Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Seattle Times: It started with the Boston marathon bombing, four years ago. University of Washington professor Kate Starbird was sifting through thousands of tweets sent in the aftermath and noticed something strange. Too strange for a university professor to take seriously. "There was a significant volume of social-media traffic that blamed the Navy SEALs for the bombing," Starbird told me the other day in her office. "It was real tinfoil-hat stuff. So we ignored it. ... That was a terrible mistake. We should have been studying it." ... Starbird says she's concluded, provocatively, that we may be headed toward "the menace of unreality -- which is that nobody believes anything anymore." Alex Jones, she says, is "a kind of prophet. There really is an information war for your mind. And we're losing it."

Two former high-level members of the Christie administration were sentenced to prison terms Wednesday in the political scandal that became known as Bridgegate. Bridget Anne Kelly, 44, a former top aide to the governor whose "time for some traffic problems" email became a focal point of the federal investigation, was given 18 months. Bill Baroni, 45, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, received a 24 month sentence earlier in the day in a separate proceeding in the same courtroom before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark. read more

An overwhelming majority of Republicans -- at 74 percent -- believe it's likely that Donald Trump was wiretapped or otherwise subject to government surveillance while he was running for president, according to a CBS News poll released on Wednesday. The results suggest that Republican voters have largely accepted the president's claim -- which he first made earlier this month in a tweet -- that President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower. That's despite the fact that there is no evidence to substantiate his charge, which PolitiFact has labeled "false." So why do so many Republicans appear to believe the president if there's no concrete evidence to back him up?

Gizmodo: [President] Trump is, to put it mildly, oversensitive. From the bully pulpit of Twitter he lays into the source of any perceived insult, be it a union leader, Saturday Night Live, or a teenage girl. Similarly, his organizations are known for their willingness to threaten legal action. In concert, that's what made a story about a teenage girl targeted by Trump's lawyers for her viral cat site so believable. But the facts don't add up. read more

Federal authorities have detained an Iranian woman in an Oregon jail even though she has a tourist visa to visit her family in the U.S., according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The detention of Alia Ghandi at the Portland airport has renewed fears that agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are targeting travelers from Muslim-majority countries despite the fact that federal courts have repeatedly blocked Donald Trump's controversial travel ban. Ghandi, 29, was detained for several hours after she landed in Portland on Tuesday and was eventually transferred to a county jail 80 miles away, according to Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon. "That is a terrifying circumstance," Dos Santos said in an interview on Wednesday. "That is something that anybody would think is just a completely unacceptable way to treat anyone, especially somebody here on a valid visa and not to our knowledge being accused of having committed any kind of crime." read more

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Oil giant Exxon Mobil is urging Donald Trump to keep the United States signed up to the Paris Agreement on climate change. In a letter to the President's special assistant for international energy and the environment, a senior Exxon official described the historic international deal as an "effective framework for addressing the risks of climate change". But the letter also suggested it was worthwhile staying at the negotiating table to ensure energy markets "remain as free and competitive as possible."

A former Breitbart News writer alleged the site was acting as an illegal influence operation for its Washington, D.C. landlord, an obscure Egyptian politician cited this week by a Capitol Hill media association that denied Breitbart press credentials. Two sources with direct knowledge, including one former Breitbart writer, say a reporter for the pro-Trump news organization was behind a complaint to the Department of Justice implicating then-chairman Steve Bannon and Moustafa El-Gindy, an Egyptian businessman and former legislator and the owner of Breitbart's Washington office. read more

Jeff Bezos has leapt past Amancio Ortega and Warren Buffett to become the world's second-richest person. Bezos, 53, added $1.5 billion to his fortune as Amazon.com Inc. rose $18.32 on Wednesday, the day after the e-commerce giant said it plans to buy Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com. Bezos has a net worth of $75.6 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, $700 million more than Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Buffett and $1.3 billion above Ortega, the founder of Inditex S.A. and Europe's richest person. ... Bezos remains $10.4 billion behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world's richest person with $86 billion.

Congress sent proposed legislation to President Donald Trump on Tuesday that wipes away landmark online privacy protections, the first salvo in what is likely to become a significant reworking of the rules governing Internet access in an era of Republican dominance. In a party-line vote, House Republicans freed Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast of protections approved just last year that had sought to limit what companies could do with information such as customer browsing habits, app usage history, location data and Social Security numbers. The rules had also required providers to strengthen safeguards for customer data against hackers and thieves.

New York Magazine: When John McCain went on MSNBC last week and called North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un a "crazy fat kid," he may not have known it, but he was essentially declaring war. So says the Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang, where jibes about Kim's jowls are not tolerated. The insult hurt the country's "dignity," a statement said, and was a "grave provocation little short of declaration of war." North Korea "will take steps to counter it," the statement added. "The service personnel and people of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) are regarding the dignity of their supreme leadership as their life and soul," the statement said. read more

Ivanka Trump, the elder daughter of President Trump, is becoming an official government employee, joining her husband in serving as an unpaid adviser to her father in the White House. Ms. Trump already has an office in the West Wing, and she said last week that she would serve as an informal adviser to her father. But that plan prompted criticism from ethics experts, who said it would allow her to avoid some rules and disclosures. "I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees," Ms. Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. read more

"I am not running for public office. I really am constantly surprised by the stories of me running for, fill in the blank -- Congress, Senate, City Council, the presidency. I really find this all rather hysterical, because I've been asked this question a lot throughout my life, and the answer has never changed. ... I clearly do not support the president and certainly hope that he is defeated in the next election, but I don't think I'm the best person for that job." -- Chelsea Clinton

To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics -- several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA Today review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor. The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering. read more

Under extreme pressure from conservative activists, House Republican leaders and the White House have restarted negotiations on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But efforts to revive the legislation in the House could take weeks, lawmakers conceded, as Congress moves forward with a full plate of other time-consuming issues. And the renewed push did not meet with much enthusiasm from Senate Republicans, who said they had other priorities at the moment. Nonetheless, Speaker Paul D. Ryan vowed to renew efforts to repeal the law, despite last's week crushing setback when House Republicans tossed aside a repeal bill because they lacked the votes to pass it. read more

A panel on MSNBC about a black reporter being treated dismissively by White House spokesperson Sean Spicer erupted into a yelling match where a black guest said he was getting similar treatment. Political analyst Jason Johnson and American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp exchanged heated words. You don't get to tell other people what racism is," Johnson, who is black, interrupted. "You don't either!" Schlapp hit back. "Yes I do," Johnson said. "Because you don't experience it!" read more


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