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The Trump / Republican / Russian War on Facts, Data, and Reality


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#201 LFC

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 11:46 AM

Cohen said he made payments on Trump's orders to hire some dirtbag from Liberty University (what a shock) to skew online polls.

Quote

Michael Cohen in a tweet Thursday morning more or less confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that he paid an IT specialist in early 2015 for rigging two online polls in favor of President Trump.

The tweet said that what Cohen did was “at the direction of and for the sole benefit” of Trump. Cohen was reimbursed for the payment — purportedly some $12,000 handed to the specialist in cash, though Cohen claims it was a check — with $50,000 from Trump and his company, according to the Journal.

Quote

Michael Cohen
@MichaelCohen212
As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging, what I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @realDonaldTrump @POTUS. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.

Gauger received the $12,000 to $13,000 in a Walmart bag that also contained a boxing glove Cohen claimed had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter, the Journal reported

Cohen never paid the specialist, John Gauger, the rest of the $50,000 he owed, Gauger told the Journal.

Gauger, whose company is called RedFinch Solutions LLC, is also the chief information officer at Liberty University in Virginia, according to the Journal, which is how he first connected with Cohen in 2012, after a speech Trump gave at the evangelical university run by Jerry Falwell, Jr.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#202 LFC

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:15 PM

Russian hackers are still at it.

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Russia’s military intelligence directorate, the GRU, has been caught in a new round of computer intrusion attempts, this time aimed at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent Washington, D.C. think tank heavy with ex-government officials.

The new efforts by the Kremlin hackers who notoriously breached the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign to support Donald Trump suggests that indictments, international sanctions, a botched assassination and an unprecedented global spotlight have done little to deter Vladimir Putin from continuing to target the West with his hacker army, even as American intelligence agencies warn that Russia is gearing up to interfere in the 2020 election.

“We’ve about exhausted our ability to achieve some kind of deterrent model that works,” said Robert Johnston, the security expert who investigated the 2016 DNC breach, and now heads the financial cybersecurity firm Adlumin. “You have indictments. You have Cyber Command releasing Russian malware. We ran psyops inside of Russia saying, ‘We know what you’re up to, stop it.’ Sanctions and diplomatic measures. The combination of all those isn’t enough to make it come to a complete halt.”

Time to treat Russia like China (except with forethought, something Trump isn't capable of). Team up with European nations and say "Stop it or we'll f***ing choke your ability to export to any of us or have access to our financial systems." Putin is more than overdue for a hard swat on the nose.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#203 LFC

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:16 PM

Iran is getting in on the action as well.

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Facebook announced Thursday that it has removed over 700 pages, groups, and accounts tied to Iran that engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The social-media giant said in a press release that the inauthentic campaigns “heavily” targeted those in the Middle East and South Asia, and some accounts repurposed “Iranian state media content.” According to Facebook, over 2 million people followed the pages, groups, and Instagram accounts in question. The company also found that these accounts spent less than $30,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads using “US dollars, UK pounds, Canadian dollars, and euros.”

The Washington Post also reported that Twitter identified “thousands” of inauthentic accounts linked to Iran, Venezuela, and Russia that were spreading disinformation and targeting the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The platform reportedly removed over 2,600 accounts thought to be tied to an Iranian campaign, with only a small fraction targeting the 2018 midterms. Twitter also reportedly said it removed 764 accounts thought to have originated from Venezuela and “mimicked Russia’s information operations.” The website found the Venezuelan accounts tweeted about the midterms “50,000 times,” and were also involved in a second campaign targeting their own country’s internal politics. Four hundred and eighteen Russian accounts were also reportedly found and removed prior to Election Day, but the website said it could not definitively tie the accounts to the Internet Research Agency—a Russian troll farm whose alleged members have been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 election.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#204 LFC

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 12:21 PM

The Russian use of Twitter to subvert our elections was wider than previously known. Of course this hasn't kept Trump and McConnell from blocking any substantive attempts to prevent it from happening again because, after all, why wouldn't they want it to happen again? It worked to their advantage.

