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    Actress Who Wrote Ridiculous, Fake-Seeming Zambia Memoir Is Dating Donald Trump's Finance Chair 

    In a beautiful and yet deeply meaningless coincidence, Buzzfeed News is reporting that Louise Linton, the Scottish actress who wrote a moderately racist and very silly memoir about living in Zambia, is dating Donald Trump’s finance chairman. The human heart is a mysterious place, much like “darkest Africa,” as our friend Louise’s publisher might put it!

    Buzzfeed reported that Linton is dating Steve Mnuchin, appointed in May to serve as Trump’s finance chair, even though he’s donated to Hillary Clinton in the past and worked at a firm funded by George Soros, archnemesis to conservatives. Mnuchin has also worked for Goldman Sachs as well as OneWest Bank, where he made a lot of money as OneWest merrily foreclosed on many, many families of color. And he’s friends with Donald Trump. Real, enthusiastic friends, he told the Times:

    In a telephone interview Monday, Mr. Mnuchin emphasized the friendship part of the equation. “I was there at the beginning when he decided to run for president, and I’ve been a supporter and quiet adviser behind the scenes to him,” he explained. The day after Mr. Trump won the New York primary, Mr. Trump called Mr. Mnuchin and offered him the job. “I told him on the spot I would,” he said.

    Linton and Mnuchin chaired some kind of gala in Los Angeles together. There are pictures of them attending the premiere of some movie. Oh, and Mnuchin is listed as the executive producer for a film made by Linton’s production company, Stormchaser. (Linton’s bio says she formed Stormchaser after graduating from University of Western Los Angeles, a private, for-profit law school.)

    The question you have here is whether the woman who wrote the ridiculous book has ever met the ochre man with the ridiculous possible weave, and the answer, of course, is yes. In an interview with the Edinburgh News, Linton reminisced about her “brush with death” in Zambia and also the time she sat near Donald Trump at a dinner:

    Linton has met dozens of big names in the US, and has even dined with Donald Trump.

    Describing the experience, she said: “I sat next to him at dinner and he was charming and engaging.

    “I appreciate he is polarising individuals politically, but in person he is thoughtful, personable and polite.”

    Donald Trump is an OK seatmate: noted!

    Heat Street reported that Linton has been Mnuchin’s companion since he broke up with Heather Crosby, a Goldman Sachs director he married in 1999. Linton, then going by Hay, married a lawyer named Ronald Richards in 2005. The couple were still married around 2011, but now, clearly, they are not.

    What do we do with this information? Can we draw any inference here? About love? About Donald Trump? About Louise Linton and what one British tabloid termed her “heart of daftness” memoir? We cannot! None of this means a thing, and yet it is somehow, nonetheless, very funny.

    Mnuchin and Linton at a film premiere, February 2015. Photo via Getty

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    Potential VP Pick Bob Corker Is Done When the Trump Campaign Says He’s Done
    Photo: AP

    On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee spent the day with Donald Trump. On Wednesday, he formally withdrew his name as a potential Trump vice presidential pick. The Trump campaign, however, has not decided whether or not to allow it.

    “There are people far more suited for being a candidate for vice president, and I think I’m far more suited for other types of things,” Corker told the Washington Post in a phone interview. Corker, the Post reports, “repeatedly praised” Trump and indicated he’d be happy to serve as an “informal” adviser leading up to the election.

    One can only speculate why Corker, who was on the Trump shortlist and happily campaigned with him yesterday, withdrew his name immediately after spending the day with the candidate. But either way, he’s made it clear the only Trump campaign job for him is one he can abandon as necessary.

    Or is it? In an interview with CNN, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson disputed Corker’s withdrawal, saying he was absolutely still on the list he clearly said he doesn’t want to be on.

    “Historically a lot of the candidates say they’re not interested or they don’t want to be considered,” Pierson told Wolf Blitzer. “At the end of the day, once they’re asked, they usually accept.”

    “I will say he’s taking it very seriously,” Pierson said. “This is very personable.”

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    The Atlanta Braves Borrowed Their Parking Scam From Dan Snyder
    Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

    Last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Braves had quietly asked for and received new traffic ordinances from Cobb County lawmakers. The Accessory Special Event Parking rule, which is among those edicts, bans all privately owned parking lots near the team’s new stadium from operating on game days when it opens next season.

    There will be no public transportation to the stadium, so people will have to drive, and park, and the rule effectively stipulates that only the team can make money on parking. The AJC story held that the there was “no public discussion of the parking ordinance beyond the title being read into the record.”

    The Braves issued a statement saying that they’d asked for the statutory parking monopoly for “the safety of the fans.”

    Ah, the ol’ safety scam. The Braves aren’t the first scoundrels to trot out “safety” as an excuse to get a parking monopoly. Their efforts in Cobb County matter of factly mimic two campaigns to weaponize parking previously launched by Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins and the godfather of so many forms of fan gouging.

    Snyder used the safety argument to his financial advantage when he bought the team in 1999, and again later during his brief and lowlight-laden run with the Six Flags amusement park chain.

    Snyder’s charades met with early success. Then a Washington, D.C. attorney named J.P. Szymkowicz stood up for the fans and stared down the owner and his political cronies. “They said it was a safety issue,” Szymkowicz told me years ago. “It wasn’t a safety issue.”

    Szymkowicz’s battles with Snyder over parking could be instructive for those in Atlanta hoping to repeal the Cobb County bogusness.

    Shortly after Snyder became owner, the Skins lobbied the Prince George’s County authorities to authorize a ban on all pedestrians from entering the grounds of Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (renamed FedExField after the delivery firm offered Snyder $205 million), even on public sidewalks. No public hearings were held before the ban went into effect. There was essentially no public transportation to the games, so the ban meant fans had no choice but to drive and park in the Snyder-owned lots.

    Pedestrian ban/parking monopoly in hand, Snyder jacked the parking rate up from $10 to $25.

    Szymkowicz found out about the ban after a friend had given him a pass to sit in the owner’s suite for a Washington/Dallas game at FedEx in 2001, but didn’t have a parking pass. Not wanting to pay $25 for a free ticket, Szymkowicz parked for free at Landover Mall, located about a half-mile from FedEx Field’s front entrance, and walked over, only to be told by police that walking into the stadium was against the law.

    Szymkowicz filed a class action lawsuit to overturn the ban. Lawyers for the team argued that the prohibition was necessary for fan safety. A centerpiece of their argument was that two pedestrians had died outside the stadium after being hit by cars. Alas, as Szymkowicz pointed out, both deaths had occurred after the ban was put in place.

    Szymkowicz brought in James Slusser, director of public safety and security at Camden Yards, to testify how pedestrian traffic was safely managed for Orioles games, which were played at an urban venue that was bordered by far busier roads than was FedExField. Slusser testified how walk-ins at O’s games had been managed for years without implementing a pedestrian ban or granting the home team a parking monopoly. He found a memo from local zoning officials stating that the “the Redskins organization has worked to discourage and eliminate parking at Landover Mall” after a team survey during a Monday night game in 2000 found that 1,560 cars were using that lot to escape Snyder’s parking fees. Szymkowicz called that memo the “smoking gun” in making his case that the ban on pedestrian traffic was about parking revenues, and not safety.

    The county’s ban was repealed in October 2004. Szymkowicz not only had beaten Snyder, he’d also exposed the owner, who’d positioned himself as an everyfan when he bought the team, as the anti-fan phony he was.

    Snyder got up to his old parking tricks again soon, however. Only the venue had changed. In 2005, Snyder led a stockholder revolt that left him chairman of the board of Six Flags. Among the first moves the company made under his direction was to lobby the city council of Agawam, Mass., home of Six Flags New England, to ban all private parking lots in the area other than those operated by the theme park. Snyder had dispatched lieutenant and former ESPN big shot Mark Shapiro to the small burg to tell its leaders that the offsite parking ban was necessary for safety reasons. The operators of the private lots in the area told the council that they’d been offering competing parking services without a single pedestrian incident in the previous 20 years.

    But the council, with the support of Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen, granted Snyder the parking monopoly he craved. Visitors to Six Flags New England were soon paying the theme park triple the $5-$10 rates that nearby private lots had charged before the ban kicked in.

    But the worm turned when Michael Palazzi, owner of one of the offsite lots impacted by the Six Flags ban, recognized Snyder’s efforts in Agawam as being nearly identical to what he had pulled in Prince George’s County. Palazzi brought a copy of a newspaper article about Szymkowicz’s fight with Snyder to a city council meeting and distributed copies of the story to members and attendees. Palazzi then drafted a local teacher, Susan Dawson, to challenge Cohen for the mayor’s office. Palazzi became Dawson’s campaign manager, and the offsite parking ban and the mayor’s kowtowing to Snyder’s giant corporation became the key issues of the campaign.

    Cohen was thrown out of office, and the city council repealed the offsite parking ban by a unanimous vote. Cohen blamed his loss on his support for Snyder’s parking ban. Palazzi told me several council members personally apologized to him for supporting the parking ban. Among the apologizers was council president Donald Rheault, who told a local newspaper after his change of heart that the ordinance was “not in the best interests of public safety but to serve big business.” Council member Robert Rossi publicly apologized for being “hoodwinked” by Six Flags.

    (Wayne Curry, the Prince George’s County executive who was in charge when the FedExField ban was rammed through—but was out of office by the time it was repealed—was granted a spot in the team’s Ring of Fame.)

    Snyder ran Six Flags into bankruptcy and was tossed off the board of directors in 2010.

    After last week’s reports on the Braves’ efforts in Cobb County, I asked Szymkowicz for his thoughts.

    “This appears to be another case, like the Washington Redskins pedestrian ban, where public safety is used as a cover to force fans to park in stadium lots,” he tells me. “I hope that the adjacent property owners find an advocate to fight for their rights.”

