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Shabnam Nasimi: The Conservative Manifesto must include measures to grapple with online extremism

Shabnam Nasimi is a Third Sector Consultant. She is the founder and Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Afghanistan.

We saw two different worlds, or at least two different value systems when my family and I migrated to the UK from Afghanistan in 1991 – where the worlds most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden was in hiding. On one side, there was a welcoming British society, tolerant and respectful; on the other, my Muslim identity and background. It was one of those totemic issues: tolerant Britain vs backward religious fundamentalism.

It is this clash of cultures that led to Shamima Begum to join ISIS in Syria. An exploited, warped, unrepentant, atypical and seemingly not-very-bright teenager who is evidently as much of a stranger to British norms as she is to the traditional, classical Islam.  She fled Britain when she was 15, married a Dutch jihadi, and reportedly now has a baby, two of her children already being dead.

At issue is the question of where are we failing when it comes to the integration of ethnic minority communities in the UK and understanding how to tackle online extremism and grooming of our youth?

The disconnect between the people and politicians is greater now than any time I can recall; and nowhere is this disconnect greater than when it comes to law and order.

The Tory manifesto has emphasised that they will be the toughest on law and order from any major party in decades. But what will this actually mean for online grooming and extremism that leads to our youth to become radicalised and going down a path of crime?

The simple fact is that Islamist extremism poses a serious threat to the safety of British people. Priti Patel is absolutely right to say people who have gone out to support or fight for the so-called Islamic State will not be allowed back, no matter what left-wing politicians and commentators say. Deprivation should never be the first choice but when some of the world’s most dangerous people have the right to return to our shores, everything must be done to prevent that. End of story.

But how can we ensure that young people are not radicalised in the first place?

Whilst ISIS may have been defeated in Syria and the leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was killed recently during an American military operation – they have found safe havens in Iraq with a longstanding aim to spread further into Central Asia and Afghanistan and a strong likelihood of retaliatory attacks.

As a former Prevent Coordinator, I have focused on how developments in technology mean conflicts are no longer restricted by geographic boundaries. The internet, in particular social platforms, provides a place for extreme content to be spread. As part of my role, I had to flag extremist videos to platforms like YouTube with a view to getting them taken down. One of the videos showed an extreme Islamist preacher telling people not to vote in UK elections, leading to a racist rant of the un-Islamic nature of British society and its values – which I found extremely uncomfortable to watch.

What struck me was how the person in the racist video made his arguments sound as if they were based on scientific research. You could see how a young or impressionable person could stumble across it, watch it and repeat what they’d heard to their friends at school. And despite being flagged in 2017, the video I saw was still up two years later.

Much remains to be done amongst the social media community in sharing trends and information regarding extremist content. In turn, the Government has an important role to play in making clear which regulation applies to service providers and holding them to account when harmful content is left online for too long. In the end, this is about the kinds of extremism, whether that be Islamism or the far-right, that can lead to very violent crime.

We must work to curb extremist preaching, teach religious counter-narratives and give gendered extremism education, while learning the lessons from Prevent and Channel. We need a careful, considered approach that is respectful of the human rights of everyone.

It is the Government’s responsibility to keep British citizens safe – and enough is enough. Tech companies who don’t clean up their platforms should be prepared to face the force of the law.

These are not “ring-wing” policies as the Left will no doubt claim – they are policies that deliver on the people’s priorities.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What Ads Are Political? Twitter Struggles With a Definition

Westlake Legal Group 15twitter01-facebookJumbo What Ads Are Political? Twitter Struggles With a Definition United States Politics and Government twitter Social Media Politics and Government Political Advertising Online Advertising Dorsey, Jack Corporate Social Responsibility Computers and the Internet

SAN FRANCISCO — The Alzheimer’s Association, a health care advocacy group, recently spent $84,000 on ad campaigns on Twitter. One campaign had a singular purpose: to persuade people to ask Congress for larger investments in medical research for the disease.

Now the nonprofit is worried about whether those messages will still fly. That’s because Twitter announced last month that it would soon prohibit all political ads from its platform — and, depending on whom you ask, pushing lawmakers for money for medical research could be seen as a political cause.

The Alzheimer’s Association was so concerned that it contacted Twitter this month to express misgivings about the political ads ban. “We’re not really sure how it’s going to impact us,” said Mike Lynch, a spokesman for the group. “A lot of what we do is issue advertising, so it really depends on how they define political advertising.”

The Alzheimer’s Association is one of many nonprofits and organizations that have put pressure on Twitter over its prohibition of political ads, which is set to start next Friday. The problem is that while campaign ads from candidates are clearly political, other messages that deal with hot-button issues such as abortion, school choice and climate change may or may not cross that line.

That has set off a scramble within Twitter to define what constitutes a political ad. Twitter’s advertising executives have held meetings in Washington with public relations and free speech groups to debate the situation. And the company has fended off public criticism about the ban, including from Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts who is running for president. Last week, Ms. Warren said Twitter’s new ad policy would prevent climate advocacy groups from holding corporations accountable.

On Friday, after weeks of discussions, Twitter rolled out a formal definition of what it considers to be a political ad. Under the official policy, Twitter said ads that discuss elections, candidates, parties and other overtly political content would be prohibited. For ads that refer to causes generally and that are placed by organizations and not politicians or political candidates, Twitter said it would place restrictions on them but not ban them outright.

The restrictions included removing advertisers’ ability to target specific audiences, a practice known as “micro targeting.” The ads also cannot mention specific legislation, Twitter said.

“It’s a big change for us as a company but one we believe is going to make our service, and political advertising in the world, better,” Vijaya Gadde, who leads Twitter’s legal, policy, trust and safety divisions, said in a call on Friday to introduce the policy.

Twitter’s unveiling of its political ads policy did little to mollify its critics, such as conservatives who have said the barring of such ads is an attempt to suppress right-wing voices.

“Whatever they come up with, we fully expect Twitter to continue to censor, block, or to incur ‘bugs’ that will unfairly silence President Trump and conservatives,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director.

Some super PACs and political groups said Twitter’s decision disrupted the political advertising strategy and budget they had already mapped out for the 2020 election.

“Changing the rules halfway through is really dangerous,” said Danielle Butterfield, the director of paid media for Priorities USA, one of the largest Democratic super PACs. “A lot of organizations are going to have to look back at their strategy and figure out how to adjust, especially in the middle of the cycle.”

She said her group had used ads on Twitter to flag stories about the economy under the Trump administration to local reporters in swing states, a key part of its in-state strategy.

Twitter finds itself in a delicate situation because its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, decided last month that the social media service would no longer host political ads. In a series of tweets on Oct. 30, Mr. Dorsey said political ads presented challenges to civic discourse and added that he believed the reach of political messages “should be earned, not bought.”

His declaration contrasted with that of Twitter’s rival, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said last month that he planned to allow political ads on the social network — even if they are inaccurate or contain lies — because such ads are newsworthy and should remain for free speech reasons. Ms. Warren and others have pilloried Mr. Zuckerberg for his stance, saying he is running a “disinformation-for-profit machine.”

Mr. Dorsey, though, was immediately praised by politicians — including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York — for taking a stand against political ads.

At the time, Mr. Dorsey defined political ads as those sponsored by candidates or that discussed political issues. He said some ads, such as those promoting voter registration, would be permitted as exceptions. Mr. Dorsey, who has since been traveling in Africa, was unavailable for comment on Friday.

His pronouncements quickly kicked up a ruckus among nonprofits, lobbyists and others, who said they feared they would no longer be able to run issue-based ads on Twitter because it was unclear if their messages would be considered political.

“The policy would tilt the playing field,” said Eric Pooley, a spokesman for the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy group. “Nonprofit organizations need to be able to communicate to the public. That’s what we do.”

The American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group, said that Mr. Dorsey’s announcement had created uncertainties and that it was being unfairly swept up in Twitter’s efforts to clean up its platform. Affiliates of Planned Parenthood added that they already struggled to get ads approved on social media and worried about a ban.

“Digital advertisement is a cost-effective way for small nonprofits to reach their audience. The question becomes, where do we turn next?” said Emma Corbett, the communications director of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, which represents Planned Parenthood in New York State.

Twitter said it held discussions about the policy with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Affairs Council, a nonpartisan organization that advises companies on their lobbying and digital advocacy efforts, last week.

Nick DeSarno, the director of digital and policy communications at the Public Affairs Council, said Twitter was trying to split the difference between limiting politicians from placing ads while allowing advocacy organizations to continue raising awareness about political topics.

“While Twitter’s potential new issues ads policy is more permissive than a total ban, it’s still going to be a challenge for groups who are trying to drive political or legislative change using the platform,” he said.

Twitter’s limitations on targeted ads will prevent advertisers from sending political messages to residents of specific ZIP codes or cities; instead, they can broadcast their content only at a state level. The company said it would also prevent advertisers from targeting their messages based on political leanings or interests of users such as “conservative,” “liberal” or “political elections.”

“We very much believe that cause-based advertising has value, and can help drive public conversation around important topics,” said Del Harvey, the vice president of trust and safety at Twitter. “But we still don’t think it should be used with the sort of primary goal of driving political or judicial or legislative or regulatory outcomes.”

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting from New York.

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Line Kristensen: Five ways for candidates to run a winning digital campaign

Line Kristensen is a former Head of Strategic Campaign Planning for the Conservative Party. She has worked with numerous new political parties and movements across America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and currently works for NationBuilder.

Social media is under ever-increasing scrutiny with Facebook, Twitter and others under pressure to regulate.

