Saturday, February 27, 2021

Trump's 4 Years of Vilifying American Journalists Has Taken a Toll

Journalists have always faced the possibility of violence when covering news events, but after four years of Trump claiming reporters were the enemy of the people it's gotten worse.

Images of angry men and women desecrating "The People's House," was a natural progression after years of Trump's attacks on American institutions.

Alexander Marquardt, CNN's senior national security correspondent watched the riot in horror.

After returning to the U.S. in 2018 after a decade of covering hot spots like Egypt, Libya and Turkey, Marquardt said he never felt so vulnerable than he did on Jan 6th.

It's a sad fact that journalists around the world are facing more threats and intimidation, according to several studies.

It's also true that many American journalists are attacked by the police during demonstrations.

Take Linda Tirado who was covering a protest in Minneapolis. She was shot in the face by police with a "less-lethal" munition.

The incident last summer left her blind in one eye.

She said that she was not the victim of an accident, but a conspiracy, involving city leaders, police, and recently retired union boss (and Trump rally speaker) Bob Kroll to tolerate rank-and-file officers targeting the press.

She filed a court case and the judge has given it the "go-ahead."

Trip Jennings, who has worked for PBS and National Geographic, told Insider last June - just weeks after Linda Tirado was shot - that he believes he was likewise targeted by Portland law enforcement officers with a less-lethal round.

Fortunately for Jennings he was wearing protective eyewear.

As a journalist I can relate to these stories of abuse. It pisses me off that Trump has made things so much worse for my collogues.

It's going to take a lot of court cases and new laws protecting journalists for things to improve.

Meanwhile, keep your heads down my friends, and continue to do your very necessary work.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Republicans Gather for Grievance Event: Pity Party Includes Kissing Trump's Ring

This morning conservative commentators, activists, and conspiracy mongers are gathering in Orlando, Florida.

The occasion is the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Traditionally the Republican Party uses the event to plot their direction forward. This year however, is different.

The gathering of the tribe involves discarding traditional conservative goals and promoting one man as their supreme leader. This weekend is going to be no different that the usual Trump rally, but it's going to last longer.

The party leadership is going to be busy kissing Trump's ring... and ass, in a craven display of servitude.

The Republican Trump Party have been animated the last four years by rage, grievance and above all - fealty to Trump. 

The former president, who was impeached twice, will have a compliant audience. Recent polls shop the majority of Republicans falsely believe the election was stolen.

Based upon the programs listed the conference appears to be less about mapping the party's future than relitigating its past.

The bottom line is the event is going to be more of a pity party than an actionable way forward. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Lady Gaga's Dogs Stolen in Broad Daylight: Nationwide Dog Walkers Are At Risk

The pantheon of dangerous jobs in America has just expanded to include dog walkers.

Lady Gaga's dog walker was shot four times in the chest while taking her beloved canines for their daily walk yesterday.

Apparently two men in baseball caps approached Ryan Fischer and shot him before stealing Lady Gaga's French bull dogs, Koji, Miss Asia, and Gustav.

Miss Asia somehow escaped and was discovered later by the police.

When police arrived at the scene Fischer was unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Why did those two men go to such an extreme to steal the dogs?

One thing is for sure, French bulldogs are notoriously expensive to buy. At this point, no one knows if it was a random attack, or if the thieves knew it was Lady Gaga's dogs.

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of the dogs with "no questions asked" according to news reports.

The whole incident highlights a very real problem that is increasing daily: Bulldog thefts nationwide.

Read: The Rise of French Bulldog Theft: What You need to Know and Solve

Watch: CRIME ALERT video: Dog Held For Ransom

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Political Disinformation on Trial

Finally, there's going to be an accounting for spreading lies and conspiracy theories in politics.

Pushed too far, the voting technology companies Dominion and Smartmatic have both brought libel actions against former president Trump's allies and attorneys, along with Fox News for spreading harmful untruths and conspiracy theories about the companies' roll in the 2020 election.

Yesterday Dominion announced it's suing Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, for 1.3 billion over his baseless accusations of election fraud.

Disinformation is on trial

In recent years, libel law has been weaponized to generate publicity, to score political points and to extract revenge on critics.

These actions either have been dismissed or are highly unlikely to succeed on the merits as they go forward.

Smartmatic is suing a number of parties - Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as Fox News and hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro.

It's important to note that these cases come at a time of growing concern about the roll of disinformation in American politics.

They could be consequential. If successful, the cases will set a new standard for truth telling. Something this country desperately needs.

Facts are facts. Fiction is fiction. The two don't co-mingle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

How Did This Happen? Lawmakers Examine Capitol Riot

What led to the coup attempt at the nation's capitol by Trump and his followers?

Lawmakers today are questioning law enforcement officials reactions to the riot.

Here's a Live link to the hearing

The hearing Today before a pair of senate committees will include testimony from three officials who resigned after rioters disrupted the joint sessions of Congress, imperiling lawmakers and Vice-President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the vote count that cemented Joe Biden's win over Trump.

The joint hearing before the Rules Committee and the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to focus on why officials weren't better prepared for the attack and why it took so long to repel the mob from a building that had been considered one of the most secure in the world.

The hearing is just the beginning in understanding what happened on January 6th as there will be other hearings (federal and civil) in the near future.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Trump's Worst Nightmare Comes True: Supreme Court Clears The Way For NY Prosecutors

After years of fighting in court to keep his tax records secret the Supreme Court cleared the way for their release today.

What this means

The grand jury investigation in Manhattan will no longer be hampered by Trump's fight to keep the documents secret.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance finally has the tools to take down the former president.

Trump's kingmaking activities are threatened by the very real possibility of going to prison.

The Republican Party is going to be thrown in further chaos with Trump's dilemma as his minions scramble to support him.

The grand jury subpoenas span documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including his tax returns, from Trump's long time accounting firm, Mazars.

Trump has managed to use the courts to protect his corruption from being revealed for years. But that avenue has finally been blocked by the Supreme Court.

Now it's time for justice to prevail.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Republican Voters: 'What's Wrong With Believing Lies?'

CNN's Fareed Zakaria made a powerful statement this morning; "Republican voters are use to their politicians lying to them."

At first, the claim sounds like something a partisan hack would spew while stereotyping the opposition.

Not so.

One; Zakaria is not a partisan hack and is a highly respected journalist and political commentator on TV. He's also an author.

Two; Because the GOP is divided between real conservatives and Trump cult followers, you have two divergent views trying to co-exist as a party.

The traditional Republicans know they've been lied to by Trump, but are afraid of his popularity, and have settled for a mulligan and kept their mouths shut.

The Party of Trump, far right extremists of every stripe, believes everything their divine leader spouts. His words are their commandments. 

Even though reality constantly exposes Trump's lies - Stop the Steal - his minions gladly suspend any common sense they have in favor of pleasing Lord Bone Spurs.

The consensus that our former president who was impeached twice during his disastrous time in office, is now a kingmaker makes my head spin.

It just goes to show how f**ked up our country is when a con man is still trying to overturn democracy from his lair in Florida.

The 'Hitman' That Tried To Kill Our Electoral System: Jan. 6 House Select Committee Seeks Reckoning For Instigators

When Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn called Trump a " hitman" during the first meeting of the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, I ...