Saturday, October 21, 2017

Actresses and Millions of Other Independent Contractors....,


thenation |  there’s another reason actresses harassed by Weinstein may have been discouraged from reporting sexual harassment. Any who were working on a Weinstein film were almost certainly classified as independent contractors, not regular employees. And that means that the anti-discrimination and sexual-harassment protections of federal law didn’t apply to them. 

It’s a problem not just in Hollywood but throughout the economy, in industries as diverse as real estate, trucking, technology, and home health care. And the problem is growing. As more companies classify their workers as independent contractors or push workers into nontraditional employment arrangements, an increasing number of people are at risk of having virtually no recourse for on-the-job harassment. 

Workplace discrimination and harassment based on sex are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws “employment practice[s] [that] discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” If an employee feels she is being harassed at work, she can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first step in taking legal action. But the catch is that she has to be an employee for Title VII protections to apply. Independent contractors, temp workers, and those employed by contracting companies are not covered under the law. “Title VII has to be related to employment,” explained Catherine Ruckelshaus, program director at the National Employment Law Project. Anyone who’s not a traditional employee can’t easily bring claims under it. “The more attenuated you get from an employment relationship, the harder it is under Title VII.”

When a film gets made, the employer is typically a holding company, often an LLC, and the people who work on the show are rarely traditional W2 employees. “Almost everybody across the board in this industry works as an independent contractor when there’s an individual production getting made, when you work on a feature film,” explained Maria Giese, a film director who has pushed for greater gender equality in the industry. The same is typically true for those who work on theater productions or commercials. An individual actress who has been sexually harassed could try to bring a case under Title VII—but that would require her first to prove that she was illegally classified as an independent contractor and should have been an employee. She may be successful. “I don’t think that there has been an answer legislated or adjudicated” as to whether film employees should be treated like employees, said Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with enforcing Title VII and would only have jurisdiction if Title VII applied, is currently investigating gender discrimination against directors at the major movie studios, with its efforts still pending. 

Still, it’s a major hurdle. And if the actress can’t prove that she was misclassified as a contractor, the only option left would be to bring a contract claim between two business entities—the employer and the contractor. “Then they’re in a private contract realm where they would have to argue that the person violated their rights to operate their business in an ethical manner,” Ruckelshaus explained. “Those are really hard to bring because typically they’re very fact-based.… If you get into the he said/she said side of things, if you can’t prove the allegations of tort or contract breach, you’re out of luck.” Whereas Title VII claims just have to prove the employer allowed harassment based on sex, contract claims have to prove an employer’s intent to discriminate. “It’s very specific,” Ruckelshaus said. “Filing a lawsuit would be more difficult based on independent contractor status,” Giese agreed.

Israel: First Amendment Be Damned - Put Respeck On My Name!!!



libertyblitzkrieg |  Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.

I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas.


The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…


Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.


If this was the only example of such behavior, I suppose we could dismiss it as a one-off, misguided directive. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is far more common than any of us would like to admit.

Here’s another recent example, from the article, Houston Suburb Won’t Give Hurricane Relief to Anyone Who Boycotts Israel:

A Houston suburb will not approve grants to repair homes or businesses damaged in Hurricane Harvey if the applicant supports boycotting Israel.

The city of Dickinson’s application form for storm damage repair funding includes a clause stating that “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”


Friday, October 20, 2017

Perverted Alfred Kinsey's Junk "Science" Normalized and Legitimized Degeneracy...,


NYTimes |  MORE than half a century after the publication of his landmark study, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," Alfred C. Kinsey remains one of the most influential figures in American intellectual history. He's certainly the only entomologist ever to be immortalized in a Cole Porter song. Thanks to him, it's now common knowledge that almost all men masturbate, that women peak sexually in their mid-30's and that homosexuality is not some one-in-a-million anomaly. His studies helped bring sex -- all kinds of sex, not just the stork-summoning kind -- out of the closet and into the bright light of day.

But not everyone applauds that accomplishment. Though some hail him for liberating the nation from sexual puritanism, others revile him as a fraud whose "junk science" legitimized degeneracy. Even among scholars sympathetic to Kinsey there's disagreement. Both his biographers regard him as a brave pioneer and reformer, but differ sharply about almost everything else. One independent scholar has even accused him of sexual crimes.

SanityandSocialJustice |   If you ever wondered how criminal penalties in the US for pedophilia transitioned for a time from extreme sentences to relatively short sentences, and how pedophiles from the late 1950s up until recent years were given revolving-door sentences only to target children again, you might wonder whose work guided those who drafted the Model Penal Code in 1955 that advanced the reduction of prison sentences for pedophiles and other sexual criminals.

If you guessed that it was the bishops of the Catholic Church, you guessed wrong. The recommendation to reduce sentences for pedophiles and other sexual criminals was made along with civil libertarians by an atheist and an Indiana University scientist, Alfred C. Kinsey (1894-1956), the same Kinsey lionized in the eponymous 2004 film produced by Francis Ford Coppola, directed by Bill Condon, and starring Liam Neeson, the same Kinsey funded for years by the Rockefeller Foundation and by Hugh Hefner, the same Kinsey with a 1953 Time Magazine cover picture, the same Kinsey whose faulty science has been cited for decades by uncritical jurists in numerous major court, including US Supreme Court, decisions.

