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‘I’m Here Live, I’m Not A Cat’: Texas Attorney Struggles To Remove Cat Filter During Zoom Court Hearing

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ALPINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas lawyer had the internet purring Tuesday, Feb. 9, after accidentally appearing in front of a judge on Zoom — as a cat.

After Judge Roy Ferguson calmly and without any laughter told Ponton what was going on, the attorney promised he and his assistant were aware of the issue and were working to fix it. “I’m here live,” said Ponton. “I’m not a cat.”

While Ponton was having his difficulties, the other participants on the call sat idly by before breaking into smiles.

Ponton asked if the proceedings could continue, despite his feline appearance.

The video ended before it was clear if or when the filter was removed, but Judge Ferguson shared some words of wisdom on Twitter for anyone else who appears before him in court.

“If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off.”

He also said, “These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”

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1106 days ago
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MSNBC Yet Again Broadcasts Blatant Lies, This Time About Bernie Sanders’ Opening Speech, and Refuses to Correct Them

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at a political rally to kick off his 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign at Brooklyn College in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, NY, March 2, 2019. This is the second time Bernie Sanders runs for President of the United States.Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a political rally to kick off his 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn on March 2, 2019.

Photo: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP

MSNBC is a dishonest political operation, not a news outlet. It systematically and deliberately refuses to adopt a defining attribute of a news outlet: a willingness to acknowledge factual errors, correct them, and apologize. That they not only allow their lies to stand uncorrected but reward their employees who do it most frequently – especially when those lies are directed at adversaries of the Democratic Party – proves that they are, first and foremost, a political arm of the Democratic establishment.

The most recent example is as glaring as it is malicious. On Saturday in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders delivered his first speech for his 2020 presidential campaign in front of thousands of people. MSNBC broadcast the speech live, and anyone can watch the full 2-hour event, or just Sanders’ full 35-minute speech, on YouTube.

As a result, there’s no confusion possible about what was said. Everyone can see it with their own eyes.

Before Sanders spoke, he was introduced by a series of speakers including three African-Americans: South Carolina State Rep. Terry Alexander (who spoke of Sanders’ life-long commitment to equal justice and opportunity), former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (who heralded Sanders’ long-time commitment to racial justice and his status as “only one of two white elected officials” who supported Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign run in 1984), and racial justice activist (and Intercept columnist) Shaun King (who described in detail Sanders’ history as an anti-racist and civil rights activist in the 1960s and his decades-long devotion to issues of racial equality).

After Sanders’ speech, MSNBC immediately asked its panel for its reaction. The first person they turned to was Zerlina Maxwell, who the host identified only as an “MSNBC analyst.” What the host omitted, but which Maxwell herself acknowledged, was that she was a paid official for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign against Sanders: that, revealingly, is the first person MSNBC had opine on Sanders’ speech.

After the host noted that Maxwell was making gestures of disapproval throughout Sanders’ speech and asked her what the cause was, Maxwell proceeded to state demonstrable lies about that speech. She said:

To be very serious about it, I clocked it. He did not mention race or gender until 23 minutes into the speech. And just for point of comparison, I went back and looked at Elizabeth Warren’s opening speech, for example. She mentions race and discrimination in the first paragraph. So that’s a big difference.

That is a big difference. It’s also a total lie. Sanders mentioned race, gender and discrimination multiple times at the beginning of his speech and long before the 23-minute mark, as anyone who actually watched it – which presumably includes all the MSNBC personalities on that panel who sat silently as this lie was broadcast – obviously knew was a lie. For good measure, Maxwell repeated the same lie she told on MSNBC in a tweet that she posted:

All one needs to do to prove this is an obvious lie is look at the video of Sanders’ speech – which the MSNBC panel had just done as it allowed Maxwell to deceive its audience this way.

Before Sanders even began the substance of his speech, he thanked those who introduced him, saying of Shaun King’s anti-racist activism: “All over this country – and I’m going to say a few words about it today and more tomorrow – people understand that we have a broken criminal justice system, and there are few people in America fighting more than Shaun to change that system.”

In the very first sentence Sanders spoke to define his 2020 campaign – which came, at the latest, at the 5-minute mark even if one counts all the cheering, chanting and obligatory acknowledgments that preceded the substance of the speech – Sanders proclaimed that the core message of his campaign is that “the underlying principles of our government” will “not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry.” He then vowed: “this campaign is going to end all of that.” Watch it for yourself:

In the very next passage of Sanders’ speech – at most six minutes into it – the Senator vowed that “the principles of our government will be based on justice: on economic justice, on social justice, on racial justice, on environmental justice”:

Sanders then devoted several minutes to denouncing the inequities, unfairness and destructive effects of America’s criminal justice system and the Drug War, contrasting the severe punishment meted out to low-level marijuana and other small-time offenders to the full-scale protection and even bailout for the Wall Street tycoons who crashed the economy in 2008. His other principal policy focus during that part of the speech was what he regards as the evils of Trump’s immigration policies and the xenophobia that drives it.

The disparate treatment of the criminal justice system, as I documented in my 2011 book on that topic, is racially motivated at its core, and while Sanders did not explicitly use the word “race” in discussing it, he did so – again – immediately after when, at the 20-minute mark, he said Trump “wants to divide us up based on the color of our skin, based on where we were born, based on our gender, based on our religion or sexual orientation.” The Sanders campaign at its core, he said, is about doing “exactly the opposite. We’re going to bring our people together: black and white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American, gay and straight, men and women.”

At the 22-minute mark, Sanders, as he’s been reluctant to do for most of his political career, shared his personal experiences that shaped his political ideology, including not only his working-class background but also his father’s experience as an immigrant from Poland fleeing not just “crushing poverty” but also “widespread anti-Semitism,” a decision that saved his father, since “virtually his entire family was wiped out by Hitler and Nazi barbarism.”

In sum, Sanders did not just mention race and gender once in his speech before the 23-minute mark Maxwell claimed, but did so repeatedly. It was not only the major theme of the speakers who introduced him but a primary theme of his own speech from the start: both explicitly railing against the evils of “racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry” and vowing to usher in “social justice and racial justice,” but also launching full-scale, vehement attacks on the policies – inequities in the criminal justice system and immigration abuses – that have as their primary targets racial and religious minorities.

It is, needless to say, perfectly legitimate for MSNBC to devote its airtime to critiquing what Sanders said about race and gender: to claim it’s insufficient or insincerely held or superficial. But what is indisputably unacceptable is for MSNBC to outright lie about Sanders’ speech by stating categorically that “he did not mention race or gender until 23 minutes into the speech.” That is simply a lie, and it’s a lie that would have been instantly recognizable as such to anyone who watched the speech.

Indeed, it is utterly inconceivable that both MSNBC and Maxwell are unaware that what they said about Sanders’ speech both on air and later on Twitter is false. Tweet after tweet directed at them documented this in clear and indisputable terms:

Despite all this, there is no correction from MSNBC or Maxwell: par for the course for this DNC operation masquerading as a news outlet.

Indeed, as is almost always true for MSNBC, all of these pleas that they correct their false claim have been steadfastly ignored – no correction issued – because, as I’ve repeatedly documented, lying about adversaries of the Democratic establishment is not merely tolerated or permitted at MSNBC, but is encouraged and rewarded. That’s why they purposely had the very first person to comment on Sanders’ kick-off campaign speech be a paid Clinton 2016 campaign official highly embittered toward Sanders, and it’s why MSNBC does not correct lies no matter how loudly, clearly, or indisputably you document those lies to them.

News outlets correct lies. Slimy political operations deliberately use lies to advance their agenda and smear their adversaries. MSNBC has proven over and over again that they are decisively in the latter category. This is just the latest but by no means the only or even worst example.

