This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter

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About a year ago, 18-year-old college student Lauren Batchelder stood up at a political forum in New Hampshire and told Donald Trump that she didn’t think he was “a friend to women.”

The next morning, Trump fired back on Twitter — calling Batchelder “an arrogant young woman” and accusing her of being a “plant” from a rival campaign. Her phone began ringing with callers leaving threatening messages that were often sexual in nature. Her Facebook and email in-boxes filled with similar messages. As her addresses circulated on social media and her photo flashed on the news, she fled home to hide.

“I didn’t really know what anyone was going to do,” said Batchelder, now 19, who has never discussed her experience with a reporter until now. “He was only going to tweet about it and that was it, but I didn’t really know what his supporters were going to do, and that to me was the scariest part.”

This is what happens when Trump targets a private citizen who publicly challenges him.

When Trump tweeted about Batchelder in October 2015, he had fewer than 5 million followers; he now has more than 17 million and has bragged that having a Twitter account is “like owning the New York Times without the losses.” Twitter has become Trump’s cyber-magic wand, allowing him to quickly act on a fleeting idea, a fit of anger or something he sees on television. Now that he is the president-elect, the power of Trump’s tweets has only increased.

With one tweet, Trump can change headlines on cable news, move financial markets or cause world leaders to worry. With one tweet last week, Trump inflamed a conflict with China. With another tweet on Tuesday, Trump caused Boeing stock to plummet. With a third on Wednesday night, Trump prompted a series of threatening calls to the home of a union leader who had called him a liar.

[I’m the union leader Donald Trump attacked. I’m tired of being to lied to about our jobs.]

Although Trump said months ago that he was likely to give up Twitter if elected, he has shown little sign of doing so. He will soon inherit the @POTUS account, which has 12.5 million followers.

“I think I am very restrained, and I talk about important things,” Trump said during an interview with the “Today” show this week. “Frankly, it’s a modern-day form of communication. . . . I get it out much faster than a press release. I get it out much more honestly than dealing with . . . dishonest reporters. So many reporters are dishonest.”

For Batchelder, who studies history and gender studies at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H, the abuse continues more than a year later. Five days before the election, she received a Facebook message that read: “Wishing I could f—ing punch you in the face. id then proceed to stomp your head on the curb and urinate in your bloodied mouth and i know where you live, so watch your f—ing back punk.”

During her first semester at Saint Anselm in fall 2015, Batchelder decided to volunteer for former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s campaign, even though her views were much more liberal than his. To her, it was just an enjoyable opportunity to learn more about the Republican Party. She listed the volunteer position on her online résumé but later realized that she truly is a Democrat.

On Oct. 12, 2015, Batchelder attended a bipartisan forum in Manchester and said to Trump: “So, maybe I’m wrong, maybe you can prove me wrong, but I don’t think you’re a friend to women.”

Trump defended himself, saying he gave women positions of power at his construction sites, has influential women in his life and will fund women’s health initiatives.

“I love women, I respect women, I cherish women,” Trump said at one point.

Batchelder asked for the microphone again.

“I want to get paid the same as a man, and I think you understand that, so if you become president, will a woman make the same as a man, and do I get to choose what I do with my body?” she said, then throwing her arms up in a questioning gesture.

Trump answered curtly: “You’re going to make the same if you do as good of a job, and I happen to be pro-life, okay?”

[The art of punching down: How Trump fights back]

CNN and other media outlets covered the striking exchange, which generated conversation online. But Batchelder went to bed that night thinking her moment in the spotlight was over.

After midnight, Trump’s director of social media tweeted out screengrabs of Batchelder’s social-media accounts. Trump’s supporters launched investigations of their own. At 7:39 a.m., Trump tweeted: “The arrogant young woman who questioned me in such a nasty fashion at No Labels yesterday was a Jeb staffer! HOW CAN HE BEAT RUSSIA & CHINA?”

Later that morning, Trump tweeted again: “How can Jeb Bush expect to deal with China, Russia + Iran if he gets caught doing a ‘plant’ during my speech yesterday in NH?”

Tim Miller, Bush’s former spokesman, said the campaign had nothing to do with Batchelder’s asking the question. While the staff was accustomed to Trump’s attacking Bush, they were stunned that he went after a college student.

“If I was going to plant a question, I would have planted a better question,” Miller said Thursday.

Batchelder agreed: “Why would they ever send me out to do a pro-choice question? Guys, [Bush] is pro-life, which was one of my biggest problems with the Republican Party. And so I was like: ‘Why would they ever send me to do that?’”

