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Kyle Bass

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Kyle Bass
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J. Kyle Bass
Born September 7, 1969 (age 49)

Residence Dallas, TexasUnited States
Nationality American
Alma mater Texas Christian University (B.B.A.)
Occupation Founder & Chief Investment Officer,
Hayman Capital Management

J. Kyle Bass (born September 7, 1969) is an American hedge fund manager. He is the founder and principal of Hayman Capital Management, L.P., a Dallas-based hedge fund focused on global events.[1]

In 2008, Bass successfully predicted and effectively bet against the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis by purchasing credit default swaps on subprime securities which, in turn, increased in value when the real estate bubble burst.[2]

Despite his early success in predicting subprime mortgages, he has received criticism for subsequent poor performance of investments.[3] Bass has made prominent bets based on predictions of debt crisis in Japan and European sovereign debt, and shorted the Chinese yuan premised on a predicted collapse in the Chinese banking system. His fund has also challenged patents held by drug companies and shorted their stocks. His Japanese and European strategies have not been major successes and the Chinese yuan short led to severe losses for his fund in 2017.[4][5] The drug patent challenge campaign fizzled after several legal setbacks.[6]

Contents

Early life

Bass was born on September 7, 1969, in Miami, Florida, where his father managed the Fontainebleau Hotel. His father later moved the family to Dallas, Texas where he managed the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.[7] Bass attended Texas Christian University on an academic and Division I diving scholarship. In 1992, Bass graduated with honors, earning a B.B.A. in finance with a concentration in real estate.[8]

Career

Before founding Hayman Capital Management in 2005, Bass briefly worked at Prudential Securities from 1992-1994 before joining Bear Stearns in 1994.[9] At Bear Stearns, he rose through the ranks rapidly, becoming a senior managing director at the age of 28 – among the youngest in the firm’s history to carry such a title.[2][8]

In 2001, he joined Legg Mason, signing a five-year deal to form the firm’s first institutional equity office in Texas. Bass told his hiring managers, “In five years and one day, I [will] be launching my own firm.”[9] While at Legg Mason, Bass advised hedge funds and other institutional clients on special situation investment strategies.[2]

In December 2005, when Legg Mason sold the portion of the business where he worked, Bass left Legg Mason and started Hayman Capital Management to serve as the investment manager to a “global special situations” hedge fund that he planned to launch. Bass launched Hayman Capital Management, L.P. with $33 million in assets under management – $5 million he had saved on his own and the balance he had raised from outside investors.[9] Shortly after launching the hedge fund in February 2006, Bass became convinced that there was a residential real-estate bubble in the United States one of the few investors to successfully predict and benefit from the subprime mortgage crisis, bringing him notoriety in the financial services industry.

In 2007, Bass testified as an expert witness before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises. During his testimony, he addressed: i) the role of credit rating agencies in the structured finance market and ii) policy measures that could be taken to minimize inherent conflicts of interest between rating agencies and issuers.[10]

In 2010, Bass testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. During his testimony, he addressed his analysis of the factors that caused the crisis.

After enjoying success in predicting the subprime mortgage crisis and moderate success with debt in Greece and Japan, Bass would make a string of poor bets, leading to a dramatic downsizing of his fund. In April 2014, Bass was among a very few defenders of GM for its failure to address a defect that had been tied to 13 deaths. Hayman at the time owned eight million shares of G.M., making it Hayman’s single biggest holding,[11] Coming to the defense of GM, Bass said on CNBC that of the 13 passengers who had died owing to the defect, 12 “either weren’t wearing their seatbelt or were under the influence of alcohol.” [12] Bass admitted in a late 2014 interview that it had been “a tough year” for Hayman due to owning a lot of GM stock, which was the fund’s biggest position in 2014.[13]

After the losing year in 2014, investor’s pulled out nearly a quarter of Hayman’s capital and the firm was forced to liquidate most of its stock holdings.[14] Bass called 2015 one of his fund’s worst years.[15] By early 2019, Hayman had $423.6 million in discretionary assets under management, down from $2.3 billion at the end of 2014.[16]

Fund performance

The long term performance of Hayman Capital’s flagship fund is described by the New York Post as “small caliber”.[14] In the period from 2008 to mid-2015, the flagship fund experienced a very modest annualized performance of 1.56%.[14] The flagship fund had a tremendously successful year in 2007, having gained 212%, based on the subprime mortgage meltdown bet that brought fame to Bass.[14] The fund also gained 16% in 2012 based on bets on Greek debt. The fund lost 1.4% in 2014 and suffered its worst year in 2017 with a 19% loss (in contrast to a 19% surge of the S&P 500) due to Hayman’s misplaced short on a collapse in the Chinese yuan.[14][5]

Investment positions

Subprime mortgages

Bass first began formulating his subprime strategy after he met with an investment banker from New York while attending a wedding in Spain where they discussed how and why the Subprime Mezzanine CDO business existed.[17][18] After returning to the US, Bass hired several private investigators to determine the ease of obtaining a mortgage. Bass spent a significant amount of time studying the residential mortgage market and performed research to identify which residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) composed of low-quality mortgages were most likely to default. This investment thesis was expressed by purchasing credit default swaps against the securitizations he deemed to be most unstable, which essentially was a manner of shorting the bonds using synthetic instruments. After purchasing the positions for his flagship fund in 2006, Bass raised additional capital for a special fund dedicated exclusively to capitalizing on the opportunity that existed in the market place. Bass managed or advised over $4 billion of positions in subprime RMBS.

In December 2007, after a wave of foreclosures had swept across the US, Bass was featured on Bloomberg TV as making a fortune betting against these subprime securities.

Europe and Japanese debt “doomsday”

After the subprime debt crisis occurred, Bass decided that it was the symptom of a more significant problem with debt and made predictions about debt “doomsday” in Europe and Japan. In 2009 he warned about the possibility of defaults by major countries over the next 3 years.[19] As of 2010, 10-15% of his portfolio was involved in bets against European and Japanese sovereign debts.[20] He went as far predicted that 2012 would be a “doomsday year” for Europe and spoke of a looming breakup of the Eurozone, which, he declared, would lead to defaults in Japan and the United States. He stated in June 2012, “Europe goes first, then Japan and finally the United States.”[21]

Bass has since 2012 also predicted a “full blown crisis” in Japan describing its approach to financing debt as a Ponzi scheme similar to Bernie Madoff‘s investment scam. Most experts have disagreed with his analysis.[22][23] Cullen Roche criticized Bass’s Japan analysis in August 2010, noting that Bass comparing Japan to the EU was an error, since their monetary systems are wildly different. Roche stated “people still fail to understand that a nation with monetary sovereignty that is the supplier of currency in a floating exchange rate system never has a problem funding itself.”[24] In May 2012, Business Insider agreed, faulting Bass’s analysis, since debt-to-GDP ratios do not reflect the interest rate or credit risk of a nation. The Business Insider noted that in a nation that borrows its own currency, public spending finances borrowing.[25]

He has been vocal in public appearances about future calamities stemming from financial meltdown. September 14, 2011, Bass maintained on CNBC that Greece’s only way out of its debt mess was a restructuring. Bass noted that despite the strife it would bring to Greece it was the only measure the nation could take. He added that within a year all of Europe would be in default as well.[26] In a speech reported on January 1, 2014, he assured the audience of his confidence that the next few years would be rife with turmoil, including the eruption of major wars. In his speech, he claimed that with the growing debt and inability to pay it off, eventually social unrest will lead to violent outbreaks. Bass finished his speech stating “War is coming – just as it has throughout history.” [27]

Chinese banking collapse

Starting in July 2015, Bass made a multiyear bet against the Chinese yuan based on a predicted banking collapse in China.[28] Bass would close out his position against the Chinese currency in early 2019 when the predicted devaluation of the currency didn’t occur.[28]

Bass argued in 2015 that the Chinese banking system was undercapitalized and its foreign reserves would be insufficient in a crisis. Bass predicted a hard landing for the Chinese economy following a bank crisis and a severe devaluation of the Chinese currency, variously given as “somewhere between 15%-20%” and “30 to 40 percent”.[29][30]

Hayman suffered its worst year in 2017 with a loss of 19% due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan.[5]

Drug patent challenge campaign

Bass has attempted to profit from filing and publicizing patent challenges against pharmaceutical companies while also betting against their shares.[31][32] After 2 years of setbacks in his effort, Bass by 2017 ended his patent challenges.[6]

In 2015, Bass organized the Coalition For Affordable Drugs (CFAD) to use the inter partes review (IPR) process to challenge patent validity.[33][34] When he initiated this practice in January 2015, he claimed that his motive was to encourage competition in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and thus bring down prices.[35]

Bass filed a total of 35 patent challenges, in collaboration with Erich Spangenberg who has been called “the world’s most notorious patent troll”,[3] including 33 filed by CFAD and two filed by Bass personally on a not-for-profit basis.[36]

In June 2015, Celgene received permission from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to file a motion seeking sanctions against the CFAD for allegedly abusing the patent-review process. The Wall Street Journal noted that this development was “being closely watched because it raises the possibility that patent officials may put an end” to Bass’s patent-challenge scheme. Celgene also told the patent office, through counsel, that CFAD had threatened to challenge its patents unless Celgene met CFAD’s demands.[37]

In October 2016, Bass prevailed in the case, with USPTO invalidating the two Celgene Corp patents related to its cancer drugs Revlimid, Pomalyst, and Thalomid at issue.[38] However, one year later Celgene was able to convince the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to re-hear the case.[39]

Political relationships

Trump administration

Bass is described by a ProPublica story as a friend of Tommy Hicks Jr, a private investor, who was a hunting buddy to Donald Trump Jr. and had further ties to the Trump administration.[40] According to the investigative story on improper links between Hicks and the Trump administration, Hicks had obtained a hearing for Bass with high level officials at an interagency meeting at the Treasury Department to air views on China.[40] This meeting was at the time Bass held a large short position counting on the fall of the Chinese currency.[40]

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

The BBC has described Bass as having a “good relationship” with Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.[41] In February 2014, Bass said that Argentinian bonds represented a profitable opportunity and called Argentina most “interesting” nation for investments. He was virtually alone in this assessment, with one observer noting the poor state of the Argentine economy. The IB Times noted that the country had “cheated creditors seven times since it gained independence from Spain in 1816,” most recently defaulting on its debt in 1989.[42] When the Argentine government defaulted on its debt in July 2014, Bass supported the move and criticized the bondholders, notably Elliott Management and Aurelius Capital, that, with the support of U.S. federal judge Thomas Griesa, had held out for full payment. Echoing Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, he called these creditors “vultures,” said that they were “holding up 42 million people from progress,” and were holding Argentina for “ransom”.[43] On August 27, 2014, Bass accused Elliott’s Paul Singer of “holding poor countries as hostages,” prompting The New York Post to comment in an editorial the next day that Bass had “sounded more like Argentina’s leftist economy minister Axel Kicillof than a US hedge-fund manager.” [44]

Philanthropy

Bass serves on the board or in an advisory role for a number of charities and organizations.

He has advised the University of Texas System Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), a public university endowment since 2010.

He also current serves or has served on the board of a number of organizations including the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Advisory Group for the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management, Texas Department of Public Safety Foundation, Business Executives for National Security, Comeback America Initiative, Troops First Foundation and Capital for Kids.[45][46][47][48][49][50]

References …

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_Bass


China has been seeking to turn American spies for decades. But the rules of the game have changed. About 10 years ago, Charity Wright was a young U.S. military linguist training at the elite Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at a base called the Presidio in Monterey, California. Like many of her peers, Wright relied on taxis to visit the city. There were usually a few waiting outside the base’s gate. She’d been assigned to the institute’s Mandarin program, so she felt lucky to frequently find herself in the cab of an old man who told her he’d emigrated from China years ago. He was inquisitive in a way she found charming at first, letting her practice her new language skills as he asked about her background and family. After several months, though, she grew suspicious. The old man seemed to have an unusually good memory, and his questions were becoming more specific: Where is it that your father works? What will you be doing for the military once you graduate?Wright had been briefed on the possibility of foreign intelligence operatives collecting information on the institute’s trainees, building profiles for potential recruitment, given that many of them would move on to careers in intelligence. She reported the man to an officer at the base. Not long after, she heard that he’d been arrested and that there had been a crackdown in Monterey on a suspected Chinese spy ring.

Wright went on to spend five years as a cryptologic language analyst with the National Security Agency, assessing communications intercepts from China. Now she works in private-sector cybersecurity. As a reservist, she still holds a U.S. government clearance that allows her access to classified secrets. And she’s still the target of what she suspects are Chinese espionage efforts. Only these days, the agents don’t approach her in person. They get in touch the same way they reached Kevin Mallory: online. She gets messages through LinkedIn and other social-media sites proposing various opportunities in China: a contract with a consulting firm, a trip to speak at a conference for a generous stipend. The offers seem tempting, but this type of outreach comes straight from the Chinese-spy playbook. “I’ve heard that they can be very convincing, and by the time you fly over, they’ve got you in their lair,” Wright told me.

The tactics she saw from the old man in Monterey were “cut and dry HUMINT,” or human intelligence, she said. They were old school. But those tactics have been amplified by the tools of the social-media age, which allow intelligence officers to reach out to their targets en masse from China, where there’s no risk of getting caught. Meanwhile, intelligence experts tell me, Chinese intelligence officers have only been getting better at the traditional skills involved in persuading a target to turn on his or her country.

Donald Trump has made getting tough on China a central aspect of his foreign policy. He has focused on a trade war and tariffs aimed at rectifying what he portrays as an unfair economic playing field—earlier this month, the U.S. designated China as a currency manipulator—while holding onto the idea that China’s powerful leader, Xi Jinping, can be an ally and a friend. U.S. political and business leaders for decades pushed the idea that embracing trade with China would help to normalize its behavior, but Beijing’s aggressive espionage efforts have fueled an emerging bipartisan consensus in Washington that the hope was misplaced. Since 2017, the DOJ has brought at least a dozen cases against alleged agents and spies for conducting cyber- and economic espionage on behalf of China. “The hope was, as they develop, as they become more wealthy, as they start being a part of the club of developed nations, they’re going to change their behavior—once they get closer to the top, they’re going to operate by our rules,” John Demers told me. “What we’ve seen instead is [China] becoming better resourced and more methodical about the theft of information.”

For the past 20 years, America’s intelligence community’s top priority has been counterterrorism. A generation of operations officers and analysts has been geared more toward finding and killing America’s enemies and preventing extremist attacks than toward the more patient and strategic work that comes with peer competition and counterintelligence. If America is indeed entering an era of “great power” conflict with China, then the crux of the struggle will likely take place not on a battlefield, but in the race for information, at least for now. And here China is using an age-old human frailty to gain advantage in the competition with its more powerful adversary: greed. U.S. officials have been warning companies and research institutions not just of the strings that might be attached to Chinese money, but of the danger of corrupted employees turned spies. They are also worried about current and former U.S. officials who have been entrusted with protecting the nation’s secrets.


When I told William Evanina, America’s top counterintelligence official, Wright’s story about the cab driver in Monterey, he replied: “Of course.”

Spy rings operating out of taxis are relatively unoriginal, he told me, and have long been an issue around U.S. military and intelligence installations. An FBI and CIA veteran who is now the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Evanina has a suspicious mind—and perhaps one of the country’s worst Uber ratings. He sees the risk of intelligence collection and hidden cameras in any hired car, he told me, and if a driver ever tries to make small talk, he immediately shuts it down.

Knowing someone’s background can help an intelligence agency build a profile for potential recruitment. The person might have medical bills piling up, a parent in debt, a sibling in jail, or an infidelity that exposes him or her to blackmail. What really worries Evanina is that so much of this information can now be obtained online, legally and illegally. People can ignore Uber drivers all they want, but a good hacker or even someone savvy at mining social media might be able to track down targets’ financial records, their political views, profiles of their family members, and their upcoming travel plans. “It makes it so damn easy,” he said.

Security breaches happen with alarming regularity. Capital One announced in July that a data breach had exposed about 100 million people in America. During one of my conversations with Wright, she mused that whatever information the old man in the taxi might have wanted to glean from her, all that and much more may have been revealed in the 2015 breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In that sophisticated attack, widely believed to have been carried out by state-sponsored Chinese hackers, an enormous batch of data was stolen, including detailed information the government collects as part of the process of approving security clearances. The stolen information contained “probing questions about an applicant’s personal finances, past substance abuse, and psychiatric care,” according to Wired, as well as “everything from lie detector results to notes about whether an applicant engages in risky sexual behavior.”

Russia, the U.S. adversary that is often included with China in discussions of “near peer” conflict, has a modus operandi when it comes to recruiting spies that is similar to America’s, Evanina said. While some of their intelligence efforts, such as election interference, are loud and aggressive and seemingly unconcerned with being discovered, Russians are careful and targeted when trying to turn a well-placed asset. Russia tends to have veteran intelligence operatives make contact in person and proceed with care and patience. “Their worst-case scenario is getting caught,” Evanina told me. “They take pride in their HUMINT operations. They’re very targeted. They take extra time to increase the percentage of success. Whereas the Chinese don’t care.” (This doesn’t mean that the Chinese can’t also be targeted and discreet when needed, he added.)

“What you have is an intelligence officer sitting in Beijing,” he said. “And he can send out 30,000 emails a day. And if he gets 300 replies, that’s a high-yield, low-risk intelligence operation.” Concerning those who have left government for the private sector—and who sometimes keep their clearance to continue doing sensitive government work—it can be hard to know where to draw the line. Evanina said China will sometimes wait years to target former officials: “Your Spidey sense goes down.” But “your memory is not erased”—that is, they’ve still got the information the Chinese want.

(Alicia Tatone)

Often, Chinese spies don’t even have to look too hard. Many of those who have left U.S. intelligence jobs reveal on their LinkedIn profiles which agencies they worked for and the countries and topics on which they focused. If they still have a government clearance, they might advertise that too. Buried in the questionnaire Evanina filled out for his Senate confirmation is a question asking whether he had any plans for a career after government. “I currently have no plans subsequent to completing government service,” he wrote. When I asked him about this, he admitted that this is becoming less common among intelligence officials his age. (He’s 52.) “All of my friends are leaving like crazy now because they have kids in college,” he said. “The money is [better]. It’s hard to say no.”

If a former intelligence officer lands a job at a prominent government contractor, such as Booz Allen Hamilton or DynCorp International, he or she can expect to be well compensated. But others find themselves in less lucrative posts, or try to strike out on their own. Evanina told me that Chinese intelligence operatives pose online as Chinese professors, think-tank experts, or executives. They usually propose a trip to China as a business opportunity. “Especially the ones who have retired from the CIA, DIA, and are now contractors—they have to make the bucks,” Evanina said. “And a lot of times that’s in China. And they get compromised.”

Once a target is in China, Chinese operatives might try to get the person to start passing over sensitive information in degrees. The first request could be for information that doesn’t seem like a big deal. But by then the trap is set. “When they get that [first] envelope, it’s being photographed. And then they can blackmail you. And then you’re being sucked in,” Evanina said. “One document becomes 10 documents becomes 15 documents. And then you have to rationalize that in your mind: I am not a spy, because they’re forcing me to do this.”

In the cases of Mallory, Hansen, and Lee, Evanina said, the lure wasn’t ideology. It was money. Money was also the lure in two similar cases, in which suspects were convicted of lesser charges than espionage. Both apparently began their relationship with Chinese intelligence officers while still employed in sensitive U.S. government jobs.

In 2016, Kun Shan Chun, a veteran FBI employee who had a top-secret security clearance, pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of China. Prosecutors said that while working for the agency in New York he sent his Chinese handler, “at minimum, information regarding the FBI’s personnel, structure, technological capabilities, general information regarding the FBI’s surveillance strategies, and certain categories of surveillance targets.” And in April, Candace Claiborne, a former State Department employee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to the criminal complaint, Claiborne, who had served in a number of posts overseas including China, and held a top-secret security clearance, did not report her contacts with suspected Chinese agents, who provided her and a co-conspirator with “tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits,” including New Year’s gifts, international travel and vacations, fashion-school tuition, rent, and cash payments. In exchange, Claiborne provided copies of State Department documents and analysis, prosecutors said.

Evanina’s office in Bethesda, Maryland, features a so-called Wall of Shame, on which hang the photographs of dozens of convicted American traitors—a testament to the struggles that have always plagued the U.S. intelligence community. The Cold War, for example, was marked by disastrous leaks from people such as the CIA officer Aldrich Ames and the FBI agent Robert Hanssen. Larry Chin, a CIA translator, was arrested in 1985 on charges of selling classified information to China over the course of three decades. That came during the so-called Year of the Spy, as the FBI made a series of high-profile arrests of U.S. government officials spying for the Soviet Union, Israel, and even Ghana. The Wall of Shame is currently being renovated, and when it’s unveiled in the fall, it will feature several new faces.Whenever a current or former U.S. intelligence officer has been turned, it takes years to assess the full repercussions. “We have to mitigate that damage for sometimes a decade,” Evanina said.


