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Joined Oct 24, 2016
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UberEats Explosive Growth Accounts For Nearly 10 Pct Of Gross Bookings

Ride sharing company Uber has had a rocky 12 months – shedding top management positions, outsting its CEO, losing its license to operate in London, and battling a self-driving car lawsuit with Google over poaching trade secrets when they hired a former engineer from Google subsidiary Waymo.

And while the beleaguered Uber has been fighting uphill battles, one extremely bright spot for the company is its Uber Eats food delivery service app – which was launched two years ago, and accounted for nearly 10% of the company’s gross bookings worldwide in the 2nd quarter. The service is on track to exceed $3bn in gross sales this year, according to the Financial Times.

During the second quarter of this year, UberEats accounted for 8-10 per cent of global gross bookings, which implies $700m-$870m of gross turnover for the unit. Uber’s total gross bookings were $8.7bn for the period.
By comparison, GrubHub, the US food delivery company valued at $4.1bn, reported $880m of gross food sales during the second quarter.
While Uber still derives the majority of its revenues from its transportation services app, UberEats has been growing faster than the core business.

UberEats operates in 29 countries and is on track for a rapid expansion into nearly 200 cities by the end of this year. The service is competing with Amazon’s restaurant delivery service – also launched two years ago, as well as GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, and several other smaller companies. Facebook is even getting in on the action, launching a food delivery service last week.

That said, UberEats is still unprofitable in most areas, and faces low margins amidst high competition. One major advantage it has, however, is its fleet of over 2m Uber drivers around the world, who can carry passengers or food.

I can tell you from personal experience – our family has been ordering food delivery through various services for around two years. DoorDash and Postmates were our go-to for a long time, however Uber and Amazon came to our city and offered much lower prices for the actual delivery, as well as more professional drivers who don’t get lost. We were bait-n-switched into ‘Postmates Unlimited’ – $10 / month for free delivery – only to be hit with a brand new 20% fee on all orders. Never again.

The user interface on both the UberEats app and their website is the best by far, and their customer service is amazing.

So while Uber navigates choppy seas of red tape, lawsuits, and management turnover, their food-delivery service is sailing smoothly.

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iFail – Older iPhone 7 Outselling iPhone 8 According To Channel Checks $AAPL

According to a channel check reported by KeyBanc Capital, Apple’s ($AAPL) older iPhone 7 models are outselling the iPhone 8, which received a tepid response when it launched at the end of September.

Apple customers camp outside of Sydney’s flagship Apple store on the first day the iPhone 8 went on sale in Sydney, Australia, September 22, 2017. AAP/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

And with Apple’s upcoming premium iPhone “X” model set to launch in a few weeks, it’s no surprise that nobody wants to pay $699 for an iPhone 8, when the only real improvements over the $549 iPhone 7 are wireless charging and facial recognition.

Many respondents indicated that a meaningful portion of customers are buying iPhone 7 in lieu of the new iPhone 8, given the lack of significant enhancements in the new phone,noted analyst John Vinh of KeyBanc.

Inside:

Vinh went on to write “”Feedback from stores indicate customers are waiting to purchase the iPhone X or to compare the iPhone X before buying the iPhone 8.”

“Feedback from stores indicate customers are waiting to purchase the iPhone X or to compare the iPhone X before buying the iPhone 8”

iPhone X

The much anticipated X will be a glass and stainless steel device with an edge-to-edge display, and will begin shipping November 3 priced at $999.

If you want to explore the differences in iPhones in greater detail, check out this Bloomberg article.

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Assange Trolls US Gov Over 50,000% Bitcoin Gain As Putin Launches ‘CryptoRuble’

One day after JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon chimped out again over Bitcoin – claiming governments around the world will “crush” the crypto-currency, Julian Assange took to Twitter to ‘thank’ Senators McCain and Lieberman for an ‘illegal banking blockade’ against Wikileaks, causing the whistleblower organization to invest in Bitcoin for a return on investment north of 50,000%. 

Meanwhile, Russia appears to have embraced the inevitable shift to virtual currencies – launching their own ‘Crypto-Ruble,’ days after announcing a ban on websites selling virtual currencies.

