UPDATE: Square just had its best month ever for Cash App downloads, analyst says

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Market Watch | 8/21/19 6:57 AM ET | By Emily Bary

Square(SQ) and PayPal are both trying to generate more revenue off their peer-to-peer payments apps

Square Inc. continues to gain steam with its consumer-facing Cash App.

The company saw its highest-ever volume of Cash App downloads in July, according to Instinet analyst Dan Dolev, with 2.4 million users adding the app. The Cash App lets consumers send money to friends and spend their funds through an associated debit card.

Cash App downloads continued to eclipse downloads of PayPal Holding Inc.’s (PYPL) Venmo app, per Dolev’s analysis of third-party data. There have been 59.8 million Cash App downloads since inception, Dolev said, compared with 52.7 million Venmo downloads.

“The download gap between the two apps is at an all-time high,” he wrote in a note to clients.

Read: 5 cool coding schools and boot camps that are diversifying tech (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-cool-coding-schools-and-boot-camps-that-are-diversifying-tech-2019-06-05)

Both Square ( SQ ) and PayPal are increasingly looking to generate revenue off of apps that started as destinations for peer-to-peer payments. Though the companies generally don’t charge customers to transfer money to their friends, Square and PayPal participate in the economics of credit-card transaction fees when consumers use their linked debit card to make payments in stores or online, and the companies also make customers pay to instantly transfer funds to their bank accounts.

Salesforce earnings: What is the acquisition spree going to add? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/salesforce-earnings-what-is-the-acquisition-spree-going-to-add-2019-08-19)

The two companies disclose different metrics around their respective peer-to-peer platforms. Square generated $135 million in second-quarter revenue from the Cash App, excluding revenue made from Bitcoin-related transactions, according to the company’s latest letter to shareholders. PayPal said that Venmo processed $24 billion of payment volume in the second quarter and that the service’s new active users are engaging with Venmo’s monetizable offerings.

A PayPal spokesperson pointed to first-quarter statistics indicating 40 million monthly active Venmo users across the platform. A Square spokesperson declined to comment.

See also: Square unveils new debit card for small-business customers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/square-unveils-new-debit-card-for-small-business-customers-2019-01-17)

Square shares are up 1.6% in Tuesday trading and PayPal shares are up 0.4%. Square shares have risen 16% so far this year, while PayPal’s stock has gained 29%.

-Emily Bary; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 21, 2019 06:57 ET (10:57 GMT)

Why NBC, MSNBC’s Reporting on The Epoch Times Is Textbook Fake News

The Epoch Times | JASPER FAKKERT

August 22-28, 2019 | USA Edition

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Dear readers, As you know, The Epoch Times is a proudly independent news organization dedicated to truthful reporting.

Thanks to your support, we are now America’s fastest-growing newspaper.

It appears, however, that not everyone is thrilled with our growth and our dedication to restoring honest journalism.

On Aug. 20, NBC News and MSNBC dedicated a good amount of their time to The Epoch Times in an attempt to discredit us.

We at The Epoch Times were surprised ourselves at witnessing what appears to be a new low that media are willing to drop to in an effort to quash voices they don’t agree with.

False Accusations of ‘Conspiracy Theories’

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, known for her biased coverage of the Trump administration and for getting the Trump– Russia collusion story wrong, dedicated a whole 30 minutes of prime-time television to us on Aug. 20.

In her segment, Maddow presents a carefully crafted picture based on false claims that The Epoch Times is a purveyor of “conspiracy theories.”

As Maddow and the staff at NBC News know themselves, nothing could be further from the truth.

Maddow and the NBC reporters dismiss but do not provide a single point of factual rebuttal to our extensive coverage on the actions by Obama-era officials targeting the Trump campaign in 2016, which have become known as “Spygate.”

Instead, Maddow engages in a description of Spygate that borders on lunacy, saying the scandal is “something about Donald Trump saving America from ‘satanic Democratic pedophiles.’” The reality is that The Epoch Times has become a recognized leader in its coverage of the Spygate scandal. The tireless reporting by our team of reporters based on actual evidence— including court documents, congressional testimony, and interviews—has received wide acclaim from readers across the country and validation from other media outlets, including The New York Times, which has cited our coverage.

In a further attempt to discredit The Epoch Times, Maddow tried to mix The Epoch Times’ reporting with content from an entertainment show called “Edge of Wonder,” which is produced by NTD Television.

Maddow and the NBC reporters intentionally chose to ignore The Epoch Times’ written statement, published on June 20, which clarified that “The Epoch Times and NTD Television, while they are sister media, are entirely separate entities. While we are aware of the entertainment show ‘Edge of Wonder,’ which was founded by former Epoch Times staff, The Epoch Times is in no way connected with it, as the show’s website makes clear.”

Maddow’s intent to discredit The Epoch Times and its reporting was revealed through her bizarre depiction of the Spygate scandal, alongside her repeated attempts to conflate our journalism with content from an unrelated entertainment show that explicitly focuses on the most audacious conspiracy theories out there.

Misrepresenting Subscription Ads

NBC News also sought to intentionally misrepresent a popular digital marketing campaign The Epoch Times is running to sell print subscriptions. In the video advertisements, we discuss The Epoch Times’ editorial and feature content and encourage people to subscribe to our print newspaper.

Facebook has specific rules for advertising that require everyone—including publishers like The Epoch Times—to label content as political advertising if it touches on social issues or politics, something some news content naturally does.

Many other media run advertising campaigns for their content and products in the same category on Facebook.

For example, The New York Times and CNN have run many advertisements in that category.

NBC and MSNBC misrepresented our print-subscription advertisements despite our clarifying this in our June 20 statement, which they again chose to ignore. The statement read: “We take advantage of different marketing platforms to grow our subscriber base, including Facebook. On Facebook, we use video ads to drive subscriptions. The Epoch Times’ subscription advertisements have no political agenda. The only reason some of them are run as ‘political advertising’ is that online platforms require them to be categorized as such.”

It appears that because NBC News and MSNBC disagree with our independent and fact-based journalism, they have resorted to these unwarranted attacks.

Attacks on Religious Belief

But the most disturbing part of the coverage by Maddow’s show and NBC News is their deliberate effort to attack a group of religious believers currently persecuted in China.

This comes at a time when tens of millions in China still don’t have religious freedom and face arrest, illegal incarceration in labor camps, torture, and even forced organ harvesting, for practicing their beliefs.

The Epoch Times was originally founded by Chinese Americans who had fled communism. In America, they saw the opportunity to create an independent media that would benefit people around the world.

The founders of The Epoch Times believed in truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, the principles of Falun Gong. This is a fact that we have never shied away from. And it is exactly this commitment to truth that can be seen in our reporting. That said, The Epoch Times is an independently owned media and not owned or operated by Falun Gong, as we clarified in our statement to NBC News.

Unable to attack The Epoch Times’ reporting based on factual inaccuracies, NBC News and MSNBC opted to dip into the well of 20 years of Chinese Communist Party hate propaganda aimed at demonizing Falun Gong.

In such low attacks, and in the brazen misrepresentation of our subscription ads and our Spygate reporting, one sees the very image of what has come to be called “fake news.” I believe that this and similar betrayals of journalism are why so many people are turning to The Epoch Times for our independent and factual reporting.

Immigrants have played an enormous role in building this great nation. It is a country built on the principle of religious freedom. As such, we see The Epoch Times’ story as a quintessential American story.

Our pledge to you, our readers, is that we will not waver from our commitment to truth, and will continue to bring you the highest quality of journalism.

Jasper Fakkert Editor-in-chief, U.S. editions

Copyright (c) 2019 The Epoch Times Edition Aug.22, 2019

Focus in Spygate Scandal Shifts to CIA, Former Director Brennan

The Epoch Times | INVESTIGATION | Jeff Carlson

August 22-28, 2019 | USA Edition

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More than 2 1/2 years after President Donald Trump assumed office, focus on actions taken during the 2016 presidential campaign is starting to shift toward the CIA and its former director, John Brennan.

While some observers, including this publication, have pointed out for more than a year that Brennan appears to have played a key role in the scandal that’s become known as Spygate, actions taken by Brennan and the CIA now appear to have become a central focus of investigators.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz was “doing a very in-depth dive about the FISA warrant application” and “the behavior regarding the counterintelligence operation.”

Graham noted that he believed Horowitz’s report would be com ing out in “weeks—not days, not months” and would prove to be “ugly and damning regarding the Department of Justice’s handling of the Russian probe.” Graham noted that the IG’s report has been delayed because “every time you turn around, you find something new.”

Graham said he wants the IG’s report to be as declassified as possible in order for the “American public to hear the story.”

Graham said that prosecutor John Durham “will be looking at criminality, did somebody violate the law,” while Horowitz “will be telling us about the good, the bad, and the ugly, and what should be done internally.” He went so far as to mention exploring a possible restructuring of the Department of Justice.

Toward the end of the segment, Bartiromo asked Graham: “Who do you think is the mastermind of this? Whose idea was it to insert Donald Trump into Russia meddling?”

Graham responded: “You know, I really am very curious about the role the CIA played here. We know that the FISA warrant application was based on a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, who was biased against Trump, that was unverified. That’s one problem. But this whole intelligence operation— what role did the CIA play?”

Graham then went a step further, asking: “Who knew about this in the White House? Here’s a question: Was President Obama briefed on the fact that they were opening up a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign? I’d like to know that.”

Bartiromo, who noted that Brennan was running the CIA at that time and would have likely provided the Obama briefing, asked Graham if he was going to call Brennan to testify before Congress. Graham responded somewhat cryptically, saying only, “We’ll see.”

Brennan’s Role

Brennan appears to have played a key role in establishing the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign—including making repeated use of questionable foreign intelligence.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper personally confirmed foreign intelligence involvement during congressional testimony in May 2017: Sen. Dianne Feinstein: “Over the spring of 2016, multiple European allies passed on additional information to the United States about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians. Is this accurate?”

James Clapper: “Yes, it is, and it’s also quite sensitive. The specifics are quite sensitive.”

Brennan has testified to Congress that any information, specifically “anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign was shared with the bureau [FBI].” Brennan also admitted that it was his intelligence that helped establish the FBI investigation: “I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred.”

Focus on Intelligence Role Prior to FBI Probe

John Solomon of The Hill, who has extensively covered the Spygate scandal, told Bartiromo in an interview that he was hearing that “John Durham and Bill Barr are focused on the part before the FBI officially got started on July 31, 2016, the period of March to July, and whether intelligence assets—Western, private, or U.S.—were deployed in an earlier effort to start probing the Trump campaign and its Russia ties—maybe lay the breadcrumb trail of evidence that Christopher Steele then collected up and gave to the FBI.”

Solomon noted that when Attorney General Barr said, “I believe there was political surveillance going on,” this was likely what he was referring to.

This focus on the spring of 2016 is particularly interesting given that during this time, Brennan appeared to have employed the use of reverse targeting on members of the Trump campaign. Reverse targeting refers to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen. During an Aug. 17, 2018, interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Brennan said: “We call it incidental collection in terms of CIA’s foreign intelligence collection authorities. Any time we would incidentally collect information on a U.S. person, we would hand that over to the FBI because they have the legal authority to do it. We would not pursue that type of investigative, you know, sort of leads. We would give it to the FBI. So, we were picking things up that was of great relevance to the FBI, and we wanted to make sure that they were there—so they could piece it together with whatever they were collecting domestically here.”

As this foreign intelligence—unofficial in nature and outside of traditional channels— was gathered on members of the Trump campaign, Brennan began his process of feeding his gathered intelligence to the FBI. Repeated transfers of foreign intelligence from the CIA director helped push the FBI toward establishing a formal counterintelligence investigation.

Role of Joseph Mifsud

Solomon also discussed the role of Joseph Mifsud, the individual who told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in March 2016 that Russia had Hillary Clinton emails. Solomon noted that he had recently interviewed Stefan Roe, Mifsud’s lawyer, who told him that Mifsud “had long worked with Western intelligence” and that he was “asked to connect George Papadopoulos to Russia— meaning it was an operation, some form of an intelligence operation.”

As Solomon noted, this would mean that the “flashpoint that started the whole investigation was, in fact, manufactured from the beginning.” Solomon also noted that “both John Durham and two different committees in Congress have recently reached out to get this evidence from the lawyer, which includes an audiotaped deposition that Mr. Mifsud gave his lawyer before he went into hiding.”

Bartiromo closed by asking Solomon the same question she put to Graham, “Who do you think is the mastermind?” Solomon responded in a similar fashion to Graham, noting: “I think the CIA. We have to take a closer look at them. We’re starting to see some sign of it.”

Role of UK Intelligence

Luke Harding, a journalist for The Guardian, had previously reported on the early involvement of UK intelligence and their interaction with the U.S. intelligence community, noting that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was engaged in collecting information on the Trump campaign and transmitting it to the United States beginning in late 2015: “In late 2015, the British eavesdropping agency GCHQ was carrying out standard ‘collection’ against Moscow targets. … The intelligence was handed to the U.S. as part of a routine sharing of information,” Harding wrote in an article on Nov. 15, 2017.

Additionally, in the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, then-head of GCHQ, traveled to Washington to personally meet with Brennan: “That summer, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, flew to the U.S. to personally brief CIA chief John Brennan. The matter was deemed so important that it was handled at ‘director level,’ face-to-face between the two agency chiefs,” Harding reported.

Around the same time, Brennan formed an inter-agency task force comprising an estimated six agencies and government departments. Brennan appeared to describe the task force formation during the Aug. 17, 2018, interview with MSNBC’s Maddow: Maddow: “So, it’s an intelligence-sharing operation between …”

Brennan: “Right. We put together a Fusion Center at CIA that brought NSA and FBI officers together with CIA to make sure that those proverbial dots would be connected.”

FBI’s ‘Mid-Year Exam’ Team Shifts to Trump Probe

By the spring of 2016, the Clinton email investigation was winding down. This was due in large part to the fact that the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, had decided to set an unusually high threshold for the prosecution of Clinton, effectively ensuring from the outset that she wouldn’t be charged.

In order for Clinton to be prosecuted, the department required the FBI to establish evidence of intent—even though the gross negligence statute explicitly doesn’t require that.

It was at this same time that Trump campaign adviser Papadopoulos had his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud, followed a few weeks later with his ill-fated meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in

Brennan also admitted that it was his intelligence that helped establish the

FBI investigation.

Who do you think is the mastermind of this? Whose idea was it to insert Donald

Trump into Russia meddling?

Maria Bartiromo, journalist

Then-President Barack Obama (L) nominates chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan (R) to be CIA director during an event in the East Room at the White House on Jan. 7, 2013.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Epoch Times Edition Aug.22, 2019