881: Ant Wars

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 55m
November 27th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Lee Olivares Sir Milkman of the Ones and Zeros.

Associate Executive Producers: Andrew Martin, RK Henley, Sir John Donovan, Christopher Gray, Dennis van den Driesschen

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Backstory: we bought a bunch of entry level DSLR's for a summer photography class for kids 7+. Soon after we let them take the cameras out and about and they took some great photos. We sent a bunch to get printed/matted, and are offering them for sale to buy more gear in order to expand the program for the kids waiting in the wings.
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Black Friday is now a world wide phenomenon
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Squaring the circle
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 18:31
There are three classical problems in Greek mathematics which were extremely influential in the development of geometry. These problems were those of squaring the circle, doubling the cube and trisecting an angle. Although these are closely linked, we choose to examine them in separate articles. The present article studies what has become the most famous for these problems, namely the problem of squaring the circle or the quadrature of the circle as it is sometimes called.One of the fascinations of this problem is that it has been of interest throughout the whole of the history of mathematics. From the oldest mathematical documents known up to the mathematics of today the problem and related problems concerning Ï have interested both professional mathematicians and amateur mathematicians.
You can see more about the history of Ï in the History topics: Pi through the ages and A chronology of Pi.
One of the oldest surviving mathematical writings is the Rhind papyrus, named after the Scottish Egyptologist A Henry Rhind who purchased it in Luxor in 1858. It is a scroll about 6 metres long and 1/3 of a metre wide and was written around 1650 BC by the scribe Ahmes who copied a document which is 200 years older. This gives date for the original papyrus of about 1850 BC but some experts believe that the Rhind papyrus is based on a work going back to 3400 BC.
You can see more about the Rhind papyrus in the History topic article Egyptian papyri.
In the Rhind papyrus Ahmes gives a rule to construct a square of area nearly equal to that of a circle. The rule is to cut 1/9 off the circle's diameter and to construct a square on the remainder. Although this is not really a geometrical construction as such it does show that the problem of constructing a square of area equal to that of a circle goes back to the beginnings of mathematics. This is quite a good approximation, corresponding to a value of 3.1605, rather than 3.14159, for Ï.
The problem of squaring the circle in the form which we think of it today originated in Greek mathematics and it is not always properly understood. The problem was, given a circle, to construct geometrically a square equal in area to the given circle. The methods one was allowed to use to do this construction were not entirely clear, for really the range of methods used in geometry by the Greeks was enlarged through attempts to solve this and other classical problems. Pappus, writing in his work Mathematical collection at the end of the period of Greek development of geometry, distinguishes three types of methods used by the ancient Greeks (see for example [5]):-
There are, we say, three types of problem in geometry, the so-called 'plane', 'solid', and 'linear' problems. Those that can be solved with straight line and circle are properly called 'plane' problems, for the lines by which such problems are solved have their origin in a plane. Those problems that are solved by the use of one or more sections of the cone are called 'solid' problems. For it is necessary in the construction to use surfaces of solid figures, that is to say, cones. There remain the third type, the so-called 'linear' problem. For the construction in these cases curves other than those already mentioned are required, curves having a more varied and forced origin and arising from more irregular surfaces and from complex motions.
Now we usually think of the problem of squaring the circle to be a problem which has to be solved using a ruler and compass. This is really asking whether squaring the circle is a 'plane' problem in the terminology of Pappus given above (we shall often refer to a 'plane solution' rather than use the more cumbersome 'solutions using ruler and compass"). The ancient Greeks, however, did not restrict themselves to attempting to find a plane solution (which we now know to be impossible), but rather developed a great variety of methods using various curves invented specially for the purpose, or devised constructions based on some mechanical method.The first mathematician who is on record as having attempted to square the circle is Anaxagoras. Plutarch, in his work On Exile which was written in the first century AD, says [4]:-
There is no place that can take away the happiness of a man, nor yet his virtue or wisdom. Anaxagoras, indeed, wrote on the squaring of the circle while in prison.
Now the problem must have become quite popular shortly after this, not just among a small number of mathematicians, but quite widely, since there is a reference to it in a play Birds written by Aristopenes in about 414 BC. Two characters are speaking, Meton is the astronomer (see D Barrett (trs.), Aristophanes, Birds (London, 1978) or [4] for a shorter quote):-Meton: I propose to survey the air for you: it will have to be marked out in acres.
Peisthetaerus: Good lord, who do you think you are?
Meton: Who am I? Why Meton. THE Meton. Famous throughout the Hellenic world - you must have heard of my hydraulic clock at Colonus?
Peisthetaerus (eyeing Meton's instruments): And what are these for?
Meton: Ah! These are my special rods for measuring the air. You see, the air is shaped - how shall I put it? - like a sort of extinguisher: so all I have to do is to attach this flexible rod at the upper extremity, take the compasses, insert the point here, and - you see what I mean?
Peisthetaerus: No.
Meton: Well I now apply the straight rod - so - thus squaring the circle: and there you are. In the centre you have your market place: straight streets leading into it, from here, from here, from here. Very much the same principle, really, as the rays of a star: the star itself is circular, but sends out straight rays in every direction.
Peisthetaerus: Brilliant - the man's a Thales.
Now from this time the expression 'circle-squarers' came into usage and it was applied to someone who attempts the impossible. Indeed the Greeks invented a special word which meant 'to busy oneself with the quadrature'. For references to squaring the circle to enter a popular play and to enter the Greek vocabulary in this way, there must have been much activity between the work of Anaxagoras and the writing of the play. Indeed we know of the work of a number of mathematicians on this problem during this period: Oenopides, Antiphon, Bryson, Hippocrates, and Hippias.Oenopides is thought by Heath to be the person who required a plane solution to geometry problems. Proclus attributes two theorems to Oenopides , namely to draw a perpendicular to a line from a given point not on the line, and to construct from a given point on a given line, a line at a given angle to the given line. Heath believes that the significance of these elementary results was that Oenopides set out for the first time the explicit 'plane' or 'ruler and compass' type of construction. Heath writes [2]:-
... [Oenopides] may have been the first to lay down the restriction of the means permissible in constructions with ruler and compasses which became a canon of Greek geometry for all plane constructions...
There is no record of any attempt by Oenopides to square the circle by plane methods. In fact it is a rather remarkable fact that the Greeks did not produce fallacious 'proofs' that the circle could be squared by plane methods. The few claims for such false proofs rather seem to result from less able mathematicians failing to understand exactly what some of the more brilliant contributions to the problem were intended to show. Sadly later mathematicians did not follow the good example shown by the ancient Greeks and indeed many claimed incorrectly to have discovered a 'ruler and compass' proof. Amateur mathematicians, greatly attracted to the classical problems, have produced (and still continue to produce) thousands of false proofs.Antiphon and Bryson both produced arguments relating to squaring the circle which were to prove important in the future development of mathematics. Antiphon inscribed a square in a circle, then a regular polygon with eight sides, then one with sixteen sides and he continued the process continually doubling the number of sides. It appears that Bryson improved the argument of Antiphon by not only inscribing polygons in a circle but also circumscribed polygons. Themistius states [1]:-
... that Bryson declared the circle to be greater than all inscribed, and less than all circumscribed polygons.
Hippocrates was the first to actually use a plane construction to find a square with area equal to a figure with circular sides. He squared certain lunes, and also the sum of a lune and a circle. Now although he squared certain lunes, he had not shown that every lune can be squared. In particular the lune that he squared in his plane construction of a square of area equal to that of a certain lune and a circle was one he could not square by plane methods. Of course this lune cannot be squared by plane methods otherwise Hippocrates would have squared the circle. Although some, such as Aristotle, seemed to fail to understand the logic of Hippocrates argument, there seems little doubt that Hippocrates was perfectly aware that his methods had failed to square the circle. Examples of Hippocrates' methods of squaring lunes are given in his biography in this archive.Hippias and Dinostratus are associated with the method of squaring the circle using a quadratrix. The curve it thought to be the invention of Hippias while its application to squaring the circle appears to be due to Dinostratus. The construction of this curve with a diagram is given in the biography of Hippias in this archive. Now this curve certainly solves the problem of squaring the circle but, as given by Hippias, the curve is constructed by mechanical means given by a uniform motion of a line in a time equal to the rotating radius of a circle. The construction was rightly criticised as requiring a knowledge of the ratio of a line and an arc of a circle, so one assumed as known the property required to square the circle in the first place. It is clear that Dinostratus never claimed that the quadratrix gave a plane method to square the circle. Nicomedes many years later also used the quadratrix to square the circle.
Aristotle did not seem to appreciate the contributions of those who had attempted to square the circle. He wrote in his work Physics :-
The exponent of any science is not called upon to solve every kind of difficulty that may be raised, but only such as arise through false deductions from the principles of the science: with others than these he need not concern himself. For example, it is for the geometer to expose the quadrature by means of segments, but it is not the business of the geometer to refute the arguments of Antiphon.
In this quote "quadrature by means of segments" refers to Hippocrates quadrature of lunes which Aristotle mistakenly thinks was intended as a proof that the circle can be squared by plane methods. Antiphon's methods come in for even more criticism from Aristotle, but all credit to Antiphon whose methods contained important ideas which would lead eventually to integration. Aristotle also wrote in similar terms in Sophistical refutations again probably having had handed down to him an incorrect interpretation of what Antiphon and Bryson had attempted to show:-The method by which Bryson tried to square the circle, were it ever so much squared thereby, is yet made sophistical by the fact that it has no relation to the matter in hand. ... The squaring of the circle by means of lunes is not eristic, but the quadrature of Bryson is eristic. The reasoning used by the former cannot be applied to any subject other than geometry alone, whereas Bryson's argument is directed to the mass of people who do not know what is possible and what is impossible in each department, for it will fit any. And the same is true of Antiphon's quadrature.
Next we should consider the contributions of Archimedes to the problem of squaring the circle. Now Archimedes is famed for his introduction of the spiral curve, but why did he introduced this curve? The authors of [7] suggest three reasons:-Is it for purely geometric reasons because he studied this curve as a means of calculating Ï, and squaring the circle? Is it because of his astronomical interests, trying to calculate geometrically the spiral movements of the planets? Or is it finally through the interest of a mechanical mind in a curve which results from the combination of two regular uniform movements, one in a straight line the other in a circle? these three reasons are evident at one and the same time...
Archimedes gives the following definition of the spiral in his work On spirals (see [5] for example):-If a straight line drawn in a plane revolves uniformly any number of times about a fixed extremity until it returns to its original position, and if, at the same time as the line revolves, a point moves uniformly along the straight line beginning at the fixed extremity, the point will describe a spiral in the plane.
To square the circle Archimedes gives the following construction. Let P be the point on the spiral when it has completed one turn. Let the tangent at P cut the line perpendicular to OP at T. Then Archimedes proves in Proposition 19 of On spirals that OT is the length of the circumference of the circle with radius OP. Now it may not be clear that this is solved the problem of squaring the circle but Archimedes had already proved as the first proposition of Measurement of the circle that the area of a circle is equal to a right-angled triangle having the two shorter sides equal to the radius of the circle and the circumference of the circle. So the area of the circle with radius OP is equal to the area of the triangle OPT.
Both Apollonius and Carpus used curves to square the circle but it is not clear exactly what these curves were. The one used by Apollonius is called by Iamblichus 'sister of the cochloid' and this has led to various guesses as to what the curve might have been. Again the curve used by Carpus of Antioch is called the 'curve of double motion' which Paul Tannery argued was the cycloid.
Now we leave the ancient Greek period and look at later developments but the first comment we should make is that the Greeks were certainly not the only ones to be interested in squaring the circle at this time. Mathematicians in India were interested in the problem (see for example [11]) while in China mathematicians such as Liu Hsiao of the Han Dynasty showed himself to be one of the prominent of those attempting to square the circle in around 25 AD.
Some time later the Arab mathematicians were, like the Greeks, fascinated by the problem. In [6] the work of al-Haytham on squaring the circle is discussed. Now al-Haytham aimed to convince people that squaring the circle was possible by a plane construction but since his promised treatise on the topic never appeared he must at least have realised that he could not solve the problem.
Not long after the work of al-Haytham, Franco of Li¨ge in 1050 wrote a treatise De quadratura circuli on squaring the circle. The text is reproduced in [8] and [9] and in it Franco examines three earlier methods based on the assumption that Ï is 25/8 , 49/16 or 4. Franco states (reasonably enough) that these are false, then gives his own construction which is based on the assumption that Ï is 22/7 . Although this treatise is of great historical interest, it does show how European mathematics at the time was far behind the ancient Greeks in depth of understanding.
Moving forward to about 1450, Cusa attempted to prove that the circle could be squared by a plane construction. Although his method of averaging certain inscribed and circumscribed polygons is quite fallacious, it is one of the first serious attempts in 'modern' Europe to solve the problem. Again it is worth commenting that the ancient Greeks basically knew that the circle could not be squared by plane methods, although they stood no chance of proving it. Regiomontanus, who brought a new impetus to European mathematics, was quick to point out the error in Cusa's arguments.
The mechanical methods of the Greeks certainly appealed to Leonardo who thought about mathematics in a very mechanical way. He devised several new mechanical methods to square the circle. Many mathematicians in the sixteenth century studied the problem, including Oronce Fine and Giambattista della Porta. The 'proof' by Fine was shown to be incorrect by Pedro Nunes soon after he produced it. The beginnings of the differential and integral calculus led to an increased interest in squaring the circle, but the new era of mathematics still produced fallacious 'proofs' of plane methods to square the circle. One such false proof, given by Saint-Vincent in a book published in 1647, was based on an early type of integration. The problem was still providing much impetus for mathematical development.
James Gregory developed a deep understanding of infinite sequences and convergence. He applied these ideas to the sequences of areas of the inscribed and circumscribed polygons of a circle and tried to use the method to prove that there was no plane construction for squaring the circle. His proof essentially attempted to prove that Ï was transcendental, that is not the root of a rational polynomial equation. Although he was correct in what he tried to prove, his proof was certainly not correct. However, others such as Huygens, believed that Ï was algebraic, that is that it is the root of a rational polynomial equation.
There was still an interest in obtaining methods to square the circle which were not plane methods. For example Johann Bernoulli gave a method of squaring the circle through the formation of evolvents and this method is described in detail in [12].
The historian of mathematics, Montucla, made squaring the circle the topic of his first historical work published in 1754. This was written at a time long before the problem was finally resolved, so is necessarily very outdated. The work is, however, a classic and still well worth reading.
A major step forward in proving that the circle could not be squared using ruler and compasses occurred in 1761 when Lambert proved that Ï was irrational. This was not enough to prove the impossibility of squaring the circle with ruler and compass since certain algebraic numbers can be constructed with ruler and compass. It only led to a greater flood of amateur solutions to the problem of squaring the circle and in 1775 the Paris Acad(C)mie des Sciences passed a resolution which meant that no further attempted solutions submitted to them would be examined. A few years later the Royal Society in London also banned consideration of any further 'proofs' of squaring the circle as large numbers of amateur mathematicians tried to achieve fame by presenting the Society with a solution. This decision of the Royal Society was described by De Morgan about 100 years later as the official blow to circle-squarers.
The popularity of the problem continued and there are many amusing stories told by De Morgan on this topic in his book Budget of Paradoxes which was edited and published by his wife in 1872, the year after his death. De Morgan suggests that St Vitus be made the patron saint of circle-squarers. This is a reference to St Vitus' dance, a wild leaping dance in which people screamed and shouted and which led to a kind of mass hysteria. De Morgan also suggested the term 'morbus cyclometricus' as being the 'circle squaring disease'. Clearly De Morgan found himself having to try to persuade these circle-squarers that their methods were incorrect, yet many stubbornly held to their views despite the best efforts of the professional mathematicians. For example a certain Mr James Smith wrote several books attempting to prove that Ï = 25/8 . Of course Mr Smith was able to deduce from this that the circle could be squared but neither Hamilton, De Morgan nor others could convince him of his errors.
The final solution to the problem of whether the circle could be squared using ruler and compass methods came in 1880 when Lindemann proved that Ï was transcendental, that is it is not the root of any polynomial equation with rational coefficients. The transcendentality of Ï finally proves that there is no ruler and compass construction to square the circle.
One might imagine that this would be the end of interest in the problem of squaring the circle, but this was certainly not the case. It neither prevented the stream of publications claiming that Ï had some simple rational value, nor did it prevent the stream of publications of quite correct constructions to approximately square the circle with ruler and compass. As an example of the former type of claim, the New York Tribune published a letter in 1892 in which the author claimed to have rediscovered a secret going back to Nicomedes which proved that Ï = 3.2. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that there were many who were totally convinced by this letter and firmly believed thereafter that Ï = 3.2.
Among the correct approximate constructions to square the circle was one by Hobson in 1913. This was a fairly accurate construction which was based on constructing the approximate value of 3.14164079... for Ï instead of 3.14159265.... . More remarkable, however, was the ruler and compass constructions published by Ramanujan. In the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society in 1913 in a paper named Squaring the circleRamanujan gave a construction which was equivalent to giving the approximate value of 355/113 for Ï, which differs from correct value only in the seventh decimal place. He ended the paper with the following:-
Note.- If the area of the circle be 140,000 square miles, then [the side of the square] is greater than the true length by about an inch.
Among other constructions given by Ramanujan in 1914 (Approximate geometrical constructions for Ï, Quarterly Journal of MathematicsXLV (1914), 350-374) was a ruler and compass construction which was equivalent to taking the strange yet remarkable approximate value for Ï to be (92+ 192/22)1/4. Now this is 3.1415926525826461253.... which differs from Ï only in the ninth decimal place (Ï = 3.1415926535897932385...). For a circle of diameter 8000 miles, the error in the length of the side of the square constructed was only a fraction of an inch.References (15 books/articles)Article by:J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
JOC/EFR April 1999The URL of this page is:http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Squaring_the_circle.html
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Trump Transition
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Wisconsin Agrees To Presidential Vote Recount At Third-Party Candidates' Requests : The Two-Way : NPR
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 15:50
Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein answers questions from members of the media on Oct. 6 in Oakland, Calif. D. Ross Cameron/APhide caption
toggle captionD. Ross Cameron/APGreen party presidential candidate Jill Stein answers questions from members of the media on Oct. 6 in Oakland, Calif.
D. Ross Cameron/APUpdated at 5:55 p.m. ET
The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced Friday that it would hold a statewide recount of the presidential vote. The move was in response to petitions from two candidates, the Green Party's Jill Stein and independent Rocky Roque De La Fuente.
Federal law requires that all recounts be finished 35 days after the election, which is Dec. 13. One or both of the candidates will be required to pay for the recount.
"We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice," said Wisconsin Elections Commission Director Mike Haas in a statement.
"We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating."
Haas added that the process is very detail-oriented and he is concerned that some counties will be challenged to finish on time. In a recount, ballots must be examined to determine voter intent before being counted.
Stein has been leading the effort to force general election recounts in certain swing states. Her effort continues to gain steam '-- and money.
On Wednesday she announced she would demand recounts in three states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. As my colleague Domenico Montanaro reported, Michigan was still finalizing its results Friday, but will officially certify Trump the winner on Monday.
To cover the cost of the recounts, Stein launched a fundraising campaign, which has raised more than $5 million in less than three days.
Stein's fundraiser website explicitly says the campaign is not an effort to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but to "ensure the integrity of our elections." Clinton has not commented on the efforts.
The deadline to file for a recount in Pennsylvania is Monday and Michigan's is Wednesday.
Before the announcement was made, Haas called a potential recount "uncharted territory," according to Laurel White with Wisconsin Public Radio. White reported:
"State law allows any candidate on the ballot to request a recount, but if the margin is more than 0.25 percent, the candidate must pay for its cost.
"Haas said the recount would cost at least $500,000.
"The commission is reviewing state law to determine when that money would be due.
" 'There's a little bit of ambiguity in the statutes,' Haas said. 'In one place, it states that the fee must be paid at the time the petition is filed; another statute indicates once the petition is filed, that's when our agency calculates an estimate.'
"Once a recount order is issued by the commission, clerks across the state have 13 days to complete it, Haas said."
Stein initially set a fundraising goal of $2.5 million. As donations started pouring in, that goal jumped to $4.5 million, as New York Magazine's Yashar Ali pointed out on Twitter.
By Friday, the goal had jumped again, to $7 million. The campaign says that will go to cover filing fees, attorney fees and other associated costs.
Donations are still rolling in, but as Stein's fundraising website states, money doesn't necessarily mean the recounts are assured: "We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states."
If the recounts don't happen, what will become of all that money? Stein's website says any "surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform." It did not specify what those efforts would be.
As NPR's Camila Domonoske told the Newscast unit, "Some security and election experts have publicly called for paper ballots to be checked in Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan, to make sure that the computers that counted those ballots weren't hacked." But, she says, "There's no evidence that the electronic machines were hacked or the election was compromised."
This post was updated Saturday Nov. 25, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. to include new reporting that Trump will be certified the winner in Michigan.
The Disruptive Career of Michael Flynn, Trump's National-Security Adviser - The New Yorker
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 16:53
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, shown here at Trump Tower, was tapped by Donald Trump last week to serve as national-security adviser.Credit Photograph by Timothy A. Clary / AFP / GettyThe first time I met Michael Flynn, whom President-elect Donald Trump tapped last week to be his national-security adviser, he was wearing the Army's weekend uniform'--a baggy polo shirt and khaki pants'--and swinging his Blackberry around like a cowboy would his revolver. It was the late summer of 2008, at a Washington cocktail party hosted by Flynn's boss, Admiral Michael Mullen, who was then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Flynn was Mullen's top intelligence guy.
''Look at this!'' Flynn said, holding up his phone so that I could see the screen. At his request, his communications staff would send him the daily dispatches published by tribal media outlets in Pakistan's troublesome northwest region. These articles chronicled skirmishes, feuds, and revenge killings'--it was unfiltered information that any decent Western news stringer would know how to read, but that, seven years into the war in Afghanistan, the American military was still far from absorbing. Flynn got it, though. He was drawn to the little flecks of truth scattered on the ground.
A lot of reporters and other civilians found Mike, as everyone called him, refreshing. A plucky Irish Catholic kid from Rhode Island, he wasn't impressed by rank. He told his junior officers to challenge him in briefings. ''You'd hear them say, 'Boss, that's nuts,' '' one former colleague said. The colleague asked not to be named, as did others I talked to for this story, either because they wanted to maintain a positive relationship with Flynn or because they did not want to criticize the incoming Administration. ''When he would walk in a room, they would look up like little dogs. They just loved him.''
Flynn broke rules he thought were stupid. He once told me about a period he spent assigned to a C.I.A. station in Iraq, when he would sometimes sneak out of the compound without the ''insane'' required approval from C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. He had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden. There was also the time he gave classified information to NATO allies without approval, an incident which prompted an investigation, and a warning from superiors. During his stint as Mullen's intelligence chief, Flynn would often write ''This is bullshit!'' in the margins of classified papers he was obliged to pass on to his boss, someone who saw these papers told me.
