Daily Blog November 2019 – Updated daily

Vote set rules for public phase of impeachment inquiry, laying out plan that could produce televised hearings within two weeks

Pelosi bangs the gavel: House votes to endorse Trump impeachment inquiry

And so begins November with a formal beginning to see whether impeachment is a valid option for the most corrupt President in United States history. I’m book- marking this story as the first step in a month that is certainly going to be marked in American history as the battle for the republic. And so it goes…

136 thoughts on “Daily Blog November 2019 – Updated daily

  1. The Who’s Pete Townshend grapples with rock’s legacy, and his own dark past.


    Photograph by Mamadi Doumbouya

    Of all the key figures from rock music’s glory days, the Who’s Pete Townshend is the one to have had most deeply interrogated — on albums like “Quadrophenia” and in his own writing over the years —the relationship between musicians and their audience. That decades-long preoccupation, which has resulted in so much thrilling, questing music, resurfaces on “WHO,” his band’s first studio album in 13 years, as well as Townshend’s first novel, “The Age of Anxiety,” out in November. “Paul McCartney thinks he knows who he is,” Townshend, 74, says. “Mick Jagger thinks he knows who he is. Keith Richards thinks he knows who he is.” A resigned look passes over his face. “I don’t.”

    You’ve spent 50 years exploring the archetype of the confused, messianic rock star, including in your new book. For part of that time I’d even say you were living that archetype. What’s left to mine there?

    You’re looking for clues in the wrong place. I couldn’t write about Wall Street. I couldn’t write about crime. I have spent 55 years working in rock. I remain in familiar territory. I’ve always regarded the rock-star phenomenon with immense disdain. I’ve had my moments, which have been gloriously recorded and exalted — but brief — when I’ve felt: I’m going to try and do this job. I’m going to try to be a proper rock star. Then I would do it, and it wouldn’t work. I was counterfeit. There are very few people truly authentic to the cause: David Byrne. Mick Jagger. Neil Young. Joni Mitchell. Deborah Harry.


    The Who in London in 1965. From left, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. The Visualeyes Archive/Redferns, via Getty Images

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.


  2. Republicans’ Big Lie About Trump and Russia

    Collusion wasn’t a hoax and Trump wasn’t exonerated.


    Peter Fritsch, left, and Glenn Simpson, the founders of Fusion GPS, the research firm that investigated Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.Credit…William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire, via Getty Images

    There are two very big lies that Donald Trump and his sycophants have used, through aggressive, bombastic repetition, to shape the public debate about impeachment, and about Trump’s legitimacy more broadly.

    The first big lie is that “the people” elected Trump, and that the constitutional provision of impeachment would invalidate their choice. In fact, Trump is president only because a constitutional provision invalidated the choice of the American people. Trump lost the popular vote and might have lost the Electoral College without Russian interference, and yet many Democrats and pundits have been bullied into accepting the fiction that he has democratic, and not just constitutional, legitimacy.

    The second big lie is that Russia didn’t help elect Trump, and that the president has been absolved of collusion. It’s true that the report by Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, did not find enough evidence to prove a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russian state actors. But the Mueller report found abundant evidence that the campaign sought Russian help, benefited from that help and obstructed the F.B.I. investigation into Russian actions. His investigation resulted in felony convictions for Trump’s former campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, personal lawyer, first national security adviser, and longtime political adviser, among others.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.


  3. NEW YORK DEMOCRATS JUST PASSED A MEASURE THAT COULD TAKE THE WORKING FAMILIES PARTY OFF THE BALLOT

    According to the WFP, the move could jeopardize a handful of blue seats in Congress and the state Senate.


