Newly released text messages show disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok asked to speak to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page about a “media leak strategy” during a crucial period of the Trump-Russia investigation in 2017.
The text messages were revealed Monday by North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, a member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
“Our review of these new documents raises grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations,” Meadows wrote to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the letter, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation and first reported by Sara Carter.
Meadows pointed to text messages Strzok sent to Page on April 10, 2017, and April 12, 2017
A trickle of Canadian oil-drilling rigs heading south of the border this year has turned into a steady stream – a movement of equipment the energy industry says it hasn’t seen in decades.
The United States’ booming oil plays are a potent enticement as Canada’s energy sector struggles to regain the activity and investment it had before the oil-price crash four years ago. And U.S. President Donald Trump’s full-on embrace of U.S. energy independence and his administration’s loosening of environmental rules has been a shot in the arm for his country’s oil and gas industry.
The opportunity for more work, along with the partial or full payment of moving costs, are driving Canadian companies south. At least half a dozen Alberta drilling firms are sending some of their most powerful and newest technology rigs – and sometimes crews – to the United States.
“It shows you how Canada is kind of missing out on the rebound the U.S. is enjoying,” said Precision Drilling Corp. chief executive Kevin Neveu regarding his firm’s decision to move a $25-million rig from Alberta’s Deep Basin to the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania in the weeks ahead.
Already, firms such as Akita Drilling Ltd., Trinidad Drilling Ltd. and Ensign Energy Services Inc. have said they will make similar moves. Savanna Energy Services Corp. relocated a rig and crews from Canada to Texas early this year.
Now joining the migration is Citadel Drilling Inc., which said this week that it’s transporting three of its fleet of six drilling rigs to the Permian Basin. The three rigs are being outfitted for heat instead of cold and some crew members will also be moved to West Texas.
“We’re not generating profits for our shareholders. We’re treading water financially, at best,” said chief executive Dan Hoffarth, saying the small private firm with about 100 employees agonized over the decision.
He cites the “self-imposed” issues that are hindering investment in Canada, including a lack of pipeline access that weakens the price that oil producers can get for their products, carbon taxes and legislation that would prohibit tankers from carrying crude from ports in northern B.C., while oil imports from overseas flow freely into Canada.
“This was a need, not a want,” Mr. Hoffarth said of the move to the United States.
For its part, Precision already has major U.S. operations. In the past, however, the public company had said it would not move Canadian equipment across the border. But Mr. Neveu said activity for Precision in the United States is 75 per cent of what it was from the peak in 2014, while Canadian activity is about one-third of what it was. Long in the business, Mr. Neveu said this is the first time he has seen Canadian equipment move to the United States in any significant way since the 1980s – the days of the National Energy Program.
Read more HERE
Canadians are in no mood to coddle Donald Trump.
A new survey from Angus Reid finds 70 per cent of respondents want Ottawa to play hardball with the Trump administration in the growing trade dispute between our two countries. Only 30 per cent would like to take a "soft" approach in the hopes of placating the temperamental U.S. leader.
The survey — taken before, during and after the G7 summit that ended with a Trump Twitter tirade against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — finds Trudeau's approval rating has spiked higher amid the trade conflict, with 52 per cent giving thumbs-up to the prime minister's performance, up from 40 per cent in March.
So we're on board for a gloves-off fight with the orange-tinted occupant of the White House. But do we really know what we're getting ourselves into?
The simple reality is that Canada's economy is far more dependent on trade with the U.S. than the other way around. Far, far more. To illustrate that point, analysts at National Bank of Canada published a map this week highlighting how much each province and U.S. state depends on trade across the 49th parallel.
NATIONAL BANK FINANCIAL
No U.S. state comes close to being as dependent on cross-border trade as Ontario, where 49 per cent of economic output is linked to U.S. trade, or New Brunswick, where it's 50 per cent.
In an economic fight with the U.S., we would inevitably be bringing a knife to a gunfight.
National Bank Financial Markets geopolitical analyst Angelo Katsoras, who put together the map, says there's something that could hurt Canada more than Trump's trade tariffs, and that's the uncertainty that seemingly endless NAFTA negotiations are creating.
Companies don't want to invest into uncertain climates, and when business investment stalls, so does job creation.
"The bad news is that the longer negotiations drag on, the riskier investing in Canada and Mexico could become for companies looking for guaranteed access to the U.S. market," Katsoras wrote in a client note.
He quoted a recent Financial Post column that he says "best summed up" the situation Canada is in:
With NAFTA in place, Canada is an option when globally oriented firms considered their North American strategies; without it, Canada is a smallish market that probably can be served from the U.S. or elsewhere.
Ouch. That certainly puts things in perspective.
"Given the prospect of never-ending negotiations, we can expect more and more people to challenge ... Trudeau's declaration that a bad deal would be worse than no deal," Katsoras wrote.
