Author Archives: mmferry1965

They’re All Insane

Moscow Mitch reverts to hostage taking mode

The current position held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and most Republican senators is that this fall they will vote in favor of the United States defaulting on its debts, leading to economic Armageddon.

You don’t hear their position described this way in many press accounts, to be sure. But that is functionally their position: They are threatening to withhold all GOP support when Congress votes to suspend the debt limit, probably sometime in October.

If the debt limit is not suspended or raised, the United States will default, with horrible consequences, and Republicans are threatening to vote no.

Am guessing eventually there will be some sort of deal — after all, Moscow Mitch’s personal net worth would presumably take a pretty severe hit if the economy cratered/nose-dived — but his, and the GOP’s, willingness to play sadistic, sick games, on this and other issues — and the media’s refusal to call them on it — emphasizes how tilted the field’s become.

Gavin Newsom (see First Draft author Shapiro for more) solidly and soundly defeats a recall election enabled by bullshit rules.

Corporate media’s reaction? Newsom survived, though he’s still on the defensive (was it excellent news for John McCain? Um…).

McConnell and the TrumpGOP (MAGAstan?) attempt to crater the economy, or even basic democracy (yeah, I know, small d democracy’s always been more in form than practice but still)…

Anyway, they push Big Lies, hold the economy hostage, flat out refuse to guarantee basic voting rights, etc., etc…

And the reaction from the press?

Hardball. Firebrand. Provocative. Or…savvy.

Mitch McConnell might be any number of things– goddamn SOB, reptilian, human tortoise, bought-and-paid-for-agent for any number of special interests — but savvy?

Only if he gets a free pass.

Same with other GOP clowns that have no equivalent on the other side of the aisle (e.g., there could never be a Democratic Rudolph Giuliani, and the media would do their part in ensuring that).

Bad times.

Clickbait And Switch

So, in the not-too-distant past the New York Times made space for long-read profiles of Joe Rogan and Curtis Sliwa, the latter someone whose existence I became aware of decades ago, in the pre-history of life-before-the-internet.

My LSU/Pentagon dorm room lacked air conditioning, but had cable TV (I provided the 12-inch diagonal B&W CRT).

Can only guess now, but think it was a CNN segment about Bernhard Goetz.

Anyway, Sliwa appeared opposite William Kunstler, and got the ball rolling by immediately calling Kunstler “mutant scum” and “slime” (my roommate and I used either/both for laughs for several weeks, though we got along well, probably due to a shared like of a variety of cheap intoxicants).

Rogan? Much later, I also recall seeing him on television.
It took me a while to remember the show name: Fear Factor. Kind of a Survivor knockoff, though maybe you know that already.

OK, whatever.

These days, Rogan is one of the more popular podcasters out there, and Sliwa is the Republican candidate for Mayor of New York.

So, to be fair, the Times certainly has an excuse to mention either/both. But…c’mon.

Long-read profiles, “too big to cancel,” “long shot candidate with controversial past [to say the least] and 16 rescue cats?”

The Gray Lady/Newspaper of Record sure is accentuating the positive.

Again, I’m not saying Rogan and Sliwa aren’t newsworthy (and, what the hell, they got me to point-and-click), but this is another example of the kind of framing only shrill bloggers notice.

The Rogan piece suggests he’s every bit the dudebro he would’ve been called back when I was still relevant (which they seem to consider a positive) ; Sliwa’s profiled as a scrappy-if-doomed-show-must-go-on-candidate who might nonetheless surprise everyone by exceeding expectations in a city that hasn’t had a Republican mayor in…wow…eight whole years.

Can hardly wait to see how they’ll headline the results.

Best guess (it’s the NY Times, after all): Sliwa Exceeds Expections (assuming he can pull in the high 30s or low 40s in a city that hasn’t had a Republican mayor in eight whole years).

But…if they merit coverage based on popularity or scrappiness, where are the other long-reads?

Last I checked, vaccine and mask mandates are at least as popular — or more popular — than dudebro or scrappy-doomed-loser.

So are laws guaranteeing voter rights.
And background checks for purchasing guns (so is gun control, generally speaking).

Ending the war in Afghanistan is popular.

Hell, even Hillary Clinton is or was popular, as is Joe Biden (or at least more popular than, ahem, Donald Trump).