    Working Families Party lapel pins at an event in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 17, 2018. Photo: Marian Carrasquero/The New York Times/Redux

    AT A MEETING ON MONDAY, a commission created to implement New York’s public campaign finance system voted to pass a proposal that would make it significantly more difficult for alternative political parties to operate in the state. The proposal would change party qualification rules and, combined with an earlier measure to end fusion voting, is seen as part of a larger set of attacks by state Democrats, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Cuomo’s nemesis: the Working Families Party.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrives for a ceremony to sign an anti-discrimination bill into law, Friday Jan. 25, 2019 in New York. New York state added gender identity and gender expression to the state’s anti-discrimination law, making it illegal to deny people a job, housing, education or public accommodations because they are transgender. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Related
    The Working Families Party Helped Democrats Regain Power in New York. Now Democrats Are Trying to Kill It.

    In doing so, state Democrats go against national party leaders, who have spoken out against attempts by the state party to end the WFP’s ballot line. Both party leaders and the WFP say the change would also build a structural advantage for Republicans in swing districts across the state by eliminating the WFP’s margins and boosting numbers for the state’s biggest minor party, the right-leaning Conservative Party.

    Finish the story at The Intercept.


  4. Why tweaking the ACA may not be the right solution

    Why our free flu shots actually cost us down the road


    A 78-year-old man gets a flu shot in Columbus, Ohio. (Eric Albrecht/Columbus Dispatch/AP)

    In the byzantine world of health-care pricing, most people wouldn’t expect that the ubiquitous flu shot could be a prime example of how the system’s lack of transparency can lead to disparate costs.
    The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover all federally recommended vaccines at no charge to patients, including flu immunizations. Although people with insurance pay nothing when they get their shot, many don’t realize that their insurers foot the bill — and that those companies will recoup their costs eventually.
    In one small sample from one insurer, Kaiser Health News found dramatic differences among the costs for its own employees. At a Sacramento facility, the insurer paid $85, but just a little more than half that at a clinic in Long Beach. A drugstore in the District was paid $32.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.


  5. I Invented the World Wide Web. Here’s How We Can Fix It.

    I wanted the web to serve humanity. It’s not too late to live up to that promise.


    Wren McDonald

    My parents were mathematicians. My mother helped code one of the first stored-program computers — the Manchester Mark 1. They taught me that when you program a computer, what you can do is limited only by your imagination. That excitement for experimentation and change helped me build the World Wide Web.

    I had hoped that 30 years from its creation, we would be using the web foremost for the purpose of serving humanity. Projects like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the world of open source software are the kinds of constructive tools that I hoped would flow from the web.

    However, the reality is much more complex. Communities are being ripped apart as prejudice, hate and disinformation are peddled online. Scammers use the web to steal identities, stalkers use it to harass and intimidate their victims, and bad actors subvert democracy using clever digital tactics. The use of targeted political ads in the United States’ 2020 presidential campaign and in elections elsewhere threatens once again to undermine voters’ understanding and choices.

    We’re at a tipping point. How we respond to this abuse will determine whether the web lives up to its potential as a global force for good or leads us into a digital dystopia.
    Sign Up for Debatable
    Agree to disagree, or disagree better? We’ll help you understand the sharpest arguments on the most pressing issues of the week, from new and familiar voices.

    The web needs radical intervention from all those who have power over its future: governments that can legislate and regulate; companies that design products; civil society groups and activists who hold the powerful to account; and every single web user who interacts with others online.

    We have to overcome the stalemate that has characterized previous attempts to solve the problems facing the web. Governments must stop blaming platforms for inaction, and companies must become more constructive in shaping future regulation — not just opposing it.

    I’m introducing a new approach to overcome that stalemate — the Contract for the Web

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the New York Times paywall.


  6. Hong Kong voters deliver landslide victory for pro-democracy campaigners

    Carrie Lam says she will ‘listen humbly’ after almost 90% of district council seats go to pro-democracy candidates


    Voters queue to vote at a polling station in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

    Hong Kong residents have turned out in unprecedented numbers for local elections that many in the city are treating as a proxy referendum on months of anti-government protests.

    Hour-long queues stretched outside many polling stations and by early afternoon more than 1.5 million people had voted, exceeding the total ballots cast in the 2015 elections.

    “It’s my first time voting. I registered myself because of the [protest] movement,” said Vivian Lee, an insurance worker in her 30s. “I’m happy so many people have come out to vote, because we want our voices heard. Its the first time I’ve seen people in Hong Kong so politically involved.”

    The district councils are relatively toothless bodies, with few powers, limited budgets and a reputation for corruption. In past years the elections have seen low turnout, with disciplined and well-funded pro-Beijing groups winning easy control of almost all councils.

    But after protests against a controversial extradition bill exploded into a broad pro-democracy movement that has convulsed the city for nearly six months, they have become a focus of intense political interest.

    “If you are willing to march or protest in the streets, which requires blood and sweat and tears, its much easier to walk downstairs and vote,” said one man who has taken part in the street protests, and asked not to be named because of fear of official retaliation.

    Finish the story at The Guardian.


  7. Biden: ‘Lindsey Graham Is About to Go Down in a Way’ He’ll ‘Regret His Whole Life’

    “I’m just embarrassed by what” he’s doing, the former vice president said of the senator


    Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

    On Thursday, yielding to Trump once again, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, launched a probe into the baseless claims alleging Joe Biden was involved with corruption in Ukraine.
    On Friday, the presidential candidate spoke with CNN’s Don Lemon and expressed anger and disappointment in his former Senate colleague and friend.
    “I am disappointed and, quite frankly, I’m angered by the fact. He knows me. He knows my son. He knows there’s nothing to this,” Biden said. “Trump is now essentially holding power over him that even the Ukrainians wouldn’t yield to. Ukrainians would not yield to—quote—’investigate Biden.’ There’s nothing to investigate about Biden or his son,” Biden added.
    Biden then said that Graham will wish he’d never gone down this path and that he’s “embarrassed” for him.
    “Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” Biden said.
    Then Lemon asked the candidate what he would say to Graham. Biden replied, “I say, Lindsey, I just—I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you. I mean, my lord.”

    Finish the story at Rolling Stone .


  8. Trump’s White Whale

    Trump will not stop until he brings down Trump.


    By Maureen Dowd
    Opinion Columnist

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is a rodomont. Not to mention a grobian. And, of course, a Sinon suffering from proditomania.

    With Trump firmly lodged in our heads, it is understandable if we have all become a little conspiracy-minded.

    Case in point: A few weeks ago, someone signed me up for A.Word.A.Day email from Wordsmith.org. Soon I began to detect a pattern.

    Friday’s word was vulgarian, following close after bareknuckle. Others included rodomont (a vain boaster), grobian (a buffoonish person) and Sinon (one who misleads and betrays). Also chirocracy (a government that rules with a heavy hand) and froward (difficult to deal with or contrary).

    Sound like anyone you know?

    Since this is a town of fevered conspiracists now, theories abound about why the president went to Walter Reed military hospital last Saturday. But nobody here buys that it was a spontaneous desire to do Phase 1 of a physical.

    As Trump himself said Friday about it, “A lot of things are a matter with me.” But we do know the name of one severe malady the president has: proditomania. A.Word.A.Day defined it as the feeling or belief that everyone is out to get you.

    Read more in a free pdf of this article or go behind the paywall at New York Times.


  9. Elon Musk: 150,000 orders for Tesla cybertruck despite disastrous launch

    * Electric car mogul claims not to have advertised new vehicle
    * Musk’s net worth plunged $768m after window fiasco went viral

    Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said on Saturday there had been about 150,000 orders for the electric carmaker’s cybertruck, which was unveiled in Los Angeles on Thursday.

    “146k cybertruck orders so far, with 42% choosing dual, 41% tri & 17% single motor,” Musk said in a tweet, adding that the orders were achieved without any advertising or paid endorsements.

    The launch of the cybertruck, which Musk has described as “a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup”, suffered a very public setback when its “armored glass” windows shattered in a much-anticipated unveiling.

    The overall look of the futuristic electric vehicle worried Wall Street. On Friday, Tesla’s share price plummeted 6%, bringing Musk’s still immense personal net worth down by $768m in a single day, according to Forbes.

    After the disastrous launch, Musk tweeted a video of a successful test of the windows.

    “Franz throws steel ball at cybertruck window right before launch,” he wrote, referring to the design chief, Franz von Holzhausen, who threw the balls that broke both windows in public.

    “Oh my fucking God,” Musk said then. “Maybe that was a little hard.”

    In his tweet after the launch, Musk added: “Guess we have some improvements to make before production haha.”

    Placing an order costs $100, which Tesla says is fully refundable. Musk said 17% of the orders were for the single-motor model, 42% were for the dual-motor version and 41% were for the tri-motor model.

    The company has said the cybertruck will be in production in 2021, starting at $39,900, or £30,700.

    Finish the story at The Guardian.


  10. Navy Is Said to Proceed With Disciplinary Plans Against Edward Gallagher

    Top military officials threatened to resign or be fired if their plans to remove Chief Gallagher from the SEALs were halted by President Trump, administration officials said


    Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, right, and President Trump in July.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

    The secretary of the Navy and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if plans to expel a commando from the elite unit in a war crimes case are halted by President Trump, administration officials said Saturday.

    The high-level pushback to Mr. Trump’s unambiguous assertion on Twitter this past week that the commando, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, should remain in the unit was an extraordinary development in what was already an extraordinary case, one with few precedents in the history of presidential relations with the American military.

    The Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, later denied that he had threatened to resign but said disciplinary plans against Chief Gallagher would proceed because he did not consider Mr. Trump’s statement on Twitter to be a formal order. Mr. Spencer added that the president, as commander in chief, had the authority to intervene and that it would stop “the process.”

    Chief Gallagher, who counts Mr. Trump as one of his most vocal supporters, was accused of shooting civilians, murdering a captive Islamic State fighter with a hunting knife in Iraq, and threatening to kill SEALs who reported him, among other misconduct. His court-martial ended in acquittal on those charges.

    But the Navy ultimately demoted the chief, who was convicted of one charge: bringing discredit to the armed forces by posing for photos with the teenage captive’s dead body. Last Friday, Mr. Trump reversed that demotion, angering Navy officials, including the commander of the SEALs, Rear Adm. Collin Green, who had little choice but to accept the reversal. Nonetheless, they continued with their plans to expel Chief Gallagher from the unit.

    On Thursday, the president intervened again in the case, saying that the commando should not be expelled.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.


    1. Official says White House gave Navy go-ahead on Gallagher

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy has been notified that the White House will not intervene to stop a disciplinary proceeding that could cost a SEAL his position in the elite unit, a senior Navy official said Sunday.

      Although President Donald Trump had tweeted on Thursday that he would not let the Navy remove Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher from the SEALs, the Navy was given White House guidance on Friday that it can proceed as planned, the Navy official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

      This would seem to have defused a conflict between the president and Navy leaders, although it remained possible that Trump could still use his authority as commander in chief to intervene in the volatile and politically charged Gallagher case, despite assurances received by the Navy.

      Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Saturday at an international security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that he did not consider a tweet by Trump an order and would need a formal order to stop the Navy review board, scheduled to begin Dec. 2, that would determine whether Gallagher is allowed to remain in the SEALs.

      “I need a formal order to act,” Spencer said. Of Trump’s tweets, “I don’t interpret them as a formal order.”

      Trump tweeted Thursday that the Navy “will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” inserting himself into the ongoing legal review of the sailor’s ability to hold onto the pin that designates him a SEAL.

      Finish the story at AP .


  11. Trump’s GOP defenders cannot be shamed. It’s time to try this instead.

    It’s time to rhetorically treat Trump’s defenders like his *criminal accomplices.*


    House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) during David Holmes’s testimony on Thursday. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

    If there is one widely shared conclusion about the impeachment hearings that have just concluded, it’s that President Trump’s GOP defenders were never “gettable.”

    This idea has been repeated countless times in recent days, as one monumentally damning revelation after another has been exposed, only to be met by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee with up-is-down denial.

    Some defenders have flatly inverted what was actually testified to into its diametrical opposite. Others have reflexively reverted to conspiracy theories creating a universe as divorced from the actual corrupt conduct now being examined as one former half of a divided cell is from the other.
    The latest updates in the Trump impeachment hearings

    It’s now clear that the coming Senate trial will also be conducted in this manner. Reports tell us Republicans are divided over whether to have a drawn out trial that offers a genuine “defense of his conduct,” as if a protracted one will see Trump’s extensive misconduct evaluated and defended on its merits.

    Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina, a top Trump loyalist, has just demanded that the State Department turn over extensive documents to help “prove” the theory that the Ukraine activities of Joe Biden and his son Hunter were corrupt.

    That invented narrative has already been thoroughly debunked. But what really matters here is that this is the very same theory Trump set out to “prove” with his corrupt pressure on Ukraine in the first place.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall at Washington Post.


  12. Opinion by Kara Swisher

    Google Changed Its Political Ad Policy. Will Facebook Be Next?

    Forget impeachment. The country wants to know if Facebook will put the brakes on digital disinformation.


    Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager, at a rally in Louisiana last week. Credit…Tom Brenner/Reuters

    This was a bad week for the head of the Trump campaign, Brad Parscale, but not because of the blockbuster testimony of America’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, in the impeachment hearings linking his boss to the pay-for-play scheme in Ukraine.

    Google announced on Wednesday that it would start to rein in its political advertising business. Mr. Parscale — an Olympic manipulator of digital information who specializes in creating disingenuous political ads filled with conspiracy theories — will now have one less weapon in his digital arsenal to wage his scorched-earth re-election campaign.

    He responded to the news with typical pique, tweeting at Google: “Political elites & Big Tech want to rig elections — Dem primary & 2020 included. They’re targeting Trump because he’s the big dog, but they’re after Dems like Sanders & Warren. Won’t stop until they control all digital political speech.”

    Google does not plan to completely ban political advertising. But the new policy will hinder many political campaign operatives — and Mr. Parscale most of all since he is the most deft user of tech tools in politics. The Trump campaign continues to outspend and outperform all the Democratic wannabes on digital combined.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall at New York Times.


  13. “Are You Sure They Did That?” Even Fox Questions Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory

    EVEN DONALD TRUMP’S friendliest audience, the hosts of “Fox and Friends,” appear to be losing patience with his promotion of the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered with the 2016 election by hacking and releasing the emails of Democratic officials.

    During a nearly hour-long phone interview on Friday morning, when Trump suggested, in the absence of all evidence to the contrary, that Ukraine was involved in both the Steele dossier and the hacking, two of the morning show’s hosts, Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy, shifted uneasily in their seats and gently questioned Viewer Number One.

    “A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine,” Trump began, before plunging headlong into what his former Russia expert, Fiona Hill, described to Congress the day before as “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

    Finish the story at The Intercept.


  14. AT PRIVATE CALIFORNIA FUNDRAISER, PETE BUTTIGIEG EXPLAINS LIMITED BLACK SUPPORT


    Pete Buttigieg visits Morehouse College, a historically black men’s college in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 18, 2019. Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

    AT A PRIVATE fundraiser in California on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg suggested that black voters in South Carolina preferred former Vice President Joe Biden because of a perception of “familiarity,” even though Biden isn’t “the candidate with the best answers on the subject of race.”

    Asked by a guest in attendance at a meet-and-greet event at Thunderbird Heights in Rancho Mirage how he anticipated “engaging the black community to get greater support,” Buttigieg said, “So what’s working for us best right now in engaging the black community is two things: First, substance. And secondly, engagement.” The private event followed a reception at the Andreas Hills Private Resort in Palm Springs, hosted by Rich Weissman, a former Bank of America executive.

    On Biden, who has been leading the polls in South Carolina, Buttigieg said, “There’s one candidate who’s got a far and away lead in South Carolina. I actually don’t think it’s because it’s the candidate with the best answers on the subject of race. I think it’s because it’s the candidate who’s got the most familiarity.”

    Finish the story at The Intercept.


  15. Three stories for Friday Nov 22

    The key moment from Fiona Hill’s testimony

    Republicans accidentally got Hill to decry the White House’s “political errand” in Ukraine.

    The Ukraine scandal has a lot of complicated parts. During Thursday afternoon’s impeachment hearings, former National Security Council official Fiona Hill clearly laid out one of the most devastating: that the Trump administration systematically undermined the normal US diplomatic process to pursue a shadow foreign policy in service of what she described as a “domestic political errand.”

    Steve Castor, the attorney for House Republicans, began the exchange (which he now probably regrets) by asking Hill about some unpleasant conversations she had with Gordon Sondland, Trump’s EU ambassador, about his involvement in Ukraine policy. Sondland was, as he testified Wednesday, deeply involved in Trump’s push to pressure the Ukrainians into investigating conspiracy theories around the 2016 election and Burisma (the Ukrainian gas company Hunter Biden sat on the board of).


    GOP attorney Steve Castor questions Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Europe and Russia, on November 21, 2019. Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images

    Apparently, Hill had several confrontations with Sondland about his interference in her job working on more traditional US-Ukraine policy issues. Reflecting on one such confrontation and recalling seeing the emails about Ukraine that Sondland sent to Trump staff (including Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney), which were displayed during Sondland’s testimony, Hill says she connected the dots.

    Her testimony skillfully outlined why Sondland’s behavior was so inappropriate: It perverted foreign policy by constructing a separate diplomatic architecture to serve the ends of Trump’s reelection campaign.

    We have a robust interagency process that deals with Ukraine. … It struck me yesterday when you put up on the screen Ambassador Sondland’s emails, and who was on these emails, and he said these are the people who need to know, that he was absolutely right. Because he was being involved in a domestic political errand. And we were being involved in national security [and] foreign policy. And those two things had just diverged.

    So he was correct, and I had not put my finger on that at the moment. But I was irritated with him and angry with him that he wasn’t fully coordinating. I did say to him, ‘Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I fear this is all going to blow up.’ And here we are.

    Finish the story at Vox.com.


    White nationalists are openly operating on Facebook. The company won’t act

    Guardian analysis finds VDare and Red Ice TV among several outlets that are still on the platform despite Facebook’s promised ban


    * Facebook remains a home for a number of white nationalist groups despite promising a ban in March. Photograph: Megan Jelinger/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images*

    On 7 November, Lana Lokteff, an American white nationalist, introduced a “thought criminal and political prisoner and friend” as a featured guest on her internet talk show, Red Ice TV. 

    For about 90 minutes, Lokteff and her guest – Greg Johnson, a prominent white nationalist and editor-in-chief of the white nationalist publisher Counter-Currents – discussed Johnson’s recent arrest in Norway amid authorities’ concerns about his past expression of “respect” for the far-right mass murderer Anders Breivik. In 2012, Johnson wrote that he was angered by Breivik’s crimes because he feared they would harm the cause of white nationalism but had discovered a “strange new respect” for him during his trial; Breivik’s murder of 77 people has been cited as an inspiration by the suspected Christchurch killer, the man who murdered the British MP Jo Cox, and a US coast guard officer accused of plotting a white nationalist terror attack.

    Just a few weeks earlier, Red Ice TV had suffered a serious setback when it was permanently banned from YouTube for repeated violations of its policy against hate speech. But Red Ice TV still had a home on Facebook, allowing the channel’s 90,000 followers to stream the discussion on Facebook Watch – the platform Mark Zuckerberg launched as a place “to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things”.

    The conversation wasn’t a unique occurrence. Facebook promised to ban white nationalist content from its platform in March 2019, reversing a years-long policy to tolerate the ideology. But Red Ice TV is just one of several white nationalist outlets that remain active on the platform today.

    Finish the story at The Guardian.


    Democrats already have a popular, progressive agenda. They just need to amplify it.


    Democratic presidential candidates onstage during their debate on Wednesday in Atlanta. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

    Americans who watched the presidential primary debate this week might have learned something surprising: Despite GOP accusations of Bolshevism, nearly all the Democratic contenders share a pretty mainstream policy platform.
    In fact, as exemplified on Wednesday night, most of their core policy principles are quite popular among voters who identify as Democrats and voters who identify as Republicans.
    Consider a few issues that came up during the debate.
    For instance, we heard about how the candidates broadly agree on the need for paid family leave. They differ on precisely how many months of leave should be offered and how such a program should be financed. But, according to a Post questionnaire recently sent to each candidate, every single politician still in the race supports some amount of guaranteed paid leave.

    This view is squarely within the political mainstream, as you might expect from a policy that already exists in some form in nearly every other country on Earth. In fact, 90 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of Republicans support paid maternity leave, according to a Pew Research Center survey. For paid paternity leave, the shares are 79 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
    Democratic candidates also showed significant overlap on other popular policies as well, such as the need for a more progressive tax code.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall at Washington Post.

  16. Trump hosted Zuckerberg for undisclosed dinner at the White House in October

    The meeting took place during Zuckerberg’s most recent visit to Washington, where he testified before Congress about Facebook’s new cryptocurrency Libra.


    Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill Oct. 23, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

    President Donald Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel at the White House in October, the company told NBC News on Wednesday.

    The meeting took place during Zuckerberg’s most recent visit to Washington, where he testified before Congress about Facebook’s new cryptocurrency Libra. Zuckerberg also gave a speech at Georgetown University the week before, detailing his company’s commitment to free speech, and its resistance to calls for the company to crack down on misinformation in political ads.

    “As is normal for a CEO of a major U.S. company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the President and First Lady at the White House,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

    A source familiar with the dinner told NBC News that Thiel was also present. It is unclear why the meeting was not made public or what Trump, Zuckerberg and Thiel discussed.

    The White House declined to comment.

    The dinner was the second meeting between Zuckerberg and Trump in a month. Zuckerberg also met with the president in the Oval Office during a September visit to the capital.

    Finish the story at NBC News.

  17. Vox.com’s Winners and Losers

    4 winners and 3 losers from the November Democratic debate

    Winner: Cory Booker. Loser: asylum seekers.


    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) listens during the Democratic Presidential Debate. Alex Wong/Getty Images

    The November Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta came at the end of a marathon day of political news, marked by US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland’s historic testimony before the House Intelligence Committee confirming that President Donald Trump tied military aid to Ukraine to investigations into the Biden family. Indeed, moderator Rachel Maddow opened the debate with a question about the Sondland testimony.

    But the rest of the night barely touched on the impeachment process, swerving from agricultural policy to wealth taxes to climate to military intervention. It was a fairly solid night for the field as a whole, with even bottom-tier candidates like Tom Steyer having standout moments.

    Some, though, won more than others. Here’s who ended the night up, and who ended up worse than they started.

    Finish the story at Vox.com.

  18. Impeachment inquiry: Sondland’s bombshell testimony blows holes in Trump’s Ukraine defence

    * Ambassador to EU testifies as House impeachment hearing
    * Sondland: ‘We followed the president’s orders’

    A star witness at the impeachment inquiry has delivered a devastating blow to Donald Trump, testifying about the existence of a quid pro quo with Ukraine and insisting: “We followed the president’s orders.”

    Ukraine knew of stalled aid far earlier than White House claims, official testifies
    Read more

    Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, stunned Washington with bombshell evidence that blew a hole in the White House’s defences, implicated numerous senior officials and left the US president facing probable impeachment.

    Before a rapt congressional committee and a TV audience of millions, Sondland told how Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, sought to condition an Oval Office meeting with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in exchange for politically motivated investigations of Trump’s rivals.

    “I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” the ambassador said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”

    Finish the story at The Guardian.

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