WHITE HOUSE STRIKES BACK: Press Secretary slams ‘anonymous’ source of New York Times op-ed piece

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House on Thursday hit back hard at a supposed administration insider who anonymously wrote an opinion piece published by the New York Times questioning Donald Trump’s mental stability.

In a statement released to Twitter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders wrote:

“For those of you asking for the identity of the anonymous coward:

The media’s wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward is recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump. Stop.

If you want to know who this gutless loser is, call the opinion desk of the failing NYT at 212-556-1264.”

The response caused an almost instantaneous uproar on social media, with some demanding that Sanders be fired for releasing the telephone number to the Times’ opinion desk.

Richard Painter, a chief ethics lawyer under former president George W. Bush, tweeted that Sanders was “misusing her official position” and that her post “is a direct affront to the First Amendment.”

“She should be fired,” Painter told Newsweek on Thursday.

Norm Eisen, the top ethics official under ex-President Barack Obama and chairman of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, echoed Painter’s observation, adding that he saw Sanders’ actions as a federal ethics violation.

“A government official inciting the public to flood the phones of a private corporation & media outlet with harassing calls–openly interfering with its work–is a violation of the prohibition on “Misuse of Position” in 5 CFR 2635.702,” Eisen tweeted on Thursday. “Oh, the 1st Amendment is kinda relevant too.”

Calls to the White House for statement on the matter were met with “there will be no further comment”.

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WAR ON CONSERVATIVES: Justice Department announces it will take on social media sites over alleged censoring of the right

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Justice Department on Wednesday announced Attorney General Jeff Sessions will investigate claims that social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are censoring pages based on their conservative views.

The announcement came after a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing was held in which top officials from Facebook and Twitter faced often intense grilling on whether or not they had ever targeted or “shadow banned” conservative pages for political gain, claims Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has repeatedly denied.

“The Attorney General has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” the statement said.

President Donald Trump has claimed that he, himself, has been the target of censorship and “fake news” by both the mainstream press and on social media and that he believes platforms including Facebook and Twitter often discriminate against conservatives based on their own left-leaning political bias.

“Maybe I did a better job because I’m good with the Twitter and I’m good at social media, but the truth is they were all on Hillary Clinton’s side, and if you look at what was going on with Facebook and with Google and all of it, they were very much on her side,” Trump said.

“What we’re concerned about is how Twitter has in some ways it looks like selectively, adversely affected conservatives,” Rep. Steve Scalise, (R)-La., said during Wednesday’s House hearing.

Scalise cited Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R)-Tenn., who claimed her Senate campaign announcement video was taken down by Twitter as an example. In response, Twitter claimed that the removal of Blackburn’s campaign video was “a mistake” which was quickly corrected, and apologized for the “error”.

Throughout his testimony, Dorsey pushed back several times, denying claims that he nor anyone to his knowledge at Twitter had ever targeted conservatives to further a political agenda.

“I want to start by making something clear: we don’t consider political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation in any of our policies or enforcement decisions. Period,” he said. “Impartiality is our guiding principle.”

The Justice Department did not set a date for the upcoming meeting and it has not yet been revealed how many attorneys general will attend.

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BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING: Facebook creating tool that will allow it to put cameras, microphones in user homes

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In a turn of events that mimics George Orwell’s ‘1984’, social media giant Facebook is developing a gadget that will allow it to place cameras and microphones in the homes of Facebook users.

According to a report published by Cheddar (https://cheddar.com/videos/exclusive-facebook-dives-into-home-device-market-with-video-chat-product-named-portal), the social media network is preparing to release the hardware, called Portal, which was developed by a Facebook department called Building 8. The same department, says the report, is also working on developing “mind-reading technology”.

“Rather than position the device as a smart assistant akin to Amazon’s Echo speakers, Facebook intends to pitch Portal as a way for families and friends to stay connected through video chatting and other social features,’ the report states. “Facebook plans a formal product introduction in early May at its annual developer conference and hopes to ship the device in the second half of 2018.”

Although Facebook has not officially commented on the forthcoming project, Andrew Bosworth, the company’s vice president of augmented and virtual reality, wrote on Twitter: ‘Can’t comment on speculation but can confirm it’s going to be an exciting year for AR/VR’.

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AND SO IT BEGINS: WISCONSIN COMPANY TO BEGIN MICROCHIPPING EMPLOYEES

RIVER FALLS, WI — A Wisconsin company announced this week that it will begin microchipping their employees, according to a report published by USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2017/07/24/wisconsin-company-install-rice-sized-microchips-employees/503867001/).

The company behind the decision, Three Square Market, which is based out of River Falls, Wisconsin, says the time has come and that others need to step up and follow their technological example.

“It’s the next thing that’s inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it,” the software development company’s Chief Executive Officer, Todd Westby, said of the move.

More than 50 of the company’s employees will begin having the devices implanted in their hands starting next week, says Westby. Each chip is about the size of a single grain of rice and can be used to purchase items in place of a traditional debit or credit card.

In addition to using the chips to store their financial information, Westby says they will also be able to use the chip to gain access to the company building and log onto their computers.

“We’ll come up, scan the item,” Westby explained, while showing how the process will work at an actual break room market kiosk. “We’ll hit pay with a credit card, and it’s asking to swipe my proximity payment now. I’ll hold my hand up, just like my cell phone, and it’ll pay for my product.”

Each chip costs around $300, the cost of which will be covered by the company. Westby says the chip is implanted between a person’s thumb and forefinger and the data is both encrypted and secure.

Westby says the company plans to market the technology to other major companies, many of which, he says, have already expressed a great deal of interest.

Critics of the technology, however, say microchipping human beings sounds a little too much like “1984” and question the true need for it.

“Conceptually you could get data about your health, and you could [get] data about your whereabouts, how often you’re working, how long you’re working, if you’re taking toilet breaks and things like that,” microbiologist Ben Libberton of the Swedish university Karolinska Institute told Australian ABC (http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/human-body/swedish-company-epicenter-implants-microchips-into-employees/news-story/5c48700ebb54262ae389db085593ab12). All of that data could conceivably be collected. So then the question is: What happens to it afterwards? What is it used for? Who is going to be using it? Who is going to be seeing it?”

Westby says that at this point getting the chip is voluntary and that no employees are being forced to receive the technology. He did not clarify if at any point in the future, however, that may change.

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