2/11/2017

Mexican citizen living in Texas illegally voted in five elections, registered to vote multiple times


This woman claims that it didn't know that it was a crime for a Mexican to vote in US elections, but that is somewhat undercut by her registering in multiple Texas counties and saying that she was a citizen when she registered to vote.  From Fox News:
A Mexican citizen living in Texas was sentenced this week to eight years in prison for voting illegally in elections in 2012 and 2014. 
Rosa Maria Ortega, 37, was found guilty Wednesday on two counts of illegal voting after she falsely claimed to be a United States citizen and voted at least five times between 2012 and 2014. . . . 
The Dallas News reported Ortega voted in the November 2012 election and May 2014 GOP primary runoff in Dallas County. 
According to Fox 4 News, Ortega’s identity came into question after she tried to register to vote twice in Tarrant County. Both applications were denied. . . .  
In her defense, Ortega testified that she didn’t understand the differences between the rights granted to citizens and the rights granted to legal residents. . . . 
The Dallas News reported that prosecutors showed that Ortega has checked a box on her driver’s license form indicating she was not a citizen. 
However, the Dallas County election administrator said Ortega had filled out a voter application and checked that she was a citizen in 2015. . . .
More examples of vote fraud are herehere, and here.  

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2/02/2017

All the Democrats in the House who voted wanted to keep a rule that would ban guns for Social Security recipients who need help with finances

Have you ever thought of letting someone else manage your finances? Under finalized new rules released just before Christmas by President Obama, Social Security recipients will be banned from buying a gun if they are deemed “financially incompetent.” Some 4.2 million Social Security recipients — about 10 percent of all people 65 and older — could lose the right to own a gun as a result.

Just because someone can’t manage his finances doesn’t mean that he’s a danger to others. What is next? Keeping guns away from people who can’t drive or do math? What about other rights? Should “financially incompetent” people be forbidden from voting or making other decisions?

For those interested, you can see the text of the resolution and the votes of each congressman available here.

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In 2013, NYC investigators posed as 63 ineligible voters, ALL BUT ONE allowed to vote, that one where someone tried to be son of poll worker

The one case where a fraudulent voter was stopped from voting was when the fraudulent voter tried to be the son of the poll worker.  From the WSJ (emphasis added):
. . . In 2013 the New York City Department of Investigation—the storied law-enforcement arm of city government, which houses and manages all the city’s inspectors general and investigators—decided to test the system. City investigators posed as 63 ineligible individuals still on the city voter rolls. Each ineligible voter had died, moved out of the jurisdiction, or been convicted of a felony at least two years earlier. 
The investigators didn’t go to great lengths to hide their attempted fraudulent votes. In five instances investigators in their 20s or 30s posed as voters age 82 to 94. In some cases the investigators were of different ethnic backgrounds from the voters they were impersonating. Yet each was given a ballot and allowed to cast a vote without question. 
 In other instances the investigators informed the poll worker that they had moved but didn’t have time to get to their new home on Election Day; all but one was allowed to vote. Only one investigator was flat-out rejected. He had the misfortune of trying to vote at a polling place where the clerk was the mother of the ineligible felon he was impersonating.  
Ninety-seven percent of the barely disguised phony voters were allowed to vote unimpeded, and none was referred for criminal charges or officially reported to the Board of Elections. One can only imagine what a sharp operator trying to fix an election could do by flooding polling places with ineligible voters. . . .

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1/29/2017

Obama judge blocks deportation of detainees over Trump refugees, judge replaced a George W. Bush nominated judge

This Obama judge was confirmed during the last congress when the Republicans controlled the Senate.  From The Hill newspaper:
U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly ruled in favor of a habeas corpus petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday after Trump signed his order. 
Donnelly, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama and confirmed to her judgeship in 2015, ruled in the Eastern District of New York that "there is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject" to Trump's order. 
“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil," said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. . . .
Judge Donnelly replaced a judge nominated by George W. Bush, Sandra Townes.  How a delay of a couple of weeks or even a month would have done "substantial and irreparable injury" isn't obvious.

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1/28/2017

Is the media getting the story about Russia's law regarding domestic violence wrong to generate attention?

One can definitely disagree with the new change in Russia's law regarding domestic violence, but one thing is sure: the media has not been doing a very good job explaining the change.  Possibly with all the articles involving Trump and Russia, it is just fits into the media's desire to generate more anger against Russia.  From USA Today:
Russia's parliament voted 380-3 on Friday to decriminalize domestic violence in cases where it does not cause "substantial bodily harm" and does not occur more than once a year.  
The move, which eliminates criminal liability in such cases, makes a violation punishable by a fine of roughly $500, or a 15-day arrest, provided there is no repeat within 12 months.  
The bill now goes to the rubber-stamp upper chamber, where no opposition is expected. It then must be signed by President Vladimir Putin, who has signaled his support. . . .
Wisconsin defines "Substantial bodily harm" this way:
“Substantial bodily harm" means bodily injury that causes a laceration that requires stitches, staples, or a tissue adhesive; any fracture of a bone; a broken nose; a burn; a petechia; a temporary loss of consciousness, sight or hearing; a concussion; or a loss or fracture of a tooth.
I don't have access to how "substantial bodily harm" is defined by Russians, but if their definition is similar to the one in Wisconsin: even a small amount of bleeding under the skin that forms the equivalent of a small bruise (petechia is "Pinpoint flat round red spots under the skin surface caused by intradermal hemorrhage", "under 3 mm," and "similar to bruises, in that they are blood added to the skin tissues") would still be a crime.  

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1/11/2017

Is Politifact really the organization that should be fact checking Facebook on gun related facts?

If gun control advocates were more confident with their arguments, presumably they wouldn't have to so grossly exaggerate their numbers.  On December 27th, 2016 Politifact evaluated this claim that there are 7 children a day who die from guns, and Politifact's Chris Nichols concluded that this claim by Congresswoman Jackie Speier that "more than seven children PER DAY have died from gun violence" was "mostly true."

Politifact relies on a quote from the Brady Campaign’s website: "Every day, 7 children and teens die from gun violence." The website notes that it crunched CDC data for children and young people through age 19.

Are 18 and 19 year olds "children"?

For 2013 through 2015 for ages 0 through 19 there were 7,838 firearm deaths.  If you exclude 18 and 19 year olds, the number firearm deaths for 2013 through 2015 is reduced by almost half to 4,047 firearm deaths.  Including people who are clearly adults drives the total number of deaths.

Even the Brady Campaign differentiates children from teenagers.  If you just look at those who aren't teenagers, the number of firearm deaths declines to 692, which comes to 0.63 deaths per day.

Even just excluding 18 and 19 year olds reduces the number of firearm deaths by almost half to 4,047 firearm deaths, 3.7 per day.  Defining children as those under 15 reduces the number to 1,312, about 1.2 per day.  It isn't that 18 and 19 year olds aren't important, but Speier was obviously focusing on "children" for a reason.

Homicides are not Murders

Most people, apparently including the Brady Campaign, just assume that homicides and murders are the same, but the difference between them is that homicides include justifiable homicides.  Do you really want to lump in murders with cases where someone uses a gun to stop a murder or other crime from occurring?  For murders for those under 18 for 2013 to 2015, the total for those three years is 573 fewer deaths than homicides (1,551 firearm murders (2013 479, 2014 519, and 2015 553) versus 2,124 firearm homicides).
So for those under 18, if you add up murders 1,551, accidents 245, and suicides 1,589, you get a total of 3,385, not 4,047.

So for those under 13, if you add up firearm murders 338 (=92+124+122) , accidents 145, and suicides 77, you get a total of 560, not 4,047.  That comes to 0.51 deaths per day.
The CDC numbers that Politifact relies on is making comparisons include mistakes that the CDC still has not corrected.

Mixing in gang murders and other deaths.

The vast majority of these deaths for 15 to 19 year olds involve murders involving gangs, primarily drug gangs.   Linking children and guns is done to connote guns in the home for law-abiding households, but the causes and cures for drug gang violence are dramatically different children getting a hold of gun in law-abiding homes.  The notion that you are going to be able to pass laws to stop drug gangs from getting guns is about as easy as stopping those drug gangs from getting drugs to sell.  For a related discussion see here.  This is an additional reason to not include 15 to 19 year olds.

As an aside, during the three years that they studied the number of accidental gun deaths have declined from 59 in 2013 to 44 in 2014 to 42 in 2015.

Importantly disarming law-abiding citizens or locking up people's guns makes them more vulnerable to criminals

The laws that Congresswoman Speier and the Brady Campaign are pushing lead to more deaths.  Regulations, such as "Safe Storage Laws," disarm law-abiding citizens, thus encouraging criminals to attack and making them more likely to succeed in committing their crimes.

Do we really want Politifact serving as the fact checker for Facebook?

As the CPRC has previously written, fact checkers, such Politifact, have their own biases — usually the same liberal biases that we see in the rest of the mainstream media.  This latest example from Politifact just provides additional evidence for those concerns.

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1/10/2017

Some recent radio interviews that I have done

with John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur on Seattle's big KVI about the Social Security rules banning gun ownership for some -- available here.

on the Vicki McKenna Show to discuss Obama's new rules banning some Social Security Recipients from having guns -- available here.

on the Larry Elder Show: On Politifact's Claim that it is "Mostly True" that 7 "children" die a day from gun violence --  available here.

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Michael Bloomberg wasted $20 million on Nevada's Background Checks on Private Transfers

This year, Bloomberg got a background check initiative onto the ballots of Maine and Nevada. He lost in Maine by 4 percent, and won in Nevada by just 0.8 percent. Bloomberg’s initiative only eked out the win in Nevada because of the $20 million spent to support it, amounting to an incredible $35.30 per vote. He outspent his opponents by a factor of three – in Maine, by a factor of six. Bloomberg was responsible for more than 90 percent of the money going to support these ballot measures.

Now it turns out that an error in how the initiative was written will prevent it from taking effect.  This error was just one example of how poorly word this complicated initiative was.   From the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A new Nevada law requiring background checks for private party gun sales was deemed unenforceable Wednesday, days before it was to take effect because the FBI refuses to conduct them and the state lacks authority to do so. 
The opinion issued by the office of Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt left gun enthusiasts elated and proponents of background checks reeling from the blow of another setback — the second since 2013 when a bill requiring universal screenings was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. 
Backers are now turning their sights to the 2017 Legislature, while others expressed hope that the state and FBI can work out a compromise. 
Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said the Senate “will consider legislative solutions this session to ensure that Nevada law is enforced.” The Legislature convenes Feb. 6. . . .
Thus $28 million was spent by Bloomberg on two initiatives this year and neither gets enacted.

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Are public libraries obsolete?

Philadelphia spends about $50 million per year on public libraries (much more if you count the rental value of the land that they are on).  Lake County Florida (discussed below) apparently spends about $1.1 million on their public library system.  From the Orlando Sentinel:
Chuck Finley appears to be a voracious reader, having checked out 2,361 books at the East Lake County Library in a nine-month period this year. 
But Finley didn't read a single one of the books, ranging from "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck to a kids book called "Why Do My Ears Pop?" by Ann Fullick. That's because Finley isn't real. 
The fictional character was concocted by two employees at the library, complete with a false address and drivers license number. . . . 
The goal behind the creation of "Chuck Finley" was to make sure certain books stayed on the shelves — books that aren't used for a long period can be discarded and removed from the library system. 
 George Dore, the library's branch supervisor who was put on administrative leave for his part in the episode, said he wanted to avoid having to later repurchase books purged from the shelf. He said the same thing is being done at other libraries, too. . . . 
the Lake County library system receive a percentage of their funding based on circulation levels. . . .
It will be interesting to see what the true usage rate is for books at public libraries.  Only then could we determine if public libraries in their current form make sense.  Possibly public libraries might just end up being some computers set up for people to look at.

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1/09/2017

At Real Clear Policy: "Chicago's Bloody Mess"

My  new piece on Chicago disastrous policing policies at Real Clear Policy starts this way:
Chicago is a bloody mess. Last year, Chicago had 762 homicides — more than New York and Los Angeles combined. This represents an astounding 57 percent increase from the 2015 murder rate. 
On Sunday night, CBS’s 60 Minutes rightfully expressed concern about the fall in stops and arrests by police over the last year. Criminals have seemingly become emboldened as a result of the decrease in arrests. The 60 Minutes piece quotes Garry McCarthy — Chicago’s Police Superintendent up until a year ago — as saying that “officers are under attack, that is how they feel.” 
This isn’t a new trend. The quality of Chicago’s policing has been deteriorating for decades. Back in 1991, 67 percent of murderers were arrested. When Mayor Richard M. Daley left office twenty years later, in 2011, the arrest rate was down to 30 percent. This troubling drop only continued after Rahm Emanuel became mayor, hitting a new low of 20 percent in 2016. (See graph below.) 
Unfortunately, the true number is even worse, because Chicago has been intentionally misclassifying murders, instead labeling them as subject to non-criminal “death investigations.” 
Nationally, police solve 61.5 percent of murders — almost two out of every three. And, unlike Chicago’s arrest rate, the national rate has been fairly constant over the decades. 
Donald Trump’s tweeted hope to Chicago on Monday: “If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” But for politicians who can’t help making decisions based on politics, what really matters is what they can’t do, not what they won’t do. 
Chicago’s problem is the result of bad political decisions. For example, after his election, Emanuel did three unfortunate things that hampered the Chicago police force. The mayor: closed down detective bureaus in Chicago's highest crime districts, relocating them to often distant locations; disbanded many gang task forces; and, in cooperation with the ACLU, instituted new, voluminous forms that have to be filled out by police each time they stop someone to investigate a crime. All this time filling out forms is time that can’t be spent policing neighborhoods. When you don’t catch criminals, the obvious result is more crime. . . .
The rest of the piece and the graph are available here.

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On the One America News Network to discuss racial discrimination problems caused by the gun background check system

The One America News Network, which is the fourth largest cable news network and has greater viewership than Fox Business News and Bloomberg TV, interviewed me about the problems with the gun background check system.
To many Americans, gun background checks may sound like a good idea, but some conservatives are raising new criticisms of them because they don’t always work as they are supposed to. 
“The background check system we have is a mess in many ways. But one of the big problems is that it is racist in terms of who is stopped. Has a disproportionate impact on blacks and Hispanics from being able to own and buy guns,” states John Lott, President, Crime Prevention Research Center. 
Lott points out that the impact of background checks results because of mistakes based on similar names within racial groups. 
“About thirty percent of black males in the United States are legally forbidden from owning a gun, because of past criminal behavior. Well, what that means is a lot of good, black males who may want to buy a gun to protect him and his family may be more likely to have a name similar to the 30 percent of black males who are legally prohibited from buying a gun,” Lott explains. 
Of course being prohibited from buying a gun can be corrected through an appeals process, but that’s become more difficult in the Obama Administration, says Lott. 
“But what’s happened under President Obama is that they have removed the government employees who used to check to see where the mistakes were made. Nobody’s doing that now. Now you can appeal, but most people are gonna find it’s necessary to hire a lawyer for the appeals process…. Middle income and poor blacks and Hispanics are unlikely to spend the thousands of dollars necessary to fix the mistakes that the government has made,” Lott notes. . . .
The entire article is available here.

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1/08/2017

On the Dave Elswick Show to talk about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Dr. John Lott talked to Dave Elswick on the giant 50,000 Watt KARN-FM about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the fact that the airport was yet another mass public shooting at another gun-free zone.
(January 6, 2016 from 4:06 to 4:21 PM)

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Yet more mass public killings using cars

Jerusalem, January 8th, 2016: 
A Palestinian has rammed a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers visiting a popular tourist spot in Jerusalem, killing four and wounding at least 15 people, in a shocking copycat of the Berlin and Nice terror massacres. 
Shocking video from the scene shows the driver reversing back over the soldiers, trapping ten under his wheels, during the sickening attack on Sunday.  
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged the attacker 'supported' the Islamic State group, though he provided no details on what led to the finding. . . .
Nice, France, July 14, 2016
Dozens of people were killed, including children, when a lorry ploughed into a large crowd watching a fireworks display in Nice to mark the Bastille Day holiday. . . . 
Eighty-six people were killed, all but three of them at the time of the attack. The dead included 10 children and teenagers. 
A total of 303 people were taken to hospital for medical treatment. A man who was badly injured in the assault died on 4 August, taking the total number of those killed to 85.  . . .
Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016 
12 dead and 48 injured, some severely, at Berlin market . . . 
Anis Amri has been identified by Tunisian officials as the man being sought by German police across the country and the wider border-free area of the European Union, and a 100,000 euro (£84,000) reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest. 
It emerged the 24-year-old was put under covert surveillance by German authorities for more than six months after they received a tip in March that he may have been planning a break-in to finance buying automatic weapons for an attack. . . .

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Newest piece in the Daily Caller: "Another Gun-Free Zone, Another Mass Shooting"

I have a new piece at the Daily Caller on today's shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Yet another shooting at yet another gun-free zone occurred today.  At this moment 5 people were murdered and another 8 injured. The tragedy today at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is all the more disappointing because just this last year legislators tried to change Florida’s ban on concealed carry at airports to avoid today’s type of event. 
Florida Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby warned last year the legislation was needed because airport terminals “could become more of a target” for terrorists and criminals. 
Florida is one of only six states that ban people being able to carry guns at airports.  While the Federal government bans guns at airports past security, Florida has gone much farther and bans licensed carry inside the entire terminal.  Airports are often crowded places and have frequently been attractive targets to terrorists around the world. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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Newest piece in Investor's Business Daily: "Gun Control Advocates Really Just Want To Ban Guns"

I have a new piece at Investor's Business Daily.  The piece starts this way:
Gun control advocates keep claiming that they don't want to ban guns — they only want reasonable regulations.  But their actions keep saying otherwise.
  • Gun control advocates expressed "concern" after Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz bought each of his offensive linemen a very expensive personalized Beretta shotgun for Christmas this year.  If they believe in gun ownership, why should it bother them that law-abiding adults have shotguns?
  • Right before Christmas, President Obama finalized new rules requiring 4.2 million Social Security recipients who have trouble managing their finances to undergo background checks before buying guns.  But just because someone can't manage their finances doesn't mean that he's a danger to others.
  • An article in December in the New Republic was clear: "Ban guns. All guns. Get rid of guns in homes, and on the streets, and, as much as possible, on police."
Of course, during the presidential campaign Hillary Clinton repeatedly called for appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn the 2008 Heller decision, which struck down Washington, D.C.'s complete ban on handguns.  
Such a change would have again made it possible for governments to ban guns.
It is hard to find any gun control rule that gets proposed that gun control advocates don't support. 
To gun control advocates it seems obvious: Restrict gun access and people will be safer.  But theory and practice don't always match. Too often, gun bans or background checks don't stop criminals and disarm law-abiding citizens, particularly poor minorities. This only makes life easier for criminals. 
To start, it would be almost impossible at this point to ban all guns in the U.S., where there are already 300 million guns in circulation, and more than 12 million enter the market each year. With 3D metal printers, more people will be able to make weapons that are indistinguishable from those purchased in stores. Getting rid of these weapons would require a door-to-door campaign by law enforcement officials, and even that would be of only limited effectiveness. 
But their goal is ultimately a fool's errand.  Every country in the world (that we have crime data for) that has banned all guns or all handguns has seen a subsequent increase in murder rates.  Even island nations such as Ireland and Jamaica — which have easily monitored and defendable borders, relatively speaking — have faced five- or six-fold increases in murder rates after guns were banned.  Some of the biggest spikes in murder rates corresponded with increases in drug gang violence. 
Another example of gun bans is the continual push for gun-free zones, where general citizens are banned from being able to defend themselves.  But these bans only create defenseless targets for mass shooters. One need only listen to the wiretapped recording of an Islamic State supporter who was planning an attack last year. His target was one of the biggest churches in Detroit.  . . .
The rest of the piece is available here

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12/26/2016

New piece at National Review on what the movie Miss Sloane and the election results tell us about where the gun debate stands

I have a new piece at National Review on what the movie Miss Sloane and the election results tell us about where the gun debate stands.  The piece starts this way:
Miss Sloane, a highly anticipated movie demonizing the NRA and calling for gun control, has bombed. The movie succeeded only in emphasizing the top-down nature of the gun-control campaign and how little intensity there is for more regulations.
The movie seemed to have everything going for it. Liberal movie critics loved it, and it was backed by a hefty ad budget along with heaps of favorable news coverage. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has already nominated the movie’s star, Jessica Chastain, for a prestigious Golden Globe, considered a strong predictor of the Oscars.
But two weeks after its national release, it has made only $3.2 million. During its second weekend, it averaged just $102 per movie theater per day. With a ticket price of $10.30 per adult, that comes to an average of only 9.9 people a day seeing the movie in any given theater. At least people had no problem finding a good seat.
And it wasn’t for lack of trying to get people to show up. Out of the 200 highest-grossing movies of 2016, only ten exceeded the $15.9 million television advertising budget of Miss Sloane, and seven of those did so by very small amounts. Miss Sloane spent more than the Star Wars spinoff Rogue OneStar TrekPete’s DragonArrivalDoctor Strange, and Hacksaw Ridge. It had twice the advertising budget of such hits as SullyThe Girl on the Train, and The Secret Life of Pets.
For every dollar spent on advertising, Miss Sloane brought in just 21 cents in ticket sales. By this measure, it came in dead last out of the 200 top-grossing movies in 2016. No one else was even close. Coming in second-to-last was Collateral Beauty, which made 53 cents per advertising dollar. The average movie made almost $2 for each dollar spent on advertising.
TV ads for Miss Sloane aired a total of 2,270 times: 316 times on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC; 289 on prime-time CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox shows. All told, they covered 34 different networks.
The concept of the script had also been thoroughly road-tested. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have galvanized public support by suggesting that politicians are intimidated from passing sensible regulations only because gun makers want to make money. And, like a Clinton or Obama speech, the film leaves out all of the strong arguments made by gun-control opponents. There is no response to concerns that the very gun-sale-control regulations being pushed in the movie primarily disarm law-abiding citizens, especially poor blacks and Hispanics living in high-crime inner cities.
Poorly funded gun-control advocates are shown doing battle with the big, bad National Rifle Association. Of course, Michael Bloomberg is never mentioned. He would spoil the story, since he gives $50 million a year to his regulation-pushing Everytown for Gun Safety. This is 2.5 times more than the NRA spends on political activities. From 2013 to 2016, Bloomberg donated a total of $48 million to candidates running for federal office. The NRA contributed just $2.1 million. And that’s not even mentioning the hundreds of millions that Bloomberg, George Soros, and others funnel into producing gun-control research. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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Snopes.com founder,who will arbitrate what is 'fake news' on Facebook, is accused of engaging in fraud to give himself credibility and of defrauding website

From the UK Daily Mail:
One of the websites Facebook is to use to arbitrate on 'fake news' is involved in a bitter legal dispute between its co-founders, with its CEO accused of using company money for prostitutes.Snopes.com will be part of a panel used by Facebook to decide whether stories which users complain about as potentially 'fake' should be considered 'disputed'. . . .
Now a DailyMail.com investigation reveals that Snopes.com's founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce. . . .
They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of 'embezzlement' and suggesting he is attempting a 'boondoggle' to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas. . . .Profiles of the website disclose that for some time before it was set up, the couple had posed as 'The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society', using its name on letterheads, even though it did not exist.A profile for the Webby Awards published in October describes it as 'an entity dreamed up to help make the inquiries seem more legit'. . . .
In the filings, Barbara, 57, has accused her former husband, 56, of 'raiding the corporate business Bardav bank account for his personal use and attorney fees' without consulting her.She also claimed he embezzled $98,000 from the company over the course of four years 'which he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired'. . . .

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12/19/2016

Why won't mainstream media mention all the death and economic threats aimed at Trump Electors?

Here are some of the news coverage of the death threats received by electors who are voting for Trump.  I can't find these stories in places such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and USA Today.

According to The Hill newspaper in Pennsylvania:
The messages have escalated to death threats, and so the 20 electors will have state troopers escorting them to cast their votes Monday.  
GOP electors have been under pressure over the past month from anti-Donald Trump groups to not vote for the president-elect. . . .
WILX Channel 10 in Lansing, Michigan
One elector from Bloomfield Hills, Michael Banerian, says he has even received death threats. Banerian says, "I've had death wishes, people just saying "I hope you die." Do society a favor, throw yourself in front of a bus. And just recently I was reading a blog about me - and unfortunately these people not only called for the burning of myself but my family. Which is completely out of line." . . .
For the same elector, the Detroit News has verified the threats.
The Detroit News verified one message containing a death wish and another containing a death threat, in which the person told Banerian he would “put a bullet” in his mouth. Banerian said he deleted the rest of the emails and messages “because as you can imagine they’re clogging up my email.” . . .
From KHBS in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The chair of Arkansas’ slate of six electors tells KHBS in Fort Smith that he and his colleagues have received tens of thousands of demands that they change their votes, including some death threats. The effort to intimidate electors has a particular focus on Arkansas, one of 21 states where electors are not bound by state law to the popular vote within their state. . . . .
Two black electors in Michigan who are voting for Trump have also received death threats.
An African American father and daughter will cast their electoral votes for Donald Trump on Monday in Lansing, Michigan. 
Despite the abuse they’ve received the father-daughter combo will make history as they cast their votes for Donald J. Trump. 
The two black Trump supporters have received death threats.  Liberals have called them bigots for supporting Trump. . . .
More for Texas:
“At first everyone was kinda enchanted by it,” one Texas elector told local media. “Now all the electors are starting to get beaten down. There are some electors who have been threatened with harm or with death.” 
In Georgia, things got bad enough that the Secretary of State issued a statement warning that Clinton supporters who harass Electors over the phone—including anyone who encouraged the practice —could be subject to dire consequences. In Arizona, Electors reported as many as 8,000 calls, some of which, they say, became “hateful.” . . .
From the UK Telegraph
As the deadline approaches some of the appeals to electors have turned threatening. Electors around the country have reported being targeted by death threats, harassing phone calls and reams of hate mail.  
“I never can imagine harassing people like this," said Jim Rhoades, a Republican elector from Michigan who runs a home inspection service. “I’ve lost a bunch of business.” 
In Pennsylvania, the situation has become so serious that the some 20 electors have reportedly been assigned plainclothes state police troopers for protection. . . .

Disturbingly, a supposed news site, Buzzfeed, has also helped get  information on electors so that they can be harassed.
Last week, social media supporters of Hillary Clinton passed around a spreadsheetlisting the names and personal information of Electoral College voters. Helped along by news sites like BuzzfeedClintonites made hundreds of calls to EC delegates, hoping to persuade them to switch their vote to Clinton when the EC meets this month. . . .

While major outlets such the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and USA Today haven't found space for any of these threats, they did find space for other death threats.

Washington Post headline; "A professor called Trump’s election an ‘act of terrorism.’ Death threats forced her to flee."  The article in the Post also failed to really discuss the full problem with this professor's behavior.  For example, only vaguely is it mentioned that the professor tried to shame students for supporting Trump. "Prof who called Trump win an ‘act of terrorism’ allegedly asked Trump backers to stand during class"


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12/17/2016

George Soros and Facebook, Soros using Facebook's new rules to bias what news people read



Because of misleading news coverage, a lot of Americans apparently already believe that "fake" news is a big problem (survey available here).  Here is some background on the changes in how Facebook will protect people from "fake" news.
Facebook has announced its plan to tackle fake news by harnessing fact checking and, potentially, making disputed stories appear lower in users’ News Feeds. . . . 
The social network announced Thursday that it will make it easier for users to report fake news when they see it, which they can do by clicking the upper right hand corner of a post. If enough people report a story as fake, Facebook will pass it to third-party fact-checking organizations that are part of the nonprofit Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network. 
Five fact-checking and news organizations are working with the company on this: ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes. Facebook says this group is likely to expand. . . .
For information on why this is a problem using these fact checkers see this article available here.

 But the problem gets even worse.  Enter George Soros who will be funding an organization to flag stories that he believes to be false and also to fund fact checking.
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) drafted a code of five principles for news websites to accept, and Facebook yesterday announced it will work with “third-party fact checking organizations” that are signatories to the code of principles.. . 
IFCN is hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. A cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter’s IFCN is openly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy. 
Poynter’s IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with the Open Society on numerous projects and it has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation.  Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S. 
Another significant Poynter Institute donor is the Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. On Monday, just days before the announcement of the Facebook partnership, Poynter issued a press release revealing that Newmark donated $1 million to the group to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics. . . . .
and from the UK Daily Mail:
Billionaire Clinton donor George Soros is among a line-up of wealthy liberal figures who will fund Facebook's fake news fact checker.  
The 86-year-old Hungarian financier's Open Society Foundation is listed among organizations which are backing The International Fact Checking Network, the body tasked with flagging bogus news stories to social media users, on its website. 
Soros, a staunch Democrat who tried to block George W. Bush's campaign in 2004, has given $25million to Clinton and causes dear to her.  
Other donors involved in the new fact checking feature include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar who has committed more than $30million to the Clintons and their charities. Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy are also funding the pilot.   
The line-up feeds criticism from right-wing commentators that the new fact checking feature will be biased towards left-wing causes and could interfere with the social media feeds of millions of voters. . . .

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12/13/2016

If you think that the Russians interfered with the US election, you might reread the Washington Post piece that started this discussion

UPDATE:  Do you want more evidence that the claim that Russia interfered with the US election was political.  From Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.:
"Somebody has the time to leak it to the Washington Post and the New York Times, but they don’t have the time to come to Congress," said King, a member of the committee. "It’s their job to come. They don’t have any choice. They have to come in, especially when they have created this." 
King added that lawmakers have not received any assessment from the CIA that Russia interfered to help Trump win the presidency over Hillary Clinton, allegations that were first reported by the Washington Post Friday.

ORIGINAL POST: It isn't obvious that the people who are claiming that the Russians interfered with the US election actually read the Washington Post article that this claim is based on:
intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.” . . .
More on Julian Assange's continued statements that the emails were not obtained from the Russians.  
"As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two,” he wrote. “And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.” . . .
Has Wikileaks ever been found to provide false information? No.  So the questions is why these statements aren't given more weight in the press.  Most of the media accounts just completely ignore Julian Assange's clear statements.

A transcript from Sunday's Meet the Press is also quite useful.
CHUCK TODD: Let me move to the reports that both The Washington Post, New York Times, NBC News has confirmed it, that the assessment from the C.I.A. is not only that Russia interfere -- make an attempt to interfere on the 2016 election to be disruptive, but they actually were trying to be disruptive in order to help Donald Trump. And the transition put out a statement that essentially humiliated the C.I.A. in saying that Donald Trump didn't believe the assessment from the C.I.A. because these are the same people that said that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Does Donald Trump have confidence in America's intelligence?  
REINCE PRIEBUS: Of course he has confidence in America's intelligence. But we don't have confidence in The New York Times releasing a report of unnamed sources of some kind of study that itself, and The Washington Post said was inconclusive to claim that, because the C.I.A. had hacked e-mails of the D.N.C. and the R.N.C. and only used D.N.C. e-mails, that meant that Russia was trying to influence the election. Because the other piece of this, Chuck, is that the R.N.C. was absolutely not hacked, number one. We had the F.B.I. in the R.N.C.. We've been working with the F.B.I.--  
CHUCK TODD: Why--  
REINCE PRIEBUS: We had intelligence experts here.  
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: No, no, no, hang on, Chuck. No.  
CHUCK TODD: No. REINCE PRIEBUS: The-- the R.N.C. was --  
CHUCK TODD: Explain why you had the F.B.I there --  
REINCE PRIEBUS: --not hacked.  
CHUCK TODD: Well then, why was the--  
REINCE PRIEBUS: Because--  
CHUCK TODD: -- F.B.I. involved?  
REINCE PRIEBUS: It's really simple. Well, it's really simple. Because when the D.N.C. was hacked, we called the F.B.I. and they came in to help us. And they came in to review what we were doing and went through our systems, went through every single thing that we did.  
CHUCK TODD: Right.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: We went through this for a month.  
CHUCK TODD: I understand that.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: And we were not hacked. So wait a second. If we were not hacked, and that is absolutely not true, then where does that story lie?  
CHUCK TODD: So nobody with the--  
REINCE PRIEBUS: The story is--  
HUCK TODD: Let me ask you this, Reince.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: No.  
CHUCK TODD: Not a single person connected to the R.N.C. was hacked? No Republican vendor who had interactions with the R.N.C. network was hacked? You guys have had a specific denial that the R.N.C.'s network wasn't hacked. That doesn't mean Republicans associated with the R.N.C. weren't hacked. That doesn't rule that out. Do you categorically--  
REINCE PRIEBUS: Okay, first of all--  
CHUCK TODD: --rule all that out?  
REINCE PRIEBUS: Number one-- I don't know why you're so hot about this. I mean the fact of the matter is you should actually--  
CHUCK TODD: It's not about me.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: --be happy that the R.N.C. wasn't hacked.  
CHUCK TODD: Well, no. I'm--  
REINCE PRIEBUS: The R.N.C. was not hacked, Chuck.  
CHUCK TODD: Okay.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: Number one, the R.N.C. was not hacked. I don't know of any employee, on any of their own Gmail accounts, that was hacked. So what I'm trying to tell you is the R.N.C. was not hacked, number one. And by the way, that was the specific allegation that was made in the actual New York Times article.  
CHUCK TODD: Right.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: The article didn't say, "Affiliates of the R.N.C.."  
CHUCK TODD: Okay.  
REINCE PRIEBUS: The article didn't say, "Employee." No, wait a second, Chuck. The article said, "The R.N.C. was hacked." So don't be defensive with me that-- 

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