The “Drunk Pelosi” Smear

White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi After White House Meeting: ‘I Pray For The President’ | MSNBC

The Story: 

A video that purported to show the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, slurring her words in a manner that suggested she was under the influence of alcohol, ricocheted around social media, with help from the President and from his personal attorney, beginning on May 22. The video was a fake, and this fakery has enhanced the already considerable polarization of politics in the United States.

The Fakery:

After President Trump walked out of a scheduled meeting about infrastructure initiatives with the Democratic leadership, Speaker Pelosi gave a statement saying that “we” (that leadership) “want to give this President the opportunity to do something historic for this country,” that is, rebuild roads and bridges to last.

A part-time sports blogger in the Bronx, who also appears to be a deep-dyed Trump admirer, slowed down the audio of Pelosi making that “we want to give …” statement, and altered her voice tone, producing the impression of drunkenness.

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who now serves as the President’s private lawyer, posted the doctored footage on his twitter feed with the comment, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

The Thing to Know: 

The facts that (1) the fraud spread as quickly as it did, and (2) it then unravelled as completely as it did, suggests both reasons for pessimism and for optimism with regard to the world’s plague of fake news in general.

Politicians squabble over who is to blame for Amazon decision to ditch New York


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has slammed Amazon for pulling the plug on plans to set up a headquarters in the city, saying the decision caught him by surprise. (Feb. 14) AP

Politicians on the left and right continued sniping Sunday over who is to blame for Amazon’s shocking decision last week to scuttle plans to build a second headquarters in New York City.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., castigated New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her repeated criticism of the deal.

“If Joe Crowley was still a congressman, it wouldn’t have happened,” King said in an interview that aired Sunday on AM 970 in New York, according to The Hill. Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley, a longtime Queens congressman, in a Democratic primary last year.

“It’s like putting a sign up that you can’t do business in New York,” King said. “Nothing is ever perfect, but in this case, it was as close to it as you’re going to get.”

On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who helped broker the deal, blamed Amazon for reacting so abruptly to the criticism.

“I have no problem with fellow progressives criticizing a deal or wanting more from Amazon,” he said on the program. “I wanted more from Amazon, too, but the bottom line is, this is an example of an abuse of corporate power.

“Amazon took their ball and went home and what they did was confirm people’s worst fears about corporate America. Here’s the 1 percent dictating to everyone else even though we gave them a fair deal.”

How Michael Bloomberg Used His Money to Aid Democratic Victories in the House

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, was the biggest outside spender aiding Democratic House candidates. Cheryl Senter/Associated Press

A week before the Nov. 6 election, Kendra Horn, a Democratic House candidate in Oklahoma, received unexpected good news from her television consultant: Michael R. Bloomberg’s political action committee, a leading supporter of Democratic candidates, had purchased more than $400,000 in advertising on Oklahoma City television.

Still, Ms. Horn’s campaign did not realize just how big a boost it was receiving. The ad was not just a general get-out-the-vote message supporting Democrats, as they had assumed. Instead it attacked her Republican opponent, the incumbent Steve Russell, on his education record.

Ms. Horn’s campaign manager, Ward Curtin, said that once they saw the ad, “Obviously, we recognized it was a big deal.”

With just days to go before the election, and Ms. Horn fighting an uphill battle in a deeply conservative state, Mr. Bloomberg’s group had effectively doubled the television spending on her behalf, catching Mr. Russell flat-footed and unable to respond.

Ms. Horn, who had trailed in both a local poll and in Mr. Bloomberg’s internal polling, won by 3,338 votes.

Big donors — like the Adelsons, the Uihleins and the Koch brothers on the Republican side, and Tom Steyer and George Soros on the Democratic side — have become integral and influential players in every election cycle. But in this year’s midterm elections, Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, emerged as a powerful and effective force, as well as the biggest outside spender promoting Democratic House candidates, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Records filed so far show that organizations controlled and funded by Mr. Bloomberg spent more than $41 million on 24 House races, much of it on eye-catching ads rolled out on social media and broadcast on television in the crucial final days of the campaign.

And while it’s impossible to conclude that any one factor tipped the balance in a race, Mr. Bloomberg appears to have reaped the benefits of his millions in giving. Democrats won 21 of the 24 races he sought to influence. Of those, 12 had been considered either tossups or in Republican districts.

“The mission was to flip the House. Success or failure would be defined by that,” said Howard Wolfson, a senior adviser to Mr. Bloomberg.

Assessing the election outcome, Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, cited Mr. Bloomberg’s spending as a significant factor. “Michael Bloomberg’s money went a long way. He defeated a lot of people by writing those $5 million checks,” Mr. McCarthy told CNBC.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, credited Mr. Bloomberg’s operation for picking smart races.

Oklahoma City’s population is becoming younger and more diverse, a fact that helped propel a Democrat, Kendra Horn, to victory in a traditionally Republican House district. But the city’s changing demographics are only one part of the story.

“I don’t think you could say they were the difference between the Democrats winning and losing the majority,” Mr. Kondik said, “however I think you could say that Mr. Bloomberg and his late money may have made a difference in a few of the surprising results that helped pad the size of the Democratic majority.” He pointed to Ms. Horn’s campaign as an example.

Mr. Bloomberg, who first ran for New York mayor as a Republican but recently registered as a Democrat, is considering his own run for the White House in 2020. He is scheduled to appear in Iowa, the first presidential caucus state, on Tuesday to host a premiere of a documentary.

Mr. Bloomberg’s organization in many ways mirrors the Senate and House majority PACs that raise and spend money to support individual candidates, focusing on close…

Giuliani says firm defending corrupt Romanian-American is paying him

Giuliani said it was not improper for him to intervene in a foreign country’s law enforcement while simultaneously representing the US president and that the work was unconnected.

Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is being paid to assist lawyers working to free a wealthy Romanian-American real estate magnate who was convicted and sentenced to prison over a corrupt land deal.

Giuliani last week wrote to Romania’s president and prime minister to complain about the nature of their country’s efforts to tackle corruption. He called for an amnesty for people convicted under what he called the “excesses” of the Romanian anticorruption authorities.

The former New York City mayor said on Tuesday that he wrote the letter under a retainer he is paid by the Freeh Group, a private consultancy run by Giuliani’s friend Louis Freeh, a former FBI director and federal judge. Giuliani declined to say how much he was paid.

Freeh represents Gabriel “Puiu” Popoviciu, who was convicted in 2016 of crimes relating to his purchase of land in Bucharest that he developed into a shopping mall. The conviction was upheld last year by an appeals court and Popoviciu was sentenced to seven years in prison. After police struggled to find him, he was located in London and arrested.

In a statement last year, Freeh said he had concluded that Popoviciu’s conviction…

Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty After Giuliani Offers to Be His Lawyer

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Michael D. Cohen decided on Tuesday to plead guilty to a host of financial crimes shortly after Rudolph Giuliani offered to be his lawyer on a pro-bono basis, Giuliani confirmed.

In an interview with Jake Tapper, on CNN, the former New York City mayor said that he had offered to give Cohen “the kind of defense that only I am capable of giving.”

“The minute I said that, the blood drained from his…

Politics Podcast: The Rudy Giuliani Rampage

It’s been an interesting couple of days for President Trump and his new lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani contradicted the president about payments to Stormy Daniels in a Wednesday interview and spent the rest of the week adding details and clarifications to the original contradiction.

In this episode, the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast team talks to New York University constitutional law professor Rick Pildes about whether the new…

Michael Bloomberg: Brexit is stupidest thing any country has done besides Trump

Brexit stupidest thing any country has done besides Trump, says Bloomberg – video

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul and former mayor of New York, has said Brexit is the “single stupidest thing any country has ever done” apart from the election of Donald Trump as US president.

Bloomberg argued that “it is really hard to understand why a country that was doing so well wanted to ruin it” with the Brexit vote, in a series of outspoken remarks made at a technology conference in Boston a fortnight ago.

At that event, Bloomberg, 75, also warned that some workers at the financial media company that bears his name were asking to leave the UK and US because they think the two countries no longer like immigrants and are no longer welcoming.

The CEO was in London on Tuesday to open a new European headquarters for Bloomberg in the City, covering 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres). But his earlier remarks, unearthed the same day, suggested he had regrets about making the investment decision because of the Brexit vote.

“We are opening a brand new European headquarters in London – two big, expensive buildings. Would I have done it if I knew they were going to drop out? I’ve had some thoughts that maybe I wouldn’t have, but we are there, we are going to be very happy.

“My former wife was a Brit, my daughters have British passports, so we love England – it’s the father of our country, I suppose. But what they are doing is not good and there is no easy way to get out of it because if they don’t pay a penalty, everyone else would drop out. So they can’t get as good of a deal as they had before.”

He added: “I did say that I thought it was the single stupidest thing any country has ever done but then we Trumped it.”

Bloomberg employs 4,000 staff in the UK and 20,000 worldwide, and the New York-based firm has long made the country its headquarters…