- Jimmy Fallon unveiled his own Bernie Sanders impression and it's spot-on
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 2:25 PM:)<>
Jimmy Fallon is jumping on the Bernie Sanders bandwagon.
After the Vermont senator's win in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Fallon unveiled his own Sanders impersonation on Wednesday night.
"I'm speaking tonight to claim victory in the New Hampshire primary over she who must not be named," Fallon's Sanders says, referring to Hillary Clinton with the phrase used for the Harry Potter villain Voldemort.
Fallon, who we're used to seeing inhabiting Donald Trump this election season, will definitely have his Sanders impression compared to that of Larry David — who unleashed it again last weekend on "Saturday Night Live." Fallon definitely takes it over-the-top compared to David, who also has the help of looking like the politician. But both capture Sanders' populist leanings.
"We won and I feel like a million bucks," Fallon's version of Sanders says. "A million bucks, which of course means that I will now evenly distribute myself among the middle class."
He then ends with a timely reference to lyrics from Beyoncé's new song, "Formation": "Right now, I want to celebrate with my wife. And let's just say that afterward, she will be taking my a-- to Red Lobster."
Watch Fallon's Sanders sketch below:
- A new study on encryption confirms what experts have been telling politicians for years
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 2:13 PM:)<>
You can't ban encryption. It just won't work.
That's the conclusion of a Harvard study into the proliferation of encryption products around the world.
Noted cryptographer Bruce Schneier, along with Kathleen Seidel and Saranya Vijayakumar set out to perform a "worldwide survey of encryption products," and software being developed in 36 different jurisdictions, including the US.
The implication: "Any mandatory backdoor will be ineffective simply because the marketplace is so international."
The study is significant because it comes at a time of significant pressure from law enforcement in the US and elsewhere to force tech companies to introduce backdoors into encryption software to allow access when required. (We first read the study over on The Daily Dot.)
Technologists counter that there are numerous reasons why this is a bad idea, ranging from the fact that any backdoor would be at risk of being exploited by bad actors, to the fact that any attempted ban/mandated backdoors would set a dangerous international precedent for authoritarian regimes looking to crack down on dissidents.
But there's also the pragmatic argument that any ban just won't work. Schneier et al's study backs this up.
Even if the US, or Britain, banned encryption, the terrorists/paedophiles/criminals that law enforcement are after can simply switch to software made in any of the other three dozen countries around the world that have encryption product developers.
The US, though (fairly) regarded as the heart of the international tech community, does not have significantly more sophisticated products available, the study found. "There is no reason to believe that foreign-designed or foreign-developed encryption products are any worse (or better) than their US counterparts," it says. "Cryptography is very much a worldwide academic discipline, as evidenced by the quantity and quality of research papers and academic conferences from countries other than the US."
34% of the products surveyed are open source — meaning that even if every single country in the world decided to band together to ban encryption, rogue developers could still use this code to continue to develop encryption products underground.
But that isn't going to happen: Germany and the Netherlands have both "publicly disavowed backdoors in encryption products," the study points out — and have more than 130 encryption products between them.
The study concludes: "It is easy to purchase products, especially software products, that are sold anywhere in the world from everywhere in the world. Encryption products come from all over the world. Any national law mandating encryption backdoors will overwhelmingly affect the innocent users of those products. Smart criminals and terrorists will easily be able to switch to more-secure alternatives."
Here's the complete study:
- Meet the understated governor shaking up the presidential race
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 1:22 PM:)<>
If nothing else, Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is persistent.
He managed to parlay a meeting with the president of Ohio State University into a meeting with the president — of the United States — in the Oval Office, as NPR documented in December.
In 1970, Kasich badgered the university president's office to get a meeting to discuss the state of a dormitory in which he lived.
The university's president, Novice Fawcett, told the young Kasich that he was due to visit then-President Richard Nixon soon in the White House. Kasich asked if he could tag along, but Fawcett rebuffed him. He did, however, agree to deliver a letter from Kasich praising Nixon as a great president. (This was before the Watergate scandal.)
That letter got Kasich an invitation to visit the White House, and he spoke with Nixon for 20 minutes in the Oval Office three days before Christmas in 1970.
Some 46 years later, Kasich is running to get back in the Oval Office — though he's looking to stay there for at least a four-year term.
Kasich finished second in Tuesday's New Hampshire Republican primary, claiming 15.8% of the vote. It was a surprisingly strong finish for someone who has, to this point, lagged in the low single digits in national polls.
Now one of six major Republican candidates for president left standing, he has stood out from the once crowded field by projecting the image of a humble pragmatist. Aside from persistent and determined, the 63-year-old Kasich wants to be known as "honest, direct, authentic, and tenacious."
He's been portrayed as the antidote to the bombastic Republican front-runner Donald Trump, earning The New York Times' implicit endorsement for the nomination.
"Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, though a distinct underdog, is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race," The Times editorial board wrote.
Kasich also has the air of an everyman — his answers to a survey from The Skimm, a newsletter aimed at young women, are completely without pretension.
In response to the prompt, "Tell us about yourself," Kasich emphasized his normalcy.
"I have twin daughters who are going to turn 16 on the 16th of January, 2016. I have a wife who is very smart and pretty. My daughters are smart and pretty. I'm lucky. I'm in public office, but I'm normal. I lead a very normal life," he said.
He describes himself as a "kid in a governor's body," says he doesn't have Netflix, and encourages students to put affordability before brand when consider which college to attend.
His reputation as a moderate might have helped him do well in New Hampshire, as he scored 27% support among self-identified moderate voters, according to exit polls.
But critics say his record should tarnish that image, arguing that he's not as moderate as some voters believe.
Kasich is pro-life, was opposed to same-sex marriage (although he says that he accepts the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of it and had "really good" champagne at the first gay wedding he attended), and favors putting "boots on the ground" in the fight against the terror group ISIS.
The Nate Silver-founded FiveThirtyEight website called Kasich a "Jeb Bush in Jon Huntsman clothing," pointing out that he "is seen as too moderate by GOP voters and appears to enjoy telling Republicans they're wrong."
But while some of his competitors face questions over their accomplishments in their political careers, Kasich can lay claim to at least one contrast: experience. He served nine terms in Congress and is now serving his second term as the governor of Ohio.
Kasich has been involved in politics from a young age — he was a part of Ohio State's student government and was elected to the state Senate at age 26. Four years later, he ran for Congress and won against an incumbent Democrat.
He's known for the work he's done balancing budgets. He touts his budget record often, stating that in Ohio, he "turn[ed] an $8 billion shortfall into a $2 billion surplus, cut taxes [by] $5 billion and [made] Ohio one of the top job-creating states in the nation."
But The Times and others have declared that he exaggerates or misrepresents his budget accomplishments.
Kasich has claimed that "he was the chief architect of the balanced budget in the 1990s," but, as The Times reported:
"While it is true that Kasich was at that time the chairman of the House Budget Committee, most economists say the surpluses of the 1990s were because of a combination of three factors: The 'read my lips' tax increases and spending cuts of President George Bush in 1991; President Bill Clinton's budget of 1993, which most likely cost Democrats control of Congress; and the gold rush economy of the dot-com bubble."
He took a shot at the White House in 2000, but dropped out quickly. He then left Congress in 2001 and hosted a Fox News show called "Heartland with John Kasich." It ran from 2001 until 2007.
While he's made his career in Ohio, Kasich is originally from a town outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has often touted his backstory on the campaign trail, talking about his working-class roots as the son of a mailman.
Despite both of his parents' backgrounds as Democrats, Kasich developed conservative roots when he became active in the Catholic Church, according to an overview of his upbringing in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
He'll spend a lot of time in the Palmetto State between now and February 20 to try to bring those numbers up.
"They warned me when I was coming down here, 'You're going to South Carolina and they're really conservative down there,'" Kasich said Wednesday. "And I’m like, wait a minute. People are people. We all have the same concerns."
- GOP focus group describes Donald Trump as 'inevitable'
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 12:52 PM:)<>
They like and are planning to vote for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). But most Republicans surveyed in a new focus group in South Carolina, the next state to vote in the GOP primary race, saw a Trump victory in the state as "inevitable."
The focus group, conducted by Bloomberg Politics and the firm Purple Strategies, gave evidence of some of Trump's potential weaknesses in Southern states. The nominating contest will shift heavily there in the coming weeks, with South Carolina voting February 20 and many of the so-called SEC primary states voting March 1.
The voters in the focus group shared concerns about Trump's religiosity and his supposed crassness.
None of the 10 voters who participated believed Trump to be a religious person. Most raised their hands when Bloomberg's Mark Halperin asked whether they were troubled by that.
Halperin then played clips in which Trump used or mimicked profanity in numerous stump speeches. One woman buried her face in her hands.
"It's crass," she said. "It's not how you want your president to present" himself, she said.
Still, while all but one voter picked Cruz over Trump for their personal votes, the vast majority expected Trump to come out on top in next week's South Carolina primary.
"One thing that Trump does is he has a very passionate crowd of people that follow him," one woman said. "And I think that the thing that's going against the other candidates is, they're tired of the same old, same old. And he is that person."
Trump won Tuesday night's New Hampshire primary, grabbing about 35% of the Republican vote. Cruz came in third behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), a week after Cruz triumphed over Trump for first in the Iowa caucuses.
A Real Clear Politics average of recent South Carolina polls found Trump with a more than 16-point lead over Cruz there.
- Jeremy Hunt will force junior doctors to accept a new contract
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 12:11 PM:)<>
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has just confirmed that he is going to impose a new contract on junior doctors even though they haven't agreed to it. Speaking in the House of Commons on February 11, Hunt says he had been advised to proceed with the "fair and reasonable" contract because he has been advised that a negotiated solution is not realistically possible.
Here's what Hunt said
In January I asked David Dalton, chief executive of Salford Royal, to lead the negotiating team for the government, and under his outstanding leadership, for which the whole house will be immensely grateful, progress has been made on almost 100 different points of discussion, with agreements secured with the BMA [British Medical Association]on approximately 90% of them. Sadly, despite this progress, and willingness from the government to be flexible on the crucial issue of Saturday pay, Sir David wrote to me yesterday to advise me that a negotiated solution is not realistically possible... He has asked me to end the uncertainty for the service by proceeding with the introduction of a new contract that he and his colleagues consider both safer for patients and fair and reasonable for junior doctors. I have therefore today decided to do that.
Hunt's comments come just one day after junior doctors went on strike for 24 hours in protest at the new contract. The strike followed the rejection by the BMA, the union which represents union doctors, of a take-it-or-leave-it deal final deal from the government. Hunt has basically just gone ahead and pushed through with the deal anyway.
- Google's European boss got grilled by MPs on tax and couldn't even name his salary (GOOG)
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 11:46 AM:)<>
Google's European boss Matt Brittin testified to MPs on Monday about the Californian giant's tax affairs.
Accompanied by Google's global head of tax Tom Hutchinson, Brittin was at times questioned aggressively by the Public Accounts Committee, following public outcry about Google's £130 million tax bill — which critics argue amounts to a 3% tax rate.
Topics ranged from Google's global structure to simplification of tax law, and even Brittin's salary.
Here are some of the key points:
Brittin couldn't name his salary
- Brittin got savaged early on over his own paycheck, when he was asked — and failed to provide — his salary. "I don’t have the figure but I’ll happily provide it," the exec said. "Don't you feel a bit embarrassed by this," MP Meg Hiller asked, "that you don't even know what you're paid?"
We got more data about the deal
- Of the £130 million Google paid in tax to HMRC, £18 million was interest. None was fees.
- The UK is responsible for 10% of Google's global sales — higher than anywhere else in the world. The figure was raised following a question about Italy and France, whose tax authorities are reportedly trying to negotiate higher tax settlements with Google than the one paid in the UK. Brittin: "We’re not confirming those rumours as to what’s happening."
- The £130 million tax settlement is Google's largest ever. Brittin: "We’ve never paid an audit settlement larger than the ones we’ve just agreed to."
Google admits it's in Ireland for tax reasons
- Brittin suggested that one of the reasons Google had its European HQ in Ireland (with its lower tax rates) was because of how many languages staff can speak. He acknowledged that "lower tax rates was one of the factors, so was lower property costs, high-cost internet across the Atlantic."
- Google denies that its corporate structure — routed through Bermuda — in any way affects the amount of tax it pays.
MPs questioned the execs aggressively
- At one point, MP Caroline Flint — a former minister — questioned Brittin and Hutchinson. She asked whether Google thought the tax deal was fair, and when Hutchinson answered in the affirmative, she asked pointedly: "Then why weren't you paying it in each of the tax years?" "That's a good question," Hutchinson acknowledged.
- Challenged again over the £130 million figure, Brittin said that "we can't legally pay more tax in the UK" because there's no mechanism to do so. "That's simply not true," countered MP Richard Bacon.
- Brittin says he is "sure" that Google officials will have discussed tax in meetings with ministers, although he stressed HMRC's decision was reached independently. "I'd be surprised if it didn't [come up] given the scrutiny."
Brittin calls for simpler tax rules
- Brittin repeatedly called for a simplification of global tax rules, echoing his comments made in The Telegraph this morning.
- Google disputes the "characterisation" of the £130 million bill as a "deal" with HMRC. It's "not a deal, it's the amount of tax we're required to pay," said Brittin.
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- Donald Tusk is worried that the migrant crisis is going to make everyone vote for a Brexit
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 10:51 AM:)<>
The president of the European Council Donald Tusk has said that the migration crisis could make Britain vote to leave the EU, saying it is "the greatest tool for eurosceptics."
The Telegraph reports that in an address to the Committee of the Regions, a group of 350 local and regional politicians, Tusk warned that most British people are much more likely to blame the EU for the migrant crisis and vote for a Brexit, than care about what is in Prime Minister David Cameron's renegotiation deal.
Here's what Tusk said.
Migration is the first problem because I have no doubt that the details in this document are not as important for people in the UK as the main political mood ... The migration crisis is the worst political context for this referendum because it is so easy to blame the EU as a whole, the EU institutions, other European countries.
The revelation that Tusk has such a low opinion on the effectiveness of Cameron's renegotiation deal comes during the week that Tusk is doing everything he can to get EU leaders to agree to the same deal before they meet at the EU summit on February 18. If all the EU member states agree to the deal, Cameron will try and use it to convince the British public to vote to remain in the EU.
As well as warning that the renegotiation deal might not be convincing enough, Tusk also said that the referendum vote is so dangerous, and that he feels like "it is the day before World War One. This is because he is fearful that it will encourage other politicians in the EU to call for referendums of their own
It is not only intuition. In fact I know that there are politicians in Europe that want to copy this political model to underline that they are independent to Brussels and EU. This is most popular political melody in some capitals. It is obvious we have to do everything to keep British in Europe.
Tusk's comments come days after another heavyweight EU politician, the former president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said that Cameron's renegotiation deal won't do one of the main things it's supposed to — slow down migration into the UK.
- Inside the tech startup that tackles terrorists and is backed by an ex-CIA director
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 7:00 AM:)<>
Europe is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II and most of those seeking asylum are arriving by sea on smugglers' boats.
The EU is surrounded by 66,000 kilometers of coastline — 110,000 kilometers if you add in the UK and Scandinavian countries. It's not easy monitoring all that territory. On top of that, there are major issues around maritime security, such as terrorism.
It's pretty easy to slip past radars and there aren't a whole host of other ways to monitor threats. That's what Ami Daniel and Matan Peled found out when they both served as naval officers.
The pair co-founded the Israeli startup Windward to solve this problem in 2010 after getting out of the Navy. It uses technology that can identify suspicious maritime activity and has bagged investment from the former Director of the CIA General David Petraeus, former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, and even Horizons Ventures, a fund backed by the richest man in Asia, Li Ka-shing. The startup has 60 employees and intends to grow to around 90 by the end of the year.
Business Insider caught up with Windward's Ami Daniel talk about how the company started working with governments in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and how its technology can be used to help Europe handle the reality of today’s security threats at sea.
Business Insider: Windward was founded in 2010 — how did the idea come about?
Ami Daniel: My co-Founder, Matan Peled, and I had both served as naval officers and saw, firsthand, a really interesting juxtaposition: ship activity across the oceans has a massive impact on nearly every sector – from finance to security to the environment. And yet, there is surprisingly little visibility about ship – and cargo – movements worldwide.
This lack of visibility might be somewhat counterintuitive, as most people just assume that in 2016 we have a clear picture of just about everything. However, the maritime domain is a bit of an enigma.
Until 2010 there was simply no data on ships once they sailed beyond the range of the radar. Since then there has been an explosion of maritime data, as various data sources are now picked up by satellites or have come online. However, we are still flying blind: the data is massive, fragmented, and, perhaps most surprisingly, very easy to manipulate since it is based on human input and has no vetting mechanisms.
Essentially, we realized that the oceans are a Wild West of sorts, leaving decision makers with little solid data on which to base their decisions. That’s where the idea for Windward came in. We are bringing data sciences, powered by deep shipping expertise, to the maritime domain and making sense of the data, for the first time, for decision makers across industries.
BI: Who are your investors and who are your customers?
AD: Our customers are governmental agencies – navies, coast guards and the like – who need to identify threats at sea, often with little or no previous intelligence. We are now bringing this data to the world of finance, where the focus is on the commodities carried by the ships, rather than the ships themselves.
We are starting with unique data on seaborne crude oil, replacing today's proxies and speculation on oil flows with data on the reality of what's happening at sea.
Windward's investors are Aleph, a leading Israeli venture capital firm, and Horizons Ventures, a fund backed by Li Ka-shing. Private investors include: General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA; Tom Glocer, the former CEO of Thomson Reuters; and Dan Senor, the co-author of best seller "Start Up Nation". The total investments amount to $17.3 million (£11.9 million).
BI: What are the main threats to maritime security?
AD: The biggest threat is the complete lack of visibility on ship activity beyond each country's ports. It’s safe to say that, for the most part, what happens at sea, stays at sea.
This is the result of a problematic combination: little regulation and enforcement on the high seas combined with data that is unreliable at best. Unfortunately, people are using this wide open back door for terrorist, criminal and financial gain.
