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- 07/21/16--13:46: _Roger Ailes Out at ...
- 07/21/16--14:05: _Science Watch: The ...
- 07/21/16--14:30: _All the Best Shit t...
- 07/21/16--14:59: _What Does Peter Thi...
- 07/21/16--15:20: _Officer Was Aiming ...
- 07/21/16--15:50: _Bye, Roger: The Bes...
- 07/21/16--16:30: _Leaked: Text of Don...
- 07/21/16--17:01: _Liveblogging the Sm...
- 07/21/16--19:07: _Clammy Billionaire ...
- 07/21/16--20:01: _In His Own Words: T...
- 07/21/16--21:11: _Former KKK Grand Wi...
- 07/22/16--05:53: _Truck Yeah Tesla’s ...
- 07/22/16--06:42: _In Phoenix, an appa...
- 07/20/16--13:00: _FBI Releases File o...
- 07/22/16--07:04: _Guard Reportedly Fa...
- 07/22/16--07:50: _Donald Trump's Dang...
- 07/22/16--08:30: _Queer People Sure A...
- 07/21/16--18:42: _Reporter Busted Pla...
- 07/22/16--08:45: _108 Days and a Wake Up
- 07/22/16--06:48: _Today's Best Deals:...
- 07/21/16--13:46: Roger Ailes Out at Fox News After Sexual Harassment Scandal
- 07/21/16--14:05: Science Watch: The Ground Is Full of Dinosaurs
- Well it looks like scientists have finally programmed stem cells to grow cartilage. Hey brothers and sisters—give me a call when they program stem cells to grow a heaping dose of common sense. That’s a show I’ll tune in for—in spades.
- A new map of the human brain offers unprecedented detail, demarcating 360 separate brain areas including they mygdala, the smadulo, the perstila, the mexcromu, the hordilary, and the antederufinator. Is it possible that within our lifetime we will unlock the secrets of the upsamadila angrutexal forsposhonal? Possible, sure. But likely? Ask a scientist, I guess. If you trust them, I feel sorrier for you than I do for a poor man. At least a poor man might have a good head on his shoulders. Bad economic circumstances befall good people. Anyone who’s lived a little can tell you this.
- Imagine if someone invented a wheel that would convert any bicycle into an electric vehicle. Are you imagining it? Okay, now open your eyes... it’s true. There is one. And you’ll still probably never get over your fear of bees.
- Spiders have different personalities, just like humans. Some spiders are kind, like me, and some spiders are incredibly vindictive and downright unfair, like Mario who works at the hardware store. Who set up that precarious display of light bulbs that was just waiting to fall down, Mario—you or me?
- Our planet just had the hottest June in recorded history. “Oh, boo, what the heck, let’s get mad about it!” you say. Look, it’s in the past, man. And there’s no guarantee the future will resemble the past. Read some David Hume. After you do, come back and see me. “I read some David Hume,” you say. “I think differently now.” While you’re saying that, the sun’s concentrated rays appear to have set the hem of your garment aflame.
- We’re told that NASA has discovered 100 new planets. The source for this “news?” None other than N-A-S-A. Well, well. Media literacy, my friends.
- As if the San Andreas fault wasn’t unpopular enough, now they say that the earth’s tides could trigger an earthquake along that famous crack. I swear—sometimes the San Andreas fault thinks about just moving back to San Andreas, getting a job at Old Navy, and just being normal. You know? Out of the madness. But when you have a dream you have to follow it, ultimately.
- Paleontologists announce the finding of a new dinosaur species every two weeks. Sounds like a lot... until you consider the fact that many actual dinosaurs went out and killed things every single day, without the use of any of our modern technologies. Have we really come all that far in the last 80 million years? It makes you think. About dinosaurs. About killing. And about killing paleontologists.
- 07/21/16--14:30: All the Best Shit to Buy at the RNC
- 07/21/16--14:59: What Does Peter Thiel Want?
- 07/21/16--15:50: Bye, Roger: The Best Times Roger Ailes Was The Worst
- 07/21/16--16:30: Leaked: Text of Donald Trump's RNC Acceptance Speech
- 07/21/16--17:01: Liveblogging the Smart and Handsome Peter Thiel (and Maybe Trump)
- 07/21/16--20:01: In His Own Words: Trump On "Violence, Hatred, Or Oppression"
- 07/20/16--13:00: FBI Releases File on Australia's Pinko Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam
- 07/22/16--07:50: Donald Trump's Dangerous America Is a Fiction
- 07/21/16--18:42: Reporter Busted Playing Pokémon Go During State Department Briefing
- 07/22/16--08:45: 108 Days and a Wake Up
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Roger Ailes has resigned as the chairman and CEO of Fox News, its parent company 21st Century Fox announced this afternoon. His departure comes after a protracted separation process sparked by a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.
