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Steve Bannon heads in a new direction: Dark money and ‘social welfare’

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Steve Bannon heads in a new direction Dark money and social welfare

When Steve Bannon’s name is mentioned in a conversation, it’s normally about Donald Trump, the alt-right, Breitbart, immigration, and sometimes even white nationalism. Words that aren’t normally associated with the former White House adviser are “social welfare,” but his newest plan includes forming a tax-exempt social welfare organization.

No, seriously.

Bannon intends to set up a 501(c)(4) to push his and President Trump’s agenda forward. The significance of such a tax status is that it allows him to collect “dark money” – donations from individuals and corporations that do not have to be reported publicly. There’s a catch to such an organization. According to the IRS, a 501(c)(4) is intended for “social welfare” and cannot have politics as its “primary activity.”

In other words, they need to do enough to help the world in a way that satisfies IRS criteria for social welfare. With the rest, they can go after politics and there’s no way to know who has money plugged in.

A source close to Bannon told Axios he’d be focusing on China, trade, immigration, education, and inner city infrastructure development. The last two should qualify easily as “social welfare” while the first three will likely be positioned in ways that allow Bannon’s group to claim them as social welfare as well.

Overall, the intent is to promote the President’s agenda. Of this there should be little doubt. The reason they’re willing to mess with social welfare at all is because it gives them the cover their donors need. There are plenty of big donors out there that would love to support certain aspects of the President’s agenda but would never associate their money with him or his causes publicly. By filing as a 501(c)(4), Bannon’s group hopes to be the dark money pit in which these donors can pump their dollars.

Further Reading

Steve Bannon’s new group

https://www.axios.com/steve-bannons-new-group-2510881591.htmlWhy it matters: For all the speculation about Bannon’s relationships with donors he’s had no fundraising apparatus to date.

What we don’t know: Which donors will fund the group. And we may never know because, under the law, Bannon won’t have to tell us.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

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Media

Facebook’s plan to filter the news and blame users for the results

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Facebooks plan to filter the news and blame users for the results

If there’s one thing Facebook has gotten much better at over the years, it’s in how they spin their policy changes. There was a time not too long ago when everything they did blew up in their face from public backlash as they fumbled through updates and changes. Today, they’ve learned how to paint the narrative the way they want us to see it.

The latest version of this is their “objective” way of determining which news sources get promoted and which get filtered out of timelines. Their methodology: rely on users to essentially vote on which sources to trust and which to pan. With a majority of users leaning left, it’s pretty easy for Facebook to be “objective” and still get the desired results.

Here’s the story from Daily Caller:

Facebook Fights Fake News By Letting Users To Rank News Sources

Facebook, which has taken heat for spreading misinformation, plans to start ranking news sources by how “trustworthy” users believe they are, according to a statement on the latest News Feed update. News sources will be evaluated on trustworthiness, how informative it is, and relevance, but Facebook will not be making decisions on news outlets itself. “We… (more…)

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Democrats

DOJ to retry Menendez

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DOJ to retry Menendez

Senator Bob Menendez had hopes his day in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons was over after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his federal corruption case late last year. Those days away from the spotlight may soon be over for the Democrat as the Department of Justice announced their intentions to retry him and his co-defendant Salomon Melgen.

Feds intend to retry Menendez and Melgen ‘at the earliest possible date’

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/bob-menendez-retrial-justice-department-350904“The United States files this notice of intent to retry the defendants and requests that the Court set the case for retrial at the earliest possible date,” reads the one-paragraph notice signed by AnnaLou Tirol, acting chief of the department’s public integrity section. “Defendants Robert Menendez and Salomon Melgen have been indicted for bribery and corruption by two separate grand juries properly impaneled in the District of New Jersey. The first trial ended in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. An early retrial date is in the best interests of the public, and the United States is available to schedule a retrial at the Court’s earliest convenience.”

My Take

I’m no lawyer, but the evidence against Menendez is pretty clear cut. An unfavorable jury and bungling by prosecutors made it hard for the jury to reach a verdict while mainstream media essentially ignored the story until the verdict. I hope to see justice served.

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News

Social media one cause for adolescence now starting at 10 and lasting until 24

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Social media one cause for adolescence now starting at 10 and lasting until 24

A new scientific paper out of England proposes that social media is one cause for both the premature ending of childhood and delayed transition to adulthood until age 24.

The age of adolescence

www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(18)30022-1/fulltextAdolescence is the phase of life stretching between childhood and adulthood, and its definition has long posed a conundrum. Adolescence encompasses elements of biological growth and major social role transitions, both of which have changed in the past century. Earlier puberty has accelerated the onset of adolescence in nearly all populations, while understanding of continued growth has lifted its endpoint age well into the 20s. In parallel, delayed timing of role transitions, including completion of education, marriage, and parenthood, continue to shift popular perceptions of when adulthood begins.

The paper suggests a view of adolescence as between the ages of 10 and 24 “corresponds more closely to adolescent growth and popular understandings of this life phase.”

The paper also remarked on the role of social media, regarding it as being among the “unprecedented social forces…affecting health and wellbeing across these years.”

The paper cited “delayed timing of role transitions, including completion of education, marriage and parenthood” in affecting the perception of when adulthood effectively begins. It goes on to suggest the longer range of adolescence is “essential” for “developmentally appropriate framing of laws, social policies, and service systems.”

If the paper’s premise were adopted, one logical conclusion would be the extension of the period in life when one might enjoy the privileges of adulthood, such as voting and driving automobiles, without the corresponding responsibilities or legal liabilities of being an adult (for which those costs are often shifted to the innocent victims or society in general). For example, in many states, minors (under age 18) are treated as juveniles and often receive much more lenient sentences (and charging decisions) on account of age, even when their crime is very much a “grown-up” crime and the impact of the crime on the victim is no less.

One can also view this as cynical social engineering. A call to increase social services, with the justification of an expanded population “in need” and “at risk,” would result in subsequent calls for increased government funding of social services. As someone has to be paid to provide those services, the redefinition of adolescence can be suspected to be merely the latest pseudo-scientific attempt to lengthen the public employee / social services gravy train, which always seems to run on time.

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