What's more, as countries around the world deal with terror threats — and many European countries are an example of this – they are securing their borders and cracking down on terrorism, likely pushing more lawless and terrorist activity to the ungoverned oceans.
A ship originating anywhere in the world, including those that seem innocent and have no previous track record of transgressions, can impact a country, which means that countries need to be analyzing all ships all the time to detect threats on time. But the sheer volume of ship activity – over 9,000 cargo ships and tankers entered Europe in January alone – is staggering and makes it is nearly impossible, without technology, to identify the specific threats out of a literal ocean of vessels.
BI: It's a bit crazy that there isn't more available systems or data on this subject. Why don't governments have more efficient technology related to this?
AD: Governments are using very sophisticated methods and cutting edge technology to identify threats on land.
However, in the maritime domain many agencies are still using 'old school' tactics that focus on tracking known threats, ships that are already on 'black lists' because of past offences or specific intelligence ‘tips’.
In reality, however, ships originating anywhere in the world can pose a threat or can engage in suspicious behavior, such as ship-to-ship transfers before entering port. So you need to be looking at all ships, all the time to identify threats.
But this is far from trivial. First you need to have a complete picture, which involves fusing data from multiple sources, correcting the corruption in the data, and flagging the manipulation. And then you need to make sense of the data by putting it in context. We do this by constantly analyzing a ship's behavior relative to its own past patterns, to the patterns of a given geographic area, and to shipping economic principles. And you need to do this at scale.
Given the stakes at sea and the volume of ship activity, technology is critical to bringing visibility to the maritime world. And given how new, complex, fragmented and unreliable maritime data is, it requires tens of thousands of highly skilled work hours to solve this technological challenge. This is what we do, and it is our sole focus.
BI: Europe is in the middle of a refugee crisis and the UN said 1 million asylum seekers arrived by sea alone last year. What examples have highlighted how important it is to have this technology?
AD: The lack of visibility, and need for technology, is clear across the board, from illegal immigration to smuggling to terror.
At the end of the day the problem is always the same: ships can declare one thing and do another, with very little oversight or consequence.
And without employing technology that looks at all ships, all the time, and analyzes their behavior relative to their own past behaviors and a whole set of other factors, it is nearly impossible to truly know what is happening outside of your waters and identify the threats before they reach your shores.
BI: Even if suspicious activity was spotted, what difference would it make to secure borders? For example, if you saw a suspicious boat coming into Greece with refugees, you can't just turn them back right?
AD: Security is about knowing what is coming your way, well in advance. When a security or intelligence agency is notified that a suspicious ship is headed towards their shores, they are able to actually prepare and take action.
At the moment, there is so little visibility on what happens at sea that many ships engaged in illegal activities easily enter ports and pass through borders completely undetected.
BI: What governments and corporations are you working with and in what capacity?
AD: The Windward technology was first designed for government agencies responsible for identifying and responding to threats at sea. Windward’s intelligence solution is in wide use by security agencies including navies and coast guards across Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
With 90% of the world’s trade shipped via the oceans, there are obviously very significant financial stakes at sea as well.
We are now bringing our unique data to the world of finance, where there is tremendous interest in accurate data and analytics on the world's global commodity flows. So, for example, when the P5+1 reached the agreement with Iran over the summer, there were many questions about how much oil Iran had stockpiled on oil tankers, known as floating storage, in the Gulf.
Given our data on ships and cargoes, we were able to replace the guesstimates that were out there, which ranged from Iran having 10 million barrels to 40 million barrels on ships, with an actual number (54 million barrels). We have an open website where anyone can see how much oil Iran has on floating storage in the Gulf right now, how that amount has changed over time, and get real-time alerts any time oil leaves the Gulf. This data has been widely quoted in the media and Windward has become a go-to source on Iran's floating storage.
BI: So, what are the goals for Windward in the near to long term future? Who are you targeting as a growing customer base?
AD: We will continue growing our Intelligence solution, used by navies, coast guards and others who need to identify threats at sea.
We are now bringing unique insights to the world of finance – hedge funds, commodity traders, banks – who are interested in the world's global commodity flows. We will also continue building our proprietary maritime data platform, which is the engine behind everything we do and where our real 'secret sauce' lies.
More broadly, a huge ecosystem is impacted by what’s happening at sea — finance, shipping, ports, insurance, oil & gas, risk management — but today no one has visibility. As a result, the applications of our data are truly endless, as we are disrupting multiple industries by bringing visibility to one of the world’s most influential but least understood arenas: ship activity across the oceans.
- The 10 most important things in the world right now
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 6:29 AM:)<>
Good morning! Here's what you need to know on Thursday.
1. Twitter's user growth came to a halt in the fourth quarter, sending the company's shares down as much as 13% before the stock recovered some ground in after-hours trading on Wednesday.
2. European markets closed higher Wednesday for the first time in over a week, as banking stocks popped, paring some of their losses during the first few weeks of the year.
3. Turkey and Greece have agreed to ask for a NATO mission to monitor refugee flows in the Aegean Sea and combat the trafficking of people, a senior German government official said on Wednesday.
4. Thousands of junior doctors at English hospitals staged a second strike into Thursday against proposed new conditions and pay rates for working unsociable hours. The 24-hour strike runs from Wednesday morning until Thursday morning.
5. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) will be the exclusive supplier of mobile processors for Apple's next iPhones. TSMC saw off interest from its rival chipmaker Samsung, South Korea's Electronic Times reported.
6. Al Qaeda has released an insider’s account of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A transcript of Nasir al Wuhayshi discussion of the plot was included in two editions of an Al Qaeda newsletter.
8. Rich Ricci, a former Barclays investment banker once dubbed the "poster child for the excesses of the investment banking industry," is returning to finance as the chairman of an online currency-trading service.
9. South Korean workers on Thursday began shutting down a jointly run industrial park in North Korea, a move that will end, at least temporarily, the Koreas' last major cooperation project as punishment over Pyongyang's recent rocket launch.
NOW WATCH: Wall Street's unbelievable secret history> <>
- The details in the US Justice Department's lawsuit against Ferguson are harrowing
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 2:58 AM:)<>
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing the city of Ferguson, Missouri, in an effort to end an allegedly longstanding pattern of unconstitutional policing.
