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US Republican politicians increasingly spread news on social media from untrustworthy sources

New research shows US Republican politicians increasingly spread news on social media from untrustworthy sourceshttps://phys.org/news/2022-09-republican-politicians-increasingly-news-social.html

A study analyzing millions of tweets has revealed that Republican members of the U.S. Congress are increasingly circulating news from dubious sources, compared to their European counterparts.

The research, published in PNAS Nexus and led by the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria and the University of Bristol in the UK, showed Republican Congress members are sharing more links to websites classified as "untrustworthy."

It is widely acknowledged that what politicians share on social media helps shape public perceptions and views. The findings are especially pertinent, with the U.S. midterm elections coming up in November and much of the campaigning taking place on social media platforms.

The findings showed that members of the Republican Party in particular shared significantly more links to websites classified as "untrustworthy" over the years. Compared to the period 2016 to 2018, the number of links to untrustworthy websites has doubled over the past two years.

Dr. Lasser said, "In general, members of parties in the right half of the political spectrum in all countries studied share more of these links—but only Republicans show this significant increase. In the other countries, the share remains stable."

Specifically, the percentage of links to untrustworthy websites posted by Republicans more than doubled between 2016 to 2018 and 2020 to 2022, from 2.4% to 5.5%.

Overall, Republican members of Congress post about nine times as many such links as Democratic members of Congress, for whom only 0.4% of the links contained in tweets point to untrustworthy sites.

Humor (and a lot of intelligent discussion from EmptyWheel)


quickbread says:

Five boxes of documents of obstruction. Banker boxes, right? When you put it that way, Marcy, that’s just a mind-boggling amount of both obstruction and documentation of it. I wonder if it’s not only material he moved from the WH in January 2021 but also paperwork he’d been stashing in FL for “safekeeping”/nefarious use throughout his term.

punaise says:

Six drops of essence of terror…
Five boxes of sinister docs…
When the searching’s done, may I lick the subpoena?
Of course, aha!, of course.

Peterr says:

Three boxes of Russiagate, from the FBI,
Seven from the Generals in their halls of stone,
Nine from secret spies doomed to die,
All for the Orange Lord on his orange throne
At his Mar-a-Lago, where the Shadows lie.
One box to rule them all, One box to find them,
One box to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
At his Mar-a-Lago, where the Shadows lie

emptywheel says:

Jeebus I love this place.

John Lehman says:

“ Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

The Ballad of Downward Mobility :: The Atlantic

Archived: https://archive.ph/qQXIL

I didn’t quit on the American dream; it quit on me—and my generation. Now we need a different idea of the good life.
By Rich Cohen

In the summers of my youth, the rooms were always air-conditioned. This machine-cooled air came not from window units, which were a relic of the cities, but from central systems that chilled every inch of living space to an Alaskan 67 degrees. The air seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. It had no warm spots, no eddies, no pockets of humidity. It was a sea of comfort that ran from the threshold of the front door—passing from yard to house was like moving between seasons—to the peak of the finished attic. Now here I am, in the late summer of 2022, eons away from my 1970s and ’80s suburban childhood, in a world beset by heat waves, droughts, wars, and disasters, sitting before a Walgreens fan, bathed in sweat and meditating on the wealth of nations and the fate of the American dream. And the realization comes that I am just one of the millions of members of Generation X who, looking into the sun of the thing, must admit that we are in fact downwardly mobile, the first American generation that will perform worse economically than their parents.

When your median Baby Boomer was 50, around the turn of the millennium, he earned roughly $30,000 a year. I use the male pronoun because the gender-wage gap among Boomers was even wider then than it is today. Currently, a 50-year-old with the same education, family background, intelligence, good luck and bad, will earn slightly more in inflation-adjusted terms (the youngest Boomers are now nearing their 60s). Things have improved—not enough, gap-wise, for women and people of color—but overall the picture still looks like stagnation, or worse. According to the Pew Research Center, “the typical Gen Xer has just over $13,000 in wealth (defined as total assets minus total debts), compared with the $18,000 held by a typical Gen Xer’s parents when they were the same ages.” Or, as The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson just described the change in life chances for a child born in the ’80s compared to one born in 1940, “In 40 years, the American dream went from being a widespread reality to essentially a coin toss.”

It’s bad even before you consider the dragon at the door: debt. Our grandparents had practically none, our parents had little, but it can seem, to those born between 1965 and 1985 (the precise parameters given for Gen X vary), that debt is the only thing we’ll ever really call our own. Negative numbers. Swampland on the wrong side of zero.

Republicans Worry That Midterm Voters Might Believe Women Deserve Rights :: Borowitz


In the aftermath of the decisive Democratic win in New York’s special congressional election on Tuesday, Republican leaders are suddenly concerned that midterm voters might believe that women deserve rights.

The Democrat Pat Ryan’s thumping win in Tuesday’s election has made Republicans wonder, in the words of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “Is this thing of women having rights going to be a problem for us in the fall?”

“You look at the results in the Ryan election, and it sure seems like a lot of people thought women should be considered human,” McCarthy said. “The question is: is this a part of something bigger or just kind of a onetime fluke?”

McCarthy said that he hopes midterm voters will “think big picture” and consider other issues besides whether women should have rights.

“With our emphasis on environmental deregulation, book banning, and easier access to guns, the Republicans have created a big tent,” he said. “It would be a shame to see that wrecked by an obscure special-interest group like women.”

Meet Becca Balint, the first woman Vermont could send to Congress -- ever :: WaPo


Archived: https://archive.ph/PyGT5

For the last few weeks on the campaign trail, first-time U.S. congressional candidate Becca Balint has been driving around Vermont in her bright yellow Honda Fit, singing Alicia Keys at the top of her lungs. She has gravitated toward the song “Underdog,” in particular.

The Keys ballad is both an anthem and a rallying cry, urging the forgotten and downtrodden to chase their dreams. In the song, Balint sees the story of her historic campaign.

“When we started, we were the underdog by far. People just felt like there was no way I was going to be able to overcome the name recognition gap,” Balint said.

Last week, Balint, a Vermont state senator who also serves as the state’s Senate president pro tempore, handily defeated Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the Democratic primary for Vermont’s lone U.S. House seat. The victory brought Balint one step closer to making history: If elected, she will be the first woman to represent the state in Congress, as well as the first out queer person to do so.

The GOP is sick. It didn't start with Trump -- and won't end with him. : Dana Milbank (WaPo)

Archived: https://archive.ph/uePpp

Excellent essay.

It began where it ended, on the West Front of the United States Capitol.

On Jan. 6, 2021, an armed mob invited and incited by President Donald Trump smashed barriers, overpowered police and stormed the Capitol. The insurrectionists scaled the scaffolding erected for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and proceeded to sack the seat of government for the first time since the War of 1812.

Called to Washington by Trump, who promised a “wild” time, and sent to the Capitol with instructions to “fight like hell,” the mob halted Congress’s certification of Biden’s victory, sending lawmakers and staff fleeing for their lives. At least seven people died in the riot or its aftermath, and more than 140 police officers were hurt. Some 845 insurrectionists, several with ties to white-supremacist or violent extremist groups, have faced charges including seditious conspiracy.

Many Americans were shocked that Trump, after first considering a plan to seize voting machines, had orchestrated an attempted coup, knowingly dispatching armed attackers to Capitol Hill and then refusing for 187 minutes to call off the assault. And many Americans have been shocked anew to see elected Republicans, after initially condemning Trump’s attack on democracy, excuse his actions and rationalize the violent insurrection itself as “legitimate political discourse.”

But a sober look at history might have lessened the shock, for the seeds of sedition had been planted earlier — a quarter-century earlier — in that same spot on the West Front of the Capitol.

Admittedly, I’m partisan — not for Democrats but for democrats. Republicans have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy — and there’s a perfectly logical reason for this: Democracy is working against Republicans. In the eight presidential contests since 1988, the GOP candidate has won a majority of the popular vote only once, in 2004. As the United States approaches majority-minority status (the White population, 76 percent of the country in 1990, is now 58 percent and will drop below 50 percent around 2045), Republicans have become the voice of White people, particularly those without college degrees, who fear the loss of their way of life in a multicultural America. White grievance and White fear drive Republican identity more than any other factor — and in turn drive the tribalism and dysfunction in the U.S. political system.

Other factors sped the party’s turn toward nihilism: Concurrent with the rise of Gingrich was the ascent of conservative talk radio, followed by the triumph of Fox News, followed by the advent of social media. Combined, they created a media environment that allows Republican politicians and their voters to seal themselves in an echo chamber of “alternative facts.” Globally, south-to-north migration has ignited nationalist movements around the world and created a new era of autocrats. The disappearance of the Greatest Generation, tempered by war, brought to power a new generation of culture warriors.

But the biggest cause is race. The parties re-sorted themselves after the epochal changes of the 1960s, which expanded civil rights, voting rights and immigration. Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” began an appeal to White voters alienated by racial progress, and, in the years that followed, a new generation of Republicans took that racist undertone and made it the melody.

Liz Cheney's smug, self-satisfied con job: Don't fall for it - Salon


Excellent rant by Lucian K. Truscott IV - thanks to Pippin's mom for the reference.

You don't even have to look for the tell. It's right there in the first thing they say after they "cooperate" with the Jan. 6 Committee: The Republican functionary witnesses sit there looking smug and self-satisfied as they tell what they know about what Trump did and the puny shit they did to try to stop him, and when they're finished they've been told they can smile and say, "but just look at his accomplishments."

That creation stamped out of a prep-mold in a suit and tie sitting at the witness stand on Thursday night with the last name Pottinger was a perfect example of the con job they're trying to run. Why, I was so horrified by what I saw when I got finished with my off-site meeting with India's ambassador to the United States that I resigned!

Then what does Pottinger tell us? A complete and utter crap-load of smarmy claptrap about how dedicated he is to "national security," and how proud he was that he served as deputy national security adviser, and how Trump got "tough" with China and put together some treaty in the Middle East that's not worth the paper it's written on.

Mr. Pottinger was at his desk in the National Security Council office when Trump was completely and utterly capitulating to Vladimir Putin at Helsinki. He was sitting there in the Executive Office Building working for John Bolton when Trump was putting a gun to the head of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and telling him he wanted the "favor" of trashing Joe Biden before Trump would release $400 million in military aid the Ukrainians needed in their fight against the Russian incursion into their territory. Pottinger sat there on his hands when Trump fired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch on utterly spurious grounds, knowing that she had done nothing to deserve it and that Trump was just positioning himself to exploit Ukraine in his effort to get reelected.

Liz Cheney learned at her father's knee how the Republican Party works. It's who they are and who they have always been. As Gore Vidal used to call them, they are the "Owners." All the rest of this stuff, like screaming about transgender bathrooms and vaccine mandates and school choice and even their anti-abortion hallelujah chorus with fundamentalist Christians is crap. It's red meat for the rubes. Do you really think they care if their wife's or mistress' hairdresser marries his longtime partner? Do you think if a Cheney granddaughter got raped at college and got pregnant that she wouldn't be able to get an abortion? Do you think if a Cheney granddaughter just wanted an abortion because she broke up with the boyfriend who got her pregnant that she wouldn't be put aboard a biz-jet and flown across state borders to the best abortion doctor in the country?

Of course not. They'll always protect the Owners and their mansions and their yachts and their Gulfstreams and their ability to avail themselves of abortion services or even contraception if it comes to that. They'll always cut taxes for each other even if it means that poor people get poorer and that children don't get fed at lunchtime in public schools and migrants continue to die in tractor-trailers in Texas.

They don't give a shit about the poor. As Liz Cheney is at last admitting, they don't give a shit about Trump, either, so long as they've got their tax cuts and their millions and billions and they can keep the minimum wage at $7.25 an hour and maintain their control over red-state governments. Trump was just a hireling. He strayed off the reservation, and they grew tired of his gross lack of taste and slovenly appearance. So they're serving up a few schmucks with smug grins on their faces to tell us what a bad guy they suddenly discovered he is, after his usefulness to them came to an end.

It's a con job. Don't believe a word of it. They're just ridding themselves of a cancer they accidentally found growing on one of their legs so they can continue stomping on poor people and women and gay people and anybody they don't like and ensuring we stay in our place. They're Republicans. It's what they do.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. You can read his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Through all Trump's legal wars and woes, one lawyer's influence still holds sway : NPR


In March of 2017, as clashes with the FBI director and attorney general were erupting just weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump was asking out loud: "Where's my Roy Cohn?"

In December of 2020, with just weeks left in his term, Trump still had not had his question answered.

He was surrounded by lawyers. But none could play the role — or take the place — of the controversial counselor who decades earlier had changed his life.

Cohn was already a legend when Trump met him in 1973. Cohn had been in the news for decades, prosecuting nuclear espionage or searching for communists or defending celebrity clients. Among those he represented were Cardinal Francis Spellman, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the New York crime bosses Carmine Galante and John Gotti.

What DOJ Was Doing While You Were Wasting Time Whinging on Twitter : EmptyWheel


A nice long list of currently under active investigation. This thread is promising to be actively updated.

I don't want to repeat the list of trump "associates" and their various actions, subpoenas, and charges, but it is very satisfying. And most of these are necessarily difficult to investigate - these actors aren't particularly cooperative and some of them are actually cunning.

Mark MacGann, former top executive, comes forward as Uber Files leaker

Archived: https://archive.ph/8FVrN

MacGann, the public face of the company’s tumultuous European expansion, said he leaked the trove of documents to make up for his role in its aggressive practices: “We had actually sold people a lie.”

Mark MacGann, the former high-ranking Uber executive who served as the company’s public face in Europe during a tumultuous period of expansion, revealed himself Monday as the whistleblower behind blockbuster revelations into the ride-hailing company’s inner workings.

A longtime European lobbyist, MacGann interacted with top global business and government leaders during his tenure with the company between 2014 and 2016 but also came face-to-face with the violent protests over Uber’s disruptive practices.

He said he left the company having concluded that Uber’s culture left him powerless to question or change its ways, and fearing that the rancorous backlash against the company put his family’s safety at risk.

MacGann leaked more than 124,000 company documents to the Guardian, which shared the materials with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which helped lead the project, and dozens of other news organizations, including The Washington Post. The Uber Files, which date to between 2013 and 2017, reveal the ride-hailing company’s aggressive entrance into cities around the world — while frequently challenging the reach of existing laws and regulations.
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