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Julián Caballero
2,076 followers -
Software Engineer @ Google
Software Engineer @ Google

2,076 followers
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Today's news just got a bit more interesting. This morning, Donald Trump made a series of tweets about Obama tapping his phones during the election. These tweets have rather surprised experts (and especially members of Congress), since they are either (a) confused ranting based on a Breitbart article about something he actually has the power to know about, or (b) that he just publicly acknowledged that there was a classified FISA warrant to tap the phones of his campaign staff.

Now, there's no law against him admitting this; as Rep. Himes (D-CT) of the House Intelligence Committee notes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xHlhM-WrDI), he is the ultimate declassification authority and has every right to do this. But what's gotten a lot of people worried – such as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), whose official statement is below – is that while FISA may be one of the most secretive and unaccountable parts of the entire US legal system, its judges do take their legal responsibilities quite seriously, and a wiretap warrant requires a showing of probable cause.

(And especially given post-Watergate laws and post-Watergate sensitivities, walking up to a court and saying "Hi, I want to wiretap a major political party's headquarters during a Presidential election" is going to get you some very dirty looks. The bar for probable cause will not be set low.)

Now, the existence of such a warrant has been rumored for some time – here's some reporting on it from early November, before the election. (https://heatst.com/world/exclusive-fbi-granted-fisa-warrant-covering-trump-camps-ties-to-russia/) It would also explain many things about how the FBI was aware of Flynn's secret conversations with Russian officials.

But there's a difference between rumors and official confirmation – and if President Trump really did just announce its existence, then there is good reason for the public to want to know, as Sen. Sasse says, just what was in the application for this warrant, and how the applying agency established probable cause. Because this means that the investigating agency had solid evidence of criminal collaboration with a foreign power.

Note that this is very different from evidence that they talked to Russians; talking to Russians is fine. Talking to Russian politicians is fine. There are quite a lot of members of the government whose job is nothing but talking to Russian politicians. We're talking about conversations which would be evidence of serious crimes – and given that we're talking about FISA warrants, crimes which jeopardize national security.

Combined with previous reports such as this one (https://nyti.ms/2jFcK0n), a fairly clear picture is emerging: the FBI has been systematically investigating illegal connections between Trump's organization and the Russian government for some time, and back in October had sufficient evidence to get a wiretap warrant in the middle of an election season, which is no small bar. On several occasions since the election (most notably that of NatSec advisor Michael Flynn) administration officials have denied various contacts, only to be immediately contradicted by leaks which appeared to have not only confirmation of such contacts, but details.

What this adds up to is not an investigation of any single individual, but an investigation with solid evidence pointing at the breadth of the senior levels of the Trump organization being directly involved in criminal activities.

It means there's a very, very, large shoe waiting to drop. And I have no idea what will happen when it does; this is a situation literally unprecedented in American history.
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Hopefully things will starts getting better for women in our industry, because it looks pretty dim right now:

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Shocking news: Conway Lied Deliberately

Shocking, I know. Who could have guessed?

Last week, Trump's mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway tried to justify his Muslim ban by talking about how Iraqi refugees had planned and perpetrated the "Bowling Green Massacre." This came as quite a surprise to the residents of Bowling Green, not to mention the rest of the country, since this massacre simply doesn't exist. She made it up out of whole cloth to justify a policy.

Conway later claimed that she had simply misspoken a word, and that she was really referring to two Iraqi refugees who had lived in Bowling Green and been arrested for conspiring to help people in Iraq acquire IED's.

Except, no. Cosmopolitan did a bit of journalism to it, and found that she had been using the "Bowling Green massacre" as a talking point with the press all week. In fact, in an earlier interview with Cosmo, she had gone further, describing it as a massacre of US soldiers in Bowling Green.

Which is to say: the entire thing was a deliberate lie by Conway.

I'm not editing any papers right now, but if I were, I'd have a pretty clear directive for my newsroom: no further coverage of anything Conway says. If she does something, like shoot up a school, you can cover that, but her utterances are approximately as likely to reflect reality as those of the guy with the "The World Will End Tomorrow At Noon" sandwich board outside. And frankly, his story is more likely to be interesting.

For those who want more details, the WP has a summary of her "BGM" uses so far here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/06/kellyanne-conways-bowling-green-massacre-wasnt-a-slip-of-the-tongue-shes-said-it-before/?utm_term=.98589cfe0d9a

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So cool: if you donated or want to donate to the ACLU, you plop your receipt into the page, and it automatically tweets to get you 10x matching.

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Here's some advice from a high-level staffer for a Senator.
There are two things that all #Resistors should be doing all the time right now, and they're by far the most important things.
--> You should NOT be bothering with online petitions or emailing.
1. The best thing you can do to be heard and get your congressperson to pay attention is to have face-to-face time - if they have townhalls, go to them. Go to their local offices. If you're in DC, try to find a way to go to an event of theirs. Go to the "mobile offices" that their staff hold periodically (all these times are located on each congressperson's website). When you go, ask questions. A lot of them. And push for answers. The louder and more vocal and present you can be at those the better.
2. But, those in-person events don't happen every day. So, the absolute most important thing that people should be doing every day is calling.
You should make 6 calls a day: 2 each (DC office and your local office) to your 2 Senators & your 1 Representative.
The staffer was very clear that any sort of online contact basically gets immediately ignored, and letters pretty much get thrown in the trash (unless you have a particularly strong emotional story - but even then it's not worth the time it took you to craft that letter).
Calls are what all the congresspeople pay attention to. Every single day, the Senior Staff and the Senator get a report of the 3 most-called-about topics for that day at each of their offices (in DC and local offices), and exactly how many people said what about each of those topics. They're also sorted by zip code and area code. She said that Republican callers generally outnumber Democrat callers 4-1, and when it's a particular issue that single-issue-voters pay attention to (like gun control, or planned parenthood funding, etc...), it's often closer to 11-1, and that's recently pushed Republican congressmen on the fence to vote with the Republicans. In the last 8 years, Republicans have called, and Democrats haven't.
So, when you call:
A) When calling the DC office, ask for the Staff member in charge of whatever you're calling about ("Hi, I'd like to speak with the staffer in charge of Healthcare, please") - local offices won't always have specific ones, but they might. If you get transferred to that person, awesome. If you don't, that's ok - ask for their name, and then just keep talking to whoever answered the phone. Don't leave a message (unless the office doesn't pick up at all - then you can...but it's better to talk to the staffer who first answered than leave a message for the specific staffer in charge of your topic).
B) Give them your zip code. They won't always ask for it, but make sure you give it to them, so they can mark it down. Extra points if you live in a zip code that traditionally votes for them, since they'll want to make sure they get/keep your vote.
C) If you can make it personal, make it personal. "I voted for you in the last election and I'm worried/happy/whatever" or "I'm a teacher, and I am appalled by Betsy DeVos," or "as a single mother" or "as a white, middle class woman," or whatever.
D) Pick 1-2 specific things per day to focus on. Don't go down a whole list - they're figuring out what 1-2 topics to mark you down for on their lists. So, focus on 1-2 per day. Ideally something that will be voted on/taken up in the next few days, but it doesn't really matter - even if there's not a vote coming up in the next week, call anyway. It's important that they just keep getting calls.
E) Be clear on what you want - "I'm disappointed that the Senator..." or "I want to thank the Senator for their vote on..." or "I want the Senator to know that voting in ___ way is the wrong decision for our state because..." Don't leave any ambiguity.
F) They may get to know your voice/get sick of you - it doesn't matter. The people answering the phones generally turn over every 6 weeks anyway, so even if they're really sick of you, they'll be gone in 6 weeks.
From experience since the election: If you hate being on the phone & feel awkward (which is a lot of people) don't worry about it - there are a bunch of scripts (Indivisible has some, there are lots of others floating around these day). After a few days of calling, it starts to feel a lot more natural. Put the 6 numbers in your phone (all under P – Politician. An example is McCaskill MO, Politician McCaskill DC, Politician Blunt MO, etc...) which makes it really easy to click down the list each day.
If you want to share this, please copy and paste so it goes beyond our mutual friends.

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I love that he's been sitting on this for 8 years. Some serious dedication to the art of long-form trolling.

https://twitter.com/SenSchumer/status/818544880658108416

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Project Fi: $20 off your new account
If you've been meaning to try out Project Fi, now is the perfect time: use the line below and you'll save $20 off if you keep the service for at least 30 days. I've been super impressed with Project Fi service, both around my home and while traveling. With a base plan of $20+$10/GB and the ability to pause service at any time, it also makes a great backup plan. There's also some stock of new devices (say, one of those new Pixel phones) that are reserved for Project Fi users so getting a phone and service at the same time is super easy (if you didn't know, Project Fi only supports a limited set of devices: Nexus 5X, 6P, Pixel, and Pixel XL).

You'll need to be a first time Project Fi user and join before January 11th, 2017 to get the $20 off.

(Full disclosure, I'll also get $20 off, so I'd love if you use my link :D)

+Lenovo​ took the wrong approach here (no apology, no explanation for why it took until today for them to figure this out, when orders were made on Black Friday, and it's not a short delay that caught them by surprise):

"""
Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your recent purchase of the ThinkPad E570. Your order is very important to us. 

Due to the popularity of this product, we are seeing a delay in shipments and are working to meet this increased demand. At this time your order is scheduled to ship by January 25, 2017. We apologize for this delay.

Given the shipment delay, you may choose to:

1) Keep your order placed: we will work to fulfill the laptop as soon as we can. If you would like to do this, simply call our toll-free customer service number 1- 855-253-6686 option 1 to let us know. If no response by January 5, 2017, your order will cancel automatically.

2) Cancel your order: if you would like to cancel, please click here or call 1-855-253-6686 option 1. You may cancel your order at any time before it is shipped to you. Please note that additional time may be required for your financial institution to process the cancellation of the charge authorization against your account.


Due to missing your first committed ship date you may also receive a second email stating that your order has been delayed. Please use today's email as your point of reference.

We will continue to post the most current shipment dates on our Order Status page on Lenovo.com. This can be accessed via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK YOUR ORDER STATUS

Should you have any questions, please call Lenovo Customer Service at 855-2-LENOVO (855-253-6686). You are a valued customer and we are sorry for any inconvenience this delay may have caused. 

Thank you for purchasing from Lenovo.

Sincerely,

Lenovo Customer Service
Raleigh, North Carolina
"""

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Wow, I'm impressed! I bought this because I like to try new beers, and was expecting it to be bad-to-awful, but it's actually really good! And smells like cookie dough!
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Wow. So sad to see all of this happening in our country:

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