OpEd: There are numerous reports of phoney stories posted on social media that helped Donald Trump win the election.
Facebook is the main villain because it initially denied there was any problem.
Google, without being asked, said it was going to review its algos to keep phoney stories off Google Plus.
Users have complained they are not going to use Twitter and other sites until the problems are fixed.
“Last week Buzzfeed revealed that a handful of teens in Macedonia, were responsible for dozens or more of the inaccurate conspiracy theories that had been getting sometimes hundreds of thousands of likes and shares on Facebook. Nearly all of these were in favour of Donald Trump. They’d gamed Facebook’s algorithm, noting that stories aimed at Clinton supporters didn’t make as many ad dollars as those aimed at Trump supporters,” Forbes reported.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, said this was “a pretty crazy idea.”
“A quiet group of rebel Facebook employees have created a fake-news “task force” to address the issue of hoax news appearing in users’ feeds, BuzzFeed News reports.
“More than dozens” of employees have banded together, fearing retribution from management and meeting in secret, and plan to come up with a set of recommendations to deliver to Facebook’s management about how to fix the fake-news problem. “What’s crazy,” one anonymous Facebook employee tells BuzzFeed, “is for [Zuckerberg] to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” said Vanity Fair.
Gizmodo said Facebook was afraid of a conservative backlash.
“It’s no secret that Facebook has a fake news problem. Critics have accused the social network of allowing false and hoax news stories to run rampant, with some suggesting that Facebook contributed to Donald Trump’s election by letting hyper-partisan websites spread false and misleading information.
They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news "Still, it’s hard to visit Facebook without seeing phony headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide” or “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement” promoted by no-name news sites like the Denver Guardian and Ending the Fed."
Google publicly declared it had seen the problem and was working on it. It was embarrassed by reports it carried saying Trump had won the popular vote.
Hillary Clinton has at least one million more votes, perhaps more.
Westerners were cheered by the Arab spring several years ago, when social media brought down Arab dictators. Many tyrants regained power, and no one in the U.S. expected we would see our own November winter.
Trump took credit for his mastery of social media, declaring it helped him win. He said he didn’t have the money the Clintons had so he used social media.
Many users who supported Clinton blocked these hoax news stories.
But they showed up on many Facebook sites. No one realized they were hoaxes. Some defriended the people posting these false stories. But many were generated by bots.
Trump has threatened libel against news outlets like the New York Times which publish articles critical of him. He sent them several tweets.
The Times replied that they would keep reporting all the truth on trump and he could shove it.
Trump’s latest manoeuvres are to try the block on his several trials for federal racketeering charge.
The status of a 14-year-old who claims Trump and a friend raped her. It is in limbo after she has received death threats.
Op-ed: Monday was the first televised debate with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sharing the same stage.
At times it appeared Donald Trump was one of Dr. Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees.
Asked about Russians or others spying on us, Trump said it could have been anyone, even a “400 pound man sitting on a bed.”
Time after time he took the bait when Hillary Clinton talked about the government loopholes he had benefited from.
He boasted of making money from the recession which cost millions their homes.
“That’s called business, by the way.”
He was unclear about when and if he would release his tax details, at one point saying he would if she, Mrs Clinton, released her emails and then saying he would not.
Clinton responded: “Well, I think you've seen another example of bait-and- switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it. We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you're under audit.
“So you've got to ask yourself, why won't he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be.”
Trump has refused offers of millions of dollars from billionaire Mark Cuban if he would simply answer some questions about his alleged wealth.
A CNN poll and others said Clinton won the debate, but time will tell. The 538 website said her poll numbers will rise if she did win the debate.
Trump frequently interrupted Clinton but she did not seem to react.
“Polling over the next few days will reveal how voters, particularly those who haven’t made up their minds about whether or for whom they will cast their ballots, processed the debate. Immediate reactions from focus groups and spot polling showed Clinton the victor,” said Real Clear Politics.
Rolling Stone said: “The most important exchange of the night came on climate change. Clinton, after outlining her plan to make America a clean-energy superpower, hit Trump as a denier: "Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese," she said. "I think it's real."
“Trump then lied. Flat out lied. In a night full of lies, Trump's attempt to disavow climate denial was "bigly" the biggest.
"I did not. I did not," Trump said, overtalking. "I do not say that."
