President Donald Trump addressed an ad Monday morning from former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign hitting the president for golfing as the coronavirus death toll hits a sobering milestone.
The president equated his golf game to a form of exercise in a tweet lashing out at media coverage of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign ad released Saturday night that criticized Trump for teeing up at his Virginia golf course. Trump said the fake news media made “it sound like a mortal sin” to exercise by golfing.
“Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin – I knew this would happen!”
Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin – I knew this would happen! What they don’t say is that it was my first golf in almost…
Trump continued to criticize the way his golf outing was reported in his Monday tweets.
“They are truly deranged! They don’t mention Sleepy Joe’s poor work ethic, or all of the time [former President Barack] Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play.”
The president’s golf game made media rounds Sunday night. The Washington Post published a piece with the headline: “On weekend dedicated to war dead, Trump tweets insults, promotes baseless claims and plays golf.”
Conservatives criticized Obama in 2014 for golfing after announcing the death of journalist, James Foley, at the hands of Islamic State terrorists. Obama condemned the killing and then “spent the rest of the afternoon on the links even as a firestorm of criticism erupted over what many saw as a callous indifference to the slaughter,” The New York Times reported on Aug. 21, 2014.
CNN commentator and former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod defended the president’s golfing Saturday, telling his Twitter followers that, “I don’t begrudge him a round of golf.”
“Yes, it’s hypocritical for @realDonaldTrump to have attacked @BarackObama for seeking some relief from the pressures of the presidency on the golf course when Trump has logged many more rounds,” wrote Axelrod. “It’s also hypocritical to attack Trump for it now if you defended Obama then.”
Twitter announced that coronavirus-related misinformation that creates what the company considers “widespread panic” will be banned from the platform.
Conservatives are crying foul, with some suggesting the company’s move is problematic given the platform’s unwillingness to nix examples of the World Health Organization and China distributing virus-related misinformation.
The updated policy also came as Twitter is relying on automation to moderate the platform for misinformation, a move that some analysts worry could lead to the company mistakenly hammering users for posting content that is not misinformation.
Conservatives are asking why Twitter is targeting claims that cause “widespread panic” while turning a blind eye to the false information emanating from China and the World Health Organization.
They are also skeptical of the company’s reliance on automated algorithms.
Twitter updated its policies Wednesday governing misinformation to include nixing unverified claims that cause “widespread panic” or encourage people to burn fifth generation mobile service towers out of concern that they are carrying coronavirus. Conservatives say the update is too vague and could potentially hit many people who are not promoting misinformation.
“Twitter can pursue a political agenda and ban outlets like Zero Hedge and War Room for speculating about COVID’s origin in a lab in Wuhan,” Rachel Bovard, senior adviser at the Internet Accountability Project, told the Daily Caller News Foundation before citing a Washington Post report noting that the State Department warned the virus might have come from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Meanwhile, the platform takes “zero action against actual government sponsored, communist propaganda, and suffers zero consequences for any of it,” Bovard added.
She mentioned Zero Hedge, an online outlet that Twitter banned for speculating that the virus leaked from a lab.
Twitter’s policy update came after numerous Chinese officials distributed misinformation related to the virus on the platform. It also came amid a report Thursday from network analysis firm Graphika saying that Twitter is replete with virus misinformation from right-wing circles.
Lijian Zhao, deputy director of China’s Foreign Ministry Information Department, falsely said in a March tweet that the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was arrested amid the Trump administration’s handling of the virus. Twitter has reiterated to the DCNF that Zhao’s tweet does not violate the company’s policies against COVID-19 misinformation.
Zhao also said the U.S. Army somehow introduced coronavirus into China.
“When did Patient Zero appear in the United States? How many people are infected? What is the name of the hospital? It may be that the US military brought the epidemic to Wuhan. America needs to be transparent!” he wrote in the same tweet.
Twitter has not removed the tweet.
The first case of COVID-19 is believed to have appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. It has since spread to 36 other countries and territories, reaching a global death toll of more than 150,000, according to the CDC‘s numbers. The virus is credited with killing roughly 50,000 citizens in the United States.
Bovard is not the only conservative raising alarms about what she said is Twitter’s deference to China.
“I don’t blame them for wanting to shut down people who want to burn down 5G towers,” Dan Gainor, vice president at the Media Research Center’s TechWatch, Business and Culture, told the DCNF. “But the stuff that can lead to widespread disorder is basically any protest in the world. If you want to protest Russia in Russia, Twitter is on Russia’s side.”
Gainor criticized Twitter for not pushing back on the WHO, which repeated a claim from China that coronavirus was not contagious among humans.
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the WHO wrote in a Jan. 14 tweet.
Twitter’s rule update is so “deliberately vague that you can shut down any content at any time,” Gainor said, expressing a common complaint leveled against the platform.
Such ambiguity makes it virtually impossible to orchestrate a demonstration, as any protest could cause “widespread panic,” he added.
Analysts say a recent change in how Twitter moderates its platform could harm conservatives. Twitter’s decision to move toward artificial intelligence moderation during the health crisis is reasonable considering the company’s desire to keep employees safe, according to Emily Marie Williams, an artificial intelligence analyst based in California.
“[T]hey may find the situation too convenient and therefore never stop using full AI; especially if users can be ‘trained’ to accept the new condition,” Williams told the DCNF in March after suggesting Twitter is likely willing to deal with numerous false positives that hit conservatives who did not knowingly distribute misinformation regarding the virus.
“We’ve expanded our policies to ensure we’re mitigating people’s exposure to risk, including taking action on medical misinformation that could cause physical harm,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement to the DCNF without providing a reason for speaking anonymously.
She also reiterated Twitter’s rules on misinformation without addressing the problem of relying chiefly on algorithms rather than moderators.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was dismissing the impact of coronavirus nearly two weeks before blasting President Donald Trump for not mobilizing the military to confront the outbreak.
De Blasio told Meet The Press’ Chuck Todd on March 22 that he asked Trump to mobilize the military to take the virus head-on. He suggested that if the president doesn’t act immediately, then “people will die who could have lived otherwise.”
He made similar comments a week prior, telling MSNBC’s Joy Reid on March 14 that the virus is a “war-like situation … We’re in a wartime scenario with a Mar-a-Lago attitude being used by the federal government.”
De Blasio was singing a different tune earlier in March.
“Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus,” the Democrat told his Twitter followers on March 3, no more than two weeks before likening the outbreak to a type of World War that required nationalizing industries.
De Blasio offered some suggestions for what New Yorkers should do instead of social distancing.
“I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor,” he said, referring to a 2019 crime drama about the life and times of a Mafia mob boss.
Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor” @FilmLinc. If “The Wire” was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.
State officials were preparing for the virus long before de Blasio’s comment. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, for instance, declared a state of emergency on Feb. 29, directing state agencies to use all resources necessary to address the fallout. New York has become the epicenter for the virus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference on March 15 that New York City now has more than 6,211 cases of coronavirus, while the state has 15,168 cases and 114 deaths.
Meanwhile, media pundits lambasted Trump for supposedly not acting fast enough to address the virus despite his decision in January to institute a travel ban on China, where coronavirus, or COVID-19 originated.
They also lashed out at the president for suggesting on Jan. 22 that his administration has “it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
“The Mayor was in no way downplaying the seriousness of Coronavirus. At that time, New York City had very few cases and the guidance coming from both the Federal Government and the State was different. No one is taking this more seriously than our mayor and the people of this city. It’s inaccurate to suggest otherwise,” de Blasio spokesperson Freddi Goldstein said.
The Trump administration filed an amicus brief Wednesday supporting Oracle’s nearly decade-long lawsuit holding Google responsible for supposedly stealing the company’s software code.
Google’s arguments against claims that it stole thousands of lines of code from Oracle are “unpersuasive,” the solicitor general’s office noted in the memo. If Google loses, then it could create massive implications across Silicon Valley, the company and its supporters argue.
The big tech company’s “verbatim copying of (Oracle’s) original computer code into a competing commercial product was not fair use,” the brief noted.
This is not the first time that the Solicitor General’s office has weighed in on this issue.
“[Google] copied 11,500 lines of computer code verbatim, as well as the complex structure and organization inherent in that code, in order to help its competing commercial product,” the Trump administration noted in a September 2019 brief.
“The record demonstrates, moreover, that [Google’s] unauthorized copying harmed the market for [Oracle’s] Java platform,” the September brief added.
President Donald Trump’s administration’s move comes a day after a conservative group dedicated to holding tech companies responsible for their supposed bias did something similar.
The Internet Accountability Project (IAP) filed a brief at the Supreme Court in support of Oracle.
The case — Google v. Oracle — could be one of the most important fights Google has ever encountered in its 23 years of existence. Nearly 26 amicus briefs have been filed supporting the Silicon Valley giant, including from tech giants Microsoft, IBM and Mozilla, among others.
At issue is Oracle’s claim that Google illegally swiped 11,500 lines of code from the company in 2010 to develop the Android operating system, which has become a crucial cog in the company’s business model over the past decade.
Oracle said Google copied its hierarchical system for organizing Java methods, which is effectively a filing cabinet stuffed with lines of codes and operations that help software programs communicate with each other. Using such systems means Android programmers can employ methods for which they are already familiar without learning thousands of new code lines.
Google and one of the lower courts argue that such structure of libraries of codes are not protected by copyright law. The company cites the Copyright Act, which notes that protection is unavailable for systems or processes or organizing method structures. Oracle must create a patent rather than a copyright for such protections, according to Google’s argument.
Oracle said it should get roughly $9 billion in damages as a result of the alleged theft.
Google won in the case’s first trial in 2012. A judge sided with Google after the jury was gridlocked over Oracle’s claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered a new trial in 2014 after reversing the decision. Google appealed the Supreme Court, but to no avail. The high court’s justices turned the request down in 2015.
A jury sided with Google in a second trial in 2016, finding fair use protected its reliance on the methods, but the Federal Circuit overturned that verdict. They returned the case to a lower court. That decision is pending before the Supreme Court.
The Department of Justice has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
Sen. Michael Bennet lit into the Democratic National Committee Christmas Eve for supposedly engaging in “pay-to-play politics” after the party posted a video excluding him and other third-tier candidates.
The Democratic Colorado senator criticized the DNC for posting a video that included only candidates “who ponied up six figures.” The video includes former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, both of whom are running for president as a Democrat in 2020.
With less than a year until November 3, 2020, we must come together now and work towards the common goal of defeating Donald Trump and sending a Democrat to the White House.
He added: “Neutrality and unity shouldn’t come at a price — but for the DNC it does. And that amount is $175,000.” Bennet suggested the “DNC is making clear that pay-to-play politics is the name of the game. If we want to get money out of politics, it has to start with us.”
Other candidates similarly took issue with the DNC’s content. Businessman Andrew Yang, for instance, lambasted the party on Twitter Tuesday for excluding Gabbard before deleting his tweet and noting in an additional post that she did not make the donor threshold.
Gabbard, for her part, saw an 11-point drop in net favorability rating among Democratic primary voters after she voted “present” on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, according to a Dec. 23 Morning Consult poll. Gabbard registered her vote on Dec. 18.
The House voted on two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House voted 230-197 on the first article and 229-198 on the second article. No Republicans voted to impeach Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was under constant pressure since the president’s inauguration to introduce such articles but resisted.
More than 228 Democrats voiced support for impeachment or an impeachment inquiry even as Pelosi initially pushed back against such attempts. The California Democrat has said she believes Trump is “goading” Democrats to impeach him because he thinks it will help him fire up his base.
The DNC did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
President Donald Trump signed executive orders Wednesday afternoon that are designed to take much of the sting out of what conservatives believe is an out-of-control administrative state.
The orders will limit the use of a tool the Trump administration believes short-circuits the rule-making process. They take aim at federal guidance, which agencies can use to explain how they intend to implement policy. The Wall Street Journal reported on the orders Tuesday.
The orders are expected to dramatically reduce the impact a key element of the country’s regulatory infrastructure has on businesses and Americans, according to White House spokesman Judd Deere.
Trump is signing “two EO’s protecting the rights of American families and small businesses against bureaucratic abuse as he continues to hold government agencies accountable to the taxpayers,” Deere told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement ahead of the order.
“Many Americans learn of the rule only when agents come knocking on their door,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House of federal guidance rules. “Americans will no longer be subject to hidden rules.”
The president has long throttled what he believes to be the deep state, or the idea that agencies often make their own rules without oversight from Congress.
The order gives Americans the opportunity to express their opinion before being targeted with fines and regulations. It will be the agency’s duty to inform Americans of any new rules that might affect their lives and businesses, the president noted.
Federal guidance can be created quickly, unlike regulations, which are subject to lengthy reviews.
Critics frequently cite examples where past administrations leaned on federal guidance for end-around policy creation. For instance, the Treasury Department delayed the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate in 2013 and the tax penalty for non-compliance without public comment.
Trump’s decision to sign the order comes as the Democrats begin their impeachment inquiry into the president. The inquiry is based on a whistleblower complaint charging that Trump asked Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joe Biden for allegedly urging the country to fire a prosecutor who at one time was conducting an investigation related to a company with ties to Biden’s son.