California in Flames, Where is Governor Brown? | July 28 2018

As Carr Fire grows, bodies of woman, 2 children found in Redding ruins, Governor Brown Missing In Action

|| SFGate

“REDDING — The bodies of a great-grandmother and two young children, reported missing soon after a huge wildfire began its push into Redding two days ago, were found Saturday in the ashes of their home.

Family members had mounted a desperate search for Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren, Emily Roberts, 5, and James Roberts, 4, at shelters and hospitals. They were ultimately summoned to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, sobbing and hugging as they entered the building, to hear the news.

The family said authorities told them the 4-year-old had called 911 from the house.

“My nephew called, scared, for help, but they said they couldn’t make it in time,” said Carla Bledsoe, the children’s aunt.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko confirmed bodies were found at the scene, although the victims have not been officially identified.

The confirmation from the family brought the death toll in the Shasta County Carr Fire to five, including two firefighters killed earlier. One was bulldozer operator Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines, who authorities identified Saturday. Also killed was Jeremy Stoke, a fire inspector with the Redding Fire Department.

The massive wildfire continued to rage out of control, prompting new evacuations to be added to the nearly 40,000 people displaced by the blaze. One of the main evacuation shelters in Redding was at capacity, and additional shelters in churches opened to meet demand.

The aggressive blaze, fueled by winds and scorching temperatures — it was 104 in Redding on Saturday — nearly doubled in size from Friday to Saturday. It grew to 80,906 acres — about 125 square miles — and was only 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Safety. On Friday, the fire was 48,312 acres.

The blaze ignited Monday from a vehicle mechanical failure near Whiskeytown, about 30 miles west of Redding, fire officials said. High temperatures and low humidity made the blaze unpredictable and fast-moving, creating fire tornadoes that uprooted trees and overturned cars. It was growing on three different fronts, officials said.”

….Read more @ SFGate

Question: Why is Gov Jerry Brown MIA? Where is he? What is he doing?

Carr Fire update: 38,000 evacuated, 500 buildings burned as blaze ravages Redding area

|| Mercury News

“REDDING — Adding a shocking new intensity to California’s already bad summer fire season, a major fire continued to rage out of control Friday in Shasta County, burning homes in city neighborhoods in Redding and displacing 38,000 people as firefighters battled in temperatures close to 110 degrees.

The Carr Fire, which began Monday, has killed two firefighters, injured three more, destroyed 500 structures, scorched more than 45,000 acres and is threatening thousands of homes across the city.

“It was like a tornado,” said Joyce Cox-Sacco, of Redding. “It was so horrific.”

From her home on Amethyst Way, Cox-Sacco watched from a distance Thursday night as firefighters battled the fire on a nearby ridge. But as darkness fell, she said, the fire started advancing quickly toward her house, and she knew she had to leave.

On Friday, Cox-Sacco was boarding up the garage door of her house, which was ripped off, along with the roof, during the fire. The top of her chimney lay across the street, having been swept off by wind or debris as the fire barreled through her neighborhood.

Officials with Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency, reiterated Friday the danger facing Redding, and the region around the city of 91,000 people. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Redding through Monday morning, with temperatures up to a scorching 111 degrees.

“These are extreme conditions,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said during a news conference. “Evacuate. Evacuate. Evacuate. Leave before you are asked to leave.”

…Read more @ Mercury News

 

Temecula Man Charged With Starting Cranston Fire

|| KTLA

“A Temecula man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he intentionally started nine fires, including the still-burning Cranston Fire that has scorched more than 12,000 acres in the Idyllwild area.

Brandon McGlover, 32, was charged with 15 felony counts in connection with the nine separate fires, which were started Wednesday in the Idyllwild, Anza and Sage areas, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office stated in a news release.

McGlover was arrested without incident that same day the fire started, shortly after he was detained by members of the Hemet/San Jacinto Gang Task Force who located him in the area.

The largest of the fires McGlover allegedly started was still burning Friday in the Idyllwild area. The Cranston Fire had scorched 12,300 acres, destroyed at least five homes, and was about 16 percent contained as of Friday evening.

McGlover has been charged with one count of aggravated arson, five counts of arson of an inhabited structure, and nine counts of arson of forest or wildland.

He entered a not guilty plea Friday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. He was ordered to return for a felony settlement conference on Sept. 24.

The judge set his bail at $3.5 million.”

