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[Markets] Is News Polarization An American Problem?

Depending on who you are in the United States, trust in the news has either sky-rocketed or nose-dived, according to Reuters Digital News Report.

As Statista's Sarah Feldman notes, about half of people on the left trust the news most of the time, while merely 9 percent of people on the right trust the news most of the time. Looking at the data, President Trump’s entrance into the presidential election certainly acted as an inflection point, driving the public’s perception of news trust worthiness to either side of the political spectrum.

As a point of comparison, the United Kingdom has seen the opposite trend. Back in 2015, there was about a 10-percentage point gap in the trust worthiness of news between people on the opposite side of the political spectrum. During that time, the U.S. had a similar spread in trust between partisans. After 2015, the UK had its own inflection point: Brexit. Instead of being further driven apart, that trust gap has narrowed, though overall both sides trust the news less than they did in 2015.

Infographic: Is News Polarization an American Problem? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Generally, people in the United Kingdom do not hold that same level of distrust as their counterparts in the U.S. do.

Published:6/19/2019 2:10:32 AM
[Enterprise] Blue Prism acquires UK’s Thoughtonomy for up to $100M to expand its RPA platform with more AI Robotic process automation — which lets organizations shift repetitive back office tasks to machines to complete — has been a hot area of growth in the world of enterprise IT, and now one of the companies that’s making waves in the area has acquired a smaller startup to continue extending its capabilities. Blue Prism, which […] Published:6/19/2019 2:10:32 AM
[worldNews] Japan PM Abe says no idea about dissolving lower house for election Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday said he did not have the slightest idea of dissolving parliament's lower house for a snap election.
Published:6/19/2019 2:10:32 AM
[topics:places/africa] Sudan crisis: What is happening, and where does it go from here? Published:6/19/2019 2:10:32 AM
[Education] De Blasio’s Diversity School Solution Ignores the Real Problem

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the city’s specialized high schools have a diversity problem. He’s joined by New York City Schools Chancellor... Read More

The post De Blasio’s Diversity School Solution Ignores the Real Problem appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/19/2019 2:10:32 AM
[topics:organisations/royal-navy] Fragment of Bismarck shell that struck Prince of Wales donated to UK's newest aircraft carrier Published:6/19/2019 1:40:29 AM
[worldNews] Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq's Basra, three hurt A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including U.S. giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq's southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding three people, Iraq's military said.
Published:6/19/2019 1:40:28 AM
[TC] Microsoft’s first data center regions in the Middle East are now generally available Microsoft today announced that is first data center regions in the Middle East are now online. The data centers are located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and will offer local access to the usual suite of services, including Azure’s cloud computing services and Office 365. Support for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft’s Power Platform will arrive […] Published:6/19/2019 1:40:28 AM
[worldNews] Swiss need more time to clinch EU treaty: foreign minister Switzerland's political system of painstaking consensus-building requires more time to strike a deal with the European Union on a new treaty, Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said, suggesting no quick resolution to a potentially damaging log-jam.
Published:6/19/2019 1:10:34 AM
[Markets] Escobar: Iran Is At The Center Of The Eurasian Riddle

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Saker blog,

With the dogs of war on full alert, something extraordinary happened at the 19th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) late last week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Virtually unknown across the West, the SCO is the foremost Eurasian political, economic and security alliance. It’s not a Eurasian NATO. It’s not planning any humanitarian imperialist adventures. A single picture in Bishkek tells a quite significant story, as we see China’s Xi, Russia’s Putin, India’s Modi and Pakistan’s Imran Khan aligned with the leaders of four Central Asian “stans”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani walk as they attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. Photo: AFP / Vyacheslav Oseledko

These leaders represent the current eight members of the SCO. Then there are four observer states – Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia and, crucially, Iran – plus six dialogue partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and, crucially, Turkey.

The SCO is bound to significantly expand by 2020, with possible full membership for both Turkey and Iran. It will then feature all major players of Eurasia integration. Considering the current incandescence in the geopolitical chessboard, it’s hardly an accident a crucial protagonist in Bishkek was the ‘observer’ state Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani played his cards masterfully. Rouhani speaking directly to Putin, Xi, Modi and Imran, at the same table, is something to be taken very seriously. He blasted the US under Trump as “a serious risk to stability in the region and the world”. Then he diplomatically offered preferential treatment for all companies and entrepreneurs from SCO member nations committed to investing in the Iranian market.

The Trump administration has claimed – without any hard evidence – that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which Washington brands as a “terrorist organization” – was behind the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. As the SCO summit developed, the narrative had already collapsed, as Yutaka Katada, president of Japanese cargo company Kokuka Sangyo, owner of one of the tankers, said: “The crew is saying that it was hit by a flying object.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had accused the White House of “sabotage diplomacy” but that did not derail Rouhani’s actual diplomacy in Bishkek.

Xi was adamant; Beijing will keep developing ties with Tehran “no matter how the situation changes”. Iran is a key node of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It’s clear for the leadership in Tehran that the way forward is full integration into the vast, Eurasia-wide economic ecosystem. European nations that signed the nuclear deal with Tehran – France, Britain and Germany – can’t save Iran economically.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, right, in Bishkek at the SCO summit on June 14. Photo: Nezir Aliyev / Anadolu / AFP

The Indian hedge

But then Modi canceled a bilateral with Rouhani at the last minute, with the lame excuse of “scheduling issues”.   

That’s not exactly a clever diplomatic gambit. India was Iran’s second largest oil customer before the Trump administration dumped the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, over a year ago. Modi and Rouhani have discussed the possibility of India paying for Iranian oil in rupees, bypassing the US dollar and US sanctions.

Yet unlike Beijing and Moscow, New Delhi refuses to unconditionally support Tehran in its do-or-die fight against the Trump administration’s economic war and de facto blockade.

Modi faces a stark existential choice. He’s tempted to channel his visceral anti-Belt-and-Road stance into the siren call of a fuzzy, US-concocted Indo-Pacific alliance – a de facto containment mechanism against “China, China, China” as the Pentagon leadership openly admits it.

Or he could dig deeper into a SCO/RIC (Russia-India-China) alliance focused on Eurasia integration and multipolarity.

Aware of the high stakes, a concerted charm offensive by the leading BRICS and SCO duo is in effect. Putin invited Modi to be the main guest of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in early September. And Xi Jinping told Modi in their bilateral get together he’s aiming at a “closer partnership”, from investment and industrial capacity to pick up speed on the stalled Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, another BRI stalwart.

Imran Khan, for his part, seems to be very much aware how Pakistan may profit from becoming the ultimate Eurasia pivot – as Islamabad offers a privileged gateway to the Arabian Sea, side by side with SCO observer Iran. Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea is the key hub of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), much better positioned than Chabahar in Iran, which is being developed as the key hub of India’s mini-New Silk Road version to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

On the Russian front, a charm offensive on Pakistan is paying dividends, with Imran openly acknowledging Pakistan is moving “closer” to Russia in a “changing” world, and has expressed keen interest in buying Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and Mi-35M attack helicopters.

Iran is at the heart of the BRI-SCO-EAEU integration road map – the nuts and bolts of Eurasian integration. Russia and China cannot allow Iran to be strangled. Iran boasts fabulous energy reserves, a huge internal market, and is a frontline state fighting complex networks of opium, weapons and jihadi smuggling – all key concerns for SCO member states.

There’s no question that in southwest Asia, Russia and Iran have interests that clash. What matters most for Moscow is to prevent jihadis from migrating to the Caucasus and Central Asia to plot attacks against the Russian Federation; to keep their navy and air force bases in Syria; and to keep oil and gas trading in full flow.

Tehran, for its part, cannot possibly support the sort of informal agreement Moscow established with Tel Aviv in Syria – where alleged Hezbollah and IRGC targets are bombed by Israel, but never Russian assets.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek on June 14, 2019. (Photo by Alexey DRUZHININ / SPUTNIK / AFP)

But still, there are margins of maneuver for bilateral diplomacy, even if they now seem not that wide. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued the new rules of the game; reduce imports to a minimum; aim for less reliance on oil and gas exports; ease domestic political pressure (after all everyone agrees Iranians must unite to face a mortal threat); and stick to the notion that Iran has no established all-weather friends, even Russia and China.

St Petersburg, Bishkek, Dushanbe

Iran is under a state of siege. Internal regimentation must be the priority. But that does not preclude abandoning the drive towards Eurasian integration.

The pan-Eurasian interconnection became even more glaring at what immediately happened after Bishkek; the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. 

Bishkek and Dushanbe expanded what had already been extensively discussed at the St Petersburg forum, as I previously reported. Putin himself stressed that all vectors should be integrated: BRI, EAEU, SCO, CICA and ASEAN.

The Bishkek Declaration, adopted by SCO members, may not have been a headline-grabbing document, but it emphasized the security guarantees of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Treaty, the “unacceptability of attempts to ensure one country’s security at the expense of other countries’ security, and condemning “the unilateral and unlimited buildup of missile defense systems by certain countries or groups of states”.

Yet the document is a faithful product of the drive towards a multilateral, multipolar world.

Among 21 signed agreements, the SCO also advanced a road map for the crucial SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, driving deeper the Russia-China strategic partnership’s imperative that the Afghan drama must be decided by Eurasian powers.

And what Putin, Xi and Modi discussed in detail, in private in Bishkek will be developed by their mini-BRICS gathering, the RIC (Russia-India-China) in the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka in late June. 

Meanwhile, the US industrial-military-security complex will continue to be obsessed with Russia as a “revitalized malign actor” (in Pentagonese) alongside the all-encompassing China “threat”.

The US Navy is obsessed with the asymmetrical know-how of “our Russian, Chinese and Iranian rivals” in “contested waterways” from the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf.

With US conservatives ratcheting up “maximum pressure” trying to frame the alleged weak node of Eurasia integration, which is already under total economic war because, among other issues, is bypassing the US dollar, no one can predict how the chessboard will look like when the 2020 SCO and BRICS summits take place in Russia.

Published:6/19/2019 1:10:34 AM
[structure:regwall-content] Scrapped submarines costing £30m a year in 'extortionate storage costs' Published:6/19/2019 12:46:32 AM
[worldNews] Poor nations hosting most refugees worldwide, need more Western help: U.N. Developing countries, not rich Western nations, are bearing the brunt of the world's refugee crisis and are hosting most of the record 70.8 million displaced people who have fled war and persecution, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
Published:6/19/2019 12:46:32 AM
[Social] Twitter will remove precise location tagging in tweets, citing lack of use Update: An earlier version of this post said Twitter is removing location tagging in tweets. In fact, it is only removing the ability to share precise location details like latitude and longitude. In an announcement today from its support account, Twitter said it is removing the option to tag precise locations in tweets. The feature […] Published:6/19/2019 12:46:32 AM
[Markets] General News: Retail and telecoms: the new industries driving a record boom in green bonds Tough climate and energy targets drive boom in sustainable bonds over the first half of this year as new industries tap the market for funds.
Published:6/19/2019 12:46:32 AM
[e8a01aad-a9e9-5062-99f5-ed2d3cc12d28] MSNBC's Chris Matthews: Trump should be calling Elizabeth Warren 'Geronimo' amid poll surge MSNBC host Chris Matthews showered Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, with praise on Tuesday night, so much so that he suggested to President Trump that he ought to start calling her "Geronimo" due to her recent surge in the polls.   Published:6/19/2019 12:15:28 AM
[Startups] San Francisco is getting closer to an e-cigarette ban to protect kids, but it may hurt adult smokers who use vaping to quit San Francisco is getting closer to banning the sale of e-cigarettes in the city in a bid to prevent minors from accessing them—but the new legislation may also hurt adult smokers who are trying to quit. The city’s Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to approve two proposals: legislation that would ban the sale or delivery […] Published:6/19/2019 12:15:28 AM
[Syndicated Posts] President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Wednesday, June 19, 2019

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump will participate in a roundtable with supporters and deliver remarks at a fundraising committee luncheon. Then, the president will return to the White House. Keep up with Trump on CDN’s President’s Schedule Page. President Trump’s schedule for 6/19/19 All Times EDT: 11:30 AM Participate in a roundtable ...

President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Wednesday, June 19, 2019 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/19/2019 12:15:28 AM
[topics:things/uk-weather] UK weather: Thunderstorms leave homes without power and roads flooded Published:6/19/2019 12:15:28 AM
[Politics] What’s Worse than One Carbon Tax Proposal? Two. Published:6/18/2019 11:42:19 PM
[Markets] Asian markets surge on renewed hopes of trade deal Asian markets surged in early trading Wednesday, following new hope on the trade front and strong gains on Wall Street. Published:6/18/2019 11:42:18 PM
[worldNews] Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq's Basra, two hurt A rocket landed at the headquarters for several global major oil companies, including U.S. giant ExxonMobil, in Iraq's southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding two Iraqi workers, police said.
Published:6/18/2019 11:42:18 PM
[worldNews] Australian government boosts Senate numbers ahead of tax cut bill Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will need to secure just three votes in the country's upper house to pass legislation after election results on Wednesday showed his government picked up four additional Senate seats.
Published:6/18/2019 11:10:33 PM
[Politics] AOC continues to rip Liz Cheney for concentration camp remarks Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday evening continued to tear into Rep. Liz Cheney — one of many Republican House colleagues who called the New York Democrat out for equating immigrant detention centers on the US-Mexico border to concentration camps. Earlier on Tuesday, Cheney, of Wyoming, begged Ocasio-Cortez to “spend just a few minutes learning” the history... Published:6/18/2019 11:10:33 PM
[Entertainment] 'AGT': Ansley Burns, 12, wows with a capella Aretha Franklin song after 'terrible' start Ansley Burns, 12, sang Aretha Franklin's 'Think' on NBC's 'America's Got Talent.'
      
Published:6/18/2019 11:10:33 PM
[topics:things/vaccines] Trust for vaccines higher in UK than most of Europe, major survey finds Published:6/18/2019 11:10:33 PM
[Donald Trump] Trump’s McCarthyite enemies (Paul Mirengoff) “McCarthyism” is a charge Democrats like to level against those who make allegations that make them uncomfortable. But Robert Merry, a journalist, publisher, and presidential historian, exposes the McCarthyism in the Democrats’ treatment of President Trump. Merry’s argument is predicated on a key, but generally overlooked, point about McCarthyism. The problem with it wasn’t that there was no reason to believe communists had penetrated our government. Communist penetration was, in Published:6/18/2019 11:10:33 PM
[Markets] Smith: An Examination Of The Leftist Cult And Their Religion

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

There is a common misconception among newer activists in the liberty movement that the idea of the “false left/right paradigm” means that there is no political spectrum; that the entire notion of left vs right is a fabrication. This is not exactly the case. When we talk about false paradigms in regards to politics (or geopolitics), what we are actually referring to is the elitist class, otherwise known as globalists, and the fact that they have no left or right political orientation. They do not care about Democrats or Republicans, they have no loyalty to either party. Their loyalty is to their own agenda, and they will exploit BOTH sides to get what they want whenever possible.

Beyond the globalists, average people do indeed fall on a political spectrum that could be broken down and simplified to a set of basic ideals or ideologies. On the left side of the spectrum we find the collectivists and socialists, who believe that society (the group) is vastly more important than the individual and that the actions of individuals must be strictly monitored and governed to prevent negative effects on the group.

The core argument of the leftists is:

“We are all a part of society and must act in harmony with society so that the system continues to function. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...”

On the right side of the spectrum we find the individualists, sovereignty activists and true conservatives. People who, in varying degrees, believe that society should be restricted from dictating the life of the individual and that group participation should be voluntary. Where leftists seek to centralize, people on the right seek to decentralize.

The argument of the conservative is:

“Without the individual the group does not exist. The group is an abstraction created in the mind. When groups do form they should only exist to serve and protect the inherent rights of individuals, not be used as a mechanism of control by weak people who are afraid to function on their own...”

This separation of philosophies is simple and easy to follow. Where things start to become confused and convoluted, however, is when political “gatekeepers” or globalist controlled pundits and media outlets get involved and muddy the waters. For example, there are some egregious misinterpretations of conservative principles in the mainstream, especially in places like Europe where the word “conservative” is considered dirty and is barely spoken. Gatekeepers who have no loyalties to actual conservative values have attempted to soil the image of conservatives as a whole by misleading them down the wrong path or acting as false representatives.

Inevitably, these pied pipers try to lure conservatives to support leftist ideologies, like big government interference in people's lives, or in the politics of other nations, or even in free markets. In other words, they want to sabotage real conservatives by making them look like hypocrites. But, the ideals of conservativism and centralization are mutually exclusive – If a conservative supports big government control, they are no longer a conservative. Period.

It is certainly the case that similar gatekeepers on the left side of the spectrum are misleading leftists to destructive ends, but not in the same way that they try to mislead conservatives. While globalists will attempt to trick conservatives to act more like socialists, they do not try to trick leftists into acting more like conservatives. Rather, they trick leftists into becoming even more extreme in their collectivist tendencies.

The end goal of the globalist cabal is to eventually reach a point where EVERYONE in the world is a supporter of totalitarian centralization – a world where everyone is a leftist, whether they realize it or not.

How they plan to achieve this goal is rather indirect but potentially very effective. By pushing one side (the political left) to extremes, they hope to drive the other side (conservatives) to respond with extreme measures that they would otherwise consider contrary to their principles. To avoid this outcome, conservatives must understand the root motivations and contradictions of what has become the leftist cult. To avoid falling into madness, we must examine the behaviors of the insane.

It is hard to say exactly where the left began to migrate away from more centrist politics and go full bore communist. Some would say it started when the Frankfurt School of academics transplanted to the US during and after WWII, bringing with them the ideology of cultural Marxism. Some might argue that they have been this way since the 1960's and 1970's during the rise of the antiwar movement and second wave feminism. But if leftists were raging socialists back then, for decades after that chaotic generation there was at least some self discipline among them in terms of revealing their true intentions outright.

I would place their transformation, or violent mutation, closer to 20 years ago as college campuses shifted completely away from a focus on practical skill sets and STEM fields over to hackneyed social sciences. This was the moment that the conspiracy to completely radicalize the left was truly implemented.

Colleges became centers of worship, but of a new religion called “social justice”. This religion relies on rehashing and reigniting old social conflicts as if they had not already been tackled by far smarter people decades beforehand. SJWs act as if America had never come to terms with slavery, racism, women's rights, sexual orientation, etc., as if all of these problems were boiling in the background waiting for the social justice warriors to finally grace us with their presence and solve them. The reality is that while there will ALWAYS be some conflict related to these issues, there is no need for the existence of “social justice” today. They are rebels without a legitimate cause, and so they create causes out of thin air.

Many pundits on the political left are careful not to publicly associate with SJWs, and attempt to portray democrats and progressives as somehow separate. And for some of these people this might be true. But social justice mantras and disinformation have absolutely permeated democrat language and conversation. Gatekeeping media outlets like The New York Times, Vox, and The Atlantic have seen to this, as they flood democrat oriented web spaces with article after article of rant laden editorials presented as if they are factual journalism.