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Russia's infamous troll farm conducted a campaign on Twitter before the 2016 elections that was larger, more coordinated and more effective than previously known, research from cybersecurity firm Symantec out Wednesday concluded.

The Internet Research Agency campaign may not only have had more sway — reaching large numbers of real users — than previously thought, it also demonstrated ample patience and might have generated income for some of the phony accounts, Symantec found.

The company analyzed a massive data set Twitter released in October 2018 on nearly 3,900 accounts and 10 million tweets.

The research discovered that the average lag between account creation and first tweet was 177 days. The most retweeted account garnered 6 million retweets, and less than 2,000 of those came from within the IRA-linked network of accounts. The huge delay points to a lot of patient preparation, and the retweets indicate that a lot of unaffiliated Twitter users were amplifying the IRA's message.

While most of the accounts were automated, they frequently demonstrated evidence of manual manipulation, such as slight wording changes in an apparent bid to dodge detection, according to Symantec.

"While this propaganda campaign has often been referred to as the work of trolls, the release of the dataset makes it obvious that it was far more than that," the company wrote. "It was planned months in advance and the operators had the resources to create and manage a vast disinformation network."

Some accounts also appeared to generate revenue via URL shorteners, with one account even earning as much as $1 million, although those were apparently rogue accounts operating outside the IRA's main mission.

The research also found that the accounts played to both sides of the aisle more than previously believed, and that most of them were fakes pretending to be regional news outlets, while a smaller subset amplified those messages.

"The campaign directed propaganda at both sides of the liberal/conservative political divide in the U.S., in particular the more disaffected elements of both camps," Symantec found.

And the company warned in the closing message of its study: "The sheer scale and impact of this propaganda campaign is obviously of deep concern to voters in all countries, who may fear a repeat of what happened in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election in 2016."

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#205 Traveler

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 07:51 AM

You gotta hand it to the Russians how masterful the con was. Now if they could only apply such effort to actually helping themselves instead of hassling everyone else.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#206 LFC

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:06 AM

The Trump administration is dismantling the USDA by forcing federal employees to choose between their careers and not being forced to move. Machiavelli Mick Mulvaney outright admitted it. The reasons originally announced by the USDA are far different as you might imagine.

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The journalist Michael Kinsley famously defined a “gaffe” as when a politician tells the truth. Mick Mulvaney seems to have gone and told the truth this weekend.

At a GOP fundraiser back home in South Carolina on Friday, the White House chief of staff celebrated a decision announced recently by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Hundreds of government economists and researchers based in Washington, D.C., the secretary said in June, were being given a choice: Move to Kansas City, or get out. They had 33 days to decide.

“Guess what happened?” Mulvaney asked his audience. “More than half the people quit.”

The stark choice offered by Perdue, and Mulvaney’s celebration of its fallout, capped a year-long, slow-motion panic inside two small federal agencies.

An inspector general’s investigation was launched in November into the legality of the relocation, and reported Monday that Perdue may have improperly circumvented Congress. In the intervening months, experts in agricultural economics, food security, nutrition and scores of other fields watched as their jobs, once backed by bipartisan support in administration after administration, became representative of the “swamp” President Donald Trump had been elected to drain.

The relocation, Mulvaney said, offered proof he was draining it.

“Now, it’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker,” he continued Friday, citing his own experiences. But by simply saying to workers that they would have to move “out into the real part of the country,” the agency had achieved its goal.

“What a wonderful way to streamline government, and do what we haven’t been able to do for a long time,” Mulvaney said. Applause rolled across the Silver Elephant fundraising gala.

Mulvaney was right about the numbers. According to what the USDA has told news outlets, and what a union leader told TPM Tuesday, more than half of USDA employees forced to choose whether to relocate said they would not.

