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The age of BULLSHIT is upon us…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: March 20, 2017, 12:19:03 am »


Mark Morford

Calling Bullshit 101: The (real) college course the world needs now

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist | 5:49PM PDT - Friday, March 17, 2017

The course the world needs right now…
The course the world needs right now…

IT'S COME TO THIS. And not a moment too soon.

Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data is indeed the awesome, pitch-perfect name of a new and uniquely urgent seminar soon to be taught at the U of Washington, and it's all about, well, just that: how to spot BS in all modern forms: fake news, statistical nonsense, political misdirection, scientific collusion and diabolical myth-making in the modern socio-political miasma, and beyond.

Want to take the class? Join the world.

I mean, who wouldn't? Every age, gender, demographic, politician, priest and climate-denying Neanderthal (hi, Scott Pruitt) could certainly use some better understanding of how we're being manipulated, tracked and lied to and, by the way, please look at that ad on the side of your browser right now — why, it's an ad for the same pair of shoes you happened to glance at in the mall three days ago. The hell…?

Yes, it's a real seminar. It's from two professors, Carl Bergstrom and Devin West (Biology and Information School, respectively). And yes, the marvelous course syllabus, as you would expect, quickly went viral. Because … bullshit.


@POTUS 45: The king of modern bullshit, with a vile troll's twist.
@POTUS 45: The king of modern bullshit, with a vile troll's twist.

After all, it's everywhere; flooding the body politic, swamping social media, impressing you in a snooty TED talk (what the profs call “upscale bullshit”), gushing forth from the bloviated flesh of the president himself in a nonstop fire hose of reeking Twitter spew.

Which is to say: The bullshit? It's downright epidemic.

Do you think the seminar sounds sort of obvious, like it should be about an hour long and consist mainly of memorizing the names of a few dozen truly legit, credible news sources, a few hundred quality reporters and the handful of media companies/social-media juggernauts that are not savagely engineering your every twitch and swoon?

Or maybe you think such a seminar should merely teach to the naïve plebes of Generation Emoji what is already an obvious response for any attuned human with a functioning soul: the instant smackdown of anything and everything vomited forth from Fox News, Breitbart, Trump, InfoWars and the myriad sociopathic trolls who create and follow them?

Ah, would that life were so simple. Or that bullshit were that easy to spot, deflect, remedy.


Lesson No.1: Trust not a single word, tweet, announcement coming from the White House's “fine-tuned bullshit machine”.
Lesson No.1: Trust not a single word, tweet, announcement coming from the White House's
“fine-tuned bullshit machine”.


Obama rules, Trump is a cruel and heartless troll who no one really likes. Bullshit or not bullshit?
Obama rules, Trump is a cruel and heartless troll who no one really likes. Bullshit or not bullshit?

Thing is, modern bullshit has become, let's just say, extremely complicated. Nefarious. Sinister and shrewd and enormously destructive. As Bergstrom and West describe it in their terrific FAQ for the course:

Of course an advertisement is trying to sell you something, but do you know whether the TED talk you watched last night is also bullshit — and if so, can you explain why? Can you see the problem with the latest New York Times or Washington Post article fawning over some startup's big data analytics? Can you tell when a clinical trial reported in the New England Journal or JAMA is trustworthy, and when it is just a veiled press release for some big pharma company?

Translation: The fake news epidemic that helped the Orange Goblin steal the election? Just the tip of the bullshit iceberg, really, given everything from elaborate Russian hacking, WikiLeaks conniving, scripted “reality” TV, the invention of “advertorials”, cherry-picked scientific studies, snake-oil health scams, corporate-funded “research”, foreign con artists dangling counterfeit documents in front of desperate reporters hoping to dethrone the Orange Goblin, and on and on — all making far too much of modern life increasingly impossible to differentiate from the one thing so many claim to seek, but so few know how to find: authentic truth.

But herein lies the rub: Because if there's anything wrong with such an otherwise fantastic seminar, it's knowing where, exactly, to draw the line. Big Data, in the grand scheme, is but a fragment of history's epic bullshit apparatus (Bergstrom and West say they hope to make their seminar into a full-length course of study in the fall).

Put another way: It's relatively easy to point out how the Googles, Amazons, Facebooks, Apples, Ubers, Pfizers, RJ Reynolds, NRAs of the world are massive bullshit generators. But bullshit, of course, has been around much longer than any of those cute whippersnappers, in forms perhaps even more destructive, personally humiliating, socially caustic than anything Big Data can conjure.


