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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 8,391

Journal Archives

CNN interviews NYT editor: why anonomous sources are necessary in news about Trump

Great interview with NYT editor that covers a lot of ground. Also a shorter article. Couldn't get video link to post video but you can access it in link below.

"These are not people who pull us aside because they want to screw Donald Trump," Dean Baquet, the newspaper's executive editor, told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday. "These are people who are worried about the direction of government."

Trump has repeatedly blasted the use of anonymous sources in critical stories about his administration.


"In an administration that has expressed so much distaste for the press and so much distaste for our role, are you surprised that some of the people who want to criticize the administration want to do it without their names attached?" Baquet asked Sunday. "I'm not."


"I always know who the sources are for these stories. That's why I'm so confident pushing back at the Trump administration when they criticize the stories," he said. "As long as the stories are accurate, as long as the stories are true, which so far has been the case, and as long as we offer the right perspective, I think that's fine."


Wyden, cheered by Oregonians to probe a Trump-Russia connection, must keep up the fight: Editorial

By The Oregonian Editorial Board
on February 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM

It was the second questioner at Sen. Ron Wyden's recent town hall meeting in Oregon City that hit the nerve. A woman stood amid at least 1,000 people packed into the city's high school gymnasium and said:

"The elephant in the room is the (Trump) administration's current relationship with the Russians. This feels like the most dangerous time we've been in for decades." Amid a roar of approval, she asked: "What can you do to get information declassified?"

( video of town hall: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/02/russia_trump_taxes_ron_wyden_town_hall.html )

Wyden, a Democrat who ended a statewide 11-town-hall-meeting tour in Portland Saturday, paced about the basketball court in sneakers as he went straight to the elephant. In addressing it, he unmasked himself as something of a zealot - no surprise to Oregonians who've watched his persistent questioning of officials on Capitol Hill about the federal collection of metadata on unwitting citizens, cybersecurity in a world of terrorism, the erosion of personal privacy from technologies that include drones. He pledged to the Oregon City crowd, as he did in other town halls: "I am a committed to making sure this is not swept under the rug." And then he characteristically went large in shouting above the cheers, "This goes right to the heart of the legitimacy of the government."


Enter Wyden. He unsuccessfully introduced legislation last year that would require presidents to release tax returns, which he characterized for the Oregon City audience as representing "the lowest ethical bar." And he has since hammered the message home that Trump has a lot of explaining to do. More than most, he is the voice associated with holding Trump to account.

Wyden is right to consider the U.S.-Russia relationship of peculiar pertinence to Oregon. It's what his bosses, the public, want him to focus upon. And, in a vital display of democracy, his bosses have shown up in great number to say so. "It's just extraordinary," Wyden said. "I have never seen anything like this before."


"You will never find a more wretched hive of skum and villiany. We must be cautious."

Republicans Accuse Voters of Using Town Halls to Express Themselves (Borowitz)

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Saying “Enough is enough,” Republican senators on Friday angrily accused their constituents of “intentionally and opportunistically” using recent town-hall meetings as vehicles to express themselves.

One of the angriest Republicans, Senator Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, said he was “disgusted and offended” by the “flagrant exercise of freedom of speech” he witnessed at his town hall.

“The spectacle of people standing up, asking their elected representatives questions, and expecting them to answer is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever experienced,” Cotton said. “This will not stand.”

Cotton accused “outside agitators” of sending voters to the town halls “to cynically exploit an obscure provision in the Constitution called the First Amendment.”


US Press Corps letter to Trump: We're very good at getting info w/o access & we'll work together!

This was written right after the election. I posted it in January but I think it is even more relevant now.

An open letter to Trump from the US Press Corps
By Kyle Pope, CJR, Editor in Chief and Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review
January 17, 2017

… we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps.

It will come as no surprise to you that we see the relationship as strained. Reports over the last few days that your press secretary is considering pulling news media offices out of the White House are the latest in a pattern of behavior that has persisted throughout the campaign: You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialized. You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences. You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability.

All of this, of course, is your choice and, in a way, your right. While the Constitution protects the freedom of the press, it doesn’t dictate how the president must honor that; regular press conferences aren’t enshrined in the document.
But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too. It is, after all, our airtime and column inches that you are seeking to influence. We, not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers. So think of what follows as a backgrounder on what to expect from us over the next four years.

Access is preferable, but not critical. You may decide that giving reporters access to your administration has no upside. We think that would be a mistake on your part, but again, it’s your choice. We are very good at finding alternative ways to get information; indeed, some of the best reporting during the campaign came from news organizations that were banned from your rallies. Telling reporters that they won’t get access to something isn’t what we’d prefer, but it’s a challenge we relish.

(snip- all good stuff snipped! Go read the article)

We’re going to work together. You have tried to divide us and use reporters’ deep competitive streaks to cause family fights. Those days are ending. We now recognize that the challenge of covering you requires that we cooperate and help one another whenever possible. So, when you shout down or ignore a reporter at a press conference who has said something you don’t like, you’re going to face a unified front. We’ll work together on stories when it makes sense, and make sure the world hears when our colleagues write stories of importance. We will, of course, still have disagreements, and even important debates, about ethics or taste or fair comment. But those debates will be ours to begin and end.


More, and all worth reading:

Based on this HuffPo article from today, it appears many outlets are following through on working together:

O'Donnell just had mental health experts saying T unfit to be pres; paranoid psychopathic narcissist

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell 2/21/17
Mental health experts say Trump is unfit to serve

"Some psychologists and psychiatrists are speaking out about Trump because of a duty to warn. Lawrence talks to two experts with this view: Dr. Lance Dodes and Dr. John Gartner, whose online petition of mental health professionals has more than 26,000 signatures." Duration: 6:26

This was extraordinary. A must listen. There have been a number of articles by mental health professionals, but I was listening with amazement that this was actually being broadcast on national TV.

One quote:
"If we could construct a psychological Frankenstein monster we could not create a leader more dangerously mentally ill than DT. He is a paranoid psychopathic narcissist who's divorced from reality and lashes out impulsively at imagined enemies and this is someone who is handling the nuclear codes."

Brilliant protest sign by Muslim woman: "2/3 of Trump's wives..."

Friend just sent me this. I hadn't seen it before and thought it was brilliant and super funny! And the delight on her face makes me happy.

Excellent article on Senate Intel Committee investigation of Trump/Russia. It's coming together!

This article is from last week, but I never saw it posted and it is excellent - explains a lot of things I had questions about; why it took so long to get started and how it's moving ahead now at a much faster pace.

The Senate Intelligence Committee thinks it could be America’s last hope to understand what really happened between Russia and Trump.
Ali Watkins
BuzzFeed News Reporter


The early stages of the Intelligence Committee’s probe, first announced in early December, were hamstrung by standard, if wildly inefficient jockeying on the Hill over which of the Senate’s many committee’s had jurisdiction over the Trump-Russia issue. Both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on Russia’s efforts to manipulate the election, and some democrats have pushed for a wholly separate “select” committee to handle the issue. Majority leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats backed off that demand on Wednesday, at least for the immediate future.

The scope of the Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe has been debated through the weeks, but has now been settled and agreed upon by both Republican and Democrat leaders. Its timeline will include everything from the post-election transition period to the year leading up to the election, and both Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner have left open the possibility that Obama and Trump administration officials will be called to testify.

Burr, who chairs the Senate committee, and Warner, the committee’s top democrat, said Tuesday that the investigation would include the Russian effort to manipulate the election, connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and any Russian efforts to undermine the transition period, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Though the inquiry is only in its nascent stages, conversations with staffers from both sides of the aisle suggest it’s the most cooperative, cordial and bipartisan the committee has been on a major, politically charged investigation in recent memory.

There was brief, if fiery, politicking over the committee’s investigation in January, when Burr — breaking from the initial announcement of the inquiry — told reporters that the panel wouldn’t probe connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, and would instead focus on the broader Russian intelligence effort to undermine the election. His comments caused a headache behind closed doors, as democrats and reporters furiously scrambled to find out what had changed.. The back-and-forth played out in press releases until both Burr and Warner said in a joint statement that yes, of course the investigation would include the campaign.

One official said in the days just after lawmakers had returned to the Hill in January, there was concern that committee Republicans would back off of the probe. But Warner, in a significant departure from his usually quiet demeanor, stepped up and unequivocally said the inquiry was of solemn import, and compared the situation to the Watergate and Church Committee eras of the 1970s. The official, who also requested anonymity to discuss the committee’s investigation, said it was a profoundly encouraging moment for the panel’s democrats. It was a clear indication, the official said, that Warner would be an advocate for the committee’s inquiry.

In recent days, Burr too has underscored the seriousness of the investigation, if not as publicly as his democratic colleagues. He’s closely monitored developments on Flynn’s ouster, and was noticeably troubled early this week that so little of the information had ever trickled up to the Hill.


Burr has been slammed by colleagues in recent days, who fear he’s slow-rolling an investigation into a fast-moving story. But much of the inquiry’s slow start was due to bureaucratic wrangling — some intelligence agencies insisted products be viewed on site rather than sent to the Hill, and some of the intelligence was so tightly controlled that it was unclear if staffers could even view it.

Lots more:

Video/article of Wyden town hall from Saturday. He is working for all of America, not just Oregon.

Russia, taxes and Trump take center stage during Ron Wyden's town hall in Oregon City

(Article plus video of entire town hall)

Sen. Ron Wyden touched on various state and national issues, ranging from the Affordable Care Act to voter registration, during his town hall meeting at Oregon City High School Saturday morning.

But it was a nuclear superpower 5,000 miles away that earned the crowd of 2,000's most visceral reactions.

"Your constituents want you to hold the Republicans -- your counterparts in the Senate -- we want you to hold their feet to the fire," Mary Stewart said when she was given the mic by one of Wyden's aides. "We want an investigation and we want it now."

Claps and stomps thundered through the school gymnasium 10 minutes before the meeting's end when she asked the senator to withhold consent from "business as usual" in D.C. until a full investigation into President Donald Trump's alleged ties to the foreign nation was complete.


THe first question is about Russia with a lengthy answer, but there are many more questions where he goes into more depth about it. The whole thing is excellent and he is very engaging throughout.

Will an openly gay mayor from the Rust Belt be the Democrats' next leader? (Guardian)

As Donald Trump descended the golden escalator in the lobby of his namesake Fifth Avenue skyscraper to announce his candidacy for president, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, also had an announcement. In a personal essay published in the local newspaper that same day, Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic rising star who had also served in Afghanistan as a lieutenant with the Navy Reserves, came out as gay.

Now, nearly two years later, after Trump rode a dark horse campaign to the White House, the 35-year-old mayor of South Bend is mounting his own outsider bid to be the face of the opposition in the Trump era as the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

“This race is a test of whether the DNC is prepared to change,” Buttigieg told the Guardian in an interview. “I believe I represent that change.”

A 2014 Washington Post profile called Buttigieg “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of”. The next year, Buttigieg won his re-election bid with 80% of the vote, a wider margin than the first time around. In June, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni proposed: “The First Gay President?”

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