Coindesk News

Binance CEO Says Steem Too Centralized but Exchange Must Support Controversial Hard Fork

Binance is forced to “technically” support last week’s hard fork of the Steem blockchain, according to the crypto exchange’s CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.

In a statement on the company’s official blog Sunday, CZ said that, while the exchange is “very much against zeroing other people’s assets on the blockchain,” to not support it would mean that Binance users would not be able to withdraw their steem tokens.

The result of a dispute in the Steem community over the acquisition of SteemIt – the blockchain ecosystem’s biggest and more powerful application – by Tron and Justin Sun, the hard fork was used as a tool to strip 64 dissenters of their token holdings. At the time around $6.3 million-worth of cryptocurrency was grabbed, with one of the affected parties, Dan Hensley, saying he alone had lost around $1 million of the total.

Wiping out people’s token holdings “goes against the very ethos of blockchain and decentralization,” said CZ. The fact that this can happen on a blockchain means it is overly centralized.”

The fork put Binance in a “tricky” situation, he continued. While the exchange would not otherwise support the fork, “if we don’t support it (technically), no users can withdraw any STEEM coins.”

CZ explained that Binance had waited to see how other exchanges reacted to the fork, saying that soon some had enabled the upgrade. He added that users had been demanding support for the fork too.

Reading between the lines, CZ appears to be encouraging users to withdraw their steem tokens, mentioning several times in the post that support that supporting the fork would allow withdrawals – of course, it could allow continued holding or trading too.

“We do not want to block people’s funds. In this case, we should allow users to withdraw their funds, whether we willingly support this hard fork or not,” reads one of his lines.

The issue of the hard fork – launched apparently with the sole purpose of confiscating the holdings of key community members who were unhappy with Justin Sun’s power in the ecosystem and how he was wielding it – followed a previous hard fork that saw some Steem users create a new blockchain called Hive. The new chain copied over all the tokens from Steem, but not those of Sun and some Steem witnesses.

While the tit-for-tat fork may seem to some a fair reprisal, it’s worth noting that Hive’s tokens were effectively a free copy, while original holdings on Steem were obtained through genuine investments.

In the post, CZ notes that crypto advocate and author Andreas Antonopoulos had suggested in a tweet that Steem’s latest fork would likely result in litigation, with supporting exchanges also to be included as defendants.

The Binance CEO said:” I would have thought that [a class-action lawsuit] would go against everything he is preaching. In a decentralized world, anyone should be able to support any fork. Exchanges providing choices for users to get a ‘forked coin’ is no different by definition.”

The Steem saga illustrates that decentralization is not a utopia and that the community must work together “build a healthier decentralized ecosystem,” he concluded.

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Daily Beast News

Vladimir Zelenko, Controversial Doc in Trump’s Ear, Calls Hydroxychloroquine Study ‘Garbage’

A New York doctor, whose promotion of the experimental coronavirus treatment hydroxychloroquine purportedly reached the president’s desk, has slammed new scientific proof of the drug’s deadly side effects as “garbage.” 

Dr. Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko, whose coronavirus advice is being probed by federal authorities, said he was leaving his home town of Monroe, New York, on Thursday—where he has treated the Hasidic Jewish community for 40 years—after being hounded out by local officials who “have attempted to ruin my reputation”.

“Due to public defamation of my name and reputation caused by the political leadership, the damage being done to my ability to practice medicine and effect health policy nationally and internationally is being damaged,” he told The Daily Beast on Friday.

Zelenko’s enthusiastic and vocal support for hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug being used experimentally to treat coronavirus symptoms, has catapulted him from a small-town family practitioner to a national voice in the increasingly political debate over coronavirus cures. 

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News Popular Resistance

Grassroots Activists Defeat Controversial Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline In New York Harbor

Grassroots Activists Defeat Controversial Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline In New York Harbor

Grassroots Activists Defeat Controversial Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline In New York Harbor2020-05-18PopularResistance.Org

The decision ends the three-year fight, barring litigation; New Yorkers celebrate decision as essential for protecting public health and the planet during the crisis

New York, NY – The New York Department of Environmental Conservation today denied a needed water quality permit for the controversial Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline, effectively putting an end to the epic fight against the widely opposed project. The pipeline was slated to carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New York Harbor and out to the Rockaways.

