Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Ever since Trump won the Republican primaries, the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration and the U.S. and British intelligence services prepared to prevent a successful Trump presidency. The Steele dossier, created by 'former' British intelligence agents and paid for by the Clinton campaign, was the basis for an FBI investigation that was seen as an insurance against a Trump win. Any possible Russia relations Trump might have came under scrutiny. This prevented him from fulfilling his campaign promise of coming to better relations with Russia.
Shortly before Obama left the office he created the tool the FBI needed to put its investigation on steroids. When Trump fired Comey for his handling of the Clinton email affair, the FBI put that tool into action. With unfettered access to signal intelligence the Mueller investigation was able to entrap a number of Trump related people and to flip them to its side. It will use any information they give up to find some angle under which Trump can be prosecuted and eventually impeached. Even if nothing comes off this investigations, the media reports and slander all this created may well be enough to prevent an election of Trump for a second term.
I very much dislike most of Trump's domestic and foreign policy. But he was duly elected under the existing rules. The campaign the media and the intelligence services have since run against him undermines the will of the people. Unfortunately I see no way that Trump could escape from the hold it has gained over him. Exposing it as much as possible might well be his best defense.

-- Moon of Alabama, "The Trump-Russia Scam - How Obama Enabled The FBI To Spy On Trump" (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE).

Truest statement of the week II

Let’s be clear: One reason mainstream journalists were so wrong about the 2016 election is because they are largely divorced from poor and working-class voters of all races. They seem especially clueless about “non-college-educated whites.” Which may explain their obsession with a group of swing voters they can better relate to: “moderate Republicans in the suburbs.”

-- Jeff Cohen, "Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear" (COUNTERPUNCH).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Late Tuesday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Moon of Alabama gets a truest.
As does Jeff Cohen.
At what point does the press stop playing around and start covering real news?
Ava and C.I. cover SCHOOLED and two hours of FOX NEWS.  
More and more, that's what it appears.
Good for Changa.  We've long noted how certain White bullies try to intimidate people online.
Get honest, it's a dingo dog with ticks and fleas.
Sam Smith does a duet!
The winners are?
Corruption, the story the US press never seems to find.
Repost of Stan's critique.
What we listened to while writing.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Where's the press?

Not covering Iraq.

Where are they?  The US taxpayer has poured billions into Iraq over the last 16 years so you'd think the press would check in at least once a month.  That's apparently too much for their lazy brains and fat asses.

As noted in Tuesday's Iraq snapshot, Basra Operations Command continues to shoot at peaceful protesters and, in fact, shot one in the back on Sunday.  They're also arresting them.  In addition, they're arresting reporters covering the protests.

These aren't western reporters.  They certainly aren't US reporters.  US reporters keep 'reporting' on nonsense, not things that actually matter.

Also in Tuesday's Iraq snapshot?  The number of US troops in Iraq is increasing signficantly.

All this desire to report/proclaim "Donald Trump is a liar!"?  It apparently doesn't apply to war.  Because the US officially has a little over 5,200 troops in Iraq but in the last days that number has risen and, in northern Iraq alone, non-western outlets have reported an increase of 20,000.  We were discussing that in yesterday's snapshot -- a discussion corporate America media still can't have.

Informed sources reveal night movements by the US forces # towards some districts and areas of the province of Nineveh north of Iraq.

Informed sources reveal the presence of more than "9000" US troops in "4" military bases deployed in the province of Anbar # - west of Iraq #, after withdrawing from # Syria.

What if, in the US, we had a real media with reporters who actually reported on something other than the president's Twitter feed?

TV: Funny or not: SCHOOLED, Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld

What's funny?

How about what a bad state Channing Dungey left ABC in.  Wednesday, ABC premiered a new comedy.  It was a spin-off which should have helped it -- a spin-off of a popular show.  And maybe it did help some?


Ratings wise, though ABC can be grateful for THE CW -- if it weren't for that net-lette, ABC would have been dead last in the ratings on Wednesday.  Compared to the ratings for ALL AMERICAN (two hour long episodes on Wednesday), ABC's 2 hour comedy line up was a huge hit.  Sadly, for ABC, other networks aired programming as well.  ABC did beat FOX in the first hour, but not in the second.  NBC and CBS beat ABC in the first hour and FOX, NBC and CBS beat ABC in the second hour -- and CBS aired nothing but reruns for two hours.

ABC aired a comedy block that kicked off with THE GOLDBERGS which was the network's highest rated show with 5.18 million.  THE GOLDBERGS' spin-off SCHOOLED followed with 4.82 million viewers.

On THE GOLDBERGS, Lainey (AJ Michalka) left Eric after deciding they shouldn't get married.  Having left THE GOLDBERGS, Lainey then showed up in the next half-hour slot as the lead character on SCHOOLED -- a show that takes place in the 90s (THE GOLDBERGS takes place in the 80s).  She did not become a rock star.  She has returned to town and is now a music teacher at her old high school.  Fortunately for her and the series, Tim Meadows continues as Principle Glascot and Bryan Callen continues as Coach Mellor. That's about all the show has going for it -- Michalka, Meadows and Callen.  The student body isn't that impressive -- are they supposed to be?  Nor is the writing.  The 90s culture references aren't funny.  They're just kind of tossed out as though they're supposed to be funny, as though, at the table read, someone said, "These are just marking time, we'll have real lines by the time we film."  Then they filmed, with no studio audience, and decided the lines were good enough.  The lines weren't good enough and a studio audience would have let them know that.

The show's not good enough.

Maybe it will get better as it goes along, sitcoms can do that.  If they're filmed in front of a live studio audience, sitcoms often get better as they go along -- THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, Bob Newhart's 80s show NEWHART, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, LIVING SINGLE, FRIENDS, WILL & GRACE, THE BIG BANG THEORY -- many, many sitcoms got better as they went along.  Again, those were sitcoms that were recorded or filmed before a live studio audience.  Shows that weren't?  Those shows -- THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER, FAMILY AFFAIR, PETTICOAT JUNCTION, ARLI$$, etc -- were never any better than their initial episodes.  Without a live audience to play to, the shows never grew because 'good enough' was the motto.  They had no live energy to play with, nothing to measure by.

What was especially sad about last week's episode was that it was so unfunny after all the time spent working on it.  They started back in November of 2016 and even filmed a pilot that aired as part of THE GOLDBERGS over a year ago.  What aired last week was a further refining of the show.  But they keep messing with the premise and messing with the premise and SCHOOLED just gets worse and worse.  That might be a good idea if it meant Lainey could go back to THE GOLDBERGS but this show has put forth the notion that, in the 90s, she's unmarried and not with Eric so why send her back to THE GOLDBERGS and the 80s when we know how it works out (or, in this case, how it doesn't work out)?

About the only thing working to make SCHOOLED look good?  SINGLE PARENTS.  That's the sitcom Channing swore would be a huge hit.  Last Wednesday, it was ABC's lowest rated sitcom and it had reached a record low in a debut season when it posted nothing but record lows.  In that regard, it's like another ABC show that Channing swore by: SPLITTING UP TOGETHER.  That one is posting CW numbers.  ABC is a mess in prime time and that Channing wasn't fired sooner goes to how unresponsive corporate culture actually is.

Somethings just aren't funny.  Which brings us to THE GREG GUTFELD SHOW.

Saturday night, US President Donald Trump went on FOX NEWS, specifically on JUSTICE WITH JUDGE JEANINE.  He was on to address, among other things, a new report from THE NEW YORK TIMES that, following his firing of James Comey, the F.B.I. opened an investigation into him -- a sitting president.

We managed to miss it even though we tried to tune in.  We caught the last bit of her interview with US House Rep. Jim Jordan and then her conversation with Dan Bongino.  As a new show came on, hosted by someone named Jesse Watters, we debated whether we needed to pull up JUDGE JEANINE and watch from the beginning?

According to Ty, some of the e-mail recently has been from people shocked that we do not watch FOX NEWS.  As TV critics, some readers feel, we should be weighing in on FOX NEWS programming.  Strange when you realize no one's saying that about CNN or MSNBC even though it's been some time since we weighed in on either.

As we debated that, we registered that Jesse Watters, host of WATTERS WORLD, was doughy, in a New York kind of way.  He probably passed for cute on FOX and that's when a friend we were with informed us that Watters nearly threw away his marriage of ten years last May when his wife filed for divorce after the news that Watters was having sex with Emma DiGiovine, an associate producer.  The divorce has apparently been put on hold.

We wondered about Watters' judgment.  For example, this episode featured Anthony Scaramucci -- he was briefly in the administration.  We'd never seen him before -- we get a the bulk of our news from newspapers, magazines, the internet and especially radio.  It was weird how, when Scaramucci smiled, he looked like the joker.  Even weirder -- and this went to Watters' judgment -- was when he and Jesse were talking about his (Anthony's) hair and going on about how thick it was.  Watters' hair was much thicker than Scaramucci's hair.

If it seems like we weren't taking the 'news' show seriously, we weren't.  Neither was Jesse Watters -- he had a faux debate with Scaramucci and Katrina Pierson in which he had Scaramucci play Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Pierson play Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  It was nonsense and produced nothing resembling a public discussion.  It was mainly Scaramucci fretting that he didn't have any bifocals -- that would have allowed him to nail his portrayal, he felt -- and Watters offering the direction to look down and that he'd find the characterization that way.

What followed was THE GREG GUTFELD SHOW which at least was supposed to be funny.  Supposed to be.  It's billed as comedy, satire and news parody.  It managed to pretty much miss all three.

