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"Information" in the Time of Trump #3

This is a continuation of the topic "Information" in the Time of Trump #2.

Pro and Con

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Edited: Mar 22, 2018, 7:09am Top

Author recommends Zuckerburg "turn off" Facebook. Someone would recreate it, though--better for Z to fix it, instead. Oh, wait--is MySpace any better?

The case against Facebook
It’s not just about privacy; its core function makes people lonely and sad.
Matthew Yglesias | Mar 21, 2018

...Rumors, misinformation, and bad reporting can and do exist in any medium. But Facebook created a medium that is optimized for fakeness, not as an algorithmic quirk but due to the core conception of the platform. By turning news consumption and news discovery into a performative social process, Facebook turns itself into a confirmation bias machine — a machine that can best be fed through deliberate engineering.

...Meanwhile, Facebook is destroying the business model for outlets that make real news.

...“overall, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with well-being,” whereas networking socially in the real world was positively associated with well-being and “the negative associations of Facebook use were comparable to or greater in magnitude than the positive impact of offline interactions.”

...They should turn off Facebook...


Mar 27, 2018, 1:47pm Top

Yikes! Thankfully I use spouse's account and neither of us that active on FB...

How to download a copy of everything Facebook knows about you
Todd Haselton | 23 March 2018

Facebook keeps a treasure trove of information on you, which goes all the way back to when you first started to use the social network.

You can download your own archive of this information if you want to see what Facebook knows, or if you want to leave the social network and take your history with you...


Mar 28, 2018, 6:28am Top

>2 margd: Thanks for the link. I've been troubled by how much time I waste on Facebook looking at interesting, but unimportant, lists. I really like Facebook for staying in contact with extended friends and interest groups, but I'm uncomfortable with how much information I put out there. Hmmm.... I wonder if LT shares data? I'm considering closing my account on Facebook, but doubt if I actually do.

Mar 28, 2018, 6:49am Top

Apr 3, 2018, 12:17pm Top

A new study suggests fake news might have won Donald Trump the 2016 election
Aaron Blake | April 3, 2018

...study from researchers at Ohio State University finds that fake news probably played a significant role in depressing Hillary Clinton's support on Election Day. The study, which has not been peer reviewed but which may be the first look at how fake news affected voter choices, suggests that about 4 percent of President Barack Obama's 2012 supporters were dissuaded from voting for Clinton in 2016 by belief in fake news stories.

Richard Gunther, Paul A. Beck and Erik C. Nisbet, the study's authors, inserted three popular fake news stories from the 2016 campaign into a 281-question YouGov survey given to a sample that included 585 Obama supporters — 23 percent of whom didn't vote for Clinton, either by abstaining or picking another candidate (10 percent voted Trump, which is in line with other estimates).

Here are the false stories, along with the percentages of Obama supporters who believed they were at least “probably” true (in parenthesis):

Clinton was in “very poor health due to a serious illness” (12 percent)
Pope Francis endorsed Trump (8 percent)
Clinton approved weapons sales to Islamic jihadists, “including ISIS” (20 percent)

...Overall, about one-quarter of 2012 Obama voters believed at least one of these stories (26 percent). And of that group, just 45 percent voted for Clinton — compared to 89 percent who believed none of the three.

...for fake news not to have made the difference (according to these data), Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would have had to be uniquely impervious to the effects of fake news, compared to the rest of the country.

The survey also notably doesn't measure what effect fake news might have had on increasing Trump's support, instead only focusing on how it depressed Clinton's. That could actually increase the shift. But even with this limited purview, it suggests it made a significant difference.

And it suggests it may well have cost Clinton the presidency.


Edited: Apr 3, 2018, 12:21pm Top

And Russia is still at it:

Russian bots flock to Laura Ingraham feud with Parkland student: report
Avery Anapol | 04/02/18

...Hamilton 68, a website that tracks Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence campaigns, found that the use of the hashtag #IstandwithLaura spiked 2,800 percent over the weekend

...Another bot-monitoring project, Botcheck.me, reported that “David Hogg” and “Laura Ingraham” were the top two-word phrases being shared by Russia-linked accounts.

Russia-linked bot accounts typically seize on divisive issues in American politics. In the days after the Parkland shooting, trending hashtags among Russian bots included “#Parkland, #guncontrolnow, #Florida and #guncontrol.”

Botcheck also found that @ingrahamangle, @davidhogg111 and @foxnews were in the top accounts named in tweets from Russia-linked accounts over the weekend...


Apr 4, 2018, 6:56am Top

Facebook suspends 273 accounts and pages linked to Russian misinformation agency
Adi Robertson | Apr 3, 2018

...Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that this update was “about taking down IRA pages targeting people living in Russia,” as opposed to ones designed to influence foreign elections. “This Russian agency (Internet Research Agency) has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia — and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world,” he wrote.

...Facebook has consistently denounced the IRA for betraying Facebook’s core ethos of “authenticity.” Last year, it identified around 3,000 divisive ads aimed at American users during the elections, and suspended 30,000 allegedly fake accounts in the leadup to the French presidential election, alongside a system for fact-checking news. Facebook released a tool that lets people see if they liked or followed a propaganda account, and it plans to update this tool to include these new pages....


Edited: Apr 4, 2018, 1:16pm Top


Media experts across the country are voicing horror about WJAR’s parent company — Sinclair Broadcasting — having its news anchors and reporters across the country voiceover a corporate message that sounds much like language often used by President Donald Trump.


Here's the Deadspin video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fHfgU8oMSo

And here is a CNN story in reaction:

Apr 5, 2018, 8:00am Top

Ingraham's attack on Hogg was despicable (as was her attack on football player), and he was right to respond.
I was uncomfortable, though, with his not accepting her apology and moving on to task at hand.

David Hogg's attempt to end Laura Ingraham's career sets dangerous precedent
Joe Concha, opinion contributor — 03/30/18

...if a boycott succeeds here, it sets the kind of precedent that will forever change what the First Amendment is supposed to stand for.

Ingraham wrote an ill-advised tweet that had zero upside. She's apologized since.

Hogg won't accept and will continue to push back, via social media and a Friday morning CNN interview, an effort that won't end until Ingraham vanishes from the airwaves...


Apr 5, 2018, 8:27am Top

>9 margd:

Ingraham's attack on Hogg was despicable (as was her attack on football player), and he was right to respond. I was uncomfortable, though, with his not accepting her apology and moving on to task at hand.

I agree. His response was as heavy-handed as hers. The only difference being she is an adult who should know better than to verbally mock a minor. Whether her apology was heartfelt or not, ideally he should have accepted it. Nastiness on either side just perpetuates the cycle.

Edited: Apr 7, 2018, 8:53am Top

What use might an Admin who regards press as enemy make of a DHS global database on journalists and bloggers? Rough 'em up at Airport. Regulate 'em?
Might he or a son-in-law, say, share such info with Putin, Duertes, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia--all known for crackdowns on naysayers?
Might security-conscious Pruitt want his own database of his own detractors?

Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers
Cary O'Reilly - Bloomberg Government | April 5, 2018

• Seeks contractor that can monitor 290,000 global news sources

• ‘Media influencer’ database to note `sentiment’ of coverage

...a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation.

“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the statement. DHS agencies have “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners,” it said.

The DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents. It also wants the ability to track media coverage in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.

The request comes amid heightened concern about accuracy in media and the potential for foreigners to influence U.S. elections and policy through “fake news.”...



Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And 'Media Influencers'
Michelle Fabio | April 2018

...On May 3, UNESCO will once again mark World Press Freedom Day "to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered."

...What could possibly go wrong? A lot.

DHS's "Media Monitoring" Plan
...to "identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event."

"Any and all media coverage," as you might imagine, is quite broad

...browsable by "location, beat and type of influencer," and for each influencer, the chosen contractor should "present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer."


Why "Media Monitoring" and Why Now?
DHS says the "NPPD/OUS National Protection and Programs Directorate/Office of the Under Secretary has a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach Federal, state, local, tribal and private partners." Who knows what that means, but the document also states the NPPD's mission is “to protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyberinfrastructure."

...Within the context of increasing concerns over "fake news" and foreign interference in elections, an action such as the DHS's database might seem, at first glance, to be a sensible approach.

Not exactly.

Unfortunately, increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this...global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years. The independent watchdog organization blames "new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies" as well as "further crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China." And then it goes one step further.

"But it is the far-reaching attacks on the news media and their place in a democratic society by Donald Trump, first as a candidate and now as president of the United States, that fuel predictions of further setbacks in the years to come," the report said.

...not even the first time potential regulation of journalists has drifted across the American political scene.

The real question, of course, is what the government plans to do with the information it compiles, and there's been no comment on that beyond what is in the posting, which, by the way, has interest from at least seven companies. Will those on the DHS media database be questioned more harshly coming in and out of the country? Will they have trouble getting visas to go to certain countries for their own reporting or personal vacations? Worse?

Speaking of visas — and showing that social media activity is squarely on the radar of this administration — earlier this week, the State Department placed two notices in the Federal Register seeking comments on its proposal to require that all visa applicants to the U.S. turn over their social media information for the previous five years.

Regarding the DHS media database, we are entering potentially dangerous territory with the government keeping track of the "sentiment" of citizens and foreign nationals...



@AltHomelandSec 7 Apr 2018

So this is going to happen. Possibly the country’s most untrusted agency is going to database journalists. There are pros and cons, nicely summed up by @michellefabio (margd: article above), but the cons definitely outweigh the pros.

@AltHomelandSec 4h4 hours ago
As stated (margd: by fabio), now is the time to contact your representatives if you disagree with what DHS is working on. This is the same agency that tried to unmask @ALT_uscis for no reason and I’d imagine I’d be in this database, so I’m not entirely happy about this either.

@Bill_Capehart 3h3 hours ago
So will they be monitoring domestic terrorist outlets like Daily Stormer, Aryan Alternitive and such or who are we kidding.

@Jacobatf 3h3 hours ago
I recall Nixon doing this, but he called it his "Enemies List"

@JenDifatta 29m29 minutes ago
So, registering dangerous guns = bad. Registering the free press = good. Where are we?

Apr 7, 2018, 8:56am Top

Years ago I had a subscription to a magazine called "World Press Review", I think, which was very helpful. It extracted news from all over the world. It usefully tagged it if the originator was left, centrist, or right leaning. It listed if it was influenced by the government. The magazine was invaluable to me because it got me outside of the U.S. bubble of reporting, something I try to do now with Reuters and BBC.

The DHS proposal is not an appropriate function of government as it inadvertently or not will impact freedom of the press.

Edited: Apr 7, 2018, 9:40am Top

I was a WPR subscriber, too--and for the same reason!
Also, The Week, which I liked for briefs that sampled various perspectives.

The proposed DHS database can be misused so easily and is no way a sharp enough tool to go after fake or hate news, IMO...

Apr 9, 2018, 10:59am Top

>13 margd: The proposed DHS database can be misused so easily and is no way a sharp enough tool to go after fake or hate news, IMO...

Like doing surgery with a blunt object.

Apr 9, 2018, 3:51pm Top

I have used Facebook only for its related site, Nextdoor... It is based on your location and people post items for sale/free/wanted, missing kitties, police action, and the like. I have considered dropping my unused Facebook account (I only started when my daughter went away for school) but fear I might miss Nextdoor...

Apr 11, 2018, 9:38am Top

Any new laws or changes to 47 U.S. Code § 230 (Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230) should look carefully at how and why online platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) actually moderate speech. "Such, if any, regulation should work with an understanding of the intricate self-regulatory structure already in place in order to be the most effective for users and preserve the democratizing power of online platforms. "

The New Governors: The People, Rules, and Processes Governing Online Speech
Kate Klonick | Apr 10, 2018
131 Harv. L. Rev. 1598 (73 p)

...to best understand online speech (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), we must abandon traditional doctrinal and regulatory analogies and understand these private content platforms as systems of governance. These platforms are now responsible for shaping and allowing participation in our new digital and democratic culture, yet they have little direct accountability to their users. Future intervention, if any, must take into account how and why these platforms regulate online speech in order to strike a balance between preserving the democratizing forces of the internet and protecting the generative power of our New Governors...



...CONCLUSION (p1669 / 72)

As the Facebook Live video of Philando Castile’s death demonstrates (police shooting of black man live-streamed by his girlfriend), content published on platforms implicates social policy, law, culture, and the world. Yet, despite the essential nature of these platforms to modern free speech and democratic culture, very little is known about how or why the platforms curate user content. This Article set out to answer these questions. It began with an overview of the legal framework behind private platforms’ broad immunity to moderate content. This framework comes from §230 (47 U.S. Code § 230 - Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230), the purposes of which were both to encourage platforms to be Good Samaritans by taking an active role in removing offensive content and to protect users’ rights by avoiding free speech problems of collateral censorship. With this background, this Article explored why platforms moderate despite the broad immunity of § 230. Through interviews with former platform architects and archived materials, this Article argued that platforms moderate content partly because of American free speech norms and corporate responsibility, but most importantly, because of the economic necessity of creating an environment that reflects the expectations of their users.

Beyond §230, courts have struggled with how to conceptualize online platforms within First Amendment doctrine: as company towns, as broadcasters, or as editors. This Article has argued that the answer to how best to conceptualize platforms lies outside current categories in First Amendment doctrine. Through internal documents, archived materials, interviews with platform executives, and conversations with content moderators, this Article showed that platforms have developed a system of governance, with a detailed list of rules, trained human decisionmaking to apply those rules, and reliance on a system of external influence to update and amend those rules. Platforms are the New Governors of online speech. These New Governors are private self-regulating entities that are economically and normatively motivated to reflect the democratic culture and free speech expectations of their users. But these incentives might no longer be enough.

The impact of the video of Philando Castile, the public outcry over Napalm Girl, the alarm expressed at the Zuckerberg Town Hall meeting, and the separate Twitter Rules for President Trump all reflect a central concern: a need for equal access to participation and more direct platform accountability to users. These New Governors play an essential new role in freedom of expression. The platforms are the products of a self-regulated and open internet, but they are only as democratic as the democratic culture and democratic partic(i)pation reflected in them. Any proposed regulation—be it entirely new laws or modest changes to §
230—should look carefully at how and why the New Governors actually moderate speech. Such, if any, regulation should work with an understanding of the intricate self-regulatory structure already in place in order to be the most effective for users and preserve the democratizing power of online platforms.


Apr 13, 2018, 6:54am Top

In addition to Amazon, Bezos owns Washington Post.

Trump, having denounced Amazon's shipping deal, orders review of Postal Service
April 12, 2018

President Donald Trump abruptly issued an executive order Thursday demanding an evaluation of the Postal Service's finances, asserting the power of his office weeks after accusing Amazon, the online retail giant, of not paying its fair share in postage.

...created a task force to examine the service's "unsustainable financial path" and directed the new group to "conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the USPS."

...Postal Service experts and even Trump's own advisers have privately urged him to back off the accusations, noting that the huge number of packages shipped by Amazon is actually helping to keep the Postal Service financial solvent...


Apr 18, 2018, 7:50am Top

Sean Hannity 'basically has his own desk' at Trump’s White House
Robert Costa, Sarah Ellison, Josh Dawsey | 4/18/2018

'The bottom line is, during the heat of the campaign when relationships are forged, he was always there, offering good advice, in person and on television'

The phone calls between president Donald Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off-air. They discuss ideas for Hannity’s show, Mr Trump’s frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe and even, at times, what the president should tweet, according to people familiar with the conversations.

When he’s off the phone, Mr Trump is known to cite Hannity when he talks with White House advisers.

...The revelation this week that the two men share an attorney is just the latest sign of how Hannity is intertwined with Mr Trump’s world

...Mr Trump and Hannity usually speak several times a week...


Apr 20, 2018, 9:52am Top

And now the US is on track for trillion dollar deficits...

Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes.
Posing as ‘John Barron,’ he claimed he owned most of his father’s real estate empire.
Jonathan Greenberg | April 20, 2018


Apr 23, 2018, 6:57am Top

>18 margd: Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity linked to shell companies that spent $90M on property: report
Morgan Gstalter | 04/22/18

Fox News host Sean Hannity is linked to a group of shell companies that have spent $90 million buying hundreds of homes across the U.S through the help of foreclosures and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Guardian reported Sunday.

More than 870 homes in seven different states have been purchased over the past decade, ranging from large mansions to rentals for low-income families, according to the newspaper.

For some of the mortgages, Hannity reportedly obtained funding from HUD under the National Housing Act loan program, which was first guaranteed under President Obama’s administration.

Secretary Ben Carson’s department recently increased Hannity’s original $17.9 million mortgage for purchases in Georgia by an additional $5 million, records obtained by the Guardian show.

Hannity did not disclose his cooperation with HUD when he had Carson on his show last June...


Apr 23, 2018, 12:26pm Top

>20 margd: What? Fox News didn't do a disclosure.... I mean even the Washington Post disclaims in every story about Bezos that he owns the WaPo.

Edited: May 1, 2018, 7:59am Top

This was no “spelling mistake.” It was a deliberate and dangerous head fake. Was Bolton involved?
Laurence Tribe @tribelaw3:54 AM - 1 May 2018

In 'Spelling Mistake,' White House Says Iran Has a Nuclear Weapons Program
Amir Tibon (Washington) May 01, 2018

The statement comes in response to Netanyahu's 'Iran Lied' speech and prior to Trump's signing for the nuclear deal

...The statement, attributed to U.S. President Donald Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, included a sentence saying that currently "Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people." ...

...shortly after the statement came out, the White House uploaded a revised version of the text to its website, changing the word "has" to "had," so that the statement would be in line with the official intelligence assessments...


'Spelling mistake' or fake news from Trump's new National Security Adviser? Remember:

John Bolton on: bombing Iran, North Korea, Russia and the Iraq War
Gregory Krieg | March 23, 2018

...In January(2018 Bolton) argued that the administration take more forceful steps to break the terms of the pact (with Iran):
"Spending the next 120 days negotiating with ourselves will leave the West mired in stasis. Mr. Trump correctly sees Mr. Obama's deal as a massive strategic blunder, but his advisers have inexplicably persuaded him not to withdraw. Last fall, deciding whether to reimpose sanctions and decertify the deal under the Corker-Cardin legislation, the administration also opted to keep the door open to 'fixes' -- a punt on third down. Let's hope Friday's decision is not another punt."

...Shortly before the framework of the Iran nuclear deal was set in place, Bolton wrote a piece headlined, "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran." He even considered outsourcing the job to Israel:
"Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed. ... An attack need not destroy all of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, but by breaking key links in the nuclear-fuel cycle, it could set back its program by three to five years. The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what's necessary. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran's opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran."

...In 2008, Bolton called for strikes inside Iran as part of a bid to cut off Tehran's aid to insurgents in Iraq. Asked by a Fox News host what he thought would "happen next" if the US attacked, he downplayed the potential for widening the war:
"I think the Iranians need to look very carefully at what risk they would run if they were to escalate. The idea here is not to have much larger hostilities, but to stop the Iranians from engaging in the hostilities that they're already doing against us inside Iraq. And they're doing much the same by aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan. So this is not provocative or preemptive, this is entirely responsive on our part."...


May 1, 2018, 11:17am Top

While it's possible it was simply a grammar mistake (has versus had), I doubt it. Looks like its part of an information campaign. "Release this and then we'll walk it back but the people will remember the "has" as fact."

May 3, 2018, 11:28am Top

How Courts Are Neutralizing Trump's Deceptions
Quinta Jurecic | Apr 16, 2018

...The president is a fabulist unmoored from the truth. And the confluence of the Russia investigation and Trump’s disturbing behavior toward women shows what happens when a serial liar collides at full speed with a legal system premised on the idea that words have meaning, and actions result in consequences. Trump’s obfuscation has been alarmingly effective in the realm of politics. It will likely prove less so in the courtroom, a space reserved for evaluating facts and weighing the consistency of arguments—though as president, Trump is unlikely to find himself on the wrong end of a criminal prosecution.

...(Stormy) Daniels’s legal efforts to puncture Trump’s falsehoods are a scaled-down version of what’s transpired in the flood of court rulings against the administration’s more controversial policies. Again and again, judges have refused to let Trump get away with his usual trick of evading consequences by simply denying any involvement in what he did or said. Instead, they’ve written his tweets into legal opinions as evidence of animus against Muslims or transgender servicemembers. Law, after all, is a structure of meaning used to weigh facts and arguments and then impose consequences—the opposite of Trump’s glib insistence on the irrelevance of truth. What matters is not how loudly a person can boast but what evidence can be presented.

It’s for this reason that the Russia investigation looms so large. In his sternness and silence, Mueller has become not just a prosecutor or a special counsel but the embodiment of the justice system—the opposite of the dissembler in chief...

...(but) what if the special counsel unveils a catalogue of wrongdoing by the president and those around him, only to find that Trump has succeeded in undermining the idea of truth to the extent that a substantial proportion of Americans simply won’t believe whatever investigators have found?

Where will Americans be then?


May 4, 2018, 2:42pm Top

Does anyone know why our local daily said that Mike Pompeo was confirmed "easily"? I read in LT that
ALL the Democrats voted against him, and all the Republicans for him. So, if that is true, how would he have won by more than 2 or 3 votes

May 4, 2018, 4:30pm Top

Probably that they got all the votes they needed easily, that is they didn't have to beg.

May 4, 2018, 4:33pm Top

Or bring in poor Senator McCain...

May 4, 2018, 10:59pm Top

Thanks @jjwilson and margd.

May 5, 2018, 10:37am Top

Genealogy sites are Wild West of privacy — here’s what you give away with your DNA
Quentin Fottrell | May 1, 2018

...Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. “When you upload your DNA to a company like GEDMatch, you don’t have federal privacy protections under HIPPA.” The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 restricts who is allowed to access medical information, but this only applies to health-care providers, health-care clearinghouses and health plans.

...“Everything the police did is something your Aunt Sally could do,” said Erin Murphy, professor at New York University School of Law. “We are still learning about what the genome will be able to tell us and the legal structures are not in place to circumscribe that information,” she says. “If we are able to use genomes to predict behavioral traits, that could affect your ability to get a job or your ability to get insurance.”

...Parents and children could find out that they’re not related (infidelity, sperm donors outed, etc.)

...Experts say all genealogy sites must now balance the common good with an individual’s privacy. “Isn’t is a good thing to have caught this killer? Yes, it is,” Dixon says. “But what if there’s a significant disease running in your biological family and you are adopted? Should you find and tell your relatives? What about custody cases or ownership claims? All of these questions introduce profound ethical issues. The old world of ‘I have nothing to hide, so I’m not concerned’ is no longer applicable.”...


May 11, 2018, 3:31am Top

Tangled web connects alt-right, Russia, and Trump?

Alt-right web domain names registered to (Russian-connected) company that paid Cohen (Trump's fixer)
Curt Devine and Jose Pagliery | May 10, 2018

At least eight alt-right website domain names were registered to Columbus Nova (the US affiliate of the Russian investment company Renova Group, which is chaired by Viktor Vekselberg, who is a cousin of Columbus Nova CEO Andrew and brother Frederick Intrater), the company that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen...

The domains, which include alternate-right.com, alt-rights.com and alternate-rt.com, were created in August 2016 during the presidential campaign season.

That same month, CNN and other news outlets reported on the rising profile of the alt-right movement and its white nationalist connections.

...Frederick Intrater (brother of CEO Andrew) said in a statement that he used his own money to purchase the domains with the intention of later selling them for profit. He said he does not support white supremacy and added that he is Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor...


May 11, 2018, 4:04am Top

Among others, I saw the arm-wrestling Jesus ad, courtesy of a good woman, who is socially very conservative...and apparently manipulated by Russia.
In a related story, "Facebook tightens issue ads, political ads to prevent election interference". Can't happen too soon!

Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians to fool U.S. voters released by Congress
Jessica Guynn,Elizabeth Weise and Erin Kelly | May 10, 2018

May 12, 2018, 1:37am Top

We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Their dominant strategy: Sowing racial discord
Nick Penzenstadler, Brad Heath, Jessica Guynn | May 11, 2018

...Among the findings:

Of the roughly 3,500 ads published this week, more than half — about 1,950 — made express references to race. Those accounted for 25 million ad impressions — a measure of how many times the spot was pulled from a server for transmission to a device.

At least 25% of the ads centered on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation. Separate ads, launched simultaneously, would stoke suspicion about how police treat black people in one ad, while another encouraged support for pro-police groups.

Divisive racial ad buys averaged about 44 per month from 2015 through the summer of 2016 before seeing a significant increase in the run-up to Election Day. Between September and November 2016, the number of race-related spots rose to 400. An additional 900 were posted after the November election through May 2017.

Only about 100 of the ads overtly mentioned support for Donald Trump or opposition to Hillary Clinton. A few dozen referenced questions about the U.S. election process and voting integrity, while a handful mentioned other candidates like Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush...


May 14, 2018, 7:06am Top

Bloomberg warns of 'epidemic of dishonesty'
STEVE PEOPLES | May 13, 2018

...former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who warned in a commencement speech on Saturday at Texas' Rice University that "an endless barrage of lies" and a trend toward "alternate realities" in national politics pose a dire threat to U.S. democracy.

...Bloomberg evoked the legend of the nation's first president, George Washington, who as a boy said he could not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.

"How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie to politicians who cannot tell the truth?" Bloomberg asked Rice graduates and their families gathered in Houston.

...he noted that the vast majority of scientists agree that climate change is real. Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly called climate change a hoax promoted by America's adversaries.

"If 99 percent of scientists whose research has been peer-reviewed reach the same general conclusion about a theory, then we ought to accept it as the best available information — even if it's not a 100 percent certainty," Bloomberg said.

..."When elected officials speak as though they are above the truth, they will act as though they are above the law," Bloomberg told Rice graduates. "And when we tolerate dishonesty, we get criminality. Sometimes, it's in the form of corruption. Sometimes, it's abuse of power. And sometimes, it's both."

"The greatest threat to American democracy isn't communism, jihadism, or any other external force or foreign power," he continued. "It's our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party, and in pursuit of power."


Jun 1, 2018, 12:46pm Top

Self-serving leak? Trump breaks protocol commenting on jobs report before 8:30 am announcement. Perhaps to head off market slide in response to Thursday announcement of tariffs? Asked Former chairman for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman, "How sure are we that he only tells the public and not his friends when he talks to them late at night?” (= insider trading?)

Trump tweet previewing jobs report appears to break protocol: Experts
Alexander Mallin | Jun 1, 2018

...The president's tweet at 7:21 a.m. read, "Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," previewing what turned out to be a report that exceeded economists' expectations.

...a Labor Department rule (bars) executive branch employees ... from publicly commenting on the jobs report until “at least one hour” after its official release.

...Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for Texas on Thursday, Trump spoke glowingly about the "best unemployment we've had in many, many decades," though it's unclear if he was just speaking generally about the state of the economy or was speaking specifically to the content of the May report.

...the Obama administration “absolutely interpreted the Labor Department rule as applying" to the president himself...


Jun 2, 2018, 3:54am Top

Opinion: Trump’s jobs tweet was a lot worse than insider trading
Rex Nutting | June 1, 2018

His message: Public institutions are only to be trusted when they unquestionably support Donald J. Trump

...these rules were not put in place primarily to protect the integrity of financial markets, but to protect the integrity of government statistical data from misuse and abuse by politicians. These rules aren’t there to protect Wall Street traders who don’t follow Trump on Twitter, but to protect our democracy from the manipulations of politicians.

...The rules that Trump stomped on Friday date back to the early 1970s, after the administration of President Richard Nixon attempted to politicize the reporting of the monthly unemployment and inflation numbers. Nixon ranted in private about statisticians in the BLS (Bureau of Labor Staistics) who wouldn’t spin the numbers his way: “He is an all-out son of a bitch who has been against us for 20 years. We have to be tough on this. We are running the government,” the Nixon tapes showed. Nixon nearly succeeded in destroying the integrity of the BLS (along with a lot else).

Over the next few years, new rules were put into place to restore confidence in the objectivity of the government data. The major change was to formally isolate the career civil servants who produce the statistical reports from their political bosses. Other than those who produce them, only a few officials in the government — including leaders of the Federal Reserve, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, and the president himself — have access to the data before they are released.

Importantly, no political official is allowed to comment on the data publicly until they have been in the public domain for at least one hour. With a few exceptions, no administration official has violated this rule. Until Trump did it a year ago, and then again today more flagrantly.

...Trump’s attacks on the credibility of the BLS and the Census Bureau are not that different from his attacks on the credibility of the FBI, CIA or Justice Department. For Trump and his voters, these institutions are to be trusted only when they actively and wholeheartedly support Trump.

The political bosses over the BLS have gotten that message. Why else would the Department of Labor issue a press release on Friday that specifically highlighted the number of jobs created since Election Day? It’s pure political spin, paid for by the taxpayers.

Yes, this violation is a small thing in the grand scheme of things. But erosions of small norms anesthetize us to the erosion of larger norms...


Jun 4, 2018, 11:20am Top

BEN WHITE | June 4, 2018

...before he left the White House, former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn would withhold jobs report data from President Trump until shortly before their release because he was worried the president couldn’t help but say something about them.

Current NEC Director Larry Kudlow followed the usual protocol in calling Trump on Air Force One on Thursday and gave him Friday’s figures. Kudlow did nothing wrong here. But Trump did, even if it wasn’t a direct disclosure of the numbers.

He’s now created a scenario in which traders will be looking for Trump tweets each jobs Friday. Does no tweet mean a bad number is coming? He’s inserted a new variable where none should exist.


Jun 6, 2018, 7:25am Top

President Trump has made 3,251 false or misleading claims in 497 days
Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly | June 1, 2018

...That’s an average of more than 6.5 claims a day.

When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. But the average number of claims per day keeps climbing as the president nears the 500-day mark of his presidency.

In the month of May, the president made about eight claims a day — including an astonishing 35 claims in his rally in Nashville on May 29...


Jun 6, 2018, 12:39pm Top

It boggles the mind.

Jun 13, 2018, 6:11am Top

Trump’s false assertion that Canada claims to ‘make’ $100 billion in trade with the U.S.
Glenn Kessler | June 12, 2018

...The Pinocchio Test

Trump says the Canadians say they “make 100 billion dollars” off trade with the United States, but Canada makes no such claim. The $100 billion number was not discovered because the Canadians were caught “bragging” but because his staff concocted a number by misleadingly citing the Canadian statistical website. The facts are not on Trump’s side when it comes to complaining about a trade deficit with Canada, because there is a trade surplus — as admitted in even a report he signed. The president earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios (= Whopper)


Jun 13, 2018, 12:00pm Top

Trump Administration Can’t Hide Jared Kushner–Led Office From FOIA Requests, Watchdogs Claim in New Court Filing

In its May motion, the administration claimed that the office—despite launching initiatives, implementing programs and imposing duties on government agencies—exists solely to advise President Donald Trump and therefore qualifies for a narrow exception from the rule that all executive branch offices are subject to FOIA.
“Courts have before held that just because an individual might at some point be an adviser to the president, if they’re also running an entity wielding a lot of independent authority, that entity can still be considered an agency,” she said.

Jun 13, 2018, 4:39pm Top

Having met with Kim Jong Un, Trump proclaims that, "...Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News..."

So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!

Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
6:30 AM - 13 Jun 2018

Jun 14, 2018, 7:46am Top

The real Destiny Pictures founder claims mistaken identity, distances himself from Trump video

The NSC kept its name off the credits, but later confirmed that it was an in-house production, while the LA-based studio whose name leads the short film had nothing to do with it.

First shown to journalists ahead of a solo press conference by Trump -- the first in well over a year -- some thought they were watching a propaganda video produced by Pyongyang, the Washington Post reported. "What country are we in?" one journalist reportedly asked.

Another, AFP's Andrew Beatty tweeted: "They are playing a propaganda video before Trump presser. Not kidding. What is happening??!!"

Jun 14, 2018, 7:57am Top

...and in the Brownsville, Texas immigrant children's shelter, propaganda murals:

and another, with an ironic message, from a line from a speech in which Obama announced protections for some undocumented immigrants:

Jun 14, 2018, 8:10am Top

All this strikes me as very concerning. We continue our slide towards nationalism. I'm reminded of Italy under Mussolini.

Jun 17, 2018, 4:00am Top

Fresh off primary loss, Rep. Mark Sanford frets over consequence-free lies
Tim Rostan | June 16, 2018

President Trump, the South Carolina Republican complains, is not called sufficiently to account over untruthful statements


Jun 20, 2018, 9:22am Top

President Trump seems to be saying more and more things that aren’t true
Ashley Parker | June 19, 2018

...“It’s extraordinary how he is completely indifferent to truth. There’s just no relationship between his statements — anything he utters — and the actual truth of the matter,” said Thomas Murray, president emeritus of the Hastings Center, the founding institution in the field of bioethics. “As far as I can tell, the best way to understand anything he says is what will best serve his interests in the moment. It’s irrespective to any version of the truth.”...


Jun 29, 2018, 3:10pm Top

Where the Heck Did the Term “Collusion” Come From?
Victoria Clark | June 29, 2018

...On July 22, 2016, Wikileaks released more than 19,000 emails from top members of the Democratic National Committee. Two days after the release, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN that, according to “experts,” Russian state actors had stolen the emails from the DNC and were releasing them through Wikileaks “for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”

Mook did not use the word “collusion,” but the press, in reporting his comments, did.

...From there it was off to the races...


Jul 5, 2018, 3:51am Top

First president: "I cannot tell a lie."
Current president: "I cannot tell a lie." (="I cannot tell the truth" in Trump=speak)

Trump falsely claims Obama gave citizenship to 2,500 Iranians during nuclear deal talks
Salvador Rizzo | July 4, 2018

... The Pinocchio Test

Let’s rewind. This claim from Trump appears to have originated with a hard-line Iranian cleric who opposes the Iran deal. Zonnour gave an interview to an Iranian newspaper, which was then repackaged by Iran’s semiofficial news agency, which was then picked up by U.S. media and then by the president on his Twitter feed (with some of the details garbled).

Three senior Obama administration officials pushed back on Trump’s claim, including Rhodes, who was intimately involved in the JCPOA negotiations. The burden of proof is on the speaker, but the Trump administration provided no evidence to back up the president’s tweet.

The president’s tweet merits Four Pinocchios, although we may revise this ruling if any corroborating evidence emerges.

Four Pinocchios (= whopper)



Also as posted at NAFTA negotiation thread:

Trump Distorts Facts on Agricultural Trade
Eugene Kiely | July 3, 2018

In a Fox Business interview, President Donald Trump singled out trade barriers as a reason for five “very bad years” for U.S. farmers. But agricultural economists blame low farm commodity prices — not trade barriers.

In fact, U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year 2017 — the third-highest amount on record. And, as it has done for decades, the U.S. agricultural sector posted an annual trade surplus of $21.3 billion in 2017, up almost 30 percent from fiscal 2016...


Jul 6, 2018, 6:37am Top

Just heard @POTUS at this rally complaining about the use of anonymous sources. For the record he was one of mine over the years.

Charles Gasparino* @CGasparino
3:56 PM - 5 Jul 2018

*Charles Gasparino joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in February 2010 as Senior Correspondent. God, Country, Pullups and Vodka in that order

Jul 11, 2018, 9:52am Top

Anatomy of a Trump rally: 76 percent of claims are false, misleading or lacking evidence
Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly | July 10, 2018

...According to The Fact Checker’s database, the president had made 3,251 false or misleading claims at the end of May, and his average daily rate was climbing.

...According to our analysis, the truth took a beating in Montana (campaign rally). From a grand total of 98 factual statements we identified, 76 percent were false, misleading or unsupported by evidence...


Jul 20, 2018, 3:46pm Top

Iran has laid groundwork for extensive cyberattacks on U.S., say officials
Courtney Kube, Carol E. Lee, Dan De Luce and Ken Dilanian / Jul.20.2018

Iran has positioned cyber weapons to hit private firms and infrastructure, but there is no suggestion an attack is imminent, say U.S. officials.

Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and on private companies, and the U.S. is warning allies, hardening its defenses and weighing a counterattack, say multiple senior U.S. officials.

Despite Iran having positioned cyber weapons to carry out attacks, there is no suggestion an offensive operation is imminent, according to the officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak.

Cyber threats have been a major theme of the 2018 Aspen Security Forum, with administration officials from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein all warning of the pervasive danger from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea...


Edited: Jul 24, 2018, 3:36am Top

Susan Rice did great I thought in yesterday's Sunday morning interview...

.@PressSec: “Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan’s security clearance, he’s also looking into the security clearances of Comey, Clapper, Rice and McCabe.”

Phil Mattingly (CNN) @Phil_Mattingly
11:46 AM - 23 Jul 2018


Another of our clueless leader's uninformed, half-baked ideas--diversionary tactic--petty revenge--apparently:
I'm reading that neither McCabe nor Comey at least have security clearances to revoke.

Edited: Jul 25, 2018, 10:31am Top

ETA: See correction in #56

Illegal to alter transcripts (below). WH will not release in future (same day announcement)!!!

White House transcript of Trump/Putin presser has edited out the question asking Vladimir Putin if he wanted Donald Trump to win the election.

@MaddowBlog | 6:28 PM - 24 Jul 2018


Oh my God. The White House didn't only change the transcript, *they also altered the video this way on their website.*

Which mimicks what the Kremlin did.

@Mikeggibbs | 6:09 PM - 24 Jul 2018


I just heard what Putin answered in Russian (which was my first language), and it’s clear that Putin said “Yes, I wanted Trump to win.” So he answered only the first question. And he DIDN’T say “Yes, I did. Yes, I did.”

tribelaw | 3:52 AM - 25 Jul 2018


White House to stop publishing summaries of Trump's calls with world leaders
Avery Anapol and Jacqueline Thomsen - 07/24/18

… The descriptions of the phone calls generally offer few details but serve as the only official White House account of Trump's phone conversations with other world leaders.

CNN noted that the White House has not provided a description of a phone call between Trump and a world leader since mid-June, when he called the Hungarian prime minister to congratulate him on winning reelection...


Jul 25, 2018, 9:46am Top

>53 margd: The alteration of transcript and editing of the official video is astounding! What can be done and by whom in the government to correct them?

Jul 25, 2018, 9:53am Top

In any other Administration, heads would roll...
It's one thing after another: fish rots from the head down, the saying goes.