In a press release regarding Ailes leaving the network, Rupert Murdoch said that he will be taking over as chairman and acting CEO. In a letter to Murdoch obtained by Matt Drudge, Ailes said he chose to resign so he would not be a distraction at the company:
Having spent 20 years building this historic business, I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry. I am confident that everyone at Fox News and Fox Business will continue as the standard setters that they are, and that the businesses are well positioned for even greater success in the future.
Alas, that ship had long since sailed. Running parallel to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was the drama surrounding the party’s mouthpiece network. The inevitability of Ailes’ departure seemed to crystalize on Monday
After Carlson filed her sexual harassment suit, which alleged that she had been shuffled off to an undesirable time slot after accusing Ailes of being a creep, dozens more women came forward—including several publicly
At least one Fox man responded to the news with despair:
Stem cells! Brain map! Wheel bike! Spider talk! Hot weather! New planets! Fault lines! And what do “certain” scientists do for a living, anyhow? It’s your Thursday Science Watch, where we watch science—for pure profit!
CLEVELAND — The free market is alive and well here at the Republican National Convention. Because in addition to the official, RNC-sanctioned merchandise for sale within the arena, private vendors are making a killing selling Trump-themed refuse to freedom-loving, Hillary-hating passersby everywhere.
For those of you unable to see the spectacle for yourself, we’ve compiled some of the best bits of Republican paraphernalia for sale here in Downtown Cleveland. Here’s all the classiest, most luxurious garbage you ever did see.
Outdoor vendors are selling an obscene amount of pins.
Republicans fucking love pins.
You know what they don’t love?
Also, small boobs.
Personally, I think it’s wrong that Donald Trump wants to builds his wall with an army of toddlers in miniaturized cranes.
If this week had one theme, that theme would be “fuck Ted Cruz.” If it had two themes, the other would probably be “I want to fuck my guns.”
Please see above.
Freedom is also very “in” this election season.
As are ugly, unflattering shirts.
Nothing wrong with that.
If you’re a teen looking to become a viral sensation, there’s nowhere better than the place where nearly every single media outlet in the country is forced to congregate for a week. Which is why one young entrepreneur has been staked out hocking candidate-themed cereal to passersby.
Sparkles for Ladies
As a woman, my favorite vendor here at Trumpcon is the “Rhinestone Marketplace.”
Glittery freedom for my girls.
There is nothing funny about alcoholism.
Inside the arena where the actual speeches take place, you’ll find about half a dozen stands selling official GOP Trump merch. It is mostly boring and bad.
It is also incredibly predictable.
Of the many ties sold at the convention, official and otherwise, there was not a single Trump-brand tie in sight. I can’t imagine why.
Puzzles of Hell
Do you want to know what your life is going to be like when you enter Hell? Finish one of these puzzles and find out!
A beautiful, bedazzled box to store all your dainty lady guns. Only $500
Free Industrial Relish
Don’t have money to blow on garbage? Don’t worry! Republicans are about helping you help yourself—to more free mayonnaise. Because sometimes, my friends, freedom really is free.
Tonight, in Cleveland, Silicon Valley billionaire, Facebook board member, and Donald Trump delegate Peter Thiel will address thousands of party members and journalists at the Republican National Convention. Although he has never concealed his own fringe political views—such as his contention that human freedom and representative democracy are incompatible—Thiel’s open embrace of Trump has inspired some soul-searching in the proudly progressive technology sector. Among that crowd, he’s typically considered a brilliant if mercurial oracle, while the broader public has, for the most part, treated Thiel with confusion and fascination, most recently over his years-long covert campaign to bankrupt Gawker Media.
Thiel’s speech is likely to be the most sober that convention-goers have heard in what has been, up to this point, a remarkably content-free festival of anger and confusion. Early reports about the address have indicated that Thiel intends to praise Trump’s anti-interventionism and “economic credentials.” (He also reportedly plans to acknowledge that he is proud to be a gay man.) But from the vantage point of Thiel’s philosopher-capitalist persona, there isn’t much of substance in Trumpism to praise: His political agenda is mostly a posture, an attitude of defiance. Which may explain both why Thiel has signed on to Trump’s campaign, and why Trump has granted him one of the most high-profile slots in the convention schedule, just three speakers before the candidate himself. Trump needs ideas, and Thiel needs a political vehicle for his.