At least for now, that means they’ll lose their jobs on Sept. 30, when they are expected to report to work in “real” America.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#207 golden_valley

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 10:30 AM

View PostLFC, on 07 August 2019 - 10:06 AM, said:

The Trump administration is dismantling the USDA by forcing federal employees to choose between their careers and not being forced to move. Machiavelli Mick Mulvaney outright admitted it. The reasons originally announced by the USDA are far different as you might imagine.

And I thought I read somewhere that there wasn't even any office/building in Kansas City in which to put them anyway.

#208 LFC

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:26 PM

TPM calls it "organized lying."

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The House GOP leadership has circulated talking points to its members instructing them to respond to questions about mass shootings by claiming they are all motivated by people “from the left.”

There can be zero doubt in any thinking person's mind on the fact that Republicans are running cover for white supremacists. This is too important a part of their base.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#209 LFC

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 10:17 AM

View PostLFC, on 07 August 2019 - 10:06 AM, said:

The Trump administration is dismantling the USDA by forcing federal employees to choose between their careers and not being forced to move. Machiavelli Mick Mulvaney outright admitted it. The reasons originally announced by the USDA are far different as you might imagine.

And now comes the punitive actions. I can't remember who said it first but it's sooooo true, cruelty really is the entire point.

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The USDA is slashing buyout payments for economists and researchers at two small agencies who are leaving their jobs after the Department announced that their positions were being moved to Kansas City.

In a document first flagged by Vice News’ Morgan Baskin, the USDA said it was cutting the payment from $25,000 to $10,000 “due to the volume of applications” it had received for voluntary separation. The union representing affected employees confirmed to TPM Tuesday that buyout payments were being reduced.

According to the document, the USDA is giving employees until Monday to decide whether they will take the money, known as a “Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment,” with the stipulation that they will forfeit the full pre-tax amount if they return to federal service within five years.

“It’s hard to imagine USDA management finding more ways to demoralize the workers at these two agencies, yet they continue to top themselves at every turn,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.

In June, the USDA announced that hundreds of affected employees from the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), two small agencies providing economic and research expertise, would be relocated to the Kansas City region by Sept. 30.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#210 LFC

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 09:58 AM

The Trumpies are organizing their attacks on the media before the election. I hope the media lash back ... HARD.

Quote

President Donald Trump’s allies are reportedly on an organized mission to undermine journalists who provide the “negative” coverage of Trump that the President constantly complains about.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that a group of pro-Trump conservatives are crafting a supposedly vast compilation of damaging public statements and social media posts made by the reporters.

Several unnamed people “familiar with the operation” claimed to the Times that they had assembled such data on hundreds of journalists in their aggressive crusade against what Trump’s allies consider unflattering coverage of the President.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#211 LFC

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 09:13 AM

The effort to attack individual journalists is now trying to raise money. This is the American right, fighting facts and reality with all they've got. If the Dems start following the track of the Republicans then nothing anybody ever did will ever mean anything. Maybe that's their goal; lack of accountability.

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Allies of President Donald Trump reportedly want to raise millions for their crusade against journalists.

According to a Tuesday Axios report, pro-Trump conservatives are trying to raise $2 million to fund their mission to gather damaging information on reporters and editors from major outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post.

The New York Times reported last week that the President’s allies were compiling dossiers based on journalists’ old posts on social media and public comments in order to undermine the “Fake News” Trump whines about virtually every day.

This new effort seems to be a more formal offshoot of the looser endeavor to dig up embarrassing or potentially professional damaging social media posts from journalists.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#212 golden_valley

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 10:05 AM

View PostLFC, on 04 September 2019 - 09:13 AM, said:

The effort to attack individual journalists is now trying to raise money. This is the American right, fighting facts and reality with all they've got. If the Dems start following the track of the Republicans then nothing anybody ever did will ever mean anything. Maybe that's their goal; lack of accountability.


The Trump Admin took down the FBI dude Straczk simply because of text messages to his mistress that showed he didn't like Trump as a candidate or potential president. They're looking for stuff like that to use against journalists.

#213 LFC

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 04:46 PM

The GOP affiliated firm that Mark Zuckerberg used to perform opposition research on critics is rebranding. Don't expect better.

Quote

On Wednesday, Politico reported that Definers Public Affairs, a scandal-tainted Republican communications firm that raised the ire of some members of their own party, is rebranding.

Several officials from the firm, including cofounder and former Mitt Romney strategist Matt Rhoades, are exiting to take up with the pro-Trump lobbyist firm CGCN Group. The other cofounder, Joe Pounder, is rebranding the company Bullpen Strategy Group.

Definers became mired in controversy last November, after The New York Times reported that the firm had partnered with Facebook to launch “campaign-style opposition research” against entities criticizing or threatening to investigate the social networking giant — including some Republican senators.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#214 LFC

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 04:11 PM

Remember all of the right-wing screeching about indoctrination under Obama? Nobody could explain how it was going to happen, they just KNEW it was going to happen. Of course we have innumerable examples of the right-wing breathlessly accusing the other side of the very thing they're doing but how does this apply now? In Arkansas we can see exactly how it's happening; money from the Walton family to privatize the state's schools. I picture history lesson plans created by going through Faux News archives.

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The headquarters of the Walton/Walmart billionaires is in Bentonville, Arkansas, so it is not surprising that the Walton Family Foundation and the members of the family (net worth: $100 billion) have decided to privatize the public schools of Arkansas.

Arkansas is a poor state. It doesn’t have an abundance of private schools that are as good as its underfunded public schools but the Waltons want every child to have a voucher for a charter school to attend.

Legislators are easy to buy in a poor state. The Waltons own quite a few.

The Alabama Education Association did the research and described the empire that the Waltons have constructed in service to their goal of owning and privatizing the public schools of Arkansas. In the Walton plan, there will be no “public schools,” only privately managed charter schools and vouchers for religious schools.


Walmart education, where the teachers workers are paid poverty wages and the textbooks are all purchased from China.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#215 LFC

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:15 AM

One of Trumpies minions in the DOJ is accused of awarding grants based on politics. What a shock. And what happened next is exactly what the Trumpies call the deep state; career civil servants protecting our nation from overt and illegal politicization of government programs. We have more than enough of that already.

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A Justice Department official appointed by President Donald Trump let partisan political considerations infect a federal grant-awarding process, according to a complaint to the DOJ inspector general.

The complaint name-checks Office for Victims of Crime Director Darlene Hutchinson Biehl, a former Montgomery, Alabama lifestyle writer and longtime crime victims advocate.

The complaint accuses Hutchinson Biehl of announcing her intention to search through potential outside consultants’ social media accounts for evidence of their political views before deciding whether to take them on, according to a person familiar with the filing.

OVC relies on outside peer reviewers to help examine potential recipients of federal grants that it doles out. Hutchinson Biehl is accused of trying to select peer reviewers based on whether they support Trump’s immigration policy or whether they are in favor of legalizing prostitution.

Reuters first reported the complaint’s existence on Wednesday.

Career DOJ employees submitted the complaint to the inspector general Aug 16 via their union local in DC, a unit of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

“It has always been that peer reviewers were selected upon expertise and not upon political views,” AFSCME Local 2830 president Marilyn Moses told TPM. “We’ve asked for an investigation to find out whether or not [these allegations] are true and, second, whether she acted upon these things.”

Between six and eight employees approached the union with the allegations, Moses said, starting in early July.

The problem began after Hutchinson Biehl convened a meeting with a group of staffers where the office’s grant-awarding process was discussed.

At the meeting, Hutchinson Biehl allegedly announced to employees that she would start looking through prospective peer reviewers’ social media profiles for evidence that they dissented from Trump’s immigration policy or supported legalizing sex work.

The OVC employees were so rattled by the encounter, Moses recalled, that they went to a career management staffer for clarification on Hutchinson Biehl’s comments. That staffer allegedly reiterated what Hutchinson Biehl – who took office in August 2017 – had said, leading them to begin speaking with the union.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#216 LFC

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 06:58 AM

The Trump administration was going to allow a journalist they knew was in danger be arrested in Egypt.

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In a New York Times op-ed, the newspaper’s publisher writes that the Trump administration had no intention of alerting or protecting a journalist in Egypt who was in potential danger. A.G. Sulzberger recalled that in 2017, a U.S. government official called the newspaper warning of the “imminent arrest” of Times reporter Declan Walsh, who was based in Egypt at the time. The official said he was notifying them without the knowledge or permission of the administration and believed the administration intended to let the arrest be carried out. The official also said he feared punishment for notifying them. In response, the Times turned to Walsh's native country of Ireland—which had diplomats escort Walsh to an airport within an hour before Egyptian forces could arrest him. “We hate to imagine what would have happened had that brave official not risked their career to alert us to the threat,” Sulzberger wrote.


Clearly they've been perfectly willing to have journalists from outlets they don't like be arrested, probably tortured, and possibly killed by a foreign government. Their depravity can't sink any lower. It just gets broader.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#217 golden_valley

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 09:46 AM

View PostLFC, on 06 September 2019 - 10:15 AM, said:

One of Trumpies minions in the DOJ is accused of awarding grants based on politics. What a shock. And what happened next is exactly what the Trumpies call the deep state; career civil servants protecting our nation from overt and illegal politicization of government programs. We have more than enough of that already.

What a can of worms social media turned out to be. People thought they were communicating with friends and so revealed themselves with information that was once just the private conversations between friends in person or on the phone. Now employers, troll, and enemies mine social media for "dirt" on someone.

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:48 PM

Liz Warren just trolled Facebook over them being a highly effective vehicle for the delivery of political lies.

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It was a pretty good troll. On Friday, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign ran an ad on Facebook saying that the social media giant had endorsed President Trump.

It hasn’t, of course — as the ad acknowledged a few sentences later. The goal, which it achieved and then some, was to draw attention to Facebook’s recent refusal to take down a Trump campaign ad that makes an objectively false claim about former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, and the threat that stance poses to fair elections. Let’s see how you like having lies told publicly about you, Warren was saying to Mark Zuckerberg and company.

Facebook’s decision on the Biden ad wasn’t a one-off. As Warren later noted on Twitter, Facebook recently tweaked its policies to make its stance on false political content even more hands-off than before. “It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak,” a company VP wrote in explaining the move.

Attacks that play fast and loose with the facts may seem like the kind of hardball politics that’s gone on forever. After all, in 1828, Andrew Jackson’s campaign falsely accused President John Quincy Adams of pimping out an American girl to the Russian czar earlier in his career. But when voters make decisions based on false information spread virally to millions, the damage to the integrity of our elections is profound.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#219 LFC

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 02:00 PM

The Russian cyber warfare unit that attacked the DNC is back in action. In fact they may never have been out of action, or at least not for very long. This is the type of interference that Republicans are desperate to protect.

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A stealthy Russian cyber espionage ring known as “The Dukes” is back on security experts’ radar nearly three years after vanishing without a trace. One clue that they were operating came in the form of a cryptic Reddit post that turned out to be a secret signaling mechanism for the spies’ malware.

Also called “Cozy Bear” and “APT29,” the Dukes have been linked to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR. They’re stealthy, sophisticated operators best known as the other Russian hackers in the DNC’s network—the ones who lurked quietly, undetected by the Democrats, for nearly a year before the GRU’s hackers barged in to carry out Putin’s 2016 election interference plan.

In January 2017, as global concern about Russia’s state-sponsored hacking swelled, the Dukes vanished. A phishing campaign that month against the government of Norway became the last hack attack strongly linked to the group.

