- President Donald Trump reportedly wants to pardon a number of accused or convicted war criminals in time for Memorial Day.
- The Trump administration made expedited requests for paperwork for the pardons earlier this week, The New York Times reported.
- Among those considered is Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL who allegedly stabbed an enemy captive and shot unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2017.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing pardons for several members of the US military who have been accused or convicted of war crimes.
The Trump administration made expedited requests for paperwork earlier this week, so as to have the pardons ready around Memorial Day, The New York Times reported Saturday, citing two US officials.
One of the possible pardons is for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL who will soon be brought to trial for allegedly stabbing an enemy captive and shooting unarmed civilians in Iraq in 2017.
Another name floated was Nicholas Slatten, a former Blackwater security contractor recently convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting of dozens of unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007.
Trump is also reportedly considering pardoning Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a Green Beret charged with murdering a suspected bomb maker in Afghanistan in 2010.
Both Gallagher and Golsteyn’s cases have featured prominently on Fox News, where the men have been lauded as heroes. Trump even tweeted last December he would be “reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn.”
The two officials who spoke to The Times said they had not seen a complete list of people Trump may pardon, nor did they know if other members of the military were on it.
Trump made a similar move in recent weeks, pardoning Michael Behenna, a former US Army Ranger convicted in 2008 of murdering an Iraqi prisoner, Ali Mansur.
Behenna was released from prison on parole in 2014 after serving five years out of a 15-year sentence.
Legal experts fretted on Saturday that pardoning alleged war criminals — particularly ones who have not yet stood trial — would damage trust in the US military.
“These are all extremely complicated cases that have gone through a careful system of consideration. A freewheeling pardon undermines that whole system,” Gary Solis, a retired military judge, told The Times. “It raises the prospect in the minds of the troops that says, ‘Whatever we do, if we can get the folks back home behind us, maybe we can get let off.'”
By CCN: According to eToro senior market analyst Mati Greenspan, bitcoin is in amidst a parabolic bull cycle and is on track to sustain its strong momentum over the medium to long term.
Since January, within less than six months, the bitcoin price has increased by nearly 100 percent against the U.S. dollar.
Still, despite its large short-term rally, Greenspan noted that the dominant cryptocurrency is only at the start of a bigger cycle that may lead to new highs for the asset.
Why Industry Executives are So Optimistic in Bitcoin
In December 2018, the bitcoin price dropped to its lowest yearly point at $3,150. At the time, even though the industry had demonstrated significant progress in improving the infrastructure supporting the asset class, the sentiment around the market was quite gloomy.
From January to late March, the bitcoin price showed little volatility in a tight range between $3,000 to $4,000, leading traders to become concerned about the possibility of the asset plunging by another 50 percent following an extended period of stability.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, when the bitcoin price remained stable for more than 3 months at the mid-$6,000 level, it fell by nearly half to $3,150.
However, bitcoin showed a strong recovery backed by large volume on regulated platforms like the CME bitcoin futures market and Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), leading the crypto market to rebound in a short time frame.
We’re just part of a larger cycle. Bitcoin has gone through several cycles before these massive bull runs, we’re talking about 10,000 to 50,000 percent gains within a short period of time and then it has these massive retracements. They can be 80 percent or even 90 percent and that’s what he had coming off of $20,000 per bitcoin all the way down to just above $3,000 per coin.
The speculation in the market at the moment is that we’re just getting started on the next parabolic cycle.
The crypto market moves largely by cycles. As former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan suggested, the market often moves by the pattern of crash-build-recover-rally and has done so four times in the past ten years.
Every rally subsequent to a large crash or a brutal correction typically takes the bitcoin price to a new all-time high because companies and developers in the industry build to strengthen the infrastructure supporting the asset class.
Industry executives like Silbert remain optimistic in the near to medium term outlook of the crypto market due to the noticeable improvements in various areas including custody, transparency, security, and compliance.
Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group, a leading crypto-focused venture capital firm, noted:
Sentiment, the technicals look great. An 80 percent drawdown happened three or four times and every time that’s happened [it hit] record highs. So as soon as you get the price going back up, and animal instincts come back [market recovers].
But the difference between this increase in price versus the bubble in 2017 is the infrastructure is much different. You have custodians now. you have trading software, you have compliance software, people are educated about the asset class, so this time is different.
Can the Market go Even Further?
Triggered by a 5,000 BTC sell order on Bitstamp, which is equivalent to around $35 million, many contracts on a major margin trading platform BitMEX were liquidated on May 17. Consequently, the bitcoin price briefly plunged to $6,400.
Considering that investors generally expected a correction to hit the market following a 45 percent increase in price in a single month, strategists have suggested that the market is likely to absorb the sell-off and rebound.
Click here for a real-time bitcoin price chart.
By CCN: Battlefield V makes a number of departures from reality, but none is so stark as its erasure of the German Nazi Party. The EA/DICE superhit released the title – 16th in the series – last fall.
World War II Without Nazis, Japanese, Russians, or Americans?
I wasn’t paying much attention, having not even upgraded to Xbox One at that point. I finally did so in January, and the reason seemed obvious to me: Battlefield One. Then one day at the store I noticed a new Battlefield title, so I picked it up.
While Battlefield has for years been essentially the only console game I play (I’m a boring/busy single father of four), I hadn’t heard anything about the latest edition.
As it turns out, there was a great controversy about them introducing women soldiers into every army.
Clearly, that makes historical sense for the Soviet Union, who did have many female soldiers. Actual soldiers, armed and trained to kill, although the majority served in medical units.
But Soviet Russia isn’t even introduced in Battlefield V (yet). Nor is America, Japan, or even, wait for it, the Nazis. There are Germans, but we’re meant to pretend they weren’t Nazis.
In fact, if you play medic, which is one of the better classes in Battlefield V, you default to the female character.
I played her for a few weeks before I realized I could change her. Battlefield V has a whole skinning/market scheme, where you’re expected to earn in-game currency and spend real money to upgrade the look and feel of your character.
You Could Use A Little Blockchain In Your Life
This is a departure from Battlefield 4, the game I’ve played constantly for years, where your main concern is upgrading your weapon. Just being a good player will eventually get you all the weapons. I think, of course, the Battlefield in-game-property system could benefit from some blockchain, but that’s another article.
The female thing doesn’t bother me much, really. So be it.
But the Nazi thing. Well, some background.
It’s Okay To Kill A Nazi Where I Come From
My first experience in first person shooters was in the 1990s, on Windows 3.1, playing Wolfenstein 3D. My Reagan Republican father watched pretty much one channel exclusively, the History channel. When he wasn’t watching the news. On the occasions he was home. On the occasions he wasn’t busy doing something else.
My ex-wife calls it the Hitler channel. She had a different experience. One of her father figures was a neo-Nazi. He watched the History channel for a different reason.
My father is mainly educated in military and historical affairs. He spent a long time in the Navy, much longer than I did the Army or his father in the Army Air Corps.
When I was growing up, there was no moral quandary about punching Nazis. Or even killing them. Nazis and communists were basically the same thing – that is, fundamentally anti-American. My father wasn’t “Antifa.” He was pro-American. Long story short, before the age of ten I was allowed to kill Nazis in Wolfenstein 3D.
Battlefield 1942 is a top five Nazi killer.
In the early 1990s, it wasn’t politically incorrect to include depictions of the Third Reich. Especially from the angle of a POW dead set on killing as many Nazis as possible. But it seems for political reasons one of the greatest World War 2 games will not include any Nazis.
Can We Please Kill Nazis?
In America, though, we’re still all about killing Nazis. Really. This movie was a big hit:
Yes, I said one of the greatest. For all its historical quandaries, Battlefield is very much the best war game you can find. I like being able to use vehicles. Battlefield has always been more in-depth. Killing plays a central role in the game, but you have to work as a team to win the big points in Conquest or Rush mode.
I asked this question on Quora, and someone told me it has to do with distribution in certain countries, where it is illegal to acknowledge that the Nazis existed. Or something like that.
Like I said before, I had a relatively simplistic upbringing when it came to these issues: America good, Nazis bad, commies bad. This was long before we saw a presidential election actually swayed by far-right leaders or had a socialist caucus making so much noise.
Once upon a time, you’d be considered a serious radical for shutting down the government, even if you did it because you were intent on shrinking the budget (rather than getting certain expenditures approved).
I want to kill Nazis in video games. I want killing Nazis to be culturally acceptable. I’m not joking.
Extremism Is Alive And Well, Are The Kids Alright?
There was a time that Nazis presented a real threat to the whole world. Prior to World War II, I’m sure everyone thought such atrocities as the Holocaust were impossible. Modern Nazis often deny it ever happened.
Given one opportunity, extremists will seize every bit of power they can. It’s just in their programming. Exactly as it’s in ours to ignore them and pretend they don’t present a real threat.
The casual eroding of our civil rights under both political parties is just teeing up for the ultimate end-game. It’s only a matter of which brand of authoritarian eventually tries to rule us, and whether the corporate overlords allow it.
Being a moderate is becoming socially unacceptable.
So let’s be extremely moderate. Let’s rebuke those who embrace the most divisive aspects of their word soup. Teach our children to be suspicious of anyone with grand solutions to all of society’s problems. Illegal immigrants aren’t the only problem for this nation of immigrants. Neither are its successful entrepreneurs. Both sides are insane.
Let’s actually make America great again.
But, if you spend too much time online, it starts to feel like you can’t just support America anymore. I mean, I can’t. It’s not enough.
I wanted Marco Rubio for president. Two-plus years of pissing and moaning on Twitter haven’t convinced me this dude was any better than what the liberals offered. Libertarians were running a decent guy if I recall.
There are elected democrats who insist you must support essentially communist policies and act loudly on behalf of extreme minorities in order to be considered a “real liberal.”
All this extremism is playing hell on our cultural psyche, and makes it hard to raise children with any sense.
You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Despise The Party
Kids need things simple.
Dad, what’s a Nazi?
Historically, they were a group of people who tried to kill off all the Jewish folks and take over the world. Your great-grandfather served in the military at that time. The good guys won. Today they’re a group of people who deny their predecessors ever tried to kill off all the Jewish people but use the same tactics to try and destroy your country.
Future generations need to know what the enemy looks like. In this country, they learn from video games and movies. Let’s stop denying that for a minute.
What better way than knowing what the enemy looked like in the past? Including the current past. Yes, I’m also advocating for accurate games depicting soldiers killing insurgents, terrorists, or whatever you feel like calling the people who terrorize the good people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
This country’s most sinister enemies love nothing more than division among us.
Divided We Better Call Saul
People on both “sides” (there’s only one other side: authoritarianism) thrive when we’re confused.
A “strong middle class” might be a fictitious economic point that pundits like to punt around, but it’s useful when understanding the type of values that promote a healthy society.
I think our society was healthier, and farther from collapse when there was no moral gray area on certain things.
Yes, it’s okay to punch a Nazi. Assault is a crime, so you might get arrested, but you definitely have the moral high ground, whatever the liberals and Nazi apologists have to say about it.
Yes, it’s okay to denounce communists.
Yes, it’s okay to kill terrorists in the act of terrorism, of any stripe, especially the ones who look like you.
In Conclusion, Can I Kill Some Nazis In Battlefield V?
DICE/EA, can we please kill Nazis?
Maybe you shouldn’t allow it where you legally can’t, but here in the USA, games are on par with movies as far as educating our youth.
It wasn’t Germany. It was Nazi Germany.
It wasn’t Italy. It was fascist Italy.
It wasn’t Japan. It was Imperial Japan on the warpath.
But – as long as you’re rewriting history —
Can we add a third chapter where the US turns on Russia following the surrender of Germany, and we avert a Cold War by going straight into a real one?
Then we’d get to kill Nazis and communists from an American perspective, without fast-forwarding to Korea. Now that would be the perfect game.
Note: the views expressed in this article belong solely to the author, who is not obliged to engage you in the comments, but may do so at his own discretion. They do not belong, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.com.
By CCN: Ripple is arguably the most divisive cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, the company surpassed a 200-customer milestone as financial institutions such as Transpaygo, WorldCom Finance, and Euro Exim Bank signed up for RippleNet. If Ripple was like any other cryptocurrency, enthusiasts would have celebrated this accomplishment. Except for the XRP Army, the company is not getting any love from the crypto community.
In this article, we explore the reasons why corporations love Ripple while almost everybody else hates it.
Why Corporations Love Ripple
It is quite easy to understand why corporations love Ripple. By using XRP, corporations such as banks can remove the middleman out of the equation when sending cross-border payments. Without third-party involvement, costs are significantly reduced. For instance, PayPal charges around 3% for electronic payments. If you use Ripple, the average transaction fee is currently 0.0009 XRP, which is negligible considering that the price of one XRP is around $0.37.
Another reason why corporations love Ripple is its scalability. XRP can handle 1,500 transactions per second and has the potential to match Visa’s same throughput of 50,000 TPS. On top of that, recipients can get their money in as little as four seconds.
To give you context on XRP’s efficiency, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington sent $50 million and it took the network three seconds to settle payments. More importantly, the transaction cost 30 cents.
Why People in the Crypto Community Hate Ripple
Most people hate XRP because they believe it is a banker’s cryptocurrency. By working with financial institutions, it deviates from Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of a peer-to-peer currency that enables people to take control back from the banks.
On top of that, XRP is not a decentralized currency. One company operates and controls the network. Again, this goes against the whole idea of a decentralized cryptocurrency.
These are the obvious reasons why some people shun the altcoin. However, those in the know condemn the cryptocurrency for two reasons: it is pre-mined and Ripple controls 60% of XRP in existence. With this combination, they think that XRP is primed for pump-and-dump schemes. If you control supply, you determine the price.
Case in point: in the last bull run, Ripple traded around $0.24 on Dec. 11, 2017. The altcoin then surged to as high as $3.30 on Jan. 4, 2018. That’s an astronomical gain of 1,275% in less than a month. This created tremendous hype that lured many unwitting retail investors.
Unfortunately, the ensuing bear market was brutal. Ripple lost about 90% of its value from the peak. This left many in financial ruin. As a result, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company. One disgruntled investor even asked Ripple for a $167.7 million payment for damages.
XRP may be one of the better fundamentally sound cryptocurrencies, which is why financial institutions have embraced the altcoin. However, many detest the digital asset as it departs from Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision. Love it or hate it, there’s money to be made while investing in XRP.
The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.
By CCN: Most Americans are financially unstable and live paycheck to paycheck. In fact, 51% of working Americans would be in dire financial straits if they missed a single paycheck. And an additional 15% would suffer severe hardship if they missed two pay periods.
These alarming findings were uncovered in a personal finance survey from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.
Low-Income and Hispanic Households Would Suffer Most
The study found that millions of Americans would be unable to pay their mortgages or rents and cover basic necessities without dipping into their savings or using credit cards.
Notably, 67% of low-income households (defined as those earning less than $30,000 a year) and 65% of Hispanic households would suffer the greatest hardships from income disruption.
The poll — which was compiled using 1,010 interviews of American adults over age 18 — was conducted between January and February 2019.
Even Short Income Disruptions Cause Hardship
Angela Fontes is the director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-making program at NORC at the University of Chicago.
Fontes says these disturbing findings show that millions of Americans are dangerously vulnerable to falling into debt.
“Even short disruptions in pay can cause significant hardship, as most Americans appear to be living paycheck-to-paycheck. The issue is particularly salient for Hispanic and for low-income households. The vast majority of these households would need to begin depleting savings, if they have any, sooner.”
Fontes says most households would respond to income disruptions by doing the following:
- 47% would use credit cards.
- 47% would borrow money from family or friends.
- 41% would sell or pawn something.
- 17% would take out a short-term loan. Many of these lenders charge outrageously high interest rates, ranging from 400% to 800%.
Angela Fontes says resorting to predatory short-term loans is a dangerous and slippery slope that low-income households are especially vulnerable to.
“Research shows that high interest rates on credit cards and short-term loans can be particularly dangerous fallback options that may increase debt and financial challenges over time. While the funds made available through a short-term loan may address an immediate financial need, these quick-fix solutions frequently come with long-term consequences.”
78% of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck
This latest research from the University of Chicago confirms previous findings from CareerBuilder showing that a shocking 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. (video below.)
Mike Erwin, a spokesman for CareerBuilder, says stagnant wages and the rising cost of everything – from consumer goods to education – is fueling this disturbing phenomenon.
Surprisingly, Erwin says this trend isn’t just among low- or middle-income Americans but across all income ranges. And this is a serious wake-up call for all Americans.
“Living paycheck to paycheck is the new way of life for U.S. workers. It’s not just one salary range. It’s pretty much across the board. And it’s trending in the wrong direction.”
So while unhinged Democrats and the American media screech nonstop about President Donald Trump, they are largely ignoring “kitchen-table” issues that actually affect real-life Americans much more than Russia! Russia! Russia! hysteria.
While attending “Arnold Classic Africa” in Johannesburg, which features a wide array of sporting events and physical activities, the 71-year-old “Last Action Hero” was filming participants when he received a flying kick to the back by an unknown assailant. The actor fell forward as the perpetrator was immediately tackled by security while yelling, “Help me!”
“Oy, My Back!” Don’t Interrupt a Cyborg’s Snapchat with Physical Violence
Schwarzenegger was later escorted off the premises by a team of bodyguards. He thanked them for their efforts and posted to Twitter that he was okay and that he was glad the “idiot didn’t interrupt his Snapchat.” The assailant was later identified by security members as someone who has pulled similar stunts in the past. Schwarzenegger says he will not be pressing charges and that he plans to attend the rest of the event this coming Sunday. It’s probably safe to say that “he’ll be back…”
Thanks for your concerns, but there is nothing to worry about. I thought I was just jostled by the crowd, which happens a lot. I only realized I was kicked when I saw the video like all of you. I’m just glad the idiot didn’t interrupt my Snapchat.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 18, 2019
Whether he meant to or not, Schwarzenegger gave a commercial for Snap, Inc, the company behind the messaging app. Not that Snap’s stock needed his help. SNAP shares have about doubled year-to-date and are up 7% over the last 12-month period. The company got a boost last week when Facebook reportedly decided to close its Direct messaging app on Instagram, which went head-to-head with Snapchat. Investors have been celebrating ever since.
Snap continues to operate at a loss but boasts a whopping 190 million daily active users.
SnapChat’s Reputation Could Use Some Work
While the stock has been rising, SnapChat’s reputation could use some work. Schwarzenegger is all too familiar with how this feels.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 18, 2019
Snapchat seems to create something of a hierarchy amongst friends through its use of “Snapchat Streaks,” which occur when two individuals speak or text with each other for a minimum of two straight days. Having more streaks allegedly makes younger account holders feel “more popular,” and mark a powerful kind of “social acceptance” amongst users.
It seems younger generations also do foolish things with their accounts. This includes sharing their login credentials on other social media pages and using what’s called Snap Map, which allows them to be tracked and located physically. Snap Map can dissolve one’s privacy and make users vulnerable to outside parties they’d otherwise think twice about being associated with. Snap might want to ask Facebook how privacy issues ended for them.
Schwarzenegger lives in the public eye. He’s got an event to promote, so his use of Snapchat is understandable. For others, however, one can’t help but wonder if the social media platform presents more problems than it does power and “decent exposure.”
For investors, Snap’s stock appears to have some tailwinds for the foreseeable future now that Facebook is bowing out, which happened even before “The Terminator” star gave them a plug.