    In other words, the independent lot operators and Braves fans could really use somebody like Szymkowicz.

    Snyder’s still a parking zealot, by the way. He charged $55 to park at FedExField for the recent Guns N’ Roses concert there. Szymkowicz went to the show, but parked for free nearby and walked in.

    Disclosure: Dan Snyder once sued the author for writing mean things about him.

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    Observer Owner, In Defending Father-In-Law's Embarrassing Twitter Behavior, Embarrasses Self
    Photo: AP

    This weekend, Donald Trump signaled once again to neo-Nazis and other anti-Semites that his campaign is a safe space for misogynistic Jew-bashing disguised as political criticism: The presumptive Republican nominee deploys such rhetoric with such frequency that it has become a pillar of Trumpism. And while right-wing hate groups across the country have celebrated this development both online and off, it has also revealed certain fissures in the institutions surrounding the Trump campaign—such as the newspaper owned by the candidate’s Orthodox Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has steadily risen in stature within the campaign over the past few months.

    On Tuesday, Dana Schwartz, an arts and culture writer at the New York Observer, wrote an open letter to her publisher, questioning how Kushner could abide by his father-in-law’s gruesome digital courtship of America’s white supremacists. The newspaper’s editor, Ken Kurson, rode to Kushner and Trump’s defense, but on Wednesday the young real estate developer wrote his own response. In the post, after throwing up the rhetorical smokescreen of his family’s Holocaust narrative, and condemning “journalists and Twitter throngs,” Kushner embarks upon a spirited defense of his participation in his father-in-law’s presidential campaign:

    It doesn’t take a ton of courage to join a mob. It’s actually the easiest thing to do. What’s a little harder is to weigh carefully a person’s actions over the course of a long and exceptionally distinguished career.

    True enough—if wildly condescending to Schwartz. But it’s not what Kushner goes on to do in the post. Instead, Kushner claims that Trump’s “from-the-heart reactions” are “instinctively pro-Jewish and pro-Israel.”

    Just last week, at an event in New Hampshire, an audience member asked about wasting money on “Zionist Israel.” My father in law didn’t miss a beat in replying that “Israel is a very, important ally of the United States and we are going to protect them 100%.” No script, no handlers, no TelePrompter – just a strong opinion from the heart.

    Actually, Trump’s instinctive response, at a debate in February, to a question about the Israel-Palestine conflict, was to advocate for American “neutrality.” A month later, when the New York Times asked him directly about his position on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, he reiterated this notion: “I’d want to go in there as evenly as possible and we’ll see if we can negotiate a deal.” This is quite a long way from “we are going to protect [Israel] 100 percent.” So, what happened? Well, Jared Kushner happened, cultivating in Trump a more conventionally Republican stance that may or may not have had anything to do with assuaging Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s concerns. Those concerns having been assuaged, Adelson has opened up his coffers.

    Kushner goes on to make a lot of claims in Trump’s defense, several of which are self-serving and contradictory, writing,“If my father in law’s fast-moving team was careless in choosing an image to retweet, well part of the reason it’s so shocking is that it’s the actual candidate communicating with the American public rather than the armies of handlers who poll-test ordinary candidates’ every move.” That may well be the most spectacularly self-negating sentence published this year. Did the “fast-moving team” chose the image? Or was it the “actual candidate?” The man needs an editor. Did Kurson read this before it went out?

    “Blaming Donald Trump for the most outrageous things done by people who claim to support him is no different from blaming Bernie Sanders for the people who stomp and spit on American flags at his rallies,” he writes at one point. “This notion that has emerged that holds my father in law responsible for the views of everyone who supports him is frankly absurd.”

    Taken together, these two sentences epitomize the most toxic impulse in American political discourse: the drive towards the false equivalence. Notice how Kushner cannot describe his father-in-law’s action in anything more than equivocation and euphemism—e.g. “the most outrageous things done by people who claim to support him,” and elsewhere “he has been careless in retweeting imagery that can be interpreted as offensive”—only to claim that this behavior is of a kind with defacing American flags. (For what it is worth, the example of the misbehaving Sanders supporters crops up in Kurson’s earlier statement on the matter to Politico.)

    Obviously, courting Nazi sympathizers and stomping on American flags are not the same thing, and do not represent the same thing. As Malcolm Harris recently argued for Pacific Standard, insisting that political views and actions outside the American mainstream are all functionally the same is, at bottom, an intellectual dead end, the refuge of the craven and the myopic. That being the case, Kushner is in good (or at least ample!) company.

    What Kushner wants us to believe is that Donald Trump is not an anti-Semite. If that’s true, it only confirms deepening suspicions that he is something far worse: An amoral, megalomaniacal nihilist allying himself with the most virulent and hateful factions of the American right, toying with their resentment and fear, making promises he will never be able to keep.

    Or he’s a secret neo-Nazi. Take your pick.

