U.S. War-Games Take Place Alongside Russian Ones In Pacific Ocean…

Via The Sun:

THE US scrambled F-22 fighter jets and a carrier strike group to face off with Russian war games near Hawaii ahead of a showdown meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, it was revealed on Tuesday.

The two leaders are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday for crunch talks for the first time since Biden was sworn in as president in January.

In response to the Russian Navy conducting what officials called its largest exercise in the Pacific Ocean since the end of the Cold War, US defense officials said that on Sunday said that USAF F-22s were dispatched to meet Russian bombers near Hawaii.

Russia’s exercise, which took place about 300-500 miles west of Hawaiian shores, includes surface ships, anti-submarine aircraft, and long-range bombers.

The US sent the fighter jets to respond to the bomber flights, but the bombers didn’t enter the Air Defense Identification Zone and were not intercepted.


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Texas Gov Launches Border Wall Project With $250 Million Down Payment…

Via Fox News:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday formally announced that Texas will build its own border wall, as he accused the Biden administration of abandoning its responsibility to protect the southern U.S. border.

“Today we are announcing that Texas will build a border wall in our state to help secure our border,” Abbott said at a press conference.


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Summit For Biden, Putin: No Punches Or Hugs


Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington and AP video journalist Daniel Kozin contributed to this report.

GENEVA (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin exchanged cordial words and plotted modest steps on arms control and diplomacy but emerged from their much-anticipated Swiss summit Wednesday largely where they started — with deep differences on human rights, cyberattacks, election interference and more.

The two leaders reached an important, but hardly relationship-changing agreement to return their chief diplomats to Moscow and Washington after they were called home as the relationship deteriorated in recent months. And Biden and Putin agreed to start working on a plan to solidify their countries’ last remaining treaty limiting nuclear weapons.

But their three hours of talks on the shores of Lake Geneva left both men standing firmly in the same positions they had started in.

I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior,” Biden said at a post-summit news conference, when he was asked about what evidence he saw that former KGB agent Putin would adjust his ways and actions. “What will change his behavior is the rest of the world reacts to them, and they diminish their standing in the world. I’m not confident in anything.”

Both the White House and Kremlin had set low expectations going into the summit. They issued a joint statement after the conclusion that said their meeting showed the “practical work our two countries can do to advance our mutual interests and also benefit the world.”

But over and over, Biden defaulted to “we’ll find out” when assessing whether their discussions about nuclear power, cybersecurity and other thorny issues will pay off.

Back-to-back news conferences by Biden and Putin after the summit also put in stark relief that getting at the root of tensions between the U.S. and Russia will remain an enormously difficult task — including when the two sides, at least in public comments, sketched dramatically different realities on cyber matters.

Biden came into the summit pushing Putin to clamp down on the surge of Russian-originated cybersecurity and ransomware attacks that have targeted businesses and government agencies in the U.S. and around the globe. But when the summit ended, it wasn’t evident that more than superficial progress had been made.

Biden said he made clear to Putin that if Russia crossed certain red lines — including going after major American infrastructure — his administration would respond and “the consequences of that would be devastating,”

Putin, in turn, continued to insist Russia had nothing to do with cyber intrusions despite U.S. intelligence evidence that indicates otherwise.

“Most of the cyberattacks in the world are carried out from the cyber realm of the United States,” said Putin, also adding Canada, two Latin American countries he didn’t name and Britain to the list.

While the U.S., Canada and Britain all engage in cyberespionage, the most damaging cyberattacks on record have come either from state-backed Russian hackers or Russian-speaking ransomware criminals who operate with impunity in Russia and allied nations.

In fact, the worst have been attributed by the United States and the European Union to Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, including the NotPetya virus that did more than $10 billion in economic damage in 2017, hitting companies including shipping giant Maersk, the pharmaceutical company Merck and food company Mondolez.

Putin agreed at the summit that Russia will begin consultations with the U.S. on the matter and acknowledged that ransomware and cyberattacks are big problems. Still, he maintained that the two countries “just need to abandon various insinuations.”



All The Name-Brand Companies Disguising Themselves As Kirkland Brands


By  Kirkland Signature Coffee
If stopping at your local Starbucks is a daily ritual, save yourself some time and money by brewing the good stuff at home. That’s right, Kirkland Signature brand is produced by everyone’s favorite coffee shop. That said, only the Decaf House Blend Medium Roast, House Blend Medium Roast, and Espresso Blend Dark Roast blends are available. 

Love it or hate it, Kirkland’s “Real Mayonnaise” is beloved by millions across the country as a sandwich spread or snack dip. The packaging used in stores is heavily comparable to Hellmann’s iconic mayo, but supposedly Costco representatives have mentioned that food vendor E.D. Smith produces the tasty spread for its warehouse locations.


Like the large selection of meat, poultry, and seafood cuts, Costco’s selection of fine cheeses is just as spectacular. One of the more common finer cheeses in its stores is the famous Parmigiana Reggiano. To ensure quality cheese, Costco outsources many of its cheese from Italy. The Kirkland-branded Parmigiana is produced by Formaggi Zanetti. It’s even aged for a minimum of 24 months.

Barr Distances Himself From Trump-Era Subpoenas Of Democratic Lawmakers


Former Attorney General William Barr on Friday distanced himself from reports that the Trump Justice Department seized communications records belonging to two prominent Democratic lawmakers who were spearheading investigations into then-President Donald Trump.

Barr’s comments came after The New York Times reported that in 2017 and 2018, the Justice Department secretly seized the records of at least 12 people connected to the House Intelligence Committee, including its current chair. Barr became attorney general in 2019.


The Justice Department’s internal watchdog announced Friday it would open a review of the records seizures, and Democratic leaders are standing up their own probes. According to the Times, the leak investigation swept up the metadata of the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who has since become its chair, and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, another prominent Trump critic who sits on the panel.

Barr said that while he was attorney general, he was “not aware of any congressman’s records being sought in a leak case.” He added that Trump never encouraged him to zero in on the Democratic lawmakers who reportedly became targets of the former president’s push to unmask leakers of classified information.

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Apple Tightens Rules After Justice Department Targeted U.S. Lawmakers

By Reuters Friday, 11 June 2021

By Stephen Nellis

June 11 (Reuters) – Apple Inc on Friday said it has tightened some of its rules for responding to legal requests after the U.S. Justice Department during Donald Trump’s presidency subpoenaed it for information on Democratic lawmakers.

Apple said it recently instituted a limit of 25 identifiers such as email addresses or phone numbers per legal request.

The Cupertino, California-based company said it received a subpoena from the Justice Department in February 2018 for information on 109 identifiers made up of 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, but that it did not release content such as emails and pictures to prosecutors.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that federal prosecutors subpoenaed Apple and other companies as part of an investigation searching for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump’s associates and Russia.

The investigation targeted at least two Democrats on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, aides and family members, including one minor, the Times reported.

Apple said that it had no way to tell what the nature of the investigation was and released only basic “account subscriber information” such as names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers, as well as connection logs and IP addresses.

Apple said that it did not provide data showing to whom or when messages of any kind were sent.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said on Friday he will investigate the department’s efforts under Trump to seize the communications data of lawmakers and members of the news media.



‘Oh My God, I’m In A Whale’s Mouth’: Lobster Diver Says He Was Nearly Swallowed By Whale Off Cape Cod

By CBSBoston.com StaffFiled Under:Michael Packard, Provincetown News

PROVINCETOWN (CBS) — A lobster diver says he was nearly swallowed by a whale in a terrifying encounter off Cape Cod Friday morning. Michael Packard has been a lobster diver out of Provincetown for 40 years but has never experienced anything like this.

Packard told WBZ-TV News that after jumping off his boat into the water, he “felt this huge bump and everything went dark.” At first he feared he was being attacked by a shark.


And then I felt around and I realized there was no teeth,” he said. “And then I realized, ‘Oh my God I’m in a whale’s mouth. . . and he’s trying to swallow me.’”

Packard said he thought to himself “This is it, I’m gonna die.” He thought about his kids and wife and felt there was no getting out of the whale’s mouth.

“Then all of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head. I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water,” Packard recalled. “I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe. . . I’m here to tell it.”

Packard’s crewmate got him out of the water. He feared his legs were broken, but he was able to leave the hospital later in the day and could walk with a limp.

The Provincetown Fire Department confirmed they responded to a call at 8:15 a.m. to an injured lobsterman off Race Point.

The whale tale took social media by storm Friday afternoon. The lobster diver estimates he was in the whale’s mouth for about 30 seconds.


It was happening so fast,” a stunned Packard said. “My only thought was how to get out of that mouth.”

Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium, told WBZ-TV that when humpback whales feed, “they do what we call gulp feeding, and they can open their mouths up incredibly widely.”

“It’s a very unusual accident. . . this is a one in a — goodness knows what — trillion chance,” he said. “He was just unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Corkeron said whales are generally not interested in bothering humans, but it’s a good idea for people in the water to stay 100 yards away from a whale at all times.

“Whales are big and strong, and if something goes wrong when you’re around them, it can be very dangerous,” he said.

Texas Will Build Its Own Border Wall…

Via Washington Times:

If President Biden won’t build a border wall, then Texas will.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that his state will erect border barriers in easy-crossing areas along the Rio Grande, and then start arresting and jailing illegal immigrants on state charges.
“The influx across the border is out of control, and the Biden Administration has shown that is not going to step up and do its job,” Mr. Abbott told Breitbart Texas shortly before a border summit Thursday in Del Rio.


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Trump-Era Justice Department Emerges As Scandal Of The Summer



Washington has been served up an unprecedented controversy, and now officials from two branches of government are rushing to get a piece of the scandal spoils.

Driving the news: In the spotlight… the Trump-era Justice Department, which seized records from journalists and House Democrats during a leaks investigation over stories about the Russia probe.

  • Now Senate Democrats and the Biden-era Justice Department inspector general are separately launching investigations.

Back in 2017 and 2018, the DOJ obtained a gag order against Apple and subpoenaed the company to hand over data belonging to a dozen people linked to the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: “While Justice Department leak investigations are routine, current and former congressional officials familiar with the inquiry said they could not recall an instance in which the records of lawmakers had been seized as part of one,” the N.Y. Times reports.

  • The seized records contained no proof of leaks.

Michael Schmidt, one of four reporters on the N.Y. Times blockbuster, told “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC:

“This is the first instance we know the Justice Department has done this. There could have been other leak investigations. We don’t have full visibility into all of them. Those are conducted in secret.””Regardless of what went into the Justice Department’s decision here, this is exactly what [then-President Trump] was calling for publicly and privately at a time that he was putting as much pressure as possible on the folks at the top of the department.”

The bottom line: The slow drip, drip of stories has now turned into the potential big story of the summer.

Mark Cuban on the Future of the Mavs, Taxing Billionaires, and Why Elon Musk Is ‘Irrelevant’ to Crypto


Thu, June 10, 2021

“I haven’t slept in two days,” explains Mark Cuban. “So, I apologize for being a step slow.”

The dot-com billionaire (net worth: $4.2 billion) is blaming his insomnolence on the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA playoffs, an event that’s triggered rampant speculation regarding the team’s two young stars, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, with reports indicating that the lengthy Latvian once known as the “unicorn” does not get along with the Slovenian wunderkind and feels like an “afterthought.”

His basketball franchise’s future is just one of many topics we explored over the course of our wide-ranging conversation, which just so happened to fall on the same day that ProPublica published an explosive report revealing how the world’s top billionaires, despite their surging wealth, pay next to nothing in income tax (we covered that too). But the official occasion for our talk is Shark Tank, the ABC reality-television show that recently wrapped its 12th season and is vying for a number of Emmys. The show sees entrepreneurs in search of additional investment capital present their businesses to its five “sharks,” the most compelling of which is Cuban, in the hopes that they’ll back them.

“Every story is impactful. That’s why I like to do it—you’re literally helping people’s dreams come true,” says Cuban. “You’re changing the lives of not just them, but their families and their employees. It’s really rewarding just to be part of it.”

In addition to the Mavs, taxation, and Shark Tank, we also discussed crypto, Elon Musk, and politics.

Gonna be fully transparent here: I’m a very bitter Knicks fan. But as a basketball lover, I enjoyed watching your team duke it out with the Clippers. What do you feel went wrong with the Mavs’ playoff run?

For us, when our role players made threes, we beat them. We won. When our role players didn’t make threes, and we had plenty of open looks in Game 7, we lost. And their role players? I mean, Luke Kennard is who beat us. We did a great job on Kawhi, and it’s one of those things where you pick your poison: If Luke Kennard is gonna beat us, he’s gonna beat us. And he beat us.