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Category Archives: Transhuman News

Lights, camera, politics: How Rhea became a valuable pawn – The Times of India Blog

Posted: September 18, 2020 at 1:15 am

Its not about Rhea being nice, or not nice. It is about her being framed or not framed. Do you know what a doob stands for? I didnt. I had to ask my children. They found it funny that I was wondering about weed I guess you know what that is. Ganja. Grass. Cannabis. Marijuana. The leaf thats legal in 36 countries. Same one thats ground and added to sweetened milk during Holi and served freely across India, without the cops showing up with warrants of arrest. Some smoke the stuff, others make pakodas out if it. From now on hold that doob. There are nasty nutjobs out there who are hell bent on throwing people into the slammer if they cannot find any other grounds to do so. Watching clips of the gorgeous Zeenat Aman swaying sensuously to Dum Maro Dum in a cloud of chillum smoke, I felt like smoking doob myself as I shook my head in utter disbelief at the ridiculousness of it all.

Lets talk about the woman. Yes, her 28-year-old Rhea Chakraborty. The woman in jail right now. For what? For maybe having smoked up at some point in her life for maybe being a habitual stoner for maybe having shared a doob with her late boyfriend, Sushant Singh Rajput. As of now, thats her sole crime. Three crack investigating agencies have failed spectacularly to nail her for anything more heinous than maroing dum. So far, nothing connects her to fraudulent financial deals involving her late boyfriends funds, nor was she present at the scene of the tragedy. But none of this matters. Rhea Chakraborty has already been condemned and thrown to the wolves by people desperate to silence her and divert the countrys attention from other, vaster issues. This clumsy ploy isnt working. And the narrative is no longer about Rhea alone either her innocence or culpability. It is about the blatant misuse of state machinery. And the brazen abuse of power.

Once the main players achieve their political objectives a win for the BJP in the Bihar elections, and the collapse of the doddering coalition in Maharashtra, with the BJP re-grabbing the gaddi in the state, the over-sensationalised 247 coverage of the SSR case will cease overnight. Bollywood will go back to being Bollywood. And even Rheas most vocal and ardent supporters will forget her existence. At the moment, Rhea has her uses. She is required as a bargaining chip, a valuable pawn. Nobody really cares what happens to her or her shattered family in the long run, once the political jugaad ends.

Till six months ago, nobody had really heard of Rhea. Today, everyone has an opinion about her. Random types remotely connected to Rhea or her late boyfriend are grabbing a piece of the action, making the most of the mauka to get a lil publicity. A television actor protested that the case has become a chai biscuit conversation. But suddenly, caste has been brought into the controversy Rhea, we are told, is a Bengali Brahmin lady by West Bengals Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Choudhary. So what if she is? Economist Kaushik Basu has introduced suttee into the narrative by insisting the public is thirsting for a morbid spectacle involving a helpless woman. I have received communication from a highly influential person telling me to remember that Rheas mother is Maharashtrian, and a GSB like me, which makes Rhea a Marathi Mulgi. Someone forgot to update Sanjay Raut and Uddhav Thackeray, I guess. Strange that its Rheas Bengali father, and not the Maharashtrian Aie who has been in the picture so far. Sharad Pawar is all set to play the Maratha/Kshatriya card and woo the Kshatriyas in Maharashtra and Bihar, on behalf of SSRs family. In effect, he has chewed up his political partners (Shiv Sena) in Maharashtra. Complicated? Not really! Everyone is playing the same dirty game, employing identical dirty tactics. Now everything depends on whos dirtier and who sinks still lower.

Which leaves Rhea, the woman who is being damned for not being an achchi aurat. She will have to row her own boat once the rats desert her. She still holds a few cards there is the woman card, the feminist card and the patriarchy card all these highly inflammable cards waiting to be further exploited. If the caste card doesnt do the job, the top players in the game will pull out some other card. Lets see she has already been branded a murderer, a drug dealer, an embezzler. Forces must be hard at work looking for some other crimes. For now, public opinion seems to be with the Byculla womens jails latest celeb from Rhea ko phasao to Rhea ko bachao. Eventually, Ms Chakraborty may emerge innocent of all charges. But the person whose life will never be the same again is the postman. Yup! The same one who has become an overnight celebrity for delivering mail to the building where the Chakrabortys reside. Nobody has asked him his caste so far. Huge oversight! Come on, mediawallas what about an exclusive, prime time interview with the postman? Now that would be a scoop!

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

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MANDRAKE: Dominic Cummings fails to rouse the literary world – The New European

Posted: at 1:15 am

PUBLISHED: 13:31 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:31 17 September 2020

Tim Walker

Special Political Advisor for the Prime Minister of the UK Dominic Cummings. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto

TIM WALKER explains there is no interest in a book about the prime ministers senior aide.

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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

Seemingly unsackable and above the law, Dominic Cummings can legitimately lay claim to being the most powerful man in the land. Boris Johnsons omnipotent adviser has still, however, to be the subject of a single biography.

Mandrake hears that one journalist, who has lately stepped down from a national newspaper, has shown publishers what I am told is an intriguing dossier on Cummings, but there are as yet no takers.

One or two writers have touted the idea around, but there isnt much enthusiasm, one leading literary agent tells me. Theres probably a great chapter to be written about the period Cummings spent in Russia, but the rest of his life is, on the face of it, pretty well-documented and pretty boring. A book needs to have some trans-Atlantic appeal, too, to command a good advance and a lot of people havent heard of him on this side of the pond, let alone on the other.

Another agent says: I think theres resistance to it just because of the idea of Cummings face on the cover. Its like when you see Johnsons now. It just makes a lot of people certainly the kind of people who read hardback books feel nauseous and its frankly the last thing they want to read.

If a book does get off the ground, I trust Cummings biographer will talk to his former friend, the art historian James Beechey. He told me earlier this year how Cummings had once admitted to him he was emphatically not a Tory, but an anarchist.

Tom Bowers biography of Johnson the third so far comes out next month from W H Allen. Shrewdly, perhaps, Johnson saw to it that the Brexit-supporting authors wife Veronica Wadley was elevated to the Upper House in his last controversial honours list.

Wrong Ron

The playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood was laid to rest in a traditional Jewish ceremony on Sunday where numbers were restricted because of the coronavirus crisis. The obituaries in the Daily Telegraph and the Times made much of how politically incorrect he was which is quite true and the implication was that he was right wing. Michael Cashman, the actor, went so far as to state he was Margaret Thatchers speechwriter.

That dubious distinction happened to belong to Sir Ronald Millar a common mistake and this Ronald was a passionate defender of the weak against the strong. He was a former president of PEN which promotes the freedom to write and to read, even in oppressive states and he was also, although this was not mentioned, passionately opposed to Brexit.

His admirable daughter Deborah was an influence here, but Ronnie could see for himself how damaging it would be to the country and how all there was at its rotten core was prejudice, which he hated above all things, one of his friends tells me. Even at the Garrick club where the members include Michael Gove and the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre he made no secret of how he felt on this issue.

In the money

One question Sarah Vine may care to address in her inaugural column for the Mail on Sunday this weekend is how, despite the humongous salary shes reputedly paid by her proprietor Lord Rothermere, the Barlby Group, the private company she set up to channel her journalistic income, still trades at a loss. Its latest accounts to Companies House show a net deficit at 21,742 for the year ended November 30, 2019. Vine set her firm up in 2012, and, despite posting an annual profit on occasion, it has still to report a surplus on its balance sheet.

Her husband Michael Gove is, meanwhile, raking it in. Hes in receipt of 45,003 in ministerial pay on top of his basic 81,932 annual salary for being an MP. Gove has also declared 65,000 worth of support donations in the Register of Members Interests, including 35,000 from Lord Harris of Peckham. His lordship may be hedging his bets perhaps for a future leadership battle.

Lying King

The theatre critic Mark Shenton wondered out loud last week what a Boris Johnson musical might be called. The hills were soon alive with the sound of great ideas.

My favourites were The Lying King, Scamalot, Gobspell, Gove Never Dies, Fiddler With the Truth, Worst Snide Tory, The Non-Commitments, Top Prat, Shamilton, The Prince of Eejit, Illegally Blonde, The Book of Moron and Seven Sons From Seven Mothers.