…Read more @ KTLA

‘Social Media Has Peaked’ | July 27 2018

‘Social Media has peaked’: Facebook in free fall as weak outlook stuns market

|| news.com.au

“FACEBOOK shares went into a free fall Thursday (AEST) as a stunningly weak financial outlook raised fresh concerns for the social networking giant as it tries to recover from the impact of data protection scandals and investigations.

After-hours trade saw Facebook shares plunge by some 21 per cent, wiping out an estimated $US130 billion in market value if the slump is confirmed at Thursday’s market opening.

The second-quarter report sparked initial selling after it showed revenue and user growth came up short of expectations.

Profit was up 31 per cent in the second quarter at $US5.1 billion; revenues rose 42 per cent to $US13.2 billion, slightly below most forecasts.

Selling pressure accelerated when chief financial officer David Wehner warned in a call with analysts of a weaker outlook in the coming quarter.

Wehner said revenue growth “decelerated” in the second quarter and will decline “by high single digit percentages” and added that “we are also giving people who use our services more choices around data privacy which may have an impact on our revenue growth.”

On the call, Jefferies & Co. analyst Brent Thill said that “many investors are having a hard time reconciling that deceleration … It just seems like the magnitude is beyond anything we’ve seen.”

Ross Gerber, an analyst at Gerber Kawasaki, said the latest figures suggest that the tide may be turning for Facebook and other social networks.

“Social Media has peaked,” Gerber said on Twitter. “We told you last qtr and now we’re seeing it.”

….Read more @ news.com.au

PENTAGON KILLS “LIFELOG” PROJECT SAME DAY FACEBOOK FOUNDED

|| Gopreload.com

“The Pentagon canceled its so-called LifeLog project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.

Run by Darpa, the Defense Department’s research arm, LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive routes in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences.

LifeLog’s backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users computerized assistants with an almost flawless recall of what they had done in the past. But civil libertarians immediately pounced on the project when it debuted last spring, arguing that LifeLog could become the ultimate tool for profiling potential enemies of the state.

Researchers close to the project say they’re not sure why it was dropped late last month. Darpa hasn’t provided an explanation for LifeLog’s quiet cancellation. “A change in priorities” is the only rationale agency spokeswoman Jan Walker gave to Wired News.”

…Read more @ Gopreload.org

Facebook Stock Decline Is Largest One-Day Drop in U.S. History

|| Breitbart

 

“Facebook’s drop in stock price of nearly 20 percent marks the largest one-day stock market decline in U.S. history, at $119 billion.

Facebook has had a tough few days, seeing a massive decline in its stock price which fell by as much as 23 percent in after-market trading on Wednesday. The mass stock sale saw approximately $119 billion in market value destroyed, marking the largest one-day drop in the history of the American stock market.

The sudden drop in Facebook stock was a result of the announcement of second-quarter earnings which did not meet the companies predicted numbers. Although revenue had increased by approximately 42 percent, the number still fell short of analyst projections.

Similarly, the number of daily active users on the platform — an important metric for judging the success of a website or app — only grew by 22 million, the lowest growth figure since 2011. Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer warned that revenue growth would “decline by high single-digit percentages” until 2019.”

….Read more @ Breitbart

 

Pentagon Kills LifeLog Project

|| Wired | 2004

The Pentagon canceled its so-called LifeLog project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.

Run by Darpa, the Defense Department’s research arm, LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive routes in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences.

LifeLog’s backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users computerized assistants with an almost flawless recall of what they had done in the past. But civil libertarians immediately pounced on the project when it debuted last spring, arguing that LifeLog could become the ultimate tool for profiling potential enemies of the state.

Researchers close to the project say they’re not sure why it was dropped late last month. Darpa hasn’t provided an explanation for LifeLog’s quiet cancellation. “A change in priorities” is the only rationale agency spokeswoman Jan Walker gave to Wired News.

However, related Darpa efforts concerning software secretaries and mechanical brains are still moving ahead as planned.”

….Read more @ Wired

 

Facebook Inflates Video Views Misleads Advertisers | Sep 2016

The Case for Stripping ex-intelligence officials of their Security Clearances | July 27 2018

Why Former US Intelligence Officials Should Be Stripped of Their Security Clearances

|| Consortium News

“How is it that former officials who now have no role in government are able to keep their active security clearances? This has abuse written all over it. “

 

| J

COMMENTARY: Former CIA agent John Kiriakou argues that no former intelligence official should be allowed to keep their security clearances when they leave government, especially if they work in the media.

