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Pro-Russia bots are hyping Antifa threat on Twitter — while downplaying white supremacist violence: report

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If you’ve noticed a lot more stories about Antifa popping up in your social media feeds recently, you can at least partially thank Russian bots.

Bloomberg reports that Hamilton 68, an online dashboard designed by researchers at the Alliance for Securing Democracy to track the influence of Russian propaganda bots on social media, has found that the bots have been working to hype up the threat posted by Antifa, the anti-fascism group that endorses the use of violence to directly confront neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist organizations.

“A top theme users boosted the week after the Charlottesville clashes was ‘alt-right alarmism’ about the left-wing anti-fascist movement, known as Antifa, according to the dashboard findings,” writes Bloomberg. “The most-tweeted link in the Russian-linked network followed by the researchers was a petition to declare Antifa a terrorist group.”

The researchers behind Hamilton 68 see the tactics being used by Russian propaganda bots — which also pointedly attacked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) over his criticism of President Donald Trump’s response to Charlottesville — as a dry run for what’s to come in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Laura Rosenberger, senior fellow and director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, tells Bloomberg that the bots at the moment are “sowing seeds of discord” while “potentially laying the groundwork for what they’re going to do in 2018 or 2020” to influence American elections.

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2020 Election

A number of Democrats running for president are kind of weird about food

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The New York Times has posted a series of short videos of the Democratic candidates for president answering important questions, like what they propose to do about our broken health care system and just how crooked Donald Trump is. Because campaign coverage demands candidates be allowed “human” (debatable!) moments, the Times also asked the participating candidates about their go-to comfort foods on the campaign trail.

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Reparations, concentration camps and racial slurs: Republicans want to turn all discussion of race into pointless culture war debates

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It wasn’t slavery. They are concentration camps. Racial slurs are not a youthful indiscretion.

This week has seen a series of culture-war debates dominate the discourse only to be derailed by bad faith arguments about semantics.

First, on Monday, nearly all of the right-wing ecosystem was engaged to defend the honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior and gun rights activists Kyle Kashuv after he revealed that his admission to Harvard had been rescinded. At least one of Kashuv’s classmates in Parkland, Florida, released a number of text messages from him which included racist and misogynistic attacks on fellow students, including the description of black athletes as “niggerjocks.”

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Pentagon gives senators classified briefing on UFOs reported by the Navy

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While it might sound like something out of "The X-Files," Navy pilots have been seeing UFOs, and U.S. Senators now want to know what's happening.

According to Politico, three more senators met with Pentagon officials for a classified briefing Wednesday about encounters pilots are having with unidentified aircraft. It seems the Pentagon is getting more and more requests by officials with high clearances to figure out what's happening.

The crafts are, at their most basic, nothing more than "unidentified aircraft," and while it isn't likely they're little green men, there are some senators who might have concerns about whether these UFOs are actually a foreign adversary.

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