Phony campaign to smear Mayor Pete
❝ On April 29 someone shared a post titled “Pete Buttigieg Sexually Assaulted Me” on Medium, a site that lets anyone upload stories, essays and any other bit of text. It was attributed to a college student named Hunter Kelly.
Within hours, the fake allegation against the South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate would begin to crumble, and the real story — the story of the smear campaign — would emerge…
❝ According to Kelly, the scheme started when Jacob Wohl, a far-right internet personality, messaged Kelly on Instagram. “Do you want to be part of a political operation?” the message said, according to a copy reviewed by CNN.
Kelly, a 21-year-old, gay, Donald Trump-supporter, was intrigued. On Sunday, the Michigan native took a late flight to the Washington area booked for him by Wohl and Jack Burkman, a Republican lobbyist and a conspiracy theorist…
Hunter Kelly was sickened by the plan to produce a phony account of sexual assault by Mayor Pete. Wohl and Burkman went ahead with their plan, anyway. Apparently, they didn’t expect Kelly to speak up once they had the plot rolling.
They were wrong.
Barry Ritholtz says, “Don’t let the trolls get you down!”
❝ I began sharing my work online two decades ago as one of the early financial bloggers. I started on Yahoo Geocities in the 1990s, Typepad in 2003, and finally on WordPress at my own domain in 2008. That is where the Big Picture still resides…
Alas, a classic case of the tragedy of the commons struck, rendering comments mostly worthless as they were overrun with spam advertising and trolls. Managing them was a giant time suck, with no effective technology solution. It was with some reluctance that I finally decided to close down my blog comments. For the same reasons, you will not find a comment section below my Bloomberg View columns.
❝ Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive officer, seems to be making some progress in the company’s response as it begins cleaning up its act and banning some of the most egregious offenders. It has also given users more tools to help them avoid the worst of the trolls. This is good news for those of us in the financial community, as Twitter is a tremendous resource.
Reading discussions between a few law professors about their Twitter usage (see this and this) reminded me of this. Because I find Twitter to be enormously helpful, I want you to also take advantage of its resources. Here are a few ideas that can help you, too…
RTFA. We can always use more suggestions about dealing with the ego-smitten or simply corrupt folk who take up otherwise useful space online.
Cartoon: Resignation letter
The Godfather of fake news can’t fool the Left – but, it’s red meat for Trump Chumps
❝ A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.” The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.
We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.
We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help…
From the geek side of the question, the track-down is interesting.
❝ Jestin Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right…
He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.
“What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something that had just never happened…”
❝ During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. “It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they’re about to get served,” Coler says. “It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election.”
❝ Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.
Coler said that Lefties reading fake news generally debunk the story by the 2nd comment. Har.
RTFA. It’s a cautionary tale. Too bad the incompetents so often working as let’s-pretend journalists for the news-as-entertainment media don’t get it. Nor do the creeps in Fox Noise copycats. If fake news fits their ideology it doesn’t require fact-checking.
The Pentagon wages war on transparency, accountability, truth and American taxpayers
❝ …The United States is on track to spend more than $600 billion on the military this year — more, that is, than was spent at the height of Pres. Ronald Reagan’s Cold War military buildup and more than the military budgets of at least the next seven nations in the world combined.
And keep in mind that that’s just a partial total. As an analysis by the Straus Military Reform Project has shown, if we count related activities like homeland security, veterans’ affairs, nuclear warhead production at the Department of Energy, military aid to other countries and interest on the military-related national debt, that figure reaches a cool $1 trillion.
The more that’s spent on “defense,” however, the less the Pentagon wants us to know about how those mountains of money are actually being used. As the only major federal agency that can’t pass an audit, the Department of Defense is the poster child for irresponsible budgeting.
❝ It’s not just that its books don’t add up, however. The Pentagon is taking active measures to disguise how it is spending the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars it receives every year — from using the separate “war budget” as a slush fund to pay for pet projects that have nothing to do with fighting wars to keeping the cost of its new nuclear bomber a secret.
Add in dozens of other secret projects hidden in the department’s budget and the Pentagon’s poorly documented military aid programs, and it’s clear that the Defense Department believes it has something to hide…
❝ An entrenched bureaucracy is determined not to provide information that might be used to bring its sprawling budget — and so the institution itself — under control. That’s why budgetary deception has become such a standard operating procedure at the Department of Defense.
As corrupt as Congress is, as deliberately deceptive and hypocritical most residents of the White House have been for decades, the Pentagon can give lessons to the world of thieves. RTFA for example after example of crooked deals designed to siphon away taxpayer dollars.
Our military-industrial complex makes the Mafia look like streetcorner gangbangers who just dropped out of high school. They have been stealing for so long, untouched and impervious to oversight, they limit the number of illegitimate zeros added to contracts to how much ink is left in the pen.
Cartoon of the day
Congressmen skip Syria briefing – responsibility ain’t a priority
Kerry – the phony peace activist – gets what he deserves
Even as many members of Congress insist they’re holding out on a final decision on war in Syria until they have more time to study the issue, only a fraction actually attended Thursday’s classified intelligence briefing on Syria in the basement of the Capitol. The briefing was open to all senators and representatives of both parties. But only a few dozen members—mostly Democrats—ultimately emerged several hours after it started.
The spotty attendance of Thursday’s briefing (members will have another chance to review intelligence on Friday) underscores one of the larger problems facing the administration as it attempts to build support for next week’s expected vote on an authorization to use military force. Instead of getting the hard sell in Washington, many members of Congress are still finishing up the summer recess in their districts, where they’re encountering overwhelming backlash to any intervention from constituents. Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said calls of opposition outnumber calls for intervention in his district 100 to 1—”like everyone else.” Texas GOP Rep. John Culberson put the ratio slightly lower—99 to 1…
…None of the members who entered on-the-fence seemed to emerge much closer to a final decision…Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Tex.) said “this is an opportunity for Americans to stand together,” but offered no indication of how those Americans should stand. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) just walked really fast.
Perhaps that’s because there was nothing much new to offer. Grayson, one of the most outspoken opponents of intervention—he dressed for the occasion in a black tie plastered with multi-colored peace signs and reminded reporters, once more, that he owns the website DontAttackSyria.com — lamented that the presentation he saw on Thursday was almost identical to the one he’d heard earlier in the week. “They are recycling the same old stuff,” he said. “I heard nothing new.”
About what I’d expect from the phonies who blather the most about our Constitution – and do their best to impede the federal government. Cripes, their arguments were settled back in the day of Henry Clay. Want to have a standing army, navy, military to suit every chance to invade someone? Pay for it. Want highways and airports? Pay for it.
No one is better at lying about responsibility than conservative cheapskates and freeloaders.
America’s Exceptional Fiscal Conservatism
In most countries, to be “fiscally conservative” means to worry a great deal about the budget deficit and debt levels – and to push these issues to the top of the policy agenda. In many eurozone countries today, “fiscal conservatives” are a powerful group, insisting on the need to boost government revenue while bringing spending under control. In Great Britain, too, leading Conservatives have recently proved willing to raise taxes and attempted to limit future spending.
The United States is very different in this respect. There, leading politicians who choose to call themselves “fiscal conservatives” – such as Paul Ryan, now the Republican Party’s presumptive vice-presidential nominee to run alongside presidential candidate Mitt Romney in November’s election – care more about cutting taxes, regardless of the effect on the federal deficit and total outstanding debt. Why do US fiscal conservatives care so little about government debt, relative to their counterparts in other countries?
It has not always been this way. For example, in 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s advisers suggested that he should cut taxes in order to pave the way for his vice president, Richard Nixon, to be elected to the presidency. Eisenhower declined, partly because he did not particularly like or trust Nixon, but mostly because he thought it was important to hand over a more nearly balanced budget to his successor.
Teen pregnancy drops sharply — getting children pregnant still most popular in the Bible Belt
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.