights of convicts, something that Van Jones is promoting as well. His group participated in the Saturday anti-gun march in Dothan. “The shooting occurred late Sunday night. I do not know where he was prior to the incident. It has been reported by several local outlets that he attended a similar event on Saturday,” said a police spokesman.

In an appearance in court, Glasgow repeatedly questioned the capital murder charge against him, The Dothan Eagle reported. “I don’t know why I am facing capital murder charges,” Glasgow stated. “I’m not responsible for what someone else does. He just asked me for a ride to take him to look for his car.” He was advised to not speak until his attorney is present and that he is not eligible for bail due to the seriousness of the crime. Glsgow is set to appear again in court on April 6th, when a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to send the charge to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Back in 2013, Glasgow and Sharpton protested the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida together. Glasgow is also a protester against police violence and most likely a member of Black Lives Matter. His website shows a picture of him with 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. The website claims his group, “provides a continuum of unconditional acceptance and care to individuals and their families who suffer the effects of drug addiction, mass-incarceration, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, hunger and illness-without regard to race, sex, creed, color, religion or social status.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton is known for corruption and race-baiting. He also wholeheartedly supports communists and thugs. It looks like it runs in the family. Glasgow is about to find out that ignorance of the law is not a defense in the state of Alabama.

03/27/18

WATCH: #MarchForOurLives Chant Words Written by Marxist Cop Killer Assata Shakur (Video)

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

“Grassroots” March for Our Lives Rally featured Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande, among others.

Participants of the highly polished, incredibly well-funded #MarchForOurLives protest chanted words written by a Marxist cop killer: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win! We must love each other and support each other! We have nothing to lose but our chains!”

In the early 1970’s, Assata Shakur (born Joanne D. Chesimard) was a member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a Marxist Black separatist group who murdered 16 police officers across America over the course of a decade.

Murdered 16 police officers.

With Guns.

New Jersey state troopers Werner Foerster and James Harper pulled over a white Pontiac on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick for a broken tail light on May 2, 1973. The officers were met with Marxist Black Liberation Army (BLA) members Joanne D. Chesimard (Assata Shakur), Clark Squire (Sundiata Acoli), and James F. Costan (Zayd Malik Shakur). After a shoot-out, BLA thug James F. Costan and Trooper Foerster were dead and Trooper Harper was gravely injured.

Rally Attendees

At the time of Chesimard’s arrest for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973, She was “also under indictment for bank robberies in the Bronx and Queens and for a hand‐grenade attack on a police car,” as reported at the New York Times. Chesimard was also wanted at the time for questioning in the murder of Patrolmen Rocco Laurie and Gregory Foster in the East Village on Jan. 27, 1972.

Troopers carry the body of Werner Foerster during his 1973 funeral.

Assata Shakur, step-aunt of slain communist rapper Tupac Shakur, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she lives today. There is a 2 million dollar reward for her capture.

But Shakur, much like terrorist killer Rasmea Odeh, is a hero to the radical left. It is likely that the rally attendees do not know, or know and don’t care, that they are chanting for their own tyranny.

03/27/18

Egypt’s election: All votes will go to Al-Sisi

By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts

Sisi vs Al Sis

Low turn-out at the polls would bring embarrassment to the president, so every effort is being made to get people out to vote

Egypt is holding its presidential election now through March 28. President Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi is running for re-election after four years of his first term. There is one opposing candidate from the Tomorrow Party who has vowed to cast his vote for the president and encourages all Egyptians to do the same.

The ballots will be counted by the Election Commission as usual with the political parties in observance. The president is an independent candidate of the military without a political party. However, the military will be absent from the process because constitutionally it cannot be a part of civilian elections.

With the outcome already determined, Egyptians view the election as a comedic performance mainly because it is too painful to take seriously. Any real opposition candidates to the president have been orchestrated out of the process by the Al-Sisi government in the past months. (See my article entitled: Egypt: Al-Sisi’s pre-election maneuvers guarantee his March victory).

