Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with a high of sixty-five, and a probability of afternoon showers. Sunrise is 7:07 AM and sunset 6:14 PM, for 11h 07m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 38.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the three hundred thirty-eighth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
Today is the two hundred forty-second birthday, from 1775, of the United States Navy (initially the Continental Navy). On this day in 1862, the Wisconsin Minute Men muster in: “Company B of the 28th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment was mustered into service by Captain J. M. Trowbridge. Known as the “Waukesha Minute Men,” this company was part of the 28th Regiment, recruited during the summer of 1862 in Waukesha and Walworth Counties and organized at Camp Washburn in Milwaukee under the command of Colonel James M. Lewis of Oconomowoc. They spent the next nine weeks training at Camp Washburn before heading south on December 20, 1862.”
Recommended for reading in full —
Josh Barro writes Trump has been lying a lot about his ‘small business’ tax cut:
President Donald Trump pitched his tax plan on Wednesday in front of a crowd of truckers. He wanted them to know his business tax cuts aren’t just for rich people — benefits would also flow to regular Americans, including truckers.
“The more than 30 million Americans who have small businesses will see — listen to this — a 40% cut in their marginal tax rate,” he said. “Forty percent.”
This was a lie.
Under Trump’s plan, only 1.8% of small-business owners — about 670,000 people, all with family incomes over $400,000 — would enjoy this 40% tax cut….
Denise Clifton reports Twitter Bots Distorted the 2016 Election—Including Many Likely From Russia (“1 in 5 election-related tweets weren’t from real people, research shows”):
The day Donald Trump was elected president, nearly 2,000 Twitter accounts that had pumped out pro-Trump messages in the run-up to the vote suddenly went dark. Then, in spring 2017, these bot-controlled accounts reemerged to campaign en français for Marine Le Pen in the French election, and then once again this fall, to tweet auf Deutsch on behalf of the far-right party in Germany’s election.
The bots were part of a larger group tracked over a month-long period before the US election by University of Southern California researchers, who discovered that bots were deeply entwined in political conversation on Twitter—accounting for 1 in 5 election-related tweets. And the bots were just as effective at spreading messages as human-controlled accounts were, says USC professor and lead researcher Emilio Ferrara, who has studied the influence of bot networks since 2012. “Botnets accrued retweets at the same rate as humans,” he says of the pre-election activity. His most recent research explores how bots are particularly effective at getting a message to go viral among authentic human users.
Ferrara has found that up to 15 percent of all Twitter accounts are run by automated bots. He focuses on understanding bots’ effectiveness, though he doesn’t track their provenance. But researchers for the cybersecurity firm FireEye told the New York Times recently they had determined that possibly thousands of Twitter accounts that campaigned against Hillary Clinton likely were controlled by Russian interests, including many automated by bots….
Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin report Facebook takes down data and thousands of posts, obscuring reach of Russian disinformation:
Social media analyst Jonathan Albright got a call from Facebook the day after he published research last week showing that the reach of the Russian disinformation campaign was almost certainly larger than the company had disclosed. While the company had said 10 million people read Russian-bought ads, Albright had data suggesting that the audience was at least double that — and maybe much more — if ordinary free Facebook posts were measured as well.
Albright welcomed the chat with three company officials. But he was not pleased to discover that they had done more than talk about their concerns regarding his research. They also had scrubbed from the Internet nearly everything — thousands of Facebook posts and the related data — that had made the work possible.
Never again would he or any other researcher be able to run the kind of analysis he had done just days earlier….
Trevor Timm contends Trump’s threats amount to a First Amendment violation:
Many have commented on the First Amendment implications if Trump were to actually go after NBC’s license (or really, the licenses of local affiliates since NBC itself doesn’t need a license) or the NFL’s tax status. But Trump need not act on his threats for his actions to be considered a First Amendment violation. There’s a compelling argument Trump is in violation of Constitution right now—after he crossed the line from criticism of protected speech to openly threatening government action.
There’s plenty of case law on this subject from the Supreme Court to appeals courts around the country. Most recently, in a case in the Seventh Circuit called BackPage LLC vs. Thomas Dart, Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, just-retired Judge Richard Posner articulated exactly why Trump may already be running afoul of the First Amendment merely through his threats.
In Backpage, Dart embarked on a one-man campaign to get Visa and Mastercard to cut off credit card donations to Backpage.com because of its adult section. Instead of prosecuting Backpage for any specific violation, he sent letters pressuring the credit card companies to cut off any payments to Backpage.com for any reason, since some of the Backpage ads, as Posner wrote, “might be for illegal sex-related products or services.”
Posner, citing several decades of case law, made it clear that if the Sheriff can’t sue or prosecute Backpage for legitimate violations of the law, he can’t then turn around and use his power as a government official to make threatening statements in an attempt to censor them in other ways:
a public official who tries to shut down an avenue of expression of ideas and opinions through “actual or threatened imposition of government power or sanction” is violating the First Amendment. American Family Association, Inc. v. City & County of San Francisco, 277 F.3d 1114, 1125 (9th Cir. 2002).
When Trump veers into actual threats of government action for speech he doesn’t like, he is arguably crossing that same line that the Seventh Circuit, and the Supreme Court before it, has condemned.
Tech Insider explains porgs from Star Wars: The Last Jedi: