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[Markets] The New York Post: Pence scrapped New Hampshire trip to avoid meeting drug suspect: report Vice President Mike Pence abruptly canceled a trip to New Hampshire earlier this month so he could avoid shaking hands with a former New York Giants player under investigation for allegedly dealing drugs in the state, a report said Monday.
7/22/2019 10:20:13 PM
[Politics] Two police officers fired after comment about Ocasio-Cortez Two police officers in Louisiana were fired today for a comment on Facebook suggesting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a “vile idiot” and needed a “round”. And liking it: WKRN – Gretna Police Chief . . . 7/22/2019 10:20:13 PM
[Politics] Two police officers fired after comment about Ocasio-Cortez Two police officers in Louisiana were fired today for a comment on Facebook suggesting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a “vile idiot” and needed a “round”. And liking it: WKRN – Gretna Police Chief . . . 7/22/2019 10:20:13 PM
[Entertainment] Ariana Grande Cuts Ties With Celeb Photographer Marcus Hyde Over Model's Nude Photo Claim Ariana Grande, 2018 MTV Video Music AwardsAriana Grande has seemingly spoken out against celeb photographer Marcus Hyde, after a model accused him of bribing her for nude portraits. On Sunday night, Los Angeles-based model...
7/22/2019 10:20:12 PM
[Markets] LAPD Spied On And Infiltrated Anti-Trump Protesters

The Los Angeles Police Department spied on anti-Trump protesters and even infiltrated an activist group that was planning anti-Trump protests, according to the Guardian.

An informant working for the LAPD secretly infiltrated a group called "Refuse Fascism" in 2017, recording multiple meetings that the group held. LAPD transcripts that were submitted in a criminal case against activists who blocked a California freeway during an anti-Trump rally were the first admissions that the informant existed.

The undercover officer was equipped with a hidden recording device and attended "Refuse Fascism" gatherings at a local church “in an attempt to elicit information regarding the closure” of the freeway and to express interest in being involved “in any such future activities,” according to the LAPD. 

One of the activists who was monitored and recorded as well as charged with misdemeanors, Miguel Antonio, said he would not let the surveillance stop him from organizing:

 “We’re not scared. We’re not going to back down in the face of repression. You’re in a church, and you’re meeting about organizing a peaceful protest, and you’re running the risk of being charged with conspiracy or these petty crimes.”

Similar incidents have also taken place across the US. In Sacramento, police pursued cases against left-wing activists at a white supremacist rally. In Berkeley, police collaborated with a "violent pro Trump demonstrator" to prosecute a left-wing group. There have also been similar controversies in Washington DC and Oregon.

The LAPD surveillance was "striking", given documented evidence of violence from the far right as well as the far left.

Mike German, a former FBI agent and expert on local extremist groups, said: 

“This case seems to fall into a pattern of police agencies viewing anti-fascist organizing as terrorism, while overlooking the far more deadly and frequent violence perpetrated by white supremacists and other far-right militants.”

The LAPD reportedly didn’t conduct similar spying operations on far right groups.

The LAPD police chief, Michel Moore, reportedly “ordered a top-to-bottom review to determine whether the department’s stringent requirements for the use of confidential informants were followed”.

On September 27, 2017, Antonio was arrested after he shut down a freeway in downtown LA to protest Trump a year after his election. Shortly thereafter, the LAPD had an informant approach Antonio at a meeting.

During an 11 October meeting, the informant approached Antonio and said, “Are we gonna do like any freeway things again…or major things like that?”, according to a transcript of a secret recording.

“I’m not sure,” Antonio responded.

The informant then said he was interested in joining future activities: “I thought the freeway thing was pretty good.”

At one point, the informant caught someone on a recording say: “That’s an awfully hot coffeepot, should I drop it on Donald Trump?”

Damon Alimouri, Antonio’s lawyer, said:

"The LAPD surveillance was unjust and outrageous. [I] suspect this type of spying [is] likely to escalate across the country. The further left that younger people go, we will continue to see law enforcement infiltrating these groups secretly. To a certain extent, it might intimidate some, and I think that’s the intention of the LAPD.”

