Friday, August 30, 2013

MSNBC Ratings Fall as Hosts Go Emoprog ~ Updated with Olbermann Tweets!

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Previous Post:
Chris Hayes Totally Overthinks the Word "Hero"


"The Rachel Maddow Show" posted all-time ratings lows in August, in a month that continued a ratings plunge that has prevailed throughout much of the year.
The show was down 43% in total viewers and 47% in the key 25-54 age demographic, respectively, from August 2012.
~ Business Insider

For his part, (Chris) Hayes was blunt—"obviously, the numbers are bad right now"—but he cautioned against making any drastic changes based on what worked on any given evening.
Looking at ratings data "tickles the worst instincts human beings have on causal inference," he said, in a Hayesian answer if ever there was one.
~ New Yorker via Huffington Post

The decisions that Maddow makes go a long way toward defining what MSNBC is, too. Phil Griffin, the president, calls Maddow “our quarterback,” the person who sets the tone for the network. A few years ago, MSNBC had a different quarterback: Keith Olbermann, a former ESPN anchor who rose to fame during the Bush years, delivering urbane, fuguelike denunciations of a President who was sometimes known, on his show, as “you, sir.” Olbermann and MSNBC agreed to a no-fault divorce in early 2011, and Griffin has spent the past two and a half years reinventing the network in Maddow’s image.
~ The New Yorker

Switch O'Donnell and Hayes and 8PM slot is fixed. Hayes had a good show in terms of content, but presentation needs a little more work. Personality transplant would be perfect.
~ trollsbwild on Huff Post

I stopped watching Rachel because she says everything three times, and her voice gets shrill.
~ Tammany on Huff Post

From "An Open Letter to Chris Hayes" by Desert Crone NM
. . . Pay attention carefully to this. You and your buddies have always misidentified President Obama's base. We ordinary common folk are his base, not the the likes of Hamsher, Greenwald, Moore, Adam Green, and Sirota. They and you have never spoken for the base. Guess who MSNBC's audience is? President Obama's base. That's right, the Obamabots and Obamatrons who mindlessly follow dear leader. Obamabots are just like I am although I happen to be an old white woman. Even though Obamabots cut across all spectrums of American life, young, old, black, white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American, we share many similarities. We are educated, and we are activists. We are politically astute and knowledgeable.
We also recognize bullshit when we see or hear it.  The mistaken notion is that we never have any differences with President Obama, which is just absurd. Of course we would have differences with President Obama. What we object to is unfair and unfounded criticism of the President. What we object to are the vitriolic tempered tantrums thrown by so many of the professional left and libertarians. We object to unreasonable expectations. We object to half-truths and lies. We don't object to fair criticism contrary to what you and your fellows may think.

From Politicus USA
The decision that started their decline was the departure of Keith Olbermann from the network. MSNBC head Phil Griffin thought that he could replace Olbermann with Lawrence O’Donnell. That decision spectacularly failed, but his next choice for the timeslot would prove to be more of a winner. Ed Schulz was the perfect fit for MSNBC’s 8 PM. His program had a bit of the sort of emotion and tone that Olbermann’s did. MSNBC rose to second in the cable news ratings. Occasionally, they even beat ratings leader Fox News.
However, earlier this year Phil Griffin made his second bad decision. Griffin decided that Schultz’s old school liberalism didn’t fit with the primetime lineup that he wanted to build. Griffin wanted a clone army of Maddow wonk nerds in primetime, and the blustery blue collar Schultz didn’t fit the bill. This resulted in Ed being shuffled off to the weekends to make room for Griffin’s third bad decision.
In his quest for hipper and younger viewers, Griffin installed Chris Hayes as the new 8 PM host. The Hayes that was smooth on his weekend morning show was quickly replaced by a host that has been at times painful to watch. Chris Hayes is the round peg that MSNBC keeps trying to fit into the square hole. It isn’t working. Nearly 30% of the viewers who tuned in for Ed have tuned out Chris Hayes. The flood of new young viewers hasn’t materialized, and Hayes is looking more and more like the television equivalent of a death row inmate.


