Monday, April 24, 2023

TV: The media circus

Sometimes the biggest entertainment on TV can be found in non-entertainment programming.  The work week began with news of two high-profile firings.  CNN, once a news network, and FOX "NEWS" -- the talkshow network -- each dropped some heavy baggage.

CNN got ride of Don Lemon.  Took them long enough.  He apparently shoved his hand down the front of his pants, rubbed it around down there, and then tried to shove the odor off on a bar patron.  That didn't get him fired.  When, because he worked for CNN, Don learned that the police no longer believed Jussie Smollett was the victim of a hate crime, Don didn't take it upon himself to break the news on the air.  He did, however, call his friend Jussie to give Jussie a heads up.

Time and time again, Don got away with it.  For years, he got away with his sexism and threats against women in the workplace.  Then he started snapping at his female co-hosts on air.  

That didn't get him fired.

Finally, he declared Nikki Haley to be out of her "prime."  He shouted down his co-hosts and insisted that they could GOOGLE it and they'd see he was right.

Thing is, people did GOOGLE it and he was wrong.  And at 51, Nikki might actually be considered young for a presidential candidate.  But by no means would she be considered past her prime.

Hillary Clinton was 61 when she ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and one of the few sexist things that wasn't said about her was that she was "past her prime."  She was 69 the year she ran for president on the Democratic Party ticket.  Again, no one said "past her prime."

Don's remarks were stupid and offensive.

Still he kept the job.  

He had a tantrum on set last week that made it clear that CNN couldn't continue to work with him.  He says he was surprised when he learned he was fired.  Really?  Because when confronted with his on set behavior last week, the first words out of his mouth were, "I know I did wrong."  Yes, you did and it was the last straw. 

Sometimes, you reach the end of the rope, it may take forever, but you reach it.  And last week, Don did.

Suspension of disbelief only works so long. 

MRS. DAVIS, PEACOCK's latest offering, might need to heed that reality.  Four of the eight episodes are currently available.  What's the show about?

Bette Davis, WARNER BROS' last star, leaves the lot and bequeaths her dressing room to her "most deserved" successor Jane Wyman.  She then tries to control Jane and others via phone calls and advice.  

Actually, that might be more interesting.  In fact, it would be.

Liz -- also known as Sister Simone -- grew up with grifters for parents.  As an adult, she's portrayed by Betty Gilpin.  When her mom's crossbow booby trap lands an arrow in Liz's chest, she eneds up in the ER (as a child) and meets Wiley.  As an adult, Wiley is played by Jake McDorman and that might be enough for some viewers to understand her attraction.  We're not sure how anyone explains her attraction to Jay (Andy McQueen).

It's not that the actor playing him isn't attractive.  It's that after heavy petting, she wants to do it but he's saving himself for marriage.  Before the religious right starts thumping their chests, he's Jesus.  Jay is Jesus.  So, to marry him, Liz becomes a nun, Sister Simone.

That's a lot to absorb, isn't it?

There's more.  

Mrs. Davis isn't Bette.  She's an Artificial Intelligence construct.  

Is Mrs. Davis using and abusing people as Wiley and the renegades he funds believe?

It's hard to tell.  Or maybe we were just stunned by the sheering of Ben Chaplin.  

Ben's a British actor who first impressed us in 1996's romantic comedy classic THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS and continued to impress us opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh in WASHINGTON SQUARE, in Terrence Malick's THE THIN RED LINE, opposite Winona Ryder in LOST SOULS, opposite Nicole Kidman in BIRTHDAY GIRL, opposite Sandra Bullock in MURDER BY NUMBERS . . .

With Ben Chaplin, you can count on two things -- an impressive performance and a hairy chest.

Or you could before MRS. DAVIS.

At times, Ben seems to be channeling Douglas Fairbanks, Kevin Kline and Cyndi Lauper -- when it gets really bad, he's channeling all three at once.  It's a lively performance, to be sure.  And it does keep you awake.  Maybe it's leading to something?  We hope so.

Otherwise, in some sort of modern-day Sampson fable, Ben's lost his artistic sense when he removed his chest hair (and slathered on what appears to be QT -- Quick Tan -- across his now hairless chest).

The series is quirky and, if adds up to something, the audience will feel rewarded.  If it doesn't?  You've been mildly amused for a few episodes.

Mildly amused is how Tucker Carlson always came across -- mildly amused and slightly off.  The boy with the bowl cut grew up to be the man with no clue.  After failing on CNN's THE SPIN ROOM, he got a job on CNN's CROSSFIRE where he degraded the nation's intelligence and when Jon Stewart pointed out what a mockery of news the garbage was, the Mother Tucker was out of a job.  He tried to spin it, insisting that he had resigned from CROSSFIRE in April of 2004 -- guess he just forgot his resignation as, week after week, he continued to do the show until January of 2005.  TUCKER CARLSON UNFILTERED lasted a year at PBS.  Onto MSNBC at a time when it was already featuring garbage like Michael Savage and had plenty of room in the toilet for Tucker. TUCKER lasted a little less than 3 years on MSNBC.  

Not being a journalist, talk show host Tucker took time to do what many did in recent years, take a spin around the floor on DANCING WITH THE STARS.  That he was the first celebrity eliminated should have told him something about how beloved he wasn't.

When Melissa Gates gave then-husband Bill the ultimatum, all the hate merchants were kicked off MSNBC and Tucker landed eventually at FOX "NEWS." He was a panelist, kind of the 21st century version of Kitty Carlisle Hart.  By toadying and creating many mini-'controversies' passed off as news, Mother Tucker eventually worked himself up to a weekend co-host on FOX & FRIENDS   Finally, he was ready, he thought, once again for prime time.  TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT debuted in 2016 and got cancelled last week.