Frank Wulf, the pastor of the church, said: “The government is interfering with the rights of protest in America,” he said, adding that he worried about a chilling effect: “You never know if the person sitting next to you is a police informant or not.”

7/22/2019 10:20:12 PM
[worldNews] South Korea fires warning shots at Russian military aircraft in its airspace The South Korean military fired two warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul said, and Chinese military aircraft had also entered South Korean airspace.
7/22/2019 10:20:12 PM
[Entertainment] New Bachelor in Paradise Promo Promises "More Crying Than Ever Before" Bachelor in ParadiseA new promo for Bachelor in Paradise just aired after The Bachelorette, and it's got so much happening that we don't even know where to start. Demi Burnett is in love with a...
7/22/2019 9:46:18 PM
[Markets] FBI Raids LA's Department Of Water & Power, City Hall

Rumors about a federal investigation into Los Angeles city hall have been circulating for months now, and on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the FBI carried out a search of the Department of Water and Power and City Hall.

Power

A spokesman for the FBI confirmed the search.

"There is a search taking place at the DWP building. The affidavit in support of the search warrant is under seal by the court," said Rukelt Dalberis, an FBI spokesman in Los Angeles. Law enforcement sources said the FBI was also at Los Angeles City Hall.

A champagne-colored van was parked outside the DWP headquarters with a placard saying "FBI" and "Official Business."

An FBI van was parked outside City Hall East, which serves as the headquarters for City Atty. Mike Feuer ‘s office and several government agencies.

A spokesman for the City Attorney's Office refused to confirm whether the FBI agents had entered the City Attorney's office.

The mayor's office released a statement saying Eric Garcetti's office welcomed the investigation.

Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in a statement: "We were notified earlier this morning that federal search warrants were being executed today. The mayor believes that any criminal wrongdoing should be investigated and prosecuted. His expectation is that any city employee asked to cooperate will do so fully and immediately."

DWP Commissioner Christina Noonan declined to comment, saying she had been advised to refer all questions to a department spokesman.

LADWP spokesman Joe Romallo did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

Federal investigators have cast a wide net for information about foreign investment in Los Angeles real estate developments. Among those named in the warrant were Councilman Jose Huizar, Curren Price, the former head of he Department of Building and Safety and high-level appointees of Garcetti and Council President Herb Wesson.

Recently, the developers of projects in Councilman Jose Huizar's district have received grand jury subpoenas demanding they turn over communications with the councilman and other current and former staffers.

The DWP has been struggling with its own series of scandals, including the fallout from a billing system that sent out wildly inaccurate bills to customers, prompting a flood of lawsuits.

The warrant also named executives of Chinese firms bankrolling new residential and hotel towers on Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. It doesn't say whether the FBI has gathered evidence of criminal activity.

7/22/2019 9:46:18 PM
[worldNews] South Korea says it fired warning shot at Russian military aircraft that violated airspace The South Korean military fired a warning shot at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul said.
7/22/2019 9:46:18 PM
[The Blog] Spain isn’t happy with the Iran tanker seizure by the UK

"Our waters, not yours."

The post Spain isn’t happy with the Iran tanker seizure by the UK appeared first on Hot Air.

7/22/2019 9:46:18 PM
[] Monday Overnight Open Thread (7/22/19) The Quotes of The Day Quote I "We will be working the U.K. They'll have a new prime minister soon, which is a good thing and we'll be working with the U.K., but we have no written agreement, but... 7/22/2019 9:46:18 PM
[Entertainment] Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Premiere: See Every Look as the Stars Arrive Adriana Lima, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Premiere, Red Carpet FashionQuentin Tarantino and the cast of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are transporting fans back to the summer of '69. Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie and more A-listers are...
7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[Politics] Rep. Rashida Tlaib Urges $18-$20 Federal Minimum Wage Offering the idea at an event in Detroit supporting One Fair Wage, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is calling for an federal minimal wage of $18 to $20 an hour.. 7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Warren Buffett took Occidental CEO ‘to the cleaners,’ says Carl Icahn Safe to say, Carl Icahn is not a fan of Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s effort to buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[worldNews] Moroccan lawmakers vote to bolster French in education system Moroccan lawmakers passed a draft law on Monday evening that would pave the way for strengthening the place of French in Moroccan schools, overturning decades of Arabisation.
7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Stewart Baker] How to survive a big data breach Episode 273 of the Cyberlaw Podcast 7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[Markets] The Non-Hack That Hurt Hillary - On The 3rd Anniversary Of WikiLeaks Release Of The DNC Emails

Authored by Ray McGovern via ConsortiumNews.com,

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials.

The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. The posting of the DNC emails is also widely seen as having harmed the the electoral prospects of Hillary Clinton, who could not escape responsibility completely, while a handful of the very top DNC officials were forced to immediately resign.

Relatively few Americans read the actual emails, their attention diverted to the incessant media-fostered question: Why Did the Russians Hack the DNC to Hurt Hillary? For the millions of once enthusiastic Democrats who favored Sanders, however, the disclosure that the nomination process had been fixed came as a bitter pill, leaving a sour taste in their mouths and a passive-aggressive reluctance to promote the candidacy of one they considered a usurper. Having had a huge stake in Bernie’s candidacy, they had little trouble seeing through the diversion of attention from the content of the emails.

Clinton Prevails

A mere four days after the WikiLeaks release, a well orchestrated Democratic Convention nominated Clinton, while many Sanders supporters loudly objected. Thus, she began her campaign under a cloud, and as more and more Americans learned of the fraud that oozed through the DNC email correspondence — including the rigging of the Democratic primaries — the cloud grew larger and darker.

On June 12, 2016, six weeks before the convention, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had announcedin an interview on British TV, “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication.”

Independent forensic investigations demonstrated two years ago that the DNC emails were not hacked over the Internet, but had been copied onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. Additional work over recent months has yielded more evidence that the intrusion into the DNC computers was a copy, not a hack, and that it took place on May 23 and 25, 2016.

The DNC almost certainly knew what had happened — not only that someone with physical access to DNC computers had copied thousands of emails, but also which ones they had copied, and thus how prejudicial to the Clinton campaign they would be when they saw the light of day.

And so, candidate Clinton, the DNC, and the mainstream media (forever quoting anonymous “current and former intelligence officials”) appear to have colluded, deciding the best defense would be a good offense. No one knew how soon WikiLeaks would publish the emails, but the DNC offense/defense would surely have to be put in place before the convention scheduled to begin on July 25. That meant there were, at most, six weeks to react. But it only took two days. As early as July 24, about 48 hours after the leaks were published, and a day before the convention, the DNC first blamed Russia for hacking their emails and giving them to WikiLeaks to sabotage Clinton.

A Magnificent Diversion

Granted, it was a stretch — and the DNC would have to hire a pliable cybersecurity firm to back up their claim. But they had good reason to believe that CrowdStrike would perform that service. It was the best Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook and associates could apparently come up with. If they hurried, there would be just enough time to prepare a PR campaign before the convention and, best of all, there was little doubt that the media could be counted on to support the effort full bore.

Clinton: Already blaming the Russians at DNC 2016 convention. (Wikipedia)

When WikiLeaks published the emails on July 22, 2016, just three days before the Democratic convention, the propagandists were ready to deflect attention from the damning content of the DNC emails by repeating incessantly that the Russians hacked the emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to hurt Clinton.

It pretty much worked like a charm. The late Senator John McCain and others were quick to call the Russian “hack” an “an act of war.” Evidence? None. For icing on the cake, then-FBI Director James Comey decided not to seize and inspect the DNC computers. Nor, as we now know, did Comey evenrequire a final report from CrowdStrike.

Eight months after the convention, in remarks at the Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress on April 6, 2017, Clinton’s PR director, Jennifer Palmieri, could scarcely contain her pride that, after a difficult start, she was ultimately successful in keeping the Russian bear front and center.

Transcribed below (verbatim) are some of Palmieri’s more telling remarks when asked to comment, from her insider perspective, on “what was actually going on in late summer/early fall.”

“…I did appreciate that for the press to absorb … the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb…. But then we go back to Brooklyn and heard from the — mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that’s where we heard things and that’s where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about … And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing. … [Emphasis added.]

“And we did finally get to the point on October 7, when the administration came out with a very stunning [memorandum]. How stunning it was for both the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security to put out a statement – a long statement – that said with high confidence that Russia was interfering in the election and they were also directing the timing of the leaks. And it named the institutions – WikiLeaks, DC Leaks, and Guccifer – as being Russian-led, and how stunning that was to be that certain and that public. … So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now … in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real ….”

And so, the Magnificent Diversion worked as intended.

Recognizing Liminal Time

But not all journalists fell for it.

Patrick Lawrence (once of The Nation, now of Consortium News) was onto the ruse from the start. He says he had “fire in the belly” on the morning of July 25, 2016, the day the Democratic convention began, and that he dashed off an article “in one long, furious exhale” within 12 hours of when the media started really pushing the “the Russians-did-it” narrative. The title of his article, pointed out to me a few months ago by VIPS member Todd Pierce, was “How the DNC fabricated a Russian hacker conspiracy to deflect blame for its email scandal … a disturbing resemblance to Cold War red-baiting.”

Lawrence’s off-the-cuff ruminations, which Salon published the next day are extraordinarily prescient and worth reading in full. He instinctively recognized the email disclosure-cum-media-obfuscation campaign as a liminal event. Here are some excerpts, reprinted here with Lawrence’s permission:

”Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections … Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? …

The Sanders people have long charged that the DNC has had its fingers on the scale … in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination. The prints were everywhere … Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction. …

The caker came on Sunday, when Robby Mook … appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and … CNN’s “State of the Union” to assert that the D.N.C.’s mail was hacked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” He knows this … because “experts” — experts he will never name — have told him so.

the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave). Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise. …[Emphasis added.]

Trump, to make this work, must be blamed for his willingness to negotiate with Moscow. This is now among his sins. Got that? Anyone who says he will talk to the Russians has transgressed the American code. … I am developing nitrogen bends … Which way for a breath of air?”

Sad Sequel

A year later Lawrence was commissioned by The Nation to write an investigative report on the so-called “Russian hack.” On August 9, 2017, after he interviewed several Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, among others, The Nation published his findings in an article entitled “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.” Lawrence wrote, “Former NSA experts, now members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.”

Again, Lawrence got it right — this time relying less on his own experience and intuition than on applied science as practiced by real technical experts with no axes to grind. But, sadly, that cut across the grain of the acceptable Russia-gate narrative, and a furor erupted among Hillary followers still licking their wounds over her loss. It proved simply too much for them to entertain the notion that Clinton was quite capable, with help from the likes of Mook, to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory — without any help from Vladimir Putin.

7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[Politics] Waiting for Boris Johnson The purpose of this editorial is simply to share with the merry band that reads The New York Sun the video of Boris Johnson being interviewed in respect of Winston Churchill's use of language. We have no illusions about how difficult it would be for Mr. Johnson, or anyone, to emerge as historic figure on the scale of Churchill, who acceded to his country's leadership in a time of war having already racked up an epic combination of political and military experience. 7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[World] Fighting for the Right to Repair Our Stuff Manufacturers are creating monopolies by preventing customers (or anyone else) from fixing their products. It's time to end that. 7/22/2019 9:19:35 PM
[Politics] Trump Says Media Gives Him 'Zero Credit' for Wall Work Lashing out at the news media, President Donald Trump on Monday lamented his administration gets "zero credit" for its work on a southern border wall. 7/22/2019 8:46:13 PM
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