Washington Free Beacon
Twitter became the second social media giant to temporarily block a California Republican House candidate's campaign video this week before reversing itself after she balked.
Republican Elizabeth Heng is challenging Rep. Jim Costa (D., Calif.) in California's majority-Hispanic 16th Congressional District in Fresno. The 33-year-old daughter of Cambodian refugees who survived Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, she used images of the brutal killings perpetrated by the regime in a four-minute campaign video.
Heng uses the story of her parents' decision to marry before ever speaking to each other to escape death at the Khmer Rouge's hands as an example of how "great things come from great adversity."
However, like Facebook did earlier this month, Twitter blocked the video on Thursday, saying the images were "offensive, vulgar, or obscene." Ater Heng spoke to the media about the ban, Twitter changed its mind. Heng said in an email she would fight for "internet transparency" in Congress, GVWire.com reports:
"We had momentarily rejected the ad for breaking our Inappropriate Content policy," a company spokesperson told GV Wire. "(We) can confirm that we reverted this decision, and the ad is no longer banned."
Heng, running against incumbent Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), says this is evidence of a concerted effort to silence her.
"In the past few weeks Facebook and Twitter have been called out by conservatives for deliberately shutting down conservative voices as evidenced in multiple cases," Heng said in an email statement. "Unfortunately, the tech companies are holding the all of the power and have no apparent desire to correct biased censorship of their platforms. When I’m elected I’ll fight for internet transparency, so that every American has a chance to be heard."
Facebook did the same thing to Heng's ad on Aug. 3, saying the images at the start of the video were too violent. Heng said it didn't have the right to silence her story, and she tied the decision to do so to a pattern of tech companies censoring Republicans.
"Neither Facebook nor any other company in the tech industry get to silence our stories," she said at the time. "We’ve seen it over and over again with Republican candidates and organizations. This kind of censorship is an attack on the freedoms that we have as Americans to express what we believe in, and we must hold Facebook accountable."
Facebook restored the ad on Aug. 7 and said in a statement that "it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story."
Heng faces an uphill battle in the blue district where 45 percent of registered voters are Democrats against just 26 percent who are Republicans, and Costa has $1 million more cash on hand. However, she finished just six points behind in their two-person primary race in June.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said Twitter's singling out of Heng was "appalling," and he has previously condemned what he describes as social media censorship of conservatives.
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that only one party is being slammed by censorship, over and over again. Twitter singling out conservatives like @ElizabethHeng is appalling. #StopTheBias https://t.co/1GqLCvkq0i
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 16, 2018
The Veterans Day military parade slated for this fall in Washington, D.C. has been cancelled, with President Donald Trump saying it may be rescheduled for next year "when the cost comes WAY DOWN."
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said the Department of Defense and the White House "have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019," the Associated Press reports.
A recent report on the planned parade said it would cost an estimated $92 million.
The president was inspired to have such a parade in the nation's capital after being a guest at the Bastille Day Parade in Paris last year, where American and French troops marched.
Trump responded Friday morning on Twitter, saying he expects the price tag on the parade to come down next year. He added he would instead attend a parade at nearby Andrews Air Force Base on another date and attend a parade in Paris on Nov. 11, the date of Veterans Day in the U.S. annually and this year, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
"The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it," Trump tweeted. "When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up!"
The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2018
"I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th," Trump continued. "Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!"
….attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2018
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Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) said Friday she will meet with Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh even though she's already decided he's "in the pocket of corporate special interests" and she will vote against his confirmation.
MSNBC host Willie Geist pointed out to Baldwin on "Morning Joe" the public is polling divide on his confirmation, but he also noted she's come out against him before they've met or had confirmation hearings, saying that seemed "nakedly political."
"Shouldn't you wait to get all the documents and shouldn't you wait to get through the hearings before you declare that you won't support his nomination, because that kind of thing, and it's not just you by the way, looks pretty nakedly political to a lot of people," Geist said.
Baldwin replied Wisconsinites wanted a fair and impartial justice, and Kavanaugh didn't fit the bill.
"Women's health is in the cross hairs," she said. "We have issues of whether we're going to be able to protect clean water and clean air, and whether the next Supreme Court justice is going to be in the pocket of corporate special interests or fighting for consumers and workers, and so I think Wisconsinites look at this record, the record that has been publicly disclosed already, there's lots of documents, I assure you, and say this is not the fair, impartial jurist that we want."
"But do you think he deserves a chance to answer your questions before you've made up your mind about him?" Geist asked.
"Well, I certainly intend to meet with him. There's a lot that I want to go over. Certainly. there will be hearings, but I also have to question the process of who funded the organization that put together a list for President Trump to pick from?" Baldwin said. "This was not an exhaustive search, and Wisconsinites want impartiality."
Geist cited a CNN poll showing only 37 percent supporting Kavanaugh's confirmation, with 40 percent against, but a Quinnipiac poll out this week showed Kavanaugh with 44 percent in support and 37 percent opposing.
Keith Ellison’s ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan was interviewed on CBS News Thursday, and she claimed Ellison hurled profane insults and dragged her out of bed after accusing her of not listening.
Ellison has denied the charge, which came to light last week when Monahan’s son posted about the alleged incident on Facebook, and on Tuesday he won the Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general. When Monahan told her side of the story, she claimed it occurred in 2016 when Ellison told her to take out the trash while she was on her bed listening to a podcast.
"He looked at me and goes, ‘Hey, you (bleep) hear me?’" Monahan said. "He goes ‘Bitch, get the (bleep) out of my house,’ and he started to try to drag me off the bed."
"That's when I put my camera on to video him," she added.
She also said Ellison didn’t apologize for his physicality.
"He didn't apologize for putting his hands on me," Monahan told CBS. "One is enough."
Monahan and her son claim to have a video of the incident, but she said she doesn't want to release it. She said the video is traumatic and that women should not need to release videos in cases of abuse.
"Monahan says she has the video. She says it's too traumatic for her, so she has chosen not to share it with anyone," CBS’s Jericka Duncan said. "She also says she should not have to release the video in order to be believed."
Meanwhile, Ellison said he did not do what is alleged and said he is confident she’s lying about having video.
"There couldn't be such a thing as that," he told WCCO in Minneapolis. "Because I never did that."
Democrats and Ellison allies have hesitated to say anything about the allegations. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who received Ellison’s endorsement for president in 2016, said he had "nothing" to say about it.
Accusations of unwanted groping, kissing and sexual harassment felled former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D.) last year, although he did not resign for several weeks after evidence surfaced..
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The Democrats have decided that agendas are overrated. Back in May, the party unveiled its "Better Deal" program, calling for expanded broadband access, an increase in the minimum wage, and paid family and sick leave. Voters didn't bite. So last month the Democrats came up with "For the People," which simplifies the platform to infrastructure spending, lowering health care costs, and draining the swamp. Again, crickets.
What to do? Party leadership has declared that it's every cis-het man for himself. "We trust our candidates to know their districts and the challenges facing their communities better than anyone," House campaign chair Ben Ray Luján tells the New York Times. Translation: If you are Conor Lamb, run as a gun-friendly champion of the working class. If you are Rashida Tlaib, feel free to announce that you would vote against aid for Israel and to call for bi-nationalism that would end the Jewish State. Texas Democrat Colin Allred, following Hillary Clinton, says everyone should be able to buy into Medicare. Maine Democrat Jared Golden, following Bernie Sanders, says, "We need to move towards a universal health care system, like Medicare-for-all."
Such diversity of approach troubles the philosopher kings of Forty-First Street. Discarding a "Washington platform," write Sheryl Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos, is "a risky strategy." It leaves unanswered the question of what the Democratic Party stands for. It "could raise questions among voters about how Democrats would govern." Questions to which there are few substantive answers.
The truth, though, is that the Democrats do have an agenda. They just can't say it aloud. The reason Democrats seek power in 2018 is to obstruct President Trump wholly and without exception, to tie down his administration using the subpoena powers of a dozen committees, and ultimately to lay the groundwork for his impeachment. The Democratic grassroots expects nothing less.
But the Democratic leadership understands that this unspoken agenda is unpalatable to the rest of the country. Swing voters may long for institutional checks against Trump, but they are leery of impeachment. Suburbanites may be annoyed by the president's tweets, but they still believe that both sides should "put aside their differences" and "get something done." The Times notices that many of the Democrats running in Republican-held districts "rarely mention the president by name." What these candidates understand is that explicitly making the 2018 election about Trump—which it certainly is—risks motivating Trump supporters to rally to his defense.
Better to keep quiet, have Trump loom in the background, and adapt to local circumstances as much as possible. Or as Nancy Pelosi put it recently, "Do whatever you have to do, just win."
Now, concealing the agenda of obstruction, investigation, and impeachment is one way to address the problem of an anxious middle. But it also creates another problem: Without cohesion, discipline, and guidance from above, the loudest and most extreme figures and ideas are free to capture the public's attention. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer can talk about insurance premiums until they are blue in the face, but the headlines and cable channels will be filled instead with mentions of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, Ilhan Omar, Andrew "Never That Great" Cuomo, Elizabeth "Racist From Front to Back" Warren, Cynthia "Let's Just Be Socialists" Nixon, and campaigns to abolish ICE, line items of $32.6 trillion for single-payer health care, and other vagaries of democratic socialism.
Generic candidates may win either the House or both the House and Senate for the Democrats. In so doing, however, they would bring into office radicals empowered by the election returns and unaccountable to party authority. And so a Democratic victory soon would be followed by Democratic infighting. There would be a battle over the future of Pelosi, a squabble over committee assignments, a clash over which single-payer health bill is brought to the floor. All of these struggles would distract from and potentially inhibit the larger campaign against Trump.
We've been here before. Republicans sought to harness the energy of the Tea Party in the 2010 election, only to miss several opportunities for Senate pickups because of unelectable candidates produced by ideological zeal. The desire on the part of Republicans to confront the president they despised led them to misunderstand the separation of powers and overreach in both the debt-ceiling fight of 2011 and the government shutdown of 2013. Lacking a coherent agenda beyond opposition to President Obama, the Republican House became his chief foil. Frustrated by impotence amid rising expectations, the Republican base became increasingly discontented and open to alternatives from outside the political establishment.
Sublimating their real agenda while avoiding intra-party debates may be enough for the Democrats to win in 2018. But that victory, should it happen, has a price. The bill comes due in 2020.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D.) remark that America was "never that great" on Wednesday continued a pattern of potential 2020 White House candidates offering scathing criticisms of the country they may hope to run one day.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D.) warned at Netroots Nation there was something "savagely wrong" in the country and there was an acceptance of a "normalcy of injustice."
California Sen. Kamala Harris (D.) said at the same conference that the criminal justice system in the United States had failed.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.) called the criminal justice system racist "front to back" and was called out by various law enforcement officials.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.) said there was something "fundamentally immoral and wrong" in the U.S. over its income inequality.
Hillary Clinton, who says her political career is over, castigated the middle of the country that voted for Trump as being unlike the forward-thinking, dynamic voters on the coasts who favored her candidacy.
A team of Russian GRU military intelligence officers specializing in covert influence operations played the key role in the 2016 election meddling operation while working out of an office building on 22 Kirova Street in Moscow called "The Tower" by GRU spies.
Beginning in April 2016, the GRU team known as Unit 74455 and headed by Col. Aleksandr V. Osadchuk was the key player in the major Russian influence operation aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election through covertly disseminating hacked documents on the internet.
"Unit 74455 assisted in the release of stolen documents through the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas, the promotion of those releases, and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU," the federal grand jury indictment filed July 13 in Washington says.
Osadchuk was the highest-ranking GRU officer among the 12 spies charged with conspiracy and other crimes in the indictment.
The operation targeted the American candidate and party widely-expected to win the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Until last month, federal authorities had only released details on the more overt elements of the Russian operation—the use of state-run Russian media, a St. Petersburg online troll farm, and the use of American social media as covert political influencers.
The July indictment for the first time revealed the sophisticated and secret GRU intelligence portion of the campaign that was carried out in a two-part operation: Hacking party and campaign computers for documents and emails, and then disseminating the stolen material on the internet.
Scant evidence has surfaced so far in U.S. investigations of Russian election meddling that would prove the January 2017 intelligence assessment that Moscow favored Trump.
What is clear is that Moscow opposed Clinton and focused its operations against her because she was the front runner to be president.
A part of the U.S. intelligence judgment that has held is the conclusion that the Russian influence campaign sought "to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency."
The effects of the Russian campaign continue to be seen in the current highly charged partisan wrangling in Washington that has led most Democrats to work against the Trump presidency as part of an unofficial political "resistance."
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a speech last month that the Russian hack-and-release operation in 2016 was "just one tree in a growing forest, focusing merely on a single election, [and] misses the point."
Russian influence operations "are persistent, they are pervasive, they are meant to undermine democracy on a daily basis regardless of whether it is election time or not," he said.
Unprecedented details of the intelligence portion of the operation were obtained by American spy services, including the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency during a lengthy investigation into the election meddling scheme.
The GRU operation was revealed in details in the federal grand jury indictment of 12 GRU officers made public in July by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is probing alleged collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
The Russian election meddling is one example of what are called active measures and disinformation operations and are not new. Moscow has been conducting aggressive covert influence operations since the days of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Past operations have included the influence campaign to sway U.S. government policies and public opinion against the American anti-missile program known as Strategic Defense Initiative program in the 1980s, and the aggressive covert influence campaign that utilized leftist anti-nuclear groups in Europe against U.S. plans to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
The unique feature of the election meddling operation in 2016 was GRU's use of a combination of techniques: technical cyber attacks to gain access to computer networks and steal information along with the sophisticated use of internet and social media outlets to disseminate the hacked information—all in a bid to influence the election.
GRU stands for Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye, or Main Intelligence Directorate, and traditionally is not Moscow's main group for conducting influence operations. In the past, the civilian KGB spy service, and its post-Soviet successor, the SVR, were primary agencies for active measures campaigns.
The GRU is Russia's largest overseas spying agency and its director answers to the chief of staff of the Russian military.
In the 2016 election operation, two GRU units played the prominent roles.
Unit 74455 was in charge of the dissemination of stolen documents and emails, and a second group known as Unit 26165, was an elite cyber operations unit based in a building on 20 Komsomolskiy Prospekt in Moscow that was the primary technical operations group.
Unit 26165 officers penetrated networks at the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with relative ease. They also broke into accounts of officials of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign that began in March 2016.
GRU Maj. Boris A. Antonov was the head of Unit 26165 that succeeded in breaking into the targeted computers using fraudulent emails that prompted unsuspecting Democrat officials to click on links to GRU malware websites.
The emails were sent to more than 30 different Clinton campaign employees from a bogus email account that used a one-letter deviation from the actual spelling of a known member of the Clinton team.
It urged those receiving the scam email to view a document named "hillary-clinton-favorable-rating.xlsx" that went to a GRU-controlled website.
The GRU then loaded a malware called X-Agent that was customized for the DNC servers.
At least 10 DCCC computers were infected with the virus, allowing the GRU to monitor their computer activity, steal passwords, and maintain access to the networks.
The spy service used a server leased from a company in Arizona for the operation, and later connected to a second server overseas.
The malware gave GRU officers the ability to monitor keystrokes of the infected computers and to take screenshots of their terminals—tools vital for gaining access to systems.
The GRU stole documents produced on the network using the terms "hillary," "cruz," and "trump," as well as "Benghazi Investigations." It also produced documents on DNC opposition research and field operations planned for the 2016 elections.
Once the documents were identified, a second GRU malware called "X-Tunnel" was used to compress gigabytes of documents and remove them clandestinely through encrypted channels.
Cyber security for the DNC servers was poor and the GRU was able to plant X-Agent malware on13 different DNC and DCC computers.
Around May, the DNC realized the penetration of their networks had been underway and called in the security firm Crowdstrike that identified two separate Russian intelligence units inside the DNC networks.
Perhaps the biggest GRU success from the DNC hack was the disclosure of emails in July 2016 showing a coordinated effort by the Democratic Party to favor Clinton over her political rivals in the primary elections. The emails contradicted public statements by Democrats that the process was fair to main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The emails were released shortly before the Democratic National Convention and led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The GRU dissemination of the documents was planned in April 2016, when the spy service was unable to register the name "electionleaks.com" and instead picked "dcleaks.com."
Beginning, on June 8, 2016, the GRU launched the DCLeaks website, falsely stating it was launched by "American hacktivists."
"Starting in or around June 2016 and continuing through the 2016 U.S. presidential election [the GRU] used DCLeaks to release emails stolen from individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign," the indictment states.
"The conspirators also released documents they had stolen in other spearphishing operations, including those they had conducted in 2015 that collected emails from individuals affiliated with the Republican Party."
A DCLeaks Facebook page and Twitter account also were created along with the false names associated with the page including "Alice Donovan," "Jason Scott," and "Richard Gingrey" whose social media accounts were used to promote DCLeaks.
A day after the DNC announced it had been hacked, the GRU launched the online persona known as Guccifer 2.0 and claimed it was the lone Romanian hacker once known as Guccifer.
The purpose of using Guccifer 2.0 appears intended to promote the idea that the DNC hack was not the work of Russian intelligence.
The GRU used Guccifer 2.0 from June to October 2016 to release stolen documents. Also, the GRU used their Guccifer 2.0 outlet to share documents with "certain individuals" not identified further in the indictment.
Documents would eventually be transferred by the GRU to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, identified in the indictment only as Organization 1.
The indictment states that the GRU used Guccifer 2.0 to communicate with and "wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump."
The person was not identified but the Russians thanked the person for responding to their contact and asked if the person found anything interesting in the posted documents.
The GRU financed some of its operations using bitcoin funds, including the purchase of a virtual private network account and to lease a computer server in Malaysia, that was used to host DCLeaks.
Michelle Van Cleave, former DNI national counterintelligence executive, said the indictment highlights the groundbreaking intelligence work in revealing GRU activities.
"The question is, what can be done to stop them?" she asked.
"Remember, the GRU and other Russian intelligence services are not only screwing with our elections, they’re also recruiting and planting spies, stealing sensitive technology, and hacking into our power grid," Van Cleave said.
Rather than chasing individual spies or cyber thieves, U.S. counterintelligence should target the services that dispatch them.
"That means getting inside hostile intelligence services, finding their vulnerabilities, and disrupting their ability to work against us," Van Cleave said. "I am confident that U.S. counterintelligence professionals can do that job—provided national leadership, including Congress—empowers them to act."
GRU operations in the United States have been underway for decades and were highlighted by the case of notorious FBI turncoat Robert Hanssen who spied for Moscow from 1979 until his arrest in 2001.
Hanssen began his spying career the Russian by delivering a package to a GRU officer at a Soviet trade organization in New York in 1979. He would be paid $21,000 over the next year and a half.
Hanssen first began spying for the Soviets in November 1979, just eight months after he transferred to a counterintelligence squad in the FBI's New York Office. While on duty, Hanssen volunteered his services to the GRU by delivering a package to a GRU officer at a Soviet trade organization. In his correspondence with the GRU, Hanssen revealed that he was an FBI agent, but offered no other identifying information. Over the next year and a half, Hanssen conducted clandestine exchanges with the GRU, receiving cash payments totaling at least $21,000.
In the spring of 1981, Hanssen ended his first stint at spying after his wife Bonnie discovered him reviewing a GRU communication.
Hanssen sought to minimize his espionage to his wife and later confessed to his Catholic priest.
Hanssen told investigators the priest granted him absolution and told him rather than turn himself in he should donated the GRU money to charity. The spy broke off contact with his GRU handler and made multiple donations of $1,000 to Mother Teresa's "Little Sisters of the Poor."
He began spying for the KGB, the GRU's civilian counterpart, in 1985 and is considered one of the most damaging spies in U.S. history.
During his early spying career, he disclosed to Moscow the identity of a long-time FBI informant inside the GRU.
The GRU has also been active in Syria and Ukraine by funding and equipping several mercenary organizations, including the Wagner group.
In May, security researchers linked the GRU to the Russian anti-aircraft missile attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 283 people on board.
"The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways," Rosenstein said in announcing the indictment.
"Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious," he added. "There will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed."
In addition to Osadchuk and Antonov, the other GRU officers indicted were Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev.
Democratic candidate Cindy Axne, who is running in Iowa's competitive third congressional district, invested in mining companies that have been found to contaminate water around the world despite advocating for clean drinking water, her financial disclosure forms show.
Axne is challenging Republican Rep. David Young in a race national Democrats have included in its Red to Blue program, which provides fundraising and organizational support to candidates in top priority districts that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee believes can be flipped from Republican to Democrat.
Axne has been campaigning off renewable energy and "tackling climate change" in Iowa to protect the environment.
"Climate change is real, and we are feeling the devastating effects. It's already affecting America's economy and it will only get worse if we don't act," Axne's campaign website reads. "We have seen it first hand here in Iowa, with crippling droughts and floods putting our food supply and farmers' livelihoods at stake. In Washington, Cindy will fight to protect our environment and invest in renewable energy."
Axne has also called for protecting Iowa's farms and rural communities, by cleaning up the local water supplies.
"Iowa can be the leader in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy," the site states. "While Cindy was at the State of Iowa, she oversaw the Governor's Agenda on Clean Energy and the Environment, helping bring the wind industry to scale in Iowa. In Congress, Cindy will fight to increase research and development in the areas of soil health, carbon sequestration and water quality to clean up our water, improve soil for better yields and create jobs in the process."
Despite Axne's environmental beliefs, the Democratic candidate reported personal investments that are at odds with her platform on the campaign trail, her financial disclosure form shows.
Axne invested in Goldcorp Inc., a Canadian gold mining company headquartered in Vancouver, that was found to have released large amounts of arsenic, mercury, and lead into streams and groundwater through its extraction methods.
Villagers in Honduras, who were found to have "dangerous" levels of lead and arsenic in their blood, as well as non-governmental organizations accused Goldcorp of killing livestock and making people sick.
Barrick Gold, another Canadian company that appears on Axne's financial disclosure forms, has mining operations in 10 countries including Argentina, where the company spilled cyanide into a river that provides clean drinking water for its residents.
Axne invests in Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, also a Canadian mining company. It was fined $50,000 in 2017 for a Canadian oil spill that ran into a lake and elevated the levels of metals in the water. Cyanide and ammonia were also found in tested samples from the lake.
Axne advocates for renewable energy but also has stakes in Evolution Petroleum Corporation, a Houston-based company that produces oil and gas reserves.
The Democratic hopeful received the endorsement of the League of Environmental Voters Action Fund, a liberal Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, which is given to candidates the group deems will support "sound environmental policies."
"Our farmers here in Iowa are already starting to see the devastating and very real effects of climate change with increased drought and floods," Axne said after receiving the endorsement. "In Congress I will be a staunch advocate for our environment, and will fight for policies that protect our food supplies and the livelihoods of hard-working Iowans all across the state. I am proud to be endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund."
Axne's campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the investments.
The post Iowa Dem Invested in Companies that Contaminated Water appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
"Welcome to the new wars."
"We are about to kill the idea that we are weak."
"They are engaged in a higher form of patriotism."
"This is the shittiest most fucked up shit."
Mile 22 doesn't deal in platitudes so much as luxuriate in them, elevate them. James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) and his team of American paramilitary operatives are "option three"—when diplomacy and the military fail, you call in Overwatch to clean up the mess.
We get a sense of Overwatch's talents in the film's opening scene, an assault on an FSB safe house in suburban America. They are technologically superior, with eyes in the sky via drones and eyes on the ground via hacked closed circuit TV feeds. And they are tactically superior, the team using misdirection to gain entry to the house and a combination of gunplay and hand-to-hand skills to keep the Russians they find in check.
It's the best sequence in the film, in part because we get such a good sense of the geography of the location before the attack begins, knowledge that diminishes the distracting effect of the hyperactive editing deployed by Melissa Lawson Cheung and Colby Parker Jr. (who has worked with director Peter Berg before on Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Lone Survivor, Battleship, Hancock, The Kingdom, and Friday Night Lights).
