Category Archives: Blog

Wouldn’t We All Be Better Off Without Twitter?

For me, the exchange of information, much of it valid news, is a chief advantage of being on Facebook. Beyond that, there is the ability to stay in touch with friends scattered around the country and the world.

That said, I have been trying to determine what value, if any, Twitter has? It seems to me to be nothing but a vehicle for celebrities with a huge fan base to communicate their personal feelings to their fans. Their personal feelings and opinions may or may not have any informational value, they may in fact be spreading misinformation, but Twitter gives them free reign to disperse what may be blather to millions of adoring subjects without any fact checking or editing. In as much, it could be considered a purveyor of intellectual chaos.

For the rest of us, who don’t have millions of fans and who have no desire to lock horns with strangers in meaningless confrontations, what possible use does Twitter have – other than being a social networking gossip channel for kids? Why are we even using it, considering one of its most noteworthy impacts has been to assist DJT (and others like him) in threatening our democracy by giving him instant and free contact with his base? Even now, some argue that the very threat of a flurry of angry Trumpist tweets is preventing the Congress from taking action on the government shutdown.

I’m pretty sure the founders never imagined anything like this when they came up with the First Amendment. Extending freedom of the press to the massive white noise that is Twitter, is quite a stretch. Or maybe not? How far can and should free speech be extended with regard to all this new technology?

So why are so many of us still using it? Could it be because we continue hoping it will fulfill some promise of providing us with something – a credibility perhaps, or a purpose that gives it value – that simply is not there?

Is Twitter potentially too dangerous, too politically and culturally toxic, to be left to its own devices? Like putting a loaded shotgun in the hands of a small child? Equally troubling is the obvious fact that much of the Congress is largely ignorant as to how the Internet functions, much less the way dozens of various applications might impact our national security.

Who Will Make It Stop?

With the current partial shutdown and Trump’s obvious affinity for the Russians, my thinking keeps returning to Steve Bannon’s vow to push forward with the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

At what point does “deconstruction” cross over into destruction?

Coupled with the chaos of Brexit, we should all be wondering not whether, but the degree to which both the U.S. and the British are being played by the Russians. Only our law enforcement and intelligence agencies can protect us, but Donald Trump continues bloviating against them as well as our traditional allies and NATO. Why? Surely, you can’t think he came up with all of this himself?

It is to Russia’s advantage to split up the EU, and to throw the U.S. Government into chaos while America pulls her troops out of Syria with Donald Trump spouting ridiculous revisionist history with regard to the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan, an act nearly as repulsive as his sycophantic display in Helsinki.

Is this really so difficult to understand? Are there any Republicans left who care more for the long-term good of the nation, the survival of our American democracy, than for their own short-term political advantage?

To what degree are they willing to continue selling us out? How much farther will this political charade be permitted to go before Mitch McConnell allows a bill to be introduced on the floor of the Senate that reclaims congressional oversight of the executive? Surely the fact that McConnell’s wife and brother-in-law are both employed by Trump, wouldn’t have any influence with regard to his responsibilities as Senate Majority Leader?

Russians, Russians, Everywhere…

The Brits are all agog about Theresa May surviving a no-confidence vote by her conservative party in the midst of the continuing fight over Brexit.  And they should be  It’s a big deal.  It means they won’t have to go through the pain of choosing a new Prime Minister.  However, with a vote of 200 for May and 117 against, she is still anything but popular within the ranks of her own party.   It’s also a sign that the British Government is as chaotic or perhaps even more chaotic than the U.S. Government under Donald J. Trump.

What I cannot understand, is the absolute absence of any discussion about the degree to which the Russians might have influenced the original Brexit vote.   A referendum which, a great many British now regret.   Hence, the chaos.

A report, commissioned by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee some months ago, points to concerns about possible Russian influence over Brexit, as British finance laws have loopholes allowing non-British companies to funnel money into British politics without being detected.   According to a piece in The Guardian,  “This opacity,…may have enabled Russian-related money to be directed with insufficient scrutiny to various UK political actors………Investigative journalists have also raised questions about the sources of sudden and possibly illicit wealth that may have been directed to support the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign.”

Whether Russian money found its way into the hands of Brexit supporters or not, it’s fascinating that the United States has a similar problem following the Supreme Court’s decision in the “Citizens United” case, which also allows the flow of “dark money” into our political arena.   So, who really knows what the Russians may or  many not be up to?