“(CN Op-ed) — Libertarian senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on Monday that in a personal meeting with President Donald Trump, he urged the president to revoke the security clearances of a half dozen former Obama-era intelligence officials, including former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. I couldn’t agree more with Paul’s position, not specifically regarding these three people, but for any former intelligence official. No former intelligence official should keep a security clearance, especially if he or she transitions to the media or to a corporate board.

The controversy specifically over Brennan’s clearance has been bubbling along for more than a year. He has been one of Trump’s most vocal and harshest critics. Last week he went so far as to accuse Trump of having committed “treason” during his meeting in Helsinki, Finland with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Brennan said in a tweet, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots: Where are you???” The outburst was in response to Trump’s unwillingness to accept the Intelligence Community position that Putin and the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Other intelligence professionals weighed in negatively on Trump’s Helsinki performance, including Republicans like former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former CIA director Mike Hayden.

Why are these people saying anything at all? And why do they have active Top Secret security clearances if they have no governmental positions? The first question is easier to answer than the second. Before answering, though, I want to say that I don’t think this issue is specific to Donald Trump. Former officials of every administration criticize those who have replaced them. That’s the way Washington works. It’s a way for those former officials to remain relevant. Donald Trump happens to be an easy target. His actions are so wildly unpredictable—and frequently so disingenuous on the surface of things—that he proves wrong the oft-quoted observation by the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser: “The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves. You only make complicated stupid moves, which make the rest of us wonder at the possibility that we might be missing something.”

Cashing In

I’ve known John Brennan for 30 years. He was my boss in the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence decades ago. John was hard to get along with. His superiors generally didn’t like him. He was once fired from a job at the CIA. He’s not particularly bright. And then he found a patron in former CIA director George Tenet, who saved his career. Brennan has had his run. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. He’s been CIA Director, deputy National Security Advisor, director of the Transnational Terrorism Information Center, and deputy Executive Director of the CIA. That’s pretty heady stuff for a kid from Bergen, New Jersey.

He also has very low self-esteem from those early days at the CIA. Almost everybody else had more degrees, spoke more languages, and went to better schools. Until Tenet, Brennan never had a political rabbi and was stuck at the GS-15 (journeyman) level for years. Now, all these years later, he again doesn’t have anyone to help his career. Barack Obama isn’t president anymore. And Brennan desperately wants to be Secretary of Defense. He says it to anybody willing to listen. That is what’s supposed to be his legacy, at least in his mind.

Besides legacy, Brennan and the others have cashed in on their government service. They’ve all become rich by sitting on corporate boards. Brennan is on the board of directors of a company called SecureAuth + CORE Security. He also serves on the board of The Analysis Corporation, which he helped found before joining the Obama Administration. Finally, and most importantly, Brennan is now the official talking head and “Intelligence Consultant” for NBC News and MSNBC.

To me, this is the point that is the most obviously wrong. How is it that former officials who now have no role in government are able to keep their active security clearances? This has abuse written all over it. First, these officials run the risk of exposing classified information in a television interview, either inadvertently or not. Second, and more cynically, what is to keep them from propagandizing the American people by simply spouting the CIA line or allowing the CIA to use them to put out disinformation? What’s to keep them from propagandizing the American people by selectively leaking information known only to the intelligence agencies and Congress? Or to release information passed to them by the FBI?

No former intelligence officials should have a security clearance. There’s no purpose for it other than propaganda and personal enrichment. And if Brennan or Hayden or Clapper or any other former intelligence official becomes an employee of a media company, he or she should not have a security clearance. Period. Donald Trump ought to act right now.”

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

…Read more @ TheAntiMedia.com

|| American Spectator

Gotta hand it to Special Counsel Robert Mueller: He knows how to set off a stick of dynamite. I refer, of course, to his office’s recent indictment of thirteen Russians in Russia, which we are now to chase after, yelling “Pearl Harbor!” on the Left and “No collusion!” on the Right, forgetting all about the coalescing revelations of corruption and conspiracy and, yes, Russian influence, to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016, and, failing that, to destroy the Trump presidency.

The key is still in the “dossier” spying scandal.

Nellie Ohr is the “dossier” spying scandal’s woman in the middle.

To one side of Ohr, there is the Fusion GPS team, including fellow contractor Christopher Steele. To the other, there is husband Bruce Ohr, who, until his “dossier”-related demotion, was No. 4 man at the Department of Justice, and a key contact there for Steele.

As central as Nellie Ohr’s placement is, her role in the creation of the “dossier” remains undefined. For example, the House Intelligence Committee memo on related matters vaguely tells us that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump”; the memo adds that Bruce Ohr “later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research.” Senator Lindsey Graham more sensationally told Fox News that Nellie Ohr “did the research for Mr. Steele,” but details remain scarce.