The humour here would probably be lost on Johnson as Ive never once seen him in a theatre. Shamilton was, by the way, the idea of the splendid actress Kathy Burke.

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

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When will Trump’s supporters see him for who he is? | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 1:15 am

Three heavy shoes dropped over the last week for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBarr criticizes DOJ in speech declaring all agency power 'is invested in the attorney general' Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report Powell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could 'scar and damage' economy MORE on three issues of great importance to voters in this election. They have to do with Trumps treatment of the coronavirus pandemic, race relations and our countrys military veterans.

Most recently, we learned of Trumps stunning admission to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward in February that he knew COVID-19 was airborne and deadlier than the flu but downplayed its danger.

COVID-19 has killed almost 200,000 Americans, including a disproportionate number of African Americans and Latinos. To this day, Trump refuses to prioritize the pandemic and implement a national plan to stop the spread of the virus. Tens of thousands of American lives might have been saved had Trump taken decisive action.

A couple of days ago, Trumps former personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenMichael Cohen: Trump taxes would reveal 'wealth is not as significant' as he says Michael Cohen: Trump's dislike of Obama is 'purely racial' Michael Cohen blames 'Stockholm syndrome' for letting Trump leer at his daughter MORE released a memoir of his time as Trumps most trustworthy aide in which he alleges a firsthand account of Trumps apparent disdain for people of color.

According to Cohen, Trump said, Latinos like the Blacks are too stupid to vote for Trump. They are not my people.

Trump also alleges praised apartheid and slammed South Africas first Black president, Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 and was honored around the world for ending the racist regime in South Africa. According to Cohen, Trump had a different view of him. Trump said Mandela f---ed the whole country up. Now it's a s---hole. F--- Mandela.

Cohen also describes an episode in which Trump allegedly hired a Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP senator blocks Schumer resolution aimed at Biden probe as tensions run high D-Day for Trump: September 29 Obama says making a voting plan is part of 'how to quarantine successfully' MORE look-a-like just so he could pretend to denigrate and then fire him.

These excerpts confirm the view of many that Trump is a racist.

Late last week, The Atlantic published a disturbing report alleging that Trump denigrated Americans who died defending the country in various wars. According to the report, Trump derided our countrys veterans, especially those who gave their lives in World War I, as losers and suckers.

After this avalanche of new and disturbing revelations, will well-meaning Trump supporters finally see the president for who he really is? Or will they continue to sacrifice their own standards on the altar of misguided loyalty to a president who has never had the best interests of his supporters, much less the countrys, at heart?

Trumps mistreatment of Black and Latino Americans has been widely reported and repeated from his promotion of the racist birther conspiracy theory that the first Black president was not born in the United States and thus was ineligible to become president; to accusing Mexico of sending rapists and criminals to the United States; to repeatedly demonizing migrants trying to enter the United States at our southern border as invaders.

But many Trump supporters continue to find a way to excuse these racist comments, insisting thats just Trump being Trump. Some even admire Trump for using such politically incorrect language and laud him for having the courage to tell the truth and do something to protect a way of life that they are afraid is slipping away.

But how will they excuse his seemingly anti-veteran attitude? How will they explain away Trump putting their lives in danger by lying about the deadly nature of COVID-19?

At what point do dutiful, values-driven Americans who gave Trump a chance in 2016 say enough is enough and turn against him? A few have defected, but not nearly enough.

Perhaps these recent reports will help convince more Americans who held their noses to vote for Trump in 2016 that he does not deserve a second chance.

The United States was founded on the premise that everyone is created equal and that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The president should embody these values; Donald Trump does not. It is time his well-meaning supporters acknowledge that and put their values above their politics.

Maria Cardona is a longtime Democratic strategist andwas co-chair of the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee for the party's 2020 convention. She is aprincipal at Dewey Square Group, a Washington-based political consulting agency, and a CNN/CNN Espaol political commentator.Follow her on Twitter@MariaTCardona.

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Police goons are the bad guys now – The Conservative Woman

Posted: at 1:15 am

THE most sinister aspect of the lockdown in Victoria and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Australia and overseas is the corruption of the role of the police in civil society. Well before the pandemic, we had already seen the British police become somewhat akin to the Stasi. Seemingly unconcerned with catching the perpetrators ofthe sexual exploitation of young girls in Rotherham,to cite but one example, they have been zealously trawling the internet to catch those expressing politically incorrect opinions, following up with intrusive visits and arrests. It seems astonishing that mainstream politicians, including Conservatives, and an acquiescentmedia have scarcely deigned to notice the attack on the foundations of a free society.

With the role of the police already compromised, Boris Johnsons purportedly Conservative government was happy to unleash a police state on its subjects when the coronavirus arrived. Truly, governments in Britain and here now see themselves as the masters, not the servants, of the people. The totalitarians of yesteryear would commend our notionally democratic governments for making progress in the right direction.

But, I hear you cry, didnt we win the Cold War against the Soviet Empire? I seem to hear a low chuckle from the totalitarian Left.

And so to Victoria to witness Premier Daniel Andrews, leader of his partys social Left faction and lord and master of his domain, happy to sign up to theChinese Communist PartysBelt and Road initiative and a new world order, led by the paramount leader for life Xi Jinping. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, if Wuhan could be ruthlessly locked down by edict of the CCP, why not lock down the put-upon subjects of Melbourne? If Premier Andrews has not yet ordered that the doors of troublesome citizens be welded shut it is only because he has been too busy inflicting other manifestations of authoritarian asininity on his subjects.

Victorian Police are now Daniel Andrewss goons. The members of the force are no longer citizens in blue, pledged to protect fellow citizens from the bad guys. Instead, they enforce restrictions and a mindless curfew not mandated by any professional concern about health. We have seen the chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, deny that he recommended such a drastic assault on personal freedom. Premier Andrews has likewise denied being responsible for making it illegal to leave ones home after 8pm. In Victoria, traditional freedoms are stripped on the orders of no one, apparently. One doesnt need to be in the terminal stages of clinical paranoia to mull the unhappy explanation that the pandemic is providing cover for a far Left attack on our civil society.

We have witnessedthe spectacle of a young and pregnant mother being handcuffed in her own home,another internet protester having his front door bashed in by heavily armed police, an elderly woman sitting quietly on a park bench with her companion being accosted by a police posse (one of whom snatches her companions phone), and the spectacle of a journalist from Rebel Media, (good heavens, what a dangerous individual!) being crash-tackled by a gaggle of just-following-orders goons that brought to mind First Beast Napoleon setting the dogs onAnimal Farms dissenters. As in Orwells classic, blatant inconsistency must be ignored, as in the video below which contrasts Premier Andrews rationalisation for not proceeding against Black Lives Matters demonstrators with Deputy Commissioner Luke Cornelius vowing that anti-lockdown demonstrators will be given no quarter.

Can we not see the terrible danger to the future of our democracy? We need a strong police force, but that strength, that moral authority, can be tapped only by operating within the confines of a liberal democracy. The defund the police movement in the US, spurred on by the far-Left fringe of the Democratic Party and led by Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM), threatens to plunge large parts of urban America into a murderous and anarchic abyss. Does any sane person want this?

The terrible danger is that the police, especially in Victoria, will be delegitimised in the eyes of ordinarily law-abiding citizens. Below, another scene from the state where, 120 years ago, the very first Parliament was convened. Once again, the officer known derisively by rank-and-file cops as Planet Cornelius provides a dictionary illustration of political policing.

Indeed, the police will become the enemy of the people the longer this lockdown continues. Being branded as batshit crazy for expressing concern that a once-great state is led by a liar and policed by brass-encrusted apparatchiks is hardly likely to restore confidence in a force that fell on its face after framing a cardinal and, as the Lawyer X Royal Commission has uncovered, debased the law by activating a lawyer against the best interests of her clients. (If there is reason to see any improvement in Victoria at the moment it is in Assistant Commissioner Corneliuss memory and command of language, which has lifted markedly since his three turns earlier this year in the royal commissions witness box, where I dont recall wasa much-heardresponseto questioning.)

Meanwhile, as Victoria accelerates down a Himalayan gradient to economic ruin, a man is arrested for being a guest on his neighbours front lawn.