Two decades ago, Chinese intelligence officers were largely seen as relatively amateurish, even sloppy, a former U.S. intelligence official who spent years focusing on China told me. Usually, their English was poor. They were clumsy. They used predictable covers. Chinese military intelligence officers masquerading as civilians often failed to hide a military bearing and could come across as almost laughably uptight. Typically their main targets tended to be of Chinese descent. In recent years, however, Chinese intelligence officers have become more sophisticated—they can come across as suave, personable, even genteel. Their manners can be fluid. Their English is usually good. “Now this is the norm,” the former official said, speaking with me on condition of anonymity due to security concerns. “They really have learned quite a bit and grown up.”

Rodney Faraon, a former senior analyst at the CIA, told me that the Mallory and Hansen cases show just how far China’s espionage services have come. “They’ve broadened their tactics to go beyond relatively easy targets, from recruiting among the ethnically Chinese community to a much more diverse set of human assets,” he said. “In a sense, they’ve become more traditional.”

In his recently published bookTo Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence, James Olson, a veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service and its former chief of counterintelligence, breaks down the basics of China’s espionage services and how they operate. The Ministry of State Security (MSS), its main service, focuses on overseas intelligence. The Ministry of Public Security focuses on domestic intelligence, but also has agents abroad. The People’s Liberation Army, which focuses on military intelligence, “has defined its role broadly and has competed with the MSS in a widerange of economic, political, and technological intelligence collection operations overseas, in addition to its more traditional military targeting.” Olson adds that “the PLA has been responsible for the bulk” of China’s cyberespionage, though the MSS may also be expanding in this realm. Both the MSS and PLA, meanwhile, “make regular use of diplomatic, commercial, journalistic, and student covers for their operations in the United States. They aggressively use Chinese travelers to the US, especially business representatives, academics, scientists, students, and tourists, to supplement their intelligence collection. US intelligence experts have been amazed at how voracious the Chinese have been in their collection activity.”

If veteran American spies are vulnerable to Chinese espionage, U.S. companies may be faring even worse. In some cases, targeting the private sector and targeting U.S. national security can mix. A former U.S. security official, who now works for a prominent American aviation company that is involved in highly sensitive U.S. government projects, told me that the company had a suspected intelligence collector linked to China in its midst. “I would say that he’s had tradecraft training,” this person said, speaking anonymously due to an ongoing law-enforcement investigation.The former security official was hired by the company to monitor such threats, and initially found the lack of effective prevention measures and training at the company jarring. “When I walked in and got the briefing here, I thought it was a joke … Now we do take some measures to protect against [insider threats], but in a sense it’s fox in a henhouse,” this person said. “We as an industry are woefully inadequate at protecting ourselves from a foreign-intelligence threat.”

In a sense, going after American spies and government officials is fair game in the intelligence world. The U.S. does the same against the Chinese. “Intelligence operations are universal, with every country—other than a few isolated island-states who are concerned mainly with the danger of approaching cyclones—engaging in them, to one degree or another,” Loch K. Johnson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, the author of Spy Watching: Intelligence Accountability in the United States, and one of America’s foremost intelligence scholars, told me in an email. He added that while almost every nation fields capabilities to both collect information about its adversaries and defend itself against espionage, a much smaller number have meaningful networks for covert action, which he described as “secret propaganda; political and economic manipulation; even paramilitary activities.” Both America and China count themselves among this group.

“The United States used propaganda, political, and economic ops during the Cold War and (somewhat less aggressively) since. China returns [the] favor,” Johnson said. “Both are major powers and have a full complement of intelligence capabilities, aimed at each other and other significant targets around the world. This means that the United States (like China in reverse) is constantly trying to learn what China is doing when it comes to military, economic, political, and cultural activities, since they may impinge upon U.S. interests in Asia and elsewhere.” To that end, the U.S. uses signals intelligence, geospatial intelligence, and HUMINT, Johnson said, “all aided by a diligent searching through the available (and voluminous) [open-source intelligence] materials for background.”

But he noted a key difference between the two countries: China’s aggressive approach to economic espionage. These Chinese efforts are partly what have prompted U.S. officials and politicians to turn to a newly popular refrain that China’s not playing by the rules. U.S. officials insist that American intelligence agencies do not target foreign companies with the aim of helping domestic ones. (The line between American spying on foreign companies to advance the country’s economic and strategic interests and whether that spying helps U.S. companies can be blurry.) “What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of—or give intelligence we collect to—U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” James Clapper, then the director of national intelligence, said in 2013, amid revelations that the NSA had spied on foreign companies.Dennis Wilder, who retired as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for East Asia and the Pacific in 2016, told me that the Chinese approach to espionage is defined by the fact that its leaders have long seen America as an existential threat. “This is a constant theme in Chinese intelligence—that we’re not just out to steal secrets, we’re not just out to protect ourselves, that the real American goal is the end of Chinese Communism, just as that was the goal with the Soviet Union,” he said.
Wilder, who still travels to the country as the director of an initiative for U.S.-China dialogue at Georgetown University, told me that Chinese officials regularly bring up past American covert action such as the CIA’s ill-fated support for the independence movement in Tibet beginning in the 1950s, and its infiltration of agents into China via Taiwan. And they still see an American hand in events such as the protests in Hong Kong today. “So we’re all sitting here scratching our heads and saying, ‘Do they really believe we’re behind Hong Kong? And the answer is, yes they do. They really believe that the fundamental American goal is the destruction and demise of Chinese Communism,” he said. “Now, if you believe that the other guy is bent on your destruction, then it’s kind of anything goes. So for the Chinese, stealing, espionage, cyberespionage against American corporations for the good of the Chinese state, are just part and parcel of the need for survival against this very formidable enemy.”China denies that it is spying against the U.S.  on the scale alleged by American officials. When presented with the details of this story, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., Fang Hong, said via email that she had no knowledge of the cases involving Mallory, Hansen, Lee, and others. “China has always fully respected the sovereignty of all countries and does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries,” she said. Fang also disparaged U.S. attempts to root out Chinese spies, citing a quote commonly attributed to a great American writer. U.S. views on Chinese espionage, she remarked, “remind me of what Mark Twain said: ‘To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’”
Fang continued, “U.S. officials’ accusations against Chinese students and researchers are groundless. Guided by the zero-sum-game mentality and ill intentions to contain China, people and institutions in the U.S. have been fabricating such absurd pretexts as ‘espionage’ as an excuse to harass them and make groundless allegations.”

She added that innocent people had been framed in some cases and that “such false accusations severely undermine China-U.S. people-to-people exchanges, and scientific and technological cooperation.”

The litany of cases the DOJ has brought over the past year or so underscores the comprehensive quality of China’s espionage efforts: a former General Electric engineer charged with theft of trade secrets related to gas and steam turbines (he has pleaded not guilty); an American and a Chinese citizen charged with attempting to steal trade secrets related to plastics (the American has pleaded not guilty and the Chinese defendant, as of March 2019, had yet to appear in a U.S. court); a state-owned Chinese chip-making company and a Taiwanese company that makes semiconductors charged with stealing from an American competitor(the chipmaker has pleaded not guilty); two Chinese hackers charged with targeting intellectual property (China denied the “slanderous” economic espionage charges). In Senate testimony in July, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the agency has “probably about 1,000 plus investigations all across the country involving attempted theft of U.S. intellectual property … almost all leading back to China.”

Demers, the national-security official at the Justice Department, told me that China uses the same tactics and even some of the same intelligence officers in its espionage efforts against America’s private sector. “What it shows is how seriously the Chinese government takes their intellectual-property-theft efforts, because they’re really using the crown jewels of their intelligence community and their most sophisticated and well-honed tradecraft,” he said.Some of the trade secrets China is accused of stealing seem simply aimed to help a specific company or industry. Often, however, the distinction between a Chinese company and the Chinese state is not clear-cut. Chinese law mandates that all corporations cooperate with the government on national security. This was one concern U.S. officials cited after announcing indictments against the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei earlier this year; the Trump administration has banned U.S. companies from doing business with it. (Huawei has pleaded not guilty to attempted U.S. trade-theft allegations.)Demers told me that China uses economic espionage as a form of “R&D,” or research and development. “They also have very talented, smart people who are using their resources in legitimate ways, which is, I think, some of the frustration that folks have right now—that you could do this differently. You could fight fair, right? You’re not the 80-pound weakling who has to throw dirt in somebody’s eye to get ahead.”
The open business climate between America and China—the sort of climate that did not exist between America and the Soviet Union during the Cold War—makes addressing Chinese espionage trickier: China is both a rival and a top trade partner. The economic and research relationship between the two countries benefits them both. At the same time, Chinese immigrants and visitors to America risk being unfairly targeted if U.S. officials fail to find the right balance, which would cast a chill on legitimate exchange between the two countries while raising the specter of American overreactions during past struggles, from the Cold War to the War on Terror. As U.S. officials warn about the Chinese espionage threat and the U.S. intelligence community reorients to face it, they must be careful not to undermine the American values—openness, civil liberty, enterprise—that remain perhaps the country’s greatest advantage over China.Rodney Faraon, who worked on the President’s Daily Briefing team at the CIA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and is now a partner at Crumpton Group, a business intelligence firm, told me that it will take a major push not just from America’s intelligence agencies but from the U.S. government overall to find the right strategy. And despite the Trump administration’s combative stance on trade negotiations and other issues, this has yet to happen. “The approach must be whole of government and must involve the private sector,” Faraon said. “The Chinese use and value intelligence better than we do, seeing its applicability in nearly every aspect of private and public life—military, social, commercial. We have been slow to recognize this for ourselves.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/inside-us-china-espionage-war/595747/

Story 3: Big Brother Is Watching Every Move You Make With Social Credit System — Chinese Communist Control  Digital Dictatorship Surveillance State — From Authoritarian to Totalitarian State — Socialist Serfs —   Videos

The Police – Every Breath You Take (Official Music Video)

The Police – Every breath you take lyrics

Social surveillance in China – Credit or control? | DW Documentary

China’s Secret File on Everyone

Big Brother is watching you: How China is ranking its citizens

Exposing China’s Digital Dystopian Dictatorship | Foreign Correspondent

A Look Inside China’s Social Credit System | NBC News Now

Hong Kong police fire live round warning shot and use water cannon on protesters

China ranks ‘good’ and ‘bad’ citizens with ‘social credit’ system

China Expert Gordon Chang On Its Social Credit Rating System & Surveillance State

China’s TERRIFYING Social Credit System

Inside China’s High-Tech Dystopia

China Social Credit System: Beijing plans to go full on Big Brother in 2020 – TomoNews

China’s “Social Credit System” Has Caused More Than Just Public Shaming (HBO)

Chinese “Social Credit System” rewards Obedient Citizens – Infowars News 12/24

China’s Secret Plan to Control the Internet | China Uncensored

20 Years Ago, This Changed China Forever: Here Are 5 Ways | China Uncensored

Big Brother: China Edition!

1984 Introduction

What is 1984?

 

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system

In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system
[Images: Rawf8/iStock; zhudifeng/iStock]

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.

It can also award points for charitable donations or even taking one’s own parents to the doctor.

Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist.

China’s social credit system has been characterized in one pithy tweet as “authoritarianism, gamified.”

Authoritarianism, gamified. https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/10/in-china-your-credit-score-is-now-affected-by-your-political-opinions-and-your-friends-political-opinions/  ht @VitalikButerin @FrankPasquale

In China, Your Credit Score Is Now Affected By Your Political Opinions – And Your Friends’ Politi…

China just introduced a universal credit score, where everybody is measured as a number between 350 and 950. But this credit score isn’t just affected by how well you manage credit – it also reflects…

privateinternetaccess.com

At present, some parts of the social credit system are in force nationwide and others are local and limited (there are 40 or so pilot projects operated by local governments and at least six run by tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent).

Beijing maintains two nationwide lists, called the blacklist and the red list—the former consisting of people who have transgressed, and the latter people who have stayed out of trouble (a “red list” is the Communist version of a white list.) These lists are publicly searchable on a government website called China Credit.

The Chinese government also shares lists with technology platforms. So, for example, if someone criticizes the government on Weibo, their kids might be ineligible for acceptance to an elite school.

Public shaming is also part of China’s social credit system. Pictures of blacklisted people in one city were shown between videos on TikTok in a trial, and the addresses of blacklisted citizens were shown on a map on WeChat.

Some Western press reports imply that the Chinese populace is suffocating in a nationwide Skinner box of oppressive behavioral modification. But some Chinese are unaware that it even exists. And many others actually like the idea. One survey found that 80% of Chinese citizens surveyed either somewhat or strongly approve of social credit system.

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you. On the other hand, a Facebook post showing you doing yoga might save you money. (Insurance companies have to demonstrate that social media evidence points to risk, and not be based on discrimination of any kind—they can’t use social posts to alter premiums based on race or disability, for example.)

The use of social media is an extension of the lifestyle questions typically asked when applying for life insurance, such as questions about whether you engage in rock climbing or other adventure sports. Saying “no,” but then posting pictures of yourself free-soloing El Capitan, could count as a “yes.”

PATRONSCAN

A company called PatronScan sells three products—kiosk, desktop, and handheld systems—designed to help bar and restaurant owners manage customers. PatronScan is a subsidiary of the Canadian software company Servall Biometrics, and its products are now on sale in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

PatronScan helps spot fake IDs—and troublemakers. When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year. (PatronScan Australia keeps a separate system.)

Judgment about what kind of behavior qualifies for inclusion on a PatronScan list is up to the bar owners and managers. Individual bar owners can ignore the ban, if they like. Data on non-offending customers is deleted in 90 days or less. Also: PatronScan enables bars to keep a “private” list that is not shared with other bars, but on which bad customers can be kept for up to five years.

PatronScan does have an “appeals” process, but it’s up to the company to grant or deny those appeals.

UBER AND AIRBNB

Thanks to the sharing economy, the options for travel have been extended far beyond taxis and hotels. Uber and Airbnb are leaders in providing transportation and accommodation for travelers. But there are many similar ride-sharing and peer-to-peer accommodations companies providing similar services.

Airbnb—a major provider of travel accommodation and tourist activities—bragged in March that it now has more than 6 million listings in its system. That’s why a ban from Airbnb can limit travel options.

Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that “This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.” The ban can be based on something the host privately tells Airbnb about something they believe you did while staying at their property. Airbnb’s competitors have similar policies.

It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy announced in May: If your average rating is “significantly below average,” Uber will ban you from the service.

WHATSAPP

You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you. You can also get banned for sending spam, threatening messages, trying to hack or reverse-engineer the WhatsApp app, or using the service with an unauthorized app.

WhatsApp is small potatoes in the United States. But in much of the world, it’s the main form of electronic communication. Not being allowed to use WhatsApp in some countries is as punishing as not being allowed to use the telephone system in America.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH SOCIAL CREDIT, ANYWAY?

Nobody likes antisocial, violent, rude, unhealthy, reckless, selfish, or deadbeat behavior. What’s wrong with using new technology to encourage everyone to behave?

The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights.

Social credit systems are an end-run around the pesky complications of the legal system. Unlike China’s government policy, the social credit system emerging in the U.S. is enforced by private companies. If the public objects to how these laws are enforced, it can’t elect new rule-makers.

An increasing number of societal “privileges” related to transportation, accommodations, communications, and the rates we pay for services (like insurance) are either controlled by technology companies or affected by how we use technology services. And Silicon Valley’s rules for being allowed to use their services are getting stricter.

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy.

In other words, in the future, law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements.

 

Story 4: Live Fire Used in Hong Kong Protest —  Videos —

Pence urges China to respect HK laws amid protest | The Straits Times

The many faces of the Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests turn violent as police fire live ammunition

Hong Kong protests turn violent as police use water cannons

Violence escalates on the streets of Hong Kong | DW News

Hong Kong: Police fire live round for first time as violence intensifies

Facts tell: Did Hong Kong police point guns at civilian? 香港警察槍指平民?

Hong Kong protesters throw bricks and petrol bombs at riot police

Hong Kong police arrest 29 after clashes, more protests planned

Hong Kong conflict causing schisms within families

Steve Bannon: If There Is Another Tiananmen in Hong Kong, the CCP Will Collapse | Zooming I

The messages behind Hong Kong’s foreign flags

Hong Kong protesters fight back with TENNIS RACQUETS to volley back tear gas after police opened fire with live bullets for the first time during weeks of demonstrations

  • Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with metal poles and sports equipment to protect themselves 
  • An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent clashes between police and proteters
  • Police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstrations which have rocked Hong Kong 

Protesters in Hong Kong are using tennis racquets to fend off tear gas while police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstrations.

Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with metal poles and sports equipment to protect themselves from a police crackdown amid escalating tensions in the city.

An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent clashes on Sunday with officers caught isolated by masked youths wielding sticks and throwing rocks.

Tensions escalated when police began hoisting warning flags before firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd, who reacted angrily by throwing bricks and molotov cocktails.

In one instance, several police officers drew their sidearms. ‘According to my understanding, just now a gunshot was fired by a colleague,’ Superintendent Leung Kwok Win told the press.

‘My initial understanding was that it was a uniformed policeman who fired his gun.’

Scroll down for video

Protesters in Hong Kong are using tennis racquets to fend off tear gas after police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstration

Protesters in Hong Kong are using tennis racquets to fend off tear gas after police fired live bullets for the first time in the weeks-long demonstration

Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with sports equipment to protect themselves from a police crackdown amid escalating tensions in the city

Pro-democracy protesters were seen armed with sports equipment to protect themselves from a police crackdown amid escalating tensions in the city

A Hong Kong police officer fired at least one gunshot Sunday, the first time a live round has been used during three months of protests. Above: Officers point their guns at protesters on the streets of Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

A Hong Kong police officer fired at least one gunshot Sunday, the first time a live round has been used during three months of protests. Above: Officers point their guns at protesters on the streets of Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

There has been a worrying change in the methods being used by city police to break up the crowds, with one instance where several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said

There has been a worrying change in the methods being used by city police to break up the crowds, with one instance where several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said

A protester clad in a gas mask and other protective gear throws a brick at police during a clash at an anti-government rally in Tsuen Wan district to the north of the Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on Sunday

Another protestor, wearing the symbolic yellow helmet, is held down by two officers in riot gear as the police force clears out a street previously held by protestors

Another protestor, wearing the symbolic yellow helmet, is held down by two officers in riot gear as the police force clears out a street previously held by protestors

Tens of thousands of protesters skirmished with police in Hong Kong for a second straight day on Sunday following a pro-democracy march in an outlying district. After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Above: A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at police

Tens of thousands of protesters skirmished with police in Hong Kong for a second straight day on Sunday following a pro-democracy march in an outlying district. After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Above: A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at police

Flames from molotov cocktails and petrol bombs linger on the road and pavement after anti-extradition bill protesters clashed with riot police during a protest to demand democracy and political reforms, at Tsuen Wan, in Hong Kong this evening

Flames from molotov cocktails and petrol bombs linger on the road and pavement after anti-extradition bill protesters clashed with riot police during a protest to demand democracy and political reforms, at Tsuen Wan, in Hong Kong this evening

A makeshift barricade of bollards and railings separates protestors from police officers as night falls across Hong Kong

A makeshift barricade of bollards and railings separates protestors from police officers as night falls across Hong Kong

It was unclear where the shot was aimed, but it was the first live round fired since the protests started three months ago.

The Hong Kong Free Press reported that three officers drew pistols in Tsuen Wan, a built up north of the main city, as two ‘got on their knees’ to beg the officers not to fire any shots.

There was a sense of chaos across swathes of the Kowloon peninsula, over the harbour from the main island of Hong Kong, with police sirens blaring, tear gas wafting throughout densely populated areas and running clashes on the streets.

The skirmishes between police and tens of thousands of protesters occurred for a second straight day yesterday following a pro-democracy march from a sports stadium in Kwai Fong to Tsuen Wan.

While a large crowd rallied in a nearby park, another group of protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to try to obstruct the police.

One woman looked undeterred by a police officer clutching a baton as she faced him while holding a purple umbrella above her head

One woman looked undeterred by a police officer clutching a baton as she faced him while holding a purple umbrella above her head

While a large crowd rallied in a nearby park, another group of protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to try to obstruct the police. Above: Police fire tear gas at protesters

While a large crowd rallied in a nearby park, another group of protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to try to obstruct the police. Above: Police fire tear gas at protesters

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police 

The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police. Above: Riot police aim their guns at protesters

The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police. Above: Riot police aim their guns at protesters

Police also carried riot shields and wore body armour, helmets and gas masks to defend against projectiles which were hurled at them in response to their tear gas

Some protesters wore protective gear including helmets and gas masks to guard against tear gas volleys by police. One mn (right) appeared to be holding his own weapon

Some protesters wore protective gear including helmets and gas masks to guard against tear gas volleys by police. One mn (right) appeared to be holding his own weapon

The demonstrators were not deterred by police as they charged towards them. Their defiance was despite multiple warnings by the Chinese government that the protests must stop

The demonstrators were not deterred by police as they charged towards them. Their defiance was despite multiple warnings by the Chinese government that the protests must stop

Some police drew their weapons as the clashes with protesters escalated. Sunday's reported gunshots were the first in the three months of pro-democracy protests

Some police drew their weapons as the clashes with protesters escalated. Sunday’s reported gunshots were the first in the three months of pro-democracy protests

Multiple photographers surrounded one officer with clutching his gun as they looked to record what was going on

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police.