Speaking at a conference on financial market derivatives, Shvetsov said while referring to the household “We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail (investors),”

The central bank of Russia is seeing a rise in crypto-currencies because of high returns from buying into such instruments. Some investors are yet afraid what will be the outcome if their businesses do not flourish.

As CoinTelegraph reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially stated that Russia will issue its own ‘CryptoRuble’ at a closed door meeting in Moscow, according to local news sources.

The news broke through Minister of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov.

According to the official, the state issued cryptocurrency cannot be mined and will be issued and controlled and maintained only by the authorities.

The CryptoRubles can be exchanged for regular Rubles at any time, though if the holder is unable to explain where the CryptoRubles came from, a 13 percent tax will be levied.

The same tax will be applied to any earned difference between the price of the purchase of the token and the price of the sale. Nikiforov said:

“I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after 2 months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.”

While the announcement means that Russia will enter the cryptocurrency world, it is in no way an affirmation or legalization of Bitcoin or any other decentralized cryptocurrency. On the contrary, Putin quite recently called for a complete ban on all cryptocurrencies within Russia. The statement from Putin seemed apparently to contradict the earlier comments from other ministers who seemed pro-crypto, but only with regulations, as well as Putin’s recent meetings with Buterin and others.

 

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Flashback: Barbara Walters Shames Pedo Victim Corey Feldman On National TV For ‘Damaging An Entire Industry’

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

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

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

Martin Weiss (left)

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

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

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

Barbara’s Genuine Outrage – at Feldman…

In a 2013 interview on The View, Feldman told hosts Barbara Walters, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy and Nick Offerman that “some of the richest, most powerful people” in Hollywood were pedophiles still operating in the industry:

Corey Feldman: There are people that were the people that did this to both me and Corey that are still working, they’re still out there, and they’re some of the richest, most powerful people in this business – and they do not want me saying what I’m saying right now.

Barbara Walters: Are you saying that they’re pedophiles?

Corey Feldman: Yes

Barbara Walters: And that they’re still in this business?

Corey Feldman: Yes

After telling host Sherri Shepherd that child acting is a “many feathered bird – be careful what you wish for. Don’t go into it with naievity,” Barbara Walters exclaimed “You’re damaging an entire industry!

Walters’ comment echoed her defense of Woody Allen, days after adopted daughter Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter to the New York Times, accusing Allen of sexually abusing her as a 7 year old child. Walters suggested Farrow had waited to come public to hurt Allen’s chances of winning an Oscar that year, adding “the fact that he likes younger women (in reference to Allen’s marriage to the adopted daughter of ex-wife Mia Farrow), that has nothing to do with.”

And when it came to Corey Feldman, Barbara Walters shamed a man on national TV who had the courage to stand up and tell the world about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Hollywood pedophiles – seemingly more concerned about her industry than a victim of its most vile and degenerate predators. The “richest, most powerful people” in the business.

Watch below:

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Historic Fire-Ravaged NorCal ‘Not Even Close to Being out of this Emergency’

Over the last week, raging fires in Northern California have claimed at least 31 lives, officially making it the deadliest week for wildfires in the state’s history.

With entire neighborhoods inaccessible after being burned to the ground, however, authorities say that number is likely to climb – as many residents, senior citizens in particular, were caught completely off guard by the fire’s rapid spread and intensity.

County officials said some neighborhoods they’ve flown over are ‘totally decimated, with not one single structure still standing.’

Santa Rosa was hit particularly hard. The LA Times reports an estimated 2,834 homes and 400,000 square feet of commercial space has been destroyed – even burning down the city’s new fire station.

“We are not even close to being out of this emergency,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state’s Office of Emergency Services.

Shirlee Zane, one of the district supervisors for Sonoma County, says she flew over communities that “looked like war zones. They looked like somebody had bombed them.”

“The air quality is very dangerous right now,” she tells NPR. “It’s thick, with brown smoke. People cannot really go outside. It’s really not safe. You see a lot of people going around with face masks.”

Wayne Peterson of Sonoma described the air as “acrid.”

“I’m wearing the mask because I’ve been here two or three days now, I live here,” Petersen was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. “It’s starting to really affect my breathing and lungs so I’m wearing the mask. It’s helping.”

While the cause of the fires has not yet been determined, authorities noted that strong winds knocked trees into power lines, which may have sparked the fires.

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Audio Of Cuban ‘Sonic Attack’ Released – It’s Awful

The Associated Press (AP) has obtained a recording of the ‘sonic weapon’ U.S. Embassy workers say they heard in Havana shortly before suffering a variety of physical ailments. 22 Americans are ‘medically confirmed’ to have been affected by the sonic attacks, which began last year and are considered ‘ongoing’ – with the most recent attack in late August.

Full-spectrum analysis shows that the sound is comprised of roughly ’20 or more frequencies, or pitches,’ which combine to sound like a mass of crickets in an undulating whine – described by some as ‘colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard’ effect.

Listen here at your own risk – apparently listening to a recording of the sound isn’t dangerous when played at normal levels through phone or computer speakers:

You may have just been MK Ultra’d.

The U.S. says embassy workers suffered a variety of hearing, cognitive, visual, balance, sleep and other ailments after being exposed to the waves.

AP reports:

The recordings from Havana have been sent for analysis to the U.S. Navy, which has advanced capabilities for analyzing acoustic signals, and to the intelligence services, the AP has learned. But the recordings have not significantly advanced U.S. knowledge about what is harming diplomats.

Cuba has denied involvement or knowledge of the attacks. The U.S. hasn’t blamed anyone and says it still doesn’t know what or who is responsible. But the government has faulted President Raul Castro’s government for failing to protect American personnel, and Nauert said Thursday that Cuba “may have more information than we are aware of right now.”

The 20 distinct frequencies form a series of ‘peaks’ that jump up from a baseline like ‘spikes,’ said AP.

“There are about 20 peaks, and they seem to be equally spaced. All these peaks correspond to a different frequency,” said Kausik Sarkar, an acoustics expert and engineering professor at The George Washington University who reviewed the recording with the AP.

Those frequencies might be only part of the picture. Conventional recording devices and tools to measure sound may not pick up very high or low frequencies, such as those above or below what the human ear can hear. Investigators have explored whether infrasound or ultrasound might be at play in the Havana attacks.

Cuba says it’s launched an ‘exhaustive and priority’ investigation into the attacks, which they claim they have no idea about.

One wonders if not the Cubans, is Russia testing out a new toy?

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Bridgewater Bets On Italian Doom, Takes Out $713 Million Short Position

After Bridgewater was called by Jim Grant out for being a potential fraud, the algo-driven hedge fund run by Ray Dalio (who incorrectly predicted markets would tank if Trump won the election) has accumulated a “713 million wager against Italian financial stocks, its biggest disclosed bearish bet in Europe.”

This bet – against five banks and one insurance company, includes Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit, and insurer Assicuraziono Generali.

Bridgewater hasn’t disclosed their reasoning for the short positions, however as ZeroHedge notes:

it likely has to do with recent proposed revisions to the ECB’s treatment of bad debt held on bank balance sheets. Under the ECB’s new proposal, banks will have to provision against the entire potential loss on newly-classified nonperforming loans that aren’t backed by collateral after two years. While details are still scarce and the ECB has promised to publish plans for existing bad loans, including “appropriate transitional arrangements,” by the end of the first quarter, Italian banks are expected to be hit hardest by the revised treatment of NPLs.

Why Italy? Because the country’s banking industry remains saddled with €318 billion in bad loans – a third of Europe’s total. Indeed, concerns about the impact of the ECB’s bad-loan proposal on the  earnings of European banks, prompted a 7% percent drop in an index of Italian banks in the six days through Tuesday, pulling Italy’s FTSE MIB Index down from two year highs. Italy’s FTSE Italia All-Share Banks Index has dropped 4.5 percent since the ECB’s Oct. 4 announcement that it plans to revise bad loan provisioning standards.

Let’s not forget

Italy’s largest bank, Monte Paschi received special permission from the Italian government and the EU to tap Italy’s Treasury instead of the European Central Bank for an 8.8 billion bailout.

So while the ECB has mandated that banks will need to be able to absorb losses from newly-classified nonperforming loans not backed up by collateral, no guidelines have been issued for existing bad loans – which the European Central Bank has promised to publish.

Scammy Bridgewater?

