Monday, December 12, 2022

TV: A wild and eventful media week

Last week was a pretty interesting one for the media.

Take the Twitter dump that quickly became plural.  

It started with one dump.  This was supposedly huge information.  If it was huge, it required a reporter doing a report, not just adding one Tweet after another.  

In addition, a deal was made ahead of the release with Elon Musk (new owner of Twitter).  What was the deal?  It's apparently impolite to ask.  

Yes, someone claiming that they are a journalist has entered into a secret deal.  Now we don't like secret deals to begin with.  We called out Vince Warren's secret meeting with Barack Obama, for example.  We stood alone in objecting to the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights having a meeting with the then-new president and refusing to disclose what it was about.  After all, CCR had spent the eight years Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House insisting that secrecy was wrong.  Suddenly, it became right when they benefited (or thought that they did -- Barack's remarks after meeting with Vinnie were bitchy beyond anything he ever said to Samantha Power).  

One thing that the Tweets did appear to prove?  FBI involvement in destroying democracy.

In April of 2019, Hunter Biden had a problem with a laptop.  He took it to a repair shop.  He never picked it up.  It became the property of the repair shop owner as a result, John Paul Mac Isaac.  He notified the FBI after he was concerned by things he saw on the laptop and, in December 2019, the FBI seized the laptop.  

Despite having possession of the laptop in December 2019, the Tweets reveal that the FBI approached Twitter execs and stated that Russian disinformation could be on the way -- approached Twitter execs in the fall of 2020 -- and that a computer hard drive might emerge and that Twitter should suppress this information.  

They knew the computer was real, they knew the hard drive was real.  They knew it a year before they lied to social media outlets.  They lied.

Their actions were not only outrageous, their actions were illegal.

If the reporter had written a report and not just taken a dump on Twitter, that would have been immediately obvious.

It wasn't.  And that led the White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre to shoot off some stupid remarks early last week.  Called out here at THE COMMON ILLS and, after which, Karine wouldn't touch the subject with a ten foot pole.  Why?  Her remarks are potentially harmful in a Congressional hearing or a court of law.  As noted at TCI, the White House attorneys would not be pleased with her remarks (and they weren't).  Karine speaks for the president.  For Tweets to reveal the flagrant abuse of power by the FBI and for Joe Biden's spokesperson to dismiss the Tweets and call them unhelpful?  Doesn't help Joe Biden if the issue goes to court or to a Congressional investigation.  In fact, it looks like Joe's spokesperson was trying to cover up for the whole thing.  

What she did was so deeply stupid that she was informed another similar mishap and she'd be sent packing.  

Joe needs to speak to the American people about the FBI abuse.  We'll say that and then move on to another topic.


How about the zealots trashing Joe Biden for a prisoner trade with Russia that freed WNBA player Brittney Griner but not (or instead of) Paul Whelan.  There may be reasons to object to swapping arms trader Viktor Bout for anyone but there's no point in objecting to Griner.  She was in a Russian prison over drugs (possession of cannabis oil).  Paul Whelan was imprisoned for spying.  Generally, government swaps involving spies are one spy for another. 

If they swap at all.

What did Israel use on Barack Obama?

That's the question many asked after Barack pardoned American spy Jonathan Pollard (he spied for Israel but was not an Israeli citizen until after he was convicted of spying).  They ask that question because Bill Clinton refused to pardon Pollard who received a life sentence.  

Bill Clinton refused to pardon Pollard -- despite being blackmailed.  In 2014, Rebecca Shimoni Stoil (TIMES OF ISRAEL) reported:

Israel attempted to use tapes of former US president Bill Clinton’s steamy conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky to leverage the release of Jonathan Pollard, a new book on the Clinton family’s political enterprises has claimed. In the book, titled “Clinton Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine,” author Daniel Halper relies on on-the-record interviews with former officials together with a close analysis of documents termed “the Monica Files” to paint a salacious – and uncomplimentary – picture of one of the most prominent political families in the United States.

Halper reviewed hundreds of pages of documents compiled as a contingency to use in case the former intern ever was involved in legal action against Clinton.

