Politics


Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns

Twitter’s verification program put the company at the center of another political headache this week, with the social media giant stuck between liberals who demand stricter rules about hate speech and misinformation and conservatives who fear the site will target them for their political views.

Twitter’s “blue checkmark” verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it’s also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va. “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler.

The social media site responded to the criticism Wednesday by taking checkmarks away from several users affiliated with the far right or white nationalism, as well as kicking one prominent Charlottesville marcher off the platform permanently.

Further changes are expected next week, when Twitter says it will implement more rules. Twitter declined to comment on the changes.

While liberals cheered the crackdown, conservatives worried that they’ll be punished next. Describing the crackdown, a Breitbart headline declared that “conservative figures” had been “purged.”

 

 

source/read more:http://thehill.com/policy/technology/360806-twitter-crackdown-sparks-free-speech-concerns

Once taboo, socialism finds comrades among US millennials

11th Nov 2017

While working as an electrician Lee Carter received a literal shock, through one hand and across the chest, that jolted him into politics and turned him on to what was a dirty word in America for nearly a century: socialism.

His struggle to obtain compensation for the workplace injury inspired him to run for office, and this week Carter ousted a top Republican incumbent to nab a spot in Virginia’s House of Delegates, becoming one of over a dozen unabashed socialists newly elected to US state and municipal seats one year after Donald Trump took the White House.

The 31-year-old former Marine is part of a growing cadre of Americans, particularly millennials, pledging their allegiance to the Democratic Socialists of America, the nation’s fastest growing leftist group that was originally founded in 1982 as a foothold for Marxists.

Riding the wave of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’s spirited White House bid against primary rival Hillary Clinton, the organization is helping propel socialism out of the shadows.

In the years prior to the Sanders campaign, the DSA’s number of card-carrying members hovered around 6,500 — and has nearly quintupled since 2016’s presidential race to more than 30,000.

Its median age has dropped from about 60 to 35, according to organizers, some of whom have playfully referred to the surge among youth as a “socialist baby boom.”

Dismayed by Trump’s rise to power Jacquelyn Smith in January joined the DSA, which has chapters in nearly every US state. And at just 22 years old, she managed Carter’s victorious campaign.

Organizing as a DSA member means “I am challenging the root of the problem and not the symptoms,” she told AFP, speaking at a recent convention of the organization’s local Washington branch.

“I focus a lot less on challenging Trump and a lot more on challenging why he got there in the first place,” she said, citing forces including economic inequality and white supremacist movements.

Today Smith said millennials — a generation that grew up during the 2008 financial crisis — are eager for socialism, to “embrace the ideology and really fight with it publicly.”

Under her management DSA members spent months canvassing for Carter in Virginia’s 50th district, about an hour’s drive west of the nation’s capital, knocking on more than 9,000 doors in the final four days.

Those grassroots efforts helped propel Carter, who ran as a socialist on the Democratic party

Despite their current momentum far-left groups like the DSA remain on the fringes of American politics, working within a two-party system that leaves little space for outsiders.

The political group is not a party, and has nowhere near the clout of sister movements elsewhere such as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in Britain, or Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

But socialism has not had a voice this loud in American politics for decades.

Though she would not yet classify the wave of leftist activism as a mass movement, politics professor Cathy Schneider of American University said the DSA’s growth is significant in that it indicates voters shocked by Trumpism are also increasingly disillusioned with the Democratic Party.

“There is a sector of American society who feel that the political parties do not address their concerns,” she said. “The Democratic Socialists have said we have an answer for that.”

Their current strategy does not necessarily include third-party politics; instead the DSA is fielding socialist candidates for elected office using whichever ballot line makes winning likely, generally that of the Democrats.

And though many members got involved in the aftermath of the Sanders campaign, organizers now say their goal is to build a movement not connected to any single politician but instead based on core issues like universal health care, public investment in education and housing and bolstering labor protections.

Schneider also noted that socialism’s “alarming reputation” appears to be fading, no small development in a country that lived through the Red Scare era of anti-communist propaganda.

“People no longer associate socialism with dictatorships in the USSR and China,” she said.

 

 

 

 

source:https://www.yahoo.com/news/once-taboo-socialism-finds-comrades-among-us-millennials-051949477.html

The rise and fall of the Podestas, Washington’s powerful political brother act

For more than 30 years, the Podesta name was gold in Washington.

Tony Podesta was a respected lobbyist and a fundraiser for Democratic candidates. His younger brother, John, served as Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff and as senior counselor to Barack Obama. Together, they were the most powerful brother act in liberal politics since the Kennedys.

Then John became chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, putting the Podestas in the crosshairs of the alt-right. In the middle of the campaign, John’s hacked emails led to “Pizzagate,” a bizarre conspiracy theory about a child sex ring. Finally, and against all expectations, he lost the bitterly fought election.

