Media

First Advertiser Pulls Ads From Hannity

by Judd Legum – The decision follows Hannity relentlessly pushing a murder conspiracy theory about Seth Rich. The first advertiser has pulled their ads from Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, following a week in which Hannity has stubbornly clung to a debunked conspiracy theory. Through his Fox show and social media platforms, Hannity has pushed theory that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was murdered last summer, was the source of the emails released by Wikileaks. Hannity believes this theory would exonerate Russia and, therefore, Trump from interfering with the presidential campaign. Hannity relied on the claims of a private investigator and a report published on FoxNews.com. The investigator has since recanted and FoxNews.com retracted their story. Cars.com announced their decision to pull their ads in response to an inquiry from BuzzFeed News. Mary Georgantopoulos  ✔@marygeorgant .@carsdotcom is suspending its advertising on Sean Hannity’s Fox show 2:18 PM – 24 May...

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Roger Ailes: The Man Who Destroyed Objectivity

by NEAL GABLER – The founder of the right-wing network inflicted harm on the body politic that may be impossible to heal. Fox News creator and former chief Roger Ailes, who died at 77 last week from complications after a fall in his Florida home, may have been the most significant political figure of the last 35 years — which isn’t necessarily a compliment to those of us who believe media mavens shouldn’t also be political operatives. Ailes clearly thought differently. He simultaneously changed the contours both of American politics and American media by melding them, and in doing so changed the contours of fact and objectivity as they once were understood before the era of post-fact. It seems a lot to put on one man, but Roger Ailes destroyed the idea of media objectivity in the name of media objectivity, the way a phony evangelist might destroy virtue in the...

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Important New Ryan Lizza Piece on Sally Yates

by teacherken – just up at the website of The New Yorker, where it will appear in the May 29th issue.  It is titled Why Sally Yates Stood Up to Trump and has the subtitled “The former acting Attorney General reflects on the F.B.I., Michael Flynn, and how the President ended her career at the Justice Department..” It is the result of the first interview Yates has given since she was fired by the President.  Lizza conducted his interview of Yates the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired. There will be a lot of background about Yates — she is an impressive person. It is a well-written article, one that you should read. Let me offer a few selections to whet your appetites. Here’s the opening paragraph: It is hard to locate when President Trump first declared war on the government establishment, but the story may well begin on...

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Trump & Co. Put Out a Call for Plumbers

by TODD GITLIN – With so many leaks in the White House and no one to stop them, the Trump administration and the right-wing media are stepping up attacks on the “fake news” mainstream media and whistleblowers. Trump’s blasts against the hated media flood out of his reptile brain like rising seas, for example: Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! 4:48 PM – 17 Feb 2017 and Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad! 10:09 PM – 24 Feb 2017 And so on. The New York Times (which seems to be fairly thriving, by the way) has counted 41 of these during the 100 days from his inauguration through April...

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OOPS: Trump Accidentally Confirms Source of Classified Intel He Gave to Russians

by Aaron Rupar – He did so while mischaracterizing media reports about his Oval Office meeting with top Russian diplomats. During a photo opportunity with President Trump on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked if he’s concerned about Trump sharing highly sensitive counterterrorism intelligence with Russian officials on May 10 — information that reportedly came from an Israeli source. Trump responded by telling reporters that he never mentioned the word “Israel” during that meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. “Just so you understand — I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel,’” Trump said. “I never mentioned it during that conversation.” Gesturing to reporters, Trump added, “They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’” “Intelligence cooperation is terrific,” Netanyahu said. President Trump says he “never mentioned the word Israel” in his Oval Office meeting with...

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Newt Gingrich Pushes Discredited Conspiracy Theory About Death of DNC Staffer

by Kiley Kroh – Gingrich quickly pivoted from the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties to a conspiracy theory Seth Rich’s murder. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joined Fox and Friends on Sunday to discuss the day’s major news stories — or in Gingrich’s case, to pivot from the deepening investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia to baseless conspiracy theories about the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. After Gingrich and the hosts bemoaned the media’s “presumption of guilt” toward Trump, Gingrich was asked whether Robert Mueller, appointed this week as special counsel overseeing the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, might shed some light on the truth. Gingrich, a staunch Trump supporter, replied that it would depend on the scope of the investigation before quickly shifting gears to the unsolved murder of Rich, claiming without evidence that he was “assassinated.” “At the...

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New York Times: Intelligence Trump Leaked to Russians Came From Israel

by Joan McCarter – The rapidly unraveling story of popular vote loser Donald Trump leaking classified intelligence to Russian diplomats, as the result of an order from Vladimir Putin, just gets worse. Directly on the heels of the admission from National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that Trump didn’t even know where the intelligence came from, we found out where the intelligence came from: Israel, according to The New York Times. Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Mr. Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East. In the meeting with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, Mr. Trump disclosed...

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Time Interview With Donald Trump Isn’t Just Revealing—it’s Horrifying

by Mark Sumner – Warning: Readers who already looked at portions of Donald Trump’s The Economist interview may have reached or exceeded their gibberish exposure level for the day. If that’s the case … oh, read this anyway. It’s too late for all of us. What follows are 100 percent real excerpts from Donald Trump’s conversation with Time magazine reporters Nancy Gibbs, Michael Sherer, and Zeke Miller on the subject of “what it means to be president.” Trump: I find the job very natural for me. I find–it’s a very big job obviously, there’s no job big like this. No job is important like this. But I think some of the–I just think it’s something that works for me, it feels very natural to me. And all I said, the job, it is, it’s a difficult job but it’s a job that I find to be–I love doing it. I love helping people. Mike...

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James Clapper Destroys Trump’s Favorite Talking Point About the Russia Investigation

by Aaron Rupar – Correcting the record, once and for all. On Friday morning, as President Trump faced withering scrutiny for his decision to fire the FBI director while his campaign is under FBI investigation, Trump took to Twitter to reiterate the talking point he deploys whenever the topic of his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia comes up. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end? 8:54 AM – 12 May 2017 This talking point — that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said there was “no evidence” of Trump campaign-Russia collusion — was debunked during a Senate hearing on Monday featuring testimony from Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Trump should’ve known better by Friday. But early Friday afternoon, MSNBC had Clapper on to explain, once and for all, why Trump’s tweet is...

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Reporter Arrested for Asking Tom Price if Domestic Violence is a Pre-existing Condition

by Alan Pyke – A $5,000 bond and potential six-month jail term await, just like the First Amendment says. A reporter has been arrested for pressing Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to say whether or not the Trump health care bill would make it harder for domestic violence survivors to obtain insurance. West Virginia police arrested Dan Heyman at the state capitol Tuesday as he walked with Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, holding a recorder out and asking Price repeatedly about claims that insurers could refuse to serve survivors of familial abuse. That claim is based on inference from the bill’s provision allowing states to abandon consumer protections from Obamacare with federal permission. Heyman had sought out Price on his way into the capitol. “At some point, I think decided I was too persistent in asking this question and trying to do my job, so they...

