” Facebook has taken down a well-financed campaign that used dozens of artificially generated faces to spread pro-Trump and anti-Chinese government messages, the company and outside researchers said on Friday.
Researchers from New York-based Graphika and the Digitial Forensics Research Lab, an arm of the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said it was the first time they had seen the large-scale use of computer-generated faces to spread disinformation on social media…
” Facebook said 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts were involved in the network. The social media giant said those behind the operation had spent upward of $9 million on advertising to promote their content, which touched on hot-button issues such as “impeachment, conservative ideology, political candidates, elections, trade, family values and freedom of religion…”
Facebook said its investigation linked the activity to U.S.-based Epoch Media Group and individuals in Vietnam working on its behalf, though the accounts more openly associated with The BL, for the Beauty of Life…
” The Epoch Times was set up as a print publication by followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, banned in China, before moving heavily online. Its output has tended to steer toward support for Trump and attacks on his opponents.
The content removed by Facebook had the same tilt. Groups identified by the outside researchers bore names such as “America Needs President Trump,” “TRUMP MAGA 2020,” or “WE STAND WITH TRUMP & PENCE!”
Phew! Some heavy lifting on both attack and defense inside this one. Or maybe not. Maybe this crap is getting easier to pull off – especially on profit-at-all-cost sites like Facebook. Maybe this crap is getting easier to fund to the tune of million$ if you’re working for thugs like our Fake President.
❝ Passage of the House farm bill — which would re-authorize programs ranging from nutrition assistance and crop subsidies to rural development and agricultural research — moves Congress one step closer to sending a bill to President Donald Trump before the current legislation expires at the end of September…
House GOP leadership had to rely solely on Republican lawmakers to carry the measure — the first farm bill to pass either chamber with only one-party support — after Democrats revolted over its proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps. SNAP, which helps more than 40 million Americans buy groceries, accounts for more than three-quarters of the farm bill’s price tag…
❝ The House farm bill would also tighten eligibility criteria under SNAP — changes that would result in some 400,000 households losing SNAP benefits. Thousands of children would also risk losing their enrollment in free and reduced-price school meal programs.
But, hey, Congressional Republicans are proving they’re capable of passing something without permission from the Fake President. Of course, they only try if the legislation screws more working folks and their children.
Republicans only enjoy a little pr∅n
A widening scandal over the exchange of emails containing pornography by current and former members of the attorney general’s office has gripped the Pennsylvania capitol all week.
Pennsylvania’s state supreme court chief justice demanded information on whether any judges were part of the exchanges. Governor Tom Corbett, who was attorney general when the emails were exchanged, was forced to defend his management of the office as he campaigns for a second term.
And on Thursday, two top officials who followed Corbett from the attorney general’s office into his gubernatorial administration resigned…
Their departures came a week after Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office identified them as being among eight ex-employees who sent or received hundreds of pornographic images or videos in emails that were discovered during Kane’s review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse prosecution.
All eight men, who also include state police commissioner Frank Noonan, worked under Corbett while the latter was the state’s elected attorney general from 2005 to 2011. Corbett had requested details on the emails in question before determining if the four men employed in his administration should keep their jobs.
Kane is a Democrat who took office last year. Corbett, a Republican, is in the closing weeks of an uphill re-election campaign against Democrat Tom Wolf.
I doubt either of the two sleazy political parties we’re stuck with has a commanding lead over the other when it comes to morality or dedicating all their political time to working for the citizens who elect them. Still, the Republican tradition of holier-than-thou campaigning, moralizing about anyone and everyone who might come from anywhere other than fundamentalist Christian culture is contemptible in repeatedly being caught in lies about their so-called family values.
It’s more established in exception than in standards of practice. Pretty much everyone expects their deeds to contradict their words.
“I’m the ideal Republican candidate for President”
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife used taxpayer money to pay for sunscreen and dog vitamins, the Washington Post reported on Monday, a disclosure that comes as the Republican leader is said to be under scrutiny by the FBI.
The newspaper, citing spending records it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also said the McDonnells used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children and billed the state for deodorant, shoe repairs and a digestive system “detox cleanse.”
The Washington Post has previously reported that McDonnell, who has been mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2016, was under investigation by the FBI and a grand jury over a $15,000 catering bill from his daughter’s wedding in 2011 that was paid for by a campaign donor…
The governor has acknowledged that he stayed at the Roanoke, Virginia, home of the campaign donor, Jonnie Williams, and drove Williams’ Ferrari sports car back to Richmond.
Williams is the chief executive of Star Scientific Inc, a nutritional supplements maker in the Richmond area.
According to the Washington Post, the FBI is looking into whether the governor’s office helped advance the business interests of Williams in exchange for the gifts…
You have to love Republican family values – as practiced. The same hypocrites who prate all through election cycles about honesty and old-fashioned virtue – once they get into office the regal greed they foreswear takes priority in every aspect of their lives.
Richard Florida on this fascinating map, produced by the Centers for Disease Control:
There is good news: teen births are at their lowest level in more than 60 years (10 percent lower than 2009, 43 percent below their peak in 1970). But the geographic variation is substantial. Teen birthrates are highest in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and New Mexico,. There are slightly lower concentrations in the neighboring states of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arizona. New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have the lowest rates of teen births.
The full CDC report details drops in most states (excepting North Dakota, West Virginia and Montana), with the sharpest drops in Nevada, Arizona, California, Florida and Rhode Island. Elsewhere the impregnations continue apace, with Kansas, Michigan and Arkansas posting less dramatic declines.
The teen pregnancy rate is highest in Mississipi and lowest in New Hampshire, the CDC said.
Don’tcha love Family Values? Hypocrites who specialize in lying the most apparently have a thing for perpetuating babies having babies.
That’s the way it is here in New Mexico. We ain’t too far behind Mississippi’s record teen pregnancies and we don’t just have Kool Aid Party crap running through the airwaves. We have the one and only Roman Catholic Church explaining true morality to us all. As long as we skip science and good sense.
Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau has defended his cartoon strip about abortion, which several US newspapers are refusing to run, saying he felt compelled to respond to the way Republicans across America are undermining women’s healthcare rights.
The strip, published on Monday and scheduled to run all week, has been rejected by several papers, while others said they were switching it from the comic section to the editorial page.
In an email exchange with the Guardian, Trudeau expressed dismay over the papers’ decision but was unrepentant, describing as “appalling” and “insane” Republican state moves on women’s healthcare.
About 1,400 newspapers, including the Guardian, take the Doonesbury cartoon. The Guardian is running the cartoon as normal on Monday.
The strip deals specifically with a law introduced in Texas and other states requiring a woman who wants to have an abortion to have an ultrasound scan, or sonogram, which will show an image of the foetus and other details, in an attempt to make her reconsider…
The Kansas City Star is among the papers not running the cartoon in its normal slot. “We felt the content was too much for many of the readers of our family-friendly comic page,” an editor told Associated Press. The Star will use a replacement strip offered by the organisation that syndicates Doonesbury, Universal Uclick, and move the abortion one to its editorial pages…
Abortion, contraception and other social issues have resurfaced in politics in recent weeks, partly because they have been highlighted by the Republican candidates in the presidential race. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh referred to a student giving evidence to a congressional hearing in support of contraception as “a slut”.
Trudeau told the Guardian he thought the issue of reproductive freedom had been settled while he had still been at school: the Supreme Court 1973 ruling Roe v Wade, which removed restrictions on abortion.
Trudeau wrote: “Ninety-nine percent of American women have or will use contraception during their lifetimes. To see these healthcare rights systematically undermined in state after state by the party of ‘limited government’ is appalling. “In Texas, the sonograms are the least of it. The legislature has also defunded women’s health clinics all over the state, leaving 300,000 women without the contraceptive services that prevent abortions in the first place. Insanity.”
Perhaps not central to the question of why newspapers across America are in decline; but, cowardice in the face of bigotry and corporate churches with big bucks invested in so-called family values certainly plays a role.
A 19th Century outlook often accompanies the 19th Century pride in owning a newspaper even among independent locally-owned newspapers. The rest are simply part of corporate media empires which couldn’t care less about Freedom of the Press.
Archie Wilson [without his bible] awaiting arraignment
Bible toting Clermont County politician Archie Wilson surfaced from substance abuse treatment Tuesday to answer charges he traded prescription drugs for sex at a bed bug infested motel.
Wilson, 60, of Batavia Township, pleaded not guilty in Kenton District Court to soliciting prostitution and trafficking in a controlled substance, both misdemeanors that could send him to jail for up to 12 months.
Wilson, who is married with one son, refused to answer reporters’ questions as he left the Kenton County Justice Center…
Wilson, who was known for bringing his bible to County Commission meetings, resigned as a Clermont County commissioner earlier this month citing health concerns…
Wilson’s troubles began in June when a female inmate at the Clermont County jail, Amanda Lay [I kid you not], saw Wilson’s photo in a newspaper and asked to speak with a detective. She told investigators that Wilson, over a period of several weeks, had paid to have sex with her in Erlanger motels and that he had provided her with cocaine and pills, according to court records.
Lay…introduced authorities to second woman who claimed she also had “performed services” for Wilson in exchange for cash and prescriptions. While authorities have not released the name of the second woman, they said she told them she would “engage in shows or sexual encounters” for Wilson, whom she first met at the Venus adult dance club in Covington four years ago…
As I have been known to say in the past, there is sort of a natural justice to Family Values right-wing politicians getting caught with their pants down – lying about sex and drugs. I realize Christianity may hold the copyright on hypocrisy; but, today’s Republican Party – with appropriate aid from the Kool Aid Party – has perfected the process.
Contents potentially offensive to some. If you’re easily offended by George Carlin – go away!
The Supreme Court is poised to take a fresh look at a key aspect of multimedia regulation — “indecent” material aired on the broadcast networks during the supposedly “family friendly” prime-time hours of 8 to 10 p.m. Oral arguments in this key free-speech dispute will be held Tuesday.
Why pretend this is a “fresh” look? The fundamentalist nutballs in charge of America’s right-wing demand changes to free speech time after time. When sufficient pimps for censorship are in place in Congress and the Supreme Court – this predictable dog and pony show arrives on the set.
At issue is whether the Federal Communications Commission may constitutionally enforce its policies on “fleeting expletives” and scenes of nudity on prime-time television programs, both live and scripted. The agency had imposed hefty fines on broadcasters for separate incidents. An expected ruling by summer could establish important First Amendment guidelines over expressive content on the airwaves.
A range of competing interests are at stake: Free speech versus censorship; regulation versus responsibility; art versus indecency.
No consideration of a public capable of making a choice, competent to run their own family lives. The origins of “political correctness” in conservative censorship still rule.
ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox are all parties in the case challenging the FCC regulations. A federal appeals court in 2010 for a second time struck down the government’s policies, concluding they were vague and inconsistently applied. Pending fines against the broadcasters were dismissed. The government then appealed to the high court…