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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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Fox News Employees Leaking to CNN

This is interesting. According to CNN Money, Fox News “journalists” are leaking go their friends at CNN that they are embarrassed by Fox’s coverage of the Russia Scandal, feel like Fox is an extension of the Trump White House and that they want to quit.

Hmmm…

“I’m watching now and screaming,” one Fox News personality said in a text message to CNN as the person watched their network’s coverage. “I want to quit.”

“It is another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way,” one senior Fox News employee told CNN of their outlet’s coverage, adding that there were “many eye rolls” in the newsroom over how the news was covered.

Additionally, Fox News aired segments that questioned Mueller’s credibility and many were framed around how Trump and his allies were responding to the news. On Fox News’ homepage, the lead story at one point was focused on Trump slamming the indictment. Another lead story cited Manafort’s lawyer, and asked, “Mueller’s ‘ridiculous’ claims?”

“This kind of coverage does the viewer a huge disservice and further divides the country,” one Fox News personality told CNN.

Fox News journalists took significant issue with their network’s opinion hosts, who deflected from the news and, in Sean Hannity’s case, characterized Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” a term Trump used on Sunday in a angry tweet to describe the probe.

“That segment on Outbumbered [questioning Mueller’s integrity] was absurd and deserves all the scorn it can get,” a Fox News employee told CNN, referring to the network’s noontime talk show.

The person added that it was “laughable seeing Hannity and [Laura] Ingraham,” two Fox News opinion hosts who are openly supportive of Trump, “tripping over themselves saying [Mueller’s team has] found nothing thus far.”

“It’s an embarrassment,” another Fox News employee echoed to CNN. “Frankly, there are shows on our network that are backing the President at all costs, and it’s that short term strategy that undermines the good work being done by others.”

I’d say they have good reason to quit but I can understand their reluctance. Working at Fox News is a little like working in the adult porn industry. Even Megyn Kelly is struggling in regular TV News. Oh sure, she’s pretty and smart and all. It’s just that you can’t get the image of that blowjob out of your head.

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Russian provocateurs on Facebook.

Have you ever wondered why Trump supporters and Bernie Bros were so intractable and angry last year? We might have part of the answer. CNN Money reports that Russian agents set up accounts on Facebook to crank up the anger and incite violence.

It’s chilling because we now have a combustible combination of highly partisan tribes with access to unlimited guns and ammunition who only needed a reason to take their shit out on refugees, immigrants and liberals.

Here is the impact:

Mark R. Jacobson, a Georgetown University professor and expert on Russian influence operations, said Russia strategically seeks to undermine U.S. political cohesion by promoting extremist views within opposing political or social groups, and hoping chaos—and violence — ensues.

“The Russians don’t want groups like Black Lives Matter [and] the Alt-Right to sit there and have discussions and debates about the future of America. They want violent clashes,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson noted that, during the Cold War, Russia sought to enhance extremist ideas within the civil rights movement in hopes of sparking race-based warfare in the U.S.

“If we start to see violent rallies… we should start to look for the hidden hand of Russian influence behind it,” he said.

Columbia University’s Albright said even if only a fraction of the accounts’ posts called for physical violence, the overall messaging sought to push audiences toward more radical viewpoints that they would act on.

“These posts contained psychological calls to action toward both online and physical behavior,” he said.

Some of the violent posts received tens of thousands of likes, comments, shares, or reactions, according to a database of messages Albright compiled from six now-deleted Russia-linked accounts, which included the accounts that posted the violent messages reviewed by CNN.

One post by Secured Borders shared in October 2016, which was interacted with more than 100,000 times, stated, “if Killary wins there will be riots nationwide, not seen since the times of Revolutionary war!!”

And that, sports fans, is why we want to tear each other apart.

In other words, “divided we fall”, “a house divided against itself cannot stand” and

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

The Russians have largely succeeded at turning us against ourselves.

Someone should check with Rush and Alex Jones to see who’s paying them.

By the way, one of the reasons I frown on buzzwords like neoliberal, corporatist and Warhawk is because they tend to divide the left and no one can precisely define what these words mean except they are something bad and when you throw them at a candidate, they tend to stick. If you can’t define those words, don’t use them. They’re mental shortcuts, focus group tested to suck you in without thinking too hard.

And if you’re on the interwebs on a site that slings buzzwords around like crazy, buyer beware. Someone is probably trying to sell you discord.

*********************************

In other news, Donald Trump is talking about George Papadopoulos so tenderly, calling him a “proven to be a liar”.

Well that’s one man’s opinion. Robert Mueller doesn’t see it that way. But we do know a couple things about George Papadopoulos:

He knows when to keep his mouth shut and HE’S not going to jail for colluding with the Russians.

He can be taught.

Donald? Ehhhhhh, not so much.

The reaction

According to WaPo, Donald Trump reacted to the news of the indictments with “exasperation and disgust”. This part is interesting:

Initially, Trump felt vindicated. Though frustrated that the media were linking him to the indictment and tarnishing his presidency, he cheered that the ­charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were focused primarily on activities that began before his campaign. Trump tweeted at 10:28 a.m., “there is NO COLLUSION!”

But the president’s celebration was short-lived. A few minutes later, court documents were unsealed showing that George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

Ohhhh, so it was Ok when he was able to throw Manafort under the bus. It’s only money laundering, it’s Paul’s problem. Whew! Dodged a bullet. DOH! Papadopolous has been talking and probably wearing a wire. S%^*! He could bring it all down. How to distance himself?

Note that Papadopolous was an “unpaid” foreign policy advisor. See?? He was a volunteer!! We didn’t even pay him. What a putz.

Not paying his advisors was a notable feature of Trump’s campaign. I wonder why that is? Oh look, here’s another article from 2016 about Trump stiffing his policy staff during the campaign. Nope, I see no reason why there would be any disloyalty.

You might notice that the indictments have nothing to do with wrongdoing by Trump. No, he was just raised to win. What’s the problem? This is what winners sometimes have to do. It’s Manafort’s problem if he got caught. People like Donald are above all that. And you know how he knows? Because as president he can pardon everyone. It’s good to be the king. And it reinforces what he’s experienced all his life. He gets praise, a pass, the ability to make others take the blame for anything he does from money laundering to bankruptcy. Surely he’s doing something right. There’s no incentive for him to behave otherwise. This life is working so well for him.

Matt Miller and Virginia Heffernan discusses Mueller’s tactics and strategy on Trumpcast and concluded that Mueller knows a lot more than he’s letting on and he’s investigating this case as if he is dealing with La Cosa Nostra. It’s a criminal enterprise not unlike organized crime and we should not be surprised at what they were prepared to do to win the White House. It’s a good thing Papadopolous flew under the radar because otherwise, he might have had to go into a witness protection program.

If I were one of the people Papadopolous tagged next, I’d be very nervous. Putin doesn’t fuck around with witnesses and there’s no reason for us to assume that anyone who works for Trump has any scruples either.

*************************************

I’m going to guess that the right wing Wurlitzer is going to be latching on to Tony Podesta’s mini fall from grace to paint John Podesta as well. Guilt by association and all that.

I don’t know the Podesta family dynamics but from my own experience I can tell you that not all siblings are alike. I’m the only liberal in my family. One sibling is a conservative and the other is a foaming at the mouth gun-totin’, judgmental fundamentalist, creationist, global warming denying blow hard in the Army. So, basically your worst troll nightmare who is only redeemed by his military service. He takes after my mom.

I am the black sheep.

So, you know, even people in the same house can grow up with completely different values and social consciences.

It happens.

Re: Halloween

Ok, how many former JW kids out there snuck out of the house at least once to go trick or treating? Raise your hands.

Thought so.

This one goes out to all you Walking Dead fans. By the way, George Romero filmed one of his zombie movies in the closest mall to my house.

Yeah, THAT mall.