The deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, has demanded that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg never again allows far-right activists to fundraise on the network, criticising him for having a “contempt for social responsibility”. A Guardian investigation on Friday found that a hidden global network of US thinktanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls were providing financial, political and moral support to Tommy Robinson, who has more than 1 million followers on Facebook – his main social network after Twitter suspended him for claiming “Islam promotes killing people” in March.
“It shouldn’t be done for private profit,” Labor’s immigration spokesman says, as the party reveals it would ditch plans to offload Australia’s visa processing system to the private sector, potentially worth more than $3 billion to the winning company.
Academic research publications rely on doctors to voluntarily disclose their payments from drug and health companies in a lax reporting system some say is broken.
“The system is broken,” said Dr. Mehraneh Dorna Jafari, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. She and her colleagues published a study in August that found that, of the 100 doctors who received the most compensation from device makers in 2015, conflicts were disclosed in only 37 percent of the articles published in the next year. “The journals aren’t checking and the rules are different for every single thing.”
Victorina Morales said she felt she had to stand up for co-workers without legal documents who have been ridiculed by a supervisor
A Guatemalan living in the US without documentation who says she faced abusive working conditions as a maid at Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf club does not regret speaking out, even though she might lose her job and be deported.
Tumblr, long known as a safe space for sexual subcultures, has a new policy on ‘female-presenting nipples’. Maybe it should rethink its priorities
Keep your breasts off the internet, please! This week the social networking site Tumblr announced it was banning adult content. Starting December 17, porn is not permitted on the platform. The adult content ban also extends to images of “real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples.”
A collection of newly released documents suggests that the company adopted a host of features and policies even though it knew those choices would harm users and undermine innovation.
via aleksey godin “All three briefs show the Special Counsel and the Southern District closing in on President Trump and his administration. They’re looking into campaign contact with Russia, and campaign finance fraud in connection with paying off an adult actress, and participation in lying to Congress. A Democratic House of Representatives, just days away, strains at the leash to help. The game’s afoot. ”
Federal prosecutors filed three briefs late on Friday portending grave danger for three men: former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, and President Donald J. Trump. In an age when Americans usually get mere squibs of breaking news from Twitter and Facebook and red-faced cable shouters, many started their weekends poring over complex legal filings and peering suspiciously at blacked-out paragraphs. The documents were stunning, even for 2018.
In brief no. 1, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office argues that Paul Manafort breached his cooperation agreement with the government by lying to the FBI and the Special Counsel’s office in the course of 12 meetings. The brief oozes a level of confidence notable even among professionally hubristic prosecutors: Mueller says he’s ready to present witnesses and documents, and that he gave Manafort’s lawyers an opportunity to refute the evidence but they could not. Mueller is sure he has the receipts.
According to the brief, Manafort lied about his communications with reputed Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik, whom Mueller has scrutinized as a possible conduit between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Although Mueller’s brief is heavily redacted, it’s clear that Manafort minimized the frequency, duration, and subject of his meetings with Kilimnik. Mueller has emails contradicting Manafort’s description of those meetings, which— we can infer from the unredacted snippets— related to the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian interests. Mueller also asserts that Manafort lied about some of the payments he received and about an investigation in another district – possibly, based on the context, the Southern District of New York investigation of Michael Cohen and the president. Finally, and of great concern to the White House, Mueller claims that Manafort lied about his contacts with the Trump administration before his guilty plea, and that text messages, documents, and witnesses prove that he was in contact with administration officials.
In brief no. 2, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York asks a federal judge to sentence former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to a “substantial term of imprisonment” – meaning between three and four years. Last week, Cohen’s lawyers filed a brief lauding their client’s cooperation with the Special Counsel’s office, the Southern District of New York, and the New York Attorney General, downplaying the significance of his crimes, and asking the court to sentence Cohen to probation. Such gambits are tricky: defense lawyers must thread the needle between praising their client’s cooperation and seeking leniency enough to sway the judge, but not so effusively that they trigger a prosecutorial rebuttal. Here, Cohen’s lawyers’ pirouette turned into a disastrous face-plant.
The prosecutors’ rebuttal of Cohen’s sentencing brief is one of the more livid denunciations I’ve seen in more than two decades of federal criminal practice. The Southern District concedes that Cohen provided some information to it, to the Special Counsel, and to the New York Attorney General. But Cohen refused to cooperate fully; he declined to engage in a full debriefing about everything he knew or commit to ongoing meetings, and he only spilled about the things he’d already admitted in his plea. That’s not how cooperation works. In this game, you either cooperate fully or you shut up; there is no middle ground. It’s not surprising that Cohen’s stance angered the notoriously proud Southern District prosecutors.
The New York prosecutors blast Cohen’s “rose-colored view of the seriousness of his crimes,” accusing him of a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” Prosecutors portray Cohen as stubbornly obstructing his own accountant to cheat at taxes, even refusing to pay for accounting work that raised inconvenient issues he wanted suppressed. When it comes to Cohen’s campaign finance violations, the prosecutors’ fury leaps off the page. Cohen, they say, schemed to pay for two women’s stories (Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, we now know) in violation of campaign finance laws to influence the 2016 election, and did so “in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1” – that is, the president of the United States. As the brief puts it:
While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.
If the Southern District’s fury at Cohen is notable, its explicit accusation that President Trump directed and coordinated campaign finance violations is simply stunning. The prosecutors’ openness suggests they are sure of their evidence and have mostly finished collecting it. It’s a sign of a fully-developed, late-game investigation of the president’s role, one that may soon make its way to Congress.
And that brings us to brief no. 3: Special Counsel Mueller separate sentencing brief in Cohen’s lying-to-Congress case. He does not recommend a sentence but informs the court about the nature of his assistance to his office. Mueller discloses that Cohen has “taken significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct” by pleading guilty to lying to Congress and meeting with the Special Counsel seven times to discuss his own conduct and other “core topics under investigation.” That includes information about multiple contacts between other Trump campaign officials and the Russian government, and about Cohen’s contact with the White House in 2017 and 2018, suggesting an ongoing inquiry into obstruction of justice. Most significant, the Special Counsel indicates Cohen “described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries, while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements within it.” That statement suggests that the Special Counsel believes that someone in the Trump administration knew of, and approved in advance, Cohen’s lies to Congress. That’s explosive, and potentially impeachable if Trump himself is implicated.
The president said on Twitter that Friday’s news “totally clears the President. Thank you!” It does not. Manafort and Cohen are in trouble, and so is Trump. The Special Counsel’s confidence in his ability to prove Manafort a liar appears justified, which leaves Manafort facing what amounts to a life sentence without any cooperation credit. The Southern District’s brief suggests that Cohen’s dreams of probation are not likely to come true. All three briefs show the Special Counsel and the Southern District closing in on President Trump and his administration. They’re looking into campaign contact with Russia, and campaign finance fraud in connection with paying off an adult actress, and participation in lying to Congress. A Democratic House of Representatives, just days away, strains at the leash to help. The game’s afoot.
via Sophia, NOT Loren! Cuban artists and activists organizing in opposition to the decree (image courtesy Yanelyz Nuñez Leyva)
Earlier this week, about a dozen Cuban artists were arrested in anticipation of their organized sit-in opposing the impending Decree 349, strictly regulating the production of arts in the Republic. The artist-activists opposed to the regulation hosted frequent protests, performances, and events since the law was revealed in July, resulting in multiple arrests, the majority of which culminated on Saturday, December 3 ahead of the sit-in. Tania Bruguera, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, and Yanelyz Nuñez Leyva were detained, among numerous others.
Tania Bruguera (image courtesy Tate Modern)
The decree, signed by newly instated President Miguel Díaz-Canel in April, grants the Cuban Republic stringent control over independent artistic production. To host artistic events or sell work, artists must gain approval from the Ministry of Culture and oblige to a strict set of guidelines.
Following international attention — including a protest at Tate Modern and public disapproval of the decree by Amnesty International — all of the artists arrested this week were released last night, December 6, as the government announced the decree would no longer take effect as planned on December 7.
Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas told Associated Press that the government had insufficiently explained their motivations and goals for Decree 349, which they say was a response to public complaints about the misuse of patriotic symbols and vulgarity in pop culture.
“There wasn’t an advance explanation of the law and that’s one of the reasons for the controversy that it unleashed,” Rojas told AP, explaining that more exact regulations will be published in the near future, but that “artistic creation is not the target.”
“We would apply the decree in very clear situations,” Rojas says. While open to redefining the decree’s parameters, the Culture Ministry official says he believes some protests belong to a foreign-backed plan to destabilize the Republic by undermining the reputation of its cultural institutions. “For them, 349 is a pretext for a more aggressive project against institutional order in Cuba,” he concludes.
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