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Bill USA

Bill USA's Journal
Bill USA's Journal
March 31, 2017

Yes, Fake News Exists On The Left -- But It's Being Overblown - MM


The weaponized fake news stories that have emerged of late are certainly not confined to just one end of the political spectrum and are dangerous to political discourse regardless of partisan tilt. But a recent spate of articles trumpeting the so-called “rise of progressive ‘fake news’” omits the context necessary to understanding why the right-wing fake news ecosystem is so uniquely destructive, and in doing so collapses the collective understanding of fake news into a trite and distracting argument about “both sides.”

During the presidential campaign, fake news purveyors -- by and large right-wing, hyperpartisan fringe websites -- unleashed a blizzard of politically motivated lies packaged as legitimate news largely designed to undermine Hillary Clinton and boost Donald Trump. The onslaught of fabrications was effective: Fake news stories outperformed real ones on Facebook in the final campaign stretch, and most Americans who saw fake news during the election believed it.

But as it becomes clearer how and why right-wing fake news stories proliferated and succeeded, media outlets are now beginning to document an ostensible “uptick in fake news … with a distinctly liberal bent,” as The Guardian’s Sam Levin describes it, and to compare it to the flood of conservative fake news stories shared during the election.

The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer similarly writes that progressives have recently embraced fake news just like “conservative Facebook users [shared] stories that had nothing to do with reality” during the election, in what Meyer calls a “funny reversal of the situation from November.” And a BuzzFeed article claims that progressive “alarm, paranoia, and genuine outrage” are ushering in an increase in “ the left’s own distinct brand of the online phenomenon known as fake news.”

Some examples these outlets point to indeed fit the mold of weaponized fake news and are cause for concern. There are also other recent cases of unsubstantiated claims rocketing through the liberal blogosphere. Yes, fake news-purveying websites that cater to progressive audiences do exist and do, as BuzzFeed contends, “undermin(e) legitimate causes for outrage on the left.”

March 31, 2017

Mike Pence just cast tie-breaking vote to gut family planning

[font size="3"]Thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, the Senate just moved to roll back an Obama administration rule which provided family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood with protection from discrimination under Title X. This would be devastating to women and families, especially those living under conservative state governments. The final vote will come soon.[/font]


Women’s health and family planning capabilities are once again being targeted by Republicans, as the Senate just voted to roll back crucial protections, put in place by President Obama, that shielded organizations like Planned Parenthood from discrimination in funding by state governments.

And Vice President Mike Pence was all too happy to help them do it:

[div style="border:1px solid #000000;padding:10px;" class="excerpt"] Steven Dennis ✔ @StevenTDennis

Smiling VP Mike Pence just cast tie-breaking vote on bill allowing states to block public-health grants to Planned Parenthood.
11:37 AM - 30 Mar 2017 · Washington, DC

Enacted in 1970 — notably with bipartisan support — Title X is a critical program which provides federal funds to non-profit organizations which offer family planning services and information. According to Guttmacher, for 40 percent of people who receive care at Title X clinics, it is their only source of health care — especially low-income, uninsured, or underinsured people, and for those living in rural communities with limited access to health care options.

Title X clinics are a critical source of preventive sexual health services such as STI testing and treatment, gynecological exams, contraception education, and cancer screenings. In 2016 alone, these clinics provided such services to approximately 4 million women and men at nearly 4,000 health centers around the country.

In December 2016, in the remaining weeks of his presidency, the Obama administration issued a new rule “to bar states from withholding federal family-planning funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates and other health clinics that provide abortions.” The regulation was intended to protect people in states with conservative governments which have long held organizations like Planned Parenthood squarely in their sights for defunding and other attacks.
March 31, 2017

Sean Spicer completely goes to pieces when asked if Trump ordered Nunes cover-up

[font size="3"]
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to avoid answering questions about the White House's involvement in House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes' (R-CA) investigation, but reporters refused to let him off the hook.


(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spent the better part of the week trying to sell the absurd lie that he did not know who walked House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) into the White House to be fed information that he used to defend Donald Trump. Eventually, Spicer abandoned that lie and said he is just not going to talk about “process” anymore, but a pair of new and promising threads emerged in its wake.

Spicer is not incapable of delivering an emphatic response, but he waffled when asked a pair of new questions involving the Nunes cover-up.

First, and most glaringly, Spicer completely fell apart when NBC News’ Kristen Welker asked him if Trump had directed White House officials to feed Nunes classified information:


WELKER: Thanks, Sean. Did the President direct anyone in this White House or in his national security team to try to find information or intelligence to back up his assertion about wiretapping?

SPICER: I don’t — I’m not aware of anything directly. I’d have to look into that in terms of — again, there’s two sides to this. One is the information side, and two is the policy and the activities and the legal piece of what happened. And I don’t — those are big buckets, if you will.

WELKER: So it’s possible.

SPICER: I’m not going to comment on it.


March 30, 2017

Trump Russia dossier key claim verified

The "key claim" that has been verified is Steele's claim that Kalugin, of the Russian embassy, formally designated an economist, was a spy.

[font size="3"]
"But on this vitally important point - Kalugin's status as a "spy under diplomatic cover" - people who saw the intelligence agree with the dossier, adding weight to Steele's other claims. "

This is a fairly long article and an excerpt can't do it justice.


In light of his earlier work, the US intelligence community saw him (Steele) as "credible" (their highest praise).

The FBI thought the same; they had worked with Steele going back to his days in MI6.


{the article states that Steele come to the U.S. and was debriefed by the FBI}

But the CIA never interviewed him, and never sought to.

This comes from several people who are in a position to know.

They are alarmed at how the investigation is going, and worry it is being fumbled.

{the article did not put 'fumbled' in quotes, --- I think it should be. The FBI is investigating it. THe CIA is apparently not involved in this investigation even though they have expertise/knowledge of people, activities outsid the U.S. which the FBI most definitely does NOT. Then there's Comey._Bill USA}

March 30, 2017

Intel hearing: Cyber Expert "Commander-in-Chief used Russian active measures..against his opponents"

[font size="3"]In testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, cyber expert Clint Watts testified that Trump "used Russian active measures" against his political opponents over the course of the campaign.[/font]

Intel hearing bombshell: Cyber expert says “Commander-in-Chief used Russian ‘active measures’…against his opponents”

In testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, cyber expert Clint Watts testified that Trump "used Russian active measures" against his political opponents over the course of the campaign.
Oliver Willis | Shareblue

Cyber expert Clint Watts, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee as it investigates Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, told the panel that Donald Trump “used Russian active measures against his opponents” during the campaign.

Watts is currently a Robert Fox Fellow for the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University. He served as a U.S. Army infantry officer, a FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force, and as a consultant to the FBI’s Counter Terrorism Division and National Security Branch.

Active measures, or aktivniye meropriyatiya, is a Russian technique dating back to the days of the KGB and the Cold War of dispensing disinformation and propaganda in order to influence events within another country, particularly the United States.

link to Clint Watts' testimony before the House Intelligence committee

[blockquote style="border:solid 1px #000000;padding: 11px;"] WATTS: "The answer is very simple and it’s what nobody is really saying in this room. Which is, part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the Commander-in-Chief has used Russian active measures at time, against his opponents. On 14 August 2016, his campaign chairman, after a debunked –

LANKFORD: When you say his, who’s his?

WATTS: Paul Manafort —


WATTS: — cited the fake Incirlik story as a terrorist attack on CNN, and he used it as a talking point. On 11 October, President Trump stood on a stage and cited a – what appears to be a fake news story from Sputnik News that disappeared from the Internet. He denies the intel from the United States about Russia. He claims that the election could be rigged. That was the number one theme pushed by RT, Sputnik News, white outlets, all the way up until the election. He’s made claims of voter fraud, that President Obama’s not a citizen, that, you know, Congressman Cruz is not a citizen.

So, part of the reason active measures works, and it does today in terms of Trump Tower being wiretapped is because they parrot the same line."

The investigation is proceeding despite Republican attempts at sabotage, and the evidence of Russian meddling, while also in contact with the Trump team continues to pile up. It is vital for Americans to know what happened to their election, and what Donald Trump’s role in Vladimir Putin’s attack was.
March 30, 2017

Devin Nunes's wiretapping claims came from his former lawyer and a 30-year-old Trump aide - Vox.com


One of the biggest mysteries in the strange case of Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chair who’s trying — and failing — to substantiate President Trump’s wiretapping claims, may have just have been solved.

In a bombshell report Thursday, the New York Times named the sources who provided Nunes with classified intelligence reports purportedly validating some of Trump’s wiretapping claims — and both of them are Trump administration political appointees working directly in the White House complex.

That means Nunes — the lawmaker charged with leading an investigation into the administration’s unfounded wiretapping allegations — used information he received from the Trump White House itself to publicly try to deflect blame from Trump. It also means Nunes was misleading the American public when he said his sources were whistleblowers, and that he went to the White House compound because it was the only secure place to review classified information. (This is not true: Capitol Hill has secure facilities for just this reason.)

Instead, we now know Nunes’s sources, and they’re far from disinterested parties. They are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, and Michael Ellis, a White House counsel attorney who, prior to the Trump administration, worked for Nunes. Cohen-Watnick uncovered the raw intelligence, according to the Times, and Ellis briefed Nunes on it directly.

March 30, 2017

Devin Nunes Story About His White House Grounds Visit Simply Isn't Credible

[font size="3"]It’s looking more and more like there was some kind of collusion between Nunes and the White House.[/font]


WASHINGTON ― Of the many questions surrounding House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and his conduct in investigating President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the most puzzling has to be his explanation for his recent visit to the White House grounds. People who have worked in the White House suggest that, on this matter, Nunes and the White House simply aren’t being credible.

For those just catching up: Last week, Nunes caused a stir when, with no prior notice to his fellow committee members, he announced that he’d received information showing that Trump transition officials had been caught inadvertently in surveillance operations targeting suspected foreign spies, and that their names appeared in internal intelligence reports. No one seemed to know where Nunes had gotten this information, and the congressman, who went to the White House to brief the president on his findings, would only say that he had an anonymous source. He has refused to name his source even to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Nunes ditched his own staff the night before making his announcement. On Monday, the news broke that he had gone to the White House grounds to use a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility ― basically, a room or area that meets certain rigorous security standards ― to get the information that formed the basis of his accusations.

This raised the distinct possibility that the White House itself had been the source of the information, and that it had given that information to Nunes so he could provide Trump with some cover for his baseless accusation that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower. (The FBI and Nunes himself have said there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims.)

The White House and Nunes both deny that there was any collusion, and the White House has argued that it is possible Nunes came to the grounds without anyone from the administration knowing about it.


"the White House has argued that it is possible Nunes came to the grounds without anyone from the administration knowing about it. " ... jesus, life in trump land is getting more and more surreal every day!

March 29, 2017

Elon Musk wants to connect computers to your brain so we can keep up with robots


Apparently Elon Musk isn’t busy enough. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has started yet another company, Neuralink, which aims to make implants for the human brain that can wirelessly interface with a computer, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The technology, according to Musk — who brought up the idea at Recode’s Code Conference last year — is a “digital layer” located above the cortex, built into the brain. Musk calls the technology, which would intertwine computers and the human brain, “neural lace.”

Neural lace could help humans keep apace with rapidly accelerating advancements in artificial intelligence, which Musk said will cause humanity to “be left behind by a lot.” With the help of brain implants that are directly linked to computers, humans may be able to improve their brain function, or even one day download their thoughts or upload the thinking of others.

In the more near term, neural lace technology could be used to treat brain diseases like epilepsy or Parkinson’s.


March 28, 2017

60 minutes report on Fake news sites states there are "Liberal" fake news sites....

.. leaving the viewer to complete the statement.. "they're not all Conservative sites"

What's "fake news"? 60 Minutes producers investigate

Well, is Pelley trying to leave viewers with the impression that there is a rough parity here??

The Fake News Checker site on it identifies 55 Liberal leaning sites it has determined are fake news sites. How many Conservatie leaning fake news sites? 263.

The PBI show All things Considered talked to the same Fake NEws purveyor 60 Minutes did. And they asked him about how well fake news went over with Conservatives and Liberals.

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.

How about with Liberals?...

"We've tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You'll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out."

[font size="3"] But this doesn't consider the volume of fake news items.[/font]

an analysis of Fake news popularity vs real news by Buzzfeed revealed Fake news beat out real news:

This Analysis Shows How Viral Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook

From a very quick look at their data
it looks as if Conservative pandering headlines seem to outnumber those that might appeal to "Liberals" by about 7 to 1.

March 27, 2017

Fake news sites: a listing

I think it would be very helpful to have a listing of all fake news sites. this is too big a job for one or two people to ttake on. So, I propose DU have one here.

I've read a number of articles on fake news sites and I'll start off this list with one nobody has mentioned: Fox News. I propose that each indentified fake news site be offered with a comment to this OP. That way interested parties can click on this thread and the list of comment titles would be the list of fake news sites. Now under each comment DUers can add whatever criticism or additions to what information was provided to support the comments nominated fake news site.

I'm going to start things off with the BIGGEST fake news site which, remarkably, was not mentioned in any of the articles about fake news sites.

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

About Bill USA

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them. __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

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