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Article inside DJ Envy Explains Why He Walked Out Of ‘Breakfast Club’ Interview
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10 hours ago

Mar 16 - John Kelly said $31,000 isn’t all that much for a table if you think about it

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 10 hours ago

President Donald TrumpÂ’s chief of staff, General John Kelly, reportedly defended an extravagant expense made by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

Carson recently directed HUD to use some of the agencyÂ’s funds to purchase a $31,000 dining set for a rarely-used formal space in his office. As AxiosÂ’ Jonathan Swan reported following an off-the-record session with reporters:

“Kelly said $31,000 sounds like a lot of money, but to put it in context he asked a reporter how much they think the chair they’re sitting on costs. Kelly said it’s probably worth hundreds of dollars but it will last a long time. He rationalized Carson’s $31,000 outlay by saying the table could last for 80 or 100 years.”

When asked if there were any plans to fire Carson, Kelly remarked that he takes these kinds of decisions seriously. Reporters meeting with Kelly were left with the impression that Carson would not be fired. Kelly himself is reportedly on the way out, according to some White House sources.

When news of the expensive dining set first broke, both Carson and his wife Candy denied having any involvement in choosing the table and claimed they were surprised to learn of its cost. Newly released emails first reported by CNN, however, show the Carsons actually selected the furniture themselves.

According to CNN’s report, “an August email from a career administration staffer, with the subject line ‘Secretary’s dining room set needed,’ to Carson’s assistant refers to ‘printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out.’” The emails do not indicate that Carson expressed concern about the dining set’s cost, or made moves to cancel the order until news of the price broke.

Carson didnÂ’t just want an expensive dining table, however. The emails also reveled Carson asked his staff about the legality of using HUD funds to commission a $25,000 portrait. The New York Times notes there are no portraits of CarsonÂ’s predecessors in the HUD office. Carson already has a portrait of himself at his home, posed next to rendering of Jesus Christ, no less.

The HUD secretary’s extravagant expense comes at a time when the agency is making severe cuts to affordable housing programs. Carson supports Trump’s budget proposal, which includes cuts to the HUD budget, Carson claims the cuts will move “people toward self-sufficiency.”

This would not be the first out-of-touch mishap to occur in the Trump cabinet. Former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn famously said that families would be able to use the $1,000 saved from the Trump tax bill to renovate their kitchen or buy a new car.

Cabinet members like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin have come under fire in recent weeks for using taxpayer dollars to fund their lavish purchases. Pruitt installed a $43,000 sound-proof phone booth in his office while Shulkin had his staff alter an email to justify expenses from his wifeÂ’s trip to Europe totaling $4,300.

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11 hours ago

Image inside Missouri defends sending teen to prison for 241 years

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| By Enigmatic1 - 11 hours ago

Bobby Bostic

Missouri is defending a prison sentence for a man who committed robbery and other crimes on a single day when he was 16 and now isnÂ’t eligible for parole until heÂ’s 112 years old.

State Attorney General Josh Hawley says in a US Supreme Court filing that defendant Bobby BosticÂ’s 241-year sentence for 18 crimes does not violate the ConstitutionÂ’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Hawley says a 2010 Supreme CourtÂ’s ruling that outlawed life sentences for people under 18 who didnÂ’t kill anyone applies only to a sentence for one crime.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley

The former St. Louis judge who sentenced Bostic disagrees. She now believes the term is unjust and is backing BosticÂ’s high-court appeal. ThereÂ’s no timetable for when the justices will decide whether to hear his case.

Now 39, Bostic has been in prison for more than 20 years.

State and federal courts around the country have ruled differently about whether young people convicted of crimes can be sentenced to prison for terms that the American Civil Liberties Union, representing Bostic, said “exceed their life expectancy.”

The retired judge, Evelyn Baker, is among more than 100 current and former judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers who are calling on the Supreme Court to throw out the sentence as grossly unfair. Among those supporting Bostic are former acting US Attorney General Sally Yates, former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr, and former Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.

In December 1995, Bostic and 18-year-old Donald Hutson robbed a group of six people who were delivering Christmas presents for the needy, the ACLU said in its appeal on BosticÂ’s behalf.

They fired a gun at two victims, grazing one and missing the other, Hawley said in MissouriÂ’s brief. The robbers then carjacked a woman and Hutson robbed and fondled her before releasing her, according to the ACLUÂ’s brief. The two men threw the guns in a river and used the money to buy marijuana.

Hutson took a plea deal and got 30 years. Bostic went to trial and lost.

At Bostic’s sentencing, Baker said, “You made your choice. You’re gonna have to live with your choice, and you’re gonna die with your choice because, Bobby Bostic, you will die in the Department of Corrections.”

Later, she said, “I feel nothing for you. I feel the same thing for you that you apparently felt for those victims and you feel for your family.”

But in an essay published in the Washington Post in February, Baker wrote, “Scientists have discovered so much about brain development in the more than 20 years since I sentenced Bostic. What I learned too late is that young people’s brains are not static; they are in the process of maturing.”

The Supreme Court has used essentially the same reasoning in barring life sentences for juveniles who didnÂ’t kill anyone and in throwing out mandatory life terms for people who kill before they turn 18.

The ACLU wants the court to apply the 2010 ruling to Bostic.

But Hawley, in the state’s brief filed Thursday, said there are several reasons the high court should not disturb the Missouri court rulings upholding the sentence. Among them was that the 2010 Supreme Court ruling doesn’t apply to Bostic because he “was sentenced to multiple, consecutive terms in prison for committing multiple crimes, and who will be eligible for parole in great old age.”

Hawley is seeking the Republican nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in one of the nationÂ’s most closely watched races this year.

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12 hours ago

Mar 16 - Breaking: Jeff Sessions Fires Andrew McCabe

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| By phantomnation - 12 hours ago

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14 hours ago

Mar 16 - BREAKING: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been fired

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| By theFREAK - 14 hours ago

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16 hours ago

Mar 16 - Babies can logically reason even before they can talk

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| By Enigmatic1 - 16 hours ago

One-year-old babies may not be able to speak, but they are able to think logically, according to new research that shows the earliest known foundation of our ability to reason.

Legendary psychologist Jean Piaget believed that we didnÂ’t have logical reasoning abilities until we were seven, but scientists scanned the eyes of 48 babies and found that theyÂ’re able to reason through the process of elimination. The research was published today in the journal Science.

The type of reasoning in question, process of elimination, is formally called “disjunctive syllogism.” It goes like this: if only A or B can be true, and A is false, then B must be true. So, if the cup is either red or blue, and it is not red, then it is blue. Process of elimination isn’t necessarily the easiest form of reasoning, says Justin Halberda, a psychologist and child development expert at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in today’s study, but it’s a crucial one for higher thinking. “One of the central pieces that separates human reasoning from all other forms is to negate a premise — you see that if it’s not A, it’s something else,” he says. “That’s quite fancy stuff.”

In today’s study, the babies looked at little animations. They saw two different objects — like a flower and a dinosaur, and then both of them went behind a barrier. An animated cup takes away one of the animations, like the flower. Then, the barrier goes away. Either the dinosaur is left (as would logically be the case), or the flower is, oddly, still there.

By tracking the babiesÂ’ eye movements, the scientists found that babies stared longer when the dinosaur was still around, indicating that they were confused. (Researchers working with babies that canÂ’t talk often measure how long they look at something as a way to see if theyÂ’re surprised or interested.)

On a practical level, further research in this area could be used as a means of diagnosing cognitive disability. For example, clinicians could track the eyes of babies and see if they were looking in the typical pattern for someone their age, says Halberda. But more importantly, he says, this research is going to open the door for more work into how the youngest babies think and reason. “It’s about launching a whole body of work that’s going to emerge over the coming decade,” says Halberda. “It’s an invitation.”

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16 hours ago

Image inside Mar 16 - OJ Simpson calls Kaepernick kneel protest ‘mistake’

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 16 hours ago

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL star infamously acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, says Colin KaepernickÂ’s US anthem kneeling protest was a mistake.

In his first major interview for 10 years with questions limited to his NFL career, 70-year-old Simpson told the Buffalo News that he worries about the impact of the degenerative brain disease CTE from years of head injuries.


“I get concerned,” Simpson told the newspaper. “I do recognize that it probably affects you in short-term memory more than long-term.

“I know with me, I have days I can’t find words. I literally cannot find words ort the name of somebody I know. That gets a little scary. Those days happen when I’m tired.”

Simpson was an NFL legend, the first player to run for more than 2,000 yards in a season and the only one to do it when each team played only 14 games per campaign.

But his 1994 arrest on murder charges involving Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman led to an infamous trial and acquittal, although he later lost a civil suit for wrongful deaths.

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In 2008, Simpson was arrested for felony armed robbery and kidnapping and impisoned until his release on parole last October.

Simpson, 70, also criticized both Kaepernick and US President Donald Trump, who in 2014 tried to purchase SimpsonÂ’s former NFL club, the Buffalo Bills.

“If you were good, it would have been fun,” Simpson said of a Trump-owned Bills team. “Donald is a man’s man. He would have been a fun guy.”

Simpson responded “probably not” about whether or not he would have voted for Trump for President.

But Simpson said he generally agreed with Trump in his criticism of Kaepernick, who began a kneeling protest by NFL players during pre-game renditions of the US anthem — raising awareness of social injustice and racial inequality issues after several police killings of African-American men.

“I think Colin made a mistake,” Simpson said. “I really appreciate what he was trying to say. I thought he made a bad choice in attacking the flag.

“I grew up at a time when deacons were in the KKK (Klu Klux Klan). I don’t disrespect the Bible because of those guys. The flag shouldn’t be disrespected because of what cops do. The flag represents what we want America to be.”

Trump called for players to be fired for such displays and asked fans to boycott the NFL for failing to ban such protests, saying the kneel down insulted the nation and its soldiers.

Kaepernick was not signed by an NFL team for the 2017 season.

“When he did it the first time, I thought, ‘Well you took a gamble and I give you credit,'” said Simpson. “But it was him continuing to do it where he made the biggest mistake.

“I’m a firm believer of doing what you think is right but I would always stand for the flag.”

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18 hours ago

Mar 16 - Hillary Falls Again In India, Fractures Wrist

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| By MELODY - 18 hours ago

Now Hillary Clinton fractures her wrist after slipping in a palace bathtub during trip to India

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Hillary Clinton concealed her injured wrist under a navy shawl three days after fracturing it during a fall in India.

The former Secretary of State injured her right hand on Tuesday after slipping in a bathtub at the palace where she was staying in Jodhpur.

Doctors were called to the Umaid Bhawan Palace and diagnosed the 70-year-old with a sprain, advising her to rest which forced her to cancel plans to visit the Mehrangarh Fort that evening.

But the pain only worsened, and by Wednesday morning she decided to get her hand checked out at Goyal Hospital.

Doctors there administered a CT Scan and an X-ray of Clinton's wrist, and determined that she had a hairline fracture, the Times of India reports.

They wrapped her wrist in a crepe bandage and advised her to rest further, and get a follow up in three days with doctors wherever she was staying.

Her doctors back in the U.S. agreed.

She arrived at the hospital early Wednesday and 'was here for about 15-20 minutes,' said Suresh Goyal, the CEO of Goyal Hospital in the city of Jodhpur.

On Thursday, she wore a scarf over her right arm and hand as she toured monuments in the city of Jaipur.

Clinton cancelled the rest of her plans for the day after the accident, which included traveling to a village outside the city to see workers weave carpets.

It meant that Clinton didn't get to do any of her planned itinerary in Jodhpur, as she was scheduled to leave for the next stop of her trip, Jaipur, on a chartered plane Thursday morning, according to DNA India.

This is the second time that Clinton has fallen on her tour of India.

While visiting the ancient city of Mandu in Madhya Pradesh, the former first lady and failed presidential candidate was filmed falling down the stairs Jahaz Mahal, of a 13th century harem.

It's unclear whether that fall contributed to Clinton's injury, as she did use her right hand to catch herself on the stairs.

The injury comes just five months after she broke her toe in a fall in London.

During the presidential campaign, cameras caught Clinton leaving the 9/11 memorial in Manhattan and collapsing into the arms of Secret Service agents as she got into a waiting van.

She later announced she'd been diagnosed with dehydration and pneumonia.

Perhaps most infamously, Clinton fell inside her home in 2013 on the eve of testimony before a Senate committee investigating Benghazi.

She got a mild concussion and was treated for a blood clot near her brain.

When she appeared in Congress to testify, she was wearing special prism eyeglass lenses, which are used to assist people experiencing double vision.

Clinton has since returned to her normal contact lens eye-wear, though conspiracy theorists still delight in analyzing her sunglasses for signs of prism lenses.

Clinton has brushed off most of the incidents as routine mishaps or simple clumsiness.

In October 2017, she was in London promoting her book when she arrived on the set of the Graham Norton Show wearing a surgical boot.

'I was running down the stairs in heels with a cup of coffee in hand, I was talking over my shoulder and my heel caught and I fell backwards,' she explained in the interview. 'I tried to get up and it really hurt. I've broken my toe.'

The former Democrat presidential candidate is speaking in India to promote her book, What Happened, explaining her loss in the 2016 election.

Clinton blamed the defeat on voters who 'didn't like black people getting rights' or women getting jobs, in video of her remarks on Sunday shows.

The spill is the latest in a series of high-profile falls that have led Clinton's opponents to speculate about a possible underlying health issue.

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20 hours ago

Image inside Mar 16 - People generally do not become happier as they age, according to a recent study

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| By phantomnation - 20 hours ago

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20 hours ago

Mar 16 - Oklahoma officials plan to use nitrogen for executions

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| By ItAlY2BkLyN - 20 hours ago

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — After trying unsuccessfully for months to obtain lethal injection drugs, Oklahoma officials said Wednesday they plan to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates once the state resumes using the death penalty, marking the first time a U.S. state would use the gas to carry out capital punishment.

State Attorney General Mike Hunter and Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh jointly announced the plan, saying the two agencies would work together to develop new protocols over the next several months.

"We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait on the drugs," Hunter said. "Using (nitrogen) will be effective, simple to administer, easy to obtain and requires no complex medical procedures."

Oklahoma and other states haven't been able to get the drugs required for lethal injections amid opposition from drugmakers to having their products used in executions. Allbaugh said in trying to find a supply of lethal drugs, he was forced to deal with "seedy individuals" who may have had access to them.

"I was calling all around the world, to the back streets of the Indian sub-continent," Allbaugh said.

Hunter said the administration of the gas would likely require the use of a mask placed over the inmate's head, but he said the mechanical details still have to be worked out.

Any attempt to change the method used to execute inmates in Oklahoma is certain to trigger a flurry of legal challenges. Hunter said there is a growing body of research on the use of inert gases on humans because of its increasing use in assisted suicides, but several death penalty experts said the use of the nitrogen gas on unwilling subjects is entirely experimental and untested.

"This method has never been used before and is experimental," said Dale Baich, a federal public defender and one of the attorneys representing Oklahoma death row prisoners in a federal lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection protocol. "How can we trust Oklahoma to get this right when the state's recent history reveals a culture of carelessness and mistakes in executions?"

Oklahoma has had one of the busiest death chambers in the U.S., but put executions on hold three years ago after a series of mishaps, including a botched lethal injection in 2014 that left an inmate writhing on the gurney and drug mix-ups in 2015 in which the wrong lethal drugs were delivered. One inmate was executed with an unapproved drug and a second inmate was just moments away from being led to the death chamber before prison officials realized the same wrong drug had been delivered for his execution.

Since then, several top officials connected to the bungled executions have resigned and the state's multicounty grand jury delivered a scathing report on Oklahoma's lethal injection process that accused a number of individuals involved in the process of sloppy and careless work.

The attorney general's office has said in court filings that it will not request any execution dates until at least five months after the new protocols are released. Meanwhile, 17 death row inmates in Oklahoma have exhausted all of their appeals and are awaiting execution dates to be set.

After the botched execution in 2014, the Oklahoma Legislature approved the use of nitrogen gas as an execution method the following year. Mississippi followed suit in 2017, and a similar bill is pending in Alabama.

Four other states allow the use of a gas chamber as an alternative method of execution, including Arizona, California, Missouri and Wyoming, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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20 hours ago

Image inside Mar 16 - A 21-year-old arrested outside of school during walkout protest with a gun

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| By Sin - 20 hours ago

A 21-year-old arrested outside the Mason Community Center on the day of the school's #Enough protest had a loaded gun, school officials said.

Around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Robert Stoneman was arrested by the Mason Police Department, according to school officials. Police said they do not know why Stonewall was at the center.

Stoneman has been charged with bringing a deadly weapon onto school property. He is due in court on Tuesday in relation to the charges, according to jail records.

Mason Police Lt. Jeff Burson said it's possible Stoneman had no interest, or idea that he was bringing the gun onto what is considered school property.

The high school is located at 6050 Mason Montgomery Road, the community center adjoins the property. Burson said it's a large building.

During an investigation at the center, police said they discovered that Stoneman had an outstanding warrant and was arrested. Then police found out he had the weapon, Burson said.

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20 hours ago

Image inside Mar 16 - Botswana Leader: Trump encouraging elephant poaching

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| By phantomnation - 20 hours ago

The outgoing president of Botswana has attacked his US counterpart Donald Trump for "encouraging poaching" by overturning a ban on importing hunting trophies.

Speaking at an anti-poaching summit in Botswana, two weeks before he steps down, President Ian Khama told the BBC it wasn't just Mr Trump's attitude towards wildlife he was concerned about, but his "attitude towards the whole planet".

The US government recently made a U-turn over importing animal heads from Africa - the "trophies" prized by American hunters travelling to the continent.

"We have actually banned hunting in this country," said Mr Khama.

"So when you say that now we will allow trophies - elephant trophies - to come into the United States, what is he suggesting? He is going to be encouraging poaching in this country.

"When he pulled out of the Paris agreement and you look at the implications of doing that, it is going to definitely undermine our efforts to undermine the entire planet. It's a big threat."

Mr Khama was speaking at the Giant's Club Summit in Kasane, which is discussing efforts to tackle the poaching epidemic which is killing tens of thousands of elephants every year.

Although the number of animals being poached for ivory has been dropping over the past few years, more elephants are being killed for their tusks than are being born, leaving them in danger.

"We haven't passed the worst of the poaching crisis," said Mike Chase, director and founder of Elephants Without Borders.

"The political will to address these issues is unfortunately not there. It has been in Botswana, and if our neighbours can learn from Botswana's example I feel we can address this poaching crisis."

The summit is showcasing ways of improving anti-poaching measures, borrowing from counter-terrorism.

"The focus now is on intelligence-led patrol work, intelligence-led investigations," said Kevin Vallack, a former British policeman and intelligence officer, now with the conservation group Space for Giants.

"So the same principles apply as in counter-terrorism and organised crime - countering terrorists, traffickersÂ… and wildlife poachers."

Preventing human-wildlife conflict, and helping elephants have more value to communities alive than dead are key areas of discussion, but many conservationists believe a total ban on ivory trade is the only way to save the elephants.

The EU, and the UK specifically, are the biggest exporters of legal ivory - much of it labelled as antique - and three African presidents have now put their name to a million-signature global petition asking for a ban on this legal trade in ivory.

President Khama praised China for implementing a ban on their domestic ivory trade earlier this year, and called on Britain and the EU to do likewise.

"When you look at the other countries coming on board - for example China - I think they are setting a wonderful example to follow, whether it's the UK or the European Union."

The UK Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, who is attending the summit said: "Our aim is to ban antique ivory sales in the UK this year."

"People in the UK really care passionately about this issue and they want to make sure we save these magnificent elephants in the wild for future generations," she said.

A consultation period on how the UK should implement any ban, and what the exceptions might be, ended recently, and an announcement on the new government policy is expected in the coming weeks.

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20 hours ago

Mar 16 - "Good chance you'll die" Elon Musk On Early Mars Explorers

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| By MELODY - 20 hours ago

Elon Musk on first Mars explorers: "Good chance you'll die"

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SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk had some interesting comments about the future of space travel while speaking at an international film and innovation festival in Texas. While the tech mogul says humans must branch out into space, Musk admits the planet's first travelers to Mars may not make it back alive.

Trump singles out Elon Musk's support for tariffs
Speaking at the SXSW Conference in Austin, the pioneer of privately-funded space travel explained that the first missions to Mars will not be "an escape hatch for rich people" and will require the same mentality as early explorers in the American frontier. The entrepreneur admitted that it will take tremendous funding to colonize Mars, but the people who go will be building a society from scratch.

"For the people who go to Mars, it'll be far more dangerous. It kind of reads like Shackleton's ad for Antarctic explorers. 'Difficult, dangerous, good chance you'll die. Excitement for those who survive.' That kind of thing," Musk said, via Business Insider.

The SpaceX founder added that he expects his company to begin making short trips to Mars in 2019; with the long-term goal of settling one million people on the red planet permanently. "Life can not just be about solving one miserable problem after another. That can't be the only thing," Musk said in the packed Austin theater. "One of the early Russian rocket scientists had a great saying 'Earth is the cradle of humanity but you can not stay in the cradle forever.'"

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20 hours ago

Mar 16 - Trump Sanctions Russia

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| By MELODY - 20 hours ago

Treasury Sanctions Russian Cyber Actors for Interference with the 2016 U.S. Elections and Malicious Cyber-Attacks

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Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five entities and 19 individuals under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as well as Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” as amended, and codified pursuant to CAATSA.

“The Administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia. Treasury intends to impose additional CAATSA sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system.”

TodayÂ’s action counters RussiaÂ’s continuing destabilizing activities, ranging from interference in the 2016 U.S. election to conducting destructive cyber-attacks, including the NotPetya attack, a cyber-attack attributed to the Russian military on February 15, 2018 in statements released by the White House and the British Government. This cyber-attack was the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history. The attack resulted in billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the United States, and significantly disrupted global shipping, trade, and the production of medicines. Additionally, several hospitals in the United States were unable to create electronic records for more than a week.

Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors have also targeted U.S. government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. Indicators of compromise, and technical details on the tactics, techniques, and procedures, are provided in the recent technical alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In addition to countering RussiaÂ’s malign cyber activity, Treasury continues to pressure Russia for its ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine, occupy Crimea, meddle in elections, as well as for its endemic corruption and human rights abuses. The recent use of a military-grade nerve agent in an attempt to murder two UK citizens further demonstrates the reckless and irresponsible conduct of its government. To date, this Administration has sanctioned more than 100 individuals and entities under our Ukraine and Russia-related sanctions authorities, including 21 individuals, nine entities, and 12 subsidiaries that are owned 50 percent or more by previously sanctioned Russian companies on January 26, 2018. These sanctions are in addition to other ongoing efforts by Treasury to address destabilizing activity emanating from within Russia, including our sanctioning of Russians targeted for activities related to the North Korea sanctions program, the Global Magnitsky program, and the Sergei Magnitsky Act.

As a result of todayÂ’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

TodayÂ’s action includes the designation of three entities and 13 individuals pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, which targets malicious cyber actors, including those involved in interfering with election processes or institutions.

The Internet Research Agency LLC (IRA) tampered with, altered, or caused a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes and institutions. Specifically, the IRA tampered with or altered information in order to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election. The IRA created and managed a vast number of fake online personas that posed as legitimate U.S. persons to include grassroots organizations, interest groups, and a state political party on social media. Through this activity, the IRA posted thousands of ads that reached millions of people online. The IRA also organized and coordinated political rallies during the run-up to the 2016 election, all while hiding its Russian identity. Further, the IRA unlawfully utilized personally identifiable information from U.S. persons to open financial accounts to help fund IRA operations.

Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin (Prigozhin) provided material assistance to the IRA. Specifically, Prigozhin funded the operations of the IRA. OFAC previously designated Prigozhin under E.O. 13661, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine,” on December 20, 2016.

Concord Management and Consulting LLC provided material assistance to the IRA. Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which is controlled by Prigozhin, provided funding to the IRA. Concord Management and Consulting LLC was previously designated under E.O. 13661 on June 20, 2017.

Concord Catering provided material assistance to the IRA. Concord Catering, which is controlled by Prigozhin, provided funding to the IRA. OFAC previously designated Concord Catering under E.O. 13661 on June 20, 2017.

Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov (Aslanov) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Aslanov acted as the head of the translator project, a department which focused on the United States and conducted operations on multiple social media platforms. He also oversaw many of the operations that targeted the 2016 U.S. election.

Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva (Bogacheva) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Bogacheva worked for the IRA from at least April 2014 to July 2014. She worked on the translator project.

Maria Anatolyevna Bovda (Bovda) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Bovda worked for the IRA from at least November 2013 to October 2014. She served as the head of the translator project and held other positions within the firm.

Robert Sergeyevich Bovda (Bovda) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Bovda worked for the IRA from at least November 2013 to October 2014. He served as the deputy head of the translator project and held other positions within the firm.

Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik (Burchik) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Burchik acted as the executive director of the IRA and held the firmÂ’s second-highest ranking position. He was involved in operational planning, infrastructure, and personnel throughout the firmÂ’s operations to interfere in the U.S. political system.

Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov (Bystrov) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Bystrov acted as the general director of the IRA and served as the head of other entities used by the firm to mask its operations.

Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina (Kaverzina) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Kaverzina worked for the translator project and operated multiple U.S. personas that she used to post, monitor, and update social media content for the IRA.

Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova (Krylova) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Krylova worked for the IRA from at least September 2013 to November 2014, where she served as a director and was the firmÂ’s third-highest ranking position.

Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev (Podkopaev) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Podkopaev was responsible for conducting U.S.-focused research and drafting social media content for the IRA.

Sergey Pavlovich Polozov (Polozov) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Polozov acted as the manager of the IRAÂ’s information technology department and oversaw the procurement of U.S. servers and other computer infrastructure that masked the firmÂ’s location when conducting operations within the United States.

Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko (Vasilchenko) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Vasilchenko worked for the IRA from at least August 2014 to September 2016, and was responsible for controlling social media content and posing as U.S. persons or U.S. grassroots organizations.

Vladimir Venkov (Venkov) acted for or on behalf of and provided material and technological support to the IRA. Venkov worked for the translator project and operated multiple U.S. personas that were used to post, monitor, and update social media content for the IRA.

These entities and individuals are subjects of an indictment announced on February 16, 2018.

TodayÂ’s action also includes the designation of two entities and six individuals pursuant to section 224 of CAATSA, which targets cyber actors operating on behalf of the Russian government.

Federal Security Service (FSB), a Russian intelligence organization, knowingly engages in significant activities that undermine cybersecurity on behalf of the Russian government. Specifically, the FSB has utilized its cyber tools to target Russian journalists and politicians critical of the Russian government; Russian citizens and government officials; former officials from countries bordering Russia; and U.S. government officials, including cyber security, diplomatic, military, and White House personnel. Additionally, in 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted two FSB officers for their involvement in the 2014 hacking of Yahoo that compromised millions of Yahoo accounts. OFAC previously sanctioned the FSB under E.O. 13694, as amended, on December 28, 2016.

Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a Russian military intelligence organization, knowingly engages in significant activities that undermine cybersecurity on behalf of the Russian government. The GRU was directly involved in interfering in the 2016 U.S. election through cyber-enabled activities. The Russian military, of which the GRU is a part, was also directly responsible for the NotPetya cyber-attack in 2017. OFAC previously sanctioned the GRU under E.O. 13694, as amended, on December 28, 2016.

Sergei Afanasyev (Afanasyev) acts for or on behalf of the GRU. As of February 2017, Afanasyev was a senior GRU official.

Vladimir Alexseyev (Alexseyev) acts for or on behalf of the GRU. As of December 2016, Alexseyev was a First Deputy Chief of the GRU. OFAC previously sanctioned Alexseyev under E.O. 13694, as amended, on December 28, 2016.

Sergey Gizunov (Gizunov) acts for or on behalf of the GRU. As of July 2017, Gizunov was the Deputy Chief of the GRU. OFAC previously sanctioned Gizunov under E.O. 13694, as amended, on December 28, 2016.

Igor Korobov (Korobov) acts for or on behalf of the GRU. As of January 2018, Korobov was the Chief of the GRU. OFAC previously sanctioned Korobov under E.O. 13694, as amended, on December 28, 2016.

Igor Kostyukov (Kostyukov) acts for or on behalf of the GRU. As of December 2016, Kostukov was a First Deputy Chief of the GRU. OFAC previously sanctioned Kostyukov under E.O. 13694, as amended, on December 28, 2016.

Grigoriy Molchanov (Molchanov) acts for or on behalf of the GRU. As of April 2016, Molchanov was a senior GRU official.

Identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.

Read 13 comments »

2 days ago

Image inside Mar 15 - Dog Flies United Airlines to Kansas, Lands in Japan Instead

4 people viewing this

| By mr_underground - 2 days ago

United Airlines is once again under heavy fire after it mistakenly flew a Kansas-bound German Shepherd to Japan.

Kara and Joseph Swindle, along with their two children and their pet German Shepherd dog, Irgo, were in the process of moving from Oregon to Wichita, Kansas, when the horrible mishap happened, according to KCTV5.

The mother and children, accompanied by their 10-year-old German Shepherd, flew from Oregon to Kansas via United Airlines on Tuesday. On that same night, upon landing in Kansas, the family was shocked to discover that Irgo was missing, and was instead given a Great Dane dog.

Swindle discovered the mix-up and was informed that Irgo had been put on a flight to Japan, and that the Great Dane dog, which was originally planned to fly out of the country, was instead put on a flight to Kansas.

Officials in Japan, where Irgo landed, were quickly able to locate the canine, who was promptly sent to a veterinarian for check up. The airline notified the family, informing them that Irgo will be put on a flight back to Kansas on Thursday evening.

The airline told the mother they were not sure how the mishap took place, but mentioned that both the dogsÂ’ kennels were similar in style. United, meanwhile, paid for the familyÂ’s stay at a Marriott Hotel near the airport during the mix-up on Tuesday night.

“An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened,” the airline wrote in the statement to KCTV5.

Swindle, however, expressed her worry about the safety of her 10-year-old dog flying back from Japan to Kansas.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be able to sustain this flight, because he is a 10-year-old dog, and he’s never been on a flight before,” the mother said. “I honestly don’t know if he’s going to survive this flight.”

The pet mishap came days after the horrible death of a family dog, Kokito, on a United Airlines flight when an attendant insisted it stay inside an overhead bin. Kokito was not given any water during the three-hour flight, and shortly after landing the dog was unresponsive, according to, ABC News.

This came after United announced its drastic change in pet policy that went in effect on March 1 to combat passengers abusing airline rules regarding comfort animals. Small dogs that are comfort pets inside a carrier are reportedly allowed as long as they can perfectly fit under the seat of its owner. The airline normally charges $125 for pets to board, but comfort animals typically fly for free.

Pet mix-ups, deaths, and the infamous Dr. David Dao scandal have plagued United Airlines in the recent years. According to data in 2016, nine pets – eight dogs and one Sphinx cat – had died while under the care of the airline company during their respective flights while 14 pets suffered injuries, according to the Los Angeles Times, giving United Airlines the worst record in the U.S. for pet deaths.

This has apparently gone down from its previous record in 2015, where 14 deaths had been recorded while nine pet were injured.

However, United Airlines had absolved itself from all the 2016 pet deaths, saying that most of them died of natural causes, mainly “heart failure, arteriosclerosis, respiratory failure ‘associated with brachycephalic breeds,’ the dogs and cats with pushed-in faces,” said in the report.

visit this link .. airline-mix-up
visit this link .. ited-airlines/

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2 days ago

Image inside Mar 15 - US Senate candidate proposes arming homeless people with shotguns

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| By lucifershammer - 2 days ago

A Michigan candidate for US Senate has proposed arming homeless people with pump-action shotguns in an effort to reduce crime.

Brian Ellison, who is running against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, says homeless people are “constantly victims of violent crime” and providing them with firearms would provide a deterrent.

Ellison, a Libertarian who is expected to be the partyÂ’s candidate in the November midterm election, said he had settled on pump-action shotguns for practicality purposes.

“Frankly I think the ideal weapon would be a pistol,” he told the Guardian, “but due to the licensing requirements in the state we’re going to have a hard enough time getting homeless people shotguns as it is.

“Getting them pistols is probably next to impossible. The pistols need to be registered, people have to have addresses.”

Carrying a concealed pistol is illegal without a permit, Ellison said, “whereas open-carrying a long gun is completely legal”.

“So we thought that pump-action shotguns were a suitable alternative to a pistol.”

Ellison, a former soldier who has served in Iraq, said he decided to run for office “just to try and make a difference”. As well as the shotgun plan, he would focus on minority rights and said he would oppose foreign military intervention.

Regarding the pump-action shotguns, Ellison said he and his team would aim to “pre-qualify” homeless people who wanted shotguns and were deemed suitable candidates to own them.

The homeless people would not be forced to carry pump-action shotguns, Ellison said.

“The first thing that we’re gonna do is ask them if they think this is something that would benefit them. We’re certainly not trying to force anything on anybody.”

Ammunition would be provided with the shotguns, probably in five- or six-shell magazines, Ellison said.

More shells would be provided if the owners legitimately used their guns to defend themselves, however, if people spent their ammunition “shooting cans in somebody’s private property” then they would not be given more shells.

Ellison said he did not think the plan was dangerous.

“Well, are you worried about the police being armed with military weapons?” he asked.

“I am. The world we live in is a scary world, where the police who used to dress in short-sleeved shirts and carry a revolver now have long rifles with scopes and bulletproof vests and armoured vehicles.

“And quite frankly that scares me much more than a homeless person trying to defend themselves with a shotgun.”

visit this link https://www.theguardian.c .. -with-shotguns

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2 days ago

Mar 15 - CBS will air Stormy Daniels '60 Minutes' interview: report

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| By timdog - 2 days ago

CBS News says it will air a recently-taped interview with adult film star Stormy Daniels on March 25, The Washington Post reports.

The news network reportedly plans to air the interview later this month, according to multiple people involved with the show. CBS sources told the Post that neither the Trump Organization nor the White House had attempted to stop the interview from airing thus far.

The news comes on the heels of a tweet from Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney, who said over the weekend that Trump's lawyers were "considering a challenge" to prevent the interview from airing.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Cliffords, recorded the interview last week after filing a civil suit to void a nondisclosure agreement between herself and Trump.

Cliffords has alleged that she was involved in a 2006 affair with the president and that she took a $130,000 payment in 2016 from Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, not to discuss the affair.

Trump has denied the affair, but Cohen has admitted to paying the money, which he said came from his personal equity line.

Cohen reportedly obtained a temporary restraining order against Cliffords earlier this month with the aim of stopping Cliffords from speaking publicly about the alleged affair.

Avenatti has vowed to fight Cohen and Trump in court, saying the nondisclosure agreement is invalid because Trump did not sign it.

“Earlier today, Mr. Cohen through his attorney, Mr. Rosen, further threatened my client in an effort to prevent her from telling the truth about what really happened," Avenatti said last week. "We do not take kindly to these threats, nor we will be intimidated."

visit this link .. terview-report

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2 days ago

Mar 15 - Amazon didn't kill Toys 'R' Us. Here's what did

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| By Aztlan - 2 days ago

Don't blame Amazon for the death of Toys "R" Us.

It's true, online shopping didn't help matters, but the struggles of Toys "R" Us predate the boom in online shopping. Many of its wounds were self-inflicted.

The company's biggest problem: It was saddled with billions of dollars in debt. That debt stopped it from making the necessary investment in stores. And that meant an unpleasant shopping experience that doomed the chain. The company told employees Wednesday that it would close or sell its US stores after 70 years in business.

"If you're going to have that breadth of inventory, you need someone in the store to help you find it, help you experience it," said Greg Portell, lead partner at retail consultant A.T. Kearney. "It's hard to sell toys in a cold, warehouse environment."

Even Toys "R" Us CEO David Brandon conceded in an SEC filing last fall that the company had fallen behind competitors "on various fronts, including with regard to general upkeep and the condition of our stores."

Toys "R" Us' debt problems date back to well before Amazon (AMZN) was a major threat. Its debt was downgraded to junk bond status in January of 2005, at a time when Amazon's sales were just 4% of their current level.

A year later the company was taken private by KKR, Bain Capital and real estate firm Vornado. The $6.6 billion purchase left it with $5.3 billion in debt secured by its assets and it never really recovered.

The toy store faced several other big challenges at about the same time. There was the rise of big box retailers like Walmart (WMT), which now dwarfs Toys "R" Us in total toy sales. Last year toymakers Mattel (MAT) and Hasbro (HAS) each sold about $1 billion worth of their toys at Walmart, more than twice as much as what they sold through Toys "R" Us. Target (TGT) sold just about as many of their as Toys "R" Us last year.

And like most retailers, Toys "R" Us also lost sales to online rivals such as Amazon that offered lower prices and quick shipping.

But much of the chain's resources were devoted to paying off that massive debt load rather than staying competitive.

When Toys "R" Us filed for bankruptcy in September 2017, it disclosed it had about $5 billion in debt and was spending about $400 million a year just to service that debt.

That burden crowded out critical strategic priorities, like making its stores a nice place to shop and paying employees.

Brandon said in a filing last fall that the bankruptcy process would allow it to invest $65 million in its stores. The company hoped to add playrooms where kids could try out toys and spaces for birthday parties, but it never got the chance.

Brandon also vowed to spend more money on staff. With extremely low unemployment, competitors like Walmart are raising wages, while Toys 'R' Us was having trouble attracting the kind of help it needed. It said last fall it would spend $72 million from 2018 to 2021 to raise starting wages and to reward and keep its most effective employees.

"Better employees make for happier customers," Brandon said in the filing.

Despite sharply declining sales, Toys "R" Us was also extremely late to the game in closing stores. At the time of its bankruptcy filing, the chain had 1,697 stores -- more than it had ever had.

In January, it announced plans to shut 182 US stores. Last month it filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy for its UK operations, where it had 105 locations. On Wednesday, hours before announcing the decision to close its US operations, it said it would close the last 75 UK stores.

But the closings in recent weeks were far too little, too late. And as a result, now all of US stores will close, and probably most foreign stores as well.

visit this link .. ame/index.html

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2 days ago

Mar 14 - Dog dies after United Airlines flight

4 people viewing this

| By Albazi1K95 - 2 days ago

Dog dies after United Airlines flight attendant forces passenger to place animal in overhead bin
visit this link .. 1185229891659/
WARNING: Video contains images not suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

A dog died on a United Airlines plane after a flight attendant ordered its owner to put the animal in the plane’s overhead bin.

United said Tuesday that it took full responsibility for the incident on the Monday night flight from Houston to New York.

In a statement, United called it “a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.”

The dog was in a small pet carrier designed to fit under an airline seat.

Passengers reported that they heard barking during the flight and didn’t know that the dog had died until the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport.

Passenger Maggie Gremminger posted a photo on Twitter of the dog’s owner and children after the flight. “I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog because of an ↕united flight attendant. My heart is broken,” she wrote.

United spokesman Charles Hobart said the flight attendant told the dog’s owner to put the pet carrier in the overhead bin because the bag was partly obstructing the aisle. It is unclear why the carrier was not placed under a seat, he said.

Hobart said United is investigating the incident and talking to the flight attendant, whom he declined to identify. He said the airline refunded the tickets purchased for the dog owner and her two children and the fee that they paid to bring a pet on board – typically $200.

READ MORE: How to make sure your furry friends stay safe when they travel

The cause of the dog’s death was not immediately known. The spokesman said Chicago-based United offered to pay for a necropsy.

Last year, 18 animals died while being transported on United – there were six cases on all other U.S. carriers combined, according to the Department of Transportation.

United has suffered a string of incidents that generated bad publicity in the last two years, including the violent removal of a passenger from a United Express plane to make room for a crew member, and the death of a giant rabbit – its Iowa owners sued the airline, which they said cremated the animal to destroy evidence about the cause of death.

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2 days ago

Image inside Mar 15 - Trump owns up to making things up

4 people viewing this

| By phantomnation - 2 days ago

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has owned up to making things up.

For a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump was by his own admission unprepared - deficient in the fundamentals of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship that he'd been railing about since the campaign.

He insisted to Trudeau that the U.S. was running a trade deficit with Canada, a statement contradicted by U.S. government statistics. He was winging it, he confided to donors at a private Missouri political fundraiser Wednesday night.

"I didn't even know," he said. "I had no idea."

Others might be mortified at being caught short. Not this president.

For Trump the showman, the episode illustrated his skill at improvisation. Still, it was a rare admission that he will say things without knowing if they are true.

Trump's impulse to replace fact with fiction has defined him as a politician and as a businessman before that.

Depositions reviewed by AP from his litigious years in real estate show a history of dodgy statements about his property and wealth. Asked once about overstating the number of units sold in a Las Vegas tower, he said he didn't intend his answer to be taken literally.

Trump's years of questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship showed a willingness to perpetuate myth that was seen again early in his presidential campaign, when he insisted against all evidence that Muslims took to the streets in New Jersey to celebrate the 2001 terrorist attack across the river in Manhattan.

In office, he routinely misuses numbers - trade statistics among them - and recounts events to suit his agenda even if the facts don't fit.

Of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Florida, he said, "If you had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn't have happened, or certainly not to the extent it did," a statement belied by the fact that the club had an armed guard on duty who immediately exchanged fire with the gunman.

In leaked audio of the Missouri fundraiser, first reported by The Washington Post, Trump says that in his meeting with Trudeau, he thought the U.S. must be running a trade deficit with Canada because the Canadians have been smart about trade and "we're so stupid."

"Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in - 'Donald, we have no trade deficit.'" Trump recounted. "He's very proud because everybody else, you know, we're getting killed."

"I said, 'Wrong, Justin, you do.' I didn't even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, 'You're wrong.' You know why? Because we're so stupid. . And I thought they were smart."

Trump went on to say that his position was ultimately vindicated when he had U.S. and Canadian aides take a closer look at trade between the two countries. That conclusion is not supported by the numbers.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday insisted Trump was right, saying: "Well the president was accurate, because there is a trade deficit and that was the point he was making, is that he didn't have to look at the specific figures, because he knew that there was a trade deficit."

Canadian Foreign Affairs spokesman Adam Austin offered this counter: "According to their own statistics, the U.S. runs a trade surplus with Canada."

Trump mischaracterizes the trade balance by considering only trade in goods and ignoring services. On goods, the U.S. ran a deficit of $17.6 billion with Canada last year. That was offset by a surplus in trade in services.

Overall, the U.S. Census Bureau reports a U.S. trade surplus of $2.8 billion last year with Canada.

Source: visit this link AP

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2 days ago

Image inside Mar 15 - BREAKING: Vanessa Trump files for DIVORCE

4 people viewing this

| By phantomnation - 2 days ago

Read 64 comments »

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