A Republican contractor’s database of nearly every voter was left exposed on the Internet for 12 days, researcher says

The following article by Brian Fung, Craig Timberg and Matea Gold was posted on the Washington Post website June 19, 2017:

Credit: imelenchon via Morguefile.com

A Republican analytics firm’s database of nearly every registered American voter was left vulnerable to theft on a public server for 12 days this month, according to a cybersecurity researcher who found and downloaded the trove of data.

The lapse in security was striking for putting at risk the identities, voting histories and views of voters across the political spectrum, with data drawn from a wide range of sources including social media, public government records and proprietary polling by political groups. (more…)

Read More

Conservatives need to cut the bullshit and stop exploiting a tragedy to blame the left

The following article by Cristina Lopez G. was posted on the Media Matters website June 15, 2017:

Right-wing media show no self-awareness of their role in influencing violent incidents

Credit: AP

James T. Hodgkinson, a man with a record of domestic violence, a legally purchased assault rifle, and a valid concealed carry permit, on June 14 opened fire on Republican congressmen and staffers practicing for the congressional baseball game.

The FBI is still investigating the incident, but one thing is already clear about this latest example of unhinged gun violence. The overwhelming evidence of conservative media’s influence on a significant number of deadly incidents makes their attempt to deflect attention from their role in creating a toxic political culture both cynical and exploitative. (more…)

Read More

Misleading rhetoric from President Trump and the EPA administrator about the coal industry’s comeback

The following Fact Checker article is from the Washington Post’s email newsletter of that name dated June 9, 2017:

Is this the renaissance of the coal industry? President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt sure make it sound like it is. But the facts tell a different story. This week, we dug into two talking points by Pruitt and Trump on coal jobs and mines reopening.

Pruitt said in one interview: “We’ve added almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector. In the month of May alone, almost 7,000 jobs.” The problem: There are only about 50,000 jobs in coal.

In other interviews, Pruitt more carefully referred to “mining and coal” or “coal jobs, mining jobs.” Notice how Pruitt emphasizes “coal” while trying to slip in a reference to “mining.”

That’s because Pruitt is actually using mining jobs figures going back to October 2016 — a net gain of 47,000 (and net gain of 6,600 from April to May 2017). Since Inauguration Day, the net gain of mining jobs is nearly 33,000.

But most of the gain in “mining” jobs has nothing to do with coal. So, rather than the gain of 47,000 jobs touted by Pruitt, the reality is that 1,000 coal jobs have been added since Trump became president. For the month of May, the gain was 400 jobs, not 7,000.

We awarded Pruitt Four Pinocchios.

Are coal mines reopening, as Trump says? 

Last week, we told you about the many false or misleading claims by Trump in his speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate change. This week, we took a deeper look at one claim we didn’t fact-check the night of his speech.

Trump said the Paris agreement “effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America,” hurting the future of the U.S. coal industry, which is actually starting to open up mines for the first time in many years. Is that true?

The agreement doesn’t actually block U.S. ability to develop “clean coal,” which isn’t actually a thing. He’s referring to a specific technique called carbon capture and storage, which has been developing in the United States even after it entered the Paris agreement in 2015.

Are mines reopening? Certain ones are. And these mines are not the focus of the Paris agreement. They produce metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. The Paris accord focuses on thermal coal, which is burned for steam to produce heat and electricity. We awarded Three Pinocchios.

Read More

War by Other Means

The following article by Max Bergmann and Carolyn Kenney was posted on the Center for American Progress website June 6, 2017:

Introduction and summary

The Kremlin is seen behind the Moskva River in Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 7, 2017. The Russian military says it will help Syria beef up its air defenses after the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Liberal democracies across the globe are under attack. They are being attacked not by traditional weapons of war but by disinformation—intentionally false or misleading information designed to deceive targeted audiences. While these attacks may not pose a threat to the physical safety of democratic citizens, they do pose a threat to democracy.

In modern democratic societies, credible information is critical to the economy, political system, and way of life that citizens have come to expect. When citizens of democracies do not trust information, the forums for discussing politics and debating policy are compromised. If the media in a democracy is viewed as biased or, worse, as aligned with special interests, the bedrock of the democratic system—its ability to resolve differences through debate, persuasion, and compromise—breaks down. A democratic society can withstand deep disagreements, but if its citizens cannot agree on some basic and fundamental facts, that democracy will struggle to function. (more…)

Read More

Trump’s Children Will Watch Mar-a-Lago Sink Into The Atlantic

The following article by Gene Lyons was posted on the National Memo website June 7, 2017:

Image: National Memo (Getty Images)

If cosmic justice prevails, Donald J. Trump could live to see the Atlantic Ocean roll through his beloved Mar-a-Lago resort from the sea to the Intracoastal Waterway. His children almost certainly will.

The plush country club is built upon what geologists call a barrier beach—essentially a sandbar between the ocean and the bay. Already, water pools on parts of the property during coastal storms and extreme high tides, as sea levels driven by global warming rise a bit faster every year.

Within 30 years, climatologists estimate, Mar-a-Lago could be vulnerable to flooding as many as 210 days a year. It’s a growing problem across South Florida. Even mighty Donald cannot command the sea. (more…)

Read More

How Medicaid Cuts Could Hurt Education and Lead to Middle-Class Tax Hikes

The following article by Harry Stein and Sundus Alfi was posted on the Center for American Progress website June 6, 2017:

AP/Ross D. Franklin
Francisco Felix sits with his wife and daughters in their home in Laveen, Arizona, as they fill out paperwork for the National Transplant Assistance Fund, November 16, 2010.

The House of Representatives recently passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cut Medicaid by $834 billion over 10 years.1 Due to cuts in Medicaid, as well as other changes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the AHCA would take health insurance from 23 million Americans by 2025.2President Donald Trump supports this legislation despite pledging not to cut Medicaid.3

The AHCA is only the beginning. President Trump’s budget calls for $610 billion in additional Medicaid cuts over 10 years on top of the cuts in the AHCA.4 And previous budgets from House Republican leaders also recommended Medicaid cuts that exceed the cuts in the AHCA.5 The most significant impact of these Medicaid cuts would be the disruption of health care services for working families, seniors, children, and people with disabilities.6 (more…)

Read More

Capital Weather Gang Perspective Trump thinks weather and climate are unpredictable. He’s wrong and overdue for a briefing.

The following article by Jason Samenow was posted on the Washington Post website June 5, 2017:

President Trump speaks about the Paris climate accords on June 1 in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

On Sunday, President Trump uttered one of the most widely held misconceptions about weather and climate change: Weather forecasters can’t get it right and, therefore, we can’t say anything about climate change.

The claim, used to justify leaving the Paris climate agreement, is demonstrably wrong and has been debunked repeatedly. The president should know better.

Politico reported that the remarks were made after a round of golf at Trump National on Sunday. Its account: (more…)

Read More

Solar’s rise lifted these blue-collar workers. Now they’re worried about Trump

The following article by Danielle Paquette was posted on the Washington Post website June 5, 2017:

Mike Catanzaro, panel installer at Accelerate Solar, finishes installed electrical wiring at a solar array he recently installed at a job site in East Charlotte. (Logan Cyrus for The Washington Post)

CHARLOTTE — Mike Catanzaro, a solar panel installer with a high school diploma, likes to work with his hands under the clear Carolina sky. That’s why he supported President Trump, a defender of blue-collar workers. But the 25-year-old sees Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as a threat to his job.

“I’m a little nervous about it. The solar business is blowing up and that’s great for a lot of people around here,” Catanzaro said, just after switching on an 86-panel array atop a brick apartment building. (more…)

Read More

e French President Macron blasts Russian state-owned media as ‘propaganda’

NOTE:  We wish our president was willing to call the head of the Russian government on its interference in our elections and beyond rather than seeming to use the same talking points at Mr. Putin.  But, that’s not the case.

The following article by James McAuley was posted on the Washington Post website May 29, 2017:

French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a blunt greeting to Vladi­mir Putin on Monday, criticizing the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s ­Russian-backed government and blasting two Russian state-owned media organizations as “organs of influence and propaganda.”

Macron had invited the Russian leader to France to reset a relationship that has turned increasingly sour. Putin did more than any other foreign leader to undermine Macron’s legitimacy in this country’s recent presidential election, meeting with his far-right opponent during the campaign. (more…)

Read More

Leading Right-Wing Think Tank Caught Circulating White Nationalist Propaganda Over 2,000 Times

The following article by Stephen Piggott and Alex Amend of the Southern Poverty Law Center was posted on the AlterNet website May 2?, 2017:

Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) executive director Mark Krikorian has some answering to do.

Photo Credit: Tony Craddock / Shutterstock

The surprising Electoral College victory of President Donald Trump has been like winning the lottery for nativist extremists and other fringe groups. For Krikorian, he’s been making the most of it by arguing in the mainstream press that his group, long attacked from across the political spectrum for its connections to eugenics-friendly white nationalists and shoddy research, doesn’t deserve to be labeled a hate group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center listed CIS as a hate group for the first time when our annual count was published in February of this year. The designation resulted primarily from their move to start publishing the work of discredited race scientist Jason Richwine (who was once forced to resign from the arch-conservative Heritage Foundation) and their shocking circulation of an article from one of America’s most prominent white nationalist websites and another written by a fringe Holocaust-denier in their weekly newsletter. (more…)

Read More