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NYC students finally set to return to in-person learningOn Monday, 3-K, Pre-K, and early education sites will open including District 75 for special education.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 4:55 am

Biden's polling lead over Trump holds steady at 8 points, but his sizable cash advantage is newA Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Trump by 8 percentage points, 51 percent to 43 percent, among registered voters — the same margin the poll showed in February, before COVID-19, the economic swoon, the anti-racism protests following George Floyd's death, and all the other craziness of 2020."Simply put: In 2020, the fundamentals of our country have been shaken to our core, while the fundamentals of the election have not," said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt, who conducted the survey with Republican Bill McInturff. NBC's Chuck Todd made a smiler point on Sunday's Meet the Press.But one thing has changed: money. Biden and the Democratic National Committee entered September with $466 million in the bank, a cash advantage of $141 million over Trump and the Republican National Committee's $325 million, The New York Times reported Sunday night, citing newly released campaign finance reports. In the spring, Trump and the RNC had a $187 million lead over Biden and the DNC.In August alone, the joint Biden-DNC committee brought in a record $364.5 million while the Trump-RNC committee raised $210 million. The Biden campaign alone raised $212 million and spent $130.3 million; the Trump campaign raised $61.7 million, spent $61.2 million, and added about $900,000 in debt. "Money in the candidate's own committees, as opposed to the political party's account, is the most valuable of funds because election rules require those accounts to pay for certain types of spending, such as television ads," the Times reports.Some Republicans are baffled at Trump's financial disadvantage, given that he and the RNC raised $1.3 billion since 2018. Trump's campaign says it invested heavily in a ground campaign it says Biden can never match.The WSJ/NBC poll found a record 75 percent of voters rating their interest in the election a 10 out of 10, and more than 70 percent say the debates won't sway their decision much or at all. In another sign the electorate is pretty set, 38 percent said they won't vote for Biden under any circumstances versus 47 percent who said the same of Trump. The poll was conducted Sept. 13-16 among 1,000 voters, and its martin of error is ± 3.1 percentage points.RealClearPolitics gives Biden a 6.5-point lead it its aggregate of polls; FiveThirtyEight gives Biden a 6.7-point lead and 77 percent odds to win the Electoral College.More stories from theweek.com How a productivity phenomenon explains the unraveling of America How the Trump-Russia story was buried The conservatives who want to undo the Enlightenment


Posted: September 21, 2020, 4:31 am

CDC says coronavirus spreads mainly in the air, through respiratory aerosols and dropletsIn new guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus spreads mainly through respiratory aerosols, small particles that apparently can remain suspended in the air and inhaled.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 3:49 am

Solomon Islands: Men working for WW2 bomb clearing agency die in explosionThe men were working to help dispose of the many unexploded World War Two bombs on the islands.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 3:07 am

New Zealand ends all pandemic restrictions outside main city of AucklandNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday lifted all coronavirus restrictions across the country, except in second-wave hotspot Auckland, as the number of new infections slowed to a trickle. "Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control," she told reporters in Auckland. New Zealand, a nation of five million, appeared to have halted community transmission of COVID-19 earlier this year, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland in August prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 1:33 am

Nebraska bar owner Jake Gardner, charged in fatal shooting of unarmed Black protester, dies by suicide, attorney saysJake Gardner was facing manslaughter and other charges in the fatal shooting of James Scurlock on May 30 during protests in Omaha, Nebraska.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 1:26 am

Gore-Tex: Inventor of waterproof fabric Robert Gore dies aged 83Robert W. Gore's invention has been used in space suits, guitar strings and waterproof jackets.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 1:26 am

Whale swims free of crocodile-filled Australian riverA humpback whale has found its way back to sea weeks after it got lost in a murky, crocodile-infested river in northern Australia. There have been no previous recorded sightings of whales in remote East Alligator River in the Northern Territory’s World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, and no one can explain why at least three of the blue water mammals ventured so deep inland in a river with little visibility. The last of the trio managed to navigate its way through shallow channels at the broad river mouth and back into Van Diemen Gulf over the weekend, Kakadu National Park manager Feach Moyle said on Monday.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 1:10 am

Florida Republicans: Nominating Lagoa could clinch state for TrumpTop GOP leaders in the nation’s largest swing state say the Cuban-American federal judge could win Hispanic votes and shield vulnerable members of Congress.


