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    In Trump’s Shadow: David Drucker surveys the Republican runners and riders for 2024

    BooksIn Trump’s Shadow: David Drucker surveys the Republican runners and riders for 2024 Mike Pence and Marco Rubio are among presidential alternatives examined by a writer with knowledge and accessLloyd GreenSun 24 Oct 2021 02.00 EDTLast modified on Sun 24 Oct 2021 02.01 EDTDonald Trump is a defeated one-term president who cost the Republican party both houses of Congress. Yet three-quarters of Republicans want him to again run in 2024, polling that has other aspirants keeping their heads well down.‘A xenophobic autocrat’: Adam Schiff on Trump’s threat to democracyRead moreJoe Biden is politically vulnerable, his job approval underwater, his coalition fraying. He could meet the same fate as Trump – sans residual enthusiasm.The next Republican nominee could easily be the next president. Against this backdrop, David Drucker’s Baedeker to the current crop of wannabes is a perfectly timed and well-informed contribution.As senior political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, a conservative paper, he knows of whom and what he writes. Better yet, he has access. In Trump’s Shadow is chock-full of tidbits and trivia, the stuff on which political junkies and journalists thrive.Drucker names an array of Republican presidential hopefuls, among them long-shots such as the Texas governor, Greg Abbott; the Nebraska senator Ben Sasse; and Trump’s last national security adviser, Robert O’Brien.Drucker delivers deeper dives on former vice-president Mike Pence; the Florida senator Marco Rubio and governor, Ron DeSantis; Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations; the Arkansas senator Tom Cotton; and the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. In doing so, he covers the Republican ideological spectrum.Drucker also reports on an interview with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort and retreat. Not surprisingly, Trump has kind words for Mike Pompeo, his former secretary of state; contempt for Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader; and disdain for Liz Cheney, the congresswoman from Wyoming and daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney who turned against Trump over the Capitol riot.“She’s a psycho,” says the very stable genius.Trump has, however, had time to grow appreciative of “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, the Texas senator whose father and wife Trump attacked viciously during the primaries in 2016.Amid such Trumpian cacophony, Drucker reminds us of just who within the GOP is laying groundwork for runs for the White House, and how realistic their hopes might be. It is a tricky and contorting dance. But though Trump can dominate coverage, he cannot completely extinguish ambitions. Drucker pulls back the curtain on other figures’ schemes, dreams – and hard political infrastructure.Take Pence. Once a congressman from Indiana, then its governor, he began preparing for the top step on the ladder the moment he was elected Trump’s VP. Pence established a separate political operation within the White House and a fundraising Pac of his own, the Great America Committee. He used it to pay expenses while stumping for Republicans around and across the country.Trump was fine with that. It meant Pence would not look to his boss to pay his travel bills. The veep had a stash of his own.Since leaving office, Pence has also launched Advancing American Freedom, a political non-profit which touts “conservative values and policy proposals”. More importantly, it is stocked with Trump loyalists. Kellyanne Conway, the mother of “alternative facts”. Larry Kudlow, chief White House economic adviser. Newt Gingrich, once speaker of the House, a colleague on the right. All are there.Drucker also sheds light on Pence’s defiance of Trump and service to the republic, in the aftermath of a defeat by Biden which Trump sought to overturn with lies about electoral fraud. As a traditional conservative, Drucker writes, Pence was skeptical of the power of the vice-president to unilaterally steal an election. Before he certified results, he sought a legal opinion, which debunked Trump’s false claim that he could.When Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, on 6 January, some chanted “Hang Mike Pence”. Others erected a makeshift gallows. Pence was forced to hide, but he refused to leave.Ten months on, Team Pence seems not to know what to think or say. It was “a dark day in the history of the US Capitol”, Drucker records Pence telling one crowd. But Pence later told Fox News “the media wants to distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January”.The political momentum is clear. Pence’s own brother, a congressman from Indiana, voted against certifying the election. This week, Greg Pence was the only no-show in the House on the vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt for defying the 6 January committee. Two-thirds of Republicans deny that the Capitol riot was an attack on the government. The right has a new Lost Cause.Drucker also does justice to Rubio, capturing the senator’s tendency to “chase the latest shiny object”, be it immigration reform in 2013 or police reform after the murder of George Floyd. He’s “the butterfly”, according to one Republican strategist.“Marco goes to every brightly colored flower and sticks his nose right in the middle of it, [then] takes a little bit of honey and stands in front of it to see if anyone’s looking at the flower.”Rigged review: shameless – and dangerous – catnip for Trump’s baseRead moreIn 2016, Rubio won three Republican nominating contests but was battered by Trump in his home state, losing the Florida primary by nearly 20 points. Before 2024, he will face a stern Senate challenge from Val Demings, an African American ex-cop and impeachment floor manager.Demings has out-raised Rubio recently but Rubio has $3m more in the bank. This, remember, is a politician who once purportedly told a friend: “I can call up a lobbyist at four in the morning, and he’ll meet me anywhere with a bag of $40,000 in cash.”He also has a history of credit card problems. Imagine what a President Rubio might do with the national debt.If nothing else, Drucker reminds us that though Trump rules Red America, like rust, ambition never sleeps. The starter’s flag on the race for the Republican nomination has yet to fall. In Trump’s Shadow is fine preparatory reading.
    In Trump’s Shadow is published in the US by Twelve
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    Facebook boss ‘not willing to protect public from harm’

    The ObserverFacebookFacebook boss ‘not willing to protect public from harm’ Frances Haugen says chief executive has not shown any desire to shield users from the consequences of harmful content Dan MilmoSat 23 Oct 2021 21.02 EDTLast modified on Sun 24 Oct 2021 04.23 EDTThe Facebook whistleblower whose revelations have tipped the social media giant into crisis has launched a stinging new criticism of Mark Zuckerberg, saying he has not shown any readiness to protect the public from the harm his company is causing.Frances Haugen told the Observer that Facebook’s founder and chief executive had not displayed a desire to run the company in a way that shields the public from the consequences of harmful content.Her intervention came as pressure mounted on the near-$1tn (£730bn) business following a fresh wave of revelations based on documents leaked by Haugen, a former Facebook employee. The New York Times reported that workers had repeatedly warned that Facebook was being flooded with false claims about the 2020 presidential election result being fraudulent and believed the company should have done more to tackle it.Frances Haugen: ‘I never wanted to be a whistleblower. But lives were in danger’Read moreHaugen, who appears before MPs and peers in Westminster on Monday, said Zuckerberg, who controls the business via a majority of its voting shares, has not shown any willingness to protect the public.“Right now, Mark is unaccountable. He has all the control. He has no oversight, and he has not demonstrated that he is willing to govern the company at the level that is necessary for public safety.”She added that giving all shareholders an equal say in the running of the company would result in changes at the top. “I believe in shareholder rights and the shareholders, or shareholders minus Mark, have been asking for years for one share one vote. And the reason for that is, I am pretty sure the shareholders would choose other leadership if they had an option.”Haugen, who quit as a Facebook product manager in May, said she had leaked tens of thousand of documents to the Wall Street Journal and to Congress because she had realised that the company would not change otherwise.She said: “There are great companies that have done major cultural changes. Apple did a major cultural change; Microsoft did a major cultural change. Facebook can change too. They just have to get the will.”This weekend, a consortium of US news organisations released a fresh wave of stories based on the Haugen documents. The New York Times reported that internal research showed how, at one point after the US presidential election last year, 10% of all US views of political material on Facebook – a very high proportion for Facebook – were of posts falsely alleging that Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent. One internal review criticised attempts to tackle Stop the Steal groups spreading claims on the platform that the election was rigged. “Enforcement was piecemeal,” said the research.The revelations have reignited concerns about Facebook’s role in the 6 January riots, in which a mob seeking to overturn the election result stormed the Capitol in Washington. The New York Times added that some of the reporting for the story was based on documents not released by Haugen.A Facebook spokesperson said: “At the heart of these stories is a premise which is false. Yes, we’re a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of people’s safety or wellbeing misunderstands where our commercial interests lie. The truth is we’ve invested $13bn and have over 40,000 people to do one job: keep people safe on Facebook.”Facebook’s vice-president of integrity, Guy Rosen, said the company had put in place multiple measures to protect the public during and after the election and that “responsibility for the [6 January] insurrection lies with those who broke the law during the attack and those who incited them”.It was also reported on Friday that a new Facebook whistleblower had come forward and, like Haugen, had filed a complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US financial regulator, alleging that the company declined to enforce safety rules for fear of angering Donald Trump or impacting Facebook’s growth.Haugen will testify in person on Monday to the joint committee scrutinising the draft online safety bill, which would impose a duty of care on social media companies to protect users from harmful content, and allow the communications regulator, Ofcom, to fine those who breach this. The maximum fine is 10% of global turnover, so in the case of Facebook, this could run into billions of pounds. Facebook, whose services also include Instagram and WhatsApp, has 2.8 billion daily users and generated an income last year of $86bn.As well as issuing detailed rebuttals of Haugen’s revelations, Facebook is reportedly planning a major change that would attempt to put some distance between the company and its main platform. Zuckerberg could announce a rebranding of Facebook’s corporate identity on Thursday, according to a report that said the company is keen to emphasise its future as a player in the “metaverse”, a digital world in which people interact and lead their social and professional lives virtually.Haugen said Facebook must be compelled by all regulators to be more transparent with the information at its disposal internally, as detailed in her document leaks. She said one key reform would be to set up a formal structure whereby regulators could demand reports from Facebook on any problem that they identify.“Let’s imagine there was a brand of car that was having five times as many car accidents as other cars. We wouldn’t accept that car company saying, ‘this is really hard, we are trying our best, we are sorry, we are trying to do better in the future’. We would never accept that as an answer and we are hearing that from Facebook all the time. There needs to be an avenue where we can escalate a concern and they actually have to give us a response.”TopicsFacebookThe ObserverSocial networkingMark ZuckerbergUS elections 2020US CongressUS politicsReuse this content More

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    ‘Striketober’ is showing workers’ rising power – but will it lead to lasting change?

    US unions‘Striketober’ is showing workers’ rising power – but will it lead to lasting change?A post-pandemic labor shortage has given workers leverage but experts doubt it will lead to a sustained rise in union membership Steven GreenhouseSat 23 Oct 2021 03.00 EDTLast modified on Sat 23 Oct 2021 03.02 EDTUS labor unions have been on the defensive for decades but this October there has been a surprising burst of worker militancy and strikes as workers have gone on the offensive to demand more. Experts are predicting more actions to come but whether “Striketober” can lead to permanent change remains an open question.The scale of industrial action is truly remarkable. Ten thousand John Deere workers have gone on strike, 1,400 Kellogg workers have walked out, as well as a walkout threatened by more than 30,000 Kaiser Permanente workers, all inflamed by a profound disconnect between labor and management.America’s strike wave is a rare – and beautiful – sight to behold | Hamilton NolanRead moreMany frontline workers – after working so hard and risking their lives during the pandemic – say they deserve substantial raises along with lots of gratitude. With this in mind and with myriad employers complaining of a labor shortage, many workers believe it’s an opportune time to demand more and go on strike. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a strongly pro-union president in the White House and there’s more public support for unions than in decades.But some corporations are acting as if nothing has changed and they can continue corporate America’s decades-long practice of squeezing workers and demanding concessions, even after corporate profits have soared.This attitude doesn’t sit well with Chris Laursen, who earns $20.82 an hour after 19 years at Deere’s farm equipment factory in Ottumwa, Iowa. Laursen is upset that Deere is offering just a one-dollar-an-hour raise and wants to eliminate pensions for future hires even when Deere anticipates a record $5.7bn in profits this year, more than double last year’s earnings.“We were deemed essential workers right out of the gate,” Laursen said, noting that many workers racked up lots of overtime during the pandemic. “But then they came with an offer that was appallingly low. It was a slap in the face of the workers who created all the wealth for them.”Many Deere workers complain that the company offered only a 12% raise over six years, which they say won’t keep pace with inflation, even as the CEO’s pay rose 160% last year to $16m and dividends were raised 17%. Deere’s workers voted down the company’s offer by 90% before they went on strike at 14 factories on 14 October, their first walkout in 35 years.“We really showed up during the pandemic and kept building equipment for them,” Laursen said. “Now we want something back. The stars are finally lined up for us, and we had to bring the fight.”Thomas Kochan, an MIT professor of industrial relations, agreed that it was a favorable time for workers – many corporations have substantially increased pay in response to the labor shortage. “It’s clear that workers are much more empowered,” he said. “They’re empowered because of the labor shortage.”Kochan added: “These strikes could easily trigger more strike activity if several are successful or perceived to be successful.”Robert Bruno, a labor relations professor at the University of Illinois, said workers have built up a lot of grievances and anger during the pandemic, after years of seeing scant improvement in pay and benefits. Bruno pointed to a big reason for the growing worker frustration: “You can definitely see that American capitalism has reigned supreme over workers, and as a result, the incentive for companies is to continue to do what’s been working for them. It’s likely that an arrogance sets in where companies think that’s going to last for ever, and maybe they don’t read the times properly.”Kevin Bradshaw, a striker at Kellogg’s factory in Memphis, said the cereal maker was being arrogant and unappreciative. During the pandemic, he said, Kellogg employees often worked 30 days in a row, often in 12-hour or 16-hour shifts.In light of this hard work, he derided Kellogg’s contract offer, which calls for a far lower scale for new hires. “Kellogg is offering a $13 cut in top pay for new workers,” Bradshaw said. “They want a permanent two-tier. New employees will no longer receive the same amount of money and benefits we do.” That, he said, is bad for the next generation of workers.Bradshaw, vice-president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union local, noted that it made painful concessions to Kellogg in 2015. “We gave so many concessions, and now they’re saying they need more,” he said. “This is a real smack in the face during the pandemic. Everyone knows that they’re greedy and not needy.”Kellogg said its compensation is among the industry’s best and its offer will help the company meet competitive challenges. Deere said it was determined to reach an agreement and continue to make its workers “the highest paid employees in the agriculture industry”.There are many strikes beyond Deere and Kellogg. More than 400 workers at the Heaven Hill bourbon distillery in Kentucky have been on strike for six weeks, while roughly 1,000 Warrior Met coalminers in Alabama have been on strike since April. Hundreds of nurses at Mercy hospital in Buffalo went on strike on 1 October, and 450 steelworkers at Special Metals in Huntington, West Virginia, also walked out that day. More than 30,000 nurses and other healthcare professionals at Kaiser Permanente on the west coast have voted to authorize a strike.Sixty thousand Hollywood production employees threatened to go on strike last Monday, unhappy that film and TV companies were not taking their concerns about overwork and exhaustion seriously. But seeing that the union was serious about staging its first-ever strike, Hollywood producers flinched, agreed to compromises, and the two sides reached a settlement.Noting that Kaiser Permanente, a non-profit, had amassed $45bn in reserves, Belinda Redding, a Kaiser nurse in Woodland Hills, California, said, “We’ve been going all out during the pandemic. We’ve been working extra shifts. Our lives have been turned upside down. The signs were up all over saying, ‘Heroes Work Here’. And the pandemic isn’t even over for us, and then for them to offer us a 1% raise, it’s almost a slap in the face.”Redding is also fuming that management has proposed hiring new nurses at 26% less pay than current ones earn – which she said would ensure a shortage of nurses. “It’s hard to imagine a nurse giving her all when she’s paid far less than other nurses,” Redding said.Kaiser said that its employees earn 26% more than average market wages and that its services would become unaffordable unless it restrains labor costs.Many non-union workers – frequently dismayed with low pay, volatile schedules and poor treatment – have quit their jobs or refused to return to their old ones after being laid off during the pandemic. In August, 4.2 million workers quit their jobs, part of what has been called the Great Resignation. Some economists have suggested this is a quiet general strike with workers demanding better pay and conditions. “People are using exit from their jobs as a source of power,” Kochan said.As for unionized workers, some labor experts see parallels between today’s burst of strikes and the much larger wave of strikes after the first and second world wars. As with the pandemic, those catastrophic wars caused many Americans to reassess their lives and jobs and ask: after what we’ve been through, don’t we deserve better pay and conditions?Professor Bruno said that in light of today’s increased worker militancy, unionized employers would have to rethink their approach to bargaining “and take the rank and file pretty seriously”. They can no longer expect workers to roll over or to strong-arm them into swallowing concessions, often by threatening to move operations overseas.Bruno questioned whether the surge in strikes will be long-lasting. He predicts that the improvements in pay and job quality will be long-lasting, adding that that was more likely than unions substantially increasing their membership. He said that if workers see others winning better wages and conditions through strikes, that will raise unions’ visibility and lead to more workers voting to join unions.Despite the recent turbulence, Ruth Milkman, a sociologist of labor at City University of New York, foresees a return to the status quo. “I think things will go back to where they were once things settle down,” she said. “The labor shortage is not necessarily going to last.” She sees the number of strikes declining once the labor shortage ends.In her view, union membership isn’t likely to increase markedly because “they’re not doing that much organizing.“There’s a little” – like the unionization efforts at Starbucks in Buffalo and at Amazon – “but it’s not as if there’s some big push.”A big question, Milkman said, was how can today’s labor momentum be sustained? She said it would help if Congress passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would make it easier to unionize workers. That law would spur unions to do more organizing and increase their chances of winning union drives.“That would be a real shot in the arm,” Milkman said.TopicsUS unionsUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Biden gives strongest signal he’s ready to move to end Senate filibuster

