Friday, May 12, 2017

Trump Picks Up Copy of The New York Times

He starts with the business section, of course:

"Print ad revenue falls at New York Times" by Sydney Ember New York Times  November 02, 2016

NEW YORK — The New York Times Co. on Wednesday reported a steep decline in print advertising revenue for the third quarter, adding to the newspaper industry’s woes.

Print advertising revenue fell 19 percent, driving an 8 percent decline in total advertising revenue. The drop followed a 14 percent decline in print advertising revenue in the second quarter.

Digital revenue, however, which now represents 36 percent of the company’s advertising revenue, increased 21 percent in the quarter, to $44 million, a welcome relief for the company after a decline in digital advertising last quarter.

This is an anxious and challenging time for the newspaper industry.

They did it to themselves. Rather than serve the calling of journalism we were all taught -- ‘The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’ -- in its search for truth, they have spent the last 100 or so years pushing wars based on lies and distortions while morphing into a mouthpiece for the privileged elite (and let's be honest, that is something they have always been).

The Times’ results were announced the same day that The Wall Street Journal informed its staff of sweeping changes to its print paper, including a cutback to its Greater New York section. On Tuesday the Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today and more than 100 other papers, walked away from its deal to acquire Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, in part because of the financial obstacles involved.

They have reached a new low.

Print advertising revenue, which once sustained newspaper companies, has been falling in the industry for years. But the pace of the decline has accelerated, and digital advertising and other forms of revenue have not yet bridged the gap.

At the same time, the Times has aggressively pursued new revenue opportunities to make up for the decline in print advertising. Last week, it announced that it had acquired The Wirecutter, the product recommendation site, and its sibling, The Sweethome. And Tuesday, it introduced a virtual reality video project called The Daily 360.

Through a partnership with Samsung, which provided the cameras and equipment, the Times will produce at least one video a day for Times platforms, including mobile and virtual reality apps....

That means the CIA is spying on the New York Times?

Let's hope your phone doesn't blow up while you are reading their stories (he was too slow in responding).


"Trump said The New York Times’ numbers were dwindling. Was he right?" by Sydney Ember New York Times  February 02, 2017

NEW YORK — Precipitous declines in print advertising rocked the newspaper industry last year. And while The New York Times Co. recorded significant growth in subscriptions and promising increases in digital advertising, it nevertheless has not avoided the inevitable.

The company said Thursday that its print advertising revenue in 2016 fell 16 percent, driving a 9 percent drop in total advertising revenue. For the quarter, print advertising revenue declined 20 percent.

The story on the digital side was positive, underscoring the diverging financial narratives for print and digital that have emerged at the company.

You know, the shifting explanations have made it difficult to tell when the media are telling the truth.

As for many other legacy print companies trying to adapt to an increasingly digital world, these have been challenging times for The New York Times. Last month, The Times released an internal report that called for swift changes in the newsroom, including more staff training, a commitment to hiring journalists with wider-ranging skills, and an elimination of duplicative layers of editing.

That has left employees bracing for staff reductions that newsroom leaders said could be announced in the next several weeks.

Despite positive developments on the digital side, the overall financial results announced Thursday are unlikely to assuage the tangible anxiety among journalists at The Times.

On a more positive note, circulation revenue rose 3 percent in 2016. CEO Mark Thompson called digital growth “unprecedented” and expressed optimism in the company’s subscription-first growth strategy. He also used the call to needle President Trump over his claims that the publication’s audience and subscriber numbers were dwindling. “Not so much, Mr. President,” Thompson said....

The last time I bought one was 2007. It was the lone New Year's resolution I ever kept.


Also see: New York Times Co. sees growth in digital business as print advertising continues to fall

I pick up a Globe everyday, and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference:

Trump says he invented an 84-year-old phrase. But, why?

He may be dumb or delusional, but that doesn't mean I believe a word that comes from the ma$$ media either. It's not an either/or situation.

Three ways Comey’s firing echoes Watergate 

The Russia scandal isn’t Watergate

It's worse. You had a sitting administration actually spying on the opponent's campaign, not just a bunch of sabotage and dirty tricks culminating in a botched effort at surveillance (and when you think about it, had Nixon had the technology that was at Obama's disposal he never would have been impeached).

Team Trump’s cover story falls apart

Speaking of credibility, those in gla$$ houses....

Trump and the art of the lie

At least they admit that "Trump doesn’t lie the way that other American politicians lie."

He must be going off script.

There might be a lot more to the firing than it appears.

Camping in the Seaport? L.L. Bean to open store in neighborhood

The protests are being organized as I type, but I think the company will be able to weather the storm.

Firestorm over firing puts GOP priorities in the back seat

Where they can do less harm.

Trump to order inquiry into voter fraud and suppression

What does it matter when the candidates are screened for selection?

Then he turns to the foreign section:

"After Trump Vows to Arm Syrian Kurds, the Next Move Is Erdogan’s" by Anne Barnard New York Times  May 12, 2017

ISTANBUL — The question now is what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a headstrong leader, will do next.

Analysts believe Erdogan could now seek a quid pro quo in return for swallowing the US decision to work ever more closely with the Kurds in Syria.

In return, Erdogan could seek a US green light for a newly forceful intervention against Turkey’s Kurdish foes in Iraq, the PKK.

Experts said that would mostly consist of Turkey increasing its periodic bombing runs on the militants. But in the most extreme case, the Turks could coordinate a ground operation likely carried out by rival Kurdish forces friendly to Turkey, said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The NYT turned to who for expert analysis?

Striking in Iraq would accomplish some Turkish goals, several analysts said. While it would do little to prevent the Kurdish autonomous areas inside northeast Syria from consolidating, it would isolate those cantons from Kurdish areas in Iraq. It could stop the Kurds from expanding their power in the region further and from possibly bolstering the Kurdish nationalist movement inside Turkey — Erdogan’s ultimate worry.

It would also make it harder for Iran, a rival for power in the region whose proxies are friendly with the PKK, to keep a continuous corridor of influence stretching from Tehran through Iraq and northern Syria to the Mediterranean.

Underscoring the complexity of alliances in the region, the PKK is a parent organization of the Americans’ newly official Syrian Kurdish partner. The Syrian group, known as the YPG, has used the chaos of war to carve out de facto semiautonomous zones inside Syria.

Erdogan “can live with a YPG statelet in northern Syria,” said James F. Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey. “He can’t live with a YPG statelet that is supported by the US and is linked with Iran.”

I'm not seeing that as a possibility, are you?

Analysts say Turkey could move against the PKK around Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. Turkish officials worry that the group is trying to establish new headquarters there that could give it control of a strategic route between Syria and Iran....


Related: Trump Talks Turkey

Other talk:

"Afghans relieved, worried by emerging Trump policy of increased troops" by Pamela Constable Washington Post  May 11, 2017

KABUL — The emerging signs that the Trump administration may send thousands more US troops to Afghanistan are generating a variety of reactions here, including relief at a signal of strong commitment from the new administration in Washington, and worry that it may not be enough to turn around a long, expensive war the Taliban have fought to a draw.

All the blood and treasure plus the bodies and 16 years later it is a draw? 

Time to withdraw and begin negotiating with whomever is left to govern the place, sorry.

Of course, the true goal is permanent occupation so... the endless wars driven by whatever narrative are necessary.

But many Afghan observers agree on one thing: No US military surge alone can solve the broader problems that have made peace and stability so elusive.

‘‘There is more fighting and more ground held by Taliban now than ever before, and increasing the troops can help reverse that,’’ said Abdul Bari Barakzai, a member of the government’s High Peace Council. ‘‘But people have lost their trust in the government. No matter how many troops you bring now.’’

It's a worldwide epidemic!

Earlier this week, after a lengthy review, top Trump administration advisers were reported to be urging an ambitious new military role in Afghanistan, led by the Pentagon, with at least 3,000 troops added to the current 8,400, to halt the country’s deteriorating security and push the Taliban back to the negotiating table. President Trump is expected to make a final decision this month.

That's why I've lost trust.

Such a policy would dramatically ramp up American involvement in the war, which was systematically cut back under President Barack Obama. By the end of 2014, most US and NATO forces had left the country, leaving Afghan troops struggling to hold off a determined Taliban insurgency, at a loss of life that a US watchdog group recently called ‘‘shockingly high.’’

Today, Afghan officials and specialists agree the defense forces are desperately in need of both short- and long-term US assistance — more equipment, air support, and Special Operations partnerships as the summer fighting season intensifies, and more troop training and leadership reforms so that the defense forces can become self-sufficient. 

We have been training them for how long to the tune of how many billions?

‘‘Our biggest challenge is the Taliban. We need help to keep up the pressure and force them to negotiate,’’ said Sediq Siddiqi, a spokesman for the government of President Ashraf Ghani. ‘‘We’re not waiting for the US to go in and take over, but we need help with the transition,’’ he said. ‘‘We need the Taliban to feel the pressure, and we can’t do it alone.’’

No one in Afghanistan, though, sees the insurgents as operating in a vacuum. Rather, the insurgents are viewed as capitalizing on widespread perceptions that the state is weak, corrupt, consumed with internal and external rivalries, and unable to deliver services, jobs, reforms, and modernization.

Plenty of corruption in the U.S. puppet state, though.

A wide variety of Afghans, asked this week whether the United States should step up its military presence, almost immediately raised the issues of poor government performance and political quarreling as significant deterrents to peace. One civic activist described the government as being in a state of ‘‘continuous crisis.’’

Some said it was more important for foreign allies and donors, especially the United States, to help resolve these problems than to immerse themselves again in a bloody civil conflict. And many said that it was equally crucial for the United States to press next-door Pakistan to stop harboring anti-Afghan insurgents, a charge Pakistan has denied.

Did you see who trained them?

‘‘A US troop increase can be effective, but you need to put maximum pressure on Pakistan to stop training and sheltering terrorists,’’ said General Mirza Yarmand, a former deputy interior minister.

Is that what this is about -- as we creep closer to WWIII and the worldwide battle lines?

The Trump administration has said little about Afghanistan’s government problems and has not yet revealed any policy decisions on Pakistan, although it has hinted at using both economic and diplomatic sanctions against its former Cold War ally if the Islamabad government does not do more to rein in violent Islamist groups.

When are the U.S. government and its Gulf allies going to do the same?

Afghans are also worried about the designs of other aggressive neighbors and regional powers, especially Iran and Russia, on their economically weakened and war-torn country....



"Russian man gets 3½-year sentence for playing ‘Pokémon Go’ in church" by David Filipov Washington Post  May 11, 2017

MOSCOW — A judge in Russia’s fourth-largest city has convicted a blogger who played ‘‘Pokémon Go’’ in a renowned Orthodox cathedral of inciting religious hatred and insulting the feelings of believers, the state RIA-Novosti news agency reported Thursday.

Ruslan Sokolovsky, 22, was given a suspended sentence of 3½ years for playing the mobile phone game during a service in the Church of All Saints in the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg last August.

The argument could be made that he got off easy.

In the YouTube video he posted of himself playing the game, Sokolovsky dismisses warnings in the Russian media that playing the game, which had a wild run of popularity last summer, could result in jail time.... 

Pussy Riot was cited, and they "jailed" him because Pokemon is a CIA operation involving the mapping of the entire planet.


Also seeFull Moon Over Korea

"South Korea’s new president moves to soothe tensions with China" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times   May 12, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea — Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea, moved swiftly to mend ties with China on Thursday, announcing plans to dispatch a delegation to Beijing to resolve a festering dispute over the deployment of a US missile-defense system in his country.

Easing tensions over the antimissile system was a crucial topic when President Xi Jinping of China called Moon on Thursday to congratulate him on his election as president two days before.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system has led to a deep schism in relations between Beijing and Seoul, prompting widespread boycotts in China of popular South Korean brands....


I wouldn't let my breath out just yet:

"US, Japan, France, UK practice amphibious landings on Guam" by HAVEN DALEY and AUDREY McAVOY Associated Press  May 12, 2017

HAGATNA, Guam — Troops from the United States, Japan, and two European nations are gathering on remote US islands in the Pacific for drills they say will show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid fears that China could restrict movement in the South China Sea.

The drills around Guam and Tinian may also send a message to North Korea about US commitment to the region and the breadth of its allies.

Got it. Now go away.

‘‘The message we want to send is that we’re always ready to train and we’re always ready for the next crisis and humanitarian disaster wherever that may be,’’ said US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Kemper Jones, the commander of the Third Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment....

Something already in the works?


Speaking of Britain and France:

"Labour Party might take sharp left turn with election manifesto" by Stephen Castle New York Times   May 11, 2017

The leaked draft — initially published by The Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph, the BBC, and other news outlets — suggested that Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing politician, had broken decisively with the centrist legacy of most of his recent Labour predecessors, most notably with that of the former prime minister Tony Blair, who won three general elections.

Instead, Corbyn’s strategy contains echoes of that of Bernie Sanders, the US senator who ignited liberal passions in his unsuccessful race for the Democratic presidential nomination last year. Labour’s manifesto also serves the more prosaic function of shoring up the party’s core vote as it approaches a difficult electoral contest June 8.

When the pre$$ uses that word it means they don't like it.

Motivating those supporters, and achieving a decent election result, could be crucial for Corbyn, who says he wants to stay on as leader, even if he loses, as pollsters predict.

A spokesman for Labour, reached by telephone Thursday, declined to authenticate the document, saying the party’s policy was not to comment on leaks. But Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s national elections and campaign coordinator, speaking to the BBC on Thursday morning, did not deny the document’s authenticity.

They leaked it themselves so they could gauge reaction. It's called floating a trial balloon and governments do it all the time.

The Conservatives and Labour’s other opponents seized on the leak as evidence that the party lacked discipline.

“This is a total shambles,” the Conservative Party said in a statement. “Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to unleash chaos on Britain have been revealed. Jobs will be lost, families will be hit, and our economic security damaged for a generation if Jeremy Corbyn and the coalition of chaos are ever let anywhere near the keys to Downing Street.”

Yeah, but would the wars end?

Britons will vote June 8 in a snap general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May. May wants to increase her slim parliamentary majority before negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union....


Some of the "eye-catching policies intended to shore up its core vote are plans to renationalize some rail and energy companies, scrap university tuition fees, and put in place big increases in spending on health and social care."

Also see: 

"British farmers concerned about migrant labor say little can be done to hire locals to do the work, saying Britons cannot be enticed to pick plums and potatoes...." 

Even if they are hungry?

Speaking of hunger....

"France’s new leader, Emmanuel Macron, makes history with his marriage, too" by Adam Taylor Washington Post  May 11, 2017

Emmanuel Macron is 24 years younger than his wife, and the incoming French president is exasperated that people keep talking about it.

Discussing the assumptions and rumors about his relationship his wife, Brigitte, Macron told Le Parisian newspaper this week that ‘‘if I had been 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that I couldn’t be.’’

It’s a sentiment many French women seem to relate to. Speaking to The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan ahead of the election, some suggested that the Macrons’ marriage was social ‘‘revenge’’ for years of powerful men seeking younger wives. But it raises the question: Just how unusual is Macron’s May-December romance in French politics anyway?

I'm not so concerned about the now as the then. He was 16 when they met. She was 40 and the school's drama teacher. 

When he takes office, Macron will be the only leader under France’s Fifth Republic to be younger than his partner; no surprise there. However, the Macrons also will have the largest age gap of any French first couple under the Fifth Republic. Charles de Gaulle and François Hollande were both close to a decade older than their partners when they entered office, but those relationships are less than half the age gap the Macrons have.

The complicated love lives of some French leaders do make this comparison a little more tricky, however. To the delight of French tabloids, both Hollande and his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, split from their respective partners during their time in the Élysée Palace. Hollande quickly entered a relationship with actress Julia Gayet, 18 years his junior, while Sarkozy married former model Carla Bruni, 13 years younger.

Another factor is the fact that many French presidents have conducted well known extramarital affairs. François Mitterrand’s lengthy but covert relationship with art historian Anne Pingeot is now widely acknowledged and pretty much accepted — the couple had a daughter together, and Mitterrand would appear with her in public later in life. Pingeot was 27 years younger than Mitterrand.

Around the world, the picture gets even more complicated. If you look at the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, at least three have age gaps with their partners that are at least as big as the Macrons’: Jacob Zuma (38 years) of South Africa, Michel Temer (33 years) of Brazil, and President Donald Trump (24 years) of the United States. However, there are complexities here, too, some resulting from societal differences. For example, Zuma may top the above list, but he is also a polygamist. His wives are of varying ages.

He must zoom right through sex.

Little is known about the current wife of Saudi King Salman, so she is not included. Meanwhile, the age of Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s low-profile wife, Emanuela Mauro, is not publicly known. And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is estranged from his wife, while Russian President Vladimir Putin split from his spouse in 2013 (although he has since been linked with a number of younger women).

However, it does seem clear that the leaders of the world’s largest economies do tend to favor younger partners. There is only one who joins Macron in choosing an older spouse: Angela Merkel. The German chancellor’s husband, Joachim Sauer, is five years older.


Now it is an issue.... after the election, during which my pre$$ never mentioned it -- and only because it must now be turned into a non-issue. Perversion and pedophilia are fine if you originate from the privileged cla$$.