Tag Archives: CNN

a “bad day”

It has been days since I have watched corporate TV news.  I have been reading, writing, painting and binge-watching Dickens, Trollope, and Austen on Amazon Prime. 

Every time I turn on the corporate news I find CNN hosts interviewing other CNN hosts about their new books.  On MSNBC, I find people like Jason “Island of misfit black girls” Johnson, pontificating and acting like he’s something other than a vicious attack dog there to repeatedly blame the progressives in the Democratic Party for all the failures of the party establishment.    

Morning Joe has turned into a prayer meeting with Joe Scarborough spending whole segments lecturing viewers on what a “true Christian” is.  This is the news?  Mika Brzezinski relentlessly promotes her “know your worth” marketing/money making strategy.  She actually seems to think that people are going to believe this from a woman who “knew her worth” to such an extent she had an adulterous affair and then married her boss.  She defers to him, babies him, allows herself to be regularly demeaned, interrupted and ridiculed by him.  This is women knowing their worth.

In the afternoons, former Senator Claire MacCaskill has taken obsequious behavior to new heights, fawning over Nicolle Wallace at every turn, baking cakes for Wallace and lighting candles on the cake while lauding Wallace’s journalism.  This is the news?

MacCaskill does this while the other members of the panel (including the other prime ass-kisser, Jason Johnson) clap their hands like school children.  It is just nauseating.

There is no, no international news anymore on either CNN or MSNBC.  The amount of information being communicated is almost nil.  It’s like a televised circle-jerk, reporters interviewing other reporters, promoting each other’s books or (worse still) interviewing members of Congress, as if any member of congress is going to say anything either interesting or informative.  There are only a handful of people in the entire Congress who say ANYTHING that is not a collection of focus-group tested nonsense. 

The corporate media is, in short, like a toy my friend told me she bought her grandson a couple of years ago.  I couldn’t even grasp what she was talking about as she described this gadget.  It was a mechanical thing that had no purpose except to move.  It was called a “fidget spinner.”  The corporate news media is an intellectual fidget spinner – words and words and words and interview after interview after interview filling up space, for no reason except to make money for somebody and create the impression that things are under control.  As Scarborough says the “institutions are holding.”

Meanwhile, the institutions are not holding.  The criminal enterprise that was the Trump administration has gone without accountability or punishment, and will continue to do so.  The legal system works to prosecute, hold accountable, and punish only the poor.  We are repeatedly treated to an orgy of spectacle creating the impression that the powerful will be held accountable only to watch the whole sorry exercise collapse.

The Supreme Court which has sold democracy down the tubes with decisions such as Citizens’ United, is poised to further structure the legal system to favor the wealthy and powerful.  The Congress is afraid of its shadow.  If the Biden administration does not do away with the filibuster, alter the Supreme Court, fight for ordinary Americans, and ensure election fairness and security, the Trump/McConnell crime family will be back in power partially in two years, and totally in four.

All you have to do it look at the flood of voter suppression laws that have been passed in Georgia and other states to see that Republicans are going to make sure that the Democrats lose control of the Congress in 2022 and the presidency in 2024.  They are circling like sharks.  All four years of Trump did for them was to give them the smell of blood and demonstrate how easily they could turn this into an authoritarian Christian nationalist state.

Meanwhile, Ari Melber makes jokes, quotes banal rap lyrics (of sexist rap stars) like they were great literature and/or philosophy and interviews celebrities, barely keeping himself from peeing his pants with glee at his proximity to fame.  It is all just really disgusting.

And, then there’s today.  A 21-year-old man has murdered eight women and was on his way to murder more.  But, as the Georgia Sheriff’s office spokesman said, he “had a bad day.”  There are so many things wrong with this story and the coverage of it and the people involved, I don’t know where to begin.

I feel like my mother when she first started watching the O.J. Simpson trial.  She watched for a couple of hours.  “What do you think?”  I said.  “I think they should all be put in prison now,” she replied getting up in disgust to go and read.  “Who?” I asked.  “All of them.”  She said.  “Simpson, the judge, the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, the reporters, all of them.”  She was, of course, right.

