FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of a binary code in this illustration picture, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic//File Photo
April 24, 2019
By Joseph Menn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Technology firms should do more to connect people in positive ways and steer away from trends that have tended to exploit human weaknesses, ethicists told a meeting of Silicon Valley leaders on Tuesday.
Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin are the co-founders of the nonprofit Center for Humane Technology and the ones who prompted Apple and Google to nudge phone users toward reducing their screen time.
Now they want companies and regulators to focus on reversing what they called “human downgrading,” which they see as at the root of a dozen worsening problems, by reconsidering the design and financial incentives of their systems.
Before a hand-picked crowd of about 300 technologists, philanthropists and others concerned with issues such as internet addiction, political polarization, and the spread of misinformation on the web, Harris said Silicon Valley was too focused on making computers surpass human strengths, rather than worrying about how they already exploit human weaknesses.
If that is not reversed, he said, “that could be the end of human agency,” or free will.
Problems include the spread of hate speech and conspiracy theories, propelled by financial incentives to keep users engaged alongside the use of powerful artificial intelligence on platforms like Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, Harris said.
YouTube and other companies have said they are cracking down on extremist speech and have removed advertising revenue-sharing from some categories of content.
Active Facebook communities can be a force for good but they also aid the dissemination of false information, the campaigners said. For example, a vocal fringe that oppose vaccines, believing contrary to scientific evidence that they cause autism, has led to an uptick in diseases that were nearly eradicated.
Facebook said in March it would reduce the distribution of content from groups promoting vaccine hoaxes.
In an interview after his speech, Harris said that what he has called a race to the bottom of the brainstem – manipulation of human instincts and emotions – could be reversed.
For example, he said that Apple and Google could reward app developers who help users, or Facebook could suggest that someone showing signs of depression call a friend who had previously been supportive.
Tech personalities attending included Apple Inc co-founder Steve Wozniak, early Facebook funder turned critic Roger McNamee and MoveOn founders Joan Blades and Wes Boyd. Tech money is also backing the Center, including charitable funds started by founders of Hewlett Packard, EBay, and Craigslist.
The big companies, Harris said, “can change the incentives.”
(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Rosalba O’Brien)
The brothers who were allegedly paid by Empire star Jussie Smollett to stage a hate crime hoax are suing the actor’s lawyers for defamation, claiming his legal team continues to drag their names through the mud despite charges being dropped against the actor.
Brothers Abimobola and Olabinjo Osundairo claim they were paid by Smollett to help perpetrate the hoax, in which they wore red hats before attacking him on the streets of Chicago. The actor then blamed the attack on supporters of Donald Trump claiming his attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
After Cook County prosecutors made the unusual move of dropping 16 felony counts against the actor, the brothers – who confessed to police Smollett had paid them to carry out the hoax – claim Smollett’s attorneys have been emboldened and are doubling down on claims against them.
At a press conference Tuesday, the brother’s lawyers accused Smollett of not only destroying their reputations, but that of the City of Chicago, as well.
“These lies are destroying our character and our reputation in our personal and professional lives,” one of the brothers’ attorneys, Gloria Schmidt, read from a prepared statement. “Those who know us personally know that we don’t have hate for anyone… That is not who we are.”
“The Chicagoan brothers told the truth,” Schmidt said. “They could have remained silent. But instead they told the truth to the police, and with their right hand in the air, they told the truth to the grand jury. We’re going to make sure that the lies and malice attacking our city, our Police Department and my two clients are met with truth and healing.”
Additionally, Abimobola claims Smollett’s attorney “inferred” during a radio interview he and Smollett had “engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts together,” which the brother denied vehemently saying he is heterosexual and in a relationship with a woman. The statement was particularly damaging, according to the federal lawsuit, because he still has family in Nigeria where homosexual activity is illegal and not tolerated.
The brothers, who are both aspiring actors, say they’re the real victims of Smollett’s case and that they merely helped him hoping to advance their careers.
Smollett, the brothers claim, “directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”
“In short, Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence (the Osundairo brothers), who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to ‘make it’ in Hollywood,” the suit reads.
Watch the brothers’ attorney’s press conference below:
Read the brothers’ lawsuit:
Monday night’s CNN Town Hall was one of the first opportunities for the top Democratic presidential contenders to come together and share their views on allowing child rapists, terrorists and murderers to vote, and other formerly radical policies that have somehow found their way into the Democratic mainstream.
As each candidate vied to outdo one another, California Sen. Kamala Harris, widely rumored to have the party’s implicit backing as the “establishment choice” in a widening field of nearly two dozen candidates, boldly declared that she would take executive action to force federal agencies to write new rules on gun control should Congress “fail to act”.
“Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws, and if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action,” Harris said Monday.
Alex Jones breaks down how Christian churches are now the #1 target of attacks in the world – a fact the mainstream media largely ignores. Meanwhile, globalist leaders like Hillary and Obama refuse to use the word “Christian” to describe the victims, preferring to call them “Easter worshipers” instead. Will Johnson hosts the final hour.
An aide to Harris said the senator would direct the ATF “to promulgate a regulation” that makes it so that “if you sell five or more guns for profit a year, you will be considered a ‘dealer’ and required to perform background checks.”
She added that she would push to “ban assault weapons”, which, as she is no doubt aware thanks to her time as a prosecutor (though most non-gun-owning Americans probably don’t understand the difference) would mean banning most semi-automatic weapons, leaving hunters and hobbyists with revolvers and pump-action rifles and shotguns.
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris says she wants to ban “assault weapons,” which means all semi-automatic firearms
Harris says she “will give” Congress 100 days to pass radical gun control laws or else she will use executive action to ram through her agenda pic.twitter.com/Ly8dpQisld
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) April 23, 2019
For those who are still unclear about what Harris means by ‘banning assault weapons’, here’s a flowchart that California, one of the few states that has maintained its own assault weapons ban, uses to determine what is and isn’t illegal.
Harris’s sweeping gun control plan includes proposals to require universal background checks (federal law only requires background checks by licensed dealers, leading to the so-called ‘gun show’ loophole), reinstate a federal “assault weapons ban” that was initially passed by President Bill Clinton and remained in effect between 1994 to 2004, ban high-capacity ammunition clips, make gun trafficking a federal crime and prohibit those convicted of a federal hate crime from buying firearms.
Among her more controversial proposals is her plan to repeal the Protection of Commerce in Arms Act, a 2005 law that shields gun makers and sellers from liability for crimes committed using their weapons.
Of course, the Harris campaign acknowledged that the candidate’s plan would, if enacted, almost certainly face court challenges. But breaking the impasse on gun control, which has divided Republicans and Democrats, is a top Democratic priority, since politicians have cynically convinced grieving communities that tightening background checks and restrictions on gun purchases will somehow magically solve the problem of mass shootings.
Oh, and as if her radical gun control proposals weren’t enough to secure some headline real estate, Harris also became one of the first Democratic contenders in the mainstream to publicly support impeachment for President Trump.
Nancy Pelosi will be thrilled, we imagine.
Supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) pose in front of a party bus with a picture of their leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on it, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
April 22, 2019
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has arrested nine people, including a member of the ruling AK Party, after the country’s main opposition leader was punched and his car was stoned at a soldier’s funeral at the weekend, the interior minister said on Monday.
Kilicdaroglu was attacked on Sunday as he attended a funeral in a northern district of Ankara for a soldier killed in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.
The incident took place after his Republican People’s Party (CHP) defeated President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party in March 31 mayoral elections in the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, painful losses for the ruling party.
During campaigning, Erdogan often accused the CHP and Kilicdaroglu of links to terrorism because it had election deals in some constituencies with the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP, which Erdogan said has ties to the outlawed PKK.
The HDP denies links to the PKK, which has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984, and is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that nine people had been detained, adding that Kilicdaroglu’s recent “contacts” with the Kurdish party (HDP) made him a target.
“CHP’s contacts with the HDP, and HDP’s policy that doesn’t distance itself from the PKK are all happening before the public eye. Kilicdaroglu should have informed the authorities if he wanted to attend the funeral,” Soylu told a new conference.
“It’s wrong to blame the interior ministry for such incidents while partnering with the political arm of the PKK at the same time,” Soylu added, saying Kilicdaroglu’s party was trying to make political gains from the attack.
Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said heated political rhetoric had fueled the attack. “Likely inspired by hate speeches of ruling politicians. This radical polarization must end,” Piri said.
(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans)
The bombings in Sri Lanka have once again put a spotlight on the rising tide of violence against Christians all over the world.
According to Open Doors USA, an average of 105 churches and/or Christian buildings are burned or attacked every month. That is more than three per day, and almost all of those attacks get ignored by the mainstream media in the western world. In addition, an average of 345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons every single month. Of course these numbers will soon be out of date, because violence against Christians continues to escalate all over the globe, and the horrifying attacks that we just witnessed in Sri Lanka are a perfect example. The following comes from CBS News…
A series of eight bombings in Sri Lanka targeting Christian churches and hotels in three cities killed at least 207 people and wounded up to 450 others on Easter Sunday. Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene described the coordinated blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists.
More specifically, the attackers were Muslim extremists.
Why does the mainstream media have to be so politically-correct all the time?
Of course this comes right on the heels of the fire that almost destroyed the Notre Dame Cathedral. Authorities are still attempting to determine the cause of that fire, but we do know that many other churches have been hit by vandals and arsonists in France since the beginning of February…
Vandals and arsonists have targeted French churches in a wave of attacks that has lasted nearly two months.
More than 10 churches have been hit since the beginning of February, with some set on fire while others were severely desecrated or damaged.
In an apparent attempt to copy what happened at Notre Dame, a deranged philosophy professor was caught bringing gas cans and lighter fluid to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York…
The man who allegedly brought gas cans and lighter fluid into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City has taught philosophy at different colleges in New York and New Jersey, school officials said.
Marc Lamparello, 37, was arrested on Wednesday night and was charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment. He was taken into custody after a security guard at the cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan spotted him.
Fortunately a great tragedy was averted in that case, but most churches around the world are very “soft targets” with absolutely no security whatsoever.
And these days, there is literally nowhere that is safe. Attacks on churches are happening literally all over the globe, and sometimes they happen right in the middle of a worship service.
For instance, here is an example from the Philippines that recently made worldwide headlines…
Two suicide attackers detonate two bombs during a Mass in a Roman Catholic cathedral on the largely Muslim island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, killing 23 and wounding about 100 others.
Earlier this year in India, a group of Christians was absolutely horrified when they arrived for worship only to find that their church had burned completely to the ground…
Christians were horrified to see Pentecostal Church in India’s Telangana state completely engulfed by black smoke when they arrived for worship. On closer inspection much of the inside of the church, including furniture, the pulpit, the sound system, fans, carpets, and lights, were burned to ashes during the attack on February 2 at about 11am. The devastating attack on the church, home to 200 worshippers, has left Christians from ten villages without a place to worship.
By a very wide margin, churches are the number one target for hate attacks, and it is only going to get worse.
Sadly, churches in the U.S. are increasingly being attacked as well. You may not have heard about it in the news, but three churches in Louisiana were recently destroyed by arson…
Much of Monica Harris’s identity is tied to the Greater Union Baptist Church, a 129-year-old sanctuary that has been at the center of her family for generations. As a child, she was dunked into a baptismal basin and then paraded like a princess up the aisle in a white dress and white patent leather shoes. She was married at the church, and she said goodbye to her parents there, too.
And so she felt like a piece of her was missing when she set eyes upon the charred remains of Greater Union, one of three predominantly black churches in St. Landry Parish, La., that law enforcement authorities said were set ablaze and destroyed over the stretch of 10 days.
In previous articles, I have argued that all churches are going to need armed security from this point forward. The world has changed, and we need to change with it.
When I was growing up, I never imagined that someone might come in to my church and start shooting, but over the last several decades we have seen such a scenario play out numerous times. Just check out this list of fatal church shootings that have happened since Columbine…
- 1999 Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas
- 2001 Greater Oak Missionary Baptist Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
- 2002 Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Lynbrook, New York
- 2003 Turner Monumental AME Church in Kirkwood, Georgia
- 2005 Living Church of God in Brookfield, Wisconsin
- 2005 World Changers Church in College Park, Georgia
- 2006 Zion Hope Missionary Baptist in Detroit, Michigan
- 2006 Ministry of Jesus Christ Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- 2007 First Presbyterian Church in Moscow, Idaho
- 2007 First Congregational Church in Neosho, Missouri
- 2007 New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado
- 2008 First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois
- 2009 Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas
- 2012 World Changers Church in College Park, Georgia
- 2015 Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
- 2017 Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee
- 2017 First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas
- 2017 St. Alphonsus Church in Fresno, Texas
Christian persecution is on the rise all over the world, and it is likely to intensify greatly in the years ahead.
But of course most of the time the mainstream media attempts to ignore this growing trend as much as possible. When there are spectacular attacks with large numbers of deaths like we just witnessed in Sri Lanka they will cover the story, but other than that they try very hard to avoid any stories that would put Christians in a sympathetic light.
They can try to ignore what is happening all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that hatred for the Christian faith is growing, and what we have been witnessing in recent weeks is just the beginning.
About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dreamand The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, slammed Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s recent attacks on Vice President Mike Pence, likening the homosexual mayor’s conduct to that of Jussie Smollett.
Grenell, who is also gay, took issue with Buttigieg’s incendiary targeting of Pence over his Christian faith and supposed anti-LGBT positions, asserting that the vice president and his wife have always treated Grenell and his partner with nothing but kindness and respect.
“Mayor Pete has been pushing this hate hoax along the lines of Jussie Smollett for a very long time now – several weeks – and I find it really ironic that Mayor Pete stayed silent about this so-called hate hoax on him and others during 2015, 2016, 2017, when Mike Pence was governor,” Grenell told Fox host Martha MacCallum. “It’s ironic that right about now when he’s starting his fundraising apparatus to run for president, he comes up with this idea and this attack.”
“One of the things that really bothers me about this attack is that Mike Pence is a friend of mine. Mike and Karen are great people, they’re Godly people, they’re followers of Christ. They don’t have hate in their heart for anyone. They know my partner, they have accepted us.”
“You asked me, do we agree philosophically on every single issue? No. I don’t agree philosophically with my hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer on everything, I don’t agree with my partner on everything,” Grenell continued. “The gay community used to be the community pushing tolerance and diversity; we were the ones that were saying everyone should be able to accept and love each other. Now suddenly there’s a whole community of people demanding we all think alike.”
Grenell also pointed out that Pence has always spoken highly of Buttigieg, including when both held public office in the state of Indiana, as governor and as mayor of South Bend, respectively.
“Let me just say one more thing – when Mayor Pete came out, the vice president complimented him and said he holds him in high regard,” Grenell said. “The vice president, or then-governor, has said nothing but positive things about Mayor Pete. I think this is a total hate hoax and I think it’s outrageous.”
Bernie Sanders appears to be okay with possible physical attacks on Kaitlin Bennett due to his rhetoric and characterization of Kaitlin and Infowars.
Dan Lyman: Follow @CitizenAnalyst
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump’s lead attorneys Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani react after Attorney General William Barr sent lawmakers a summary of the key findings in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, at an office in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. Picture taken March 24, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Halmagyi/Handout via REUTERS.
April 19, 2019
By Karen Freifeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers spent at least 10 hours reviewing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election before it was made public, two of the lawyers told Reuters on Friday.
Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow and two other Trump lawyers went to the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday and Wednesday for an early look at the 448-page report into whether Trump’s team colluded with Russia and whether Trump obstructed the investigation, which was released to the public on Thursday.
Attorney General William Barr, who has drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers over his handling of the Mueller probe, said on Thursday that both White House counsel and Trump’s personal lawyers had been allowed to review the redacted report.
Barr gave no details about how much access they were given but Sekulow and Giuliani said they reviewed copies of the report from about 4 p.m. until at least 9 p.m. on Tuesday and from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, taking notes on legal pads.
The lawyers said they gave up their cellphones and other electronic devices before being led into a Justice Department conference room in a restricted area known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), designed to ensure secret information stays secure.
“We were doing a lot of reading, not talking,” Sekulow told Reuters, referring to himself, Giuliani, and Jane and Marty Raskin.
“I had at least 30 pages of notes,” said Giuliani.
Sekulow pushed back against Democrats’ complaints that Barr had tried to help Trump by giving his lawyers an early look at the report.
“Our client was the subject of an inquiry,” Sekulow said, explaining that the team of lawyers sent a note to the Justice Department last week asking to see the report. “We believed it was an appropriate request to make.”
The disclosure followed news reports this week that Justice Department officials discussed Mueller’s conclusions with White House lawyers before the release.
Giuliani said the preview reassured them that the report did not contain any bombshells.
“It gave us some confidence the people who hate him will hate him, the people who love him will love him, and the people in between were not going to be persuaded,” he said.
After the first session, the lawyers went back to Sekulow’s Capitol Hill offices, ordered in Chinese food and created an outline of their own about the most important details in the report, they said.
On Wednesday night, they went out for Mexican food. And on Thursday night, after the report’s release, they celebrated at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
Although Mueller’s team described in detail the extensive contact Trump’s team had with Russia during the election campaign and how Trump tried to impede the investigation, it stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime or that his aides had conspired with Moscow.
The team of personal lawyers was happy with the result. “No collusion and no obstruction,” Sekulow said, using a phrase often repeated by Trump.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Kieran Murray and Bill Rigby)
Bill O’Reilly told Newsmax TV there will soon be a lot of “pain inflicted” on the FBI.
“I hear that from very credible sources,” he said Thursday, noting the agency “did indeed botch” the investigation into Russia and the Donald Trump campaign and the Hillary Clinton email probe.
O’Reilly did not offer any specifics.
Regarding the White House’s reaction to the release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, O’Reilly said: “I think there’s a sense of relief, but the Trump administration knows the Democrats in the House of Representatives are not going to stop, and that could work to Trump’s advantage when he runs for president again, but it is an annoyance. It will keep the Trump Hate Media in business for a while.
“But I think overall, William Barr, the attorney general, did the president a favor, not a personal favor. It’s not the way CNN or MSNBC are portraying it. That’s not what happened. But Barr was very clear about what Mueller found out. So, if you are a person who cares about the news and facts, you got it. He laid it out very clearly.”
And he added: “From the very beginning, I always said, because I know Trump so well, he’s not capable of colluding with anyone. He’s just not. It’s not the way he thinks. He doesn’t have the concentration span to collude.”
Source: NewsMax America