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Trafficking the News
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SONNY BUNCH: Trafficking the News.
There’s a moment in Barry Sonnenfeld and Ed Solomon’s cinematic treatise on human nature and man’s place in the universe, Men in Black, that spoke to me profoundly as a teenager and has reverberated through my head in the decades since.
Veteran alien hunter Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is sitting on a park bench with James Darrell Edwards (Will Smith) and explaining why his agency keeps the public in the dark about the existence of extraterrestrial life. “Why the big secret,” James asks. “People are smart, they can handle it.”
“A person is smart,” K responds, Tommy Lee Jones channeling a world-weariness that comes with age. “People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals. You know it. A thousand years ago everybody knew Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat. Fifteen minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
AMANDA CARPENTER: CNN’s Trump Town Hall: All Spectacle, No Sunlight.
CNN’s public argument for holding a New Hampshire town hall with former President Donald Trump boils down to this: Voters needed to hear from Trump directly because he is the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination.
One problem with that: His views are already well known. And Trump on Wednesday night remained committed to his lies about the 2020 election, continued to downplay January 6th, smeared women who accused him of sexual misconduct, and refused to back Ukraine against Russian aggression.
It was all spectacle and no sunlight—and it showed far more about those who put it on and attended it than it did about Trump.
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JOHN HARDIE: What Ukraine Still Needs to Win.
As Kyiv gears up for its spring counteroffensive, some U.S. officials are privately casting doubt on what Ukraine can achieve. To be sure, the Ukrainian military will face serious hurdles in overcoming well-entrenched Russian forces. But policymakers must not just admire the problem—they should do everything they can to help Ukraine defeat it. After all, Ukraine’s battlefield prospects depend to a great extent on how much support it receives from the West.
Washington can still do more to fulfill President Biden’s promise to “help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.” Specifically, the United States and its allies should help Kyiv fill its need for more armored fighting vehicles, air defense, long-range precision strike capabilities, and artillery ammunition.
JILL LAWRENCE: E. Jean Carroll Won, But the Country May Still Lose.
Patience, all of you in despair at the crawling pace of federal and state investigations into the Former and Possibly Future Guy. Justice delayed isn’t always justice denied, even when you’re up against Donald J. Trump.
This is the lesson of E. Jean Carroll’s legal triumph this week, both for her and for the other women who have accused Trump of sexual assault and misconduct (and there have been many, whether the count is 19, 26, or at least 43). It’s also a victory for all women who have been sexually assaulted by anyone, for all those who never spoke up or filed suit or who did and lost, and for anyone, male or female, who wondered if #MeToo accountability would ever come for this particular celebrity who never had to pay for his assertion that “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Did you stay with the town hall? I got past the third filibuster on the stolen election lies and his gross comments about January 6th, and opted to put my kids to bed instead. (A wise choice!) Here’s what CNN chief Chris Licht thought about it. And if you missed it, but want the highlights, those are here.
TONIGHT @ 9! Will Saletan and Bulwark managing editor, Adam Keiper, will join JVL to discuss the verdict in the E. Jean Carroll case against Trump and the Will’s project chronicling the corruption of Senator Lindsey Graham and the GOP. Exclusively for Bulwark+ members.
Growing up, she thought... being named after Connie Chung made her unique.
The Army… Has a plan to treat its horses better.
Putin Wants to Prolong the War… Trump, Tucker, and DeSantis Give Him Reason to, writes Nicholas Grossman.
Iger goes to war… Against DeSantis.
Digital neo-Nazi leader… Pleads guilty to double murder.
A curious arrest… At the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. Peter Flaherty, head of the right wing National Legal And Policy Center was arrested for going on a rant about wokeness, critical race theory, gender, Bill Gates, and Jeffrey Epstein. And he’s pretty happy in his mugshot.
The end of… The American Conservative?
Meanwhile, in Missouri… A state agency tried to classify an unborn child as an employee, in a bizarre lawsuit that highlighted the weird new legal possibilities that stem from “personhood” bills.
A house… With tenants in it? A new scam emerges, but not as weird as the house that comes with a stranger in the basement.
Congress addresses Long-eared bats? In a rare resolution of disapproval the Senate passed, Congress is trying to nullify an endangered species listing of a bat suffering from white-nose syndrome. Why? Rep. Stauber from Minnesota explains:
“The northern long-eared bat unfortunately suffers from white-nose syndrome through no fault of humans whatsoever. The listing of the bat due to this disease declares open season for environmental groups to target desperately needed development across the bat’s entire range, which covers most of the continental United States.”
It got the votes of Amy Klobuchar and Joe Manchin and all Republicans. It will likely pass the House, but it’s unclear what President Biden will do if it makes it to his desk. Obviously there aren’t the votes to override a veto.
Why Are Republicans Better at… Making Money on the Internet? (I’d argue, in part, the GOP consumer base is more of a monolith, too.)
The plot to steal… Coca Cola’s other secret. Its can technology.
The UK’s Storm Shadow missiles… Could be a gamechanger for Ukraine.
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