That’s precisely what I feel about everybody involved in this murder case in Atlanta.

The Georgia Sheriff and CNN are talking about “sex addiction” as if sex addiction was  something real.  Law enforcement, politicians and the corporate media are actually mouthing the ludicrous sex equivalent of the “Twinkie Defense” for this Long guy.  The Cherokee Sheriff’s office guy, Baker, found it his responsibility to provide an excuse for a man who walked into businesses that employ women (at starvation wages) to cater to the perverted pleasures of men and murder them.   What is this Baker, Long’s defense attorney?  Official law enforcement provides a narrative for the future jury pool excusing this man because of his “sex addiction.”

“Sex addiction?” There is no such thing as a sex addiction.  It’s a fake con devised by the rehabilitation industry to make money.  No serious person would even allow those two words together to come out of their mouth.  A male reporter on CNN said that the young man “had issues.”  ISSUES?////// ISSUES????????? 

He hates women, that’s the issue, he hates and despises women and has racist exploitive sexual fantasies about them that he felt entitled to act out.  It has nothing to do with addiction.  Long is not mentally ill, that we know of.  He is just the same kind of oppressive, abusive, exploitive, violent bastard that this culture turns out by the millions.  He’s just like Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, that old man who used to be a comedian who doped and then raped women (I’m 70.  I can’t remember his f…ing name), Weinstein, Cuomo, and God knows how many more. 

But, we can’t talk about that.  We can’t talk about a culture that makes the hatred of women fundamental, trades in the commodification of women’s bodies at every turn, provides a market for sexual perversion of every sort and then blames the impoverished women who are forced to participate in it for their own destruction at the hands of the very men they are forced to service. 

This guy “had a bad day.”  That’s what Baker, the Sheriff’s Office guy, said. He had a “bad day” and “issues” and “a sexual addiction.”  No, the women who were killed and their families had a bad day, a tragic day.  This guy acted out his violent racist sexual perversions, violent sexual perversions that are fed every day by the media and the entertainment industry and politics. 

republicans might not like trump but they “don’t regret the supreme court.”

Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile.  He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything. 

Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump:  “He is not a perfect man.”  Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected.  This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor.  But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court.  I don’t regret …Israel.”  “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…”  “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”

Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg.  Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.”  “Come one Sam.”  “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”

But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.

While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one.  What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing.  To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg. 

On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning.  Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.

I agree with Schwartz.  I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news.  I don’t care what Trump thinks.  I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning.  I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting.  This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump.  Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.

This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”

McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb.  But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state.  That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.

Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day.  And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans.  Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.

“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.

Folks, these people are not our friends.  They cannot be our allies.  They have worked for decades to bring this situation about.  They established the groundwork for this situation.  They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.

Stealing the election: Just today

The Head Fake

  • Trump in a news conference (or whatever that things is he does when he comes out and lies for an extended period of time) is preparing the population for a “disaster” on election day.  He keeps repeating the scenario and thereby painting the picture for his supporters of total confusion.  Today he said that the Republicans are appealing to the courts who he hopes will “see this clearly and stop it.”  He called the sending out of ballots to citizens as “the scam of all time.”
  • The reporter for CNN falls for the head fake and says: Mail in voting is safe.  There is no fraud and there are no missing ballots as Trump accused.
  • So, once again, just as in 2016, the Republicans scream rigging, the Democrats and the media yell, no rigging.  The Republicans rig and the Democrats and the media are left stunned. 

Election Security: Stealing the Election

  • Jennifer Cohn is tweeting that the DeVos family company Amway partnered with Russia’s Alfa Bank in 2014.  It was Alfa Bank that was pinging both Trump Tower and Spectrum Health thousands of times in the summer of 2016.  This has never been explained.
  • Run, don’t walk to get a copy of Jonathan Simon’s “Code Red” 2020 edition.
  • Trump is tweeting that the Governor of Virginia (where early voting starts today) “wants to take away your guns,” and “is in favor of executing babies after birth.” 
  • According to Jennifer Cohn, (relying on Woodward), Russians installed malware in the voter registration systems of “at least two” Florida counties.  The malware was designed to erase voters. (Twitter)
  • Precinct ballot scanners in Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida include wireless modems that connect scanners and county central tabulators to the internet. (Twitter, Jennifer Cohn)
  • Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Rhode Island also have modems that need to be removed before the election. (Cohn, Twitter)