“But Trump did say that. In a tweet in November of 2012, Trump insisted: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
“This is not the only time Trump has blasted climate change as a myth. Indeed, climate denial is a drum Trump likes to bang nearly as much as the racist birther lie."
OpEd: More than five years after Donald Trump began pushing the lie that President Obama was not an American, and less than two months before the 2016 election, he has admitted he lied.
And he couldn’t admit he lied without lying again, trying to say Hillary Clinton had started the conspiracy lie.
Many major publications, including the Washington Post and New York Times, investigated the claim against Clinton and found that too was a lie.
Trump left his press pool stuck at the airport so they could not hear him say: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.” He joked about the media didn’t get to his announcement, which served as an infomercial for a new Trump building.
It was not true in 2011, when Donald J. Trump mischievously began to question President Obama’s birthplace aloud in television interviews. “I’m starting to think that he was not born here,” he said.
"It was never true, any of it. Mr. Obama’s citizenship was never in question. No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.
Yet it took Mr. Trump five years of dodging, winking and joking to surrender, finally on Friday, to reality after a remarkable campaign of relentless deception that tried to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president,” the New York Times said.
“You know who started the birther movement? You know who started it? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first? Hillary Clinton. She’s the one that started it. She brought it up years before it was brought up by me.”
— Donald Trump, interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, May 4, 2016
“Zombie claims are stubborn things. No matter how many times you debunk them, they keep rising from the dead — even eight years later,” the Washington Post said.
Few expected his base, who he once said would forgive him for shooting someone on the street, will be angered by this announcement even though it amounts of clear cut racism.
However, his effort to reach out for support from African-American votes ended Friday.
Whether the media will continue to allow themselves to be used is another question. He has fooled them dozens or more times.
He got away with an infomercial a day earlier when he said he released his medical records, but didn’t. And the media, apparently afraid of being accused of “fat shaming” Trump barely mentioned his dangerous obesity.
One pundit did say he is 40 pounds over weight or 70. His weight was variously given as 237 and 267.
CNN Anchor Jake Tapper said: “The mainstream media was played. Big time, and they know it.
“And they're mad.
“Trump used them for a 29 minute ad for both his hotel and his campaign.
“That's not all.
“(the) CNN anchor called the spectacle a "political Rickroll." (A Rickroll is a bait-and-switch.)
“It’s hard to imagine this as anything other than a political Rickroll,”
“We were told that this was going to be Donald Trump addressing something that his top campaign advisers, many people in the Republican National Committee want him to address, and clear up, and then stop talking about,” The New Civil Rights Movement reported.
Trump took no questions about the announcement.
Tapper said “Trump has been trafficking in a “discredited lie for "more than half a decade.”
“It was very clever on one level. On another level, it does speak to the integrity of the Trump campaign.”
Sadly, the media has given Trump such carte blanche it was difficult to believe even this grandest of all lies will hurt him.
A Clinton victory will depend on an alliance of groups Trump has insulted, a bigger bankroll for commercials and a vastly superior game getting out voters.
Op-ed: Fat Trump a Health Risk for President
While the TV nation focused on Hillary Clinton’s brief episode with pneumonia, it was learned that Donald Trump has a much more serious health problem.
He is so fat, or obese, that he may be prone to heart attacks and diabetes, and he is 12 years older than Mrs Clinton. He gobbles fast food, not healthy for anyone.
It is bizarre that in a country that worships thinness Trump has been able to pull this off.
And not only is it a question of how models look, but doctors have warned that obesity is a killer, especially among the elderly. They say it is at epidemic levels. Trump is 70, and would be the oldest president in nearly a century, and close to the most obese ever.
Some accounts list him at 237 pounds, others at 267. He is 6 foot 3. And his only exercise is an occasional round of golf.
“There’s a legitimate issue,” said Dr. David Plouffe.”
A paper put out by the National Institutes of Health said:
“Obesity is a significant risk factor for and contributor to increased morbidity and mortality, most importantly from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes, but also from cancer and chronic diseases, including osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, sleep apnea, and depression. The prevalence of obesity has increased steadily over the past 5 decades, and obesity may have a significant impact on quality-adjusted life years. Obesity is also strongly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality as well as cardiovascular and cancer mortality.”
“Considering Trump’s age, his weight becomes a significant risk factor.” A Georgetown University report on obesity among older Americans includes this startling warning:
“Rates of chronic conditions are higher among obese adults than among their non-obese counterparts, but the differences between groups are particularly great for adults ages 51 to 69. Obesity can also affect the severity of chronic conditions. For example, obese older people with arthritis are more likely to say the condition limits their activities than non-obese adults age 51 and older."
Obesity, like smoking, heavy drinking, and poverty is a known health risk factor. Of the four risk factors, obesity is the most serious problem. It affects more people and is more strongly linked to very high rates of chronic illness than the other three risk factors. In terms of chronic conditions, the effects of obesity are similar to the effects of 20 years of aging.”
The Washington Post said, “It is ironic that Trumpkins have made such a to-do about Hillary Clinton’s health. He’s got a real issue that isn’t going to be cured by a couple days of bed rest. “Nevertheless, he won’t provide documentation for voters to assess his health and how that might impact his presidency. No presidential candidate of a major party in modern times has gotten away with stiffing voters and concealing personal information.
“The media, once again, seems to miss the forest for the trees in this campaign. Entirely legitimate questions get raised about a candidate who has never held public office. He has a demonstrated pattern of blatant lying. And he refuses to come clean by providing verifiable information about his finances and health. Why isn’t that the story day in and out? Trump plainly has a lot to hide, and neither the media nor the voters should let him get away with it.”
Op-ed: The U.S. could be in a quagmire that makes Brexit look like a puddle if Donald Trump is elected.
What would it do to Wall Street, Congress and the people in general if Trump was wearing orange.
It has happened before.
Though so far only a president, the late Richard Nixon, was ousted, his vice President Spiro T. Agnew was also ousted.
And Agnew made it through their first four years, but not their second term.
He had committed extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy while serving as governor of Maryland and in other government jobs in the state. It was only a measly $100,000, peanuts by today’s standards.
Nixon didn’t pardon him, being under investigation himself for the much more serious Watergate. Some scholars believe Trump could pardon himself if convicted in the Florida Gate or other scandals, and name Mike Pence President. Congress would select a new vice president.
Imagine the fiasco, because in Agnew’s case nothing was known of his crimes when he was elected and served five years.
Trump is already under investigation, and set to go on trial for the fraud at Trump University. And news sites have listed dozens of other potential scandals he could be held responsible for.
In Floridagate he is accused of bribing Florida Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi $25,000 to drop the Trump University case.
It will go to trialin other states around Election Day.
Mere statements of fact cannot even come close to all Trump got away with.
A quotation from H.L. Mencken, about someone else, put it this way:
"No man ever came to market with less seductive goods, and no man ever got a better price for what he had to offer." The true American Hustle – turn all attention former First Lady’s problems with emails.
Can Americans really not care? Even after reading this list of ripoffs.
The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet
The Republican nominee’s charitable foundation made a large gift to a Florida politician right before she dropped a damaging investigation. But what else has the foundation done?
“As the old saying goes, those who give to glass foundations shouldn’t throw stones. Or something like that. In any case, after hitting Hillary Clinton hard over the Clinton Foundation, Donald Trump is under fresh scrutiny for his own foundation.
Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has been reporting for months on the dearth of actual giving that Trump has done, despite repeated vows to donate to charity over the decades, but the story that’s broken through concerns a donation that Trump made to “Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, in 2013.
At the time, Bondi’s office was deciding whether or not to pursue a fraud case against Trump University and the Trump Institute. According to an aide, Bondi personally spoke with Trump, soliciting a donation to And Justice for All, a group backing her reelection. The Trump Foundation cut And Justice for All a $25,000 check, and four days later Bondi dropped the investigation.
“There are two questions at play here. One is the appearance of a quid-pro-quo. While Trump and Bondi say there was none, this is also precisely the mode Trump has described in the past. “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in July 2015. “As a businessman, I need that.”
He reprised those boasts early in the GOP primary, positioning himself as the only candidate honest enough to say how the game was played—and the only one rich enough to be exempt from it. Now, however, he’s singing a different tune.
“Improper influence or not, the donation was illegal. The Trump Foundation, as a nonprofit, cannot give to political causes. Making things more complicated, the Trump Foundation recorded the incorrect recipient as the gift. “Eventually, it had to pay a $2,500 penalty to the IRS. Even then, it has not recouped the money, as is required.