Logic doesn’t matter to online trolls, who rated Batchelder’s physical appearance, threatened to rape or otherwise hurt her and called her vulgar names. A photoshopped picture popped up online depicting her face covered in semen.

“I love social media, but I also saw the terrible side of social media,” she said. “I definitely tried to focus on something else because when you’re seeing your life being played out in front of you and people are judging it and people are making assumptions about you, you kind of just want to stay away.”

[In one tweet, Trump trashes two constitutional amendments]

Batchelder turned down interview requests, ignored the nasty messages and threw herself into playing rugby. She became even more interested in women’s issues and wants to be a human rights lawyer. She voted for Hillary Clinton for president.

Trump’s Twitter account says it was created in March 2009, but Trump really started to use the account as a key communication tool in 2012 when he seriously considered running for president, said longtime friend Roger Stone.

“He loves it,” Stone said Thursday. “This is what got him elected — being outspoken.”

Trump dictates many of his tweets to “one of the young ladies” who work in his office.

“So they’ll type it out for me, real fast, bring it in — I’ll be in a meeting. ‘Blah, blah, blah, boom!’ Put an exclamation point here, and they’ll send it out,” Trump said in a May interview on Fox News.

But on weekends, evenings and during early-morning hours — such as when the first tweet about Batchelder was posted — Trump says he writes and sends his own tweets. The messages will often come seconds or minutes after the topic is covered on a major news network. Melania Trump said during an April town hall with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she has repeatedly told her husband to get off Twitter, especially after midnight.

“Anderson, if he would only listen,” she said. “I did many times. And I just say: ‘Okay, do whatever you want.’ He’s an adult. He knows the consequences.”

Batchelder hopes that Trump stops targeting people on Twitter, especially people such as she who are not public figures, and uses Twitter as President Obama has. She realizes that speaking out is likely to spark another wave of abuse, but she thinks it’s important for people to realize the harm that a single tweet can cause.

“Twitter is such a powerful platform. He can make a difference. He can change the world,” she said. “And, using Twitter, I think he should use it for good. I think he should use it to uplift others.”

Hillary Clinton attacks 'fake news' in post-election appearance on Capitol Hill


Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid stands with Hillary Clinton next to Reid’s official portrait during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Reid is marking the end of his 34-year career in Congress with the unveiling of his official portrait. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Hillary Clinton challenged Congress Thursday to combat fake and misleading news on social media, using a post-election appearance to tackle an issue that gripped her presidential campaign and culminated with a shooting incident Sunday in Northwest Washington.

Without directly citing the shooting at Comet Ping Pong, by a man who believed a false online conspiracy related to her campaign, Clinton said the “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media” presented a danger to both the nation’s politics and the safety of its citizens.

“It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences. This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities,” Clinton said during an address that was otherwise meant as a tribute to retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

It was just the second high-profile appearance Clinton has made since conceding the election to President-elect Donald Trump the day after the Nov. 8 election.

[For the new ‘yellow journalists’, opportunity comes in clicks and bucks]

In the weeks leading up to and after the elections, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others were flooded with articles that looked like real news stories that were sometimes thinly connected to reality and sometimes completely baseless. Many of the stories floated conspiracy theories about Clinton and her family, but one particularly bizarre story came about after the FBI decided to review some new emails from her tenure as secretary of state that were discovered on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman who is the estranged husband of one of Clinton’s closest advisers, Huma Abedin.

Those emails were uncovered in a separate FBI investigation into allegations that Weiner had inappropriate, sexually explicit online communications with a minor, but the FBI wanted to review the emails as part of its prior probe of whether Clinton’s email practices exposed classified information.

But far-right online sites began posting stories, with no connection to reality, alleging that Clinton’s campaign was involved in an underage sex ring at Comet Ping Pong, a family-friendly pizza place that is frequented by John Podesta, her campaign chairman. It created a fervor of calls and social media activism from conservatives, and then on Sunday a North Carolina man entered the pizza place with two guns to conduct a “self investigation,” according to police. The standoff ended without injury, but police said his weapon was discharged inside the restaurant.

On Thursday Clinton voiced support for some federal legislation to address the “fake news” issue. She did not make clear what legislation could combat the problem, but a Pentagon policy bill that cleared the House and Senate this week included a bipartisan plank that would create a new office in the State Department that would work across multiple agencies to come up with a strategy to counter foreign propaganda efforts.

Some independent researchers have traced the fake news stories back to Russia and other Eastern Europe sites, and during the campaign senior U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Russian entities were behind the successful hacks into the emails of staff at the Democratic National Committee and senior Clinton campaign officials, including Podesta.

Here are Clinton’s full remarks on the fake news issue:

“Let me just mention briefly one threat in particular that should concern all Americans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike, especially those who serve in our Congress: the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year. It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences. This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days, to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.

“It’s a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly. Bipartisan legislation is making its way through Congress to boost the government’s response to foreign propaganda and Silicon Valley is starting to grapple with the challenge and threat of fake news. It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives.”

Do Trump’s Cabinet picks want to run the government — or dismantle it?

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President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency has gone to court to stop its enforcement efforts.

His pick for secretary of education has been accused of trying to undermine traditional public schools, while his choice for Housing and Urban Development has questioned the need for the kind of safety-net programs the department administers.

And Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services has been bent on dismantling some of the agency’s signature health insurance initiatives.

Presidential transitions, particularly those from one political party to another, often usher in significant changes. But even for an incoming Republican administration, Trump’s personnel choices are striking for what they suggest about how fundamentally he wants to alter the aims of many Cabinet departments — in most cases moving in a sharply conservative direction.

“The fact is many of these folks are at odds with the stated mission of the agencies they have been tapped to run,” said Jim Manley, a former longtime aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), adding that “clearly elections have consequences.”

The news on Thursday that Trump had picked fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as his labor secretary only added fodder for critics of the president-elect’s choices. Puzder, who runs CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., is opposed to significantly raising the federal minimum wage and making more workers eligible for overtime pay, objectives the Obama administration has championed.

[Trump picks critic of minimum-wage hike to head Labor Dept.]

Installing Cabinet heads with agendas at odds with their predecessors is in many ways “common practice,” said Bruce Buchanan, a professor of government at the University of Texas. “But it’s stronger than usual here. Trump is not a doctrinaire conservative, but he seems desirous of putting his own stamp on government. This is an effort to rebrand and steer the agencies in a new direction.”

Conservatives — some of whom spent the election season suspicious of Trump’s true policy aims — have cheered most of his choices, arguing they will help rein in overreaching agencies in Washington. Liberal critics, meanwhile, are sounding alarms, sometimes in hyperbolic terms.

After Trump announced Wednesday that he would nominate Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, as his EPA administrator, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said that was like “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.”

Pruitt, who hails from an oil-and-gas state, has used his current post to sue the EPA over its Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

When Trump named Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and conservative activist, as his education secretary, the pushback from some quarters was also strong.

Citing DeVos’s advocacy of voucher programs that divert money from traditional public schools, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Trump made it clear he wants to “focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”

[Trump hires a third general, raising concerns about heavy military influence]

On Thursday, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) said Trump’s choice of Puzder at the Labor Department threatened “one of our nation’s most successful federal agencies” that has ensured “every American who works hard and plays by the rules can enjoy dignified work and economic opportunity.”

Citing Puzder’s business practices, DeLauro said that if he is confirmed, “the fox is in the henhouse.”

Democrats have also been critical of Trump’s choice of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general, questioning, among other things, whether someone with a record of trying to restrict voting rights should preside over the agency that seeks to protect them.

Trump’s reach to the right for Cabinet picks has surprised some observers, who confessed they didn’t know what to expect from a former Democrat whose policy positions during the campaign were not always firmly rooted in ideology.

“With him, who knew what he believed on Monday, when he was apt to say something different on Tuesday?” said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution think tank.

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for President George W. Bush, said he thinks the nature of this election, in which voters clearly wanted “change,” has given Trump more latitude to make the appointments he wants.

“What I’m seeing is a blunt confidence in what he wants to do,” Fleischer said.

He argued that Bush’s election in 2000 and Obama’s in 2008 came at a time when voters were more generally satisfied with politicians and not demanding wholesale changes. As a result, the picks for both administrations represented a less-marked departure than those of Trump, he said.

“If he made status-quo type appointments, he’d be criticized by the people who elected him,” Fleischer said.

Marc Rotterman, a veteran North Carolina-based GOP consultant who supported Trump, is among those who says he’s been heartened by the president-elect’s personnel picks.

“I think the Republican base and the populist movement are very pleased with his progress thus far,” Rotterman said. “As a conservative, I think it’s great that his picks show he has a very bold agenda.”

[The Fix: Stop trying to make ‘moderate Trump’ happen]

Among Trump’s picks who will arrive with a potentially bold agenda if confirmed is Price, his nominee for secretary of HHS, a massive department that is tasked with providing care for more than 100 million Americans.

The Georgia congressman has been working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health-care law, and wants to convert the popular Medicare program for seniors to one that would offer a fixed amount of money for coverage of each beneficiary that could be used to buy private insurance.

Price would also be responsible for overseeing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the expansion of which he opposed in 2007. He also has opposed the Obama administration’s initiative to require employers and insurers to provide free coverage of birth control for women.

In other cases, it’s less clear what direction a Cabinet nominee might head. Ben Carson, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon whom Trump has named to take over HUD, has voiced a philosophical aversion to safety-net programs.

But Carson, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination, has no direct experience that indicates how he might preside over a $49 billion department that assists low-income applicants in obtaining home mortgages and operates more than 3,000 local public housing authorities.

Trump Cabinet members will be able to accomplish some aims through executive action. And with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress, they are well positioned to push other policy changes.

Yet analysts say it remains to be seen how far-reaching changes will be, given the constraints of the legislative process and inertia of a large federal bureaucracy.

“There’s an awful lot written into the law and awful lot that the bureaucracy does,” Hess said.

Manley said a key indication of Trump’s desire to usher in change through Cabinet agencies will be his next round of picks. While secretaries serve as the public face of the departments, much of the work is done at lower levels.

“There’s a serious effort going on to staff the number two and number three positions, and that’s where all the action is,” Manley said.

Last Surviving ‘Doolittle Raider’ Recalls Crucial World War II Mission

Another December 7 has come and gone—that makes 75 of them since the date had its rendezvous with infamy. Americans marked the shocking attack on Pearl Harbor in ways large and small. One gathering in Kansas City was a resonant reminder that, for all the drama and brutality of that Sunday morning in Hawaii, the most important thing about Pearl Harbor was what happened next.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt foretold the story in his famous speech to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941. “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory,” he declared.

But how to begin? The world of 1941 was a world in which distance still mattered, a time before jet engines and rocketry, and Japan seemed impossibly far away. In his race to strike a blow, Roosevelt blessed an audacious and daring expedition led by a brilliant daredevil named James H. Doolittle. The audience in Kansas City heard all about it from the last survivor of Doolittle’s raiders: Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, age 101.

With the Hawaii-based Pacific Fleet in ruins, Doolittle was assigned to gin up an aerial attack on the main island of Japan. His credentials were impeccable. A renowned test pilot, owner of numerous air-speed records, Doolittle earned the first doctorate in aeronautical engineering awarded in the United States. Within two weeks after the Japanese surprise attack, Doolittle advised Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold of the Army Air Corps that B-25 bombers would just barely fit on an American aircraft carrier thanks to their stubby wings. They ought to be able to take off, he calculated—though they could not possibly land.

These facts shaped the plan. Some two dozen crews of five men each—pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier and gunner—volunteered for a hazardous mission, though they weren’t told what it might be. They were whisked away for special training in super-short, low-speed takeoffs while their planes were modified to hold more fuel and less equipment. And just four months after the fateful Sunday, they were aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, sailing east toward Japan.

In a conversation with his biographer, Park University professor Dennis Okerstrom, Cole explained that he nearly lost his place in the mission when the pilot on his bomber got sick. After a hasty consultation with his crewmates, Cole hurried to plead with the higher-ups for a substitute before the reserve crews heard about the vacancy and tried to elbow his team aside.

As it happened, a very experienced pilot was looking for a seat: Jimmy Doolittle himself. Shrugging off Gen. Arnold’s opinion that the famous aviator was too valuable to risk, “the old man” (Doolittle was 45) took command of the plane, with Cole as his co-pilot. “We were the excess baggage that came along with it,” he told the audience.

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The raid was scheduled for the night of April 19, 1942. Doolittle and Cole, in the lead bomber, were to drop incendiary tubes over Tokyo to set fires that would guide the trailing crews. Then the raiders would fly onward to China in hopes of landing in territory not held by Japanese troops.

But on April 18, amid a Pacific gale, enemy picket boats spotted the Hornet and its escorts. Worried that their surprise had been spoiled, Doolittle ordered his men into their planes. Sitting in the cockpit of the twin-tailed B-25, Cole looked down the flight deck into the heavy seas. “Actually, it looked a lot shorter than I thought,” he recalled.

Doolittle revved the engines as he stood on the brakes. When the propellers were screaming, he let the plane jump forward. The combination of the high winds and the ship at full speed gave him the lift he needed. Circling once, he headed for Tokyo, and 15 bombers followed his lead.

No one had told the two pilots that automated controls had been removed to shave weight. They found themselves, as Cole put it, “manhandling the plane” over hundreds of miles of ocean at low altitude to hinder detection. Nervous and bored at the same time, Cole began tapping his foot to the rhythm of “The Wabash Cannonball,” until Doolittle silenced him with a dirty look.

The raiders reached the island of Honshu in broad daylight, encountering ineffective anti-aircraft fire. Their bombs did more damage to Japan’s sense of invulnerability than to any physical targets. Fear of another attack inspired the Imperial Navy to extend its perimeter in the Pacific, which led to the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The American victory at Midway was the beginning of the long and bloody end for the Japanese.

But with Tokyo ablaze behind him, Doolittle now faced the consequences of launching a day early. The flight to the targets was longer than planned. Navigator Hank Potter informed the pilots that they were running low on fuel. Cole noticed sharks just beneath the surface of the China Sea, which stretched beyond the horizon ahead. “We had a bit of conversation,” he allowed, concerning the best way to ditch a plane in rolling waves.

Miraculously—or so it seemed to Cole—a storm arose at just that moment to send a 30-knot tailwind in their direction. The anxious fliers saw the water turn from the “greenish-blue” of the deep sea to the “somewhat tan color that told me we were near landfall.” Soon, it was dark, and the fuel gauges all read empty, and one by one the crewmembers stood by an open hatch and leapt into the rain.

Experience Pearl Harbor in virtual reality with LIFE VR

It was Cole’s first parachute jump. “I was so calm, cool and collected that I pulled the ripcord so hard I gave myself a black eye,” he recounted. A pine tree caught his chute and, after sleeping a bit, he climbed down to safety. Friendly Chinese helped him find the rest of his crew and helped the Americans out of the country.

For that, the Chinese paid a terrible price. Historians believe as many as 250,000 people were killed in retaliation as Japanese troops loosed a reign of rape, pillage and murder.

Doolittle, who feared he might be court-martialed for launching early and losing all of his planes, instead returned to a hero’s welcome in the U.S. His swift promotion to Brigadier General was followed by a Congressional Medal of Honor. For Cole, there was a Distinguished Flying Cross and, eventually, a Congressional Gold Medal. His wartime service continued as a supply pilot flying the dangerous “hump” route over the Himalayas.

Nineteen of the 80 raiders were killed during the war. The rest met regularly over the years to commemorate an exploit that Admiral William “Bull” Halsey called, “one of the most courageous deeds in military history.” The Doolittle Raid foreshadowed the industrial might, the innovative daring, and the human fortitude that America would bring to the catastrophe of World War II, and sent a strong signal that the attack on Pearl Harbor would prove to be one of the colossal mistakes in the history of warfare.

Now only one remains. And he told his admiring listeners at the World War I Memorial and Museum in Kansas City that he “would like to settle the dust on one thing” before he joins his comrades on the mission of eternity. Much has been made of the fact that they were volunteers, Cole said. “And we did volunteer—the whole group, even our commander.” But gradually it had dawned on them that their bomber group, the 17th, “was the only group trained to fly the B-25,” and theirs was the only bomber that would fit on the deck of the Hornet.

“Once Jimmy Doolittle found that plane, we were going on that mission, whether we wanted to or not,” he concluded. His broad smile spoke volumes about America’s righteous might.

Teen Driver Livestreamed the Car Crash That Killed Her and a Friend

A Pennsylvania teenage driver who died in a car crash that also killed her friend was recording a Facebook Live video Tuesday as a tractor-trailer smashed into them, authorities said.

Brooke Miranda Hughes, 18, had just begun her livestream moments before the fatal wreck on a highway in Tobyhanna, Pa., according to state police. The tractor-trailer plowed into the back of their car, the Scranton Times-Tribune reports.

Hughes and her 19-year-old passenger, Chaniya Morrison-Toomey, were killed. The other driver was not harmed. Pennsylvania State Trooper Dave Peters told the Times-Tribune that Hughes was driving slowly in the right lane of the highway on a spare tire.

The Facebook Live video reportedly shows a sudden flash of lights accompanied with the sound of screeching tires before darkness. It has since been taken down from her Facebook page, according to the Associated Press.

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump remains producer on ‘New Celebrity Apprentice’


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donald Trump is gone from the boardroom of NBC’s reboot of “Celebrity Apprentice” but he has kept a connection to the reality show. A spokeswoman for producer Mark Burnett said Thursday that President-elect Trump has an executive producer credit on “The New Celebrity Apprentice.” The series, which was taped last February, […]