The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police.

Prior to the skirmishes, tens of thousands of umbrella-carrying protesters marched in the rain in Hong Kong’s latest pro-democracy demonstration.

Many filled Tsuen Wan Park, the endpoint of the rally, chanting, ‘Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,’ the South China Morning Post newspaper said.

What do Hong Kong protesters want?

Apart from the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong demonstrators have listed five demands and have continued to urge the government to respond to them.

These five demands are:

1. A complete withdrawal of the extradition bill

2. A retraction from the government to its characterisation that the protesters were ‘rioters’

3. Unconditional and immediate release of protesters who were arrested and charges against them dropped

4. Establishment of an independent enquiry to investigate police violence during clashes

5. Genuine universal suffrage

The protests began with people gathering at a sports stadium in Kwai Fong, western Hong Kong, where they then marched to nearby Tsuen Wan and clashed with police. 

The Chinese-ruled city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering.

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming.

‘We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems’, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,’ he said.

‘If we keep a strong mind, we can sustain this movement for justice and democracy. It won’t die,’ Sung said.

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China, but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement.

Protesters say they are fighting the erosion of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement under which the former British colony returned to China in 1997 with the promise of continued freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. 

The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.

Beijing has sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills just over the border.

The Chinese Government has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed ‘white terror’ by the movement.

The MTR – the city’s metro – is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an ‘exclusive’ service to ferry protesters to rallies.

Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row

As photographers took pictures, a Hong Kong officers were seen with their guns out as they clashed with protesters againAs photographers took pictures, a Hong Kong officers were seen with their guns out as they clashed with protesters again

Demonstrators also carried lasers which they shined into the eyes of police in an effort to hit back against their volleys of tear gas

One protester who was caught by police looked up fearfully at an officer as they tended to injuries he had suffered in clashes

The officer appeared to shine a light into the man's eyes while others stood guard around him as others continued to protest

The officer appeared to shine a light into the man’s eyes while others stood guard around him as others continued to protest

Riot police successfully detain one protester who is seen lying on their stomach with their hands on the wet road as officers talk to each other

Riot police successfully detain one protester who is seen lying on their stomach with their hands on the wet road as officers talk to each other

Hong Kong was filled with clouds of tear gas as the sun began to go down in the region and protesters stayed on the streets

Hong Kong was filled with clouds of tear gas as the sun began to go down in the region and protesters stayed on the streets

Some were armed with metal bars and wore helmets, goggles and gas masks for protection. Others wore body armour, including one man whose arms and chest were covered in protective gear

Some were armed with metal bars and wore helmets, goggles and gas masks for protection. Others wore body armour, including one man whose arms and chest were covered in protective gear

Lines of police were matched by masses of protesters who stood behind makeshift barriers. Many of those protesting wore yellow helmets and held umbrellas aloft

Lines of police were matched by masses of protesters who stood behind makeshift barriers. Many of those protesting wore yellow helmets and held umbrellas aloft

Bamboo poles were left strewn over the street as protesters tried to build barricades to push back the police in Tsuen Wan

Bamboo poles were left strewn over the street as protesters tried to build barricades to push back the police in Tsuen Wan 

Many protesters filled Tsuen Wan Park, the endpoint of the rally, chanting, 'Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,' the South China Morning Post newspaper said

Some protesters, undeterred by the robust police response, threw projectiles including Molotov cocktails at police

Some protesters, undeterred by the robust police response, threw projectiles including Molotov cocktails at police

Other protesters were seen cowering in the streets of Tsuen Wan while wearing gas masks and helmets and holding umbrellas

Other protesters were seen cowering in the streets of Tsuen Wan while wearing gas masks and helmets and holding umbrellas

Some rioters were detained by police, including one woman who cowered on the floor with her head bowed as two officers with shields and batons stood over her

Some rioters were detained by police, including one woman who cowered on the floor with her head bowed as two officers with shields and batons stood over her

The protesters filled Hong Kong's streets, with thousands holding umbrellas over their heads both as protection against the rain and as a reference to the original 'Umbrella Movement' in 2014

The protesters filled Hong Kong’s streets, with thousands holding umbrellas over their heads both as protection against the rain and as a reference to the original ‘Umbrella Movement’ in 2014 

The protests began with people gathering at a sports stadium in Kwai Fong, western Hong Kong, where they then marched to nearby Tsuen Wan and clashed with police. The Chinese-ruled city's rail operator, MTR Corp, had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering

The protests began with people gathering at a sports stadium in Kwai Fong, western Hong Kong, where they then marched to nearby Tsuen Wan and clashed with police. The Chinese-ruled city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering

Protesters were not afraid to have physical clashes with police as they were seen fighting with officers. Above: One policeman crouches on the floor as a protester stands over him with a metal bar

Protesters were not afraid to have physical clashes with police as they were seen fighting with officers. Above: One policeman crouches on the floor as a protester stands over him with a metal bar

Despite the defiance of protesters, a seemingly-endless stream of police filled the streets to deal with demonstrations

Despite the defiance of protesters, a seemingly-endless stream of police filled the streets to deal with demonstrations

Many of those clashes with officers were dressed in helmets and face coverings and some had makeshift weapons

Many of those clashes with officers were dressed in helmets and face coverings and some had makeshift weapons

As well as clashing with police, a hoard of protesters were seen breaking into and trashing a restaurant in Tsuen Wan

As well as clashing with police, a hoard of protesters were seen breaking into and trashing a restaurant in Tsuen Wan

After smashing windows, protesters were seen standing amid upturned tables and chairs and shards of broken glass

After smashing windows, protesters were seen standing amid upturned tables and chairs and shards of broken glass

Some protesters used metal poles to smash the window of a shop run by mainland Chinese people where Mahjong - a traditional Chinese domino-like tile game - can be played. The tactics are likely to further anger the Chinese government

Some protesters used metal poles to smash the window of a shop run by mainland Chinese people where Mahjong – a traditional Chinese domino-like tile game – can be played. The tactics are likely to further anger the Chinese government

After the windows were smashed, people inside huddled in a doorway while one man sitting at a table appeared to be crying

After the windows were smashed, people inside huddled in a doorway while one man sitting at a table appeared to be crying

Worried-looking Hong Kong residents stood and watched the protesters break into the shop. The residents have witnessed three months of ongoing protests

Worried-looking Hong Kong residents stood and watched the protesters break into the shop. The residents have witnessed three months of ongoing protests

In another Mahjong venue, broken glass was pictured scattered over the floor while a man peered through a doorway at the back of the room

Police facing protesters were backed up by trucks firing water cannon which helped to knock down makeshift barricades

Police facing protesters were backed up by trucks firing water cannon which helped to knock down makeshift barricades

Officers were seen walking through the streets behind and  head of police vans as protesters massed up ahead of them

Officers were seen walking through the streets behind and  head of police vans as protesters massed up ahead of them

A petrol bomb thrown on the road  by a protester lands next to police officers who keep a safe distance from leaping flames

A petrol bomb thrown on the road  by a protester lands next to police officers who keep a safe distance from leaping flames

Bricks thrown by protesters are seen near tear gas fired by the police during violent clashes between officers and those on the streets

Bricks thrown by protesters are seen near tear gas fired by the police during violent clashes between officers and those on the streets

One protester holds an umbrella as they react to the haze of tear gas which hung over the streets of Hong Kong for much of the day

One protester holds an umbrella as they react to the haze of tear gas which hung over the streets of Hong Kong for much of the day

A second rally of a few hundred, some of them family members of police, was also held on Sunday afternoon.

One relative, who said she was the wife of an officer, said they had received enough criticism. ‘I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium.’

‘I really want you to know even if the whole world spits on you, we as family members will not,’ she said, giving her surname only as Si.

Police said they would launch a ‘dispersal operation’ soon.

‘Some radical protesters have removed railings … and set up barricades with water-filled barriers, bamboo sticks, traffic cones and other objects,’ they said in a statement. ‘Such acts neglect the safety of citizens and road users, paralysing traffic in the vicinity.

‘Remember, your job is to serve Hong Kong residents, not be the enemies of Hong Kong.’

The city’s officers are often the focus of protesters’ anger because of their perceived heavy-handling of the rallies.

The neighbouring gambling territory of Macau, a former Portuguese colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1999, elected former legislature head Ho Iat Seng as its leader on Sunday – the sole approved candidate.

One defiant-looking man is detained by officers as they continue to try to deal with the ongoing protests which have rocked Hong Kong

One defiant-looking man is detained by officers as they continue to try to deal with the ongoing protests which have rocked Hong Kong

One protester held an egg above his head as he prepares to launch it at police while others cower behind him

One protester held an egg above his head as he prepares to launch it at police while others cower behind him

One protester held a tennis racket as he and others fled from a tear gas canister. Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row

One protester held a tennis racket as he and others fled from a tear gas canister. Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row

A demonstrator uses a slingshot as they clash with riot police during Sunday's protest in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

A demonstrator uses a slingshot as they clash with riot police during Sunday’s protest in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

Protesters who were not cowed by tear gas from police used slingshots to fire bricks back at them. Many wore gas masks to guard against tear gas

Protesters who were not cowed by tear gas from police used slingshots to fire bricks back at them. Many wore gas masks to guard against tear gas

This man wearing a gas mask had a closed umbrella in one hand and some kind of inflatable in the other as he faced the police

This man wearing a gas mask had a closed umbrella in one hand and some kind of inflatable in the other as he faced the police

Protesters constructed barricades from road barriers and wooden pallets as they faced police amid a cloud of tear gas which had been fired by officers

Protesters constructed barricades from road barriers and wooden pallets as they faced police amid a cloud of tear gas which had been fired by officers

An anti-riot police vehicle equipped with a water cannon clears the road from a barricade set up by protesters during an anti-government rally in Kwai Fung and Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

An anti-riot police vehicle equipped with a water cannon clears the road from a barricade set up by protesters during an anti-government rally in Kwai Fung and Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Some protesters wore gas masks to protect against a barrage of tear gas from police in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Some protesters wore gas masks to protect against a barrage of tear gas from police in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Many crouched behind makeshift barriers while others watched the clashes from inside a glass-panelled walkway above

Many crouched behind makeshift barriers while others watched the clashes from inside a glass-panelled walkway above

Riot police wearing gas masks and armed with batons walked in front of a water cannon truck as they continued to respond to the ongoing protests

Riot police wearing gas masks and armed with batons walked in front of a water cannon truck as they continued to respond to the ongoing protests

Some protesters threw slightly less dangerous projectiles at police, in the form of eggs. One man (above) was pictured throwing an egg and he had a plentiful supply behind him

Some protesters threw slightly less dangerous projectiles at police, in the form of eggs. One man (above) was pictured throwing an egg and he had a plentiful supply behind him

Even though most protesters engaging in clashes with police were wearing as masks, officers continued to fire volleys of tear gas at them

Even though most protesters engaging in clashes with police were wearing as masks, officers continued to fire volleys of tear gas at them

Battle lines drawn: protesters and police faced each other in the street in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. Demonstrators stood behind makeshift barricades while officers held up riot shields

Battle lines drawn: protesters and police faced each other in the street in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. Demonstrators stood behind makeshift barricades while officers held up riot shields

One protester used spray paint to scrawl on the wall 'Absolute power corrupts absolutely' - a chilling hint that the Chinese government may impose a further crackdown on protesters

The city had earlier appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub's airport. But Sunday's clashes again brought more violence. Above: A man helps a fellow protester as he falls to the floor amid the heavy use of tear gas by police

The city had earlier appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub’s airport. But Sunday’s clashes again brought more violence. Above: A man helps a fellow protester as he falls to the floor amid the heavy use of tear gas by police

One man defiantly waved his middle finger at police as he stood behind makeshift barricades and others cowered in the face of tear gas

One man defiantly waved his middle finger at police as he stood behind makeshift barricades and others cowered in the face of tear gas

Some officers appeared to be in plain clothes as they clashed with protesters for the second straight day in what has been three months of ongoing protests

Some officers appeared to be in plain clothes as they clashed with protesters for the second straight day in what has been three months of ongoing protests

Amid the use of tear gas by police, protesters were pictured running away while wearing gas masks and holding umbrellas

Amid the use of tear gas by police, protesters were pictured running away while wearing gas masks and holding umbrellas

Children were pictured with their parents during some of yesterday's protests as thousands of people took to the streets

Children were pictured with their parents during some of yesterday’s protests as thousands of people took to the streets

Protesters were armed with metal poles and even tennis rackets as dozens of people watched the clashes with police from a walkway above the street

Protesters were armed with metal poles and even tennis rackets as dozens of people watched the clashes with police from a walkway above the street

Protesters broke into restaurants during clashes. Above: A group of six men use metal poles to smash the glass of one venue

Protesters broke into restaurants during clashes. Above: A group of six men use metal poles to smash the glass of one venue

One protester reaches out at what appears to be a tear gas canister as it sprays out gas intended to subdue protesters

One protester reaches out at what appears to be a tear gas canister as it sprays out gas intended to subdue protesters

Ho, who has deep ties to China, is expected to cement Beijing’s control over the ‘special administrative region’, the same status given to Hong Kong, and distance it from the unrest there.

Ten people were left in hospital after Saturday’s clashes in Hong Kong – two in a serious condition – staff said, without detailing if they were police or protesters.

Saturday’s clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood.

The city had earlier appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub’s airport.

Demonstrations started against a bill that would have allowed extradition to China, but have bled into wider calls for democracy and police accountability in the semi-autonomous city.

Protesters say Hong Kong’s unique freedoms are in jeopardy as Beijing tightens its political choke hold on the city.

Police fired volleys of tear gas throughout clashes with demonstrators as they attempted to quell the ongoing protests

Police fired volleys of tear gas throughout clashes with demonstrators as they attempted to quell the ongoing protests

Protesters wearing helmets, gas masks and gloves wield makeshift weapons. Others hold lasers and shine them at police

Protesters wearing helmets, gas masks and gloves wield makeshift weapons. Others hold lasers and shine them at police

Violent clashes between police and protesters saw officers wielding their batons and riot shields as their opponents held makeshift weapons

Violent clashes between police and protesters saw officers wielding their batons and riot shields as their opponents held makeshift weapons

A protester holds his arm out as a policeman prepares to hit him with his baton. The protests have seen further violence descend onto the streets of Hong Kong

A protester holds his arm out as a policeman prepares to hit him with his baton. The protests have seen further violence descend onto the streets of Hong Kong

Some police were dressed in plain clothes as they clashed with demonstrators. Above: An officer cries out as a protester smashes a metal bar against his shield

Some police were dressed in plain clothes as they clashed with demonstrators. Above: An officer cries out as a protester smashes a metal bar against his shield

Some protesters directed laser pens towards police as the streets were filled with thousands of people in Hong Kong

Some protesters directed laser pens towards police as the streets were filled with thousands of people in Hong Kong

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming. 'We know this is the last chance to fight for 'one country, two systems', otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,' he said. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading 'corrupt police return eyes to victims' as demonstrators march in the rain

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming. ‘We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems’, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,’ he said. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading ‘corrupt police return eyes to victims’ as demonstrators march in the rain

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during the protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during the protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR - the city's metro - is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an 'exclusive' service to ferry protesters to rallies

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR – the city’s metro – is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an ‘exclusive’ service to ferry protesters to rallies

The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1. Above: Protesters march from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

 The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1. Above: Protesters march from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong

Some protesters were seen holding U.S. flags as they join marchers heading from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan, further north

Some protesters were seen holding U.S. flags as they join marchers heading from Kwai Fung to Tsuen Wan, further north

One woman, who said she was the wife of an officer, said the police had received enough criticism. 'I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium'. Above: Riot police officers stand guard as protesters march in Tsuen Wan

One woman, who said she was the wife of an officer, said the police had received enough criticism. ‘I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium’. Above: Riot police officers stand guard as protesters march in Tsuen Wan

In Tsuen Wan, demonstrators marched through the area, including one man who was seen in a yellow helmet and military vest

In Tsuen Wan, demonstrators marched through the area, including one man who was seen in a yellow helmet and military vest

Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Yesterday, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed 'white terror' by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather yesterday in Hong Kong

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed ‘white terror’ by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather yesterday in Hong Kong 

Demonstrators also removed road barriers during their march during through Kwai Fong, in Hong Kong yesterday

Ten people were left in hospital after Saturday’s clashes – two in a serious condition – staff said, without detailing if they were police or protesters

Saturday's clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood

Saturday’s clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood

On Friday, tens of thousands of people had held hands across Hong Kong in a dazzling, neon-framed recreation of a pro-democracy ‘Baltic Way’ protest against Soviet rule three decades ago.

The city’s skyscraper-studded harbour-front as well as several busy shopping districts were lined with peaceful protesters, many wearing surgical masks to hide their identity and holding Hong Kong flags or mobile phones with lights shining.

The human chain was another creative demonstration in the rolling protests which have tipped Hong Kong into an unprecedented political crisis.

Chinese state media says Hong Kong’s ‘toxic’ textbooks lead to protests

Chinese state newspaper has suggested that the cause of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong is the city’s education system, particularly its textbooks.

Tung Chee-hwa, the city’s first Chief Executive, has confessed that the General Education system in Hong Kong was a failure and the young generations became ‘problematic’ as a result, claimed People’s Daily in a column today.

The op-ed, penned by Professor Gu Minggang, said Hong Kong needed to reflect on its entire education system.

Protesters hold hands to form a human chain during a rally to call for political reforms in Hong Kong on August 23. Chinese media accused that the city's 'biased' and 'erroneous' textbooks had brought up a generation of 'useless youngsters'

The author said: ‘After Hong Kong returned to the arms of the motherland, the first and foremost issue to resolve should be to establish the concept of the country. The problem is, how many educators in Hong Kong have this notion?’

On Wednesday, China’s Guancha.cn called the General Education textbook in Hong Kong ‘toxic’, ‘biased’ and ‘erroneous’.

Citing Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing newspaper Wenweipo, Guancha.cn accused the textbook of encouraging pupils to hate police, promoting Occupy Central campaign and twisting facts.

The article said that the textbook had become a political propaganda and brought up a generation of ‘useless youngsters’.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7394069/Hong-Kong-protesters-fight-tennis-racquets.html

Story 5: Three Way Tie In Race For 2020 Democratic Presidential Canidate — Biden, Sander and Warren — Videos

Biden plunges, tied with Warren and Sanders in new national poll

Joe Biden Doesn’t Know What State He Is In

Published on Aug 24, 2019
In Keene, N.H., former Vice President Joe Biden told a press gaggle that he loves being in Vermont when asked about his time in Keene on 8/24/19. Be sure to like, subscribe, and comment below to share your thoughts on the video.

3-Way Lead as Dem 2020 Picture Shifts

Today

Sanders and Warren rise; Biden drops

West Long Branch, NJ – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden are currently bunched together in the national Democratic presidential preference contest. Movement in the latest Monmouth University Poll – positive for Warren and Sanders, negative for Biden – suggests the 2020 presidential nomination process may be entering a volatile stage.  The poll results also suggest that liberal voters are starting to take a closer look at a wider range of candidates, while moderates are focusing on those with the highest name recognition.  Another key finding that could contribute to growing volatility in the race is confusion over “Medicare for All.” Most say support for this policy is an important factor in choosing a Democratic nominee, but voters actually prefer a public option over a single payer plan.

The poll finds a virtual three-way tie among Sanders (20%), Warren (20%), and Biden (19%) in the presidential nomination preferences of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters across the country. Compared to Monmouth’s June poll, these results represent an increase in support for both Sanders (up from 14%) and Warren (up from 15%), and a significant drop for Biden (down from 32%).

Results for the rest of the field are fairly stable compared to two months ago. These candidates include California Sen. Kamala Harris at 8% support (identical to 8% in June), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at 4% (2% in June), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 4% (5% in June), entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3% (2% in June), former cabinet secretary Julián Castro at 2% (<1% in June), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke at 2% (3% in June), and author Marianne Williamson at 2% (1% in June). Support for the remaining 13 candidates included in the preference poll registered only 1% or less.

Biden has suffered an across the board decline in his support since June.  He lost ground with white Democrats (from 32% to 18%) and voters of color (from 33% to 19%), among voters without a college degree (from 35% to 18%) and college graduates (from 28% to 20%), with both men (from 38% to 24%) and women (from 29% to 16%), and among voters under 50 years old (from 21% to 6%) as well as voters aged 50 and over (from 42% to 33%).  Most of Biden’s lost support in these groups shifted almost equally toward Sanders and Warren.