Still, relevant facts have emerged. These include Nellie Ohr’s study in the USSR in 1989; her fluency in Russian and Ph.D. in Russian history in 1990; a 2010 CIA affiliation, which practically makes her former MI6 agent Steele’s “opposite number”; and the extremely curious detail, harkening back to earlier eras of spycraft, that on May 23, 2016, around the time she came on board Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr applied for a ham radio operator’s license.

Notably, the “dossier” men in her life have tried to shield Ohr from public scrutiny, even at professional risk. Her husband, as the Daily Caller News Foundation reports, failed to disclose his wife’s employment with Fusion GPS and seek the appropriate conflict-of-interest waiver, which may have been an important factor in his demotion from associate deputy attorney general late last year.

Under Senate and House questioning, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson consistently failed to disclose Nellie Ohr’s existence as one of his firm’s paid Russian experts, let alone that he hired her for the red-hot DNC/Clinton campaign Trump-Russia project.

Even Christopher Steele may have tried to keep Nellie Ohr “under cover.” Steele, put forth as the “dossier” author ever since its January 2017 publication in BuzzFeed, does not appear to have let on to his many media and political contacts that he had “dossier”-assistance from at least two fellow Fusion GPS Russian experts, Nellie Ohr and Edward Baumgartner. Baumgartner, interestingly, was a Russian history major at Vassar in the 1990s when Nellie Ohr taught Russian history there.”

….Read more @ https://Spectator.org

Does Fake Music Streaming Account for Millions in Theft? ‘Physically Impossible’ Numbers | July 26 2018

Halfway Through 2018, Streaming Continued Growth Defies Mathematical Trends

|| Billboard

“In the first half of 2018, overall on-demand streaming increased 41.7 percent to reach 403.5 billion U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music. That growth defies mathematical trends, which dictate that, as a base enlarges, it becomes harder to achieve a bigger percentage growth than in preceding time periods.

.. ..

When looking at only album consumption units constructed with audio on-demand streams — the kind used in tallying the Billboard 200 and U.S. market share — the industry grew by 13.8 percent to 270 million units at midyear 2018, compared to 237.2 million at the midway point of 2017. Audio on-demand streams grew 45.5 percent to 268.3 billion, from the 184.5 billion accumulated in the first six months of 2017, while video on-demand streams grew 34.7 percent to 135.2 billion from the 100.4 billion streams tallied in the first half of 2017. (Overall video stream count is not available because YouTube stopped reporting streams of song videos that do not garner at least 1,000 views a day in mid-2016.)

.. ..

R&B/hip-hop remained the most popular genre with a 31.2 percent market share, and had the largest gain overall, up from 28.65 percent in 2017. Conversely, rock came in second at 23.1 percent, but had the largest decline, falling from the 24.81 percent it had accumulated in the first six months of 2017. Latin continued to show strong growth, accounting for 7.74 percent market share, up from 6.46 percent for the corresponding period in 2017, while the other large genre, pop, grew to 15.09 percent this year from 14.76 percent last year, with its album consumption units increasing to 46.22 million from 38.93 million units.

While country grew 8.1 percent to 25.74 million album consumption units at the midway points, its market share actually declined to 8.4 percent, down from 9.03 percent last year, because it isn’t growing as fast as the overall market.”

….Continue reading more @ Billboard.com

 

Beyoncé Claps Back At Accusations Of Fake Streaming Numbers On New Album

|| The Federalist

Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s new collaborative album takes a shot at Spotify, presumably in response to recent reports about Tidal’s fudging of subscriber numbers.

“My success can’t be quantified/ If I gave two f–ks about streaming numbers, would’ve put ‘Lemonade’ up on Spotify/ F–k you, f–k you,” Beyoncé spits on her new joint album with Jay-Z. Queen Bey’s not-so-cryptic lyrics seem to be a response to accusations her husband’s streaming service, Tidal, faked hundreds of millions of plays and subscriber numbers.

In May, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reported that Tidal fudged the streaming numbers for both Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” and Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” generating “massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.”

According to Variety, Tidal claims that West’s album recorded 250 million plays in the first 10 days of its release with just 3 million subscribers. Meaning that every subscriber played the album on average eight times per day. Tidal also said “Lemonade”was streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days of release last April.

The paper’s investigation used data from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where researchers estimated that Tidal’s total number of subscribers was closer to 1 million globally. Tidal denied the report and responded in a statement issued to Music Week: “This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee as an ‘Israeli Intelligence officer’ and our owner as a ‘crack dealer’. We expect nothing less from them than this ridiculous story, lies and falsehoods. The information was stolen and manipulated and we will fight these claims vigorously.”

This isn’t the only sign of Tidal’s struggle. Kanye West ended his contract with the company last summer over money, claiming Tidal owed him $3 million. And TMZ reported on Tuesday that the heirs of Prince’s estate are about to back out of a deal giving Tidal exclusive streaming rights, saying “they don’t want the estate getting caught up in the streaming service’s legal problems.”

The other tracks on the power couple’s new album collaboration talk about their life at home, life in the public eye, celebrating their marriage rehab and growing family. “This beach ain’t always been no paradise/But nightmares only last one night,” Bey raps on “LoveHappy.”

 The real irony of Beyonce’s lyrics on the track ‘NICE’ is that she actually does give more than two f–ks about her streaming numbers. The album dropped exclusively on Tidal over the weekend, but was available on Spotify and Apple Music by Monday morning.”

…Read more @ The Federalist

 

 

 

FORGET ABOUT FAKE ARTISTS – IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT FAKE STREAMS

|| Music Business Worldwide | By Tim Ingham

“I’ve got a confession to make. I’m a fake artist.

One afternoon, about a decade ago, I started nobbing about on GarageBand. Made a scratchy demo. It wasn’t very good.

Last month, thinking nothing of it, I uploaded that demo to Spotify, via Tunecore.

I called it PH, by Pinky Hue. On Pinky Hue Records.

(As it turns out, my pseudonymous tendencies wererather more in vogue than I’d appreciated.)

Then, for over a fortnight, nothing. Aside, that is, from one loyal monthly listener in Milton Keynes, England. (Thanks mum.)

But this past week-and-a-half, things have kicked right off.

First 1,000 listens, then 3,000, then 5,000. Word’s getting out.

As we stand today, Pinky Hue has racked up more than 10,000 Spotify plays – and is already marching towards 15,000.

Anyone know a good manager?

There’s just one problem with this empowering rags-to-riches story, of course.

I bought these streams off the internet.

And I could have bought 2 million of them.


The issue of fake streams has been on my mind since Midem back in June – in particular, a panel called ‘How distributors and streaming services collaborate.’

Anne-Marie Robert (VP International, Tunecore France) appeared alongside reps from the likes of The Orchard and ADA, and was asked how self-releasing artists could gain better access to streaming playlists which would then revolutionize their career.

“Contrary to my friends from ADA and The Orchard, we don’t provide direct trade marketing services because we let the artist do [that] and we take no commission,” she replied.

“But we give a lot of advice on our blog… and also, we are partnering with some services where you can buy some streams [on] Deezer and other websites which can help you.”

Robert specifically mentioned Feature.fm, which allows artists and rights-holders to have their music played in promotional slots on streaming platforms – for a price.

Robert’s comments triggered a subsequent thought in my head: How hard is it to go out and actually purchase fake plays online?

So, the other week, I Googled ‘buy fake Spotify streams’.

And voila: options.

The top result was for a company called Streamify, which boasts on its homepage: ‘Whether you want to get more fans, boost sales or just monitor your plays [sic] count, Streamify has the answers and insights you need to get your songs played more.’

Streamify LLC is officially located in Houston, Texas and offers a full menu of fake stream delicacies specific to Daniel Ek’s platform.

For the timid trialist, $5 will buy you 1,000 Spotify plays.

For the bolder connoisseur, $200 will buy you 100,000 Spotify plays.

And for the full-on, screw-it-this-will-change-my-life desperado, $2,250 will buy you 2 million Spotify plays.

Other options for buying Spotify streams on the internet – and to be clear, MBW cannot vouch for the legitimacy of these companies – include Streampot/StreamKO and Mass Media, both of which also sell packages of fake YouTube plays.”

….Read more @ Musicbusinessworldwide.com

 

Did Tidal really fake Kanye and Beyoncé’s streaming numbers?

|| Digital Trends

“A Norwegian newspaper made huge waves in the music streaming industry on May 9, claiming that on-demand music streaming service Tidal had manipulated listener data for two of its biggest artists: Kanye West and Beyoncé.

The accusations surround both artists’ most recent albums, Kanye’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade, with the newspaper claiming that it had gained access to royalty reports and a hard drive that contained “extensive data” regarding Tidal’s streaming plays. Tidal had exclusive streaming rights to both albums when they launched. Tidal owner Jay-Z is married to Beyoncé and is a longtime friend and collaborator of West.

