Hillary Clinton

The Pronk Pops Show 1318, September 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s Starting To Make Progress In Stopping and Rolling Back The Illegal Invasion of United States —  Major Issue of 2020 Election — Videos — Story 2: The Indictments and Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Plotters Breaking Just in Time For the 2020 Election — The Origins of Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy aka Obamagate or Spygate — Biggest Political Scandal and Abuse of Power in United States History — President Trump Is Right: ‘We can never let this happen to another President again’ — Videos — Story 3: Sidney Powell’s Motion in Michael Flynn Case — Missing Internal DOJ Memo That Cleared Flynn! — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump’s Starting To Make Progress In Stopping and Rolling Back The Illegal Invasion of United States —  Major Issue of 2020 Election — Videos —

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Trump touts border wall progress, optimistic after recent court victories

Watchdog investigating Trump’s plan to seize private land for border wall

Walking to America with the Migrant Caravan | VICE News Tonight Special Report (HBO)

Published on Dec 21, 2018

Riding ‘The Death Train’ to America’s border

Published on Aug 1, 2018

Dying to get through the US-Mexico border | Unreported World

The Wall: Crossing the border through a deadly desert

Published on Sep 20, 2017

The Wall: A 2,000-mile border journey

Published on Sep 20, 2017

Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis | Times Documentaries | The New York Times

Trump’s immigration crackdown starts to gain traction

Sebastian Smith,
AFP

 With a little help from the Supreme Court and Mexico, US President Donald Trump’s fitful crackdown on immigration is finally gaining traction.

Trump has spent his entire presidency promising to stop illegal immigration, shut out asylum seekers and wall off the Mexican border.

The far-reaching policies sparked an avalanche of court challenges, complaints from human rights organizations and derision from opposition Democrats ahead of next year’s elections.

Undeterred, Trump has hammered away, making construction of a US-Mexican border wall one of his presidency’s centerpieces — and a key part of his 2020 reelection platform.

And this week he celebrated a string of victories.

The latest boost came Wednesday when the Supreme Court said he could enact severe restrictions on asylum seekers.

The ruling requires would-be refugees to ask for asylum in the first country they visit and only then — if they are rejected — can they attempt to apply in the United States.

The ruling — which has temporary effect while challenges play out in lower courts — shuts out large numbers of people fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. They will now have to apply for asylum in Mexico, rather than head directly to the United States.

Trump’s opponents, as well as dissenting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, say the change upends decades of tradition in which the US, itself founded by waves of often poor immigrants, has welcomed refugees.

But Trump, who argues that economic migrants abuse the system with fraudulent asylum claims, went on Twitter to herald the “BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!”

“The Southern Border is becoming very strong despite the obstruction by Democrats,” he tweeted.

– Mexico comes on board –

That’s far from all.

In July, the Supreme Court backed Trump’s move to divert billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to pay for extending or rebuilding stretches of wall on the Mexican border. This lets him circumvent fierce resistance to funding in a divided Congress.

The Pentagon also said this Tuesday that the deployment of 5,500 troops on the border — something that was initially highly controversial — was being extended for the coming year.

While Trump exaggerates the amount of wall-building activity there’s no question that momentum is gradually shifting his way.

“The Wall is going up very fast despite total Obstruction by Democrats in Congress, and elsewhere!” he tweeted Wednesday.

Perhaps the most significant shift has happened on the other side of the long, rugged frontier, where the Mexican government has set aside previous hostility to cooperate with Trump.

The change in mood follows threats by Trump to impose trade tariffs on Mexico, even though the two countries are in a free trade agreement together with Canada.

Not that Mexico is entirely happy. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the new US asylum restrictions, which could mean a torrent of new cases for his country, “unprecedented.”

“Or course we disagree,” he said.

But Mexico appears to have accepted it has no choice but to play by Trump’s rules.

On Monday, Mark Morgan, head of the US border patrol service, welcomed “unprecedented support” from Mexico, which he said has deployed 10,000 troops on its own southern border with Central America and 15,000 on the US border.

Proof that the joint crackdown is having an effect is in the numbers, US officials say.

August detentions of undocumented migrants numbered 64,000, down from 82,000 the previous month and 144,000 in May, Morgan said. Mexico, he said, has apprehended 134,000 people so far this year, compared to 83,000 in all of 2018.

Democrats use the immigration issue to paint Trump as heartless, even racist. But the president feels he’s on the right track.

On Monday, as streams of Bahamians tried to exit islands ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, Trump made clear the United States would eye this latest group of asylum seekers skeptically.

“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers,” he said.

The language echoed his long-term characterization of Central American migrants as potential rapists and gang members.

https://news.yahoo.com/trumps-immigration-crackdown-starts-gain-traction-171804088.html

Popular Refugee Resettlement Programs Closing Under Trump Administration

Story 2: The Indictments and Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy Plotters Breaking Just in Time For the 2020 Election — The Origins of Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy aka Obamagate or Spygate — Biggest Political Scandal and Abuse of Power in United States History — President Trump Is Right: ‘We can never let this happen to another President again’ — Videos

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Justice Department inspector general wrapping up probe into FISA abuse allegations

Sen. Kennedy: Let’s get the FISA report to the American people

Rep. Jim Jordan on FISA Abuse Report and Dems’ Impeachment Inquiry

McCarthy promises accountability as Barr reviews IG’s FISA report: ‘The closest we’ve ever seen to a

Sean Hannity 9/12/19 | Sean Hannity Fox News September 12, 2019

Lou Dobbs 9/12/19 | Breaking Fox News Septem­b­e­r 12, 2019

DOJ watchdog submits draft report on alleged FISA abuses to AG Barr

Graham rips ‘garbage’ Trump dossier ahead of FISA abuse report

Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing: It’s ObamaGate, and it’s the biggest scandal in American history

Obamagate: The biggest political scandal in our history. Sara Carter and John Solomon

Hannity: Clintons colluded with the Russians

Russian Spy Revelation Raises Questions on CIA Information

Hannity: Fusion GPS was hired to dig up Russian dirt on Trump

Judge Jeanine on Andrew McCabe: American people want justice

Fitton: Rosenstein crafted ‘non-denial denial’ to wiretap report

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein submits resignation to Trump

Hannity: Crooked Hillary Clinton’s web of corruption

Hannity: Steele dossier was full of lies, misinformation, propaganda

New FBI text messages draw a possible connection to Obama

•Published on Feb 7, 2018

Podesta, Wasserman Schultz deny knowledge of dossier funding

WAPO: How Dossier Writer Chris Steele Sparked Russia Probe | MSNBC

Mueller’s team met with Russia dossier author Christopher Steele

Does the dossier bombshell spell trouble for the Democrats?

Trump dossier is turning into a big scandal for the establishment: Steve Hilton

What’s in the ‘Steele Dossier’?

What do we know about Christopher Steele? BBC News

Who is Christopher Steele?

Can the public trust DOJ, FBI after the release of the FISA documents?

DOJ, FBI officials committed criminal misconduct: Chris Farrell

Fitton on officials blocking Trump FISA declassification

Trump declassifies FISA documents and Russia probe texts

DOJ inspector general completes investigation into alleged FISA abuse

New evidence shows why Steele, the Ohrs and TSA workers never should have become DOJ sources

One of the inevitable outcomes of the Russia case will be that the Department of Justice (DOJ) almost certainly will need internal reforms.

The first reform is the most obvious, given the unraveling of the Russia collusion narrative: a new set of rules governing when the FBI can investigate or spy on a First Amendment-protected political campaign during an election.

The FBI never should have been allowed to sustain a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign based on hearsay from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who helped to arrange a $25 million Australian government donation to the Clinton Foundation, and on a “minimally” verified dossier written by British spy Christopher Steele, who was working on the Hillary Clinton opposition-research team.

The second reform may be less visible but becomes painfully obvious, thanks to a series of internal DOJ investigative memos released this month that expose glaring issues with the handling, vetting and weighting of “confidential human sources.” That’s a fancy term for people — sometimes called “snitches” or informants, in street vernacular — who secretly provide evidence to law enforcement.

Some examples of the DOJ’s problems with informers fall outside the Russia case but mirror the same issues unmasked in the now-debunked probe of Trump.

Take, for example, the DOJ inspector general’s finding this month that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was paying other government officials at the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work as informants.

The IG spared few words in decrying the idiocy of allowing government security officers collecting a federal salary to double-dip into taxpayers’ money by receiving informant pay to report criminal activity they were required by their jobs to disclose.

Two agents and one supervisor “violated the DEA Confidential Source policy” by paying three TSA workers as informants, the report concluded. And one agent wrongly served as handler for a TSA informant with whom he was involved in a “personal relationship,” investigators found, exposing a problem dating to 2013.

“By establishing the TSA employees as paid Limited Use Confidential Sources, the DEA agreed to pay for information that the TSA employees were already obligated to provide to law enforcement,” the IG concluded.

In other words, there should be a bright line: Government agents should stick to their jobs and leave the informing to private citizens.

That line similarly was breached in the minds of many when Bruce Ohr, then the DOJ’s assistant deputy attorney general, began collecting anti-Trump information on July 30, 2016, from former MI6 agent Steele and pushing it on the top levels of the DOJ and the FBI.

At the time, Ohr knew his wife, Nellie, and Steele worked for the Fusion GPS research firm on the same project to dig up Russia dirt on Trump, to help the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) win the 2016 election. Furthermore, Ohr told the FBI he knew Steele was a foreigner “desperate” to stop a Trump presidency, FBI memos show.

With his seniority inside DOJ, Ohr quickly got Steele’s information to the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, and three top DOJ supervisors, despite the red flags.

Before long, Steele was working as a confidential informant for the bureau, and his dossier was used to secure a surveillance warrant targeting the Trump campaign weeks before Election Day.

When Steele got fired Nov. 1, 2016, by the FBI for leaking to the media, Ohr became a conduit for the bureau to keep getting information from Steele for months. Ohr met at least 12 times in late 2016 and 2017 with FBI agentsto provide new intel from the British spy. In other words, Ohr transitioned from being a DOJ supervisor to a backdoor source for the FBI to receive information from a terminated source.

And he didn’t stop there.

Records released this week, thanks to litigation by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show the senior DOJ official took at least two research files from his wife and her Fusion GPS work and provided them to FBI agents investigating Trump. One alleged that unverified ties existed between the Trump organization and Russian mobsters; the other provided a timeline alleging wrongdoing by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Nellie Ohr testified to Congress that some of her anti-Trump information came from foreign officials in Ukraine, including a parliamentary member highly critical of Manafort.

Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort.

Why is that significant? Tymoshenko and Hillary Clinton had a simpatico relationship after the former secretary of State went out of her way in January 2013 to advocate for Tymoshenko’s release from prison on corruption charges.

So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton’s British opposition-researcher but also from his wife’s curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election!

To Ohr’s credit, he disclosed his potential conflict of interest involving his wife to DOJ officials. To DOJ’s discredit, he was allowed to act as a source for both his wife and Steele anyway.

Ohr also didn’t get compensated as a paid informant, like the TSA workers. But documents show a curious thing happened during the time he began peddling the anti-Trump intelligence from his wife and Steele: His annual performance bonus doubled from about $14,000 in November 2015 to $28,000 in November 2016.

The blurred line between government official and informer/source didn’t stop with Ohr. Former FBI General Counsel James Baker also admitted he took dirt on Trump from DNC lawyer Michael Sussmann in summer 2016 and gave it to the agents investigating the Trump campaign.

The ultimate consequence — some might argue folly — of all these blurred lines is most easily exposed in an often overlooked document from the Russia probe.

I’ve written that the FBI kept a spreadsheet showing almost all of what Steele provided agents and Ohr on Russia-Trump dirt turned out to be unverified, disproven or nothing more than internet rumors. But when the FBI closed its paperwork on Steele in 2018, a professional intelligence analyst concluded in his human source validation report that the bureau assessed it had only “medium confidence” in Steele and that his intelligence could only be “minimally” verified.

In other words, his intelligence wasn’t very good. And yet, America spent nearly three years in turmoil only to learn that Steele’s Trump-Russia allegations — paid by Clinton and propagated by Ohr — were not true.

The tales of Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, Yulia Tymoshenko, and those DEA and TSA agents raise a stark warning: The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement, became too blurred for the Justice Department’s own good.

That’s a problem sorely in need of fixing.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/457628-new-evidence-shows-why-steele-the-ohrs-and-tsa-workers-never-should-have

 

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Kyle Bass

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Kyle Bass
J Kyle Bass.JPG

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 1296, July 25, 2019, Part 2 — Story 1: Black Swan Song — Pathetic Incompetent Corrupt Swamp Swan Figurehead Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III Exposed As Fraud — “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” — Corrupt Democrat Punks — “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? — “Go Ahead Make My Day” — Impeach Trump — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Exposed — No Credibility and No Longer Trusted — No Evidence or Basis For Impeachment — Mueller “Outside My Purview”: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — American People Will Reelect Trump for Second Term in A Landslide Victory — Case Closed — Videos — Story 2: Investigation, Indicting, Prosecuting The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1296 July 25, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1287 July 10, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1281 June 26, 2019

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

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1267 May 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1234 April 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: Black Swan Song — Pathetic Incompetent Corrupt Swamp Swan Figurehead Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III Exposed As Fraud — “A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations” — Corrupt Democrat Punks — “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? — “Go Ahead Make My Day” — Impeach Trump — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers Exposed — No Credibility and No Longer Trusted — No Evidence or Basis For Impeachment — Mueller “Outside My Purview”: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — American People Will Reelect Trump for Second Term in A Landslide Victory — Videos

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Black Swan – Last Dance Scene (“I was perfect…”)

The Real ‘Black Swan’: Double Speaks

Magnum Force (10/10) Movie CLIP – A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations (1973) HD

A Good Man Always Has to Know His Limitations

Dirty Harry Do You ( I ) Feel Lucky Punk? ( high quality)

Dirty Harry – inadmissible

Dirty Harry Do You Feel Lucky Punk

Dirty Harry – Best Quotes, Lines (Clint Eastwood)

WATCH: Rep. Nunes calls Mueller hearing ‘spectacle” and ‘political theater’ | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Ben Cline’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Guy Reschenthaler’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Debbie Lesko’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Michael Turner’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Jim Jordan pushes Mueller on investigating ‘how the false accusations started’

Joe diGenova: The public got to see Mueller’s incompetence

Joe diGenova: IG Horowitz and John Durham Have Both Already interviewed Joseph Mifsud

Mueller’s testimony riddled with shaky moments, incomplete answers

Robert Mueller testifies before Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill (LIVE) | USA TODAY

Robert Mueller’s full testimony to House Judiciary committee

MUELLER HEARING: House Judiciary Committee Part 1

MUELLER HEARING: House Intelligence Committee Part 2

Full: Robert Mueller Testimony To Congress, Reaction And Analysis | NBC News

Collins at Mueller hearing: I hope this brings us closure

WATCH: Rep. Steve Chabot’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Ted Lieu’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. Debbie Lesko’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

WATCH: Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Ratcliffe Questions Former Special Counsel Mueller on Report

Representative Turner questions Mueller

WATCH: Rep. Matt Gaetz’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Rep. Jim Jordan blasts Mueller for dodging questions

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan presses former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. Jordan says maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started.

Rep. Gohmert grills Mueller: Did you know Strzok hated Trump?

Representative Nunes questions Mueller

WATCH: Rep. Ben Cline’s full questioning of Robert Mueller | Mueller testimony

Joe diGenova: The public got to see Mueller’s incompetence

Whitaker says it was clear Mueller didn’t have a grasp of Russia report

Tucker: Democrats believed Mueller would save America

Hannity: Mueller’s testimony was an unmitigated disaster

Ingraham: Trump beats the elites again

Jim Jordan says Dems are never going to stop going after Trump

Gowdy on Mueller: I would’ve beaten the hell out of that exoneration

Trump’s legal team takes victory lap after Mueller hearings

WATCH: Key moments from Mueller’s testimony

Takeaways and analysis of Mueller hearings

 

 

‘Disoriented’ Mueller’s stumbling responses to questions during blockbuster hearing leave social media concerned the special counsel seems a ‘confused old man’ but some think it is all a strategy to frustrate the committee members

  • Mueller faced members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning at a highly-anticipated hearing on the Russia investigation
  • Viewers reacting on social media noticed Mueller stumbled at several points 
  • ‘Mueller is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on,’ one viewer wrote on Twitter. ‘He’s acting like a confused old man’ 
  • Some viewers have said Mueller’s shaky demeanor calls his report into question
  • Others think the 74-year-old veteran prosecutor sounds uncertain because he is being overly-cautious about coming off as impartial
  • When it came to questions at the core of the report, Mueller has delivered firm answers without hesitation 
  • Another theory suggests the wobbly performance is a delaying tactic to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit the report
  • Viewers also noted that Mueller is hindered by the mammoth task of manually searching through 397 pages to effectively answer questions about the report

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller’s ‘confused’ demeanor as he testifies in front of Congress.

The special counsel faced members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning at a highly-anticipated hearing on the Russiainvestigation.

Viewers reacting on social media have noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points.

‘Robert Mueller comes across as a doddering old fool with a questionable moral compass based on situational ethics who should never have been appointed in the first place based on reduced mental capacity,’ one person tweeted.

‘Mueller is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on,’ another wrote. ‘He’s acting like a confused old man.’

Some are saying the wobbly performance is a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit findings that are damaging to President Donald Trump.  

When it came to questions at the core of the report, Mueller has delivered firm answers without hesitation. 

Asked whether Trump had been exonerated or if he could be charged with obstruction of justice when he leaves office, Mueller replied: ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ respectively.

‘Lots of twitter folks are dogging Mueller out for looking old and feeble,’ MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted. ‘But optically, that just makes the Republicans yelling at him look more absurd. Mueller is quite definitive in his one word answers, which only Dems are eliciting from him so far.’

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller's 'confused' demeanor as he testifies in front of members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning

Perplexed viewers are questioning Robert Mueller’s ‘confused’ demeanor as he testifies in front of members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday morning

Viewers reacting on social media noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points

 

Viewers reacting on social media noticed that Mueller appeared to stumble at multiple points

 

MSNBC's Joy Reid defended Mueller's performance, saying his answers have been effective

Several Twitter users expressed the opinion that the 74-year-old veteran prosecutor’s shaky demeanor calls his entire report into question.

‘Listening too Mueller the cracking in his voice shows clearly that he is a conflicted Skunk and lying ! And I think he is senile !’

‘As I said when Mueller gave speech in May, he is feeble,’ radio personality Mark Levin tweeted. ‘I say that not as a personal attack but as a rational observation. It’s on display today during this hearing.

‘This underscores that the person who influenced this investigation most was Andrew Weissman, his top lieutenant.’

Replying to Levin’s tweet, one man wrote: ‘Agreed, Mueller looks geriatric and lost…. find that man a time machine.’ 

‘It’s quite entertaining. Mueller can’t make a coherent statement. Looks like the circus made a stop in DC,’ a woman tweeted.

‘I’d say Democrats right now regretting they ever subpoenaed Mueller. He looks confused,’ a man wrote.

Some viewers have said Mueller's shaky demeanor calls his report into question

Some viewers have said Mueller’s shaky demeanor calls his report into question

 

 

 

 

 

Others think Mueller sounds uncertain because he is being overly-cautious about coming off as impartial.

‘I’m concerned that Mueller is so concerned with not appearing political that he is really under-performing at times by failing to clarify things that need clarification,’ one woman wrote.

‘To let crazy GOP statements stand without clarification could be interpreted as agreement.’

Some noted that Mueller is being hindered by the mammoth task of manually searching through 397 pages to effectively answer questions about the report his team took two years to compile.

He repeatedly had to ask committee members for page numbers when asked to comment on specific sections.

One woman tweeted that Mueller would have a much easier time referring to the report if he had searchable copy on a computer.

‘Give Robert Mueller a computer, he desperately needs CTRL + F,’ Vice Media VP Katie Drummond wrote.

Ironically, the copy of the report released by the Justice Department was a scanned printout and thus couldn’t be searched. Several searchable versions have cropped up in the months since then.

Unfortunately for Mueller, witnesses are not allowed to use computers during hearings.

Mueller frequently had to pause and manually search through the 397-page report to effectively answer questions from lawmakers

Mueller frequently had to pause and manually search through the 397-page report to effectively answer questions from lawmakers

 

 

 

Throughout the hearing, Democrats, who hold the majority on both committees present, worked to elicit short, definitive answers from Mueller.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler asked him: ‘Director Mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. But that is not what your report said, is it?

‘That is correct. That is not what the report said,’ Mueller responding.

‘Does that say there was no obstruction?’ Nadler followed up later.

‘No,’ the former special counsel said.

‘In fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president,’ Nadler told him.

‘Yes it does,’ Mueller replied.

Most of Mueller’s fumbles came in response to Republicans trying to get him to stray from his typical dry, technical explanations.

‘Where are you reading from?’ he asked one member, Rep James Sensenbrenner. ‘I am reading from my question,’ the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker told him.

Under questioning by Republican Rep Steve Chabot, Mueller didn’t show immediate familiarity with political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, a key player in the trail of the Steele Dossier, and a fixture of attention of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

‘When you talk about the firm that produced the Steele reporting, the name of the firm was Fusion GPS, is that correct?’

‘I’m not familiar with that,’ said Mueller.

‘That’s not a trick question. It’s Fusion GPS.’

Most of Mueller's fumbles came in response to Republicans trying to get him to stray from his typical dry, technical explanations

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose trips to Russia drew attention of investigators.

‘Director Mueller, the third FISA renewal happens a month after you’re named special counsel. What role did your office play in the third FISA renewal of Carter Page?’ Jordan asked.

‘I’m not going to talk to that,’ said Mueller.

In his prepared statement, Mueller began by defending his probe following an onslaught of attacks, and spelling out questions he will and will not answer.

He said he told his team at the start of the Russia probe to ‘work quietly, thoroughly and with integrity so that the public would have full confidence in the outcome.

‘We needed to do our work as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as possible. It was in the public interest for our investigation to be complete and not to last a day longer than necessary,’ Mueller said.

He said his team of lawyers and agents worked ‘fairly and with absolute integrity’ – minutes after President Trump once again attacked it as a ‘witch hunt’.

‘Our team would not leak or take other actions that would compromise the integrity of our work,’ said Mueller. ‘All decisions were made based on the facts and the law.’

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose Russia trips drew investigators' attention

Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan sought to draw Mueller out on the surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, whose Russia trips drew investigators’ attention

Rep Doug Collins tried to get Mueller to contradict his report by asking him whether ‘collusion’ and ‘conspiracy’ are the same thing after Mueller testified that they weren’t.

Collins cited a portion of the report that states: ‘Collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the U.S. Code; nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. To the contrary, even as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general federal conspiracy statute.’

Mueller critics declared that the special counsel had been bested by Collins, while experts explained that Collins’ citation was taken out of context.

The part of the report in question was about collusion in the sense of corporate collusion – when companies conspire in an illegal fashion to help each other at consumers’ expense.

Corporate collusion is unrelated to ‘collusion with Russia’, the colloquial term adopted in the debate about potential cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Both sides sought to get Mueller on record on the question of whether he had any potential conflict that would prevent him from overseeing the probe.

Georgia Democrat Rep Hank Johnson asked Mueller if he had any conflicts of interest that prevented him from being special counsel. Mueller said he did not. Trump has repeatedly said Mueller was ‘highly conflicted,’ saying he had interviewed to be his FBI director and that the two men had a nasty business dispute. 

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller’s credibility.

‘No matter your political party, it’s absolutely disgusting to see those attacking Mueller’s integrity,’ one man tweeted.

‘The way the @JudiciaryGOP members talked and yelled at Robert Mueller is beyond awful. They’ve all lost their souls,’ another wrote.

‘Republicans can’t argue the facts, so they attack the investigation and the investigators,’ another said.

‘Remember this slander of Mueller the next time you hear republicans going on about their love & respect for veterans. They will throw anyone under the bus who doesn’t toe the party line.’

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller's credibility

 

Some people on social media lambasted Republican committee members for trying to damage Mueller’s credibility

TOP 10 MUELLER TAKEAWAYS

Below are the 10 most important takeaways gleaned from Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday.

Mueller said all he wanted to say in his report

When Mueller finally agreed to testify before Congress – after more than two years of silence about the Russia investigation – the special counsel said he ‘would not provide information beyond that which is already public’ in the report published in April.

He stuck to that promise throughout Wednesday’s hearing, declining or deferring nearly 200 questions from committee members.

Mueller’s reasons for not answering included not wanting to speculate, being unable to detail internal Justice Department deliberations and being under orders not to broach specific topics.

Trump was paying attention 

After saying that he couldn’t be bothered to watch Mueller’s testimony, President Trump made it clear that he was tuned in as he tweeted multiple reactions to the proceedings on Wednesday.

‘I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. ‘We had no collusion, no obstruction.’

Before the hearing even kicked off Trump had posted seven tweets about the hearing, echoing his go-to attacks on ‘Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats’.

Over the next eight hours tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Mueller’s testimony, including multiple videos of Republican lawmakers grilling the special counsel.

‘TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!’ he declared just after 2.30pm.

Mueller didn’t subpoena Trump to avoid a lengthy court battle  

The special counsel addressed why Trump wasn’t interviewed during the two-year-long investigation when New York Democratic Rep Sean Maloney asked him: ‘Why didn’t you subpoena the president?’

Trump’s legal team had refused to have him be interviewed in the probe because they felt such a meeting would amount to a ‘perjury trap’.

Before Congress Mueller stated that his team had ‘little success’ when pushing for an interview for over a year and decided that they didn’t want to delay the investigation with a lengthy court battle.

‘We did not want to exercise the subpoena power because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation,’ he said, adding that no one at the Justice Department pressured him to finish the probe.

Mueller acknowledged that Trump’s written answers to questions about possible conspiracy with Russia were ‘not as useful as the interview would be’.

Trump was not exonerated by the Russia investigation

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, kicked off Wednesday’s proceedings by asking Mueller directly if the Russia investigation exonerated President Trump.

‘No,’ Mueller stated without hesitation.

That goes against the president’s repeated claims that the probe proved there was ‘no obstruction, no collusion’.

Mueller’s team never determined whether Trump committed a crime

While the majority of his answers were straightforward and technical, Mueller struggled when questioned about why he did not indict the president.

During an exchanged with California Democratic Rep Ted Lieu, Mueller stated that the reason he did not even consider indicting Trump on obstruction charges was because of guidance from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

That goes against assertions by Attorney General William Barr, who has repeatedly said the OLC’s opinion was not the only reason Mueller did not indict Trump.  

Arizona Republican Rep Debbie Lesko asked Mueller to clarify that contradiction, at which point he said he ‘would have to look closer at it’. 

He later conceded that he had misspoken when he characterized the OLC’s guidance to Lieu.  

‘We did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime,’ he said.

‘Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.’

Mueller was much less steady than in previous hearings

At times, Mueller, 74, stumbled during answers, asking fast-talking lawmakers to repeat page citations and repeat their questions. He sometimes had to scan the hearing room to locate questioners.

Although his stock answer was to say issues were beyond the purview of his mandate, he also appeared not to recall specific information at times.

‘Where are you reading from?’ he asked one member, Rep. James Sensenbrenner. ‘I am reading from my question,’ the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker told him.

Under questioning by Republican Rep Steve Chabot, Mueller didn’t show immediate familiarity with political intelligence firm Fusion GPS, a key player in the trail of the Steele Dossier, and a fixture of attention of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

Viewers reacting on social media called out Mueller’s unsteadiness early on, remarking that he was acting ‘like a confused old man’.

Some said the wobbly performance could be a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members determined to discredit findings that are damaging to Trump.

Mueller and Trump have opposing accounts of what led up to special counsel appointment

Republicans probed Mueller’s professional links with Trump in an attempt to show he may have had a reason to be biased against the president – specifically questioning whether he was turned down for the FBI director position the day before being tapped to lead the Russia investigation.

Trump gave his version of events on Wednesday morning, tweeting: ‘It has been reported that Robert Mueller is saying that he did not apply and interview for the job of FBI Director (and get turned down) the day before he was wrongfully appointed Special Counsel.

‘Hope he doesn’t say that under oath in that we have numerous witnesses to the interview, including the Vice President of the United States!’

Mueller contradicted Trump’s account when Texas Republican Rep Louie Gohmert seized on his alleged conflicts of interest.

Gohmert asked Mueller about a meeting he had with Trump the day before the special counsel appointment and contended that it was a job interview for the FBI director slot.

Mueller stated that he was not interviewed ‘as a candidate’ for the position.

Mueller fiercely defended his team’s impartiality 

The special counsel was calm and composed throughout the proceedings, save for one moment when Florida Republican Rep Greg Steube decried the political affiliations of the lawyers on his team.

Mueller said never in his 25 years in his position had he felt the need to ask the people he works with about their political affiliation.

Rep Gohmert also called Mueller’s hiring practices into question, particularly his appointment of FBI agent Peter Strzok – who was later removed from the probe after he was found to have sent anti-Trump text messages to a woman he was involved with.   

Mueller said he did not know of Strzok’s disdain for Trump before the probe started and learned about it in the summer of 2017, several months into the investigation.

Republicans tried to collect evidence for a probe into Mueller’s investigation

Republicans committee members tried both the blast the origins of the Russia probe and potentially establish a record that might play out in an ongoing investigation overseen by Attorney General William Barr.

‘Before you arrested [Trump campaign foreign policy aide] George Papadopoulos in July of 2017, he was given $10,000 in ash in Israel. Do you know who gave him that cash?’ California Rep Devin Nunes asked Mueller.

‘Again, that’s outside our … questions such as that should go to the FBI or the department,’ said Mueller.

‘But it involved your investigation,’ said Nunes.

‘It involved persons involved in my investigation,’ said Mueller.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow released a statement saying: ‘This morning’s testimony exposed the troubling deficiencies of the Special Counsel’s investigation. The testimony revealed that this probe was conducted by a small group of politically-biased prosecutors who, as hard as they tried, were unable to establish either obstruction, conspiracy, or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is also clear that the Special Counsel conducted his two-year investigation unimpeded. The American people understand that this issue is over. They also understand that the case is closed.’ 

Democrats tried to breathe life into a dense, technical report

The Democrats, who hold a majority on both committees, made a concerted effort to present the investigation’s findings in a more provocative and damning light than they had been in the dense, 337-page report.

‘Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign — including Trump himself — knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it,’ California Rep Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair, said when the afternoon portion began.

‘Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words, but how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it?’ Schiff continued.

‘That disloyalty may not have been criminal. Constrained by uncooperative witnesses, the destruction of documents and the use of encrypted communications, your team was not able to establish each of the elements of the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, so not a provable crime, in any event’, he added.

However, a levelheaded Mueller didn’t play along, making for a rather mundane hearing.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7281303/Muellers-stumbling-responses-blockbuster-hearing-leave-social-media-concerned.html

 

 

Here’s Why Mueller Kept Getting Asked About a Mysterious Maltese Professor

BY VERA BERGENGRUEN 

JULY 24, 2019

In a moment that quickly made the rounds on conservative media on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan sharply questioned Robert Mueller on the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

The Ohio Republican pressed the former special counsel to detail who told George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy aide on the Trump campaign, that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. When Mueller said he would not go into it, Jordan became heated.

“Yes you can, because you wrote about it – you gave us the answer!” Jordan said. “Joseph Mifsud.”

The name of the shadowy Maltese academic kept coming up on Wednesday as Republicans accused Mueller of covering up how the FBI came to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, a popular talking point for Trump allies. At the House Intelligence Committee hearing, Rep. Devin Nunes pointed to a large photo of Mifsud with then-U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson as evidence that he “has extensive contacts with Western governments and the FBI”.

Mifsud’s name would have been familiar for regular consumers of Fox News and conservative outlets that have spent two years dissecting what they believe was a “deep state” attempt to take down the Trump campaign. The London-based professor at the center of the Trump-Russia probe has not been seen in public since October 2017, just days after Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with him. One of those was a key conversation in London in April 2016, in which Mifsud told him the Russians had damaging information on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Mifsud also introduced him to a Russian graduate student that Papadopoulos believed to be Putin’s niece, and connected him with an official with ties to the Russian foreign ministry who said he could set up a meeting with the country’s ambassador, according to Mueller’s report. Papadopoulos later relayed that information to an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, who passed it on to U.S. government officials, setting into motion the FBI investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos’ interactions with Mifsud, and his allegation that the Maltese professor was an FBI plant, has been at the center of some Republicans’ efforts to discredit Mueller’s probe. Papadopoulos told TIME in May that he believes he was part of an elaborate set-up by U.S. intelligence to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign. Since serving a short sentence for lying to the FBI, Papadopoulos has continued to make the rounds alleging that Mifsud was a “Western intelligence operative” who tried to use him to entrap the Trump campaign.

“People are very fascinated about what I have to say, people are just like — their mouths are dropping,” he told TIME on April 17. “They’ve never heard this information because Mueller and the FBI wanted to keep me silenced.”

Perhaps anticipating this line of questioning, Mueller made it clear in his opening statement that he would be “unable to address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation” because it is the subject of an ongoing review by the Justice Department.

That did not stop Jordan and Nunes, both vocal Trump supporters, from trying.

“He’s the guy who starts it all, and when the FBI interviews him, he lies three times and yet you don’t charge him with a crime,” Jordan exclaimed, angrily listing others charged by Mueller, including Michael Flynn and “13 Russians no one’s ever heard of.”

“But the guy who puts the country through this whole saga, starts it off, for three years we have lived this now, he lies and you guys don’t charge him,” he said.

“I’m not sure I agree with your characterization,” Mueller tersely responded, but Jordan’s performance was already going viral in conservative corners of the internet with headlines like “WATCH: Jim Jordan Steals the Show, Calls into Question Entire Basis of Probe!” and “‘BRUTAL’: Jim Jordan grills Mueller about why ‘guy who put this whole story in motion’ lied but wasn’t held accountable.” On Wednesday afternoon, Trump himself retweeted a clip of the exchange, indicating that Mifsud is unlikely to fade from the debate over the Russia investigation.