“The main takeaway from this poll is that the Democratic race has become volatile.  Liberal voters are starting to cast about for a candidate they can identify with.  Moderate voters, who have been paying less attention, seem to be expressing doubts about Biden. But they are swinging more toward one of the left-leaning contenders with high name recognition rather than toward a lesser known candidate who might be more in line with them politically,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.  He added, “It’s important to keep in mind this is just one snapshot from one poll.  But it does raise warning signs of increased churning in the Democratic nomination contest now that voters are starting to pay closer attention.”

Biden lost support over the past two months among Democrats who call themselves moderate or conservative (from 40% to 22%) with the shift among these voters accruing to both Sanders (from 10% to 20%) and Warren (from 6% to 16%).  Biden also lost support among liberals (from 24% to 15%), but this group’s backing has scattered to a variety of other candidates. Sanders has picked up a few points among liberal voters (from 17% to 21%) while Warren has held fairly steady (from 25% to 24%).  Also, Harris has not budged with this group (from 10% to 11%) and Buttigieg has slipped slightly (from 8% to 5%).  However, the aggregate support for four other candidates – namely Booker, Castro, Williamson and Yang – has gone up a total of 8 points among liberal Democrats (from 8% to 16% for the four combined).

The Monmouth poll also finds that Biden has lost his small edge in the early states where Democrats will cast ballots from February through Super Tuesday. His even larger lead in the later states has vanished as well.  Biden (20%), Warren (20%), Sanders (16%), and Harris (12%) are all in the top tier among voters in the early states. Biden has slipped by 6 points since June and Warren has gained 5 points over the same time span.  Early state support for Sanders and Harris has not changed much.  In the later states, Biden’s support has plummeted from 38% in June to 17% now, while both Warren (from 16% to 20%) and Sanders (from 13% to 23%) have made gains.

“Biden’s drop in support is coming disproportionately from later states that have less impact on the process. But if this trend continues it could spell trouble for him in the early states if it undermines his claim to being the most electable candidate.  This could benefit someone like Harris, who remains competitive in the early states and could use a strong showing there to propel her into the top tier.  Based on the current data, though, Warren looks like the candidate with the greatest momentum right now,” said Murray.

2020 DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT by state primary schedule *
EARLY STATES OTHER STATES
Aug‘19 Jun‘19 May‘19 Aug‘19 Jun‘19 May‘19
Elizabeth Warren 20% 15% 9% 20% 16% 11%
Joe Biden 20% 26% 26% 17% 38% 38%
Bernie Sanders 16% 15% 14% 23% 13% 16%
Kamala Harris 12% 11% 14% 5% 5% 8%
Cory Booker 2% 3% <1% 5% 1% 1%
Pete Buttigieg 4% 4% 6% 4% 6% 6%
Andrew Yang 5% 3% 2% 2% 1% 0%
Julián Castro 2% 1% 1% 2% <1% 0%
Beto O’Rourke 3% 6% 3% 1% 1% 4%
Marianne Williamson 1% 1% 1% 3% 1% 1%
  * Early states include those scheduled to or likely to hold a 
primary/caucus event in February 2020 or on Super Tuesday (March 3rd).

Warren has seen her personal ratings improve steadily over the past few months.  She currently earns a 65% favorable and 13% unfavorable rating, up from 60%-14% in May, the last time Monmouth tracked the 2020 candidate ratings.  At the same, time Biden has seen his ratings drop to 66% favorable and 25% unfavorable, from 74%-17% three months ago. The ratings for Sanders have been comparatively more stable at 64% favorable and 24% unfavorable compared with 65%-21% in Monmouth’s May poll.

At least 2-in-3 Democratic voters can now recognize the names of 11 candidates Monmouth has been tracking in terms of voter favorability since January.  Most have seen a small uptick in basic name recognition over the past three months of between 5 and 13 percentage points. The exceptions are Biden and Sanders on one hand, both of whom have been universally familiar to Democratic voters since the beginning of the campaign, and Williamson on the other hand, whose name recognition shot up 19 points from 48% in May to 67% in the current poll.  In Williamson’s case, though, the increased notoriety has led to a rise in negative views, currently earning her a 14% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating, which is down from an evenly divided 10%-10% rating in May.

Other candidates who have seen a downturn in their ratings are Harris at 56% favorable and 17% unfavorable (from 58%-9% in May) and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 27% favorable and 18% unfavorable (from 32%-10% in May).  Those who have seen a slight improvement in their ratings are Booker at 49% favorable and 14% unfavorable (from 41%-13% in May), Buttigieg at 43% favorable and 14% unfavorable (from 35%-11% in May), and Yang at 24% favorable and 12% unfavorable (from 12%-13% in May).  Candidates who are holding relatively steady are Castro at 35% favorable and 13% unfavorable (from 28%-10% in May) and O’Rourke at 39% favorable and 20% unfavorable (from 40%-19% in May).

2020 CANDIDATE OPINION AMONG DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
Net favorability rating: Aug ‘19 May ‘19 Apr ‘19 Mar ‘19 Jan ‘19
Elizabeth Warren +52 +46 +32 +30 +40
Joe Biden +41 +57 +56 +63 +71
Bernie Sanders +40 +44 +44 +53 +49
Kamala Harris +39 +49 +40 +42 +33
Cory Booker +35 +28 +24 +31 +33
Pete Buttigieg +29 +24 +29 n/a +2
Julián Castro +22 +18 n/a n/a +15
Beto O’Rourke +19 +21 +31 +26 +32
Andrew Yang +12 –1 n/a n/a 0
Amy Klobuchar +9 +22 +14 +13 +15
Marianne Williamson –11 0 n/a +4 n/a
     

The two most recent entrants in the crowded field earn net negative ratings. Former naval officer and Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak has a negative 5% favorable and 11% unfavorable rating with 53% name recognition.  Former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who has spent heavily on advertising since getting into the race, earns a 9% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating with 70% name recognition.

On the issue of health care, 58% of party voters say it is very important to them that the Democrats nominate someone who supports “Medicare for All.”  Another 23% say it is somewhat important, 10% say it is not important, and 9% are unsure. However, it is not clear that Medicare for All means the same thing to all voters.  When asked specifically about what type of health insurance system they prefer, 53% of Democratic voters say they want a system that offers an opt in to Medicare while retaining the private insurance market. Just 22% say they want to move to a system where Medicare for All replaces private insurance. Another 7% prefer to keep insurance private for people under 65 but regulate the costs and 11% want to leave the system basically as it is now.

Those who prefer a public option are divided into two camps that include 18% who would like to move to a universal public insurance system eventually and 33% who say that there should always be the choice of private coverage.  In other words, only 4-in-10 Democrats want to get rid of the private insurance market when the 22% who want Medicare for All now are combined with the 18% who would like to move to a universal public system at some point in the future.

“We asked the public option question in our Iowa poll earlier this month and got a lot of flak from Medicare for All advocates who claim that polls show widespread support for their idea.  It seems from these results, though, the term has a wide range of meanings among Democratic voters. Many conflate the public-only program name with a public option.  There is a lot more nuance in public opinion on this issue that could become problematic for proponents as voters become more familiar with what Medicare for All actually entails,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 16 to 20, 2019 with 800 adults in the United States. Results in this release are based on 298 registered voters who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, which has a +/- 5.7 percentage point sampling margin of error.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-13 previously released.]

14.I know the 2020 election is far away, but who would you support for the Democratic nomination for president if the candidates were the following? [INCLUDES LEANERS] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  TREND:
(with leaners)
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Bernie Sanders 20% 14% 15% 20% 25% 16%
Elizabeth Warren 20% 15% 10% 6% 8% 8%
Joe Biden 19% 32% 33% 27% 28% 29%
Kamala Harris 8% 8% 11% 8% 10% 11%
Cory Booker 4% 2% 1% 2% 5% 4%
Pete Buttigieg 4% 5% 6% 8% <1% 0%
Andrew Yang 3% 2% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Julián Castro 2% <1% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Beto O’Rourke 2% 3% 4% 4% 6% 7%
Marianne Williamson 2% 1% 1% <1% <1% n/a
Bill de Blasio 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% n/a
Tulsi Gabbard 1% 1% 1% 0% <1% 1%
Amy Klobuchar 1% 1% 3% 1% 3% 2%
Michael Bennet <1% 0% <1% 0% <1% n/a
Steve Bullock <1% 0% 0% 0% 0% n/a
Kirsten Gillibrand <1% <1% <1% <1% <1% 1%
Joe Sestak <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Tom Steyer <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
John Delaney 0% 0% <1% 0% 0% <1%
Jay Inslee * 0% 1% <1% <1% <1% <1%
Wayne Messam 0% 0% 0% <1% n/a n/a
Seth Moulton * 0% 0% 0% <1% n/a n/a
Tim Ryan 0% <1% <1% 0% n/a n/a
(VOL) Other 1% 0% <1% 3% 5% 8%
(VOL) No one <1% 1% 2% 3% <1% 3%
(VOL) Undecided 10% 11% 9% 14% 8% 9%
 (n) (298) (306) (334) (330) (310) (313)

* The poll was conducted before Inslee and Moulton dropped out of the race.

15.I’m going to read you the names of some people who are running for president in 2020.  Please tell me if your general impression of each is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion. If you have not heard of the person, just let me know. [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  TREND: Favorable Unfavorable No
opinion
Not
heard of
(n)
Former Vice President Joe Biden 66% 25% 8% 1% (298)
   — May 2019 74% 17% 7% 1% (334)
   — April  2019 72% 16% 12% 1% (330)
   — March  2019 76% 13% 9% 2% (310)
   — January  2019 80% 9% 8% 3% (313)
           
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders 64% 24% 10% 2% (298)
   — May 2019 65% 21% 12% 2% (334)
   — April  2019 65% 21% 13% 1% (330)
   — March  2019 70% 17% 10% 3% (310)
   — January  2019 68% 19% 9% 4% (313)
           
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 65% 13% 16% 7% (298)
   — May 2019 60% 14% 14% 12% (334)
   — April  2019 51% 19% 18% 12% (330)
   — March  2019 49% 19% 15% 17% (310)
   — January  2019 57% 17% 16% 11% (313)
           
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke 39% 20% 26% 15% (298)
   — May 2019 40% 19% 20% 22% (334)
   — April  2019 43% 12% 22% 23% (330)
   — March  2019 38% 12% 21% 29% (310)
   — January  2019 41% 9% 23% 27% (313)
           
California Senator Kamala Harris 56% 17% 16% 11% (298)
   — May 2019 58% 9% 15% 18% (334)
   — April  2019 50% 10% 19% 21% (330)
   — March  2019 53% 11% 16% 20% (310)
   — January  2019 46% 13% 21% 20% (313)
           
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar 27% 18% 34% 20% (298)
   — May 2019 32% 10% 28% 30% (334)
   — April  2019 27% 13% 28% 32% (330)
   — March  2019 26% 13% 29% 33% (310)
   — January  2019 23% 8% 30% 39% (313)
           
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg 43% 14% 20% 23% (298)
   — May 2019 35% 11% 24% 30% (334)
   — April  2019 35% 6% 25% 34% (330)
   — March  2019
   — January  2019 8% 6% 27% 58% (313)
           
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker 49% 14% 25% 13% (298)
   — May 2019 41% 13% 26% 19% (334)
   — April  2019 40% 16% 24% 20% (330)
   — March  2019 43% 12% 20% 25% (310)
   — January  2019 44% 11% 20% 25% (313)
           
 Former cabinet secretary Julián Castro 35% 13% 32% 20% (298)
   — May 2019 28% 10% 31% 31% (334)
   — April  2019
   — March  2019
   — January  2019 24% 9% 32% 35% (313)
           
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang 24% 12% 36% 29% (298)
   — May 2019 12% 13% 33% 42% (334)
   — April  2019
   — March  2019
   — January  2019 10% 10% 26% 53% (313)
         
Author Marianne Williamson 14% 25% 28% 33% (298)
   — May 2019 10% 10% 28% 52% (334)
   — April  2019
   — March  2019 8% 4% 21% 67% (310)
   — January  2019
         
Former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak 5% 11% 37% 47% (298)
   — May 2019
   — April  2019
   — March  2019
   — January  2019
         
Former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer 9% 25% 37% 30% (298)
   — May 2019
   — April  2019
   — March  2019
   — January  2019
           

16.How important is it to you that the Democrats nominate someone who supports Medicare for All – very important, somewhat important, not important, or are you not sure?

Aug.
2019
Very important 58%
Somewhat important 23%
Not important 10%
Not sure 9%
(n) (298)

17.Which of the following comes closest to how you would like to see health care handled:  A. get rid of all private insurance coverage in favor of having everyone on a single public plan like Medicare for All, B. allow people to either opt into Medicare or keep their private coverage, C. keep health insurance private for people under age 65 but regulate the costs, or D. keep the health insurance system basically as it is?

Aug.
2019
A. Get rid of all private insurance coverage in favor of … Medicare for All 22%
B. Allow people to either opt into Medicare or keep their private coverage 53%
C. Keep health insurance private for people under age 65 but regulate the costs 7%
D. Keep the health insurance system basically as it is 11%
(VOL) Other 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 4%
(n) (298)

17A.[If “B. ALLOW PEOPLE TO OPT INTO MEDICARE OR KEEP THEIR PRIVATE COVERAGE” in Q17, ASK:]  Would you eventually like to see the nation’s health care coverage move to a universal public system like Medicare for All or do you think there should always be a choice to keep your private coverage?  [Percentages are based on the total sample of Democrats.]

Aug.
2019
Medicare for All now (from Q17) 22%
Public option:  Eventually move to a universal public system like Medicare for All 18%
Public option:  Should always be a choice to keep your private coverage 33%
Public option:  Don’t know what should eventually happen 2%
Minor, none, other changes to health insurance (from Q17) 21%
(VOL) Don’t know (from Q17) 4%
(n) (298)

[Q18-26 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from August 16 to 20, 2019 with a national random sample of 800 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 314 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 486 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 298 registered voters who identify themselves as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on the Democratic voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
 
38% Male
62% Female
 
31% 18-34
31% 35-54
38% 55+
 
53% White
18% Black
20% Hispanic
  9% Asian/Other
 
59% No degree
41% 4 year degree
  

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

3-Way Lead as Dem 2020 Picture Shifts

Joe Biden: ‘I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts’

9:24 a.m.

Joe Biden.

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is hopping on the defensive.

After months of gaffes on the 2020 campaign trail prompting even his brain surgeon to chime in and defend his mind, Biden made a pointed comment about the state of his brain over the weekend. “I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts,” Biden said during a campaign rally in New Hampshire — a comment that surely extended beyond the confusion he was trying to clear up at the time, theLos Angeles Times reports.

Biden made the declaration while speaking to supporters at New Hampshire’s Loon Lake, defending his inability to remember just where he’d spoken at Dartmouth College a few hours earlier. “I’m not sure whether it was the medical school or where the hell I spoke. But it was on the campus,” he said, looking at the gathered reporters as he did it, per the Times.

The obviously defensive comment comes after months of Biden stumbling over some pretty important details at campaign rallies, namely the locations of two mass shootings earlier this month. There’s also the time Biden said “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” in front of the the Asian & Latino Coalition in Iowa. Yet the man who performed surgery on Biden three decades ago following two brain aneurysms agrees with the 76-year-old’s weekend comment, saying that he’s clearly “as sharp as he was 31 years ago.” Kathryn Krawczyk

GOP primary challenger Joe Walsh says the racist things he’s said on Twitter don’t necessarily make him a racist
5:26 p.m.

The presidential campaign freshly launched by former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) also appears to be doubling as some kind of an apology — or at least personal accountability — tour.

Walsh, who on Sunday officially announced that he was challenging President Trump in the Republican primary, has routinely come under fire for his own controversial remarks, including a plethora of racist and insensitive tweets over the years. Walsh acknowledged his Twitter feed on Monday in an appearance on MSNBC, and concurred that some of what he said is, indeed, racist. But, as Walsh sees it, that doesn’t influence whether he’s actually a racist offline, or, as the youth say, “IRL.”

Aaron Blake

@AaronBlake

Joe Walsh on MSNBC: “I wouldn’t call myself a racist, but I’ve said racist things on Twitter.”

2,031 people are talking about this

When he made his announcement on Sunday, Walsh said he regretted helping “create” Trump by playing into divisive, personal politics, so it seems he’s trying to rip off the Band-Aid at the beginning of his campaign and address criticism that was sure to arise otherwise. Read more about Walsh’s presidential campaign here at The WeekTim O’Donnell

Your favorite vintage of French wine likely won’t get much more expensive in the near future.

Officials from France and the United States reportedly reached a compromise on Monday following the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, on a new French tax passed last month on digital services provided by large internet companies, like Google and Amazon.

The new agreement stipulates that France would repay companies the difference between its digital tax and whatever taxes come from the agreed-upon Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s planned mechanism. The threshold for the French tax to be applicable for a company is annual revenues of more than $830 million — including $27 million generated in France — from “digital activities,” like collection of user data and selling targeted advertising.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised the compromise, while maintaining that France will nix its national tax if and when his preferred method of an international system for digital taxation is implemented. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said OECD nations want a solution on that by next year.

President Trump had previously threatened to tax French wine if Paris moved forward with its approved three percent tax on digital services. Tim O’Donnell

https://theweek.com/speedreads/861285/french-wine-might-safe-from-tariffs-after-france-strike-compromise-digital-tax

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1309. August 20, 2019, Story 1: 23 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Does Not Support Universal Background Checks But Does Support Meaningful Intelligent Background Checks  — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Looking At Payroll Tax Cuts — Videos — Story 4: Big Lie Media, Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists (REDS), and Trump Haters Hope The United States Economy Goes Into A Recession to Defeat Trump — Betrayal of The American People — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1307 August 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1306 August 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1305 August 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1301 August 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1300 August 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1299 July 31, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1297 July 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1296 July 25, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1290 July 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1280 June 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

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Story 1: 23 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack — Videos

Ransomware As Fast As Possible

Officials Working To Help 23 Local Texas Governments After Ransomware Attack

Ransomware attack hits government computers in over 20 Texas towns

Texas government agencies hit by ransomware attack

Ransomware attack hits 23 Texas towns

Twenty-two Texas Towns Hit By Ransomware

Ransomware attack hits 23 Texas towns

23 local Texas governments hit with ransomware attack

How Ransomware Locks Your PC & Holds Your Data Hostage

How one ransomware attack cost £45m to fix – BBC News

What is ransomware and how can I protect myself?

Th

RANSOMWARE

Wana Decrypt0r (Wanacry Ransomware) – Computerphile

 

Texas is hit with ransomware attack as at least 20 local governments come under ‘coordinated’ cyber assault

  • Texas state government reports coordinated ransomware attacks in 20 cities
  • State Department of Information Resources is leading the response
  • Ransomware cripples computer infrastructure with demand for payment 

Texas has been hit with a wave of ransomware attacks targeting at least 20 local government entities.

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) said late Friday that it is leading the response to a ‘coordinated ransomware attack’ that is crippling critical government infrastructure across the state.

Ransomware disables computer networks and holds them hostage in demand for payment.

Workers are seen inside the Texas Division of Emergency Management, State Operations Center in Austin in a file photo
‘Currently, DIR, the Texas Military Department, and the Texas A&M University System’s Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center teams are deploying resources to the most critically impacted jurisdictions,’ the department said in a statement.

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?

Cybercriminals use ‘blockers’ to stop their victim accessing their device.

This may include a mesage telling them this is due to ‘illegal content’  such as porn being identified on their device.

Anyone who has accessed porn online is probably less likely to take the matter up with law enforcement.

Hackers then ask for money to be paid, often in the form of Bitcoins or other untraceable cryptocurrencies, for the block to be removed.

In May 2017, a massive ransomware virus attack called WannaCry spread to the computer systems of hundreds of private companies and public organisations across the globe.

The department urged local jurisdictions who have been impacted to contact their local TDEM Disaster District Coordinator.

‘DIR is fully committed to respond swiftly to this event and provide the necessary resources to bring these entities back online,’ the agency said.

It was not immediately clear which cities had been impacted by the attacks and what entity is suspected of perpetrating them.

A spokesman for DIR did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Saturday.

The attack came within hours of a massive failure of U.S. Customs and Border Protection computers that caused huge travel delays across the country – although the federal agency has insisted that the outage was not ‘malicious’ in nature. 

‘The affected systems are coming back online and travelers are being processed. CBP will continue to monitor the incident. There is no indication the disruption was malicious in nature at this time,’ CBP said in a statement at 6.30pm ET on Friday.