Jim Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer told Bloomberg he was “bearish” on Ray Dalio’s $160 billion Bridgewater, because the fund has become “less focused on investing, while the firm lacks transparency and has produced lackluster returns.”

More specifically:

  • Bridgewater has directly lent money to its auditor, KPMG, to which KPMH’s response is that “these lending relationships . . . do not and will not impair KMPG’s ability to exercise objective and impartial judgment in connection with financial statement audits of the Bridgewater Funds.”
  • Bridgewater has 91 ex-employees working at its custodian bank, Bank of New York.
  • Only two of Bridgewater’s 33 funds have a relationship with Prime Brokers. In these two funds, Bridgewater Equity Fund, LLC and Bridgewater Event Risk Fund I, Ltd., 99% of the investors are Bridgewater employees.
  • Opaque ownership concerns: “Two entities—Bridgewater Associates Intermediate Holdings, L.P. and Bridgewater Associates Holdings, Inc.—are each noted as holding 75% or more of Bridgewater.”
  • Why the massive, and expensive, ETF holdings: “The June 30 13-F report shows U.S. equity holdings of $10.9 billion. The top-16 holdings, worth $9.5 billion, or 87% of the reported total, come wrapped in ETFs, including the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF, the SPDR S&P500 ETF Trust and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF. Beyond the fact that Bridgewater reports holding few U.S. equities, you wonder why such a sophisticated shop would stoop to such a retail stratagem. Surely the Bridgewater brain trust could replicate the ETFs at a fraction of the cost that the Street charges.”
  • And perhaps most troubling, is the SEC in cahoots with Bridgewater? “Lorenz asked the SEC how Bridgewater’s answers comply with the requirement to “[p]rovide your fee schedule.” Via email, the agency replied, “Decline comment, thanks.

With its new short on Italian banks – even if Bridgewater redeems itself performance-wise, there are still many troubling aspects of the fund’s relationship to KPMG and the SEC.

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Flooded Houston Homes Going For 40 Cents On The Dollar

An interesting article from Bloomberg on the distressed housing market in flooded-out Texas right now.

Bloomberg Businessweek | 10.13.2017

Bryan Schild drives through the byways of Houston looking for what could be the investment opportunity of a lifetime: homes selling for as little as 40¢ on the dollar. “We Pay Cash For Flooded Homes $$$$$$$$ Don’t fix it, sell it. Quick close,” read the signs piled in the back seat of his Ford pickup.

Schild stops by a ranch-style house where 74-year-old Paul Matlock lives with his wife, disabled from multiple sclerosis. Matlock is desperate to leave and is considering Schild’s offer of $120,000—half the home’s value three weeks earlier. A half-dozen other investors have made offers, one as low as $55,000. “The whole thing makes me feel like there’s a bunch of vultures sitting on my back fence,” Matlock says. “They’re waiting for the dead body to fall over.”

 It’s axiomatic on Wall Street that the time to buy is when fear overtakes greed—when blood (or, in this case, water) is in the streets. Now some are eyeing the billions of dollars in hurricane-ravaged property in Texas and Florida and deciding it may be the time to take out their checkbooks. Investors such as Schild figure they can buy low, either fix up and flip the houses or rent them out for several years, and unload them later, doubling their money or more.
Schild making Matlock an offer in his flooded house.
PHOTOGRAPHER: PRASHANT GOPAL/BLOOMBERG

Those kinds of bets have often paid off. Buyers who snapped up co-ops and office towers when New York was near bankruptcy in the 1970s made a killing. More recently, companies including Blackstone Group LPand other marquee names bought foreclosed homes after the 2008 financial crisis and are sitting on billions in potential gains.

 The cycle begins with small-time investors such as Schild, who’s bought more than 30 waterlogged houses for an average $175,000 apiece. Then Wall Street swoops in. Gary Beasley, former chief executive officer of Waypoint Homes, also sees an opportunity. He’s pitching private equity firms and pension funds on the potential profit in buying flooded homes, repairing them, and renting them back to homeowners.

Bain Capital LP and billionaire Marc Benioff, co-founder of Salesforce.com Inc., are backing Beasley’s two-year-old company, Roofstock Inc. It runs a website where investors can buy and sell single-family rental properties. Beasley thinks owner-occupants may be interested in selling there, too, and that flooded neighborhoods are the Next Big Thing. “It’s much like the housing crisis, when the institutional guys came in to buy homes nobody wanted,” he says. Like other investors, Beasley and Schild view themselves as helping homeowners to move on and Houston to rebuild.

Others take a less rosy view. “What worries me is people making pretty dramatic decisions without the education to figure out what the alternatives are and without looking at the situation rationally,” says Andrea Heuson, a finance professor at the University of Miami who specializes in mortgages. Some of those considering Beasley’s strategy don’t want to be named for fear of looking like catastrophe profiteers, Beasley says.

Many homeowners would be forgiven for panicking. During hurricanes Harvey and Irma, wind and water damaged almost 1.8 million homes, causing uninsured flood losses of as much as $57 billion, according to CoreLogic Inc., a real estate data firm. Homeowners without federal flood insurance are most likely to be desperate. Those with policies don’t yet know how much they’ll get for their losses, which is key to deciding whether it makes sense to sell.

Investors don’t want to pay too much because they’re taking many risks. The storms are driving up not only financing costs but also expenses for labor and materials. Other challenges include mold, local efforts to restrict rebuilding, and rising costs for flood insurance, says Jesse Keenan, who leads the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s real estate program.

Back in Houston, Schild joins more than 1,100 real estate investors drinking beer, eating catfish, and swapping investment tales at the Redneck Country Club, a music hall. A giant bar is decorated with pictures of guns, mounted deer heads, and a chandelier made of Lone Star beer bottles.

The crowd is assembling for a monthly meeting convened by Eddie Gant, a real estate investor who specializes in “hard money lending”—offering short-term, high-interest-rate loans to house flippers and landlords. The topic is flooded houses. Standing in front of a giant American flag, Gant, 55, his head shaved and gleaming, wears a neon green shirt and black caiman-skin cowboy boots. “You wanna make some money?” he calls out to the cheering audience. “Be careful—you better buy low.”

The home of disabled U.S. Army veteran Joseph Hernandez in Houston.
PHOTOGRAPHER: PRASHANT GOPAL/BLOOMBERG

One of Schild’s prospects is Joseph Hernandez, a disabled U.S. Army veteran married to a housekeeper. The couple are living in a hotel and saving money by eating only two meals a day. Schild has made them a painful offer. If they walk away from their two-bedroom house, worth $127,000 before Hurricane Harvey, Schild will pick up the mortgage payments, paying nothing else. Although he says he sympathizes with the Hernandezes’ plight, he thinks the offer is fair because he figures the home is now worth less than its $65,000 mortgage.

Hernandez is in a bind. He didn’t buy flood insurance because his house wasn’t in a high-risk area. He can’t afford to rebuild, and he’s been told he’s eligible for only $23,000 in federal assistance. If he turns over the deed, he’s looking at losing the entire $60,000 in equity he had before the flood. “It’s blurry, what’s coming,” he says. “We’ll probably have to sell to an investor, and that’s not good. We were forced out.”

Hernandez isn’t ready to take Schild’s deal. But Matlock, who rescued his disabled wife from chest-high water, is tempted by the investor’s $120,000 offer. Their home, now stripped to the beams, has flooded twice in two years. Schild says Matlock should be able to recover much of his loss on the house’s value through federal flood insurance. (In past storms, homeowners have complained the program lowballed them.) Before he leaves, he asks Matlock to spread the word. “Anybody looking to sell, tell them to call me,” he says. “I’ll give them a bid.”

BOTTOM LINE – Bargain-hunting investors are offering flooded homeowners a way out, but some owners may not be in a position to strike a good deal.

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Samsung CEO Resigns Amid ‘Unprecedented Crisis’

Samsung Electronics CEO and board member, Kwon Oh-hyun, has announced his resignation, citing (but not elaborating on) an ‘unprecedented crisis’ for the company.

Mr Kwon, 64, said that he had been thinking about resigning “for quite some time” and could “no longer put it off” after 32 years with the company – five of which he’s been CEO of Samsung Display.

As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company [to] start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry,” he said in a statement.

There are no words to describe how proud I am that we built together one of the most valuable companies in the world. We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other,” Kwon’s letter continues. “But now the company needs a new leader more than ever and it is time for me to move to the next chapter of my life.”

He will remain on the board of Samsung Electronics until March 2018.

Corruption

The giant Samsung, made up of 60 interlinked ‘line organizations’ is one of South Korea’s largest family-run businesses, known as ‘chaebols.’ Two months ago, Samsung group’s heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong was convicted of bribery and corruption – giving donations of 41bn won ($36m; £29m) to non-profit foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil, a friend of South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye, in return for political favours.

Lee was sentenced to five years in jail, however he is currently appealing his sentence.

Record profits

Meanwhile, Kwon’s departure comes as Samsung – the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer – posted record quarterly earnings, and projected second straight quarter of record profits thanks to surging chip prices, while projected operating profit has tripled in three months vs. the same time last year.

Samsung hasn’t announced a successor to Kwon, however the company has two other “co-CEOs,” BK Yoon and JK Shin. Both stepped back from daily operations in 2015 while retaining their titles.

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CNN Loses God Damn Mind – Claims Russia Used ‘Pokémon Go’ To Influence Election With Liberal Activism

This has got to be some sort of Truman show mass social experiment to determine how retarded Americans are.

CNN is reporting that Russian propagandists used the popular Pokémon Go game, in which players go on a real-world scavenger hunt to find and “train” Pokémon characters, to stoke racial tension by sending players to areas in which police brutality had taken place. Players were then encouraged to name their Pokémon after black victims, such as Eric Garner, who died after a NYPD officer put him in a chokehold.

To be clear, CNN is claiming that Russia tricked people into taking up a traditionally liberal cause, in alignment with BLM, to divide America through racial tension and drive voters into Donald Trump’s arms. The other logical conclusion, of course, is that said propaganda would have encouraged left-wing political activism – bringing sympathetic social justice warriors to the polls – ostensibly voting for Hillary Clinton.

CNN reports:

The campaign, titled “Don’t Shoot Us,” offers new insights into how Russian agents created a broad online ecosystem where divisive political messages were reinforced across multiple platforms, amplifying a campaign that appears to have been run from one source — the shadowy, Kremlin-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency

A source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN that the Don’t Shoot Us Facebook page was one of the 470 accounts taken down after the company determined they were linked to the IRA. CNN has separately established the links between the Facebook page and the other Don’t Shoot Us accounts.

The Don’t Shoot Us campaign — the title of which may have referenced the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan that became popular in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown — used these platforms to highlight incidents of alleged police brutality, with what may have been the dual goal of galvanizing African Americans to protest and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat.

The evidence…

Arpita Mitra, IPF Journalist

CNN reports that the “Don’t Shoot Us” campaign Facebook page was linked to one of 470 Facebook accounts deemed to be linked to a Russian propaganda effort. The campaign’s YouTube videos lead people to donotshoot.us, which links to a Tumbler account. In July 2016, the Tumbler account announced the Pokémon Go contest to go find areas with reported police brutality

Their evidence that “Don’t Shoot Us” is Russian? A guy named Daniel Reed, who described himself as the “Chief Editor” of DoNotShoot.us, emailed interview answers for an article to student-journalist Arpita Mitra of the website IPF (International Press Foundation) in a Word document, which Mitra forwarded to CNN. Upon analyzing the document’s metadata, CNN claims the Russian word “Название” (“name“) was found in the document’s properties. 

From that, CNN says two cybersecurity experts who reviewed the document said it was likely created on a computer or program running Russian as its primary language.

DUN DUN DUN…

The motive…

CNN can’t really figure out why the Russians would take up primarily liberal social justice causes, writing “It’s unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish, though it may have been to remind people living near places where these incidents had taken place of what had happened and to upset or anger them.”

Who participated?

Nobody, apparently.

CNN has not found any evidence that any Pokémon Go users attempted to enter the contest, or whether any of the Amazon Gift Cards that were promised were ever awarded — or, indeed, whether the people who designed the contest ever had any intention of awarding the prizes.

There you have it – Russians influenced US politics by taking up liberal social justice activism in alignment with Black Lives Matter, their endgame being to stoke racial tensions and somehow, some way, influence the election in favor of Donald Trump.

I wonder if Comrade Silverman is in on it?

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