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“A Scandal”: After FCC Bent Rules, Right-Wing Sinclair Network to Grow Even Bigger

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘Sure looks like a quid pro quo: friendly coverage and full employment for ex-Trump mouthpieces in exchange for a green light to get as big as Sinclair wants.’ Creating the nation’s largest local TV station conglomerate—and raising the frightening prospect of a network that would rival Fox News—conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Monday it will buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. Craig Aaron, president of the communications watchdog organization Free Press, called the deal “a scandal,” while former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner and Common Cause adviser Michael Copps said it was both “expected and disappointing.” “Expected because the new FCC majority is foaming at the mouth to rubber stamp more massive media mergers,” Copps explained, “and disappointing because Sinclair is not known for the best journalism in the land, to put it mildly. Our nation’s civic dialogue suffers yet another blow with this merger.” The deal must...

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Freedom Caucus Member: ‘Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care’

by Laurel Raymond – House Republicans’ post-Trumpcare town halls are not off to a good start. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) was drowned out by constituents’ booing at a town hall in Lewiston, Idaho on Friday after saying that lacking access to health care never caused anyone to die. Labrador made the statement in response to a question from a woman in the audience, who said that taking health care away from people on Medicaid was tantamount to asking them to die. “That line is so indefensible,” Labrador said. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” Around 45,000 deaths annually are linked to a lack of health insurance, according to a 2009 study from Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance. According to another study from the Institute of Medicine, uninsured people are more likely to die than insured people when diagnosed with a wide swath of medical conditions,...

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‘Kratom Is the Cure for the Opioid Epidemic.’ Q&A With Filmmaker Chris Bell (VIDEO)

by Justin Monticello – Yet the DEA wants to ban it. “I think kratom is the cure for the opioid epidemic,” says Chris Bell, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker behind 2008’s Bigger, Stronger, Faster and 2015’s Prescription Thugs. A plant native to Southeast Asia, kratom can relieve pain and provide a caffeine-like boost. Its most exciting application, however, is weaning addicts off heroin and prescription painkillers. Though the scientific literature is thin, users have been safely ingesting the plant for centuries. Despite kratom’s promise, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claims that it poses an “imminent hazard to public safety” and tried to prohibit most clinical research on it. In August 2016, the DEA sought to ban the plant without public input by listing it as Schedule I drug alongside the likes of heroin, though it backed off after the community rose up in protest, apparently taking the agency by surprise. Chris Bell...

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Venezuela: The Catastrophe the World has Been Ignoring

by E.A. Crunden – Venezuela is in a crisis. Blackouts, deaths, a state of emergency. Over the course of the past few months, Venezuela’s national crisis has gone from bad to worse, as food shortages and economic distress have pushed citizens into the streets. Protests have been raging for the past two months, resulting in the deaths of at least 37 people, with more than 700 protesters wounded and over 1,000 arrested. The situation hasn’t been getting a tremendous amount of attention in the Western world — but after this week, that could change. On Thursday, students stormed Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, demanding that the government hold elections and address terrible food shortages. Sprayed with tear gas and confronted by soldiers, the protesters persisted, undaunted. “The terrorists today are in government, today we are the ones who are fighting for Venezuela, today they are stopping us, today they are killing us, today we are victims...

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Who’s Behind the Billionaire PAC Targeting Elizabeth Warren?

by Richard Eskow – A billionaire-backed conservative group is targeting Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as she tours the country in support of her new book, according to a memo obtained by Politico. “We view (the) book launch as the soft launch of her presidential campaign,” said executive director Colin Reed. “We’ll do the same to her as we did with Hillary Clinton in 2014,” Reed added. America Rising’s backers would stand to lose some cushy tax breaks and regulatory favors if the progressive policies advocated by Sen. Warren were enacted. For her part, Warren denies that she’s running for the presidency and notes that this is her 11th book. America Rising is tracking a number of potential contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Sen....

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NY Times Publishes a Second Error-riddled Piece by its New Climate ‘Disinformer’

by Joe Romm – Why does the paper keep running Bret Stephens’ columns without fact check? CREDIT: Department of Energy On Monday, the New York Times published a second error-riddled collection of misinformation by its new columnist, “climate change bullshitter Bret Stephens,” as Vox aptly describes him. In his new piece, “Answering your climate questions,” Stephens makes several false and misleading claims, relying mostly on right-wing talking points that are years out of date. Stephens has become a “disinformer,” as the Washington Post puts it, because he uses “logically flawed comparisons to sow doubt about climate change projections.” He also ignores or dismisses the global clean energy revolution. After hiring Stephens, the Times promised to apply the “same standards for fairness and accuracy” to opinion pieces that the paper did to news stories. Yet they clearly didn’t fact-check this new piece — even though the first piece was so deeply flawed that Times reporters and...

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Dan Rather Breaks the Internet With Searing Rebuke of Trump’s ‘Andrew Jackson’ Comment

by Rika Christensen – With Trump in the White House, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather has an awful lot to say, probably because he’s been around the political block a couple thousand times, and Trump is a dangerous buffoon, the likes of which we’ve never seen. He doesn’t comment on everything, and he apparently didn’t want to comment on Trump’s idea that Andrew Jackson was angry about the Civil War. But he sees something in that absurdity that he felt he needed to point out. According to his Facebook post on the topic, the “sheer craziness of this obsession by Donald Trump with Andrew Jackson and the Civil War is a carnival act unlike anything I have ever seen at the White House.” “These are the rantings of someone who really should be focused on the job of governing. Should we not conclude that he approaches policy decisions with...

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L.A. Times Lauds “Auntie Maxine” Waters. “She has put politeness aside.”

by durrati – I don’t know about you, but, for me, good black women exude moral authority in a way that, for …uh…reasons, men simply cannot match, no matter the greatness of their deeds. Our own Denise Oliver Velez  has written brilliantly about many of them. Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Dorothy Height, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Lena Horne, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and many others have a quality in their visage that I can’t quite put my finger on – a glare of surety and purpose that I, and I assume other lessor mortals, recognize and ever so slightly cringe in response to…like a child caught in mischief. The L.A. Times has a great piece up now on perhaps our best present iteration of the phenomenon,  Rep. for South L.A. “Auntie” Maxine Waters. In “How Maxine Waters became ‘Auntie Maxine’ in the age of Trump.” The Times writes that millennials have been caught...

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Facebook Releases Plan to Halt Government Manipulation of the Platform

by Lauren C. Williams – The social network is working around the clock to stop the spread of misinformation and manipulation of public discussions. Facebook is taking a hard stance against the weaponized use of fake news. In a security report the social network released Thursday, the company named “information operations” or strategic actions governments and individuals use to distort public opinion as one of the platforms biggest challenges. Unlike clicks-for-pay scams and hacks, information operations, which can amplify false news through fake accounts, are complex and not easily deterred. But Facebook said it will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to better identify and eliminate fake accounts that amplify false stories for political influence. The 2016 presidential election, which saw multiple controversies around fake news and politically motivated hacks, was the impetus for the cybersecurity report and revealed evidence that larger disinformation campaigns were in play. “During the 2016 U.S....

