Sunday, October 08, 2017

Projection

As you know, a rich Hollywood producer who is a supporter of liberal causes, Harvey Weinstein, has turned out to be a longtime sexual predator. Conservatives are making a big deal out of this, they have taken control of the message and made sure Weinstein's behavior smears liberals such as Hillary Clinton who have been associated with him, as if they condoned or were part of his sexual crimes. (Yesterday WTOP hit a new low in carrying this message, you would have thought Hillary herself was abusing young actresses.)

@paulkrugman posted a good observation about the fallout from this on Twitter yesterday.

The Weinstein affair is giving us an object lesson in right-wing projection. I keep seeing outraged demands for liberal condemnation 1/

"Will liberals condemn Weinstein the way they condemned Ailes and O'Reilly?" they ask, presuming that the answer is no. But actually ... 2/

Everywhere I look the answer is, in fact, yes. What we should ask is: "Did cons condemn Ailes/O'Reilly the way they condemn Weinstein?" 3/

And the answer, mainly, is no. Excusing evil behavior by people on your side is what THEY do; they're just projecting it onto libs 4/

And they're outraged in advance over the false assumption that liberals are just like them 5/
Weinstein appears to be the worst kind of person in his abuse and exploitation of women. He is like Ailes and O'Reilly and other conservatives who have turned out to have treated women terribly. I have not seen any liberal person say otherwise. The stories that have come out are revolting, and it's been going on for years.

Weinstein is a donor, a wealthy guy who supports causes and contributes to campaigns. He hasn't run for office, he isn't the liberals' candidate. Many politicians are giving his donations back, or sending the money to charities, nobody is calling this "rightwing fake news" or trying to justify it. The guy might be rich, charming, and take policy positions we agree with, but there is no excuse for some of the disgusting things he has done to traumatize women. Donors play an important role in politics -- too important, most of us think -- but we don't vote for them.

Projection in modern political discourse is where you accuse the other side of doing what you yourself are doing, and Krugman has this point about projection right. The conservative way is identity politics, us against them, you stand up for your side and oppose everything the other side wants. That's why they have to undo every Obama success, not because our healthcare system is bad or the Iran deal is bad or transgender people have caused any problem or anything else, but if Obama supported something they are obligated to oppose it. That is how the Republican Party came to be known as "the party of No" during the Obama presidency; if he was for it, they were against it, even if it was their idea originally.

And they assume everyone is like that. But actually, that's the difference between liberalism and conservatism. Liberalism is not fighting for your own group, against another group; liberals argue for inclusiveness, equality for all, and that includes people who are unlike themselves. Take for instance this week's news articles about Jeff Sessions promoting "freedom of religion." By this, he means the Christian religion that he himself practices. He would laugh at the idea of freedom for Islam or some other religion, that Sharia should be protected under the Constitution the same as the Ten Commandments. Liberals though believe in freedom for all religions, even ones that they are uncomfortable with.

The paradox is that this makes liberal views vulnerable; for instance, we end up giving freedom of speech to people who want to take our freedom of speech away. White liberals will take up issues like oppression of blacks, exploitation of migrant farm workers, discrimination against LGBT people, even if they are not part of those groups. White conservatives take up issues that are good for white people. They think everybody is taking sides based on their own identity, and watch for examples that can support that conclusion, but the core difference between conservatives and liberals is the difference between defending your own group and defending the rights of all.

Looking back, liberals did not defend Anthony Weiner's behavior -- I remember hoping it was not true but it was true and we accepted that and he is getting his punishment and nobody is calling it a false flag operation or defending him for doing stupid and bad things. I liked Anthony Weiner, he was bold and articulate, funny and on-point, and guess what, he was doing stuff on the Internet that disqualifies him from representing his party and leading people. Weinstein too, I never heard of the guy before but apparently he took the Hollywood "casting couch" thing to the nth degree, he is a creep who is going to pay the price in his career if not in criminal court. Liberals are not obligated to apologize for him -- I am sure most people he dealt with politically had no idea what was going on. He said the right things in public, donated money to the right candidates and causes, and he was a merciless sexual predator when he got a woman alone. Those women were afraid of him, afraid of his wealth and power and what he could do to destroy them professionally; they were afraid to speak out, so only his victims and a few of his immediate business associates had any idea until very recently.

The current President of the United States is known to be a sexual predator, as well, the Republicans knew that before they elected him. This is a different story altogether, because this is their candidate, the representative of their view. Their support of him reveals the GOP's talk of morality and judgment of others on the basis of their sexuality for what it is. They make excuses for Trump, accept his violations as boys-being-boys, and line up with him against "political correctness," which tries to tell men they can't grab women's pussies in this day and age and kiss them without consent, even if you are famous and they let you.

And also, because it is sure to come up, let me quote Monica Lewinsky here, regarding her affair with Bill Clinton: "Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any “abuse” came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position."

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Beyond Deplorable

The President's comments this weekend about Puerto Rico are breathtaking. He has been insulting the mayor of San Juan, who is begging for help as the island is immersed in what is probably the worst disaster ever to hit the United States. Millions of people are suffering, there is no water or electricity or gasoline, cholera is starting to break out. Thousands of people are still unaccounted for. Many are dying. The President clearly does not understand the situation, and yet he is going out of his way to deliberately make it worse.

It is hard to read the news since Maria hit -- well for most of the week there was no news, Puerto Rico was a black hole in the information space, with no telephones, no radio transmitters, no way in and out. Now there is some word from there, some video from San Juan, but the smaller towns are still unknowable. As news begins to leak out, the scenery is horrific. Hurricane Maria has devastated the entire island. The pain is hard to imagine, you want to jump in your car and go there to help, but you can't.

They speak Spanish there, and you know how he feels about Hispanics. Today Trump said, "Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help." Because you know how lazy those people are. He said, "The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump." Because, you know, it's all about him. He tweeted this from the golf course. "They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort," Trump said. Because, you know, those lazy bad-hombre-sort-of-like-Mexicans are just sitting in their cars for nine hours a day waiting to buy gasoline instead of putting their houses back on their foundations with non-electric tools.

And what is this? He outdid himself on Twitter:
To the people of Puerto Rico:
Do not believe the #FakeNews!
What in the world can that mean? He is tweeting to an island of millions of people who do not even have electricity. They do not have news. They do not care about the news. This is not a political game to them. They are the news. Their own houses are destroyed, they are drinking sewage, their cars are out of gas, there is no food. By "fake news," does the President mean "real news?" Yes, of course he does. He means, don't believe it when you read that we are not rescuing you. This communication fails on so many levels, it is hard to imagine that it is not something out of a satirical dystopian novel. He really does not understand what is going on.

This morning Trump called the people of Puerto Rico "politically motivated ingrates" and tweeted: "people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military. All buildings now inspected". The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, told CNN "I'm not aware of such inspections, there are areas of Puerto Rico where we really haven't gotten contact." Just yesterday, Mother Jones reporters visited the 19,000-person town of Ciales, 45 minutes from San Juan, and found that not a single federal worker had been there.

You knew he would let them down. His Presidential campaign first got real attention with his comment about Mexico sending their rapists and bad hombres to our country. His biggest selling point has been his distaste for foreigners and people who are different from him -- women, LGBT people, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, just about anybody. That's what his supporters like about him, that's what "MAGA" is all about. If something bad happens to those non-real-Americans, they deserve it. People in Puerto Rico speak Spanish but they are American citizens. This is where your attitude about Americans should come into play, not your attitude about Hispanics. Or imagine caring about people just because they're people, and helping them because you can, and they need it. Or because it is your responsibility.

These new comments leave "deplorable" in the dust. This is depraved. If this is how one of America's two major political parties feels then this country is much worse off than I ever imagined. How can someone see what is happening in Puerto Rico and not feel empathy and a sense of panic? How can you not want to help? You and I can't do anything about it beyond maybe donating, but he's the President of the United States, he can literally save the day. This was a huge hurricane, we saw it approaching for days, and there was no federal preparation. It hit, the island was decimated, and the President went golfing. He picked a fight with protesting athletes. He didn't say anything about Puerto Rico or do anything for days.

Since the election everyone has known he will fail when he faces his first real crisis -- it has been a cliche to say that. But nobody -- even those with the lowest opinions of him -- believed that, given a catastrophe with millions of Americans' lives destroyed, he would actively, intentionally try to make the situation worse. We thought he'd be incompetent, but it never occurred to anyone that he would taunt those who were dying and begging for help, that he would go off and golf and pick a fight with some black guys protesting police violence when a huge number of American lives are in jeopardy.

There is one little piece of irony here. Puerto Ricans are Americans, so when they move to the continental US they are not "immigrants" and Trump can't ban them. And they are coming to Florida by the tens of thousands, fleeing the disaster. Trump won Florida in 2016 with only 49 percent of the vote -- in that state the winner gets all the electoral college delegates. You can bet these Puerto Ricans aren't going to support him next time around. It could make the difference.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Coiled Spring

Steve Bannon said something weird in that interview this week with Charlie Rose. He said, "The left, all they try to do is identity politics... The more you play identity politics and we focus on economic nationalism, we will win. We will roll you up... Identity politics is a loser."

Everybody has an "identity." You are who you are, and if you belong to a group that is perceived and used to interpret your behavior, you may "identify" with that group. That is fundamental human nature. In the jostling of political forces, some identities get a better deal than some others. Politicians tend to pass bills that they can relate to, that is, that are compatible with their identity -- they are not necessarily racists, they just see the world the way they see it. Identity becomes policy, and the result is inequality and unfairness. Trying to get a fair deal for the underdog is, I guess, "identity politics," to Breitbart readers.

A few decades ago white identity was transparent, it would just be referred to as "ordinary" or "normal," because white people ran everything and whiteness was assumed. "Our way of life" meant white people's way of life. The media were full of white people, state and federal officials were white. As various minorities grew in number they began demanding more of the privileges that white people had, and in the national dialogue white people had to justify why they deserved more than the others. Spoiler alert: there is no such justification.

A recent poll found that 39% of Americans agree that "White people are currently under attack in this country." If we assume that the 39% was all white people, and 62% of Americans are non-Hispanic whites, then nearly two-thirds of white Americans feel that way. It's probably a little lower than that, but it's a bunch.

Bannon's statement was clever and also duplicitous: Trump's campaign was nothing but identity politics. Of course Trump could not campaign with slogans about "white rights" or "white pride" without revealing the racism inherent in his viewpoint, and even out-in-the-open racists would be embarrassed to vote for him. But if Hillary would make statements favorable to minorities -- black people, LGBT, Muslims, Hispanics -- then, Bannon understood, this would trigger an identity reaction in the white population which would be enough to elect a candidate. When you have two-thirds of a group thinking they are under attack, then you have a huge amount of potential energy waiting to be released. You have a coiled spring under pressure, and the Trump campaign only had to release it.

Most white people in America's past were able to live comfortably ignorant of the problems that other groups were having, because it didn't affect them much. There was no conscious "white identity" you could put your finger on. If you grew up in a white neighborhood, went to school with white kids, worked with white people, you were only dimly aware that there was anything else. White people referred to themselves as "people," not "white people." Ordinary people, normal Americans. Other groups lived across town, they shined your shoes or cleaned your house, they knew their place, they played their parts like characters in a white people's cartoon, and there was no reason to give a thought to them as actual, real, live people. This is the origin of the slogan "Make America Great Again." Racism was easy in the good old days, you didn't even have to think about it.

But the numbers have shifted, and white people are having to give up some of their prestige. Most of us are okay with that, we realize that it's fair and actually those other groups have some pretty cool treats to bring to the party. But even though white Americans are still getting a larger piece of the pie than everybody else, it is slightly smaller than it used to be and some of them are feeling sorry for themselves. Nothing will create a sense of identity quite as efficiently as being under attack.

Bannon explained to Charlie Rose that the Trump campaign talked about economics while the Democrats brought up racial and ethnic topics (like, sure, he never said anything about Mexicans or Muslims or black people). Even today a lot of the commercial media analyze Trump's appeal in terms of economics, without evidence, because that is more comfortable for white journalists and their white readers, who do not like to have to talk about their own tacit prejudice. You can kill and imprison blacks, deport Hispanics, ban Muslims, but you can't send 'em all back where they came from, because there are just too many of them. You can't Make America White Again. You can't take your country back. You have to share it.

In the meantime, self-pitying white people have elected the most incompetent leadership ever, just to make a point. They wanted to end political correctness and piss off liberals and, well, I guess they did that. Now what? How long can they chant "lock her up" before even they realize how stupid that is? Now that they have won the election, they have to do the job. But Trump didn't run to do the job, he ran to make a statement about racial identity, and identity politics is not a job description. He is the least qualified person in the world to actually be President, and is doing a terrible job at it. But they got him into office, so that makes them the winner.

A couple of really good articles on this topic came out this last week. I definitely recommend reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' poetic unrolling of this theme, as well as Greg Sargent's thoughtful follow-on to it. These are "interesting times," as referred to in the Chinese curse, and it is important for us to figure out how we got into this situation, so we can figure out how to get out of it again.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hoods Off


Think of it this way: the Ku Klux Klan has the atom bomb. This week our new President came out in the open about supporting the Klan, the Nazis, and even the Confederacy. During the campaign there were signs of it, but now that Unite the Right has revealed itself -- without hoods -- in Charlottesville, the President has dropped his pretense, as well. He accused the liberals there of protesting without permits, claims they attacked the "nice people" of the racist right with clubs, and in general takes the racists' side of the matter. At his most conciliatory he admits there are "many sides" to the issue. Many sides. You have to say it twice.

We are happy that the rally in Boston today was a big flop, 20,000 [Edit] 40,000 protestors and less than fifty actual racists, but other events are scheduled for the upcoming days and weeks, and another Charlottesville is just a matter of time. It is not just a little group of weirdos any more, these people now have the Presidency and, it appears, Congress. Good people have to get their walking shoes on, need to hit the streets and show their faces and express their views, this is snowballing toward a state of chaos that we may not be able to recover from.

Obviously it is hard to have a government that gives rights and benefits to all kinds of people, including people who are different from us. I get it that everybody wants to be at the head of the line, and that the nasty old Constitution pretty much requires that everybody gets a fair place in the queue.

It can be frustrating, I guess, though it is hard to imagine that being white is too hard for some people.

I'm going out on a limb here: kindness and respect are the high road, in any place and at any time in history. There is nothing further to debate about this. We don't want the Ku Klux Klan in our society, or the Nazis who our fathers and grandfathers died to stop, and "alt right" is a fake label for marketing hate. It is a fundamental moral position to assert that people deserve respect unless they do something to lose it. You might even call it The Golden Rule. Guy a long time ago thought it up.

A year ago, in August 2016, Hillary Clinton gave a speech where she warned us about this. It is strange to look back now and see how it was received. She was "shrill," calling someone a racist was a low blow, it was a cheap shot, some kind of wimpy liberal name-calling. Imagine this: she had used an email system that was not run by the government. She couldn't be trusted.

Or rather, to put it another way, the vast rightwing conspiracy and fake news painted a picture of her that influenced almost all Americans. Most Americans felt she must have done something illegal, or sketchy, or dishonest; even though all Americans understood that her opponent in the election was a liar, a sexual predator, and a mobster, there were a lot of people who believed that she was worse. She had been slandered and criticized since Whitewater, at least, investigated and questioned and pursued. Google "Hillary" and "scandal" and you will get thirteen million, six hundred links. And yet every investigation has found nothing. Every minute of her life and the lives of everyone she knows has been dragged out into a courtroom or committee hearing room, stern Republicans have asked accusing questions, and in every case the result is ... nothing. But that much slime can't be scraped off, the effect on her reputation is there.

[ Edit: Here is a perfect example from yesterday, in Newsweek: HILLARY CLINTON’S LINK TO FORMER KKK LEADER ROBERT BYRD SURFACES AGAIN AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE ]

[Another Edit: Here is an example from today: A Preemptive Review Of Hillary Clinton’s Shameless New Memoir “What Happened” This is a review where the reviewer has not even seen the book yet. This stuff is going on still, half a year after the election. ]

Here are a couple of minutes from her speech last year in Reno, Nevada.



"He is taking hate groups mainstream." You were told this a year ago. And what did we do as a country? We cringed, because it is shrill and liberal to say that about somebody. "Helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party." Woo, she's gone too far now, saying those things. "This is not conservativsm as we've known it, this is not Republicanism as we've known it, these are racist ideas." You can't be surprised after Charlottesville when Trump proves that these words were absolutely correct. You knew this a year ago.

Hillary is not a gifted speaker but she had a clear vision and vast and detailed knowledge of the global political landscape. You can ask someone why they didn't vote for her and they almost surely won't have an answer. They just didn't "feel right" about her, after millions of dollars had been spent to destroy her reputation over several decades of time.

America chose, instead, an unhooded Klansman. You knew during the campaign what you were voting for. You knew there would be no "pivot," this guy would never be "Presidential." I am heartened today by the turnout in Boston. This is what we will need, good people have to stand up for what is right, and Nazis, the KKK, racists, haters need to be sent home. Their AK-47s and crashing cars into helpless crowds of people will not win them acceptance in this country. They have the right to their beliefs but when they have the codes to the atomic bomb, when they are running the United States of America, we have an actual emergency on our hands.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Welcome to Dictatorship

The Post this morning announces: "Trump announces that he will ban transgender people from serving in the military". Naturally, we have something to say about that.

Actually, I hardly have to comment. It's a bad idea and interestingly enough just about everybody is lining up against it. There had been some debate going on about whether the military should pay for sex reassignment surgery -- which, by the way, The Post notes that The military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care -- and that is fine, it is a great thing to debate, let the conservatives and liberals fight it out. But nobody was proposing banning transgender people from the military. The President got up in the morning and decided he needed to distract us from his plan to fire his Attorney General and special counsel, distract us from the fact that the Russia investigation is getting very close to him and his finances and his business associates, distract us from noticing that he and his staff are a crime mob, and so he signed into Twitter and blasted out some absurdity. Didn't tell his press staff, didn't tell the Pentagon, didn't consult with anybody, he caught all of the federal government by surprise. Yes, he's the commander in chief, the most vaguely defined position in the world. He still has a chain of command, and Twitter is not part of it.

You know how we feel about the order itself. Transgender people are just people. There is no point in discriminating against them. I don't even need to make the case for that. Here, this is fascinating, look at the Republicans speak out: The Daily 202: Growing GOP backlash to transgender troop ban underscores Trump’s political miscalculation.

The important part here is: this is not how we do things. The United States has a Constitution. We have well thought-out branches of government, processes for deliberating new policies. Our representatives debate and discuss and vote on things. America does not have a king. We do not have a guy who gets up in the morning and makes capricious decisions and the millions of federal employees, including the military, just do whatever he says.

You will note that Joint Chiefs of Staff are ignoring the tweets. Marine General Joe Dunford sent out a notice: “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.” Because that is the way we do things.

I understand Trump not knowing how it works. He doesn't know anything about how government works, and doesn't want to know. In the meantime, this is not a "new policy." Government decisions are not announced on Twitter, by one guy. This is one idiot talking off the top of his head. He has his reasons for changing the subject and he found a hot-button issue to make everybody's head spin. Nobody wants to discriminate against trans people, it just isn't a viable position any more. Too much progress has been made and we're not going back. Even staunch Republicans have realized that people they know are trans, people they count on, including as many as 15,500 transgender people in the military already.

The guy is allowed to blow off steam on the Internet, no problem. His tweets are entertaining and at least we have some idea where he's coming from. But he is the President of the United States, and in that function he is bound by the Constitution and the rule of law. No matter how much they wish it in the red states, the US is not a dictatorship. Yet.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trump Youth

Tens of thousands of Boy Scouts booed former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as the "fake media," and cheered the repeal of the US healthcare system yesterday in a huge rally for Our Leader.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

RIP Jonathan Shurberg

We want to take a sad moment to report the passing of a friend and colleague, Jonathan Shurberg. The many beautiful elegies and obituaries being written about him describe his passion, and that is the best thing to remember about Jonathan. He loved people, he loved the cause, and he loved a good fight. He used to comment on this blog under a pseudonym and started his own blog which was quite influential, a sort of behind-the-curtains look at local politics and activism. Jonathan was a force of nature but had been very sick for quite a while with a combination of things that finally took his life.

A fund has been set up to take care of Jonathan's sons. You can donate HERE. Funeral arrangements are pending.

I am turning off comments on this post out of respect.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

It's Like a Third Grade Playground

Watch this "CNN blackmail" thing, it will be going on for a while. It is a sort of experiment to see if the government can destroy the free press -- if CNN falls they'll all go like dominoes.

Trump tweeted a stupid pro-wrestling video of him beating up someone with "CNN" on their head, and also tweeted that he was going to change the network's name to "FNN" -- for "Fraud News Network." It was just embarrassing, like an eight-year-old's fantasy, and with an eight-year-old's production value.

It turned out that a version of the video had been circulating on Reddit's /The_Donald subreddit, and the CNN found out who had made it. When they looked into it, it turned out this same person had done a bizarre image that showed a bunch of CNN personalities with Stars of David beside them, implying that ... I don't know the exact nature of the conspiracy theory, but somehow it is significant to him that a lot of Jewish people work at CNN. He had posted stuff about how “most blacks don't know who their fathers are,” and claimed to hate Muslims. His account is now deleted but it was full of the sort of standard alt-right troll stuff.

Apparently when CNN confronted the guy he apologized and took his stupid stuff off the Internet, and CNN thought that was good enough. He said he was just trying to get a reaction and didn't mean what he said, and he closed his Reddit account. CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski wrote:
CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

Listen, if I'd been CNN I would have hung that guy up to dry. A nice, informative news story about the "producer" of the President's video, and a review of some of his other works and comments on Reddit about Muslims, Jews, blacks and other minorities. As far as I'm concerned, they made a mistake letting the guy off the hook. These slimeballs hide behind their anonymity, they can say anything as long as they don't have to be accountable for it, and then when they're found out they were "just joking," or they're "not really like that."

You probably know that the rightwing went crazy, accusing CNN of "blackmail," for giving the guy a break.

This came days after the story came out that Jared Kushner had threatened Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough that if they didn't apologize publicly to Trump for some things they'd said, The Enquirer would publish a story about an affair they were having. They didn't apologize, and sure enough the Trump family followed through: the tabloid headline was "Joe & Mika: TV Couple's Sleazy Cheating Scandal."

Now that is blackmail.

If CNN had published a story about the guy who made the video, interviewed his neighbors and schoolteachers, showed his hometown, nobody would have blinked an eye. But they gave him a break.

Donald Trump, Jr., took it to a new level with his tweet the following day: “So I guess they weren’t effective threatening the admin so they go after & bully a 15 y/o? Seems in line w their ‘standards’ #CNNBlackmail”.

Kaczynski responded on Twitter: "Need to point out again HanAssholeSolo is a middle aged man. People claiming he's 15 are wrong. Some are intentionally spreading this."

Now, remember, preceding this, CNN had published a story about Trump's connections that was apparently incorrect. When the story was found to be wrong, CNN issued a retraction and apology and three employees resigned. Quick, do you remember what the story was? It was about a Russian investment fund and Trump officials, a partner of Trump's named Anthony Scaramucci was mentioned. This forgettable and under-researched story was never shown on television but had appeared on their web site. Trump had jumped on this to say that CNN was publishing "fake news." This is apparently what led up to the stupid wrestling video.

CNN employees are getting death threats -- The Daily Beast said that "The parents and wife of Andrew Kaczynski, author of the GIF story and leader of CNN’s investigative K-File team, had received around 50 harassing phone calls each by Wednesday while other K-File team members had ugly messages—apparently from Trump supporters—left at their homes." CNN World President Jeff Zucker told a meeting of reporters that the physical safety of CNN staffers “is an incredibly serious issue.”

This also happens while Trump's Justice Department is considering a merger between Time Warner -- CNN's parent company -- and AT&T. As the New York TImes reported, "White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T." This isn't blackmail, this is just ordinary smalltime gangster stuff.

These are times when America needs to remember who we are. The Constitution offers several avenues for dealing with an unquaified person like this, and we have to be patient and let the law work itself out. We'll be okay, eventually.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump Cabinet Meets

This went on for eleven minutes, I will clip from Vanity Fair's review of the first Trump cabinet meeting.

Note: This is not satire.

It started with Trump speaking a few words.
“Never has there been a president, with few exceptions . . . who has passed more legislation, done more things,” he began, hailing his purported accomplishments, even though Congress has yet to pass any major legislative bills. “We’ve achieved tremendous success. I think we’ve been about as active as you can possibly be and at a just about record-setting pace.” Trump Appointees Take Turns Praising Him In Bizarre Cabinet Meeting
In case you are wondering if your memory is going, no, you're fine. Trump has not passed any legislation.

They started with Mike Pence breaking the ice:
“It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as the vice president to a president who is keeping his word to the American people,” he said.

Jeff Sessions came up next:
“It’s an honor to be able to serve you,” he said, describing the support he said Trump has from law enforcement across the country. “They have been very frustrated [and] they are so thrilled.”

Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor:
“I’m deeply honored and I want to thank you for keeping your commitment to the American workers.”

Worse Than the Average Citizen Secretary of Energy Rick Perry got his turn:
“My hat’s off to you,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, hailing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
Though he is from Texas, he was not actually wearing a hat. I guess this explains why it was off.

Reince Priebus, who has held on to the worst job evah for this long anyway:
“On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people, and we’re continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.”

Are you ready to puke yet?

Now it was Nikki Haley's turn, you know, the renegade UN ambassador who speaks her mind no matter what the White House wants her to say:
“It’s a new day at the United Nations. We now have a very strong voice.”
Maybe she meant her own voice, though I would think she would tiptoe around any approximation of vanity in this situation.

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney:
“At your direction, we were able to also focus on the forgotten men and women who are paying taxes, so I appreciate your support on pulling that budget together.”
He is referring to the "dead on arrival" budget that Congress is ignoring.

HHS Secretary Tom Price:
“What an incredible honor it is to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at this pivotal time under your leadership. I can’t thank you enough for the privilege that you’ve given me, and the leadership you’ve shown.”

This is how to have a staff meeting. Why all the problems all the time? Don't worry, be happy, and worship your fearless leader. Or they walk you out and disappear you. Your choice.

Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation:
“Thank you for coming over to the Department of Transportation. Hundreds and hundreds of people were so thrilled to hang out, watching the whole ceremony. I want to thank you for getting this country moving again, and also working again.”
And tens and tens of them might still have a job if the Trump budget, with 13 percent cuts to DoT, passes. This Just In

Do you remember how we laughed when Saddam said he got ninety-nine per cent of the vote? How far are we from that now?

Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative:
“I apologize for being late for work. For about four months, I got bogged down in that swamp you’ve been trying to drain.”
I missed the video but presume this got a hearty, and not at all ironic, laugh from the swamp creatures.

Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture:
“I just got back from Mississippi. They love you there.”

Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury:
“It’s been a great honor traveling with you around the country for the past year, and an even greater honor to be serving you on your Cabinet . . .”

We have rolled our eyes at dictators past and present for this kind of thing, surrounding themselves with sycophants, firing those who fail to pledge loyalty. It is very strange and difficult now to see ourselves cast as residents of a country like this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shocking New Developments

I want to follow up on a huge story we featured here in 2007. I mean: huge. Ten years ago the world really was going to hell:
A "national underground network" of pink pistol-packing lesbians is terrorizing America. "All across the country," they are raping young girls, attacking heterosexual males at random, and forcibly indoctrinating children as young as 10 into the homosexual lifestyle, according to a shocking June 21 segment on the popular Fox News Channel program, "The O'Reilly Factor."

Titled "Violent Lesbian Gangs a Growing Problem," the segment began with host Bill O'Reilly briefly referencing for his roughly 3 million viewers the case of Wayne Buckle, a DVD bootlegger who was attacked by seven lesbians in New York City last August. Deploying swift, broad strokes, O'Reilly painted a graphic picture of lesbian gangs running amok. The Oh-Really Factor: Fox News' Bill O'Reilly offers up an 'expert' to claim that pink pistol-packing lesbian gangs are terrorizing the nation
On the show, Fox News Crime Analyst Rod Wheeler told the world that a national network of lesbian gangs preys on young girls -- incredibly, a hundred fifty of these gangs, who are identified by their pink pistols, exist in the Washington, D.C. area alone.

Very quietly, the police departments of the nation scoured the streets arresting and jailing these predatory lesbian gangs, carefully arranging to keep it out of the news. Anyone who was attacked by a lesbian gang with pink pistols was sworn to secrecy for, y'know, national security reasons. It was big but very hush-hush.

That's why you never heard about it.

But that was nothing compared to this week's amazing proof that the Clintons have killed, by last count, thirty three people. Or maybe there have been more since that article came out, I can hardly keep track. Fox News has the scoop:
The family of the Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., blasted reports that he was a source of emails leaked to WikiLeaks.

Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective and Fox News contributor investigating the case on behalf of the Rich family, made the WikiLeaks claim, which was corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News. Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link
You gotta love a news story where the story is that somebody is saying the story is untrue, but that gives them an opportunity to tell you what the story was, so you can make up your own mind about it.

... Rod Wheeler ... Rod Wheeler ... why is that name familiar?

I'm sure this will be the top story on page one of The Post tomorrow, I mean "the fake news Washington Post". It's been a slow news week, I bet this blockbuster will go right to the top.