This man hopes to make history as the first out gay Black congressman in Mississippi

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Carlton Smith headshot

Carlton Smith hopes to make history this November by being elected to the Mississippi State Senate. If he does, he would become the first out LGBTQ person ever seated to the state legislature, as well as the first Black representative in his district’s history.

“Knowing what it’s like to be marginalized from an early age has made me a stronger and a bolder person,” 55-year-old Smith, who grew up in the small town of Holly Springs, Mississippi (pop. 7,621), tells New Now Next in an incredible new interview.

“It’s given me an additional level of creativity, perseverance, and belief in myself, in spite of what other people think or believe is possible for me and other LGBTQ people.”

But Smith knows he has a tough fight ahead of him.

Not only is he currently competing against four other candidates in the Democratic primary, which will be held in August, but if he gets his party’s nomination, he’ll be going up against a Republican incumbent, Rep. Neil Whaley, in the general election this November.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Mississippi isn’t exactly known for being the most gay-friendly place.

The state has passed numerous “religious freedom” laws granting businesses the legal right to discriminate against people LGBTQ, and it offers no statewide discrimination laws based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

And New Now Next notes:

Gaining his party’s official endorsement would be a profound reversal from 2018, when U.S. House candidate Michael Aycox was reportedly told by a representative for the Mississippi Democratic Party that the state would “never” have an openly gay Congressman. Aycox, who married his husband six years ago, was ultimately trounced in the primaries by a nearly 40-point margin.

But Smith, an eternal optimist who has been an ordained minister for 24 years, believes he can win voters over.

“I’ve really learned how to listen deeply to people,” he says, “their wishes, dreams, fears, and concerns.”

It is something Smith says he has done his entire career as a minister, and something he hopes to continue doing in the state legislature.

Related: Michael Aycox discovered the travails of coming out while running for Mississippi House seat


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Airman posts series of deeply disturbing videos of himself shouting homophobic vitriol into camera

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crazed airman

The Air Force says it is investigating an airman who posted a series of videos of himself calling gay people “cockroaches,” “pedophiles,” “sodomites,” and “vermin scum,” among other antigay slurs.

“The sodomites, the homos, they do all their filthy acts in the dark of night where no one can see them,” the airman, who has not been identified but who was wearing his uniform in the videos, said.

“When you get these perverts on their own, they flee like cockroaches, like the roaches they are, the vermin scum, the pedophiles that they are.”

The airman posted the videos to YouTube under the username “Baptist Dave 1611” last week before taking them down a few days later.

In one of them, he voiced his support for Grayson Fritts, the cop/Baptist preacher from Knoxville, Tennessee who was caught earlier this month advocating for police to kill gay people.

In that video, the airman claimed most Christians agree with Fritts, but are too afraid to say anything for fear of the “homo mafia.”

In another video, he attacked parents who bring their children to “drag queen story hour” events at public libraries, accusing them of child abuse.

“If you’re making your son, for example, dress up as a woman and go dance at a sodomite bar, that’s hip, that’s cool, that’s trendy,” the airman said. “But if you just believe the Bible, and you take your kid to church, that’s child abuse, right?”

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek issued a statement confirming the situation is being reviewed by the airman’s command team.

“The Air Force considers diversity to be one of our greatest assets; therefore, every airman is expected to treat each other with dignity and respect,” said Stefanek. “We do not tolerate behavior that is contrary to those values.”

Meanwhile, the Modern Military Association of America, a non-profit that advocates for LGBTQ service members and veterans, issued a statement calling the videos “alarming” and “dangerous” and demanding the Air Force hold him fully accountable for his actions.

“This alarming call for the execution of LGBTQ people by a service member in uniform no doubt adds fuel to the fire of those who wish us harm,” said MMAA Executive Director Andy Blevins.

“What this airman did is blatantly illegal under the [Uniform Code of Military Justice], and he has disrespected his uniform, the United States Air Force, and the military as a whole.”

Blevins continued, “The dangerous message this hate speech sends to those he serves with, including service members who may be LGBTQ, is completely unacceptable and could have severe consequences.”

Related: Cop caught on camera calling gay people “freaks” and “animals” who should be “put to death”


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This Activist Has an Emotional Story to Tell About Discovering Gay Life in NYC in 1969 Just After the Stonewall Riots, and the Years Since: WATCH

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This is the story of Bill McCallion, and everyone should watch it. It’s one of the recorded histories that are so necessary from gay men of this generation. It is beautiful, heartbreaking, and extremely moving.

McCallion grew up as a working-class kind in the north Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood and read about the Stonewall riots in the newspaper the summer he graduated from high school.

When he realized that the “Christopher Street” mentioned in the article was the same one that was on the same 1 train that ran through his neighborhood, it led McCallion to his new community, activism, and his first lover. His life in LGBTQ culture spans the 50 years we are recognizing this weekend as the anniversary of those riots, and he has seen it all, including an AIDS crisis that all but decimated that community.

McCallion’s ex, John Voelcker, enlisted filmmaker Sam Hampton to capture the stories he had heard first-hand. Watch them encapsulated in this stunning piece, which is edited down from over 90 minutes of footage.

The post This Activist Has an Emotional Story to Tell About Discovering Gay Life in NYC in 1969 Just After the Stonewall Riots, and the Years Since: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Jake Gyllenhaal Breaks Down His Performance as Jack Twist in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ — WATCH

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In a lengthy new video for GQ, Jake Gyllenhaal breaks down some of his most well-known movie roles, including the iconic 2005 Ang Lee western Brokeback Mountain.

Said Gyllenhaal: “I think we had been cast for our ‘essences’ without really understanding what our ‘essences’ were – and that’s outside of our sexuality – we’re two straight guys cast in these roles, but who we are, who we were, Ang could see. And I don’t know if I could. So when the movie had the response that it had …. I don’t think we recognized what Ang had seen in us so we were blind at the profundity and the echo the movie made … and I don’t think we ever had any idea it would have the impact that it had.”

Gyllenhaal talked about the power of rehearsal, remembering that they had rehearsed the “I can’t quit you” scene in the same bucolic valley months earlier, when there was snow on the ground, and what gave the scene some of its resonance was the memory of that earlier rehearsal, because it had introduced a time frame into the actors’ knowledge of it and each other.

“To make a movie that even just works is a miracle,” said Gyllenhaal. “When it resonates even beyond that, it’s impossible. And it has nothing to do with you in the end. Just being in Brokeback Mountain, that’s the feeling I have. I feel that deeply about it. It had nothing to do with me. It came to me, I was honored to be a part of it, and it is now everyone else’s in a way that I can’t even fathom.”

