America

Hillary Clinton on Friday defended her 2016 campaign strategy after 2020 Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg criticized his party’s previous nominee for being too hopeful and not understanding the struggles of everyday Americans.

“I really do believe that we always have to appeal to our better selves because the wolf is at the door, my friends,” Clinton said during an appearance at the 10th Annual Women in the World New York Summit. “Negativity, despair, anxiety, resentment, anger, prejudice, that’s part of human nature and the job of the leader is to appeal to us to be more than we can be on our own, to join hands in common effort.”

“I was well aware that we had problems that we had to solve, but it’s been my experience that anger, resent, prejudice are not strategies,” the former first lady, secretary of state and senator from New York added. “They stop people from thinking. They don’t enlist people in the common effort to try to find solutions.”

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the Washington Post in a profile published January that President Trump connected with the concerns of ordinary Americans in a way Clinton did not.

“Donald Trump got elected because, in his twisted way, he pointed out the huge troubles in our economy and our democracy,” he said. “At least he didn’t go around saying that America was already great, like Hillary did.”

A senior Clinton adviser blasted Buttigieg’s comments last month via Twitter as “indefensible.”

“[Hillary Clinton] ran on a belief in this country & the most progressive platform in modern political history. Trump ran on pessimism, racism, false promises, & vitriol. Interpret that how you want, but there are 66,000,000 people who disagree. Good luck,” Nick Merrill tweeted.

“It’s pretty simple. Slam HRC…lose my vote,” and another who chimed in: “It is unfortunate when people as smart as @PeteButtigieg engage in this fantasy fiction about 2016. And as a gay American it is disappointing because @HillaryClinton ran a campaign which amongst its many values championed our community,” Merrill also wrote.

A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive
A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive. REUTERS/File Photos

April 12, 2019

By Matt Scuffham

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co’s better-than-expected first-quarter earnings raised expectations that rival Wall Street lenders would follow suit when they report next week, pushing most bank stocks higher on Friday.

Shares in JPMorgan jumped as much as 4.7 percent in morning trading, touching a more than four-month high before paring some gains.

Morgan Stanley shares were up 3.8 percent and Bank of America Corp rose 2.8 percent. Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup shares both climbed 2 percent.

JPMorgan is the largest U.S. bank by assets and a bellwether for the U.S economy and financial sector. It reported strong results across its businesses, with Chief Executive Jamie Dimon citing solid U.S. economic growth, moderate inflation and robust consumer and business confidence.

Even a 10 percent fall in JPMorgan’s trading revenue from a year earlier was viewed as boding well for others, since analysts had been bracing for a bigger drop in fixed-income and equities trading.

“JPMorgan had a positive read-across for trading results in the quarter,” said KBW analyst Brian Kleinhanzl. “We believe FICC (fixed income, commodities and currencies) trading should be a positive read-across to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.”

Bank stock investors appeared to zero in on JPMorgan and ignore Wells Fargo & Co, the other big bank that reported on Friday.

Wells Fargo reported higher first-quarter earnings but lowered its forecast for net interest income this year, a move that sent its shares tumbling as much as 3 percent.

U.S. bank stocks had underperformed in recent months as economists and investors fixated on a flattening yield curve, normally the precursor to a recession. Bank executives have downplayed those concerns, pointing to continuing loan growth in the first quarter of 2019.

Since the start of December, the S&P 500 financial sector is up 0.3 percent, while the overall S&P 500 is up 5 percent. The S&P 500 banks index fell 2.5 percent over the same period. Brushing aside global economic concerns such as Brexit and U.S.-China trade tensions, JPMorgan’s Dimon said the U.S. economy “continues to grow, employment and wages are going up, inflation is moderate, financial markets are healthy and consumer and business confidence remains strong.”

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Neal Templin and Meredith Mazzilli)

Source: OANN

Kelly Sadler, fired from the Trump White House last year for mocking John McCain, has been hired to work communications for the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.

“I’m really excited to do everything in my power to help reelect the President of the United States, by joining the great team at America First,” Sadler said in a statement she gave to CNN. “The President is solving the problems the American people elected him to do, and I can’t wait to help him win another four years in office, so he can achieve even more.”

Sadler, then a White House aide, joked last May in a discussion about McCain’s opposition to Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director that the Arizona Republican was already “dying anyway.” McCain died of brain cancer in August.

The White House responded by firing Sadler nearly a month after she made the comment.