In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday — 18 months after the shooting of Michael Brown ignited a firestorm of protest — the department argues that Ferguson's police and court systems routinely violate the civil rights of the city's black residents, in part to generate revenue from tickets.
The 56-page suit contains dozens of harrowing examples of police misconduct gathered from the Department of Justice's investigation that followed Brown's death.
In one section, the department lists several instances of Ferguson officers using police dogs on nonviolent offenders, including children (emphasis added):
In December 2011, officers deployed a canine to bite an unarmed 14-year-old African-American boy who was apparently truant from school and waiting in an abandoned house for his friends. Officers claim they found the boy, who was 5'5" and 140 pounds, curled up in a ball inside a closet. According to the canine officer, even though four officers had control of the scene and there was no indication the boy might be armed, the officer deployed the dog, which bit the boy's arm and caused puncture wounds, because the boy would not come out.
Ferguson officers also allegedly stopped and cited black residents for no reason (emphasis added):
In October 2012, police officers pulled over an African-American man who had lived in Ferguson for 16 years, claiming that his passenger-side brake light was broken. The driver had replaced the light recently and knew it to be functioning properly. As one officer stated, "Let's see how many tickets you're going to get,” a second officer tapped his [Taser] on the roof of the man's car. The officers wrote the man a citation for "tail light/reflector/license plate light out." They refused to let the man show them that his car's equipment was in order, warning him, "Don't you get out of that car until you get to your house."
The lawsuit describes one incident in which police found a black man in a parking lot on their way to arrest someone in an apartment building. They handcuffed the man and placed him in the back of the patrol car, even though they knew he was not their suspect (emphasis added):
Despite having handcuffed the landlord and placed him in a police car without any reason to believe he had done anything wrong, a police sergeant vigorously defended the officers' actions, noting the detention as "minimal" and that the car was air conditioned.
The lawsuit also alleges that officers violate First Amendment rights by preventing residents from recording police activity with camera phones. It details a 2013 incident involving Darren Wilson, the officer who later shot Brown:
In one such incident from October 2013, a cell phone video shows an officer telling a civilian, "If you want to take a picture of me one more time, I'm going to lock your a-- up." When the civilian asked, "Do I not have the right to record?" the officer responded, inaccurately, "No, you don't." The officer arrested him for Failure to Comply.
According to The Washington Post, the DOJ has launched 67 civil-rights investigations into police departments over the last 20 years. Only one agency has ever been successful once sued: the 117-person sheriff's department in Alamance County, North Carolina, in 2015.
- The FBI is moving in on the last 4 members of the Oregon 'militia'
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 2:53 AM:)<>
The FBI on Wednesday evening moved in on the last four occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the Oregonian newspaper reported.
The four armed, antigovernment protesters had been indicted last week with 12 others on charges of conspiring to impede federal officers during an armed standoff at the compound.
The takeover at Malheur started on Jan. 2 when their leader, Ammon Bundy, and followers, seized buildings at the refuge in a protest against federal control over millions of acres public land in the West.
Bundy and 10 others were arrested in January in Oregon, most of them during a confrontation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state police on a snow-covered roadside where a spokesman for the group, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, was shot dead. A 12th member of the group turned himself in to police in Arizona.
The four "militia" members still at the encampment include David Fry, Jeff Banta, and Sean and Sandy Anderson.
According to an FBI statement, one of the "militia" members rode an ATV outside the encampment this afternoon, at which point, the FBI agents tried to approach the driver, who drove quickly back to the camp. The FBI agents then moved into position around the encampment.
“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully. However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area,” Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, said in a statement.
A number of the occupiers were broadcasting their account of events as they were unfolding via an independent Internet program, "Revolution Radio," that is known to be sympathetic to the occupation.
The occupiers have been in frequent contact with FBI negotiators but, as of yet, there has not been a resolution.
The FBI has encircled the four remaining occupiers at the Oregon wildlife refuge. Agents in armored vehicles are demanding they surrender.— Les Zaitz (@LesZaitz) February 11, 2016
A phone conversation between the occupiers and the FBI was streamed on YouTube by one of the occupier's friends, according to The Oregonian.
Throughout the call, the occupiers could be heard arguing over each other with panic and distress in their voice.
Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago. Editing by Lisa Shumaker.
- Donald Trump trolled at rally by man standing behind him with bizarre 'steak' sign
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 12:54 AM:)<>
A man standing behind Donald Trump at a Wednesday-night rally held an unusual protest sign.
The Republican presidential front-runner gave a stump speech before a packed Clemson University crowd in Pendleton, South Carolina. At various points in his speech, however, a sunglasses-clad man stood up with a sign declaring that "TRUMP LIKES HIS STEAK WELL DONE."
This was an apparent reference to a Tuesday report in The Telegraph, in which Trump was described ordering a well-done steak at a restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire. The report caused a small firestorm of mockery on Twitter.
The man holding the sign appears to be Massachusetts-native Zach Etkind, who achieved some popularity on YouTube with various stunts in China under the "Donnie Does" moniker. His most famous stunt involved him sneaking into the ring of a Manny Pacquiao fight to promote his line of combination suit-jerseys called the Suisey.
View some tweets on the man's protest below:
This guy held up a sign saying "Trump likes his steaks well done" at the rally in Clemson pic.twitter.com/6ExdPkBcqB— Eli Watkins (@EliBWatkins) February 11, 2016
- The US intelligence chief made some chilling predictions for 2016's biggest global threats
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 12:11 AM:)<>
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper gave a chilling threat assessment on Wednesday to the US Senate Armed Services Committee.
Clapper's testimony reflected the US Intelligence Community's (IC) Worldwide Threat Assessment for the coming year.
Based on the insights of the various branches of the IC, Clapper provided a rundown of the major global and regional threats.
Based on his released statements, we have summarized the main global threats facing the world below:
- The rise of smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) will lead to further opportunities for hackers to gain access to personal information. On the flip side, the IC will be able to use the IoT for "identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment."
- An increasing reliance on "Narrow AI" systems that perform specialized tasks can increase efficiency but leave systems open to disruption. Overreliance on these systems, or a lack of securing them properly, could lead to "disruptive or deceptive tactics." As an example, stock market fluctuations have happened because of automated-trading systems taking in false data, Clapper notes.
- Hackers and foreign-military cyber actors will seek to exploit the integrity of networked and online information. This runs the gamut from modifying and transmitting false data to public utilities and market firms to implanting false information on online media.
- Foreign nations are increasingly buying and exploiting aggregated online personal data to "inform a variety of counterintelligence operations."
- There is still little impetus for countries to restrain themselves in cyber operations. "Many actors remain undeterred from conducting reconnaissance, espionage, and even attacks in cyberspace because of the relatively low costs of entry, the perceived payoff, and the lack of significant consequences."
- Principal threats: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and non-state actors.
- Sunni Muslim extremist groups remain on the upswing from the 1970s. This rise in Sunni Muslim extremism has been met by a rise in Shiite groups backed by Iran, which has lead to a deepening in sectarian tensions.
- ISIS remains the dominant global-terrorist threat. The group has shown that it is able to conduct operations abroad, hold territory, create affiliates around the world, and lure foreign fighters into either joining their ranks abroad or carrying out homegrown attacks domestically.
- Although ISIS attracts the most attention, Al Qaeda is once again a growing threat. The group has proven able to conduct and inspire attacks abroad, while also seizing and holding territory — particularly in Yemen and Syria.
- The main threat to the US will be US-based homegrown violent extremists. These individuals will likely try to plot and carry out attacks like the San Bernardino and Chattanooga shootings in 2015. Such incidents may either be inspired or directed by ISIS or Al Qaeda.
- Terrorists and insurgencies around the world have increasingly become intermixed. No single paradigm exists to explain this, but terrorists are taking advantage of civil unrest in some capacity from Mali in West Africa to Afghanistan.
- Social and online media will continue to aid and abet terrorists with spreading their messages and reaching new generations of recruits. ISIS is particularly adept at using social media to influence opinion.
- Principal threats: ISIS and affiliated groups, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups, and Shiite groups backed by Iran, including Hezbollah.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
- North Korea has continued to advance its nuclear program. It has committed itself to developing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the US. Pyongyang is also believed to have restarted and expanded its plutonium-production reactor.
- Pyongyang has also proven willing to proliferate its nuclear technologies to other rogue regimes, having supplied Iran and Syria with technology and expertise in the past.
- The IC believes that North Korea's drive for nuclear weapons is aimed at deterrence and "coercive diplomacy."
- China has modernized its nuclear forces. It has invested in road-mobile and silo-based systems that are hard to target, as well as nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines, which provide Beijing with its first long-range, sea-based nuclear capability. This provides China with a nuclear deterrent.
- Russia has developed a ground-launched cruise missile. The US believes that this weapon capability violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a charge Moscow denies.
- Syria has continued to use chemical weapons against the opposition forces. It was determined that the regime used chlorine against the opposition multiple times in 2014 and 2015. ISIS is also believed to have used chemical weapons in multiple attacks across Iraq and Syria.
- Iran continues to not face any "insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon" despite the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. But the treaty does make significantly slow any potential development of a nuclear weapon as well as making it more likely that the international community will detect weapons development in Iran.
- Because of the increasing speed and ease of genome editing, there is an increased risk of the creation of dangerous biological agents.
- Principal threats: North Korea and Iran.
Space and Counterspace
- Russia and China are beginning to rival the capabilities of military and intelligence satellites.
- Because of the inherent advantages that the US gains from its space-satellite systems, Russia and China will likely "progress in developing counterspace weapon systems to deny, degrade, or disrupt US space systems."
- Electronic-warfare systems capable of jamming communications and GPS satellite systems will continue to proliferate across the world, eating away at a potential US advantage. Russia has admitted to developing systems that can blind US intelligence and ballistic-missile defense satellites.
- Russia and China are continuing research into developing antisatellite missile systems.
- Principal threats: Russia and China.
- Foreign intelligence communities will make it a top priority to penetrate the US IC. Additionally, groups will target US companies and research institutions to gain access to critical information related to "defense, energy, dual-use technology, and other sensitive areas."
- Insider leaks remain a significant cause of concern for the IC.
- Non-state actors, ranging from terrorists to organized crime, will use counterintelligence to try to avoid detection and capture.
- Principal threats: Russia and China globally, Iran and Cuba regionally, and various non-state actors.
Transnational Organized Crime
- Mexican drug traffickers have increased their operations throughout the US. These various organizations have rapidly increased their production of heroin and methamphetamine to meet growing US demand.
- Andean traffickers have drastically increased their output of cocaine.
- Designer drugs have spiked in use throughout the US. These drugs, often produced in Asia, are psychoactive and quickly redesigned before they are made illegal.
- Organized criminals have used their profits to co-opt local governments. In Africa, transnational groups exploit regional instability to purchase arms, poach endangered animals, and influence political processes.
- Human trafficking continues to occur in every country. Organized crime takes advantage of porous borders to sell individuals, and terrorist groups — including ISIS and Boko Haram — use trafficking to gain recruits and as a source of funding.
- Principal threats: Non-state actors.
Economics and Natural Resources
- A continued economic downturn in China has caused decline in world energy and commodity prices. This has helped prompt a global slowdown in trade that affects the world economy.
- Falling energy and commodity prices will foster instability across the world. Venezuela is particularly hard hit and will have to struggle to avoid a default. Nigeria and Angola are now also struggling, increasing both countries' instability.
- The Arctic could become a point of competition and potential confrontation between Russia and the West if Russian-Western ties continue to deteriorate. Russia is continuing its process of militarizing its northern Arctic coastline.
- Principal threats: Weakening economic conditions.
- Infectious diseases will pose a national-security risk to the US. Increasing globalization and land-use changes will increase the chances for new epidemics that the international community "remains ill prepared to collectively coordinate and respond to."
- "Risks of atrocities, large-scale violence, and regime-threatening instability will remain elevated in 2016." Spillover from wars, such as Syria, is likely to increase throughout the year. Seven states as of 2015 were also unable to project authority through more than 50% of their territory.
- An unprecedented number of displaced peoples will strain the international community's ability to respond. This will lead to increased tensions and augment further issues. The UN is also expected to be underfunded for its 2016 global-assistance fund.
- Principal threats: Infectious diseases, government instability, and global displacement.
Here's the full report:
- The Syrian Civil War is at a turning point — and it could get even more violent
(Politics - February 11 2016 - 12:08 AM:)<>
The Syrian Civil War is reaching a turning point. Over the past two weeks, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seized several villages north of Aleppo, the country's largest city and one of the last remaining strongholds of Syria's non-jihadist rebels.
The advance cut off Aleppo's anti-regime groups from their last remaining supply lines into Turkey, and put Assad in a position to retake a fiercely contested city that had a pre-war population of over 2 million.
Assad's gains have come on the backs of foreign militaries that are themselves showing signs of strain. Iran has been forced to send Afghan refugees to fight in Syria while Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese proxy, has seen as much as one-third of its fighters killed or injured in the country's war. And the Aleppo offensive would have stalled without Russian air support — Damascus failed to retake substantial territory when it first launched its Aleppo offensive six months ago.
A map from Fabrice Balanche, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Peace gives an idea of what's probably coming next within Syria. With Assad's army on the march, the regime, and Kurdish militias who are not necessarily opposed to the regime, are now in a position to retake the entirety of the Turkish-Syrian border.
At the same time, the rebel defeat in Aleppo — one of the non-jihadist rebel movement's last remaining strongholds — means Assad may now have the opportunity to angrily ISIS's Raqqa enclave by sweeping across eastern Syria:
The near-term looks promising for the regime. As the map shows, it has options now that the Assad and his partners have broken the Aleppo stalemate.
That still doesn't mean Assad's won.
Assad's gains have revealed his dependence on Iranian and Russian support. And as Balanche writes, the regime's gains may trigger an alarming shift in strategy among anti-Assad regional powers like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Assad's opponents could try to open up new battle lines that would threaten the regime's survival in a best-case scenario — while endangering Lebanon's stability and expanding the regional character of the war.
Balanche writes that Syria and Saudi Arabia could "open a new front in northern Lebanon, where local Salafist groups and thousands of desperate Syrian refugees could be engaged in the fight." It's a high-risk, high-reward strategy: "Such a move would directly threaten Assad's Alawite heartland in Tartus and Homs, as well as the main road to Damascus. Regime forces would be outflanked, and Hezbollah's lines of communication, reinforcement, and supply between Lebanon and Syria could be cut off."
At the same time, it would expand the scope of the conflict into an already unstable neighboring country, deepen the involvement of outside powers, and trigger even more Russia and Iranian investment in sustaining Assad.
The Syrian Civil War could intensify even with Assad "winning," and even without the opening of an additional front. It will take months, or perhaps even years of intense combat for Assad to consolidate the gains depicted in Balanche's map — Aron Lund, editor of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Syria in Crisis website, told Business Insider by email last week it's conceivable it could take the regime "many years" just to fully retake Aleppo.
Assad's existing gains have also come at a enormous human cost. Tens of thousands of people have already fled Aleppo, creating a wave of refugees that neighboring states are already struggling to address — and that could complicate Europe's struggles to integrate the continent's existing refugees from the conflict. As French ambassador Gerard Arau tweeted on February 5th in connection to the impending siege of Aleppo, "The Syrian Civil War is now an existential threat to the EU."
As the past four years in Syria demonstrate, turns in battlefield momentum can say surprisingly little about where the conflict is actually going.
- Donald Trump just won New Hampshire — back in November, we tried to answer 3 questions everyone has about him
(Politics - February 10 2016 - 10:30 PM:)<>
The political story of the year is the remarkable campaign of GOP front-runner and billionaire Donald Trump. To get to the bottom of this phenomenon, we followed Trump on the trail for a week, to stops in Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, and New Hampshire. We also interviewed him in his office in the Trump Tower.
Our goal was to answer three questions: Why is Trump clobbering the rest of the GOP field? What would a President Trump actually do? Can Trump really win?
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- Obama's former top spokesman hinted at who Obama wants to win the Democratic nomination
(Politics - February 10 2016 - 10:25 PM:)<>
US President Barack Obama's former press secretary said on Wednesday that, though the president might not make an endorsement in the Democratic presidential primary, he knows who he wants to succeed him.
That candidate is former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Jay Carney, who served as Obama's press secretary from 2011 through 2014, told CNN on Wednesday that Obama would prefer that Clinton gets the nomination.
"I don't think there is any doubt that he wants Hillary to win the nomination and believes that she would be the best candidate in the fall and the most effective as president in carrying forward what he's achieved," said Carney, a CNN contributor.
Obama recently met with US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Clinton's Democratic-primary rival who captured a dominating victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. But Carney said that that's simply a sign of the president's intention of staying neutral for now. He added that Obama won't make an official endorsement in the presidential race "unless and until" it's clear Clinton will be the nominee.
I think the president has signaled, while still remaining neutral, that he supports Secretary Clinton's candidacy and would prefer to see her as the nominee. He won't officially embrace her unless and until it's clear that she's going to be the nominee. I think he is maintaining that tradition of not intervening in a party primary.
- Mexico just arrested ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s suspected money manager
(Politics - February 10 2016 - 9:58 PM:)<>
One of the Sinaloa cartel's highest-ranking woman operatives was arrested in the cartel's home turf of Culiacan on Tuesday.
Guadalupe Fernández Valencia, 55, also known as "La Patrona," served as a lieutenant for one of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's sons and has been indicted for money laundering and drug trafficking.
In November, she was designated a "Foreign Narcotics Kingpin" by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), which said she was "originally from Michoacán, [and] moves both drugs and money for the Sinaloa Cartel."
Fernández, is "responsible for importing large quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana from Mexico into the United States," according to a statement from Mexico's National Defense Commission, cited by Vice News.
The statement added that she had been arrested in 1998 and imprisoned in California before returning to drug-trafficking.
Fernández is one of the Sinaloa cartel's top-ranked women, José Carlos Cisneros, an academic who has investigated the role of women in Mexican cartels, told Vice News. She will be held in federal prison in Mexico until authorities there decide how her case will go forward, according to the statement from the National Defense Commission.