In a Melbourne park on a sunny day, two elderly ladies are surrounded by police, one of whom sleazes about behind the duo to grab one of the seniors phones which is then examined, presumably for evidence of geriatric hooliganism.

In his home, an Andrews critic has his door stoved in.

Civil disobedience and civil disorder could become the order of the day, with dire consequences. We dont want this to happen, just as we dont want to see another heavily pregnant woman being harassed in a park for the crime of sitting down to catch her breath.

This is the final opportunity for Daniel Andrews and his minions to change their ways. If common decency is beyond them, perhaps mere common sense will be enough.

There are many things that a half-decent Liberal Opposition should commit itself to. Not least is the restoration of civil society and the bedrock principle that government is the servant of the people, not their master.

An essential element in any roadmap a popular word these days charting the return to decency must be a purge and cleansing of Victoria Police.

This article was first published on the Australian website Quadrant on September 12, 2020,and is republished by kind permission.

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Why Are the Traditional Political Class and Mainstream Media Attacking Trump? – PanAm Post

Posted: at 1:15 am

Donald Trump, the great enemy of the traditional American political class and the big media (Photo: @WhiteHouse).

Spanish It is rather typical that the big American media and the traditional politicians, especially on the Democratic side, shoot left and right against Donald Trump.

The current U.S. president has been accused of everything: being racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and even fascist. Before he was president, for example, they that it was crazy to put Trump behind the famous red button in the White House. The reason? They were always based on the attitude and rhetoric of the current president. That he is not liked, in many cases, but that doesnt mean he is insane.

After the massive smear campaign against him, Trump achieved the unthinkable: he became president. From there, he has managed the economy positively, beating all possible records in terms of continuous growth and jobs.

The Republican also showed an innate ability, along with his administration, to resolve historical conflicts in the most difficult places in the world: the middle east, Korea, and the Balkans.

Despite these achievements, the mainstream media, which is sympathetic to the Democratic Party, attacks Trump, and his political opponents vociferously criticize him, which is logical because of the competition, but hasnt he been one of the most criticized administrations of the time, even though he is one of the most successful? He is, which leads us to the simple question: Why?

Trump is not part of the traditional political class; he is not a Clinton, he is not a Bush; he is a successful businessman who is famously rebranded by many media as anti-political. We must not forget his presidential campaign, where he did not hold back anything his anti-establishment rhetoric. Did he resort to insults? Yes. Did he peddle bluffs? Also, yes. But he told many truths.

Hillary Clinton, for example, was unashamedly branded as corrupt. In a presidential debate, he told her that although her experience in politics was undeniable, that was precisely her fault: bad experience. Trump did not have it. He could say with authority what many Americans believed and still believe: there are many corrupt people in Washington within the traditional political class.

What has played in Trumps favor, unlike the politicians? Authenticity. He moved away from the politically correct discourse, often pushing the boundaries, a necessary risk, and began working for his country. During his presidential term, the Republican has had to walk away from the business world, the result being that, in 2019 alone, he has lost over 600 million USD.

In short, since his campaign and during his administration, Trump has been very accurate in referring to traditional politicians. He has criticized their mistakes as well as their contradictions, including their media, which is why the communications war has not ceased since then. The mass media against Donald, but many fast-growing alternative media in favor of him.

Thats why you read articles in The Washington Post titled the worst president in history, referring to Trump. Beyond the eccentricities, and how controversial the Republican can be, are there arguments to make such a claim? A theoretically serious medium, such as the WaPo, should take a step back before issuing publications like this one.

CNN and the Times are not far behind. Their editorial lines can no longer even be defined as pro-Democratic, but directly anti-Trump. And this is something that has become recurrent in recent years. Did Trump contribute to this? Sure. The U.S. president, besides harshly criticizing traditional politics during his campaign, also hit the media; thats why his campaign-style was based on direct communication with Americans through Twitter, a practice that he did not abandon once in office.

The businessman not only changed the way of doing politics but was also successful in defeating the establishment. Playing his cards and doing it his way. That is not something that the traditional political class can forgive.

Many considered Barack Obama to be one of the best presidents of the modern American era. Among his achievements, analysts highlight that he left a robust economy with a low unemployment rate, with the exception that many jobs were of low quality. But when you take stock, the cons outweigh the pros of the Obama administration, both in domestic and foreign policy.

The Democratic Partys Obama received an ailing economy after the crisis of 2009 and left it quite stable with the recovery of the stock market and the real estate market, in addition to the creation of 16 million jobs. But, on the other hand, the fiscal numbers he left behind were dire. So Barack himself was unable to improve the quality of life of workers in terms of taxes and income, something that Trump has achieved and in just one term.

Obama carried out very expensive social plans such as the famous Obamacare, a project that the current U.S. president has wanted to suspend and eliminate. The reality is that the Patient Protection and Accessible Health Care Act was and is a populist measure that surely helped many people with health care but, at the same time, contributed to unbalancing public spending accounts.

The U.S. fiscal deficit rose with the Democrat in White House, tax reform was never implemented, and not only subsidies but also bureaucracy increased. Trump did away with both during his term in office and also did much more prominent economic management than his predecessor.

But the Obama administrations mistakes were not only national but also international. The tragic nuclear deal and the strengthening of Iran in the Middle East thanks to Baracks foreign policies, the counterproductive war in Afghanistan that never ended, the strengthening of socialist tyrannies in Latin America, and the growing influence of terrorism in the region were Obamas legacies.

Perhaps the Democrats foreign policy is the point that taints his government the most. On the other hand, it is the arm that strengthens Trump the most. The current president managed to dissolve the nuclear agreements, brilliantly weakened Iran, and strengthened its allies in the Middle East. Additionally, he is saying he will get American troops out of Iraq. He ended the war in Afghanistan, and he also achieved historic peace agreements with the Taliban. Moreover, he achieved unprecedented peace agreements between Israel and the Arab Emirates, the two Koreas, and in the Balkans between Serbia and Kosovo.

Before Trump arrived at the White House, he was the man not to put behind the red button. Once there, through his power of deterrence and negotiation, he proved to be the man of peace that the free world needed.

If there is one thing that the traditional political class in any country does not forgive, it is messing with their public offices. Few have walked this path as the one who professes the motto Make America great again. The Trump administration has, irrefutably, been the one that has most attacked and reduced bureaucracy in the United States.

You have to go back to Reagan to find a U.S. government that has lowered regulations so much. But even so, Trumps administration is far superior. Its main strengths are public policy on taxation, state reduction, and deregulation, although the White House still has spending problems, a debt that Trump must comply with.

An article for FEE by Daniel J. Mitchell citesa Washington Post story by a representative of the Trump administration:

Over the past two years, federal agencies have reduced regulatory costs by 23 billion USD and eliminated hundreds of burdensome regulations, creating opportunities for economic growth and development. This represented a giant change in the direction of the administrative state. He mentions that this state has remained unchecked for decades and that the Obama administration imposed more than 245 billion USD in regulatory costs on American businesses and families during its first two years.

Deregulation measures by the Trump administration, besides limiting the power of the state and stabbing bureaucracy, gave giant breathing space to the private sector, which had been affected by the great economic obstacles that had been implemented during the predecessor government. Of course, since the private sector was the main beneficiary, this translated into constant economic and employment growth. Businesses benefited, as did the middle and lower classes.

Mitchell, who is an economist specializing in tax issues, points out that Trumps main strengths come in his tax and positive regulation policies. But the Republicans ratings need to improve on spending, trade, and monetary policy.

Some people mention that Trump is a liberal guy in the Latin American sense of the word, not a North American one, but the reality is that he is a conservative. But beyond that, the fact that Trump has earned respect among Latin American liberals is, in large part, due to his tax policies.

If there is one thing that Latinos have been asking their various governments for years, it is tax reforms that benefit small and medium-sized businesses along with the middle class. In short, give the private sector tools to serve as an economic engine. Ultimately, all this is linked to the limitations of the state and its rulers.

Trump implemented this in his country, pushing through one of the most ambitious tax reforms in history and reducing taxes on both the rich and the working class.

At the time, Trumps usual critics downplayed the reform because it supposedly benefited the rich better than anyone else. They were wrong. Not only did Trumps reform directly affect the growth of the economy, but it also led to the massive generation of quality jobs and, before the pandemic, had the unemployment rate at its lowest. Unprecedented achievements of the Trump administration.

But, as usual, the large media that are sympathetic to the traditional political class found excuses to criticize the Republican. Less money will be collected, it will not be possible to subsidize the social plans, the inequality gap will increase, all of which was false. In the same year that the great Trump reform was implemented, the U.S. reached the largest surplus since April 2001, 214 billion USD.

There is an economic logic that many people have not yet understood, and that is that the lower the number of taxes, the higher the collection. The New York Times, for example, did not understand this in 2017 when an article was published called Champion of the Little Guy? Trumps Actions Tell Another Story. In the piece, two journalists criticized Trump, among other things, for the tax reform.

The more income and profits taxpayers have, the more they can pay to the treasury. Fewer regulations and fewer types of tax burdens make tax collection more effective and cleaner. In the end, everyone wins, pure cooperation. Not for nothing have the working class and the less privileged been the main beneficiaries under the Republican government.

This business success is one of the things that most annoy the establishment, that a president has arrived from outside the political elite (beyond being a tycoon) and that he succeeds, denies, and unmasks his rhetoric. Many Americans have identified with Trump, and with good reason, have grown tired of the false discourse and policies that the current president calls anti-American. Thus, it is important to analyze the Republicans rhetoric.

This publication has often denounced how the Democrats have turned dangerously to the more radical left. They have transformed themselves into a party that is moving away from American values and traditions to join the current progressives.

The Democrats hypocritically portray themselves as defenders of the minorities and the saviors and revolutionaries who will end the systemic problems of American capitalism. In that sense, they approached the progressive and also left movements in the U.S.

For example, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats openly support abortion- something Trump does not agree with. They adhere to the fight against racism (a curious fact since the Democratic party has historically been the party that has most infringed the Black race). Biden is presented as a different candidate who will manage to put an end to the problems of social and racial inequalities, although he is one of the great faces of traditional politics par excellence.

Trump, regardless of whether they may agree or not, is a conservative who does not adhere to any new labels. He is not in favor of progress and does not pretend to be a populist by presenting himself as an ally of progress. In fact, he fights them because he believes that many of these movements go against the traditional American values that he defends.

Thats why Trumps speech ends up being politically incorrect. Some criticize him and call him a populist and even a fascist (without any ideological knowledge, of course), but many also recognize him and even agree with him about the Democrats, who have completely blurred into an anti-American party.

And its also true that Trump has thousands of questionable and reprehensible actions. He has made unwelcome comments against foreigners, and his administration has made announcements amid a pandemic, such as taking away student visas from college students for not showing up for classes. And surely many more errors, but that, in the overall balance, does not cover up his administration or his great achievements that have been systematically overshadowed by his traditional enemies.

Trump, for example, deported far fewer people than Obama. The unemployment level for Latinos and African Americans (for all Americans, really) was at its lowest level under his administration, and he is called misogynist, though he has more women among his top advisors than any president in history.

Have you ever asked yourselves: Why do the big media and the traditional political class attack and discredit Trump so much? In addition to what has been explained in this essay about foreign and domestic management, plus his ways of doing politics, much has to do with the fact that Trump is a strong defender of Western values, capitalism, freedom, and also conservatism. And the enemies of these last four, besides being powerful, have the capacity to rewrite history by manipulating it. They have always done so and will continue to do so.

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Why Are the Traditional Political Class and Mainstream Media Attacking Trump? - PanAm Post

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The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog by Bill Boggs – mtltimes.ca

Posted: at 1:15 am

In the world of media and show business, mans best friend can play a role as a faithful companion or the star of the show, which is where Lassie, Rin Tin Tin or Krypto (Supermans pet dog) come to mind. Or there are dogs who become the protagonist of a novel, like White Fang or the canine in Farley Mowats classic The Dog Who Wouldnt Be. Or those dogs who act more human and go beyond the doghouse like Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip.Bill Boggs, an Emmy Award-winning TV talk host, producer, author and comedian, takes all the above doggy attributes and brings them to a whole new and politically incorrect level in his comic novel The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog.

The story focuses on Spike, an English Bull Terrier, whose faithful owner Bud is the host of a local TV talk show, which is like a combination of the Today Show and Live with Kelly and Ryan, in High Point, North Carolina. Somehow, Spike becomes an immediate, yet accidental, local media star when Bud asks him what he thought about his interview with Cher, which because of a bout of drowsiness, replies with a big, toothy yawn on camera.

This starts Spikes career as a celebrity, where he travels to New York and Las Vegas to do some personal appearances at several star-studded events that get weird and bizarre with every subsequent event and ends up more like a publicity stunt than a star turn. Whether it was being dropped onto the ring of a boxing main title event from a drone in Las Vegas promoted by eccentric big shot Ike I Got Money Piles (where the drone is sponsored by Max-Ex Laxative, and Bud and Spike get a number of executive privileges such as the Triple-Dollar-Sign Money Piles All-Access 3-D Hologram Boxing Glove Total Access Pass), or running around the streets of New York City with a cowboy outfit-wearing monkey on his back, Spike plays along like the ultimate trooper.

And it pays off for both dog and master, as Bud and Spike move to New York City when they are offered their own TV talk show in the Big Apple. Things should be getting better for the duo, but it takes an almost tragic turn when Spike and his canine sweetheart Daisy are violently assaulted in broad daylight, and Spike is kidnapped and brought into the sinister world of dog fighting, where he is forced to literally fight for his life by its promoter who is, you guessed it, Ike I Got Money Piles.

One may think that this book would be ideal reading for kids or the YA crowd, but its not. This is a book for those who like their humour in a rather edgy, politically incorrect nature. What makes it such good escapist reading is that the entire narrative is told from the point-of-view of Spike himself, whose delivery is comparable to a raunchy, ascerbic comedian a la Lewis Black or Rodney Dangerfield. It gives the reader an interesting perspective of how much stupidity and humiliation a dog has to go through to give all those humans around him the satisfaction of good publicity, where in turn, Spike would like to reward them with a chomp on the leg. And by the way, the dog fighting scenes between Spike and his doggy opponents such as Big Nipper and Monstro are written with such ferocity, it would make Jack London proud.

The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog is quite an absurdly entertaining satirical novel of the pitfalls of being a celebrity animal. Hopefully, we will get to read about more doggy adventures from Spike, but after what he went through in this book, its going to take quite a massive effort to drag him away from the contentment of his orange dog house in North Carolina.By: Stuart Nulman info@mtltimes.ca

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Unvetted information from Clackamas County officer furthered antifa wildfire misinformation – OPB News

Posted: at 1:15 am

A Clackamas County Sheriffs Office deputy was placed on administrative leave Saturday after a video was posted online of the deputy repeating false claims that anti-fascist activists had been starting fires in the area.

The deputy, who has not been publicly identified, is recorded saying: Antifa motherfuckers are out causing hell, and theres a lot of lives at stake. And theres a lot of peoples property at stake because these guys got some vendetta.

The incident seemed to run counter to official information coming from Sheriff Craig Roberts and other top law enforcement officials, indicating that antifa was not to blame for the fires.

But new details show misinformation within the sheriffs office was not limited to a single deputy spreading rumors. At least one other officer was giving similar misinformation to county leaders as they made decisions about how to respond to fears and safety needs stemming from the wildfires.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts speaks at a press conference on September 9, 2020 in Oregon City, Oregon.

Jonathan Levinson / OPB

Briefing county commissioners Thursday on behalf of the sheriff, Capt. Jeff Smith incorrectly told the commissioners that the department had credible reports of political extremists acting within Clackamas County to start fires and commit acts of sabotage.

The comments came as a deluge of questionable social media posts were whipping up fears in the county, leading some people to form armed vigilante groups to stop looters and alleged, politically-motivated arsonists.

Smith said in his briefing, which was in part to discuss the need to put a curfew in place, that the sheriffs office had received reports of extremist groups staging gas cans for later destruction.

Equally concerning, is there are reports of people from other extremist groups its not confirmed antifa, but its suspected antifa, Smith said. Reports and sightings of people armed with chainsaws. And the goal was to fall telephone poles in hopes of starting further fires.

