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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What Fresh Hell? October 18, 2017: The North Korean long game vs MOTUS' blinks, and other tales of the Age of Orange

“Tech support,” from this week’s New Yorker


In the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign, voters in swing states including Nevada and North Carolina saw ads appear in their Facebook feeds and on Google websites touting a pair of controversial faux-tourism videos, showing France and Germany overrun by Sharia law. French schoolchildren were being trained to fight for the caliphate, jihadi fighters were celebrated at the Arc de Triomphe, and the “Mona Lisa” was covered in a burka.

Unlike Russian efforts to secretly influence the 2016 election via social media, this American-led campaign was aided by direct collaboration with employees of Facebook and Google. They helped target the ads to more efficiently reach the intended audiences, according to internal reports from the ad agency that ran the campaign, as well as five people involved with the efforts.

The fake news plague has reportedly spread to fact-checking websites.

Fake news ads popped up as recently as last week on fact-checking pages like Snopes and PolitiFact, reported The New York Times. One ad falsely said that First Lady Melania Trump was leaving the White House, according to the report.

The fake news ads were served up by Google's AdWords system, which automatically places ads based on a target audience. The ads reportedly had enticing fake headlines, that once clicked, would take people to sites that mimicked legitimate publications like People or Vogue. "The fake stories began with headlines and large photos of the celebrities in question, but after a few sentences, they transitioned into an ad for an anti-aging skin cream," reported the Times.

All Congress cares about is getting HQ2 in their state.


The great thing about #ALtFacts World is that you can just deny whatever displeases you. Meet the chair of the Alabama Republican Party:

Tuesday, Fox News released the results of a poll it commissioned showing former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions, tied at 42 percent with Democratic nominee former Clinton U.S. Attorney Doug Jones.
The poll was conducted October 14-16 in a joint effort by Democratic polling firm Anderson Robbins Research and Republican polling firm Shaw & Company Research by landline and cell phone with the interviews of a random sample of 801 Alabama registered voters.

The survey sample of “registered voters” instead of likely voters was a red flag for Alabama Republican chairman Terry Lathan, who called the poll “highly inaccurate” and “an extreme outlier.”

“The recent Fox News poll on the U.S. Senate race is highly inaccurate as it only surveyed registered voters, not likely voters, and included too many cell phone responses-neither are representative of who will turn out on December 12,” Lathan said to Breitbart News. “This poll is an extreme outlier and should be treated as such. All current polling shows a consistent pattern of Roy Moore winning between 6-8 points.”


MOTUS’s morning Happy Meal was disturbed again today:


Headline of the Day:

Screenshot 2017-10-18 at 10.53.21 - Edited.png

A Duke alumna, Ward is an osteopath who has run for office continuously since 2012. Elected to the Arizona senate that year, she was re-elected in 2014 (both times unopposed in a gerrymandered district). In 2015 she ran against Senator John McCain , resigning her seat to smear him full time with allegations like “he is old and weak and will die in office.”

She lost the primary in August 2016 and two months later announced she would spent the next two years running against Senator Jeff Flake. When McCain announced his cancer diagnosis, Ward called on him to resign, and for the Arizona governor to appoint her to the seat and save voters the trouble of voting against her again.

Steve Bannon has endorsed Ward as part of his Roy Moore Corps.


Boy dictators have to think longer-range than the *resident’s Twitter-driven attention span. Kim Jong-Un is only 33 and doesn’t have a lot of post-dictator career options:

We Americans tend to think of Kim as an irritant to our plans, but his natural enemy in the long run is China. It is easier for North Korea to threaten Chinese cities with weapons, and its nuclear status stands in China’s way of becoming the dominant regional power in East Asia. Chinese public opinion has already turned against North Korea, and leaders wonder whether a more reliable, pro-Chinese option to Kim might be installed. Since assuming power, Kim has gone after the generals and family members with the strongest ties to China.

One way to interpret Kim’s spat with U.S. President Donald Trump is that he is signaling to the Chinese that they shouldn’t try to take him down because he is willing to countenance “crazy” retaliation. In this view, Beijing is a more likely target for one of his nukes than is Seattle.

More radically, think of Kim as auditioning to the U.S., Japan, South Korea and India as a potential buffer against Chinese expansion. If he played his hand more passively and calmly, hardly anyone would think that such a small country had this capacity. By picking a fight with the U.S., he is showing the ability to deter just about anyone.


Charlie Pierce considers an oversight by the Founders:

Every day in every way, I am sorry that the Founders didn't include Being A Colossal Dick to the list of impeachable offenses in the Constitution. Bribery, Treason, Other High Crimes And Misdemeanors, Including Ye Being A Colossal Dicke. See, it wouldn't have been that hard and at least we would be rid of embarrassing scenes like the one that played out on the White House grounds on Monday...

But why make the assertion at all? Because he knows that tens of millions of Americans are right now emailing and texting each other about how Obummer never called the families of soldiers who were KIA. A third of the country will believe it by Thursday no matter how much we mock it, or how often it is exposed for the sickening fabrication that it is. I'm sure Benghazi, Benghazi!, Benghazi! is in there somewhere, too.


Dones are the new dogs, police say. #AllBatteriesMatter


The *resident’s FCC chairman had to think for a week on MOTUS’ call for making the First Amendment an opt-out. His response? Timid, but enough to get by (Remember Colbert’s cockholster?)


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