22 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware Attack In ‘New Front’ Of Cyberassault

Texas state Capitol building in Austin. This week, state officials confirmed that 22 municipalities have been infiltrated and ransom demanded.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Updated at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday ET

Texas is the latest state to be hit with a cyberattack, with state officials confirming this week that computer systems in 22 municipalities have been infiltrated by hackers demanding a ransom. A mayor of one of those cities said the attackers are asking for $2.5 million to unlock the files.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and state cybersecurity experts are examining the ongoing breach, which began Friday morning and has affected mostly smaller local governments. Officials have not disclosed which specific places are affected.

Investigators have also not yet identified who or what is behind the attack that took the systems offline, but the Texas Department of Information Resources says the evidence so far points to “one single threat actor.”

Elliott Sprehe, a spokesman for the department, said he was “not aware” of any of the cities having paid the undisclosed ransom sought by hackers. He said the areas impacted are predominantly rural. The department initially put the number of cities attacked at 23.

Two cities so far have come forward to say their computer systems were affected. Officials in Borger in the Texas Panhandle, said the attack has affected city business and financial operations. Birth and death certificates are not available online, and the city can’t accept utility payments from any of its 13,25o residents. “Responders have not yet established a time-frame for when full, normal operations will be restored,” city officials said.

Keene, Texas, a city of some 6,100 people outside Fort Worth, was also hit, officials announced. The city’s government is also unable to process utility payments.

Keene Mayor Gary Heinrich told NPR that the hackers broke into the information technology software used by the city and managed by an outsourced company, which he said also supports many of the other municipalities targeted.

“Well, just about everything we do at City Hall is impacted, Heinrich said.

Heinrich said the hackers want a collective ransom of $2.5 million.

“They got into our software provider, the guys who run our IT systems,” Heinrich said. “A lot of folks in Texas use providers to do that, because we don’t have a staff big enough to have IT in house.”

State officials would not comment on the nature of the attack or confirm the ransom amount. But Heinrich said there is no way his city will be coughing up anything for the hackers.

“Stupid people,” he said of the cyber-attackers. “You know, just no sense in this at all.”

Experts say that while government agencies have increasingly been hit by cyberattacks, simultaneously targeting nearly two dozen cities represents a new kind of digital assault.

“What’s unique about this attack and something we hadn’t seen before is how coordinated attack this attack is,” said threat intelligence analyst Allan Liska. “It does present a new front in the ransomware attack,” he said. “It absolutely is the largest coordinated attack we’ve seen.”

Liska’s research firm, Recorded Future, has found that ransomware attacks aimed at state and local government have been on the rise, finding at least 169 examples of hackers breaking into government computer systems since 2013. There have been more than 60 already this year, he said.

In recent months, the data networks of Baltimore, the Georgia courts system and a county in Utah have all been hit by ransomware.

The hacker bait tends to come in the form of a seemingly benign email with links or attachments that, once opened, can infect a system. There are other popular ways of tapping into government networks, Liska said, like through remote desktop systems, which can be vulnerable to hackers.

While the attackers tend to be anonymous and their locations undisclosed, Liska said his research has found that few are based in the U.S. Many, he said, are breaching local government computer systems from operations based in parts of Eastern Europe or Russia.

And sometimes local governments see no other option to restoring their crippled networks than paying a ransom demanded by hackers. In Lake City, Fla., a town of about 12,000 residents, officials paid $460,000 in the form of bitcoin, the preferred payment method among cybercriminals.

“They turned off the servers. They literally went room through room through city hall, unplugging people’s networks cables and turning off all the computers,” Mike Lee, a sergeant with the Lake City Police Department, told NPR in July.

The ransom was paid by insurance, but taxpayers were still on the hook for a $10,000 deductible.

The Recorded Future study found that about 17% of local agencies hit with ransomware viruses paid up, a practice federal law enforcement officials discourage, saying it incentivizes cybercriminals to keep engaging in the activity.

Liska said in cities he has worked with that have been preyed upon by hackers, there are instances in which ponying up for the return of data is the only viable option.

“Sometimes the reality of the situation may call for it,” he said. “If the backups aren’t working or if the bad guys have encrypted your backups, then unfortunately that’s what you’re left with.”

Individuals, businesses and institutions such as hospitals have been targeted by ransomware attacks for years. With the recent attacks on state and city government, local officials are rushing to secure their computer systems, holding new training and backing up their servers, Liska said. But in smaller, cash-strapped localities, there could be challenges to building a security defense.

Tad McGalliard studies local government cybersecurity at the Washington-based city manager group ICMA. He has been pushing for municipalities to find more funding to fight back against hackers.

“Somebody out there on the bad guy front is seeing an opportunity in local governments and we got to make a better job of making sure our employees are as well-trained and as well-equipped as possible,” McGalliard said.

McGalliard said the Texas case should be a wake-up call to cities in remote parts of the country.

“We might have thought this was a big city problem, or at least an affluent city or county problem, but I think what’s clear now is just about any local government is vulnerable,” he said.

In Texas, state authorities have not yet disclosed where exactly the attacks were based or how many computers have been swept up in the breach, meaning it is not yet known what services or data might have been compromised.

“Hitting 23 towns at once was bad, but we don’t know how much damage was done,” Liska said. “One computer in each town versus 100 computers in each town is a big difference.”

https://www.npr.org/2019/08/20/752695554/23-texas-towns-hit-with-ransomware-attack-in-new-front-of-cyberassault

Story 2: President Trump Does Not Support Universal Background Checks But Does Support Meaningful Intelligent Background Checks  — Videos

White House pushes back on background check claims

Lou Dobbs Tonight 8/20/19 | Breaking Fox News August 20, 2019

Story 3: President Trump Looking At Payroll Tax Cuts — Videos

Bank of America CEO Moynihan on the Economy, Recession Risks and Trade

What are the warning signs of a recession?

Are we heading for a global recession? – BBC Newsnight

The Point: Trump admits China war could bring economic recession

President Trump Wants To Cut Payroll Taxes

President Trump Says He’s Considering Payroll Tax Cut To Boost Economy | NBC Nightly News

President Trump may be considering options to prevent recession

Trump touts economy but payroll tax discussion reveals recession fears

Trump attacks Fed chair, pushes back on recession fears

Donald Trump says he will risk a ‘RECESSION for two months’ as a price for his China trade war saying only ‘dumb people’ don’t get what he us doing – and he admits he IS considering emergency tax cuts

  • Donald Trump spent morning retweeting aides and media allies to back his claim that recession warnings are a plot to unseat him in 2020
  • He retweeted a supporter who described him as having ‘super human energy,’ and a series of claims that the media is trying to crash the economy
  • ‘Somebody had to take China on,’ he argued. ‘China’s been grifting off this country for 25 years’ 
  • Told a reporter asking about a recession: ‘I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, “Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?” ‘
  • Trump declared, ‘The fact is, somebody had to take China on. My life would be a lot easier, if I didn’t take China on. But I like doing it, because I have to do it’
  • Also tweeted Mike Pence claiming Michigan’s economy is strong on day electorally-critical state was hit by U.S. Steel layoffs 
  • Admitted during an Oval Office meeting with Romania’s president that he’s considering a payroll tax cut and railed against the Federal Reserve and China
  • Dow closed 173.35 points down at 25,962.44 after rallying on Monday, in the latest market fluctuation. 

President Donald Trump says he’s willing to risk a ‘recession for two months’ to bring China to heel, declaring Tuesday that only ‘dumb people’ don’t understand his trade war and tariffs policies.

An angry Trump warned reporters that if he hadn’t challenged China, theft of intellectual property would hurt companies like Apple even more in the long term than his tariffs.

‘Somebody had to take China on,’ he argued. ‘China’s been grifting off this country for 25 years, but longer than that. And it’s about time, whether it’s good for our country, or bad for our country short term. Long term, it’s imperative that somebody does this because our country cannot continue to pay China $500 billion because stupid people are running it.’

He argued, ‘Whether its good or bad short term is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China.’

‘Whether it’s good or bad, the short term is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China because they’re taking out $500 billion a year plus. And that doesn’t include intellectual property theft and other things. And also, national security, so I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, “Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?” ‘ he told a journalist asking him about the possibility of a downturn.

Trump declared, ‘The fact is, somebody had to take China on. My life would be a lot easier, if I didn’t take China on. But I like doing it, because I have to do it. And we’re getting great help. China’s had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years, and a lot of people saying the worst year they’ve had in 54 years, OK?

President Donald Trump says he's willing to risk a 'recession for two months' to bring China to heel, declaring Tuesday that only 'dumb people' don't understand his trade war and tariffs policies

President Donald Trump says he’s willing to risk a ‘recession for two months’ to bring China to heel, declaring Tuesday that only ‘dumb people’ don’t understand his trade war and tariffs policies

Trump will risk recession as trade war with China ‘had to be done’

Fuming, the president insisted to journalists: ‘We’re winning big. I took it on.

‘And I’m happy to do it. Because it had to be done. And the smart people say, thank you very much. And the dumb people have no idea. And then you have the political people, and they go with the wind. But they all know.’

He defended his tariffs on China, arguing, ‘My trade deals aren’t causing a problem. This is something that had to be done.’ 

Trump also confirmed that he’s looking at a payroll tax cut, acknowledging that it’s ‘something we think about and a lot of people would like’ him to pursue to stimulate the economy.

Sitting next to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the president denied that the U.S. economy is in distress.

‘I think the word recession is a word that’s inappropriate,’ he asserted. ‘Certain people and the media are trying to build up, because they’d love to see a recession.’

He urged the Federal Reserve to cut rates again and said at a ‘minimum they should be doing nothing,’ as he lashed out against the financial institution.

Trump slams Fed, says US economy is ‘far from a recession’

Trump said it should not be decreasing the amount of money in circulation, a monetary policy known as quantitative tightening.

‘The fed is psychologically very important,’ he said in the Oval Office meeting, where he took half-an-hour of questions from gathered journalists.

The president offered up the EU and Germany as examples, saying, ‘You have to be proactive, and so we really need a fed cut rate because if you look what’s going on with the European Union, as an example, they’re cutting.

‘If you take a look at Germany, what they’re doing and what they’re doing, and what they’re paying, they’re actually doing something inverse, nobody’s ever seen it before, we have to at least keep up to an extent,’ he said. ‘So we’re looking for a rate cut.’

Trump’s remarks aired on television as Wall Street was winding down for the day.

It closed 173.35 points down at 25,962.44 after rallying on Monday, in the latest market fluctuation.

Trump accused Democrats Tuesday of running a strategy to drive the nation into recession, as he amplified claims from his allies that the economy is stronger under his leadership.

In a morning tweet storm which came as White House officials discussed how to stimulate the economy at the same time as Trump is denying a recession is looming, he retweeted Mike Pence, his campaign manager and three favored media allies – Geraldo Riviera and Jesse Watters of Fox News and Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business network.

One credited Trump with ‘super human energy,’ and pushed his own claim that Democrats are trying to drive the country into recession to beat him in 2020.

And GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel argued in tweets that manufacturing optimism is up and unemployment is down.

Trump seconded his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who proclaimed in a message, ‘The liberal media is so deranged by President [Donald Trump] that they’re now cheering for the economy to tank – sorry to disappoint Democrats, but the economy has never been stronger!’

And the tweetstorm pointedly included praise for the economy in Michigan from vice president Mike Pence, who was traveling there Tuesday, on the day that U.S. Steel was revealed to be laying off hundreds and shuttering blast furnaces.

 

 

 

Tweet storm of praise: Trump turned to Twitter for backers of his claim that warnings of a recession are being driven by a desire to remove him from office

Tweet storm of praise: Trump turned to Twitter for backers of his claim that warnings of a recession are being driven by a desire to remove him from office

U.S. Steel –  a company whose renaissance has been a key part of the Trump narrative – said it would lay off 200 workers. It will also idle two blast furnaces for at least six months at Great Lakes and Gary Works plants, citing lower steel prices and softening demand.

The layoffs were characterized as temporary in filings,but the company admitted they could last longer than six months, in another indicator that the U.S. economy is slowing down.

Michigan is critical to Trump’s re-election prospects after the shock victory there played a key part in putting him in the White House.

In more bad news for Trump, a top lender, JP Morgan Chase assessed that Trump’s tariffs on China will cost American consumers $1,000 a household.

Despite Trump’s bravado on social media and previous bullish public comments, his  White House spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed talks were under way on some form of stimulus.

He denied only a specific report that the measure bring considered a payroll tax cut and told Fox News: ‘It’s not being considered at this time but he’s looking at all options out there to try and give people back so much of the hard earned money they’ve made.’

A Washington Post report had cited sources at the White House said the administration was considering a temporary cut to the 6.2 percent tax to prevent a downturn.

The suggestion was modeled after a two percent slash Obama made in his first term, which expired in 2013 as job growth ticked up again.

On Monday night, a White House official told DailyMail.com that a payroll tax isn’t under discussion currently, although the person left the door open to future tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

‘As Larry Kudlow said yesterday, more tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time,’ the official said.

Kudlow had on Fox News Sunday said the president’s Oct. 2018 promise to pursue tax cuts for the middle class was still alive.

He denied that the nation was on the verge of a recession, however, after fill-in host Dana Perino asked about emergency action to counteract a recession.

‘Well, first of all I don’t see a recession at all. Second of all, the Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding lower tax rates, bid rollback of regulations, energy opening, trade reform, we’re going to stay with that,’ he said. ‘We believe that’s the heart of the free enterprise. We want an incentive-oriented supply-side economy, providing opportunities for everybody across the board.’

He said, ‘That’s about as good as it gets and I notice, at the end of the week, a lot of the Wall Street firms have been marking up their economic growth forecasts. I think we’re in pretty good shape and I want to just say you know, we should not be afraid of optimism.’

Under questioning about a call that Trump had last Wednesday with JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and the CEOs of two other leading lenders, he suggested the conversation was about the president’s tariffs on China.

The lender said Tuesday that the next round of tariffs, which were delayed until Dec. 15, are likely to bring the cost per household this year up to $1,000.

Trump and his aides have now spent days denying publicly that a recession is on the horizon and the U.S. needs to take action. The president said Sunday that he’s ‘prepared’ to counteract one, though, if a financial downturn takes the country by surprise.

Trump insisted that American consumers are ‘not paying for the tariffs’ that he has on $250 billion of Chinese goods, so far, and said he’s reconsidering a plan to put tariffs on laptops and cells phones in December, to protect American consumers and companies.

He accused his political opponents of trying to bring down the United States’ economy to hurt his reelection chances on Monday, as his administration tried to put out a wildfire of claims that a recession might be on the way.

Trump said Monday that economy is doing well despite ‘very selfish’ political angling of Democrats on a mission to oust him from the White House.

‘Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world,’ he tweeted.

On the spot: Donald Trump and his aides have now spent days denying that a recession is looming

On the spot: Donald Trump and his aides have now spent days denying that a recession is looming

Trump said that economy is doing well despite 'very selfish' political angling of Democrats, who are on a mission to oust him from the White House

Trump said that economy is doing well despite ‘very selfish’ political angling of Democrats, who are on a mission to oust him from the White House

He added, ‘The Fed Rate, over a fairly short period of time, should be reduced by at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well. If that happened, our Economy would be even better, and the World Economy would be greatly and quickly enhanced-good for everyone!’

Last week, the president accused the media of ‘doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.’

He blamed a wide array of third parties, including Joe Biden and the Hong Kong protesters, accusing them of scuttling a trade deal with Beijing that would help both countries’ economies.

Three-quarters of economists predict a U.S. recession by 2021 in survey – but number who say it will be after the presidential election rises

A number of U.S. business economists appear sufficiently concerned about the risks of some of President Donald Trump’s economic policies that they expect a recession in the U.S. by the end of 2021.

In total, 74% economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics, in a report being released Monday, said they believe a slowing economy will tip into recession by 2021.

However there is some good news in the survey for the president, with the number who see a recession in 2020 down from 42% to 38%, while the number predicting a 2021 recession is at 34%.  That’s up from 25% in a survey taken in February.

Only 2% of those polled expect a recession to begin this year, down from 10% in February. A slightly higher number than before – 14% – say it will be later than 2021.

Trump, however, has dismissed concerns about a recession, offering an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week’s steep drop in the financial markets and saying on Sunday, ‘I don’t think we’re having a recession.’ A strong economy is key to the Republican president’s 2020 reelection prospects.

The economists have previously expressed concern that Trump’s tariffs and higher budget deficits could eventually dampen the economy.

Response: What business economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics are saying about a downturn

Response: What business economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics are saying about a downturn

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on goods from many key U.S. trading partners, from China and Europe to Mexico and Canada.

Officials maintain that the tariffs, which are taxes on imports, will help the administration gain more favorable terms of trade. But U.S. trading partners have simply retaliated with tariffs of their own.

Trade between the U.S. and China, the two biggest global economies, has plunged. Trump decided last Wednesday to postpone until Dec. 15 tariffs on about 60% of an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, granting a reprieve from a planned move that would have extended duties to nearly everything the U.S. buys from China.

The financial markets last week signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession, adding to concerns over the ongoing trade tensions and word from Britain and Germany that their economies are shrinking.

The economists surveyed by the NABE were skeptical about prospects for success of the latest round of U.S.-China trade negotiations. Only 5% predicted that a comprehensive trade deal would result, 64% suggested a superficial agreement was possible and nearly 25% expected nothing to be agreed upon by the two countries.

The 226 respondents, who work mainly for corporations and trade associations, were surveyed between July 14 and Aug. 1.

That was before the White House announced 10% tariffs on the additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, the Chinese currency dipped below the seven-yuan-to-$1 level for the first time in 11 years and the Trump administration formally labeled China a currency manipulator.

As a whole, the business economists’ recent responses have represented a rebuke of the Trump administration’s overall approach to the economy.

Still, for now, most economic signs appear solid. Employers are adding jobs at a steady pace, the unemployment rate remains near a 50-year low and consumers are optimistic. U.S. retail sales figures out last Thursday showed that they jumped in July by the most in four months.

The survey showed a steep decline in the percentage of economists who found the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade ‘too stimulative’ and likely to produce higher budget deficits that should be reduced, to 51% currently from 71% in August 2018.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7376495/Trump-says-hes-looking-payroll-tax-cut-pushes-recession-claims.html

 

Story 4: Big Lie Media. Radical Extremist Democrat Socialists (REDS), and Trump Haters Hope The United States Economy Goes Into A Recession to Defeat Trump — Betrayal of The American People — Videos

Are Trump’s media critics rooting for recession?

Bill Maher roots for recession to get Trump out of office

Bill Maher says recession is ‘worth it’ if Trump loses in 2020

Lou Dobbs Tonight 8/20/19 | Breaking Fox News August 20, 2019

Is the world heading for a recession? | FT

Trump Warns of Economic Downturn if He Loses Next Year

Trump’s Victory Shattered The Democrats, They’ve Been Struggling Ever Since

White House dismisses fears of a recession l ABC News

 

Recession is at the top of Trump haters’ wish list

I’m not saying they are just hoping for a recession. It’s obvious the haters would like that.

But are they trying to cause a recession?

Comedian and Trump ultra-hater Bill Maher has already spoken for his side. “We have survived many recessions. We can’t survive another Donald Trump term,” Maher is quoted as saying.

You know what: Trying to cause a recession would actually be the most rational thing the president’s opponents have tried. The trouble is, this strategy doesn’t seem to be working. Not yet, at least.

I’ll get to that in a bit.

But first let’s go over the more irrational solutions that the president’s opponents have considered or have actually acted upon.

Right after the election, the Trump haters floated these doozies: Get the Electoral College voters to go against the wishes of their states and keep Trump from the presidency. When that didn’t work, they tried — at least according to a wishful press — to get members of Trump’s own cabinet to decline him unfit for office.

Strike two.

And, of course, there was whatever was going on inside the FBI and other intelligence agencies that were spying on the Trump campaign and pulling dirty tricks before and after his election.

That didn’t work either and we will find out more about what was going on when a report concerning all this comes from Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Justice Department, sometime in the very near future.

So that brings us back to the possibility — and for the haters, the last hope — that there will be a recession and that it will affect the next presidential election, which is a little more than a year away.

As I said, this isn’t an irrational tactic to take against Trump.

Elections are mostly won or lost on how the economy is doing. And right now, while there is lots of talk about a 2020 recession that will hurt Trump, that’s really all it is — talk. And it’s mostly talk in the media and among Democrats.

But this chatter is causing Trump to bring up the issue of a recession regularly to defend himself — which publicizes the possibility of an economic downturn even more.

You have probably heard that consumers control about 80% of the US economy. Recessions happen for a lot of reasons — a mistake by the Federal Reserve, economic problems overseas, careless lending by banks, a stock market crash, trade wars and war wars.

Some of those things, and others, can lead to a recession. But most of the things I just mentioned have been going on at times over the past 10 years and still there hasn’t been a recession since the Great One of 2007 to 2009.

But the quickest way to cause a recession is to kill the confidence of consumers. Without the consumer being willing to spend, the economy will crap out.

That’s where all the talk of a recession comes in. If the Trump haters in and outside the media can convince consumers that the next recession is right around the corner, the next recession just might be right around the corner.

And with any luck, the recession will happen just in time to be on voters’ minds when they decide whether to keep President Trump in office or kick him to the cul-de-sac.

What the haters really need is for Americans to forget all the irrational stuff they’ve already failed at and just focus on the economy. “It’s the economy, stupid,” is a Bill Clinton campaign motto that would need to be revised.

But here’s the problem. While helping cause a recession might be the rational thing for the haters to do politically, it comes with many drawbacks.

The biggest is that voters might figure out what the haters are doing and be pissed.

A recession will bring job losses. Will the American public blame the president, or can Trump cast the blame on his opponents?

And if this tactic is perceived as just another dirty trick, it might take the Democrats a very long time to regain the public’s support.

Trump certainly isn’t getting the kind of economy he wanted and even predicted. But growth is still around 2% a year, about where it was during most of the Obama administration.

Unemployment for everyone is down. And people are still spending, as recent retail sales figure show.

And the stock market is doing just fine, despite the president’s panic every time if falls a few percentage points.

But US debt levels have skyrocketed as Trump tried to boost the economy through a tax cut. And a tricky thing is happening in the bond markets — yields of shorter maturity government securities are higher than long-maturity yields.

This yield “inversion,” the experts say, is an omen of a coming recession. And the haters hope they are right.

Maybe, maybe not.

The chaos in the world could be making the US bond market flaky as foreign investors try to get assets out of their own country and into ours. And that, or some other market quirk, could be causing the inversion.

This is all quite intriguing and will make a great movie one of these days. But right now, it’s just a drama that will end — thankfully — in November 2020.

https://nypost.com/2019/08/19/recession-is-at-the-top-of-trump-haters-wish-list/

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1307, August 15, 2019, Story 1: The Suicide or Homicide of Jeffrey Epstein — Looking Like Homicide With Broken Neck Bones Pending Final Report — UPDATED — Medical Examiner Finds Epstein Died By Suicide — Dead Child Molesters Tell No Tales — Videos — Story 2: Communist China Threatens United States Over The Proposed Sale of 66 Fighting Falcon F-16V Fighters to Republic of China (Taiwan) — Videos — Story 3: North Korea Fires Two More Missiles and Advances Missile Technology with Tests — Videos 

Posted on August 17, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, North Korea, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Privacy, Private Sector Unions, Progressives, Public Sector Unions, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Sexual Harrasment, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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Story 1: The Suicide or Homicide of Jeffrey Epstein — Looking Like Homicide With Broken Neck Bones Pending Final Report — UPDATED — Medical Examiner Finds Epstein Died By Suicide — Dead Child Molesters Tell No Tales — Videos

See the source image

Report: Epstein signed will just two days before death

Autopsy results of Jeffrey Epstein revealed

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Medical examiner rules Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide

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Recordings Give Rare Glimpse Of Jeffrey Epstein In His Own Words | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

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Julie Brown: I Think Epstein Manipulated His Way Out Of Suicide Watch | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

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NYT Details Epstein’s Deep Ties To Wall Street | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Blood vessels in Jeffrey Epstein’s eyes had popped and he had broken bones in his neck linked to hanging OR strangulation, autopsy reveals – as pedophile’s mystery ‘associate’ claims the body

  • Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy report reveals that the pedophile had broken bones in his neck, consistent with a hanging
  • Sources tell The Washington Post that he had a broken hyoid bone – a break seen in those who hang themselves but more common in strangulation victims
  • The blood vessels in the billionaire pedophile’s eyes had also popped when his air supply was cut off 
  • The autopsy was completed Sunday, but the New York City’s chief medical examiner listed the 66-year-old’s cause of death as pending and not a suicide 
  • A source says Epstein was in ‘great spirits’ before his death in jail Saturday
  • He met daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail 
  • Epstein told his lawyer Friday, ‘I’ll see you Sunday’, but was found dead Saturday
  • He was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell after allegedly telling his lawyers that his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione inflicted the neck injuries on him
  • It was reported Epstein may have tried to take his own life in July and Tartaglione’s lawyer claimed his client tried to save him by alerting guards

Jeffrey Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck and the blood vessels in his eyes had popped when he was found dead in his New York jail cell from an apparent suicide.

Epstein’s autopsy report found his neck had been broken in several places, including the hyoid bone located near the Adam’s apple, the Washington Post reports.

Breakages to that specific bone can occur when people hang themselves but are more commonly seen in victims who have been strangled, forensic experts say.

The blood vessels in the billionaire pedophile’s eyes also popped when his air supply was cut off, sources told TMZ.

Epstein is believed to have suffered petechial hemorrhaging, which is caused when someone hangs themselves or is strangled.

The grim details surrounding Epstein’s death have emerged after his autopsy was completed on Sunday. The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner Barbara Simpson has listed the 66-year-old’s cause of death as pending and not a suicide.

One of the billionaire pedophile’s ‘associates’ has also claimed the body from the New York City medical examiner’s office.

There is widespread speculation his real-estate magnate brother Mark Epstein who is a year-and-half younger than Jeffrey could be this ‘associate’. He previously offered up his Florida condo as security for Epstein’s bail bond last month, according to reports.

Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy report reveals that the pedophile had broken bones in his neck, consistent with a hanging

Epstein's hyoid bone - near a man's Adam's apple - was broken, a common break seen in those who hang themselves but even more common in victims of strangulation, according to forensic experts (Epstein's lifeless body is pictured being carried out on a stretcher)

Epstein’s hyoid bone – near a man’s Adam’s apple – was broken, a common break seen in those who hang themselves but even more common in victims of strangulation, according to forensic experts (Epstein’s lifeless body is pictured being carried out on a stretcher)

Multiple breaks to Epstein’s neck are the first details to emerge from Epstein’s autopsy as questions deepen around his apparent suicide by hanging while in federal custody Saturday.

The details come as it’s also revealed Epstein was in ‘great spirits’ before his death and even believed he would be bailed out in order to cooperate with authorities, according to a source.

The pedophile met daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center at 8am for around 12 hours and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail on charges of child sex trafficking, according to an insider.

Epstein was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell, allegedly telling his lawyers that his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione (pictured) had inflicted the neck injuries that were suspected of being marks from a July suicide attempt

Epstein was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell, allegedly telling his lawyers that his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione (pictured) had inflicted the neck injuries that were suspected of being marks from a July suicide attempt

Epstein was was taken off suicide watch and given his own cell after allegedly telling his lawyers that his accused murderer cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione was the one who inflicted the neck injuries that were suspected to be marks from a July suicide attempt.

A source close to Epstein told DailyMail.com that he appeared to be in good spirits.

‘There was no indication that he might try to take his own life,’ the source told DailyMail.com

‘From what I saw, he was finally starting to adjust to prison. I think he was comforted by the rigidity of his new life.’

A source later told the New York Postthat Epstein was ‘real positive’ the night before his body was found.   ‘He was in great spirits the night before.

‘He was like, ‘I’ll see you Sunday’,’ the source said.

But on Saturday at 6.30am he was discovered dead from an apparent hanging.

Epstein told his lawyers that former police officer Tartaglione ‘roughed him up, and that’s why they got him off suicide watch’.

While Epstein was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at the time of his reported first suicide attempt on July 23, he shared a cell with the former police officer who was under extra security.

Tartaglione was charged with kidnapping and murdering four people in a 2016 drug deal gone wrong.

‘I spoke to his lawyers and they never hinted at that to me, but he must have said something to get off suicide watch,’ Tartaglione’s attorney Bruce Barket told the New York Post on Wednesday.

The autopsy was completed Sunday, but the New York City's chief medical examiner listed the 66-year-old's cause of death as pending and not a suicide

His cell is seen above. Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck

His cell is seen above. Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck

THE HYOID BONE: STRANGULATION VS SUICIDE

The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone that sits in the middle of the neck

The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone that sits in the middle of the neck

Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy has found that he had sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones. One of the bones that was broken was the hyoid bone.

That particular bone is a U-shaped bone that sits in the middle of the neck near the Adam’s apple.

Forensic experts say breaks to the hyoid bone can occur if someone hangs themselves but they are more common in strangulation.

Jonathan L. Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told the Washington Post that hyoid breaks are more commonly linked to homicidal strangulation rather than suicide by hanging.

He said if a hyoid bone is broken, pathologists will most likely conduct further investigations.

The location and width the noose, as well as if the body dropped during the hanging, will be analyzed.

The age of the person will also be taken into account because the hyoid hardens as a person ages and is more susceptible to breaks.

The bone starts as three small bones with connections and eventually hardens into the U-shape.

‘If, hypothetically, the hyoid bone is broken, that would generally raise questions about strangulation, but it is not definitive and does not exclude suicidal hanging,’ Arden said.

Ronnie L. White, a teenager accused of killing a police officer, died of an apparent suicide in his Maryland prison cell in 2008. His cause of death was changed to a homicide two days later when his autopsy showed his hyoid bone was broken. Medical examiners found that he was likely strangled with a sheet but no one was ever charged in his death.

‘I do know that Nick was not brought up on any charges at all in the institution, so they cleared him. It’s simply, patently false to say that [Epstein] did anything other than try to kill himself at least twice, and succeeded when he succeeded.’

Barket previously claimed his client was being implicated because he had complained about the conditions at MCC.

He also claimed Tartaglione saved Epstein’s life in July by alerting guards.

But a source said Epstein ‘had hope of getting bail on appeal’.

The Post reported that Epstein’s legal team was planning to file a motion related to his 2008 conviction in Florida where after pleading guilty to two prostitution charges, he was sentenced to 18 months in a low-security prison in exchange for prosecutors ending their investigation into his sex acts with minors.

It also gave him immunity from future prosecution related to those charges and Epstein was able to work from his office six days a week while supposedly incarcerated.

‘What he really wanted to do was get bail so he could cooperate,’ the source told the Post. ‘He thought he was going to win the double-jeopardy motion.’

Epstein was transferred to the SHU when he was targeted for extortion, a source told The Daily Beast.

It was claimed last Saturday that the 66-year-old was constantly requesting toilet paper while he had his own cell and ‘lived like a pig in a sty’, eating his meals off the floor.

Barket added: ‘We were a little worried that he would make up something to get out of suicide watch or try and argue for bail, but it’s pretty clear what happened, given the end result here.’

West Palm Beach attorney Spencer Kuvin said he was skeptical of Epstein’s apparent suicide because he said the billionaire pedophile was too vain and always believed he was right.

Kuvin, who represented three of the women who sued Epstein in 2008 to 2009, told BBC Radio Wednesday that he had met Epstein at various settlement meetings.

‘I am still not convinced that ultimately he took his own life,’ he said.

‘I’m not convinced because I knew him as a vain man, a very intelligent man who was a person who always defended what he did, even in light of all the evidence against him.

‘He basically took the position, that no matter how old these young girls were, that they chose to be with him and he didn’t care (about) their age.

‘So someone like that, I just find it very hard to believe that he would take his own life.’

And last Saturday one of Epstein’s lawyers, Marc Fernich, partly blamed the judicial system for his client’s death and called out ‘jailers who appear to have recklessly put Mr. Epstein in harm’s way, heedlessly placing his life at risk and failing to protect him’.

Fernich expressed that his statement did not represent the views of everyone on Epstein’s defense team.

Fernich complained that his client was not a flight risk and was not being treated as innocent before proven guilty after authorities found child porn images during a raid at his home and dozens of women came forward with claims of abuse.

Attorney General William Barr has called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death. Barr said ‘it raises serious questions that must be answered’.

Fernich ended his statement: ‘The public needs to know exactly what happened and why – and how his custodians could have let it occur.’

The pedophile was in 'good spirits' ahead of his death, meeting daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail on charges of child sex trafficking, according to an insider

The pedophile was in ‘good spirits’ ahead of his death, meeting daily with lawyers at Metropolitan Correctional Center and believed his legal team would win an appeal to get him bail on charges of child sex trafficking, according to an insider

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7359111/Autopsy-finds-Jeffrey-Epstein-broken-bones-neck-raising-questions-suicide.html

 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Death

Photo: New York State Sex Offender Registry

Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and convicted sex offender, was found dead by suicide in his jail cell on Saturday morning. Epstein was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The 66-year-old’s death came less than a day after a trove of disturbing court documents was made public offering details about his alleged abuse of dozens of mostly underage girls, as well who assisted him with or participated in the abuse — documents that implicate many rich and powerful men from the elite circles Epstein was once a member of.

While conspiracy theories have run amok in the aftermath of Epstein’s death, new details emerged on Sunday indicating that Epstein’s death may have come as a result of multiple failures on the part of the MCC and its staff. Below is everything we know so far.

The details of his death

According to NBC News, Epstein hanged himself at some point overnight Friday in his cell and was taken to a local hospital from the MCC on Saturday morning. Per the Department of Justice’s official statement:

On Saturday, August 10, 2019, at approximately 6:30 a.m., inmate Jeffrey Edward Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit from an apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York, New York. Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff. Staff requested emergency medical services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued. Mr. Epstein was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff. The FBI is investigating the incident.

CBS News reported that there was shrieking and shouting when Epstein’s body was discovered the following day. Guards were heard attempting to revive him, saying, “Breathe, Epstein, breathe.”

BuzzFeed revealed on Tuesday that purported details about Epstein’s death were posted on 4Chan less than 40 minutes before ABC News broke the story on Saturday morning.

“[D]ont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this,” reads the post, which was published along with an image of Pepe, the mascot of right-wing trolls. When others said they did not believe the original poster, the person added additional information about procedures supposedly used in an effort to revive Epstein.

A FDNY representative said that if accurate, the disclosure would be a violation of multiple privacy laws. The department is investigating.

News of security failures continues to pile up: On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that two guards in Epstein’s jail unit fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours. In an apparent cover-up attempt, they falsified records to hide their mistake.

Epstein’s Autopsy

On Sunday evening, New York Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson announced that she had completed an autopsy of Epstein under the observation of a private pathologist, but that she needed more information before she could officially determine his cause of death (which is not abnormal):

Sampson said Epstein’s representatives hired celebrity pathologist Michael Baden — who conducted private autopsies of Michael Brown and former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez — and that he was allowed to observe her autopsy.

The Metropolitan Correctional Facility, where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell, is seen on August 10, 2019 in New York City. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Epstein had been taken off suicide watch, then left alone and under-monitored

Three weeks before his death, on July 23, Epstein had been found semiconscious in his cell with marks on his neck — though it was not clear if he had tried to harm himself or had been attacked. Prison officials investigated the injury as a possible suicide attempt and put Epstein on suicide watch, which would entail placing him in a special cell where he could be constantly monitored by prison personnel and prevented from having access to any means by which he could take his own life. Epstein was also subject to a daily psychiatric evaluation during this time, according to the New York Times.

But Epstein was taken off of suicide watch on July 29 and returned to the MCC’s special housing unit after a psychiatric evaluation determined he was no longer at risk of harming himself. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Epstein’s lawyers had requested he be removed from suicide watch.

MCC personnel then failed to follow proper procedures, which MCC officials had apparently assured Justice Department personnel they would follow.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that it is standard practice at the facility for inmates who have been on suicide watch to then be housed with other inmates. Epstein was placed in a cell with another inmate at first, but that inmate was later transferred out of the special housing unit, leaving Epstein alone in the cell, which reportedly had a metal door and a small glass window. It is not clear why Epstein was not immediately assigned another cellmate.

In addition, MCC guards are supposed to check on inmates in the special housing unit every 30 minutes, but reportedly failed to do so on Friday night. It is not yet confirmed how that was allowed to happen either.

MCC’s failures may be linked to staffing shortage, overworked employees

A prison official who spoke with the Times said that the two guards who were on duty on Friday night were both working overtime, and one was working his fifth consecutive overtime shift. According to Serene Gregg, the president of the union that represents the MCC’s employees, the two guards do not normally work as correctional officers, though they were trained to do so. She told the Washington Post that many of the jail’s employees have been working mandatory overtime, including 60 to 70-hour workweeks, thanks to the MCC having less than 70 percent of the correctional officers it should have. According to the New York Times, one of the guards on watch when Epstein hanged himself was a substitute.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it had removed MCC’s warden and assigned a temporary replacement. It also placed two guards who had been assigned to Epstein on leave, pending the outcome of the investigation into Epstein’s death.

There had also been unconfirmed rumors that Epstein’s earlier injury had been the result of an attack, but he was reportedly found dead alone in his cell on Saturday morning.

The earlier possible suicide attempt, and what other inmates noticed about Epstein

Here is what the Daily Beast reported regarding the earlier possible suicide attempt and Epstein’s behavior in jail:

Epstein had initially been held in general population at MCC, where he’d been targeted for extortion as a wealthy pedophile, a source with knowledge of his circumstances told The Daily Beast, describing Epstein’s injuries from his prior alleged suicide attempt as small abrasions around his neck. …

At the time of [that] attempt, he shared a cell with Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer charged with kidnapping and murdering four people in 2016. …

Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, told authorities his client had saved Epstein’s life during the first suicide attempt by alerting corrections officers. He claimed Tartaglione was being implicated in the suicide attempt because he’d recently complained about conditions at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, saying in a statement at the time, “we warned the judge that officials at the jail would retaliate against Nick because we have been exposing the inhumane conditions at the facility.”

The Beast’s source said that Epstein “lived like a pig in a sty” after his first attempted suicide, eating meals off the floor and making frequent requests for toilet paper.

A New York Medical Examiner’s car is parked outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center where financier Jeffrey Epstein was being held, on August 10, 2019, in New York. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

There is apparently no video footage of what happened

The New York Post reported on Sunday that no surveillance video exists of Epstein’s death. According to the Post’s sources, there are indeed video cameras in the section of the MCC where Epstein was housed on Friday night, but none target the inside or outside of the cells there.

Epstein’s death being investigated by the FBI, Justice Department, and New York Medical Examiner’s Office

The Department of Justice announced on Saturday that the FBI had opened an investigation into the circumstances of Epstein’s death — meaning that the FBI is looking to see whether or not a crime was committed. Attorney General William Barr additionally announced that the Justice Department’s inspector general would be conducting an investigation. Barr said he was “appalled to learn” that Epstein had taken his own life while in federal custody and that the incident “raises serious questions that must be answered.”

On Monday, he said the Justice Department had found “serious irregularities” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and that prison staff had “failed to adequately secure this prisoner,” but did not go into further detail.

Meanwhile, the New York Medical Examiner’s office investigated Epstein’s cause of death over the weekend, and had been expected to release the results on Epstein’s autopsy on Sunday, but instead announced that the medical examiner needed more information before making an official determination. (This is not unusual.)

It seems likely that there will also be some congressional inquiries into the matter.

The investigation into Epstein, his crimes, and his co-conspirators will continue

One major concern following Epstein’s death is the fate of the investigation into his abuse of countless underage girls, as well as the potential consequences for his accomplices. Federal prosecutors said on Saturday that the investigation will continue, but how that shapes up remains to be seen.

According to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, the criminal case against Epstein dies with him:

Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment. … [It] means that there won’t be a public trial or other proceedings that could reveal evidence of his wrongdoing. Evidence collected via grand jury subpoena won’t be released to the public. It’s still likely that the public will learn additional information from civil cases by victims against his estate or non-criminal investigations (for example, the DOJ OIG investigation).

Saturday on the Cut, Matthew Schneier pointed out that Epstein’s death still meant that “thousands of questions may never have satisfactory answers, and focus is likely to intensify on his collaborators, co-conspirators, enablers, and friends.” Schneier then highlighted what a trove of newly unsealed court documents says about Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s best friend and alleged accomplice.

Epstein’s associates may now receive the full brunt of prosecutors’ attention, according to the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown:

[With Epstein’s] death, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will likely refocus their probe on Maxwell, Sarah Kellen Vickers, Adriana Ross and Lesley Groff — all of whom allegedly helped run Epstein’s operation in the mid- to late-2000s. Another woman, Nadia Marcinkova, who is now a commercial pilot, was accused of sexually abusing some of the underage girls.

The SDNY ultimately confirmed as much on Saturday:

But the result of that process is hard to predict, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade added in an interview with Intelligencer:

It may be that never pans out into any charges, for lots of reasons: A lack of evidence, evidence that’s unavailable because you needed Epstein. So it could be that we never hear anything more about it. But I think they’ll continue to investigate, and if they find evidence of a crime, that will become publicly known.

On Monday, at least a dozen FBI agents raided Epstein’s Little St. James residence. According to NBC News, the bureau was searching for evidence that could link co-conspirators to alleged crimes committed on the island.

Public pressure has increased on Epstein’s co-conspirators: Ghislaine Maxwell has been reportedly been found laying low in a colonial mansion in the seaside town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, north of Boston. And Prince Andrew, the royal who allegedly had sex with Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has reportedly retired from public life.

Two of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, exit the courthouse after a hearing about the billionaire financier on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The response from Epstein’s victims

The Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown passed along some reactions from Epstein’s stunned victims:

Jena-Lisa Jones, who was molested by him when she was 14, said that Epstein took the coward’s way out. “I just can’t believe it, we were finally feeling that we might have some justice after all these years,’’ she said, her voice cracking.

Eva Ford, the mother of victim Courtney Wild, was angry. “How does someone who is this high profile commit suicide? They had to have cameras on him! Someone must have been paid to look the other way,’’ Ford said.

“I just want wanted him to be held accountable for his actions. I would never wish that somebody would die but he took the easy way out,’’ said victim Michelle Licata.

Added Jack Scarola, an attorney representing several of Epstein’s victims:

It is inexplicable how such a high-profile person on suicide watch could commit suicide without help. … Epstein once again cheated his victims out of an opportunity for justice. While I’m sure none of them regret his death, all of them regret the information that died with him. The one expectation is that Epstein’s death not derail the investigation into others who participated in his criminal activities. There are named and unnamed co-conspirators who still need to be brought to justice.

Roberta Kaplan, who represents one of Epstein’s then-underage victims, said over the weekend that Epstein’s demise was “not only emotionally devastating but a real emotional roller coaster.”

Jennifer Araoz, one of Epstein’s accusers, forged ahead with plans to sue Epstein on Wednesday, filing a suit against his estate, his alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, and three unnamed female household staffers. Arazoz, who was not named in the sex-trafficking indictment against Epstein, came forward last month, saying Epstein repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was 14 and 15 years old, and forcibly raped her in 2002. The lawsuit was one of the first filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, which went into effect on Wednesday. It gives victims of child sexual abuse a chance to file civil cases against alleged abusers for the next year even if the statute of limitations has passed.

The inevitable suspicion and speculation

Considering Epstein’s extensive links to the rich and powerful — including presidents Trump and Clinton — Epstein’s death by post-suicide-watch suicide quickly led to suspicion and conspiracy theories from across the political spectrum. (Read our roundup of the top theories here.)

As tech and media commentator Charlie Warzel noted on Sunday, Epstein’s death is “in many ways, the post-truth nightmare scenario”:

The sordid story contains almost all the hallmarks of stereotypical conspiratorial fodder: child sex trafficking, powerful global political leaders, shadowy private jet flights, billionaires whose wealth cannot be explained. As a tale of corruption, it is so deeply intertwined with our current cultural and political rot that it feels, at times, almost too on-the-nose. The Epstein saga provides ammunition for everyone, leading one researcher to refer to Saturday’s news as the “Disinformation World Cup.”

Trump and allies push anti-Clinton conspiracy theory

Soon after the news broke, controversial Trump administration personality(and regional HUD director) Lynne Patton wrote on Instagram that Epstein had been “Hillary-d” — an attempt to promote a longstanding right-wing conspiracy theory falsely alleging that Bill and Hillary Clinton were responsible for the death of former White House lawyer Vince Foster.

Patton specifically referenced Foster, tagging the tabloid news post she shared about Epstein’s death “#VinceFosterPartTwo.”

She wasn’t the only one trying to connect Epstein’s death to the Clintons. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs tweeted a reference too, and #clintonbodycount began trending on Twitter on Saturday morning — a reference to a debunked conspiracy meme suggesting the Clintons had ordered dozens of people killed. Later, #trumpbodycount started trending in response, but it’s important to remember that both efforts may have been boosted by trollbots, and much of the conspiracy-minded response was based on the reportedly mistaken notion that Epstein died while on suicide watch.

By the early evening, the trending theory had attracted the attention-obsessed president of the United States, who himself retweeted two tweetslinking the Clintons to Epstein and his death. A senior White House official told Axios: “I think we’re beyond the point of trying to control these things.”

The non-Trump political response

Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been expressing their alarm over what happened. Senator Ben Sasse, the Nebraska Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Saturday that it was “inexcusable that this rapist was not under constant suicide watch,” and that by letting Epstein take his own life, the federal government had failed Epstein’s victims for the second time. “Obviously, heads must roll,” Sasse added in a letter to Attorney General William Barr:

Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him. … It should have been abundantly clear that Epstein would go to any lengths to avoid being held accountable for his crimes, including by killing himself. Being responsible for Epstein’s custody and prosecution, the Department of Justice should not have allowed this to happen.

Sasse hasn’t said anything about the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating the matter yet. California Democrat Ted Lieu, meanwhile, has called for the House Judiciary Committee to launch an inquiry in Epstein’s death.

The home of Jeffrey Epstein has a large waterfront footprint in the Town of Palm Beach, not far from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Photo: Pedro Portal/TNS via Getty Images

Epstein’s finances, and the fate of his fortune

Another recurring question in light of Epstein’s demise is what will happen to his alleged fortune. Federal prosecutors have estimated Epstein’s wealth at over $500 million, but it still remains a mystery how much he really had — or how he earned it.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that two of the banks that did business with the shady financier, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan, have been going through their records in order to determine what he used his accounts for. Deutsche Bank has already been sharing its Epstein records with authorities, while JPMorgan anticipates being asked to do the same.

Lisa Bloom, who is representing some of Epstein’s victims, said on Sundaythat she intends to sue Epstein’s estate on behalf of two clients. It is also possible that the SDNY could try to seize Epstein’s assets with a civil-forfeiture action.

Highlighting an epidemic

Reform advocates, academics, and others who are familiar with the prevalence of inadequate mental health care in America’s jails and prisons seem to be the least surprised by Epstein’s death by suicide.

The Miami Herald spoke with criminal justice professor Christine Tartaro, who has written a book about the issue of suicide behind bars. She explained that inmates often harm themselves at pretrial facilities (jails), where suicide is the leading cause of death. She said that Epstein being put on, and then taken off, suicide watch is not uncommon — nor is an inmate relapsing back into suicidal behavior afterward.

“The point of suicide watch is to get them through the initial suicide crisis, and then to work on helping the inmate navigate the correctional environment without attempting suicide,” she explained, adding, There are situations in which the inmate will feel better, and then regress and become suicidal again.”

The Human Rights Defense Center’s Deborah Golden told the Herald that the Bureau of Prisons, which runs federal facilities like the MCC, is known for providing inadequate mental health care and not employing enough psychiatrists. “They do a bad job at suicide prevention,” the reform advocate insisted, noting that suicide watch in federal facilities is typically more like special punishment than an intervention.

Inmate suicide expert Lindsay M. Hayes added that the punitive nature of suicide watch, which is highly restrictive and difficult to endure for inmates, leads many of them to fake feeling better when speaking with their evaluators. In addition, Hayes explained, assessing the suicide risk of inmates is a difficult process, and may have been even more challenging with an atypical inmate like Epstein.

This is a developing story and this post has been updated throughout. Please check back for more updates.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/jeffrey-epstein-dies-by-suicide-report.html

Alexander Acosta

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Alexander Acosta
Alexander Acosta official portrait.jpg
27th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
April 28, 2017 – July 19, 2019
President Donald Trump
Deputy Patrick Pizzella
Preceded by Tom Perez
Succeeded by Patrick Pizzella (acting)
Dean of the Florida International University College of Law
In office
July 1, 2009 – April 28, 2017
Preceded by Leonard Strickman
Succeeded by Antony Page
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida
In office
June 11, 2005 – June 5, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Marcos Jiménez
Succeeded by Wifredo A. Ferrer
United States Assistant Attorney Generalfor the Civil Rights Division
In office
August 22, 2003 – June 11, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Bradley Schlozman (acting)
Succeeded by Wan J. Kim
Member of the National Labor Relations Board
In office
December 17, 2002 – August 21, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by William Cowen
Succeeded by Ronald Meisburg
Personal details
Born
Rene Alexander Acosta

January 16, 1969 (age 50)
Miami, Florida, U.S.

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jan Williams
Education Harvard University (BAJD)
Website Government website

Rene Alexander Acosta (born January 16, 1969)[1] is an American attorney and politician who served as the 27th United States secretary of labor from 2017 to 2019. President Donald Trump nominated Acosta to be Labor Secretary on February 16, 2017, and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 27, 2017. Acosta is the only Hispanic person to have served in President Trump’s Cabinet.

A member of the Republican Party, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Labor Relations Board and later served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He is the former dean of Florida International University College of Law.

In 2007–2008, as U.S. Attorney, Acosta approved a plea deal that required Jeffrey Epstein to plead guilty to a state charge of solicitation for the purposes of prostitution involving a 14-year-old girl, a deal which required he register as a sex offender and pay restitution to victims as part of a federal non-prosecution agreement. The prosecutors had identified 36 victims of Epstein, most of them having no prior knowledge of the agreement and no opportunity to give input. The deal has been the subject of long-term criticism by the Miami Herald and others due to its leniency and secrecy. After Epstein’s arrest in July 2019 on sex trafficking charges, Acosta faced renewed and harsher criticism for his role in the 2008 non-prosecution agreement, as well as calls for his resignation; he resigned on July 19 and was replaced by Deputy Secretary Patrick Pizzella.

Background

Acosta is the only son of Cuban refugees.[2][3] He is a native of Miami, Florida, where he attended the Gulliver Schools. Acosta received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard College in 1990 and received a Juris Doctor degree cum laude from Harvard Law School 1994.[4] He is the first member of his family to graduate from college.[3]

Following law school, Acosta served as a law clerk to Samuel Alito, then a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, from 1994 to 1995.[5] Acosta then worked at the office of the law firm Kirkland & Ellisin Washington, D.C., where he specialized in employment and labor issues.[6] While in Washington, Acosta taught classes on employment lawdisability-based discrimination law, and civil rights law at the George Mason University School of Law.[7]

On December 31, 2013, Acosta became the new chairman of U.S. Century Bank,[8] the largest domestically owned Hispanic community bank in Florida and one of the 15 largest Hispanic community banks in the nation. During his tenure as chairman, U.S. Century Bank had its first year-end profit since the start of the Great Recession.[2] Acosta was a member of the Board of Trustees of Gulliver Schools, where he served a past term as board chairman.[9]

Bush administration

Acosta served in four presidentially appointed, U.S. Senate-confirmed positions in the George W. Bush administration. From December 2001 to December 2002, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.[10] From December 2002 to August 2003, he was a member of the National Labor Relations Board for which he participated in or authored more than 125 opinions.[11]

Then, he became Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division on August 22, 2003,[12] where he was known for increasing federal prosecutions against human trafficking.[13] Acosta authorized federal intervention in an Oklahoma religious liberties case to help assure the right to wear hijab in public school,[14] and worked with Mississippi authorities to reopen the investigation of the 1955 death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black youth whose abduction and killing helped spark the civil rights movement.[15][16] He was the first Hispanic to serve as Assistant Attorney General.[17]

While leading the Civil Rights division, Acosta allowed his predecessor, Bradley Schlozman, to continue to make decisions on hiring.[18] A report by the inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility later found that Schlozman illegally gave preferential treatment to conservatives and made false statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Those findings were relayed to the office of the United States attorney for the District of Columbia,[10] but Schlozman was not prosecuted.[18] While it put the primary responsibility on Schlozman, the report also concluded that Acosta “did not sufficiently supervise Schlozman” and that “in light of indications [he and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sheldon Bradshaw] had about Schlozman’s conduct and judgment, they failed to ensure that Schlozman’s hiring and personnel decisions were based on proper considerations.”[10][18]

U.S. attorney for Southern District of Florida[edit]

In 2005, Acosta was appointed as the U.S. attorney for Southern District of Florida, where his office successfully prosecuted the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the terrorism suspect José Padilla, the founders of the Cali Cartel, and Charles McArther Emmanuel, the son of Liberia’s former leader.[10][19]

The district also targeted white collar crime, prosecuting several bank-related cases, including one against Swiss bank UBS. The case resulted in UBS paying $780 million in fines, and for the first time in history, the bank provided the United States with the names of individuals who were using secret Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. federal income taxes.[20]

Other notable cases during his tenure include the corruption prosecution of Palm Beach County Commission chairman Tony Masilotti, Palm Beach County commissioner Warren Newell, Palm Beach County commissioner Mary McCarty,[21] and Broward sheriff Ken Jenne; the conviction of Cali Cartel founders Miguel and Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, for the importation of 200,000 kilos of cocaine, which resulted in a $2.1 billion forfeiture; and the white-collar crime prosecutions of executives connected to Hamilton Bank.[22]

Acosta also emphasized health care fraud prosecutions. Under Acosta’s leadership the district prosecuted more than 700 individuals, responsible for a total of more than $2 billion in Medicare fraud.[23]

Prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein

In 2007–2008, while serving as the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida, Acosta approved a federal non-prosecution agreement[24] with Jeffrey Epstein, which has since been a subject of ongoing controversy. Epstein was a wealthy hedge fund manager with influential connections, including Prince AndrewTom BarrackLeon BlackBill ClintonAlan DershowitzWilbur Ross, and Donald Trump, among others. He was believed to have recruited minor girls for lewd massages and other paid sexual activities at his Florida mansion.[25][26]Under the agreement, Epstein, along with four co-conspirators and any unnamed “potential co-conspirators,” did not face federal criminal charges.[24] The agreement required Epstein to plead guilty to two state prostitution charges, serve jail time, register as a sex offender, and pay restitution to victims identified by the FBI.[24] Prosecutors had identified 36 victims of Epstein, most of whom had been inappropriately deprived of knowledge of the plea deal or opportunity to give input.[25]

The federal agreement with Epstein was not a typical criminal law plea bargain, but instead employed a structure commonly used in regulatory settlements with corporations.[24] In an op-ed, the approach was described by a member of the prosecution team as a method to address the state of Florida’s prior decision not to bring felony charges against Epstein for the same activities.[27]

The federal agreement and Epstein’s subsequent lenient treatment while incarcerated by the State of Florida have been the subject of criticism, with the Miami Herald calling the agreement “the deal of a lifetime.”[25] The fact that the agreement with Epstein also protected unnamed “potential co-conspirators” from federal prosecution drew speculation that perhaps the deal was intended to protect influential people in Epstein’s orbit.[25] However, others have described that clause as intended to protect those of Epstein’s victims who had been enticed to help him recruit other victims for abuse.[28]

Acosta has variously stated that he was not directly involved in the unusual agreement, that prosecutors determined it to be the best available solution, and that he “was unduly pressured by Epstein’s heavy-hitting lawyers.” He also has argued the prosecution team believed conviction by trial in federal court was unlikely and an agreement would therefore be the best way to put an end to Epstein’s exploitation of underage girls.[29][30][25]

Subsequent to the federal non-prosecution agreement of 2007–2008, claims were made in news reports, books,[28][31] and civil lawsuits that Epstein’s activities prior to his 2008 conviction may have been significantly more extensive than those known at the time of the agreement—perhaps affecting hundreds of minors, said to have been recruited from the U.S. and overseas to attend sex parties and perform sexual favors for Epstein and his guests at Epstein’s homes in Florida, New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and aboard his private jet. None of the civil lawsuits related to these additional claims have gone to trial.

In late 2018, as rumors circulated that Acosta was being considered as a possible successor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Miami Herald published an investigation detailing Acosta’s role in the Epstein case. Among other revelations, the Herald reported that Acosta took the unusual step of meeting with Epstein’s attorney Jay Lefkowitz at the Marriott Hotel 70 miles from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami and that it was he who finalized the agreement. According to the article: “In email after email, Acosta and the lead federal prosecutor, A. Marie Villafaña, acquiesced to Epstein’s legal team’s demands, which often focused on ways to limit the scandal by shutting out his victims and the media, including suggesting that the charges be filed in Miami, instead of Palm Beach, where Epstein’s victims lived.”[25]

A key issue was that prosecutors agreed not to inform victims that the deal was in the works. The Herald describes an email from Epstein’s attorney after his off-site meeting with Acosta: “‘Thank you for the commitment you made to me during our Oct. 12 meeting,’ Lefkowitz wrote in a letter to Acosta after their breakfast meeting in West Palm Beach. He added that he was hopeful that Acosta would abide by a promise to keep the deal confidential. ‘You … assured me that your office would not … contact any of the identified individuals, potential witnesses or potential civil claimants and the respective counsel in this matter,’ Lefkowitz wrote.” The Herald article contended that certain aspects of Acosta’s non-prosecution agreement violated federal law. “As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.” Victims, former prosecutors, and the retired Palm Beach police chief were among those quoted criticizing the agreement and Acosta’s role in it.[25]

Following the Herald investigation and related news coverage, members of Congress submitted a formal request to the U.S. Department of Justice for review of Acosta’s role in the Epstein deal,[32] and several editorials called for Acosta’s resignation or termination from his then-current position as U.S. Labor Secretary.[33][34]

Jeffrey Sloman, one of the prosecutors in the case, defended the agreement in a February 2019 op-ed piece in the Miami Herald: “Our priorities were to make sure Epstein could not hurt anyone else and to compensate Epstein’s victims without retraumatizing them. Our team worked diligently to build a federal case against Epstein. Throughout the investigation, we took care to be respectful of the pain Epstein’s victims had endured. As we continued, however, it became clear that most of Epstein’s victims were terrified to cooperate against him. Some hired lawyers to avoid appearing before a grand jury. One of the key witnesses moved to Australia and refused to return calls from us. We also researched and discussed significant legal impediments to prosecuting [in federal court] what was, at heart, a local sex abuse case. Given the obstacles we faced in fashioning a robust federal prosecution, we decided to negotiate a resolution. … You can disagree with the result we reached, but our whole team — from Alex [Acosta] on down the chain of command — always acted with integrity and in good faith.” [27]

In December 2018, a Labor Department spokesperson replied to questions about renewed interest in the Epstein case as follows: “For more than a decade, this prosecution has been reviewed in great detail by newspaper articles, television reports, books, and Congressional testimony, and has been defended by the Department of Justice in litigation across three administrations and several attorneys general. If the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General chooses to review this matter, Secretary Acosta welcomes the opportunity to participate.”[35]

In February 2019, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility notified Senator Ben Sasse that it had opened an investigation into Epstein’s prosecution.[36][37]

On February 21, 2019, a ruling in federal court returned Acosta’s role in the Epstein case to the headlines.[38] The decision to keep the deal with Epstein secret until after it was finalized has been considered by some to be a violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004 (CVRA), which requires notifying victims of the progress of federal criminal cases. The CVRA was new and relatively untested at the time of the Epstein non-prosecution agreement. In 2008, two of Epstein’s victims filed a lawsuit in federal court aiming to vacate the federal non-prosecution agreement on the grounds that it violated the CVRA.[25] For more than a decade, the U.S. Attorney’s office denied that it acted in violation of victims’ rights laws and argued that the CVRA did not apply in the Epstein case.[39] The government’s contention that the CVRA did not apply was based on questions of timing (whether or not CVRA applied prior to filing of federal charges), relevance (whether the CVRA applied to non-prosecution agreements), and jurisdiction (whether the case should be considered a federal case or a state case under the CVRA). The court rejected those arguments in the February 21, 2019, ruling, finding that the CVRA did apply and that victims should have been notified of the Epstein non-prosecution agreement in advance of its signing, to afford them the opportunity to influence its terms. At the conclusion of his ruling, the federal judge in the case noted that he was “not ruling that the decision not to prosecute was improper,” but was “simply ruling that, under the facts of this case, there was a violation of the victims rights [for reasonable, accurate, and timely notice] under the CVRA.”[40]

Because the CVRA does not specify penalties for failure to meet victims notification requirements, the judge offered both parties opportunities to suggest remedies—Epstein’s victims who were party to the suit asked for rescission of the federal non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, while the government suggested other approaches, maintaining that other victims were against rescinding the agreement due to privacy concerns and possible impacts to restitution paid under the agreement.[41]

On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force on sex trafficking charges stemming from activities alleged to have occurred in 2002–2005.[42]

Dean of the Florida International University College of Law

On July 1, 2009, Acosta became the second dean of Florida International University College of Law.[43] He spearheaded the effort to establish the Master of Studies in Law in banking compliance, Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money-laundering at FIU Law.[17]

Secretary of Labor

Nomination and confirmation

Acosta meeting with apprentice program participants as the secretary of labor.