According to the author, the documents indicate that during the Wye Plantation talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held in Maryland in 1998, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled Bill Clinton aside to press for Pollard’s release.

“The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations–they’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape. Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail,” Halper wrote, adding that “according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.”
[. . .]

Netanyahu’s threat, according to Halper, spurred Clinton to consider action. Halper claims that Clinton brought the request before CIA director George Tenet. Tenet, however, threatened to resign his position if Pollard was released, and Clinton backpedalled on the idea.

Halper is not the first to claim that Israel illicitly taped the steamy conversations between Clinton and Lewinsky and tried to leverage it to its advantage. In 1999, UK author Gordon Thomas claimed that the Mossad had collected some 30 hours’ worth of phone sex conversations between Lewinsky and Clinton and was using them to blackmail the US or to protect a deeply-embedded mole in the White House.

In Newsweek's most recent report on Israeli espionage on the United States, the magazine claims that Israel listened in on phone calls between former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other leaders during critical stages of the Middle East peace talks in 1999.

According to the report, which cites British-Israeli political scientist Aharon Bregman's upcoming book "Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories," Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on conversations between Clinton and the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.

Citing transcriptions of the phone calls, the book also alleges Israel tapped calls between Assad and Syria's foreign minister in the U.S., as well as discussions between Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Again, rumors have swirled for years about what the Israeli government might have used on Barack that led to Pollard being released.  Michael Weiss (THE DAILY BEAST) noted, "After decades of trying in vain to get out of jail, Pollard will be released on November 20 after serving 29 years in a federal prison. The timing, coming so soon after the U.S. helped ink an arms control agreement with Iran, has raised eyebrows not least because anonymous U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal last week that the Obama administration was planning to release Pollard as a salve to Israel to try to convince the Jewish state to tone down or abandon its fierce criticism of the Iran deal."

There's a lot that goes into releasing someone convicted of spying.

Equally true, Griner is an American citizen.

So is Paul Whelan!!!!

No, not really.  He's a citizen of the US . . . and Ireland . . . and Canada . . . and the United Kingdom.  Seems he has plenty of options when it comes to countries that could help him.

Well he's an American Marine!!!!

No, not really.

He was an American Marine.  But he was kicked out of the Marines for grand larceny.  He faced a court martial over that.  He got kicked out.

FOX NEWS and others created this false portrait of him that took hold.  He was the brave Marine who served honorably and President Joe Biden forgot him!!!!!  He was the American citizen!!!!!  Neglecting to note that he wasn't born in the US (so very pro-immigrant and so very unlike FOX NEWS) and that his parents weren't US citizens and that he had citizenship in three other countries.  They also neglected to note that his family forgot to shut their traps after Whelan was arrested in Russia. From WIKIPEDIA:

According to the Russian news agency Rosbalt [ru], Whelan was apprehended in his hotel room at the Metropol while concluding a long outing with a Russian citizen, who handed him a USB drive containing "a list of all the employees at a classified security agency". The independent Latvian-based publication Meduza reported that the wedding attendees all banded close together for the duration of the holiday, and were taken aback by Whelan's decision to spend the day alone.[23]

The BBC cited family members of Whelan, who said he previously bragged about knowing an agent of the FSB, and was privy to an unusual cache of personal details about his friend, including which intelligence training school he attended (biographical information typically reserved for a very close circle).[24]

Here are basic facts from BBC NEWS:

Mr Whelan is a citizen of four countries - the US, Canada, the UK and the Irish Republic.

From Novi, Michigan, he was born in Canada to British parents and moved to the US as a child.

Military records show he joined the US Marine Reserves in 1994, about six years after he had reportedly begun work as a police officer in Michigan.

[. . .]

But in 2008 Mr Whelan, who had achieved the rank of staff sergeant, was discharged from the marines for bad conduct.

The Pentagon, which released his records, said the charges related to larceny. CNN reports he was accused of using someone else's social security number, and "writing bad cheques".

