Senate Confirms Army, Marine Chiefs

POLITICO (“Senate confirms Army and Marine chiefs, bucking Tuberville logjam“):

The Senate overwhelmingly approved two four-star generals to lead the Army and Marine Corps Thursday, as members made a small dent in Sen. Tommy Tuberville‘s blockade of senior Pentagon nominees.

Gen. Eric Smith’s successful 96-0 confirmation vote to be the next Marine commandant followed Gen. Randy George’s approval as Army chief of staff. A day earlier, the Senate cleared Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown to be the next Joint Chiefs chair.

But the trio of confirmations does not mean Democrats are declaring victory. With 300 generals and admirals at the upper rungs of the armed forces still stranded, senators still have to find a way to maneuver around the Alabama Republican’s promotions hold, which is still in effect, in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy. Lawmakers have pledged to keep up public pressure on Tuberville to change course.

The showdown has also ensnared the nominees for Air Force chief of staff, Gen. David Allvin; the chief of naval operations, Adm. Lisa Franchetti; the head of the Missile Defense Agency, Maj. Gen. Heath Collins; and the nominee for the Pentagon’s top policy post, Derek Chollet.

Smith was the Marine Corps’ No. 2 officer and has commanded at every level, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a general, he led Marine Corps’ forces in U.S. Southern Command, as well as Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

George was the Army’s vice chief of staff and before that was Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s senior military aide. He is an infantry officer who served in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed in support of the Gulf War.

George was confirmed 96-1, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) casting the sole “no” vote.

President Joe Biden nominated both generals in the spring and they each stepped into their service’s top role on an acting basis during the summer, when their predecessors retired.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for months has refused to hold standalone votes on military nominees to get around Tuberville’s hold, but reversed course Wednesday and agreed to hold votes on the three top picks after Tuberville forced Democrats’ hand by planning to force a vote on Smith.

Questions are swirling about Democrats’ strategy for getting the rest confirmed, but Schumer was tight-lipped, telling reporters only “You’ll see.” Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said the onus is on Republicans to get Tuberville to relent.

While Tuberville has insisted for months he’s felt no pressure from Democrats or his own party, Democrats cast his move to advance a vote for Smith as him bowing to Republican critics, and said they seized the chance to advance all three officers.

“But there are still 300 military officers in limbo, and that’s detrimental to the United States,” Reed said. “There are so many other people like Gen. George who are suffering and their families are too … It’s solely forced by [Tuberville’s] desire to make [military] officers tokens in political battles — and it’s wrong, and we’re going to push and push and push.”

While Reed’s point is absolutely right in the main, it’s wrong in the particular. Because George and Smith are simply fleeting up from the deputy to the main job, there’s pretty minimal family impact. Smith will get to move into the Commandant’s mansion at 8th and I, so the timing for that is a little less than convenient. But I’m pretty sure his kids are out of school at this point.

My understanding is that Franchetti, who was nominated much more recently than the others, is still in committee. I expect she’ll be confirmed relatively soon. I have no idea where the other high-level nominees stand. Meanwhile, the 300-odd lower-ranking officers and their families are very much in limbo.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) called the remaining vacancies “untenable” and noted that advancing the officers will leave three new senior vacancies.

“We’re taking three steps forward and three steps backward,” said Duckworth, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “These are three very important jobs but there are 300 other jobs that are also important to our national security.”

Despite the mild irony that she placed an even wider hold three years ago—albeit for a much more discrete purpose directly tied to military promotions—she’s right. And it may be more problematic in those cases, since it’s less likely that the successor happens to be one rung down the ladder in the same office.

More than 300 senior promotions are still frozen as Tuberville refuses to allow their speedy confirmation. Tuberville has insisted Democrats can just simply hold votes on individual picks, but Democrats and the administration have noted that to do so would take hundreds of hours and totally dominate the Senate’s calendar.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a Biden ally, said more votes in groups of two or three would not be appropriate. He credited the progress on Wednesday and Thursday to Republican pressure on Tuberville and said it should continue until there’s a broader breakthrough.

“There was some modest movement — we will have confirmed just three of 300, the most significant and senior but just three,” Coons said. “And we also just had a demonstration of what would happen if we actually proceed with confirming every one of them. It would shut down the Senate for a year and we would get nothing else done.”

Not to take the onus off of Tuberville, on whose shoulders the blame squarely lies, but if the Senate would grind to a halt if they had to actually confirm these officers, it’s a pretty clear signal that the normal process is pro forma. They should simply delegate promotion authority for 3-star and below to the Secretary of Defense on a by-exception basis. If a Senator has an actual objection—as Duckworth did in the matter of Sandy Vindman—than they would still have the ability to force oversight.

Tuberville, claiming victory, said will continue to demand that each nominee be considered individually until the Pentagon policy is reversed.

“So, to be clear, my hold is still in place,” Tuberville said Wednesday. “The hold will remain in place as long as the Pentagon’s illegal abortion policy remains in place. If the Pentagon lifts the policy, then I will lift my hold. It’s as easy as that.”

While one would think the Republican leadership could inflict pain on Tuberville for this stunt, it also seems like there are other ways around the issue. The Senate could hold a standalone vote on the DOD policy and, if it votes to reverse, then it could go to the House. (Or vice-versa, since it would have a better chance of going Tuberville’s way in the Republican-controlled House.)

Rupert Murdoch steps down as chairman of Fox, News Corp

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(Reuters) -Rupert Murdoch has stepped down as the chairman of Fox Corp and News Corp, ending a more than seven-decade career during which he created a media empire spanning from Australia to the United States. His son, Lachlan Murdoch, will become the sole chairman of News Corp and continue as the chair and CEO of Fox, the companies said on Thursday. The news comes just months after Murdoch, 92, scrapped a plan that would have reunited his media empire by merging Fox and News Corp. Murdoch, who has near-controlling stakes in both the companies, will be appointed chairman emeritus of both the c…

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Not Crazy or a Nazi? Liberal Org Run For Something Wants You for School Board

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Listen to this full episode of The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and Stitcher.

Amanda Litman, the co-founder of Run For Something, announced this week that the group would pump $10 million into local school board races that are being hijacked by the conservative Moms for Liberty group.

Litman tells The New Abnormal co-host Danielle Moodie she is determined to see progressive voices on school boards, adding that there is a very short list of qualities that potential candidates need in order to be supported by her organization.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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DeSantis vows states will be equal partners in enforcing border policy

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promised that states would be equal partners in enforcing border policy if wins the 2024 general election.

“When I am president, we are going to unleash the states, they are going to be equal partners with enforcing immigration law,” DeSantis said in a new interview with Glenn Beck.

DeSantis said if someone comes over the border into a state illegally, the state’s government should be able to send them back.

“Why are we in this big process where people are going to court and stuff, it’s absurd,” DeSantis said. “I think the reality is if they did more, they would face the DOJ and all this other stuff.”

The Florida governor said the notion that securing the border is a sole federal responsibility is not true.

“We’ll be an administration that works hand-in-hand with the states to secure our border, they’re a force multiplier for the federal government,” DeSantis said. “People say it’s a sole federal responsibility… if we have a strong border policy a state can’t let people in of course, but if we have a policy and it’s not being enforced fully, why should the states not do it, they should absolutely be able to enforce the law, we’ll make that happen.”

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DeSantis’ comments come after the Biden administration granted more than 400,000 Venezuelans work permits, while at the same time sending 800 new troops to help with the migrant influx at the southern border.

Biden has faced widespread criticism from Republicans over his border policies, namely governors in GOP-led states, who have told the president that “shelters are full” and “food pantries are empty.”

A letter from 25 governors, led by Montana’s Greg Gianforte, asked the administration for information on where the migrants were admitted and when they were relocated. At the same time, the governors asked for real-time border numbers on asylum claim timelines, qualification rates and successful deportations.

At the same time, the governors accused Biden of encouraging “illegal immigration.”

Meanwhile, Democrats praised Biden’s move to expand work permit expansion, underscoring the heated debate over border policy that has and continues to divide both parties.

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The Fast Life and Scandalous Downfall of an Olympic Champion

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

If you believe Eric Lamaze, which fewer and fewer people do, the Olympic champion was given two hours to live in 2020 before he absconded from the hospital and went home to recover on his own. His vitals were failing, he says; the bleeding ulcer in his stomach was the largest the doctors had ever seen. As he left, his story goes, the needles were still in his arm.

“I told my cleaning lady, ‘Put the TV as loud as you can and throw a bucket of water on me every 30 minutes,’” Lamaze, one of the greatest show jumpers in history, claims to The Daily Beast.

Morning came, and light poured in. “For a second, the sun—whoom—went in front of me, and I swear to God, it was like an angel just flew by. My color changed,” he says, “I could breathe.” Three years later, he’s still alive.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of his massive media empire, News Corp. Some of the corporation’s properties are The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Sun (UK), The Times (UK), The Sunday Times (UK), and of course, Fox News. Murdoch has been a stain on journalism in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia where he’s from. It’s unfortunate that when he was a baby, there weren’t any dingos nearby.

Don’t celebrate too soon because Rupert is leaving his son, Lachlan Murdoch, in control of the empire. Lachlan was named in the lawsuits against Fox News by Dominion and Smartmatic, both claiming that it was under Lachlan’s direction that Fox News intentionally gave a platform to guests that Fox News’ hosts knew were making false and defamatory statements, that Dominion and Smartmatic voting machines rigged the election for Biden, and stole the election from Donald Trump.

Rupert Murdoch is not a journalist and never wanted to advance journalism or information. He has used his “news” outlets to promote conservatism and has pushed lies for decades. Fox News has used anger to motivate its viewers. President Obama once said that if he watched Fox News, he would hate him too.

Fox News is the number one “news” network which is a disgusting thing about this nation. Fox News viewers know they’re being lied to. They have to. Yet, they would rather watch this network that’s shouting at them rather than actual news outlets that are informative. Fox News is also the number one “news” outlet for racists.

During a deposition, Rupert agreed with the statement that multiple hosts at Fox News “endorsed at times this false notion of a stolen election.” When Trump started howling that the election was stolen, Murdoch sent an email to Fox News executives stating, “We don’t want to antagonize Trump further.”

When asked about the “antagonize” email in the deposition, Murdoch said that Trump “had a very large following, and they were probably mostly viewers of Fox, so it would have been stupid.” A news outlet piss off a politician? Heavens to Betsy. That’s part of the territory. When you deliver the news, you are always at risk of angering viewers and readers. So in order not to anger his viewers, Rupert allowed his network to lie to them.

Murdoch never saw Fox News as a legitimate news outlet, but rather as an extension of the Republican Party, the Trump Campaign, and the Trump White House (sic). Murdoch helped the Trump Campaign strategize in 2016. While other news outlets would fire a host for coordinating with campaigns and elected officials (Chris Cuomo), Rupert allowed Fox News hosts to be featured speakers at Trump rallies. During the Trump presidency (sic) Sean Hannity had private phone conversations with Trump nearly nightly.

Shortly after the 2020 election and facing two Senate runoffs in Georgia, Rupert said, “Trump will concede eventually and we should concentrate on Georgia, helping any way we can.” It’s not a news outlet’s job to assist political campaigns and “help any way we can.” That’s not a news outlet, that’s propaganda.

Rupert and Fox News settled with Dominion for $787.5 million which makes part of his goodbye statement to Fox News employees truly bizarre.

Rupert, whose personal net worth is over $17 billion, wrote, “Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class,. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.”

I guess it wouldn’t be Rupert’s style to go out the door without lying his ass off.

Watch me draw.

Visit “>Clay Jones’ website and email him at

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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s resignation extends Joe Biden’s ongoing good luck streak with the media

President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference at the White House in January 2022.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Michael J. Socolow, University of Maine

Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America on Jan. 20, 2021.

Imagine if someone could go back in time and inform him and his communications team that a few pivotal changes in the media would occur during his first three years in office.

There’s the latest news that Rubert Murdoch, 92, stepped down as the chairperson of Fox Corp. and News Corp. on Sept. 21, 2023. Since the 1980s, Murdoch, who will be replaced by his son Lachlan, has been the most powerful right-wing media executive in the U.S.

While it’s not clear whether Fox will be any tamer under Lachlan, Murdoch’s departure is likely good news for Biden, who reportedly despises the media baron.

Adding to Biden’s good-luck list is that Elon Musk, an eccentric – and erratic – billionaire, purchased Twitter, now rebranded as X, in October 2022, prompting millions of American users to drop the social media platform, which has become a hotbed of right-wing activity and commentary.

X’s power as an influential social, political and cultural force has since continued to decline. Former President Donald Trump even originally spurned an invitation to return to X, after Twitter suspended his account in 2021 for the risk it posed to incite violence. (Trump has since posted one time on X, on Aug. 24, 2023.)

These and other incidents mark an astonishing and even historic run of good luck for Biden, who, like all politicians, remains somewhat reliant on the media to both get his word out and craft a positive public image.

As a scholar of media history, I think it’s fair to say no American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has enjoyed such a run of good media luck.

Ultimately, this luck – coupled with his avoidance of press conferences – might help Biden evade the intense scrutiny that all presidents face.

Rupert Murdoch wears a dark shit and walks in a street.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, pictured in July 2023, announced his resignation on Sept. 21.
Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

Other conservative voices in decline

A few other major media shifts have transpired during Biden’s presidency.

Fox News lost approximately 1 million nightly prime-time viewers, or about a third of its audience, between 2020 and early 2023. CNN and MSNBC ratings tanked, too, reflecting an overall decline of the cable TV news universe.

It’s also noteworthy that conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh died on Feb. 17, 2021, leaving a massive void in right-wing talk radio. Many loyal Limbaugh listeners then deserted AM talk radio as a main way they get their news.

More recently, Fox News fired Tucker Carlson, the host of America’s most popular right-wing cable TV news program in May 2023, after Carlson’s racist text messages were made public as part of the lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems. Fox did regain some viewers after Carlson left.

And, finally, in September 2023, Project Veritas, a right-wing political group known for hiding cameras to embarrass journalists and nonprofits the group considered to be politically liberal, reportedly ended all of its investigations and fired almost all its remaining employees.

Given Biden’s low approval levels – only 40.6% of Americans said they approved of Biden in September 2023 polls – I cannot say with certainty that this chain of setbacks for conservative media platforms has helped Biden maintain, or drawn in, more voters and their support.

But this remains an astonishing and even historic run of good luck for a Democratic president when it comes to the media – bringing to mind Roosevelt, who benefited from a similar turn of events.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits at a table with microphones labeled 'CBS' and 'NBC' in a black and white photo.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addresses the nation during a fireside chat two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Icon and Image/Getty Images

FDR’s stroke of good luck

It’s important to note that, in some ways, Roosevelt manufactured his luck.

Roosevelt hosted regular, popular fireside chats on the radio in the 1930s and ’40s as a way to connect with voters and counter the newspapers that opposed him.

The media supported the White House’s attempts to hide Roosevelt’s paralysis, the result of contracting polio in his 20s. And, at the request of the White House, some media outlets censored people on the radio who were critical of Roosevelt’s policies.

In much the same way, Joe Biden’s media team has skillfully exploited the media.

Biden, for example, has kept a relatively low public profile – in the last century, only Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon have convened fewer average annual press conferences than the current president at this point in their tenure.

Luck may not last forever

The decline of conservative media over the past few years does not constitute a perfect trajectory for Biden – that would require, for instance, the emergence of a new liberal media figure with the influence of a Limbaugh or Carlson.

But Biden has benefited from right-wing media tumult.

It’s not yet clear what Rupert Murdoch’s departure will mean for Fox News, especially since his son Lachlan Murdoch was already well established at Fox Corp. as a top executive and staunch conservative.

There’s no guarantee that Biden’s media luck will hold.

One potentially compromising factor is that Biden’s son Hunter is facing felony gun possession charges and is expected to plead not guilty on Sept. 26, 2023.

But much of the media has avoided the most scandalous details or images portraying Hunter Biden’s alleged illegal activities – or failed to clearly explain why they have avoided such reporting.

This offers yet another example of Joe Biden’s outsized luck.

A belated fall

It is useful to remember that President Warren G. Harding was the president previous to Roosevelt who enjoyed good fortune with the media.
Harding, the only professional journalist to be elected president, enjoyed enormous popularity within the newspaper industry.

Reporters, for example, hid his widely rumoredand eventually proven – extramarital affairs.

But after Harding died unexpectedly in 1923, the truth about his administration’s corruption and his personal dealings, including details about hush payments to cover up a secret, unacknowledged child, dribbled out.

This happened first through quiet leaks, then in a flood prompted by a congressional investigation in the late 1920s regarding a top Harding administration official and a bribery scandal.

Harding’s reputation never recovered.

In Harding’s case, the so-called “first draft of history” provided by the newspapers proved embarrassingly inaccurate.

In other words: The president’s luck didn’t hold out.The Conversation

Michael J. Socolow, Professor of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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