Quick Takes: “It Doesn’t Have to Be True. It Just Has to Be Believed.”

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* We learned more about Cambridge Analytica today:

In a meeting with the head of Cambridge Analytica — the political data firm used by the Trump campaign in 2016 — reporters from NBC News’ U.K. partner ITN Channel 4 News posed as potential clients interested in changing the outcome of the Sri Lankan elections.

The reporters, who were trying to find out how the company operated, quickly learned about the novel and deceptive methods employed by the company, including bribes, blackmail, and misinformation campaigns. The findings were broadcast by the network on Monday.

On hidden camera, the reporters recorded Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, discussing the idea of hypothetically entrapping an opposition leader. He described how the company could record a person accepting a bribe, “an offer he can’t refuse” or “send some girls around to the candidate’s house.”

Nix also floated the idea of spreading misinformation about politicians.

“It doesn’t have to be true,” Nix said. “It just has to be believed.”

* Here’s the entire video:

* Keep an eye out for this tomorrow.

* Here is Donald Trump eight days ago:

And here’s what happened today – as reported by the New York Times.

President Trump hired the longtime Washington lawyer Joseph E. diGenova on Monday, adding an aggressive voice to his legal team who has pushed the theory on television that the F.B.I. and Justice Department framed Mr. Trump.

* Trump addressed the opioid crisis during a speech in New Hampshire today.

Mr. Trump commends the DOJ’s action in prosecuting drug trafficking crimes, saying “If you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable.”

“If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers we’re wasting our time. That toughness includes the death penalty,” he said of a more controversial measure to targeting drug traffickers

He added, “If we’re not going to get tough on the drug dealers, we are just doing the wrong thing we have got to get tough.”

Mr. Trump said the crisis will be solved with “brains, resolve and toughness” saying blue ribbon committees are not doing enough to battle the epidemic.

“This is about winning a very , very tough problem, if we don’t get very tough on these dealers, it’s not going to happen folks, and I want to win this battle,” he added…

He also announced a nationwide education campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of opioid misuse as well as support for research in identifying alternative therapies and expand treatment options for addicts.

As part of this education framework, the president said the administration would be looking to create “unsavory” commercials to “scare” kids from using drugs.

“Kids can see these commercials they can say ‘I don’t want any part of it’, that’s the least expensive thing we can do,” he said.

He said the ads, similar to ones implemented in the 1980’s, would “scare them from ending up like the people in the commercials.”

Dear Mr. President: The 1980’s called…they’d like their failed war on drugs back.

* Good news from the Supreme Court today.

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania to block the implementation of a redrawn congressional map that creates more parity between the political parties in the state.

The practical impact is the 2018 elections are likely to be held under a map much more favorable to Democrats, who scored an apparent victory last week in a special election in a strongly Republican state district. The 2011 map that has been used this decade has resulted in Republicans consistently winning 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats.

* The situation in Austin, Texas is getting more alarming by the day.

Two men in their 20s suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries when another explosion rocked Austin, Texas, on Sunday night. Police said they are operating under the belief that it is connected to the three package explosions in the city earlier this month, which left two people dead and two seriously injured. The latest incident occurred just hours after police issued a rare public plea to the bomber or bombers, saying they hoped they would “reach out to us before anyone else is injured or killed.”

* Here are the findings from a study led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau.

Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children.

White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.

Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.

Click on the link and check out the graphics, which capture the story more powerfully than any words ever could.

* Finally, listening to Emma Gonzalez’s mom in the second half of this clip tells you a lot about the roots of both her intellect and heart.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.