All posts in “trump”

President Trump signs NDAA, banning government use of ZTE and Huawei technology

U.S. intelligence officials have long warned of national security issues with ZTE and Huawei. The NDAA bans the companies' products from government use.
U.S. intelligence officials have long warned of national security issues with ZTE and Huawei. The NDAA bans the companies’ products from government use.

Image: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

US government agencies are now officially banned from purchasing or using certain telecommunications and surveillance products from Chinese tech companies like ZTE and Huawei.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act into law. Along with allocating $716 billion in defense funding, the bill put restrictions on government use of products manufactured by a number of China-based technology firms. 

The prohibitions on these tech companies, such as ZTE and Huawei which are specifically mentioned by name in the bill, cover any “substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.” These products included in the ban cover a range of technology from smartphones to networking devices. 

Other Chinese tech companies singled out in the bill include a number of video surveillance manufacturers such as Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company.

Lawmakers along with U.S. intelligence officials had long warned of national security issues with Huawei and ZTE. Pressure from U.S. politicians had previously ended a AT&T – Hauwei deal that was in the works to bring their products stateside.

Earlier this year, ZTE, the U.S.’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer, halted its operations in the country. Its business was almost ended for good when the company faced fines and hit with a 7-year supplier ban after misleading the U.S. government about violating U.S. sanctions with Iran and North Korea. However, seemingly out of the blue, President Trump stepped in and his administration worked out a deal with ZTE to lift the ban and get the company back up and running in the U.S. 

Politicians criticized this move by the Trump administration to effectively bail ZTE out. Congress added a bipartisan provision to the NDAA bill to reinstate the overall ban on ZTE, but Republicans, urged on by the White House, had removed it from the final version of the bill that Trump signed. As it stands, ZTE is not banned in the United States, but their products are prohibited from governmental agency use.

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Mueller reportedly wants to question Trump about his Tweets

I said that?
I said that?

Image: vicky leta/mashable

It’s just too good.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is putting President Trump’s tweets under the microscope. He may use the Tweets to help determine whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice in the Russian election tampering investigation. 

Mueller reportedly wants to question Trump about the intention of certain Tweets, particularly those about James Comey and Jeff Sessions. Mr. Trump, what was your intention when you called Sessions “weak” and Comey a “liar”?

The tweets may help paint a broader picture about President Trump’s actions regarding the Russia investigation, and whether his firing of James Comey, and reported attempts to fire Jeff Sessions, constituted obstruction of justice. The Times reports that the tweets are just one piece of a larger puzzle, but could help establish a pattern of behavior, and intent to commit a crime.

Trump’s lawyer, the tooth-whitener-happy Rudy Giuliani, denied the claims of obstruction of justice to the Times, and rejected the idea that the tweets could be part of it — because they are so public.

“If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public,” Giuliani said.

But Twitter is Trump’s forum of choice for influencing public opinion and even announcing policy, so the extremely public platform could play an unprecedented role.

President Trump has already gotten into legal trouble for his use of Twitter. In May, a judge ruled that it is illegal for Trump to block people on Twitter for disagreeing with them, because it violates their right to free speech in a government forum. Trump’s tweets about the Muslim ban were also taken into consideration as it wound its way through the courts.

If Trump’s tweets are fair game in the Mueller investigation, they should provide a huge amount of fodder for insight into Trump’s motivations and obsessions. Whether Trump will sit down with Mueller to really explain what he meant during all of those early morning tweet storms remains to be seen. 

But we’ll be watching.

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Trump just noticed Europe’s $5BN antitrust fine for Google

In other news bears shit in the woods. In today’s second day Trump news: President ‘The Donald’ has seized, belatedly, on the European Commission’s announcement yesterday that it had found Google guilty of three types of illegal antitrust behavior with its Android OS since 2011 and was fining the company $5 billion; a record breaking penalty the Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said reflects the length and gravity of the company’s competition infringements.

Trump is not! at all! convinced! though!

“I told you so!” he has tweeted triumphantly just now. “The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google . They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!”

Also not so very long ago, Trump was the one grumbling about tech giants. Though Amazon is his most frequent target in tech, while Google has been spared the usual tweet lashings. Albeit, on the average day he may not necessarily be able to tell one tech giant from another.

Vestager can though, and she cited Amazon as one of the companies that had suffered as a direct result of contractual conditions Google imposed on device makers using its Android OS — squeezing the ecommerce giant’s potential to build a competing Android ecosystem, with its Fire OS.

Presumably, for Trump, Amazon is not ‘one of our great companies’ though.

At least it’s only Google that gets his full Twitter attention — and a special Trumpian MAGA badge of honor call-out as “one of our great companies” — in the tweet.

Presumably, he hasn’t had this pointed out to him yet though. So, uh, awkward.

Safe to say, Trump is seizing on Google’s antitrust penalty as a stick to beat the EU, set against a backdrop of Trump already having slapped a series of tariffs on EU goods and Trump recently threatening the EU with tariffs on cars — in what is fast looking like a full blown trade war.

Even so, the tweet probably wasn’t the kind of support Google was hoping to solicit via its own Twitter missive yesterday…

#AndroidWorksButTradeWarsDon’t doesn’t make for the most elegant hashtag.

But here’s the thing: Vestager has already responded to Trump’s attack on the Android decision — even though it’s taking place a day late. Because the EU’s “tax lady”, as Trump has been known to vaguely refer to her, is both lit and onit.

During yesterday’s press conference she was specifically asked to anticipate Trump’s tantrum response on hearing the antitrust decision against Google, and whether she wasn’t afraid it might affect next week’s meeting between the US president and the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

“As I know my US colleagues want fair competition just as well as we do,” she responded. “There is a respect that we do our job. We have this very simple mission to make sure that companies play by the rulebook for the market to serve consumers. And this is also my impression that this is what they want in the US.”

Pressed again on political context, given the worsening trade relationship between the US and the EU, Vestager was asked how she would explain that her finding against Google is not part of an overarching anti-US narrative — and directly asked how would she answer Trump’s contention that the EU’s “tax lady… really hates the US”.

“Well I’ve done my own fact checking on the first part of that sentence. I do work with tax and I am a woman. So this is 100% correct,” she replied. “It is not correct for the latter part of the sentence though. Because I very much like the US. And I think that would also be what you think because I from Denmark and that tends to be what we do. We like the US. The culture, the people, our friends, traveling. But the fact is that this [finding against Google] has nothing to do with how I feel. Nothing whatsoever. Just as well as enforcing competition law — well, we do it in the world but we don’t do it in a political context. Because then there would never, ever be a right timing.

“The mission is very simple. We have to protect consumers and competition to make sure that consumers get the best of fair competition — choice, innovation, best possible prices. This is what we do. It has been done before, we will continue to do it — no matter the political context.”

Maybe Trump will be able to learn the name of the EU’s “tax lady” if Vestager ends up EU president next year.

Or, well, maybe not. We can only hope so.

Celebrate the Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin summit with this beautiful gold engraved Nokia phone

Oh, glorious day. Our Planet Earth’s two most supreme leaders, the honorable Vladimir Putin and “strong like ox” Donald J. Trump, will meet in Helsinki on July 16, 2018. It is day sure to go down in history, and now, YOU can celebrate it with gold Nokia phone engraved with noble profiles of world leaders, for low low price of $2,740. What steal!

The Nokia 3310 got a 21st century upgrade in January. 4G, here we come!

Trump and Putin, together forever.

Trump and Putin, together forever.

Luxury goods company Caviar is a specialist in making everyday objects of our technical obsession into beautiful heirlooms for children. Before 2017 meeting of Trump and Putin, Caviar released a titanium and gold version of the 3310. It made fidget spinner out of gold and offered to customer for $16,800.

Putin and Trump will grasp hands in Helsinki just weeks after Trump let world leaders at NATO summit know who’s boss. Trump is very keen to get along with Putin. He is sure to carry around the gold Nokia 3310 in his breast pocket, close to his heart.

The Caviar 001 commemorative phone is coated with what Caviar calls “The golden titanium.” It has many great features, meant to increase durability and shine: “It is titanium which has been molten to hot plasma and applied by PVD technology. This coating can preserve its luster for centuries,” explains Caviar.

The back of the Caviar 001 is where phone gets truly beautiful. It has panels of “composite jade” and is partly coated in 24 carat gold. That’s where Trump’s and Putin’s profiles meet in a raised golden globe, with a plaque commemorating the Helsinki summit underneath.

“There is a tiny, yet accurate depiction of the dove of peace, the symbolism of which originates from the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark,” writes Caviar.

Get yours now!

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Trump tariffs are coming for the dance world’s synthesizers

A Moog Minimoog Model D analogue synthesizer and a pair of AKG headphones, taken on September 12, 2016. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Music Magazine via Getty Images)
A Moog Minimoog Model D analogue synthesizer and a pair of AKG headphones, taken on September 12, 2016. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Music Magazine via Getty Images)

Image: Future Music Magazine

Ok, now Trump’s tariffs have gone TOO FAR. 

Moog Synthesizers, a manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, has put up the bat signal for electronic music lovers everywhere. The Asheville, North Carolina-based Moog is in danger of layoffs, and even moving manufacturing overseas, once Trump’s 25 percent tariff on some Chinese goods go into effect on July 6.

“These tariffs will immediately and drastically increase the cost of building our instruments, and have the very real potential of forcing us to lay off workers and could (in a worst case scenario) require us to move some, if not all, of our manufacturing overseas,” Moog wrote in a letter.

Moog is a 100-person employee-owned company that’s been in business in North Carolina for 60 years. In a letter Moog is asking its supporters to send to Congress, it says that it sources “roughly half” of its circuit boards and other materials from China. It needs to maintain this mix in order to keep manufacturing in the U.S. affordable. And to keep the beats bangin’ in the USA.

The first wave of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods is set to go into effect on July 6, with the second wave following some time after (it does not yet have a set date). The tariffs affect around $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in total. They’re meant to hamstring China’s “Made in China 2025” manufacturing campaign, which Trump really doesn’t want to see go into effect. China retaliated on Sunday with its own list of tariffs. 

Although many expected the first wave to impact automakers (like Harley Davidson) and consumer tech (like Apple), Moog’s campaign shows just how far Trump’s chest-puffing is reaching in the real world.

They can take our beats, but they can’t take our freedom!

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