17 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-12-19

  1. Birds of a feather…..


    “Jeffrey Epstein Moved Freely in Hollywood Circles Even After 2008 Conviction”

    “The billionaire, arrested July 6 for sex trafficking of minors, attended high-profile events like the ‘Batman v Superman’ premiere and frequented Oscar season parties even as the #MeToo movement took down other powerful figures.
    On March 20, 2016, guests at Warner Bros.’ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice premiere in New York began whispering about one man mingling among the A-list crowd. No, it wasn’t the film’s Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill, or Affleck’s hulking bodyguard, who almost knocked over the studio’s former marketing head Sue Kroll as the VIP area became too crowded.

    The surprised looks were aimed at Jeffrey Epstein, who was being introduced to guests by New York society doyenne Peggy Siegal. When a Warners executive was asked at the time how a highly recognizable level-three registered sex offender landed the hottest ticket in town, the executive offered no comment.

    As Epstein’s July 6 arrest for sex trafficking of minors in New York and Florida dominates headlines, news outlets have focused on the billionaire’s ties to powerful government officials, including presidents Clinton and Trump. Equally troubling are Epstein’s long-cultivated relationships within Hollywood and New York media circles, where he moved with ease well after his high-profile 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14.

    After serving a 13-month sentence and a subsequent year of house arrest in Palm Beach, Florida, Epstein in late 2010 hosted a dinner party in honor of his friend Prince Andrew at his 71st Street mansion in New York. Among the 15 to 20 guests, the New York Post reported at the time, were Katie Couric, Charlie Rose, Woody Allen, Chelsea Handler and George Stephanopoulos. (A source close to Couric tells THR it was her first and last encounter with Epstein.) Lasagna was served, and Epstein led his guests on a tour of the house; he was wearing jeans and velvet Stubbs & Wootton slippers. Multiple sources say the event was organized by Siegal, who presented it as an opportunity to meet the prince at the largest single-family dwelling in New York City. Given that it was less than two months after Kate Middleton and Prince William’s engagement, interest in the royals was running high. Multiple guests who now decline to speak on the record noted the optics of attending such an event did not raise an eyebrow, in part because the invite came from Siegal. Siegal declined comment.

    Even in the post-#MeToo era, Epstein, 66, frequently attended industry events, like the Gotham Awards in November 2017. Amid a climate where figures including Harvey Weinstein and CBS’ Leslie Moonves had instantly become persona non grata for alleged misconduct, Epstein had been convicted and still enjoyed film-world access. As he traveled behind the velvet rope with ease, his alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell was also embraced. At the time of Epstein’s conviction, Maxwell was not charged thanks to a highly controversial nonprosecution agreement.”


  2. The monster hiding in plain sight.



    “A 2002 New York magazine feature on Epstein has also been recirculating. It’s the one that contains the following Donald Trump quote: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Meanwhile, New York has also drawn attention for an Epstein story that it didn’t publish—by Michael Wolff, who “made some agreement that all fact questions would go through Epstein and only Epstein,” according to the fact-checker assigned to the piece, who described the situation on Twitter. “NY Mag’s lawyers weren’t thrilled about a story that alleged various rich and potentially litigious men socialized with a sexual predator without any proof or calling them for comment.”

    Epstein had been part of an investor group, along with Zuckerman, Nelson Peltz, Harvey Weinstein, and Donny Deutsch, that had tried to buy New York in 2003, with Maer Roshan as the favorite for their editor in chief. Their bid fell short, and Roshan then convinced Epstein and Zuckerman to invest instead in Radar, which he’d founded a year earlier. The magazine had run out of money, but the duo pledged $25 million, and Radar got a second wind.

    Roshan, who is currently the editor of Los Angeles magazine, recalled his dealings with Epstein from back then, before the first sex-abuse allegations became public. He remembers visiting Epstein’s townhouse to present the first print edition of Radar when it came out in 2005. He was dumbfounded by the mansion’s hyperbolic decor—a bearskin rug complete with bear head, an enormous photograph of a random baby. “The whole place was kind of dark and surreal,” Roshan remembers. “There was a security guard in the corner. The whole thing lasted half an hour. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”

    After three issues, Zuckerman and Epstein abruptly shut Radar down. At the time, Zuckerman, who’d previously described Radar as a long-term investment, attributed the closure to a lack of advertising, but that explanation never sat well with Roshan, who couldn’t understand why they’d pulled the plug so quickly after such an expensive and high-profile launch. “No one could quite figure out why, after just three issues, after putting all that money in, they would suddenly abandon the project,” said Roshan. “Our advertising revenue and circulation was far ahead of projections.”

    However, when news of Epstein’s first arrest in 2006 came out, it all began to make sense. “When you look at the sequence of events, it’s clear that the police first approached Epstein at some point during the Radar rollout,” said Roshan. “It’s not surprising that Mort would want to distance himself from that partnership as quickly as possible.” (Roshan’s last interaction with Epstein came a couple years later, during Radar’s third and final incarnation—backed by Ron Burkle—when Epstein called Roshan to complain about Radar’s coverage of its former co-owner’s sex lawsuits.)”


  3. Petard, hoisted.



    “Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz played an audio clip of a top Democrat laughing at and denying the existence of a border crisis when a lawmaker called it “offensive” to claim the Democratic Party was in denial about the issue.

    “The gentlelady from Texas in her prior claim of time said it was ‘offensive’ to assert that Democrats were in denial about the crisis on the border,” Gaetz began Thursday during a House Judiciary committee hearing involving the humanitarian emergency taking place at the southern border.

    “I would invite my Democratic colleagues to go to my official Twitter account where I have posted an interview from January 9, 2019, it was on CNN, not exactly a hostile network for you folks, and it’s, well, let me just play what the question was and it’s Jim Clyburn, the Democratic whip, answering the question,” the Florida Republican continued.”


  4. Flooding the system.

    Your school taxes are going up, like the illegal population. And because of the illegal population……


    “Illegal immigrant population to surge 10% this year, flood schools”

    “The continued surge of Latin American illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border will lead to hundreds of thousands being released into the country, increasing the already massive population of migrants by some 10%, according to a new analysis.

    “We anticipate more than 700,000 migrants will successfully enter the country, increasing the unauthorized Hispanic population by nearly 10%,” said the influential Princeton Policy Advisors.

    What’s more, wrote the group’s president Steve Kopits in a memo provided to Secrets, “By year end, nearly 300,000 migrant children are expected to enter the U.S. Over time, these will show up in the U.S. public school system.”


  5. This bunch has been hoisted by their own IPhones.


    “Hate Crime Students Ratted Out By Their Own Phones”

    “This is a disturbing story, but one with a grimly humorous twist at the end. It deals with an incident of racist and antisemitic graffiti being sprayed all over a high school, this time at Glenelg High School, in Howard County, Maryland. The incident took place one year ago, the night before graduation in 2018, but now that the full investigation is complete, more details have emerged.

    Unlike some of the fake hate crime hoaxes we’ve seen in the past, this one was very real. Four white seniors decided to pull a “senior prank” by taking cans of black spray paint and tagging the school with more than one hundred samples of their “art” which included swastikas, the n-word and more. Knowing there were security cameras on the premises, the boys wore masks over their faces. But they forgot one important detail.

    Do you have your cell phone set up to automatically log into your home or office wi-fi? The school had one of those wi-fi systems also. (Washington Post)

    Eventually they were told: The school’s WiFi system requires students to use individual IDs to get online. After they log in once, their phones automatically connect whenever they are on campus.

    At 11:35 p.m. on May 23, the students’ IDs began auto-connecting to the WiFi. It took only a few clicks to find out exactly who was beneath those T-shirt masks.

    “You have the right to remain silent,” an officer said to Seth before long. “Anything you say or do . . . ”

    So these geniuses showed up shortly before midnight to go on a graffiti spree without remembering that their phones were all set to automatically log in to the school’s wi-fi system to save on data when they got within range. And each student had to have their own account to log in. At that time of night, they were the only ones on the property so it wasn’t going to require Sherlock Holmes to break this case.”


    This is where we point and laugh…… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cleaning up other presidents’ messes……


    “Trump’s policies on Iran, North Korea and Russia are cleaning up messes left by Obama, Bush and Clinton

    Business as usual has strengthened our enemies for decades. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try.”

    “That clattering noise you’ve been hearing for years is the sound of previous U.S. presidents, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama, kicking cans down the road for someone else to pick up. Now, a heavyset older man with orange hair has set about collecting them — not to recycle for another president, but to ensure no future U.S. leader will trip over them.

    Critics describe President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as a muddled, unpredictable collection of impulses, with the one organizing principle being the coddling of like-minded, ruthless dictators. But there is, in fact, a defining diplomatic strategy: He is cleaning up the messes left by his predecessors.

    Trump, regularly derided as the most irresponsible of presidents, is actually taking ownership of the most terrifying problems the country faces and trying to solve them in a direct way that his recent predecessors avoided.

    With respect to Iran, China, North Korea and even Russia, Trump is taking tough stances. He is getting cozy with dictators because the man who considers himself an artist of the deal understands that those are the people he must strike bargains with.

    Under Trump, China has finally been recognized as a long-term strategic opponent and potential enemy, rather than a nation of billions yearning for democracy. Capitalism has indeed taken hold in China — though without economic nor political liberalization. Instead, authoritarian China is using its newfound riches to expand its economic, political and military influence.”


    “Trump is actually taking ownership of the most terrifying problems the country faces and trying to solve them in a direct way that his recent predecessors avoided.”


  7. I could care less whether she did or didn’t step on a flag. There’s already plenty of evidence telling us who she is, and it’s not pretty.


    “Everyone’s new soccer hero Megan Rapinoe is actually kind of awful”

    “She’s chic, fiery, and really darn good at soccer. Is it any wonder that everybody loves Megan Rapinoe?

    The soccer star and U.S. women’s national team captain has become a celebrity after guiding her team to yet another Women’s World Cup win on Sunday. Amid endless fanfare, she has received a glowing feature in the Washington Post, modeled for Sports Illustrated, and become a viral sensation. One article in the Week even endorsed her for president.

    There’s just one problem: She’s actually kind of an awful person. Rapinoe has soccer skills for sure, but her entitled, flippant, and unpatriotic attitude is the epitome of first-world privilege.

    Let’s start with the facts: She’s a celebrity, a lesbian icon, and a millionaire. But according to Rapinoe, she’s an oppressed victim of sexism, apparently. She has been at the forefront of the fake outrage and demands for “equal pay” compared to the men’s soccer team. She has even encouraged the public shaming of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer.

    Rapinoe is too drunk on political correctness and her own celebrity to acknowledge the inconvenient reality that viewership for the men’s World Cup, win or lose, vastly outweighs that of the women’s tournament. For reference, it’s estimated that 1 billion people will have watched the 2019 Women’s World Cup, but the 2018 men’s World Cup reached 3.6 billion.”


    “Also, we’re always expected to leave this out, but the gulf in physical competition between men’s and women’s soccer is truly immense. Just two years ago, the world’s uncontested best women’s national team, our own, lost very badly to a team of boys under age 15, from the academy of a middling professional team in a mediocre (although rapidly improving) men’s professional soccer league. The gap in talent is going to be reflected in both viewership and in pay structures, but Rapinoe can only gain in celebrity victimhood by pretending these disparities aren’t important. Why not stir up the maximum possible baseless outrage?

    Beyond the embarrassing exercise in self-victimhood, Rapinoe’s personality is marred by her lack of appreciation for the country that has given her the chance to rise so far and achieve so much. She has turned the women’s historic World Cup win into a political pissing match, when it could have been a bipartisan moment of unity for the country. When asked, Rapinoe said, “I’m not going to the —-ing White House.” Plus, she has repeatedly knelt for the national anthem and said, “I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.””


    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Rapinoe is a bad role model for the millions of young women across the country. They look up to her and see not a disciplined, respectful sports icon, but a groundlessly bitter, petulant celebrity who is totally ungrateful for the opportunities she’s had. As Marc Thiessen put it for the New York Post, “Megan Rapinoe is a great — but needlessly, selfishly divisive — athlete.”

    This truth has, unfortunately, been largely lost in the post-victory fanfare. Everyone should be happy the U.S. women’s team once again proved its excellence on the international stage, but we must not forget that Rapinoe is not someone worth celebrating.”


  8. Probably for the best.


    “Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns amid pressure from Jeffrey Epstein sex traffic case”

    Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said Friday he will resign amid controversy over the way he handled a sex crimes case against wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago when he was U.S. attorney for southern Florida.

    Acosta made the announcement to reporters while standing next to President Donald Trump outside the White House. Trump said that Acosta had called him Friday morning, and that it was Acosta’s decision to quit.”


  9. I may have to switch. This is loooooong overdue. 🙂


    “AT&T Plans to Automatically Block Robocalls in ‘Coming Months’

    More than 4.3 billion robocalls, both legal and illegal, went out last month.”

    “When we revisited our AT&T Uverse plan, my husband and I decided to cut the landline we have had for over 20 years. We chose this route because we didn’t want to spend $20/month for robocalls that always rang. The pitches were wide-ranging: Solar panels, timeshares, carpet cleaning. My favorites were the “IRS agents” with foreign accents who were going to jail me for tax fraud.

    Now, AT&T will soon become the first U.S. carrier to automatically block robocalls following an FCC ruling that enabled the company to expand its efforts to fight back against spam callers.

    The company said that it will initiate the service automatically “over the coming months” and that customers will receive a text message notifying them it has been activated. New AT&T customers will have the service initiated by default and can opt out.

    The wireless carrier is able to expand its Call Protect service because of a June ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that allows carriers to provide call blocking on an “opt-out” basis, the company said.

    “The commission’s recent action builds on a years-long effort to enable broader adoption of call-blocking tools and allow providers to better protect their customers and networks,” the company said in a statement. “AT&T remains committed to working with our government and industry partners in the ongoing battle against unwanted and illegal robocalls.”

    Industry data show that more than 4.3 billion robocalls, both legal and illegal, were placed last month.

    Robocall blocking uses algorithms and network scanning to identify unwanted calls, similar to how email providers scan for spam messages.
    AT&T’s service will attempt to block fraudulent calls and alert customers when a call may be spam. It will be available on all new lines and added in the coming months to existing customer lines. Those customers will be notified by text when the service is active.

    The company already provided call blocking to mobile customers who downloaded the AT&T Call Protect app or opted in via their account settings. Landline customers had also been able to opt in. Now, AT&T customers will only have to opt out via their account settings if they don’t wish to have calls blocked.

    If you thought the number of robocalls had increased recently, you would be right.”


  10. I already appreciate the AT&T warnings that I’m getting a ‘fake’ call on my cell.

    Meanwhile in California


    Utility customers will pay $10.5 billion for California wildfire costs under bill sent to Newsom

    LA Times
    JUL 11, 2019

    Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign legislation Friday to overhaul how the state pays for utility wildfire damage — a complex bill the governor championed and moved swiftly through the California Legislature this week at Wall Street’s urging.

    The bill’s passage was a political victory for the governor, but some questioned whether California leaders were just making a down payment for wildfire costs that will skyrocket if more isn’t done to prevent ever-larger blazes. …

    … An analysis shows that PG&E residential customers could expect their bills to double within eight years if recent wildfire trends continue and state laws go unchanged, said Steven Weissman, a lecturer at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Weissman said that similar increases could fall on Edison customers and that San Diego Gas & Electric Co., if faced with similar liability, could see rates rise even faster.


  11. Another one bites the dust. Good. And again, long overdue.


    “R. Kelly Indicted on Federal Kidnapping, Racketeering and Child Sex-Related Charges in NYC; Separate New Charges Also Filed in Chicago”

    “R&B singer R. Kelly has been federally charged with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child in a sweeping New York indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Friday, hours after prosecutors filed a 13-count federal indictment charging him with new sex crimes in Chicago.

    The five-count superseding indictment (read it below) unsealed in 18 pages of court documents alleges Kelly and members of his entourage recruited women and girls to “engage in illegal sexual activity with the singer.

    It says Kelly and his managers, bodyguards and other assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. They also set rules the women and girls had to follow, including not leaving their rooms — even to eat or go to the bathroom — without Kelly’s permission, calling the singer “Daddy,” and not looking at other men, the indictment alleges. Kelly is the only individual named in the indictment. ”

    The indictment alleges that the criminal acts occurred over two decades dating back to 1999, both in the U.S. and overseas. It accuses Kelly of engaging in sexual acts with girls under 18 and without disclosing that he had a sexually transmitted disease. It also accuses him of producing child pornography, including by asking minors to send him photographs.

    “Today that comes to an end,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “This indictment makes clear that neither fame, power nor status will not shield from prosecution predators who victimize members of our communities for their own sexual gratification.””


  12. T-Mobile also lets me know a call is likely spam, but it displays the number and location so I can agree or not.

    I then go to “recent calls” and block the number.

    I’m thankful.

    Now waiting for my landline to do the same. If you’re calling me and I don’t answer, leave a message.


  13. Assessing Trump’s foreign policy is a little bizarre. North Korea has weird results….he’s personally invested in his relationship with Kim so its difficult for him to be skeptical or critical.

    He messed up Iran….Obama essentially cleaned up 30 years of mistakes. Trump went back in time and without the carrot Obana used….the frozen assets. And Trump has no EU support. It’s probably his worse mistake.

    As for China, the jury is out. Its difficult to win with China since there are competing interests and strategy. The best that can be said is he didnt make it worse.


  14. I haven’t had a landline in 10 years. It’s only been the last two three years that I’ve received robocalls and telemarketer calls. I don’t answer my phone unless I know who it is. Most people text anyway and my phone is on vibrate all the time. I’m surprised robocalls and telemarketing still exists. I don’t know anyone under 50 who answers a phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The phone number is displayed on my TV set. If I don’t recognize it, I don’t answer. It rings four times, then stops. If it’s my area code, I may answer it. But after I say, “Hello” I give them three seconds, then hang up. If you answer, it takes them a couple of seconds to see who is answering. People who intentionally call you speak up immediately.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Yes, that odd ‘pause’ is the dead giveaway.

    Their latest trick is to use your same prefix when they call you — making the number “look” like it is familiar to you. But that’s also a dead giveaway. I also block the bad/bogus numbers, but I’m not sure what good that really does as they just get new numbers for next time.


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