Posted: September 21, 2020, 12:51 am

Poll: Biden holds sizable lead over Trump among Latino votersThe 62 percent-to-26 percent lead is less of an advantage than Hillary Clinton held at this point in the race in 2016.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 10:30 pm

Thousands protest Netanyahu; many ignore Israeli virus rulesThousands of Israelis resumed their weekly protest Sunday outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in central Jerusalem, despite a new nationwide lockdown order aimed at curbing a raging coronavirus outbreak. An exception allowing people to hold public demonstrations was included in the three-week lockdown imposed last Friday. Thousands of Israelis have participated in the protests throughout the summer, calling on Netanyahu to resign while he is on trial for corruption charges and accusing him of bungling the country’s coronavirus crisis.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 7:58 pm

WeChat: Judge blocks US attempts to ban downloads of Chinese appThe ban on the Chinese-owned messaging and payments apps was to come in on Sunday night.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 7:47 pm

Boss lures maids to home, chains 1 to bed; other dies trying to escape, TX cops sayThe man told one of the women he had inappropriate photos of her, police say.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 4:42 pm

US town hopes herd of goats will protect against wildfiresAn Oregon town has recruited a herd of goats to head off the risk of another wildfire. According to the latest estimate, more than 938,000 acres of land were destroyed by the blazes which swept through the state in the north-west of the US. Forest City, a town with around 25,000 inhabitants 25 miles west of Portland, is taking drastic measures to ensure it does not suffer the same fate as other parts of the state. The 230 goats are set to start work this week, chomping through the vegetation in a 14-acre grove which has been earmarked for use as a city park. They have been hired from a company called Healing Hooves, based in Washington State which rents out its goats to landowners in the region. Renting the goats costs around $800 (£489) a day, not counting the costs of transportation. The animals are corralled by an electric fence. The goats are marshalled by Craig Madsen, who has been going the work for more than 18 years. As fires raged across California and Oregon, Donald Trump said poor land management by local authorities was to blame for the spread of the flames. Ecologists believe removing excess vegetation, especially near power lines and timber, is one way of minimising the risk of a catastrophic wildfire. Mr Madsen believes his herd of goats can clear an acre of brush in about a day and a half. The terrain at Forest City is ideal for his team. “Some of the grove backs onto people’s yards. It’s pretty steep, but goats don’t mind fences and slopes,” Mr Madsen told the Telegraph. “They chew up the undergrowth and if its a fire that is creeping slowly they create a fire break. “The ideal terrain for them is somewhere they have to climb. Their hooves grow fast so rocks can help trim them. “They are pretty agile and they are great for this kind of terrain. Goats have their preferences. They like to browse and prefer blackberries, brush and broad-leaved plants. “People say that goats will eat anything, but actually they are pretty picky.”


Posted: September 20, 2020, 4:26 pm

Finnish cruise ship evacuated after running aground in Baltic seaA Finnish passenger cruise ship was evacuated on Sunday after it ran aground off the island of Aland in the Baltic Sea, the cruise line and emergency services said Sunday.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 4:08 pm

Maryland congressional candidate Kim Klacik accuses ‘The View’s’ Joy Behar of wearing blackfaceThings got tense on the latest episode of ABC’s “The View” when a Black Republican candidate for the U.S. House accused one a co-host of wearing blackface. Kim Klacik, who is running to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District that includes part of Baltimore, got into a heated exchange with the group of women hosts after she lodged the claim against Joy Behar. The late Elijah Cummings represented the district from 1996 to 2019.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 4:01 pm

A Vermont grocery store worker was fired after stopping a purse snatcher who stole from an elderly womanAmir Shedyak, a grocery store employee, told local news that he was fired after trying to stop a purse snatcher during a shift in August.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 3:42 pm

