Posted by: maboulette | January 18, 2020

Impeachment Of Pres Donald John Trump

Senate

House Democrats formally outlined their case on Saturday for President Trump’s removal from office, arguing in their first legal filing that the Senate should convict him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a pressure campaign on Ukraine.

TRIAL MEMORANDUM

In a 46-page trial memorandum, the House impeachment managers asserted that beginning in the spring, Mr. Trump undertook a corrupt campaign to push Ukraine to publicly announce investigations of his political rivals, withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting. He then sought to conceal those actions from Congress, they said, refusing to cooperate with a House impeachment inquiry and ordering administration officials not to testify or turn over documents requested by investigators.
“President Trump’s conduct is the framers’ worst nightmare,” the managers wrote, framing their argument in constitutional terms.

TRUMP’S TEAM DENY BOTH ARTICLES

The House filing came as the president’s legal team prepared to forcefully deny that he abused his power or obstructed Congress, making his first formal response against two articles of impeachment at the center of the Senate trial that begins in earnest next week. It will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

WARN VOTERS

Addressing head-on the political dynamics of the Senate, where majority Republicans have denounced the impeachment inquiry and said they want to quickly acquit Mr. Trump, the House managers warned that voters and future generations would sit in judgment of their actions.

SENATOR’S WILL BE JUDGED

“History will judge each senator’s willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly, and defend the Constitution,” they wrote. “The outcome of these proceedings will determine whether generations to come will enjoy a safe and secure democracy in which the president is not a king.”

RELEASE LATER

In a six-page document set to be released later Saturday, according to people close to Mr. Trump’s legal team, the president’s lawyers will defiantly reject the accusations against him. The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have authorization to comment on the argument in advance, said Mr. Trump’s defense team will denounce the impeachment case brought by House Democrats as illegitimate, driven by malice toward him and lacking a factual or legal basis.

ATTEMP TO THWART WILL OF VOTERS

It will call the bid to remove Mr. Trump from office a dangerous attempt to thwart the will of American voters, the people said. That echoes what the president has been arguing since the start of the impeachment inquiry, which he has repeatedly dismissed as a hoax perpetrated against him by political adversaries who fear they cannot beat him at the polls in 2020.

SAME ARGUMENTS

The filing from the House Democrats, too, repeated many of the same arguments they laid out last fall in a report on their impeachment inquiry’s findings. But the managers’ brief provided a glimpse of their strategy for the high-stakes legal and political fight.

FOOTNOTED DOCUMENT

The heavily footnoted document, formatted in the style of a courtroom filing, was headlined “In re Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump,” and addressed to the Senate, “sitting as a court of impeachment.” The memorandum laid out the evidence and legal arguments the managers intend to present in oral arguments on the floor of the Senate, likely beginning on Wednesday. The filing also included an additional 60 pages of facts the managers deemed material to their case.

FORMAL DEFENSE

After months of ad hoc defense before television cameras and on Twitter, the White House’s filing, which is akin to a pleading in a normal court case, was to be the first time Mr. Trump and his lawyers have offered a formal defense of his dealings with Ukraine and made a legal argument as to why those actions did not rise to the impeachment standard of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Posted by: maboulette | January 14, 2020

Obama Nominated for Oscar

New obama

Barack Obama is now an Academy Award nominee.

America’s 44th president landed his first-ever Oscar nomination for American Factory, an original documentary distributed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions in partnership with Netflix.

 GENERAL MOTORS FACTORY

American Factory chronicles the shuttering of a General Motors factory in Dayton, Ohio and the impact it hand on the local community.

The documentary has been widely praised, with a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 86 out of 100. On Monday morning, the Academy added to the film’s legacy by naming it one of five finalists for Best Documentary Feature.

ALSO NOMINATED

Many of President Obama’s favorite films of 2019 are also nominated for Academy Awards, including The IrishmanParasiteLittle Women, and Marriage Story. Winners will be announced on February 9th, 2020.

 GENERAL MOTORS FACTORY

American Factory chronicles the shuttering of a General Motors factory in Dayton, Ohio and the impact it hand on the local community.

