Journalistic malpractice on Trump’s LGBT policies?

MBS scores meeting with Steven Mnuchin

Photo: Saudi Foreign Ministry

More fallout from the Proud-Boys-Antifa clash in NYC

Police in New York arrested three more suspected members of the far-right group Proud Boys, following a violent fight earlier this month with Antifa supporters, authorities announced on Monday.

Irvin Antillon, 41, of Queens; Douglas Lennan, 40, of Northport, Long Island; and Maxwell Hare, 26, have all been charged with riot and assault, according to the New York Police Department.

Hare, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was also charged with possession of a weapon and gang assault.

A rare big-retail success story

American retail is in a full blown crisis. Last year, Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy. A few days ago, Sears followed suit. Other big names like Walgreens, Gap, J.Crew, and Macy’s are struggling to keep their heads above water.

Yet one well-known name is on remarkably solid footing: Best Buy.

Oculus’s Brendan Iribe Is the Latest Founder to Flee Facebook
There must be something in the water at Menlo Park — founders of companies that get acquired by Facebook don’t seem to like sticking around.

This does not seem like a winning case

A Georgia Tech student, who recorded Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) snatching his cell phone out of his hand when he asked the senator a question about voter suppression, sued Perdue for battery on Monday.

the lottery
the lottery
If You Win the $1.6 Billion Mega Millions, Take the Annuity — Not the Cash
The annuity comes with big tax advantages. Over 30 years that would amount to 20 percent more money in your pocket.

Trump unveils even lazier nickname for Cruz

Trump also said his new nickname for Cruz is “Texas Ted.”

Trump unveils rather lazy new nickname for Ted Cruz

TRUMP: “He’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore. He’s Beautiful Ted”

Reuters reports incredible details about Khashoggi’s death


•Saudi Crown Prince’s Advisor Al Qahtani was beamed into a room of the consulate via Skype.
•Insulted at Khashoggi over the phone.
• Turkish intel source: At one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of him. "Bring me the head of the dog",


The army’s account of what happened in Iraq is collecting dust

By June 2016, it had drafted a two-volume history of more than 1,300 pages. H.R. McMaster, the former national security adviser to President Trump, reviewed the tomes while a three-star general. He said in an interview last month it was “by far the best and most comprehensive operational study of the U.S. experience in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.”

The study’s title: “The United States Army in the Iraq War.”

It has yet to be published.

2018 midterms
2018 midterms
Dems Still Have a Good Shot at Flipping House, But Senate Is an Uphill Battle
Fifteen days before the midterms, polls show the House going blue, but the GOP is likely to maintain Senate control, or even pick up a seat or two.

“Hardly” is not a comforting word here

Breaking: @realDonaldTrump national security adviser @AmbJohnBolton says he told Russian counterparts that Russian meddling in U.S. elections hardly had any real effect

Republicans are barely mentioning the one big piece of legislation they’ve passed lately

Republicans thought their massive tax overhaul would be the centerpiece of their midterm strategy. But it turns out they were so wrong they’ve been barely mentioning the $1.5 trillion tax cut on the campaign trail.

With polls showing Americans are more likely to disapprove of the tax law than to approve of it, GOP candidates have been changing the subject to other issues like immigration and health care. Some of the lawmakers who wrote the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are even struggling to hang onto their seats.

The Saudis really should have put more planning into their attempted cover-up of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

BREAKING — Turkish TV @tvahaber broadcasts images showing Saudi Consulate staff in Istanbul are burning documents one day after #Khashoggi murder

Trump reiterates plan to stop flow of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador: increase economic hardship in those countries

Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.
jamal khashoggi
jamal khashoggi
Trump Won’t Let Khashoggi’s Death Cost Working-Class Saudi Lobbyists Their Jobs
The president says that the U.S. can’t afford to lose all the jobs that the Saudi alliance creates. But he really means “the swamp” can’t.

“Black Mirror” was a documentary

In Sweden, a country rich with technological advancement, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands.

The chips are designed to speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient — accessing their homes, offices and gyms is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers.

They can also be used to store emergency contact details, social media profiles or e-tickets for events and rail journeys within Sweden.

Pelosi talks herself up amid doubts

Pelosi went on to list why she deserves to be speaker again after saying she is not usually comfortable with self-promotion.

“I am a great legislator,” she said. “And one reason I am is because I recognize the contributions of others, our committee chairs and all the rest.”

She added: “I am also politically astute. I took them to a victory in 2006, I know how to do this.”

More like debt-flix

The company announced Monday it intends to issue a new round of notes for “general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.”

Shares of Netflix fell as much 3 percent in morning trading Monday before erasing nearly all of those losses.

When 48,000 delays counts as good news

A piece of good news from the MTA board meeting: There were about 48,200 subway delays on weekdays in September. Sounds like a lot (it is), but it's the lowest monthly figure since the summer of 2015.

Another monster hurricane, this one about to hit Mexico

BREAKING: Hurricane Willa grows to Category 5 force as it heads toward Mexican coast.

The GOP’s demographic problem right now

New NBC/WSJ poll shows Trump job approval rating w/ college+ women at 27%-70% (!) vs. non-college men at 64%-32%.

Biggest GOP problem in 2018: women w/ college degrees are the likeliest demographic to turn out in a midterm election.
the national interest
the national interest
Do Liberals Hate Trump Because He’s a Typical American?
David Gelertner makes the case in The Wall Street Journal.

The Trump you don’t see?

"he's actually an amazing father...he talks about his father all the time," Kushner says. He says every time his own kids are there, Trump takes out a candy drawer "that their mom won't let them have."

Let’s see how long this phase lasts

Jared Kushner is asked by Van Jones at CNN's CITIZEN conference whether he believes the Saudi explanation on Khashoggi. Kushner says administration is in the "fact-finding phase."

Record low number of Americans think death penalty is applied fairly

Report: Trump preparing to pass the buck if elections go south

According to two people familiar with the conversations, Trump is distancing himself from a potential Republican thumping on Election Day. He’s telling confidants that he doesn’t see the midterms as a referendum on himself, describing his 2020 reelection bid as “the real election.” And he says that he holds House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responsible for protecting their congressional majorities.

According to one person with knowledge of these talks, Trump has said of Ryan and McConnell: “These are their elections … and if they screw it up, it’s not my fault.”

A reminder that a wide range of outcomes is possible on election day

If polls underestimate Republicans by 2-3 points—which is a very normal-sized polling error—the House is a district-by-district nail-biter.

If polls underestimate Dems by 2-3 points, their path to victory in the Senate is much more viable; toss-ups go their way, TN/TX close etc.
global tech
global tech
‘How They Hit You Is Through Your Family": How Troll Farms Silence Democracy
In Azerbaijan, government-sponsored harassment drives dissidents off the internet.
human rights
human rights
Trans Americans Have a Message for Trump: We Won’t Be Erased
#WeWon’tBeErased on Twitter is full of passionate responses to Trump’s proposal to narrow the definition of gender.
Why New York City Should Welcome Electric Scooters on Its Streets
How can anyone detest these things? They are simple, cheap, and slightly goofy. Best of all, they could help us get rid of cars.

CNN obtains photo of Saudi operative in Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes after he was killed

Photo: CNN

Trump warns of “unknown Middle Easterners” and “national emergy”

Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!

Trump isn’t the only one worried about being hit with congressional investigations if Democrats take the House

Now, Washington lawyers are crafting memos for clients describing the inquiries they could face next year and which lawmakers might lead the relevant House committees. Others are reaching out to corporations they believe will need new representation, explaining how they would keep them out of the crosshairs of Democratic-led probes.

Pharmaceuticals and tech are obvious targets, according to interviews with half a dozen lawyers, given that Democrats have bashed high drug prices and criticized social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter over foreign disinformation campaigns. Chemical companies that have benefited from the relaxation of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency and oil and gas companies are also vulnerable, they said.

“There is a ton of pent-up investigative activity and interest on the Hill,” said Rafi Prober, a partner at Akin Gump. “Companies doing business with Trump and his business, or the executive branch through contracting, those are going to be areas ripe for investigation.”

If Khashoggi’s death was an accident, as the Saudis claim, why did they bring a body double to the Istanbul consulate?

One member of the 15-man team suspected in the death of Jamal Khashoggi dressed up in his clothes and was captured on surveillance cameras around Istanbul on the day the journalist was killed, a senior Turkish official has told CNN.

CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government’s investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.

The same man was seen in Khashoggi’s clothing, according to the Turkish case, at the city’s world-famous Blue Mosque just hours after the journalist was last seen alive entering the consulate on October 2.

U.S.A. or Bust: Migrants Explain Why They’re Marching
“There is no work back home. No future.”

Gillum brings it home

In Trump’s America we’ve been led to believe that we’ve gotta step on our neighbors shoulder and their face and their backs in order to get ahead. Well, I reject that.

Andrew Gillum, Democratic candidate for governor in Florida, in his stirring closing statement at Sunday’s debate with Republican Ron DeSantis

Hurricane Willa strengthens to a Category 4 storm as it approaches the Pacific coast of Mexico

Photo: The Weather Channel

Michael Avenatti is Trump, but a Democrat

Civil court filings paint a picture of Avenatti as a hard-charging attorney who enjoyed the luxe life—jetting around the world to race cars with a Saudi prince and treating his wife and their friends to luxury villas in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Yet he and his companies owed hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes and in compensation to one former colleague, who claims Avenatti stiffed him out of millions in law-firm profits.

A review of court documents reveals that Avenatti, his former law firm Eagan Avenatti, and his former company Global Baristas, the majority owner of the Seattle-based Tully’s coffee chain, have owed millions in unpaid federal and state taxes in Washington and California, as well as hundreds of thousands in past-due rent to landlords.

Mueller zeros in on Roger Stone

In recent weeks, a grand jury in Washington has listened to more than a dozen hours of testimony and FBI technicians have pored over gigabytes of electronic messages as part of the special counsel’s quest to solve one burning mystery: Did longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone — or any other associate of the president — have advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release hacked Democratic emails in 2016?

While outwardly quiet for the last month, Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have been aggressively pursuing leads behind the scenes about whether Stone was in communication with the online group, whose disclosures of emails believed to have been hacked by Russian operatives disrupted the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the special counsel probe.

Mikhail Gorbachev, welcome to the resistance

Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who negotiated disarmament deals with President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, called President Trump's plan to withdraw from one such treaty, "not the work of a great mind"

The U.S.-bound caravan of Honduran migrants has grown to 5,000 people and is back on the move, heading north from Mexico’s southern border

Photo: Honduran migrants traveling on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, on Sunday. More images of the caravan can be found here. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

The fear of undocumented immigrants is a politically convenient overreaction to a temporary problem

There are very good reasons to think that the Central American mini-wave of immigrants is a temporary phenomenon that will end soon. First, Central Americans, like Mexicans a decade earlier, have recently stopped having a bunch of kids. Fewer kids means fewer people to send to America to work and send money home. It means young Central Americans will need to stay home, to take care of aged parents, to take over family businesses, etc. etc.

The second reason is that Central American countries have also been getting steadily richer. Once a country passes about $7000-$8000 [in purchasing power parity,] it usually starts sending fewer migrants abroad.

Together, the fertility and income numbers mean that immigration from El Salvador — source of the gang MS-13 that Trump likes to scare people about — will collapse very soon. Guatemalan immigration will soon follow. Honduras, the source of the caravan that’s now in the news, is still poor, and has slightly higher fertility than El Salvador. Thus, I expect Honduran immigration (or at least, attempted immigration) to continue for about a decade before it too collapses.

In other words, the illegal immigration debate AND the low-skilled immigration debate are now almost entirely about three small Central American countries. And soon it will be only about one small Central American country (Honduras).

This should help put the immigration debate in perspective. Are we really that scared of Honduras? Is Honduras so scary that we’re willing to brutalize families and change our whole immigration policy? I would say no.

Bloomberg’s Noah Smith, in a Twitter thread (including links to his data sources)

Making nuclear armament great again

This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s. If the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia] collapses, and with the New Start treaty on strategic arms due to expire in 2021, the world could be left without any limits on the nuclear arsenals of nuclear states for the first time since 1972.

Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, on Trump’s announcement that he will pull the U.S. out of the treaty

From fatal fistfight to “we don’t know”

When it gets weirder and weirder...👇

"He was killed in the consulate. We don’t know in terms of details how. We don’t know where the body is,” Saudi Foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir said

The president dials his pre-midterms lying up to 11

In one speech yesterday, the president invented nonexistent riots in California and a nonexistent Democratic policy of giving luxury cars to unauthorized immigrants. Afterward, he touted a nonexistent plan to pass a major tax cut in the next 10 days.

An argument for people on the left debating people on the right, “publicly, whenever and wherever” they can

There is a very strong prevailing sentiment among leftists that debate is futile, that you do not beat the right politically by besting them in an argument. I have always thought that this misunderstands what a public debate is for: It is not so that you can convince the other person they are wrong, and it is not so you can meticulously list a slew of logical fallacies they have committed. It is a theatrical spectacle, and if you master it, it helps draw people to your cause. …

Debate would actually benefit the left, if we made sure we could win. Many of [the] criticisms of leftists are ridiculous caricatures, and in order to convince their followers that these caricatures are accurate, they have to make sure never to have their audience see an actual leftist. If one of us showed up, and we were articulate, reasonable, likable, and compassionate, the whole shtick about crazy irrational social justice warriors would be a little harder to sell.

Note here that I am not saying that you simply need to “out-logic” the right. Many of the tactics you use to win the audience have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the argument itself. As Natalie “ContraPoints” Wynn has pointed out, much of politics is “aesthetic”: It’s about seeming like you’re a winner rather than a loser. Trump’s mastery of the aesthetics of politics is one thing that helped make him president despite his being a deeply ignorant man. We lefties need to show up ready to rake the right over the coals, to shame them for their callousness and their total lack of solutions to basic human problems. This is what Bernie Sanders did in his debate with Ted Cruz, and it worked.

Bear in mind: Public argument is not an actual substitute for political organizing. It is a very limited tool. But it is a tool, and it’s one lefties need to get better at using.

Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson

Trump has an all-time high approval rating of 47% in the new NBC/WSJ poll, but rumors of a GOP comeback may be greatly exaggerated

Trump is at 43/52 in our average; Obama was at 47/47 at this point four years ago. Looking at a likely voter version of approval might close some of that gap, although probably not all of it. (Also, Democrats lost 63 seats with Obama at those numbers, so “Trump’s approval ratings are now only slightly worse than Obama’s” shouldn’t be a hugely comforting thought to the GOP.) …

Only 40-45% of the eligible voters typically vote in the midterms. That’s quite low! You can never have enough enthusiasm. You’re never really near the point of diminishing returns. For instance, if GOP voters turned out at a rate that was really high for a midterm, but Democrats turned out at a rate that was on the *low* end for a *presidential year*, you’d have a massive, massive Democratic wave. …

A few weeks ago, the GOP improved from being modest favorites to fairly clear favorites to hold the Senate. That’s a *big* deal and would be a nice accomplishment in what looks more likely than not to be a rather blue year otherwise (e.g. in House and Gov races).

Apart from that, people are trying to force a GOP comeback narrative when that’s really not what the data shows—or at least not what a non-cherrypicked cross-section of the data shows. Generic ballot polls have been bad for the GOP lately. 3Q fundraising numbers were awful.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, across a series of tweets this morning
human rights
human rights
What to Know About Trump’s Terrifying Proposal to Eliminate Transgender Rights
The Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly working to establish that a person’s sex is to be male or female and “unchangeable.”

On the possibility of a breaking point

I’ve often thought it won’t be cruelty or greed or corruption or racism that brings Trump down. It will be people realizing how bad he is at everything, including corruption. How much money he leaves on the table because he’s not slick.

I know, I know: many of you are convinced that nothing will change, nothing will turn anyone on Trump who isn’t already turned. (And, for that matter, the Saudis will go back to status quo ante soon). Maybe. Even: probably.

But the standard prediction is that everything in the future will be like it has been in the past. That holds up until it doesn’t. People are very bad at predicting inflection points. So, I’m sticking with my story: there will be a hockey stick moment.

There will be something so stupid and lame and weak that people realize who Trump really is. Sure, he’ll keep his 20% or whatever base, but he’ll lose others.

Adam Davidson, wondering in a Twitter thread if the Saudi crisis will be the “decisive moment when the full truth of Trump’s nature is laid bare.”

The fight over transgender existence would widen the gap between the right and younger generations

Polling and reporting suggest this is not a culture war most Americans want to wage. Gen X has children in schools where young people are dismissing old ideas of gender fully. Their kids, millennials and Gen Z both, tend to value fairness and equality.

The Trump administration may commit its denial of the existence of transgender to law

[T]he Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.

Trump admits the Saudis have been lying, yet clearly still wants to believe them

President Trump strongly criticized Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi late Saturday, saying that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”

At the same time, Trump defended the oil-rich monarchy as an “incredible ally” and kept open the possibility that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order Saudi agents to kill Khashoggi.

“Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point . . . I would love if he wasn’t responsible,” Trump said in a phone interview with The Washington Post.

McKinsey denies it prepared report that Saudis used to target social media critics, suggests information was leaked, and is “horrified” by implications

NEW: Updated story with McKinsey statement about report being used to as tool for dissident crackdown. A spokesman says: “We have seen no evidence to suggest that it was misused, but we are urgently investigating how and with whom the document was shared.”
2018 midterms
2018 midterms
11 Tight Governor’s Races Will Shape America’s Political Landscape
Democrats will probably make overall gains, but there are an amazing eleven gubernatorial elections that are tossups.

Lottery revenue is used to fund many state’s education budgets, but rarely to expand them

Mega Millions profits are split between 46 lottery jurisdictions — 44 states, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Overall, 27 states earmark some or all lottery revenue for education. In D.C., the lotto dollars go to a general fund; in Colorado, the funds go environmental protection; and in Kansas, some of the money pays for juvenile detention facilities.

The lottery was promoted as a way to create more money for education — but most state legislatures haven’t been using the money as additional funding. Instead, they use the lottery money to pay for the education budget, spending the money that would have been used on education if there wasn’t a lottery budget on other things. As a result, public schools rarely get a budget boost.

An April study from the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research showed that many states — including California, Florida and Michigan — simply substitute lottery revenues for normal appropriations. As of 2016, North Carolina devoted a smaller portion of its total budget to education than it did before starting the lottery.

With states like New York getting $3.3 billion in revenue from the lottery in 2016, that is a pretty darn big bait and switch.

The Saudi’s explanation for what happened to Khashoggi continues to evolve, but it isn’t getting any less absurd, like this new claim about the autopsy specialist they sent to the consulate

NEW: Saudi officials say a forensic doctor was dispatched to erase fingerprints or other evidence if necessary, not to help dismember Mr. Khashoggi’s body in order to dispose of it after a premeditated assassination.

The “boys will be boys” defense of the Saudi crown prince in light of Khashoggi’s supposedly accidental assassination

The cover-up was ill-advised and incompetent, but more-sophisticated leaders in the West have also made such mistakes. To expect Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), a young leader with only a few years of experience, to have handled such a political calamity with the virtuoso performance of a seasoned, wise, experienced Western politician is unfair and malicious.

For him to have the courage to come out now and admit to what has happened, to make a 180-degree turn in the narrative, frankly shows more courage than most politicians who have initially fallen into the cover-up trap. …

At present, the Saudi government has been humbled and chastened and has learned some lessons the hard way. Going forward, it will be a better government for it. But one horrible murder cannot and will not be allowed to put the country further at risk. …

Even in death, Jamal [Khashoggi] has served his country, in that this horrible event will bring a level of political maturity and caution to Saudi Arabia that is clearly needed.

Ali Shihabi, founder of the Arabia Foundation, a pro-Saudi D.C. think tank which was opened a few blocks from the White House in 2017 amid MBS’s rise to power

The man with the Midas touch

Mr. President you know a little something about gold. In fact, I think everything you touch turns to gold.

Dean Heller to President Trump at a campaign rally for the senator in Nevada on Saturday

Attention must be paid

When lottery officials changed the rules for Mega Millions in October 2017 to shrink the odds of winning [to one-in-303 million from one-in-259 million] and increase ticket prices to $2 from $1, then-Mega Millions president Debbie Alford said the innovations would deliver “attention-grabbing jackpots” and generate increased revenues.

Leaders of the U.S. lottery industry, which generates about $80 billion in annual revenue, have experimented with different rules and marketing strategies as they have encountered falling interest among millennials, who are used to the almost-instant gratification of online games and social media.

facial recognition
facial recognition
Smile! The Secretive Business of Facial-Recognition Software in Retail Stores
Madison Square Garden, and Kennedy International Airport both use facial-recognition software to identify their customers. Who else does?

By this time next week, Trump’s Saudi arms deal will have produced more jobs than the Industrial Revolution

In March, Trump said the Saudi military deals would produce 40,000 jobs.

A week ago, he made it 450,000 jobs. Wednesday, 500,000 jobs. Yesterday afternoon, 600,000 jobs.

Yesterday evening: "The million jobs."

The Saudis’ social media crackdown got help from a top U.S. consulting firm too

Blood-curdling. @mckinsey reportedly provided the Saudis with a nine-page report identifying the three dissidents fueling Twitter criticism of the kingdom.

Saudi arrested one, jailed two brothers of another, and shut down the third, anonymous account.

Missouri GOP may have accidentally suppressed its own “likely voters”

State GOP executive director Ray Bozarth said the incorrect information was printed on postcards as the result of a miscommunication between the party and its vendor, which he declined to name. Bozarth also did not say how the miscommunication occurred.

A photo of the mailer provided to the Star shows a red bar across the top that says “urgent notice” in all capital letters and encourages voters to return their mail-in ballots “today.” It also says, ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, which is not the case. Ballots are due on election day, Nov. 6, and requests for mail-in ballots aren’t due until Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Bozarth said the ballots were sent to likely Republican voters as part of the party’s get-out-the-vote efforts and that they would receive new mailers with corrected information “very soon.”

Saudi Arabia’s army of trolls had a suspected mole inside Twitter

Mr. Khashoggi’s online attackers were part of a broad effort dictated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his close advisers to silence critics both inside Saudi Arabia and abroad. Hundreds of people work at a so-called troll farm in Riyadh to smother the voices of dissidents like Mr. Khashoggi. The vigorous push also appears to include the grooming — not previously reported — of a Saudi employee at Twitter whom Western intelligence officials suspected of spying on user accounts to help the Saudi leadership. …

[The Saudi troll farm’s] directors routinely discuss ways to combat dissent, settling on sensitive themes like the war in Yemen or women’s rights. They then turn to their well-organized army of “social media specialists” via group chats in apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, sending them lists of people to threaten, insult and intimidate; daily tweet quotas to fill; and pro-government messages to augment. …

[In December 2015,] Twitter sent out safety notices to the owners of a few dozen accounts [the suspected mole, Ali Alzabarah,] had accessed. Among them were security and privacy researchers, surveillance specialists, policy academics and journalists. A number of them worked for the Tor project, an organization that trains activists and reporters on how to protect their privacy. 

keeping up
keeping up
Kim Kardashian Admits Kanye’s Pro-Trump Stance Has Its Benefits
Trump is picking up her calls, for one.

Many slept on the border bridge last night

Photo: Aerial view of a Honduran migrant caravan heading to the U.S., waiting on the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge on Saturday morning. Though some migrants in the caravan were able to overwhelm a fence and get through to Mexico on Friday, hundreds of Mexican Federal Police soon effectively sealed the border. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S.-bound migrant caravan arrives at Mexico’s southern border at a third of its former size

A U.S.-bound caravan that once totaled more than 3,000 Central American migrants looked to be about a third that size Saturday morning, when its remaining members woke up on a bridge that divides the borders of Guatemala and Mexico and waited to get past a crossing guarded by hundreds of Mexican federal police.

Hundreds of migrants have already crossed, some legally, some not. Others left their spots on the bridge to go to a nearby Guatemalan town for food. It’s unclear whether any have simply turned back.

The group had burst through a Guatemalan border fence Friday and rushed onto the bridge over the Suchiate River, defying officials’ entreaties for an orderly crossing and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of retaliation. They were met by a wall of police with riot shields and pepper spray, and only about 50 migrants managed to push their way through before officers unleashed pepper spray. The rest retreated, joining the sea of people in limbo between both countries.

An easy mistake to make with this administration

Mike Coffman — locked in a tight election in Colorado — has called on the president to recall the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

There is no U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Angry diners confront McConnell, assault his leftovers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was confronted Friday night by some angry diners who loudly berated him for his politics.

The Kentucky Senator was eating dinner with his wife at Havana Rumba in Louisville, when 4 men confronted Mitch. The main aggressor screams at McConnell, “Why don’t you get out of here? Why don’t you leave the entire country?”

The woman who shot the video tells us, before she started recording, the main aggressor slammed his fists down on McConnell’s table, grabbed his doggie bag and threw the food out the door of the restaurant. [She said] the main gripe seemed to be the Senator’s stance on Social Security and health care.

2018 midterms
2018 midterms
Pelosi Hints at Retirement, But Not Until Trump’s Gone
The long-standing Democratic leader is addressing opposition to her among House candidates by calling herself “transitional.”

Moscow cancels permit for annual event honoring Stalin’s victims outside the former KGB (and current FSB) headquarters

Moscow city authorities have refused permission for an annual ceremony honouring victims of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, according to Russia’s most prominent human rights group.

Memorial, the country’s oldest rights group, has held a 12-hour ceremony every year on 29 October for the past 11 years. Hundreds of people read out names of those killed during Stalin-era repressions at a memorial in Lubyanka Square, outside the headquarters of the current security service and its Stalin-era predecessors. Historians estimate about a million people perished in Stalin’s Terror, also known as the Great Purge, in the 1930s. …

Memorial, which also speaks out about current human rights violations in Russia, has come under increasing pressure from the authorities in recent years. In 2016, Russian authorities labelled it a “foreign agent” under a 2012 law that obliges groups deemed to have “political” activities and international funding to submit documents every three months outlining their finances.

It’s a small, small world

30 years ago, Spy magazine sent “refund” checks for $1.11 to 58 rich people. The 26 who cashed those got a another check, for $.64. The 13 who cashed those each got a check for $.13. Two people cashed the $.13 checks—Donald Trump and Jamal Khashoggi’s arms-dealer uncle Annan.

Alaska’s Independent governor drops reelection bid, endorses Democrat underdog

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, suspended his campaign for reelection on Friday and endorsed former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich — scrambling the state’s three-way gubernatorial race with just over two weeks until Election Day.

The move, first reported by the Alaska Dispatch News, comes just days after Walker’s lieutenant governor, Byron Mallott, resigned, citing “inappropriate comments” he had made to an unidentified woman. …

Walker’s decision could boost Begich against Republican Mike Dunleavy, a former state senator. Recent poling showed Walker and Begich hovering at around a quarter of the vote, with Dunleavy well ahead, with support over 40 percent. Walker will remain on the ballot, with Mallott as his running mate, though neither is an active candidate.

Saudi fight-gone-wrong explanation is good enough for Trump

President Trump broke with his own intelligence agencies on Friday, appearing to accept Saudi Arabia’s explanation that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by accident during a fistfight, while the United States’ spy agencies are increasingly convinced that he was assassinated on high-level orders from the Saudi royal court. …

The president said he still had questions for Prince Mohammed, and he called the killing of Mr. Khashoggi “unacceptable.” Mr. Trump also raised the possibility of sanctions against Saudi Arabia, but said that he hoped that Congress would not try to block billions of dollars in weapons sales to the kingdom, which he has held up as proof of the fruits of the alliance.

Mr. Trump’s response sets up a clash with Congress, where Republicans and Democrats both tarred the Saudi explanation as lacking credibility. 

foreign policy
foreign policy
The U.S. Has Deep Ties to Saudi Arabia — But Disentangling Ourselves Is Possible
Pulling away from Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi is a risky prospect. Trump clearly isn’t interested, but there are steps U.S. lawmakers could take.

Saudi Arabia’s unveils unconvincing story about Khashoggi’s death

CNN reporting that Saudi Arabia government is now acknowledging the death of Jamal Khashoggi, has detained 18 Saudis, calling it a "fist fight" gone bad, no word on how he died or where is the body.

Prosecutors charge Russian troll farm worker

A Russian woman has been charged by federal prosecutors for her alleged role as an accountant for the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials said has continued to spread disinformation on social media to disrupt political campaigns since the 2016 elections.

The charge of conspiracy against the United States, announced Friday afternoon by the Justice Department, represents the first case involving next month’s midterm elections.

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, was allegedly the chief accountant for “Project Lakhta,” the disinformation effort spearheaded by the Internet Research Agency, which has been described as a “troll farm” for its prolific output of inflammatory and often false social media posts. The organization is funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich, an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Houston Chronicle endorses Beto O’Rourke after giving nod to Cruz in 2012

With eyes clear but certainly not starry, we enthusiastically endorse Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate. The West Texas congressman’s command of issues that matter to this state, his unaffected eloquence and his eagerness to reach out to all Texans make him one of the most impressive candidates this editorial board has encountered in many years. Despite the long odds he faces – pollster nonpareil Nate Silver gives O’Rourke a 20 percent chance of winning – a “Beto” victory would be good for Texas, not only because of his skills, both personal and political, but also because of the manifest inadequacies of the man he would replace.

tech boot camp
tech boot camp
How to Not Trap Your Partner in a Smart-Home Techno-Prison Hell
Smart homes are great. Unless your partner hates them.
the national interest
the national interest
Did Michael Flynn Have a Back Channel to Email Hackers During the Campaign?
The new reports about Peter W. Smith and Michael Flynn offer new clues about Trump’s collusion with Russia.
2018 midterms
2018 midterms
The GOP’s 2019 Agenda Is for Donors’ Eyes Only
Republicans aren’t campaigning on what they’ll do if they keep Congress because they don’t want you to know.

Has the Kavanaugh confirmed faded as a get-out-the-vote issue?

Robert Mueller: Get me Roger Stone

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Trump wants lawmakers to weigh in Khashoggi

President Trump says he will have Congress involved in deciding what to do about the suspected death of Jamal Khashoggi. "I will make certain recommendations," he adds, citing the arms deal. "We're going to have some answers pretty quickly."
tech boot camp
tech boot camp
5 Parenting Gadgets for the Tragically Sleep-deprived
With the assurance of the well-rested, I can promise you: These gadgets work.
the law
the law
Harvard Admissions Trial Won’t End Affirmative Action – But That’s the End Goal
By taking up the cause of a small group of Asian-Americans, conservatives hope to give the Supreme Court a chance to end a historic civil-rights tool.
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