A year later, a Dutch newspaper detailed a remarkable years-long counter-hack against the Dukes in the years before they went dark. The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD broke into the Dukes’ network in 2014, and spent years watching the Russians, at one point literally eyeballing them through the security cameras in the Moscow university the Dukes were operating from. From their privileged perch, the Dutch relayed information to U.S. officials in real time to help thwart the Dukes’ breach of U.S. State Department systems, and then tipped off the U.S. again when the Dukes hit the DNC in 2015. (The FBI later passed the warning to the DNC, which didn’t initially take it seriously). Experts speculated the Dukes had been shut down or were busy regrouping in the wake of unwanted publicity and the embarrassing Dutch counter-hack.

But a report Thursday by researchers at the European security firm ESET concludes that the Dukes never went away at all—they just retooled, developing new harder-to-spot versions of their custom malware. Based on code similarities, a common custom encryption algorithm and other indicators, ESET said it’s linked the Dukes to a continuous chain of hacks dating back to 2013, and still going on as of last June.

“We spent months apparently chasing a ghost then, a few months ago, we were able to attribute several distinct intrusions to the Dukes,” reads the report by ESET researchers Matthieu Faou, Mathieu Tartare and Thomas Dupuy. The Russians’ targets, according to the report, include three unnamed European foreign affairs ministries and an unnamed European embassy in Washington, D.C.—all typical targets for cyber espionage.

The Dukes’ creative opsec is one reason they’ve stayed invisible for so long. The hackers often use coded messages broadcast on Twitter or dropped on Dropbox to communicate with their hacked machines secretly in plain sight, even posting steganographically-coded photos on public image boards.

ESET’s research adds Reddit to the list of sites co-opted into cyber espionage. The researchers identified two accounts dating to 2014 that were created for the sole purpose of posting coded messages on subreddits, including the r/funny humor board. The hackers’ malware would check for new posts and decrypt a seemingly-nonsensical word in the comment to get the website address of one of the Dukes’ command-and-control servers.

The takeaway, ESET said, is that state-sponsored hackers “going dark for several years does not mean they have stopped spying. They might pause for a while and re-appear in another form, but they still need to spy.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 01:28 PM

Facebook just shut down another pile of accounts held by Russian trolls.

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Facebook on Monday removed nearly 200 newly discovered fake accounts linked separately to Iran and to Russia’s Internet Research Agency. The takedowns demonstrate that foreign influence operations are already targeting the 2020 election, but provide evidence that Russia’s notorious troll farm is struggling to regain anything close to the influence in held in 2016.

The new wave of takedowns targeted separate networks of deceptive accounts created by Iran and Russia, including dozens of fake Facebook organization pages. In a press call, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the takedowns show the company has come far since getting caught flat-footed in 2016. “The fact that we’ve identified them proactively should provide some confidence that our systems here are working,” Zuckerberg said.

The Russian accounts were far more focused on U.S. domestic issues, but in terms of sheer numbers and longevity, the Iranian effort outstripped Russia. The Iranian accounts included 21 Instagram accounts and 135 fake Facebook accounts propping up 26 phony organization pages and four Facebook groups. More than 90 of the accounts were primarily focused on U.S. readers, with the others mostly targeting Latin America. The accounts largely pushed links to Iranian propaganda on state-run news outlets, according to Facebook.

As with past takedowns, the company’s announcement only identified a handful of the Iranian personas. Of those, though, one stands out as eerily reminiscent of Russia’s 2016 efforts—a Facebook page called “BLMnews” that purported to be a news site covering the Black Lives Matters movement. The page had a meager 45 followers, and, according to Facebook, was devoted to driving traffic to an associated website that’s been operating since August 2016, according to Internet registration records.

Russia’s Internet Research Agency ran similar sites and Facebook pages during and after the 2016 election season, some with sizable followings. But so far the Saint Petersburg troll farm appears to have a long way to go. Of the 50 accounts banned by Facebook on Monday, all but one were on Instagram alone, with no Facebook presence at all. The Russian operation appears to be in the early stages, Facebook said. “They're still trying to build their audience, and they put significant operation security into concealing who they were,” said company cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher in Monday’s press call.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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