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Fox News suffers an embarrassing defeat as Newsmax rides high by touting Trump's lies

December 9, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh

Newsmax TV scored a minor ratings win over Fox News that could signal a major conservative media shift after the network went all-in on President Donald Trump’s baseless election conspiracy theories.

Newsmax’s “Greg Kelly Reports,” a show Trump has plugged on Twitter, edged out “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Fox among the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic on Monday night, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported, for the first time in the network’s six-year history.

Kelly’s show averaged 229,000 viewers in the demographic while MacCallum, who won her 7 pm timeslot in every category ahead of the election, averaged 203,000. Prior to the election, Kelly’s show only averaged about 10,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic and about 100,000 viewers in total, according to Stelter. But on Monday, his show hit 949,000 total viewers.

Kelly, a former local New York news anchor, has quickly risen in the post-election conservative TV universe by repeatedly claiming Trump did not lose the election long after every mainstream network called the race.

“This is Newsmax, where we have not called the election,” he bragged last month, more than a week after the election was called. “Why would we? We do not know who has won. This whole idea of a president-elect? It is a media fabrication.”

Kelly has served as an unabashed cheerleader for Trump and claimed that the lame-duck president was “fulfilling his duty” and “defending the Constitution” by refusing to concede and challenging legal votes in numerous states.

Kelly has also repeatedly hosted former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, allowing her to push bizarre and unfounded conspiracy theories that even Fox News’ Tucker Carlson ripped as baseless. He even occasionally calls out his competitors directly.

“Fox does seem to be going through something of an identity crisis,” he told viewers last month. “They’re not very supportive of the president these days — they seem to be bending over backward to hurt him.”

Other Newsmax shows have also seen a rating bump. Stelter noted that the rating bump is particularly pronounced when Fox is airing straight news shows, like MacCallum’s or fellow host Neil Cavuto’s, rather than pro-Trump opinion shows like “The Five” and “Hannity.”

Newsmax chief Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend of Trump, told CNN that the network plans to continue to expand its …read more


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Here's what Trump supporters really believe about the election and his coup attempt

December 9, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Do Republican voters really believe that Joe Biden stole the election from Donald Trump? Do they sincerely see Trump’s efforts to overturn the election as the legitimate actions of a wronged man trying to defend democracy? When they declare “stop the steal,” are they truly unaware that they are the ones trying to steal this election from the rightful winners?

Or are millions of Americans arguing in bad faith, merely claiming to believe Trump is the true winner? Is this all just a disingenuous song-and-dance, meant to put a morally justifiable gloss on what is actually widespread support among Trump voters for a coup? The answer to this question of “delusion or bad faith?” matters quite a bit, as Trump continues to prosecute his futile campaign to steal the 2020 election.

Polls show that a hefty majority of Republican voters — 68%, according to Reuters/Ipsos — say they believe the 2020 election was “rigged” in Biden’s favor. Since the election, more than $200 million has flowed into Trump’s coffers from Republican donors responding to emails promising to “stop the steal.” Are these donors innocent lambs who sincerely believe that Trump is a good man done wrong? Or are they people who are actively seeking to finance a coup, employing the flimsiest of excuses?

Well, as the author of a book called “Troll Nation,” it’s clear where I stand: By and large, Republican voters who claim that Biden stole the election are arguing from bad faith, not delusion.

This distinction is important because it shows that the intentions of Republican voters (and too many of their elected leaders) are sinister, and need to be taken seriously as an overt assault on democracy. Understanding modern politics means understanding one crucial reality about the current landscape: Conservatives don’t hold beliefs, they only have rationalizations.

Many of their long-standing beliefs don’t hold up to modern moral standards or rational scrutiny. Rather than give up those beliefs, however, Republicans have developed a series of disingenuous gambits, conspiracy theories and trolling tactics to derail conversations, sow confusion and otherwise distract those who would challenge their indefensible ideology.

Of course, it’s morally indefensible to come right out and say you care more about keeping your gas guzzler than protecting the planet. So, instead, conservatives claim to be “skeptical” of climate science, wasting their interlocutor’s time by …read more


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7 Things You May Not Know About Freemasons

December 9, 2020 in History

By Jessica Pearce Rotondi

What are those symbols all about, anyway?

Freemason secrets allegedly lurk behind everything from the planning of our nation’s capital to murder. Members of the enigmatic Masonic brotherhood include prominent politicians, Founding Fathers and titans of business. In modern times, Masons are known for donating millions to charity. But who are the Freemasons and what do they stand for? Is there really a secret Freemason handshake? Here are seven things you may not know about Freemasons.