Many of these articles are written more like personal biographical accounts and anecdotal tales; each leftist writer clamoring to become the next Steinbeck rather than an objective investigator of facts.  True journalism is now dead in the mainstream – hot garbage factories like The New York Times and Vox killed it and replaced it with a Roman bathhouse of narcissism and iniquity.

The only job of these outlets now is to continue fueling leftist faith. Colleges made them zealots; insane devotees of the cult, but the media keeps them on the path and ensures they do not stray. But what beliefs define this religion beyond vague notions of “social justice”?  Let's examine a few...

Burn It All Down?

While the Molotov cocktail was actually invented (or at least popularized) by the Finnish during the Winter War to help stop a massive communist invasion from the Soviet Union, it has now become a kind of symbol of communist rebellion in the West today. The Frankfurt School and Marxism in general teaches that existing systems are not changed diplomatically, but demolished violently through the exploitation of social conflicts. In traditional Marxism the idea was to use economic class conflict; to rally the lower classes to overthrow the upper classes. Cultural Marxism relies not just on economic disparities but also racial and political tensions to bring down a civilization.

After the dust settles the socialists/communists seek to introduce their own “Utopian” system and take control as the nation lays weak and helpless in the midst of complete breakdown.  When the existing system and government works in their favor and feeds their sense of public influence, leftists sing its praises. When it stops working 100% for them (even if only on the surface), they seek to tear it apart and remake it. These are the people you cannot play a game of chess with.  The moment they start losing they cry foul and dash the board to the ground in a rage.

Everyone Is Born The Same?

This notion is biologically absurd but it is gaining momentum in leftists movements.  Essentially, collectivists believe that all human beings are born as blank slates and that their entire personality is a product of their environment. While psychologists, anthropologists and scientists from across the spectrum from Carl Jung to Joseph Campbell to Stephen Pinker have all shown extensive evidence of inborn psychological traits and inherent constructs within the human psyche, this evidence is utterly ignored by leftists as it runs counter to most of their fundamental assumptions.

If everyone is born different, then fairness in society becomes subjective and inapplicable, and only accomplishment, hard work and merit can be trusted to determine what is "fair".  If people's characters are not necessarily ruled by their environment, then this means there is no point in creating a social Utopia to micro-manage every aspect of our lives. If psychopaths are not made but born, then the question of inherent evil becomes a possibility, and according to leftists there is no such thing as evil people, only evil systems that spoil the minds of good people. If gender is inborn and the vast majority of people fall on one side or the other psychologically, not just biologically, then leftists can no longer claim that gender is a social construct that must be dismantled.

The blank slate, or Tabula Rasa, is a key factor in the leftist religion that must be defended at all costs. Otherwise, half their ideology falls apart.

Everything Can And Should Be Fair?

Anyone who has actually lived in the world for a while on their own knows full well that life is not designed to be fair. Some people are born with advantages while others are born with handicaps. Some advantages and disadvantages have to do with family and wealth, while others are simply genetic. There is nothing that can ever be done about this that would not devastate our species.  What leftists don't seem to grasp is that perceived disadvantage is not always a bad thing.

People who struggle and overcome life's obstacles tend to be much wiser and more skilled than people who never had to put in the effort. Leftists want to take away all adversity, not in the name of equal opportunity, but in the name of equal outcome. In the process, they make all of society weaker, wimpier, less innovative and less productive. In a leftist world, humanity would have to create artificial “adversity camps” just to retain its survival instincts. But then, of course, those camps would eventually be put through the fairness filter as well...

"Intellect" Is More Important Than Experience?

Leftists worship intellect as a divine power. So much so that the notion of real world experience rarely crosses their minds as important in making decisions or forming opinions. When social justice warriors talk of things like “racism”, most of them have never and probably will never experience or witness legitimate racism. They read about it in books and hear about it in lectures, but have no personal relationship to it. They believe it is rampant everywhere, around every corner and under every bed because they must. Their reality depends on blind faith that this is true.

The idea of social inequality between men and women also relies on blind faith in misrepresented statistics and fraudulent accounts of crimes that were never committed. To this day these people still argue that the “gender wage gap” is a real thing despite the fact that it has been debunked endlessly. This behavior requires a cult-like devotion to fantasy. It is not normal or logical, it is extreme mental illness. If these people were to go into the working world and study real business models and talk to men and women who are not members of their own echo chamber, they would see through experience that their assumptions are wrong, but when intellectual notions outweigh first hand observation there is no hope of this.

Conservatives Are Evil Incarnate?

I started writing this essay in part because I've noticed a steady stream of articles in mainstream media outlets posing as studies of “conservative extremists”. I figure, if they are going to analyze us inaccurately then we can do them one better and analyze them as accurately as possible. In reading some of these pieces I find that leftists have created their own language completely separate from the rest of the world and reality. That which they interpret as “racism”, or “misogyny”, or “fascism” does not fit the textbook definition of said labels. They have developed their own bewildering vocabulary filled with made-up words and illogical concepts to describe the world in a way that fits their desires and supports their accusations.

Conservatives don't live in this world and frankly, we don't ever want to. To them we are heretics, or barbarians. In their eyes we are the dirty untouchables, the “deplorables”. We cannot be saved, and should be destroyed. Zealots always seek to treat ideological outsiders as mortal enemies even when those individuals have done nothing to them. The fact is, most modern political crimes and genocides have been enacted in the name of socialist ideals; in the name of concepts the left holds dear. We continue to suffer under these ideals in the name of globalism.

How many people have suffered because of decentralization and individual rights?  not many, if any.  How many people have been exterminated in the name of the non-aggression principle? Answer:  Zero.  Conservatives are certainly not evil, or extreme. But in the twilight zone of leftist thought, we are the monsters.

This is why leftist behavior is becoming so incomprehensible.  Corporate behemoths like Sony, Disney, Netflix, Facebook, Google, etc. have chosen to force feed the public social justice ideology, and have placed their business at risk because less and less people are buying the religion they are selling.  The same is true with companies like Gillette or Starbucks, which are willing to insult their own customer base and sabotage themselves just to preach the social justice gospel.  Why would they do this?  Because they see conservatives as demonic force that must be erased from civilized society.  We are not even allowed to be heard, otherwise the evil magic of our arguments will mesmerize the masses and turn them away from the light of cultural Marxism.

Another more covert reason is that through the use of popular media and corporate influence globalists are able to exploit the useful idiots on the left and manipulate them into acting even more absurd than they already do.  And, by extension, they hope to terrify conservatives into throwing out the Constitution and going full fascist as a defensive response.  They are absolutely willing to bring down entire corporate structures to make this possible.  They are going for broke.

The Leftist Gods

The social justice embrace of Atheism seems to have left them feeling unfulfilled as their explanations of existence do not satisfy the innate human relationship to the metaphysical. As a result the leftist cult is always seeking out gods these days, with all encompassing government filling in as a proxy for now. The next deity of the left is clearly nature, or “mother earth”, as this god satisfies their need for a vengeful and omnipotent force.

Many leftists desperately desire a kind of apocalypse, but an apocalypse on their terms. The globalists are giving them one, or at least a farcical version called “climate change”, in which mankind angers nature with his production and progress, but is smote down with catastrophe while the devout leftists watch on in their purity saying “We tried to warn you, but you would not repent...” This is of course fiction, based on junk science funded by organizations with agendas to undermine real science and common sense.

The solution to this apocalypse, coincidentally, always ends up being more government, more control over human trade and progress, population reduction, and perhaps even global governance of every aspect of life. Otherwise, we might incur the wrath of the great leftist war god of destruction – carbon fed global warming. In the minds of leftists that will be the moment when we will all understand that they were the sane ones, that their cult was right all along, and we will come to them willingly, prostrating ourselves before their mighty intellectual superiority.

It is this type of ignorant thinking that makes the left an easily exploited tool for the powers that be. It is also the source of calamity throughout the ages.  Attempting to appeal to these people's better nature is not going to help us as they are too far lost in their own dimension, and neither would using big government as a weapon against them.  It is quite a conundrum.

*  *  *

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Published:6/18/2019 11:10:33 PM
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[Markets] Declassified: The Sino-Russian Masterplan To End U.S. Dominance In Middle East

Authored by Yossef Bodansky via OilPrice.com,

Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin’s early June 2019 summit in Moscow with People’s Republic of China (PRC) Pres. Xi Jinping seems likely to have a disproportionate influence on the next phases of the crises unfolding in the greater Middle East, and therefore on the future of the region.

The escalating confrontation between Iran and the US is both influencing and influenced by the mega-trends set by Russia and the PRC.

Although the key meetings took place on June 5, 2019, the seeds of the new joint strategy were already planted during the May 13, 2019, summit in Sochi between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. They went over all the key topics in preparation for the Putin-Xi summit.

On June 5, 2019, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met in Moscow and decided to not only markedly upgrade the bilateral relations and alliance of their countries, but to use the new relations in order to shape the long-term posture of the entire Eastern Hemisphere in their favor. Emphasis was to be put on the Eurasian Sphere (the Kremlin’s high priority) and the New Silk Road (the Forbidden City’s high priority), as well as the Korean Peninsula which is most important for both.

One of the first major confrontations with the US by Russia and the PRC was to be over the greater Middle East. The main reason was the advance negotiations with all key oil producers - including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran - on substituting the petrodollar with a basket of currencies where the yuan, the euro and the ruble dominate. Using the currency basket would enable the sellers and buyers to go around the US-imposed sanctions and quotas. Indeed, Beijing and Moscow were now enticing the oil producers with huge, long-term export deals which were both financially lucrative and politically tempting by offering guarantees for the well-being of the participating governments.

The crux of the proposal is regional and includes flagrant disregard of the US sanctions on Iran.

However, the key to the extent of the commitment of both Beijing and Moscow lies in the growing importance and centrality of the New Silk Road via Central Asia.

Persia had a crucial rôle in the ancient Silk Road, and both the PRC and Russia now expect Iran to have a comparable key rôle in the New Silk Road.

The growing dominance of heritage-based dynamics throughout the developing world, including the greater Central Asia and the greater Middle East, makes it imperative for the PRC to rely on historic Persia/Iran as a western pole of the New Silk Road. It is this realization which led both Beijing and Moscow to give Tehran, in mid-May 2019, the original guarantees that Washington would be prevented from conducting a “regime change”.

Therefore, even though both Russia and the PRC were not satisfied with the Iranian and Iran-proxy activities and policies in the Iraq-Syria-Lebanon area, it was far more important for them to support Iran, and also Turkey, in their confrontations with the US in order to expedite the consolidation of the New Silk Road.

Tehran and its key allies in “the Middle Eastern Entente” — Turkey and Qatar — are cognizant of the core positions of Russia and the PRC. Since mid-May, Tehran and, to a lesser extent, Ankara and Doha, were appraised by Moscow and Beijing of their overall direction of political decisions. Hence, since early June 2019, Tehran has felt confident to start building momentum of Iranian assertiveness and audacity.

Tehran has been raising its profile in the region.

Tehran insists that it is now impossible to make decisions, or do anything else, in the greater Middle East without Iran’s approval. On June 2, 2019, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, touted the new strategic posture of Iran. “The Islamic movement has affected the entire world and on top of that, it has succeeded in intimidating the American hegemony and Zionism,” he said. Bagheri attributed the new influence of Iran to the acquisition of regional strategic depth; that is, reaching the shores of the Mediterranean.

“At the advent of the fifth decade of Revolution, it should be noted that the expansion of the strategic depth of Iran has brought about new and undisputed conditions that today no issue in West Asia can be solved without Iran’s participation.” No outside pressure, particularly US pressure, could, he said, compel an Iranian withdrawal and a reversal of its surge. “The Iranian nation will not retreat in the slightest from its position on the country’s defensive capabilities and will turn enemy’s threats to golden opportunities to develop core achievements of the Revolution, especially in the defensive and missile sectors.”

Senior IRGC commanders with political affiliations repeated the message over the coming days. On June 7, 2019, Brig.-Gen. Morteza Ghorbani, an adviser to the Chief of the IRGC, called on the region’s Muslim countries to join Iran. Instead of “seeking the wishes and objectives of the global arrogance and the Zionists”, all Muslim countries should back Iran, Ghorbani explained, because “together, we can establish an Islamic superpower”.

On June 10, 2019, Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council and a former Chief of the IRGC, stressed Iran’s regional prowess. The Americans “are aware that Iran’s military strength is at a point where if they take the smallest action, the whole region will be set on fire. ... We are moving towards becoming a regional power and that is costly for America.” On June 12, 2019, Maj.-Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, the senior Military Aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene‘i, stressed that with Iraq and Syria, Iran has created an unassailable bloc.

“The pivot of Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean [region] is an economic, political, security and defensive axis against the Zionist regime and the US,” Safavi explained. “Iraq and Syria strategically play a complementary rôle to Iran.”

Little wonder that Tehran has also made clear that Iran intends to stay in Syria long after the war is over despite the misgivings of the Kremlin.

Damascus accepts Tehran’s position, and should now be expected to reject all US-Israeli pressure to compel Iran to withdraw or even reduce the size of its forces. “Damascus has no intention of turning away Iran’s military assistance or demanding an Iranian troop withdrawal,” Syrian senior officials told their Russian counterparts in early June 2019.

At the same time, although he is wary of confronting Iran directly, Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad demonstrated his displeasure with the Iranian presence. In early June 2019, for example, he rejected flagrantly Tehran’s initiative for HAMAS and Syria to reconcile on account of the HAMAS cooperation with Iran and the HizbAllah against Israel. Assad justified the refusal by arguing that the HAMAS remained part of the Muslim Brothers’ networks which had been fighting Damascus since the late-1970s and which continued to sponsor jihadist forces.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force continued to expand the Iranian strategic deployment in Syria. Most important was the completion, in the first week of June 2019, of the forward emplacement of ballistic missiles in addition to the deployments in southern-western Iraq and nearby in Iran. The Iranians maintained Qods Force missile sites (as distinct from storage sites for the HizbAllah) — mainly Fatah-110 and Zulfiqar SSMs — at the T-4 airbase in Homs province, in Jubb el-Jarah east of Homs, in al-Safira near Aleppo, and in the Al-Kiswah area south of Damascus. In early June 2019, the Qods Force brought Toophan-1 anti-tank missiles to the T-4 airbase. These are all areas and installations that Israel has bombed repeatedly. Yet, the Qods Force keeps repairing the damage and redeploying new weapons and missiles; an expression of their growing importance to the forthcoming regional war.

Russia has accepted the Iranian presence up to a point.

In early 2019, the Kremlin formulated a worst-case scenario focusing on maintaining a Russian presence along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean (beyond the Aleppo-Damascus highway) while blocking US/Western encroachment. Moscow is cognizant that such an area of influence along the shores of the Mediterranean also means blocking the vital arteries of transportation which both Iran and Turkey are determined to establish.

In early June 2019, the Russians demonstrated the point that the western zones are Russia’s, and only Russia’s. Toward this end, the Russians compelled the Syrian military to force the PasdaranHizbAllah and Afghan Fatemiyoun units out of the Syrian base in Latakia.

Meanwhile, the cooperation between Iran and Turkey has expanded as agreed, but faster than expected.

Starting late May 2019, senior officials of both countries increased the number of bilateral visits in a concentrated effort “to find common ground in which Turkey helps Iran overcome the consequences of US sanctions”. By June 1, 2019, Iran and Turkey established a “new anti-sanction financial mechanism” with priority given to increasing the imports of natural gas and oil from Iran (with some of the oil laundered as Iraq-origin from Kirkuk). Iran and Turkey also agreed to protect mutual trade and economic ties, including the establishment of a joint bank, in the face of US sanctions. As well, both countries finalized an agreement to restart direct cargo train and passenger/tourist train services between Tehran and Ankara.

On June 8, 2019, Iranian Pres. Hassan Rouhani had a lengthy phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Reçep Tayyip Erdo?an. They finalized and formulated the new era in bilateral relations, ranging from economic cooperation to effecting regional dynamics.

Rouhani opened by emphasizing the importance of the expansion of relations between Iran and Turkey in the global and all-Islamic spheres. “Development of relations and cooperation between Iran and Turkey, as two powerful effective countries in the world of Islam, is important for stability and security of the region.” He pointed to the instability and bloodshed in countries such as Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan, and invited Erdo?an to work with Iran to resolve conflicts throughout the Muslim world. “Together, Iran and Turkey can cooperate with other friendly, brotherly countries to put an end to this regretful process and resolve the issues of the region and the world of Islam as well.” Rouhani said that Iran was most interested in markedly expanding bilateral economic cooperation, including providing highly-subsidized oil and gas to Turkey, while using national currencies in trade transactions to avoid the US sanctions.

In his response, Erdo?an largely agreed with Rouhani and reiterated Turkey’s commitment to confronting the US. Closer bilateral cooperation was a must. “As two brotherly, friendly countries, cementing of relations between Iran and Turkey can be beneficial for both nations and the region.”

Erdo?an concurred that it was imperative to “enhance bilateral relations in all fields, especially in economy and trade”, and agreed with Rouhani on “the importance of using national currencies in trade”. He termed the US “unilateral sanctions against Iran” as “tyrannical”. Hence, Turkey “will never accept these cruel sanctions and seek to increase our friendships and cooperation with Iran”. Erdo?an agreed that both countries must influence the region and “the world of Islam”. Erdo?an concluded: “Iran and Turkey can play a greater rôle by expanding their engagement and cooperation in the development of regional stability and security and counter-terrorism.”

Both Presidents agreed to escalate their joint anti-Kurdish campaign, as well as better coordination of their activities in Iraq and Syria.

By the time of the Rouhani-Erdogan conversation, Turkish and Iranian forces were already engaged in a comprehensive anti-Kurdish offensive for more than a week.

The raids and bombings were conducted both in northern Iraq and along their mutual border. At first, the heaviest fighting took place in Turkey’s Igdir province, close to the borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Region. The Turkish forces then moved to the Aralik district, close to the Turkish-Iranian border. At that point, the IRGC conducted a parallel operation in Chaldoran County bordering Igdir-Aralik. The Turkish and Iranian forces continued to move southward along the border, destroying the Kurdish pockets between them.

Meanwhile, Turkey launched a major offensive, Operation Claw, into Iraqi Kurdistan. As a separate element of the operation, the Turkish forces conducted deep raids closely coordinated with the Iranian forces. Most important were the attacks against PKK positions in the Hakurk mountainous region near the Iraqi border with Iran. The Iranian forces have been preventing the Kurds from escaping across the Iranian border as in previous Turkish raids. IRGC forces also clashed with Kurdish groups; both the Iranian-Kurdish PJAK and the Turkish-Kurdish PKK forces usually based in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iranian raids, which include crossing of the Iraqi border, were coordinated with heavy air-strikes by the Turkish Air Force of the nearby regions of Zap and Qandil.

Concurrently, Qatar, on behalf of the bloc, challenged and effectively neutered the Mecca summits from within. The Qatari Prime Minister Abdallah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani participated in all three summits on May 30-31, 2019.

Despite the Saudi-led GCC boycott on Qatar, he had a most courteous exchange with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz al Sa’ud. The main reason for Qatar’s presence in Mecca was to obtain and relay messages from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz al Sa’ud (aka MBS) and his close partner the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (aka MBZ) to Tehran.

The key message was that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States did not want war with Iran, and would do whatever they could to prevent the US from launching one. Both MBS and MBZ noted that the US was stopping short of direct confrontation, with the USS Abraham Lincolnaircraft carrier strike group remaining out in the Arabian Sea rather than venturing across the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf as US carriers had done in the past.

Tehran, however, would not legitimize any stand of either MBS or MBZ even though Tehran welcomed their message as transferred by Doha. Therefore, within days after the end of the summits, Qatar started to openly criticize and contradict the Mecca Summits’ resolutions and communiqués. Doha thus flagrantly shattered the delicate consensus which Riyadh had worked so hard to create, including the Saudi statement that “reconciliation with Qatar [is] possible” given the right circumstances.

On June 2, 2019, Doha asserted that the Mecca communiqués reflected “America’s policies on Iran” and not the self-interests of the region’s states. Qatari Foreign Minister SheikhMohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who also attended the Mecca summits, criticized the declaratory refusal to negotiate with Iran even though Doha passed secret messages to Iran throughout the summits. “The statements condemned Iran but did not refer to a moderate policy to speak with Tehran,” he said on Al Jazeera TV. “They adopted Washington policy towards Iran, rather than a policy that puts neighborhood with Iran into consideration.” Al-Thani argued that any cooperation with Tehran should be based on “non-interference in other countries”.

On June 5, 2019, Iranian Pres. Hasan Fereidun Rouhani coordinated policies in a phone conversation with the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Rouhani reiterated that Iran was not interested in a war with the US or anybody else. However, should “any foolish anti-Iranian act start in the region”, Iran would deliver “a firm response” which would harm the Arabian Peninsula more than anybody else. War would be futile, he noted. “Regional problems don’t have a military solution and we believe that threat, pressure, blockade, and economic sanction are wrong approaches in relations between governments.” Rouhani hailed Qatar’s stance because it contributed to easing regional tensions. “Certainly, any meeting will be ineffective, unproductive and even harmful, if it doesn’t draw regional countries to each other,” Rouhani affirmed Doha’s policy.

Sheikh Tamim responded by emphasizing that the policies and stances of Tehran and Doha were “close to each other” on most issues. He reiterated that Doha believed that “dialogue is the only way to ease tensions,” and that Doha wanted “to expand ties with Iran in all areas”. Sheikh Tamim concluded that all Qataris are “appreciating Tehran for supporting [Qatar] during the blockade”.

Apprehensive of the specter of a US escalation, Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Thani traveled to London on June 9, 2019, to try and get “a friendly message” across to Washington. He warned the US not to fall into the trap set by MBS and MBZ. He explained that the “Saudi and Emirati plan to impose stability on the region by supporting authoritarian governments and military councils in Africa, Egypt, Libya, and throughout the Arab world was a recipe for chaos”. These “policies are [only] creating more terrorism, conflict and chaos in the Middle East and Africa”.

For its own good, the US must not be part of the scheme. Discussing the situation in the Persian Gulf, Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Thani noted that “while Qatar respects US policy towards Iran, it cannot fully support it because Qatar views the matter from a regional perspective”. He criticized Washington’s stance. “The current US position on Iran lacks any indication of a way forward, or any type of positive or constructive message.” Doha did “not want to see any confrontation between the two powers, US and Iran, because we are stuck in the middle,” he concluded.

But the US kept escalating its covert war with Iran, both in the Persian Gulf and in Syria. The extent of the escalation and the focusing on objectives of great importance for Iran could not but lead to Iranian harsh reaction.

First came escalation of the campaign against the transfer of oil along the long desert road stretch between Deir ez-Zor and Damascus. Since the beginning of the war, Damascus had been purchasing oil from whomever controlled the oilfields east of the Euphrates, be it DI’ISH or the US-sponsored Kurdish PKK/YPG/SDF forces. As well, with the opening of the road from Iran via Iraq, the Iranians increased the shipment of oil in tanker-trucks. Since the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) would not strike and shut down the lucrative oil trade, the US chose to rely heavily on the jihadist forces being trained and equipped in the al-Tanf area.

According to tribal leaders in the Deir ez-Zor area, the US launched at first “a campaign ... to prevent smuggling [oil] from areas under SDF control in Deir ez-Zor to the Syrian regime by way of ferries across the river”. The first major escalation took place in the early morning hours of May 31, 2019. Jihadist forces near al-Shuhayl opened heavy machinegun fire on four tanker-barges ferrying oil across the Euphrates. When the ambush failed to cause any tangible damage, US combat helicopters and strike aircraft showed up and strafed the barges, blowing up three of them and causing at least four fatalities.

Although the US denied that the May 31, 2019, attack took place, the mere involvement of US forces compelled the US to change tactics. The emphasis moved to on-land raids and ambushes along the desert stretch north of al-Tanf, the vast Badiyah al-Sham (eastern desert) area. There, properly trained and equipped light forces could, on their own, strike and burn the tanker trucks moving in small convoys. As well, there was no question of conflict of interests with the US-proxy Kurdish forces. According to Syrian military officials, “the ISIL’s movements have taken place in line with US’ objectives to exert pressure on the Syrian Army and its allies in Syria”. The officials stressed that “the US is trying to help the ISIL block roads leading to Badiyah due to Badiyah’s strategically important oil and gas reserves”.

The main jihadist operations were taking place between Eastern al-Sukhnah and Deir ez-Zor, including the important T-3 Pumping Station and the Palmyra area. Some of these jihadistforces were using HUMMER-type vehicles in addition to the ubiquitous Japanese-made light trucks. Starting June 3, 2019, the jihadists used US-made TOW anti-tank missiles to strike Syrian armored combat vehicles escorting the tankers. The first such strike took place in the Jabal Bishri area.

By June 7, 2019, the jihadists had escalated their concentrated attacks on the traffic in the main desert route, hitting both Syrian and Iranian vehicles, and not just oil tankers and their escorts. The jihadists deployed several hundred fighters from the camps in the al-Tanf area, compelling the Syrian military to divert forces from their anti-DI’ISH operations in the Baqouz region in Eastern Euphrates province. The jihadist forces were operating over wider areas including the area of Jabal al-Bashri in south-eastern Raqqa, al-Dafinah in southern Deir ez-Zor, between Palmyra and al-Sukhnah, and the surrounding areas of al-Tanf in Eastern Homs. On June 11, 2019, the jihadists launched their first attack on the western axis of the T-3 Pumping Station near Palmyra. The jihadists also stormed army positions near the desert road east of Palmyra, causing heavy damage and numerous casualties.

By mid-June 2019, the intensity and frequency of jihadist ambushes had increased still further. These ambushes, Syrian defense officials explained, “are well-coordinated and [a] proof that the terrorist group possesses the ability to wreak havoc inside the country”. By now, according to these officials, there were some 2,000 to 3,000 jihadist fighters in the entire Badiyah al-Sham region who were living off the main US-sponsored bases in the al-Tanf area. The escalation has strategic impact because the Syrian military has had to divert reinforcements earmarked for the major offensive in Idlib (the last major pocket of the US-sponsored al-Qaida affiliated jihadists, both Syrian and foreign) to secure the desert roads.

Then, as promised to the jihadist fighters by the US recruiters in March 2019, on June 2, 2019, the US-proxy Kurdish authorities running the al-Hawl camp released more than 800 women and children — all families of DI’ISH fighters — and handed them to their families who happened to live in the al-Tanf area. This was the first such transfer of non-combatants and more were expected soon.

Meanwhile, a “mysterious” escalation took place in the northern part of the Persian Gulf.

On June 5, 2019, huge fire consumed a storage facility for oil products at the Shahid Rajaee port in southern Hormozgan Province. Located west of Bandar Abbas, the Shahid Rajaee port is Iran’s largest container shipping port. Reportedly, a vehicle used for transporting shipping containers exploded and caught fire. Since there were oil products near the site of the explosion, the blaze spread quickly to several tanks and storage sites and caused heavy damage to the port. The spreading fire set off huge explosions which shot fireballs and heavy smoke high into the air.

On June 7, 2019, six Iranian merchant ships were set ablaze almost simultaneously in two Persian Gulf ports.

First, five ships “caught fire” in the port of Nakhl Taghi in the Asaluyeh region of Bushehr Province. Three of these ships were completely burned and the two others suffered major damage. Several port workers and sailors were injured. As well, at least one cargo ship burst into flames and burned completely at the port of Bualhir, near Delvar. The fire was attributed to “incendiary devices” of “unknown origin”. The local authorities in Bushehr Province called the fires a “suspicious event” and went no further.

In Tehran, senior Iranian officials first attributed the incident to “fires caused by high temperatures”. Subsequently, they pointed out to statements by Iranian opposition activists in Europe (NOT the MEK) who “made the connection between the mysterious fires that hit the Iranian ships and the sabotage” of the tankers in Fujairah. Several diplomats in Tehran reported that the local grapevines were attributing the fires to “expert mercenaries” of “unknown origin”. “Knowledgeable Iranians” opined, the diplomats reported, that “ferocious revenge” was only a question of time.

Indeed, in the early morning hours of June 13, 2019, two large tankers were repeatedly attacked and set aflame in the middle of the Gulf of Oman. Both tankers were subsequently abandoned by their crews and left to drift, burn and sink. By end of the day, there were conflicting reports whether they already sank. The tankers did not sink and most of the flames died down on June 15, 2019. Hence, efforts started tow the tankers to UAE ports.

A few hours before the attack, a US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) observed IRGC fast attack boats, most likely from the nearby Bandar-e-Jask naval base, gather and advance toward the area where the tankers would be struck. When the Iranians noticed the UAV, they launched a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile. The missile overshot, narrowly missed the MQ-9, and crashed into the water. However, the UAV was pulled away from the scene so that there would be no evidence of the attack that unfolded shortly afterwards.

Both tankers were subjected to repeated attacks over three hours in order to ascertain their destruction. The Norwegian owned MT Front Altair was first hit by a torpedo attack which stopped it and started a small fire. The Front Altair was then subjected to two cycles limpet-mine attacks which caused at least three major explosions and set the tanker aflame. The Japanese owned Kokuka Courageous was also subjected first to a torpedo attack which breached the hull above the water line. Over the next three hours, the Kokuka Courageous was subjected twice to limpet-mine attacks, as well as a couple of 107mm rockets (most likely launched from an IRGC Seraj-1-class fast attack boat), which also set the tanker aflame. Both tankers were first hit in the engine-room area so that they stopped. The main tanks were then repeatedly bombed until they burned out of control.

The predominantly Russian crew of the Front Altair was rescued by an Iranian vessel and brought to a nearby port in Iran. The predominantly Filipino crew of the Kokuka Courageouswas rescued by local tugboats and then moved to the US destroyer Bainbridge. Tehran continued to insist that all 44 crew members of both tankers were rescued by the Iranian Navy and safety authorities.

The initial expert analysis of the attacks strongly suggested a professional operation.

“These appear to be well planned and coordinated attacks,” wrote shipping experts in the Gulf States. They noted that the two tankers were first hit in close proximity to the engine room and thus were stopped. They were then subjected to strong explosions at or below the waterline. Such explosions were most likely caused by limpet-mines similar to those used in Fujairah on May 12, 2019. The USS Bainbridge reported that it saw “an unexploded limpet mine on the side of one of the ships attacked in the Gulf of Oman”. The next day, a US UAV spotted an IRGC Zulfiqar-class fast attack boat approaching the tanker where the crew removed the unexploded mine. The experts concluded that “a state actor is responsible” for the attack.

In all likelihood, the strike was carried out by members of the Sepah Navy Special Force, an independent Takavar unit of the IRGC Navy, and/or foreign Shi’ite jihadists trained by them. The attackers operated from the military port in Bandar-e-Jask in the Southern Hormozgan Province of Iran. The mother ship of the Fujairah attackers was believed to have sailed from Bandar-e-Jask. The IRGC Navy base was established there in 2008. Several years later, it was expanded to include the headquarters of the Iran Navy’s 2nd Naval District. Bandar-e-Jask is the home base of a unit of the IRGC’s Ghadir midget submarines, a wide variety of IRGC fast attack boats, (including the Seraj-1 and Zulfiqar classes), and long-range UAVs used for operations over the Persian Gulf. The Ghadir midget submarines are equipped with the Jask-2 anti-ship missiles and Valfajr torpedoes (which might have been used to attack the two tankers).

The initial media coverage of the incident was of significance.

The first reports came rather quickly on the Iranian Al-Alam News Network which broadcasts in Arabic and covers the entire Arabian Peninsula. Al-Alam reported that two “giant oil tankers” had come under “attack”, that “two explosions” took place, and that the tankers were aflame. These reports were then picked up by the Persian-language Iranian media; first the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News and then the propaganda channel, Press TV, which broadcasts in several languages worldwide. Only then the media in the Middle East and the global media started to pay attention to the strike.

Subsequently, official Tehran began addressing the issue; warning Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States against hastily attributing the attack to Iran. “All regional states should be careful not to be entrapped by deception of those who benefit from instability in the region,” Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabie said. “The Iranian Government is ready for security and regional cooperation to guarantee security, including in the strategic waterways.”

The attack on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman cannot be seen in isolation.

They were part of a comprehensive policy against Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, but timed in the aftermath of the attacks on the Iranian ports. In early April, a three-phase escalating war plan was drawn under Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani in order to deprive the West of access to the Arabian Peninsula’s oil if US sanctions persisted and Iran could no longer sell oil.

The first phase was to signal Iran’s resolve and might;

the second, sinking tankers transferring oil from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, as well as blocking the Strait of Hormuz;

and the third was to destroy the entire oil and gas infrastructure throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

In late-April 2019, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Hossein Bagheri alluded to the Iranian resolve. “If our oil fails to go through the Strait, others’ crude will not either,” Bagheri warned. The Fujairah attack and the Gulf of Oman attack corresponded with the first two phases of Soleimani’s plan. The third was also tocome.

The attack on the Japanese owned Kokuka Courageous was fortuitous because it happened just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Tehran in effort to convince Tehran that US Pres. Donald Trump was serious about comprehensive negotiations with Iran. On June 13, 2019, Abe met with Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamene‘i who set the tone for Iran’s harsh policies.

After pleasantries, Abe told Khamene‘i that the primary objective of his visit was to convey a special message from Pres. Trump. “I would like to give you a message from the President of the United States,” Abe told Khamene‘i. Khamene‘i exploded and told Abe his mission was doomed and futile from the very beginning. “We have no doubts about your goodwill and seriousness, but with regard to what you relayed from the US President, I see no merit in Trump as a person to deserve the exchange of any messages, and I do not have any answer for him and will not give him any either,” Khamene‘i replied.

Khamene‘i then addressed the nuclear issue, repeating the falsehood of his own fatwaforbidding nuclear weapons. However, Khamene‘i stressed that the US or the EU had no say in whether Iran would or would not have nuclear weapons. “We are against nuclear weapons and my fatwa bans their development. However, you should know that if we decide to develop nuclear weapons, the United States will be unable to do anything,” Khamene‘i told Abe.

According to the Mehr News Agency, Abe delivered five specific requests from Trump to Khamene‘i. Mehr cited “Trumps’ five requests and the Leader’s direct answers to them:

“Trump: The US is not intended to change the regime in Iran.

“Leader: This is a lie for if the US could do that it would but this is what US is not capable of doing.

“Trump: We want to re-negotiate nuclear issues.

“Leader: Iran held talks with the US for five to six years over nuclear issues and reached a conclusion but the US withdrew from the deal. This is not reasonable to re-negotiate things with a country who has ruined all the agreements.

“Trump: The US seeks to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons.

“Leader: We disagree with nuclear weapons and I have announced it Haram in a Fatwa but you should know that if we wanted to make nuclear weapons the US could not prevent us.

“Trump: The US is ready to start honest negotiations with Iran.

“Leader: We do not believe in that, since honest negotiations are far from a person like Trump. Honesty is rare among American officials.

“Trump: Holding talks with the US will make Iran improve.

“Leader: Under the mercy of God, we will improve without having negotiations with the US and despite the imposed sanctions.”

The other important meeting Prime Minister Abe had was with Pres. Rouhani. According to Rouhani, they discussed “stability and security of the region”. Most important was Abe’s reiteration that Japan remained interested in purchasing Iranian oil despite the sanctions. “Japan’s willingness to continue purchase of oil from Iran and to boost financial, scientific and cultural cooperation will be a guarantee for development of ties,” Rouhani stated.

Ultimately, Russia and the PRC were the prime, long-term beneficiaries of the brewing crisis in the Persian Gulf.

Both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping were in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, on June 14, 2019, for the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Rouhani was also participating. After the attack on the tankers, the US attention again focused on the Persian Gulf and away from the escalation of the confrontation with the PRC and Russia.

Meanwhile, both Putin and Xi were, in Bishkek, leading the dramatic strengthening of both the Eurasian Sphere and the New Silk Road. The US handling of both the trade/tariff war with the PRC, and the Persian Gulf crisis, as explained by Rouhani, had convinced Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Central Asian leaders in attendance to seek closer ties with Russia and the PRC. The SCO was further enthused by the decision, announced by Xi Jinping, to divert major PRC investment funds from the US to Central Asia and the New Silk Road. Indeed, Russian and PRC officials defined the Xi-Putin-Modi meeting in Bishkek as being “vital for re-shaping the world order” and as a major setback to the US attempt to dominate the forthcoming G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Meanwhile, Tehran continued to prepare for an escalation to come. On June 14, 2019, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi led a senior delegation to Damascus where it met with leaders of Palestinian terrorist organizations, HizbAllah and other Shi’ite jihadist factions. In the meeting, the Palestinian leaders emphasized the “interconnected rôle of the resistance axis’ forces and countries in the region in confronting schemes and threats that target Iran, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon”. Indeed, Egyptian senior intelligence officials now claim that the recent launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip was conducted by “regional elements” tied with “the attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.”

Concurrently, Qods commander Qassem Soleimani continued traveling clandestinely throughout the Middle East, preparing his extensive and growing forces, both Iranian and Iran-proxy, for a direct clash with the US and its allies should Khamene‘i give the order.

Published:6/18/2019 10:39:30 PM
[World] Is the White House Plotting an End-Run Around Congress Into Iran? Mike Pompeo certainly seems to think so. But how can the post-9/11 AUMF be used to justify bombing Tehran? Published:6/18/2019 10:39:30 PM
[US Headlines] Trump Declares War On Iran: Sidewinder Missiles Take Out Camel Caravan BILLINGSGATE POST: In an extreme example of asymmetric warfare, President Trump retaliated against Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf by unleashing a barrage of Sidewinder Missiles this morning. Early satellite photos show camel bod... Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[c905b847-8263-54f8-b741-7363d525c081] CNN's Chris Cuomo says 'America First' slogan is 'equally stained' as 'concentration camps' CNN anchor Chris Cuomo argued on Tuesday night that the phrase "America First" is "equally stained" as the term "concentration camps." Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[The Blog] Madonna: “Don’t you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body?”

"Let's talk about Jesus' point of view about women. Let's talk about it."