The show is set up like a talk show's idea of a panel.  The panelists were THE NATIONAL REVIEW's Katherine Timpf, former wrestler Tyrus, THE DAILY SHOW's David Angelo and comedian Jimmy Failla -- all four were new to us.

Katherine Timpf was mildly amusing. Tyrus was funny frequently.  (The two have a podcast, it might be worth checking out.)  David Angelo was smile worthy if not laugh-out-loud funny.  Jimmy Failla?  He failed over and over and over but also managed to deliver the biggest laugh for the studio audience.  Did that make up for all the groaners?  Who knows?

Let's move over to the host.  Greg needs to grasp that he has aged out of cute -- even for a FOX NEWS male.  It's not that he's 54 per se, it is that his face is doing elderly man things -- like the flesh fold dipping between his brows over his nose.  Would a boyish face help him?

We doubt it but, even if it might, he's not going to have one.

So he might do well to grasp that yelling is not funny.  Outside of Sam Kinison, we're hard pressed to think of anyone who made a comedy career out of yelling.  So it was off putting to hear Greg yelling and yelling and doing so with so much bitterness at the top of the show.  It was supposed to be something similar to a monologue that he was delivering -- only seated and with videos.  A detached or amused pose would have worked much better than the snarl that only made his wrinkles stand out more (the fold above the nose, the three wrinkles on his forehead, the ones around the eyes) -- where some have smile lines, Greg has anger lines.

He'd also do well to have funnier writers.  Two 'skits' involved Pelosi and Schumer's Democratic response to Donald Trump's address last week.  The address was about immigration.  The 'skits' had Pelosi and Schumer's inner thoughts being broadcast.  Fart jokes was about all the writer(s) managed to come up with.  Pelosi thinking what was that smell and realizing Chuck had passed gas and then thinking, "See a doctor please.  I think something's dead inside you."  That's political humor?  There were no jokes about the wall Donald wants to build, no jokes about anything really.  If you doubt us, at one point, Pelosi's thinking about getting a sandwich and pondering what would go on it: "ham, cheese onions, lettuce,  pickles, some mustard . . .".  No, it wasn't funny.  Even the lines weren't delivered funny.  They were recited in a dull monotone.

At the top, we asked, "What's funny?"  Answer: Not THE GREG GUTFELD SHOW.  In fact, the only real purpose it served was to reveal that there were roaches in the green room.  Tyrus revealed he'd killed one when it scared Katherine.  Roaches infesting FOX NEWS?  As every 90s sitcom would have replied, "Why are we not surprised?"

The conspiracy to overthrow Donald Trump

More and more, it appears a conspiracy has been planned, plotted and carried out against Donald Trump.  Not one of us voted for him to be president of the United States.  Doesn't matter, he won the election.  He is the President of the United States.

But it appears some people in the government were working against him.  It appears that way more and more.  And it's not just an issue of James Comey (though Ray McGovern does a strong job making the case that Comey was attempting to threaten Trump).

Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:

 A front-page article published Saturday in the New York Times revealing that the FBI secretly opened a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump after he fired FBI Director James Comey has laid bare a massive police state conspiracy by the US intelligence agencies.
The Times published the article in an effort to revive the anti-Russia campaign against Trump, promoting the unsubstantiated and highly dubious claim that Trump is a Russian agent. The facts presented in the Times report are, in reality, far more damning of the FBI than of Trump.
Despite the newspaper’s intentions, the picture painted by the Times of the FBI is alarming. The Times depicts a highly politicized intelligence agency whose officials carefully monitor the activities of the two main capitalist parties, keeping a vigilant eye out for any deviations from the national security consensus in Washington.
The Times claims that Trump “had caught the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.” Given that this was a sarcastic campaign remark directed against Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, and delivered at a public news conference, Trump’s sally can hardly be construed as evidence of a conspiracy.
The Times article goes on to describe how FBI officials monitored the platform adopted at the Republican National Convention, reporting that the spy agency “watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.” That is, the nation’s top police agency was concerned that the positions adopted contravened certain basic tenets of dominant sections of the foreign policy establishment.
By what constitutional authority can the FBI, based on political positions adopted by one or the other of the two main capitalist parties, open up a secret investigation into treason and conspiracy? Such an operation bespeaks a police state and recalls the methods of the Stalinist NKVD.

Is that how a democracy works?  No, it isn't.

Andrew McCarthy (FOX NEWS) explains:

The investigation commenced during the 2016 campaign by the Obama administration – the Justice Department and the FBI – was always about Donald Trump.
We have to remember: The FBI believed the Steele dossier – the collection of faux intelligence reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was ultimately working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Justice Department on four occasions brought surveillance applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), in which the FBI swore that it believed the dossier allegations.
Ostensibly, the surveillance application targeted Carter Page. But Page was just a side issue. The dossier was principally about Trump – not Page, not Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, or other Trump associates referred to by Steele. The dossier’s main allegation was that Trump was in an espionage conspiracy with Russia to swing the election to Trump, after which Trump would do Putin’s bidding from the White House. The FBI and the Obama Justice Department could not verify the dossier, but they undeniably believed it.