1. The Freemasons Are the Oldest Fraternal Organization in the World.

Freemasons belong to the oldest fraternal organization in the world, a group begun during the Middle Ages in Europe as a guild of skilled builders. With the decline of cathedral building, the focus of the society shifted. Today, “Freemasons are a social and philanthropic organization meant to make its members lead more virtuous and socially oriented lives,” says Margaret Jacob, professor of history at University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe. Grounded in the Enlightenment, the organization “still conveys [the era’s] core values, religious tolerance, thirst for knowledge [and] sociability,” says Cécile Révauger, a freemason, historian of Freemasonry and professor at the University of Bordeaux.

While not a secret society, per se, it does have secret passwords and rituals that originate with the medieval guild, says Jacob: “In the original guild, there were three stages: Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Masons who oversaw everyone working on a site. Today, these degrees are more philosophical.”

2. Freemason Symbols Aren’t What You Think.

Freemasons have long communicated using visual symbols drawn from the tools of stonemasonry. The “All-Seeing Eye,” or Eye of Providence, while not designed by Masons, has been used by the group to represent the omniscience of God. The most well-known Freemason symbol, “The Square and Compasses,” depicts a builder’s square joined by a compass. The “G” at its center remains subject to dispute; some experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, believe the “G” in the symbol’s center represents geometry, a critical field to the first Freemasons, while others believe it represents God, the “Grand Architect of the Universe.” The Square and Compasses remains a popular symbol on Masonic rings.

There’s another, lesser-known Masonic symbol drawn …read more


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Hunter Biden reveals that Trump's DOJ is investigating him — just as the president wanted

December 9, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

On Wednesday afternoon, Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, announced via the transition team that the Justice Department is investigating his tax history.

“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” he said in a statement. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”

In an attached statement, the transition team added: “President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.”

Since 2019, President Donald Trump and his allies have been sharply critical of Hunter Biden, lambasting his overseas business connections in Ukraine and China, which appear to indicate the son’s attempts to profit off his father’s famous name. However, despite extensive efforts, opponents of the president-elect have not been able to conclusively link him to his son’s dealings or implicate either of them in clear wrongdoing or illegality. As the 2020 campaign came to a close, new sketchy reports emerged from Rudy Giuliani and a few news outlets claiming to have uncovered Hunter Biden’s laptop after he abandoned it at a repair shop. They claimed that the laptop showed impropriety on the part of Hunter Biden and the family, but the allegations were thin and unverified.

Some argued that the stories and accusations could be the work of an intentional foreign disinformation campaign.

But regardless about the provenance of the information or the content of the allegations, Trump and his allies whipped up suspicions about Hunter and the Biden family in an effort to tar the former vice president heading into the election. Trump personally called for Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate Hunter Biden and even claimed that Joe Biden shouldn’t even be allowed to run for president.

Trump’s call to investigate the Bidens inevitably casts doubt on the propriety of a Justice Department investigation into Hunter, and the factual basis for the investigation remains unexplained. Reports about the Biden laptop indicated that the FBI was investigating a related matter, but it wasn’t clear whether Hunter Biden was viewed a subject or a target of that probe.

<Img align="left" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="" style="border:0;float:left;margin:0;padding:0;width:1px!important;height:1px!important" …read more


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Giuliani says he was treated by Trump's physician and received the same COVID cocktail

December 9, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

He is not an elected official and serves no public or government function but Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, says when he tested positive for COVID-19 Trump’s physician treated him and he received the same course of treatment – not commonly available to most Americans – as the President himself.

Throughout the pandemic there have been numerous reports of celebrities, sports stars, the wealthy and the well-connected getting priority access to coronavirus testing, but now it appears that President Trump is facilitating access to experimental but life-saving drugs for his friends.

“The minute I took the cocktail,” Giuliani said when he called into his own radio show Tuesday, “I felt 100% better,” Business Insider reports.

The COVID-19 cocktail has not been widely available to the general public. It reportedly includes Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapy, which was approved for emergency use less than three weeks ago.

“His doctor sent me here, talked me into it,” Giuliani said, adding he was given “exactly” the same cocktail President Trump received, according to CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz.

“I didn’t really want to go to the hospital and he said don’t be stupid, we can get it over in three days if we send you to the hospital.”

He also “claimed he was not aware of its high cost or lack of availability to the general public.”

Giuliani, who is 76-years old, “said he felt 10 years younger after receiving some of the same drugs taken by Trump when the president contracted COVID-19 in October,” US News added.