Tucker is homeless yet again.

It's greatly upset his friends -- racists and transphobes like the Great Glenneth Greenwald:

One reason there's so much hatred among left-liberal media types toward Tucker is petty jealously: that goes without saying. They always hate most those who succeed in journalism. But he's also hated by that crowd because he holds up a mirror to the failures of their heroes.

The mirror Tucker held up was to his own ass.  Is that what Glenneth found it interesting?

Glenneth and Tara wanted you to know that Tucker hosted plenty of lefties.  Tucker brought on lefties who played his game or served up the red meat his deluded audience wolfed down.  The same way Bill O'Reilly had done a decade prior with, for example, Susara Taylor.  Mother Tucker didn't invent anything, he was just the new Bill O'Reilly.

And now he's fired.

And Glenneth tries to spin this as a good thing:

A major irony is that Tucker's separation from Fox may be the best thing that could happen to him in terms of his influence and impact. The sector of media growing most explosively are independent platforms. Joe Rogan is vastly more influential than every MSNBC and CNN host.

Yeah, but Joe Rogan has charisma.  Tucker doesn't.  Tucker is not Joe Rogan who makes people laugh intentionally.  Tucker is an uptight prig.  That's not going to play well in 'new media.'  It didn't play well for Bill O'Reilly when he tried to survive being fired from FOX "NEWS."  And Tucker already failed as a podcaster.

And there are the internals.  As the ones -- and only ones -- who have reported the realities about FOX "NEWS" finances, we can tell you he was not worth his salary.  His podcast for FOX was a failure and then came FOX NATION and TUCKER CARLSON TODAY. 

While transphobe, FOX "NEWS" apologist and enabler Jonathan Turley keeps trying to pretend DISNEY is in a crisis financially (it's not), the real crisis is FOX "NEWS."  Jerry Hall didn't walk away empty handed from her divorce.  Rupert Murdoch is a buffoon and always has been.  He needed money -- and tried to pretend otherwise -- a few years back so he sold FOX (20th Century Fox20th Century Fox Television, and FX Networks) to ABC DISNEY.  FOX "NEWS" still owns the over-the-airwaves broadcast network but that's really it in terms of what they had.  And that's really not enough.  They need to be making programming to make money and you're usually looking at a five-year turn-around before a production company makes real money off a series. 

Using Roseanne Barr's return to comedy, FOX NATION was supposed to be firmly on the map.  And Roseanne did bring in eye balls.  But they also left with Roseanne.  It got so bad that FOX NATION kept lowering the monthly fee in the hopes that they could lure subscribers back.  It got down to a single dollar a month before they realized that the surveys were accurate.  When you cancelled your subscription to FOX NATION, they had a lengthy survey and many people took it.  As we've noted before, they pointed out that there was no real programming on the channel, they pointed out that the transphobia was vicious and outrageous.

Now this plays for the basic cable crowd.  They don't pay enough to cover FOX "NEWS" bills.  And they're a highly unattractive demographic.  So FOX "NEWS" doesn't do as well as it needs to now in advertising.

Now?  FOX BROADCASTING is a sink hole FOX entertainment covered the losses for FOX "NEWS" for years.  And that shouldn't have been a surprise.  For decades news -- or what passed for it -- was bailed out at the big three networks by entertainment programming.  Losing that income harmed FOX "NEWS."  They have created FOX ENTERTAINMENT but it's only real success is from co-creations THE CLEANING LADY (a bonafide hit) and FANTASY ISLAND (about a million viewers notion of entertainment).  ALERT: MISSING PERSONS did very poorly for a first season broadcast and that's true -- only more so -- of THE ACCUSED (when you drop from an 8.7 million to start to barely a million viewers, you don't deserve a second season).  CALL ME KAT's also run off a ton of viewers in season three.  They have no real hit because the viewers aren't there and they're producing the shows with four to five other companies which may minimize their losses but also minimizes their potential profit.

Like CNN, FOX needed something more to bring in income.  That's one reason why CNN's doing all the 'movies' ('documentaries') over the last few years.  It's why it spent all that money on creating a streamer and why, when it was obviously going to fail, they immediately closed it down.

Better to write off as much as you can then be a laughingstock. CNN knows it can try again (and will).  FOX NATION?  They don't know what to do.  It was supposed to be a boon on Wall Street.  But, for that to happen, it needed to be successful.  Instead, it's a failure.  

And that's true of everything except Roseanne's comedy special.  Now Tucker speaking with Roseanne did help TUCKER CARLSON TODAY.  But every episode couldn't be a Roseanne Barr interview or a special about Roseanne.  And few bothered to stream him otherwise. 

A lot of money was being pumped into Tucker's pockets.  And it just wasn't worth it.  

The business model didn't work.

Jonathan Turley, right now, is probably ready to type up his latest anti-DISNEY column about the layoffs at DISNEY.  That's not DISNEY threatened for life or even really hurting.  That's a case of too many employees and too much redundancy.  Which is to be expected when you are ABC, FREE FORM, FX, FXX, FXM, HULU, ESPN, DISNEY+, 20th CENTURY FILMS (which released the cash printing machine AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER), MARVEL, WALT DISNEY STUDIO, WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS, DISNEY PARKS, etc.  

