Capital Management Resources

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25 February 2020

  • Claims of Russian Election Meddling Are Still a Scam

    The fearmongering over Russian election “interference” might be the most destructive moral panic in American political life since the Red Scare. Then again, to be fair, those who prosecuted the post-war hunt for Communists had the decency to uncover a handful of infiltrators. We’ve yet to meet a single American who’s been brainwashed or had their vote snatched away by an SVR Twitterbot. Probably because no such person exists.Nevertheless, millions of Americans believe that a handful of terrible memes — and I mean the most amateurish and puerile efforts imaginable — on social media were enough to overturn a presidential election in the most powerful nation on earth. Or, more likely, most pretend to believe it. As Donald Trump’s fortunes have turned somewhat in recent weeks, and socialist Bernie Sanders looks poised to take the Democratic Party nomination, the Russians are once again coming to snatch your vote.There were lots of “wows” from journalists on Twitter last week when the New York Times reported that members of the House Intelligence Committee were warned by an aide to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that Russia would be meddling in the 2020 campaign in order to get President Trump reelected. When Trump found out, the Times reported, he was furious that briefers had given Adam Schiff ammunition for political attacks.First off, this isn’t an absurd concern. In his effort to undermine the public’s confidence in the elections for partisan purposes, Schiff has shown an ugly and cynical propensity to exaggerate and lie about Russian attempted meddling. He’s done more harm in undercutting American trust in “democracy” than Putin.He’s not the only one.“Putin’s Puppet is at it again, taking Russian help for himself,” Hillary Clinton, still struggling to come to terms with her devastating loss, said Friday. “He knows he can’t win without it. And we can’t let it happen.”“We are now in a full-blown national security crisis,” tweeted former CIA Director John Brennan, one of the leading culprits perpetrating the Russia fraud. “By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow's interests, not America's.”As if often the case in Trump era, the initial thinly sourced story and subsequent freakout was quickly tempered by additional reporting. CNN’s Jake Tapper, for instance, reported that there was no intelligence showing that Russians would interfere for Trump, only that they likely had a “preference” for Trump because he was “a dealmaker.”Here is Bloomberg’s Eli Lake:> In fact, Schiff — who was present at the briefing in question — knows that there is no formal intelligence finding that Russia is meddling on behalf of Trump. Administration and House Republican sources tell me that the intelligence official who was briefing the committee went “off script” when asked about Russia’s preference for Trump in the presidential election. No other representatives from the intelligence community at the briefing backed up her assertion, these sources say, nor did the briefers provide specific intelligence, such as intercepted emails or conversations, to support the claim.The Washington Post also reported on Friday that Sanders had been briefed by U.S. officials warning that Russia was trying to help his presidential campaign. Democratic Party operatives took to the Sunday shows to blame Russia for supporting Sanders — all in an effort to get Trump reelected. Never mind that Bernie could easily have won the nomination in 2016. Never mind that Sanders has built an impressive national movement over the years. Never mind that the champions of the Democratic Party establishment are astonishingly weak. Never mind the party’s base has been dramatically moving Left for years. It’s gotta be Putin!The Washington Post piece is thin on specifics, which should lead us to believe the story is a politically motivated leak meant to slow Sanders’s momentum. (Then again, Bernie was implying that the Russians were responsible for the toxic campaign behavior of his Bro-sheviks, so maybe he deserves it.)There are few people who detest the candidacy and philosophy of Sanders more than I, yet I’m positive that the KGB can’t give him the Democratic Party nomination any more than they can install Donald Trump in the White House. Only voters can.It’s likely that Russia, as it did in 2016, will engage in amateurish efforts to foment divisions among some American — as if we needed any help. If they actually “hack” an election — a word incessantly, and erroneously, used by journalists at the height of the Russia scare in 2017 — we’ll know.But the Russian hysteria plays into a long-standing liberal conviction that feeble-minded conservatives vote against their own interests only because they’ve been hoodwinked. It might be the doing of a foreign power. It might be the plutocrats. It might be “special interests.” It might even be domestic tricksters, like the ones in the much-discussed recent McKay Coppins piece in The Atlantic, “The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President” — a piece that offers over 8,000 chilling words describing traditional political operations as something dark, undemocratic, and new. Be prepared for a flood of similar pieces. Democrats never lose elections. Elections are only stolen from them. Nothing but Trump stepping down and admitting he’s a Putin asset will stop Democrats from questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election.Of course, if you can’t handle some memes or misleading ads, you probably shouldn’t be voting, anyway. You’re clearly not prepared for the civic responsibilities that come with an open debate, which is often messy and ugly, rather than hermetically sealed in a media-approved bubble.


  • Victims turn to media to expose sex abuse by college doctors

    Robert Julian Stone was tired of waiting, afraid that complaints of sexual abuse at the hands of a former University of Michigan doctor would be covered up. The newspaper last week was the first to report Stone's allegations against the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson, triggering similar reports.


  • Virus 'peaked' in China but could trigger global pandemic: WHO

    The World Health Organization on Monday said the new coronavirus epidemic had "peaked" in China but warned that a surge in cases elsewhere was "deeply concerning" and all countries should prepare for a "potential pandemic". WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the peak in China occurred between January 23 and February 2 and the number of new cases there "has been declining steadily since then". "This virus can be contained," he told reporters in Geneva, praising China for helping to prevent an even bigger spread of the disease through unprecedented lockdowns and quarantines in or near the outbreak's epicentre.


  • Trump administration backs off sending coronavirus patients to Alabama -governor

    The news came as worry grew over the spread outside China of the sometimes fatal virus, with a spike in the number of cases found in South Korea, Iran and Italy. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted that she had thanked Trump during a separate phone call.


  • 14 products dermatologists recommend for soothing redness and rosacea

    These products help soothe skin, minimize redness and prevent flare-ups of rosacea.


  • Trump's 'Big' China Trade Deal Has Some Really Big Problems

    The remaining issues, such as cyber theft, cyber security, and standardization, are untouched by the Agreement and could be the source of tension in the future.


  • Tom Steyer has paid more than $40,000 to rent a property owned by Jim Clyburn's daughter

    Billionaire Tom Steyer is facing some criticism over his spending in South Carolina, a state where his Democratic presidential campaign is making some legitimate headway.Some people have even accused him of trying to buy votes from the state's African-American voters, which Steyer and many others have adamantly denied, The New York Times reports. One thing that's been particularly scrutinized is the Steyer campaign's rental agreement with a company owned by Jennifer Clyburn Reed, the daughter of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking African American in Congress whose endorsement is considered key in South Carolina. Since October, the Steyer campaign has paid more than $40,000 to the company to rent one of its properties as its state headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina. A California-based bank founded by Steyer, meanwhile, has loaned $1 million to a Columbia-based bank that has one of Clyburn's sons-in-laws on its board.The campaign has brushed off the accusations of trying to procure political favor from the Clyburn family, arguing Steyer is simply committed to hiring local organizers and investing in local businesses to get his grassroots operations running. "The question isn't why Tom is doing this," Steyer spokesman Benjamin Gerdes said in a statement. "The real question is why isn't every other candidate doing it?"The politically-active Reed called the accusations of vote-buying "disturbing" and seemed a bit annoyed that people think she merely serves as a surrogate for her father. "I'm an adult," she told the Times. "There is no connection. My father has his business and I have mine. We do not vote the same way."Besides, it's probably all a moot point — both Reed and Clyburn seem likely to back former Vice President Joe Biden. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com The coronavirus recession? The real third way in 2020 Top member of Trump's coronavirus task force asks Twitter for help accessing map of virus


  • Putin Sent Her Activist Boyfriend to the Arctic Circle. Now She Wants to Go, Too.