The post Madonna: “Don’t you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body?” appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[Politics] CNN Commentator: U.S. is Headed Towards ‘Death Camps’ for Migrants Coming Across Southern Border

The post CNN Commentator: U.S. is Headed Towards ‘Death Camps’ for Migrants Coming Across Southern Border appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[US News] Triggered? Brian Stelter explains why CNN cut away from Trump’s rally after only 6 minutes (just guess!)

"He seems a little upset."

The post Triggered? Brian Stelter explains why CNN cut away from Trump’s rally after only 6 minutes (just guess!) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[worldNews] Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.
Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[Startups] Google will start attributing lyrics in its search results to their third-party providers Earlier this week, music lyrics repository Genius accused Google of lifting lyrics and posting them on its search platform. Genius told the Wall Street Journal that this caused its site traffic to drop. Google, which initially denied wrongdoing but later said it was investigating the issue, addressed the controversy in a blog post today. The […] Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[Markets] Asia Markets: Asian markets surge on renewed hopes of trade deal Asian markets surged in early trading Wednesday, following new hope on the trade front and strong gains on Wall Street.
Published:6/18/2019 10:11:06 PM
[Markets] Diarrhea In The Dominican; Teens Fall Ill At Same Hotel Where Tourists Mysteriously Died

A group of seven Oklahoma teens fell ill during their senior trip to the Dominican Republic after eating dinner at the beleaguered Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, where at least two Americans have died recently and others have reported falling ill. 

The recent graduates of Deer Creek High School arrived on the island, where they enjoyed themselves on the beach. After dining at the resort's Japanese restaurant, however, they became violently ill and had to be rushed to the ER where they received antibiotics and hydration, according to KOCO

"I just woke up, and my stomach was cramping and I was sweating," teenager Bennett Hill told KOCO. "I was freezing." 

"We’ve been hooked up to IVs since we first got here with antibiotics, just getting hydrated," Hill added. 

Parent Liz McLaughlin said her daughter Libby was one of the seven sickened graduates, and that they have "no idea what's going on." 

"We just don’t know what is happening," McLaughlin told KOTV. "Is it the water? Is it the ice? Is it the food? Is it the food handling? Is it the pesticides?"

Linked to other cases?

It is unclear whether whatever sickened is teens is related to a spate of Nine US tourists who have suddenly died while visiting the Dominican Republic - at least two of whom became violently ill after drinking from their hotel room minibars, according to reports. 

The latest victim was 55-year-old Joseph Allen of New Jersey, who was found dead in his hotel room at the Terra Linda Resort in Sousa. 

Published:6/18/2019 10:11:05 PM
[Politics] WATCH: CNN’s political director sounds WORRIED after Trump’s big rally tonight… CNN’S political director sounded worried tonight after seeing the huge enthusiasm from Trump supporters who pitched tents just to wait in line to see Trump speak tonight: You really need to watch . . . Published:6/18/2019 9:39:21 PM
[Markets] New Zealand Man Gets 21 Months In Prison For Sharing Mosque Shooting Video

A New Zealand businessman who pleaded guilty to two charges of distributing footage of the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Tuesday, according to the Straits Times

44-year-old Philip Arps admitted that he sent 30 people the unmodified video of Brenton Tarrant's rampage that killed 50 people in consecutive terrorist attacks on two Christchurch mosques. He also pleaded guilty to sending the video to another person to overlay crosshairs and a "kill count" onto the footage which he intended to distribute over the internet. 

Tuesday morning in the Christchurch District Court, judge Stephen O'Driscoll said when Arps was asked for his opinion of the video, he said it was "awesome". Because of Arps' extreme ideological outlook, there was no prospect of his rehabilitation and his sentence should rule out home detention, said the judge.

Arps also faces six months of post-release conditions when he must attend psychological assessment, no access the internet and undergo assessment and counselling for alcohol and drug use. -Straits Times

Arps, who owns a neo-Nazi-themed insulation company, wanted to glorify the deaths of members of the local Muslim community, according to Judge O'Driscoll, who said that any sentence short of imprisonment would be inappropriate. 

Arps is the owner of a company called Beneficial Insulation that uses a sunwheel, or black sun, as its logo, which is commonly used by neo-Nazis. The company states that it charges 14.88 NZ dollars per metre for insulation, a reference to a white supremacist slogan and to Adolf Hitler.

In 2016, Arps was convicted of offensive behavior for filming himself giving a hitler salute while delivering boxes of pigs heads and offal to the Al Noor mosque, according to the New Zealand Herald, which added that Arps said: "White power. … Bring on the cull.

Published:6/18/2019 9:39:21 PM
[Politics] WATCH: CNN’s political director sounds WORRIED after Trump’s big rally tonight… CNN’S political director sounded worried tonight after seeing the huge enthusiasm from Trump supporters who pitched tents just to wait in line to see Trump speak tonight: You really need to watch . . . Published:6/18/2019 9:27:26 PM
[source:wirecopy] Polar bear roams Russian city hundreds of miles from natural habitat Published:6/18/2019 9:18:20 PM
[Politics] RNC internal polling shows Trump WINNING key battleground states Fox News got their hands on a memo by the RNC that details some of the highlights from internal polling they’ve done that show Trump in a much stronger position that other . . . Published:6/18/2019 9:18:20 PM
[Markets] The Dow is now on pace for its best June return in 80 years, but the Fed could change that in a heartbeat U.S. stock benchmarks on Tuesday were enjoying a nearly unfettered run-up toward records on the back of hope that central banks will ease monetary policy. Published:6/18/2019 9:18:20 PM
[d0566126-6ae4-5b8f-a549-ee4089766b18] Deroy Murdock: Trump needs a better re-election campaign slogan -- Here it is Here's a better idea than "Keep America Great" for President Trump's new re-election campaign slogan. Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[The Blog] The left’s response to AOC’s ‘concentration camp’ claim have been all over the map

"...concentration camps are different from death camps"

The post The left’s response to AOC’s ‘concentration camp’ claim have been all over the map appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[Entertainment] 'AGT': Detroit Youth Choir moves an inspired Terry Crews to tears, wins a golden buzzer Detroit Youth Choir, a community-based group led by Choir Director Anthony White, reminded "America's Got Talent" host Terry Crews of himself.
      
Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[worldNews] Mexican president pitches universal internet in chat with Facebook's Zuckerberg Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he spoke with Facebook Inc's Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, inviting the social media tycoon to partner with him in a bid to promote universal internet access in Mexico.
Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[Markets] All The Cyber-Attack Stories From The Past Few Days Can't Be Linked...Can They?

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

A very important skill for anyone who hopes to be in the know is the ability to put together seemingly unrelated stories for consideration.

Over the past few days, stories about grid incursions, Russians, cyber attacks, and technological failures seemed to be at the top of the headlines. A massive cyber attack could happen far more easily than most people realize.

The good folks over in Prep Club have been posting a lot of interesting links this weekend. Let’s take a peek at each one. All these stories can’t be linked…can they?

The US Is Hacking Russia’s Grid

On Saturday, the New York Times reported (rather irresponsibly in my opinion) that the United States is escalating their “digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin” according to nameless current and former government officials.

Of course, this kind of stuff has been going on for a while. A friend of mine with a military intel background said it’s similar to how we have nukes so that other people with nukes won’t nuke us.

But the NYT story goes far beyond the mutually assured destruction theory.

The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow…

…the action inside the Russian electric grid appears to have been conducted under little-noticed new legal authorities, slipped into the military authorization bill passed by Congress last summer. The measure approved the routine conduct of “clandestine military activity” in cyberspace, to “deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States.”

Under the law, those actions can now be authorized by the defense secretary without special presidential approval.

“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” one senior intelligence official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity but declining to discuss any specific classified programs. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.” (source)

And apparently, the NYT knows about this but President Trump doesn’t.

Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister. (source)

So to sum it up, anonymous sources say the US is about ready to take down Russia’s infrastructure without the knowledge of the President, because he might tell someone, so instead, the New York Times just published the super-duper-secret plan.

President Trump responded via Twitter.

And the NYT responded:

But there’s other stuff to contemplate from just this weekend.

Russia is upping their game against us.

After the irresponsible reporting by the NYT, Russia has responded with their own anonymous sources.

Russia has uncovered and thwarted attempts by the United States to carry out cyber attacks on the control systems of Russian infrastructure, Russian news agencies cited an unnamed security source as saying on Monday.

The disclosure was made on Russia’s state-run RIA and TASS news agencies days after the New York Times cited unnamed government sources as saying that the United States had inserted potentially disruptive computer code into Russia’s power grid as part of a more aggressive deployment of its cyber tools. (source)

Isn’t it funny how the NYT has accused Trump and a whole bunch of other people of helping out the Russians but they just tipped off the Russians to an American operation if any of this stuff is true? And I say “any” because who can really take the word of a bunch of anonymous sources. My neighbor’s 94-year-old father could be an anonymous source. Some dude on 4Chan could be an anonymous source. Anonymous sources are not credible in the first place, and certainly not credible enough to kick off a freaking cyberwar with Russia.

Either way, the Kremlin is ticked. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reports:

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov believes that the United States’ cyberwar against Russia is a hypothetical possibility. He made the statement to the media in response to claims by The New York Times that US secret services over the past year were increasingly active in their attempts to cripple computer malware inside Russia’s power grid.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, Russia has repeatedly said “that the vital areas of our economy are under continuous attacks from abroad.” “We regret to say that,” Peskov said, adding that the relevant Russian agencies continued to counter those attacks in order to prevent damage to the country’s economy.

Peskov also pointed out that “it was President Putin who has on numerous occasions sought to initiate international cooperation to counter any sort of cyber crime.” “Unfortunately, our American partners never responded to our initiatives,” he noted. (source)

Arstechnica reported:

While it remains unclear precisely how the new, more aggressive digital incursions into Russia’s power grid are manifesting themselves, Saturday’s report has clearly gotten the attention of Russian foreign policy commentators. “This is a direct challenge that Moscow cannot leave unanswered,”Ruslan Pukhov, an arms expert and head of the Center for Strategies and Technologies, told the Russian business daily Kommersant.(source)

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “And just like that, the New York Times started a cyberwar.”

Our own power grid is being probed by hackers.

Arstechnica reported that the very same hackers who caused issues in the gas and oil industry with Triconex malware are poking around in our power grid.

“In a new troubling escalation, hackers behind at least two potentially fatal intrusions on industrial facilities have expanded their activities to probing dozens of power grids in the US and elsewhere, researchers with security firm Dragos reported Friday.

The group, now dubbed Xenotime by Dragos, quickly gained international attention in 2017 when researchers from Dragos and the Mandiant division of security firm FireEye independently reported Xenotime had recently triggered a dangerous operational outage at a critical-infrastructure site in the Middle East. Researchers from Dragos have labeled the group the world’s most dangerous cyber threat ever since…

…Now, Dragos is reporting that Xenotime has been performing network scans and reconnaissance on multiple components across the electric grids in the US and in other regions. Sergio Caltagirone, senior VP of threat intelligence at Dragos, told Ars his firm has detected dozens of utilities—about 20 of them located in the US—that have been subjected to Xenotime probes since late 2018. While the activities indicate only an initial exploration and there’s no evidence the utilities have been compromised, he said the expansion was nonetheless concerning.

“The threat has proliferated and is now targeting the US and Asia Pacific electric utilities, which means that we are no longer safe thinking that the threat to our electric utilities is understood or stable,” he said in an interview. “This is the first signal that threats are proliferating across sectors, which means that now we can’t be certain that a threat to one sector will stay in that sector and won’t cross over.” (source)

Nobody knows who is behind Xenotime. although some suspect New Russia Iran.

Oh, and South American had a massive blackout

Millions of South Americans in Argentina, Uraguay, and Paraguay were in the dark for hours this past weekend. Although officials don’t currently have proof of cyber-malfeasance, they’re not ruling it out.

“At this moment we cannot rule out any possibility….as anything can happen as per the current cyber landscape”, said Gustavo Lopetegui, Energy Secretary of Argentina.

“Millions of people were left in darkness and still some regions were reigning under the incident pressure,” says Mauricio Macri, President, Argentina. (source)

So what exactly happened?

The problem in the energy network left Argentina cut off from power at 7:06 a.m. local time (10:06 UTC) Sunday in what Argentine energy company Edesur attributed to “a massive failure in the electrical interconnection system.”

Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Twitter the outage was “unprecedented.” (source)

NPR reported on the outage.

In Buenos Aires, the Constitucion railway station was empty, with trains halted, according to Bloomberg.

Traffic lights failed across the city, and some shopkeepers ran generators to keep the lights on. Water supplies were disrupted, as were mobile phone and internet services.

The Argentinian news site Infobae reported that the power cut stopped trains and subway service; however, two airports in Buenos Aires continued to run on generators.

Uruguay’s state energy department wrote that “a flaw in the Argentine network” left Uruguay without light, according to Infobae.

The power outage fell on a day of provincial elections in some of Argentina’s provinces. (source)

There have been a lot of significant cyber attacks since 2006.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has documented a lot of significant cyber attacks in the past 13 years. This chart sums it up with cyber attacks that cost the victim a million dollars or more.

This is just a summary but you can go here to see CSIS’s full list of cyber attacks.

The prospect of a massive cyber attack seems a lot more likely.

We know that the American infrastructure has not really been hardened against…well…much of anything. It seems like it’s only a matter of time. One computer expert showed the DHS how easy it was to get inside the grid and there’s evidence our grid has been hacked before. It was just recently that a hack disrupted grid operations on an unprecedented level.

Can you imagine the chaos if we had a widespread grid failure in the United States? Heck, look at the upheaval caused by Target’s registers being offline for two hours this weekend. (I’m looking at YOU, Russia.)

It would only take a few days of no power, no internet, no cell phones, no stores, no hospitals, and no gasoline to completely change the world we live in.

Getting prepped for a cyber attack should be pretty high on your list of priorities if it’s not already.

Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[In The News] Ocasio-Cortez’s Wealthy Chief Of Staff Avoids Disclosing His Finances

By Andrew Kerr -

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s wealthy chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, did not file a disclosure revealing his net worth and outside income earned in 2018, despite the congresswoman having the legal means to compel him to do so. Chakrabarti cofounded two PACs — Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats — that ...

Ocasio-Cortez’s Wealthy Chief Of Staff Avoids Disclosing His Finances is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[] Tuesday Overnight Open Thread (6/18/19) *** The Quotes of The Day Quote I You're indeed fortunate none of the roadworkers going about their jobs were injured, or killed ... that could easily have occurred. It's mindless driving conduct on your part, whichever way you... Published:6/18/2019 9:18:19 PM
[US News] Americans Against Antisemitism produces handy comparison chart for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The lengths people will go to to protect our freshman class from their own words are astounding.

The post Americans Against Antisemitism produces handy comparison chart for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 8:39:44 PM
[topics:people/donald-trump] Donald Trump 2020: US president launches re-election campaign at Orlando rally vowing political 'earthquake' Published:6/18/2019 8:39:44 PM
[worldNews] Xi firmly backs Pyongyang's effort to solve Korea Peninsula issues: Rodong Sinmun Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an op-ed in North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday that China supports North Korea's "correct direction" in politically resolving issues on the Korean Peninsula.
Published:6/18/2019 8:39:44 PM
[The Blog] Bernie: No, I don’t believe Trump and Pompeo when they say that Iran attacked those oil tankers

False flag?

The post Bernie: No, I don’t believe Trump and Pompeo when they say that Iran attacked those oil tankers appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 8:39:44 PM
[Markets] America's Managerial Elite Has Failed, But We Can't Get Rid Of Them

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken.

America's managerial elite came to do good and stayed to do well--at the expense of everyone beneath them. Now that they've entrenched themselves at the top of the status quo, there's no way to dislodge them, even as their failure to address what's broken, much less actually fix what's broken, insures systemic breakdown.

In government, the managerial elite is known as The Deep State: those who remain in power regardless of who's in elected office. In local government, managerial elites often shift positions, moving from elected office to a plum position in the bureaucracy where they can draw a big paycheck out of sight until they retire.

In Corporate America, managerial elites also move around, leaving sinking ships (that they may well have helped sink) as needed, and moving to think tanks or academia if their failures start multiplying.

Changing elected officials does nothing to dislodge our managerial elite overlords. The new mayor, governor or president comes and goes, and all the major institutions--education, higher education, healthcare, national defense, critical infrastructure--continue down the same path of enriching entrenched insiders while the institution fails its core missions.

If you think this chart of soaring student loan debt is a sign of "success," you are 1) delusional 2) protected from the dire consequences of this failure 3) getting your paycheck from this failed system. That in a nutshell is the state of the nation: those who are protected from the consequences of failure are loyal to the Establishment, as are the millions drawing a paycheck from systems they know are irredeemable failures.

Let's review the central institutions of the nation:

1. Healthcare: a failed system doomed to bankrupt the nation.

2. Defense: a failed system of cartels and Pentagon fiefdoms that have saddled the nation with enormously costly failed weapons systems like the F-35 and the LCS.

3. Higher Education: a bloated, failed system that is bankrupting an entire generation while mis-educating them for productive roles in the emerging economy. (I cover this in depth in The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.)

4. Foreign policy: Iraq: a disaster. Afghanistan: a disaster. Libya: a disaster. Syria: a disaster. Need I go on?

5. Political governance: a corrupt system of self-serving elites, lobbyists, pay-to-play, corporate puppet-masters, and sociopaths who see themselves as above the law.

In Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, I explain why the only possible output of these systems is failure.

The sole output of America's managerial elite is self-serving hubris.

In an open market, failed leadership has consequences. Customers vanish and the enterprise goes bankrupt, or shareholders and employees rally to fire the failed leadership.

In our state-cartel system, failed leadership only tightens its grip on the nation's throat. The Deep State can't be fired, nor does it ever stand for election. The two political parties are interchangeable, as are the politicos who race from fund-raiser to fund-raiser.

It's tempting to blame the individuals who inhale the wealth and power of our failed system, but it's the system, not the individuals, though a more corrupt, craven, self-serving lot cannot easily be assembled.

Centralized hierarchies concentrate power at the top of the pyramid. That power is a magnet for everyone who seeks to wield power and enrich themselves in the process.

In the financial system, this concentration of power is visible in the chart below: the super-rich have become immensely richer in the past few decades of central banks' vast expansion of credit and financialization.

As systems become more complex, the need for a professional class to manage the overwhelming complexity grows. This class excels at appearing to manage complexity while ignoring the larger dynamics driving the system over the cliff.

And so we have endless meetings of highly paid people over trivial issues while the entire system careens toward meltdown. "Stakeholders" multiply in endless profusion, dooming every project to a glacial process that increases the sums paid to manage the glacial process and pushes the final cost to the moon.

The self-serving managerial elite always has one answer for every problem: give us more money. If the budget expands by 10% and nothing actually changes for the better, then the "solution" is a 25% increase in funding.

Budgets expand by leaps and bounds, but none of the systemic problems are ever resolved.

It's not hard to figure out why: look at the system's incentives. If systems were radically simplified and made more efficient, the need for an ever-expanding class of permanent managers would diminish. And so the solution is always more fodder for the managerial elite: more complexity, more meetings, more accumulation of power, more managers and always, more money.

Thus it is no surprise that the calls for "free" college and "Medicare for All" are rising: the managerial elite that has bankrupted higher education and healthcare while enriching themselves desperately needs to be bailed out, lest the systems they've steered toward the fiscal cliff deservedly go broke.

In a similar set of incentives, few weapons systems ever come in under budget when the Pentagon can always come up with another $10 or $20 billion for cost over-runs.

The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken. Unfortunately we'll all suffer when the managerial elite is no longer able to stave off the dire fiscal consequences of their self-serving leadership.

*  *  *

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF). My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

Published:6/18/2019 8:39:44 PM
[Politics] RNC internal polling shows Trump WINNING key battleground states Fox News got their hands on a memo by the RNC that details some of the highlights from internal polling they’ve done that show Trump in a much stronger position that other . . . Published:6/18/2019 8:39:44 PM
[Entertainment] As he starts tour, Rob Thomas is one less day from dying young. And he's OK with that. Rob Thomas shares his thoughts on "Chip Tooth Smile," Nirvana, Matchbox Twenty, why he never cared if he was "Fonzie" cool and 20 years of "Smooth."
      
Published:6/18/2019 8:15:17 PM
[worldNews] Brazil Senate blocks Bolsonaro move to ease gun carrying Brazil's Senate on Tuesday overturned a decree signed last month by right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro that drastically expanded the number of people allowed to carry weapons in public.
Published:6/18/2019 8:15:17 PM
[TC] Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will launch on June 21st After a year of teasing out Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Niantic (the company behind Pokémon GO) and WB Games have at long last announced an official release date: June 21st. The news came this evening at a press event held just outside of Universal Studios’ Wizarding World (where else?), where Niantic also confirmed plans to […] Published:6/18/2019 8:15:17 PM
[The Blog] “Hillary and Clinton” ends Broadway run early, low ticket sales cited

Even the Broadway crowd isn't interested in the Clintons.

The post “Hillary and Clinton” ends Broadway run early, low ticket sales cited appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 8:15:17 PM
[Politics] WH Tries to Stop Hope Hicks' Congressional Testimony Saying she is "absolutely immune" from discussing her time working for President Donald Trump, the White House mounted a last-ditch effort Tuesday to prevent former communications director Hope Hicks from speaking with lawmakers. Published:6/18/2019 8:15:17 PM
[General] ‘What’s wrong with you?’: Reza Aslan kicks off coverage of Trump rally on the lowest note possible

Reza Aslan took an absolute dumpster fire of a day on Twitter and managed to drag it further into the gutter.

The post ‘What’s wrong with you?’: Reza Aslan kicks off coverage of Trump rally on the lowest note possible appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 8:15:17 PM
[Markets] Stay In The Game!

Via AlbertBridgeCapital.com,

This is going to be an uncharacteristic departure for me.  This story is deeply personal, for our family, and for our oldest son in particular.  But it is a story he’s letting me tell, because it is a story he wants people to hear.

My son Max was born in Detroit in 1997, he spent the next summer in Hong Kong when I was interning at Fidelity Investments, and moved to London before he was two when I accepted an offer to work for Fido there full-time.

He was an amazing child, and became an amazing young man.  But he had his demons.  And just before he turned 16 years old, those demons arrived with a vengeance.   I will spare you the details, but for the next three years, he went through a personal hell.  Imagine all the things you don’t want to have happen to your teenager.  They happened to him.  For three years my wife and I would wait on our front stoop until 5:00 am, in the shadow of the Albert Bridge, hoping that he would come home. On those nights that he didn’t, we would call the hospitals, and call the police. And sometimes the police would call us. 

We tried everything that parents try, and we were very lucky that we could afford to try just about everything.  And we did.  But none of it helped.  The change in schools didn’t help. The psychologists didn’t help.  The wilderness therapy didn’t help.  Our closest friends and extended family all waded in too, but nothing helped.

Max didn’t want to be here.  He didn’t feel a sense of belonging anywhere.  His self-esteem was non-existent.  The anxiety was paralyzing.  He often contemplated ending it all, and only the thoughts of the impact on his three younger siblings prevented him from doing so. 

It was a living hell for Max.  And honestly it was a living hell for us too.  There was nothing we could do about it.  The most difficult thing for my wife and I to accept was that only Max could make the choices.  It wasn’t up to us.  We couldn’t save him.  It was up to him if he was going to live, or going to die.  As one of my best friends told me at the time, only Max could choose to live.

Just over two years ago, he realized that the scene in London was poisonous for him, and he asked if he could head out.  He’d asked before, and we’d let him go to far-flung destinations, but the grass wasn’t greener in any of them.  And we didn’t honestly expect anything to come of it this time, but told him that we’d pay for the flight, because he really did need to get out of London, and there was almost no way things could get worse. 

He chose a destination a lot of rudderless kids like to visit.  It might as well have been Goa, Tulum, Koh Tao or Maui, but he chose Costa Rica.  A friend of his, a good guy, was backpacking there, and invited him to come to the hostel.  I told Max we would pay for the flight, and the first week, but if he wanted to stay longer, he had to get a job and support himself.  We honestly didn’t know what to expect, but it felt like a last shot for him. 

He loved the first week there, and indeed got a job working at one of the hostels (in exchange for room and board).  But after the honeymoon was over (and eventually, the honeymoon is always over), reality set in.  His anxiety set in, and his depression set in.  At the darkest point, he almost called it.  And there was nothing we could do about it.  Even if we weren’t 5,000 miles away there was nothing we could do about it. 

But, for some reason, he decided not to.  Max decided to stay in the game.

We later learned the reason.  He’d found an eight-week old puppy roaming the streets of Santa Teresa.  The dog had been abused, was eating scraps from trash heaps, and was terrified of people.  But Max and the dog, which he named “Chica”, connected with each other.  Max and Chica became inseparable.  

Max, who by then was 19 years old, started to realize he had something to offer.  Chica needed help, and Max was there to provide it.  Max started doing adult things, like earning and saving money so that he could take Chica to the vet for check-ups and vaccinations.  And Chica started getting healthy.  And Max started getting healthy.  I could hear it in his voice when he would call.  There was an excitement about life and the future that I hadn’t heard since he was 14 years old. He was starting to get his groove back.

On one of those phone calls he said to me “Dad, I think I’m ready to leave Costa Rica.”  Then he continued “and while I miss you guys, I don’t think I should come back to London”.  “I want to go somewhere where I won’t be tempted by my old habits, but where I can feel at home, and restart everything,” he said.  “Somewhere like Georgia or Indiana.” 

He said “Georgia or Indiana” because he was vaguely familiar with both.  I grew up in Indiana, and then moved to Atlanta, where I lived for several years, and ultimately met my wife, Max’s mom.  I told him that either Georgia or Indiana would be a wonderful idea, and that there were great people in both places.  I mentioned that I would be comfortable knowing that my old buddies in the ATL would be around just in case he needed a backstop; and that back in Indiana, he’d of course have his grandparents and uncle there for support as well.

So he chose Indianapolis.  My wife and the other kids flew over to help get him settled into a new apartment downtown, and they got to meet Chica.  And before we knew it, Max was working a full-time job, and not doing any of the bad stuff he used to do. He still had his demons (these kids always have them - heck we all have ‘em – they just learn to manage them), and things were by no means perfect yet.  But he could work through the anxiety, and work through the depression, because he had responsibilities now.  He had Chica. 

On his own in Costa Rica, Max had figured out how to get Chica into the US, and convinced someone at American Airlines to let her fly on his lap, because they wouldn’t let dogs fly in the hold due to the heat.  Thereafter, he and Chica settled in to their little apartment downtown near the White River canal, and each of them began their new life, together.  Max had saved Chica.  And Chica had saved Max.

One afternoon three months later, when Max was walking Chica, she saw something she hadn’t seen in Costa Rica.  It was a squirrel, and before Max could stop her, Chica chased that squirrel straight out onto Indiana Avenue.  Right in front of a speeding car.

The car ran over Chica.  My son screamed.  In that brief moment everything that Max had worked for, everything he had overcome, everything that he was living for, was gone. 

But the blow didn’t kill the dog.  The driver that hit her sped off and left Chica half-dead and crying in the road.  But the next car did stop.  It was a young black kid.  A young black kid who saw a young white kid on his knees in the middle of downtown Indianapolis.  His name was Kenny.  He opened his door, got out of his car, walked up to my son, and said “hey, I got you”.  He then walked Max out to the middle of Indiana Avenue and they picked up a bloody Chica and loaded her into Kenny’s car. 

Turns out that Kenny had just moved to Indiana, and had grown up down in Georgia.  He had been traveling around a bit, and had recently lost his job up north.  He subsequently found an offer for a temporary position down in Indianapolis, and had just started work there.  He was apprenticing at his new shop, and was hoping to be made a permanent employee.  Kenny was just 21.

But none of that mattered to Kenny at the moment.  What mattered to Kenny was Chica and my son Max.  So Kenny looked up a vet clinic on his phone, and took Max and Chica there.  The vet said without surgery, Chica would die, but the vet wasn’t a surgeon, and they needed to go somewhere else. 

Luckily Kenny had stayed. Kenny was there by Max’s side, like a big brother, and this wonderful young man then took Max and Chica to another vet, one that could do the surgery. 

The vet did the surgery.  It worked.  Chica lived.  Her pelvis was broken, but over the next six months Max nursed her back to health.   

Without Kenny, none of this would have happened. 

Kenny even stayed in touch with Max afterward.  He would text and see how Chica was doing, and how Max was doing.  This last Thanksgiving, about one year since the incident, Kenny even got some tickets to go see the Colts play, and asked Max if he would like to come, and then took him out to dinner afterward.

Max is doing great now.  He’s been working full-time, got super healthy, started running marathons, and is now on the good path.  These were his choices, they had to be, and he did it.  But it almost didn’t turn out this way.  Kenny made sure he stayed on that path.

This guy Kenny, I want to reach out and give him the biggest hug he ever got.  I want to tell him that he is special.  I want to thank him for saving Chica’s life.  I want to thank him for saving my son’s.

Oh, and as a follow-up.  We got some news about Kenny this past week.  It’s some really good news. 

Kenny not only got that job offer, he just got a nice long contract along with it.  Kenny Moore, from Valdosta, Georgia, just signed a four-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts to be the highest paid slot cornerback in the NFL, in a deal that is going to pay him at least $30 million over the next four years.

Good things happen to good people. 

Kenny stayed in the game too.

Published:6/18/2019 8:15:16 PM
[Entertainment] Jennifer Morrison Joins This Is Us Season 4 Jennifer MorrisonOnce upon a time, This Is Us got a brand new cast member. E! News can confirm that Jennifer Morrison is joining This Is Us season four in a recurring guest star role, about which, of...
Published:6/18/2019 8:15:16 PM
[Entertainment] Santana pays tribute to Africa with new album Carlos Santana talks about Santana's new album and the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. (June 18)
      
Published:6/18/2019 7:42:14 PM
[The Blog] The Atlantic: Sure looks like MH-370 disappearance was pilot suicide

Bread crumbs.

The post The Atlantic: Sure looks like MH-370 disappearance was pilot suicide appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 7:42:14 PM
[worldNews] Xi says China backs North Korean efforts to solve Korea Peninsula issue: Rodong Sinmun Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an op-ed in North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday that China supports North Korea's "correct direction" in resolving the issue of the Korean Peninsula politically.
Published:6/18/2019 7:42:14 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] President Trump Launches Re-Election Campaign (John Hinderaker) I suspect that President Trump is tired of seeing mediocrities and nonentities garnering publicity as they vie for the Democratic presidential nomination, and has decided to claim his outsized share of the spotlight. In any event, he has chosen to officially launch his 2020 presidential campaign tonight in Orlando. Of course Trump’s launch has drawn enthusiasm that dwarfs anything on the Democratic side: Thousands of people are already lined up Published:6/18/2019 7:42:14 PM
[US News] Rep. Jerry Nadler apparently didn’t get that AOC’s concentration camp tweet referred to the Boer War

Rep. Jerry Nadler didn't get the memo that AOC wasn't comparing the Holocaust to the border crisis.

The post Rep. Jerry Nadler apparently didn’t get that AOC’s concentration camp tweet referred to the Boer War appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 7:42:14 PM
[Markets] $1 Billion Worth Of Cocaine Seized At Philadelphia Port

Several thousand traders on Wall Street may be extra jittery tomorrow when the FOMC announcement hits at 2:00pm. The reason: shipping containers full of illegal drugs - mostly blow - were found and seized at a Philadelphia port in what authorities described as the largest seizure in the region's history. Back in March we reported by what at a time seemed like a giant haul when a ton and a half of cocaine seized at the port of New York and New Kersey, in what was described as the biggest bust of the century; in retrospect it was peanuts - the Philly seizure was about ten times greater.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said the ship contained enough cocaine to "kill millions of people"... but not before giving them a good old time, and making trading tomorrow's FOMC decision far easier.

A law enforcement official told NBC Philadelphia that more than 15,500 kilos of cocaine were found in seven containers, which were found aboard a cargo ship, the MSC Gayane, that previously stopped in Colombia, Chile, Panama and the Bahama, in other words virtually every known country exporting blow so finding the culprit may be tricky.

The massive cache of drugs, which will send Wall Street blow prices through the roof, has a street value of $1 billion, the U.S. Attorney's Office also tweeted. The office characterized the seizure as the largest in the Philadelphia region's history.

At least two crew members of the Gayane have been charged with trafficking, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Other crew members were also allegedly involved, the complaint charges. Those arrested were charged with federal drug trafficking charges, the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania said; they allegedly pulled the drugs aboard while at sea, the complaint said.

NBC10 reported that the bust occurred at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal Port on the Delaware River in South Philadelphia.  After a stop in Philadelphia, the ship was scheduled to stop at ports of call in Europe, including in France and The Netherlands.

Some more details: the Gayane was built in 2018 and flies a flag of the African country of Liberia, according to shipping records. It moored in Philadelphia at 5 a.m., Monday, the records show. The records show that the Gayane's previous stops included Freeport, the Bahamas on June 13, Cristobal, Panama on June 9, Cristobal, Panama, on May 24 and Buenaventura, Colombia, on May 19.

In a statement posted to its website Tuesday afternoon, MSC - which is short for Mediterrean Shipping Company, with headquarters in Europe and U.S. operations based in several American cities - said the company "is aware of reports of an incident at the Port of Philadelphia in which U.S. authorities made a seizure of illicit cargo. MSC takes this matter very seriously and is grateful to the authorities for identifying any suspected abuse of its services."

"Unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems. MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking and works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection," the statement said.

Officials with Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration are involved in the investigation, which one official described as "massive."

The ship's second mate, identified as Ivan Durasevic, allegedly admitted to "his role in bringing the cocaine onboard the vessel," the federal complaint said. He is probably facing several consecutive life sentences. Upon leaving Peru on this current voyage, he got a call from the Chief Officer to come down to the deck, at which time he saw nets on the port side stern by the ship's crane," the complaint said. "Durasevic and approximately four other individuals, some of whom were wearing ski masks, assisted in the pushing of the nets toward Hold Seven or Eight of the vessel."

He said, according to the complaint, that he was paid $50,000 by the chief officer, who has not been identified.

Another crew member, identified as Fonofaavae Tiasaga, also allegedly admitted to partaking in loading cocaine on the ship, including on a previous voyage, the complaint said.

"Prior to departing on the voyage, the ship's Electrician and the Chief Mate also approach Tiasaga and asked if he was willing to help again," the complaint states. "According to Tiasaga, each of these four crewmembers coordinated individual loads of cocaine."

At least twice while the ship was en route between stops in Chile and Panama, numerous smaller boats approached the Gayane at sea to hand off large bundles of cocaine, the complaint said according to NBC10.

None of the crew other than Durasevic and Tiasaga have been identified; although a "Keyser Soze" is not expected to be on the manifest.

Published:6/18/2019 7:42:14 PM
[The Blog] Livestream: Trump launches 2020 reelection campaign in Orlando at 8 p.m. ET

2.0.

The post Livestream: Trump launches 2020 reelection campaign in Orlando at 8 p.m. ET appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 7:09:52 PM
[Politics] Report: SC Dem Convention Shuts Out All But MSNBC Squeezing out CNN, C-SPAN, and Fox at an event where 21 presidential candidates are expected to speak, only MSNBC is being allowed to deliver live coverage of South Carolina's Democratic convention Saturday, according to the Washington Examiner. Published:6/18/2019 7:09:52 PM
[Ilhan Omar] Does Omar Need an English Lesson? (John Hinderaker) Nancy Pelosi has suggested that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is not fully responsible for her own statements because she has a “different experience in the use of words.” It’s possible, although Omar has lived in the U.S. since she was 13. In any event, she seemingly does not know the meaning of the word “alien.” She tweeted today in response to President Trump: No one is an "alien." This is family Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[worldNews] UK PM candidate Johnson: Britain must leave EU by Oct. 31 or pay the price Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to be Britain's prime minister, repeated his pledge on Tuesday that he would take the United Kingdom out of the European Union by Oct. 31, saying otherwise the government would face a catastrophic loss in trust.
Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[US News] IT’S LIT: President Trump reportedly planning to live-tweet Democratic debates

Now we want a split screen with the debate on one half and President Trump live on the other half.

The post IT’S LIT: President Trump reportedly planning to live-tweet Democratic debates appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[Entertainment] Carlos Santana pays tribute to Africa with new album Carlos Santana talks about Santana's new album and the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. (June 18)
      
Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[9bc46b1f-82ef-52f3-8cc0-8f006b936578] Tom Homan: Trump is right to order illegal immigrants deported – Dems didn’t complain when Obama did it I’ve been pushing for months for ICE to conduct a nationwide deportation operation of illegal immigrants like the one the president has announced, to include family units that have been given their due process rights at great taxpayer expense and have been ordered removed by a federal judge. Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[Markets] Illinois Farmers Have "Given Up" On Planting

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Farmers in Illinois whose land has been thrashed by flooding have given up on planting.  Instead of growing food, they decided to throw a party. And who could blame them?

The storms that have caused major flooding in Illinois have forced farmers to give up on their crops. Forecasts for even more rain also sent corn futures to a 5-year-high, bringing the food crisis ever closer to reality. Few farmers will even see a benefit from the higher prices because they can’t even get their corn planted in the ground.

Dozens of corn farmers and those who sell them seed, chemicals, and equipment gathered on Thursday at the restaurant in Deer Grove, Illinois, after heavy rains caused unprecedented delays in planting this year and contributed to record floods across the central United States, according to a report by Reuters. Rather than focus on the abysmal farming year, they decided to party instead.

The storms have left millions of acres unseeded in the $51 billion U.S. corn market and put crops that were planted late at a greater risk for damage from severe weather during the growing season. Together, the problems heap more pain on a farm sectorthat has suffered from years of low crop prices and a U.S.-China trade war that is slowing agricultural exports.