Information on voting of Interest:

  • Zetter, Kim (8/8/19) “Critical U.S. ElectionSystems…” Vice

Other Information of Interest

  • Podcast on 9/11 Blindspot.
  • 102 of 140 inmates at a women’s prison in South Dakota have tested positive for Coronavirus. (AP)

Authoritarianism: Anonymous Police and the Elimination of Expertise

CNN blurred photo

The Slouch Toward Authoritarianism

Armed federal agents, dressed in combat gear, have been sent into the streets of Portland, Oregon against the wishes of local authorities.  These agents display no identifying information and are taking citizens off the streets in unmarked cars to undisclosed locations.  The agents are reporting to the Department of Homeland Security.

In a strong stand against such unbridled intervention, the House Appropriations Committee just approved a new Homeland Security Funding Bill.

The Oregon Attorney General has sued over the deployment of the federal agents and asked for a restraining order.  The Trump administration is expressing disdain over the objections of local officials and publicity threatened to send more anonymous police into other Demcratic-led cities.

According to an interview on MSNBC (7/20/20) with Ryan Haas, Oregon Public Broadcasting:

  • Protestors are sometimes not even near federal property.
  • People are being taken in for questioning inside the federal courthouse.
  • Charges range from pointing something at federal officers, assault of federal officer, and defacing property.

The administration dismissed warnings of local officials that the actions of the federal agents is making the situation worse.  In fact, that is likely exactly what they want.  They are being sent into Democratic-run cities, generating conflict and confrontation with protestors, in order to scare the suburbs into thinking that violence is widespread and escalating.

DHS, therefore, has been transformed into a political arm for the Republican candidate.

The use of secret police is common in authoritarian governments, but again, as with all the moves toward authoritarian control in this country, the corporate media fails to sound the alarm and normalizes the activities.  While they spend hours and hours talking about Trump’s psychology and dysfunctional family history, they have no commentators talking about the implications of using the federal government as instruments of political power.  In addition, CNN, is blurring out the faces of the federal agents so that they can’t be recognized.

In another move common, indeed essential, to authoritarian leaders, Trump is installing loyalists to senior roles at the Pentagon.  These toadies are being put in place as “acting” officials, thus skirting a Senate confirmation process.  The administration just announced that they are assigning a 33-year-old White House chief technology officer to be the head of the research and engineering for the entire Department of Defense.

The man has a bachelor’s degree in political science and is replacing a man with a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.

The Trump administration is discussing installing a “Fox News regular” to be the Pentagon’s top policy official.

The assurance of loyalty and the elimination of expertise is essential to establishing authoritarian rule.  We have seen this play out during the Trump administration in the State Department, the CDC, and now the Pentagon.

Julie Brown and the Epstein Case

jeffrey epstein

This is a podcast well worth listening to.

Broken: Jeffrey Epstein

Season 1 Episode 5 “An Outsider’s Way In.”

Broken: Jeffrey Epstein

This is a fascinating story about the reporter Julie Brown and her history of digging in the Epstein case.  It makes an important point about journalism.  Brown’s history was much like that of the girls who were exploited by Epstein.  She was not a child of privilege and connections like most of the corporate press today.  Chris Cuomo, the white haired guy on CNN.  I like to think of this group as the “Bonfire of the Mediocre.”

Someone recently said that the music industry doesn’t look for talent anymore.  They look, she said, for a certain loon and a compliant personality.  That just about sums up the corporate media.  It’s a waste of time.

 

 

 

GEORGIA KILLING: Aubrey

video

This is a video of the cars parked along HWY 17 in Brunswick , Georgia.  These brave people gathered to protest the government inaction in the case of the killing of Ahmaud Aubrey.  These people gathered in front of the house of Gregory McMichael who along with his son armed himself and pursued Aubrey through their neighborhood, finally shooting and killing him.

When a team from CNN was later filming at the same location, automatic weapon fire was heard in the background.