And I’ll bet you can find some genuinely scrappy and not-particularly-controversial-at-all long shots working VERY hard in places like Texas, Mississippi, and elsewhere, to, I dunno, form a more perfect union by establishing justice, and so on.

Maybe those stories got lost in the endless copy about rural diners or other old standbys: Dems in disarray…or panic. Or emails.

Or whatever the cult of the savvy thinks generates clicks.

Too bad they don’t think serious reports about how one of the major political parties embracing a particularly USA style of fascism is particularly newsworthy or worthy of a long read…

Swelter In Place

To begin on a positive note, the levees and flood control system held.

Things might be bad, but New Orleans isn’t drowning.

There’s flooding south and west of the city, and I don’t want to ignore or minimize that, but this isn’t the nightmare of 2005.

Given the circumstances, that’s not good news, but better than the horror of sixteen years ago.

Also, my personal circumstances are lucky, like-winning-the-lottery-lucky. My power didn’t go out (note: I’m in Baton Rouge, not NOLA, but something like 80 percent of the grid went down here).

And this was quite the storm. As bad as I’ve ever seen.

Katrina affected this area; hurricanes in 2008 (Gustav) and 2012 (Isaac) knocked my power out for several days (others had power outages for far longer, so I lucked out there, too).

Anyway, sorry to digress, but if nothing else, the news from here is as good an argument as any that now is an excellent time to discuss infrastructure.

Because, while preferable to drowning in a mix of water and toxic residue, it sucks if you’ve got –at best– a portable or standby generator to deal with the heat and humidity of a late Loosiana summer.

(Another digression: not to get too snarky, but funny how the libertarians aren’t jumping on this, um, opportunity, if you can call it that, to make their argument…)

Standby generators are super expensive to install and run.

Portable generators cost less, but good luck finding fuel, and they’re pretty limited (lights, fridge, fans/evaporative coolers, maybe a window a/c off and on).

Plus, fans or evaporative coolers are poor substitutes for air conditioning in this day and age (can hardly believe I survived high school, a college dormitory, and one or two apartments, with only fans and large windows…but that was decades ago).

Hardening, smartening (is that even a word?), and adding redundancies to the grid should be a major part of the Democratic Party agenda.

Would it eliminate power outages caused by a major hurricane?

No, probably not, but it might speed up repair/restoration.

And when you’re dealing with the misery (and it’s fucking miserable, I assure you), any improvement is a good thing.

Of course, it would help if the Fourth Estate would, I dunno, function as something other than a gossip mill and horse race calculator, not that I have any expectations…

In the meantime, send some cool thoughts in this direction if you’re so inclined, and remember what we’re dealing with.

The Democrats might not be particularly good, but the alternative is catastrophic.

The difference between 2005 and 2021…

 

 

 

When The Narrative Becomes Legend, Print The Narrative

Projection is a hell of a drug.

After four years of daily WTF-WT-Ever Living-F?, Politico accuses…the Biden Administration…of gaslighting.

Goddamn, black holes don’t distort/contort any more than the Cult of the Savvy (and at least with black holes, it’s what they do…the Cult is only in it for the clicks).

They’ll cite any/every GOP source, no matter how much they’ve managed to FUBAR it, because, I dunno.

You tell me.

My best guess is that it’s a (distorted in its own way) feedback loop that, um, clings to a narrative regardless of facts because…it beats the hell out of having to do actual journalism.

Phone it in, text it in, tweet it in, then dash off to Adams Morgan or whatever trendy hot spot is the place to see and be seen in Washington DC (and I’m very much not the person to check with on trendy hot spots in Washington DC, or anywhere else).

But, for whatever it’s worth, I think about public policy, and think small d democracy isn’t so bad, public investment isn’t so bad, and ending no-win wars isn’t so bad either.

If Politico wants to report on gaslighting, I can think of a lot of other places they can look at…

A Lesson In Elite Media, In Two Images

When it’s a GOP Administration

When Democrats are the majority

Bring on the Cult of the Savvy, Democrats in disarray (or panic — Politico — of course).

Forget if it was the Lawrence O’Donnell or Brian Wilson (update: it was Wilson, update: Williams, damnit, what was I thinking? Thanks for noticing and pointing that out, Adrastos — at least I got it right further down) segment on MSNBC that mentioned “Democrat, sorry, Democratic, investigations of the ‘botched Biden’ response.”