In the last week, Twitter has decided to ban political advertisements and Facebook pulled the Government’s MyTown campaign for being too political. In this climate, how can you still run winning digital campaigns?

Digital campaigning is an ongoing conversation

You need to optimise their digital engagement and advertisement to focus on data collection. A visit to your’s website, a tweet, or Facebook post is just the start of a conversation with the recipient, not the end.

By asking people to take actions like signing a petition, joining a local email list, or filling in a survey, your campaign can continue to communicate with people throughout the campaign and afterwards (providing they collect the relevant consent to do so) without having to pay for it each time. This is how you can fight some of the current mistrust in politicians.

Encourage peer-to-peer sharing

The most inexpensive and effective way of running an impactful digital campaign is by leveraging the party’s existing supporters. By asking supporters to share out content about the campaign or relevant victories, and to reach out to other community members and encourage them to sign up to hear more from the campaign, you capitalise on an organic outreach opportunity. 

Have an action-based website

Gone are the days where people visited a website to read all the content in great detail. Now you must ensure that all items such as news stories, campaign pledges, and events are brief in copy, and encourage visitors to engage.

If you are posting a story about keeping the local fire station open, then they should also ask people to sign the petition at the same time. If there is a story about a visit to a local business, then they should also use it as an opportunity to ask visitors to nominate another business to visit.

Email reputation is everything

When it comes to getting emails into voters’ inboxes, reputation is everything. Internet service providers like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo look at historic performance to predict future behaviour.

This means if a good amount of people are opening campaign emails and clicking on the links, then the campaign’s emails are more likely to end up in people’s inboxes rather than their junk folders.

To get the best performance, you should target their emails by subject and engagement, and only email people who have opened emails recently.

Emailing old lists of disengaged supporters increases the likelihood that they won’t open the emails,  might not have given clear consent to receive the email, or might mark the email as spam (as they can’t remember signing up). It is also a major red flag for internet service providers if the email addresses on your list are no longer in use.

Targeting is a good thing

People have short attention spans. Most of them only spend four minutes per week consuming political information, so it’s best not to waste time by talking to them about things they might not care about.

If you’re smart you should offer people the option to tell them what policy areas they are interested in when they subscribe to their mailing list, and you should then email people based on this information and what actions their subscribers have previously taken. 

You should not be scared away from running digital campaigns in a climate where there is ever-increasing regulation. Instead, smart campaigns should engage with their community about the issues that matter to them. 

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Dissent Erupts at Facebook Over Hands-Off Stance on Political Ads

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163177695_a8bcff7f-50cb-4cb9-b101-3862aadda7ac-facebookJumbo Dissent Erupts at Facebook Over Hands-Off Stance on Political Ads Zuckerberg, Mark E United States Politics and Government Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Political Advertising Online Advertising Freedom of Speech and Expression Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet

SAN FRANCISCO — The letter was aimed at Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his top lieutenants. It decried the social network’s recent decision to let politicians post any claims they wanted — even false ones — in ads on the site. It asked Facebook’s leaders to rethink the stance.

Facebook’s position on political advertising is “a threat to what FB stands for,” said the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. “We strongly object to this policy as it stands.”

The message was written by Facebook’s own employees. For the past two weeks, the text has been publicly visible on Facebook Workplace, a software program that the Silicon Valley company uses to communicate internally. More than 250 employees have signed the letter, according to three people who have seen it and who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation.

While the number of signatures on the letter was a fraction of Facebook’s 35,000-plus work force, it was one sign of the resistance that the company is now facing internally over how it treats political ads.

Many employees have been discussing Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision to let politicians post anything they want in Facebook ads because those ads can go viral and spread misinformation widely. The worker dissatisfaction has spilled out across winding, heated threads on Facebook Workplace, the people said.

For weeks, Facebook has been under attack by presidential candidates, lawmakers and civil rights groups over its position on political ads. But the employee actions — which are a rare moment of internal strife for the company — show that even some of its own workers are not convinced the political ads policy is sound. The dissent is adding to Facebook’s woes as it heads into the 2020 presidential election season.

“Facebook’s culture is built on openness, so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic,” Bertie Thomson, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”

Facebook has been struggling to respond to misinformation on its site since the 2016 presidential election, when Russians used the social network to spread inflammatory and divisive messages to influence the American electorate. Mr. Zuckerberg has since appointed tens of thousands of people to work on platform security and to deter coordinated disinformation efforts.

But figuring out what is and isn’t allowed on the social network is slippery. And last month, Facebook announced that politicians and their campaigns would have nearly free rein over content they post there. Previously, the company had prohibited the use of paid political ads that “include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers.”

This month, President Trump’s campaign began circulating an ad on Facebook that made false claims about former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is running for president. When Mr. Biden’s campaign asked Facebook to remove the ad, the company refused, saying ads from politicians were newsworthy and important for discourse.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts who is also running for president, soon took Facebook to task. She bought a political ad on Facebook that falsely claimed Mr. Zuckerberg and his company supported Mr. Trump for president. (Neither Mr. Zuckerberg nor Facebook have endorsed a political candidate.)

Ms. Warren said she wanted to see how far she could take it on the site. Mr. Zuckerberg had turned his company into a “disinformation-for-profit machine,” she said.

But Mr. Zuckerberg doubled down. In a 5,000-word speech to students at Georgetown University in Washington this month, the chief executive defended his treatment of political ads by citing freedom of expression. He said Facebook’s policies would be seen positively in the long run, especially when compared with policies in countries like China, where the government suppresses online speech.

“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” Mr. Zuckerberg said at the time.

Mr. Zuckerberg also said Facebook’s policies were largely in line with what other social networks — like YouTube and Twitter — and most television broadcasters had decided to run on their networks. Federal law mandates that broadcast networks cannot censor political ads from candidates running for office.

Inside Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision to be hands-off on political ads has supporters. But dissenters said Facebook was not doing enough to check the lies from spreading across the platform.

While internal debate is not uncommon at the social network, it historically has seen less internal turmoil than other tech companies because of a strong sense of mission among its rank and file workers.

That has set it apart from Google and Amazon, which for the last few years have grappled with several employee uprisings. Most notably, 20,000 Google workers walked off the job in 2018 to protest the company’s massive payouts to executives accused of sexual harassment.

Last week, Google employees again challenged management over new software that some staff said was a surveillance tool to keep tabs on workplace dissent. At an employee meeting on Thursday, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said he was working on ways to improve trust with employees, while acknowledging it was challenging to maintain transparency as the company grows. A video of Mr. Pichai’s comments was leaked to The Washington Post.

Amazon has faced employee pressure for nearly a year to do more to address the company’s impact on climate change. Some employees worked on a shareholder resolution to push the company on the matter, and more than 7,500 Amazon workers publicly signed a letter to support the proposal. In September, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, announced the company was accelerating its climate goals, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2040.

In the Facebook employee letter to Mr. Zuckerberg and other executives, the workers said the policy change on political advertising “doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.”

It added, “We want to work with our leadership to develop better solutions that both protect our business and the people who use our products.”

The letter then laid out product changes and other actions that Facebook could take to reduce the harm from false claims in advertising from politicians. Among the proposals: Changing the visual design treatment for political ads, restricting some of the options for targeting users with those ads, and instituting spending caps for individual politicians.

“This is still our company,” the letter concluded.

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Karen Weise contributed reporting from Seattle.

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How a Month of Impeachment Ads Foreshadow the 2020 Ad Wars

Westlake Legal Group 00impeachads-facebookJumbo How a Month of Impeachment Ads Foreshadow the 2020 Ad Wars Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Social Media Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Political Action Committees Penzeys Spices Online Advertising impeachment Facebook Inc Democratic Party Delgado, Antonio club for growth Campaign Finance

Two minutes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi had announced an official impeachment inquiry, the Trump campaign placed a new ad on Facebook, dropping $12,000 on an “Impeachment Poll” for its supporters.

Days later, the Trump campaign poured $8 million into a national television and digital ad campaign, releasing a television ad spinning the impeachment inquiry on unfounded conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden. (CNN refused to air the ad, citing inaccuracies.)

All told, more than $13.6 million has been invested in trying to change public opinion on impeachment since the inquiry was announced, according to an analysis by Advertising Analytics, an ad monitoring company. In those four weeks of a rapidly escalating ad war, the messaging that will likely dominate the early stages of the election is coming into focus.

“If anyone is a history buff — and the Spanish Civil War was the precursor to World War II, when all the tactics got tested — then this is the Spanish Civil War for the upcoming presidential election ad wars,” said Ken Goldstein, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.

For President Trump and his Republican allies, any effort that counters the president, including impeachment, is painted as evidence of a vast, far-left conspiracy. In ads from the campaign and from the Republican National Committee, the alleged far-left assault is illustrated largely through repetitive mentions and images of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two freshman Democrats known for their outspoken progressive values and criticism of Mr. Trump, but not as leaders of the impeachment inquiry.

Additionally, Republicans are presenting the inquiry as a diversion: Support of the inquiry, the ads state, means breaking the 2018 midterm election promises of focusing on key issues like improving health care and lowering drug prices.

Democrats, at first largely loath to talk much about the impeachment inquiry for fear of appearing to politicize the issue, have quickly been put on the defensive. But in $1.5 million in ads from House Majority Forward, a Democratic-aligned super PAC, launched in defense of the freshman Democrats targeted by Republicans, there is nary a mention of impeachment. Instead, they are positive ads focused largely on local accomplishments.

“Forget the noise,” one ad from House Majority Forward said in favor of Haley Stevens, a freshman Democrat in Michigan, noting she was “focused on Michigan and getting the job done.”