Made of 100% toxic bullishit, packed to the ruddy, black eyeballs with it, and it's on fire.
Made of 100% toxic bullishit, packed to the ruddy, black eyeballs with it, and it's on fire.

A scuzzball trafficker in the lowest, the least helpful, the ugliest aspects of the human heart. Bullshit all around.
A scuzzball trafficker in the lowest, the least helpful, the ugliest aspects of the human heart. Bullshit all around.

From organized religion to centuries of macho military posturing, from pseudo-cowboy gun fetishism to bogus Iraq wars, from capitalism itself to the made-up existence of a cruel and vindictive God, it's easy to argue that a rank and sticky bedrock of bullshit lies in the very foundation of modern human existence.

Worse still? Most people — hell, most world societies — couldn't survive without it.

All of which is to say: As helpful as Bergstrom and West's seminar is, to call bullshit on the nefarious logistics of the modern, data-driven world is a slippery slope indeed — and not just in terms of developing critical thinking — insofar as it dances right up to the divine edge of the larger, far more gloriously devastating truth of life.

Don't you already know? Of course, you do: It's all bullshit.

It's the truth of all truths: As far as the desperate human ego goes, it's all phantasm, delusion, mental storytelling, educated guessing, happy abstract nonsense in the name of power, knowledge, temporary stability and, of course, a desperate — and futile — attempt to avoid death.

As the Buddha said: Good luck with that.


America, the pisswater swill. Now owned by Belgians. Who's calling bullshit?
America, the pisswater swill. Now owned by Belgians. Who's calling bullshit?

Would that it were this easy to spot anymore.
Would that it were this easy to spot anymore.

Email: Mark Morford

Mark Morford on Twitter and Facebook.

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2017/03/17/calling-bullsht-101-the-real-college-course-the-world-needs-now
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 01:38:58 am »

James Woods‏Verified account @RealJamesWoods  14h14 hours ago

 #lol Of course the joke only flies if you imagine him actually working... James Woods‏Verified account

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Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
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AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 09:27:02 pm »


Donald Trump (ie....the 45th President of the United States of America) has been outed as the BIGGEST LIAR ever to preside over the USA.

He tweeted a load of bullshit (nothing unusual there, virtually everything Trump tweets has turned out to be blatant lies), then when asked for proof, he ducked for cover and called for a congressional investigation.

Well....a couple of days ago, the congressional investigation announced that they could find no evidence whatsoever that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower; and now the FBI and the NSA have likewise called Trump out over his blatant LIES.

Yet Trump continues to LIE about it and attempt to divert attention from his LIES. Donald J. Trump is the most dishonest, despicable cunt to ever hold the position of head of a country in the 21st century so far. He is obviously so mentally-ill and full of utter bullshit that he is like a rabid dog who should be put down.

It will be interesting to see what the FBI probe into Trump's and his campaign organisation's dirty dealings with the Russians turns up. I bet it will sordid!!
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 09:27:16 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

FBI chief debunks Trump's wiretap claim and confirms probe
of possible campaign links to Russia


By DAVID S. CLOUD and DEL QUENTIN WILBER - Reporting from Washington D.C. | 4:50PM PDT - Monday, March 20, 2017

FBI Director James B. Comey, left, and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers testify before the House Intelligence Committee. — Photograph: Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency.
FBI Director James B. Comey, left, and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers testify before the House Intelligence Committee.
 — Photograph: Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency.


IN A double-barreled assault on the White House, FBI Director James B. Comey on Monday knocked back President Trump's claim of wiretapping by the Obama administration and disclosed that the FBI is investigating possible “coordination” between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russian authorities.

Comey was the most senior U.S. law enforcement official to publicly debunk Trump's extraordinary charges, first made on Twitter on March 4th, that President Obama had wiretapped him at Trump Tower.

“I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey told a drama-laced House Intelligence Committee hearing carried live for nearly five hours on cable TV. He added that the Justice Department and its components also had “no information to support” Trump's accusation.

But Comey's rebuke of Trump, which was echoed by Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, was overshadowed by disclosure of an active counter-intelligence and criminal investigation aimed at the top ranks of the president’s former campaign and potentially the White House.

The FBI is investigating the “nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts,” Comey said.

The White House downplayed the investigation into possible collusion by Trump's aides with Russian authorities. “Investigating it and having proof of it are two different things,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, told reporters.

Comey said the investigation was undertaken as part of the FBI's counter-intelligence mission and includes “an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

“I can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead,” Comey said.

Comey and Rogers refused to say whether the FBI investigation, which began last July, had uncovered any evidence of improper collusion or potential crimes, saying it was inappropriate to discuss an ongoing investigation involving classified sources and information.

Even their limited disclosures raised the possibility that some of Trump's current or former aides could face lengthy investigations and potentially criminal prosecution, saddling the White House with a major scandal.

The national security chiefs' testimony clearly rattled the White House. During the hearing, President Trump tweeted that the FBI and NSA directors had confirmed that “Russia did not influence electoral process.”

That led to an unusual exchange in the House hearing room, when Representative Jim Himes (Democrat-Connecticut) asked Comey and Rogers whether the president's tweet had fairly characterized their testimony.

“It certainly wasn't our intention to say that today because we don't have any information on that subject,” Comey said carefully.

Earlier during Monday, Trump used Twitter to denounce the FBI investigation, as well as separate inquiries by the GOP-led House and Senate intelligence committees, as “Fake news”, adding, “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign.”

“There is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion and there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia scandal,” the White House said later in a statement.

The investigation of a sitting president's campaign by the FBI raises serious procedural and constitutional issues.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions already has recused himself from overseeing the FBI investigation after news reports disclosed he had met twice with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, during the campaign but failed to tell the Senate during his confirmation hearing.

As a result, Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente will oversee the investigation. If he is confirmed by the Senate as deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein would be the last word in the case.

Comey is four years into his decade-long term. He can be fired by the president, though that surely would draw comparisons to the resignation of President Nixon's attorney general and the dismissal of the deputy attorney general in the so-called 1973 Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate investigation.

Underscoring the delicacy of the situation, Comey repeatedly declined to answer lawmakers' questions about the investigation, Republicans' complaints about leaks to the media, or Democrats' attempts to draw him into discussion about which Trump aides might be involved.

“I cannot say more about what we are doing,” Comey said.

The FBI director's testimony marked his second time at the center of a politically explosive investigation into the 2016 presidential campaign.

In July, he announced in a lengthy news conference that he was recommending no criminal charges be filed against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while she was secretary of State.

On October 28th, less than two weeks before the election, Comey shook up the presidential race by notifying lawmakers that his agents had learned of additional Clinton emails in an unrelated case that “appear pertinent to the investigation.”

Although he followed up several days later with a letter to say that the FBI had found nothing to change his earlier recommendation, Democrats blamed Comey for helping sink Clinton's campaign at a crucial point.

On Monday, he spoke in far less detail about the Trump inquiry than he did about the FBI investigation into Clinton. He refused to commit to providing an update or to say when the investigation would be completed.

“I don't know how long the work will take,” he said.

Comey and Rogers said they stood by a January 6th report by the U.S. intelligence community that said Russian President Vladimir Putin had approved an intelligence operation in an effort to hurt Clinton and to help Trump.

They also repeated that U.S. agencies did not try to assess whether the Russian effort, which included the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers and leaks of emails that embarrassed the Clinton campaign, had swayed public opinion or affected any votes on election day.

Both said they were surprised by the openness of the Russian operation.

“It's almost as if they didn't care that we knew what they were doing or that they wanted us to see what they were doing,” Comey said. “It was very noisy, their intrusions in different institutions.”

Republicans on the House committee focused their questions on leaks of classified information to the media about Trump's current and former aides, rather than on the investigation of Russian meddling.

Few offered any public defense of Trump's continued claims of wiretapping or of contacts between his aides and Russian authorities. Several sought to limit the political damage by questioning whether Putin actively sought to help Trump.

“Don't you think it's ridiculous to say the Russians prefer Republicans over Democrats?” asked Representative Devin Nunes (Republican-Tulare), the committee chairman.

In contrast, Representative Adam B. Schiff (Democrat-Burbank), the top Democrat on the panel, recounted numerous reports of contacts between senior members of Trump's campaign team and current and former Russian officials.

Several top Trump aides, including his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, were forced out because of those contacts.

Other Democrats questioned Comey about the Trump team's removal of Republican Party platform language calling for arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian separatists, as well former Trump advisor Roger Stone's contacts with pro-Russian hackers.