At the time, it was reported that the White House had been hoping to simply relocate her to another department or agency.

President of America First, Brian Walsh, praised Sadler’s addition to the PAC.

“We are very proud to have Kelly Sadler join our team as we build towards victory in 2020,” Walsh said. “Her commitment to President Trump is unwavering and we are lucky to have someone of her talent and experience at America First.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week they are both ready to sit down together to try to work out a long-elusive deal on immigration reform in response to a growing humanitarian crisis along the southern border.

Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking to reporters at the Democratic retreat in Leesburg, Va., said she is “pleased to see” news reports that McConnell, R-Ky., “is ready to talk about” about an immigration deal.

McConnell told reporters on Thursday it is “past time” to negotiate with Democrats on immigration and he is willing to talk to Pelosi about it “now.”

While lawmakers normally avoid taking up major policy initiatives when a presidential election is looming, they may have no choice.

A sudden surge in family units attempting to cross into the United States illegally has overwhelmed the nation’s border security system.

So far this year, 240,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended entering the United States, some at ports of entry, but mostly at points in between along the southwest border.

The increase accelerated after July 2015, when a federal judge ruled that illegal immigrant parents must be released with children soon after they are apprehended.

The court ruling attracted mass family migration from Central America as adults learned bringing children to the U.S. border would prevent them from being detained or immediately sent home.

Even Pelosi acknowledged Friday it has created “a humanitarian crisis.”

The GOP wants to change the nation’s asylum laws and rules governing the treatment of apprehended illegal immigrants in order to discourage the recent wave of mass migration from Central America.

Finding a bipartisan deal with Democrats, however, would likely require a comprehensive plan that addresses illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

While McConnell did not specify what should be included in a deal, Pelosi said “what we need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform.”

She added, “I’m glad Mitch McConnell has said he’s willing to do that.”

Democrats and Republicans have tried but failed to pass immigration reform legislation numerous times over the past 15 years.

Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, while Republicans have sought stronger border security provisions.

Pelosi said none of the current problems along the border can be fixed without tackling comprehensive immigration reform.

“I think the president is beginning to realize that has to happen,” Pelosi said.

A regular contributor to the Boston Globe, Luke O’Neil advocated for waiters at restaurants to tamper with the food of Trump administration officials he dislikes.

The Globe quickly took down the column, “Keep Kirstjen Nielsen unemployed and eating Grubhub over her kitchen sink,” referring to the recently ousted Department of Homeland Security secretary.

“As for the waiters out there, I’m not saying you should tamper with anyone’s food, as that could get you into trouble,” O’Neil wrote. “You might lose your serving job. But you’d be serving America. And you won’t have any regrets years later.”

Republicans pounced on the piece with criticism, forcing the Globe to edit it multiple times before finally pulling it.

Herman Cain, one of President Trump’s two picks for the Federal Reserve Board, tweeted, “Who makes the editorial decisions at the Boston Globe?”

O’Neil hit back at the Globe Thursday for taking his piece down.

“Absolute brain genius move by the Globe to edit my story three times then take it down altogether and put up a note saying I’m not on staff instead of perhaps standing by a long time contributor and siding with labor instead of bad faith critics who would hate them no matter what,” O’Neil said on Twitter.

O’Neil added to the Washington Post “I will never write for them again.”

It’s a dead giveaway.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would consider it punishment were her city saddled with more undocumented migrants while they await their court hearings.

The thrust of a Washington Post report on Friday, citing anonymous Department of Homeland Security “officials,” was that the White House had asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement about unloading illegal immigrants detained at the border in places proudly known as “sanctuary cities.”

Pelosi’s office said the suggestion exposed the administration’s “cynicism and cruelty” in “using human beings … as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants…”

The whole point of sanctuary cities, from the standpoint of their lawmakers, is that illegal immigrants need a safe place to evade deportation. Illegal entrants and asylum seekers, after all, are only here to pursue a better life for themselves and their families (and all the better if Democrats can load them up on welfare).

Why, then, would a city like San Francisco, which lies in Pelosi’s district, not leap at the chance to bring in more of their well-meaning friends?

Outside of providing more beds, free healthcare, and free child services, courtesy of the American taxpayer, Democrats in Congress have shown no interest in doing anything about the hundreds of thousands of migrants making their way to the U.S. from Central America.

Wouldn’t these well-meaning foreigners be best served in cities like New York, Boston, and Seattle, where local authorities refuse to comply with federal agents in deporting illegal aliens?

The Post’s story never really demonstrates that the intent of the White House was to “retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries,” as the article puts it. It cites unnamed sources who claim that was the purpose but, even though the story’s authors, Rachel Bade and Nick Miroff, said they reviewed “email messages,” the one email by a White House official in the report is completely innocuous.

“The idea has been raised by 1-2 principals that, if we are unable to build sufficient temporary housing, that caravan members be bussed to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” White House deputy policy coordinator May Davis said in an email dated Nov. 16, according to the report. “There is NOT a White House decision on this.”

That’s it. That’s the one supposedly damning email sent by someone from the White House included in the Post’s story.

Acting Deputy Director of ICE Matthew Albence replied to the email, suggesting that transporting aliens long distances from the border would be yet another strain on the agency and that there were liability concerns if anyone were hurt during the trip. In a statement to the Post, Albence denied that he was ever “pressured by anyone at the White House on the issue” and that he was merely “asked my opinion” and that his advice was heeded. A statement from the White House said effectively the same thing.

Yet, even if the proposal was crafted as a politically cynical move, it doesn’t explain why Democrats wouldn’t eagerly invite more illegals or undocumented asylum seekers into the districts and cities that are supposed to be the most welcoming. Pelosi had said herself Thursday, “Of course there’s room and there’s a need” for more immigrants showing up at the border.

Okay, but not in San Francisco!

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

April 12, 2019

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stock markets rose on Friday after JP Morgan’s results kicked off the U.S. corporate earnings season in style, while signs of stabilization in China’s economy also helped riskier assets on views the growth outlook worldwide is better than thought.

Chinese data showed exports rebounded last month, driving U.S. and euro zone bond yields to three-week highs and helping offset weaker imports and reports of another cut in German growth forecasts.

Investors are looking for signs of a Chinese economic recovery to temper global growth worries, especially after the International Monetary Fund this week downgraded its 2019 world economic outlook for the third time.

China’s trade results, as well as credit data, have helped boost risk appetite and reinforce the stabilization thesis, which should have spill-over effects for the global economy, said Candice Bangsund, a portfolio manager with the global asset allocation team at Fiera Capital in Montreal.

“The whole China situation really appears to be gaining some ground,” Bangsund said. “We saw a very impressive rebound in exports, this of course is helping alleviate fears of a hard landing.”

MSCI’s gauge of equity market performance in 47 countries gained 0.37%, while the EURO STOXX 50 index rose 0.31%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 186.88 points, or 0.71%, to 26,329.93. The S&P 500 gained 12.47 points, or 0.43%, to 2,900.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.07 points, or 0.24%, to 7,966.43

The euro gained despite the German growth concerns. Dealers were gearing up for demand from Japan as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial closed in on its multi-billion-euro acquisition of DZ Bank’s aviation-finance business.

The dollar index fell 0.37%, with the euro up 0.56% to $1.1313. The Japanese yen weakened 0.28% versus the greenback at 111.99 per dollar.7

Euro zone and U.S. government debt yields rose after the rebound in Chinese exports.

Yields on Germany’s 10-year government bond crossed into positive territory, to 0.054%.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 13/32 in price to push up their yield to 2.5507%.

CRUDE OIL’S BIG 2019 START

Oil provided the big milestones. Brent was at $71.4 a barrel, having broken back through the $70 threshold this week, and U.S. WTI was heading for a sixth straight week of gains for the first time since early 2016.

Involuntary supply cuts in Venezuela, Libya and Iran have supported perceptions of a tightening market, already constrained by production cuts from OPEC and its allies.

Brent crude oil futures rose 64 cents to $71.47 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. benchmark, added 64 to $64.22.

Commodities have had the best first-quarter start ever, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said, calling the annualized returns they are tracking the strongest in the past 100 years.

Taking advantage of strong prices and subdued valuations for oil producers, Chevron said it will buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp for $33 billion in cash and stock.

Gold steadied en route to its first weekly gain in three weeks as the dollar weakened, although the metal’s advances were capped by stronger equities.

Gold crept higher after falling more than 1 percent on Thursday to break below $1,300 following solid U.S. data. Spot gold traded at $1,292.41 per ounce.

For a graphic on Falling volatility, see – https://tmsnrt.rs/2X40O8U

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

In the end, the man who reportedly smeared feces on the walls of his lodgings, mistreated his kitten, and variously blamed the ills of the world on feminists and bespectacled Jewish writers was pulled from the Ecuadorian embassy looking every inch like a powdered-sugar Saddam Hussein plucked straight from his spider hole. The only camera crew to record this pivotal event belonged to Ruptly, a Berlin-based streaming-online-video service, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of RT, the Russian government’s English-language news channel and the former distributor of Julian Assange’s short-lived chat show.

RT’s tagline is “Question more,” and indeed, one might inquire how it came to pass that the spin-off of a Kremlin propaganda organ and now registered foreign agent in the United States first arrived on the scene. Its camera recorded a team of London’s Metropolitan Police dragging Assange from his Knightsbridge cupboard as he burbled about resistance and toted a worn copy of Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State.

Vidal had the American national-security establishment in mind when he wrote that polemic, although I doubt even he would have contrived to portray the CIA as being in league with a Latin American socialist named for the founder of the Bolshevik Party. Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno announced Thursday that he had taken the singular decision to expel his country’s long-term foreign guest and revoke his asylum owing to Assange’s “discourteous and aggressive behavior.”

According to Interior Minister María Paula Romo, this evidently exceeded redecorating the embassy with excrement—alas, we still don’t know whether it was Assange’s or someone else’s—refusing to bathe, and welcoming all manner of international riffraff to visit him. It also involved interfering in the “internal political matters in Ecuador,” as Romo told reporters in Quito. Assange and his organization, WikiLeaks, Romo said, have maintained ties to two Russian hackers living in Ecuador who worked with one of the country’s former foreign ministers, Ricardo Patiño, to destabilize the Moreno administration.

We don’t yet know whether Romo’s allegation is true (Patiño denied it) or simply a pretext for booting a nuisance from state property. But Assange’s ties to Russian hackers and Russian intelligence organs are now beyond dispute.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 cyberoperatives for Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate for the General Staff (GRU) suggests that Assange was, at best, an unwitting accomplice to the GRU’s campaign to sway the U.S. presidential election in 2016, and allegedly even solicited the stolen Democratic correspondence from Russia’s military intelligence agency, which was masquerading as Guccifer 2.0. Assange repeatedly and viciously trafficked, on Twitter and on Fox News, in the thoroughly debunked claim that the correspondence might have been passed to him by the DNC staffer Seth Rich, who, Assange darkly suggested, was subsequently murdered by the Clintonistas as revenge for the presumed betrayal.

Mike Pompeo, then CIA director and, as an official in Donald Trump’s Cabinet, an indirect beneficiary of Assange’s meddling in American democracy, went so far as to describe WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” For those likening the outfit to legitimate news organizations, I’d submit that this is a shade more severe a description, especially coming from America’s former spymaster, than anything Trump has ever grumbled about The New York Times or The Washington Post.

Russian diplomats had concocted a plot, as recently as late 2017, to exfiltrate Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, according to The Guardian. “Four separate sources said the Kremlin was willing to offer support for the plan—including the possibility of allowing Assange to travel to Russia and live there. One of them said that an unidentified Russian businessman served as an intermediary in these discussions.” The plan was scuttled only because it was deemed too dangerous.

In 2015, Focus Ecuador reported that Assange had aroused suspicion among Ecuador’s own intelligence service, SENAIN, which spied on him in the embassy in a years-long operation. “In some instances, [Assange] requested that he be able to choose his own Security Service inside the embassy, even proposing the use of operators of Russian nationality,” the Ecuadorian journal noted, adding that SENAIN looked on such a proposal with something less than unmixed delight.

All of which is to say that Ecuador had ample reasons of its own to show Assange the door and was well within its sovereign rights to do so. He first sought refuge in the embassy after he jumped bail more than seven years ago to evade extradition to Sweden on sexual-assault charges brought by two women. Swedish prosecutors suspended their investigation in 2017 because they’d spent five years trying but failing to gain access to their suspect to question him. (That might now change, and so the lawyers for the claimants have just filed to reopen the cases.) But the British charges remained on the books throughout.

The Times of London leader writer Oliver Kamm has noted that quite apart from being a “victim of a suspension of due process,” Assange is “is a fugitive from it.” Yet to hear many febrile commentators tell it, his extradition was simply a matter of one sinister prime minister cackling down the phone to another, with the CIA nodding approvingly in the background, as an international plot unfurled to silence a courageous speaker of truth to power. Worse than that, Assange and his ever-dwindling claque of apologists spent years in the pre-#MeToo era suggesting, without evidence, that the women who accused him of being a sex pest were actually American agents in disguise, and that Britain was simply doing its duty as a hireling of the American empire in staking out his diplomatic digs with a net.

As it happens, a rather lengthy series of U.K. court cases and Assange appeals, leading all the way up to the Supreme Court, determined Assange’s status in Britain.

The New Statesman’s legal correspondent, David Allen Green, expended quite a lot of energy back in 2012 swatting down every unfounded assertion and conspiracy theory for why Assange could not stand before his accusers in Scandinavia without being instantly rendered to Guantanamo Bay. Ironically, as Green noted, going to Stockholm would make it harder for Assange to be sent on to Washington because “any extradition from Sweden … would require the consent of both Sweden and the United Kingdom” instead of just the latter country. Nevertheless, Assange ran and hid and self-pityingly professed himself a “political prisoner.”

Everything about this Bakunin of bullshit and his self-constructed plight has belonged to the theater of the absurd. I suppose it’s only fair that absurdity dominates the discussion now about a newly unsealed U.S. indictment of Assange. According to Britain’s Home Office, the Metropolitan Police arrested Assange for skipping bail, and then, when he arrived at the police station, he was further arrested “in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States.”

The operative word here is provisional, because that request has yet to be wrung through the same domestic legal protocols as Sweden’s. Assange will have all the same rights he was accorded when he tried to beat his first extradition rap in 2010. At Assange’s hearing, the judge dismissed his claims of persecution by calling him “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests.” Neither can his supporters.

A “dark moment for press freedom,” tweeted the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden from his security in press-friendly Moscow. “It’s the criminalization of journalism by the Trump Justice Department and the gravest threat to press freedom, by far, under the Trump presidency,” intoned The Intercept’s founding editor Glenn Greenwald who, like Assange, has had that rare historical distinction of having once corresponded with the GRU for an exclusive.

These people make it seem as if Assange is being sought by the Eastern District of Virginia for publishing American state secrets rather than for allegedly conniving to steal them.

The indictment makes intelligible why a grand jury has charged him. Beginning in January 2010, Chelsea Manning began passing to WikiLeaks (and Assange personally) classified documents obtained from U.S. government servers. These included files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. State Department cables. But Manning ran into difficulties getting more documents, owing to the limitations of her modest security clearance.

At this point, Assange allegedly morphed from being a recipient and publisher of classified documents into an agent of their illicit retrieval. “On or about March 8, 2010, Assange agreed to assist [Chelsea] Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Networks, a United States government network used for classified documents and communications,” according to the indictment.

Assange allegedly attempted to help Manning do this using a username that was not hers in an effort to cover her virtual tracks. In other words, the U.S. accuses him of instructing her to hack the Pentagon, and offering to help. This is not an undertaking any working journalist should attempt without knowing that the immediate consequence will be the loss of his job, his reputation, and his freedom at the hands of the FBI.

I might further direct you to Assange’s own unique brand of journalism, when he could still be said to be practicing it. Releasing U.S. diplomatic communiqués that named foreigners living in conflict zones or authoritarian states and liaising with American officials was always going to require thorough vetting and redaction, lest those foreigners be put in harm’s way. Assange did not care—he wanted their names published, according to Luke Harding and David Leigh in WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. As they recount the story, when Guardian journalists working with WikiLeaks to disseminate its tranche of U.S. secrets tried to explain to Assange why it was morally reprehensible to publish the names of Afghans working with American troops, Assange replied: “Well, they’re informants. So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” (Assange denied the account; the names, in the end, were not published.)

James Ball, a former staffer at WikiLeaks—who argues against Assange’s indictment in these pages—has also remarked on Assange’s curious relationship with a notorious Holocaust denier named Israel Shamir:

Shamir has a years-long friendship with Assange, and was privy to the contents of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables months before WikiLeaks made public the full cache. Such was Shamir’s controversial nature that Assange introduced him to WikiLeaks staffers under a false name. Known for views held by many to be antisemitic, Shamir aroused the suspicion of several WikiLeaks staffers—myself included—when he asked for access to all cable material concerning ‘the Jews,’ a request which was refused.

Shamir soon turned up in Moscow where, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, he was offering to write articles based on these cables for $10,000 a pop. Then he traveled to Minsk, where he reportedly handed over a cache of unredacted cables on Belarus to functionaries for Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, whose dissident-torturing secret police is still conveniently known as the KGB.

Fish and guests might begin to stink after three days, but Assange has reeked from long before he stepped foot in his hideaway cubby across from Harrods. He has put innocent people’s lives in danger; he has defamed and tormented a poor family whose son was murdered; he has seemingly colluded with foreign regimes not simply to out American crimes but to help them carry off their own; and he otherwise made that honorable word transparency in as much of a need of delousing as he is.

Yet none of these vices has landed him in the dock. If he is innocent of hacking U.S. government systems—or can offer a valid public-interest defense for the hacking—then let him have his day in court, first in Britain and then in America. But don’t continue to fall for his phony pleas for sympathy, his megalomania, and his promiscuity with the facts. Julian Assange got what he deserved.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang Friday argued for his call to give each American $1,000 a year, and said he disagrees with other Democratic hopefuls who are calling for an end to the Electoral College.

“You have to look up who are going the biggest winners from artificial intelligence and self-driving cars and trucks and new technologies,” Yang, an entrepreneur and founder of Venture for America, told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.

“Amazon, Google, Facebook and Uber, the American public sees very little in the innovation. Amazon literally paid zero in federal taxes.”

Meanwhile, Amazon fulfillment centers now have “more robots than people,” Yang said.

Show co-host Steve Doocy commented that a universal basic income hasn’t worked in other places, but Yang disagreed.

“You don’t even need to look across the globe,” he said. “All you have to do is look at Alaska which has had a petroleum dividend for almost 40 years and its wildly popular. It has created thousands of jobs.”

Yang also discussed calls to eliminate the Electoral College, saying he doesn’t even know why that is being discussed.

“It has been part of our laws for decades,” he said. “It would require a constitutional amendment to change the Electoral College…do we want candidates just campaigning in major media markets and big cities? The constitutional framers were very wise. I will say as a Democrat it’s very, very bad form to look like you are changing the rules when you have been losing by rules that everyone agreed on for decades.”

Source: NewsMax

Vladimir Putin is a dedicated enemy of the United States and the U.S.-led international order. But while the proof of Putin’s enmity towards America is abundant and clear, Putin is an excellent PR man when he wants to be.

Note, for example, his performance at the International Arctic Forum in his home city of St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

First, Putin played the tough guy. As thousands in the audience watched and the cameras rolled, Putin saw that his economic development minister, Maxim Oreshkin, was using his phone while Putin was speaking. Big mistake. Putin asked Oreshkin how much Russia had invested in import substitution in 2018. Oreskhin didn’t know the answer. Putin then publicly humiliated him. This is was the red meat for state TV: the macho man offering decidedly Russian black humor.

But Putin had a very different message for the foreign news media.

This alternate strategy was encapsulated when Putin was asked whether he wants President Trump to be reelected. Putin took a moment to consider his answer and then responded. U.S. policy towards Russia is often negative, Putin explained, but there are areas of compromise even on issues of disagreement such as Syria. Then Putin cleverly shifted the conversation to an area where international opinion is most unfavorable to the U.S.: President Trump’s refusal to support the Paris climate accord. Putin presented himself as the earnest intermediary here. “The U.S. emits a lot of greenhouse gases we have to understand that so we have to find a solution. We have to somehow engage with the U.S. in a dialogue.”

The diplomatic nice talk offered, Putin then returned to the original election question. It wasn’t for Russia to decide, he said. “This is not the sphere where such categories as ‘I want,’ ‘I don’t want’ apply. We respect the choice of the American people and whoever is elected we will work with him or her.”

The crowd clapped enthusiastically.

Of course, Putin’s warm earnestness is actually deliberate deception. As in 2016, Putin will interfere with the 2020 election to support the candidate whose victory he believes is most in Russia’s interest.

Yet the diplomatic lying is very clever. It’s not just that it sounds good, it’s that it subtly plays to the belief that Putin is misrepresented in international media. That he isn’t, in fact, the leader who blitzes some Syrian towns and covers up chemical weapons attacks in others. That he isn’t the leader who suffocates innocents in English country villages and kills journalists. That he isn’t the man who wants to dominate eastern Europe and, if undeterred, would do so by force.

Clever indeed. Putin’s words in St. Petersburg were classic KGB “deza” or disinformation operations. He said things that a lot of people want to believe. And thus Putin cleverly frames himself as the good guy.


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