The two men were finally arrested after two months of inaction and shifting the responsibility for the case around rural Georgia.

 

 

 

Joe Biden says we owe Anita Hill a lot. Well we owe Joe Biden more. We owe him a swift boot in the ass.

clarence

Last night, in a CNN townhall, Joe Biden once again gave a response to a question about the Clarence Thomas hearings that was untruthful, evasive, and incoherent.

I sat in front of my television and played it back over and over again to make sure I got every word right.

I’m going to post the entire quote just so you can see how deceitful and incoherent it is.

““I opposed Clarence Thomas (unintelligible) beginning.  I believed Anita Hill from the beginning. And I tried to control the questions under the laws that exist for the Senate.  And I was unable to do it.  Just like the last hearing…they were unable to control, keep people from being able to ask questions.  What I did was I made a commitment; I made a commitment never again would the Judiciary Committee only have men on that committee.  So, I went out and I campaigned for two people, Carol Mosley Brawn, an African American senator from the state of Illinois and Diane Feinstein…on the condition that if they won they would join the committee….I kept that commitment.

And secondly I made another commitment, that I was going to get the Violence Against Women Act passed which…I wrote myself, the Violence Against Woman Act.  Number three, I’ve spoken with Anita Hill and I apologized for not being able to protect her more.  I’m trying to think, and I raised the question for example, I raised the question, should we in fact have those hearings in camera….when, because you’re gonna always be subject to being vilified no matter who comes and says he said she said this happened, and so here’s the deal….and she said, and I think she’s right, she said No, it’s better not to do that.

We should have it in the open, so we gotta find a way to change the rules as to what can be asked, but in a hearing….it’s impossible to say you can’t ask the question…I won’t go into more detail…I wish I could have protected her more.  I publicly apologized, apologized then and I was able to…we owe her…a lot…because what she did by coming forward, she gave me the ability to pass the violence against women act.  We owe her a great deal of credit.”

Now, to take it apart.

Biden first starts with an irrelevancy.

“I opposed Clarence Thomas (unintelligible) beginning.  I believed Anita Hill from the beginning.”

Then, he continues:

“And I tried to control the questions under the laws that exist for the Senate.  And I was unable to do it.”

What questions is he talking about?  What questions would he have controlled?  What questions were determined “under the laws that exist for the Senate.”  How would questions have changed the outcome of the hearing?

“Just like the last hearing…they were unable to control, keep people from being able to ask questions.”

What hearing is he talking about?  I assume he’s talking about the Kavanuagh hearing.  Well, again, the problem in the Kavanaugh hearing was not “controlling” the questions.  The problem was in adequately investigating the claims.

The allegations were not investigated, and like in the Clarence Thomas hearing, women who could have corroborated the testimony of Blasey Ford were not called.

Democrat Chris Coons did his usual holier-than-thou “bipartisan” deal with Jeff Flake and provided cover for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh.  They arranged an “investigation” that didn’t investigate.  The FBI investigation was severely curtailed, so severely curtailed they didn’t even interview some of the women who claimed to have been abused by Kavanaugh.

This is a common tactic in Washington.  If there’s a problem, if people like Susan Collins are whining that they are going to look bad if they vote to put a rapist on the Supreme Court, legislators like Chris Coons help arrange for a sham investigation.  This looks “bipartisan.”  And, the bipartisanship is presented as if it were a end unto itself.

The “bipartisanship” looks reasonable, but it is just a way of placating opposition.  The “investigation” finds nothing, but it’s not intended to find anything.  And, then, people like Collins can say, see we had an investigation there’s nothing there.  In the Clarence Thomas hearing it was having the hearing itself.  We had a hearing, it was pubic, you can’t keep people from asking questions, we did what we could.

Then, comes an incoherent irrelevant distraction.

“What I did was I made a commitment; I made a commitment never again would the Judiciary Committee only have men on that committee.  So, I went out and I campaigned for two people, Carol Moseley Braun, an African American senator from the state of Illinois and Diane Feinstein…on the condition that if they won they would join the committee….I kept that commitment.”

So, Biden’s arguing that having women on the Clarence Thomas Judiciary Committee would have changed everything.  It might have changed some things, but there were women on the Judiciary Committee when the Kavanaugh hearings took place.  And, the main problem was not that there were no women on the committee.  It was that Joe Biden refused to call the other women who could have corroborated Anita Hill. So, once again, a distraction, an evasion, essentially a lie. And, why does it absolve Joe Biden for what he did in the Clarence Thomas hearing that he later, after getting the backlash, went out and supported some women for Congress?

Biden goes on:

“And secondly I made another commitment, that I was going to get the Violence Against Women Act passed which…I wrote myself, the Violence Against Woman Act.”

Again, what does this have to do with his behavior and actions during the Clarence Thomas hearings?

Biden continues:

Number three, I’ve spoken with Anita Hill and I apologized for not being able to protect her more.  I’m trying to think, and I raised the question for example, I raised the question, should we in fact have those hearings in camera….when, because you’re gonna always be subject to being vilified no matter who comes and says he said she said this happened, and so here’s the deal….and she said, and I think she’s right, she said no, it’s better not to do that.”

He says “I apologized.”  What more can I do?  Well, as I find myself repeatedly pointing out these days (Chris Matthews, MSNBC) there are things you can’t apologize for.  Michael Bloomberg evidently thinks that it’s sufficient that he apologized for ruining thousands of lives with Stop and Frisk.  And, he, like Biden, is irritated that somehow people don’t think that’s enough.  It’s like they are saying: Jeeeeze, I apologized, what more do you want?  You’re just harassing me.

There are things you can’t apologize for.

Then, after some incoherent faffing around, Biden actually BLAMES ANITA HILL for how the hearing came out.  He says that he offered to do the hearing in private and she said no.  So, she was to blame because she wanted a public hearing, not some kind of behind-closed-doors dirty little boys backroom session.  Again, Joe Biden refused to call the corroborating women for their testimony.  That has nothing to do with whether the hearing was public or private.

Biden continues (yes, I know but it will be over soon).

“We should have it in the open, so we gotta find a way to change the rules as to what can be asked…”

Changing what could be asked is not the issue, the failure, the refusal to include the testimony of the corroborating witnesses is the problem.  Distraction, obfuscation, evasion.

“but in a hearing….it’s impossible to say you can’t ask the question…”

Nobody ever suggested changing the rules so that people couldn’t ask certain questions although judges makes this determination in trials every day.  There are questions that are relevant to the issue at hand and questions that aren’t, questions that are designed to inflame and prejudice.  But, that is again not the issue.  The issue is how Biden chose to act when he had power.  He chose to bury the truth, to subject Anita Hill and the rest of us to that humiliating process without providing the witnesses who could have supported her.

O.K.  Here he goes again.

“I won’t go into more detail…I wish I could have protected her more.

Yes, I am sure Joe Biden doesn’t want to go into more detail because the details are damning.  Read Jane Mayer’s book about the Clarence Thomas hearings.

And, the “I wish I could have protected her more,” is just my favorite.  How much more paternalistic, patriarchal and sexist can you be?  Anita Hill didn’t ask for protection.  She didn’t need protection at the hearing.  She needed protection and support to oppose the blatantly sexist, aggressive, abusive and coercive nature of Clarence Thomas’ weirdo sick toxic male behavior.  She didn’t get it and the rest of us didn’t get it.  Clarence Thomas got a seat on the Supreme Court.  Joe Biden is largely responsible for that fact, and he paved the way for Brett Kavanaugh to take his seat beside Thomas.

“…I publicly apologized, apologized then and I was able to…we owe her…a lot…because what she did by coming forward, she gave me the ability to pass the violence against women act.  We owe her a great deal of credit.

Here, Biden finishes up by trying to placate us, and portraying himself (as he always does) as Mr. Nice Guy.  He says we owe Anita Hill a lot.

Perhaps so, but, we owe Joe Biden a lot more.  We owe it to him to get him out of public life along with the rest of the men who have openly, brazenly flouted their power over women and used that power to the detriment of all of us.  We owe it to ourselves to stop people like Joe Biden lying and covering up their abusive behavior.

Get them out.  Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Coons, Bret Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas.  The list goes on.