More to ignore, Book 8....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Someone set Fox News' Christmas tree on fire and Fox hosts work themselves into a pretzel of blame
Walter Einenkel

A 50-foot Christmas tree was set on fire in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The tree was a part of the Fox News building’s display in midtown New York City. Just after midnight, Dec. 8, 49-year-old Craig Tamanaha was reportedly observed climbing the tree and was subsequently taken into custody and charged with seven counts that include arson and reckless endangerment. According to police, Tamanaha is possibly unhoused, and law enforcement is still investigating whether or not drugs and/or mental health issues played a role in the event.

Being the holiday season and all, Fox & Friends’ morning crew made sure to apply a high-octane hyperbole and fearmongering filter that we have come to expect from Fox News in discussing the tree arson event. First up, Brian Kilmeade described the perpetrator of the arson as a “psycho,” saying that moments after the suspected arsonist set the tree ablaze, he was tackled by the building’s security. It’s a lame way to discuss the possible mental health crisis that leads someone to set a Christmas tree on fire on a cold night in midtown Manhattan, but Kilmeade has never been known to be cool-headed about anything. Sadly, this was somehow the least offensive and bizarre thing Fox News’ hosts said in regards to this burning bush.
......
Kilmeade and crew continued by explaining how this seemingly random act of violence is endemic in New York City’s Times Square area these days. This is not a thing, but the general tenor of the media class, only more exaggerated by the ultra-right-wing-o-sphere, is that we need more police because people are beginning to act desperate and it’s stressing out the professional class in our country. This is the kind of discourse one can expect from media outlets that refuse to acknowledge the growing financial inequalities our country has been facing—which have only become more acute during the global pandemic—as the root cause of the stressful uncertainty most Americans are feeling these days.

Walking coat hanger Steve Doocy added this deep thought to the mix: “Who would set a Christmas tree on fire?” And then Ainsley Earhardt gave a synthesis of the symbolic meaning of Christmas, Hannukah, and Jesus: the Christmas tree.

AINSLEY EARHARDT: It’s a tree that unites us. Brings us together. It’s about the Christmas spirit. It is about the holiday season. It’s about Jesus. It’s about Hanukkah. It is about everything we stand for as a country. Freedom and being able to worship the way that you want to worship. It makes me so mad.

I mean, this isn’t a thing I would tell a child—not because of how reductive and silly it is, but because of how wrong it is. If you want a pretty standard, easy-to-understand history of the American Christmas tree tradition: Germany began the tradition in the 1500s. In the 1800s, German immigrants brought the tradition into the United States. At the time, of course, Americans thought it was totally weird and feared it was some form of paganism. In fact, like Ainsley, many Puritan leaders were made “so mad” by these Christmas trees. By the turn of the 20th century, Americans who celebrated Christmas began adopting the practice. How’s that for reductive?

Doocy jumped back in to remind the audience that white people no longer feel safe in New York City—specifically he and his fellow hosts, who are shuttled to and from their homes (usually outside of the city) by way of private car service. The “spike” in crime in New York City, covered breathlessly by Fox, has reportedly dropped in the areas Doocy and friends are talking about—for context. And then, because Earhardt was doing the work of the devil, as Doocy waxed poetic about how hundreds of thousands of tourists walk up and down and see the Fox News’ Christmas tree (among the literal hundreds of Christmas trees along every avenue in Manhattan, and literal millions of Christmas lights that adorn the city), Ainsley remarks, “It’s kind of all we have left, right?”

What???? Is that a war on Christmas reminder? It is, and more importantly, Earhardt wants you to remember Sept. 11, 2001, when she emphatically piggybacks on Kilmeade’s “hope that we put it back” by saying, “I hope we build it back bigger and better.” This should feel triumphant, but it feels gross.

But it wouldn’t be a Fox News broadcast without a logic maze of classically labyrinthian proportions. Kilmeade goes on to say that “this psycho” will be out on the streets again in no time because … something about paperwork. Maybe because New York City has a housing problem like the rest of the country, and there’s a huge problem with our health care system not having robust mental health services? Maybe because while people like Kilmeade fight to keep large defense budgets and taxpayer money for prisons at the expense of building back our country’s infrastructure, Americans across the country slide further and further into debt?

The New York Times reports that Fox News Media Chief Executive Suzanne Scott sent a company-wide memo saying: “We will not let this deliberate and brazen act of cowardice deter us. We are in the process of rebuilding and installing a new tree as a message that there can be peace, light and joy even during a dark moment like this.”

Fox News reported earlier this month that the tree was “filled with 10,000 glass ornaments, 100,000 lights and took over 21 hours to assemble.” Considering Fox News’ track record of reporting facts and their opinions on labor, part of me wonders if the labor hours were underreported.



And just in case you were wondering …

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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8days.jpg
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
98,525
18,210
1
After his latest pro-Putin rant, it's fair to ask whether Tucker Carlson is an actual Russian asset
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Is Tucker Carlson literally on Vladimir Putin’s payroll? He has to be, right? As the free world attempts to stand up to this ex-KGB thug who brazenly attacked our country and poisons political adversaries nearly as often as Tucky-son poisons minds, Fox’s resident trust fund bloviator is giving literal aid and comfort to the enemy.

You might say this foppish fish stick ****wit is a modern-day Tokyo Rose—only slightly more transparent. On Tuesday—the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor—Carlson figured it was high time to dump acid on the vital foundations of our post-World War II global order. In other words, he thinks Russia invading a sovereign neighbor is no big deal—because swarthy folk from the south are crossing our border to secure employment during a crushing labor shortage. Oh, noes! The bad foreign people are gonna strengthen our economy and enhance our culture like they’ve been doing throughout our country’s history! It’s just like when Vlad sends the tanks rumbling over the border of a weaker adversary. No difference at all!

Watch:


Not sure how far Tucker can stretch the false equivalence before his viewers notice. But it’s kind of ironic that he went off on his tirade on the anniversary of a real attack on our actual sovereignty. After all, I don’t think the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they were looking to snag open fry cook jobs at Carl’s Jr.

There’s more of this nonsense at this Fox News link. (If you don’t want to click on a Fox link, I don’t blame you. I just fed my poor unsuspecting computer a Fox website cookie, and now it thinks I dry hump MyPillows while creepily ogling an increasingly lascivious series of Ronald Reagan Franklin Mint plates.) But here’s more of Tucker’s spew, in case you have the stomach for it:

So here’s the Russian position. For Russia, the core question is NATO. NATO is the postwar military alliance created in 1949 to keep the Soviets from invading Western Europe. And it worked pretty well for about 40 years. The Soviet Union has not existed in more than three decades; it’s part of history now. And yet NATO very much lives on, better funded than ever. It’s an army without a purpose. So at this point, NATO exists primarily to torment Vladimir Putin who, whatever his many faults, has no intention of invading Western Europe. Vladimir Putin does not want Belgium. He just wants to keep his western borders secure.
That’s why he doesn’t want Ukraine to join NATO. And that makes sense. Imagine how we would feel if Mexico and Canada became satellites of China. We wouldn’t like that at all. In Russia’s case, this is an existential question.



Of course, this is nothing new for Liar Tuck. In November, he actually said he was rooting for Russia in any conflict with Ukraine. Because apparently defending democracies against dictators and advocating for peace around the globe is for beta cuck losers like you, me, and Joe Biden.



Oh, and official Russian state media has noticed Tucker’s deeply flawed treasoning and is using it to propagandize to the world.



Well done, comrade! For some reason I thought the U.S. was all about standing up for democracy in the face of saber-rattling from tin-pot tyrants like Putin. For that matter, I thought we were supposed to oppose fascism, both here and abroad. I also seem to remember Fox News continually comparing liberals who thought maybe—just maybe—we shouldn’t invade Iraq for no reason to infamous Nazi-appeaser Neville Chamberlain.

Guess that was an outrage for another time—huh, Tuck?

Enjoy your holidays, Tucker, and I hope Vlad slips an extra tin of borscht into your stocking on Christmas Eve. You’ve earned it. Oh, have you ever.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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...Every time Trump makes a derogatory statement about his successor, Russian state media has showcased and applauded his commentary. The former president’s position on Ukraine garnered special attention—and praise, with experts pontificating that under Trump, there would be no need for such a summit. Two weeks before the talks between Biden and Putin, Trump appeared on Fox News for an interview with Sean Hannity. He said, in part: “I don't want to fight the battle for Ukraine, they've got to fight their own battles.”

Trump’s words delighted pro-Kremlin propagandists. State TV show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev aired a translated clip of his statements to Hannity, and host Vladimir Soloviev introduced it by pointing out: “Things were so good under Trump... Listen to Trumpushka.” After listening to Trump dismiss the idea of helping Ukraine fight off Russian aggression, Soloviev sighed: “[He is] so sorely missed.

A day earlier, Soloviev had played a clip of Trump’s interview with Mark Levin, on Fox News' Life, Liberty and Levin, in which the former U.S. president bashed the Mueller report for undermining U.S. relations with Russia. At the conclusion of Trump’s commentary, Soloviev pumped his fist and exclaimed
: “He said it well. Thank you, Donald Fredovych!”.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Guest on Pillow Man-affiliated talk show thinks it's suspicious that anti-vaxxers keep getting COVID
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Stew Peters is a seriously weird dude whom I’d probably be blissfully unaware of were it not for his regular slot on Pillow Man Mike Lindell’s sprawling vomit trough of a website, Frankspeech.com.

DeAnna Lorraine is a prominent QAnon adherent who … well, that’s pretty much all you really need to know about her, n'est-ce pas?

On the December 7 edition of Peters’ show, these two rarefied minds worked together to solve a mystery for the ages: Why do anti-vax Republicans keep getting sick from COVID-19?

But first, Peters had to crank his own persecution complex up to 11.

Behold:



Okay then!

Listen, Stew. I got the skinny directly from George Soros, and he told me that if he’s gonna inject you with a virus, you’ll goddamn ****ing know it! You won’t have a scratchy throat; you’ll be crouched in the middle of Times Square shitting your goofy eyeballs down a storm sewer, because that’s how the Illuminati rolls, yo. Pfft. Like we Democrats spent decades reverse-engineering this bubble gun from Roswell crash site wreckage just so we could give you a ****ing cold. Dream on, dude. When I heard you say that, I almost snorted baby’s blood through my nose, I was laughing so hard.

But my very favorite is the bit where Lorraine wonders aloud why so many prominent anti-vax Republicans keep getting COVID-19. Yup, that is a puzzler. Unfortunately, I converted my thinking cap to a useless face mask months ago at the behest of Anthony Fauci, and I simply can’t come up with any reason for why that would be. It shall remain a mystery.

I really don’t know what to do with these people anymore, other than avoid them. And for once I have a great excuse to do just that! The fact that they’ll never acknowledge the legitimacy of that excuse hardly fazes me.

At this point, no matter how many booster shots I get, there’s little that will bring me back to their kooky rookeries for drinks, merriment, and fellowship. That ship has sailed—and sunk.

So enjoy yourselves, anti-vaxxers. For as long as you can, that is. I’ll be over here, just trying to live. And laughing my ass off at you fools, of course.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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University of Florida researchers destroyed data on COVID-19 to avoid offending Ron DeSantis
Mark Sumner

A special panel created by the faculty at the University of Florida has completed a review of the academic environment there, and what it has to say is not flattering. As The Miami Herald reports, the report shows that academics in Florida live in a literal state of fear; one where they don’t dare tell the truth out of fear of reprisals from Gov. Ron DeSantis. That’s particularly true when it comes to revealing the facts about COVID-19.

The report makes it clear that researchers felt a great deal of outside pressure in preparing research information for publication. That sometimes meant that information was delayed, or not published at all. In some cases, scientists were told not to reveal their affiliation with the university when releasing information, or to take the University of Florida name off presentations.

All because they were not allowed to do anything that could be viewed as criticizing DeSantis, or policies related to COVID-19. Faculty in the university’s Health Department were warned that funding might be “in jeopardy if they did not adopt the state’s stance on pandemic regulations in opinion articles.”
.........

The report details a set of “specific challenges” that came with trying to study COVID-19 in Florida. Those challenges included:
  • “External pressure” to destroy data
  • Barriers to accessing and analyzing data
  • Barriers to publication of scientific research
The result was that scientists at the University of Florida found it difficult to contribute research in the face of a worldwide pandemic that had a direct impact on that state. When they could produce an article or presentation, it was robbed of impact through the university’s disassociation with the work.

It wasn’t just COVID-19 that came in for academic censorship. Course descriptions, websites, and other materials concerning the study of race and privilege had to be hidden, altered, or removed. The persecution in this area became so ridiculous that instructors were told:

“The terms ‘critical’ and ‘race’ could not appear together in the same sentence or document.”

The review describes a university operating under the heel of an overbearing governor, and a board that failed to push back against attempts to stifle research—or simple facts—that didn’t fit with the falsities being pushed by DeSantis and others. According to the report, there was a “palpable reticence and even fear” that just speaking up to protest the way research and classroom teaching were being affected would be dangerous.

“There was grave concern about retaliation and a sense that anyone who objected to the state of affairs might lose his or her job or be punished in some way.”

Of course, just a week ago, a committee created by the university’s leadership came to exactly the opposite conclusions, declaring that the University of Florida is “free from undue influence by external persons or bodies through clear and consistently enforced policies and procedures.”

The refusal of the university leadership to admit there even is a problem provides significant insight into the level of effort they will apply to solving the issue.
....
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UF Report Claims DeSantis Pressured Researchers to Destroy Covid-19 Data
Dan K
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Insurrection? What insurrection? No, it was all about protecting the ladies!
Dartagnan

Proving that there is no shortage of creative lawyering to be found in this country, several of those facing serious criminal charges for their participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol have signaled they intend to play the “Kyle Rittenhouse” card, asserting that their violent assaults against law enforcement officers were simply innocent efforts to protect themselves and others from police use of excessive force against them. One has even claimed he was motivated by his outrage at officers’ callous treatment of female rioters, and that his subsequent acts of violence against police were instinctively triggered by these noble and chivalrous sentiments.
.......
As reported by Alan Feuer for the New York Times, this remarkable legal strategy has begun to rear its head in court filings preceding several of the terrorists’ criminal trials, scheduled to begin early next year.

The first person to have said he would pursue a self-defense case was Edward Jacob Lang, a self-described social media influencer from New York. He has been charged with seven counts of assaulting officers, some with a riot shield and others with a baseball bat.
In court papers filed by his lawyer, Stephen Metcalf, Mr. Lang said he became violent only after seeing several women in the mob being attacked by the police, including Rosanne Boyland, a Trump supporter who ultimately died...[.]

As Feuer reports, Mr. Lang gave an interview from jail earlier this year in which the bemoaned the “heartless” actions of the police in “pushing people on top of each other, creating this dogpile effect.” It’s not clear whether the “self-described social media influencer” was actually immersed in any “dogpile” himself, but evidently the very thought of such ignominious mistreatment so offended him that he was prompted to assault the police as a result, including clubbing one officer with a baseball bat.

Feuer notes that another insurrectionist, Ryan Nichols, has described a “horrific” scene “inside a tunnel at the Lower West Terrace where tear gas filled the air and screaming rioters were being crushed.” As an ex-Marine, Nichols evidently felt this was sufficiently outrageous to warrant assaulting the police. His lawyer has helpfully produced a video showing an officer repeatedly striking one of the female insurrectionists, but prosecutors have indicated that Nichols was nowhere nearby at the time, and that his efforts to cast himself as some type of valiant hero defending against police overreach were “preposterous.”

As reported by the Longview News-Journal, Mr. Nichols arrived at the Capitol steps armed with pepper spray and a crowbar. He and another insurrectionist, Alex Harkrider, also brought arms and ammunition to the D.C. area, although they weren’t carrying them during the rioting.

In Facebook posts prior to Jan. 6, Nichols called people who voted for President Joe Biden “‘true traitor(s) to the country,’ and called for violence against government officials, including President Biden and Vice President Pence.”
[*]
The day before the riots, Nichols commented on Facebook, “hunting pedo politicians in DC.”

Beginning at about 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 6, Nichols live streamed the march to the Capitol on Facebook. The clip mentioned in court documents was described as an “expletive-laden, threatening tirade” which included his expressed desire to drag politicians through the streets.

As Feuer observes, claims of self-defense or protection of others under these circumstances are very difficult to prove, particularly when there exists ample video evidence of the defendants’ own violent behavior.

Indeed, in order for such defenses to be viable, the rioters will have to persuade a judge and jury that they or others in the mob at the Capitol were victims of unlawful attacks by the police. That could be difficult given that so much of the rioters’ own violent behavior was caught on video and that officers are justified in using some amount of force in the performance of their jobs.

For example, for Mr. Lang to sell his “knight-in-shining armor” strategy to a jury he’ll have to explain why he spent an hour fighting with police before Ms. Boyland was trampled to death by his co-insurrectionists. And he will also likely have to square his delicate sensibilities with the fact that he later threatened to “get an arsenal together” to disrupt President Biden’s inauguration.

As Feuer reports, most of the defendants who have raised these “self-defense” claims took part in “the ferocious melee at the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol, where the fighting was worse than anywhere else on Jan. 6...”. Consequently, their lawyers are well aware that enough video footage and social media evidence exists to convict their clients several times over. That probably explains why they feel they have no choice but to pursue such a high-risk strategy, one which seriously risks backfiring on them with both judges and juries.

But many may not even get the chance. Prosecutors have begun filing motions seeking to bar such defenses at trial as unsupported by either the facts or the law. The strong likelihood is that any of the insurrectionists who claims he was acting in self-defense -- or out of some noble feelings of empathy, for women or otherwise -- is in for a very rude awakening.
 

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