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CNN: We’re so sorry, Mr. Scaramucci, but not America

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In isolation, a CNN story about one minor Trump associate being investigated by the Senate regarding one discussion with Russians–a false report that was retracted–shouldn’t be a big deal. But the monolithic main stream media’s obsession with taking down Donald J. Trump & Co. is not to be considered in isolation.

It’s been Russia, FBI, intelligence community, Russia, Kushner, and more Russia since last November. Actually it was Russia a year ago, but Paul Manafort’s departure from the Trump campaign sent much of it underground like a magma vent under a volcano. We’ve seen lots of ash spewing from the media, but little actual lava.

Blockbuster stories are thrown high into the air, but the retractions or walk-backs are invariably in small print mostly invisible to the 90 percent of Americans who browse the news a few times a day for headlines.

The media has traded its tradecraft and legitimacy for killer headlines and “All the President’s Men.” They’re wrong so much on so many things, we don’t know what to believe. As Matthew Continetti wrote in National Review:

The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.

Worse, actually. The 27-year-olds are directed by 50-somethings whose appetite for taking down the president guide them in very unwise directions. This has been so for about 20 years or more–even since Reagan. But now it’s become so obvious and naked in the age of Internet memes and “fake news” that nobody can paper it over (pun intended).

A quick Google of Jared Kushner headlines from New York Magazine exposes a pattern–building a case against him like a competent prosecutor. They paint him as a slumlord, a bad businessman, a Russian stooge, a water-carrier for his father-in-law, an ambitious twit, and a man in over his head. All of the above at the same time.

A Boston Globe article on June 23 went back 15 years to Kushner’s time at Harvard dealing in Somerville (a Boston suburb) real estate.

“My impression was that he was more interested in practicing playing hardball than being effective as a landlord,” Neafsey recalled of the young man who one day would marry Ivanka Trump and land an official role as a high-level adviser to President Trump.

This is just as much a hit job as Time Magazine‘s cover story “The Good Son.” Kushner has become the media’s Scooter Libby, someone who can take the fall to damage the boss, like Libby did in the Valerie Plame fiasco.

The Scaramucci story was just another cog in the bash Kushner narrative. It was false. How much more that the media has published in this vein is also false? It’s no wonder the president pushed so hard for someone official in the government to publicly state he wasn’t under investigation.

We better hope Robert Mueller gets to the bottom of this quickly. The media will only continue its march into conspiracy and raw speculation until the truth stops them. Once the Trump-Russia collusion story is dead, I won’t hold my breath waiting for the media to apologize to America for it like the did to Anthony Scaramucci.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kelly Burke

    June 25, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Are you concerned that Mueller will drag it out in order to keep up the pressure on Trump?

    • Steve Berman

      June 25, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      How would that benefit Mueller? He’s not a special prosecutor, he’s an independent counsel hired by DOJ, so his mandate can be limited or removed by executive action. If he drags it out, Trump can go Nixon on him. If Congress revived the office of the special prosecutor and appointed him like Ken Starr, he could drag it out forever, but I don’t see it happening.

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Media

Our YouTube channel has launched and it’s so much fun

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Our YouTube channel has launched and its so much fun

Everyone discovers something amazing later than they probably should have. I had a friend who was in his late 30s before he tried an In ‘n Out burger despite living in southern California his whole life. He probably never would have tried it until he hired a former manager at the restaurant chain who said he still eats there weekly despite working there for years. This made my friend curious and he kicked himself for passing up on trying the delicious burgers for decades.

When we first launched NOQ Report last year, one of the guys advising me about it recommended accompanying the articles with videos. He thought if we put together a proper YouTube channel and possibly even a podcast, we could add a totally different dimension and reach a separate audience. I declined for over a year because I was worried it would take too much time.

I was right, but it doesn’t matter. After putting out four videos in three days, I’m hooked.

There’s a completely different mentality when researching a topic for video. I’m forced to be more precise with my words because I can’t simply link out to other references as I can with articles. I have to explain it all, and while I thought it would be an announce, it turns out that it actually makes things easier. I can explain the details of something much more easily by speaking about it than trying to write it or reference others. That’s the beauty of video. It’s more of a direct recording of thoughts when speaking into a microphone instead of typing on a keyboard.

Now that we’re producing videos, we need subscribers. Please head over to our YouTube channel, hit subscribe, and be sure to hit the little bell to receive alerts at well.

Here are the four videos we’ve made so far. Please leave us feedback on how to improve as well as topics you’d like us to cover in the future.

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Immigration

Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

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Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.

It wasn’t always like this, with Congress and the White House at a crisis over government funding. The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. But in recent years the shutdown scenario has become so routine that it raises the question: Have shutdowns as a negotiating tool lost their punch?

Monday brought few signs of progress. A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.

Trump was meeting with his team and getting regular updates, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.

Exiting a Senate Republican leadership meeting late Monday, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said, “It looks like it probably is going to have to build for a few days here before there’s a solution.”

The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the Republican-led Congress to support it. Democrats are offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, not for the wall but for fencing and other border security.

It’s unclear how many House Republicans, with just a few weeks left in the majority before relinquishing power to House Democrats, will even show up midweek for possible votes. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office had no update. Many Republicans say it’s up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump talk most days, but the senator’s spokesman would not confirm if they spoke Monday about a plan. McConnell opened the chamber hoping for a “bipartisan collaborative spirit” that would enable Congress to finish its work.

“We need to make a substantial investment in the integrity of our border,” McConnell said. “And we need to close out the year’s appropriation process.”

Meanwhile more than 800,000 government workers are preparing for the uncertainty ahead.

The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay. Others would be sent home. Congress often approves their pay retroactively, even if they were ordered to stay home.

“Our members are asking how they are supposed to pay for rent, food, and gas if they are required to work without a paycheck,” said a statement from J. David Cox, Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the large federal worker union. “The holiday season makes these inquiries especially heart-wrenching.”

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are already funded for the year and will continue to operate as usual, regardless of whether Congress and the president reach agreement this week.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government’s discretionary account for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, wouldn’t be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.

Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, in a meeting last week at the White House, suggested keeping funding at its current level, $1.3 billion, for improved fencing. Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ offer, telling them he would take a look.

Schumer said Monday he had yet to hear from Trump. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer warned that “going along with the Trump shutdown is a futile act” because House Democrats would quickly approve government funding in January.

“President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to keep the government open,” Schumer said Monday. “No treat or temper tantrum will get the president his wall.”

One option for lawmakers would be to provide stopgap funding for a few weeks, until the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, when Pelosi is poised to become House speaker.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is in line to become the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, suggested a stopgap bill could be one way to resolve the issue or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

GOP leaders, though, were frustrated as the clock ticked away. Leaving the weekly leadership meeting, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said any planning was a “very closely held thing. That’s why we should never let this happen. We should pass the bills the way we’re supposed to pass them.”

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Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

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Entertainment and Sports

Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch ‘Bambi’

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Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch Bambi

OZARKS, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri poacher has been ordered to repeatedly watch the movie “Bambi” as part of his sentence in a scheme to illegally kill hundreds of deer.

David Berry Jr. was ordered to watch the Disney classic at least once a month during his year-long jail sentence in what conservation agents have called one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history, the Springfield News-Leader reports .

“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,” said Don Trotter, the prosecuting attorney in Lawrence County.

Berry, his father, two brothers and another man who helped them had their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked temporarily or permanently. The men have paid a combined $51,000 in fines and court costs — but the judge ordered a special addition to Berry’s sentence for illegally taking wildlife.

Court records show he was ordered by Lawrence County Judge Robert George to “view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter” while at the county jail.

Berry was also sentenced to 120 days in jail in nearby Barton County for a firearms probation violation.

His father, David Berry Sr., and his brother, Kyle Berry, were arrested in August after a nearly nine-month investigation that also involved cases in Kansas, Nebraska and Canada. The Missouri Department of Conservation said information from the investigation led to 14 Missouri residents facing more than 230 charges in 11 counties.

Investigators say David Berry Sr.’s other son, Eric Berry, was later caught with another person spotlighting deer, where poachers use light at night to make deer pause and easier to hunt.

The investigation into the Berrys began in late 2015, when the conservation agency received an anonymous tip about deer poaching in Lawrence County.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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