Moon of Alabama (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) zooms in even more:

The NYT claim that the counter-intelligence investigation was initiated because of reasonable suspicion of Russian influence over Trump is nonsense. It was initiated to get access to a set of tools that would allow unlimited access to communication of Trump and anyone related to him. It was Obama who on his way out of the door gave the FBI these capabilities.
There are signs that the unlimited access the FBI and Mueller investigation have to signal intelligence is used to create prosecutions via 'parallel construction':
The Hoarse Whisperer @HoarseWisperer - 18:50 utc - 12 Jan 2019 An active counterintel investigation means the Trump Administration’s crimes were only as secure as the weakest link in their weakest moment. We got hints of this early. Our intelligence folks picked up “signals intelligence” or SigInt from Russians talking to Russians.
Those “signals” aren’t the kind of evidence that finds its way into a courtroom. In fact, it’s important that it doesn’t. It would burn sources and methods. It lays out the crimes and the players though... and then prosecutors find ways to make triable cases other ways.
The public sees cases for specific charges carrying significant prison time without ever knowing that the NSA and prosecutors knew so much more than they ever revealed. Now, apply those principles to the cases we’ve seen Mueller bring forward so far.

Mike Flynn: pleaded out to a minor charge, rolled over in full and then produced five rounds of documents. Likely: Flynn was confronted with the intel they had on him and knew he was cooked. They knew the crimes. They heard and saw everything. There’d be no escape.
By flipping and pleading out Flynn, all of that secret intel stays secret. Our intelligence efforts are protected. And Flynn goes down. And he cooks a bunch of other gooses. He’s savvy enough to know that once they have the intel, all that’s left to do is make the case.
The 'crime' that di Flynn in was misremembering a phone call he had with the Russian ambassador. Similar happened with Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s righthand man and a member of Trump’s transition team. Then it happened to Paul Manafort himself and to George Papadopoulos.
The Mueller investigation, thanks to the snooping Obama and the FBI enabled, knows the content of every phonecall, chat and email any member of the Trump administration made and make to someone abroad (and likely also within the U.S.). It invites people as witnesses and asks them about the content of a specific calls they made. If they misremember or lie - bang - Mueller has the transcript ready. A crime has been created and an indictment for lying to the FBI will follow. This is what happened to Flynn and the others the Mueller investigation entrapped and convicted.
Because of the counter-intelligence investigation the anti-Trump gang in the FBI hastened to initiate, the investigators got hands on signal intelligence - phone calls, chats and emails - that allowed them to indict minor people for petty crimes and to flip them to talk to the investigation.
The aim, in the end, was and is to build a prosecution case against President Trump for whatever minor and petty half-backed illegal doing there may be.

They knew what they were doing -- the FBI, Barack Obama, all of them.

This isn't fun and games.  This is serious.  This is the sort of conspiracy that can lead to public hangings -- we mean real hangings, we're not speaking figuratively.

This was wrong, it was unconstitutional, it was against democracy and it is a forever stain on Barack Obama's presidency.  History will not look kindly on this -- nor should it.

Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova (FOX NEWS) address some of the legal aspects:

The New York Times story was created to obfuscate the real criminal conspiracy: violation of Title 18 of U.S. Code Section 242, which prohibits any person under color of law (i.e. Obama administration personnel) to deprive another of “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution.” Such legal protection includes being free from a criminal investigation based on false charges.
Perhaps the bizarre January 20, 2017 email Susan Rice wrote “to herself” purporting to document a January 5, 2017 meeting with President Obama, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director Comey and Vice President Joe Biden, gives a clue as to some of those conspirators. The meeting discussed the Steele dossier and Russian collusion, but curiously Rice stressed that the former president said every aspect should be handled “by the book.” Yet, Strzok had told his FBI colleague and paramour Lisa Page not to worry about Trump being elected because “We’ll stop it.”
The brazen plot against President Trump by the Obama-era FBI and DOJ continues, enabled by a complicit media. The odor of corruption has long been noxious. But the Democrats and media hold their collective noses. The criminal clique, via the New York Times, has announced to the world, “Catch me if you can.”

It's time the ones hunting Donald Trump were forced to explain their actions.

Anoa J. Changa refuses to let Tom Watson bully or intimidate her

Yes, please ignore the countless Black folks on this site pointing out the issues with her record as California AG. This isn't about Bernie cause we will (and do) challenge him too. Y'all are so bad at this. Everyone has to be accountable to their records. No passes!

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