That editing work becomes a problem after we're introduced to Li Noor (Iko Uwais), the individual Overwatch will, eventually, be charged with extracting from an unnamed Southeast Asian country. The ads for Mile 22 have promised something like a mix of Mad Max: Fury Road and The Raid: Redemption: Silva's team has to make it through 22 miles of hostile enemy territory (the Fury Road part) in order to deliver Li Noor, a whirling dervish who specializes in hand-to-hand combat to an American airplane (Iko Uwais played the lead in The Raid).
But the quick edits undercut any power the movie might have had. It's especially frustrating to watch Iko Uwais do his thing—it feels as though we switch perspective via quick cuts after virtually every blow lands. The cumulative effect of chopping the film apart and putting it together so quickly gives us no sense of his skill, no appreciation of his efforts. There's no comparison to The Raid, in which Gareth Evans moved the camera to guide our eye to what was important in each individual shot: a front kick repelling an attacker, a foot sliding a machete across the floor to remove it from the battle. The edits in The Raid were clean and clear, keeping the action flowing like a river. The edits in Mile 22, meanwhile, feel more like someone thrashing about in a pool. There's action, but it's harder to track and you feel kind of like you're drowning while watching it.
Disappointment in the hand-to-hand combat scenes is leavened by the fact that most everything else about Mile 22 is quite enjoyable. It's surprisingly funny, for a movie about semi-legal murder. Mark Wahlberg's open-mouthed, wide-eyed looks of faux-surprise hit just the right note on the sarcasm scale. John Malkovich, playing the head of Overwatch's technologically advanced intel operation, is amusingly curt in a role that doesn't ask him to do much more than shout lines into the air so they can be transmitted around the world.
The standout for me, though, was Lauren Cohan. Long familiar to fans of The Walking Dead, Cohan is brusque and tough when dealing with terrorists and teammates, yet believably sweet and frustrated when dealing with her dick of a husband and their divorce proceedings. Cohan has real screen presence and looks capable of making the leap from TV to film, rarely an easy chasm to cross.
If I had to guess, many audiences are going to be put off by the ending—what was sold as The Raid meets Fury Road also has a dash of Atomic Blonde and Jack Ryan. Mile 22 is very much a spy thriller, concerned with undercover assets and double crosses and Russians behaving badly, one that concludes with a platitude (which I shan't spoil) as broad as any of the others mentioned above.
Michigan state Rep. Bettie Cook Scott (D.) apologized Thursday for a series of racist insults she used about election opponent Stephanie Chang (D.), who also serves in the state's House of Representatives.
More than a dozen community groups criticized Scott for calling Chang, a Taiwanese American, "ching-chong" and telling black voters they ought to be "supporting their own people," the Detroit Metro Times reported. Chang and Scott both represent parts of Detroit and ran against each other in the August 7 Democratic primary for a state senator position, which Chang won.
Scott called Chang "ching-chang" and "the ching-chong" outside voting polling precincts during the election last week. She also argued with Chang's husband, Sean Gray, and told an immigrant working for Chang’s campaign, "you don’t belong here" and "I want you out of my country."
On Thursday Scott issued a statement of apology through her lawyer Bill Noakes.
"Those are not the kinds of comments that should be made nor are they the kind of comments I would normally make," Scott said in her statement. "I humbly apologize to Rep. Chang and to her husband, Mr. Gray, and to the broader Asian American community."
Gray, who is black, said he confronted Chang outside a polling place last week about her insults toward his wife.
"I … asked her not to speak about my wife in that manner. At that time she said to the voter that ‘these immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us.' Further, she said it ‘disgusts her seeing black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people,'" Gray said.
Scott told Chang’s campaign staff that she called Chang’s volunteers "ching-chongs."
"I called them ching-chongs. That’s what they are!" Scott said.
Scott received the endorsement of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in her failed bid to be elected to the Michigan Senate.
Perhaps surprisingly, Scott has not faced widespread calls to resign. By winning the state senate primary in Detroit, Chang is presumed to win the seat easily.
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