Feed aggregator

Trump meets wireless, drone executives on new technologies

Reuters US Politics - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:09
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump offered support for emerging technologies including unmanned aerial vehicles and next-generation wireless networks in a meeting on Thursday with the chiefs of AT&T Inc and General Electric Co and other business leaders.

Trump says he did not tape conversations with former FBI head Comey

Top Reuters News - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:57
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not make and does not possess any tapes of his conversations with James Comey, after suggesting last month that he might have recordings that could damage the former FBI director.

Egypt extends state of emergency

MiddleEasteye - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:55
Language Undefined

The renewed three-month state of emergency will start on July 10. It comes after twin church bombings in April claimed 45 lives.

Russia/Iran Sanctions Delayed In House: Policy Change… or Deep State Pressure?

Antiwarblog - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:49

The Russia/Iran sanctions bill passed earlier this month in the Senate has stalled in the House on a procedural issue: bills dealing with revenue must originate in the House. Is there a chance the bill may be scuttled? Don’t hold your breath! Ron Paul reports:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Potential Chaos in the Kingdom

ConsortiumNews - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:42
President Trump has made the “alliance” with troublemaking Saudi Arabia a centerpiece of his chaotic foreign policy, but the latest jockeying for power in Riyadh may portend unexpected trouble, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar. By Paul R. Pillar A…

House Speaker Ryan says supports quickly moving Iran, Russia sanctions bill

Reuters US Politics - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:42
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he supported efforts to quickly move legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and Iran that passed the Senate nearly unanimously but has stalled in the House.

Exclusive: Uber hires law firm to probe how it handled India rape case - source

Top Reuters News - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:37
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] has hired a law firm to investigate how it obtained the medical records of an Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014. The review will focus in part on accusations from some current and former employees that bribes were involved, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

GOP health bill boosts hospital, health insurer and drug stocks

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:31

Hospital system stocks rallied as much as 8% on Thursday following the release of the Senate GOP health bill, which appears to be more favorable to hospitals than the House of Representatives bill passed in early May. Tenet Healthcare Corporation shares jumped 8%, Community Health Systems Inc. shares skyrocketed 8.2%, HCA Healthcare Inc. shares rose 3.6% and Universal Health Services Inc. shares lifted 2.6% in midday trade, compared with a 1.6% rise in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR . Health insurer stocks also rose Tuesday, with UnitedHealth Group shares up 1.4%, Aetna Inc. stock rising 1.1%, Humana Inc. shares lifting 1.3% and Anthem Inc. shares up 0.9%, compared with a 0.2% rise in the S&P 500 . The Senate health bill "tries to phase in the pain" of changes to the Affordable Care Act like Medicaid spending cuts, said Spencer Perlman, director of health-care research at Veda Partners, who described the Senate plan as having "the same architecture" but "nicer furnishings." Still, the benefit for hospitals is only in the short-term and thus probably overdone, he said. "Clearly, the Senate bill is viewed as less disruptive than the House bill to the number of people currently receiving insurance," said Stefanie Miller, senior analyst at Height Securities. But "the initial reaction may have oversimplified how different this bill is," she said, predicting that stocks that have risen on the news may be "rebalancing" in the coming days. Drug stocks also rose in Tuesday trade, with the SPDR S&P Pharmaceutical ETF rising 1.7% and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF rising 1.6%, which could be happening because the health bill has given investors confidence in Republicans achieving another legislative priority, tax reform, Miller said. Shares of the Health Care Select Sector SPDR have risen 8.7% over the last three months, compared with a 3.9% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Ex-U.S. Attorney Bharara lands book deal after ouster by Trump

Reuters US Politics - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:17
(Reuters) - Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, known for pursuing a series of cases targeting public corruption and crime on Wall Street before President Donald Trump fired him in March, has struck a book deal.

Trump tweets that he didn't tape conversations with ex-FBI Director Comey

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:13

President Donald Trump on Thursday addressed a long-festering question about his private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. In a tweet on Thursday afternoon, Trump said: "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings, I did not make, and do not have, any such recording." He did leave open the possibility that such tapes exist. Questions around the existence of tapes of Trump's conversations with Comey emerged after another Trump tweet, in which he implied that tapes of his one-on-on talks with the intelligence chief may exist: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes'," Trump wrote. In a hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee Comey on June 8, Comey said: "Lordy, I hope there are tapes." Comey fired by the president in May as he was investigating Russia's alleged ties with members of Trump's administration.

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Pew U.S. survey finds agreement on some gun-control proposals

Reuters US Politics - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:49
(Reuters) - More than 80 percent of Americans want to limit firearms access for people with mental illness and require background checks at gun shows and in private sales, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Thursday.

'Imagine there's no Brexit': EU boss channels Lennon

Top Reuters News - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:34
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Since this month's election, many British voices have joined a debate on how or even if Brexit may happen; on Thursday, one EU executive added that of John Lennon, sparking a round of more and less musical replies.