Activists unfurl a 25-foot banner in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York office. Photo credit: Maria Ziesche

J.K. Canepa, of Sane Energy Project, said, “Governor Cuomo and the DEC showed they heard the people of New York today by ending the three-year bid by Williams Companies to trench an expensive, polluting, and unnecessary fracked gas pipeline into New York Harbor. That project would have caused untold harm to our waterfront communities and burgeoning marine life, locked us into 40 more years of fracked gas, and burdened ratepayers with a $1 billion price tag at a time when unemployment has hit a historic high not seen since the Great Depression. Even while grappling with the unprecedented crisis of being at the center of a worldwide pandemic, New Yorkers spoke loudly and clearly that they don’t want an even more terrifying future: rising seas and non-stop climate emergencies such as the release of other new viruses. The Governor’s next steps must be to deny all fossil fuel infrastructure and move us to 100 percent renewable energy, with jobs that put our workers in the forefront of these new technologies. ”

Governor Cuomo and the DEC have shown strength in stopping the Williams Pipeline and refusing to let one major crisis distract from another. The decision proves that Albany gets the bigger picture that connects the public with planetary wellbeing and will not be swayed by corporate propaganda that puts profits above the best interests of the people. But let’s be clear: this victory is mainly because of grassroots activism and the unflagging determination of New Yorkers; Cuomo still needs to do much more. If he really wants to be a leader during a crisis while reaching the goals of his own climate law, he’ll stop with the austerity politics and seize on this opportunity to institute a green recovery, which must include banning all new fossil fuel infrastructure across the state for good.

Sara Gronim, of 350Brooklyn, said “350Brooklyn salutes Governor Cuomo on his decision to deny the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement project a Water Quality Certificate for the third and final time. 350Brooklyn also thanks to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation whose scientific expertise and seriousness of purpose determined that this project would have had major negative effects on the waters off New York City. Their work enabled Governor Cuomo to make a decision that was in the best interest of New Yorkers. We thank Governor Cuomo wholeheartedly for the real leadership he showed in making this decision.”

Noelle Picone, of the SurfriderFoundation, NYC also expressed support for Cuomo’s decision, saying “ChapterSurfrider Foundation applauds Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on the decision to once again deny the water quality permit needed to build the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline. In doing so, Governor Cuomo has proven that he is the climate leader that New York State—and the rest of the country—desperately needs. In addition to exacerbating climate change, the construction of this pipeline would have had a catastrophic impact on the water quality of the New York Harbor. The denial of this project protects the Harbor, the vast array of marine wildlife that inhabits it, the people who swim, surf, and fish in it, and the coastal communities that live on it.”

Coalition members block Manhattan’s 3rd Avenue, demanding that Governor Cuomo ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure. By Erik McGregor

The victory over the pipeline is a momentous one for New Yorkers and demonstrates the unequivocal power of grassroots climate activism in the state, which outmuscled every corporate effort to convince the public that the project was in its interests. Those efforts were considerable and largely unethical and included an illegal gas moratorium, efforts to link the pipeline to the fate of a $1.4 billion development project, National Grid’s unethical lobbying of its own ratepayers, the manipulation of NYCHA residents, a dubious report asserting the climate benefits of the pipeline, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on ads, and, most recently, two 100-page reports doubling down on the utility’s claims that more fracked gas infrastructure was needed because of a gas shortage.

Dominique Thomas, New York, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer for said “The future is in community-based solutions, renewables, and efficiency programs. There’s no need to build out more fracked gas infrastructure in New York City, state or nation. Period.”

Yet the opposition proved too strong, growing until the very end. In a span of just two weeks after Williams submitted its most recent application, New Yorkers sent in over 25,000 comments to the DEC—nearly double what they sent in 2018. They also submitted over 6,000 comments to the PSC and a combined 48,000 petition signatures to Governor Cuomo asking him to stop the project. This is on top of countless other actions that included picketing, canvassing, marches, a banner drop, civil disobedience, street theater, community info sessions, lobbying, and more.

Stop the Williams NY Pipeline coalition delivers 14,496 petitions to Gov. Cuomo, February 7, 2019
Photo credit: Erik McGregor

The COVID-19 crisis didn’t slow the momentum: after distancing requirements forced National Grid in April to move its public info sessions online, over 800 unique individuals—overwhelmingly anti-pipeline—still attended. Activists were emboldened by three separate reports (from IEEFA, Energy Futures Group, and
Synergy Energy Economics), along with an earlier study, that found National Grid to be severely inflating its gas demand projections while underplaying the potentials of renewable energy and demand-side solutions. Experts agreed: New York has heat pumps and induction stoves, not fracked gas, in its future.

Scores of local elected officials—including Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assemblyman Robert Carroll, State Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblyman William Colton, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams—have opposed the pipeline. In April 2019, the New York City Council passed a near-unanimous resolution condemning the project. On the federal level, Senator Bernie Sanders and 11 U.S. representatives—including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hakeem Jeffries, Jerry Nadler, and Nydia Velázquez—have spoken out against it as well.

Now that the Williams project has been blocked, New Yorkers are calling on Cuomo to make the most of the dire situation represented by COVID-19 and begin instituting a truly green recovery, one that doubles down on his commitments to renewable energy, creates thousands of high-quality jobs in the renewable economy, and bans all new fossil fuel infrastructure for good.