The biggest advertiser surrounding impeachment, unsurprisingly, is the Trump campaign. With a $150 million-plus war chest, the president’s re-election campaign has dominated paid messaging on all platforms, most visibly on Facebook, raising concerns among Democratic operatives about its control over the digital conversation.

Indeed, Mr. Trump is vastly outspending Democrats on Facebook. He tripled his overall weekly buy of Facebook ads as soon as the impeachment inquiry was announced, and has spent $1.25 million on impeachment ads over the four weeks following the announcement of the inquiry, dwarfing even Tom Steyer, the billionaire candidate flooding airwaves and websites to raise his profile.

But Mr. Trump’s targeting in impeachment ads on Facebook reflects a similar strategy seen in his social media presence: Rather than focusing on persuading independents or voters in states crucial to his re-election, he has instead targeted areas where he has broad support, with advertising designed to fire up his base.

[Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping American politics with our newsletter.]

More than 50 percent of his Facebook impeachment advertising is in states not competitive in 2020, according to an analysis of Facebook ads by Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic consultancy group. Just 9 percent of his ads are in the critical swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Ten percent went to Texas alone.

“Impeachment is just the latest tool that Trump’s using to enrage and activate the voters already in his corner,” said Daniel Scarvalone, a senior director at Bully Pulpit.

Notably, the Trump campaign put barely any resources online behind attacks on Mr. Biden, with roughly $78,000 in Facebook ads invoking some mention of Mr. Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine, according to Bully Pulpit.

“You used to have to make an ad and air it on TV to get the media to fall for it,” said Mr. Goldstein. “Now you spend a couple thousand bucks on Facebook and have a press conference.”

The focus on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Omar is evident in nearly every ad aligned with the president. In four ads from the Club for Growth, a conservative anti-tax group, that similarly target freshman Democratic representatives, members of the so-called Squad — which includes Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Omar, and Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib — are front and center. Perhaps unsurprisingly, strategists say it is because criticizing and using images of the Squad also appeals to the Republican targets for impeachment ads.

“They consistently test well in both focus groups and polling,” said Tom Schultz, vice president of campaigns for the Club for Growth, referring to the four congresswomen.

Though the impeachment inquiry is centered on Mr. Trump, part of the Republican Party’s strategy has been to target a core of freshman Democrats in swing districts and erode enthusiasm for impeachment in those areas, pitching support of the inquiry as ignoring progress on other issues. From Oct. 2-9, the R.N.C. spent $1.3 million on versions of these ads targeting 14 different Democratic house freshmen.

“Instead of fixing health care and lowering drug prices,” an ad from the Republican National Committee blares, the House freshman Democrats all vote “with the radicals for endless investigations of President Trump.”

The Republican effort forced House Majority Forward on the air, launching positive spots for 11 of the targeted House Democrats that focus on how they have worked to lower drug prices through Ms. Pelosi’s newly passed bill and other health care efforts.

“That’s why he’s doing the hard work others won’t,” one ad says in support of Representative Antonio Delgado, a freshman Democrat from a district in New York that Mr. Trump won in 2016. The ad goes on to say Mr. Delgado “took on the big drug companies to bring down the cost of prescription drugs.”

Though the Democratic presidential candidates have all tried to avoid focusing on impeachment, for fear of appearing to politicize it, many of the leading campaigns have still used impeachment in advertisements on Facebook to either drum up support or work toward donor acquisition.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right: In America, nobody is above the law,” wrote the campaign of Senator Kamala Harris, which spent $36,000 on Facebook impeachment ads, according to Bully Pulpit. “Sign our card to thank Speaker Pelosi for taking up the cause of impeachment.”

“It’s time for Congress to step up and begin impeachment proceedings,” the campaign of Senator Elizabeth Warren posted in an ad. “Add your name if you agree with Elizabeth.” The Warren campaign spent about $70,000 on Facebook ads targeting impeachment, according to Bully Pulpit.

These ads, known in political operative speak as acquisition ads, are designed to help candidates gather data on potential supporters or donors and continue to target messages toward them.

But as a sign of just how vast the impeachment ad wars have become, one of the top spenders on Facebook wasn’t even a political entity. Instead, it was a spice company based in Wisconsin, Penzeys Spices, that dropped nearly $100,000 in just a week on ads calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.

“The political landscape of America is in for the type of sudden shift we haven’t seen in close to 50 years,” the company’s owner, Bill Penzey, wrote in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday, outlining the next phase of its impeachment advertising plan. “You might want to buckle up.”

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Watch: NSA Adviser Shuts Down Chuck Todd on Why Russia Was Notified in Advance of ISIS Raid

Westlake Legal Group trump-fist-620x317 Watch: NSA Adviser Shuts Down Chuck Todd on Why Russia Was Notified in Advance of ISIS Raid white house washington D.C. Syria Social Media Russia robert o'brien republicans Politics North Carolina NBC News National Security Middle East Media journalism Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture Congress Chuck Todd Allow Media Exception

President Donald Trump gestures towards members on the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, after returning from United Nations General Assembly. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

You’d think everyone would have been elated at the news, but the national media and Democrats including Obama loyalists and former Obama officials were some of the saddest, angriest people in the aftermath of the news of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend.

After the news broke, the mainstream media wasted no time in latching on to a Democratic talking point about how Trump had informed Russia about the raid in advance but not Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

NBC News’ Chuck Todd was just one of many journos who saw something sinister behind Trump’s decision to notify Russia in advance of the raid and “thank Russia first” afterwards, and he let National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien know it on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”:

CHUCK TODD: The president said that there were a number of folks that helped. He thanked Russia first. He thanked the Kurds last. Should we read into that?

ROBERT O’BRIEN: No I don’t think you should read into that. I think what the president talked about is that it was a very dangerous mission for our troops. And the president made a courageous decision to send them far into enemy territory at night, a long range helicopter raid. It was a courageous decision of the president. But it was incredible bravery and skill of our men and women in the armed forces and the intelligence community that executed the mission flawlessly. But they had to fly over areas where there was significant anti-aircraft capability, the Syrians, the Russians, the Turks, others. So I think we appreciated the fact that our helicopters and our planes weren’t molested. The Kurds played an important role in the operation. And we’re grateful for the Kurds and for the SDF and our allies there.

When Todd again pressed O’Brien on the Russia angle, the NSA adviser patiently explained again why Russia played a crucial role and deserved thanks, even though they were not an ally of the United States:

CHUCK TODD: On a policy front, Russia. Are they an ally of the United States in this fight in ISIS? And are they an adversary of the United States in this situation with Ukraine? How would you describe it?

ROBERT O’BRIEN: Well, let me just make it very clear, Russia is not an ally of the United States. The president doesn’t believe that. I don’t believe that. I think there’s anyone —

CHUCK TODD: First country he thanked today.

ROBERT O’BRIEN: Look, there are times when our interests overlaps with the interests of Russia. Last night it overlapped. We didn’t want Russian air defense missiles being shot at our men and women who were executing this raid. And, and so last night — and they don’t like ISIS, as the president pointed out. Last night, our interests overlapped with Russia. When our interests overlap with Russia, there’s no reason we shouldn’t work with them. Russia is not an ally of the United States and look Russia presents a great danger to the United States. And something we keep an eye on every single day.

Watch O’Brien calmly teach Foreign Policy 101 to Todd below:

And to be perfectly clear, per Trump Russia was not notified of the specific mission:

“We spoke to the Russians. We told them we are coming in. They said, ‘Thank you for telling us,’” he said. “We told them we thought they would be happy. They hate ISIS as much as we do. You know what ISIS has done to Russia. They did not know the mission but they knew we were going over an area where they had a lot of firepower.”

In spite of the LSM and Democratic concern trolling about what Russia knew vs. what Pelosi and Schumer knew, it was just a great weekend all around for the dedicated men and women of the U.S. military. Job well done, y’all.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Watch: NSA Adviser Shuts Down Chuck Todd on Why Russia Was Notified in Advance of ISIS Raid appeared first on RedState.

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Twitter Lampoons WaPo’s Absurd Characterization of ISIS Leader Abu with Hilarious Submissions for #WaPoDeathNotices

Westlake Legal Group animals-3901900_1280-620x465 Twitter Lampoons WaPo’s Absurd Characterization of ISIS Leader Abu with Hilarious Submissions for #WaPoDeathNotices Uncategorized twitter Terrorism Social Media Middle East Media Islamic State ISIS Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Culture Allow Media Exception Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

 

 

 

As covered earlier by RedState’s cool Elizabeth Vaughn, The Washington Post noted the passing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by calling him an “austere religious scholar.”

That was after the initial label of the “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-chief” was lamented by communications manager Kristine Coratti Kelly:

Nice save.

The internet wasn’t impressed, and Twitterers rose to the occasion with their own sarcastic tributes to the tune of the #5 hashtag: #WaPoDeathNotices.

Some of the submissions are pretty hilarious.

Here’s one for the austere cannibal, Jeffrey:

And one for all you Wicked fans:

And of course:

More:

And there was this:

WaPo eventually settled on the description, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State.”

If you’re wondering, he went to Paradise by detonating his suicide vest.

He took three of his children with him.

As for the hashtag, I’m sure you have your own contributions.

And I look forward to reading them in the Comments section.

-ALEX

 

See 3 more pieces from me:

Pro-Communist ‘Revolution Club’ Protests Trump’s Visit By Burning An American Flag In Front Of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Why?

MSNBC Panelist Says He Constantly Fantasizes About Crashing His Car Into Trump Plaza. Maybe He’s Waiting For The 1,000-Year Reich

High School Teacher In Georgia Instructs Students: The Confederate Flag Is A Marry-Your-Sister ‘Save The Date’ Card

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. 

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Trump Nukes Kamala Harris On Twitter Over Attempted Boycott.

Westlake Legal Group trump-face-nuclear-cloud-251x300 Trump Nukes Kamala Harris On Twitter Over Attempted Boycott. white house washington D.C. Social Media republicans progressives President Trump Media kamala harris gun control Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post FBI and DOJ Corruption Endorsements elections donald trump doj democrats Criminal Justice Reform crime Conservatives Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 2019

Just when you think you have Donald Trump figured out and can put him in a box, he zigs zags and makes you stop and wonder what in the hell is going on. This time it is with people that allegedly he hates and wants them all to die.

Except that he also wants to there shorten prison sentences or eliminate them altogether. That has made Kamal Harris very mad being she put a LOT of people away in her time as a prosecutor in California.

From Fox News

 

President Trump took a rare swipe at 2020 Democratic hopeful Kamala Harris on Saturday, criticizing the California senator for boycotting a South Carolina criminal justice forum in protest of the group giving an award to him.

“Badly failing presidential candidate @KamalaHarris will not go to a very wonderful largely African American event today because yesterday I received a major award, at the same event, for being able to produce & sign into law major Criminal Justice Reform legislation, which will greatly help the African American community (and all other communities), and which was unable to get done in past administrations despite a tremendous desire for it,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

The president’s tweets came after he received the Bipartisan Justice Award from the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center for his efforts to pass the First Step Act, which grants early release to thousands of nonviolent offenders who are currently serving time in federal prisons.

Trump has by and large not mentioned Kamala and the other dwarfs running on the Democratic side. He has had a lot of fun picking on Joe and Bernie and the fake Indian and left it at that. However, Kamala who once was considered the shining star of this primary season has never fully recovered from the shot that Tulsi Gabbard landed on her in the Detroit debate about her lock up record.

I will admit that when Trump met with Kim Kardashian about commuting the sentence of a lady that had clearly served way more time than she should have, I thought it was a mere publicity stunt of two reality T.V. stars meeting. That has proven to not be the case.

When Van Jones showed up at CPAC and praised Trump and conservatives for this I knew something positive was happening. Van Jones Praises Conservatives on Criminal Justice Reform: ‘You Are Stealing My Issue’

Kamala probably was thinking that her law & order cred was going to get her major props and so far it has been a dud. Her at first instinct of boycotting this event and trying to look holier than thou does not look like it will work and might not even last a full news cycle. Stunts like this are meant to raise your profile and so far it looks like it has sent her into deeper muck. Now that she has changed her mind she looks even more indecisive.

There are only 99 days left until the Iowa caucuses. Kamala better get in front as many people as possible or her campaign is going to be dead on arrival before next February.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post Trump Nukes Kamala Harris On Twitter Over Attempted Boycott. appeared first on RedState.

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Hilarious: NC Man CNN Interviews at State Fair Is Many of Us When It Comes to Impeachment News Coverage (Video)

Westlake Legal Group CNN-NCstateFairTrumpVoters-620x351 Hilarious: NC Man CNN Interviews at State Fair Is Many of Us When It Comes to Impeachment News Coverage (Video) Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina Media journalism It Is Okay To Laugh Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Culture Congress CNN Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020

A scene from the North Carolina state fair. Screen grab via CNN.

CNN sent correspondent Martin Savidge to my beloved state of North Carolina this week to ask voters their thoughts on the impeachment inquiry drama currently playing out in Washington, D.C.

As House Intel Chair Adam Schiff’s show trial inquiry has been described by Republicans like Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY) as nothing more than a “clown show” process, it would seem fitting that the choice of venue for the interviews was … the state fair.

Before we get started on what the voters said, let’s take a quick look at the beauty of it all – from the ferris wheel at sunset to the bacon stand where, of course, the bacon options are plentiful:

Most of the voters Savidge talked to were either against impeaching Trump or ambivalent about it. One of the voters talked about how he did not like the secrecy of it all. Here’s a partial transcript:

SAVIDGE: Here, you can satisfy your wildest deep-fried dreams. We’ve come to measure voter appetite for impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it’s a waste of the taxpayer’s money.

SAVIDGE: Do you think the president did anything wrong?

JENNIFER WALL, NORTH CAROLINA VOTER: Absolutely, absolutely.
[…]
JIM UZZLE, NORTH CAROLINA VOTER: I don’t think he’s broken the law and I wish they would do right for America versus wasting their money, our money on a lost cause.

SAVIDGE: Most of the Trump supporters we talked to were unmoved by days of explosive testimony and revelations against the president.

Do you think it changes the minds of Trump supporters?

JEFF MASON, NORTH CAROLINA VOTER: I do not. The ones of us who support him will continue to support him. If you look at the economy, there’s no way to design that weir doing pretty amazing.
[…]
RICH BLEWITT, NORTH CAROLINA VOTER: If it was out in the open and everything was discussed and he did something wrong, impeach the guy. I just don’t like the secrecy. It just sounds wrong the way they’re going about it, that’s all.

It was the last voter, a Trump supporter, who stole the segment. When Savidge asked him if he followed the impeachment news closely, here’s how the voter answered:

SAVIDGE: Joe Miller did vote for Trump. Do you follow this?

JOE MILLER, NORTH CAROLINA VOTER: Not much. I try not to, actually.

SAVIDGE: How do you avoid it? It seems to be everywhere.

MILLER: I watch a lot of ESPN.

Heh. I set the video to start at his comments. Click below to watch:

Now my critics will complain that I’m saying voters should stay in the dark on what’s going on in the world by avoiding watching the news. Not so. I just know that as someone who covers this stuff every day, sometimes it’s nice to be able to avoid all the drama and spin, even if just for a few hours. Especially when we’re talking about watching the type of “news” programming that comes from national media outlets like CNN.

And it’s not even so much by watching ESPN as an alternative, either, because even they get political sometimes. Maybe watch some ID channel. Or HGTV, or some YouTube organizing videos, or …

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Former Speaker Boehner Contradicts Fox’s Napolitano, Says GOP Did Not Change Impeachment Rules in 2015

Westlake Legal Group HouseGOPimpeachmentpresser-620x317 Former Speaker Boehner Contradicts Fox’s Napolitano, Says GOP Did Not Change Impeachment Rules in 2015 washington D.C. Social Media republicans Politics Ohio North Carolina Newsweek Media Matters Media journalism John Boehner Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page fox news Fox and Friends Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture Congress Brit Hume Andrew Napolitano Allow Media Exception

House Republicans gather for a news conference after Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper arrived for a closed door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Newsweek gleefully reported yesterday about comments Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano made on Fox and Friends Thursday morning in the aftermath of the storming that took place on Wednesday by dozens of frustrated House GOP members into House Intel Chief Adam Schiff’s secret hearings.

During the segment, Napolitano told the hosts that the GOP had no one to blame themselves for how the current impeachment inquiry was being conducted. Why? According to him, the impeachment inquiry rules were written in 2015 by the GOP and signed by then-House Speaker John Boehner:

“As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors…they are consistent with the rules,” Napolitano, who previously served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge, explained during a segment of the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends.

“When were the rules written last?” the legal expert asked. “In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner [the Republican speaker of the House]. And who enacted them? A Republican majority,” he asserted.

A video of the clip was tweeted out by Media Matters’ Bobby Lewis, who apparently is their designated monitor for Fox and Friends. The clip went viral, and as of this writing has over 29,000 retweets and nearly 80,000 likes:

In the next tweet, Lewis asserted – without evidence – that Napolitano “demolishe[d] Fox’s talking point that Dems need transparency.” Similarly, the Daily Beast ran a piece on the Judge’s comments, and uncritically passed them off as factual. “Napolitano … effectively dismantl[ed] the primary talking point of both Fox News and the Trump White House,” senior writer Matt Wilstein stated.

There’s just one problem: Boehner himself called BS on Judge Napolitano’s comments, as Brit Hume noted in a couple of tweets responding to the reports:

Boehner later confirmed that that’s what he said:

I assume Judge Nap is talking about a rule that was/is supposedly in the House Rules and Manual, an updated one of which is distributed every two years to the new Congress. Here’s how the process works:

Printed as a “House Document,” the Manual is usually authorized by House resolution at the end of a Congress for printing at the beginning of the following Congress. As such, the House document number reflects the Congress that authorized the printing although the cover page identifies the applicable Congress for the contents.

Let’s assume for grins and giggles that Napolitano is correct here. Even if he was, the book changes for each new Congress. 2015 was when the 114th Congress convened. We’re now in the 116th Congress. And as Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) pointed out Wednesday, the rulebook for this Congress clearly states on page 568 all House members should have access to the documents/transcripts, etc that Schiff is keeping under wraps:

Is Napolitano not aware of this?

As far as depositions being held in the public view goes, Byron York made this great point this morning:

Indeed. Too bad our intellectual betters in the mainstream media aren’t interested in finding out why that’s the case.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Former Speaker Boehner Contradicts Fox’s Napolitano, Says GOP Did Not Change Impeachment Rules in 2015 appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group HouseGOPimpeachmentpresser-300x153 Former Speaker Boehner Contradicts Fox’s Napolitano, Says GOP Did Not Change Impeachment Rules in 2015 washington D.C. Social Media republicans Politics Ohio North Carolina Newsweek Media Matters Media journalism John Boehner Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page fox news Fox and Friends Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture Congress Brit Hume Andrew Napolitano Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com