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Rush Limbaugh and iHeart Radio in Financial Jeopardy. The End is Nigh!

by pentupnrgy – Limbaugh may finally be history! After all the consumer boycotts of products airing on Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated hate filled spew show, they may finally have worked: The parent company of iHeartCommunications, which syndicates programs by conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, appears to be headed toward bankruptcy.  In a statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating companies that offer investments to the public, iHeartCommunications’ parent company, iHeartMedia Inc., said that it had “substantial doubt” that it would be in business by the middle of next year. www.salon.com/… Being in an expensive, dying and controversial industry isn’t good for stock prices, which is why in 2008, iHeartCommunications became a wholly owned subsidiary of iHeartMedia in a $24 billion stock buyout transaction initiated by Bain Capital, the investment firm for which past GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney labored for...

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The Top 7 Ways the Trump Administration is Attacking Science at the EPA

by Myriam Alexander-Kearns and Alison Cassady – The core mission of the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, “is to protect human health and the environment.” As part of that mission, the agency works to ensure that “national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information.” During the first four months of 2017, President Donald Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and their allies in Congress have proven themselves hostile to the role of science in achieving the agency’s mission but all too willing to heed the requests of polluters. Here are the top seven ways in which science is already under siege at the EPA. 1. Administrator Pruitt rejected decades of science to keep a dangerous pesticide on the market Chlorpyrifos is a common agricultural pesticide that causes neurological harm in children who were exposed to it in utero. In 2016, the EPA’s scientists concluded that the...

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Obama From the Rearview Mirror

by Robert Borosage – Barack Obama’s stature will grow ever more impressive in the rearview mirror. We already miss his dignity, his grace, and his intelligence. His presidency was largely a competent, no-drama, scandal-free administration, and it will only gain in esteem as we gag on a presidency rotting, like a fish, from the head down. Donald Trump may be intent on repealing everything Obama accomplished, but he will inevitably ennoble him in the process. Photo credit: Pete Souza / White House Meanwhile, the predictable flood of Obama retrospectives has begun filling magazine racks and libraries. In his last months in office, Obama himself devoted no small amount of time making his case in interviews and in an extended farewell tour. A presidential memoir is in the works. But none of these are likely to celebrate Obama as fiercely as the early entry provided by Jonathan Chait, a columnist...

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Trump’s AP Interview: Unhinged, Bombastic, and “[Unintelligible]”

by Nadia Prupis – President sits down with Associated Press to rail against the media, dismiss his 100-day threshold, and discuss his broken pledges. President Donald Trump spoke with Associated Press journalist Julie Pace on Friday, and the transcript of the interview, released Sunday night, shows the president as bombastic and unstable, alternately dismissing his 100-day threshold and boasting about his accomplishments during that time. The interview comes as public trust in the White House plummets, a grassroots resistance movement to the administration builds, and Trump reverses or pivots his stance on numerous campaign pledges, including the promise to call China a “currency manipulator.” During the interview with Pace, the president displayed many of his trademark sensitivities, particularly his anger at the media, which he described as “fake” multiple times. At one point he referred to CBS‘ “Face the Nation” as “Deface the Nation.” He also refuted the idea that he...

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Alex Jones’ Defense

by TODD GITLIN – His lawyer: He’s not a deranged crackpot, he just plays one on the radio. You may have heard of Alex Jones of Austin, Texas — the fellow who markets his own brand of “BRAIN FORCE” and “SUPER MALE VITALITY” pills on the radio. He’s the guy whose Infowars.com website features headlines like “HEAVILY ARMED MUSLIM THREATENS CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE.” The one who describes himself on the website with a pithy summary of world history that begins as follows: Since the beginning of time there have been constant attempts to enslave and subdue the spirit of humanity. From barbarian hordes streaming down the mountain to the Stasi secret police torturing those who dreamed to be free. That’s the early Trump supporter Alex Jones who, pushing birtherism one giant step further into the inferno where truth is drawn and quartered, let his listeners know the other day that “the...

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In Memoriam: Bill O’Reilly’s Career

by Adam Peck – Looking back through a decade’s worth of ThinkProgress coverage of Fox News’ chief bully. Of all the racists, Islamophobes, misogynists, homophobes, and all-around hateful bigots ThinkProgress has chronicled since our inception 11 years ago, none have provided such a steady stream of nonsense as William James O’Reilly Jr. And so it is with mixed emotions that we must report the premature and yet also long-overdue demise of Mr. O’Reilly’s career. It was 42 years old. O’Reilly’s career came into this world on local television, where he quickly earned a reputation as an irritable showman. A job offer from the syndicated television gossip program Inside Edition provided O’Reilly’s career with a bridge from local nuisance to national embarrassment in the early 1990’s. But it was at Fox News Channel, then a fledgling cable news network developing an obsession with Bill Clinton’s libido, that O’Reilly’s star was born. During his...

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The Other Trump Scandal—the Effort to Justify Trump’s Tweets by Manufacturing Evidence

by Mark Sumner – What caused Devin Nunes to run around in a way that makes chicken sans head seem like a model of control? According to Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, nothing at all. The congressmen and their aides were shown a binder of two to three dozen pages of highly classified intercepts, mostly transcripts of conversations between foreign government officials that took place during the Presidential transition. These intercepts were not related to the heart of the committee’s Russia investigation. In fact, only one of the documents had anything to do with Russia, according to an official who reviewed them. What the intercepts all had in common is that the people being spied on made references to Donald Trump or to Trump officials. That wasn’t even clear, though, from reading the transcripts. The names of any Americans were concealed, or “masked,” the intelligence community’s term for redacting references...

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Bill O’Reilly’s Lawyer Blames ‘Brutal Campaign of Character Assassination’ for His Plight

by Aaron Rupar – The scorched-earth statement comes as Fox News reportedly prepares to cut ties. As numerous reports swirl that Fox News is preparing to cut ties with Bill O’Reilly before he returns from his “vacation,” his attorney signaled that cable news’ top-rated host won’t go down before he scorches the earth behind him. In a statement released Tuesday evening, Marc E. Kasowitz wrote that his client “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.” O’Reilly, who has spent months battling a wave of sexual harassment allegations, was hit with a fresh harassment claim on Tuesday — the same day a group of protesters delivered 480,000 petitions calling for O’Reilly’s termination to Fox News headquarters. His attorney’s reference to former U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI), whose name has become synonymous with making unfounded accusations, hearkens back to the words President Donald Trump used last month...

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Steve Bannon’s Plans for Revenge are Legion. They Include Running Against Trump in 2020

by ursulafaw –    Depending upon which school of thought you subscribe to, either everyone at the White House has kissed and made up and Uncle Steve will continue to rule the roost, or, Bannon is a dead man walking and Trump is just waiting for the First 100 Days milepost to be passed to bring down the Sword of Damocles, exploring the prospect of Bannon being fired is terra incognita, like so much of the Trump phenomenon. Whichever way you look at it, Donald Trump did make the statement last week about Steve Bannon, “I like Steve.” History tells us that Trump saying that he likes somebody is the kiss of death. Vanity Fair cited these examples: “If Trump genuinely likes you, you’re “brilliant” or “a great guy.” By contrast, “like,” in Trump-speak, means “dead to me.” Just ask Newt Gingrich (“I like Newt”), Chris Christie (“I like Chris a...

