Not a great look: Failed Iowa caucus app is deeply linked to self-declared winner Buttigieg… and Hillary Clinton

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By Danielle Ryan

An app supposedly meant to ensure quick reporting of the Iowa caucus results was developed by a firm deeply tied to the Democratic establishment and went kaputt at the crucial moment. What are the chances?

It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but Americans can be excused for their distrust of the system after what happened in 2016 – and the facts that have been dug up on the group behind the failed Iowa app won’t do much to quell their suspicions.

The firm in question, rather ironically, is called Shadow Inc. —  and, according to Federal Election Commission filings, it was paid thousands of dollars by Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for “software rights and subscriptions” in July 2019.

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Fast-forward to February 2020, and the app has failed to deliver any reliable results in Iowa, Buttigieg has prematurely declared himself the winner — and #MayorCheat is trending on Twitter.

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Adding to the suspicions surrounding the Iowa debacle is the fact that the company’s CEO, CTO and COO, among others, all previously worked for Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign, according to their LinkedIn profiles. For supporters of Sanders, convinced the DNC is attempting to rig the primary process against him for a second time, the conspiracy theory writes itself.

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Shadow Inc was launched in 2019 by ACRONYM, a digital non-profit founded by one Tara McGowan, who happens to be a huge fan of Buttigieg, tweeting her excitement over his candidacy back in January 2019.

Despite declaring that it“launched” Shadow last year, ACRONYM has suddenly tried to distance itself from the company in the midst of the Iowa debacle. Yet, only a couple of weeks before the caucus disaster, McGowan herself was tweeting proudly about what ACRONYM was “building” together with Shadow. McGowan, by the way, is married to a top Buttigieg advisor.

Raising even more questions, there are rumors that Clinton’s former 2016 campaign manager, Robby Mook, was indirectly involved with the Shadow app. While Mook himself says he doesn’t “know anything” about it and there is no indication that he was involved in its actual development, investigative journalist Lee Fang tweeted that it was Mook’s security company, Defending Digital Democracy, which “vetted” the Iowa caucus app for “integrity.” The New York Times also reported that Mook’s company was involved in testing the app.

Iowa caucus disaster: ‘Technical glitch’ spawns conspiracy theories & Democrats have only themselves to blame

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It’s not like Sanders supporters haven’t been burned by this sort of thing before. It is now widely accepted that the DNC was secretly working to thwart Sanders’ campaign in 2016, in an effort to ensure establishment favorite Hillary Clinton would face off against Trump. It is perfectly plausible to assume the party apparatus might try to do the same again in 2020, albeit with different tactics.

The utter contempt for Sanders among the establishment ranks of the DNC should not be underestimated. Despite the fact that Sanders ultimately supported Clinton in 2016, Clinton herself initially refused to say she would back Sanders if he became the party’s nominee in 2020 — and declared that “nobody likes” the Democratic socialist, who consistently ranks as the most popular politician in the country, but whose socialist-style politics are anathema to corporate centrists.

The Iowa drama is reminiscent of the controversy surrounding the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC in 2016. The determination that Moscow hacked the organization to harm Clinton’s campaign was made almost instantly by Crowdstrike, a private Democratic party contractor with links to an arms manufacturer-funded think tank. You couldn’t even make it up.

For progressive Democrats expecting a Sanders win in Iowa (that prediction based on recent polls in which he enjoyed significant leads), this all looks like blatant, bare-faced corruption. Or, as journalist Kyle Kulinski put it: “This is either record breaking incompetence or it’s an attempt to game the results. Those are the only two options.”

As of the time of writing, it has been 14 hours since the Iowa polls closed, there are still no official results available and Shadow Inc has assured everyone that it sincerely regrets the delay. While Buttigieg has declared victory based on limited data covering only his own campaign, Sanders’ camp has released data covering all candidates, indicating that he won the night.

With such a mess made of the Iowa caucus, and suspicions swirling about Shadow’s mysterious app, whether Sanders won or he didn’t, the DNC has once again ignited a rage in his supporters that it may come to regret.

Progressive Democrats were expecting yesterday’s caucus to potentially get messy, but “Shady app crashes and Pete Buttigieg declares victory before the result probably wasn’t on anyone’s Iowa bingo card.

