‘Their own media megaphone’: what do the Koch brothers want from Time?

Is Time important to anyone under 40? I think not but if Kochs want to throw money away – go ahead!


The company’s decline is readily apparent – but if the billionaire brothers’ other interests are a guide, their investment will be about more than money

That Charles and David Koch are putting $650m into Meredith Corp’s purchase of Time would ordinarily be cause for great soul-searching in media. But then, these are not ordinary times.

Meredith’s Koch-backed deal with Time – which owns, in addition to Time magazine, titles including People, Fortune and Sports Illustrated – was sealed Sunday night. Meredith said in a statement announcing the deal that they are building “a premier media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers.”

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This past week, the trials began for seven of the 230 defendants facing 70 years in prison for protesting Trump’s inauguration. The case has wide-reaching implications for activists, including feminists, and we all should pay attention.  ICYMI: During protests of Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, police used a technique called

Source: Feministing

Building Resilience and Community in Puerto Rico

Bill in Congress wants a 20% tariff on goods produced in Puerto Rico – like it’s a foreign country and its people not American Citizens – being brown is enough for many white-rights nazis in Congress and White House!

By Carson Bear
Saving Places

With Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria, the community there faces an urgent need. During the storm, thousands of buildings—historic and new—lost their roofs. Fresh rain furthers damages to these places, delaying people’s return to their homes, businesses, and normal routines.

To address this need, the National Trust is working with our partner, Para La Naturaleza (Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico) to provide tarps to 200 homes and other buildings in Puerto Rico. Every donation of $75 will provide a tarp to an affected home or other building to protect it from the elements, slow the structural damage, and help our fellow citizens get back on their feet faster.

We sat down with Ivonne Sanabria Pérez, Board and Advisory Council Coordinator of Para La Naturaleza, to talk more about the Tarps Campaign and how Puerto Rico is building resilience in the wake of tragedy.

As Puerto Rico begins rebuilding, what preservation needs are most important to address?

Right now, we are working together with over 50 Puerto Rican communities in naturally protected places. Part our funding is going towards helping community centers serve their residents’ needs. If the community center doesn’t have power, we’re getting them solar power. If the community doesn’t have filtered water, we’re sending them filters. We’ve already been working on that part of the relief effort.

For us, handing out food and water is over. We’ve moved onto the second phase, and we’re rebuilding; we want to build resilience within our communities.

Why are Puerto Rican buildings in need of tarps? How does the Tarps Campaign work?

[Hurricane Maria]—which led to over 20 hours of sustained hurricane force winds—caused major damage to roofs in particular throughout the island. A lot of the roofs [which are usually made of galvanized metal] went with the hurricane. For the next two or three weeks, water kept coming into the homes as it continued to rain.

We originally thought that our organization could set aside zones with buildings in historic areas that had suffered damage to provide them with tarps but, because we weren’t the owners of these homes, we couldn’t really do anything. That part of the relief response is rather slow, and getting tarps to each home depends entirely upon its owner.

“It’s really important to have hope that we won’t have to rebuild on our own. The Tarps Campaign will go a long way in symbolizing that help is coming. ”

Ivonne Sanabria Pérez, Board and Advisory Council Coordinator of Para La Naturaleza

We were also concerned, because there is a sense that we’re all alone in this, that each resident whose home had sustained damages felt they were fighting this on their own. Residents who lost their roofs may be staying with a family member or at a shelter, or may not have food. They definitely don’t have power and may not trust the water, so everything is a challenge.

We want to provide a sense that help is coming, that people understand there’s someone out there who knows what we’re going through. I think it’s really important to have hope that we won’t have to rebuild on our own. The Tarps Campaign will go a long way in symbolizing that help is coming. And all this effort made by people we don’t even know? That’s wonderful.

What can we do in the future to support long-term resiliency, especially because of the lessons we’ve learned from the way natural disasters have been handled in the past?

One of the most wonderful things in coming to the States has been networking with people who already went through this in Katrina and in Florida. They understand exactly where I’m coming from. I know what FEMA can and can’t do because someone who already lived through that [explained it to me]. That exchange of knowledge should be perpetuated, so it’s accessible for those who are making decisions about the next disaster.

photo by:Carlos Giusti/AP

Hurricane damage in Old San Juan.

