More Trump’s attacks on the FBI

I’m calling them Trump lies.   As President, he can call up the Justice Department, and ask the Attorney General if this allegation is true.   Instead he prefers Fox News.

The New York Times calls this a “distortions of the truth.”    Here is Trump’s tweet on Friday:

“Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” he tweeted Friday. “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true — all time biggest political scandal!”

The big problem are “reports” and  “implanted”     Of course, Trump is saying, “I’m not making this up”  however these are not Justice Department nor FBI reports.  It is just something he heard,  on Fox News.   A commentator is not a news reporter, particularly true on Fox News.  Welcome to the echo chamber, from Hannity’s mouth, to  a flurry of tweets from Trump and then back to Fox News.  Ping pong garbage.

A marketing principle: “You can not turn a lie into the truth by telling it a thousand times.  But the lie will seem credible enough to the public, after they hear it a thousand times to be believed as the truth.”    A second rule is “Never concede you are wrong.”

The New York Times and the Washington Post has been very cautious in their reporting.   This is how the Washington Post presented the story:

In mid-July 2016, a retired American professor approached an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign at a symposium about the White House race held at a British university.

The professor took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Carter Page, whom Trump had named a few months earlier as a foreign policy adviser.

But the professor was more than an academic interested in American politics — he was a longtime U.S. intelligence source. And, at some point in 2016, he began working as a secret informant for the FBI as it investigated Russia’s interference in the campaign, according to people familiar with his activities.

There is no evidence that there was a paid FBI spy within the Trump campaign.   This is a lie, and very regrettable that President Trump finds it necessary to attack the FBI in this manner.  When Russia agents are making contacts either abroad or  in the US, with the objective of interfering with the US elections, then this is likely a crime.  The duty of the FBI is to find out who the Russian agents are working for, and their US counterparts.  If this requires striking up a conversation with campaign advisers, this is just good law investigation  tactics.

However, as pointed out on CNN, this reporting was based on leaked information to the New York Times and Washington Post.  They know who this individual is but have refused to disclose it.  I hope it stays this way, at least until Mueller’s investigation is finished.  As reported today in the New York Times,  Trump’s congressional allies are demanding full disclosure of the informant, in an attempt to “investigate the investigation” and disrupt or discredit the investigation.   And as collateral damage, weaken the public’s general confidence in the FBI.

According to the New York Times:

“Law enforcement officials have refused (hand over documents on the informant),   saying it would imperil both the source’s anonymity and safety. “

It would also open the door to more  unprecedented congressional inquiries, and interference of the judicial process  in the name of “oversight.”  The only basis for wrongdoing is Trump’s tweets based on Fox News – that’s how screwy things have become.

Robert Mueller is conducting a serious criminal investigation with the help of the FBI.  He runs a tight ship, with the only information surfacing in the media is from Trump’s personal lawyers or through court filings.

The FBI investigation had its first big break in May 2016 when George Papadopoulos, who  like Carter Page, was a foreign policy adviser,  talked to Australia’s ambassador in London, about obtaining political dirt on Hillary Clinton including Clinton’s hacked emails, to help influence our elections in favor of Trump.    Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

The adage “the best defense is an offense” seems to be Trump’s strategy.    Trump and Mike Hannity (Fox News)  are trying their best to create an alternative reality, where conspiracy theories and deep state nonsense can thrive.   This is shameful.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Standing up for Trump

After criticizing Trump on a wide range of issues,  the New York Times came to Trump’s defense.      The incident began with the posting of  a video clip supposedly showing a 3 year old child in a wheelchair at the White House which alleged to show the child attempt to shake Trump’s hand, and Trump snubbed him.   It was all nonsense as  3 year olds move their hands around alot –   that’s what babies do!

This clip was pick up by a website called the washingtonjournal.com,  a highly biased website against Trump.  It had nothing to do with the CSPAN, Washington Journal broadcast.

It went viral quickly.  The well known author of Harry Potter books,  J.K. Rowlings tweeted how horrible Trump’s actions were, but later realized that she had been fooled.   Factcheck.org wrote,

Even ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling, who criticized Trump on Twitter for the alleged snub, was misled by the video clip. Rowling later deleted her tweets and apologized to the family.

The NY Times ran a photo showing the president bending over, and in fact, shaking the hand of the child.   They also stated that J.K. Rowling apologized to the family for her error, but did not apologize to President Trump.

You can see New York Times professionalism in the article.

