Bad news – Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act cancelled

Minhaj announced that his show has been cancelled by Netflix.

When Time magazine named Minhaj one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019, fellow comedian Trevor Noah praised the “whip-smart commentary, charisma and sincerity” the Muslim presenter used on Patriot Act.

“We’ve needed Hasan’s voice since Donald Trump came down that golden escalator and turned immigrants and Muslims into his targets,” Noah wrote at the time.

Minhaj’s series ran for 40 episodes across six seasons from December 2018, with the host riffing on the news stories of the day.

It is not clear why this action was taken. It definitely could not be because it was of poor quality. It was slickly and smoothly produced even with all the pandemic restrictions. I thought that his show, along with John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal were three of the best weekly shows, providing well-researched, informative, and topical programs on important issues, but with a lot of humor woven in so that they were lively. They were all must-see TV for me. It is interesting that all three hosts are alumni of The Daily Show during the time when Jon Stewart was at the helm. Other ‘correspondents’ on the show such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Jessica Williams all went on to have successful careers.

Netflix does not usually release the ratings for its shows so we do not know if low ratings were the reason for the cancellation. But the timing is bad. We are heading into an election season and we need all the hard-hitting, investigative programs we can get so that we do not drown in trivia.

The wall grift exposed

It is a safe assumption that anything associated with Donald Trump and his associates is a grift whose main purpose is to line the pockets of the well-connected. The arrest today of Steve Bannon, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and former close associate, and three others exposes the fraud behind the allegedly non-profit, “fully volunteer” organization called We Build the Wall that raked in millions of donations from the rubes supposedly to help build the border wall that has become the great white whale of Trump and his supporters.
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The bizarro world of the stock market

I have long been saying that the US stock market seems to have almost no connection to the general state of the economy but instead seems mainly related to how the very wealthy are doing and this week brought more evidence of that. In March, the market plunged as the country shut down, which made sense. But since then the market has risen again, thanks to the actions of the government and the Federal Reserve to prop it up, even though things are very dire for most people who are suffering from loss of jobs, income, health insurance, and facing evictions.
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White supremacist Stone Mountain demonstration fizzles

Stone Mountain in Georgia is a state park that has huge figures of confederate leaders carved into the mountain. Funded by the organization known as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, it symbolized nostalgia for a racist past and became a rallying place for white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. The Intercept produced a short 10-minute documentary about the ugly history it represents..

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Beware the Claremont propaganda connection

As predicted, the Trump campaign has wheeled out the birther charge against Kamala Harris. The playbook for such things is very familiar. Someone publishes an article pushing a lie or a dubious theory and then Trump points to the article as ‘raising concerns’ while not explicitly endorsing the idea. This enables his spokespersons to deny that he is promoting birtherism while promoting birtherism. The strategy is utterly transparent.

The birtherism case against Barack Obama was based on the preposterous idea that he was not born in the US. In Harris’s case, her birth in California is not being challenged. This latest incarnation of birtherism as published in a Newsweek op-ed by John Eastman, a professor of law at Chapman University, suggests that Harris may not meet the constitutional requirement for eligibility since her parents may have been in the US on student visas at the time she was born. This argument has been dismissed out of hand by other law experts and staff at Newsweek were so outraged that this was published that they publicly protested and after three days the magazine kinda, sorta apologized but did not withdraw the article.

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Trump attacks New Zealand

You can tell that the charges that Trump has been utterly incompetent in the way that he has handled the pandemic leading to far more people dying than necessary, is getting under his skin by the way that he gloated yesterday when New Zealand reported a cluster of new cases. That country and its leader Jacinda Ardern had been widely praised for their vigorous and decisive science-based response that resulted in a period of over 100 days with no new cases. To be compared unfavorably to the leader of another country, and a woman at that, must have really stung.
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