The greatest accomplishment of Flynn's military career was revolutionizing the way that the clandestine arm of the military, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), undertook the killing and capture of suspected terrorists and insurgents in war zones. Stanley McChrystal, Flynn's mentor, had tapped him for the job. They were both part of the self-described ''Irish mafia'' of officers at the Fort Bragg Army base, in North Carolina. In Afghanistan and Iraq, Flynn ordered JSOC commandos to collect and catalogue data from interrogations, captured electronic equipment, pocket trash'--anything that could yield useful information. By analyzing these disparate scraps of intelligence, they were able to discover that Al Qaeda was not a hierarchical group after all but a dynamic network of cells and relationships. As I learned while doing research for my book ''Top Secret America,'' Flynn and McChrystal dramatically increased the pace of JSOC attacks on enemy hideouts by devising a system in which commandos on missions transferred promising data'--cell-phone numbers, meeting locations'--to analysts, who could then quickly point them to additional targets to hit. Multiple raids a night became common.
McChrystal, who was appointed to run JSOC in 2003, brought Flynn in as his intelligence chief to help him shake up the organization. Flynn was one of the few high-ranking officers who disdained the Army's culture of conformity. But McChrystal also knew he had to protect Flynn from that same culture. He ''boxed him in,'' someone who had worked with both men told me last week, by encouraging Flynn to keep his outbursts in check and surrounding him with subordinates who would challenge the unsubstantiated theories he tended to indulge.
In mid-2007, Flynn returned home with three years of JSOC secrets in his head. He had witnessed close-quarters combat and killings. He had helped load the bodies of dead and wounded Seal Team 6 and Delta Force warriors into evacuation helicopters. Like his comrades, he had spent twenty hours a day, seven days a week, focussed on killing the enemy. Sometimes women and children were killed, too. He wouldn't even take a break to attend his son's wedding, a moment of personal sacrifice he mentions often when reflecting on those days.
In 2012, Flynn became director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, in charge of all military attach(C)s and defense-intelligence collection around the world. He ran into serious trouble almost immediately. I've spoken with some two dozen former colleagues who were close to Flynn then, members of the D.I.A. and the military, and some who worked with him in civilian roles. They all like Flynn personally. But they described how he lurched from one priority to another and had trouble building a loyal team. ''He made a lot of changes,'' one close observer of Flynn's time at the D.I.A. told me. ''Not in a strategic way'--A to Z'--but back and forth.''
Flynn also began to seek the Washington spotlight. But, without loyal junior officers at his side to vet his facts, he found even more trouble. His subordinates started a list of what they called ''Flynn facts,'' things he would say that weren't true, like when he asserted that three-quarters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans or, later, that Iran had killed more Americans than Al Qaeda. In private, his staff tried to dissuade him from repeating these lines.
Flynn's temper also flared. He berated people in front of colleagues. Soon, according to former associates, a parallel power structure developed within the D.I.A. to fence him in, and to keep the nearly seventeen-thousand-person agency working. ''He created massive antibodies in the building,'' the former colleague said.
Flynn had been on the job just eighteen months when James Clapper told him he had to go. Clapper said that he could stay for another nine months, until his successor was vetted and confirmed, according to two people familiar with their conversation. Flynn was livid.
After he left government, Flynn followed the path of many other retired generals and got on the television and speaking circuit. He wrote a book with Michael Ledeen, a controversial neoconservative foreign-policy analyst, about defeating terrorism. Islam is not a religion, Flynn and Ledeen wrote, but a political ideology bent on destroying Judeo-Christian civilization. Flynn began saying that he had been fired because President Obama disagreed with his views on terrorism and wanted to hide the growth of ISIS. I haven't found anyone yet who heard him say this while he was still in the military. In the past, I've asked Flynn directly about this claim; he has told me that he doesn't have any proof'--it's just something he feels was true. (Flynn did not respond to requests for comment for this article.)
As Flynn's public comments became more and more shrill, McChrystal, Mullen, and others called Flynn to urge him to ''tone it down,'' a person familiar with each attempt told me. But Flynn had found a new boss, Trump, who enlisted him in the fight against the Republican and Democratic Party establishments. Flynn was ready. At the Republican National Convention, Flynn boiled over in front of an audience of millions. He led the crowd in chants of ''Lock her up! Lock her up!'' His former colleagues say they were shocked by what they saw.
What Flynn saw was corruption: Clinton, the media, the Justice Department, the intelligence community'--they are all corrupt. I spoke to Flynn three months ago, while working on a profile of him for the Washington Post. ''Is this some kind of hatchet job!'' he roared into the phone when I asked why, exactly, he thought Clinton should be in jail.
The lifelong intelligence officer, who once valued tips gleaned from tribal reporters, has become a ready tweeter of hackneyed conspiracy theories. He reposts the vitriol of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim commentators. ''Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,'' he tweeted in February, linking to a false claim that Islam wants eighty per cent of humanity enslaved or exterminated. ''U decide,'' he posted one week before the election, along with the headline from a linked story that appeared on a Web site called True Pundit: ''NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w/Children, etc. . . . MUST READ!''
Last week, Trump announced that Flynn would be his national-security adviser, a job that requires strategic vision and consensus-seeking among competing big-dog agencies. Mullen, this week, suggested to me that Flynn would need to change in order to succeed in his new role. ''Mike Flynn was a terrific intel officer when he worked for me as a two-star and was both dynamic and often contrarian,'' Mullen said. ''Those qualities need to be tempered as national-security adviser in order to serve the next President as a thoughtful and strategic adviser.'' Whether Flynn now learns to bottle his rage, whether he rembraces fact over fiction, whether he's capable of playing the role of a contemplative counsellor, will determine the outcome of his most difficult and important mission yet.
Mad Dog to be SEC DEF
Tulsi Gabbard's screw-the-neocons meeting with Trump sparks anger and encouragement
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 23:46
HI Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
During his round of interviewing potential job applicants, Donald Trump had one meeting with a Democratic politician: Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a leading antiwar figure, an Iraq war veteran and Bernie Sanders ally and former rising star in the party.
The Monday meeting is important because of what Gabbard said about foreign policy: screw the neoconservatives and dump the idea of regime change in Syria, which Hillary Clinton had supported. The meeting thus contains seeds of ideological convergence between the antiwar left and right. It has been read as misguided, tragic, or hopeful'' depending on the observer's point of view. Here's a short tour.
First off, Gabbard filed her own report, titled ''My meeting with Donald Trump.'' She said the meeting was all about Syria; and she called out the neoconservatives and others advocating intervention.
This was an opportunity to advocate for peace'Š'--'Šand I felt it was important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect to counteract neocons' steady drumbeats of war, which threaten to drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.
This war has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families. It has also strengthened al-Qaeda and other violent, extremist groups in the region. It would have been irresponsible not to accept this invitation. I feel it is my duty to take every single opportunity I get to advocate for peace, no matter the circumstances of those meetings.
I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia''potentially resulting in a nuclear war. We discussed my bill to end our country's illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.
The New York Times published a report that characterized Gabbard as defensive and delusional. ''The report was slanted and pejorative, in a way so easy to penetrate you wonder if they've lost their wits,'' David Bromwich writes. ''How deeply she has offended against the new Cold War consensus.''
Bromwich revised the Times piece by putting its prejudicial phrasing in double brackets, and including his amendments and commentary in boldface:
Ms. Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran [[and former Bernie Sanders supporter]] whose endorsement of Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton partly stemmed from her rejection of Clinton's interventionist foreign policy, [[defended her visit Monday to the office of the president-elect, saying she needed]] said that she felt it was imperative to talk foreign policy with Mr. Trump ''before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.''
Her statement [[,lengthy and somewhat defensive, allowed,]] went out of its way to answer anticipated criticism from party loyalists: ''While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.''
She then made the case against any intervention in a war that has [[pulled in Russia and left hundreds of thousands slaughtered.]] NB: The Times is drawing a syntactical connection between Russia and the slaughter whose victims came mostly beforehand and from other causes'....
Her case is a break from the position that her fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton, campaigned on. It [[fits nicely with Mr. Trump's reluctance to engage]] fits nicely with Mr. Trump's reluctance to continue and expand the slaughter'-- and with warnings against American involvement from the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin.
Jonathan Tasini, former Sanders surrogate, slammed Gabbard for normalizing Trump's bigotry and racism.
Neoconservative Bill Kristol at first had a hopeful reading of the meeting: ''Tulsi Gabbard for VA?''
Then when reports came out he reversed course and had a similar take to the Times. Not very happy.
He added, ''Because listening to the drumbeats of peace has worked out so well in Syria.''
Robert Parry, the former AP reporter and realist, had a hopeful reading of the meeting, at Consortium News.
By inviting in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat hostile to ''regime change'' wars, President-elect Trump may be signaling a major break with Republican neocon orthodoxy and a big shake-up of the U.S. foreign policy establishment
Parry revisited Gabbard's antiwar rise:
She starred in one of the strongest political ads of the campaign, a message to Hawaiians, called ''The Cost of War.''
''Bernie Sanders voted against the Iraq War,'' Gabbard says. ''He understands the cost of war, that that cost is continued when our veterans come home. Bernie Sanders will defend our country and take the trillions of dollars that are spent on these interventionist, regime change, unnecessary wars and invest it here at home.''
In the ad, Gabbard threw down the gauntlet to the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, by accusing them of wasting trillions of dollars ''on these interventionist, regime change, unnecessary wars.'' Her comments mesh closely with Trump's own perspective'...
Parry said that Hillary Clinton might well have appointed Victoria Nuland as Secretary of State, Nuland whose husband Robert Kagan was one of the neoconservatives who flocked to Clinton. And he reads even Trump's Mike Flynn national security adviser nod as a hopeful departure from a policy of drone attacks.
Taking on this Saudi-Israel nexus has long been regarded as political suicide, given Israel's extraordinary lobbying power and Saudi Arabia's exceptional wealth. But Trump may be assembling a team that is ''crazy'' enough to take on that mission.
So, while the fight over the future of U.S. foreign policy is far from over '' the neocons will surely flex their muscles at the major think tanks, on the op-ed pages and inside the halls of Congress '' the Trump transition is showing some creativity in assembling a national security team that may go in a very different direction.
Here is more on Gabbard's track record, from NBC:
Gabbard abruptly resigned her spot as vice-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in February to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, accusing party leaders of rigging the presidential primary process for its eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton'...
Tim Vandeveer, a Sanders supporter elected this year as chairman of the Hawaii Democratic Party, defended Gabbard's decision [to meet with Trump].
''Given the reality that we're facing now with President-elect Trump, and an administration that we've already seen is going to lean heavily on neoconservatives who are going to rattle the sabers of war, I think it's a good idea for Democrats to engage and stand up for our values
She's also a surfer, who is proud of her Polynesian heritage. From her twitter feed:
Tulsi Gabbard, from her twitter feed
CNN reported that Gabbard was under consideration for Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense. The NYT said she was under consideration for Ambassador to the U.N.
Gabbard dismissed the speculation:
I did not meet with President-elect Trump seeking a job, nor did he offer me one.
DAN QUALE SECSTATE-Lame Cherry: A Secretary of State with nothing to Apologize For
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 21:37
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
As the Trump Transition can not seem to find Christians to appoint to Cabinet and advisory positions, for payment to the EVANGELICALS for securing the victory in the return to Christ as head of America, the Lame Cherry has been placing real Americans forward, as Mike Pence and Jared Kurschner just do not seem to be able to locate American Chirstians for cabinet posts.
Oh and an apology from Mitt Romney does not apologize for his being birther Mexican and for being an apostate Mormon, born and bred in Mexico.
Public Apology?
So with that reality of holier than thou Pence and messiah Kurschner the furrier incapable of serving Donald Trump and Americans, the Lame Cherry has been making known that there are Americans and Christians who are more than suited to be Secretary of State.
John Lehman is the perfect person for the job.
If it is not John Lehman, then there is Bob Dornan. Then there is Michele Bachmann, who was leading prayer rallies for America and Mr. Trump before the election.
Amazing what one can find in all of these skilled Americans who make Mitt Romney and David Patreaus look like the Rockefeller stooges they are.
The Lame Cherry though offers up the one person now who should be Secretary of State. I will list the qualifications of this person to prove the point.
This person led the moral cultural revolution in America during the 1980's.
This person was proven absolutely correct on US foreign policy threats and dangers.
This person was smeared more horridly than Donald Trump, for being a Reagan Revolutionary, by the Bush fam.
This person has domestic and foreign policy expertise.
This person is moral and without blemish on his private and public character.
This person was more powerful than Speaker Gingrich, Governor Romney, Mayor Guiliani and General Patreaus......in fact this person gave orders to all of the above.
Does this person sound like a Godsend? Like the exact person American needs in the sea of lightweights?
Exactly the point, and as all of you peeked down already to see it is Vice President Dan Quayle, Senator from Indiana, and now successful businessman, America has before it the only choice for Secretary of State, who provides the Executive Leadership, proven insights to being proven correct and character to withstand the disgusting attacks from the left and Bush fam neocons.
Vice President Dan Quayle, has been there, and is a heavyweight, who is not going to be grinned to death by Mike Pence, nor intimidated by President Trump, nor is going to be steamrolled by Jared Kurschner.I am going to provide you with a Lame Cherry exclusive in this, explaining why Pence and Kurschner are moving for these weak as water candidates, and that is because THEY want to run foreign policy, to start another cleansing war in the Mideast in the Israeli state.That is why Richard Nixon put in a melon head for Kissinger, and that is why Pence and Kurschner have not been serving America in trying to install these melon heads, so that Mormon Romney can be led around making a worse shamble of things than Hillary Clinton.
So that is the only choice, Dan Quayle as Secretary of State. No one is more qualified or proven. He is a Russian expert, and that is exactly the relationship American must establish for peace.
Yes Mr. Quayle is going to be the focal point of an attack, to weaken the now weakened Donald Trump, due to his piss poor advisers in that New York Times ambush, but the fight is going to have to be fought, so it might a well be now in Mr. Quayle, instead of Sarah Palin, who after all service has experienced the vanishing blotter for the Trump Transition in this coup de tet, which has been waged against Christians.
Anything less than Dan Quayle as Secretary of State, is the proof, that Pence and Kurschner are going to get America involved in another inter Jew tribal war, the way Obama sucked America into inter Muslim tribal wars.
You want wars. You want a fight with Russia. You want Armageddon. You let Pence and Kurschner install these Romney apostates who think with their cocks. You want peace. You want to ally with Russia. You want America Christians not being nuked, then you insist upon Vice President Dan Quayle as Secretary of State.
Dan Quayle supported Donald Trump from the start and has nothing to apologize for.
It is time though the Trump Transition apologizes for abolishing Christians and Conservatives from the top Cabinet and Advisory posts in the Trump Administration, which is assembling as rubber stamp heads all put into place to promote Pence Kurschner policy and not the American Policy which Americans voted for.
Nuff Said
agtG
Readiness & Loyalty Key Traits of US VPs, Says Dan Quayle '69 - DePauw University
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 21:48
November 21, 2016"Every vice president has a different role, a different responsibility," says the 44th Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle. "It all depends on what the president wants."
Quayle, a 1969 graduate of DePauw University, talks with the Indianapolis Star about the role Mike Pence is about to take on.
A member of Congress and U.S. Senator before being picked as the running mate of George H.W. Bush, Quayle notes, "I'd been in Washington for years. I thought I knew what it would be like. But you don't know what it's like until you experience it."
A political science major at DePauw, Quayle captained the Tiger men's golf team. "There are two requirements of the vice president," he says. "First, you have to be prepared if something happens. The second is you have to be loyal. You have to remember it's the president's agenda and not yours."
Craig Fehrman writes, "As vice president, Quayle enjoyed some big moments. He traveled to 47 countries in four years. He remembers staying up all night in the Situation Room -- with President Bush en route to Malta, it was Quayle who monitored an attempted coup in the Philippines and pressed Colin Powell for the latest intelligence. Quayle also tried to influence Bush. 'You're one of his closest advisers,' he said. 'You help formulate the policy. You help implement the policy. You're right there.' Still, Quayle stresses his secondary role. While he didn't always agree with Bush, he remains reluctant to discuss this even now, almost three decades later. 'Did we have disagreements?' Quayle said. 'Yeah, but not huge ones. He's the boss.'
In their single term, the two built a friendship that's lasted. 'I just spoke with him yesterday,' Quayle said."
Read the complete column at IndyStar.com.
Dan Quayle earned a J.D. from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He was elected to two terms each in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate before becoming vice president.
The former vice president has made many return visits to DePauw. He's been awarded the University's McNaughton Medal for Public Service and in March 2015 was a guest of the Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture Series. That talk is summarized in this article; video is embedded below.
Source: Indianapolis Star
Back
How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them? - The Washington Post
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 06:17
While we're still analyzing the election results and debating the importance of different factors to the final outcome, everyone agrees that white working class voters played a key part in Donald Trump's victory, in some cases by switching their votes and in some cases by turning out when they had been nonvoters before.
And now that he's about to take office, he's ready to deliver on what he promised them, right? Well, maybe not so much:
President-elect Donald Trump abruptly abandoned some of his most tendentious campaign promises Tuesday, saying he does not plan to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email system or the dealings of her family foundation, has an ''open mind'' about a climate-change accord from which he vowed to withdraw the United States and is no longer certain that torturing terrorism suspects is a good idea.
The billionaire real estate developer also dismissed any need to disentangle himself from his financial holdings, despite rising questions about how his global business dealings might affect his decision-making as the nation's chief executive.
[Trump's new interview with the New York Times isn't reassuring. It's deeply alarming.]
And it's not just that; at the same time, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are getting ready to move on their highest priorities, cutting taxes for the wealthy, scrapping oversight on Wall Street, and lightening regulations on big corporations.
Imagine you're one of those folks who went to Trump rallies and thrilled to his promises to take America back from the establishment, who felt your heart stir as he promised to torture prisoners, who got your ''Trump That Bitch'' T-shirt, who was overjoyed to finally have a candidate who tells it like it is. What are you thinking as you watch this?
If you have any sense, you're coming to the realization that it was all a scam. You got played. While you were chanting ''Lock her up!'' he was laughing at you for being so gullible. While you were dreaming about how you'd have an advocate in the Oval Office, he was dreaming about how he could use it to make himself richer. He hasn't even taken office yet and everything he told you is already being revealed as a lie.
President-elect Donald Trump's supporters often chanted "lock her up" when he discussed his opponent, Hillary Clinton, at campaign rallies. But despite repeatedly promising to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her, it looks like Trump might not pursue Clinton after all. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
During the campaign, Trump made two kinds of promises to those white working class voters. One was very practical, focused on economics. In coal country, he said he'd bring back all the coal jobs that have been lost to cheap natural gas (even as he promotes more fracking of natural gas; figure that one out). In the industrial Midwest, he said he'd bring back all the labor-intensive factory jobs that were mostly lost to automation, not trade deals. These promises were utterly ludicrous, but most of the target voters seemed not to care.
The second kind of promise was emotional and expressive. It was about turning back the clock to a time when immigrants hadn't come to your town, when women weren't so uppity, when you could say whatever you wanted and you didn't feel like the culture and the economy were leaving you behind. So Trump said he'd toss Hillary Clinton in jail, force everyone to say ''Merry Christmas'' again, and sue those dastardly liberal news organizations into submission.
And of course, there were promises '-- like building a wall on the southern border and making Mexico pay for it just so they know who's boss '-- that claimed to serve a practical purpose but also had an important expressive purpose. And now one by one Trump is casting them all off.
So what are we left with? What remains is Trump's erratic whims, his boundless greed, and the core of Republican policies Congress will pursue, which are most definitely not geared toward the interests of working class whites. He can gut environmental regulations, but that doesn't mean millions of people are going to head back to the coal mines '-- it was market forces more than anything else that led to coal's decline. He can renegotiate trade deals, but that doesn't mean that the labor-intensive factory jobs are coming back. And by the way, the high wages, good benefits, and job security those jobs used to offer? That was thanks to labor unions, which Republicans are now going to try to destroy once and for all.
[Trump isn't draining the swamp. He's deepening it.]
Had Hillary Clinton won the election, the white working class might have gotten some tangible benefits '-- a higher minimum wage, overtime pay, paid family and medical leave, more secure health insurance, and so on. Trump and the Republicans oppose all that. So what did the white working class actually get? They got the election itself. They got to give a big middle finger to the establishment, to the coastal elites, to immigrants, to feminists, to college students, to popular culture, to political correctness, to every person and impersonal force they see arrayed against them. And that was it.
So what happens in two years when there's a congressional election and two years after that when Trump runs for a second term? Those voters may look around and say, Hey wait a minute. That paradise of infinite winning Trump promised? It didn't happen. My community still faces the same problems it did before. There's no new factory in town with thousands of jobs paying great salaries. Everybody doesn't have great health insurance with no cost-sharing for incredibly low premiums. I still hear people speaking Spanish from time to time. Women and minorities are still demanding that I treat them with respect. Music and movies and TV still make me feel like I'm being left behind. When Trump told me he'd wipe all that away, he was conning me. In fact, in many ways he was the fullest expression of the caricature of politicians (everything they say is a lie, they're only out for themselves) I thought I was striking back against when I supported him.
Those voters may decide to vote for a Democrat next time. Or they may be demobilized, deciding that there isn't much point to voting at all. The nearly all-white areas where turnout shot up in 2016 might settle right back down to where they used to be.
Or maybe Trump will find a way to actually improve the lives of working class voters. That's theoretically possible, but absolutely nothing he has done or said so far suggests that he has any idea how to do it, or even the inclination. So he may try to keep the fires of hatred, resentment, and fear burning, in the hopes that people forget that he hasn't given them the practical things he said he would.
CfA Asks Obama Administration for Information Regarding Security at Trump Properties: The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:10
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 23, 2016
Photo: Associated Press
Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. '' Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) asked the Obama administration to publicly release information regarding security for Trump Organization properties around the world. Trump has properties in many countries, including Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Israel, Istanbul, Panama, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. Now that Donald J. Trump has been elected President of the United States, these properties and guests and visitors to them are facing increased security risks.
Read the letter here.
CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann stated, ''The Trump name is emblazoned on buildings around the world, making them enticing targets for terrorists. First and foremost, the United States has a responsibility to ensure the safety of individuals frequenting these properties. At the same time, providing security to a president's private business interests raises many difficult issues.''
If the Trump organization and/or the U.S. is relying on foreign governments to provide security at any of these properties, it may implicate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that no government officer may ''accept any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state.''
CfA asked the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the CIA, the Office of National Intelligence, the National Security Advisor, and the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel to explain: 1) whether the U.S., any government contractor, or any foreign governments is providing security to Trump Organization properties; 2) what the costs of these measures are; 3) who is footing the bill '' the Trump Organization, foreign governments, or American taxpayers; and 4) whether any legal analysis has been prepared regarding the constitutionality of any payments.
Ms. Weismann continued, ''Most Americans have never heard of the Emoluments Clause, but how it will be applied to Mr. Trump and his vast overseas real estate holdings is an important ethics issue. The Obama administration should immediately release any legal analysis it may have on the constitutionality of payments by foreign governments to the Trump Organization. The media, watchdog groups, and American citizens need to be able to judge for themselves whether the newly elected president is acting constitutionally.''
CfA is nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.
Two White House Staff Appointments Announced by Trump Transition'....
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 23:57
*Note* It appears the Trump Transition Website has be having technical issues.
Breitbart is announcing the addition of Don McGahn as Chief White House Counsel, which follows a natural flow from McGahn's prior role as campaign counsel:
(Via Breitbart) President-elect Donald Trump has selected former FEC chairman Don McGahn to serve in his administration as White House counsel and an assistant to the president.
''Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law,'' Trump said in a statement. ''He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.'' (read more)
Background on McGahn during his FEC tenure here.
