Austin Barnes was always a good minor league hitter. So maybe he ought to work toward finding his stroke down on the farm for a spell.
Aspen Ladd faces Germaine de Randamie in the main event of tonight’s UFC Fight Night 155 fight card. The event streams on ESPN+.
In Mashaba, Zimbabwe, renewable energy is helping to pump underground water to farmers’ fields.
The World Cup final will be shown on free-to-air TV in the U.K. ending 14 years of international cricket being behind a paywall.
Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross outlined the scope of exemptions to be granted to sales and licenses to Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant.
At the end of last month, President Donald Trump publicly promised to give the Chinese company a reprieve from newly implemented U.S. restrictions.
Trump’s move, announced after his meeting with Chinese ruler Xi Jinping at the conclusion of the Osaka G20 summit, was a strategic mistake. Moreover, it was a humiliation for the United States, almost an acknowledgment of Beijing’s supremacy.
The U.S. Commerce Department, effective May 16, added Huawei, the world’s largest networking equipment manufacturer and second-largest smartphone maker, to its Entity List. The designation means that no American company, without prior approval from the Bureau of Industry and Security, is allowed to sell or license to Huawei products and technology covered by the U.S. Export Administration Regulations.
Beijing then demanded the Trump administration withdraw the designation. On June 27, the Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei’s removal from the Entity List was one of China’s three main preconditions to a comprehensive trade deal.
Trump, incredibly, complied with the demand from Beijing. At his June 29 press conference, the American president said he was granting the reprieve.
Trump was not specific about the reprieve’s scope, and since then administration officials have tried to walk back his comments. Trade advisor Peter Navarro, for instance, this month told CNN that sales to Huawei for its 5G products — 5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication — would be forbidden. Earlier, there were suggestions that waivers for smartphones would be allowed.
Should any waivers be granted? “It is their mechanism for spying,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), referring to Huawei, told Fox News on Sunday.
She is right. Huawei is in no position to resist Beijing’s demands to illicitly gather intelligence. For one thing, Beijing owns Huawei. The Shenzhen-based enterprise maintains it is “employee-owned,” but that is an exaggeration. Founder Ren Zhengfei holds a 1 percent stake, and the remainder is effectively owned by the state. Moreover, in the Communist Party’s top-down system, no one can resist a command from the ruling organization. Furthermore, Articles 7 and 14 of China’s National Intelligence Law, enacted in 2017, requires Chinese nationals and entities to spy if relevant authorities make a demand. Ren has maintained the company would not snoop on others, but that claim, in view of the above, is not credible.
Huawei has, in fact, been implicated in stealing tech almost from the moment it was formed in 1987. The company was built on stolen Cisco Systems technology, and according to recent allegations, Huawei has never stopped stealing. The Justice Department in January unsealed an indictment against the company for the theft of intellectual property from T-Mobile. The FBI, according to a Bloomberg report, is investigating Huawei for pilfering smartphone glass technology from Akhan Semiconductor, an Illinois-based firm.
Huawei’s rampant theft has been effective in injuring its competition. For instance, many consider the company’s campaign to take tech was largely responsible for the 2013 failure of Nortel Networks, the Canadian company.
Additionally, Beijing has used Huawei servers to surreptitiously download datafrom others, most notably the African Union from 2012 to 2017.
Not surprisingly, Huawei is laying the groundwork for grabbing tomorrow’s data.
First, Christopher Balding’s study of résumés of Huawei employees reveals that some of them claim concurrent links with units of the Chinese military, in roles that look as if they involve intelligence collection. As he writes in his study, “there is an undeniable relationship between Huawei and the Chinese state, military, and intelligence gathering services.”
Second, recent analyses show Huawei software to have an unusually high number of security flaws. According to Finite State, a cybersecurity firm, a scan of nearly 10,000 Huawei firmware images showed that “55% had at least one potential backdoor. These backdoor access vulnerabilities allow an attacker with knowledge of the firmware and/or with a corresponding cryptographic key to log into the device.” Huawei, according to the survey, ranked the lowest among its competitors in this regard.
Theft is not the only risk. As Sen. Blackburn pointed out to Fox News, Huawei will also serve as Beijing’s mechanism for controlling the networks operating the devices of tomorrow. The concern is that the Chinese government and military will be able to use Huawei equipment to remotely manipulate devices networked on the Internet of Things (IoT), no matter where those devices are located. So, China may be able to drive your car into oncoming traffic, unlock your front door, or turn off or speed up your pacemaker.
On Tuesday, Secretary Ross echoed earlier administration comments when he promised his department would only issue exemptions “where there is no threat to U.S. national security.”
That sounds reassuring, but it is not possible to divide Huawei into threatening and non-threatening components. Huawei management can take profits from innocuous-looking parts of the business to support the obviously dangerous parts. Money is fungible, so the only safe course would be to prohibit all transactions with the company.
Ross on Tuesday implied that licenses would be granted for items available from other countries, saying “we will try to make sure that we don’t just transfer revenue from the U.S. to foreign firms.” At first glance, sales of those items appear non-objectionable, but, as the New York Times reported on Tuesday, U.S. companies seeking exemptions acknowledge that their products are often more advanced than those from Japan, South Korea, and other countries.
Therefore, the better course would be to get all American suppliers to stop all sales and licenses and to rally Tokyo, Seoul, and other capitals to do the same. That would severely disrupt Huawei, perhaps forcing it out of business or at least impeding its progress. In short, Ross is underestimating America’s leverage.
As Eli Lake, writing on the Bloomberg site, points out, American policy on Huawei looks like it had “collapsed” after the bilateral meeting with Xi. Lake is right. Beijing, buoyed by the talk of the American climb-down, is now fast selling Huawei equipment around the world, which means, in the normal course of events, the Chinese will soon control the world’s 5G backbone.
Think of the consequences.
“Imagine a world dominated by China,” Jonathan Bass of PTM Images told Gatestone. “Close your eyes and pretend to wake up in a world controlled by Xi Jinping, militarily, economically, politically, culturally.”
This is the world, thanks to Huawei, that we will soon face.
New York City has been unveiled as home to the most billionaires, which has helped the city’s luxury housing prices rise, according to Barron’s.
There are 85 billionaires who make New York City their main residence, including former mayor Michael Bloomberg and David Koch. Their presence in the city has helped push luxury property prices up 15% over the last five years to $3,220 per square foot. But New York is actually still considered a discount compared to Hong Kong and Tokyo, where luxury homes cost nearly twice as much.
In US dollars, it cost $8,370 per square foot for luxury property in Hong Kong, which is home to 79 billionaires and the most expensive real estate in the world. Luxury housing prices have soared 51% over the last five years in Hong Kong.
Sophie Chick, head of Savills World Research said:
“It is no coincidence that many of the cities with the largest number of billionaires are also among the most expensive cities in the world for ultra-prime residential property.”
Beijing is an exception because luxury prices haven’t yet caught up with the pace of billionaires. Beijing has 61 billionaires, but the city remains one of the less expensive places to buy a luxury home at about $1,780 per square foot. This is still double what it was five years ago. Shanghai, which hosts 45 billionaires, has an average price of $2740 per square foot.
A Savills World Research report said:
“China’s relatively recent growth in wealth is also reflected in the average age of its billionaires—56 years. This compares with 66 for the U.S. and 64 globally.”
The cheapest home to billionaires was revealed to be Dubai, where despite luxury home prices increasing 13% over the past year, they are still at $750 per square foot. Dubai is home to 15 billionaires.
This article examines how airlines can create a more diverse and inclusive environment for passengers.
Only Donald Trump knows…
From the moment I heard Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested I knew none of us had anything close to the real story. And, by the time this is over, I don’t think we’ll have anything close to the real story either.
That shouldn’t, however, keep us from picking through the bread crumbs and see where they lead us. I wrote previously that I thought this story would lead to Hillary Clinton. The MAGA crowd loved that.
Regardless of whether Hillary winds up being the target is irrelevant. What I wrote the other day I still feel is the most likely situation.
I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders. His foreign policy maneuvers didn’t fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope.
But domestically signs were there that he had stabilized the battlefield.
Epstein’s arrest tells me he’s now out for blood.
That was, frankly, my gut instinct talking when I wrote that. It fit the sequence of events and the changes we’ve seen in D.C. over the past four months since Attorney General William Barr shut down the Mueller investigation.
What was done to Trump went far beyond egregious. It went far beyond even lawlessness. It was an operation that spanned multiple governments, showed complete contempt not only for procedure but the people themselves.
It was, in short, a supremely arrogant attempted coup that expected to get away with it all because they always had in the past. It was also amatuerish as hell.
The reason I’ve never believed any of the arguments that Trump is simply a bait and switch pitch man for the Deep State is because that description defies reality.
It doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor. The people Jeffrey Epstein represents hate Trump holding power because they have nothing of substance on him. Sure he’s bribed building contractors or paid off unions to get his buildings finished. Whatever.
No one other than the squeakiest of wheels would get upset over that. Everyone accepts that to do business in a corrupt world like New York you swim with some of it because that’s simply how things are done, like it or not.
But using fourteen-year-old girls as blackmail agents and prostitutes to run guns, drugs, topple governments and steal weapons research is another level of corruption. It’s orders of magnitude worse. And to Trump’s credit it seems like he’s never dabbled in that particular thing.