We also need to train people in the trades of rebuilding, and particularly in rebuilding historic structures. [Para La Naturaleza] was already beginning to work on that, but Maria has really sped up the process and prioritized skills we hadn’t thought were priorities before the hurricane.

There is a place for other nonprofits and businesses in all of this. The people who are overseeing the preservation of Puerto Rico in an official capacity [employees at Puerto Rico’s State Historic Preservation Office, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, and other government organizations] have experienced massive loss, as well.

One lesson learned is that we can all work to support each other. Our nonprofit has something to contribute to state preservation groups. They don’t have to wait for their employees to be able to survey the island because we have volunteers to help out. We can convey information with one voice, and we can decide how we need to tackle the future together.

What is the connection between preservation and human life when it comes to a disaster like Hurricane Maria?

When it comes to preservation, your home is your home. Preserving these places matters to you because they are more than historic places. I am not as concerned with preserving historic institutional buildings because they will get funding and resources. But most of our historic areas are in towns and residential areas, and that’s all they have. This is their sense of place. It’s where they wake up every morning, it’s where they eat. I can’t fathom the notion that preservation is not important or relevant to daily life, or not something that needs to be tackled immediately.

Most people are saying that there are phases to disaster recovery—that we need to get water, food, and shelter first, and that assessment of damages for historic homes and historic properties can wait. But our organization isn’t giving out water or providing shelter, so what can we do? The organizations who handle these two types of needs are separate, so both can work [on addressing Puerto Rico’s needs] at the same time. That way, when our state preservation organizations are ready to move onto the next phase of rebuilding, they’ll have more information than if they had to wait to make an assessment for damages.

Is there a silver lining to all of this?

It has to do with the psyche of surviving a catastrophe. We’re connecting to our neighbors and helping each other out, because we don’t have any devices to rely on right now.

I’ve asked people from New Orleans if this understanding of what really matters will last, or if we’ll regain power and forget what our communities have recovered. The answer seems to be that we can do both: We can keep the human connections and friendships that we’ve made, and the feeling that our community is cognizant of our neighbors’ needs—but we can also use Facebook. The way you grow when you survive a catastrophic event really does inform who you become.

I’m hoping to look back in 15 years and see that we did [the right thing]. The past few months have been very difficult, but I wouldn’t change what’s happened. I wouldn’t change what I’ve learned for the world.

Featured Photo: Adobe Stock Photos

Carson Bear is an Editorial Assistant at the National Trust. She’s passionate about combining popular culture with historic places, and loves her 200-year-old childhood farmhouse in Pennsylvania.

Motion towards Medicare for All at AFL-CIO Convention

Knee jerk reaction – most of these proposals do not cover drugs or dental care but it sounds good. Sadly, we have millions of elderly and veterans gumming their food and still having to choose between eating and buying prescriptions they need.

November 27, 2017 / Traven Leyshon
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While they didn’t get everything they wanted, single-payer health care advocates are celebrating progress getting the AFL-CIO to embrace Medicare for All.

Legislation protecting Netanyahu brings Israeli parliament to a new low – Smells really bad – wonder if their Supreme Court will do anything?

If the police can publish their recommendations regarding the bribery allegations plaguing Netanyahu, there could be an early election. So the coalition partners hold their noses

Source: Legislation protecting Netanyahu brings Israeli parliament to a new low

This Week in Egypt: Week 48 ( Nov 20-26)

Trump uses Egyptian dead to boost wall on Mexico’s border. Billy Joel’s I didn’t light the fire should be broadcast to Saudi’s 24/7


Top Headlines

  • Horrific  terror attack killing hundreds of worshippers in a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai 
  • Death toll from attack on mosque in Egypt rises sharply to 305, including more than two-dozen children.
  • Egypt’s air forces thwart weapons’ infiltration attempt through the western borders
  • Lebanon’s Hariri holds talks with Egypt President Sisi in Cairo
  • Egypt is ‘astonished’ over Sudan’s Renaissance Dam comments
  • Egypt’s prosecutor general orders detention of 29 suspects over espionage with Turkey
  • Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain release third Qatar-linked terrorism list

AlRawada massacre

Two kids looking at discarded shoes of victims of Sinai’s Mosque attack- via AP 

Main Headlines


View original post 1,908 more words

There’s a #TrumpRussia confession in plain sight


At about 11:14pm on November 6th, 2012, enough states were called for President Obama that he was declared the winner of the election by NBC News. That was quickly followed up by a similar call on Fox News and finally by CNN. At 11:29pm, Donald Trump blasted out the following defiant tweet:

We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012

Somewhere in Russia, Konstantin Rykov saw Trump’s tweet pop up in his Twitter feed.

Almost exactly four years later, on November 12th, 2016, Mr. Rykov explained what happened next in a pair of Facebook posts. In the first post, Rykov explained how he first made contact with Trump:

[Trump] lifted his plane to the sky and flew between New York and DC, calling the whole world through his twitter — to start a march on Washington!

Without a moment’s thought, I wrote him a reply, which sounded like this in Russian: “I’m ready. What should I do?”

Suddenly! There was a thin squeak of warning in the DM.

It was a message from Donald Trump. More precisely a picture. In the picture he was sitting in the armchair of his jet, smiling cheerfully and showing me the thumb of his right hand.


In the second post, Rykov explained how things went from there:

What was our idea with Donald Trump?

For four years and two days .. it was necessary to get to everyone in the brain and grab all possible means of mass perception of reality. Ensure the victory of Donald in the election of the US President. Then create a political alliance between the United States, France, Russia (and a number of other states) and establish a new world order.

Our idea was insane, but realizable.

In order to understand everything for the beginning, it was necessary to “digitize” all possible types of modern man.

Donald decided to invite for this task — the special scientific department of the “Cambridge University.”

British scientists from Cambridge Analytica suggested making 5,000 existing human psychotypes — the “ideal image” of a possible Trump supporter. Then .. put this image back on all psychotypes and thus pick up a universal key to anyone and everyone.

Then it was only necessary to upload this data to information flows and social networks. And we began to look for those who would have coped with this task better than others.

At the very beginning of the brave and romantic [story] was not very much. A pair of hacker groups, civil journalists from WikiLeaks and political strategist Mikhail Kovalev.

The next step was to develop a system for transferring tasks and information, so that no intelligence and NSA could burn it.

Keep in mind that this was all written just four days after Trump was elected. It was before people started asking questions about Cambridge Analytica or targeted social media ads. Mr. Rykov might have been boasting as he spiked the football in the end zone, perhaps even elevating or exaggerating his role. What he didn’t think at that point, however, is that he had any reason to hide what he’d done.

You probably want to know who this guy is, and that’s understandable. If he’s just some dude on the internet, then his claims are of some interest but maybe hard to gauge as to their importance.

Let’s flash-forward to October 2015, just after the very first debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In a piece David Drucker wrote for the conservative Washington Examiner called Putin Loves Donald Trump, Mr. Rykov plays a lead role:

Kremlin mouthpiece Konstantin Rykov said Wednesday in a Twitter post that Trump won the first Democratic presidential debate, held Tuesday in Las Vegas. In that tweet, Rykov linked to a Russian language, pro-Trump website with a Russian domain, www.Trump2016.ru, that he is likely behind. Until a few weeks ago, Rykov’s Twitter home page featured Trump and his 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Western sources who monitor Russian politics told the Washington Examiner that Rykov is a propagandist arm of the Putin government machine. “Rykov is considered to be one of the leading pro-Kremlin bloggers in Russia,” said Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama who is now a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution think tank. “As you can see from his Twitter feed, he is very active. And he loves Trump.”

One source told Drucker that Rykov was a “chief voice and troll for the Kremlin on Twitter.” His Wikipedia page describes him as “one of the first professional Russian Internet producers” who began working in 2002 as the “head of the Internet department of the First Channel of the state television.” In addition to that, he actually served in the Duma, Russia’s parliament, as a member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia political party. But this is what most concerns me:

Rykov has created a series of websites, similar to Trump2016.ru, or used his Twitter page to post opinions on international politics. He often promotes rightwing political figures; for instance, he has previous promoted the National Front, a French nationalist political party, and its leaders, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and his daughter, Marine Le Pen. Rykov also uses events to draw favorable comparisons to Kremlin policy, such as likening Scotland’s independence movement to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The international political figures that Rykov plays up, said the source, “tend to express views that are more friendly to the Kremlin,” at least as far as Moscow is concerned. These figures also tend to be “supportive of engagement” with Russia, if not outright apologists for what others describe as Putin’s aggressive foreign policy and repressive measures at home.