The post Jake Gyllenhaal Breaks Down His Performance as Jack Twist in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ — WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Andrew Chael helped the world see the impossible while helping other queer scientists thrive

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Name: Andrew Chael

Who He Is: A Harvard astrophysicist who helped capture the first ever image of an actual black hole in space.

How He’s Contributed: In April 2019, Chael and a team of over 200 international astronomers and computer scientists working on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) accomplished a feat once considered impossible: They captured an image of a black hole.

It initially seemed impossible because black holes emit no light, a complication made even more puzzling considering the photo’s subject would be millions of light years away. The team came up with an ingenious solution: Instead of trying to photograph the hole itself, they’d photograph hot glowing gas getting sucked into its perimeter.

Why We’re Proud: That the team was able to complete its herculean task is worthy of considerable recognition, but the way Chael conducted himself after his profile rose shows he’s more than just a brilliant scientific mind.

After the photo was released, Chael became wrapped up in an unlikely, sexist internet troll attack on one of his female colleagues, Katherine Bouman. In an effort to undermine Bouman’s role in the project, Reddit trolls created and amplified a false narrative that Chael — a white man — actually did all of the work.

Chael immediately took to Twitter to dispute the bizarre praise being shoveled in his direction and to give Bouman the credit she deserves. He later explained that as an openly gay man, he is also an underrepresented demographic in the scientific community.

“Once I realized that many online commentators were using my name and image to advance a sexist agenda to claim that Katie’s leading role in our global team was invented, I felt I should say something to make it clear I rejected that view,” Chael told CNN.

Andrew is also a proud LGBTQ advocate within the scientific community. He is a member of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Outlist and serves as a mentor for undergraduates on LGBTQ life at Harvard, among other subjects.

“As openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and other gender/sexual minority (LGBTQIA+) members of the astronomical community,” reads the Outlist’s mission statement, “we strongly believe that there is no place for discrimination based on sexual orientation/preference or gender identity/expression.”

Now that’s some serious star power.


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Watch the Second 2020 Democratic Primary Presidential Debate: LIVE VIDEO

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10 of 20 Democratic candidates face off in tonight’s second Democratic Primary debate from 9-11 pm ET in Miami, in the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Pre-coverage starts at 8 pm.Watch it via this livestream. If you’d like to open it in a new tab, click HERE.

TONIGHT’S CANDIDATES: California Sen. Kamala Harris; Former Vice President Joe Biden; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; Author and speaker Marianne Williamson; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; Entrepreneur Andrew Yang; Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The other 10 candidates (split because there are just too many for one stage) faced questions Wednesday night at the same venue. The debates will be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, and José Diaz-Balart of Telemundo will be moderating.

The post Watch the Second 2020 Democratic Primary Presidential Debate: LIVE VIDEO appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Gerrymandering, Tom Holland, AOC, Washington, Zack Barack, Charlies Angels: HOT LINKS

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GERRYMANDERING. U.S. Supreme Court shows it is now a partisan political machine swaying things for Republicans. Kagan: “Of all the times to abandon the court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government.” More HERE.

TOM HOLLAND. Jake Gyllenhaal worked me out so hard I couldn’t walk.

AOC. We sent Kellyanne Conway a subpoena this morning.

WASHINGTON 1. Man arrested in fight outside Olympia gay bar gets 29 months in prison: “The incident happened on Jan. 30 outside Jake’s on 4th in downtown Olympia. According to a police report, Houston, a 35-year-old Olympia resident, allegedly assaulted multiple people and was accused of using an anti-gay slur in reference to two male victims.”

WASHINGTON 2. Protesters gather outside camp that fired gay counselor. “Jace Taylor, 18, says he was hired by Firs to be a camp counselor at their Fir Creek Day Camp. But before he could start his job, he says he was terminated because management at the Christian organization found out he was gay.”

ZACK BARACK. Actor opens up about being the first out transgender actor to appear in a Marvel film.

MYANMAR. Bullied librarian posts heartbreaking Facebook message before taking his own life: ‘Kyaw Zin Win, 25, began working at Myanmar Imperial University in Yangon in September 2017. Before his death on Sunday, he posted on Facebook that his homeland “mocks the existence and identity of an individual being.”‘

A VERY UNIQUE MORMON. Dan Reynolds on being an LGBTQ ally: “I have family and friends I grew up with who are LGBTQ and Mormon or religious. I watched their constant struggle.”

JENNIFER KENT. Babadook director loves her film’s gay icon status: “I’m still trying to work that one out… It’s quite perplexing. I feel it’s really quite beautiful, but I still have no idea why. … I mean, I kind of do.”

TRAILER OF THE DAY. Charlies Angels, featuring a new song from Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey.

THIRSTY THURSDAY. Teraj.

View this post on Instagram

The time has finally come! I’m excited to announce that my album DEFY is coming out May 31 (1 week after my birthday) and I’m giving y’all the exclusive on the album cover art. It feels so good that the vision and sound that I’ve been working on over the last 2 years has come to life. The songs on the album are a bop and a strong reflection of who I am as a person. Past, present and future I’m gonna make you dance and then turn around to pause and listen! I cannot wait for you to hear these songs soon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #Teraj #DEFY #NewMusic #ComingSoon #Singer #Songwriter #RecordingArtist #SupportGreatMusic #Model #MaleModel #BlackModel #BlackMaleModel

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The post Gerrymandering, Tom Holland, AOC, Washington, Zack Barack, Charlies Angels: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Jared Kushner’s Bahrain Conference Is the Sideshow | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions Wednesday June 26th, 2019 at 10:12 AM

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10:09 AM 6/26/2019 – Jared Kushner’s Bahrain Conference Is the Sideshow | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions

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10:09 AM 6/26/2019

Jared Kushner’s Bahrain Conference Is the Sideshow

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“trump and putin” – Google News: Kremlin says Putin-Trump meeting set for June 28 in Japan’s Osaka – Reuters

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Kremlin says Putin-Trump meeting set for June 28 in Japan’s Osaka  Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will have an hour-long meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit on June 28 in Japan’s …

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Kremlin says Putin-Trump meeting set for June 28 in Japan’s Osaka – Reuters

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Kremlin says work continues on possible Putin-Trump meeting

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Work continued on a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump on …
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Kremlin says Putin-Trump meeting set for June 28 in Japan’s Osaka

Reuters43 minutes ago
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will have an hour-long meeting on the sidelines of a …
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Press review: Jerusalem summit sets way to Putin-Trump talks and …

