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July 17, 2019
“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
– Martin Luther King Jr
International Man of Mystery: Dr. Evil dba Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pursued internationally on Swedish criminal charges, was arrested in 2010 by British police. Released on bail, he skipped his hearing and took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in June 2012. He was granted asylum and remained in the embassy for the next seven years.
In exclusive reporting based on hundreds of surveillance documents obtained by CNN, the world gets an unprecedented look at Assange’s life inside the embassy — how he created a virtual command post for election meddling. The documents were compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, confirmed as authentic by an Ecuadorian intelligence official.
The stunning details add a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the 2016 US election. They show that at critical times during his confinement in the embassy, Assange received in-person deliveries and held hours-long secret meetings with Russian operatives and world-class hackers.
Assange acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received materials hacked from Hilary Clinton’s campaign. Afterward he orchestrated public disclosures that compromised Clinton’s candidacy and elevated Donald Trump’s appeal.
Despite Assange’s insistence that the source of the leaks was not the Russian government, an after-election assessment by UC Global left no doubt that he had ties to Russian intelligence agencies. In April Assange was removed from the embassy by British police acting on US criminal charges; he fights extradition to America from a jail cell in London.
It Takes a Village to End a Village
- Dobrusa is a village in Moldova first settled in the 1800s when the area was part of the Russian Empire. After WWII the village became part of the Soviet Union, and prospered.
- When the collapse of the USSR led to the decline of the collective system and privatization of the agriculture sector, Molvodans moved away in droves to find jobs and higher salaries.
- Today Grisa Muntean, a 65-year-old farmer, is the village’s sole survivor. Last February Muntean had neighbors, a lovely couple in their 40s. But when Muntean hadn’t heard from the couple in days, authorities investigated and found their bloodied bodies, sprawled half-naked on the floor of their cottage. (NYT)
- Gabriel Weinberg will be the first to tell you how challenging it is to take on the giants and build an internet business focused on the privacy of its users. The 40-year-old chief executive of DuckDuckGo, the company he started a decade ago as an alternative to Google, has become a feisty adversary of the internet’s ‘big guys’, repeatedly calling for privacy-focused legislation and warning the public about the problems big companies can cause by tracking every movement a user makes online. (NYT)
The Future Is #Here… #Ad #Sponsored
- Make fun of social media’s influencers and they will have the last laugh. VidCon, the annual social media convention, was held last week in Anaheim California. One reporter who spent three days hanging out with a few thousand teenagers and 20-somethings, who have mastered these platforms and have massive followings, predicts that they’re not just going to dominate internet culture or the entertainment industry, but society as a whole. (NYT)
- What if Being a YouTube Celebrity Is Actually Backbreaking Work? Emma Chamberlain dropped out of school and changed the world of online video. It hasn’t been easy. (NYT, $)
- On TikTok, teens meme the safety app ruining their summer (Wired)
- TikTok Stars Are Preparing to Take Over the Internet: A new wave of online creators is here. (The Atlantic)
- #RIPBianca: How a Teenager’s Brutal Murder Ended Up on Instagram: The images stirred an outcry about the spread of violent content on social media and the inability by tech companies to police it. (NYT, $)
- The internet as religious experience (BBC)
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- Joseph Saladino — better known as Joey Salads, is a 25-year-old internet prankster and ‘infamous content creator’ from Staten Island. He’s known for pumping out controversial stunts, including racist “social experiments,” that show himself and his friends doing just about anything to garner attention and views.
- It’s worked well — 2.5 million people have subscribed to his YouTube channel. Now the MAGA Republican wants to turn that popularity into a congressional seat by borrowing campaign strategies from President Trump and House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Verge)
The Tweet That Launched 427 Votes
- Tuesday afternoon the House voted 240 to 187 to condemn President Trump for racist comments he tweeted telling four minority congresswomen to “go back” to where they came from.
- Three of the women were born in America, and all four are US citizens. Four Republicans crossed party lines to vote with Democrats.
- Trump continued to lash out at the women for the third day in a row, falsely accusing them of saying they hated America, while insisting he personally didn’t have “a Racist bone” in his body. (WaPo)
- Racism Comes Out of the Closet: The dog whistle days are apparently over. (NYT, $)
- Trump Tells America What Kind of Nationalist He Is: In a series of tweets attacking four Democratic congresswomen, the president reiterated his belief that only white people can truly be American. (The Atlantic)
- George Conway: Trump is a racist president (WaPo, $)
No Jokes Here. Vaccinate Your Kids
- Compared to other high income countries, the US has by far the largest number of children, over 311,000, not vaccinated against measles. The second highest number of unvaccinated children, less than 73,000, is in France. Globally, one in ten — 20 million — children missed basic immunization last year against the life-threatening infections of measles, diphtheria and tetanus.
- The UN children’s agency UNICEF reports that since 2010 vaccination coverage with three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) and one dose of the measles vaccine has stalled at about 86 percent globally. It needs to be at 95 percent to prevent outbreaks.
- The director of advocacy at UNICEF UK said: “In high-income countries like the UK, the proliferation of vaccine-related misinformation on digital and social platforms is one of the key factors associated with vaccine hesitancy. Anti-vaccination groups are exploiting parents, creating confusion and stoking their fears in order to disrupt regular childhood vaccination schedules.” (Guardian)
Additional USA News
- Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, A Maverick On The Bench, Dies At 99 (NPR)
- Regulations That Mandate Sepsis Care Appear To Have Worked In New York (NPR)
- How the Opioid Crisis Arrived at New York’s Commuter Hubs: In the throes of addiction, people congregate around Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (NYT, $)
- Huge Turnout Is Expected in 2020. So Which Party Would Benefit? Democrats typically gain from a broader electorate in presidential races, but that pattern is not assured in the Trump era. (NYT, $)
Too Tired To Think Of A Subject Line
- Summertime has typically been the season to become more laid back and relaxed, with longer days and warmer nights seeming to make it easier to balance life and work while making the life part effortlessly more fun. But many adults seemed to be experiencing something much different halfway through 2019 — a kind of “mid-year burnout.”
- The Guardian wanted to know if mid-year burnout was really a thing, or if people had somehow just become permanently, irreversibly, exhausted. So the paper asked its readers to assess their moods and energy levels at this point in 2019, and write in. Their responses told of sleep disrupted by lighter evenings, of unusually bad hay fever, of illnesses still lingering after months. (Guardian)
- Social physics: Despite the vagaries of free will and circumstance, human behaviour in bulk is far more predictable than we like to imagine (Aeon)
- The life-changing magic of making do: The antidote to endless, thoughtless consumption lies not in purging ourselves of the stuff we own, but rather, redefining our relationship with stuff altogether (The Globe and Mail)
- I was a fast-food worker. Let me tell you about burnout. As technology ratchets up the stress, low-wage jobs have become some of the hardest in America. (Vox)
- How the Epstein Case Explains the Rise of Conspiracy Theorists: Nightmarish allegations against the well-connected financier show why so many Americans let their imagination run wild when it comes to elite corruption. (The Atlantic)
- Jeffrey Epstein: how US media – with one star exception – whitewashed the story (The Guardian)
- The ‘Lady of the House’ Who Was Long Entangled With Jeffrey Epstein (NYT, $)
- An Epidemic of Disbelief: What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them (The Atlantic)
“My alma mater was books, a good library…. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” – Malcolm X
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