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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge / Marcus Hutchins, security researcher for Kryptos Logic. In May, he registered a domain name that neutralized the WCry ransomware worm. In August, he was charged with developing malware called Kronos. (credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A judge in Milwaukee has modified the pre-trial release conditions of Marcus Hutchins, also known online as "MalwareTech," who was indicted two months ago on federal criminal charges.

Under US Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s Thursday order, Hutchins, who is currently living in Los Angeles, will no longer be subject to a curfew or to GPS monitoring.

His attorney, Marcia Hofmann, wrote in a court filing earlier this week that Hutchins should not be considered a flight risk and has never missed a court appearance. During a September 2017 trip to the East Coast, his GPS monitoring device failed and he “did not attempt to flee the country.” She also told the court that being forced to wear the device was “unduly burdensome,” in particular as it hindered his ability to swim and surf.

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What Did I Do All Those Years

Oct. 20th, 2017 03:28 am
[syndicated profile] atrios_feed
This a bit narcissistic and petty, but... I spent 6 years trying to convince the world that George Bush was bad and now everyone's like "oh he's sweet now and he paints nice pictures."

I even like his stupid paintings, but still.
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It’s easy to forget that one of the main reasons Donald Trump is president is that he won the Republican Party’s nomination—handily. If you go back in that fantasy time machine where President Obama is still in office and Donald Trump is smacking around GOP candidates, you’ll recall that Princeton’s top debater, and all-around sack of waste, Sen. Ted Cruz got his ass handed to him all of the time. That’s because Ted Cruz is not only terribly unlikeable, he’s also filled with worthless ideas—not unlike other big brains in the Republican Party.*

Wednesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders took on Sen. Ted Cruz in a debate about the big tax-overhaul being discussed in our country. Sen. Cruz’s position, as is his party’s position as well as the president’s position, is that we need to give the wealthiest people in the country huge tax breaks. They want to do this because they believe that their power exists solely as a result of that money. And they’re right; because their ideas are shit and the evidential record proves that out. This one exchange gave us all a chance to remember what we like about Bernie Sanders and how special it is to watch Ted Cruz wilt under the pressure of someone with real passion and ideas (and ideals).

While Cruz attempted the old Socratic trick of creating consensus by asking relatively rhetorical no-brainer questions (do you believe small businesses should be relieved of some of their tax burdens? Do you think lower income homes should pay less taxes?), Sen. Sanders reminded little Teddy that this wasn’t an insecure prospective freshman at Princeton he was debating with.

Sanders: Before we talk about the small business, will you agree with me that it makes no sense to lower the tax rates of the highest income people in this country? Cruz: I don't agree with that. Sanders: Would you agree with me that thousands of people will die if we cut Medicaid by a trillion dollars and throw 15 million people off their health insurance that they have? That's not Bernie Sanders. That's a number of studies saying that. To answer your question, if the question is should we support small businesses and low-income people, with assistance? Of course, we should. That's the tax reform we should do. I don't want to write them a check, we could lower taxes. But what you are doing is saying we're going to help a lower income person, a small businessman over here, but we're going to tie it to the fact that 80 percent of the benefits are going to the top 1 percent. Work with me on a tax proposal where 80 percent of the benefits go to the working class and middle class of this country.

[Applause break] The best part of the applause break is watching Cruz feeling bad. He feels so bad!

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Posted by Joe Mullin

Enlarge / Amazon's campus in South Lake Union, Seattle. (credit: Joel Rogers / Getty Images)

Cities around the country are pulling out all the stops to entice Amazon to set up its second headquarters in their area.

The online retail giant is taking proposals from around North America, and today's the deadline. Some of the proposals include massive tax breaks, while other cities are trying out humorous gimmicks to get the company's attention.

New Jersey has offered the biggest tax incentives, consisting of up to $7 billion in state and local tax rebates if Amazon locates in Newark and hires the 50,000 workers it has said it would. The company has also promised $5 billion in spending on construction of the headquarters. The New Jersey offer, announced Monday, is $2 billion more than what Republican Governor Chris Christie and the Democratic-led New Jersey legislature agreed to last month.

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In March, Donald Trump publicly needled Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at an event because Snyder did not endorse him. As others tried to laugh it off, Trump added "I never forget." And he seemed deadly serious.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan believes this is the kind of vengeful thinking that is the real motivation behind Donald Trump’s continued, sustained attacks on the NFL. In 2014, NFL owners refused Trump’s bid to buy the Buffalo Bills and Khan believes Trump has never gotten over the snub. From First Coast News:

The league and its owners generally have had little public response to Trump, though New York Giants co-owner John Mara said, facetiously, “I’m shocked,” when asked for a response to the President's tweet. But Khan didn’t hold back.