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The long-awaited meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump at the Osaka-hosted G20 summit is …
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Trump: ‘may’ talk to Putin at G20 about Russian meddling in 2020 …

ReutersJun 23, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump told NBC News in an interview aired on Sunday that he “may” talk to Russian President …
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The Early Edition: June 26, 2019

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
TRUMP-RUSSIA AND CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS
Former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify to Congress in a public session next month about his investigation into Russian electoral interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign. The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees announced late yesterday that “pursuant to a subpoena,” Mueller has agreed to appear before both panels on Jul. 17. Rachel Bade, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian report at the Washington Post.
“The American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions,” Committee Chairs Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to Mueller yesterday. “We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our committees as scheduled,” they added, Nicholas Fandos reports at the New York Times.
“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined … uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy …the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help … and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” Nadler and Schiff announced in a joint statement last night. Both panels had been negotiating for Mueller’s voluntary appearance for several weeks but had not reached an agreement; Mueller signaled his unwillingness to testify publicly before Congress in his first public remarks on his investigation into Russia’s election interference last month, Morgan Chalfant and Tal Axelrod report at the Hill.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also welcomed Mueller’s testimony, saying in a statement: “Members of Congress must honor our oath and our patriotic duty to follow the facts, so we can protect our democracy,” Andrew Desiderio and Heather Caygle report at POLITICO.
The committees have reportedly been working with the Department of Justice (D.O.J.) on negotiating terms for Mueller’s appearance over the last several weeks. The negotiations have been prolonged in part because of Mueller’s announcement that he would leave the D.O.J. and retire to private life, Erin Banco reports at The Daily Beast.
“Presidential Harassment!” Trump responded to the news, in a message sent on Twitter yesterday, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju report at CNN.
“Bob Mueller has already stated that his report is his testimony … in that report … he concluded that there was no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow responded to the development in a statement, adding “we also expect that he will have to answer questions regarding some of the irregularities that took place during his investigation, not the least of which involve [former F.B.I. personnel] Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.” Both a spokesperson from the D.O.J. and the White House declined to comment, Siobhan Hughes and Sadie Gurman report at the Wall Street Journal.
“Who cares,” Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani commented on the news, adding “I think his testimony is going to be just like his press conference, totally useless with him repeating ‘I can’t make up my mind.’” “Mueller said he put anything he was going to say in his report … so I have no idea why he’s testifying,” Giuliani continued, also stating that he was not worried that the testimony would add to calls for impeachment, Rebecca Shabad and Kirsten Welker report at NBC.
“There is still no overarching Russia strategy in place … let alone the discipline to implement it,”Andrew S. Weiss comments in an Op-Ed at POLITICO Magazine, noting that “the blowback from Trump’s past encounters with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin have even prompted jokes that the best way to avoid further deterioration to the U.S.-Russian relationship is simply to prevent the two leaders from ever meeting again.”
IRAN
U.S. President Trump warned yesterday that “any attack by Iran on anything American will be met withgreat and overwhelming force” and would result in the “obliteration” of parts of the country. The president made the remarks in a message sent on Twitter, in response to comments by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the White House was “mentally handicapped.” David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick and Isabel Kershner report at the New York Times.
Trump labeled Rouhani’s comments “ignorant” and stated that Iran does “not understand reality,” Karen DeYoung reports at the Washington Post.
“Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion’ … they never have,” Trump stated in a message sent on Twitter, adding “sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the U.S.A. is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone.” Erin Cunningham and Ruth Eglash report at the Washington Post.
New U.S. sanctions and other pressure “is likely to bring Iran to the negotiating table,” U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem yesterday after meeting with Russian and Israeli officials: “they’ll either get the point or … we will simply enhance the maximum pressure campaign further … it will be, I think, the combination of sanctions and other pressure that does bring Iran to the table,” Rachel Frazin reports at the Hill.
“Iran is not looking for war with America,” Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call yesterday. “Iran has no interest to increase tension in the region and it never seeks war with any country, including (the) U.S.”” Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency I.R.N.A., adding “we have always been committed to regional peace and stability and will make efforts in this respect,” AFP reports.
Rouhani also told his French counterpart that if the U.S. violates Iran’s territorial space again – as Iranian officials claim a U.S. drone did last week – it would be confronted: “if the Americans want to violate the waters or airspace of Iran again, Iran’s armed forces have a duty to confront them and they will have a decisive clash,” Rouhani said, Reuters reports.
“U.S. sanctions against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are an attack against the nation,” Iran’s government spokesperson Ali Rabiei stated in a message sent on Twitter yesterday, adding “this action will increase the unity of Iranian people,” Reuters reports.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today stated that his country will not retreat in the face of “cruel” U.S. sanctions and “insults.” “The most vicious officials of the [U.S.] government accuse Iran and insult it … the Iranian nation will not give in and retreat in the face of such insults,” Khamenei stated, Reuters reports.
Iran declared it will take fresh steps to reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers on Jul. 7 in defiance of the new U.S. sanctions, Ali Arouzi and Alexander Smith report at NBC.
The offer by the U.S. to negotiate with Iran is a “deception,” according to Khamenei. “Negotiations are a deception for what they want … a weapon is in your hands and they don’t dare come close … they say drop the weapon so I can do whatever I want with you … this is negotiation,” Khamenei stated in remarks published on his official website, Reuters reports.
Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated yesterday, disputing Trump’s recent comments that he called off a military strike on Iran because it would have killed 150 people. “You were really worried about 150 people? How many people have you killed with a nuclear weapon?” Zarif stated, adding “it is us who, because of our religious views, will never pursue a nuclear weapon,” Reuters reports.
United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan today stated that “clear … scientific and convincing” evidence is needed on the recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf region. Speaking in Moscow at a press conference with his Russian counterpart, bin Zayed Al Nahyan also called for de-escalation of tensions in the region, Reuters reports.
“I don’t need exit strategies,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office yesterday when asked if the president has an “exit strategy” in mind in case of a war with Iran, Julia Arciga reports at The Daily Beast.
Senate Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday indicated he is willing to vote on an amendmentto the National Defense Authorization Act (N.D.A.A.) that would require Congressional approval for any military action against Iran. “We’re not opposed to having the vote and we’re working on having that vote, passing N.D.A.A. and doing the supplemental [border spending bill], all this week,” McConnell stated yesterday, Alexander Bolton reports at the Hill.
The latest updates to the U.S.-Iran tensions are provided by Al Jazeera.
IRAN: OPINION AND ANALYSIS
President Trump’s “obliteration” threat to Iran has renewed war fears, Stephen Collinson writes in an analysis at CNN.
“Trump was right to show restraint and his Iran policy is working,” Marc A. Thiesssen argues at the Washington Post, commenting that “the fact that Trump was moments away from ordering a military strike should serve as a warning to Tehran.”
“Trump has weakened our national security by implementing an erratic foreign policy,” Halie Soifer comments on the new Iran sanctions at NBC.
The threat of U.S.-Iran war persists, Roula Khalaf writes at the Financial Times, commenting that “starting a diplomatic process is the only sensible path to de-escalation.”
YEMEN AND The KINGDOM
A U.S. Senate committee approved legislation yesterday that would make it harder for President Trump to avoid congressional review of arms sales, highlighting lawmakers’ anger over the president’s approval of $8 billion in military deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) The Republican-majority Senate Foreign Relations Committee backed the “Saudi Arabia False Emergencies (S.A.F.E.) Act,” just days after the full Senate approved 22 separate resolutions of disapproval of the transactions, which did not garner enough support to overcome Trump’s promised veto, Reuters reports.
The U.K. government has said it will not grant any new licenses for weapons exports to Saudi Arabia or its coalition partners fighting in Yemen after the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled last week that such sales were unlawful, Al Jazeera reports.
Saudi and Yemeni special forces this month captured the man they identified as leader of the Islamic States groups (I.S.I.S.) branch in Yemen – Abu Osama Al-Muhajir – in a raid aided by elite U.S. forces and American intelligence, according to Saudi and American officials. The Jun. 3 seizure of A-Muhajir deals a blow to one of I.S.I.S.’
smaller branches, which the group has relied on since its territorial defeat in Syria and Iraq, Jared Malsin reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Saudi Arabia’s air defenses yesterday intercepted a drone launched toward a residential area in the Khamis Mushait by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Shi’ite Houthis yesterday, a spokesperson for the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition stated. The Houthis’ Al Masirah T.V. said earlier that the rebels had attacked military positions and aircraft hangars at two nearby airports in southwestern Saudi Arabia; there were no details about casualties or damage, Reuters reports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is denying allegations that drones which targeted Saudi oil pipelines last month could have taken off from Iraq, rather than Yemen. The attack — claimed by the Houthi rebels — was part of a series of incidents that escalated tensions in the Persian Gulf amid Washington-Tehran tensions; Abdul-Mahdi told reporters in Baghdad late yesterday that U.S. officials contacted the Iraqis recently, alleging the drones may have taken off from Iraq, the AP reports.
Houthi attacks have highlighted the deficiencies of the kingdom’s missile defenses. The kingdom’s American-made Patriot missile-defense system reportedly has a mixed record of intercepting projectiles from Yemen and is not primarily designed for repelling drones, Jared Malsin explains at the Wall Street Journal.
U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard will today present her findings on the murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the U.N. Human Rights Council, a week after her report on the matter was released. A breakdown of “five things you need to know about what has happened since Khashoggi disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and what is expected to happen next” is provided at Al Jazeera.
ISRAEL-PALESTINE
U.S. President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner yesterday appealed for Palestinians to embrace his $50 billion economic support plan, as part of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan. Speaking at the U.S.-led conference in Bahrain – with no Israelis or Palestinians present – Kushner invited the audience to “imagine a new reality in the Middle East,” Loveday Morris reports at the Washington Post.
“Agreeing on an economic pathway forward is a necessary precondition to resolving the previously unsolvable political issues,” Kushner stated, adding “to be clear, economic growth and prosperity for the Palestinian people are not possible without an enduring and fair political solution to the conflict – one that guarantees Israel’s security and respects the dignity of the Palestinian people.” Martin Chulov reports at the Guardian.
Kushner acknowledged that the initiative has been met with widespread skepticism and low expectations, commenting “my direct message to the Palestinian people is that despite what those who have let you down in the past say, President Trump and America have not given up on you,” Matthew Lee reports at the AP.
“Some people have mockingly called this effort the ‘deal of the century’ … but at its core … this is not about just making a deal,” Kushner stated, adding “this effort is better referred to as the ‘opportunity of the century’…if the leadership has the courage to pursue it,” Felicia Schwartz reports at the Wall Street Journal.
“Kushner’s current plan won’t bring peace to the Middle East,” Muriel Asseburg and Hugh Lovatt argue at Foreign Policy, commenting that European leaders should not lend support to the plan.
An analysis of whether the Mideast plan can pave the way for peace is provided by Stephen Farrell at Reuters.
A useful explainer of the U.S. economic plan, including its supporters and opponents, is provided by the AP.
The latest updates to the U.S.-led Bahrain meeting on Palestine are provided by Al Jazeera.
SYRIA
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday hosted an extraordinary meeting of national security advisers from Israel, the Russia and the U.S., with Netanyahu pressing to rid Syria of all foreign forces – in particular, Iranians and their proxies across Israel’s northern frontier. “I believe that there is a wider basis for cooperation between the three of us than many believe,” Netanyahu stated. Isabel Kershner reports at the New York Times.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton has announced that the U.S. is seeking for Iranian forces to leave Syria as one leg of a wider withdrawal from foreign territories. “It’s not a question I think of a disagreement about the outcome, but a mutual effort to find a way to make it happen,” Bolton said at a press conference following the Jerusalem meeting, Ivan Levingston reports at Bloomberg.
The U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Mark Lowcock has asked Russia to explain how it uses data on the location of Syrian hospitals and clinics following a string of attacks on health facilities. According to the U.N., more than 23 hospitals have been hit by attacks since Russia-backed Syrian forces launched an offensive in the northwestern rebel-held province of Idlib in late April, Al Jazeera reports.
AFGHANISTAN
Two U.S. military service members have been killed in Afghanistan, according to a statement released today by the N.A.T.O.-led Resolute Support mission. The statement did not provide details surrounding the circumstances of their deaths and the names of the service members are being withheld until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin in accordance with U.S. Defense Department policy, Phil Helsel reports at NBC.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday expressed hopes there will be a peace deal with the Taliban by September, commenting that “the hour has come for peace” in Afghanistan. In a visit to the Afghan capital for talks with Afghan officials, Pompeo announced that progress has been made in reaching a comprehensive settlement of the nearly 18-year war and that neighboring Pakistan has a key role to play, Courtney McBride and Craig Nelson report at the Wall Street Journal
The KOREAN PENINSULA
The recent U.S. extension of sanctions against North Korea was an act of hostility and an outright challenge to last year’s Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a spokesperson for Pyongyang’s foreign ministry announced today. The White House last week extended six executive orders containing sanctions levied on over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs by one year. Reuters reports.
The unidentified North Korean spokesperson today denounced U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks Sunday that more than 80 percent of the North Korean economy has been affected by sanctions, also accusing Washington of “viciously slandering” Pyongyang in its latest reports on human trafficking and religious freedom around the world, AFP reports.
The spokesperson claimed that the North is “not a country that will surrender to the U.S. sanctions.”According to state-run news agency K.N.C.A., the statement also accused the U.S. of having a “wild dream… to bring us to our knees by means of sanctions and pressure,” The Daily Beast reports.
The comments come two days after state media reported that Kim had received a personal letter of what was described as “excellent content” from President Trump. Al Jazeera reports.
Hopes for a third Trump-Kim summit appeared to be revived today even after the rebukes from Pyongyang. Just hours after the statement was published, South Korean President Moon Jae-in revealed that the long-time adversaries had been talking “behind the scenes” and “engaged in dialogue in regard to a third summit;” “there’s no reason to regard the current situation as a stalemate in the peace process on the peninsula just because the pace has remained slow,” Moon said in a written question-and-answer session with several media outlets. Joshua Berlinger and Jake Kwon report at CNN.
CHINA AND HUAWEI
U.S. chip-makers continue to sell millions of dollars of products to Huawei despite a Trump administration ban on the sale of U.S. technology to the Chinese telecommunications giant. Industry leaders including Intel and Micron have reportedly discovered ways to avoid labeling goods as U.S.-made, Paul Mozur and Cecilia Kang report at the New York Times.
Around 1,500 activists opposed to extradition legislation today marched to key foreign consulates – including the U.S. and U.K. consulates – in Hong Kong, calling on leaders at the upcoming G.20 summit in Japan to support the full scrapping of the controversial extradition bill and to raise the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping at this week’s summit, Katie Tam reports at the AP.
The TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
Top aide to first lady Melania Trump – Stephanie Grisham – will be the next White House press secretary and communications director, filling the vacancy left by outgoing press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country,” Melania Trump stated in a message sent on Twitter, the BBC reports.
The Trump administration’s chief of protocol in the State Department – Ambassador Sean Lawler – has been pulled off the job just ahead of the G.20 summit amid an investigation into allegations of discrimination and harassment, according to U.S. officials said. Lawler is not expected to return to his job, Josh Lederman reports at NBC.
Acting Head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency John Sanders has resigned from his position, amid a public outcry over the treatment of migrant children in one of the agency’s facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border, Al Jazeera reports.
“If the White House truly believes that requiring [the president’s adviser Kellyanne] Conway to abide by the Hatch Act constitutes an unacceptable affront to the First Amendment … the answer is not to encourage her to continue breaking the law,” the New York Times editorial board comments, regarding the ongoing fallout over Conway’s requested appearance before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The board argues that rather, “she and other administration officials should work to educate Congress and the public about why it is the Hatch Act that needs to be overhauled — or perhaps repealed altogether.”
CYBERSECURITY, TECHNOLOGY AND PRIVACY
The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) got rid of millions of Americans’ phone records after learning that some of the data was collected in error as part of a “controversial” counterterrorism program, according to documents made public today. The development marks the second such instance last year of “over-collection” and informed the agency’s decision — which it still has not publicly acknowledged — to close down the program earlier this year, according to people familiar with the matter, Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post.
Federal agencies responsible for safeguarding millions of Americans’ security and personal data have failed to apply even basic defenses to cyberattacks, Senate investigators announced yesterday. A 99-page report accuses eight agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Social Security Administration, of having relied on outdated systems; neglected to keep track of hardware and software; failed to apply mandatory security patches; and ignored well-known threats and weaknesses – in some cases for more than a decade, Alex Johnson reports at the NBC.
Senate Republicans yesterday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation aimed at bolstering the country’s election infrastructure despite a stalemate in the chamber on the matter. Top Democrat on the Rules Committee Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) had tried to call up the Election Security Act, which would require backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states, before it was blocked, Jordain Carney reports at the Hill.
Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) yesterday revealed a plan to secure elections against cyber threats and foreign interference, as well as to end voting suppression. “Our elections should be as secure as Fort Knox … but instead, they’re less secure than your Amazon account,” Warren wrote, Maggie Miller reports at the Hill.
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
U.S. President Trump remains committed to a pressure campaign to force incumbent Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to step aside so that opposition leader Juán Guaido can assume the presidency, Washington’s envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said yesterday. Reuters reports.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) has taken the next step toward opening a full investigation into alleged crimes against the minority Muslim Rohingya group driven from Myanmar to Bangladesh, a statement from the prosecutor announced today. Reuters reports.
“Democratic presidential candidates—and a new group of wonks—are committed to fixing rampant gender inequalities in the national security workplace.” Rosa Brooks explains at Foreign Policy. 
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Jerusalem Security meeting 2019 – Google Search

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Story image for Jerusalem Security meeting 2019 from Just Security

The Early Edition: June 26, 2019

Just Security55 minutes ago
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of … adviser John Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem yesterday after meeting with Russian …
Story image for Jerusalem Security meeting 2019 from Euronews English

US pushes Middle East economic plan in face of Palestinian disdain …

Euronews English1 hour ago
… Bahrain’s workshop for U.S. Middle East peace plan, in Gaza City, June 26, 2019. … a international meeting in Bahrain on Tuesday evening by urging Palestinians, … Jerusalem is ours, the land is ours, and everything is ours,” Haniyeh said. … as the status of Jerusalem, mutually agreed borders, Israel’s security concerns, …
Story image for Jerusalem Security meeting 2019 from Bloomberg

Jared Kushner’s Bahrain Conference Is the Sideshow

Bloomberg1 hour ago
Ostensibly the Jerusalem conference was convened to discuss the situation in … National SecurityAdvisor John Bolton made this clear after his first meeting in …
Story image for Jerusalem Security meeting 2019 from Al-Monitor

Israeli, Russian, US interests converge on Iran in Syria

Al-Monitor2 hours ago
Ben Caspit June 26, 2019 … The big headline produced by the meeting was Patrushev’s dry statement that splashed cold water … “Any attempts to make Tehran look like the main threat to global security, to put it in the same … While in Jerusalem, Bolton had remarked, “All that Iran has to do is walk through that open door,” …
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Press review: Jerusalem summit sets way to Putin-Trump talks and …

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The long-awaited meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his … held in Jerusalem by Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, …. The attitude of Russians towards the West in 2019 began to change for the …
Story image for Jerusalem Security meeting 2019 from The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com

Patrushev Admonishes Bolton, Ben-Shabbat, for Comparing Iran to ISIS

The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com3 hours ago
… the trilateral talks in Jerusalem with US national security advisor John Bolton and … and within multilateral formats,” Patrushev said after the trilateral meeting.
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7:39 AM 6/26/2019 – Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions

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Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees

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Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees – Google Search

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Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from The New York Times

Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees

The New York Times6 hours ago
WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, has agreed to testify in public before Congress next month about his …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Globalnews.ca

Robert Mueller to testify before House committees in July

Globalnews.ca8 hours ago
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17, the chairs of both …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Bay News 9

Former Special Counsel Mueller to Testify Publicly Before 2 House …

Bay News 99 hours ago
WASHINGTON — Pursuant to subpoenas issued by two House committees Tuesday, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who led the …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from NBC10 Boston

Mueller to Testify Before House Committees

NBC10 Boston8 hours ago
(Published 4 minutes ago) Two House committees issued subpoenas for special counsel Robert Mueller to testify to Congress about his …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Globalnews.ca

Schiff confirms Robert Mueller will testify before two House committees

Globalnews.ca7 hours ago
U.S. House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff confirmed on Tuesday that special counsel Robert Muellerwould testify before Schiff’s committee as …

Mueller agrees to publicly testify before House committees over …

Xinhua8 hours ago
WASHINGTON, June 25 (Xinhua) — U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly over his Russia probe before the House …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Idaho News (press release)

Robert Mueller is expected to testify before House committees on July …

Idaho News (press release)9 hours ago
WASHINGTON (SBG) — Former special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to testify to Congress on July 17th, according to an announcement …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from CANOE

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before House panels on …

CANOE9 hours ago
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before House panels on … House of Representatives Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from BuzzFeed News

Robert Mueller Said He Shouldn’t Testify Before Congress, But House …

BuzzFeed NewsJun 4, 2019
Robert Mueller Said He Shouldn’t Testify Before Congress, But … held view” that he should testify before the House Judiciary Committee, “even …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Politico

Schiff: ‘Time is running out’ for Mueller to testify

PoliticoJun 18, 2019
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the clock is ticking for Robert Mueller to publicly testifyabout his investigation into Russian … a subpoena for Mueller’s testimony, though his committee is still negotiating with the …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Reuters Africa

US Special Counsel Mueller to testify before House panels on July 17 …

Reuters Africa9 hours ago
U.S. Special Counsel Mueller to testify before House panels on July 17 – statement … Robert Mueller, who issued a report in April on Russian meddling in … House of Representatives Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from NBCNews.com

Schiff: Congress is ‘running out of time’ to have Mueller testify

NBCNews.comJun 23, 2019
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said … out of time” to have former special counsel Robert Mueller testify, … He told CNN last week that he wants Mueller to testify beforethe August recess.
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from Business Insider

Hope Hicks just agreed to testify about the Mueller probe, which is a …

Business InsiderJun 12, 2019
Hope Hicks just agreed to testify about the Mueller probe, which is a huge win for … has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week. … to the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, …
Story image for Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees from CNN

Trump associate who worked on Moscow Trump Tower project to …

CNNJun 19, 2019
… he will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday. … that hearing after special counsel Robert Mueller finished his report.
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Robert Mueller to Testify Before House Committees

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The hearings will most likely be aired live and in full on network and cable television. With other potential witnesses off limits for now, Mr. Mueller possesses perhaps the singular authority to shift the dynamic in Washington and change the minds of Americans across the country who long since cast their lot with Mr. Trump or his critics.
“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” Mr. Nadler and Mr. Schiff said in a joint statement.
The question is what Mr. Mueller will be willing to say.
From the time he took over the F.B.I.’s investigation of Russia’s election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign in May 2017, Mr. Mueller, 74, has been one of the most vexing figures in American public life. He conducted his work in absolute private, despite incessant attacks by Mr. Trump in public and from within the White House, and ultimately issued a lengthy report that raised as many questions as it answered.
In the report, Mr. Mueller detailed Russia’s disinformation and hacking campaigns to sow chaos in the American political system, harm Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and eventually bolster Mr. Trump. Though he detailed more than 100 contacts between Trump associates and various Russian figures and painted a picture of a campaign that welcomed the foreign assistance, the special counsel ultimately concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with conspiring with the Russians to undermine the 2016 election.
Mr. Mueller’s team also extensively investigated whether Mr. Trump’s attempts to thwart its work amounted to obstruction of justice. The special counsel’s report documented 10 such episodes — including orders by Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Mueller, to constrain his investigation and to alter records about what he had done.
Ultimately, the members of Mr. Mueller’s team concluded that because Justice Department policy prohibits indicting a sitting president, they could not determine whether Mr. Trump’s actions had been criminal. But they also clearly stated that they could not exonerate the president of wrongdoing, either, and that the Constitution provides another means of adjudicating possible presidential wrongdoing: Congress.
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2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms – Google Search

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Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Times of Israel (blog)

Netanyahu says he’s considering plan to cancel September elections

The Times of Israel (blog)14 hours ago
Legal officials say Netanyahu’s push to call off elections is a ‘spin’ — report … Israeli firm SpaceIL says it won’t repeat its attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon, … to the conflict — one that guarantees Israel’s security and respects the dignity of the ….. One social media user suggests “Trump took revenge” for Khamenei …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Times of Israel (blog)

Netanyahu’s party acting to cancel September elections — report

The Times of Israel (blog)14 hours ago
Netanyahu ‘considering’ plan to cancel elections; Blue and White blasts ‘spin’ … Israeli firm SpaceIL says it won’t repeat its attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon, … to the conflict — one that guarantees Israel’s security and respects the dignity of the ….. One social media user suggests “Trump took revenge” for Khamenei …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Times of Israel (blog)

In Bahrain, Kushner calls Trump peace plan ‘opportunity of the century’

The Times of Israel (blog)15 hours ago
Israeli firm SpaceIL says it won’t repeat its attempt to land a spacecraft on the … Knesset speaker acting to cancel September elections — report … to the conflict — one that guarantees Israel’s securityand respects the dignity of the Palestinian people.” ….. One social media user suggests “Trump took revenge” for Khamenei …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Times of Israel (blog)