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Reaching Impeachment Critical Mass

by Hank Edson – 1. Regaining Our Common Sense Two things are inhibiting our exercise of common sense as a self-governed people: First, the cancer of our corporate media monopoly has ravaged the culture of the democratic process in our nation.  Among the many symptoms of this lethal disease is its projection of normalizing false narratives that reek of the body public’s corruption and decay. For example, of all places, National Public Radio just ran a lengthy segment examining the numerous instances in which Donald Trump has this week proven himself a liar and a fraud by advancing policies in direct conflict with his campaign platform and campaign promises.  Throughout the piece, the NPR journalists discussed how Trump was “learning on the job,” how these self-contradictions represented a possible shift to the political center, and how during the campaign, “Trump needed to say” one thing, and as President, he “needed to...

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Amazon Employees Pressure CEO to Kill Breitbart Ads

by Lauren C. Williams – Tech activism in the Trump era is getting its second wind. Amazon employees are pressuring CEO Jeff Bezos and SVP Jeff Blackburn to sever the company’s advertising ties with Breitbart News. Five-hundred and sixty-four employees signed an email petition, complete with an attachment full of comments from 52 of them, called “Amazon Must Stop Advertising on Breitbart News,” Buzzfeed reported. According to the email, an employee brought up Amazon’s relationship with Breitbart at a staff meeting with Blackburn, asking “What is it going to take for us to stop advertising on Breitbart News?” Blackburn responded, “We have our eyes on it.” While companies like Amazon ultimately have control over where their ads land, most ads pass through third party ad technology companies. The resulting ad is typically the result of companies seeking a specific audience found and tracked through cookies rather than a purposefully placed ad on...

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Ask Yourself: Will Donald Trump EVER Become President?

by BILL MOYERS – As our institutions bend and buckle and approach the breaking point, the president bombs Syria and is hailed by an obeisant media. It’s been a week now since Donald Trump once again became our president. Here’s how it happened. After he unleashed missiles on a Syrian airfield, members of Washington’s national security establishment and elite pundits swooned. Top Democrats and Republicans led the way. Good soldiers all in the military-industrial-political complex, they stood smartly at attention and saluted the commander-in-chief for sending a message to the world, although exactly what the message meant remains far from clear. The headline above Glenn Greenwald’s story at The Intercept summed up the response: “The Spoils of War — Trump Lavished with Media and Bipartisan Praise for Bombing Syria.” The hawkish Hillary Clinton, who long had been critical of Barack Obama for not bringing Bashar Assad to heel, “appeared at an...

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New York Times Defends Hiring Extreme Climate Denier: ‘Millions Agree with Him’

by Joe Romm – The Times replaces search for truth with search for popular ideas that are false. But would they hire a Holocaust denier? Amidst backlash and subscription cancellations for hiring extreme climate science denier, Bret Stephens, the New York Times offered a stunning defense: There are “millions of people who agree with him.” With that ‘logic’, the Times could hire as a columnist former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke — or a flat earther or someone who thinks vaccines pose a health hazard. After all, millions agree with them. Screenshot of a typical pop-up ad in the NY Times new ad campaign This defense is especially absurd since, as I detailed Friday, the Times has been running a major ad campaign claiming there is no alternative to the truth — and former Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Stephens has repeatedly dismissed as “imaginary” the climate reality reported...

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Dan Rather Says What Every Person With a Moral Compass is Thinking Regarding Sean Spicer & Trump

by Sarah – It’s gotten to the point where if Donald Trump doesn’t fire Sean Spicer for his egregious remarks about the Holocaust, Assad and Syria, he should be seen as agreeing with Spicer’s sentiment as well as condoning it. It’s disgusting, to say the least, and the legendary Dan Rather just released a statement that should summarize what every person with a decent moral compass is thinking right now. Rather wrote: “It is with sadness that I do not know where to begin. Today in a briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement that is so far beyond the pale, so tone deaf and blind to history and our precarious moment in world affairs, that it is with only a heavy heart that I even bring attention to it. There can be no joy in such incompetence. In trying to make the case for the Administration’s policy...

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Bill O’Reilly is Going on Vacation and He may Never Come Back

by Judd Legum – On Tuesday night’s O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly announced he was taking a vacation. The announcement comes in the midst of a massive advertiser exodus following revelations that he and Fox News paid millions of dollars to five women who said they were sexually harassed by O’Reilly. O’Reilly said that he booked this vacation “last fall” and that he often takes vacation “around this time of the year.” He is reportedly scheduled to return in on April 24. But Gabriel Sherman, a journalist for New York Magazine who literally wrote the book on Fox News, reports that “tonight’s show could be his last.” According to Sherman’s sources, lawyers for Fox News “are currently doing a ‘deep dive’ investigation into O’Reilly’s behavior.” Sherman also reports that James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, wants O’Reilly gone. Murdoch forced out longtime Fox News CEO Roger Ailes last summer over...

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GOP Strategist on Trump: A Gigantic Case of ADHD Who Cannot Focus for 30 Sec on Anything

by Egberto Willies – This GOP strategist was not kind to Donald Trump. He did not mince words as he described how dysfunctional Trump and his administration are. One hopes Trump is not watching lest we get a new litany of tweets. GOP Media Strategist & Political Consultant Rick Wilson had some harsh words in this excerpted video for Trump and his inability to focus on the job of being president. The strategist appeared on All-In with Chris Hayes. Hayes asked Rick Wilson about the decision-making process in the White House. “Chris, this is a president with a stalking gigantic case of ADHD,” Wilson said. “He cannot focus for thirty seconds on anything. Every bright and shiny object distracts him. He doesn’t believe anything in his heart. There is no ideological North Star for this guy. There is nothing he truly cares about except for his own ego. Everything is drawn...

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AP: U.S. Official Alleges Russia Knew About Syria’s Chemical Attack on Civilians in Advance

by Leslie Salzillo – On Monday, the Associated Press ran an uncharacteristically vague and somewhat mysterious story about a Washington official who is stating Russia was well aware, in advance, of the Syrian chemical attack that killed 80 innocent civilians last week. Donald Trump said the images of the children prompted him to authorize the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian base days after the chemical attack. Given the ineffectiveness of his strike, Trump’s actual motives are still in question, as well as his ties to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. AP journalists Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor report: The official said a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons....

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This Reporter Just Won the Biggest Prize in Journalism for Exposing Trump’s Lies

by Jameson Parker – The winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize have been announced and this year’s theme was all about exposing Trump. Of particular note was the prize for National Reporting going to David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, whose contribution to reporting during the presidential campaign was to unflinchingly go after Trump’s lies, particularly as they related to his contributions to charity. As the Pulitzer committee put it, Fahrenthold deserved the award: For persistent reporting that created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities. During a campaign when many reporters and pundits struggled to keep up with Trump’s lies, or pretended Trump wasn’t lying at all, Fahrenthold decided to hold Trump’s feet to the fire. After Trump repeatedly dodged questions about his donations to charity, Fahrenthold compiled an exhaustive list of charities Trump was said to have given...

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Florida Sheriff Produces Absurd, Threatening Video over Small Number of Drug-Related Deaths

by Scott Shackford – You’d think Lake County must be some sort of trafficking hotbed. It’s not. A group of armed, masked men brazenly posted a video on Facebook recently threatening to violently bust down the doors of American citizens and invade their homes. It’s okay, though. They’re law enforcement! Lake County, Florida, Sheriff Peyton Grinnell has put out a video where he, surrounded by masked men, threaten drug dealers in the county that his officers are tracking them down and plan to send SWAT teams into their houses at some undefined time and “blow front doors off the hinges.” Watch the video below: Well, one only hopes those masks they’re wearing don’t obscure their ability to read addresses properly. We would hate for a poorly organized SWAT raid at the wrong home to run smack into the state’s “Stand Your Ground” gun laws. Grinnell claims this over-the-top video, which...

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Bill O’Reilly’s Survival Strategy

by Judd Legum – How O’Reilly is trying to weather a sexual harassment scandal. The O’Reilly Factor, which has aired for 20 years, is the highest-rated and most profitable show in cable news. But in just a week, the show has become a shell of itself. On April 1, the New York Times reported that host Bill O’Reilly had paid $13 million to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment. That O’Reilly had an issue with his treatment of women wasn’t a shock. It was already public that, in 2009, O’Reilly had paid $9 million to one woman who says he sexually harassed her. But the additional allegations come after Fox News ousted its chairman, Roger Ailes, over charges of serial sexual harassment and has pledged to clean up its act. In the week that followed, advertisers have left the show in droves. At the beginning of the week, the...

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Former SNL Cast Member Breaks Silence On Trump’s Behavior At Rehearsal (VIDEO)

by Vera – A former Saturday Night Live cast member has just spilled the beans about one of Donald Trump’s secrets. Taran Killam, who left SNL in 2016, completely destroyed Trump in an interview published in Brooklyn magazine, putting to rest the massive amount of speculation about whether or not Trump actually knows how to read. Apparently, Trump cannot. According to Killam, Trump “struggled” to read even the simple jokes the writers had given him. Trump made an appearance on the show in December 2015, right after he announced he was entering the presidential race. Killam said that particular episode was “not fun” and “most of the cast and writers were not excited to have him there.” However, having Trump there taught the cast something interesting about him. During the “table read” prior to the rehearsal, the host of the week is supposed to read through the jokes they’re given. Killam said Trump “struggled...

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Six Weeks Later, Trump Refuses to Denounce Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorists

by Nika Knight – Six weeks after Newtown school board asked President Donald Trump to denounce Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory about deadly 2012 school shooting, the president remains silent. President Donald Trump has remained silent about his relationship with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, refusing to denounce the right-wing radio show host who has used his popular platform InfoWars to push the theory that the deadly 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton, Conn., was a vast government plot to enact stricter gun control laws. Trump’s silence comes despite a letter sent by the Newton School Board six weeks ago requesting that the president publicly denounce Jones and the conspiracy theory that has resulted in stalking, death threats, and harassment of victims’ families, the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday. “We are asking you to intervene to try to stop Jones and other hoaxers like him,” the board wrote in its...

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Trump’s Tweets Tell Tale of Tumble

by Mattrek – I’m sure all of us have been to Trump_Regrets on twitter before. Some use it religiously (that’s me) to make us feel better there is hope in the future. It really is a small sample size though so in the back of our heads we always wonder how widespread the Trump Regret spans. But that isn’t easily spotted. Most people don’t do what that Tennessee voter did and tell the world they made a mistake voting for Trump. People admitting they were wrong is far too hard, so they will do so silently. They’ll pretend they never voted for him or just stop talking about him. It’s not obvious so it’s hard to get a feel on where his support level is at. Well it being a slow news day and not having much else to do I decided to look into Trump’s favorite pastime: tweeting. It’s a small sample...

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Spicer Won’t Give Straight Answer on Reported Changes to Trump Trust

by Deirdre Fulton – White House press secretary Sean Spicer claims “the entire point” of setting up such a trust “is so somebody can withdraw money”. White House press secretary Sean Spicer didn’t offer a clear explanation or response to questions on Monday about new reporting showing that President Donald Trump can withdraw funds at any time from any of his businesses—without telling the American people. Citing a trust document signed on February 10, online outlet ProPublica reported Monday: “Trump can draw money from his more than 400 businesses, at any time, without disclosing it.” According to ProPublica reporters Derek Kravitz and Al Shaw: The previously unreported changes to a trust document, signed on Feb. 10, stipulates that it “shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request” or whenever his son and longtime attorney “deem appropriate.” That can include everything from profits to the underlying assets,...

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Advertisers Flee The O’Reilly Factor en Masse

by Judd Legum – Latest sexual harassment claims has corporations rethinking their association with Bill O’Reilly. At least eleven companies have announced they are ending advertising on The O’Reilly Factor. The news comes in the wake of a New York Times story which reveals that O’Reilly and Fox News have paid five women who accused the top-rated cable host of sexual harassment. At least three of those companies, Sanofi, Untuckit, and Allstate, advertised on the show last night, when O’Reilly did not mention the controversy. “In light of the disturbing allegations, we instructed our media buyer this morning to reallocate our ad dollars to other shows effective immediately,” a spokesperson for Untuckit said. Allstate in a statement wrote that “inclusivity & support for women are important to us. We are concerned about the issues surrounding the program & have suspended our ads.” Other companies pulling their spots include Mercedes, Mitsubishi, BMW, Hyundai,...

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Scathing LA Times Editorial Lashes Drumpf, Urges Protesters to “Raise Their Banners.”

by durrati – One might live their whole life and not read a piece by the Editorial Board of a major metropolitan newspaper encouraging protesters to flood the streets, but that is exactly what the board of the LA Times did today under the lede “Our Dishonest President”. “The role of the rational opposition is to stand up for the rule of law, the electoral process, the peaceful transfer of power and the role of institutions; we should not underestimate the resiliency of a system in which laws are greater than individuals and voters are as powerful as presidents. This nation survived Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon. It survived slavery. It survived devastating wars. Most likely, it will survive again. But if it is to do so, those who oppose the new president’s reckless and heartless agenda must make their voices heard. Protesters must raise their banners. Voters must turn out for elections....

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New York Times Exposes Bill O’Reilly’s Pattern of Sexual Harassment and Cover Ups by Fox

by News Corpse – The New York Times published an article online that is certain to rattle the executive suites at Fox News. It revealed new information about Bill O’Reilly’s long history of sexual harassment and abusive behavior. The hostile work environment at Fox has been the subject of recent news reports due primarily to the scandals surrounding its now ex-CEO, Roger Ailes. Following allegations from several female Fox employees Ailes was forced to resign. But Ailes was not alone. Bill O’Reilly has had his own problems with accusations of harassment. One of the more infamous involved a producer who accepted a multimillion dollar settlement to end her legal proceedings. But that didn’t end the boorish behavior by O’Reilly toward the women with whom he worked. While rumors of promises and threats were rampant, details were often hard to nail down. And that’s where the new investigation by the Times comes in....

