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, is a Trump stock

In Hollywood, they say there is no such thing as negative publicity.  The “failing New York Times” with it’s fake news is a constant theme of Donald Trump. The New York Times has won 122 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The prize is awarded for excellence in journalism in a range of categories.  The list of awards is extensive- see link at the end.

But is it failing?   Before I answer that question, there is an extensive decline in newspaper’s circulation in the US.    The average news junkie can get his morning fix by listening to CNN and BBC, then hit the internet to get the latest in areas of interest, Hollywood, sports, or in my case business.   But, internationally, circulation is rising- due to increase literacy,  higher incomes, and global awareness.   That’s great!

Now, Jim Cramer reviewed the finances of the New York Times, and found the company is not failing, but is thriving.  Instead of going through the slew of financial data, I’ll simply provide the CNBC link:

CNBC – Jim Cramer on the New York Times

Ironically,  all Trump’s tweets may have increased interest in the New York Times.    A lot of the content is now on the Internet and distributed free.   Where the increased revenues are coming from, is the increase in online advertising. The Times is by no way perfect- see links for past controversies.

Jim Cramer in January was touting a lot of stocks to be “Trump stocks”  based on deregulation,  overseas repatriation, and tax cuts for businesses. You would not think of First Solar, a maker of solar panels, to outperform Peabody Coal,Chesapeake Gas  or Sanchez Oil (involved in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking) but you would be so wrong.   This will have to wait for another blog.  My New York  Times is on the table.

Stay tuned,

Dave

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times

 

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

 

Government Accountability

Whether a president is doing a good job, is not for the president or his cabinet to decide.  Unlike a corporation, which runs with a board of directors, and make decisions, it is the American people, through the election process, which keep the government accountable.  Good news pours out of government.  Bad news is hidden under the rug.  Or more correctly, buried within the agencies of government.

Governments like to err on the side of caution.  They have a particular point of view, consistent with their policies.  Their policies and the supporting rationale are rapidly disseminated by the media.   However, as new information comes in, showing inconsistencies or direct conflicts with what has been said, then release of this information may be delayed or withheld from the public, even with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

In doing research for my book (Florida Citrus Canker Epidemic: Pieces of a Puzzle, available on Amazon, yes this is plug to buy the book),  I discovered how frustratingly difficult it is, to obtain public documents as governments have learned all the tricks at avoiding the requirements of FOIA and other state laws, with the intent of making government more open.

The news organizations have  an advantage, because they can hire lawyers and challenge the government agencies in court.   The New York Times filed more FIOA requests than any other organization.  They filed 31 lawsuits when Obama was in office.  Fox News filed a total of 3 lawsuits when Obama was in office, and 2 lawsuits between election  and inauguration days.  So much for their “investigative journalism.”

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI),  takes second place.  So what is the CPI?  According to Wikipedia:

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is an American nonprofit investigative journalism organization whose stated mission is “to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first.” With over 50 staff members, CPI is one of the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative centers in America. It won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

A link to their website is given in the links below.  They recently won 7 dateline awards, as given by the  Society of Professional Journalists.

Table 1. News Organizations Filing Three or More FOIA Lawsuits
Number of FOIA Suits Filed
News Organization Plaintiff Total Bush Obama
The New York Times Company 36 5 31
Center for Public Integrity 17 9 8
Associated Press 8 5 3
San Francisco Bay Guardian 6 1 5
Tax Analysts 6 4 2
Fox News Network, LLC 5 0 5*
Daily Caller News Foundation 4 0 4
Los Angeles Times Communicatio 4 3 1
Prison Legal News 4 2 2
Bloomberg LP 3 3 0
Detroit Free Press 3 2 1
SAE Productions, Inc. 3 2 1
* two suits were filed after Obama was elected, but just before he assumed office.

The above list does not include hundreds of lawsuits, filed by reporters and other organizations.  Two organization which have partisan missions are:  Judicial Watch (Conservative/ Republican) and Center for the Media and Democracy (CMD, Liberal/ Democrat).   Judicial Watch was extremely active during the Clinton email and Benghazi scandals.   Now it’s CMD turn, to uncover secrets held by the Trump administration.

Republicans better get used to the adage, “what goes around comes around.”  If they can make all sorts of accusations against Hillary Clinton based on her emails, so can Democrats use email conversations.     The February 2017 article in the  New York Times-  “The Pruitt Emails: E.P.A. Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry” is based on released emails from Oklahoma.   It reveals how Scott Pruitt fought EPA regulations, as Attorney General of Oklahoma and was well connected with oil industry executives and Republican campaign donors.

Please ignore for the next four years, the outlandish attacks on the media by Trump, particularly the printed media such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.  We need dedicated correspondents, reporters, and the journalists that finally piece together a story.  Truth will not roll out of the White House in a neat little package and with the blessings of Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

New York Times:  Think FOIA Is a Paper Tiger? The New York Times Gives It Some Bite

FOIA Project: News Reporters Drive Growth in Media FOIA Litigation

FOIA Project:  News Media Requests    (The more recent FOIA lawsuits are filed in the name of a reporter, but likely  with the backing of their organizations).

Judicial Watch

Center for the Media and Democracy (CMD)

Marawi and a bullet in the throat

What gets on the front pages of most newspapers are events which are the most bloody and closest to home.   A third element, at least for the US newspapers, is some American must be involved.

For this reason, Mosul and Raqqa may get some notice, but the conflicts in Tora Bora and Marawi are no where to be found.  By the way,  in case you are totally lost, this is about active fighting against ISIL involving the  US military in Iraq,  Syria,  Afghanistan, and the Philippines.  Yes, the US is involved in the ISIS attack in the Philippines.

Marawi City in the Philippines was a vibrant city of 200,000 residents, but now it is a ghost town, according to the New York Times.    The fighting has been going on since May 23, 2017.  The US Special Forces are providing “security assistance and training”  and not involved in combat.  They are stationed within Camp Ranao, near Marawi.   The brave Philippine  military is doing the fighting.

I suspect the bullet lodged in throat of the Adam Harvey, reporter from ABC, Australia, will spark a bit of attention to this fight.

One would think that the President Duterte would be  very appreciative that the US is using its technology, particularly the P3 Orion spy planes, to help pinpoint air strikes and minimize civilian casualties.   Instead, he said on Sunday, that he never approached America for help and was unaware of American military assistance in Marawi.

Marawi is a long distance from Manila, but Duterte seems even further away,  oblivious to anything but radical action against drug traffickers.  Donald Trump could help the situation by sending the Philippine president a copy of the New York Times.  Not likely.

ISIS, I’m afraid, is on the prowl for the next city to seize.  Everyone expects a major advance in Indonesia,  but towns in  Malaysia are also a hot spot for attacks.

ISIL is not a Middle East problem, at least not now.   The land grabs and control of cities have occurred in the Middle East, Asian and Africa.   The terrorist attacks are obviously worldwide.  I am in strong support of an increased role for the US, and as we step up our assistance, the leaders of these countries need to recognize and appreciate our assistance.  We used to think that the US could at least dominate the air war, in any conflict.  Recent reports from Raqqa indicate ISIL are using drone attacks against its attackers.  So, it is critical to step up the conflict with anti drone weapons.

Adam Harvey tweeted that he was lucky and will recover.  I hope his luck continues.   I hope Felipe Villamor and other NYT reporters such as Richard Paddock continue their invaluable services in Marawi.   Wikipedia is also to be commended for keeping a chronology of events (see links).

Stay tuned,

Dave

Adam Harvey shot in the neck

Wikipedia on Marawi 

NYT, In Indonesia and the Philippines, militants find a common bond, ISIS

NYT,   Destroying a city to save it from ISIS