Trump’s multi-tasking-dumb assery never ends

Taking time out from being the coronavirus grim-reaper, demented Trump continues his reckless insanity in the Middle East

Trump’s New Iran Strategy Is Both Reckless and Useless, all while that country is swamped by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump regime has been doing other things besides not doing enough about the pandemic. For example, it’s been playing a little chicken in the Arabian Sea. From Defense News:

The Navy announced March 20 that aircraft carriers Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman, and their respective escorts, are operating with a B-52 bomber in the Arabian Sea to demonstrate “combined joint capability and interoperability to plan and conduct multi-task force operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.” The image of two carriers operating together in the Arabian Sea recalled the late-2010 decision by then-CENTCOM head Gen. Jim Mattis to force the Navy to surge two carriers to the Arabian Gulf as the Obama administration pursued a carrot-and-stick approach to force Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.

The two-carrier presence requirement in place for more than two years exacted an enormous toll on the service, with Navy leaders warning it was unsustainable. The two-carrier presence nearly broke the Navy’s ability to project power with its carriers and sent deployments skyrocketing to nine months and more as the readiness accounts depleted to dangerous levels. Now, with tensions escalating over rocket attacks on U.S. bases that have killed American personnel, the Navy is once again being asked to show the flag.

 

The Trump regime has been pushing hard on Iran as that country gets swamped by the pandemic. But the presence of the two carrier groups has defense experts worried that the deployment is both reckless and useless.

“It’s an asinine strategy,” said Bryan Clark, a former senior aide to the chief of naval operations and now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. “The Iranians don’t perceive carriers [as] a threat to their ability to project power because they project power through gray zone activities and terrorism — the kinds of things that carriers aren’t very good at dealing with.”

“And when they are inside the Persian Gulf, the Iranians perceive them as being an easy target. They can range the entire gulf with shore batteries along the coast in caves and other terrain where it’s hard to root them out,” he added. “So the Iranians see the carrier as a way to get the Americans to spend a lot of money on a show of force that doesn’t really impact their strategic calculation.”…

“It adds little value, especially if you look at just the slice of history that is this past year,” Thomas said. “The U.S. already sent a carrier group, and if that wasn’t a deterrent against Iran given the escalatory actions taken by Iran over the past couple of months, I don’t see how maintaining those carriers there for an indefinite period of time is somehow the defining feature of a successful deterrent strategy.”

 

One of the latest nostrums out of Camp Run-a-muck is that we should re-open the country because “the country can do two things at a time.” One thing we ought to know is that this regime can certainly screw up two things at a time. We should keep an eye on this situation, too.

 

Edited from “Trump’s New Iran Strategy Is Both Reckless and Useless” in Esquire by Charles P. Pierce

 

American capitalism flounders under the strain of the greedy narcissist and the virulent covid 19

American capitalism doesn’t hold up that well under the stresses and strains of a virulent pandemic and this dipshit.

In the face of the coronavirus, that stingy “real-time delivery” dictum taught in business school to guide how we deploy labor and distribute stuff can be a recipe for needlessly high body counts and wealth destruction on the scale of the Great Depression.

Currently, Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell is fashioning a coronavirus pandemic stimulus package that is fashioned after the Trump/ GOP $1.7 trillion tax cut — meaning, weighted to favor corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

To be fair, this was the same impulse we saw in the Bush/Obama response to the Great Recession. Their remedy led to Wall Street’s pillaging of MLK Boulevard and Main Street, the destruction of $20 trillion in household wealth, and accelerated wealth concentration. It also left tens of millions of households in a precarious position to face this pandemic.

And while President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression in the form of the New Deal was widely praised for uplifting working-class Americans, we must remember that it left out Americans of color. Consider the Faustian bargain that FDR made with the Dixiecrats to get basic labor protections and standards for workers that expressly left out domestic and agricultural workers.

Greedy SOB Sen. Richard Barr (R.-NC), chair of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee

Greed dies hard. Now that the wolf (COVID-19) is at the door, we can see the reflex that many political leaders have to put wealth preservation above the common good. Four senators, including Sen. Richard Barr (R.-NC), chair of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, sold off significant stock holdings after being briefed on the impending coronavirus pandemic.