The briefing alarmed some and helped galvanize support for the curfew, which the commissioners put in place.

After hearing that from Capt. Smith here ... we gotta make an appeal to the Governor to call in the National Guard, Commissioner Paul Savas said. That is critical information. That is very unsettling. Im fine with the curfew countywide now, more so than I was 15 minutes ago. But for crying out loud, we cant allow a deliberate attack on property and peoples lives.

When Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard appeared skeptical that the gas can story was accurate and pushed for clarification, Smith was quick to explain that the gas can anecdote had not yet been confirmed. Smith then said, erroneously, the reports of antifa members armed with chainsaws and felling telephone polls were reliable.

Those reports were also wrong. Similar rumors have been repeatedly and publicly denied by both Sheriff Roberts and the FBI.

In the county meeting, Commissioner Sonya Fischer also pushed back and urged caution.

Information evolves quickly, Fischer said told OPB on Monday. I was questioning the information because there were inconsistencies. Since then, the sheriff has clarified that the reports of suspicious persons or arson were not tied to any political group.

Smith also told commissioners the sheriffs office had received numerous confirmed reports of looting in Estacada, Colton, Molalla and Sandy.

Lots of looting has been taking place, burglaries and whatnot, he told the commissioners.

Smith was briefing the commissioners in place of Sheriff Roberts and Capt. Shane Strangfield, who were both attending a press briefing being held at the same time. At that briefing, Roberts directly contradicted what Smith was saying to the county board.

Asked if there were any confirmed reports of looting in evacuated areas, Roberts said, No, not to my knowledge.

Were aware of that possibility and were actively working to address that, Capt. Strangfield jumped in.

Last week, the sheriffs office reported stopping a trailer theft in Eagle Creek and a tool heist near Mulino, but neither incident was politically motivated. Deputies were responding to a flood of calls more than 300 between Tuesday and Thursday.

Clackamas County Sheriff's deputies stop a man who someone had mistakenly reported for robbing a house near Mulino, Oregon, on Sept. 10, 2020.

Jonathan Levinson / OPB

The conflicting information, and ensuing reaction from residents, speaks to a broader crisis of reliable information, said Commissioner Fischer.

Theres so much misinformation, Fischer said. This situation is one of those things where people are getting their information from their own source through social media. And so dispelling the rumors and trying to get accurate information to people is of the utmost urgency.

Journalists working in evacuated areas to bring information to the public experienced the consequences of that misinformation.

Three hours after the commissioner meeting and the press briefing, a group of armed men stopped an OPB reporter in Molalla and told them to leave immediately. That same day, according to the Guardian, armed men also stopped independent photojournalist Nathan Howard outside of Estacada. The men accused Howard of being a looter, pointed rifles at him and forced him to leave the area.

Speaking at a fire briefing Monday, Roberts said Smith only had about five minutes to prepare for that briefing.

He had some information that at that time he believed to be credible, Roberts said. It had not been vetted through a couple of our sources.

Roberts said the information theyve been receiving is checked with their own detectives and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In this case, that information was soon determined to be incorrect.

What were seeing in many of these cases is a friend of a friend of a friend said this, Roberts said. And when we get to the bottom of it, it is completely blown out of proportion.

Roberts said one of his concerns is that vigilante groups could mistake so many firefighters coming to the area from out of state and driving rental cars with out of state plates for looters or criminals.

Roberts said the last thing in the world he would want is for a firefighter to be mistaken as being up to no good and somebody confronting them.

The sheriff asked county residents to let law enforcement respond to any potential criminal activity and to cease confronting people in evacuation zones.

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"This Is the Best Part I’ve Ever Had": Chris Rock Talks ‘Fargo,’ Aging and Why He’s Spending 7 Hours a Week in Therapy – Hollywood Reporter

Posted: at 1:15 am

There's a fairly standard list of reasons people typically call Chris Rock.

In no particular order, he rattles them off: Theres the "Weve got a charity event, itd be great if you host it" call. The "My kids got a thing at his school, can I count on you?" call. The "Im having trouble with a Black celebrity, can you help me out" call. And finally, the "I havent really cast a Black guy in 10 years, who should I go after?" call.

Rock, at this point, is OK with all of them.

"I get it, Im a lot of peoples Black shrink, or their Black whisperer," he says as we snake our way through midtown Manhattan traffic in search of lunch on an early March afternoon, a week or so before the city goes into lockdown. "Im sure Quincy Jones did it for years, Im sure Oprah is still the Black council for a lot of powerful people. But yeah, there are some huge stars who owe getting cast in a big part to me and Ill never tell, but youd be like, Get the fuck out of here.' "

The call that doesnt come quite as often as Rock would like is the one he got from Noah Hawley.

It was summer 2018, and the Fargo creator was preparing to dive back into his Emmy-winning anthology series and wanted to do so with Rock at its center. The series fourth installment was to be set in 1950s Kansas City,and Hawley envisioned Rock as his wily mob boss, Loy Cannon.

"I just thought, 'Hes that guy,' " says Hawley. "Chris had started with nothing, a skinny kid with no permission to get up on that stage, and now hes a sort of elder statesman hed hate me for saying that someone who has built an empire for himself, and thats who Loy is, too."

Rock went to meet Hawley on the set of his 2019 film, Lucy in the Sky, and he could hardly say yes fast enough. Great parts "are like great loves," he tells me, "you get two, three if youre lucky" and he found himself at a life stage where a role this heavy and dramatic was within reach. At 55, hes finally on the other side of a messy divorce from his wife of nearly two decades, and in "a ton of therapy" for the first time in his life. He had already worked through plenty on the road, too, exposing his infidelity, porn addiction and custody struggles to sold-out arenas, and later in one of two $20 million Netflix specials.

"Im talking from hell," hed say at every stop, often crafting jokes about having to take shitty TV work to cover his alimony payments. And for a period, there was a flurry of announcements movies, a book, even a Super Bowl ad that suggested money was, in fact, a motive.

Fargo was different. "This is the best part Ive ever had," he says as his driver pulls up to Nobu.And he was ready for it in a way he hadnt been for others. There have been at least a handful of decent roles, too, dating back a few decades but he rarely knew what to do with them before.

"Sometimes you get a great love and youre just not ready for it," he says, citing one of his early rolesopposite Morgan Freeman in the 2000 dark comedy Nurse Betty. "Great part, and I wasnt fucking ready. Now, Don Cheadle wouldve been. You ever seen Don Cheadle in Devil in a Blue Dress? That motherfucker was ready." When Rock turned up on the Chicago set of Fargo late last year, he was ready, too.

***

When the call came fromHawley, Rock was already in deep reflective mode. Those who had caught his latest special, as Hawley had, could plainly see a man careening toward some sort of breaking point. Hed prowled the stage, confessing his sins and the excruciating repercussions to his personal life, the worstof which involved his two teenage daughters, with whom hes managed to remain fiercely close. Now, he explains, in order to make the transition from young comic to a more seasoned one, he had to find a dramatic base to his comedy. "You can still be funny, you can be hysterical, but youve got to be hysterical like Midnight in Paris is hysterical," he says, "like Vicky Cristina Barcelona is hysterical, like every Alexander Payne movie is hysterical."

So, his set writing evolved. "Its a dramatic piece of work with comedy as the seasoning," he says of his more recent material, "but at its core, its a fucking sad story."

That story is shaped by a childhood spent in Brooklyns Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the oldest of seven kids. His mother, a special-needs teacher, and his father, a newspaper delivery man, set high expectations. Chris was bussed to a school in another neighborhood where he was the only Black student in his grade, regularly greeted with signs reading "Nr, Go Home." But when classmates would pummel his scrawny body or lob balloons full of piss at his head, he knew better than to run home crying. His parents were "from the suck-it-up school," he says. "No matter what I was going through, it paled in comparison to what my mom or my dad went through; so, there wasnt a lot of dealing with it."

Rock dropped out of high school and, in time, found an outlet in comedy. "It was the first thing I was ever good at," he says. By 19 or so, he was making the rounds in the New York clubs, where hed catch the eye of his hero turned mentor, Eddie Murphy. Rock parlayed a bit part in Murphys Beverly Hills Cop II into other work, eventually following in Murphys footsteps to Saturday Night Live, where he was the only Black guy in the cast.