Jul 25, 2018, 10:30am Top

Correction--for once the lying liars didn't? (One can be forgiven for assuming they did, no?)

No, the White House didn’t intentionally edit a question to Putin out of a video
Philip Bump | July 25, 2018

...Our transcript and the White House’s were apparently based on the feed that runs only in the right channel. A White House official told CNN’s Abby Phillip that its transcript “did not have Mason’s audio turned up in time,” referring to Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, who asked the question.

This is not a conspiracy from the White House. While the White House certainly has a track record of misrepresenting facts, this would have been a remarkably futile revision of reality to attempt. As it turns out, they didn’t.


Aug 3, 2018, 9:11am Top

DOJ: Trump lied to Congress...

The Justice Department Finds 'No Responsive Records' to Support a Trump Speech
By Benjamin Wittes
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

“According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.”

Donald Trump, speech before a joint session of Congress, Feb. 28, 2017

“On June 12, 2018, you reached an agreement with the Justice Department to resolve certain issues in dispute in this litigation, whereby Justice would conduct a search for records containing data of (i) all individuals convicted of all terrorism-related offenses (domestic and international) between 2001 and the date of the initial search, or (ii) all individuals convicted of all domestic terrorism-related offenses between 2001 and the date of the initial search. . . . No responsive records were located.”

Justice Department letter to Benjamin Wittes, July 24, 2018...


Edited: Aug 3, 2018, 4:52pm Top

QAnon is terrifying. This is why.
Molly Roberts | August 2, 2018

“The Storm is coming,” say the conspiracy theorizers whose grotesque imaginings terrified the country to attention this week...

...The simplest description of the plot line goes something like this: President Trump isn’t under investigation; he is only pretending to be, as part of a countercoup to restore power to the people after more than a century of governmental control by a globalist cabal. Also, there are pedophiles.

A figure named “Q,” who supposedly possesses Q-level security clearance, disperses “crumbs” that “bakers” bring together to create a “dough” of synthesized information...

...sheer scope of the supposed conspiracy (governmental control by a globalist cabal)

...path to prominence — from 4chan to 8chan to more mainstream sites such as YouTube and Twitter and, finally, to a Florida Trump rally and television screens across the nation

...QAnon’s lurch from online to off hasn’t manifested only in T-shirted ralliers wielding weird signs. Last week, a “baker” appeared outside Michael Avenatti’s office because Q sent him there. Others have started searching for child sex camps in the desert outside Tucson. A man in an armored truck blocked a bridge near the Hoover Dam demanding the release of a report that Q claimed the government was withholding. He had two guns.

...The “forgotten men and women of our country” didn’t stop feeling forgotten when their self-proclaimed avatar walked into the White House. There was too much dissent, too much doubt cast on his (and, by extension, their) legitimacy and ability to lead. Now, they’ll only be assuaged by the destruction of everything and everyone that stands in their way, through the mass arrest of those who they say connived against them and the installation of a state filled only with loyalists.

...QAnon is scary because it’s getting bigger, it’s scary because we don’t know how to stop it, and it’s scary because the people behind it won’t be stopped, and, until their illusory storm arrives, they won’t be satisfied.



#QAnon, the scarily popular pro-Trump conspiracy theory, explained
How a conspiracy theory that Trump and Robert Mueller are secretly working together got from Reddit to Trump rallies.
Jane Coastonjane.coaston@vox.com Updated Aug 2, 2018

The Russia investigation is a sham. It’s actually a cover story for special counsel Robert Mueller and Donald Trump working together to expose thousands of pedophiles hidden in plain sight — including Hillary Clinton (and Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama), who will soon be under arrest. (Or perhaps already have been and are on their way to Guantanamo Bay.)

The GOP lost the Alabama special election for Jeff Sessions’s Senate seat on purpose — a plan devised years ago to reveal the use of fraudulent voting machines and, ultimately, take down none other than George Soros. Or the Rothschilds. Or the Illuminati.

And there’s no White House chaos at all; in fact, despite legal scandals and special counsel investigations and bile-laden tweets, everything, absolutely everything, is going just as Donald Trump intended it.

Welcome to QAnon, sometimes referred to as “the Storm.” It’s a conspiracy theory that’s swept social media and is starting to break into the mainstream, with Trump rally attendees in Florida on July 31 holding signs and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “We are Q” and the conspiracy theory’s main catchphrase, “Where we go one, we go all.”...


Aug 8, 2018, 10:22am Top

New Poll: 43% of Republicans Want to Give Trump the Power to Shut Down Media
Sam Stein | 08.07.18

The ‘enemy of the people’ talk is working. A plurality of self-identified Republicans say they want Trump to have the power to take ‘bad’ media outlets out.

...43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Only 36 percent disagreed with that statement. When asked if Trump should close down specific outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, nearly a quarter of Republicans (23 percent) agreed and 49 percent disagreed.

Republicans were far more likely to take a negative view of the media. Forty-eight percent of them said they believed “the news media is the enemy of the American people” (just 28 percent disagreed) while nearly four out of every five (79 percent) said that they believed “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly.”

But swaths of self-identified Democrats and Independents supported anti-press positions as well. According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior” (74 percent and 55 percent, respectively, disagreed). Additionally, 12 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Independents agreed that “the news media is the enemy of the American people” (74 percent and 50 percent, respectively, disagreed)...


Aug 14, 2018, 10:54am Top

Posting here because it pertains to information from White House sources.

Omarosa Fiasco Spotlights Unusual Trump Tactic To Silence White House Aides

“Donald Trump cannot muzzle federal employees,” Brian Hauss, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told USA Today on Monday.
Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer, told the Post that “it would be unconstitutional to prevent a federal employee from discussing unclassified information post-employment.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday that Trump aides “absolutely” have to sign NDAs like the one Manigault Newman claims she rejected.

“It is typical, and you know it, to sign an NDA in any place of work,” Conway told ABC News.

Aug 14, 2018, 1:27pm Top

Why the White House Can’t Stop Omarosa Manigault-Newman From Talking
Bradley P. Moss | August 14, 2018

...court precedent is explicitly clear that, with the exception of properly classified information, the president cannot and may not censor or impose any type of prior restraint upon his former aides—no matter how embarrassing the revelations those aides may seek to publicize. That includes the Trump administration’s apparent effort to construct a “hush money” agreement after individuals leave the government, which would be unenforceable as a constitutional matter and would be contrary to public policy. Former federal employees simply cannot be forced to contractually surrender their First Amendment right to discuss unclassified details of what they saw while serving in government. (If they choose to voluntarily enter into such an agreement, of course, that is a separate matter).

The Trump campaign has separately filed a civil lawsuit against Manigault-Newman, claiming that her comments on the president breached the campaign NDA she signed prior to working in the White House. But that is of no consequence either, at least with respect to her time in the administration. This NDA can no more contractually bind her to surrender her First Amendment rights than could the NDA she was offered after her departure from government...


Aug 16, 2018, 6:05am Top

Timing / distraction / two-birds-with-one-stone file
(Trump strips security clearance from John Brennan, 7th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, leader of effort that got Osama Bin Laden):

Cannot find another instance of a President stripping security clearance from a former official who has not broken the law. Why now?
Many point to "July 26" date on Trump news release indicating decision was made earlier and released today to change the subject from #Omarosa

Andrea Mitchell @mitchellreports (NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent/anchor)
3:37 PM - 15 Aug 2018

Aug 16, 2018, 3:47pm Top

And celebrating the fourth estate today

Coast to coast, and in between, local news is standing up to Trump's press attacks

The quote I liked best:

"We're not the enemy, we're the people."

Aug 17, 2018, 5:43am Top

Senate adopts resolution declaring "the press is not the enemy of the people"
Aug 16, 2018 11:39 PM EDT

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution Thursday affirming that "the press is not the enemy of the people." The resolution, introduced by Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, passed by unanimous consent...



(Only 4 pages long, the preamble of the Senate resolution is also worth a read.)


(1) the Senate—
(A) affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people;
(B) reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on
the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise
advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and
(C) condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the
press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States; and

(2) it is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.


Edited: Aug 17, 2018, 6:08am Top

12 former top intelligence officials criticize Trump for pulling security clearance
ELANA SCHOR | 08/16/2018

A dozen former top intelligence officials, representing previous Republican and Democratic administrations, issued a letter late Thursday supporting former CIA Director John Brennan and lambasting President Donald Trump’s move to revoke his security clearance.

The rare statement from the former officials — including former CIA directors who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — comes one day after Trump pulled Brennan’s clearance and said he would evaluate clearances for other former intelligence officials, including two who signed on to the pro-Brennan statement.

That move from the White House “has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the dozen ex-intelligence officials wrote in their joint letter.

...the bipartisan group of former intelligence officials described the president’s decision as an “inappropriate and deeply regrettable” message to others about the consequences of airing political views in public.

“Decisions on security clearances should be based on national security concerns and not political views,” they wrote.



the statement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1F7pZ8oP2KpIK8x-yI0RbescPzP3RK2S4/preview

via: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-former-intelligence-bosses-speak-out-in-favor-o...

Aug 23, 2018, 10:27pm Top


“You can’t give a Pinocchio to someone who’s just a walking nose.”

Aug 30, 2018, 7:47am Top

The President Who Would Bring Back the Sedition Act
Cass R. Sunstein | August 29, 2018

He wants the government to regulate Google’s algorithm. That would violate the First Amendment.


The Sedition Act of 1918 (Pub.L. 65–150, 40 Stat. 553, enacted May 16, 1918) was an Act of the United States Congress that extended the Espionage Act of 1917 to cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds.

It forbade the use of "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt. Those convicted under the act generally received sentences of imprisonment for five to 20 years. The act also allowed the Postmaster General to refuse to deliver mail that met those same standards for punishable speech or opinion. It applied only to times "when the United States is in war." The U.S. was in a declared state of war at the time of passage, the First World War. The law was repealed on December 13, 1920.

...one historian reports that "some fifteen hundred prosecutions were carried out under the Espionage and Sedition Acts, resulting in more than a thousand convictions."...



I wonder what made Cohen lawyer reverse himself re Trump Tower, leaving CNN open to another "gotcha".
Lest we forget CNN (Trump hasn't!):

The hatred and extreme bias of me by CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function. But actually, as I have always said, this has been going on for a long time. Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, & AT&T should fire him to save credibility!

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
3:50 AM - 30 Aug 2018

Edited: Aug 30, 2018, 8:24am Top

Take Salena Zito Neither Seriously Nor Literally On Trump Voters

Most recently, a few threads on Twitter calling a number of aspects of her work (Salena Zito, The Great Revolt) into question have been making the rounds.

"Six - SIX! - of the “lifelong Democrats” and “former Obama voters” in her book are actually elected Republicans" - twitter account Inanimate Carbon Rod

The critiques amount to a wholesale demolition of the Zito method. Her shtick — which, as she has told us time and again, is absolutely not a shtick — consists of driving to blue-collar Rust Belt towns and letting regular folks tell her in their own words why they support Donald Trump. Thus does she fashion herself as the antithesis of the fake-news coastal elite.

Much of her gimmick rests on the idea that her interlocutors are apostate populist Democrats who swung to the Republican Party. This is the story many conservatives prefer to tell about Trump — that he is a populist phenomenon, not the product of regular country-clubs-and-chambers-of-commerce Republicanism. Certainly these left-to-right populists exist in America, but Zito has a knack for finding the ones who, apparently unbeknownst to her, have become Republican Party officials. This is why the criticisms of her are so damning. Zito is supposed to be the one telling you how it actually is.

Aug 30, 2018, 9:07am Top

What’s going on at CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks - with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!

Donald J. Trump | @realDonaldTrump
4:02 AM - 30 Aug 2018

President Donald Trump On His Firing Of James Comey (Extended Exclusive) | NBC Nightly News (13:15)
NBC News | Published on May 11, 2017

In an NBC News exclusive interview, President Trump revealed to Lester Holt that he was preparing to fire FBI Director James Comey regardless of recommendations from the attorney general and deputy attorney general.


Sep 3, 2018, 7:39am Top

Now THAT's the kind of coverage a president should expect!

Putin Gets Dose of Love on State TV as His Popularity Slides
Anthony Halpin and Stepan Kravchenko | September 3, 2018

State TV broadcasts new show devoted to Putin’s working week
Putin’s rating hit seven-year low amid anger at pension plan

...The first hour-long episode of “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” (weekly) broadcast in prime time on Rossiya-1 TV on Sunday featured breathless commentary on Putin’s meetings and visits in the past week, including footage of him on vacation in Siberia and meeting with students in Sochi. A discussion on a controversial pension reform that has dented Putin’s popularity praised the president’s sense of responsibility in tackling the issue, while failing to mention protests attended by thousands of Russians in major cities.

...Putin needs “a permanently growing personality cult” to maintain his authority in what’s likely to be his last term, (Gleb Pavlovsky, a Kremlin adviser during Putin’s first two presidential terms) said...


Sep 9, 2018, 12:37pm Top

The Obvious Suspect
The quest to unmask the New York Times op-ed writer has been filled with speculation. But the article’s prose points to one person in particular.

William Saletan | Sept 07, 2018

...the most likely author, based on the op-ed’s content and style, is the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman.

...The article’s themes are classic Huntsman: effusive about conservative policies, blunt about low character.

Like other suspects, Huntsman has issued a statement to deflect accusations that he wrote the Times op-ed. But the statement—actually just a tweet—doesn’t come from Huntsman. It comes from the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The full text reads, “Amb Huntsman: Come to find, when you’re serving as the U.S. envoy in Moscow, you’re an easy target on all sides. Anything sent out by me would have carried my name. An early political lesson I learned: never send an anonymous op-ed.”

That’s a non-denial denial. The Times has already said that the author’s “identity is known to us.” So the piece can’t have been sent anonymously. It must have carried the author’s name. Which means the statement from Huntsman’s spokesperson is technically accurate, even if he wrote the piece.

...the piece is full of telltale words and phrases. Here are some of them.

Country first...





...shed the labels.

...“are working diligently.”

...“this great nation”

Huntsman’s letter to the Tribune warned of “the fragile nature of this moment” and said wise public servants were working to “stabilize the most dangerous relationship in the world”; the Times op-ed frets about Trump’s “instability” and says wise public servants are faithfully carrying on “the work of the steady state.”...


Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 3:25am Top

FEMA to test 'Presidential Alert' system next week
Dennis Romero / Sep.14.2018

Experts expressed little concern that the wireless emergency alerts could be used for political purposes.

...The test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert," according to the agency.

Users whose phones are on will twice hear a tone and vibration and then see an English-only (for now) message: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The wireless emergency alerts (WEA) system was authorized by Congress in 2015 under a law that states the "system shall not be used to transmit a message that does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety.

...The WEA is a new way to reach an America increasingly attracted to fragmented forms of media found on phones, tablets and laptops. The well-worn emergency alert system reaches mainly radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers.

...FEMA stated that the government cannot track end users' location through this alert system.

The test is supposed to take place at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Sept. 20. Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users cannot opt out of the presidential alerts.




ETA: What could possibly go wrong??

Sep 24, 2018, 10:50am Top

How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump
Jane Mayer | October 1, 2018 Issue

A meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive.

...At some point in 2016, the F.B.I. had received unverified Russian intelligence describing purported e-mails from Lynch to a member of the Clinton team, in which she promised that she’d go easy on Clinton. An unnamed source told the Post that the intelligence had been viewed as “junk.” Nonetheless, Comey has reportedly told aides that he let the disinformation shape his decision to sideline Lynch. Fearing, in part, that conservatives would create a furor if the alleged e-mails became public, he began to feel that Lynch “could not credibly participate in announcing a declination.” A subsequent report, by the Justice Department’s inspector general, described Comey’s behavior as “extraordinary and insubordinate,” and found his justifications unpersuasive.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic representative who is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told me that, if you take Comey at his word that the fake intelligence drove his decision to publicly censor Clinton in the first place—there are skeptics who suspect that Comey’s grandstanding moralism was a bigger factor—then “it probably was the most measurable” and “the most significant way in which the Russians may have impacted the outcome of the election.”

Polls suggest the likely impact...at midnight on October 28, 2016, the day Comey announced that he was reopening the investigation, Clinton was ahead of Trump by 5.9 per cent. A week later, her lead had shrunk to 2.9 per cent. Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, has noted that, during this time, coverage of the Clinton e-mail investigation dominated the news, “drowning out other headlines.” According to researchers at Microsoft, the Times ran as many front-page stories on the e-mails that week as it ran front-page stories about the candidates’ policy proposals in the final few months of the campaign. Silver concluded that all the talk about Clinton’s e-mails may have shifted the race by as much as four points, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida to Trump, and possibly North Carolina and Arizona, too...


Edited: Sep 27, 2018, 7:13am Top

Lots of astonishment on Twitter at Trump's peformance in (2nd?) press conference in his presidency. In case you missed it, and were curious...a couple of reports, plus 6 sec video clip of Jared Kushner's response

The 10 Most Astonishing Moments in Trump’s Press Conference
Madeleine Carlisle ad Olivia Paschal | Sep 26, 2018

In an unwieldy press conference, President Trump declined to say whether he believes Brett Kavanaugh's accusers, and called allegations against his Supreme Court nominee part of a “con job.” Trump also went on to suggest that George Washington had a “bad past.” It was the president's first conference in 587 days.

Below are some of the most noteworthy moments from the conference.

1. Trump Calls Kavanaugh ‘One of the Highest Quality People’ He’s Ever Met...

2. Trump Suggests George Washington Had a ‘Bad Past’...

3. Trump Says Sexual-Misconduct Allegations Against Him Influence His Opinion...

4. Trump Calls Allegations Part of a ‘Con Job’...

5. Trump Says His Preference Is to ‘Keep’ Rod Rosenstein...

6. Trump’s Exchange with Kurdish Reporters...

7. Trump Says ‘Women Are Very Angry’...

8. Trump Brings Up Roy Moore...

9. Trump Confirms He Rejected a Meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau...

10. Trump On His General Assembly Address: ‘They Were Laughing With Me’...


5 wildest moments from Trump's press conference
Cassie Murdoch | 9/26/2018

President Donald Trump gave a rare press conference on Wednesday, and it was ... bonkers?

After a day filled with meetings at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump talked to reporters for over an hour, facing questions on everything from trade policy to his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. His answers were rambling and at times incoherent, and even for those accustom to his unusual rhetorical style, this was a wild ride.

Here are the five standout moments:

1. Taking aim at George Washington...

2. Lying about the allegations against him...

3. Responding to the UN laughter incident...

4. Asking the New York Times to thank him...

5. "Quoting" Elton John...

Now let's all take a deep breath and wait for our heads to stop spinning.


Did you all see Jared Kushner after the #TrumpPressConference ? (0:06)

The Daily Angle @thedailyangle
3:32 PM - 26 Sep 2018


President Trump cites China's respect for his 'very, very large brain'
Saheli Roy Choudhury | 9/27/2018

...President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday that China supposedly respects him for his "very, very large brain," during a news conference where he addressed wide-ranging issues including trade, North Korea and mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh.

Trump also doubled down on his earlier accusations that Beijing was looking to meddle in the U.S. congressional elections later this year, but did not offer any specific details. He said China would like to see Trump lose an election because "they've never been challenged like this."

"We have evidence," he said. "It'll come out, yeah, I can't tell you now, but it came — it didn't come out of nowhere, that I can tell you. Now they've actually admitted that they're going after farmers, I mean, I think most of you can cover that."


Oct 11, 2018, 10:13am Top

Tonight, Trump told people at his rally that Democrats are the party of crime. Manafort. Flynn. Gates. Papadopolous. Cohen. And a veritable swamp of Cabinet secretaries with issues involving abuse of taxpayer funds & ethics including Price, Pruitt, Shulkin, Zinke.

Joyce Alene @JoyceWhiteVance (U Alabama Law) | 6:33 PM - 10 Oct 2018


Trump calls Dems 'party of crime' at Minnesota rally...

Trump Lambasts Democrats As ... ‘Party Of Crime’ At Kansas Rally

Trump: Democrats are the party of crime
President Donald Trump talks about the Democrats and border security during an event in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Oct 11, 2018, 6:16pm Top

ALERT: The Trump administration has a plan to drastically curtail protests in DC, shutting down space in front of White House, charging massive fees, & banning stages & sound systems for rapid-response demonstrations. Deadline for comments? Monday, Oct 15: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NPS-2018-0007-0001

Ben Wikler‏ @benwikler (Move On)
11:17 AM - 11 Oct 2018 from Washington, DC

Edited: Oct 15, 2018, 1:53pm Top

✔️ Science on climate change
✔️ Obama's birth certificate
✔️ Warren's DNA test

__ Trump's tax returns???


Elizabeth Warren releases her DNA test results and dares Trump to make good on his $1 million bet
Emily Stewart | Oct 15, 2018

...By the way, @realDonaldTrump: Remember saying on 7/5 that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry? I remember – and here's the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center: https://t.co/I6YQ9hf7Tv pic.twitter.com/J4gBamaeeo

— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 15, 2018...


Oct 15, 2018, 2:48pm Top

Did anyone else receive an email from info@mail.whitehouse.gov in the past few days?

The subject line was "Resolute Reads Special Edition: 289 Accomplishments and Counting"

I find this very creepy.

Oct 15, 2018, 2:56pm Top

Not I.

Oct 28, 2018, 8:33am Top

Worth a listen: audio will be available later today.

Rhetoric In Media And Politics
Weekend Edition Sunday | October 28, 2018 8:17 AM ET

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro discusses civil rhetoric with Carolyn Lukensmeyer of the National Institute for Civil Discourse and Ariela Schachter of Washington University in St. Louis.


Edited: Nov 2, 2018, 7:49am Top

EPA discontinues updates to climate change websites (5 p)
Oct 31, 2018

(We are "updating" became "We want to help you find what you are looking for.")


The EPA's Climate Change Page Is Just Gone Now
Caroline Haskins | Nov 1 2018, 7:19pm

A report released this week by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative reveals that the removal of climate change information from the EPA website is set to be a long-term policy of the Trump administration.

...This is far from the first time that the Trump administration has removed information relating to climate change and environmental hazards. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, all references to climate change were removed from the White House website. In April of that year, the Department of the Interior all references to climate change from its public-facing website. The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not even mention climate change in its five year plan released earlier this year...


Nov 5, 2018, 7:16pm Top

Even the Fox News network pulled the Trump anti-immigrant ad.


Edited: Nov 8, 2018, 11:56am Top

Reporters accuse Sanders of sharing edited video of Acosta-aide exchange

The doctored video reportedly comes from InfoWars. It zooms in, speeds up one arm movement and eliminates Acosta's polite "Pardon me, ma'am." to distort what happened.

Nov 12, 2018, 7:15am Top

Should the Press Boycott Trump? Political Strategists Weigh In
Jim Rutenberg | Nov. 11, 2018

Reporters are in a Catch-22 situation in dealing with the president’s attacks. They could could stage a group protest or do nothing, and both have downsides.

...President Trump snatched the press credential away from Jim Acosta, one of (CNN’s) White House correspondents....(CNN chief Jeff ) Zucker told his producers to stand down. | This time, CNN would not be led by the nose into giving significant airtime to another Trump attack on the news media, especially when Democrats were preparing to take over the House and Jeff Sessions was being forced out of the attorney general’s office...Other news organizations appeared to follow Mr. Zucker’s lead, resisting the urge, for once, to allow the president to turn them into hapless characters in his never-ending national melodrama.

But the proportionate coverage did nothing to restore Mr. Acosta’s White House access. Nor did it keep Mr. Trump from threatening to bar other reporters whose questions he doesn’t like.

...Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry...whenever possible, the press corps should starve the president’s attacks of attention and keep the focus on the issues.

...(Steve) Schmidt, who helped manage John McCain’s 2008 campaign and served a stint in George W. Bush’s White House, said a boycott of the White House press briefings should “at least be on the table” until Mr. Acosta’s pass is returned — especially when Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, so often uses the sessions to spread falsehoods.

...John Weaver, a lead strategist for the 2016 Republican presidential campaign of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, was more bullish on a boycott, even if means giving Mr. Trump the foil he seeks. | “If you’re going to catch hell anyway, do the right thing”...(citing) not just Mr. Acosta’s revoked pass but also Mr. Trump’s personal insults against reporters last week, including three black women who cover him.

...Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist and former White House adviser to Mr. Obama...and a onetime opponent, Jim Dyke, a top strategist for the Republican National Committee during the George W. Bush years (agree). (Dyke)... “Get back on track. Calm down. Show the office of the presidency the respect it deserves...Now they’ll say, ‘How can we respect it when he doesn’t?’ O.K., that’s his problem. You showing it respect further elevates you above him, instead of being dragged down to his level.”

...Mr. Dyke said that if the administration were to deny access to other reporters, “and the press makes a substantial, thoughtful case, people will be outraged.” For now, though, he said, “Because Jim Acosta lost his hard pass, the press isn’t able to do its job?”

Mr. Acosta (flew to Paris) on his own — as opposed to aboard Air Force One — to cover Mr. Trump’s visit...


Nov 13, 2018, 5:27pm Top

Actually, Kellyanne, it's called SloMo and they slow down the video.
She's an idiot to think that we're so dumb as to believe that!
(I can't read the article since they want me to pay for it.)

Nov 19, 2018, 1:27pm Top

I've been searching for this coverage!

from the Washington Post:

President Trump’s crowd-size estimates: Increasingly unbelievable

The Pinocchio Test

These relentless, fantastical boasts show a deep schism between the president’s self-image and reality.

Let’s leave out all the instances in which Trump said “thousands and thousands” and focus only on the rallies for which he gave hard numbers or indicated rough totals. At nine such rallies this year, the president’s estimates came to 352,600 people combined. Our review of official counts and news reports shows the number was much lower: 100,972.

That means Trump multiplied his crowd sizes by a factor of 3.5, at minimum. Of course, this doesn’t take into account all the times he made wild assertions about his crowd sizes without giving hard numbers.

These claims deserve Four Pinocchios. Or, if you prefer to use Trump’s math, “thousands and thousands” of Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

Nov 20, 2018, 10:50am Top

White House’s new press rules will make it harder for reporters to hold Trump accountable

On the heels of the Trump administration’s failed effort to strip credentials from Jim Acosta of CNN, the White House released new rules on Monday for reporters at press conferences.

The new rules specify three circumstances that could result in “suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass” — asking more than one question, not yielding the floor, and failing to surrender a microphone.

Here’s the entirety of the document detailing the new rules:

Please be advised of the following rules governing future press conferences:

(1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;

(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;

(3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner;

(4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.

The rules seem innocuous on their face. But as Steven Dennis of Bloomberg noted, strict enforcement of them could allow President Trump or press secretary Sarah Sanders to lie with impunity, as reporters who press them about false claims could be construed as asking more than “a single question” and risk being banned in response.

Edited: Nov 22, 2018, 6:33pm Top

Anyway the republican lame ducks have subpoenaed Comey. He seems fine with it.....just wants it public. Well he's an adult. Seems a reasonable request---would be nice if some in the Trump Administration would feel the same including Donald himself. Comey's willing to be grilled because no doubt he's got nothing to hide. Trump's own lawyer according to Woodward called Trump a liar though. Donald's got so many stories he can't keep them all straight and they're always conflicting and contradicting so the same lawyer told him not to testify or he'd end up in an orange suit---which FWIW would go well with his hair color. Well he's a spoiled child and he'd get ripped to pieces by a lawyer--any lawyer. All that is to say again that he's not fit for the job he has and he never was.

Nov 25, 2018, 8:24am Top

(WH Communications Director) Bill Shine to Get Paid by Fox News and White House Simultaneously (for two more years)

Nov 25, 2018, 8:46am Top

I got a laugh out of Michael Steele's (former National Republican Committee Chairman and Trump critic) comment on Trumps pre-thanksgiving ranting.

'Just shut the hell up and get on the helicopter. Give us a rest from your crazy. You don't know the 9th circuit from a circuit breaker. It's thanksgiving for crying out loud. Let us be thankful for your silence. You've said enough this week'.

Dec 4, 2018, 8:17am Top

Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace (12 p)
Nov 12, 2018


Cybersecurity: Paris Call of 12 November 2018 for Trust and Security in Cyberspace
France Diplomatie

On 12 November at the UNESCO Internet Governance Forum (IGF), President Emmanuel Macron launched the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. This high-level declaration on developing common principles for securing cyberspace has already received the backing of many States, as well as private companies and civil society organizations.

Cyberspace, which is becoming increasingly central to our lives, is a place of opportunity, but also of new threats. The growth in cybercrime and malicious activity can also endanger both our private data and certain critical infrastructures.

In order to respect people’s rights and protect them online as they do in the physical world, States must work together, but also collaborate with private-sector partners, the world of research and civil society.

Supporters of the Paris Call are therefore committed to working together to:

increase prevention against and resilience to malicious online activity;
protect the accessibility and integrity of the Internet;
cooperate in order to prevent interference in electoral processes;
work together to combat intellectual property violations via the Internet;
prevent the proliferation of malicious online programmes and techniques;
improve the security of digital products and services as well as everybody’s “cyber hygiene”;
clamp down on online mercenary activities and offensive action by non-state actors;
work together to strengthen the relevant international standards....


Avoiding A World War Web: The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace
Arthur P.B. Laudrain | December 4, 2018

...The Paris Call is a high-level, non-binding document. It does not set out detailed measures, nor does it seek to create new institutions. Instead, it aims to promote existing institutional mechanisms to “limit hacking and destabilising activities” in cyberspace.

The text, written in a format reminiscent of United Nations resolutions, sets out nine goals that represent a compromise of priorities between states, corporations and civil society. Three main themes appear: an inclusive regulatory process, state sovereignty and the protection of citizens...

...Clearly absent in the text are issues of espionage and state-lead offensive operations. While espionage is and will remain states’ domaine réservé, the international community will struggle to keep offensive operations states’ prerogative, primarily because of the attractiveness of developing non-state proxies for doing states’ bidding. The need to compromise and willingness to gather support across states with various political mindsets means offensive cyber operations was probably out of scope of the call from its inception.

A Roadmap for Future Negotiations

States can no longer forge new norms on their own. In cyberspace more than in any other domain, corporations and other non-governmental organizations play a key role in governance. But states remain key regulators in their jurisdiction and within international institutions. This is why France’s proposal should be welcomed.

Initiatives to create norms in cyberspace are multiplying. But more than anything else, these initiatives seem to have fragmented political will and have so far failed to gather support across the board. Macron hopes the Paris Call will bring fresh momentum to the issue by mounting support from influential parties, notably Silicon Valley’s top companies and emerging powers. The Call is restrained in scope, avoiding the most sensitive activities such as espionage and offensive operations, but this restraint makes it more likely to receive support across a wider group of stakeholders. It is far from a silver bullet; rather it offers a fresh starting point and a framework for negotiations on values and norms of behavior in cyberspace. The Call’s enduring potential will be determined by what concrete measures it produces and how it is received by states such as Brazil and India.


Jan 8, 4:08pm Top

Will the world embrace Plan S, the radical proposal to mandate open access to science papers?
Tania Rabesandratana | Jan. 3, 2019 , 2:00 PM

How far will Plan S spread?

Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That's still far shy of Plan S's ambition: to convince the world's major research funders to require immediate OA to all published papers stemming from their grants. Whether it will reach that goal depends in part on details that remain to be settled, including a cap on the author charges that funders will pay for OA publication. But the plan has gained momentum: In December 2018, China stunned many by expressing strong support for Plan S. This month, a national funding agency in Africa is expected to join, possibly followed by a second U.S. funder. Others around the world are considering whether to sign on.

Plan S, scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2020, has drawn support from many scientists, who welcome a shake-up of a publishing system that can generate large profits while keeping taxpayer-funded research results behind paywalls. But publishers (including AAAS, which publishes Science) are concerned, and some scientists worry that Plan S could restrict their choices...


Jan 10, 5:20am Top

Court orders EPA to release Andrew Wheeler’s contacts with outside groups within 10 months
Dino Grandoni | January 7, 2019

...The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in a Dec. 26 ruling, ordered the release of about 20,000 emails exchanged between industry groups and 25 Trump officials within the next 10 months. The timeline will start as soon as the federal government fully reopens.

The environmental group Sierra Club filed the public-records request for the documents from EPA officials responsible for the rollback of dozens of rules put in place by the previous administration to combat the emissions of climate-warming gases and other pollutants.

....The court rejected arguments from the EPA that it is too overwhelmed with FOIA requests to respond by the legal deadlines. The agency had initially asked the court to have until 2022 — halfway into the next presidential term — to complete the requests.

...Since Trump took office, the EPA and other agencies overseeing federal environmental policy have been flooded with FOIA requests. Inquires to the EPA’s Office of the Administrator, for example, jumped from 203 during fiscal 2016 to 1,045 during the following 12-month period.

Other environmental policymakers have responded to that deluge more proactively. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Department of the Interior proposed a new rule imposing a monthly limit on requesters and allowing public-records officers to decline to fill requests they deem “extremely broad or vague."

Environmental organizations such as the Wilderness Society, which frequently files FOIA requests with the Interior Department, say the move would violate the law by granting bureaucrats so much discretion.

...Daniel Jorjani, Interior’s principal deputy solicitor, published that yet-to-be-finalized rule* amid a partial government shutdown that has prevented the department from performing many of its regular duties, such as emptying trash cans and servicing bathrooms at National Park Service sites.

The shutdown also means the Interior Department is not accepting any new FOIA requests, despite complaints from critics the department needs no staff on site to accept the requests.


* If you wish to comment on Interior's proposed rle for handling FOIA requests, you have only until January 28!!

Jan 16, 12:20pm Top

"Fake news" shared on Facebook: relatively rare activity more common among conservatives and over 65s.

Andrew Guess et al. 2019. Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook. Science Advances 09 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau4586 . DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau4586 . http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaau4586


So-called “fake news” has renewed concerns about the prevalence and effects of misinformation in political campaigns. Given the potential for widespread dissemination of this material, we examine the individual-level characteristics associated with sharing false articles during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. To do so, we uniquely link an original survey with respondents’ sharing activity as recorded in Facebook profile data. First and foremost, we find that sharing this content was a relatively rare activity. Conservatives were more likely to share articles from fake news domains, which in 2016 were largely pro-Trump in orientation, than liberals or moderates. We also find a strong age effect, which persists after controlling for partisanship and ideology: On average, users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group.

Jan 16, 12:26pm Top

Real Fake News

Banner says "Unpresidented" and dated May 1, 2019.

Pres. Pence begins "clipped duck" term

I'd love a copy.

Fake copies of Washington Post handed out in DC

Jan 17, 3:04pm Top

Oh YAY! Thanks.

Feb 20, 5:58am Top

Buried, altered, silenced: 4 ways government climate information has changed since Trump took office
Morgan Currie, Britt S. Paris March 21, 2018

...four ways that climate-related information has become less accessible since Trump took office.

1. Documents are difficult to find...

2. Web pages are buried...

3. Language has been altered...

4. Science has been silenced...

But website changes and deletions are just the tip of the iceberg.

Columbia’s Silencing Science Tracker records 116 instances when scientists have been obstructed. The list includes budget cuts, staff cuts, unfilled positions and suspended funds. Climate-related research projects have been canceled and climate fellowships rescinded. In some cases, advisory boards and research centers have been dismantled entirely.

For instance, as of Dec. 31, 2017, the administration had filled only 20 science-related positions out of the 83 total. That pace falls short of both the Obama administration, who had appointed 63, and the Bush administration, who had filled 51, at the same point in time.

...In our view, burying climate science diminishes our democracy. It denies the average citizen the information necessary to make informed decisions, and fuels the flames of rhetoric that denies consensus-based science.


Feb 20, 6:10am Top

>98 mamzel: (make-believe), the specialty of infantile Trump-agonistes.

Meanwhile, back in reality ....

Donald Trump

45th President of the United States


Edited: Feb 20, 10:38am Top

Justice Clarence Thomas Calls for Reconsideration of Landmark Libel Ruling
Adam Liptak | Feb. 19, 2019

Justice Clarence Thomas’s statement came in the wake of complaints from President Trump that libel laws make it too hard for public officials to win libel suits.

WASHINGTON — Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday called for the Supreme Court to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 ruling interpreting the First Amendment to make it hard for public officials to prevail in libel suits.

He said the decision had no basis in the Constitution as it was understood by the people who drafted and ratified it.

“New York Times and the court’s decisions extending it were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law,” Justice Thomas wrote.

Justice Thomas, writing only for himself, made his statement in a concurring opinion agreeing that the court had correctly turned down an appeal from Kathrine McKee, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault...



Laurence Tribe tribelaw | 12:11 PM - 19 Feb 2019

From the “silver linings notebook” department: Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Roberts were among the eight justices who DIDN’T join Thomas in this deeply alarming call to reconsider a core protection for the freedoms of speech and press.

Feb 20, 10:56am Top

RE: New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)

"The Court also said in order to prove libel, a public official must show that what was said against them was made with actual malice – "that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for the truth."

So, in fact, Trump's position can be defended without bothering to review and limit or change the application of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan since it suffices to show that the objectionable texts were published with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for the truth.

Not that hard to do, really. Trump is the object of a now 40+ month-long vendetta the aim of which has been to systematically defame him through the incessant repetition of propaganda-driven allegations which are demonstrably false and for which the disregard for the truth can hardly be other than reckless.

Trump ought to reassure Justice Thomas that he needn't bother. Simply sue for relief under the terms set out by New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.


BTW, Tribe is a dumb-shit. Worry when you find you agree with his view.

Feb 20, 8:42pm Top

>101 proximity1: Because that picture is not in any way, shape or form photoshopped is why you chose it as an example of “reality”???

Edited: Feb 21, 6:52am Top

>104 mamzel: "Because that picture is not in any way, shape or form photoshopped is why you chose it as an example of 'reality' ???"

"Wow", just "wow."

It's a photo of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Period. Any similar photo, retouched or not, should have served the point and purpose.

I pity you.

Feb 21, 1:17pm Top

"Wow, just "wow."

Left, picture downloaded from imdb.com and on the right, his official portrait.
Look at his neck above the collar, skin tone, wrinkles between his eyes, laughlines (particularly on his left side). If it wasn't Photoshopped, someone did a damn fine makeup job which in actuality is still not entirely honest.

Edited: Feb 22, 10:48am Top

trump's 7 or 8 thousand lies to date are not all spoken or written but pictorial also. He has pictures of himself altered to make his torso look thinner and his fingers longer and pictures of his inaugural crowd altered to look larger. What a stupid dipshit he is.



Edited: Feb 22, 6:05am Top

>106 mamzel:

LOL! Oh, J-E-E-E-S-U-S, YES! please DO "run with that!" Yesireee, you're a blooming political genius!

I don't want to hear Bernie Sanders talking about how he'll make America great-er again after Trump. I want to hear wall-to-wall harping on how very vain is Donald Trump.

First of his kind for that, of course.

Breaking News!

This just in--- unconfirmed reports (backed by aerial photographs) from sources we are not at liberty to name suggest that Donald J. Trump is vain or even very vain.

Edited: Feb 22, 10:57am Top

Vanity is fairly common these days, as is narcissism. No one much should be impressed by the garden variety examples of such.

But malignant megalomaniac narcissism - that seems to be a category with one member in the U.S. - d. trump. In that category, e.g., Jussie Smollett couldn't hold a candle to trump. Sure, Little Kim can compete with trump but within the U.S. trump has no rivals. He is a very special kind of scum.

Feb 22, 11:26am Top

>109 JGL53: Yeah, but the example of touching up their official photo is pretty weak. I would bet it's standard procedure for these things.

Edited: Feb 23, 8:27am Top

>110 jjwilson61:


>109 JGL53: "malignant megalomaniac narcissism" That may be the case. If so, it's unfortunately only too common at this level of business or political power. In that milieu, Trump is nothing at all out of the ordinary. Anyone who seriously thinks that Bill Clinton's or Hillary Clinton's or Barack Obama's own appetites in and propensities for malignant, megalomaniacal narcissism don't match those of Donald Trump point for point is truly living in a little world of delusional self-comfort.

Have you ever been to Washington, D.C. and walked around in the daylight workday hours? The place reeks of various mixtures of fear and unbridled ambition. It's written on the drawn faces of the people one encounters everywhere except the most jaded of them. Only reptiles like Dick Cheney are truly at ease in that kind of environment. There are dozens of people ready and eager to carve Donald Trump up in bite-sized pieces and serve them to their friends. Trump has to 'give as good as he gets' and he knows it.

The big difference between a Trump and an Obama or a Clinton is that Trump really has no time or interest in playing these "How's my halo?" games.

Edited: Feb 23, 2:10pm Top

jjwilson61 > 110 - " Yeah, but the example of touching up their official photo is pretty weak. I would bet it's standard procedure for these things."

What is the evidence of that - can you cite an example or two?

The only other "touch-up" examples I can think of are the negative ones of right wing assholes darkening up photos of Barack Obama to make him look scarier to racist white people.

When a politician stoops to lie about his weight and height - that is a level of embarrassing ridiculously childish behavior that is noteworthy, in the fact that apparently there is no level too low for the politician to stoop.

And lengthening the index finger in a photo? - such goofball behavior generates an immediate "WTF" question.

trump is a degenerate in every which way from Sunday. E.g. a serious example - separating parents from their children and then losing the children forever? What the god damn?

There is no effective apologetics for trump. He is the apotheosis of all that is detestable in the homo sapien species - to the point that a life-ending asteroid striking the earth next week would just be an example of the universe taking out the trash.

Feb 23, 2:35pm Top

>112 JGL53: example of touching up their official photo?

Not to make fun of an all-too-human instinct, but I suspect Senator Rubio's Twitter photo has been touched up.

So. too, Melania Trump's official portrait photo.

Edited: Feb 23, 3:25pm Top

> 113

Can you provide photo-shopped examples that are not republicans or whores - or republican whores? Just curious.

How about photos wherein Rubio, Melania, or anyone else other than the mango maniac photo-shopped their god damn index finger?

trump may be a self-identified "very stable genius" but he is fat as fuck and has short fingers - and has the worst come-over in our galaxy. And several of his whores have reported that he sports a micro-penis, reminiscent of a mushroom (I take their word for it - no pictures, please.).

Apparently trump's allegedly great mental solidity and 160 I.Q. does not offset the aforementioned unimpressive physical facts so we are all subjected to lies of a personal nature to add to the THOUSANDS of other lies that fall like rain upon the nation daily, or even hourly.

Just thinking - if that TV show "Dirty Jobs" is ever renewed I'd suggest to the producers they do their first segment on "Apologist for d. trump", with perhaps the second segment being "Skin diver for Roto-Rooter."


Edited: Mar 4, 9:27am Top

The Making of the Fox News White House
Jane Mayer | March 4, 2019

...Sean Hannity, the Fox News host

...Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.”

Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead. All day long, Trump retweets claims made on the network; his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has largely stopped holding press conferences, but she has made some thirty appearances on such shows as “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.” Trump, Hemmer says, has “almost become a programmer.”

...The biggest test yet of Fox’s journalistic standards is the impending showdown over Mueller’s findings. For two years, the network has been priming its viewers to respond with extraordinary anger should the country’s law-enforcement authorities close in on the President. According to Media Matters, in the first year after Mueller was appointed Hannity alone aired four hundred and eighty-six segments attacking the federal criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election; thirty-eight per cent of those segments claimed that law-enforcement officials had broken the law. In recent weeks, Hannity has spoken of “a coup,” and a guest on Laura Ingraham’s program, the lawyer Joseph diGenova, declared, “It’s going to be total war. And, as I say to my friends, I do two things—I vote and I buy guns.”

...the appointment, in July, 2018, of Bill Shine, the former co-president of Fox News, as director of communications and deputy chief of staff at the White House...(Bill) Kristol contends that Shine’s White House appointment is a scandal. “It’s been wildly under-covered,” he said. “It’s astounding that Shine—the guy who covered up Ailes’s horrible behavior—is the deputy chief of staff!”...Fox has been paying Shine millions of dollars since he joined the Administration. Last year, he collected the first half of a seven-million-dollar bonus that he was owed after resigning from Fox; this year, he will collect the remainder. That sum is in addition to an $8.4-million severance payment that he received upon leaving the network.

...Jerry Taylor, the co-founder of the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington for moderates, says, “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.”



Jane Mayer @JaneMayerNYer | 4:13 AM - 4 Mar 2019

New from me: Fox News HAD the story of Trump's hush money payoffs to Stormy Daniels BEFORE the election but killed it because the reporter said she was told, "Good reporting Kiddo, but Rupert Murdoch wants Donald Trump to win. So set it aside." Reporter sued, is bound by an NDA.

Mar 6, 2:52pm Top

The Intercept Podcast today is required listening.
While the interview with Aaron Mate is very worthwhile, the standout piece is from Harvard's Shoshana Zuboff, a powerful precis of her views on Surveillance Capitalism. Starts around 40 minutes in. I'll share some excerpts when the transcript comes out.


(If Prof. Zuboff is looking for a title for her next book, might I suggest As We May Fink?)

Mar 7, 3:52am Top

Net Neutrality Gets a Power-Up from Democrats
Klint Finley | 03.06.19

Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a bill on Wednesday that would restore Obama-era net neutrality rules, a response to a December 2017 vote by the Federal Communications Commission that basically gutted the regulations that were put in place by the Democrat-controlled FCC in 2015. The 2017 vote had repealed the order that prohibited blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against lawful content, and opened the door for internet service providers to block or throttle content at their own discretion. Today's bill, proposed by Senator Edward Markey (D–Massachusetts) and Representative Mike Doyle (D–Pennsylvania), would restore the 2015 protections and would bar the FCC from repealing the rules again.

The bill is similar to legislation passed by the US Senate in 2018, when three Republicans—senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—crossed the aisle and joined Senate Democrats and Independents in a 52–47 vote to preserve net neutrality. (The late Republican senator John McCain of Arizona didn't vote.) After the legislation passed the Senate, the then-Republican-controlled House never voted on the proposal...


Mar 7, 9:46am Top

Democrats blacklisted Fox News for the 2020 presidential primary debates — here's what's going on
David Choi | 3/7/2019

President Donald Trump fired back at the Democratic National Committee after it decided to exclude the Fox News Channel from broadcasting any of its candidates' debates during the 2020 US presidential primary.

The DNC's decision to blacklist Fox News prompted a response from other journalists, some of whom suggested it was not a good look for the party.

Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, and Chris Wallace are all anchors whose respective time slots precede the shows from Fox News' popular opinion hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.

Several 2020 Democratic candidates have already appeared for exclusive interviews with Fox News anchors in recent weeks, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Fox News anchors have previously been praised by their peers for their work, and some of that praise has come from journalists at competing news networks...


Mar 8, 4:52pm Top

>116 davidgn: As promised, though it's worth the time to listen to the dramatic reading.

Jeremy Scahill: Edward Snowden’s revelations brought incredible detail and specificity to what we’ve long known: that governments lie all the time with impunity. And Snowden brought the receipts.

As the NSA expanded its invasion of the privacy of American citizens, there has been a parallel type of digital surveillance that has now become all encompassing in our society and all across the world. And it’s one that occurs — for the most part — with our consent or because our perceived need to use Google and Facebook and Twitter outweighs privacy concerns. That is: surveillance capitalism.

The apps we use, the websites we visit, the social media sites we log onto — they all monitor our behavior, our most private communications in a campaign aimed at understanding and manipulating our actual selves, our motivations, and our propensity to consume and spend money through the context of the data we produce. And for the average citizen of the world, these companies pose a far greater danger to them than any government intelligence agency ever will. And many of us willfully engage in it.

The author and Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff has written a new book exploring this phenomenon. It’s called “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.”

Mark Zuckerberg: There have to be ads either way because we have to make money. We have 400 employees. We have to support all that and make a profit.

Shoshana Zuboff: In our era, in our time, these titanic struggles of capital are not just bearing down on the economic domain. They bear down fully on society, on the social domain, on our bodies, on our everyday lives, in our homes, in our cars, on our streets, in our cities. They’re part of the fabric of our everyday life out of the economic domain, into the social domain, bearing down on our very bodies and our lives. They call us users. What does that even mean?

Announcer: In our world, the speed and tempo of modern living are increasing at an ever-accelerating rate. Without organization, without system, the result would be chaos. Our control over a bewildering environment has been facilitated by new techniques of handling vast amounts of data at incredible speeds.

SZ: We are not users. I say we are bound in new psychological, social, political, as well as, economic interests. That we have not yet invented the words to describe the ways that we are bound. We have not yet invented the forms of collective action to express the interests that bind us. And that that is a big part of the work that must follow in this year and the next year and the year after that, if we are to ultimately interrupt and outlaw what I view as a pernicious rogue capitalism that has no business dominating our society.

Announcer: It is the fast, reliable, and tireless performance of a variety of arithmetic and logical operations that gives the computer its great utility and power. But merely looking at a computer won’t tell us very much about what it actually is doing. Neither will this tell us anything about the revolutionary material and intellectual effects of such machines.

SZ: What is surveillance capitalism? Throughout capitalism, as historians have observed, capitalism claims things that live outside the market dynamic and it brings them into the market dynamics so that they can become commodities to be sold and purchased. Industrial capitalism claimed nature for the market dynamic that it could be reborn as real estate, as land to be sold, to be purchased. It claimed work for the market dynamic that it could be reclaimed as labor to be sold and purchased. Surveillance capitalism follows in this pathway, but with a dark and strange twist.

Surveillance capitalism went in search of the last virgin wood and what it found was private human experience. And what it does is to unilaterally claim private human experience for the market dynamic that it can be reborn as behavioral data. In the logic of surveillance capitalism, these behavioral data are sent into its production processes — elaborate supply chains that capture these behavioral data from every aspect of our lives and activities, channel these data into new production processes that are called — what? Artificial intelligence, machine intelligence, all of that. And out of this black box emerges surveillance capitalism’s products. Its products are predictions. They are predictions of our behavior, predictions of what we will do now, soon, and later. Turns out many many businesses have an interest in this knowledge and these new businesses form a new kind of marketplace that trades exclusively in these predictions.

We thought that they were free that their products and services were free for us. But all the time that we’re thinking that they’re free, they’re thinking that we’re free. We’re the free raw material. Get them engaged, get them engaged, get them engaged. Keep that data flowing, keep it flowing. Get them engaged anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t matter. Call it a digital assistant. Call it a thermostat. Call it a search engine. It doesn’t matter. Call it social media. It doesn’t matter. Get them engaged. Keep the data flowing. Complex supply chains flowing to production.

We thought we were using social media. But social media was using us. We thought that these companies had privacy policies. But, in fact, these companies have surveillance policies. And we became all too vulnerable to something that they told us over and over and over again. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. When the fact is that if you have nothing to hide, then you are nothing. Because everything that you are, the place inside you, your inner resources from which you draw your sense of identity, your sense of voice, your sense of autonomy and moral judgment, your ability to think critically, to resist, even to revolt, these are the capabilities that can only be grown within. Jean-Paul Sartre calls it the will to will. And that will to will grows from within and you should hide it and you should cherish it and it should be private and it should be yours.

It’s not that there are all bad people in these companies. These imperatives compel these corporations to enter a collision course with democracy. Surveillance capitalists discovered in the heat of competition that the most powerful predictive data come from actually influencing our behavior towards its preferred outcomes. In order to fulfill its own economic imperatives, surveillance capitalism must undermine human autonomy. It must rob us of decision rights over our own private experience, its boundaries, its inwardness. I call these the right to the future tense and the right to sanctuary. These are being eroded from below. And without these, a flourishing democratic society is impossible.

Surveillance capitalism means that we enter the 21st century with a wholly new axis of social inequality imposed upon us. And this is the inequality of knowledge. They know so much about us. We know so little about them. We do not know about us what they know about us. They have so much knowledge that is from us, but that knowledge is not for us. These asymmetries of knowledge produce equally pernicious asymmetries of power. The power that accrues from this knowledge to command this capitally intensive ubiquitous digital infrastructure that now saturates our lives. To command that in order to not only know us, track us, monitor us from where we are and where we go to our posture and our gait and the muscles that express themselves in our faces and give away our emotions, but they go beyond that to influence and modify our behavior at the scale of populations.

What is this power, this power to actually influence populations, unauthorized, self-regulated, without democracy’s oversight, without democracy’s participation, without our knowledge? Systems that are specifically engineered to keep us in ignorance. Systems that are specifically engineered and celebrated for their ability to bypass our awareness. Ergo, my friends, surveillance capitalism.

JS: Shoshana Zuboff is the author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.” Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson professor emerita at Harvard Business School and the author of “In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power.” She spoke to my colleague Naomi Klein, senior correspondent at The Intercept and the inaugural Gloria Steinem endowed chair of media, culture, and feminist studies at Rutgers University.

Mar 8, 7:19pm Top

#119--kind of makes me think how prescient Guy Debord was back in the late 60's with his Society of the Spectacle.

I would think though my consumerism must be a disappointment to anyone who's trying to get a grip on my behavior. Guitars, ice hockey and books--my three main interests and then there is my goofy take on things political. I have pretty much the shittiest cell phone going that I don't even know how to text on and I get more calls from people I don't know trying to sell me shit (and I never answer if I don't know who's calling) than I do from people I do know and will answer. I go two-three weeks at a time without using it for anything other than as a watch to tell the time. I expect any car I buy to last at least 10 years at the minimum and I'll wear clothes until they fall apart and sometimes I'll even repair to keep them going longer. I do have a laptop and an iMac. No twitter or facebook accounts or anything like that though. No interest. I do google though. Today I was trying to get a bit of background on who exactly Kimberly Breier is and trying to find a English language version of The return of the Durruti Column comic which brings us full circle to where I started with my first line.

Mar 9, 12:25pm Top

Trump wants $750 billion more for the military in the next budget.

I'm going to bring up the same question that conservatives often ask when the subject is climate change or medicare for all.

How you going to pay for it?

Mar 9, 1:18pm Top

>121 lriley: Trump wants $750 billion more for the military in the next budget.

Probably hopes to keep complaints down re emergency snatch.

Also wants to charge allies for posts on their soil + a little extra.

If he's successful in declaring emergency, he wants to have lots of money sloshing around--Dems should cut future military budget by any amount diverted for the wall...

Mar 9, 7:00pm Top

He wants to pay for it by eliminating the rest of the gov't.

Mar 10, 9:23am Top

For someone so determined to stay out of Vietnam he finally can claim he went there.....but anyway the military doesn't need more money...it needs less. Off and on he has talked about an infrastructure bill which is something that he could potentially get congress to go along with. I don't see him getting anywhere near the $750 approval from the House for the military budget though.....hopefully they don't give him a dime for that. He wants to set up a $100 million slush fund for Ivanka too. He's irresponsible with $'s and that's been a lifelong issue. Just as an example--who bankrupts a casino?
Anyone who he's a great businessman has got rocks in his head.

But anyway he's going to need to keep disaster relief well funded--we're heading in the direction of lots of climate catastrophes.

Edited: Mar 10, 8:40pm Top

>124 lriley: "...But anyway he's going to need to keep disaster relief well funded--we're heading in the direction of lots of climate catastrophes."

Among the predictions of the professional climate people is the one that 90 per cent of Florida will be underwater in 100 years or less.

Let the debate begin whether that would be a bad thing or not.


Edited: Mar 10, 10:57pm Top

#125--Colorado is going through a nasty period of avalanches and I'm not talking about their hockey team. Record numbers of earthquakes in Oklahoma. Massive wildfires in California getting worse from year to year. The Norfolk airforce base's runway is often unusable because it's swamped and yeah Florida is really under threat but that's what you get when you elect Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis to be your Governor--but that's not just Florida--one might wonder about places like New Orleans or Galveston too. I believe there are oil refineries there or near abouts. Consider as well a lot of nuclear power plants are situated in coastal areas--sea water and nuclear reactor waste don't mix well. Just ask the Japanese about Fukushima. If an event like that were to happen we're talking about massive evacuation and refugee event. I was watching a clip of Sanders recently talking to school kids back in 1989 about how climate was going to be a big problem if we didn't start doing something back then--that said I think most democratic politicians at least have figured that out--the question is more about their will to do something. The republicans are almost to a man/woman in stone age denial---either thinking it's all bullshit or God's will. The orange idiot certainly doesn't get it.

Edited: Mar 11, 3:51pm Top

> 126

Yes, nearly all coastal big cities around the world are under threat of sinking into the oceans in the short term. Florida is just the only state that is in danger of going out of existence, e.g., New York the state will still exist after New York City is no more, California will still exist after its big coastal cities disappear, etc.

> 126 "I was watching a clip of Sanders recently talking to school kids back in 1989 about how climate was going to be a big problem if we didn't start doing something back then..."

Even a person as slow on the uptake as I am could see that Bernie Sanders has always been decades ahead of the curve on just about every issue and not just the climate. He is some sort of genius compared to 99 per cent of politicians. Naturally he has trouble gaining traction with U.S. voters. Such are pretty much empty-headed morons in the large plurality if not the outright majority.

If Sanders - or one of his minions - is not elected POTUS in 2020 then we will have let go of our last straw and that will be that for the U.S.
To paraphrase Fred Sanford "Hear that Rome? - We're coming to join you, Honey." (in the god damn dustbin of history)

Mar 11, 8:07pm Top

#127--can you imagine though a massive evacuation of New York City and its environs into upstate New York or Boston/Cape Cod into the rest of New England? Logistically everything would be swamped---shelter, resources, food, water, fuel. It would be a massive refugee crisis and if there's no going back......then what happens? One should expect a major epidemic or two or three--one should expect there will be lots of violence.

Most democratic Potus candidates are talking about climate and medicare for all. Whether the will is there is another question but the push is stronger within the party to get there. On the subject of Obamacare--it's like Humpty Dumpty---every democrat in congress and the senate must know they cannot put it back together and expect it will stay that way--that if that's their goal it will be dismantled again the next time a republican gets the white house. They have to go all the way--no prisoners this time. Climate change is the same---the time is come and gone where we can have a friendly debate about it and maybe some moderate compromises. The people who deny it have nothing pertinent to say about it. Not believing in the science automatically disqualifies them from having a say.

Mar 14, 5:15pm Top

In 420-0 vote, House says Mueller report should be public
MARY CLARE JALONICK | March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted unanimously Thursday for a resolution calling for any final report in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to be made public, a symbolic action designed to pressure Attorney General William Barr into releasing as much information as possible when the probe is concluded.

The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mueller is nearing an end to his investigation. Lawmakers in both parties have maintained there will have to be some sort of public resolution when the report is done — and privately hope that a report shows conclusions that are favorable to their own side.

Four Republicans voted present: Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie.

The nonbinding resolution calls for the public release of any report Mueller provides to Barr, with an exception for classified material. The resolution also calls for the full report to be released to Congress.

...If a full report isn't released, House Democrats have made it clear they will do whatever they can to get hold of it. Nadler has said he would subpoena the final report and invite — or even subpoena — Mueller to talk about it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been less eager to push Barr on the release of the report, despite some in his caucus who have said they want to ensure transparency.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced legislation with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut that would require Mueller to submit a detailed report to lawmakers and the public at the end of the investigation. But both McConnell and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, have declined to say whether they would support the legislation.

Graham said he agrees "with the concept of transparency," but stopped short of supporting Grassley's bill, saying he disagrees with taking discretion away from the attorney general.


Mar 17, 4:09pm Top

Trump threatens SNL with federal investigation for mocking him
James Hibberd | March 17, 2019

...The President tweeted in the early Sunday morning hours a threat to have the NBC late night comedy series investigated by a federal agency. The offense? Mocking him.

“It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side,'” the president wrote. “Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows. Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia! Such one sided media coverage, most of it Fake News. Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA”

...Of course, entertainment programming mocking newsworthy figures is protected as free speech. Trump seems to be referring to the “equal time rule” which mandates that U.S. broadcast TV stations give equal air-time opportunities to opposing political candidates in prime-time if requested. But Trump is president, not a candidate, and SNL is in late-night and, again, parody. There’s also FCC’s “fairness doctrine,” a regulation that required networks to give balanced coverage to matters of public controversy. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987...


Mar 20, 4:24am Top

Donald Trump Vows To Investigate Facebook, Twitter, TV News Outlets, “Different Shows” In Rose Garden Presser
Lisa de Moraes | March 19, 2019

President Donald Trump and the so-called “Trump of the Tropics” (Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro) stood side-by-side in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday while POTUS attacked Facebook, Twitter, the press, and “different shows,” saying they should be investigated for collusion against Republicans.

...“It seems to be, if it’s conservatives, if Republicans, there is big discrimination,” T...“I see it absolutely on Twitter,” he said, also naming Google and Facebook as offenders.

“There is collusion with respect to that, because something has to be going on,”... “I do think we have to get to the bottom of it.”

...In addition to alleged social media “collusion,” Trump said there is a “very dangerous situation with the news networks,” adding that he was proud to hear Bolsonaro use the expression “Fake News” in his remarks.

“You look at the networks, you look at the news, you look at the newscasts – I call it Fake News,” ...

“You look at what’s happening with networks, you look at what’s happening with different shows… it’s a very, very dangerous situation,” Trump said, adding that that situation, too, must be looked at “very closely.”

The president of the United States did not clarify what “different shows” he was referring to. But, over the weekend, Trump tweeted he thought the Federal Election Commission and/or the FCC should investigate Saturday Night Live and late-night TV shows, for collusion with Democrats “and, of course Russia!”...


Mar 20, 11:12am Top

Amici Curiae of 1st Amendment Scholars supporting Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University's legal fight against the President for attempting to silence dissenters on Twitter

Case 18-1691, Document 80, 10/18/2018, 2413668

3 I. By Intentionally Utilizing Twitter’s Interactive Features, Defendants Created a Public Forum for Purposes of the First Amendment
3 A. Government-Controlled Channels of Communication Designed for Expressive Use and Generally Open to the Public Are Public Fora
3 B. Social Media Platforms Like Twitter Empower Officials to Engage Directly With Their Constituents in Unprecedented Ways
6 C. Defendants’ Use of Twitter Establishes That They Created a Public Forum Along With a Channel for Government Speech
9 II. President Trump Engaged in Unconstitutional Viewpoint Discrimination When He Blocked the Individual Plaintiffs Because of Their Criticisms of Him and His Policies
16 A. The First Amendment Prohibits Public Officials from Censoring Speech Because of Its Political Viewpoint
16 B. Permitting the President to Selectively Block Speakers from His Twitter Account Can Mislead the Public and Distort Public Dialogue


Mar 20, 3:02pm Top

Devin Nunes is suing Twitter over tweets he feels are slanderous for $250,000,000!!!

Article from vox.com

"He argued that Twitter is the “main proliferator” of “slanderous” news and even added that he considered his lawsuit part of the Russia investigation."

If you haven't heard, one of the slanderous accounts is Devin Nunes' Cow which has greatly benefited from the exposure and has exponentially garnered followers.

Thanks for the comedic break, Devin.

Also supplying humor is Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway, who posted the definition of narcissistic personality disorder and Trump continued to prove Mr. Conway's point.

Politico article here.

Re Facebook's responsibility to remove white supremacists horrid posts before people can find them: I find it interesting (and maybe a little sad) that it comes at the same time that Facebook has just come under the gun for invading members' privacy. It's a razor thin line between privacy and safety that is a lesson we are all learning since 9/11 and the creation of the NSA. Yes, I believe that if someone posts rants that promise death and mayhem that steps should be taken to remove the crap from public view, however, I don't believe that Facebook should be cruising through everyone's sites looking for it. There are examples where people found examples and reported them to the police who then stopped the poster from taking action. It happened here in my small community, in fact and a school shooting may have been stopped before it might have started.

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