These greedy bastards can’t help themselves. When destiny asks them to choose between money or life, they pause to make a trade.

This is what happens when you organize every aspect of your society to promote wealth accumulation and nothing else. It’s really just physics. You invest everything in accumulating gold or money for security and all of a sudden your life gets cut short as your lungs no longer function because you caught coronavirus from some other person who accidentally became the real sculptor of your destiny.

This will come as a real downer for the wealthy elites who have structured their lives around pre-coronavirus social distancing behind the gated walls of privilege that won’t protect them now.

But it’s our grocers, postal workers, trash collectors, nurses and emergency medical technicians who hold the jobs that are the most essential and need protecting.

Similarly, our vaunted American health care system — which is designed to maximize shareholder profits and discourage patients from using it — turns out to be antithetical to promoting the public health. This for-profit model is based on scarcity, which rations access to care, ventilators and personal protection equipment for medical staff, all to feed the insatiable bottom line.

Works great until that doomsday scenario when everybody needs it.

Our whole socioeconomic framework was predicated on the notion that our society could function and feed off vast inequality, and that the day-in and day-out misery of tens of millions of American families was their problem.

It turns out that the country’s economic deprivation — reflected in hunger and homelessness — significantly complicates our ability to end the pandemic. And as this more vulnerable cohort falls ill as a consequence the inadequacy of this existing system puts the broader society at a greater risk.

Poverty may not be contagious. But COVID-19 is.

At the end of his life, as the Vietnam War raged, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King called for a “revolution of values” when he suggested that instead of the phrase “Black Power,” activists should invoke the more inclusive rallying cry “Power for Poor People” in order to build a multi-racial coalition of the impoverished and disenfranchised.

Out of that call to action, the Poor People’s Campaign was formed. Just weeks after her husband’s murder, Coretta Scott King initiated a 14-day protest in Washington, D.C. on Mother’s Day, demanding passage of an Economic Bill of Rights.

The 21st-century iteration of the Poor People’s Campaign has been calling for a “national call for a moral revival” in the throes of our current pandemic.

“With its broad sweep, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us into an unprecedented national emergency,” the Poor People’s Campaign writes on their website. “This emergency, however, results from a deeper and much longer-term crisis — that of poverty and inequality, and of a society that ignores the needs of 140 million people who are poor, or a $400 emergency away from being poor.”

Long before this coronavirus pandemic, there was already an under-reported poverty pandemic that killed hundreds every day in America in the form of missed diagnoses and delayed care.

As Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign wrote, “millions of people are in dire need of critical attention immediately. We call on you to fulfill your moral and Constitutional responsibilities: expand the COVID-19 emergency provisions to care for us all and enact our Moral Agenda immediately.”

They continue: “We cannot return to normal. Addressing the depth of the crises that have been revealed in this pandemic means enacting universal health care, expanding social welfare programs, ensuring access to water and sanitation, cash assistance to poor and low-income families, good jobs, living wages and an annual income and protecting our democracy.”

And this real-time national realignment “means ensuring that our abundant national resources are used for the general welfare, instead of war, walls, and the wealthy.”

Indeed, the Poor People Campaign’s list of demands is an essential foundation for our country’s survival:

  1. Immediate, comprehensive and permanent paid sick leave for 100% of employees for this pandemic. Paid sick leave must become standard across all sectors of the labor market.
  2. Immediate health care for all, including 100% free COVID-19 testing, treatment and quality care to all, regardless of income, age, disability, citizenship or any other factor, and including the uninsured.
  3. A guaranteed and adequate annual income / universal income, including rapid, direct payments to all low-wage and temporary workers, from grocery, fast food and delivery workers, care workers, and pharmacists to other workers who remain on the front lines and are severely underpaid.
  4. A national moratorium on evictions, tax foreclosures, rent hikes, and a national rent freeze. This includes an immediate halt to encampment sweeps and towing vehicles of unhoused communities. Federal resources must be directed to local and state governments towards opening and preparing vacant and habitable buildings, properties and warehouses to house and provide adequate care for all people who are homeless. This includes ensuring education, food assistance and health care for homeless children and provisions for medical testing, treatment, and respite for the homeless.
  5. Jubilee and debt forgiveness for medical debt, student debt, water, utilities and other forms of household debt.
  6. Protections for our democracy and the right to vote with expanded opportunities to vote during this crisis and an expanded census to ensure every person is accounted for.