Her arrest comes just a month after that of "El Chapo" Guzmán himself, who is also awaiting possible extradition to the US, though he is reportedly already trying to negotiate the terms of his imprisonment in the US.
- This acclaimed black author just said he's voting for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton
(Politics - February 10 2016 - 9:53 PM:)<>
Ta-Nehisi Coates, an award-winning author whose recent book "Between the World and Me" landed on The New York Times best seller list, just announced that he's supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) for president — a major endorsement for the candidate.
"I have tried to avoid this question, but, yes, I will be voting for Senator Sanders," he told Democracy Now. "I try to avoid that, because I want to write as a journalist — do you know what I mean? — and separate that from my role as, I don’t know, a private citizen. But I don’t think much is accomplished by ducking the question. Yes, I will vote for Senator Sanders. My son influenced me."
Coates said it can be argued that Sanders should have a more explicit anti-racist policy in his social justice platform, but that the same person could still feel that "Sanders is the best option that we have in the race."
"Just because that’s who you’re going to vote for doesn’t mean you then have to agree with everything they say," he said.
Last month, Coates wrote a piece in The Atlantic challenging Sanders' position on reparations for black Americans, which Sanders said he is not in favor of.
"Unfortunately, Sanders’s radicalism has failed in the ancient fight against white supremacy," he wrote. "This is the 'class first' approach, originating in the myth that racism and socialism are necessarily incompatible."
Sanders, who won the New Hampshire on Tuesday, has to pick up black votes in the South to have any chance of overcoming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) in the upcoming primaries.
In South Carolina, the next Democratic primary on the trail, Sanders trails Clinton by a 54-point margin with black Americans, per a CBS poll from January.
On Wednesday, Sanders met with the prominent black activist Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City. Sharpton has not yet made an endorsement in the presidential race.
- Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina are ending their campaigns after falling short in New Hampshire
(Politics - February 10 2016 - 9:53 PM:)<>
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is pulling the plug on his presidential bid after failing to impress in Tuesday night's New Hampshire primary.
His campaign confirmed to Business Insider on Wednesday that he suspended his campaign in Morristown, New Jersey, during a staff meeting.
Earlier reports on Wednesday indicated that Christie was "expected" to exit the race.
His suspension was one of two in the day for the Republican field. Earlier, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced that she would end her presidential bid.
"While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them," Fiorina said.
For his part, Christie had relentlessly campaigned in New Hampshire and was counting on performing strongly there. He finished sixth, and Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who finished first, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who finished second, were the ones leaving Tuesday's primary with the most momentum.
As the vote tallies came in, Christie announced to his supporters that he would go home to New Jersey, take a "deep breath," and evaluate his campaign.
Trump said that he actually spoke with Christie on Tuesday night. He said Christie was "disappointed" with the results.
"He's a friend of mine," the real-estate developer said on Wednesday on "Morning Joe."
"We had a long talk. And he's a little disappointed because he really did do a great job," Trump added. "He did an amazing job during that debate. I was witness to it."
Brett LoGiurato contributed reporting.
- PROMINENT PROFESSOR: Hillary doesn't deserve the black vote for 2 big reasons
(Politics - February 10 2016 - 9:49 PM:)<>
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) has a big advantage over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) when it comes to black voters.
She leads Sanders by a 54-point margin with black Americans in South Carolina, the next primary on the Democratic trail, per a CBS poll from January.
But one famous black professor thinks Clinton doesn't deserve the black vote.
Michelle Alexander, an Ohio State University professor who wrote "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" in 2010, wrote in The Nation that "it seems we’re eager to get played. Again."
"Hillary believes that she can win this game in 2016 because this time she’s got us, the black vote, in her back pocket — her lucky card," she wrote in her article, "Why Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve the black vote."
That "lucky card dates back to Clinton's husband and former president Bill Clinton's time in office, when he was once dubbed the nation’s “first black president” prior to President Barack Obama's election in 2008.
“I loved being called the first black president, but Barack Obama really is,” Bill told ABC's late-night host Jimmy Kimmel in 2014.
Alexander said that "love affair" between black Americans and the Clintons seems strange when considering the former president's extreme stance on crime that ultimately hurt many African-Americans. Moreover, Alexander notes, his economic policies didn't help blacks, either.
The former Secretary of State can't get a free pass just because those were the policies of her husband, according to Alexander, who noted that Hillary wasn't "picking out china while she was first lady."
She bravely broke the mold and redefined that job in ways no woman ever had before. She not only campaigned for Bill; she also wielded power and significant influence once he was elected, lobbying for legislation and other measures. That record, and her statements from that era, should be scrutinized. In her support for the 1994 crime bill, for example, she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. “They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
Bill's 1994 crime bill, which Sanders voted in favor of as a then-congressman, "created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces," she wrote, noting that Bill Clinton contributed to mass incarceration more than any other president.
Alexander did add, however, that Bill's stance on crime was supported by many black Americans, but that they wanted more than toughness. They wanted investment in their schools, job programs, and more access to healthcare, she said.
Even as the US economy was experiencing a boom during the Clinton presidency, she said black Americans did not experience the same level of success. Alexander said that the increased rate of incarceration for black men coincided with a "soaring" rate of joblessness. In addition, Bill's effort to reform welfare ended up hitting black communities hardest, she argued.
Alexander is not the only scholar to doubt Hillary's credentials with black voters.
During the 2008 campaign, when Hillary deployed Bill to South Carolina in hopes of delivering the black vote, Melissa Harris-Perry, a former African-American studies professor at Princeton, wrote a similar piece in Slate, asking "Why do so many people think the Clinton years were good times for black America?"
She wrote that her research showed that many black Americans believed that, by the time Bill left office, that they were doing better economically than white Americans. Data showed that, while just 5% of black Americans believed they were better off than whites economically during the 1980s, that number jumped to 30% by the end of the 20th century.
"This belief is simply wrong," she said.
"The hypnotic racial dance of cultural authenticity that Bill Clinton performed in office lulled many blacks into perceptual fog," she continued. "As Clinton performed blackness, real black people got poorer."
You can read Alexander's full op-ed here.