“He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,” said Khan, who bought the Jags in 2011 for $760 million. “So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.”

Khan went further, slamming Donald Trump’s conduct toward Gold Star families and the ban on Muslims entering the country:

“Let’s get real," Khan said. “The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

Khan, a self-made billionaire who immigrated from Pakistan, contends that Trump’s flap with the NFL pales when compared to social issues, notably including Trump's proposed travel bans that target people from Muslim-majority nations.

“That’s one aspect that you can imagine — someone is getting a visa that will change their life is from a Muslim-majority country — and, now, boom, that dream to change lives, they get locked out,” Khan said. “That’s a hell of a lot more significant than fighting some sponsors or people who want their money back because they’ve been riled up.”

Many have noted Khan joined other NFL owners in making a $1 million donation to Trump’s Inauguration fund. He’s just one more name in a list, going back decades, of people who’ve been swindled and screwed over by Donald Trump. Khan won’t be asking for or getting a refund, but maybe he’ll be motivated to get political and help defeat Trump in 2020.

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Thanks to Michigan political blog Eclectablog from bringing this story to our attention. Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) held a town hall in his district and although he had several crotchety supporters in the audience, he did take a few questions from constituents who were less-than-thrilled with his track record, particularly with this inept response (or lack thereof) to Donald Trump’s reckless tweeting and poor leadership.

During the question and answer period, one attendee described how angry she is with President Trump’s tweets. Rep. Walberg responded, “I can’t control his tweets. I have to answer to his tweets. I don’t like to answer to some of those tweets in all honestly, but I’m not the president. I can do what I’m supposed to do. So that’s what we’re going to do. And those of you that think there are impeachable offenses for tweets — come on! Get a life. Get a life. Get a life.”

“Did you just tell us to get a life?!” one attendee asked incredulously.

“I did,” Walberg responded. “I did.”

“Why do you think we’re here?” the questioner shot back.

Sure, there is nothing specific in the Constitution about Twitter or tweets, but day in and day out, Donald Trump has proven himself to be uniquely and wholly unfit for office. His Twitter rants and ravings about Hillary Clinton, the NFL and whatever phony outrage he tries to stir up show a pattern of dereliction of duty, especially during a time when 3.5 million Americans are suffering in Puerto Rico, all of St. John’s island in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains without power, Florida and Texas are rebuilding and California is still on fire, with 7,000 structures burned and at least 42 lives lost. 

After Walberg told the people in the back to “get a life, get a life, get a life”—you could hear the rage from at least one constituent. The unknown constituent in the back wasn’t the only angry attendee. These Republicans are so very accustomed to strolling into these things and meeting with a handful of constituents who agree with their ideas. One Walberg supporter seemed to be extremely upset each time Walberg was challenged and he looked like he might actually blow a gasket around the 1:20 min mark of the video. So much so that Walberg had to tell his buddy, who he named directly, to chill out so he didn’t hurt himself.

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Paul Ryan has said that DACA recipients have nothing to worry about, so why does he refuse to meet with them? Wisconsin Dreamers have gone on a hunger strike outside his Racine office to demand the DREAM Act, yet he refused to sit with them. They’ve lobbied outside his Janesville church (with permission from the priest, of course), but he appeared to skip mass that day. Still, if there’s one thing we know about immigrant youth, it’s that they don’t give up. They’re relentless. So if Paul Ryan won’t go to them, they’ll keep going to him:

Ryan is due to speak Thursday night at the prestigious Al Smith Dinner in New York, and six Wisconsin "Dreamers" plan to demonstrate outside the venue.

DACA recipients have urged Ryan and Republicans to pass a replacement before the program's protection begins to be phased out.

At the New York event, the Wisconsin contingent will be joined by DACA recipients from New York and other immigrant-rights activists. They had previously urged New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan to rescind Ryan’s keynote invitation.

Other youth and allies are also participating in a 12-mile march across Congressman Peter King’s district to demand action on the bipartisan DREAM Act, and their cries are clear. Without clean passage of the DREAM Act—meaning a bill that doesn’t include any harmful enforcement proposals ramping up Donald Trump’s immoral, mass deportation force—their lives and families are at stake. 