Talking Points Memo‘s Josh Kovensky reports the drugs that make up the cocktail Trump and Giuliani took are “in extremely short supply.”

“Monoclonal antibodies, which medical science generally agrees are the best shot at an effective treatment for the disease, are expensive and rare. One Florida hospital reported that its phone lines have been ‘bombarded’ by people wanting the drug.”

“What’s more,” Kovensky adds, “all of the doses in circulation currently belong to the U.S. government.”

The former New York City mayor who has traveled the country in recent weeks promoting a farcical circus act of conspiracy theories in an attempt to overturn the election results while getting smacked down in the nation’s court, is said to be leaving the hospital on Wednesday. He was admitted Sunday, …read more


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'From the bottom of my heart': Angela Merkel delivers a powerful speech on the importance of COVID safety

December 9, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Germans — like Americans, Brazilians, Spaniards and millions of others around the world — have been suffering from major coronavirus fatigue as the number of COVID-19 infections increases in many countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel feels their pain, but in a passionate speech this week, she stressed that Germans must be willing to embrace social distancing this Christmas season if that’s what it takes to save lives in her country.

Merkel, during a speech, warned of the dangers of eating and drinking in public, saying, “As hard as it is — and I know how much love has gone into setting up the mulled wine stands and waffle stalls — this is not compatible with the agreement we made to only take food away to eat at home. I’m sorry — I really am sorry from the bottom of my heart — but if the price we pay is 590 deaths a day, then that is unacceptable, in my view.”

Merkel’s comments drew a round of applause, and the German chancellor continued her speech — noting that “scientists are practically begging us to reduce our contacts for a week before we see Grandma and Grandpa, grandparents and older people at Christmas.”

In Germany, the current coronavirus outbreak has plateaued at around 18,000 new infections detected per day, according to Worldometer. Deaths from the virus, which are spiking in the last week, are at an average of 400 per day.

Merkel added, “I only want to say: if we have too many contacts now in the run-up to Christmas — and it ends up being the last Christmas with our grandparents — then we will have done something wrong. We should not let this happen.”

Merkel’s speech, which was in German, has been posted on Twitter with English subtitles. It was a stark contrast with the leadership of the U.S. federal government. Here are some reactions from English speakers:

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The James Bond ‘Goldfinger’ Actor With a Nazi Past

December 9, 2020 in History

By Becky Little

Israel banned ‘Goldfinger’ for two months after learning about Gert Fröbe’s former Nazi membership.

There’s a scene in Goldfinger, the third . Even then, the Nazis’ promise of economic prosperity that Fröbe found so appealing was anti-Semitic; Hitler blamed Jewish Germans for the country’s economic woes and sought to uplift “Aryans” at Jewish people’s expense.

Screening films that might contain former Nazis was already a concern in Israel, which was why it banned many German-language films until 1967. When West German film started up again after the war, “all the cinematographers, all the directors, all the editors, all the stars had played some kind of role in the Third Reich,” says Tobias Hochscherf, a media professor at the Kiel University of Applied Sciences in Germany. So even by the early 1960s, most German films “were made with stars or actors from the Third Reich.”

Israel’s Brief Ban of ‘Goldfinger’

Gert Fröbe and Sean Connery in “Goldfinger,” 1964.

Israel responded to Fröbe’s admission by banning Goldfinger and all of his upcoming movies, including Is Paris Burning?, the film in which he would portray Choltitz. In addition, the Ministry of Justice said that if Fröbe visited Israel, it might prosecute him as a former Nazi Party member, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported.

But Israel lifted the ban only two months later, in February 1966. The Israel Film Censorship Board made the decision after receiving evidence that Fröbe had left the Nazi Party in 1937, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, sparking World War II. There were also reports that his conscription as a Nazi soldier later in the war was “a punishment for helping to distribute anti-Nazi pamphlets,” according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

Another factor was that Fröbe’s claim about helping a Jewish woman during the war seemed true. After Israel banned Fröbe’s films, a Jewish man named Mario Blumenau told the Israeli Embassy in Vienna that Fröbe had helped Blumenau and his mother obtain a version of food stamps during the war. “I think he was a decent person, but not a hero,” Hochscherf says of Fröbe’s actions.

In addition, The New York Times reported that several film producers made appeals to Israel to lift the ban. Many Israelis wanted to see Goldfinger, then an internationally popular feature, and Hochscherf notes that public demand may also have contributed to the decision to bring the movie …read more