Abuse and Disinformation

Facebook is claiming to be adding a new tool for fighting these on its platform.

The Ad Archive API will allow researchers, journalists, publishers, and watchdog groups to efficiently analyze and search for ads to determine if anything untoward is happening.

Who, though, are going to be authorized access to the databases—which researchers, journalists, publishers, and watchdog groups, and what selection criteria will be used?  We’ve already seen how Facebook, under the guise of identifying what it’s pleased to call fake news, has selected “fact checkers” almost exclusively from the Left (a few tokens from the right have been invited)—Associated Press, Snopes.com, ABC News, and Politifact—as a mechanism for making the identification and then deleting the allegedly fake material.

“Nothing More American”

Texas Senate Progressive-Democratic Party candidate Beto O’Rourke has said, in response to a question about NFL players kneeling during our national anthem

I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, any place.

It’s the American thing to do to kneel and disparage our national anthem, to deprecate our flag, to insult generations of veterans who have fought, been maimed, and been killed for the right of folks like this…candidate…and those NFL personages to insult of the symbol and defenders of that right.

Right.

Editorial Decisions

Gerald Seib made one typical of the NLMSM in his Monday op-ed.  He opened his piece with this, and he went on from there.

Let’s imagine for a moment a parallel universe in which President Trump last week didn’t call a onetime top female aide a “dog….”

In that parallel universe, which of these other stories might have gotten more attention?

  • A Commerce Department report on booming sales in grocery stores, restaurants and department stores
  • The largest one-day rise in the stock market in four months

Drinking Coolaid

The NLMSM has done it.  In deep drafts.  And, no, I’m not writing about the recent collusion among NLMSM outlets one Sunday to write coordinated “opinion” anti-Trump pieces.

No, it’s even more blatant than that.  Here is an example of how deeply the NLMSM has drunk of ex-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s (D) coolaid that half of Americans are irredeemably deplorable racist, misogynistic, homophobes and ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) coolaid that we’re all just a bunch of bitter Bible-clinging gun-toters in flyover country.

MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann had this to say about those not on the Left and so too ignorant to agree with him:

Distractions

Mark Warner (D, VA), Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has objected to President Donald Trump’s revoking ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.

This might be a convenient way to distract attention, say from a damaging news story or two. But politicizing the way we guard our nation’s secrets just to punish the President’s critics is a dangerous precedent.

This is neither politicization nor punishment, but a safeguard of our nation’s secrets.  No one, regardless of rank, once they leave government service should have a security clearance.  They neither have a need to know nor a need for access, the two Critical Items—both of which must be present, not just one of them—for granting clearances.  Trump’s only error here is in not ordering the revocation for all persons who have left government service.

What Are You Going to Do about It?

“The Vatican” has proclaimed its regret for the decades of abuse in Pennsylvania of 1,000 or more children by hundreds of the Vatican’s priests.

The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith.

The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur[.]

On the other hand, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General has pointed out the skill with which this perfidy was executed.

Chicago Mayhem

Recall the bloody mayhem going on in Chicago these days while its mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) fiddles.  Over 80 people were killed or injured one recent weekend alone.

Last year, President Donald Trump told Emanuel to get things under control, or else the Feds would.  That was a year-and-a-half ago and so greatly predates the recent weekend.

Trump’s own mistake was in not following through on his implied threat.

Free Speech

Christopher Mims had a piece up in his Thursday Tech column concerning the “usefulness” of good-guy bots to help combat filter bubbles, hate speech and harassment, and state-sponsored disinformation, along with other troll-ish speech.

Mims, unfortunately, is operating from the false premise that speech should be censored. Apart from obvious attempts to incite criminal violence, of course it should not be. Free speech must be free, bad speech—whatever that is; the definition varies from person to person and time to time—can only be answered with more speech.

As one commenter on Mims’ piece noted further,

Integrity Redux

I wrote about the level of integrity in the Manafort trial a bit ago as it concerned an accountant who sold her testimony to Mueller’s prosecutors for immunity from her confessed crimes (or who was browbeaten into it with the potential charges as cudgel).  Here’s another example of the level of integrity in Mueller’s case against Manafort, this time involving Mueller’s prosecutors’ star witness, Rick Gates.

Integrity

Recall that Paul Manafort, briefly a campaign mucky-muck for then-Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, is on trial for a number of tax and bank fraud charges.

One of those charges relates to a tax return filed by Manafort that supposedly

contained inaccurate information [that] falsely reduced his tax liability by classifying millions of dollars she believed was income as loans.

The accountant who filed the return, Cindy Laporta (“she” in the above cite) testified under oath last week at Manafort’s trial that [emphasis added]