Several Democrats unsuccessfully pressed Comey to confirm some details in a dossier of unverified allegations against Trump and his associates that was written by a former British intelligence officer and made public in January by BuzzFeed.

“Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible,” Schiff said. “But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated.”

Schiff added that if Trump associates did collaborate with Russia, it would be a “potential crime” and “one of the most shocking betrayals of democracy in history.”

Representative Trey Gowdy (Republican-South Carolina) pressed Comey to say whether the FBI was investigating leaks to the media that disclosed Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador, which apparently were picked up inadvertently on NSA communications intercepts.

“The name of a U.S. citizen that was supposed to be statutorily protected is no longer protected,” Gowdy said.

“I don't want to confirm it by saying we are investigating,” Comey said. “Be assured we are going to take it very seriously.”


• David S. Cloud covers the Pentagon and the military from the Washington, D.C., bureau for the Los Angeles Times. In his 30-year career, he has also worked at The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, where he was a member of a team of reporters awarded a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks. He is co-author of The Fourth Star, which traces the careers and experiences in Iraq of four U.S. officers.

• Del Quentin Wilber covers the Justice Department for the Los Angeles Times. An award-winning crime reporter, he previously worked for The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and Bloomberg News. He is the author of Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan, which was a national bestseller in 2011. His most recent book, A Good Month for Murder, was published in June 2016.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pol-comey-congress-20170320-story.html
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 12:34:47 am »


from The Washington Post....

Comey's testimony humiliates Trump

Comey was succinct: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 11:52AM EDT - Monday, March 20, 2017

FBI Director, James B. Comey and National Security Agency Director, Admiral Michael S. Rogers are photographed by the media before testifying to the House Intelligence Committee hearing. — Photograph: Matt McClain/The Washington Post.
FBI Director, James B. Comey and National Security Agency Director, Admiral Michael S. Rogers are photographed by the media before testifying
to the House Intelligence Committee hearing. — Photograph: Matt McClain/The Washington Post.


BEFORE FBI Director James B. Comey began his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, President Trump was back, compulsively tweeting — and underscoring the growing perception that his allegation that President Barack Obama had Trump's “wires tapped” is nonsensical, his attachment to reality fleeting and his concern about Russian interference in the election on his behalf is palpable. He tweeted: “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” (Interestingly, he limited the denial of collusion to him, POTUS, only.) Certainly, he had been rattled by a parade of Republican lawmakers affirming there was no evidence of wiretapping. He was right to be anxious.

Comey did in fact confirm that the FBI is currently investigating Russian interference with our elections, including any links with members of the Trump campaign, and whether the latter constituted any crimes. A short time later, Comey lowered the boom. What about evidence of wiretapping, as Trump claimed in tweets? Comey was succinct: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

That testimony is not “fake”. Trump cannot change the fact that his own national intelligence team is attempting to determine whether a foreign power tried to manipulate our election. Try as he might, there is no way for Trump to discount or conceal that reality. The stone-faced Comey crisply providing definitive, unemotional testimony that was compelling, as was that of National Security Agency chief Michael S. Rogers, who, with furrowed brow, often answered with a simple yes or no.

Comey's statement was not surprising, but it was nevertheless devastating. To hear the head of the FBI in essence call the president a liar or wide-eyed conspiratorialist is bracing, if not humiliating, for the chief executive. And reflecting on the morning tweet, Trump now seems desperate, childish and vulnerable. He's been tripped up by his own grandiose lies. At some level he must know it.

Perhaps now Republicans can stop treating the president's outbursts seriously. They need to call them what they are: Wild lies and accusations designed to distract from the very real investigation into Russian attempts to throw the election his way. In just a few brief lines, Comey eviscerated whatever credibility Trump still had. Whether the intelligence agency will find evidence of collusion remains to be seen. But what we do know is that Trump will not be able to lie his way through this nor distract the public.

Representative Will Hurd (Republican-Texas), who appeared during Sunday on ABC's “This Week, made an interesting observation. “It's going to go down in the history of Mother Russia as the greatest covert action campaign, not because President Trump won,” he said. “There was no manipulation of the vote-tallying machines. It's going to go down as the greatest covert action because it drove a — created a wedge, whether real or perceived, between the White House, the intelligence community, and the American public.” Well, it will also go down as the greatest covert action in history because Russia sought to manipulate the outcome of our election and provided assistance to the Trump campaign. Moreover, Vladimir Putin has convinced a significant chunk of the American electorate that Trump is “illegitimate”. (One poll shows 57 percent of young voters between 18 and 30 consider him “illegitimate”.) And worse, it's convinced many Americans that our president's word cannot be trusted.


• Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

__________________________________________________________________________

More on this topic:

 • VIDEO: Comey: No information to support Trump's wiretapping tweets

 • VIDEO: Comey, Rogers testify on alleged Russian interference in U.S. election

 • The questions about Trump and Russia need an independent investigation

 • Trump Madness: What’s the quintessential quote of the Trump administration?

 • Today’s intelligence hearing is a farce. It shows why we need an independent Russia probe.

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: See FBI Director Comey testify about Trump's wiretapping claims, Russian election interference


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/03/20/comeys-testimony-humiliates-trump
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 12:35:08 am »


from The Washington Post....

EDITORIAL: No, Republicans, the ‘real story’ is not the leaks

Faced with damning testimony on Russia and wiretapping, members of the
House Intelligence Committee choose misdirection over investigation.


By EDITORIAL BOARD | 7:41PM EDT - Monday, March 20, 2017

FBI Director James B. Comey. — Photograph: Matt McClain/The Washington Post.
FBI Director James B. Comey. — Photograph: Matt McClain/The Washington Post.

A HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE hearing on Monday produced the remarkable spectacle of FBI Director James B. Comey publicly testifying that there was “no information that supports” tweets by President Trump alleging wiretapping of his New York headquarters on the order of President Barack Obama. It saw National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers agree with the British government that it was “utterly ridiculous” for the White House to suggest that such surveillance had been undertaken by Britain's signals agency. And it produced official confirmation by Mr. Comey that the agency is investigating Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election, including possible coordination with members of the Trump campaign.

You'd think that all of this would be of surpassing concern for Republican members of Congress. The president who leads their party has been officially reported to have made false statements alleging criminal activity by his predecessor. What's more, his campaign is under scrutiny for possible co-operation with a dedicated and dangerous U.S. adversary in order to subvert American democracy.

Yet to listen to Republican members of the Intelligence Committee, the most pressing problem to arise from Russia's intervention and the FBI's investigation of it is that reports of contacts between Russia's ambassador and Mr. Trump's designated national security adviser were leaked to The Washington Post. The priority of Chairman Devin Nunes (California) and other Republican members, judging from their statements, is not fully uncovering Russia's actions but finding and punishing those who allowed the public to learn about them.

Mr. Nunes and Representative Trey Gowdy (Republican-South Carolina) could not have been more zealous in their outrage over the exposure of Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser after reports in The Post exposed his lies about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Mr. Flynn accepted nearly $68,000 in payments from Russian companies, including the state propaganda outlet, before advocating greater cooperation with Moscow during his brief White House stint. Yet Mr. Nunes and Mr. Gowdy would have it that hunting down the sources for the disclosure that Mr. Flynn discussed the lifting of U.S. sanctions with Mr. Kislyak is more urgent than learning the full extent of the contacts he and other Trump aides had with Moscow.

The Republicans seem to be slavishly following the cues of the president, who, while failing to retract his accusation against Mr. Obama, is seeking to direct attention elsewhere. “The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information,” he tweeted early Monday morning. Such a diversion, like anything else that distracts attention from Vladimir Putin's support for his election, would be to Mr. Trump's advantage.

Congressional Republicans ought to consider larger national interests. Russia's intervention in the election was not incidental and haphazard, but part of a concerted campaign to disrupt Western democracy. Mr. Putin is even now attempting to interfere in ongoing election campaigns in France and Germany. Given Mr. Trump's refusal to acknowledge the threat, it is essential that Congress discover the truth about Russia's activities, take steps to defend against similar intrusions in the future and help allies protect themselves.

The first useful step would be to fully inform the public. Instead, Mr. Nunes and his followers appear bent on silencing anyone who would do so.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/no-republicans-the-real-story-is-not-the-leaks/2017/03/20/32bf7330-0d88-11e7-9b0d-d27c98455440_story.html
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2017, 03:55:26 pm »


from The Washington Post....

The American presidency is shrinking before the world's eyes

Foreigners are seeing the country take on a smaller stature.

By MICHAEL GERSON | 7:48PM EDT - Monday, March 20, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with President Donald J. Trump. — Photograph: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with President Donald J. Trump. — Photograph: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

IT IS difficult to overestimate the geopolitical risks of this moment — or the (both disturbed and eager) global scrutiny now being given to the American president.

Aggression is growing along the westward reach of Russian influence and the southern boundary of Chinese influence. Intercontinental nuclear capacity may soon be in the hands of a mental pubescent in North Korea. In the Middle East, a hostile alliance of Russia and Shiite powers is ascendant; radical Sunnis have a territorial foothold and inspire strikes in Western cities; America's traditional Sunni friends and allies feel devalued or abandoned; perhaps 500,000 Syrians are dead and millions of refugees suffer in conditions that incubate anger. Cyber-terrorism and cyber-espionage are exploiting and weaponizing our own technological dependence. Add to this a massive famine in East Africa, threatening the lives of 20 million people, and the picture of chaos is complete — until the next crisis breaks.

It is in this context that the diplomatic bloopers reel of the past few days has been played — the casual association of British intelligence with alleged surveillance at Trump Tower; the presidential tweets undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his Asia trip; and the rude and childish treatment given the German chancellor. When President Trump and Angela Merkel sat together in the Oval Office, we were seeing the leader of the free world — and that guy pouting in public.

Every new administration has a shakeout period. But this assumes an ability to learn from mistakes. And this would require admitting mistakes. The spectacle of an American president blaming a Fox News commentator for a major diplomatic incident was another milestone in the miniaturization of the presidency.

An interested foreigner (friend or foe) must be a student of Trump's temperament, which is just as bad as advertised. He is inexperienced, uninformed, easily provoked and supremely confident in his own judgment. His advantage is the choice of some serious, experienced advisers, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell. But success in their jobs depends on Trump's listening skills.

Mere incompetence would be bad enough. But foreigners trying to understand the United States must now study (of all things) the intellectual influences of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. His vision of a Western alliance of ethno-nationalist, right-wing populists against globalists, multiculturalists, Islamists and (fill in the blank with your preferred minority) is the administration's most vivid and rhetorically ascendant foreign policy viewpoint. How does this affect the alliances of the previous dispensation? That is the background against which Trump's peevishness is being viewed.


Animated gif of “Trump is hanging on by a tweet” created by Ann Telnaes.
Animated gif of “Trump is hanging on by a tweet” created by Ann Telnaes.

Foreigners see a president who has blamed his predecessor, in banana-republic style, of a serious crime, for which FBI Director James B. Comey testified on Monday there is no evidence. They see an administration whose campaign activities are being actively investigated by the executive branch and Congress. If close Trump associates are directly connected to Russian hacking, foreigners will see the president engulfed in an impeachment crisis — the only constitutional mechanism that would remove the taint of larceny from the 2016 election.

And foreigners are seeing politics, not national security, in the driver's seat of the administration. Tillerson was given the job of secretary of state, then denied his choice of deputy for political reasons, then ordered to make a 28 percent cut in the budget for diplomacy and development. Never mind that Tillerson has been left a diminished figure. Never mind that stability operations in Somalia and northern Nigeria — the recruiting grounds of Islamist terrorism — would likely be eliminated under the Trump budget. Never mind that programs to prevent famines would be slashed.

When asked if he was worried about cutting these programs during a famine, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney responded: “The president said specifically hundreds of times … I'm going to spend less money on people overseas and more money on people back home. And that's exactly what we're doing with this budget.” The benighted cruelty of such a statement — assuming that the only way to help Americans is to let foreign children die — is remarkable, and typical.

The sum total? Foreigners see a Darwinian, nationalist framework for American foreign policy; a diminished commitment to global engagement; a brewing scandal that could distract and cripple the administration; and a president who often conducts his affairs with peevish ignorance.

Some will look at this spectacle and live in fear; others may see a golden opportunity.


• Michael Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in The Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-american-presidency-is-shrinking-before-the-worlds-eyes/2017/03/20/17db10ca-0d9b-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 04:02:08 pm »

Hahaha more bullshit from the globalist propaganda agency
they should be called washington pissing in the wind missing the post alt left nazi org.
the washington post is the mouthpiece for the real owners of the planet who are nazi mass murderers because they profited from the endless wars for the last 60 years..

its a fucken club ktj and you're not in it lol


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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2017, 04:06:13 pm »

Trump team communications captured by intelligence community surveillance, Nunes says

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/22/trump-team-communications-captured-by-intelligence-community-surveillance-nunes-says.html
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2017, 10:06:27 am »



Hahaha.....YES.....members of the Trump team were captured by the intelligence community who were spying on the Russians.

Kinda PROVES that Trump's team were colluding with the Russians to interfere in the American election results.

THANK YOU Fox News for blowing the whistle on the corruption involving a hostile foreign power AND Trump's team.

And thank you to the idiot from Woodville for posting that link which draws attention to the dealings between Trump's team and the Russians.


And now, it's time for David Horsey's EXCELLENT latest column and cartoon about this very same topic....


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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2017, 10:06:42 am »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Most Republicans are in denial about the probe into Trump-Russia ties

By DAVID HORSEY | 5:00AM PDT - Thursday, March 23, 2017



ON WEDNESDAY, U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from the San Joaquin Valley, took a trip to the White House that made as big a splash as California's recent torrential rains. Even though he is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating links between Russia and members of President Trump's campaign team, Nunes chose to share intelligence reports with the president before he shared them with members of his committee.

Democrats went ballistic saying Nunes had acted improperly, raising serious questions about his ability to lead an independent, bipartisan investigation. Observers with deep ties to the intelligence community said it was unprecedented for someone in the key position Nunes holds to so brashly share sensitive information with a person who is the object of an inquiry.

Another Californian, U.S. Representative Adam B. Schiff from Burbank, is the ranking Democrat on the House committee. Speaking to reporters in his usual calm, ex-prosecutor's voice, Schiff said, “The chairman will either need to decide if he's leading an investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential co-ordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House. Because he cannot do both.”

In comments outside the West Wing after he met with Trump, Nunes said he had told the president that communications from members of his transition team had been inadvertently intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies. Fox News jumped on this as evidence confirming Trump's recent tweet that accused President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. Despite Fox's quick leap to shill for Trump, Nunes' statement actually undercut Trump's charge by making clear that, not only was the surveillance inadvertent, it was also legal.

Unsurprisingly, Fox, the reliable mouthpiece for the GOP, is reflecting the pervasive denial that is making a lot of Republicans look like quaking little boys whistling past a spooky graveyard. They seem quite desperate to pretend there is nothing scary about the FBI's probe into contacts between Trump surrogates and Russian intelligence operatives at a time when the Russians were hacking their way into the American presidential election to do damage to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Earlier this week when FBI Director James B. Comey appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, GOP members arrived at the hearing with an orchestrated series of questions focusing not on the Russian attack on American democracy but on leaks from within government agencies that helped expose connections between Trump's people and the Russians. They looked more than a little silly chasing this line of inquiry after Comey dropped a bombshell by acknowledging that his agency is conducting an “active investigation” into the Trump-Russia links.

Trump apologists are also making themselves look ridiculous by continuing to insist that Paul Manafort, who headed the Trump campaign for a period that included the Republican National Convention, was somehow a marginal figure in Trump's run for the White House. He was far from peripheral and, according to convention delegates on the platform committee, it was he who engineered the removal of a plank in the platform that called for sending arms to Ukraine in support of that country's fight against Russian military aggression. On Wednesday, the story about Manafort's cozy relationship with Russia blew up again with the revelation that Manafort at one time had a multi-million dollar contract with a Russian oligarch who is part of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle — a deal in which, according to an Associated Press report, Manafort promised to provide services that would “greatly benefit the Putin government.”

The more Republicans try to protect their president by downplaying the very curious and apparently very frequent contacts between Russians and Trump campaigners, the more it looks as if they are willingly aiding a coverup. They would do well to stop collaborating and start following the lead of their 2008 presidential nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain. McCain is now calling for a select committee to take over the investigation. He sees that as a necessary step toward uncovering the impartial truth.

It will be difficult for other Republicans to argue against McCain now that Nunes has so badly compromised his committee's work by trotting off to share secrets with Trump.


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-republican-denial-20170323-story.html
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2017, 11:35:30 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Scott Pelley is pulling no punches on the nightly news
 — and people are taking notice


Some think the CBS anchor is being snarky, but he’s just
defending facts in Trump's fact-challenged world.


By MARGARET SULLIVAN | 4:40PM EDT - Sunday, March 26, 2017

“CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley. — Photograph: Sonja Flemming/CBS.
CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley. — Photograph: Sonja Flemming/CBS.

WITH the words “credibility questioned” prominent on the screen, Scott Pelley once again is doing what network evening-news anchors generally don't do: abandoning careful neutrality in favor of pointed truth-telling.

He is talking on Thursday night about President Trump. And here are some of the words he is using: “his boasting and tendency to believe conspiracy theories.”

It's nothing new. Pelley, of CBS Evening News, has set himself apart — especially in recent weeks — with a spate of such assessments, night after night.

Perhaps the most notable one, on February 7th, went like this:

“It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality. Mr. Trump said this morning that any polls that show disapproval of his immigration ban are fake. He singled out a federal judge for ridicule after the judge suspended his ban, and Mr. Trump said that the ruling now means that anyone can enter the country. The president's fictitious claims, whether imaginary or fabricated, are now worrying even his backers, particularly after he insisted that millions of people voted illegally, giving Hillary Clinton her popular-vote victory.”

And then Pelley added a reality-check kicker: “There is not one state election official, Democrat or Republican, who supports that claim.”

There are plenty of other examples: One evening last month, he described Trump aide Kellyanne Conway as “a fearless fabulist.” Another night, he referred to the president as having had “another Twitter tantrum.”

Far more than his competitors — Lester Holt on NBC and David Muir on ABC — Pelley is using words and approaches that pull no punches.

It's not that the others don't provide fact-checks or report on criticism; they do. But Pelley, 59, despite his calm delivery, is dogged, night after night — and far blunter.

“He is not biased or grinding an ax, but certainly some of those lines have bite in them,” said Tom Bettag, a former executive producer at four networks, including the CBS Evening News; he was the longtime executive producer of ABC's “Nightline” in the Ted Koppel years.

Bettag's University of Maryland journalism students have been struck by Pelley's approach, he told me.

“Some of them think it's snarky,” he said. “There's the sense of ‘You can't say that, can you?’” Others in the class like Pelley's directness: “It splits about 50/50.”

Bettag's students aren't alone in noticing.

The Associated Press's David Bauder did a recent roundup of some of Pelley's zingers. Bauder quoted this criticism of Tim Graham of the conservative Media Research Center: “We're going to remember, this is not the way you were with other presidents.”

But Bauder also included the positive assessment of media consultant Andrew Tyndall: “To me, it's not commentary. It's actual reporting.”

Bettag says that makes perfect sense to him since Pelley's background is as “a great reporter,” one who has been a war correspondent, who broke major stories in the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, and who has done award-winning work for the network's flagship news show, “Sixty Minutes”. Pelley took over as the evening news anchor in 2011 and also holds the title of managing editor.

“Scott sees himself in the Murrow and Cronkite tradition,” Bettag said, referring to the legendary, and sometimes outspoken, CBS journalists Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.

Pelley, and others at CBS, declined to comment for this column, saying the work speaks for itself. There is clearly every wish to avoid setting up CBS as anti-Trump or as partisan.

But, accepting Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite Award last November, Pelley tipped his hand: “The quickest, most direct way to ruin a democracy is to poison the information.”

Does something as old-school as the nightly news still carry weight in these days of 24/7 cable and self-reinforcing information sources? Undoubtedly, yes.

Together they reach 24 million viewers on a typical weeknight (with CBS the lowest-rated of the three).

The viewers, because they skew older, are probably more likely to be voters; and because they are watching the nightly news, rather than a pick-your-poison cable network, may be less likely to have their minds made up.

The broadcasts' influence — though surely not what it was 40 years ago — remains important. And so does analytical reporting that consistently goes beyond mere stenography.

So does the context: How do you report on a president who often veers from reality, without appearing to be biased, and without turning off fair-minded citizens who are trying to stay informed?

We're seeing examples from all over, as news organizations get outside their comfort zones.

We saw it last week when Time magazine did a full interview with the president on the question of his own credibility, producing a magazine whose cover asks, “Is Truth Dead?”

We saw it on the Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial page, which criticized the president for insisting that his predecessor had had him wiretapped, using this startling metaphor: Trump is “clinging to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.”

And we're seeing it on the CBS Evening News, where Scott Pelley, quietly and backed by reporting, may say, as he did last month:

“The president's real troubles again today were not with the media but with the facts.”


• Margaret Sullivan is The Washington Post's media columnist. Previously, she was The New York Times public editor, and the chief editor of The Buffalo News, her hometown paper.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/scott-pelley-is-pulling-no-punches-on-the-nightly-news--and-people-are-taking-notice/2017/03/26/9763bf7c-0e4a-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html
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