Friday, March 8, 2019

TFOB Part 5

And now we come to Trump. 

Sunday was Michael Isikoff, David Corn, Craig Unger, and Michael McFaul in the morning, talking about Russian Impulses.  Ambassador McFaul took a picture of us as we were taking pictures of us, before Jim Nintzel, the editor of Tucson's free weekly and the session's moderator, began the panel to serious applause with this statement about the state of our union:  "It's like a Tom Clancy novel, only more terrifying."

Here are some nuggets from all of them.  There were so many good ones I forgot to attribute some of the quotes to the speakers.  They didn't really disagree; I think they'll be okay with my mashup.
(Unger) The Russian Mob is a state operator.  There was $1.3 Trillion in assets sent out of Russia when Putin came to power.  That needed to be laundered.... and Trump sold 1300 condos.
A dozen guys in Russia hacked one guy in the US, and they changed the course of the election.
Deep Fake Videos exist which make it nearly impossible to tell reality from falsehood.
(Unger) Big law firms, like Jones Day, represent Russian oligarchs today.  Partners in these firms are serving in the White House today.
After a lengthy discussion on Facebook and Twitter ("They are tech companies, not media outlets, so they can't be sued because they claim 'no editorial oversight'"), the panelists offered advice on how to survive. 
Stay engaged.  Pay for good journalism.  That's how to protect democracy.
Americans want data.  Make people know what you want.
Feeling somewhat hopeful about the future, I strolled through the children's section, chatted up the creator of Clarabelle Blue, grabbed a cup of lemon gelato, and enjoyed the sunny weather before returning to the serious business of the day: Can Truth Survive Fake News.  Nina BurleighRick Wilson, and David McCraw - a journalist who covered the Amanda Knox trial, a tv talking head whose last book is Everything Trump Touches Dies, A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, and a lawyer for the New York Times - and the moderator, David Maraniss, presented a fascinating combination of outrage and sorrow.  

Here are some gems:
Roger Ailes was a tv genius - he brought 90 million viewers a day to Fox.
(Wilson) Most good White Houses leak on purpose.  This isn't a good one.
(Wilson)  He's crazy as a sprayed roach.  (I was laughing too hard to remember who he is.)
(Wilson)  Trump must drive a wedge between his base and the mainstream media, because if his words are reported accurately........
(McCraw) Saying "Well, my guy's not Harvey Weinstein,"  that's not really the bar.
Every relationship with Trump is centered on fear and loss.
Trump and Pecker - that defines DJT's relationship to the press - money or blackmail.
And then there was my favorite:  The reason Republicans don't stand up to Trump?  FOMT, or 
Fear Of Mean Tweets.





  1. As a now un-affiliated voter, you and I disagree on most of this. As for the mean tweets, I've heard they get really vicious if you say something against AOC. There's bad on both sides and right now i have yet to see a possible candidate on the left and it's depressing to me. Hillary lost because of her bad choices, her arrogance, and how a lot of people couldn't vote for someone they saw as a grifter. People like me voted for her anyway and felt ashamed of the vote because of how I saw her but believed there was no choice. The stuff on FB was a minor player and likely only went to people who already thought that way. It's how I operate there-- hide what I don't want to see. The Russians tried to influence our election as we try to influence other elections like even Israel. I don't feel positive about what is going on and doubt i'd have been convinced if I'd gone to the book fair.

    1. I hope you read this before Mayor Pete does his CNN Town Hall tonight. I've never felt so hopeful about the future as when I listened to him.

      Honestly, though, I don't think we disagree that much. Look:

      Yes, we use undue influence, and there is some irony in our outrage, but outrage there is and should be over the interference in our election. And The Trump Campaign Manager giving detailed polling data and info to Putin connected Ukrainian oligarch (for which he'll be sentenced next week) breaks so many moral and legal precepts that, if we could make it understandable, would outrage most Americans.

      I, too, am appalled that I voted for HIllary, but there was no choice. I hope we have a better choice next time.

      This whole Ilhan Omar and AOC business is noise - I'm shutting out most of it while enjoying the fact that so many of the players are female.

  2. I am going to pull back from being 'informed' because for every fact I get, there is someone else giving a contrary one. I had nightmares last night (rare for me) and a flood was in it. I think that means more time with flowers, sunsets, nice rides in the desert, etc. Manafort had limited time in the Trump administration and a shady background; so not sure Trump is responsible for that. He was picking people in a field he didn't really know that well. At any rate if Trump gets found guilty of something, it's no skin off my nose. I don't know enough about the man to know if it'll happen. I am more concerned with the issues and where our country seems to be going-- with the something for nothing crowd on both sides. Our family is going through some difficult times and I figure I need good news for a while... Any idea where I can get that? lol

    1. Good news department: There is water in Catalina State Park and it's lots of fun to splash in the rain-driven washes. The Bluegrass Festival is happening again in Marana this year. There was a rainbow going straight up in the sky this afternoon. The Pima County Library has added new venues to its Culture Passes. The wildflowers are spectacular.

      How's that?!?

  3. All of this is a one great mess. It is hard to make head or tails.
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