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'What a dangerous doofus': Internet slams Trump for love-tweeting Putin

30 DEC 2016 AT 15:42 ET

Donald Trump on Friday had a predictable reaction to Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he will not retaliate against the United States for ejecting Russian diplomats, calling the President of the Russian Federation “very smart.”

Donald J. Trump ✔

Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!

2:41 PM - 30 Dec 2016
13,041 Retweets 30,691 likes

Trump not only tweeted his praise of Putin, but he also pinned the tweet to his profile, meaning it’s the first thing people will see when they visit the president-elect’s Twitter feed. Notably, the Russian Embassy also retweeted Trump’s reverence for a foreign adversary.


The reaction on social media was swift and dumbfounded, with many expressing outrage over the incoming president siding with a foreign country over the nation’s current president.

David Leopold ✔

US imposes sanctions on Russia based US intelligence; Trump sides with Putin over country. Beyond chilling. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/814919370711461890

3:09 PM - 30 Dec 2016
15 Retweets 18 likes

mauriice ✔
tried to tweet something funny but Putin poisons/murders political opponents & journalists who tell the truth. nothing funny bout that shit. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/814919370711461890

3:13 PM - 30 Dec 2016
10 Retweets 36 likes

Dan Slott ✔

Thanks, everyone who voted so this guy could be in a position of power to side w/ RUSSIA over the United States of America.#ButTheEmails... https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/814919370711461890

3:01 PM - 30 Dec 2016
91 Retweets 164 likes


Judge Delays N.C. Elections Board Law After Lawsuit Filed By Gov.-Elect Cooper

Source: Talking Points Memo

By TIERNEY SNEED Published DECEMBER 30, 2016, 3:36 PM EDT

A judge blocked a recently-passed North Carolina law that remade its elections board system from taking effect while a lawsuit filed Friday by the Governor-elect Roy Cooper (D-NC) challenging the law proceeds, the News and Observer reported.

After a one-hearing Friday on Cooper's emergency request to pause the law's implementation, Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens issued an order delaying the law—which was set to be implemented on Sunday—from taking effect at least until next Thursday, when another hearing on the lawsuit has been scheduled, according to the News and Observer.

The law, passed by the legislature's Republicans in a controversial special session after Cooper's victory over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory (NC), would dismantle the North Carolina's State Board of Elections and merge it with the state's ethics board. Previously, the state's governors were able to appoint three of the elections board's five members from his or her own party, with members of the minority party taking the other two spots. Under the new regime, the board would be expanded from five to eight members with a bipartisan split four-to-four. In even years—which are typically election years—the board would be chaired by a Republican, while Democrats would hold the chairmanship in the odd years.

It was just one of a number of laws passed by Republicans in the special session that stripped the incoming governor of his powers.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/judge-elections-board-law-north-carolina

Fox News runs incorrect correction of food-stamp fraud report, then corrects correction

By Erik Wemple December 30 at 11:48 AM


Here’s how Huntsman presented the correction at around 6:45 a.m. today:

An update to a story that we brought to you earlier this week regarding fraud in the food-stamp program: So we reported that in 2016, $70 million was wasted on food-stamp fraud. That was incorrect. The latest information, from 2009 to 2011, shows the fraud at 1.3 percent, which is approximately $853 million for those three years combined. Nationally food-stamp trafficking is on the decline.

With that presentation, Fox News came closer to reality, though there was still some work to do. As the USDA report makes clear, the food-stamp trafficking numbers are actually $858 million annually from 2009 to 2011, not combined, as Huntsman said. So once again, Fox News appeared determined to under-represent actual food-stamp trafficking, even in a segment clearly designed to hammer SNAP.

So Huntsman tried again an hour later:

An update to a story that we brought you earlier this week regarding fraud in the food-stamp program. We reported that back in 2016, $70 million were wasted on food-stamp fraud. That was actually incorrect. The latest information from 2009 to 2011 shows the fraud at 1.3 percent, which is approximately $853 million for each of those three years and nationally food-stamp trafficking is on the decline.

Better! Though still not 100 percent: Food-stamp trafficking is actually on the rise — to 1.3 percent in the 2009-2011 study, from 1.0 percent in the USDA’s 2006-2008 study. The trafficking rate, however, is indeed down from its levels in the 1990s.


The Trump camp's spin on Russian interference is falling apart

By Greg Sargent December 30 at 10:44 AM

This morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the Obama administration’s announcement yesterday that the United States will undertake sweeping retaliation against Russia for its alleged interference in our election. In a surprise, Putin said he would not be expelling U.S. diplomats as part of the escalating tensions.

This led to some speculation that Putin is simply biding his time until Donald Trump takes over as president, putting someone more friendly to Putin and Russia in the White House — hopefully meaning all those bad feelings about possible Russian efforts to tip the election to Trump can be forgotten. Trump, too, has been saying we need to “move on.”

But how much longer can Trump really sustain his dismissive, nonchalant posture towards Russia’s alleged assault on our democracy?

Consider the buffoonishly weak response of two of his top advisers to the news of the last 24 hours. Yesterday, the Obama administration slapped new sanctions and other penalties on Russia over its possible interference, moves that The Post characterized as “the most far-reaching U.S. response to Russian activities since the end of the Cold War.”


Guy Who Called Hillary the C-Word Interviewing With Trump For Agriculture Secretary Job

Source: Mediaite

by Justin Baragona | 2:40 pm, December 30th, 2016

While the incoming Trump administration has filled most of its Cabinet positions, there are still some with vacancies. One of them is Secretary of Agriculture and it appears that Trump’s team will be meeting with at least one man today to potentially fill that spot.

According to Politico, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is scheduled to show up at Mar-a-Lago this afternoon to talk with Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about the job. If Miller’s name sounds somewhat familiar, it’s likely because you remember him as the guy who sent a tweet days before Election Day calling Hillary Clinton the dreaded c-word.

-snip- (the tweet)

Miller would later delete the tweet and his staff initially blamed the sending of it on Miller’s account being hacked while also calling it a retweet. The tweet wasn’t a retweet, but actually a copy-and-paste job from an alt-right account that Miller’s account followed. (An account that has since been suspended.)

Politico also noted that Miller had made a name for himself previously by defending cupcakes and deep fryers in school cafeterias, but is now touting his support for fresh produce and healthy eating.

Read more: http://www.mediaite.com/online/guy-who-called-hillary-the-c-word-interviewing-with-trump-for-agriculture-secretary-job/

Glenn Greenwald, Tucker Carlson Unite to Dismiss Russian Hacking Allegations

By Jonathan Chait

December 29, 2016
5:14 p.m.

One of the great meetings of journalistic minds took place last week, when left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson. The segment was devoted to their purportedly strange agreement over the Russian hacking story (which is not actually strange at all, given their mutual antipathy for the center-left). Greenwald has long dismissed the charge that Russia manipulated WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic party emails as a “smear,” mocking suspicions of misbehavior by what he referred to in sarcastic capitalized words as “The Russians”; he called it typical of the Democrats’ alleged tendency to use false attacks against Russia to discredit its adversaries (“So WikiLeaks has become an enemy of the Democratic Party, and they seem to have one tactic with their adversaries and enemies, which is to accuse them of being Russian agents”). On Carlson’s program, Greenwald attacked the Washington Post for reporting that the CIA and the FBI believed Russia’s hacking was intended to help Trump win. It is a remarkable segment that merits close reading.

“Should we believe that assessment?” asked Carlson. “We should be extremely skeptical of it for multiple reasons,” replied Greenwald. “These are assertions that are being made unaccompanied by any evidence whatsoever.”

An enormous amount of public evidence supports the conclusion that Russia conducted the email hacks. Experts from 19 intelligence agencies, as well as those from the private sector, have endorsed this finding, and evidence of Russian involvement has been laid out publicly in excruciating detail, both by the government and the news media. It’s true that intelligence agencies have not published evidence for their findings that Russia conducted the hack in order to elect Trump, for fear of exposing their sources and methods. But Russia’s motive is the least mysterious aspect of the entire episode. The Kremlin has literally spent months broadcasting its preference for Trump, both on its outward-facing and inward-facing propaganda outlets. Given Putin’s well-documented habit of intervening in foreign elections to benefit nationalistic parties and to harm parties favoring hawkish policies against Russia, it would be extremely strange if his interference in the election were not intended to help Trump.

Yet, Greenwald and Carlson, having established to their mutual satisfaction that reports of Russian interference in the election should be viewed with extreme suspicion, moved on to the question of just why it was that the Post would publish such a scurrilous report. “It is so weird that Russia is the focus … ” mused Carlson, “and yet, all of a sudden, Russia seems to be villain number one. Why is that? It seems strange.” The obvious response — Russia is the focus because it interfered with an American presidential election — had already been dismissed, so Greenwald supplied a different explanation for why Russia was suddenly the object of tough coverage in the media. Greenwald explained that Democrats ginned up hostility to Russia entirely for political reasons:


The Democrats Are Not a Pro-Palestinian Party

By Eric Levitz

December 30, 2016
10:32 a.m.

On Thursday, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrote an obituary for the bipartisan consensus on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In it, Smith argues that Donald Trump’s zero-sum worldview will speed his party’s transition away from the two-state solution and toward the ideal of a single Jewish state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

“The concept of Palestinian Arab was created to exist only in opposition to Israel and with them it’s always been a zero-sum game,” Jeff Ballabon, a lawyer and Republican activist who has worked for years to build support for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, told Smith. “And because it’s a zero-sum game it’s never really been about negotiating issues — it’s always been: ‘Somebody’s going to be ethnically cleansed and it ain’t going to be me.’”

That reasoning comports with Trump’s understanding of global trade (substitute “fleeced” for “ethnically cleansed” in Ballabon’s last sentence, and you have the CliffNotes version of the president-elect’s trade platform). And, as Smith astutely notes, the one-state position is of a piece with Trump’s Islamophobic brand of nationalism, which imagines an intractable “clash of civilizations” between the Muslim world and the West.

Considering this, it isn’t surprising that Trump would pick a man who thinks liberal Jews are “worse than kapos” as his ambassador to Israel — or that he would spearhead his party’s apoplectic response to last week’s U.N. resolution, which merely reiterated the illegality of Israel’s West Bank settlements.


Trump Allies Argue That Obama's Sanctions on Russia Are Too Weak

By Eric Levitz

December 30, 2016
1:11 p.m.


The Heritage Foundation — which has played a central role in staffing Trump’s White House — argues that Obama’s sanctions are “too little, too late.” Is this the conservative think tank’s sly attempt to pressure Trump into adopting an even more hard-line stance against Russia?

Meanwhile, the man who was one mustache away from becoming Trump’s deputy secretary of State offered similar talking points on Fox News.

“I don’t think they will have much impact at all,” John Bolton said of the Obama administration’s sanctions on Friday. “The Russians have walked all over the Obama administration for eight years. It’s really been a pathetic performance. So what this last burst of activity has to do is hard to say. I do think it’s intended to try and box the Trump administration in. I think it will fail. This is simply an executive order. If President Trump decides to reverse it, it’s easy enough to do.”

Bolton went on to accuse the Obama administration of having “politicized” the process of intelligence gathering — a claim that’s belied by the president’s decision not to impose sanctions or release detailed intelligence reports until after Election Day. Nonetheless, Bolton suggested that Trump was correct to treat public intelligence reports with some skepticism.


North Carolina gov.-elect sues over law stripping his powers

Source: Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s incoming Democratic governor has sued over a new law passed by Republican legislators to limit his powers as he prepares to take office.

Gov.-elect Roy Cooper filed the lawsuit Friday over the law that ends the control governors exert over statewide and county election boards.

Cooper’s lawsuit asks a Wake County judge to block the law from taking effect Sunday, when he’ll be sworn into office.

The lawsuit says the Republican-led legislature’s radical changes two weeks ago to the administration of election laws are unconstitutional because they violate separation of powers.

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2016/12/30/north-carolina-gov-elect-sues-over-law-stripping-his-powers/

Fox News apologizes for getting a report on food stamp fraud so very, very wrong

Fox News took its war on the hungry to new lows by presenting false statistics about food stamp fraud as fact


Fox News has pulled a Tuesday morning story in which they claimed that food stamp fraud is rampant and replaced it with a retraction.

“We reported that back in 2016 $70 million were wasted on food stamp fraud,” Fox News contributor Abby Huntsman said. “That was actually incorrect. The latest information from 2009 to 2011 shows the fraud at 1.3 percent, which is approximately $853 million for each of those three years. Nationally food stamp trafficking is on the decline. So sorry about that mistake.”

On Tuesday, Huntsman said that: “Food Stamp fraud is at an all-time high and some of the worst offenders this year have included a state lawmaker and a millionaire. This year it is estimated $70 million in taxpayer money was wasted on food stamp fraud. Is it time to end the program altogether?”

There are two aspects to this story that are almost too strange to believe. The first is the cruel logic of arguing that a program which feeds millions of people who might otherwise go hungry should be cut because less than 1 percent of its budget is used fraudulently. After all, food stamps cost $70.8 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, so $70 million would be a remarkably low figure.

In fact, it’s unrealistically low, which brings us to the second problem, as identified by Kevin Drum of Mother Jones on Wednesday.

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