.. ..

Rolling Stone has since reported that Tidal has contracted a third-party cybersecurity firm to investigate the data breach.  The company still denies the allegations made by the story and says it is undertaking the investigation as a means of reassuring its customers that their data is secure.

“Although we do not typically comment on stories we believe to be false, we feel it is important to make sure that our artists, employees and subscribers know that we are not taking the security and integrity of our data lightly,” Tidal CEO Richard Sanders told Rolling Stone.

The newspaper, Dagens Naeringsliv, worked in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology to analyze the data, producing a report which claims that more than 320 million false plays had been logged for the two albums on more than 1.7 million user accounts. In March 2016, Tidal claimed that The Life of Pablo had been streaming 250 million times in 10 days. The streaming service claimed that Lemonade had 306 million plays in just 15 days following its release.

A later article from Dagens Naeringsliv that was published Wednesday, May 16 claims that Tidal has also failed to make royalty payments to some major labels since October of 2017.

.. ..

Many may be wondering why Tidal would want to skew its own streaming numbers in the first place. After all, you may think that increased plays would just cost the streaming service more money in royalty payments overall, thereby hurting the company. That is not true, as Billboard points out. Due to the nature of its contracts with major labels, Tidal — as well as competitors like Apple Music and Spotify — pays royalties from a percentage of revenue, not based on the total number of plays in a given term. This means it would simply shift the proportion of money they would have already paid other labels and artists towards West and Beyoncé.

There a few reasons this may have been in Tidal’s interest, should the allegations be true. First, it would have garnered increased publicity for two of its biggest artists. Second, it would have increased Tidal’s position and valuation in the marketplace — potentially profiting the company in terms of its increased ability to sell equity (Tidal sold a 30 percent stake in the business to Sprint in early 2017). And third, it would have made both artists over a million dollars in extra royalties, provided they were paid the “superstar” royalty rate of 50 percent on streaming from Def Jam and Columbia, the labels that produced the albums.

Tidal claims that the data was stolen and manipulated by Dagens Naeringsliv itself. One thing the study did indicate is that the data was unlikely to have been manipulated by a software bug or by accident.

“Due to the targeted nature and extent of the manipulation, it is very unlikely that this manipulation was solely the result of a code-based bug or other anomalies,” the study reads.

“[It] is highly likely that the manipulation happened from within the streaming service itself,” concludes professor Katrin Franke, who led the university team.

As part of its extensive story, Dagens Naeringsliv interviewed numerous affected customers, whose accounts show numerous plays of the album during odd hours.

Music critic Geir Rakvaag, for example, is shown in the data to have listened to songs from The Life of Pablo 96 times in a single day, and 54 times in the middle of the night.

“It’s physically impossible,” he claims in the story.

We’ll continue to keep tabs as this story develops. As for whether or not Tidal actually did manipulate user data to generate bigger publicity and profits for two of its biggest artists: Time will tell, and numerous lawsuits are likely forthcoming.”

…Read more @ Digitaltrends.com

Communist China Spies in U.S. for Military Technology | July 24 2018

Chinese Communist Spy Stealing U.S. Military Technology Pleads Guilty in OC

|| OC Weekly

“A 33-year-old Chino Hills resident—who provided accounting services for American aerospace companies, including U.S. defense contractors—pleaded guilty this week in Orange County to illegally transferring sensitive military technology to the People’s Republic of China.

Si Chen (a.k.a. Cathy Chen) sent advanced radar, military-grade communications jammers, low-noise amplifiers and Ka-band space communications to Hong Kong in route to China without seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Commerce, according to federal prosecutors.

“Defendant and her co-conspirators executed their conspiracy through multiple entities, including Archangel Systems Space, Inc., Century Electronic International Company and Star Aero Investment Limited, all of which maintained addresses in Shenzhen, China, as well as TAA Electronics, Inc., that used an address in Hong Kong,” Chen acknowledged in her signed guilty plea for activities conducted between 2013 and 2015. “On multiple occasions, [she] made false representations to the suppliers about the end user and country destinations of the items.”

Federal law enforcement officials obtained instructions Chen, whose father is tied to Beijing’s military affairs, received on her disposable cell phone from a mysterious Chinese contact instructing her to always insist the technology would not leave this country.

“[You] mustn’t have any involvement with China” and “don’t contact any companies in Hong Kong or China,” her communist handlers instructed her, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Officials also say they obtained evidence that Chen—who used multiple aliases after arriving in the U.S. in 2007, falsified immigration documents and attended National University in San Diego—received more than $200,000 in payments after making the shipments.”

….Continue reading more @ OC Weekly

 

Trump-Putin Bombshell “For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder” | July 17 2018

Yes, It’s True. Putin Mentioned $400 MILLION Russia/Clinton Bribe/Money Laundering Scheme During Today’s Summit

|| DCWhispers

“A name was spoken today that likely sent chills down the spines of assorted globalist media in attendance at the Trump-Putin summit:  Bill Browder.

Browder is as shadowy a political/financial figure as you will find and is alleged to have funneled/laundered up to $400 MILLION dollars into the Clintons’ coffers. The media is purposely ignoring the Putin name-drop for good reason. Some of them are said to be personally implicated in the cover-up as well.

Browder, head of Hermitage Capital, also has ties to Fusion GPS and the Clinton Global Initiative – both foundational components of what would become the orchestrated Trump/Russia conspiracy the Establishment Media continues to use to try and halt Mr. Trump’s America-First agenda.

Please read the following 2017  Zero Hedge report carefully:

…Just weeks before the Trump Tower meeting, Russia’s general prosecutor had returned to the matter. On May 19, 2016, the office issued a statement that its investigation into purchases of shares in gas giant Gazprom by Browder’s Hermitage Fund and his investors, including Ziff Brothers, had found they evaded more than 1 billion rubles ($16 million) in Russian taxes, transferring the profits to Ziff-controlled companies overseas. Russian prosecutors said they suspected the transactions also may have violated U.S. law and that they planned to send an international-assistance request to the U.S. seeking a probe.

Veselnitskaya repeated those allegations in comments to the Russian press about the Magnitsky case at the time.

On June 4, 2017, Yuri Chaika, Russia’s general prosecutor, said on national television that his agency “has presented serious evidence of violations of the law by Browder and the Ziff brothers” to U.S. officials. There’s no indication of any U.S. response to that claim.

(It should also be noted that the fake Trump dossier originated in part via the anti-Brexit British government. Trump supported Brexit. The British elite did not. Mr. Browder is very well connected to the London-centered political hierarchy. (He was born in America but is a British citizen) Coincidence? You decide.)

On a possible related side note – Mr. Browder’s grandfather was head of Communist Party USA.

Sidenote #2 – Hermitage Capital was once the single largest portfolio investor in Russia until Browder and company fled following allegations by Russian officials of fraud/tax evasion.

Here is some of what Mr. Putin had to say on the subject of Browder’s connection to the Clintons and Clinton-Obama era U.S. intelligence officials:

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder, in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia and never paid any taxes neither in Russia or the United States and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent [a] huge amount of money, $400,000,000, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself but the way the money was earned was illegal. So we have solid reason to believe that some [US] intelligence offers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have an interest in questioning them.

What if foreign nations like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, etc., have over time successfully bought and paid for high-ranking U.S. officials? Was it not Bill Clinton who took illegal campaign donations from Chinese interests? Was it not George W. Bush who ignored the Saudi government’s links to 9-11? Or Hillary Clinton who sold a significant portion of America’s uranium holdings to Russian interests? What of Barack Obama’s odd obsession with cozying up to the likes of “death to America” Iran?

And what if Donald Trump, a true outsider well beyond the control of the D.C. power structure, is viewed as a direct threat by the media and political elites, who might weaken or even cripple, their ongoing globalist cash cow? Would they not be motivated to destroy him?”

…Continue reading more @ dcWhispers

 

Box Office Poison: ‘Shock and Awe’ Is Director Rob Reiner’s 6th Mega-Flop in a Row

|| Breitbart

Shock and Awe director Rob Reiner has now directed six mega-flops in a row and has not had anything approaching a hit since 2007.

This weekend, Reiner’s Shock and Awe crashed and burned at the box office. For some reason, even though it is 2018, Reiner is still wasting millions of dollars to attack former President George W. Bush. This, even after every single movie attacking Bush bombed.

What’s more, as if to prove just how insulated he is from real America, Shock and Awetries to make heroes of journalists, a group currently enjoying approval ratings little better than child molesters.

.. ..

To be clear, I am not qualifying a box office “disappointment” or an “under-performer” as a mega-flop.  Reiner has not only not had a hit in 11 years, since 2007’s The Bucket List, everything he has directed has been a box office catastrophe.

In 2010, Reiner directed the $14 million Flipped — it grossed less than $2 million. That is not a typo — less than TWO million dollars. Things got a lot worse two years later.

Despite the presence of Morgan Freeman and a budget of just $5 million, The Magic of Bell Isle, which Reiner both wrote and directed, lost every penny due to a — and again this is not a typo — gross of just $102,388.

In 2014, with no less than Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton on the poster, And So It Goes bottomed out in wide release (1762 theaters) with just $15 million domestic, which did not even cover its $18 million production budget. Add at least as much for publicity, and you are talking about a $20 million loss.

Reiner’s Being Charlie performed so poorly in May of 2016, it never expanded beyond 14 screens and managed to only gross $30,400.”

…Continue reading more @ Breitbart

Illegal Alien Deported 11 Times Tries to Murder Wife with Chainsaw | July 16 2018

California man arrested for attacking wife with chainsaw was deported 11 times

|| U-T San Diego

“A California man arrested for allegedly attacking his wife with a chainsaw was deported 11 times, authorities said.

Alejandro Villegas, 32, allegedly used a chainsaw to attack his wife in their Whittier home before fleeing in a stolen SUV on Wednesday, police said.

Whittier police responded to an attempted murder call at 3 p.m. and found Villegas’ wife “suffering from traumatic physical injuries” possibly caused by a chainsaw, police said.

Their three kids were home at the time.

The mother was taken to a trauma center where she underwent surgery, a police spokesman said , adding she’s expected to survive.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lori Haley said Villegas is a “serial immigration violator” who had been deported 11 times since 2005. ICE did not reveal his country of origin.

Any undocumented person with a criminal background who reenters the United States illegally could face up to 20 years in federal prison, according to ICE.

Immigration officials lodged a detainer against Villegas and asked local authorities to notify ICE before releasing him so they could arrest him, Haley said.

ICE didn’t mention his criminal record, but the Los Angeles Times reported he pleaded no contest to a drug charge and being intoxicated in 2013. He also pleaded no contest to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or over later that year.

Villegas was on the run and described as “armed and dangerous” before cops arrested him in Chula Vista near the Mexican border on Thursday. Police recovered the chainsaw.

Villegas was booked in Whittier City Jail on charges of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto.”

….Continue reading more @ San Diego Union Tribune

 

Tijuana Resident Impersonated U.S. Citizen to Steal $361,000 in Government Benefits

|| Breitbart

“A Mexican citizen living in Tijuana with 40 aliases was sent to U.S. prison after admitting he assumed an American identity to collect almost $361,000 in government benefits fraudulently.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California announced that Andres Avelino Anduaga, a Mexican citizen living in Tijuana, had admitted to obtaining a valid birth certificate of a United States citizen fraudulently in 1980, and then obtaining a valid California Driver’s License and a Social Security card.

Anduaga used the stolen identity of Abraham Riojos, a U.S. citizen from a rural Florida town, to apply for and collect Social Security disability benefits beginning in 1989. Over the next 27 years, Anduaga collected $244,441 in monthly Social Security benefits, and another $100,000 in Medi-Cal health benefits from the State of California.

Anduaga also admitted that he was a convicted U.S. felon under the name “Jose Reyes” who had been deported from the U.S. at least twice, including 1994 and 2000.

Despite his fingerprints and photo being on a criminal file with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Anduaga was able to use his stolen identity’s birth certificate to obtain a valid U.S. passport that allowed him to cross the Mexican-American border freely.

The investigation that eventually entrapped Anduaga began in 2014, when the Social Security office in Chula Vista alerted its Office of the Inspector General that private mailboxes near the border might have been be connected to residency fraud, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

During a standard Social Security benefits review in 2015, a man claiming to be Riojos was using residency address of a mailbox rental facility on San Ysidro Boulevard. When required to appear for an office interview, the individual presented a California ID card identifying himself as Riojos and claiming to rent a room from a Chula Vista man.

An investigator with the California Department of Health Care Services called the man during the Riojos interview,  andthe man confirmed the roommate situation. But when investigators visited the home in January 2016, the man admitted that Riojos had never lived there and was living in Mexico.

The Union-Tribune reported that a follow up investigation found that another person had tried to sign up for Social Security disability benefits in Oceanside, California, using a fake birth certificate with the same date and birthplace as the one for the Riojos name.

Further research found the initial man claiming to be Riojos had a criminal record under 21 aliases and six dates of birth stretching back to 1974, including gun violations, forgery, drug possession and multiple DUIs.

When the Social Security disability payments Anduaga was collecting were terminated in 2016, he signed up as Riojos and began receiving CalFresh Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits from San Diego County. Until being arrested in November 2017, Anduaga pocketed another $12,000 in CalFresh payments, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart