Free Press Group Ready to Cut Off WikiLeaks

In the heat of the presidential election campaign last year, Xeni Jardin, a journalist and free speech advocate, developed a sickening feeling about WikiLeaks.

Jardin had been a supporter of the radical transparency group since at least 2010, when it published hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and State Department documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. In 2012, Jardin was a founding member of the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit established as a censorship-proof conduit for donations to WikiLeaks after PayPal and U.S. credit card companies imposed a financial blockade on the site.

But during the election season, Jardin noticed WikiLeaks veering violently off its original mission of holding governments and corporations to account. Beginning in July of last year, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks driving force, began releasing a cache of stolen email from the Democratic National Committee, and injecting WikiLeaks influential Twitter feed with the kind of alt-right rhetoric and conspiracy theories once reserved for Breitbart and InfoWars.

Suddenly the voice of WikiLeaks seemed to be all about questioning one candidateHillary Clintonand doing so in a way that was designed to benefit the other, Jardin recalled to The Daily Beast. The tone also seemed to echo some of the language on the far right. So when the guy in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, who is normally of the extreme left, is echoing Nazi publications, something is wrong.

Her misgivings eventually led to a tense confrontation with Assange and touched off a year-long debate among the directors at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which has handled around $500,000 in individual donations for WikiLeaks over the last five years. Now the foundation acknowledges its on the brink of ending its assistance to WikiLeaks, on the grounds that the financial censorship Assange faced in 2012 is no longer in place.

At our last board meeting in October 2017, a consensus arose that we could not find any evidence of an ongoing blockade involving PayPal, Visa, or Mastercard, wrote Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, in a statement to The Daily Beast. We decided we would therefore formally notify WikiLeaks that unless they could demonstrate that a blockade was still in effect, we would no longer provide a mechanism for people to donate to them.

***

The practical effect of the move is minimalWikiLeaks donors in America may no longer be able to claim a tax write-off. The symbolic import is much larger. The Freedom of the Press Foundation is something of a Justice League for the online privacy, transparency, civil liberties, whistleblower, and press-rights communities. Its board of directors includes Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower; Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers; open-internet pioneer John Perry Barlow; Citizenfour filmmaker Laura Poitras and her fellow Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald, the two journalists to whom Snowden provided his trove; the actor/activist John Cusack; Electronic Frontier Foundation activism director Rainey Reitman; technologist Micah Lee; and journalist/activist Timm, who founded the group with Reitman. (See the disclosures at the end of this article.)

Several members of the board, including Snowden, have grown disenchanted with WikiLeaks. Snowden has for some time considered it to have strayed far from its laudatory transparency and accountability missions, sources familiar with his thinking have told The Daily Beast.

The foundations impending split with Assange is a microcosm of a broader anxiety over him amongst his erstwhile allies now that WikiLeaks has made common cause with extreme right-wing forces, principally Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Some consider WikiLeaks transparency mission to dwarf Assanges personal crusades and transgressionswhich go beyond politics and into allegations of sexual assault. Others consider Assange to have brought WikiLeaks, its ostensible principles, and its advocates into disrepute.

When the guy in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, who is normally of the extreme left, is echoing Nazi publications, something is wrong.

WikiLeaks claims to be a transparency organization suffered a body blow on Monday night. The Atlantics Julia Ioffe published portions of a Twitter direct-message conversation the @WikiLeaks account, an account controlled at least in part by Assange, held with Donald Trump Jr.

The correspondence lasted from at least September 2016 to July 2017. In a series of pitches to Trumps son, @WikiLeaks provided the campaign with the guessed password of an anti-Trump political action committee. Just hours before Trumps victory, @WikiLeaks pitched the son of the eventual president of the United States to refuse conceding the election in the event of a Trump loss and instead CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred. Doing so would have plunged the U.S. into a political crisis that pundits were warning could easily turn violent.

After the election, when Trumps fortunes had clearly turned, WikiLeaks took a new approach: It floated to Trump Jr. the trial balloon of convincing Australia to appoint Assange as its next U.S. ambassador.

The outfit that once prided itself on promoting transparency and accountability was now stirring election chaos. Its hard to see what principled cause is advanced by advising a losing presidential candidate to question the outcome of a democratic election, said Ben Wizner, a senior ACLU attorney who also represents Snowden. It was not easy for even former defenders of WikiLeaks mission to see Assange as a regular guest on Sean Hannitys show, he added.

Many of WikiLeaks left-wing and libertarian supporters have struggled over the years to reconcile the idea of WikiLeaks with the reality; to maintain a principled stand for free speech and transparency without seeming to endorse the whole of Assanges personal and professional behavior.

Each WikiLeaks defender has their own internal red line. In 2010, Assanges plans to post Army field reports that included the names of Iraqi informants led several of WikiLeaks key staffers, including Assanges second-in-command, to shut down the sites infrastructure and resign.

Later, a rape allegation in Sweden, and Assanges decision to take refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy rather than confront the case, cost him more support, particularly as he dodged a reckoning and portrayed himself as a political prisoner. (Assange claims he evaded the case for fear Sweden would extradite him to the U.S.) Last year, Assanges wholesale dumping of stolen DNC emails drew criticism from Edward Snowden. Democratizing information has never been more vital, and @Wikileaks has helped, Snowden tweeted. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake. The mild rebuke drew a sharp response from Assange: Opportunism wont earn you a pardon from Clinton.

***

WikiLeaks support of Trump and the divisive rhetoric of the alt-right was the last straw for Jardin.

In July 2016, WikiLeaks began publishing the hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. In October it started rolling out the emails taken from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. U.S. intelligence attributed both thefts to Russias military intelligence arm, the GRU.

But Assange didnt content himself with the genuine news that emerged from the leaks. He supplemented it with occasional exaggerations and distortions that appeared calculated to appeal to Trumps base. On July 22, for example, while Trump was bogged down in sexual assault allegations, Assange announced a plot to smear @realDonaldTrump by planting fake ads for hot women in Craigslist.

But the DNC email referenced in the tweet didnt bear out WikiLeaks claim. Far from a plot, it was an internal proposal for a website that would highlight Trumps record on gender issues.

In August 2016, Assange even fanned the right-wing conspiracy theory around slain Democratic Party staffer Seth Richa hoax thats inflicted endless pain on Richs familywhen he went out of his way in a television interview to imply that Rich was WikiLeaks source for the stolen DNC emails.

While WikiLeaks merged into the right lane, Donald Trump was increasingly drawing on the DNC and Podesta leaks on the stump, sometimes describing them accurately, sometimes not. And Trump was generous with his praise for WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks, he declared at an Oct. 10 rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Four days later in Charlotte, North Carolina: The Hillary Clinton documents released by WikiLeaks make it more clear than ever just how much is at stake come November 8. In the final month of the campaign, NBC reporters found, Trump referenced WikiLeaks 145 times.

Assange suggested Jardin praise Trump for doing something useful by promoting WikiLeaks. Is that a command? she shot back.

Jardin, like many Americans, found Trumps rallies deeply disturbing, with chants of Lock Her Up, protesters being ejected, and Trump describing his growing list of women accusers as liars. She was dismayed and angered to see WikiLeaks incorporated into the mix. She knew Assanges embrace of Trumpism had been good for WikiLeaks bank account, bringing small donations back to the levels of the Chelsea Manning era for the first time in years, and it bothered her that a nonprofit she served was helping Assange reap that windfall.

She voiced some of her frustration in a tweet during the Charlotte rally. Trump, his sons, and his surrogates are now dropping WikiLeaks into their anti-American rants like a hashtag, Jardin commented. Strangest of bedfellows.

Assange was watching.

***

He responded in a series of direct messages to Jardin, at first referencing himself in the third person and the majestic plural, as he often does. Since JA has never met or spoken to you we find it odd you should hold such a view, read the message. So whats it based on?

The messages went on to suggest Jardin praise Trump and his people for doing something useful for once by promoting WikiLeaks, instead of, outrageously, suggesting that it is some form of anti-Americanism.

Hi there Julian. Is that a command? Jardin shot back.

If you cant support the organization FPF [Freedom of the Press Foundation] was founded to support perhaps you should resign, wrote Assange. After a pause, he repeated the suggestion. You have a duty as a board member. If you cant dispense it, perhaps you should resign.

Knowing Assanges reputation for vindictiveness, Jardin interpreted the messages as a personal threat.

She politely asked Assange not to contact her again, and then forwarded the exchange to the foundations board. Oh my god, replied Cusack, a friend of Jardin whod joined the board at her invitation. The only thing one can say is the pressure on him is incredible and everyone has a breaking point. (Cusack declined to comment for this story; Assange did not immediately respond to a request to do so.)

The next month, nine days after Trumps election victory, Freedom of the Press Foundation held its board meeting. Jardin brought up the issue of Assange, his messages to her, and the foundations continued support of WikiLeaks.

Much had changed since the foundation was formed. Today it has a $1.5 million annual budget and a staff of 15. Taking donations for WikiLeaks and other groups has become only a tiny part of the foundations work. In 2013, for example, the foundation took over development of SecureDrop, an open-source tool designed to make it safer for whistleblowers to submit information to reporters. Under the foundations stewardship, SecureDrop today is running in dozens of newsrooms, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg.

The question for the board at that post-election meeting was straightforward, if not simple: Should the foundation continue to process payments for WikiLeaks and Assange? Was there still a need, and was WikiLeaks still a multi-national media organization and associated library, as described on the foundations website, or had it become something else, something less journalistic, during the election?

When the election reached its conclusion and WikiLeaks kept doing what it was doing publicly, I felt a sense of revulsion, recalled Jardin, telling her story for the first time. When our board meeting came up, I assumed that everybody else felt the same way.

To Jardins dismay, they did not.

There was support and empathy on the board for Jardin, according to multiple sources, and a spectrum of perspectives on WikiLeaks. But Micah Lee was the only board member at the meeting to agree the time had come to cut ties. Protecting free press rights for publishers we disagree with is important, Lee told The Daily Beast, but that doesnt mean WikiLeaks should be able to harass our board members without consequences.

While several on the board acknowledged that Assange had flown off the handle at Jardin, years of experience with the WikiLeaks founder had built up a certain emotional callus toward his histrionics. At one point or another, we have all felt personally aggrieved by Julian, Greenwald told The Daily Beast. Sympathy for Jardin over Assanges DMs couldnt become a reason for a free-press organization to take action.

The contributions that WikiLeaks receives come from individual donors, board member Rainey Reitman said in an interview. We would be silencing readers of WikiLeaks who were trying to show their support.

Similarly, WikiLeaks support for Trump could not become a reason for the foundation to cut off Assange. It would, several felt, set a dangerous precedent if the board tacitly affirmed that only some forms of published political content deserved press-freedom support. Such a move could risk undermining the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

***

But there was substantial support for taking up a more pragmatic question, one that hearkened back to the very reason the Freedom of the Press Foundation came into existence in the first place: whether WikiLeaks still needed the foundation to route donations to it.

In 2012, WikiLeaks had been facing financial strangulation after PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard bent to congressional pressure and stopped accepting donations for the secret-spilling site, and for the German Wau Holland Foundation, which handled most of WikiLeaks finances. That financial censorship, effectively imposed by the U.S. government, but without the checks and balances of a judicial process, appeared no less ominous four years later.

By all evidence, though, that financial blockade dissolved years earlier, in 2013, after an Icelandic technology firm that processed payments for WikiLeaks won a lawsuit against the credit card companies. An archived copy of WikiLeaks donation page from just before the 2016 board meeting shows the organization once again accepting credit card and PayPal donations through Wau Holland, in addition to taking contributions through Freedom of the Press. WikiLeaks was no longer even claiming the blockade was still an issue.

BitCoin, too, has emerged as a popular conduit for WikiLeaks cash, and records indicate the group has received a total of 4,025 BTC through its public wallet addressroughly $29 million by current exchange rates.

Lee argued to his fellow board members that the rationale for supporting WikiLeaks had become obsolete. By the end of the meeting, the board had agreed to study the issue. We resolved as a board to investigate this question to determine whether such a blockade still existed, Timm said.

Jardin says she felt unsupported in the meeting, and four days later she told the foundation she was taking a leave of absence. Jardin is a cancer survivor, and she was then battling life threatening side-effects from treatment. There is nothing like the threat of death to help you clarify what you spend your time on, she says. On Dec. 2, she quietly resigned from the board, citing her health.

After Jardin stepped down, the board continued to chew over the issues shed raised, albeit slowly. By the boards last meeting late this summer, it determined that it couldnt verify that the blockade against WikiLeaks still existed. The foundation drew up plans to tell WikiLeaks that if it couldnt present evidence of a blockade, the Freedom of the Press Foundation would end its WikiLeaks donation channela decision that will mark a milestone for both organizations.

The foundation hastens to point out that Assanges personal actions and politics are irrelevant to its decision.Like every board, our members have a variety of opinions, said Timm, but our primary motivation as an organization has never been whether we agree with everything that WikiLeaks does or says. But theres no denying that some on the board have soured on WikiLeaks. Snowden, sources close to him tell The Daily Beast, has felt for a long time that Assange has taken WikiLeaks far from a positive, constructive vision of what Snowden believes WikiLeaks could or should be.

The foundations angst mirrors that of the larger community of former WikiLeaks supporters. The leaked messages between Assange and Trump Jr. recently prompted Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire backer of The Intercept, to tweet that they disqualify WikiLeaks from being considered a media organization. After Assange defended his election-chaos pitch as intended to generate a transformative discussion about corrupt media, corrupt PACs and primary corruption, Omidyar shot back: Isnt this an invitation to conspire to knowingly and falsely accuse election officials and a variety of people of fraud?

James Ball worked for WikiLeaks before becoming a journalist with The Guardian andBuzzFeed U.K.It has become astonishing, he said, to watch someone who has thundered against journalists for unethical behavior turn around and pitch a potential source on securing an ambassadorship for himself.

What Ball called the tragedy of WikiLeaks is that transparency and accountability are good principles, and lots of people have defended WikiLeaks because they believe in those principles and hoped [Assange] did, too. This is the final mark of someone whos in it for himself, Ball said. Hes a sad man in a broom cupboard.

For her part, Jardin takes no satisfaction in WikiLeaks potential expulsion, which she thinks comes at least a year too late.

I dont think that Julian Assange should be in solitary confinement, says Jardin. I feel awful for him, I bear him no ill will. But my loyalty is to my country. My loyalty is to my community You cant fight the kind of repression Trump represents and indirectly assist it.

DISCLOSURE: One of this articles co-authors helped develop the open-source project that became SecureDrop, and later handed it off to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Additionally, he formerly sat on the foundations technical advisory panel, and has made small donations to the organization. The other co-author reported on Edward Snowdens leaks with Greenwald, Poitras, and Ball at The Guardian, where Timm is a columnist.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/free-press-group-set-to-cut-off-wikileaks

Most Americans think the U.S. is at its lowest point in history

The current state of affairs in the United States has Americans really stressed out. 

A new poll by the American Psychological Association found that 63 percent of Americans are stressed about the future of the United States, and 59 percent of Americans think it is currently the lowest point in the nation’s history.

The poll found that, essentially, most Americans are wringing their hands and grinding their teeth with the way the country is currently headed.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans polled said the future of the country is a “very or somewhat significant” source of stress—more than money and work. Meanwhile, 59 percent of Americans said the country is at its lowest point in history that they’ve lived through–including World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Specifically, 59 percent of Americans said the current social divisiveness causes stress, and a majority of adults from both major political parties said the country’s future was a source of stress. However, the feeling was higher among Democrats (73 percent) compared to Republicans (56 percent). Almost 60 percent of independent voters said they felt the same way.

“We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines,” Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, the American Psychological Association’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”

The issues giving Americans stress, the poll found, are likely what you’d expect: 43 percent said healthcare, 35 percent said the economy, 32 percent said trust in the government, 31 percent said crime and hate crimes, 31 percent said wars with other countries, and 30 percent said terrorist attacks in the United States.

Unemployment and low wages (22 percent) and climate change (21 percent) also give Americans stress, the poll notes.

Current events are also a cause of stress, according to the poll. While 95 percent of adults said they follow the news regularly, more than half of them said it gives them stress. Two-thirds of those polled said the news often “blows things out of proportion.”

However, the stress has spurred some people into action. The poll found that around half of the country has volunteered in response to the state of the nation, and 28 percent have signed a petition.

The American Psychological Association surveyed 3,440 adults online from Aug. 2 to Aug. 31 to compile their results.

You can read more about the American Psychological Association’s poll here.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/americans-stressed-us-lowest-point/

Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets about $4,000 ‘raise’ from Trump tax planand it completely backfires

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday asked Twitter users what they would do with money President Donald Trump’s administration believes the “average” American family would save under his tax plan–and the responses were brutal.

“The average American family would get a $4,000 raise under the President’s tax cut plan. So how could any member of Congress be against it?” Sanders wrote in a series of tweets. “What would your family do w/ a $4,000 raise from the President’s tax cut plan? REPLY & I’ll share your family’s story in the press briefing. Do you stand w/ the Democrats for higher taxes & bigger government? Or w/ @POTUS for lower taxes & thousands more $$$ in take home pay?”

Some people were quick to point out that the suggestion that every “average American family” would be receiving $4,000 was misleading. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent would mostly help people who made at least $465,626 annually.

But other people played along with the idea that a magical $4,000 check would land in their laps. As one Twitter user put it, “this isn’t gonna go well for you, Sarah.”

They were right.

Somehow, it doesn’t seem likely Sanders will be sharing any of those ideas during the next press briefing.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/sanders-4000-tweet-backfires/

Trump speaks at a summit where flyers warned homosexuality is a public health crisis

President Donald Trump on Friday addressed the Values Voter Summit, in Washington, D.C., an annual event organized by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council (FRC).  

Trump, who is the first sitting U.S. president to speak at the event, said he was “honored and thrilled” to be present at “this incredible gathering of friends, so many friends.” He was received with cheers and applause.

“It’s great to be back here with so many friends at the 2017 Values Voter Summit, and we know what that means. We know what that means,” Trump began. “America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer.” His speech included condolences for the victims of the recent Vegas shooting, the flooding in Texas and Puerto Rico, and the wildfires in California, and he talked about respect for the flag, to raucous cheers. Throughout the speech, Trump returned to themes of the nation’s unity, faith, and family values. “We love our families, we love our neighbors, we love our country,” he said. “We cherish the sacred dignity of every human life.”

Some of the attendees might have different ideas, however: At the summit, guests received tote bags with flyers promoting an “important new book” called The Health Hazards of Homosexuality.

“Finally: the truth about this public health crisis,” the flyer reads. It says the “‘gay’ and lesbian sexual practices” are among dangers to the “broader public.” The flyer adds that “homosexual and bisexual men” are to blame for “the recent increases in STDs.” The book, authored by anti-LGBT group MassResistance, also describes the “disproportionate incidence of disease and mental disorders in the GLB community,” according to the flyer.

The FRC, which organized the Values Voter Summit, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which says the group’s “specialty is defaming gays and lesbians.”

Joel Kasnetz, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, also denounced Trump’s visit, according to BuzzFeed.

“Today, Donald Trump reminded us that he is one of the country’s biggest threats to LGBTQ people,” Kasnetz told BuzzFeed. “The anti-LGBTQ bigotry on display at Values Voter Summit should be rejected, but instead was honored with visits from the president and a full slate of top Republican officials.”

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump—despite being opposed to gay marriage—had positioned himself through tweets and speeches as an LGBT ally in contrast to other conservative candidates.

Since the election, however, Trump and his administration have aligned with anti-LGBT organizations, people, and policies. Notably, the LGBT page disappeared from the official White House website on the day of the inauguration, and Trump did not acknowledge Pride Month in June.

On Wednesday, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) tweeted he is “deeply concerned by the Trump administration’s hostility to #LGBT rights.”

In his speech at the Values Voter Summit, Trump also received raucous applause for defending the religious values of Christian conservatives.

“We’re getting in that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore,” Trump said. “They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct… Guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.’”

Watch Trump’s full speech below.

H/T BuzzFeed

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/trump-values-voter-summit-speech/

Trump attacks Puerto Rico mayor: ‘They want everything done for them’

Presidents tweet accuses Carmen Yuln Cruz of such poor leadership but San Juan mayor responds: Im not going to be distracted by small comments

Donald Trump lashed out at the mayor of Puerto Ricos capital city on Saturday as the row over his administrations response to a hurricane and humanitarian crisis escalated.

Ahead of his visit to the devastated US territory next week, the president used Twitter to say of Carmen Yuln Cruz: Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.

He went on: They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

Trump received a measure of praise for his handling of the recent hurricanes that struck Texas and Florida but has come under fire for a flat-footed response in Puerto Rico, where he sought to defend slow relief efforts by saying: This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water. In the past 10 days he has been distracted by a long weekend at his golf club in New Jersey, an election contest in Alabama, a major tax reform plan and a racially charged dispute with sportsmen who kneel during the national anthem.

With terrible timing, there have also been revelations about Trumps cabinet members taking expensive charter flights at taxpayers expense, culminating in the resignation of the health secretary, Tom Price. Critics have warned that Maria threatens to become Trumps Katrina a reference to the 2005 hurricane that smashed New Orleans and became a defining failure of George W Bushs presidency.

Maria, the most powerful storm to strike Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years, has killed at least 16 people on the island, according to the official death toll. The situation remains dire as residents face shortages of food, water and fuel. The electric grid was badly damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, leaving many without power and reliant on gas-powered generators. The hurricanes crippled the islands already weakened waste and water treatment plants while fallen trees and strewn debris block roads and cellphone service remains limited for the 3.4 million population.

Trump hit out at Cruz after she decried his relief efforts on Friday, saying if the federal government did not solve the logistics what we we are going to see is something close to a genocide.

San
San Juans Mayor Carmen Yuln Cruz, left, hugs a woman during her visit to an elderly home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 22 September. Photograph: Thais Llorca/EPA

We are dying here, Cruz said at a press conference, speaking with tears in her eyes. I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles. So, mayday, we are in trouble.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….

September 30, 2017

Cruz had appealed directly to the president, saying: I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency.

Trump, who has appointed a three-star general to coordinate the response, is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday and said on Saturday he would visit with the first lady and hopefully be able to stop at the US Virgin Islands, which have also been battered.

The president also criticised Fake News Networks for negative coverage and said Cruz had been wound up by his political opponents to attack him. He tweeted: The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.

Cruz was then asked on the MSNBC channel whether anyone had told her to go out and name Trump. She laughed scornfully and said: Actually, I was asking for help. I wasnt saying anything nasty about the president This is a time when everyone shows their true colors. I have no time for distractions This isnt about me; this isnt about anyone; this is about lives that are being lost if things do not get done properly real quickly.

She added: I am not going to be distracted by small comments, by politics, by petty issues. This is one goal and it is to save lives. Thats all that matters.

Carmen Yuln Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz)

The goal is one: saving lives. This is the time to show our “true colors”. We cannot be distracted by anything else. pic.twitter.com/7PAINk19xM

September 30, 2017

Trump has a long history of punching back in business and politics. During his election campaign, he went on the offensive against the Muslim family of a dead US soldier and a former beauty queen who supported his rival Hillary Clinton. After a deadly terrorist attack in London in June, he twisted the words of Londons mayor, Sadiq Khan, to slight him.

Such broadsides appear to strike a chord with his rightwing populist base. Mike Cernovich, a notorious blogger, author and cheerleader for the president, tweeted about Cruz with no evidence: She is garbage, she is a murderer, she failed her people and her duties and belongs in prison!

Others expressed disgust at Trumps inaction and lack of sensitivity towards the mayor. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the musical Hamilton and of Puerto Rican descent, tweeted: She has been working 24/7./ You have been GOLFING./ Youre going straight to hell./ Fastest golf cart you ever took.

Pop star Lady Gaga tweeted her 71.4 million followers in response to the presidents criticism of Cruz:

xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga)

I this it’s clear where the ‘poor leadership’ lies @realDonaldTrump Puerto Rico is part of the United States. This is our responsibility.

September 30, 2017

She then followed that up with another tweet speculating on the reasons why Trump, in her opinion, wasnt helping Puerto Rico:

xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga)

Oh I see @realDonaldTrump you’re not helping PR because of the electoral votes u need to be re-elected #Florida=29 #Texas=38 #PuertoRico=0

September 30, 2017

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/30/donald-trump-attacks-puerto-rico-mayor-carmen-yulin-cruz

Trump’s Twitter silence about Puerto Rico’s devastation is deafening

It has been five days since Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Thirteen people have died. All of the island nation is without power and may remain so for up to six months. Around 70,000 people living in the Guajatacata River’s floodplain have been forced to evacuate their homes. According to Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez, the destruction will set the country back “nearly 20 to 30 years.”

So, where is President Donald Trump?

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, meaning its 3.4 million people are citizens of the United States. While the Pentagon said it has dispatched members of Army Corps engineers—4,000 Army Reserve members have been also deployed to the country, along with 1,600 Nation Guard members, according to FEMA—Trump hasn’t said much about Puerto Rico since the hurricane first hit on Wednesday. He instead spent his weekend tweeting over a dozen times about sports figures and kneeling for the flag, interspersed with threats to North Korea and insults to senators who don’t want to repeal Obamacare.

Many are calling out Trump—who expressed concern for the victims of recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida but who, in general, has not shown much respect for people of color—for his silence. One detractor, in particular, was Hillary Clinton.

Also, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

And actors like Mark Ruffalo.

And then there were the reporters and citizens waiting for a response—but who also weren’t too surprised that hadn’t been one over the weekend.

A White House official told CNN on Friday that Trump “is committed to going, but date is still unclear,” adding, “as you note, there are significant infrastructure concerns.”

As of Monday morning, Trump was still parsing the worth of sports figures and fans on Twitter.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/trump-response-puerto-rico/

WHOA: Geraldo Rivera BLASTS Brian Stelter in back-and-forth over CNN’s attacks on Trump’s mental health

CNN hates Trump so much they’ve built a whole conspiracy theory around his mental health. Think about that for a minute, he’s driven them SO CRAZY they think HE’S crazy …

Project much, CNN?

Read more: http://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2017/08/22/whoa-geraldo-rivera-blasts-brian-stelter-in-back-and-forth-over-cnns-attacks-on-trumps-mental-health/

Busted! President Trump photographed on golf course during vacation that’s not a vacation

It seems like just yesterday President Trump was making headlines for starting a nuclear war with North Korea. Obviously his “fire and fury” comment is what dominated headlines, but the real purpose of his meeting Tuesday with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Richard Baum was to discuss the nation’s opioid abuse crisis.

On Wednesday, though, the president was in hot water with the press for golfing after tweeting earlier that his 17-day vacation was not a vacation.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2017/08/09/busted-president-trump-photographed-on-golf-course-during-vacation-thats-not-a-vacation/

If the nursing home rule libs are so angry about was so important, why did Obama wait until Sept. 2016 to implement it?

There’s a ton of lefty outrage tonight over this story in The Hill on how the Trump administration hates old people in nursing homes, or something:

Read more: http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2017/08/06/if-the-nursing-home-rule-libs-are-so-angry-about-was-so-important-why-did-obama-wait-until-sept-2016-to-implement-it/

‘Beyonc Professor’ Kevin Allred, who wished someone would shoot Trump, rants about being FIRED

UPDATE: Allred has either deleted all of the tweets in this article or protected his account. Either way you can still read the content … Why would he go and do a thing like that? END UPDATE Remember Kevin Allred? Ok, so you may not … he is rather forgettable. That being said, a few weeks ago he tweeted this: Allred did delete the tweet, but not before many outlets (including Twitchy) were able to grab it and report it. Hey, if you’re unhappy with the president by all means, complain. But don’t say stupid shiznit about wanting him shot.

On that note, it would appear Montclair State fired Allred before he even really began teaching there … and he ranted about it on Twitter:

Read more: http://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2017/08/01/beyonce-professor-kevin-allred-who-wished-someone-would-shoot-trump-rants-about-being-fired/