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August 26, 2014

If the thought of buying a product that might benefit a political party you can't stand makes you recoil in horror, the BuyPartisan app is for you.

The goal of this free app is to let people find out more information about the brands they purchase and the ideologies of their leaders and employees. After downloading the app, a user just has to scan a bar code using their phone's camera, and then wait for the information to pop up: the number in red is for contributions to the Republican Party, blue for the Democratic Party, and green for others.

"For the first time ever, you're able to take that product and bring it to a whole new light," developer Matthew Colbert, a former Capitol Hill staffer, told the Los Angeles Times. "A quarter or tenth of a penny that went to a political contribution might not be something you know."

BuyPartisan looks at campaign finance data from top Fortune 500 companies, and the averages are computed after looking at the donation histories of the CEO, board of directors, employees, and affiliated political action committees. For example, by using that data, BuyPartisan found that Procter & Gamble scores an average of 70.25 percent Republican, while Celestial Seasonings is 91 percent Democratic.

The app has some critics, including Jack Marshall, president of ProEthics. Marshall told the Times that it's best to avoid intense partisanship, which could be fanned by this app. "You don't want every day to be an election," he said. "That's why we have elections periodically, so people can calm down and work together." Catherine Garcia

8:09 p.m. ET
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wondered aloud at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night whether Republicans voting for Donald Trump "are suffering from short-term memory loss." "Unless Republicans are all Native Americans, then they are immigrants too," Cuomo said, slamming Trump's "divisive" immigration policy proposals.

What Trump is doing by inspiring a fear of "people who are different," Cuomo said, is essentially taking America's "greatest strength, which is our our diversity," and making it into a "weakness." "At stake in this election, my friends, is the very soul of America," Cuomo said. Becca Stanek

7:45 p.m. ET

When she took the stage Thursday afternoon at the Democratic National Convention, Sarah McBride became the first transgender person to ever address a national convention.

The 25-year-old is a press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, and shared that she came out as transgender while serving as her college's student body president. McBride was scared, she said, but while interning at the White House, saw that change is possible. "Despite our progress, so much work remains," she said. "Will we be a nation where there's only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live? Or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to love openly and equally, a nation that's strong together?"

McBride also discussed the death of her husband from cancer, four days after they were marred in 2014. "Every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest," she said, before imploring the audience to vote for Hillary Clinton because she "understands the urgency of our fight." Catherine Garcia

7:12 p.m. ET

Bradley Cooper's appearance Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention shocked some conservative fans who seemed to believe he shared the same views as the Navy SEAL he played in 2014's American Sniper.

Chris Kyle, who in 2013 was murdered by a former Marine with PTSD at a gun range, was an outspoken conservative Republican. Cooper, who is not a composite of all of his movie characters, has supported the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and made donations to Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign and 2008 presidential run, USA Today reports. Now, he's facing a backlash from some vocal Twitter users, with one writing, "Bradley Cooper, the man who portrayed legend Chris Kyle is supporting a woman who gets funded by people who tried to kill Chris Kyle." Others tweeted "Bradley Cooper is promoting Hillary? Too bad. He's dead to me now" and "Bradley Cooper at DNC?! Guess I've seen my last Bradley Cooper movie. Eww Ick."

For the record, Cooper also isn't a space raccoon or a 1970s FBI agent, and he's never woken up in a Las Vegas hotel room with a tiger in the bathroom (actually, I'm not 100 percent sure about that one). Catherine Garcia

6:31 p.m. ET
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Soon after the Democratic National Convention wraps up Thursday evening, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will sit down for their classified intelligence briefings. While considered a traditional part of presidential campaigns since 1952, concerns have been raised from both sides of the aisle about classified information getting passed around in what certainly marks a less-than-traditional election year.

So, just how much are Trump and Clinton going to know after they sit down with the intelligence community? Yahoo News' Olivier Knox broke it down:

The briefings are top secret, these officials say, but omit truly sensitive information like the sources and methods used to scoop up the intelligence, or ongoing covert operations.

"The candidates are not given the crown jewels, and these are more courtesy briefings," a retired senior intelligence official who served under Bush told Yahoo News.

"So a candidate might hear how concerned we are about Iran's support for [Syrian strongman Bashar] Assad but won't be told we tapped someone's phone or whatever," another former senior official said. "If the SEALs are on their way somewhere, that's also not something they get."

A third former official, who asked not to be quoted, said that the two candidates might not be offered much more than Clapper gives Congress in public at annual worldwide threat assessment hearings — but that the secret nature of the conversation is necessary in order to enable the potential commander-in-chief to get answers to sensitive questions. [Yahoo News]

And, one former intelligence official pointed out, the briefings are as good an opportunity for the candidates to assess the intelligence community as it is for the intelligence community to assess the candidates.

Head over to Yahoo News for more on what these briefings might entail. Becca Stanek

4:51 p.m. ET

With all of the controversy that surrounded delegates and superdelegates during the primary race, you would think that actually being a delegate is a pretty serious job. Ryan Kounovsky, a 25-year-old from Eugene, Oregon, strapped on a GoPro camera for The Wall Street Journal and proved otherwise.

From up on Kounovsky's head, we see delegates indulging in breakfast sausages before boarding a bus to the convention center — which, with all of the screaming, sign-waving, and button-wearing, looks more like a Justin Bieber concert than a political gathering. Kounovsky is a delegate for Hillary Clinton, and was one of the few Oregon delegates who remained after Tuesday's roll call vote, when Clinton was officially declared the Democratic Party's nominee.

The Oregonian reported that supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's rival in the primary race, tied black gags over their mouths before leaving the convention to stage a silent sit-in at the nearby media tent; in the video, we can hear Kounovsky lament that the "Oregon delegation left, that sucks." Check out the rest of the video from The Wall Street Journal, which includes Kounovsky getting "lei'd" and taking a shot over a donkey ice sculpture at a "delegates after dark" party, below. —Caroline Cakebread

4:16 p.m. ET
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Some have worried that Donald Trump is in cahoots with Vladimir Putin, although sources close to the Kremlin allege Russia could be after something even bigger — like using Trump to destabilize the United States:

Konstantin Sivkov, who had served as a strategist for the Russian General Staff between 1995 and 2007, was keen to tell me all about the theory, which the chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, had set out in 2013 as a strategic vision for wars of the future. "Hybrid warfare," Sivkov began, "relies on the use of the enemy's own internal resources against him." Against an adversary with "a wobbly political base" and a "fractured moral core," Russia could use disinformation, cyber attacks, and other means of covert political influence to make the enemy "devour itself from within," Sivkov said. [Time]

Up until recently, Russia had pretty much considered the United States impenetrable to such hybrid warfare attacks. The strategy had worked better for them in places like Ukraine and, to a lesser degree, Estonia. But all that was before Donald Trump came along:

For the first time, the nominee of a major party has questioned the U.S. commitment to defend NATO allies from a Russian attack. He has promoted the use of torture and called for a ban on Muslims coming into the country. Most recently, during a press conference on July 27, he suggested that he would even "look into" recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea and lifting the sanctions subsequently imposed on Russia.

Taken together, these shifts appear to have created the nascent conditions — the wobbly political base, the fractured moral core — that would make the U.S. a fitting target for Russia's new approach to conflict. [Time]

But why go through all the trouble and risk to commit hybrid warfare? Why doesn't Putin just help Trump out, if Trump's proposals are so Russia-friendly?

Well apparently, even Moscow doesn't trust Trump to keep his promises. Read more about the possible Russian threat of "hybrid warfare" and what that could mean for this election, at Time. Jeva Lange

3:47 p.m. ET
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After the third straight night of the Democratic convention squashing the TV ratings of last week's Republican convention, former reality TV star Donald Trump is starting to sweat. Trump declared last week that no one would watch the Democrats' shindig, but seeing as that statement looks a little foolish now, his campaign has launched a wave of emails asking supporters not to tune into Clinton's nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, CNN Money reports.

"Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight. Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies, and fight back against her nasty attacks," the email said. While the message was packaged as a fundraising email, its content certainly makes a reader wonder what Trump's priorities here really are.

Nielsen, which records the number of traditional TV viewers for a given broadcast, reports that 26 million viewers watched the first day of the Democratic convention Monday, versus 23 million for night one of the Republican convention last week. On Tuesday, 24 million tuned in again to watch the Democrats, versus 19 million for the Republicans' second day. The third night of festivities pulled in 24 million viewers for the Democrats, edging out the GOP's third night, which pulled 23.4 million. Jeva Lange

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