Ted Cruz

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Colbert mocks Republicans’ ‘desperate’ new impeachment defense strategy

Stephen Colbert summed up another weekend in the Trump era on Monday Night’s Late Show, and it still isn’t getting any less weird.

Between the president officially leaving New York City (for tax reasons) and Titanic-groping a baseball player at the White House as thanks for donning a MAGA hat, it’s been an interesting few days. Then, of course, there’s the impeachment latest.

In the face of House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff releasing transcripts of the inquiry testimony, which the GOP had been decrying as “secretive,” Colbert explains that some Trump defenders are thinking they might switch to a new tactic: admitting that there may have been a quid pro quo, then just trying to downplay the negative spin. Read more…

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Apple’s China stance makes for strange political alliances, as AOC and Ted Cruz slam the company

In a rare instance of bipartisanship overcoming the rancorous discord that’s been the hallmark of the U.S. Congress, senators and sepresentatives issued a scathing rebuke to Apple for its decision to take down an app at the request of the Chinese government.

Signed by Senators Ron Wyden, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Congressional Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski, the letter was written to “express… strong concern about Apple’s censorship of apps, including a prominent app used by protestors in Hong Kong, at the request of the Chinese government.”

Tim Cook gets a letter from @RonWyden @SenTomCotton @marcorubio @AOC @tedcruz @RepGallagher & @Malinowski re: China censorship. pic.twitter.com/dJlEAlheMX

— Jessica Smith (@JessicaASmith8) October 18, 2019

In 2019, it seems the only things that can unite America’s clashing political factions are the decisions made by companies in one of its most powerful industries.

At the heart of the dispute is Apple’s decision to take down an app called HKMaps that was being used by citizens of the island territory to track police activity.

For several months protestors have been clashing with police in the tiny territory over what they see as the undue influence being exerted by China’s government in Beijing over the governance of Hong Kong. Citizens of the former British protectorate have enjoyed special privileges and rights not afforded to mainland Chinese citizens since the United Kingdom returned sovereignty over the region to China on July 1, 1997.

“Apple’s decision last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKMaps is deeply concerning,” the authors of the letter wrote. “We urge you in the strongest terms to reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong.”

Apple has long positioned itself as a defender of human rights (including privacy and free speech)… in the United States. Abroad, the company’s record is not quite as spotless, especially when it comes to pressure from China, which is one of the company’s largest markets outside of the U.S.

Back in 2017, Apple capitulated to a request from the Chinese government that it remove all virtual private networking apps from the App Store. Those applications allowed Chinese users to circumvent the “Great Firewall” of China, which limits access to information to only that which is approved by the Chinese government and its censors.

Over 1,100 applications have been taken down by Apple at the request of the Chinese government, according to the organization GreatFire (whose data was cited in the Congressional letter). They include VPNs, and applications made for oppressed communities inside China’s borders (like Uighurs and Tibetans).

Apple isn’t the only company that’s come under fire from the Chinese government as part of their overall response to the unrest in Hong Kong. The National Basketball Association and the gaming company Blizzard have had their own run-ins resulting in self-censorship as a result of various public positions from employees or individuals affiliated with the sports franchises or gaming communities these companies represent.

However, Apple is the largest of these companies, and therefore the biggest target. The company’s stance indicates a willingness to accede to pressure in markets that it considers strategically important no matter how it positions itself at home.

The question is what will happen should regulators in the U.S. stop writing letters and start making legislative demands of their own.

Twitter drags CBS News for misleading headline, tweet about that viral Beto O’Rourke video

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If you bothered to log onto your Twitter account at least once this week, you almost definitely saw the viral video of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke responding thoughtfully to a question about whether he finds it disrespectful when NFL players kneel during the national anthem. The clip drew wide praise, including from LeBron James, Ellen DeGeneres, and Janelle Monáe

But a CBS News story on the exchange created viral outrage by reducing the nuance and insight of O’Rourke’s response to a terribly misleading headline and tweet.   Read more…

More about Social Good, Ted Cruz, Beto O Rourke, National Anthem Protests, and Culture

Ted Cruz congratulated a woman on having multiple sclerosis. Seriously.

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There are many appropriate responses to when someone is sharing a difficult situation his or her life. To congratulate that person is not one of them. 

Sen. Ted Cruz squared off against Sen. Bernie Sanders in a CNN debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act Tuesday night. And, unfortunately, when Cruz was asked a question by an audience member who suffers from multiple sclerosis, he chose the wrong response.

He said, “Congratulations.”

Multiple sclerosis patient on Medicaid asks @tedcruz what will happen to her coverage w/repeal
Cruz: “Congratulations on dealing with MS.” pic.twitter.com/13jC26k1tK

— Omar Ghabra (@omarghabra) February 8, 2017 Read more…

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