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This One Is Big

There’s a very important article out this morning from McClatchy, one I’ve been waiting a very long time to read. The headline is that Bob Mueller’s probe is investigating whether Russia used the NRA to funnel money into the effort to elect Donald Trump. This news is not out of the blue.

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Bannon in the Chair

A few interesting things to note about Bannon’s House testimony today, as described by Axios. Having started by saying he wouldn’t answer any questions about events during the transition or his time in the White House, Bannon flubbed and did discuss a key event: a conversation with Priebus, Spicer et al. about the Don Jr./Trump Tower meeting. Accident? That indisciplined? (The idea that privilege applies to the transition seems to be a complete nonstarter.)

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Like a Perfect SAT Score

From Reuters … Trump’s pumped he scored so high on a cognitive decline diagnostic test …

He blamed his three immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for failing to resolve the crisis and, a day after his doctor gave him a perfect score on a cognitive test, suggested he had the mental acuity to solve it.

“I guess they all realized they were going to have to leave it to a president that scored the highest on tests,” he said.

This was first flagged by Daniel Dale.

Give This a Read

Definitely give this piece by Alice Ollstein a read. It’s not what the article is mainly about. But it’s another example of a key reality everyone should understand by now. John Kelly is really what amounts to Total Quality Trumpism, the same politics, in all its dimensions just with better impulse control and organizational discipline. He’s not some career professional doing the best he can to keep Trump normal. He’s all in. Definitely read this piece.

Can Social Networks Do Better? We Don't Know Because They Haven't Tried

In the on-going tragedy of the expulsion and massacre of the Rohingya from Myanmar there’s a small part of the story which overlaps with our domestic discussion of the way social media platforms have been used to sow propaganda, hate speech, fake news and even become the tools of foreign intelligence organizations. It turns out that Facebook has been one of the primary channels for organizing the expulsion and the incitement of religious/ethnic hatred and vigilanteism which is a key part of it.

Much of the central role of Facebook, apparently, is tied to the fact that much of Myanmar until very recently had little modern media infrastructure. Then cell phones grew rapidly. So Facebook is a key way many people get their news. It’s a singular or near singular source of news to a far greater degree than in the developed world or many other parts of the developing world.

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Wisconsin Dems Flip GOP Held State Senate Seat

In an upset victory, Democrats flipped a reliably Republican state senate seat in Wisconsin tonight. Barack Obama lost Wisconsin’s 10th senate district by 6 points in 2012 and Hillary Clinton lost it by 17 in 2016. But Democrat Patty Schachtner defeated Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow. Late returns showed Schachtner ahead by roughly 1600 votes out of more than 20,000 cast.

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