“I’m a high school student from Racine,” said Fernanda, Ryan’s constituent and a leader with Wisconsin immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera. “I’m also a DACA recipient. Today, we are here in New York City to demand our congressman to confront us, to talk to us.”

x

.@SpeakerRyan won’t meet w his undocumented constituents @voces_milwaukee, so they came to him for 2morrow’s Al Smith dinner. #CleanDREAMAct pic.twitter.com/q66TG2vwFM

— Make the Road NY (@MaketheRoadNY) October 18, 2017
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Well, this should convince Donald Trump that the Deep State really is out to get him: Democratic congressional candidates for 2018 include some former CIA officers and others with intelligence backgrounds.

Abigail Spanberger spent eight years as an operations officer for the CIA, recruiting and developing spies, with a focus on counterterrorism. Before joining the agency, she worked in law enforcement for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service — targeting drug dealers and money laundering. In 2014, Spanberger left the agency and moved home to the Richmond suburb of Glen Allen, near where she and her husband grew up, to raise their three kids. The 38-year-old is now challenging Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), the Freedom Caucus leader who toppled then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary. [...]

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks happened during Elissa Slotkin’s first week living in New York City. She had just started her graduate studies at Columbia University. Because she was fluent in Arabic, the CIA recruited her to be a Middle East analyst and then deployed her to Baghdad. She served three tours in Iraq over five years. She left to become the director for Iraq policy on the National Security Council, moved to the State Department and finally the Pentagon. When Barack Obama left office in January, she was the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security. Now 41, she’s moved home to Michigan and is running against GOP Rep. Mike Bishop.She outraised him last quarter.

Additionally, a former CIA intelligence officer and a former military intelligence officer are running in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Rep. John Faso in New York.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn't want to answer a lot of questions during his Wednesday testimony and he used a claim of "executive privilege" to dodge many of the toughest ones. Why did Trump fire Comey? Sorry.

“Until such time as the president makes a decision with respect to this privilege, I cannot waive that privilege myself or otherwise compromised his ability to assert it,” he explained. In other words, Sessions made a de facto claim of executive privilege. He apparently doesn't understand how this works. In fact, it's been four full months since Sessions first refused to answer questions about his conversations with the Trump. “I’m protecting the president’s constitutional right by not giving it away before he has a chance to view it and weigh it,” he said.

During that June hearing, Sen. Kamala Harris pushed Sessions to specify under what legal authority he was declining to answer questions. The nation's top lawyer came up short on answers but was saved by two white male GOP colleagues who shushed the woman of color in the room asking tough questions. How dare she.

In the intervening time, Sessions hasn't done much homework. Democrats expected as much, compelling them to send our highest ranking legal authority a letter explaining that they expected him to have "determined" in advance of the hearing whether Trump was invoking executive privilege. The notion that Democrats had "demanded" a status update got Sessions a little hot under the collar. Sorry, cookie, you should have done your homework.

As it was, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also got a little testy as he tried to explain to the nation’s attorney general how executive privilege works after Sessions finally specified that the legal authority he was using to dodge questions was a 1982 Reagan memo.

Whitehouse: Let me know if any of this has changed. That rules says that “executive privilege will be asserted only in the most compelling circumstances and shall not be invoked without specific presidential authorization.” Is that still the rule?

Sessions: Executive privilege cannot be invoked except by the president.

Whitehouse: “Congressional requests for information shall be complied with as promptly and as fully as possible, unless it is determined that compliance raises a substantial question of executive privilege.” Is that still the rule?

Sessions: That’s a good, good rule.

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After 22-year-old Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge was killed in Afghanistan, Donald Trump called his father, Chris Baldridge and made an offer to send him $25,000. The conversation happened nearly five months ago and Baldridge said he was initially stunned by the offer:

"'I'm going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,' and I was just floored," Baldridge told the Post of his conversation with Trump. "I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, 'No other president has ever done something like this,' but he said, 'I'm going to do it. "

Nearly five months later, the check still had not arrived, although a letter from Trump’s office did show up in the mail.

Baldridge said that after the president made his $25,000 offer, he joked with Trump that he would bail him out if he got arrested for helping. The White House has done nothing else other than send a condolence letter from Trump, the father said.

“I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest,” the father said. “I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, ‘Damn, no check.’ Just a letter saying ‘I’m sorry.’ ”

On the day the Washington Post began asking questions about the promised payment, the check was quite suddenly “in the mail.” They claimed red tape prevented them from sending it sooner, but as soon as the Washington Post was on the story, that red tape vanished. Weird, right? 

