Thursday, April 27, 2017

Nothing Like a Fox Mushroom Farm Vacation

Suddenly going "on vacation" from Fox Mushroom Farm is a phrase that has taken an ominous turn since the Bill O'Reilly parting of ways, but I don't know. Could things have gotten so touchy at the network that Jesse Watters could be "let go" over a crude comment? Crude long seems to have been part of the shtick--he does shocking stuff and people watch and some get offended and some don't. Fox News didn't have such an issue with the entertainment value of sheer assholery before. (Perhaps the problem is who he made the comment about?)  This particular "vacation" is probably more of a "time-out".

So much for Watters--but it does seem like there is an awful lot going on with FNC Titanic that moving deck chairs alone won't fix. Take the racial discrimination suit--when you stop and think of things that have been said on air, it's not that difficult to believe that people acted in just the way their words indicate that they would, in just the way that on-air sexism makes claims of sexual harassment quite believable.

There's more to it though--there are two federal investigations into the news outlet going on. This in part might have to do with how the company tried to put the kibosh on earlier complaints with, well, "hush money".  But I can't say that seems like all there is to it. Roger Ailes may have left last July, but from what I've read about him, it seems like he treated news as ammunition in a ideological war, and held to the "all is fair in war" doctrine. Who knows what the company was up to?

Certainly, other top management figures at Fox News have reason to be nervous, as well as on-air talent. A "vacation" could well await.

Trumpworld Grab-Bag: The Lost Art of Vetting

This is almost going to be too brief to be an honest to goodness "Trumpworld Grab-Bag" post, because it's really just about three guys: Michael Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, and Carter Page. I have issues with the Trump Administration's basic lack of sense on most issues, but the one that literally blows my mind the most is the national security thing. Trump says things that imply he'll be very strong on national security, and then...

He has people brought into his circle that just aren't the best, that are getting paid by other countries, and that seem like the kind of worldliness-challenged folks that act like a semi-permeable membrane for flow of information between Team Trump and who-knows-who.

Take Michael Flynn's known paid assistance to Turkey while not just being a Trump campaign policy advisor, but also receiving intelligence reports alongside of Trump. It turns out that that Turkey connection goes a bit deeper--and intersects with Russia. Now, you could always question Flynn's judgment regarding his RT involvement, but this goes a little farther. He knowingly was accepting money from foreign interests--full stop. One might want to imagine that a US military man with his distinguished record is capable of discerning and respecting that there are activities that don't befit the role of acting fully in the interest of his own country. US. Rep. Chaffetz' s assessment is stark: there is no evidence that he complied with the law. That means, he very likely broke the law. (Lock him up?)

But Trump chose this person and trusted him. Maybe because he saw him on tv. Trump seems to trust a lot of what he sees on tv.

See also: Sebastian Gorka. I feel like some aspect of calling him a "Nazi" or "Nazi-sympathizer" may be overstated and overlooks the more apparent problem with his participation in reviewing and effecting foreign policy for the US--his credentials look hyped. Haaretz has been doing real investigative vetting of Gorka's credentials. As Buzzfeed shows, Hungary didn't have a use for someone of his "skillset". That sounds...problematic.

Which brings us to still-talking Carter Page--who looked like the kind of doofus that the Rusians might use to try to cruise on inside the Trump campaign. Again--warning flags--but not enough to keep him off the campaign.

So--the best people? Or the most questionable? Seems like the latter, and that's a real problem--not fake news.

Monday, April 24, 2017

This Trump Transcript is SO MUCH

I just want to preface this by saying that when the Trump Campaign, and especially ghouls like Rudolph Giuliani, made the insinuation that there was something very wrong with Hillary Clinton (Parkinson's? A stroke? None of which are amusing to me, having known people who have suffered those conditions and maintained great functionality--but also, it's not amusing to idly remote-diagnose people to slander them with speculative bullshit) I found this exceptionally grotesque.  Without any kind of proof positive, off-gassing some vileness about a person's health or possible disability seems both like wishful thinking--in wanting a political adversary to be in a failing condition, and like saying that a person with some level of impairment in one area can't have compensatory skills or experiences that help them to achieve despite of the barriers they have to overcome.  So I am going to very specifically try to avoid ableist or medical terms with respects to what I'm observing with respects to Trump's overall demeanor--it is enough to find that he is incurious, deceitful, and inarticulate with the assumption that he has always been to some degree so, without trying to find some organic reason why he seems so.

Leaving all that aside, the AP transcript of Trump's interview with Julie Pace is utterly fascinating. We have every reason to believe that he is ratings-obsessed and still a bit in denial over his popular vote loss, but his idea that winning the electoral vote meant he would suddenly be loved is a bit...sad. He wonders where the ersatz "100 day" metric comes from, not realizing it was from his very own boast. He repeats a lie about the F-35 program. He does, but doesn't, but does, express support for Marine Le Pen, who is horrible.  He tries to say he had hardly any knowledge of WikiLeaks when he praised them, when he knew what they were in 2010.

