February 24, 2019

*Facebook Decided Which Users are Interested in Nazis — and Let Advertisers Target Them Directly:

Facebook makes money by charging advertisers to reach just the right audience for their message — even when that audience is made up of people interested in the perpetrators of the Holocaust or explicitly neo-Nazi music. Despite promises of greater oversight following past advertising scandals, a Times review shows that Facebook has continued to allow advertisers to target hundreds of thousands of users the social media firm believes are curious about topics such as “Joseph Goebbels,” “Josef Mengele,” “Heinrich Himmler,” the neo-nazi punk band Skrewdriver and Benito Mussolini’s long-defunct National Fascist Party.

Experts say that this practice runs counter to the company’s stated principles and can help fuel radicalization online.

*Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO for $100 Million Over Leaving Neverland:

The Michael Jackson-focused documentary Leaving Neverland has already caused a mountain of controversy, even before its official debut. The film reportedly attracted direct threats ahead of its Sundance Film Festival screening last month—and now the Jackson estate is suing HBO for planning to air the doc in the first place, saying that the network has violated an alleged non-disparagement clause from 1992.

According to Variety, the suit claims HBO entered into an agreement in 1992 to air Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour—a pact that included a non-disparagement agreement. A copy of the suit published by Deadline estimates that damages could exceed $100 million.

“As you must know, contrary to all norms of documentary filmmaking, the Estate was never contacted by the supposed ‘documentarian,’ Dan Reed (or anyone else associated with the program) to provide the Estate’s views on, and responses to, the absolutely false claims that are the subject matter of the program,” the suit states. “Likewise, no one else who might offer evidence to contradict the program’s premise was consulted either, as Dan Reed has publicly admitted.”

 *Top Vatican Cardinal Admits Church Destroyed Abuse Records:

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx told Pope Francis and nearly 200 church officials meeting in Rome to discuss clerical sex abuse that church officials destroyed evidence or failed to even document accusations in the clerical sex abuse crisis. “Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created,” he said during the morning working session in Rome. “Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them.

The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with, but instead cancelled or overridden.” The admission comes on the last working day of the four-day conference which has focused on transparency and accountability of those accused in the cover up of decades of abuse against children, nuns and vulnerable adults at the hands of predator priests. Victim survivor groups have accused the church of destroying evidence and demanded that they open secret archives chronicling abuse accusations. The crisis summit ends with a penance mass on Saturday. Pope Francis will close the summit with final remarks after mass on Sunday morning in Rome.

 *FATAL ERROR – Illinois Cops Confirm They Wrongly Gave Gun License to Aurora Shooter Gary Martin:

Illinois State Police have admitted wrongly issuing a gun license to Gary Martin, the man who officials say shot five people dead in his former workplace in Aurora on Friday before being killed by cops. In a statement issued Monday, the state police acknowledged a screening process failed to detect Martin’s 1990s felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi for which he served five years in prison, the Chicago Tribune reports.

He received a gun license on Jan. 31, 2014, and purchased a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson from an Aurora gun dealer five weeks later—that was the gun used in the deadly attack. The agency said it revoked Martin’s license on April 17, 2014, and suggested the Aurora Police Department may have failed to do its part to ensure the man no longer owned a weapon. State police said the agency is reviewing Illinois, Mississippi, and federal records to determine how the conviction slipped through two criminal background checks.

 *CBO: Feds Will Borrow Another $13 Trillion Over Next 11 Years:

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the federal government will not only fail to balance its budget in any year over the next eleven years (fiscal 2019 through 2029), but that during those eleven years it will increase the federal debt held by the public by $13 trillion.

“Under the assumptions that govern the CBO’s baseline, the federal government is projected to borrow another $13.0 trillion from the end of 2018 through 2029,” said the CBO’s “Budget and Economic Outlook: 2019 to 2029” released on Jan. 28.

The CBO outlook said that one of the “consequences of growing debt” is: “The likelihood of a fiscal crisis would increase.”

 *Poll: 56% Say FBI, DOJ Officials Likely Broke Law by Plotting to Remove Trump from Office:

A majority of likely U.S. voters want a Special Counsel to investigate whether senior FBI and Justice Department officials broke the law – as a majority believe they did – when they met and discussed ways to remove President Donald Trump from office in May of 2017, a new Rasmussen surveyreveals.

Fifty-six (56%) say it’s likely the officials broke the law, 20 points higher than the 36% who believe it’s unlikely. What’s more, 37% of voters deem it “Very Likely” that the FBI and Justice officials broke the law, about double the 19% who call it “Not at All Likely.”

Question: How likely is it that senior federal law enforcement officials broke the law in their discussions to remove President Trump from office – very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely or not at all likely?

•    Likely: 56% (including 37% who say it’s Very Likely)

•    Unlikely: 36% (including 19% who call it Not at All Likely)

Slightly more than half (51%) say a special prosecutor should be appointed to look into the matter, while 38% call it unnecessary.


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Between 2001 and 2006 in the U.S., over 85,000 people a year were “injured and treated in emergency departments in falls associated with dogs and cats,” with 31 percent of those tripping over their dogs. Pets can cause more traditional aggravation as well.

“Dogs bite more than 4.5 million people in the United Statesand send 800,000 people to the doctor’s office every year,” research confirms. While rabies from dog bites has been virtually eliminated in the U.S., the disease “kills more than 59,000 people worldwide each year, with 99 percent caused by dog bites.”

But cat owners shouldn’t be feline any better. “Cats are responsible for 10-15 percent of emergency-room visits due to animal bites, and 30 percent of people who visited a doctor for a cat bite have to be hospitalized.” A lick or scratch can transmit a bacterium called Bartonella henselae which causes cat-scratch diseaseCSD affects 12,500 people a year in the US, and can cause fever, headache, blisters and even pneumonia and brain damage.


‘Eighty percent of adults say political correctness is a problem.


In the midst of his multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Amazon,Woody Allen has picked up and started working on a new film in Spain. According to The New York Times, the divisive director has received backing from Mediapro, a Barcelona-based conglomerate that has previously worked with Allen on films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris. “We have a 10-year relationship with Mr. Allen and, like all projects we produce, we judge the creator by its work,” Mediapro said in a statement to the Times. “All of our projects have a unique personality, and we support all types of artistic voices and ideas and remain committed to producing well-defined films.


Shields and Brooks on Trump declaration, Bernie Sanders’ 2020 bid — https://youtu.be/cwFtbKw3Hxs


Brett Vance, Host of Jet Jockeys, Examines the Possibility of New HyperSonic Aircraft

Future flight times from New Delhi to New York City could take as little as 2 hours, states a report from Boeing and NASA

The companies have partnered to develop supersonic and hypersonic planes, which will be expected to be unveiled over the coming years. “In about two decades, we are expected to use technology which will have ramjets, and fliers will be able to reach New York in as little as 2 hours from New Delhi,” explains Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice-President of Boeing, “Boeing is currently working on the research and development for the required technology and is studying the engine propulsion requirements.”

“Hypersonic passenger air travel—what a fantastic goal. So easy to say… so hard to do!” exclaims Jet Jockey Host Brett Vance. “Note that there are several designers with supersonic transports in development.  First test flights—in fact—are planned for prototypes in a couple of years.  This article predicts first flights for the hypersonic vehicle in around 5-10 years, with fleet fielding in twenty.  That should give you a huge clue that there are significant technical challenges.”

Jet Jockeys is a docu-reality series, where pilot and host Brett Vance does for aviation enthusiasts what Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs has done for the dignity of the trades; what Neil de Grasse Tyson of Cosmos has done for our sense of wonder about our universe; and what The Robertson Family of Duck Dynasty has done for family. 

“Our major challenges are in materials needed to withstand the high dynamic pressures encountered in a passenger-plane shaped vehicle, as well as major advances in engine technology.” concludes Vance. “Can we go fast?  You bet!  Can we go fast and go cheap?  Not yet.  Watch the developments in military hypersonics, and keep your eye on civilian hypersonic transport news.  We are about to be astounded.”


Sports anchor Bob Costas along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.

Jeff Bezos understands survival instincts.

As a hedge fund refugee, he conjured Amazon, the world’s biggest store, by tapping into our hunter-gatherer instincts, the compulsion to collect more stuff with less effort.

Amazon became “the Prince of Darkness for retail,” Scott Galloway writes in “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” by exploiting our “serious mojo for stuff, as survival went to the cave man who had the most twigs, had the right rocks to crack stuff open with, and got the most colorful mud to draw images on walls so his descendants knew when to plant crops, or what dangerous animals to avoid.”

So, of course, Bezos has finely honed survival instincts himself. This is a season when socialism is chic and billionaires are reviled as lame, immoral, greedy, lying and an Orange Menace(if he’s actually a billionaire). Yet the richest dude on earth has managed to come through a traumatic week inspiring admiration.

Over the past generation, global capitalism has produced the greatest reduction in human poverty in history. Over the past 10 years, American capitalism has produced 20 million new jobs. The productive dynamism of capitalism is truly a wonder to behold. But economic growth alone is not enough. Growth alone does not translate into economic security for the middle class and the less skilled. Growth alone does nothing to reverse the social decay afflicting communities across America.

This reality is transforming the political debate — and shifting everything leftward. Among conservatives there are now a bevy of thinkers who are trying to find ways to use government to reduce inequality, promote work and restore community. For example, in the lead essay of the conservative journal National AffairsAbby M. McCloskey notes that the family you are born into and the neighborhood you live in have a much stronger influence on your socioeconomic outcome than any other factors. Her essay is an outstanding compendium of proposals designed to strengthen family and neighborhood.