    MOSCOW—Few people are familiar with Novaya Zemlya, a very obscure archipelago above the Arctic Circle that is controlled by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the infamous Soviet spy agency, the KGB. Even fewer people hope to travel to those thinly populated and thoroughly militarized islands, where the Russian army tests its Arctic missile systems, and where polar bears suffering the effects of climate change dig through garbage pits at impoverished settlements. Alexei Navalny on Standing Up to Putin and His Murderous MinionsIt sounds like hell frozen over, in fact—and it figures in what looks like a new tactic by President Vladimir Putin (a former KGB operative) to intimidate his most vocal critics. But Kira Yarmysh has a special reason to go there. She is desperate to see her partner, who became the first victim of such an operation last December.“The FSB abducted my boyfriend, Ruslan Shaveddinov, and isolated him in Novaya Zemlya,” Yarmysh told The Daily Beast. “The most outrageous truth is that several divisions of the state system, including military authorities, aviation, and secret services, are helping to hide Ruslan from us.” This was hardly a random act. Yarmysh is a news presenter and spokesperson for Russia’s top opposition leader, Aleksei Navalny, and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). Shaveddinov is one of the group’s star reporters and presenters as well.Russia still has a military draft, and 12 months of service are mandatory for all male citizens age 18 to 33. Shaveddinov, known as “Shav,” has been famous for presenting vivid, well-documented corruption investigations on YouTube. But at 23 years old, he was vulnerable, and authorities claimed he was draft-dodging.The news agency TASS quotes Moscow’s military commissar, Col. Maksim Loktev, claiming the conscription of Shaveddinov was perfectly ordinary: “He departed to the place of his military service on the draft.” But the young activist’s colleagues aren’t buying it. It’s not just the matter of conscription; it’s the deployment that’s suspicious.“This is a unique example of how the FSB begins to use military service as a prison for politically active young men,” Navalny told The Daily Beast. “I think the order was to isolate Shav.”Viewers all over Russia recognize Yarmysh and Shaveddinov from YouTube, which is the main outlet for Navalny’s reports. More than three million viewed their presentation last summer (while Navalny was in jail) about Moscow Deputy Mayor Natalia Sergunina. They reported she was making millions of dollars off property deals in the Russian capital for companies controlled by her relatives, an allegation that she has denied.  There are frequent police raids on FBK offices, along with confiscations of computers, cellphones, and video cameras. On July 27, members of an armed special unit raided Yarmysh’s home at dawn, woke the couple up, put Ruslan on the floor, and confiscated all of the digital equipment. After a tough 2019, Kira and Ruslan looked forward to celebrating the New Year’s holiday together, without any people around. But on Dec. 23, Kira’s boyfriend vanished and his cellphone was not answered. His friends found the door to his apartment broken. Nearly 24 hours later, Yarmysh discovered that her partner was more than 3,000 kilometers (some 2,000 miles) away, in a unit of what’s called the 33rd Guards Rocket Army based in Rogachevo village on the Southern Island of Novaya Zemlya. Yarmysh had never heard much about the rules of the archipelago and the news came as a shock: there was an old nuclear testing ground near Ruslan’s base; she could not visit his island without a special FSB permit. Then Ruslan called her, and what she heard broke her heart, she says.“There were two army captains with him listening in our conversation, so every time I asked him how he was, he said, ‘Let’s talk about you,” Yarmysh remembered. “He told me he was banned from using his cellphone, which is a violation—every Russian soldier can call home once a week! So I decided to sue his commander.”Yarmysh wanted to be present during the court hearing last week, and, of course, to see Ruslan. She requested an FSB permit earlier this month, but days passed and there was no word back. The court hearing was scheduled for last Wednesday, but a Moscow judge on the case was not able to get to Novaya Zemlya, Yarmysh said—the flight got canceled due to harsh weather conditions. (This is not unusual given the brutal Arctic weather.) “They regularly cancel flights during the winter, so I am surprised that the army managed to transport Ruslan there so easily in December,” Yarmysh said. “It is obvious that the weather is not an issue, if there is an order to bring the guy.”Finally a hearing was held at the end of the week, and a lawyer from the Navalny team was able to make it there, but there was no satisfaction to be had and communications were spotty. At midday on Saturday, Yarmysh tweeted that she still had heard nothing about her boyfriend's fated. (A troll responded with pictures of polar bears eating a bloody corpse: "Found him. But no need to thank me.")The lawyer finally got in touch late Saturday, but only briefly. He reported that, officially, the court said Shaveddinov had no unusual restrictions. But in practical terms that was no consolation, and Yarmysh said she couldn't be sure what happened until the attorney made it back to Moscow. As of Monday, however, he was till stuck above the Arctic Circle because of the weather."Prisoners have more rights than Ruslan," Yarmysh told The Daily Beast. "He doesn't have any right to call, or even to send letters."Yarmysh grew up in Rostov-on-Don, a provincial southern town on the border with Ukraine’s Donbas region. Her single mother brought her up dreaming that one day Kira would win The Clever Heads, a televised competition for high-schoolers that awards the winners with a chance to enroll in Russia’s most prestigious university for future diplomats, the MGIMO, or Moscow State Institute of International Relations. And, yes, Yarmysh won.While studying at MGIMO, she thought she would one day get a diplomat’s position in Africa, far from the Russian political scene. But anti-Putin street protests in 2011-2012 changed her life, and she wound up on the front line of the opposition’s constant fight with corrupt bureaucrats. Her mother has always been an Aleksey Navalny fan, Yarmysh said, so when she got her job at the FBK six years ago, her family supported her. “Kira Yarmysh is one of the brightest stars in Navalny’s team. She is emerging to be even bigger but still stay in Navalny’s shadow,” Echo of Moscow Deputy Chief Editor Olga Bychkova told The Daily Beast. Yarmysh says that if she has to she will wait for her boyfriend for 12 months, as do millions of other Russian girls all over the country. “I hope this is going to be just one year,” she says.  For two months, Yarmysh has been worried, feeling “hurt,” she says, wondering why out of all Russia’s vast military bases, her boyfriend was isolated in the Arctic. “The authorities might think that Ruslan and I, if we come out to a street protest, might lead masses of people,” Yarmysh said, then added: “I personally have no fear. If they raid our homes, if they detain us, I tell myself, we must be doing everything right.” But for the moment that is, at best, cold comfort.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • Virginia law makes 'D.C. sniper' Lee Boyd Malvo eligible for parole, ends Supreme Court case
  • Senate FISA Abuse Investigation to Focus on Mystery Source Who Contradicted Steele Dossier

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Sunday told Fox News the Senate's investigation into FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will focus on interviews the agency conducted with a Russian source who contradicted much of the information in the Steele dossier."The first thing I want to do is call the people who heard from Russian sub-source that this dossier is a bunch of bar talk and hearsay," Graham said on Fox's Sunday Morning Futures. "I want to find out when did [former FBI director James] Comey and [former FBI deputy director Andrew] McCabe understand it was not reliable and start from there."The source, known in the Justice Department Inspector General's report as "Primary Sub-Source," was former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele's only direct contact in Russia for the allegations contained in the dossier. However, the IG report states that the primary sub-source told the FBI and Justice Department that Steele's allegations were false or misleading, including the assertion of Page's involvement in what the dossier terms a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between the Trump campaign and Russian government."The Primary Sub-source made statements during his/her January 2017 FBI interview that were inconsistent with multiple sections of the Steele reports, including some that were relied upon in the FISA applications," the IG report states.Following the publication of the IG report, prominent Republicans called for an overhaul of the FISA system to prevent future abuses. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration is considering doing just that before FISA legislation is set to expire in March.


  • Pacific NW winds shut interstate, fell tree that crushes man

    High winds wreaked havoc on the Pacific Northwest on Sunday, closing a stretch of an interstate freeway in Oregon and toppling a large tree that crushed a man sleeping in an apartment complex in Washington state. The man was critically injured in Renton, Washington, after a tree fell on a six-unit apartment building during a morning of high winds and heavy rain. Elsewhere, Interstate 84 was closed in both directions between Pendleton and La Grande in northeast Oregon, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of Portland, because of a downer power line.


  • Nine of the World’s Most Beautiful Outdoor Saunas
  • China sentences Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai to 10 years jail

    China has sentenced Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai to 10 years in prison on charges of illegally providing intelligence abroad and claimed him as a citizen, prompting Stockholm to call for his release in a case that has rattled diplomatic relations. Gui, one of five Hong Kong-based booksellers known for publishing salacious titles about China's political leaders, was snatched by authorities while on a train to Beijing in February 2018, the second time he disappeared into mainland custody. A court in the eastern city of Ningbo said Chinese-born Gui was sentenced Monday to 10 years in jail, and claimed he had also voluntarily reinstated his Chinese citizenship in 2018.


  • China said it would relax its lockdown of Wuhan's 11 million residents, only to immediately reintroduce it

    Wuhan announced that some people could leave the locked-down city, only to reverse the announcement hours later as the coronavirus spreads.


  • Iran Prepares to Suffer the Wrath of the Coronavirus

    Iran has sought to deny that the coronavirus is spreading within its borders. Now, the Middle East is facing a new type of crisis—one that could further exacerbate tension in the region.