Oh, and the endless grim litany of “yeah, but…” to ensure the message was, is, and will forever be Democrats stumble, while GOP daddies might err, but only on the side of maybe, possibly, being, a bit, I don’t know, aggressive, but only because, you know, sometime you gotta kick ass and name names, and What-The-Fuck-all?

Since Cassandra and Adrastos (won’t call him Boss, promise) said it better than I can, my .0002 cents is only that war actually is hell, and that’s why it shouldn’t be the first resort, regardless of how eager armchair generals are to open a great big can of whupass, provided there’s sufficient distance between their lard-asses and anything that might disturb their comfort.

The Afghanistan war was never going to end well.

The only other option was for it to never end.

As for the chaos, well…

It looks like the best-case scenario was Afghans allied with us were supposed to be flak-catchers for a few weeks or months which assumes a certain, I don’t know, underestimation (misunderestimation, to paraphrase George W.) of their basic intelligence if not common sense.

But, and to go back MSNBC, pretty much the official Democratic Party channel these days: a few semi-libruls, a former GOP congresscritter anchoring the morning feed, and a number of ex-GOP anti-Trumpers chatting it up with Rush Limbaugh fan Brian Williams (wow, the left really has a hell of a presence on cable TV!), anyway…

While the Afghanistan war end game is not at all something to crow about, the fact that they’ve “finally” (in the words of Richard Engel) managed to get some measure of order to the evacuation after — gasp, 5-6 days — reminded me, of how, in the pre-Twitter Stone (Blog?) Age, it took at least that long for a GOP administration to deal with the drowning of New Orleans.

And that was without the overt xenophobia, though, ahem, more than a few victims of the flood are likely as foreign to the MAGAs as Afghans.

Also, too, the then-Karl Rove variant of the Repugs simultaneously played the “let’s not point fingers” game while pointing fingers at — of course — Democratic governor Kathleen Blanco, with a pliant media more than willing to play along.

Meanwhile, corporate media’s latched on to “Biden’s bungled response” of, holy shit, almost a week, while forgetting that this administration took office after a lack of any effort at a smooth transition and an attempt to overturn the election via a riot

Oh, and deliberate undermining of basic public health measures to mitigate a once-in-a-century pandemic, not to mention a nihilistic GOP that’s abandoned small d democracy in favor of overt racist herrenvolk governance.

“On brand.”

Must be media speak for why do journalism when you can do teevee?

I Wonder How “Death Race: 2024” Focus Groups As A Campaign Slogan…

Hmmm…should I call this Beneath The Dignity of The Planet of the Apes?

They go low:

Let’s state this up front: GOP governors are not required by some higher Trumpian law to use official powers to actively thwart efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

But the Republican governors of Texas and Florida — Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis — are in a class by themselves. Their states are seeing some of the worst surges of covid in the nation, yet they are continuing to hamstring local officials from acting to protect their constituents.

And…

Across Texas, health officials warned of overloaded, strained hospitals, a growing crisis not seen since early February, when a late winter wave deluged the state’s health care system. More than 10,000 Texans have been hospitalized this week and at least 53 hospitals were at maximum capacity in their intensive care units.

The Cruelty Is The Point.

And with stenographic instead of actual journalism, cruelty becomes, um, cruelly, savvy politics.

Driftglass says it best — they’ll bothsides the shit out of it, or default to “but the Democrats…”

I’m pretty sure Abbot’s political arc peaks in Austin (still Texas, i.e., Texas-sized); DeSantis wants more, but won’t get past the kiddie table/junior varsity once the Colossus of Mar-a-Lago lurches back into the election cycle.

But they function as shock troops, aided by a click-driven media that can’t or won’t point out the obvious: the GOP is a death-cult led — and populated — by ghouls.

They’ll put their own kids at risk to own the libs.

Opinions differ on children’s health.

I’m sure Chuck Todd will give this all appropriate consideration by checking in with Ted Cruz.

And, regardless of anything else, it will be good news for John McCain.

 

 

 

 

Maybe He Meant I Alone Can Rig It

Fixed Fresco

As I noted a couple of weeks ago, the only credible evidence of election rigging is DJT himself.

But wait, there’s more

The emails, dated Dec. 28, 2020, show the former acting head of DOJ’s civil division, Jeffrey Clark, circulating a draft letter — which he wanted then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and acting deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue to sign off on — urging Georgia’s governor and other top officials to convene the state legislature into a special session so lawmakers could investigate claims of voter fraud.

“The Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States,” the draft letter said. “The Department will update you as we are able on investigatory progress, but at this time we have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.”

The draft letter states: “While the Department of Justice believe[s] the Governor of Georgia should immediately call a special session to consider this important and urgent matter, if he declines to do so, we share with you our view that the Georgia General Assembly has implied authority under the Constitution of the United States to call itself into special session for [t]he limited purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of Presidential Electors.”

It’s always projection with them.

It’s also always abuse, aided by a cowed elite/corporate media that’s perpetually compelled to accept any/all GOP talking points as baselines while insisting Democrats must, for the sake of bipartisanship, forego popular policy initiatives and kick their base in the teeth…because, after all, the critical diner demographic in fundamentalist Trumpistan — amazingly — still supports Trump.

Kevin McCarthy can throw a hissy fit when his clown caucus is denied spots on the January 6th Committee, but Nancy Pelosi has to answer for calling him a moron…

Funny, I still haven’t seen any non-Cletus safaris to the significant swaths of this country that gave Biden a solid majority and a solid Electoral College majority, which DJT, in his typically ham-fisted way  — though with the tiniest ham fists ever — tried to nullify to the point of using his official position (ugh–and let’s not forget he was only constitutionally elected, not popularly elected) to push baseless allegations and ultimately inciting a riot.

I’m so goddamned tired of the Cult of the Savvy.

Sure, Fox Noise would exist without their enabling of it, but I really think it goes deeper. When, like the good librul I am, tune in to librul MSNBC (must mean GOP-Never-Trumpers in some kind of text message shorthand); anyway, it seems like a substantial number of the journos collecting their appearance fees are citing what can only be GOP sources.

No wonder toxic waste like Gingrich continues to slither through the ether.

And I’ll finish with this from Ian Millhiser

On Second Thought, Don’t Meet Me In St. Louis

Gateway To The West Gothic

 

WMDs have come full circle.

Wingers embrace biological weapons as a tactic in their never ending culture war

The St. Louis County Council moved to end the county’s new mask mandate Tuesday, throwing the order into legal limbo.

After hearing dozens of people rail against the mandate and County Executive Sam Page, council members voted 5-2 to end the order and rebuke Page for failing to consult them before issuing it, which they say was required under a new state law.

“Too many American men and women have given the last full measure of devotion for us to be cavalier with the very liberty they fought and died to provide,” said Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-6th District. “I will not abide any measures that seek to compromise or erode our liberty and freedom.”

And it’s not just St. Louis.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas…of course) threw a mother-of-all-terrible-twos-temper-tantrum on the House floor re: mask mandates, while at the State level, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds couldn’t resist playing politics.

And instead of reporting the obviousactive refusal to vaccinate is the driving force behind the latest Covid surge — the idiot media is so addicted to their winger sources they find it impossible to point this out.

They fall back on their old tired standbys of controversy, people disagree, both sides, etc. etc.

What. The. Ever. Living. Fuck?

I used to think it was the hard core authoritarian-curious-if-not-actual, um, fascist crowd, that needed civics lessons…and maybe anger management classes.

But maybe there are a few more who could use some remedial education, in both civics and basic science.

Not With A Bang, But A Twitter [Thread]

You can always count on the Cult of the Savvy to echo the talking points of their GOP/Winger sources

Normal is whatever the GOP decides is normal…and that’s been the case for, shit, as long as I’ve been politically sentient (which was/is an ongoing process).

And the political press reliably fans the flames.

Hillary’s emails? Massive hissy fit.

Drowning of a city thanks to shoddily constructed floodwalls?

Riot at the United States Capitol following a fake* allegation of a rigged election?

Not the time to point fingers or assess/assign blame.

It’s at the point where the GOP shit storm creates its own weather, a la the Bootleg Fire, with more than a bit of help from the Beltway press.

The wingnut rhetoric/language is approaching, if not at, that of serial abusers (or kidnappers).

Even something as dumb/crazy as vaccine refusal is alleged to be librul chicanery.

How could they vaccinate, after we disrespected them? (Even as they accuse the libs of, oh, I don’t know, treason/Satan Worship, etc.)

*Amazing that the only credible evidence of election rigging is Donald J. Trump. ON TAPE, demanding the Georgia Secretary of State “find [him] 11,780 votes…” but that’s been buried (along with so much other stuff it’d be a full time job to keep up, and I’ve already got a full time job). Can anyone imagine the howling if ANY Democratic candidate for any office made a similar demand? I’m picturing the head shaking, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger ‘concern’ across the board as to the degeneracy of anything Capital D Democratic [Party] and just how good that news would be for Republicans…not that that would ever happen.

 

You’re Getting Warmer

So is everyone else

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire near the resort town of Sisters, Oregon, doubled in size to 6.2 square miles (16 square kilometers) Monday, forcing evacuations in the area, while the state’s biggest fire continued to burn out of control, with containment not expected until November.

That wildfire, dubbed the Bootleg Fire, has scorched over 240 square miles (622 square kilometers) in southern Oregon. Fire managers estimated the fire won’t be contained until around Nov. 30. It started on July 6 from unknown causes.

“The fire will continue to be extremely active in unchecked portions of the perimeter, with unstable air conditions and extremely dry fuels,” fire managers in the Fremont-Winema National Forest said Monday.

Oh, and it’s no longer drought.

The new normal is aridification (permanent).

Welcome to the future.

To be fair, down here, it’s not aridification.

For almost a month it’s been when, not if, it rains, but global warming brings other concerns (hurricane season until, um, the Bootleg Fire is contained–though it could last longer now).

So, the deniers react with…total culture war.

Muddy the waters, stir in a liberal (pun intended) helping of smoke (literally) and mirrors, hope for a both-sides response from corporate media…rinse, repeat.

To repeat something I’ve mentioned before, I think right versus left is less a question of political ideology, and more a clash of superstition versus, if not first-hand knowledge, at least an understanding of it.

Groom Of The (Orange) Stool

Moscow Mitch

He is a piece of work … our Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was back in Kentucky on Tuesday, telling the citizens to be grateful to him for all the relief money that he’d voted against and whipped against, and telling his constituents to thank him for it, and then not to expect anything more if and when he gets the whip hand in the Senate again…

He and his party have so poisoned American politics with the cynical notion that government is always the problem, and casting government is an alien entity that is as distant from the people of the country as McConnell and his party actually are.

More.

And more. 

I’ll give them — very — grudging credit.

They’ve figured out, thanks to a massive boost from a feckless elite media that’s long since given up actual journalism, they’re able to play an endless game of sophistry that’s as divorced from their actual policy aims as DJT is from his first two wives.

Politics as cheap entertainment.

Stir in a generous (liberal?) appeal to bigotry, prejudice, racism, voter suppression legislation, and bring to a boil.

I’d argue for a heavy remedial lesson in basic civics, but at this point, they’re so all-in with, um, someone more than a little sympathetic with early 20th Century political trends in Central Europe (not to go all Godwin’s Law)…

Can’t say I’m surprised Moscow Mitch — eagerly — wants to be Trump’s special Groom…

Known Unknown

Sigh, can’t be sure (and have my doubts) there’s a hell, but if there is, they just welcomed a special permanent resident

An actuarial table of the deaths for which Donald Rumsfeld is responsible is difficult to assemble. In part, that’s a consequence of his policy, as defense secretary from 2001 to 2006, not to compile or release body counts, a PR strategy learned after disclosing the tolls eroded support for the Vietnam War. As a final obliteration, we cannot know, let alone name, all the dead.

Sure, The Daily Beast notes, not quite as bad as Kissinger, but goddamn, that’s a bar so low you need a backhoe to dig it up.

And, as always, the corporate media eagerly pushed the GOP daddy myth

Of all the embarrassments the elite political media committed in the run-up to the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the deification of Rumsfeld as some kind of granite-jawed Marlboro Man because of his quasi-cryptic bullshit is right there at the top.

Then, a final gift, Rummy was allowed to drift away to spend more time with his estate (Mount Misery), while The Cult of The Savvy pursued Hillary’s emails (and paid scant attention to, oh, I don’t know, a written justification for torture by bragging about having a standing desk…IOKIYAR, to cite a Rummy-era acronym).

Laff…he’s such a piece of shit hell might kick him out.

Sure, the Underworld is evil incarnate, but they’ve got standards.

May he rot.

Gov. DeSantis Would Like To Ask You Just A Few Routine Questions

The next step

In his continued push against the “indoctrination” of students, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation that will require public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints to support “intellectual diversity.”

Source.

They keep upping the ante because they never get called.

As to the Dems, well…as I’ve said, my entire voting experience has been lesser of evils, but it’s also — again and always — an  elite/corporate media that will never accept Democrats as anything but subordinate.

Repugs can — and do — make outrageous charges and claims, which filter through the wingnut media, get dutifully and uncritically echoed by the rest of the elite press, and become accepted, if not as facts, then myths.

The media can’t quit Trump…but they can’t quit Mitch, they couldn’t quit Bush Junior, they couldn’t quit the Tea Party (or their present-day CRT rageaholic descendents).

They practically willed Bush, Jr. into office after hounding Clinton and exulting toxic Newt Gingrich…

You can go back further. Oliver North should have been disgraced.

Instead, he became a wingnut hero (Dems didn’t help when they did everything in their power to ensure Reagan’s Teflon would never be tarnished).

Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, and Paul Manafort were or are established and accepted Beltway denizens…hmmm…I wonder if they were as smarmy and sleazy in their day as Tucker Carlson is now?

My guess is…yeah.

And, to go out on a tangent here, that’s also why and how utterly cynical attempts to suppress votes don’t immediately generate outrage up to eleven.

Why the hell is it okay for the GOP (with, yeah, Sinemascope and Man of La Manchin) to snuff out a debate about something as basic as voting rights?

An even halfway decent/anemic press should be vigorously demanding that a small-d-representative-democracy should be taking any and every step to ensure universal access to voting, without hours-long lines, which is a modern-day version of a poll tax.

Instead, we’re treated to blather about Moscow Mitch’s hardball tactics or savvy manipulation of Senate rules.

Oh, and Democrats will perpetually be in disarray.

Sigh.

CRT Is The New Black

It’s been a long week here, so I’m going meta and linking to Adrastos’ post below with my own .0002 cents (OMG, inflation!).

Wingers always look for something to hate.

It’s surprisingly effective as a political tool (see, ads, political, negative); despite lofty rhetoric, it’s far easier to motivate with a bloody rag, scapegoat, Those People®, etc.

It only takes a small reason to hate.

And it’s even easier to play to ignorance and prejudice.

So, CRT gets the treatment…

And worse (sorry to beat this rented mule…again), the wingnut media becomes a megaphone (or, if you prefer, a puke funnel), while the rest of the elite press retreats to full stenographer mode.

But Kyle Whitmire (local media) shows a surprisingly effective way of calling out the bullshit.

Ask a simple question.

What, exactly, is CRT?

Wingers: Um…

It’s the same with quite a number of other issues.

If the non-wingnut media would do it’s job, instead of phoning, texting, or tweeting it in, there’d at least be a chance we could get beyond both sides, or the nonsense allegations of socialism.

Really? Socialism?

A country with a central bank issuing fiat currency and reliant on global trade networks secured by treaties between nation states in conjunction with a mechanized (and thermonuclear) military, and international financial institutions is…a free market?

Laff: I guess Santa Claus is the invisible hand.

And the wingers themselves are apoplectic over losing an election. that, if they really were against big gumbit, they shouldn’t give a shit about.

Why’s that?

Oh, right…

Cult Of The Savvy Sucks Up To … Mitch

The punditry can’t get enough of this reptile

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has never minded playing the villain. While most politicians are desperate to be loved, what matters to the Kentucky Republican is power, and his is not based on people loving him…

McConnell’s plan is coming together almost perfectly.

In McConnell’s perfect world, Democrats would get absolutely no meaningful legislation passed, but given that they control the White House and Congress, that’s not realistic. So he’d prefer that their ability to legislate be restricted to the once-yearly reconciliation process, which allows a bill to pass on a majority vote but restricts it to budgetary matters.

It doesn’t hurt that the same punditry can’t — or won’t — point out that Mitch McConnell’s never faced an electorate larger than the Commonwealth of Kentucky, not exactly the voice of the nation, though wow, I’ll bet Kentucky’s got plenty of rural diners.

But President Biden, who only picked up some 80 million more votes than the senior senator from the Bluegrass State in the 2020 election, is castigated for the usual reasons — cue up the Dems-in-disarray canned tweets — while Moscow Mitch is revered by the same journos that seem, at least in my readings, to rely on GOP/K-Street sources for all their privileged inside information.

Not that I want to defend the Dems. My vote is strategic: they’re the lesser-of-evils. But the greater of evils keeps getting more and more, um, evil. For fuck’s sake, they glommed on to the cult of DJT, and, ahem, the evidence is clear that the Orange cult isn’t proto-fascist or fasc-curious: it’s the real thing.

Small d democracy is in genuine crisis.

And Mitch is all-in.

Worse, so is the elite media. Whether out of cowardice (can’t be labeled librul, or worse, hippie) or because they’re more than a little elite themselves, they’ve carried GOP water for, goddamn, my whole life.

Sure, Nixon got caught…on tape (and he probably would’ve skated minus that).

But the ensuing decades have been fake news…fake news that’s elevated an Orange Blob and Human Tortoise to positions that allow them to openly trash any semblance of government of, by, and for the people.

Meanwhile, the press fawns over a grim GOP consistency (the daily message) while trashing Dems, who again, are by no means perfect, but at least try to act like a political party in a complex, modern, nation-state.

But hey, can’t get labeled librul…

Gaslighting, Hissy Fits, And Serial Abuse

It’s not just Rand Paul and Tucker Carlson — it’s the entire GOP and, to cut the bullshit, GOP fascist, um, systemic infrastructure — but Senator (ugh) Paul’s reaction to the FOIA release of Fauci’s emails and Carlson’s general dickishness are good enough examples of how they expect the media (Carlson is NOT media–he’s a propagandist and a dick) to uncritically accept and amplify baseless allegations.

The FOIA request demonstrates Fauci is pretty much the same person you see on television.

Tucker Carlson’s nitwit comparison of public health measures to Jim Crow segregation regimes is, to put it nicely, batshit insane.

But thanks to decades of both sides reporting, “Fauci’s emails” will get at least a few media cycles if not the Full Hillary, while vaccine-passport outrage will get lost in the memory hole as soon as they find another hook.

Neither will face consequences for pushing this garbage.

The same dynamic is how we’ve been force fed decades of supply side economics arguments, despite clear evidence it’s…also bullshit.

It’s also how the GOP can get away with false claims about non-existent voter fraud when the truth is they keep losing free and fair elections.

They can only win by exploiting anti-small-d-democratic devices like the filibuster, gerrymandering, and the Electoral College.

And it’s also how they can get away with inciting a riot when, despite all that, they lost.

Scum Rises To The Top

The only surprise is that it took him this long to slither to DJT, aside from his recent stint as consort to the US Ambassador to the Holy See.

The rot runs even deeper, but if Newt can’t take home the sash and tiara, he can claim a finalist position among the toxic waste that’s the modern GOP and the elite media that enables the spectacle.

Calling it sophistry is unfair to sophists.

It’s more Professional Wrestling, with touts like Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, et al, taking a fuck all approach to public policy.

And outlets like Politico can always be counted on for publicity.

Because why do actual journalism when it’s so much easier providing content?

Add in paid TV appearances, the lecture circuit, and maybe a book deal with revelations only an insider can offer…

Beats having to meet a deadline every day.

I don’t think it’s an accident that three of the last four GOP presidents were essentially entertainment figures (Bush Junior was a baseball executive before running for governor in Texas and I believe his undergraduate degree is in Marketing).

Their voter base, to the extent they even care, view politics not as public policy, but as TV.

or grievance rallies as performance art.

Gingrich himself is a huckster. The largest electorate he ever seriously faced was a suburban Atlanta congressional district.

But through the magic of TV, elite/insider journalism, etc., he’s managed to demagogue his way through life for coming on half a century.

Playing on prejudice beats working for him as well.

But not for us.

 

Sins Of Commission

There are Republicans, and there are Trumpublicans, the latter so devoted to their cult/dear leader they’ll embrace, well, fascism, before they’ll accept small d democracy

Many rank-and-file Republican senators who had flirted with backing the commission idea quickly fell in line, as well, arguing that the proposal was not truly bipartisan and that the investigation would take too long and learn too little. Their positions made it less likely that Democrats could win over the 10 Republican votes they would need to reach the 60-vote threshold required for passage of the bill in the evenly divided Senate.

Republican leaders, who witnessed the events of Jan. 6 and fled for their lives as an armed mob overtook their workplace, had briefly considered supporting the commission out of a sense of fairness. The 9/11 commission was adopted nearly unanimously two decades ago, and its work was widely heralded.