The documentary has been widely praised, with a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 86 out of 100. On Monday morning, the Academy added to the film’s legacy by naming it one of five finalists for Best Documentary Feature.

ALSO NOMINATED

Many of President Obama’s favorite films of 2019 are also nominated for Academy Awards, including The IrishmanParasiteLittle Women, and Marriage Story. Winners will be announced on February 9th, 2020.

 

Posted by: maboulette | January 12, 2020

Open Letter to Rep Doug Collins

Dog Collins

CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE HOW CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THIS OPEN LETTER IS. READ AND PASS IT ON.

“Dear Representative Doug Collins,

You are not my congressman, and while I am ever thankful for that fact, after seeing your performance on Fox News on Wednesday night, I’m not sure you are fit to be anyone’s congressman. Specifically, I saw you blithely assert on national television that Democrats “are in love with terrorists. We see that they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families.”

No American is “in love” with terrorists or “mourns” the death of that Iranian general on an airstrip in Baghdad. Many of us do, however, mourn the death of decency, honesty and reason here at home.

I realize that you are a politician and that hyperbolic, hyperpartisan claptrap is the unfortunate fashion of the day. But even allowing for the new normal of nastiness in political rhetoric, your casual slur of countless good Americans hits a new bottom. Americans can, in good faith, differ about the legality or efficacy of killing Soleimani. That doesn’t make them unpatriotic or lovers of terrorists. It is hostility to differences of opinion that is un-American.

I understand that politics is a tough racket. I served as a Democratic staffer in the US Senate. I get that terrorism is a threat. I prosecuted terrorists as a United States attorney, working just yards from Ground Zero. I know of the particular evil posed by Qasem Soleimani. My office prosecuted plots orchestrated by him and the Quds Force, including the conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in 2011.

So, I have some idea of what is at stake here when it comes to terrorism. As you well know, Congressman, terrorists do not kill Republicans or Democrats. They kill Americans.

You know what else is true? The prosecutors, law enforcement agents and intelligence officers who keep us safe from terrorism do not do so as Republicans or Democrats. They do so as Americans. The victims of terrorism — and their families — do not grieve as members of a political party. They do so as Americans.

You are not a talk radio host or a carnival barker. You are a pastor, an attorney and a sitting member of Congress. Therefore, the evidence would suggest you should know better. To utter such garbage, which you know to be false and defamatory, goes against all the training and teaching you must have received. But you got your cheap shot across, and perhaps that’s all that matters to you.

To be clear, Congressman, I am not making some old and familiar naive call for a return to “civility” in our politics. I don’t have much hope for that in the immediate future. I just want people like you to knock off the worst scurrilous nonsense. I’d hope that would be possible for a member of the House who happens to be the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee.

If we are going to come together, protect the homeland and heal the hearts of people who have suffered the scars of terrorism, we need our leaders to do better than lazy trash talk.

Learn that volume and wisdom are not the same thing.

You were elected to lead. Please give it a try.

Respectfully,

Preet Bharara”

Posted by: maboulette | January 4, 2020

Evidence for Impeachment Trial

New York Times

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from Miami, and Mark Mazzetti from Washington.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration disclosed on Friday that there were 20 emails between a top aide to President Trump’s acting chief of staff and a colleague at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget discussing the freeze of a congressional mandated military aid package for Ukraine.

REFUSE TO TURN OVER

But in response to a court order that it swiftly process those pages in response to a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, lawsuit filed by The New York Times, the Office of Management and Budget delivered a terse letter saying it would not turn over any of the 40 pages of emails — not even with redactions.

“All 20 documents are being withheld in full,” wrote Dionne Hardy, the office’s Freedom of Information Act officer.

EMAILS BETWEEN WH AND OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT & BUDGET

The Times’s information act request sought email messages between Robert Blair, a top aide to Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, an official in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget who was in charge of handling the process for releasing $391 million in weapons and security assistance Congress had appropriated to help Ukraine resist Russian aggression.

HARDY’S LETTER

In her letter, Ms. Hardy cited exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act for correspondence involving the president’s staff and internal policy deliberations, suggesting that the disclosure of this material would “inhibit the frank and candid exchange of views that is necessary for effective government decision-making.”

TIMES WILL CHALLENGE

David McCraw, a lawyer for The Times, said the newspaper would challenge the blanket withholding of the documents and would ask the judge overseeing the lawsuit, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, to approve an expedited schedule for briefs and arguments given the urgent public interest in learning more about the dispute.

REASON FOR IMPEACHMENT

The heart of the accusation against Mr. Trump is that he abused his official powers, including withholding a promised White House meeting and congressionally mandated military aid, in an attempt to coerce Ukraine’s president into announcing investigations that could deliver personal political benefits to Mr. Trump.

HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

In October, the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee had also subpoenaed the Office of Management and Budget for all Ukraine-related documents, but the White House refused to produce them. It also instructed several key current and former officials with inside knowledge of the episode not to testify.

KEY WITNESSES

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, has portrayed Mr. Blair and Mr. Duffey as two of the four key witnesses he believes the Senate should call in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, along with Mr. Mulvaney and John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has expressed opposition to calling witnesses and again criticized the House investigation on Friday.

ALL EMAILS IN FULL

The Trump administration’s move to withhold all the emails in full — not even disclosing the dates they were sent, or the shape of paragraphs covered by black lines — is a step beyond its heavy censorship of a related set of emails it released in response to another Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Center for Public Integrity.

HEAVY REDACTION

The documents released to the center consisted of about 300 pages of emails between the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon about the Ukraine aid package. While the officially released version was heavily redacted — and the center is contesting the censorship in further litigation — the visible portions showed, among other things, that Pentagon officials had worried that holding the funds could be an illegal impoundment.

WEBSITE JUST SECURITY

A report on Thursday by the legal policy website Just Security added further fuel to the controversy by revealing what was under some, but not all, of the deletions. The website said it had been shown some of the emails in unredacted form, including an Aug. 30 message from Mr. Duffey to a Pentagon budget official stating that there was “clear direction from POTUS” — an acronym referring to the president of the United States — “to continue to hold” the Ukraine military assistance.

WARNED

The Times separately reported this week that Mr. Blair warned Mr. Mulvaney to “expect Congress to become unhinged” if the White House went ahead with the hold on the aid.

SCHUMER ON FLOOR OF SENATE

Earlier on Friday, Mr. Schumer went to the Senate floor to praise the reporting by The Times, the Center for Public Integrity and Just Security as an additional reason for the Senate, as part of Mr. Trump’s trial, to seek documents and testimony that the White House had blocked House impeachment investigators from obtaining.

“What constituted clear direction?” Mr. Schumer asked. “Did he get an order from the president, or did someone like Mr. Mulvaney get an order from the president passed on to Mr. Duffey? Was there discussion among officials about covering up for the president in delay of military assistance? These are questions that can only be answered by examination of the documentary evidence and by the testimony of key Trump administration officials under oath in a Senate trial.”

At least four collections of emails have now been released, or shared with reporters, detailing correspondence between White House officials and their counterparts at the Office of Management and Budget or the Defense Department.

TENSION BETWEEN WH & PENTAGON

Over all, these exchanges show growing tension between the White House and the Pentagon in late August and early September, as Defense Department officials questioned if they would be able to spend all of congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine before the deadline at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

 

Note – these emails are evidence showing that the President did violate the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 for which he was impeached for and will stand trial for in the Senate.

Posted by: maboulette | December 31, 2019

Mitch McConnell Sabotaged Bipartisan Drug Pricing Bill

Reported by MedicalWorld

Immediately after Nancy Pelosi’s Lower Drug Costs Now Act passed in the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “dead on arrival” in the Senate. Now he’s stalled another bill to bring down drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, a move two senators are calling sabotage.

GRASSLEY AND WYDEN ON MCCONNELL

The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA) was drafted by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Despite living in hyper-partisan times, the two have continued to reach across the aisle to bring down drug prices for Americans. However, Grassley and Wyden are pointing the finger at McConnell for killing the legislation by telling Republicans in the Senate not to support it, according to Grassley.