All we do know is that the U.K. and the U.S. are in political chaos, with a President in the United States who appears to be a lap dog for Vladimir Putin and British politicians who have forgotten that the Russians may have had a hand, or may still have a hand in the whole Brexit mess, which is spilling over into the rest of Europe.

Sounds like the ingredients for a counter-intelligence board game or possibly something Russian intelligence dreamed up to throw the world’s democracies into chaos.  However, I wouldn’t dare suggest that.  I don’t want anybody calling me a conspiracy theory nut.

With all this going on one wonders how much time President Trump, who seems to be into Vladimir Putin to the point of bromantic adoration,  has invested in seeing to it that our political process is protected from Russian hacking as another election approaches?   He hasn’t said a word about it, has he?  Not lately, anyway.

Not to worry though.  President Puffery is going after that border wall thing with a vengeance.  That’s at least as important as the security of our electoral process or the stability of European democracies.

Trump’s First Real Challenge – Avoiding World War III

A conspiracy-minded person might wonder if  Vladimir Putin is going to let the situation in Ukraine continue building to a flash-point for WW III, before bringing in Trump for talks that will completely defuse the situation – with the purpose of rebuilding whatever image Trump has left in the U.S.   Sounds like something Russian intelligence would come up with, doesn’t it?

The other possibility is that the Russians have no further use for Trump,  that they are giving up on him as their political tool,  while they risk another world war by blocking off the Sea of Azov and possibly seizing more real estate by marching farther into the Ukraine.

Recent court filings, sentencing recommendations  in the Southern District of NY and from Robert Mueller, which point to Donald Trump being a felon  are big news, but the obvious hazards of the situation in Ukraine and the potential economic explosion from the arrest of one of China’s top business executives, the CFO of Huawei,  Meng Wanzhou, in Canada at the request of the United States,  are as big or bigger.   Huawei, is an electronics giant.  Wanzhou, is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei,  who is a former military technologist with the People’s Liberation Army.

Think of Bill Gates daughter being arrested while changing planes in Venezuela at the request of the People’s Republic of China.   Think the U.S. would be the least little bit upset?

We now have a Chinese dragon by the tail and are coming nose-to-nose with the Russian bear with intemperate and uninformed Donald Trump taking the point on handling what could be his first great geopolitical challenge while John Kelly, one of the few adults still standing,  makes an exit from the White House.  All the while, alleged Republican leaders continue their flirtatious relationship with treason by refusing to take greater control by reigning in this pretend president, putting the country and the world in ever-greater danger.

Instead of taking care of geopolitical business in the form of a clear and present danger from the Russians and this current president’s obvious inability to deal with it, the Republicans are behind closed doors in show-hearings for their base,  again asking  former FBI Director Comey about Hillary’s emails.    Their behavior represents extreme negligence.  At long last do they have no shame?

It may be time to look up from the football game and pay more attention to politics.

East Coast Media Fails To Give Adequate Coverage To California Wildfires

A friend in Oakland, CA, wrote yesterday, telling me the smoke is so thick in the bay area that he can’t go outside for more than twenty or thirty minutes before his eyes and throat start to burn.  Concerned, I got up this morning and turned to Morning Joe on MSNBC,  and then CNN, hoping to get the latest on the wildfires that continue to ravage the nation’s most populous state.   What I saw was disappointing.

CNN, gave the story all of two minutes, with no context at all.  No word on what, if anything, continues to burn or where.  Nothing about the air quality over vast portions of the state, even in areas like Oakland, which isn’t near a burn area.   At least I don’t think there’s any active fire close to Oakland at this time.  It’s difficult to tell, with such poor coverage.   Not a single frame of video from Southern California for example, where fires continue to burn, and even now, evacuees are just being allowed to return to their homes.

CNN did do a live interview with California Congressman, Ted Lieu, but not to discuss the wildfires.  They brought him out to talk about whether Nancy Pelosi will be able to regain the position of Speaker of the House.   Congressman Lieu, forced the issue.   The first words out of his mouth were to express concern for the people of California and to thank first responders who continue fighting the fires.  The anchors immediately changed the subject back to Nancy Pelosi and said not another word about the wildfires.   It almost felt as though they were afraid to talk about it.   Is California on another planet?

Two minutes for such a massive disaster impacting so many people?  Why?  East coast bias?  Is that why the major news outlets all but ignore California, even though more than 600 people are now missing or unaccounted for with the number of dead from the Camp Fire at 63?   The Camp Fire in northern Calif alone, has destroyed more than 11,000 structures including 9,700 homes and 290 businesses.   52,000 people had to evacuate as the fire has now grown to 140,000 acres.   Conditions, apparently meaning the wind, temperature and low humidity,  are expected to grow worse over the coming weekend.

