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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 15, 2019

Afternoon Update:

Maureen Dowd: "The Trump White House may be a clown show and a criminal enterprise. But it's also an actual presidency. It's turning out to be a genuinely reactionary administration led by a wannabe authoritarian who refuses to recognize constitutional checks on power. The real danger is not the antics but the policies."

How Trump Normalizes Lawlessness. Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday that it would be 'foolish' not to take information from a foreign government pertaining to an election campaign. While Stewart said he wouldn't have said it the way ... Donald Trump did to ABC News -- the president said he would take intel from a foreign government and maybe not alert the FBI -- there's good reason to look at the information they may be offering."

FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub explains federal election law to dummies; okay, to a particular Dummy:

Chris Rodrigo of the Hill: "Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe said Thursday that it was 'absolutely' time to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump."

Tierney Sneed of TPM: "Voting rights group say they have found even more evidence connecting a now-deceased GOP gerrymandering consultant to the Trump administration's push to add a citizenship question census. The evidence, put forward in a Friday night court filing, is a 2015 email exchange between the consultant, Thomas Hofeller, and a longtime Census Bureau official who went on to become the the chief of staff to the Bureau's director under the Trump administration. In the emails, the Bureau official, Christa Jones, told Hofeller that the public comments were open on a census-related federal notice and suggested that it could 'be an opportunity to mention citizenship as well.' The email came from Jones' personal account.... It was Jones who recommended that the Census Bureau reach out to far-right anti-immigrant activists who could speak favorably about adding the question. She was also a go-to contact at the Bureau for the Commerce Department as it worked to get the question added, a Commerce official said in deposition, according to NPR."

Cristina Maza of Newsweek: "Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday cast doubt on evidence that the U.S. government claims is proof that Iran was behind an attack this week on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.... The U.S. Navy later released a video that purported to show members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard sneaking over to the ship in the middle of the night to remove an unexploded mine. U.S. officials claimed this is evidence of Iran's culpability, but Maas argued that the video was insufficient proof to pin the attack on Iran." ...

... Peter Baker of the New York Times: "For any president, accusing another country of an act of war presents an enormous challenge to overcome skepticism at home and abroad. But for a president known for falsehoods and crisis-churning bombast, the test of credibility appears far more daunting. For two and a half years in office, Mr. Trump has spun out so many misleading or untrue statements about himself, his enemies, his policies, his politics, his family, his personal story, his finances and his interactions with staff that even his own former communications director once said 'he's a liar' and many Americans long ago concluded that he cannot be trusted.... Mr. Trump ... himself has assailed the reliability of America's intelligence agencies and even the intelligence chiefs he appointed, suggesting they could not be believed when their conclusions have not fit his worldview."

Keith Bradsher & Alexandra Stevenson of the New York Times: "Backing down after days of huge street protests, Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, said on Saturday that she would indefinitely suspend a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. It was a remarkable reversal for Mrs. Lam, the leader installed by Beijing in 2017, who had vowed to ensure the bill's approval and tried to get it passed on an unusually short timetable, even as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against it this past week. But she made it clear that the bill was being delayed, not withdrawn outright, as protesters have demanded."


The Trump Scandals, Ctd.

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate: "America finds itself in the grip of an endless and inscrutable daily mystery: How is it possible that the president -- whose chief occupations seem to be tweeting, lying, lying about what he tweeted, watching television, and committing crimes -- is not on the hook for anything?... More broadly, one wonders, how is it possible that nobody within his orbit -- including those who refuse to comply with subpoenas, and those who openly commit flagrant acts of greed and corruption, and those who have broken federal laws -- is on the hook for anything either? This vast epistemological question can consume every ounce of energy that remains after an average day spent watching atrocities directed at small children and humanitarian volunteers being put on trial.... The answer, of course, is that we've let him get away with it." ...

I used to think Trump could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and the Republicans would let him get away with it. Now I think the Democrats would, too. -- Brian Fallon, in a tweet June 12

Justin Fishel & Lucien Bruggeman of ABC News: "... Donald Trump is directly disputing the account of a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible obstruction of justice during the course of the Russia probe saying that it 'doesn't matter' what his former White House counsel Don McGahn testified.... Trump [told George Stephanopoulos] McGahn 'may have been confused' when he told Mueller that Trump instructed him multiple times to have the acting attorney general remove the special counsel because of perceived conflicts of interest. 'The story on that very simply, No. 1, I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller,' Trump told Stephanopoulos." Mrs. McC: If there was any basis for Trump's claim of executive privilege re: McGahn, there isn't anymore. By discussing the matter publicly & disputing McGahn's sworn testimony, Trump has waived any claim of executive privilege. McGahn has the right, for one thing, to publicly defend his testimony. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Jonathan Chait sums up Trump's position: "The Mueller report shows no obstruction of justice, and the obstruction it shows is fake, and Congress can't hear from a person [McGahn] who testified about obstruction. We just have to take Trump's word on this, even though his words contradict other words of his. Just what you'd expect an innocent person to say, basically." ...

... In Another Attempted Clean-up, Trump Again Vows to Collude with Foreign Governments. Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "President Trump on Friday [told Fox 'News'] he would 'of course' look at dirt from a foreign government on his political opponents, but stated he would give it to the FBI if he knew it was 'bad.' The comments were Trump's latest attempt to do damage control over his comments to ABC News that he would accept damaging information about his rivals from hostile powers, which drew widespread backlash in Washington.... He added that 'if I thought anything was incorrect or badly stated I'd report to the FBI or law enforcement, absolutely.'... Despite the blowback he has faced from Democrats and Republicans, Trump said 'I've had a lot of support' for his position, but did not cite any examples. The president insisted he made it clear in his interview with ABC that he would report damaging information to the FBI, even though he told anchor George Stephanopoulos he would 'maybe' do so." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... McConnell Is Like, "Whatever." Matthew Choi of Politico: "Speaking with Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Thursday night, the Senate majority leader spoke with exasperation over the backlash the president has received for saying he would hear out foreign assistance if offered in the 2020 election. McConnell portrayed the comments as a nonstory, saying Congress had legislative agendas to focus on. 'They just can't let it go, Laura,' McConnell said. 'I said weeks ago, case closed. We got the Mueller report, the only objective evaluation that will be conducted.'" (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So even if the Mueller report had exonerated Trump, which of course it did not, according to Mitch, nothing Trump does or says thereafter can be scrutinized, either. So a "forever" get-out-of-jail-free card. The last time I got stopped for speeding, the policeman did not give me a ticket, even though I was definitely speeding. If I had one of Mitch's cards, I could go on speeding every time I got behind the wheel, with no legal consequences.

... Trump Can't Take the Heat, Insults Stephanopoulos. Joe Concha of the Hill: "President Trump pushed back at ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during a testy interview, calling him 'a little wise guy.' Stephanopoulos was pressing the president on not answering questions in person from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. 'Wait a minute. I did answer questions. I answered them in writing,' Trump said. 'Not on obstruction.' Stephanopoulos replied. 'George, you're being a little wise guy, OK, which is, you know, typical for you,' Trump hit back. 'Just so you understand. Very simple. It's very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing's collusion. Now, there's no collusion. That means ... it was a setup, in my opinion, and I think it's going to come out,' he continued." (Also linked yesterday.)

Faris Bseiso of CNN: "The Trump administration is planning a costly Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial, despite its failure to pay off $7 million in debt from the 2017 inauguration, The Washington Post reported on Friday." Mrs. McC: If you live or shop in D.C., you're paying for the paeans to His Trumpship.

Bill Allison & Jarrell Dillard of Bloomberg News: "Ivanka Trump made $4 million from her investment in her father's Washington hotel last year, according to a disclosure released by the White House on Friday.... Together, Trump and husband Jared Kushner earned between $28.8 million and $135.1 million in outside income while working as unpaid senior advisers to her father..., Donald Trump, their disclosures, which covers 2018, show.... Kushner, 38, disclosed at least $27 million and as much as $135 million in debt, the same amount he disclosed last year."

Jesse Pound & Christine Wang of CNBC: “The Justice Department on Friday supported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's argument against turning over ... Donald Trump's tax returns.In an opinion signed by Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, the agency agreed with Mnuchin's determination that the House Ways and Means Committee's subpoena did not have a 'legitimate legislative purpose.' 'The Committee's asserted purpose -- to consider legislation regarding the IRS's practices in auditing presidential tax filings -- was implausible,' Engel wrote in the memo."

: "... Donald Trump said on Friday that he has no plans to fire top aide Kellyanne Conway after an independent federal agency recommended that she be removed from her job after she repeatedly used her office for political purposes.... On Friday, Trump fiercely defended Conway and criticized the Hatch Act, saying it unfairly muzzles officials." Mrs. McC: So New Trump Rule: If the President* Says a Law Is "Unfair," He Doesn't Have to Obey It. Expect the rule to apply to court orders, too. (Also linked yesterday.)

Maybe They Fell in Love. Betsy Klein of CNN: "... according to ... Donald Trump, [Queen Elizabeth II] has never had so much fun as she did during his visit last week. 'I have such a great relationship, and we were laughing and having fun. And her people said she hasn't had so much fun in 25 years. Then I got criticized for it because they said we were having too much fun,' Trump told Fox News' 'Fox and Friends' during a phone interview Friday." Mrs. McC: Yo, Donnie, she was laughing at you, not with you.

Steven Erlanger
of the New York Times: “European governments may believe Iran is to blame for the attacks this week on fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman, but their distrust of the Trump administration and its hawkish policy toward Tehran have led them to measure their words and call for de-escalation and 'maximum restraint.' Mindful of Washington's exaggerations and outright misrepresentations of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, European leaders are asking the Trump administration for hard evidence.... Germany wants a careful investigation of the attacks, insisting that 'a spiral of escalation must be avoided.' The European Union, in the words of the spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic, has 'said repeatedly that the region doesn't need further escalation, it doesn't need further destabilization, it doesn't need further tension.'"

Ben Dooley of the New York Times: "One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship's Japanese operator said on Friday, expressing doubt that a mine had been attached to its hull. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies had concluded that Tehran was behind the disabling of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital conduit for much of the world's oil.... In an interview ... Friday by 'Fox & Friends,' President Trump directly accused Tehran, saying, 'Iran did do it.'... But Yutaka Katada, the [tanker] company's president, citing accounts from the ship's crew, said Friday: 'I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.'" (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Trita Parsi in an NBC News opinion piece: "... if anything, the speed in which the Trump administration officially blamed Iran should give us pause, given John Bolton's long history of fabricating intelligence in favor of war. The mere process of gathering evidence — let alone conclusive evidence -- of how the attack on Thursday was conducted and who was behind it would take days and weeks, not hours. In his press conference Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in fact, carefully avoided claiming the existence of any evidence and presented his accusations as a 'government assessment,' which is different from a U.S. intelligence assessment, of which this administration is historically rather skeptical.... Instead of evidence, Pompeo presented a series of accusations of past alleged [& unproved] activities by Iran.... Iran may very well have been behind the attacks; a case can be made that it has a strong motive. The potential motive, though, does not mean, as the president said on Friday, that 'it's got essentially Iran written all over it.'"

Image of a $20 note produced by the Bureau of Engraving & Printing.... Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Extensive work was well underway on a new $20 bill bearing the image of Harriet Tubman when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin new security features under development made the 2020 design deadline set by the Obama administration impossible to meet....In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman's likeness on next year's centennial of the 19th Amendment.... A current employee of the [Bureau of Engraving and Printing] ... said that the design appeared to be far along in the process." (Also linked yesterday.)

Brian Faler of Politico: "Federal tax payments by big businesses are falling much faster than anticipated in the wake of Republicans' tax cuts, providing ammunition to Democrats who are calling for corporate tax increases. The U.S. Treasury saw a 31 percent drop in corporate tax revenues last year, almost twice the decline official budget forecasters had predicted. Receipts were projected to rebound sharply this year, but so far they've only continued to fall, down by almost 9 percent or $11 billion. Though business profits remain healthy and the economy is strong, total corporate taxes are at the lowest levels seen in more than 50 years. At the same time, overall taxes paid by individuals under the new tax law are up so far this year by 3 percent, thanks to higher wages and salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Last year tax payments by individuals went up 4 percent." (Also linked yesterday.)

Presidential Race 2020

Dartunorro Clark of NBC News: "NBC News on Friday announced the lineups of Democratic presidential candidates who are appearing on stage this month on each night of the first debate of the 2020 race.... Where the candidates will stand on stage each night has not yet been determined.... To decide the matchups, candidates' names were drawn manually at NBC News' headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York." ...

... Reid Epstein, et al., of the New York Times: "With Friday's announcement of the lineups for the debates, set for June 26 and 27, the political stakes and intriguing subplots of the 2020 Democratic primary race came into sharper focus.... The first night will be Senator Elizabeth Warren's to lose, as she faces off against nine lower-polling candidates desperate for breakout moments. But the second night is potentially more consequential, a showdown among four of the biggest names in the 2020 presidential race: Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris."

Katherine Faulders, et al., of ABC News: "Data from ... Donald Trump's first internal reelection campaign poll conducted in March, obtained exclusively by ABC News, showed him losing a matchup by wide margins to former Vice President Joe Biden in key battleground states. Trump has repeatedly denied that such data exists."

Congressional Race 2020. Maureen Groppe of the Indianapolis Star: "Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, one of only 13 Republican women in the House as well as the head of GOP recruitment for 2020, found someone she could not convince to run: herself. The Carmel Republican will not seek a fifth term next year, she told USA Today.... For 2020, Democrats had put Brooks on their 'retirement watch list.' They see her district, which includes the wealthy northern Indianapolis suburban areas, as potentially flippable as Republican support has eroded in some suburban areas under ... Donald Trump."

Senate Race 2020. Hayley Miller & Kevin Robillard of the Huffington Post: "Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat, is expected to formally announce in the coming weeks that she's running for Republican Sen. Susan Collins&' seat in 2020, five Democratic sources confirmed to HuffPost. Defeating Collins, the Maine moderate who infuriated liberals with her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, is key to Democratic hopes of winning back control of the Senate in 2020. Gideon is a top-tier recruit for the race and is expected to have at least the tacit backing of establishment groups like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY's List." ...

... AND Speaking of Brett (and Reproductive Rights, Susan) ... Mark Stern of Slate: "Justice Brett Kavanaugh's old court rebuked his anti-abortion jurisprudence on Friday, compelling the Trump administration to allow undocumented minors in federal custody to terminate their pregnancies. The appeals court's ruling rejects the administration's blanket ban on abortion access for these minors as a violation of their constitutional right to choose. It should guarantee all undocumented minors control over their bodies, a right the federal government has spent more than two years seeking to revoke.... In October 2017, then-Judge Kavanaugh refused to let [a 17-year old known as Jane] Doe, who was housed in Texas, get an abortion.... Instead, Kavanaugh gave the government more time to find a sponsor who could take custody of Doe and maybe let her obtain an abortion. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit swiftly reversed Kavanaugh's decision, allowing Doe to terminate. In response, Kavanaugh penned a fiery dissent accusing the majority of permitting 'immediate abortion on demand.'... Following that decision, Doe quickly obtained her abortion. A furious Department of Justice then asked the Supreme Court to punish the ACLU attorneys who represented Doe, falsely accusing them of misconduct. SCOTUS declined this invitation, but also vacated the D.C. Circuit's decision because it had become moot since Doe got the relief she wanted. So the ACLU pressed on with its class action." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Very nice. But it seems likely Justice Kavanaugh will get the last laugh.

Lachlan Markay of the Daily Beast: "On Friday morning, ABC's digital news operation posted a number of stories that effectively assisted the Trump re-election campaign in building its email list. Some of the network's largest affiliates posted an identical piece of content on their websites promoting a 'birthday card' for ... Donald Trump. The card is actually a petition website created by the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee to harvest email addresses that can be used during the 2020 campaign. A spokesperson for ABC's affiliate stations told The Daily Beast that the piece was initially posted 'by an overnight producer at one of our local stations and they did not follow the station's editorial standards.' Additional stations, which are free to draw content from other ABC affiliates, then posted their own versions. 'The story has since been taken down,' the spokesperson said." Mrs. McC: Ah, the unsupervised-employee defense. I'm sure this inadvertent error wasn't a payoff for the Stephanopoulos interview.

News Lede

New York Times: "Franco Zeffirelli, the Italian director renowned for his extravagantly romantic opera productions, popular film versions of Shakespeare and supercharged social life, died on Saturday at his home in Rome. He was 96."

Reader Comments (6)

In re ABC's DiJiT birthday card - our local ABC affiliate is owned by Sinclair, sort of Fox-lite. Sinclair's news model includes telling its affiliates what to say, editorially, word for word. Like "happy birthday, DiJiT". I'd look to Sinclair, not so much ABC, for responsibility.

But I can't tell anymore who's really in charge of anything.

June 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Within Fintan O'Toole's review on "Vile Bodies"–a book on military metaphors re: sexual diseases he had this:

In May 1998 Trump and Howard Stern discussed on the radio the threat of sexually transmitted diseases to promiscuous heterosexual men. Trump agreed with Stern's suggestion that he might tell a woman, "Look, you've got to take a medical test before I do you."
(Neither man seemed to imagine the possibility that he would take a test himself plus the "before I do you" smacks of a hairdresser's plea for a cup of coffee before he cuts your hair) Here's the exchange:

Trump: The problem is that sometimes your own chemicals take over and you can't wait. [oh, those pesky chemicals–- like having to go wee wee when you are indisposed]

Stern: So you'll just have straight intercourse with a rubber with them, right?

T: Well, I don't know, you know there's lots of different ways of doing it. It's a very complicated subject. They say [and here we have the usual "they say" or "people tell me" or "many have said] that more people were killed by women in this act than killed in Vietnam, ok?

Later in the interview, he repeated the comparison :

T: It's Vietnam. It is very dangerous. So I'm very, very careful.

S: "You're braver than any Vietnam vet because you're out there screwing a lot of women.

T: Yeah–-getting the Medal of Honor, in actuality.

O'Toole says the exchange between these two self-regarding alpha males took the lid off a strange stew of preening and paranoia of terror and lust, of claims of both to exemplary courage and to hyper-vigilant caution. He later compares Trump to the cowardly Pistol (Shakespeare's character)––Trump never did any actual fighting in any war yet he claims to be braver than any real vet, for he has faced the dangers of the bordello and the bedroom. His imagery is, of course, totally misogynistic. Even Pistol lays claim to his part in infecting his poor Nell who dies. But for Trump infection is a one- way process–-it is women who do this to men. In this vein he is not alone as O'Toole points out in his piece about connecting women's bodies as the sole vectors of disease and how it got connected in wars.

"Military metaphors have more and more come to infuse all aspects of the description of the medical situation. Disease is seen as an invasive of alien organisms to which the body responds by its own military [white cells depicted as "the army" in medical cartoon videos] operations such as the mobilizing of immunological defenses."
––––Susan Sontag

June 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


In many ways Sinclair is worse than Fox. Much worse. When you watch Fox, you know what you’re getting: pro-winger, pro-Trump propaganda and lies about them and their perceived enemies. You hear this crap from Hannity and Carlson and Ingraham, Fox and Friends, and the usual assortment of well known liars.

Sinclair stations, on the other hand, are true false flag operations in that the conduits of the pro-Trump propaganda are longtime local talent, news (and even weather) personalities who have been watched by local viewers sometimes for decades. Media studies have long shown that viewers find their local news people far more trustworthy than national outlets. This is an essential element in Sinclair’s plan to shoot up viewers with their brand of Trumpy lies. Force these people to sing the Trump songs or else. A number of newscasters whose stations have recently been gobbled up by Sinclair balked at being forced to lie for them, to play pre-packaged Soviet style state propaganda. Some have been fired, some have quit. But many find the prospect of looking for work in an increasingly shrinking broadcast market tough to take at age 45 or 50.

Last year Sinclair tried to take over Tribune broadcasting which would have given it control of an enormous chunk of the American broadcast market, putting them into 72% of all homes with a television set. That’s a much larger audience than Fox could ever hope for. And the difference in the delivery of far right-wing propaganda is the same as the difference between a traveling salesman knocking on your door to sell you a Trump MAGA hat and your next door neighbor chatting with you in the back yard explaining how awesome that Donald Trump is and how evil his enemies are.

They may have lost out on the Tribume deal, but their goal is still complete domination of the local broadcast markets as delivery systems for pro-Trump propaganda.

June 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

What Donald and Howie didn't understand about STDs and military metaphors is that, if they had joined the military and become NCOs, warrants or officers, they would have been immune. Because, as the training films taught, "venereal diseases are diseases of the privates."


June 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

I agree-- Fox is out there in their general distaste for Democrats, liberals and the extinct moderate Repugnican-- but Sinclair is more insidious. I don't know if they are still required to read propaganda on local stations-- the only one I tune to is a CBS affiliate and I only tune to the local weather just before Colbert. But it soon will not matter-- liberals are being overrun by everything and everyone else. Lies don't matter, truth has been discarded, laws are being ignored and as the medium was the message following the appearance of the hijacked Mueller report, I am with Dahlia. Those in the position to do anything about any of it are declining to do so. Power wins. Liberals lose.

June 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne


More importantly, truth loses. Along with facts, ethics, morality, honor, and decency. It’s become like a Dickens novel without the good guys. Just page after page of unrelenting evil, mendacious, grasping, clutching schemers who beat down everyone and everything in their path, who escape all manner of comeuppance and righteous punishment. Snickering and sneering right up to the last page.

No hope for Pip or Oliver. No chance for Sissy Jupe. No redemption for Scrooge or Sydney Carton.

June 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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