mfioretti: usa 2016*

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  1. Some observers have speculated that Trump's volatile week, which has included retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a British hate group and making a racially disparaging remark during an appearance with Native American war heroes, may have reflected a mind scrambled by signs that Flynn was about to enter a plea deal.
    The impact on Trump's temperament and mood -- at a time of a dangerous nuclear crisis involving North Korea -- and the potential of the latest Russia revelations to further distract him -- will be even more closely watched now.
    The sheer magnitude of Friday's events left Trump's defenders within his party with yet another infuriating distraction in their relationship with the President.
    Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, who is leading his own probe into the Russia issue, refused multiple requests by CNN's Manu Raju to comment on Friday's bombshell developments.
    It is a measure of the shocking significance of the Flynn news that it completely obliterated two other massive political developments -- the apparently imminent passage of the most sweeping tax reform bill for 30 years in a hugely significant victory for Trump and the stunning public humiliation of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by the White House.
    In many ways that's the story of the Trump presidency itself -- everything has been overshadowed by Russia.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/01/pol...s/russia-trump-white-house/index.html
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-02)
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  2. I do believe that this time is different, the beginning of a massive shift, and I believe it’s the fault of these social networks.

    One of the problems is that these platforms act, in many ways, like drugs. Facebook, and every other social-media outlet, knows that all too well. Your phone vibrates a dozen times an hour with alerts about likes and comments and retweets and faves. The combined effect is one of just trying to suck you back in, so their numbers look better for their next quarterly earnings report. Sean Parker, one of Facebook’s earliest investors and the company’s first president, came right out and said what we all know: the whole intention of Facebook is to act like a drug, by “ giving » you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.” That, Parker said, was by design. These companies are “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya has echoed this, too. “Do I feel guilty?” he asked rhetorically on CNN about the role Facebook is playing in society. “Absolutely I feel guilt.”

    And then, there’s the biggest reason why people are abandoning the platforms: the promise of connection has turned out to be a reality of division. We’ve all watched the way Donald J. Trump used social media to drive a wedge between us all, the way he tweets his sad and pathetic insecurities out to the world, without a care for how calling an equally insecure rogue leader a childish name might put us all on the brink of nuclear war. There’s a point that watching it all happen in real time makes you question what you’re doing with your life. As for conversing with our fellow Americans, we’ve all tried, unsuccessfully, to have a conversation on these platforms, which has so quickly devolved into a shouting match, or pile-on from perfect strangers because your belief isn’t the same as theirs. Years ago, a Facebook executive told me that the biggest reason people unfriend each other is because they disagree on an issue. The executive jokingly said, “Who knows, if this keeps up, maybe we’ll end up with people only having a few friends on Facebook.” Perhaps, worse of all, we’ve all watched as Russia has taken these platforms and used them against us in ways no one could have comprehended a decade ago.
    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/...-social-era-twitter-facebook-snapchat
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  3. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.

    When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

    The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

    I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/sto.../02/clinton-brazile-hacks-2016-215774
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  4. In a largely automated platform like Facebook, what matters most is not the political beliefs of the employees but the structures, algorithms and incentives they set up, as well as what oversight, if any, they employ to guard against deception, misinformation and illegitimate meddling. And the unfortunate truth is that by design, business model and algorithm, Facebook has made it easy for it to be weaponized to spread misinformation and fraudulent content. Sadly, this business model is also lucrative, especially during elections. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, called the 2016 election “a big deal in terms of ad spend” for the company, and it was. No wonder there has been increasing scrutiny of the platform.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/opinion/mark-zuckerberg-facebook.html
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  5. Pressed by investigators in Congress, Facebook said Wednesday that it has found evidence that a pro-Kremlin Russian “troll farm” bought $100,000 worth of ads targeted at U.S. voters between 2015 and 2017. The finding was first reported by the Washington Post, and Facebook published its own statement Wednesday afternoon.

    A few of the roughly 3,000 ads that Facebook traced to the Russian company mentioned presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton directly, according to the Post’s sources. The majority focused on stoking people’s emotions around divisive issues such as “gun rights and immigration fears, as well as gay rights and racial discrimination.”

    Facebook wouldn’t disclose the ads in question, nor exactly how the scheme worked.
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_ten...olitical_ads_on_facebook_is_such.html
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  6. Relations between Democrats and religious progressives have been more difficult since 1980, when evangelicals deserted Jimmy Carter — one of their own, whom they had supported in 1976 — for Ronald Reagan.

    As Republicans cemented the Christian right as a cornerstone of the party’s base, Democrats moved in the opposite direction, so intent on separating church and state that they recoiled from courting religious blocs of voters, recalled Gary Hart, the former senator, who grew up in the Church of the Nazarene and graduated from divinity school.

    Interactive Feature | How Have Your Politics and Religion Mixed in Unexpected Ways? We would like to know more about how your religious beliefs have affected your political views and actions — or vice versa.

    During his ill-fated 1988 presidential campaign, Mr. Hart said, he was often asked, “‘Why don’t you talk about your religious background more?’ And the answer was, ‘I don’t want to be seen as pandering for votes.’”

    Issues on which the religious left is at odds with Democratic doctrine include military spending and the death penalty, though the most polarizing is abortion — the main barrier, for many liberal evangelicals and Catholics, to voting as Democrats — as could be seen when the party split recently over whether to endorse an anti-abortion Democrat running for mayor of Omaha.

    Setting abortion aside, political appeals based on religious beliefs continue to carry risk for Democrats, given the growing numbers of Americans who claim no religion: Secular voters overwhelmingly vote Democratic, and younger voters are far more secular than older voters.

    Still, Hillary Clinton’s snub of even moderate evangelicals in the 2016 presidential race squandered many opportunities to cut into Mr. Trump’s support. Where Barack Obama had worked hard in 2008 to show he would at least listen to evangelicals, Mrs. Clinton rebuffed interview requests from evangelical media outlets and signaled leftward moves on abortion rights that helped many conservative voters overcome their doubts about Mr. Trump.

    “The fact that one party has strategically used and abused religion, while the other has had a habitually allergic and negative response to religion per se, puts our side in a more difficult position in regard to political influence,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, the evangelical social justice advocate who founded the Sojourners community and magazine in 1971.

    “Most progressive religious leaders I talk to, almost all of them, feel dissed by the left,” he said. “The left is really controlled by a lot of secular fundamentalists.”
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/10....html?referer=https://t.co/RCF6eYd1hV
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  7. "In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling — and honest — defense of the president for divulging classified intelligence to the Russians: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of his briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or the knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would harm American allies."
    Oomph.
    Trump's lack of interest in details of policy is legion. We know from leaks from within the White House that Trump prefers bullet points, graphs and charts to word-heavy briefing books. A Reuters story this morning details the Trump White House's preparation for his first overseas trip set to start Friday and includes this eye-popping paragraph:
    "National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump's name in 'as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he's mentioned,' according to one source, who relayed conversations he had with NSC officials."
    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/donald-trump-russia-comey
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  8. Presidential candidate Trump’s embrace of Putin and calls for closer cooperation with Moscow put him at odds with the House Republican caucus, whose members have long advocated a harder line on Russia, with the exception of Rohrabacher and a few others.

    Among GOP leaders in the House, McCarthy stood out as a Putin critic who in 2015 called for the imposition of “more severe” sanctions for its actions in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

    In May 2016, McCarthy signed up to serve as a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention, breaking ranks with Ryan, who said he still was not ready to endorse the candidate. McCarthy’s relationship with Trump became so close that the president would sometimes refer to him as “my Kevin.”

    Trump was by then the lone Republican remaining in the contest for the nomination. Though Ryan continued to hold out, Trump picked up endorsements from the remaining GOP leaders in the House, including Rep. Steve Scalise, the majority whip from Louisiana, and Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) — both of whom took part in the June 15 conversation.

    Ryan announced on June 2 that he would vote for Trump to help “unite the party so we can win in the fall” but continued to clash with the candidate, including over Putin. While Trump sought to cast Putin as a better leader than then-President Obama, Ryan dubbed him an “aggressor” who didn’t share U.S. interests.

    On the same day as Ryan’s endorsement, Clinton stepped up her attacks on Trump over his public statements praising Putin. “If Donald gets his way, they’ll be celebrating in the Kremlin,” she said.

    Ukrainian officials were unnerved by Trump’s statements in support of Putin. Republicans, they had believed, were supposed to be tougher on Russia.

    When Trump named Paul Manafort as his campaign manager in April 2016, alarm bells in Kiev started ringing even louder. Manafort was already well known in Ukraine because of his influential role as a political consultant to Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s former Kremlin-friendly ruler until a popular uprising forced him to flee to Russia. Manafort had also consulted for a powerful Russian businessman with close ties to the Kremlin.

    “Ukraine was, in a sense, a testing ground for Manafort,” said Ukrainian political scientist Taras Berezovets, who became a grudging admirer of Manafort’s skills in the “dark arts” of political stagecraft while Berezovets was working for one of Yanukovych’s political rivals.

    At the urging of Manafort, Yanukovych campaigned with populist slogans labeling NATO a “menace” and casting “elites” in the Ukrainian capital as out of touch, Berezovets said. Trump struck similar themes during the 2016 campaign.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...aff-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-05-18)
    Voting 0
  9. from the comments:



    I haven't even read the article yet because the headline hit so close to home for me. This is exactly what led to my conversion. A staunch democrat and obama voter through his first term. Then got sick and tired of being called a racist just for being white, a sexist for being a man, a homophobe for being a Christian, and straw that broke the camels back was being called a transphobic for believing in boys and girls.


    CORRECTION: You're a homophobe for being heterosexual; being Christian makes you "anti-science." You're welcome. :)

    This is why there is no such thing as "white male privilege" no matter how loudly the Left wishes to shriek it. When you are a punching bag for bigotry and prejudice, passed over for education and employment, based on the color of your skin alone, then you aren't enjoying any sort of privilege. When you are automatically presumed to be a violent sexual predator simply because you have a penis you're not planning on rejecting, you are not enjoying any sort of privilege.
    http://www.dailywire.com/news/16216/s...ite-ben-shapiro#.WRHgaHZ7NOs.facebook
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  10. Amid a tense Democratic debate over whether pro-lifers have any place inside the party, Nancy Pelosi delivered a blunt message to her fellow Democrats: Trump won because of the party's rigid stance on abortion and other social issues.

    "You know what? That's why Donald Trump is president of the United States—the evangelicals and the Catholics, anti-marriage equality, anti-choice. That's how he got to be president," Pelosi told the Washington Post. "Everything was trumped, literally and figuratively by that."

    Indeed, the Democrats' declining performance solely among evangelicals between 2012 and 2016 was enough to cost Hillary Clinton the election, as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote at National Review in December.

    In her Washington Post interview, Pelosi urged Democrats to welcome pro-life voters and some candidates. "I grew up Nancy D'Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic," Pelosi said. "Most of those people—my family, extended family—are not pro-choice. You think I'm kicking them out of the Democratic Party?"

    "Bob Casey—you know Bob Casey—would you like him not to be in our party?" Pelosi said, referring to the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania who sometimes votes pro-life.

    Pelosi's comments were met with criticism from Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "Encouraging and supporting anti-choice candidates leads to bad policy outcomes that violate women's rights and endanger our economic security," Hogue told the Post.

    Hogue, NARAL's president, kicked off the current debate by urging opposition to a formerly pro-life Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska. DNC chair Tom Perez backed the candidate but later said that supporting a right to abortion is a "non-negotiable" issue for Democratic candidates.

    At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Hogue received cheers from the crowd when she gave a speech about how she aborted her first child not for any medical reason but simply because it was an inconvenient time to become a parent. The convention was also the first time that the party platform explicitly called for unlimited federal funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients.

    Sure, Pelosi sounds inclusive now, but it should not be forgotten that she played a key role in driving pro-life candidates and voters from her party. Pro-life Democrats were largely wiped out of Congress after she forced the 2010 vote on Obamacare, which allowed federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover elective abortions. That vote was a clear-cut case of political murder-suicide if there ever was one.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/pelosi-...ard+-+05%2F03%2F17&utm_medium=email#!
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