Just in time for Christmas!
Thursday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi claimed she had enough votes to reclaim the Speaker’s gavel.
The announcement reads like an attempt to quell a growing rebellion from younger Democrat lawmakers.
From the NYT:
Representative Nancy Pelosi asserted Thursday that she has enough support among her colleagues to become the next speaker of the House, as the first hint of opposition emerged from an Ohio Democrat, Representative Marcia Fudge, who said she is considering a run.
“Come on in, the water’s warm,” Ms. Pelosi said, dismissing the notion that Ms. Fudge was a threat. Asked if she had the 218 votes necessary to win the speakership, she said emphatically, “Yes.”
Ms. Pelosi is an exceptionally skilled politician, and many Democrats say she remains the odds-on favorite to return to the post in January. Her comments came as the fight over whether she should be speaker is heating up among her colleagues, exposing deep divisions over the role of gender in leadership at a time when a so-called pink wave put the party back in the House majority.
On Wednesday, some of Ms. Pelosi’s critics — who have been pilloried as #FiveWhiteGuys on Twitter — floated the idea of putting another woman in the job, and named Ms. Fudge, a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Though many Democrats do not regard Ms. Fudge as a serious challenge to Ms. Pelosi, any opposition could complicate life for her, because a number of Democrats have said that while they are undecided, they have no one else to vote for. A bid by Ms. Fudge would give them an option. And more than a dozen Democrats have already said that they oppose Ms. Pelosi, who is from California.
As these things go, this is the best possible scenario for Republicans after losing the House in the midterms. Pelosi is a political character everyone on the right loves to hate.
So please, by all means, give her the gavel and microphone again.
Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps have a monopoly on social media. Two billion people use Facebook every month, and according to the Pew Research Center, four out of 10 Americans get their news from it.
Since the November 2016 U.S. election, Facebook’s management has come under growing criticism for the social network’s propagation of rumors, false reports and advertisements that spread xenophobia and smear rivals. This month, Facebook admitted that it didn’t do enough to stop the rumor mill that sparked a genocide in Myanmar. And in recent months, false reports and disinformation against Muslims have been spread in India via WhatsApp.
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On Wednesday, it became clear that Moshe Leon’s victory in the second round of the Jerusalem mayoral election, Tuesday, was due in part to an enormous campaign of fake news mounted by his election headquarters against his rival, Ofer Berkovitch (Nir Hasson, Nov. 15). The same day, a fake-new campaign against Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was discovered (Ran Bar-Zik, Nov. 14), showing that the targets aren’t only “leftists,” as Berkovitch was called by Leon’s troll brigades (though Leon denies responsibility).
These are just two examples of an increasingly common problem, in which politicians and their aides use their Facebook pages, bots, fake websites and slanderous falsehoods sent via WhatsApp and text messages as key tools in their election campaigns. As the events leading to Donald Trump’s election showed, users have trouble distinguishing between truth and fiction, and social media networks have trouble figuring out who is behind such campaigns and who is funding them.
In response to the harsh criticism, Facebook made a major effort to fight fake news during the U.S. midterm elections. Inter alia, it labeled every political ad in America and set up a database that enabled people to find out who was funding these ads. It also hired English-speaking editors whose job was to locate and label false reports.
Granted, this isn’t enough, but even these steps have yet to be taken in the Israeli market. It looks like the “post-truth” era isn’t going anywhere. It’s also clear that fake news in Israel won’t stop at the local elections.
The general election in 2019 is going to be full of false claims, ugly smears and campaigns whose source will be hard to determine. The Central Elections Committee has a responsibility to monitor online campaigns and prevent the dissemination of fake news by any candidate.
Well, give the panel some credit; at least they’ve dispensed with their obsession with Israel, at least temporarily. The bad news is they’ve begun focusing on death as a human right. The UNHRC wants to include abortion and assisted suicide in its covenant, demanding that all signatories guarantee access to both:
An advanced, unedited version of a ‘general comment’ on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the United Nations Human Rights Committee wants to define abortion and assisted suicide as a human right.
“Although States parties may adopt measures designed to regulate voluntary terminations of pregnancy, such measures must not result in violation of the right to life of a pregnant woman or girl, or her other rights under the Covenant,” says the draft, placing the life of the mother ahead of that of the unborn child.
The Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights around the world. A “General Comment” is a UN agency’s interpretation of the provisions of the treaties to which it is a party.
The comment also says that States must guarantee “safe, legal and effective” access to abortion when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, or when carrying the pregnancy to term could cause her pain or suffering, “most notably where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or is not viable.”
It’s particularly repugnant that the UNHRC is trying to leverage this as part of the covenant’s “right to life” clause, but it’s hardly the only objectionable part of this effort. They also want signatory nations to eliminate conscientious-objection clauses that allow providers to opt out of procedures that go against their religious beliefs:
It calls for the decriminalization of abortion, both for women and the medical providers assisting them, and State parties should “not introduce new barriers and should remove existing barriers” that deny access to a safe abortion, “including barriers caused as a result of the exercise of conscientious objection by individual medical providers.”
If that sounds like a rather totalitarian approach, it’s instructive at this point to remember which nations comprise the membership of the UN Human Rights Council. There’s China, which has made abortion not so much a human right as a mandate. They’re also presently conducting widespread ethic cleansing in the western part of the country, targeting the Uighurs and others. Cuba remains on the committee, and they’ve just started to consider whether to extend private property rights to the subjects of the Castro regime. Pakistan just improved its human-rights record by releasing a Christian woman from a death sentence for supposed “blasphemy,” and are now in talks with Canada to eject her. Saudi Arabia just assassinated one of its critics, but at least women are allowed to drive these days.
And let’s not even get started on Venezuela.
The point being, this panel has plenty of work to do with its own members to bring them into compliance with the covenant’s core human-rights issues of freedom of thought, speech, worship, and enterprise. Besides, as former US ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon told Crux, the UNHRC isn’t supposed to be formulating new “human rights.” Its mission is to monitor compliance with the existing international covenant on human rights.
Maybe they should stick with that mission. They seem rather poor at it, so they need all the practice they can get — and they can start with themselves first.
BREAKING: Justice Department Preparing to Prosecute Julian Assange
The US Department of Justice is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange according to the Wall Street Journal.
The charges that the DOJ is pursuing are unknown at this time, however the Wall Street Journal is speculating they may involve the Espionage Act.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.
Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.
The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.
One of Julian Assange’s lawyers, Barry Pollack said he hasn’t heard about the DOJ’s latest plans to prosecute his client.
“We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent. Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent,” Barry Pollack said.
As TGP’s Cassandra Fairbanks previously reported, the Ecuadorian embassy cut off internet access for Julian Assange and no longer allowed him to have visitors in March.
A source close to Assange and the Embassy confirmed to The Gateway Pundit that this was due to Assange’s refusal to stop tweeting about Catalonian independence leader Carles Puigdemont’s arrest in Germany on a Spanish warrant.
Julian Assange’s internet access and access to visitors was partly restored by Ecuador in October.
Mr. Assange has lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since being granted political asylum in the summer of 2012.
I think Trump should win the suit on the merits but it makes me laugh that the right is so prostrate before POTUS at this point that even Fox News might be successfully demagogued for disagreeing with him on a single narrow point. Their primetime line-up is basically a three-hour Trump commercial. They don’t get to side with CNN this one time?
Can’t fault OAN CEO Robert Herring for trying to seize an opportunity to gain an advantage on the competition, though. Just like you can’t knock Fox for looking out for their own interests with respect to White House briefings. Both players are acting rationally here.
Translation: We love you more, Mr. President. It’s a sensible pitch as OAN grasps for ways to cut into the Fox behemoth’s market share. But Fox’s decision to stand with Acosta is sensible too. If in fact Trump wins in court and gains the power to exclude particular reporters from White House events, liberals will want the next Democratic president to make use of that power too. And we all know who the prime target will be, and it won’t be OAN. Fox was targeted years ago for exclusion from interviews with the Obama administration, as Ed noted a few days ago; only because CNN and other networks hung with them in objecting did Team O finally relent. Siding with CNN again now is Fox’s way of taking out a little insurance just in case President Kamala Harris decides that FNC is too evil or whatever to be allowed into her briefings. They’re scratching Acosta’s back today so that CNN will scratch theirs tomorrow.
No doubt Herring has also been paying attention to the fact that Fox has put a little daylight between itself and the president lately. Emphasis on “a little.”
But the network has made several moves in recent weeks to distance itself. Fox News was quick to condemn the two hosts for appearing to campaign with Trump, especially after Hannity had pledged to not take the stage with the president.
“FOX News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement at the time. “This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
And earlier this month, Fox News pulled an immigration ad put out by the White House, which other networks had labeled as racist. Nonetheless, the network’s coverage of immigration still tended to align with Trump’s interests — Fox News devoted significant air time to a caravan of migrants heading through Mexico in hopes of seeking asylum in the U.S.
If I know my president, he’ll be delighted at an opportunity to play Fox off of OAN and vice versa for more flattering coverage from both. Supposedly he used to enjoy watching underlings at the Trump Organization vie with each other for dominance; the same dynamic played out for awhile during the 2016 campaign when Corey Lewandowski and his loyalists battled Paul Manafort and his team for control of the Trump train. Now Trump has OAN seizing the Acosta dust-up to declare itself the one true Trump News Network. POTUS will probably reward them with some sort of extended interview, or much more frequent interviews, if only to remind Fox that he’s capable of singlehandedly elevating OAN as a serious rival to them if they wander too far off the reservation. If you think primetime on FNC is pro-Trump now, check back this spring and see what it looks like.
Speaking of which, this can’t be true, can it? Since when does Trump show contempt for his biggest sycophants?