Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Will Their Most Valuable Fan Get A Comp Sub?

Can Trump insist that every WiFi-enabled device in the White House pay for a sub on the government’s dime?


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On the other hand, there’s one WH occupant who’s apparently about to have lots of free time to stream:

Given Kushner’s debts, maybe he can set up a YouTube channel with his reactions live from the West Wing — I hear that’s a cutting-edge monetization platform these days…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Learning NOTHING from History

Mitt Romney is once again trying to kill me — and his own chances. (There’s only so much my blood pressure can handle.) We are told that Trump is about as popular among Mormons as Aunt Vidalisa’s potato salad that put half the family in the ER after last year’s reunion picnic, so *WHY* is Mitt crawling to him for affirmation?

Think I’ll have to throw some cash at Jenny Wilson, in protest, even if The Smart Take is that a pro-life choice woman can’t win in Utah…

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In related news, an excellent warning from one journo to her fellows:


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Unilever Threatens Boycott of Facebook and Google

I find this encouraging. I have curtailed my Facebook and Twitter interactions dramatically since the election, but I’m not naive, these services are not going away anytime soon. They are fun, keep you in touch with family and friends, can assist in a revolution, and let you interact with politicians, businesses and celebrities – but at the moment their dark side is pretty damn dark.

Unilever has threatened to boycott Facebook and Google if the tech giants fail to efficiently police extremist and illegal content.

“We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing,” Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at Unilever, said Monday.

In a speech delivered at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, California, Weed said tech companies were to blame for creating a “swamp” in which fake news and criminal content were being circulated.

Unilever, which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, said the tech space needed to review transparency measures and improve consumer trust in an era of illegal content.

The whole thing is worth a read.

 

Roger McNamee seems to be a controversial subject lately, but I saw an interview with him and that lead me to read this article at the Washington Post. 

 

I  don’t know if any of this will make a difference, but the more light shined on extremist groups and bots on these platforms, the less likely they’ll be able to continue to ignore them.



In Like Quinn

Life comes at you fast:

A controversial blogger who calls herself a “friend” of neo-Nazis was tapped to join the New York Times editorial board on Tuesday — but rapidly pulled her nomination after an avalanche of backlash ensued.

Quinn Norton — whose previous work includes a lengthy essay sympathetic to the notorious neo-Nazi Internet troll known as Weev — was supposed to join the newspaper as a “lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology,” according to a statement Tuesday.

“We’re excited to have Quinn to help our readers understand what’s possible and what’s sensible, and where we’re all headed,” The Times said in the statement.

But The Gray Lady backpedaled on that glowing assessment of Norton after Twitter users pointed to her checkered past.

I know nothing about Quinn. Nothing.

But I do know we don’t need voices sympathetic to Nazis when we’ve gone a bunch in the White House.



Fox News Confirmation Bias Cycle: Exhibit A

We’ve discussed at length the destructive effects of Fox News. We’ve marveled at the network’s ability to sell “up” as “down” and “black” as “white” to a significant portion of U.S. citizens, thus undermining a pillar of democracy — an informed citizenry — and compromising the concept of “truth” itself.

The Fox News effect a deliberate and decades-long project that culminated in the installation of a pathological liar in the White House. Predictably, the pressure to reconcile said liar’s continuous string of falsehoods with reality has caused the Republican Party and its media arm to become even more unmoored from the truth.

This is bad news for the republic, obviously. But I wonder if the party’s wholesale estrangement from reality might cause it to make dumb mistakes that fatally dent its credibility with anyone outside the Trump base?

Exhibit A is the current furor in wingnut circles over a partially declassified memo filed by National Security Adviser Susan Rice on her last day on the job. Here it is (image via TPM):

Now, a sane person would read that and think, “Holy shit! The outgoing president was wary of sharing information with the incoming president’s staff even before the incoming administration’s National Security Adviser and foreign policy adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their nefarious contacts with foreign nationals and before the former campaign chairman and his deputy were charged with conspiring against the United States!”

I mean, that highlighted paragraph is pretty stark, right? It straight-up says the Obama people were concerned about sharing information about Russia with the Trump people because they didn’t trust Team Trump to safeguard national security. Subsequent events, including Trump blurting out top secret information to the visiting Russian foreign minister and ambassador a few months after taking office, sorta validates the Obama team’s suspicions. Not to mention the aforementioned guilty pleas and charges of conspiracy!

But that’s not how the memo is being received on the right. Republicans have always had a weird antipathy to the no-nonsense Ms. Rice. (Can’t imagine why! Not.) They spent millions of dollars and countless hours pretending that a set of bland talking points from Ms. Rice’s shop after the Benghazi incident was evidence of a treasonous conspiracy.

Their takeaway from this Rice memo is that it is evidence that the Obama team was out to frame Trump for collusion with Russia and to cover their tracks by asserting on the record that the investigation had been handled “by the book.” Here’s a representative sample of how the memo is being treated from a Fox & Friends segment this morning — one of four so far today on this topic:

Forget the Fox News audience for a moment. (Actually, forget them forever; they’re unreachable, so fuck ’em.) The danger here — for Trump and his enablers — is that the feedback loop hasn’t just ensnared rage-grandpas lolling on recliners nationwide. Chuck Grassley caused the memo to be released, complete with the damning contemporaneous account of the Obama team’s suspicions about Trump’s inner circle, because Grassley thinks it’s such a red-hot gotcha.

Lindsey Graham appeared on a later Fox & Friends segment to reinforce that message. And if he’s not live-tweeting Fox & Friends already, Trump will eventually get around to advancing the same narrative, probably in gloating tweets in which he refers to himself in the third person and in scare quotes.

Grassley, Nunes, Graham — and Trump — have become so caught up in preaching to the choir that they’ve forgotten it’s not just the congregation who hears them. This was evident in their attempt to make Carter Page a national security overreach martyr, and it’s even more evident with the Rice memo.

Not content to crow about it on Fox News, Grassley indignantly issued a letter to Ms. Rice demanding answers to a string of questions about the memo. Grassley may get more of an answer than he expects.



Late Night Comic Relief Open Thread: Weathervane Senses Wind Shift

Chuck Todd don’t care that Trump is a sexist, racist, xenophobic liar, but he has very strong feelings about the “dignity” of… the political press, as represented by Chuck Todd. And every single day, Donald Trump clues a few more rubes in on the gaff. If it’s all a cheapjack game show, why pay Chuck Todd seven figures for what so many bloggers will give away for free?
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If You are Reading This, You Have No Government

Rand Paul and the Republicans:

Then, as an expected vote approached in the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) began to throw up roadblocks, demanding a vote on an amendment that would demonstrate how the two-year budget deal breaks past pledges to rein in federal spending.

GOP leaders refused to allow him to offer the amendment, arguing that if Paul got an amendment vote many other senators might want one, too. Paul, in turn, refused to allow the vote to go forward, making use of Senate rules that allow individual senators to slow down proceedings that require the consent of all.

“I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits,” Paul said on the Senate floor as evening pushed into night.

Paul objected after a visibly irritated McConnell tried to move to a vote. Then Paul launched into a lengthy floor speech deriding bipartisan complicity on deficit spending while the country goes “on and on and on finding new wars to fight that make no sense.” The senator direly predicted a “day of reckoning,” possibly in the form of the collapse of the stock market.

That’s not the lede of the story. It took them 9 grafs to get to Rand. “Congressional dysfunction” was in the lede.