Now Tony’s work for a Ukrainian nonprofit group is part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, prompting the powerful lobbyist to resign from the Podesta Group, the firm he founded three decades ago.

“I didn’t leave with a sense of tragedy or regret about anything I had done,” Tony said nonchalantly in an interview last week. “I thought it was better for the clients and better for the people in the office for me to get out of there.”

His bravado notwithstanding, it’s been a really bad year for the Podesta brothers, even by the standards of political hand-to-hand combat.

They’ve become a particular fixation for President Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the two in tweets and interviews. On the eve of his current trip to Asia, he told reporters he was “disappointed” that the Justice Department was not investigating Hillary Clinton and her advisers instead of him: “Honestly they should be looking at the Democrats, they should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty.”

Meanwhile, Fox News is calling the Podesta brothers “central figures” in the Mueller probe.

One might expect Tony Podesta to be angry — and apprehensive — about all this, and maybe he is. But at the moment, he’s smiling and cracking jokes.

“There was a period when I was at People for the American Way in which I was the devil, and this is another period in which I am the devil,” he says. “I don’t retreat from my values or my life because Tucker Carlson makes s— up.”

And he’s laughing off the president.

“If you tweet ‘Podesta’ you get some applause from people who don’t know who we are or what we do,” he says. “He has his phone. And I have my integrity.”

Tony Podesta, now 74, worked outside politics as a lobbyist and fundraiser. (Tony Powell)

John, now 68, made his name on the inside, working for the Clinton and Obama administrations. (Kristoffer Tripplaar/For The Washington Post)

For all the talk about the Podestas being Washington insiders — and they absolutely are — the irony is that they grew up as far from elite as possible.

They were born in working-class Chicago to two first-generation Americans: their father Italian, their mother Greek, the family living in a “two flat,” with their aunt, uncle and cousins in the apartment upstairs. Their father worked factory jobs and lost sleep worrying about the $11,000 he borrowed to buy the apartment, Tony says. Tony attended the University of Illinois at Chicago; John went to Knox College.

From this background, colored by the Vietnam War and the political upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s, emerged two men with a shared passion for liberal issues and a weakness for losing candidates: They worked for Gene McCarthy, Edmund Muskie, George McGovern and many more. “We weren’t doing it to go to the White House,” Tony says. “We were doing it because we believed in what we were doing.”

The two made their way to Washington, where they both attended law school at Georgetown University, worked briefly in government, then founded the Podesta Group in 1987. Their paths quickly diverged: Tony working outside politics, lobbying, fundraising and serving as president of People for the American Way, the progressive advocacy group founded by TV producer Norman Lear; John on the inside, in the Clinton and Obama administrations and as head of the Center for American Progress, the premier liberal think tank during the George W. Bush years.

The two brothers, who are very close, became powerbrokers on a first-name basis with every important figure in American progressive politics, and many across the aisle. Every call they made was answered, every door they knocked on opened.

Tony, 74, is expansive, expressive, a happy warrior. “He’s partisan in the traditional way, which is rapidly disappearing in Washington,” says longtime Republican lobbyist Wayne Berman. “He understands the value of having friends on the other side. It’s a happy partisanship, not a bitter partisanship.”

He wears red Prada loafers and owns one of the capital’s most impressive modern art collections, which serves as the backdrop for the frequent parties he hosts at his Kalorama mansion. The collection began when he worked for the failed 1980 presidential bid of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and walked away with a tube of donated art — limited editions of Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg — in lieu of a salary.

Always well-known in political circles, Tony became a celebrity with his high-profile second marriage to lobbyist Heather Podesta. The two were a striking couple on Washington’s sometimes traditional social scene, frequently photographed in front of one of their paintings or sculptures. The marriage ended after 11 years with no children but a custody battle over the art…

 

Source/Read more:https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-podestas-washingtons-powerful-political-brother-act/2017/11/10/04bf1f6e-c4a6-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html

Number of Asylum Seekers Doubles in Two Years, As Germany Admits it has Lost Track of 30,000 Illegals

3rd Nov 2017
The number of asylum seekers and refugees in Germany has more than doubled in two years according to the latest figures from the Federal Statistics Office, but the nation is struggling to keep track of all the new arrivals.

At the end of 2016 the number of people seeking asylum had hit 1.6 million, a rise of 113 per cent compared to the end of 2014. The figure is likely to have risen even further since.

German newspaper Handelsblatt reports the breakdown of the 1.6 million figure, with 872,000 holding a “humanitarian residence permit”, and 158,000 in the country despite having had their asylum applications rejected. Of those, 75 per cent were given a “tolerance” — suspending the requirement for them to leave the country.

In addition to those who had decisions made on their asylum status, there were another 573,000 whose applications for asylum hadn’t been ruled upon at all.