Parent outrage over SNP plan to cut back next year's Scottish examsJohn Swinney has been warned against inflicting "even more damage" on Scotland's pupils after it emerged he is planning to scale back next year's exams. Mr Swinney is expected to cancel next year's National 5 exams, with around 80,000 pupils awarded their certificates on the basis of coursework only. The Deputy First Minister is also considering plans to scale back Highers, the gold standard of the Scottish education system, basing them on a shorter school year with fewer areas of some subjects being covered. But parents' group Us For Them Scotland, which helped force Mr Swinney into a U-turn on reopening schools, said children could not afford to have "their exams disrupted again." In a letter to the Education Secretary, the group said it was unfair to leave them "hanging this way" and urged to make an "unequivocal statement" the 2021 exam diet will go ahead as normal. The Scottish Tories said Mr Swinney's "plan A" must be to press ahead with the exams and "exhaust all avenues before scrapping them." Mr Swinney is expected to outline his plans before the October school holidays, which starts in three weeks, but the Conservatives urged him to make an urgent Holyrood statement.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 3:39 pm

Tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts traveled to the Lake of the Ozarks for a bike rally weeks after a similar event in Sturgis was linked to COVID-19 cases in 8 statesLake Ozark Mayor Gerry Murawski said last week that he didn't expect motorcyclists to wear masks to Bikefest because "that's just the way they are."


Posted: September 20, 2020, 3:39 pm

Pelosi won't rule out new impeachment to delay Supreme Court vote if Biden wins"Well, we have our options," Pelosi told ABC's "This Week." "We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now."


Posted: September 20, 2020, 2:56 pm

Des Moines says no to governor's demand for classroom returnStudents in Iowa’s largest school system are facing the possibility that this most unusual school year could stretch into next summer, and the district could be hit with crippling bills because of a dispute with the governor over the safety of returning to classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic. Des Moines school officials have repeatedly refused to abide by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ order requiring the state’s 327 school districts to hold at least half their classes in-person rather than online. For Des Moines, it’s a question of trying to keep its more than 33,000 students and 5,000 staffers from contracting the disease.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 2:28 pm

Sixty-nine percent of Americans have no confidence in Trump on coronavirus vaccine, poll revealsTwo-thirds of Americans say they are likely to get coronavirus vaccine


Posted: September 20, 2020, 2:19 pm

Army’s New Target Tracking System Aims to Quicken Artillery KillsTest teams of soldiers will attempt to reduce the time it takes to see and hit targets to less than 20 seconds.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 1:58 pm

After a tumultuous month of news, Biden maintains national lead over TrumpBiden leads by 8 among registered voters in the newest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 1:00 pm

Tropical Storm Beta's rain impacts begin todayTropical Storm Beta is moving towards the Texas coast and rain bands are likely today.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 11:10 am

Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human TraffickingIn the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States. Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000.DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain. While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO.The ‘Varsity Blues’ Screenwriter’s Cold-Blooded Crusade Against L.A.’s HomelessCollins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud. On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams. His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund. Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity.  * * *You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race? I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned. I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated. Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well?Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump. In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly?Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.”We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was. You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business? All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups. You were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that? Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases. Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case. You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not?Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn.You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN?I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles. In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad?I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses.Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there?My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information.[Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”]What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer? [Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.]I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak?I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored. What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein?I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality? I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right? [Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.] Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy. You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean?“Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it.I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice. Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests?I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I​ have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests.​ My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality.Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.”  Is there a reason for that?I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability. [Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.]You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that.Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa. I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people. You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City?I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future. You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship? No. I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions. What do you think the investigation will find?I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad. [Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”]But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details. [Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.] Fake Jeffrey Epstein Flight Logs Lead QAnon Crazies to Target Chrissy Teigen and BeyoncéWe’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert?You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room. Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here. She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time? Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job. Steve Bannon, in His $1,400 Hotel Suite, Rails Against the ‘Elite’During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart?I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans.Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election?Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention.Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material? Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.”[Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.]So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser. Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is?We all are Satoshi Nakamoto.You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man?I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 8:55 am

Mass rallies and police data leaks in Belarus keep pressure on LukashenkoMany walked in a vast column that stretched back several kilometres, decked out in red-and-white opposition colours and chanting "go away" as helmeted riot police patrolled the streets with water canons on hand, a witness said. Several protesters were dragged away from the crowd by security forces. In the city centre, riot police rhythmically beat their shields as a warning while several people threw glass bottles at them.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 8:42 am

Kids in the UK are now spending more money on 'Fortnite' and 'Roblox' than candy and booksPocket money app RoosterMoney said video games "Fortnite" and "Roblox" top the pocket money charts. Kids are also saving 14% more than last year.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 8:33 am

Taiwan president says has no plans to talk to Japan's new PMTaiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday that there was no plan for her talk by telephone with new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, after a Japanese envoy had told Tsai that Suga might be open to it, prompting concern in Beijing. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has close cultural and historic ties with Japan, though Japan, like most countries, recognises China's government in Beijing, not Taiwan's.