Because if he had, he would never have become President and the Deep State would have never organized a coup attempt against him.
Occam’s Razor, folks. They don’t have anything of substance on him. At best they’ve got a few pictures of him at an Epstein party and then he’s gone.
Watch a few minutes of this report by George Webb and tell me this doesn’t sound exactly like what we’ve been presented as evidence that Trump is one of Epstein’s perverts.
We know Trump helped a case against Epstein in 2009. We know that Trump threw Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago for hitting on a young girl. What we don’t know is left to our imagination to reinforce our view of Trump one way or the other.
For the past six days it has been wall to wall, “Epstein is a pervert. Trump went to a few parties. Acosta, Trump’s guy, let Epstein off.”
Now Acosta resigns as Secretary of Labor.
But Epstein is most definitely an asset. The breadcrumbs are everywhere for you to find. The last thing Acosta did before resigning was letting it be known that he thought Epstein was connected to intelligence.
“Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)
And now he resigns because of the 2009 plea deal? Something doesn’t pass the sniff test here. This is the biggest revelation of the entire week.
It’s also easily inferred from simply looking at the magnitude of the crimes committed and the final deal that was signed.
The news comes at us so fast, just like in a good action movie, that sometimes we forget to step back and ask basic plot questions, like “If this guy is that connected why are we hearing about this now at all?”
“Why did the FBI kick in the door of his home?”
“Why is this even news?”
“Who ordered the judge to unseal the records from the previous case?”
No way would these people risk exposing Epstein to this level of scrutiny if they were just trying to run a ‘nuts and sluts’ operation on Trump to impeach him.
And all of those questions, again using Occam’s Razor, lead to one answer. Donald Trump.
I think Trump started this thing and is now going to watch it play out to the end. Acosta was chum, sent out to fall on his sword and keep the story moving quickly to make it look like Trump is in cahoots with Epstein.
This first act is to go all out in attacking Trump. The intense focus on the sex-trafficking, the ‘nuts and sluts’ angle, is your key to understanding the stakes here. This is Alinsky 101, accuse your target of that which you are guilty of and make it personal. Guilt by association to put Trump on the defensive.
But to do that they also have to hand over the Clintons. And this is what I was getting at the other day. Hillary is over-extended here. Trump knows the way to take her and the rest of them down is to get to them through Epstein.
And most importantly, notice how no one in D.C. is out in front of the cameras, clutching their pearls about how horrible it all is. That silence you don’t hear is fear. Chuck Schumer, who was all over the news in December/January when it looked like Mueller was going to get Trump impeached is now nowhere to be found.
Pelosi, as I mentioned the other day, is fighting an internal battle within her party and not joining the #MeToo chorus. The outrage is simmering. And the Swamp can’t contain this by hoping to sweep this under the rug.
Notice how Epstein asked for immunity the other day. But have you heard anything about it since? No.
What did they get from Harvey Weinstein? Remember him?
There comes a point where a line is crossed, morality is truly compromised and people look at themselves and ask, “Is this the world I want to live in? Is this what we’ve been reduced to?”
Act I is the outrage and the attempt to keep the focus on the pervie side of things. Keep people focused on their disgust circuit and, hopefully, off the man behind the curtain.
But, as I said on Fault Lines, we live in a post-Dorothy Oz where the curtain was pulled back and reveals the weird little man with the levers and we realize yes, this is what we’ve been reduced to.
And that’s when the anger starts and Act II begins.
* * *
Harley Davidson looks like it will be the first company to market with a mainstream electric motorcycle, according to engadget. The company’s LiveWire electric motorcycle will soon be on the road and will have a longer range than expected, at 140 miles of city driving on a single charge. But, like any other electric vehicle, you’ll still need to hook it up to a charger once in a while.
According to Harley Davidson’s website, the bike will be “available in select dealerships through North America and Western Europe in the fall of 2019. Select additional markets will follow.”
The motorcycle has been in the works for more than four years now. You’ll be able to charge it with a Level 1 charger at home, or with a quicker Level 2 or 3 DC fast chargers, that’ll be available at Harley Davidson dealerships.
The bike comes with seven riding modes that tune the suspension and electric drivetrain differently. It sports anti-lock brakes and a traction control system, along with a color touchscreen for navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.
Harley Davidson is offering free charging for its new US customers.
The motorcycle is soon going to be available at a limited number of dealerships and will cost about $30,000. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in just three seconds. There is no clutch and no shifting.
Harley Davidson is looking to revitalize its business after struggling with declining sales and an aging client base both in the United States and abroad. Sales of its motorcycles were down 4.2% and international sales were down 3.3% in the first quarter of 2019.