FOX NEWS was quick to let viewers know that Donald Trump did not approve of the trade and insisted that Whelan should have been the person whose freedom the US government secured.  FOX NEWS, as usual, wasn't quick to ask why, if it's now so damn important to Donald. Trump did nothing when he was president -- Whelan was arrested December 28, 2018 meaning Trump has two years of his presidency after Whelan's arrest to secure his release.  Saturday, on FOX NEWS' CAVUTO LIVE, David Whelan was allowed to note, "My brother pleaded from his prison for President Trump to Tweet about him during President Trump's term in office and President Trump didn't."

Why are FOX NEWS and elements of conservative media so obsessed with this story?  And why are they so quick to act as though a disgraced man drummed out of the US Marines is a hero?  

Because Brittney Griner is a lesbian.   An African-American lesbian -- the sort of thing that makes FOX NEWS and Marjorie Taylor Greene tremble.

When you know the world you live in, things start to make sense.  These things don't necessarily make you happy but they do help you navigate.

News of Jeff Lewis' FREEVEE show didn't make us happy. 

HOLLYWOOD HOUSE LIFT brings the former BRAVO TV outsized personality back to the little screen.  

FLIPPING OUT was his previous show.  To watch that eleven season nightmare was to wonder where the labor board was?  Jeff seemed to think being gay gave him an excuse for everything.  Like when he made his long suffering housekeeper Zoila Chavez clean cat poop -- watery, liquid cat poop -- out of a bathtub without gloves.  She requested gloves and she also requested that she be allowed to use water in the tub first to get some of it out.  Jeff denied both and then bragged to the camera how her getting poop between her fingers would teach her a lesson.

Jeff thought he had a lot of wisdom to share.  He would scream at Jenni Pulos Nassos and Megan Weaver for anything.  They were his employees just as Zoila was and he couldn't get through a day without screaming at one of them and telling them how lousy they were.  Heaven forbid that they defended themselves because then he'd really rage.  "Mistakes happen," Jenni made the mistake of saying once in the car when they didn't have a client's phone number and he went to town on her.  

He should have faced several law suits.  

And someone should have told him that "training" is not raging at someone.

He's back with HOLLYWOOD HOUSE LIFT which finds him now interacting with various celebrities such as actor and musician Evan Ross.  Is Jeff any smarter?  When Evan offers that something in the bedroom could be given to his mother to make room for new items, we know who he's referring to.  We know Evan and, of course, we know his mother Diana Ross.  If Jeff does, there's never any indication.  Melissa Rivers shows up -- we've noted her good manners before when covering reality TV.  We'll note them again and again give credit to the late Joan Rivers. Anthony Anderson's segments weren't good when they were filmed and aren't good now that they air.  He talks about what he and his wife want.  His unseen wife.  There's a reason for that.  The divorce is back on.  Fortune Feimster and her wife Jax are wonderful -- but we do question how the onscreen titles label the home Fortune's and their dog Fortune's -- is Jeff unaware of California's community property laws? Mira Sorvino comes off practical (Jeff not so -- he asks her husband if Mira will explode when he's got bad news to deliver).  Lamorne Morris knows what he wants and has someone supervising it so he doesn't have to deal with updates. Roselyn Sanchez seems out of her depth (why not insist that the project ends before you're leaving the country when you know you will be out of the country for months filming FANTASY ISLAND) and someone needs to break it to Wilmer Valderrama that he doesn't have the taste and sensibility in decorating that he believes he does.

Maybe that'll make you consider streaming?

Maybe it won't.

But, if you do stream, you'll note that Jeff isn't as annoying as he once was.  Like his lips, his spirits now sag.  He's almost down to earth.  Shane Douglas is his assistant now and let's give the formerly highly vain Jeff credit for (a) removing his lip fillers and (b) willing to be on camera with the very young Shane.  He actually treats Shane with respect.  

It's a huge change for Jeff (who's also married, become a parent and divorced since he wrapped up FLIPPING OUT).  Maybe growth is possible, maybe dragons don't need to be slayed when they can be reformed? Like we said at the top, last week was an interesting week for media -- with one lesson after another.

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