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    Donald Trump Can't "Let It (Charges of Anti-Semitism) Go"

    Just one day after the FBI announced what was possibly the most damaging news of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Donald Trump used multiple platforms Wednesday night to discuss his own alleged bigotry.

    On stage at campaign rally in Cincinnati, Trump said that a tweet featuring a six-pointed star was only interpreted as anti-Semitic due to “racial profiling” by his critics. And on Twitter, Trump shared a photo of a Frozen sticker book featuring a similar shape, asking where the outrage was for the company founded by (alleged anti-Semite) Walt Disney.

    It seems like maybe the wiser move would have been to just, I don’t know, leave it be?

    UPDATE 11:00 P.M.: Four more months of this.

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post identified Walt Disney as a “notorious anti-Semite.” While Disney was allied with the allegedly anti-Semitic Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, his personal bigotry continues to be debated.

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    Black Man Shot and Killed By Police Officer in Minnesota, Aftermath Streamed on Facebook

    Philando Castile, 32, died Wednesday night after being shot several times by a police officer in a suburb outside St. Paul, Minn., police confirmed. The immediate aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend Lavish Reynolds.

    According to Reynolds, the two were pulled over for having a broken tail light. In the video, she says that the unidentified officer asked Castile for his license and registration, but that when he went to reach for it the officer shot him four times in the arm. Reynolds says Castile informed the officer that he was in possession of a legally owned firearm.

    The officer can be heard screaming at Reynolds: “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out.” Reynolds replies by saying, “You told him to get his I.D., sir. His driver’s license.”

    The video, which has disappeared from Reynolds’ Facebook page, goes on to show her exiting the car and being arrested by attendant officers. “They threw my phone, Facebook,” she says. She can then be heard crying in the background: “Please don’t tell me my boyfriend is gone.” Later, Reynolds’ four-year-old daughter can be heard consoling her before both are shown in the back of a police car.

    The video is below. Please be aware that it is graphic and disturbing.

    According to Reynolds, Castile worked for the St. Paul Public School system. His death is the second of a black man at the hands of police this week. Late Monday night, Alton Sterling was shot in the chest and killed in Baton Rouge, La. in an incident that is already being investigated by the Department of Justice.

    Castile’s family provided this photo of him to a local reporter:

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    Hacked File: DNC Wants to Bring $15,000 in Gag Gifts to GOP Convention
    Photo: AP

    On Wednesday, the hacker or hackers using the name “Guccifer 2.0” released a new batch of files alleged stolen from the Democratic National Committee detailing plans for a “counter convention” to be held in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention next month, The Hill reports.

    While the documents largely describe a traditional media and ground campaign, one file contains a series of ideas for “gimmicks” with a proposed $15,000 budget, like milk cartons featuring “missing” GOP leaders and clothespins “so delegates can hold their nose” when voting for Trump.

    Also included are ideas for full gag gift packages like the “Trumpocalypse” survival kit. A “bribe package” for delegates, for instance, contains tickets to “Cruz Cruises” and “Trump’s failed USFL football team,” Monopoly money, Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka and Trump Ice. A “Go Trump Yourself” kit, on the other hand, contains spray tan, hair dye, tiny foam fingers, a dog whistle and a regular whistle because “come to think about it ­Trump isn’t subtle about his hate.”

    Other stray proposals:

    • “Masquerade masks to give out for people embarrassed to be there.”
    • “Trump Tabloid (8 page daily tabloid printed a la NY Post)”
    • “limo drivers at the airport holding signs with messaging about Trump to ‘greet’ RNC members”
    • “Lunch for reporters ­Offer food from countries Trump has offended: Tacos, Hummus + Pita, Chinese food, Fish & Chips. Celebrity chef Jose Andres? Tom Collichio?”

    The document also alludes to the possible participation of talk shot host Jerry Springer and comedian Billy Eichner. According to the file, Springer “wanted to be involved” and could host a live show featuring fake “Trump/Cruz/Kasich delegates.” Elsewhere, the document mentions pushing out a “Billy on the Street” video, the name of Eichner’s guerrilla comedy game show.

    The DNC has not confirmed the authenticity of the documents, but they appear to be at least a tentative version of the party’s plans for Cleveland. If it’s a hoax, it’s certainly an intricately thought-out one.

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  • 07/07/16--04:20: 123 Days and a Wake Up
  • 123 Days and a Wake Up
    A mural of Alton Sterling next to the Triple S convenience store in Baton Rouge where he was shot and killed. Photo: AP

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    Report: Minnesota Man Informed Police Officer He Was Licensed to Carry Just Before Being Killed

    Before he was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on Wednesday, Philando Castile told the officer involved that he had a concealed-carry permit and had a firearm in his possession, according to Castile’s girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds.

    In a video of the shooting’s aftermath, uploaded to Facebook, Reynolds calmly describes what happened after the officer asked Castile for his license and registration. “He told him that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry,” Reynolds says. “The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.”

    “I told him not to reach for it,” the officer could be heard saying, gun still drawn. “I told him to get his hand out.”

    “You told him to get his I.D., sir,” Reynolds replies, “his driver’s license.”

    The video is below. Please be aware that it is very graphic.

    In a statement released early on Thursday, St. Anthony police confirmed that a handgun was recovered from the scene.

    Later in the video, Reynolds and her daughter, who was in the back seat of the car when Castile was shot, are sitting in a police cruiser. “It’s okay, Mommy,” she says. “It’s okay. I’m right here with you.”

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    Trump Campaign Floats Ivanka as Vice President
    Photo: AP

    Perhaps in part because it was always going to end like this, and perhaps in part because no one but Chris Christie seems to want the job, Donald Trump’s campaign is now talking about the possibility of Ivanka as Trump’s vice president.

    The all-Trump ticket was first floated Wednesday by Sen. Bob Corker, a man who, to be fair, would say anything at this point to escape the clutches of the Trump campaign.

    “His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka. I know that wouldn’t pass muster, probably. But I don’t know that I’ve met a more composed, brilliant, beautiful-in-every-way person,” Corker said.

    But whether Corker really believes that or was just dangling the Ivanka meat to distract Katrina Pierson as he fled the building, the Trump campaign has latched on to the idea.

    In typical Trump family member fashion, Ivanka’s brother, Eric, noted first that he has a hot sister.

    “I agree, right? She’s got the beautiful looks, right? She’s got—she’s smart, she’s smart, smart, smart,” Eric Trump said Thursday morning on Fox & Friends. “She’s certainly got my vote.”

    (Eric’s strength, Donald Trump announced on stage last night at a rally in Cincinnati, is being tall.)

    And, as Eric points out, Ivanka just barely ekes out the age requirement for VP: “She’ll just be 35,” on October 30, he said, “so she’d just make that by about by, you know, seven, eight days.”

    The Jews, several of whom Donald Trump loves, have a term for this: Beshert.

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    Calvin Harris to Beat Taylor Swift at Her Own Game
    Photo: AP

    Whether because of contractual obligation or a mutual attraction—to what, I can’t say—Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift spent one magical year together as boyfriend and girlfriend, a legal term used to indicate two people making an agreed-upon minimum number of public appearances together. But now that their term of agreement is over, it seems Harris is set to capitalize in a manner typically reserved for Swift.

    He’s recording a song about it.

    “The track is called “Ole,” and it’s written from Tom Hiddleston’s POV,” TMZ reports.

    The lyrics make it clear ... Calvin believes Taylor had hooked up with Tom way before she broke up with him.

    One lyric goes, “I see online that you begun to be a good girl and take trips with your boyfriend. Being attentive, continue to pretend ...”

    If that wasn’t clear enough, the song goes on ... “You’ve hidden my name in your phone so you can call me to tell me you’ve been going through hell. Left him alone and you booked in a hotel.”

    And, using Tom’s famous ‘Thor’ character Loki, the song goes on, “Low key you won’t tell none of your friends about me.”

    Sounds like a banger. I’m sure both their publicists are thrilled.

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    Second Video of Alton Sterling's Shooting Death Seems to Contradict Police Claim That He Was Holding a Gun

    Abdullah Muflahti, the owner of the convenience store outside of which his friend Alton Sterling was killed on Tuesday, has shared new footage of the shooting with The Daily Beast. The video—filmed at a different angle than the video that emerged earlier this week—appears to contradict the claim by authorities that Sterling was threatening police with a gun.

    Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake were on the scene responding to a 911 call about a man, matching Sterling’s description at the store’s location, who “pulled a gun,” WAFB-TV reports. “2100 North Foster, cross Fairfield. Selling CDs on the corner. Gun in his pocket,” the police dispatcher said. “He pulled a gun on a complainant and told him he couldn’t be around there.” The original 911 call has not yet been released.

    Despite what police have said, Muflahti told The Daily Beast that he saw no “altercation” between Sterling and the officers until they tasered and tackled him. The video Muflahti recorded of what happened next is embedded below. Please be aware that it is very graphic.

    Police seized footage from Muflahti’s surveillance cameras, despite his objections that they needed a warrant. But unbeknownst to them, Muflahti and another bystander, Arthur Reed, had also recorded the incident on their cell phones.

    The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

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    Am I Going to Write About Murdered Black People Forever?
    Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice; Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, Tarika Wilson

    It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fight the sense that, for the rest of my life, I’ll be writing about black Americans who’ve been killed, in one way or another, by the police.

    Every generation likes to believe that they’ve made progress that distinguishes them from the one before them, and the one before that. But just as many white Americans have not outgrown their violent hatred of black people, as America itself has not outgrown its practice of giving white Americans impunity for the result of this hatred—a new wave of black Americans are inheriting something close to a hatred of their nation, as well as the burden of resisting this, however we can.

    In the time it took me to write about one fatal police shooting, another occurred. Originally, I intended to address Alton Sterling, a father of five from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was shot to death on Tuesday night by a police officer as he was selling bootleg CDs in a parking lot. Sterling was murdered at a point-blank range while his back was on the ground.

