The Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018, Story 1: President Trump New Brand — Sypgate Shorthand for Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — What Did Clinton and Obama Know and when Did Clinton and Obama Know It? Clinton and Obama Activated “Spygate” or Secret Surveillance Spying Security State on Republican Party Trump Campaign for President — Read Ed Klein’s All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump, Guilty As Sin, and Blood Feud — Videos — Story 2: To Be or Not To Be — June 12, 2018 U.S./North Korea Summit Canceled For Now — To Be Continued — Maybe — Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off — Videos

Posted on May 25, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Blogroll, Bribery, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Constitutional Law, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Government, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Human, Human Behavior, James Comey, Killing, Language, Life, Lying, Mike Pompeo, National Security Agency, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Corruption, Robert S. Mueller III, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump New Brand — Sypgate Shorthand for Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — What Did Clinton and Obama Know and when Did Clinton and Obama Know It? Clinton and Obama Activated “Spygate” or Secret Surveillance Spying Security State on Republican Party Trump Campaign for President — Read Ed Klein’s All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump, Guilty As Sin, and Blood Feud — Videos —

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‘Spygate’: Trump unveils new nickname for Russia probe

The Ingraham Angle – Wednesday May 23 2018

Tucker: Obama administration hacks were all lying

Did the Obama administration spy on the Trump campaign?

What we know about Trump’s ‘Spygate’ claims

Sean Hannity Blasts James Comey: ‘Did You Have a Spy in the Clinton Campaign?’

President Donald Trump Seizes On ‘Spygate’ To Discredit Russia Investigation | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Ed Klein details the rift between Bill and Hillary Clinton

All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump | Ed Klein And Alex Jones

All Out War – The Plot To Destroy Donald Trump by Ed Klein Ch 1-6

Ed Klein Discusses His New Book “All Out War”, Antifa, and More

Malzberg | Edward “Ed” Klein: Obama was “aware of HRC’s private server” and “warned her” about it

Ed Klein: Why Comey jumped at chance to reopen Clinton case

Ed Klein discusses the Hillary Clinton email story

Hillary Clinton surrounded by scandals and investigations

Ed Klein on Hillary Emails controversy – Stuart Varney March 9, 2015

The Joe Pags Show | Ed Klein discusses Hillary’s reaction after losing

Ed Klein – What Happened To Hillary’s “What Happened”?

Hillary ‘won’t drink water’? ‘Red Eye’ investigates

Ed Klein: Not the first time Clinton has collapsed

Ex-Secret Service agent: Hillary must be kept out of the WH

Former Secret Service agent: Why video of Clinton scares me

Author says Hillary Clinton is ‘two different people’

Ed Klein: It seems Obama is having a tough time letting go

Ed Klein: Clintons and Obamas Are Like Two ‘Mafia Families’

Rush Limbaugh Doesn’t Trust Ed Klein

Ed Klein talks ‘Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary’

Hillary Clinton Is ‘Fat And Old’ According To Author Ed Klein

Jeremiah Wright offered bribe of $150,000.00 by Obama campaign to keep silent

Sorry, But Obama White House, Not Dossier, Was Behind Trump Investigation

pyGate: Did the Obama administration spy on the Donald Trump campaign because it feared Russian hacking of the 2016 election? Or was it merely a smokescreen to cover up the real reason: to keep Trump from winning the presidency or take him down if he did?

As the saying goes, timing is everything. Recent revelations keep pushing back the beginning of the CIA and FBI investigation into “Russian hacking” or “meddling” in the 2016 election further and further in time.

This is significant, since the farther back in time the actual origin of the spying on Trump, the less likely it is that it had anything to do with Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, but everything to do with stopping the surprising surge of Trump during the GOP primaries and beyond.

Increasingly, a political motive seems not only likely, but almost certain.

In a recent piece that warrants a thorough reading, Andrew C. McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney who now writes for the National Review, painstakingly dismantles the multiple lies told about how and when the spying on Trump began.

There is what he calls “The Original Origination Story” that involves little-known Trump adviser Carter Page. He visited Moscow in July 2016, three months after hooking on to the Trump campaign.

According to former MI6 British spy Christopher Steele’s now infamous dossier on Trump, Page’s trip was when the alleged Trump-Russia plan to hack the Democratic National Committee was born.

The only problem is, the Steele dossier has been exposed as a fanciful product of the Clinton campaign and the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which hired Steele. And the main assertions were based on hearsay from Russian officials, and never validated.

Even so, the FBI and Justice Department used the dossier to apply to the FISA court to tap Page’s communications and, as a result, much of the rest of the Trump campaign.

In doing so, the FBI broke its own rules and, worse, the Obama Justice Department withheld the fact from the FISA court that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee were responsible for the dossier.

Then there was what McCarthy calls “Origination Story 2.0.”

This involves George Papadopoulos, a young, also little-known Trump aide. At a May 2016 meeting in a London pub, he told Australian diplomat Alexander Downer about an academic named Josef Mifsud with Kremlin ties who told Papadopoulos that the Kremlin had a huge number of emails that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton.

Democrats point to this as proof that Trump had colluded to hack the DNC. But as McCarthy notes, there’s a major flaw in that logic: “If Russia already had the emails and was alerting the Trump campaign to that fact, the campaign could not have been involved in the hacking.”

Moreover, Democrats insist Mifsud’s comments about emails referred to the DNC emails that were, in fact, hacked by Russians.

But that’s not the case. Papadopoulos has said he thought Mifsud was talking about the more than 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton “accidentally” had deleted from her illegal unsecured home email server.

So if those didn’t set up the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, what did?

In fact, says McCarthy, the real origin of the investigation appears to have been in Spring of 2016, before Papadopoulos’ conversation with the Australian ambassador in May and also before Page’s visit to Moscow in July.

It started with James Comey briefing President Obama’s National Security Council about Carter Page, likely sometime in mid-Spring.

Why? Well, both Page and Paul Manafort, another Trump adviser, had business ties to Russia, which, perhaps justifiably, concerned the FBI.

But rather than telling the Trump campaign about their concerns, or even moving against the Russians, the Justice Department and the FBI starting treating Trump’s campaign like a criminal enterprise.

Instead of continuing to interview Page, or Manafort, or Papadopoulos, they inserted a spy, Stefan Halper, in the campaign, and tapped its phones. It had the earmarks of a political hit, not an actual investigation.

As for the CIA, another line of inquiry finds they also were busy early on pursuing Trump.

George Neumayr, writing in The American Spectator, notes that CIA Director John Brennan used the flimsy excuse of a tip from the Estonian intelligence agency that Putin was giving money to the Trump campaign to form an “inter-agency taskforce” on supposed Trump-Russia collusion in 2016. It met at CIA headquarters, spy central.

The Estonian tip didn’t pan out, but the task force remained.

“Both before and after the FBI’s official probe began in late July 2016,” wrote Neumayr, “Brennan was bringing together into the same room at CIA headquarters a cast of Trump haters across the Obama administration whose activities he could direct — from Peter Strzok, the FBI liaison to Brennan, to the doltish (Director of National Intelligence) Jim Clapper, Brennan’s errand boy, to an assortment of Brennan’s buddies at the Treasury Department, Justice Department, and White House.”

It eventually led, on July 31, 2016, to the creation FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” program to spy against the Trump campaign.

What we’re discovering is that the investigations and spying on the Trump campaign for evidence of possible collusion with Russia appear to have begun well before the CIA and FBI said they did.

And it all arose from progressive, pro-Hillary embeds deep within the Deep State and at the top of key Obama agencies, people who could use their positions of supposed Olympian objectivity to mask their political bias — and to ignore years of evidence that Hillary Clinton had colluded with the Russians for her own financial benefit.

As McCarthy concluded: “The Trump-Russia investigation did not originate with Page or Papadopoulos. It originated with the Obama administration.”

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/obama-behind-trump-investigation/

Byron York: When did Trump-Russia probe begin? Investigators focus on mystery months

Revelations that an FBI informant insinuated himself into the Trump campaign have led some congressional investigators to rethink their theories on how and why former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department began investigating the 2016 Trump presidential effort.

Most reporting has focused on the July 31, 2016, creation of a document formally marking the beginning of the FBI counterintelligence probe targeting the Trump campaign. The document, known as the electronic communication, or EC, is said to have focused on the case of George Papadopoulos, the peripheral Trump adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to special counsel Robert Mueller about his contacts with people connected to Russia.

Most of the key events of the Trump-Russia investigation — the Carter Page wiretap, the wiretap of Michael Flynn’s conversations, the presentation of Trump dossier allegations to the president-elect — took place after the formal start of the FBI counterintelligence investigation.

But now comes word of the FBI informant, described in various accounts as a retired American professor living in England. The Washington Post reported that, “The professor’s interactions with Trump advisers began a few weeks before the opening of the investigation, when Page met the professor at the British symposium.”

A few weeks before the opening of the investigation — those are the words that have raised eyebrows among Hill investigators. If it was before the investigation, then what was an FBI informant doing gathering undercover information when there was not yet an investigation?

And that has taken them back to March 21, 2016, when candidate Donald Trump met with the editorial board of the Washington Post.

At the time of that meeting, Trump had been under criticism for not having the sort of lists of distinguished advisers that most top-level campaigns routinely assemble. That was particularly true in the area of foreign policy. A frustrated Trump ordered his team to compile a list of foreign-affairs advisers.

Trump was preparing to announce his advisory board when he met with the Post. The paper’s publisher asked Trump if he would reveal the names of his new team.

“Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names,” Trump said. He then read a brief list, among them Page and Papadopoulos.

Trump’s announcement did not go unnoticed at the FBI and Justice Department. The bureau knew Page from a previous episode in which Russian agents had tried, unsuccessfully, to recruit him. It’s not clear what the FBI knew about the others. But then-Director James Comey and number-two Andrew McCabe personally briefed Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the list of newly-named Trump foreign policy advisers, including Page, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Lynch told the House Intelligence Committee that she, Comey, and McCabe discussed whether to provide a “defensive briefing” to the Trump campaign. That would entail having an FBI official meet with a senior campaign official “to alert them to the fact that … there may be efforts to compromise someone with their campaign,” Lynch said.

It didn’t happen, even though it was discussed again when Comey briefed the National Security Council principals committee about Page in the “late spring” of 2016, according to Lynch’s testimony. (The principals committee includes some of the highest-ranking officials in the government, including the secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, and Homeland Security, the attorney general, the head of the CIA, the White House chief of staff, U.N. ambassador, and more.)

So the nation’s top political appointees, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies were watching Trump campaign figures in the spring and early summer of 2016.

In early July, Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, the former British spy, approached the FBI with the first installment of the dossier. (It was the part that alleged Trump took part in a kinky sex scene with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel in 2013.) Also in early July — just a few days later — Page made a much-watched trip to deliver a speech in Moscow. Also in July, FBI officials say they learned about Papadopoulos’ meeting a few months earlier with a Russian-connected professor. And still in July, hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee were released.

Somewhere around the time all that was happening, according to the latest reporting, the FBI informant began his work.

And that was all before what is called the formal beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation. It is in those mystery months — late March, April, May, June, and early July of 2016 — with the presidential campaign going at full force, that the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Republican candidate geared up.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/when-did-trump-russia-probe-begin-investigators-focus-on-mystery-months

The Real Origination Story of the Trump-Russia Investigation

Former President Barack Obama extends his hand to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 28, 2015. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Trump-Russia investigation did not originate with Carter Page or George Papadopoulos. It originated with the Obama administration.Exactly when is the “late Spring”?

Of all the questions that have been asked about what we’ve called the “Origination Story” of the Trump-Russia investigation, that may be the most important one. It may be the one that tells us when the Obama administration first formed the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative.

Obama’s spying on Trump campaign included the use of secret “national security letters” reserved for the most serious threats

See, it has always been suspicious that the anonymous current and former government officials who leak classified information to their media friends have been unable to coordinate their spin on the start of “Crossfire Hurricane” — the name the FBI eventually gave its Trump-Russia investigation.

The Original Origination Story: Carter Page

First, they told us it was an early July 2016 trip to Moscow by Carter Page, an obscure Trump-campaign adviser.

As we’ve observed, that story became untenable once a connection emerged between the Bureau’s concerns about Page and the Steele dossier. The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, portrayed Page’s Moscow trip as seminal to a Trump-Russia conspiracy to hack Democratic email accounts and steal the election from Hillary Clinton.

It turned out, however, that the dossier was a Clinton-campaign opposition-research project, the main allegations of which were based on third-hand hearsay from anonymous Russian sources. Worse, though the allegations could not be verified, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used them to obtain surveillance warrants against Page, in violation of their own guidelines against presenting unverified information to the FISA court. Worse still, the Obama Justice Department withheld from the FISA court the facts that the Clinton campaign was behind the dossier and that Steele had been booted from the investigation for lying to the FBI.

Origination Story 2.0: George Papadopoulos

With the Page origination story cratering, Team Obama tried to save the day with Origination Story 2.0: Papadopoulos did it. In this account, George Papadopoulos, an even more obscure Trump-campaign aide than Page, triggered the investigation by telling Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, in May 2016, that he’d heard from a Kremlin-connected academic, Josef Mifsud, that Russia had thousands of emails potentially damaging to Clinton.

But this rickety tale had the signs of an after-the-fact rationalization, an effort to downplay the dossier and the role of Obama officials in the genesis of the probe. There were curious questions about how the twentysomething Papadopoulos came to be meeting with Australia’s highest-ranking diplomat in the United Kingdom, and about how and when, exactly, this Australian information came to be transmitted to the FBI.

Moreover, there are two basic flaws in version 2.0. First, Papadopoulos’s story is actually exculpatory of the Trump campaign: If Russia already had the emails and was alerting the Trump campaign to that fact, the campaign could not have been involved in the hacking. Second, there is confusion about exactly what Mifsud was referring to when he told Papadopoulos that the Russians had emails that could damage Clinton. Democrats suggest that Mifsud was referring to the Democratic National Committee emails. They need this to be true because (a) these are the emails that were hacked by Russian operatives, and (b) it was WikiLeaks’ publication of these hacked DNC emails in July 2016 that spurred the Aussies to report to their American counterparts about the encounter, two months earlier, between Papadopoulos and Downer — to whom Papadopoulos reported Mifsud’s emails story. But if the Australians really did infer that Mifsud and Papadopoulos must have been talking about the hacked DNC emails, the inference is unlikely. As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross has reported, Papadopoulos maintains that he understood Mifsud to be talking about the 30,000-plus emails that Hillary Clinton had deleted from her homebrew server. That makes more sense — it was those emails that Donald Trump harped on throughout the campaign and that were in the news when Mifsud spoke with Papadopoulos in April 2016. While there are grounds for concern that Clinton’s emails were hacked, there is no proof that it happened; Clinton’s 30,000 emails are not the hacked DNC emails on which the “collusion” narrative is based.

There was also the curiosity of why, if Papadopoulos was so central, the FBI had not bothered to interview him until late January 2017 — after Trump had already taken office.

The Real Origination

With the revelation last week that the Obama administration had insinuated a spy into the Trump campaign, it appeared that we were back to the original, Page-centric origination story. But now there was a twist: The informant, longtime CIA source Stefan Halper, was run at Page by the FBI, in Britain. Because this happened just days after Page’s Moscow trip, the implication was that it was the Moscow trip itself, not the dossier claims about it, that provided momentum toward opening the investigation. Then, just a couple of weeks later, WikiLeaks began publicizing the DNC emails; this, we’re to understand, shook loose the Australian information about Papadopoulos. When that information made its way to the FBI — how, we’re not told — the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation was formally opened on July 31. Within days, Agent Peter Strzok was in London interviewing Downer, and soon the FBI tasked Halper to take a run at Papadopoulos.

 

The real origination story begins in the early spring of 2016 — long before Page went to Russia and long before the U.S. government was notified about Papadopoulos’s boozy conversation with Downer.

Last week, as controversy stirred over the possibility that the Obama administration had used a spy against the Trump campaign, the eagle eye of the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel caught a couple of key passages from the House Intelligence Committee’s recent report on Russian interference in the election — largely overlooked passages on page 54.

It turns out that, in “late spring” 2016, the FBI’s then-director James Comey briefed the principals of the National Security Council on “the Page information.” As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York observes in a perceptive column today, NSC principals are an administration’s highest-ranking national-security officials. In Obama’s National Security Council, the president was the chairman, and among the regular attendees were the vice-president (Joe Biden), the national-security adviser (Susan Rice), and the director of national intelligence (James Clapper). The heads of such departments and agencies as the Justice Department (Attorney General Loretta Lynch) and the CIA (Director John Brennan) could also be invited to attend NSC meetings if matters of concern to them were to be discussed.

We do not know which NSC principals attended the Comey briefing about Carter Page. But how curious that the House Intelligence Committee interviewed so many Obama-administration officials who were on, or who were knowledgeable about, the NSC, and yet none of them provided a date for this meeting more precise than “late spring” 2016.

The other meeting outlined on page 54 of the House report is one that Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, had with Attorney General Lynch. It probably occurred before the “late spring” Obama NSC meeting, and it was also “about Page.”

So . . . what exactly was “the Page information”? Well, we know that Page, an Annapolis alumnus and former naval intelligence officer, is . . . well, he’s a knucklehead. He is a Russia apologist whose “discursive online blog postings about foreign policy,” Politico noted, “invoke the likes of Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, and Rhonda Byrne’s self-help bestseller, ‘The Secret.’” More to the point, Page blames American provocations for bad relations with the Kremlin and advocates, instead, a policy of appeasing the Putin regime. Page, who has also been an investment banker, has also had business ties to Gazprom, the Kremlin-controlled energy behemoth.

Most importantly, we know that Page was one of several American businessmen whom Russian intelligence operatives attempted to recruit in 2013. Yet, the main reason we know that is that Page cooperated with the FBI and the Justice Department in the prosecution of the Russian operatives. See Sealed ComplaintUnited States v. Evgeny Buryakov, pp. 12-13 (Page is identified as “Male-1” — whom one of the Russian spies refers to as “an idiot”).

What would have been the reason for Lynch, Comey, and McCabe to discuss Carter Page? Well, on March 21, 2016 — i.e., early spring — the Trump campaign announced the candidate’s foreign-policy advisory team. Trump had been spurned by the Republican foreign-policy clerisy and was under pressure to show that he had some advisers. So the campaign hastily put out a list of five little-known figures, including Page. Young George Papadopoulos (whose idea of résumé inflation was to claim, apparently falsely, that he’d been a participant in the Geneva International Model United Nations) was also among the five; but he was a virtual unknown at the time — he did not cause the FBI the consternation that the appearance of Page’s name did.

Another source of consternation: On March 29, just a few days after Page was announced as a foreign-policy adviser, Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign. Manafort and his partner, Richard Gates (who also joined the Trump campaign), had been on the FBI’s radar over political-consultant work they’d done for many years for a Kremlin-backed political party in Ukraine — the party deeply enmeshed in Russian aggression against that former Soviet satellite state.

In discussing Page, one of the things Lynch, Comey, and McCabe discussed was the possibility of providing the Trump campaign with a “defensive briefing.” This would be a meeting with a senior campaign official to put the campaign on notice of potential Russian efforts to compromise someone — Page — within the campaign.

In retrospect, that is an interesting piece of information. Back in February, after House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) put out the Republican majority’s memo on FISA abuse, Committee Democrats responded. As I pointed out at the time, the memo by ranking member Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) let slip that the FBI had interviewed Carter Page in March 2016. (See Schiff Memo, p. 4 — the relevant footnote 10 is redacted.)

Was the interview of Page a reaction to his joining the Trump campaign? Was it an effort to gauge whether Page was still a recruitment target? Was it a substitute for giving the campaign a defensive briefing, or a preparatory step in anticipation of possibly giving such a briefing? We don’t know.

But here is what we can surmise.

There are many different ways the Obama administration could have reacted to the news that Page and Manafort had joined the Trump campaign.

Carter Page and Paul Manafort joined the Trump campaign in early spring, and the FBI was concerned about their possible ties to Russia. These were not trifling concerns, but they did not come close to suggesting a Trump-Russia espionage conspiracy against the 2016 election.

These FBI concerns resulted in a briefing of the Obama NSC by the FBI sometime in “late spring.” I suspect the “late spring” may turn out to be an earlier part of spring than most people might suppose — like maybe shortly after Page joined the Trump campaign.

There are many different ways the Obama administration could have reacted to the news that Page and Manafort had joined the Trump campaign. It could have given the campaign a defensive briefing. It could have continued interviewing Page, with whom the FBI had longstanding lines of communication. It could have interviewed Manafort. It could have conducted a formal interview with George Papadopoulos rather than approaching him with a spy who asked him loaded questions about Russia’s possession of Democratic-party emails.

Instead of doing some or all of those things, the Obama administration chose to look at the Trump campaign as a likely co-conspirator of Russia — either because Obama officials inflated the flimsy evidence, or because they thought it could be an effective political attack on the opposition party’s likely candidate.

From the “late spring” on, every report of Trump-Russia ties, no matter how unlikely and uncorroborated, was presumed to be proof of a traitorous arrangement. And every detail that could be spun into Trump-campaign awareness of Russian hacking, no matter how tenuous, was viewed in the worst possible light.

The Trump-Russia investigation did not originate with Page or Papadopoulos. It originated with the Obama administration.

http://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/trump-russia-investigation-obama-administration-origins/

 

How the Clinton-Emails Investigation Intertwined with the Russia Probe

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., October 9, 2016. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Obama administration officials in the DOJ and FBI saw the cases as inseparably linked.‘Cruz just dropped out of the race. It’s going to be a Clinton Trump race. Unbelievable.”

It was a little after midnight on May 4, 2016. FBI lawyer Lisa Page was texting her paramour, FBI counterespionage agent Peter Strzok, about the most stunning development to date in the 2016 campaign: Donald Trump was now the inevitable Republican nominee. He would square off against Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ certain standard-bearer.

The race was set . . . between two major-party candidates who were both under investigation by the FBI.

In stunned response, Strzok wrote what may be the only words we need to know, the words that reflected the mindset of his agency’s leadership and of the Obama administration: “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE.”

MYE. That’s Mid-Year Exam, the code-word the FBI had given to the Hillary Clinton emails probe.

“It sure does,” responded Page. Mind you, she was not just any FBI lawyer; she was counsel and confidant to the bureau’s No. 2 official, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

If the thousands of text messages between Ms. Page and Agent Strzok are clear on anything, they are clear on the thinking of the bureau’s top brass.

In its Trump antipathy, the media-Democrat complex has admonished us to ignore the Strzok-Page texts. FBI officials are as entitled as anyone else to their political opinions, we’re told; and if they found Trump loathsome, they were no different from half the country.

That’s the wrong way to look at it. Regardless of their politics (which, the texts show, are not as left-wing as some conservative-media hyperbole claims), these FBI officials are a window into how the Obama administration regarded the two investigations in which Strzok and Page were central players: Mid Year Exam and Trump-Russia — the latter eventually code-named “Crossfire Hurricane.”

The two investigations must not be compartmentalized. Manifestly, the FBI saw them as inseparably linked: Trump’s victory in the primaries, the opening of his path to the Oval Office, meant — first and foremost — that the Hillary investigation had to be brought to a close.

And that is because bringing it to a close was already known, by May 4, to mean closing it without charges — opening her path to the Oval Office. It was the calculation of the FBI, the Obama Justice Department, the Obama-led intelligence agencies, and the Obama White House that wrapping up MYE was essential to stopping Donald Trump.

Trump had won the nomination, so now the pressure was on to remove the cloud of felony suspicion hanging over Mrs. Clinton.

The mistake is often made — I’ve made it myself — of analyzing the tanking of the Clinton emails case in a vacuum. There are, after all, reasons unrelated to Donald Trump that explain the outcome: Obama was implicated in Clinton’s use of a non-secure email system; Obama had endorsed Clinton; many high-ranking Obama Justice Department officials stood to keep their coveted positions, and even advance, in a Hillary Clinton administration; the Obama Justice Department was hyper-political and Clinton was the Democratic nominee.

But the Clinton investigation did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in the context of Donald Trump’s gallop through the Republican primaries and, just as important, of the Obama administration’s determination to regard the Trump campaign as a Kremlin satellite.

Conveniently, the Strzok-Page text occurred in what we might call the “late spring.” As I outlined in yesterday’s column, the “late spring” is the vague timeframe former Obama-administration officials gave to the House Intelligence Committee when asked when the FBI’s then-director, James Comey, briefed the president’s National Security Council about Carter Page. An obscure Trump campaign adviser, Page was regarded as a likely clandestine Russian agent by the Obama administration, on what appears to be flimsy evidence.

So . . . let’s think this through.

By May 4, the Obama administration has already concluded that the Trump campaign is part of a Russian covert op that must be stopped — or at least has rationalized that the Trump-Russia storyline can work politically to damage the Republican candidate.

At the same time, even though MYE is not yet formally “finished,” even though key witnesses (including Clinton herself) have not been interviewed, even though essential evidence (including the laptops used to store and vet Clinton’s emails) are not yet in the FBI’s possession, Director Comey and his top aides are already drafting the exoneration speech he will give two months later, recommending against prosecution.

And everybody knows the fix is in. The Strzok-Page texts show that the pressure to schedule the Clinton interview is based on the imperative to shut down the case, not to weigh what she had to say for investigative purposes. Clinton is permitted to have her co-conspirators represent her as lawyers at her interview — in violation of federal law, professional-ethics canons, and rudimentary investigative practice — precisely because no one regards the interview as a serious law-enforcement exercise.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s shameful Arizona tarmac meeting with former President Clinton becomes a scandal in late June, she tries to mitigate the damage by announcing an intention to accept whatever recommendation the FBI makes. Lisa Page spitefully texts Peter Strzok. “And yeah, it’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought.”

To accomplish this, he effectively rewrites the classified-information statute Clinton violated; barely mentions the tens of thousands of official government business emails that she destroyed; claims without any elaboration that the FBI can see no evidence of obstruction; and omits mention of her just-concluded interview in which — among other things — she pretended not to know what the markings on classified documents meant.

On the very same day, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome travels to London to interview Christopher Steele, who has already started to pass his sensational dossier allegations to the bureau. And with the help of CIA director John Brennan and British intelligence, the FBI is ready to run a spy — a longtime CIA source — at Carter Page in London on July 11, just as he arrives there from Moscow.

With the pressure to finish MYE in the rearview mirror, Hillary Clinton looked like a shoo-in to beat Donald Trump. By mid September, Lisa Page was saying as much at a meeting in Deputy Director McCabe’s office. But Strzok was hedging his bets: Maybe “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Soon, as the campaign wound down, the FBI and the Obama Justice Department were on the doormat of the FISA court, obtaining a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, substantially based on allegations in the Steele dossier — an uncorroborated Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed. Meanwhile, the FBI/CIA spy was being run at George Papadopoulos, and even seeking a role in the Trump campaign from its co-chairman, Sam Clovis.

Or maybe you think these things are unrelated . . .

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/trump-russia-investigation-clinton-email-fbi-linked-cases/

How the FBI informant’s outreach to Trump staffers fits into overall investigation

May 22

Stefan A. Halper, the informant who assisted the FBI’s Russia investigation during 2016, is drawing the ire of President Trump and House Republicans.

On Monday evening, The Washington Post revealed the identity of the FBI informant at the center of President Trump’s recent frustrations. Over the course of 2016, emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge Stefan A. Halper contacted three people affiliated with Trump’s foreign-policy advisory team, two of whom were subjects of known FBI investigations beginning that summer.

