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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

Journal Archives

Trump treated the pandemic as "The Apprentice: COVID Edition": It's blowing up in his face

Trump treated the pandemic as "The Apprentice: COVID Edition": It's blowing up in his face
Trump distorts CDC info and spreads vaccine lies because he thinks faking it is always better than doing any work

SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 5:07PM (UTC)

(Salon) It's hardly new or revelatory to say this, but it's critical to remember the role that "The Apprentice" played in turning Donald Trump, a notoriously bad businessman with a string of bankruptcies, into an American icon of capitalist success. Everything from careful editing to set designers giving the dreary Trump Organization offices a glow-up came together to create the illusion of success where only failure and mediocrity had been before.

It was an experience so profound for Trump that he did something highly unusual: He learned something. He absorbed the idea that a well-constructed illusion of competence gets you all the benefits of being accomplished, without having to do the hard work of actually achieving anything.

Unfortunately, it was a lesson we are all paying the price for now.

On Thursday evening, the New York Times published an exposé about how the Trump White House forced the CDC to publish dangerously misleading coronavirus testing recommendations on its website.

The new "guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus," Apoorva Mandavilli writes, noting that actual public health experts at the agency strenuously objected because the virus is often spread by asymptomatic people and vigorous testing is crucial to preventing that. ..........(more)


Mississippi replaces Michigan in The Big Ten, according to White House flub

(Detroit Metro Times) First, Fox News erroneously reported that Michigan was about to get struck by Hurricane Sally last week, and now, Michigan is getting booted from The Big Ten for Mississippi? No offense, Mississippi, but now this is personal.

According to a congratulatory announcement made by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday, Michigan's teams are no longer included in the 14 teams that make up The Big Ten. Instead, she listed Mississippi as one of the states whose teams should be popping bottles over the return of Big Ten football, after months of frustration from coaches, players, and fans, many of whom demanded the season resume despite COVID-19 concerns.

“I just spoke with the President, and he wanted to thank the commissioner of Big Ten football Kevin Warren and all of the players, parents, coaches, and fans — who wanted more than anything to play football,” McEnany in a video.

“The President was happy to get this thing going, and now you will have players in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Nebraska, who will now have access to football" ......(more)


Trump's 1776 commission is proof America is spiraling toward fascism

Trump's 1776 commission is proof America is spiraling toward fascism
Arwa Mahdawi

Trump is setting up the commission to teach students ‘the miracle of American history’ – which sounds like a core part of the fascist process of taking power
Sat 19 Sep 2020 09.00 EDT

(Guardian UK) Gilead here we come

Can we use the F word yet? Can we finally admit that America is dipping its feet in fascism? Armed militias are roaming the streets; Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to discredit the results of the 2020 election; the press has been labelled the “enemy of the people”; there are credible allegations that migrant women in detention camps are being coerced into having their uteruses removed; “anti-fascists” have been branded public enemy number one. And now Trump has announced a “national commission to support patriotic education” – in other words, a racist propaganda program.

“Leftwing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” Trump declared in a speech on Thursday. He went on to condemn critical race theory and the 1619 Project, the New York Time’s Pulitzer-prize winning initiative to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery at the center. “[T]he crusade against American history is toxic propaganda [that] will destroy our country,” he announced. Per Trump, the only way to save the United States is to revise its history entirely; to gloss over violent colonialism and slavery and pretend America doesn’t have a bigoted bone in its body. Which is why, Trump said, he is setting up a 1776 Commission to teach students “about the miracle of American history”. Well, “miracle” is certainly one way to describe something completely made-up.

The federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction over school curriculum – but don’t let that reassure you into thinking that Trump’s 1776 Commission is pure puff. Whenever Trump comes out with an outrageous plan there are always people rushing to point out that he won’t actually be able to follow through with it; that checks and balances will stop him. But Trump has already stormed through many of these checks and balances; he’s already normalized behaviour that would have brought down any other president. If he gets another term there are no limits to what he might do; hello re-education camps, goodbye reproductive rights! And that, ultimately, is what his speech on Thursday was about; it wasn’t so much about American history as it was about America’s future. It was a promise to his base that he will Make America White Again. .............(more)


CNN's Brian Stelter: Fox News "is bigger than Trump" -- if he fights the network, he'll lose

CNN's Brian Stelter: Fox News "is bigger than Trump" — if he fights the network, he'll lose
CNN media critic on his new book and the "unhealthy relationship" between Fox News, Donald Trump and the audience

SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 11:00AM (UTC)

(Salon) Do executives at Fox News secretly hope that Donald Trump loses this November because that would be good for the network's ratings? Before you dismiss that as crazy talk, given the record ratings Fox News has seen during Trump's presidency, realize that Fox could see even higher ratings when it no longer has to defend Trump's unpredictable words and deeds and can solely focus on what Brian Stelter calls its "secret sauce": attacking Democrats and liberals.

Stelter, the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and author of the new book, "Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth," raised that very scenario during our "Salon Talks" conversation. As he explains it, Fox News has always been more comfortable attacking Democratic administrations, which traditionally has yielded a ratings boon for the network. "The network in a Biden presidency is almost a situation where tails you win and heads you win," he said. Fox News might face other problems with Trump as a former president, however. Stelter describes Trump as the Frankenstein monster that Fox News helped create, and as in the tale of Frankenstein, he could end up turning against his creator and starting a competing right-wing network.

In our recent conversation, Stelter also addressed Trump's nonstop attacks on the media, which Stelter says have taken a toll on the credibility of the Fourth Estate: "He has said 'fake news' and 'hoax' so many times that it has poisoned the public discourse. It's like a slow-acting poison that kind of gradually moves to the veins of the American body. And we can't fully know what the impacts are of that yet."


Your book "Hoax" is like a feedback loop. Does Trump drive Fox News, does Fox News drive Trump, or does it move back and forth all the time?

It is hard to tell where Fox ends and Trump begins. But if I had to choose one side of this, I would say Fox drives Trump more than Trump drives Fox. Fox has more of an agenda setting role than the President does, which is an astonishing thing to say. But when you look at the power of "Fox & Friends," when you look at the power of Sean Hannity and recently Tucker Carlson, who is achieving policy goals based on segments he produces on his show. I think it's clear that Trump is usually in a reactive mode, reacting to what he sees and hears on Fox. ..............(more)


Long kept secret, Canada's ghostly spirit bears are even rarer than thought

Long kept secret, Canada's ghostly spirit bears are even rarer than thought
Adept at catching salmon because they blend into the daylight, the white bears are small in number – yet First Nations are stepping in to help

(Guardian UK) When Marven Robinson was a kid, any mention of spirit bears was met with hushed dismissal from the elders in his community, the Gitga’at First Nation of Hartley Bay, British Columbia. Since the 19th century, Indigenous peoples in the area learned to keep the bears with ghostly coats a secret to protect them from fur traders.

As the ancient legend goes, the Wee’get (meaning the “raven,” known as the creator of the world) turned every 10th black bear white to remind people of the pristine conditions of the Ice Age.

Spirit bears are white-coated black bears that inherit their pale fur from a rare recessive gene. Known as moksgm’ol, meaning “white bear”, spirit bears are sacred to the Indigenous people who live in the Great Bear Rainforest, a 6.4m-hectare swath of land in central and northern British Columbia.

Despite growing public interest in the bruins, scientific understanding of them is still nascent. But a recent collaborative study by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Gitga’at First Nations and academic researchers has revealed that the white bear is rarer and more vulnerable than previously thought. ...............(more)


Humpback whales make 'wrong turn' into crocodile-infested river in Australia's Kakadu national park

(Guardian UK) A humpback whale has been spotted for the first time in Kakadu’s East Alligator River, and experts are concerned it may get stuck.

It is believed three whales initially entered the river and that one has remained, although it is not clear if the others have actually left or are merely staying underwater.

The unprecedented sighting has stunned locals and authorities, with scientists suggesting the whales may have just made a “wrong turn”.

“It’s never occurred before, we’ve had no records of this in the past. We’ve collaborated with the traditional owners of East Alligator River, and they’ve also never seen humpback whales in any of the alligator rivers,” Dr Carol Palmer, a senior scientist at the NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said. ............(more)


Scientists baffled by orcas ramming sailing boats near Spain and Portugal

(Guardian UK) Scientists have been left baffled by incidents of orcas ramming sailing boats along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts.

In the last two months, from southern to northern Spain, sailors have sent distress calls after worrying encounters. Two boats lost part of their rudders, at least one crew member suffered bruising from the impact of the ramming, and several boats sustained serious damage.

The latest incident occurred on Friday afternoon just off A Coruña, on the northern coast of Spain. Halcyon Yachts was taking a 36ft boat to the UK when an orca rammed its stern at least 15 times, according to Pete Green, the company’s managing director. The boat lost steering and was towed into port to assess damage.

Around the same time there were radio warnings of orca sightings 70 miles south, at Vigo, near the site of at least two recent collisions. On 30 August, a French-flagged vessel radioed the coastguard to say it was “under attack” from killer whales. Later that day, a Spanish naval yacht, Mirfak, lost part of its rudder after an encounter with orcas under the stern. ..........(more)


Militarizing the police: A long legacy of state violence is what brought us here

Militarizing the police: A long legacy of state violence is what brought us here
Police have come to resemble occupying armies, turned against their own people. It's time for a new vision

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020 10:00AM

(Salon) Jacob Blake was doing what any responsive dad and neighbor does: stepping in to break up a fight before leaving with his children. But police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Blake in the back seven times, with his three young sons watching from the car. Yet again, instead of meeting this moment with any empathy or understanding, Donald Trump sent federal law enforcement into Wisconsin in an effort to silence a community in mourning. Throughout this summer, our communities have risen up in defense of Black lives, only to be met with state violence from a militarized police force that has no interest in helping us.

The patterns are there if we look for them.

It goes like this: People around the country rise up to protest police brutality and injustice. Instead of listening and focusing on solutions aimed at the root causes of violence, the government consistently responds with additional violence and federal force. It's as if to say: You may be strong, you may be loud, you may be a movement of the people, but we have more weapons.

This is a time to keep our memory sharp.

Remember: Following the heartbreaking 2014 murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, families and community members living in the area came out in the streets to protest police brutality. What ensued was the deployment of a police force resembling an occupying army. Sniper rifles, armored vehicles and tear gas were turned on Ferguson protesters, onlookers and the media. Journalists reporting on the protests were arrested. ..........(more)


Student debt and the end of the liberal arts dream

Student debt and the end of the liberal arts dream
The corporatization of the university experience is reaching its conclusion

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020 2:00PM

(Salon) Most people know that student debt is a problem, and most people agree that "something should be done about it." The consensus opinion appears to be that something should be done because it's "not fair" to young people. According to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Charitable Trust, 80% of Americans believe that "the government should make it easier to repay student loans."

Even so, there is very little understanding of why student debt has become so burdensome in recent decades. It's as if we thought student debt were an unhappy fact of nature, like a weather front that has passed through leaving us with no option but to put on a warmer coat if we can find one, and if we can't find one, it's welcome to the Brave New World of Cold and Indifference.

And yet, it was not so long ago that things were very different. I was born in a working class suburb of San Francisco in 1951. At that time, public education was good, teachers still had some social prestige, universities were affordable (cheap actually), and few students graduated with debt. It was possible for me to sally forth without the threat of young adult bankruptcy.

In other words, at that time students were freer to choose what they wanted to study and freer to explore careers. As for me, I was free to be a student of literature and philosophy at the University of San Francisco. I learned to play the classical guitar up the hill at Lone Mountain College. I was also a longhair war resistor and draft counselor in the chaplain's office. And I was mostly sure that I wouldn't be punished for these decisions, or not punished any time soon. ...........(more)


Florida Man Joins Too Many Other Florida People at FSU Football Game in Obviously Too Crowded......

(Deadspin) Yes, college football is back, and so are fans packing the stands… Or at least in the Sunshine State.

Would we expect anything different?

As Florida State experienced a rain delay against Georgia Tech, you wouldn’t be able to tell because the stadium visibly was over 50 percent full — well over the 20-25 percent limit they announced would be a game-day crowd this season.

It’s a global pandemic going on, but what the heck… people need their college football, right? ............(more)


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