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Daily Deals: $100+ off Xbox One S bundle, $200 off MacBook Pro & more

iDownloadBlog - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:13

iDB’s Daily Deals post is a roundup of our favorite deals on tech and tech-related products from around the web. This includes everything from smartphones, tablets and accessories, to connected devicesand even video games.

Every deal you see below has been hand-picked based on a variety of factors including personal experience, online reviews from customers and experts, and discount percentage. So what are you waiting for? Get shopping!

Top eBay Deals

Listed below are some of our favorite deals on eBay right now. They come from the site’s Daily Deals section, meaning all sellers are top rated eBay stores with excellent feedback. All items are new unless otherwise noted, and refurbished items are covered by eBay’s highly regarded 30-day money back guarantee.

BH Photo Deals

BH Photo is currently offering great deals on Macs and other electronics as part of its back to school promotion. The store offers a wide selection, competitive pricing, and it doesn’t charge sales tax on orders shipped outside of New York, which could equal hundreds in extra savings.

Hackery Bolt 6000mAh MFi Battery Pack

Following the footsteps of its popular brother Jackery Bar, the Jackery Bolt has the Jackery signature aluminum surface, is stylish and elegantly designed to fit in your pocket. Seamlessly pack 6000 mAh of power into your mobile life, without getting tangled by all the extra cables because the Bolt has built-in Lightning and micro USB cables. This is a highly regarded battery pack, and it has a 4.5-star customer rating on Amazon.

Buy for $19 using promo code JACKERY6 (normal price $70).

Klipsch Groove Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Klipsch Groove portable Bluetooth speaker boast all the features you want in a travel speaker without any of the nonsense. This speaker delivers shockingly big sound in a small package with all the detail. With an 8 hour battery life + easy USB charging, the Klipsch Groove Bluetooth speaker is designed to bring big sound wherever the road takes you.

Buy for $93 (normal price $150).

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless In-ear Headphones

Take your workout to the next level with Powerbeats3 Wireless earphones, featuring up to 12 hours of battery life to last through multiple workouts and secure-fit earhooks to maximize comfort and stability. With Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 1 hour of playback. Sweat and water resistance provides trusted durability and dual-driver acoustics deliver dynamic sound to power your workout. Plus with the W1 chip, they instantly set up – just power on and hold near your iOS device.

Buy for $100 (normal price $200).

Fitbit Aria WiFi Smart Scale

Totally different from your dad’s old needle scale, the Fitbit Aria WiFi Smart Scale uses advanced technology to track weight, lean mass, body fat percentage, and body mass index, allowing you to see all the numbers you need to start living a healthier lifestyle. With room for the storage of up to eight users, this scale recognizes who you are, displays your data, and sends your stats straight to your Fitbit account through your home’s WiFi while remaining totally private to you. The sleek polished glass surface looks classy while resisting the condensation from steamy hot showers.

Buy for $100 (normal price $130).

Bose SoundLink II Wireless Headphones

Bose gives you a better wireless experience at every turn. Deep, immersive sound at any volume. Clearer calls at both ends of the communication. Seamless switching between two connected Bluetooth devices, so you’ll never miss a call or that movie you’re watching. Battery life of up to 15 hours. Comes with detachable cable and carrying case.

Buy for $230 (normal price $280).

iTunes Movie Deals New Releases Under $10 Comic Book Heroes Under $10 Other Movie Deals

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Categories: Misc

Intel Accuses Qualcomm of Trying To Kill Mobile Chip Competition

Slashdot - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:08
Intel has jumped into the fray surrounding the Apple-Qualcomm patent spat by accusing the world's biggest maker of mobile phone chips of trying to use the courts to snuff out competition. From a report: The chip giant made the allegation late Thursday in a public statement (PDF) to US International Trade Commission. The commission had requested the statement as part of its investigation into Qualcomm's accusation that Apple's iPhones of infringe six of Qualcomm's mobile patents. Specifically, Intel said, the case is about quashing competition from Intel, which described itself as "Qualcomm's only remaining competitor" in the market for chips for cellular phones. "Qualcomm did not initiate this investigation to stop the alleged infringement of its patent rights; rather, its complaint is a transparent effort to stave off lawful competition from Qualcomm's only remaining rival," Intel said in its statement. "This twisted use of the Commission's process is just the latest in a long line of anticompetitive strategies that Qualcomm has used to quash incipient and potential competitors and avoid competition on the merits."