“It’s A Disaster Like I’ve Never Seen Before”: 2019 Could Be The Worst Year EVER For U.S. Corn Farmers

James McCune, a farmer from Mineral, Illinois, was unable to plant 85% of his intended corn acres and wanted to commiserate with his fellow farmers by hosting the “Prevent Plant Party” at The Happy Spot. He invited them to swap stories while tucking into fried chicken and a keg of beer in Deer Grove, a village of about 50 people located 120 miles (193 km) west of Chicago. –Reuters

Regardless of the news, it isn’t looking good for farmers in America. Already dealing with the political ramifications of the trade warbankruptcies and suicides at record levels, farmers are now devastated by destructive weather. All things considered, farmers are expected to harvest the smallest corn crop in four years nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency last week reduced its planting estimate by 3.2% from May and its yield estimate by 5.7%. Farmers think more cuts are likely as the late-planted crop could face damage from hot summer weather and an autumn frost.

Because of the flooding and problems in the farming sector, there’s no time like the present to learn to grow your own food. It’s a vital skill when preparing for any catastrophe.

Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[] Former GOPe Official and Bill Kristol Confederate David Jolly: I Know a School Shooter When I See One, and I See One In... Kyle KushavPlus: Trump and Pence Kickoff Reelection Campaign in Orando Quick, let's give these Quislings and traitors control of the party back before they get so mad they refuse to take it! Reacting to Harvard's decision to pull Parkland shooting survivor and right-wing pundit Kyle Kashuv's admission over past racial... Published:6/18/2019 7:09:51 PM
[World] Democratic presidential 2020 hopefuls are the goofiest collection of mediocrities ever assembled

Last week I suggested that convicted felons would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination this year. Well, now it looks like that will not be the case.

Crazy Bernie suggested a few weeks back that sex offenders and the Marathon bombers should be free to vote, and what is ... Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM

[The Blog] Did two Justices just signal they’re ready to overturn Roe v Wade?

"When faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent, my rule is simple: We should not follow it."

The post Did two Justices just signal they’re ready to overturn Roe v Wade? appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[worldNews] U.S. seizes 16.5 tons of cocaine from ship in Philadelphia Federal authorities seized 16.5 tons of cocaine worth more than $1 billion from a ship in Philadelphia in one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.
Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[Uncategorized] REPORT: Trump to Live-Tweet First Democrat Debate Trump has mastered the art of flipping the news cycle on end with a single tweet. Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[US News] ‘Never forget’: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says we must remember how Brett Kavanaugh lied his way onto the court

Sheldon Whitehouse is still combing through Brett Kavanaugh's high school yearbook every night.

The post ‘Never forget’: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says we must remember how Brett Kavanaugh lied his way onto the court appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[Markets] Scientists Warn "Geoengineering" Could Start WW3

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Scientists are warning that plans to “hack the Earth’s weather” could result in a third world war. If some countries take to the destruction of the Earth in the name of “climate change,” war could break out.

Although most elitists are in favor of geoengineering, which involves manipulating the atmosphere by blocking sunlight or isolating excess carbon, weather hacking in one region could have negative impacts in another and lead to global conflict,according to scientists. However, the United States has been using geoengineering unbeknownst to the masses for quite some time.

Scientists are now more concerned about “solar” geoengineering than the damages already done.  Solar geoengineering refers to the attempts to block the sunlight with chemicals in order to try to cool down the globe. Solar geoengineering would involve spraying chemicals and/or heavy metals into the air that would block some of the sunlight. When speaking on the sun blocking topic, geoengineering researcher Juan Moreno-Cruz told Business Insider“The threat of war never is out of the question.”

Andrea Flossmann, a scientist at the World Meteorological Organization, explained in a WMO report: “The atmosphere has no walls. What you add may not have the desired effect in your vicinity, but by being transported along might have undesired effects elsewhere.” According to Fox News, Earth’s temperatures are set to soar to dangerous levels so a lot of scientists think the unknown consequences of geoengineering are worth the risk.

Once upon a time, all over the world, we saw fluffy white clouds in a blue sky. Today we see white lines and streaks, and many of us, in many countries, live under a layer of white haze. Children no longer know what real clouds look like, as the three basic cloud types are no longer seen. -No Natural Weather: Introduction to Geoengineering 101

The worst-case scenario is that Earth’s atmospheric chemistry is irreversibly altered and causes freak weather conditions like monsoons, hurricanes, and heat waves that could kill thousands and increase global tensions. Of course, we are already living through that now thanks to the unnatural geoengineering going on already.

Dane Wigington runs the website Geoengineering Watch.org and has compiled a massive amount of data on the harm and damages geoengineering or “chemtrails” have done to the Earth.

“Stand back and consider: You can’t breathe without inhaling these [metal] particulates [used to reflect the sun’s rays]. They are completely saturating the air column. I assure you, this is building up in all of us. Lab tests prove this with hair, blood and urine . . . they are building up in all of us. Not only is it right here, right now, toxifying every breath we take, it is decimating the earth life support system, the protective layers of the atmosphere and the ozone layer. This is an all-out assault against life. This is being used as a weapon. These programs are not benevolent. In addition to being used as a weapon, climate engineering is being used to mask, and this is very important, it is being used to mask the full severity of climate collapse from the population by confusing and dividing people. . . . They are going to keep covering this up until the last possible moment.” –Dane Wigington

Visit Geoengineering Watch.org for more information on the ongoing efforts by governments to alter the weather.

Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[World] The Try Guys try becoming authors with new 'self-deprecating self-help' book The Try Guys show that there is power and humor in failing with their debut book, "The Hidden Power of F*cking Up."
      
Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[18a07661-972d-5d21-9ba1-efc3763a493a] Gutfeld on Trump’s upcoming rally The Trump re-election campaign kicks off Tuesday night in Orlando. By now, you know what to expect... Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[storytype:standard] MH370 pilot was 'lonely and sad' and may have 'crashed plane' in murder-suicide Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[Apps] The real risk of Facebook’s Libra coin is crooked developers   Everyone’s worred about Mark Zuckerberg controlling the next currency, but I’m more concerned about a crypto Cambridge Analytica. Today Facebook announced Libra, its forthcoming stablecoin designed to let you shop and send money overseas with almost zero transaction fees. Immediately, critics started harping about the dangers of centralizing control of tomorrow’s money in the […] Published:6/18/2019 6:39:12 PM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE: Trump’s big re-election rally tonight in Orlando [MULTIPLE LIVE STREAMS] Tonight is Trump’s big re-election kick-off rally in Orlando, Florida and it should be a spectacle. The arena will hold somewhere upwards of 25,000 and there should be thousands outside watching on . . . Published:6/18/2019 6:09:24 PM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE: Trump’s big re-election rally tonight in Orlando [MULTIPLE LIVE STREAMS] Tonight is Trump’s big re-election kick-off rally in Orlando, Florida and it should be a spectacle. The arena will hold somewhere upwards of 25,000 and there should be thousands outside watching on . . . Published:6/18/2019 6:09:24 PM
[Markets] The New York Post: Trump refuses to apologize to Central Park Five President Donald Trump on Tuesday refused to apologize to the Central Park Five — asserting that “they admitted their guilt” and that there are “people on both sides” of the question of their innocence.
Published:6/18/2019 6:09:24 PM
[54f5fe32-0a46-5efe-9bc7-8a2b48e62d22] Bella Throne slams Whoopi Goldberg for blaming her in hacking of nude photos Bella Thorne broke down in tears on social media while talking to her fans.  Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[Entertainment] The Try Guys talk about their new book, their tour, failure and coming out YouTube foursome The Try Guys have a new book called "The Hidden Power of F*cking Up," and they want all of us to go big when it comes to failure.
      
Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[US News] Can’t stop, won’t stop: AOC tripling down on her ‘concentration camps’ BS is proof that ‘we live in post-truth times’ [video]

"Stop lying, you socialist moron!"

The post Can’t stop, won’t stop: AOC tripling down on her ‘concentration camps’ BS is proof that ‘we live in post-truth times’ [video] appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[topics:things/scientific-research] Just one day of work a week is enough to give a mental health boost, Cambridge University finds    Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[Markets] JP Morgan: Forget About Auto Sales Rebounding In The Second Half Of 2019

In a new note out early this week, J.P. Morgan has shot down the idea of a second half resurgence in the automotive sector that many had expected would be the turning point for the industry, which is now mired in recession.

"We see a challenging 2H ahead of us, possibly seeing signs of a flattish market vs the previously expected H2 recovery at the beginning of the year," the bank said. 

Even worse is that the note took down estimates out of China for the second half of the year. The largest auto market in the world has been helping spearhead the global automobile recession after once being looked at as the potential solution to the slowdown. JP Morgan commented:

"We take down our production forecast for the Chinese car market from -6% to -9% in FY19 in the light of a) feedback from our Asia autos field trip; b) the latest May production data points; and c) discussions with suppliers at our conference."

Recall, we noted less than a week ago that China had just posted its worst auto sales month ever. 

The data showed a decline of 16.4% for May, following a decline of 14.6% in April and 5.2% in March. It was the sharpest decline ever for China's auto industry. 

Xu Haidong, CAAM’s assistant secretary general ignored the fact that his country was in the midst of a trade war and instead told Reuters: "One key reason for the drop was provinces implementing 'China VI' vehicle emission standards earlier than the central government’s 2020 deadline, stoking uncertainty among manufacturers."

Or, the same reason Europe has been using to explain away its own automotive depression recession.

"We gave the manufacturers too little time to prepare," he continued, also noting that May's drop in demand was attributable to a "decline in purchasing power in the low-to-middle income groups as well as expectations of government stimulus to encourage purchases."

May's drop now marks an entire year of falling sales. The last time China saw retail auto sales rise was back in May 2018. And so, it is looking like a bloated and overextended global auto market will no longer be able to turn to China for reliable growth, as they have done since the 1990s.

This has some automakers delaying expansion plans into China, while others execute global layoffs and restructurings. For example, we reported last month that there had been 38,000 layoffs across the industry over the last 6 months.

The future turned even gloomier when outgoing Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said last month that "sweeping cost reductions" are coming to prepare for what he is calling "unprecedented" industry disruption.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy said at the same time: “The industry is right now staring down the barrel of what we think is going to be a significant downturn. The pace of decline in China is a real surprise.”

Bank of America had also commented  that "the auto cycle has peaked" in a note put out several weeks ago. 

Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[World] Cannabis Watch: How a marijuana-software company became the first of its kind to list its stock on Nasdaq To accomplish the feat of becoming the first cannabis-related software stock to list on the Nasdaq, MJ Freeway Chief Executive Jessica Billingsley opted to employ a creative strategy.
Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[] LOLGF'd: Soyboy Betas and Femcel Thick-Fingered Goblins Shriek Over Shaft Sequel for Its "Toxic Masculinity" and For Laughing at Millennials and Woke Sissies I've never wanted to see a movie more.... Published:6/18/2019 6:09:23 PM
[Politics] MSNBC Host: Trump Not Above Going to War to Stay in Office

The post MSNBC Host: Trump Not Above Going to War to Stay in Office appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[Economy] Why a Bigger Social Security Program Would Make Us Worse Off

The truth is unavoidable: Social Security is insolvent. It’s set to run out of money to pay scheduled benefits in about 15 years, barring action... Read More

The post Why a Bigger Social Security Program Would Make Us Worse Off appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[eec196d3-9960-547c-ad1a-942ed67e8728] 'The View' slams Kyle Kashuv over offensive texts: 'He could go to Trump University' "The View" co-hosts ripped Parkland student Kyle Kashuv for racist, misogynist, and anti-Semitic texts he wrote in a chatroom when he was 16 that led Harvard University to rescind his acceptance. Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[Politics] Joe Biden Makes Surprise Stop at NYC's Stonewall Inn Former Vice President Joe Biden showed up unexpectedly Tuesday at the New York City landmark Stonewall Inn alongside his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[General] ‘Make eugenics great again?’ Blue-checked ‘secular humanist’ and doctor declares that people ‘with bad genes’ shouldn’t be allowed to procreate

"Just when I thought I hit the rocky bottom of today’s crazy, the internet throws me a shovel."

The post ‘Make eugenics great again?’ Blue-checked ‘secular humanist’ and doctor declares that people ‘with bad genes’ shouldn’t be allowed to procreate appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[Entertainment] Teen Mom Star Javi Marroquin Is Engaged: ''I Can't Believe I'm This Lucky'' Javi MarroquinJavi Marroquin is ready for the next step in his relationship. The Teen Mom 2 star announced the exciting and special engagement news on Tuesday with his 1.8 million Instagram followers....
Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[World] States can manage their own environment, and they're better at it than the federal government

There's a dividing line cutting the United States in half. No, I'm not talking about the Mississippi river, or the Appalachian Mountains or one of the continental divides. I'm talking about a policy divide between the Western states and the Eastern states. The difference is land management. The Western states ... Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM

[Markets] "Bums, Get A Job!": Instagram Influencer Couple Slammed After Begging For $11,000 For A Vacation

A German couple that was using Instagram to try and solicit money for a trip to Africa, is being slammed and ridiculed by the Internet.  Cat and Elena of the Instagram account Another Beautiful Day have requested more than $11,000 to help them go on a "huge adventure" to Africa starting in late July. According to the GoFundMe account that they set up, the couple is planning on tandem cycling from the "middle of Germany" toward "Africa and hopefully beyond".

Sounds totally reasonable. 

The couple didn’t give specific destinations for their journey and told people reading their GoFundMe page: “We want to take you all on this huge adventure. A celebration of life, as we ride freely across mountains, by the sea and through metropolitans. We will show the beauty of this planet and its inhabitants, but also the ugliness.”

They said the money raised from the GoFundMe would go towards a tandem bike and food, accommodations, Internet, insurance, and to cover for emergencies. The couple stated: “We hope you all enjoy and learn with us. Together we can make a difference.”

But since the post went up, it has become clear that the internet does not want to "make a difference", nor do they want to "enjoy and learn" with the couple. Instead, the Internet has done what is does best: ridiculed them mercilessly and suggested that they "get a job".

One Instagram commentator wrote:

"When ever I start to feel bad about myself I’ll think back to those 2 wanker Instagram influencers who asked their followers for money for a holiday."

“Or you could tell people to save their money up and go and have the experiences themselves not ‘through you’. Total liberty!” another wrote on Instagram.

Another comment stated:

 “You want people to fund your lifestyle lol. Pathetic. Get jobs and support yourselves. You narcissistic cretins. You’re not even raising money for a good cause. You’re literally asking people to fund your holiday wtf. What a waste of life you are.”

After the tongue lashing, which you can view in full (or participate in) here, Cat posted: "Some people are quick to judge and speak. At this very moment we don’t have much, we are accepting money from my mother and also donations but we don’t hide that. This situation is teaching us a lot." He commented that the couple had "courage" to ask for, and accept, help. 

This only led to more ridicule. Commenters wrote:

  • “Wow , don’t you feel ashamed to be such a burden on your mother that is working 2 jobs to support both of your lavish fantasy’s … she already sacrificed so much raising you and providing for you , at that age you should be taking off burdens of her not adding to it.” 

  • “Get a couple of jobs and support yourselves!” 

  • “Posting your holiday photos to Instagram isn’t changing the world, it’s purely increasing your already inflated sense of self-worth. If you want to plan an epic trip, get a job and earn the money yourselves. No more handouts from Mummy (who is currently working 2 jobs while you post selfies for a living) or expecting strangers to maintain your lifestyle. Time to enter the real world.”

Cat has now posted that the couple will be taking a 30 day break from social media to do some "soul-searching". 

Good luck with that, let us know if anything turns up. 

Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[Markets] Personal Finance Daily: Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra may be a red line some people will refuse to cross and the novel case Juul is making against Chinese tariffs Tuesday’s top personal finance stories
Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[worldNews] UK's Corbyn to back second Brexit referendum: The Times British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will back a move on Wednesday for Labour party to change its Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances, The Times reported, citing a senior Labour source.
Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[The Blog] Former GOP congressman: Kyle Kashuv’s racist online posts remind me of something … a school shooter would write

Good lord.

The post Former GOP congressman: Kyle Kashuv’s racist online posts remind me of something … a school shooter would write appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[BDSM] NXIVM Trial: How to Defend a Sex Cult-Leading, Slave-Owning Monster Start by saying "social group" instead of "sex cult." Published:6/18/2019 5:37:29 PM
[Entertainment] Stranger Things 3 Is a Lot of Love, and Intensified, But the Love Is Not Intensified, OK? Stranger ThingsStranger Things season three is going to be intensified, and it's going to have a lot of love, but do not mistakenly think those two things are related. E! News' Tamara Dhia...
Published:6/18/2019 5:08:56 PM
[Politics] Media Members Defend Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Concentration Camp’ Remarks

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D., N.Y.) claim the Trump administration was running "concentration camps" on its southern border was defended by several historians and members of the press on Twitter.

The post Media Members Defend Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Concentration Camp’ Remarks appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 5:08:56 PM
[Politics] Schumer to McConnell: 'Irresponsible' to Avoid Election Security Legislation Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had strong words for his Republican colleague Tuesday as he called for the Senate to take on election security legislation. Published:6/18/2019 5:08:56 PM
[topics:things/scientific-research] Just one in five women at risk of breast cancer know alcohol increases the danger Published:6/18/2019 5:08:56 PM
[Politics] Kyle Kashuv RESPONDS to MSNBC idiot who compared him to Parkland mass murderer Earlier today an idiot former Republican-turned-Independent actually compared Kyle Kashuv to the Parkland mass murderer over the comments he made when he was 16-years-old: Here’s more from Free Beacon: MSNBC contributor David . . . Published:6/18/2019 5:08:56 PM
[Politics] Kyle Kashuv RESPONDS to MSNBC idiot who compared him to Parkland mass murderer Earlier today an idiot former Republican-turned-Independent actually compared Kyle Kashuv to the Parkland mass murderer over the comments he made when he was 16-years-old: Here’s more from Free Beacon: MSNBC contributor David . . . Published:6/18/2019 5:08:56 PM
[worldNews] Rockets land near Iraqi base hosting U.S. personnel in Mosul: sources A rocket landed near an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. forces in the northern city of Mosul late on Tuesday, an Iraqi military statement said, the second such incident in two days.
Published:6/18/2019 5:08:55 PM
[Iran] How to respond to “the pirates of Iran” (Paul Mirengoff) I divide the Never Trumpers into two groups. Members of the first group adhere to the conservative views they held pre-Trump. Members of the second group have allowed their hatred of the president to infect their thinking on substantive issues. In my view, only the former are worthy of respect. Bret Stephens belongs to the first group. In this column for the New York Times, he basically backs the Trump Published:6/18/2019 5:08:55 PM
[Media] Jaw, meet floor: GQ correspondent and ‘actual Jew’ Julia Ioffe’s attempt to cover for AOC is one seriously sickening spectacle

"Imagine finding yourself defending slanderous and contemptuous words of a historically illiterate buffoon because you share the same political ideology anchored in the basis of 'Orange man bad.'"

The post Jaw, meet floor: GQ correspondent and ‘actual Jew’ Julia Ioffe’s attempt to cover for AOC is one seriously sickening spectacle appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 5:08:55 PM
[Markets] 25% Of Americans Are "Worse Off" Than They Were Before The Great Recession

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

For many, the economic recovery being touted by the mainstream media has not yet affected them. About 25% of Americans say that a decade after the housing bust that caused the Great Recession, they are doing worse. Almost half of Americans are not doing any better at all too.

If you believe the mainstream media, the economy is robust and the unemployment rate is at a 49-year-low. But not all Americans have recovered from the Great Recession.  According to a new survey from Bankrate of about 3,000 Americans, 23% of people who were adults when the recession started in December 2007 say they are now financially worse off than they were before the recession hit. That percentage amounts to just under 50 million Americans. Another 25% say they are doing the “same.” In all, just over half believe their “overall finances” are better than before.

“Americans were and continue to be in a degree of denial of the financial crisis and Great Recession,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst according to a report by Yahoo Finance. “One of the constant themes that presents itself in the data is that Americans are still digging out in many ways from that experience.”

“While some have managed to prosper in the decade since, there are still tens of millions who are struggling to even get back to where they were before the economy took a turn for the worse,” added Hamrick.

Could that mean that the economy is not all that robust? We certainly think so. But speaking the truth is a revolutionary act in times of deceit.

When asked about their salaries, less than half of the respondents said their wages were better than before, while more than a third say that it is worse. But if you’re a millennial (29-38) you’re in luck: Only 16% of this demographic who were adults during the Great Recession say their pay is worse now. That’s compared to 26% of baby boomers (aged 55-73). “If you take this data at face value — where less than half of the adult population say that their pay is better — and most indicate it is not better, that tells you enough and raises enough of a question about the true improvement that Americans have experienced,” Hamrick said.

But some have been questioning this economy for a while now.  It is heavilymanipulated by the Federal Reserve and the government is doing nothing to prevent the devaluation of the dollar or inflation. For this reason, we have taken to suggesting financial preparation as incredibly important to consider at this time.  Storing food and water will always be good ideas, however, we should take the time to get our finances straightened out as well. There are several ways to go about it, but an easy to follow plan is Dave Ramsey’s “baby steps.” He suggests paying down your debts and has often said he “hates debt more than anyone.”

Published:6/18/2019 5:08:55 PM
[] Rachel Maddow Is Love-Bombing the New York Times -- Mentioning Them Positively 18 Times in a Single 45 Minute Hour Long Show -- To Get Them to Let Their Reporters Come On Her Crooked Conspiracy-Theory Showcase Again Sad! In the wake of the New York Times barring reporters from going on her conspiracy-theory cavalcade, she's teleflirting with them like crazy. From FoxNews: Maddow -- and occasional fill-in hosts -- have mentioned the New York Times at least... Published:6/18/2019 5:08:55 PM
[worldNews] Trump creates doubt over use of U.S. force to protect Gulf oil U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Published:6/18/2019 4:37:34 PM
[Columnists] What’s Lost in College

When assessing America’s or any of the Western world’s universities—wondering whether you should send your child to one; whether you should pay for a child... Read More

The post What’s Lost in College appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Gadgets] This $99 AirPower knockoff is available for order now There are a number of key differences between Apple’s AirPower and lookalike knockoff, AirUnleashed. The most pertinent one, however, is that one of the two is actually available for purchase. Apple gave up the AirPower ghost back in March, after having gone silent on the product for some time, citing an inability to “achieve [its] […] Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Markets] The Dow Surged to Price In the Trump-Xi Trade Talks, and a Dovish Fed President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China will meet at the G-20 next week, boosting hopes a trade deal can be nailed down eventually. Investors were also awaiting the Fed’s interest-rate decision on Wednesday for signs the central bank could cut rates this year. Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Issues] Unsuccessful Dallas Shooter Was Met With Armed Resistance

An active shooter who opened fire on a federal courthouse in Dallas, Texas, is dead after meeting immediate armed resistance from law enforcement officials on Monday.

The post Unsuccessful Dallas Shooter Was Met With Armed Resistance appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Media] ‘This looks actionable’: The Young Turks’ tweet about Alex Jones is flat-out wrong

No, Alex Jones did not send child pornography to the Sandy Hook parents, or anyone.

The post ‘This looks actionable’: The Young Turks’ tweet about Alex Jones is flat-out wrong appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Politics] Trump: Will Likely Nominate Esper for Defense Secretary President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would likely nominate Mark Esper to be the secretary of defense, hours after he named Esper, the secretary of the Army, to replace Patrick Shanahan as acting defense secretary.Asked whether he would consider nominating Esper to be... Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Entertainment] Jersey Shore's Angelina Pivarnick Calls "Bulls--t" on Show's MTV Awards Loss Angelina Pivarnick, 2019 MTV Movie and TV AwardsJersey Shore star Angelina Pivarnick is sharing her reaction to the show's loss at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards. On Monday night, MTV aired the ceremony, during which Jersey...
Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[cliff mansions] U2’s The Edge Just Lost a Battle to Build His Tacky Malibu Dream Mansion Environmentalists railed against the idea of another mammoth home on the California coast. Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[topics:people/donald-trump] Donald Trump begins 2020 campaign with pledge to begin deporting 'millions of illegal aliens' next week Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Entertainment] See Royal Ascot's best wacky hats of 2019. Who needs horses? Royal Ascot is famous for horse racing, royals and wild and crazy hats. See the chapeau lineup at Royal Ascot 2019.
      
Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[d3f5c9a4-dff5-5ade-af25-ff90d7793107] Rabbi Abraham Cooper: Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that US runs ‘concentration camps’ is absurd and insulting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claim Monday and Tuesday that that the U.S. government “is running concentration camps on our southern border” is obscene, shockingly ignorant, and an insult to the memory of the 6 million Jews and millions of others murdered by the Nazis. Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Markets] Maxine Waters Demands Facebook Stop All Development Of Libra Crypto Project

Who could have seen this coming?

Just hours after the announcement, and release of a white paper, of its new cyrpocurrency, called Libra, the US government has decided its time to intervene - likely for the good of us all.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, wrote a letter Tuesday to committee Chair Maxine Waters, a Democrat, demanding a hearing on the Facebook cryptocurrency initiative, according to Reuters.

" Unlike existing digital currencies, Facebook has a worldwide platform and scale that can impact global payments and the digital currency market..."

"We know there are many open questions as to the scope and scale of the project and how it will conform to our global financial regulatory framework...

It is incumbent upon us as policymakers to understand Project Libra. We need to go beyond the rumors and speculations and provide a forum to assess this project and its potential unprecedented impact on the global financial system", McHenry said in a letter, cited by Reuters.

Waters, not exactly known for her financial smarts, responded quickly by demanding that Facebook should halt development of its announced cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators conduct a review.

Reuters reports that Waters also said Facebook executives should testify before Congress about the product, dubbed Libra, saying the company has "repeatedly shown a disregard for the protection and careful use of this data."

"Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action," she said in a statement.

Waters and McHenry were not alone as Facebook's announcement was met with immediate backlash from regulators across the globe...

Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who also sits on Senate Banking Committee, expressed concern that through Libra, Facebook was using its scale in social networking to achieve dominance in adjacent markets like mobile payments.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called for more regulation of tech companies.

This instrument for transactions will allow Facebook to collect millions and millions of data, which strengthens my conviction that there is a need to regulate the digital giants,” he said in an interview on Europe 1 radio.

Reuters reports that Facebook has engaged with regulators in the United States and abroad about the planned cryptocurrency, company executives said. They would not specify which regulators. We suspect it will be a little while until Zuck's brave new world is unleashed.

Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[The Blog] NYT’s Brooks: Let’s face it, we drive traffic by writing “something nasty” about Trump

"What's it look like after Trump?"

The post NYT’s Brooks: Let’s face it, we drive traffic by writing “something nasty” about Trump appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 4:37:33 PM
[Entertainment] What Will the American Love Island Look Like? Love Island, CBSGet ready for more reality dating than you might even be able to handle. CBS is preparing to debut its version of the hit British dating show Love Island, which will air semi-live five...
Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[TC] Atlassian’s co-CEO Scott Farquhar will join us at TC Sessions: Enterprise Few companies have changed the way developers work as profoundly as Atlassian. Its tools like Jira and Confluence are ubiquitous and over the course of the last few years, the company has started to adapt many of them for wider enterprise usage outside of developer teams. To talk about Atlassian’s story from being a small […] Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Politics] N.C. Elections Board Sued for Withholding Noncitizen Voter Data

The North Carolina state board of elections has been hit with a lawsuit over its refusal to turn over noncitizen voter data.

The post N.C. Elections Board Sued for Withholding Noncitizen Voter Data appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Society] High School Girl Who Lost Race to Transgender Athletes Files Federal Complaint

A female high school athlete who didn’t qualify for a track event because two boys who identify as girls ran faster filed a complaint Monday... Read More

The post High School Girl Who Lost Race to Transgender Athletes Files Federal Complaint appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Markets] Trump Today: President sets ‘extended’ meeting with Xi as he rebukes Draghi over possible new stimulus President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he’d hold “extended” talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at next week’s G-20 summit, as he rebuked European Central Bank President Mario Draghi over a possible move to provide further monetary stimulus. Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Markets] Massive Embezzlement Scandal Threatens Juan Guaido's Political Future

Authored by Alexander Rubinstein via MintPressNews.com,

The big event that was supposed to be Guaido’s watershed moment has instead turned out to be a public-relations failure far worse than his quickly quelled attempted military coup...

The political party of Juan Guaido - Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) - was never all that popular to begin with. The sixth largest political party in Venezuela, Popular Will is heavily financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Now, a recently exposed embezzlement scandal in Colombia risks to further alienate the party from the Venezuelan people.

What was supposed to be Guaido’s watershed moment has instead turned out to be a public-relations failure far worse than his quickly quelled attempted military coup, which MintPress News reported caused even the New York Times to describe Guaido as “deflated.”

What happened in Colombia appears to be so damning that not only is the Colombian intelligence service leaking documents exposing wrongdoing by Popular Will representatives appointed by Guaido, but the Organization of American States (OAS) — which is typically just as pro-opposition as the Colombian government — has called for an investigation.

In a tweet issued June 14 at 10:47 p.m. Venezuela time, Guaido called on his ambassador to Colombia — whom he had shut out of the aid event — to formally request an investigation by Colombian authorities, whose already-existing investigation is the reason the story came out in the first place. That was more than four hours after Secretary General of the OAS Luis Almagro called for an investigation that would clarify the “serious charges,” identify those responsible and effectuate accountability.

But Guaido had already been well aware of the charges, having dismissed his appointees who appear to be ringleaders of the embezzlement scheme. According to the report, he was contacted by the journalist who exposed the scandal 30 days before the story was published.

What happened in Cúcuta isn’t staying in Cúcuta

There’s barely a peep about the scandal in the Western press. A Google News search for “Juan Guaido scandal” and “Popular Will scandal” turned up nothing of relevance at the time of this article’s writing. But on Latin America social media, everyone is buzzing about it. American journalist Dan Cohen appears to be the first to highlight the scandal to an English-speaking audience.

It started with a request from Juan Guaido to billionaire investor and regime-change enthusiastRichard Branson.

The stated purpose of the concert was to help raise funds for humanitarian aid and spotlight the economic crisis. At least that’s how it was billed to Americans. To Venezuela’s upper class, it was touted as the “trendiest concert of the decade.”

It was to be a congregation of the elite with the ostensible purpose of raising funds for the poor. One director of Popular Will told Vice News in 2014 that “the bulk of the opposition protesters are from the middle and upper classes and are led by Venezuela’s elite.” The class character of the opposition has not changed since.

Meanwhile, USAID was to coordinate the delivery of aid alongside Guaido; and Elliot Abrams, who in Guatemala used “humanitarian aid” as cover for the delivery of weapons into the country, is running the White House’s policies toward Venezuela. And so the aid was widely criticized, even by the International Red Cross, as politicized. By others, it was called a Trojan Horse.

The concert was held in Colombia across a bridge linking the country to Venezuela. International media had claimed Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro had the bridge shut down to prevent the delivery of aid, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that the “Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.” But the bridge, in fact, has never been opened for use.

Nonetheless, Richard Branson sought to raise $100 million and promised that Guiado “will be coming to the other side of the bridge with maybe a million of his supporters.” In the end, it was a little more than 200,000 who came.

Venezuelan singer Carlos Baute, left, gets ready to embrace Venezuela Aid Live concert organizer Sir Richard Branson, prior to the start of the concert on the Colombian side of the Tienditas International Bridge on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Feb. 22, 2019. Fernando Vergara | AP

Meanwhile, Guaido told the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, that more than 1,450 soldiers had defected from the military to join them. But that figure was also inflated. A new report by PanAmPress, a Miami-based libertarian newspaper, reveals that it was just 700. “You can count on your fingers the number of decent soldiers who are there,” one local told the outlet.

Despite the low turnout, organizers lived it up in Colombia. Representatives from Popular Will, which rejects the socialist leadership of Venezuela, found themselves living like socialites across the border.

There were earlier signs of excess and debauchery. One Popular Will representative was hospitalized and his assistant found dead after overdosing while taking drugs with prostitutes, although Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) claims they were poisoned.b

The inflated soldier count meant more funds for the organizers, who were charged with putting them up in hotel rooms. Guaido’s “army was small but at this point it had left a very bad impression in Cucuta. Prostitutes, alcohol, and violence. They demanded and demanded,” the report said. 

They also left a bad taste in the mouth of the authorities. The Colombian government was supposed to pay for some of the hotels, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was to cover the costs of others, while Guaido’s people were only going to pony up the cash for two of the seven hotels.

But Popular Will never paid, leaving one hotel with a debt of $20,000. When the situation became completely untenable, the hotel kicked 65 soldiers and their families to the curb. One soldier anonymously told the outlet that the party was not taking care of their financial needs as promised.

Guaido’s ambassador to Colombia took money out of his own pocket to try to resolve the dispute, but the check bounced.

The responsibility of taking care of the needs of the defectors went to Popular Will militants Rossana Barrera and Kevin Rojas, as decreed by Juan Guaido in a signed statement. They were also charged with overseeing the humanitarian aid.

Barrera is the sister-in-law of Popular Will member of Congress Sergio Vargara, Guaido’s right-hand man. She and Rojas were managing all the funds.

But the pair started to live well outside their means, a Colombian intelligence source told the outlet. “They gave me all the evidence,” writes PanAmPress reporter Orlando Avendano. “Receipts that show excesses, some strangely from different check books, signed the same day but with identical writing styles.”

Rojas and Berrera were spending nearly a thousand dollars at a time in the hotels and nightclubs. Similar amounts were spent at times on luxurious dinners and fancy drinks. They went on clothes shopping sprees at high-end retail outlets in the capital. They reportedly overcharged the fund on vehicle rentals and the hotels, making off with the extra cash. Berrera even told Popular Will that she was paying for all seven hotels, not just the two. And they provided Guaido with the fake figure of more than 1,450 military defectors that needed accommodation.

In order to keep the funds flowing, Rojas and Berrera pitched a benefit dinner for the soldiers to Guiado’s embassy in Colombia. But when the embassy refused to participate, Berrera created a fake email address posing as a representative of the embassy, sending invitations to Israeli and U.S. diplomats. They canceled the event after Guaido’s embassy grew wise to the scheme and alerted those invited.

“The whole government of Colombia knew about it: the intelligence community, the presidency, and the foreign ministry,” writes PanAmPress, calling it an “open secret” by the time Guaido dismissed the pair. But that was after Guaido had been defending them staunchly, trying to avoid a firing by transferring responsibilities to the embassy.

Berrera was called to the embassy for a financial audit, represented by Luis Florido, a founding member of Popular Will. She turned in just a fraction of the records uncovered by Colombian intelligence, accounting for only $100,000 in expenditures. “The [real] amount is large,” the outlet reports, citing an intelligence agent who says far more was blown.

Meanwhile, “at least 60 percent of the food donated” by foreign governments “was damaged.”

“The food is rotten, they tell me,” the PanAmPress reporter said, adding that he was shown photographs. “They don’t know how to deal with it without causing a scandal. I suppose they will burn it.”

It isn’t yet known exactly how much was embezzled by Popular Will, but it is likely the truth will come out in due time, and more investigations are likely underway. On Monday, Venezuelan defectors said they will hold a press conference in Cucuta, showcasing more corruption by Popular Will. For now, however, the fallout remains to be seen.

Guaidone?

One thing is certain: the scandal threatens to end Juan Guaido’s 15 minutes of fame. The de facto opposition leader had little name recognition inside Venezuela and never won a political position with more than 100,000 votes behind him. But the overnight sensation never had a lengthy life expectancy anyway.

Though he received so few votes (Venezuela’s population is nearly 32 million), Guaido became the president of the National Assembly because the body is controlled by a coalition of opposition groups, despite President Nicolas Maduro’s PSUV Party being the largest in the country. That was in January, and the length of the term lasts only one year. In 2015, the opposition coalition decided that after each term, the seat would be rotated to a representative of a different opposition party. While there is no law barring Guaido from being appointed president of the National Assembly again, tradition runs counter to it and another party may want to seize on a chance to get into the limelight.

Supporters of the coup — and Guaido’s self-declaration as interim president — claim that Maduro is derelict of his duties, which justifies a transition of presidential power according to the constitution. But the article that allows for such a transition in certain cases stipulates that ”a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days.”

To date, Guaido has run 145 days past his deadline to have elections held, and the opposition has made it clear they are not willing to accept new elections if Maduro runs.

This, of course, makes little dent in Guaido’s legitimacy in the eyes of the U.S. and other countries that have recognized his presidency. U.S. allies in Latin America have shown over the past few years that they have little regard for the sanctity of their constitutions. In 2017, a U.S.-backed candidate in Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, ran for re-election in explicit violation of that country’s constitution and only wound up winning through fraud. Last week, Ecuador made the decision to allow the U.S. military to operate from an airfield in the Galapagos Islands despite a constitutional provision stating that the “establishment of foreign military bases or foreign facilities for military purposes shall not be allowed.”

Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Media] It’s come to this: Auschwitz Museum has some advice for journos and alleged ‘historian’ defending AOC

So this is where we're at now.

The post It’s come to this: Auschwitz Museum has some advice for journos and alleged ‘historian’ defending AOC appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[worldNews] Chile's Codelco seeks to defuse strike after miners clash with police Chilean miner Codelco sweetened its contract offer to workers on Tuesday in a bid to defuse rising tensions after miners striking at its giant Chuquicamata copper mine were involved in clashes with police earlier in the day.
Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Customs, Border and Immigration News] Harris: History Has Already Shown What Happens When Governments Round People Up ‘By Ethnic Group’

By Audrey Conklin -

2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris suggested President Donald Trump’s plan to deport “millions” of illegal immigrants targets a specific ethnic group. “Mass deportations are cruel and violate our values,” Harris said in a tweet Tuesday. “As this president rips more families apart, let’s remember that history has already shown us ...

Harris: History Has Already Shown What Happens When Governments Round People Up ‘By Ethnic Group’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: The Dow is now on pace for its best June return in 80 years, but the Fed could change that in a heartbeat U.S. stock benchmarks on Tuesday were enjoying a nearly unfettered run-up toward records on the back of hope that central banks will ease monetary policy.
Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Uncategorized] Abortion Absolutist Kirsten Gillibrand Doubles Down On Claim That Pro-Lifers Should Not Be Judges Though she lags behind badly in presidential polling, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the clear front-runner in the race to out-extreme other Democratic presidential candidates on the issue of abortion. Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[The Blog] Rachel Maddow mentioned the NY Times 41 times over 13 shows

Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart.

The post Rachel Maddow mentioned the NY Times 41 times over 13 shows appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[World] Capitol Report: The KPMG cheating scandal was much more widespread than originally thought The SEC’s record-tying fine against KPMG for the PCAOB ‘steal the exam’ scandal was expected, but additional allegations that some senior partners in charge of public company audits also cheated on regulator-mandated training and compliance tests was a surprise.
Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[] Angela Merkel Shakes Uncontrollably At Event in Berlin She's powering through, though, so don't worry about it! Thanks to Meade Lux Lewis. Today's high temperature in Berlin was 86 degrees Farenheit. Humidity was at 42%. She needs an open border policy for electrolytes, is what she needs. If... Published:6/18/2019 4:08:07 PM
[Entertainment] Joey King Reveals "Haunting" Behind-the-Scenes Photos From The Act The Act, Joey KingIs somebody missing Gypsy Rose Blanchard? The Act star Joey King, who portrayed Gypsy Rose on the series, took to Instagram to share behind-the-scenes photos from the Hulu series. In the...
Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Politics] 2019 Pig Book Shows Record Increase in Pork Barrel Spending Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Entertainment] Barack and Michelle Obama, daughters enjoy luxurious family vacation in south of France The Obamas, including daughters Malia and Sasha, are taking in the joys of Provence in the south of France on a family vacay, thrilling the locals.
      
Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Featured News] Watch Live: President Trump Kicks-Off 2020 Re-Election Bid with Florida MAGA Rally – 6-18-19

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump hosts a Make America Great Again Rally Tuesday evening in Orlando, Florida, during which he will officially begin his re-election campaign ahead of the 2020 vote. Planners are expecting a capacity crowd which could mean up to 20,000 spectators, depending upon configuration, inside and thousands more in ...

Watch Live: President Trump Kicks-Off 2020 Re-Election Bid with Florida MAGA Rally – 6-18-19 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[topics:organisations/house-of-commons] Jeremy Kyle refuses to appear before MPs investigating reality television Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Politics] Dan Crenshaw drops another SMACK DOWN lesson on Ocasio-Cortez In a desperate attempt to defend her ridiculous comments on “concentration camps” at the southern border, AOC decided Republicans needed a lesson on ‘concentration camps’ and tweeted this out saying: “And for . . . Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Politics] Dan Crenshaw drops another SMACK DOWN lesson on Ocasio-Cortez In a desperate attempt to defend her ridiculous comments on “concentration camps” at the southern border, AOC decided Republicans needed a lesson on ‘concentration camps’ and tweeted this out saying: “And for . . . Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Politics] GOP Donor Catsimatidis: Biden Asked Me for Money, I Declined Billionaire and frequent Republican donor John Catsimatidis said Tuesday that he declined an appeal for funds from former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president. Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[worldNews] Authorities seize 16.5 tons of cocaine from ship in Philadelphia: Justice Department Authorities seized more than 16 tons of cocaine on Tuesday from a ship at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia and the crew has been arrested and charged, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Markets] Trump on potential for Powell demotion: 'Let's see what he does' Trump on potential for Powell demotion: 'Let's see what he does' Published:6/18/2019 3:38:42 PM
[Markets] Evidence The US Economy Could Be Plunging Into A Very Deep Recession Is Rapidly Mounting

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Not since 2008 have we seen so much bad economic data come rolling in all at the same time. 

Even without a war with Iran, which by the way is looking increasingly likely with each passing day, it definitely appears that the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward recession territory.  The employment numbers for last month were abysmal, global trade has collapsed to the lowest level that we have seen since the last recession, and manufacturing numbers just keep getting worse and worse.  In fact, the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index just suffered the worst one month decline in history

The New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index took a sharp turn for the worse in June, falling into negative territory for the first time in more than two years.

The Empire State manufacturing index plummeted 26.4 points to negative 8.6 in June, the New York Fed said Monday. That’s a record decline. Economists had expected a reading of positive 10, according to a survey by Econoday.

Not even during the last recession did we witness a plunge of that magnitude.

And other measures of U.S. manufacturing activity are also “sinking steadily”

And it’s not the only indicator showing a turn for the worse: Others, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, have also been sinking steadily.

When you step back and look at the big picture, it becomes quite clear what is happening.

At this point, it is simply not possible for anyone to credibly claim that the U.S. economy is still in good shape.  All of the numbers are pointing in the same direction, and Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist Michael Wilson made this point exceedingly well on Monday

Decelerations and disappointments are mounting:

  • Cass Freight Index

  • Retailer earnings

  • Durable goods orders

  • Capital spending

  • PMIs

  • May payrolls

  • Semiconductor inventories

  • Oil demand

  • Restaurant performance indices…

and our own Morgan Stanley Business Conditions Index (MSBCI). Looking at the MSBCI in particular, the headline metric showed the biggest one-month drop in its history going back to 2002 and very close to its lowest absolute reading since December 2008.

This index has a tight relationship with ISM new orders and analyst earnings revisions breadth. Our analysis shows downside risk to ISM new orders (25% y/y), S&P earnings revisions breadth (6-13%) and the S&P 500 y/y (8%) if historical links hold.

For much more on the collapse of the MSBCI, please see my previous article entitled “Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index Just Suffered The Biggest One Month Decline In History”.

Many analysts are pointing out that our economic problems really seemed to start accelerating once trade negotiations with China completely broke down, and this is true.

If the U.S. and China could find a way to reach a trade agreement, that would be a tremendous short-term boost to the economy at a time when we desperately need it.

But that isn’t going to happen unless President Trump completely caves in.  Because at this point the Chinese are extremely angry, and they are definitely in no mood to compromise.  In fact, one Chinese editorial that was recently published boldly declared that they are ready “to fight it out till the end”

“China will not be afraid of any threats or pressure the United States is making that may escalate economic and trade frictions. China has no choice, nor escape route, and will just have to fight it out till the end,” the Qiushi commentary said. “No one, no force should underestimate and belittle the steel will of the Chinese people and its strength and tenacity to fight a war.”

When Americans are deeply suffering during the next recession, will they be willing to “fight it out till the end” like the Chinese are?

And if a trade war with China wasn’t enough, now we also have a trade war with India to deal with.  In fact, India just hit U.S. exports with a wave of very large tariffs

India just increased tariffs on US exports, dealing another blow to fragile global trade.

The tariffs on several US products will go into effect on June 16, India’s Finance Ministry said in a statement Saturday. The goods targeted include American apples — which will be hit with a 70% tariff — as well as almonds, lentils and several chemical products.

Of course these tariffs were in retaliation for the tariffs that we hit India with after Trump kicked them out of a preferential trade program

The two countries exchange goods and services worth about $142 billion a year, but the relationship has soured in recent weeks after the Trump administration ended India’s participation in a preferential trade program earlier this month. The program exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from US import duties in 2018.

We were certainly heading for a recession even without these trade conflicts, but without a doubt they have made things substantially worse.

And now is definitely not a good time for a recession, because much of the country is completely and utterly unprepared for any sort of an economic downturn.  The following comes from an opinion piece authored by William Spriggs

One oft-cited statistic points to just how unstable the finances of most Americans are: nearly 40 percent of households could not withstand an unexpected expenditure of $400 — the cost of just one medical bill or car repair.

The most unnerving point to keep in mind is that we are even less prepared for a sudden slowing of the economy than we were before the Great Recession of 2008.

During the relatively stable economic times of the past few years, Americans should have been preparing instead of partying.

But instead, most Americans bought into the myth that our massively bloated debt-fueled standard of living could be perpetuated indefinitely.

So now a crisis is coming which many believe is going to be even worse than what we experienced in 2008, and most of us are going to be completely blindsided by it.

Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[World] Pentagon Chief Shanahan Steps Down, Former Raytheon Executive Steps Up Dogged by family violence and ties to industry, the ex-Boeing man is no longer Trump's choice for top job. Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[General] This pioneering educational transgender toy looks like plain old Russian nesting dolls to us

Is this a toy for transgender 3-year-olds or is it for any toddler beginning to question its gender identity?

The post This pioneering educational transgender toy looks like plain old Russian nesting dolls to us appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[Privacy] For pen testing firm IOActive, security is cultural not transactional IOActive may not be a household name but you almost certainly know its work. The Seattle-headquartered company has been behind some of the most breathtaking hacks in the past decade. Its researchers have broken into in-flight airplanes from the ground and reverse engineered an ATM to spit out gobs of cash. One of the company’s […] Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[4ba56057-9e40-57dd-8b89-a5bd26086f28] Fox News beats CNN, MSNBC combined in ratings, tops all of cable Fox News Channel attracted more prime-time viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined last week, adding to its streak as the most-watched basic cable network. Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Wall St nears record as mood on trade again turns optimistic Wall Street surged on Tuesday and the S&P 500 approached a record high after Washington rekindled trade talks with Beijing, boosting sentiment along with growing investor confidence that the Fed will cut interest rates this year. U.S. President Donald Trump said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month, and said talks between the two countries would restart after a recent lull. Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[Markets] Market Extra: 10-year Treasury yield ends at 21-month low U.S. Treasury yields fall sharply Tuesday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi says additional monetary policy stimulus could be needed, including interest rate cuts and asset purchases
Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[World] The Tell: Stock-market investors haven’t been this bearish since the 2008 financial crisis, says Bank of America The S&P 500 index stands less than 1% shy of a record but investors aren’t loving the climb, based on a recent fund manager survey from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Published:6/18/2019 3:38:41 PM
[worldNews] Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson advances on Britain's top job Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson advanced on the prize of Britain's top political job on Tuesday, winning 40 percent of votes in the second round of a contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.
Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Entertainment] Because sitting out in the sun is not the answer for a healthy bronzed glow
      
Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Politics] Rep. Waltz: Trump Administration 'Absolutely Appropriate' on Iran Sanctions are working against Iran, and as it is "lashing out," the Trump administration is acting "absolutely appropriate" with the steps it has taken to protect U.S. allies and assets in the region, Rep. Michael Waltz said Tuesday. Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[TECH] Antitrust, The Only Remedy to Big Tech Bias?

One can bet that big tech won’t go quietly into the dark night. In fact, they just might do everything in their power to ensure that President Trump doesn’t win a second term.

The post Antitrust, The Only Remedy to Big Tech Bias? appeared first on Human Events.

Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Politics] Reporter asks McConnell if Trump or Congress should apologize for slavery and offer reparations — Here’s his awesome response… You might feel like we’ve just traveled back in time 150 years, because Democrats in the House are holding a hearing tomorrow on reparations and slavery. Today a reporter asked McConnell how . . . Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Politics] Reporter asks McConnell if Trump or Congress should apologize for slavery and offer reparations — Here’s his awesome response… You might feel like we’ve just traveled back in time 150 years, because Democrats in the House are holding a hearing tomorrow on reparations and slavery. Today a reporter asked McConnell how . . . Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[US News] Violent rhetoric alert: Joe Biden’s fight behind the gym with Donald Trump might involve brass knuckles

Joe Biden might be in his mid-seventies, but he's ready to rumble.

The post Violent rhetoric alert: Joe Biden’s fight behind the gym with Donald Trump might involve brass knuckles appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[bec3521d-9aa5-5329-8cbe-28c87f6825a1] MSNBC contributor makes shocking claim that Kyle Kashuv's online posts are similar to those of a mass shooter MSNBC contributor David Jolly suggested on Tuesday that the social media messages written by Parkland student Kyle Kushev sounded like ones of a mass shooter and he "deserves a closer look" as to whether the pro-Second Amendment advocate should be able to purchase a firearm.  Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[storytype:standard] Police pursue men who land plane on 400m from Mont Blanc summit Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Markets] Stock-market investors haven’t been this bearish since the 2008 financial crisis, says Bank of America The S&P 500 index stands less than 1% shy of a record but investors aren’t loving the climb, based on a recent fund manager survey from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Entertainment] Meghan King Edmonds Seen Without Her Wedding Ring After Husband Jim's Infidelity Confession Meghan King Edmonds, Jim Edmonds Meghan King Edmonds has been spotted without her wedding ring, days after her husband Jim Edmonds confessed to having an affair. In a selfie shared to her Instagram Stories, the...
Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Politics] South Carolina Dems Bar Major News Outlets from Convention

The South Carolina Democratic Party is limiting coverage of its state party convention to MSNBC, barring C-SPAN, CNN, and Fox News from covering the event live.

The post South Carolina Dems Bar Major News Outlets from Convention appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Energy] There’s No Need to Subsidize American Uranium

There is no compelling evidence that uranium imports present a threat to America’s national security interests. But President Donald Trump is expected to weigh in... Read More

The post There’s No Need to Subsidize American Uranium appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[Markets] Stocks Near Record Highs As Xi Hope & Powell Hype Trump Global Economic Collapse

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, as stocks near record highs, bond yields hit record lows, and global macro collapses to cycle lows...BUT...

 

Chinese stocks missed out on today's fun (watch them catch up tonight) as they closed before Draghi rescued assets around the world and cornered Powell...

 

European stocks accelerated higher today after Draghi promised moarrrrr....

Sending Bund yields to new record lows...

And pushing yields on various European sovereign notes below 0 for the first time in history.

 

US equities surged in the pre-open on the Draghi and Trump-Xi comments...

 

But drifted lower after the European close with some weakness in the last 30 mins... Nasdaq was the best performer but the S&P 500 lagged...

Nevertheless, the S&P 500 is just 1.25% from its record highs, The Dow around 2% below its and Nasdaq around 3% below (with Small Caps and Trannies still down around 11% from their 52-week highs). China's Shanghai Composite is down around 12% from its 52-week highs.

 

BYND opened above $200, then plunged back into the red...

 

Notably, BofA's survey suggests market participants say that drop in the S&P to 2430 would prompt an immediate rate cut by The Fed and to 2350 would prompt Trump to do a trade deal no matter what...

 

Treasury yields plunged on Draghi's comments and Trump's follow up, but as the day went on, rates recovered some of the drop (though the long-end notably outperformed)...

Dramatically flattening the yield curve...

Bond yields were extremely volatile...

2Y roundtripped the entire plunge...

and 10Y traded like a penny stock after trading as low as 2.01%!!!

Breakevens continue to collapse...

European inflation forwards soared today - biggest spike since Feb 2012...

Short-dated Bills are extremely volatile - something or someone is in pain

Ahead of tomorrow's Fed statement, expectations for Fed rate cuts continue to be extremely dovish...

As the global negative debt pile is within inches of a record high...

 

The Dollar spiked as Draghi's comments drove the euro lower but by the close the dollar ended dovishly lower as Trump-Xi headlines hit...

 

EUR tumbled on the Draghi headlines...back below 1.1200...

 

Yuan spiked on the Trump-Xi call, hitting one-month highs against the dollar...

 

Cryptos slipped lower today, presumably as Facebook's Libra dominated headlines...Ripple was worst on the day

But Bitcoin held above $9000...

 

Commodities were all higher on the day, led by oil's gains...

 

Gold was slammed back below $1350 early on as the dollar spiked but rallied back into the green after Europe closed...

 

WTI soared today on the heels of China trade hopes...ripping off the $52 level once again.

 

Finally, we note that global macro data is double-dipping to cycle lows - and the longest period of negative surprises in history...

Who's right? Global Bonds, Global Stocks, or Global Macro?

So, maybe The Fed should cut rates, right? Trouble is, the market already did, sending financial conditions to near record 'easy' levels...

Does The Fed really want to be easing with financial conditions already so easy? If you ask stocks, yep!!

Published:6/18/2019 3:09:34 PM
[The Blog] Here we go: Trump may live-tweet the Democratic debates

Chaos.

The post Here we go: Trump may live-tweet the Democratic debates appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 3:09:33 PM
[Markets] Market Extra: The Dow is now on pace for its best June return in 80 years, but the Fed could change that in a heartbeat U.S. stock benchmarks on Tuesday were enjoying a nearly unfettered run-up toward records on the back of hope that central banks will ease monetary policy.
Published:6/18/2019 3:09:33 PM
[Markets] Dow industrials end up more than 350 points ahead of Fed decision Dow industrials end up more than 350 points ahead of Fed decision Published:6/18/2019 3:09:33 PM
[] Springtime For Hitler, Part 2: Play About the Passionate, Deliriously Sexual Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton Closes Early Due to Lack of Interest Probably just because it was too hot for the bourgeoisie. The Broadway show "Hillary and Clinton," based on the lives of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will end early due to low ticket sales. ...... Published:6/18/2019 3:09:33 PM
[topics:things/birds] RSPB accused of hypocrisy after it allows energy firm to build power station in nature reserve Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[National Security] Shanahan Withdraws From Consideration to Be U.S. Defense Secretary

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration to head the U.S. military, President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday, stoking uncertainty about the leadership of the Pentagon at a moment of rising tension with Iran.

The post Shanahan Withdraws From Consideration to Be U.S. Defense Secretary appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[Entertainment] Lauren Bushnell Is Engaged! All the Details on Her $80,000 Diamond Ring From Chris Lane Chris Lane, Lauren BushnellLauren Bushnell is more than a "Take Back Home Girl." She's about to be Chris Lane's wife! Earlier today, The Bachelor star and country music singer revealed on Instagram...
Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[The Blog] Indiana man posing as millionaire convinced Alaska teen to murder ‘best friend’ for money

"Hoffman had previously described Brehmer as her 'best friend'"

The post Indiana man posing as millionaire convinced Alaska teen to murder ‘best friend’ for money appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[worldNews] Defying Trump, U.S. senator moves toward vote to block Saudi arms sales U.S. Senator Bob Menendez began the formal process on Tuesday of blocking President Donald Trump's plan to proceed with more than $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional consent.
Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[Markets] How stock-market investors are playing stronger defense now than they did before the financial crisis Perhaps the most optimistic indicator, currently suggesting a low-risk/high-reward stock market, is that most investors are behav­ing as though they expect troubled times, says Jim Paulsen of The Leuthold Group. Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[Elon Musk Twitter] Elon Musk ‘Deletes’ His Twitter Account in What Appears to Be a Stunt "Just deleted my Twitter account." Published:6/18/2019 2:37:53 PM
[Markets] What Your iPhone May Be Telling Mysterious Companies About You... Without Your Permission

Via SharylAttkisson.com,

Apple has used the phrase “what happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone” many times before, but it turns out that may not be entirely true.

That’s according to an article in the Washington Post. It says the problem isn’t isolated to iPhones, either – Androids are just as bad at keeping your information limited to your device only.

The Post tracked how dozens of marketing companies may be using your personal information that it gets from apps to send out to other companies.

They can reportedly obtain your exact location, phone number, IP address, and more.

According to the Post, Yelp is a main player when it comes to sucking up data.

Here’s an excerpt from a Washington Post article detailing the problem:

On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with. And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -— once every five minutes.

“It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?” by Geoffrey A. Fowler for the Washington Post

Check out the rest of the story here: Invasion of privacy.

Published:6/18/2019 2:37:52 PM
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