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GLOBAL PULSE: An official’s note, decoding Trump’s mind and privacy suits against Facebook

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Sacked FBI director James Comey took notes, and kept them in case files. According to a set of notes after a February meeting with Donald Trump, the President asks him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who had discussed easing sanctions against Russia to Putin’s ambassador. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump had told him after other officials had left the room. Comey’s written account of the meeting is two pages long and highly detailed, the associates said. That conversation may have  crossed  “legal lines into criminal behaviour” said The Washington Post. One expert said it amounts to obstruction of justice.  But in such cases, intent is often difficult to prove. Trump should be “very afraid” of Comey’s notes, said the paper.


Many people want to know Trump ‘s state of my mind. “You have probably asked yourself: what is Trump thinking. You’re not alone. Lawyers and judges too have started probing the basis of Trump’s latest acts of constitutional arson,” says a columnist in The Guardian. But this is easier said than done. Entering his mind is “entering a strange new world where laws of grammar, logic and meaning are always up for grabs and retroactively adjustable”, it says. The concept of ‘intent’ may not even apply to Trump. Probing subjective intent is always challenging. With presidential intent, it is a bigger one. “The gap between lived reality and constitutional law will grow intolerably vast.” Another piece in The New York Times says Trump is not really an authoritarian or a corrupt Nixon or even a rabble rousing populist. He is an infantalist.


The social media giant has been fined a hefty 129,000 pounds by France’s data protection watchdog for violating users’ private data for targeted advertising. France’s data privacy watchdog said: “In particular it has been observed that Facebook proceeded to a massive compilation of personal data of internet users in order to display targeted advertising. It has also been noticed that Facebook collected data on browsing activity of internet users on third-party websites, via the “data” cookie, without their knowledge.” The company is also being investigated by Belgium, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Facebook said it has simplified policies to help users understand how it uses information to make the service better. It said “we respectfully disagree”, to the charges in France.


African American television entertainer and comedian Bill Cosby said racism has played a big role in the scandal that has engulfed his life after a series of sexual assault charges. His daughter Ensa said on radio: “I believe that racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal…My father is being punished by a society that still believes black men rape white women, but passes off as “boys will be boys” when white men are accused.” Cosby, 79, added: “Could be. I just truly believe that some of it may very well be that.” He even used a quote from the feminist author Gloria Steinem who said: “The truth shall set you free, but first it might piss you off.” Steinem said the quote is more applicable to the women who are accusing him.


What does it take to defend Trump on TV night after night? Probably exhaustion. When White House-cum-TV defender Kellyanne Conway said she feels like a shower after speaking for him at a show last year during the campaign, she probably didn’t think it will come back to haunt her. Especially because Trump puts a premium on loyalty and on appearance, said The Washington Post. During MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, Mika Brzezinski had claimed that Conway would privately complain about Trump after her TV appearance when she was his campaign manager. “She would get off the air, the camera would be turned off, the microphone would be taken off, and she would say, “Blech, I need to take a shower,” because she disliked her candidate so much. Conway denied she only works for him for money. “I know him, I respect him, and I am confident in his capacity to be a transformative and successful president,” she said.

Picture Courtesy: Twitter @POTUS

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