Yet the 1.6 million figure could be even higher as the agency had excluded some 392,000 individuals for whom it was not clear whether they were asylum seekers or not.

More Asylum Requests in Germany than Rest of EU Combined, Bundestag VP Says Germany’s Migrant Crisis Is ‘Not Over’ https://t.co/21Ojywue9u pic.twitter.com/nduOSCnzUp

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 3, 2017

Of those arrivals who came in 2016, nearly two-thirds are men, while the largest foreign groups came from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

 

source/read more: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/11/02/number-asylum-seekers-doubles-two-years-german-government-admits-lost-track-30000/

NYC Foreign Terror Suspect Entered U.S. with ‘Diversity Visa’ Trump Wants to End

1st Nov 2017

The suspected foreign national terrorist behind the New York City attack that has left at least eight individuals dead came to the United States years ago through the Diversity Visa Lottery, a program that President Trump and pro-American immigration reformers have demanded an end to.

According to ABC New York, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov — the man who allegedly mowed down pedestrians in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City — entered the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan under the Diversity Visa Lottery before obtaining a Green Card.

The Diversity Visa Lottery gives out 50,000 visas every year to foreign nationals from a multitude of countries, including those with known terrorist problems – such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.

Trump, though, along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), has been calling for an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery program since August. Under the RAISE Act, introduced in February and endorsed by Trump in August, the Diversity Visa Lottery would be eliminated altogether.

The Trump administration took eliminating the Diversity Visa Lottery even more seriously earlier this month when they introduced the president’s immigration priorities, which like the RAISE Act called for the elimination of the program.

In an interview with Breitbart News, Cotton said the Diversity Visa Lottery does not serve the national interest, as it arbitrarily rewards random foreign nationals with visas to come to the U.S.

“The diversity lottery serves no discernible humanitarian or economic interest,” Cotton explained to Breitbart News. “It is a policy that has far outlived its usefulness and it really doesn’t even serve diversity since Europe is one of the primary uses of it. Even in past efforts at amnesty-first comprehensive immigration reform like we saw in 2013 and 2007, most people agree we should eliminate the diversity lottery. I think it’s a policy that has far outlived its usefulness if it ever had any utility and it’s time to eliminate the diversity lottery.”

In 2011, just a year after the New York City foreign terror suspect, Saipov, entered the U.S. from Uzbekistan through the Diversity Visa Lottery, Center for Immigration Studies National Security Policy Director Janice Kephart testified before Congress about the security risks associated with the visa program.

“The Diversity Visa Program is an unfortunate blind spot in our immigration system that has outlived whatever purpose it might have had,” Kephart explained in her testimony in 2011. “The applicants for these 50,000 ‘visa lottery’ immigration slots require few skills. Neither their qualifications nor identity can be properly vetted. The program does not know, really, who these applicants are or their true purpose in coming to the United States. The program is a national security vulnerability and has been used by terrorists and organized criminals to not only enter the United States but to bring others in as well.”

“According to unofficial statements from the State Department, the program is rife with fraud in part because application standards are so low,” Kephart continued. “The program claims to have strict eligibility requirements, but only calls for a high school education or its equivalent or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience.”

 

 

source/read more: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/31/report-nyc-foreign-terror-suspect-entered-u-s-with-diversity-visa-trump-wants-to-end/

CIA agents were sent to find out if Adolf Hitler SURVIVED WW2

1st Nov 2017

An informant told the CIA that Adolf Hitler survived World War II and was living with ex-Nazis in Colombia in the 1950s, according to newly declassified documents.

The source told the agent, whose code name was Cimelody-3, the former Fuehrer was alive and that an ex-SS agent named Phillip Citroen had been in touch with him in the city of Tunja, according to the memo, released as part of the files related to JFK’s assassination.

Citroen told the informant he saw a man who strongly resembled Hitler while working in “Residencias Coloniales,” a neighborhood populated by former Nazis. He said Germans living there followed this alleged Hitler with “an idolatry of the Nazi past, addressing him as ‘der Fuehrer’ and affording him the Nazi salute and storm-trooper adulation.”

The former SS agent also had a photo of himself with the suspected Hitler, who allegedly went by “Adolf Schritteimayor.”

Eight of Iran’s women’s football team ‘are men’ FLASHBACK

18th Oct 2017

Eight of Iran’s women’s football team are actually men awaiting sex change operations, it has been claimed.

The country’s football association was accused of being “unethical” for knowingly fielding eight men in its women’s team.

Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, told an Iranian news website: “[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations.”

On Wednesday, authorities reportedly ordered gender testing of the entire national squad and leading league players. The names of the players thought to be male were not revealed.

The Iranian women’s team play in hijab headscarfs, long-sleeved tops and tracksuit bottoms.

In 2014, the country’s football governing body introduced random checks after it was revealed that four national team players were either men who had not completed sex change operations, or were suffering from sexual development disorders.

In 2010, doubts were raised about the gender of the team’s goalkeeper.

Gender change operations are legal in Iran according to a fatwa – or religious ruling – pronounced by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The law contrasts with the strict rules governing sexual morality under the country’s Sharia legal code, which forbids homosexuality and pre-marital sex.

Sex changes are commonly carried out in phases in Iran, with the full procedure taking up to two years and including hormone therapy before the full gender transformation is completed.

Football is highly popular among many Iranian women, despite religious rules that bar them from entering stadiums to watch matches between male teams.

Earlier this month the women’s national team captain was unable to fly with the squad to Malaysia because her husband refused her permission to fly.

 

 

 

source/read more; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11903290/Eight-of-Irans-womens-football-team-are-men.html

Mozilla gave $100,000 to secure email platform harnessed by Antifa groups

13th oct 2017

Mozilla has awarded $100,000 to RiseUp, a secure communication platform widely used by Antifa groups.

The open source group, creator of the popular Firefox browser, said that the award “will advance a free and healthy Internet.” In a blog post earlier this month, Mozilla described RiseUp as “a coordination platform used by activists across the political spectrum, to improve the security of their email service.”

RiseUp is a tech collective devoted to the creation of a free society based on principles such as democracy, equality, diversity, ecology and security, according to its website. “Riseup provides online communication tools for people and groups working on liberatory social change,” its website says. “We are a project to create democratic alternatives and practice self-determination by controlling our own secure means of communication.”

 

 

source/read more;https://www.infowars.com/mozilla-gave-100000-to-secure-email-platform-harnessed-by-antifa-groups/

Smartphone Apps to Track ‘Loyalty’ to Communism (China)

8th Oct 2017

The Communist Party of China (CPC) is boasting of over 100 smartphone applications designed to allow senior party members to more accurately track their underlings’ loyalty, based in part on how much communist propaganda the individual consumes on the app.

The Chinese state newspaper Global Times notes that these apps “place additional pressure on members to properly and timely show their loyalty and enthusiasm for the Party.” Party members can be reprimanded if their superior notices they have not been interacting with other party members, reading speeches by president Xi Jinping, or taking online communism classes often enough through the app. The article notes that those who excel and indoctrinate themselves with the apps may be eligible for prizes such as pens and notebooks.

The apps offer a variety of indoctrination media aside from Xi’s speeches, according to the Global Times—among these quizzes to hone knowledge of Maoist thought and broader classes on communist philosophy with required homework.

“The apps not only provide online classes to learn Party doctrines, but also enable users to pay their CPC membership fees or socialize with each other,” the Times adds. “More importantly, the apps will help the CPC evaluate the performance of their nearly 90 million members in a visible, traceable and interactive manner.”

The article provides a number of reasons for there being so many apps, including the use of separate apps for different regional Communist Party structures, different features—like paying Communist Party dues—and different developers. They are all being organized under an umbrella project called “China’s Good Party Member.”

The Chinese government has taken significant technological liberties in the quest to promote communism. Last year, Beijing banned anonymous use of the internet, as well as the publication of any statements that offend “national honor” or suggest an overthrow of the “socialist system.” That law built upon a ban on the publication of blogs or internet comments anonymously passed in 2015.

The CPC regulation apps are part of a greater party organization overhaul in anticipation of the CPC National Congress, beginning October 18. The event, which typically occurs every five years, will give the party an opportunity to elect, re-elect, and promote leaders within the CPC. Local officials told the Global Times in a separate article that they have already been using technology to communicate regarding recommendations for appointments and recruitment of candidates.

“We solicited the opinions of 130 Party members outside the area via telephone and WeChat, an instant messaging service. We visited the homes of elderly members, taking recommendation forms and explaining the policy face to face,” local official Yan Weiping said. Without meeting personally with officials, getting on a CPC ballot is nearly impossible.

In July, communist officials told the Global Times they had organized historical indoctrination tours to generate enthusiasm for the Party Congress. That month, “more than 760 Party members from the State-owned China Construction First Building Corporation Limited took a tour to trace the Party’s footprints from its birth to today.” The tour reportedly took 50 days and included “Chairman Mao’s hometown of Shaoshan, Hunan Province and even Moscow.”

The Chinese state outlet Xinhua states in a report published Friday that the CPC Congress will seek to promote China as “champion of the open world economy” against “protectionism and isolation,” as well as promote a climate change agenda and combat a “Cold War mentality.” Delegates are also expected to vote on amendments to the CPC constitution which would “promote the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and Party building,” according to Xinhua.

 

source/read more;http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/10/06/china-unveils-100-smartphone-apps-track-loyalty-communism/