State-sponsored media rave about the popularity of Al-Sisi and show pictures of Egyptians endorsing him with his campaign slogan of “build it.” But certain facts belie such reports. For instance, the media is pressuring the electorate to go out and vote by stressing it as the sacred duty of every citizen. Guilt infliction would not be necessary if a highly popular, reformist incumbent were running.

Christian clergy and Muslim Imams are threatening the populace with the fate of hell for those who do not go to the voting polls while the courts threaten non-voters with monetary fines. State employees are told by their managers that they will receive punishments for misconduct if they are absent from the performance of their electoral duty.

Meanwhile, Orthodox churches in the Egyptian diaspora around the world are arranging buses to haul church-goers to offices of the Egyptian Consulate to cast their vote for Al-Sisi. This follows the directive of Pope Tawadros II, an advocate of the president, when last week he announced plainly that, “It is the obligation and duty of every person to vote.” Low turn-out at the polls would bring embarrassment to the president and must be avoided at all cost.

Complacency is being combated by the state, church and mosque, but the anger boiling underneath the surface of the ersatz conformity is an even bigger threat to Al-Sisi and can’t be dealt with as easily by the regime whose appearance must remain “democratic.” Calling the election a farce, the Civil Democratic Movement has risen up to boycott it. Analysts are citing it as the object of the president’s anger and the reason for the regime’s pressure upon voters across the country.

Anger in general toward Al-Sisi’s failed record is what led the regime in the first place to eliminate risk by clearing the ballot of opposition. The other candidates presumably represented forces so insidious to the country and the welfare of the citizenry that Al-Sisi waited until they threatened his position as president to deal with their lurking presence.

Moreover, his failure to float ideas to fix the country’s infrastructure problems, inflation and poverty has been accompanied by a rise in police state tactics such as “aurora” visits to contrarians and jail for speaking freely and critically. Considering this in the light of the president’s promises of democratic reforms and talk of human rights, Egyptians are left with cognitive dissonance. Orthodox Copts have solved this problem by accepting Al-Sisi as a ruler who “means well” in light of terror atrocities, brute police force, rigged courts and rubble in place of churches. Political relativism helps this along.

Are the Copts correct in agreeing with Al-Sisi that any other option rising in the political arena would be much too risky and threatening to Egypt’s long history of military rule? Military rule is all Egyptians know. Another military man as president would be pointless and, if less endearing, might prove disruptive to the stability of a people who need to manage daily life under massive corruption and civil decay.

03/26/18

Trump and Allies Expel Russian Diplomats/Operatives

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

President Donald Trump ordered 60 Russian diplomats the U.S. considers spies to leave the country and closed Russia’s consulate in Seattle. The closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle due to its proximity to one of our submarine bases and Boeing.” The U.S. officials said more than 100 Russian intelligence agents work under cover as diplomats in the U.S. and described the number as unacceptable. They said the U.S. could take further action in the future. The 60 people expelled from the U.S. include 48 attached to the Russian embassy and 12 at the country’s mission to the United Nations. They have seven days to leave the country, the officials said. More here.

Russian Consulate, Seattle

London (CNN)It’s the biggest collective expulsion of alleged Russian intelligence officers in history, according to British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Diplomats are being kicked out of at least 21 countries — 16 European Union states, the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Norway and Albania — in a coordinated effort that represents a significant diplomatic victory for the UK, which blames Russia for poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

The UK has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow retaliated by sending the same number of UK diplomats back, and by shuttering British cultural institutions in the country.

Here’s what each country is doing: 

European Union nations

Croatia: Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said Croatia will expel one diplomat.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic will expel three diplomats, Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky announced a press conference. The Czech Foreign Ministry tweeted that it declared the diplomats “personae non gratae.”

The UK had already expelled 23 Russian diplomats. People were seen hugging at the Russian Embassy in London on March 20.

Denmark: The Foreign Ministry announced two diplomats would be expelled. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain and clearly say no to Russia at a time when Russia is also in threatening and seeking to undermine Western values and the rule-based international order in other areas,” Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said.