Even as he offered the money, he proclaimed his greatness, noting that he was the only president to ever do such a thing. He either does not know or is once again flat-out lying. In 2011, it was revealed President Obama was known to quietly write personal checks to struggling Americans:

On more than one occasion, the president has cut personal checks to struggling Americans who’ve written to the White House, according to an excerpt from a new book by Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow about the ten letters the president reads every day.

“It’s not something I should advertise, but it has happened,” the president told Saslow.

Another day, another lie, another page in this dark chapter of American history. 

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Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge / Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos. (credit: Dave Maass)

Facebook is Struggling to live up to the responsibility it faces for adequately securing the vast amount of personal information it amasses, the social network's top security executive said in a leaked phone call with company employees.

"The threats that we are facing have increased significantly and the quality of the adversaries that we are facing," Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said during a taped call, which was reported Thursday by ZDNet. "Both technically and from a cultural perspective, I don't feel like we have caught up with our responsibility."

He continued:

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Haters reportedly marked the opening of Cleveland State University’s LGBTQ student center last week by posting flyers on campus encouraging LGBTQ students to kill themselves. The graphic shows a person with a rainbow heart and a rope around their neck with the words, “Follow your fellow fa**ots” in multi-colored lettering at the top. The flyers also list incorrect statistics mocking the rate of suicide among LGBTQ people, with Splinter noting the real statistics are actually higher. Outraged CSU students went to school administrators expecting a response in support of LGBTQ students, only to be floored by President Ronald Berkman’s initial response:

The university's president Ronald Berkman called the flyers "reprehensible" but only in a second statement released after his first experienced heavy backlash.

Berkman's initial statement said CSU "remains fully committed to a campus community that respects all individuals" but is also "committed to upholding the First Amendment, even with regard to controversial issues where opinion is divided."

In a follow-up statement, Berkman said he "failed to express" his "personal outrage" over the flyers.

"While I find the message of this poster reprehensible, the current legal framework regarding free speech makes it difficult to prevent these messages from being disseminated," his statement said.

Legally, the free speech argument for the flyers is uncertain but the effects these posters could have on the students attacked by them is obvious, a Lambda Legal attorney told NBC.

Upholding the dignity of LGBTQ lives shouldn’t be a “controversial issue.” Instead, school administrators are sending a dangerous message by signaling to hateful people that their violence could be viewed as valid discourse. Promoting violence, especially when directed at minority groups, shouldn’t be tolerated on any campus, period. “It is not an issue of free speech when it is literally telling students to kill themselves,” student Skyla Schaefer said in a Facebook post. “How about you stand up for your LGBTQ+ students?”
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Posted by Annalee Newitz

Enlarge / A New Caledonian crow uses a serrated leaf edge to pull grubs out of a hole in a log. (credit: Mark Sibley)

Crows share an interesting set of behaviors with humans: they like to play, and they often use tools. We know that humans play to learn. When toddlers knock over a pile of blocks, they're developing the ability to build and measure objects in the real world. The question is, do crows play for the same reason? An international team of cognitive scientists played with some crows to find out. What they discovered gives us a new understanding of crow consciousness, but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Lund University cognitive science researcher Megan Lambert and her colleagues designed three experiments to figure out whether there's a relationship between crow play and their ability to use tools to solve puzzles. It's well-documented that wild New Caledonian crows make a variety of tools, from hooked sticks to specially-prepared leaf edges, to pull insects out of hard-to-reach spots in trees. But crows have also been observed doing all kinds of weird things with tools, often for what seems like the pursuit of fun.

A crow sleds down a roof using a plastic lid.

In the YouTube video above, you can see a crow in Russia using a plastic lid to sled down a snowy roof. Researchers call these shenanigans "unrewarded object exploration." The crow doesn't get a "reward" because nothing about this activity aids its survival. Its only reward is the fun of sliding down a roof. But maybe, Lambert and her colleagues speculated, this type of seemingly goofy activity might actually lead to better tool use later on. The bird is learning about slipperiness, after all, and we even see it figuring out that it can't slide on the roof unless there's enough snow underneath the lid.

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Cut taxes for the wealthy or else, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is warning Congress:

“There is no question that the rally in the stock market has baked into it reasonably high expectations of us getting tax cuts and tax reform done,” Mnuchin said in the interview. “To the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher. But there’s no question in my mind that if we don’t get it done you’re going to see a reversal of a significant amount of these gains.”

