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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 164)

Scaramucci Hits Pro-Trump Republicans With Damning Nazi Collaborator Comparison

Westlake Legal Group 5de62999250000b23cd2ef25 Scaramucci Hits Pro-Trump Republicans With Damning Nazi Collaborator Comparison

Anthony Scaramucci on Monday likened Republican lawmakers in Congress who continue to back President Donald Trump at all costs over the Ukraine scandal to the governing Nazi collaborators in the French Vichy Republic during World War II.

The former White House communications director — who served just 10 days in the role in 2017 and is now heavily critical of the Trump administration — expressed his surprise at how GOP politicians continue to disavow the oath of the Constitution that has “been so sacred” and “worked so well for so many years” during the impeachment inquiry into the president.

Scaramucci described them as “Vichy Republicans” on CNN’s “New Day.”

“Remember the Vichy Republic?” he asked host Alisyn Camerota in video Mediaite shared online. “When Hitler took over Paris and took over France, there was a Vichy group of French that were helping him administrate the French government.”

Camerota called it “a strong charge.”

“I’m not comparing anybody to Hitler,” Scaramucci replied. “I’m just suggesting that they’re falling in line in a way that is absolutely despicable as it relates to the Constitution.” 

Scaramucci also accused current Republicans of “writing profiles in cowardice.”

“Five years from now, people are going to look back and say, ’OK, what were you actually thinking when you were telling those lies about Ukraine or when you were telling those lies for President Trump? What were you actually thinking?′ And there’s going to be no answer for that,” he said.

“The only answer they can come up with is, ‘Well, I wanted to stay in power. I was afraid of a presidential tweet. I was afraid to be intimidated by the president and I thought it was the right thing to do to look loyal in a situation where there’s great illegality going on,’” Scaramucci added. “They’re taking cover with each other so there’s comfort in a crowd. So if one or two of them break out from the crowd, then you’ll see a cascade. But it’s just ridiculous what’s going on.”

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Andy Puzder: Nancy Pelosi’s USMCA, Big Labor problem – Will Trump win this one after all?

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106109445001_6106108658001-vs Andy Puzder: Nancy Pelosi's USMCA, Big Labor problem – Will Trump win this one after all? fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Andy Puzder 8a970530-1142-5584-bb20-bed76dfaf211 /FOX NEWS/WORLD/GLOBAL ECONOMY/Trade

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a problem. If she holds a vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade agreement President Trump negotiated to replace NAFTA, passage could appear as a victory for the president in the midst of highly partisan impeachment proceedings. On the other hand, if she fails to hold a vote, she could face blame for leading a do nothing Congress. Given the trade pacts benefits for American workers, that failure could cost Democrats the House in 2020.

According to the United States International Trade Commission, the USMCA would increase GDP by $68.2 billion and employment by 176,000 jobs. It would “likely have a positive impact on U.S. trade, both with USMCA partners and with the rest of the world” benefiting “all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy.” The largest “gains in output, exports, wages, and employment” would be in the manufacturing sector. That matters in those industrial swing states. No wonder it likely would pass with overwhelming bipartisan support, if Pelosi simply called it up for a vote.

So why is the speaker delaying a vote? President Trump has a theory. Speaking to reporters last week, he said “[e]verybody knows it is a great deal. She knows it is a great deal, she’s said it. She hasn’t wanted to do it because, I understand, a couple of the unions, the AFL-CIO, they are asking her to hold it for a while because it’ll make Trump look bad.”

ALASKA GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY: US-MEXICO-CANADA TRADE DEAL WOULD BRING GREAT BENEFITS – DEMS SHOULD OK IT

On Nov. 7, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council sent a letter signed by 12 union leaders warning House members that they would oppose passage of the USMCA in its current form. Despite the positive impact the USMCA would have for American workers, big labor claims that it fails to sufficiently protect workers — in Mexico.

The USMCA stands as stark evidence that President Trump has lived up to his campaign promise to fight for American workers. Its passage would stand as a victory for President Trump, a Congress unable to accomplish much else and, most importantly, for American workers.

The unions are insisting that trade pact require the Mexican government to implement a program of labor inspections that “will free Mexican workers to challenge protection contracts.” Their purported concern is that “[t]he situation of workers can only be improved when they have the right to join together freely for collective action.” The theory is that if Mexico fails to protect its workers, Mexican labor will be cheaper and out-compete American labor on price.

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Fair enough. That’s certainly what happened under NAFTA. So, what protections does the USMCA actually provide?

Well, among other things, it requires that the parties implement reforms to their labor laws that provide for the “effective right to collectively bargain” and guarantee their workers’ “freedom of association” including the “right to strike.” It prohibits “all forms of forced and compulsory labor.” It requires that the parties adopt and maintain labor standards as recognized by the International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Rights at Work and that the parties not “waive or otherwise derogate” from their labor laws. It also includes first of its kind language requiring that the parties address violence against workers who exercise their labor rights.

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There is an appendix covering “Worker Representation In Collective Bargaining in Mexico” which specifies extensive actions Mexico must take to assure workers’ rights. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently sent a letter to congressional Democrats stating that Mexico has met its USMCA commitments on labor issues and has allocated additional funds to implement USMCA required changes in its labor laws. To further assuage the unions’ concerns with enforcement, Mexico’s undersecretary of foreign relations for North America has stated that Mexico is open to adding labor-dispute panels.

Can union leaders really enhance their status as defenders of American workers by opposing a trade deal that so obviously benefits those workers? 

The USMCA’s labor protections are comprehensive. The unions’ demands are superfluous, but perhaps not surprising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 union membership hit a historic low of 10.5 percent. Membership in both private (6.4 percent) and public sector (33.9 percent) unions hit historic lows.

The reality is that union leaders are desperately seeking relevance. They must claim at least some meaningful input into this trade deal – negotiated by a president whose election they opposed. Otherwise, passage could exacerbate their growing irrelevance. But can union leaders really enhance their status as defenders of American workers by opposing a trade deal that so obviously benefits those workers?

Labor leaders would be well served to recall that ignoring the appeal of a candidate who promised to fight for fairer trade deals didn’t work out so well in the last election. Despite claims by AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka in 2016 that union members armed with “the facts” would “tumble down” candidate Trump’s “house of cards,” 42 percent of union households voted for President Trump, helping propel him into the White House. It was the strongest union support for any Republican president since Ronald Reagan.

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The USMCA stands as stark evidence that President Trump has lived up to his campaign promise to fight for American workers. Its passage would stand as a victory for President Trump, a Congress unable to accomplish much else and, most importantly, for American workers. If the unions can’t get on board with that, so be it.

Speaker Pelosi, it’s time to hold that vote and bring the deal home.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106109445001_6106108658001-vs Andy Puzder: Nancy Pelosi's USMCA, Big Labor problem – Will Trump win this one after all? fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Andy Puzder 8a970530-1142-5584-bb20-bed76dfaf211 /FOX NEWS/WORLD/GLOBAL ECONOMY/Trade   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106109445001_6106108658001-vs Andy Puzder: Nancy Pelosi's USMCA, Big Labor problem – Will Trump win this one after all? fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Andy Puzder 8a970530-1142-5584-bb20-bed76dfaf211 /FOX NEWS/WORLD/GLOBAL ECONOMY/Trade

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Seahawks take over first place in NFC West, beat Vikings 37-30

Westlake Legal Group MNF-cropped-246am Seahawks take over first place in NFC West, beat Vikings 37-30 Tim Booth fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/minnesota-vikings fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 035a6eef-e856-5463-ba05-e6986e6e68e3

By the time the NFL playoffs arrive, the Seattle Seahawks are going to feel just fine in a close, tight game.

Even when they’re comfortably ahead, the Seahawks have a way of making the final minutes more than a little unnerving.

“Close games are cool, aren’t they? I like them,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll joked. “Maybe the 17 points was too much. Maybe we shouldn’t have been ahead by that much.”

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS’ TYLER LOCKETT ASKED SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS FOR HELP AFTER BRUTAL SHIN INJURY: REPORT

Thanks to the combo of Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson, and one big strike from Russell Wilson, the Seahawks built a big second-half lead before holding off the Minnesota Vikings for a 37-30 win Monday night.

Penny scored one touchdown rushing and one receiving, and Wilson hit David Moore on a 60-yard touchdown pass as the Seahawks scored 24 straight points to take control before needing to hold on late as the Vikings tried to rally.

Seattle (10-2) moved into a tie with San Francisco atop of the NFC West but holds the tiebreaker. The Seahawks have the inside track to the division title with four games left.

“Just couldn’t be more excited to have that kind of win and put us at 10 wins, that’s a nice spot for this time,” Carroll said. “We kick it into the fourth quarter and now it’s finish time.”

Minnesota (8-4) fell a game behind Green Bay in the NFC North and is only one game ahead of the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card race. They lost star running back Dalvin Cook to a shoulder injury when he fumbled midway through the third quarter in what became a major turning point.

SEAHAWKS KNOW 49ERS FROM UNBEATEN RANKS WITH 27-24 OT WIN

Cook said he believes he should be able to play next week and took responsibility for the fumble.

“Everybody acts like this is the end of the world, we lost one game tonight,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. “We’re 8-4 we have four games left, three division games. This isn’t the end of the world, we still have a lot of good football left to play.”

Wilson wasn’t great, but he came up with key plays as Seattle won its fifth straight. He had a forgettable first-half moment trying to bat down a deflected pass only to watch Anthony Harris intercept the ball and return it for a touchdown. Wilson was 21 of 31 for 240 yards.

The key was the running of Penny and Chris Carson. Seattle rushed for 218 yards, the most allowed by Minnesota this season. Carson had 102, including a 1-yard TD. Penny added 74. The Vikings were giving up just 94 yards per game rushing.

“Our running game has been a staple of our offense. That’s our foundation and both of those guys are amazing backs. They’re really coming on,” Seattle offensive lineman Duane Brown said.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins was 22 of 38 for 276 yards but couldn’t connect with Irv Smith Jr. on fourth-and-3 at the Vikings 42 with 2:31 left. Jason Myers’ 36-yard field goal with 21 seconds left provided the final margin for Seattle.

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“I think we have a football team that can go on the road in a tough environment and get a win. I think this is an opportunity we missed. It’s disappointing,” Cousins said.

It was a wild second half featuring 40 combined points and four key turnovers — three by Minnesota.

Seattle pulled even at 17 on Penny’s 1-yard TD run. On Minnesota’s first play of the next possession, Cook was stripped by Rasheem Green, and Bradley McDougald recovered. It was the first of two critical turnovers that led to 10 points for Seattle.

The Seahawks were held to a field goal following Cook’s fumble but took a 27-17 lead on their next possession when Moore ran free through the Vikings secondary and Wilson hit him in stride. Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes appeared to think he had safety help over the top, but no one was there as Moore sprinted for his second TD catch of the season on the next-to-last play of the third quarter.

The first play of the fourth quarter was forgettable for the Vikings as well. Cousins’ pass for Stefon Diggs was intercepted by Tre Flowers, who may have gotten away with pass interference, but deflected the pass and made a juggling interception at the Minnesota 25. Three plays later, Wilson found Penny on a screen pass and Seattle had a 17-point lead.

Minnesota’s rally started with Seattle’s own blown coverage as Cousins hit Laquon Treadwell for a 58-yard TD. Seattle seemed poised to add on, helped by a fake punt that Travis Homer took for 29 yards, but DK Metcalf fumbled and the Vikings recovered at their 28 with 9:34 left.

It took barely 2 minutes for Minnesota to pull within 34-30 as Cousins connected with Kyle Rudolph for a 3-yard touchdown and another brilliant one-handed catch by the Vikings’ tight end. But that was as close as Minnesota would get.

“We’re in control and that’s a great thing. We like having that,” Wilson said.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group MNF-cropped-246am Seahawks take over first place in NFC West, beat Vikings 37-30 Tim Booth fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/minnesota-vikings fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 035a6eef-e856-5463-ba05-e6986e6e68e3   Westlake Legal Group MNF-cropped-246am Seahawks take over first place in NFC West, beat Vikings 37-30 Tim Booth fox-news/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks fox-news/sports/nfl/minnesota-vikings fox-news/sports/nfl fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 035a6eef-e856-5463-ba05-e6986e6e68e3

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‘It Just Isn’t Working’: Test Scores Cast Doubt on U.S. Education Reform

Westlake Legal Group 02PISA-facebookJumbo ‘It Just Isn’t Working’: Test Scores Cast Doubt on U.S. Education Reform United States Tests and Examinations Reading and Writing Skills (Education) National Assessment of Educational Progress Education (K-12)

The performance of American teenagers in reading and math has been stagnant since 2000, according to the latest results of a rigorous international exam, despite a decades-long effort to raise standards and help students compete with peers across the globe.

And the achievement gap in reading between high and low performers is widening. Although the top quarter of American students have improved their performance on the exam since 2012, the bottom 10th percentile lost ground, according to an analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics, a federal agency.

The disappointing results from the exam, the Program for International Student Assessment, were announced on Tuesday and follow those from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an American test that recently showed that two-thirds of children were not proficient readers.

Over all, American 15-year-olds who took the PISA test scored slightly above students from peer nations in reading but below the middle of the pack in math.

Low-performing students have been the focus of decades of bipartisan education reform efforts, costing many billions of dollars, that have resulted in a string of national programs — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Common Core State Standards, the Every Student Succeeds Act — but uneven results.

There is no consensus on why the performance of struggling students is declining. Education experts argue vociferously about a range of potential causes, including school segregation, limited school choice, funding inequities, family poverty, too much focus on test prep and a dearth of instruction in basic skills like phonics.

About a fifth of American 15-year-olds scored so low on the PISA test that it appeared they had not mastered reading skills expected of a 10-year-old, according to Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the exam.

Those students, he said, face “pretty grim prospects” on the job market.

Daniel Koretz, an expert on testing and a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said recent test results showed that “it’s really time to rethink the entire drift of policy reform because it just isn’t working.”

Because the United States lacks a centralized system for teacher training or distributing quality instructional materials to schools, Professor Koretz said, states and districts did not always effectively carry out the Common Core or other reforms.

The Common Core, which began almost a decade ago, has been a national effort by governors, state education chiefs, philanthropists and school reformers to enrich the American curriculum and help students compete with children around the world. Its priorities include increasing the amount of nonfiction reading, writing persuasive essays using evidence drawn from texts and adding conceptual depth in math.

The effort became a political lightning rod, with the left opposing a new generation of standardized tests tied to the Core, and the right seeing the effort as an unwelcome intrusion into local control of schools. Some states that initially signed on to the Core later rejected it.

Even in those places that stuck with the effort, the curricular changes that flowed from the Common Core could be made without necessarily improving the quality of teaching, Professor Koretz said.

He suggested a renewed focus on classroom instruction, and on providing students and families who are poor, or are recent immigrants, with support like social workers and translators.

The most recent PISA test was given in 2018 to 600,000 15-year-olds in 79 education systems around the world, and included both public and private school students. In the United States, a demographically representative sample of 4,800 students from 215 schools took the test, which is given every three years.

Although math and science were also tested, about half of the questions were devoted to reading, the focus of the 2018 exam. Students were asked to determine when written evidence supported a particular claim and to distinguish between fact and opinion, among other tasks.

The top performers in reading were four provinces of China — Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Also outperforming the United States were Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, Estonia, Canada, Finland and Ireland. The United Kingdom, Japan and Australia performed similarly to the United States.

Among the countries that demonstrated improvement on the test were Portugal, Peru and Colombia.

There were some bright spots for the United States: Achievement gaps between native-born and immigrant students were smaller than such gaps in peer nations.

Mr. Schleicher, of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said it was a common misconception that socioeconomic achievement gaps in the United States were much larger than those in the rest of the world. Three percent of American children from poor families were top performers in reading, compared with an average of 4 percent of poor children among O.E.C.D. countries.

In math, socioeconomic status explained 16 percent of the variation in American performance, similar to the average of 14 percent across O.E.C.D. nations.

Mr. Schleicher said that differences in school quality affected the performance of American students less than it affected the performance of students in many other nations — meaning that in the United States, there is more achievement diversity within schools than across schools.

Some education leaders said they saw no reason to drastically change policy directions.

William G. McCallum, a mathematician and one of the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards, said he remained hopeful that a strategy of rigorous standards, quality classroom materials and effective teacher training could improve student achievement.

He noted that Washington, D.C., which has been committed to the Common Core, had recently demonstrated impressive performance gains.

“Frustration is understandable,” he said of low test results. But, he added, “Maybe this is just a really hard problem.”

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Why the press was blind to recognize Warren’s Medicare blunder

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111046113001_6111047755001-vs Why the press was blind to recognize Warren’s Medicare blunder Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article 1e71a0b6-ab43-5e4b-ba9d-4b413c3898ac

The media didn’t wake up until Elizabeth Warren started sinking in the polls.

For much of the year, she basically skated on a health care plan that is political suicide. But as the Massachusetts senator surged toward front-runner status, the poll-obsessed press essentially said hey, it’s working. Medicare for All is popular with the party’s progressive wing, Warren has a plan for everything, they’re all geniuses.

And yet, here was a leading Democratic candidate promising to run against President Trump by taking away private health insurance from 150 million Americans. It didn’t take a political genius to realize that this would be an unmitigated disaster in a general election.

WARREN IN POLLING FREE FALL

But now that Warren has dropped from 27 to 16 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling average, you can hear the sound of pundits slapping their foreheads across America: Holy cow, what a blunder for her to embrace Medicare for All.

The Washington Post, in a front-page piece Sunday, describes the “political turbulence that Warren has experienced in recent weeks as she has attempted to extricate herself from a policy dilemma that has blunted her steady rise to the top ranks of the Democratic nominating contest.”

The New York Times warned the other day that “prominent Democratic leaders are sounding increasingly vocal alarms to try to halt political momentum for ‘Medicare for All’…rather than enter an election year with a sweeping health care proposal that many see as a liability for candidates up and down the ballot.”

And the Daily Beast, describing Warren’s “self-inflicted wound,” quoted an unnamed aide to a 2020 Democrat calling the proposal “f*** poison. You touch it, you turn to dust.”

Yet the press should have been all over this months ago. There was a blind spot, it seems to me, because journalists spend too much time on liberal Twitter, where government-run health insurance is beloved. And Warren did not get the usual front-runner scrutiny as her substantive campaign caught on, certainly not compared to the pummeling of Joe Biden.

And the biggest beneficiary has been Pete Buttigieg, a relative moderate who has campaigned against her approach.

The senator had signed onto the Bernie Sanders plan to make sure he couldn’t outflank her on the left, and now she’s paying the price.

Obviously, articles were written about Medicare for All and how it might be risky. Moderators dutifully asked Warren about it in several debates, and she repeatedly ducked questions on whether middle-class taxes would have to rise, focusing instead on what she claimed would be lower costs. But after each debate most journalists just moved on, and there was little follow-up in the Trump-centric environment.

Finally, Warren unveiled a gargantuan $20-trillion tax plan that simply fueled questions about paying for the massive program. And then she retreated, saying she wouldn’t push Medicare for All until the third year of her presidency—ostensibly to allow more transition time but in reality to slide the plan onto the back burner.

Warren and Sanders argue that they need big bold ideas to energize their voters. But there’s a reason that Nancy Pelosi says she’s not a fan of the plan, and that Barack Obama cautions left-leaning Democrats about touting a revolution.

The Post story said Warren had been warned that Medicare for All was a time bomb. Barney Frank, her fellow Massachusetts liberal, said he’d privately told her that backing Bernie on health care was “a terrible mistake” and that her shift should have come earlier.

“The irony is that a candidate whose political identity has been built in part on her reputation as a policy wonk — a potential president who boasts of having a plan for nearly every challenge facing everyday Americans — has been tripped up by a policy issue that has dominated politics and defined her party for years.”

The Times piece says many in the party “are gravely concerned about the impact that having a presidential nominee who backs Medicare for All at the top of the ticket would have on the most vulnerable Democratic candidates.” The paper quotes Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as saying, “When you say Medicare for all, it’s a risk. It makes people feel afraid.”

Many Democrats with short memories forget how hard it was for Obama to pass the Affordable Care Act by a single vote, and that the flawed program has finally become popular after Trump repeatedly tried to abolish it. Allowing people to opt into Medicare, as Biden, Buttigieg and some others favor, would be a significant step forward for the party. Junking the program in favor of mandated government care — taking away people’s choice — was always pie in the sky.

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But until Warren lost her polling lead, that obvious fact remained hidden in plain sight.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111046113001_6111047755001-vs Why the press was blind to recognize Warren’s Medicare blunder Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article 1e71a0b6-ab43-5e4b-ba9d-4b413c3898ac   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111046113001_6111047755001-vs Why the press was blind to recognize Warren’s Medicare blunder Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article 1e71a0b6-ab43-5e4b-ba9d-4b413c3898ac

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China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West

Westlake Legal Group 00CHINA-DNA1-facebookJumbo China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West Xinjiang (China) Springer Nature Privacy Muslims and Islam Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Genetics and Heredity Forensic Science Face DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Chinese Academy of Sciences China

TUMXUK, China — In a dusty city in the Xinjiang region on China’s western frontier, the authorities are testing the rules of science.

With a million or more ethnic Uighurs and others from predominantly Muslim minority groups swept up in detentions across Xinjiang, officials in Tumxuk have gathered blood samples from hundreds of Uighurs — part of a mass DNA collection effort dogged by questions about consent and how the data will be used.

In Tumxuk, at least, there is a partial answer: Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face.

The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects. But given the crackdown in Xinjiang, experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs.

In the long term, experts say, it may even be possible for the Communist government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.

Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China’s Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples in Xinjiang.

In papers, the Chinese scientists said they followed norms set by international associations of scientists, which would require that the men in Tumxuk (pronounced TUM-shook) gave their blood willingly. But in Xinjiang, many people have no choice. The government collects samples under the veneer of a mandatory health checkup program, according to Uighurs who have fled the country. Those placed in internment camps — two of which are in Tumxuk — also have little choice.

The police prevented reporters from The New York Times from interviewing Tumxuk residents, making verifying consent impossible. Many residents had vanished in any case. On the road to one of the internment camps, an entire neighborhood had been bulldozed into rubble.

New York Times reporters in Tumxuk recorded video of a large number of destroyed Uighur buildings along a road that led to a re-education camp.

Growing numbers of scientists and human rights activists say the Chinese government is exploiting the openness of the international scientific community to harness research into the human genome for questionable purposes.

Already, China is exploring using facial recognition technology to sort people by ethnicity. It is also researching how to use DNA to tell if a person is a Uighur. Research on the genetics behind the faces of Tumxuk’s men could help bridge the two.

The Chinese government is building “essentially technologies used for hunting people,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who tracks Chinese interest in the technology.

In the world of science, Dr. Munsterhjelm said, “there’s a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity.”

Sketching someone’s face based solely on a DNA sample sounds like science fiction. It isn’t.

The process is called DNA phenotyping. Scientists use it to analyze genes for traits like skin color, eye color and ancestry. A handful of companies and scientists are trying to perfect the science to create facial images sharp and accurate enough to identify criminals and victims.

The Maryland police used it last year to identify a murder victim. In 2015, the police in North Carolina arrested a man on two counts of murder after crime-scene DNA indicated the killer had fair skin, brown or hazel eyes, dark hair, and little evidence of freckling. The man pleaded guilty.

Despite such examples, experts widely question phenotyping’s effectiveness. Currently, it often produces facial images that are too smooth or indistinct to look like the face being replicated. DNA cannot indicate other factors that determine how people look, such as age or weight. DNA can reveal gender and ancestry, but the technology can be hit or miss when it comes to generating an image as specific as a face.

Phenotyping also raises ethical issues, said Pilar Ossorio, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The police could use it to round up large numbers of people who resemble a suspect, or use it to target ethnic groups. And the technology raises fundamental issues of consent from those who never wanted to be in a database to begin with.

“What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, ‘How could anyone be worried about these technologies?’” Dr. Ossorio said.

With the ability to reconstruct faces, the Chinese police would have yet another genetic tool for social control. The authorities have already gathered millions of DNA samples in Xinjiang. They have also collected data from the hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and members of other minority groups locked up in detention camps in Xinjiang as part of a campaign to stop terrorism. Chinese officials have depicted the camps as benign facilities that offer vocational training, though documents describe prisonlike conditions, while testimonies from many who have been inside cite overcrowding and torture.

Even beyond the Uighurs, China has the world’s largest DNA database, with more than 80 million profiles as of July, according to Chinese news reports.

“If I were to find DNA at a crime scene, the first thing I would do is to find a match in the 80 million data set,” said Peter Claes, an imaging specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, who has studied DNA-based facial reconstruction for a decade. “But what do you do if you don’t find a match?”

Though the technology is far from accurate, he said, “DNA phenotyping can bring a solution.”

To unlock the genetic mysteries behind the human face, the police in China turned to Chinese scientists with connections to leading institutions in Europe.

One of them was Tang Kun, a specialist in human genetic diversity at the Shanghai-based Partner Institute for Computational Biology, which was founded in part by the Max Planck Society, a top research group in Germany.

The German organization also provided $22,000 a year in funding to Dr. Tang because he conducted research at an institute affiliated with it, said Christina Beck, a spokeswoman for the Max Planck Society. Dr. Tang said the grant had run out before he began working with the police, according to Dr. Beck.

Another expert involved in the research was Liu Fan, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Genomics who is also an adjunct assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Both were named as authors of a 2018 study on Uighur faces in the journal Hereditas (Beijing), published by the government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences. They were also listed as authors of a study examining DNA samples taken last year from 612 Uighurs in Tumxuk that appeared in April in Human Genetics, a journal published by Springer Nature, which also publishes the influential journal Nature.

Both papers named numerous other authors, including Li Caixia, chief forensic scientist at the Ministry of Public Security.

In an interview, Dr. Tang said he did not know why he was named as an author of the April paper, though he said it might have been because his graduate students worked on it. He said he had ended his affiliation with the Chinese police in 2017 because he felt their biological samples and research were subpar.

“To be frank, you overestimate how genius the Chinese police is,” said Dr. Tang, who had recently shut down a business focused on DNA testing and ancestry.

Like other geneticists, Dr. Tang has long been fascinated by Uighurs because their mix of European and East Asian features can help scientists identify genetic variants associated with physical traits. In his earlier studies, he said, he collected blood samples himself from willing subjects.

Dr. Tang said the police approached him in 2016, offering access to DNA samples and funding. At the time, he was a professor at the Partner Institute for Computational Biology, which is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences but was founded in 2005 in part with funding from the Max Planck Society and still receives some grants and recommendations for researchers from the German group.

Dr. Beck, the Max Planck spokeswoman, said Dr. Tang had told the organization that he began working with the police in 2017, after it had stopped funding his research a year earlier.

But an employment ad on a government website suggests the relationship began earlier. The Ministry of Public Security placed the ad in 2016 seeking a researcher to help explore the “DNA of physical appearance traits.” It said the person would report to Dr. Tang and to Dr. Li, the ministry’s chief forensic scientist.

Dr. Tang did not respond to additional requests for comment. The Max Planck Society said Dr. Tang had not reported his work with the police as required while holding a position at the Partner Institute, which he did not leave until last year.

The Max Planck Society “takes this issue very seriously” said will ask its ethics council to review the matter, Dr. Beck said.

It is not clear when Dr. Liu, the assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center, began working with the Chinese police. Dr. Liu says in his online résumé that he is a visiting professor at the Ministry of Public Security at a lab for “on-site traceability technology.”

In 2015, while holding a position with Erasmus, he also took a post at the Beijing Institute of Genomics. Two months later, the Beijing institute signed an agreement with the Chinese police to establish an innovation center to study cutting-edge technologies “urgently needed by the public security forces,” according to the institute’s website.

Dr. Liu did not respond to requests for comment.

Erasmus said that Dr. Liu remained employed by the university as a part-time researcher and that his position in China was “totally independent” of the one in the Netherlands. It added that Dr. Liu had not received any funding from the university for the research papers, though he listed his affiliation with Erasmus on the studies. Erasmus made inquiries about his research and determined there was no need for further action, according to a spokeswoman.

Erasmus added that it could not be held responsible “for any research that has not taken place under the auspices of Erasmus” by Dr. Liu, even though it continued to employ him.

Still, Dr. Liu’s work suggests that sources of funding could be mingled.

In September, he was one of seven authors of a paper on height in Europeans published in the journal Forensic Science International. The paper said it was backed by a grant from the European Union — and by a grant from China’s Ministry of Public Security.

Dr. Tang said he was unaware of the origins of the DNA samples examined in the two papers, the 2018 paper in Hereditas (Beijing) and the Human Genetics paper published in April. The publishers of the papers said they were unaware, too.

Hereditas (Beijing) did not respond to a request for comment. Human Genetics said it had to trust scientists who said they had received informed consent from donors. Local ethics committees are generally responsible for verifying that the rules were followed, it said.

Springer Nature said on Monday that it had strengthened its guidelines on papers involving vulnerable groups of people and that it would add notes of concern to previously published papers.

In the papers, the authors said their methods had been approved by the ethics committee of the Institute of Forensic Science of China. That organization is part of the Ministry of Public Security, China’s police.

With 161,000 residents, most of them Uighurs, the agricultural settlement of Tumxuk is governed by the powerful Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a quasi-military organization formed by decommissioned soldiers sent to Xinjiang in the 1950s to develop the region.

Credit…Human Genetics

The state news media described Tumxuk, which is dotted with police checkpoints, as one of the “gateways and major battlefields for Xinjiang’s security work.”

In January 2018, the town got a high-tech addition: a forensic DNA lab run by the Institute of Forensic Science of China, the same police research group responsible for the work on DNA phenotyping.

Procurement documents showed the lab relied on software systems made by Thermo Fisher Scientific, a Massachusetts company, to work with genetic sequencers that analyze DNA fragments. Thermo Fisher announced in February that it would suspend sales to the region, saying in a statement that it had decided to do so after undertaking “fact-specific assessments.”

For the Human Genetics study, samples were processed by a higher-end sequencer made by an American firm, Illumina, according to the authors. It is not clear who owned the sequencer. Illumina did not respond to requests for comment.

The police sought to prevent two Times reporters from conducting interviews in Tumxuk, stopping them upon arrival at the airport for interrogation. Government minders then tailed the reporters and later forced them to delete all photos, audio and video recordings taken on their phones in Tumxuk.

Uighurs and human rights groups have said the authorities collected DNA samples, images of irises and other personal data during mandatory health checks.

In an interview, Zhou Fang, the head of the health commission in Tumxuk, said residents voluntarily accepted free health checks under a public health program known as Physicals for All and denied that DNA samples were collected.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” he said.

The questions angered Zhao Hai, the deputy head of Tumxuk’s foreign affairs office. He called a Times reporter “shameless” for asking a question linking the health checks with the collection of DNA samples.

“Do you think America has the ability to do these free health checks?” he asked. “Only the Communist Party can do that!”

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North Korea warns US will choose its ‘Christmas gift’ if Trump fails to meet looming nuclear deadline

Westlake Legal Group AP19329102479800-1 North Korea warns US will choose its 'Christmas gift' if Trump fails to meet looming nuclear deadline fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 378c788e-734f-552b-8d31-f17e18f5c722

The North Korean foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Washington would decide what “Christmas gift” it would receive if the United States fails to change its “hostile policies” on denuclearization before the end of the year, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

AMERICAN CRYPTOCURRENCY EXPERT CHARGED WITH HELPING NORTH KOREA EVADE US SANCTIONS: DOJ

Ri Thae Song, North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs in charge of relations with the United States, warned of an approaching end-of-year deadline, saying that President Trump’s recent calls for more talks is “nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the U.S.,” Reuters reported.

He referred to North Korea by the initials of its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The DPRK has done its utmost with maximum perseverance not to backtrack from the important steps it has taken on its own initiative,” Ri said in his statement. “What is left to be done now is the U.S. option and it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”

North Korea has been ramping up missile tests and other military demonstrations in recent months in an apparent pressure tactic over the talks. Negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Kim Jong-un and Trump in Vietnam which broke down after the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

Kim later issued his end-of-year deadline and has also said the North would seek a “new path” if the U.S. persists with sanctions and pressure. Working-level talks last month in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude.”

On Tuesday, Ri did not clarify what he meant by a “Christmas gift,” but a Reuters breaking news editor speculated on Twitter that North Korea could be threatening a satellite launch, an outright ICBM test, a SLBM test far from Korean Peninsula or a nuclear test.

In a November 18 statement, Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan suggested North Korea had no interest in meeting with Trump at another summit unless the U.S. offered substantial concessions before the deadline. The statement issued through KCNA came in response to a tweet from Trump that urged Kim to “act quickly, get the deal done” and hinted at another summit between them, saying “See you soon!”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

“Three rounds of DPRK-U.S. summit meetings and talks were held since June last year, but no particular improvement has been achieved in the DPRK-U.S. relations,” the statement began. “The U.S. only seeks to earn time, pretending it has made progress in settling the issue of the Korean Peninsula.”

“We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us. As we have got nothing in return, we will no longer gift the U.S. president with something he can boast of, but get compensation for the successes that President Trump is proud of as his administrative achievements.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19329102479800-1 North Korea warns US will choose its 'Christmas gift' if Trump fails to meet looming nuclear deadline fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 378c788e-734f-552b-8d31-f17e18f5c722   Westlake Legal Group AP19329102479800-1 North Korea warns US will choose its 'Christmas gift' if Trump fails to meet looming nuclear deadline fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 378c788e-734f-552b-8d31-f17e18f5c722

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Rachel Maddow Reveals What Republican Voters Really Want In Scathing Takedown

Westlake Legal Group 5de60724250000b43cd2eed5 Rachel Maddow Reveals What Republican Voters Really Want In Scathing Takedown

Rachel Maddow is warning Democratic candidates that it might not make a whole lot of sense for them to even try to reach Republican base voters in next year’s election. 

“In political terms, we are left with this awkward evidence of what Republican voters are looking for in a candidate right now,” the MSNBC host said.

Maddow noted that two GOP lawmakers ― Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) ― were reelected last year despite being under indictment and facing potential prison sentences. 

“This is an indelible thing: Heavily Republican districts easily reelected both of these men to Congress despite the criminal charges they were actively facing,” she said. 

Collins has since pleaded guilty and resigned; Hunter is planning to plead guilty on Tuesday and is already facing calls to resign.

Both men could go to jail.  

Maddow wondered what the pundits would make of that trend as they work with Democratic candidates on appealing to the GOP base in 2020. 

“What do you advise people how to compete with that sort of electorate, with those sort of values from Republican voters right now?” she wondered, then offered some mocking advice of her own: 

“Have you considered doing a sort of mockup mug shot of yourself? Do you wanna open a legal defense fund now and brag about it? Would you consider wearing sort of a fake ankle bracelet on the trail so you can rail against how the deep state is after you?”

See her full takedown below:

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Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee

An execution is scheduled to take place in Tennessee Thursday for a blind death row inmate who fatally set his estranged girlfriend afire, reports said Monday.

Lee Hall, who is also known as Leroy Hall Jr., is scheduled to be executed for setting fire to Traci Crozier as she sat in her car in Chattanooga. At the time of the killing, he could see.

BILL BARR SAYS HE’D TAKE FIGHT TO RESTART FEDERAL EXECUTIONS TO SUPREME COURT IF NEEDED

“She felt every bit of it. She was awake for 36 hours. That’s what really bothers me. She knew she was going to die.”

— Staci Crozier Wooten, sister of Traci Crozier speaking to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2014

Hall’s lawyers say he would be just the second blind person to be executed in the U.S. since 1976. He became functionally blind in prison because of improperly treated glaucoma, the report said.

Clarence Ray Allen, who was legally blind and was confined to a wheelchair, was executed by lethal injection in 2006 for ordering three killings while serving time in his prison cell.

Westlake Legal Group 5ae14fb7-leroyhalljr-cropped-1220am Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee Jack Durschlag fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 55a99287-a70e-557f-8755-b7c227b9caf4

Lee Hall, also known as Leroy Hall Jr., a blind death row inmate, is scheduled to be executed Thursday in Tennessee for the 1991 death of his estranged girlfriend. (Tennessee Department of Correction via AP)

“If confined to prison for the remainder of his natural life, Mr. Hall bears no practical risk of harm to anyone,” his lawyers wrote in a court filing last year, according to the Nashville Scene.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR ACCUSES THE LEFT OF SYSTEMATIC ‘SABOTAGE’ OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

His lawyers added “the spectacle of his execution” would “offend humanity.”

Hall has chosen to die by the electric chair. He had a choice allowed for inmates convicted before January of 1999.

“So that when that juice is going in his arm, he won’t even know when it is going to hit,” Crozier Wooten, his sister, told the Times Free Press in 2014. “And he has to suffer while he sits there and wonders. The longer, the better. Traci had to suffer, and now he needs to suffer.”

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Hall’s lawyers are requesting Gov. Bill Lee delay the execution so the courts can consider claims one of the jurors in the case was biased, according to the Nashville Scene.

“Juror A was not a fair and impartial juror,” the lawyers wrote. “Her presence on Lee Hall’s jury is a structural error in the judicial process requiring automatic reversal.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group leroyhalljr-cropped-1220am Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee Jack Durschlag fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 55a99287-a70e-557f-8755-b7c227b9caf4   Westlake Legal Group leroyhalljr-cropped-1220am Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee Jack Durschlag fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 55a99287-a70e-557f-8755-b7c227b9caf4

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Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee

An execution is scheduled to take place in Tennessee Thursday for a blind death row inmate who fatally set his estranged girlfriend afire, reports said Monday.

Lee Hall, who is also known as Leroy Hall Jr., is scheduled to be executed for setting fire to Traci Crozier as she sat in her car in Chattanooga. At the time of the killing, he could see.

BILL BARR SAYS HE’D TAKE FIGHT TO RESTART FEDERAL EXECUTIONS TO SUPREME COURT IF NEEDED

“She felt every bit of it. She was awake for 36 hours. That’s what really bothers me. She knew she was going to die.”

— Staci Crozier Wooten, sister of Traci Crozier speaking to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2014

Hall’s lawyers say he would be just the second blind person to be executed in the U.S. since 1976. He became functionally blind in prison because of improperly treated glaucoma, the report said.

Clarence Ray Allen, who was legally blind and was confined to a wheelchair, was executed by lethal injection in 2006 for ordering three killings while serving time in his prison cell.

Westlake Legal Group 5ae14fb7-leroyhalljr-cropped-1220am Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee

Lee Hall, also known as Leroy Hall Jr., a blind death row inmate, is scheduled to be executed Thursday in Tennessee for the 1991 death of his estranged girlfriend. (Tennessee Department of Correction via AP)

“If confined to prison for the remainder of his natural life, Mr. Hall bears no practical risk of harm to anyone,” his lawyers wrote in a court filing last year, according to the Nashville Scene.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR ACCUSES THE LEFT OF SYSTEMATIC ‘SABOTAGE’ OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

His lawyers added “the spectacle of his execution” would “offend humanity.”

Hall has chosen to die by the electric chair. He had a choice allowed for inmates convicted before January of 1999.

“So that when that juice is going in his arm, he won’t even know when it is going to hit,” Crozier Wooten, his sister, told the Times Free Press in 2014. “And he has to suffer while he sits there and wonders. The longer, the better. Traci had to suffer, and now he needs to suffer.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Hall’s lawyers are requesting Gov. Bill Lee delay the execution so the courts can consider claims one of the jurors in the case was biased, according to the Nashville Scene.

“Juror A was not a fair and impartial juror,” the lawyers wrote. “Her presence on Lee Hall’s jury is a structural error in the judicial process requiring automatic reversal.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group leroyhalljr-cropped-1220am Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee   Westlake Legal Group leroyhalljr-cropped-1220am Blind death row inmate set to die in Tennessee

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