I recommend approaching the work of Nafeez Ahmed with some skepticism, but I do have to give him credit for the comprehensiveness with which his crowdsourced INSURGE Intelligence group investigated Vladimir Putin’s ties to Europe’s far-right and neo-nazi political parties. There’s an absolute correspondence between those who Putin favors (and Mr. Rykov promotes) and the parties and figures that got chummy with the Trump campaign. In addition to Marine Le Pen who showed up at Trump Tower in January to raise money with fascist fixer George “Guido” Lombardi, there’s Nigel Farage of Britain’s UKIP party, who dined with Steve Bannon in the White House in late February before meeting in early March with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. There’s Viktor Orbán in Hungary who was paid special attention during the campaign by Trump associates Carter Page and J.D. Gordon. There’s the Austrian Freedom Party that boasted of meeting with Michael Flynn. This excerpt was published on December 20th, 2016:

On Monday, the leaders of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party traveled to Moscow and signed a “working agreement” with Russia’s ruling United Russia party. In announcing the pact, Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache mentioned that he also met with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s designated national security adviser, in Trump Tower a few weeks ago. “Internationally, the Freedom Party continues to gain in influence,” he wrote. Norbert Hofer, the Freedom Party candidate who recently lost his bid for Austria’s presidency, traveled to Moscow with Strache.

The Freedom Party, founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s, is one of several far-right, anti-immigrant parties gaining popularity throughout Europe. After signing the cooperative agreement, Strache offered to act as “a neutral and reliable intermediary and partner” between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin.

I recently had a commenter at my blog scoff at the idea that Vladimir Putin would want to promote Naziism in Europe after all that Russian suffered from the fascists in the 20th Century. It may seen counterintuitive, but the facts are indisputable. Putin has been buddying up to Europe’s far right, loaning them money, hacking their political opponents, providing clandestine assistance of all kinds, and promoting them quite openly in Russia media. Russia encouraged the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom, and they obviously sided with Trump.

The far right in Europe is uncontroversially working hand in glove with Russian intelligence, so it’s highly relevant that the far right in Europe has increasingly close ties to the far right in the United States. A prime example of this is Frank Gaffney who served as the chief foreign policy adviser to Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and then went on to enthusiastically stump for Trump.

Konstantin Rykov has been a key player in all of this, so when he says that he partnered with Trump beginning back on election night in 2012 and that together they came up with a plan to pay Cambridge Analytica to create “5,000 existing human psychotypes — the ‘ideal image’ of a possible Trump supporter and then  “put this image back on all psychotypes and thus pick up a universal key to anyone and everyone,” I think we ought to take it seriously.

When Rykov made these statements, we didn’t know how Cambridge Analytica had been utilized or how they targeted users on Facebook in key districts in swing states in order to maximize Trump’s support.  In retrospect, what Rykov was saying now makes a lot of sense and fits in with what we know.

Even Fox News recently reported that Cambridge Analytica sought to work with WikiLeaks in obtaining and releasing illegally hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s server. In Rykov’s telling, the initial conspiracy also involved “a pair of hacker groups” (presumably Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear) and a political strategist named Mikhail Kovalev. I can’t find much online about this Mr. Kovalev except a little fragment from a paywalled January Economist article about Moscow power players toasting President Trump’s inauguration: “We hope that Marine Le Pen will win next,” said Mikhail Kovalev, one of the party’s organisers, sporting a Trump-Pence baseball cap.

What it looks like to me is that on November 12th, 2016, Konstantin Rykov posted pretty close to a full confession in Facebook. We’ve spent over a year since then trying to piece together what happened, but there’s a strong sense in which he already told us.

Could he possibly have made such boasts without having any knowledge of what would soon be divulged or discovered about Russian hacking and collusion between Wikileaks and Cambridge Analytica or the work that was done by Cambridge Analytica and how it was utilized on social media?

Of course not.  His boasts were rooted in facts and inside knowledge.

Trump is no different from far right European stooges like Viktor Orbán and Nigel Farage. They’re all in league together and we now have a nice roadmap for laying out the entire conspiracy.