Turley's far too dishonest to tell the truth about the conglomerate that pays his bills.  But FOX "NEWS" is in serious trouble and that was true before they settled one lawsuit that will cost them   $787 million.  There are more lawsuits to come over that issue (lying to viewers).  And Lachlan Murdoch is especially worried about the network's estrangement from Donald Trump.  Rupert considers himself a kingmaker and believes they've buried Donald.  But if Lachlan is correct, and he believes he is, that FOX "NEWS" needs Donald for a successful business model, they can't hold on to Tucker who revealed in texts (that the Dominion lawsuit brought to the surface) that he hates Donald.  And besides the lawsuits -- it's not just Dominion -- over the lies about the 2020 vote, there are other lawsuits there's also the harassment lawsuit. 

FOX "NEWS" has to do more than tighten its belt.  There are no friends on Wall Street willing to bail it out -- NEWS MAX and other similar outlets can continue even if FOX "NEWS" falters.  And they're sinking in debt.  Tucker Carlson became an ugly face for the network -- an admitted liar (in texts, he not only admitted to hating Donald, he also admitted that despite making 'stolen election' claims on air, he didn't actually believe them).  This is a problem because AOC rightly noted the FTC when she was on Jen Psaki's talk show over the weekend.

Glenneth and others didn't understand what AOC was talking about because they're not real smart.  Oh, censorship! - they cried.


She mentioned the FTC which handles issues like fraud and consumer protection.  Viewers are consumers.  A TV host telling them that an election was stolen when the host admits privately that he didn't believe it was stolen?  That's fraud.  And eliminating that type of fraud is why the FTC exists.  This had nothing to do with The First Amendment.

So Tucker was a liar and he was accused of harassing in the workplace and he wasn't delivering new streams of money.  Of course, he was going to go.  FOX "NEWS" has much more success with THE FIVE -- and pay them less -- and this blend, they hope, is the future of the network.  Yes, even FOX "NEWS" is considering stepping away from the White Male single-host dynamic.  

Two firings that were a long time coming finally happened.  It may be the most obvious, the least absurd, media news of the year.

Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.)



We're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community.  Mike's "THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY" covers Elizabeth Kolbert's THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY.  So give us an overview.

Mike: The book notes the five previous extinction events in history.  A species can go extent and it generally would take around 1,000 years.  You couldn't chart it in a lifetime.  But there are also extinction level events where it happens much faster.  And we weren't aware of that for centuries.  The realization of these events?  It's relatively new.  We may be living in the sixth extinction event currently.

What stood out most?

Mike: I liked the way she pulls the reader in.  The chapter on frogs?  I dare you to start it and then stop reading it.  You won't be able to stop.  You care about the frogs and you wonder what's going to become of them.

Talk about that a little more, what's happening to frogs in the Americas?

Mike: A number of then are dying out.  In Panama, for example, they started noticing the frogs were dying and they decided to try to create some safe space for them.  They succeeded there.  But those that were saved?  What happens to them?  There's a fungus now and if they're out in the natural habitats, they're doing to die.  Bleach will kill the fungus but you can't bleach the rain forest.  So they've managed to save a few frogs but what happens to them?  They live in captivity for the rest of their lives?  I really recommend this book, I highly recommend it.  You don't have to be a science expert so no one should be intimidated about picking up this book.  The author explains things so that you can follow along.  And it really has real life implications.  If you care about our world, our environment, make a point to read it.

And there was something you wanted to save for our conversation, right?

Mike: Right.  There's a thread going through the conversations where we try to tie it into the LGBTQ+ community.  THE NEW YORK TIMES sold the Iraq War so I don't pretend that it's my friend.  It's lying -- and has been for several years -- about transgender persons.  It's taken every right-wing smear and treated it as fact which is why GLAAD and others have protested.  This is not new, as we know.  The same 'paper of record' also trashed gay people and lied about them -- especially during the AIDS panic.  Well guess what?  As extinction events became known and accepted by the science community, guess who attacked the science?  THE NEW YORK TIMES.   They have this image of being pro-science but, time and again, THE NEW YORK TIMES has been on the wrong side of science.






Previous book discussions this year:





"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.   



"SCREAM VI and THE BOYS" -- Stan reviews Ron and Clint Howard's THE BOYS.



"the world according to joan" -- Rebecca reviews this book.


 "Elton John and Whitney Houston" -- Kat reviews Elton John's autobiography and a biography on Whitney Houston.

"DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM" -- Isaiah reviews this book.




 "Vincent Price and Universal" -- Marcia reviews John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.








The Hate Merchants


This is a list of people who attack the LGBTQ+ community.  They're hate merchants and should be avoided at all costs.

1) Marjorie Taylor Green

2) Ron DeSantis

3) Lauren Boebert

4) Anthony Monteiro

5) J.K. Rowling

6) Kristi Noem

7) Kim Reynolds

8) Marco Rubio

9) Rand Paul

10) Tucker Carlson

11) Greg Abbott

12) Ron Johnson

13) Todd Aiken

14) Doug Lamborn

15) Dan Burton

16) Candace Cameron

17) Kirk Cameron

18) Jonathan Turley

19) Tulsi Gabbard

20) John Stauber 

21) Matt Walsh

22) self-loathing Caitlyn Jenner

23) self-loathing Glenneth Greenwald

24)  Anya Parampil

25) The Montana GOP

26) Sarah Huckabee Sanders




Mike reviews a science book:


My turn reviewing a book in the community.  We have KINDLE UNLIMITED and, with my daughter using it, Elaine using it and me using it, it really does 'pay for itself.'  I was looking for a different book than usual and couldn't find one.  So I asked C.I. for a suggestion?  She suggested Elizabeth Kolbert's THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY. 

The sixth extinction?  There have been five previous mass extinction events in earth's history that we know of.  We may be living through a sixth.  

Chapter one takes you to modern day Panama, specifically, El Valle de Anton which used to be overrun with golden frogs (they are a poisonous frog that has yellow skin and brown spots).  An American researcher, visiting Panama, studied the golden frogs by the border that Panama shared with Costa Rica.  A few years later, they were gone.  The researched had to move further inland.  Repeatedly.  Realizing that they were growing extinct, a plan was devised to take some males and some females out of the wild in an attempt to preserve the species. This is when Elizabeth Kolbert stumbled upon an article in a kids magazine and became aware of the sixth extinction that appears to be taking place now.

Amphibians are disappearing around the world -- including throughout the Americas. In DC, for example, The National Zoo was known for its blue poison-dart frogs.  Then they started dying off.  They'd developed a fungus -- a new chytrid fungi.  This new fungi?  It's all over.  Bleach will kill it.  But you can't bleach the rain forest.  So the frogs you manage to save and keep alive in an artificial environment?  How do you save them other than keeping them out of the real world?

An amphibian species should go extinct over a thousand years.  Normally. That would mean that a person wouldn't be able to track the sudden vanishing of, for example, the golden frog.  But this is happening before our eyes. 

The concept of extinction shows up late in human history, in the 1700s.  Earlier (surviving) writings on animals noted the animals alive when the tracts were written but don't consider that some may no longer be alive.  The mastodon -- or rather its bones -- led to the study of extinction -- study and search.  President Thomas Jefferson had hopes that Lewis and Clark might come across the American mastodon (he was convinced -- and wrote a paper about it -- that it might still be alive but in unexplored areas). 

 So much of extinction is recently know.  For example?  "Extraterrestrial Cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction" is a famous paper about how "sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid six miles wide collided with the earth.  Exploding on contact, it released enery on the order of a hundred million megatons of TNT, or more than a million of the most powerful H-bombs ever tested.  Debris, including iridium from the pulverized asteroid, spread across the globe.  Day turned to night, and temperatures plunged.  A mass extinction ensued."

Walter and Luis Avlarzez (son and father) published that paper in June of 1980 -- after beginning work on the study that led to it in 1977.  That's relatively recent.  I found that section fascinating.  The paper and its conclusions were attacked for years.  Until 1991, in fact. 

It traces history very well and explains how dangerous things are today.  We are seeing rising CO2 levels, this will lead to ocean acidification.

This is a fascinating book that I strongly recommend.

Stealing from THIRD, here are the books covered so far this year in the community:

"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.   



"SCREAM VI and THE BOYS" -- Stan reviews Ron and Clint Howard's THE BOYS.



"the world according to joan" -- Rebecca reviews this book.


 "Elton John and Whitney Houston" -- Kat reviews Elton John's autobiography and a biography on Whitney Houston.

"DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM" -- Isaiah reviews this book.




 "Vincent Price and Universal" -- Marcia reviews John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.




Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, April 21, 2023.  Matt Taibbi is being attacked by a pretend Congress member and it needs to be called out -- and she's actually harming election chances for the Democrats with her unhinged and rabid behavior.

These snapshots are dictated.  I'm usually working out -- if I'm away from home, they're dictated while I'm running, otherwise I'm on a treadmill or stepper.  Things are pulled all the time before something  gets published.  I dictate these primarily to three friends.  And one would tell you that if I'm bothered by ______, he tells me "stop, you know it's not going to make it into the published snapshot."  And he's actually right, it usually doesn't but _____ is so frustrating that it helps me get whatever out of my system.  Sometimes something's dropped because it overwhelms something else that I want to emphasize.  Sometimes it's dropped because I think I could do it better covering it the next day.  Sometimes it's dropped for space, I think the snapshot's going way too long.  Or maybe it's a humorous note in the wrong place.


Yesterday,  Glenneth Greenwald raged at Mark Hamill (fine with me, Mark's not my friend) and then Glenneth typed "From experience, no sub culture is dumber than Hollywood."  Oh, Glenneth, should you really talk about Jane Hamsher that way? 

Another dropped this week, longer, was on Matt Taibbi.  We're copying and pasting that in.  After I'll explain why.

I'm not a Medhi Hasan fan.  That predates this decade and goes back to Iraq and statements -- especially on THE DIANE REHM SHOW -- that were flat out lies.  Mehdi and Matt Taibbi got into it on Mehdi's show not long ago.  Ava and I covered it in "TV: The media's lack of accountability."

Matt Taibbi is back from Disney Land and his trip to meet family in Hawaii.  And he's back on Twitter.  Lee Fang is using Twitter to question Medhi's reporting.  Lee's charge -- use previous link -- is that Mehdi is guilty of plagiarism -- a serious charge.  There is no defense of, "I was only writing about ___ and that's not hard news."  You're a journalist and you chose to write about it, you were required to be accurate and, no, I'm not going into this in any greater length, it's not the 90s and NEWSWEEK hasn't just lied that Chandler was the one handcuffing a woman.  (An error NEWSWEEK refused to correct and claimed, it was only an entertainment story -- only.  Rachel's boss handcuffs Chandler, for those who didn't see the episode.)  It was revealing about the author -- that he was a liar and that clearly he had his own kink at play if he needed to see it a way other than how it actually happened.  The same is true of Medhi -- the spanking focus tells a great deal about him.

Matt seems to think this is where he (Matt) goes for the throat.  It's not.  

Don't know what to do here but speak slowly.  Ava and my piece resulted in hysterics insisting we had crucified Matt.  

The topic of our piece was accountability.  Confronted with errors, two or three, Matt took accountability.  When others lied after the interview aired -- there appears to be a gulf between honesty and YOUTUBERS -- Matt took accountability and noted he did not come off well.  We noted he was one of the few adults in the room, we noted too many others that week were not taking accountability.

That's not slamming him and it's definitely not crucifying him. 

There was an error in a Tweet.  Not the end of the world.  But when your 'report' is not a written report but a series of Tweets, yes, all Tweets have equal value.  He needs to write a report.  

While he went on vacation, a series of people have mocked him -- as he knew they would.  Not a slam for him going on vacation before someone e-mails a "How dare you!"  

My opinion, he should be working on a report.  Not Tweets.  

Post-segment, Hasan took the incredibly serious step of accusing me of lying to congress. Talk about “press as police”: that’s a felony charge, and Hasan has been insisting to everyone who’ll listen that I’m guilty of it. Hasan's claim is based on the idea that I was “suggesting a nonprofit was an intel agency to try & prove government collusion/censorship.”

This was a reference to my conflating the Center for Internet Security (CIS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in a #TwitterFiles tweet. One letter in an acronym may not sound like much, but it would have been a serious mistake indeed, if I’d implied an “intel agency” like CISA was partnered with Twitter and Stanford’s Election Integrity Project, if it was not.

But CISA absolutely was a partner to the EIP, as was the CIS. Hasan appeared not to have been aware of this, which may be why (apart from my bumbling demeanor) he seemed to think this was such a gotcha moment on air.

CISA, CIS, and EIP openly partnered through the 2020 election process, as TwitterFiles emails documents as well as publicly available information repeatedly demonstrate. I even tweeted months ago, in TwitterFiles #6, that the two agencies were easily confused, as both were partners to Stanford’s election initiative. Neither CISA, the CIS, Twitter, nor the EIP has ever claimed CISA wasn’t a partner to the EIP project. It would be an impossible thing to assert: there are too many public announcements describing the CISA-EIP partnership. From the EIP’s own website:

Hasan said claiming CISA involvement with the EIP was “key to my thesis,” and since this “thesis” wasn’t true, House Judiciary chief and Weaponization of Government Subcommittee chair Jim Jordan needed to correct the record. (He doesn’t). Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose MO these days seems to involve loudly planting a flag in every online wedge controversy with any chance of trending, chimed in to claim the “entire Oversight hearing and investigation” was “based on these errors,” and therefore the GOP had wasted “tons of public time and dollars” on the Files material.

To say that all of this has been infuriating is a massive understatement. I have three little kids and these people are accusing me of a serious crime for which I could go to jail, yet they themselves are the ones making the mistake. The sheer viciousness of the ploy is mind-blowing.

I don't live in a world where no one makes mistakes -- I make mistakes all the time.  But I do expect to live in a world where people own their mistakes.  

If you're seeing me crucifying Matt or anything similar, that's your mistake. 

We've noted various reactions -- by reposting videos -- and people can have whatever reaction they want.  But speaking for me, the end of the world would have been Matt saying, "No, no, I don't make mistakes."  Instead, he owned the one that was explored and I think he said he'd have to check on the other but if he was wrong, he was wrong.  He also owned that it was a bad interview.  

A friend once had what she thought was a career-ender interview.  It didn't help that her (cheating) husband was against her doing the interview to begin with and slammed her for it to everyone they knew.  She didn't get any sleep in the 24 hour period ahead of the interview.  You could see it in her eyes which were glassy and watering.  "Repetitive but effective" is how a major periodical termed her part of the interview.  She's a major communicator who had much more experience with hostile interviewers.  And she felt she choked.  She could have been better (and maybe with support from the hideous husband she would have been).  But it happens to everyone.  I never forgave Barbara Walters for that interview and I was so happy that it ended her marriage -- she didn't just go after my friend, she harmed her husband's business interest with that interview.  

Most people don't remember the interview today -- not even the ones who watched it -- and it won the time slot.  

Matt handled himself like a grown up.  

I didn't appreciate the people who lied and said, "Matt showed him! Matt destroyed him!"  I don't appreciate lies.  By the same token, those insisting that Matt's work on The Twitter Files got destroyed are also lying.  Again, he'd be doing himself a favor to write a report but his work did not get destroyed.  

Nor did he lie to Congress.  We reported on that hearing.  I don't think most of the people saying Matt lied before Congress know what they're talking about.  They don't appear to have even read his opening statement, let alone know what he actually said at the hearing.

Lee Fang has reasons to continue his probing of Mehdi's work.  It would probably do Matt better to leave that alone.  Barbara Walters sold her soul (many times over) and when she did (every time) the bill was collected.  Medhi, like Barbara, will have to live in a hell of his own making.  Matt should take comfort in that and not bother giving Mehdi another thought.

People were high-fiving Barbara Walters for her stunts.  By not going after her publicly but instead focusing on their own work, those Barbara attacked came off looking better.  There's nothing Mehdi benefits from more than a back-and-forth on this issue.  It fuels publicity for his show and it fuels the people who do hate Matt.  So the best thing Matt can do is leave it alone, Lee Fang has it under control.

That was pulled for space and also because the piece Ava and I wrote was also slammed by some for 'rescuing' Matt so I wanted to read over it before I included it (which I haven't -- even now, I just said to paste the above in -- there's never enough time).

