Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hot Takes from the Times

Via xmrsdanifilth.
So let's see, just in the past week:
  • Trump repeatedly said that his travel ban, which his staff has been carefully explaining is not a travel ban, is in fact a travel ban, though more politically correct than the travel ban he really wanted, which has been thrown out by several federal courts; 
  • cut the obligatory reference to Article 5 from the NATO charter out of his NATO speech without warning McMaster, Mattis, and Tillerson that he was going to do it; 
  • revealed that he doesn't know that Qatar, home of the largest US military base in the Middle East, is not an enemy of the US; 
  • got caught billing the Eric Trump Foundation for $1.2 million for what was supposed to be an in-kind donation to young Trump's charity for children with cancer; 
  • discussed firing attorney general Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, apparently for not understanding that the attorney general's job is to be the president's full-time defense attorney, at least unless the president is black; 
  • was condemned by North Korea for being "shortsighted and silly" in pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, for an international first in which the entire world agrees that North Korea is right and the United States is wrong
  • picked a new FBI director on Twitter without telling his staff in advance, and made it Chris Christie's personal lawyer and secret phone-keeper and partner in a firm that represents Gazprom and Rosneft; 
  • was called a liar several times by the previous FBI director, James Comey, in sworn public testimony that also said Comey had to ask the attorney general not to be left alone with the president, provided evidence of Trump's multiple efforts to obstruct FBI investigations that he regarded as a "cloud" over his administration, though Comey wouldn't exactly describe it that way, and made it clear that Trump had fired him for refusing to abandon his oath of office and offer his undivided loyalty to Trump; 
  • saw his Quinnipiac approval rating descend to 34%; 
  • was defended by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on the grounds that he was new to the job and thus didn't realize that it's not proper for the president to try to shake down the FBI director for favorable treatment and then fire him when it doesn't work ("Really?" Trump is not reported as saying, "We do that in business all the time!");
  • Got his personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, to sue Comey for violation of Trump's executive privilege, although he had already announced before Comey's testimony that he did not intend to raise the issue, and though special counsel Robert Mueller had greenlighted Comey's move;
  • decided not to visit Britain unless they could guarantee that he wouldn't be hounded by demonstrators, before going to spend the weekend at his golf course in Bedminster, NJ—hey, he's also unable to visit his own apartment in New York City for the same reason!
So what time is, it, New York Times?

It's Howdy Doody time! Time for another Democrats in Disarray story! From Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin,
Democrats in Split-Screen: The Base Wants It All. The Party Wants to Win.
Because there's no news like the old news, and this one's over eighty (1935 is the earliest published source for the Will Rogers aphorism, "I am not a member of any organized political party—I am a Democrat"). I hear General Franco is still dead, too, but the failing fakenews New York Times is covering it up.

Anyway "the base" in this reporting is represented by the People's Summit in Chicago, where Bernie Sanders, who has never been a Democrat (despite rumors that he was a temporary member during his primary campaign), addressed a crowd of fans who weren't all Democrats either:

Mr. Sanders rallied his youthful, often-raucous coalition Saturday night at a gathering dubbed the “People’s Summit,” where supporters hailed him in worshipful language. One Colorado couple hauled a small banner through the hangar-size McCormick Place, pleading with the still-independent Vermont senator to create a new “People’s Party.”
Meanwhile "the party" was presented as three or four organizers in Newt Gingrich's old district in suburban Atlanta, including the septuagenarian who declared confidently:

“People are tired of the ideologues,” he said. “A lot of people, particularly in this area, did not like Bernie Sanders because of that kind of attitude. They didn’t like Hillary Clinton.”
(The Democratic candidate in the race there to replace the vile Tom Price, who is now Secretary of Wrecking Health Care, Jon Ossoff, shows up as the kind of candidate Cobb County residents are not tired of, who just wants to do the right thing by the constituents without employing any principles in deciding what's right and what's wrong, because principles are just so divisive. He admits to being against air and water pollution but opposes any and all rises in income tax no matter how wealthy the taxpayers, and wants to sent "a message about decency and respect and unity", not whether he'd be willing to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, given the opportunity, but I certainly hope he wins anyway, because he's smart and interested in stuff and gives no signs of actively hating poor people.)

I'm feeling really jaundiced, to tell the truth. I want a new story, and not some ratification of the old one—these people, who like to see themselves as opposite ends of some kind of spectrum, from "left" to "center", seem to me to consist mostly of privileged people without a real stake in the outcome, kids from upscale colleges who at least have the virtue of passion on one side, and professionals like Mark Penn and Jim Messina (who's been in UK working for the Conservatives lately) whose souls are entirely dead, on the other. The Democratic party as envisaged by the New York Times has no connection to ordinary working people, or people wanting to work, at all.

Then, when I was about to post this in this sour mood, a cheering note showed up in the mail, from my old pal Elizabeth Warren, the rigid "leftist", asking me for money of course, but—this was the wrinkle—on behalf of Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, that unregenerate "centrist":


Did you see the video of Senator Claire McCaskill asking about the Republican health care plan?

This week in the Senate Finance Committee, she asked the Republican chairman a really simple question: Will they have a hearing on the GOP Trumpcare proposal before they have a vote in the Senate? Will we get a chance to read the bill, question some experts, and show it to people back home?

The answer? No. It was stunning and infuriating. The Republicans have no plan to let the Democrats or the American people see what they are doing to our health care system behind closed doors.

But she didn’t let up – and knowing Claire McCaskill, she’s never going to let up. Not when the health care of millions of people in her state and across the country are on the line.

In the New York Times version of the Democratic Party, these two women should barely be speaking to each other across the clearly demarcated battle lines. But here's Warren making sure attention is paid to McCaskill by her own partisans. And that wicked neoliberal McCaskill was pretty fucking fierce, too, by the way:

Which makes me feel as if the party is still there—just that the Times doesn't know about it.

Steve points out more Times Democrats in Disarray fabulism in Frank Bruni's column as well as this ridiculous news story. Didn't get a chance to read it until this piece was done.

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