• Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Today, 01:57 AM
    Unlike most commentators and reporters, I have read most of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The purpose of this statement is to debunk many of the myths, and indeed lies, that mar the report and/or interpretations of it. Myth: Over 300 priests were found guilty of preying on youngsters in Pennsylvania. Fact: No one was found guilty of anything. Yet that didn't stop CBS from saying "300 'predator priests' abused more than 1,000 children over a period of 70 years." These are all accusations, most of which were never verified by either the grand jury or the dioceses. The report, and CBS, are also wrong to say that all of the accused are priests. In fact, some were brothers, some were deacons, and some were seminarians. How many of the 300 were probably guilty? Maybe half. My reasoning? The 2004 report by the John Jay College for Criminal Justice found that 4 percent of priests nationwide had a credible accusation made against them between 1950-2002. That is the figure everyone quotes. But the report also notes that roughly half that number were substantiated. If that is a reliable measure, the 300 figure drops to around 150. During the seven decades under investigation by the grand jury, there were over 5,000 priests serving in Pennsylvania(this includes two dioceses not covered in the report). Therefore, the percent of priests who had an accusation made against them is quite small, offering a much different picture than what the media afford. And remember, most of these accusations were never substantiated. Importantly, in almost all cases, the accused named in the report was never afforded the right to rebut the charges. That is because the report was investigative, not evidentiary, though the report's summary suggests that it is authoritative. It manifestly is not. The report covers accusations extending back to World War II. Almost all the accused are either dead or have been thrown out of the priesthood. For example, in the Diocese of Harrisburg, 71 persons are named: 42 are dead and four are missing. Most of those who are still alive are no longer in ministry. There are some cases that are so old that they are unbelievable. Consider the case of Father Joseph M. Ganter. Born in 1892, he was accused in 2008 by an 80-year-old man of abusing him in the 1930s.
    6 replies | 185 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:34 PM
    The leader of a close US ally is turning to rival Russia for submarines, arguing that if his country were to buy American submarines, they would probably "implode." President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte lashed out Friday after the US warned the Philippines against purchasing Russian Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines. He accused the US of selling its ally only hand-me-down weapons that endanger the lives of Filipino troops, according to local outlet Rappler. "Why did you not stop the other countries in Asia? Why are you stopping us? Who are you to warn us?" Duterte asked Friday at an event in his hometown of Davao."You give us submarines, it will implode." He asserted that the US sent his country "used" and "rusted" North Atlantic Treaty Organization helicopters, claiming the poor condition of the platforms led to the deaths of local forces. "Is that the way you treat an ally and you want us to stay with you for all time?" he asked. "You want us to remain backwards. Vietnam has 7 submarines, Malaysia has 2, Indonesia has 8. We alone don't have one. You haven't given us any." Duterte's latest outburst was triggered by a warning issued Thursday by Randall Schriver, the US Department of Defense Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. "I think they should think very carefully about that," he said, referring to the Philippine government's interest in acquiring Russian submarines. "If they were to proceed with purchasing major Russian equipment, I don't think that's a helpful thing to do alliance, and I think ultimately we can be a better partner than the Russians can be." More at: https://www.businessinsider.com/duterte-doesnt-want-us-submarines-because-he-thinks-theyll-implode-2018-8?yptr=yahoo
    0 replies | 52 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:22 PM
    As the world focuses on the crisis facing Turkey's lira, the Turkish part of Cyprus faces an arguably worse situation that is not of its own making. The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is heavily reliant on "big brother" Turkey due to its political and economic isolation from the rest of the world, a result of its official break from the Greek Cypriot south in 1983. The Turkish third of the eastern Mediterranean island uses the lira for day-to-day business but many items such as cars and electronic goods, as well as property costs, are priced in foreign currency - leaving the territory's 300,000 inhabitants facing a greater threat from fluctuations than those in Turkey. By using the lira, TRNC, which had a trade deficit of $1.67bn last year, is deprived of many of the vital economic tools - such as raising interest rates - that could help it keep down the cost of living. "They say that when Turkey catches a cold, northern Cyprus gets a fever," said Fiona Mullen, an economic consultant based on the island. The Turkish Cypriot authorities are looking to Ankara to take the lead in recovery efforts. This week, President Mustafa Akinci and Prime Minister Tufan Erhurman met Binali Yildirim, Turkey's parliamentary speaker and former prime minister, during his visit to the island. According to official broadcaster BRT, Yildirim assured them the Turkish government was doing everything to deal with the crisis.
    0 replies | 49 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:19 PM
    Israeli forces have shut down the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following an alleged stabbing attempt by a Palestinian on a group of Israeli policemen in Jerusalem's Old City. The attacker, a 30-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from the town of Umm al-Faham, was shot dead by the Israeli forces, police said in a statement on Friday. No other casualties were reported. According to local Palestinian media, worshipers were forcibly removed out of the compound by Israeli police and soldiers, who then proceeded to shut down the gates to the Old City. More at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/israeli-forces-shut-al-aqsa-mosque-compound-180817181038597.html
    0 replies | 49 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:16 PM
    The White House budget office believes it has found a way to cancel about $3 billion in foreign aid even if it is never approved by Congress, according to a Republican aide familiar with the plan. Using an obscure budget rule, administration officials are planning to freeze billions of dollars in the State Department’s international assistance budget — just long enough so the funds will expire. The current plan involves about $3 billion, though officials are said to have discussed as much as $5 billion. The White House plans to submit the package of so-called rescissions in the coming days, which triggers an automatic freeze on those funds for 45 days. The cuts would largely come from the U.S. funding for the United Nations, according to the aide. With exactly 45 days left in fiscal 2018, the State Department wouldn't be able to use those funds even if Congress rejects the request because those dollars will have expired by Oct. 1. More at: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/17/white-house-cut-foreign-aid-money-743481
    2 replies | 88 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:14 PM
    Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was "ready to talk about everything" with the U.S. More at: https://www.investors.com/market-trend/stock-market-today/stocks-china-turkey-2/?src=A00220&yptr=yahoo
    34 replies | 1233 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:10 PM
    Broadband providers have spent years lobbying against utility-style regulations that protect consumers from high prices and bad service. But now, broadband lobby groups are arguing that Internet service is similar to utilities such as electricity, gas distribution, roads, and water and sewer networks. In the providers' view, the essential nature of broadband doesn't require more regulation to protect consumers. Instead, they argue that broadband's utility-like status is reason for the government to give ISPs more money. That's the argument made by trade groups USTelecom and NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. USTelecom represents telcos including AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink, while NTCA represents nearly 850 small ISPs. "Like electricity, broadband is essential to every American," USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter and NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield wrote Monday in an op-ed for The Topeka Capital-Journal. "Yet US broadband infrastructure has been financed largely by the private sector without assurance that such costs can be recovered through increased consumer rates." ISPs want benefits but not responsibilities While ISPs want the benefits of being treated like utilities—such as pole attachment rights and access to public rights-of-way—they oppose traditional utility-style obligations such as regulated prices and deployment to all Americans. The industry's main arguments against net neutrality and other common carrier regulations were that broadband shouldn't be treated as a utility and that the broadband market is too competitive to justify strict regulations. "Utility regulation over broadband can only inhibit incentives for network investment," AT&T warned in November 2017. Industry groups have also tried to stop cities and towns from building their own networks, saying that the government shouldn't compete against private companies. Telecom-friendly legislatures have passed about 20 state laws restricting the growth of municipal broadband. Despite the industry's fight against municipal networks, Spalter and Bloomfield wrote that the "private-led investment model" only works well in "reasonably populous areas." In rural parts of America, "the private sector can't go it alone," they wrote.
    5 replies | 94 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 11:08 PM
    Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento are moving quickly on legislation to overturn a court ruling that would require the state to use $331 million to aid homeowners hit with foreclosures, money from a nationwide settlement with banks accused of abusive foreclosure practices. A state appeals court in Sacramento ruled last month that Gov. Jerry Brown had wrongly used the $331 million to pay off deficits of state agencies that handle state housing bonds and consumer programs. The money for Brown’s actions has been appropriated for three years, each time with legislative approval, but the court said the administration had violated a 2012 state law directing use of funds from the mortgage settlement. The ruling said the state must spend the funds on programs directly assisting foreclosed homeowners. This week, however, legislative Democrats rewrote two budget-related bills and moved them through fiscal committees in both houses on party-line votes. Both bills declare that Brown had properly cleared his funding decisions with the Legislature and had complied with the 2012 state law by using the money to bail out state agencies overseeing housing and consumer services. A lawyer for the organizations that challenged the state’s use of the funds, led by the National Asian American Coalition, promised another legal battle if the legislation passes. Even if the Legislature “attempts to somehow retroactively endorse” the state’s past use of the funds, “those actions were still illegal, and the governor remains under an obligation to use the National Mortgage Settlement Funds as the appellate court found they were intended — to help struggling homeowners,” said attorney Neil Barofsky.
    4 replies | 150 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:38 PM
    Revival of the German Military Service?Until 2011, Germany had a national military service of six-to-nine months length, which could either be done in the military or replaced by civilian service. Criticized as unnecessary, too expensive, or unfair, the service was put in abeyance in July 2011. However, a recent poll suggests that a majority of Germans support the idea of some kind of national service (though there is no majority for reintroducing the old 'Wehrdienst'). In Germany, this debate is in its early stages. But elsewhere in Europe, such as in Sweden and France, conscription has already been reintroduced in different forms. A German Bomb?The debate on a German nuclear bomb was started by a front-page article in the Welt on 29 July, written by German political science professor Christian Hacke. He argued that, as the U.S. under Donald Trump is becoming an increasingly unreliable partner, Germany needs to consider guaranteeing its own nuclear deterrence. He is not the first to argue this point; when Trump was elected in 2016, the editor of the biggest conservative newspaper in Germany had made a similar argument, and a Member of Parliament asked the parliamentary research service to look into options for Germany to share France's or the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons. More at: https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/germany-discusses-security-and-defense-policy-silly-season-or-real-change
    9 replies | 352 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 10:21 PM
    Germany will soon send back migrants to Greece if they had already applied for asylum there. The two countries made the deal at the behest of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose coalition government is on shaky ground due to increased opposition to her immigration policies. “EU law states that refugees should apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach, but Germany has typically allowed newcomers with open applications elsewhere to reside in the country as it examines their claim,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “In practice, very few ever leave Germany, even if they fail to obtain asylum there.” More at: https://europe.infowars.com/germany-returns-migrants-to-greece/
    0 replies | 47 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 10:18 PM
    POLICE in China have stormed a Christian summer camp for young people as Beijing continues its heavy-handed crackdown against the faith. Officers shut down the week-long youth retreat in the northern Gansu province and ordered two parish priests who were running the event to return home. Around 80 children aged between 10 and 14 were taking part in the event in the city of Tianjin when police raided the campsite, Catholic news agency UCAN reports. After police arrived, the summer camp's two organisers were accused of holding an illegal Christian event and escorted from the campsite, according to UCAN. Officials in Tianjin then requested two state-approved priests be dispatched from the government-controlled Catholic Church agency to take over the retreat. A source told UCAN: "There are people in the government who want to break the current situation. "They do not allow the underground church to exist and must convert it to be open." The closure of the camp comes as Beijing continues its attempts to suppress the Christian faith.
    0 replies | 52 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 10:15 PM
    INDONESIA has been savaged by another huge earthquake as Raba suffered a 6.6 magnitude tremor that could also be felt 416 miles away in Bali. Earthquake watchdog the US Geological Survey confirmed the mammoth quake hit the northwest Indonesian city that lies on the island of Sumbawa moments ago. Social media users swarmed the internet to declare their safety and share locations where the earthquake - another in a series of devastating natural disasters - hit the cluster of islands. Tim Andrew said two minutes after the quake rocked the region: “Yep, felt it here in Bali.” Lee Nallalingham added: “Felt here in Bali - no tsunami warning issued.” The newest quake to hit the region at 11.15pm local time comes two weeks after the August 5 magnitude 7 quake that has so far claimed the lives of more than 460 people. More than 7,750 were injured as the quake laid some 70,000 homes to waste on the popular tourist island with hospitals, clinics, schools, bridges and office blocks also damaged having struck six miles underground.
    0 replies | 41 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:11 PM
    Angela Merkel has promised to speed up the deportations of rejected asylum seekers from Germany after hundreds of far-right protesters called on her to resign over her disastrous migration policy. Activists chanted “Get lost!” and “Merkel must go!” as Mrs Merkel flew into the eastern city of Dresden for talks with regional members of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU). More at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1004749/angela-merkel-protest-far-right-activists-eu-migrant-crisis
    2 replies | 40 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 10:07 PM
    Good points.
    12 replies | 114 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 09:55 PM
    Despite the hype the water levels are very low.
    12 replies | 114 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 09:32 PM
    Lake Mead - the West's largest reservoir - is running dry again and is on track to fall below a critical threshold in 2020, according to a new forecast by the Bureau of Reclamation. In 2016, Lake Mead water levels drop to new record lows (since it was filled in the 1930s) leaving Las Vegas facing existential threats unless something is done. Las Vegas and its 2 million residents and 40 million tourists a year get almost all their drinking water from the Lake and at levels below 1075ft, the Interior Department will be forced to declare a "shortage," which will lead to significant cutbacks for Arizona and Nevada. And now, two years later, the situation appears to be getting worse as The Wall Street Journal reports, in a prediction released Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation, a multistate agency that manages water and power in the West, said there is a 52% probability that water levels will fall below a threshold of 1,075 feet elevation by 2020. Source “The very big concern is the perception that water supplies are uncertain,” said Todd Reeve, chief executive officer of Business for Water Stewardship, a nonprofit group in Portland, Ore., that works with businesses on water use nationally. “So if a water shortage is declared, that would be a huge shot across the bow that, wow, water supplies could be uncertain.” The Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, has been in long-term decline amid what bureau officials call the driest 19-year period in recorded history. Lake Mead, which serves as the biggest reservoir of the river’s water, resumed its decline this year after the region returned to drought conditions. As of Wednesday, it stood at 1,078 feet, about 150 feet below its peak.
    12 replies | 114 view(s)
  • Swordsmyth's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:22 PM
    The blowback against bank virtue signaling has begun. Louisiana's state’s bond commission voted 7 to 6 Thursday to ban Bank of America and Citigroup from working on its upcoming debt sale because of the banks’ "restrictive gun policies," the state treasury said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. As states begin using the bond market in retaliation against Wall Street and to stick up for the Second Amendment, Bank of America and Citigroup - the two top-ranked underwriters of long-term municipal debt - stand to lose millions in muni revenue. "I personally believe the policies of these banks are an infringement on the rights of Louisiana citizens,” Treasurer John Schroder said in a statement. “As a veteran and former member of law enforcement, I take the Second Amendment very seriously." As a reminder, Bank of America in April said it would stop making new loans to companies that make assault-style rifles for civilian use. At the time, the bank said at least 150 of its employees had been affected by gun violence over the years. One month earlier, Citigroup became the major banking institution to set restrictions on the firearm industry in March, when it announced plans to prohibit retailers that are customers of the bank from offering bump stocks or selling guns to people who haven’t passed a background check or are younger than 21. The restrictions applied to companies that rely on the bank for store credit cards, lending and other services. More at: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-17/louisiana-bans-bofa-citi-bond-sale-over-restrictive-gun-policies
    0 replies | 54 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 09:20 PM
    As Turkey braces for a fresh round of US sanctions amid a plummeting lira and what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says is "economic warfare" with Washington over the detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson, millions of refugees - primarily from Northern Africa and neighboring Syria, would likely flood into Europe as the Turkish economy collapses according to Newsweek. Over 3.5 million refugees now live in Turkey after having escaped the brutal conflict that has continued for over seven years in neighboring Syria. At the same time, there are at least half a million refugees from other parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa also living in the transcontinental country. Many of these migrants settled in the country because of a deal Ankara struck with the European Union in 2016. -Newsweek “There are 4 million refugees in Turkey. Even though they haven’t integrated into Turkish society, they have benefited from a welcoming government. Erdoğan says he’s spent $20 billion of unbudgeted funds on these people. It’s quite clear these are unbudgeted expenditures he’s been willing to spend. But if you add another million on top of that, who knows,” Bulent Alizira, director of the Turkey program at the Washington, D.C.–based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Newsweek. Erdoğan was convinced to bring the European migrant influx under control in exchange for $6.6 billion in assistance, however this may be untenable as the Turkish economy goes deeper into a death-spiral, and another million migrants may cross the border after an impending Russian-backed Syrian government offensive in the jihadist stronghold of Idlib province. Turkey, meanwhile, has threatened to open the floodgates to Europe in the past - as foreign minister Süleyman Soylu warning that Ankara could send "15,000 refugees to you… each month and blow your mind," while threatening Brussels into footing the bill for the multi-billion dollar deal. Such a scenario "could have major political consequences for politicians like German Chancellor Angela Merkel," whose internal battles within her coalition government have left it in a precarious state after significant pressure to dial back her EU open-border migration policies which began in 2015. More at: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-17/turkeys-collapse-could-send-millions-syrian-refugees-flooding-europe
    1 replies | 50 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:55 PM
    DJTvsg does have more to learn from the Pauls than they have to learn from him.
    19 replies | 238 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:49 PM
    They will need more than that, their voters are concentrated in big cities.
    39 replies | 1333 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:42 PM
    On Thursday, conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced it uncovered 5 more Hillary Clinton emails containing classified information on her unsecured email server. Judicial Watch obtained two batches containing hundreds of new Hillary Clinton emails from her non ‘state.gov’ email system in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed in May of 2015! The emails show Hillary Clinton meeting with George Soros and continuing to be advised from Sid Blumenthal, who was previously barred from a State Department position. Via Judicial Watch: The new documents include material classified “confidential” on negotiations between Northern Ireland and UK, as well as negotiations with Israel, Palestine, and France. They also include a reference to a Clinton meeting with controversial leftwing billionaire George Soros, and advice to Clinton from Sid Blumenthal, who was barred from a State Department position by the Obama administration and regardless continued to advise her on matters of state.
    35 replies | 747 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:32 PM
    Democratic voter registrations are falling in Florida ahead of what is supposed to be a blue wave midterm election, according to records the state published Monday. Numbers show that Democratic Party registrations have fallen about 2 percentage points since the 2016 elections. Republican numbers, meanwhile, have held steady at 35 percent, while no-party registrations have increased about 3 points, the data shows. Independents are surging in Florida. The situation doesn’t look much better for Democrats on the national stage. Their advantage over Republicans in the generic ballot continues to tumble, dipping from a 10-point advantage Democrats held during May to just 4 points in June, according to a June 7 NBC News poll. More at: https://thepoliticalinsider.com/florida-democrat-registration/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=thepoliticalinsider.com&utm_term=68731&utm_content=2278066
    39 replies | 1333 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:29 PM
    A U.S. State Department official has suggested that Washington could impose sanctions on China if it continues to buy Iranian oil after November 4 when sanctions specifically targeting Iranian oil sales abroad will kick in, the Wall Street Journal reports. The WSJ quotes newly appointed special representative and head of an Iran Action Group at the State Department as saying that, “The United States certainly hopes for full compliance by all nations in terms of not risking the threat of U.S. secondary sanctions if they continue with those transactions.” In addition, Brian Hook declined to rule out the possibility that the United States could count China among those targeted by secondary sanctions for its repeatedly stated intention to continue buying Iranian crude despite U.S. sanctions. Earlier this month the United States managed to secure a promise from China that it will not expand its Iranian oil imports, but given the tariff escalation between the two, it’s possible that China could revoke this promise. This is more than likely unless, of course, the next talks, which are planned for later this month, put an end to what everybody is already calling a trade war. More at: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Would-The-US-Sanction-China-For-Buying-Iranian-Oil.html
    0 replies | 41 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:27 PM
    French supermajor Total will increase Nigeria’s oil production by 200,000 bpd by the end of the year, a senior official from the local unit of the company said at an industry event, adding the increase will come from the development of the Egina Deep project. “Our plan is to maintain aggressive exploration and appraisal wells-drilling to play a part in increasing the hydrocarbon resource base of the nation,” Ahmadu-Kida Musa said at the National Association of Energy Correspondents’ Conference. Total currently accounts for 15 percent of Nigeria’s total oil production, Musa also said, and despite the challenging environment in the West African nation, the French company remains committed to its projects there. The Egina field, which will be responsible for the production boost, was discovered in 2003 by Total, which partnered with Chinese CNOOC and Brazil’s Petrobras. Its development will have an estimated cost of US$16 billion and will feature a floating production, storage, and offloading vessel that arrived at the location earlier this year. Egina is the largest deepwater offshore development in Nigeria to date. More at: https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Total-To-Boost-Nigeria-Oil-Production-By-200000-Bpd.html
    507 replies | 13693 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 08:18 PM
    Twitter tried to downplay the impact deactivating its legacy APIs would have on its community and the third-party Twitter clients preferred by many power users by saying that “less than 1%” of Twitter developers were using these old APIs. Twitter is correct in its characterization of the size of this developer base, but it’s overlooking millions of third-party app users in the process. According to data from Sensor Tower, six million App Store and Google Play users installed the top five third-party Twitter clients between January 2014 and July 2018. Over the past year, these top third-party apps were downloaded 500,000 times. This data is largely free of reinstalls, the firm also said. The top third-party Twitter apps users installed over the past three-and-a-half years have included: Twitterrific, Echofon, TweetCaster, Tweetbot and Ubersocial. Of course, some portion of those users may have since switched to Twitter’s native app for iOS or Android, or they may run both a third-party app and Twitter’s own app in parallel. Even if only some of these six million users remain, they represent a small, vocal and — in some cases, prominent — user base. It’s one that is very upset right now, too. And for a company that just posted a loss of one million users during its last earnings, it seems odd that Twitter would not figure out a way to accommodate this crowd, or even bring them on board its new API platform to make money from them. Twitter, apparently, was weighing data and facts, not user sentiment and public perception, when it made this decision. But some things have more value than numbers on a spreadsheet. More at: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/17/6-million-users-had-installed-third-party-twitter-clients/?yptr=yahoo
    0 replies | 46 view(s)
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Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Robert Heinlein

Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

Groucho Marx

I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

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You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

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Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

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