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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 39,169

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

After Florida School Shooting, Russian 'Bot' Army Pounced

Source: The New York Times


SAN FRANCISCO — One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.

The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”

One of the most divisive issues in the nation is how to handle guns, pitting Second Amendment advocates against proponents of gun control. And the messages from these automated accounts, or bots, were designed to widen the divide and make compromise even more difficult.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/technology/russian-bots-school-shooting.html

Florida AG candidate: Don't let school shooting 'take away our right to bear arms too'

Source: The Hill


A Republican candidate for Florida attorney general said that the mass shooting at a Florida high school shouldn’t be used to “take away our right to bear arms too."

Florida state Rep. Jay Fant (R), who is running for the top law enforcement job, accused liberals of trying to dismantle gun rights in the wake of the shooting in a series of tweets on Monday.

He singled out Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum in the tweets. Gillum has been a vocal advocate for new gun laws in the days after the shooting, according to the Tampa Bay Times.


Fant had also tweeted last week in support of maintaining current gun laws after the shooting.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/374568-florida-ag-candidate-dont-let-school-shooting-take-away-our-right-to

GOP analyst: Trump advisers have adopted a 'don't tell grandpa' approach in order to get their...

GOP analyst: Trump advisers have adopted a ‘don’t tell grandpa’ approach in order to get their work done


For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a 'reprieve' from scandals

By Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker February 19 at 2:38 PM

The White House was under siege.

Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught charging taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extramarital affair with the president. And the special counsel’s Russia investigation was intensifying. The tumult was so intense that there was fervent speculation that President Trump might even fire his chief of staff.

But a gun massacre at a Florida high school last Wednesday, which left 17 dead, seemed to shift the media glare away from the Trump scandals and gave embattled aides an opportunity to refocus on handling a rare crisis not of their own making. While the White House mourned the loss of life in Parkland, Fla., some aides privately acknowledged that the tragedy offered a breather from the political storm.

A tentative plan for White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to address the media from the briefing room Wednesday — where he would have faced intense scrutiny over his own role in the mishandling of the domestic abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter — was scuttled.

Press staffers cited the tragedy as a reason to cancel on-camera briefings for the remainder of the week, allowing them to avoid questions about the swirling controversies. The White House could hold its next briefing on Tuesday, a full week since press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last faced reporters.


Columbine Survivors Are Parents Now and Scared for Their Own Children

It’s been 19 years and the psychological wounds still aren’t healed.

02.18.18 9:01 PM ET

LITTLETON, Colorado—The day Amy Over kissed her daughter Brianna goodbye on the junior kindergarten steps, she was expecting to feel joy. Instead, her heart was beating so fast, she thought she was going to die.

“The walls were closing in. It was so isolating. I turned red and got hives,” Over said. Later, in the emergency room, she found out that she wasn’t dying.

“Have you ever had a panic attack?” the ER doctors asked her.

“I didn’t put two and two together,” Over said, realizing that leaving her daughter in class had triggered the most horrific day of her life: April 20, 1999.



Trump To Attend Gridiron Press Dinner, No Decision On WH Correspondents Event

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Nicole Lafond | February 19, 2018 3:33 pm

President Donald Trump will attend his first dinner with journalists at the Gridiron Club on March 3 this year after chastising the nation’s top media outlets consistently throughout his first year in office.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement Monday confirming Trump’s plans to attend the prestigious journalism club’s annual dinner, but said the President has not yet made a decision about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

“Several people have inquired about the President’s participation in Gridiron and WHCA dinner — the President is planning to attend the gridiron dinner, but no decision has been made regarding the WHCA dinner at this time,” Sanders said in her statement. “Will keep you posted when there is an update.”

Last year, Trump skipped both the Gridiron and the Correspondents Association’s dinner. He announced the decision on Twitter last year: “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” he tweeted.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/white-house-trump-attend-gridiron-dinner

Kamala Harris: Congress should have the same 'courage and compassion' as students at Fl. high school

Source: The Hill

Kamala Harris: Congress should have the same 'courage and compassion' as students at Florida high school


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Monday called for Congress to stand up to the gun lobby and praised the students and faculty who have been advocating in recent days for action on gun control.


Seventeen people were killed last week when a gunman opened fire at the south Florida high school.

Multiple lawmakers have called for Congress to take action in the wake of the shooting to prevent another tragedy.

Students who survived the shooting have become vocal advocates in recent days, demanding that Congress take action on gun control.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/374538-kamala-harris-congress-should-have-the-same-courage-and-compassion-as

Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March

Source: The Hill

BY JORDAIN CARNEY - 02/19/18 12:45 PM EST

Congress is poised to kick a heated immigration fight into overtime, with no clear path forward.

With the Senate rejecting four proposals—including President Trump's preferred plan and a key bipartisan deal—and no viable back up plan in-sight, lawmakers are poised to hit pause on the issue until at least next month as they go back to the drawing board. It’s a stark contrast from just a week ago, when senators had hoped to gain momentum coming out of what they anticipated to be a free-wheeling floor fight.

Instead, both sides are pointing fingers and raising fresh questions about what, if anything, can win over two deeply divided chambers and the White House.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is now pointing to the end of March as the deadline for his chamber to take action on an immigration bill. He’s pledged he will only bring up legislation that has the president’s support, making it a non-starter for many Democrats.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/374326-congress-punts-fight-over-dreamers-to-march

It's Clear: Donald Trump Welcomes Russia's Subversion of Our Democracy

The president’s response to Bob Mueller’s latest indictments is disturbing but all too expected at this point.

02.19.18 11:28 AM ET

For at least two years, Americans have tried to make sense of Donald Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin and refusal to fully acknowledge and counter Moscow’s ongoing attacks on our democracy. We’ve heard the excuse that Trump simply views the Kremlin interference story as a partisan effort to delegitimize his election.

But Friday’s indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the president’s response to it, point to a more troubling and increasingly likely motivation: President Trump does not want to stop Kremlin interference intended to sway our elections in his favor. Rather, he welcomes it.

The Special Counsel’s revelations provided a detailed description of part of the modern information warfare Russia has waged against our country since at least 2014. It was a highly-coordinated assault, employing foreign agents on U.S. soil as well as Moscow-based internet operatives. And yet, in response to this news, the president still couldn’t muster a forceful rebuke of Putin’s regime. Nor would he vow to hold it accountable and deter future attacks. On the contrary, he tried to spin the entire ordeal as an exoneration.

This is either willful ignorance or, more likely, disloyal opportunism. That’s because, whether he admits it or not, the president must know that the story he publicly calls a “hoax” is real. We have detailed evidence of Moscow’s subversion of our democracy. But it seems unlikely that the president will change his tune and take action to counter it.


Russia Warns U.S. Not to 'Play With Fire' in Syrian Conflict

Source: Bloomberg News

By Henry Meyer

February 19, 2018, 3:57 AM EST Updated on February 19, 2018, 10:38 AM EST

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the Trump administration not to “play with fire” as he lashed out at the U.S. over what he described as its “provocative” support for autonomy-seeking Kurds in Syria.

“The U.S. should stop playing very dangerous games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state,” Lavrov said at a Middle East conference in Moscow on Monday, alongside his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and a top adviser of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “We are seeing attempts to exploit the Kurds’ aspirations.”

An armed clash earlier this month in which U.S. strikes may have killed more than 200 Russian mercenaries attacking American-backed forces inflamed a standoff between Moscow and Washington in Syria. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it knows of five Russian deaths and the incident is still being investigated. While the U.S. accepted Russian assurances that it had nothing to do with the failed attack, the clash was the deadliest between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War.

After seven years of war, Assad has managed to reassert control over a large part of his country. But the conflict is entering a dangerous new phase as outside powers confront each other, with tensions sparked by Iran’s growing influence and Turkey’s bid to crush Kurdish forces it says are linked to separatists inside its borders.

Read more: Link to source
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