FEC Rejects Democrats’ Plan To Target Drudge, Breitbart

The efforts of top Federal Election Commission Democrat, Ellen Weintraub, to demand an inquisition into the potential coordination with Russians of conservative news outlets like Infowars, Breitbart and the Drudge Report, have been dashed as The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has declined her proposal, stating it “cannot support proposals that would burden the free speech rights of American citizens based on incomplete information about foreign activities in the 2016 election.”

As Breitbart’s Colin Madine writes, the FEC has declined to consider new rulemaking over alleged foreign influence in the 2016 presidential election that could target conservative media including InfoWars and Breitbart News. In a statement released by Vice Chair Caroline Hunter and Commissioners Lee Goodman and Matthew Petersen, the members state they “cannot support proposals that would burden the free speech rights of American citizens based on incomplete information about foreign activities in the 2016  election.”

They further describe Weintraub’s proposal as one that would “‘blunt’ the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United.” In the opinion of three members who wrote the statement, there is no information currently showing that the FEC’s existing rules that prohibit foreign involvement in U.S. elections are “inadequate to detect, enforce, and punish violations.”

The statement was released by the three Republicans serving as FEC commissioners. Weintraub and Democrat Steven Walther are the other two current members, meaning there is at least a 3-2 majority in the Republicans favor on this issue.

The FEC commissioners acknowledge in their statement that a number of government agencies are currently investigating alleged foreign interference, and address the FEC’s role, specifically noting the importance of not taking a position of political bias:

The Federal Election Commission should cooperate with these other agencies while maintaining necessary confidentiality and decorum in our own processes. 

 

We must resist any efforts to politicize or compromise the integrity of this agency’s enforcement process or the investigations of other agencies, for the subject matter at issue implicates profoundly important national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

At least in the case of the FEC, leftists seem to be back to square one in their efforts to shut down conservative media.

Read their entire statement below:

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PBOC to get larger role in managing financial risks

Chinese central bank to oversee systemic risk
Chinese leaders increasingly see financial instability at the greatest threat to their economy and nation.
President Xi Jinping said the PBOC will take a larger role in overseeing financial risks and creati…

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Bitcoin Battered Below $2000, Ether Tumbles As August 1st Scaling Deadline Looms

It’s another ugly day in cryptocurrency land. As anxiety over the looming ‘civil war’ deadline of August 1st grows, so it appears the entire virtual currency space is being derisked, with Bitcoin down over 10% today (below $2000) and Ether down 6% (at around $175).

As Bloomberg reports, it’s time for bitcoin traders to batten down the hatches.

The notoriously volatile cryptocurrency, whose 160 percent surge this year has captivated everyone from Wall Street bankers to Chinese grandmothers, could be headed for one of its most turbulent stretches yet.

 

Blame the bitcoin civil war. After two years of largely behind-the-scenes bickering, rival factions of computer whizzes who play key roles in bitcoin’s upkeep are poised to adopt two competing software updates at the end of the month. That has raised the possibility that bitcoin will split in two, an unprecedented event that would send shockwaves through the $41 billion market.

 

While both sides have big incentives to reach a consensus, bitcoin’s lack of a central authority has made compromise difficult. Even professional traders who’ve followed the dispute’s twists and turns aren’t sure how it will all pan out. Their advice: brace for volatility and be ready to act fast once a clear outcome emerges.

 

“It’s a high-stakes game of chicken,” said Arthur Hayes, a former market maker at Citigroup Inc. who now runs BitMEX, a bitcoin derivatives venue in Hong Kong. “If you’re a trader, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what happens. Once there’s a definitive signal about what will be done, the price could move very quickly.”

Once again it is the so-called ‘civil war’ that is weighing on the entire virtual currency space as we noted previously, behind the conflict is an ideological split about bitcoin’s rightful identity…

Bitcoin is back below $2000 – two month lows…

As CoinTelegraph reports, the knock-on effects for altcoins in the top 10 were as palpable as ever, with Ethereum, Litecoin and others following Bitcoin downhill.

Ethereum has fared particularly badly over the past week, with monthly losses to its market cap now nearly $18 bln.

As always, internal reactions with cryptocurrency were mixed, some despairing while others are eyeing a keen buying opportunity.

$5.5million of new $BTCUSD short positions have opened up within the last 12hrs on Bitfinex

— Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) July 14, 2017

While a general consensus points to the upcoming hard fork probability as the principal motivation for market uncertainty, mainstream media have been quick to sound the alarm about Bitcoin once again.

 

“Rival factions of computer whizzes who play key roles in Bitcoin’s upkeep are poised to adopt two competing software updates at the end of the month,” Bloomberg reported Friday, announcing Bitcoin could be “nearing a total meltdown.”

 

“That has raised the possibility that Bitcoin will split in two, an unprecedented event that would send shockwaves through the $41 bln market.”

As areminder, below is an outline of the main events that could unify or divide bitcoin:

By July 21: SegWit2x software is released and supporters begin using it.

July 21 to July 31: The community monitors how many miners deploy SegWit2x:

If more than 80 percent deploy it consistently, that should signal community-wide adoption of SegWit and the avoidance of a split, at least for now.

 

But if a majority do not deploy, expect anxiety within the community to grow as the focus shifts to the Aug. 1 deadline.

Aug. 1: UASF is deployed by its supporters, who begin checking if bitcoin transactions are compliant with SegWit.

If a majority of miners still do not deploy SegWit2x or otherwise accept SegWit, and if UASF supporters do not back down, then two versions of bitcoin’s blockchain could come into existence: a UASF-backed one where only SegWit transactions are recognized, and another where all trades — SegWit and non-SegWit — are recognized.

 

If a split occurs, bitcoin will likely begin existing on both blockchains in parallel, resulting in two versions of the cryptocurrency. Expect traders to quickly re-price the value of both, likely leading to massive volatility.

“It’s moderates versus extremists,” said Atlanta-based Stephen Pair, chief executive officer of BitPay, one of the world’s largest bitcoin wallets. “It depends on how much a person values the majority of people staying on one chain at least for a little while longer, versus splitting and allowing each pursuing their own vision for scaling.”

As a reminder, investing legend Michgael Novogratz recently noted, that he’s looking to add more ether if it falls between $200 and $150… and more bitcoin if it falls to $2,000.

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Uber – Suddenly, Then All At Once

Authored by Mark St.Cyr,

From the article “Is This Uber’s ‘Theranos Moment?’” To wit:

“Now, much like Ms. Holmes, the founder and CEO had to quit, or resign, to appease those calling for change.

 

And, much like the previous example – those closest, and who should be the greatest ally for change and stay as to help weather out the storm are also jumping.

 

Sound familiar?

Now this appeared yesterday afternoon at about the market’s close, from Bloomberg™, again, to wit:

“Uber Backers Discuss Stock Sale to SoftBank, Others”

Uber Technologies Inc. shareholders and its board, led by early backer Benchmark, have discussed selling some of their shares to SoftBank Group Corp. and other potential investors, people familiar with the matter said.”

For those who may not have taken the time, nor cared, to click the link I used to note who that “closest” or should be “greatest ally” that was jumping ship was:. It was Bill Gurley of Benchmark™. And with that now makes two points I stated earlier very prescient.

Again, from the above article:

“The optics of such a “jump” while in the midst of such a sh*t-storm at Uber, from my perspective, shows only one thing: You know the jig is up, it’s all about managing the fall, and there’s no need to do that in plain view.”

And the leading lines into my original article:

“There comes that moment where the veiled threats against logic such as the go-to excuse of “it’s different this time” are exposed against the harsh light of reality for all to see with such clarity, “it’s different this time” is precisely the apt statement to show why it was all fallacy to begin with.

 

Uber™ has just had that moment, and the resulting fallout as I’ve iterated before: Will. Be. Legend.”

And as I stated Thursday: And just like that: Suddenly, then all at once.

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Mysterious Hacker Leaks Emails Of Top US State Department Expert On Russia

Coming at a “sensitive” moment for US-Russian hacking diplomatic relations, on Friday Foreign Policy reported that emails belonging to a senior US State Department intelligence official involved in Russian affairs have been leaked by a hacker known as “Johnnie Walker.” The official, whose work is focused on Russian domestic affairs and who was described to FT as “probably the top intelligence guy in the entire U.S. government on Russia [who] knows more than anybody about what’s going on there,” is said to have been particularly interested in Russian media and government reshuffling.

The emails which were sourced from a hacked nongovernmental account over a two-year period, were sent to “an unknown number of recipients” and while the leaks were first released on July 10, they did not gain widespread attention until Friday when both FP and Newsweek commented on the hack.

In a letter announcing the alleged hacking, Johnnie Walker said that the leak would provide evidence for establishing what was called “agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.” The sender also claimed that the US State Department official was in contact with various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, as well as “mainstream media, NGOs, and international funds.”

Although the alleged hacking victim holds “a senior position in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research” and while name was disclosed in the leaked emails, Foreign Policy outlet did not disclose the name, citing a request from the state department, which has so far neither confirmed nor denied the hack. The leaked correspondence was released online on Pastebin although its authenticity remains unclear for now. The description to the three archives available for download also adds the name of the alleged agent.

As part of his introduction to the leaked emails, the mysterious hacker says that “perhaps you know that the U.S. State Department has a direct bearing on the agenda formation not only at home but throughout the world. Now you can make sure it’s true.” Below is the preface that “Johnnie Walker” posted on the pastebin:

Perhaps you know that the U.S. State Department has a direct bearing on the agenda formation not only at home but throughout the world.

 

Now you can make sure it’s true. Let me show you the correspondence between the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency Robert P. Otto and his colleagues, CIA officers and other intelligence agencies, as well as representatives of mainstream media, NGOs, international funds and think tanks.

 

With the respect for privacy I’ve deleted his correspondence with his wife and relatives. The rest of emails will give evidence of who is responsible for different information campaigns, the so-called mythmaking and essentially engaged in the promotion of “American values” throughout the world.

As a reminder, two days before the find round of the French election, a dump of internal documents of then-French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron was also released on Pastebin, although it is unclear if the two releases are related. Apart from the name of the hacker’s target, the content of the letters has not been published in the Western media, although Russia’s Kommersant claims it has access to the files.

The Russian newspaper says that the intel official sent his colleagues links to articles from different Russian news outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, The New Times, Vedomosti, and RBK, among others. Among the topic of particular interest for the State Department official were social media accounts of Russian officials, staff re-shuffling in governmental bodies, and the influence of some state officials. According to the report, it is also unclear if it was a single leak or only one in a series of hacking attacks.

As Redditor NathanOhio summarized overnight, the facts so far appear to be as follows:

  1. A hacker going by the name “Johnnie Walker” has hacked a senior state department official’s personal Gmail account.
  2. The official has not been publicly named, but is claimed to be the foremost expert on Russia.
  3. Two years worth of emails were stolen and include exchanges between the victim and “CIA officers and other intelligence agencies, mainstream media, NGOs and international funds” that would “give you evidence of who is responsible for agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.”
  4. A link to the email cache has been published by “an obscure website in Crimea” that the MSM claims is “financed by the Russian secret service, and its topics assigned by top political leadership in Moscow.”

In retrospect, it appears that the email contents are relatively innocuous: as the Redditor notes:

Reading through some of the messages, it seems they are mostly discussions between various neocon academics and forwarding of articles. Most of these people rather than experts seem to be groupthinkers endlessly building up the walls of their own echo chamber.

 

Found a couple of things that are interesting. A Russian scholar “Valery Solovei” is sending Robert Otto a monthly report on Russia. Also, Otto and his buddies HATE John Kerry and continually refer to him as an idiot!

With the Trump administration neck-deep in Russia-hacking drama, we expect that this story, which somehow failed to make last week’s news cycle will be among the main topics in the days ahead, with questions over the identity (and nationality) of Johnnie Walker obvious among the most discussed items.

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Tony Blair says Brexit should be called off if the mood of voters changes

Blair sent out an essay
A compromise with the EU shouldn’t be ruled out, former UK PM Tony Blair said on Saturday.
“Rational consideration of the options would sensibly include the option of negotiating for Britain to stay within a Europe itself prepared to reform and meet us halfway,” Blair wrote. “Given what is at stake, and

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موجز لأهم الأخبار و الأحداث العالمية في الأسبوع المنصرم

قالت منظمة البلدان المصدرة للنفط في تقريرها الشهري الصادر هذا الأسبوع إن إنتاجها ارتفع بمقدار 393.5 ألف برميل يوميًا خلال يونيو/ حزيران، فيما رفعت وكالة الطاقة الدولية توقعاتها لنمو الطلب العالمي على النفط.   التاريخ الحدث ملاحظات الاثنين 10 يوليو “باركيندو”: اللجنة الوزارية لن تناقش تعميق خفض الإنتاج خلال اجتماعها القادم قال الأمين العام لمنظمة البلدان […]

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