National import!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2019

No fish today:
We're off on a mission of national import. We'll have no fish today.

ADVANTAGE HARARI: Nineteen to 24 years in the clink!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2019

Plus, targeting two more lawyers:
You're right! After a weekend in re-education camp, we may be changing our focus at the start of next week.

We're sick of pursuing our current line; we're sick of hearing our own current voice. That said, we'll finish our current topic today, with a look at last Friday's Rachel Maddow Show.

First, though, a look at today's New York Times:

Good for today's New York Times! Right there on the op-ed page, the paper presents this column by Columbia's Jamie Daw. The column discusses a serious matter. It runs beneath these headlines:
A Better Path to Universal Health Care
The United States should look to Germany, not Canada, for the best model.
Never mind whether Daw is right or wrong in his assessments. He's discussing a serious topic!

Serious topics don't get much play on our "cable news" channels. Last night, for example, the Maddow Show executed its tenth straight program without a mention of the Green New Deal, which was released on Thursday, February 7.

Simply put, the Maddow Show doesn't care about climate change. Also, it doesn't care about, and won't tell you about, the looting of the American public captured in these startling OECD data:
Health care spending, per person, 2017
United States: $10,209
Germany: $5728
France: $4902
Canada: $4826
Japan: $4717
Australia: $4543
United Kingdom: $4246
Where's all that extra money going? You won't find out on "cable news." As a matter of fact, you won't be allowed to know that the missing money exists!

Nor are you told about public schools. You aren't asked to think about the way our communities, families and schools could possibly close our "achievement gaps," whose size won't be disclosed.

Cable news doesn't traffic in matters like that! In this, the age of Donald J. Trump, cable news traffics in true crime drama.

Cable news loves to offer hours of repetitive speculation concerning the state of The Chase. Some stars take it to an extreme. Last Friday night, to cite one example, cable news trafficked in this:
MADDOW (2/15/19): Well, tonight we've just received the recommendation from Mueller's office as to how much time they think Manafort should spend in prison based just on the eight felony counts for which he was convicted in Virginia. So separate and apart from whatever he might get in D.C., Mueller's prosecutors are recommending that the president`s campaign chairman spend between 19 1/2 years and 24 1/2 years in prison. Again, just for the felonies for which he was convicted in Virginia, separate and apart from what he's going to get in D.C.

Now for a man who is about to turn 70, that means prosecutors are recommending what is in effect a natural life sentence for Paul Manafort. You will recall that there is no parole in the federal prison system. So, 19 to 24 years.

[...]

As I mentioned, the really big kahuna tonight is what just happened to the president's campaign chair, to Paul Manafort, with prosecutors telling one of the two federal judges who is due to sentence him soon that they want a 19 to 24-year prison term for him plus potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines and restitution.

[...]

As an initial matter, the government agrees with the guidelines analysis in the pre-sentence investigation report, and its calculation of the defendant's total offense level as 38 with a corresponding range of imprisonment of 235 to 293 months. That's 19 1/2 years to 24 1/2 years in prison, a fine range of $50,000 to $24.4 million, restitution in the amount of $24.8 million and forfeiture in the amount of $4.4 million.

[...]

"The sentence in this case must taken to account the gravity of his conduct and serve to specifically deter Manafort and deter those who would commit a similar series of crimes."

That's signed on behalf of the special counsel's office. They are recommending 19 1/2 years to 24 1/2 years in prison and fines and restitution of up to tens of millions of dollars.

[...]

That means at great personal expense, at the cost of potentially dying in prison, Paul Manafort, the president's campaign chairman lied to cover up the channel of communication or at least a channel of communication between the Trump campaign when he was chairman and Russian intelligence during the time that Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential election to help his candidate, to help president Trump. He was deliberately lying to prosecutors about that. That is the lie that is going to cost Paul Manafort his last free breath.

To cover up that channel of communication between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the campaign, Paul Manafort is willing to die in prison.

[...]

William Barr is the one who recommended those pardons in Iran-Contra. The day he started as attorney general, this president's campaign chairman received a sentence recommendation from prosecutors of 19 to 24 years in prison, plus tens of millions of dollars to pay. Like I said, it's all happening at once now.

[...]

MADDOW: Barb, when you see the prosecutors ask for 19 1/2 to 24 1/2 years for Manafort, just in Virginia, that judge that ruled he deliberately lied about the communications with Kilimnik, that judge is yet to start the sentencing process with him. That sentencing won't happen until next month, but this recommendation from prosecutors that, in the Virginia case alone, he should be looking at 19 to 24 years, does that mean we should expect he will get 19 to 24 years?