Link:  J.K. Rowlings apologizes for Anti-Trump Tweets (but not to Trump)

I always like the quote attributed to Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

While this would make a nice end to this blog, my curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know what  Twain really said.   Turns out,  the origins of  this  great quote may have come from Jonathan Swift in 1710, some 200 years before Twain’s death.

Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it

(See link at the end)

It is very interesting that printing presses were praised as spreading knowledge and creating a greater sense of an informed public essential for democracy and at the same time, spreading rumors and false stories.

Today,   the culprits for originating and disseminating falsehoods (I like this word) are websites, political radio stations, and news commentary television shows.  If you check out the “Pants on Fire” lies on Politifact, you will find they come mostly from bloggers, although some are attributed to comments made by Trump at events.

I admit to being a news snob.  What is nice about the mainstream print media is it can’t undone or updated, and it will be seen by experts on the particular topic.  So, journalists have to tread carefully on “breaking news.”  The New York Times and the Washington Post are not particularly good places for political hacks.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Pants on Fire

Quote investigator

Politifact.com

 

 

 

 

The New York Times and their sick agenda

In Trump’s world, the new axis of evil, are the Washington Post and the New York Times.   I considered Trump’s tweet on Qatar as a supporter of terrorism  the worse of all tweets.  He has outdone himself again.   On July 22, 2017, Donald Trump tweeted:

The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security

Trump was reacting to a report on a Fox News program about 25 minutes ago.  They mentioned the New York Times.

Al-Baghdadi is the single most wanted terrorist, as the leader of ISIL.  Nobody is sure if he is alive or dead.   The Russians stated that he may possibly have been killed during the May 16, 2015 raid.  The Defense Department says they have no evidence to show he has been killed  or is  now still alive.  General Mattis has stated they assume he is alive until they have proof he is not.

Trump’s tweet  is a very serious accusation.  If it were true, it makes the NYT complicit in terrorist activities.   Fortunately,  it  is 100% untrue-   there is not a grain of truth to this tweet.  But there was a grain of false information which Fox News spun  into a totally false “news report.”

Fox News-  All the news, all the time, and a pile of stuff made up, to boot.   Breaking news on terrorism,  leaks and the New York Times.  Oh my, what could be better!

Here’s the timetable:

May 16, 2015: US Delta commando  forces raid on the home of Abu Sayyaf in Syria,  chief financial officer for ISIL, killing Abu and capturing his wife, Umm.  She was questioned outside of the country.  The raid provides a treasure trove of information on ISIL and its operation, through seized laptops, cell phones and other materials.

May 17, 2015:  Pentagon discloses details of the raid to the public, and is extensively covered by the Western media, including the New York Times.   The Pentagon reveals they captured Umm and she is being interrogated outside of Syria.

 June 7, 2015:  (3 weeks after the raid) New York Times publishes more extensive details on the raid and the information.

July 21, 2017:  More than 2 years after the raid,  General Tony Thomas, at the Aspen Security Conference was asked if we had ever come close to killing Al-Baghdadi.  He responded yes, there were instances in which we were closing in on Al-Baghdadi.  He goes on to state that the capture and questioning of Umm Sayyaf  yielded very useful information.   He then states that after the information was leaked by a national news organization,  Al-Baghdadi likely took new precautions. He did not identify the New York Times.

July 22, 2017:  Fox News broadcasts a news story of how Al-Baghdadi might have been captured, if the NYT had not leaked information.

_____

The New York Times responded to Fox News, asking for an apology.  They stated, “No senior American official complained publicly about the story until now, more than two years later.”   They also do not dismiss General Thomas statements that  Al-Baghdadi became more cautious after the raid.   The problem is the disclosures came either from Secretary of Defense or the military spokespersons, not leaks.   What was inaccurately stated at a conference during a Q+A session would likely not get much publicity, if  Fox News had spent any time trying to find any collaboration of their story.  They have received the standard “no comment” from the Department of Defense.  No one in the Trump administration, except Trump, has charged the New York Times with disclosing  sensitive military information.

With Trump’s tweet,  this accusation  became worldwide news.  His hostility towards media reporting from CNN,  the Washington Post and the New York Times is very sad.   These institutions  will survive much longer than he will, as people want to hear the story  from reporters on the ground, not Trump’s tweet.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

News Snob

This blog is in defense of people, news snobs, who still read newspapers and subscribe to Newsweek or Time magazine.   I can not think of my cell phone as a news information source.  I have a hard time with anyone else who thinks this way.   Besides the print media, there is television news reporting and  current topic shows and internet sources.

There’s a program called, Morning Joe.  It has guests to comment on various current  topics.  I have included a Wikipedia links, on the show and on the host Mika Brzenzinski.   Her father,  Zbigniew Brzezinski, was admired as a worldwide expert in foreign affairs (see information at end), with outstanding accomplishments including  nuclear arms reduction in Russia and the US recognition of China.

Donald Trump made an extremely crude remark through Twitter on one of the show’s hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzinski.   I don’t tweet or receive tweets.  People are saying tweets  reveal character.  In Trump’s case, it is more of a confirmation.    The Morning Joe show has certainly had its share of controversies,  But the list of both liberal and conservative guests is very impressive.   Trump’s comments have piqued my interest and I’ll probably start watching the show.

I believe the slew of 24/7 “news” network, has resulted in a number of shows with an particular political agenda.  Probably the worst is Fox News.  Their reporting of the news is usually well done.  But,  I generally don’t listen to the conservative commentary from “news shows.”   I don’t know what is gained from listening to five people on a couch all agreeing with one another.

Perhaps what turns me off the most, is when the show’s host cut off the responses of their guests, use sarcasm and “righteous indignation” to make their point.  Worst offender of this is Lou Dobbs of Fox News.  He poses long leading questions, which are not answered in the manner he likes, are quickly cut off, with the comment, “Well we are just about out of time.”

I like BBC, and some of the shows on CNN.  Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program is far too short, but I think the focus is generally good.  I always go for content over commentary.   The recent firing of Greta Van Susteren at MSNBC for falling ratings is troubling.  I always admired her ability to ask questions of her  hosts in a concise and impartial manner.    She had a great interview with Scott Pruit, administrator of the EPA.   I know declining ratings means declining revenue.  Shows like hers are needed at times of crisis as viewers want to hear intelligent and impartial interviews from people at the top.

Then there’s the highly biased radio programs, and internet sites.   Because it is so easy, they can generate a ton of sensationalism.  Usually, there is a product for sale, or contributions solicited.

One which came to light at a White House briefing was “Project Veritas”  with a great name, but also 100% biased cut-and-paste videos.  Veritas is the goddess of truth, who  hid at the bottom of a well because she was so elusive.  I don’t think she would appreciate Mr. O’Keefe’s videos –  I think an appropriate title would be “Project Dolos.”   I would call Dolos the god of marketing and social engineering.  Dolos has found his Garden of Eden on the internet.

I really worry that the future generations of Americans are not going to be able to discern the difference between real news and the YouTube variety of cut and paste sensationalism.

Finally, my opinion of the print media.

Warren Buffet, the richest man in the US, reads six newspapers a day.    I suspect he’s always has an ear to hear from experts in select areas and use his own head for information processing.   The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, always put accurate content first, despite everything Trump has said.  There’s a digital version of the Financial Times, which I might subscribe to in the future.   Some of the greatest news reporters work for these newspapers.    Time and Newsweek are excellent.

However, print media in the content first style of the Financial Times or the New York Times  is a tough business.  I am very glad that Jeff Bezos, of Amazon bought the Washington Post, which will ensure its ability to provide honest investigative reporting for decades to come.  It is what the subscribers paid for and he won’t change this.    The commentaries might not suit Donald Trump or any other president, Republican or Democrat.   But, they will come from the best experts in their field.

I am not against the internet.  I have written before that the internet is an incredible resource- if you go to the right places   It’s all free.  Wikipedia and  Scotusblog are two of my favorites.   I use the fact checking sites generally after a major speech.  Politifact.com and factcheck.org are my favorites.

I confess to being a news snob.   My filters are up as it is all content over commentary.  And the New York Times has the Qatar crisis on the front page.  It’s about time!

Stay tuned,

Dave

Her father,  Zbigniew Brzezinski, was admired as a worldwide expert in foreign affairs, serving as National Security Advisor under  President Carter, and then later asked to stay on in the role when Ronald Reagan became President.  He declined.

Wikipedia:  Zbigniew Brzezinski

Wikipedia:  Mika Brzezinski

Wikipedia:  Morning Joe

Wikipedia:  Jim O’Keefe  (founder of Project Veritas)

A reference is made to the  god Dolos (representing trickery and deceit) and goddess Veritas (representing truth) comes from Greek Mythology.   In one of Aesop’s fables,  two statues are created, one of Veritas, and another an imitation.  When life is given to the two statues, only Veritas can walk with measured steps.  The imitation had no feet.  Thus, in the long run, truth overcomes falsehoods or deceit.  Please click on the link below, to fully enjoy how Aesop told his fable, in the 6th year, BC:

Link on Aesop’s fables