So the reason we're on Matt today, and we have to be, is a new attack on him which Glenn notes in this Tweet:

He also calls her a "fake" which she is.  Go back to the March 10, 2023 snapshot for when Stacey pops up on this site's radar (also to "TV: The Tired and The Disappointing").  We didn't cover her in the '00s or the '10s when she was a Republican.  Not because she was a Republican but because she was a failure -- she was an abject failure.  

Stacey's a Karen -- yes, there can be Karens of color.  They're women of color who steal roles that are not their roles to take, roles that belong to women of color.  So if, for example, Raza Unida was looking for a spokesperson in 1971 and a woman of color seized that role?  She may have been a woman of color but was she Chicano because that's was a Chicano political party?  Nope.  But she couldn't get a prominent role any other way so she stole the role from a deserving woman of color.  That's how she ended up a Karen.

Stacey was a failure.  She was born in the Brooklyn and she grew up there.  She was a Republican and,  until her 'strange' (you term as you'd like) 'relationship' with Bully Boy Bush, she was going nowhere.  Strange?  Kind of like MTG and Kevin McCarthy who touch and peer at each other on the House floor as though they're lovers and not colleagues.  That sort of relationship led Bush insiders to joke that Bully Boy was grooming Stacey as his "Condi-spare."  

For whatever reason, bowing and scraping didn't get her too far.  

So she ends up moving to the Virgin Islands where she remakes herself -- I don't just mean the cheap weave, I mean she switches to the Democratic Party and begins running for office. Running for office  requires her to switch to the Democratic Party because there is very little support for Republicans in the Virgin Islands.  If you win the Democratic Party primary, you pretty much win the general election.  (See her 2014 race, for an example).

So she got her fake weave, her fake political positions and she faked her way into office.

The Virgin Islands does not have real representation in Congress.

They have no voting rights.  So she is a fake member of Congress.  

She's also a fake member of Congress in that the office she holds is nothing but representational and, as such, should go to someone who grew up in the Virgin Islands.  

But Stacey couldn't win on the mainland of the US.  So she goes somewhere else to steal a seat.  She's a fake ass Karen.

The Democratic Party needs to curb her and keep her on a short leash because she's not acting like a Democrat.  That's why she seems like some strange object right now.  She's bringing the worst of the Republican Party with her and it's not a good look for Democrats.

Let's go into the worst for a second so that we're all clear.

The Republican-led House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday struck comments from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and ended her time to speak after she called Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas a liar.
[. . .]

But as Greene continued with her comments, she criticized Mayorkas for the spread of fentanyl in the United States  

“I want to know from you, how many more people do we have to watch die every single day in America? How many more young people do we have to see die? How many more teenagers?” the Georgia Republican asked.  

Mayorkas tried to respond to the lawmaker, saying, “let me assure you that we're not letting it go on,” before Greene said she was reclaiming her time in the committee and called Mayorkas “a liar.”  
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sought to have Greene’s words taken down, saying “We have a history of being a bipartisan committee that works on solutions. Now we can disagree, but we’ve gotten to the point of the language that we're using is not the kind of language that historically we as members of this committee have used.” 

Committee Chair Mark Green, R-Tenn., approved the move, saying “identifying or calling someone a liar is unacceptable in this committee.” The chair then noted that Greene was no longer recognized. 

No longer recognized?  She needs to be removed from the Committee.  Her applause for the leaker is disturbing.  Her applause for mishandling classified documents is appalling.

She should not be allowed to sit on the Homeland Security Committee.  

WDBJ notes that a closed door briefing on the leak was supposed to take place earlier this week but did not and they quote Senator Tim Kaine stating, "There's no way he should have been able to do this with the brazenness and without his chain of command being aware of it.  And so, there is a real dereliction of duty by the chain of command that allowed this to go on and I want to understand what consequences that are going to be there."

One consequence should be expelling MTG from the Committee for applauding a leaker -- not a whistle blower -- who took the documents online in order to impress his 'buddies.'  

MTG?  I just can't stand  the press coverage of her that tries to treat her as sane and rational.  Glenn Greenwald and Tara Reade love her so I guess they're admitting to loving racism.  

Her defense of the leaker?  She applauded him for his race, among other things.  I've noted here before being at hearings where that woman can't shut up about "White."  She'll supposedly be expressing concern for children, for example, but it will come out of her big mouth as "White children."  This happens over and over.  She's a racist and this needs to be noted.  In 2023, Georgia's 14th Congressional district has elected to be represented by a racist.  

If Georgia won't take their trash to the curb, Congress needs to.  She applauded the mishandling of classified information that makes her unfit to serve on a Homeland Security Committee.  For those who are too dumb or sheepish to join that call, Marjorie could be a poster girl for 2024.  "Today's Republican Party?  It's not your parents party.  Marjorie Taylor Green, dangerous to national security.  She Tweeted to praise a man who mishandled classified documents noting that he was 'white, male, christian and antiwar.'  Ron DeSantis, dangerous to business and to taxpayers.  He has left Floridians in debt as he has launched one lawsuit after another at DISNEY.  Lauren Boebert, dangerous to the rule of law.  If your son has a wreck and has drugs on him, he'd be in jail, not so for Boe-Boe. . . ."

Just go down the list.  Just show how out of touch they are.  That's your campaign commercial.  Especially in a bad economy.  "They treat a legislative session like encounter group therapy and that's why nothing gets done."

Or  "While Ron was flirting with his 2024 run for president and attacking DISNEY, Floridians were left having to beg the governor to do his job.  As NEWSWEEK reported:"


Ron DeSantis is being put under further pressure to resolve Florida's gas shortage issue as Twitter users rage at the governor.

Southern Florida has been affected by gas shortages after last week's extreme weather, most notably high levels of flooding, disrupted the regular distribution and delivery of fuel.