Their final opposition pointed to a colder political calculation now driving Republicans’ approach to 2022: that it is better to avoid a potentially uncontrollable reckoning centered on Mr. Trump and the false claims of voter fraud he continues to promulgate.

If they get their way on memory holing/burying the riot, what’s next?

A tasteful stained glass?

Confederate battle-flag lapel pins?

Periodic re-enactments?

That said, 35 Republican House members actually voted in favor of a commission–not exactly profiles in courage, as anyone who understands how Congressional commissions actually work–but certainly encouraging (bipartisan, media nitwits).

Or at least a relief, that a few of them still prefer, you know, a more perfect union, justice, domestic tranquility, etc. (for those of us who are a certain age, we can even sing along).

But this isn’t sweeps week anymore.

DJT might have been good for CBS (um, that was Les Moonves bullshit), but at a certain point — and we’re there…NOW — CBS, and the rest of them, and the rest of us, need to make a decision…

Spot The Tourist

Rep. George Clyde (R-of course-GA) would insist it’s a trick question — it’s most if not all of them

“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the…ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” he said.

And that’s how The Big Lie propagates. Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat again.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the elite media has been played — or worse, has been complicit — in various Big Lies for decades or longer.

Failed social programs…welfare queens…limited government…local control of schools/forced busing…supply side economics…super-predators…WMD…birtherism…and, last but not least, the Clinton Rules (not that I’m much of a fan of either Clinton, but good lord…).

All dutifully “reported.”

Both sides…

Geez, they must really think being accused of being librul — and I guess being tainted with librul cooties — is the absolute worst.

Like a stopped clock, DJT wasn’t entirely wrong about fake news, but the fake news was the generations-long nonsense: Vince Foster, ‘but her emails,’ etc., the end result being a cult that can’t even abide goddamn Liz Cheney’s heresy, not that I’ve got any sympathy for Rep. Cheney (too bad she and the MAGA’s can’t both lose, to paraphrase another horrible GOoPer).

DJT’s, um, skill — to give him more credit than I want — was managing to find himself at the right place and time to take advantage when the media doesn’t even bother to phone it in anymore. They Tweet it in instead.

And now he’s got an entire major political party all-in with his particular style of fascism.

Trumpublicans.

No, Not A Basket Of Deplorables

More like a barrel of toxic waste.

Where do you begin? You can cite so many examples — MGT, Matt “Covid-17-but-I-swear-she-looked-at-least-19-wanna-see-her-picture?” Gaetz, Trump himself, the January 6th riot, the Tea Party/birther lunacy, Mitch the swamp turtle, the entire Bush Junior Administration…the Clenis (for those who remember the dial-up-Ur-internet)…the pre-internet-cable-TV-Stone-Age featuring Newton Leroy Gingrich and the halcyon days of Ronaldus Magnus, he-who-read-teleprompters-with-no-sin (or comprehension).

But a constant in all of that’s been a press corpse [sic] that can’t wait to demonize ANY Democratic-with-a-large-D administration and/or policy proposal while whitewashing (emphasis on white) any Republican-with-a-large-R reactionary push.

Watergate notwithstanding, the elite media is hardly an adversary to power, unless power is held by Democrats.

Look at how they lauded Saint John McCain, and how they’re working overtime to be Liz Cheney’s political lifeboat.

Meanwhile, the actual GOP, leadership and base, has embraced pussy-grabbing MAGAism.

Makes sense, in a perverse way, pun intentional. That’s where their votes are.

But that’s also the road to a particularly United States-style of fascism that’s embodied in the orange lard-ass that’s Donald Trump.

Anti-science, anti-knowledge, racist, misogynistic, ersatz-Christian-masking-actual-white-supremacy, manipulative, and at the same time helpless, pathetic, attention-craving, demanding, needy, emotionally infantile…

Heavily armed, entitled juveniles.

Which the elite media, in its infinite wisdom, insists is an advocacy of limited government.

And the media’s always managed, when it comes to the GOP, to confuse rhetoric with ideology.

Would be nice if the allegedly objective media would point out–with emphasis–the country is, by a small but comfortable margin, NOT MAGA.

Biden won the actual vote, as did HRC. Funny how that gets lost in the Cletus/diner safaris…

I’m not particularly optimistic. But, then again, I’m getting old.