A lot of real news is happening, Mr. President

“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

This is the talk you might hear from some radical or religious cult.   Turn off the TV, don’t read the paper.  These are your enemies.  You have to be very paranoid to think everyone is lying to you.  But this is exactly what  Trump said at a speech in Kansas City to the VFW annual convention on Tuesday.

My advice is to do just the opposite:  Read, see and think.  Compare opinions, ask questions and do your homework.  Don’t stick with anyone.  A lot is happening.  Trump might not like it, but it is happening.   I don’t know exactly which news story he was referring to:   Scott Pruitt horrible record at the EPA or  Ryan Zinke at the Interior,  and their cozying up lobbyists  instead of protecting the environment, the NATO and Helsinki summit messes or the progress in the Mueller investigation.   Take your pick!

Reading means going beyond CNN.  If fact, I like the BBC for more broad coverage.  And news magazines like Time or Newsweek.  You might find our that Trump is furious about comments made by three former intelligence leaders,  John Brennan (CIA),  Michael Hayden (National Security Agency) and James Clapper (National Intelligence Agency).   Each of these three leaders, with long backgrounds in government service, has written a book, the latest one by James Clapper (Facts and Fears).

You might find out about how the White House barred a CNN journalist from the White House Press press briefing,  and the strong criticism from the head of Fox News, Jay Wallace, for this action.   This is very important, as a whole series of commentator deride the “liberal media,”  at the very top, they understand the importance of media access.    As discussed in the link below, something similar happened in the Obama administration with a Treasury Department press conference, and CNN refused to cover it unless Fox News reporter was allowed to attend.

I would plead with people to detach themselves from a rigid group mentality, so they can absorb ideas and political philosophies from both Republicans and Democrats.   Each party claims to be fiscally responsible, but the track record (really up today) shows that our deficits rise, no matter if it is a Republican or Democrat.

I am not a loyalist to any party or platform.   I spent 5 years working at a research center, which taught me the best researchers are great at asking questions, and thoroughly reading everything available on a topic.  Critical thinking is hard work.  You have to compare multiple sources of information and opinions.

I think the greatest people on this planet, are parents who congratulate their children whenever  they ask questions.   When a child extends questioning to both parents, and teachers, I think it’s time for parents to start a college fund.

I hope Americans read newspapers.  I try to read 3 newspapers, one printed and two on the internet.  I can’t compete with the oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, who reads five newspapers every day, beginning with the Omaha World Herald, which his company acquired in 2011.   I got that tidbit of information from Wikipedia, which seems to be doing a terrific job of providing unbiased and well documented information.

My New York Times just arrived.  Headline news:  “Raging fire turns Yosemite into a ghost town.”  Not fake news.  Front page picture on the Times, is Half Dome at Yosemite, barely visible with all the smoke. .    Also, “US and Europe ease trade feud”, outlining a deal (positive to Trump and EU leaders).   Also, news commentary,  “Cash flowing into Treasury starts to ebb,”  and concern about rising deficits (negative for Trump).   Just finished front page item,  “Promising Alzheimer Drug attacks brain changes and symptoms.” Hope it works.

Real news means going to the source.  In Chicago,  reporter Pam Belluck was there at the Alzheimer’s Association International  Conference to listen and explain in non-technical terms how the new Alzheimer’s drug works,  or really how it is intended to work.  Is Biogen going to soar this morning?  An Associated Press photographer,  Noah Berger, shot the photo of the haze over the 38,000 acre fire obscuring the view of Half Dome

Going past the front page, on to international section.   There is a heat wave in Japan, with peak temperatures going to 106 deg F, and 23,000 people have been hospitalized.  Yes, I’m thinking global warming, and how the acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler should be sent their immediately.  Shucks, there is no mention of global warming,  just the grim facts of how miserable conditions are.   Half the 23,000 people are over 65 years old (my group).

It was awful day in Paksong,  Laos, as flooding and the bursting of a dam caused thousands to flee.  This time, climate change was mentioned, by a group called  International Rivers, which has opposed hydroelectric dams due to the unpredictability of extreme weather events.

Trump would rather people be apathetic and focus on golf and just believe how good he’s doing.  No chance with me.  Sorry, but it’s his pep rallies which are loaded with crap.

Listen, read, and think for yourselves.  Please!

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

The White House Banned a CNN Reporter and Even Fox News Is Crying Foul

Wikipedia: Michael Hayden

Wikipedia: James Clapper

Wikipedia: John Brennan

 

 

 

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

What comes next?

Trump’s Feb 3 tweet is a piece of science fiction:

“This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”

The Nunes memo really says nothing about the Russian investigation headed by Robert Mueller.  The Republican party has continued to insist that Carter Page was a minor volunteer in the campaign, something like the guy in the back of the room and totally unimportant. But the wiretap FISA warrant was generating results, or it would not have been renewed 3 times.  Each renewal was presented in front of a different FISA judge.  Different FBI and DOJ officials signed off on these applications.   Trump knows this.  The House Intelligence Committee knows this.  And this is likely what is in the Democrat’s response.  And the Democrat response likely concludes that nothing improper was done.  In contrast to Trump’s tweet, the real parties that should be vindicated are the leaders of the FBI and DOJ.