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Categories: Misc

Every former CBO director signs on to letter telling Paul Ryan to take a flying leap

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:06

Campaign Action

The House Speaker, in his inimitable snotty-ass frat boy way, called the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that Trumpcare would cost 22 million people their insurance "bogus." Because when it comes to bogus numbers, Ryan knows what he's talking about.

Usually, though, his bogus numbers are dusted with unicorn poop and pixie dust and say that destroying the safety net and cutting taxes for the very rich will save the economy. When the numbers are real, that's when Ryan gets it all wrong, as every former director that the CBO has ever had is happy to tell him—along with the rest of congressional leadership.

The undersigned represent every former Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). We write to express our strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process.

CBO began serving the Congress in 1975. Over the past 42 years CBO has been firmly committed to providing nonpartisan and high-quality analysis — and that commitment remains as strong and effective today as it has been in the past. Because CBO works for the Congress, and only the Congress, the agency’s analysis addresses the unique needs of legislators.

To meet the standard of nonpartisan objectivity, CBO makes no recommendations about policy, regularly consults with researchers and practitioners with a wide range of views (as can be seen in the agency’s panels of advisers and reviewers for major studies), and enhances its transparency by releasing extensive descriptions of its analytic techniques and forecast record.

In other words, Mr. Ryan, they don't follow your practice of pulling numbers out of their asses. Instead, and this is going to be a completely foreign concept to Ryan, they use a "detailed understanding of federal programs and economic conditions, ongoing interactions with government officials and private-sector experts, the best academic research." Imagine that: Public servants who take their jobs and their duty to the nation so seriously that they use actual information that acknowledges reality. Again, this is going to go way over Ryan's head.

But there just might be some Republican senator out there who takes her job seriously enough to pay attention to what the CBO is telling them, and to let their duty to their constituents—and to the damn nation—prevail.

Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

Categories: Politics

Trump's new communications director slobbers all over his new boss in first press briefing

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:58

Donald Trump’s new communications director is a match made in heaven for the ego-sunken narcissist in chief. During his first turn at the podium Friday afternoon, Anthony Scaramucci lathered up his new boss with one of the most nauseating displays of a tongue bath perhaps ever seen by a White House official.

Sacramucci declared his personal “love” for Trump no less three times, adding, “I’m very, very loyal to the president.” He described Trump as a “winner” with “really good karma,” a “genuinely a wonderful human being” who’s “phenomenal with the press” and “a great communicator.”

In pursuit of making Trump feel like manliest man with the biggest hands the world has ever seen, Scaramucci threw together a truly impressive string of Trump’s supposed sports conquests:

He's the most competitive person I've ever met. I have seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, he's standing in the key, and he's hitting foul shots and swishing them. He sinks three-foot putts, I don't see this guy as a guy that's ever under siege. [...] The president's a winner, and what we're gonna do is we're gonna do a lot of winning.

Don’t be surprised if Scaramucci produces video of a shirtless Trump jumping a horse through rings of fire next. We just hope he’s not so blinded by the light emanating from Trump that he doesn’t use a body double.

So Scaramucci is an expert butt kisser—for all practical purposes, he loves Trump as much as Trump loves Trump and Trump surely loves that.

Interestingly, Scaramucci also expressed his “love” for almost every other member of Team Trump. That was true of the recently departed Sean Spicer who he called “a patriot” and added, “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.” That was true of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has now been elevated to Spicer’s former post as press secretary. He even called Reince Priebus, who lobbied against Scaramucci’s hiring, a “dear friend” and promised to work closely with him. 

Scaramucci added, “I have no problem working for Reince,” except that he also made it clear he’s reporting “directly” to Trump. That’s an interesting chain of command.

But all that Scaramucci love stopped a tad short of extending to Steve Bannon. Scaramucci called Bannon “one of the smartest people” he knows before offering this tepid reflection:


So now that the new communications director who loves Trump almost as much as Trump loves Trump has a direct line to the Oval Office, Reince is as lame a duck as a chief of staff can be.

And Bannon? He’s a “smart” guy—but he might be no match for that lather of Scaramucci adoration.

Categories: Politics

Republicans will own Trumpcare disaster and Obamacare sabotage if they don't fight Trump

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:43

Campaign Action

Popular vote loser Donald Trump will do everything in his power to destroy Obamacare, even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fails in his last-ditch effort to pass his repeal bill. And every single Republican in office will own the consequences.

President Donald Trump, who regularly says Obamacare is dead, has already taken steps to undermine the law even as the legislative battle over repeal drags on. His administration has slashed crucial advertising dollars, cut the enrollment window in half, and regularly pumps out anti-Obamacare videos and graphics — actions sure to reduce the number of people who sign up.

Trump has plenty of other options to roll back a program covering roughly 20 million Americans. Those include ending enforcement of the mandate to carry insurance, imposing work restrictions and nominal premiums on low-income adults who qualify for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and letting states relax the law’s robust coverage rules.

The man charged with the oversight of many of these decisions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, noted in his confirmation hearing that Obamacare grants him broad authority about how to enact it — powers that in his hands could be used to the scale back the law's reach.

“Fourteen hundred and forty-two times the ACA said ‘the secretary shall’ or ‘the secretary may,’” Price noted in March.

It's been shown in pretty much every poll on the issue in the last several months that voters know who is in charge and who they will blame when it all comes crashing down, and it sure as hell isn't Democrats. They prefer Obamacare 2-1 over what Republicans have put forward, so it seems like now would be a really good time for Republicans to take the advice of all the smart people—like all the doctors—and start working against Trump to make sure it survives.

Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

Categories: Politics

Friday Cat Blogging – 21 July 2017

Kevin Drum - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:17

Hmmm. If you plant a cat in a pot, will you grow more cats? We’re going to find out! I’ll have the surprising answer next week.

Categories: Politics

New Study Suggests Corporate Investment Is Down Because of Industry Consolidation

Kevin Drum - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:13

Why are corporations sitting on such big piles of cash? Why aren’t they investing more? Max Ehrenfreund points to a new bit of research with an intriguing answer: as firms merge, their market positions become so powerful they don’t need to bother. After all, why spend money if you don’t have to?

To investigate this, Germán Gutiérrez and Thomas Philippon took advantage of a natural experiment: the big rise in Chinese imports during the aughts. What they found was that in sectors that were highly affected by Chinese imports, firms increased their investment spending in order to compete. In sectors that were lightly affected, they didn’t bother:

(Note that this is a log scale, so the difference between the lines starting around 2005 is actually quite large.)

The authors suggest that the same thing has happened more generally. As sectors have become more consolidated, competition has dwindled and the need for heavy investment spending has dwindled too.

I don’t have the chops to evaluate this, but I’m sure others will chime in. However, it reinforces my belief that competiton is good for its own sake, and antitrust law needs to recognize this. We should move away from “consumer benefit” fables that corporations use to justify mergers, and instead insist on keeping sectors as competitive as possible.

Categories: Politics

A Novel Idea: Insights About Acute Trump Syndrome Acquired From Literature and Film

Plunderbund - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:13

What is it about Donald Trump that has motivated so many people to get out their old psychology textbooks and notes from college days to understand this bizarre man? In fact, The Donald is such a bizarre figure to the commentariat that he has become the subject of verbiage that identifies him variously as a sociopath, narcissist, and pathological liar, all the while harboring an ample amount of hypocrisy and projection.

But these descriptors for Trump only scratch the surface. For those who have discarded their psych books, rest assured. There are other methods for trying to understand or deal with the reality (or is it unreality) that is Trump.

Among the most fervent of America’s readers and viewers, those who are members of book clubs and movie groups, there are films and novels that offer teachable moments for all. As we contend with the current nightmare that is the Trump Maladministration, one book and one film come to mind that might help to promote an understanding of our current national malaise. Certainly, both are preferable than cracking open that old psych textbook if you still have it on a dusty bookshelf.

For classic movie fans, particularly aficionados of TCM, Charles Boyer might soon be in vogue again to help with that teachable moment which serves to help understand Trump.

First, absolutely no one would confuse the suave, debonair Boyer with the uncouth, barbarian Donald Trump. Yes, the smooth Frenchman who never said “Come weeth me to ze Casbah” to Hedy Lamarr in Algiers, needs to be kept in mind for the technique he used in another classic film, where he controlled another starlet of the period.

We’ll get back to Ingrid Bergmann shortly.

As for Hedy Lamarr, the actress who has been credited with inventing WiFi communication, she no doubt could hold her own when dealing with controlling males like Boyer. Chances are that she would have found Trump, by comparison, to be a marshmallow.

Though I’ve always been an Ingrid fan, for our purposes, we need to put the Swedish ingenue on the back burner a bit longer as we look at a print model many have examined recently in searching for meaning to explain the Age of Trump.

Not long ago, we saw reports that George Orwell’s classic, 1984, was selling briskly again, in light of the bizarre nature of America’s new presidential administration. First-time readers were introduced, for example, to the Ministry of Truth, where people are deliberately confused and neutralized by their government, where fake news is king, and where you just make up stuff.

For an administration that started to lie on Day One, with Sean Spicer’s claims that the Trump inauguration was the largest in attendance in presidential history, the road to perdition, err prevarication, continues unabated.

The most recent mega-whopper was the revelation about a June 2016 meeting with a cast of Russians that was centered on the subject of adoptions. In looking at the attendees, however, it seems that no one resembling Miss Hannigan or Little Orphan Annie was included in the discussions. But on the topic of adoptions and orphanages, it’s been a hard knock life for junior and his brother-in-law lately, hasn’t it?

The Trump Ministry of Truth has continued the production of lies at such a pace that the Sunday, June 23 edition of the New York Times produced an entire page of whoppers for all to see. With a banner headline that reads, “Trump’s Lies,” the Paper of Record put it this way:

There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths. Every president has shaded the truth or told occasional whoppers. No other president – of either party – has behaved as Trump is behaving. He is trying to create an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.

While the litany of lies assembled by the Times proves quite useful in documenting the vast expanse of Trump Inc.’s deception, the Ministry of Truth explanation for our state of national numbness does not fully address what has happened to the American populace in the Age of Trump. Add to that an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.

Cue Ingrid Bergmann.

In the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Gaslight, the vulnerable Bergmann is manipulated by – guess who – Charles Boyer, who does not invite her to the Casbah but, instead, masterfully controls his wife through questioning her memory, firm beliefs, and the otherwise mundane things in her home environment. The result is predictable. She becomes confused and questions her sanity and beliefs.

Again, while no sane person would compare the smooth Boyer with the Inspector Clouseau-like Trump, both achieve the same results in their gaslighting methods: Control the conscious environment, sow doubt on alternative explanations, and make receivers of the messages vulnerable as a result.

In light of the earlier description of some of Trump’s character traits, this statement proved most interesting:

Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically also are convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing.

Few would label Trump as a modern-day Prince Charming. But he has been most effective in transgressing social mores (“grab them by the pussy,” “blood coming out of her wherever,” women as ‘dogs’ and ‘fat pigs’) while holding on to his core group of true believers. After all, it was Trump himself who has made the best observation about the effectiveness of his gaslighting on the populace:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he said in early 2016 at a campaign rally.

Unfortunately, it seems that the gaslighting that afflicts Trump’s fervent followers continues, even after mounting revelations of Russian involvement in our electoral process and hints of collusion by members of the Trump campaign, to include his son, Donald Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. “They don’t get it; the bullsh*t tornado ONLY works on their hypnotized base,” Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist, wrote recently about the true believers.

On second thought, maybe Wilson meant to use the verb gaslighted rather than the more familiar hypnotized. A report in the Washington Journal described the phenomenon in this fashion:

Despite, you know, facts to the contrary, supporters of President Donald Trump remain steadfastly behind him. They insist he’s accomplished so much in his first 180 days in office, though they can’t tell you exactly what those accomplishments are, nor how they’ve substantively impacted their lives. Still, they’re convinced that they, and the President, are winning.

As the saner part of the American nation continues to resist the broadsides launched from the Ministry of Truth, which led by its commandant identifies the sane media as fake news, who could devise something more Orwellian than that? Here, indeed, is a novel idea as we await the update to 1984.

But then we inevitably have to take one last look and return to the struggle between the great gaslighter, Boyer, and his wife, the vulnerable Bergmann. If Trump is playing the gaslighting role today against the vulnerable American people, about 40 percent of which fervently support him in his attempts to discredit any inquiry regarding Russia and its involvement with our election campaign, then we must look for a remedy to stop this unfolding national tragedy.

Near the end of the film, the character of the dogged detective, Brian Cameron (aka Joseph Cotten), appears. Like most detectives, Cotten is inquisitive – and, yes, suspicious. Soon, the detective discovers Boyer’s gaslighting of his wife, and she is rescued from the clutches of the very man who killed her aunt in his search for riches.

In our continuing American melodrama, sans film, where the bully pulpit of Theodore Roosevelt has morphed into that of a gaslighting bully, Donald Trump, who will emerge as the dogged detective that will save this country’s vulnerable 40 percent – indeed, all of us – from being consumed by that bullsh*t tornado?

His name may not be Brian Cameron or Joseph Cotten, but we desperately need and support another dogged detective as he contends with gaslighting. Robert Mueller is his name, and he’s also a damn good detective.

And so it goes.

Denis Smith is a retired school administrator and a former consultant in the Ohio Department of Education’s charter school office. He writes about education issues as well as politics and constitutional reform.

Categories: Politics

9to5Rewards: Nodus Access 2 leather portfolio case for iPhone [Giveaway]

9to5Mac - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:12

This week’s 9to5Rewards partner is Nodus, makers of high-quality leather iPhone cases and other accessories. The company has three of its Nodus Access 2 cases for iPhone to giveaway to 9to5 readers this week.


Categories: Misc

Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:06

A funny thing I saw on Twitter:

Also, never change, Florida. (H/T: Valued commenter Jack the Second.)

Categories: Politics

Midday open thread: Court blasted for OKing raped 12-year-old's abortion; South Miami mandates solar

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:01

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is Repeal & Whatever:


If Donald Trump is somehow able to hang in for his full term, he has 1,278 days remaining to enjoy the gold curtains in the Oval Office.



• Russia’s Annual Plague of Locusts Is Here: Watch as a car’s dash cam captures a drive through a swarm of the winged beasties.

South Miami becomes first city outside California to mandate solar panels on new homes: Six California cities now require solar panels on newly built residences. The South Miami City Commission voted 4-1 this week to be Florida’s pioneer in such a move. Mayor Philip Stoddard, a Democrat who warned of sea-level rise in a cameo appearance at the Democratic National Convention last July, says his city wants to cut its carbon footprint: “We’re down in South Florida where climate change and sea level rise are existential threats, so we’re looking for every opportunity to promote renewable energy. It’s carbon reduction, plain and simple. We have a pledge for carbon neutrality. We support the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Lawyers excoriate Alabama court for allowing 12-year-old raped by uncle to terminate her pregnancy: The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals this week upheld a juvenile court’s decision to allow the girl a waiver of the state requirement that minors must have parental consent to have an abortion. The district attorney in the unnamed girl’s county had appealed the lower court’s ruling. Win Johnson, legal director for the Administrative Office of Courts under the wacko former Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Lorie Mullins, executive director of COPE Pregnancy Center in Montgomery—one of those fake pregnancy “clinics” that lie to women about abortion if they mention it at all—held a news Wednesday. Johnson said he was shocked that the courts would rule that the 12-year-old "was mature enough—and I'm going to put this in its starkest terms—to decide to murder her own child in her womb." Not mature enough to decide to have an abortion, but mature enough to have a baby. Sickening.

• From Just Security—Five Questions about the Scope and Limits of the President’s Pardon Power. Question 1. Can the president pardon himself?  

In a cryptic memo written in August 1974, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) concluded that the answer was “no,” as a corollary to the principle that no man can be a judge in his own case. I’m not actually sure that logic holds, but it may not matter: OLC is also of the view that it would be unconstitutional to prosecute a sitting President, and I’m hard-pressed to imagine a scenario in which a future President would really want to prosecute one of his or her predecessors. So President Trump may not have the constitutional authority to pardon himself, but in practical terms, that may not matter, given the constitutional and political obstacles to any criminal prosecution of a current (or past) President. (There is also the Twenty-Fifth Amendment dance to which Andy [Wright] alluded on Wednesday, i.e., where the President temporarily steps aside, is pardoned by the Vice President qua Acting President, and then resumes office.) Of course, this has nothing to do with impeachment proceedings, in which a pardon is and would be wholly irrelevant; the pardon would, at most, only be a shield against a federal criminal prosecution, or a sword against an existing conviction.

House Republicans back bill that would undermine restoration of water and salmon to a California river: For nearly two decades, conservationists fought for the restoration that was finally approved in 2006 as the San Joaquin River Restoration Project. Under a court-ordered settlement of an 18-year-long lawsuit, the federal government agreed to restore water flows and chinook salmon protected by the Endangered Species Act to parts of the river that often run dry because of water mismanagement. It’s estimated that the project will cost $1 billion when it’s finished. The Republican legislation would limit the safeguards in the agreement, build more dams, and divert more water to farmers in California’s agriculturally important Central Valley, mostly a GOP stronghold. Governor Jerry Brown sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan requesting that he shelve the bill, writing: “Making decisions requires listening to and balancing among the needs of California’s nearly 40 million residents and taking into consideration economics, biodiversity, and wildlife resources. All of this is best done at the state and local level—not in a polarized political climate 3,000 miles away.”California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein say they will fight the bill. 