Activists rally before delivering a letter opposing the pipeline, signed by over 200 organizations, to Governor Cuomo. Photo: Erik McGregor

Laura Shindell, New York Organizer with Food & Water Watch put the decision in context saying, “While President Trump hustles to bail out oil and gas companies, New York has taken another step towards moving off fossil fuels. Stopping this fracked gas project was a necessary step towards achieving the ambitious climate goals established by New York last year, and we applaud Governor Cuomo for standing strong against National Grid’s campaign of lies and

Yvonne Walker, Sandy Survivor, New York Communities for Change, concluded “The Williams Pipeline would have been a massive step backward that we just can’t afford. The climate clock is ticking. In 2012, I lost everything to Hurricane Sandy: my clothes, my medications, my furniture, my apartment and I spent weeks living in a church shelter. It makes me feel heard and gives me some closure to see that Governor Cuomo made the right decision and denied the Williams Pipeline yet again.”

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Daily Beast News

‘Real Housewives of New York’ Star Leah McSweeney Defends Controversial #MeToo Statements

In a new podcast interview, breakout new Real Housewives of New York City cast member Leah McSweeney, who is enjoying one of the most celebrated debut seasons in the franchise’s history, defended controversial statements she has made criticizing key members of the #MeToo movement

Quotes from columns McSweeney had penned for Penthouse magazine accusing Asia Argento and Rose McGowan of exploiting the movement for personal gain—as well as a YouTube interview in which she defended Donald Trump—recirculated among Bravo fans when McSweeney joined the show, and were recounted in a Daily Beast article that published last month. 

“I’m not even sure if it’s a recirculation,” McSweeney said in an interview on the Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino podcast. “My views on things and where I stand is out there. And I stand by it all. Of course people change their minds and things like that. My mind has not changed.”

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

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In the op-ed, titled “Can We Talk About Toxic Femininity?,” which was published shortly after the death of Argento’s then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, McSweeney wrote that Argento and #MeToo movement figurehead McGowan were examples of “a display of chronic, predatory narcissism.” She also disputed Argento’s account that she had been raped by Harvey Weinstein, arguing that it wasn’t rape because she had been in a consensual sexual relationship with the producer. 

“Calling this ‘rape’ is doing our society, including sexual-assault survivors, a disservice on so many levels,” McSweeney wrote. “I was raped when I was 15 years old. I know a lot of women will accuse me of victim-blaming, but at some point we have to remove the impenetrable shield that one receives when she is considered a victim.”

“Argento went on to have a consensual relationship with Weinstein for several years,” she also said. “The New Yorker article is what thrust the Italian actress into America’s cultural conversation. Before this, the American media knew little about her.” 

Later that year, McSweeney co-bylined the Tablet magazine story exposing the damaging in-fighting and problematic anti-Semitic views within the Women’s March organization. In January 2019, McSweeney launched a YouTube video series with journalist Nancy Rommelmann titled “#MeNeither.” The episodes have since been taken down or made private. 

In her podcast interview with Pellegrino, which published Thursday night, McSweeney, who did not respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment for the original article, called the story “fucked up because they were trying to create a story out of nothing.” 

“If you were going to look at the headline you were going to be like, she’s terrible I hate her,” she said. “It’s like no, do your research.”

“Look at what that article in Penthouse [said], which was about how Asia Argento and Rose McGowan hijacked the #MeToo Movement from a black woman, who I had on my podcast trying to give her a platform—they hijacked it from her and turned it into them. And it turned out that a few weeks later, Asia Argento, it turned out that she was a fraud. If anything I called bullshit on her, and I was right.”

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News RT

Trump to blame – again! Atlanta mayor pins controversial shooting of Ahmaud Arbery on WH ‘rhetoric’ giving ‘permission to racists’

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has used the controversial shooting of Ahmaud Arbery to attack the “rhetoric” being used by US President Donald Trump and his administration.

“It’s 2020 and this was a ‘lynching’ of an African American man,” Bottoms told CNN on Sunday about the case of Arbery, a black jogger who was allegedly chased and killed by two white men in Georgia at the end of February.

Arbery’s case has gained national attention mainly due to the fact that murder charges were not filed until a cellphone video showing the 25-year-old man being confronted went viral in recent days. Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, have been charged with murder and aggravated assault. Both men claim they were acting in self-defense.

Bottoms says if the video had not received public attention, charges likely would not have been filed. It’s a sentiment that is growing among Georgia officials, as Attorney General Chris Carr promised on Saturday to examine how the case was handled “from the outset.”

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But Bottoms took things further by attempting to tie Arbery’s death to the Trump administration and a “lack of leadership at the top.”

“It’s a part of the bigger issue that we are having in this country with the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House in so many ways,” she says. “I think that many who are prone to being racist are given permission to do it in an overt way that we otherwise would not see in 2020.”

Blaming crimes against minorities on the president’s rhetoric and using them to criticize his leadership is nothing new from the left.

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report last year linking an uptick in hate crimes to the president and his language. 

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Even mass shootings have been linked back to Trump by his critics, including the El Paso shooting in August that left 23 dead. 

After reports leaked that the shooter had a manifesto with racist language about Hispanics, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas) and others did their best to tie the event to the president and his hardline stance on illegal immigration.

“He encourages [this] kind of open racism,” the former congressman told the press.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went further in her criticism, saying the president was “directly responsible” for the shooting. 

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Gateway Pundit News

COVID-19 Doctors Push Back on CDC’s Controversial and Questionable Rules that Inflate Real Coronavirus Numbers

In April the CDC forced states to recount their coronavirus deaths to include confirmed cases and probable cases.
Several states are in the process of reassessing their numbers based on this controversial new rule.

They likely did this because the initial predictions they used included the Imperial College Study out of England that predicted 2 million deaths in the US due to the virus.  Of course, the numbers were much less than that.  The UK study is now confirmed as a complete fraud.

In mid-April New York state added 3,700 deaths to their numbers to include presumed but not confirmed cases.

The CDC is forcing states to recount their coronavirus fatality deaths and update their numbers.

TRENDING: Brennan Lashes Out As President Trump Warns More Documents Exposing Spygate Cabal Will Be Coming Out Soon

But now COVID-19 doctors are pushing back against the inaccurate labeling promoted by the CDC.

Christine Dolan at Just The News reported:

Frontline COVID-19 doctors this week have gone public saying they feel pressured to show COVID-19 as cause-of-death on certificates of patients suspected of having the virus when they also have had underlying medical conditions.

Dr. Jonathan Fishbein, a clinical researcher, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease and the World Health Organization have issued “vague if not misguided recommendations that unfortunately have been adopted by national, state and local leaders.”

“It is absolutely critical that we have accurate data to support decision-makers,” he also told Just the News. “If the data in our assessments included patients who have not definitively tested positive for COVID-19, that provides misleading information to policy-makers…

…It is unusual when there is a new disease and a patient dies and the cause of their death may be their underlying condition like diabetes or congestive heart failure and the doctors are pressured to report the cause of death as COVID-19 instead.

Such reporting could result in inaccurately inflating the number of virus-related deaths and hurt those drafting public health policy for future pandemics or epidemics.

Read the rest here.

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News RT

Controversial Georgian ex-president Saakashvili takes charge of Ukraine’s reform body — RT World News

After weeks of rumors and speculations, Mikhail Saakashvili, former Georgian president who is wanted for embezzlement at home, was appointed as the head of Ukraine’s executive council on reforms.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Thursday confirming Saakashvili’s new political role.

Zelensky said that he “sincerely congratulated” the 52-year-old on this “new challenge,” adding that he trusts Saakashvili to be able to “provide impetus” to the body and help him with “implementing important changes in the life of the country.”

According to media leaks, Saakashvili was initially considered for the job of deputy prime minister, but there was no unity on his candidacy even among members of Zelensky’s own party.

The National Reform Council, which he has now taken charge of, is a presidential advisory body – and does need an “impetus,” as it last convened more than two years ago.

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Life in Ukraine worse than during USSR, country may split into FIVE states – Georgia’s controversial ex-leader Saakashvili

Saakashvili has for years declared that Ukraine is in dire need of changes, arguing in an interview earlier this year that the quality of life in the country was “much worse” than during the Soviet times and warning that it may well split into five separate states if something isn’t done.

His supporters praise him for the reforms he carried out in Georgia during his 2004 – 2013 presidency, insisting that he was able to eradicate corruption there. However, those claims are soured by the criminal charges of large-scale embezzlement, which forced him to flee Georgia as soon as his term in office was over. Saakashvili is also infamously responsible for sending Georgian troops to attack the breakaway republic of North Ossetia in August 2008 – which provoked a military conflict with Russia after its peacekeepers stationed there came under attack.

The US-educated politician’s fortunes took an unexpected turn in 2015, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko granted him citizenship and appointed him governor of the Black Sea coastal region of Odessa.

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The move soon became a PR disaster for Poroshenko, as the rash and unpredictable Saakashvili began bashing the Ukrainian authorities in an attempt to win the sympathy of the public. He was sacked from the job in 2016, deprived of his passport and deported from Ukraine.

Zelensky, who handily defeated Poroshenko in the presidential election in April 2019 on a platform of radical reforms and rooting out corruption, restored Saakashvili’s citizenship last May, with the “reformer” returning to Ukraine the day after.

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