Breitbart is also announcing that KT McFarland will be joining the White House National Security team:
(Via Breitbart) ['...] ''I am proud that KT has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team,'' said President-elect Trump. ''She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.''
''The American people chose Donald J. Trump to lead them for a reason,'' said Ms. McFarland. ''He has the courage, brilliance and energy to Make America Great Again, and nobody has called foreign policy right more than President-elect Trump, and he gets no credit for it. I'm honored and humbled that he has asked me to be part of his team.'' (read more)
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Lessig on the Electoral College
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 05:51
The Washington Post ran an op-ed by Larry Lessig on the Electoral College today. This is a very important piece. He says something that very much needs to be said, and heard. If you can access the piece through their paywall please do. But this piece is so important, I'm reproducing it here in full, so everyone can read it.
By Lawrence Lessig.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the electoral college requires that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president. That view is an insult to our framers. It is compelled by nothing in our Constitution. It should be rejected by anyone with any understanding of our democratic traditions'Š '-- most important, the electors themselves.
The framers believed, as Alexander Hamilton put it, that ''the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the [president].'' But no nation had ever tried that idea before. So the framers created a safety valve on the people's choice. Like a judge reviewing a jury verdict, where the people voted, the electoral college was intended to confirm '-- or not '-- the people's choice. Electors were to apply, in Hamilton's words, ''a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice'' '-- and then decide. The Constitution says nothing about ''winner take all.'' It says nothing to suggest that electors' freedom should be constrained in any way. Instead, their wisdom '-- about whether to overrule ''the people'' or not '-- was to be free of political control yet guided by democratic values. They were to be citizens exercising judgment, 'Šnot cogs turning a wheel.
Many think we should abolish the electoral college. I'm not convinced that we should. Properly understood, the electors can serve an important function. What if the people elect a Manchurian candidate? Or a child rapist? What if evidence of massive fraud pervades a close election? It is a useful thing to have a body confirm the results of a democratic election '-- so long as that body exercises its power reflectively and conservatively. Rarely '-- if ever '-- should it veto the people's choice. And if it does, it needs a very good reason.
So, do the electors in 2016 have such a reason?
Only twice in our past has the electoral college selected a president against the will of the people '-- once in the 19th'‰century and once on the cusp of the 21st. (In 1824, it was Congress that decided the election for John Quincy Adams; likewise in 1876, it was Congress that gave disputed electoral college votes to Rutherford B. Hayes.)
In 1888, Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote to Grover Cleveland but won in the electoral college, only because Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall turned New York away from the reformer Cleveland (by fewer than 15,000 votes). In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote by a tiny fraction '-- half a percent '-- and beat Al Gore in the electoral college by an equally small margin '-- less than 1 percent.
In both cases, the result violated what has become one of the most important principles governing our democracy'Š'-- one person, one vote. In both cases, the votes of some weighed much more heavily than the votes of others. Today, the vote of a citizen in Wyoming is four times as powerful as the vote of a citizen in Michigan. The vote of a citizen in Vermont is three times as powerful as a vote in Missouri. This denies Americans the fundamental value of a representative democracy '-- equal citizenship. Yet nothing in our Constitution compels this result.
Instead, if the electoral college is to control who becomes our president, we should take it seriously by understanding its purpose precisely. It is not meant to deny a reasonable judgment by the people. It is meant to be a circuit breaker '-- just in case the people go crazy.
In this election, the people did not go crazy. The winner, by far, of the popular vote is the most qualified candidate for president in more than a generation. Like her or not, no elector could have a good-faith reason to vote against her because of her qualifications. Choosing her is thus plainly within the bounds of a reasonable judgment by the people.
THIS Was Just Revealed About Hillary's So-Called 'Popular Vote Win', She's BUSTED!
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 23:49
Liberals try to justify themselves by saying Hillary Clinton should have won because of her success with the popular vote over Donald Trump. Sorry liberals, but your bubble is about to burst.
The results of the 2016 election are in, and it turns out Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote because of the number of illegals who illicitly voted for her! (via the Gateway Pundit)
According to reports, an average of three million votes were cast in by illegal immigrants, with almost all of them in Hillary's favor. Meaning, she didn't even win the popular vote. She lost, period.
With these votes acknowledged and tossed aside because they were in violation of the law, Donald Trump won the popular vote over Hillary Clinton by more than one million people.
Also, as we all know, Trump beat Clinton in the Electoral College 306 to 232'--in percentages that's 57 to 43. Trump won more than 30 states, and Hillary didn't even make 20. The results were 30.25 to 19.75.
Donald Trump beat Hillary with 61 percent of our U.S. states to Hillary's 39 percent. That's just sad, and it goes to show the Republican party won fair and square in more ways than previously thought.
Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote because of the Democrat party's illicit voting actions'--even with all of their rampant cheating, they still lost to Trump! Trump won 84 percent of the 3,083 counties in the U.S., proving he truly won in a landslide.
This is what happens when liberals stomp their feet and cry out injustice'--it's thrown back in their face. It turns out they were the ones who were causing the injustice, but they still lost in the end. And now, they are pouting like children upon their defeat.
It is because of our Electoral College that Donald Trump is the rightful winner because without it, cheaters like Hillary Clinton would be our president every four to eight years. And liberals want to do away with it?
They only want to get rid of it because it did not give them the result they wanted this time around, and that's just tough tookus. The Republican party won fair and square, and now liberals cannot claim they won the popular vote because when it's all said and done, they didn't.
So, Republicans can sleep well at night knowing that no matter how much liberals throw a fit, they can't unseat President-elect Donald Trump from his upcoming seat in the White House.
The Democrats did their best'--they tried every trick in the book to put Clinton in power, but it wasn't enough. The American people rose up and elected their president, who defied the odds without cheating and still came out on top when no one thought he could.
It's time to drain the swamp, and the corrupt Democrat party will finally be hung out to dry. The American people have spoken, and Donald Trump is our president.
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Election 2016: White women voted for Donald Trump in 2016 because they still believe white men are their saviors '-- Quartz
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 06:28
White women have a history of betraying their sisters. The 2016 election was no exception. According to exit polls, 53% of white women in America voted for Donald Trump. The pattern of white women choosing white men over women of color underscores some of the more insidious machinations of patriarchy and the racism ingrained in the feminist movement. White women's modus operandi for gaining power'--economic, political, and otherwise'--is simple: acquire power from those who have it. And those who have historically have had it are white men. This has resulted in white women's historic abandonment of their black and brown sisters, as well as their more heinous adoption of white supremacist rhetoric to advance their own status.
These ethically unjustifiable strategies are evident in some of the feminist movement's darkest days, beginning with the fight for suffrage. After the decision was made to exclude women from the 15th Amendment, which gave free black men the right to vote, leading suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton adopted blatantly racist rhetoric. Frustrated with the stonewalling of women's suffrage, they actively courted and collaborated with white supremacists in exchange for financial assistance to advance their cause. By aligning themselves with white men, these early feminists turned their back on black women and even black suffragists. White male supremacists welcomed the coalition, as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in a piece at the Atlantic, because it would shore up white nationalism at the voting booths.
During the next wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, a similar strategy played out, this time on a structural level. The organizations fighting for women's rights deliberately excluded their black and brown sisters so as to appear more acceptable to the white male legislators who held the power.
In her book, A History of U.S. Feminisms, Rory Dicker recounts one of many instances in which white feminists decided to ignore black activists. In 1968, she writes, ''[white] women debated whether they should reach out to Kathleen Cleaver, the communications secretary of the Black Panther Party and wife of Eldridge Cleaver, for the names of radical black women to invite to an upcoming conference.'' But the white women never contacted Cleaver, she explains, ''and women's liberation lost a valuable opportunity for interracial dialogue.''
The ethical failures of white women resulted in black women creating their own feminism'--womanism'--as well as their own groups such as the Combahee River Collective, which argued that ending the systemic oppression of all women was a political imperative. ''[W]e are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking,'' they wrote in their mission statement.
White feminism, by contrast, is the calculated rejection of intersectional sisterhood in favor of the acceptance and appreciation of white men. In its most destructive form, it is racism masquerading as self-empowerment. This is apparent in Elle magazine interviews with a handful of female Trump supporters after the election, who claim that they are ''absolutely not racist'' and they really just care about the ''economy'' and ''get[ting] a good job.'' These women's myopic worldview and unrepentantly American sense of individualism is not feminism, nor can they claim they are not racists if they are willing to overlook the bigotry that fueled Trump's campaign.
The millions of white women who voted for Trump'--a man accused of rape, a man who has publicly called women ''pigs'' and jocularly riffed about sexually harassing and assaulting women'--also seem to have been willing to ignore Trump's misogyny in order to get rid of the ''establishment.'' (Because nothing says ''establishment'' like a feminist woman president of the United States who actively declares Black Lives Matter!) History will judge them for helping to tip the election. White women account for 37% of the American voting population, which means the votes of black and brown women, no matter how impressively they turned out for Hillary Clinton (94% of black women; 68% of Hispanic and Latino women), were countered by the large swath of white women who supported Trump.
White women need education, empathy, and a collective consciousness. In the minds of the 53% of white women who supported Trump, what makes them think that a sexist, racist white man will change the system and upend ''the establishment''? This contradictory logic highlights a toxic cocktail of cognitive dissonance, internalized misogyny, and not-so-subtle racism that continues to impede women's political and economic progress. This isn't ideology; this is about ending the oppression of all women and eradicating the structures that prevent women from controlling their bodies and their lives.
It's clear now that far too many white women still see white men as their saviors. Feminism will not succeed in its goal of ending oppression until white women break this pattern. Because as history shows, white men are in no hurry to make women their equals'--in fact, doing so would only threaten their sense of masculinity and their manhood.
Instead of turning to men for political coalition and social acceptance, white women need to turn toward women of color. This is the message of the late Harvard lesbian-feminist Barbara Johnson, who wrote in her conclusion to The Feminist Difference that ''conflicts among feminists require women to pay attention to each other, to take each other's reality seriously, to face each other.'' Only by doing this will we be able to eradicate women's internalized misogyny. Johnson continued, ''feminists have to take the risk of confronting and negotiating differences among women if we are ever to transform such differences into positive rather than negative forces in women's lives.''
While racism is undoubtedly a significant factor in white feminists' failure to engage in intersectional activism, history also suggests that white women have been largely risk-averse when it comes to building coalitions with their black and brown sisters. This is near-sighted and unambitious logic. As Audre Lorde famously wrote in 1984: ''the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house,'' because ''[t]hey may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master's house as their only source of support.''
This is arguably also the reason why the feminist movement seems to be in an interminable state of stagnation when it comes to women's advancement and liberation'--a circular movement of two steps forward, one step back. We are still dealing with many of the same issues as our foremothers when it comes to equal pay and equal rights; reproductive rights are in constant limbo; and we face a never-ending struggle to be respected as human beings, not sexual objects to be ''grabbed'' whenever a man has the urge to do so.
Feminism depends on vital, intersectional sisterhood. White women, black women, and brown women must face each other, engage in and accept our differences, if we are ever to rise together.
Follow Marcie on Twitter at @MarcieBianco. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.
BREAKING: Michigan has BAD NEWS for Jill Stein that Changes Everything - I Love My Freedom
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 05:54
Jill Stein has her work cut out for her to get a recount'...Share this exciting NEWS with everyone! We have to be on high alert to make sure Trump makes it into the White House'...
Read the rules below and you'll notice something extremely hilarious:
Jill Stein would have to present evidence of fraud or systematic error in EVERY MICHIGAN COUNTY to initiate a statewide recount'.....LOL!
Jill Stein would have to present evidence of fraud or systematic error in every MI county to initiate a statewide recount. It's a pipe dream pic.twitter.com/q19r9THelr
'-- Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 26, 2016
Trending Now>>> BOOM! Guess What Ryan is Offering UK to Celebrate Trump's Presidency
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FAKE NEWS
Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 13:24
The Washington Post on Thursday night promoted the claims of a new, shadowy organization that smears dozens of U.S. news sites that are critical of U.S. foreign policy as being ''routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.'' The article by reporter Craig Timberg '' headlined ''Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say'' '' cites a report by a new, anonymous website calling itself ''PropOrNot,'' which claims that millions of Americans have been deceived this year in a massive Russian ''misinformation campaign.''
The group's list of Russian disinformation outlets includes WikiLeaks and the Drudge Report, as well as Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute.
This Post report was one of the most widely circulated political news articles on social media over the last 48 hours, with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of U.S. journalists and pundits with large platforms hailing it as an earth-shattering expos(C). It was the most-read piece on the entire Post website after it was published on Friday.
Yet the article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics. It was not surprising to learn that, as BuzzFeed's Sheera Frenkel noted, ''a lot of reporters passed on this story.'' Its huge flaws are self-evident. But the Post gleefully ran with it and then promoted it aggressively, led by its Executive Editor Marty Baron:
In casting the group behind this website as ''experts,'' the Post described PropOrNot simply as ''a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.'' Not one individual at the organization is named. The executive director is quoted, but only on the condition of anonymity, which the Post said it was providing the group ''to avoid being targeted by Russia's legions of skilled hackers.''
In other words, the individuals behind this newly created group are publicly branding journalists and news outlets as tools of Russian propaganda '' even calling on the FBI to investigate them for espionage '' while cowardly hiding their own identities. The group promoted by the Post thus embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy but without the courage to attach their names to their blacklist. Echoing the Wisconsin Senator, the group refers to its lengthy collection of sites spouting Russian propaganda as ''The List.''
The credentials of this supposed group of experts are impossible to verify, as none is provided either by the Post or by the group itself. The Intercept contacted PropOrNot and asked numerous questions about about its team, but received only this reply: ''We're getting a lot of requests for comment and can get back to you today =) [smiley face emoticon].'' The group added: ''We're over 30 people, organized into teams, and we cannot confirm or deny anyone's involvement.''
Thus far, they have provided no additional information beyond that. As Fortune's Matthew Ingram wrote in criticizing the Post article, PropOrNot's Twitter account ''has only existed since August of this year. And an article announcing the launch of the group on its website is dated last month.'' WHOIS information for the domain name is not available, as the website uses private registration.
More troubling still, PropOrNot listed numerous organizations on its website as ''allied'' with it, yet many of these claimed ''allies'' told The Intercept, and complained on social media, they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story.
At some point last night, after multiple groups listed as ''allies'' objected, the group quietly changed the title of its ''allied'' list to ''Related Projects.'' When The Intercept asked PropOrNot about this clear inconsistency via email, the group responded concisely: ''We have no institutional affiliations with any organization.''
In his article, the Post's Timberg did not include a link to PropOrNot's website. If readers had the opportunity to visit the site, it would have become instantly apparent that this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clich(C)s than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO's narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters.
To see how frivolous and even childish this group of anonymous cowards is '' which the Post venerated into serious experts in order to peddle their story '' just sample a couple of the recent tweets from this group:
As for their refusal to identify themselves even as they smear hundreds of American journalists as loyal to the Kremlin or ''useful idiots'' for it, this is their mature response:
The Washington Post should be very proud: it staked a major part of its news story on the unverified, untestable assertions of this laughable organization.
One of the core functions of PropOrNot appears to be its compilation of a lengthy blacklist of news and political websites which it smears as peddlers of ''Russian propaganda.'' Included on this blacklist of supposed propaganda outlets are prominent independent left-wing news sites such as Truthout, Naked Capitalism, Black Agenda Report, Consortium News and Truthdig.
Also included are popular libertarian hubs such as Zero Hedge, Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute, along with the hugely influential right-wing website the Drudge Report and the publishing site WikiLeaks. Far-right, virulently anti-Muslim blogs such as Bare Naked Islam are likewise dubbed Kremlin mouthpieces. Basically, everyone who isn't comfortably within the centrist Hillary-Clinton/Jeb-Bush spectrum is guilty. On its Twitter account, the group announced a new ''plugin'' that automatically alerts the user that a visited website has been designated by the group to be a Russian propaganda outlet.
To hype its own story, the Post article uncritically highlights PropOrNot's flamboyant claim that stories planted or promoted by Russia's ''disinformation campaign'' were viewed more than 213 million times. Yet no methodology is provided for any of this: how a website is determined to merit blacklist designation or how this reach was calculated. As Ingram wrote: ''How is that audience measured? We don't know. Stories promoted by this network were shared 213 million times, it says. How do we know this? That's unclear.''
Presumably, this massive number was created by including on its lists highly popular sites such as WikiLeaks, as well The Drudge Report, the third-most popular political news website on the internet. Yet this frightening, Cold War-esque ''213 million'' number for Russian ''planted'' news story views was uncritically echoed by numerous high-profile media figures, such as New York Times deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weisman and professor Jared Yates Sexton '-- although the number is misleading at best.
Some of the websites on PropOrNot's blacklist do indeed publish Russian propaganda '-- namely Sputnik News and Russia Today, which are funded by the Russian government. But many of the aforementioned blacklisted sites are independent, completely legitimate news sources which often receive funding through donations or foundations and which have been reporting and analyzing news for many years.
The group commits outright defamation by slandering obviously legitimate news sites as propaganda tools of the Kremlin.One of the most egregious examples is the group's inclusion of Naked Capitalism, the widely respected left-wing site run by Wall Street critic Yves Smith. That site was named by Time Magazine as one of the best 25 Best Financial Blogs in 2011 and by Wired Magazine as a crucial site to follow for finance, and Smith has been featured as a guest on programs such as PBS' Bill Moyers Show. Yet this cowardly group of anonymous smear artists, promoted by the Washington Post, has now placed them on a blacklist of Russian disinformation.
The group eschews alternative media outlets like these and instead recommends that readers rely solely on establishment-friendly publications like NPR, the BBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed and VICE. That is because a big part of the group's definition for ''Russian propaganda outlet'' is criticizing U.S. foreign policy.
PropOrNot does not articulate its criteria in detail, merely describing its metrics as ''behavioral'' and ''motivation-agnostic.'' That is to say, even if a news source is not technically a Russian propaganda outlet and is not even trying to help the Kremlin, it is still guilty of being a ''useful idiot'' if it publishes material that might in some way be convenient or helpful for the Russian government. In other words, the website conflates criticism of Western governments and their actions and policies with Russian propaganda. News sites that do not uncritically echo a pro-NATO perspective are accused of being mouthpieces for the Kremlin, even if only unwitting ones.
While blacklisting left-wing and libertarian journalists, PropOrNot also denies being McCarthyite. Yet it simultaneously calls for the U.S. government to use the FBI and DOJ to carry out ''formal investigations'' of these accused websites, ''because the kind of folks who make propaganda for brutal authoritarian oligarchies are often involved in a wide range of bad business.'' The shadowy group even goes so far as to claim that people involved in the blacklisted websites may ''have violated the Espionage Act, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and other related laws.''
In sum: they're not McCarthyite; perish the thought. They just want multiple U.S. media outlets investigated by the FBI for espionage on behalf of Russia.
Who exactly is behind PropOrNot, where it gets its funding and whether or not it is tied to any governments is a complete mystery. The Intercept also sent inquiries to the Post's Craig Timberg asking these questions, and asking whether he thinks it is fair to label left-wing news sites like Truthout ''Russian propaganda outlets.'' Timberg replied: ''I'm sorry, I can't comment about stories I've written for the Post.''
As is so often the case, journalists '' who constantly demand transparency from everyone else '' refuse to provide even the most basic levels for themselves. When subjected to scrutiny, they reflexively adopt the language of the most secrecy-happy national security agencies: we do not comment on what we do.
Timberg's piece on the supposed ubiquity of Russian propaganda is misleading in several other ways. The other primary ''expert'' upon which the article relies is Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a pro-Western think tank whose board of advisors includes neoconservative figures like infamous orientalist scholar Bernard Lewis and pro-imperialist Robert D. Kaplan, the latter of whom served on the U.S. government's Defense Policy Board.
What the Post does not mention in its report is that Watts, one of the specialists it relies on for its claims, previously worked as an FBI special agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force and as the executive officer of the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center. As Fortune's Ingram wrote of the group, it is ''a conservative think tank funded and staffed by proponents of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.''
PropOrNot is by no means a neutral observer. It actively calls on Congress and the White House to work ''with our European allies to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT financial transaction system, effective immediately and lasting for at least one year, as an appropriate response to Russian manipulation of the election.''
In other words, this blacklisting group of anonymous cowards '' putative experts in the pages of The Washington Post '' are actively pushing for Western governments to take punitive measures against the Russian government, and are speaking and smearing from an extreme ideological framework that the Post concealed from its readers.
Even more disturbing than the Post's shoddy journalism in this instance is the broader trend in which any wild conspiracy theory or McCarthyite attack is now permitted in U.S. discourse as long as it involves Russia and Putin '' just as was true in the 1950s when stories of how the Russians were poisoning the U.S. water supply or infiltrating American institutions were commonplace. Any anti-Russia story was '' and is '' instantly vested with credibility, while anyone questioning its veracity or evidentiary basis is subject to attacks on their loyalties or, at best, vilified as ''useful idiots.''
Two of the most discredited reports from the election season illustrate the point: a Slate article claiming that a private server had been located linking the Trump Organization and a Russian bank (which, like the current Post story, had been shopped around and rejected by multiple media outlets), and a completely deranged rant by Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald claiming that Putin had ordered emails in the WikiLeaks release to be doctored '' both of which were uncritically shared and tweeted by hundreds of journalists to tens of thousands of people, if not more.
The Post itself '' now posing as warriors against ''fake news'' '' published an article in September that treated with great seriousness the claim that Hillary Clinton collapsed on 9/11 Day because she was poisoned by Putin. And that's to say nothing of the paper's disgraceful history of convincing Americans that Saddam was building non-existent nuclear weapons and had cultivated a vibrant alliance with Al Qaeda. As is so often the case, those who mostly loudly warn of ''fake news'' from others are themselves the most aggressive disseminators of it.
Indeed, what happened here is the essence of fake news. The Post story served the agendas of many factions: those who want to believe Putin stole the election from Hillary Clinton; those who want to believe that the internet and social media are a grave menace that needs to be controlled, in contrast to the objective truth which reliable old media outlets once issued; those who want a resurrection of the Cold War. So those who saw tweets and Facebook posts promoting this Post story instantly clicked and shared and promoted the story without an iota of critical thought or examination of whether the claims were true, because they wanted the claims to be true. That behavior included countless journalists.
So the story spread in a flash, like wildfire. Tens of thousands of people, perhaps hundreds of thousands or even millions, consumed it, believing that it was true because of how many journalists and experts told them it was. Virtually none of the people who told them this spent a minute of time or ounce of energy determining if it was true. It pleased them to believe it was, knowing it advanced their interests, and so they endorsed it. That is the essence of how fake news functions, and it is the ultimate irony that this Post story ended up illustrating and spreading far more fake news than it exposed.
college professor 'watchlist' expose professors who 'advance leftist propaganda'
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 13:46
The website asks students to ''expose and document'' professorsREUTERS/Kacper Pempel
A new website is asking students and others to ''expose and document'' professors who ''discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.''
The site, called Professor Watchlist, is not without precedent -- predecessors include the now-defunct NoIndoctrination.org, which logged accounts of alleged bias in the classroom. There's also David Horowitz's 2006 book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. But such efforts arguably have new meaning in an era of talk about registering certain social groups and concerns about free speech.
At the same time, the new list has attracted Twitter jokesters under the hashtag #trollprofwatchlist, with complaints about Indiana Jones, Professor Plum of "Clue University," and Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, among others.
Professor Watchlist, launched Monday, is a project of Turning Point USA. The group's mission is to ''identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.'' Its national college and university field program works to ''identify young conservative activists, build and maintain effective student groups, advertise and rebrand conservative values, engage in face-to-face and peer-to-peer conversations about the pressing issues facing our country,'' according to its website.
The group's founder, Charlie Kirk -- a millennial who has emerged in some conservative political circles as a major player -- did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Professor Watchlist, but he promoted it on social media.
In a write-upof the project, Kirk said, ''It's no secret that some of America's college professors are totally out of line'' and that he often hears stories about ''professors who attack and target conservatives, promote liberal propaganda and use their position of power to advance liberal agendas in their classroom. Turning Point USA is saying enough is enough. It's time we expose these professors.''
We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned : All Tech Considered : NPR
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:29
"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right." Fanatic Studio/Getty Imageshide caption
toggle captionFanatic Studio/Getty Images"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right."
Fanatic Studio/Getty ImagesA lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.
We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story '-- the fake one.
We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help.
By day, John Jansen is head of engineering at Master-McNeil Inc., a tech company in Berkeley, Calif. In the interest of real news he helped us track down the owner of Denverguardian.com.
Jansen started by looking at the site's history. "Commonly that's called scraping or crawling websites," he says.
Jansen is kind of like an archaeologist. He says that nothing you do on the Web disappears '-- it just gets buried '-- like a fossil. But if you do some digging you'll find those fossils and learn a lot of history.
The Denver Guardian was built and designed using a pretty common platform '-- WordPress. It's used by bloggers and people who want to create their own websites. Jansen found that the first entry ever for the site was done by someone with the handle LetTexasSecede.
The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction.
Jestin Coler, publisher of fake news sites
"That was sort of the thread that started to unravel everything," Jansen says. "I was able to track that through to a bunch of other sites which are where that handle is also present."
The sites include NationalReport.net, USAToday.com.co, WashingtonPost.com.co. All the addresses linked to a single rented server inside Amazon Web Services. That meant they were all very likely owned by the same company. Jansen found an email address on one of those sites and was able to link that address to a name: Jestin Coler.
Online, Coler was listed as the founder and CEO of a company called Disinfomedia. Coler's LinkedIn profile said he once sold magazine subscriptions, worked as a database administrator and as a freelance writer for among others, International Yachtsman magazine. And, using his name, we found a home address.
On a warm, sunny afternoon I set out with a producer for a suburb of Los Angeles. Coler lived in a middle-class neighborhood of pastel-colored one-story beach bungalows. His home had an unwatered lawn '-- probably the result of California's ongoing drought. There was a black minivan in the driveway and a large prominent American flag.
We rang the front doorbell and a man answered, his face obscured by a heavy mesh steel screen. I asked for Jestin Coler. The man indicated that's who he was. But when I asked about Disinfomedia, he said, "I don't know what to tell you guys. Have a good day."
We left Coler our contact information thinking he wasn't likely to talk. But a couple of hours later he had a change of heart. He sent us an email and we set up an interview.
Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.
"The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," Coler says.
He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.
"What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something that had just never happened," Coler says.
During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. "It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they're about to get served," Coler says. "It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election."
Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals '-- but they just never take the bait.
Coler's company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites '-- he won't say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake-news businesses out there, which makes him a sort of godfather of the industry.
At any given time, Coler says, he has between 20 and 25 writers. And it was one of them who wrote the story in the Denver Guardian that an FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails was killed. Coler says that over 10 days the site got 1.6 million views. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories.
"The people wanted to hear this," he says. "So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then ... our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire."
And as the stories spread, Coler makes money from the ads on his websites. He wouldn't give exact figures, but he says stories about other fake-news proprietors making between $10,000 and $30,000 a month apply to him. Coler fits into a pattern of other faux news sites that make good money, especially by targeting Trump supporters.
However, Coler insists this is not about money. It's about showing how easily fake news spreads. And fake news spread wide and far before the election. When I pointed out to Coler that the money gave him a lot of incentive to keep doing it regardless of the impact, he admitted that was "correct."
Coler says he has tried to shine a light on the problem of fake news. He has spoken to the media about it. But those organizations didn't know who he actually was. He gave them a fake name: Allen Montgomery.
Coler, a registered Democrat, says he has no regrets about his fake news empire. He doesn't think fake news swayed the election.
"There are many factors as to why Trump won that don't involve fake news," he says. "As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage."
Coler doesn't think fake news is going away. One of his sites '-- NationalReport.net '-- was flagged as fake news under a new Google policy, and Google stopped running ads on it. But Coler had other options.
"There are literally hundreds of ad networks," he says. "Early last week, my inbox was just filled every day with people because they knew that Google was cracking down '-- hundreds of people wanting to work with my sites."
Coler says he has been talking it over with his wife and may be getting out of the fake-news racket. But, he says, dozens, maybe hundreds of entrepreneurs will be ready to take his place. And he thinks it will only get harder to tell their websites from real news sites. They know now that fake news sells and they will only be in it for the money.
Below are highlights of NPR's interview with Coler.
Interview HighlightsTell me a little about why you started Disinfomedia?
Late 2012, early 2013 I was spending a lot of time researching what is now being referred to as the alt-right. I identified a problem with the news that they were spreading and created Disinfomedia as a response to that. The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly false or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction.
What got you engaged in this?
My educational background is in political science. I've always enjoyed the ideas of propaganda and misinformation. Then I coupled that with an interest in what makes things go viral. So that led me to finding those groups and ultimately to finding contributors. But it was just something I had an interest in that I wanted to pursue.
When did you notice that fake news does best with Trump supporters?
Well, this isn't just a Trump-supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin's famous blasting of the lamestream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn't something that started with Trump. This is something that's been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters. When we were coming up with headlines it's always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.
We've tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.
How many domains do you own and run?
Well, I would say there's somewhere around 25 domains that I am currently managing. National Report has been my bread and butter, where I've spent most of my time. I have people who work with me and for me in developing and maintaining the other sites and social media kind of stuff. [Coler later said not all his sites are fake news.] So I, for the most part, focus on National Report, and a lot of the other stuff is run by other folks on the team.
So, you're the publisher of an empire.
Well I wouldn't go so far as to call it an empire but, yes, it's several sites [chuckle].
How many people do you have writing for you?
It comes and goes, and as for actual employed writers, again these guys sort of make their own money through ad code. So I don't say, 'Hey, you have to write 10 stories this week' and this and that. Really, we have a more free-form idea where people, when their creativity strikes them then they can write something. And if they're in a slump then they just go dormant for a while. With that said, at any given time there's probably 20, 25 contributors all over the country. ...
Talk about the Denver Guardian.
Well, it's kind of a side project. We have some people working on next steps in the fake-news industry, and that came from that whole discussion. We had purchased several domain names that sounded legitimate. ... More local news sort of stories. The idea was to make the sites look as legit as possible so the home page is going to be local news and local forecast, local sports, some obituaries and things of that nature, and then the actual fake news stories were going to be buried off the home page.
We've tried lots of things in the past. The dot-com-dot-co domains were something I toyed in for a while. Those I quickly got away from because you don't get away long with borrowing someone's copyright or trademark. That was something that worked very well from a fake-news perspective. People were fooled into the domain name, but that wasn't so much what we were after. So again, the next step was to go after more city-type sites. And the Denver Guardian was one of those sites.
You're talking about the future of this (fake-news business) which looks more insidious because it's more real?
That's the way that it's going to be. Not just from where I am. I mean, this is probably going to be my last run in the fake-news biz, but I can promise you that it's not going to go away. It's even going to grow bigger and it's going to be harder to identify as it kind of evolves through these steps. ...
Do you know who wrote the actual FBI Clinton story?
I do know who wrote the story, but only through an anonymous pen name. Privacy is something that we take very seriously in our writers group. The actual reasonings behind that story ... it's one of hundreds that have been written about mysterious deaths of Clinton associates or political foes. This one kind of took off more than others, I believe, just because of the nature of the story. The people wanted to hear this. So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional. The town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. Then, we had our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.
Why hide your identity?
This isn't the safest business to be in, to be honest. Just the number of death threats I've received. I have a beautiful family, a beautiful life.
Some of these people that we ... bait is probably the right word '-- are often '-- let's call them the deplorables, right? They're not the safest crowd. Some of them I would consider domestic terrorists. So they're just not people that I want to be knocking on my door.
It seems like National Report is getting spoofier.
If you went to National Report today, it's specifically satire. "Chris Christie nominated to Supreme Food Court." "Sarah Palin Banning Muslims from Entering Bristol Palin." They're a little bit more offensive than some people care for their satire. I mean fat-shaming and slut-shaming isn't something that is normally met with applause. But again, it's a lot more fun in nature.
Do you make serious money?
It depends on what you would call serious money. I think I do pretty well.
Can you say how well?
I would rather not. There have been some people who have been reported on recently. The folks in Long Beach that were doing just all right stuff. They were reporting $10,000 to $30,000 a month; I think that's probably a relative ballpark.
So you're doing as well as those?
Yes.
You're making money through the ads?
Yes.
Who do you work with?
We have several advertisers. Google was one, although they shut down my account last week. We've replaced them with other advertisers.
Can I ask who?
There are literally hundreds of ad networks. Literally hundreds. Last week my inbox was just filled everyday with people, because they knew that Google was cracking down '-- hundreds of people wanting to work with my sites. I kind of applaud Google for their steps, although I think what they're doing is kind of random. They don't really have a process in place for identifying these things. I happen to know a very successful site that, as of today, of this morning is still serving Google ads. So it seems to be a kind of arbitrary step that they're taking either based on, I don't know if it was my reputation within the industry or specifically the Denver Guardian site that angered them, or I don't know what it is, but back to your question, there's hundreds of people that will work with me.
What can be done about fake news?
Some of this has to fall on the readers themselves. The consumers of content have to be better at identifying this stuff. We have a whole nation of media-illiterate people. Really, there needs to be something done.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
Sure.
Are you one of the biggest in the fake-news biz?
If you look at someone who has specifically sometimes peddled in fictional news then I think that I would probably be considered one of the larger sites.
As a liberal, do you have any regrets?
I don't. Again, this is something that I've been crying about for a while. But outside of that, there are many factors as to why Trump won that don't involve fake news, right? As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage.
You don't feel responsible.
I do not.
Do you think you would have kept doing it if it wasn't so lucrative?
Really, the financial part of it isn't the only motivator for me. I do enjoy making a mess of the people that share the content that comes out of our site. It's not just the financial incentive for me. I still enjoy the game I guess.
Would you do this all over again?
Well, I guess it came to a head here and we're talking about it. It'll be interesting to see what happens moving forward. If I had to, if I knew specifically the Denver Guardian situation, that would have been handled differently. But everything else, as far as the work I've done with National Report, I'm very proud of, and I'm going to continue doing it.
Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say - The Washington Post
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 18:31
The flood of ''fake news'' this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
Russia's increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery '-- including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human ''trolls,'' and networks of websites and social-media accounts '-- echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on ''fake news,'' as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.
There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.
''They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,'' said Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who along with two other researchers has tracked Russian propaganda since 2014. ''This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.''
During a Facebook live discussion, reporter Caitlin Dewey explained how fake news sites use Facebook as a vehicle to function and make money. (The Washington Post)
Watts's report on this work, with colleagues Andrew Weisburd and J.M. Berger, appeared on the national security online magazine War on the Rocks this month under the headline ''Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.'' Another group, called PropOrNot, a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds, planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns.
The researchers used Internet analytics tools to trace the origins of particular tweets and mapped the connections among social-media accounts that consistently delivered synchronized messages. Identifying website codes sometimes revealed common ownership. In other cases, exact phrases or sentences were echoed by sites and social-media accounts in rapid succession, signaling membership in connected networks controlled by a single entity.
PropOrNot's monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.
[Could better Internet security have prevented Trump's win?]
Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were ''useful idiots'' '-- a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.
Consider these points before sharing a news article on Facebook. It could be fake. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
The Russian campaign during this election season, researchers from both groups say, worked by harnessing the online world's fascination with ''buzzy'' content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.
Some of these stories originated with RT and Sputnik, state-funded Russian information services that mimic the style and tone of independent news organizations yet sometimes include false and misleading stories in their reports, the researchers say. On other occasions, RT, Sputnik and other Russian sites used social-media accounts to amplify misleading stories already circulating online, causing news algorithms to identify them as ''trending'' topics that sometimes prompted coverage from mainstream American news organizations.
The speed and coordination of these efforts allowed Russian-backed phony news to outcompete traditional news organizations for audience. Some of the first and most alarming tweets after Clinton fell ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event in New York, for example, came from Russian botnets and trolls, researchers found. (She was treated for pneumonia and returned to the campaign trail a few days later.)
This followed a spate of other misleading stories in August about Clinton's supposedly troubled health. The Daily Beast debunked a particularly widely read piece in an article that reached 1,700 Facebook accounts and was read online more than 30,000 times. But the PropOrNot researchers found that the version supported by Russian propaganda reached 90,000 Facebook accounts and was read more than 8 million times. The researchers said the true Daily Beast story was like ''shouting into a hurricane'' of false stories supported by the Russians.
This propaganda machinery also helped push the phony story that an anti-Trump protester was paid thousands of dollars to participate in demonstrations, an allegation initially made by a self-described satirist and later repeated publicly by the Trump campaign. Researchers from both groups traced a variety of other false stories '-- fake reports of a coup launched at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and stories about how the United States was going to conduct a military attack and blame it on Russia '-- to Russian propaganda efforts.
[Facebook fake-news writer: 'I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me']
The final weeks of the campaign featured a heavy dose of stories about supposed election irregularities, allegations of vote-rigging and the potential for Election Day violence should Clinton win, researchers said.
''The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,'' said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia's legions of skilled hackers. ''It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump's campaign. .'‰.'‰. It worked.''
He and other researchers expressed concern that the U.S. government has few tools for detecting or combating foreign propaganda. They expressed hope that their research detailing the power of Russian propaganda would spur official action.
A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul, said he was struck by the overt support that RT and Sputnik expressed for Trump during the campaign, even using the #CrookedHillary hashtag pushed by the candidate.
McFaul said Russian propaganda typically is aimed at weakening opponents and critics. Trump's victory, though reportedly celebrated by Putin and his allies in Moscow, may have been an unexpected benefit of an operation that already had fueled division in the United States. ''They don't try to win the argument,'' said McFaul, now director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. ''It's to make everything seem relative. It's kind of an appeal to cynicism.''
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied interfering in the U.S. election or hacking the accounts of election officials. ''This is some sort of nonsense,'' Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Putin, said last month when U.S. officials accused Russia of penetrating the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
RT disputed the conclusions of the researchers in an e-mail on Friday, saying it played no role in producing or amplifying any fake news stories related to the U.S. election. ''RT adamantly rejects these claims,'' wrote Anna Belkina, head of communications.
The findings about the mechanics of Russian propaganda operations largely track previous research by the Rand Corp. and George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.
''They use our technologies and values against us to sow doubt,'' said Robert Orttung, a GWU professor who studies Russia. ''It's starting to undermine our democratic system.''
The Rand report '-- which dubbed Russian propaganda efforts a ''firehose of falsehood'' because of their speed, power and relentlessness '-- traced the country's current generation of online propaganda work to the 2008 incursion into neighboring Georgia, when Russia sought to blunt international criticism of its aggression by pushing alternative explanations online.
The same tactics, researchers said, helped Russia shape international opinions about its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in Syria, which started last year. Russian propaganda operations also worked to promote the ''Brexit'' departure of Britain from the European Union.
Another crucial moment, several researchers say, came in 2011 when the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of rigging elections, sparking protests that Putin blamed the Obama administration '-- and then-Secretary of State Clinton '-- for instigating.
Putin, a former KGB officer, announced his desire to ''break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams'' during a 2013 visit to the broadcast center for RT, formerly known as Russia Today.
''For them, it's actually a real war, an ideological war, this clash between two systems,'' said Sufian Zhemukhov, a former Russian journalist conducting research at GWU. ''In their minds, they're just trying to do what the West does to Russia.''
RT broadcasts news reports worldwide in several languages, but the most effective way it reaches U.S. audiences is online.
Its English-language flagship YouTube channel, launched in 2007, has 1.85 million subscribers and has had a total of 1.8 billion views, making it more widely viewed than CNN's YouTube channel, according to a George Washington University report this month.
Though widely seen as a propaganda organ, the Russian site has gained credibility with some American conservatives. Trump sat for an interview with RT in September. His nominee for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, traveled to Russia last year for a gala sponsored by the network. He later compared it to CNN.
The content from Russian sites has offered ready fodder for U.S.-based websites pushing far-right conservative messages. A former contractor for one, the Next News Network, said he was instructed by the site's founder, Gary S. Franchi Jr., to weave together reports from traditional sources such as the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times with ones from RT, Sputnik and others that provided articles that often spread explosively online.
''The readers are more likely to share the fake stories, and they're more profitable,'' said Dyan Bermeo, who said he helped assemble scripts and book guests for Next News Network before leaving because of a pay dispute and concerns that ''fake news'' was crowding out real news.
In just the past 90 days '-- a period that has included the closing weeks of the campaign, Election Day and its aftermath '-- the YouTube audience of Next News Network has jumped from a few hundred thousand views a day to a few million, according to analytics firm Tubular Labs. In October alone, videos from Next News Network were viewed more than 56 million times.
Franchi said in an e-mail statement that Next News Network seeks ''a global perspective'' while providing commentary aimed at U.S. audiences, especially with regard to Russian military activity. ''Understanding the threat of global war is the first step to preventing it,'' he said, ''and we feel our coverage assisted in preventing a possible World War 3 scenario.''
Some Fake News Publishers Just Happen to Be Donald Trump's Cronies
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 18:29
The extraordinary phenomenon of fake news spread by Facebook and other social media during the 2016 presidential election has been largely portrayed as a lucky break for Donald Trump.
By that reckoning, entrepreneurial Macedonian teenagers, opportunists in Tbilisi and California millennials have exploited social media algorithms in order to make money '-- only incidentally leading to the viral proliferation of mostly anti-Clinton and anti-Obama hoaxes and conspiracy theories that thrilled many Trump supporters. The Washington Post published a shoddy report on Thursday alleging that Russian state-sponsored propagandists were seeking to promote Trump through fabricated stories, independent of the candidate himself.
But a closer look reveals that some of the biggest fake news providers were run by experienced political operators well within the orbit of Donald Trump's political advisers and consultants.
Laura Ingraham, a close Trump ally currently under consideration to be Trump's White House press secretary, owns an online publisher called Ingraham Media Group that runs a number of sites, including LifeZette, a news site that frequently posts articles of dubious veracity. One video produced by LifeZette this summer, ominously titled ''Clinton Body Count,'' promoted a conspiracy theory that the Clinton family had some role in the plane crash death of John F. Kennedy, Jr., as well as the deaths of various friends and Democrats.
The video, published on Facebook from LifeZette's verified news account, garnered over 400,000 shares and 14 million views.
Another LifeZette video, picking up false claims from other sites, claimed that voting machines ''might be compromised'' because a voting machine company called Smartmatic, allegedly providing voting machines ''in sixteen states,'' was purchased by the liberal billionaire George Soros. Soros never purchased the company, and Smartmatic did not provide voting machines used in the general election.
One LifeZette article misleadinglyclaimed that the United Nations backed a ''secret'' Obama administration takeover of local police departments. The article referenced Justice Department orders that a select few police departments address patterns of misconduct, a practice that, in reality, long predates the Obama presidency, is hardly secret, and had no relation to the United Nations.
Another LifeZette article, which went viral in the week prior to the election, falsely claimed that Wikileaks had revealed that a senior Hillary Clinton campaign official had engaged in occult rituals. Ingraham's site regularly receives links from the Drudge Report and other powerful drivers of Internet traffic.
But LifeZette, for all its influence, pales in comparison to the sites run by Floyd Brown, a Republican consultant close to Trump's inner circle of advisers. Brown gained notoriety nearly three decades ago for his role in helping to produce the ''Willie Horton'' campaign advertisement, a spot criticized for its use of racial messaging to derail Michael Dukakis's presidential bid. Brown is also the political mentor of David Bossie, an operative who went to work for Trump's presidential campaign this year after founding the Citizens United group. In an interview this year, Brown called Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway a ''longtime friend.''
Brown now produces a flow of reliably pro-Trump Internet content through a company he owns called Liftable Media Inc., which operates a number of high-impact, tabloid-style news outlets that exploded in size over the course of the election. One of Brown's sites, Western Journalism, is the 81st largest site in the U.S. with 13 million monthly unique page views, according to rankings maintained by the site Alexa. Another, called Conservative Tribune, is the 50th largest site with over 19 million monthly unique visitors.
Brown's sites churn out bombastic headlines with little regard to the truth. One viral piece shared by Brown's news outlets claimed that President Obama had redesigned the White House logo to change the American flag to a white flag, ''a common symbol for surrender, which has many people wondering if Obama was trying to secretly signal to America's enemies that he was surrendering.'' The Facebook post touted the article with the line, ''We all know Obama hates the United States, but what he just did to the White House logo is beyond the pale.''
As the fact-checking website Snopes was quick to note, it was no signal of surrender and the bleached white version of the White House logo, complete with a white flag, was not even an Obama creation. The white logo dates back to as early as 2003, under the Bush administration, which used it for official documents.
The Conservative Tribune and Western Journalism provide a steady stream of similarly deceptive, eye-catching headlines.
''BREAKING: Muslims Ordered to Vote Hillary,'' is the headline for one election post that grossly mischaracterized a mundane article about a Pakistani American activist going to door to door to help Clinton's campaign. ''Obama Urges Illegal Immigrants to Vote Without Fear of Getting Caught,'' blared Western Journalism, claiming that President Obama had suggested in an interview on issues facing Latino millennial voters that noncitizens could vote and ''will never get caught if they do.'' The article left out the part of the Obama interview in which he said noncitizens ''can't legally vote, but they're counting on you to make sure that you have the courage to make your voice heard.''
The hits go on, with posts on a regular basis making claims ranging from the assertion that Clinton went on a ''drug holiday'' before the Las Vegas presidential debate to rumors that Obama's birth certificate is under serious scrutiny.
Thanks to views sourced largely to referrals from Facebook, Brown's websites now outrank web traffic going to news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, and NPR, according to data compiled by Alexa. Both Western Journalism and Conservative Tribune are certified by Facebook as bonafide news providers.
Trump's relationship with one particularly influential online news site with a history of fabricated stories couldn't be much closer. Steve Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, took a leave of absence from the organization to become the chief executive officer of Trump's presidential campaign and has been tapped to serve as Trump's chief strategist in the White House. Trump himself regularly promoted Breitbart stories, including a tweet used to justify his campaign to prove Obama was not born in the U.S.
Breitbart News blends commentary and journalism with inflammatory headlines, in many cases producing fake stories sourced from online hoaxes. The site once attempted to pass off a picture of people in Cleveland celebrating the Cavaliers as a massive Trump rally. The site furiously defended Trump's false claim that ''thousands'' of Muslims in New Jersey were ''cheering'' the 9/11 attacks, a claim that multiplefact-checking organizations have thoroughly debunked.
Other conservative content farms, including WorldNetDaily, maintained ties to the Trump election effort. Campaign finance records show that Great America PAC, a Trump-backing Super PAC, paid WND, known as the largest purveyor of Obama birth certificate conspiracy theories, for ''online voter contact.''
The surge of fake news has been much commented on in the mainstream media '-- and its effect on Trump's election victory has been widely debated '-- with little mention of the purveyors close to the Trump campaign.
A Buzzfeed News article that came out shortly before the election famously traced more than 100 pro-Trump websites to young entrepreneurs in a single town in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who discovered that the best way to generate clicks '-- at a fraction of a penny per click in ad revenue '-- is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook. After the election, New Yorker editor David Remnick described President Obama as ''talking obsessively'' about that article, and quoted him bemoaning its significance. ''[T]he capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal, '' Obama said, ''that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.''
The Washington Post interviewed Paul Horner, the ''impresario of a Facebook fake-news empire,'' who sounded somewhat aghast when he said, ''I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don't fact-check anything '-- they'll post everything, believe anything.''
Another Washington Post story described two Southern California slackers turning their website of made-up pro-Trump clickbait in a virtual goldmine. The New York Times profiled a fake news operation run by three brothers in Tbilisi, Georgia, who experimented with a variety of content, sometimes lifted from other sites, at other times made up from whole cloth, finding that pro-Trump material was the most popular, and therefore the most profitable.
Finally, a Washington Post story this week alleged a Russian government role in spreading fake news to help Trump. But its sources were not remotely credible. For instance, it cited a list that characterized as ''routine peddlers of Russian propaganda'' a number of well-established and well-respected websites including Truthdig, a site published by award-winning journalist and long-time Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer, Naked Capitalism, and Truth Out.
The growth of fake news isn't confined to Trump or to conservative sites. A number of left-wing political sites have trafficked in demonstrably false stories, including deceptive pieces stoking fear about vaccines. Earlier this year, when critics called for Clinton to release the transcripts of her three paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, as well as to other interest groups, Daily News Bin, a new liberal website specializing in viral hits, published a piece titled, ''Video surfaces of Hillary Clinton's paid speech to Goldman Sachs, and it's completely harmless.'' The video embedded in the piece, however, was not one of Clinton's paid speeches; it was a public event sponsored by Goldman Sachs. The article was shared over 120,000 times.
''We live in a time when people don't care about facts,'' said Judy Muller, professor of journalism at the University of Southern California.
During the last three months of the campaign, Buzzfeed News found that the top 20 best-performing hoax stories related to the election had more Facebook engagement than the 20 best-performing stories from major news outlets.
Facebook has responded to the recent outcry over fake news websites with promises to crack down on obvious phony sites. Many critics are still worried that Facebook is not doing enough to counter outright lies promoted by the platform; meanwhile, others are concerned that such efforts risk suppressing critical information.
Muller said that if Ingraham is nominated by Trump to be his spokesperson to the press, she will have to distance herself from her growing Facebook content empire.
But the demand for fake news is unlikely to subside.
A recent study by Stanford University researchers found that students have difficulty discerning between fake content, corporate sponsored advertorial content posing as journalism, and legitimate news.
''People only care about opinions that support their own biases,'' said Muller. ''So they're not reading other people's facts, they're not checking the facts, and they don't want to know '-- and that's the scariest development to me.''
The List Of Russian Propaganda Fake News Sites
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 06:51
An Initial Set of Sites That Reliably Echo Russian PropagandaWe have used a combination of manual and automated analysis, including analysis of content, timing, technical indicators, and other reporting, in order to initially identify (''red-flag'') the following as Russian propaganda outlets. We then confirmed our initial assessment by applying whatever criteria we did not originally employ during the red-flag process, and we reevaluate our findings as needed. Please note that our criteria are behavioral. That means the characteristics of the propaganda outlets we identify are motivation-agnostic. For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide "useful idiots" of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny.We assess that this overall Russian effort is at least semi-centralized, with multiple Russian projects and influence operations working in parallel to manage the direct and outsourced production of propaganda across a wide range of outlets. It is data-driven, and rewards effective entrepreneurship and innovation with increased funding and other resources. There are varying degrees of involvement in it, and awareness of involvement. Some people involved seem genuinely unaware that they are being used by Russia to produce propaganda, but many others seem to know full well.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.More detailed analysis is ongoing:
Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say - The Washington Post
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 06:50
The flood of ''fake news'' this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
Russia's increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery '-- including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human ''trolls,'' and networks of websites and social-media accounts '-- echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on ''fake news,'' as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.
There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.
''They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,'' said Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who along with two other researchers has tracked Russian propaganda since 2014. ''This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.''
During a Facebook live discussion, reporter Caitlin Dewey explained how fake news sites use Facebook as a vehicle to function and make money. (The Washington Post)
Watts's report on this work, with colleagues Andrew Weisburd and J.M. Berger, appeared on the national security online magazine War on the Rocks this month under the headline ''Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.'' Another group, called PropOrNot, a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds, planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns.
The researchers used Internet analytics tools to trace the origins of particular tweets and mapped the connections among social-media accounts that consistently delivered synchronized messages. Identifying website codes sometimes revealed common ownership. In other cases, exact phrases or sentences were echoed by sites and social-media accounts in rapid succession, signaling membership in connected networks controlled by a single entity.
PropOrNot's monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.
[Could better Internet security have prevented Trump's win?]
Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were ''useful idiots'' '-- a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.
Consider these points before sharing a news article on Facebook. It could be fake. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)
The Russian campaign during this election season, researchers from both groups say, worked by harnessing the online world's fascination with ''buzzy'' content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.
Some of these stories originated with RT and Sputnik, state-funded Russian information services that mimic the style and tone of independent news organizations yet sometimes include false and misleading stories in their reports, the researchers say. On other occasions, RT, Sputnik and other Russian sites used social-media accounts to amplify misleading stories already circulating online, causing news algorithms to identify them as ''trending'' topics that sometimes prompted coverage from mainstream American news organizations.
The speed and coordination of these efforts allowed Russian-backed phony news to outcompete traditional news organizations for audience. Some of the first and most alarming tweets after Clinton fell ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event in New York, for example, came from Russian botnets and trolls, researchers found. (She was treated for pneumonia and returned to the campaign trail a few days later.)
This followed a spate of other misleading stories in August about Clinton's supposedly troubled health. The Daily Beast debunked a particularly widely read piece in an article that reached 1,700 Facebook accounts and was read online more than 30,000 times. But the PropOrNot researchers found that the version supported by Russian propaganda reached 90,000 Facebook accounts and was read more than 8 million times. The researchers said the true Daily Beast story was like ''shouting into a hurricane'' of false stories supported by the Russians.
This propaganda machinery also helped push the phony story that an anti-Trump protester was paid thousands of dollars to participate in demonstrations, an allegation initially made by a self-described satirist and later repeated publicly by the Trump campaign. Researchers from both groups traced a variety of other false stories '-- fake reports of a coup launched at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and stories about how the United States was going to conduct a military attack and blame it on Russia '-- to Russian propaganda efforts.
[Facebook fake-news writer: 'I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me']
The final weeks of the campaign featured a heavy dose of stories about supposed election irregularities, allegations of vote-rigging and the potential for Election Day violence should Clinton win, researchers said.
''The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,'' said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia's legions of skilled hackers. ''It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump's campaign. .'‰.'‰. It worked.''
He and other researchers expressed concern that the U.S. government has few tools for detecting or combating foreign propaganda. They expressed hope that their research detailing the power of Russian propaganda would spur official action.
A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul, said he was struck by the overt support that Sputnik expressed for Trump during the campaign, even using the #CrookedHillary hashtag pushed by the candidate.
McFaul said Russian propaganda typically is aimed at weakening opponents and critics. Trump's victory, though reportedly celebrated by Putin and his allies in Moscow, may have been an unexpected benefit of an operation that already had fueled division in the United States. ''They don't try to win the argument,'' said McFaul, now director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. ''It's to make everything seem relative. It's kind of an appeal to cynicism.''
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied interfering in the U.S. election or hacking the accounts of election officials. ''This is some sort of nonsense,'' Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Putin, said last month when U.S. officials accused Russia of penetrating the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.
RT disputed the findings of the researchers in an e-mail on Friday, saying it played no role in producing or amplifying any fake news stories related to the U.S. election. ''It is the height of irony that an article about ''fake news'' is built on false, unsubstantiated claims. RT adamantly rejects any and all claims and insuations that the network has originated even a single ''fake story'' related to the US election,'' wrote Anna Belkina, head of communications.
The findings about the mechanics of Russian propaganda operations largely track previous research by the Rand Corp. and George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.
''They use our technologies and values against us to sow doubt,'' said Robert Orttung, a GWU professor who studies Russia. ''It's starting to undermine our democratic system.''
The Rand report '-- which dubbed Russian propaganda efforts a ''firehose of falsehood'' because of their speed, power and relentlessness '-- traced the country's current generation of online propaganda work to the 2008 incursion into neighboring Georgia, when Russia sought to blunt international criticism of its aggression by pushing alternative explanations online.
The same tactics, researchers said, helped Russia shape international opinions about its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in Syria, which started last year. Russian propaganda operations also worked to promote the ''Brexit'' departure of Britain from the European Union.
Another crucial moment, several researchers say, came in 2011 when the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of rigging elections, sparking protests that Putin blamed the Obama administration '-- and then-Secretary of State Clinton '-- for instigating.
Putin, a former KGB officer, announced his desire to ''break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams'' during a 2013 visit to the broadcast center for RT, formerly known as Russia Today.
''For them, it's actually a real war, an ideological war, this clash between two systems,'' said Sufian Zhemukhov, a former Russian journalist conducting research at GWU. ''In their minds, they're just trying to do what the West does to Russia.''
RT broadcasts news reports worldwide in several languages, but the most effective way it reaches U.S. audiences is online.
Its English-language flagship YouTube channel, launched in 2007, has 1.85 million subscribers and has had a total of 1.8 billion views, making it more widely viewed than CNN's YouTube channel, according to a George Washington University report this month.
Though widely seen as a propaganda organ, the Russian site has gained credibility with some American conservatives. Trump sat for an interview with RT in September. His nominee for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, traveled to Russia last year for a gala sponsored by the network. He later compared it to CNN.
The content from Russian sites has offered ready fodder for U.S.-based websites pushing far-right conservative messages. A former contractor for one, the Next News Network, said he was instructed by the site's founder, Gary S. Franchi Jr., to weave together reports from traditional sources such as the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times with ones from RT, Sputnik and others that provided articles that often spread explosively online.
''The readers are more likely to share the fake stories, and they're more profitable,'' said Dyan Bermeo, who said he helped assemble scripts and book guests for Next News Network before leaving because of a pay dispute and concerns that ''fake news'' was crowding out real news.
In just the past 90 days '-- a period that has included the closing weeks of the campaign, Election Day and its aftermath '-- the YouTube audience of Next News Network has jumped from a few hundred thousand views a day to a few million, according to analytics firm Tubular Labs. In October alone, videos from Next News Network were viewed more than 56 million times.
Franchi said in an e-mail statement that Next News Network seeks ''a global perspective'' while providing commentary aimed at U.S. audiences, especially with regard to Russian military activity. ''Understanding the threat of global war is the first step to preventing it,'' he said, ''and we feel our coverage assisted in preventing a possible World War 3 scenario.''
Correction: A previously published version of this story incorrectly stated that Russian information service RT had used the ''#CrookedHillary'' hastag pushed by then-Republican candidate Donald Trump. In fact, while another Russian information service Sputnik did use this hashtag, RT did not.
Mr. Trump, denounce Alex Jones: Sandy Hook principal's daughter
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 16:07
Erica Lafferty6:06 a.m. EST November 25, 2016
Erica Lafferty on Capitol Hill in 2013.(Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)
This Thanksgiving, I sat at a dinner table with an empty seat. It's the very seat where my mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, should be. Smiling, laughing and enjoying a holiday meal with her daughters and grandchildren. Instead, my mom wasn't there because nearly four years ago, she was murdered in Newtown, Conn., along with five of her colleagues and 20 first-graders. That day, as the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, she died a hero trying to protect her innocent students.
My heart '-- and my dinner table '-- reflect the hole in my life that will never be repaired. And while I've chosen a path of gun safety advocacy that not everyone agrees with, some opponents of gun violence prevention follow a different, darker path. A fringe movement of ''Sandy Hook truthers'' promotes hateful conspiracy theories that the shooting never took place. My Thanksgiving table tells a different story. And so does the reality of the families who had their loved ones ripped out of their arms by senseless gun violence.
The most prominent popularizer of the "Sandy Hook hoax" theory is the radio and Web personality Alex Jones. He is the kind of person you'd expect to be confined to the darkest echo chambers of the Internet. Yet, Jones has been bolstered by the very man who has proclaimed he'll make our country great again: President-elect Donald Trump.
A quick Google search for the phrase ''Sandy Hook truthers'' will turn up thousands of stories about how the worst day of my life was actually an elaborate conspiracy that never happened at all. It's insanity.
USA TODAY
This Thanksgiving, don't ignore politics. Democracy depends on it.
Even after an election that exposed deep divisions in our country, surely we can all agree on this: The mass shooting at Sandy Hook happened. Twenty-six families, including mine, were torn apart and will never be the same. Any preposterous ideas to the contrary cannot be allowed to seep into our country's mainstream discourse. They must be swiftly and publicly refuted.
Surely, the newly elected leader of the free world can see that.
Yet Donald Trump has promised to again appear on Jones' program '-- to chat with a man who claims that one of the worst mass shootings in American history was a hoax. President-Elect Trump has praised Alex Jones' "amazing" reputation and promised he won't let him down.
Mr. President-elect: You are letting me down.
I believe in free speech. I believe that a wide range of opinions can be accommodated in our democracy. And I know that the vast majority of Americans '-- like me '-- support the Second Amendment and don't believe Jones. I believe that it is only a tiny fraction of extremists who subscribe to the idea that my mother's death is a fiction.
But part of what allows the president-elect to entertain chatting with Jones is the indifference of decent people to stand up and condemn the thinking of those like Jones in the first place.
We cannot normalize fact-denying behavior. We cannot shrug our shoulders and chalk it up to ''Trump being Trump,'' yet do nothing about it. Whether I like it or not, Donald Trump is the face of America to all our citizens and the rest of the world. We may approach the issue of gun violence in America differently, but we must all realize that claiming mass shootings are elaborate, government-manufactured hoaxes is deeply hateful and hurtful to those of us living this terrible truth.
President-elect Trump will face the same kinds of tragedies President Obama has lived through. He'll need to visit with the broken-hearted, and he'll need to prove he's the kind of man '-- and president '-- who can represent us all. A man who ran on a campaign to ''improve our country'' simply cannot embrace a man whose preposterous theories are antithetical to our shared values.
USA TODAY
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This is particularly true for traditional conservatives. Conservative thinkers may interpret the Second Amendment differently than I do, but most of the conservatives I know cherish both facts and civility. For example, I've worked closely with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and consider him to be among the kindest public servants I've encountered. I know conservatives like him do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories of Alex Jones and his ilk.
Deep down, I do not want to believe that the Jones and the trolls who constantly bombard me with hate on Twitter are reflective of conservatives. But if mainstream conservatives won't disavow fringe thinkers such as Alex Jones, how on earth can they claim the moral high ground?
I am asking conservatives and all Americans to join me in telling President-elect Trump this: Alex Jones represents the worst of our country. It's time to disavow the man who calls my mother's death a hoax and not appear on his show.
I've faced the cold, hard truth of the murder of my mother, and it's time for Trump to face one of his own. American presidents are held to higher standards than reality television stars, and our new president-elect must learn that. He must openly denounce Jones and the hateful fictions that he spews. Countless survivors of gun violence and I urge him to do so now.
Erica Lafferty's mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, was the principal of Sandy Hook School and was murdered while protecting her students. Erica is partnerships manager at Everytown for Gun Safety. Follow her on Twitter: @EricaSmegs
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @USATOpinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.
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Ministry to Truthiness
No, Trump, We Can't Just Get Along - NYTimes.com
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:51
Charles M. Blow
Donald Trump schlepped across town on Tuesday to meet with the publisher of The New York Times and some editors, columnists and reporters at the paper.
As The Times reported, Trump actually seemed to soften some of his positions:
He seemed to indicate that he wouldn't seek to prosecute Hillary Clinton. But he should never have said that he was going to do that in the first place.
He seemed to indicate that he wouldn't encourage the military to use torture. But he should never have said that he would do that in the first place.
He said that he would have an ''open mind'' on climate change. But that should always have been his position.
You don't get a pat on the back for ratcheting down from rabid after exploiting that very radicalism to your advantage. Unrepentant opportunism belies a staggering lack of character and caring that can't simply be vanquished from memory. You did real harm to this country and many of its citizens, and I will never '-- never '-- forget that.
As I read the transcript and then listened to the audio, the slime factor was overwhelming.
After a campaign of bashing The Times relentlessly, in the face of the actual journalists, he tempered his whining with flattery.
At one point he said:
''I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It's very special. Always has been very special.''
He ended the meeting by saying:
''I will say, The Times is, it's a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along well.''
I will say proudly and happily that I was not present at this meeting. The very idea of sitting across the table from a demagogue who preyed on racial, ethnic and religious hostilities and treating him with decorum and social grace fills me with disgust, to the point of overflowing. Let me tell you here where I stand on your ''I hope we can all get along'' plea: Never.
You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything '-- no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts '-- to satisfy your ambitions.
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I don't believe you care much at all about this country or your party or the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity.
I also believe that much of your campaign was an act of psychological projection, as we are now learning that many of the things you slammed Clinton for are things of which you may actually be guilty.
You slammed Clinton for destroying emails, then Newsweek reported last month that your companies ''destroyed emails in defiance of court orders.'' You slammed Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for paid speeches and conflicts of interest, then it turned out that, as BuzzFeed reported, the Trump Foundation received a $150,000 donation in exchange for your giving a 2015 speech made by video to a conference in Ukraine. You slammed Clinton about conflicts of interest while she was secretary of state, and now your possible conflicts of interest are popping up like mushrooms in a marsh.
You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.
I am not easily duped by dopes.
I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.
I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather to speak up for truth and honor and inclusion. This isn't just about you, but also about the moral compass of those who see you for who and what you are, and know the darkness you herald is only held at bay by the lights of truth.
It's not that I don't believe that people can change and grow. They can. But real growth comes from the accepting of responsibility and repenting of culpability. Expedient reversal isn't growth; it's gross.
So let me say this on Thanksgiving: I'm thankful to have this platform because as long as there are ink and pixels, you will be the focus of my withering gaze.
I'm thankful that I have the endurance and can assume a posture that will never allow what you represent to ever be seen as everyday and ordinary.
No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity '-- and certainly this columnist '-- have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.
I know this in my bones, and for that I am thankful.
NWO
George Soros targeted by Trump supporters over protests
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 14:13
Dawn Chmielewski, Special for USA TODAY9:43 p.m. EST November 24, 2016
The First Amendment protects Americans' right to protest and the right to political dissent. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, is blamed for funding anti-Trump protests, a charge his Open Society Foundations disavows.(Photo: Jean-Christophe Bott, AP)
Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros has become the target of Donald Trump supporters, who have begun organizing protests against the prominent Democratic donor whom they see as contributing to civil unrest in the wake of the 2016 elections.
The Hungarian-born investor, a Jew who survived the Nazi occupation during World War II and who has committed about $12 billion of his fortune to human rights work around the world, has long been a lightning rod for conservatives for his support of progressive causes.
That criticism reached a fever pitch online since the presidential election as Trump voters and conspiracy theorists see Soros' hand '-- and wallet '-- in the protests that raged across the country in the days following the election. It's a claim of financial support Soros' Open Society Foundations disavows.
''At the end of the day, it seems like he's sending groups to create chaos and disorder for no reason,'' said Rochelle Winther of Los Angeles, who is circulating information about him on social media, concerned that Soros is promoting hate through protests. ''I don't see how that helps anybody.''
Instagram memes, Reddit organizing
Soros has been lampooned on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. He become the focus of organized campaigns in less visible corners of the Internet, where members of the Internet bulletin board 8chan discussed a campaign to expose ''all heads of the George Soros Hydra.''
Members of one Reddit subgroup devoted to jailing Soros are planning protests against Soros on Nov. 26, with demonstrations in front of the Manhattan offices of Soros Fund Management and the New York City and Baltimore offices of his New York-based philanthropic group, the Open Society Foundations.
The Open Society Foundations says the notion that Soros is paying anti-Trump protesters is fiction, but says '-- with so many protests organized by so many groups '-- it's possible some groups the philanthropy supports may have been involved in the protests.
"There have been many false reports about George Soros and the Open Society Foundations funding the protests that have erupted since the U.S. presidential elections. There is no truth to these reports," Foundations President Chris Stone said. "The only initiative we are planning to fund related to the elections is to respond to hate crimes and speech."
The Open Society Foundations this week pledged $10 million to fight hate crimes. The organization says it spends about $500 million annually supporting groups that promote human rights, democracy and justice, including grants to document stop-and-frisk practices of the Newark Police Department and to strengthen global advocacy for HIV treatment.
One grant recipient, the non-profit investigative news organization ProPublica, partnered with USA TODAY on election night coverage. Gannett board member Stephen Coll, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, chairs the Open Society U.S. Programs board.
Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin describes Soros as occupying the center of gravity for the progressive funding universe for years. Reports that cast the billionaire in the vanguard of rich liberals who've pledged to fight the Trump administration's agenda from Day One may make him a renewed target, she says.
"Clearly he's going to be back in a position of leading the liberal opposition '-- and they've made their intentions known," Malkin said. "They want to be the biggest thorn in the side of the Trump administration. Probably that's where this is coming from."
Koch brothers' counterweight
This isn't the first time Soros has been painted as a villain. The financier became known as the ''man who broke the Bank of England'' for his high-stakes bet in 1992 that the British pound would be devalued (he netted a profit of around $1 billion through his currency speculation).
Investor George Soros attends a Private Sector CEO Roundtable Summit for Refugees at the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2016. His support of progressive causes has made him a target on social media. (Photo: Peter Foley - Pool/Getty Images)
Soros landed on the Republican radar during the 2004 presidential election cycle, when he emerged as a counterweight to the GOP's billionaire benefactors, the Koch brothers. He spent nearly $24 million in political contributions to Democratic groups in an effort to defeat George W. Bush, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Since then, Soros has emerged as the bogey man for the political right.
Conservative television host Glenn Beck once described him in a series of hour''long commentaries in 2010 as a shadowy political ''puppet master'' who manipulates unions, the Democratic Party and the Obama White House. Beck suggested he was somehow complicit in the Holocaust.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has called the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax, this week labeled Soros as "fundamentally evil" and screened a clip of a 1998 60 Minutes interview that he described as a "whitewash" of his role as a Nazi collaborator, a role debunked by Soros biographer Michael Kaufman.
''George Soros has spent his life and his fortune promoting justice and human rights around the world,'' Soros' spokesman Michael Vachon said. ''The alt right has manufactured conspiracy theories and delusional narratives to spread their false propaganda.''
Anti-Trump protests
Protester Phoenix Singer, second from right, leads a chant before he and others march through the streets in Portland, Ore., Nov. 16, 2016. Approximately 100 students at Portland State University joined a nationwide campus walkout to protest President-elect Donald Trump. (Photo: Don Ryan, AP)
Soros became the focus of renewed attention, and in some quarters, outrage, within days of Trump's election. The conservative news site Breitbart started the ball rolling when it drew attention to a press release from MoveOn.org that urged Americans to turn out on Nov. 9 in a rejection of the president-elect's ''bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny.''
By the next day, sites like The Free Thought sought to connect Soros to the unrest, noting that MoveOn has been a recipient of the Open Society Foundations' philanthropy. MoveOn, which is best known for its online petitions and organizing, said it was involved in organizing a single day of demonstrations.
Amateur sleuths among a community of Trump supporters on Reddit claimed to have unearthed a smoking gun. Under the headline ''I Got Them!,'' one of member of The_Donald group claimed to have found evidence, on Craigslist, of non-profit groups paying for protests.
Jones' website, Infowars, trumpeted the ''investigative report'' on Nov. 14, under the headline ''Proof '-- The Trump Protests Utilizing Paid Professional Protesters financed by George Soros.''
The claim is bogus, according to the two non-profit groups whose help-wanted ads were cited by Infowars. Washington CAN! and Clean Water Action say they were looking for people to organize around issues of concern, such as clean water or racial justice.
''Before we realized what was going on '... the phone started blowing up. We got all kinds of harassment. Three death threats. I heard the ''n'' word a couple of times,'' said Washington CAN's communications director Rosalind Brazel.
Trump was among the first to question the authenticity of the demonstrations that followed his election, describing those who turned out in cities across America as ''professional protesters.'' The allegations of fake protests surfaced again when people took to the streets in Austin, Texas, with suspicions fed in part by a viral photo of buses '-- purported to be of paid protesters but later found to be connected with a data-sharing conference put on by Tableau Software.
Election support
Soros' contributions to a super PAC called Immigrant Voters Win, which was devoted to increasing Hispanic voter turnout in key swing states, and to a separate legal effort to protect voting rights in swing states '-- may also have fed perceptions that his wealth is changing election outcomes.
He also contributes directly to specific election campaigns, such as supporting the successful bid to defeat Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to campaign finance records.
AZCENTRAL
Roberts: Soros spends millions to oust Arpaio
It's not just traditional conservatives who are suspicious of the influence of big-money political donors like Soros, said commentator Malkin. It's also voters who were attracted to the anti-establishment candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"Citizens are skeptical of the influence big donors wield in American politics '-- whether it's George Soros on the left or the Koch brothers on the right,'' said Mason Harrison, a veteran of Gov. Mitt Romney's and Sen. John McCain's presidential campaigns, who now works for a Silicon Valley startup Crowdpac, which tracks political donations. "It's one of the reasons we've seen a sea change in small-dollar donors this election cycle; Americans want their democracy back."
Dawn Chmielewski is a journalist covering technology and media. In the past she's written for Recode and the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @DawnC331
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Ottomania
Dailytimes | Turkey and the EU
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 19:10
Turkey and the EUIn the latest blow to what has been an uneasy relationship at best, the European Parliament has voted to freeze the talks of Turkey's accession to the European Union. The vote carries only symbolic importance as in order for any such proposal to be binding either the European Commission or one-third of the European Union member states would first have to introduce such a motion and then a majority of the European Union member states would have to vote in favour of it. But it is not the fact that the vote is not binding that is significant; rather the vote's importance lies in what it implies for the tenuous relationship between Turkey and the European Union.
More:Dailytimes | Turkey and the EU
ANTS
African ant 'supercolony' poised to invade the planet
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 14:52
A species of ant in the forests of Ethiopia looks poised to become a globally invasive species, capable of spreading around the world, disrupting ecosystems and becoming a pest for humans.
The speciesLepisiota canescens is showing signs it forms "supercolonies," which are colonies comprised of more than one nest. These supercolonies allow a single species of ant to spread out over a large territory, a key step to becoming an invasive species.
This concerns a group of researchers from various institutions in American and Ethiopia, who published a study on the ants this week in the journal Insectes Sociaux. They observed that one similar species of ant in the same genus (Lepisiota) have invaded South Africa's Kruger National Park, and another temporarily shut down Australia's Darwin Port after the ants were discovered among cargo.
"The species we found in Ethiopia may have a high potential of becoming a globally invasive species," said lead author D. Magdalena Sorger, a post-doctoral researcher with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in a press release. "Invasive species often travel with humans, so as tourism and global commerce to this region of Ethiopia continues to increase, so will the likelihood that the ants could hitch a ride, possibly in plant material or even in the luggage of tourists. All it takes is one pregnant queen. That's how fire ants started!"
The ant colonies are in the forests that surround Orthodox Christian churches in Ethiopia, which are some of the last natural forests in the country. Ethiopian Christians have long surrounded their churches with woodland. Some of these forests are more than a thousand years old, and are unusually rich areas of biodiversity in areas otherwise barren or deforested for agriculture.
The researchers say these ants have built the largest supercolonies ever observed among an ant species in its native habitat '-- the largest supercolony they found spanned 24 miles. That, along with the ants' diet and nesting habits suggest they have the characteristics of an invasive species.
Ant supercolonies are rare '-- out of the 12,000 known species, only about 20 have ever shown supercolony behavior. Other species of ants tend to be more territorial and less tolerant of ants from other nests.
The Argentine ant is perhaps the most famous example of the supercolony builder. Argentine ants have spread across a roughly 2,500 miles of Western Europe, including parts of Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal. In the U.S., California is home to an Argentine ant supercolony spanning more than 500 miles. That's because in their non-native habitats, they can thrive.
Once in a region, the invasive ants drive out native ant populations, and though ant wars may seem to be of little consequence to some, the invasions have impacts that can often be seen without a magnifying glass.
The Argentine ants' assault on native California ant species has also led to declines in predators that fed on those native ants, such as the coastal horned lizard.
They have also become a pain for Californians who have reported them infesting homes, crawling out of plumbing and even sneaking into handbags.
The team included scientists from several institutions in Ethiopia and the U.S., including North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, The University of Tulsa, Bahir Dar University, California Academy of Sciences, and Smithsonian Institution.
Sorger said that the research will offer a record of how the ants live in their natural habitat, which could be critical if the species becomes invasive. "Rarely do we know anything about the biology of a species BEFORE it becomes invasive," Sorger said in the release.
Sanctimoniously Smug
We've Become a Nation of Comedians
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 15:09
''If Jesus Christ were to come back today, people would not crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, hear what he had to say, and then make fun of it.''
''Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
If Carlyle thought we were wallowing in self-satisfied snarky humor back in the mid-19th century, he would positively flip his powdered wig over what's available on cable TV today. If I see one more slap-stick impersonation of Donald Trump and his hair, one more comedian ''doing'' his version of Trump's pomposity, or one more groaning send-up of Trump's speechifying, I'm going flip out myself.
In no way is this to suggest that humor is unworthy of us or is inappropriate when applied to politics. No one is advocating the abolition of political humor, or urging people to take to the streets in protest of it. After all, humor is good; humor is salutary, it's refreshing, it can serve not only as a tonic but, as Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain can attest, as an inspiration.
What we're saying is that just as ''bad money'' tends to force out ''good money,'' crap humor'--facile, reflexive, ain't I the cat's ass humor'--tends to force out genuine ''wit.'' Mort Sahl and John Stewart have been euchred by jackasses like Andy Dick and pompous faux-philosophers like Bill Maher. (Has there ever been more of an ''applause whore'' than that guy?)
But here's the frustrating part. Humor, especially mindless, in-your-face, tabloid, E-Network-style humor, has become the currency of the ''cool'' Left. Wicked humor is now the Left's idiom of choice. Everybody is now a comedian. Again, it's not that hip jokes are inappropriate, disrespectful, or unworthy of us. Far from it. In a word, they have simply become boring. In another word: fangless.
Granted, this sourpuss view could be the result of context and simple arithmetic. Given the emphasis on mirth that began in the early 1980s, with the explosion of comedy clubs, cable TV, comedy specials, comedy concerts, the emergence of literally hundreds of brand new stand-up comics, to say nothing of ''open-mic'' nights down at the local pizza parlor, maybe we're just burnt-out. Maybe the paradigm of the ''stand-up'' comedian is exhausted.
Not only do most political comics not seem inventive or particularly funny, they don't seem the least bit ''dangerous.'' There's no risk involved for these people. The days of Lenny Bruce being arrested and thrown in jail for subversion and obscenity are long gone. Indeed, a man or woman comic can stand in front of an arena audience today and defiantly refer to President-Elect Trump as ''that dumb motherfucker'' and be greeted with cheers. Not exactly Oscar Wilde, but we get the point.
Makes you pine for the days of post-Weimar, pre-Nazi Germany, when ''edgy'' political humor still mattered, when cabaret comedians dared mock the ascendency of that charismatic screwball Adolf Hitler. Not only were those incendiary times, but the attendant comedic material was exceedingly risky. As risky as Lenny Bruce doing his nightclub act.
Obviously, once Nazism took hold, you didn't see those people on stage anymore. Too dangerous. And of course, there were no stand-up comics in the USSR under Stalin. They didn't exist. (''Ladies and Gentleman, please give it up for Shecky Ivanovich'') But we not only have them in the United States, we have too many of them. They're as ubiquitous as Starbucks, and as annoying as expansion baseball teams. Enough already.
Comedians as Sycophants: Samantha Bee, John Oliver and the Democrats
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 15:21
RT covered the real story behind a recent Samantha Bee ''Full Frontal'' piece in which Bee claims to expose the existence of a pair of Russian social media users who claim they're using their computers to steer the American presidential election. Bee traveled to Russia, interviewed the pair, and published a piece that turns out not to be true: the Russians played a hoax on Bee and her Democratic Party-driven evidenceless claim of Russian involvement in the recent American election. RT did the research Bee's crew apparently didn't do ''and learned that they were just hoaxers who led the host into her own trap''.
I came across a different Samantha Bee ''Full Frontal'' clip apparently shot while Bee was in Russia called ''Russia's Own Trump'' about Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Zhirinovsky is an obviously sexist, racist, and easily-baited buffoon who is friends with Putin and a Parliament member.
Bee spends most of the segment establishing how objectionable Zhirinovsky is via background info, clips of him getting riled, and an interview with Zhirinovsky where he raises racist suspicions (followed by her mock surprise at his bigotry). About the only break in Zhirinovsky's bigotry comes when he says ''He [Trump] will not escalate things in a way that Hillary Clinton might.'' which receives no response from Bee. Zhirinovsky also notes ''She [Clinton] is dangerous.''. Then he returns to bigotry with ''and it is psychologically hard for a woman to make the right decisions.''. Zhirinovsky falls for Bee's sexist bait ''What if she's got her finger on that red button and her boobs get in the way or something?'' by confirming it with ''Ah, yes, you understand that she will have the right to press the red button.'' and saying the trigger words of referring to Clinton as a ''nasty woman'' seemingly eliciting another stage reaction from Bee (one can't be sure what was edited, but I'm willing to trust the conversation went roughly as Bee presents it).
I think the most interesting part of Bee's piece appears around 3m20s'--a clip of Zhirinovsky in a news conference which Bee describes as ''call[ing] for the rape of a pregnant journalist''. Zhirinovsky said ''When I give the word you run over and start violently raping her.''
The most interesting thing about this clip isn't what Bee said or what Zhirinovsky said, it's the reaction of the three women in the clip who appear to be about two arms length away from Zhirinovsky.
None of the women are taking Zhirinovsky seriously.
Two of the women are grinning, one of the women (perhaps the journalist being threatened with rape) chokes back a laugh while looking at one of the other women, and one woman is looking at Zhirinovsky. When he issues the instruction to ''run over and start violently raping her'', nobody approaches any of the women in any way. The women do not appear scared or threatened. And given the ugly nature of what he just said, isn't that the outcome you'd rather these women have'--they're apparently secure enough in themselves that they know to identify a bigot, read the room, and prioritize what he said accordingly? Sure, in a better world that language would not have been uttered thus avoiding putting anyone in such a situation. But in the real world we all have to tolerate speech we don't like, no matter how many of us agree we don't like that particular speech. These women appear to have thicker skins and realize when danger is actually present. I'm guessing that if there were any suspicion Zhirinovsky raped any of these women, Bee would have brought that up since that would play to her fear-based piece.
Could it be that Samantha Bee is now defending her projected interests of these women? Women who are ostensibly more in harms way than Bee ever was (yet whose reaction Bee makes no mention of), women who apparently don't need Bee's help at all? Why was it relevant that one of the journalists was pregnant? Is that fact meant to convey I should be extra sympathetic to her or extend to her extra permission to be offended?
Clinton supporters made a big deal out of Trump's sexism and multiple allegations from around a dozen women of repeated inappropriate touching. But there seems to be little mention of Clinton's Syrian ''no-fly zone'' which she secretly told her bankster friends at Goldman Sachs will ''kill a lot of Syrians''. This killing will naturally include Syrian women and girls, and Clinton's support for continuing the Bush and Obama wars (including the pernicious drone war) will kill more women and girls including women and girls who happen to be in the vicinity of those who are extrajudicially targeted for assassination. Sexist commentary is harsh to hear and unfairly targets girls and women; the large number of women accusing Trump ought to be taken seriously. But harsh language and inappropriate touching aren't murder or assassination and we ought not conflate them. It did Democratic Party supporters no favors to publicize an example of women with a mature and properly prioritized reaction such as these Russian women appeared to have. Perhaps not every woman facing this ugly language needs to view it as an existential threat, but can choose to see anyone saying it as inappropriate, bigoted, and derisively laughable as these Russian women appeared to have done.
That view doesn't get brought up in the piece because it totally undermines Bee's thesis'--Trump is bad by 2-level association: Trump's ''friend'' Putin gets along with Zhirinovsky who is a bigot. It's clear this piece was shot and edited long before we knew the outcome of the election. But even at the time one could safely conclude Samantha Bee was making fun of Trump by proxy. Trump was able to keep up with Clinton in the polls. Anytime Clinton got a small lead on Trump, her (never commanding) lead would vanish for reasons people like Bee didn't examine. So Bee, and by extension all of the Democratic Party-supporting media who take a similar tack, are (perhaps unintentionally) highlighting what an apparently incompetent campaign Clinton was running.
Bee never made clear why we should care what Zhirinovsky says about American politics because he's not in the US, he has no apparent influence in the US, and he has no apparent control over anything the US depends on.
I got the impression Bee and her crew traveled to Russia based on poor research'--this piece and the piece where Bee was hoisted by her own petard both make her look bad. Perhaps future episodes can feature a principled critique of Trump's presidency or compare it to Clinton's campaign instead of punching down to bigots. After all, it looks bad for a losing campaign booster to make juvenile jabs at a campaign that apparently properly strategized their efforts to win the presidency. There's got to be plenty of poignant humor in repeatedly recognizing that the Democrats don't deserve votes when they follow the same strategies that got them to where they are: pro-war, anti-universalizing Medicare (which should be interesting for a Canadian-American to talk about), anti-bank prosecution, anti-Glass-Steagall-barrier restoration, pro-Saudi funding (there's that anti-feminism angle again), pro-TPP, pro-fracking (anti-environment), and generally pro-corporate rule.
***
John Oliver's final 2016 episode highlighted how he too defended Hillary Clinton's campaign largely by making jokes aimed against Donald Trump without getting into details on just how serious Clinton's problems were. But the theme is a bit different'--Oliver fails to acknowledge how President Trump will gain his horrible new powers (assuming the electoral voters don't go against the expressed will of the electorate).
John Oliver played a clip from Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent, when she listed things Trump has discussed having the US military do:
They have seen Donald Trump's statements on the campaign trail'--talking about waterboarding, talking about bombing with little regard to civilian casualties, talking about taking the oil in Iraq'--all of these things very serious violations of international law, violations of the Geneva Convention.
Oliver didn't remind us that the CIA in President Obama's time also tortures or that President Obama kept the occupation of Iraq going alongside other wars. Oliver could have pointed to his own piece on the drone war here, highlighting that President Obama ignored due process for Americans (including children, such as 16-year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki in a drone strike 2 weeks after his father Anwar al-Awlaki was also killed by drone) in his drone war.
While it was nice of Oliver to criticize US military actions, it will be the previous administration's fault for handing Trump these powers even if the powers allow behavior in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention (which the US apparently didn't care about violating before). Oliver's respect for international law and adherence to treaties is remarkably selective. Hillary Clinton's proposed Syrian ''no-fly zone'' or her secret admission of its lethality didn't get coverage on Oliver's show, but pointing out what she was willing to tell bankers could have made Oliver seem not quite so sycophantically pro-Democratic Party.
With regard to the election process, Oliver reminded us that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and then he chastised the existence of the electoral college, ''And look, look: Trump won this election. By which I mean he won the electoral college, which for reasons I will never understand, no matter how many times it's explained to me, is how things are done.''. Oliver said this without calling attention to the fact that the Democrats agreed to the electoral college; the Democrats knew the president could win the electoral college vote (as determined by voters, before the electors actually voted) and lose the popular vote. In fact the Democratic Party saw this happen in 2000, making George W. Bush and not Al Gore, president-elect. Yet the Democrats apparently spent the subsequent 16 years not proposing a better system and mobilizing the country to get that better system passed into law. So Oliver's passive-aggressive attempt at delegitimizing Trump's presidential win, by reminding voters there sometimes are differences between the popular vote and the electoral vote, runs contrary to the apparent desires of the party he's white-knighting for.
Oliver reminded us that ''Many people are happy to see him [Donald Trump] in office.'', so perhaps Oliver would be better off trying to understand why people voted for Trump without mocking them either directly by dismissing them as bigots, or by proxy, say, by going along with Hillary Clinton's ''basket of deplorables'' insult. If Oliver was seriously asking ''How the fuck did we get here and what the fuck do we do now?'', he could recognize that the Democratic Party is in bad shape now. They don't have a majority in either the House or Senate, and they just lost the presidency to Donald Trump. Trump was one of the people on a short list of Republican presidential candidates the Clinton team hopedClinton would run against because they thought she'd be able to win against him. Clinton's ''flaws'' are worth far more than a summary that she ''failed to appeal to white, rural, and working-class voters, and, and this is worth repeating: deep racism and/or indifference to it.''. There are principled reasons for rejecting Clinton as a viable way out of the recent past in which the poor (in particular) have suffered. Oliver's mild and quickly-issued summary of Clinton doesn't do the topic justice.
On healthcare, Oliver quoted Trump's ''60 Minutes'' interview with Lesley Stahl wherein Trump said he'd keep some parts of Obamacare'--ignoring pre-existing conditions and keeping ''children living with their parents'' on the parent's coverage. Oliver mocks this instructing viewers to ''get ready for a barely-changed version of Obamacare called 'Trumpcare'.''. This objection makes very little sense because if Oliver is angling for Obamacare to continue as-is, a plan that is ''barely-changed'' should be a good thing for people who depend on it. If Oliver's joke name 'Trumpcare' were really all that changed about the plan, so what? People who depend on 'Obamacare' would rightly tell Oliver that learning a new colloquial name is a small price to pay for keeping the majority of the plan they want to keep.
On who will be in Trump's cabinet, Oliver rightly concluded Trump probably won't make good on his claim to ''drain the swamp'' of corruption pointing out cabinet candidates which included Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Rudy Guiliani, and Reince Priebus. But we never got comparable analysis about Clinton's claim opposing TPP or supporting the environment. Hillary Clinton picked a TPP and fracking advocate to set up her White House and a vice presidential candidate ''who voted to authorize fast-track powers for the TPP and praised the agreement just two days before he was chosen''. Clinton herself spent time promoting fracking when she was Secretary of State (another tidbit she revealed to her bankster friends, but rarely to the US public, which show up in as-yet-unpublished-transcripts of bank speeches). Perhaps poor voters who have bad memories of what NAFTA did to their job, or the flammable water, increased chance of earthquakes, and ruined aquifers brought by fracking didn't feel comfortable supporting the Clinton candidacy.
On media coverage of Trump, Oliver said the media failed to catch ''a serial liar [Trump]'' and ''waited far too long to take him seriously, giving him billions of dollars in free media''. But what stands out is what Oliver didn't mention: Bernie Sanders. Not only did polls say Sanders would have an easier fight against Trump than Clinton had against anyone, Sanders was eliminated from the Democratic primary with dirty tricks (as revealed in later in leaks) favoring Clinton, and Sanders was virtually ignored by the mainstream media. At one point three networks showed an empty Trump podium longer than, and instead of, covering Sanders' speech that same night. Perhaps Clinton voters were turned off to her campaign after learning about how Sanders was mistreated. Some Bernie Sanders supporters seemed quite angry about the situation at the Democratic Party convention.
If we are indeed suffering from a ''microtargeted'' media, as Oliver said, the so-called 'debates' has to be a serious problem. The Commission on Public Debates (which sounds like a government office but is actually a private organization run by the heads of the RNC and DNC) sets up arbitrary rules founded in and aimed at excluding competition. A candidate should be allowed into these well-publicized events so long as that candidate is on enough ballots in enough states with enough electoral votes to theoretically win the election, just like Hillary Clinton was. Relative to appearing in these events, blaming social media for its popularity with voters comes off as sour grapes. Oliver's own coverage of Jill Stein's campaign, for instance, was highly suspect. In his segment on third parties he reviews spoilerism in 2000 without mentioning all the registered Democrats in Florida who were apparently allowed to vote Republican without being scorned by Democrats. Oliver said Stein ''has a lot going for her'' with a ''broadly appealing pitch from environmental issues, to expanding LGBT rights, to reducing income inequality'' but Oliver dismissed her entire campaign because he disagreed with Stein primarily on one issue'--her call to cancel student debt (which is about $1.26 trillion). It's not clear that Oliver's take on this is correct but right or wrong, this is simply not a big enough issue (either in quantifiable scale or life-or-death consequences when compared with war) upon which to decide the entirety of Stein's campaign.
Oliver claimed that the more you look at Gary Johnson and Jill Stein's respective campaigns, ''the lack of coverage they complain about so much might have genuinely benefited them. Because their key proposals start to crumble under the slightest scrutiny'', scrutiny to which he never subjected Clinton's campaign because had he done so he would have found support for every war the US is currently in, and lots of corporate backing including backing from big banks (just like Obama received) which should have been prosecuted. These are all things Stein brought up in her campaign. Oliver then gave a comparison against perfection, ''And look, I would love for there to be a perfect third-party candidate, I even understand the argument that a third-party candidate can put a new issue or a new solution on the table, but it is hard to make the case that that is what is happening here.''. Comparisons to perfection are a scam; they exist to eliminate alternatives without putting forth a reasonable argument. The problem isn't that ''there is no perfect candidate in this race'' as Oliver says, the problem is that all theoretical winners deserve to be heard from in their own voice debating each other but can't be easily heard because the establishment (whom Oliver defends) locks them out of one of the most widely-viewed forums for no good reason. As for Oliver's claim that 2016's third-party candidates didn't put a new issue or new solution on the table, this is simultaneously a lie of omission and the fault of the corporate duopoly. Issues of importance were addressed by third parties in the past (including abolition of slavery, establishing the women's right to vote, child labor laws, progressive taxation, and reducing working hours) and now: pointed critiques of war and reallocation of war funding, setting up large-scale jobs programs, seriously addressing climate change, and eliminating student debt, to name a few. But due to the circular dependency problem of not being able to get on the CPD-run debates until one is sufficiently popular, these issues won't be raised for the corporate duopoly in a format where they simply must respond. This irony ought to be worth one of Oliver's apoplectic fits but since he stumps for one arm of the corporate duopoly, it's unlikely he'll get over his elitist taste for keeping out candidates who threaten the Democrats by running to their left.
Oliver's take on lie detection isn't to be trusted. Consider Oliver's review of Trump's take on the Khan family, ''['...] the man who disparaged a Gold Star family will now be able to comfort the families of fallen soldiers''. Not only were the Khans stumping in support of the one candidate that helped get their son killed, as Ted Rall keenly points out, ''[T]he Khan controversy is yet another spectacular example of the media distracting us with a relatively minor point in order to make a much bigger issue go away.''
Finally, both Bee and Oliver have rarely missed an opportunity to make appearance-based jokes at Trump's expense. Not only does that legitimize looksism (something you'd think the Left would be more sensitive to), it eats up the time one could spend on far more insightful and clever principled jokes about important policy issues. There are vast areas of agreement between the two corporate parties on big money and high power issues such as their mutual love for war. Voters deserve to hear candidates and the media debate these issues. But coming off the heels of a major loss, it's simply reality-ignoring arrogance to see Democratic Party supporters continue in they way they do. Bee, Oliver, and other sycophantic Democratic Party supporters would be wise to remember that when they make fun of Trump in such unprincipled ways as they do, they're actually reminding us what a poor candidate Hillary Clinton was.
Urban Dictionary: Sanctimonious Git
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 18:30
Urban Dictionary: Sanctimonious GitHTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Cowboy Status: 200 OK X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN X-Xss-Protection: 1; mode=block X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Cache-Control: max-age=3600, public Etag: W/"2ce3589d3417c649cc060346dadf7a0a" X-Request-Id: 677cc544-30b4-439b-a69b-7dd6b5f45df2 X-Runtime: 0.074592 Via: 1.1 vegur Content-Encoding: gzip Content-Length: 17319 Accept-Ranges: bytes Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2016 18:30:41 GMT Via: 1.1 varnish Age: 0 Connection: keep-alive X-Served-By: cache-iad2146-IAD X-Cache: MISS X-Cache-Hits: 0 Vary: Accept-Encoding
A person (or conglomerate of two persons who are virtually indistinhuishable as individuals) who is so far up his or her own (or their own collective) arsehole their own mother wants to run them down.
That sanctimonious git takes pictures during a group holiday and then tries to charge for them even though everyone else is sharing their pictures and then has the gittishness to get all high and mighty when someone uses one of the pictures on their facebook profile.
I cant believe that sanctimonious git - "failed to do the right thing"!?!?!
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Love & Light
'Brady Bunch' Mom Florence Henderson Dies | NBC Southern California
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:59
The manager of Florence Henderson, who died Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, told NBC4 in a phone interview that the "Brady Bunch" actress woke up feeling ill and was sent to the hospital. (Published 4 hours ago)
Florence Henderson, who went from Broadway star to become one of America's most beloved television moms in "The Brady Bunch," has died, her manager, Kayla Pressman, told NBC4 late Thursday. She was 82.
Henderson died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, after being hospitalized the day before, said her publicist, David Brokaw. Henderson had suffered heart failure, Pressman said in a statement.
Family and friends had surrounded Henderson's hospital bedside, Pressman said.
"She was the most amazing, lively, spirited woman ever. The most elegant and beautiful," Pressman told NBC4 in a phone interview.
On the surface, "The Brady Bunch" with Henderson as its ever-cheerful matriarch Carol Brady, resembled just another TV sitcom about a family living in suburban America and getting into a different wacky situation each week.
But well after it ended its initial run, in 1974, the show resonated with audiences, and it returned to television in various forms again and again, including "The Brady Bunch Hour" in 1977, "The Brady Brides" in 1981 and "The Bradys" in 1990. It was also seen endlessly in reruns.
"It represents what people always wanted: a loving family. It's such a gentle, innocent, sweet show, and I guess it proved there's always an audience for that," Henderson said in 1999.
Premiering in 1969, it also was among the first shows to introduce to television the blended family. As its theme song reminded viewers each week, Henderson's Carol was a single mother raising three daughters when she met her TV husband, Robert Reed's Mike Brady, a single father who was raising three boys.
The eight of them became "The Brady Bunch," with a quirky housekeeper, played by Ann B. Davis, thrown into the mix.
Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady, honored her TV mom with a special message on Twitter. Other celebrities paid tribute on social media as well.
The blonde, ever-smiling Henderson was already a Broadway star when the show began, having originated the title role in the musical "Fanny." But after "The Brady Bunch," she would always be known to fans as Carol Brady.
"We had to have security guards with us. Fans were hanging on our doors. We couldn't go out by ourselves. We were like the Beatles!" she said of the attention the show brought the cast.
Like the Beatles, there was even a Saturday morning cartoon version called "Brady Kids," although Henderson was not in that show.
She and Reed did return, however, for "The Brady Bunch Hour, "The Brady Brides" and "The Bradys." So did most of the original cast.
She was also back again in 1995 when a new cast was assembled for "The Brady Bunch Movie," a playful spoof of the original show. This time she was Grandma Brady opposite Shelly Long's Carol. Numerous memoirs also kept interest in the show alive, as cast members revealed they were more than just siblings off camera. Barry Williams, who played eldest son Greg Brady, would confess to having a crush on his TV stepmom. Henderson, in her own book, denied having any relationship with Williams, but did acknowledge a fling with former New York City mayor John Lindsay.
Henderson was a 19-year-old drama student in New York when she landed a one-line role in the play "Wish You Were Here."
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were so impressed they made her the female lead in a 1952 road tour of "Oklahoma!" When the show returned to Broadway for a revival in 1954, she continued in the role and won rave reviews.
"She is the real thing, right of of a butter churn somewhere," wrote Walter Kerr of the New York Herald Tribune.
To broaden her career, Henderson took acting, dancing, singing and guitar lessons, even studying French and Italian.
She went on to play Maria in a road production of "The Sound of Music," was Nellie Forbush in a revival of "South Pacific" and was back on Broadway with Jose Ferrer in "The Girl Who Came to Supper" in 1963.
She made her movie debut in 1970 in "Song of Norway," based on the 1944 operetta with music by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
Her career nearly came to an end in 1965 when she suddenly lost her hearing while appearing in "The King and I" in Los Angeles. She was diagnosed with a hereditary condition called osteosclerosis.
"Corrective surgery in both ears restored my hearing," she said in 2007.
As her TV career blossomed with "The Brady Bunch," Henderson also began to make frequent TV guest appearances. She was the first woman to host "The Tonight Show" for the vacationing Johnny Carson.
For eight years she also commuted to Nashville to conduct a cooking and talk series, "Country Kitchen," on The Nashville Network. The show resulted in a book, "Florence Henderson's Short Cut Cooking."
After "The Brady Bunch" ended its first run, Henderson alternated her appearances in revivals of the show with guest appearances on other programs, including "Hart to Hart," ''Fantasy Island" and "The Love Boat."
In later years she also made guest appearances on such shows as "Roseanne, "Ally McBeal" and "The King of Queens."
In Memoriam: Florence Henderson
Florence Agnes Henderson was born Feb. 14, 1934, in the small town of Dale in southern Indiana. She was the 10th child of a tobacco sharecropper of Irish descent.
In grade school, she joined the choir at a Catholic church in Rockport, Ind.
After high school she moved to New York, where she enrolled in a two-year program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, her studies financed by a theatrical couple who had been impressed by her singing when they saw her perform in high school.
She dropped out of the program after one year, however, to take the role in "Wish You Were There."
Henderson married theater executive Ira Bernstein and the couple had four children before the union ended in divorce after 29 years.
Her second husband, John Kappas, died in 2002.
Pressman said she is survived by her children; Barbara, Joseph, Robert and Lizzie, their respective spouses, and five grandchildren.
Published at 9:58 PM PST on Nov 24, 2016 | Updated 53 minutes ago
Copyright Associated Press
#BLM/SJW
Voetveeg: de woede over Sylvana
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 23:52
Als Jeroen Pauw in Pauw zijn eerste onderwerp introduceert '' het door DENK en de media gepushte, de hele dag echonde non-nieuws dat Sylvana Simons beveiliging gaat krijgen vanwege een onsmakelijk racistisch filmpje op internet '' zoemt de camera in op het 'lijdende' leidend voorwerp. Van achter haar spiegelende bril en het voor haar doen eenvoudige hair statement, zet ze haar meest hooghartige en gewichtig serieuze blik op. Zij is het nieuws. HET GAAT OM HAAR. Ze was zelfs de opening van het journaal! Plechtig bestijgt ze haar dubbeltroon van narcisme en slachtofferschap voor de zoveelste keer.
'Hoe gaat het eigenlijk'? opent Jeroen Pauw empathisch. 'Ja (gespeeld lachje), dat laat zich een beetje moeilijk omschrijven. Het antwoord dat ik meestal geef is, is, is'...'.... ik geef het terug! Hoe zou jij je voelen onder deze omstandigheden? Ut, ut, ut grijpt in,'.... zoals dat heet. Ja uh,'....het is heftig !?', Het einde van de zin loopt uit in een dankbare en vragende glimlach naar haar collega Jeroen Pauw. Dus, hoewel Sylvana de enige is die weet hoe het is om Sylvana te zijn in het door Sylvana en DENK gecreerde 'Sylvanagate', zegt ze op de vraag hoe het met haar gaat:'.....HELEMAAL NIETS! Als de kinderen ter sprake komen lijkt er iets van authenticiteit door te gaan schemeren maar al snel gaat Sylvana weer over op het gewichtige zoeken naar woorden, de overdreven mimiek en eindigt dan weer met de Sylvanasque dooddoenner: 'Je weet het pas als je het zelf meemaakt.' Jullie weten allemaal niet hoe erg dit is. Alleen ik, Sylvana, draag dit kruis en als jullie mij er naar vragen dan zeg ik dat jullie dit niet kunnen weten.
Narcisme is natuurlijk een moeilijk onderwerp. Helemaal voor een BN-er op tv. Gisteren zijn weer pagina's vol geschreven in de zoektocht naar de oorzaak van de 'volkswoede' tegen Sylvana maar niemand binnen de zichzelf pijpende media-elite weet de vinger op de zere plek te leggen. Namelijk: Sylvana is een lege niets zeggende huls, die zichzelf met het thema racisme onterecht weer helemaal in het middelpunt van de publieke aandacht heeft weten te manoeuvreren. En waarom? Omdat ze zwart is, bij de BN-er incrowd hoort en racisme door het Zwarte Piet geleuter bij haar vrienden aan de praattafels met camera's erbij, een dagelijks item is geworden. Naast het 'benoemen van racisme' heeft zij helemaal niets te zeggen. Ze zegt dus ook nooit iets. Daar heeft ze de kennis, het intellect en de intelligentie niet voor. In plaats van iets zinnigs in te brengen, waar duidelijk behoefte aan is bij het publiek aangaande dit gevoelige onderwerp, krijgt het iedere keer gewichtig gespeelde, media getrainde, van narcisme doordrenkte, nietszeggend uiterlijk vertoon voorgeschoteld.
Op basis van deze incompetentie, leegheid en nepheid wordt Sylvana een podium wat betreft dit onderwerp niet gegund. Waarom krijgt zij wel al die aandacht? Onverdiend narcisme waar geen prestatie tegenover staat, is in onze narcistische samenleving waarin iedereen tekort gedaan wordt, een lont in een kruitvat. De woede over Sylvana gaat over afgunst en die is terecht. Maar omdat het onderwerp racisme is, Sylvana een zwarte vrouw is die een impopulair standpunt inneemt, loopt de woede in de krochten van internet zoals gewoonlijk uit op een bonanza van racisme en seksisme. Daar gaat dan weer alle aandacht naar toe. Iedereen die het niet met het racisme standpunt van Sylvana eens is, of haar gewoon vervelend vindt maar geen racist is, of gewoon genoeg heeft van iedere keer praten met Sylvana over racisme, wordt WEER NIET niet gehoord. De legitieme afgunst naar Sylvana blijft daardoor onbesproken. Waarom?
Omdat de collega's en vrienden uit de BN-wereld, Pauw, Van Nieuwkerk, Tan haar weigeren te ontmaskeren. Zij hoort tenslotte bij de club die ook niet 'echt' is! Daar was nog enig begrip voor op te brengen, ook al leek het onderwerp racisme te gevoelig en te belangrijk om dit narcistische elitisme in stand te houden. Echter, Sylvana's groot gensceneerde toetreding tot de politieke partij DENK, een partij die onverholen etnische en religieuze (islamitische) ontwrichting voor de eigen politieke macht tot doel heeft, veranderde de zaak volkomen! Nu moest Sylvana ook iets inhoudelijks gaan zeggen! Over de naming en shaming praktijken van DENK ten opzichte van Turkse Nederlanders die niet de islamitische Erdoganistische lijn van DENK volgen bijvoorbeeld. Over de Armeense genocide. Over de Turkse hetze tegen Ebru Umar waar Sylvana haar collega Ebru '' qua bedreiging en vrouw van kleur een lotgenote '' besmuikt in de kou liet staan.
Maar ook na het toetreden tot DENK dat vanwege de vele tegenstrijdigheden van deze move een kritische benadering van Sylvana rechtvaardigde, lieten onze nationale interview grootheden het bewust of onbewust iedere keer afweten. Om collega Sylvana heel te laten. Om niet op nationale tv te laten blijken wat alle kijkers iedere keer duidelijk zien: Sylvana is te dom en ontbeert de inhoud en het intellect om zich met ingewikkelde zaken als racisme en politiek in te laten. Zelfs een persoonlijke kijk op dit soort dingen kan ze niet geven want ze is niet authentiek. Ze is een lege tv huls dat goed plaatjes aan elkaar kon praten vroeger. En dus krijgt het publiek keer op keer gespeeld gewichtige pretentieuze media getrainde toneelstukjes zonder inhoud met veel wedervragen. Want als Sylvana het niet weet of het niet WIL weten, en dat is heel vaak het geval, dan stelt ze een wedervraag. Dat leer je op de media training. En, zo komt ze er iedere keer mee weg om NIETS te zeggen.
De kijker pikt dit gewoon niet meer. De woede op sociale media steekt keer op keer op. Sneuneuzen en racisten op internet vieren een baldadig feestje. Zij creren het enige narcisme infuus dat de intellectueel beperkte Sylvana nog kan bedienen: dat van slachtoffer. Daar kan ze blind op varen in de racisme discussie want ze is een zwarte vrouw. En bij ieder mediamoment dat op deze manier weer een nieuw media moment voortbrengt, staat de poppenspeler Kuzu te grijnzen. De inlijving van deze aandachtsmagneet uit de BN-wereld bij zijn partij DENK was een meesterzet. En Sylvana is te dom om te begrijpen dat ze gebruikt wordt.
'Ja, maar het gaat niet om mij'! roept ze nog totaal ongeloofwaardig aan het einde van het gesprek. Ze moest eens weten'...'.....
Gerelateerd
Schrijfkanon. Deelt graag rake klappen uit en incasseert als een troubadour. Amsterjan is historicus, Amsterdamse stadsgids en zanger. Twittert onder de naam @Amsterjan Toon alle berichten van Amsterjan
University: Hateful 'Trump' Notes Allegedly Aimed at Chicago Student Were Fabricated
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 14:04
Hateful notes and emails allegedly sent to a North Park University student were ''fabricated,'' the school's president said Tuesday in a statement, and the woman who claimed they were aimed toward her is no longer enrolled at the school.
''We are confident there is no further threat of repeated intolerance to any member of our campus community stemming from this recent incident,'' the university's President David Parkyn said in a statement.
The student, Taylor Volk, said on Nov. 14 she had received emails and notes taped to her door containing harassing, threatening language and mentions of President-elect Donald Trump. She had also posted pictures of notes with homophobic slurs to her Facebook account.
{snip}
The Southern Poverty Law Center said that there were 701 hateful incidents of harassment reported around the country in the week since the presidential election, though not all reports were verified. {snip}
{snip}
Original Article
Topics: Hate Crimes and Hoaxes, Race and Universities
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F-Russia
German minister confirms plans to hold 'Normandy Four' meeting on Nov. 29
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:42
Steinmeier says situation in Donbass keeps deteriorating.
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Foreign ministers Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine, Jean-Marc Ayrault of France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Sergei Lavrov of Russia (L-R) arrive to pose for a picture outside German foreign ministry's guest house Villa Borsig in Berlin, Germany, May 11, 2016, ahead of their meeting to discuss Ukraine crisis. Source: Reuters
France and Germany are preparing a ministerial meeting of the "Normandy Four" to be held in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Nov. 29, German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said speaking in the Bundestag (German Parliament) on Nov. 23.
"Last week, my French counterpart [Jean-Marc] Ayrault and I offered our Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to meet again in Minsk on Tuesday," he said. According to Steinmeier, the situation in Donbass has deteriorated over the past few days, whereas the number of ceasefire breaches has grown.
"Even if we are unable to achieve a breakthrough, such negotiations are necessary to make sure that the situation does not spiral out of control," Germany's top diplomat said. "Even if it is difficult and the work is progressing very slowly, we should not abandon step-by-step implementation of the Minsk agreements," Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier expressed hope that his "Russian and Ukrainian counterparts assess the seriousness of the situation in a similar way." "Both parties should finally make a visible contribution to the long-term settlement of the conflict in Ukraine," Steinmeier said.
Source: TASS
Read more: At a crossroads: The anxieties of a globalized world>>>
Candanavia
Trudeau government faces 'cash-for-access' criticism - BBC News
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 13:32
Image copyrightAFPImage caption Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire for political fundraising Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire for attending an exclusive fundraiser with key Chinese-Canadian business leaders.
Political opponents say the "cash-for-access" event breaks the Liberal party's own ethics guidelines.
The Liberals say they are following federal political financing rules.
It is not the first time the Trudeau government has faced criticism for its fundraising practices.
Last May, Mr Trudeau was the guest star at a CAD$1,525 ($1130/£900) fundraiser at the private Toronto home of Benson Wong, the chair of the Chinese Business Chamber of Canada.
The exclusive event has Mr Trudeau's political opponents accusing him of breaking the "open and accountable" ethics rules the Liberal party brought in shortly after their election in 2015.
Opposition politicians repeatedly pressed the issues for a second day in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
"These fundraisers don't pass the smell tests. Will the prime minister do the right thing and stop these cash-for-access programs?" said interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.
The Liberals say no federal political fundraising rules were broken and that government business was not discussed at the dinner.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have also been criticised for attending similar partisan fundraisers, with tickets going for CAD$500 ($300/£295) and up.
In Canada, political contributions to federal parties are currently capped at CAD$1,525 a year. Union and corporate donations to political parties are banned. Only Canadian citizens can donate.
Opposition parties say these fundraising events give those who can afford it access to cabinet ministers in charge of major policy decisions.
Image copyrightAFPImage caption Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says the fundraiser doesn't "pass the smell test". Soon after being elected, the Liberal government laid out rules for its ministers and MPs for fundraising and dealing with lobbyists. Those guidelines said that ministers "must avoid conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict of interest and situations that have the potential to involve conflicts of interest".
One guest at the Toronto fundraiser, along with a partner, made a $1m ($740,000/£595,000) donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal law faculty. A public signing ceremony was held shortly after the May event.
The Trudeau Foundation is a charity established in 2001 in Mr Trudeau's late father's memory.
The Trudeau Foundation said on Wednesday the two businessmen first reached out to university and the foundation in September 2014 to discuss a possible gift to honour the late prime minister, well before Mr Trudeau was elected prime minister.
Agenda 2030
Mikey And Kev Upset That Trump is Cutting Off Their Scam Funding
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 00:00
The Guardian reports that two of the top receipients of Obama climate scam money are upset that Trump is cutting them off.
Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on 'politicized science' | Environment | The Guardian
NASA's Gavin Schmidt Says He Can't Be Held Responsible For The Fraudulent Data He Publishes
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 18:44
Gavin Schmidt at NASA likes making headlines with claims like Earth is hottest ever by 0.02 degrees.
Nasa climate scientists: We said 2014 was the warmest but we're only 38% sure | Daily Mail Online
When confronted with the fact he is adjusting temperatures by as much as 100 times more than his claimed record, Gavin angrily responds that he can't be held accountable for the fraudulent data he publishes.
robertsnasags.pdf
Migrants
About 1 in 3 Child Refugees Missing After Calais Camp Shut Down
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:47
Earlier this month, French authorities evacuated more than 1,500 unaccompanied children living near the notorious Calais refugee camp.
One in three children who moved from the Calais Jungle refugee camp after it was demolished have already gone missing, according to a report by a French organization specializing in taking care of refugee young people.
RELATED:UK, France Violated Refugee Child Human Rights in Calais
"The Refugee Youth Service, or RYS, monitored 179 children displaced by last month's evictions, of this number, 30 percent can no longer be found," the NGO said.
Earlier this month French authorities evacuated more than 1,500 unaccompanied children living near the notorious Calais refugee camp in northern France, known as the "Jungle.''
Children were allegedly transferred to processing centers, where British officials can decide whether they have the right to U.K. asylum. However, only 8 percent moved legally to Britain, 56 percent are still in France in refugee houses and 2 percent were sleeping outside. Yet another 30 percent could no longer be found.
RYS says that a lack of age and language-appropriate services contributed toward the deteriorating mental health of many of the refugee children.
RELATED:France Sues Journalist, Condemns Sociologist, Orders Killings
The infamous facility was completely demolished on Oct. 24 after a few earlier attempts to partially dismantle the camp, that for months, was the home of over 6,000 people, all of them from conflict-ridden zones across Africa and the Middle East.
Following the violent eviction by French authorities, the United Nations voiced concerns that lone children in Calais were at risk of trafficking unless they were adequately supported during the relocation.
Activists have accused the French and U.K. governments of committing human rights abuses against refugees, especially unaccompanied minors, while the dismantling of the "Jungle'' became a symbol of Europe's failure to effectively respond to its biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
NA-Tech News
Catastrophic botnet to smash social media networks in 2017 | ZDNet
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 04:33
SymantecSocial media networks and their prolific use will prompt a plague of botnets in 2017, security researchers have warned.
Botnets are networks of compromised devices, such as connected home gadgets, PCs, and mobile devices, which have been infected with malware specifically designed to enslave such products.
The botnet is run by an operator who utilizes a command and control (C&C) center to send commands to these devices, including what could be flooding a web domain with traffic in what is known as a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that can severely disrupt online services.
These botnets can cost hosting companies a fortune to combat. For example, in September prominent security blog Krebs on Security was the target of a 620Gbps DDoS attack made possible through the Mirai botnet, a network which enslaved millions of vulnerable IoT products.
The hosting provider, which offered to host the domain without a fee, was forced to withdraw its services due to the sheer cost of the ongoing attack.
As we come into 2017, botnets capable of causing such damage are likely to become a bigger challenge to control, according to Mike Raggo, chief research scientist at social media security firm ZeroFOX.
The security expert predicts that in the next year, a "massive" botnet will target and disrupt popular social media platforms, potentially including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Raggo believes that in 2017 there will be a significant uptick in social media botnets which aim not only to disrupt but also to earn money for their operators.
Botnets-for-hire, such as Lizard Squad's LizardStresser tool, are already well established. However, botnet operators are now leveraging social media to increase the strength of these slave-and-command systems, such as in the case of Linux/Moose (.PDF), which targets Linux-based routers in order to command enslaved devices to commit fraudulent actions -- such as spreading the botnet's malware further -- on social media networks.
"[The] code has also been disseminated to the wild, so I fully expect to see more variants and more frequent attacks in 2017," Raggo says.
As social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn continue to increase in popularity, so do threats against them -- and these range beyond botnets to phishing scams, social engineering, and the spread of malware. According to the executive, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn will also become the top social media targets for hackers in 2017.
In particular, the enterprise should be concerned about LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a platform for connecting professionals and ZeroFOX has witnessed a surge in fake accounts which pretend to be recruiters in order to scam people; ranging from those seeking roles in business to information security.
It is likely that the operators behind these scams, which often update and change their job roles and skills to impersonate different sector recruiters, are performing reconnaissance "with the intent of profiling individuals and their companies," according to Raggo.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can also be used as platforms to share malware which infects vulnerable systems and can transform a PC into a slave node in a botnet -- whether corporate or your average user -- but schemes to dupe users into downloading malicious code or clicking a fraudulent link continue to become more sophisticated.
ZeroFOX has uncovered traps for unwitting users on social media platforms which come out of the most unexpected places. Simple, innocuous tweets and general Facebook status updates can act as a springboard for social engineering, and this information spread in public forums have become a stealthy attack vector to infect and enslave systems.
As an example, someone posting that "the men's bathroom is out of order and a repairman will be by this afternoon" could be used by social engineers to break the physical security of a target company and infiltrate it if an attacker decided to pose as the repairman.
"With the plethora of information posted constantly to social media -- an adversary can target an organization and understand the who, what, where, when, and how; and use this against the company," Raggo said.
This is not the only danger. Impostors can also use connections forged on social media to establish trusting relationships. When you trust a contact, you are potentially more likely to accept and to click on links sent directly through malicious messages or emails.
Botnets are a problem of scale, and while the average user or company can do little to prevent their creation or growth, every little bit helps. Not only does keeping your devices patched and up-to-date prevent your systems being compromised, but for each device kept secured against vulnerabilities, there is one less out there to disrupt the online services we use daily.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - U2 'Dragonlady' pilots spy on ISIS - CNN.com
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 14:54
The suits need to be cooled the entire time, otherwise the pilots would die of heat exhaustion in a matter of minutes, but they are necessary to protect the crew members as they fly surveillance missions over Iraq and Syria at more than 70,000 feet scoping out ISIS targets.
The US Air Force gave CNN rare access to U2 crews flying out of a secret location in the Middle East. We can only identify the pilots by their rank, first name and their call sign.
The pilot getting suited up was named Capt. Steven. His call sign is "Meathead." He was brought to the plane in a bus similar to those that bring astronauts to their spacecraft. He was connected to a mobile cooling unit the entire time.
Dozens of ground personnel were readying the U2 jet for a 10-hour mission.
"You do things to keep your mind busy," Capt. Steven said, referring to the toll the long hours sitting in the cockpit take on them. "The radios are constantly going, there's constant communications with guys on the ground. So it keeps you busy."
Cold War-era plane
The "Dragonlady" lifted off soon after, quickly climbing into the Middle Eastern sun. The U2 is built for altitude. It can climb to well over 70,000 feet, making it an important asset in the effort to find and destroy senior ISIS fighters, safe houses and battle positions.
US U2s fly reconnaisance missions, hunting for ISIS fighters.
"With the U2 we're able to get out there, find those guys and track them," said another pilot, Maj. Matt. "Then we get that information back to the fighters and bombers, so that way when they go out there they've got the best intel, the best information about where they are and can do what needs to be done."
The U2 "Dragonlady" is a Cold War-era plane. It's been flying since the 1950s. But the planes have been modernized with new sensors and cameras, making them an important asset in the intelligence war against ISIS.
But they are by no means the only ones. Drones also play a major role. From the massive Global Hawk that can stay in the air for well over 24 hours to the smaller predator and reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, all these platforms contribute to what is a gigantic airborne surveillance aimed at degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS.
Critical impact
"I am seeing continuous progress," said Col. Paul Birch, the head of the 380th Expeditionary Operations Group. "There's progress each day. From reports about what's happening to ISIS on the ground I know that we are having an absolutely critical impact."
But despite the many surveillance assets and the major firepower of coalition aircraft in the skies over Iraq and Syria, ISIS remains a powerful and elusive group, offering stiff resistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they try to storm the terror group's biggest stronghold, Mosul. Iraqi leaders have acknowledged it could be months before Iraq's second largest city might be liberated.That means many more missions for the crews of the U2 "Dragonlady."
After about 10 hours we were on hand when Capt. Steve came in to land. The U2 is a very difficult aircraft to bring to the ground. Its landing gear is aligned like the wheel of a bicycle. Keeping one from running off the runway requires great skill and the help of a second pilot trailing the jet down the runway in a chase car and keeping radio contact.
Peeling himself out of the plane, Capt. Steven was happy to leave the confines of the small cockpit and satisfied with the support he was able to provide forces fighting on the ground.
"The things that we can do while we are up there, as well as how often we are up there. Thanks to our maintenance guys we are constantly up in the air providing that support for those who need it most," he said.
And it looks like the demand for the U2 missions won't go away anytime soon, as the international coalition continues to ramp up the pressure and the firepower, trying to destroy the network for good.
VIDEO - 'Fake news' & Russian 'sophisticated propaganda machinery' trend spreads, picked up by media - YouTube
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 14:16
VIDEO - Retired HEAD OF FBI Tells ALL "Illuminati, Satanism, Pedophile Rings" - YouTube
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 07:32
VIDEO - Trump win is no catastrophe, it's politics - Stephen Cohen - YouTube
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 07:17
VIDEO - All hell breaks loose when Don Lemon uses the N WORD - YouTube
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 06:13
VIDEO - Christiane Amanpour: 2016 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award Acceptance Speech - YouTube
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 04:57
VIDEO - Turkey's President Erdogan threatens Europe with new wave of refugees
Sun, 27 Nov 2016 04:44
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VIDEO - Clinton cash stops: Australian donations to Clinton Foundation over
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 15:24
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will not pursue investigations against Hillary Clinton over her family's foundation or her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, according to a senior adviser. Lisa Bernhard reports.
Australia has donated tens of millions of dollars to Hillary Clinton's foundation. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
AUSTRALIA has finally ceased pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to Hillary Clinton's charities.
Which begs the question: Why were we donating to them in the first place?
The federal government confirmed to news.com.au it has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.
The Clinton Foundation has a rocky past. It was described as ''a slush fund'', is still at the centre of an FBI investigation and was revealed to have spent more than $50 million on travel.
Despite that, the official website for the charity shows contributions from both AUSAID and the Commonwealth of Australia, each worth between $10 million and $25 million.
News.com.au approached the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment about how much was donated and why the Clinton Foundation was chosen as a recipient.
A DFAT spokeswoman said all funding is used ''solely for agreed development projects'' and Clinton charities have ''a proven track record'' in helping developing countries.
Australia jumping ship is part of a post-US election trend away from the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate's fundraising ventures.
A screengrab from the Clinton Foundation donation page.Source:Supplied
Norway, one of the Clinton Foundation's most prolific donors, is reducing its contribution from $20 million annually to almost a quarter of that, Observer reported.
One reason for the drop-off could be increased scrutiny on international donors. The International Business Times reported in 2015 on curious links between donors and State Department approval.
IBT wrote that the State Department approved massive commercial arms sales for countries which had donated to the Clinton charity.
More than $165 billion worth of arms sales were approved by the State Department to 20 nations whose governments gave money to the Clinton Foundation, data shows.
The counties buying weapons from the US were the same countries previously condemned for human rights abuses. They included Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
But what does Australia gain from topping up the Clinton coffers? The Australian reported in February that Australia was ''the single biggest foreign government source of funds for the Clinton Foundation'' but questions remain unanswered about the agreement between the two parties.
''It's not clear why Canberra had to go through an American foundation to deliver aid to Asian countries (including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam). There is now every chance the payments will become embroiled in presidential politics.''
The Daily Telegraph wrote in October that ''Lo and behold, (Julia Gillard) became chairman (of the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education) in 2014'', one year after being defeated in a leadership ballot by Kevin Rudd.
Hillary Clinton's Foundation has been at the centre of a number of controversies. Picture: Mandel Ngan/AFPSource:AFP
Australia cutting ties with the Clinton charities is surprising given Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's years of support.
In a press release dated September 22, 2014, Ms Bishop committed to five years of support for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the sister organisation of the Clinton Foundation.
''Since 2006, Australia has contributed $88 million to CHAI,'' the statement read.
The Clinton Foundation has been linked to a number of scandals. One involved Russian uranium, another involved aid to earthquake-hit Haiti and a third involved Swiss banking giant UBS AG.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to follow through with an investigation into the foundation if he became leader of the free world. But this week he backed away from that stance.
''I don't want to hurt the Clintons, I really don't,'' he told The New York Times.
''She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.''
The Clintons maintain they've done nothing wrong. In a statement, spokesman Brian Fallon said no one ''has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as Secretary of State to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.''
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VIDEO - Russian Agents Are Not Behind Every Piece of Fake News You See
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 06:54
November 25, 2016, 2:21 PM ESTE-mailTweetFacebookLinkedinShare iconsOne of the themes that has emerged during the controversy over ''fake news'' and its role in the election of Donald Trump is the idea that Russian agents of various kinds helped hack the process by fueling this barrage of false news. But is that really true?
In a recent story, the Washington Post says that this is definitely the case, based on information provided by two groups of what the paper calls ''independent researchers.'' But the case starts to come apart at the seams the more you look at it.
One group is associated with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank funded and staffed by proponents of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, which says it has been researching Russian propaganda since 2014.
The second group is something called PropOrNot, about which very little is known. Its website doesn't name anyone who is associated with it, including the researchers who worked on the report. And the Post doesn't name the group's executive director, whom it quotes, because it says he is afraid of ''being targeted by Russia's legions of skilled hackers.''
PropOrNot's Twitter twtr account, which tweets and retweets anti-Russian sentiments from a variety of sources, has only existed since August of this year. And an article announcing the launch of the group on its website is dated last month.
According to the description, PropOrNot includes an unidentified number of ''concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs.''
The group has a web-browser plug-in that is supposed to highlight sources of Russian propaganda online, but a number of observers on Twitter noted that this blacklist of sites includes several legitimate left-wing sites such as CounterPunch and Truth Out.
A number of the ''allies'' that PropOrNot lists on its website'--including the investigative blogger Eliot Higgins, who runs a research entity called BellingCat that has used crowdsourcing to track Russian government activity in Ukraine'--said they have never heard of the group.
And what about the evidence of this orchestrated Russian intelligence effort to hack the outcome of the American election? Much of it seems flimsy at best.
The researchers with the Foreign Policy Research Institute recently published a report entitled ''Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.'' The article describes a network of social-media accounts the authors say are being used by Russian agents to sow discord and ''destroy Americans' confidence in their system of government.''
Accounts run by or associated with Russia Today, Sputnik and other state-controlled entities are a fairly obvious source of this kind of thing. But it's the attempt to broaden this into a nefarious global scheme that weakens the group's argument.
For example, the article refers to what it calls ''useful idiots'' as being part of this campaign, a group that includes any social-media accounts which ''regurgitate Russian themes and 'facts' without necessarily taking direction from Russia, or collaborating in a fully informed manner.''
The problem with this description is that it could theoretically include anyone on any social-media platform who shares news based on a click-bait headline. The PropOrNot article, which the Post said it was given prior to publication, reportedly says the Russian campaign worked by ''harnessing the online world's fascination with 'buzzy' content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories.''
As we know, this describes millions of people who use Twitter and Facebook fb . Are they part of the problem? Clearly. Are they Russian dupes? That seems like a stretch. What the report seems to be saying is that Russia took advantage of the social web's desire to just share things without reading them. It may be true, but so does every other media outlet.
There's also little data available on the PropOrNot report, which describes a network of 200 sites who it says are ''routine peddlers of Russian propaganda,'' which have what it calls a ''combined audience of 15 million Americans.'' How is that audience measured? We don't know. Stories promoted by this network were shared 213 million times, it says. How do we know this? That's unclear.
That number is almost certainly inflated by the inclusion of The Drudge Report, a right-wing aggregator that is also one of the most popular websites in the world, with an estimated 1.5 billion monthly pageviews, which puts it ahead of both Yahoo News yhoo and Google News googl .
In effect, both of these groups want to portray anyone who shared a salacious but untrue news story about Hillary Clinton as an agent of an orchestrated Russian intelligence campaign.
Has the rise of fake news played into the hands of those who want to spread disinformation? Sure it has. But connecting hundreds of Twitter accounts into a dark web of Russian-controlled agents, along with any website that sits on some poorly thought-out blacklist, seems like the beginnings of a conspiracy theory, rather than a scientific analysis of the problem.
VIDEO - Why Not Burn Books? The Resemblance To Nazi Germany Is Terrifying | Crooks and Liars
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 00:07
Perhaps you find it suspect that there are a small group of people in higher education who are oddly in favor of pushing Republicans values, yet we know that those values are generally antithetical to logic, reason, science, progress and intelligence. Guess what? You are right, there's something rotten in The State of Denmark and it starts with Kochtopus groups like Leadership Institute and it's little sister, CampusReform.org. Colleges and Universities are no place to push disproven propaganda and when you see these forces at work, your suspicions are very justified.
The Fox and Friends segment discussing the post-Trump election sadness that took over one school in Massachusetts, Hampshire College more specifically, who lowered the flag to half-staff after the suspicious results came in for the Trump 'victory.' The flag was then removed and found burned, on Veterans Day. The guest from the R.W. college infiltration group, Cassie Dylan, and Ainsley and Doocy were just aghast that such a thing would happen. They are the same folks who would have reported Vietnam War protesters like Willard Romney, draft-dodger did back in the 1960's.
The organization known as Campus Reform.org is labeled 'reform' the same way the "clear skies initiative" was pro-pollution. The Leadership Institute (LI) runs the Campus Reform project encouraging students to set up programs to ''expose the leftist abuses on your campus."
They seek out and publicize supposed liberal bias at universities, like textbooks that don't present Ronald Reagan as a saint.
The LI is itself a donor, and look at a few of their 'causes,' which seem to double as a religious 'freedom' fund (Campus Crusade), Koch's Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defense Fund (Focus on the Family religious nuttery) and National Right To Work Legal Defense Fund: a.k.a. the right to work for pennies.
This Cassie representative of the fraudulent GOP-leaning student group speaks in the same sing-song, self-righteous tone that sounds almost identical to Trump nightmare spokesperson, Katrina Pierson. I have a tough time taking Ms. Dylan seriously who says EX-pecially, rather than the adult pronunciation, 'especially.' Pundits and guest mentioned that the liberal arts institution feels that the American Flag represents Islamophobic, Homophobic, intolerant hate and thinks it's not appropriate at this time. It is their right to free speech as guaranteed by the Constitution that the new administration will likely soil and flush down gold-plated toilets.
'†' Story continues below '†'
The real kicker came at the end of the interview. Blonde lady unknowingly said something right out of Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451. The accounts of Nazi book-burnings helped inspire the classic novel, which was one of the most haunting denunciations of censorship in all literature. Apparently Ainsley thinks that if they burn a flag, to remove all flags, she should 'burn a book to remove all books.' **Facepalm.
History's lessons mean nothing to these willfully ignorant morons, and they have the power? We do too. Keep fighting.
VIDEO - The Jill Stein Recount Ploy is a Scam Worthy of the CNBC Show American Greed | Zero Hedge
Sat, 26 Nov 2016 00:06
Hillary Clinton already conceded the election and isn't interested in dividing the country via a ridiculous recount. After all, she was the one holding Trump's feet to the fire in accepting the outcome of the elections and not challenging its efficacy. Enter Shill Stein and her money grabbing schemes -- playing off the butthurt feelings of the millions of people crying into their dinner jackets over the Clinton loss -- raising enormous amounts of funds from them since Wednesday.
Let me rephrase that so it can sink in. Jill Stein is brazenly taking advantage of people by hanging hope of their heads, saying send me your money and I will ensure Trump isn't the next President of the United States. Essentially, that's what this is about, no? Since Wednesday, Stein's money raising schemes have topped $5 million. Her original goal was $2.5m, but rose, dramatically, after the money started to roll in. Her new goal is $7 million. Recounts will begin in Wisconsin soon. She's hoping to do recounts in PA and MI too, for the sake of the people, of course. Via her own website:
"We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states."
If the recounts don't happen, what will become of all that money? Stein's website says any "surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform."
Interestingly, as her money raising schemes proved successful, the alleged costs associated with the recount rose dramatically -- including millions to be paid out to lawyers.
Nate Silver isn't a fan.
Jonah sums it up perfectly.
Here's Stein's conference, discussing her absurd contest.
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The neverending election continues.
Content originally generated at iBankCoin.com
VIDEO - Christiane Amanpour: 2016 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award Acceptance Speech - YouTube
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 23:37
VIDEO - Former Bush Counsel: Electoral College Can't Vote For Trump if He's in Violation of Constitution | Mediaite
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 19:33
While meeting with the New York Times yesterday for an on-the-record interview, President-elect Donald Trump stated that the president cannot have conflicts of interest and that the law was on his side. This comes in response to numerous concerns over Trump using his position to further enrich himself and his personal businesses.
During a discussion on CNN this morning, former White House lawyer Richard Painter made the case that if it appears that Trump will be in violation of the emolument clause of the Constitution, then the Electoral College must decide to not vote for him next month.
After he and fellow guest Jan Baran agreed that there isn't an actual law that prevents Trump from being involved in his businesses while in the White House but that it does present numerous ethical issues, Painter said that he informed Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway of concerns around the emolument clause.
(The clause states that ''no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.'')
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Stating that Trump could ease worries if he were to submit to an audit that clause could at least be dealt with, even if other conflicts of interest concerns would still be apparent, Painter insisted Trump would be sending a message that he doesn't care if he ignores this. He then said the Electoral College would need to take action.
''He needs to comply with the constitution at a bare minimum,'' Painter said. ''And either recognize the problem and address it.''
''And if he doesn't do that before the Electoral College meets,'' the attorney continued. ''I don't think the electoral college can vote for someone to become president if he's going to be in violation of the constitution on day one and hasn't assured us he's not in violation.''
Painter, who served as President George W. Bush's ethics counsel from 2005 to 2007, also took a shot at Trump over his past birtherism.
''This is just as important as your birth certificate. more important than your birth certificate or proof of age, whatever other requirements there are to be President of the United States,'' Painter concluded.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
''
Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona
VIDEO - New Oliver Stone documentary blames U.S. for Ukrainian revolutions | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:04
Russian television has broadcast Oliver Stone's controversial documentary film ''Ukraine on Fire,'' in which he argues that Ukraine's ''Maidan'' uprisings of 2004 and 2014 were the result of political maneuvering by the United States.
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Anti-government protesters gather at a barricade at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev. Source: Reuters
A controversial new documentary produced by U.S. director Oliver Stone and broadcast on Russian television presents the Ukrainian revolutions of 2004 and 2014 as organized uprisings instigated from outside and planned with U.S. participation.
Posted on YouTube and screened by nationwide Russian TV channel REN TV on Nov. 21, the film, titled Ukraine on Fire, features Ukraine's ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Vitaly Zakharchenko, who served as Ukrainian interior minister under Yanukovych, discussing the events leading up to and following the ''Maidan'' revolution of 2014.
Trailer for Oliver Stone's documentary Ukraine on Fire. Source: YouTube / Fred Johs
Stone, an award-winning director who is a staunch critic of Washington's foreign policy, is no stranger to controversy and has a long history of making political films. He also directed 2015's Snowden, a biopic of the fugitive former NSA agent turned whistleblower.
Directed by Ukrainian American Igor Lopatenyuk, the film has been criticized for its one-sided portrayal of events in Kiev, with a Ukrainian citizen named Andrei Nezvany posting an online petition two days before the film's online premiere asking for the picture to be banned because it "falsifies facts" and could "provoke mass protests in Ukraine."
Ukraine on Fire was made by the Los Angeles company Another Way Productions though the source of the project's financing is not clear.
CIA protected Ukrainian nationalists in the USSRThe film reports that the CIA closely collaborated with Ukrainian nationalistic organizations against the USSR as far back as 1946, using them as counterintelligence sources. Recently declassified CIA documents apparently bear witness to this.
According to the film, "by the end of 1941 alone the nationalists killed between 150,000 and 200,000 Jews on German-occupied territory in Ukraine," and the following "strong alliance" allowed them to escape after WWII to Europe, where the CIA helped them hide.For example, the film points out that Mykola Lebed, a Ukrainian nationalist and activist who was responsible for mass killings of Poles in Ukraine's Volyn region under Nazi occupation in WWII, was later transferred to the U.S., where he died in 1998 without ever facing trial for his war crimes.
But American collaboration with the Ukrainian nationalists did not end there, claims the film.
U.S. was behind 2004 Orange RevolutionIn 2004 Ukraine became a battlefield between Russia and the West. The pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych won the presidential election, though the process was tainted by widespread allegations of intimidation and massive vote-rigging, as well as the poisoning of the pro-Western candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.
In the end, Yushchenko, whose wife had been an employee of the U.S. State Department during the Reagan administration) gained the presidency thanks to a peaceful protest that the film claims was inspired from outside the country, resulting in a revote.
Subsequently, the off-screen voice narrates, the Yushchenko government failed to carry out the promised reforms and the "democracy" project, and mired itself in dishonest activities.
Russia did not want to pay for Ukraine's pro-Europe choiceViktor Yanukovych became the next Ukrainian president, but his talks with the EU did not go well.
"We had been counting on the International Monetary Fund [IMF]'... But for a whole year we were offered unacceptable options'... Russia was the last resort. Russia told us: 'We are ready to work with you as partners, if you take our interests into consideration,'" says Yanukovych in the film.
Commenting on Russia's introduction of restrictions to trade with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin says that the Kremlin did so only because in the event of integration with the EU "the European Union would basically be entering our territory with all its goods without any negotiations."
"We said, sure, if Ukraine has decided to do this, this is its choice and we will respect it, but we are not going to pay for this choice," says Putin in the film.
2014 uprising also financed by U.S., says filmIn the film, Zakharchenko tells Stone that the Ukrainian authorities knew that protests were being prepared for 2015. But the sudden halt to integration with the EU (after Russia made Ukraine a counter-offer shortly before Yanukovych was due to sign the agreement at an EU Eastern Partnership summit in Lithuania in late November 2013) accelerated the process. Public organizations financed by NED, journalists receiving U.S. grants and the TV channels created on the eve of the Maidan uprising played an important role, argues the film.
The order to drive away the protesters with force was given by head of the presidential administration Serhiy Lyovochkin, under the pretext of putting a Christmas tree on the square.
"It is an amazing coincidence but Mr. Lyovochkin is a friend of many American politicians," the documentary reports, showing a photo of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. When Stone asks Yanukovych if "he felt America's hand" in the uprising, the former president says that many delegations came to Ukraine but took sides with the protesters, something that only exacerbated the conflict.
"When protesters seize government buildings, is this acceptable? Would it be acceptable if the Ukrainian ambassador had come to the protestors in Ferguson and handed out cookies or accused American policemen? Why was Ukraine treated in this manner?"

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