And there’s more — much more.

As we refashion America, we need “a national moratorium on water and utility shut-offs, a waiver of all late-payment charges, and reinstitution of any services that have already been cut off due to nonpayment, including access to cellular and the internet.”

But this remodeling at home has to come with a recalibration of our risk threat matrix that has us spending hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowed money on further notice wars abroad.

In the shadow of COVID-19, the greatest threat to our immediate collective well- being is the miserable circumstances of our poorer neighbors we had for all too long ignored, figuring their reality had nothing to do with the rest of us.

 

 

an edited version of a Commentary in Salon by Bob Hennelly

 

 

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Donald Trump is a US Security Threat

A recently retired CIA agent reveals in a disturbing new column that Donald Trump was a “wild card” that prevented a full-scale effort to combat Russian aggression against the U.S. and its allies.

Marc Polymeropoulos, who recently retired from the CIA in June, said in a column posted at Just Security that the CIA issued an informal “call to arms” in the wake of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election, but those efforts were hampered by Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Tyrant Dictator Vladimir Putin.

“The Call to Arms required a whole-of-agency effort to counter the Kremlin,” Polymeropoulos wrote. “It involved moving resources and personnel inside CIA. Most importantly, it required a change in mindset, similar to what occurred within the Intelligence Community after 9/11, that an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach was required.”

Intelligence officials and senior leadership in law enforcement, the Pentagon and State Department agreed, but their efforts never had the full support of a skeptical president, Polymeropoulos wrote.

 “The wild card was sitting in the Oval Office,” he wrote. “With Donald Trump’s puzzling admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was not clear that he had accepted and internalized the Intelligence Community’s conclusions of Kremlin malfeasance and incessant desire to harm the United States. If anything, Trump repeatedly questioned the findings of the IC, preferring instead to accept Putin’s denials.”

Trump’s national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton agreed with the intelligence assessments on Putin’s threat as an “outlaw regime,” and helped coordinate the U.S. response to Russian aggression.

“This remains one of the great paradoxes of the Trump administration,” Polymeropoulos wrote, “that Trump could have such a clear affinity for Putin and was publicly unwilling to fully accept the results of the ICA, yet his national security team, acting under his authority, was united in countering Russian malfeasance around the world.”

But Polymeropoulos sees a reason to doubt those efforts will continue since his retirement six months ago.

“My fear stems primarily from Donald Trump, who has, in a matter of several months, quite overtly set back the overall U.S. government effort with his unfortunate meddling in Ukraine, as well as the pullback of U.S. troops from Syria,” he wrote. “Trump has provided Putin a massive gift on both fronts.”

Polymeropoulos warned that Trump’s affinity for Putin undermined the dedicated intelligence, diplomatic and military efforts to constrain Russia — and that disconnect posed an unchecked threat to democracy and national security.

We need to acknowledge the disconnect between this clear national security threat and Trump whose affinity for Putin has never been so clear as it is now, especially as it has been translated into two damaging foreign policy mishaps that have hurt our country,” he wrote. “Our national security institutions cannot fight with an arm tied behind their backs.”

Congress — both Democrats and Republicans alike — must hold Trump accountable and ensure we counter the Kremlin on a global scale, not ceding an inch,” Polymeropoulos added. “After all, the 2020 presidential election — with the Russian security services poised to act once again — is just around the corner.”

Meanwhile more treasonous criminal behavior in Ukraine

Trump attorney and bagman Rudy Giuliani this week has been in Ukraine colluding with a wide variety of shady characters with the intent of digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, despite their continued failures.

Among other people, Giuliani has been talking to are Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat who is also suspected of working for Russian intelligence operations, and Andriy Derkach, who attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow and whose father was a former KGB officer.

CNN’s David Gergen said that Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt using sources with ties to Russian intelligence has already rendered whatever purported “findings” about Biden he discovers deeply tainted.

“I think what he is doing, working with the person he’s working with over there, is so tainted that it poisons the whole effect of what he’s trying to do,” Gergen said. “I mean, to think the main point that’s been reported, the main person he’s been talking to, his father was head of intelligence for the KGB in Ukraine! The man himself graduated from a KGB school in Moscow! And the man himself was a member of… a pro-Russian party. Are we now going to have impeachment turn on the word of a KGB agent? Come on! Give me a break!”

Americans, have become the “bad guys.” 

While many people’s attention was focused on the impeachment breaking news stories, the despicable coward Trump was meeting with Turkey’s despot Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and apparently okaying a full-on offensive against our former friends and allies the Kurd’s. NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel confirmed last night that Turkey indeed had launched a new offensive against the Kurds in Northern Syria, Engel hashtagged his update with #AmericanBetrayal.

“Massive attacks underway against the Kurds in northern Syria. No ceasefire. Total nonsenses there is,” Engel reported.

Donald Trump originally greenlighted the first attacks against the Kurds during a phone call with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This action resulted in may innocent women and children being murdered, it also released many Daesh (ISIS) terrorist fighters back into the population.

“US military officials tell me they are ashamed, ‘sickened.’ It’s cold now outside. What about the families, and kids, out of their homes?” he wondered.

Of course, Trump praised Erdoğan during a White House visit on Thursday.

Richard Engel had this sobering assessment, “The more I talk to sources, the more I’m hearing America’s betrayal of the Kurds, and the humiliation, misogynistic squashing” of US ambassador in Ukraine for political motivations makes people think, we, Americans, have become the “bad guys.”  Hearing it was a gut punch.

Scam artist Trump and the Climate disaster will bankrupt the US

Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, the UN has warned. Seen here is the damage left by Cyclone Kenneth in a village north of Pemba, Mozambique: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

 

For decades Donald Trump has been losing millions and driving normally profitable businesses into the ground. Now, this idiot is poised to do this on an international scale.

Climate- and weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to a Federal Reserve official.

In addition to causing damage to natural resources and infrastructure, the Climate Crisis is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action.”

The Climate Crisis and its weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to Kevin Stiroh, an executive vice president at the New York Fed who is responsible for bank regulation.

“Climate change has significant consequences for the US economy and financial sector through slowing productivity growth, asset revaluations and sectoral reallocations of business activity,” Stiroh said at the GARP Global Risk Forum in New York on Thursday.

In addition to causing severe damage to natural resource and infrastructure damage, global warming is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years. Stiroh said climate-related changes raised the potential for losses related to policy changes, consumer sentiment, and how technological innovations affect the value of certain assets and liabilities.

“These effects will be felt across business sectors and asset classes, and on the strategies, operations and balance sheets of financial firms,” Stiroh said.

Fed Chairman Jay Powell told Congress this year that while addressing climate change fell under the direction of other agencies, the central bank would “use its authorities and tools to prepare financial institutions for severe weather events.” Others in Washington have issued similar warnings.

In a more than 1,500-page report released in late 2018, scientists from 13 federal agencies predicted that climate change would slash gross domestic product …..if steps weren’t taken to reduce the carbon emissions that warm the planet.

The scientists said extreme weather would wreak havoc on growth through adverse effects on the healthcare system, infrastructure, supply chains, labor productivity, agriculture, tourism, power generation, and electricity costs.

“With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product of many US states,” the report said.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action” and called for a national tax on carbon.

But Climate denying Trump has steadily taken steps in the opposite direction. Over the past several years, the White House has taken steps to loosen environmental rules and shrugged off a series of landmark reports on climate change.

Edited From a story in Business Insider

All fascist are not the same

Frame from Trump’s MAGA murder video

Donald Trump is not a “friendly fascist.” Unlike Ronald Reagan, the prototype for that concept, Trump does not pretend to be harmless. He does not offer up fake smiles and a cheerful nature, or display empathy and human concern for others, feigned or otherwise.

Donald Trump is direct, obvious and public in his threats against democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. Trump and his movement are working to destroy America’s multiracial democracy through appeals to a mythic past that will “Make America Great Again.” In practice, this means undoing all the social progress and democratic reforms of the last century or more and returning to a society where white people — rich white male Christians, in particular — are fully in control over all aspects of American society for all time.

And of course, Donald Trump — the not-so-friendly fascist — embraces violence as a means of achieving his goals. When Trump said famously during the 2016 presidential campaign that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue without losing his voters, it was both a threat and a promise.

“Friendly fascism” and traditional fascism are more alike than they are different. Writing in his 1980 book “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America” Bertram Gross explained this:

“In each, a powerful oligarchy operates outside of, as well as through, the state. Each subverts constitutional government. Each suppresses rising demands for wider participation in decision making, the enforcement, and enlargement of human rights, and genuine democracy. Each uses informational control and ideological flimflam to get lower and middle-class support for plans to expand the capital and power of the oligarchy and provide suitable rewards for political, professional, scientific, and cultural supporters.

A major difference is that under friendly fascism Big Government would do less pillaging of, and more pillaging for, Big Business.”

It is true that both Trump and Reagan are TV presidents: products of the worst aspects of American popular culture and its superficiality, the emphasis on the impulsive versus the meditative and contemplative. It is also true that the results of Trump’s and Reagan’s policies for the poor, the working class, the vulnerable and other marginalized groups are very similar. And it is true that Trumpism is like the venerable right-wing lie about “trickle-down economics,” dosed on meth, crack and steroids.

[T]he differences between Reagan and Trump were as important as their similarities. Reagan was an actor; Trump was a reality-TV star. Reagan came from the world of fiction; Trump came from nonfiction-based entertainment. Reagan played characters; Trump played an amplified version of himself. Reagan’s job was acting; Trump’s job was acting out.

Reagan’s preparation for being president, in other words, was years of imagining himself in the heads of other people …. Reality TV did not require you to do that. You needed to understand other people as obstacles, or as creatures who would react to stimuli, but not necessarily as full human beings with the same complexities as you. If anything, too much empathy was a liability. It was noise that kept you from being your fullest you …. This is a frightening attribute for a person who has power and responsibility for others.

Trump’s performance is seductive and beguiling for his audience. They don’t want friendly fascism — it does not satisfy their emotional needs. Trumpists want and need a “strongman,” a bully and political thug who “doesn’t take any crap.” This is projection and wish-fulfillment; Trump is their hero and an imagined cure for their own emotional ailments. In that way, Donald Trump the political cult leader is poison medicine for his followers.

Trump’s supporters are bound to him by violence, both real and imagined. This was shown yet again through the fantasy mass murder video that was shown last weekend at an event hosted by the pro-Trump group American Priority at the president’s resort in Miami. In the video, an edited scene from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” an imaginary Trump guns down numerous symbolic figures: Democratic politicians, the news media, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other perceived enemies. Donald Trump Jr. and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were featured speakers at the American Priority Conference.

Such fantasies of political violence are a defining feature of fascism and a sign of a failing democracy.

That video was shown at the American Priority conference as part of a presentation on political memes. A meme is a message that circulates rapidly, in an uncontrolled fashion, with the goal of changing how its targets think and behave. As such, the goal of the Trump mass-murder video is to encourage Trump supporters to support violence (literal or otherwise) against the president’s adversaries.

Trump himself has also shared videos and other messages on Twitter that encourage violence against the news media if they do not do his bidding.

Moreover, because violence is a core strategy and tactic of authoritarian leadership, he has suggested that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and other leading Democrats — as well, again, members of the news media who dare to criticize him — should be executed for treason.

Trump is a racial authoritarian. Racism is a form of violence.

Trump and his allies obsessively direct their violent threats and other attacks against nonwhite people as a group — notably, but not exclusively, nonwhite immigrants and migrants from Latin and South America. Trump has focused many of his most toxic attacks on prominent nonwhite Democratic elected officials such as Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, all duly elected members of Congress.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party, conservatives and their media allies are masters of stochastic terrorism. This has resulted in lethal political violence in the form of mass shootings, white supremacist riots and attacks, bombings, and hundreds of other documented hate crimes and other attacks by Trump’s supporters and those others who share his beliefs, across the United States and the world.

Predictably, Trump and his enablers have officially “condemned” the (most recent) Trump mass murder video. This supposed “condemnation” is a function of the plausible deniability which is a feature of stochastic terrorism. Trump’s defenders, including the hosts of the American Priority event claim that the video is a “parody” and a “joke.” So-called humor has long been a way of encouraging violence against a perceived enemy group, because it dehumanizes the targeted individuals and groups in a supposedly harmless context, lowering the social inhibitions on committing violence against them.

Of course, there is the hypocrisy, which is always at the heart of fascism and authoritarianism.

Comedian Kathy Griffin was pilloried by conservatives when in 2017 she posed with a fake severed head of Donald Trump.

Republicans and other gun obsessives constantly claim that video games and other violent forms of popular culture lead to mass shootings. Yet somehow a video showing the president of the United States slaughtering his “enemies” is harmless fun.

If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, as president, were featured in such a video at an event hosted by their supporters, at a property either of them owned, the right-wing news media would create an enormous public panic that might well end with their impeachment and removal from office.

Ultimately, the Donald Trump murder video is but another example of how fascism has been normalized in America. In total, Trump’s presidency has unleashed, encouraged, spawned and permitted a long, nasty smear of political scatology across American politics and American life.

It’s true that the Democrats and other decent Americans have finally become mobilized to remove Trump, either through impeachment or the ballot box. But we must not overlook the fact that Trump and his movement’s rise to power is both a problem in itself and also a symptom of a much deeper set of political and social crises.

What we are witnessing in the Age of Trump is a behemoth of broken democracy and governance in a society that has become much too rapidly accustomed to a state of malignant normality and moral inversion.

In his brilliant book “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,” political theorist Sheldon Wolin signaled to the rise of Trump and how that regime would wield power:

Anti democracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Anti democracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed “civic demobilization,” conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy.

What comes next?

There will be (more) blood.

The Trump murder video is a script. When it is followed (again) will Donald Trump and his movement suffer any consequences? No. Instead, Trump and his mouthpieces will issue their obligatory “thoughts and prayers” and “concerns” about right-wing political violence. Trump’s supporters will understand the real message behind such false proclamations. Trump’s condemnations of violence by his supporters and others acting in his name are really not-so-subtle winks of encouragement toward even more heinous actions.

 

 

Salon by way of Raw Story

Facebook lets Trump lie at will

Facebook lets Trump lie at will

Trump and Facebook

Facebook has denied a request from Joe Biden’s presidential campaign to remove a false video advertisement posted by President Trump’s campaign. The refusal comes weeks after Facebook changed its policies and decided to allow advertisements pushing misinformation from Trump and other political figures.

According to The New York Times, Biden’s campaign sent a request to Facebook asking the company to remove a Trump campaign advertisement that falsely suggested the vice president had offered Ukraine $1 billion in aid to fire a prosecutor investigating a company tied to his son. On Tuesday, Facebook refused to take the ad down, responding, “Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression” and “respect for the democratic process.”

In September, Facebook changed its policies to no longer prohibit ads that include “deceptive, false, or misleading content, including deceptive claims, offers, or methods.” Additionally, Facebook said that “ads from political candidates are ineligible for fact-checking.”

Even before the policy tweak, the Trump campaign had repeatedly posted false and misleading Facebook ads, along with ads using “invasion” rhetoric invoked by white nationalists, even though Facebook’s policies prohibit “violent” or “dehumanizing” attacks against a group of people based on immigration status.

Along with the issue of misinformation proliferating in its ads, the platform continues to struggle with detecting and removing propaganda and other misinformationincluding from foreign actors such as Russia. These current challenges add to Facebook’s history of problems with privacy, fake news, civil rights, and more.

https://www.mediamatters.org/facebook/facebook-refused-take-down-false-trump-ad-after-request-bidens-campaign