Politics postsSaturday May 06, 2017
The Failure of the Will
George Will talks the talk. In a WaPost column this week, much shared on social media, he slams our current president out of the gate:
It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump's inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence.
It's good stuff. What it doesn't include? Any kind of mea culpa from Will for supporting a Republican party that for decades pushed massive anti-intellectualism and a bullying stupidity over the airwaves and into our homes and eventually into Congress, the Supreme Court and now the White House. The trifecta. At any point, did Will question this? Wonder why he's on the same side as Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity? How about Andrew Breitbart, Steve Bannon, Lucian Wintrich?
He renounces Trump. That's easy. Is he ready to renounce the GOP that made him?
It's Been a Bad Day, Please Don't Take a Picture
This sums it up:
My family will go bankrupt trying to save our youngest member. And it won't be enough. And they're playing the theme song to fucking Rocky.— zac hug (@zachug) May 4, 2017
This celebratory atmosphere over stripping health care from the sick is one of the most obscene political spectacles I've witnessed. #AHCA— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) May 4, 2017
Most of the press has been awful, couching it all in horse-race terms, and constantly trotting out ruling party talking points without any kind of fact-check. (I'm looking at you, NPR.) It's a horror show. My anger simmers, boils over, grows. Paul Ryan does not want to be near me right now.
So the House passed their anti-Obamacare, pro-insurance company bill, 217-213. They still need the U.S. Senate to pass it, and that's a tougher get; but right now that's the only barrier to 24 million people losing health care.
I hope Bill Conti and Sylvester Stallone condemn this shit.
Crazy what you could've had, crazy what you could've had.
UPDATE: Daily Kos has identified 24 House Republicans who voted yes on this abomination of a healthcare bill and are in districts in which Trump got less than 50 percent of the vote. In anticipation of 2018. Let's mash these mothers.
The Far Right is Sending Children to Lie to Us
On the #fakenews, far-right site mrcNewsBusters, there's a brief article condemning the HBO show “VEEP” for a Ronald Reagan/AIDS joke. The title character, Selena Meyers (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), has a foundation, to which, on the spur of the TV moment, she adds another cause: AIDS. But the person who's doing the work tells her, “We can't do AIDS.” She reponds, “Who are you, Ronald Reagan?”
Someone on the site named Karen Townsend objected:
This is an old and discredited canard promoted by leftists in Hollywood because they still hate Reagan's very successful presidency. Reagan fought for AIDS funding in his home state of California and then again while he was President of the United States. It is very lazy for Hollywood writers to continue putting in such nonsense in dialogue.
The writing is at the first-grade level but it's the fake history that makes your head hurt. They can't even lie well anymore. Reagan's governorship ended in 1975. The AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s. The CDC began tracking the first few cases in 1981, it was called GRID for a while in 1982 (“Gay Related”), and then AIDS later that year (“Acquired”).
Suggestion for future liars of America: Try to lie within the borders of mathematical possibility.
Although for its rabid base, this suffices:
Think about real history for a moment. We have now as of Easter Evening 2017 sunk so low as a culture that an ostensibly grownass actress of Semitic origin named Dreyfus is allowed to lodge a turgidly “trumped up” charge of savagery against a dead President based on putative bigotry. And it's done for Comedy Value!
Yes, think about real history for a moment.
Marching Orders: Tax Day 2017
This morning, by the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle.
It was a fraction of the people who were at the Jan. 21 Women's March but I kind of expected that. I didn't expect the speeches at the rally before the march to go on so long—to the point where people in the back, me among them, were chanting “March! March! March!,” and then just took off before waiting for the politicos to finish. The people in charge need to tighten that up.
They should also tighten the message. The focus is Trump. Too many speakers complained about Washington's unequal tax system, and the unconstitional lack of funding for public education as embodied in the McLeary decision. I get all that—but we were there to protest Trump. One speaker talked up how she never refered to Trump by name—since he's a narcissist and gets off on it. No, she called him “No. 45.” She thought she was reducing him in this manner, but, given what it means, I bet he gets off on that, too.
Worst of all? One speaker actually condemned Trump as another “in a long line of racist, sexist, colonialist presidents.” Yeah, no. I wasn't there to protest Taft, or Hoover, or Eistenhower, nor FDR, JFK, LBJ. Nor Obama. Not even W. I was there to protest Trump. Most of us were. Next time, please remember that.
Wintrich of Our Discontent
Lucian Wintrich is a name worthy of Dickens—or maybe George Lucas. He's one of the least-qualified journalists to ever attend White House briefings. Which fits with this White House since it's least-qualified in everything else.
Last month, The New Yorker's Andrew Marantz wrote about him, and the outfit he does whatever he does for, Gateway Pundit, a site for right-wing idiots who find Breitbart too staid. They're a fake news org that propeled the “Hillary is near death” narrative last fall. If you care at all about journalism, and truth, and facts, if you still hope we live in something vaguely resembling a meritocracy, it's an infuriating read:
Wintrich, who is twenty-eight and has no professional training in journalism, was on his way to Washington to join the White House press corps. “I can only imagine what they're going to make of me,” he said, smiling impishly and rolling his eyes. A few weeks earlier, at a pre-Inauguration party called the DeploraBall, I had spent a portion of the evening chatting with Wintrich, one of several far-right social-media stars in attendance. At one point, he excused himself to make an announcement from the stage: “We've had eight miserable years of people in the White House press corps—CNN, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post—writing articles” about President Obama, such as “'The Best 80 Times That I Wanted to Jerk Off to Our President.'” This bias would soon be rectified. “We've been in contact with people in the new Administration, and . . . I'm going to be . . . the youngest, gayest correspondent in the White House in history!” A cheer went up from the crowd as the announcement was made, followed by a chant: “Real news! Real news!”
Gateway Pundit's creator is a dude called Jim Hoft, and near the end of the piece, after a briefing in which a different right-wing blogger didn't ask about the potential resignation of Michael Flynn, the big news story that day, Hoft is having a lemonade at a politico bar called Off the Record. Marantz writes:
That night, Flynn resigned, resulting in a blizzard of banner headlines. Neither Hoft nor Wintrich noticed right away—Hoft was on a flight back to St. Louis, and Wintrich was engaged in a social-media battle with a progressive blogger. Before Hoft left for the airport, I told him that he should expect to hear from a member of The New Yorker's fact-checking staff. “Oh yeah, just like at the Gateway Pundit,” Hoft said. “We've got a huge department of full-time fact-checkers.” He laughed so hard that he nearly spilled his lemonade.
The piece is called “Trolls of Trump,” which may be all that Trump has left these days. Since the piece was published, Wintrich has claimed he was assaulted by White House correspondent Jon Decker of Fox News. If so, it's the best thing Fox News has ever done.