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Right-wing billionaires are funding Facebook meme factories to get you to vote Republican

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The image shows Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) cooly adjusting his tie, as a hysterical looking woman in the background screams while being restrained by an officer. It was posted online following Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in high school.

“I hate to brag. I just took the most thug life @LindseyGrahamSC photos of the entire Kavanaugh saga. [Story soon]” tweeted right-wing provocateur Benny Johnson. The pic took on a life of its own, as other online users superimposed more messaging on it, like a picture of Joe Biden inappropriately touching the woman.

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Welcome to the meme wars. An investigation by Mother Jones has found that conservatives have learned to weaponize memes — images occasionally superimposed with text that are designed to go viral — while liberals have largely ignored them. And they’re planning to use them to sway the outcome of the 2020 election, likely in favor of Donald Trump.

Although memes typically emerge organically, Mother Jones discovered that well-funded conservative activists and organizations have started training tech-savvy young conservatives on how to use memes to influence real world electoral and policy outcomes.

Turning Point USA, which is partly funded by right-wing philanthropist Foster Freiss, is prioritizing meme-training.

“Memes are tools for information warfare,” Boston University professor Gianluca Stringhini, who studies memes, told Mother Jones. “Probably this is a new way of doing politics. A new weapon that campaigns can use.”

Media Matters’ President Angelo Carusone explained why conservatives are more adept at memes.

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On the left “every meme has to have a million qualifiers, so that it’s no longer a meme. It’s a Medium post,” he told Mother Jones. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to communicate their ideas “in ways that are very reductionist. They’re also much more comfortable lying, and their audiences are much more likely to accept it.”

Memes have been behind promoting conspiracy theories as varied as Pizzagate and the idea that Hillary Clinton was deathly ill during the campaign.

TPUSA had a budget of $8 million last year and helped promote “Big Government Sucks” memes on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Benny Johnson hosts tutorials on successful right-wing meme creation. He concluded a recent presentation with a hopeful message for right-wingers.

“Smile. You’re on the winning side,” he said.

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Indicted Giuliani associate helped Nunes arrange meetings during his overseas trips to discredit the Russia investigation

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On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that Lev Parnas, the Rudy Giuliani associate currently under federal indictment for campaign finance violations, helped Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) arrange meetings in Europe as part of his efforts to discredit the investigation of Russian contacts within President Donald Trump's campaign.

According to congressional records, Nunes, in his capacity as then-House Intelligence Chairman, visited Europe from November 30 to December 3, of last year, during which he was accompanied by three staffers — Derek Harvey, Scott Glabe, and George Pappas — at a taxpayer expense of over $63,000.

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Rick Wilson mocks GOP as impeachment witnesses ‘obliterate’ their talking points: ‘Dumber than a sack of hair’

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On Wednesday, as the House wrapped up another day of bombshell impeachment testimony from multiple foreign service officers, former GOP strategist and Never Trump conservative Rick Wilson mocked President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, pointing out that all of their major talking points to defend the president's conduct in Ukraine have been "obliterated":

1/ Hey committee Republicans! Have you noticed every single line of defense that you've mounted this week for the president has been utterly fucking obliterated?

Is this clear to you yet?

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Pro-Trump fundraisers subpoenaed by Manhattan federal prosecutors investigating Giuliani henchmen

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On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors with the Southern District of New York have issued subpoenas for a number of people financing President Donald Trump's re-election effort, as well as independent pro-Trump groups, as part of their investigation of indicted Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

Among those subpoenaed are Brian Ballard, a Trump campaign donor, and two people who helped fundraise for the super PAC America First Action, all of whom allegedly worked with Parnas and Fruman as they helped Giuliani run the Ukraine scheme.

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