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Russia’s New Protest Generation (VIDEO)

by Roman Dobrokhotov – In Russia a new generation of discontented youth has come of age. Last Sunday mass demonstrations took place in almost 100 Russian cities. They were the biggest since the 2011-2012 protest wave, called the “snow revolution”. But if the last time election fraud was what provoked the people’s anger, this time it was an investigation into Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev’s alleged corruption practices. The investigation was conducted by the Anti-Corruption Foundation headed by Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure who has announced his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections. Russian police detain hundreds at anti-corruption demonstrations Just a few months ago, no one would have believed that a corruption investigation could provoke mass protests across the country. Not expecting such a massive turnout, the authorities tried to stop the protesters from gathering. State media and law enforcement warned against going out into the streets,...

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Trump Taps Bush-Era Official Who Defended Mega-Merger as Antitrust Chief

by Nadia Prupis – Makan Delrahim once said he didn’t see maligned AT&T/Time Warner merger as “major antitrust problem”. President Donald Trump on Monday nominated his former lawyer and current White House counsel Makan Delrahim to serve as antitrust chief—potentially putting a man who once said there was nothing wrong with the AT&T/Time Warner mega-merger in charge of reviewing competition for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Delrahim previously served as deputy assistant attorney general from 2003 to 2005 under then-President George W. Bush. If confirmed by the Senate this time around, the corporate lawyer and lobbyist will serve as assistant attorney general for the DOJ agency that approves or rejects mergers and acquisitions and investigates companies for potential anti-competition threats. Delrahim’s prospective boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is generally seen as merger-friendly. Delrahim said in an interview with a Canadian television program last year that he didn’t see a problem...

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13 More Editorials Calling for a Special Prosecutor

by RandomNonviolence – As of March 7, there had been 20 editorial calls for a special prosecutor. Here are 13 more editorials since then: The Fresno Bee: Russia-Trump probe is in chaos, and Rep. Devin Nunes is to blame By our yardstick, Rep. Devin Nunes had a terrible week fulfilling his duties as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact, the performance of the Tulare Republican was so inept and bewildering that a fellow Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday that a bipartisan special select committee should investigate Russia’s meddling into the 2016 presidential campaign. … … Bring on the bipartisan special select committee – as was done with Benghazi – and a special prosecutor. Merced (CA) Sun-Star: Schiff rises, Nunes falters in Russia probe … It’s more proof that to get to the bottom of possible links between Trump associates and...

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TV Coverage of Climate Fell 66 Percent During a Record-Setting Year for Global Warming

by Joe Romm – Trump’s budget targets federal funding of PBS, the one network with the most climate coverage. In 2016, the major networks’ coverage of climate change dropped by two thirds compared to 2015. In fact, climate coverage last year was close to its lowest levels since 2009, according to a new analysis by MediaMatters of the evening and Sunday news programs that air on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. This drop is despite historic wildfires, extreme weather events like Hurricane Matthew, and month after month of record-breaking global temperatures. And, of course, there was a presidential campaign between two people who have diametrically opposed views on the gravest preventable threat to the United States and the world. During the campaign, the major networks spent no time examining the climate policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — despite their vast disagreement on domestic action, the Paris climate agreement, and whether...

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Nunes Went to White House Grounds the Night Before Bizarre Disclosure, Met with Source

by Josh Israel – Did the Intelligence chairman get his secret information from the Trump White House? Trump was seemingly out of options. At a public hearing last Monday, Trump’s claim that President Obama had “tapped” Trump Tower was definitively debunked. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! 7:02 AM – 4 Mar 2017 Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) emerged a couple of days later with a bizarre announcement that he “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.” Nunes has been under fire for his press conference and his decision to brief President Trump before even discussing the matter with his own committee. Trump and his administration crowed that the announcement vindicated his widely debunked claims that President Obama had...

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Alex Jones Apologizes for Promoting ‘Pizzagate’ Conspiracy

by Aaron Rupar – Fake news has consequences. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has apologized to a Washington, D.C., restaurant owner for disseminating a conspiracy theory that motivated one of his fans to open fire inside the Comet Ping Pong pizza joint. In a video published on Friday, the man the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America” addresses Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis and says, “In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him.” Jones — who believes that the September 11 attacks, Oklahoma City bombing, Sandy Hook school shooting, and Boston Marathon bombings were all inside jobs — acknowledges there’s no evidence supporting the notion that Comet Ping Pong is or ever was at the center of a pedophilia ring involving some of Hillary Clinton’s closest...

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Trump Appears to Make Bizarre, Backhanded Call for Paul Ryan to Step Down

by Ian Millhiser – The president seems to want Fox News to do his dirty work. The President of the United States briefly took on a non-traditional role as publicist for a Fox News show Saturday night. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M. 10:41 AM – 25 Mar 2017 Host Jeanine Pirro had barely begun her show before Trump’s tweet took on new significance. “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house,” she proclaimed at the very beginning of her “opening statement” segment at the top of the show. “The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.” Jeanine Pirro  ✔@JudgeJeanine “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house.The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.” #openingstatement 9:21 PM – 25 Mar 2017 What followed was a 6 minute rant against the embattled...

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Dear Mom: About Your 50 Year Nursing Career & Medicaid… This Woman’s Letter Pummels the GOP

by Leslie Salzillo – I didn’t write this. I wish I did. The way this woman levels Republicans is stunning. The author is Betsy Anderson and it’s a letter addressed to her mother with a blind copy to the GOP and all Americans. Ms. Anderson cuts straight to core and heartlessness of the GOP and it should be required reading in Congress and in all forms of the media. It’s also a perfect example of how well social media can work — when it works. Betsy Anderson took to Facebook and spoke out on March 16, 2017. Susan, a friend of mine posted Besty’s post in a group where another friend of mine, John, from VoteVets.org saw it. He posted it into another Facebook group where I first saw it. (And if you followed all that…) now I get to post it on Daily Kos where it stands a good chance of being read by the multitudes. For Betsy’s sake, the...

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J&J Pulls Ads From YouTube Over ‘Offensive’ Videos

Johnson & Johnson the latest company to drop ads over fears content may appear alongside ‘terrorism’ and hate videos. US healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson has become the latest company to suspend all digital advertising on YouTube over concerns its ads may have appeared on channels that broadcast offensive videos. J&J said on Thursday it wanted to ensure that its product advertising did not appear on channels that promote “offensive content”, a day after AT&T, Verizon, and several other major advertisers suspended their digital ads after discovering their brands had been appearing alongside videos promoting violence and hatred. “We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.” Google, YouTube’s parent company, has come under intense scrutiny for ads appearing alongside videos...

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Gibberish Is the White House’s New Normal

by TODD GITLIN – The bad art of the non sequitur. Once upon a time, there were presidents for whom English seemed their native language. Barack Obama most recently. He deliberated. At a press conference or in an interview — just about whenever he wasn’t speaking from a text — his pauses were as common as other people’s “uh’s.” He was not pausing because his vocabulary was impoverished. He was pausing to put words into sequence. He was putting phrases together with care, word by word, trying out words before uttering them, checking to feel out what they would sound like once uttered. It was important to him to words in order because he did not want to be misunderstood. That president valued precision, in no small part because he knew he lived in a world where every last presidential word was a speech act, a declaration with consequence, so that...

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Trump Defends Three of His Biggest Lies in New Time Magazine Interview

by Aaron Rupar – “I have articles saying it happened.” In a new Time magazine cover interview, President Trump defends three of the most notorious lies he’s told since beginning his presidential campaign in June 2015. Trump repeated his false claims that American Muslims celebrated on 9/11, that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election, and that President Obama wiretapped him last fall. The interview, which was conducted on Wednesday by Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer, focuses on how Trump “has handled truth and falsehood in his career.” But the vast majority of the piece consists of Trump trying to defend blatant falsehoods by offering new ones. Throughout the interview, Trump’s defense when confronted with one of his lies is to shift blame to the media. Brian Stelter ✔@brianstelter “I have articles saying it happened.” http://ti.me/2mXMSvI  8:41 AM – 23 Mar 2017 At one point, Scherer...

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Roger Stone’s Russian Alibi Falls Apart

by Laurel Raymond – Stone keeps referencing ‘independent’ information he had on Podesta — but the article he says proves it is based on Wikileaks. Trump ally Roger Stone is one of the more colorful characters in the President’s arsenal. He wore a top hat and morning coat to Trump’s inauguration. He has a Nixon tattoo between his shoulder blades. He’s a weekly guest host on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show. And now, he’s under FBI scrutiny for possibly colluding with the Russian election hacking to help boost President Donald Trump’s campaign — a charge he vehemently denies. The allegations stem from a series of actions of Stone’s, but chiefly rest on a prediction Stone made in August that it would “soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Roger Stone @RogerJStoneJr Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary 10:24 AM – 21 Aug 2016 A little over a month...

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FBI Investigating Breitbart and InfoWars for Possible Russian Collusion

by ericlewis0 – From McClatchy, via Raw Story: WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say. Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said. The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who...

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Meet Julia, the First Muppet on ‘Sesame Street’ with Autism (VIDEOS)

by Jessica Goldstein – “Sesame Street’ stands for inclusion and acceptance.” The first thing children watching Sesame Street might notice about Julia, the new Muppet on the block, is that she doesn’t want to make eye contact with Big Bird. Sesame devotees — which is to say, toddlers, kids, and their parents — might recognize Julia from her previous appearances on digital Sesame platforms, including ebooks. They’ll already know that Julia is a four-year-old with autism. But for viewers who will meet Julia for the first time when she makes her broadcast debut on April 10, Julia might seem unusual. Then again, maybe not: One in 68 children is diagnosed with autism. Maybe Julia will not seem unusual at all. Maybe she’ll seem totally, completely familiar. “When something is this prevalent, it’s something we have to step up to,” Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President for Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said by phone....

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The Management of Unleashed Insanity

by TODD GITLIN – Trump perfects the role of Propagandist-in-Chief. Richard Nixon lied about wars and cover-ups, but otherwise his evasions and spins were in the mainstream of American political discourse. He was not in the regular practice of calling black white. By the end of his second term, Ronald Reagan was so mentally impaired as to make it unclear what he knew and when. But the present situation, a regime that systematically assaults truth, is unprecedented. One critical mass of citizens, Trump’s true believers, live in a mental universe composed of falsehoods poured steadily into their eyes and ears by a kept propaganda system, a system of untruth which they either affirm or, one way or the other, make their peace with. A second critical mass, the systematic resisters and doubters, is troubled beyond measure, but they are, for the moment, after years of default, powerless. Trump’s gamble is that...

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Trump’s War on the Truth Tellers

by Robert Reich – Trump and his White House don’t argue on the merits. They attack the credibility of the institutions that come up with facts and arguments they don’t like. They even do it preemptively. Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer warned that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office couldn’t be trusted to come up with accurate numbers about the costs and coverage of the Republicans’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act. “If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” he said. So what’s the right place? The Oval Office? Bear in mind the director of the CBO is a Republican economist and former George W. Bush administration official who was chosen for his position by the Republican Congress in 2015. No matter. The White House is worried about what the CBO will say about Trumpcare, so it throws the CBO under the bus...

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White House Morons Tout Satirical Piece Shedding Proposed Budget – You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

by durrati – Think Progress: “This week, the White House began sending out an official email newsletter, “Your 1600 Daily,” to promote video clips of the president, pertinent news articles or endorsements, and other items of note happening that day. On Friday, there was an odd inclusion at the bottom, where normally one can find friendly headlines from Fox News, Breitbart, or other conservative outlets that have become media safe harbors for the administration. One of the two featured articles was a parody piece titled “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why,” written by Alexandra Petri, who writes satirical pieces for the Washington Post’s lighthearted ComPost blog.” And what did the very witty Ms. Petri write that the editors of (Not)Your 1600 Daily mistook for glowing endorsement? “Some people are complaining that the budget proffered by the Trump administration, despite its wonderful macho-sounding name, is too...

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Beyond the Acid-Filled Jacuzzi: Sinister Truths About Bannon’s Fascism

by Alexander Reid Ross, Truthout | News Analysis – Stephen Bannon is an enigmatic man. According to The Washington Post’s well-traveled report, he is so difficult to pin down that he effectively had no fixed address during the three years before becoming Trump’s top adviser. Although Bannon filed for residency in Florida, evidence shows that he may not have lived there. Some speculate that he may have claimed residency in Florida to avoid California’s high taxes. However, his ex-wife apparently did live at his declared home, and the landlord reported some doors in the house dead-bolted, some doors missing entirely, and the Jacuzzi destroyed and “covered in acid.” Further reports indicate that Bannon was paid $376,000 from 2012-2015 for 30 hours of work a week by an anti-Clinton media company funded by Robert Mercer and connected to the Koch brothers called Government Accountability Institute at the same time as he...

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Where Free Speech Ends, Ignorance Begins

by Michael Winship – At the risk of sounding like a geezer complaining about “these kids today,” back in my college days, when it came to points of view we were unhesitatingly exposed to literature, teachers and on-campus speakers covering the ideological waterfront. In one instance, the student body was addressed by civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory, radical Irish activist Bernadette Devlin and the conservative writer and critic Russell Kirk — all in the course of a week or so. Such variety was a common occurrence, and freewheeling, open discussion was encouraged. We didn’t always like or agree with a lot of what we heard or read — from time to time there were vehement protests — but all of it was invaluable. None of us were harmed in the making of our education. So I was appalled the other day when I read about the attempt by Republican...

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The Tell-Tale Tweet

by Propane Jane – On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his first fireside chat to the American public. He was sworn in only eight days prior, but the scope of the crisis that greeted him necessitated a swift yet steady display of leadership to calm the anxieties of a nation in turmoil and despair. His first week in office had been besieged by a rash of bank withdrawals and closings, followed by a four day bank shutdown, then hasty passage of the Emergency Banking Act to restore confidence to an economic system in free fall. The stated purpose of Roosevelt’s unprecedented radio address was to explicitly inform the public “what has been done in the last few days, why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be,” and to practically beg panicked Americans to stop withdrawing their money from the gravely anemic banks. Miraculously, the public...

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Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned: Your Smart TV is Spying On You

by MICHAEL PRICE – It appears the CIA is exploiting Americans TVs to collect information, and it’s a safe bet they’re not the only ones. Don’t say we didn’t warn you about this one: your “smart” TV may be spying on you. Really. According to classified documents leaked this week, the CIA found a way to hack the microphone on televisions equipped with voice control and send the audio back to headquarters. It can even record in “Fake-Off” mode — when the TV looks like it’s off but isn’t, according to notes on project “Weeping Angel.” See, this is why we can’t have nice things. Way back in 2014, we noticed a rather ominous waring in the novella-length privacy policy that came with our new smart TV: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted...

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Frightbart

by TODD GITLIN – The view from Steve Bannon’s propaganda site will scare the bejeezus out of you, which is its point.   The home page of Breitbart.com, the quasi-official voice of Steve Bannon’s White House, is a virtual stew of menace, a pit of monsters, an unending onslaught of apocalyptic horsemen rearing up at full gallop, coming straight at you, drawing closer…. But what the Breitbart reader is not being warned against is poisoned water, eviction, a melting glacier, a rising sea, a pauper’s grave, a burning cross, a bank swindle or a loss of medical care. Those are the kind of fears that afflict liberal wimps brainwashed by “the enemy of the people.” A Breitbart reader quivers, all right, hunkered down in the safe spaces of Fortress America while enemies gather outside the gates. But what he or she needs protection from is, to take a recent dozen, (1)...

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Where’s Tillerson? Secretary of State Ducking Press Amid Reports of Being Sidelined

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘Your decision to travel without reporters sends a dangerous signal to other countries about the U.S. commitment to freedom of the press.’ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will embark on his first trip to Asia next week, visiting Japan, South Korea, and China. In what some journalists are calling an unprecedented move, he will not travel with members of the press. “Not only does this situation leave the public narrative of the meetings up to the Chinese foreign ministry as well as Korea’s and Japan’s, but it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation’s leaders,” a dozen Washington bureau chiefs from major news organizations wrote in a letter to the State Department earlier this week. CNN‘s Brian Stelter reported: On Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that Tillerson was looking to save money by taking a smaller...

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mr. Donald J. Trump

by Michael Winship – A stroll through this past weekend’s craziness tells us more than we care to know about the state of the presidential mind. Assume for a moment, as many have suggested, that the whole Trump/Putin/Russia calamity is a deliberate distraction, a deflection to shift our gaze from the destruction of government and democratic principles that Trump, Bannon and their cohort — aided and abetted by a compliant Congress — seem intent on implementing. What then to make of this weekend’s flurry of tweets from our commander-in-chief, first bellowing that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in Manhattan and then demanding a congressional investigation? A distraction from a distraction? Or worse? CNN’s Jake Tapper succinctly summed it up in a Sunday morning tweet of his own: Jake Tapper  ✔@jaketapper POTUS makes wild accusation w/zero evidence WH searches for evidence & cant find any WH tells Congress to find evidence/no further...

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When the Supreme Court Stopped a Government-Led Attack on Freedom of the Press

by Damon Root – Revisiting a landmark First Amendment case.   In 1934 the Louisiana legislature passed a law requiring all newspapers, magazines, and periodicals with a circulation of 20,000 or more to pay an annual licensing tax of 2 percent on all gross receipts “for the privilege of engaging in such business in this State.” Ostensibly justified as just another run-of-the-mill tax, the measure’s true purpose was plain for all to see. The governor at that time was the notorious populist demagogue Huey P. Long, also known as the “Kingfish.” The Long administration was famously rife with corruption and criminality and the state’s biggest newspapers just happened to be some of the governor’s most outspoken critics. So the Kingfish told his allies in the legislature to use the state’s vast taxing powers to harass and punish his enemies in the press. The American Press Company, along with eight other newspaper...

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20 Editorials (so far) Calling for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Trump-Russia Connections

by RandomNonviolence – Members of the Trump administration keep lying about their mysterious connections to Russia. Donald Trump refuses to release his tax returns or the financial books for the Trump Organization that might provide clarity. And Republicans in Congress refuse to seriously investigate. Clearly something unsavory is going on, so a growing chorus of newspaper editorial boards are now calling for an independent investigation. Here are 20 of those editorials: New York Times, Editorial: When One President Smears Another … His accusation is so sensational — so explosive if it turned out to have some basis in fact and so corrosive if not — that Congress has no credible option but to convene a bipartisan select committee to investigate all questions related to Russian interference in the election. And if Mr. Trump has confidence in his claim, he should have no reluctance about the appointment of an independent counsel to get to...

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How the Media Normalized Trump’s Mental Illness and Put Democracy at Risk

by Socdoc216 – Over the course of his life Donald Trump has exhibited innumerable behaviors demonstrating that he is malevolently aggressive, unbounded by conscience, incapable of recognizing truth or reality, highly erratic and selfish, and in possession of an excessively inflated ego.  For decades the public has been informed of Trump’s behavior, often portrayed as an entertaining but harmless “bad boy” by a news media that had, in large part (but with notable exceptions) morphed into an “infotainment” industry primarily motivated not by its democratic mission to inform the public, but by the profit motive.  This morphing has stymied the ability of the general US population to easily obtain basic factual news, but it has in no way nullified the ability of the infotainment industry to influence the public’s perception of reality.  A noteworthy example of this was the constant, unwarranted mainstream media coverage of Trump previous to and early in...

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Dig Deep: From Russia with Love, Errrrr…. Money (VIDEOS)

by GAIL ABLOW – This week’s installment in our series in which we regularly point you to some of the best investigative reporting you might otherwise miss. What is President Trump’s connection to Russia? Teams of investigative reporters are out in force attempting to reveal the answer. As you know, newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who should have been heading up an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election — had to recuse himself after The Washington Post’s revelation that, during sworn testimony, he failed to mention his meetings with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign. A number of other Russian connections to various Trump affiliates have surfaced in the past few weeks, but we are still in the dark about what it all means. An independent investigation, or the release of the president’s tax returns would perhaps provide answers, but until then we have journalists following dimly...

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Rachel Maddow’s Trump Coverage has Rocketed Her to the Top 10 of TV Ratings

by News Corpse – There have been numerous polls that show Donald Trump sinking to historic lows in approval. He currently resides at a pitiful 43 percent. That puts him at the bottom of the past nine presidents (going back more than sixty years) at this point in their terms. And that makes him the most unpopular new president in as long as this poll has been done. Likewise, majorities of the public are generally not in favor of his policies. He is trailing on the issues he has pushed the hardest for. Voters oppose him on ObamaCare, the border wall, and immigration. The media that he hates so fiercely is held in higher esteem than he is. And half of the electorate is already in favor of impeaching him. Can it get any worse than this? Well, another measure of popularity is the ratings of television programs that feature news...

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