What Would Keith Olbermann Do - or Say?


Handwriting on the Walls of MSNBC
Prophetic Tweets from Earlier This Year:


That Click You Hear is the Obamabot Army
Turning off and Tuning Out MSNBC

Miranda was carrying Passwords when Stopped in UK

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Previous Related Posts:
Was David Miranda a Mule or a Journalist?
Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger Spins Away
Smashing Hard Drives: the Miranda - Snowden - Guardian Saga Continues
Glenn Greenwald Threatens to spill UK Secrets
UK Detains Greenwald's Partner, Twitter Wars Erupt


'Which person,' she [Professor McGonagall] said, her voice shaking, 'which abysmally foolish person wrote down this week's passwords and left them lying around?'
There was utter silence, broken by the smallest of terrified squeaks.
Neville Longbottom, trembling from head to fluffy-skippered toes, raised his hand slowly in the air.
~ from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter "Flight of the Fat Lady"

From "Extraordinary Court Statement via @davidbarrett and @joshuafoust
  • Statement from senior Cabinet Office civil servant to #miranda case says material was 58000 ‘highly classified UK intelligence documents’
  • Police who seized documents from #miranda found among them a piece of paper with the decryption password, the statement says
  • This password allowed them to decrypt one file on his seized hard drive, adds Oliver Robbins, Cabinet Office security adviser #miranda
  • The Govt believes Edward Snowden, the NSA ‘whistleblower’, “indiscriminately appropriated material in bulk” #miranda
  • The material contains personal information that would allow British intelligence staff to be identified, inc some overseas, it adds #miranda
  • The Govt has had to assume Snowden data is now in the hands of foreign governments, since his travel abroad (to HK and Russia) #miranda
  • Statement specifically says UK but they haven’t finish decrypting yet
  • It is “impossible” for Glenn Greenwald or any other journalist to determine which info could damage UK national security: Robbins statement
  • “The claimant & his associates have demonstrated very poor judgment in their security arrangements with respect to the material…”#miranda
  • “…rendering the appropriation of the material, or at least access to it by other, non-State actors, a real possibility” #miranda
  • “The fact that…the claimant was carrying on his person a handwritten piece of paper containing the password for one of the encrypted files recovered from him is a sign of very poor information security practice,” says Govt statement #miranda
  • Statement implies GCHQ as well as Scotland Yard are working on the electronic media seized from #miranda

From Telegraph UK
David Miranda accused of carrying secrets that threatened spies' lives. This looks bad for Glenn

. . . The Government's accessed just a small portion of an astonishing 58,000 pages of intelligence documents and, according to a witness statement by Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser to the Cabinet, it includes: "personal information of UK intelligence officers, any compromise of which would result in a risk to their lives and those of their family members." Robbins argued that if this data had got into the public sphere then it would have made spies and their loved ones vulnerable to attack or recruitment by hostile forces.

. . . Miranda's lawyer said in reply that, "Mr Miranda does not accept the assertions they have made." Presumably, this means that he does not accept the assertion that the data he was carrying threatened UK national security and even the lives of its operatives. Yet this somewhat contradicts something Miranda told The Guardian two weeks ago. Back then, he said, "I don't look at documents. I don't even know if it was documents that I was carrying." So if he didn't look at the documents, how can he know that they didn't include the kind of information that the UK Government alleges?


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Assange Stars in Bizarre Video

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From Mashable
Julian Assange Gets Wiki With It in Spoof Rap Video
Julian Assange just leaked his sense of humor for all the Internet to see.
The WikiLeaks founder appeared in a spoof rap video, titled "Game of Polls," produced by Juice Rap News. It blends a hip hop beat with the theme from the HBO series Game of Thrones.
After a few minutes of Westeros-esque violence and crass language from actors depicting three top Australian officials — Labor Party leader and current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, his predecessor Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party — Assange appears as himself around the video's 3:30 mark.
. . . The rap gives way to Assange delivering his political platform to the stylings of "You're the Voice," an Australian '80s anthem performed by John Farnham.

From the Juice Media Statement
Thanks to the Ecuadorian people, Julian has a room in the Embassy temporarily set aside for hismedia appearances, complete with green screen and lights - which came in very handy. We were assisted by friends and the WikiLeaks team in filming the scenes inside and outside the Embassy. The entire shoot took half a day and most of the night. As it took place over a Saturday/Sunday, no Ecuadorian staff members were inconvenienced or harmed during the process. :)


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Donald Defrauded Students at Bogus "Trump University"

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From Gawker
According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Trump defrauded at least 5,000 Trump devotees, who paid between $1,495 and $35,000 to enroll in Trump's "educational institute." Those students were under the impression that the cost of tuition would include "individual instruction until they made their first deal," because, well, that's what the program promised.
Instead, they were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their photograph taken in front of a life-size picture of the blustery Golden Retriever.

We're going to have the best of the best. . . . and if you can't learn from them, and you can't learn from me . . . and these are all people handpicked by me, then you're just not going to make it in terms of the world of success.
. . . We're going to teach you better than the business schools can teach you.
~ Donald Trump in a promotion for Trump University

More than 5,000 people across the country who paid Donald Trump $40 million to teach them his hard sell tactics got a hard lesson in bait-and-switch. Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got. No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard working New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable.
~ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed suit Saturday against bogus sham “Trump University,”

They meet on Thursday evening - I get sued by this AG Schneiderman... Saturday at one o'clock. Think of it. What government in the history of this country has ever brought a suit on Saturday? I never heard of such a thing.
...They obviously did it very quickly, but probably Obama - maybe this is a mini IRS. Maybe we have to get the tea party after these people, because this could very well be a mini IRS.
~ Donald Trump on whether Obama gave Schneiderman the idea for the investigation

The president and I have much more important stuff to talk about that Donald Trump. I've never discussed Donald Trump with the president.
~ Schneiderman in response to Trump's accusation


Friday, August 23, 2013

Was Miranda a "Mule" or a Journalist?

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Previous Related Posts:
Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger Spins Away
Smashing Hard Drives: the Miranda - Snowden - Guardian Saga Continues
Glenn Greenwald Threatens to spill UK Secrets
UK Detains Greenwald's Partner, Twitter Wars Erupt


I was just taking materials back to Glenn.
~ David Miranda, spouse of journalist Glenn Greenwald, on CNN after being stopped and held for nine hours at Heathrow Airport while possibly carrying material from fugitive Edward Snowden

What is the Guardian's Position over David Miranda's Legal Action?
Alan Rusbridger, Editor, Guardian UK: The Guardian is supporting that action and we are supporting it in terms of financing it because David Miranda was acting on behalf of Glenn Greenwald at the time he was detained. So we support that action and I think it's a good thing to challenge that law and see why Terror and Journalism are being elided in this disturbing way.
David Miranda wasn't really "on assignment." He is Glenn Greenwald's partner. Glenn Greenwald's a very busy man and he assists Glenn in his journalistic work, and he was acting as a messenger or intermediary in a way that's difficult for Glenn at the moment because he's got a lot of work to be doing in Brazil, and I think he's also a bit nervous about traveling at the moment.
Was it wrong for the Guardian to pay a non-journalist to act as a courier this way, especially if he didn't know what he was carrying?
Rusbridger: Glenn Greenwald trusts David - he obviously does as his partner, and it was Glenn's decision and David's -- he's a grown-up adult. He wanted somebody he could trust and ... it was important that Glenn had somebody he could trust.
~ Complete Interview Transcript with Alan Rusbridger of Guardian Here

It sounds a lot like he’s being used by Greenwald and doesn’t fully understand the seriousness of what he’s wrapped up in. Now, like any other adult Miranda has agency and did not have the make the trip. And it’s possible he’s downplaying his role to sound innocent.
~ Joshua Foust

In short, the Brazilian was acting as a sort of ‘mule’, though Guardian reports have ignored or under-played this. The Tory MP David Davis, who has bravely campaigned against state surveillance, pointed out yesterday that whatever material was taken from Mr Miranda probably exists elsewhere.
But can you blame the British police for wishing to seize it?
By the way, Mr Miranda acted idiotically in coming via London on his way to Rio de Janeiro, as it is the one place in the world other than America where police were likely to take an interest in him.
~ Stephen Glover on The Daily Mail

Greenwald himself has previously told journalists that his partner assists him in his work. That present ‘work’ consists of engineering the leak of massive amounts of classified intelligence from a source – Edward Snowden – currently granted asylum in Moscow. Greenwald’s partner was travelling through London from a meeting using plane-tickets paid for by the Guardian and – it now transpires – appears to have been carrying files from Snowden. So all those ‘this could happen to any of us’ pieces are only really relevant if you happen to use your partner as a mule for industrial-scale sabotage against states you’re planning to travel to.
~ Douglas Murray on The Spectator

CNN Transcript: Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, Aired August 20, 2013 - 20:00 ET
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I sure do. Let's be clear about what Mr. Miranda's role was here. I don't want to be unkind but he was a mule. He was given something, he didn't know what it was, from one person to pass to another at the other end of an airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules.
Glenn's view is, as long as one of the two people on either end of that transaction was a journalist, he can take anything he wants. He could take the nuclear launch codes, he could take the names of our undercover agents --

COOPER: His flight was paid for by "The Guardian," though, so wasn't it in effect he acting in a journalistic capacity?

TOOBIN: No. I don't think that matters a bit who pays for your ticket. I mean, he's on a plane with stuff that is highly classified. You know -- anything he wants, it turns out it wasn't the names of our undercover agents, it was the extremely classified presumably NSA material. That is not the law.

COOPER: But does it -- I mean, he is being detained under a British -- UK Terrorism Act which is -- only supposed to be used to detect and find people who are connected to terrorist. There is no indication that David Miranda -- they knew who he was, they knew he's not connected to some terrorist group.

TOOBIN: Great Britain has its own laws that are similar to ours but then are somewhat different. Their terrorism law takes it one step farther. They say, it's not just the material -- this person is a terrorist, but can be used by terrorist. And frankly, if terrorist know how we surveil their cell phone calls, how we surveil their texts, that could be used for terrorism.
. . . Mr. Miranda was lucky that they used the terrorism law because he wasn't even delayed. He wasn't even stopped overnight. I mean, you know, I'm sure it was inconvenient to be stopped for nine hours at the airport, but, you know, when it -- but you know, when it happens to you on JetBlue they don't even offer you a lawyer.

So, I mean, I just don't think he was sent to the gulag. He was -- he was delayed for a while and they took what appears to be stolen classified information. I think Mr. Miranda actually did pretty well, considering what he was carrying.

. . . The word journalism is not magical immunity sauce that you can put on anything --
COOPER: Immunity sauce --
TOOBIN: That you can put on anything and make -- eliminate any sort of liability. You know what? If he had the nuclear launch codes on there, he could -- you know, they can take that. If he had the names of undercover operatives, they can take that.