    Joe BidenBiden gives strongest signal he’s ready to move to end Senate filibusterAfter voting rights defeat, president expresses mounting frustration over rule that allows 41 senators to block legislation Ed Pilkington@edpilkingtonFri 22 Oct 2021 09.21 EDTLast modified on Fri 22 Oct 2021 14.08 EDTJoe Biden has given the strongest indication yet that he is willing to end or whittle down the Senate filibuster as a means of overcoming Republican intransigence and moving ahead with reforms to voting rights, the debt ceiling and possibly more.Speaking in Baltimore a day after Senate Republicans yet again blocked legislation designed to secure access to the ballot box for all Americans, Biden expressed mounting frustration at the filibuster, which effectively gives the conservative minority a stranglehold over large swaths of policy.Twitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outletsRead more“We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster,” the president said.At a CNN town hall in Baltimore on Thursday night, Biden hedged on how far any reform would go. “That remains to be seen,” he said, “in terms of fundamentally altering it or whether or not we just end the filibuster straight up.”Asked by the moderator Anderson Cooper whether he would consider ending the filibuster on the issue of voting rights alone, Biden replied: “And maybe more.”The filibuster has emerged as the rock upon which the ship of the Biden presidency could founder. The Senate mechanism locks in minority rule by allowing just 41 senators out of the 100 who sit in the chamber to block legislation.The present Senate has a 50:50 split between Democrats and Republicans, though the Democrats hold the majority by dint of Kamala Harris, the vice-president’s, tie-breaking vote. Yet the Democratic agenda is still stymied across important areas of public policy by the filibuster, which requires Democratic whips to find 60 votes to pass legislation.On Wednesday the Republican group led by Mitch McConnell applied the filibuster once more to hold back the Freedom to Vote Act. The bill would be the most significant overhaul in US election procedures in a generation, countering the wave of voter suppression measures that have been championed by Republicans across the states this year.Progressive Democrats have been increasingly pressuring Biden to be more aggressive on the filibuster in order to secure fundamental reforms. But the president is in a tight spot given the resistance to change from within his own ranks.Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, have both said they would oppose limiting the filibuster. Given universal Republican opposition to change, it would take a unanimous vote of all 50 Democrats to push this through.Biden told the CNN town hall that entering into the hornet’s nest of the filibuster at this moment could make it harder for him to pass other pieces of signature legislation. “I lose at least three votes right now to get what I have to get done on the economic side of the equation, the foreign policy side of the equation.”The president did not stipulate which three senators he had in mind.Earlier this month the Democrats began focusing on the idea of scrapping the filibuster in the critical area of the debt ceiling. Republican opposition pushed the nation to the brink of defaulting on its debt, though McConnell backed down at the last minute.Biden told the town hall that “the idea that, for example, my Republican friends say that we’re going to default on the national debt because they’re going to filibuster that and we need 10 Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing I ever heard.”He said that if a similar clash reoccurred, “you’ll see an awful lot of Democrats being ready to say, ‘not me. I’m not doing that again. We’re going to end the filibuster.’ But it still is difficult to end the filibuster beyond that.”TopicsJoe BidenUS SenateUS politicsUS CongressnewsReuse this content More

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    Twitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outlets

    TwitterTwitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outletsHome feed promotes rightwing tweets over those from the left, internal research finds Dan Milmo Global technology editorFri 22 Oct 2021 08.04 EDTLast modified on Fri 22 Oct 2021 10.59 EDTTwitter has admitted it amplifies more tweets from rightwing politicians and news outlets than content from leftwing sources.The social media platform examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. It also studied whether political content from news organisations was amplified on Twitter, focusing primarily on US news sources such as Fox News, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.The study compared Twitter’s “Home” timeline – the default way its 200 million users are served tweets, in which an algorithm tailors what users see – with the traditional chronological timeline where the most recent tweets are ranked first.The research found that in six out of seven countries, apart from Germany, tweets from rightwing politicians received more amplification from the algorithm than those from the left; right-leaning news organisations were more amplified than those on the left; and generally politicians’ tweets were more amplified by an algorithmic timeline than by the chronological timeline.According to a 27-page research document, Twitter found a “statistically significant difference favouring the political right wing” in all the countries except Germany. Under the research, a value of 0% meant tweets reached the same number of users on the algorithm-tailored timeline as on its chronological counterpart, whereas a value of 100% meant tweets achieved double the reach. On this basis, the most powerful discrepancy between right and left was in Canada (Liberals 43%; Conservatives 167%), followed by the UK (Labour 112%; Conservatives 176%). Even excluding top government officials, the results were similar, the document said.Twitter said it wasn’t clear why its Home timeline produced these results and indicated that it may now need to change its algorithm. A blog post by Rumman Chowdhury, Twitter’s director of software engineering, and Luca Belli, a Twitter researcher, said the findings could be “problematic” and that more study needed to be done. The post acknowledged that it was concerning if certain tweets received preferential treatment as a result of the way in which users interacted with the algorithm tailoring their timeline.“Algorithmic amplification is problematic if there is preferential treatment as a function of how the algorithm is constructed versus the interactions people have with it. Further root cause analysis is required in order to determine what, if any, changes are required to reduce adverse impacts by our Home timeline algorithm,” the post said.Twitter said it would make its research available to outsiders such as academics and it is preparing to let third parties have wider access to its data, in a move likely to put further pressure on Facebook to do the same. Facebook is being urged by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to distribute its research to third parties after tens of thousands of internal documents – which included revelations that the company knew its Instagram app damaged teenage mental health – were leaked by the whistleblower Frances Haugen.The Twitter study compared the two ways in which a user can view their timeline: the first uses an algorithm to provide a tailored view of tweets that the user might be interested in based on the accounts they interact with most and other factors; the other is the more traditional timeline in which the user reads the most recent posts in reverse chronological order.The study compared the two types of timeline by considering whether some politicians, political parties or news outlets were more amplified than others. The study analysed millions of tweets from elected officials between 1 April and 15 August 2020 and hundreds of millions of tweets from news organisations, largely in the US, over the same period.Twitter said it would make its research available to third parties but said privacy concerns prevented it from making available the “raw data”. The post said: “We are making aggregated datasets available for third party researchers who wish to reproduce our main findings and validate our methodology, upon request.”Twitter added that it was preparing to make internal data available to external sources on a regular basis. The company said its machine-learning ethics, transparency and accountability team was finalising plans in a way that would protect user privacy.“This approach is new and hasn’t been used at this scale, but we are optimistic that it will address the privacy-vs-accountability tradeoffs that can hinder algorithmic transparency,” said Twitter. “We’re excited about the opportunities this work may unlock for future collaboration with external researchers looking to reproduce, validate and extend our internal research.”TopicsTwitterSocial mediaDigital mediaUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Manchin thwarts Biden’s climate plan: Politics Weekly Extra

    As Joe Biden gears up for his trip to Glasgow for the Cop26 summit, Senator Joe Manchin continues to try to water down the reconciliation bill, which as it stands includes transformational provisions to stem the adverse affects of the climate crisis. Joan Greve and Oliver Milman look at the potential fallout for the world if Manchin gets his way

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    House holds Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress

    House of RepresentativesHouse holds Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of CongressContempt citation for Bannon approved by 229 votes to 202Strategist refused to comply with Capitol attack subpoena Hugo Lowell in WashingtonThu 21 Oct 2021 16.32 EDTLast modified on Thu 21 Oct 2021 17.05 EDTThe House voted on Thursday to hold Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, over his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack.House votes to hold Bannon in contempt for defying Capitol attack subpoena – liveRead moreThe approval of the contempt citation, by 229 votes to 202 against, escalates the select committee’s efforts to punish Bannon for his non-compliance as they intensify their inquiry into whether then-president Trump helped plan or had advance knowledge of the insurrection.The House select committee chair, Bennie Thompson, the Democratic congressman from Mississippi, said the authorization of the criminal referral against Bannon signalled their determination to deploy their most aggressive measures to take action both against Bannon and any other Trump aides who might ultimately defy subpoenas.“We need to make it clear that no person is above the law, we need to take a stand for the committee’s investigation, and for the integrity of this body,” Thompson said on the House floor.“What sort of precedent would it set for the House of Representatives if we allow a witness to ignore us, flat out, without facing any kind of consequences? What message would it send to other witnesses in our investigation? I’m not willing to find out,” he added.The move to request the justice department to prosecute Trump’s former chief strategist also marks a stinging personal rebuke to Bannon, and opens a new legal front in the select committee’s efforts to pursue information from inside the White House and Trump circles before 6 January.Members on the select committee recommended that the House hold Bannon in criminal contempt after they unanimously rejected the notion that Trump’s former chief strategist could claim absolute immunity from congressional oversight on grounds of executive privilege.The select committee had issued subpoenas last month to Bannon and top Trump administration officials – including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, his deputy Dan Scavino, and former defense department aide Kash Patel – under the threat of prosecution.But directed by Trump and his attorney to defy the orders, Bannon ignored his subpoena in its entirety, infuriating the select committee that then moved immediately to vote to recommend that the House find him in contempt of Congress.The referral now heads to the justice department, where the attorney general, Merrick Garland, the US attorney for the District of Columbia and the Office of Legal Counsel are required by law to weigh a prosecution and present the matter before a grand jury.Should the justice department secure a conviction against Bannon, the consequences could mean up to a year in federal prison, $100,000 in fines, or both – though it would still not force his compliance and pursuing the misdemeanor charge could take years.The select committee views Bannon’s testimony as crucial to their investigation, since he was in constant contact with Trump in the days and weeks leading up to the Capitol attack.Bannon was one of the key architects – alongside Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and lawyer John Eastman – of the plan to stop the certification of Joe Biden election’s win and attempt the extraordinary move of returning Trump to the Oval Office, according to a source familiar with the matter.That meant Bannon was involved in meetings with the Trump campaign – and potentially even Trump himself – at the Trump International hotel and the Willard hotel in Washington the night before the Capitol attack.Bannon also appeared to predict the Capitol attack itself, saying on his War Room podcast the day before the insurrection that left five dead and 140 injured, including dozens of police officers, and lawmakers and staff in fear for their lives: “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”In opening remarks before the vote to recommend Bannon’s prosecution, the Republican vice-chair of the select committee, Liz Cheney, suggested the reason for his non-compliance might be because he was fearful of compromising Trump.“Mr Bannon’s and Mr Trump’s privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however: they suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And we will get to the bottom of that,” Cheney said.But despite the high stakes, Bannon informed the select committee he would not cooperate with his 23 September subpoena, and claimed the materials and testimony requested by the panel were protected by executive privilege and could not be turned over to Congress.The select committee rejected that argument on Tuesday.Bannon’s legal argument also faces a steep uphill struggle, with the Biden justice department appearing inclined to adopt a narrow interpretation on executive privilege, previously allowing top Trump justice department officials to testify to Congress about 6 January.In the contempt report for Bannon, the select committee noted that they had requested documents and testimony regarding his contacts with members of Congress and the Trump campaign, which could not conceivably be covered by a White House secrecy protection.The contempt report noted that even if the select committee accepted his executive privilege claim, it would still not have allowed him to ignore the subpoena since the protection exists for White House officials – and Bannon was fired by Trump in 2017.TopicsHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsSteve BannonDemocratsRepublicansDonald TrumpUS CongressnewsReuse this content More