Weekend Dec. 7-8-9

JAIL TO THE CHIEF?

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”
Rep. Adam Schiff
as reported by The Hill


Look out below! The financial bubble in one chart

central-bank-balance-sheets-209-trillion-2018-12-05

If you can’t clearly see how the above chart explains the massive price inflation over the past years in stocks, bonds and real estate, you’ll have no chance of understanding what’s coming next.  Best of luck to everyone choosing to avoid paying attention to this critical information.
Zero Hedge

NY Times: White House zombie Kushner advised murderous Saudi prince on “how to weather the storm.”
— They’re text buddies, of course, and on a first-name basis.


typewriter-realnews-line


Suspicion: Russian bot conspiracy helped kill Net Neutrality 
Buzzfeed
— The Justice Department is investigating whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people’s identities were posted to the FCC’s website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules, BuzzFeed News has learned.
— Two organizations told BuzzFeed News, each on condition that they not be named, that the FBI delivered subpoenas to them related to the comments.

China kinda pissed, wants its arrested exec freed
CBS News
— China summoned the Canadian ambassador to protest the detention of a top executive of leading Chinese tech giant Huawei, calling it “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature” and warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is being held in Vancouver last Saturday and faces extradition to the U.S., where she could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.


FRENCH REVOLUTION?


From the UK Telegraph:

It’s street riots in Paris … tear gas … hundreds arrested.
France24

Yellow-vest protests grow in Belgium, Netherlands
AP
>>> London cops prepare for riots over “Brexit Betrayal” march

champs-elysees-first-clash_0


Dem senators demand probe of sweetheart deal for billionaire child rapist
NY Daily News
— Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually molesting dozens of girls — some as young as 14 — faced up to life in prison before his legal team hammered out the generous agreement in 2008, which landed him in Palm Beach County Jail for only 13 months, with work-release privileges.

Heading for the worst case scenario: President Traitor
Wired
— Mueller’s court filings, when coupled with other investigative reporting, paint a picture of how the Russian government, through various trusted-but-deniable intermediaries, conducted a series of “approaches” over the course of the spring of 2016 to determine, as Wittes says, whether “this is a guy you can do business with.”
— The answer, from everyone in Trumpland—from Michael Cohen in January 2016, from George Papadopoulos in spring 2016, from Donald Trump, Jr. in June 2016, from Michael Flynn in December 2016—appears to have been an unequivocal “yes.”

Humpty-Trumpty was playing with the Russkies all along
AP
— President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was in touch as far back as 2015 with a Russian who offered “political synergy” with the Trump election campaign and proposed a meeting between the candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the special counsel said Friday.
— Court filings from prosecutors in New York and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office lay out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggest the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Trump and his campaign by playing to both his political aspirations and his personal business interests.

Prosecutors say Trump directed illegal payments during campaign
MSN/NY Times
— Federal prosecutors said on Friday that President Trump directed illegal payments to ward off a potential sex scandal that threatened his chances of winning the White House in 2016, putting the weight of the Justice Department behind accusations previously made by his former lawyer.
— The lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, had said that as the election neared, Mr. Trump directed payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Mr. Trump. But in a new memo arguing for a prison term for Mr. Cohen, prosecutors in Manhattan said he “acted in coordination and at the direction of” an unnamed individual, clearly referring to Mr. Trump.
— In another filing, prosecutors for the special counsel investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference said an unnamed Russian offered Mr. Cohen “government level” synergy between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign in November 2015. That was months earlier than other approaches detailed in indictments secured by prosecutors.
— And in a separate case on Friday, the special counsel accused Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, of lying about his contacts with an individual they accuse of ties to Russian intelligence, and about his interactions with Trump administration officials after he was indicted on criminal charges.
— Together, the filings laid bare the most direct evidence to date linking Mr. Trump to potentially criminal conduct, and added to an already substantial case that Russia was seeking to sway the 2016 election in his favor.
— Mr. Trump sought on Friday to dismiss the news, wrongly claiming it “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”

“Friendly Fire” Killed Sheriff’s Sergeant At Thousand Oaks, Calif., Shooting Scene
NPR
— When Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer responded to a shooting last month in Thousand Oaks, Calif., they faced a barrage of gunfire from a suspect.
— But officials announced Friday that the sergeant’s fatal wound was a result of a shot fired by his fellow law enforcement officer.

American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned
Wall Street Journal
SHANGHAI—Fifteen years ago in California, a tall technology geek named Steve Mushero started writing a book that predicted the American dream might soon “be found only in China.” Before long, Mr. Mushero moved himself to Shanghai and launched a firm thatAmazon.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. certified as a partner to serve the world’s biggest internet market.
— These days, the tech pioneer has hit a wall. He’s heading back to Silicon Valley where he sees deeper demand for his know-how in cloud computing. “The future’s not here,” said the 52-year-old.
— For years, American entrepreneurs saw a place in which they would start tech businesses, build restaurant chains and manage factories, making potentially vast sums in an exciting, newly dynamic economy. Many mastered Mandarin, hired and trained thousands in China, bought houses, met their spouses and raised bilingual children.
— Now disillusion has set in, fed by soaring costs, creeping taxation, tightening political control and capricious regulation that makes it ever tougher to maneuver the market and fend off new domestic competitors. All these signal to expat business owners their best days were in the past.

More secrets leak from Mk-Ultra, CIA’s secret, illegal mind control project
The Sun
— DISTURBING details of secret mind-control experiments carried out by the CIA have been revealed in newly released documents – that officials have been trying to hide for decades.
— The new documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal how the CIA experimented on both humans and animals using drugs, hypnosis and electronic devices as part of the top secret – and illegal – mind control project MKUltra.
— Shockingly the swathes of information still missing or redacted in the records could mean the CIA is STILL carrying out the experiments to this day, according to experts.
— One document details how the CIA planned to drug “criminals awaiting trial held in a prison hospital ward” in a bid to develop “improved techniques in drug interrogation”.
— Another document details the CIA’s interest in developing ways to cause amnesia in humans using experiments “no matter how weird, inconclusive or unusual”.
— It goes on to detail how they were looking to find ways of developing hypnotic speaking techniques which would control the minds of “large audiences” and “heighten group susceptibility”.

What we know about the alleged ballot tampering plot in North Carolina
Vox
— Republican Mark Harris beat Democrat Dan McCready by less than 1,000 votes on Election Day. But those results are tainted by explosive allegations involving a local political operative who was working for the Harris campaign and a scheme to collect and possibly tamper with absentee ballots.
— Taken together, the evidence we have points to a highly unusual, coordinated system for collecting absentee ballots in the Ninth District. But what happened to the ballots, whether it amounts to illegal activity, and how much the Harris campaign actually knew about the plot are the most important questions left to answer.
— The state elections board has set a hearing for December 21 to review the evidence of possible fraud. It is within the board’s legal authority under state law to call a new election if the basic fairness of last month’s election is in doubt.

Wisconsin sabotage: Republicans approve 82 Scott Walker nominees in one day
Salon
— Some haven’t been vetted or subject to a public hearing.

Redskins quarterback, in hospital with broken leg, faces serious complications
NBC Sports

Marlboro man bets big on marijuana
Seattle Times/AP
— One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $2.4 billion buy-in.
— Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday.

Six Michigan doctors indicted in mega-fraud
Fox Local
—  Indictment says: defendants submitted more than $272.6 million to Medicaid, $182.5 million to Medicare and $9.2 million to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan for medically unnecessary services and equipment.

Trial of James Fields
Whack-job who mowed down Charlottesville protester: “It doesn’t matter.”
The Hill
>>>>>>>>>> Friday night update: Guilty
— The self-professed neo-Nazi accused of killing a woman with his car during a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., attacked the victim’s mother during taped phone calls from jail.
— James Alex Fields Jr., 21, is currently on trial for the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer, a woman who was killed when Fields rammed his car into a group of counterprotesters.
— Jurors heard a taped phone call between Fields and his mother from jail in December 2017 going after Heyer’s mother Susan Bro.
— Fields accused Bro of publicly slandering him and called her a “communist” and “anti-white supremacist.”
— “She lost her daughter,” his mother reminded him.
— “It doesn’t (expletive) matter,” Fields said.

Trump’s housekeeper: a border-hopping immigrant
NY Times
MORALES
BEDMINSTER, N.J. — During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Victorina Morales has made Donald J. Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. When he visited as president, she was directed to wear a pin in the shape of the American flag adorned with a Secret Service logo.
— Because of the “outstanding” support she has provided during Mr. Trump’s visits, Ms. Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name.
— Quite an achievement for an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.
…. she made the decision to come forward because of mistreatment by her direct supervisor at the golf resort, including what she described as “physical abuse” on three occasions.

KELLY’S A GONER?…. White House Chief of staff John Kelly is expected to step down in the coming days, according to two administration officials. Kelly, a retired Marine general who joined the White House staff in July 2017, has weathered several months of rumors that the president wants him out.  …. TRUMP PICKS BUSHIE FOR ATTY GEN’L  William Barr to be the new attorney general, a post he held in the 1990s. A well-known conservative lawyer, Barr held the role under President George H W Bush from 1991 to 1993. …

.FOX HACK TO BE REP AT UN  … Heather Nauert’s meteoric rise is unusual considering that she has been in government for less than two years, and has never specialised in international relations.

neverletyoudown


EBOLA OUTBREAK SPREADS TO BIG CITY
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight.
— Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages.

GAMBLING HABITS
— Two longtime nuns at St. James Catholic School in Torrance Calif. allegedly embezzled as much as $500,000 in tuition, fees and donations, perhaps spending some of the money on trips and gambling at casinos while telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring budget, officials and parents said.
— The figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records and might not include other cash transactions, officials from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents and alumni at a meeting Monday night.

The U.S. Just Became a Net Oil Exporter for the First Time in 75 Years
Bloomberg

Former MLB Players Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo Killed in Venezuela car crash
CNN/Bleacher Report
BREAKING:

Venezuelan authorities have arrested four suspects found with Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongings following the crash. State governor Julio León Heredia says authorities believe the former MLB players were the victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants.

Company laid their pipeline on private land, without permission or payment, but that’s just fine, says Louisiana judge.
Courthouse News Service
…  landowner Theda Larson Wright is entitled to 37 cents for the land and timber Bayou Bridge took and Peter K. Aalestad and his sister Katherine Aalestad should each receive $2.17.
…. More from the Pelican State: Electricity supplier Entergy New Orleans claims in court that a Virginia-based public relations firm hired actors instead of recruiting supporters to speak at public meetings in favor of a proposed power plant, spurring a costly investigation into whether the utility knew its backers were paid.

Thursday

‘Shocking’ Huawei Arrest Threatens to Upend Trump-Xi Trade Truce
Bloomberg
welcome_meng_wanzhou— On the same day So-called Trump and Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce in Argentina, some 7,000 miles away Canadian authorities made an arrest that now threatens to make the U.S.-China conflict much worse.
— The U.S. is seeking the extradition of Wanzhou Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., after convincing Canada to arrest her on Dec. 1. Canada confirmed she was in custody shortly after the Globe and Mail reported she had been arrested in connection with violating sanctions against Iran.
— China promptly reacted with outrage after the news broke, demanding that both countries move to free Meng. Later, the foreign ministry said it was waiting for details on why she was arrested, and said trade talks should continue.
— It’s hard to overstate the significance of her arrest in Beijing: Meng is the daughter of the founder of Huawei, a national champion at the forefront of Xi’s efforts for China to be self-sufficient in strategic technologies. While the U.S. routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare — if not unprecedented.
— “The timing and manner of this is shocking,” Andrew Gilholm, director of North Asia analysis at Control Risks Group, said by phone. “It’s not often the phrase OMG appears in our internal email discussions. ”

Trade BS has cost Nebraska $1 billion
Omaha.com
—-> Who’d ye vote for again, Nebraska? Remind me. Oh, yeah, he “gets things done” all right.

This program actually works
to dramatically reduce
the killing of young men

And it’s spreading around the world.

The Guardian
… 
gives the men a stark choice. Stop the violence and a whole range of assistance will come their way: nappies for the kids, the right paperwork for a job, even help with relocation to get out of the damaging environment in which they live. Carry on, and prison awaits – or worse.
— Relatives and representatives of local services also attend. At the New Haven meeting, one social services coordinator, Letitia Charles, pointed at the audience as she asked the young men: “Have you ever heard it takes a village (to raise a child)? Look around you. You have a village.”
— The dialogue approach is based on carrots and sticks. The police also use peer pressure dynamics in criminal gangs to reach all members, not just the individuals present at the call-in.

The Insect Apocalypse is here: What does it mean for the planet?
NY Times (Paywall)

Term limits for Supreme Court? Ds and Rs think maybe it’s time
The Hill
— A bruising battle over the court’s latest appointee and a recent health scare involving the oldest justice has renewed interest in the age-old debate over whether there should be term limits for the Supreme Court.
— It’s an idea that’s been floated before, but senators on both sides of the aisle now say it’s one that’s worth discussing in public.
— “I would sure love to have the debate,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), 67, told The Hill last week. “I don’t know exactly how I would come down, but it’s certainly worth talking about.”
— Fellow Judiciary Committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), 72, said he’s intrigued by the idea.
— “The institutional stalwart inside me says no way, but, you know, we’re living in a different world, literally, than the Framers ever envisioned and maybe we need to think about it,” he said. “I haven’t reached any conclusions yet.”

Americans Prefer Watching to Reading the News –
and Mostly Through Television

Pew Research
— Three-quarters of Americans who prefer watching the news opt for TV, but since 2016, slightly more watchers name the internet as their platform of choice

24 Amazon workers sent to hospital after robot unleashes bear spray
ABC News

“For Profit” (ahem) college shutdown surprises 20,000 students, employees
AL.com
—–> Let me guess. Tuition refunds will be slow in coming?

Texas border patrol killer headed for death penalty
Houston Chronicle
— The Texas border patrol supervisor who confessed to killing four women in September may receive the death penalty, authorities said.
— U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz, 35, was indicted Wednesday on charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful restraint and evading arrest or detention in the deaths of four sex workers in September, according to Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz.
— Ortiz, a 10-year Border Patrol veteran, allegedly told investigators he killed the women in an effort to “clean up the streets” in Laredo, Texas.
ortizdeaths

U.S. trade deficit hits the highest level in a decade
Axios

Ever the friends of working families ….
Michigan Republicants undermine minimum wage, paid sick leave
The Hill

California rule requires solar power for new homes
Orange County Register
— Energy officials estimated the provisions will add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home, about $8,400 from adding solar and about $1,500 for making homes more energy-efficient. But those costs would be offset by lower utility bills over the 30-year lifespan of the solar panels.

NY women raise $1.5 million to pay medical debts of the poor
Jezebel
— Judith Jones and Carolyn Kenyon are two New Yorkers who are passionate about the New York Health Act, a bill that would bring universal health care to the state. Jones and Kenyon are 80 and 70 years old, respectively, but according to the New York Times, they didn’t want to just wait around for that to happen—so they rallied their friends and neighbors and raised $12,500 for the non-profit R.I.P. Medical Debt.
— R.I.P. Medical Debt buys up people’s old medical bills and forgives them. With Jones and Kenyon’s donation, the organization bought up $1.5 million in medical debts, belonging to thousands of people in need across New York. The non-profit focuses on alleviating the debts of those who really cannot afford to pay their bills, like those who earn less than two times the federal poverty level.

Study: Half of US adults have had close family member jailed
BBC
——> The only answer — let’s lock more people up.

As Evacuation Orders Lift, Some Paradise Residents Return Home To Devastation
NPR

“Stolen Pencil” data espionage campaign targets professors
Axios

 

Wednesday

noads-line

FROM THE GUARDIAN
Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.
— Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday.
— Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the leftwing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign.
— On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.
— Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.
— It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.

GOP senators who love Yemen war took $$$$ from Saudis
Newsweek
But certainly that blood money political donation did not influence the decision of these upstanding men of the Senate. 

— On Wednesday, senators delivered a historic blow to the country’s relationship with ally Saudi Arabia, a country whose leadership has committed notable human rights violations, by voting to move forward a resolution that would end all U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
— But at least five of the Republican Senators who voted against the bill have received funding from lobbyists working for Saudi Arabia, a fact that illustrates how the kingdom uses its vast wealth to influence U.S. foreign policy.
— Republican Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mike Crapo of Idaho, and Tim Scott of South Carolina received financial contributions from lobbying firms that worked for Saudi Arabia, according to a report by the Center for International Policy.
>>> In Yemen, the choice is simple: stop the war and rebuild the country or leave millions to starve
The Independent

A Picture and its Story: Girl survives air strike that killed her family
America’s tax dollars at work.



OKAY, THEN
Boeing has sent 737-MAX operators new instructions on how to control the plane in the event that random nosedives should occur.

Axios


Who writes this PR crap anyway?
“We take the safety and well-being of our guests incredibly seriously…”
So says hotel chain after woman sues for $100 million in case of nude shower blackmail
NY Daily News


NYT “Vows” writer, struck by tour bus, awarded $85M by jury
NY Post

Bizarre case of pill-pushing doc, who hired a thug to kill his radio host wife, ends in 30-year term for Pagans motorcycle gang member.
NJ.com

pagans
“I am no John Gotti.”

 


WaPost fact-checker blasts Ocasio-Cortez’s Pentagon budget claim
The Hill
Can’t we just wait until we’re seated in Congress before adding to Washington’s air pollution?

Wisconsin’s GOP burglars make off with the goods
Madison.com
— Wisconsin Republicans worked through the night to vote early Wednesday morning on a lame-duck bill that would diminish the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
— Lawmakers in the state Senate voted 17-16 to approve a sweeping set of measures that would curb the authorities of the incoming Democratic administration and narrow the state’s window for early voting. Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, joined Democrats in opposing the wide-reaching bill, which cleared the chamber around 6 a.m. The Assembly passed the bill on a 56-27 vote just before 8:30 a.m.
— The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled that he is likely to sign it. Once signed, the measures are “virtually certain to end up in litigation,” Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul told reporters.
… DETAILS FROM HUFFPO
>>> One part of the package would prohibit municipalities from allowing more than two weeks of early voting. That would cut voter turnout, which generally helps Republicans.
>>> Other provisions would give the Legislature full control of a state economic development agency, block the governor’s ability to write regulations and allow the Legislature to hire its own lawyers to file lawsuits on behalf of the state.

Facebook’s face is red in Bikini Photo-Finder Fallout
Bloomberg
— Zuckerberg’s lies coming back to haunt him as documents leak from court case.
FROM VICE NEWS
— Documents show that anyone willing to spend $250K could grab Facebook’s user data.


So, Larry Nassar has brought USA gymnastics down with him.
ESPN


Only a matter of time now….
Study: $$$$ from legal pot could fix screwed-up NY subway
NY Post
——> New Jersey can dig itself out of its pension hole with pot revenue, so that won’t be long coming … and no way is N.Y. going to let N.J. profit by selling dope to its millions….


Blood test to quickly detect cancer?
Telegraph (UK)
— A blood test can detect cancer within just 10 minutes, scientists have found, raising hopes that hard-to-spot diseases could be picked up early when treatment is most effective.
— Currently doctors use symptoms and a raft of tests and biopsies to determine if cancer is present which can sometimes take months.
— The new method from the University of Queensland looks for differences in the genetic code of cancerous and healthy cells.
— The team found that the DNA of cancer cells sticks strongly to nanoparticles of gold giving a quick indication whether disease is present or not to the naked eye.

Wisconsin is about to make a huge mistake
Opinion in the NY Times
— After eight years of relentless attacks on Wisconsin’s progressive political traditions, its state government has been transformed into something that is hard to recognize as a democracy. If these new bills pass, it will become harder still.


‘Retreat’ Is Not An Option As A California Beach Town Plans For Rising Seas
NPR
— “The feel-good here is gone. I thought they were going to bury me here, but if someone offered [to buy my house], I’d take it. I’d walk away.”
….
“What we learned from our community is that even the mere discussion of managed retreat, in the minds of some, completely devalues their property.”
….
“In Del Mar, market value of all the properties in the managed retreat zone is estimated at $1.5 billion. Who’s going to pay for that? Certainly not the city of Del Mar.”
….
“At some point you’re left with two options. You either organize a retreat, or you do what’s called evacuation and you call FEMA because you’re flooded out.”
del-mar-city-picture-b7155f447a0666b641e63042b2ddfb66d8d2b206-s800-c85

John Dingell’s modest proposal: Abolish the U.S. Senate
DailyKos
— John Dingell was, before his 2015 retirement, a sitting congressman for nearly 60 years. He has a few ideas on how to repair our government and rebuild trust, like: automatic voter registration at age 18; the “elimination” of money in campaigns; an end to the Electoral College; and abolish the United States Senate.
— Today, in a nation of more than 325 million, not only is that structure antiquated, it’s downright dangerous. California has almost 40 million people, while the 20 smallest states have a combined population totaling less than that. Yet because of an 18th-century political deal, those 20 states have 40 senators, while California has just two. These sparsely populated, usually conservative states can block legislation supported by a majority of the American people. That’s just plain crazy.

Citing ‘substantial assistance’ to probe, Mueller recommends no prison time for Trump gofer Michael Flynn
ABC News


Pervert billionaire Epstein settles lawsuit, but troubles not over
CBS News
— A last-minute settlement was reached Tuesday in a long-running Florida lawsuit involving a politically connected financier accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls, clearing the way for the victims’ lawyers to try to unravel a once-secret agreement that prevented federal criminal prosecution of the financier.
— The non-prosecution agreement protecting Jeffrey Epstein was negotiated a decade ago by prosecutors in the South Florida U.S. attorney’s office, which was then run by current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. It is the subject of a separate federal lawsuit in Florida filed by victims who say the deal trampled their rights to be heard.

Even the GOP’s most accomplished liars admit
Saudi prince ordered journalist’s murder

ABC News

Tuesday

Even the GOP’s most accomplished liars admit
Saudi prince ordered journalist’s murder

ABC News
— Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said “I have zero question in my mind that the Crown Prince MBS ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening. Planned it in advanced. If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes. Guilty,” Corker said.
— South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, “It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoking saw.”

 

 


— Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said “I have zero question in my mind that the Crown Prince MBS ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening. Planned it in advanced. If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes. Guilty,” Corker said.
— South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, “It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoking saw.”


CONTINUING ITS TRADITION as America’s finest and most honorable banking institution, Wells Fargo’s computer system caused 545 people to lose their homes.
CBS News
—–> What’s in your wallet?
…. “my son and I had to move to the basement of a friend’s house and we stayed there for three months, and we had nothing. We had a couch and my son had a bed. I felt worthless. I felt like I had let my family down.”


Clean coal. Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure.
Little lab on the prairie is a gold mine for U.S. ‘clean coal’ investors

Reuters
— “Clean” coal is a rich vein for American investors to mine, thanks to a lucrative subsidy offered by the U.S. government. For many producers of the fuel, the path to profit leads through a laboratory at the University of North Dakota.


Names of 11 accused priests will be kept secret,
Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules

Vice News
— The 11 priests were kept anonymous because they contested the allegations against them as false. The Supreme Court decision said identifying these priests would raise due-process issues.


Gee, ya think?
Sec. Def. Mattis says maybe 40 years of killing people in Afghanistan is enough
The Hill
CNN revelation!
Trump has surrounded himself with liars. Huh!


Student threatens to kill professor for scheduling 7 a.m exam, police say
Local 10 News
— According to an Florida Atlantic University police report, a Twitter post published about 1 a.m. Tuesday read, “Bey I gern fucking kill dis professor bey this is my confession to a premeditated murder.”
——> Safe to assume, he’s not an English major?

Another advance in Artificial Intelligence means more “deep fake” videos
Motherboard
— Deepfakes raises a troubling question about how we will be able to trust video evidence when it’s relatively easy for anyone to create realistic fake video. Nvidia’s new research raises these stakes even higher since its AI can generate fake video based on simple sketches, and deepfakes require large libraries of images of the same person.
— Fortunately, there’s not much reason to worry about Nvidia’s new AI being used for nefarious purposes just yet. This mainly has to do with the limitations on consumer hardware. Nvidia’s new neural network requires a lot of computing power to generate these videos, and most people don’t have access to that many GPUs.

Florida deputy demoted after QAnon photo with Pence
Miami New Times

What is QAnon? (The Guardian)

bso-qanon.png


Insurance company, facing Paradise fire claims, goes broke
CNN

Parents are using GPS ankle monitors to track their teenagers
Quartz
— Frank Kopczynski, the owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring (in fact located in Clearwater, Florida), also runs Action Plus Bail Bonds. He said the biggest challenge in strapping an ankle monitor to teenage non-offenders is whether they can remove it themselves.
— “We provide a bracelet that is near-impossible to cut off,” Kopczynski told Quartz. “It also allows us to have two-way communication and gives us the option of sounding a piercing alarm.”
— Along with the 95-decibel siren, if a teen is out past curfew, their parents can call Tampa Bay Monitoring’s office, and Kopczynski or one of his employees will activate the ankle monitor’s speaker and tell the child it’s time to get home or the police will be called. Hearing “this god-like voice out of nowhere” is generally effective, said Kopczynski; since the system is two-way, staff can also monitor the teen covertly.

Tesla drove 7 miles using Autopilot as driver allegedly slept drunk behind the wheel
Tech Spot

Tumblr, long reliant on sex content, now bans porn
Tech Crunch
porn stars, “cam girls,” and others in the sex trade have long used the platform for publicity, and now they’re worried. “It was pretty much panic from all of us,” a 28-year-old sex worker tells the website. “[We’re] talking about if we’re going to be able to keep our blogs or if we’re going to have to just abandon Tumblr and work on different platforms.”

Bush 41’s sordid Saudi ties set template for Trump – he was just more subtle
The Guardian
… A key factor in Bush’s Middle East policies was his friendship with Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US. The two men were so close that Bandar was known to pop in unexpectedly at Bush’s summer retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine. They went on hunting trips together. Later, when Bush was out of the White House, he even tasked Bandar with teaching his eldest son – George W, then a presidential aspirant with no experience in international affairs – all about foreign policy.

Oregon takes step toward legal magic mushorooms
The Sun

From $100 million valuation, another digital news outfit collapses
MySa
“the numbers were never really there. Eventually they were always going to disappear as fraudulent traffic and metrics fell apart.”
>>>Weekly Standard, too, is sinking
CNN
>>> Vice, Vox, and BuzzFeed, among other companies that once heralded the dawn of a new media age, are now grappling with decidedly old-media problems.
Vanity Fair
>>> Thomson Reuters to cut 3,200 jobs

Sconnies screwed again by beloved Republicans
ABC News
— Wisconsin Gerrymandered Republicans, just weeks away from losing control of both the governor and attorney general’s offices, planned dramatic lame-duck votes Tuesday on a sweeping attempt to limit the powers of incoming Democrats, a move that opponents decried as a last-gasp power grab and attempt to invalidate the election.

protests2018madison
Opponents of an extraordinary session bill submitted by the state’s Republicans chant outside the session at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. ………………….JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL………………..

France backs down in face of street anger
Reuters
“The French who have donned yellow vests want taxes to drop, and work to pay. That’s also what we want. If I didn’t manage to explain it, if the ruling majority didn’t manage to convince the French, then something must change

Monday


Lame duck craps out the same old GOP con game
RealClearPolitics (Commentary)
Big news over the Thanksgiving holiday was that the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed James Comey and Loretta Lynch about the 2016 campaign-related probes into Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and, presumably, Russians.
Great news for conservatives, right? But everyone knew right away that the timing was suspicious. The House will turn Democratic after the first of the year, and the chairmanship will be turned over from Republican Bob Goodlatte to Democrat Jerry Nadler. We’ve watched Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein avoid a congressional subpoena for months now, so there is no reason to expect former FBI Director Comey and former Attorney General Lynch will show up for a GOP grilling in the next month. But even if they do, does anyone expect to get the real story after waiting for more than two years?
Of course not. We all remember the fake Benghazi investigation run by the oh-so-disappointing Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., with the fake blessing of the House leadership. Big talk. No action. It’s all a con game by Republican swamp dwellers who want to convince voters they are getting something done while making sure there is no chance of upsetting the apple cart. This gambit smells like the rotten work of phony conservative Paul Ryan, who is ending his term as House speaker with virtually no accomplishments for the Republican agenda.


Dude pleads guilty, planned to assassinate Trump with forklift
The Hill
… public defender said that he was “suffering a serious psychiatric crisis”
—-> Did he mean Trump? The would-be assassin? Or both?


Judge says $850,000 promise scrawled on a napkin must be honored
Newser


Extreme Court snubs environmental challenge to so-called Border Wall
Reuters
The justices’ declined to hear the groups’ appeal of a ruling by a federal judge in California rejecting their claims that the administration had pursued border wall projects without complying with applicable environmental laws. The groups are the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Defenders of Wildlife.
Their lawsuits said construction operations would harm plants, rare wildlife habitats, threatened coastal birds like the snowy plover and California gnatcatcher, and other species such as fairy shrimp and the Quino checkerspot butterfly.


Chinese scientist who claims he created world’s first gene-edited babies is missing amid rumours of arrest
The Daily Mail


Who’s Reading That News Story?
Startup Will Help Marketers Find Out
Wall Street Journal
A startup is pitching the cash-strapped news industry on a new revenue stream: selling readership information about articles that mention brands.
The company, Memo, aims to capitalize on advertisers’ growing demand for data by creating a marketplace where they can buy audience metrics for editorial coverage—measures such as page views, scroll depth and engaged reading time. Publishers closely track page views and related information, but don’t typically share it.
The company plans to launch in January.

—–> Except that there ARE sites, such as RealNews, that do not track their readers.


Retailers Are Testing Facebook-Style Shopper Profiles to Battle  Amazon
Bloomberg
Aware that one bad experience can turn a shopper against them forever, retailers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve service and keep customers loyal.
Some are testing new “Customer 360” software from Salesforce.com Inc. and upstart rival Freshworks Inc. that lets them build a Facebook-style profile of each shopper, the better to understand what they want and how to keep them happy and clicking “pay.” Chatbots are increasingly ubiquitous and getting better at holding a meaningful conversation with customers. And behind the scenes retailers are training customer-support people to act more like traditional salespeople with the expertise once available only at top brick-and-mortar establishments.
“Retailers have realized consumers hyper-adopt and hyper-abandon brands like never before,” says Brendan Witcher, a Forrester analyst who researches e-commerce and technology trends. “The products don’t really matter anymore. What does matter is the experience—and service is a key part of that.”


Goldman skeptical about US-China trade truce
Zero Hedge
— Failure risk: 80%.


Robot Janitors Are Coming to Mop Floors at a Walmart Near You
Bloomberg

The world’s largest retailer is rolling out 360 autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in some of its stores in the U.S. by the end of the January, it said in a joint statement with Brain Corp., which makes the machines. The autonomous janitors can clean floors on their own even when customers are around, according to the San Diego-based startup.


Havana collapsing building by building
USA Today

In Havana, some of the same architectural gems that draw tens of thousands of American tourists crash to the ground every year. Causes range from weather and neglect to faulty renovations and theft of structural beams.
Carlos Guerrero, 45, said he and his family live “like scared dogs” in a crumbling building along Merced Street.
Neighbors tell them, “Get out of there! It’s going to collapse!”
“It makes you feel like going and living under a bridge,” said Guerrero, who vows to grab a machete and seek revenge on housing officials if anything happens to his wife and three children.


Anchorage earthquake was a big one,
but it could have been much worse.
Why L.A. should take warning
L.A. Times


THE WEEKEND’S DUMBEST DOG & PONY SHOWS
U.S., China agree on trade war ceasefire
Reuters
dog-pony-juggleSupposed 90-day halt in NEW tariffs means very little in complex negotiations. PR value high, makes both Xi and Trump seem reasonable. Actual effect: Impossible to tell, maybe none, except to bolster financial markets.

Also:
Politico: Trump threatens to withdraw from NAFTA
Yep, right after he makes Mexico pay for that wall.

CNN: China agrees to make fentanyl a controlled substance
And putting out that press release cost China $1.59 … And Little Rocket Man dropped his nuclear program … and … 


SAVE-A-CLICK CLICKED ON THIS BAIT SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO
* Why Michelle Obama didn’t run for President (she didn’t want to)
* Police shut sex doll try-before-you-buy brothel (in Hong Kong)
* Kid Rock fired from Nashville Xmas parade (Kid who?)
* Mexico’s president promises to screw the rich (Yeah, right)
* Proof of Alien Visitors (nah, it’s a rotten Champion spark plug)
—> All bullshit courtesy of the Drudge Report


He’s built an empire,
with jailed migrant children as bricks

NY Times (link goes to RealNews copy of this story)
—- The founder of Southwest Key made millions from housing migrant children. His nonprofit has stockpiled taxpayer dollars and possibly engaged in self-dealing with top executives.
home for boys


Anchorage Daily News:

Opinion: Engineers, scientists saved lives in Alaska quake

Aftershocks, frayed nerves, massive cleanup
— Many residents lost sleep to aftershocks. By afternoon, winds kicked up, howling outside newly boarded windows. The Glenn Highway was damaged in multiple places, the Seward Highway was under threat of landslides, the water was not yet officially declared safe to drink and the reports of serious damage to roads, bridges, homes and businesses kept coming. Even so, people in Alaska’s largest city swept up, replaced broken housewares, helped neighbors and tried to calm nerves.


Subscribe to your next car? The options are expanding
CNBC

Automakers, dealers and start-ups now offer car subscriptions as an alternative to the traditional financing model, which increasingly involves going into significant debt. The services typically charge a flat monthly fee that bundles together all the disparate expenses of car ownership, including insurance and maintenance.

“There’s a reason consumers are gravitating toward these services — what’s out there right now isn’t very good,” said Gary Hallgren, president of Arity, a technology start-up founded by Allstate.


More than 5,500 women came to Illinois to have an abortion last year
amid growing restrictions in the wing-nut states of the Midwest
Chicago Tribune


Manhattan DA went to bat for pervert billionaire Epstein
NY Post

The Manhattan DA’s office once went to bat for billionaire pervert Jeffrey Epstein, after botching a review of his sex crimes and swallowing his lawyers’ claim that “there are no real victims here,” records obtained by the Post show.

Assistant DA Jennifer Gaffney, then-deputy chief of Cyrus Vance Jr.’s sex-crimes unit, in January 2011 asked a Manhattan judge to downgrade Epstein’s status in the New York sex-offender registry from the most-dangerous Level 3 to least-restrictive Level 1.

The judge was stunned.

“I have never seen the prosecutor’s office do anything like this,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz told Gaffney.


Dumb-ass DC clerk insists on seeing New Mexico man’s passport
Newsweek

A man was forced to prove that New Mexico is a state in the United States when he was applying for a marriage license in Washington, D.C., earlier in November.

Gavin Clarkson and his fiancée were applying for a marriage license at the District of Columbia Courts Marriage Bureau on November 20 when he was told that his New Mexico driver’s license could not be used as proof of his identity. The clerk asked Clarkson to instead provide an international passport to get his marriage license.


NJ Dems imitate GOP in scumbag gerrymandering move
Philly.com


Woman took pity, then took fatal knife wound
Baltimore Sun

52-year-old Harford County woman died early Saturday morning after being stabbed in the chest, according to Baltimore police.

Police say Jacquelyn Smith and her family were driving through the 1000 block of Valley St. in the Johnston Square neighborhood at 12:27 a.m. when they saw a young woman carrying what appeared to be a baby and holding a cardboard sign that said “Please Help me feed my Baby.” Smith, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, rolled down the window to give her money.

A man then approached the car to thank the family — before he reached into the car and tried to grab the woman’s wallet. After a struggle, police said, the man took out a knife and stabbed Smith.

The man and the woman who carried the sign fled. Smith was taken to an area hospital, where she died.


Avenatti as a serious pol? Eh, maybe not
Politico
— “As a friend, I’m concerned about him. When I call him to say ‘hey, how you doing?’ It’s pretty obvious he’s going through a pretty rough time now,” said David Betras, a Democratic county chairman in Youngstown, Ohio, and one of Avenatti’s earliest political backers. “I’m more worried about these pending charges. Domestic abuse? That’s pretty bad for a run for president.”

Yellow vest protesters roar through Paris, 100 hurt, 250 arrested
The Guardian
——> Hmm. The American Revolution followed the French Revolution … America’s 1960s protests followed similar ones in France …  These riots are apparently about the inequities between rich and poor … hmm.

paris riot burning car


Hundreds of GM workers gathered to pray for their jobs
Daily Mail

gm workers

Hundreds of General Motors workers and their families have gathered in Ohio for an emotional prayer vigil over the closure of their plant and the loss of 15,000 jobs across the company. The solemn prayer vigil took place outside the General Motors plant in Lordstown on Thursday.

Lordstown stopped GM plant closure once, and will try again now
NY Post

$82 MILLION GIFT WASN’T ENOUGH
It’s not like Ohio wasn’t trying to keep the plant open. Over the years, the state had given GM millions in tax credits, job training grants and other incentives, including an $82 million tax package in 2008 that was among the largest in state history.
Cincinnati Enquirer


Dems vow push for $15 minimum wage when they control House
Washington Examiner

Grand jury: Dallas cop who shot man in his own home must face murder charge
Snopes
 — A white former Dallas police officer was indicted on a murder charge Friday, nearly three months after she fatally shot an unarmed black neighbor whose apartment she said she entered by mistake, believing it to be her own.

In foreshadowing, driver accused in ramming deaths shared videos of similar acts
CNN
— The man on trial for killing Heather Heyer at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year shared two images on Instagram that showed a car hitting protesters months before he did exactly that, according to court documents.
— The images were released on Day Two of the trial of James Alex Fields Jr., who is accused of driving his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters during the August 2017 Unite the Right Rally, killing Heyer and injuring several others.

Road rage death: ‘I tricked her … then cut her in half’
Missouri woman charged with murder during rush-hour traffic
Mercury News/AP

California Republicans see what happens when more voters vote, and they don’t like it one bit
LA Times
– California Republicans, drummed out of office by the carload in the recent election, have exited whining.
— They’ve figured out why they got thumped so badly, and it’s simple: California, that dastardly state, allowed voters to vote. The result was that seven Republican House seats turned Democratic, including all four in Orange County, transforming that once reliably GOP stronghold into a blue streak.
— “I just think it’s weird,” outgoing House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said of California’s system of allowing every vote to be counted, even if it’s filed with local election officials days after election day. “California defies logic to me.”
>>> Evidence of fraud mounts in uncertified North Carolina race won by Republican
Salon

El Paso to drink treated sewage water due to climate change drought
CNN

Powerful Quakes Buckle Alaska Roads, Trigger Tsunami Warning
Anchorage Daily News
— A large earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 struck Alaska near Anchorage early Friday morning, damaging roads and buildings, knocking out power and sending people fleeing from buildings and to safety beneath door jambs.
— The epicenter was just north of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center. It violently shook the most populous region of the state as people were settling in to work and school.
— The tsunami warning for Southcentral Alaska including Kenai, Kodiak and the shores of Cook Inlet was canceled around 10 a.m.
— There were several aftershocks, including a sharp jolt felt widely in Anchorage around 10:26 a.m.
— There were several reports of serious damage. The Glenn Highway was closed north of Eagle River because of damage and an onramp at the interchange of International Airport Road and Minnesota Boulevard collapsed.alaska quake


Why Aren’t Millennials Spending?
They’re don’t have the money!
NPR
…. Millennials, which the study defined as those born between 1981 and 1997, with ages ranging from 21 to 37, “paid a price” for coming of age during the Great Recession. They had to face historically weak labor demand and unusually tight credit conditions.
…. Their consumption habits are similar to their parents’ and grandparents’ — millennials just have less money to spend.

These machines vend goats for poor families
AFP
— Buy a goat to donate to a poor family…from a vending machine?
— It’s now possible in New York, London and Manila, thanks to an action spearheaded by the Mormon Church and charitable organizations like UNICEF.
goat.png


Driving 5 mph over speed limit in Indiana?
Cops can seize your car.
Reason
— Civil asset forfeiture is such a farce that it took Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer only about 100 words to twist Indiana’s solicitor general into admitting that his state could have the power to seize cars over something as insubstantial as driving 5 miles-per-hour over the speed limit.

Iranian hacking hit hospitals, other targets in 43 U.S. states
McClatchy
Two Iranian hackers charged Wednesday in a federal indictment were accused of attacking the computer networks of hospitals and other targets in 43 states, a broad criminal extortion campaign that walloped a heart hospital in Kansas and disrupted one of the nation’s largest diagnostic blood testing companies in North Carolina.
— Federal prosecutors said the three-year cybercrime spree caused tens of millions of dollars in damage from coast to coast. It marked the first U.S. indictment against foreign hackers engaged in a for-profit ransomware and extortion scheme.

California scrambles to find schools for 32,000 burned-out kids
The Guardian

Ukraine bans entry to Russian men ‘to prevent armies forming’
The Guardian
….
The measure prohibits travel for hundreds of thousands of people and escalates a crisis between the two countries that was sparked on Sunday when Russian border guards opened fire on and captured three Ukrainian vessels and 24 crew.

Yep, the mainstream media is helping spread viral lies
The Conversation
Memes need not be humorous or factual to be functional. All they need to do is attract attention online, which often translates into mainstream media coverage. That makes memes potent tools for distributing disinformation. Moreover, the online and mainstream platforms that amplify memes’ circulation can weaponize false claims and encourage conspiracy theorists – sometimes toward violence.

The walls start closing in
Washington Post (via Houston Chronicle to avoid paywall)
— New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
— Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks – and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.
>>> Federal Employees Warned Not to Discuss Trump ‘Resistance’ at Work
NY Times

Discovery re-writes story of humanity
Gizmodo
— The discovery of 2.4-million-year-old stone tools and butchered bones at a site in Algeria suggests our distant hominin relatives spread into the northern regions of Africa far earlier than archaeologists assumed. The find adds credence to the newly emerging suggestion that ancient hominins lived—and evolved—outside a supposed Garden of Eden in East Africa.

On the way to your TV: ads targeted by your internet use
Fast Company
— Nielsen is expanding a pilot program that can replace cable TV advertising with targeted ads from the internet. After announcing a partnership with CBS in May, Nielsen now says it’s working with A&E and with MediaTek, whose chips power more than 50% of smart TVs.

So, Facebook now admits Sheryl Sandberg sent the hounds after Soros
BuzzFeed
…. she did in fact request research on Soros following comments he made at the World Economic Forum in January. During a speech, the billionaire said that Facebook and Google were a “menace” to the world and that the “internet monopolies” did not have the will or inclination to protect society.

Inmates sue, say porn ban violates Bill of Rights
Des Moines Register

500 million possibly exposed by Marriott data breach
CNBC

In the mood for total bullshit? See any media for “coverage” of the G-20
(Hint: All real deals will be made in secret.)
Or, if you’re in the mood for total fluff, see the current USA TODAY:

[]– Airline raising drink prices by $1
[]– 49ers football player trash talking
[]– SNL is not too interesting anymore
[]– Melania’s red xmas trees
[]– 5 best Amazon deals right now

noads-line

Thursday

Michael Cohen strikes plea deal, admits lying about Russia project
(Politico) — Cohen admitted Thursday to a criminal charge of making false statements to Congress, with prosecutors saying he deliberately minimized the extent of discussions with Trump about a Moscow-based real estate project and obscured the fact that conversations about the proposed development continued well into the 2016 presidential campaign.

>>> Deutsche Bank raided over Panama Papers (and Trump?)
Bloomberg
>>> Trumpty-Dumpty has long-standing ties …

Chinese mega-mogul Jack Ma, and the plan for a mind-control future
The Guardian
— The greatest feature of the car, explained the proud representative, is that its media panel, linked to the user’s smartphone, reads patterns of movement, food choices and potentially even photos and comments, and then crosses this with millions of data sets to make predictions about what the user might like to eat and how they might like to travel there or have the food travel to them. In short, the new citizen outsources part of their decision-making processes, and maybe even part of their desire, to Alibaba. Our very impulses are mapped and planned in advance. The triangulation between data, predictive technology and desire could be the single most important relationship taking us into the dystopian smart city future.

Prisoners extorted $500,000 from troops using dating apps
Military Times
… “
Operation Surprise Party,” an effort launched in 2017 by a collaboration of military and civilian law enforcement agencies to foil a prisoner-led extortion, money laundering and wire fraud scheme that “cost 442 service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps from across the United States more than $560,000 in financial loss,” a Wednesday NCIS release said.
— Army officials and South Carolina law enforcement revealed in October that prison inmates posing on dating applications as women in the same age bracket as the targeted soldier were allegedly duping service members into wiring cash following nude photo text message exchanges.
…. But shortly after swapping photos with the inmate, the unsuspecting soldier would receive a text from another phone number, one belonging to a completely different prisoner, who would then pose as the fictional girl’s father or law enforcement official.
— “The ‘father’ then notifies the victim that the female is under the age of 18,” the warrant stated. “The father will typically state that he will leave law enforcement out of the equation if the victim agrees to pay for various things like cell phone replacement, counseling, hospital treatments, etc.”
—> The cash is ultimately deposited into the prisoners’ “Jpay” accounts, which are run on tablets SOLD TO THEM at exorbitant prices by the prison profit industry. Nothing weird about that at all…

NASA: We’ll be living on Moon in 10 years
The Hill

The surprising way plastics could actually help fight climate change
Joseph Rollin, Postdoctoral Researcher in Bioenergy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
and
Jenna E. Gallegos, Postdoctoral Researcher in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Colorado State University
In The Conversation
— Petro-plastics aren’t fundamentally all that bad, but they’re a missed opportunity. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Switching from petroleum-based polymers to polymers that are biologically based could decrease carbon emissions by hundreds of millions of tons every year. Bio-based polymers are not only renewable and more environmentally friendly to produce, but they can actually have a net beneficial effect on climate change by acting as a carbon sink. But not all bio-polymers are created equal.

Supremes may actually wake up and limit power of cops to seize property
—> Ya know, like it says in the Constitution …
AP
— The Supreme Court left little doubt Wednesday that it would rule that the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states, an outcome that could help an Indiana man recover the $40,000 Land Rover police seized when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin.
— A decision in favor of 37-year-old Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana, also could buttress efforts to limit the confiscation by local law enforcement of property belonging to someone suspected of a crime. Police and prosecutors often keep the proceeds.

‘Talent Wants Transit”
Companies Near Transportation Gaining The Upper Hand

NPR
— One of the important criteria in Amazon’s high-profile search for a second (and third) corporate headquarters was access to public transportation for the company’s employees. The company chose Queens, N.Y. and Arlington, Va. for its new HQ2s — both locations will be near subway stops. And a new study finds Amazon is not alone in this regard; businesses all over the country increasingly want to be near bus and train lines, as they struggle to attract and keep top talent in a tight labor market.
— A case in point is McDonald’s, a company that owes its enormous success to people driving their cars. After all, the fast food giant sells millions of meals through drive-thru windows.
— For decades, McDonald’s made its corporate home in a sprawling campus in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, Ill.; a location that was pretty much only accessible by car.
— A few months ago, McDonald’s traded the lawns, trees and ponds of their suburban home for sidewalks, concrete, glass and steel and moved into a new corporate headquarters building, just west of downtown Chicago. It’s within walking distance of a stop on two Chicago Transit Authority “L” lines, two Metra commuter rail stations, several bus stops and it’s easy to get to by bicycle.

transit
… big game changer was the opening of the Morgan Street “L” stop in 2012. “There’s been development incessantly since then.” McDonald’s moved here. Google’s (Midwest) headquarters are here, they’ve been here for about three years. We have tons of restaurants; there are tons of co-working spaces. This is the hip neighborhood.”

Audit may force cuts in California mega-rail project
CNBC


Belch! Makers of lousy beer agree to keep making lousy beer
Courthouse News Service
— “Pabst will continue to offer Pabst Blue Ribbon and the rest of our authentic, great tasting and affordable brews to all Americans for many, many years to come.”
(Pause for laughter)
— Pabst brought the lawsuit to the door of MillerCoors claiming it violated a contract between the companies by planning to end a longstanding partnership through which MillerCoors brews Pabst’s beer.
— The partnership began in 1999 in order to keep Pabst afloat.

Court rules for wine sellers in interstate shipping dispute
Courthouse News Service
— In a victory for out-of-state alcohol sellers, the Seventh Circuit said Wednesday an Illinois law prohibiting those retailers from shipping liquor to in-state consumers “smacks of protectionism” and may not be lawful under the constitutional amendment that repealed Prohibition.
— Illinois law prohibits any out-of-state business from obtaining a license to ship beer, wine or spirits to Illinois consumers.


Europe to Ukraine: Drop dead
AFP
— European leaders rebuffed calls from Ukraine for greater support against Russia on Thursday, after Kiev urged NATO to send ships into waters disputed with Moscow.


Drug overdoses push US life expectancy down
Live Science


Jeez, maybe I shouldn’t have bought that gun, episode #55,673
Idiot relative shoots, kills boy, 9, on Thanksgiving
Savannah Now

Episode #55,674
Police: Man shoots son after fight over kneeling NFL players
ABC News

noads-line

Wednesday

As US sucks up to the Saudis, Argentina prepares murder case against Crown Prince
The Guardian
^ So much for the uh City on a Hill

Google employees: Bring back don’t be evil
CNBC

— Google employees rip company over China search engine  43 Mins Ago | 02:06
Google employees are calling on the company to cancel Project Dragonfly, an effort to create a censored search engine in China.
— “Many of us accepted employment at Google with the company’s values in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and an understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits,” an open letter signed by Google employees published Tuesday on Medium says. “After a year of disappointments including Project Maven, Dragonfly, and Google’s support for abusers, we no longer believe this is the case.”
— Eleven Google employees had signed the letter as of its posting, and the number of signatures quickly grew, amounting to more than 100 several hours after it published. By 5 p.m. West Coast time, the letter had 300 signatures.

Mexico resort served tainted alcohol, says lawsuit in student’s ‘tragic, senseless’ death
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
abbey connor— Calling her death “tragic, senseless and entirely avoidable,” the family of Abbey Conner filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday in Florida against the Mexico resort where Conner drowned last year and the U.S.-based website company that manages the resort’s bookings.
— The 24-page wrongful death complaint outlines the events that unfolded the afternoon Conner and her family arrived in Playa del Carmen at the upscale, all-inclusive resort for a vacation.
— It asserts that Iberostar and its website operator, Visit Us, “knew that alcoholic beverages being served at the Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar were tainted, substandard, poisonous, unfit for human consumption and/or otherwise failed to meet bare minimum standards for food and beverage safety” and failed in their “duty to protect Abbey against risks of physical harm.”
……….. tried to warn future travelers by posting their stories to TripAdvisor, but the website had repeatedly deleted their posts.

L.A. home flippers’ average profit: $100,000
L.A. Times

Brit economists: Brexit will cause devastating economic slump
The Independent
— Every region of the country will be worse off in 15 years’ time, with London suffering the greatest damage, the analysis finds. But the analysis admits there are many unknowns.
“There will be a cost to leaving the European Union, because there will be impediments to our trade.”

Trumpets use California wildfires as an excuse to boost logging
The Guardian
–“Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke are being dangerously dishonest,” said Chad Hanson, a forest ecologist who was involved in a major 2016 study that found that logged areas with lower environmental protections have the most intense, fast-moving fires.
>>> Even Wing-Nut Rancher Bundy thinks Trump’s being too hard on immigrants
The Hill
bundyammon

Speaker Pelosi, yeah, that’s more and more likely
Politico
203 yea, 32 nay

Figures
Gun nut lobby slashes budget, but boosts exec pay
Mother Jones

Strange earthquake ripples around the world, yet, only one person knew it
National Geographic

How a future Trump Cabinet member
gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime 
Miami Herald
Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day, the Town of Palm Beach police found.
>>> Cops worked to put pervert in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break
Any crime’s OK as long as you’re a rich white Republican. ANY CRIME.

Finally!
Network refuses to air Lying Sarah’s presser
Politicus USA
sarah sanders frown— MSNBC expanded their policy of not giving the White House a platform to lie by opting not to air the White House press briefing by Sarah Sanders.
— While other networks are still falling for the chasing of the shiny object that is the White House press briefing, MSNBC has decided to place facts first. They are simply not going to give this administration an unchecked platform to use to lie and deceive their viewers. The Trump administration has used journalism and journalistic principles as a weapon to spread false information.

Musk drops L.A. plan in mid-tunnel
Gizmodo
— No amount of flamethrower sales could save Elon Musk’s dream of building a tunnel beneath the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. On Thursday, Musk’s Boring Company announced that it had settled a lawsuit opposing the project and it will not move forward.
— The Boring Company has been a fly-by-the-seat-of-Musk’s-pants operation from the moment he was stuck in L.A. traffic and tweeted his epiphany that the solution is underground tunnels. Since then, it’s been hard to keep track of what’s real, what’s a pipe dream, and what’s a joke. Not only is the company working on tunnels in LA but it has deals for projects to whisk pedestrians and cars underground in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. But the cancellation of the Westside tunnel project is a major blow to Musk’s grand plan in the City of Angels.

Meth makes a gruesome comeback
NBC News
— The number of people hospitalized because of amphetamine use is skyrocketing in the United States, but the resurgence of the drug has largely been overshadowed by the nation’s intense focus on opioids.
— Amphetamine-related hospitalizations jumped by about 245 percent from 2008 to 2015, according to a study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Google’s new venture: Death to mosquitoes
Bloomberg
^ But birds and bats … oh, never mind.

Don’t touch that McDonald’s touchscreen
Metro (UK)
“We were all surprised how much gut and fecal bacteria there was on the touchscreen machines. These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals.”

And now … fake readers of real ads
The Hill
— The Department of Justice  on Tuesday unsealed charges against eight individuals in an alleged widespread digital advertising fraud that reportedly used botnets to give the appearance of billions of humans looking at online ads.

Judge Judy’s payday rises to $147 million
Forbes

Baseball rolls the dice on its future
ESPN
— NEW YORK — Major League Baseball became the latest U.S. sports league to partner with a gaming operator, with commissioner Rob Manfred announcing a multiyear deal Tuesday with MGM Resorts International.
— The partnership designates MGM as the first official gaming and entertainment partner of MLB. MGM sportsbooks will begin to utilize baseball’s official statistics feed and have access to enhanced stats on an exclusive basis.