Posted: September 20, 2020, 7:41 am

Louisville federal buildings close as city awaits state findings on Breonna TaylorFederal officials have not announced why at least two buildings are closing to the public, but there is anticipation of a possible announcement on the Breonna Taylor investigation.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 11:10 pm

Opinion: Ruth Bader Ginsburg protected your abortion rights. Be afraid now that she's goneRuth Bader Ginsburg was a fearless fighter for abortion rights.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 10:55 pm

Pompeo bolsters South American alliance against MaduroUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday wrapped up a three-day tour of Venezuela's neighbors designed to heap pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, saying his malign influence in the region "cannot be tolerated."


Posted: September 19, 2020, 8:55 pm

Walmart and Amazon donate to QAnon-promoting lawmakerWalmart, Amazon and other giant companies donated money to the reelection campaign of a Tennessee state lawmaker who used social media to promote the QAnon conspiracy theory.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 7:58 pm

Republican congressman says Ruth Bader Ginsburg ‘pro-abortion laws’ responsible for deaths of ‘30 million innocent babies’A Republican congressman and Senate candidate has foregone any gesture of sympathy upon the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, instead using the occassion to suggest pro-abortion laws she “defended” were responsible for the deaths of “innocent babies”. Georgia representative Doug Collins, who is running to unseat fellow Republican Kelly Loeffler, tweeted his unvarnished message in the hours after Justice Ginsburg’s death. “RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws,” he wrote.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 6:40 pm

Does Trump have enough votes to confirm RBG’s replacement? A look at the senators who might block his nominationRepublican leaders came forcefully following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to urge their senate colleagues to toe the party line and demand the vacancy is filled before the November election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to Republicans on Friday telling them to “keep your powder dry” and avoid falling under pressure to announce their stance on whether the open seat on the nation’s highest court should be filled just six weeks ahead of election day. “Over the coming days, we are all going to come under tremendous pressure from the press to announce how we will handle the coming nomination,” the senate majority leader wrote to his colleagues.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 6:12 pm

Planned Black community in Georgia draws interest for a reality TV showLast week, nearly two dozen families in Georgia made headlines for pooling money to purchase land in a Georgia town with a vision to build a safe-haven community for Black people. The news garnered widespread attention, including interest from big wigs in the entertainment sphere hoping to develop a reality TV show about the forthcoming community dreamed to be Freedom, Georgia, per TMZ. The group of 19 families, led by Ashley Scott and Renee Walters, bought 97 acres of land in Toomsboro, Georgia, a rural town of about 500 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, about two hours south of Atlanta.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 5:05 pm

Mexico's populist president left embarrassed by failed stunt to sell private jetMexico’s populist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador was voted in on a pledge to stamp out corruption and largess that went all the way to the country's highest office. So when he pledged to sell the presidential plane, with its marble bathrooms and king sized bed, it seemed like an easy win. But the $218 million, purchased under a predecessor in 2012, jet lies on the tarmac after the latest failed bid to find a buyer in a saga that has exposed the socialist leader to ridicule and embarassment. This week's attempt to raffle the plane during the country’s Independence holiday ended in predictable disaster. For López Obrador, also known by his initials as Amlo, the plane is a symbol of the opulence and waste of the country's political elite, and he vowed to sell it and return the money to Mexicans during his 2018 campaign. After his landslide victory, the President put it up for sale and has been flying on low-cost commercial flights. But it wasn’t that easy. The jet is a used and expensive luxury item with few potential buyers. After spending nearly two years parked for sale in California and spending almost the same amount of money for having it parked than he would have spent using it (about $1.5 million), Amlo decided in February he would just raffle it off during the September 15 Independence holiday. He even had to change the law in order to raffle an item instead of money through Mexico’s National Lottery. Only the plane wasn’t his to raffle. It turned out the Mexican government hasn’t finished paying for it. Amlo moved forward with the raffle but decided to give out the cash equivalent of the jet’s market value of about $95 million instead of the actual plane, split it into 100 winning tickets.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 3:57 pm

Republican Congressman Doug Collins attacks Ruth Bader Ginsburg on abortion just hours after her deathCollins tweeted, "RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies," in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 3:12 pm

NC woman still missing two years after she left baby with family reportedly to visit sick mother in MexicoNancy Troche Garcia, 28, was last seen in Asheboro, North Carolina on May 20, 2018, when she dropped her baby off with the baby’s father. She then reportedly went to the father’s sister’s house nearby and asked her if she would help care for the baby since she would be traveling to Mexico to care for her sick mother. But her mother told police that she was not sick and there were no plans for Nancy to come to Mexico. Nancy’s burgundy 2001 Chevy Impala is also missing. The Asheboro Police


Posted: September 19, 2020, 3:02 pm

Rochester shooting: Two dead after mass shooting in New YorkThe city has been under pressure over the death of Daniel Prude, a black man restrained by police.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 2:32 pm

Trump's 1776 commission is proof America is spiraling toward fascismTrump is setting up the commission to teach students ‘the miracle of American history’ – which sounds like a core part of the fascist process of taking powerSign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday. Gilead here we comeCan we use the F word yet? Can we finally admit that America is dipping its feet in fascism? Armed militias are roaming the streets; Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to discredit the results of the 2020 election; the press has been labelled the “enemy of the people”; there are credible allegations that migrant women in detention camps are being coerced into having their uteruses removed; “anti-fascists” have been branded public enemy number one. And now Trump has announced a “national commission to support patriotic education” – in other words, a racist propaganda program.“Leftwing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” Trump declared in a speech on Thursday. He went on to condemn critical race theory and the 1619 Project, the New York Time’s Pulitzer-prize winning initiative to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery at the center. “[T]he crusade against American history is toxic propaganda [that] will destroy our country,” he announced. Per Trump, the only way to save the United States is to revise its history entirely; to gloss over violent colonialism and slavery and pretend America doesn’t have a bigoted bone in its body. Which is why, Trump said, he is setting up a 1776 Commission to teach students “about the miracle of American history”. Well, “miracle” is certainly one way to describe something completely made-up.The federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction over school curriculum – but don’t let that reassure you into thinking that Trump’s 1776 Commission is pure puff. Whenever Trump comes out with an outrageous plan there are always people rushing to point out that he won’t actually be able to follow through with it; that checks and balances will stop him. But Trump has already stormed through many of these checks and balances; he’s already normalized behaviour that would have brought down any other president. If he gets another term there are no limits to what he might do; hello re-education camps, goodbye reproductive rights! And that, ultimately, is what his speech on Thursday was about; it wasn’t so much about American history as it was about America’s future. It was a promise to his base that he will Make America White Again.Hannah Arendt famously talked about the banality of evil – unspeakable horrors are often perpetuated by unthinking people simply “doing their job”. What we’re living through right now might be characterized as the inanity of evil. Trump is still treated as a figure of fun a lot of the time. A buffoon incapable of becoming a “proper” fascist. Objective White Men™ have lined up to lecture us all on how Trump isn’t all that bad and belittle fear of what he is capable of as “elite hysterics.” (Easy to talk dismissively about “hysterics” when you don’t have a uterus that Trump wants to control.) But as Madeleine Albright explained in a discussion of her 2018 book, Fascism: A Warning, “Fascism is not an ideology; it’s a process for taking and holding power.” Propaganda like the 1776 commission, narratives that make a dominant cultural group feel like victims, is a core part of that process. The most patriotic thing a person can do is tell the truth, and the truth is that America is spiraling towards fascism horrifyingly fast. Is Ice removing migrant women’s uteruses?A privately run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) detention center in Georgia has been accused of coercing migrant women to have hysterectomies without their informed consent. The Department of Homeland Security is now investigating the allegations, some of which were submitted as a whistle-blower complaint by a nurse at the facility. It’s hard to wrap your head around how something this horrific could be happening but, as Moira Donegan explains, “the allegations of forced sterilizations would make the Irwin county detention center only the latest in America’s long history of eugenics, which has disproportionately targeted women of color”. Emily Ratajkowski on buying herself back“All these men, some of whom I knew intimately and others I’d never met, were debating who owned an image of me,” the model writes in a powerful essay for the Cut. “I have learned that my image, my reflection, is not my own.” Should Margaret Court’s name be removed from a prestigious tennis arena?Andy Murray is the latest person to say he reckons the Australian Open should consider removing Court’s name from the arena at Melbourne Park. While 78-year-old Court may be a tennis legend she is also a raging homophobe: she once warned that tennis is full of lesbians intent on recruiting impressionable youngsters. Kathryn Farmer becomes the first female CEO of a major American railroadFarmer will become CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF Railway next year. Almost all of the US kids and teens who’ve died from Covid-19 were Hispanic or BlackAccording to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 121 kids and young adults under 21 have died from Covid-19. “Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native persons accounted for 94 (78%) of these deaths.” Donald Trump is accused of sexual assault for the millionth timeThe 26th time, actually, but who’s counting? The week in porridge-archyIt delights me to inform you of the existence of the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship, an annual cook-off held in (where else?) Scotland. Not even Covid-19 can get in the way of oatmeal enthusiasts: the competition will be held online this year, with creative spins on the dish reviewed by an official Porridge Committee. Gruel-ing work.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 1:00 pm

Even more evidence shows the coronavirus spreads easily on long plane flightsA new study from the CDC found that a single woman likely infected 15 other people on a 10-hour flight from London, England, to Hanoi, Vietnam.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 11:12 am

It’s Time to Rein in the FedAt the Kansas City Federal Reserve’s virtual Jackson Hole economic-policy symposium, Fed chairman Jerome Powell drove a final stake into the legendary inflation fighter Paul Volcker’s Fed. The new orthodoxy promises easy money as far as the eye can see and holds that inflation is good -- not Venezuelan and Zimbabwean hyperinflation of course, just a moderate dose -- thus ensuring that a dollar every year is worth less. Americans should be afraid.Powell announced the Fed’s new inflation-averaging strategy. The central bank is changing how it defines and attempts to achieve the 2 percent inflation target, which it adopted on its own authority in 2012. Henceforth, the Fed will attempt to catch up for past inflation shortfalls. Powell warned that inflation below “its desired level,” which our enlightened central bankers have decreed is 2 percent, can lead to an “unwelcome reduction” in inflation expectations, causing lower inflation. Joe and Sally Sixpack, however, would view gas, steak, and dental check-up prices not rising as welcome.Additionally, the Fed chairman declared the central bank would not, as it has in the past, preemptively raise interest rates to stave off higher inflation when unemployment falls below its natural rate.The new policy has an asymmetric pro-inflation bias. America’s central bankers are not contemplating deflationary policies to offset excessive past inflation. If inflation were 5 percent in period one, the Fed would try to bring it down to 2 percent in period two, not to negative 1 percent.The Fed is a masterful political actor. Powell touted “The Fed Listens” events as “connecting with the American people.” All well and good, but it is Congress, which represents the American people, that the Fed is supposed to heed.The Fed isn’t independent or the policymaker. It is an instrument of Congress, which by statute directs it to conduct monetary policy to achieve “stable prices,” maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates. Stable prices mean inflation hovering around zero, not prices doubling every 35 years. If a 200-pound MMA fighter’s weight increased 2 percent every year to 244 pounds after a decade, nobody would suggest his weight was stable.Shame on the Fed for “redefining” its role under the law. But shame on Congress for not insisting the central bank hew to statute.If Congress wants inflation, it should pass legislation changing the Fed’s mandate to that effect, which President Trump or Biden would likely sign. But while many congressional cravens may want inflation, few want to go on record voting for it.Powell allowed, “Many find it counterintuitive that the Fed would want to push up inflation.” No kidding. Money is a unit of account, a means of exchange, and a store of value. Stable money is a sine qua non of stable, prosperous, free societies. There’s enormous value in the dollar remaining constant for consumers and firms planning, transacting, and saving. Imagine a world where a yard continually changed.The received wisdom is that deflation is bad. Precipitous deflation is harmful. However, gentle deflation benefits many firms and individuals. During much of the 19th century the U.S. enjoyed mild deflation.To bolster inflation the Fed is keeping real wholesale interest rates negative.Interest rates are the price of present versus future investment and consumption. They are the economy’s most important price, dynamically signaling where and when capital should be allocated to maximize value.Keeping interest rates artificially low, as the Fed has done for nearly two decades, causes systemic malinvestment, incentivizes excessive risk-taking, and sustains zombie firms, making society poorer, and is sowing the seeds for the next crisis. It punishes savers and creditors.There are, however, powerful constituencies for easy money. America’s biggest borrower, the federal government, loves it. Real-estate developers and brokers and much of Wall Street also vigorously support cheap debt.With everyone focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, inflation is low on people’s list of concerns, but it’s brewing. From December 2019 to August 24, 2020, the monetary base (M1) increased 35 percent. The Fed’s real benchmark interest rate is negative. The pandemic has crimped production. As America limps out of the crisis and the velocity of money -- the rate at which money turns over -- recovers, it’s a recipe for inflation.Since the Fed’s creation in 1913, its policies have massively debased the dollar and caused or contributed to multiple economic crises, including the Great Depression and the Great Recession, devastating job and wealth creation. While the central bank can affect price levels, easy money can’t increase sustainable long-term employment and wealth. Congress should, therefore, eliminate any doubt about what the Fed can and should do by doing away with its “dual” mandate, narrowly focusing it on maintaining stable prices, something that it is equipped to deliver.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 10:30 am

Tens of thousands attend Bangladesh Islamist leader's funeralTens of thousands of people gathered to mourn the controversial leader of Bangladesh's largest Islamist group as his funeral was held on Saturday in a rural southeastern town, police said.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 10:05 am

The CIA sent a team of 4 operators on a spy mission targeting China. None came back.In 2008, CIA operative Stephen Stanek faced a decision: cancel the operation he was running or go forward with it — as a tropical storm barreled through the Philippines with a projection to veer north and miss his team's area of operation.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 9:00 am

The US police department that decided to hire social workersIn 2016, the Alexandria, Kentucky, police chief talked the city into hiring a social worker – and four years on, the current chief sees the program as indispensable The Alexandria police chief, Mike Ward, was “sick and tired” of sending his officers to respond to 911 calls that they lacked the skills and time to handle. In this small Kentucky town of 10,000 people 15 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio, two-thirds of the calls police responded to were not criminal – instead, they were mental health crises and arguments resulting from long-brewing interpersonal conflicts.Police would show up, but they could rarely offer long-lasting solutions. Often, it was inevitable that they would be called back to the same address for the same problem again and again.“We’ve been tasked – sometimes unjustifiably – with solving the problems of our community,” said Ward, who retired last year. “Just call the police, they’ll take care of it. And we can’t do that. It’s unrealistic.”In 2016 he decided to try a new approach: he talked the city into hiring a social worker for the police department. “To an officer, they all thought I was batshit crazy,” he said of the police.The current police chief, Lucas Cooper, said he was “the most vocal opponent” of the plan at the time, thinking that the department should be using its budget to hire more officers for a force he viewed as stretched thin. But now four years later, Cooper sees the program as indispensable: it frees officers from repeat calls for non-criminal issues and gets residents the help they needed, but couldn’t get.As social justice protests continue across America, there has been a push for a reckoning on the role of police in society as well as calls to defund or reimagine policing. Among those calls have been suggestions that police – who invariably show up in most parts of the country if you dial 911 for a mental health or substance abuse emergency – should not be the primary responders to non-violent, non-criminal emergency calls and that cities should devote greater resources to social services.While police remain the first responders for those kinds of calls in Alexandria, they are not in some cities in America.Operating for more than three decades, the Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets program in Eugene, Oregon, dispatches a medic and a crisis worker instead of a police officer to non-violent calls involving mental illness, homelessness and addiction. In Dallas, three-person teams made up of a paramedic, a social worker from a local hospital and a police officer are dispatched to mental health calls in the south central part of the city. A number of other cities across the US are either putting together or considering similar programs.> I’ve been told by individuals that they’re very glad I didn’t show up in a police cruiser at their home and that they’re more likely to talk to me> > Cassie HensleyPolice encounters with mentally ill people can have deadly consequences: according to the nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center, people suffering from untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed in interactions with law enforcement. Earlier this month in Utah, a 13-year-old boy with autism was shot several times by police after his mother dialed 911 to request help as her son was experiencing a mental breakdown. In Alexandria two social workers are now on the police department’s payroll. But while working for the police, they are not cops: they do not have arresting powers and they do not carry weapons. They ride in a Ford Focus instead of a police cruiser. They wear polo shirts, not police uniforms, and carry a radio with a panic button in case they find themselves in danger.“We’re like a non-threatening type of follow-up,” said Cassie Hensley, one of the department’s social workers. “I’ve been told by individuals that they’re very glad I didn’t show up in a police cruiser at their home and that they’re more likely to talk to me.”The social workers in Alexandria are not first responders. Instead, they follow up with people who have had interactions with police or they respond to a call after police officers have made sure the scene is safe for them to enter.They work with a wide range of people, from persons suffering from mental illness and substance abuse to the homeless and indigent. They also act as advocates for survivors of domestic violence and other crimes.Police departments employing social workers are rare: in recent months, interest has spurged in Alexandria’s program – so much so that the department drew up an 11-page document explaining their use of police social workers to send to other departments that send inquiries.Cooper, the Alexandria police chief, says the use of social workers helps reduce repeat emergency calls while also getting residents the help that police officers don’t have the skills, resources or time to provide.He gave the example of a Vietnam war veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and would call 911 in the early hours of the morning after waking from nightmares.“He just didn’t have anybody else – so all he knew to do was call 911 and he knew police would come and he would talk to them,” said Cooper.Over the course of a year, the man called 911 about 60 times. When cops would show up and speak with him, he would calm down, but sometimes it could take hours, diverting away police resources at a time of day when few officers were on duty.“We knew we weren’t solving the problem, we were just putting a Band-Aid on it every time he called,” said Cooper.When the department hired on its first social worker in 2016, she was able to work with the man and connect him with medical treatment with Veterans Affairs. His calls to 911 stopped.“These people end up calling the cops because they don’t know who else to call,” said Tara McLendon, an associate professor at Northern Kentucky University’s School of Social Work who helped the Alexandria police department devise its police social worker program. “And then mental illness symptoms fester and you end up in really horrible situations that I’m thinking we can prevent.”After social workers connect with persons in the community who need their help, they ask that they call them directly instead of 911 for anything that is not an actual emergency.> These people end up calling the cops because they don’t know who else to call> > Tara McLendonAdding social workers is cheaper than adding on new officers: while a new officer would cost the department around $100,000 up front, adding a new social worker – who does not need to be equipped with a weapon or kitted-out cruiser – costs about half of that, according to Ward.On Tuesday, Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville, said its police force would establish a social worker program. The move is part of a slew of promised police reforms in the city following the March police killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black 26-year-old ER tech whose name has been a rallying cry at racial justice protests in Kentucky and around the US.“We often ask our police officers to not only keep the peace, but to deal with challenges that society has failed to address, from mental health to homelessness to substance abuse and everything in-between,” said Louisville’s mayor, Greg Fischer. “That’s not fair to our officers. It’s not the right way to address these challenges.Neither Cooper nor Ward believe social workers can replace cops.“Social workers do not supplant police officers – they augment,” said Ward. “So you’ve got to have a number of police officers necessary to cover calls of service in your community first and foremost.”Jerry Ratcliffe, a former British police officer who is a criminal justice professor at Philadelphia’s Temple University, warned that replacing police with social workers is not as easy as some might hope.“The sense that social workers are an order of magnitude better than police at dealing with some of these issues – I’m not certain there is strong evidence yet to support that, but I’m open to its possibility,” he said.Alex Vitale, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and the author of The End of Policing, said police work and social work should be separated and that police officers should simply not be the first responders on many types of emergency calls.“The police see the world through a lens where every encounter is potentially deadly,” he said.Vitale warned that many – such as undocumented persons, people on probation and those who simply do not trust the criminal justice system and law enforcement – likely probably not be comfortable working with a social worker who is employed by a police force.“Rather than trying to turn police departments into hubs for social work, we should just have more social workers doing social work,” he said.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 9:00 am

Mass suspension of German police officers who shared pictures of Hitler and doctored images of refugees in gas chambersThe officers allegedly shared extremist content in chatrooms and WhatsApp groups. Some face charges of spreading Nazi propaganda and hate speech.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 9:00 am

Mayflower at 400: What we all get wrong about the Pilgrim FathersThe ship that brought the Pilgrims 400 years ago has been politicised since the founding of the US.


Posted: September 19, 2020, 6:19 am