The New York Times needed info. Then they needed a scapegoat.

Driven insane by unjust captivity, I have unexpectedly emerged to exact revenge against the wicked and mediocre

In search of the elusive press apology

Barrett Brown

I suppose you remember me from 2011?

I was with Anonymous, and you came to me for info on OpCartel.

Then you ran an article stating the kidnapping as fact, which, as is now better established, it actually was.

At the time, I wrote to you, regarding the question of whether such a thing should be reported as fact, “Obviously if I were functioning as a journalist, that wouldn’t be sufficient.”

Barrett Brown
Later you expressed regret on Twitter that you’d reported it as fact.

Barrett Brown
A few days after that you wrote another article with Ravi in which you note that there’s been contradictory information about all this, etc, and it’s all quite a mystery, though you never get around to stating that you yourself reported it as fact, and did so after talking to some of the same people I did, whom I’d directed you to.

Barrett Brown
Then, based on ideas you note to have seen on Twitter, you claim me to be the “self-appointed Anonymous spokesman”, which is not actually a fact, as I’d noted for months and months, in magazine articles and TV interviews, etc; and suggest that my “book contract to write about Anonymous” is relevant to my attempt to do something with whatever materials I could get from the Mexican Anons.

Barrett Brown
Technically I did have that contract, but it was to serve as co-writer on a book about Gregg Housh, the guy who originally asked me to help deal with the press, and his own life and history with Anonymous, as could have been determined rather easily from the book announcements and articles from other reporters who actually did manage to determine that. And that might well have made it clear that I obviously had little to gain in that instance from things I did myself.

Also, this passage: “Why, some might wonder, would Mr. Brown, presumably a real person using his a real name, go public with this information, given the risk?” … seems to imply that you’re not entirely certain that I’m a real person with a real name, even though I was, at that time, a journalist who’d written for a large number of publications, in addition to the work I was doing for free, like trying to get NYT to pay closer attention to Palantir and Archimedes and other firms I’d been researching which later went on to undermine the 2016 election.

Anyway, I went to prison, got out, and found that Adrian Chen was somehow now writing about these same subjects.

Barrett Brown

Despite this:

[Link to 2014 piece on Adrian Chen showing his attempts to buy stolen emails from hackers, whom he’d later criticize without noting this]

Barrett Brown

Anyway, I hope you’ll try to be more careful in the future. Also if there’s someone at The New York Times who might be interested in a heads-up, I’ve found several demonstrable errors in his work — aside the half-dozen articles he wrote about me, some of which he admitted not to believe in a recording I’ve made public — and I’m in talks with The New Yorker today to give them a chance to do an internal review of his work for them, since I’m writing at length about it in my upcoming book from FSG.

Also: [Excerpt from the convo we had when he approached *
me for info in 2011]

***
5:37 PM [redacted]: Ha — I can understand your frustration, but the NYT’s news sense and yours will not always align.
me: That’s true.
***

Barrett Brown

That’s for fucking well sure, isn’t it?

[No reply…]

October 2011 — The Original Exchange

  1. [redacted]: Hey , hope you’re well.
  2. me: indeed
  3. [redacted]: Just wondering if this Mexico thing today is bullshit. Have you heard anything?
  4. me: it’s not at all bullshit
  5. 5:19 PM [redacted]: I mean the rumour that a woman has been released by the Zetas.
  6. me: I don’t know about it being a woman, necessarily, but the release did apparently occur, but not in response to the op; the person was not known by the Zetas to be the Anon
  7. 5:20 PM This person can tell you more
  8. [e-mail redacted]
  9. I’m not sure what other details I can give out at this point
  10. [redacted]: Who is that person?
  11. The email address, I mean
  12. 5:21 PM me: a Mexican Anon whom I’ve been working with on this
  13. [description redacted]
  14. 5:22 PM [redacted]: Can you tell me, off the record, any details about the person who was taken? I’m not going to publish even the hint of a detail, as I don’t want to endanger a life. But it would help in researching.
  15. me: and perhaps more as other informants come to me as a result of the media coverage
  16. I cannot, you’ll have to ask this Mexican Anon
  17. 5:23 PM [redacted]: What evidence have you seen that the kidnap really happened?
  18. 5:24 PM me: None, nor would I have expected to as we have no intention of providing a chance that the person could be identified
  19. however, this other person might be able to tell you more.
  20. [redacted]: But if the person couldn’t be identified, how could the Zetas respond to the threat?
  21. 5:25 PM me: These Anons assumed that the Zetas knew who it was
  22. But obviously they had no way of knowing the exact situation
  23. 5:27 PM [redacted]: So, just to clarify: an Anon was taken by the Zetas. The video was released, then the Anon was released, but because the Anon was never identified it is not clear if it is linked to the op.
  24. me: That’s basically it, yes. But you really should check with [redacted]
  25. 5:28 PM [redacted]: I definitely will, thanks for the email address.
  26. me: no problem
  27. [redacted]: I’m going to ask a stupid question.
  28. If no one has any evidence a person was kidnapped, how do you know a person was kidnapped?
  29. 5:29 PM me: I’m relying on the account of someone I’ve known and worked with in the past and whom I believe to be telling the truth based on the nature of her responses as well as other details I can’t go into due to the present situation
  30. 5:30 PM Obviously if I were functioning as a journalist, that wouldn’t be sufficient. But in this case…
  31. 5:31 PM We already have journalists looking too fucking closely into who the person is, including a review of Mexican records, and as such we’re very reluctant to assist them in finding out more.
  32. [redacted]: But a responsible journalist won’t run the name.
  33. So what difference does it make?
  34. 5:32 PM me: If you take a few minutes to think about the process by which such a name would come up and the nature of the situation in Mexico, and concede that mistakes occur in journalism, you can probably guess.
  35. [redacted]: True.
  36. 5:33 PM me: Again, this would be of greater concern to me if the U.S. media bothered to pay attention to those larger issues on which I have already produced evidence.
  37. As it is, we don’t really need the trust of the media insomuch as that most of our operations are fait accompli when reported
  38. 5:34 PM So, we are confronted with the decision between risking someone’s life and proving that a person exists to reporters with whom we already have an ambivalent relationship
  39. [redacted]: I can see your argument.
  40. 5:35 PM But if you take me, for example, I don’t think I’ve ever done anything that might make you think I’m not trustworthy with sensitive information.
  41. me: At any rate, even I have few details on this, so even if I wanted to — and of course I’d be happy to have this confirmed rather than have my outlets deem me untrustworthy — there’s nothing I could do.
  42. 5:36 PM No, you’re the exact opposite.
  43. The Times can be trusted to withhold even information that is of public concern.
  44. 5:37 PM [redacted]: Ha — I can understand your frustration, but the NYT’s news sense and yours will not always align.
  45. me: That’s true.
  46. [redacted]: But sometimes it will, obviously.
  47. 5:38 PM me: But again, I have few details to provide anyway, so I don’t want to waste your time on that particular issue.
  48. 5:39 PM [redacted]: Fair enough. Any details whatsoever — however minor — would be appreciated if you are so minded.
  49. me: Nothing more I can say about the kidnapping victim. I suggest you talk to [redacted] about it.

[Note: Despite consistent explanations to the Times and other outlets that no one was in a position to confirm the kidnappings, they were reported as fact by the paper — a decision the reporter later expressed regret for on his Twitter account, thereby helping to spawn a narrative to the effect that the original claims were now somehow under dispute. They were later claimed to be a hoax by at least one outlet, Gawker. Months later, Anonymous Veracruz participants would reveal to the Mexican press why they were initially reluctant to provide identifying details about the kidnap victim, who had spoken via webcam with several prominent activists after being released — that he had been involved in selling marijuana and his kidnapping stemmed from a dispute with a “minor” Zeta operative]

Where We’ve Been And Where We’re Going

It’s hard not to reflect on the past 12 months as we celebrate the New Year with our friends and family. For me it’s both a blessing and a curse. While it’s exciting to begin 2018 on a fresh note, I really didn’t want 2017 to end. It’s been an amazing year of learning and growing as an investor and a business man. It’s not easy, but every challenge brings its own lessons and rewards. It’s never a loss if you can learn from the experience.

Today I wanted to share what I’m thinking about the past year and what I’m expecting as we enter 2018. I do this because I believe it’s therapeutic to put thoughts down on paper. I encourage everyone to keep some sort of journal, whether in a public forum like me or private. It’s also important to me to continue to think out loud so readers can better understand where I’m coming from. I think we always need to know who is writing and producing the content we are consuming. Whether it’s via text, audio, video or otherwise.

This is who I am:

I’m coming into 2018 with a completely open mind. This past year was amazing. In January, I hosted Chart Summit– the first ever completely virtual Technical Analysis Conference. We had over 10,000 people from 100 different countries attend this event and watch the presentations given by some of the top Technical Analysts in the world. You can still watch all of the videos for free here. I’ve never received so much incredible feedback from anything else I’ve ever done in my entire life. It’s not even close.

In February I had the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia for 2 weeks where I gave 8 presentations in 5 different countries: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines. If you’ve seen my presentations in the past, you know I can rip through hundreds of charts and discuss markets all day. But for me it was the conversations that I was able to have before my events as well as afterwards over beers and cocktails at the local watering holes. Here are my new friends at Bloomberg Michael and Harry:

Everyone was so friendly and willing to learn and share ideas. Living in New York for 15 years and now in California for 2 years, I talk to traders and investors every day. What is most interesting is that no matter how different our cultures are, and in many of these cases very different, our emotions driven by fear and greed are exactly, 100% the same. I’ve always hoped it was liked that and I’ve read plenty of material that suggested it was, but until you see it and actually have those conversations I don’t think it really hits you. We are all the same. It’s unbelievable. Here I am with some of the students at Hong Kong Baptist University:

In the Spring I was able to attend the Stocktwits Cashtag Awards in New York City where I was nominated in several categories. Our friends at Investopedia gave me a mic and let me interview a lot of the most popular guests in attendance. That was a lot of fun. You can find these videos here.

The CMT Association held their annual symposium that week as well. I was also asked to interview the guests there once again. It was such an honor to be able to ask the questions I wanted to ask to some of the greatest Technicians that ever did it. What a pleasure this was for me! Here I am interviewing Louise Yamada. Another legend I got to interview was Alan Shaw, who was actually Louise Yamada’s boss a long time ago. That was incredible. You can find all of those videos here.

This Summer I launched the first ever Podcast for Technical Analysis and its practitioners. You can find it at TechnicalAnalysisRadio.com and we are now 14 episodes deep featuring many of the top Technical Analysts in the business. This has been a lot of fun. The genesis of the whole thing was two fold: first of all, I love listening to podcasts but there weren’t any dedicated to what I wanted to listen to. So I said the hell with it, I’ll do it! Also, I’m lucky that a lot of my friends are some of the best technicians out there and we argue about markets all the time, whether over the phone or over beers. These are the same conversations I’m having anyway, except now we press the record button. I think everyone wins that way.

You can subscribe to the Allstarcharts Podcast on Apple iTunes, Android, Google Play, RSS and TechnicalAnalysisRadio.com here.

The website has come a long way in recent years. This summer we added the Educational Tab labeled Allstarcharts EDU. In there you can find out exactly how I look at markets — where I start, where I finish and everything in between. Over the past 7 years at Allstarcharts I’ve written a lot of things down on paper. These Educational Pages are a collection of many of those that I have also added to and will continue to add content to this page over time. Make sure you keep coming back and checking it out, or be on the listto get notified of any new material. Many of you ask me questions about Moving Averages, Support and Resistance, Fibonacci and other topics. Most of your questions will be answered on these pages. Otherwise you can always contact me here.

We have a lot of different types of customers who buy the research: Individual Investors, Hedge Funds, Mutual Funds, Pensions, Family Offices and Financial Advisors. All of these customers use our services for different reasons — some for the trade ideas, others for the macro content, and many for both. Some customers have even told me they just pay for the research to know that if shit is about to hit the fan, I’ll be there letting them know that something big is about to go down. I can appreciate all of those, but one thing I noticed was how many Advisors we have in our community here at Allstarcharts. So we launched the Advisors Corner — designed to help Financial Advisors save time and also service their clients better and more efficiently. You can learn more about that here. It comes included with your membership to Allstarcharts Premium.

The past few months I’ve been working on a bunch of cool things that we’ll be announcing more details on soon. Chart Summit 2018 is going to be held on Saturday January 27th. Look for invitation to that shortly. I’m traveling to India in January to give presentations and learn from local traders and investors in Delhi and Mumbai. Please let me know if you are in the area and I will send you an invitation to the events. We are adding a section specifically for Canadian Stock Market Sectors, Indexes and individual stocks in the first quarter. We are getting bigger as a firm and as a brand. It’s been pretty amazing to watch this humble blog grow into what it is today.

With the help of my staff we are working on making this platform the best Technical Analysis Research on the planet. I am confident that we do more work and analyze more market behavior than anyone else. There is no magic indicator. I’ve learned that you just have to put in the work. Ripping through 5000 charts a week really helps. Most people can’t do that, or don’t want to do it. So I do it for you.

As we enter 2018 I want to keep a completely open mind. I don’t care what we did last year or the year before that. I don’t care what percentage the S&P500 went up since January 1st 2017 or how few times it corrected 3% or any of that nonsense. It doesn’t matter. We want to approach the market place like if it was a blank canvas.