    Then, on Wednesday, 32-year-old Philando Castile was executed by a St. Paul police officer during a traffic stop. The aftermath was caught on camera by his girlfriend, who sat in the car next to him. Her four-year-old daughter was in the back seat.

    Neither man presented any reasonable danger whatsoever to the officers who shot them, though the officers will certainly end up crying danger in the inquest, and probably successfully. Alton Sterling, whose hands were empty when he was shot, had a gun in his pocket that was pulled out by the officers as he died. A woman who occasionally bought CDs from him told the AP that Sterling was hustling to make a living, and likely feared being robbed. It doesn’t seem to matter that Louisiana is an open-carry state (Ohio, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot for his toy gun, is too).

    Philando Castile’s girlfriend filmed a cop in the throes of self-induced panic pointing a gun at his unconscious, bleeding body. She says the officer “asked him for license and registration. He told him that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry. The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.”

    And so this song plays again. A black life is stolen and we must now struggle to measure the pain and remember that none of our lives are really safe. We must sit with the footage of these incidents, which fill in what our imagination would write otherwise, and wonder if one of these horrifying videos will ever result in change. So far they have not. Some people will sit with their children to teach them to be cautious around state agents ostensibly tasked with protecting them. Some will cry and some will rage. Some of us will write.

    Yesterday, Roxane Gay wrote a powerful piece for the New York Times on Alton Sterling and the continued disregard for black lives. Just as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray and Brittney Cooper about Sandra Bland. I myself have offered more than a few words on the subject.

    So many of these writers—black and otherwise—write beautiful, tragic and true prose in the aftermath of these offenses about the fallacy that is being both safe and black in America. Their articles are shared and lauded and discussed and responded to and built upon. Then we wait for another—another shooting, another lost life. And we write again, and wonder: is this just the way of things now? How much time will I spend finding the correct words to say that the color of a person’s skin is not justification for ending their life? And how much time will elapse until those words mean anything to the people who actually kill us?

    The shooting of black people by the police has been happening for as long as America has existed. But this cycle—the graphic videos, the celebrity social media posts, the GoFundMe campaigns, the essays, the thinkpieces, and then the wait to do it all again—it’s fully visible. We ache and we yell and we hope that, eventually, the obvious weight of all this pain will be enough to move something to change. But at times hoping in public feels even more precarious. We cannot appeal to a national conscience when, as Stokely Carmichael reminded us, there is none.

    Slavery in the United States lasted about 240 years. The lynching era lasted for 70 more. And now, in 2016, black people are living through a second struggle for our civil rights: we’re asking for independent investigations, body cameras, more rigorous police training, and a minimum affordance of personhood. We’re asking for something very simple that sometimes feels impossible: for the nation to be compassionate, for the nation to recognize our humanity.

    Every time another black person dies at the hands of police, it feels like we’re slamming into a wall. The state and white supremacy have perfectly crafted yet another tactic to keep us scared and compliant. As with lynching, it’s less about the total loss of life—though the numbers are horrific—and more about the constant state of fear it breeds, audible and visible in the way Philando Castile’s girlfriend refers to the officer who just shot her boyfriend as “sir.”

    Even when we channel this fear into work, they hate us. We raise funds for victims and they raise more money for the killer cops. We push for accountability and they tell us a child deserved to die.

    I can continue to vote and go to protests and sign petitions and donate money and get in arguments with racist white people. And I can write. I can write again and again for as long as the this nation piles up black bodies. But when you’ve just watched a man bleed to death after a routine traffic stop while a child sits in the back seat, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like much.

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    Paul Ryan Wants to Ban Hillary Clinton From Receiving Classified Information During Her Campaign
    Image: AP

    Paul Ryan may be openly disgusted with Donald Trump, but he does seem willing to do his bidding: This morning, the Republican House leader sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asking for Hillary Clinton to be banned from receiving classified information during her presidential campaign.

    Ryan’s letter reads in part:

    There is no legal requirement for you to provide Secretary Clinton with classified information, and it would send the wrong signal to all those charged with safeguarding our nation’s secrets if you choose to provide her access to this information despite the FBI’s findings. I firmly believe this is necessary to reassure the public that our nation’s secrets are secure. Should you choose to reject this request, I ask that you provide you rationale for granting Secretary Clinton access to classified information despite the FBI’s findings.

    Ryan’s letter acts as a formal request, but it comes off as a mere publicity stunt. In a press conference in which he recommended that no charges be filed against Clinton, FBI Director James Comey never said that Clinton would be unable to properly handle classified information moving forward.

    Further, I highly doubt that Paul Ryan, in his heart of hearts, truly thinks that Donald Trump—who, for instance, allowed sensitive voicemails to be easily accessed by teenagers—is a more trustworthy person than Hillary Clinton. You can read Ryan’s full letter below.

    Paul Ryan Wants to Ban Hillary Clinton From Receiving Classified Information During Her Campaign

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    Jared Kushner’s Family Calls Him an Asshole for Defending Trump
    Photo: AP

    Yesterday Jared Kushner penned a loving tribute to his father-in-law, Donald Trump, drawing on his own Jewish heritage and family history with the Holocaust to bolster the argument that Trump is not anti-Semitic. In response, Kushner’s family advanced the argument that he’s a real idiot.

    “I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors,” Kushner wrote in the op-ed, published yesterday in the newspaper he owns, the New York Observor. His grandparents, he wrote, escaped from the occupied Belarus ghetto Novogroduk in the fall of 1943 and hid out in the woods, where they lived off the land for most of the winter.

    On the night before Rosh Hashana 1943, the 250 Jews who remained of the town’s 20,000 plotted an escape through a tunnel they had painstakingly dug beneath the fence. The searchlights were disabled and the Jews removed nails from the metal roof so that it would rattle in the wind and hopefully mask the sounds of the escaping prisoners.

    My grandmother and her sister didn’t want to leave their father behind. They went to the back of the line to be near him. When the first Jews emerged from the tunnel, the Nazis were waiting for them and began shooting. My grandmother’s brother Chanon, for whom my father is named, was killed along with about 50 others. My grandmother made it to the woods, where she joined the Bielski Brigade of partisan resistance fighters. There she met my grandfather, who had escaped from a labor camp called Voritz. He had lived in a hole in the woods—a literal hole that he had dug—for three years, foraging for food, staying out of sight and sleeping in that hole for the duration of the brutal Russian winter.

    He shared this story, Kushner wrote, because he found it important “that people understand where I’m coming from when I report that I know the difference between actual, dangerous intolerance versus these labels that get tossed around in an effort to score political points.”

    So when he says Trump isn’t a racist, you have to believe him, because he is related to people who know from racists.

    But Politico reports at least two family members—Marc Kushner and Jacob Schulder, both cousins—say it’s a shanda, which is Yiddish for “My cousin is a moron.”

    “I have a different take­away from my Grandparents’ experience in the war,” Kushner wrote on Facebook Thursday. “It is our responsibility as the next generation to speak up against hate. [Sic] Anti­semitism or otherwise.”

    But the real response came from Schulder, who wrote that his grandfather would have done a better job running the Trump campaign from the forest.

    “When an out of touch with reality nominee hires an out of touch with reality campaign manager, who is also a son­-in-­law, you get the BS Jared wrote. I don’t think Trump is an anti­Semite; I think he’s a lying idiot (among other things) with little to no experiences outside his teetering fiefdom of failed development projects, divorces, bankrupted sports leagues, fraudulent “Universities” and golf courses (and the list keeps going),” Schulder wrote on Facebook, emphasis ours. “The very first thing a responsible campaign manager should do, I’d think, and I mean the very first thing, would be to take away his father-­in­-law’s Twitter account. Even Joseph Kushner would’ve had the street smarts to figure that one out while living on boiled potatoes in the forest.

    And they should know...

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    David Folkenflik, the NPR media correspondent and author of Murdoch’s World, recently revealed a little-noticed feature of Fox News’ afternoon opinion panel The Five. It’s called the “leg cam,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

    Speaking on November 11 to an audience member in Los Angeles who asked about the network’s portrayal of its female talent, the book-touring author (who is well-sourced within the network) responded:

    There’s a camera that they have, and what they do — I’m told this is absolutely true — they sort of sort the women they have by the degree of attractiveness, and particularly the degree of attractiveness of the legs. I believe it’s the seat on the front right where, having arranged this hierarchy, they put the woman with the best legs there and they have a camera that goes directly for the legs. And so essentially they have what they call the “leg cam,” and that is to accentuate the sleekness and design of that particular person on-air.

    Yesterday’s episode of The Five, with Andrea Tantaros in the leg seat, seemed to confirm Folkenflik’s account. Witness:

    Fox News Uses a “Leg Cam” to Ogle Female Panelists

    As did Wednesday’s episode, when Kimberly Guilfoyle occupied the same chair:

    Fox News Uses a “Leg Cam” to Ogle Female Panelists

    Fox News has a history of emphasizing female legs. “This is Fox News,” an “insider” told Roger Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman last year, following Karl Rove’s on-air election-night meltdown. “So anytime there’s a chance to show off Megyn Kelly's legs they’ll go for it.” Indeed, Kelly is the only prime-time Fox anchor whose studio desk permits viewers to glimpse her legs. At least Roger Ailes’ network is consistent.

    Email the author of this post at

    [Video via LAObserved, Zócalo Public Square]

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    FBI Director Testifies Before Congress About Recommendation Not to Charge Hillary Clinton
    Photo: AP

    In his first public appearance since announcing on Tuesday that the FBI would not recommend prosecuting Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server as secretary of state, agency director James Comey defended his decision before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday.

    Although the FBI and the Department of Justice have foregone prosecution, Comey described Clinton’s actions “extremely careless” and said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring an indictment. In his opening statement, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Representative Elijah Cummings, said the point of the hearing was for Comey to “fill the gap.”

    Cummings went on to ask Comey to explain why General David Petraeus, the former CIA director who plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information, was prosecuted for his misconduct while Clinton was not.

    “Clearly intentional conduct. Knew what he was doing was violation of the law,” Comey said. “Huge amounts of information. If you couldn’t prove he knew it, raises the inference [that] he did it and effort to obstruct justice. That combination of things makes it worthy of a prosecution. A misdemeanor prosecution, but a prosecution nonetheless.” Comey also denied that the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the Department of Justice, or the FBI had been influenced by a “bribe” from Clinton, as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has alleged.

    Representative Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the committee, asked Comey directly whether Clinton lied under oath about her email practices. “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI,” the director responded. Apparently baffled by such a specific response to a vague question, Chaffetz said that he would ask the FBI to investigate whether Clinton lied to Congress.

    According to Comey, while Clinton did make statements that proved to be untrue, the case did not warrant the Justice Department’s second prosecution on charges of “gross negligence” in a century. “I know that’s been a source of some confusion for folks,” Comey testified. “That’s just the way it is. I know the Department of Justice, I know no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case.”

    Chaffetz and other Republican representatives repeatedly tried to corner Comey on the issue of whether an employee of the FBI, who was found to have conducted themselves similarly to Clinton, would have his or her security clearances revoked. Comey was clearly reluctant to engage in such a hypothetical, but acknowledged that there would be “consequences.”

    “Amazingly, some Republicans who were praising you just days ago... instantly turned against you,” Representative Cummings said at one point. “In their eyes, you had one job and one job only, to prosecute Hillary Clinton.”

    Indeed, Representative Chaffetz, whose government-issued business cards list his personal Gmail account, had only nice things to say about Comey just weeks before his Tuesday announcement. As The Huffington Post points out, in a June 6 appearance on Fox News Chaffetz described Comey as “a man of integrity and honesty.”

    “His finger is on the pulse of this,” Chaffetz added. “Nothing happens without him, and I think he is going to be the definitive person to make a determination or a recommendation.” Asked whether Republicans would accept a recommendation from the FBI not to prosecute Clinton, Chaffetz said, “Oh, probably. Because we do believe in James Comey.”

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    Last night, Roger Ailes officially denied former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s claims of “severe and pervasive sexual harassment,” with Ailes calling the suit “offensive” and “wholly without merit.” The content Ailes sees fit to air, however, tells a different story.

    For years, Fox News has been a bastion of casual sexism, so it should surprise no one that the ideas expressed on air manifested off the air as well. Only the court can say for sure whether the Fox News chairman was guilty of such vulgar behavior as, per Carlson’s complaint, “ogling [her] in his office and asking her to turn around so he could view her posterior.” But her colleagues are definitely guilty of doing exactly that, on the air, and then celebrating it.

    We’ve compiled some of the more egregious bits of that Fair & Balanced celebration above.

    Video by Nicholas Stango

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    Infamous Price Gouger Martin Shkreli Wants To Collect Rare Magic: The Gathering Cards
    source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Infamous price gouger Martin Shkreli has found his next potential scheme, and it’s a little less glamorous than his shady pharmaceutical company: Magic: The Gathering. Shkreli posted on the MTG subreddit last night fishing for details about collecting rare Magic cards. He identifies as a “new and wealthy player” who collects “wine, art and other goods,” apparently unbroken by the reported $4.5 million in unpaid taxes he owed last February.

    Infamous Price Gouger Martin Shkreli Wants To Collect Rare Magic: The Gathering Cards

    The MTG community is currently embroiled in a debate over Magic’s reserved list, a list of cards that publisher Wizards of the Coast says will never be reprinted. Collectors benefit from the increased value of these rare cards, driving up their prices and reselling them for a pretty penny. Players, on the other hand, are furious. Because these older cards are financially out-of-reach, certain decks using those cards are nearly impossible to craft. To many, it reads as hostile to those who aren’t rich, something Shkreli, who drew controversy last year after he marked up the price of an AIDS drug by more than 5,000 percent, is intimately familiar with.

    Shkreli’s interest in MTG’s reserved list cards, professedly the Black Lotus cards, reflects poorly on so-called “entrepreneurs” in the Magic community, according to Reddit commenters. Some say that Shkreli’s curiosity will finally prove to Wizards that the reserved list is against the spirit of the game.

    This isn’t Shkreli’s first foray into competitive gaming as an investor. Last February, The Daily Dot reported that the pharmaceutical CEO owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to League of Legends players he hired to compete on his amateur team. The team, Ex Nihilo, did not quality for the League Champion Series.

    When it comes to Magic, Shkreli said on Reddit that he plays “a little, but not competitively,” referring to MTG as “my game. Soon.”

    “Please don’t make a big deal of this,” he added.

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