"In their view, a flawed deal should be preferred to the risk of seeing certain companies choosing not to invest in Canada."
U.S. also exposed to risks of a trade war
That's not to say the U.S. could walk away from a trade war unscathed. As we reported last year, the majority of U.S. states have Canada as their largest export market:
What's more, Trump is likely to pay a higher political price than Trudeau if a trade war leads to economic pain domestically. As the survey above shows, Canadians are likely willing to give Trudeau a lot of leeway fighting Trump's protectionism.
But "the political blowback from states (including those that voted for him), businesses and Congress could overwhelm (Trump's) administration," Katsoras wrote.
"Going beyond threats would also seriously risk one of Trump's main talking points: the strong performance of the economy and the financial markets under his watch."
For that reason, Katsoras still believes that Trump won't pull the trigger and cancel NAFTA.
But can we really count on Trump to do the rational thing? With steel and aluminium tariffs in place, and Trump already talking about expanding tariffs to include auto imports, it hardly seems like the U.S. president is about to turn friendly towards Canada.
The experts have been telling us for years that Canada needs to diversify its trading partners; we can't simply rely on the U.S. forever. Those words ring more true than ever today, but it seems we may have waited too long, and there's precious little we can do but fight a trade war in defense of our economic interests.
We have to ask ourselves, just how much wealth are we willing to risk fighting Trump? And how much choice do we actually have?
“I took it straight to the ground and started inching my hands up to its throat. I knew that was the only way I was getting out of this,” said 46-year-old DeDe Phillips.
ATHENS, Ga. — A rabid bobcat recently attacked a Hart County grandmother in her yard, spurring a furious battle that ended with the cat’s strangulation death.
“I thought, ‘Not today.’ There was no way I was going to die,” DeDe Phillips said Thursday as she recalled the attack that occurred June 7 at her home off Liberty Church Road.
Phillips has begun a round of rabies shots at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She also has a broken finger and numerous bite and claw wounds to her hands, arms, chest and legs.
“I’m very lucky,” the 46-year-old woman said.
The unprovoked attack occurred about 6 p.m. She had been working on her truck that afternoon and posted a bumper sticker that read: “Women who behave rarely make history.” She planned to photograph the sticker and send it to her husband.
She walked out of the house with her cellphone.
“My neighbor’s dog was barking, and it drew my attention,” she said. “I saw the cat and I took a picture. The cat took two steps and was on top of me. ... It came for my face.”
Denver-Aiden von Grabow is charged with first-degree murder and 10 other counts in the stabbing death of Makayla Grote
Attorneys for the 15-year-old accused of stabbing a Longmont woman to death last year hinted in court Friday that Accutane — an acne-treatment drug that some have linked to erratic behavior — may be cited by the defense in explaining the teen’s alleged actions.
Facebook via Longmont Times-Call
Aiden von Grabow is charged with first-degree murder and 10 other counts in the stabbing death of Makayla Grote on Nov. 18, 2017.
Prosecutors are trying to charge von Grabow as an adult, but because he is under the age of 16, they will have to convince Boulder District Judge Andrew Macdonald to transfer the case out of juvenile court during a weeklong hearing starting on March 5.
Attorneys at that hearing also will argue as to whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
During a hearing Friday, Boulder Deputy District Attorney Adrian Van Nice objected to several of the defense’s witnesses, including Dr. Doug Bremner, a psychiatrist known for his studies on isotretinoin, which is better known for its brand name, Accutane.
Read the original story HERE
After previous studies claimed that children who overuse mobile devices struggle learning to speak, a group of doctors is now saying young children in the digital generation can’t even hold a pen or pencil anymore.
“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” pediatric occupational therapist Sally Payne told The Guardian. “Children coming into school are being given a pencil but are increasingly not be able to hold it because they don’t have the fundamental movement skills.”
British pediatricians are blaming the erosion of basic motor skills on the changing culture among parents who rely heavily on technology. “It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks,” Payne added. “Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills.”
One mother admitted to reporters that she had only given her son hi-tech gadgets to play with; leaving him unprepared for grade school. “When he got to school, they contacted me with their concerns: he was gripping his pencil like cavemen held sticks,” Laura said to The Guardian. “He just couldn’t hold it in any other way and so couldn’t learn to write because he couldn’t move the pencil with any accuracy.”
Karin Bishop, assistant director at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, added that tech is having a growing impact on children becoming less physically active and living “more sedentary lifestyles.”
A 2017 study found that the screen time of children under two-years-old was linked to delays in them learning basic expressive speech as a toddler.
Original Story HERE
The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a kind of orbiting real estate venture run not by the government, but by private industry.
The White House plans to stop funding the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post.
“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time — it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform,” the document states. “NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”
Read More HERE
SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers are targeting the expected windfall that companies in the state would see under the federal tax overhaul with a bill that would require businesses to turn over half to the state.
A proposed Assembly Constitutional Amendment by Assemblymen Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, would create a tax surcharge on California companies making more than $1 million so that half of their federal tax cut would instead go to programs that benefit low-income and middle-class families.
“Trump’s tax reform plan was nothing more than a middle-class tax increase,” Ting said in a statement. “It is unconscionable to force working families to pay the price for tax breaks and loopholes benefiting corporations and wealthy individuals. This bill will help blunt the impact of the federal tax plan on everyday Californians by protecting funding for education, affordable health care, and other core priorities.”San Francisco has some antiquated laws and ordinances on the books. Did you know about these?
As a constitutional amendment, the bill would require approval from two-thirds of the Legislature to pass, a difficult hurdle now that Democrats have lost their supermajority. If passed and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it would then go to voters for final approval.
MORE CALIFORNIA NEWS
- Retirees might want to move to California, but only if they can afford it
- Analysis: Emboldened Democrats take a risk on a shutdown
Democrats lost their supermajority following resignations of two Assembly Democrats, Matt Dababneh of Encino (Los Angeles County), and Raul Bocanegra of San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles County) amid sexual misconduct allegations. Another Assembly Democrat, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas of Los Angeles, resigned citing health issues. In the Senate, Democrat Tony Mendoza of Artesia (Los Angeles County) is taking a leave of absence pending an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.
California Democrats have been exploring ways to help those in the state who could end up paying higher federal taxes next year under the Republican tax overhaul.
The GOP overhaul caps state income taxes and local property tax write-offs on the federal income tax return at $10,000, a move expected to hurt high-local-tax states such as California, where the average state and local tax write-off in 2016 was $22,000.
State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León introduced legislation this month that would allow Californians to get around the state and local tax cap with a voluntary donation to a charitable fund created by the state of any amount of owed taxes above $10,000. That donation — in lieu of taxes — would allow donors to write off the gifts on their federal tax returns
Read more HERE
Comedian Steve Martin’s rendition of “King Tut” is triggering social justice warriors at Reed College because they see it as a form of cultural appropriation.
The song, originally performed on "Saturday Night Live," actually criticizes the commercialization and trivialization of Egyptian history and presents a caricature of the Treasures of Tutankhamun traveling exhibit that toured seven United States cities from 1976 to 1979.
However, the context to the SNL skit eludes students who are upset. They are now calling the song a form of “blackface.”
The video and song was brought to students’ attention when it was played in a humanities class at Reed to spur discussion. Students became so worked up over the video, however, that they have demanded the course be made optional until alternative coursework can be created.
The group primarily upset about the video being played in class, Reedies Against Racism, is comparing Martin’s comedic song to the use of the N-word. The Atlanticspoke to members of Reedies Against Racism to get a better idea as to why they are upset about the King Tut song from 1978.
One member of Reedies Against Racism told the Atlantic the song is “like somebody … making a song just littered with the N-word everywhere.” She went on to say that the Egyptian clothing that the backup dancers wear is racist as well. “The gold face of the saxophone dancer leaving its tomb is an exhibition of blackface,” she said.
Reedies Against Racism also released a lengthy list of demands which includes a paid day off for Reed staff to boycott the very college they’re making demands to. Another demand was that the university host “mandatory conferences for building race sensitivity for staff and faculty.” Reedies Against Racism also demanded “the creation of particular scholarships for black students.” Students also want the school to host an “Annual anti-oppression workshop for all students, faculty, staff, and administration.”
According to the Atlantic, Reedies Against Racism commit to political activism on campus like sit-ins to achieve their goals. The protests associated with the group are described as “visually striking” and reportedly included signs that say things like: “We demand space for students of color,” “We cannot be erased,” “F*ck Hum 110,” and “Stop silencing black and brown voices; the rest of society is already standing on their necks.”
Assistant professor Lucía Martínez Valdivia at Reed College, who describes herself as a gay mixed-race woman, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post where she talked about how she is afraid to host classes talking about sensitive subject matter due to these protests.
“Some colleagues, including people of color, immigrants and those without tenure, found it impossible to work under these conditions. The signs intimidated faculty into silence, just as intended,” wrote Martínez Valdivia.
Reed College has reportedly been attempting to revise their Humanities course to the Reedies Against Racism group’s liking but students stopped showing up to the meetings designed to do so.
“Hum 110… perpetuates white supremacy—by centering ‘whiteness’ as the only required class at Reed,” according to a Reedies Against Racism statement.
Read More HERE
Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, gave me a candid insider's look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains.
Be smart: Parker's I-was-there account provides priceless perspective in the rising debate about the power and effects of the social networks, which now have scale and reach unknown in human history. He's worried enough that he's sounding the alarm.
Parker, 38, now founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, spoke yesterday at an Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, about accelerating cancer innovation. In the green room, Parker mentioned that he has become "something of a conscientious objector" on social media.
By the time he left the stage, he jokingly said Mark Zuckerberg will probably block his account after reading this:
- "When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, 'I'm not on social media.' And I would say, 'OK. You know, you will be.' And then they would say, 'No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.' And I would say, ... 'We'll get you eventually.'"
- "I don't know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and ... it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other ... It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."
- "The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'"
- "And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you ... more likes and comments."
- "It's a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."
- "The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway."
Read More HERE
The US Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on companies it says are making unsubstantiated claims that certain products made from marijuana can cure cancer.
This week, the agency responsible for policing the American food and drug market issued warning letters to four companies that are “illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.” It said in a statement, “The illegally sold products allegedly contain cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the marijuana plant that is not FDA approved in any drug product for any indication.”
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the statement, “We don’t let companies market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims that their substance can shrink or cure cancer and we’re not going to look the other way on enforcing these principles when it comes to marijuana-containing products.”
The companies that received the warning letters are required by law to respond within 15 working days, indicating what steps they have — or will — take to address the FDA’s concerns.
“Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction,” each of the four letters warned.
What products were targeted?
The FDA said the 25-plus products that are part of this crackdown include oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, topical lotions and creams.
The four companies that received warning letters on Wednesday are Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing & Consulting and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC.
Read More HERE
The German army has war-gamed the break up of the European Union in study of security crises that could face the country by 2040.
Military planners in Berlin played out a scenario in which a growing number of countries follow Britain in leaving the EU, resulting in an "increasingly disorderly" world, Der Spiegel reported.
"The EU enlargement has been largely abandoned, more states have left the bloc," strategists wrote in a study cited by the magazine.
"The increasingly disorderly, sometimes chaotic and conflictual world has dramatically changed the security policy environment for Germany and Europe."
Der Speigel said the study could inform German armaments programs in the next several years.
The scenario was one of six examined in a study of security challenges German generals believe could unfold over the next 23 years.
The other five include one in which some central and east European states enter an "Eastern bloc," presumably a reference to the growing influence of Russia.
Read More HERE
Laughing, she told Conan O'Brien she anonymously sends a donation in the name of the Vice President of the United States because she disagrees with his policies on reducing access to reproductive health care.
She said: 'This is when a lot of hate mail comes my way. I apologise if I’m offending anybody. I disagreed with some of the stuff that Pence was doing and was trying to do.
'And so, as a reminder that there are women out there in the world that may or may not agree with his platform, I put him on a list of recurring donations that are made in his name to Planned Parenthood.'
And the Friends With Benefits star doesn't see it as a prank but just as a way to peacefully protest his policies.
She added: 'Every month, to his office, he gets a little letter that says, "An anonymous donation has been made in your name." I don’t look at it as a prank. This is just - I strongly disagree, and this is my little way of showing it.'
Read More HERE
The dark underbelly of Canada has been exposed once again.
The victim was kept in a chemically induced sleep for weeks and subjected to rounds of electroshocks, experimental drugs and tape-recorded messages played non-stop.
CBC News recently reported that the Canadian government reached an out-of-court settlement of $100,000 with Allison Steel, the daughter of Jean Steel, a woman who was subjected to horrific brainwashing experiments funded by the CIA.
The settlement was quietly reached in exchange for dropping the legal action launched by Allison Steel in September 2015. The settlement includes a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting Steel from talking about the settlement itself. However, the existence of the settlement and its total amount appeared in public accounts released by the federal government in October.
Jean Steel’s ordeal began in 1957, at the age of 33. She was admitted at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal after being diagnosed with “manic depression and delusional thinking”.
In the following months, Steel became a victim of CIA-funded MKULTRA experiments conducted by Dr. Ewen Cameron.
Read more HERE
Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that the Department of Justice may crack down on people who grow and sell marijuana, even in the 29 states that legalized the plant, echoing the drawn-out argument that it is still against federal law.
Sessions made the non-surprising comments on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show after Hewitt asked whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be prosecuting marijuana growers and dispensaries for being criminal enterprises under RICO.
“A lot of states are just simply breaking the law and a lot of money is being made and banked,” Hewitt said to Sessions of marijuana growers and sellers. “One Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations prosecution of one producer and the banks that service them would shut this all down. Is such a prosecution going to happen?”
Sessions told Hewitt that he didn’t think “one RICO prosecution would be quite as effective as that,” but said he doesn’t think states that legalized the drug had the right to ignore current federal laws that ban the sale of marijuana.
“I do not believe there’s any argument that because a state legalizes marijuana, that the federal law against marijuana is no longer in existence,” Sessions said. “I do believe that the federal laws clearly are in effect in all 50 states and we will do our best to enforce the laws as we’re required to do so.”
Read more HERE