President Donald Trump announced in a press conference on February 16, 2017, that he would nominate Acosta to fill the position of Secretary of Labor after the nomination of Andrew Puzder was withdrawn.[44][45][46][47][48] Acosta was recommended by White House counsel Don McGahn.[49] Acosta is the first, and – as of May 2019 – the only Hispanic person to serve in Trump’s cabinet.[50][51][52][53] Jovita Carranza was nominated to Trump’s cabinet on April 4, 2019, but not yet confirmed, to serve as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration.[54]

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held confirmation hearings on March 22, 2017, and Acosta’s nomination was reported out of the committee on March 30, 2017. [55]

On April 27, 2017, Acosta was confirmed as Secretary of Labor by the U.S. Senate in a 60–38 vote. He received the support of eight Democratic Senators and all Republican senators except Senator Pat Toomey, who did not participate in the vote.[56] On April 28, 2017, Acosta was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence.[57]

Tenure

In 2019, Acosta proposed cutting the funding of his department’s International Labor Affairs Bureau from $68 million in 2018 to under $20 million in 2020. That agency combats human trafficking (including child sex trafficking), child labor and forced labor internationally.[58][59]

During Acosta’s confirmation hearing, he discussed the need and his support of apprenticeship as a workforce development tool to close the skills gap.[30] On June 15, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13801, “Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America,” establishing the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion with Acosta serving as the chair.[60][61] The task force held five public meetings and issued their final report to President Trump on May 10, 2018.[62][61]

Following the task force final report, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the following initiatives to expand and promote apprenticeship opportunities:

Acosta announced that the Trump administration maintained a goal of one million new apprentices.[66]

Acosta resigned as Labor Secretary, effective July 19, 2019, following criticism of his role in the Epstein case.[67]

Recognition

Acosta has twice been named one of the nation’s 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. He serves or served on the Florida Innocence Commission,[68] on the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism,[69] Florida Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission,[17] and on the Commission for Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities.[70] In 2008, Acosta was named as one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics by the Ethisphere Institute.[71]

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Acosta

 

Story 2: Communist China Threatens United States Over The Proposed Sale of 66 Fighting Falcon F-16V Fighters to Republic of China (Taiwan) — Videos —

China urges U.S. to refrain from selling F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan

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U.S. State Dept. to sell 66 advanced F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan

CHINA FURY: TRUMP PUSHES FORWARD WITH SALE OF 66 F-16V FIGHTING FALCON TO TAIWAN

 

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China Threatens Trump Over F-16 Sale to Taiwan

The White House has been largely silent about the proposed controversial sale amid a perception that China’s crackdowns in Hong Kong portend broader ambitions.

U.S. News & World Report

China Threatens Trump for Taiwan F-16 Sale

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2019, file photo, U.S. fighter aircraft F-16 perform aerobatic maneuvers on the last day of Aero India 2019 at Yelahanka air base in Bangalore, India. The Trump administration has informed Congress it plans to sell F-16 fighters worth $8 billion to Taiwan in a move that will inflame already high tensions with China. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

The Trump administration has informed Congress it plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan in a move that will inflame already high tensions with China.(AIJAZ RAHI/AP-FILE)

CHINA ON FRIDAY threatened the U.S. with unspecified “countermeasures” if it follows through with a planned sale of F-16s fighter jets to Taiwan – the first of what will likely be many repercussions for the Trump administration’s military support for a country Beijing considers a renegade province.

 

News of the planned sale emerged early Friday after the State Department informed Congress Thursday evening of the administration’s intent to sell 66 of the Fighting Falcon jets to Taiwan. Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees – which would need ultimately to approve the sale – issued statements of support shortly after. The chairman and ranking member of the House committee called the sale “a strong message about the U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific” against China’s “military aggression in the region.”

Beijing, however, blasted the move, saying through its state news service it opposes the sale and has lodged complaints to its American counterparts. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that China would “take countermeasures and the U.S. will be responsible for all related consequences,” Xinhua news reported.

The White House has been largely silent about the sale. It comes at a particularly consequential time in U.S.-Chinese relations as a trade war looms with both sides threatening further economic punishments against the other. Chinese President Xi Jinping also faces domestic unrest over widespread pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong – a semi-autonomous state that came under Chinese control from the British in 1997 – and subsequent harsh crackdowns from Chinese authorities.

Despite taking a hard line against China’s policies, Trump has not openly criticized President Xi Jinping in recent weeks, despite continued crackdowns in Hong Kong, as he tries to maintain forward momentum in resolving the trade dispute.

“I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a ‘tough business.’ I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?” Trump tweeted on Wednesday in what some feared could be interpreted as a tacit approval of China’s actions so far.

Many analysts believe China’s attempts to exert more control over Hong Kong’s administration portends an attempt to similarly attempt to annex Taiwan – a government only formally recognized by fewer than two dozen countries due to Chinese pressure. Taiwan is represented in the U.S., for example, through an economic and cultural representative office, not an embassy.

“The United States must make clear to China that it cannot achieve a fait accompli in Taiwan or elsewhere, nor can it escalate its way to victory through the use of force,” Christopher Dougherty, a senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security’s Defense Program, said in an analysis note earlier this week.

Containing China, and the likelihood it could escalate its use of military force, rests on defending U.S. interests and that of its allies, including Taiwan, Dougherty said.

Other analysts believe the sale represents more of a symbolic gesture to the island nation rather than genuinely bolstering the capabilities of its military against a potential conflict with China’s massive armed forces. Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Washington Post that China will oppose the sale but it won’t ultimately trigger any broader crises.

“This in and of itself is not going to derail progress on a trade agreement,” Glaser said.

She adds the new jets will be comparable in capability to upgrades to Taiwan’s existing fleet that the Obama administration oversaw. The U.S. hasn’t sold new F-16s to Taiwan since the George H.W. Bush administration.

Paul D. Shinkman, Senior National Security Writer

Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow   READ MORE

https://www.usnews.com/news/world-report/articles/2019-08-16/china-threatens-trump-over-f-16-sale-to-taiwan

China threatens a ‘PEOPLE’S WAR’ on US and blames the trade war on Trump’s ‘greed and arrogance’ as tensions escalate between Beijing and Washington

  • The mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party blasted U.S. in a new column
  • Beijing called the ongoing trade war the creation of ‘one person’ and ‘one team’
  • The article from Monday also claimed that Washington has been ‘lying non-stop’ 
  • While Trump said this week that he would tolerate ‘no more’ abuses from Beijing  
  • Tensions are high as Trump and Xi are set to meet at G20 leaders’ summit in June

China has waged a ‘people’s war’ on the U.S. and blamed the intensified tariff war on Trump’s ‘greed and arrogance’.

In a new commentary published by Global Times, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, Beijing called the trade war the creation of just ‘one person’ and ‘one team’ – referring to Trump and his administration without naming names.

It said that the Trump administration hijacked the interests of all American people to fight the war with China.

The column, released on Monday, also claimed that Washington has been ‘lying non-stop throughout the war’ because otherwise Trump’s team ‘won’t feel motivated’.

In a new commentary published by Global Times, the mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, Beijing calls the trade war the creation of just 'one person' and 'one team' - referring to Trump and his administration without naming names.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet at G20 leaders' summit next month in Japan

The commentary was written in response to the comment made by White House’s top economic adviser on Sunday regarding who would pay for the tariffs imposed by U.S. on Chinese goods.

Larry Kudlow has acknowledged that U.S. consumers and businesses will pay the tariffs that the Trump administration has imposed on billions of dollars of Chinese goods – even though President Trump himself insisted in a tweet, incorrectly, that China pays.

‘Washington originally hoped to finish [the trade war] quickly, and did not prepare to fight a long-lasting war psychologically. Now it is mobilizing [its team] last minute with baffling words that do not hold water,’ said the article which was re-published by Xinhua News Agency.

‘China is not a small country and does not earn our daily bread from U.S. only.

‘Particularly in today’s world, the Chinese market is huge and very close to the U.S. market in size, and the trend is [we] will overtake the U.S.,’ it added.

The column concluded by saying that ‘the U.S. side fights because of its greed and arrogance’ while China simply launched an counterattack ‘to protect our legitimate rights and interests’.

It continued: ‘The U.S. trade war is supported and fought by one person and one team and it hijacks the people of that country.

‘As for China, our entire country and all people are hijacked in the meantime. For us, this is a real “People’s War”.’

President Donald Trump (right) expanded his tariff regime to include practically everything China exports to the US; Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) retaliated Monday but said his own tariffs won't go into effect until June. The pair are pictured in November 2017

China announced Monday it would raise tariffs on $60 billion in US exports by next month, responding in kind to President Donald Trump's decision last week to hike duties on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese merchandise

A Chinese worker adjusts a hydraulic lift at a factory which produces construction machinery for export to many countries, including the US, in Jinan, in east China's Shandong province

A Chinese worker adjusts a hydraulic lift at a factory which produces construction machinery for export to many countries, including the US, in Jinan, in east China’s Shandong province

Donald Trump predicted Tuesday that the U.S. will notch a trade victory in what he described as ‘a little squabble with China.’

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House, the president grinned as he asked: ‘You want to know something? You want to know something? We always win.’

And Trump warned that he might stack even more tariffs on a growing pile of anti-China duties in order to put additional pressure on Beijing.

‘We’re looking at it very strongly,’ Trump said.

‘This has never happened to China before,’ he said of the already painful tariff regime that shows no sign of letting up.

And the president underscored that Americans who might find themselves saddled with the costs of his tariffs can take them out of the equation by freezing the Chinese out.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday of the trade 'squabble' with China that 'we always win'

Trump went all-in Tuesday on his China trade war, escalating the high-stakes poker game he's playing with Chinese President XiJinping

Trump went all-in Tuesday on his China trade war, escalating the high-stakes poker game he’s playing with Chinese President XiJinping

‘You have no tariff to pay whatsoever if you’re a business. All you have to do is build or make your product in the United States,’ he said.

He also suggested Americans buy products ‘from someplace else other than China.’

‘I think we’re winning it. We’re going to be collecting over $100 billion in tariffs,’ Trump said.

‘I think it’s going to turn out extremely well,’ he added, declaring that America is ‘in a very, very strong position.’

Trump began Tuesday with an extended Twitter rant directed squarely at Beijing, warning that he’s done making trade concessions to his Chinese rival Xi Jinping.

The president’s nine tweets blasted China for walking away from what had been a nearly finished deal, just hours after telling an audience at the White House that extended talks would be ‘very successful.’

He also pledged to bail out U.S. farmers who are feeling a financial pinch as China’s market tightens, saying he will use money collected through newly imposed tariffs on Chinese products at the border.

And throughout, Trump insisted America is powerful enough to outlast a great stonewall from China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is emerging as Trump’s most potent economic adversary on the world stage as he works to protect China’s trade advantages – which Trump claims are the result of former presidents’ mishandling

Trump began Tuesday with an early-morning tweet-storm that showed no hint of hesitation about his aggressive posture

‘We are now a much bigger economy than China, and have substantially increased in size since the great 2016 Election. We are the ‘piggy bank’ that everyone wants to raid and take advantage of. NO MORE!’ he tweeted.

Trump wrote that America’s ‘great Patriot Farmers’ will ultimately benefit from a reoriented trans-Pacific trade balance, and ‘[h]opefully China will do us the honor of continuing to buy our great farm product, the best.’

But if not, he added, he will step in with subsidies: ‘This money will come from the massive Tariffs being paid to the United States for allowing China, and others, to do business with us.’

‘The Farmers have been ‘forgotten’ for many years. Their time is now!’ he concluded.

Trump called his friendship with Xi ‘unlimited’ in his tweet-storm, and suggested that his patience with China’s trade negotiators also has a distant expiration date.

‘When the time is right we will make a deal with China. My respect and friendship with President Xi is unlimited but, as I have told him many times before, this must be a great deal for the United States or it just doesn’t make any sense,’ he wrote.+18

The president has escalated his trade war this month with new tariffs and a take-no-prisoners approach to cutting a long-term deal with China

An hour after he tweeted his opening salvo on Tuesday, the president pledged to bail out U.S. farmers who have lost contracts with China

The president’s all-in move on trade comes a day after American stock markets plummeted by more than 600 points, and only stabilized after he told reporters he will personally meet with Xi next month in Japan.

CHINA’S NEW TARIFFS ON U.S. GOODS

China announced on May 13 that it will increase tariffs on 5,140 U.S. products, worth about $60 billion.

A higher 25% will be levied on 2,493 products including:

  • Liquefied natural gas
  • Soy oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Petrochemicals
  • Frozen minerals
  • Cosmetics

Other products will get tariffs of 5% to 20% including:

  • Soybeans
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Whiskey
  • Ethanol

Some products remain tariff free such as:

  • Crude oil
  • Airplanes 

‘I’ll meet with him directly. Yes, I’ll be meeting with President Xi of China,’ he said reporters in the Oval Office, alongside Viktor Orbán, the right-wing prime minister of Hungary.

‘And that will be, I think, probably a very fruitful meeting,’ he added.

Trump’s annoucement briefly halted the market’s slide, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 617 points. Only one other day this year, January 3, has seen worse market losses.

Both leaders will be in Osaka, Japan for the annual G20 leaders’ summit June 28-29.

There had been some doubt inside the White House about whether Trump would make the trip at all. He is already going to Toyko this month for a separate trip related to the ascension of Japan’s new emperor.

China had Monday morning that it would hike import tariffs to as high as 25 per cent on U.S. goods, and bluntly told Trump it would ‘never surrender’ on trade.

Trump warned Xi Jinping on Monday that if he doesn’t make a trade deal, companies will flee China to avoid increasing their prices in the U.S. as a result of the president’s punishing new tariffs.

Trump levied new tariffs Friday on practically everything China exports to the United States in the hope of forcing Beijing to come back to the negotiating table for talks about a long list of what the White House sees as trade abuses.

‘I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!’ Trump wrote on Twitter.

But China showed no sign of backing down.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 700 points Monday before ending the day down 617 as traders reacted to an increasingly aggressive U.S.-China trade war; the bleeding temporarily stopped after Trump announced he will meet with Xi next month

A statement by the Tariff Policy Commission of the State Council, China’s cabinet, said: ‘China’s adjustment of tariff-adding measures is a response to US unilateralism and trade protectionism.’

It added that it hoped the U.S. would work with China towards a ‘win-win agreement.’ Despite the retaliation, Beijing appeared to give time to find a resolution by setting the June 1 date.

‘China will never surrender to external pressure,’ foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing on Monday.

Trump continues to insist the U.S. has the upper hand and will force China to give in on conditions for future trade in order to ink a stable deal.

‘We’re in a great position right now, no matter what we do,’ he said. ‘Yeah, I think China wants to have it, because companies are already announcing they are … leaving China and going to other countries so they don’t have to pay the [U.S.] tariff.’

A container ship sat docked at the Port of Oakland on Monday in California as China retaliated against Trump’s latest Tariffs by threatening their own – a 25 percent import tax on $60 billion of U.S. goods entering China

Trump spoke to reporters Monday in the Oval office alongside Viktor Orbán, the right-wing prime minister of Hungary

The Dow was down than 475 points when markets opened. That selloff came after China announced that its tariff increases would go into effect on June 1.

But Trump appeared to stop the bleeding temporarily by giving traders hope that the day’s uncertainties would have an expiration date.

The four worst single-day losses in the history of the Dow Jones average all came during the Trump presidency, in 2018. He also presided over the biggest-ever daily gain, and six of the top 10.

This year’s January 3 selloff, which dropped the Dow by 660 points, was immediately followed by a gain of nearly 747 points the next day – the fourth-largest gain ever.

 Monday’s fall in the Dow Jones index came after stocks weathered a pair of similar tumbles this month, losing value when President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese goods and then rebounding on the hope of a trade deal.

The result has been a volatile week-long roller coaster with no end in sight.

Last Thursday morning the Dow skidded 580 points, only to regain nearly 470 by close of trading on Friday.

The tech-heavy NADAQ stock index was down 1.7 per cent on Monday and the S&P 500 lost 2.1 per cent by midday.

The president insisted over the weekend that a robust 3.2 per cent growth in the American GDP is tied to his aggressive tariff policy, and suggested Monday that China has far more to lose than the U.S.

‘I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!’ Trump wrote on Twitter.

:China threatens a ‘People’s War’ on US and blames the trade war on Trump’s ‘greed and arrogance’

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

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F-16 Fighting Falcon
Aerial view of jet aircraft, carrying cylindrical fuel tanks and ordnance, overflying desert
A USAF F-16C over Iraq in 2008
Role Multirole fighterair superiority fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Lockheed Martin
First flight 20 January 1974; 45 years ago(unplanned)
2 February 1974; 45 years ago(official)
Introduction 17 August 1978; 41 years ago
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
25 other users (see operators page)
Produced 1973–2017, 2019–present[1]
Number built 4,604 (June 2018)[2][3]
Unit cost
F-16A/B: US$14.6 million (1998)[4]
F-16C/D: US$18.8 million (1998)[4]
Variants General Dynamics F-16 VISTA
Developed into Vought Model 1600
General Dynamics F-16XL
Mitsubishi F-2

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now part of Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,600 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976.[5] Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are being built for export customers.[6] In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation,[7] which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.[8]

The Fighting Falcon’s key features include a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, an ejection seat reclined 30 degrees from vertical to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system which helps to make it an agile aircraft. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment. The F-16’s official name is “Fighting Falcon”, but “Viper” is commonly used by its pilots and crews, due to a perceived resemblance to a viper snake as well as the Colonial Viper starfighter on Battlestar Galactica which aired at the time the F-16 entered service.[9][10]

In addition to active duty in the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard units, the aircraft is also used by the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy. The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations.[11] As of 2015, it is the world’s most numerous fixed-wing aircraft in military service.[12]

Development

Lightweight Fighter program

Experiences in the Vietnam War revealed the need for air superiority fighters and better air-to-air training for fighter pilots.[13] Based on his experiences in the Korean War and as a fighter tactics instructor in the early 1960s, Colonel John Boyd with mathematician Thomas Christie developed the energy–maneuverability theory to model a fighter aircraft’s performance in combat. Boyd’s work called for a small, lightweight aircraft that could maneuver with the minimum possible energy loss and which also incorporated an increased thrust-to-weight ratio.[14][15] In the late 1960s, Boyd gathered a group of like-minded innovators who became known as the Fighter Mafia, and in 1969, they secured Department of Defense funding for General Dynamics and Northrop to study design concepts based on the theory.[16][17]

Air Force F-X proponents remained hostile to the concept because they perceived it as a threat to the F-15 program. However, the Air Force’s leadership understood that its budget would not allow it to purchase enough F-15 aircraft to satisfy all of its missions.[18] The Advanced Day Fighter concept, renamed F-XX, gained civilian political support under the reform-minded Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard, who favored the idea of competitive prototyping. As a result, in May 1971, the Air Force Prototype Study Group was established, with Boyd a key member, and two of its six proposals would be funded, one being the Lightweight Fighter (LWF). The Request for Proposals issued on 6 January 1972 called for a 20,000-pound (9,100 kg) class air-to-air day fighter with a good turn rate, acceleration, and range, and optimized for combat at speeds of Mach 0.6–1.6 and altitudes of 30,000–40,000 feet (9,100–12,000 m). This was the region where USAF studies predicted most future air combat would occur. The anticipated average flyaway cost of a production version was $3 million. This production plan, though, was only notional, as the USAF had no firm plans to procure the winner.[19][20]

Selection of finalists and flyoff

Two jet aircraft flying together over mountain range and cloud

A right-side view of a YF-16 (foreground) and a Northrop YF-17, each armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles

Five companies responded, and in 1972, the Air Staff selected General Dynamics’ Model 401 and Northrop’s P-600 for the follow-on prototype development and testing phase. GD and Northrop were awarded contracts worth $37.9 million and $39.8 million to produce the YF-16 and YF-17, respectively, with first flights of both prototypes planned for early 1974. To overcome resistance in the Air Force hierarchy, the Fighter Mafia and other LWF proponents successfully advocated the idea of complementary fighters in a high-cost/low-cost force mix. The “high/low mix” would allow the USAF to be able to afford sufficient fighters for its overall fighter force structure requirements. The mix gained broad acceptance by the time of the prototypes’ flyoff, defining the relationship of the LWF and the F-15.[21][22]

The YF-16 was developed by a team of General Dynamics engineers led by Robert H. Widmer.[23] The first YF-16 was rolled out on 13 December 1973. Its 90-minute maiden flight was made at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards AFB, California, on 2 February 1974. Its actual first flight occurred accidentally during a high-speed taxi test on 20 January 1974. While gathering speed, a roll-control oscillation caused a fin of the port-side wingtip-mounted missile and then the starboard stabilator to scrape the ground, and the aircraft then began to veer off the runway. The test pilot, Phil Oestricher, decided to lift off to avoid a potential crash, safely landing six minutes later. The slight damage was quickly repaired and the official first flight occurred on time. The YF-16’s first supersonic flight was accomplished on 5 February 1974, and the second YF-16 prototype first flew on 9 May 1974. This was followed by the first flights of Northrop’s YF-17 prototypes on 9 June and 21 August 1974, respectively. During the flyoff, the YF-16s completed 330 sorties for a total of 417 flight hours;[24] the YF-17s flew 288 sorties, covering 345 hours.[25]

Air Combat Fighter competition

Increased interest turned the LWF into a serious acquisition program. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies BelgiumDenmark, the Netherlands, and Norway were seeking to replace their F-104G Starfighter fighter-bombers.[26] In early 1974, they reached an agreement with the U.S. that if the USAF ordered the LWF winner, they would consider ordering it as well. The USAF also needed to replace its F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom II fighter-bombers. The U.S. Congress sought greater commonality in fighter procurements by the