And so on, and so on. And although "unintelligible" usually means that whatever recording device the reporter used to keep the interview fresh failed to pick up something, it just seems a bit weird to see it printed out so many times in this interview when Trump is not a "soft-talker" for the most part. And yet, he sometimes does seem like a person who is half-assing it. Even his sobriquet for "Face the Nation": "Deface the Nation", sounds borrowed from White House guest Sarah Palin.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Marching for Science!

I will say this for the Trump Administration--lots of people are getting their exercise on--their marching feet, their exercise of free speech, their exercise of free thought. This was shown in abundance today all over with brilliant signs and support for empirical data and stuff.  Now, I don't know to what extent this will impress a group of folks in the White House who just don't seem to get it, but I think the whole thing was a great demonstration, if not for the silly people who don't realize that ones' politics doesn't affect the facts, then for people who get why science matters, and genuinely want to discuss policies that don't ignore "inconvenient truths".

(Word has it, the marches eclipsed You-Know-Who's inauguration. Period.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Two Hints for US AG Sessions

1) Judicial review.

2) Hawaiian statehood.

These may be on later exams.

Bill O'Reilly's Vacation has Become Permanent

The first sign that Bill O'Reilly wasn't going to weather the sexual harassment allegations this time was the vacation--that sort of seemed like Fox Mushroom Farm Inc. wanted his face off television right away. That had to happen because O'Reilly has a touch of the (in) righteous indignation about him and would have made things worse, if anything. That's my personal guess--I only have a superficial insight that if you wanted to do damage control, whisking the focal point of the shit-storm away from the hot light of the cameras is the way to go. But post-Roger Ailes' nasty sexual harassment scandal, this problem of sexual harassment and cultural misogyny stops being about personalities doing wrong things, and starts looking like a very unhealthy corporate atmosphere.

And, of course, their biggest money-maker was leaking sponsors like a sieve. Away he goes! But this is after losing so many other very familiar faces--Andrea Tantaros? Gretchen Carlson? Greta Van Susteren? Megyn Kelly? So maybe it's a good change that they are now losing a familiar face who has actually consistently proved he deserved to get booted (instead of women who just were trying to do their jobs in a crappy sexist propaganda mill).

After all, this is hardly the first time that we are hearing that Bill O'really is a creep. We've been hearing this for a very long time--Rolling Stone has a detailed timeline of grossness. He's not just reportedly sexist, inappropriate, and abusive, though. He's also super racially-insensitive and kind of a huge liar. This is why, when he alleges that he is the victim of leftist "character assassination", it rings sort of hollow. He's being smeared by people reporting what his co-workers and former co-workers has admitted he does, and what the previous monetary settlements seem to imply? It's like when politicians claim they are being smeared when they have been quoted verbatim--if you don't like the effect, quit hitting yourself!

But as for the future of Fox News, I can't say they are necessarily doing a big turn-around by filling his slot with Tucker Carlson. And the culture of the company, it stands to reason, is still the delightful oink-fest that made up pretend fan-sites to promote their female talent for their other-than-professional attributes. Just because O'Reilly is gone, doesn't mean the problem of what the company has promoted on their news channel and lived and worked by behind the scenes is cleared up. They have problems beyond O'Reilly and Ailes. And I feel like we'll be hearing about more things sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alex Jones' Highly-Modified Limited Hangout

Somewhat popular CT radio host and "truth"-seeker Alex Jones has, despite his ample help in raising the profile of current White House Occupier-in-Chief supposed Russian-connected "billionaire" Donald Trump (who owes an awful lot to fake news"), found himself in a bit of a bind--continue on his mission, as he sees fit, to spin reality into neatly-exaggerated piles of biased pablum for the faithful to suck up and chuck up on Twitter and other social media fora, or hold his family together keep custody of his kids with a plausible "untruth"--he isn't a true believer, but a mere "entertainer".

I know. You could say "But Pizza Gate?" or "But Sandy Hook?" But huh! This is such an old ploy--did you know back in the day, one Rush Limbaugh had to sometimes be an entertainer, when his shenanigans grew too fretful? But he and his bullshit perseveres. Even though he pretends that the idea of his being an entertainer only came from The Left--and not because the right was disavowing his worst palaver!

So, I would presume, things would be mega-ditto with Jones. He can cheerily deny that he intended harm or even believes half of what his show consists of--all the while still spewing like a bullshit volcano. As a character, of course. A semi-respectable lying bottom-feeding character.