Those ideas boil down to a belief that the conventional givens of bourgeois capitalism—monopolies are bad, democracy is good, equality is a virtue, all people must eventually die—are little more than superstitions hindering the advance of the human project. Bold visionaries who are capable of seeing through the shibboleths of the Enlightenment can, and should, refashion the world after their own desires. They can live forever, make their own laws, travel through outer space, control the flow of information, ingest the content of the world’s conversations into servers under their control. As for the rest of us—we are users of services he has funded to distract us, providing the data he can monetize to fund his dreams.
Thiel has never been shy about his radical elitism. He’s repeated his ideas in dozens of interviews, and argued in print that “the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms—from the totalitarian and fundamentalist catastrophes to the unthinking demos that guides so-called ‘social democracy.’” The Silicon Valley milieu in which he travels has always tolerated his intellectual quirks within the ideological context of disruption—the idea that staid, calcified commercial sectors are ripe targets for attack if you know which rules to break. But Thiel’s assistance in the the coronation of Trump represents a different kind of disruption, a political one, which has alarmed the socially progressive and fiscally conservative members of Silicon Valley’s investor class.
Those people are baffled by the billionaire’s turn to Trump. One associate, PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, told Bloomberg: “Every time I read [about Thiel’s support for Trump], I typically check the calendar because I’m not completely sure it’s not April 1.” An open letter signed by 140 prominent members of the tech industry argued that Trump “stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy—and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.”
This ideological mismatch has inspired at least one conspiracy theory to explain Thiel and Trump’s odd alliance. “I think Peter Thiel supports Donald Trump because he believes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to weaken America’s attachment to democratic government,” Jeff Bercovici recently opined in an essay for Inc. magazine. Citing unnamed people familiar with his thoughts about Trump, Bloomberg’s Max Chafkin and Lizette Chapman reported that Thiel “loves disruption, in the Silicon Valley sense of ‘creative destruction,’ as opposed to the usual connotation of ‘making things worse,’ and has weighed the candidate’s demagoguery against a hope that a Trump administration would clear the way for further disruption.”
To support this theory, both Inc. and Bloomberg cite Thiel’s clandestine plot to destroy Gawker Media by funding a series of frivolous lawsuits against the company, in apparent retribution for Gawker’s unflattering coverage of him and his friends.
Thiel’s motivations become much more legible if you begin with the premise that he is endorsing Trump not because he believes in the candidate’s particular policy prescriptions—such as the systemic victimization of an entire religion—but because he wants to instrumentalize Trump in an effort to propagate his vision of a political future in which elites are liberated to radically remake the system of governance to better serve their interests. For all its antediluvian populism, Trumpism shares certain structural characteristics with Silicon Valley’s bleeding-edge ideology. Trump moves fast, and he breaks things. He iterates. He pivots. And if successful—perhaps even if he’s not—the disruption he causes to the calcified political order could make room for new ideas about the relations between economic classes, and between the government and the governed.
This is not as crazy as it might seem. Social theorists have studied the ideology of “accelerationism” for decades, and political activists still speak of “heightening the contradictions”—i.e., forcing societal change by making society increasingly intolerable. Where Thiel differs from, say, radical activists, is that he is attempting to harness the angry energy of a faux-populist political campaign in order to usher in the destruction of politics itself. What’s more, he has very specific ideas of what kind of world should rise from the ruins, and, unlike most people, has the monetary means to bring many of these ideas to life.
As has been widely documented, Thiel is deeply skeptical of traditions and institutions that, while beneficial to mankind on the whole, might clog up his plans to reshape the planet. In a 2009 essay for Cato Unbound, for example, he wrote, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” In the same piece, he argued that libertarianism would never flourish because of “welfare beneficiaries” and “the extension of the [voting rights] to women.” After readers criticized the obvious corollary—that Thiel believes women should not vote—he offered a short, dismissive response: “While I don’t think any class of people should be disenfranchised, I have little hope that voting will make things better.”
Another target of Thiel’s scorn is higher education. Although he attended Stanford University for college and law school, where he forged valuable connections in the tech industry, Thiel now believes that higher education is an elaborate scam. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States,” he told TechCrunch in 2011. “To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.” The same year, he began paying would-be college students $100,000 to either promise not to go to college or drop out entirely so that they can focus on building startups.
Thiel believes in establishing sovereign cities on floating ocean barges, where inhabitants would be free from government’s rules or regulations. The Thiel Foundation has pledged “up to to $1,000,000” to the Seasteading Institute, whose stated purpose is “to enable seasteading communities—floating cities—which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government.” The institute’s FAQ page openly encourages American seasteaders to renounce their citizenship to avoid taxes on income and capital gains acquired while seasteading.
Perhaps most infamously, Thiel has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into clinical research to prolong the human lifespan, perhaps indefinitely. In the aforementioned Cato Unbound essay, he said he stood against “the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual.” In a 2012 interview with CBS, he added, “There are all these people who say that death is natural, it’s just part of life, and I think that nothing can be further from the truth.” His vision of the world is based on the idea that nothing, not even his own body, should limit the power or potential of Peter Thiel.
Next month, Thiel is scheduled to attend the annual conference of the Property and Freedom Society in Turkey. The gatherings of the society, which promotes “uncompromising intellectual radicalism,” are “salons for white supremacists and their fellow travelers, and for libertarian extremists whose ideology creeps right up to crypto-Nazism,” according to the investigative journalists Brandon Thorp and Penn Bullock:
The group’s founder and Thiel’s host is Hans Hermann-Hoppe, an anarcho-capitalist former professor at the University of Nevada. Hoppe sets the tone for these gatherings. In his book Democracy: The God That Failed, he envisions a stateless “libertarian order” that purges homosexuals and literally anyone who believes in democracy. “They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society,” Hoppe writes, referring to “advocates of parasitism, homosexuality, or communism,” among other undesirables.
The through-line that animates all of Thiel’s ideas is a profound distrust in the notion that equality itself is a worthwhile end. It takes just a bit of imagination to game out his anti-death campaign into the ultimate inequity—unequal distribution of access to life itself. Thiel believes in monopolies, and that he who moves first deserves the spoils. If, against reason, an effort he funds ever cracks the code of life extension, that product would be the ultimate unicorn—Uber for life—available only to those who are able to pay, and protected from competition by patents and copyright law. (One promising life-extension technique, researched at Stanford University, involves transfusing older adults with the blood of young donors. It has been used to treat Alzheimer’s patients with some apparent effect. But what if its beneficial effects are more widely applied? Tony Wyss-Coray, the founder of Stanford’s Wyss-Coray Laboratory, told The Guardian that “healthy, very rich people” began asking him if his lab’s research could help them live longer. It’s not hard to imagine a Thielist future in which members of the overclass literally purchase the blood of the young poor in order to lead longer, healthier lives than their lesser counterparts can afford.)
Thiel reacts poorly to those who challenge his vision. When Gawker’s Valleywag blog began writing about Thiel’s failed hedge fund Clarium Capital—including his apparent decision to conceal his sexuality from the wider public so that Clarium could more easily penetrate petroleum markets controlled by repressive governments—he responded by calling Valleywag “the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda.” In the world imagined by Peter Thiel, people who criticize Peter Thiel are terrorists. And, judging by his secret war on Gawker, he’s willing to destroy his critics in the press, not with any counter-arguments, but with his checkbook.
This is a startling vision for how the world should work. In this world, wealthy elites, having escaped from terrestrial society and been injected with the blood of the young, can live forever, while the less lucky are relegated to a death-bound underclass lacking the protections of a discernible government. It is one in which any criticism of the ruling powers deserves harsh punishment. It is profoundly anti-democratic. At the same time, it represents the terminus of Silicon Valley’s scariest misconception, which is that the interests of the technology industry and the interests of humanity are one in the same.
What does Peter Thiel want? He wants everything. And, based on his support of Trump, he appears willing to trade the world that we have, in all of its imperfections, for the world that he wants.
The Miami Police may have refused to answer questions
John Rivera, who leads the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, explained that the police officer shot Kinsey by accident. He was actually aiming for “the white male”—Kinsey’s young autistic patient, whom the cops mistook for a suicidal man with a gun. (In the video taken before the shooting, Kinsey calls him “Rinaldo” while trying to get him to lay on the ground so he wouldn’t be shot by the police.) So what we have here is a cop, who is a terrible shot, who decided that a man holding a toy truck was a threat.
Rivera, who kept referring to Kinsey as “Kinsley,” is quoted by the Miami New Times:
It appeared to the officers that the white male was trying to do harm to Mr. Kinsey. The officers, realizing and believing that there was a firearm — many officers thought the white male had a firearm. Only much later when we’re able to ‘Monday-morning quarterback’ do we find out that it’s a toy.
“I DOUBT the police officer said anything,” wrote Javier Ortiz, head of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, on Facebook. “And, I assure you there is more to this story. Sensationalism at its best.” That’s all for now, but surely that’s not the end of things Ortiz has to tell us. Previously, he justified the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by saying, “act like a thug and you’ll be treated like one” and called the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling “more than justified.” He also attempted to lead a boycott on Beyoncé over her Super Bowl performance, a boycott his own union called bullshit on.
The state police department and the prosecutor’s office are conducting parallel investigations
Roger Ailes, the founder and CEO of Fox News, is resigning from the network
The New Roger Ailes Biography Manages to Go 35 Pages Before Credulously Repeating a Documentable Lie
These are Donald Trump’s prepared remarks for his appearance at the Republican National Convention, as obtained by Gawker Thursday evening:
I don’t know how you do it. I’ve put together some really impressive deals, but this thing you’ve pulled off—
[Trump lifts the Big N’ Tasty]
—it’s amazing. A Big N’ Tasty for just a dollar? How do you do it, what’s your secret?
[Grimace blinks blankly]
VOICEOVER: Got a buck? You’re in luck! Because you can get a delicious, beefy Big N’ Tasty, a McChicken sandwich and lots of your other favorites on McDonald’s dollar menu, every day.
[Trump looks out the window of Trump Tower and embraces Grimace]
Together, Grimace, we could own this town.
Welcome to the fourth and final night of the 2016 Republican National Convention. And folks, we’ve got a special treat for you tonight: Brilliant billionaire and all around great guy Peter Thiel
Real estate developer Donald Trump will speak too, of course, as will his daughter Ivanka. But no surprises there
CLEVELAND — Like pretty much everything else this week, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday was not glaringly evil but mostly...pretty boring. “When Donald Trump asks us to Make America Great Again, he’s not suggesting a return to the past,” Thiel told the convention. “He’s running to lead us back to that bright future.” So: boring and incoherent.
Thiel rushed stiffly out onto the stage, clearly very happy and comfortable to be surrounded by this many human people. “I build companies and I support people who are building new things, from social networks to rocket ships,” he said, quickly—very quickly—by way of introduction.
“I’m not a politician,” he continued. (Indeed, it is very likely that Thiel is working towards the end of politics as we know it!
“Across the country, wages are flat,” Thiel said, sounding like a politician. “Americans get paid less today than ten years ago. But healthcare and college tuition cost more every year. Meanwhile Wall Street bankers inflate bubbles in everything from government bonds to Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees.”
Here, he paused for boos.
Thiel went on to thread—or at least attempt to thread—a very interesting needle, invoking the rise of Silicon Valley while also lamenting the decline of that nation’s technological prowess. He waxed nostalgic about a time when “all of America was high tech,” giving plaudits to the federal government for its support of projects like the Apollo program and the creation of the Internet—an odd position for a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian to espouse.
“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won,” he recalled. “Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?”
“Every American has a unique identity,” he continued. “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American.”
All credit to Thiel for proclaiming his identity as a gay Republican and dismissing (however carefully) the ludicrous fear-mongering over who gets to use which bathrooms and where.
The aspects of his “unique identity” that he failed to mention are at least as interesting as those he did: The Thiel Foundation, for example, has pledged up to $1,000,000 to the Seasteading Institute, which exists to “to enable seasteading communities—floating cities—which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government.” In furtherance of this goal, the Institute encourages Americans interested in seasteading to renounce their citizenship, so as to avoid paying taxes on income and capital gains acquired abroad—that is, at sea.
Anyway! Somebody get that man a bottle of water.
Tonight Donald Trump told the world that “Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.” Trump, of course, has never endorsed violence, hatred, or oppression—as you can see in the above video.
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and man who once said, “Our clear goal must be the advancement of the white race,” David Duke, has weighed in on Donald Trump’s RNC speech
Donald Trump—you’ve made your father proud.
Truck Yeah Tesla’s Plan To Build A Semi Truck Is The Smartest Idea They’ve Had
“Do you want to see Gough Whitlam’s FBI file?” I said, walking into the other room where my wife was reading.
“Yes!” she said excitedly. My wife’s Australian, and she knows I’ve been obsessed with figuring out what the FBI and CIA knew about former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s bizarre ouster as leader of the country in 1975. Whitlam’s FBI file could hold clues to a mystery that’s still as confounding today as it was 40 years ago.
When I walked into the room, holding eight flimsy pages that had just come in the mail, my wife laughed out loud. I get the feeling that the FBI is holding out on us.
In November of 1975 the super liberal Whitlam was spontaneously fired as the head of the government by what seemed at the time like a renegade member of his own party, Governor-General John Kerr. The conservative leader Malcolm Fraser was installed as Prime Minister and the Australian people were told in 1975 that the reason for Whitlam’s dismissal was to break a deadlock over budget bills. Constitutionally, Kerr was within his rights to do it. But it had never occurred to anybody that he would.
There were charges of a possible CIA-backed conspiracy from the beginning. And many wondered what the royal family in England knew. Australia was and is, after all, part of the British Commonwealth, and at least marginally beholden to that strange anachronism known as the British monarchy.
It has since come out in recent years that the royals almost certainly were warned ahead of time that the dismissal was going to happen, though there’s scant evidence that they directed the overthrow of Whitlam. This, however, would have to mean that Kerr acted alone in dismissing Whitlam; a strange idea indeed. People who believe that the CIA was involved point to an American defense contractor named Christopher Boyce who was spying for the Soviet Union at the time. He testified that he heard CIA agents refer to John Kerr, the man who dismissed Whitlam, as “our man Kerr.”
Why would the American government want to overthrow the left-leaning government of Australia in the mid-70s? The Whitlam government was the most liberal of the modern age. And perhaps most threatening to the Americans, Whitlam wasn’t too keen on the American military bases in Australia. They were effectively being run as sovereign American entities on Australian soil. When a Whitlam aide went knocking on the door of Pine Gap, the NSA spy facility that kept track of Southeast Asia in the early 1970s, the aide was basically told to go fuck himself.
To my mind, there isn’t direct evidence that any arm of the US military or intelligence community helped orchestrate the overthrow of the Australian government in 1975. But it’s entirely possible that they did. And even more plausibly, they probably knew it was going to happen before it did. And if the latter is true, it’s probably time we found out about that. It’s been over 40 years, after all.
The letter I received today from the FBI after filing a Freedom of Information Act request says that the agency reviewed 33 pages on Gough Whitlam and are releasing eight. The pages deal with security for Whitlam’s visits to the United States in the fall of 1974 and May of 1975.
Curiously, even if you forget the controversy surrounding the dismissal, there isn’t a single page covering Whitlam’s visits to the Nixon White House in December of 1972 or July of 1973. The 1973 visit was especially testy because by that time Whitlam was explicitly criticizing the Nixon administration’s decisions in the Vietnam War. Australia, it should be noted, was an ally that sent 60,000 troops to Vietnam. They fought and died alongside Americans, unlike other allies of the United States like Canada. Australia began a phased withdrawal of troops from the country in the beginning of 1973.
Below I’ve published all 8 pages I received from the FBI. Of the redactions that the agency made for the documents that they did release, they cited privacy and national security concerns. Needless to say, I’ll be appealing the response to my FOIA request and will keep you posted on any more information I receive. I have a variety of FOIA requests into the CIA about the dismissal that are still pending.
The improbable jailhouse death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who was put behind bars over a traffic infraction and found dead in her cell hours later, has gotten even murkier with the reported testimony of a guard who now admits he falsified records of her time in jail.
Bland was pulled over last July for failing to signal a lane change. The encounter, caught on dash cam, escalated quickly and she was ultimately arrested for “assault of a public servant” for allegedly kicking the officer. Three days later, she was found dead
The Waller County Sheriff’s Office claimed Bland had died of self-induced asphyxiation, apparently by using a plastic bag, and an autopsy performed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences ruled her death a suicide. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict anyone in connection with her death.
But Bland, who had just moved to the area to start a new job at Prairie View A&M, had never displayed suicidal tendencies before, her family says.
And there were some major discrepancies from the start. The officer who arrested Bland was ultimately charged with perjury and fired
And now, an attorney for Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, tells the Houston Chronicle one of the guards who was tasked with watching Bland in jail recently admitted under oath that he lied about checking on her an hour before she was found dead. Though a source tells the Chronicle that special prosecutors were aware of the falsified records when the grand jury was convened, an attorney for Waller County tells the paper the guard’s admission was “a small portion of that testimony,” and taken out of context.
Reed-Veal is currently pursuing a federal lawsuit alleging that her daughter’s death was the result of willful and wanton negligence on the part of the county.
ACTUALLY, Mr. Trump...
In his endless, doom-tinged speech last night, Donald Trump painted a picture of a nation beset by danger; a nation in which violent crimes were resurgent, police officers are at constant risk of murder, and immigrants comprise a dangerous criminal class out to do you harm. Let’s look at a few facts.
Law enforcement officer deaths have been been broadly declining for decades. [Via]
Violent crime has been sharply declining since Obama took office. [Via Brennan Center]
People tend to think crime is much worse than it actually is. [Via Pew Center]
It is also worth noting that Washington, Baltimore, and Chicago—three cities explicitly mentioned by Trump for their violence—account for the majority of the increase in murders nationwide last year.
Just about every other news outlet in America has published more or less this same story this morning.
No one able to understand a rudimentary chart has any excuse for voting for Donald Trump.
“Only weeks ago in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist target: LGBTQ community. No good, and we’re gonna stop it,” said Donald Trump during his presidential nomination acceptance speech last night. The abbreviation that was supposed to represent the United States’ queer population was reduced to alphabet soup dribbling off Trump’s lazy tongue; he stumbled between the “G” and the “B”. “LGBTQ” is a catch-all for queerness that attempts to be inclusive while reflecting diversity. In another context, this could be sneered at as “politically correct,” but coming from Trump’s mouth, it sounded flattened so impersonal as to border on the clinical. At the RNC, “LGBTQ” existed in the abstract—just as the threat of Islamic radicals to this country’s queer population that Trump says he’s gonna stop did.
“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful foreign ideology—believe me!” he continued.
Cheers and chants followed, and Trump congratulated his party: “I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.” This phrase seemed to imply that openness to the rights of gay Americans was something on which the Republican party has laid special claim. Of course, the opposite is true. The GOP is the party of a hateful domestic ideology that his platform has openly spouted against those citizens for two decades now
That the attendees of the RNC would entertain the idea of queer people without openly jeering, that they would deign to let an openly gay man such as Peter Thiel say he’s proud to be so on the stage before them (while politely glossing over it by stating that he’s also proud to be a Republican) counts as progress. That those things count as progress reveals how far behind this party is when it comes to equality. Instead of embarrassment, though, the reaction was one of pride.
For the gay who has it all and isn’t going to lose it any time soon—a white cisgender male billionaire like Peter Thiel, for example, who used his speech to disavow the “fake culture wars” that mostly don’t apply to him anyway—the Pulse nightclub shooting may have introduced something to worry about: A threat to identity and well-being, however distant and unlikely. Other members of the LGBTQ “community,” which is too diverse to be flattened by Trump’s monolithic rendering of it, have more pressing concerns. Stigma. Homelessness. Joblessness. HIV. Being able to walk around without being harassed or beaten up or murdered. Using a restroom. Many of these things disproportionately affect queer people of color, which are unlikely to be recognized or acknowledged by Trump or the GOP any time soon.
In 2010, Ann Coulter, who fancies herself a gay icon (“the Judy Garland of the Right”) said that “gays are the molecular opposite of blacks” and that gay marriage “is not a civil right — you’re not black.” Well, some gays, are actually. And some gays are Muslims. And some gays hurt other gays, whether by guns or gossip or crippling lawsuits. But what most queer people do have in common is being gifted, generally from a young age, with the ability to understand what it is to be different. It is clear to us, by virtue of our difference, is how wrong it is to discriminate and hate on basis of difference. That doesn’t stop racism and other bigotry from poisoning communities within our queer population, but it does make said bigotry shameful, outrageous, and illogical. We know better than that, we know better than to be seduced by sloppy lip service, and we know better than to unite over the hatred that Trump fosters.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby was trying to talk to the press earlier today about the efforts to combat ISIS, but one reporter had more important things to do.
CNN reports that the unidentified culprit was busted by Kirby mid-talk, interrupting his terrorism briefing to say “You’re playing the Pokemon thing right there, aren’t you.”
The reporter replied “I’m just keeping an eye on it.”
After Kirby was done, he circled back around, asking “Did you get one?”
To which the reporter said no, because “the signal’s not very good.”
Better luck next time, dude.
You can see the whole thing below.
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A good step stool is something everyone should own, and this highly-rated model from Greenco can hold up to 300 pounds, then fold up to nearly nothing when you’re done using it. Today’s $10 deal is match for an all-time low, and you even get to pick from a variety of colors.
Update: Sold out
$30 today gets you an Eneloop Power Pack, complete with eight AAs, two AAAs, two C and D spacers, and a charger. That’s about $7-$10 less than usual, and within a couple bucks of an all-time low.
Most juicers suck, but Breville’s are consistently among the highest rated on Amazon, and you can the popular Breville JE98XL for just $120 today on Amazon. That’s over $30 less than usual, and within $2 of the lowest price Amazon’s ever offered.
The JE98XL comes with a 3” feeding chute that can gobble up fruits whole, and an 850 watt motor to pulverize them without breaking a sweat. Most importantly though, its parts are dishwasher safe.
High quality for running shoes for a reasonable price can be hard to come by, but these Asics GEL-Pulse 7s are on only $55 today in Amazon’s Gold Box, for both men and women. The deal is only available today though, so run, don’t walk over to Amazon to lock in your order.
If you can’t find the time to get to the gym every day, this under-desk elliptical lets you squeeze in some light exercise while you fill out your TPS reports. This typically sells for $170 on Amazon, and today’s $105 (shipped) deal on Woot is the best prices we’ve ever seen.
For a limited time, Under Armour is shipping every order for free with no minimum. That includes everything from new arrivals to outlet and sale items. Unfortunately, the Chef Curry 2 Lows are sold out in white
Battery pack deals have been coming fast and furious since the release of Pokémon Go, and this 10,400mAh RAVPower is a solid deal at $16 (with promo code K8KJZZW2). In addition to a slim design and two charging ports, the headline feature here is its 2A input, meaning you recharge it twice as quickly as most competing chargers.
If your phone supports Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0, you might want to take a look at yesterday’s Jackery Thunder deals.
LEGO has come to be dominated by licensed sets with strict instructions and little room for creativity, but you can still buy a big ol’ box of LEGO bricks for $15 on Amazon today, an all-time low. It doesn’t include Han Solo or a Minecraft creeper, but you will get 303 pieces to build whatever you want.
You may not need a travel router all that often, but if you ever find yourself in an ethernet-only environment, you’ll be really glad to have one. This $20 model from Poweradd includes multiple international outlet attachments so you can use it around the world, and even doubles as a USB charger to boot.
If you have any home improvement projects on the horizon, this discounted Lowe’s gift card is like $8 in your pocket. I suggest spending it on a six pack to consume while you operate power tools.
20 discs and 4,398 minutes worth of Stargate Atlantis, all for just $39, far and away the best price we’ve ever seen.
While there are obviously cheaper ways to shave, this $3 discount on a Gillette Fusion Proshield might be tempting if you want to take the infamous Flexball out for a spin.
As part of its Black Friday in July sale, Best Buy is offering up $5 gift cards when you purchase $50 in select gift cards to other retailers, or $10 when you buy $100.
Your options here include rarely discounted gift cards from the likes of Netflix, Google Play, and Hulu, so if you were going to spend money on those services anyway, this is a great chance to get an extra cherry on top from Best Buy.
Moosejaw is running a big sale right now on several brands of outdoor apparel, but Smartwool is the one you really want to pay attention to. Smartwool socks and jackets are incredibly popular, but hardly ever see significant discounts.
Even on sale, this stuff still isn’t exactly cheap, but this is a great chance to build up your collection if you’re a fan.
While supplies last (which usually isn’t long), Amazon will sell you a sample box full of dog foods and treats for $10, and then give you a $10 credit back on a future pet food purchase. Assuming you use the credit, that’s like getting all of the samples for free.
You can adjust the color temperature of this LED desk lamp by sliding your finger along its arm, or change the brightness by doing the same on its base. Plus, its brushed aluminum design looks way nicer than most LED desk lamp deals we’ve seen.
Whether you’re enticed by the idea of a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush, or just want it to get off your lawn, $85 is a great deal for an Oral-B toothbrush with a pressure sensor, five modes, and compatibility with several different brush heads.
If you want to pair it with your phone to track your brushing habits and learn which parts of your mouth aren’t getting enough attention, great! If not, it’s still worth buying at this price. Just be sure to clip the $15 coupon.
We’re no strangers to portable car jump starter/USB battery pack combos around these parts, but this new model from Aukey is unique in its ultra-compact, flashlight-like design. In addition to its 12,000mAh USB power bank, it can put out 400 peak amps through a set of included jumper cables, which should be sufficient to start most standard car engines.
Mpow’s extra large motion-sensing solar outdoor lights can illuminate your entire front or back yard, and you can get one for $17, or two for $31 today on Amazon.
Unlike smartphone lens add-ons that require a special case or a specific phone model, Mpow’s 3-in-1 kit uses a clamp to attach to your device, which means it should work with virtually any smartphone. Once that clip’s in place, you get to choose from three different lenses: Fisheye, wide angle, and macro. Several Amazon reviewers have uploaded sample photos and videos, and they look pretty great to my eyes, particularly the close-up macros.
You can seemingly build just about anything with a Raspberry Pi, including your own miniature NES
Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about cable management, the depths of Amazon toss you a surprise. This magnetic cable clip system includes one magnetic base that you can stick anywhere via its included adhesive, and three magnetic clips that you attach to your most-used cables, allowing them to stick to the base effortlessly.
There are surely less expensive cable holders out there—we post deals on them frequently—but the allure of just dropping your cable onto a magnetic base and knowing that it’ll stay put is awfully tempting.
Away Travel arrived with a perfect set of reasonably-priced luggage for everyone, and they’re offering Kinja Deals readers the company’s first ever discount. Use promo code KINJA to take $20 off your order, and head over to this post
While we do see 20% discounts from time to time, a $100 iTunes gift card for $85 is still a solid deal if you pay for Apple Music, iCloud storage, or PokéCoins.
With a few rare exceptions, $4 is about as cheap as Lightning cables ever get, so stock up!
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