Theft and other 'shrink' at retailers totaled $48.9 billion in 2016, up from 2015: NRF

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:30

The National Retail Federation said Thursday that theft and other inventory "shrink" at retailers totaled $48.9 billion in 2016, up from $45.2 billion in 2015. The rise in losses coincided with flat or declining retail security budgets, the group said. Nearly half of the retailers surveyed (48.8%) said inventory shrink increased. Shoplifting accounted for the biggest losses at $798.48 per incident, double the $377.00 average in 2015. The NRF attributes some of the rise to an increase in the threshold for felony crimes, with only larger thefts reported. Employee theft also increased to $1,922.80 from $1,233.77 in 2015. Retailers were asked about return fraud for the first time, reporting an average loss of $1,766.27. The NRF and University of Florida polled 83 loss prevention executives between March 29 and May 1. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down 11.1% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index is up 9% for the period.

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Nielsen is expanding its ad measurement service to YouTube's mobile app

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:22

Nielsen said on Thursday that it is going to start measuring advertisements on YouTube's mobile app. Nielsen already uses its digital ad ratings service for Alphabet Inc.-owned YouTube's desktop and mobile web browsers, but will now include data and cross-device measurements of advertising audiences on YouTube's app as well. It's a necessary move for Nielsen's marketing clients as younger viewers increasingly watch content on mobile devices. YouTube's app is among the top-five free apps in the Apple Inc. App store. Nielsen will provide access to age and gender demographics for users viewing ads on YouTube's app, as well as reach frequency and gross rating points, which measures the size of an ad campaign. "As more people watch video across digital platforms and devices, Nielsen's comprehensive measurement of YouTube through digital ad ratings is crucial to provide a complete picture of media consumption," said David Wong, Nielsen's senior vice president of digital product leadership, in a statement. Nielsen Holdings Plc. shares have declined more than 11% in the year to date, while shares of Alphabet have gained more than 23% and the S&P 500 index has increased nearly 9%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Institutional Factors in US Violence

ConsortiumNews - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:55
The pervasive violence in American society is driven by many factors, including easy access to firearms and Hollywood’s glorification of killing, but there are also institutional factors, as Lawrence Davidson explains. By Lawrence Davidson There is a lot of violence…

Conservatives Hate the Truth About the Troops

Future of Freedom Foundation - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:33

After the publication of my article “Thank You for Your Killing,” I received a vituperative twitter attack by a self-labeled conservative woman, who called me an “idiot,” said I was “NO AMERICAN” (her caps), called me a “liberal,” said I don’t “deserve to live in the USA,” and accused me “dishonoring” the troops.

That conservative’s attack on me is a perfect demonstration of the life of the lie that has long characterized American conservatives, especially when it comes to what the troops are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Take a close look at my article. Contrary to what my conservative critic suggested, nowhere in my article do I dishonor, criticize, condemn, or disparage the troops.  Instead, all I do is point out the facts: one of which is what the troops are doing — and have been doing for more than 15 years — in Afghanistan and Iraq: killing people.

No one can deny that. It’s simply the truth. It’s what the troops have been doing for more than 15 years in those two countries. They have been killing people. They still are killing people.

When conservatives and other statists thank the troops for their service in Afghanistan and Iraq, they want everyone to simply leave it at that. They don’t want anyone to ask a natural question: What does the “service” that the troops are performing consist of?

That’s one reason why that conservative woman was so upset at me. She obviously doesn’t want to think about that question.

In a reply tweet, I specifically asked her whether she felt that anything I had written was incorrect or false. She just responded with more nastiness, which indicates that she knew that everything I had written was true and accurate. She obviously just didn’t like the fact that I had pointed out the obvious: that the “service” that people thank the troops for consists of killing people.

Given such, what’s wrong with being more specific when thanking the troops? What’s wrong with saying to the troops, “Thank you for your killing” rather than “Thank you for your service”? What is it about that specific question that makes that conservative woman so angry and upset?

That brings us to the other reason that that conservative woman was so upset with me — the reason why the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are killing people and have been killing people for more than 15 years. My conservative critic has convinced herself (or permitted government officials to convince her) that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are killing people in order to defend the United States and to protect our rights and freedoms here at home.

She’s not alone. That’s the standard mindset of most conservatives. In fact, it’s the mindset of lots of people in the mainstream regardless of political affiliation or ideology. For example, one rarely can attend a major sporting event without hearing an announcer asking the crowd to honor the troops, especially those in Afghanistan and Iraq, for “defending our country” and “protecting our rights and freedoms here at home” or for “making the ultimate sacrifice” so that we can be free here at home.

But as I pointed out in my article, “Thank You for Your Killing,” that is a palpably false statement. Why? Because neither the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda, or anyone else in Afghanistan or Iraq is invading our country and trying to take away our freedom. Such being the case, how can it be said that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are defending our country and protecting our rights and freedoms?

According to conservatives, we are just not supposed to point out that obvious truism. Uttering that truth makes conservatives and other statists really angry and upset. They want to continue believing that the troops are killing because they are defending America and protecting our freedoms, and they want everyone else to believe it too, even though it’s manifestly false. Conservatives want to live the life of the lie and they want everyone else to live it too. And they hate people who refuse to do so.

When I asked my conservative critic to explain to me how she has arrived at her conclusion that the troops are defending our country and protecting our freedom by killing people in Afghanistan and Iraq, she couldn’t do it. She was stymied. She simply resorted to her nastiness.

Thus the real reason that conservative woman was so angry and upset with me was not that I wrote anything false or incorrect but because what I wrote was true. Like most other conservatives, she obviously just doesn’t like the truth. Truth to a conservative is like a cross to a vampire, especially when it pertains to the troops or any aspect of the national-security state.

But notice that there is something else that this episode reveals about conservatives and other statists: The reason they steadfastly insist that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are defending our country and protecting our freedom, notwithstanding the manifest falsehood in the statement, implies that conservatives and statists are ashamed of the real reason the troops are killing people over there and somehow consider it to be dishonorable.

From 1899-1902, the British Empire fought what is called the Second Boer War in modern-day South Africa and Swaziland. It was a vicious, brutal, deadly conflict, with tens of thousands of casualties on both sides.

No one ever suggested, as far as I know, that the Boers were trying to get to England to invade the country, take over the government, and enslave the English people. Instead, everyone understood that the British troops were killing people to maintain control by the British Empire of people thousands of miles away from Great Britain.

Many, if not most, of the British people were extremely proud of their empire and wanted the empire to maintain its control of people in faraway lands. Thus, when British troops were killing people in those faraway lands, British citizens were grateful. They understood that the troops were killing people for the sake of the empire, and they had no problems with that. They believed that the troops were behaving courageously and honorably as part of the empire. They were grateful for their service and had no reservations in acknowledging that the service consisting of killing people to ensure that the empire maintained its control over people thousands of miles away from England.

The principle is no different with the U.S. government in Afghanistan and Iraq. The troops are killing people there to preserve the existence of the regimes that the U.S. government installed into power during their invasions and occupations of both countries. The killing of hundreds of thousands of people, or perhaps even millions, by U.S. troops has never had anything to do with protecting America or defending our rights and freedoms. The killings have taken place to prevent the two regimes that the U.S. invasions installed into power from being overthrown by groups that don’t like the regimes that the U.S. invasions installed into power.

A big irony in all this is that the two regimes that the U.S. invasions succeeded in installing are both official Islamic regimes, by virtue of the official constitutions of both countries. But don’t dare tell a conservative or other statist that the troops are killing and dying for Islam in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will go ballistic over that because that’s the last thing they want to confront. Many of them have convinced themselves that the troops are killing people to protect America and our rights and freedoms from Muslims and Islam. The last thing they want to hear is that troops are killing and dying to prevent two official Islamic regimes their invasions installed into power from being overthrown.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are killing people for the sake of control and dominion over people in faraway lands, just like the troops in the British Empire once did. The difference is that while the British were proud of what their troops were doing and why they were doing it, American conservatives and other statists are ashamed to openly express the same sentiments. They would rather live the life of the lie and attack those of us who simply point out the truth.

The post Conservatives Hate the Truth About the Troops appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Senate Republicans release draft Obamacare repeal bill

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:17

Senate Republicans posted online Thursday their 140-page bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. The measure, broadly similar to the House bill, will cut Medicaid funding and repeal taxes on the wealthy. The measure would end penalties for people who don't have insurance. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said legislation was needed because Obamacare "teeters on the edge of total collapse." Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said the measure would end Medicaid "as we know it." The bill would "strip away health care benefits and protections from Americans who need it most in order to give a tax break to Americans who need it least," Schumer said.

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Biotech ETF IBB on pace for best weekly gain in 7 months

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:09

A popular fund used to invest in the biotechnology sector on Thursday was on track for its best weekly gain in seven months, according to FactSet data. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF was up 1.2% on the day and looking at a 9.3% weekly advance, which would mark its best such gain since the week ended Nov. 11. Gains in the exchange-traded fund were being aided by a 13% climb in shares of XBiotech Inc. and a 8% jump in Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. [: SGMO]. The moves come as the U.S. Senate is soon set to reveal a health-care bill and as President Donald Trump has talked about making changes to drug pricing. Health-care stocks were the best performer in the S&P 500 index in early Thursday trade. The S&P 500 index was trading flat at 2,435, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1% at 21,420. The Nasdaq Composite Index , meanwhile, where biotech is a big component, was little-changed at 6,231.

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