“The president wants it. Senate majority leaders, historically…if you’ve got the president of the same party, they tend to be the spokesman for the administration, not against the administration,” said Grassley, one of the highest ranking Republicans in Congress. 

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

The Senate Finance Committee approved the drug pricing package, which has received White House support and has been called Congress’ best chance to pass drug pricing reform, in July. Despite the rare bipartisan support, no bill can be voted on in the Senate unless McConnell brings it to a vote. There are currently more than 275 House-passed bills sitting on McConnell’s desk. 

“I want everyone to understand this didn’t just happen by osmosis,” said Wyden. “Mitch McConnell made a conscious, premeditated decision to side with pharma rather than the consumer who’s getting mugged at the pharmacy counter.” 

ABOUT THE BILL

Among other actions, the PDPRA bill would cap out-of-pocket spending on Medicare Part D drugs at $3,100 and reduce the cost of insulin by providing consumers with significant rebates. 

It would also distribute financial responsibility for catastrophic coverage payments. Once a beneficiary reaches catastrophic coverage ($6,350 in out-of-pocket costs in 2020, up from $5,100 in 2019), they only pay a 5 percent coinsurance of the drug’s list price. The bill proposes dropping Medicare’s reinsurance responsibility (from 80 percent to 20 percent) and increasing the Part D insurer’s responsibility (from 15 percent to 60 percent). 

The bill also addresses the high cost of physician-administered drugs, like chemotherapy, which are covered under Part B. Like other provisions in the bill, if the prices of these drugs increases faster than the rate of inflation, drugmakers would be obligated to pay the difference in the form of a rebate. 

The bill was slated to become law in 2020, and go into effect by 2022. 

Posted by: maboulette | December 29, 2019

Trump Tariffs Backfired, Caused Job Losses And Higher Prices

President Trump‘s tariffs on imports — meant to boost the economy — ultimately led to job losses and higher prices, a new study from the Federal Reserve has found.

“We find that tariff increases enacted in 2018 are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices,” the report by Fed economists Aaron Flaaen and Justin Pierce reads.

MARKETWATCH

MarketWatch first reported the study, noting that 10 primary industries were hit by retaliatory tariffs and higher prices, including producers of magnetic and optical media, leather goods, aluminum sheet, iron and steel, motor vehicles, household appliances, sawmills, audio and video equipment, pesticide, and computer equipment.

MARCH OF 2018

The Trump administration first implemented steel and aluminum tariffs in March of 2018, with the president declaring at the time that “aggressive foreign trade practices” related to the trade goods amounted to an “assault on our country” and the U.S. steel industry. Since then, Trump has announced new rounds of tariffs on billions of Chinese goods in a retaliatory back-and-forth with the country.

PRELIMINARY TRADE DEAL

U.S. and Chinese officials say they have neared a preliminary trade deal that would grant China relief from some tariffs in exchange for drastically increasing purchases of American farm exports. 

US-CHINA TRADE WAR

The escalation of the U.S.-China trade war prompted a tumultuous market at some points throughout the year, amid fears of a possible global recession.  In September of this year, U.S. consumers and businesses paid a record $7.1 billion in tariffs.

Posted by: maboulette | December 24, 2019

The Letter To President Trump

new image trump

Mr. Trump, I have watched you speaking to the press today and I differ with you on a lot of issues.  There are some things that you just flat lie about.

SPEAKER PELOSI

First, you said that Speaker Pelosi hates you and hates everyone that voted for you. This is just not true.  Nancy Pelosi has more love in her heart than most people who practice Christianity.  She as well as most Democrats do not hate the people who voted for you.  That means that I would hate my own daughter and other members of my family – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

NOT DOING HER JOB

You say that she is not doing her job, but this is wrong as she is doing just what her job is when it comes to bringing Impeachment Articles.  You have also said that you were not treated fairly – but you were.  You were treated as any other suspect would be treated during an indictment phase of any trial.  You were offered your own attorney to be present and to call your own witnesses but you chose not to.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Some Republican leaders as well as yourself have argued Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into you is unconstitutional, but in fact, the Constitution just doesn’t provide many guidelines for impeachment. The full text only mentions impeachment six times. The Constitution, for the most part, lays out who can be impeached, why, and who can do it — and then leaves Congress to fill in the blanks.

CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 1

Constitution also outlines who gets to impeach a president: Congress. Sections 2 and 3 of this article, imposes that only the House of Representatives can officially impeach a sitting president. Meanwhile, only the Senate can carry out the impeachment trial, which comes after impeachment.

YOU DID NOTHING

You are saying that you did nothing.  This simply is not true. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is a United States federal law. Basically, this law states that before the President can withhold any funds approved by Congress, he must let Congress know what he is doing and why.  You did not do anything like this when withholding the funds from the Ukraine. After the phone call, 90 minutes later, you put a hold on these funds.

CONGRESS NOW KNOWS

Congress now knows that you ordered that the millions that Congress had appropriated for military and other aid to Ukraine put on hold. But the Impoundment Control Act requires much more of the president: he must explain the reasons for the deferral in a special message to Congress, including any legal authority for doing so, as well as the length of time for which the money will be withheld.  This you did not do – so you broke a federal law.

IMPEACHMENT REPORT

The Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee’s 300-page impeachment report makes the case that you violated this law by freezing aid to Ukraine without informing Congress why and for how long.  So, you did break the law. And you will stand trial.  The Constitution leaves it up to the Senate to decide the rules that the trial will be done under.  If you do not let any witnesses be called – you will never convince many voters that you are not hiding something and whether you are removed or not,  this will leave a stain on your name that will follow you to your grave and ever after in the history of our country.

Posted by: maboulette | December 23, 2019

Impeachment Articles and What They Mean

impeached

The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is a United States federal law that governs the role of the Congress in the United States budget process.  Basically, this law states that before the President can withhold any funds approved by Congress, he must let Congress know what he is doing and why.  Trump did not do anything like this when withholding the funds from the Ukraine.

ACT APPLIES

The Impoundment Control Act applies whenever the president wishes to hold back on spending temporarily, which is called a deferral, and when he wishes to cancel a spending permanently, known as a rescission. In both cases, the law requires the president to notify Congress promptly what he wants to do and why.

ACTIONS NEEDED UNDER ACT

For rescissions, the president must spend the money unless Congress affirmatively approves his request not to. For deferrals, the law gives the president more leeway, so long as he spends the money during the current fiscal year. Even then, the law is clear that deferrals are allowed only to provide for contingencies, because of changes in the law, or to achieve greater efficiencies and Congress must be notified.

CONGRESS NOW KNOWS

Congress now knows that back in mid-July, Trump ordered that the millions that Congress had appropriated for military and other aid to Ukraine be put on hold. But the Impoundment Control Act requires much more of the president: he must explain the reasons for the deferral in a special message to Congress, including any legal authority for doing so, as well as the length of time for which the money will be withheld.

NOTIFYING CONGRESS

Most significantly, he is required to include “all the facts, circumstances, and considerations relating to or bearing upon the proposed deferral.” There is more, but the purpose of these requirements is clear: Congress wants the full story of why the president does not want to spend the money.

UKRAINE DEFERRAL

Because no special message was sent for the Ukraine deferral, no explanation had been offered. But if it had, it would almost surely not have justified the deferral to allow Ukraine to carry out the president’s request to do a further investigation as to the conduct of Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, which appears to be the reason why Ukraine did not get its money as scheduled.

IMPEACHMENT REPORT

The Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee’s 300-page impeachment report makes the case that President Donald Trump violated this law by freezing aid to Ukraine.

REPORT ARGUES

Broadly speaking, the report argues that Trump abused his power by conditioning security assistance to Ukraine and a White House meeting on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s willingness to announce investigations into Trump’s political rivals. 

BOTH IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES

This is not just Abuse of Power but also the Obstruction of Congress by this as well as telling those in the White House to not testify even if they were subpoenaed by Congress or release any subpoenaed information; such as documents and emails concerning the withholding of funds without Congress being notified.

social media

55 million Facebook accounts follow YouTube channels that have been developed with support by Russian intelligence and have been online for some time under the name of TheSoul Publishing.  YouTube Channels under the name of Smart Banana, as well as Bright Side are just two channels that TheSoul Publishing is running.  

WELL-KNOWN CHANNELS

This company is supporting some of the internet’s most well-known channel brands and this is content that is shared by many daily – from life-hacks to science, beauty to crafts, offering something for everyone. Among their most popular brands is…Bright Side.  These channels have millions of followers and viewers.  Go to their URL TheSoul Publishing and you can see how many programs they have on YouTube and how unassuming and all American, these channels currently are.

NBC NEWS

But according to news reports from NBC News and the Rachael Maddow show, these are Russian backed disinformation sites posing as just your all-American type YouTube sites.  But these sites will gradually, before the election, change their programming or gradually insert false information and downright lies about the United States, Donald Trump and other topics surrounding the election.  It is a very subtle way of mind-manipulation.

NBC TECH AND MEDIA

Maddow on her Friday night show interviewed a reporter from NBC tech and media department on this company.  Their accounts that were fake, using artificially made user photos together with a pro-Trump agenda were finally banned by Facebook as was The Epoch Times. But Ben Collins said that this occurred only after this company had already cumulatively gathered tens of millions of followers and addresses using clickbait contents and ads bent toward conservative readers.  And this happened due to reporting by the Snopes.com.

OCTOBER 2019

In October Snopes first begin reporting on a media outlet named the BL (“Beauty of Life”), which seemed to be a pro-Trump media outlet whose grasp was quickly expanding all over Facebook and was linked in many ways to The Epoch Times, a company already accused of having many Facebook violations.

NOVEMBER

In November, Snopes reported  “hundreds of fake accounts of largely Vietnamese origin used to promote BL-linked groups without disclosure.”  In that investigation, they made the argument that the outlet’s social media presence was “built on unambiguously inauthentic or fraudulent tactics.”

CORNERSTONE OF THE EPOCH TIMES AND THE BL

A cornerstone of both The Epoch Times’ and The BL’s Facebook approach had been to purchase massive numbers of Facebook ads that seemingly promoted their organizations but were largely indistinguishable from Trump campaign ads. Previous reporting showed that at least 1,929 ads created by The BL, representing around a half million dollars in money paid to Facebook, were removed for violating Facebook’s ad policies. The combination of advertising-policy violations and clearly inauthentic behavior — on top of The BL’s unwillingness to admit its connection to The Epoch Times — raises a serious question: What does it take for Facebook to consider a “media company” a bad actor on its platform?

DECEMBER 13TH

On Dec. 13, Snopes again challenged Facebook to explain its apparent inaction against this “textbook example” of coordinated inauthentic behavior, suggesting that Facebook’s response to The BL was “inconsistent with their own public statements that proclaim a commitment to rooting out such abuse.”

GROUPS

The groups “administered” by these fake profiles appear geared toward attracting conservative Americans who would be receptive to The BL’s explicitly pro-Trump editorial strategy. Those running the groups employ tactics that seek to increase engagement on their pages. As an example, many pages have a pinned post with a picture of Ivanka Trump or other Trump figures and an exhortation to type the word “beautiful” below it, something that improves engagement numbers for the group.

GROUP NAMES

 Representative group names include

  • “Make America Great Again – PRESIDENT TRUMP”;
  • “PRESIDENT TRUMP MAGA #2020”;
  • “Support President Trump KAG 2020”;
  • “USA for President Trump 2020”;
  • “WE SUPPORT PRESIDENT TRUMP #KAG 2020.”

Whatever the group name, the content is the same: pro-Trump memes and links to the BL.com.

BL MODUS OPERANDI

Snopes writes “The BL’s modus operandi appears to go something like this: create a group using one of the over 300 fake accounts or over 73 pages at The BL’s disposal and fill it with a large number of fake BL profiles. Operators of the scheme then shift that group around the BL network, pairing it at times with other official BL pages in order to catch new members. The BL’s Best Videos Facebook page, for example, has served as an admin in at least 25 pro-Trump Facebook Groups, right alongside other BL employees who also act as admins. Ultimately, the group-growing game is one of attrition. Not all of the groups thrive, but the ones that do are usually cut off from having any obvious link to The BL — left to roam free in a meme-polluted wasteland while serving as a broadcast antenna for The BL, their content, prompts to sign up for text-message alerts, and their political agenda”.

DECEMBER 20TH

On Dec. 20, Facebook announced — citing its own “internal investigation” and “open source reporting” — that it had removed The BL’s Facebook presence entirely:

“We … removed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts that originated in Vietnam and the US and focused primarily on the US and Vietnam … This activity primarily focused on The BL, a US-based media company, and its Pages, which were operated by individuals in the US and Vietnam. The people behind this activity made widespread use of fake accounts … to manage Pages and Groups … Our investigation linked this activity to Epoch Media Group, a US-based media organization, and individuals in Vietnam working on its behalf. … The BL is now banned from Facebook. We are continuing to investigate all linked networks and will take action as appropriate if we determine they are engaged in deceptive behavior.”

NOT TRUE

But this is not true – Facebook might have removed some of this network or the BL and Beauty of Life has started to rebuild, but it is quite easy to get to this functioning network.  So, saying that BL is now banned from Facebook, I find hard to believe.

YOUTUBE AND FACEBOOK

YouTube and Facebook presence by these companies are producing what is referred to as “Artificial amplification”.  These companies are all mass producing content both on YouTube accounts as well as accounts of Facebook users that are all generated using artificial amplification to deeply dig into the American experience.

REP. MALONEY

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, member of the House Intelligence Committee, talked with Rachel about his concerns of the treatment of fake media to the 2020 election season and the need to hold Facebook and other social media companies accountable for a more responsible code of conduct.  According to him there is more danger from this foreign based online presence than from hackers hacking election votes on election day from some Russian farm operators managed by the Kremlin.

MASS PRODUCED VIDEOS

What he is concerned about is videos mass produced that are totally bogus yet look quite real but artificially produced and send to millions of viewers addresses from this massive media presence. These videos can have a candidate saying something that is totally false, send to their millions of viewers and those who view these videos have no idea and thus believe everything the video is saying.

 “Hey, I heard him say it in a video that’s good enough for me – he will never get by vote.”

This can really screw a campaign or candidate running for elective office and shows that we have very little to combat these companies that are already dug deeply into our society.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT

Another question is as the election season rolls around, how much help will the government currently run by Donald Trump, give to fight this massive social media presence that is already deeply entrenched in our society?  How ready is the Democratic party to fight this also?

 

 

 

Posted by: maboulette | December 19, 2019

Impeachment of Donald J. Trump

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the third president in history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors and face removal by the Senate.

RAGING PARTISAN TENSION

On a day of constitutional consequence and raging partisan tension, the votes on the two articles of impeachment fell largely along party lines, after a bitter debate that stretched into the evening and reflected the deep polarization gripping American politics in the Trump era.

TWO DEM OPPOSED

Only two Democrats opposed the article on abuse of power, which accused Mr. Trump of corruptly using the levers of government to solicit election assistance from Ukraine in the form of investigations to discredit his Democratic political rivals. Republicans were united in opposition. It passed 230 to 197, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveling the vote to a close from the House rostrum.

On the second charge, obstruction of Congress, a third Democrat joined Republicans in opposition. The vote was 229 to 198 

CORRUPT PRESIDENT

On Wednesday, Democrats characterized his impeachment as an urgent action to stop a corrupt president whose misdeeds had unfolded in plain view from damaging the United States any further.

“Over the course of the last three months, we have found incontrovertible evidence that President Trump abused his power by pressuring the newly elected president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into President Trump’s political rival,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the Intelligence Committee chairman, who led the impeachment inquiry.

“The president and his men plot on,” Mr. Schiff said. “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”

INDIGNANT TWEET

Far from showing contrition or contemplating resignation, as his predecessors have done in the face of impeachment, Mr. Trump instead offered an indignant defense as the House weighed his fate, raging on Twitter from the White House.

“SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS,” the president wrote as the debate took place on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. “THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”

NEXT

Now it is on to the Senate, where no one can predict what will happen with any certainty.

 

 

 

 

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