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  • Romney speculates Turkey called Trump's bluff: 'Are we so weak and inept?'

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    The Utah senator delivers an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that accuses the president of betraying American values.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:20:21 -0400
  • Atatiana Jefferson's death highlights a long history of police violence in Fort Worth, and the community says it's time for a 'reckoning'

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    Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean. Her death was the sixth fatal police shooting in the city since June.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:07:22 -0400
  • Suspect in Case Behind Unrest to Surrender: Hong Kong Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong protesters flooded the city’s streets again on Friday and police banned a large pro-democracy march planned for Sunday, as the Asian financial hub prepared for yet another weekend of unrest. Meanwhile, the suspect in a Taiwan murder case that sparked Hong Kong’s crisis agreed to surrender himself.Protesters are seeking to keep the pressure on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam with a 20th straight weekend of demonstrations. Earlier this week, Lam was twice shouted down in the city’s legislature by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.The protests began in opposition to Lam’s since-scrapped bill allowing extraditions to mainland China and have since expanded to include calls for greater democracy and an independent inquiry. The unrest has turned increasingly violent, with frequent clashes between protesters and police, including an attack Wednesday on the organizer of Sunday’s march by several men wielding hammers.Here’s the latest (all times local):Taiwan gets letter (10:45 a.m.)Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed it had received a letter from the Hong Kong police offering assistance in the case of Chan Tong-kai, Central News Agency reported.There is no precedent for the cooperation and the Taiwan bureau will follow up with relevant departments for discussion, CNA reported.Homicide suspect to surrender himself to Taiwan (11:28 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Chief Executive received a letter Friday from Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who’s been accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan, saying that he’d decided to surrender himself to Taiwan, according to a statement on the website of Hong Kong’s government.Chan, who’s currently serving a prison sentence for money laundering in a Hong Kong jail, “requested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to assist him in making the relevant arrangement,” according to the statement.Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported earlier on Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify, that Chan made the decision after consulting with a pastor.Protesters march across city (1 p.m.)Demonstrators marched in the Central financial district on Hong Kong Island, temporarily blocking traffic, as well as in the Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok neighborhoods of Kowloon. Some carried a banner calling on the Hong Kong government to agree to their five demands, which include an independent inquiry into police violence, an amnesty for arrested protesters and greater democratic freedoms.Police deny weekend permit (12:30 p.m.)Hong Kong police denied a protest permit for the Civil Human Rights Front’s planned march in Kowloon on Sunday. The group -- whose organizer Jimmy Sham was hospitalized this week -- has been behind some of the largest protests during the last five months, including a few that have drawn over one million people. In many cases, protesters have continued to show up at events that lack police permits, with some devolving into violent clashes with police.\--With assistance from Dominic Lau.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 00:56:21 -0400
  • China says will work with the U.S. to address each other's core concerns

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    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Saturday that China will work with the United States to address each other's core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and that stopping the trade war would be good for both sides and the world. "The two sides have made substantial progress in many fields, laying an important foundation for the signing of a phased agreement," Liu, also the chief negotiator in the trade talks, told a virtual reality conference in Nanchang, the capital of southeastern Jiangxi province. It's what producers and consumers alike are hoping for," Liu said in a rare public speech about the trade war.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 23:06:52 -0400
  • New ICE Program Exposes Hundreds of Fraudulent ‘Family Units’ Trying to Cross The Border

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    U.S. immigration authorities have discovered hundreds of instances at the border of “family unit fraud,” or unrelated individuals posing as families, over the last six months thanks to a new investigative initiative.Authorities exposed 238 fraudulent families presenting 329 false documents, according to the results of an investigation run by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in El Paso, Texas, the results of which were announced Thursday.More than 350 of those individuals are facing federal prosecution for crimes including human smuggling, making false statements, conspiracy, and illegal re-entry after removal. Authorities have referred 19 children to U.S. Health and Human Services as a result of this investigation. Another 50 migrants fraudulently claimed to be unaccompanied minors."Some of the most disturbing cases identified involve transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and individuals who are increasingly exploiting innocent children to further their criminal activity," ICE said in a statement.In some cases, criminal organizations made deals with the children's biological parents to transfer children as young as 4 months old to the U.S. and pose as a family unit either for human smuggling purposes or to fraudulently obtain immigration benefits, ICE said.“These are examples of the dark side of this humanitarian crisis that our Border Patrol and HSI agents are working tirelessly to identify,” said El Paso Sector Interim Chief Gloria Chavez. “We will pursue the highest of judicial consequences for those who commit fraud and exploit innocent children.”The Trump administration has attempted to end the "catch and release" policy for migrant family units, which provides migrant families an expedited release into the U.S. as their asylum cases are being processed.Then–acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan said last month that the vast majority of migrant families who enter the country illegally will no longer be eligible for “catch and release” due to the implementation of stricter policies. One such policy, the Migrant Protection Protocols, requires that migrants wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are being adjudicated.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:41:26 -0400
  • Rep. Nunes tries to use Steele dossier to defend Trump during closed-door hearing

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    During a closed-door impeachment meeting on Capitol Hill, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) brought up a topic that surprised some attendees: the Steele dossier. The context, according to three sources familiar with the episode, was his effort to explain why President Trump might be “upset” about Ukraine.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:18:50 -0400
  • One year on, migrant caravan leaves unexpected legacy

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    A year ago, thousands of Central American men, women and children chasing the American dream arrived in Mexico in a massive caravan that has left a lasting legacy -- just not the one people generally thought it would. Fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence at home, they banded together in hopes of finding safety in numbers against the dangers of the journey, including criminal gangs that regularly extort, kidnap and kill migrants. The images made an impact around the world: carrying their meager belongings on their backs, many migrants pressed small children to their chests or held them by the hand.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:25:40 -0400
  • Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

    Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a sidewalk, their temporary home while they wait for their number to be called to claim asylum in the United States. The 33-year-old fled Mexico's western state of Michoacan a few weeks ago with her husband and five children — ages 3 to 12 — when her husband, a truck driver, couldn't pay fees that criminal gangs demanded for each trailer load. "I'd like to say it's unusual, but it's very common," Garcia said Thursday in Juarez, where asylum seekers gather to wait their turn to seek protection at a U.S. border crossing in El Paso, Texas.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:46:20 -0400
  • Moms Demand Action founder says advocacy group is not anti-gun

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    Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts spoke with CBS News' Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout"

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 22:08:49 -0400
  • Polls show Americans have come to support Trump's impeachment much faster than Nixon's or Clinton’s

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    President Trump hasn’t just crossed the 50 percent threshold on impeachment, peaking at 50.3 percent earlier this week. He’s gotten there faster than Richard Nixon — and, for that matter, Bill Clinton, who never got there at all.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:54:18 -0400
  • Biden's most loyal supporters are starting to look elsewhere, according to a new Insider poll

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    Former Vice President Joe Biden has been steadily losing support since he announced his 2020 presidential bid last April.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:30:18 -0400
  • Macron Says U.K. Shouldn’t Get New Delay If Johnson Loses Vote

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    (Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron heaped pressure on the British Parliament to back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, saying the U.K.’s departure from the European Union shouldn’t be delayed a moment longer.With Parliament due to vote on the revised agreement on Saturday, Macron’s remarks echoed the message Johnson himself has been sending to reticent MPs: it’s now or never. "I don’t think a new extension should be granted," Macron told reporters after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, where the deal had been rubber stamped. "The Oct. 31 deadline must be met."Macron’s stance increases the risk that the U.K. will crash out of the EU without a deal on Oct. 31. But the reality is more nuanced, according to EU diplomats who doubt the bloc will ever throw the U.K. off a cliff without a safety net. The pound dipped on the comments, and then recovered.Selling the DealAfter sealing a revised deal with the EU on Thursday, Johnson is spending Friday frantically talking to politicians from his own and other parties as he tries to rustle up a majority. The prime minister needs to add 61 votes to the tally his predecessor Theresa May managed when her version of the Brexit deal was defeated for a third and final time in March.The new agreement differs from May’s agreement because only Northern Ireland rather than the whole U.K. will continue to apply the EU’s customs rules. That’s upset the province’s Democratic Unionist Party whose MPs say they won’t back Johnson’s deal on Saturday.If Johnson loses the vote, he’s obliged by law to request from the EU another extension by the end of the day. But any postponement must be approved unanimously by the EU’s 27 leaders so Macron would have a veto.EU officials were expecting such an intervention by Macron, who made similar noises before approving a Brexit delay in April, but they said that it’s very unlikely that he or any other leader would prevent another one, particularly if the U.K. was headed for a general election. While the bloc is just as keen to get Britain’s departure over the line as Johnson, it considers a no-deal exit in two weeks a far worse prospect than another postponement.Envoys from the 27 remaining countries and the European Commission are due to meet on Sunday to discuss next steps should Johnson’s deal fall.The French have consistently taken a hard line in Brexit negotiations and Macron argues that the tight deadline he insisted on the last time the process was extended helped force Johnson into concessions. Several EU governments privately now regret delaying Brexit from April until October, acknowledging that it took the pressure of the U.K. to pass a deal."I was alone and I don’t think I was wrong," Macron said, referring to the decision six months ago.Other leaders were more circumspect on the issue, with Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, which stands to be affected most by a no-deal Brexit, saying a delay isn’t guaranteed and Luxembourg premier Xavier Bettel insisting the ball was now in the U.K. Parliament’s court.“We have done our job,” he said. “There’s a plan A, but there’s no plan B."(Updates with context throughout.)\--With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni.To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.net;Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:59:33 -0400
  • Explainer: Democrats Warren and Sanders want wealth tax; economists explain how it works

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    According to Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the University of California at Berkeley economists who developed that estimate, that is in part because the wealthiest American families declare only a small portion of their actual economic gains in any given year as income, while leaving the rest invested in stocks and other assets, to grow in value. Saez has been involved in a series of what are considered groundbreaking studies of U.S. income, inequality and economic mobility that involved both developing techniques to impute income based on holdings of wealth, and extensive access to U.S. Internal Revenue Service records. "The greatest injustice of the U.S. tax system today is its regressivity at the very top: billionaires in the top 400 pay less (relative to their true economic incomes) than the middle class," the economists wrote in a September paper https://brook.gs/2OWp9wx.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:28:57 -0400
  • Clever-Approved Travel Gear That Looks Good and Works Even Better

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:34:55 -0400
  • Why Mexico Is Cooperating with Us on Immigration

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    One of the reasons border apprehensions have dropped from their alarming peak in May is that Mexico has been pretty aggressive in stopping third-country nationals from traversing its territory on their way north to make bogus asylum claims so they can be released into the U.S.But why has Mexico been willing to work with us like this? It's especially curious because in the past, Mexico was not at all eager to help us limit illegal immigration, a pattern we might have expected to intensify with last year’s election as president of left-wing populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly known as AMLO, pronounced as a word rather than initials).No doubt President Trump's tariff threats had some effect. Three-quarters of Mexico's exports go to the U.S., and despite increased integration of our economies over the past couple of decades, they still need us a lot more than we need them. Also, Trump's mercurial temperament clearly has the Mexicans worried that he could do something rash (similar to Iran's fears about Reagan if the hostages weren't released before he was inaugurated).But it's unlikely that these things would be enough to move a sometimes touchy nationalist like AMLO. Rather, I think a big part of the explanation is that the current flow of illegals is mainly made up of foreigners, not Mexicans. Earlier waves of mass infiltration across our southern border consisted mainly of Mexicans, and while Mexico quickly took back its people who had been nabbed by the Border Patrol, it did little if anything to reduce the flow. They did establish a police-like unit of the country's immigration agency called Grupo Beta, which worked on Mexico’s northern border (opposite our southern border), but its remit was to help potential illegals with water and first aid and protect them from criminals.But the current flow is very different. Yes, there are still a significant number of Mexicans sneaking across the border, but fewer than there used to be. Mexico's economy has grown and developed to a point where fewer people see the need to emigrate. Also, there just aren't that many able-bodied, working-aged people left in rural areas of Mexico, which is now about as urbanized as the U.S.The current illegal flow, by contrast, is mainly non-Mexican, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (the “northern triangle” countries of Central America), but with growing numbers from Haiti, Cuba, various African countries, and even the Middle East. There had always been a small number of what the Border Patrol calls OTMs (Other Than Mexicans), but they now constitute the majority of the flow.When the first caravan to catch the world's attention passed through Mexican towns on its way north in spring 2018, it was often welcomed with mariachi bands, offers of food and water, and even medical checkups. But as more caravans arrived, plus many migrants in smaller groups, all drawn by loopholes in American law that facilitated their release into the U.S., the welcome started to wear out. As the Washington Post wrote this spring:> But six months and several caravans later, much of that welcome has dried up. Most media have left. And the people of Mapastepec, and other places that have been overwhelmed, are showing their fatigue with the growing stream of migrants.> > "People . . . previously opened their doors to these migrants, but they do not have much extra money here," said Roberto Sarabia, 56, who works at a small grocery store. "What little they could give, they’ve already given."Exhaustion has turned to resentment. As the Central American illegals started piling up in Tijuana, preparing to cross to San Diego, local residents last November staged a protest; the NPR report offered a sense of the mood:> Demonstrators held signs reading "No illegals," "No to the invasion" and "Mexico First." Many wore the country's red, white and green national soccer jersey and vigorously waved Mexican flags. The crowd often slipped into chants of "Ti-jua-na!" and "Me-xi-co!" They sang the national anthem several times.Tijuana's mayor at the time, who was in political hot water generally (he subsequently lost his bid for reelection), rushed to try to take advantage of the situation by sporting a "Make Tijuana Great Again" red baseball cap.> Con ustedes el alcalde de Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastélum, capaz de decir “que me perdonen las organizaciones defensoras de DH, pero los derechos humanos son para humanos derechos” … CaravanaMigrante pic.twitter.com/DkSuKeFBaF> > — Risco (@jrisco) November 16, 2018And it's not just Tijuana. The El Paso Times recently wrote about the newly developed Cuban community across the river in Juarez. Many Cuban illegals are giving up on their U.S. asylum gambit and deciding to settle down in Juarez (proving they were really economic migrants all along). And it's creating resentment. As a burrito seller said of the Cubans, "They don't get along with Mexican people. They get in a little group by themselves. A lot of people don't like them here." And a business consultant complained, "There are people who are coming looking for a handout, who want us to help them, when they could also look for work."The flow of illegals passing through Mexico to make bogus asylum claims in the U.S. has grown so large that some of them aren't bothering to head all the way to the border and are applying for asylum in Mexico instead. The number of asylum applications submitted to Mexico's refugee agency (COMAR) more than tripled in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2018. The asylum burden seems to have gotten so bad that the refugee agency has removed the helpful video it used to host on its website explaining how to apply.And over the weekend, a large group of illegal aliens from Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America tried to set out on another caravan in southern Mexico, but were stopped by police and the National Guard (a new paramilitary force established by AMLO specifically for border control). Most telling was this bit of video from a Mexican news outlet, showing the commander of a National Guard platoon addressing his men before confronting the latest caravan. He starts his pep talk by saying, "No one will come to trample our country, our land!"> “Nadie va a venir a pisotear nuestro país, nuestra tierra”, son las palabras de un comandante de pelotón de la GuardiaNacional durante la redada de hoy contra migrantes haitianos y africanos.> > @Chechetc corresponsal de @WRADIOMexico pic.twitter.com/9YexXMqMsF> > — Salvador Zaragoza A. (@SalvadorZA) October 13, 2019None of this is to say that our border has been fully secured, or that we don't need to plug the loopholes that sparked this flow in the first place, or that interior measures such as E-Verify, workplace enforcement, and curbing sanctuary cities are no longer needed. And it's entirely possible that if Mexico hits a serious economic road bump in the future, a new Mexican-illegal surge will take place, and the political calculus will be very different.But for now, the United States and Mexico have a confluence of interests in stopping the flow of third-country "asylum-seekers" heading for the American border. Mexicans love their country, as they should, and they're tired of foreigners using it as a doormat.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 16:09:22 -0400
  • High-profile cases turn spotlight on domestic violence in Russia

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    Natalia Tunikova's partner pushed her towards the open balcony in their high-rise Moscow flat, before punching her to the floor. A Moscow court later ruled that her use of force in self-defence was not justified. Cases like Tunikova's are ever more widely reported in Russia, leading to a public outcry in a country that has no specific law on domestic violence and where feminist movements like #MeToo had little impact.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 22:34:40 -0400
  • Kim Kardashian urges clemency for Oklahoma death row inmate

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    Kim Kardashian West has joined a chorus of voices calling for clemency for a black man on Oklahoma's death row who has exhausted his appeals, arguing that a racist juror tainted the outcome of his 2002 trial. Julius Jones was convicted of murder for the 1999 slaying of 45-year-old Paul Howell, who was fatally shot in the driveway of his parents' home in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jones filed a clemency petition with the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Tuesday, asking that his death sentence to be commuted to time served.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:20:20 -0400
  • Washington Group Fighting Affirmative Action Used Proud Boys As Guards

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    John Rudoff/GettyAn anti-affirmative action campaign used members of the Proud Boys for security—and is now claiming it didn’t realize its protection team was an organization labeled a hate group.On Nov. 5, voters in Washington state are set to decide on the future of Referendum 88, a measure that would allow affirmative action hiring in public jobs. The measure has support from civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), but faces opposition from a state veterans group and the organization Washington Asians for Equality, which claims the measure would lead to preferential treatment for some groups. This summer, some of those opponents partnered with a more notorious organization: the Proud Boys, who featured the signature drive in a recently surfaced propaganda video.The Proud Boys—designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center—prioritizes street fights and has extensive connections to more explicit white supremacist organizations. But unlike many other extremist groups, the Proud Boys frequently cozy up to the more mainstream right. Their current leader, Enrique Tarrio, is a Florida director of Latinos for Trump, despite marching in 2017’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.Republicans Are Adopting the Proud BoysIn the August video, a Washington Proud Boy claims Referendum 88 backers solicited the Proud Boys’ help in delivering signatures to the secretary of state’s office.The group “gave us a call asking for security to help take the signatures for Referendum 88 down to the capitol building,” he says in the video, which referendum supporters like the group Washington Fairness surfaced this week.The video goes on to show the group riding in a truck with the signatures and speaking into walkie-talkies for reasons that are not immediately apparent. The clip concludes with an advertisement for gas masks, which the Proud Boy says he used during a summer brawl with anti-fascists in Portland, Oregon.Reject Ref. 88, the organization that allegedly hired the Proud Boys, disavowed knowledge of them.“The Referendum 88 petition drive worked with many volunteers during the signature gathering phase,” organizer Linda Yang said in an email. “We didn’t know the association of these individuals you refer to, nor did they tell us. The Reject Ref.88/I-1000 campaign welcomes people from all walks of life who believe in equality for all, regardless of race. Those who don’t believe in that principle—be they on the far left or the far right—are not welcome in this campaign.”But as the Seattle Stranger noted, Yang even appeared in the Proud Boys’ video, explaining her opposition to Referendum 88. In the video, she gives different account of her group coming to work with the Proud Boys. After trying and failing to hire a security company to help deliver referendum signatures, “I got a call saying ‘hey there’s a group, they’re willing to help,’” she said in the video. “I said ‘we’ll take it.’”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:16:34 -0400
  • Trump's former personal lawyer says Rudy Giuliani has 'gone off the rails,' has a secret Ukraine ledger

    Jay Goldberg, President Trump's personal lawyer for 15 years, told MSNBC's Ari Melber on Thursday night that he warned Trump not to hire his current personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani."I think he's gone off the rails," Goldberg said of Giuliani, now being scrutinized by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for his work in Ukraine. "I think he will have legal liability." When Trump asked him last March if he should retain Giuliani's legal services, "I said despite his background, which as extraordinarily good, Giuliani would not make a good defense-type lawyer," Goldberg said, because "he had spent too much time as a prosecutor; prosecutors can generally go outside the line and there's nobody to correct them." He added that he thinks "Giuliani has been seduced by Mar-a-Lago, the lifestyle.""Does Rudy Giuliani have any evidence or records that could resolve what he was doing with Ukraine?" Melber asked, and Goldberg dropped a potential bombshell: "Yes, there's a book that he kept of all the contacts that he made while in the Ukraine. It hasn't been subpoenaed thus far, it hasn't come to light, and I tell you that if the subpoena is issued for that book that he prepared, it will redound to the detriment of Donald under an agency kind of concept, that Donald will be responsible for all the things that he did. And Giuliani did a lot of the things that he's used to doing while he was a prosecutor.""Rudy Giuliani prepared this book, you say?" Melber asked. "Yes," Goldberg replied. "I've seen the book." Melber pointed out that now he has disclosed its existence on national TV, it is likely to be subpoenaed. "Let the chips fall where they may," Goldberg said. "Giuliani likes to keep a log of the things that he's doing because he wants to show it to the client.""This is crazy," journalist Marcy Wheeler said of Goldberg's revelation. "In what capacity did he see the book? And why does 'cybersecurity' expert Rudy G have a book of his mob ties?" There's also a question of whether the likely subpoena will arrive in time. > Rudy Giuliani right now thanks to Jay Goldberg on the @TheBeatWithAri pic.twitter.com/slNaxSg7NC> > -- Mickey (@Mickey115207446) October 17, 2019

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 01:50:00 -0400
  • First Republican calls for Rick Perry to answer House subpoena

    Senior House Democrats say they won’t let up on their demands for documents and testimony from outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry in the wake of his resignation announcement — and at least one Republican agrees with them. Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) called on Perry Friday to comply with a House subpoena and cooperate with the impeachment inquiry into the Trump administration's actions in Ukraine. The secretary faces a Friday deadline to comply with the subpoena but has not said what he plans to do.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:01:16 -0400
  • House GOP Leader Praises Mark Zuckerberg for Political Ads Policy

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    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to ban political ads that Democrats say are inaccurate drew praise from the top Republican in the House of Representatives Friday.Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said he appreciated Zuckerberg’s comments on Thursday that policing political speech would be undemocratic.“The idea of banning speech you might not like is nonsense, but sadly the mindset is creeping into places like college campuses and our presidential campaign platforms,” McCarthy told reporters. “Yesterday was a heartwarming reminder that free expression is the best business model in the world.”In recent weeks, the presidential campaigns of Democrats Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have called on Facebook to remove ads from President Donald Trump’s campaign that include claims with no evidence. Facebook has declined to do so, raising the larger question of whether such ads on social media should be regulated.“I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true,” Zuckerberg said Thursday at Georgetown University in Washington. “People should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.”“In a democracy, I believe people should decide what’s credible, not tech companies,” Zuckerberg said.\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Wasson in Washington at ewasson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:26:56 -0400
  • Clinton email probe finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information

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    A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees. The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:09:56 -0400
  • Meet the Nanchang Q-5: China's Nuclear Bomber

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    Beijing's got deterrence.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:36:00 -0400
  • Volvo launches very first fully electric vehicle: the XC40 Recharge

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    Volvo has officially launched its very first EV line and its very first EV: The XC40 small SUV is the first member of the Recharge family. To add to the firsts surrounding this launch, the XC40 small SUV is also the first of the brand equipped with an Android-powered infotainment system -- it's better late than never. This premiere has been coupled with an announcement by the company about their plans to launch a fully electric car every year "with the rest hybrids." Recharge will be the name encapsulating all the brand's electrified vehicles.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:13:06 -0400
  • Mexico flies 300 Indian migrants to New Delhi in mass deportation

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    Mexico has deported more than 300 Indian nationals to New Delhi, the National Migration Institute said late on Wednesday, in what it described as an unprecedented transatlantic deportation.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 17:32:34 -0400
  • View 2020 Chevrolet Corvette vs. Porsche 718 Cayman Cargo Comparison Photos

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    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:26:00 -0400
  • Murderer who triggered Hong Kong protests will go to Taiwan: pastor

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    A man who inadvertently triggered Hong Kong's huge protests after he murdered his girlfriend in Taiwan has agreed to return to the island to face justice, a clergyman who has visited him in prison said on Friday. Chan Tong-kai, 20, is wanted in Taiwan for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend during a holiday the two Hong Kongers took there in February last year. The case triggered an ill-fated proposal by Hong Kong's pro-Beijing government to ram through a sweeping extradition bill which would have allowed the city to extradite suspects to any territory, including the authoritarian mainland.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:05:47 -0400
  • Former Nazi SS guard, 93, goes on trial in Hamburg

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    From his post as a teenage SS private in a watchtower in Nazi Germany's Stutthof concentration camp, Bruno Dey could hear the screams of Jews dying in the gas chamber. More than seven decades later, Dey went on trial Thursday on 5,230 counts of accessory to murder in Hamburg state court.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 08:56:27 -0400
  • Parents of Dead Teen Compare Trump Cronies to ‘Henchmen’ at Meeting Britain Denies Asking For

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    Carlo Allegri/ReutersThe grieving family of 19-year-old Harry Dunn have spoken out about their ill-fated meeting with Donald Trump at the White House in a new interview. Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn told CNN on Thursday morning that the president “doesn’t understand” how the accident that killed their son has “broken” their family. Dunn was killed when 42-year-old American Anne Sacoolas, who is married to an intelligence officer who was working at a spy base in Croughton, England, hit his motorcycle head-on while driving down the wrong side of the road on Aug. 27. Sacoolas initially cooperated with authorities, but then left the country under diplomatic-immunity protections in early September before authorities could formally investigate her or charge her with a crime. Dunn’s parents had only hoped to convince Trump to send Sacoolas back to the U.K. for justice, not to meet her in person. Radd Seiger, the family spokesman, who appeared on CNN with the family, added that during the visit, new National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien “snarled” at him and jeered that Sacoolas “would never return” to the U.K. “I used to look up to that institution,” Seiger told CNN. “But it’s a bunch of henchmen trying to make him look good.”During the White House meeting, Trump surprised Dunn’s parents with the announcement that Sacoolas, who they had made clear they would only meet on U.K. soil if she returned to assist the investigation, was behind a door waiting. Grieving Parents ‘Ambushed’ by Trump, Who Had Teen’s Killer Waiting at White HouseIn an email to The Daily Beast on Thursday, Seiger shot down White House denials that photographers were present for the supposed meetup. “We do not know who the photographer(s) were or which organization they were from,” the family spokesman said. “But they were there and had cameras and were clearly poised to grab that “poster picture shot” in the event that the president’s callous plan had come off.”Seiger continued: “Further, if President Trump really had Harry’s best interests at heart and really only wanted to comfort them he would have a) given advance notice of his intention to convene such a meeting with Mrs Sacoolas b) sought consent from us instead of springing it on us c) arranged for it to take place in a neutral and controlled environment with mediators and therapists around and out of the glare of the media spotlight [and] d) called off his attack dog Robert O’Brien who snapped, snarled and intimated his way through the meeting within feet of grieving people.”On Wednesday, Trump said he arranged the meeting at the request of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been very vocal about Sacoolas returning to England. Johnson had earlier insisted Sacoolas return and promised he would take the matter up personally with the president.But on Thursday, Downing Street denied it had asked for such a meeting between Sacoolas and Dunn’s parents to take place and had not been informed or involved in the planning. “The P.M. and the president spoke last Wednesday and the P.M. asked the president to do all he could to resolve the issue,” a spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office told The Guardian. “During the conversation, the president raised a possibility of a meeting with Anne Sacoolas at the White House, but at that stage we weren’t aware of any plans for the family to go [to the U.S.], so it wasn’t discussed further.”The Sacoolas family, who have assembled a team of lawyers versed in international diplomacy and extradition, are expected to return to the U.K. this weekend. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:07:47 -0400
  • Assad: Syria to Resist Turkish Invasion by ‘All Legitimate Means’

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    After agreeing to an alliance with Kurdish forces on Sunday, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that Syrian forces will help the Kurds repel Turkey’s invasion by “all legitimate means.” Assad’s comments come a day after Turkey accused Syria of a “dirty deal” with Kurdish forces.Syria “will respond to [Turkey] and confront it, in all its forms, anywhere in Syria, using all legitimate means at our disposal,” Assad said during a press conference with Iraqi national-security adviser Faleh al-Fayad.Although the Kurds and Assad’s regime have long been rivals, SDF commander Mazloum Abdi explained in an article published Sunday that — in the absence of American forces — the Kurds needed support in order to repel the Turks, which necessitated making “painful compromises” with the Syrian government.“If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” Abdi wrote.Thursday marks the ninth day of Turkey’s incursion into Northern Syria, which has resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians and over 300,000 new refugees.Turkey began negotiations with the United States over a prospective ceasefire Thursday, as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vice President Mike Pence for over two and half hours behind closed doors before delegation talks began. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC in an interview Thursday that the U.S. may levy additional sanctions on Turkey to keep the Erdogan regime “in line.”

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 12:16:33 -0400
  • Mexicans Outraged After Cornered Son of ‘El Chapo’ Released

    (Bloomberg) -- The decision by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s security cabinet to release the captured son of the world’s most notorious drug lord left him struggling to contain the damage amid public outrage.AMLO, as the president is known, said the government took the decision after Mexican forces were overpowered Thursday as they attempted to take in Ovidio Guzman Lopez, son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The son is said to have taken over some criminal operations from his father. The confrontation, which left eight dead, occurred in Culiacan, the capital of the western state of Sinaloa.His public security minister, Alfonso Durazo, admitted that the operation to capture Guzman Lopez was a failure. Reporters peppered him with questions at a news conference in Culiacan, asking if he would resign. Durazo deflected, suggesting that he could do so if the moment arrives when he decides he no longer can contribute to securing peace in the nation.“The government clearly looks bad after this,” Daniel Kerner, an analyst at Eurasia Group, wrote in a research report. “It clearly failed to plan and anticipate the response that going after the son of one of the most notable drug leaders in Mexico would generate given the cartel’s influence in the city. As such, it looks like it had no strategy and no coordination.”The incident presents the biggest security challenge yet to Lopez Obrador, who was elected on promises to stop years of violence and has maintained an approval rate of more than 60% in polls despite a stagnant economy. Homicides are on pace to break last year’s record, according to data through August, rising more than 3% to exceed 23,000.Cartel members on Thursday turned Culiacan into a war zone after Mexican authorities surrounded Guzman Lopez at a house where he was taking refuge. Homemade tanks complete with machine guns rumbling through the streets, stopping traffic and firing repeatedly. The city was littered with burning vehicles as residents posted videos on Twitter of gunfire and chaos. Plumes of black smoke rose over buildings.How AMLO’s Plans to Transform Mexico Ran Into Reality: QuickTake“This decision was taken to protect citizens,” Lopez Obrador said at his morning news conference Friday in the southern state of Oaxaca. “You can’t put out fire with fire. That’s the difference between our strategy and what previous governments have done. We don’t want deaths, we don’t want war.”‘Pandora’s Box’Responding to the violence in Culiacan by letting Guzman Lopez go free sends a dangerous message to drug cartels that the Mexican government can be cowed by terrorist-like attacks against civilians, said Alejandro Schtulmann, who heads Mexico City-based political consultancy Empra. It’s also embarrassing because the Sinaloa cartel’s firepower has been diminished in recent years and pales in comparison to that of other ascendant groups like the Jalisco New Generation.Now, other groups when facing an arrest may “resort to the same methods,” he said. “This may have opened the Pandora’s box in the context of fighting organized crime in Mexico.”The case rips open an old wound for Mexico, where El Chapo twice escaped from prison before he was recaptured and finally extradited and convicted in the U.S. It comes in a week when more than a dozen police were killed in an ambush in the deadliest attack on law enforcement since Lopez Obrador took office last December. At least 15 more people were killed in another shootout with the military in the nation’s south.Lopez Obrador said that the suspect had an arrest warrant and an extradition request. His father was sent to the U.S. in early 2017 just as President Donald Trump was taking office.The son’s release was immediately decried across Mexican media, with one of the nation’s largest newspapers, Reforma, running a headline saying “Little Chapo Subdues the Fourth Transformation,” referring to the nickname that Lopez Obrador has given to his government.AMLO Lays Out Broad Plan for Addressing Violence in MexicoMexico has fought a decades-long war against drug gangs, in part because it serves as a connector between cocaine-producing nations in South America and consumers in the U.S.AMLO’s strategy focuses on deployment of tens of thousands of members from a new National Guard force to the most violent parts of the country, as well as education and subsidies for youth. But the phrase he has used to summarize his philosophy, “hugs, not shots,” has been criticized by political rivals and many security analysts as naive and Pollyannish.The release of Guzman Lopez “sends a message of weakness to the blackmail of narcos,” said Veronica Ortiz, a lawyer and co-host on Mexico’s nonpartisan Congress channel. “It’s particularly serious for the military, because their own supreme commander is weakening them. For citizens, we’re left unprotected against criminals.”\--With assistance from Nacha Cattan.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Martin in Mexico City at emartin21@bloomberg.net;Lorena Rios in Mexico City at lriost@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Ethan BronnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 18:28:06 -0400
  • China stocks have worst day in a month after bleak GDP data

    China stocks fell on Friday, posting their steepest daily drop in a month to end the week lower, as weaker-than-expected GDP growth deepened worries over the health of the world's second largest economy amid a trade war that is more than a year old. ** China's third-quarter economic growth slowed more than expected and to its weakest pace in almost three decades as the bruising U.S. trade war hit factory production, boosting the case for Beijing to roll out fresh support. ** "Given exports are unlikely to stage a comeback and a possible slowdown in the property sector, the downward pressure on China's economy is likely to continue, with fourth-quarter economic growth expected to slip to 5.9%," Hwabao Trust economist Nie Wen said.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:18:27 -0400
  • Doing it for the 'gram? Royal Caribbean says no to that, bans guests for life

    Doing it for the 'gram? Royal Caribbean Cruises doesn't seem to think that's a good idea, particularly when it's dangerous.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 07:37:21 -0400
  • U.S. Air Force F-35s Are Knocking on Russia’s Back Door

    Golocal247.com news

    The U.S. Air Force has stood up a fighter squadron to operate F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters in Alaska. It might not be long before F-35s join Alaska-based F-22s in intercepting Russian bombers and other warplanes that frequently probe American defenses.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 01:30:00 -0400
  • An interrogation company is suing Ava DuVernay and Netflix for defamation over how their series characterized a police technique used to extract false confessions from the Central Park 5

    Golocal247.com news

    A company that pioneered a notorious criminal interrogation tactic is suing over how Ava DuVernay portrayed the Reid Technique in "When They See Us."

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 02:33:40 -0400
  • Return of Argentine Peronism throws shadow over Falklands

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    Argentina is going to the polls on October 27 with a Peronist politician backed by former president Cristina Kirchner expected to win an outright majority, something that has got Falkland Islanders worried. The Falklands have been in British hands since 1833 but Argentina has waged a diplomatic battle -- that spilled into economic and then actual warfare -- since the 1960s to try to gain control of the archipelago. Argentine troops invaded the windswept islands for 74 days in 1982, before Britain swiftly defeated them.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:15:58 -0400
  • Police: Gang member confesses in mass shooting at festival

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    A 20-year-old gang member has confessed to being one of two shooters in a gunfight that turned a lively summer community festival in Brooklyn into a blood-drenched nightmare, police said Thursday. One person died and 11 were wounded when Kyle Williams and a second, yet-unidentified gunman opened fire, possibly on each other, during the Brownsville neighborhood's annual Old Timers Day celebration July 27, police said. Police arrested Williams on Wednesday and he confessed to the shooting during questioning, Deputy Chief Michael Kemper said.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:36:50 -0400
  • Cop gets 8-hour suspension for pushing suspect off roof

    Golocal247.com news

    After another officer told him to push a suspect off of a roof, Officer Plenio Massiah did – and it was caught on a body camera

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 03:53:10 -0400
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg Drops Fundraiser Tied to Laquan McDonald Coverup

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    REUTERSMayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign announced Friday that the co-host of a controversial campaign fundraiser was dropping out amid sharp public criticism over the role he played in delaying the release of a video of an infamous 2014 shooting death of a black teenage boy.The would-be co-host, Steve Patton, is a former Chicago city attorney who pushed to withhold video depicting the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald until after a contentious mayoral runoff election, more than a year after a judge had ordered the video to be released. Patton already donated $5,600 to Buttigieg in June—a donation that the South Bend mayor’s campaign said it would be returning. “Transparency and justice for Laquan McDonald is more important than a campaign contribution,” Chris Meagher, the Buttigieg campaign’s national press secretary, told The Daily Beast. “We are returning the money he contributed to the campaign and the money he has collected. He is no longer a co-host for the event and will not be attending.”Patton’s role in the Friday fundraiser, first reported by the Associated Press, prompted sharp criticism of Buttigieg, including from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the city’s most prominent civil rights leader, who called on the Democratic nominee to “adjust his schedule.”Buttigieg’s campaign had initially declined to comment on the story, directing the Associated Press to his “Douglass Plan” to end systemic racism.Buttigieg, who is struggling in the polls among black voters, has had difficulty trying to reconcile his sweeping proposals for deconstructing structural racism with his record as the mayor, where he fired the city’s first black police chief and has conceded that he has failed in diversifying the city’s law enforcement. South Bend’s police department is 90 percent white while the city itself is 27 percent black.In June, Buttigieg left the campaign trail following the shooting death of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer. At a town hall discussing the shooting, Buttigieg was heckled by angry South Bend residents who demanded that he focus on the city’s problems with racism in its police force rather than his run for the White House.“I just want you to know that we’re not running from this,” Buttigieg said at the time. “Of course I’m upset. A man died in this city at the hands of one of the people in charge of protecting the city.”Other president campaigns were quick to jump on Patton’s participation in the fundraiser as evidence of misplaced priorities. Rob Flaherty, digital director for Buttigieg rival Beto O’Rourke, tweeted that it was “good to see that despite The Pete Pivot, he’s remaining consistent on some things.”According to Federal Election Commission filings, Patton donated $2,700 to O’Rourke’s 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:10:30 -0400
  • Trump Has a New Punching Bag at Fox News

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    (Bloomberg) -- On Oct. 13, Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” grilled Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about the administration’s response to the growing Ukraine scandal. That night, President Donald Trump jumped on Twitter and compared Wallace unfavorably to his late father.“Somebody please explain to Chris Wallace of Fox, who will never be his father (and my friend), Mike Wallace, that the Phone Conversation I had with the President of Ukraine was a congenial & good one,” Trump tweeted.Expect much more of the same to follow.Two days earlier, Shepard Smith, whose tough and factual reporting style often drew the ire of Trump and his supporters,  abruptly left the network. For years, Smith served not only as Fox News’ premier breaking news anchor but also as the most prominent banner carrier for the network’s team of straight-news reporters. His abdication positions Wallace as his natural successor.It’s a role guaranteed to attract fire. Trump has made it clear that he doesn’t appreciate it when his favorite TV channel exposes its viewers to unflattering news about him.Smith’s departure also makes Wallace more important than ever to the network, which relies on the credibility of its news division to counter criticism about its Trump-friendly prime-time hosts.“Smith leaving is a big deal” because Wallace can’t do it on his own, said Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, which monitors newscasts. To be considered a legitimate news outlet, “you can’t just point to one person.”Fox News says Wallace is just one of many respected journalists at the network who have confronted members of the Trump administration, including Bret Baier, Neil Cavuto and Martha MacCallum. But Wallace’s tough interviews, especially with Republicans, have been shared on social media and cited by other news outlets, reinforcing the notion that Fox News is feeding viewers more than just conservative talking points.While Smith appeared on Fox News every weekday, Wallace’s show only airs on Sundays, making him a less regular presence to viewers. (Wallace will join a rotating cast of news anchors filling in for Smith’s vacated 3 p.m. hour until the network names a permanent replacement.)“Chris becomes the next voice of realism at Fox News, but I’m not sure that he replaces Shep,” said Conor Powell, a former Fox News foreign correspondent. “Chris is a really good interviewer and plays an important role. But he only has one show once a week. Shep was on every day.”Wallace’s contract keeps him at Fox News through the 2020 election. His journalistic credibility is also good for business, helping Fox News host presidential debates, attract advertisers and charge distributors like Comcast Corp. higher fees to carry the network.“If it turns out you’re not a news organization anymore, you lose bargaining leverage with cable operators,” Tyndall said.“That’s been their mantra for decades: ‘We’re a real news organization. We have Shep Smith and Chris Wallace.’”Wallace, 72, was praised in 2016 for his performance moderating a presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump. More recently, he’s gained attention for pushing back on explanations from the White House. He described responses by Trump aide Stephen Miller as “an exercise in obfuscation” and said Trump’s backers had been “deeply misleading.”Wallace calls himself an “equal opportunity inquisitor” and has said that he has the full support of Fox News executives.His father, Mike Wallace, was one of the original correspondents for “60 Minutes” on CBS. He died in 2012.Mike passed down his confrontational, devil-may-care gene to his son, said Jonathan Klein, a former president of CNN’s U.S. network.“Chris plows ahead and does what he thinks is right,” Klein said. “It serves Fox News viewers well because Chris knows they deserve to hear the truth.”The late Fox News founder Roger Ailes hired seasoned journalists like Wallace because he thought it would deflect criticism of the network’s right-leaning opinion hosts, Klein said.“That’s been their mantra for decades: ‘We’re a real news organization. We have Shep Smith and Chris Wallace,’” Klein said. “But these days I’m not sure how much they care about that. Their brand has morphed.”Fox News executives say they are investing more in journalism, a push that includes hiring new reporters, opening a high-tech studio and launching a news program at 11 p.m.Trump has attacked Wallace before. In May, he complained that Wallace complimented Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, tweeting, “I like Mike Wallace better.”At a recent event during Advertising Week, Wallace reacted to Trump’s comparison: “One of us has a daddy problem, and it’s not me.”To contact the author of this story: Gerry Smith in New York at gsmith233@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, Felix GilletteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 05:00:27 -0400
  • Golocal247.com news

    Prince William and wife Kate leave Pakistan, day after aborted flight

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:39:48 -0400
  • A woman sues San Antonio after a police officer pulled out her tampon in public

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    The city of San Antonio will vote this week on a proposed settlement that would award a woman $205,000, after she accused a police officer of inappropriately searching her and pulling out her tampon in public.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 19:52:33 -0400
  • View Photos of the 2020 Porsche Macan Turbo

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:29:00 -0400
  • Plane collides with pickup truck while landing, pilot killed

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    Witnesses reported the airplane was at an altitude of just 5 feet as it crossed a county road near the airstrip and struck a pickup truck.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 19:07:52 -0400
  • Income Inequality Has Soared While Taxes Have Become Dramatically Less Progressive . . . or Not

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    The truth gets its boots on pretty quickly in the Internet age. On October 6, the New York Times ran a piece broadcasting the striking claims made by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman in the new book The Triumph of Injustice. Just a couple of weeks later, it’s clear that these claims are built atop a foundation of often questionable and sometimes indefensible assumptions.Per Saez and Zucman, while the rich have been pulling in more and more of the nation’s income — grabbing about a fifth of it now, double what they got a few decades back — they’re paying lower and lower tax rates. Indeed, in 2018, the richest 400 Americans paid the lowest overall tax rate (including state, local, and federal taxes) of any income group. While the very richest Americans in 1950 paid two-thirds of their income in taxes, in 2018 it was down below a quarter; even the full top 0.1 percent barely pay more than the bottom 90 percent these days. It’s not that much of an exaggeration to say we have a flat tax system, not a progressive one.The debunkings came from everywhere: a Twitter thread by Journal of Public Economics editor Wojtek Kopczuk, an article by the economic historian Phil Magness, an academic response from the economist David Splinter, a report from the Republican side of the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC), a traditional book review in Le Grand Continent, and more.Let’s take the two claims, rising inequality and rich people paying low tax rates, in turn. Both of these problems are probably overstated, in the latter case quite dramatically, in Saez and Zucman’s numbers. And I say “probably” only because no one writing about these trends should pretend that even the best estimates are much more than guesswork, and necessarily so, because the data here are spotty and there are legitimate disagreements over what should even count as income and tax payments.The alleged rise of income inequality was recently the focus of some congressional hearings about the government’s plan to start reporting more data on the topic, as well as an extensive but readable summary of the academic literature from the JEC Republicans. You might think this would be an easy question to answer, whether the rich are pulling away from the rest of us, because the IRS can tell you how much income people report to the government. But — I hope you’re sitting down — not all income is reported to the government. And that’s only the first big obstacle to measuring inequality accurately.We know from the “national accounts,” the data we use to monitor overall economic activity, approximately how much money goes unreported overall. But to account for the missing money while measuring inequality, we need to know how much unreported income goes specifically to the rich versus the poor, and that is hard to do. Splinter, for example, argues that Saez and Zucman use a method that gives too much of this income to the rich; Splinter’s own approach relies on data from IRS audits and gives more of it to folks down the income scale.If your eyes are glazing over, I have bad news: As the JEC report details, this is only the first of many technical decisions researchers must make that affect the results. Should we worry about income inequality before or after taxes are taken out? Should we include governmental transfers as income? Should we analyze married couples together or separately, bearing in mind the decline of marriage in recent decades, especially among the poor? How to handle corporate profits that are retained rather than given out to shareholders? How to handle stocks that have grown in value but have not been sold?The JEC report provides a remarkable buffet of options to anyone wanting to find a study to cite in favor of a preferred narrative, with the general pattern being that Saez and Zucman’s work is on the high end. By all accounts, pre-tax income has become more concentrated at the top, though this trend is more dramatic in some estimates than others. But the share of post-tax income going to the top 1 percent may have risen only from 7.2 to 8.5 percent from 1979 to 2015.If it’s hard to tell how much money people make, it’s even harder to calculate their total tax rates, which requires you to know not only their income but also their payments to several levels of government. Once again the IRS is very helpful when it comes to what’s reported to the federal government, but then you also have to estimate how much money people across the income spectrum spend on state income taxes, sales and property taxes, etc. It’s no easy task.And here too, beyond problems with the basic data, there are arguments over what to include. A big one — a way that The Triumph of Injustice departs even from its authors’ own previous work — has to do with the tax on corporate profits. Since corporations are just legal entities, they don’t really pay these taxes; people do. And there’s a lot of debate over how much of this tax burden falls on corporate shareholders, as opposed to other folks, including workers and customers, who tend to be less wealthy and might benefit if the government didn’t take this money. Faced with this conundrum, the right-leaning Tax Foundation will point to studies showing “that labor bears between 50 and 100 percent of the burden of the corporate income tax,” while the left-leaning Tax Policy Center assigns 60 percent of the burden to shareholders, 20 percent to capital in general (because the corporate tax has spillover effects for other forms of capital), and 20 percent to labor.Saez and Zucman’s approach? To assume the entire corporate tax falls on shareholders, and to make this clear only after their number-crunching has been reported as fact in the national media. As the economist Tyler Cowen put it in a scathing post, “no Western fiscal authority I have heard of thinks of tax incidence in these terms.” And as this animation from Kopczuk shows, this new assumption largely explains a big change in the trend for rich people’s taxes even relative to Saez and Zucman’s own approach in a recent paper with Thomas Piketty:> So why is sky falling in the S-Z book? Recall this animation. There are just two changes of relevance here. One is corporate tax incidence. This is what turns very mild decline in progressivity into rapid drop. The other somewhat important one is treatment of capital gains pic.twitter.com/vOQchHMGAY> > -- Wojtek Kopczuk (@wwwojtekk) October 15, 2019There are other points too at which anyone making a chart like this needs to make decisions about what to include as taxes, and for whom. For instance, what are we to make of “refundable” income-tax credits that are paid even to people with no income-tax liability to offset? Should we treat those as offsetting the other taxes that people pay, which after all is one of their purposes? Or should we just classify them as outright transfers, not part of the tax system at all? Unsurprisingly, Saez and Zucman do not include them, because they would boost income and thereby reduce taxes as a percentage of income for the poor.As with inequality, we can point to other sources of data on tax progressivity to show that Saez and Zucman are an outlier. Splinter’s response illustrates this, and so does this from Jason Furman, who headed the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers:> The standard data shows that the tax system is overall progressive. This chart combines CBO estimates for federal taxes with ITEP estimates for state & local taxes. Federal income taxes highly progressive, when you add in payroll/state/local/etc. is still progressive but less so. pic.twitter.com/WTOgm58Fyo> > -- Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) October 7, 2019At every step of the way, Saez and Zucman made decisions that skewed the income distribution toward the top and the tax burden away from it. You can have a reasonable debate about the best way to analyze these data and what they say about our tax policies. But it does no one any favors to treat these estimates as established fact, the way the New York Times did.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:00:58 -0400
  • Activists angry police who shoot can wait to face questions

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    After a police officer fatally shoots someone, it can take days or even weeks before the public or his supervisors hear the officer's version of what happened. In many states, that so-called cooling off period is carved out in state law or in a police department's contract. Law enforcement officials and experts say officers need to be able to collect their thoughts, so they don't provide details that are tainted by the trauma of the shooting.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:23:18 -0400
  • See This Plane? It Was Suppose to Turn Aircraft Carriers into Scrap Metal

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    As in make them obsolete--but the carrier remains. Here is what happened.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 04:23:00 -0400
  • Ousted Communist leader Zhao Ziyang is buried: family

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    Former Chinese Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang — who was ousted after opposing the use of force to quell 1989 democracy protests — was buried on Friday more than a decade after his death, said his family. Zhao, who is a revered figure among Chinese human rights defenders, is still a sensitive topic in the country, where commemorations of his death are held under tight surveillance or prevented altogether. There was no mention of his burial ceremony on state media, and searching for his name on social media returned no results.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:55:07 -0400
  • Mystery traders 'made $1.8bn from stock bet' placed hours before Trump tweeted talks with China were ‘back on track’

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    */Unknown actors may have made billions from the turmoil Donald Trump has created in the markets through erratic tweets, shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy, and the trade war with China, according to a new report.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 16:16:20 -0400
  • Amazon fish wears nature's 'bullet-proof vest' to thwart piranhas

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    One of the world's largest freshwater fish is protected by the natural equivalent of a "bullet-proof vest," helping it thrive in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River basin with flexible armor-like scales able to withstand ferocious piranha attacks. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday described the unique structure and impressive properties of the dermal armor of the fish, called Arapaima gigas.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 11:08:35 -0400
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