The Kinsey film in 2004 marked the zenith of Kinsey’s reputation. It has since fallen:
  • Recent scholarship revealing Kinsey’s role in shielding pedophiles who carefully reported to Kinsey hundreds of victims,
  • a growing scientific consensus reaffirming the noted humanistic psychologist Abraham H. Maslow’s original 1952 criticism of “volunteer bias” in Kinsey’s studies,
  • the development of federal and professional ethical regulation, policies, and practices for research with “vulnerable populations” such as children and prisoners, along with “mandated reporting” of pedophilia in many states–especially in Indiana–which have provided a modern contrast to Kinsey’s unethical scientific practice,
  • and in addition the compilation of biographic information on Kinsey that indicated his personal depravity involving his sexual harassment/coercion of members of his circle to participate in sexual film-making in his attic, and his particular topical interest in adult sex with children,
–have all served to permanently undermine the standing of Kinsey’s personal character and scientific work among those whose knowledge extends beyond watching films and comedy skits or flipping past the “redeeming social content” citations of Kinsey in pornographic magazines, to scholarly reading and to scientific inquiry.

To some among the community of civil libertarians, with whom Kinsey worked closely on the revision of the 1955 Model Penal Code, Kinsey has been propped up for years, as “too big to fail.” But, as the tide has turned world-wide against pedophilia, so too has Kinsey’s reputation been irreparably tarnished.

The change in perspective on Kinsey has been slow in coming, but has been aided first by the globalization of media, and then by the visualizing power of the Internet.

America's Unpeakable Filth Not-Seeism...,


theweek  |  There are industries and careers with access to vulnerable children, which criminologists tell us attract predators like water rolling downhill. The Catholic Church runs schools and orphanages. Hollywood churns through countless child actors and would-be actors, most often away from home, whose parents must navigate a highly strange and sophisticated environment.

There is the problem of an illustrious institution that aspires to moral leadership in a culture war context. Sympathizers don't want to think the unthinkable about "the good guys." Insiders don't want to give ammunition to the "the other side." Bishops wrapped themselves in moralistic rhetoric to brush off allegations of moral turpitude; Weinstein thought he could distract from his alleged depredations by picking a fight with the NRA.

Most of all, there are the dynamics around power, money, and glory. They enable the abuse even as they prompt the coverup, since the institution and its prestige must be protected. Those around the perpetrators become accomplices, actively or passively. The system becomes self-sustaining. The more abuse, the more coverup. The more coverup, the more abuse. Everyone looks the other way because everyone looks the other way. No one will speak up because no one will speak up. Bit by bit, isolated incidents that might happen in any context metastasize into a monstrous system that feeds on itself. The guilt of a few becomes the guilt of all, as the system is sustained by its own rottenness.

If the Catholic Church, which is at least nominally committed to a grand moral vision, could fall prey to these dynamics, why should we believe that Hollywood, which at the end of the day is a for-profit industry, should be any different? Don't get me wrong: I'm absolutely sure that plenty of people in Hollywood believe in art and not profit, and sincerely hold their industry's professed humanistic values. But that's the point: The systemic dynamics are bigger than that. Even staunch anti-Catholics will concede that plenty of priests are upstanding people. We won't understand those systemic dynamics if we don't grapple with the fact that the same institution that produced Mother Teresa could produce what later churchmen called "the filth."

None of what I'm saying can be presented in a court of law. I have no smoking gun, no bombshell revelation. But nor am I hallucinating. That all the signs are there is not speculation. It is fact. We know for a fact that there are serious allegations, and that allegations about other forms of sex abuse in the same context not only turned out to be true, but much worse than we imagined. We know for a fact that some of these allegations get suspiciously ignored, and we know there is the motive and the capability for coverups. Go back to the old saw about criminal investigations: means, motive, opportunity. Check, check, check.

Children's lives are at stake. When will we as a society start seriously asking questions?

The Secret Service and the Intelligence Community Exposed Malia Obama to Harvey Weinstein



NewYorker |  Harvey throttled someone. Harvey called an employee a fucking moron. Harvey threw the shoes, the book, the phone, the eggs. Harvey went to work with his shirt on inside-out and no one had the courage to tell him. If you fucking say anything to him, the assistant said to the other assistant, I’m dead. Harvey would eat the fries off your plate, smash them in his face, and wash them down with a cigarette and a Diet Coke. He belittled and berated: You can’t name three Frank Capra movies? What the fuck are you even doing here? He was funny; he was grotesque, a boisterous, boorish, outrageous, gluttonous caricature of a man, a Hollywood type. A “man of appetites”; a philanderer; a cartoon beast, surrounded by beauties. Years later, the people who worked for him—survivors, they called themselves, of Miramax and the Weinstein Company—still met regularly to tell stories about Harvey Weinstein. “I always thought it was interesting that a lot of people who left Miramax either ended up running shit in Hollywood or became social workers,” an alumna of the company told me.

Harvey stories have a new valence now, in the aftermath of revelations by the Times and by The New Yorker, and the term “survivors” must be reserved for those who have alleged intense sexual harassment, assault, and rape. (Through a representative, Weinstein has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.) The stories aren’t funny anymore, because now we know the story behind them. Weinstein was not a philanderer, with inordinately, unaccountably attractive “girlfriends”; he was, apparently, according to the forty-some women who have come forward so far, including many of Hollywood’s most visible celebrities, engaged in quid-pro-quo harassment that, in certain cases, involved coercion and physical force. But, unlike Donald Trump, our show-biz President, a bully who has boasted of sexual assault and been accused of sexual misconduct numerous times, Weinstein is finally being condemned and punished for his treatment of women. (Trump denies all allegations of sexual misconduct.)