Netanyahu allies back move to cancel elections; legal sources say it’s …

The Times of Israel (blog)17 hours ago
Legal officials say Netanyahu’s push to call off elections is a ‘spin’ — report … Some pundits claim the whole move is only designed to garner media … Israeli firm SpaceIL says it won’t repeat its attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon, … to the conflict — one that guarantees Israel’s security and respects the dignity of the …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Mother Jones

Want to See How Disinformation Could Play Out in 2020? Just Look …

Mother JonesJun 20, 2019
After the 2016 election, Mark Zuckerberg notoriously dismissed the idea that Facebook … Camille Francois, chief innovation officer at the social media security firm … Disinformation and manipulationare coming from domestic outfits, as seen in … probing Psy-Group, a private “intelligence firm” staffed by former Israeli spies …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Haaretz

Israel Seeks to Erase Archives of Intel Firm Psy-Group Employed in …

HaaretzJun 18, 2019
Among those was a campaign to dig up and distribute via social media … Personally I don’t believe he was involved in the any U.S. election campaign. … of 2016 to advise the Trump presidential campaign how to manipulate social media to … Group, accusing the later of retaining another Israeli private intelligence firm, …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Wire

Israeli Tech Companies Target Rights Activists With Tailor-Made …

The WireJun 11, 2019
The dirty cyber campaigns mounted by Israeli companies like Archimedes, NSO and … Media reports have confirmed that the Saudi intelligence agency that … notified police authorities in Norway that another Saudi social media activist, Iyad al … and the Internet Research Agency used in the 2016 US presidential election, …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Straits Times

Russians’ US election interference has inspired copycats around the …

The Straits TimesJun 10, 2019
… who headed the social media giant’s investigation into 2016 election manipulation before he … The Israel-based accounts, run by a social media company called … that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a … The report set out 45 election security recommendations, among them the …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Middle East Monitor

Israel’s interference in 2016 US election to be probed by Senators

Middle East MonitorJun 6, 2019
Israel’s interference in 2016 US election to be probed by Senators … what, if any, role Israel may have played in attempts to manipulate the 2016 election. … questioning Soriano over communications with Israeli private intelligence firms. … Social media giant, Facebook traced these accounts to Archimedes Group, a private …

The Morning Briefing: Celebrate Toxic Masculinity on 75th Anniversary …

PJ MediaJun 6, 2019
Deripaska is believed to have worked with Soriano on corporate intelligence … well as “three Israeli private intelligence firms: Psy Group, Wikistrat, and Black Cube, … campaign chairman Rick Gates in 2016 to use social media manipulation to help … gamed out how to successfully interfere in an electionas early as 2015.
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Politico

Senate Intelligence Committee summons mysterious British security …

PoliticoJun 5, 2019
Deripaska is believed to have worked with Soriano on corporate intelligence … with three Israeli private intelligence firms: Psy Group, Wikistrat, and Black Cube, … campaign chairman Rick Gates in 2016 to use social media manipulation to help … The Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating Russia’s election …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Sun Sentinel

What American and Israeli elections teach us about fake news and …

Sun SentinelJun 5, 2019
The day after their elections in 2016 and 2019, respectively, the U.S. and … Former employees of an Israeli private intelligence firm, the Psy Group, have said the firm designed social media manipulationplans to boost the Trump campaign.
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Just Security

The Early Edition: May 30, 2019

Just SecurityMay 30, 2019
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of … from the D.O.J., shutting down the special counsel’s office and returning to private life. … systematic” attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. … by passing legislation that enhances election security, increases social media …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from NTD

Fake Social Media Accounts Spread Pro-Iran Messages During US …

NTDMay 29, 2019
A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and … the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said on Tuesday. … groups could manipulate social media platforms to promote stories and other … These are the accounts that FireEye, a private security firm, reported on today.
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from NBCNews.com

Did the Iranians create fake US social media accounts and pose as …

NBCNews.comMay 28, 2019
Did the Iranians create fake U.S. social media accounts and pose as GOP politicians? … Was this the work of an Iranian intelligence service? … reports released Tuesday by Facebook and a leading cybersecurity company, FireEye. …. looking at what happened in the 2016 election and trying to duplicate that on a local level.
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Star Online

Fake Facebook accounts: the never-ending battle against bots

The Star OnlineMay 26, 2019
Most fake social media accounts are “bots,” created by automated programs to … terms of service and part of an effort to manipulate social conversations. … Facebook said its artificial intelligence detects most of these efforts and … in spreading misinformation on social media ahead of the 2016 US election, …. company info.
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Times of Israel

Archimedes Group, outed by Facebook for election fakery, works from …

The Times of IsraelMay 24, 2019
Last week, an Israel-based social media manipulation company was singled out by … B. Archimedes Ltd. was registered on February 21, 2016 by two men: a lawyer … young people who served in the 8200 intelligence unit and who know how to …. The King David Residence complex features a privateswimming pool, gym, …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from Mintpress News

Microsoft’s ElectionGuard a Trojan Horse for a Military-Industrial …

Mintpress NewsMay 24, 2019
In other words, while “officially” a private company, its only investor is the … This is because, before, during and after the 2016 election, DHS was caught … alterations to data or other manipulation of those systems, per FBI officials. … artificial-intelligence targeting systems that will use social media to identify potential targets.
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Times of Israel

Europeans head to polls in 28 countries in key moment for Euroskeptic …

The Times of IsraelMay 22, 2019
With starkly different visions for bloc’s future, parties across the continent vie for the votes of 400 million people, in the most hotly anticipated such vote in recent …
Story image for 2016 Social Media Electoral Manipulations by Israeli Private Intelligence Firms from The Advocate

Kushner Companies and Russian individuals exchanged suspicious …

The AdvocateMay 20, 2019
When McFadden discovered the transfers from Kushner Companies to the … said the report went to managers in New York who were part of the private-banking division. … The House IntelligenceCommittee, which has signaled an interest in the … Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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Putin and Trump: Hiding the Cash


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Americans Greatly Overestimate How Many in U.S. Are Gay: Gallup Poll

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Americans greatly overestimate the percentage of the U.S. population that is gay or lesbian, according to new poll results released by Gallup.

Gallup reports: “U.S. adults estimate that nearly one in four Americans (23.6%) are gay or lesbian. Gallup has previously found that Americans have greatly overestimated the U.S. gay population, recording similar average estimates of 24.6% in 2011 and 23.2% in 2015. In each of the three polls in which Gallup has asked this question, a majority of Americans estimated this population to be 20% or greater. Americans’ estimate of the proportion of gay people in the U.S. is more than five times Gallup’s more encompassing 2017 estimate that 4.5% of Americans are LGBT, based on respondents’ self-identification as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”

So why are the results dramatically different from the reality. Writes Gallup: “Overestimations of the nation’s gay population may in part be due to the group’s outsized visibility. An annual report by GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, found that representation of LGBT people as television series regulars on broadcast primetime scripted programming reached an all-time high of 8.8% in the 2018-2019 television season, which is nearly twice Gallup’s estimate of the actual population. But Americans have overestimated the sizes of other minority groups in the past as well, including U.S. blacks and Hispanics.”