The contents of the Trump dossier were never revealed by the media during the campaign.  The bottom line is the media showed great restraint by not publishing this story.  It was given to the media a couple months before the election and there was no way to collaborate the statements made in the dossier.  So, the “liberal media” should also be vindicated.

But the great disrupter  Trump has his dirt.   The fact that Nunes memo is based on inaccurate, misleading and omitted  information doesn’t bother him one iota.  Everything about his career, says honesty isn’t part of the winning hand.   It’s poker and bluffing your way through is just as good when things get hot.  Honest and gently – No.  Dishonest and loud wins.

Next steps.  He doesn’t care about  Democrat’s rebuttal so he wants Nunes  to bury that memo.  He would like Rosenstein to resign, but that won’t work because he has Session’s support.  So,  Trump sits there with this dirt, that has been publicly discredited  by just about everyone who has experience with FISA warrants, and the FBI, and thinks maybe I can get away with firing Rosenstein and ending the Mueller investigation.

He would like to see more of the “dump Rosenstein” ads on TV.  The Tea Party Patriots has a limited budgets to the Washington, DC area.   Fox News is doing their part in attacking the Mueller investigation.

This ultimately comes down to how apathetic and poorly informed are the American people.  Nunes memo  is a dangerous pretext, but more over, it is a dangerous president with a pretext to politicize the FBI and DOJ.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Evidence of the Secret Society – alive and well on Varney and Company

I don’t normally get this emotional.   But what I just heard on Varney and C0mpany is nonsense.   But it is Trump’s nonsense.   Granted, I don’t listen to Fox News on a regular basis.  It does seem to be going all out for Trump’s twisted narrative about an FBI and Justice Department  without integrity or scruples.

Stuart Varney has reported on financial and stock market news for CNN.  He graduated from the London School of Economics.  He became a US Citizen in 2015.

He said by releasing the Nune’s memo, we will know whether there were a group of anti-Trump conspirators within the FBI and Department of Justice.  This is a sham and it is sad to see Fox News sinking this low.  There is no loyalty test for the FBI or the Attorney General.  Their loyalty is to enforcement of the law.

The reason both the FBI and the Attorney General have advised against release of this memo, is because (a) it makes false statements,  (b) it is put together by a partisan group whose only interest is in protecting Trump and his close associates, who might face criminal charges, and (c) the ongoing Russian investigation makes it impossible for the Democrats,  the FBI and the Department of Justice to respond.

Secrecy in law enforcement and criminal investigation is essential.   Further, whether the FISA warrants might have included some erroneous information, is an issue the President can task the Department of Justice to investigate in private.   To release this memo is to play politics and discredit the FBI, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.   It play right into the hands of conspiracy radicals.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Trump’s Fake News Awards

Stephen Colbert refers to them as the Fakies.  He was hoping his comedy show would win one of these awards.

Fact checkers have been working overtime, as the White House produces one false statement after another.   It is wonderful to have politifact.com,  factcheck.org and other fact checking websites, drill down on the many statements made by politicians.  Trump now has a historical low rating of 4% true and 12% mostly true statements, so 84% of his statements are Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire according to Politifact.

The media is not 100% accurate.  Mistakes are made.  What really differentiates a mistake from a lie, is whether the news organization corrects itself, in a timely and public manner.    The awards were given out for 9 mistakes which were quickly corrected.  Even Paul Kruger’s  opinion on the future of the economy was rescinded a couple of days later when he changed his mind.  No facts were in dispute, so it is hardly reason for a fake news award.

The White House does push back, as it should, when incorrect information is released.  For example, the tweet from Times reporter Zeke Miller stated  that a bust of Martin Luther King was no longer in the Oval Office, was corrected within an hour.  A picture of the statue was tweeted the same day by the White House.  Another pretty silly mistake was made by Dave Weigel who posted a picture of a Pensacola rally, showing the room to be only partially filled, however the picture was taken before the rally began.  Weigel works for the Washington Post, but this tweet came from his personal account, and was never published in the Washington Post.  But, it qualified for a fakie award – go figure!

Then there is the silly  fish food dumping incident.  CNN broadcast a clip showing Trump shamelessly dumping an entire box of food for the ritual feeding of Koi fish during his visit in Japan.  It was Politifact, which caught the error, after examining the entire video, which shows Trump was only following the lead of the Japanese Prime Minister.   The video clip went viral, but so did a host of retractions very soon afterwards with a clip of the Prime Minister also doing the same thing –  dumping the entire small box.   This clearly demonstrated that Politifact will back the president when the reporting is unfair as occurred in this case.  Koigate and the subsequent retraction all occurred on Nov 6, 2017 with the initial mistake occurring two minutes after midnight from a tweet by a CNN reporter, Veronica Rocha.  Glad to see she survived Koigate and is still tweeting (up to 9600 tweets!) for CNN.

I particularly enjoy Gizmodo’s comment, “In the wide world of media mistakes, Koigate is probably somewhere between a spelling error and posting the wrong hyperlink. But you can be sure that we’ll be talking about Koigate for some time as an example of what’s wrong with the media.” It does qualify as a mistake because they quickly admitted the error.     If Koigate can qualify as one of the top ten mistakes made by CNN in 2017, then you really have to give CNN credit for some pretty accurate reporting.

What the awards actually show, is the mainstream media is very concern about accuracy, and has no problem admitting their occasional mistakes.  In fact, when CNN really screwed up by incorrectly stating Antony  Scaramucci,  had  links to a Russian investment fund supposedly being investigated by the United States Senate.  CNN quickly issued a retraction and forced the resignation of three reporters. CNN  suspended Brian Ross for four weeks, without pay, after the Scaramucci mistake.

CNN also reported that according to their sources,  Comey’s testimony would contradict Trump’s on the critical issue of whether he was under investigation.   He did not contradict Trump’s statements on this issue, and CNN reported their original expectation was wrong.   Their sources were wrong on what Comey was going to say.  So what? Stock analysts make hundreds of wrong predictions every day.

The last Fake Award (#11) is really just a Trump’s attack on the Russian investigation in general.  It reads as follows:

And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

The GOP.com website, adds this tweet by Donald Trump:

Well, now that collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the Fake News Media (Mainstream) and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad!

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed by the Trump administration, continues his investigation, as do congressional committees led by Republicans.

The fakies awards missed  their target 11 to 0.   In fact,  if that is the best the White House has,  CNN and the others should feel pretty good.  (“hit me with your best shot, fire away”, Pat Benetar, still a classic).  On petty, silly and absolutely non consequential mistakes, I still find Koigate as # 1,  followed quickly by the Martin Luther King bust as # 2, and the Polish first lady non-handshake mistake  (see link from GOP.com) as # 3 and the Pensacola half empty stadium as #4.   See links.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Politifact: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s ‘results’ from his fake news awards

Washington Post Fact-checking President Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’

GOP.com The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards

Donald Trump and the fish food dump: How early reports got it wrong

Steve Colbert: Fake News Awards (Youtube)

Lawsuits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS

There is going to be a lot of media coverage on Trump dossier / Buzzfeed / Fusion GPS / Congressional Investigation.  It is way more than this subject deserves.  So why would I want to add to it?  I’ve already posted one blog, with the conclusion that the media in general, has shown incredible restraint in not making the dossier public because the sources of the information were not revealed in the dossier and salacious information on Donald Trump could not be confirmed.

Trump Dossier – Nov 2017

The Trump Dossier could not have affected the elections because the details had not been made public until January 11, 2017 when  Buzzfeed decided to post it on the internet as they have the legal right to under the First Amendment of free speech.   As I reported earlier, they were sued one month later, as follows:

Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation on February 3, 2017.

Today,  Michael Cohen,  who is one of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, filed  lawsuits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS for defaming him.   Why now and not a year ago when the Trump dossier was first posted on the internet.  The lawsuits are frivolous and will go nowhere.  There is just a one year limit on filing lawsuits after material has been published.    Michael Cohen has strongly denied a visit to Prague in the summer of 2016 and offered a copy of his passport as proof.  However if is possible his passport would not be stamped if he entered by way of other EU countries.   However,  for those who like to  believe the whole Russian scandal is one big witch hunt, and the Democrats did stuff far worse, these lawsuits give Michael Cohen free air time, particularly on Fox News, which is something his boss (Donald Trump) will appreciate.

Stay tuned,

Dave

— There are way too many links on this topic to list here.    One is a bit misleading, from the New York Times, entitled “I’m Proud We Published the Russian-Trump Dossier”  however if you click on the link,  the “We” refers to Buzzfeed, and not the New York Times. It is written by Ben Smith, CEO of Buzzfeed, and is offered an independent opinion piece.   All the mainstream media (CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many others) and conservative focused media outlets, including Fox News refused to publish the dossier in either print or electronic form.    I believe it is to their credit, that they refuse publication because several of the allegations have no corroboration.

Defaming the President of the United States

You have certain rights that President Trump does not, because he is a public figure.   You have the right to sue for character defamation in civil court.   Someone suing must prove the information published  was false and as a result, there was monetary loss.   Further,   the information can’t be in the form of a joke or cartoon, as this is not considered factual information.  This issue arose yesterday, when a new book was published about President Trump, entitled:  “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”   President Trump has threatened the publisher with a lawsuit based on libelous statements.

I ordered by copy today from Amazon:

Michael Wolff:  Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House  from Amazon 

Wikipedia:  Fire and Fury book on Trump

New York Times vs Sullivan (1964)

***  Update:

Did Michael Wolff have access to the White House?

Donald Trump has responded in a tweet saying he had no access to the WH.  Politifact concludes that Trump’s denial is False.

See link below:

Politifact – Access to WH by Wolff

They can’t verify that Wolff had as much contact as he claims,  but he was often inside  the White House.

Stay tuned,

Dave