The New Vulgate

a new low in topical enlightenment

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Issue #158 (January 11, 2022)

Westhampton, New York
Photograph by Jane Stokes







































Sources and Ways of Parajanov’s Creativity
Yuri Mechitov

Where can one trace the sources of creativity? Of course, in childhood. It seems Parajanov’s delivery to the world was without any specific problems. He used to play with his older sisters in their small yard decorated with a small pool in the center. They played a very popular child's game which in Russian sounds like Dom-Dom and means simply House-House. So Homo Ludens – Playing Man – started there. They repeated all that elders usually do – meeting guests, preparing meals, gossiping… This small children's theatre was surrounded by the big one – the theatre of real life, which included numerous neighbors of different ethnic origins and backgrounds. We in Tbilisi still name such yards surrounded by small houses as Italian yards though they are exactly Tbilisi yards. It is an open place without completely isolated flats where inhabitants know nothing about their neighbors. Quite contrary – Italian yard people had a very vague understanding of privacy. They share everything that happened to them – joy and sorrow, happiness and grief, everything life consists of. Tbilisi in general was known as a festive city with a carefree easy-going population. In times of Russian Empire Tiflis became a southern stronghold of empire in Transcaucasia. It was a multi-ethnical, multi-confessional city with its own way of life and multifaceted culture. In Soviet times Tbilisi and the whole of Georgia was regarded as a place where one could live more freely than in other places. Unfortunately today times have changed not for better. I said in one of the last documentaries dedicated to Parajanov, that today’s Tbilisi of concrete, steel and glass without cozy, full of performances in yards can’t create conditions to produce such tremendous persons.Parajanov grew up in a traditional Tbilisi Armenian family with its unbreakable laws and canons. But I can suggest that it seems he happily escaped any of the severe restrictions which make all of us so stupid later on. Maybe, because he was youngest among Iosif and Siranush's children. So I suppose he was grown with the wings ready to fly. It’s also obvious that both his parents possessed a great vital energy which was inherited by young Sergei. His father Iosif was an extraordinary person – he ran an antique shop, even a brothel, was even arrested. It thanks to him Parajanov from early childhood learnt the beauty of things.

Whom can we name an artist, a creator?  One who can see the world brighter and deeper than others, who is full with his own valuable (at least for him) opinion about the world and whose strong desire is to share those values, his understanding, with others. So the artist constantly seeks for ways how to deliver, how to render, how to transfer his unique vision almost to everybody. So I can determine the art as a message that exists in different forms – poetry, music, painting, sculpture, photography, cinematography. I can add that for me the real artist is a person who creates with a very naïve and childish thought that with his creations he can change the world for better. It doesn’t mean that artist always has a clear understanding on that topic, but this sometimes unconscious drive is a foundation. I have to add with sorrow that now we live in the very cynical world where there are not so many real artists. Majority of them are not directed with such naïve ideas and ideals. They don’t want to change the world – they are simply businessmen and art is their business.

I remember very well how offended was Parajanov if somebody couldn’t understand his art, his message. He was so disappointed, he was so angry particularly on me, for my disability to see his creation the way he saw it. I remember he asked me to read his script Demon and he wanted immediately my response. But this script, its language, saturated with symbols, appeared very difficult to me to perceive at the first glance. So I started to explain something to Parajanov but it was impossible to fool him. Actually I failed to understand the very essence of his, for me, complicated work.

Every human being believes that God created him as an original, so he is unique. So every human being without exclusions strives, fights to confirm his own person and others around that he came to this beautiful and tragic world not by a chance. So he always needs a kind of confirmation – he wants to be distinguished, to be mentioned, to be famous, to be loved at last. It is a drive of all persons, but in case of a very gifted and energetic person this desire becomes a kind of obsession. I think without this ambitious obsession there’s no artist. So for humble and not ambitious people the art door is closed.

How we can describe a genius? What differs a genius from simply talented, gifted man? Geniuses are of course talented, gifted persons, but at the same time their main feature is an ability to achieve their goals despite all possible obstacles. More over sometimes those obstacles are a fertilized soil to grow their own flower. Parajanov spent four years in three ugly labor camps with killers and bandits. But he always admitted that being there was one of the greatest universities in his life. I can’t forget a dialogue between two greats – Parajanov and Tarkovski. I didn’t hear the whole talk. But in my presence Parajanov told Tarkovski that he regarded him as a very talented person but never a genius because, he stressed, that Tarkovski was not homosexual and never was imprisoned. You should only imagine Tarkovski’s big eyes, because he truly believed he was a genius. I will talk about Parajanov's homosexuality impact on his art a bit later. He came out from prison stronger and wiser with numerous art works which now decorate the walls of the Parajanov museum. It’s a pity he was not allowed to work as a cinematographer those 4 years. But he not only waited for the bright days to come – he created every day, every hour and minute of his outgoing life. He found other ways to speak out – he created collages, ready-mades, assemblages. He organized joyful parties, met various people, gave advices to artists, told about his prison years in a way of small plays. He was the real Homo Ludens – he played with everything including people. It’s also a pity that nobody recorded at least audio recordings of these fantastic talks. I still blame myself for that mistake. I shot only 10 minutes in silent 16mm film in May 1980, depicting a journey organized by Parajanov to Aghpat and Sanain (monasteries where major part of Sayat- Nova was shot) and it was unfortunately lost. All I have are photographs, also silent, which can’t render Parajanov's non-stopping theatre even a little.

To explain for me and for the society Parajanov’s phenomena, I even invented a special verb – to parajanize, that means at the same time to exhibit himself, to mock, to provoke, to epatage, to challenge, to irritate, to offend, to attack, to burn all bridges, but first of all to create the world of his own, to confirm himself and everybody in actual necessity of his being. Of course this ability to parajanize offended some egg-headed people at power. So they revenged at full scale in December 1973.

So the main source of creativity for every artist, of course, is everyday life with its ups and downs. You should have something inside in order to burst it out. So Parajanov's life was full of many events both tragic and comic and he obviously collected impressions for his big jump took place in 1964 with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965). First of the tragic events that shocked Parajanov's young soul was a death of a neighbour girl, Vera. As you know Parajanov started shooting his last film, Confession (1990), with the scene of Vera’s funeral. There were only two days of shooting at all – Parajanov felt it was impossible to work more due to the mortal disease – lung cancer.

The second big blow was the more than tragic fate of his first wife Nigyar, who was killed by her own brothers. Then was a painful divorce with Svetlana only year after the marriage. There was another attempt to create a family, now with actress Zoya Nedbai (she played in Kiev’s Frescoes), but she was fiercely rejected by Sergei’s mother Siranush. She still wanted a reunion with Svetlana. Parajanov was three times arrested and imprisoned – in 1948, 1973 and 1982. So Parajanov lived his life to the extreme – the true precondition of being a real artist.

The last heavy blow was a tragic death in November 1988, actually a suicide of his close relation, film studio set artist Alik Janshiev, who worked on all of Parajanov's Georgian films, and also played the role of primitive painter Pirosmani in the short-length film, Arabesques on the Pirosmani Theme (1985).  Besides Janshiev actually was co-author of almost all ready-mades and assemblages. It was really impossible for Parajanov's bursting nature to glue one-by-one the fragile elements of his wonderful glass creations. There were several reasons why Parajanov took a great share of responsibility for such tragic outcome. I am sure that this tragedy provoked, awakened still latent lung cancer. Parajanov was so shocked that in a masochistic way he hanged of portrait of dead Alik in his coffin on the wall. But Parajanov surprisingly managed to convert this comprehensive pain and grief into creative process. He turned to La Gioconda – Mona Lisa image. I would like to add that he called my first photograph of him Gioconda too. It happened in November 1978, when we became familiar. So exactly ten years later he ordered his nephew Garry to buy all of the reproductions of Mona Lisa in our biggest art shop. To Parajanov's pleasure Garry managed to buy big size superb quality reproductions. In my opinion this series of works are real masterpieces performed with the greatest creative energy fueled with such contradictory emotions as love and grief. This work is a manifestation of his understanding of beauty, of his wisdom, of his fortitude. These works are not simply post modernism which floods everything and which is using and trivializing the great Art of Past, but is truly the second Renaissance. First my impression when I saw these works was a kind of shock. The same shock I experienced when I first time saw Sayat-Nova (1969).

The real Art beside its main function – aesthetic and ethical message to mankind – has one no less important function – creating a space of freedom where the author can create his own worlds, create his own universe. This way one can overcome one's own disease, fear, cowardice… This way one can dream, dare, achieve… Nevertheless the most important among Parajanov’s drives were comprehension and reconstructing of the beauty. – How beautiful it is, insanely beautiful! – was his favorite exclamation, coming from his unique ability to feel the material beauty created by a human being. However his Giocondas are not simply beautiful, they are unlimitedly deep. Compared with them, Leonardo’s Gioconda is too simple. She is harmonically depicted on the peaceful country landscape background and she is looking at us from the depths of centuries with dignity, calmly, with light irony. Parajanov creates in the end of the bloodiest century in the history of mankind, which in addition to all its sins imposed on us a suicidal supremacy of consumption over the joy of creation. Parajanov’s Giocondas are product of our turbulent times – they are tragically playful, mockingly strict, at the same time they are passionate and unfeeling. Creativity of Parajanov has no boundaries, energetically this work is a work of a young man who lives his life vigorously and passionately.

Once I visited Sergei. He had guests from Lenfilm Studio, colourists who were printing copies of the second great Parajanov masterpiece. All of us headed down Arsena Street and then turned on to Tkhinvali street. I guess Parajanov had been nurturing this idea for a long time. "Well, here we are around the best view of Mount Mtatsminda, where we can produce a breathtaking shot," the Maestro pronounced and indicated the spot, from which I would photograph the future masterpiece. Parajanov arranged the colourists at a distance, found a spot for himself and ordered me to take a photo. In those days, I used to photograph with a plain Soviet-made Zenit camera. Suddenly, Sergei jumped with such ease as I have never seen in him before, then again and again… The third take proved to be more or less successful. Parajanov christened it “The still photo of the century,” and made a collage after it; as for myself, I named it, “The black raven in flight.”

It happened that when I met Parajanov I had no idea about his films. Now it’s so easy to know something! But for this time without VHS cassettes, not to speak of the Youtube, it was impossible to be familiar with Parajanov as a film director. When I first saw Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors I was so impressed by cameraman Yuri Ilienko's work that I told Sergei that without the eyes of Yuri he would never have created such a beautiful and dynamic canvas. By this time I didn’t know that before Shadows Parajanov shot at Dovzhenko Film Studio 4 full-length feature films and three documentaries, which to put it politely, didn’t make him famous. Saying so, I seriously offended Parajanov. Then I understood that it was a long story. Such kind of talks took place shortly after this film was released. That’s why in my opinion, and not only mine, Parajanov started Kiev’s Frescoes with the camera literally nailed to the floor. He continued this method in Sayat-Nova. One of the reasons for such a formal approach was to confirm Parajanov himself and others that the secret of his success was not necessarily linked with a dynamic camera. Anyway I believe that Parajanov was lucky in both cases – he was able to collect perfect teams in order to realize his vision. For many reasons this never happened in his Georgian films. The Legend of Surami Fortress (1985) and Ashik Kerib (1988) to a larger extent are not as perfect to me as his previous Ukrainian and Armenian films. I have to admit that by this time Parajanov experienced the lack of energy. Sometimes he behaved as a primitive energy vampire, because after our relationship I often felt myself almost exhausted. So at the same time I am proud that I helped him even a little to replenish energy he needed so much. When he shot Shadows and Sayat-Nova he was on a peak, it was his acme. Then he was out of work as a cinematographer for almost 15 years. Parajanov used to say that Fellini was so lucky, because he left this world performing all his projects, as for him he was going to leave with up to 20 unreleased scripts.

What about Parajanov's homosexuality – in those old good times when it was not so widespread a phenomenon, now it’s a kind of a fashion – but then it was impossible to talk openly about such kind of deviation because such person might be simply jailed. Parajanov managed to carry his peculiarity with a great dignity. I believe such surrounding, this feeling of being different, distinguished and added something important to the creative strength of Sergei. I can recollect once he said to me and my close friend Mark Polyakov, "Forget women and you will discover new horizons!" Alas, we didn’t believe him. I am joking, of course. Because with his dual ability he was more than sensitive, he felt things the way which were not affordable for ordinary men. And he always joked on that subject. Once I shot him with buckets full of trash. When I brought pictures of that event, Parajanov instantly created this collage where he placed naked women images in those buckets to highlight that he didn’t need women anymore. And on the contrary he organized another picture with prominent ladies of high circle and titled it, “I came back to women!” One of his jokes was connected with the Rotterdam Film Festival poster “20 film directors of the future”. As though somebody said to Parajanov, that he should be proud by being in top twenty. Sergei’s answer was that it was nothing because he was declared in top five homosexuals.

I have to add about Parajanov kindness. Of course, sometimes he was very cruel too, but only if somebody couldn’t accept a beauty the way he did. He worried about everybody – neighbors, friends, cinema team people. I witnessed one peculiar scene – an ordinary postman brought Parajanov a letter. Parajanov put on him a very expensive black leather jacket. Not long before I learnt that Sergei had no money to buy a cheapest matsun – a kind of Georgian yogurt. But this gesture with the jacket was a gesture of a king. He was also very friendly with people he didn't know, like taxi drivers, shop sellers, children.

Maybe one of the rare feature of Parajanov was a unique ability to combine a hell and a heaven. That’s why he was so contradictive, sometimes being so kind, and sometimes being unbearable. I want to recall one story which I heard from Serge Avedikyan, one of the film directors and actors in the feature film, Parajanov (2013). When Parajanov was in Paris in September 1988 he asked Serge Avedikyan to bring pencils, paints, color papers, miscellaneous things for collages. He managed to create one good composition and Avedikyan decided to buy it despite its high cost. So Serge found somewhere the amount needed. They agreed to meet at the cemetery at Tarkovski’s grave. It was fantastic scene, recalls Avedikyan: Parajanov was crying, "Oh, my Andrey! You left me forever. I am alone now." And during this nonstop lamentation, Parajanov managed to ask Avedikyan several times, whether he brought him the money.

Another story happened with me personally. In 1985 I with my friends who organized a photography exhibition. There were exhibited mainly portraits performed in neo-realistic manner. And we were so proud of our works. Parajanov quickly looked through pictures, became extremely angry and shouted, "Mechitov thinks that he is Parajanov at a time when I am Parajanov!" What was that? Jealousy? Intolerance?Last creative trick – The Funeral of Parajanov, being himself a witness!  An amazing, frankly mystical story occurred in connection with this photograph. Only 20 years later did I notice, in the upper right corner of the photo, Sergei Iosifovich himself, keeping an eye on his own funeral. I was so struck with this discovery that I began to successively enlarge the photo. My actions, despite their absurdity from a scientific point of view, repeated step by step the movements of the protagonist of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up (1966). There is possibly a materialistic explanation of this fact – some old man who resembled Parajanov climbed up on the tree and was observing the funeral of the Maestro from there. But in this case I am not a materialist.

(Illustrations:  Sergei Parajanov in Tbilisi, Georgia 1984 by Yuri Mechitov; still from Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors; Parajanov mug-shot; Yuri Mechitov at Parajanov exhibit in Vilnius 2013 photograph by Maya Deisadze)


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Addenda one...

Joe Carducci:  In the chapter of my film book that deals with Soviet cinema - Happy Endings and The Party - I knew I wanted photographs of the key directors of its end-game.  I had a good one of Tarkovsky and Konchalovsky but needed Parajanov.  The best image I could find on-line took awhile to find with a photographer's credit to one Yuri Mechitov.  I looked and saw his facebook page so I sent a message to the page and waited.  Nothing.  So I decided to just use it and credit it.  A couple years later I heard from Mr. Mechitov and fortunately he was happy I had used the photograph.  I emailed him a picture of the photo on the page of my book and then I mailed him payment and a copy of the book.  The book went to Tbilisi and came back marked "unclaimed" and the money order was lost.  I re-sent the book, this time to his niece who happened to be traveling in America and then I wired the payment.  Also, we arranged to reprint Yuri's great memoir-essay on Parajanov which he delivered to a Parajanov exhibit in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Once his neice got back to Tbilisi Yuri sent me this nice proof of delivery!  Nice to know there is one copy in the hands of someone who knew Sergei Parajanov.  Thanks Yuri!


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Stone Male named the official bible of MIdnight Movie podcast!

Transcript from the Burt Reynolds Stick episode:


"The Western is a 20th century thing. It was cinema's greatest subject."


"Yeah, its like jazz and comic books and old-time radio..."


"And if you want to see why Westerns were great read Joe Carducci's Stone Male."


"Yes, the official bible of the podcast."


"It really covers what was special about that early time in cinema that created the Western, tough-guy movies..."


"Joe Carducci really defines it in a way that no other film scholar has."


"The thing about Joe Carducci's books, just like Rock and the Pop Narcotic, its like its the last book you need to read about rock music, and Stone Male is the last book you need to read about action films."



















Lisle, Illinois
Photograph by Joe Carducci




































The Oil Tasters, Systematic, and Thermidor


Joe Carducci


We started distributing independent releases in Spring 1978 when I was still working part-time at Peter Handel's Renaissance Records on Morrisson in Portland Oregon.  I got paid in records, something like three 45s or one album for doing the 3-6pm close.  The shop was an import-only shop started by three guys who had worked at Music Millennium across town.  It was not doing well as customers seemed limited to weirdo audiophiles who would pay a premium for a European or Japanese pressing of a record, or wandering straights who needed a copy of a Nana Mouskouri album or Pachelbel's Canon in D; the shop also had a nice display of punk picture sleeves of US and UK 7" records but there weren't many punks in Portland then and those didn't have the money to buy anything anyway. every human (One good customer was the late Tim Kerr who started the label of the same name in the 1990s.)  Renaissance had a connection to Rough Trade London going back to when RT was primarily a reggae shop.  Peter's partners were leaving the business but he went over to London in late 1977 or early '78 to see for himself what was going at Rough Trade.  By then it was the best UK shop for independently released records and RT was distributing as well as beginning to release their own records.  We began to import these British independent releases.  Renaissance became the exclusive importer of Rough Trade's releases and those labels they distributed (Industrial, Factory, Mute, Fast, Object...) for the US that Spring.

One of  the first American independent labels we distributed was the Dangerhouse label.  We also added small American labels like Hearthan, Slash, Poshboy, and interesting self-released records by Monitor, Radio Free Europe, Twinkeyz, Flesheaters, Dead Kennedys as well as local Portland bands' releases by The Wipers, Smegma, Ice-9, and Parasites of the Western World.  We almost started a label but the Neo-boys didn't like the studio we put them in; Jennifer LoBianco who played guitar in the band worked at Renaissance for a while and the band practiced in the shop.  But the shop wasn't as interesting as what we were doing or planning for the distribution, mail-order and record label sides of the business.  So we closed the shop, leaving all the Nana Mouskouri fans high and dry and then moved the company to Berkeley after Christmas 1979.  I left my KBOO radio show in Jennifer's hands and I heard she all but burned the place down!

In Berkeley, California now and called Systematic Record Distribution we coordinated with a Rough Trade America branch, also in Berkeley, and pushed the British records more efficiently while I built up our catalog of American independent labels by writing for samples whenever I saw an advertisement for, or a review of, an American independent release in a fanzine.  And bands sometimes found out about us by asking their local shop or other bands how to distribute a record.  If I recall, the Oil Tasters, from Milwaukee, heard about Systematic from Jim Nash at the Wax Trax shop in Chicago.

I got a sample of the first Oil Tasters 45, "Get Out of the Bathroom/What's In Your Mouth?" and I knew right away we could push it on shop-buyers in good conscience.  The two songs were unusually well-played and well-recorded and the band's name and their lyrics were absurd and funny, and their line-up of sax-bass-drums was distinctive.  Still there wasn't much sales potential for anything back then before bands were touring.  We probably ordered 75 copies and maybe reordered a few more as that would've been what our enthusiasm could deliver when we touted a record to the buyers of the shops we sold to plus our own retail mail-order catalog.  (We could rarely get Rough Trade interested in any reverse exporting of American independents to London but their American branch did pick up American independents for distribution here.)  The release of the second Oil Tasters 45, "That's When the Brick Goes Through the Window", would've allowed us to push their first single again and we tried to re-solicit sales periodically on the best records.


Mostly we did business through the mails and the phones were reserved for sales calls to shops and ordering from RT UK.  But after the second single I remember talking to Caleb Alexander a few times - he played sax in the band - and he said he'd been a kind of roadie-understudy to James Siegfried before he'd moved to New York and changed his name to James Chance.  He also told me about The Haskells e.p. which he wasn't on but his bandmates Richard LaValliere and Guy Hoffman were.  It was another great record and we ordered and sold 50 or more of those too.  Jon Boshard was getting an MFA at UC-Berkeley and did the "Industrial Complex" radio show on the college's station, KALX; Jon and I started the record label, Thermidor in 1980 and ran the label out of his studio in Richmond.  Though Systematic did start a label as soon as we opened up in Berkeley [Optional Music] Peter was rarely interested in things I wanted to put out.  I think Jon and I started thinking about putting out an Oil Tasters LP after I was back in Chicago on a trip and got to see the band play at the Cubby Bear in 1981 or '82.

Jon liked the Oil Tasters too but when he saw the album cover he really got interested as it is one of the best designed covers of that era.  I don't think overall that it is as well-recorded as that first 45 however; that was some debut!  I believe we pressed one thousand albums and we probably sent out a hundred promotional copies to college radio and reviewers and sent a box of fifty to the band.  Systematic sold most of the copies, though we shipped quantities to other distributors such as Rough Trade America, Dutch East, and Wamid who exported to Europe.  The album was well received in Milwaukee and the nearby towns that the band played, but otherwise reviews were mostly in small fanzines of the day.  They got a good review in the N.M.E. in London but there was no way to get attention from American mainstream rock publications in those years.  Same with radio; the Oil Tasters probably got airplay on some thirty or forty college radio stations.


I moved down to LA to run the SST Records office in September 1981.  Black Flag was the band it took to forge a new touring circuit.  I went down there for my own screenwriting reasons but also if I was going to stay in the record business I wanted to be with people determined to break things open so that great bands stopped dying on the vine.  I continued to work new Thermidor releases for Jon thru mastering and pressing in LA; Peter was losing interest in Systematic and in 1983 gave it to Joseph Pope for the assumption of its liabilities.  Joseph was also in the band, Angst; he kept some Optional Music titles in print but didn't release new records, though Systematic was doing some manufacturing-and-distribution deals helping bands get records into print, notably The Didjits.

Black Flag liked the Oil Tasters record and talked about covering "Brick" during their legal battle to get free from Unicorn - a real message song.  Greg asked me to see if the Oil Tasters would do the midwest part of their 1982 tour for the "Damaged" album.  I called Caleb and he told me they had just broken up!  I encouraged him to talk to the others and see if they might postpone breaking up until after doing a first and last tour.  I stressed how rare an opportunity it was.  Caleb did and said Richard and Guy had moved on and it was no-go.  What a shame to see so many great bands have to give up in those years; a band doesn't often survive more than five years anyway.  I was glad I got to help move the needle a bit at Systematic and SST, but even then I also felt it was up to me to write all the fallen genius bands into the history of rock and roll where they belong with my book, Rock and the Pop Narcotic.  All hail The Oil Tasters!  They also served.



(adapted from an essay written for the Splunge Communications reissue of The Oil Tasters recorded output.)



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Addenda 2...


  Oil Tasters - "My Girlfriend's Ghost" live 1981 videoclip. 

The Haskels - "Liberace Is Coming" live 1979 videoclip. 


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 The Wisconsin Music Blog on The Oil Tasters.
There was always a built in small group of people that came to love this band and support them wherever they played any shows. Unfortunately there wasn't enough local support, and clubs to play and make a living out of this, and each member grew and morphed into other projects. But in the early 1980s they were pretty much the "house band" at The Starship. The Starship was the best place to play, and get seen, and sell your music at that time. It was always The Oil Tasters supported by 1 or 2 or even 3 other bands who opened up for them. Lucky Milwaukeans were able to hear this self titled album and singles by The Oil Tasters on WSOE, soon to be WMSE 91.7 FM radio, which was the only college ation and it the THEE PLACE to hear when and where the next Oil Tasters show was going to happen. The Oil Tasters bounced from Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison for years, and quickly gained a serious fan following....

 

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Dan Volohov interviewed me for the London site joyzine.org this summer and when he found out I had a collection of Westerns coming out on Redoubt Press he offered to do pr for it. I tried to explain to him that people don't care about screenplays, care even less about Westerns and don't care all that much for books anymore either. Dan insisted and when I found he would be doing this work from Ingushetia I decided I had to let him try. Well, Gospodin Volohov has triggered a heretofore unsuspected latent Carduccimania that few review editors or mental health experts anticipated. These first interviews range over my six books plus my life'n times in the late record business: 


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Its Psychedelic Baby interview with Klemen Breznikar:
On Thermidor: "Jon and I sat down with Graeme Revell of SPK after their San Francisco gig and talked to him about doing an album; Graeme’s face was still covered with blood from the pig’s head he had been hitting with a machete while he sang."
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Protonic Reversal podcast interview with Conan Neutron:
On Wennerphobia, arena rock, Negativland and Greg Ginn, SST buy-ins, Redoubt sell-outs, Xamerica, MinimumRocknRoll, good 'n bad controversials, Mike Sheppard shearing his flock, Naomi's Darkroom...

 

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The Vinyl Guide podcast interview with Nate Goyer, Pt I:
On The Who, Minutemen, Black Flag, Cream, David Lightbourne, Husker Du, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Unicorn, MCA, Rolling Stone, Systematic, New Alliance, Greenworld, Enigma, Raymond Pettibon, Charley Patton, Saint Vitus, Misfits, Rough Trade, Weirdos (I meant Dangerhouse not Slash!), Ramones and look for Parts II & III too.

 

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Louder Than War interview with Audrey J. Golden:
On moving from music to film: "At the time I left the music business in 1986, there was still zero interest on the part of the film side of Hollywood or other media in the music underground. Although just today someone posted an image to an SST facebook group from a skateboarding movie called Thrashin’ (1986) - theme song by Meat Loaf! - showing a young Josh Brolin wearing an SST T-shirt I drew for label promotion. I moved back to Chicago then to focus on writing, rather than networking Hollywood."

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Impatto Sonoro interview with Fabio Marco Ferragatta:
FMF: While I was studying cinema at university one of my teachers said that there are genres that have run their course and have exhausted their vein, and among them there was the western, but it is true that they have never stopped being produced films of this type. Do you think it can come back? JC: I think Taylor Sheridan is doing the best work In contemporary settings of the west including the cultural inheritance of the old West in Wind River, Sicario, Hell or High Water, and on TV with "Yellowstone". I wouldn’t think an actor could suddenly be doing the best writing out there, but there it is… But you’re right there are Westerns made every year though it can’t take back the standing it once had. Movies before the feature film came in (1908-1915) were first an entertainment for immigrants in the cities who did not speak English yet, so the spare title cards of silent films was better than dialogue would have been. They were living in cramped tenements so they were astonished seeing these expansive spaces of the west on big screens in ways no-one could be today. The feature film now, often two hours long, can still cast a spell but we are all too media-wise. And also the classical Hollywood filmmakers like John Ford, Henry King, Frank Borzage…, first made films in the silent era which was an advantage no current filmmaker possesses. Then there’s the question of women in the Western when so much of modern womanhood is dependent on all the modern conveniences which undercut biology and nature in the period drama generally. Maybe the horror film does a better job squaring that circle.

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 Also soon: New Noise conversation with Johnny Temple (Akashic, Girls Against Boys) podcast & hardcopy. The Punk Rock Academy podcast interview with Dave Springer & Jon Gerlis. Rock's Backpages podcast. Joyzine interview with Dan Volohov:
Normally it’s fun to start with a few characters and a setting and find out what develops and how resonant the resolution can be whether it’s closer to Tragedy or Hollywood happy ending. But the script 'Naomi’s Darkroom' uses what diaries Naomi kept and which survived her hectic life so I was trapped in the plot she understood as her fate. The story follows her as she goes from quitting high school to working for SST to moving to the east coast and working for Ras Records and the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. It’s a long script about a short life.

 

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 A related viral strain, SSTmania, is expected in spring; I talked to both authors' books (both are illustrated with Naomi Petersen shots):
Abe Gibson Here to Blast Your Concept - An Oral History of SST Records (DiWulf Publishing) Spring 2022.

          Jim Ruland Corporate Rock Sucks - The Rise & Fall of SST Records (Hachette) Spring 2022.

 

*** 


 And in othered photobook news:
Glen E. Friedman What I See - The Black Flag Photographs (Akashic) Spring 2022.

          Melanie Nissen Hard + Fast (Blank Industries) February 2022.

          Naomi Petersen Chris Petersen is prepping a book of his sister Naomi's music photography, details tba.

 















Libby Flats, Wyoming
Photograph by Joe Carducci



















From the London desk / editor: Steve Beeho 

Dennis Duncan in THE LITERARY REVIEW on Andrew Hussey's book, Speaking East: The Strange and Enchanted Life of Isidore Isou.
In one sense, Isidore Isou had been predicting the events of May 1968 for nearly two decades. The Romanian-French artist and poet, founder of the avant-garde lettriste movement, had been calling for an uprising of the youth since 1949, when he and his followers plastered the Left Bank with posters declaring, ‘12,000,000 YOUTHS WILL TAKE THE STREETS TO MAKE THE LETTRISTE REVOLUTION’. When the uprising came, however, the slogans on display were those not of Isou and his lettriste comrades but of the Situationists, a long-established splinter group led by Isou’s nemesis, Guy Debord. As the rioting intensified, Isou attempted to assert control, demanding that the students recognise him as their leader, even attempting to gatecrash a radio programme to declare himself head of the French nation. The revolution, his revolution, was really happening, and yet he was confined to the margins. In a cafe, surrounded by comrades, Isou began to rave. He wanted to cut himself to prove to his followers that he was immortal. A doctor was called. Within hours Isou was in an asylum under heavy sedation. By the time he woke up it was mid-June.
^^^ 

 Rachel Cunliffe in THE NEW STATESMAN, Why New Age Puritans Are the Enemies of Progress.
We will always be bedevilled by puritans, and in moments of crisis or societal upheaval the sanctimonious spy an opportunity to push their own personal morality onto the rest of us. As we recover from Covid, it’s worth remembering that the most censorious among us do not hold the ethical high-ground they think they do. No one can claim virtue by making other people miserable.
^^^ 

 Park MacDougald at unherd.com, Why We Need to Be Repressed.
But it is hard not to notice certain resonances between Rieff’s doomsaying and some of the stranger political developments of our own time. On the Left, the rise of wokeness or “cancel culture” can be read as the expression of a longing, among the children of our therapeutic culture, to revive some idea of Good and Evil, to erect taboos and restrictions and impose a new moral order. On the Right, the cultural and intellectual energy is with those who, whether they speak in religious terms or not, denounce the “degeneracy” of the modern West and long for a restoration of traditional authority... Rieff predicted that the logical endpoint of therapeutic culture was an orgy of violence — “Immediately behind the hippies stand the thugs,” as he wrote in Fellow Teachers. Such an orgy is still nowhere on the horizon. But I suspect we should take seriously his suggestion that somewhere deep in our minds is a longing for, or at least a receptivity to, the demands of the sacred, which also happen to be the one thing that our culture seems genuinely comfortable repressing. And as good therapeutics, we can always count on the return of the repressed.

^^^

 Peter Hitchens in THE CRITIC, Hard Labour.

My boss on the industrial desk of the Daily Express, the kind, thoughtful and conscientious Barrie Devney, once returned from the [National Union of Mineworkers] conference so appallingly hungover that he could not even remember his own home telephone number, and had to ask me what it was, bless him. Barrie sensibly never let me near the miners’ union, rightly concluding that it would almost certainly have killed me, and that I would have been useless at it too. My Spartan years at various boarding schools may have prepared me for Moscow, Gaza and the Congo, which I would later endure. But not for the NUM.

 

^^^

John Gray at THE NEW STATESMAN, How Fear Makes Us Human.
[David Graeber and David Wengrow] tell us the primordial freedoms “tend to be taken for granted by anyone who has not been specifically trained into obedience (as anyone reading this book, for instance, is likely to have been)”. Here they write with patronising disdain for those they propose to liberate – the downtrodden and wretched of the Earth – that is characteristic of radical theorists. The mass of humankind, however, are not whippets: they understand, better than ideological visionaries, the conflicting needs that shape freedom in the complex and often contradictory world in which they live.

 

^^^ 


 Douglas Murray in THE SPECTATOR, Farewell to Cambridge's Disastrous Vice Chancellor.
I have occasionally been asked, over the last few years, why I have written about Toope so many times, both here and at the Telegraph. The reason is not just because Toope was clearly so magnificently ill-suited to the job he has now left early. Nor was it simply that I believe he is such a prime example of one of those undistinguished functionaries who falls ever-upwards by parroting and then pushing the latest on-brand dictates of the era. The reason is that – to steal a quote from Evelyn Waugh – watching Stephen Toope in charge of Cambridge University was like watching a Sèvres vase being balanced in the hands of a chimpanzee. He seemed to show no care as he teetered and careered around with it. He seemed, as he particularly showed in his ignominious last year, to have no care of whether or not he dropped and smashed the whole damn thing.

^^^

Miranda Sawyer in THE GUARDIAN on Paul Morley's book, From Manchester With Love: The Life and Opinions of Tony Wilson.
[Tony] Wilson, through his energy and ambition, his ability to effect change, altered many people’s lives, including mine. Also Morley’s, who writes honestly about a complicated man who was as intimidating and selfish as he was inspiring and fabulous. A respected music writer, producer and manager who began by creating his own fanzine in late 70s Manchester, Morley is some years younger than Wilson. They knew each other through the local music scene and some time in 1977, Wilson pops round to Morley’s family home to see if he is in. He isn’t, but Morley’s mum is beside herself. Telly celebrity Tony Wilson is in her home! He tries to help her fix a leaky tap, tells her his technique for making mashed potatoes. “My mum smiled about the day Tony visited for the rest of her life,” writes Morley.

^^^

 Jon Savage in INTERVIEW, Scott King Discusses His Manifesto on Embracing Inaction.
SAVAGE: Fear of success is very punk, isn’t it? KING: It is. The idea that you can no longer be the outsider because too many people like you. It’s inherent in punk, or a certain strain of the punk ethos. I try to address this. There is a section in the manifesto called “Failure is Success,” but I don’t think what I say is punk. It’s about the pursuit of perfectionism. It’s also about the notion of not being able to let go, being trapped in a cul-de-sac in search of The Masterpiece, and consequently producing nothing. So, I think Debrism might be more negative than punk, unless you embrace the act of non-production or incompletion as an art form, or unless you try to find art and purpose solely in the pursuit of ideas, with no obligation to ever make these ideas concrete or public.

^^^

 L’histoire de Les Lou’s at vinylvidivici.net


 ^^^ 

Jah Wobble interview at vanguard-online.co.uk, All About Metal Box Remixed in Dub.
And, you know, PIL only lasted two years. It was great we did Metal Box and then it was good I left. At the time I really had the hump with them but actually, I realise now that that was it for that side, which is great – it’s great you don’t repeat yourself. That was the peak for that kind of approach. Then after that I don’t think John and Keith have done anything that serious. I really don’t mean that to sound snobbish but the words he had then and the whole balance; it was just fantastic. We really caught something in a way you would struggle to do now because we had the benefit of a major record company, no management, nobody saying “you can’t do that – we won’t give you any money unless you agree to go in with a producer wearing a pair of Kickers, who will make you play music with a chordal basis”.

^^^

 Rob Carroll at railholidaymaker.com, We Are The Fall - a tour of The Fall's Prestwich in the footsteps of Mark E. Smith.
'Mental hospitals!' I squealed in high pitch at the other Rob, pointing into the distance up Bury New Road at the area where Prestwich Hospital once stood. Now mostly bulldozed and replaced with commercial units, this was once the largest asylum in Europe. Rob is always polite, though must have been embarrassed by his tour guide’s Fall falsetto in broad daylight on a busy street. Around the Kingswood Road era merged two themes that would help define The Fall. The squeals were my attempt at a line from 1979’s 'Repetition'. What became ever clearer as the day progressed was how Mark E Smith wrote about the things on his doorstep. Literally right outside his door.



















Los Angeles Harbor
Photograph by Dirk Vandenberg



















From the Wyoming & DuPage Desks / editor: Joe Carducci 

Neil Brown, President of The Poynter Institute, Oct. 21, 2021 email.
Hi Joe, Let's celebrate journalism and its undeniable value to our democracy. Journalism is vital to our everyday lives. From vaccine rollouts to Delta variants, social media bans to outages, spa shootings to the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, and from the insurrection at the United States Capitol to the withdrawal from Afghanistan - journalists in newsrooms national and local have been there to cover the most important stories of our time and bring information, context and understanding to the complexities of the modern world.
*** 

 Batya Ungar-Sargon at unherd.com, The Media's Betrayal of the Poor.
If a 1937 study found that fewer than half of journalists were college-educated and many hadn’t even finished high school, by 2015, 92% of American journalists had a college degree, a number that’s certainly even higher today. And college itself is no longer enough; to become a journalist today in a rapidly constricting industry, you have to go to the best colleges and take multiple unpaid internships in the most expensive American cities — where the vast majority of journalists remain. But journalists today are not just more educated and progressive than the country at large; like other highly educated liberals, they have become increasingly affluent. As the local newspaper industry collapsed in the face of the internet, it squeezed those who made it to the top 10%, while dropping everyone else out. The fact that the starting salary of a digital media job is so low is not proof of the industry’s egalitarianism but of its exclusivity; who but the scions of the wealthy can afford to live in New York City or Washington, D.C. on $35,000 a year?
*** 

 Brent Staples in NEW YORK TIMES, How the White Press Wrote Off Black America.
Black news organizations started to wither as segregation eased and the white press became interested in the civil rights movement. Nevertheless, it would take decades for that interest to extend beyond stories about crime. The Kerner Commission underscored this problem when it admonished the news media to “publish newspapers and produce programs that recognize the existence and activities of the Negro, both as a Negro and as part of the community.” News organizations that were not moved to address this problem when the business represented a license to print money have come to see things differently since the business model began its collapse. The apology movement represents a belated understanding that these organizations need every kind of reader to survive.
*** 

 Charles Blow in NEW YORK TIMES, The Impact of the Browning of America on Anti-Blackness.
In too many societies across the globe, where a difference in skin tone exists, the darker people are often assigned a lower caste. And when people migrate to this country from those societies, they can bring those biases with them, underscoring that you don’t have to be white to contribute to anti-Blackness. A fascinating report issued this month by the Pew Research Center explored colorism in the Hispanic community and underscored how anti-Blackness, or anti-darkness, is no respecter of race or ethnicity. It is pervasive and portends a future in which the browning of America does not succeed in wiping away its racial prejudices.
***

 Nykia Wright & Chris Fusco in CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, To our readers: Why we're now capitalizing the 'B' in Black.
Our decision puts Black on the same level as Hispanic, Latino, Asian, African-
American and other descriptors. We also told our journalists to continue to lowercase the "w" in white.
*** 

 Kellen Browning & Brian Chen in NEW YORK TIMES, In Fight Against Violence, Asian and Black Activists Struggle to Agree.
The two groups were reacting to violence aimed at their communities. That included the police killing of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis, which led to a surge in the Black Lives Matter movement. In March, a gunman killed eight people at Atlanta spas, six of whom were Asian women, amid a spree of anti-Asian attacks.... But the tensions boiled down to one main disagreement: policing. While Black Lives Matter activists have called for reducing police budgets and decreasing cities’ reliance on law enforcement officers, Asian leaders say that police are crucial to preventing attacks.
*** 

 Amy Harmon in NEW YORK TIMES, BIPOC or POC? Equity or Equality? The Debate Over Language on the Left.
For some people, though, the new lexicon has become a kind of inscrutable code, set at a frequency that only a narrow, highly educated slice of the country can understand, or even a political litmus test in which the answers continually change.
*** 

smartertimes.com: Harvard's Mission.
A New York Times article... reports: "some scholars say a fundamental tension remains between the school's explicit mission in the first centuries of its existence — to reproduce the white gentry by educating its sons — and its stated role now, as a beacon of diversity and democracy where a prestigious education is available to any and all who merit acceptance." The Times doesn't name any of these "scholars." Just for the record, though, it is not accurate that the school's "explicit mission in the first centuries of its existence" was "to reproduce the white gentry by educating its sons." Here is the Harvard Charter of 1650: "Whereas through the good hand of God many well devoted persons have been and daily are moved and stirred up to give and bestow sundry gifts legacies lands and revenues for the advancement of all good literature arts and sciences in Harvard College in Cambridge in the County of Middlesex and to the maintenance of the President and Fellows and for all accommodations of buildings and all other necessary provisions that may conduce to the education of the English and Indian youth of this country in knowledge and godliness."
*** 

 Patrick Wyman in ATLANTIC, American Gentry.
The conspicuously consuming celebrities and jet-setting cosmopolitans of popular imagination exist, but they are far outnumbered by a less exalted and less discussed elite group, one that sits at the pinnacle of the local hierarchies that govern daily life for tens of millions of people. Donald Trump grasped this group’s existence and its importance, acting, as he often does, on unthinking but effective instinct. When he crowed about his “beautiful boaters,” lauding the flotillas of supporters trailing MAGA flags from their watercraft in his honor, or addressed his devoted followers among a rioting January 6 crowd that included people who had flown to the event on private jets, he knew what he was doing. Trump was courting the support of the American gentry, the salt-of-the-earth millionaires who see themselves as local leaders in business and politics, the unappreciated backbone of a once-great nation.
*** 

 Geoff Shullenberger in CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, Social Justice, Austerity, and the Humanities Death Spiral.
How are humanities disciplines pushing back against the existential threats they face? Obviously, one can find a variety of arguments against cutbacks and the devaluation of humanistic study. On the other hand, faculty members within these fields sometimes make what looks like a case against their own value. For example, the Chicago announcement states that "English as a discipline has a long history of providing aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, and anti-Blackness." Those who make funding decisions might well ask why such a discipline deserves to continue existing.
*** 

 Bret Stephens in NEW YORK TIMES, The 1619 Chronicles.
Journalists are, most often, in the business of writing the first rough draft of history, not
trying to have the last word on it. We are best when we try to tell truths with a lowercase t, following evidence in directions unseen, not the capital-T truth of a pre-established narrative in which inconvenient facts get discarded. And we’re supposed to report and comment on the political and cultural issues of the day, not become the issue itself.

 ***

 Tom Jones in POYNTER REPORT, A deeper look into the controversy of The New York Times' '1619 Project'.

The New York Times’ “1619 Project” about slavery in the United States came out more than a year ago. But it’s now back in the news with a Times opinion columnist criticizing the piece and a call for its Pulitzer Prize to be removed. I’m still not sure why this is suddenly a topic again right now. But it is.
*** 
Richard Samuelson in CLAREMONT REVIEW OF BOOKS, Cancel The New York Times.
Racism is, in the words of Nikole Hannah-Jones, the reporter the Times put in charge of the 1619 Project, “in the very DNA of this country.” But DNA, Kesler notes, is something that cannot be changed. Hence the rhetoric of the 1619 Project is rhetoric of futility. Like bringing democracy to Iraq or a sense of humor to Presbyterians, ending racism in the U.S., from this point of view, is impossible.
*** 
Ashley Rindsberg at unherd.com, Why the New York Times rewrites history.
We might be tempted to think that a correspondent of a previous century would have little to do with the most celebrated journalist of the present day. Certainly, it is inconceivable that anything can compare with Duranty’s attempts to deny the Ukraine famine — and the deaths that followed. But the parallels between Duranty and Nikole Hannah-Jones seem hard to ignore. Like Duranty, Hannah-Jones has become the New York Times’s marquee reporter, her public profile taking on celebrity proportions. Hannah-Jones, like Duranty, is as often the subject of headlines as the creator of them. And, of course, there’s the Pulitzer Prize both she and Duranty won relatively early in their respective careers.
*** 
William Broad in NEW YORK TIMES, The Truth Behind the News William Laurence, Pt. 1.
Before the war, Mr. Laurence’s science reporting won him a Pulitzer.  Working with and effectively for the War Department during the bomb project, he witnessed the test explosion of the world’s first nuclear device and flew on the Nagasaki bombing run. He won his second Pulitzer for his firsthand account of the atomic strike as well as subsequent articles on the bomb’s making and significance. Colleagues called him Atomic Bill. Now, a pair of books... tell how the superstar became not only an apologist for the American military but also a serial defier of journalism’s mores. He flourished during a freewheeling, rough-and-tumble era both as a Times newsman and, it turns out, a bold accumulator of outside pay from the government agencies he covered.
William Laurence, Pt. 2.
Charles H. Loeb was a Black war correspondent whose articles in World War II were distributed to papers across the United States by the National Negro Publishers Association. In the article, Mr. Loeb told how bursts of deadly radiation had sickened and killed the city’s residents. His perspective, while coolly analytic, cast light on a major wartime cover up. The Page 1 article contradicted the War Department, the Manhattan Project, and The New York Times and its star reporter, William L. Laurence, on what had become a bitter dispute between the victor and the vanquished. Japan insisted that the bomb’s invisible rays at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had led to waves of sudden death and lingering illness. Emphatically, the United States denied that charge.
*** 
Aram Bakshian Jr in NATIONAL INTEREST on Donald Ritchie's book, The Columnist: Leaks, Lies, and Libel in Drew Pearson's Washington.
In a National Public Radio interview touting his book, Feldstein described how, after Nixon was elected vice president in 1952, Pearson and Anderson, his chief “leg man” and later co-writer, "...published a false story based on a forged document that claimed that Nixon was getting payoffs from Union Oil, one of the biggest oil companies, now Chevron, and it turned out to have been a fraudulent document, distributed by the Democratic National Committee." And Pearson and Anderson didn’t just base their story on this pre-Trumpian “phony dossier,” Feldstein continued. They also “worked behind the scenes, hand-in-glove with Democrats, to orchestrate congressional hearings to try to keep Nixon from being seated as vice president.” Feldstein concluded, "Nixon’s paranoia goes back to the very beginning, and the paranoia that would ultimately bring his destruction in Watergate had some basis in fact. And it goes back to, among other things, this forged memo that Jack Anderson and Drew Pearson publicized.
*** 
Daryl Michael Scott interviewed by Len Gutkin in CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, 'Bad History and Worse Social Science Have Replaced Truth'.
What about journalism? On Facebook recently you called The New York Times Magazine's "1619 Project" and the Trump administration's 1776 Commission competing forms of history as propaganda. A lot of people who were involved in "The 1619 Project" are experts who want to have influence. Now Nikole Hannah-Jones, the journalist, is using this expertise to advance a view. OK, fine. But the scholars are the junior partners in this enterprise. In all of my professional life, academics really want access to the pages of The New York Times. This is very important to people! Particularly the magazine. It has a kind of enduring quality. Sign me up! ...My critique is that Black people made 400 years of history in British North America, and all we hear about is racism and slavery. It's the most reductionist thing - it's almost like pre-Black studies.
*** 
smartertimes.com, Whitewashing a Communist Camp.
The New York Times has a strange, repeated "odd tendency to euphemize or dance around communism." The latest example comes in a super-long and pretty boring profile of a 97-year-old World War II veteran. The Times claims the person is known as "the king of the artificial Christmas Tree." The Times writes, "in midsummer of 1949, he went to Camp Unity, a leftist camp in Wingdale, N.Y." "Leftist" haha. The Times itself reported on July 17, 1932, that it was a communist camp in which "the theoretical revolutionists live the life of the proletariat in Soviet Russia."
*** 
smartertimes.com, Op-Ed Whitewashes China.
"China is authoritarian and on the rise. But it is hardly Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. China is open for business, whether on fair terms or not; the world's largest trading nation makes a strange candidate for a totalitarian menace whose every activity closes off the earth." I don't find the second paragraph particularly convincing. Nazi Germany was "open for business," too. As Joseph Kahn reported in the Times news columns back in 2000: "At least 50 American companies operated factories in Germany during the years that the Nazis were in power, which began in 1933. American companies continued doing business in Germany after war broke out in 1939. Some remained there until late 1941, when the United States entered the war....Ford, General Motors, Exxon-Mobil and Kodak are among a growing number of American multinationals that say they have found evidence that their subsidiaries used forced labor during those years." ...The Soviet Union was also "open for business." The New York Times obituary of David Koch reported that his father, Fred, "made millions in the 1920s and '30s by inventing a process to extract more gasoline from crude oil and by building refineries in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and elsewhere." The New York Times obituary of the American businessman Armand Hammer reported that "he profited spectacularly from his dealings with the Soviet Union." ...The op-ed's claim that China is different from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union because China is open to international trade just isn't supported by the facts.
*** 
smartertimes.com, Times Advice: Invest in China.
This pretty much says it all about the modern New York Times - it wants readers to divest from and boycott Israel, but to invest in China, where as recently as July 26, 2021 the U.S. State Department was describing an "ongoing genocide." ...Sommer passes along the Vanguard projections as if they are valid, without doing any checking to see if previous Vanguard predictions about returns of U.S. stocks are accurate. For example, in March 2012 Vanguard advised allocating between 20% to 40% to international equities. That would have been not great advice to take: the pre-tax average annual return return for the past ten years on a Vanguard International Stock Index Fund was in the 7 percent to 8 percent range, while the return for a U.S. Total Stock Market Index Fund has been more like 16 percent to 17 percent annually over the same period. If you invested $10,000 at the start of the decade in the U.S. fund, you'd have about $44,000, while if you invested in the international fund, you'd have about $20,000. Taking Vanguard's advice on that would have cost you $24,000.
*** 
Frances Martel at breitbart.com, Marco Rubio: NYT 'Covered Up Proof' Xi Jinping Personally Ordered Uyghur Genocide.
“For unknown reasons, the New York Times appears to have intentionally withheld documents that directly linked top Chinese Communist Party officials, including General Secretary Xi Jinping, to the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region,” Rubio wrote in a letter to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger on Tuesday. “In those now-released ‘Top Secret’ transcripts – documents that the New York Times has allegedly had in its possession since at least 2019 – Xi explicitly authorized changing local counterterrorism laws, rounding up and sentencing Uyghurs, the use of forced sterilization, and the use of slave labor in Xinjiang.” Much of the information missing from the New York Times coverage came to light this week as a result of the work of the Uyghur Tribunal, an independent effort to document China’s genocidal campaign. Among that evidence are several speeches Xi personally issued complaining that East Turkistan’s population was too Uyghur and directly tying the success of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an global infrastructure colonialism project, to the eradication of Uyghurs and other Muslims from the region. One of the world’s top researchers documenting the Uyghur genocide, Adrian Zenz, confirmed that the information revealed at the Uyghur Tribunal came from the same source as the New York Times reporting from 2019, but that the contents of the newspaper’s reporting did not include much of what was revealed to be in the documents this week.
*** 
James Harkin in HARPER'S, Sign of The Times.
Callimachi was “a powerful reporter whom we imbued with a great deal of
power and authority,” Baquet said in an NPR interview the same day. “She was regarded at that moment as, you know, as big a deal ISIS reporter as there was in the world. And there’s no question that that was one of the driving forces of the story.” Internally, the apology only intensified the disappointment many felt with the paper’s leadership. In the days before the public recantation, Kahn called a number of reporters who had previously raised concerns about Callimachi’s work. His tone was apologetic. He and Dolnick then convened a video call with a group of between fifteen and twenty reporters and editors to discuss the findings. The mood was funereal. The Times had worked hard to build up expertise in the region, someone pointed out, which editors then proceeded to ignore; the result had been to undermine the collegiality and openness that characterizes good editorial decision-making. According to Erik Wemple, a columnist at the Washington Post, Chivers read a statement he had prepared that excoriated top editors for ignoring and maligning those who had raised red flags. “Warnings were not just dead letters,” he said. “They became a basis to impugn people personally and professionally.”
*** 
Ben Rhodes in NEW YORK TIMES on Elizabeth Samet's book, Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness.
Of course, there is nobility in celebrating the U.S. victory in a just war and honoring those who served. Samet reaffirms that truth while forcing our attention on a more complicated reality. A sizable “America First” movement sympathized with aspects of Hitler’s ideology, which borrowed from our history of white supremacy. Americans were reluctantly drawn into war only after Pearl Harbor, and liberating the Jews was never a priority. Racism permeated our military forces — most obviously in mandated segregation, and in the restoration of Confederate war heroes in the naming of military facilities and the narrative of national greatness. In the firebombing of German and Japanese cities, the United States was indiscriminate in its use of violence. For U.S. troops who fought, the war was often something to be endured and not celebrated.
*** 
Ira Stoll at nysun.com, Why NYTimes Is Kvelling About The Free Market.
Someday, even without a government push, consumers in great numbers could decide that they’d rather drive electric cars than gas-powered ones, just as some consumers choose electric stoves or clothes-dryers or lawnmowers over gas-powered ones. Some of this is happening already as American buyers voluntarily opt to trade in their Mercedes and Audis for Teslas, with minimal tax subsidies. Yet when a Chinese cabinet decision sets the timeline for an American automaker’s decision to make it impossible to buy a Cadillac or a Buick with an engine that rumbles or roars, it’s hard to see it really as “a reminder of the power of free market forces.” Anyone wishing to mount a serious challenge to the State Council’s electric car plan might find themselves like Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai or democracy advocate Martin Lee - under arrest.
*** 
Ben Smith in NEW YORK TIMES, Inside the 'Misinformation' Wars.
While some academics use the term carefully, “misinformation” in the case of the lost laptop was more or less synonymous with “material passed along by Trump aides.” And in that context, the phrase “media manipulation” refers to any attempt to shape news coverage by people whose politics you dislike. (Emily Dreyfuss, a fellow at the Technology and Social Change Project at the Shorenstein Center, told me that “media manipulation,” despite its sinister ring, is “not necessarily nefarious.”) The focus on who’s saying something, and how they’re spreading their claims, can pretty quickly lead Silicon Valley engineers to slap the “misinformation” label on something that is, in plainer English, true.
*** 
James Bowman in EPOCH TIMES, Who're You Gonna Believe? Not the Media.
The recent revelations arising from the Durham probe into the origins of the Russiagate scandal have made it clearer than ever that, when the media fought back against Donald Trump’s charge that they had become the purveyors of “fake news,” they did so at the cost of having proved him right. Not that you would know that, if, for some unfathomable reason, you continue to rely on the media themselves for your information. Though The Washington Post has gone back and corrected some details (and omitted some others) in the hundreds of Russiagate stories it ran between 2017 and 2020, it has apologized for or retracted none of them. Nor has any other mainstream media outlet known to me.
*** 
Matt Taibbi at substack.com, The Sovietization of the American Press.
“In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing.” was the Times headline, in a piece that said Trump’s decision was “a stark distillation of the Trump worldview: remorselessly transactional, heedless of the facts, determined to put America’s interests first, and founded on a theory of moral equivalence.” The paper noted, “Even Mr. Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill expressed revulsion.” This week, in its “Crusader for the Poor” piece, the Times described Biden’s identical bin Salman decision as mere evidence that he remains “in the cautious middle” in his foreign policy. The paper previously had David Sanger dig up a quote from former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, who “applauded Mr. Biden for ‘trying to thread the needle here… This is the classic example of where you have to balance your values and your interests.’” It’s two opposite takes on exactly the same thing.
*** 
Gary Saul Morson in AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE on Carl Any's book, The Soviet Writers' Union and Its Leaders: Identity and Authority Under Stalin.
Writers, like all cadres, were expected to be permeated by the spirit of “partiinost,” party-mindedness, which meant that, ideally, their will coincided entirely with that of the party. There was no room for the private or personal, and frivolous literary forms like love poetry or pessimistic ones like tragedy were frowned upon. Artistry was, at best, secondary to ideological correctness. Cultivating individual talent earned one reproof for “Mozartism” (ever more pejorative “-isms” were always being discovered). Literary critics, who wrote scathing attacks on works that deviated ever so slightly, lorded it over creative talents.
*** 
Eva Fu in EPOCH TIMES, 'Covert, Corrupt, and Coercive': Report Details Beijing's Bid to Establish New Global Media Order.
These “spectacular scores” have been the outcome of a deliberate effort to artificially inflate subscriber numbers, the report authors said, pointing to the “exceptional growth rate” and the “extremely low interaction rate” these accounts receive. According to the report, eight major Chinese state media in English have an average growth rate of 37.8 percent from the period Jan. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, or about 5,000 times higher than that of U.S. mainstream media. But their level of engagement is 68 times lower than their U.S. counterparts.
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Janan Ganesh in FINANCIAL TIMES, How TV news de-civilized us.
Nor does the chronology of real-world events implicate social media as the problem. If there was an identifiable rupture in public civility, it was the turn of the 1990s. That was when unanimous confirmations of Supreme Court justices (a proxy measure of bipartisanship) disappeared. Newt Gingrich broke through. The best guess is that unipolarity, the fall of communism, cost the US: the absence of an enemy freed Americans to fight themselves. But even if we turn from the geo-structural to mere media for a culprit, it cannot be Facebook or Twitter. Each was still a decade or more from inception. As Europe’s intra-Christian wars followed the printing press, and fascism trailed radio, perhaps the strife of our day is traceable to a new means of communication. The error is to cite the most modish one. Just as likely, we are still processing an expansion of TV news that is not that much older.
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Brad Wilcox, Hal Boyd & Wendy Wang in NEW YORK TIMES, How Liberals Can Be Happier.
Human connection lends meaning, direction and a sense of solidarity to our lives. In short, it helps make us happier. Arthur Brooks of Harvard, for example, told us: “A lot of our happiness is out of our control, based on genetics and circumstances. But some of it we can control. It requires we invest in four things each day.” Those four things, he said, are “faith, family, friends and work in which we earn our success and serve others.” The liberal-conservative happiness gap, then, may not be primarily about political ideology but rather connections to our country’s three core institutions. Self-identified liberals are less likely than conservatives, on average, to be tied to family, faith and community.
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Michael Vasquez in CHRONCLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, Campus Extremism.
Melinda Hernandez wanted an apology. Sitting across from her, on a bench tucked in a corner of the picturesque Stanford University campus, was John David Rice-Cameron. Even at an elite university, Rice-Cameron stood out for his political pedigree: the son of Susan Rice, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser under President Barack Obama, and today head of President Biden’s Domestic Policy Council. Rice-Cameron, like his mother, has considerable power in his social sphere but at the other end of the ideological spectrum. A fervent Donald Trump supporter, Rice-Cameron took over as president of the Stanford College Republicans in 2018, and he remade the organization in Trump’s image. It became a more combative, and disruptive, presence on campus. In her 2019 memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, Susan Rice acknowledged that her son's sharp rightward turn perplexed his parents.
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Mark Jeftovic at bombthrower.com, The Age of Over-Abundant Elites.
Democratic Socialism, BLM, whatever comes next all have in common extremely well off elites (millionaires and billionaires) talking up a populist game against some ostensibly amorphous “Establishment”, to which these crusaders are loathe to admit their own membership.
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Robert Merry in AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, Why Elites Abadoned Nationalism.
Georgetown's Paul D. Miller, in an aggressive and piffling Foreign Policy piece, declared the matter closed by simply denying that there were any real nations in the world and that, anyway, American had never been a nation-state in the first place.... How did this once antiseptic term that for decades was considered a perfectly acceptable denotation of the regard a nation's citizens hold for their country turn into a no-no term denoting bad civic thoughts and motives? For an answer we must take a careful look at the rise of America's meritocratic elite, which beginning around the 1970s supplanted the old Anglo-Saxon establishment as the country's guiding force.
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Jay Nordlinger in LAW & LIBERTY, "We Will Burn and Loot and Destroy": The Weather Underground and Its Legacy.
Many of the erstwhile Weathermen entered academia. Ayers, for instance, became a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bernardine Dohrn became a law professor at Northwestern. Kathy Boudin, who was released from prison in 2003, became a scholar-in-residence at New York University - blocks from 18 West 11th Street. She also became a professor at Columbia - one of the targets of the bombmakers in the townhouse. Indeed, she co-founded an outfit at Columbia called “the Center for Justice.” According to its literature, the center “is committed to ending mass incarceration and criminalization, and advancing alternative approaches to justice and safety through education, research, and policy change.”
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Michael Anton in LAW & LIBERTY, The Weather Underground's Lasting Victory.
Millions have become so convinced of their own and/or the surrounding society’s inexpungable guilt that, to assuage their consciences, must vote against order and life as a way to expiate sin. Perhaps the supreme moment of 2020 was the sight, in Washington, D.C.’s richest and most liberal suburb, of a mass of overclass winners bowing and begging forgiveness from a group of people none of them had ever harmed. The clear - and only - visible distinction between the penitent and the righteous was demographic. Both groups fervently believe in Manichean wokeness; the only difference is that the righteous feel not guilty but aggrieved. They want revenge. This, let’s call it, Dom-Sub coalition is the heart of the modern Democratic Party, and is a direct legacy of the Weather Underground and New Left insistence that America and Americans (or to be more precise, a certainly part thereof) are irredeemably evil.
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Jeffrey Goldberg at theatlantic.com email, A party, and nation in crisis.
The leaders of the Republican Party - the soul-blighted Donald Trump and the satraps and lackeys who abet his nefarious behavior - are attempting to destroy the foundations of American democracy. This must be stated clearly, and repeatedly. “There will be no recovery from this crisis until the Republican Party recommits itself to democracy,” says this magazine’s David Frum, who was one of the first writers to warn that America possessed no special immunities against demagoguery and authoritarianism.
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Ross Douthat in NEW YORK TIMES, Can media prevent Trump's return?.
There were ways in which the national news media helped Trump in his path through the Republican primaries in 2016, by giving him constant celebrity-level hype at every other candidate’s expense. But from his shocking November victory onward, much of the press adopted exactly the self-understanding that its critics are still urging as the Only Way to Stop Trump - positioning itself as the guardian of democracy, a moral arbiter rather than a neutral referee, determined to make Trump’s abnormal qualities and authoritarian tendencies the central story of his presidency. The results of this mind-set, unfortunately, included a lot of not particularly great journalism. The emergency mentality conflated Trumpian sordidness with something world-historical and treasonous, as in the overwrought Russia coverage seeded by the Steele dossier. It turned figures peripheral to national politics, from Nick Sandmann to Kyle Rittenhouse, into temporary avatars of incipient fascism. It invented anti-Trump paladins, from Michael Avenatti to Andrew Cuomo, who turned out to embody their own sort of moral turpitude. And it instilled an industrywide fear, palpable throughout the 2020 election, of any kind of coverage that might give too much aid and comfort to Trumpism - whether it touched on the summertime riots or Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
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Ross Douthat in NEW YORK TIMES, What the New Right Sees.
Suppose you made a list of what each tendency in American politics considers our biggest challenges right now. For the new right, the list might look something like this. Abroad, the double failure of our post-9/11 nation-building efforts and our open door to China, which requires either a recalibration to contain the Chinese regime or else a general pullback from an overextended empire. At home, the threat to liberty from Silicon Valley monopolies enforcing progressive orthodoxy and the threat to human happiness from the addictive nature of social media, online pornography and online life in general. The collapse of birthrates, the dissolution of institutional religion and the decline of bourgeois normalcy, manifest in the younger generation’s failure to mate, to marry, raise families. The post-1960s “great stagnation” in both living standards and technological innovation. The costs of cultural libertarianism, the increase in unhappiness and high rates of depression and addiction in a more individualistic society. Then finally, the way in which the technocratic response to the pandemic, the retreat to a virtual life suited only to a “laptop class” (and maybe not even to them), may make these problems worse....
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Gary Saul Morson in FIRST THINGS, Suicide of the Liberals.
An intelligent could not be a believer, which is another reason no one would have considered Tolstoy (let alone that conservative Dostoevsky) an intelligent. They accepted atheism on faith, were spiritually devoted to materialism, and proselytized determinism. They based these commitments on “science,” a word they used to mean not a disinterested process of discovery based on experiment and evidence, but - and here the reason became perfectly circular - a metaphysics of materialism and determinism. Still worse, intelligentsia “science” entailed an assertion that the world worked by blind, purposeless force and yet, as if guided by providence, was guaranteed to progress in human terms and reach moral perfection. (As people say today, the arc of history bends toward justice.) Berdyaev quoted theologian Vladimir Soloviev’s paraphrase of “the intelligentsia syllogism”: “Man is descended from the apes; therefore love one another.” In the same spirit, Bulgakov observed that “the intelligentsia asserts that the personality is wholly a product of the environment, and at the same time suggests to it that it improve its surroundings, like Baron Münchausen pulling himself out of the swamp by his own hair.”
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Laura Kipnis in LIBERTIES, Transgression, An Elegy.
“Transgression” has become the signature style of the alt-right and “alt-light”. Now they are the rebellious, anti-establishment ones, gleefully offending everyone. Some even lay the blame for the stylistics of online troll culture - the alt-truth shitposting adopted so successfully by the current president and his basket of deplorables (to borrow Hillary Clinton’s supremely self-annihilating phrase) - at the doorstep of the avant-garde. In Kill All Normies, Angela Nagle traces their antecedents to Sade, the Romantics, Nietzsche, the Surrealists, the Situationists, the counterculture and punk - culminating with far-right culture hero Milo Yiannopoulos, who also extolled the virtues of disrupting the status quo and upsetting the liberals, whom he saw as hegemonic. All was going well for Milo, the self-proclaimed “dangerous faggot,” until he got a smidgen too dangerous by commending pedophilia, or so said his former patrons who quickly smote him into oblivion. Haha, their transgressive spirit is about an inch deep. Yet the longstanding association of transgression with the left was always superficial and historically accidental. In Nagle’s version, the alt-right crowd have simply veered toward nihilism in lieu of revolution. She even intimates that it was the virtue-signaling and trigger warnings of the touchy-feely left that gave us Donald Trump and the rest of the destructive right- wing ids; and this has made her persona non grata in certain leftish circles. However you draw your causality arrows, there’s no doubt that the more fun the right started having, the more earnestly humorless the social justice types became, and the more aesthetically conservative.
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John Gray in NEW STATESMAN, Deconstructing Jackie.
Denounced as a hater of truth, Derrida's crime was to illuminate the true nature of modern humanism as a hodgepodge of forgotten religion and metaphysics. His misfortune was to beget an intellectual mass movement for which deconstruction was an assault on Western traditions.
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Andrew Marzoni in NATION on Stuart Jeffries' book, Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern.
Nevertheless, Lyotard’s periodicity has proved especially enticing to contemporary thinkers on the left, often awkwardly so. The British filmmaker Adam Curtis and the American critic Greil Marcus are two examples cited by Jeffries who (though he does not say as much) have made similar attempts to totalize the untotalizable. By trying to reflect, with differing degrees of formal experimentation, the decentralized logic of the postmodern age through storytelling, Curtis and Marcus traverse periods, continents, discourses, and traditions to illuminate some method to our collective madness. But these comparative gymnastics cannot help but fall prey to the basic conventions of narrative - unity, continuity, meaning - that both men insist our era eludes and resists, even as they unveil virtuosic theories of everything that are overwhelming at first but soon leave their audiences a little undernourished, even slightly nauseated. This left-wing melancholia is Jeffries’s inheritance from Lyotard, Žižek, Harvey, Curtis, and Marcus as much as from Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and the rest of the Frankfurt School, the subject of Jeffries’s 2016 group biography Grand Hotel Abyss, where his anecdotal skill and easy wit resulted in a book both enjoyable and incisive, extracting from the lives of a handful of midcentury college professors a historical drama that, when projected onto the author’s own time, falls appropriately flat.
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Christopher Caldwell in NEW YORK TIMES, Is This the End of French Intellectual Life?.
“There is a mighty ideological wave coming from the United States,” the
philosopher Yves Charles Zarka wrote last fall in an article about the death of Le Débat. “It brings rewriting history, censuring literature, toppling statues, and imposing a racialist vision of society.” Nor is it as iconoclastic as it looks, according to Luc Ferry, a philosopher and conservative columnist. “However anticapitalist and anti-American they may think themselves,” he wrote last year, “these activists are only aping whatever has been going on on campuses across the Atlantic over the last four decades.” The shoe used to be on the other foot. The United States used to learn a lot from France. Until a generation ago, into the age of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, one could say America deferred to France on matters intellectual. It doesn’t any longer. The demise of Le Débat was marked by not a single mention in any major American newspaper or magazine.
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Aris Roussinos at unherd.com, The Tories can learn from the American Right.
“Tonight the world’s eyes are on Washington,” declared Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis recently, referring to the abortion debate currently going through America’s Supreme Court. No doubt, in the dark forests of the Ituri, Twa hunters paused their age-old stalking of game to deliberate on Mississippi’s new legislation; in the glittering skyscrapers of Shanghai and Guangzhou, the Chinese economy ground to a halt as industrialists awaited Amy Coney Barrett’s contentious deliberation; high in the mountains of Bolivia, peasant farmers abandoned their timeless struggle with the frigid Andean soil, huddling in their villages to confer on what this could all mean for America’s women. Obviously this is a fantasy, like most British political commentary. It is Britain’s political comment class alone who are so destructively enamoured of the political theatre of a distant foreign country that American news crowds out our own in the battle for attention. Yet this colonised mindset is only true of a specific shade of American politics: an identitarian left-liberal strand tailor-made for our mid-Atlantic Twitter class. Londoners rioted in protest against policing in Minnesota, and our increasingly deranged discourse is directly cut-and-pasted from US models. But the twists and tangles of American conservative politics are more or less unknown territory in our own semi-digested imperial province.
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Ira Stoll in ALGEMEINER, New York Times Marks World War II Anniversary With Harsh Criticism of US.
Any one of these criticisms taken on its own may have some merit, but all together they amount to a slanted picture, lacking a proper sense of proportion or context. A reader might come away basically wishing America had lost the war, or at least not seeing much moral distinction between the Nazis and the Allies. If the Americans are racists, antisemites, and attackers of civilians, what makes them better than the Nazis? The Times is not much help on that front.
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smartertimes.com, George Shultz.
The New York Times obituary of George Shultz is strange. The print headline is "Statesman Who Guided U.S. Toward the End of the Cold War." The jump headline over the end of the piece is "George Shultz, 100, Who Helped End The Cold War, Dies." I would have gone with "Statesman Who Guided U.S. Toward Victory in Cold War," or "George Shultz, 100, Who Helped Win The Cold War, Dies." For whatever reason, though, the Times headline writers seem loath to admit that the U.S. won the Cold War. This isn't just a headline problem with the obituary, either. The Times obituary says, "Mr. Shultz lived long enough to see his most lasting legacy from the Reagan years come largely undone." This is followed by a long dirge about the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. But Shultz's most lasting legacy was not the INF treaty but the defeat of the Soviet Union, the freeing of the captive nations, and the emigration of Soviet Jewry. None of those legacies have come undone.
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Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org, Willful Blindness: New Damaging Information On The Russian Investigation Is Promptly Unseen By The Media.
Willful blindness has its advantages. The media covered the original leak and the collusion narrative, despite mounting evidence that it was false. They filled hours of cable news shows and pages of print with a collusion story discredited by the FBI. Virtually none of these journalists or experts have acknowledged that the collusion leaks were proven false, let alone pursue the troubling implications of national security powers being used to target the political opponents of an administration. But in Washington, success often depends not on what you see but what you can unsee.
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NEW YORK TIMES: The Trump Campaign Accepted Russian Help to Win in 2016. Case Closed.
From the start, the Trump-Russia story has been both eye-glazingly complex and extraordinarily simple. Who is Oleg Deripaska? What’s the G.R.U. again? Who owed what to whom? The sheer number of crisscrossing characters and interlocking pieces of evidence - the phone calls, the emails, the texts, the clandestine international meet-ups - has bamboozled even those who spend their days teasing it all apart. It’s no wonder average Americans tuned out long ago.
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Adam Goldman & Charlie Savage in NEW YORK TIMES, Contributor to Steele Dossier Is Arrested.
The inspector general report also said that a decade earlier, when Mr. Danchenko - who was born in Russia but lives in the United States - worked for the Brookings Institution, a prominent Washington think-tank, he had been the subject of a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was a Russian agent. In an interview with The New York Times in 2020, Mr. Danchenko defended the integrity of his work, saying he had been tasked to gather “raw intelligence” and was simply passing it on to Mr. Steele. Mr. Danchenko - who made his name as a Russia analyst by exposing indications that the dissertation of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia contained plagiarized material - also denied being a Russian agent.
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Robert Scheer at kcrw.com, New indictments expose Democrats' Russiagate obsession as a historic hoax.
The indictment documents that there were no such deep cover sources in Russia. Rather, it was all a politically convenient fantasy concocted by Danchenko, a former Brookings Institute hawk, and his Russian emigree drinking buddies telling the Democratic financiers of the Steele dossier what they wanted to hear. It was not only Maddow who uncritically hyped this fabrication. As Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple writes: “The Danchenko indictment doubles as a critique of several media outlets that covered Steele’s reports in 2016 and after its publication by BuzzFeed in January 2017…CNN, MSNBC, Mother Jones, the McClatchy newspaper chain and various pundits showered credibility upon the dossier without corroboration - and found other topics to cover when a forceful debunking arrived in December 2019 via a report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.”
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Bret Stephens in NEW YORK TIMES, The Federal Bureau of Dirty Tricks.
Comey used it as a political weapon by privately briefing President-elect Trump about it, despite ample warnings about the dossier’s credibility. In doing so, Comey made the existence of the “salacious and unverified” dossier news in its own right. And, as the University of Chicago’s Charles Lipson astutely notes, Comey’s briefing “could be seen as a kind of blackmail threat, the kind that marked J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure.” If you are a certain kind of reader — probably conservative — who has closely followed the Durham investigation, none of the above will come as news. But I’m writing this column for those who haven’t followed it closely, or who may have taken a keener interest in tales about Trump being Russia’s puppet than in evidence that, for all of his many and grave sins, he was the victim of a gigantic slander abetted by the F.B.I.
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Marc Ruskin in EPOCH TIMES, Department of Justice Has Different Standards for Different Subjects.
The order to fire McCabe didn’t arise from a political source, nor did it come from the Trump White House. Rather, it came from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibly (OPR), the bureau’s version of Internal Affairs. Historically impervious to outside influence and virtually impossible to tamper with, OPR has always ruled severely in such cases. A finding of lack of candor results in dismissal. Many, many special agents have learned this harsh truth. McCabe had been treated in this instance as would any FBI special agent and received no special treatment for being in upper management. Rather, the lesson was that the system works. Democracy will prevail, and those who try to subvert the agency—be they the deputy director or director of the FBI—will ultimately be brought down. However, the lesson has now proved to be incorrect. Wait for a shift of the political winds, and the system will be perverted—he who tried to subvert the agency has ultimately been absolved. Concurrent with a no-doubt lucrative run as a CNN commentator, McCabe has been formally absolved of wrongdoing by a Garland Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement. McCabe’s pension has been fully restored, and all references to his having been fired for cause are to be removed from official FBI files.
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Kimball in EPOCH TIMES, New York Times Shows Need for 'Reality Czar'.
Virtually every substantive claim in the 1619 Project was refuted by historians. The NY Times silently altered some of the more egregious errors, but again the damage had been done. So, maybe, the NY Times is right and we do need a “reality czar” and a coordinated task force to police “misinformation.” But the focus of the efforts shouldn’t be on people expressing differing opinions about the integrity of the 2020 election or the best way to respond to the CCP virus. It should be on the machinations of that vast engine for the production of politicized misinformation, The New York Times.
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Paul Mozur & John Liu in NEW YORK TIMES, Hu Xijin, Head of 'China's Fox News,' Says He'll Retire.
A standout in China’s growing chorus of nationalist voices, Mr. Hu led the
paper, which some have called China’s version of Fox News, for more than a decade. Under his watch, it became one of the country’s best-known, and most truculent, media organizations. “Old Hu will turn 62 years old after the New Year, and it’s about time I retire,” Mr. Hu wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo social media platform, referring to himself by a popular nickname. “In the future, as a special commentator for Global Times, I will continue to contribute to the development of the Global Times and continue to do my best for the party’s news and public opinion work,” he added.
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John Nolte at breitbart.com, NY Times Waits Until Close of Impeachment Trial to Retract 'Fire Extinguisher' Fable.
It turns out none of this was true, something we’ve known for weeks already. But the Times still waited until this weekend to disguise its retraction in an “update” that reads, “UPDATE: New information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police.” Oh, but it gets worse… Much worse… The most crucial part of the January 8 article has now been rewritten. Read the rewrite very carefully: "Law enforcement officials initially said Mr. Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher, but weeks later, police sources and investigators were at odds over whether he was hit. Medical experts have said he did not die of blunt force trauma, according to one law enforcement official." Now go back and read the “update” again… I’ll wait. You see the difference? You see the difference between the source for the “fire extinguisher” fable now being identified as “officials close to the Capitol Police” when we were originally told the source was “law enforcement officials”?
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Tom Jones in POYNTER REPORT, Still making sense of what happened at The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
New York Times reporters Edmund Lee and Ben Smith reported that Jim VandeHei, the chief executive and co-founder of Axios, sent an email that told employees, “First, let me say we proudly support and encourage you to exercise your rights to free speech, press, and protest. If you’re arrested or meet harm while exercising these rights, Axios will stand behind you and use the Family Fund to cover your bail or assist with medical bills.” VandeHei’s answer came after an employee asked about the company’s stance on protesting. Again, this is unusual for news outlets, which typically forbid marching in protests, donating to political candidates’ campaigns or supporting candidates with bumper stickers or yard signs. For example, Lee and Smith point out that The New York Times policy is that journalists “may not march or rally in support of public causes or movements” or publicly take positions on public issues. It adds, “doing so might reasonably raise doubts about their ability or The Times’s ability to function as neutral observers in covering the news.”
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Glenn Greenwald at substack.com, The Journalistic Tattletale and Censorship Industry Suffers Well-Deserved Blows.
Numerous Clubhouse participants, including Kmele Foster, immediately documented that Lorenz had lied. The moderator of the discussion, Nait Jones, said that “Marc never used that word.” What actually happened was that Felicia Horowitz, a different participant in the discussion, had “explained that the Redditors call themselves ‘retard revolution’” and that was the only mention of that word. Rather than apologizing and retracting, Lorenz thanked Jones for “clarifying,” and then emphasized how hurtful it is to use that word. She deleted the original tweet without comment, and then - with the smear fully realized - locked her account. Besides the fact that a New York Times reporter recklessly tried to destroy someone’s reputation, what is wrong with this episode? Everything. The participants in Clubhouse have tried to block these tattletale reporters from eavesdropping on their private conversations precisely because they see themselves as Stasi agents whose function is to report people for expressing prohibited ideas even in private conservations. As Jones pointedly noted, “this is why people block” journalists: “because of this horseshit dishonesty.”
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Oliver Wiseman in CRITIC, Bad times at the Grey Lady.
Cotton’s article is still on the Times website, though neutered by a lengthy editorial note which states that “the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published”. The note implies factual mistakes in the piece - and yet no corrections have been made. A few months later, the same section of the paper (under new management) published an egregious piece of Chinese Communist Party apologia. “Hong Kong is China, like it or not” ran the headline of an article by a pro-Beijing member of Hong Kong’s legislative council. Too busy play-acting a fight between fascism and democracy in America, the paper’s staff didn’t seem to mind much about it providing cover for a genuinely dictatorial regime.
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Douglas Murray in SPECTATOR, What has the New York Times got against Ayaan Hirsi Ali?.

All of which leaves a number of questions to this reader. Not just why Filipovic seems to have read a different book from the one she was hired to review, but what exactly people like Filipovic think the answer to the problems described by Hirsi Ali actually are. Do they exist? If so what i one to do about them, other than shut down people who speak about them? The reviewer claims to dislike fundamentalist religious views, but she dislikes even more anybody who criticises such views. I wonder what the explanation could be? But here I will take a leaf out of the NYT’s book, and look for the simplest and most hostile explanation possible. In this fashion, one possibility does spring to mind. A possibility produced by the organ that Filipovic is writing for. In recent times, the NYT has had a terrible problem – more so than any other mainstream publication – of racism among its staff. The publication has hired writers who make overtly racist comments (Sarah Jeong) and fired other people for allegedly using racist terminology. I don’t know why the NYT can’t get through a month without an internal racism scandal, but I begin to desire to take it by its own lights and simply accept that the paper in question has a racism problem. And I suppose that a piece like Filipovic’s must be read in this light.
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Bari Weiss at bariweiss.com: 
Dear A.G. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming. I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor.... But the lessons that ought to have followed the election - lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society - have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.
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Bret Stephens in NEW YORK TIMES, What The Times Got Wrong.
The paper’s editors’ note said the senator’s Op-Ed didn’t meet The Times’s editorial standards. To which one might ask: Would the paper have stood by the article if Cotton had made a better case for sending in troops, with stronger legal arguments and a nicer tone? Or were the piece’s supposed flaws a pretext for achieving the politically desired result by a paper that lost its nerve in the face of a staff revolt?
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Tom Jones in POYNTER REPORT, Breaking down the controversial resignation of New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss.
Weiss wasn’t the only high-profile writer to resign on Tuesday. Andrew Sullivan tweeted that this would be his last week at New York Magazine. His reasons sound similar to Weiss’.... Sullivan, who has been at New York since 2016, said he had “no beef” with his colleagues and didn’t give a specific reason for his resignation, but added, “The underlying reasons for the split are pretty self-evident, and I’ll be discussing the broader questions involved in my last column this Friday.” ...In a memo to staff obtained by CNN’s Kerry Flynn, New York editor-in-chief David Haskell said the parting was “mutual.” ...Haskell did allude to differences with Sullivan, if not in political views then in approach. “I am trying hard to create in this magazine a civil, respectful, intellectually honest space for political debate,” Haskell said. “I believe there is a way to write from a conservative perspective about some of the most politically charged subjects of American life while still upholding our values. I also think that our magazine in particular has an opportunity to be a place where the liberal project is hashed out, which is to say not only championed but also interrogated.”
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Donald G. McNeil Jr at medium.com, NYTimes Peru N-Word, Part One: Introduction.
On February 5 this year, one week after an article about me appeared in the Daily Beast, The New York Times announced that I would be leaving. At my departure, I was the paper’s lead reporter on the Covid-19 pandemic. I had been at the Times since starting as a copy boy in 1976. Since the Daily Beast wrote to the Times on Jan. 28 saying it intended to publish a story, I have not spoken in detail to any reporter. On the advice of my lawyer, I waited until my departure date, March 1, 2021.... I’m publishing my thoughts here on Medium because I know journalists. We make America what it is - without a free press, democracy dies. But we’re still jackals. We can befriend you for years, and then bite off your arm just as you’re offering us a treat. We can’t help it.... That’s the game. I’m somewhat relieved to be out of it. But after 50 years, if you count writing for my high school magazine, I’ll probably never be able to shake the habits. Since January 28, I’ve been a jackal circled by jackals.
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Tom Jones in POYNTER REPORT, The New York Times takes a hard look at itself.
The investigation - led by Amber Guild, president of the company’s T Brand Studios, deputy managing editor Carolyn Ryan, and senior vice president Anand Venkatesan - found that Black and Latino staffers face “the largest and most pervasive challenges” and are underrepresented in leadership. As another example, it found that Asian American women on the staff feel “invisible and unseen.” Guild, Ryan and Venkatesan wrote, “We cannot accept this. We must change our culture and systems. And we must be bolder in making The Times more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Doing so will improve the experience not just for our colleagues of color, but for everyone at The Times.”
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Eric Dezenhall in WALL STREET JOURNAL, Media Stonewalls on Steele Dossier.
Having had media companies as clients, I’ve found that when they’re under fire, they behave no differently from chemical or drug companies. Why? Because they don’t see coming clean as being in their self-interest. Among other things, the truth can tarnish the brand and jam them up in court. So they often deny, stonewall, close ranks, and attack their critics. Two things media companies have that other businesses don’t is the ability to deliver news instantly and the mantle of moral authority. The crisis confronting the news media post-dossier is rooted in disinformation. In the crisis business, we often do detective work to uncover the sources of disinformation leveled at our clients. The first factor in a successful disinformation campaign is an audience that desperately wants to believe something. Then you find a plausible allegation that fits the marketplace. Next, you implant an outrageous allegation within the plausible one. Finally, you find a trustworthy person, someone simpatico with media organizations, to let it rip.
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David Rutz at foxnews.com, NY Times podcast on Steele dossier's downfall neglects to mention Democratic spin doctor's key role.
Dolan was a state chairman for President Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 campaigns, advised Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign, and "actively campaigned and participated in calls and events as a volunteer on behalf of Hillary Clinton." In his career as a public relations professional, he had extensive Russian contacts and connections. The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, who has been harshly critical of outlets like CNN and MSNBC for their extensive promotion of the Steele dossier during the Trump years, wrote about Dolan's role as an example of the "circular logic" of its allegations. "Talk about circular logic: The dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee - via research group Fusion GPS - yet here was a career Democrat feeding information to its primary collector," Wemple wrote last month.
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Batya Ungar-Sargon in SPECTATOR, What broke the New York Times?.
In the aftermath of the 2016 election, books like J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy soared to the top of the bestseller list as blindsided liberals sought to understand how people could have voted for Trump. For a brief period, it seemed like the American mainstream might truly grapple with the question of class. But this quickly disappeared in favour of an easier explanation: Trump voters were racists.
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Karol Markowicz in WALL STREET JOURNAL, Florida's Plague Is the Media's Cold.
Covid could be stopped, they insisted, if only those rubes would behave correctly. Florida was a particular target because its governor had ended lockdowns and mandates early and was pushing for schools to stop requiring masks. A typical piece, by CNN’s Chris Cillizza, was titled “Ron DeSantis’ priorities on Covid-19 are all screwed up.” A chastened Mr. Cillizza tweeted last Friday that he had learned the vaccine “can never do what I had hoped: Ensure no one I loved will become infected,” and that “I realize I am way behind lots of other people in doing that.” That’s for sure.... The reason it took so long for this reality to penetrate the media bubble is political. Journalists believed red states would get sick while blue ones would be spared. Some still do: A Dec. 17 Washington Post piece by columnist Paul Waldman was headlined “The red covid wave is here.” Covid has followed a seasonal pattern. States getting hit now had similar rises exactly a year ago, and Florida experienced summer surges in both 2020 and 2021. The New York spike could have been easily anticipated if members of the media hadn’t pretended there was virtue in not getting sick. But there’s no way for journalists to avoid the truth when it’s happening to them. Suddenly it’s fact that there’s no real way to stop a respiratory virus and maybe we should stop our heroic efforts that destroy so much about our lives in the pursuit of eradicating Covid.
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Ira Stoll at nysun.com, New York Times Might Be One of Ford Foundation's Neediest Cases.
A 2014 joint interview of Mr. Walker featured softball questions from the Times reporter like, “How did you cope when reality began to exceed your dreams?” and “Do you ever stop noticing that you’re the only person of color, the only gay person sitting in the powerful conference room?” In recent months, the Ford Foundation has opened that “$13 billion checkbook” - which has swelled in the meantime to nearly $16 billion - for the Times. In December 2020, the New York Times Company announced it had raised $1.5 million from the Ford Foundation “to launch Headway, a journalism initiative to investigate global and national challenges.” The Times press release announcing Headway declared that “Michael Kimmelman, founder of the Headway project, will serve as editor at large.” That’s the same Michael Kimmelman who wrote the Times article praising the Ford Foundation’s headquarters renovation.
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Dan Barry, Alan Feuer & Matthew Rosenberg in NEW YORK TIMES, 90 Seconds of Rage.
Nearly a quarter of the more than 600 people arrested in connection with the riot have been charged with assaulting or impeding police officers. But only a handful of that subset have any ties to extremist provocateurs like the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. The most violent on Jan. 6, it seems, were the most ordinary - a slice of the Trump faithful. They largely represent a group certain to have powerful sway in the nation’s tortured politics to come: whiter, slightly older and less likely than the general voting population to live in a city or be college-educated. Recent studies indicate that they come from places where people tend to fear the replacement of their ethnic and cultural dominance by immigrants, and adhere to the false belief that the 2020 election was stolen.
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Tom Jones in POYNTER REPORT, The Washington Post shows off its journalism muscle in extraordinary Jan. 6 investigation.
On Sunday, The Washington Post published an exceptional three-part investigation about Jan. 6. It involved more than 75 journalists and included interviews with more than 230 people, thousands of pages of court documents and law enforcement reports, as well as hundreds of videos, photographs and audio recordings. The package - called “The Attack” - is divided into three parts: “Before,” “During” and “After.” All are painstakingly reported and detailed. In a statement, Matea Gold, national political enterprise and investigations editor, said, “An event of the magnitude of the Capitol attack demands deep and revelatory reporting. This newsroom-wide collaboration provides our readers with a definitive account of Jan. 6 and its lasting impact on American democracy.”
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Ivan Pentchoukov in EPOCH TIMES, Brookings Institution Under Scrutiny as More Links Emerge to Author of Infamous Steele Dossier.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) last week demanded all records regarding the communications between the State Department and Brookings Institution employees in 2016 and 2017 about Steele and the Trump campaign. House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said last week that he wants to know why Strobe Talbott, the president of the think tank in 2016, was in touch with Steele and received the spy’s dossier.
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Sidney Blumenthal in GUARDIAN, Trump's Maga insurrectionists were perverse US civil war re-enactors.
“Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Donald Trump tweeted on December 19, a week after his would-be Brown Shirt followers rioted in the streets of Washington to protest the “stolen” election. When Der Tag – the climactic day of battle arrived – Trump assembled his true believers on the South Ellipse at the White House for a “Save America” rally, waving them up Pennsylvania Avenue as his army to nullify the congressional certification of electoral college votes in the presidential election. Near the steps of the Capitol, as Trump’s shock troops prepared themselves for the assault on the citadel, they built a bare but dramatic monument to their revenge fantasy: wooden gallows with steps leading up to a swinging noose. Smashing their way through the windows and doors of the Capitol, they rampaged in a mad dash, breaking furniture, slashing paintings and looting offices. One of the invaders roamed through the corridors carrying a large Confederate flag, the first and only time that emblem of the Slave Power has ever appeared inside the Capitol.
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Kevin Roose in NEW YORK TIMES, How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine.
By 2014, The Epoch Times was edging closer to Mr. Li’s vision of a respectable news outlet. Subscriptions were growing, the paper’s reporting was winning journalism awards, and its finances were stabilizing.... But at a staff meeting in 2015, leadership announced that the publication was in trouble again, Ms. Belmaker recalled. Facebook had changed its algorithm for determining which articles appeared in users’ newsfeeds, and The Epoch Times’s traffic and ad revenue were suffering.... This year, Facebook took down more than 500 pages and accounts linked to Truth Media, a network of anti-China pages that had been using fake accounts to amplify their messages. The Epoch Times denied any involvement, but Facebook’s investigators said Truth Media “showed some links to on-platform activity by Epoch Media Group and NTD.” “We’ve taken enforcement actions against Epoch Media and related groups several times,” said a Facebook spokeswoman, who added that the social network would punish the outlet if it violated more rules in the future. Since being barred from advertising on Facebook, The Epoch Times has moved much of its operation to YouTube, where it has spent more than $1.8 million on ads since May 2018, according to Google’s public database of political advertising.
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EPOCH TIMES: New York Times' 8-Month-Long 'Investigation' of The Epoch Times: Light on Facts, Heavy on Bias.
At the heart of the article is the NY Times’ apparent discontent with the fact that The Epoch Times has become - in the NY Times’ own words - “one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers.” The article could easily have been written as a success story of a group of Chinese Americans who cherish their First Amendment rights and have succeeded in growing a large independent media outlet. Instead, Roose relies on words such as “secretive” and attempts to tie us to an unrelated outlet, in order to call into question the quality of our award-winning journalism. Roose takes particular issue with our critical position on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its ongoing human rights abuses. He downplays accounts of the abuses taking place, claiming they “veer into exaggeration.” This unusual defense and appeasement of the CCP is morally questionable.
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Michael Grynbaum in NEW YORK TIMES, One America News, the Network That Spreads Conspiracies to the West Wing.
In the segment about Mr. Gugino, the One America News reporter, Mr. Rouz, claims that “newly released video appeared to show Gugino using a police tracker on his phone trying to scan police communications during the protest.” The footage, as seen in the segment, offers no obvious evidence to back up that assertion. The allegation of a link between Mr. Gugino and a far-left antifascist group referred to as “antifa” appears to have originated on Conservative Treehouse, a fringe right-wing website that has spread baseless conspiracy theories. The site bills itself as a “Rag Tag Bunch of Conservative Misfits.” The unsubstantiated theory that antifa activists were responsible for riots and looting at the protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died last month after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer, was the biggest piece of protest misinformation tracked by Zignal Labs, a research firm that follows the spread of falsehoods in the media.
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Tom Jones in POYNTER REPORT, Question of the day.
When I say “Question of the day,” I don’t mean in a good way. If you had any lingering questions about the legitimacy of OANN as a news organization, this question should pretty much put an end to that. CNN’s Daniel Dale tweeted that this was the first question OANN’s Chanel Rion asked of President Trump in a recent interview: “When you’re hosting that briefing room, sitting across from you there are people there who, if in any other circumstance, you probably would get along with them fine, if you weren’t president and they weren’t journalists. Something happens, though. Somewhere along the way, the cameras turn on and all of a sudden the vitriol starts. Their questions, often devoid of rationality, reason, decency. So my question to you is, do you think these attacks against you in that briefing room … are they organic questions from individual, free-thinking people or do you think that these journalists are afraid they might lose their jobs if they don’t attack you the way they do every day?”
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OAN: Newly Organized National White House Correspondents Association Launches, Offers Counterpoint to 117-Year-Old White House Correspondents’ Association.
The NWHCA seeks to restore balance and diversity of viewpoints in White House news coverage. The American public is served best when all voices are heard and the President’s message is unfiltered. According to Rion the WHCA has maneuvered almost all balance and diversity out of the White House correspondents’ pool and briefing room demonstrating daily that they consider America’s free press the exclusive property of the “progressive” reformers of Washington. This is not representative of a free and balanced press.
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Dana Milbank in WASHINGTON POST, The media treats Biden as badly as - or worse than Trump. Here's proof.
We need a skeptical, independent press. But how about being partisans for democracy? The country is in an existential struggle between self-governance and an authoritarian alternative. And we in the news media, collectively, have given equal, if not slightly more favorable, treatment to the authoritarians.
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Ben Smith in NEW YORK TIMES, Trump Had One Last Story to Sell. The Wall Street Journal Wouldn't Buy It.
As the Trump team waited with excited anticipation for a Journal exposé, the newspaper did its due diligence: Mr. Bender and Mr. Beckett handed the story off to a well-regarded China correspondent, James Areddy, and a Capitol Hill reporter who had followed the Hunter Biden story, Andrew Duehren. Mr. Areddy interviewed Mr. Bobulinski. They began drafting an article. Then things got messy. Without warning his notional allies, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now a lawyer for President Trump, burst onto the scene with the tabloid version of the McLean crew’s carefully laid plot. Mr. Giuliani delivered a cache of documents of questionable provenance - but containing some of the same emails - to The New York Post, a sister publication to The Journal in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Mr. Giuliani had been working with the former Trump aide Steve Bannon, who also began leaking some of the emails to favored right-wing outlets. Mr. Giuliani’s complicated claim that the emails came from a laptop Hunter Biden had abandoned, and his refusal to let some reporters examine the laptop, cast a pall over the story - as did The Post’s reporting, which alleged but could not prove that Joe Biden had been involved in his son’s activities.
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Lee Smith in EPOCH TIMES, Washington Post Vies to Become Official State Media.
The advent of the internet in the 1990s broke the media’s financial model, which led to the collapse of its ethical and professional standards. With hundreds of media outlets out of business, the prestige press was replaced by social media platforms whose political and economic interests intersected with a globalized tech industry and the government consumers of many of its most sophisticated products. For instance, Bezos also owns Amazon Web Services, which furnished and maintains the “cloud” technology on which the CIA stores its information. It was during the four-year-long coup targeting Donald Trump and the foundations of the republic that the new political anatomy began to materialize. Under the new regime, journalists and intelligence officers became courtiers servicing oligarchic interests. Thus, the purpose of the communications infrastructure they preside over is to protect the oligarchy’s leading members and destroy its enemies. The war began before Trump was inaugurated. With its Jan. 10, 2017, story leaking news that Obama’s intelligence chiefs had briefed the president-elect on a former British spy’s Democrat-funded memos, CNN ushered in the Age of the Dossier, legitimizing reports sourced to conspiracy theories as news. NBC/MSNBC openly modeled the new media condominium joining the press and spy services with former senior CIA officers such as John Brennan under contract to push establishment propaganda. But the print press was the coup’s operational center of gravity, and The Washington Post its most important instrument.
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Ben Smith in NEW YORK TIMES, Marty Baron Made The Post Great Again. Now, the News Is Changing.
The revival of The Post by Mr. Baron and its owner, the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, is perhaps the greatest news business success story of the past decade. But that journalistic revival has in some ways masked a messier story, one of many contradictions. The Post has published some of the best reporting in the 20th-century American newspaper tradition that’s ever been done, like the sprawling exposé of America’s war in Afghanistan — all wrapped in a digital marketing, advertising and publishing machine that The Post licenses lucratively to news organizations around the world. It’s a faceless institution in an era of influencers and personal brands.... Mr. Baron’s fearless focus on White House coverage and investigations has put it at the center of the American media’s response to President Trump. But it’s also a top-down institution whose constrained view of what journalism is today has frustrated some of the industry’s creative young stars.
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Paul Farhi in WASHINGTON POST, The Washington Post corrects, removes parts of two stories regarding the Steele dossier.
The March 2017 Post story carried the headline, “Who is ‘Source D’? The man said to be behind the Trump-Russia dossier’s most salacious claim.” It said Millian had been identified in different portions of the dossier as Source D and Source E. The article included Millian’s repeated denials that he had helped Steele. The newspaper removed references to Millian as Steele’s source in online and archived versions of the original articles. The stories themselves won’t be retracted. A dozen other Post stories that made the same assertion were also corrected and amended.
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Katie Robertson & Marc Tracy in NEW YORK TIMES, Martin Baron, Who Led Three Major Papers, Retires From Washington Post.
“At age 66, I feel ready to move on,” he said in a note to the newspaper’s staff. Mr. Baron said that he had joined the paper with “a reverence for The Post’s heritage of courage and independence and feeling an inviolable obligation to uphold its values,” and that the news staff had delivered “the finest journalism.” “You stood firm against cynical, never-ending assaults on objective fact,” he wrote.
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Glenn Greenwald at twitter.com, Signal & Telegram.
The 3 journalistic units most devoted to demanding online censorship are CNN's media reporters, NBC's "disinformation team," and NYT's tech reporters... Three events in the last 3 months have been major attacks on a free internet: FB & Twitter uniting to censor NY Post pre-election reporting on the Bidens (a shocking breach); the removal of POTUS from the internet; the monopolistic destruction of Parler. A huge escalation.
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Adam Goldman in NEW YORK TIMES, Hunter Biden Claims Still Nebulous.
What don’t we know? A lot. Mr. Isaac, who said he voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, declined to answer many questions about the laptop and his contacts with the F.B.I. He also would not talk about his communications with the Trump loyalists who orchestrated the plan to make the computer’s contents public just before the election. It is also not clear what the F.B.I. did with the laptop or what Justice Department officials knew about the sensitive F.B.I. investigation at the time. F.B.I. officials have declined to discuss the inquiry.
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Eric Lipton, Kenneth Vogel & Maggie Haberman in NEW YORK TIMES, Questions and Answers About the Bidens and a Deal in China - There is no evidence that the former vice president was involved in or profited from a joint venture pursued by his son and brother. 

 

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Adam Goldman & Mark Mazzetti in NEW YORK TIMES, Project Veritas and the Line Between Journalism and Political Spying.
Project Veritas has long occupied a gray area between investigative journalism and political spying, and internal documents obtained by The New York Times reveal the extent to which the group has worked with its lawyers to gauge how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before running afoul of federal laws. The documents, a series of memos written by the group’s lawyer, detail ways for Project Veritas sting operations - which typically diverge from standard journalistic practice by employing people who mask their real identities or create fake ones to infiltrate target organizations - to avoid breaking federal statutes such as the law against lying to government officials.
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Adam Goldman & Michael Schmidt in NEW YORK TIMES, How Ashley Biden's Diary Made Its Way to Project Veritas.
Extensive interviews with people involved in or briefed on the investigation and a review of court filings, police records and other material help flesh out elements of a tale that is testing the line between investigative journalism and political dirty tricks. The investigation has focused new attention on how Mr. Trump or his allies sought to use the troubles of Mr. Biden’s two surviving children to undercut him. The inquiry has also intensified the scrutiny of Project Veritas. Its founder, James O’Keefe, was pulled from his apartment in his underwear and handcuffed during a dawn raid last month by the F.B.I., two days after a pair of his former employees had their homes raided. The group - which purchased the diary but ultimately did not publish it and denies any wrongdoing - has assailed the investigation.
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NEW YORK TIMES: A Dangerous Court Order Against The New York Times.
Journalism, like democracy, thrives in an environment of transparency and freedom. No court should be able to tell The New York Times or any other news organization — or, for that matter, Project Veritas — how to conduct its reporting. Otherwise, it would provide an incentive for any reporter’s subjects to file frivolous libel suits as a means of controlling news coverage about them. More to the point, it would subvert the values embodied by the First Amendment and hobble the functioning of the free press on which a self-governing republic depends.
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Jack Phillips in EPOCH TIMES, Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept, Claims Biden Story 'Suppression'.
Greenwald posted a resignation letter on Twitter on Oct. 29, saying editors at the left-leaning publication refused to publish an article of his unless he deleted “all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.” The journalist, who helped break news on classified NSA surveillance programs leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden about a decade ago, asserted that The Intercept’s decision and his choice to resign shows there is a trend of “repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity plaguing the national press generally have engulfed the media outlet I co-founded, culminating in censorship of my own articles." The Intercept, in response, claimed Greenwald is presenting a false narrative.
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Alexander Burns in NEW YORK TIMES, How Democrats Planned for Doomsday.
The video call was announced on short notice, but more than 900 people quickly joined: a coalition of union officials and racial justice organizers, civil rights lawyers and campaign strategists, pulled together in a matter of hours after the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill. They convened to craft a plan for answering the onslaught on American democracy, and they soon reached a few key decisions. They would stay off the streets for the moment and hold back from mass demonstrations that could be exposed to an armed mob goaded on by President Donald J. Trump. They would use careful language. In a presentation, Anat Shenker-Osorio, a liberal messaging guru, urged against calling the attack a “coup,” warning that the word could make Mr. Trump sound far stronger than he was — or even imply that a pro-Trump militia had seized power.
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Molly Ball in TIME, The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.
To the President, something felt amiss. “It was all very, very strange,”  Trump said on Dec. 2. “Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint the winner, even while many key states were still being counted.” In a way, Trump was right. There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy. The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted.
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Jeff Carlson in EPOCH TIMES, Time Magazine Details the 'Shadow Campaign' Against Trump.
As the article notes, the efforts of this cabal “touched every aspect of the election,” including our election laws. These groups engaged in a unified legal front to “change voting systems and laws” at the state level, often unconstitutionally bypassing state legislatures and shifting power to the states’ governors in the process. Conservative efforts to fight against this process were euphemistically termed as “voter-suppression lawsuits.” The terminology and framing of issues bring us to a peculiar characteristic of the article. It’s written as though 75 million Trump voters simply don’t exist - as though a nation was somehow wholly united against a self-imposed second term of a Trump presidency. There is no acknowledgment that President Donald Trump enjoyed support from a large segment of the population. When the term “voters” is used, it’s always in reference to those who were voting against Trump and for Biden. Other than a few short paragraphs, the reader could be forgiven for thinking the election was ever even in question. While an intense focus on the Trump campaign is present in the article, there’s an almost surprising lack of discussion regarding the Biden campaign.
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Morgan Phillips in DAILY MAIL, Hillary Clinton gets tearful as she reads speech she would have given....
'I've never shared this with anybody. I've never read this out loud. But it helps to encapsulate who I am, what I believe in, and what my hopes were for the kind of country that I want for my grandchildren, and that I want for the world, that I believe in that is America at its best: My fellow Americans, today you sent a message to the whole world,' she begins, sharing what she would have read to the world. 'Our values endure. Our democracy stands strong. And our motto remains: e pluribus unum. Out of many, one.... We will not be defined only by our differences,' Clinton continues in the speech. 'We will not be an us versus them country. The American dream is big enough for everyone.'
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Amanda Hess in NEW YORK TIMES, Victory Speech (Hillary's Version).
Resilience suggests elasticity, and there is something morbidly fascinating about watching Clinton revert to her pre-Trump form. The victory speech itself reads like centrist Mad Libs - a meditation on “E Pluribus Unum,” nods to both Black Lives Matter and the bravery of police, an Abraham Lincoln quote - but at its end it veers into complex emotional territory. Clinton recalls her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who died in 2011, and as she describes a dream about her, her voice shakes and warps in pitch. Dorothy Rodham had a bleak upbringing, and Clinton wishes she could visit her mother’s childhood self and assure her that despite all the suffering she would endure, her daughter would go on to become the president of the United States. As Clinton plays her former self comforting her mother’s former self with the idea of a future Clinton who will never exist, we finally glimpse a loss that cannot be negotiated, optimized or monetized: She can never speak to her mother again. Soon, Clinton’s MasterClass has reverted back to its banal messaging - she instructs us to dust ourselves off, take a walk, make our beds - but for a few seconds, she could be seen not as a windup historical figure but as a person, like the rest of us, who cannot beat time.
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Mehreen Khan in FINANCIAL TIMES on Rafia Zakaria's book, Against White Feminism.
The figure of the veiled Afghan woman oppressed by the Taliban was held up by a coalition of leading US women’s organisations and female journalists to cheerlead for the invasion in the aftermath of 9/11. It was a quintessential neo-imperialist mission to save, as the author puts it, “brown women from brown men”. The small matter of devastating bombs... was a necessary means to that shining feminist end.... Zakaria’s relentless and unforgiving excoriation of white female intellectuals, activists and journalists will make for uncomfortable reading for many well-meaning women. The author admits that her clarion call for a more inclusive feminism will isolate fellow activists and lose her friends. Her solutions call for white women to cede space to women of colour, pay greater attention to the class and economic barriers that keep women of colour out of feminist discourse, and for older feminists to “let go of their paranoid belief that racial equality within the movement is some sort of surreptitious strategy to displace them”.
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Jemima Kelly in FINANCIAL TIMES, Substack's success reveals reader fatigue with polarised media.
“There are a lot of people who want options that aren’t either some 27-year-old white woman yelling at you about being racist or ableist all day long, or Fox News,” says Freddie deBoer, a freelance journalist turned Substack writer who has amassed more than 1,400 subscribers since joining the platform a month ago. What could stop Substack? Some argue it is not scalable and will only provide a sustainable income for those who got in early. This seems like a fair concern, though there is no sign of this group having reached capacity. Others point out that the company lacks any kind of “moat”, or sustainable competitive advantage, and will not survive competition from companies such as Twitter, which recently acquired newsletter company Revue, and promised to take just a 5 per cent cut from subscription income. But Substack’s user-friendliness and its commitment to free speech, which it was forced to make clear in a statement last week after calls to deplatform some of its contributors for hate speech and transphobia, is turning the platform into a brand in its own right. I would argue this constitutes the first droplets of a moat.
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David Klion at jewishcurrents.org, Jeffrey Goldberg Doesn't Speak for the Jews.
As his many famous friends and stewardship of The Atlantic attest, Goldberg really is an informal leader of a highly influential cohort, and he really does speak for its values. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed following his firing, Williamson recounted pointing out to Goldberg that the late Christopher Hitchens, a frequent Atlantic contributor, “routinely and gleefully gave occasion for offense - and he was one of the invaluable essayists of our time.” “Yes,” Goldberg replied, “But Hitchens was in the family. You are not.” Goldberg knows and frankly admits that there’s a family. What he has a harder time admitting is that he has more power than almost anyone to determine who belongs to it. He gets to decide, for instance, that Peter Beinart (J Street-aligned liberal Zionists) and David Frum (respectable #NeverTrump neoconservatives) should represent the poles of acceptable Jewish discourse. Meanwhile, the emerging generation of American Jews who supported Sanders, and who in many cases feel totally alienated from Zionism, are shut out.
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revolver.news: Are You Ready To Be An American Kulak?.
The modern American regime is built on explicit, institutionalized hostility to the people who most resemble the great Americans of the past. It is anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian, anti-rural, and anti-middle class. The more of these traits a person has, the more worthy of hate they become. The more the Globalist American Empire decays and squanders the inheritance it was given, the more bile and hatred it directs against those who symbolize what came before. But those on the receiving end of this new discriminatory regime may not appreciate its full scope or the ultimate fate that the Globalist American Empire has planned for them. They may see recent anti-white animus as a temporary spell, or a limited affair that can be waited out. They are wrong. America’s shrinking white middle class are the target of an ever-intensifying cycle, whose mechanics are ripped straight from another oppressive regime, the Soviet Union of the 1920s and 30s.
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Bronwen Maddox in FINANCIAL TIMES, The pandemic has shown we need clarity on the role of experts.
Sir Paul Tucker, former deputy governor of the Bank of England and author of Unelected Power, a book discussing these questions, pointed out in a 2018 talk in parliament that “the principles of the structure of government in the western world - stemming from Montesquieu, Madison and John Locke among others - make no place for the administrative state, regulators and central banks at all”. This is a problem, he argued, “because the wonder of... representative democracy is that it separates... how we feel about the government of the day and how we feel about the system of government”. The more of government that is in the hands of unelected people, the less that can be remedied by a general election.
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William Voegeli in CLAREMONT REVIEW OF BOOKS, Criminal Negligence.
In the progressive framework, then, it is not enough for the government to
provide safety in order that individuals may pursue happiness. Indeed, the attempt to do so is futile and reckless. The enlightened understanding of crime views unhappiness - poverty, despair, injustice - as the key reason for the absence of safety. The streets will not, cannot, and perhaps even should not be safe until such root causes have been addressed. Decency and pragmatism, then, both demand policies that comfort those afflicted by societal failures through humane social programs, rather than efforts to discipline lawbreakers through coercion. Progressivism began, according to political scientist Harvey Mansfield, as “an alliance of experts and victims.” In this alliance, however, victims are more numerous but less powerful. The experts’ prerogatives include the right to make authoritative claims that, while all victims are victims, some victims are victimier than others.
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Ross Barkan in NEW YORK, What Happend to Matt Taibbi? The former darling of the liberal media is now one of its loudest critics. He says he hasn't changed.
Taibbi’s critics view him as a reporter turned red-pilled culture warrior chasing subscriptions - or worse, a middle-aged male no longer at the vanguard, aggrieved that younger journalists are now leading the fight for justice. “One of a crew of a dozen white guy contrarians in media,” said the journalist Wesley Lowery. The liberal-left especially loathes the way Taibbi equates the right- and left-wing media. His second-most recent book, Hate Inc., features Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity on the cover together, and argues that both sides have played a role in polarizing the country and stoking hate. Taibbi has gone as far as to argue that Fox News, the propaganda arm of the Republican Party that is still the ratings king, “no longer represents real institutional political influence in this country anymore. The financial/educational/political elite with all the power is on the other side and I think they’re the people to be worrying about.”
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futureofcapitalism.com: The New York Times and Voter Fraud.
The article goes on: "top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had been a remarkable success." Imagine if the Times took this approach to reporting on potential fraud in other sectors. "The Times called CEOs of 500 big companies. All of them said their businesses are a remarkable success." Or "the Times called the chief executives of the state's top 50 hospitals. All of them said there were no systematic billing errors or medical mistakes." Or "the Times called 20 hedge fund managers. All of them said there was no insider trading." Or, "The Times called 20 major league umpires. All of them said they'd never missed a call that affected the outcome of a game." What does the Times expect, that the top election officials in charge of making sure the elections run smoothly and fraud-free are just going to confess - yeah, you know what, we totally screwed up!
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Margot Cleveland at thefederalist.com, Whistleblower Videos Capture Pennsylvania Election Officials Destroying Evidence.
A May 21, 2021 request for 2020 election data and information submitted to Delaware County under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law served as an impetus for the alleged conspiracy and cover-up, as the complaint told the story. A week later after the Right to Know request, a conversation is captured between two individuals, identified by those with knowledge of the lawsuit, as James Allen, the Director of Election Operations for Delaware County, and Jim Savage, identified by Delaware County’s directory as the Chief Custodian/Voting Machine Warehouse Supervisor. In that video provided to The Federalist, Allen is heard telling Savage, “Then get rid of the pads and the second scanners.” “We can’t talk about it anymore,” Savage replies, with Allen questioning, “Why?” “It’s a felony,” Allen countered. The complaint added more texture to this video, alleging that Savage then “encouraged a private conversation to continue the conversation of the removal of the pads and scanners due to other Delaware County employees and [contract employee] Regina Miller,” being present.
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Helene Cooper in NEW YORK TIMES, Pentagon Updates Its Rules on Extremism in the Military.
“The overwhelming majority of the men and women of the Department of Defense serve this country with honor and integrity,” Mr. Austin said in the memo. “They respect the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He added, “We believe only a very few violate this oath by participating in extremist activities, but even the actions of a few can have an outsized impact on unit cohesion, morale and readiness, and the physical harm some of these activities can engender can undermine the safety of our people.”
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Holman Jenkins in WALL STREET JOURNAL, If Trump Wins in 2024, Then Who Threatens Democracy?.
Ask yourself these questions: What was the voting-rights Kabuki of the past eight months all about, concerning a House bill with no chance of becoming law, if not to create talking points to delegitimize future election outcomes? Joe Biden, with premeditation, falsely hid behind the claim that his son’s laptop was Russian disinformation. Would he somehow transcend Hillary Clinton and not resort to the same dodge if he lost to Mr. Trump? Why did MSNBC just give Rachel Maddow a new $30-million-a-year contract through the 2024 election? As punishment for her relentless and uncritical flogging of the collusion story?
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Linda Greenhouse in NEW YORK TIMES, The Supreme Court, Weaponized.
With the accuracy of a drone strike, the three justices appointed by President Donald Trump and strong-armed through to confirmation by Senator Mitch McConnell, then the majority leader, are doing exactly what they were sent to the court to do. The resulting path of destruction of settled precedent and long-established norms is breathtaking.
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revolver.news: Meet Ray Epps: The Fed-Protected Provocateur Who Appears To Have Led The Very First 1/6 Attack On The U.S. Capitol.
After months of research, Revolver’s investigative reporting team can now reveal that Ray Epps appears to be among the primary orchestrators of the very first breach of the Capitol’s police barricades at 12:50pm on January 6. Epps appears to have led the “breach team” that committed the very first illegal acts on that fateful day. What’s more, Epps and his “breach team” did all their dirty work with 20 minutes still remaining in President Trump’s National Mall speech, and with the vast majority of Trump supporters still 30 minutes away from the Capitol. Secondly, Revolver also determined, and will prove below, that the the FBI stealthily removed Ray Epps from its Capitol Violence Most Wanted List on July 1, just one day after Revolver exposed the inexplicable and puzzlesome FBI protection of known Epps associate and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes. July 1 was also just one day after separate New York Times report amplified a glaring, falsifiable lie about Epps’s role in the events of January 6. Lastly, Ray Epps appears to have worked alongside several individuals - many of them suspiciously unindicted - to carry out a breach of the police barricades that induced a subsequent flood of unsuspecting MAGA protesters to unwittingly trespass on Capitol restricted grounds and place themselves in legal jeopardy.
- Meet Ray Epps, Pt. 2: Damning New Details Emerge Exposing Massive Web Of Unindicted Operators At The Heart Of January 6.
It is noteworthy that this Ray Epps breach occurs just one minute after Capitol Police began responding to reports of two “pipe bombs” located at DNC and GOP headquarters, respectively. Rather conveniently, the already-handicapped Capitol Police thus had still-fewer resources with which to respond to the barricade breach in question. While the “pipe bombs” turned out to be a dud, the Ray Epps breach proved fateful. Today, the official stories told by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the US Justice Department all depict the apparent Ray Epps-orchestrated 12:50 p.m. initial breach of metal barricades as the “Big Bang” event of January 6.
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Mike Baker, Sergio Olmos, Adam Goldman in NEW YORK TIMES, The F.B.I. Deployed Surveillance Teams Inside Portland Protests.
The breadth of F.B.I. involvement in Portland and other cities where federal teams were deployed at street protests became a point of concern for some within the bureau and the Justice Department who worried that it could undermine the First Amendment right to protest against the government, according to two officials familiar with the discussions. Protesters marched through Portland during President Biden’s inauguration in January. Some within the departments worried that the teams could be compared to F.B.I. surveillance transgressions of decades past, such as the COINTELPRO projects that sought to spy on and disrupt various activist groups in the 1950s and 1960s, according to the officials, one current and one former, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the debate. There has been no evidence so far that the bureau used similar surveillance teams on right-wing demonstrators during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, despite potential threats of violence against the heart of federal government - though the F.B.I. did have an informant in the crowd that day. 
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Alan Feuer in NEW YORK TIMES, Another Far-Right Group Is Scrutinized About Its Efforts to Aid Trump.
1AP’s first “mission” - protecting conservative V.I.P.s - came in October 2020, when the group provided security at a march in Washington led by the Walk Away Foundation, an organization that seeks to persuade Democratic voters to leave the party, Mr. Lewis said in a YouTube video posted that December. The foundation’s leader, Brandon Straka, a former hairstylist in New York, was among those arrested in the Capitol attack. Court papers suggest that he recently began to cooperate with the government.
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Alan Feuer in NEW YORK TIMES, Prosecutors Move Quickly on Jan. 6 Cases, but Questions Remain.
For an entire year, federal agents in almost every state have been poring over mounting stacks of tipster reports, interviews with witnesses, public social media posts and private messages obtained by warrants. They have also collected nearly 14,000 hours of video - from media outlets, surveillance cameras and police-worn body cameras - enough raw footage that it would take a year and a half of around-the-clock viewing to get through it. While the Justice Department has called the inquiry one of the largest in its history, traditional law enforcement officials have not been acting alone. Working with information from online sleuths who style themselves as “Sedition Hunters,” the authorities have made more than 700 arrests - with little sign of slowing down. The government estimates that as many as 2,500 people who took part in the events of Jan. 6 could be charged with federal crimes.
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David Gilbert at vice.com, My Dad Attacked Cops at the Capitol Rio. I Turned Him In.
Reffitt has been in custody for almost a full year, and is facing five charges relating to his activity on Jan. 6 and the days after. Soon after his father was arrested, Jackson moved out of the family home, because he “knew at some point I would be either kicked out or pushed out in some sort of way.” He told VICE News he didn’t want to “burn any bridges,” and he wants to give his family a chance to come back together once all of this is over. Peyton and Sarah see his decision to move out differently. “He hasn't tried to protect us in any way, even emotionally,” Sarah told VICE News, adding that her brother told the FBI agents he was going to step up and take care of his family, but that never happened. Jackson rejected Sarah’s assertion, saying that he has “offered plenty [of help] but my mother refuses, as she seems to feel as if it’s blood money.”
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Zack Beauchamp at vox.com, A year after the January insurrection, how does America's crisis end?
Americans have long believed our country to be exceptional. That is true today in perhaps the worst possible sense: No other established Western democracy is at such risk of democratic collapse.
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Laurence Tribe, Donald Ayer, Dennis Aftergut in NEW YORK TIMES, Will Donald Trump Get Away With Inciting an Insurrection?
In his nine months in office, Attorney General Merrick Garland has done a great deal to restore integrity and evenhanded enforcement of the law to an agency that was badly misused for political reasons under his predecessor. But his place in history will be assessed based on the challenges that confronted him. And the overriding test that he and the rest of the government face is the threat to our democracy from people bent on destroying it.
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Thomas Friedman in NEW YORK TIMES, How to Stop Trump and Prevent Another Jan. 6.
Many people, particularly in the American business community, are vastly underestimating the danger to our constitutional order if this struggle ends badly. If the majority of G.O.P. lawmakers continue to bow to the most politically pernicious “alternative fact” - that the 2020 election was a fraud that justifies empowering Republican legislatures to override the will of voters and remove Republican and Democratic election supervisors who helped save our democracy last time by calling the election fairly - then America isn’t just in trouble. It is headed for what scientists call “an extinction-level event.”
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Jedediah Britton-Purdy in NEW YORK TIMES, The Republican Party Is Succeeding Because We Are Not a True Democracy.
An antidemocratic system has bred an antidemocratic party. The remedy is to democratize our so-called democracy. James Madison boasted that the Constitution achieved “the total exclusion of the people, in their collective capacity.” Its elaborate political mechanics reflect the elite dislike and mistrust of majority rule that Madison voiced when he wrote, “Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” Madison’s condescension has never gone away.
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NEW YORK TIMES: Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now.
Hundreds of bills have been proposed and nearly three dozen laws have been passed that empower state legislatures to sabotage their own elections and overturn the will of their voters, according to a running tally by a nonpartisan consortium of pro-democracy organizations. Some bills would change the rules to make it easier for lawmakers to reject the votes of their citizens if they don’t like the outcome. Others replace professional election officials with partisan actors who have a vested interest in seeing their preferred candidate win. Yet more attempt to criminalize human errors by election officials, in some cases even threatening prison.
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David Klepper in AP, Conspiracy theories paint fraudulent reality of Jan. 6 riot.
Dozens of police officers were severely injured. One Capitol Police officer who was attacked and assaulted with bear spray suffered a stroke and died a day later of natural causes. Former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who rushed to the scene, said he was “grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country.” The assault stopped only when he said he had children.
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Stuart Thompson in NEW YORK TIMES, Election Falsehoods Surged on Podcasts Before Capitol Riots, Researchers Find.
Researchers at the Brookings Institution reviewed transcripts of nearly 1,500 episodes from 20 of the most popular political podcasts. Among episodes released between the election and the Jan. 6 riot, about half contained election misinformation, according to the analysis. In some weeks, 60 percent of episodes mentioned the election fraud conspiracy theories tracked by Brookings.
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AP: Ashli Babbitt A Martyr? Her Past Tells A More Complex Story.
The first time Celeste Norris laid eyes on Ashli Babbitt, the future insurrectionist had just rammed her vehicle three times with an SUV and was pounding on the window, challenging her to a fight. Norris says the bad blood between them began in 2015, when Babbitt engaged in a monthslong extramarital affair with Norris’ longtime live-in boyfriend. When she learned of the relationship, Norris called Babbitt’s husband and told him she was cheating. “She pulls up yelling and screaming,” Norris said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, recounting the July 29, 2016, road-rage incident in Prince Frederick, Maryland. “It took me a good 30 seconds to figure out who she was.”
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Michael Anton at americanmind.org, Blue America's Messaging Problem.
It’s important to understand... that these policy positions favored by millions of Reds are not “conservative” as that term has been understood for at least a generation. The “conservatives” have consistently supported open, or at least lax, borders, rigid free trade, and ground troops wherever a single Islamic extremist might wistfully contemplate striking the West. As for the slander that these positions are somehow “far right,” one need only be over 40 to remember a time when Democrats were the party of protectionism and peace, when even Bill Clinton and the New York Times professed support for limiting immigration. Suddenly all that is not merely unacceptable; it’s fascism. Blue America makes very clear to Red: you deserve and will get none of this. There will be no compromise. You are evil merely for wanting it, much less voting for it. Should you manage, against our every effort and precaution, to elect people who threaten to enact these things, we will be justified in “resisting” - i.e., blocking implementation by any means necessary - to protect “our democracy.”
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Amanda Hess in NEW YORK TIMES, Victory Speech (Hillary's Version).
Clinton’s 16 video lessons in resilience are largely tedious (one is about binder organization), but the whole exercise builds to a rattling unease. The course culminates with Clinton reciting her unused presidential victory speech from 2016. Holding the text in her lap like a storybook, she seems to be impersonating a lost version of herself. She is accessing a faintly smug, terribly naïve Hillary Clinton, as if practicing in front of a mirror for a moment that would never arrive. It’s the kind of humiliating growth exercise you might spy through the keyhole of a therapist’s office. Even as Clinton has styled herself as an influencer on the subject of carrying on, it feels as if she is being held hostage by the past, compelled to relive her defeat again and again.
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Barton Gellman in theatlantic.com email, How you can support our most consequential journalism.
My 14,000-word cover piece in the January/February issue of The Atlantic has two through lines. The first is that January 6 was the initial milestone, not the last, in the growth of the first violent mass movement in American politics since the 1920s. The second is that Republicans have made up their minds to steal the 2024 presidential election and are well on their way to manufacturing the means. There is a clear and present danger, I wrote, that the loser of the next election will be certified president-elect, with all the chaos and bloodshed that portends.
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e.newyorktimes.com email: A new newsletter - a sociologist's view:
Personal stories. Universal truths. Cultural assumptions re-examined. A new subscriber-only newsletter: Tressie McMillan Cottom. Introducing a new Opinion newsletter from a sociologist's perspective, with thoughtful reflections on our institutions and their issues. McMillan Cottom is an essayist and author, MacArthur fellow and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Cynthia Miller-Idriss in NEW YORK TIMES, America's Most Urgent Threat Now Comes From Within.
No one wants the federal government to police people’s beliefs. But the U.S. government’s focus on using conventional counterterrorism tools fails to account for the generally unchecked spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories, propaganda targeting racial and religious minorities and the increasing dehumanization of those with whom one disagrees. These are important precursors to violence.... A public health approach to preventing violent extremism would shift prevention work away from security and intelligence experts - away from wiretaps and cultivated informants - and toward social workers, school counselors and teachers, mental health experts and religious leaders to focus on social support and democratic resilience. - Cynthia Miller-Idriss is a professor at American University, where she leads the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab. She is the author, most recently, of "Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right."
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Quoth the Raven at substack.com, The Mainstream Media Is Losing The Fight Of Its Life... All Thanks To Joe Rogan.
In the same way that bitcoin unintentionally became a global phenomenon as a result of the negative consequences of central banking, Joe Rogan has become a global phenomenon at the hands of the negative consequences of how the mainstream media and "big tech" does business.
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Clare Malone interviews Ben Smith at newyorker.com, Ben Smith Can't Say What His New Media Venture Is.
Why are you doing this? There’s an opportunity to reach a new audience to deliver stories in new ways, and to also align ourselves with great journalists in a way that can be hard for legacy institutions. And I think the other thing - sorry, I’m just going to kind of riff a little - I just think the other is that we’re coming out in this moment in which the news business wrapped itself around social media for better or for worse. There’s lots of interesting stuff that happened, obviously, but also, I think sometimes that a lot of news is sort of stuck in a feedback loop. But that there’s a big audience, and I feel like this is something I’ve to some degree learned at the Times, that the stories that hit hardest are the ones that actually get the truth of a complex, real story.
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Steve Kirsch at substack.com, How Google manipulated "Mass formation psychosis" search results after the Malone interview.
Google has hand manipulated the “mass formation psychosis” search results so that a YouTube video from a gamer who knows nothing at all about the topic is ranked #3 in the search results.... Highly relevant pages like the following are nowhere to be found in Google’s search results. We are being manipulated. You can see this for yourself.... Perhaps it is time to switch to DuckDuckGo or Bing which provide more honest results? One of my readers pointed this out in Bing’s search results: they had already indexed my article just a few hours after I published it. Note that Google has already indexed my substack page as well, yet they claim they indexed it 5 days ago (which is 5 days before I wrote it) while Bing is accurate (Jan 2 if you are in EST).
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Ed Kilgore in NEW YORK, No, Red State Rebels, There Will Be No Secession.
I won’t let you go. I have no illusions of compromises yet untried or “third ways” left unexplored. So let’s have it out right here in America as peacefully as we can manage. Perhaps if we continue to battle for control of our common country, one side or the other might win a popular mandate to exercise real power and change the facts on the ground, breaking the perpetual stalemate. If not, then let’s consider the wisdom of those who crushed the Confederacy in the belief that the misery of political conflict is better than the literal civic death of national disunion.
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Angie Drobnic Holan in POLITIFACT Lie of the Year.
By the night’s end, democracy was still standing. But the manipulation of the narrative was already underway.
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Park MacDougald at unherd.com, The importance of repression - Philip Rieff predicted that therapy culture would end in barbarism.
Indeed, this is how Rieff came to understand our culture war. He believed that the Western elite had abdicated its responsibility to continue transmitting moral commandments, instead embracing an ethic of liberation and transgression designed to free themselves from the too-strict demands of the interdicts. But because this cultural shift had penetrated deeply only among elites, the result was a constant war between the “officer class” and the population at large, who still clung to a basically traditional conception of the moral order. Elite cultural output - both the modernist high art that Rieff analysed and the pop culture of our own day - had become a series of “deconversion therapies” attempting to train the lower classes out of their supposedly primitive superstitions, which in his telling were actually the vestiges of a sacred impulse toward transcendence.
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Obituaries of the issue
George Melloan (1927-2021)
After growing up in an Indiana farm town, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Butler University in 1950. He was a reporter, editor and bureau chief for the Journal with stops in Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland and New York. As a London-based foreign correspondent in the late 1960s, he covered the Six-Day War in Israel in 1967 and the Biafran War in Nigeria in 1968. He joined the editorial page in 1970 and three years later was named deputy to that section’s chief editor, Robert L. Bartley. In the early 1990s, Mr. Melloan was based in Brussels and oversaw editorial pages for the overseas editions.... Growing up during the Depression in a rural area helped shape his economic views. “We Journal editors were a rather proletarian lot to be promoting capitalism,” he wrote.
Don Maddox (1922-2021)
“We didn’t call it ‘rockabilly,’” Mr. Maddox went on. “We called it ‘Okie boogie.’” Mr. Maddox played fiddle, in a sawing down-home mode, and provided backing vocals; his sister, Rose, was the lead vocalist. The other members were his older brothers Cliff and Cal on guitars and his younger brother, Henry, on mandolin. Rose Maddox died in 1998, Cliff in 1949, Cal in 1968, Henry in 1974 and Fred in 1992. The account of how the Maddoxes made it to California rivaled the story of their rise within the ranks of West Coast country music - a Depression-era narrative as emblematic as The Grapes of Wrath.