It was supposed to be the break of a lifetime, but it fell woefully short. "Everyone knew Chris was Eddies guy," says former SNL producer Marci Klein, "which is a huge responsibility to come in with." Harder still, his time on the show coincided with a Black comedy renaissance, fueled by rival sketch show In Living Color, which Rock wasnt a part of. After three lackluster years at SNL, hemade the leap to In Living Color, but it was too late. The show was canceled shortly after, and Rock was back to grinding it out on the club circuit.

It was during that period that his longtime friend, writer-producer Nelson George, came to appreciate Rocks grit, as he tirelessly worked every crappy stage that would have him. At one point, he lined the basement of his carriage house in Brooklyn with mirrors so he could watch himself closely and hone his physical delivery. "He really wanted to be the greatest stand-up in the world," says George, who recalls Rock saying as much, often. "There was just such a seriousness with which he took it all."

Rock reflects on those early years through a different lens now. "I had this great combination of big ego and low self-esteem," he says. "And the ego gets you out onstage, but the low self-esteem is the thing that makes you practice so much because you dont believe in yourself at all. You think youre a total fucking fraud and you dont think anybody could love you for being you, so you have to be good at this thing."

Fear, it turns out, was a great motivator. It drove Rock for decades: fear of failing; fear of letting people down; fear of not being rich and famous anymore. But it took a toll on his act, his relationships, his entire sense of self. Right up until he couldnt take it anymore. "It just depletes you," he says. "I had to let it go. I was just dying, dude."

So now, at age 55, hes in therapy.

On this late-winter afternoon, as platters of sushi are delivered to our table, easily the best in the restaurant, Rock wont say what, exactly, got him there, just that hes dealing with his past in a non-comedic way for the first time, and that reliving parts of his childhood has been traumatic. "Im not belittling todays youth, but I wish somebody had sent mea bad text when I was a kid," he says. "These motherfuckers were trying to kill me."

***

The thing about Rock is hedid become one of the greatest stand-ups of all time.George remembers the precise moment that that became clear to those outside his circle. It was June 1, 1996, the day HBO released Rocks first hour special, Bring the Pain, a searing commentary on Blackness in America that masqueraded as comedy. George had been in the audience at D.C.s Takoma Theatre for the taping, and he knew what hed witnessed there was historic. "It was like, 'Who the fuck is this guy?' " he says. "It all just came together this very working-class Blackcrowd got all the jokes, and the room was electric." It debuted on HBO on a Saturday night, and by that Monday Rocks whole life had changed.

"He went from 'that kid who acts like a watered-down Eddie Murphy' to the straight-up voice of a generation," NPR critic Eric Deggans wrote many years later.

Doors flew open. Rocks heroesbecame his friends and often his collaborators. "Does he remind me of me?" said Richard Pryor. "Im afraid so." The special had earned Rock two Emmys and carte blanche to do virtually anything he wanted an eponymous HBO show, well ahead of its time, a best-selling book, a few Grammy-winning albums, some commercial spots, a documentary and a slew of films. He also hosted the Oscars (twice), appeared as a correspondent on Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher and, for a time, was seriously considered to replace Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. Not everything he did was of the highest caliber, but every few years Rock would release another hour of stand-up so breathtakingly good that anymissteps were forgotten.

There was a noticeable shift about a decade ago, when Rock made his Broadway debut in The Motherfucker With the Hat, under the tutelage of uber-producer Scott Rudin. "Once he was in Rudins world, I think he realized, 'Im an artist,' which he was probably loath to call himself prior to that,' " says his comedian pal NealBrennan, who is a co-producer on Rocks last special. The 2014 indie rom-com Top Five, which Rock wrote, directed and starred in, working again with Rudin, solidified that status. "It was the first thing where he wasnt trying to make a Black [Adam] Sandler movie," adds Brennan. "It was as smart as his act, and we were all like, 'Oh, OK.' "

When Rock was writing Top Five, he included a scene in which his character, a giant comedy star desperate to be taken seriously, is humiliated by long lines for a made-up Tyler Perry movie called Boo! while his wrenching slavery drama bombs. Somebody from Lionsgate, which distributes Perrys movies, suggested Perry actually make a movie called Boo!, which, incredibly, he did.It was a runaway success that begat a sequel, both of which used art from the Top Five version. A truly weird case of life imitatingart imitating life and wait, it gets weirder.

Not long after, Rock ran into the head of Lionsgates film group at a friends wedding and remarked to him, half-jokingly, that hed never seen a cent from Boo!"I dont even think I got a special thanks," he says now. "And Im not complaining, Im just saying, Ive seen a bone thrown for a lot less." The conversation got friendlier from there, as Rock complimented the studios Saw horror franchise and, having given it no prior thought, suggested they make the next one in the comedic style of Murphys 48 Hours. A few weeks later, he got a call from Saw producer Mark Burg, and a deal was struck for Rock to not only help develop such an idea but also to star. Spiral, which theyd later title his film, wrapped production in Toronto last spring. Rock would have directed it, too, if not for his Fargo commitment. The movie wasslated for a big release in May, a few weeks after the new season of Fargo would have debuted on FX, an enviable one-two punch for Rock.

The novel coronavirus disrupted all of that, of course. Though Spiral was in the can and its theatrical release could simply be postponed, Fargo still had two episodes left to shoot. "I had to go to Chris and say, 'This is it, the last scene were going to do,' " says Hawley. "And I remember he was like, 'Wow, this is really it,' and I could see him processing that this enormous life moment that hed been anticipating was not going to happen any time soon. And hes not an optimist, so I could tell in that moment there was a real possibility in his mind that it was never going to happen."

***

When we connect again,half a year after our sushi lunch in a fully functioning Manhattan, Rocks just finished shooting the final two episodes of Fargo which will begin rolling out Sept. 27 amid a dizzying set of protocols. He confesses that while preparing for scenes with other actors, hed often be thinking, "Oh, I hope this motherfucker dont have COVID."

Rock went from Chicago to Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he is now, for his buddy Dave Chappelles comedy summit.Hed done a set for 50 people ina cornfield the night before, and plans to do another that night. He sounds considerably calmer than he had more self-reflective, even a little ... happy? The past six months, as scary and awfulas theyve been at points, forced a reset he never imagined hed get, allowing him the space todo some much-needed work on himself. The pandemic, for him, was like what an off-season is for an athlete. "What people dont realize is that athletes get that time," he says, "and you cant obtain greatness without the time to rest and work on yourself and your faults."

He also accomplished something he had been talking about for years he learned to swim, part of a new fitness regimen thats contributed to what are now countable ab muscles. "Do you know how fucking hard it is for a grown-up to learn howto swim? Youve got to not be scared to die," he tells me, before acknowledging the absurdity of having a pool that he couldnt previously use at his Alpine, New Jersey, home. "The other day, this guy says to me, 'OK, youre going to dive into the deep end and swim to the other side,' and Im like, 'Are you fucking crazy?' But then I dove into the deep end and I swam to the other side, and its a metaphor for what Ive been trying to do during this time."

The far bigger commitment has been therapy, however; seven hours a week, he says with unmistakable pride. His decision to seek meaningful help for the first time in his life was precipitatedby a friends suggestion that he may have Aspergers. It prompted a nine-hour battery of cognitive tests earlier this year, from which doctors diagnosed Rock with a condition called nonverbal learning disorder, or NVLD. As hes come to understand it, he has tremendous difficulty with non-verbal signals which doesnt sound too drastic until, as he explains, you consider that some 80 percent of communication is nonverbal. "And all I understand are the words," he says.

Rock often takes things too literally as a result and, like others with the condition, suffers from a kind of all-or-nothing thinking. "By the way, all of those things are really great for writing jokes theyre just not great for one-on-one relationships," he says. Until now, its made much of Rocks life uncomfortable. "And Id always just chalked it up to being famous. Any time someone would respond to me in a negative way, Id think, 'Whatever, theyre responding to something that has to do with who they think I am.' Now, Im realizing it was me. A lot of it was me."

So, with the aid of two therapists, hes been trying to make sense of his limitations and the toll that childhood trauma has taken on him. Sure, hes been joking about the latter for decades at one point, it fueled an entire sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, which ran for four celebrated seasons in the mid-2000s. And because he was able to laugh about it, he thought he was over it. "I thought I was actually dealingwith it, and the reality is I never dealt with it," he says. "The reality was the pain and the fear that that brought me, I was experiencing it every day."

Brennan cant help but appreciate the irony, given how much Rock ribbed him over the years for his own embrace of therapy. "Hed call it 'white people problems' or 'rich people problems,' and Id be like, ' Dude, your body doesntknow what fucking class youre in,' " says the comic. Now, instead of arguing about feelings, the two actually talk about them. "Chris will still write as a caustic person because hes got a fucking bleak point of view, but now he can do it with a bit of empathy for himself."

***

There's still plenty morethat Rock plans to do, and even more hed love to do. For one, hesitching to get back to Broadway something he wouldve done already had it not been for those "ridiculous" alimony obligations; and hes banked at least two film scripts. The first will pair him with his buddies Sandler and Chappelle; the second he describes as "Bad Lieutenant, starring an insane actress." Hes light with details, but borderline giddy about both.

For now, though, Rocks focused on the new material that will feed into his next Netflix special, where politics will almost certainly be front and center. In the midst of the pandemic and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter, Rock has a lot to say. And while hes been addressing systemic racism and the targeting of Black people by police for 30 years, he has regrets about not doing more.

"Even though I talked about it and I joked about it, theres a part of me thats ashamed at how much of it I just accepted," he says. He would very likely unload on the coming election, too, if only he had a stage readily available to him. At this time four years ago, he stood at mic after mic predicting Donald Trumps victory. "Of-the-moment candidates" like Trump or Obama always beat the "its your turn" options, hed say, often to boos.

Rock has been around long enough to remember running into Trump on the New York nightlife circuit. "I remember Eddie, Arsenio [Hall], Prince and me at a club one night," he says, "and Donald Trump walks in and all these girls just start running to that side of the room because a fucking 6-foot-whatever blond billionaire with his name on all the buildings walks in like if that room was a seesaw, wed be in the air." Years later, Rock would find himself in Brian Grazers office in L.A., as Murphy pitched a heist flick a kind of BlackOceans Eleven, starring him, Rock, Chappelle, Chris Tucker and a few others about a gang that robs Trump Tower. Murphy envisioned Trump as the movies villain. "Like Alan Rickman in Die Hard," says Rock. What happened from there is another classic Hollywood story: The movie became Tower Heist, directed by Brett Ratner, starring Ben Stiller with Murphy and "a bunch of white people."

He is considerably less animated by the outrage hurricanes that blow through Hollywood. This spring, Rocks name was dragged into one, when a clip surfaced of Jimmy Fallon doing a Blackface impersonation of Rock in a 2000 episode of SNL. Rock says he doesnt remember seeing it at the time and writes it off as just "bad comedy." Fallon "doesnt have a racist bone in his body," he says, adding that he called his old friend after he issued a public apology to tell him that he loveshim. In a matter of weeks, hell appear on Fallons Tonight Show to promote the new series.

Fargo plus all the therapy and the swimming and the time to just be has left Rock feeling at the peak of his creative powers. He recently watched a cut of Questloves Black Woodstock documentary about a legendary concert in Harlem in 1969 and hes found himself inspired by the greatness of Stevie Wonder. "By '69, hed already done 'My Cherie Amour,' 'Uptight' and 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life,' he was a superstar, and it hadnt even started yet," says Rock, his voice rising a few octaves with enthusiasm. "He hadnt done Talking Book yet. He hadnt done fucking Songs in the Key of Life. The last special I did was my sixth. Know what Princes sixth album was? Purple Rain, and he did a lot of great shit after that."

Then Rock has to run, he says. Hes got to "go cry in therapy."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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‘Churails’ to ‘Mrs America’: Nine series on OTT for the feminist in you – The News Minute

Posted: at 1:15 am

While mainstream cinema is slowly changing its portrayal of gender norms, it's nowhere close to what's available online.

The explosion of content on Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms has meant that there's a wide variety of options when it comes to entertainment. Whatever be the genre or language, viewers are spoilt for choice on online streaming platforms. It's no different when it comes to feminist content.

Mainstream cinema in India has largely been disappointing when it comes to the representation of women, mostly conforming to gender norms and patriarchal attitudes. While this is slowly changing, it's still nowhere as close to the kind of content that's available online.

Here's a list of web series that will make a feminist viewer happy, and not want to tear their hair out.

Churails (Zee5): This show is from Pakistan and is about a motley group of women in Karachi who come together to start a detective agency. Their aim is to investigate cheating husbands but the plot goes beyond that when they uncover a bigger secret. Directed by British Pakistani writer-director Asim Abbasi, the series stars Sarwat Gilani, Mehar Bano, Nimra Bucha and Yasra Rizvi in the lead roles.

Masaba Masaba (Netflix): Written and directed by Sonam Nair, this is a lighthearted series on mother-daughter pair Neena Gupta and Masaba Gupta. It may look like an ordinary story centered on two women -- one a veteran actor who is not getting any new work and the other a designer with a high-profile client list but personal troubles -- going about their lives, but that's what makes it unique. It's so rare to see women's stories with minimal drama represented on screen.

Made in Heaven (Amazon Prime Video): Two wedding planners -- a middle class woman with a wealthy husband and a gay man -- take us through the behind-the-scenes drama of Indian weddings. As they try to beat the competition and survive in a tough market, many more secrets tumble out of the closet. And how delicious to have a heroine who's ambitious, manipulative and knows exactly what she wants! While Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti created the show, they wrote it with Alankrita Shrivastava. Zoya, Alankrita, Nitya Mehra, and Prashant Nair were the directors. The series stars Arjun Mathur and Shobita Dhulipala in the lead.

Unbelievable (Netflix): This American show based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning story is a searing yet empowering look at sexual violence and law enforcement. A teenager is raped and she reports it to the police. However, the male officers find it difficult to believe her account due to inconsistencies and decide that she's lying. It's only when two women officers enter the picture that the nature of the investigation changes. Created by Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon, the series has Toni Colette, Merrit Wever and Kaitlyn Dever in the lead.

Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video): Written by the hilarious Phoebe Waller-Bridge who also plays the lead role in the series, this British drama directed by Harry Bradbeer and Tim Kirkby draws us into Phoebe's many misadventures involving her dysfunctional family, weirdo friends and yes, a 'hot priest'. But beyond the politically incorrect humour and the refreshingly unapologetic characterisation of Phoebe, the series also manages to touch upon serious issues like suicide, without ever losing its charm.

Mrs America (Disney+Hotstar): Are you even a feminist if you haven't watched this show YET? Starting from the 1970s in America, when the demand for the Equal Rights Amendment Bill (ERA) was growing louder, the series is a riveting drama that captures the upheavals in the feminist movement. The men in this series, even as villains, are purely in the margins as feminists lock horns with conservative women who believe feminism will destroy their homes. Writers and thinkers you may have read, like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, appear in this reel life version and the actors capture their personalities accurately. Created and co-written by Davhi Waller and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Amma Asante, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and Janicza Bravo, the cast has a host of talented actors including Cate Blanchett and Rose Byrne.

Watch: A trailer of 'Mrs America'

Russian Doll (Netflix): What if you found yourself reliving a short period in your life over and over again? Nadia finds that she simply cannot escape her own 36th birthday party --- each time, she ends up dying and waking up once again at the same party. The dark humour will have you in splits but the series also takes on a number of difficult-to-discuss subjects, including mental health. Natasha Lyonne plays the lead in this series which she co-created with Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler.

Killing Eve (Amazon Prime Video): A spy thriller with black comedy, this British series focuses on Eve Polastri, an MI6 operative, and Villanelle, a psychopath assassin. While the two of them are pitted against each other, they also become obsessed with each other. A rare occasion when the hero and the villain are both female, this gripping series is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys the thriller genre.

Schitt's Creek (Netflix): This Canadian sitcom is on the wealthy Rose family which finds itself without money after being cheated by their business manager. All that they're left with is a small town named Schitt's Creek and they're forced to move there and rebuild their lives. What makes it a delightful watch is that Schitt's Creek just creates a society and a town that's better, that's aspirational -- where queer characters don't fight to exist, but just live their lives like any ordinary person. Apart from being wholesome and comic, the show also ends up being intersectional, where being feminist is the norm, not the exception among its protagonists. The show is created by Eugene and Dan Levy and stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in the lead.

