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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenges GOP after impeachment inquiry hearing

To Exonerate Trump, Republicans Embrace Russian Disinformation

On Friday, House investigators released the transcript of the former National Security Council official Fiona Hill’s testimony from last month. It showed a Republican staff member trying and failing to get Hill to concede that there might be some validity to the conspiracy theories underlying Donald Trump’s demands of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

“Are you familiar with the, you know, the allegation about Serhiy Leshchenko?” asked the Republican aide, Steve Castor. He added, “You know, relating to publicizing Manafort’s role in the Ukraine?”

Leshchenko, whom I interviewed in October, is a former member of Parliament in Ukraine and probably the most famous investigative journalist in the country. He helped expose the so-called black ledger that listed $12.7 million in secret payments to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, from his client Viktor Yanukovych, the wildly corrupt Russian-aligned oligarch who ruled Ukraine until 2014. Manafort is in federal prison in part for failing to disclose or pay taxes on the millions he sucked out of Ukraine. Nevertheless, to make Trump’s demands of Zelensky seem just and rational, some Republicans have started painting Manafort as the victim of Leshchenko’s plotting.

Hill, a Russia expert and co-author of a psychological study of Vladimir Putin, tried to shut down this line of questioning. “The Ukrainian government did not interfere in the U.S. election,” she said, adding, “The Ukrainian Special Services also did not interfere in our election.” As the Republican questions continued, Hill seems to have grown almost indignant. “I’m really worried about these conspiracy theories, and I’m worried that all of you are going to go down a rabbit hole, you know, looking for things that are not going to be at all helpful to the American people or to our future election in 2020,” she said.


Greece, China Sign 16 Deals in Sectors Including Energy


Greece and China in Athens Monday signed 16 agreements in sectors including energy, agriculture, tourism and ports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is on an official visit to Greece for follow-up meetings with Greek officials, after Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited China last week. At that time, the leaders said they wanted to expand relations between two of the world’s oldest civilizations.

China and Greece “are natural partners” for the creation of the one belt, one road initiative, Xi said after meeting with Mitsotakis. The two countries will cooperate in many sectors and “we want to strengthen the transit role of Piraeus Port to expand bilateral trade and to invest in energy, transportation and the banking sector.”

Chinese tourists gathered in Athens’ central Syntagma Square, clutching small flags from both countries as Xi laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

“We’re opening a road that will soon become a freeway as our cooperation will be significantly enforced,” Mitsotakis said. The common goal of both countries is for half a million Chinese tourists to visit Greece in 2021, he said.


Sanders meets with Hispanic lawmakers


Bernie Sanders met privately with Hispanic lawmakers on Tuesday.

Sanders, who has aggressively courted Latino voters in his 2020 bid for the White House, is the third presidential candidate to sit down with Latino members under the auspices of BOLD PAC, the fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have also talked with BOLD PAC.

Sanders spoke about immigration, Medicare for All, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and other issues, including his family’s immigrant roots. A Latino caucus member in the room said several undecided lawmakers were present, and that Sanders did not exclusively talk about economic issues.

“It was not what I expected. It was pretty impressive,” said the member. “He was very comfortable with us. He impressed the caucus, to be honest.”


Court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops

Source: AP

6 minutes ago

BOSTON (AP) — A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment.

Tuesday’s ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said the ruling strengthens the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the United States every year.

The ACLU describes the searches as “fishing expeditions.” They say border officers must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of contraband before they can search a traveler’s electronic device.

Read more: https://apnews.com/25c8054b9c16409aaef355a1c20e3481

U.S. troops shouldn't be security guards for private oil company

Recently, the administration announced it was sending troops to Syria to protect the oil fields. This just after deploying troops to Saudi Arabia for the same thing. And the U.S. has had troops in Iraq and Kuwait guarding the oil fields for years.

Now, all of a sudden, ARAMCO (Arabian American Oil Company) has decided to launch its IPO and go on the stock market. Why all of a sudden is ARAMCO so willing to share the goose that lays the golden egg? Saudi Arabia, which funded the 9/11 attacks and the richest oil companies in America, wants to share the wealth ?

Is there a connection between the need for troops to guard the oil fields and this IPO? Is ARAMCO going to say they need U.S. troops to protect the American investor? If so, then ARAMCO and its investors need to get a bill for keeping those troops there.

Protecting the assets of a private company isn’t the U.S. taxpayers’ responsibility. Most importantly, U.S. troops shouldn’t be anyone’s security guards.

U.S. citizens better start paying attention to the whole picture and not their own personal issues.


Bernie Sanders Is the Most Progressive Politician in the 2020 Race. Why Aren't More People Talking

About Him?

Bernie Sanders Is the Most Progressive Politician in the 2020 Race. Why Aren’t More People Talking About Him?

November 8, 2019 3:45 PM

Bernie Sanders announced his immigration platform on Thursday, becoming the first and only 2020 Democratic candidate to call for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. (There’s probably little need to remind you where President Trump stands on the issue.)

In a plan that the Intercept called “arguably the most ambitious of any Democratic presidential candidate’s [sic] so far, Sanders pledged to support the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which would “provide domestic workers with at least a $15 minimum wage, strong protections for collective bargaining, workers’ rights, workplace safety, and fair scheduling,” regardless of immigration status, and reinstating the DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program.

The comparison between Sanders’s plan and the other Democratic front-runners’ is striking. Sanders’s plan goes measurably further than, for example, Elizabeth Warren’s—in July, she pledged to “remake CBP and ICE in a way that reflects our values”—and from a progressive standpoint, he’s miles ahead of Joe Biden, who served as vice president under an administration with a higher deportation rate than any other in U.S. history.


It’s doubtful that there’s some sort of media conspiracy going on to misrepresent Sanders’s standing in the 2020 race, but the numbers speak for themselves; for example, between October 28 and November 8, the New York Times appeared to have published more than four times as many articles about Warren than it did about Sanders, despite the fact that Sanders is consistently polling just a few percentage points behind Warren (in fact, a Reuters poll this week found Sanders ahead of Warren by 4%, crediting the rise in support for Sanders to a post-debate spike). Sanders’s top aide Jeff Weaver criticized the “undiscriminating coverage of polls that fit existing narratives” from CNN, MSNBC, and major newspapers in August.

It’s an incontrovertible fact that much of Bernie’s base is younger and more diverse than the myth the “Bernie bro” implies; as usual, there seems to be a disinclination to amplify the voices of young people, women, and people of color, particularly when they’re telling a story that deviates from expectations.


Saudis recruited Twitter workers to spy on critics of Saudi regime, U.S. charges

Source: NBC News

By Andrew Blankstein and Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Federal prosecutors in San Francisco charged two former Twitter employees and a Saudi national with a plot to provide the Saudi government with information about Twitter users, including critics of the Saudi government.

The complaint unsealed Wednesday detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi officials to recruit employees at the social media giant to look up the private data of thousands of Twitter accounts.

Ali Alzabarah, 35, of Saudi Arabia, and Ahmad Abouammo, 41, of Seattle were Twitter employees. According to the complaint, between November 2014 and May 2015, Ahmed Almutairi, 30, of Saudi Arabia, and Saudi officials convinced the two men to use their employee credentials to access nonpublic information about the individuals behind certain Twitter accounts.

The Saudis sought email addresses, IP addresses, and dates of birth for individuals who had published posts deemed by the kingdom's royal family to be critical of the regime, according to the complaint.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1077881?__twitter_impression=true

The Online Cacophony of Hate Against Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

We found that they were in the cross hairs of a tiny band of Islamophobes long before Trump’s tweets.

By Lawrence Pintak, Jonathan Albright and Brian J. Bowe
Dr. Pintak, Dr. Albright and Dr. Bowe are the authors of a study by the Social Science Research Council on anti-Muslim sentiment on social media during the 2018 midterm elections.

Donald Trump has made the demonization of Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, a key element of his 2020 re-election strategy. But the targeting of Ms. Omar and her fellow Democrat and Muslim member of Congress, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, started as soon as they became candidates.

We published a study this week that found that, around the 2018 midterm elections, Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib were in the cross hairs of a tiny band of Islamophobes, long before Mr. Trump elevated them in his tweetstorms, and likely before they were even on his radar.

We studied more than 113,000 tweets, posted from early September 2018 to the weekend before the election, that mentioned Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Omar Qudrat, a Republican congressional candidate in California who lost his race.

Ilhan Omar was the prime target. Roughly half of the 90,000 tweets mentioning her included hate speech or Islamophobic or anti-immigrant language. Put another way, almost 60 percent of the network of accounts that mentioned or tagged her had posted at least one tweet containing hate speech or overt disinformation. Almost one-third of the tweets mentioning Ms. Tlaib were Islamophobic or xenophobic. Even Mr. Qudrat, a former military terrorism prosecutor, faced online harassment.



Report: Tech companies have secret data showing that conservative voices outperform liberals

Axios reports that tech companies are showing conservatives data that they outperform liberals. The companies have not released it.

According to an Axios report, conservative groups are planning to make supposed social media censorship a crucial part of their 2020 campaign. But the report also says that tech companies are conducting outreach with conservatives and “trying to push hard on data showing that conservative voices often outperform liberal ones.”


Axios’ report says that conservative “charges of overt bias by social media platforms are way overblown.”

This is an understatement. The data is clear: There is no censorship of conservatives on social media platforms. To the contrary, the existing data does show that conservatives receive equal or greater engagement than others.

I. Facebook organic content
Media Matters conducted three extensive studies of political pages on Facebook (pages that post about politics or news regularly), all finding that left-leaning and right-leaning content performed about the same. Those same studies show that right-wing meme pages are the most engaged-with content on Facebook.


Donald Trump’s campaign ran over 2,200 ads this year referring to immigration as an invasion -- a white supremacist dog whistle later echoed in the manifesto of the El Paso, TX, mass shooter. Nine other Republicans ran similar ads since May 2018. Facebook’s advertising policies and community standards prohibit attacks which target a group of people based on their immigration status. The policy clearly states that “violent” or “dehumanizing” attacks against a group of people based on immigration status are prohibited.

The impact of YouTube is not in doubt. A massive New York Times report found that YouTube fueled the rise of the far-right in Brazil. Another report examined how YouTube radicalized a West Virginia man. The Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill spoke to people who were radicalized on YouTube. “I’d met a neo-Nazi and didn’t even know it,” one told her.

Following pressure about all of this radicalization, YouTube said that it would stop recommending conspiracy theory videos. A HuffPost investigation by Jesselyn Cook and K. Sophie Will found that the channel was instead pushing viewers towards Fox News videos.


The other day I was surfing after I watched a video on Youtube on my Roku and it kept playing back-to-back Fox videos that eventually I had to stop it. I think social media is actually biased toward conservatives.
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