Native tribes offer support for Paris Climate Accord

Though Indigenous communities have a small carbon footprint, they are often the most severely impacted by climate change. There are 567 federally recognized tribes in the U.S.—40 percent of them in Alaska—and climate change threatens many of them. In California and the Pacific Northwest, tribal nations are at increased risk of sea-level rise. Coastal communities like the Quinault Indian Nation in western Washington and at least 31 Alaska Native villages, including the Shishmaref village near the Bering Strait, face the danger of coastal erosion. Already, several have been forced to relocate.

Is the big factor in Japan’s low birth rate men’s inability to find good jobs? And is the lower birth rate really all that bad in the long run?

On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Alert! We’re approaching the Weekend Crazy Zone & already coming in dangerously hot! How do reporters keep from laughing in Trump’s face? Trump floats firing Mueller & pardoning himself. How do we deal with that? “Adoption” is code for “sanctions.”

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Categories: Politics

Just How Far Can Robert Mueller's Investigation Reach?

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:00
Just How Far Can Robert Mueller's Investigation Reach?

In his latest speed-date with the not-failing New York Times, Donald Trump apparently asserted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could not generally investigate Trump's family's "finances":

Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”

The paragraph's a little unclear: it might mean (1) Trump believes Mueller can't investigate Trump's family finances at all or (2) Trump believes Mueller can't investigate Trump's family finances beyond any ties their finances have to Russia. It's also not clear what "family's finances" might mean. Business entities? Loans to and/or investments in Trump businesses and/or family members by the Russian government, businesses, or individuals? Other?

However you read this passage in the Times story, the scope of Mueller's authority (his jurisdiction) can only be ascertained by an examination of Mueller's mandate.

The entire order appointing Mueller can be found here. The key language of the order is succinct:

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Categories: Politics

Scaramucci compared a rules change on hedge funds to Dred Scott decision

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:51

Donald Trump’s new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was upset by a rule from the Obama administration that required hedge fund managers to pay more attention to the needs of their clients rather than making trades for the express purpose of fattening their own wallets. So he delivered this very measured evaluation.

“It’s about like the Dred Scott decision,” Scaramucci said, promising that a Trump administration would repeal what’s known as the fiduciary rule, part of Obama’s reforms on retirement accounts scheduled to begin taking effect in April.

That’s the level of the discourse the public can expect from the new man charged with creating Trump’s “message.” It’s also exactly why Trump hired Scaramucci. His combative, facts-free style precisely aligns with Trump’s. Scaramucci is there to be Trump’s Great Enabler.

Sean Spicer told Donald Trump not to hire Anthony Scaramucci. Steve Bannon said Scaramucci would get the job “over my dead body.” Reince Preibus hated him. So did Sarah Huckabee-Sanders—though handing her the role of official press secretary likely soothed that hurt. In fact, the consensus of the White House staff is that Scaramucci is “a joke.” So it makes perfect sense that Donald Trump would hire “Mooch” as his new communications director.

Because not just ignoring advice, but actively doing whatever you can to defy that advice, is the hole in which Donald Trump’s head is thoroughly jammed. Meeting with Putin without so much as a U.S. translator, ending support for moderate Syrian rebels, giving out an absolutely witless interview in which he slams his own attorney general and threatens the special counsel … it’s enough to have Donald Trump’s own personal attorney’s looking for a way off this out-of-control train.

What does Scaramucci have to recommend him for the role of White House communications director? Mostly he has Donald Trump’s continuing conception that while he is working so very hard, everyone else is just a loafer. Trump could offer a top position to Scaramucci because he likes him on TV, because it’s not like anyone around him was really doing anything.

Categories: Politics

Google, Apple, Amazon Hit Record Lobbying Highs

Slashdot - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: The last three months brought record-high lobbying spending from four major tech companies: Google spent $5.93 million, Apple spent $2.2 million, Amazon spent $3.21 million, Uber spent $430,000. Facebook spent $2.38 million this quarter, up from the same period last year but far from a record. Microsoft's bill for the quarter was just over $2 million.