Read the full poll results HERE.

The post Americans Greatly Overestimate How Many in U.S. Are Gay: Gallup Poll appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Vanderbilt is joining the college baseball elite

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The Vandy Boys won their second national championship in program history.

Southern California, Texas, LSU. Three of the most storied programs in college baseball history.

The Vanderbilt Commodores are well on their way to joining the college baseball elite.

Eight long days in Omaha, Nebraska ended in a dog pile in TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday night. After an 8-2 loss to Michigan in game one the College World Series final, the Vandy Boys rallied back to win games two and three and secure their second College World Series title in program history.

Freshman ace Kumar Rocker and sophomore right-hander Mason Hickman delivered on the mound with the weight of Vanderbilt’s season on their shoulders.

In game two, Rocker was dealing, going for 6.1 innings and only allowing three hits and one earned run. He also totaled a program College World Series record with 11 strikeouts. Hickman allowed three hits to the first three batters in the final game of the series, but quickly settled in. He went for six innings, allowing only one more hit and one earned run to go along with 10 strikeouts.

The SEC has long since been a baseball powerhouse, and Vanderbilt has slowly risen to the top of it. The SEC has had at least one team in the CWS final in 11 of the last 12 years to go with 11 total titles (and five in the last 10 years).

Vanderbilt didn’t have any NCAA Tournament appearances between 1980 and 2004. Now it has made it every season since 2006.

While Vanderbilt itself only has four CWS appearances, they all have come in the last 10 years with a national championship in 2014 and national runner-up in 2015 to go along with this year’s title.

This season, the Commodores went 59-12 — which is an SEC record for wins — and 23-7 through a rigorous conference schedule to win the regular season crown and the SEC Tournament crown.

“I talk to people who played college baseball not so long ago, and they can’t believe that Vanderbilt baseball is what it is now,” junior outfielder JJ Bleday told ESPN. ”But for my generation, this is what Vanderbilt baseball is.”

For a school with only five national championship through all sports, this year’s Vandy Boys are likely the best team in school history. Rocker — who was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player — called Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin the Nick Saban of college baseball. They tied an SEC record with 13 players selected in this year’s MLB Draft.

Corbin arrived in Nashville in 2003 and has built this program from the ground up. Wednesday night, the Vandy Boys took the stage as the new national champion and continued on their way to becoming about of the upper echelon of college baseball.


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The Grand Junction Rockies’ boner

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The team would rather not erect new stadium signage, among other things.

The Grand Junction Rockies like their name. For those that suggest they change it, specifically to the name of an endangered fish local to the area, the Pioneer League rookie-level minor league baseball team would like you to keep it down.

A tweet that appeared for a few hours on Thursday morning no longer exists. The Grand Junction Rockies had no problem getting it up earlier, but later deleted this tweet, and a reply:



It’s certainly understandable that a minor league team, which by design thrives on local support, would not want to alienate its fan base. “The Grand Junction Rockies pride ourselves on providing fun family entertainment,” the club explained in a subsequent tweet, also deleted.

A noble effort to be sure, and by all means the team wouldn’t want to use an “offensive” term that is “a sexual slang term for erection” on such a hallowed day like, for instance, Wiener Wednesday.

I certainly hope the fine denizens of Grand Junction didn’t get the wrong idea about what a “rubber match” really was.

At least the folks of Grand Junction aren’t in Ogden, the city in Utah with its apparently salacious nicknames displayed at its ballpark.

The Grand Junction minor league team actually began in Butte, Montana, in 1978, and moved to Casper, Wyoming, in 2011 when they became affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. The team was sold in 2011 to Monfort Investment Group, headed by the same group that owns the major league team, and in 2012 moved to Grand Junction, in western Colorado.

They’ve been branded the Rockies ever since, and this year are the only one of eight teams in the Pioneer League that uses the same nickname of its major league counterpart.

Contacted by SB Nation Thursday, a staff member of the Grand Junction Rockies declined to elaborate on their tweets or why they were deleted, saying only, “Our only comment is we’re not changing the name.”

Ian Lummis, a Grand Junction resident, wants that to change, starting a petition to change the name to a local fish native to the area. He got the idea last August after seeing a list of funny minor league team names.

“I realized that our name was definitely not funny or unique, so I talked with some friends, and we were thinking about local things,” Lummis explained to SB Nation. “By far our local and endangered fish being called the Humpback Chub would be the best name for a baseball team.”

The Humpback Chub is classified by the U.S. National Park Service as endangered, and “can reach lengths of up to 20 inches,” so you could see why the Grand Junction Rockies might be offended.

“I’m trying to be funny, but I’m definitely not trying to just troll the team. I think they should have some humor, and see the upside,” Lummis said. “I think changing the name would be good for them, people would care about them more.”

Grand Junction has averaged 2,530 fans through four games, ranking fifth of eight teams in the Pioneer League, and ranked fourth in 2018 with 2,221 fans per game. The top team so far in 2019 is the Rocky Mountain Vibes, the team with the fresh new name and new city that went from 840 fans on average last year as the Helena Brewers to 4,076 fans in Colorado Springs so far in the early going this year.

Colorado Springs’ stadium, UCHealth Park, has a capacity of 8,500 and was built in 1988. Suplizio Field in Grand Junction was built in 1949 but renovated in 2011 and has 12,000 seats.

Lummis said his idea picked up steam in May, when he was blocked by the Grand Junction Rockies Twitter account after an innocent suggestion involving another Rockies farm team with a more interesting name, the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats.

The Grand Junction Rockies cap looks like the the Rockies cap, but with a “GJ” instead of the “CR,” which isn’t distinctive enough for Lummis.


Photo: Grand Junction Rockies shop

“For a Humpback Chubs hat, I was imagining it as a cartoon fish holding a baseball bat, or in a batter’s stance,” he explained.

After Thursday’s tweet storm by Grand Junction, Lummis’ petition exceeded its goal of 500 signatures after starting the day less than halfway there, and upped the new target to 1,000 signatures.

“I honestly don’t think it could have gone better for us than having that tweet,” Lummis said. “They really couldn’t have set themselves up worse.”


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