Let’s be clear: When Mnuchin says the stock market relies on “tax cuts and tax reform,” he means rich people.

“The top 20 percent of the people pay 95 percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent of the people pay 81 percent of the taxes,” he said. “So when you’re cutting taxes across the board, it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class. The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do.”

And what percent of the wealth do the top 20 percent of the people have? Around 89 percent as of a couple years ago, and growing. Seems like they have it to spare. It’s almost like when he says “it’s very hard not to give taxes to the wealthy,” he means “I have spent so much time enriching the already rich that I have trouble not coming up with more ways to do it.” Or “it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to myself and my friends.” The reality is that if you want to give out tax cuts that will be big in people’s lives, it’s a lot easier to do with middle- and lower-income people, because they’re already stretching every dollar.

Mnuchin also defended eliminating the estate tax even though estates of up to $11 million per couple are already shielded from the levy. “The estate tax is somewhat of an economic issue and somewhat of a philosophical issue,” he said. “People pay taxes once. Why should people have to pay taxes again when they die?”

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Campaign Action

The majority of the Senate’s work this week has been focused on passing their budget resolution, the bill that sets their spending priorities, but more importantly gives them "instructions" that allow them to pass a massive tax cut for the rich with just 51 votes.

This, despite the fact that the Children's Health Insurance Program—which nearly 9 million children are enrolled in right now—expired on September 30. Despite the fact that it has thrown many state's budgets into turmoil, and that Minnesota is going to completely run out of funding in 12 days.

That makes this “Screw the Nation's Future Week” in the Senate, apparently. Not only are they malevolently neglecting an existing, critical program for children's health, but they're plotting how they can make their lives worse in the future with this budget/tax cuts bill.

According to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, households with children earning less than $75,000 would get just a $20 average tax cut in 2027 from the GOP tax framework released in late September, compared to a $200,000 tax cut for households with children earning $1 million or more.  And when Congress turns its attention to paying for those tax cuts, low- and middle-income families would lose far more in health care, food and housing assistance, and educational services that they need to thrive now and in the future.

They're not even pretending like the care about children at this point, except of course for the unborn ones. Once they're in the world, they can ignored.

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Posted by Brad DeLong

Must-Read: Endorse. The biggest reason not to name John Taylor to run the Fed is his persistent refusal to take any steps to mark his beliefs to market—to perform any kind of view-updating exercise in response to the extraordinary economic troubles of the past decade. That is just not right for anyone claiming to be an economist. And that is doubly not right for anyone being considered for any senior policymaking position. If Taylor is nominated, the Senate Banking Committee should not confirm him:

Noah Smith: Taylor and His Rule Are Not What the Fed Needsg: “How much should the Fed worry about inflation versus unemployment?…

The Taylor Rule contains two number…. When Taylor made the rule, he rather arbitrarily set both values to be 0.5…. When compared to the numbers Taylor picked, it looks like the Fed assigns more weight to unemployment and less to inflation. The Fed’s approach seemed to work fairly well in the 1980s and 1990s…. Only in the Great Recession did this approach seem inadequate — the Fed lowered rates all the way to zero, at which point it could lower them no further (since nominal interest rates can’t go much below zero). Taylor, however, would have done things differently. In a blog post in June 2011 — when interest rates were at zero and the Federal Reserve was contemplating engaging in further rounds of quantitative easing — Taylor wrote that the Fed ought to raise rates instead….

Taylor’s recommendation relied on his original rule, with its original arbitrary round numbers. That rule recommended raising interest rates above zero as early as 2010, and would have had rates at almost 4 percent in 2012. The Fed didn’t take Taylor’s advice. Instead, it kept rates at zero, and continued its program of QE. Inflation, which Taylor warned about, failed to appear. Taylor also warned of financial market volatility if interest rates weren’t raised. But that also failed to appear…. It’s safe to say that the outcome was fairly good. And none of the dangers that Taylor prophesied came to pass.

One would think that Taylor would have reconsidered his more hawkish policy rule in light of these developments. But he continued to defend his version of the rule, and to criticize the Fed’s actions, years later. This apparent refusal to revise his views, combined with a general reputation for monetary hawkishness, probably goes a long way toward explaining why Taylor appeals to the Trump White House…. As Fed chief, it’s impossible to know in advance if Taylor would live up to these expectations of hawkishness…. But if Taylor did let himself be significantly influenced by the rule that bears his name, it would almost certainly push him to raise interest rates above what other Fed leaders like Yellen might choose. And that would pose a danger to the real economy.

Source

Gotta Get Better At It

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:00 pm
[syndicated profile] atrios_feed
I used to go to DC more though I haven't in awhile. Over the years I've met with a plenty of people I'd call, for lack of a better description, "Dem operatives." You know, people who work in politics in various capacities. Campaigns, etc. While the younger (at the time, we're all old now) generation was a bit more hip to the media-as-a-problem narrative which has long been a part of this humble blog, the slightly older ones (like, more my age), had a different view. Basically, they just thought Dems were bad at it. Chris Cillizza would print your bullshit, too, if you were just better at reaching out to him.

I don't think this is correct. I think even after Obama, DC is still wired for Republicans (though it was somewhat wired for Obama, if not Democrats, too). But there is something to it.
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It’s not as hot as Virginia’s election action this fall, but New Jersey is also home to gubernatorial and state legislative elections next month. And while political rock star Barack Obama is rallying Virginia Democrats for Northam this week, actual rock star Jon Bon Jovi crooned for donors to New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy’s campaign.

Blaze of Glory: But let’s take a step back from Nov. 7 and check out YET ANOTHER special election Democrats won this week.

On Tuesday, Democrat Paul Feeney won a swingy state Senate seat in Massachusetts, a victory he attributes to the fact that he stayed positive in this race, despite the negative and shady tactics deployed against him.  Mail pieces compared Feeney to “rotten apples and a monkey eating money.” A robocall interrupting voters watching last Sunday’s Patriots game purported to be from Feeney, but it was actually from a Republican group.

Feeney, an “unabashed progressive” who supports Medicare for all, replaces the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.

Campaign Action

Okay, back to Virginia!

Livin’ on a Prayer: The final pre-election finance reports have dropped in Virginia, and they’re chock full o’ good news for Democrats—and reasons for Republicans to appeal to higher powers for help.

Democrat (and Daily Kos endorsee) Ralph Northam out-raised GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie yet again, $7.2 million to $4.4 million, in the month of September. But a closer look at those numbers reveals an even more unfortunate situation for Gillespie than the raw totals indicate. Almost half of Gillespie’s total—$2 million, specifically—came from the Republican Governors Association and its associated PAC, A Stronger Virginia ($1 million from each). Meanwhile, only $1 million of Northam’s $7.2 million was donated by the Democratic Governors Association. Even more troubling for Gillespie, however, is the respective number of small-dollar donors who gave less than $100 during September, a figure strongly indicative of grassroots enthusiasm. Gillespie pulled in these low-dollar donations from 2,739 donors, while Northam’s grassroots supporters numbered 6,860 for the same period—two-and-a-half times as many.
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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge / An officer demonstrates Axon Citizen, a new Web portal to submit data to police. (credit: Axon)

Axon, the company formerly known as Taser, either wants to encourage helpful citizens or snitches—depending on how you feel about talking to police—to come forward.

On Thursday, the company announced "Axon Citizen," a new "public safety portal" that lets civilians submit text, video, and audio files directly to participating law enforcement agencies that use its cloud storage service, Evidence.com.

The company, which already is the largest provider of body-worn cameras and associated storage to American law enforcement agencies, said in a press release that submitted data "goes straight into Evidence.com, so community members do not need to hand their phones over to police. The direct upload to Evidence.com eliminates any need for officers to download, print, and transfer data to a USB drive and physically place it inside an evidence locker at the agency."

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Two states will elect new governors in November, and former President Barack Obama will campaign for the Democrats in both races:

Obama will first drop in on campaign workers in Newark, New Jersey, for a private “canvass kickoff” for Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, who is running against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. The former president will then head to Richmond, Virginia, to rally support for Democrat Ralph Northam in his campaign against Republican Ed Gillespie. [...]

Obama’s popularity is still undeniable. In an August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 51 percent of Americans said they have a favorable opinion of Obama, while 35 percent had a negative opinion. In the same poll, 36 percent said they had a positive opinion of Trump and 52 percent had a negative opinion.

In Richmond, thousands of people lined up on Tuesday to get tickets to Obama’s rally.

We can’t know how many rally attendees will close their eyes and pretend he’s still living in the White House, but probably a lot of them. What’s important, though, is that people who have a favorable opinion of Obama and an unfavorable opinion of Trump turn out and vote on November 7, 2017, and again on November 6, 2018.

Can you chip in $1 to Ralph Northam and each of our endorsed candidates for Virginia state House?

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