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Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, has described her life in the media eye as “like walking a tightrope of dental floss in high heels.”

In an interview with Los Angeles Magazine, Linton, 38, rejected the notion that she was shallow and out of touch. She said: “Either I can express my beliefs and be at odds with my husband and his boss and get in trouble that way, or I can decline to comment and be in hot water with everyone else. Sucks either way.”

Linton, a Scottish-born actress raised partly in a castle outside Edinburgh, married Mnuchin, a former investment banker, in a 2017 civil ceremony at which Vice President Mike Pence officiated. It was her second marriage and his third. He has three children with his second wife, Heather deForest Crosby.

Before marrying Mnuchin, Linton was primarily known for guest roles on television and a self-published memoir about her 1999 gap year in what she described as “war-torn Zambia.” She drew intense criticism for inaccuracies and the portrayal of herself as a “white savior.” The book was withdrawn from sale and she apologized.

Once she arrived in Washington, she became highly visible as a character on social media. In 2017 she shared an Instagram photo of herself and Mnuchin disembarking from a private government jet, captioning the snap with a list of the designer apparel she wore for the trip.

When an Oregon woman criticized her, she hit back: “Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? … I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did.”

She drew further ire when a photo was taken of her at Fort Knox holding an uncut sheet of currency while wearing black leather gloves. Many online began to call her Cruella de Vil, after the famous cartoon villain.

Steven Mnuchin, Louise Linton
Steven Mnuchin and wife Louise Linton.

In the interview, which features a 22,700-square-feet home in the opulent Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air that she calls “Weezy’s Castle,” Linton said she felt prepared for her new life “in one of the most polarizing administrations ever” amid President Trump’s orbit. “As far as I know, there really isn’t a PR firm for people who suddenly become Cabinet spouses, ya know? The partners of ambassadors and congressional spouses get to go to a training camp!

“Cabinet spouses get nothing. Being married to someone so high up in government, it surprised me that there was no one there to step in, as I’m sure they do, for the first lady or for Meghan Markle or Kate Middleton!”

She was anxious to dispel some myths about her behavior. “Someone claimed that I walk into the Treasury and yell, ‘Where is my hubby? Oh, he’s on an important phone call? Get him off!’ Bulls–t! I would never do that. You can’t just boopity-boop saunter into the Treasury. You need an appointment,” she said.

As a Cabinet wife “you get some wonderful privileges” such as “flying on an Osprey helicopter,” she said. She added that she was close friends with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and his wife Susan, who often pop over to the Mnuchins’ for dinner parties.

“I tell him, ‘Mike, if you come over wearing a tie, I’m going to send you home. We’re doing bad jeans and bad sweater night, OK, and we’re cooking together, and we’re hanging out casual style’. He’s such great fun.”

She was candid about the bad press she had received, saying: “I was deeply depressed for a while. But it sucks being perceived as a person that you’re not; it sucks being hated. Most people know me for the gloves or the plane or that awful Instagram post. … Look, I made some rookie mistakes.”

Her husband, however, had been supportive: “It made him sad to see to see how much shit I absorbed.”

When asked how she squared her support for gay rights with her husband’s role in the Trump administration, she said: “Look, all of my besties are gay. I did the Pride Run last year and again this year. Stormchasers was a sponsor! So … I’m caught between a rock and a hard place with these questions.

“Either I can express my beliefs and be at odds with my husband and his boss and get in trouble that way, or I can decline to comment and be in hot water with everyone else. Sucks either way. I very much respect my husband and the president of the United States, but I am an individual with my own beliefs and views.

“You should measure me by my actions, the friends I keep and the charities I support, not by the politics of my husband. It’s like walking a tightrope of dental floss in high heels and trying not to fall left or right. I’m just trying to walk the line in a way that isn’t going to piss anybody off.”

She described Ivanka Trump as “like a movie star… so unbelievably charismatic, beautiful, intelligent, and strong.”

Her views as an animal rights activist, she said, made things difficult with the Trumps. Asked if she felt uncomfortable going to dinner with the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., there was a long pause before she answered: “Yes, I feel uncomfortable. … Look, I do what I can.”

Havens in, tech stocks out may be the theme for Friday.

Investors seem eager to insure themselves against geopolitical tensions that have flared up in the Middle East and Hong Kong this week, with gold vaulting on Friday. Meanwhile, U.S. technology stocks might not win any popularity contests as a red flag cropped up over how the trade war is biting that industry.

Tech conglomerate Broadcom is sliding in premarket activity after slashing its revenue guidance, citing a hit from an export ban on big Chinese customer Huawei, so it could be the Nasdaq COMP, -0.53%  that leads the market south as traders head into the weekend.

Trade tensions are also one reason DoubleLine Capital Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Gundlach now sees a bigger chance of a recession hitting U.S. shores in the not-too-distant future.

Providing our call of the day, Gundlach predicted a 40% to 50% chance of a U.S. recession within the next six months and a 65% chance of that happening in the next 12 months, in a webcast to clients late Thursday, according to a roundup of his comments from Reuters and other media outlets. He said signs of a slowdown on the global economic front are also a worry.

Read: China’s economy cools further in May

The so-called bond king and closely watched market forecaster isn’t the only one starting to fret. JPMorgan’s chief quant strategist Marko Kolanovic said in a note this week that President Donald Trump’s trade battles have cost U.S. companies trillions, and could trigger a downturn that would end up being known as the “Trump recession.”

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley reported Thursday that its closely watched Business Conditions Index fell by the most on record in June to a level of 13, nearing levels not seen since the downturn of 2008, though economist Ellen Zentner said their analysts weren’t really blaming that on trade.

No doubt, the calls for the Federal Reserve to head off a downturn are growing louder by the day. Gundlach is not expecting an interest-rate cut when the Fed meets next week. Instead, he notes the bond market is tipping two or three cuts by the end of the year.

As for where Gundlach is putting his money, he said he is “certainly long gold,” given expectations the dollar, which stands to take a hit if the Fed lowers interest rates, will close the year weaker.

The market

The Nasdaq COMP, -0.53%  is leading stocks lower, with the Dow DJIA, -0.27%  , S&P SPX, -0.28%   also in the red, after a batch of upbeat data may have dented some rate-cut hopes.

Geopolitical jitters have driven gold GCQ19, +0.89% above a big technical level, and the dollar DXY, +0.27%  is firmer. Oil CLN19, +0.13% is pulling back after Thursday’s big gains sparked by the Strait of Hormuz tanker attacks.

Read: Escalation in Mideast oil attacks could add $7 per barrel to prices

Stocks are lower across Europe SXXP, -0.64% weighed by weak China production data. Asia had a mostly down day, led by the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.65% ahead of potential further unrest this weekend.

The economy

Worries of economy weakening have eased up after a strong retail sales report, while industrial production also beat forecasts. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index and business inventories are still to come.

The chart

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Bull & Bear Indicator is leaving us in suspense. Last week their key contrarian indicator made an exciting leap toward an area that indicated investors are so bearish it’s time to buy stocks.

Alas, in the latest week, as our chart of the day shows, the indicator has not budged, stuck at 2.5. The indicator’s main purpose is to chart whether investor buying or selling of stocks has moved too far on a zero to 10 scale. The indicator tumbled last week to that 2.5 level, from 3.6 the prior move.

The buzz

The U.S. military on Friday released a video that it says shows Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers that was attacked near the Strait of Hormuz Thursday. Iran has denied any involvement.

Broadcom AVGO, -6.30%  is sliding on a sales guidance cut, as hopes for a rebound in the semiconductor industry may now be toast.

Pet goods seller Chewy CHWY, +0.00%  will make its Wall Street debut on Friday, with shares set to start trading at $22 each, valuing the company at an initial $9 billion.

Read: How the Chinese tariff fight could snuff out a key American summer tradition

A group of American companies including Walmart Inc. WMT, +0.29% and Target Corp. TGT, -0.47%  have sent a letter to Trump urging him make a trade deal and end the tariff war.

Read: Volkswagen sets IPO price range for Traton unit, valuing it at $1.9 billion

The tweet

Here’s Amazon AMZN, -0.21%  firing back at former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who chided the e-commerce giant for not paying enough in taxes:

Random reads

Australian man pleads not guilty to Christchurch mosque shooting charges

Rethink the Cheerios sitting on the breakfast table

Here’s why your teen can’t just hop into an Uber

Toronto celebrates after the Raptors grab their first NBA championship

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Trump Says He WILL NOT Fire Kellyanne Conway. What Do You Think About The Hatch Act?

Iranian vessel removed unexploded mine from stricken oil tanker in Gulf of Oman, US officials say

An Iranian vessel removed an unexploded mine that had been attached to a Japanese-owned oil tanker that suffered serious damage after an explosion in the Gulf of Oman early Thursday, U.S. officials told Fox News, as the U.S. Navy released video purportedly showing the incident. The imagery came from the USS See More Bainbridge, a guided-missile destroyer that rescued 21 sailors from the stricken tanker.

At least one other mine attached to the tanker’s hull detonated, causing the blast. It happened near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key route for oil shipments in the region. A U.S. official told Fox News an Iranian gunboat approached the Kokuka Courageous later in the day and removed the unexploded triangular-shaped limpet mine, the same type of mine used to damage four other tankers in the Gulf of Oman last month.

WH press secretary Sarah Sanders will leave office by the end of the month, Trump says

President Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will be leaving her position at the end of the month. “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas,” Trump wrote. “She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!”

The president has not yet named a replacement for Sanders. His announcement came moments before he made remarks at a White House event on its “Second Chance” program boosting the hiring of criminals who have served their sentences.

Julian Castro admits Hatch Act ‘mistake,’ calls for Kellyanne Conway’s termination, in Fox News Town Hall

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro told Fox News on Thursday night that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway should be fired for violating the Hatch Act — the same federal law Castro himself was found to have violated in 2016. The 2020 White House contender’s remarks came in a Fox News Town Hall in Tempe, Ariz., hosted by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

Man killed by US Marshals Service was wanted in connection with Mississippi shooting

A 20-year-old black man whose Wednesday shooting death by a fugitive task force sparked a night of violence and unrest in a Memphis, Tenn., neighborhood, was wanted for a shooting in Mississippi, according to media reports. DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion said Brandon Webber was being sought on aggravated assault and armed robbery charges related to a shooting during a car theft in Hernando, Miss., on June 3. The victim was shot five times and survived, Champion said.

Toronto Raptors win first NBA championship in franchise history
The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors played without Kevin Durant, who injured his Achilles tendon in the last series. Golden State was 0-3 at home against Toronto this season, losing all three games by double digits. Game 6 was the final time the Warriors played at Oracle Arena, their home for 47 seasons. The team moves to the Chase Center in San Francisco next season.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
2nd suspect tied in Benghazi terror attack convicted on 2 counts
CNN boss Jeff Zucker makes sexual joke about star anchor during award ceremony: report.
Oberlin College to pay bakery the now-massive sum of $44M over racism dispute.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Fake online videos growing corporate threat: Cybersecurity expert.
Elizabeth Warren to introduce bill to ‘cancel’ student debt for millions.
Colorado’s marijuana revenue surpasses $1B.

SOME PARTING WORDS

Hannity calls out the left’s selective outrage over Trump’s comments that he would listen to foreign entities with information on a political opponent while ignoring foreign election interference that was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC.

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View shows a passenger, believed to be Chief Executive of Rosneft Igor Sechin, boarding a Rosneft-operated aircraft at Palma de Mallorca airport
A view shows a passenger, believed to be Chief Executive of Rosneft Igor Sechin, boarding a Rosneft-operated Bombardier 6000 aircraft – with tail number M-YOIL – at Palma de Mallorca airport, Spain August 6, 2018. Picture taken August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Staff

June 14, 2019

(Reuters) – Jets used for corporate travel by Russian state-owned oil major Rosneft flew at least 13 times to Mallorca, Ibiza, Sardinia and the Maldives when CEO Igor Sechin or people from his social circle were in the same vacation spots.

Using publicly available data, Reuters tracked 290 Rosneft flights between January, 2015 and May, 2019. Of those round trips, 96 took place during Russian public holidays or between Friday lunchtime in Moscow and Monday morning.

Since the start of 2015, Rosneft corporate jets traveled eight times to Sardinia’s Olbia airport, 15 times to the Maldives and seven times to Spain’s Palma de Mallorca, according to the flight tracking data from planefinder.net, flightaware.com, opensky.network.org and flight-data.adsbexchange.com.

Reuters found no public information released by Rosneft or the Russian authorities about official events at those destinations, although the company does not always disclose information about its meetings.

For some of the flights to vacation spots, Sechin’s associates, including his wife before their divorce and mutual friends, posted photos on social media placing them at the same location as the Rosneft aircraft at the same time.

Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and head of the world’s largest listed oil company by production, has not appeared in social media posts from the holiday resorts.

But Reuters did photograph a man closely matching his description boarding a Rosneft plane at Palma da Mallorca airport on Aug. 6 last year.

Overall, Reuters found public information from Rosneft or the Russian authorities about official events corresponding to 42 of the 290 flights.

In a statement issued on Tuesday in response to Reuters questions, Rosneft said that as a global company it works in all parts of the world, and that expenditures on corporate aircraft are “carried out in accordance with the approved corporate standards.” It did not give details.

Rosneft declined to answer detailed questions from Reuters, saying the news agency was conducting “information sabotage in the service of the intelligence services of interested states.”

Among the questions the company declined to address were whether Sechin’s employment contract entitled him to use corporate jets for personal purposes or whether Sechin reimbursed the company for private flights.

In a reply sent in April to previous Reuters questions about the use of corporate aircraft by the friends or family members of Rosneft employees, the company said: “No private transport of family members was carried out at the expense of the company.”

A source close to the Rosneft board of directors said no clause in Sechin’s contract allowing private flights had been put before the board for approval.

Sechin’s use of corporate aircraft for travel to holiday destinations – regardless of whether his contract permits it or not – is part of a pattern of wasteful spending by Rosneft, said Vladimir Milov, Russian deputy energy minister until 2002.

Milov is now a critic of the Kremlin, arguing that Putin’s circle is using Russia’s natural resources wealth for their own benefit.

He also cited a 2017 order placed by a company subsidiary to buy tableware including caviar dishes and silver spoons with a total value of $83,000.

After Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny disclosed the order on YouTube on May 22, 2017, it was canceled the next day, according to Rosneft’s website.

The office of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the Rosneft flights, saying it was an internal, corporate matter. The Russian government’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. 

    

SIX FLIGHTS TO MALLORCA IN A YEAR

Between January 2015 and May 2019 Rosneft used a fleet of six business jets registered in Austria and the Isle of Man. They were owned by Rosneft subsidiaries, chartered by Rosneft, used for official Rosneft corporate trips, or in most cases all three.

The photograph Reuters believes is of Sechin shows him boarding a Rosneft-operated Bombardier 6000 aircraft at Palma de Mallorca airport on Aug. 6, 2018. The photograph was taken from a public thoroughfare.

The same jet – with tail number M-YOIL – flew into Palma de Mallorca six times between mid-July and late-August, 2018, according to flight tracking data and photographs taken by Reuters at the airport.

Over that period, the aircraft was on Mallorca or nearby for 27 days, not including the day of arrival or departure.

On July 15, the day a Rosneft flight landed in Palma de Mallorca, the Russian pop singer and Sechin family friend Anita Tsoy posted on Instagram that her family’s long-awaited vacation had begun.

On July 19, she posted a photograph on Instagram, tagged as having been taken on Mallorca, of her, her 26-year-old son and her husband, Sergei Tsoy, a senior Rosneft executive. 

On Aug. 1, the day after the Rosneft jet landed back in Moscow, she posted a photo tagged Moscow. “The holiday has come to an end,” she wrote.

Neither Anita Tsoy nor Sergei Tsoy responded to requests for comment. Rosneft did not respond to questions about the flights to Palma.

    

CODE OF CONDUCT

Rosneft’s corporate code of conduct, a public document, states that “we do not use the company’s property and assets not for the purposes intended, or to personal ends or with the aim of extracting personal benefit.”

The full cost of the flights is not available, but Reuters found documents showing the costs of running one of the private jets in 2016.

The jet with tail number M-YOIL is operated by a Singapore-registered company called AV Asia Developments Pte Ltd, according to Eurocontrol, an inter-governmental aviation body.

A 2016 financial report for AV Asia Developments, 100 percent controlled by Rosneft, stated the company received $1.86 million for the charter of the sole jet it operated at the time, and more than $2 million for services related to the same plane.

AV Asia Developments did not respond to a request for comment.

Flight tracking data showed that during 2016, the plane carried out 12 flights totaling around 96 hours in the air. 

When set against the figures in the AV Asia Developments report, that  works out at an hourly cost – a standard industry measure of the cost of private jet services – of about $40,000, or about $19,000 excluding services costs.

A return business class flight from Moscow to the Maldives with Russian carrier Aeroflot, departing June 28 and returning July 4, costs $3,770 according to the Aeroflot booking website.

“EMERALD COAST”, MALDIVES FLIGHTS

Sechin’s then-wife Olga Sechina spent part of the summer of 2015 at Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, according to her posts on social media tagged with the location, and posts of her friend Olga Tonkikh.

Sechina’s first post from there was on June 30, and the last social media record of the vacation was an Aug. 21 post on one of Tonkikh’s social media accounts, featuring Sechina.

Around that period, a Rosneft Bombardier Global 6000 jet with the tail number OE-IRS was recorded three times at Sardinia’s Olbia airport: on July 26, Aug. 16 and Sept. 9, according to flight tracking data.

On Aug. 14, the Cala Di Volpe hotel at the Costa Smeralda resort hosted a private concert by British pop singer Robbie Williams, according to the hotel’s Facebook posts.

The same day, Olga Tonkikh posted a photograph on Instagram showing both women with hashtags including #robiwilliams.

Neither Tonkikh nor Olga Sechina responded to requests for comment. Rosneft did not reply to questions about flights to Sardinia.

On the night of Dec. 24, 2016, a Rosneft Boeing business jet with tail number OE-IRF took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport in the direction of the Indian Ocean, flight tracking data showed.Two days after the flight departed, Tsoy, the pop star, posted a picture of herself on Instagram from inside an aircraft that matches the interior of a Boeing business jet.

“And here the long-awaited moment has arrived: VACATION,” she wrote next to the photo.

On Jan. 3, 2017 she posted a picture of herself on a golf course that matched publicity photos for Velaa Private Island, an exclusive Maldives resort.

On Dec. 28, 2016 and Jan. 4, Sechin’s then-wife Olga posted photographs on Instagram of herself in a room that matches publicity material of Velaa Private Residence posted on the resort’s website. 

Sechin and his wife divorced in June 2017, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

There have been Rosneft flights to the Maldives since then.

Flight tracking data showed two Rosneft private jets flying into the international airport in the Maldives on Dec. 28 and out again hours later. The same two planes flew back to the Maldives on Jan 9. and returned to Moscow on Jan. 12.

Reuters saw photographs of the aircraft taken while they were at Velana International Airport in January before they took off for Moscow.

There is no public record of Rosneft executives having any business meetings in the Maldives in the last three years.

Sechin’s ex-wife and Anita Tsoy did not respond to questions about their trips to the Maldives.

(For a graphic on ‘Rosneft’s flights to holiday destinations’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2XcDsSc)

Source: OANN

On Sunday, Jan. 6, the St. Louis Blues were in a tough spot, sitting last in the NHL’s Western Conference.

Five teammates went to a Philadelphia bar to watch the NFL playoffs the day before a game against the Flyers. During commercials, the bar’s DJ kept playing Laura Branigan’s 1982 synth-pop hit “Gloria.” The bar loved it, and the teammates picked the Blues’ new victory song then and there.

The next day, the Blues shut out the Flyers. “Gloria” never stopped playing, and the Blues kept winning.

The song has absolutely nothing to do with sports, Branigan has no connection to St. Louis, and it’s the opposite of the blues genre the team is named after. Branigan’s lyrics, reworked from the original 1979 Italian love song, try to give her friend Gloria the wake-up call she needs in her dating life. “Gloria, you’re always on the run now. Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow.” (Maybe his name was Fred Stanley?)

But sports fans singing along get to shout “Gloria!” a dozen times, so it became a hit with Blues fans, conveniently coinciding with their miracle turnaround.

The team won 30 of its last 45 regular season games, securing a playoff spot. They dramatically advanced through the playoffs, winning each best-of-seven round in no fewer than six games to reach their first Stanley Cup Final since 1970.

On June 12, a 4-1 victory in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins gave the Blues the biggest glory in all of hockey: the Stanley Cup. It’s the first championship in the franchise’s 52-year history.

“Gloria” was promptly iced onto taunting cakes, covered by bands who happened to be in St. Louis that night, and played for 24 hours straight, 224 times in a row, on the radio.

Sadly, Branigan died of a brain aneurysm in 2004 and isn’t around to enjoy her song’s resurgence. But if her friend Gloria didn’t get her act together in 1982, perhaps its reawakening will inspire her this time.

Can a 37-year-old song with an infectious beat inspire a hockey team to get its act together? Their turnaround probably has more to do with Jordan Binnington, the goalie who fittingly saved the team’s season from the trash bin of history.

But consider the game where Binnington made his first NHL start: the Jan. 7 shutout where the team first celebrated by dancing not to the blues, but to “Gloria.”

Actress Jessica Biel is receiving fierce criticism for lobbying against California state bill 276, which, if passed would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations.

The bill has been opposed by anti-vaccine advocates.

Many doctors, lawmakers, and parents voiced their criticism following news of Biel’s involvement.

“This starts to be about privilege,” Democratic State Sen. Richard Pan told The Hollywood Reporter. “The only reason that [individuals like Biel] are able to do this is that they are counting on others to vaccinate their own kids for them. How many people have to be hospitalized before people think, ‘This isn’t right.’ I wish the 1% would stop spreading disease to the 99%.” 

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the acting director of the CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response, retweeted a photo of a child who contracted measles.

The post reads:

“In 1977 there were over 57,000 cases of #measles in the US, and this child was the CDC measles campaign poster child. Measles is still a threat in many parts of the world. ALL travelers should be vaccinated against measles, mumps, & rubella before they leave the U.S.”

Biel in an Instagram post later Thursday said she was not against vaccines.

“I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians. My concern with #SB277 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state.”

Source: NewsMax America

Jordan Peterson is thinking of launching a censorship-free online platform. It could be an excellent idea, or it could go terribly.

The Canadian professor’s idea is nice: Encourage discourse by letting all ideas battle it out. In his famous treatise against censorship, “Areopagitica,” John Milton said truth is best understood when all opinions are free to see the light of day. “Let [Truth] and Falsehood grapple,” he wrote. “Who ever knew Truth put to the [worse], in a free and open encounter.”

Peterson wants to try the same thing with Thinkspot, an online platform that’s in beta testing right now. But he also wants to encourage people online to be kinder (and maybe less dumb), so comments that get too many dislikes will be hidden, Reddit-style.

First, commenters will have to write out their thoughts in at least 50 words. Then, if a comment gets fewer upvotes than downvotes, readers will have to click on it before they can see what it says.

“If minimum comment length is 50 words, you’re gonna have to put a little thought into it. Even if you’re being a troll, hopefully you’ll be a quasi-witty troll,” Peterson said on his podcast last week. “If your ratio of downvotes to upvotes falls below 50-50, then your comments will be hidden. People will still be able to see them, if they click, but you’ll disappear … We don’t know if 50/50 is right. We’re going to have to play with that.”

You could argue that hiding comments constitutes a form of censorship in itself. The most interesting thing about Thinkspot, though, is not its anti-censorship animus. It’s that social media founders ever thought they could create virtue by changing their platforms. But no amount of finagling will make people better online.

In October, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey reportedly said he was considering getting rid of the like button. Then, users would have to either comment on something they liked or retweet it to their own profiles, taking ownership of their interests.

Not to miss out on the respectability party, execs at Instagram considered hiding how many likes photos or videos get so people would stop being obsessed over them.

“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” said Adam Mosseri, head of product at Instagram, in April.

As cyberbullying and vitriolic online discourse have gotten more scrutiny, social media platforms are asking the same question: How do you make people nicer to each other online? The answer is: You can’t.

Social media can be a perilous place, and it’s commendable that its founding fathers want to encourage their users to be better. Peterson’s idea is especially important, as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Pinterest have come under fire for deplatforming or censoring users and applying rules that constantly change to fit the situation.

But you can’t make people nicer online, and no amount of hidden comments will change people’s angry minds.

If we want better social media conversations, we have to start with ourselves.

One of the most annoying aspects of cancel culture isn’t its motives, but rather its inanity. “Canceling” someone on the basis of politics will never really work, as our political culture tends to break down 50-50.

Sure, conservatives can roll our eyes at Nike’s pathetic attempts to pander to wokeness and liberals can indignantly swear that this is the last time they’re eating Chick-fil-A, but most of the time, a pair of sneakers is just a pair of sneakers, and a sandwich is just a sandwich.

But it’s past time to start canceling the most pretentious, egotistical, elitist, and dangerous people in American society: anti-vaxxing celebrities stoking a global health crisis.

The villain du jour is Jessica Biel, a B-list actress famous for getting kicked off “7th Heaven” because she couldn’t keep her clothes on and marrying Justin Timberlake. She decided to take a break from irrelevance to join Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (easily the fourth worst Kennedy after the ones who committed manslaughter, sexual assault, and had a lobotomy performed on a family member) to lobby against SB 276 in California, which would mandate medical exemptions from vaccinations come with the approval of a state public health officer.

Although California is just one of three states in the nation that bans both philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions, anti-vaxxers have still managed to game the medical exemption system. Dirty doctors have effectively traded exemptions for bribes throughout the state, leaving some schools with vaccination rates below 50%, less than half of what’s required for herd immunity to protect kids.

And its not working class or immigrant communities doing this. In the champagne socialist paradises of Berkeley and Santa Cruz, multiple schools have more than 30% of kindergartners unvaccinated due to medical exemptions. Because SB 276 will maximize the number of vaccinated kids among those medically able to receive vaccinations, it will increase the protection of those who cannot be vaccinated by bolstering herd immunity.

But don’t trust a century of overwhelming medical consensus about the matter! Instead, trust a washed up actress and our other Hollywood betters.

For her part, Biel posted to Instagram that she’s “not against vaccinations,” but rather that she’s just in favor of “doctors and their families” having “the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment.” Whatever that means. And not only is she soft pedaling generic anti-vaxxing talking points, but she also incorrectly listed the bill she’s opposing as SB 277. Because she is dumb.

Seeing as this bill will only heighten the protections of herd immunity for those who can’t get vaccinated, Biel’s reasoning isn’t only fallacious, but her actions also give the lie to her words. If she really had a specific gripe with whether this law will inhibit parents in practice, then why did she go to Sacramento with the most famous anti-vaxxer outside of Hollywood?

We know why: because like many in America’s most vile and exploitative industry, she is an anti-vaxxer.

It’s one thing to wonder whether you should boycott a company or a celebrity for their personal behavior or beliefs. I’d argue that unless you’re contributing financially to someone who’s committed an objectively vile offense (say, paying for a Harvey Weinstein film) it’s often worth separating the art from the artist. But anti-vaxxers are specifically using their celebrity to promulgate a conspiracy theory that will literally kill people.

So cancel them.

Stop watching Biel’s films (not that I remember the last thing she’s starred in). Stop buying Kat von D’s makeup in Sephora, which ought to take her products off the shelves as they did with possible felon Olivia Jade’s. Turn off Kristin Cavallari’s E! reality show and unfollow her on Instagram. Don’t spend another cent on movie tickets for Robert De Niro. And for the love of God, stop retweeting Jim Carrey’s sophomoric #Resistance cartoons and start canceling him.

The Hollywood press doesn’t just rely on access. It revels in it. It’s much easier to snuff out or cushion bad stories if it means getting invited to party with stars and maybe doing a line or two with them. You cannot trust them to hold anti-vaxxers feet to fire. In the midst of our worst measles epidemic in 27 years, Us Weekly is still granting Jenny McCarthy puff pieces with headlines like “Jenny McCarthy ‘Can’t Wait’ to Watch Hannah B. as The Bachelorette — Reveals Donnie Wahlberg ‘Cries’ Each Season!”

McCarthy shouldn’t be the host of a reality television show on a major network. She should probably be in prison.

If we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s that you can’t trust Hollywood to police its own. Half of them are secretly anti-vaxxers anyway. It’s up to the public to cancel them.

The Telegram app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration
The Telegram app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

June 13, 2019

By Cate Cadell and Josh Horwitz

(Reuters) – The chief executive of Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging app, said on Wednesday the messaging service experienced a “state actor-sized” cyber attack and pointed to China as its likely country of origin.

The service was hit by a “powerful DDoS attack” originating from IP addresses mostly inside China, Paul Durov, Telegram’s CEO, said in a tweet.

The attack coincided with protests in Hong Kong, he added.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks involve sending large numbers of requests in a targeted attack, causing partial or full service interruptions.

Hundreds of thousands of protestors have marched in Hong Kong this week in opposition to a controversial law that would allow people in the city to be extradited to China.

Chinese state media have sharply condemned the protests, which they say is motivated by outside forces and undermines social stability in Hong Kong.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which oversees the country’s cyber policy, did not respond immediately to a faxed request for comment.

Telegram and other encrypted messaging apps are popular tools for protesters globally, who use them to coordinate without tipping off authorities.

Durov added that historical attacks of the same size had coincided with protests in Hong Kong, adding, “This case was not an exception.”

Other apps have faced blocks in China as well during political movements in Hong Kong. In 2014, at the height of the city’s Umbrella Movement, Beijing cut access to photo-sharing app Instagram inside the mainland.

Chinese officials have previously denied allegations of cyber attacks, pointing out that China is a frequently a victim of outside attacks.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Cate Cadell in Beijing, and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai, Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Rashmi Aich)

Source: OANN

TRUMP tells George Stephanopoulos “there isn’t anything wrong with listening” to foreign info about rivals, what do you think?

Trump says he ‘would want to hear’ info on 2020 rivals from foreign governments – and outrage follows
Democrats are outraged after President Trump said in an interview Wednesday that he would be willing to listen to foreign governments if they approached him with information on a political rival. “I think I’d want to hear it. … I See More think you might want to listen. There isn’t anything wrong with listening,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. Trump added he would not necessarily contact the FBI if such an approach was made, fueling Democrats’ ire. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a 2020 candidate for president, tweeted, “It’s time for Congress to begin impeachment hearings.”

Still, Trump supporters point out that Democrats may be hypocrites on this issue, as they failed to condemn fellow Democrats, including representatives of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), for funding the creation of the infamous and discredited anti-Trump “Steele dossier” by former British spy Christopher Steele. Fox News’ Sean Hannity called the Trump-Stephanopoulos interview a “nonstory” and a “genius setup”by Trump for his foes in the “media mob.” The interview was released hours after House Judiciary Committee Democrats announced that former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks has agreed to testify before the panel next week on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Brother of ‘Shark Tank’ star Barbara Corcoran found dead in Dominican Republic hotel room
The intrigue surrounding vacation spots in the Dominican Republic deepened Wednesday with the news that Jonathan Corcoran, a retired New Jersey businessman and brother of ABC “Shark Tank” judge Barbara Corcoran, was found dead in a hotel room there in April. Jonathan Corcoran’s death was first reported by the gossip site TMZ and confirmed to Fox News by Emily Burke, Barbara Corcoran’s assistant. The revelation comes as the popular Caribbean vacation spot is making worldwide headlines with a recent rash of suspicious deaths of U.S. tourists plus the shooting of retired Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. It was unclear where Corcoran stayed at the time of his death. TMZ said no one knows exactly what led to his death, though Barbara Corcoran told the outlet that she was told he had a heart attack.

Six suspects, including alleged gunman, in custody in David Ortiz shooting
Six suspects have been detained in the shooting of former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, including the alleged gunman, authorities in the Dominican Republic said Wednesday. Four other suspects were being pursued in the shooting, which witnesses said was carried out by two men on a motorcycle and two other groups of people in cars, the country’s chief prosecutor, Jean Alain Rodríguez, told a news conference. Authorities identified the alleged shooter as Rolfy Ferreyra, aka Sandy. Police Maj. Gen. Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said the coordinator of the attack also was among the suspects in custody. He claimed the man was offered 400,000 Dominican pesos, or about $7,800, to carry out the shooting Sunday evening at a popular Santo Domingo bar.

Two oil tankers damaged in suspected attack in the Gulf of Oman, crew evacuated
Two oil tankers were damaged in a suspected attack off the Gulf of Oman early Thursday, according to multiple reports. The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet told Reuters it was assisting two tankers in the Gulf of Oman after receiving two distress calls. “We are aware of the reported attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local time and a second one at 7:00 a.m.,” Joshua Frey of the Fifth Fleet said. The Fleet did not blame anyone for the attack..

Tonight: Fox News town hall with 2020 Dem Julian Castro 
Fox News is scheduled to host 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary, for a town hall at 6:30 p.m. ET Thursday. “Special Report” host Bret Baier and “The Story” host Martha MacCallum will moderate the one-hour event live from Phoenix.

Baier and MacCallum recently moderated similar events with 2020 hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and potential candidate Howard Schultz. Their Fox News colleague Chris Wallace moderated a town hall with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s also in the running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Tune in to Fox News tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET. 

52 years in the making: St. Louis Blues win their first-ever Stanley Cup championship
The St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Wednesday night’s deciding game for the Stanley Cup, to win their firstchampionship. The victory was 52 years in the making. Ryan O’Reilly scored for the fourth straight game and rookie Jordan Binnington stopped 32 shots in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Alex Pietrangelo added a goal and an assist and Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford also scored for St. Louis. The Blues’ championship run is remarkable because it was so unthinkable just five months ago. The team woke up on New Year’s Day with the worst record in the league but then won 30 of their final 49 regular-season games and soared through the playoffs to reach the final for the first time since 1970.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
12 white men sue San Francisco PD for racial, gender bias in promotions. 
Nation’s first black priest, an ex-slave, may be on his way to sainthood.
‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer to pay $150G to settle sex assault claim: report.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
General Motors to put $150M toward Michigan plant to ramp up production, company says.
This is how Americans spend their money based on their education level.
Top five vacation spots targetedby online booking scams: report.

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