What’s interesting is what we’re seeing in Canada and Australia and how the Materials and Natural Resource names are perking up at the same time. It seems to me like a big ongoing theme and Canada/Australia breakout and metals/materials doing well in the first quarter.

First here is Canada and Australia both breaking out of multi-year bases:

I would encourage you to go through all of the materials stocks in the S&P500 and beyond. There are a lot of interesting names setting up for major moves. Last year the big area to be in within Materials was in Chemicals. That worked out really well. At this point, I’m finding a lot more opportunities in the metals and mining space. I’m singing a very different tune here than I was throughout most of 2017.

One that I find interesting is Martin Marietta Materials. We want to be positioned for another breakout higher and over 50% of potential upside here. We only want to be long $MLM if we’re above 200 with a target above 350:

There are a lot of other names in that group that I like a lot and I go over each of them in my 2018 Stock Market Outlook. There is something really interesting happening in Materials that is being confirmed by what we’re seeing in Canada and Australia.

Also worth mentioning is the strength in the US Broker Dealers and Exchanges. This is one of the most important sector indexes on planet earth. I just don’t see an environment where stocks as an asset class are getting destroyed while the brokers and exchanges and breaking out of a 10-year base. I just don’t see it.

If the $IAI which represents the Brokers and Exchanges is back below the 2007 highs, then come talk to me about getting aggressively short. Until then, we want to be buyers of weakness in stocks, not sellers of strength.

Another one you could add to this list of assets that are breaking out to all-time highs is the London $FTSE 100. This is one of the top 5 (top 3?) most important stock market indexes in the world. The fact that we went out on the last day of the year at a new all-time high daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly close suggests to me that we are probably not in a downtrend. If we are above those 2015 highs and FTSE is breaking out above an 17-year base, how can we not be bullish stocks? This has been my argument since 2016.

From a risk management standpoint, I have a huge list of stocks that I think are above key levels and part of the bigger picture bullish outlook. But if these start to break below their key levels, there could be more downside. I would say that if these failed breakouts start to add up, there could be more trouble involved for stocks as a whole. The following is a list I put together that doesn’t include all of them, but what I think are some of the most important ones based on market capitalization, correlation with the S&P500 and sector weighting. With each ticker symbol I added a risk level which is where I think things get hairy if we’re below it:

$JPM $102, $GS $250, $AXP $95, $TRV $129 $CSCO $37, $AAPL $162, $MSFT $83. $MCD 163, $HD 185, $CVX $119, $XOM $80, $BA $251, $CAT $145, $MMM $229, $UTX $124, $KO $44.50, $DWDP $67, $WMT 91, $JNJ $136, $CHRW, $CSX $48, $EXPD $57, $JBHT $111, $KEX $62, $LUV $64, $GOOG $995, $BAC $29.50, $WFC $58.70, $FCX $17, $HON $150, $AMD $9.40, $BABA $159, $TXN 90, $BK $53.50, $BBT $49, $FITB $30, $HBAN $14.40, $KEY 19.30, $AMTD $47.75, $CME $142, $NDAQ $72.60, $WLTW $149, $RYF $43.70, $AMZN $1080, $BBY $60, $GM $42, $DHI $49, $MAR $131, $LVS $68, $FOX $30, $NYT $17, $ROK $181, $DWDP $67.50, $BDX $214, $SYK $151

Think of this list as our key to risk management from a bottoms up approach. If we start to see a lot of these holding below the levels mentioned, it would argue that the weight of the evidence is suggesting further weakness should be expected. But, if a large majority of these hold above their levels and continue to rip higher, I think that many of the upside objectives I’ve mentioned in US indexes and sectors will be hit. It’s as simple as that. We’ll go back to this list and reevaluate in the coming weeks and months to see how many are holding and how many failed. It will most certainly help us making decisions in the future. That’s what this is about, adapting as the markets add new data to the equation. I think this list will come in handy then.

I hope you have a safe and happy New Year. This for me is a time to read, reflect, spend time with friends and family and get ready to hit it out of the park in 2018.

If you’re not already a member, we are going to be raising membership prices in the first quarter. To make sure you lock in the current price, you can use this discount page here and lock in this ultra-low price for the lifetime of your membership.

Thanks for all of the amazing feedback and nice emails you have sent me all year long. It really means a lot. Here’s to the New Year! Let’s make it the best year ever!

Cheers,

JC


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2017: the year in review

January

• Stunt man Johann Ofner is killed in a workplace accident during the filming of a music video in Brisbane on January 23.
• New MEAA Musicians director Bow Campbell joins MEAA.
• Equity member Ray Meagher, best known as Alf on
Home and Away, is awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day honours.
• The MEAA flag flies high in a sea of rainbow flags at the Melbourne Midsumma Festival Pride march in St Kilda.
• A massive backlash from the journalistic community in response to a blog post by MEAA member Ginger Gorman forces publisher
Mamamia to remove an article from its website following accusations of plagiarism.

February

• Dozens of Equity and ECS members take up the opportunity to comment to a parliamentary inquiry into the future of the film and TV industry through an online submission tool set up by MEAA.
• MEAA tells the Fair Work Commission it will vigorously oppose a new attempt by screen producers to remove a raft of basic workplace rights for actors and other workers in the film and television industries.
• Campaign launched by MEAA on behalf of Manus Island detainees journalist Behrouz Boochani, actor Mehdi Savari and cartoonist Eaten Fish. Dozens of writers, journalists, and performers sign an open letter calling for the men to be brought to Australia.
• MEAA member Peter Grace wins an Oscar for best sound mixing on
Hacksaw Ridge.

March

• MEAA calls for a total rethink of metadata retention laws, after a Senate committee hears that ASIO has been using Journalism Information Warrants to secretly trawl through the metadata of journalists and media organisations in the hunt for their confidential sources.
• A new restructure of production for the ABC’s news services results in 42 people being earmarked for redundancy.
• Dancers at the Australian Ballet talk tough in negotiations with management over a new enterprise bargaining agreement, dangling the prospect of industrial action if their demands are not met.
• MEAA members at Melbourne & Olympic Parks celebrate a new collective agreement that gives priority to staff who are directly hired over agency temps.
• MEAA condemns One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for banning ABC journalists from attending her WA election night function on March 11.
• Journalists at Private Media, which publishes
Crikey, Smart Company and The Mandarin, win a 30% penalty rate for early starts, setting a new precedent for other digital media organisations to follow.
• MEAA welcomes the axing of the controversial Catalyst Fund, established by former Arts Minister George Brandis, but calls for the full restoration of the $105 million stripped from the Australia Council in the 2015 Budget.

April

• Fairfax Media announces another $30 million in cuts to its Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms. Meetings of MEAA members in both cities also roundly reject attempts by management to impose ideological direction and to interfere with masthead independence.
• The Australian entertainment world is shocked by the sudden death of satirist, writer, actor and director John Clarke of a heart attack on April 9. Clarke was an Equity member for more than four decades after arriving in Australia from New Zealand in the mid-1970s.
• The Fair Work Ombudsman investigates unpaid work at the Australian Grand Prix after MEAA exposes a potential breach of the Fair Work Act after hundreds of casual workers were sent a text message offering them the “opportunity” to work for free.
• MEAA’s new CommsPro membership for people working in public relations and communications is launched with a “great debate” in Sydney over the future of journalism.
• News Corp editorial staff in Brisbane pass a unanimous vote of no confidence in senior management following news of a restructure of the business, including photography and production, that would result in significant numbers of staff being made redundant.
• Further pressure grows on the government’s metadata laws after revelations that an Australian Federal Police officer accessed a journalist’s telecommunications data without being granted the necessary Journalists Information Warrant.
• Equity joins the campaign to maintain local content quotas for children’s drama after the free-to-air networks combine forces to lobby for the quotas to be abolished.

May

• To coincide with World Press Freedom Day on May 3, MEAA releases its annual report into the state of press freedom in Australia, titled The Chilling Effect.
• The same day, Fairfax Media vote to take industrial action for seven days in protest at the company’s decision to axe the equivalent of 125 full-time equivalent editorial positions, or 25% of its metropolitan daily journalists. The action means none of the company’s federal parliamentary staff are available to cover the Budget on May 9. More than 10,000 members of the public sign a petition supporting the journalists.
• The journalism world is saddened by the death of ABC broadcaster Mark Colvin, a MEAA member for 33 years. We also farewell legendary football commentator Lou Richards, a great friend of the Australian Journalists’ Association over the years.
• MEAA’s submission to the Senate inquiry into the future of the film and TV industry calls for government leadership through standardised production and location offset rebates, the restoration of funding to the Screen Australia agency, and a revamp of local content rules to rope in streaming video platforms.
• The casts of
Barracuda, The Family Law and Cleverman win the 7th annual Equity Ensemble Awards on May 22.
• MEAA joins the international campaign to call for the withdrawal of criminal defamation charges against two East Timorese journalists over a story that was published about the nation’s prime minister. Among those offering support is Peter Greste. As a result, Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo writes to the court not to convict the two journalists and they are cleared.
• On May 18, MEAA celebrates 25 years since the amalgamation that formed the present day union.
• MEAA appears before a Senate Select Committee inquiry into the future of public interest journalism. The inquiry was established in the wake of the Fairfax Media job cuts.

June

• Concerns for the future of jobs at Network Ten after the debt-stricken company is placed into voluntary administration.
• MEAA member Julie Davis, a ticket attendant at the Melbourne Cricket Ground who is wheelchair-bound, successfully wins an undercover car parking space following a union campaign over her unsafe working conditions.
• Consultation begins for a new screen industry workplace health and safety code. The extensive code will be the first significant overhaul of safety in the sector for well over a decade.

July

• Equity opens a survey of sexual harassment, criminal misconduct and bullying in the Australian theatre industry.
• Dozens of people who worked on the Melbourne Grand Prix become potential recipients of back pay after intervention by MEAA about the employment by labour hire giant Adecco of “volunteer” staff.
• MEAA’s National Media Section committee calls on the Walkley Advisory Board to reconsider its decision drop the category for international reporting.
• MEAA Equity members Adele Perovic, Noni Hazlehurst and Justine Clarke and MEAA crew member Dan Oliver give evidence at a July 20 hearing of the House of Representatives inquiry into the sustainability of the film and TV industry. They to urge greater government support and leadership in the sector.
• Jo Chandler is named freelancer of the year at the mid-year Walkley Awards in Sydney on July 26.
• MEAA’s submission to the Senate inquiry into the future of public interest journalism warns that governments can no longer stand on the sidelines but must step in to support independent journalism to preserve democracy.

August

• MEAA writes to the Fair Work Ombudsman about a potential breach of workplace laws through the use of unpaid workers by the Virgin Australia Supercars Championships.
• An injection of 32 fresh faces are elected to MEAA’s Federal Council following the elections held in July. In other changes, Marcus Strom is elected President of the Media section after the retirement of Stuart Washington.
• Eliza Goetze, from the
Bundaberg News Mail is announced as the inaugural winner of the Caroline Jones, Women in Media, Young Journalist’s Award.
• MEAA condemns as a “dangerous step” a proposed inquiry into the ABC announced by One Nation today as the trade-off for support for the government’s media reform package.
• Launch of a ‘Good Jobs Charter for Digital Media’ to push for a fair set of workplace standards in this fast growing sector.
• The Equity and ECS sections of MEAA join with the industry bodies for live performance and screen to back a yes vote in the marriage equality postal survey. “We believe the time has come for the Marriage Act to be reformed to allow same sex couples to marry,” they say in a joint statement.
• MEAA calls on the Turnbull government not to stand in the way of the proposed acquisition of Network Ten by CBS so that months of uncertainty for employees can end.

September

• MEAA helps to host a visit to Australia by East Timorese journalist Raimundos Oki, who spends a week at Fairfax Media in Sydney with funding from the Balibo Five-Roger East Fellowship.
• On Equal Pay Day on September 4, MEAA calls for concrete action from media organisations to close the gender gap which is 23.3% in print and publishing and 22.2% for in broadcasting, well above the national average. The action required includes transparency about gender pay, family-friendly workplaces, and the dedication of annual merit pools to fixing the problem of unfair pay.

Home and Away crew win significant back pay after MEAA members took action when they noticed return travel payment when on location had not been passed on by Channel Seven.
• Federal Parliament passes legislation removing the two-out-of-three media ownership rule which had been in place since the early-1990s. “This is a poor day for media diversity,” says MEAA. “The last important protection — the two-out-of-three rule — has been abandoned and there is nothing in its place.”
• The Make It Australian campaign is launched around the country on September 18, bringing together MEAA, Screen Producers Australia, the Australian Writers’ Guild and the Australian Directors’ Guild to fight for the future of the screen industry. More than 700 people take a selfie in support of the campaign.
• One of the nation’s most prolific and highly regarded performers, Ken Blackburn, is announced as the recipient of the 2017 Equity NZ Lifetime Achievement Award.

October

• The film industry is changed forever after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace over numerous allegations from female actors of sexual harassment and assault. The fallout will spread to Australia later in the year.
• In response to growing concerns and complaints about the attributed re-use of journalists’ work online, MEAA asks freelancers to take part in a survey about their own experiences of being plagiarised as part of a campaign to stamp out the practice.
• Members of MEAA’s Equity and Crew sections head to Canberra on October 18 to lobby politicians to support the Make It Australian campaign for the film and TV industry’s future. Actors Bryan Brown, Sigrid Thornton, Sean Keenan, and Matt Day, actor-director-writer Leah Purcell, sound technician Ben Osmo, production designer Fiona Donovan and special effects expert Dan Oliver represent MEAA in the delegation. About 1200 people send emails to politicians as a result.
• Queensland police raid the offices of the ABC in Brisbane on October 25 in an attempt to identify the source of leaked Cabinet documents. MEAA says this is an “outrageous attack on press freedom”.
• The newly-elected Labour government in New Zealand announces it will repeal the ‘Hobbit Law’ which classifies all film workers as “independent contractors”, unable to bargain collectively and receive other benefits associated with being an employee.
• About 250 people attend the first Women in Media national conference on the Gold Coast on October 27 and 28 with the theme ‘Media is changing … you can too!’

November

• MEAA and Screen Producers Australia issue a joint statement on November 1 declaring zero tolerance for sexual harassment. The statement follows the exposure of high-profile cases of sexual misconduct in film and the media, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
• Media Monitoring company Isentia makes 29 jobs redundant and relocates the positions to the Philippines in a decision that follows a sharp fall in revenues.
• Anger as dozens of suburban newspaper journalists in Sydney and Melbourne will find themselves jobless just weeks before Christmas in yet another round of cost-cutting by the two largest publishers. Fairfax shutters six suburban mastheads in Sydney and sheds more staff at
The Weekly Review in Melbourne, while News makes a 20% reduction to the editorial staff of its Leader group in Melbourne.
• Former Australian Journalists’ Association Victorian President, Gold Walkley winner and journalism academic Philip Chubb, dies on November 9 after a battle with cancer, aged 66.
• Crew members at Opera Australia overwhelmingly vote up their new agreements, locking in pay rises of 2%, 2.5% and 3%. Members fought to maintain conditions, and most importantly limited the ‘non rep’ agreement to its original purpose — musicals, regional, and outdoor opera.
• ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie confirms a sweeping restructure of the broadcaster to focus on multi-platform content, but questions remain about the impact this will have on staff.
• MEAA formally complains to the prime ministers of Australia and Papua New Guinea after journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani is arrested on November 24 during protests on Manus Island. “The actions and statements of PNG police confirm that Boochani was targeted during the police operation on Manus. That is a clear assault on press freedom,” says MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy.
• Comedienne, actor, advocate and activist Noeline Brown is presented with the 2017 Australian Equity Lifetime Achievement Award.
• MEAA welcomes the announcement of an inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into the impact of social media giants like Facebook and Google on media advertising and journalism.
• Following a call from Women In Media national convenor Tracey Spicer for women to come forward with stories of sexual harassment and bullying, a major expose is published of years of offensive behaviour of former TV host Don Burke.
• Michael Bachelard and Kate Geraghty win the Gold Walkley Award for 2017, while the former political editor of
The Age, Michael Gordon, is honoured for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.
• Fairfax Media and
HuffPost call it quits on their Australian joint venture, throwing most of the Australian editorial staff out of work. Staff had repeatedly asked for information about the local edition’s future but were told nothing until the announcement, an act which MEAA describes as “disrespectful”.

December

• MEAA Crew members are big winners at the AACTA Awards industry luncheon: for a second year in a row, Katherine Brown and Troy Follington are part of the team that won the AACTA for Best Hair and; Fiona Donovan, takes out the award for Best Production Design in Television; and Paul Brincat and Shanti Burn are winners for Best Sound in Television. Equity member Osamah Sami is a joint winner of the AACTA for Best Original Screenplay for Ali’s Wedding, in which he is also the lead male actor.
• MEAA welcomes the announcement on December 4 of an inquiry by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into the impact social media giants Facebook and Google are having on media advertising and journalism.
• On December 7, legislation is passed by Federal Parliament making same sex marriage legal in Australia, following the 62% vote in favour from the postal survey on the issue.
• The report of the House of Representatives inquiry into the future of the film and TV industry is released with both good and bad news for MEAA members. It recommends almost doubling the film location tax offset to 30%, but a 25% cut to the feature film production offset. It also puts in doubt children’s content quotas for commercial free-to-air TV.
• The Entertainment, Crew & Sport section honours three screen industry stalwarts and union activists with special awards. Ray Brown, key grip on dozens of films and TV series including
Crocodile Dundee and The Matrix, is made a lifetime member, while Julie Deakins and Jenny Ward receive Gold Honour Badges.
• Equity announces the collaboration of all state theatre companies to develop more effective processes to combat sexual harassment and bullying. It follows an Equity survey of 1124 performers and theatre workers which found at least 40% had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment.

A country swimming with diversity, Australia certainly seems fit

Australia has taken significant steps to erode the outmoded laws and politicians it was formerly beholden to. From the severe subjugation of its Aboriginal communities to the “White Australia” policy that outlined who entered the country and who didn’t through racial bias. Although a racist and far-right sympathising underbelly still exists, it is clearly not omnipresent with the multicultural and diversifying climate that now permeates.

I recently travelled across Australia within a four-week time frame. I explored 5 states and 2 coastlines, absorbing all what the country had to offer. I have been previously twice before and had already gave Australia my personal title of my “favourite place to visit”. The third trip seemed more informative and appropriate given I was not a preteen now. I was dubious to travel to a country I loved years ago, now I understood the complexities with its history and why it was still trailing behind a progressive Europe both culturally and politically. Although filled with scepticism but mostly excitement, I knew I was destined to return to a place where I had made fond memories beforehand.

Now my trip has concluded, I can safely and explicitly say I was pleasantly surprised. Within the urban centres of Australia’s famous cities, multiculturalism was certainly the norm. I was lucky enough to witness the preparations of the Mardi Gras festival in Sydney, an international annual phenomenon that commemorates the LGBT+ community. I visited a bar in the fabulous gay area of Kings Cross, where drag queens were the majority and the rainbow flags were prevalent. The Mardi Gras was celebrated across the country, which seemed like a timely celebration for a country that only 2 years earlier voted in their overriding support for gay marriage in a referendum.

I traipsed through wine regions, saw marsupials in their habitat and was witness to an excess of the most unimaginably spectacular views across a rugged but sprawling landscape. These surely make the country mesmerising. What stood out to me this time, though, as a nuanced and highly-political individual, was the sheer accepting atmosphere that was felt for people from a wide range of backgrounds.

One moment I vividly recall was during the last leg of my 28 day-long tour. As I strolled across the bustling esplanade of Cottesloe beach in Perth, I took note of the vast array of languages I heard around me. From people of colour to dialects I had never listened to before, no one amongst the crowd batted an eyelid to the pool of diversity surrounding them. Yes, Australia has a past and yes, some of its leading politicians have spouted racist tropes even today. That seems to be an issue almost everywhere in today’s climate, but it is undeniable at what great lengths Australia has come from its stiff-upper-lip history. A certain level of atonement is now spreading through the colonial nation’s relationship with their indigenous bedfellows. The Aboriginal population has garnered equal rights and self-determination, with a number of up and coming Aboriginal figures having a platform in politics. There’s a long way to go still, but the progress that has been made doesn’t go unnoticed.

Once I returned home, I have eyed another future visit or even a chance to move there indefinitely. For someone who espouses a multicultural society through their networking, I admire Australia’s sense of pride in accepting their inhabitants who are from all walks of life. A journey once perilous across seas for convicts set to embark for an unknown continent has become a journey worthwhile for people seeking a better lifestyle. Australia, you have shown your ugly side before, but now continuing on this quest of acceptance would leave that side in the past.

Momentum firmly with the Blues as series heads to Nagpur

India dominated the proceedings in Hyderabad even after not having the best of starts in the chase. After an initial wobble, Dhoni and Jadhav made it look easy at the finish. With that victory India has won 4 out of its last 5 ODIs: the exact opposite of the form the Aussies find themselves in. Their struggles are epitomised by their captain: Aaron Finch has now scored 0, 8 and 0 on this tour and gone 20 internationals in white ball cricket without a 50 plus score. The Indians will continue to tinker with their line-up as a stepping stone to the World Cup, the Aussies, on the other hand, will just have winning on their minds.

Probable Squad Picks

Adam Zampa: The leggie always had style. He now has the substance to back it up. He constantly tied down Kohli by attacking his stumps and has now dismissed the Indian Skipper four times in nine innings. Having started his career as a seamer he has the ability to skid off the surface, particularly dangerous to the batsmen looking to cut him. At 8.5 credits he netted 93 points in the last ODI. With long boundaries and a turning track in Nagpur he seems a wise selection.

Kedar Jadhav: If he bowled it any lower he would be called underarm but his unconventional release point has made it difficult for the batsmen to read him. That combined with his excellent batting form is pushing Kedar into all-rounder territory. His match winning knock of 81 and his partnership with Dhoni were the key reason for India’s victory in the last ODI. A batting avg of 47.08 and a bowling avg of 31.53 make him a steal at 8.5 credits.

Also watch out for

Rishabh Pant, Usman Khawaja

Prediction

The pitch at Nagpur is a flat one with it getting slower as the game progresses. Add long boundaries of the VCA stadium to this mix and you know how crucial Spinners are going to be in this match. India has an edge in that department and they go into this game as favourites.

Pick your own squad in seconds and get winning. Check out Dotball — the best fantasy cricket platform. https://dotball.com

Beercans and Blockchains: The Comprehensive Guide

Imagine you had a can of beer, only it was empty. People walk past pouring small amounts of their own drinks into the can, the next person doing the same. When the can is full, you seal it up and place it down. You get another empty can and people continue to walk past and pour a small or large amount of their drink into the can until full and you seal it up but you also seal it in place on top of the last can you filled. You continue to do this over and over until you have a stack, or chain, of sealed cans full of different drinks all in unique ratios, stacked and sealed so you can’t move, re open or change the contents.

Imagine the drinks being poured into the cans are “information”, information of transactions made, a record. Just information that says, “this amount of this drink came from here, and is now here” or, “this amount of bitcoin came from here, and is now here”. When people send bitcoins from one person or wallet to another, imagine they are pouring the information of the transaction into the can and when full, the can is processed and thus so are the transactions, the bitcoin moving from place to place and the information of that transaction, stored inside the can forever. Sending or receiving more bitcoins? A new can is created, filled, and stacked. What are the cans?

A full can is just like a file with the information of the transaction inside, stacked atop one another to create the chain. A chain of files containing information of who and where bitcoins are sent, sealed, and stacked. These files are stored on the computers of all the people that are sealing the cans. To seal a new can it needs to be verified — the information saying, “bitcoin was here, now here” is correct and not fake. Once verified it is stacked and added to the chain. This is the blockchain. The chain built by blocks upon blocks of information containing transaction records or who owns, and how much bitcoin.

People compete to verify a block of information, this is called mining and is how bitcoins are created. To confirm that a “bitcoin was here, now here” (verify a transaction), computers on the network compete against each other to solve complex computer problems, the first to solve gets the bitcoin as a reward which verifies that transaction as true. The file is added to the chain forever. These people maintain the blockchain (the blockchain is the chain of files containing the information of, “bitcoin was here, now here”, that once verified are sealed and stacked so they cannot be altered) by continuously verifying the transactions, or where the bitcoin is. This is so someone cannot double spend or alter the location or number of bitcoins. A copy of the bitcoin blockchain is stored on all the computers verifying the transactions (mining) bitcoin.
To alter the location or number of Bitcoins (the information inside the blockchain) you need to alter that block on all copies of the continuously growing chain, on all computers mining, simultaneously.

Writing down transactions or locations of Bitcoins is called a ledger. Verifying transactions is a process called mining, because by verifying a transaction and adding a block of information to the chain, a bitcoin is created as a reward. Bitcoin is the incentive to maintain and verify the chain of blocks containing ledgers and process new ones.

Bitcoin is a powerful tool for current and future digital transactions by sending bitcoin instead of cash, you can buy a book from the other side of the world and rather than the cumbersome process of sending it via your bank to theirs, who each take a slice of your payment and then convert it to your native currency. If sending a bitcoin, in theory the book could be shipped within the hour of you sending it. Not days later. It speeds up the process of transactions and takes out any unnecessary interference such as financial institutions like banks or PayPal. The people that may benefit from the transaction are those verifying it and those who maintain the chain of files, sealed, and stacked.

Now let’s go back to the basic feature of Bitcoin and blockchain again, the who owns and how much Bitcoin — its most impressive and undervalued feature yet.

This is the feature that will shape the world, this is the feature that will allow blockchain to disrupt every industry, this is the feature that most don’t know because this is the feature that takes the everyday person from “Bitcoin is a scam” to “blockchain is here to stay” or “Bitcoin to the moon” to “blockchain bro”. Let me explain by looking at how society works, to show how we will disrupt it.

Society works, on a basic level like this — I have this, you have that, I owe this and you owe that — if we had no way to measure or sustain this society would collapse. We need to have this information written down and stored somewhere.
Now let’s take a step back on society, way back.

