Breaking: The US Is Withdrawing From Syria (According To Trump)

We (the royal we) are declaring victory.

[I use screenshots of Trump’s tweets for two reasons: not to give him the clicks, and sometimes he deletes them.]

This is something of a surprise to everyone, although he attempted it some months back, only to be stopped by those in the administration who want a war against Iran or maybe Russia.

I tend to agree with the folks who say it’s the right policy decision, but badly executed. Additionally, it may well be reversed when those desiring a war with Iran or Russia get into the Oval Office for a friendly chat. Developing.

Open thread.



But Seriously: Stop Giving Liars A Platform!


 
Margaret Sullivan, former NYTimes Public Editor, subtweets the suits who eliminated her position rather than use the L-word:

Lies are coming at the American public in torrents — raining down on them everywhere they turn.

A report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and obtained by The Washington Post, made that breathtakingly clear over the weekend. The intentional spreading of disinformation on every platform — from Facebook all the way to PayPal — should frighten everyone who cares about democracy.

One place that truth can prevail is in the reality-based news media, where editorial judgment comes into play.

That means it’s more important than ever not to give falsehoods a megaphone there.

Which brings us to Chris Cuomo’s 39-minute interview Thursday with Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s top dissembler.

It should have been no surprise that Conway — who coined the immortal phrase “alternative facts” in early 2017 — blithely spun her way through the interview…

Perhaps most absurd among Conway’s declarations was her objection to Cuomo’s referring to Trump as a liar, although she wouldn’t repeat the term. “You’re saying he’s not telling the truth. That’s a slur. That’s a slur.”…

The news media continues — even now when it should know better — to be addicted to “both sides” journalism. In the name of fairness, objectivity and respect for the office of the presidency, it still seems to take Trump — along with his array of deceptive surrogates — at his word, while knowing full well that his word isn’t good.

When major news organizations publish tweets and news alerts that repeat falsehoods merely because the president uttered them, it’s the same kind of journalistic malpractice as offering a prime interview spot to Kellyanne Conway…

When news organizations hand a megaphone to lies — or liars — they do actual harm. What the president himself says must be reported, of course, but only within the context of what we know.

To state it without immediate, adjacent reference to factual reality is to enter the Kellyanne Zone.

In an era rife with disinformation — and American democracy teetering on a precipice — that’s the wrong place to be.

Current NYTimes TV critic, who should know:



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Aren’t They All Just Proud Boyz, Though?

Per the original story, in the Washington Post:

In an interview with a website associated with the party, King (R-Iowa) declared that “Western civilization is on the decline,” spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world.

King spoke to the Unzensuriert site Aug. 24 in Vienna, a day after concluding a five-day journey to Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in Poland, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The trip, including airfare to and from Europe, was financed by From the Depths, an international nonprofit group that seeks to educate lawmakers about the Holocaust.

Unzensuriert, which translates as “Uncensored,” is a publication associated with Austria’s Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer and is now led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi circles as a youth. While the party has distanced itself from those connections, it recently embraced a hard-line anti-immigration stance while seeking ties with other far-right parties and leaders abroad.

“What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?” King said in the interview. “Mexican food, Chinese food, those things — well, that’s fine. But what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price? We have a lot of diversity within the U.S. already.”…

In an interview Thursday, King… accused his “political opposition” of “ginning this up” ahead of the Nov. 6 election…
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Excellent Read: “Kavanaugh & the Blackout Theory”

First, some comforting news — everyone can read Paul Bronks’ twitter feed again!


 
I guess Saturday night is either the worst or the best time to post these links. The Washington Post has an article (from an ex-Yale prof!) warning Many teens drink. Rich ones like Kavanaugh are more likely to abuse alcohol. Affluence is a risk factor for dangerous behavior”.

In the NYTimes, Sarah Hepola:

One of the trickiest things about blackouts is that you don’t necessarily know you’re having one. I wrote a memoir, so centered around the slips of memory caused by heavy drinking that it is actually called “Blackout,” and in the years since its 2015 release, I’ve heard from thousands of people who experienced them. No small number of those notes contain some version of this: “For years, I was having blackouts without knowing what they were.” Blackouts are like a philosophical riddle inside a legal conundrum: If you can’t remember a thing, how do you know it happened?…

There are two kinds of blackouts. The more common is fragmentary, where slivers of the night are missing. The more extreme version is “en bloc,” where several hours can be wiped from the memory drive. Fragmentary blackouts start at a blood alcohol concentration of about 0.2, though they’ve been found at lower levels; everyone’s brain is different. En bloc blackouts happen closer to 0.3, and it’s worth noting that at 0.35, it is estimated that about half of drinkers will die, so blackout drinkers are getting up there.

A common bonding experience in drinking circles is “piecing the night together”— friends sitting around the next day, laughing as they scroll through text messages and camera rolls, trying to fill in the gaps in one another’s memories. Some of the missing dots are easy to connect: Oh, that’s right, we went to the bar! Others might be confounding: Wait, we went to a BAR?

“Piecing things together” is a phrase that jumped out at me when I read Judge Kavanaugh’s 2014 speech to the Yale Law School Federalist Society, in which he describes drunken heroics as a routine part of campus life; Senator Richard Blumenthal also leapt on this at the hearing, although Judge Kavanaugh deflected the inquiry, as he did every question about any possible dark side to his consumption…
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Stoking the Conspiracy Fantasists: Like A Spark to Tinder

I haven’t wanted to post about the California wildfires because, from this distance, it feels like indulging in disaster porn. “We” have seriously fvcked up another gorgeous chunk of the only planet currently available, and the locals are paying for that in some of the most dramatic footage possible, thoughts & prayers.

But there’s no “natural” tragedy that can’t be made worse… Per the Washington Post:

The arrest was made as more than 18 fires across the state continue to endanger the lives of thousands, including hundreds of firefighters and first responders working around the clock. One, the Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California, is the largest wildfire in California history. Yosemite National Park has been closed “indefinitely” because of smoke from another fire…

The Holy Fire, which started in the Holy Jim Canyon area, has been burning in Southern California since Monday, with more than 600 firefighters assigned to fight it. Two firefighters have been treated for heat-related injuries. The fire remains only 5 percent contained.

Mike Milligan, 71, who calls himself a volunteer fire firefighter and chief, said in an interview with The Washington Post that he has been flagging problems with suspect Forrest Gordon Clark for more than three years. He said he alerted the U.S. Forest Service that “you have to do something or he’s going to kill someone or burn this place down.”

Milligan said he received several texts from Clark last week threatening to start a fire.

“In a text, he said this place ‘is going to burn just like we planned,’ ” Milligan said, adding that he reported it to the sheriff’s office and again to the U.S. Forest Service. “Why the hell didn’t they respond? I reported this over and over again.”
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