Monday Morning: Virginia Thomas, William Barr, Both Sides Journalism, Morning Joe, Biden and Sanders

Leading Conservatives Gather For Annual CPAC Event In National Harbor, Maryland

Monday 10 June 2019

  • If it’s Monday, Morning Joe has another former Clinton aide on to tell us that Bernie Sanders is falling behind and that during his career, Bernie hasn’t been successful at getting his policies enacted into law. THAT IS BECAUSE HIS IDEAS HAVE BEEN SO FAR IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY ELSE IN CONGRESS.
  • “He’s talked about income inequality. He’s talked about breaking up the big banks…” but he hasn’t actually passed a lot of legislation,” says Adrienne Elrod.
  • It never ceases to amaze me that the cable news world despises Bernie so much (try not only Brzezinski and Scarborough but Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid, Jennifer Rubin just to note just three).
  • The award for the worst article of the day has to go to the New York Times story: “People are trying to figure out William Barr.” (6/10/19)  Anybody who is still trying to figure out Barr is insane or a cable news commentator.  It didn’t take most of us any time to figure out Barr before he was even made Attorney General.  But again, cable news pundits (like Joyce Vance and Chuck Rosenberg) assured us that Barr was an “institutionalist” who would play fair.  He is, and always has been, a partisan hack.  If they didn’t know that, they are stupid or delusional.
  • One of the worst “both sidesism quotes from the article: “An examination of his record, coupled with interviews of more than two dozen associates, suggests elements of both: He is neither as apolitical as his defenders claim, nor as partisan as his detractors fear. Instead, he is a complex figure whom the right cannot count on to be a Trumpland hero and whom the left cannot dismiss as nothing more than a political hack.”  This is what passes for journalist at the New York Times.  Another example:  “Is he the operator who spun the then-secret Mueller report? Or the straight shooter who later disclosed portions that were damaging to President Trump?”   (People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power, 6/10/19).
  • The Morning Joe panel also genuflects over Biden’s change of position on the Hyde Amendment. Had Bernie Sanders done this, he would have been condemned as making a crassly political decision.
  • Language that drives me crazy. “reached out” “Trump’s lawyer reached out to a lawyer for…Flynn.”  No, he didn’t reach out, he phoned.  Why not use the word that is more specific?
  • In the article (NYT) about Trump’s lawyer “reaching out” in a phone call to Flynn’s attorney, Michael Schmidt writes: “…the president’s role, if any, remains a mystery…” Well, no, the president’s role doesn’t really remain a mystery to anybody with half a brain.  But, for journalists and evidently prosecutors, unless Dowd got on the phone and said “On (this date and time at this place) Donald Trump instructed me to phone and offer a pardon to Michael Flynn…,” we can’t be sure.  And even then, if we had such a recording, the authenticity of the message would be questioned and also what the true meaning of “instructed” is would be the subject of debate.  And, also endlessly discussed would be whether Dowd was lying when he said this.  I don’t think this is how mob investigations are conducted.  (NYT (6/9/19) Trump Lawyer’s Message was a Clue for Mueller, Who set it aside.”
  • Also, it’s Monday and there is no investigation of Barr’s relations with people connected to the Mueller investigation. Newsweek reported in April that Barr worked for a law firm that represented Alfa Bank.  Another man who worked for the same law firm (Kirkland & Ellis) was appointed to the Justice Department’s criminal division.  Brian Benczkowski represented Alfa bank at Kirkland & Ellis and “supervised an investigation into suspicious online communications between the bank and servers belonging to the Trump organization.” Barr also received dividends from Vector Group which has financial ties to Russia.  The president of Vector Group brought Trump to Moscow in the 1990s to seek investment opportunities.  (Maza, Christina 4/15/19, Newsweek)
  • The Democrats after threatening to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena, have released a resolution by the Rules Committee which does not mention contempt. Instead it would authorize the House to petition a federal court to enforce committee requests for testimony and information related to the Mueller report.
  • The truly dreadful Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia, has announced that she will form a pro-Trump group (according to the Intercept). Thomas announced that she was doing so to get the society to “focus on the arsonists who are right around us.”   The intent is to solicit undisclosed donations to a PAC.  It is inappropriate, to say the least, for the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice to take an overtly political stance or start an overtly political group.  This is not, however, the first time Thomas has inserted herself into politics.  She has been a long-time advocate of denying women a right to an abortion.


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