Our first form of wealth was probably precious or rare items, livestock and stones or metals then gold. This determined our position and ability to trade within the tribe and our wealth passing through inheritance. Then we began to write this down in ledgers, who had and how much gold. This is basic accounting, single entry accounting. Only it wasn’t so hard for the keeper of ledgers, like kings and queens or other royals, to alter this or erase completely. While this system increased trade and society on a massive level it only helped those in control of the ledgers having the ability to manipulate and distribute them.

This was until the printing press came along, giving the ledgers the ability to be distributed on an unprecedented scale with trade, wealth, society, technology, and culture having the same moon-like gains. This was double entry accounting, you and I have a copy of the book now. But like anything, the dust settles. This was until the third stage of this foundation to society arrived, solving even more problems, providing solutions and industries never thought of. Again.

Triple entry accounting. The feature of bitcoin, the power of blockchain. Triple entry accounting means that not only do you and I to have a copy of the record for; who owns and how much gold, cash, credit, stocks houses, petrol, or energy, but, a third party. What this means is that if either party wants to alter the ledger for; how much gold, petrol, cash, or stocks one owns, trades or distributes, they must be altered on all three ledgers to be true. But why is this only possible, now? Without the internet, this would not be feasible as access to so much information would be cumbersome without it.

Without a secure means of storing and verifying this information, the internet is of no help. Here steps in blockchain. By filling those cans, or blocks of information and stacking them with the information distributed across multiple servers all being rewarded for first verifying the transaction and access to this via the internet, blockchain was the stepping stone accounting needed again.

By having this system of information of asset, currency, or commodity measurement we open a new era of efficiency, accountability, and sustainability. But with blockchain this is still the first step, there will be a new era of wealth distribution or value transfer also. Through the record keeping and tokenization we will see trades conducted in real time with gold, petrol, iron, energy, paintings, art, real estate, digital assets like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Blizzard all using a combination of their own, each other’s and the standard forms like, maybe, Bitcoin, but most likely the next one. Bitcoin may outlast our lifetime, it may not. But blockchain is here to stay.

You see Bitcoin is exciting not just because of the gains, the control it gives back to the people, but because it’s the poster boy of blockchain, a blueprint to the inevitable digitization of anything and everything.

This blockchain digitisation will not divide the people, the corporations, if we don’t let it. This will force legitimate collaboration. Banks will work with people, governments with people. Not; Banks. Governments. People.
It allows anyone with internet access able to participate in the shaping of the future.

With blockchain, developing countries can hold democratic votes without manipulation from domestic or international groups. They can check and verify their vote. Their decision will be true, final, and auditable.

With blockchain, humanitarian services can be more effectively distributed and monitored. Charities can raise money, and send it over the blockchain, auditable and accountable. Or, send them energy in the form of PowerLedger, PetroCoin or RedCrossCoin (accepted worldwide, most fast food restaurants and major store chains).

In our time, we will see a change in the way we use and distribute energy. Your neighbor might have too many solar panels and sells you his excess for x amount of PowerLedger or accepted coin. Power will be extremely valuable and come from many sources and some will sometimes need more than others, how will we accurately measure, record, and distribute, sell, this energy worldwide? If you said trucks, you need to read again. The answer is blockchain. Blockchain.

People are forgetting the power and potential here and others want them to forget because this slows down the adoption, innovation, and education phases. They use FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, a disinformation strategy used in sales, marketing, public relations, talk radio, politics, religious organizations, and propaganda. This is JP Morgan calling out Bitcoin as a fraud, then buying the dip. This is China banning Bitcoin, again. FUD. They know the power, they know it isn’t going away. They know that when the ball really gets rolling, the more confused people are and the more assets they hold, the easier it will be to gain influence again. So FUD is spread about Bitcoin and blockchain as a means of slight of hand, distraction. Keep the majority unconcerned and uninformed.

How China Sinks Bitcoin — South Park Style (0:31)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry6PpRXk0dQ
(This video was posted 3 years ago, April 26th 2014.)

I think this is why people respond with, “Bitcoin is a scam”, “it’s unstable”, “Ponzi scheme” or “but the bubble”. They are uninformed through suggestion and lack of critical thinking for it’s true potential to disrupt and thrust society upwards, thus they remain unconcerned and unwilling to learn or participate.
We must share the true value of blockchain and Bitcoin to everyone. After all, the more people aware, using, and willing to adopt it the quicker you will get your gains, right? Everyone else just wants to buy real milk too. Realise the real vision blockchain provides and share that with your fellow, not just online, I am talking face to face. This is where it’s most important.

Talk to someone on a real level, show them a link or two, tell them why blockchain is badass.

Fast, secure, cheap payments.

Payments in wealth, value transfer.

Auditable institutions for voting, stocks, accurate records etc.

Secure information.

Worldwide trade access on near instant level for currencies, commodities, resources.

Fair, true and accurate wealth possession, obtainment, and distribution.

I propose a personal challenge to you.

Share this post.
Show someone a marketplace.
Talk about blockchain to someone.
Show a Youtube video.
Talk about your gains
…and losses.
Your hopes, concerns.

Anything. Just start talking!

Someone online worth 1 point, real life 10 points and anyone under 21, 25 points.
Watch for them to “click” in their understanding.
Let them pick a lambo color, too, or at least know why you’ve picked yours.

Bitcoin may or may not outlive our time, blockchain will.

justsayen

Modern sculpture Lenton Parr

Lenton Parr (11 September 1924–8 August 2003) was an Australian sculptor and teacher Born in East Coburg, Victoria Lenton Parr spent eight years in the Royal Australian Air Force before enrolling to study sculpture at the Royal Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT University), then worked in England 1955–57 as an assistant to Henry Moore. There he was influenced by Reg Butler and Eduardo Paolozzi to work with enamelled steel structures, which was to become his lifelong specialty. After his return to Melbourne he showed at Peter Bray Gallery in 1957, and embarked on a career in art education which culminated in his appointment as director (1974–84) of the Victorian College of the Arts.He was a member of the Victorian Sculptors’ Society and its seventh president. Around 1960 he joined with Clifford Last, Inge King, Vincas Jomantas and Teisutis Zikaras to form a splinter group which exhibited together as the ‘Centre Five’. In 1967 the group split from the Society, which never recovered from the departure of so many of its prominent members.In 1977 he was invested with the Order of Australia for his services to sculpture and the arts. He was awarded Honorary Doctorate in Arts (RMIT University) in 1992. A major monograph on his work was published in 1999.The Lenton Parr Library (Lenton Parr Music, Visual and Performing Arts Library — formerly Victorian College of the Arts Library) of the University of Melbourne was named for him……………..More

Intimidating? Us? You’re kidding.

SmartCompany reports Treasurer Scott Morrison has accused Australia’s startup industry of “intimidating” the Australian public.

What a load of nonsense.The tech industry isn’t intimidating the Australian general public – our community has one of the highest penetration rates of new technologies in the world.

Every time we replace a two week process with a two minute process, eliminate errors and reduce costs with one of the products our industry brings to market, businesses large and small and individual Australians feel the benefit in their own productivity, bank balance, and quality of life.

That’s not intimidating, that’s awesome.

The general public are using more of our products and services every day, of their own accord.

Not because they’ve been legislated into changing their behaviour.

Not because of a fear campaign waged in door-stops and Parliament media conference briefings.

We simply save them time and money and keep them entertained and informed, faster, better and cheaper than the incumbents we’re disrupting.

Yes, the public worries

Sure, they worry about whether they’ll be able to adapt to the future workplace and whether their kids are getting the education they need to be prepared.

But sorry, re-skilling the workforce and modernising the education system is the responsibility of government, not the tech startup industry.

Maybe what the Minister means is that when the Turnbull government tried to use “let’s all get behind the innovation industry” as a half-baked and poorly expressed marketing campaign at the last election, the electorate called bullshit.

That election result wasn’t the fault of the industry, it was the fault of the policy makers and the creatives trying to craft an election-winning hype campaign. We were hastily and partially consulted at best.

Or maybe what the Minister means is that our industry is intimidating to governments and ministers, rather than the public?

After all, we don’t spend millions on advertising campaigns like the mining, fossil energy, banking, agriculture, transport, telecommunications, media and retail industries do to influence government strategy.

Neither do we take politicians on junkets, donate to parties, employ lobbyists or buy seats at expensive fund-raising dinners to get access.

We go straight to customers and sell them something they didn’t realise they needed but quickly learn to love. We offer to build a grid scale power storage plant in 100 days with a money-back guarantee. We get better media coverage than the minister because we’re better at using the new media because we’re *inventing* the new media. You can’t ignore 99% of us and just deal with an industry peak body who’ll play your games. We self-organise, recruit, refine and reach the Australian electorate without having to run anything by you or through your channels.

We’re fast-acting, big-impact, unpredictable, and growing fast almost despite you.

Sure. That must be intimidating. For the Minister.

Here We Go…Mueller Now Has A Grand Jury For His Trump Probe

The Wall Street Journal broke the story that Mueller impaneled and is now working through a grand jury in Washington, DC. The thrust of the investigation: Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 Presidential elections.

But the Washington Post, which confirms the existence of the grand jury, says the investigation has expanded beyond that and “now includes a look at whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James B. Comey, as well as deep dives into financial and other dealings of former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.” We have pointed out that most of the members Mueller has brought to his team have expertise in chasing money trails.

Reuters further reports that a grand jury has issued subpoenas related to the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr and a Russian lawyer. It does not, however, specify who exactly has gotten a subpoena.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s point out while it certainly indicates Mueller’s investigation is intensifying, it does not necessarily mean criminal charges against anybody are coming soon. As the Post points out: “In federal cases, a grand jury is not necessarily an indication that an indictment is imminent or even likely. Instead, it is a powerful investigative tool that prosecutors use to compel witnesses to testify or force people or companies to turn over documents.”

Mueller and his team, who appear to be operating in a relatively leak-free environment (except, possibly to Reuters), had nothing to say about the reports. As we’ve pointed out before, when subpoenas are issued, it’s often the recipients that leak that info. In this case that might be because they don’t want to be seen as “ratting out” the President.

Trump traveled to West Virginia for the second time in as many weeks, holding a campaign-style rally in the city of Huntington. West Virginia’s a great state for him: close enough to DC he can travel home after and sleep in his own bed; lots of support.

The President gleefully asked the crowd if there were any “Russians here tonight”? Receiving a resounding negative, he also asked: “Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia, or Ohio, or Pennsylvania?” The clip is here:

The rally nearly took on the tone of a religious revival, as the Governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, converted before the crowd’s eyes…from Democrat to Republican. The coal tycoon has a lot in common with Trump: ran as an outsider, inherited his business from his dad, owns a famous country club that hosts prestigious professional golf events.

The transcripts, obtained by the Washington Post, give detailed accounts of phone conversations that took place between Trump and the President of Mexico, and Trump and the Prime Minister of Australia. The Post says it got them from “White House staffers.”

These Trump conversations, which happened right after he took office, had already been widely reported on as a result of earlier, partial leaks. Originally, Trump came across as brash and undisciplined, perhaps reckless, but with some righteous indigence. The perspective of the full transcripts paint a very different picture: a President woefully and willfully unprepared, and unwilling to listen, focused entirely on his own appearance. For instance, in his conversation with the President of Mexico, Trump’s singular focus is coaxing him to stop saying Mexico won’t pay for “the wall”, because it’s making Trump look bad.

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait’s piece on the calls is ungraciously titled: “Australia’s Prime Minister Slowly Realizes Trump Is a Complete Idiot.” Seems to us like Trump just didn’t bother doing his homework, and then doesn’t bother with the fine points: only hearing he’s on the hook for taking in some refugees (he calls them “prisoners”.)

The Atlantic’s David Frum approaches from a very different angle, calling the leak “unprecedented, shocking, and dangerous” and suggesting there ought to be hell to pay for whomever leaked it. He argues that “no leader will again speak candidly on the phone to Washington” since they no longer can assume any confidentiality.

While we agree with him to some extent, we do feel we are temporarily operating under different parameters these days, because Trump, and our global partners will understand that.

Senators will be on vacation today til Labor Day, but the Senate won’t be in recess. That’s to head off any recess appointments by President Trump. Pushing controversial appointments through during recesses is a favorite tool of Presidents because they bypass the normal approval process.

Republicans ran this play before: preventing President Obama from doing stuff. It generally involves a Senator from a nearby state like Delaware or Maryland popping in for a few minutes every few days to open and then immediately close a session.

He can’t sell it. His argument that the payouts amount to “BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies” isn’t sticking. It just looks like the President is taking insurance away from poor people out of spite.

The President has other, “better” options for making Obamacare implode. Like formally ordering the IRS to stop enforcing the individual and corporate mandates. Those are the penalties imposed if people and companies don’t buy insurance. He could argue that with premiums skyrocketing, it’s unfair to burden hard working Americans with those mandatory higher premiums. (While failing to mention that part of the reason premiums are going higher is uncertainty about what the President might try to pull.) This could resonate, especially with his base.

We won’t go so far as to predict that’s what will happen, because an angry President may be brazen enough to try anything and everything.

The Secret Service has moved out of Trump Tower, and into a trailer on the street in a long-running dispute with the Trump Organization over rent. Don’t know much more really needs to be said about this.

And here they are, for your weekend listening pleasure:

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Gender Tax Targets Men Only

Men charged a gender tax at Australian based cafe {Google Images}