BRITISH AIRWAYS ENDS ALL FLIGHTS TO CHINA AS VIRUS SPREADS TO MIDDLE EAST

British Airways Ends All Flights To China As Virus Spreads To Middle East

The decision comes after United Airlines said it would temporarily reduce the number of flights between the US and China

Zero Hedge – JANUARY 29, 2020

As the Trump Administration denies plans to shut down all passenger air traffic to China, more airlines around the world are suspending routes, a sign that the coronavirus outbreak could do permanent damage to the industry.

Just hours after the UK Foreign Office warned Britons against traveling to China, British Airways, Britain’s flag carrier, and its second-largest airline in the UK, suspended all flights to China.

British Airways operates direct flights from Heathrow to Beijing and Shanghai, but right now, passengers can’t book flights on those lines until Feb. 29. CNN called it “the most drastic action yet by a major airline” in response to the crisis.

The decision comes after United Airlines said it would temporarily reduce the number of flights between the US and China.

“We have suspended all flights to and from mainland China with immediate effect following advice from the Foreign Office against all but essential travel,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

This comes after United said Tuesday that it had seen a “significant decline in demand” and been forced it to suspend flights from Feb. 1 through Feb. 8 between its US hubs and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In total, 24 round trips have been impacted between Hong Kong to San Francisco and Newark; Beijing to Dulles, O’Hare and Newark; and Shanghai to San Francisco, Newark and O’Hare.

American Airlines, Delta and United all extended change fee waivers through the end of February, while Hong Kong flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said it will reduce the capacity of flights to and from mainland China by half or more until the end of March.

Finland’s Finnair is canceling three weekly flights between Helsinki and Beijing between Feb. 5 and March 29, and two weekly flights between Helsinki and Nanjing between Feb. 8 and March 29, because of the suspension of group travel by Chinese authorities. It will continue to operate flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

There are now 5,974 cases in China, with 1,239 of whom are severely ill, according to state media on Wednesday. Initial theories, put forward by some infectious disease experts, that the mortality rate of the virus is much lower than reflected in press reports because thousands with mild cases are likely toughing it out in their homes. If anything, it looks like the virus is more lethal than we previously believed.

And it’s certainly more infectious.

Per the SCMP, a 48-hour span of no new nCoV infections came to an end Wednesday when Hong Kong authorities announced two more patients tested positive for the potentially deadly illness, bringing the local total to 10, as the HK government suspends high-speed rail travel between the Special Administrative Region and the mainland. The HK Department of Health said the two new patients, an elderly couple, aged 72 and 73, tested positive at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, and, because of their age, fall into the high-risk category of infections. More than 100 people are still in isolation in HK.

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The situation is growing increasingly worrisome in Guangdong province, which is centered around the city of Guangzhou, the fifth-largest in China.

Guangzhou is at the center of a massive conurbation stretching out all the way to Shenzen, and to the other neighboring cities of Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan and several other neighboring provinces. This agglomeration is one of the largest of its kind on Earth, home to more than 100 million. City officials announced five new infections, two locals and three foreigners. With more than 270 confirmed cases, this well-connected and economically important province is behind only Hubei and Zhejiang in terms of number of cases.

Now that several countries have copies of the coronavirus genome, the race for a workable vaccine is intensifying. Russia joined that race on Wednesday after receiving a copy of the virus genome from China, Russian state media reported on Wednesday. The US said on Tuesday that it would take three months to start initial trials for a vaccine that it’s developing, and three further months to gather data.

In Hong Kong, infectious diseases expert Professor Yuen Kwok-yung said on Tuesday that the city’s researchers had stumbled on a vaccine, but that it would take months to test on animals and at least another year to conduct trials on humans before it could be confirmed ready for human use. Scientists in Melbourne said they grew the virus from a patient sample, which could prove a “game-changer” in combating the outbreak. It was the first time the virus had been grown in a cell culture outside China (here’s hoping it isn’t misused as a potential bioweapon).

After confirming the first case of human-to-human transmission in Japan, health officials in Tokyo have shared more information about the case with the press: The man did not travel to Wuhan but drove buses with tour groups from the city twice this month. The man is in his 60s and lives in Nara Prefecture, according to the Japan Times.

Overnight, the first case of the virus in the Middle East have been confirmed in the United Arab Emirates, according to the country’s Ministry of Health and Community Protection. The 4 infected patients are members of a family that had traveled from Wuhan. In its statement, the health ministry reported the family as being in a stable condition under medical observation, according to CNBC.

As hysteria surrounding the outbreak grows, SCMP reports that resentment toward people from Wuhan is growing across China, as provincial authorities ramp up screenings of those from Wuhan, and citizens build unauthorized roadblocks to keep strangers out of their towns.

Meanwhile, President Xi said Wednesday that “preventing and containing the virus remains a severe and complex task,” a follow up to his claims that China would do whatever is necessary to contain the “demon” virus.

‘Wuhan, you can do it!’: Quarantined residents sing from their balconies in stirring VIDEOS

CAP

1/28/2020

As China fights the worsening coronavirus outbreak, residents under quarantine in Wuhan have shared videos online of their battle against cabin fever, showing how they are lifting each other’s – and the nation’s – spirits.

The city, home to roughly 11 million people, was the epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak which has now spread across the globe. Residents have been told to remain in their homes as authorities fight to bring the outbreak under control, but many have grown understandably restless waiting for the crisis to end.

The best medicine? Song, apparently, with rousing eyewitness video posted on Twitter showing people singing the national anthem and chanting “Wuhan, you can do it!” from their apartment balconies.

The total number of confirmed  ‘2019-nCoV’ coronavirus cases in China had surged to 4,515 as of January 27, while the death toll jumped to 106 as the number of new infections in one day almost doubled.

China’s PM calls for ‘resolute fight’ against coronavirus outbreak as death toll climbs to 106 with over 1,700 new cases

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China has taken extraordinary measures to curb the outbreak, including the aforementioned quarantine of the entire city of Wuhan, as well as the construction of an entirely new hospital to house the infected, which is expected to be completed by February 3.

The government has also urged citizens to refrain from travelling abroad, while extending national holidays with the aim of keeping people at home to reduce the likelihood of further contamination “in order to protect the health and safety of Chinese and foreign people.”

“Reducing people’s cross-border movement helps to prevent and control outbreaks,” the National Immigration Administration said in a statement.

For now, at least, the city of Wuhan remains a ghost town, with only the haunting song of its quarantined residents left to lift the city’s spirits.

Perfect Timing: Anonymous Sources Claim Bolton Book Manuscript Accuses Trump of Tying Ukraine Aid to Biden Investigations

Several anonymous sources have reportedly told The New York Times that a book manuscript by Ambassador John Bolton, the former National Security Advisor to President Trump, accuses Trump of tying the hold up of aid to Ukraine last year with his desire for investigations into the Bidens and interference by Ukraine in the 2016 election, something Trump has vehemently denied but has been impeached by the House and is on trial for in the Senate.

The Times reported on descriptions of the manuscript Sunday evening, as the President’s defense team prepares for day on two Monday of their rebuttal to the Democrat House Managers’ case against Trump. Bolton was blocked by Trump from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry on national security grounds of executive privilege, however Bolton has said he would testify in the Senate trial if he was issued a subpoena. Motions to allow witness testimony in the trail have been tabled until after the first stages of the trial are complete: Prosecution, defense and then questions from senators. The report by the Times is timed to influence the votes of Republicans to allow witnesses as the Democrats are all on record as being in favor.

The Times does not claim to have seen the manuscript, but is basing its report on anonymous sources who claim to have given The Times descriptions. There are no quotes from the manuscript.

Excerpt:

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.

The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.

…Key to Mr. Bolton’s account about Ukraine is an exchange during a meeting in August with the president after Mr. Trump returned from vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Mr. Bolton raised the $391 million in congressionally appropriated assistance to Ukraine for its war in the country’s east against Russian-backed separatists. Officials had frozen the aid, and a deadline was looming to begin sending it to Kyiv, Mr. Bolton noted.

He, Mr. Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper had collectively pressed the president about releasing the aid nearly a dozen times in the preceding weeks after lower-level officials who worked on Ukraine issues began complaining about the holdup, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Trump had effectively rebuffed them, airing his longstanding grievances about Ukraine, which mixed legitimate efforts by some Ukrainians to back his Democratic 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, with unsupported accusations and outright conspiracy theories about the country, a key American ally.

…In his August 2019 discussion with Mr. Bolton, the president appeared focused on the theories Mr. Giuliani had shared with him, replying to Mr. Bolton’s question that he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation that related Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine…

End excerpt. The entire Times article can be read at this link at MSN.com. It includes Bolton going after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr.

Democrats have responded to the report with renewed calls for Bolton’s testimony.

The Democrat House Managers issued a statement:

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “John Bolton has the evidence. It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial.”

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), “For months there just hasn’t been any question what happened. But Republicans hung on to the idea that if they kept Trump’s top people from testifying, they could plausibly deny he was behind it all.
The game is now up. Their coverup has fallen apart. BOLTON MUST TESTIFY.”

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), “Last month, I wrote in @nytimes that we need to hear from John Bolton—who shopped his testimony to book publishers instead of speaking with Congress—because he clearly has a lot to say. It’s undeniable now: Bolton must testify in Trump’s trial.”

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UPDATE: Statement from Bolton aide Sarah Tinsley reported by many in the media, “Several weeks ago, the ambassador sent a hard copy of his draft manuscript to the White House for prepublication review by the National Security Council. The ambassador has not passed that manuscript to anyone else for review. Period.”

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More from Tinsley, “Bolton spokeswoman says he did not leak his own manuscript to the NY Times — and had only submitted it for pre-review to the National Security Council.”

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And, “The ambassador transmitted a hard-copy draft of his manuscript to the White House for pre-publication review by the National Security Council. The ambassador has not passed the manuscript to anyone else, only the NSC.”

Chinese Researcher Removed from Infectious Disease Lab for Alleged “Administrative Matters”

By Jose Nino – 1/27/2020

According to a story published on CBC news on July 14, 2019, a researcher connected to China was escorted out of the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg during an RCMP investigation into what was described as a possible “policy breach.”

Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng, and an undisclosed number of her students from China were removed from Canada’s only level-4 lab on July 5, according to a CBC News report.

A Level 4 virology facility is a lab with the equipment to work with the most threatening human and animal diseases. This made the Arlington Street lab one of the very few labs in North America that is able to handle pathogens demanding the highest level of containment, such as Ebola.

According to sources who worked at the lab and did not want to be identified, the couple and the Chinese students had their security access revoked.

Sources claim that this came several months after NML IT specialists entered Qiu’s office after-hours and replaced her computer. Qiu’s frequent trips to China were also being denied.

During meetings on July 8, NML staff were informed that the researchers were on leave for an indefinite period of time. They were instructed not to communicate with them.

Qiu is a renowned virologist who helped out in developing ZMapp, an ebola virus treatment.

Qiu is a medical doctor hailing from Tianjin, China. She migrated Canada for graduate studies in 1996. She was still connected to the university there and has brought in many students over the years to help with her work.

She was leading the Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies section in the Special Pathogens Program at the lab. Qiu’s main research field is immunology and she mostly focused on vaccine development, post-exposure therapeutics, and quick diagnostics of viruses like Ebola.

On May 24, 2019, the RCMP received a referral from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

“Based on information received to date, the RCMP has assessed that there is no threat to public safety at this time,” Robert Cyrenne informed CBC News in an email.

PHAC described it as a policy breach and “administrative matter” and said the department took steps to “resolve it expeditiously,” Eric Morrissette, the health agency’s chief of media relations, said.

“We can assure Canadians that there is absolutely no risk to the Canadian public and that the work of the NML continues in support of the health and safety of all Canadians,” communications director Mathieu Filion communication in an email.

No one from the Chinese Embassy commented on the situation

Many experts speculated that this could have been a case of intellectual property theft or technology leakage to China.

“The National Microbiology Laboratory would have some pretty sensitive biological research material that … could be shared either with or without authorization with foreign countries,” claimed Gordon Houlden, director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute.

“All of this is unproven, but even microbiology, sometimes especially microbiology, can have issues that involve national security.”

No matter the country, China uses its geopolitical leverage to advance its own interests.

Not just America, but the rest of the West should reconsider how it handles diplomatic and economic relations with China.

Democrats Warn That American People May Tamper With Next Election

By The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In his opening statement at Trump’s impeachment trial, Rep. Adam Schiff reminded the Senate of their solemn duty and the gravity of just what it is they will be discussing at the trial.

Schiff warned that if Trump is not impeached, the American people may have a chance to tamper with the next election.

“If President Trump is not impeached, the American people might get a say in who is president,” Schiff said gravely. “We simply can’t allow that to happen. We must diligently defend our electoral process against electoral outcomes we do not like. If that means seizing power through a sham impeachment trial, so be it.”

“When the Founders wrote that founding document thing, they never imagined there would be electoral outcomes that Democrats did not agree with.”

Democrats also said they even have hard evidence that the 2016 election was compromised by Republicans voting for Trump.

“We know this horrible outcome could happen, because it’s already happened once before.”ELE

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