Trump and his allies have criticized Halper’s contribution to the FBI’s investigation as an unwarranted intrusion into Trump’s campaign itself. Trump has repeatedly insisted that reports about Halper’s work showed bias on the part of the FBI that was a scandal “bigger than Watergate.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!

What’s known about Halper’s outreach, though, suggests a modest effort to get information from particular people who were already the subject of FBI scrutiny. Two people he contacted, foreign policy advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, initially met Halper in London — not, as some have implied, after Halper took some sort of position with the Trump campaign. (He did not do so.)

In light of the attention drawn to Halper by the president’s criticisms, we’ve put together a timeline showing how his known outreach overlapped with other investigatory efforts on the part of the FBI. Both Papadopoulos and Page were already being investigated by the FBI or had already been interviewed by the agency before Halper contacted them.

Items in bold involve Halper directly.

Pre-campaign

2012. Halper begins a relationship with the Defense Department, working with a Pentagon group called the Office of Net Assessment.

January 2013. Page meets a Russian foreign intelligence officer named Victor Podobnyy at a conference in New York.

March 2013. The FBI interviews Page after surveillance picks up Podobnyy mentioning Page as a potential target for recruitment.

Aug. 25, 2013. In a letter to a publisher, Page claims that for six months he has “had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month.”

Feb. 28, 2014. Michael Flynn participates in a national security seminar at Cambridge University organized by Halper and Richard Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s intelligence service.

The Trump campaign begins

June 16, 2015. Trump announces his candidacy.

Summer 2015. Hackers believed to be linked to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) gain access to the network of the Democratic National Committee, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Aug. 25, 2015. Sam Clovis joins Trump’s campaign after working with the failed presidential bid of Rick Perry. He serves as a policy adviser and works with Trump’s foreign policy team.

Dec. 10, 2015. Flynn travels to Moscow to participate in an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Kremlin-funded news network Russia Today (now RT).

March 2016. The FBI again interviews Page.

March 6, 2016. Papadopoulos is asked to join the Trump campaign as an adviser on foreign policy issues. He had previously been advising Ben Carson’s unsuccessful presidential campaign. His initial conversation about joining the campaign was with Clovis, who, Papadopoulos told prosecutors, suggested that improving relations with Russia was a key campaign goal. (Clovis has denied that.)

March 14, 2016. Papadopoulos meets in Italy with a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud, director of the London Academy of Diplomacy. Until he learns that Papadopoulos is tied to the Trump campaign, Mifsud is uninterested in talking.

March 21, 2016. Trump publicly identifies Papadopoulos and Page as part of his foreign policy advisory team.

March 31, 2016. The foreign policy advisory team meets. Trump tweets about it.

April 18, 2016. Papadopoulos is introduced via email to someone who has contacts at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Papadopoulos and the contact begin communicating regularly to try to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin.

April 26, 2016. Papadopoulos is told by Mifsud that the Russians have “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “They have thousands of emails,” he is told. The next day, he emails senior campaign adviser Stephen Miller to say he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”

May 2016. During a night of drinking in London, Papadopoulos tells Australian High Commissioner to Great Britain Alexander Downer that he is aware that Russia has dirt on Clinton.

July 7, 2016. Page travels to Moscow to give a speech. The next day, he sends a memo to campaign staff with an overview of his travel. It reads, in part, “Russian Deputy Prime Minister and [New Economic School] Board Member Arkadiy Dvorkovich also spoke before the event. In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems.”

July 11 and 12, 2016. Page meets Halper at a Cambridge conference called Race to Change the World. It is focused on “the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the implications that this will have for future U.S. foreign policy.” The two continue to communicate over email.

July 11 or 12, 2016. Trump campaign staffers apparently intervene with the committee developing the Republican Party’s national security platform to remove language calling for arming Ukraine against Russian aggression.

July 22, 2016. WikiLeaks begins releasing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

The investigation begins

July 31, 2016. The FBI opens its counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. The investigation is triggered when Australian authorities contact the agency — realizing that Papadopoulos’s May mention of Russian dirt to Downer, the diplomat, was validated by the release of stolen data.

August 2016. Papadopoulos seeks permission to travel to Russia to facilitate a meeting between Trump and Putin. After being discouraged from doing so earlier in the year, Clovis tells Papadopoulos to do so “if feasible” — but not as a representative of the campaign.

Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, 2016. Halper has coffee with Clovis. Clovis says that the subject of conversation was China, not Russia. Halper requests a second meeting, but it doesn’t happen.

Sept. 2, 2016. Halper contacts Papadopoulos offering to pay him to write a paper about oil fields in the Mediterranean and inviting him to London. Papadopoulos does so later that month, receiving $3,000 in payment.

Sept. 15, 2016. While in London, Papadopoulos has drinks with a woman who identifies herself as Halper’s assistant. He meets Halper at the Traveler’s Club. According to the New York Times, Halper asked if Papadopoulos knew about any interference efforts, which Papadopoulos denied — to Halper’s annoyance.

Sept. 23, 2016. Yahoo News reports on possible contacts between Page and Russian authorities, based on information collected by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele as part of his work for the firm Fusion GPS.

Sept. 26, 2016. Page announces his departure from the Trump campaign.

Oct. 21, 2016. The FBI is granted a warrant to surveil Page.

Nov. 8, 2016. Trump is elected president.

Sept. 2017. Page and Halper are in contact for the last time, according to an interview Page gave the Daily Caller.

Late September 2017. The warrant to surveil Page, extended three times, expires.

 

 

Edward Klein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edward J. Klein (born 1937) is an American author, tabloid writer and gossip columnist who is a former foreign editor of Newsweek, and former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine (1977–1987). He has written about the KennedysBill ClintonHillary ClintonBarack ObamaMichelle Obama, and Donald Trump.

Early life

Born in Yonkers, New York, Klein attended Colgate University, graduated from Columbia University School of General Studies,[1] and received an MS degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.[2]

Professional life

Klein is the former foreign editor of Newsweek and served as the editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine from 1977 to 1987. He frequently contributes to Vanity Fair and Parade and writes a weekly celebrity gossip column in Parade called “Personality Parade” under the pseudonym “Walter Scott.” (The Walter Scott pseudonym had originally been used by Lloyd Shearer, who wrote the column from 1958 to 1991.[3]) He also writes books, many of which have been on the New York Times Bestseller list. Additionally, he was the principal for the Business Communications School at The Euclid High School Complex. He was photographed by popular Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton, on June 12, 2014, which led to his personal website crashing due to a high volume of visitors.[4] Klein is also a contributor for the New York Post.[5]

Personal life

Klein is the father of two grown children, Karen (former manager of The Four Seasons restaurant in New York City), and Alec (a professor at Northwestern University).[6] He has been divorced twice. He was married to Dolores J. Barrett, senior vice president for Worldwide Public Relations at Polo Ralph Lauren, who died on 24 December 2013 in Manhattan.[7][8] Klein is the stepfather-in-law of Ruth Shalit.

Criticism

Klein received extensive criticism for his 2005 biography of Hillary Clinton, The Truth About HillaryPolitico criticized the book for “serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes and overall themes [that] don’t gibe with any other serious accounts of Clinton’s life.”[9]The conservative columnist John Podhoretz criticized the book in the New York Post, “Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn’t have to suffer through another word.”[10] In the National Review, conservative columnist James Geraghty wrote, “Folks, there are plenty of arguments against Hillary Clinton, her policies, her views, her proposals, and her philosophies. This stuff ain’t it. Nobody on the right, left, or center ought to stoop to this level.”[11]

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review asked Klein in a June 20, 2005 interview, “Why on earth would you put such a terrible story in your book … that looks to be flimsily sourced at that?,” regarding his suggestion that Chelsea Clinton was conceived in an act of marital rape.[12] Facing criticism from both the left and right for making the claim, Klein eventually backed away from the insinuation in an interview with radio host Jim Bohannon on June 23, 2005.[13]

The British newspaper The Guardian pointed out a number of verifiable factual errors in Klein’s 2014 book Blood Feud.[14]

Questions of credibility of sources in work

Klein has also come under fire for his use of anonymous quotes, purported to be from the subjects of his books, which he claims he received from anonymous insiders. The credibility of such quotes has been questioned by writers such as Joe Conason,[15] Salon’s Simon Maloy [16] and conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh[17] and Peggy Noonan.[18] “Some of the quotes strike me as odd, in the sense that I don’t know people who speak this way,” Limbaugh said of Klein’s work, describing the sources as “grade school chatter.”

Books

References

  1. Jump up^ Traister, Rebecca. “The man behind the book”.
  2. Jump up^ “About”.
  3. Jump up^ Woo, Elaine (2001-05-26). “Lloyd Shearer; Leader of the ‘Personality Parade'”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 February 2014. Also printed in: “Lloyd Shearer, Wrote `Personality Parade’” In: Sun Sentinel. May 28, 2001.
  4. Jump up^ “Humans of New York – Timeline – Facebook”.
  5. Jump up^ Klein, Edward (March 15, 2015). “Obama adviser behind leak of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal”New York Post.
  6. Jump up^ Alec Klein, Professor and Director of The Medill Justice ProjectMedill School of Journalism
  7. Jump up^ Cotto, William (30 December 2013). “Obituary: Dolores J. Barrett, Ralph Lauren Exec”. WWD. Retrieved 30 December2013.
  8. Jump up^ “Dolores Barrett Wed to Edward Klein”New York Times. October 25, 1987. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  9. Jump up^ “Ed Klein’s Obama book debuts at No. 1 on Times list”Politico. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  10. Jump up^ New York Post: Which is more a criticism of the subject matter than the author or the content.“Smear for Profit”. Archived from the original on April 18, 2006. Retrieved February 12, 2013. . June 22, 2005.
  11. Jump up^ “Now That is a Tough Review”National Review.
  12. Jump up^ “The Truth About Hillary”National Review.
  13. Jump up^ “Klein vs. his own book: Author backed off claim about Hillary pregnancy, contradicted his only source for rape claim”. Media Matters. October 10, 2007.
  14. Jump up^ Swaine, Jon (July 14, 2014). “Edward Klein: the difference between the truth and a lie”The Guardian.
  15. Jump up^ “News Hounds: Joe Conason Verbally Clobbers Ed Klein”NewsHounds. 2005-06-30. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  16. Jump up^ Maloy, Simon. “Ed Klein’s new hack job: A credibility-vacant opportunist strikes again”.
  17. Jump up^ “Limbaugh Claims “Nobody Ever Denies” Ed Klein’s Credibility, Despite Previously Calling It Into Question”. March 16, 2015.
  18. Jump up^ Noonan, Peggy (June 24, 2005). “Eine Kleine Biographie” – via Wall Street Journal.

External links

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

Story 2: To Be or Not To Be — June 12, 2018 U.S./North Korea Summit Canceled For Now — To Be Continued — Maybe — Videos

Trump speaks after canceling North Korea summit

North Korea is willing to resolve issues with US following cancelled summit: report

North Korea responds to Trump’s cancellation of meeting

North Korea: We are willing to sit down with US anytime

North Korea expresses willingness to resolve issues with US

Trump welcomes North Korea’s ‘warm’ response to canceled summit

Pelosi: Kim Jong Un ‘Must Be Having A Giggle Fit’

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off HQ

Trump dictated ‘every word’ of letter canceling North Korea summit

The White House offered new details Thursday on President Trump‘s decision to cancel a planned June 12 summit with North Korea, saying he did so after a U.S. team was stood up by the North Koreans and that the letter announcing the decision to leader Kim Jong Un was 100 percent Trump.
“The president dictated every word of the letter himself,” a senior White House official said.
The letter cited Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” toward the United States in explaining why the meeting was being scrapped.

“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in the letter released by the White House.

The U.S. and North Korea had agreed to hold a meeting to set up the summit in Singapore last week, the White House official said.

But when the U.S. sent a deputy chief of staff and other advance team personnel to Singapore for that meeting, the North Koreas never showed up.

“They simply stood us up,” the official said.

The senior White House official also cast doubt on whether North Korea truly destroyed its nuclear test site, saying international inspectors were not allowed to attend
“We certainly hope that’s the case, but we really don’t know.”
“Secretary Pompeo and the South Korean government were promised by the North Koreans that international experts and officials would be invited to witness and verify today’s demolition,” the official said, but that promise was “broken.”
North Korea’s statement calling Vice President Pence a “political dummy” and threatening the U.S. appeared to be a breaking point for Trump. The president first saw the comments last night and “he took it in stride, he slept on it,” according to the official.
In the morning, Trump met with his national security team, including Pence, chief of staff John Kelly and Pompeo, and made his decision to call off the talks.

The official said it was “hard to miss” the implicit threat of nuclear war in North Korea’s statement, which threatened to “make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy.”

“The president sought to remind North Korea of the real balance of power here,” the official added.
In the letter, Trump said North Korea was taking a step backward with actions that forced his hand.
“I believe this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world,” Trump wrote in the letter.
But he also offered a warning to Pyongyang in his note, which was alternately bellicose and complimentary.
Trump said the United States nuclear weapons are “so massive and so powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
He then thanked Kim for the release of three prisoners earlier this month that had appeared to signal the talks were on course.
“Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you,” Trump wrote. “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.”

The rising tensions between China, US

AFP
Recent events point to growing stresses between Washington and Beijing
Recent events point to growing stresses between Washington and Beijing (AFP Photo/FABRICE COFFRINI, MANDEL NGAN)
More

Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump has often bragged of his friendship with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, but recent events point to growing stresses between Washington and Beijing.

This week, the Pentagon pulled its invitation for China to participate in maritime exercises in the Pacific, then Trump on Thursday scrapped a summit with North Korea after suggesting Xi may have exacerbated a breakdown in communications.

And all this against a backdrop of simmering trade tensions — and a bizarre case involving a US official and a possible “sonic attack.”

– Summit sunk –

Trump on Thursday scrapped the historic summit with Kim Jong Un — set to take place June 12 in Singapore — to discuss the “denuclearization” of North Korea.

Before he pulled the plug, Trump had suggested Xi might have played a role in a recent toughening of North Korean rhetoric.

“There was a difference when Kim Jong Un left China the second time,” Trump said.

“There was a different attitude after that meeting and I was a little surprised. … And I think things changed after that meeting so I can’t say that I am happy about it.”

On Monday, Trump suggested China might have prematurely eased up on enforcing economic sanctions against Pyongyang, a move that runs counter to the US leader’s “maximum pressure” campaign.

China insists it is strictly enforcing sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council.

– Pacific exercise –

The Pentagon on Wednesday withdrew its invitation for China to join maritime exercises in the Pacific because of Beijing’s “continued militarization” of the South China Sea.

China hit back at the decision to disinvite it from the Rim of the Pacific exercises, calling it “very non-constructive” and saying it was taken without due reflection.

“It’s also a decision taken lightly and is unhelpful to mutual understanding between China and the US,” China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said.

– Trade war –

China and the US have stepped back from a potential trade war after Beijing officials were reported to have offered to slash the country’s huge surplus by $200 billion.

But no formal deals have been struck, and China has denied that any figure was set during negotiations in Washington.

Trump — who once accused China of “raping” the US — said he was “not satisfied” with the agreement and the issue is sure to keep grating on relations with Beijing.

– Sonic strains –

On Wednesday, the US embassy in Beijing issued a warning after reporting that an employee in the southern city of Guangzhou was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) apparently linked to “abnormal sounds.”

“The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

In Cuba last year, 24 diplomats and their family members were left with mysterious injuries resembling brain trauma, which were suspected of being caused by a “sonic attack.”

China said it had investigated the issue but hadn’t found that any organization or individual had “carried out such a sonic influence.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/rising-tensions-between-china-us-014346160.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018, Story 1: Survival of The Fittest: President Trump (Old School: Real Estate and Brands) vs. Amazons’s Bezos (New School: Internet/Price/Voice and Retailer Monopoly) — Rank and Yank — Consumer Sovereignty vs. Government Intervention — Democrats — Republicans — Independents — Entrepreneurs — Hustle — Videos — Story 2: Will The Economy Grow At Above 3% Rate in 2018? — Video

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Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

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Story 1: Survival of The Fittest: President Trump (Old School: Real Estate and Brands) vs. Amazons’s Bezos (New School: Price/Voice and Retailer) — Rank and Yank — Consumer Sovereignty vs. Government Interevention with Antitrust Laws — Videos —

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The Libertarian Angle: Consumer Sovereignty and the Free Market

Monopoly, Competition, and Antitrust | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Monopoly and Competition (by Murray N. Rothbard)

Entrepreneurship, Austrian Economics, and the Cryptorevolution | Patrick Byrne

Overstock.com’s CEO Wants To Undermine Wall Street With The Tech Behind Bitcoin (HBO)

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne on Gary Johnson, Trump vs. Clinton, and Blockchain for the Stock Market

Overstock’s Patrick Byrne on Bitcoin, Net Neutrality, and Mixed Martial Arts

Classical Liberalism: The Decline and Triumph of Classical Liberalism (Pt. 2) – Learn Liberty

Milton Friedman – Monopoly

Milton Friedman – Solutions to Market Failures

Milton Friedman – The Proper Role of Government

Milton Friedman explains how to deal with monopolies

Milton Friedman – Morality & Capitalism

Why I’m Against Antitrust Laws

Chicago School vs. Austrian School: Four Types of Libertarianism

How Does Amazon Make Money?

Scott Galloway – How Amazon is Dismantling Retail

50 Alexa Voice Commands (Amazon Echo)

Alexa, are you connected to the CIA? Can the CIA hear me now?

Amazon Echo & Alexa 10 Everyday Uses

Google Home vs Amazon Alexa

Introducing Echo Plus

What Brands Should Do in 2018

LEAKED: CIA $600 Million Amazon Contract – Trump/Bezos

How The Washington Post’s New Owner Aided the CIA, Blocked WikiLeaks & Decimated Book Industry 2/2

Amazon’s Bezos buys Washington Post: Is NYT next?

Jeff Bezos, The Post and the Future of Print

MUST SEE: Trump Calls Out Media and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Says He LOVES PROTESTERS at Ft. Worth Rally

People Don’t Really Want To Be Entrepreneurs | New York City Vlog

Why I REALLY Became a Millionaire

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

How To Go From Zero to $10 Million on Amazon

How To Build A $10,000,000 Online Brand On Amazon | Ryan Moran

How to Build a $10 Million Business You Can Sell (The 8-Figure Pyramid)

How To Create A Million Dollar Business

How to Find Products That Sell

The Amazon Product Launch – Ryan Daniel Moran at Amazing Selling Machine 2014

How To Sell On Amazon FBA For Beginners (A Complete, Step-By-Step Tutorial)

5 Mistakes I Made on Amazon when I First Started Selling (that cost me $10k in lost sales!)

Amazon FBA For Beginners: What they don’t want you to know | Complete Step by Step Tutorial

Is Amazon FBA Dead?! (WATCH THIS before starting your business)

The Day I Became an Entrepreneur for Life

YOUNG (or new) Entrepreneurs Need These Tips to Avoid Failing

$36,000 in ONE Day! (This KILLS Cyber Monday) Amazon Seller Meetup

My Blueprint to 7 Figure Product Selection | Matt Loberstein – LA AMAZON MEETUP

HOW I Sold Over $400,000 in 30 DAYS! (Best Amazon FBA Tips & Strategy)

From $0 to $2.5 MILLION IN SALES (at 24 yrs old)

Top 5 Amazon FBA Tips & Tricks (from a 7 Figure Private Label Seller)

My Amazon FAILURES! (that you can avoid…)

Amazon Cancelled my $35,000 Black Friday Deal

PAYING $101K TO MY SUPPLIER IN CHINA (Amazon FBA and Alibaba)

CRAZIEST THING IN 3 YEARS OF AMAZON SELLING!

10 Reason You WILL Fail On Amazon FBA (MUST WATCH Before Selling On Amazon)

President Donald Trump Takes Aim At Amazon And Jeff Bezos | CNBC

Donald Trump Attacks Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Bezos shoots back at Trump

Trump vs Bezos

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Amazon’s “Transformation”: How the online retailer is disrupting Hollywood

What Is Amazon Prime and Is It Worth It?

About Donald Trump | Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon | Code Conference 2016

Ex-Amazon workers talk of ‘horrendous’ conditions

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Exposé reveals Amazon’s punishing workplace culture

The ‘Enormous Pressue’ Of Working At Amazon

Amazon: How Bruising a Workplace Is It?

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Amazon’s tips to create a workplace from hell I The Feed

Behind the scenes of an Amazon warehouse

Bezos defends working conditions at Amazon

The Power of Jeff Bezos – Interview Oct 2016

Amazon employee work-life balance | Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon | Code Conference 2016

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Jeff Bezos: The $100 Billion Dollar Man | CNBC

Jeff Bezos’ wife blasts book on Amazon founder

Interview: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazing Amazon Story – Jeff Bezos Full Speech

Jeff Bezos interview on Starting Amazon (2001)

Trump hates Amazon, not Facebook

Photos: Mark Wilson / Getty Images; The Washington Post

Capitol Hill wants Facebook’s blood, but President Trump isn’t interested. Instead, the tech behemoth Trump wants to go after is Amazon, according to five sources who’ve discussed it with him. “He’s obsessed with Amazon,” a source said. “Obsessed.”

What we’re hearing: Trump has talked about changing Amazon’s tax treatment because he’s worried about mom-and-pop retailers being put out of business.

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  • A source who’s spoken to POTUS: “He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.”
  • Trump’s deep-seated antipathy toward Amazon surfaces when discussing tax policy and antitrust cases. The president would love to clip CEO Jeff Bezos’ wings. But he doesn’t have a plan to make that happen.

Behind the president’s thinking: Trump’s wealthy friends tell him Amazon is destroying their businesses. His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.

  • Trump tells people Amazon has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and cushy treatment from the U.S. Postal Service.
  • “The whole post office thing, that’s very much a perception he has,” another source said. “It’s been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon.”
  • Axios’ Ina Fried notes: The Postal Service actually added delivery on Sunday in some cities because Amazon made it worthwhile.
  • Trump also pays close attention to the Amazon founder’s ownership of The Washington Post, which the president views as Bezos’ political weapon.

Trump never talks about Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook: He isn’t tuned in to the debate over how they handle people’s data, and thinks the Russia story is a hoax, sources say.

  • Axios’ Kim Hart points out: “Trump told Axios last year he doesn’t mind Facebook because it helps him reach his audience. He’s an old-school businessman who sees the world in terms of tangible assets: real estate, physical mail delivery, Main Street, grocery stores. It reminds me of the story Jim wrote a while back about Trump’s fixation with 1950s life. Amazon takes direct aim at some of the core components of mid-century business.”

One warning sign for Facebook: Vice President Mike Pence is concerned about Facebook and Google, according to a source with direct knowledge.

  • Though Pence isn’t yet pushing internally for any specific regulations, he argues these companies are dangerously powerful.
  • The source said the V.P. worries about their influence on media coverage, as well as their control of the advertising industry and users’ personal info.
  • When private discussions have turned to the idea of busting Facebook and Google, Pence has listened with keen interest and is open to the suggestion that these two companies need shaking up.

Get more stories like this by signing up for Jonathan Swan’s weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek. 

The Antitrust Case Against Facebook, Google and Amazon

A few technology giants dominate their worlds just as Standard Oil and AT&T once did. Should they be broken up?

Logos for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, otherwise known as GAFA.
Logos for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, otherwise known as GAFA. PHOTO: DAMIEN MEYER/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Standard Oil Co. and American Telephone and Telegraph Co. were the technological titans of their day, commanding more than 80% of their markets.

Today’s tech giants are just as dominant: In the U.S., Alphabet Inc.’s Google drives 89% of internet search; 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook Inc. product; andAmazon.com Inc. now accounts for 75% of electronic book sales. Those firms that aren’t monopolists are duopolists: Google and Facebook absorbed 63% of online ad spending last year; Google and Apple Inc. provide 99% of mobile phone operating systems; while Apple and Microsoft Corp. supply 95% of desktop operating systems.

A growing number of critics think these tech giants need to be broken up or regulated as Standard Oil and AT&T once were. Their alleged sins run the gamut from disseminating fake news and fostering addiction to laying waste to small towns’ shopping districts. But antitrust regulators have a narrow test: Does their size leave consumers worse off?

By that standard, there isn’t a clear case for going after big tech—at least for now. They are driving down prices and rolling out new and often improved products and services every week.

That may not be true in the future: If market dominance means fewer competitors and less innovation, consumers will be worse off than if those companies had been restrained. “The impact on innovation can be the most important competitive effect” in an antitrust case, says Fiona Scott Morton, a Yale University economist who served in the Justice Department’s antitrust division under Barack Obama.

Google which has spent the past eight years in the sights of European and American antitrust authorities, is hardly a price gouger. Most of its products are free to consumers and the price advertisers pay Google per click has fallen by a third the past three years. The company remains an innovation powerhouse, investing in new products such as its voice-activated assistant Google Home.

Google’s booth at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Google’s booth at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. PHOTO: DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Yet Google’s monopoly means some features and prices that competitors offered never made it in front of customers. Yelp Inc., which in 2004 began aggregating detailed information and user reviews of local services, such as restaurants and stores, claims Google altered its search results to hurt Yelp and help its own competing service. While Yelp survived, it has retreated from Europe, and several similar local search services have faded.

“Forty percent of Google search is local,” says Luther Lowe, the company’s head of public policy. “There should be hundreds of Yelps. There’s not. No one is pitching investors to build a service that relies on discovery through Facebook or Google to grow, because venture capitalists think it’s a poor bet.”

There are key differences between today’s tech giants and monopolists of previous eras. Standard Oil and AT&T used trusts, regulations and patents to keep out or co-opt competitors. They were respected but unloved. By contrast, Google and Facebook give away their main product, while Amazon undercuts traditional retailers so aggressively it may be holding down inflation. None enjoys a government-sanctioned monopoly; all invest prodigiously in new products. Alphabet plows 16% of revenue back into research and development; for Facebook it’s 21%—ratios far higher than other companies. All are among the public’s most loved brands, according to polls by Morning Consult.

Yet there are also important parallels. The monopolies of old and of today were built on proprietary technology and physical networks that drove down costs while locking in customers, erecting formidable barriers to entry. Just as Standard Oil and AT&T were once critical to the nation’s economic infrastructure, today’s tech giants are gatekeepers to the internet economy. If they’re imposing a cost, it may not be what customers pay but the products they never see.

In its youth Standard Oil was as revered for its technological and commercial brilliance as any big tech company today. John D. Rockefeller began with a single refinery in Cleveland in 1863 and over the next few decades acquired other, weaker refineries. Those that wouldn’t sell, he underpriced and drove out of business. By 1904, companies controlled by Standard Oil produced 87% of refined oil output, according to Mike Scherer, a retired Harvard economist who has written extensively on antitrust.

This wasn’t superficially bad for consumers. The price of kerosene, the principal refined product from oil, fell steadily as Standard Oil’s market share expanded, thanks to falling crude oil prices and Standard Oil’s economies of scale, bargaining power with suppliers such as railroads, and innovation, such as the Frasch-Burton process for deriving kerosene from high-sulfur oil in Ohio.

Standard Oil's refinery in Richmond, Calif., in 1911.
Standard Oil’s refinery in Richmond, Calif., in 1911. PHOTO: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/CORBIS/VCG/GETTY IMAGES

When the federal government sued to break up Standard Oil, the Supreme Court acknowledged business acumen was important to the company’s early success, but concluded that was eventually supplanted by a single-minded determination to drive others out of the market.

In a 2005 paper, Mr. Scherer found that Standard Oil was indeed a prolific generator of patents in its early years, but that slowed once it achieved dominance. Around 1909 Standard’s Indiana unit invented “thermal cracking” to improve gasoline refining to meet nascent demand from automobiles, but the company’s head office thought the technology too dangerous and refused to commercialize it. After the Indiana unit was spun off when the company was broken up in 1911, it commercialized the technology to enormous success, Mr. Scherer wrote.

The story of AT&T is similar. It owed its early growth and dominant market position to Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 patent for the telephone. After the related patents expired in the 1890s, new exchanges sprung up in countless cities to compete.

Competition was a powerful prod to innovation: Independent companies, by installing twisted copper lines and automatic switching, forced AT&T to do the same. But AT&T, like today’s tech giants, had “network effects” on its side.

“Just like people joined Facebook because everyone else was on Facebook, the biggest competitive advantage AT&T had was that it was interconnected,” says Milton Mueller, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology who has studied the history of technology policy.

Early in the 20th century, AT&T began buying up local competitors and refusing to connect independent exchanges to its long-distance lines, arousing antitrust complaints. By the 1920s, it was allowed to become a monopoly in exchange for universal service in the communities it served. By 1939, the company carried more than 90% of calls.

Though AT&T’s research unit, Bell Labs, became synonymous with groundbreaking discoveries, in telephone innovation AT&T was a laggard. To protect its own lucrative equipment business it prohibited innovative devices such as the Hush-a-Phone, which kept others from overhearing calls, and the Carterphone, which patched calls over radio airwaves, from connecting to its network.

After AT&T was broken up into separate local and long-distance companies in 1982, telecommunication innovation blossomed, spreading to digital switching, fiber optics, cellphones—and the internet.

Just as AT&T decided what equipment could be used on the nation’s telephone systems, Google’s search algorithms determine who can be found on the internet. If you searched for a toaster online in the mid 2000s, Google would probably have taken you to comparison shopping sites such as Nextag. They pioneered features such as showing consumer ratings in search results, how popular a product was and how prices had changed over time, recalls Gary Reback, an antitrust lawyer who represented several competitors against Google.

Google’s Eric Schmidt testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust hearing in September 2011.
Google’s Eric Schmidt testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust hearing in September 2011. PHOTO:CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

But when Google launched its own comparison business, Google Shopping, those sites found themselves dropping deeper into Google’s search results. They accused Google of changing its algorithm to favor its own results. The company responded that its algorithm was designed to give customers the results they want. “If consumers don’t like the answer that Google Search provides, they can switch to another search engine with just one click,” Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told Congress in 2011.

At that same hearing Jeffrey Katz, then the chief executive of Nextag, responded, “That is like saying move to Panama if you don’t like the tax rate in America. It’s a fake choice because no one has Google’s scope or capabilities and consumers won’t, don’t, and in fact can’t jump.”

In 2013 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission concluded that even if Google had hurt competitors, it was to serve consumers better, and declined to bring a case. Since then, comparison sites such as Nextag have largely faded.

Last year the European Commission went in the other direction and fined the company $2.9 billion and ordered it to change its search results.

The different outcomes hinge in part on different approaches. European regulators are more likely to see a shrinking pool of competitors as inherently bad for both competition and consumers. American regulators are more open to the possibility that it could be natural and benign.

In new industries, smaller players are frequently bought up or vanquished by deeper-pocketed, more-innovative rivals. Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker, wrote in response to the European Commission decision that even as smaller sites have retreated, Amazon has grown to become a huge player in comparison shopping.

Internet platforms have high fixed and minimal operating costs, which favors consolidation into a few deep-pocketed competitors. And the more customers a platform has, the more useful it is to each individual customer—the “network effect.”

But a platform that confers monopoly in one market can be leveraged to dominate another. Facebook’s existing user base enabled it to become the world’s largest photo-sharing site through its purchase of Instagram in 2012 and the largest instant-messaging provider through its purchase of WhatsApp in 2014. It is also muscling into virtual reality through its acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014 and anonymous polling with its purchase of TBH last year.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a developers conference last year in San Jose, Calif.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a developers conference last year in San Jose, Calif. PHOTO:STEPHEN LAM/REUTERS

What Facebook doesn’t acquire, it copies. Snap Inc.’s Snapchat, a fast-disappearing photo and video sharing app hugely popular with teenagers, was widely seen as a challenger to Facebook. But in 2016, Facebook introduced its own Snapchat-like feature, Stories, on Instagram, which now has more users and advertisers than Snapchat. That has undercut Snap’s growth and profits by reducing the number of new users “interested in trying Snap for the first time,” says Peter Stabler, an analyst at Wells Fargo.

There’s nothing wrong with copying, especially if the copy is better than the original. Snapchat’s app was originally difficult to use, says Mr. Stabler, and “you can’t discount [Facebook’s] quality of execution.” Moreover, even as Facebook copies its competitors, it continues to expand and enhance its own services such as Pages, which 70 million businesses world-wide have used to design their own webpages on Facebook.

Snap’s shares have sunk below the price at which the company went public last March as losses have mounted, which won’t encourage new entrants. Once a company like Google or Facebook has critical mass, “the venture capital looks elsewhere,” says Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, a technology-focused private-equity firm. “There’s no point taking on someone with a three or four years head start.”

Amazon hasn’t yet reached the same market share as Google or Facebook but its position is arguably even more impregnable because it enjoys both physical and technological barriers to entry. Its roughly 75 fulfillment centers and state-of-the art logistics (including robots) put it closer, in time and space, to customers than any other online retailer.

The company says size makes it possible to deliver millions of items free of shipping charges to isolated communities with little retail presence. Amazon makes that network available to third-party merchants who pay a 15% commission and, typically, a $3 pick-pack-and ship-fee, says Greg Mercer, founder of Jungle Scout Inc. which advises third-party merchants how to sell on Amazon. “We have tons of examples of small entrepreneurial-type people who are really good at creating new inventions but have no idea how to distribute to the masses,” he says. “They create products and Amazon can take care of the rest.”

An Amazon warehouse in Britain.
An Amazon warehouse in Britain. PHOTO: JANE BARLOW/PA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

As the dominant platform for third-party online sales, Amazon also has access to data it can use to decide what products to sell itself. In 2016 Capitol Forum, a news service that investigates anticompetitive behavior, reported that when a shopper views an Amazon private-label clothing brand, the accompanying list of items labeled “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought,” is also dominated by Amazon’s private-label brands. This, it says, restricts competing sellers’ access to a prime marketing space

Mr. Mercer says he doesn’t see Amazon favoring its own products, and indeed his own firm helps merchants target profitable niches on Amazon. Nonetheless, he says many would prefer to sell through their own sites, but with so many shoppers searching first on Amazon, they feel they have little choice.

In the face of such accusations, the probability of regulatory action—for now—looks low, largely because U.S. regulators have a relatively high bar to clear: Do consumers suffer?

“We think consumer welfare is the right standard,” Bruce Hoffman, the FTC’s acting director of the bureau of competition, recently told a panel on antitrust law and innovation. “We have tried other standards. They were dismal failures.”

Still, Ms. Scott Morton notes, “the consumer welfare standard covers today and tomorrow,” and the potential loss of innovation is something both the law and the courts can and have weighed in an antitrust case. The Justice Department sued Microsoft to ensure that an innovation, the internet browser, remained a potential competitor to Microsoft’s monopoly over the user’s interface with the personal computer.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates appeared at an antitrust hearing in Washington federal court in 2002.
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates appeared at an antitrust hearing in Washington federal court in 2002. PHOTO:STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

What would remedies look like? Since Big Tech owes its network effects to data, one often-proposed fix is to give users ownership of their own data: the “social graph” of connections on Facebook, or their search history on Google and Amazon. They could then take it to a competitor.

A more drastic remedy would be to block acquisitions of companies that might one day be a competing platform. British regulators let Facebook buy Instagram in part because Instagram didn’t sell ads, which they argued made them different businesses. In fact, Facebook used Instagram to engage users longer and thus sell more ads, Ben Thompson, wrote in his technology newsletter Stratechery. Building a network is “extremely difficult, but, once built, nearly impregnable. The only possible antidote is another network that draws away the one scarce resource: attention.” Thus, maintaining competition on the internet requires keeping “social networks in separate competitive companies.”

How sound are these premises? Google’s and Facebook’s access to that data and network effects might seem like an impregnable barrier, but the same appeared to be true of America Online’s membership, Yahoo ’s search engine and Apple’s iTunes store, note two economists, David Evans and Richard Schmalensee, in a recent paper. All saw their dominance recede in the face of disruptive competition. If someone launched a clearly superior search engine, social network or online store, consumers could switch more easily than they could telephone or oil companies a century ago. Microsoft has long dominated desktop operating systems but has failed to extend that dominance to internet search or to mobile operating systems.

It’s possible Microsoft might have become the dominant company in search and mobile without the scrutiny the federal antitrust case brought. Throughout history, entrepreneurs have often needed the government’s help to dislodge a monopolist—and may one day need it again.

Write to Greg Ip at greg.ip@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications 
Facebook’s share of online advertising revenue is 21%. An earlier version of the graphic titled ‘A Century of Techopoly’ incorrectly represented this value. An updated version has been published to correct the mistake.

Appeared in the January 17, 2018, print edition as ‘The Antitrust Case Against America’s Technology Behemoths.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-antitrust-case-against-facebook-google-amazon-and-apple-1516121561

Story 2: Will The Economy Grow At Above 3% Rate in 2018? — Video

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US economy grew at a faster pace in fourth quarter 2017

Douglas Gillison

,

AFP

Washington (AFP) – The US economy grew significantly faster at the end of 2017 than previously reported, as consumer spending hit an three-year high and business investment rose, the government reported Wednesday.

The rosier revised estimate for the October-December period was a modest shot in the arm for President Donald Trump, whose trade policies face stiff opposition at home and abroad and has sent shudders through stock markets.

GDP grew 2.9 percent in the final three months of last year, 0.4 points higher than the prior estimate, the Commerce Department said. And that rate was significantly faster growth than analysts were expecting.

The third and final quarterly estimate, based on a fuller set of data, marked the third quarter in a row at or around President Donald Trump’s target of three percent annual growth.

And the new estimate does not account for December’s sweeping $1.5 trillion tax cuts, which economists say should boost growth in the near term at least for a short time.

“Consumer spending appears to have had its strongest quarter in three years,” Oxford Economics said in a research note, adding that tax cuts and stronger government spending should fuel GDP in 2018.

But for all of 2017 the growth rate was unchanged at a modest 2.3 percent, faster than the 1.5 percent posted in 2016, but still well below Trump’s goal and the 2.9 percent expansion seen in 2015.

The Trump administration is counting on an acceleration of growth to pay for the December tax cuts, which are expected to swell the budget deficit and add to the mounting US sovereign debt.

However, economists point to stagnating US productivity and a possible trade war as a drag on growth, and warn the tax cuts will drive the Treasury deeper into the red.

– Corporate profits slide –

The upward bump to the fourth-quarter growth estimate came from higher consumer spending, higher wholesale business inventories and updated statistical adjustments to account for seasonal factors, according to the Commerce Department.

Consumption hit the highest pace in three years, as consumer spending on goods saw its biggest quarterly bounce in nearly 12 years after an upward revision of three tenths to 7.8 percent.

Consumer spending on transportation pushed US services growth to 2.3 percent in the quarter, up two tenths from the prior estimate.

Those results helped offset the economic drag from rising imports, after the US trade deficit hit a nine-year high in 2017.

Despite the accelerating economic growth, corporate profits stagnated in the quarter, falling 0.1 percent after the prior quarter’s $90.2 billion increase.

The financial sector saw a $14.6 percent decrease but the non-financial sector experienced a $19.4 billion increase for the quarter.

Profits for 2017 were up $91.2 billion after the $44 billion decline in the prior year.

The December tax cuts imposed a one-time repatriation tax on foreign earnings, recorded as a $250 billion quarterly capital transfer from businesses to the federal government, according to the Commerce Department.

“We judge the economy by nonfinancial domestic profits, capital spending, and employment and these metrics look solid in 2017,” RDQ Economics said in a research note.

And companies were expected to reap the benefits of lower taxes in the coming year.

Current forecasts point to growth of below two percent in the first quarter of 2018, although first quarters typically are slower than annual growth.

ttps://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=consumer+sovereignty+and+amazon

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The Pronk Pops Show 847, February 27, 2017, Story 1: Russian Reds Hack Oscars And The Real People’s Winner Is Hacksaw Ridge For Best Picture — Videos — Story 2: Mistakes Were Made — Obamacare, Income and Payroll Taxes Should Be Repealed and Replaced By Letting American People Choose Their Own Health Insurance and Pay A Fair Tax When They Buy New Goods and Services — Deadline May 1, 2017 — Videos

Posted on February 27, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Senate, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, United States of America, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Russian Reds Hack Oscars And The Real People’s Winner Is Hacksaw Ridge For Best Picture — Videos — 
 Image result for branco cartoons oscar awards academy mistakeImage result for hacksaw ridgeImage result for hacksaw ridgeImage result for cartoons 2017 academy awards mistake announce wrong pictureImage result for color photo of Harry Truman and Desmond Doss Medal of HonorImage result for color photo of Harry Truman and Desmond Doss Medal of HonorImage result for desmond doss

FEB. 26, 2017, 7:37 P.M.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ wins film editing

 (Mark Rogers / Summit/Associated Press)
(Mark Rogers / Summit/Associated Press)

“Hacksaw Ridge” won the Oscar for film editing.

Other nominees include:

Joe Walker, “Arrival”

Jake Roberts, “Hell or High Water”

Tom Cross, “La La Land”

Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon, “Moonlight”

(Full) Oscar Mistake, Wrong Winner Announced for Best Picture Winner: La La Land & Moonlight

Hollywood and Fake News Alt-Left Media Are Disconnected From Main Street and Heartland America

HICKSAW RIDGE – THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR (REAL HERO)

Who Was Desmond Doss?

Desmond Doss

Hacksaw Ridge: The story of WWII veteran Desmond Doss

The True Story of Mel Gibsons Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge Best Scenes [HDRip]

Hacksaw Ridge Rescue Full Scene HD

Hacksaw Ridge – Final Battle Scene

How Big of a Corporate Scandal Is PwC Facing After Oscars Flub?

Eddy Chen/ABC
Jimmy Kimmel, Warren Beatty

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has overseen the Academy’s ballot-counting process for 83 years.

For 82 years, accounting and consulting firm PwC has enjoyed a reputational boon from handling the balloting process at the Academy Awards.

Now its hard-won image as a dependable partner, in year 83, is under threat.

The company has apologized for a colossal mistake at the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday night when actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty wrongly announced the top Oscar went to La La Land, instead of Moonlight.

The presenters, it turned out, had been given the wrong envelope by tabulators PwC, in this case the one awarding Emma Stone for best actress for her role in La La Land. The representatives from PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, eventually corrected the mistake on air but it’s not clear yet how the wrong envelope ended up in the hands of the Bonnie and Clyde stars.

Oscars: How the Wrong Envelope Triggered a Best Picture Fiasco

Whatever the reason, it’s been a cue for endless jokes and hilarity around the world.

For London-headquartered PwC, it’s anything but funny.

According to Nigel Currie, an independent London-based branding specialist with decades’ worth of industry experience, this mistake is “as bad a mess-up as you could imagine.”

“They had a pretty simple job to do and messed it up spectacularly,” he said. “They will be in deep crisis talks on how to deal with it.”

Oscars Name Wrong Best Picture Winner: A Play-by-Play of the Epic Mix-Up

Brands go to extraordinary lengths to protect their image and reputation and to be seen as good corporate citizens. History is littered by examples when a hard-won reputation nosedives — from sporting legends Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong to business giants like BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and Volkswagen after its emissions cheating scandal.

Crisis managers say PwC has no other option than to front-up immediately and explain exactly what happened to contain the damage to its reputation and brand and plot a way forward where there’s no repeat.

“There will certainly have to be accounting for this error,” said Jeremy Robinson-Leon, principal and chief operating officer at New York-based public relations firm Group Gordon. “The onus will be on PwC, assuming they stay as partners, to institute controls to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

PwC, which originated in London over a century ago, was quick to apologize to the movies involved, Beatty, Dunaway and viewers, but has yet to fully explain what happened.

“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and, when discovered, was immediately corrected,” it said in a statement. “We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”

In fact, it took over two minutes on air, during which time the La La Land team gave three acceptance speeches, before PwC corrected the mistake on stage.

Oscars Name Wrong Best Picture Winner: A Play-by-Play of the Epic Mix-Up

PwC’s representatives were Brian Cullinan, a partner at the firm — and, according to his bio on the company’s website, a Matt Damon lookalike — and Martha Ruiz, the second woman to serve as a PwC Oscars tabulator.

Cullinan is the lead partner for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including the annual balloting for the Oscars ceremony. He has been part of the balloting team since 2014.

Ruiz, a 19-year veteran at PwC who specializes in providing tax compliance and advisory services to entertainment clients in southern California, joined Cullinan as the Oscars balloting co-leader in 2015.

In a promotional video on the company’s website ahead of Sunday’s show, Cullinan said he and Ruiz are the only two who knew who the winners were on the night of the awards.

Oscars: 7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Envelope’s Surprising Journey

“There are 24 categories. We have the winners in sealed envelopes that we hold and maintain throughout the evening and hand those to the presenters before they walk out on stage,” he said.

According to Mike Davies, PwC’s director of global communications, both Cullinan and Ruiz would have had a briefcase on either side of the auditorium to hand out the envelope for the category to be announced. Each briefcase would have had one envelope of each category winner.

In his remarks before the show, Cullinan had said PwC’s relationship with the Academy Awards is testament to the firm’s reputation in the market for being “a firm of integrity, of accuracy and confidentiality and all of those things that are really key to the role we have with the Academy in counting these ballots.”

“But I think it’s really symbolic of how we’re thought of beyond this role and how our clients think of us and I think it’s something we take very seriously and take a lot of pride in.”

Robinson-Leon said it was important to remember that counting ballots is not PwC’s core business but that it will have to be serious about dealing with the aftermath of Sunday’s embarrassment and media fallout.

“This can happen once and there will be relative forgiveness but it can’t happen twice,” said Group Gordon’s Robinson-Leon. “If they were to do this again, that could have an impact on the brand. If this is an isolated incident, the long-term impact on the brand will be minimal.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-we-sincerely-apologize-moonlight-la-la-land-accounting-firm-says-980846

Why Hacksaw Ridge should win the best picture Oscar

Mel Gibson’s gore-laden war story is not just a crowdpleasing tale of American bravery, it’s a unique film about faith and suffering

This image released by Summit shows Andrew Garfield in a scene from "Hacksaw Ridge." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best picture on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Mark Rogers/Summit via AP)
Non-lethal weapon … Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge. Photograph: Mark Rogers/A

It’s the age-old story: a solitary, unlikely individual is chosen by a higher power to transcend their limitations and achieve something impossible. Against all the odds, and despite the scorn of their peers, their deep beliefs allow them to do something others cannot. They endure, they prevail and, eventually, they go down in history, remembered with reverence and awe. They do not have a say, these chosen few, they must simply follow the call of duty. But they always prevail. And so it is that I today accept my own impossible burden: to write about why a Mel Gibson film should win the best picture Oscar.

For those of you who haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge – which may include those opposed to individuals who make antisemitic remarks or engage in domestic abuse – let me set the thing up for you. Andrew Garfield plays Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist from Virginia. Hard-working Doss (the irony is lost on the Americans) is a patriot who volunteers to join the army after Pearl Harbor, but there’s a small complication: his religious beliefs prevent him from taking up arms.

As you might imagine, this doesn’t endear him to his superiors. Soon after reaching boot camp, Doss is forced into a court martial. It goes in his favour after a remarkable intervention by Doss’s alcoholic, wife-beating father who must, deep down, have a heart of gold. Roughly halfway into the film, Doss is reincorporated into the army and sent as a medic to the Japanese front.

The second half of the film is almost all on the battlefield. Doss’s division is tasked with taking the eponymous ridge, a crucial patch of land that stands atop a cliff edge in Okinawa and is filled to the brim with Japanese soldiers for whom no act is too inhuman. After an extended battle scene of Saving Private Ryan proportions and laden with typically Gibsonian gore, Doss finds himself stranded at the top of the cliff with nothing but his faith to protect him. And so, in a narrative shift I couldn’t help but find incredibly moving, he sets about spending what may be his last hours on Earth hauling as many wounded comrades down the cliff face as possible.

Spoiler alert: they’re not his last hours. The real Doss became the first American to receive the Medal of Honor without having fired a shot.

In itself, Hacksaw Ridge is a tale of classic American heroism of the sort that that the Academy traditionally loves, and indeed it has been nominated for six Oscars. But the film is more than a simple derring-do second world war flick, even one as epic and meticulously made as Steven Spielberg’s (which earned 11 Oscar nominations and won five). It is a film that could not have been made by anyone other than Gibson.

Gibson’s religious beliefs have provoked their own controversies, but there’s no denying they give him a perspective shared by few other film-makers. Both The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto explored faith with a visceral fascination and while it’s sublimated here through the prism of a war movie, it produces distinctive results.

Doss’s trial by boot camp is less Full Metal Jacket and more Stations of the Cross, as he is made to endure pain and humiliation in the name of his unyielding beliefs, gradually winning the grudging respect of his peers. This, in turn, sets up a situation whereby the climactic battle scene comes once the real fighting has finished and features very little violence, just Doss tearing back and forth to drag his fellow soldiers off their battlefield.

The story that Gibson wants to tell, of religious faith providing values and perspective that can be transformative even in the most constrained of circumstances, makes for a war movie that is ventures above and beyond its genre. On those grounds, members of this critical court martial, I present the case for it winning the best picture award.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/24/why-hacksaw-ridge-should-win-the-best-picture-oscar

Academy Awards 2017: Complete list of Oscar winners and nominees

Calendar Staff

The 89th Academy Awards have come to an end, where “Moonlight” was awarded the best picture Oscar after it was erroneously awarded to “La La Land” in a moment of onstage confusion.

“La La Land” ended up with six Oscars including director and lead actress (Emma Stone).Casey Affleck took home the lead actor award for “Manchester By the Sea,” while “Moonlight’s” Mahershala Ali took home the trophy for supporting actor. Viola Davis won the supporting actress Oscar for her work in “Fences.”

Elsewhere, “O.J.: Made in America” was named the winner in the feature documentary category, while Iran’s “The Salesman” won the foreign-language film Oscar. The latter’s director, Asghar Farhadi, declined to attend the ceremony in the wake of the Trump administration’s travel ban.

Oscars 2017: Live updatesRed carpet photos | Best and worst fashionsNominee portraits | Winners room

The 2017 Oscars took place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with Jimmy Kimmel hosting the telecast on ABC.

Here’s the complete list of nominees:

MORE: The card that changed everything at the 89th Oscars »

Picture 

Directing

  • Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
  • Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge” | Interview
  • WINNER: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” | Video
  • Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” | Video | Interview
  • Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea” | Video

Actor in a leading role

  • WINNER: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” | Video
  • Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge” | VideoInterview
  • Ryan Gosling, “La La Land” | Video
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic” | Interview
  • Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Watch: Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue »

Actor in a supporting role

  • WINNER: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” | Video
  • Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water” | Video
  • Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea” | Interview
  • Dev Patel, “Lion” | Video | Interview
  • Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals” | Video

Are the Oscars still #SoWhite? A look at the diversity among this year’s nominees »

Actress in a leading role:

  • WINNER: Emma Stone, “La La Land” | Video
  • Natalie Portman, “Jackie” | Video | Interview
  • Ruth Negga, “Loving” | Video
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” | Interview

Actress in a supporting role

  • WINNER: Viola Davis, “Fences” | Interview
  • Naomie Harris, “Moonlight” | Video | Interview
  • Nicole Kidman, “Lion” | Video
  • Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures” | Video
  • Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea” | Video

MORE: From ‘Moonlight’ to ‘Manchester,’ a critic marks his hypothetical Oscar ballot »

Adapted screenplay

  •  “Lion,” by Luke Davies
  •  “Arrival,” by Eric Heisserer | Interview
  •  WINNER: “Moonlight,” by Barry Jenkins | Interview
  •  “Hidden Figures,” by Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder Interview
  •  “Fences,” by August Wilson

Original screenplay

  •  WINNER: “Manchester by the Sea,” by Kenneth Lonergan
  •  “Hell or High Water,” by Taylor Sheridan | Interview
  •  “La La Land,” by Damien Chazelle | Interview
  •  “20th Century Women,” Mike Mills | Interview
  •  “The Lobster,” by Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos | Interview

Cinematography

  • Bradford Young, “Arrival” | Interview
  • WINNER: Linus Sandgren,“La La Land”
  • Greig Fraser, “Lion”
  • James Laxton, “Moonlight”
  • Rodrigo Prieto, “Silence”

Documentary feature

  • “Fire at Sea” | Review
  • “I am Not Your Negro” | Review
  • “Life, Animated” | Review
  • WINNER: “OJ: Made in America” | Review
  • “13th” | Review

Documentary short:

  • “Extremis”
  • “4.1 miles”
  • “Joe’s Violins”
  • “Watani: My Homeland”
  • WINNER: “The White Helmets”

Foreign language film:

  • “Toni Erdmann,” Germany | Interview | Review
  • WINNER: “The Salesman,” Iran | Review
  • “A Man Called Ove,” Sweden | Review
  • “Tanna,” Australia | Review
  • “Land of Mine,” Denmark | Review

MORE: Full statement from Asghar Farhadi who refused to go to the Oscars in protest »

Sound editing

  • WINNER: Sylvain Bellemare, “Arrival” | Interview
  • Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli, “Deepwater Horizon”
  • Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright, “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan, “La La Land”
  • Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, “Sully”

Sound mixing

  • Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye, “Arrival” | Interview
  • WINNER: Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace, “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow, “La La Land”
  • David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
  • Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth, “13 Hours”

MORE: 21st time’s the charm as Kevin O’Connell snaps Oscars’ longest winless streak »

Original score

  • WINNER: Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”
  • Mica Levi, “Jackie” | Interview
  • Nicholas Britell, “Moonlight”
  • Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran, “Lion”
  • Thomas Newman, “Passengers”

Original song

  •  WINNER: “City of Stars” (“La La Land”) | Interview
  • “How Far I’ll Go” (“Moana”) | Interview
  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” (“La La Land”)
  • “The Empty Chair” (“Jim: The James Foley Story”)
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (“Trolls”) | Interview

 

Production design

  • Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte, “Arrival”
  • Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” | Interview
  • Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh, “Hail, Caesar!”
  • WINNER: David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, “La La Land”
  • Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena, “Passengers”

Visual effects:

  • Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton, “Deepwater Horizon” | Interview
  • Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould, “Doctor Strange” | Interview
  • WINNER: Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon, “The Jungle Book” | Interview
  • Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff, “Kubo and the Two Strings
  • John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” | Interview

Makeup and hairstyling

  • Eva von Bahr and Love Larson, “A Man Called Ove” | Interview
  • Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo, “Star Trek Beyond”
  • WINNER: Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson, “Suicide Squad”

Costume design

  • Mary Zophres, “La La Land”
  • Madeline Fontaine, “Jackie” | Interview
  • Consolata Boyle, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
  • WINNER: Colleen Atwood, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” | Interview
  • Joanna Johnston, “Allied” | Interview

Film editing

  • Joe Walker, “Arrival”
  • WINNER: John Gilbert, “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Jake Roberts, “Hell or High Water”
  • Tom Cross, “La La Land”
  • Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon, “Moonlight” | Interview

Live-action short

  • “Ennemis intérieurs,” Selim Azzazi
  • “La femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten
  • “Silent Nights,” Aske Bang, Kim Magnusson
  • WINNER: “Sing,” Kristof Deák, Anna Udvardy
  • “Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Animated short film

  • “Blind Vaysha”
  • “Borrowed Time”
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
  • “Pearl”
  • WINNER: “Piper”

Animated feature film

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-oscars-2017-nominees-winners-list-20170123-story.html

Film Review: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

'Hacksaw Ridge' Review: Mel Gibson's War

COURTESY IMGLOBAL

SEPTEMBER 4, 2016 | 04:30AM PT

Mel Gibson has made a movie about a pacifist who served nobly during WWII. It’s a testament to his filmmaking chops, and also an act of atonement that may succeed in bringing Gibson back.

Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” is a brutally effective, bristlingly idiosyncratic combat saga — the true story of a man of peace caught up in the inferno of World War II. It’s the first movie Gibson has directed since “Apocalypto,” 10 years ago (a film he’d already shot before the scandals that engulfed him), and this November, when it opens with a good chance of becoming a player during awards season, it will likely prove to be the first film in a decade that can mark his re-entry into the heart of the industry. Yet to say that “Hacksaw Ridge” finally leaves the Gibson scandals behind isn’t quite right; it has been made in their shadow. On some not-so-hard-to-read level, the film is conceived and presented as an act of atonement.

It should be obvious by now that the question of whether we can separate a popular actor or filmmaker’s off-screen life from his on-screen art doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Every instance is different. In the case of Mel Gibson, what we saw a number of years ago — first in his anti-Semitic comments, then in leaked recordings of his phone conversations — wasn’t simply “objectionable” thoughts, but a rage that suggested he had a temperament of emotional violence. It was one that reverberated through his two most prominent films as a director: “The Passion of the Christ,” a sensational and, in many quarters, unfairly disdained religious psychodrama that was a serious attempt to grapple with the stakes of Christ’s sacrifice, and “Apocalypto,” a fanciful but mesmerizing Mayan adventure steeped to the bone in the ambiguous allure of blood and death.

Like those two movies, “Hacksaw Ridge” is the work of a director possessed by the reality of violence as an unholy yet unavoidable truth. The film takes its title from a patch of battleground on the Japanese island of Okinawa, at the top of a 100-foot cliff, that’s all mud and branches and bunkers and foxholes, and where the fight, when it arrives (one hour into the movie), is a gruesome cataclysm of terror. Against the nonstop clatter of machine-gun fire, bombs and grenades explode with a relentless random force, blowing off limbs and blasting bodies in two, and fire is everywhere, erupting from the explosions and the tips of flame-throwers. Bullets rip through helmets and chests, and half-dead soldiers sprawl on the ground, their guts hanging out like hamburger.

Yet at the center of this modern hell of machine-tooled chaos and pain, there is Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a soldier who refuses to carry a gun because it is against his values. He’s a conscientious objector who acts as a medic. But because he’s every bit as devoted to serving in the war as he is to never once firing a bullet, he isn’t just caring for soldiers. He’s on the front lines, in the thick of the thick of it, without a weapon to protect him, and the film exalts not just his courage but his whole withdrawal from violence.

There really was a Desmond Doss, and the film sticks close to the facts of his story. Yet there’s still something very programmatic about “Hacksaw Ridge.” It immerses you in the violent madness of war — and, at the same time, it roots its drama in the impeccable valor of a man who, by his own grace, refuses to have anything to do with war. You could argue that Gibson, as a filmmaker, is having his bloody cake and eating it too, but the less cynical (and more accurate) way to put it might be that “Hacksaw Ridge” is a ritual of renunciation. The film stands on its own (if you’d never heard of Mel Gibson, it would work just fine), yet there’s no point in denying that it also works on the level of Gibsonian optics — that it speaks, on some political-metaphorical level, to the troubles that have defined him and that he’s now making a bid to transcend.

Will audiences, and the powers of Hollywood, finally meet him halfway? One reason the likely answer is “yes” is that “Hacksaw Ridge,” unlike such landmarks of combat cinema as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Platoon,” or “Full Metal Jacket,” isn’t simply a devastating war film. It is also a carefully carpentered drama of moral struggle that, for its first hour, feels like it could have been made in the 1950s. It’s a movie that spells out its themes with a kind of homespun user-friendly clarity. We see Desmond as a boy, growing up in a small town on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with a drunken abusive father (Hugo Weaving) and a mother (Rachel Griffiths) he’s driven to protect. Early on, Desmond gets into a fight with his brother and hits him in the head with a brick, and that incident, which leaves him reeling in sorrow, is the film’s version of one of those “Freudian” events that, in an old Hollywood movie, form the cornerstone of a person’s character.

It all seems a bit pat, but once Desmond grows up and Andrew Garfield starts playing him, the actor, all lanky charm and aw-shucks modesty, wins us over to seeing Desmond as country boy of captivating conviction. He knows nothing about girls, yet he woos a lovely local nurse (Teresa Palmer) with a fumbling sincerity that melts her resistance. And when the war arrives, he enlists, just like his brother, because he feels he has no choice not to. He’s a Seventh Day Adventist scarred by violence in his family; all of this plays a role in his pacifism, and his patriotism. That difficult dad of his is portrayed by Hugo Weaving as a haunted, complex man: a slovenly lush who tries to keep his family in line with the belt, and even the pistol, but also a decorated veteran of World War I who is desperate to keep his sons alive.

The film revs up its old-fashioned pulse when it lands at boot camp, where Desmond proves a contradiction that no one there — not his fellow soldiers, let alone the officers — can begin to fathom. He’s an eager, good-guy recruit who refuses to pick up a rifle even for target practice; they assume (wrongly) that he must be a coward. For a while, the film is strikingly reminiscent of the legendary Parris Island boot-camp sequence in “Full Metal Jacket,” only this is WWII, so it’s less nihilistic, with Vince Vaughn, as the drill sergeant, tossing off the wholesome version of the usual hazing insult zingers; he looks at Desmond and barks, “I have seen stalks of corn with better physiques.” (Hence Desmond’s Army nickname: Cornstalk.) “Hacksaw Ridge” often feels like an old studio-system platoon movie, but when Desmond’s pacifism becomes a political issue within the Army, it turns into a turbulent ethical melodrama — one can almost imagine it as a military courtroom drama directed by Otto Preminger and starring Montgomery Clift.

The question is whether the Army will allow Desmond, on his own terms, to remain a soldier — a conscientious objector who nevertheless wants to go to war. In a sense, the dramatic issue is a tad hazy, since Desmond announces, from the outset, that he wants to be a medic. Why can’t he just become one? But one of the strengths of “Hacksaw Ridge” is that it never caricatures the military brass’s objections to his plan. On the battlefront without a weapon, Desmond could conceivably be placing his fellow soldiers in harm’s way. His desire is noble, but it doesn’t fit in with Army regulations (and the Army, of course, is all about regulations). So he’s threatened with a court martial. The way this is finally resolved is quietly moving, not to mention just.

And then … the hell of war. It’s 1945, and the soldiers from Desmond’s platoon join forces with other troops to take Hacksaw Ridge, a crucial stretch — it looks like a Japanese version of the land above Normandy beach — that can lead them, potentially, to a victory in Okinawa, and the beginning of the end of the war. Gibson’s staging of the horror of combat generates enough shock and awe to earn comparison to the famous opening sequence of “Saving Private Ryan,” although it must be said that he borrows a lot from (and never matches) Spielberg’s virtuosity. Yet Gibson creates a blistering cinematic battleground all his own. Each time the fight breaks out again, it’s so relentless that you wonder how anyone could survive it.

The real story that “Hacksaw Ridge” is telling, of course, is Desmond’s, and Gibson stages it in straightforward anecdotes of compassion under fire, though without necessarily finding anything revelatory in the sight of a courageous medic administering to his fellow soldiers (and, at certain points, even to wounded Japanese), tying their blown-off limbs with tourniquets, giving them shots of morphine between murmured words of hope, and dragging them to safety. In a sense, the real drama is a nobility that won’t speak its name: It’s the depth of Desmond’s fearlessness, and his love for his soldier brothers, which we believe in, thanks to Garfield’s reverent performance, but which doesn’t create a combat drama that’s either scary or exciting enough to rival the classic war movies of our time. This isn’t a great one; it’s just a good one (which is nothing to sneeze at).

Desmond devises a way to save lives by tying a rope around the soldiers’ bodies and lowering them down the vertical stone cliff that borders Hacksaw Ridge, and using that technique he rescues a great many of them. Desmond Doss, who saved 75 men at Hacksaw Ridge, became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, and Gibson has made a movie that’s a fitting tribute to him (at the end, he features touching footage of the real Doss). But one surprise, given the drama of pacifism-versus-war that the movie has set up, is that there’s never a single scene in which Desmond has to consider violating his principles and picking up a weapon in order to save himself or somebody else. A scene like that would have brought the two sides of “Hacksaw Ridge,” the violent and the pacifist — and, implicitly, the two sides of Mel Gibson — crashing together. But that would have been a different movie. One that, in the end, was a little less safe.

Film Review: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Reviewed at Venice Film Festival, Sept. 4, 2016. Running time: 131 MIN.

Production

A Summit Entertainment release of a Cross Creek Pictures, IM Global, Icon Productions, AI-Film, Pandemonium Films, Permut Presentations, Windy Hill Pictures, Vendian Entertainment, Demarest Media, Kilburn Media production. Producers: William Mechanic, David Permut, Terry Benedict, Paul Currie, Bruce Davey, William D. Johnson, Tyler Thompson, Brian Oliver. Executive producers: Michael Bassick, David S. Greathouse, Mark C. Manuel, Ted O’Neal, Buddy Patrick, Suzanne Warren, Christopher Woodrow.

Crew

Director: Mel Gibson. Screenplay: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight. Camera (color, widescreen): Simon Duggan. Editor: John Gilbert.

With

Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn.

http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/hacksaw-ridge-review-venice-film-review-mel-gibson-1201851851/

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Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Story 1: American People Will Push-back on Election Day November 4 — Democrat Party Candidates  Will Lose Due To Job Insecurity, The Economy, Obama-care, Amnesty for Illegal Aliens, Tax Hikes, Failed Economic and Foreign Policies in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and Scandals Including Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS, Veterans Administration and Now Ebola  —  Democrats On Verge of Losing Massively Including Control of The Senate — Obama is An Epic Failure and Loser That Buried The Democratic Party — Rest In Peace — Videos 

the failure

Obama-Failuredemocrat-economic-success-obama-politicstransformedburyObama-ScandalsCartoon - Obama Scandals and CorruptionYes-Obama-Can-Bankrupt-Americacartoon-they-opted-out-500trick or treat

Mid-term elections forecast

Who Will Control The Senate? Election Is ‘Neck And Neck’

Midterm Elections 2014: Here are the Key Senate Races

Ann Coulter: GOP Should Stop ‘Constantly Sucking Up’ to Hispanic Voters

New Fox Poll: 58% Say Things In World Going To Hell In A Handbasket – America’s Newsroom

Poll: Democrat Voters Less Interested In Midterm Elections – America’s Election HQ

Poll shows only 14 percent of Americans approve the way Congress handling its job

Stewart: Midterms 2014, We’ve Got Nothing To Fear, But Fear Itself, So We’re Going To Go With Fear

Which Party Should Control Congress? AP/Gallup POLL Results

Latest AP National Poll Is a Nightmare for Democrats

By Jim Geraghty

This new poll from the Associated Press is about as dire a poll as Democrats could imagine two weeks before Election Day.

Democrats are more trusted than the GOP on just two of nine top issues, the poll showed.

The economy remains the top issue for likely voters — 91 percent call it “extremely” or “very” important. And the GOP has increased its advantage as the party more trusted to handle the issue to a margin of 39 percent to 31 percent.

With control of the Senate at stake, both parties say they are relying on robust voter-turnout operations — and monster campaign spending — to lift their candidates in the final days. But the poll suggests any appeals they’ve made so far haven’t done much to boost turnout among those already registered. The share who report that they are certain to vote in this year’s contests has risen just slightly since September, and interest in news about the campaign has held steady.

Now brace yourself:

The GOP holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 percent of these voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 percent a Democratic one. That’s a shift in the GOP’s favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.

Women have moved in the GOP’s direction since September. In last month’s AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

The gender gap disappearing almost entirely would be a shocking development; at this point, it’s just one poll, but it’s something to look for in future polls. Democrats can console themselves that this is a national poll, and the biggest fights of the midterm — the Senate races — are occurring in about a dozen states. Having said that, almost all of those states are Republican-leaning ones that Romney won. If the national electorate is sour on Democrats, it’s extremely difficult to envision a scenario where Arkansas’s Mark Pryor hangs on despite the pro-GOP atmosphere,and Alaska’s Mark Begich, and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, and so on for the other endangered red-state Democratic senators. One or two might survive, but the rest . . .

The polls are grim, Mr. President.

America’s Anxious Mood and What it Means for Republicans

Obama’s Gift to Republicans

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Pronk Pops Show 153, October 21, 2013, Segment 0: Obamacare: Trick, Treat or Tax — Videos

Posted on October 22, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Disasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Housing, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Resources, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 140: September 30, 2013

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healthcare.gov

Pres_Obama_You_Can_Keep_Your_Health_Care_Plan_Under_New_Law_Period_Obamacare_Remember_That_

Liarerr-obamacare-cartoon

Obamacar_600

obamacare_exchange

special_obamacare_in_pictures

obamacare-coverage-chart

employer_healthcare_insurance

silver_plan

federal-poverty-level-guide

Subsidies-by-Income-and-Household-Size

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Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

halloween

If you think Halloween is scary, you should see the HealthCare.gov website. It is frightening.

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he made a firm pledge to the American people.

“If you who make less than a quarter of a million dollars per year which includes 98 percent of small business owners, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime under my plan — not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes, nothing. It is time to give the middle class a break. That is what I will do as president of the United States,” Obama said. This was captured in a YouTube video titled “Not a Dime in Tax Increase for Those Earning Less than $250,000.”

Once he was elected, Obama made another promise to the American people.

Obama said, “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will make this promise to the American people; if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what. My view is that healthcare reform should be guided by a simple principle, fix what is broken and build on what works.” This statement was captured in a YouTube video titled “Obama to AMA keep your doctor and insurance we will build economy.”

On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Before Obamacare was enacted into law, Obama was interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. He asked the president, “You were against the individual mandate during the campaign. Under this mandate the government is forcing people to spend money and fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?”

Obama said, “… For us to say that you have to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it is saying is that we are not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you.”

Stephanopoulos responded, “I do not think I am making it up. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, tax, a charge usually of money imposed on persons or property for public purposes.”

Obama replied, “George, the fact you looked it up Merriam’s dictionary, that a definition of tax increase,   indicates to me that you are stretching it right now.” The entire exchange was captured in the YouTube video titled “Obamacare : FLASHBACK President Obama said Individual Mandate Is Not a Tax (Sept 20, 2009).”

When Obamacare was enacted, 26 states, along with several individuals and others challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare in the courts. They argued that the law was a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce between the states. The Supreme Court ruled that the law could not be upheld under the Commerce Clause. This was the primary argument of the government in arguing for the constitutionality of the law. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority said, “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.”

However, the Supreme Court did accept the government’s tax argument that the individual mandate represented a tax on individuals who choose not the buy health insurance. The Court said, “going without insurance” is “just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.”

Americans are not required to buy health insurance under the individual mandate, according to the Supreme Court in its ruling. However, if you elect not to buy one of Obamacare’s individual metal (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) plans through a state or federal health insurance exchange, you may be subject to a tax penalty or fine by the Internal Revenue Service.

For 2014, the fine is the greater of 1 percent of income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 per family. For 2015 the fine is the greater of 2 percent of income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975 per family. For 2016 the fine is the greater of 2.5 percent of income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child up to $2,085.

Millions of Americans are now finding out from their insurance companies that as a direct result of the passage of Obamacare, they can no longer keep their existing individual plans or doctors. Instead, they have the choice of either purchasing one of the Obamacare metal health insurance plans with much higher premiums and deductibles or pay the IRS fine.

Thanks to Obama the American people believed their taxes would not rise and they could keep their existing health insurance plans and doctors. Obamacare is not a treat, but a trick or tax.

Not a Dime in Tax Increase for Those Earning Less than $250,000

Obama to AMA keep your doctor and insurance we will build economy

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” – Barack Obama

Obamacare : FLASHBACK President Obama said Individual Mandate Is Not a Tax (Sept 20, 2009)

Obamacare, Deconstructed

Think the Affordable Care Act is good for America? Think again.

Oct 14: This just in :People are figuring out just how much “free” health care costs.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothe…

The momentum is on our side.

SOURCES:

1) Jackson & Coker Survey: Physician Opinions of the American Medical Association (2011) http://www.jacksoncoker.com/Promos/in…

Forbes “Doctors and AMA split over Contentious Issue of Obamacare” by Sally Pipes (Sept. 2011) http://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipe…

2) The New York Times “White Coast in the Rose Garden, as Obama Rallies Doctors on Health Overhaul” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg (Oct. 5, 2009) http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.co…

Doctors For America White House Rose Garden Ceremony – Press Release (Oct. 5, 2009) http://www.drsforamerica.org/news-2/p…

3) Congressional Budget Office Report Effects of the Affordable Care Act (March 2010) http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/file…

4) Congressional Budget Office Report Effects of the Affordable Care Act (May 2013) http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/file…

5) House Energy & Commerce Committee Report (May 2013) http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites…

6) Gallup Survey of Small Business Owners (May 2013) http://www.gallup.com/poll/162386/hal…

US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Outlook Study (July 2013) http://uschambersmallbusinessnation.c…

7) Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act http://hastings.house.gov/uploadedfil…

8) US Dept. of HHS Federal Poverty Guidelines (2013) http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty…

House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform “IRS: Enforcing Obamacare’s New Rules and Taxes” http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content…

9) Washington Examiner “IRS employee union: We don’t want Obamacare” by Joel Gehrke http://washingtonexaminer.com/irs-emp…

10) Kaiser Family Foundation ACA Subsidy Calculator http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-ca…

11) Office of Personnel and Management – Salaries (April 2013) http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversi…

12) Pew Research Center “Baby Boomers Retire” (Dec. 29, 2010) http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-numb…

13) American Association of Medical Colleges “Physician Shortages to Worsen Without Increases In Residency Training” (2010) https://www.aamc.org/download/153160/…

14) American Association of Medical Colleges “Recent Studies and Reports on Physician Shortages in the US” (Oct. 2012) https://www.aamc.org/download/100598/…

15) National Association of Community Health Centers “Access Denied: A Look At America’s Medically Disenfranchised” (2007) http://www.nachc.com/client/documents…

16) American Association of Medical Colleges State Physician Workforce Data Book (2011) https://www.aamc.org/download/263512/…

17) Merritt Hawkins & Associates Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times (2009) http://www.merritthawkins.com/pdf/mha…

18) Wall Street Journal “The Affordable Care Act’s Rate Setting Won’t Work” by Howard Dean. (July 28, 2013) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001…

19) Forbes “Unpublished CRS Memo: Obama Administration Has Missed Half Of Obamacare’s Legally Imposed Implementation Deadlines” by Avik Roy http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothe..

What you don’t know about Obamacare could kill you

Dr. Russell Blaylock on The Nightmare That is Obamacare

If You Like Your Health Care Plan You Can’t Keep It!

Obama: “No sugar-coating” problems with HealthCare.gov

Issues plague Obamacare exchanges

‘Nothing Really Working’: MSNBC Hosts, Analyst Tear Into ‘Catastrophe’ of Obamacare

Zeke Emanuel: ObamaCare Should Have Been Managed Better, Implemented Better From The Start

Obamacare Exchange Failure Special Report All Star Panel Weigh In!

Pres Obama: You Can Keep Your Health Care Plan Under New Law, Period – “Obamacare” – Remember That?

 

Obamacare : Affordable Care Act rate increase triggers sticker shock for Americans (Oct 14, 2013)

Software engineers blame poor design for Obamacare site problems

Bret Baier If Problems With Obamacare Continue, ‘There Is Going to Have to Be a Delay’

Obama Defends Obamacare, But Says There Is No Excuse For Signup Problems

Problems plague Obamacare rollout

Bill O’Reilly, Kirsten Powers Clash Over Obamacare Problems: ‘This Is Such a Mess!’

The Truth About Obamacare Will Shock You

Blackburn Talks About the Problems with Obamacare

ZoNATION: Pay Attention to Obamacare!

ObamaCare will Hurt the Poorest Americans and Reduce Availability of Quality Care

Four Plans Offered in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Health Care Reform in 2 Minutes

Platinum Plans

Gold Plans

Silver Plans

Bronze Plans

Obamacare In 3 Minutes

eHealth – How Do Obamacare Subsidies Work?

How much are the Obamacare tax penalties?

Understanding Obamacare: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum

How Health Insurance Works

Idiots who voted for Obama

Jon Stewart Grills Health & Human Services SECY Kathleen Sebelius Over Obamacare

Reality Check for HealthCare.gov

Consumer Reports: ‘Stay Away From HealthCare.gov’

Consumer Reports, which publishes reviews of consumer products and services,advised its readers to avoid the federal health-care exchange “for at least another month if you can.” “Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made,” the magazine said, having tested the site themselves over the course of the past three weeks.

Noting that only 271,000 of the 9.47 million people who tried signing up in the first week managed to create an account, Consumer Reports then provided a few tips to those attempting to slog through the application process. From attempting successive logins because “error messages . . . may not always match reality” to checking one’s inbox frequently because missing an e-mail a user will be timed out of the site and forced to start from square one, none of the suggestions guaranteed success.

The magazine has also released a string of scathing reviews. On October 1, the day the Obamacare exchanges went online, the magazine told people to be patient: “Don’t worry if you can’t sign up today or even within the next couple of weeks.” A week into enrollment, they urged again to “wait a couple weeks and hope that the site irons out its many problems” because the HealthCare.gov is “barely operational.”

As the editors continued to review the website over the next few days, they only had one positive statement: “On the plus side,” they noted, “consumers coming to HealthCare.gov are no longer stopped cold by an error message or a screen saying they’ve been put in a waiting line.”

Now three weeks into the exchanges, having offered reviews and advice, Consumer Reports said that “if all [these suggestions] are too much to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov,” at least for the time being.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/361750/consumer-reports-stay-away-healthcaregov-alec-torres

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Pronk Pops Show 85, August 2, 2012: Segment 1: Happy Chick Pride Day–Consumer Sovereignty–Chick-fil-A–Freedom of Speech and Religion vs. Political Correctness and Gay Marriage and Chicago Way Thug Values–Videos

Posted on August 2, 2012. Filed under: American History, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Culture, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Philosophy, Politics, Polls, Regulation, Resources, Technology, Videos, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Pronk Pops Show 85: August 2, 2012

Pronk Pops Show 84: July 25, 2012

Pronk Pops Show 83: July 18, 2012

Pronk Pops Show 82: July 11, 2012

Pronk Pops Show 81: July 8, 2012

Pronk Pops Show 80: June 28, 2012

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Segment 1: Happy Chick Pride Day–Consumer Soverei0gnty–Chick-fil-A–Freedom of Speech and Religion vs. Political Correctness and Gay Marriage and Chicago Way Thug Values–Videos



“What vitiates entirely the socialists economic critique of capitalism is their failure to grasp the sovereignty of the consumers in the market economy.”

~Ludwig von Mises, Liberty and Property, page 13

Tim Hawkins – God Bless You, Chick-fil-A 

Randy Rainbow Works at Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A’s Mother-Son “Date Knight”

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day Gone WILD (August 1, 2012)

Chick-fil-A is being bullied

Huckabee Declares National ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’

Exclusive: Chick-Fil-A President Responds to Criticism of Gay Comments

President Obama vs Chick-fil-a

Obama: If You’ve Got A Business, You Didn’t Build That

President Obama Officially Affirms His Support for Same-Sex Marriage 5/9/2012

AC360 – President Obama’s Flip-Flop On Same-Sex Marriage

Chick-Fil-A & Same Sex Marriage – Charles Krauthammer – Bret Baier – 8-1-12

Cities Fight Chick-Fil-A on Gay-Marriage Stance

Chick-fil-A Chief ‘Guilty as Charged’ on Gay Marriage Stance

The Left’s Stalinist War on Chick-Fil-A

Chick-fil-A Anti-Gay and Proud Of It

Chick-Fil-A Anti-Gay Update (Muppets, Huckabee, & Boston Mayor)

Chick-fil-A President’s Anti-Gay Comments

Cow Appreciation Day is Coming – July 13, 2012

The Betrayal 

See You On Monday – Chick-Fil-A Song

George Carlin ~ The American Dream

“All attempts to coerce the living will of human beings into the service of something they do not want must fail.”

~Ludwig von Mises, Socialism, page 263

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day brings out supporters, protesters

t used to be that taking a bite of a chicken sandwich just meant you were hungry. Now it has become a symbol of whether you stand for or against same-sex marriage, or – alternately – the right to express your personal views without fear of retaliation.

At Chick-fil-A locations across the country, people voted with their wallets today, coming out to express support for the fast-food chain after CEO Dan Cathy said in an interview that he is a firm backer of traditional marriage.

“I believe what the Bible says (about marriage),” Chauncy Fields told us after wolfing down a breakfast of chicken and biscuits. “So I came out here to support Chick-fil-A and the movement.”

Chris Johnson sees a double standard. “He (Dan Cathy) said the exact same thing that President Obama said,” Johnson told Fox News — referring to the president’s past opposition to gay marriage – “And he gets negativity, and Obama gets positivity.”

At one Atlanta location, the restaurant was packed, while the line for the drive-thru looped twice around the building and out into the street.

The backlash across the country against Chick-fil-A has been ferocious. After the mayors of Chicago and Boston heaped scorn upon the company, the mayor of Washington, DC, suggested it was peddling “hate chicken.”

Those comments drew a sharp response from Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors. “Some people are saying that because of the position that Chick-fil-A is taking, they don’t want them in their cities. It is a disgrace. It is the same thing that happened when I was marching for civil rights, when they didn’t want a black to come into their restaurant,” he told a press conference in Washington, DC.

The Chick-fil-A firestorm has taken on different meanings for different people. For some, it harks to the days of intolerance and segregation. For others, it is about religious views of marriage. But for most people who Fox News spoke to today, it is about free speech.

SUMMARY

COMPANY FACTS
Chick-fil-A is a family owned and operated company. It has 1,615 stores in 39 states, and 2011 sales were $4.1 billion.

“I think it comes down to a First Amendment issue. I mean, I do believe in the traditional values of marriage between a man and a woman,” youth pastor Stephen Lenahan told Fox News after a leisurely breakfast with three members of his ministry. He is also puzzled as to why Dan Cathy is such a target, when other corporate CEOs who openly support same-sex marriage are not similarly criticized by conservatives.

Lenahan says he sees a bigger issue at work here. “There is kind of a culture war going on and people aren’t really respecting each other and difference of opinion. There’s no dialogue taking place to get to the heart of what we really believe as a nation and what is truth.”

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day – as it is being called was the idea of former Arkansas governor and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee. But as protests against Chick-fil-A swelled across the country, dozens of groups and prominent individuals joined in support of the company.

Among the groups is Project 21, a black conservative activist organization. One of its members, Demetrios Minor, said critics of Dan Cathy have taken his statements completely out of context. “I think liberals are missing a vital point in their blind hatred of Chick-fil-A,” Minor said in a statement sent to Fox News. “Being against gay marriage is not being anti-gay.”

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