Updated: March 3, 2019, 2:21 pm EST:

After this story was published and MSNBC and Maxwell were besieged with demands for a correction, Maxwell tweeted this:

First, since the falsehood was originally broadcast on MSNBC, the cable network itself should broadcast any correction and an apology for misleading its viewers, not just rely on Maxwell’s Twitter feed. Second, even this “correction” is misleading – actually false – as it claims that there was only one “passing line at 6 minutes” about race and gender that Maxwell somehow “missed”; but as this article documents, there were multiple, explicit instances of Sanders’ mentioning of race and gender, rendering even her attempted correction itself false.

The post MSNBC Yet Again Broadcasts Blatant Lies, This Time About Bernie Sanders’ Opening Speech, and Refuses to Correct Them appeared first on The Intercept.

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1815 days ago
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A N.Y. Times Story Just Accidentally Shredded the Russiagate Hysteria

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Every once in a while, one of those stories comes along that makes the mainstream corporate media look like a bunch of middle-school kids filming their “news show” on an iPhone with their neck ties crooked. Recently, one of those stories splashed down into the middle of our cultural zeitgeist like a small meteor landing in the middle of an elite dinner party.

It made our mass media pundits look like hardened fools. But they have kept spouting their nonsense anyway, hoping no one notices the soup dripping down their faces.

But to talk about that, I have to talk about this: Last month we finally got to see the Senate report spelling out the Russian meddling in our last election. And it was a bombshell. It rocked the heart of our country. It shredded the inflamed mucousy core of our palpitating democracy.

As Dan Cohen reported for the Grayzone Project, the report said that “…everything from the Green Party’s Jill Stein to Instagram to Pokemon Go to the African American population had been used and confused by the deceptive Facebook pages of a private Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency.”

That’s right. Russia even used Pokémon Go to pulverize the previously pristine 2016 election. That’s ever so frightening, since Pokémon Go is CIA-backed. (I guess it’s high time we just accept that the CIA has been taken over by those ruthless vodka drinkers.)

Back to the point—we learned from the report last month that the Russian Internet Research Agency manipulated every one of us with Facebook ads. If you don’t mind though, the Senate and the corporate media (and anybody else who knows the secret oligarchy handshake) would really prefer you just ignore the fact that Facebook clearly stated: “…56% [of the Russian ads] were after the election” and “…roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone.”

But like an overweight man dressed like Wolverine at a Comic-Con, our brave congressmen and -women are not about to be dissuaded by reality. After the reports came out, Sen. Mark Warner tweeted, “Incredible. These bombshell reports demonstrate just how far Russia went to exploit the fault lines of our society and divide Americans, in an attempt to undermine and manipulate our democracy.”

Just after posting that, Warner patriotically pissed his red, white and blue Underoos.

So who are these amazing nonpartisan unbiased sleuths who put together this legitimate and nonpartisan unbiased Senate report? The New York Times found out they are a group called New Knowledge (which sounds like a terrible boy band). New Knowledge was founded by two veterans of the Obama administration, Jonathon Morgan and Ryan Fox. …So, I guess we’re, um, doing away with the “nonpartisan unbiased” thing.

Well, in that case—I say go hard or go home. I want MORE bias!

The Grayzone Project pointed out that besides working for Obama and the State Department, “… Morgan also developed technology for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the arm of the Department of Defense created for basic, applied technological research, and futuristic war toys.”

All right, all right, not bad. But I know what you’re thinking. “Lee, that might be a great bias appetizer, but we want the full bias entree!”

OK, how about this?

<blockquote> Ryan Fox is a 15-year veteran of the NSA and was a computer analyst for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) military unit. JSOC is notorious for its spree of atrocities across the Middle East. … </blockquote>

Hell yeah! You can feel that bias in my toes, can’t ya? But, the truth is, we’re still only at a 45 percent bias rating. I say we get it up to at least 65 percent. Back to Dan Cohen:

<blockquote> The report … was overseen by Renee DiResta, a former Wall Street trader and tech specialist who was recruited by Obama’s State Department to devise strategies for combating online ISIS propaganda. </blockquote>

So now we’ve got former Wall Street, former State Department, former Obama White House, former NSA, former DARPA, and former JSOC writing this completely legitimate completely factual report for the Senate about the powerful Russian impact of Facebook ads that no one ever saw.

I love it. This is like a report written by a hungry virus telling you not to wash your hands.

But hold on, it’s not only this Senate report that showed nefarious Russian meddling. It’s also all of those evil Russian bots. How do we know there are evil Russian bots? Well, most outlets quote Hamilton 68, which tracked Russian influence operations on Twitter.

Outlets like MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Mother Jones and Tiger Beat. They’re all quoting Hamilton 68 or people who are referencing work done by Hamilton 68. Well, who the hell made Hamilton 68, and why does it sound like a ’90s alt-rock band that opened for Blink 182?

Oh, what do you know! Our old friend “[Jonathon] Morgan is also one the developers of Hamilton 68. … Funded by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy—which is itself backed by NATO and USAID.”

Well OK, that sounds pretty serious. Clearly these people have found a special device that locates Russian bots on the interwebs, and it most likely resembles the thing Egon used in the “Ghostbusters” movies. So, shouldn’t we just congratulate Morgan on helping to develop the holy grail for spotting Russian bots and then call it a day? Well, there’s one itsy bitsy problem:

<blockquote>  … one of Hamilton 68’s founders, Clint Watts, admitted that the Twitter accounts it follows may actually be real people who are not Russian at all. </blockquote>

Real people? Who aren’t Russian? Call me crazy, but what I personally look for in a Russian bot is something that is at least Russian. And if not that, then a bot. And if neither, then you don’t have much of a goddamn Russian bot, do ya? Claiming these are Russian bots is like saying, “I just met the Queen of England, except she may have been a small Icelandic goat.”

Then, a few weeks ago The New York Times revealed that New Knowledge carried out an elaborate false flag operation to hurt the election chances of Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. You might recall that Roy Moore is an accused pedophile and a proven dipshit. And I don’t believe he should be elected to pick the bedbugs out of Rush Limbaugh’s armpits. But that doesn’t mean I think these New Knowledge charlatans shouldn’t be revealed for what they are.

So here’s how New Knowledge’s game worked, according to the Times. New Knowledge created a fake Facebook page in order to get conservatives in Alabama to support patio supply salesman Mac Watson instead of Roy Moore.

New Knowledge then tried to make everyone think that Moore’s campaign was working with the Kremlin by showing that he had thousands of Russian bots following his Twitter account. Many in the mainstream media ran with this outlandish idea. Mother Jones’s well-researched (sarcasm) article on the topic was titled “Russian Propagandists Are Pushing for Roy Moore to Win!” In the article they sourced (Can you guess?) Hamilton 68.

So to rehash: Hamilton 68, using their “Ghostbusters” device (patent pending), found that Russian bots (which may not be Russian and may not be bots and may not be Russian bots) were simply in love with alleged pedophiliac Alabama judges. So much so, that a majority of their tweets (meaning at least 51 percent) were in support of Roy Moore.

But as The New York Times has revealed, New Knowledge’s own internal report said, “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.”

After these revelations came out a few weeks ago, Facebook suspended some of the accounts. So now The New York Times found itself in a quandary. They must have been thinking, “We need to report on this huge development in which the core authors of the Senate report on Russian meddling and the co-founder of Hamilton 68 were involved in lying, bullshitting, and false-flagging in order to help the Democratic party. But that completely undermines the Russiagate hysteria we have anchored our ship to. What do we do?”

Well, kids, take notes. This is how you do it. This is how you have your yellowcake uranium story and eat it too.

The New York Times headline was “Facebook Closes 5 Accounts Tied to Russia-Like Tactics in Alabama Senate Race”

Russia-like tactics?! This is literally an article about how Russia was NOT involved in the Alabama senate race false flag. In fact, it’s an article on how the guy who helped write the Senate report on the so-called Russian tactics is also one of the top people at New Knowledge, which either created or pushed pretend Russian bots to support Roy Moore so that they could leak to the press, “Russian bots are supporting Roy Moore!”

Sometimes the ability of the legacy media to believe (or at least regurgitate) their own bullshit is truly breathtaking.

To sum up this fuck de cluster:

1) The Senate report is laughable.

2) Any journalist who quotes Hamilton 68 should have their face sewn to the carpet.

3) If you want ridiculous pathetic reporting on nonsense that seduces us all to the edge of nuclear annihilation, turn to your mainstream corporate media.

4) If you want someone to actually put together the truth about these issues, you’ll have to turn to alternative outlets like Truthdig or the Grayzone Project.

5) Bill Murray and the Ghostbusters were ahead of their time.

If you think this column is important, please share it. To find out about all of Lee Camp’s columns, subscribe to his free newsletter here

 This column is based on a monologue Lee Camp wrote and performed on his TV show “Redacted Tonight.”

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1854 days ago
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Vietnam vets test positive for deadly parasite in VA study

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At least five of 50 Vietnam War combat veterans who participated in a Veterans Affairs study have tested positive for a waterborne parasite that's rare beyond Asia, hides unseen in the body for decades and can cause a deadly form of liver cancer, according to interviews and documentation provided by participants in the study.

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2281 days ago
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“Oh, Right, I Can Be A Person Now”

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Wil Wheaton is a dear friend of mine. I have a huge amount of respect for him, for many reasons. He is kind, he is generous, he is honest. I’ve heard countless interviews with him talking about the mistakes he’s made in the past, and how he’s taken more control of his life.

He also suffers from a couple of different mental health issues: generalized anxiety disorder and chronic depression. Another reason I love him: He is open and straightforward about this, in a society that stigmatizes these problems. He sat down with the good folks at Project UROK — a mental health non-profit — to talk about what he’s gone through.

The last part of that is so terribly important. Here it is again:

You are not the only person in the world who has anxiety. You are not the only person in the world who has depression. You’re not the only person in the world who has thoughts of self-harm. There are people who want to help you. There are people who have spent their entire lives helping people like you and me and all of the people that you’re seeing in this video. And you’re not alone. You are okay.

I also recommend the UROK video Mara Wilson did. Her matter-of-fact approach to her anxiety disorder really puts a different face on how you might perceive mental health issues.

There’s a decent chance mental illness plays some role in your life, whether it’s you personally or someone you know and love. It’s true for me, it’s true for Wil, it’s true for all of us. One of the most important things we can do is stop treating mental illness like it’s some sort of personality failure, and start seeing it for what it is: an illness.

Another wonderful friend of mine, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, also has mental health problems and is very candid about it. She is also a national treasure. She talks about the problems with depression quite often, and, like Wil, is making great strides in removing the stigma behind it. Her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, chronicles her life with mental illness and is both profound and ridiculously (and irreverently) funny. Her new book, Furiously Happy, is a wonder, and will be available soon. I’ll write more about that when it comes out in September.

I urge you to read Jenny’s blog (which is decidedly NSFW as far as language goes), and follow her on Twitter.

The same for Wil: He’s prolific on Twitter, Tumblr, and his own blog. They’re both on the usual other social media as well. My life is better for having them in it. I hope the same is true for you.

And if you have a mental illness, remember, as Jenny says so succinctly: Depression lies. If you can, please, seek help. And also, take a moment to read this entry on Jenny’s blog. Maybe it’ll help, too.

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3150 days ago
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The Facts About How Vaccines Work

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Here’s an excellent cartoon guide to how vaccines work by Maki Naro:

The full strip is at The Nib.

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3340 days ago
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