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'Churails' to 'Mrs America': Nine series on OTT for the feminist in you - The News Minute

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Early Edition: September 17, 2020 – Just Security

Posted: at 1:14 am

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A curated guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Heres todays news.

POLICING RACIAL INJUSTICE PROTESTS

Top military police officers considered using devices that cause targets to feel an unbearable heating sensation while clearing protesters from Lafayette Square outside the White House in June, D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco said to lawmakers in written testimony last month. DeMarco said that he had received requests by top Department of Defense (DOD) officials asking if the Guard had sound cannons or a nonlethal heat ray, called Active Denial System, or A.D.S. According to the top Guard official, DOD officials said: The A.D.S. can immediately compel an individual to cease threatening behavior or depart through application of a directed energy beam that provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming. Marissa J. Lang reports for the Washington Post.

Attorney General William Barr instructed prosecutors to be aggressive when charging alleged violent protesters and to also consider sedition charges, those familiar with the instruction have confirmed, stating that in a call between Barr and top U.S. attorneys, Barr stressed the need to use federal charges against protesters even when state charges could apply. He also asked prosecutors in the Department of Justice (DOJ)s civil rights division to consider if criminal charges could be brought against Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle for allowing residents to set up police-free protests zones in the area. Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman report for the Wall Street Journal.

US DEVELOPMENTS

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe yesterday said he would reinstate in-person election security briefings for the Senate and House intelligence committees while maintaining that the intelligence community (IC) will predominantly provide lawmakers with written intelligence updates, following alettersent to Congress, Aug. 28, by Ratcliffe, which said all said all future briefings would be in writing. House Intelligence Committee ChairAdam Schiff(D-CA) noted yesterday that although an agreement has been met for in-person updates to continue, these briefings for the intelligence committees must not obviate the need to keep all Members and the American people appropriately and accurately informed about the active threats to the November election. Olivia Beavers reports for The Hill.

Top aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to testify about the May decision to fire State Department Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick while he was investigating arms sales to Saudi Arabia and allegations that Pompeo misused department funds. Brian Bulatao, a top adviser to Pompeo, maintained that Linicks ousting was not related to his investigation as Pompeo was never briefed on the details of that probe, and that failure to properly perform his job as IG was the reason for Linicks dismissal. Caitlin Oprysko and Nahal Toosi report for POLITICO.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday voted and authorized its chair to issue multiple subpoenas and depositions against around 40 peoples as part of the panels investigation into the FBIs Russia probe and the Obama administration. The 8-6 vote gives chair Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) the power to compel testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Andrew Desiderio reports for POLITICO.

Attorney General William Barr yesterday berated Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors for headhunting high-profile targets and involving themselves in politics, speaking at an event hosted by Hillsdale College while responding to allegations that Barr himself was interfering in politically sensitive cases. Barr said that too much deference is given to career prosecutors, and stressed that he has the ultimate decision on how cases should be dealt with. Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky report for the Washington Post.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper yesterday announced huge plans to expand the US Navy to include a fleet of unmanned and autonomous ships, submarine and aircrafts to address growing power and challenge by Chinas presence in the seas. Esper said that he had a game-changer plan that would see over 80 new ships built. The Guardian reporting.

The Trump administration is appealing to the Supreme Court to challenge a knockback to Trumps July memo that sought to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census count used to determine each states share of House seats in Congress. Following a New York courts ruling that the memo overstepped the presidents authority, the DOJ yesterday filed a notice of its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court. Hansi Lo Wang reports for NPR.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has opened an investigation into an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)detention centerin Georgia which allegedly subjected immigrants to jarring medical neglect and carried out high numbers of hysterectomies,after a whistleblower complaint was filed Sept. 14 by Dawn Wooten, a nurse that works at the Irwin County Detention Center, the department confirmed in a statement yesterday. Caitlin Dickerson reports for the New York Times.

US Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoys recently implemented and highly-contentious policies changes delayed seven percent of the USs first-class mail, or 350 million pieces of mail, a report released yesterday by the office of Sen. Gary Peters (D-MN), the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed. The report states that over 90 percent of first-class mail was delivered on time before DeJoys operational changes. Jacob Bogage reports for the Washington Post.

John James, the former executive director of the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency (MDA), sexually harassed two women in his office for seven years before finally retiring when an official complaint was filed August last year, the Department of Defense (DOD)s inspector general said in a report date July 13. The report states James engaged in a pattern of misconduct in which he sexually harassed the two women from 2012 until last year. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.

CYBERSECURITY AND HACKING

Chinese and Malaysian hackers broke into over 100 companies in the US and worldwide, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said yesterday announcing that five Chinese and two Malaysia individuals were indicted on charges of targeting a breadth companies, foreign governments, think tanks and social media platforms. Also, the D.C. Attorneys Office has issued warrants to take control of hundreds of accounts, servers and domain names used by those indicted. Katie Benner and Nicole Periroth report for the New York Times.

Two Iranian nationals have been indicted for allegedly carrying out cyberattacks on a host of bodies, including US and foreign universities, a Washington-based think tank, a defense contractor and an aerospace organization, the DOJ said in statement yesterday. Hooman Heidarian and Mehdi Farhadin have been accused of stealing massive amounts of sensitive data on issues including national security, foreign policy intelligence, nuclear information and of sharing this information with Tehran. The two men have not yet been apprehended, but have each been indicted on ten counts to commit fraud, access to unauthorized computers and of identity theft. Matthew Choi reports for POLITICO.

The Department of the Interiors Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted highly successful test hacks of the agencys networks as part of a security audit to address cybersecurity failings. The audit consisted of OIG employees conducting penetration testing on the agencys networks including intercepting and decrypting network traffic, accessing internal networks at two Interior Department bureaus, and stealing the credentials of an agency IT employee which the office reports were successful and allowed sensitive information to be accessed; worryingly, both the IT team and security were unable to detected the testing. We used the same tools, techniques, and practices that malicious actors use to eavesdrop on communications and gain unauthorized access, the OIG wrote in areportsetting out the security audit results. Many of the attacks we conducted were previously used by Russian intelligence agents around the world. Maggie Miller reports for The Hill.

CORONAVIRUS

The novel coronavirus has infected over 6.63 million and killed close to 197,000 people in the United States,according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there is more than 29.89 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 941,000 deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean OKey, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report forCNN.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said a Covid-19 vaccine may not be generally available to the public until at least summer next year. Redfield said he expects a vaccine to be available and rolled out between May and September 2021. This prompted a rebuke by President Trump, who said the CDC chief was incorrect. Amy Goldstein and Sean Sullivan report for the Washington Post.

A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the US is available at the New York Times.

US and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at theWashington Post.

A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.

Latest updates on the pandemicatThe Guardian.

US-IRAN SANCTIONS

The Trump administration yesterday threatened to impose sanctions on anyone who sells arms to Iran in a move that indicates the United States intends to try and enforce U.N. sanctions on Iran that are due to expire next month. U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela and Iran Elliott Abrams told reports that the sanctions will have a very significant impacton weapons manufacturers and traders who do business with Iran, with the details set to be announced Monday. Michael R. Gordon reports for the Wall Street Journal.

The US intends to snapback all UN sanction on Iran from this Saturday, Abrams confirmed, although the such a move has been denounced by other U.N. Security Council members. AP reporting.

Lawyers for the Iranian government yesterday argued before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that US sanctions were ruining millions of lives in the country, the latest in a potential legal battle before the United Nations top court. This week the ICJ is dealing with jurisdictional matters only, deciding whether it can in fact hear the case. Al Jazeera reporting.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The US will soon sell over $7 billion in arms to Taiwan, including drones and cruise missiles, a move that will certainly add to tensions with China. Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.

Turkish and Russian officials are close to reaching an agreement on a ceasefire and political negotiation in Libya, after the latest peace negotiation meeting took place in Ankara, Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters yesterday. Reuters reporting.

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Early Edition: September 17, 2020 - Just Security

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