Miranda states (if you believe him, and I don’t) that he had no idea what he was carrying. Greenwald states that he was transporting Snowden’s stolen, top secret CIA intelligence data on encrypted thumb drives. So basically, you have Greenwald using his spouse as a mule to actively assist Edward Snowden, and you have Miranda apparently lying at the airport when he answers that damned basic security question… “Has anyone given you anything to carry on board?”
Did you lie to airport security, then, David?
~ Louise Mensch on The Telegraph

Ask yourselves if Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras, are actively assisting Edward Snowden in his treacherous dissemination of classified, incredibly sensitive US and UK intelligence? From where I’m sitting, it looks like an attempt to fight charges in advance – by claiming that they are journalists and everything they do is covered by the First Amendment. Hence the New York Times putting Poitras on the cover of its magazine supplement this week and Greenwald’s repeated lies about the role of his husband and the events and aftermath of the detention to British journalists, unchallenged anywhere in the UK press, until I started tweeting about it & wrote my last blog on the topic.
They hope that claiming a journalistic role will protect them when they are stealing, storing and disseminating classified intel about not just NSA snooping but America’s intelligence programmes against China, Russia and so forth. They are, in doing so, risking countless lives. So are the Guardian newspaper.
Louise Mensch on Unfashionista

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Manning

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Previous Related Posts:
Wikileaks Associate Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison
Bradley Manning Apologizes at Trial


Complete Statement from Chelsea Manning from NBC Today Show
Subject: The Next Stage of My Life

I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Thank you,

Chelsea E. Manning

While Fort Leavenworth, the prison where Manning will serve her sentence, does not offer hormone therapy, (Attorney David) Coombs told host Savannah Guthrie he would fight to ensure his client received the medical treatment she needed. He also said he and Manning had not discussed sex reassignment surgery, and that getting her access to the needed hormones is his priority at this time.
Asked why Chelsea Manning had not made a statement about her gender before the trial was over, Coombs said, “She didn’t want this to be something that overshadowed the case.”

The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.
~ Statement from the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wikileaks Associate Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

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Previous Related Posts:
Bradley Manning Apologizes at Trial
Julian Assange Says Libertarians are the Only Hope for America
Snowden Finally Leaves Russian Airport


From ABC News
FT. MEADE, Md. -- Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison today.

Pfc. Manning will also be reduced in rank to private, forfeit all pay and allowances and receive a dishonorable discharge.
Manning expressed no emotion as a military judge announced the sentence. He was then quickly escorted out of the courtroom.

He will serve his prison sentence at the military's detention facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

From the American Civil Liberties League
August 21, 2013
CONTACT: 212-549-2666,

NEW YORK – A military court-martial today sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks. Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, had this reaction:
"When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system. A legal system that doesn't distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability. This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it's also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate."

Statement from Julian Assange
Today the well-known whistleblower Bradley Manning has been ordered by a military court in Maryland to spend a minimum of 5.2 years in prison with a 32 year maximum (including time already spent in detention), for revealing information about US government behaviour to the public.

This hard-won minimum term represents a significant tactical victory for Bradley Manning’s defense, campaign team and supporters. At the start of these proceedings, the United States government had charged Bradley Manning with a capital offence and other charges carrying over 135 years of incarceration. His defense team is now appealing to the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.

While the defense should be proud of their tactical victory, it should be remembered that Mr Manning’s trial and conviction is an affront to basic concepts of Western justice. On Mr Manning’s arrest in May 2010, he was immediately subjected to punitive incarceration by the US government, which was found to be "cruel, inhumane and degrading" by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, and even found to be unlawful by US military courts.

The period Mr Manning has already spent in prison will be subtracted from the sentence, and dispensations for good behaviour, parole and other factors mean that it is likely he will now spend less than ten years in confinement. Mr Manning’s defense team are now seeking to reduce this sentence further on appeal. US military law stipulates that the sentence can only be reduced. It is important that support for Bradley Manning continues during this time.

The only just outcome in Mr Manning’s case is his unconditional release, compensation for the unlawful treatment he has undergone, and a serious commitment to investigating the wrongdoing his alleged disclosures have brought to light.

Mr Manning’s treatment has been intended to send a signal to people of conscience in the US government who might seek to bring wrongdoing to light. This strategy has spectacularly backfired, as recent months have proven. Instead, the Obama administration is demonstrating that there is no place in its system for people of conscience and principle. As a result, there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings.