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June 20: New York Times: "You may be hunched over your phone right now, worrying about reports that young people are growing horns on their skulls from spending too much time hunched over smartphones.... Recent articles by the BBC and the Washington Post have cited a 2018 study in the journal Scientific Reports saying that these bone growths have been turning up more often than expected in people aged 18 to 30. The study suggests that 'sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets,' are to blame.... Experts give the report mixed reviews." ...

     ... Update. Uh, it seems one of the authors of the "scientific study" is a chiropractor called David Shahar, who used his own patients as subjects of the study AND, according to Quartz, is "the creator of Dr. Posture, an online store that advertises information and products related to forward head posture. One section tells users how to 'look and feel your best in three easy steps,' which include watching a video by Shahar, downloading at-home exercises, and sleeping with a Thoracic Pillow, which Shahar has trademarked and sold for $195." So hunch over, pick up your phones, & call your friends with the good news that the "study" is more likely a marketing scam than a warning about another dire effect of cellphone use. Thanks to safari for the link.


Nick Schager in the Daily Beast: "Premiering on Netflix and in select theaters on July 24, The Great Hack is the most enraging, terrifying and — I don’t use this term lightly — important documentary of the year. Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim..., its subject is the Cambridge Analytica data scandal—a story that’s galling on the surface, and infinitely more bone-chilling when one considers its far-reaching ramifications. That’s because Cambridge Analytica’s deceptive and criminal relationship with, and conduct on, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform had world-altering consequences: helping launch the Brexit movement, and successfully aiding the election campaign of Donald Trump.” 

Guardian: “The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data. The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to 'intimidate and silence' journalists working in the public interest. In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop 'vexatious lawsuits', highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr.”

AP: "MAD, the long-running satirical magazine that influenced everyone from 'Weird Al' Yankovic to the writers of 'The Simpsons,' will be leaving newsstands after its August issue. Really. The illustrated humor magazine — instantly recognizable by the gap-toothed smiling face of mascot Alfred E. Neuman — will still be available in comic shops and through mail to subscribers. But after its fall issue it will just reprint previously published material. The only new material will come in special editions at the end of the year."

Hill: "The Democrats beat the Republicans in a high-scoring 14-7 win Wednesday [June 26] night in the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game. It was the Democrats' 10th win in 11 years."

New York Times: "... the Library of Congress has named [Joy Harjo] America’s new poet laureate. She will take over for Tracy K. Smith, who has held the position for two years.... Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the 23rd poet and first Native person to be selected for the role."

New York: "The mass of the metal 'anomaly' beneath the moon’s largest crater is five times greater than the big island of Hawaii, and according to a new study from scientists at Baylor University, it could contain metals remaining from an ancient asteroid impact, weighing in at around 4.8 quintillion pounds."

New York Times: "A skeleton in Siberia nearly 10,000 years old has yielded DNA that reveals a striking kinship to living Native Americans, scientists reported on Wednesday. The finding, published in the journal Nature, provides an important new clue to the migrations that first brought people to the Americas. 'In terms of peopling of the Americas, we have found close to the missing link,' said Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author of the new paper. 'It’s not the direct ancestor, but it’s extremely close.'... The DNA of [a group scientists call] the Ancient Paleo-Siberians is remarkably similar to that of Native Americans. Dr. Willerslev estimates that Native Americans can trace about two-thirds of their ancestry to these previously unknown people.”

New York Times: Navy pilots flying along the East Coast of the U.S. spotted UFOs "almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015.... The sightings were reported to the Pentagon’s shadowy, little-known Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which analyzed the radar data, video footage and accounts provided by senior officers from the Roosevelt. Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence official who ran the program until he resigned in 2017, called the sightings 'a striking series of incidents.'” In one incident, the UFO flew between two Navy jets "flying in tandem about 100 feet apart over the Atlantic east of Virginia Beach.... It looked to the pilot ... like a sphere encasing a cube."

Mrs. McCrabbie: This actually seems crazy to me:

New York Times: "A shiny stainless steel sculpture created by Jeff Koons in 1986, inspired by a child’s inflatable toy, sold at Christie’s on Wednesday night for $91.1 million with fees, breaking the record at auction for a work by a living artist, set just last November by David Hockney. Robert E. Mnuchin, an art dealer and the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, made the winning bid for Mr. Koons’s 1986 'Rabbit' from an aisle seat near the front of the salesroom."

Might as well just get this -- it's vintage! it's "authentic"! -- and give it pride-of-place in the front hall. Sure, visitors will think you're tasteless & nuts, but in such a vintage, authentic way.

UPDATE: (May 19): New York Times: Mnuchin would not reveal the identity of his client; i.e., the purchaser of Stainless Bunny is. During an NYT interview, "He was near tears when asked about his son Steve and refused to comment about their relationship. But friends said that he is in an impossible predicament, conflicted over his sense of duty about being a loyal father and his concern as a citizen that President Trump is bad for America."

David McCullough Is a Crap Historian. Rebecca Onion of Slate reviews his book on the history -- okay, make that "hagiographic platitudes" -- about the settlement of the Northwest Territory. "Its success (it is No. 10 on Amazon’s best-seller list for books, as of Friday) shows how big the gap between critical history and the “popular history” that makes it to best-seller lists, Costco, and Target remains.” Mrs. McC: Onion doesn't mention it, but I get the impression all the "settling" was done by men; apparently the women's tasks were of no account. Somehow I don't think most of the "ladies" sat around drinking tea & doing needlepoint in their pretty parlors.


The Commentariat -- June 10, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Hill: "Former President Nixon White House counsel John Dean will testify before the House Judiciary Committee about lessons learned from special counsel Robert Mueller's report at a hearing scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Monday."

Mexican Foreign Minister Says Trump Lied about Deal. Michael Shear & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "The Mexican foreign minister said Monday that no secret immigration deal existed between his country and the United States, directly contradicting President Trump's claim on Twitter that a 'fully signed and documented' agreement would be revealed soon. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's top diplomat, said at a news conference in Mexico City that there was an understanding that both sides would evaluate the flow of migrants in the coming months. And if the number of migrants crossing the United States border was not significantly reduced, he said, both sides had agreed to renew discussions about more aggressive changes to regional asylum rules that could make a bigger impact.... Mr. Trump has insisted for several days that the agreement reached with Mexico Friday evening is a strong one, rejecting criticism that it largely called upon the Mexicans to take actions to reduce the flow of immigration that they had already agreed to months earlier."

Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "The Justice Department, after weeks of tense negotiations, has agreed to provide Congress with key evidence collected by Robert S. Mueller III that could shed light on possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump.... The exact scope of the material the Justice Department has agreed to provide was not immediately clear, but the committee signaled that it was a breakthrough after weeks of wrangling over those materials and others that the Judiciary panel demanded under subpoena. The announcement appeared to provide a rationale for House Democrats' choice, announced last week to back away from threats to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress. The House will still proceed on Tuesday with a vote to empower the Judiciary Committee to take Mr. Barr to court to fully enforce its subpoena, but even that may no longer be necessary, the panel's leader [Jerry Nadler] said.... Mr. Nadler said he expected the department to begin sharing some of the material Monday afternoon and that all members of the committee would be able to view it privately."

Trump Whines:

... David Jackson & Nicholas Wu of USA Today: "... Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday for criticizing him over tariffs, claiming again that the threat of tariffs pressured Mexico into a new agreement to stop illegal border crossings. 'If we didn't have tariffs, we wouldn't have made a deal with Mexico,' Trump told the CNBC financial news network. Trump called into CNBC after an official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the president's threat to hit Mexico with tariffs -- as well as tariffs he has imposed on China and other countries -- was counter-productive." ...

... Caitlin Oprysko of Politico: "... Donald Trump intensified his defense of the widely panned agreement his administration struck with Mexico, even calling in to a cable news show for nearly half an hour Monday to try to sell the deal as a victory. After a weekend of railing against news reports poking holes in his claims -- some of which are so far unsubstantiated -- that Mexico had agreed to significant new concessions on immigration enforcement to avert tariffs, the president took to the airwaves to argue his case.... He dismissed the dire economic consequences experts had warned of had the 5 percent tariffs gone into effect, while mischaracterizing who would have been hit hardest by the levies, which almost always are passed on to consumers." ...

... Brett Samuels of the Hill: "President Trump on Monday accused technology companies like Facebook and Google of discriminating against him, adding that there's 'something going on in terms of monopoly.'... "I can tell you they discriminate against me," Trump said when asked about companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon. 'People talk about collusion. The real collusion is between the Democrats and these companies because they were so against me during my election run.'" More on the tech companies linked below. ...

... Chris Rodrigo of the Hill: "President Trump on Sunday ripped Democrats ahead of testimony from John Dean, a former White House counsel for President Nixon who proved pivotal during the Watergate scandal. 'The Dems were devastated -- after all this time and money spent ($40,000,000), the Mueller Report was a disaster for them,' Trump tweeted Sunday evening. 'But they want a Redo, or Do Over. They are even bringing in @CNN sleazebag attorney John Dean. Sorry, no Do Overs -- Go back to work!'... Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee will grill Dean on Monday in an attempt to shine a spotlight on the unsavory details about Trump's conduct contained in special counsel Robert Mueller<'s report."

Tucker Koherty & Tanya Snyder of Politico: "The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection. Chao's aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell's Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell -- including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications.... Chao's designation of Inman as a special intermediary for Kentucky -- a privilege other states did not enjoy -- gave a special advantage to projects favored by her husband, which could in turn benefit his political interests. In such situations, ethicists say, each member of a couple benefits personally from the success of the other." Mrs. McC: Mitch is corrupt, as is his wife. Who would have suspected?

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "On Friday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave a ... speech ... at a judicial conference in New Paltz, N.Y. There was little in her remarks to hearten liberals. She started by noting the most fundamental change at the court. 'Justice Kennedy announced his retirement,' she said. 'It was, I would say, the event of greatest consequence for the current term, and perhaps for many terms ahead.' ... Justice Ginsburg's concluding comments seemed to foreshadow a closely divided case in which she will be on the losing side. 'Speculators about the outcome note that last year, in Trump v. Hawaii, the court upheld the so-called travel ban in an opinion granting great deference to the executive,' she said, referring to a 5-to-4 decision in which the court's four liberals dissented. 'Respondents in the census case have argued that a ruling in Secretary Ross's favor would stretch deference beyond the breaking point.'"

Juan Cole: "Two structural constraints are operating with regard to [a bipartisan Congressional] attempt to cancel the Saudi arms deal. One is that a majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress have been unwilling to criticize Trump or to work against one of his presidential initiatives. The other is that Congress has on too many occasions found ways of offloading its own constitutional responsibilities onto the president. This way of proceeding, has often reduced the exposure of congressmen with regard to issues controversial in their districts. But Trump has taken advantage of all of these accumulated presidential de facto powers to sidestep Congress, and it is time for the latter to confront the president and strip him of these unconstitutional prerogatives." More on this, by NBC News, linked below.


Trump Claims Mexico "Deal" Has Secret Parts, Also Critics Are Mean. David Cohen of Politico: "As critics continued to suggest the U.S. deal with Mexico didn't accomplish much..., Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning there is more to the agreement than meets the eye. 'Importantly, some things..... .....not mentioned in yesterday press release, one in particular, were agreed upon. That will be announced at the appropriate time,' the president wrote in a string of four tweets. Trump was defending his newly announced agreement with Mexico in the face of reporting that much of what was in the deal was not new. In his tweets, he directly attacked the New York Times and CNN, calling them 'the Enemy of the People.'... Appearing on 'Fox News Sunday' soon after Trump's tweetstorm, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was asked about the president's tweets, but offered few specific details.... Forty minutes after his string of tweets, Trump ... [tweeted,] 'If President Obama made the deals that I have made, both at the Border and for the Economy, the Corrupt Media would be hailing them as Incredible, & a National Holiday would be immediately declared. With me, despite our record setting Economy and all that I have done, no credit!'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Good idea, Donnie. Let's have a national holiday for the Paris Climate Agreement (oops, you pulled the U.S. out of that); the Iran Nuclear Agreement (oops, you backed out of that, too) & the Affordable Care Act (oops, you tried to repeal that & you're undermining it now).

Thank You for Your Service, Now Get Out, Ctd. Richard Sisk of the Military Times: "The Government Accountability Office has a recommendation for Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Check to see whether the people it picks up are military veterans before kicking them out of the country. 'We recommended that ICE collect and maintain data on veterans' in accordance with long-established rules at the agency to avoid deporting individuals who may be eligible to stay, the 40-page GAO report states. From 2013 to 2018, ICE failed to follow its own policies requiring agents to consider a veteran's military record before beginning the process of removal from the country, according to the report. Time in service, awards and deployments are all among factors that are supposed to be weighed when making a deportment decision. The policies also call for deportation cases that might involve veterans to be referred to higher headquarters for a decision. Those policies also were not followed, the report states. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of ICE, said they didn't consider the veteran and non-veteran status in removal proceedings and were unaware of policies to the contrary." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Official White House Fake News. Murtaza Hussain of the Intercept: "In 2018..., Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. The White House claimed that the nuclear deal had allowed Iran to increase its military budget, and Washington Post reporters Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly asked for a source. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi.... Rizzo and Kelly reported [the story, naming the source]. The White House had used Alavi's article ... to justify its decision to terminate the agreement. There's a problem, though: Heshmat Alavi appears not to exist. Alavi's persona is a propaganda operation run by the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq, which is known by the initials MEK, two sources told The Intercept.... The MEK is among the most controversial groups seeking to depose the Iranian government. Although today it is mainly involved in political activism and lobbying, the group also has a history of violence." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I don't have to tell you that a real White House would seek out & cite U.S. intelligence sources of information on foreign government ops; it most certainly would not rely on the writings of an unknown (and in this case, fake) individual. But the fake newsman is hardly surprising; it's one step worse than Trump making policy decisions based on something he thought he heard on Fox "News." This is the most slipshod, fact-averse White House in modern history. When Dubya falsely claimed Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa, it was an international scandal (British PM Tony Blair got pummelled, too), even tho the initial story (which the CIA debunked before Bush told it) had come through intelligence sources. There was a movie about it. And Valerie Plame, the protagonist in the film, whom Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage outted as a CIA undercover operative in the fall-out from the fake story, became a household name & is running for Congress in 2020. I'm not sure major media outlets will even pick up this White House's fake writer story.

White House for Sale. Jon Swaine of the Guardian: "A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House.... Investment has flowed from overseas to the company, Cadre, while Kushner works as an international envoy for the US, according to corporate filings and interviews. The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy.... Kushner resigned from Cadre's board and reduced his ownership stake to less than 25% after he joined the White House, according to his attorneys. He failed to list Cadre on his first ethics disclosure...." --s

Sharon LaFraniere, et al., of the New York Times attempt to pigeonhole Bill Barr: "In a cabinet stocked with government neophytes and placeholders, the deeply experienced [William] Barr is quickly emerging as the most influential figure in the second half of Mr. Trump;s term.... But his rising power over the intelligence community has been accompanied by swelling disillusionment with Mr. Barr among former national security officials and ideological moderates.... Now they see in him someone who has glossed over Mr. Trump's misdeeds, smeared his investigators and positioned himself to possibly declassify information for political gain -- not the Bill Barr they thought they knew."

Michael Schmidt & Charlie Savage of the New York Times: "As the special counsel's investigators pursued the question of whether President Trump tried to impede their work, they uncovered compelling evidence -- a voice mail recording and statements from a trusted witness -- that might have led to him. A lawyer for Mr. Trump, John M. Dowd, reached out to a lawyer for a key witness who had just decided to cooperate with the government, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Dowd fished in his message for a heads-up if Mr. Flynn was telling investigators negative information about Mr. Trump -- while also appearing to say that if Mr. Flynn was just cutting a deal without also flipping on the president, then he should know Mr. Trump still liked him. But the president's role, if any, remains a mystery.... Investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, declined to question Mr. Dowd about his message, citing 'attorney-client-privilege issues.' The release of the recording last week served as a reminder that ... some tantalizing questions about the president's conduct went unanswered because investigators encountered obstacles or backed off on pursuing leads.... [Former federal prosecutor Joyce] Vance noted that courts have recognized an exception to attorney-client privilege that allows investigators to compel people to testify to a grand jury about such conversations if they are involved in the commission of a crime."

Catherine Belton of Reuters: "A senior American banker [Robert Foresman] ... held a series of prominent roles in Moscow's financial world.... [He] once secretly awarded a shareholding in powerful Moscow investment bank Renaissance Capital to one of Vladimir Putin's closest friends [Matthias Warnig] and brokered meetings for the friend with top U.S. foreign policy officials a decade ago, emails show.... [The] deeply religious conservative ... banker has said it has always been his calling to be a peacemaker between the two nuclear superpowers.... Foresman's relationship with the Kremlin was more complicated -- and more mercantile -- than that of peacemaker.... According to the [Mueller] report, Foresman ... reached out to Donald Trump when the ... campaign was building momentum. In March 2016, Foresman emailed Trump's assistant inviting the presidential candidate to an international business forum in St Petersburg, saying he'd had 'an approach' from 'senior Kremlin officials' about the candidate[.]... Foresman's Moscow connections gained fresh attention recently when the banker was named in ... Robert Mueller's report...." --s

Hannah Rappleye
& Lisa Seville of NBC News: "The deaths of three ICE detainees since April, along with the release of several internal and watchdog reports documenting dismal conditions at ICE detention centers, have prompted an outcry from advocates who say the Trump administration is pushing growing numbers of immigrants into a detention system ill-equipped to care for them.... Twenty-four immigrants have died in ICE custody during the Trump administration, according to an NBC News analysis of federal data. At least four others ... died shortly after being released from ICE custody. The number of in-custody deaths remains below the peak of 32 deaths in 2004, the first full calendar year records were kept. The tally does not include migrants, including five children, who have died in the custody of other federal agencies." --s ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Here's a hint as to why: ...

... Sheri Fink of the New York Times: "As apprehensions of migrants climb at the southwest border, and dozens a day are taken to community hospitals, medical providers are challenging practices -- by both government agencies and their own hospitals -- that they say are endangering patients and undermining recent pledges to improve health care for migrants. The problems range from shackling patients to beds and not permitting them to use restrooms to pressuring doctors to discharge patients quickly and certify that they can be held in crowded detention facilities that immigration officials themselves say are unsafe. Physicians say that needed follow-up care for long-term detainees is often neglected, and that they have been prevented from informing family members about the status of critically ill patients. Agency vehicles parked conspicuously near hospital entrances, health providers say, are also stoking fear and interfering with broader immigrant care. Doctors typically do not know what rights they might have to challenge these practices.... [Some health systems have policies] that applies equally to immigration detainees and prisoners."

Guardian: "The tree planted by Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, at the White House as a symbol of their countries' ties has died, according to multiple media reports in France. The oak was given as a gift to the US president during Macron's visit in 2018.... Relations between the two leaders have since frayed -- over issues ranging from Iran to trade &-- and, it appears, the tree has fared little better.... It was a symbolic gesture: the tree came from Belleau Wood, north-east of Paris, where 1,811 Americans died in a ferocious battle in June 1918 during the first world war." --safari: Maybe the roots were poisoned?

They're Sick of Trump's Despotism. Dan De Luce of NBC News: "Two senators plan to introduce a bill Monday designed to force a vote on current and future U.S. arms sales and other military support to Saudi Arabia, saying it was time lawmakers checked ... Donald Trump's attempts to bypass Congress on foreign policy. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who both sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, marks the latest counterpunch by lawmakers who strongly oppose selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and who are outraged at the Trump administration's recent decision to sidestep Congress on an arms deal worth billions of dollars."

They're Sick of Trump's Despotism. Jonathan Swan of Axios: "Trump's blunt use of presidential leverage to force the Mexican government to harden its immigration enforcement appears to have caused an unintended side effect: U.S. business leaders have begun urgently discussing strategies to claw back the virtually unchecked trade powers that Congress has handed over to presidents during the past 80 years.... Even though the business community is now breathing a sigh of relief that Trump won't be hitting Mexico with new tariffs, the last week of Trump's threats may have a longer lasting effect, according to industry sources who have met with corporate representatives in Washington, leaders of business associations, administration officials, members of Congress and their senior staff.... 'Maybe folks in the White House don't know this, but they freaked out a lot of people,' a trade lawyer involved in these conversations told me. 'This is a real turning point because this is threatening tariffs using an emergency power,' said another top industry source involved. 'That's never been done before. Part of the resources that we want to direct our advocacy to ... is for Congress to take back authority over tariffs.'"

Sophie Weiner of Splinter: "... a new report from the Washington Post shows that ... irresponsible spending extended to members of the [NRA's] board, who often were paid for services by the NRA.... Some of those on the board are industry executives who sell their own wares to the NRA, like Peter Brownell, who was paid $3.1 million for firearms products, according to the Post.... Board members say that getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the organization they are supposed to police doesn't cloud their judgement." Mrs. McC: Right. The WashPo story is here.

Marc Tracy of the New York Times: "$4,700,000,000.... It's the amount that Google made from the work of news publishers in 2018 via search and Google News, according to a study to be released on Monday by the News Media Alliance. The journalists who create that content deserve a cut of that $4.7 billion, said David Chavern, the president ... of the alliance, which represents more than 2,000 newspapers across the country, including The New York Times.... That $4.7 billion is nearly as much as the $5.1 billion brought in by the United States news industry as a whole from digital advertising last year -- and the News Media Alliance cautioned that its estimate for Google's income was conservative.... The News Media Alliance is making the study public in advance of a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday on the interrelationship of big tech companies and the media.... Two giant companies -- Alphabet, which is Google's parent, and Facebook -- are major distributors for news publishers.... Their middleman role allows them to take a huge proportion of online ad revenue." A bipartisan bill in the House & Senate would allow news organizations to share the revenue. ...

... Brian Stelter of CNN: "When House members convene on Tuesday for the first of several hearings about the power of Big Tech, they'll be hearing multiple pitches for a bill called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. Lobbyists for the newspaper industry are promoting the bill as a way to even the playing field between their businesses and the two giants of the online ad market, Google and Facebook. The bill would provide newspapers and online publishers with a four-year antitrust exemption, allowing them to band together in negotiations with online platforms.... On the House side, the bill is moving forward."

Way Beyond the Beltway

Hong Kong. BBC: "Hundreds of thousands of people have marched in Hong Kong against a law critics fear could let China target political opponents in the territory. The controversial extradition bill would allow suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial. Organisers say there were one million people, which would make it the biggest march in more than 20 years. Police say there were 240,000 at its peak. After it ended, clashes erupted between hundreds of demonstrators and police. Protesters, some wearing surgical masks, tried to break into the Legislative Council complex, throwing crowd control barriers around, and police in riot gear used batons and pepper spray. Some of the protesters and policemen were later seen with faces covered in blood."

Kazakhstan. Joanna Lillis of the Guardian: "Kazakhstan elected [Kassym-Jomart Tokayev] the hand-picked successor of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev with more than 70%t [sic] of the vote, electoral authorities said on Monday, after an election day marred by protests.... Hundreds of people were arrested on Sunday while protesting against the stage-managed election which they aid would deprive them of a political voice. Voters went to the polls to elect a successor to Nazarbayev, the 78-year-old who ruled for three decades before resigning this year. But with the last of the region's communist-era presidents stepping aside rather than stepping down, there are concerns that Kazakhstan is yet to break free of the past." --s

Reader Comments (9)

A new week, more of the same ol' from Confederates and their Glorious Leader, president Lie-Boy.

I'm still trying to process that amazing letter from the Party of Traitors instructing Democrats that certain (quite a few) words and phrases may not be used, hi-hosie, black and white magic, turn around and touch the ground, step on a crack, break your grandmother's back, when talking about Lie-Boy, the treason donkey.

And I was wondering how they decided upon those specific words because, when you think about it, it's a bit like a rapist instructing his victims not to use certain words while he violates them because they'll hurt his feelings.

Then it hit me. So here's how they did it.

"Okay, let's figure out what things we're gonna tell those Demycraps they can't say."

"Which words? How do we pick them?"

"Well, how would you describe Trump?"


"Good. What else?"

"Geez...amoral? Crook? Con man? Draft Dodger?"

"Yeah, that about says it. Anything else?"

"Um...oh yeah, pathetic. Oh, and cowardly. Deceitful, dishonest, reprehensible, liar, racist, 'bout scumbag and asshole?"

"Hey, whose side are you on? What sort of things would you say he does?"

"Aids and abets the enemy? Puts himself above the law? Commits crimes? Helps his cronies? Violates his oath of office?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. All of those go in. We'll come up with a few more. Basically, the only thing they can say about him is "He's great!"

So they took the simplest route to constructing the list of words and phrases that are now verboten to say in regards to Lie-Boy Traitor. The words and phrases that best describe him.

Well, that wasn't so hard, now, was it?

Good job, traitors.

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

MSNBC had a focus group guy on this morning who interviewed voters in Northwestern Pennsylvania who said they had voted for Obama (don't know if this means 2008 AND 2012 or one or the other) and then voted for Trump. They still like Trump and will vote for him again! Apparently N.W. Pa. is a media desert. Assuming it's true they voted for Obama (and of course there's no way to know), these voters aren't virulent racists, so I guess they're just remarkably ignorant and/or stupid.

Update: Here's an Axios story on this or a similar focus group. Make that stupid.

June 10, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

I'm not surprised about those stupid people, Mrs. McC. I can't get out of my head the surprised woman at Amash's town hall who said she was shocked by the reports of the Mueller report in the last several weeks-- she had no idea it did NOT exonerate the Monster in Chief. (Our esteemed toady, Lloyd Smucker, said Amash must have been dropped on his head...but hey, let's be civil...)They see precisely what their teevee, set on Faux, tells them to see. I am really shocked myself, but at supposed educated, past Obama voters, who ever saw anything good in this goldbricker. No one is curious enough to read up on anything, particularly in the pockets of states, and if their newspapers don't cover things, well, they have no idea.

The letters to the editor are astounding. How can we be so hard on someone who "really cares about the little people?" (--where in gods' names do they see that??) They simply see he hates brown people and that is enough for them.
Letters yesterday told us we were cruel to the unborn. Funny, they don't give a flying f*** about the caged children in such dire straits. It's not about babies. It's about keeping women subservient and the brown and black people in their places, too. That's all it is. And we can be sure that Mitch is governed by that, too. 1. Get rich 2. Get filthy rich 3. Get unbelievably rich 4. Keep power 5. Die

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne


Can we go straight to number 5?

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Will we ever learn?

Trump was elected in 2016 for a number of reasons. Some people just hated Hillary Clinton, others hated her because they believed everything Fox ever said about her. Russia helped get him elected by muddying the waters and spreading disinformation to support him. Jim Comey and Julian Assange played their own vital and incredibly timely roles. Comey's timing was such that few professional thespians could surpass his ability to hit the mark and deliver the killer line at just the right moment. Some voted for him because they see (and still do) him as the white man's savior. Others are just garden variety idiots. (The worst are those who stayed home because "both sides....blah, blah, blah...")

But in many respects he was elected because many people had no idea who or what he really is. The media treated it all as a joke, "Oh, it's just Donald being Donald. Ho-ho-ho. What a card!". CNN gave him tens of millions of dollars of free publicity that no one else got. Trump shows up to shout at someone? Holy shit! Let's go live! On the other hand, Hillary Clinton was treated as a serious candidate and therefore subjected to heavy duty journalistic investigations. When Trump threatened to jail his opponent, people laughed, including many in the media. And they're still treating him as if he's just a bit of quirky character instead of the existential threat to democracy he really is.

And it's happening again. While Biden and Warren and Harris and every other Democrat will be raked over the coals by the MSM and every gaffe, slightly inaccurate statement, or sloppy policy proposal will be put under the microscope and an accounting demanded, Trump will skate. And, as Marie has pointed out, not only don't they hold him to similar standards as the Democrats, they help him! They correct his garbled gibberish to make it sound as if he's a normal person with a working brain instead of the unstable maniac he is.

Every time Biden stubs his toe, there'll be headlines. Trump's outrages against morality, ethics, law, decency, and America are given a shrug, many of which don't even get more than a cursory mention in the first six graphs. Instead, Trump's every lie is dutifully transcribed to sound A) as if a reasonably normal person uttered it, and B) as if it's true, or at least could be. So when Trump lies about his "secret" side deals with Mexico, in many outlets it's reported just as he says. "The president reported that several vital elements of his landmark agreement with Mexico must stay under wraps for now." If they brought Edward Bernays back from the dead they couldn't do better as PR representatives. But they're not supposed to represent Trump. They're supposed to be helping the public make informed decisions!!!!!

Then we have the pall of "Both Sides" being deployed across the political landscape to once again blame everyone but Trump and to confuse and confound, all in the name of fat-ass lazy "fairness". In their own way, many domestic media outlets are worse than the Russians who are going out of their way to purposefully ratfuck the whole process.

It's happening all over again.

And when the white supremacists are "Sieg Heiling" at Trump's next inauguration, the media will say "Oh, man. How did that happen? Who can we blame this on? Democrats? Sure, why not?"

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Got some snacks and couple growlers of DIPA at hand ready for the John Dean Show. I thought I'd chug a pint for every one of the forbidden words or expressions that I hear. I hope that I don't get too loaded.

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed


Don't worry. Democrats are too nice to say anything mean about the little king. They're not even going to find the traitor Barr in contempt of congress. It makes my head spin to think how fast Confederates held Eric Holder in contempt over that bullshit made up crap they called Fast and Furious. As for Confederates insisting on civility now that they are in the hot seat, you may recall how they passed around pictures of Michele Obama as a gorilla and photopshopped watermelons on the White House lawn. Mighty civil. But don't worry. Democrats aim to please. They'll be obedient little children.

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

AK-- so true. It all makes my blood boil. Now we don't even get the barely punishing contempt charges cuz civility and all...That's why I was enraged at our idiot rep, Lloyd the Smucker. Sooo sanctimonious and calm about how we must all be civil, and then...Amash was "dropped on his head???" Boggles...

I guess the upside (but not for us--)of journalists having to clean up what they then print as a quote from Red Tie Man, more employment for journalists? Who cares if they are making up the quotes... crazy world. It's only getting worse. Yup, let's go right to #5 and send Mitch off to the Land of Nod...

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

@Ak, unfortunately you were right. I didn't get to chug a single beer (sad) but I did have to upchuck a couple of times into the nearest wastebasket due to the assaults on Dean by the repugnants. (JD did get in a few good digs back though). Vance and McQuade were outstanding. Malcolm is a smug, condescending ass, R, of course.

June 10, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed
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