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ItsjustMe's Journal
ItsjustMe's Journal
October 20, 2020

Facebook Continues To Host Militant Groups And Ads Despite A Ban On Right-Wing Extremism

A new report finds “Facebook is routinely behind the curve in cracking down on domestic extremists on its platform.”


Despite efforts by Facebook to ban right-wing militant organizations, a new report published Monday has found that some of those groups continue to organize and run pages on the social network. Facebook also continues to profit from ads placed by extremists despite an announcement earlier this year that said it would ban all ads that “praise, support or represent militarized social movements.”

The report from the Transparency Tech Project (TTP), a nonprofit watchdog organization, discovered, for example, that the American Patriot Council, a right-wing group that advocated for the criminal prosecution of Michigan’s governor because of her implementation of stay-at-home orders during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, ran an ad earlier this month that encouraged militants to attend Oct. 24 rallies in Michigan and New York.

“We The People gather across America in a show of solidarity and demand emancipation from the bondage of tyranny,” read the ad, which cost less than $100 and had the potential to reach between 500,000 and 1 million people, according to Facebook’s own metrics. “(Lawful carry & Militia strongly encouraged.)”

October 20, 2020

How The Trump Campaign Took $1 Billion And Set Most Of It On Fire


President Donald Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire.

Trump bought a $10 million Super Bowl ad when he didn’t yet have a challenger. He tapped his political organization to cover exorbitant legal fees related to his impeachment. Aides made flashy displays of their newfound wealth — including a fleet of luxury vehicles purchased by Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager.

Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $310 million in spending from disclosure, records show.

Now, just two weeks out from the election, some campaign aides privately acknowledge they are facing difficult spending decisions at a time when Democratic nominee Joe Biden has flooded the airwaves with advertising. That has put Trump in the position of needing to do more of his signature rallies as a substitute during the coronavirus pandemic while relying on an unproven theory that he can turn out supporters who are infrequent voters at historic levels.

“They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads way too early,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant who advised John McCain and Jeb Bush and is an outspoken Trump critic. “You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”
October 20, 2020

More Than 50 Former Intel Officials Say Hunter Biden Smear Smells Like Russia


A coalition of former intelligence officials issued a joint letter condemning a recent smear campaign against Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying it appeared to have the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign meant to influence the upcoming election.

The group includes former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former CIA directors Mike Hayden, Leon Panetta and John Brennan, and dozens of other former deputy directors and senior officials of American intelligence agencies.

“Each of us believes deeply that American citizens should determine the outcome of elections, not foreign governments,” the group wrote in a letter first obtained by Politico. “It is for all these reasons that we write to say that the arrival on the U.S. political scene of emails purportedly belonging to [former] Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his time serving on the Board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

“If we are right,” they continued, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

The group notes they do not know if the purported emails published by the New York Post are genuine and they do not have concrete evidence if they are a Russian disinformation campaign, but their “expertise makes us deeply suspicious.”
October 20, 2020

U.S. to Accuse Google of Protecting Illegal Monopoly

A victory for the government could remake one of America’s most recognizable companies and the internet economy that it has helped define.


The Justice Department plans to accuse Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising in a lawsuit to be filed on Tuesday, the government’s most significant legal challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation, according to officials at the agency.

In its suit, to be filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., the agency will accuse Google, a unit of Alphabet, of illegally maintaining its monopoly over search through several exclusive business contracts and agreements that lock out competition, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak on the record. Such contracts include Google’s payment of billions of dollars to Apple to place the Google search engine as the default for iPhones.

The agency will argue that Google, which controls about 80 percent of search queries in the United States, struck agreements with phone makers using Alphabet’s Android operating system to pre-load the search engine on their phones and make it hard for rival search engines to become a replacement. By using contracts to maintain its monopoly, competition and innovation has suffered, the suit with argue.

The suit reflects the pushback against the power of the nation’s largest corporations, and especially technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Conservatives like President Trump and liberals like Senator Elizabeth Warren have been highly critical of the concentration of power in a handful of tech behemoths.

October 20, 2020

Listen to leaked call of Trump bashing Fauci to his staff


President Donald Trump claimed on a campaign call that people are tired of hearing about coronavirus, which has killed more than 215,000 Americans, and criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci as a "disaster" who has been around for "500 years."
October 20, 2020

Videos From Right-Wing Site That Preaches 'The Left Ruins Everything' Assigned In Ohio School


An Ohio public school has been giving students extra credit for watching videos from PragerU, a right-wing website that produces clips of talking heads such as Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro discussing conservative viewpoints, HuffPost has learned.

The PragerU videos — with titles such as “Build the Wall,” “Why the Right Was Right” and “The Left Ruins Everything” — were assigned to a 10th-grade history class at Maumee High School, along with a series of questions about the videos’ “most important messages.”

The assignment came at the same time that the website has tried to gain further influence in K-12 classrooms. Earlier this month, the organization launched a program directly aimed at parents and educators, complete with study guides with sections such as “Conservatives Are the Real Environmentalists” and “The Ferguson Lie,” based on a HuffPost review of the materials.

Andrea Cutway, the mother of 16-year-old student Avery Lewis, brought the assignment to the attention of Maumee City Schools administrators and immediately pulled her daughter out of the class. Maumee is about 10 miles southwest of Toledo.

Administrators first tried what they deemed a compromise by also assigning work that reflected views from the other side of the political spectrum to the student, Cutway said. But after HuffPost reached out to the school about the assignment, it decided to remove the materials from the syllabus, Todd Cramer, superintendent of Maumee City Schools, told HuffPost.
October 20, 2020

Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast


At least 350,000 ballots were cast in Florida during the first day of early voting there Monday, shattering the states in-person opening day record, according to Politico.

Vote-by-mail in the state has already seen massive turnout, with more than 2.5 million ballots collected heading into the first day of early voting. That's more than 20 percent of the total voter turnout the Sunshine State saw in 2016.

Monday's early voting saw long lines as voters showed up to cast their ballots, with some reportedly treated to pizza from singer Ariana Grande.

The new record adds to a number of states seeing high turnout this year, especially in swing states that could determine the winner between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
October 20, 2020

Trump is 'sitting' on $9 billion earmarked for COVID-19 testing because of a controversial advisor


The Trump administration has yet to spend $9 billion allocated by Congress for COVID-19 testing because of a controversial advisor who has garnered significant influence over the White House's pandemic response, according to a Washington Post report based on interviews with 41 administration officials, advisors to the president, public-health leaders, and others.

Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist who is not an expert on infectious diseases, has taken a fervent stance against expanded testing, The Post reported, in contrast to the advice of top experts on the White House coronavirus task force such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday decried the Trump administration, and more specifically the Department of Health and Human Services, saying it was "sitting" on the $9 billion in funding for testing and tracing.

"We're demanding that the feds release ... those dollars," Schumer said, calling on the Trump administration to commit to a "robust testing and tracing program."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
October 20, 2020

Trump crashing as 2020 early voting jumps 400 percent

New data shows a whopping 29 million people have already voted in 2020 - breaking records - and MSNBC's Ari Melber reports on early voting turnout in the 16 states which release data on party registration.


October 20, 2020

Joe Biden Narrowly Leads Donald Trump in New Texas Presidential Poll


Anew poll from Texas shows that voters in the typically right-leaning Lone Star State are favoring Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, but that they still prefer their incumbent Republican senator over the Democratic challenger.

In a poll released Monday by progressive firm Data for Progress, 47 percent of likely Texas voters chose Biden, compared to 46 percent for Trump. Another 5 percent said they were unsure of their choice, while 3 percent indicated they would vote for a third party candidate. Biden's lead falls well within the poll's 3.2 percent margin of error.

Meanwhile, likely voters chose to keep Republican incumbent Senator John Cornyn in office by a 3-point margin over Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar.

Biden's advantage exists only when those who "lean" towards a candidate are included in the results. When the poll only included those who were certain, Trump had a slight lead of 46 percent to 44 percent. The poll was conducted between October 15 and October 18 among 933 likely Texas voters.

The poll included 180 respondents who said they had already cast ballots in early voting, which began in Texas on October 13. Among those who already voted, 57 percent said they had voted for Biden, compared to 41 percent for the president.

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