Estonia: Estonia Foreign Ministry told CNN one Russian diplomat, a Russian defense attaché, will be expelled.

Finland: Finland will expel one diplomat, the Foreign Ministry said.

France: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the expulsion of four diplomats, who must leave the country within a week. He said that the decision followed the European Council’s conclusions that the attack “posed a serious threat to our collective security” and that France was acting “in solidarity with our British partners.”

Germany: The German Foreign Ministry said Monday it would expel four diplomats. “In close coordination within the European Union and with NATO allies, the Federal Government has decided to ask four Russian diplomats to leave Germany within seven days. The request was sent to the Russian Embassy today,” the ministry said in a statement.

Hungary: The Foreign Ministry said Hungary would expel one diplomat over “what has been discussed at the European Council meeting,” adding that the diplomat was “also conducting intelligence activities.”

Italy: The Italian Foreign Ministry says it will expel two Russian diplomats from the embassy in Rome “as a sign of solidarity with the United Kingdom and in coordination with the European partners and NATO.”

Latvia: The Foreign Ministry told CNN it would expel one diplomat and one private citizen who runs the office of a Russian company in the capital, Riga.

Lithuania: Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Twitter the country would expel three diplomats “in solidarity with the UK over #SalisburyAttack.” Lithuania would also sanction an additional 21 individuals and ban 23 more from entering the country.

Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the expulsion of two diplomats, saying the use of chemical weapons was unacceptable.

Poland: Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would expel four diplomats and said the attack showed how “a similar immediate threat to the territory and citizens of EU and NATO member states can happen anywhere.”

Romania: Romania’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that one diplomat would be expelled.

Spain: The Foreign Ministry said Spain will expel two diplomats. “From the outset, we have considered the nerve agent attack in Salisbury to be an extremely serious development that represents a significant threat to our collective security and to international law,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Sweden: The Foreign Ministry told CNN it will expel one diplomat.

Non-EU countries

Albania: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN it will expel two Russian diplomats. In a statement, the ministry said called each diplomat a “persona non grata” and said the pair’s activities were “not compliant to their diplomatic status.”

Canada: Ottawa said it was expelling four Russian diplomats alleged to be intelligence officers “or individuals who have used their diplomatic status to undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.” Additionally it was refusing three applications by Moscow for additional diplomatic staff. “The nerve agent attack represents a clear threat to the rules-based international order and to the rules that were established by the international community to ensure chemical weapons would never again destroy human lives,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Norway: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN it would expel one Russian diplomat in response to the attack. “The use of a nerve agent in Salisbury is a very serious matter,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement. “Such an incident must have consequences.”

Ukraine: President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine, which has experienced years of hostility from Russia, including the annexation of Crimea, would expel 13 diplomats. “Russia has again reconfirmed its disdainful attitude to the sovereignty of independent states and the value of human life.”

United States: The White House said it was expelling 60 Russian diplomats identified as intelligence agents and also announced the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. It represents the most forceful action Trump has taken against Russia to date. Of those being expelled, 48 of the alleged intelligence agents work at the Russian embassy in Washington and 12 are posted at the United Nations in New York, senior administration officials said.

03/26/18

Congress Calls for Hearing with Facebook, Twitter and Google

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

While Cambridge Analytica has a proven shady history as noted below, Facebook has already admitted guilt and offered apologies when it comes to safeguarding private user information and interactions. So, when it comes to social media Facebook, Google and Twitter hold the power. Instagram and SnapChat are quite popular but do not hold the volume of data in comparison.

Now the FTC comes knocking at the door of Facebook.

***

The stuff you share and the inferences Facebook makes about you are packaged together with similar people’s data, stripped of names and sold to companies. That allows businesses to put ads in front of people they’re certain they can influence.

On Facebook, you are the product. Advertisers are the customer.

Facebook’s not alone. Most advertiser-supported networks sell some of your information to third parties. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Amazon, Twitter and Yelp do the same.

Giving up our privacy is the price we pay for getting to use Facebook for free. Most of the time, that tradeoff works: People take advantage of free services by posting, searching and sharing. Most companies that collect our data use it for legitimate purposes and within the bounds that companies like Facebook permit.

That arrangement has turned Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) into online advertising juggernauts. They have built massive audiences of billions of customers, and advertisers flock to them. Facebook and Google control three-quarters of the $83 billion digital advertising market in the United States, according to eMarketer.

But the customer-is-the-product deal doesn’t always work to the user’s advantage. This weekend, the public learned data company Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed 50 million Facebook users’ personal information to influence the 2016 election.

Internet companies have a financial disincentive to give users more control over their data. If people share less, social networks will earn less money. More here.

In part from Bloomberg:

Fake News

Bell Pottinger’s tactics included producing phony television news reports as well as fake terrorist propaganda videos containing computer code that allowed Western intelligence agencies to track anyone who watched, according to a 2016 report from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit reporting organization.

The man who awarded Turnbull’s Bell Pottinger unit its first Iraq contract was Ian Tunnicliffe, then a British colonel who was running strategic communications for the U.K. defense ministry. Tunnicliffe, now retired, has been a member of SCL’s advisory board. He didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

SCL also stoked ethnic tensions in Eastern Europe and sprayed fake graffiti in the Caribbean, according to the firm’s own sales documents. Its defense business claims in pitch documents to have worked for clients as wide-ranging as the Libyan National Transitional Council, NATO and the U.K. Foreign Office. It says it worked in Pakistan for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Pacific Command in India on countering radicalization.

SCL recently signed a contract with the U.S. State Department for market research and public-opinion polling, according to a federal procurement database. The one-year contract, signed last week, is worth $496,232, according to the database.

Deep Ties

The firm also has deep ties to the British defense establishment and Conservative Party. Its first chairman was Geoffrey Pattie, a defense minister under Margaret Thatcher. In addition to Tunnicliffe, the advisory board has included retired Rear Admiral John Tolhurst and Ivar Mountbatten, the great-nephew of Louis Mountbatten, the military hero and Queen Elizabeth’s cousin. Jonathan Marland, a former Conservative Party treasurer who served as a minister for business under former Prime Minister David Cameron, is a shareholder.

Marland told the Guardian newspaper he hadn’t had a role in running SCL following his initial investment and had refused requests to introduce the firm to Conservative Party officials.

Roger Gabb, a former British Army officer who later made his fortune as a wine distributor and wholesaler, is also a major SCL shareholder. A founding director who, with his family, still controls about 25 percent of the firm’s shares, Gabb has also been active in the Conservative Party and the campaign for the U.K. to leave the European Union. He donated 500,000 pounds ($705,300) to the party in 2006. In 2016, he was fined 1,000 pounds by the U.K.’s Electoral Commission for failing to disclose that he had helped purchase local newspaper advertisements supporting the leave side in the Brexit referendum. More here.

03/26/18

A Haunting Movie

By: Thomas Wigand | New Zeal

Just over a week ago, by happenstance, I selected a movie called “Ride the Thunder” to watch via streaming. Its description said that it was based on a book of the same title, describing actual events from the Vietnam conflict, and so my interest was piqued.  After watching it, I emailed a bunch of friends and acquaintances, recommending that they see it (still do), and stated the following:

Particularly moving (and infuriating) for me was the clever interspersing of period TV interviews with Jane Fonda and John Kerry (e.g., David Frost show; Dick Cavett show). The scenes of the post-1975 Communist reeducation camps in (what was) South Vietnam brought to mind Larry Grathwohl’s description of what Bill Ayers and his Progressive colleagues had (and still have?) in mind for us: Larry Grathwohl on the Weather Underground.

That thought has haunted me since, for reasons I’ll explain. The media of that period constructed a “conventional wisdom,” a narrative that became generally accepted, that our troops in Vietnam were baby killers, and our cause there unjust. And that we were losing, would ultimately lose, and so were just wasting our young people in a futile cause. I was in junior high school and high school during this period, and remember it well. And, I confess, in those tender years of trusting naiveté, before we recognized the bias of the media, that I was largely accepting as true what Walter Cronkite was telling me.

John Kerry: A Progressive Hero. An American Traitor.

John Kerry and his “Vietnam Veterans Against the War” (VVAW) cronies provided useful propaganda both for the U.S. media and Communist media. The “mainstream” portrayed him in heroic light, even as it increasingly portrayed Vietnam veterans as crazed killers of innocent civilians, returning home as dangerous head-cases. Kerry was complicit in such portrayals; he was one of the transmission mechanisms. It is pondering this that has come the haunting sense I’ve had since viewing “Ride the Thunder.”

John Kerry rode his VVAW coming out party right into Democrat Party politics. In true Alinsky “Rules for Radicals”  fashion, he put on a tie and burrowed-into the system, pretending to be a mainstream politician. Of course the Democrat Party welcomed and then nurtured him. He rose to become a United States Senator. In 2004, he was that party’s Presidential nominee. And but for the Swift Boat veterans – and their sweet revenge? – Kerry might have made it. The damage to this country would have been incalculable, as later events confirm.

Four years later a rabidly anti-American radical – B. Hussein Obama – was successful in hoodwinking a sufficient number of the American electorate to become President. We had no equivalent to the Swift Boat veterans to blow the whistle during the campaign, in this case regarding Obama’s radical Leftist associations and background, and to explain what a “community organizer” really was. Those voices that did attempt to raise the alarm were met by willful indifference – a conspiracy of silence – by the Obama collaborating “mainstream media.”

Once in office Obama recycled Kerry, naming him Secretary of State. In that office, both collaborated to engineer what I believe will ultimately be proven to be one of the greatest, and perhaps most consequential acts of treason in this country’s history – the “Iran nuclear deal.”

Pondering Kerry’s history, and reflecting upon his television appearances shown in “Ride the Thunder”, the haunting realization occurred to me that the media – news and entertainment – is at work with a casting-call for future Progressive leaders who will advance the anti-American agenda – and that when we cede that media ground, we enable that recruitment and promotion. A patriotic counter-culture, had there been one during the early 1970’s, may have been successful in accurately portraying John Kerry, and flaming-out his career. Just imagine the harm that this country would have been spared? That is why we need to nurture and support the growing Conservative counter-culture of web sites (e.g., this site, Breitbart and others), streaming television (e.g., Mark Levin’s CRTV), movies such as “Ride the Thunder”  and documentaries such as “The Enemies Within.” Our support today may well provide blessings over future decades, immense in scale and scope.

In that same email that I mentioned above, I also stated:

More so, the movie triggered a memory of a reference to “freedom man” from one of the audios in “Reagan In His Own Voice”  (highly recommended) in which he spoke of the “boat people” — listening to “freedom man” some years ago my eyes dampened-up with pride about being an American, and gratitude for having been born here, which is why I recalled it.  I just went back and found what I was thinking of — it was from his 1989 farewell address — it’s more powerful if you listen to it, but here’s the text of what came to mind:

“I’ve been thinking a bit at that window. I’ve been reflecting on what the past 8 years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one—a small story about a big ship, and a refugee, and a sailor. It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, ‘Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.’  A small moment with a big meaning, a moment the sailor, who wrote it in a letter, couldn’t get out of his mind. And, when I saw it, neither could I. Because that’s what it was to be an American in the 1980’s. We stood, again, for freedom. I know we always have, but in the past few years the world again—and in a way, we ourselves—rediscovered it”. — President Ronald Reagan

People scaling the Berlin Wall. People on rafts from Castro’s Cuba. “Boat people” seeking escape from the Vietnam that people like John Kerry worked to bring to power. For such people, tens of millions across the globe, our American military did indeed represent “freedom man” – for they were, and still are, defending the land of freedom, the ultimate beacon of hope for the world. People therefore assume that we are safe, and would never live under a regime like the ones people die trying to escape — yet discount the fact that we have powerful and organized “enemies within” that have been, and still are zealously seeking to impose such a form of government upon us.  Let us not let a Progressive media narrative sway us from that reality, nor ever again tempt us to elect (or appoint) their moles into high office.

Mr. Wigand is the author of Communiqués From the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracywhich is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.  Comments or questions for Mr. Wigand may be sent to: [email protected]— he will make every effort to personally respond to every email.

03/26/18

Introducing A New Theme

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Many times I have commented about the tectonic changes occurring geopolitically and macro economically. These changes are being brought about by the electorate that is rejecting the multipolarity and interdependency of the global economy that has created great wealth inequality.

I would now like to suggest a new theme… the end of the era of unaccountability of mega-sized technology firms. In my view, the normal standards were suspended for them. They were regarded as “cool,” “disrupters,” “fun,” “freewheeling” and society/government were hyper-tolerant of the companies’ business practices. If mere mortal firms acted in such a way, these firms would be sued into oblivion.

In my view, this “soft image” gave them a worldwide license to evade taxes, break laws, abuse customer trust and exploit workers.

It appears “their” world has instantly changed. The EU is considering a 3% tax on Internet revenues, a tax that has been discussed for at least two years in an attempt to generate more revenue for the grossly indebted Union. The uproar over Facebook with even the most progressive media outlets commenting that this is not the first occurrence and such is wrong. The sexual harassment stories of Uber are widely documented as is the exploitation of Apple’s Chinese workers.

As stated, the above is nothing new, but the response is new.The proverbial sand pile is perhaps toppling.

Some might suggest that I am on a social rant. I am not. The market imbalances are widely documented, imbalances the result of technology based momentum trading that has vastly favored the mega-sized technology firms whose sociopolitical environment may have changed tectonically.

Commenting about Friday’s activity, equities were again volatile falling to early February levels. The Dow ended down about 1.75%. The NASDAQ was off 2.4%. Some are blaming trade. Others politics. While others, potential inflation concerns and monetary policy. I think all three amplified by technology based trading. For the week, all major indices suffered their biggest losses since January 2016.

Bloomberg writes the NASDAQ 100 fell about 7.3% for the week, the Dow 5.3% and the S & P 500 was off 6.0%. The small caps as per Bloomberg only fell about 3.8%, the result of the reliance on domestic sales. I will also add from the lack of ownership,

Oil again rallied posting its largest weekly gain since July closing around 3-year highs. Some are beginning to suggest a geopolitical premium is now emerging. I share this view, however, the premium in view is small historically.

This week the economic calendar is comprised of a final revision of 1Q GDP, trade data, personal income and spending, home sales data and a sentiment survey. Will the data impact trading?

Last night the foreign markets were up. London was up 0.49%, Paris was up 0.43% and Frankfurt was up 0.67%. China was down 0.60%, Japan was up 0.72% and Hang Sang was up 0.79%.

The Dow should open considerably higher as fears of escalating trade tensions are beginning to ease. Weekend comments from the Administration were “cautiously hopeful” that China will reach a deal to avoid tariffs. A deal was struck with South Korea. The 10-year is off 7/32 to yield 2.85% ahead of major debt sales.

03/25/18

Is California Governor Jerry Brown Mentally Ill?

By: Lloyd Marcus

Leftists are relentlessly selling their bogus narrative that Trump is insane. Here are samples of Leftists’ headlines: “Lawmakers Met With Psychiatrist About Trump’s Mental Health,” “President Trump’s Mental State An ‘Enormous Present Danger,'” “The Awkward Debate Around Trump’s Mental Fitness,” “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists Assess”.

So what has Trump done to convince Leftists that he must be crazy? Unlike Republicans, Trump fearlessly confronts fake news media; calling them out when they lie. Unlike Obama’s punish-evil-America-first presidency, Trump has America’s best interest at heart. Unlike Leftists seeking to dissolve our borders, Trump plans to build a wall to protect our people and our economy. Insanely, Leftists cheered when Obama allowed Ebola into America http://bit.ly/2un9AkR, claiming it was racist and unfair for Americans not to be subjected to the disease. Unlike Obama, Hillary, Democrats and fake news media’s war on Christianity (forcing a 100-year-old order of Catholic nuns to fund contraception http://bit.ly/2y6lgwD and forcing Christian businesses to service homosexual weddings), Trump vows to defend religious liberty.

So I guess according to Leftists’ perverse way of thinking, Trump must be crazy; along with the 63 million Americans who voted for him.

Meanwhile, Leftists are ignoring glaring reasons to question the sanity of California’s governor Jerry Brown. The entire country is talking about the collapse of California due to decades of insane liberal policies. And what is Governor Brown’s response? He implemented hundreds more destructive liberal rules, regulations and giveaways to illegals. An article listing the top 10 stupidest new California laws includes “Single-User Restrooms” — “Controlling Cow Flatulence” — “Legalizing Child Prostitution” and “Felons Voting”. http://bit.ly/2hzrluD

Governor Brown signed a new law making California a Sanctuary State, doubling down on his bizarre quest to undermine American citizens. In essence, Gov Brown gave federal law, Trump and legal California residents his middle finger. Numerous California families have suffered devastating losses of family members killed by illegals with long felony records who have been deported several times and welcomed back with open arms by Gov Brown. One mom whose son was killed by an illegal with two DUIs and two felonies said Gov Brown should be arrested for treason. http://bit.ly/2HWynCt Isn’t it reasonable to question Gov Brown’s sanity?

Liberal governing has transformed beautiful California into the poverty capitol of America with the worst quality of life. http://fxn.ws/2FbUAi6 Crazy taxes http://fxn.ws/2F7K0VA, crazy high cost of living https://bit.ly/2G3L8ux and crazy overreaching regulations https://bit.ly/2CrUWNT have crushed the middle class, forcing the middle class to exit the golden state. All that is left in California are illegals feeding on the breast of the state, rapidly growing massive homeless tent cities https://bit.ly/2mDx5TK and the mega-rich. Would a sane governor take pride in causing this to happen to his state?

Headline: “San Francisco Is A Literal S***hole, Public Defecation Map Reveals.” https://bit.ly/2DeiXeP Can you imagine homeless people pooping on the streets being so pervasive that an interactive map was created to help citizens avoid the piles of poop? Human feces carries infectious diseases. https://bit.ly/2GReRYF What kind of irrational logic deems posing such health risks to constituents an act of compassion? Is Governor Brown crazy?

Insanely, three fourths of California taxpayers’ dollars, more than $30 billion is spent on illegal aliens. Meanwhile, despite the highest taxes in the nation, California is $1.3 trillion in debt — unemployment is at a staggering 11%. California’s wacko giveaways to illegals includes in-state tuition, amounting to $25 million of financial aid. Nearly a million illegals have California driver’s licenses. LA county has 144% more registered voters than there are residents of legal voting age. Clearly, illegals are illegally voting. https://bit.ly/2IGYXR6

Get this, folks: Americans are spending almost a billion dollars a year on auto insurance for illegals. Gov Brown is gifting illegals billions in welfare and housing while his constituents cannot find a place to live.

Ten years ago, a buddy of mine excitedly moved his family from Maryland to California to accept the highest paying job of his career. Despite his lucrative salary, he was forced to move back east due to the outrageous high cost of living. My buddy said if he were an illegal, practically everything would be free. His story inspired me to write and record a Beach Boys style song titled, “Can’t afford The Sunshine”. https://bit.ly/2HVneBD

Once again I ask you folks, would a rational governor do what Brown is doing to his constituents? Is Governor Jerry Brown mentally ill?

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth: http://bit.ly/2kZqmUk
http://LloydMarcus.com