2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-06-24 21:05:04 UTC
2019-06-25 12:27:21 UTC
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There's no better example of the power, and the terror, inspired by blockchain than Gab.com, the social network used by the accused Pittsburgh synagogue gunman to threaten Jews.
About a month and a half before the alleged gunman made good on those threats by opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue and killing 11 people, Gab submitted paperwork to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $10 million via an initial coin offering (ICO). The offering, dated September 18, 2018, has so far received commitments to raise $5.6 million in capital for the "free speech" social network, which is a favorite of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other members of the "alt-right."
Since the shooting on Saturday, Gab has been shut down by a host of mainstream services including payment processors Stripe and Paypal, Web-hosting company Joyent and briefly, domain registry GoDaddy. But that might not matter, because Gab has already taken the first step toward freeing itself from dependence on traditional infrastructure and support mechanisms, thanks to its funding via the ethereum blockchain. Ultimately Gab's goal is to build an entire ecosystem beyond the reach of centralized authorities—whether Facebook, Twitter or venture capitalists—making it nearly indestructible. On this, the tenth anniversary of the publication of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper, which gave birth to bitcoin, Gab epitomizes the darker consequences of his vision.
[...] Gab can also use other blockchain services if mainstream providers try to kick it off the internet by refusing to provide critical services. If Gab needs to replace GoDaddy for domain service (the addresses people use to find websites), Ethereum Name Service provides domains for decentralized applications built on the ethereum blockchain. Web hosting? No problem. Ethereum's Substratum provides a decentralized alternative to Joyent. Others have already pioneered the idea. PeepEth is a nascent ethereum-powered social network, and Mastadon is a blockchain-based Twitter.
Explosive devices were sent to former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as to CNN's offices in New York, sparking an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether a bomber is going after targets that have often been the subject of right-wing ire.
A law enforcement official said the three devices were similar to one found Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor.
[...] The device sent to CNN was contained in a manila envelope addressed to John Brennan, who was the C.I.A. director in the Obama administration and is a harsh critic of Mr. Trump. The president revoked Mr. Brennan's security clearance in what was seen as an act of retribution. The return address bore the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman who formerly headed the Democratic National Committee.
In a statement, the White House condemned "the attempted violent attacks."
Update 1: The explosive devices have been described as pipe bombs. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that a device was also sent to his office.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's spokesman has identified the device sent to his office, originally believed to be suspicious, as a thumb drive containing files on the far right group Proud Boys. It does not appear to be related to the explosive devices.
[...] Another suspicious package has been intercepted at a Congressional mail screening facility in Capitol Heights, Maryland, according to CNN. [...] ABC News reported the package was addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat.
President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, a decades-old agreement that has drawn the ire of the President.
[...] The treaty forced both countries to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between approximately 300 and 3,400 miles. It offered a blanket of protection to the United States' European allies and marked a watershed agreement between two nations at the center of the arms race during the Cold War.
Former State Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, explained that the treaty "wasn't designed to solve all of our problems with the Soviet Union," but was "designed to provide a measure of some strategic stability on the continent of Europe."
"It's the dirt that does it."
President Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China. Speaking to reporters, he repeated his belief that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which he has threatened to leave. Russia denies this.
The Cold War-era treaty banned medium-range missiles, reducing the perceived Soviet threat to European nations.
Russia has warned it will respond in kind if the US develops more weapons. Mr Trump said the US would build up its arsenal "until people come to their senses".
[...] Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton has been holding talks in Moscow after Russia condemned the US plan to quit the deal. Mr Bolton was told that the US withdrawal would be a "serious blow" to the non-proliferation regime.
The Guardian reports:
Georgia secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp improperly purged more than 340,000 voters from the state's registration rolls, an investigation charges.
Greg Palast, a journalist and the director of the Palast Investigative Fund, said an analysis he commissioned found 340,134 voters were removed from the rolls on the grounds that they had moved - but they actually still live at the address where they are registered.
"Their registration is cancelled. Not pending, not inactive – cancelled. If they show up to vote on 6 November, they will not be allowed to vote. That's wrong," Palast told reporters on a call on Friday. "We can prove they're still there. They should be allowed to vote."
[...] Palast and the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda filed a lawsuit against Kemp on Friday to force him to release additional records related to the state's removal of voters.
Under Georgia procedures, registered voters who have not cast ballots for three years are sent a notice asking them to confirm they still live at their address. If they don't return it, they are marked inactive. If they don't vote for two more general elections after that, they are removed from the rolls.
The Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources.
One source says the report will likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and transparency and that those involved will be held responsible.
One of the sources acknowledged that the report is still being prepared and cautioned that things could change.
The Washington Post columnist was last seen in public when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2. Previously, Saudi authorities had maintained Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon of his visit, but provided no evidence to support the claim.
Saudi Arabia's not-so-veiled threat issued in a government statement Sunday emphasized its "vital role in the global economy" and that any action taken upon it will be met with "greater action". But as oil ticks upward, a look at history and geopolitics suggests that while a Saudi-driven oil price spike would bring pain for much of the world, it would ultimately backfire on itself.
"If this is something the Saudis were allowed to do, they'd be really shooting themselves in the foot," Warren Patterson, commodities analyst at ING, told CNBC's Squawk Box Europe on Tuesday. "In the short to medium term we'll definitely see an incremental amount of demand destruction, but the bigger issue is in the longer term."
Any action in withholding oil from the market, he said, "would only quicken the pace of energy transition."
takyon: Three Senators have written a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai requesting responses to several questions about the recent Google+ breach.
Submitted via IRC for chromas
The company's official position on content moderation remains political neutrality, a spokeswoman told me in an email:
Google is committed to free expression — supporting the free flow of ideas is core to our mission. Where we have developed our own content policies, we enforce them in a politically neutral way. Giving preference to content of one political ideology over another would fundamentally conflict with our goal of providing services that work for everyone.
Of course, it's impossible to read the report or Google's statement without considering Project Dragonfly. According to Ryan Gallagher's ongoing reporting at The Intercept, Google's planned Chinese search engine will enable anything but the free flow of ideas. Even in an environment where American users are calling for tech platforms to limit users' freedoms in exchange for more safety and security, many still recoil at the idea of a search engine that bans search terms in support of an authoritarian regime.
And that's the unresolvable tension at the heart of this report. Almost all of us would agree that some restrictions on free speech are necessary. But few of us would agree on what those restrictions should be. Being a good censor — or at least, a more consistent censor — is within Google's grasp. But being a politically neutral one is probably impossible.
Turkish officials have audio and video evidence that shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the BBC has learned.
Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, has not been seen since he entered the building on 2 October.
Turkish intelligence had "documented evidence" of the murder, a source close to the investigation said.
Saudi Arabia denies the allegations. It says the journalist left the building.
Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and reported death have prompted international outrage and dented business confidence in Saudi Arabia. Tycoon Sir Richard Branson has halted talks over $1bn Saudi investment in Virgin space firms and several top business leaders have pulled out of a Saudi investment conference later this month.
Also at CNN.
Senators Collins, Flake, and Manchin had already announced their intentions to confirm Kavanaugh before the vote was held. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was previously ready to vote "no", agreed to vote "present" instead so that Senator Steve Daines could attend his daughter's wedding instead of being present in the Senate to support Kavanaugh.
Previously: SCOTUS's Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire
President Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court
Trump's Supreme Court Pick: ISPs Have 1st Amendment Right to Block Websites
The Mormon Church and Governor Gary Herbert have come out in favor of medical cannabis legalization in Utah. However, the legislative compromise would be more restrictive for Utahans than a November 2018 ballot initiative:
The Mormon church joined lawmakers, the governor and advocates to back a deal on Thursday that would legalize medical marijuana in conservative Utah after months of fierce debate. The compromise comes as people prepare to vote in November on an insurgent medical marijuana ballot initiative that held its ground despite opposition from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
[...] The Utah-based faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to more broad use, but its ranking global leader, Jack Gerard, said leaders were "thrilled" to be a part of the effort to "alleviate human pain and suffering".
Though it still must go to a vote, the deal has the key backing of both the church and leaders of the Republican-dominated state legislature, who said the regulations in the hard-won agreement had their seal of approval. Unlike the ballot initiative, the compromise won't allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary. It also doesn't allow certain types of edible marijuana that could appeal to children, like cookies and brownies.
Some medical cannabis advocates are not on board with the deal:
Medical marijuana advocates are backing the deal to avoid wrangling and uncertainty that could continue if the ballot initiative passes. "There will be medical cannabis here in our day in Utah," said the advocate DJ Schanz. The two sides agreed to scale back media campaigns supporting and opposing the ballot measure known as Proposition 2.
Not all medical marijuana advocates were convinced: Christine Stenquist with the group Truce said she remained skeptical about the deal and urged continued support for the ballot proposal. Smoking marijuana would not be allowed under the ballot proposal. It instead allows edible forms, lotions or electronic cigarettes.
Submitted via IRC for chromas
The Trump administration said Sunday it will sue California in an effort to block what some experts have described as the toughest net neutrality law ever enacted in the United States, setting up a high-stakes legal showdown over the future of the Internet.
California on Sunday became the largest state to adopt its own rules requiring Internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally. Golden State legislators took the step of writing their law after the Federal Communications Commission scrapped nationwide protections last year, citing the regulatory burdens they had caused for the telecom industry.
Mere hours after California's proposal became law, however, senior Justice Department officials told The Washington Post they would take the state to court on grounds that the federal government, not state leaders, has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality. DOJ officials stressed the FCC had been granted such authority from Congress to ensure that all 50 states don't seek to write their own, potentially conflicting, rules governing the web.