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Categories: Misc

Apple creates new Vice President of People role held by Deirdre O’Brien

iDownloadBlog - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:27

Apple today announced that it is creating a new role, Vice President of People, to be held by its Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations, Deirdre O’Brien, starting this fall.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

Nation's doctors demand Republicans pull the plug on Trumpcare, work to shore up Obamacare

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:18

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The American Medical Association has escalated its opposition to Trumpcare, going from concerned about it to hair on fire at the prospect of what it means for their patients and the entire healthcare system. Turn your energy, the AMA is telling Congress, to stabilizing the Affordable Care Act.

The American Medical Association said proposed Republican bills—one to repeal and replace the 2010 health law, the other to repeal only—would cause too many people to lose coverage.

“Each bill results in millions more Americans without health insurance coverage, weakened markets, less access to affordable coverage and care, and the undermining of funding for state Medicaid programs,” wrote Dr. James L. Madara, the group’s CEO, in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The doctors group called for bipartisan cooperation, starting with action to shore up shaky insurance markets.

“Senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in pursuing remedies to stabilize the individual market and foster greater availability and choice of health plans. We urge Congress to take this initial step,” the letter said.

What more is it going to take for Senate Republicans to come to their senses and end this madness? No one—no one—in the actual job of healthcare provision supports this. Every major health advocacy group opposes it. The vast majority of the voting population opposes repeal. Eight out of 10 voters say Republicans need to work with Democrats to fix Obamacare! And this:

In the poll, 62 percent said it is a federal responsibility to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage, a 10-point increase from just a few months ago. Thirty-seven percent said health care for all is not a federal responsibility, down from 47 percent in March.

There's no reason for this farce to continue. Senate Republicans have to see that.

Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.

Categories: Politics

WATCH LIVE: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Lies on Camera for the First Time This Month

Little Green Footballs - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:17

Get ready for the usual deluge of evasions and bullshit, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes the podium now vacated by Sean Spicer. The faces change but the lies never stop.

Categories: Politics

Trump clearly thinks the government is there to serve his needs, not those of the American people

Daily Kos - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:15

With the elevation of Anthony Scaramucci, an avid Trump defender with no communications background, to White House communications director, Donald Trump has once again demonstrated that regardless of skill set or training or knowledge of government, he is only interested in one thing: People who will go to war for him amid the Russia scandal that is smothering his White House and his family.  

As Nicole Wallace, a former communications director for George W. Bush, told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Friday morning:

“This is about Donald Trump wanting better-looking men spreading his message.” 

Scaramucci was hired over the objections of Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon. But he reportedly has close ties to Don Jr. and was interviewed by only Trump and Ivanka for the job.

Wallace observed that Scaramucci's hiring along with Trump’s recent grousing about Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation demonstrates that Trump has zero understanding of the demands of these positions and how they relate to a functioning government.

“The president views the press operation, the communications director and the press secretary, as people who fight his fights. In the very same way we now know, thanks to the New York Times interview, that he viewed the Attorney General as someone who would protect him from incoming fire. He has laid bare that he has no understanding of the basic functions of the White House staff.”

In other words, the latest reshuffling brings into sharper focus the fact that Trump sees his administration and his staff only as people who are doing his bidding, not as part of a greater apparatus that supports the government.

Categories: Politics

Sean Spicer Resigns as White House Press Secretary After Objecting To Scaramucci Hire

Slashdot - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:10
CNBC reports: White House press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly resigned Friday after opposing President Donald Trump's appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. The president asked Spicer to stay in his role, but Spicer said appointing Scaramucci was a major mistake, The New York Times, citing a person with direct knowledge of the conversation. NBC News confirmed the resignation with two people familiar with the matter. Spicer tweeted later that he will continue to serve through August. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was said to have advocated naming Spicer as press secretary. The two worked at the Republican National Committee before joining the administration. Following Spicer's resignation, Priebus said he supports Scaramucci "100 percent," according to news reports.

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Categories: Misc

Mac unlock with Apple Watch not working? Try these simple steps

iDownloadBlog - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:09

The macOS feature that allows you to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch offers security and convenience. The problem may arise when that feature doesn’t work as expected.

If you have set up your Mac to be unlocked with your Apple Watch and are having issues with the feature not working properly, there are a few things you can try.... Read the rest of this post here

"Mac unlock with Apple Watch not working? Try these simple steps" is an article by
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Categories: Misc