MCQUADE: Well, you know, that's the sentencing guidelines. It's sort of a starting point where judges are supposed to look to calculate a sentence. It's a very numerical score. You mentioned some of the things that go into that, sophisticated means and leadership role, all these kinds of things. You come up with kind of a math score and you go to a table and that's where you get that range of 19 to 24.
Prosecutors recommended 19 to 24 years! Cable viewers were pleasured with this again and again and again and again, with Maddow killing time reading the text of entire footnotes and filling us in on such arcana as the way the so-called "leadership enhancement" calculation affects the length of a recommended sentence.
.
Maddow's viewers heard those numbers—19 to 24 years—again and again and again. But they still haven't heard the words "Green New Deal" on this top-rated cable platform. They've never seen the data on health care spending, the data which rather plainly suggest that we're all being looted.

We don't like to pick on Maddow. We're sure that she's a very nice person in her personal dealings.

She only bought the TV set because she and Susan got blackout drunk and ordered it on line! When we liberals were willing to purchase that tale, she came up with several more.

On cable, in her professional dealings, Maddow has spent a great many years trying to lock them up. She's tried to lock up a wide range of Republican governors. She's frequently toyed with basic facts as she's tried to lock up regular people, such as the state policemen who drove Governor Christie around when she was trying to get him locked up.

She's rummaged through the medicine cabinets of governors she wants to lock up. She's tried to drag the children of targeted officials into the stews she creates. If she gets hold of a telephone sex tape, she plays it again and again. She covers her ears and pretends to be embarrassed as she plays it night after night.

This strikes us as something resembling a moral/intellectual sickness. But of one thing you can be sure:

Rachel Maddow has never yet mentioned the simple words "Green New Deal!" Nor has she ever shown you those health care data, which account for an array of groaning problems within our "rigged" economic system, including stagnant wages and federal deficits and debt.

Public schools, and the children within them, are of course never mentioned. On cable, they don't even stoop to the level of the New York Times, which is conducting a quixotic search for "desegregation" as a way of pretending to address the brutal achievement gaps found within our schools.

You don't get discussions of topics like those on the Maddow program! Instead, you get the pleasures and joy of The Chase. In the process, liberal viewers, and the whole world, get dumbed way, way down.

That said, we want to show you one more thing you were handed on last Friday's program.

Maddow tends to want to lock pretty much everyone up! Her latest no-name targets were introduced in this passage:
MADDOW: And now, on top of all of that, still deriving from those same felonies, now, tonight, Congressman Elijah Cummings, the estimable chairman of the House Oversight Committee in the House, has just published these 19 pages of notes. Some of them are typed. A lot of them are redacted. Some of them are hand scrawled and very hard to read.

These are notes from the Office of Government Ethics. Congressman Cummings has released these notes. He has also released to the public a letter to a Trump Organization lawyer. He's also released to the public a new letter he has sent to the White House counsel.

Those letters demand information related to those hush money payments and those letters make the explosive allegation that it's not just Michael Cohen, that two additional Trump lawyers, one who worked in the White House and another lawyer who represents Trump in a personal capacity, she was actually the one who orchestrated that stunt during the transition where Trump sat there by the big piles of papers and supposedly handed over control of his business to his sons. The lawyer who orchestrated that and another lawyer who worked in the White House, according to Elijah Cummings tonight, they themselves may be in trouble for making false statement about those hush money payments.

Quote, "New documents obtained by the committee from the office of government ethics describe false information provided by the lawyers representing President Trump, including Sheri Dillon, President Trump's personal attorney, and Stephen Passantino, former deputy White House counsel for compliance and ethics"—Eek!—"who has now left the White House to represent the Trump organization."
,
President Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, is now going to prison in part for his role in these hush money payments. During his guilty plea, Mr. Cohen said he did this in coordination with and at the direction of the president for the principal purpose of influencing the election.

Congressman Cummings continues, quote:

"It now appears that President Trump's other attorneys at the White House and in private practice may have provided false information about these payments to federal officials. This raises significant questions about why some of the president's closest advisers made these false claims and the extent to which they too were acting at the direction of or in coordination with the president."

One of the president's lawyers is already going to prison for his role in covering up those hush money payments. Now, here's a couple more who Elijah Cummings says are potentially on the hook related to those payments as well, and not just the payments in their case but the cover-up of the payments.
Thrillingly, cable viewers were told of an "explosive [new] allegation," with an "Eek!" thrown in. Two new lawyers—Dillon and Passantino—were frogmarched into position as Maddow overstated or misstated the thrust of what Cummings had said.

Later, Maddow did a full segment with legal analyst McQuade about this explosive allegation aimed at the two new victims. McQuade played along with the game as viewers got dumbed way down.

You'll hunt in vain through major orgs for anything but a cursory nod to this "explosive allegation" concerning the two new victims. That's because Dillon and Passantino are minor names, but also because it isn't clear that they've done anything wrong or that Cummings has even alleged that they have.

You see, when lawyers "provide false information," they may do so because they themselves have been misinformed by their clients—in this case, by the highly unreliable Donald J. Trump. Maddow and McQuade acted like "false statements" are the same thing as "lies," turning Cummings' statement into an explosive charge aimed at two people who may have been conned by Trump.

As a general matter, other orgs eschewed this exciting game. For the record, the exciting conflation of "false claim" with "lie" largely began with Politico's Andrew Desiderio, an excitable scribe who is now in his second year out of college.

A very young, inexperienced scribe got out over his skis a bit.
Our Own Rhodes Scholar liked the product and proceeded to feed it to us liberal viewers. In this way, we get dumbed way down—but we also get mightily entertained, on a tribal basis.

(Politico saves on labor costs by hiring such young employees.)

At any rate, the Green New Deal has never been mentioned on the Maddow program. Instead, you're handed The Chase every night—The Chase and little else.

Facts get embellished, dropped and spun; everything's rated "explosive." This is the rational animal in the wild within the most gossip- and fiction-ridden discourse on God's green earth.

"Advantage Harari!" we lustily cried. The analysts knew what we meant.

Tomorrow: We're off on a mission of national import

Full disclosure: Some years back, as an entertainer, we tried to follow Rep. Cummings at an AFL-CIO event. We learned that Cummings is the greatest public speaker since Moses.

ADVANTAGE HARARI: Who gives a fig about climate change?

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2019

Two "cable news" nets take a hike:
Greta Thunberg is 16 years old. She's also a "global climate activist" based in her native Sweden.

In this morning's New York Times, Somini Sengupta describes the attention Thunberg has been receiving for her ongoing efforts. We were struck by the following passage, in which Thunberg directs a bit of pique at some unnamed grown-ups:
SENGUPTA (2/20/19): All this attention, she said out of earshot of the others, is great. It means “people are listening.” But then, a knife-blade flash of rage revealed itself.

“It’s sometimes annoying when people say, ‘Oh you children, you young people are the hope. You will save the world’” she said, after several grown-ups had told her just that. “I think it would be helpful if you could help us just a little bit.”
Thunberg is grateful for the attention her efforts have received. That said, she also wishes that some of these admiring grown-ups would roll up their sleeves and help.

We can think of one such person Thunberg can cross off her list. That would be cable star Rachel Maddow, the multimillionaire corporate host who has just completed the ninth straight program in which she has failed to mention her own country's Green New Deal.

The climate proposal was unveiled by Senator Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday, February 7. It's never been mentioned on Maddow's show, an eponymous "ship of ghouls" which focuses on the tribal schadenfreude involved in repetitive dreams about locking The Others up.

Last Friday night's program was ludicrous even by Maddow's standards. In tomorrow's report, we'll consider some of the excesses in which Maddow indulged herself this night—a night she devoted, almost entirely, to "the lie that is going to cost Paul Manafort his last free breath" and to similar pleasing porridge.

Friend, do you want to spend your free time picturing people dying in prison? If so, the Maddow Show is the place for you to be!

That said, did we mention the fact that Maddow's performance last Friday night constituted the seventh straight program on which she told the Greta Thunbergs that, after Manafort dies in prison, they can pretty much plan on dying unpleasant deaths too? Because that's almost surely the message a killjoy like Thunberg would hear.

Rachel Maddow doesn't care about topics like climate change! Nor will you ever learn, from watching her program, about the looting of the American people, red and blue voters alike, built into the astonishing costs of our "health care system."

You don't hear about topics like those on Maddow's devolving program. The cable star is paid millions of dollars per year—you aren't allowed to know how many—to keep us liberals barefoot and clueless as we think about how great it will be when we've finished killing the pigs, when The Others are all locked up.

Maddow has yet to discuss the Green New Deal—but in fairness, she's hardly alone. In a report last Thursday, the killjoys and scolds at Media Matters studied cable coverage of the climate proposal in the first five days of its life.

Ted McDonald toted the coverage. This is what he found:
MCDONALD (2/14/19): From February 7, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released the Green New Deal resolution, through February 11, Fox News aired 34 segments discussing the Green New Deal on its weekday and weekend prime-time shows airing between 5 p.m. and midnight. February 7 and February 8 saw the most Fox coverage—the network aired 19 prime-time segments on those two days. Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity led the Fox prime-time shows in the number of Green New Deal segments, airing seven and five segments, respectively.

Across this same time period, MSNBC aired eight prime-time segments on the Green New Deal. Five of these aired on February 7, the day the resolution was introduced, including an interview with Ocasio-Cortez on MTP Daily and an interview with Markey on All In with Chris Hayes.

CNN, meanwhile, aired only three Green New Deal segments on its prime-time shows from February 7 to February 11.
It isn't just Maddow! According to McDonald, Fox aired 34 segments on the proposal in the first five days of its life. MSNBC aired eight segments on its "prime time" programs—that is, on programs which cover the seven hours between 5 PM and midnight.

As we've noted, Maddow hadn't mentioned the Green New Deal at all. Meanwhile, on all its "prime time" programs, CNN had presented just three segments on the boring new plan.

Last Friday night, Maddow told viewers, eleven times, that Manafort is now facing 19 to 24 years in prison. On one occasion, she fleshed that information out, saying that the former campaign chairman was facing 235 to 293 months in the federal hoosegow.

(There is no parole from federal prison, she was quick to add.)

She told us, several times, that it looks like Manafort will be dying in prison. But she's never found time, on the past nine programs, to tell us about the ways Thunberg and her children are likely to perish.

She just plain doesn't care about that. Neither do her owners!

MSNBC loves the nightly true crime drama widely known as The Chase. Indeed, when The One True Channel's prime time programs did squeeze in segments on the Green New Deal, hosts sometimes performed in such a way that a viewer could almost wish that they hadn't bothered.

Consider the coverage which occurred on All In with Chris Hayes on Thursday evening, February 7. The Green New Deal had been released that very day. Under the guidance of her producers, guest host Joy Reid performed a short, 6-minute segment on the proposal right at the end of the hour.

(To watch the segment, click here.)

Reid interviewed Senator Markey about the new proposal. A cynical viewer could almost imagine that Reid wasn't completely "all in" on the topic or the proposal:
REID (2/7/19): Joining me now is Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the co-architect of The Green New Deal.

All right, sir, so let's just get into the policy of it. You—

The Green New Deal, as I understand it, the bullet points I've got in front of me, 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, net zero global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, upgrade all existing buildings for energy efficiency, overhaul transportation systems to reduce emissions, encrypt millions of jobs with family sustaining wage.

How do you do that, and how much does it cost?
Reading from "the bullet points she had in front of her," Reid described the Green New Deal "as she understood it."

She almost seemed unprepared! Than, almost as if she'd acquired her talking points from Fox, she moved directly to the question of the cost of the various proposals.

In fact, Reid displayed a bit of a one-track mind as the short session proceeded. After trying to interrupt Markey's description of the purpose of his proposals, Reid came right back to her one talking point:
REID: So I still want to get you to sort of quantify for me how much it costs, because it sounds like you're saying federal outlays to sort of spur these jobs, sort of the way the original New Deal was, like with federal spending.

So how much spending are we talking about? Give me a ballpark figure.
Doocy couldn't have done it better! Perhaps the Thunbergs should thank their stars that Maddow hasn't bothered to pretend to discuss this plan.

We liberals! We've told ourselves, since time immemorial, that We are the very smart tribe. It's The Others who are the dumbkopfs.

Beyond that, we were told, long ago, that Maddow was hired to serve as Our Own Rhodes Scholar. She is just amazingly smart, we've been told again and again.

In truth, Maddow now devotes herself to selling the pleasures of tribal loathing. We often think of Professor Harari as she does this night after night—of the unflattering portrait he has painted of the true nature of our floundering, war-like species.

Why did our species take over the world as other human species went into extinction? We sometimes think of the following text as we watch Maddow spend hour after hour imagining The Others' demise:
HARARI (page 17): But if the Neanderthals, Denisovans and other human species didn’t merge with Sapiens, why did they vanish? One possibility is that Homo sapiens drove them to extinction...

Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin color, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
Aristotle is said to have said that we humans are "the rational animal." In a best-selling dissent, Professor Harari has now said that our species' global supremacy is built upon our skills with "gossip" and with compelling group "fictions," with a healthy dollop of intolerance thrown into the stew.

Night after night, Our Own Rhodes Scholar keeps dumbing us down with ghoulish presentations about The Others. She devotes her inaugural podcast to Spiro T. Agnew, lets Thunberg twist in the wind.

Needless to say, the Maddows will make out fine in the end. It's the Thunbergs, and their future children, who will be desperate for help.

In the meantime, does Maddow's obsession with prison sentences strike you as a "rational" use of her very prominent platform? Night after night, her focus strikes us as the product of an increasingly disordered mind.

Tomorrow, we'll look at some of the excesses on last Friday's ridiculous program. For ourselves, as we watched Maddow engineer this latest gigantic waste of time, we turned to the analysts and uttered winged words.

In the battle of paradigms? "Advantage Harari," we said.

Tomorrow: Embellishing facts and reading whole footnotes, she finds two more to lock up