“That’s not the end of the story. The liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint with the IRS, accusing the Trump Foundation of violating another rule by using charity to benefit a group’s leader. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post reports that Trump’s help for Bondi didn’t stop with that $25,000 donation. His family gave more to her, and he also hosted a fundraiser at his tony Mar-A-Lago in Florida—charging less than market rate, and less than he charged his own campaign to host events there. …
“The breadth of Trump’s controversies is truly huge, ranging from allegations of mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, and from racial discrimination to alleged marital rape. The stretch over more than four decades, from the mid-1970s to the present day. To catalogue the full sweep of allegations would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial with the truly scandalous. Including business deals that have simply failed, without any hint of impropriety, would require thousands more. This is a snapshot of some of the most interesting and largest of those scandals.
The Beauty Pageant Scandals
“Where and when: Various, 1992-present
The dirt: The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser reports on the mess of the American Dream pageant in 1992. After years of attending beauty pageants—Trump seems to have always enjoyed the company of beautiful, scantily clad women—he decided he wanted to get in on the business himself, meeting with George Houraney and Jill Harth, a couple that ran the American Dream pageant.
It was an ill-fated effort. Harth and Houraney alleged that Trump started making passes at her almost immediately. On one occasion, Trump allegedly asked them to bring some models to a party. Harth alleges Trump groped her at the party. In a limo afterwards, another model said she heard him say that “all women are bimbos” and most “gold diggers.” Trump reportedly joined another model in bed, uninvited, late at night. On other occasions, he forced Harth into bedrooms and made passes at her, she said. But after the contest, Trump broke off dealings. Harth sued Trump, alleging sexual misbehavior, while the couple together sued him for breach of contract. In the suit, they also alleged that Trump had kept black women out of the pageant.
“The upshot: The couple settled with Trump for an unannounced sum, and Harth dropped her suit. Trump has denied all the allegations. “But it wasn’t Trump’s last turn in the pageant business. A few years later, he bought the Miss Universe pageant, which also includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. “Honestly, when I bought [Miss Universe], the bathing suits got smaller and the heels got higher and the ratings went up,” he boasted to Vanity Fair later. In 2012, he won a $5 million suit against a former contestant who claimed the contest was rigged. By 2015, he operated Miss Universe as a joint venture with NBC, but after he slurred Mexican immigrants at his campaign launch, Univision and NBC both announced they would not air the pageant. Trump bought out NBC’s share, then promptly sold the company. He sued Univision but settled in February. The terms were undisclosed.
Racial Housing Discrimination
“Where and when: New York City, 1973-1975
The dirt: The Department of Justice sued Trump and his father Fred in 1973 for housing discrimination at 39 sites around New York. “The government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color,’” The New York Times reported. “It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.” Trump called the accusations “absolutely ridiculous.”
“The upshot: The Trumps hired attorney Roy Cohn, who had worked for Joe McCarthy and whom Michael Kinsley once indelibly labeled “innocent of a variety of federal crimes.” They sued the Justice Department for $100 million. In the end, however, the Trumps settled with the government, promising not to discriminate and submitting to regular review by the New York Urban League—though crucially not admitting guilt. The Times has much more on the long history of allegations at Trump-owned properties.
Where and when: New York and Atlantic City, 1970s- ?
“The dirt: Trump has been linked to the mafia many times over the years, with varying degrees of closeness. Many of the connections seem to be the sorts of interactions with mobsters that were inevitable for a guy in the construction and casino businesses at the time. For example, organized crime controlled the 1980s New York City concrete business, so that anyone building in the city likely brushed up against it. While Trump has portrayed himself as an unwitting participant, not everyone agrees. There have been a string of other allegations, too, many reported by investigative journalist Wayne Barrett. Cohn, Trump’s lawyer, also represented the Genovese crime family boss Tony Salerno. Barrett also reported a series of transactions involving organized crime, and alleged that Trump paid twice market rate to a mob figure for the land under Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Michael Isikoff has also reported that Trump was close to Robert LiButti, an associate of John Gotti, inviting him on his yacht and helicopter. In one case, Trump’s company bought LiButti nine luxury cars.
“The upshot: Though Trump has been questioned in court or under oath about the ties, he’s never been convicted of anything. A New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement report after Barrett’s 1992 book on Trump generally found no mafia-related wrong-doing on Trump’s part. Trump Plaza was fined $200,000 for keeping black employees away from LiButti’s table, at his behest, and for the gift of the cars, though Trump personally was not penalized.
Op-ed: Donald Trump’s new, darker image took less than 24 hours to hit the Internet and rightwing TV.
How he would have us praying for Hillary Clinton, whose health problems might mean she won’t make it election day.
Trump replaced his top two campaign managers who can only be described as pit bulls after manager Paul Manaford was seen as too close to Russsian President Vladimir Putin.
One, Stephen Bannon, was running one of the most anti-human rights sites in the nation, Brietbart.
It predicted she would be dead soon.
His first attack was Clinton’s health, whose public health records have been released to anyone who wants to see them, citing a celebrity doctor, Pinsky.
Pinsky said he was "gravely concerned" about Clinton's health, noting her doctor's 2015 assessment that showed a "1950 level sort of care" by the evaluation of himself and a colleague.
Pinsky said Clinton was being treated for her hypothyroidism with "Armour Thyroid, which is very unconventional and something that we used to use in the 1960s."
"Then she falls and hits her head and as a complication of that has a transverse sinus thrombosis," Pinsky said, in reference to Clinton's 2012 medical episode.
"This is an exceedingly rare clot. I have only seen one in my career. It just seems like she's getting care from somebody that she met in Arkansas when she was a kid and I just -- you gotta wonder. You got to wonder. It's not so much that her health is a grave concern, it's that the care she's getting could make it a concern."
As has so often occurred this was too much even for Republican leaders.
Newt Gingrich said: "Well, I think first of all, just to get down to the human level for a second, all of us ought to include Hillary Clinton in our prayers. You can be opposed to somebody without hoping they have bad health and I hope that she's all right," Gingrich responded.
"Second, I’m always dubious, with all due respect to television doctors, when you have a doctor who has never seen the patient, begin to give you a complicated, fancy sounding analysis based on what? I mean, I would be very cautious and I would recommend to doctors for professional reasons to be very cautious deciding you’re going to start analyzing people. Because next you're gonna get a left-wing psychiatrist explaining Donald Trump in negative terms." … "I think we ought to recognize that's kind of junk medicine," Gingrich said. "That’s not the real deal."
Politico reported: Clinton's internist, based in Mount Kisco, New York, released a statement on the candidate's health in July 2015.
Clinton Health Statement- https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2188570/letter.pdf
Op-ed: Reports are circulating that Donald Trump has told the New York Times in private not to worry about his racist, xenophobic, anti-abortion, anti-gay statements. The word is that he is just responding to what his supporters want to hear.
Using his own logic then, he needs to be asked whether he might be impeached if elected when his supporters realize he used them.
That could bring some unnamed vice-president to power who would do what Trump has promised to do.
It is the same logic he uses every day of his campaign when he says Hillary Clinton might not be able to service because she will be indicted in her “email scandal.”
She has been under investigation for an entire year with no indictment.
Of course Trump has been under fire for three years for his “Trump University Scandal” and may be forced to testify about fraud allegations later this year.
TV networks, meanwhile, claim Trump is the choice of a majority of Republicans, based on what has been seen in primaries and caucuses.
Polling expert Nate Silver said today that “Trump has received only 34 per cent of the Republican vote, aggregated across all primaries and caucuses to have voted so far. He did not really improve on that figure on Super Tuesday; Trump had a combined 33 percent of the vote through the first four states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada); he got 34 percent in Super Tuesday states themselves.”
Do Trump supporters represent what the majority of Americans believe. Polls are constantly being used to support this view.
But the same kinds of polls show that a majority of Americans support causes rejected by these people: gay and transgender rights, abortion rights, women’s rights, high minimum wages and more.
Trump supporters say this is merely the view of Hollywood.
In my experience art has often represented where a country is headed, both in the U.S. and in countries I covered as a journalist around the world.
South Africa was a classic example. I often watched plays and heard music that I knew was going to tear apartheid down. I wondered why the government allowed it.
I later felt that it wasn’t so much that they allowed, in some cases people were jailed and banned, but that they knew they couldn’t stop it. To try too hard would cause some of their best people to leave the country. They wanted more than just servants and swimming pools.
It was impossible for me to watch this year’s Oscars without seeing that the people who run the art world have decided to support human rights. This is not new. Give them an inch and they will take a mile.
These films, plays and music make money. That is the bottom line.
2016 US election news and other news from the USA
Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.