Workplace sexual assault, according to the feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon, is “dominance eroticized.” More than misplaced desire, she writes, it is “an expression of dominance laced with impersonal contempt, the habit of getting what one wants, and the perception (usually accurate) that the situation can be safely exploited in this way—all expressed sexually.” Among the many painful ironies of Weinstein’s public activities (the professorship in Gloria Steinem’s name that he helped endow, his support of Hillary Clinton), the one I find the most brutal and defeating is that he made movies with substantial and three-dimensional parts for women, and it was this rare commodity that he is said to have used to exploit the women who wanted those roles. Their desire for professional advancement demeaned them—even after he’d made some of them into stars. (He never let them forget it: who made them, who owned them.) There were rumors, yes, of the did-she-or-didn’t-she variety. Because the actresses were ambitious, they were seen as “ambitious,” and his predation went on, hiding in plain view. No one ever asked, Did he? That was the given, and it is only now that the abuse is being called by its true name. The company’s reputation for artistic integrity and highbrow fare was a disguise that Harvey Weinstein wore, his version of the black-ski-mask cliché.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Representation and Normalization in Everyday Lives....,


gawker |  The news that X-Men director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who says Singer raped him multiple times when he was 17 might come as a surprise to some—but in Hollywood his taste for a very specific sort of young man was well known.

In the lawsuit (the second filed against Singer), plaintiff Michael Egan says that he was introduced to Singer by a man named Marc Collins-Rector, who was ordered to register as a sex offender after being convicted of luring minors across state lines. Egan describes what is essentially a sex ring, with older men like Collins-Rector scouting barely legal twinks who might be looking to saddle up to Hollywood's rich and powerful gays.

This is the way things have happened in the industry for decades: this BuzzFeed post that culls stories from the memoir of an old Hollywood liaison named Scott Bowers gives a good idea of how some film bigwigs used to get off.

But Hollywood gays and lesbians don't need to be as discreet as they did 60 years ago, and it's not too difficult to find stories and photos of Singer's infamous gay pool parties—and rumors of more.
Over at Dlisted, Michael K. recalls when he initially became aware of the culture around Singer.
I first heard about Bryan Singer's "infamous" coke and twink pool parties when I was 18 and was at some party in Orange County that a bunch of dancers from Disneyland were at. One of the twink dancers bragged to me and my friends about how the weekend before he was at a party in L.A. that the director of Usual Suspects was at and the white twinks, coke and meth were falling from the sky. The twink dancer said that Bryan Singer and his fancy Hollywood friends always throw parties like that and when I asked him to take me to the next one, bitch said, "Uh, you're not white, skinny and cute enough, though."
A few years ago, Queerty published photos of a post-gay pride pool party at Roland Emmerich's house that was co-hosted by Singer. "No photos of the after-after party (which generally has a clothing-optional policy)," the site writes, "nor do we have pictures from what happened when Roland and Bryan (pictured, Page 3) took a few select young men into the house for private casting sessions[.]"

vice |   When people think of a pederast or sexually deviant film director, they are likely to imagine Roman Polanski having sex with a 13-year-old or Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter. But those stories are a bit tired and cliched now, so, for those with a thirst for horrible stories about film men abusing their power, we present mid-budget journeyman director Victor Salva. In 1989, Salva was jailed after molesting the 12-year-old star of his first feature film, the low-budget horror thriller Clownhouse.

Salva has said that the idea of making a horror movie like Clownhouse had been on his mind for some time, and when you watch it, you can see why. The plot's victims are three pre-pubescent brothers, led by debutant Sam Rockwell, who spend their time running hysterically around their enormous suburban house getting terrorised by sadistic escaped lunatics dressed as circus clowns (the leader is called "Cheezo").

As a concept, it’s pretty basic, though the nightmare's enlivened by a constant, thrumming undercurrent of high school homoeroticism, which manifests itself in lingering crotch-shots and constant close-ups of half-naked teens. It's basically as terrifying as you'd expect a film about murderous, child-killing clowns directed by a pedophile to be.

Rock'n'Roll Appropriation An Extension of Gay Anger?


NYTimes  |  One of the 20th century’s most powerful creations was the rock star: the preening, erotic god of guitar-fired defiance. But those who embodied that character didn’t spring from nowhere. Managers groomed them and shaped them, and in the classic rock era those managers were often gay men.

For decades, the close relationships between the managers and the predominantly straight musicians they advised were not discussed much. Lately, however, they have become a point of pride and celebration.

“The Fifth Beatle,” a recent graphic novel that focuses on the personal life of the Fab Four’s gay manager, Brian Epstein, was a New York Times best seller and is now in development as a six-part mini-series, with the approval of the Beatles’ estate. And the documentary film “Lambert & Stamp” made clear the important role played by Kit Lambert, the gay co-manager of the Who, in shaping the band’s identity.

Another image maker of the classic-rock era, Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone, is the subject of a new biography by Joe Hagan, “Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine,” which stresses the role his sexuality played in his presentations of male rock stars throughout the magazine’s history. (Mr. Wenner did not come out to the press until the mid-1990s).

“Being gay gave me a finer appreciation of the sexuality of the guys up there,” Mr. Wenner says in the book. “I could understand that in a way others didn’t.”

 “Kit was telling the press that the Who were a new form of social crime,” Mr. Cooper said. “He told Pete, ‘When you give an interview, leave a wound. Oh, and by the way, smash your instruments.’”

Mr. Napier-Bell sees the entire notion of rock ’n’ roll rebellion as an extension of “gay anger.” “We were against the establishment, the government and the law, which was against us,” he said. “It was an attitude felt by the managers that was expressed through their groups.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reality Utterly Warped and Distorted by Little Head Trifling...,


HuffPo | How Weinstein fought the dawning amfAR scandal is an illustration of the ferocious manner in which he had long exercised his clout, and of the impunity he long could count on, thanks to the help of some well-placed friends. It also reveals something fundamental about the power he enjoyed, at least until recently: Everything, from the money to the philanthropy to the sex to the bullying to the coverups enacted on Weinstein’s behalf, was connected.

For this story I spoke to over 20 sources inside and outside amfAR, NBC Universal, The New York Times and others with direct knowledge of the circumstances of this controversy. I also spoke to former Weinstein Company executives, former Miramax executives and various consultants that Weinstein used to have on retainer. All of the sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak to the press by their respective employers, don’t want to be exposed to potential litigation for violating non-disclosure agreements, or fear reprisal for speaking about powerful people on-record with a member of the press. I also reviewed internal amfAR board communications, confidential reports and communications with the New York Attorney General’s office, which were provided by multiple sources.

Pit of Despair Because of Africans or Because of White Imperialism Bee Dee?


local10  |  President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow Tuesday that "he knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway," when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida.  

"Yeah, he said that," Wilson said. "So insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it."  

The president called about 4:45 p.m. and spoke to Johnson's pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, for about five minutes. She is a mother to Johnson's surviving 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. The conversation happened before Johnson's remains arrived at Miami International Airport on a commercial Delta Airlines flight.  

"The president's conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private," a top advisor later told Local 10 News.  

Wilson watched as the widow, who is expecting their third baby in January, leaned over the U.S. flag that was draping Johnson's casket. Her pregnant belly was shaking against the casket as she sobbed uncontrollably. Their daughter stood next to her stoically. Their toddler waited in the arms of a relative. 

There was silence. 

Local politicians, police officers and firefighters lined up to honor Johnson for his service and for the efforts and discipline that got the former Walmart employee to defy all odds and become a 25-year-old member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

Johnson, who participated in a mentorship program Wilson founded in 1993, died during a mission fighting alongside Green Berets. Islamic militants ambushed them on Oct. 4 with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. The team reportedly didn't have overhead armed air cover and was in unarmored pickup trucks. Reuters reported the lack of planning upset the French.  

Trump didn't discuss any of the details of the ambush or say that the Pentagon was conducting an investigation. Instead, he focused on questions about whether or not he had offered his condolences to the families of the fallen. 

FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Approved Clintons Getting PAID!!!!


TheHill |  Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened ... on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

Malta Car Bomb kills Panama Papers Journalist


Guardian |  The son of the murdered Maltese investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia has described finding parts of his mother’s body around the blazing car in which she died and attacked the island as a “mafia state” run by “crooks”. 

“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also an investigative reporter, wrote in a moving and at times graphic Facebook post.

“But she was also targeted because she was the only person doing so. This is what happens when the institutions of the state are incapacitated: the last person left standing is often a journalist. Which makes her the first person left dead.”

Dutch forensic experts were due to arrive in Malta to help police in the EU’s smallest state investigate the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption on the island. 

She died on Monday afternoon when her Peugeot was destroyed by an explosive device so powerful it blew the car into a nearby field. One witness driving up the road behind her said her heard two loud and distinct blasts. 

Several thousand people gathered at an impromptu candlelit vigil in Sliema, near the island’s capital Valletta, on Monday night to mourn the journalist, described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks” whose blogs were as fiercely critical of the island’s politicians as they were of its organised crime gangs.
The European commission said it was horrified by the murder, praising the journalist for her her “dedication to the truth” and pioneering investigative work: “The right of a journalist to investigate, ask uncomfortable questions and report is at the heart of our values and needs to be guaranteed at all times,” it said.

Matthew Caruana Galizia said he would never forget “running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door, the horn of the car still blaring, screaming at two policemen who turned up with a single fire extinguisher to use it”.

One of the policemen said: “Sorry, there is nothing we can do,” he wrote. “I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me. I realised they were right, it was hopeless. ‘Who is in the car?’, they asked me. ‘My mother is in the car. She is dead. She is dead because of your incompetence.’” 

Caruana Galizia, 53, ran a hugely popular blog relentlessly highlighting cases of alleged high-level corruption among politicians across Malta’s party lines. “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,” she wrote in a post published barely half an hour before the bomb exploded. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The BackSide Stories of Kings, Titans of Industry, Degenerates One-and-All...,


bitterqueen |  The New York Police Department and District Attorney's Office in 1975 launched an investigation dubbed Operation Together which looked into the mob control of gay bars and underage boy sex rings, and among its disturbing allegations was that Hollywood film director and writer James Bridges hosted notorious sex parties which were stocked with jail bait and attended by household names in the entertainment industry according to a retired NYPD officer with whom I spoke several years ago who worked undercover on the case.

Although some results from my interview with the retired officer previously have been published on Friends of Ours and in my book The Mafia and the Gays, to this point I have resisted identifying the names of those allegedly involved in the pedophile ring uncovered in Operation Together. However, as I continue to read about the plaintive pleas from 1980s child star Corey Feldman for a thorough investigation into a pedophilia problem among the Tinseltown crowd, I no longer will remain silent about allegations that have come to my attention from credible law enforcement investigations.


gayinfluence | Arkansas native James Bridges (1936-1993) was an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and film director who got his start as a writer for the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. One episode, An Unlocked Window (1966), won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Bridges went on to write and direct a number of feature films, including The Baby Maker (1970), The Paper Chase (1973), September 30, 1955 (1977), The China Syndrome (1979), Urban Cowboy (1980), Mike’s Murder (1984), Perfect (1985), and Bright Lights, Big City (1988).

For a number of years he was a mentor to actress Debra Winger. In fact, Bridges nearly quit the production of Urban Cowboy, because Paramount didn't want Debra Winger to play the role of John Travolta's love interest, the independent cowgirl Sissy.

From 1958 until his death in 1993, he was life partner to actor Jack Larson (b. 1928, photo at right), best known for his portrayal of Jimmy Olsen in the TV series Adventures of Superman. Prior to his commitment to Bridges, Larson had been in a relationship with actor Montgomery Clift.

Bridges and Larson shared the historical Frank Lloyd Wright-designed “George Sturges” house (1939) in Brentwood Heights, CA, where Larson still resides. It is the only southern California example of the modest modern style house called "Usonian" by Wright (photo below). This example boasts extreme cantilevers to deal with the steeply  sloped lot, and it has been impeccably maintained by Larson. 

Organized Crime Cannot Exist Without Public Corruption


wehoville |  Ed Buck, the well-known local Democratic Party donor under investigation for possible involvement in the death from a drug overdose of Gemmel Moore, a young African-American sex worker, has come out of hiding with a  verbal attack by his lawyer tonight on WeHo City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath.

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, appeared before the West Hollywood City Council to say he is demanding an investigation of comments that Horvath made about Buck. Amster apparently was referring to Horvath’s statement at the Aug. 21 City Council meeting that she had contacted the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department and asked them to “take the necessary steps to make it possible for anyone with information pertinent to this case to safely come forward. I want all facts surrounding this case to be known.”

Amster said that Horvath in making her comments did not disclose that Buck opposed her election and had campaigned against her.  He said he wanted a grand jury to look at Horvath’s private emails and telephone records to “determine if she has been involved in instigating, promoting or financing the character attack on Mr. Buck.”

In her comments at the Aug. 21 City Council meeting, Horvath said: “I am sad to hear the news of his tragic passing and I’m deeply disturbed by the accounts in local reports. As you have heard, the case involves someone well-known to this community and in LGBT and local political circles. In full disclosure, I have not received contributions from that individual but I want to state clearly that it shouldn’t matter who the subject of an investigation is – an investigation must be conducted thoroughly and without prejudice.”

“Our local (Sheriff’s) station needs to be a refuge for victims of crime regardless of skin color or immigration status, regardless of whether they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regardless of the circumstances that brought them into the station – all victims of crime need to be heard,” Horvath said. “And I ask that both LASD and the L.A. County District Attorney’s office take the necessary steps to make it possible for anyone with information pertinent to this case to safely come forward. I want all facts surrounding this case to be known.”

Why Didn't Any Of The Intersectional Allies Tell On Evil Ed Buck?


wearyourvoicemag |  Gemmel Moore didn't break into Buck’s condo and overdose on meth while Ed was at Whole Foods shopping for Kale and Vitamin Water. It’s customary for Ed to hire black male escorts and pay them to heavily sate themselves with meth as he records them and pleasures himself.

Just because Moore was an escort who was under the influence does not absolve Buck from liability. Moore was flown into town and brought directly to Buck’s home. I doubt that on his flight into LA Moore smuggled meth past the TSA, let alone enough to overdose on.

There’s no doubt in my mind the drugs found in his system were supplied by Buck so he could fulfill his fantasy of getting Moore high beyond his limits while engaging in a host of fetishes. Buck also smokes meth and occasionally shoots up and alludes to this in his Adam4Adam profile.

Buck’s fatal fetishization teeters on the cusp of snuff. The thought of Buck pleasuring himself as Moore took his last breath is deeply disturbing. What’s all the more disturbing is the willingness of cis-hetero black folks who may not agree with Moore’s sexuality, and city officials who’ve accepted money from Buck in the past to look the other way.

Moore’s death is centered around power dynamics, a wealthy white politico and his deadly fetishization of disenfranchised black men. Moore’s vulnerability and inability to free himself from an economically sunken place awakened Buck’s predatory instincts. Exploiting sex workers who are jobless (in the traditional sense), homeless, poverty stricken and chronically addicted adds four more inches to Buck’s erections.

Such form of racial fetishization is a modern day version of “buck breaking” (no pun intended). Instead of whips and chains, the “master” now employs needles and pipes to bring his slaves into submission. Buck’s obsession with destroying black bodies for his own pleasure is an extension of colonial imperialism.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Burn Hollywood Burn..., (Oh and Hollywood for Ugly People Too!)


thefreethoughtproject |  When Bill Clinton was at the height of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, Hollywood was by his side, offering donations for his legal fees, and one significant donor was a man who is now going through his own sex scandal—Harvey Weinstein.

More than 20 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape. After the New York Times and the New Yorker published in-depth stories detailing the testimonies of women who have been abused by Weinstein—and in many cases, paid off with airtight non-disclosure agreements—the stories have continued to come to light.

Former President Bill Clinton is no stranger to sex scandals. The scandal that received the most media attention came about in the late 1990s after former Arkansas state employee Paul Jones filed a civil lawsuit against him for sexual harassment when he was the state’s governor. During the discovery phase of the case, in which Jones’ legal team was searching for Clinton’s inappropriate relationships, the name of a White House intern surfaced: Monica Lewinsky.

In August 1998, a report from the Washington Post noted that Clinton was being accused of perjury and obstruction of justice regarding his testimony about his conduct with Lewinsky. At the same time, influential members of Hollywood were coming to Clinton’s defense.
The report noted that according to Clinton’s legal defense fund, a total of more than $2.2 million was raised in six months, which was notably more than was collected in funding during the previous four years of his presidency—combined.  Fist tap Bro. Makheru.


You Holding Up the Mirror The Only Thing Worse Than Babylon Seeing Itself...,


TomDispatch |  As in Baghdad, so in Baltimore. It’s connected, you see. Scholars, pundits, politicians, most of us in fact like our worlds to remain discretely and comfortably separated. That’s why so few articles, reports, or op-ed columns even think to link police violence at home to our imperial pursuits abroad or the militarization of the policing of urban America to our wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa. I mean, how many profiles of the Black Lives Matter movement even mention America’s 16-year war on terror across huge swaths of the planet? Conversely, can you remember a foreign policy piece that cited Ferguson? I doubt it.

Nonetheless, take a moment to consider the ways in which counterinsurgency abroad and urban policing at home might, in these years, have come to resemble each other and might actually be connected phenomena:

*The degradations involved: So often, both counterinsurgency and urban policing involve countless routine humiliations of a mostly innocent populace.  No matter how we’ve cloaked the terms -- “partnering,” “advising,” “assisting,” and so on -- the American military has acted like an occupier of Iraq and Afghanistan in these years.  Those thousands of ubiquitous post-invasion U.S. Army foot and vehicle patrols in both countries tended to highlight the lack of sovereignty of their peoples.  Similarly, as long ago as 1966, author James Baldwin recognized that New York City’s ghettoes resembled, in his phrase, “occupied territory.”  In that regard, matters have only worsened since.  Just ask the black community in Baltimore or for that matter Ferguson, Missouri.  It’s hard to deny America’s police are becoming progressively more defiant; just last month St. Louis cops taunted protestors by chanting “whose streets? Our streets,” at a gathering crowd.  Pardon me, but since when has it been okay for police to rule America’s streets?  Aren’t they there to protect and serve us?  Something tells me the exceedingly libertarian Founding Fathers would be appalled by such arrogance.

*The racial and ethnic stereotyping.  In Baghdad, many U.S. troops called the locals hajis, ragheads, or worse still, sandniggers.  There should be no surprise in that.  The frustrations involved in occupation duty and the fear of death inherent in counterinsurgency campaigns lead soldiers to stereotype, and sometimes even hate, the populations they’re (doctrinally) supposed to protect.  Ordinary Iraqis or Afghans became the enemy, an “other,” worthy only of racial pejoratives and (sometimes) petty cruelties.  Sound familiar?  Listen to the private conversations of America’s exasperated urban police, or the occasionally public insults they throw at the population they’re paid to “protect.”  I, for one, can’t forget the video of an infuriated white officer taunting Ferguson protestors: “Bring it on, you f**king animals!”  Or how about a white Staten Island cop caught on the phone bragging to his girlfriend about how he’d framed a young black man or, in his words, “fried another nigger.”  Dehumanization of the enemy, either at home or abroad, is as old as empire itself.

*The searches: Searches, searches, and yet more searches. Back in the day in Iraq -- I’m speaking of 2006 and 2007 -- we didn’t exactly need a search warrant to look anywhere we pleased. The Iraqi courts, police, and judicial system were then barely operational.  We searched houses, shacks, apartments, and high rises for weapons, explosives, or other “contraband.”  No family -- guilty or innocent (and they were nearly all innocent) -- was safe from the small, daily indignities of a military search.  Back here in the U.S., a similar phenomenon rules, as it has since the “war on drugs” era of the 1980s.  It’s now routine for police SWAT teams to execute rubber-stamped or “no knock” search warrants on suspected drug dealers’ homes (often only for marijuana stashes) with an aggressiveness most soldiers from our distant wars would applaud.  Then there are the millions of random, warrantless, body searches on America’s urban, often minority-laden streets.  Take New York, for example, where a discriminatory regime of “stop-and-frisk” tactics terrorized blacks and Hispanics for decades.  Millions of (mostly) minority youths were halted and searched by New York police officers who had to cite only such opaque explanations as “furtive movements,” or “fits relevant description” -- hardly explicit probable cause -- to execute such daily indignities.  As numerous studies have shown (and a judicial ruling found), such “stop-and-frisk” procedures were discriminatory and likely unconstitutional.

Babylon Cannot STAND Honestly Looking At Itself In The Mirror...,



“Churchill: "Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?" 
Socialite: "My goodness, Mr. Churchill... Well, I suppose... we would have to discuss terms, of course... "
Churchill: "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"
Socialite: "Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!" 
Churchill: "Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”
usatoday |  The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik is responding to a Twitter storm swirling around her.

She became subject to social media backlash, accused by some of victim-blaming, after an op-ed she wrote for The New York Times was published Friday. 

The essay titled "Mayim Bialik: Being a feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s world," offers her perspective on the scandal involving accusations of sexual assault by Weinstein going back decades. The allegations, which surfaced more than a week ago, have resulted in the influential Hollywood producer being fired from his executive position at The Weinstein Company. On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences dismissed him from its membership.

Late Saturday night, Bialik posted a response to her critics via Twitter. It reads: "I'm being told my N.Y. Times piece resonated with so many and I am grateful for all the feedback. I also see a bunch of people have taken my words out of context of the Hollywood machine and twisted them to imply that God forbid I would blame a woman for her assault based on clothing or behavior."

She adds, "Anyone who knows me and my feminism knows that's absurd and not at all what this piece was about."

In the op-ed piece, she writes that "I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. ... I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hollywood Pedophilia the Next Shoe to Drop in Babylon...,


ibankcoin  |  Six years ago, former child star Corey Feldman admitted that he and fellow child actor Corey Haim, who died in 2010 from Pneumonia, were sexually molested by adult males throughout Hollywood during their time in the limelight. Haim is said to have received far more brutal abuse – raped at age 11 by a producer, while Feldman was groomed and abused by a man employed by his father at the age of 15.

In a 2011 interview with ABC, Feldman said Pedophilia was the Number 1 problem for child stars, saying “I was surrounded by [pedophiles] when I was 14 years old. … Didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I was old enough to realize what they were and what they wanted … till I went, Oh, my God. They were everywhere.

And in a 2016 interview – days after actor Elijah Wood gave an interview in which he said “Hollywood has a Pedophilia Problem,” Feldman revealed that he was ‘molested and passed around by men in the industry. The former child actor has refused to name his abusers, citing legal reasons.

Feldman has also written about Corey Haim’s time with Hollywood child-actor manager Martin Weiss, an agent primarily for children who appeared on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel – who enjoyed sleepovers and road trips with his clients. Weiss was arrested in 2011 and plead no contest to eight felony counts of molesting young actors – sentenced to a year in jail but released for time served.

Weiss raped a child actor 30 to 40 times until the age of 15, according to the police report. In an affidavit obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the victim told police that Weiss said what they were doing was ‘common practice in the entertainment industry.’

Weiss was caught when the 15 year old victim went to his apartment in November of 2011 and recorded a conversation in which Weiss admitted to the abuse.

Barbara’s Genuine Outrage – at Feldman…


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mizzou Mandingo Rebellion Aftermath...,



KansasCity |  The University of Missouri system is shaving $101 million from the budgets of its four campuses, resulting in the loss of 474 jobs.

At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, $15.4 million is coming out its budget and 51 positions are being eliminated. That includes the jobs of four non-tenured faculty members of the 18 instructors in UMKC’s popular theater department.

UM System President Mun Choi announced the cut Friday afternoon, speaking to faculty, staff and students on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia where the lion’s share of the job loss will occur. 

“We are facing a period of significant budget constraints that will require us to take bold actions to become a stronger academic institution in both the short and long term,” Choi said.

NYTimes |   It was a moment of triumph for the protesting students. But it has been a disaster for the university.

Freshman enrollment at the Columbia campus, the system’s flagship, has fallen by more than 35 percent in the two years since.

The university administration acknowledges that the main reason is a backlash from the events of 2015, as the campus has been shunned by students and families put off by, depending on their viewpoint, a culture of racism or one where protesters run amok.

Before the protests, the university, fondly known as Mizzou, was experiencing steady growth and building new dormitories. Now, with budget cuts due to lost tuition and a decline in state funding, the university is temporarily closing seven dormitories and cutting more than 400 positions, including those of some nontenured faculty members, through layoffs and by leaving open jobs unfilled.

Few areas have been spared: The library is even begging for books.

“The general consensus was that it was because of the aftermath of what happened in November 2015,” said Mun Choi, the new system president, referring to the climax of the demonstrations. “There were students from both in state and out of state that just did not apply, or those who did apply but decided not to attend.”

The protests inspired movements at other colleges. Since then fights over overt and subconscious racial slights, as well as battles over free speech, have broken out at Middlebury College in Vermont, the University of California, Berkeley, and The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Missouri’s experience shows how a conflict, if not deftly handled, can stain a college’s reputation long after the conflict has died down.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article154134704.html#storylink=cpy

If The NFL Mandingo Rebellion Goes To The Mats - It'll Be Complicated



Counterpunch  |  Do employers have the right to force their employees to participate in ritual displays of patriotism?

Many people think they do. Many people think that owners of football teams have the right to make their players stand at attention during the National Anthem.

But if bosses can require their employees stand for the anthem, then what’s to stop them from making them say a prayer too?  It’s the same thing, isn’t it? In both cases, employees are being compelled to conform to behavior that may or may not be consistent with their own beliefs. How does that square with the First amendment or is that rule no longer applicable?

Here’s how the Supreme Court came down on the matter:
“The constitutionally guaranteed ‘freedom to be intellectually … diverse or even contrary,’ and the ‘right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order,’ encompass the freedom to express publicly one’s opinions about our flag, including those opinions which are defiant or contemptuous.”
Supreme Court of the United States in Street v. New York (1969)
Of course, that doesn’t explain whether employees have the right to express their beliefs freely in the workplace or not. That’s an entirely different question, and it’s one that has been answered differently by the owners and the players union. According to MSN News:
“A labor union that represents workers in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana has filed a charge alleging that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has violated the National Labor Relations Act with his threats to discipline players if they protest during the national anthem. Local 100 of the United Labor Unions filed the complaint Tuesday with the Fort Worth, Texas, office of the National Labor Relations Board. It asks the NLRB to “investigate preemptively in order to prevent illegal firings of players.”
Wade Rathke, chief organizer of Local 100, accuses Jones of violating the act, which prohibits employers from intimidating or threatening workers for their “concerted activity.”

Rathke said the NFL has already established that there is no condition of work that requires players to stand during the anthem. He said players have the right to protest and act concertedly at their workplace – the playing field. Jones is violating the act by attempting to prevent them from doing so, he said. (“Labor union files complaint against Jerry Jones over anthem threat “, MSN News)
“You can’t discipline somebody for something that is a right they have under the law, whether that discipline be termination or benching or giving a slap on the wrist or writing up in their files they’ve been a bad boy,” Rathke told ESPN. “I know in the modern age people think workers shouldn’t have rights, but they still do.”  Fist tap Rohan.


Dallas Cowboys Off This Week...,


Counterpunch  |  Jerry Lewis starred in his condescending telethon parade of children with disabilities in what came to be known as “Jerry’s Kids” (though he disinherited five of his own biological kids).  All this has now taken on a whole new meaning with “Jerry’s Kids,” Jerry’s (very-obedient-don’t-talk-back-or-bat-an-eye) Cowboys.

Owner Jerry Jones has now finally and unwittingly tripped himself up, unmasking the Dallas Cowboys in particular, and the NFL in general, for what they are.  He did so by embroiling himself in something that is revelatory now but will be discussed for years, and not for his benefit or that of the NFL.  The latter is openly desperate in admitting every day that their role in society is to unify everyone, when there is no basis for unity and cannot be, unless it is a contrived and ephemeral one for the NFL’s profit.

As the nationally syndicated, well-known (native Texan), and inimitable columnist Molly Ivins once observed, “it is possible to strike up a conversation with anyone at all—CEOs, shoeshine boys, or the barkeep—by inquiring, ‘How about those ‘Pokes?’” as a lingua franca in Texas.  Her point was keen.
In a similar vein, the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht stated that the invisible walls [such as those between the aforesaid CEOs, shoeshine boys, barkeeps, or other contrivances] should be made visible.  Pertinent to our situation, the walls of poverty, racism, police brutality, etc., need to be kept visible, hence the kneeling by football players.  Keep in mind as well that the anthem’s third stanza refers to the killing of slaves, and most were unaware of that before Kaepernick.

Trump wants to keep those and other walls invisible.  As former Bears coach Mike Ditka himself added recently, there has been “no oppression in the last 100 years.”  They coerce this on us by dint of their money and microphones.

Unsurprisingly, Trump called Jones four times before a game, obviously to make sure Jones got what Trump said.  It all came down to an awkward scene with the entire team and Jones kneeling before the anthem and then standing for the anthem. Jones is true to form now in saying anyone kneeling during the anthem will not play.  News accounts say that Trump again spoke with him.   That’s a lot of talk between the two.  Even the NFL Commissioner is caving in to Bush after all.  Trump wants them to be on the same page, his.

Parenthetically, both Jones and coach Garrett were directly or obliquely critical of Kaepernick months ago.  That is not new.

No doubt Trump reminded Jones of how (the media-concocted) “America’s Team” would fare during protests, and that the team is the most monetarily valued.  This is an oddity, given that the team so far has not even been to the Super Bowl in some 23 years.  It comes as no surprise that Jones does not wipe the smirk off his face except for one minute in any one of the past years, namely when he realizes that they’re not Super Bowl-bound.  It is easy to imagine, though, that come February Trump would be grinning ear to ear if the Pokes won that championship.

You see, the Cowboys and the NFL are in tandem with the violence in our society, making the Las Vegas killings rather unremarkable a week after they happened.  Vegas said keep on gambling; Bush said go shopping after 9-11.

unfair play..., (REDUX - Originally Posted 3/30/14)


NYTimes | IN his provocative, passionate, important and disturbing book — part memoir, part history, part journalism — William C. Rhoden, a sports columnist for The New York Times, builds a historical framework that both accounts for the varieties of African-American athletic experience in the past and continues to explain them today.

First, he wants to recast black sports history, transforming it from “the inspirational reel” featuring Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe and the later Muhammad Ali into “a more complicated tale of continuous struggle, a narrative of victory and defeat.” His alternative narrative focuses on the stories of successful African-American athletes who so wanted to be accepted by white society that they failed “to anticipate, plan and organize,” maintained their “wholesale dependence on a racist white power structure,” and showed “surprise and consternation when the money and support” were withdrawn. Even black athletic institutions like Negro league baseball in the 1940’s and historically black colleges in the 1960’s complacently, and fatally, assumed that segregation would assure them a steady supply of athletes.

Second, Rhoden argues convincingly that integration posed relatively few problems for the white sports world, which quickly gained access to a huge pool of cheap talent, but that it precipitated a disaster for a “black industry, practically eliminating every black person involved in sports — coaches, owners, trainers, accountants, lawyers, secretaries and so on — except the precious on-the-field talent.”

Consequently, most black athletes lost their connection to a “sense of mission . . . of being part of a larger cause.” Young athletes, in particular, “dropped the thread that joins them to that struggle” and became, instead, a “lost tribe,” adrift in the world of white coaches, boosters, agents, club officials, network executives — those profiting from black muscle and skill. 

Finally, Rhoden insists on the importance of black athletes and entrepreneurs gaining organizational and business power in college and professional sports: the path toward the “redemption” of his subtitle. His vision here is a little murky, but he knows too much history to feel sanguine about the one black-owned franchise in the N.B.A., Robert Johnson’s (and now also Michael Jordan’s) Charlotte Bobcats.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Denise Young Smith: Google "Stepping and Fetching and Shucking and Jiving"


quartz |  When asked whether she would be focusing on any group of people, such as black women, in her efforts to create a more inclusive and diverse Apple, Young Smith says, “I focus on everyone.” She added: “Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.” Her answer was met with a round of applause at the session.

Young Smith went on to add that “there can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.” The issue, Young Smith explains, “is representation and mix.” She is keen to work to bring all voices into the room that “can contribute to the outcome of any situation.”

theverge |   Apple shareholders rejected a proposal yesterday that would have required the company to improve the diversity of its top ranks. This is the second year in a row that Apple shareholders have shot down the proposal, with just over 95 percent of the vote opposing it this time around — slightly more than last year.

The proposal, submitted by shareholders Tony Maldonado and Zevin Asset Management, asked Apple to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy ... to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors." Maldonado and Zevin had argued that Apple’s upper ranks were responding too slowly to the company’s own diversity initiatives and that it would ultimately come back to bite them, be it through missing talent or new opportunities.