According to one source, containment of the Camp Fire, is at something around 40%.  I really don’t know, from watching CNN and MSNBC, as they said nothing about containment or where the fire is still burning, or whether anyone or anything continues to be threatened.   If MSNBC is going to cover nothing but politics, okay, fine.  But I do seem to remember them providing hurricane coverage?  And CNN?  There is no excuse for what CNN is failing to cover if they wish to be considered a news outlet offering something more than political punditry.   Remember their hurricane coverage?  They were all over it, but then, that was an east coast story, wasn’t it?

In Southern California, down by Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire, has now grown to something above 98,000 acres.  Some residents are being allowed to return to their homes in the Malibu, Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley areas.   Containment here, is said to be around 57%.

To their credit, NBC, did send Lester Holt to California, but their reporting lacked context, presumably because they no longer have the kind of fully-staffed bureaus they once had in the west, and understanding the scope and scale of California is not something you can pick up in a few hours at the scene.    It’s not the reporter’s fault, it’s the companies they work for.

Imagine more than six hundred people unaccounted for with 52,000 evacuated and smoke so thick that you can’t go outdoors, and all of it happening from New York City down to South Carolina.   Think the networks would be giving that more coverage than they’re now giving California,  our most populous state with the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world?   They’d be all over it, 24 hours a day seven days a week.  Like they cover hurricanes or winter storms that hit the east coast.

Don’t tell me the east coast media has no anti-west coast bias.   I have friends in California and I think about it every day the state continues to burn.    Calif should get considerably more coverage tomorrow when Donald Trump arrives dragging the White House press corps with him.   I wonder if he’ll throw paper towels to the evacuees?

Message From The Los Angeles Press Club

 

We Support Jim Acosta

AND A FREE PRESS

Ron,

The Los Angeles Press Club stands in unity with the National Press Club, the New York Press Club, the White House Correspondents’ Association and all journalist organizations and media outlets that band together in support of the ousted CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

We call for the immediate reinstatement of Jim Acosta’s credentials and defend the right of Acosta and all other White House reporters to question the president without being threatened, retaliated against or being called the enemy of the people.

The LA Press Club joins the NY Press Club in offering participation in any joint statement or action on the part of media organizations to end the Trump administration’s attempts to interfere with coverage critical of the president.

The hostility against the press, whether it be Jim Acosta or Tucker Carlson, not only threatens the safety of journalists but Democracy itself.

“As President Trump knows better than anyone, the press is not the enemy of the people,” said Chris Palmeri, the club’s president. “We’re the guardians of the truth.”

A Free Press is the Pillar of Democracy. #NotTheEnemy

The New American Abby Normal

Remember that great bit in “Young Frankenstein,” when the doctor’s assistant, played by Marty Feldman, robs the brain depository and inadvertently comes back with a brain belonging to someone named “Abby Normal,”  which the good doctor then implants in the monster?  Welcome to Halloween 2018.  American style.

Following DJT, is not covering government.  It is a Trump-defined nonstop Abby Normal reality show on CNN, MSNBC and FOX, starring Donald Trump and his sycophants on one side and those who oppose him and his antics on the other.

We are all being held hostage by Trump’s brain.

Attempting to determine what should be taken seriously, like the apparent murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post journalist on one side with Donald spouting a line of absolute drivel as he tries to excuse the Saudis and his calling for a 5% spending cut at the federal level to help make up for tax cuts to the rich on the other (experts say it won’t happen),  is a daily assault on the senses of any thinking person.

Binge watching Halloween horror movies will be a welcome relief.  They’re currently running Halloween II with Jamie Lee Curtis.  After two years of Trump, the once terrifying theme music is now like a soothing balm.    Elevator music for the 21st Century.

Waiting For DJT’s Next New Low

It was encouraging today to see that another prominent Republican, former Congressman David Jolly, has joined Steve Schmidt, Susan Eisenhower, Mary Matalin, and so many others in leaving the Republican Party.

Was also pleased to see DJT’s trophy wife did not wear her “I don’t care” jacket when she and hubby paid their required visit to hurricane victims in Florida, pretending that they actually do care even though Mara Lago was spared.  That must be the difference in their minds between Florida residents and the Puerto Ricans. For one group they pretend to care. For the other, trophy wife wears a jacket showing open resentment and disrespect for people that have had their entire island wiped out.   Or was it her trip to Texas, to inspect the temporary quarters for immigrant kids torn away from their parents?  Is that when she wore the jacket?  With repeated acts of an outrageous nature taking place a certain amount of confusion is bound to set in.

In addition, there is the unavoidable white elephant in the room, reminding us that Republicans generally view white people (Floridians) as being different from people of color (Puerto Ricans).  But we don’t talk about that, do we?  Too embarrassing.   Like Katrina, where the Bush White House largely ignored all those suffering black Americans for nearly a week.   Amazing how fast they got that stadium back up and running when they needed it for football.

Also, weren’t you proud when POTUS handed out bottled water to Hurricane victims in FLA? Better than his mediocre Tom Brady imitation, throwing rolls of paper towels through the air to homeless Puerto Ricans, and you wonder….what if anything is going through this man’s mind other than absolute and overwhelming self-love and a total indifference for others?

Aren’t you tired of waiting for his next new low? November 6th is coming. For God’s sake and for the sake of us all go out and fill in the blanks for Democrats.   This current situation is immoral, unprincipled and unacceptable.   That’s what the Republican Party now stands for, immorality, unprincipled behavior and unacceptable governance.   Think about it before going to the polls.

With Thanks To Ford, Nike And John McCain

Haven’t written anything in a while, mostly because I was just too bummed out.   Filled with an ongoing sense of ennui brought about by the endless onslaught of instability filling our national discourse making those of us with any sense of decency feeling as though the abolitionist movement never was.  That we would be forced to start all over again against the undercurrent of racism that came roaring back to the surface with Donald Trump and his “good” Nazis.  In 2018.   It strains belief.

As a white man, I will never be able to appreciate what it must feel like to have to worry about being pulled over for “driving while black” each and every time I pull out of the garage.    I will never be able to truly appreciate the black experience in America or being Latino with a president calling out Latino immigrants for being “rapists.”   I might try, and I might think I can sympathize and even empathize with black and Latino Americans, but I really can’t.   Not fully.  Not after growing up wrapped in the arms of white privilege.

Just when I was about to step off the cliff and into the eternal abyss the Ford Motor Company did something that was noble and right.  They came out in support of black athletes being allowed their freedom of expression.   The good folks at Ford  own the Detroit Lions, by the way, so this was no small gesture – particularly on top of what Nike did with their continued support of Colin Kaepernick, which boosted Nike’s online sales by more than thirty percent.

Suddenly I was feeling not great, but something at least approaching good, again.   I mean it’s really something when  you feel like giving thanks for a week-long memorial service, only because it provided a  pause from the relentless madness emanating from the White House.   A temporary return to civic decency provided by the funeral of American hero, John McCain.   A man who may have been the last good Republican standing.

However, as it turned out this new-found flicker of decency promising to light the fire of hope didn’t stop there.  It kept burning with Bob Woodward’s book, followed closely by a gut-spilling op-ed in the New York Times, telling us all that there are still adults keeping an eye on things at the White House.   That yes, our commander in chief might be a freaking loon, but that there are patriotic Americans working behind the scenes to make sure the Donald doesn’t fly into a rage and do something really, really stupid – beyond his normal stupidity –  because his nanny showed up late for work and consequently failed to provide him with a clean nappy for his shiny giant heiny.

Thank you, Ford.  Thank you, Nike.   Thank you, New York Times.  Thanks to all those nameless patriots who stand for civil rights and against racial injustice. Thanks to all those nameless bureaucrats who daily, stand between Donald J. Trump and the potential annihilation of the Republic.   Thank God and the founders, for our free press.

What an interesting coalition this is turning out to be,  American corporate capitalists joining forces with pro-athlete civil rights protesters, the FBI and unnamed behind-the-scenes patriots in the man-child president’s inner-circle supported by a free press.

To be sure, Ford and Nike never would have taken the positions they adopted without first conducting enough market research to ensure that what they were doing wouldn’t cripple their bottom lines.  So what?  The point,  is that instead of playing it safe, they did it.   Additionally, their research surely convinced them that there are more of their customers out there who want us to work out our problems than to continue denying and failing to deal with the ongoing problem of racism in America.

Hang on, a resolution is coming.   A big blue wave that will wash over the fat blubbering man-child lying on the floor of the Oval Office, banging his fists into the carpet and flailing his fat feet,  trying hard to pronounce actual words as he throws his latest tantrum for being unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood.   For in his mind, he is the only one that matters.   The one and only one.   Therein lies the real danger.  And his party does nothing.    If this fact alone doesn’t motivate you to throw these Republican bums out in November, then you will deserve nothing less than the economic ruin and assorted chaos that is sure to follow.    Vote.  We are so much better than this.

 

Have A Nice Day…

And now Trump is threatening Iran with..what? No one is quite sure. He is also threatening to strip security clearances from former U.S. officials, some of whom no longer even have a security clearance. This president, who has abandoned our allies and who may be mentally unstable, according to more than two-dozen mental health professionals who wrote a book on the subject, has no credibility. All we can be sure of is his loyalty to Putin and the Russians.

This madness, supported by the Republican Party and a base seized by an uninformed blind faith that elevates Donald Trump to the level of a deity, is our new reality.

Oh, and did you see the news in the WSJ, that the Russians appear to have the capability to hack into and maybe shut down our power grids? Isn’t that special?  There was speculation on this months ago. Now, as our intelligence community likes to put it, the warning lights are apparently “blinking red.”

This would be the same intelligence community that’s trying to protect the United States.   The very same intelligence community that Donald Trump opposes as he sides with Vladimir Putin and the Russians against our best interests.   Madness.  Or is it?

The pundits speculate that much of what Trump does is done to distract, which could of course, be true.   Don’t fall for it.   Collusion with the Russians and Trump turning his back on our allies are the biggest issues out there and they aren’t going away.  Unless Donald starts another shooting war.   That would be the biggest distraction of all.

Donald Trump / A Way Out For America

President Donald J. Trump, has just turned his back on our NATO allies and surrendered the country to former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin and the Russians.   And he did it on the world stage.  This is madness.  Some are suggesting that Mr. Trump may be suffering from dementia.

For whatever reason, Trump is clearly putting the interests of a hostile foreign power above the interests of the United States.  This is clearly unacceptable.

There is a way to remove Trump from office short of impeachment.  The Republicans will have to do it, as they hold the vice presidency,  a majority in both houses and a majority of what the Constitution calls the “executive departments” of the government.  That way, is the 25th Amendment.  Here is what it says.

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”  – 25th Amendment, Section 4

Will this happen?  Never say never, but so long as some 40% of the country remains in denial it is highly unlikely.   However, this latest embarrassment  on the world stage being what it was,  indicating quite possibly that things will only get worse,  would lead one to believe that at some point the 25th Amendment might be seen as a viable option – but only if enough Republicans believe that doing nothing will be more costly to their party at the polls.

Paranoid? You Should Be

12 members of the Russian GRU (military intelligence) have been indicted for working to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump. Who ya gonna side with? The FBI and all of American intelligence, or Donald and his Russian buddies, who undoubtedly have long-term dream scenarios of overthrowing the governments of the U.S. and the U.K., while fracturing the EU into pieces while Soviet (whoops, excuse me) Russian influence floods the globe?

Pardon my paranoia, but sometimes a little paranoia can be a good thing.   Can’t prove any of this, but sometimes things are exactly as they seem.  

I can’t help but think there was a very specific reason the FBI announced these indictments just prior to DJT’s very private meeting with Vladimir Putin, to be attended only by interpreters. I think it may have been more than pushback for the show trial in the House the Republicans held to slam the FBI and the Mueller investigation.  It almost feels like Trump and his supporters in the House, are doing all they can to provide cover for Putin and the Russians.  All of it leads one to think that the country could be in far more peril than anyone suspects, except for the intelligence community, and that they were sending a message to Putin and his American puppet to back off.  

There are two games being played.   The one we’re all watching on television, and the other, taking place out of the spotlight, on an international chessboard with pieces being moved in the shadows.

We do know that Donald J. Trump, refuses to admit the Russians meddled in the election and that he continued that refusal even after being briefed about these new indictments by the FBI.  We also know that his son-in-law, Jerad Kushner, was talking to the Russians during the runup to the election, trying to set up a back-channel to the Kremlin out of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States.

There’s so much more.

Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, paid Donald Trump $95 million for a Florida property Trump purchased for $41 million.    It’s not uncommon for property to appreciate in value over time and Palm Beach is a pricey neighborhood but almost everybody concerned agrees that this was an unusually high profit.      It did in fact, at that time,  set a record for the price of a single family home anywhere in the U.S.    Rybolovlev’s people say it was simply an investment.  However, there is evidence that Rybolovlev and Trump may be more than casual business associates.   The Seattle Times reports that, “Federal Aviation Administration records reviewed by The Palm Beach Post and other news outlets have tracked Rybolovlev’s private plane to cities where Trump has traveled, both during his campaign and into his presidency.”

The New York Times reported that Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg met with Trump attorney Michael Cohen at Trump Tower eleven days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, to discuss ways to improve US-Russia relations.   A short time later, one of the oligarch’s subsidiaries signed a million-dollar contract with Cohen, according to an article in salon.com. 

Just days ago, the State of Maryland was notified by the FBI that a Russian oligarch owns the company that handles their election registration software.   According to State Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael Bush, “We were briefed late yesterday, along with Governor Hogan, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the software vendor who maintains portions of the State Board of Elections voter registration platform was purchased by a Russian investor in 2015, without the knowledge of state officials.”

According to the New York Post, from 2011 to 2013 the FBI bugged a unit on the 63rd floor of Trump Tower, which was allegedly being used by the Russian mob for gambling and money laundering.

Politico reports that Donald Trump Jr. praised the Russians at a real estate conference in 2008, saying, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” he said of Trump Organization properties. “There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble.”

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who popped up from out of thin air, was a former adviser to the former President of Ukraine,  Viktor Yanukovych, who is a political ally of Russian President, Vladimir Putin.  When the Yanukovych government fell amidst evidence of widespread corruption, Yanukovych, fled to Russia.

To this day DJT has refused to take any action to stop the Russians from meddling in upcoming elections.  He’s done nothing.  Almost as though he is under orders to stand down, to avoid getting in the way of the Russians.

Trump is turning his back on our friends and allies while singing the praises of dictators  and tyrants who oppose the very concept of democratic freedoms and self-determination.

How much more do you need?  Sometimes things are exactly as they seem.

Phony News Hurts Broadcast Journalism’s Image

Fellow news junkies – It was bad enough when local stations gave IHOP tons of free advertising when they changed their name to IHOB. That was barely news…..just barely, and probably not news at all. Now they’re doing a story about IHOP changing it back again because it was all a ruse to promote their burgers – giving them even more free ads.

I was almost over that slander on what news should really be when a local station did a “story” on Chick-fil-A’s annual promotion, offering a free entre’ to anyone who shows up at one of their outlets dressed as a cow. Salads, not included.

Now there’s a real news story. Something that will impact us all. The gay-bashing owner of a chicken sandwich chain offering free food to any idiot willing to dress up like a cow. Really? Come on. Stop disguising free ads as news. You’re hurting us all by destroying the image of American broadcast journalism.   And just so you’ll know, it’s not the journalists doing this, it’s the companies they work for, who will do almost anything to get ad dollars, even if they have to give away free ads disguised as news to do it.

Don’t criticize FOX, if you’re gonna turn around and disguise free ads as news stories.  Don’t cringe when Trump accuses the mainstream media of doing fake news when that’s precisely what you’re doing.

TV salespeople have been offering  free news coverage as “sweetners” to close deals for years.  Back in the 70’s a former colleague, a producer, was fired for refusing to run the grand opening of a McDonald’s in Columbus, Ohio, as a news story.  He gave up his job to preserve his professional ethics.  Suppose anybody would do that now?

A lie is a lie is a lie.   You either have credibility or you don’t, and when it’s gone, getting it back again is a bitch.   The saddest part, is that most of what the mainstream is doing is an attempt at solid journalism.  But none of that matters when they “fudge” what they’re doing  just a little, to help the sales department get another account.

America – Who And What We Are

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”    In Congress, July 4, 1776 

Annapolis And The Hazards Of Journalism In This “Age Of Trump”

A few thoughts from Patrick  McGrath-

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In retirement, I wrote occasional columns for the Annapolis Capital, and dealt with the now murdered editorial editor Gerald Fischman. My daughter Megan knew John McNamara as a young college intern back in Bowie in 1989.

We live near Annapolis, and suddenly mass shootings have come close to home. There will be funerals for all five victims. But I hope there will also be some kind of memorial service for all five…where journalists who did not know the victims well…or more likely not at all….can show up to show their solidarity with the important role that journalists play in our society.

Police and firemen have understood this for a long time, and they make a major effort to turn out for the funerals of their fallen brethren. This may be a moment when members of the news media need an occasion to show up to show their support…particularly in a time when the news media is being described by Donald Trump as the “enemy of the people” and the purveyor of “fake news.”

Pat McGrath

(Pat is a well-respected and retired journalist,  living in Maryland.  He and I were colleagues at WMAR-TV in Baltimore – RO)