Russia’s social media obsession
Twitter has more going on than a new 280-character limit. As Scott Shane tweets, “Facebook's been in the spotlight for hosting Russian impostors. Now it's Twitter's turn. @daiwaka and I take a look.” That’s his piece in The New York Times with Daisuke Wakabayashi, Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in Election. Tweets The New York Times, “Russia relied heavily on Twitter to sway the 2016 vote and fake accounts even stoked furor over NFL protests.” Essentially, “America invents key platforms & Russia uses & abuses them,” says Kara Swisher.
And “A Muslim group became a pawn in Russia's attempt to influence the election with fake news,” tweets Ayan Chatterjee, who links to the exclusive from Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen and Spencer Ackerman of The Daily Beast, Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram. Tweets Ackerman, “Not only did Russia pose as a US Muslim group, they brought Tupac* into it *as a real NYer I am conflicted re Pac.”
And the exclusive from CNN’s Dylan Byers, Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and Ferguson. Tweets Jeanne Sahadi, “Apparent goal of Russian buyers of Facebook ads was to amplify political discord, incivility, chaos.”
Meanwhile, Jessica Garrison and Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed have the scoop, US Intelligence Unit Was Blocked From Tracking Terrorists. Tweets Leopold, “HUGE scoop from @jvgarrison and me. Here's why Wyden doesn't have all the docs related to Trump/Russia probe.”
Roaming around Canada
So, “Where did Donald Trump Jr. disappear to last week? The @NYTmag found him — hunting in Canada,” tweets Michael M. Grynbaum. He links to Donald Trump Jr.’s Great Escape, by Luke Dittrich for The New York Times Magazine. “LOL. Called it,” says Freddie Campion. “Don Jr. is roaming around Canada minus secret service, shooting moose & making himself easy to kidnap/threaten/etc.,” tweets Emily Nussbaum. And Julia Alexander notes, “He went somewhere even Canadian politicians are like, ‘...nah, bruh.’”
As for the son-in-law, The Hill’s Megan R. Wilson reports, Kushner registered to vote in New York as a female. Yes, “jared kushner is a woman, according to the new york state voter roll,” says Ashley Feinberg of WIRED, who links to her story, Jared Kushner Voted As a Woman, According to His Registration. “Wow, Jared Kushner is REALLY bad at filling out basic paperwork,” says Zack Ford.
Aid to Puerto Rico
The Jones Act Has Been Waived for Puerto Rico, Easing Aid Shipments, as Niraj Chokshi reports in The New York Times. “These people never ever do the right thing until they're forced by external pressure,” says Paul Krugman. Some of yesterday’s headlines: Lawmakers Seek Waiver of Law Barring Foreign Ships From Delivering Aid to Puerto Rico, from The Wall Street Journal’s Natalie Andrews, and U.S. says no need for Puerto Rico shipping waiver, from Timothy Gardner at Reuters. Gardner’s piece noted, “The Department of Homeland Security, which waived the act after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, did not agree an exemption would help this time.”
At Bloomberg, Laura Blewitt reports, Mountains of Aid Languish on Docks in Storm-Stricken San Juan. She notes that damaged warehouses and empty gas tanks hinder transportation, and writes, “The race to move the boxes could mean life or death.”
In the Virgin Islands, Hurricane Maria Drowned What Irma Didn’t Destroy, Jeremy Peters reports for The New York Times, “‘The economy evaporated pretty much overnight’: Heartbreaking dispatch by @jwpetersNYT, formerly of @USVInews,” tweets David Chen.
And yet, as The Washington Post’s Ed O'Keefe reports, White House is restricting lawmakers from visiting Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, aides say.
Get yer GOP tax plan, right here!
Brian Fung directs you to Republican tax plan calls for massive cuts, preserves key deductions, by Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis at The Washington Post. Tweets Kate Kelly. “Leaked tax framework lists personal income tax rates of 12/25/35%, preserves mortgage, charitable dedux. Good scoop.” “This is going to be interesting, but it probably won’t end well, because oligarchs and Citizens United and GOP…” tweets Robin Garr.
Dan Pfeiffer says, “This Gary Cohn interview is an epic political and messaging disaster.” He links to the report from Morgan Winsor of ABC News, Trump adviser ‘can’t guarantee’ taxes won't go up for middle class. AP’s Josh Boak has the $5 trillion question for Trump tax plan: How to pay for it?
But With Tax Cuts on the Table, Once-Mighty Deficit Hawks Hardly Chirp, writes Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times. Tweets Steven Greenhouse, “Republicans who hated deficits under Obama hardly make a peep that Trump tax cuts will increase debt by >1 trillion.” Says Dylan Matthews, “There aren't enough chef-kiss emoji in the world.”
Roy Moore’s Alabama Victory Sets Off Talk of a G.O.P. Insurrection, write Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times, while we learn from CNN’s Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski, Pro-Confederate activists held ‘Secession Day’ event at Roy Moore's foundation two years in a row. But POLITICO’s John Bresnahan finds, Senate Republicans have never heard of Roy Moore.
The sleazy heart of London’s pr and spy world
Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry is the latest Financial Times investigation by Tom Burgis, who tweets it’s been “a year in the making. A hidden struggle over money, power and the truth.” Tweets Alec Russell, “Superb expose of the sleazy heart of London's pr and spy world. so proud of @tomburgis and @FTMag.” Andrew Ward calls it, “Sensationally good,” and Lionel Barber tweets, “MUST READ: The Kazakh oligarch, black PR and dirty dealing in London - great investigation by @tomburgis.”
Is NOTHING sacred anymore!?
“Finally the New Yorker does the definitive political analysis of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’. That damn Sir Topham Hatt,” tweets Tom Jackman. “Shining Time Station is the first TV show I ever loved and @jiatolentino has written quite a masterpiece about it,” says David Sims. They’re referring to The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends”, Jia Tolentino’s latest in the New Yorker. “THIS IS A MUST READ,” says Jack Witthaus. Tweets David Skok, “Is NOTHING sacred anymore!? (Seriously though, this piece is great even if it conjures up parenting guilt).” “my brother was scared of Diesel as a kid and now I see he was just trying 2 seize the means of production,” says Kelly Stout.
Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy, has died at age 91. Natalie Stone has the story for People magazine, Playboy Magazine Founder Dies at 91. For more coverage, Elaine Woo has the obit for the Los Angeles Times, Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, dies at 91, and Laura Mansnerus has The New York Times obit, Hugh Hefner, Who Built Playboy Empire and Embodied It, Dies at 91.
A new feature in ProPublica explains How the Bankruptcy System Is Failing Black Americans.
The Trump Administration Is Pulling Out Of Obamacare Enrollment Events, report BuzzFeed’s Kate Nocera and Paul McLeod.
Charlie Savage of The New York Times reports, E.P.A. Threatens to Stop Funding Justice Dept. Environmental Work.
God Is a Bot, and Anthony Levandowski Is His Messenger, Mark Harris writes for WIRED. Tweets Kevin Roose, “The ex-head of Google's self-driving car unit is apparently starting a religion (!) that worships an AI-based god.” Kelsey Dallas says, “This is a wild profile - but anything discussing an AI Godhead had to be.”
Leah Finnegan tweets, “this by @aaronmedwards is so very cool”: Long live the group chat, by Aaron Edwards of The Outline. Says Joshua Topolsky, “This is an exceptionally beautiful thing from @aaronmedwards and our team. This is why the @outlineexists!”
Man thinks he may have a lung tumor — and it turns to be a Playmobil traffic cone he inhaled as a 7-year-old. That’s a real headline from a real story in USA Today by Matthew Diebel.