Heavy rain in eastern Broward County last week caused floods in Port Everglades roads, preventing truck drivers from making fuel deliveries.

Social media users have complained and shared clips of gas stations without any fuel and the long lines they would have to queue in to get any gas.

The ads write themselves but for them to be effective, those of you who consider yourself foot soldiers of the Democratic Party should be laying the groundwork now.   I don't consider myself a foot soldier.  People who are friends can pick up the phone and call and they'll offer an issue or something and ask me to game it out.  And I will and I'm good at it.  But writing like that here?  That's not the role here.  And I'm looking around wondering where are the Spencer Ackermans?  They obsess over elections long before the cycles start.  So why aren't they calling out Marjorie for her praise of someone who mishandled classified information?  You don't save that for two weeks before the election.  You build it and you talk about it and you chip away at her daily.  

Back to Stacey.  She really needs to be put in a corner and told to think about her actions.  She's not just lying about Matt, she's harming the face of the Democratic Party.

Supposedly, Joe Biden's about to declare he's running for relection.

If that's the case and he gets the nomination (Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are both declared in the race for that nomination), the party's not going to be able to handle fake ass Stacey and her anger issues.  Nor should we have to handle her, she's a bit player desperate for attention.  

But if we get stuck with Joe as the nominee?  The only card the party has to play is "We're responsible, look at those crazies."  

When you got crazy Stacey, it makes it harder to play, "Look at the other side."  

She is a non-voting member of Congress -- a woman who stole the seat from a person born in the Virgin Islands.  It does matter.  

Crazy Stacey needs to learn to shut up.  She's nothing and she's never going to be something.  Her tantrums in public get her press attention but it's not the sort of attention the Democratic Party needs going into a 2024 election -- especially if they end up saddled with Joe Biden as the nominee.

So that deals with Matt.  

Let's deal quickly with Glenneth on another issue.  Four people are accused of something by the government.

We've noted videos when others have defended them.  I'm not defending them.

That's not saying they're guilty, that's not saying they're not.

Why would I defend people I don't know?  I don't know the particulars other than they supposedly collaborated with a foreign government (Russia) -- on the face of it, the charge seems ludicrous and part of the re-starting of the Cold War.  As we hear what evidence is available, I'll be better able to make a determination of where I stand.  

But, as it stands, there are charges that have not been argued in court about four people I don't know.  I would assume they are innocent -- and that's the legal assumption in this country.  But that's about all I can say of the four of them.

Where to start?  "They're coming for you next!"

I don't play with scare tactics.  Yesterday, there was a woman who'd been hurt outside a building and after she had assistance and was fine, one of my friends said they always marvel over how calm I remain.  Enemies would say, "How cold you are."  I don't like drama.  The woman needed help, first aid and greater medical assistance.  When everyone was standing around her -- I didn't know these people, I was exiting the building -- building drama and nonsense, my loathing of drama kicked in and I began issuing orders because that's how you get a hysterical group to calm down and I began speaking with the woman that everyone wanted to help but no one was listening to.

That's because I don't respond to scare tactics.  That's why I called out THE NATION with their "torture election" nonsense.  They didn't know how the election was going to go but knew it could go one of two ways.  To scare up voters, they started pimping the lie that the election in question would determine the fate of the US and where it stood on torture.  No, for the American voters it was just another election.

So, if you're trying to get me to support the four, you're not going to win me over with, "They're coming for you next!"

No, crazy, they're not coming for me.  The US government didn't come for me with the MEK.  It's not coming for me with regards to Russia.  Because I'm not a devotee like Tara Reade.  I don't worship Russia.  I don't worship the MEK.  I've tried never to make this statement that I'm about to make but to make it really clear, I'm going to have to.

The MEK are, I'm sure, no different than you or me.  However, their leadership is creepy as can be.  I defended them with regards to the US' legal obligations to them.  They are Iranian dissidents who were in Iraq.  Under Saddam Hussein, they had his support.  When the US overthrew Saddam, they had no protection.  Some Iraqis felt the MEK was threatening and carried out or would carry out violence against Iraqis.  That did not happen.  The MEK felt they would be attacked by Iraqi militias and troops and that did happen.  

Prior to the attacks, the US government asked the MEK to disarm.  They would ensure the MEK was safe if they disarmed.

They did what was asked of them.

And then the US wanted to walk away.

No.  Under international law, they were required to provide protection.

I got attacked constantly for defending the MEK.  At one point, when I was visiting a friend at the Justice Dept (I regularly lobbied for a compassionate release for Lynne Stewart who was dying in prison), the friend said, "We need to talk."  He closed his office door and brought up the MEK.  To which I replied, "I'm not even offering, 'Look, you know me.'  Because that shouldn't matter.  I am offering that you know everything I've written online.  I rarely mention them in campus speeches but I'm sure you have notes on that.  And I know you have the only exchange that ever took place between the MEK and myself.  The leadership had e-mailed the public account to say that I should be emphasizing this and not that."  I replied back: Do not write me again.  I am not having contact with you.  I cover the issue from my perspective and I'm not coordinating any message with you.  They replied back in an angry manner."

They creeped me out.  I never said that then.  I would prefer not to say it now.  I got a lot of flack for defending them.  But every point I made was sound and backed up by the law.  

The fact that they (leadership) creeped me out has nothing to do with legal obligations. 

Two politicians with national profiles were investigated -- that is public.  I know both.  One I know and I like, the other I can't stand.  I didn't bring their names up when speaking with DOJ.  Because I didn't know what they were doing and wasn't part of their effort.  

What I did was done here.  Anything stated on campus was reflected in statements made here.

I never made the case that the MEK were saintly.  I made the case that the US government had a legal obligation.  And made that case to the US State Dept especially when a friend with the State Dept complained that they were doing all they could and the MEK was responding that, no, they wouldn't go there.  At which point, I said legally this is not a travel agency.  They need to arrange for a host country.  It can't be Iran because they're Iranian dissidents.  And it can't be a country cozy with Iran.  But other than that, if Sweden, for example, agrees to take 50 and this offer is made but the MEK says no, then the legal obligations are over.  Good faith efforts were made, a host country was found and the MEK just didn't like it.  Too bad.  They're now on their own.  

No one's ever accused me of writing fan fiction for governments in other countries.  I would not end up in the boat that is sinking for four Americans.

And I know that and, with regards to the MEK, the US Justice Dept understood that as well which is why I was not under investigation -- they had all I'd said and the one communication I'd had with the MEK -- so don't give me the nonsense of "This is how it starts!"  

Tara's crazy and Caitlin Johnstone is worse.  The one thing I've yet to call Tara is "coward."  Tara's not a coward.  Caitlin is.  I'm tired of you pathetic losers in other countries who won't call out your own country but continue to fixate on the United States. Caitlin, you live in Australia.  Police your own government.  It's far from perfect.  John Howard took your country to war -- the Iraq War -- and you had nothing to say about that.  You did make time to Tweet about Bully Boy Bush on the 20th anniversary.

How brave!!!!! I'm not impressed.  I call out Joe Biden here.  I called out Donald Trump.  I called out Barack Obama.  I called out Bully Boy Bush.   I'm not a scared bunny who can't call out her own government.  


Robert Pether has been held in an Iraqi prison for two years now.  He's an Australian citizen.  When exactly does Caitlin intend to call that imprisonment out?  When does she intend to hold her own government accountable?  After Robert's dead.

No, she'll probably still be a coward then.

Catilin Tweets,  "Look at the bizarre verbal gymnastics they're performing to justify outlawing political dissent."

Do they not speak English in Australia.

She's referring to these words in a WASHINGTON POST article: "conspiring to have US citizens act as illegal, unregistered agents of the Russian Government."

Again, is it English that's the problem.  She didn't highlight the full sentence.  Maybe grammar is her problem?

At any rate, I've looked at what's known publicly.

Not a lot is known publicly.

So you won't see my staking my reputation on four people I don't know when they are surrounded by unknowns.

I think a lot of people are stupid.

When I defended Tara, I didn't vouch for her character.  Within a few weeks of her going public, her character did not impress.  But even when it wasn't a known issue, I didn't vouch for her character.  I said she was credible (I still believe that and that she had more supportive documentation backing her up then in any other he-said/she-said).  

But I don't know her from Adam.

I'm not going to be an idiot.

Caitlin and Tara are idiots.  They're telling you that nothing happened.  They don't know that and they don't know the people involved.  I'm not an emotional person.  I'll cry for children and I'll cry for Iraq.  But I'm not someone who gets conned over and over.

Crazy people are the ones screaming, "They're innocent!"  

You don't know that.  I support them getting a strong defense, I support the press looking seriously into the charges.  I don't believe anything is true just because someone in the government or a government agency insists it is.

I'm not getting tripped up in this because I'm not pathetic. 

And I really do think a lot of people are pathetic because they have to butt in to topics they know nothing about and insist that this is true or that is true or I peered into his soul and saw . . .

I don't have time for the nutty talk, sorry.   "This is how it starts!  They're innocent!"  I don't indulge in nutty talk.

If I know you, I'll defend you or say I think you're guilty.   When I don't know you, I'm not playing a fool and stepping forward just because others are.

I went to the matt for Lynne Stewart because I knew Lynne.  I lobbied everyone who would listen in the Justice Dept, I begged the White House, and I'd do it again.  

But the reason that I can make a case like that, the reason people will sometimes listen, is because I'm not the drama queen.  I'm not running barking after every ambulance.  

The people -- I don't believe Glenn did this -- who were lying that Matt won in the exchange on MSNBC?  They just made it harder to defend Matt next time because he didn't win.  Your own eyes told you that.  And all you revealed was that you'll say anything so why should anyone believe you? 

While we're talking about Congress, and as we wind down, something needs to be clarified because there's a lot of confusion out there.

Dianne Feinstein does not own a Senate seat.  She occupies a Senate seat.

That seat is reserved for someone who represents California.  Dianne has overstayed her welcome by many years.  She no longer is present in DC.  That's her job.  I don't care that she's a she, I don't care that she's a Democrat.  I do care that she can't do her job.

As a California voter, I'm not paying for her to sit on her ass at home and derail the work of the Senate -- especially not the Senate Judiciary Committee.  If a Democrat does not win the White House in November 2024, it's very likely that we will see more court packing like we did from January 2017 to January 2021.  Judges need to be appointed now because there is a backlog of cases.  The Republicans are happy to let Dianne run out the clock on Joe's judicial nominees.  I'm not.  

This is bigger than her sorry ass.  She needs to do what's good for the collective and step aside.  

In two months, she'll be 90 years old.  She needs to step down.  She is owed nothing.  This is an elected position that has certain job requirements.  She is not fulfilling those job requirements, she needs to go.  I don't fire people very often but when I do it's because they are not meeting the job requirements.  Call me cold blooded but I never feel bad for firing someone who is not doing the job they were hired to do.  That's now the case with Dianne.

The following sites updated:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }