Tag Archives: Democracy

They Were Chosen Because They Were Sleaze

nicolle

One of the main reasons we are in such a disastrous position politically in this country is the corporate media.  The corporate media gave Trump tens of millions of dollars of free airtime in the 2016 election, did not cover (and have still not adequately covered) Trump’s extensive criminal financial background and associations, and continues to normalize his criminal behavior and that of his minions.

Tuesday night, I tuned in to watch part of Nicolle Wallace’s program and found her and her panel constructing a narrative that US Ambassador to the EU, Gordan Sondland was basically a good guy who had wanted to be an ambassador for years.  As they spun the story, Sondland had worked so hard to get the job as an ambassador.  Sondland was just so thrilled to have been appointed, he wanted badly to please the Trump administration.  The poor inexperienced man was caught between Trump and Giuliani and was just trying to do the right thing for Ukraine.  Poor soul.  It was all just another example of how good people get ruined when they associate with Donald Trump.

There are so many things wrong with this narrative, I don’t know where to begin.  First, there is no evidence to support this fiction. Sondland didn’t work hard to get appointed ambassador.  He bought the position with a $1 million contribution to Trump’s campaign.  There is no evidence in the text messages and cables that Sondland cared one whit about doing the right thing for Ukraine.  He cared about assisting the “drug deal” that Trump, Guiliani and the rest of them were putting together.  Sondland knew what he was doing was wrong because he tried to cover it up by asking Volker to communicate with him over the phone rather than in writing about the plot.  Gordon Sondland is not a good person who got caught up in a criminal enterprise.  He was chosen because he was and is just the sort of person who would happily get involved in a criminal enterprise.

But, corporate media stars like Nicolle Wallace, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will white-wash all the major players in this running transnational scandal.  They have done so for years.

Scarborough and Brzezinski were called “supporters” by Trump himself and were celebrating at Mar-a-lago after the election.  They only broke with Trump after he outed their adulterous affair.  Nicolle Wallace spent months castigating all the Trump administration members who didn’t quit their jobs in the White House.  She, however, worked for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who lied us into a war that killed almost 5,000 American and God knows how many Iraqis.  Wallace was on television just after Bret Kavanaugh delivered a contrived temper tantrum at the end of his confirmation hearings.  Wallace felt sorry for him, fell for it hook-line-and sinker.  Scarborough spent months before the Mueller report came out telling us that our “institutions continue to hold.”  This morning, Brezezinski told the MSNBC audience that Sen. Kennedy (sucks being this dumb) was a “good guy” and had allowed himself to be drawn into Trump’s sleaze.

These people are not good people who have been drawn into anything.  Most of them were chosen because they were the same sort of sleaze Trump is.  Others went into this with their eyes open, so craven they didn’t care what they were agreeing to.  They all deserve contempt, ridicule, impeachment, many of them prosecution, and shunning.

These people were immoral scum before Trump even thought about running for office and they will be immoral scum after he leaves.  People like Mitch McConnell and William Barr are not “good guys.”  They are dangerous men, willing to do anything, anything to maintain this shot at permanent power they have carved out around Donald Trump.

When people like Wallace and Scarborough and Brzezinski try to absolve them of guilt and weave fictional narratives explaining their behavior, they become enablers of this attempt to overthrow and crush democracy.

The Most Dangerous Bulls in the Herd: Greg Sargent, William Barr and the Corporate Media

sargent

Yesterday, I spent hours reading about William Barr launching a criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.  What struck me most forcefully was the repeated dismissal of the action by various corporate media commentators.

There is a squad of normalizers out there in the corporate news world, working overtime to convince us that we are not seeing what is right before our eyes, an authoritarian take-over of the state.

The attitude was, “Oh well, this is just a distraction.”  “Don’t worry, there’s nothing there.”  “They don’t even know what they’re investigating.”  “The prosecutor (Durham from Connecticut) is a fine man.”  “Who could imagine that such a fine man would be participating in anything nefarious.”

The Attorney General of the United States has launched a criminal investigation into the Justice Department’s own Russia investigation.  The effect of this investigation will be to harass, to target, and to punish members of the intelligence community and the FBI who dared, dared to follow up credible leads that the Trump Campaign was consorting with Russians in order to steal an election.

As David Lohfman, head of the counterintelligence section at Justice at the time stated Thursday night on Rachael Maddow, “We would have been derelict” had an investigation not been initiated.

But the Attorney General is now using a criminal investigation to punish and silence anyone who participated in this lawful investigation.  And, the normalizers tell us that there’s nothing to see here.

They are tying themselves in knots trying to dismiss what has happened.  It reminds me of a Time Magazine cover during Watergate where all the principles were surrounded by audio tape, desperately pointing at each other.

The normalizers shout that what Barr is doing is merely a “distraction.”

But it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if it is.  It doesn’t make any difference at all why Barr is pursuing this investigation.  Once the Justice Department becomes an enforcement tool of the White House you have authoritarianism.

The corporate media refuses, refuses to state what is obvious to anyone who has eyes and ears.  Instead, they work overtime to bring on the appeasers to tell us that what we are seeing are “stunts” “empty gestures,” nothing to worry about.

I read a tweet from somebody yesterday wondering if the corporate media would have normalized the rise of Mussolini.  I think most definitely so.

I had barely stumbled into my study this morning and turned on the computer before I was confronted with Greg Sargent in the Washington Post making his contribution to the to the normalizing.

Under the headline “Explosive William Barr news points to Trump’s weakness and panic.” (WP 10/25/19), Sargent beings his article with the sentence: “Don’t freak out.”  What?  We’re not supposed to “freak out” over explosive news?

Sargent proceeds to call Barr’s investigation “deeply worrying” a standard utterance widely used yesterday along with “concerning.”  (Concern used to be a noun.)

Then Sargent tells his readers that even though “when we’re talking about Barr, the most nefarious designs imaginable must be treated as a serious possibility,” it’s possible “POSSIBLE” that Barr’s actions are NOT SERIOUS.  Well, hell, it’s POSSIBLE that my head is going to fly off into the goddamn air and become a spotted calf, but I’m not going to waste time talking about it, especially not in the goddamn Washington Post.

Sargent, evidently realizing the utter imbecility of his case, drags in the help of the New York Times, saying that the Times comments that Barr’s actions may “raise alarms” that Trump “is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.”  May?

Both corporate news outlets refrain from saying what is obvious, that Trump and Barr ARE using the Justice Department go to after enemies.  No, The Washington Post and the New York Times must phrase it differently.  According to them, Barr’s actions MAY “raise alarms” that this is happening.  They don’t say this IS happening, or that we SHOULD BE alarmed, what they say (in all the courage of their convictions) is that these things might be happening, and might raise the alarms of a certain unidentified group of people that it might be happening.

Sargent goes on to state that it is “at least possible” that Barr turning the Justice Department into an enforcement branch to silence Trump’s detractors isn’t “quite as serious as it seems.”  I suppose in some goddamn fictional world, that it’s possible that it’s not as serious as it seems, but I don’t know where that is.  In the world I inhabit, it is serious, goddamn serious.  It is using the investigative branch of the government in a blatant action to silence the President’s enemies.

Sargant says it’s POSSIBLE that it’s not as serious as it seems because the investigation might just be an attempt to calm the president.

Following this logic, it’s O.K. if the Justice Department is pursuing bogus criminal investigations if it’s just to calm the president.  WHAT MAKES THAT O.K.?  IN WHAT WORLD IS THAT ALRIGHT?

Sargent sees it as reassuring that neither the Times nor the Post are “clear what potential crime Durham and Barr are investigating.”  No, that’s not reassuring.  That makes it even more terrifying.  The very fact that Barr managed to initiate a criminal investigation based on NOTHING, should be terrifying, not reassuring.

Sargent drags the Cato Institute in and uses them to say that the criminal matter “could be something relatively less serious” say a leak from the Russia probe.  Again, this is supposed to make us feel better?  The Justice Department intends to drag government officials who were doing their jobs through years of investigation and possible prosecution, but if it’s for something relatively minor, we’re supposed to feel better?

Sargent then adopts the Barbara McQuade idiotic statement of the day from yesterday, that this is merely a diversion from the impeachment probe.  Whether or not it is a diversion from the impeachment probe it is a criminal prosecution trumped up for no reason, to uncover no known crime which will chill investigations in the future.

Again, this is said as if since the criminal investigation is a diversion, we should all relax and move on.  I just don’t understand that.

After repeating McQuade’s ludicrous utterance, Sargent then manages to try to tie himself up in knots by stating: “I’m not saying Barr’s machinations aren’t deeply dangerous. They absolutely are.”

Then why has he has just spent an entire article telling us why they AREN’T deeply dangerous?

“Given Barr’s apparent willingness to place law enforcement at Trump’s political disposal, it’s very possible Barr’s designs are maximally nefarious. But one can also imagine the criminal probe is of some intermediate matter.”

What “intermediate matter?”  What difference does that make?

The very fact that Barr has managed to open this criminal investigation is the point.  What he intends to do, what crime he is targeting (if any), whether the investigation will “go anywhere” is not the goddamn point.

Barr’s Justice Department tried to keep Trump’s Ukraine plot buried by advising against the transmission of the whistleblower complaint about it to Congress, and by successfully declining to investigate the referral within the Justice Department.  He has now successfully launched a criminal investigation targeting Trump’s foes.  This is serious.  Any attempt to portray it as otherwise is deeply subversive, that includes opinion pieces from the Washington Post.

I’m beginning to believe that the corporate media is more dangerous than Trump and to borrow a phrase from ancient Rome about Crassus, William Barr is the most dangerous bull in the heard.

Something is Different: Fight or Get Out of the Way

chris coons

Rachael Maddow said tonight that she feels there is something different going on; that a corner has been turned.  I feel the same way although I can’t explain why.

 

I have watched many Trump rallies, all the way through and taken notes, but tonight, I watched a murderous thug of a moron scream lies at other morons who were wildly cheering the lies he was screaming at them.  The man, the moron, has been allowed to displace 160,000 human beings and provoke the murder of countless men and women who used to be our allies.

 

This must be the way it felt in Germany to stand and watch and listen to obscenity, unbelievable obscenity being swallowed whole by people who could be your neighbors.  It must be what it was like watching lunacy gathering steam, plowing ahead, taking over.

 

It is like being in an earthquake.  The thing you depend on, the ground, is moving underneath you and you are completely disoriented.  In this case, the thing that I value and depend on most in the world, logic, reason, truth is moving underneath me.  The culture is being taken over by lies and deception, sham truth, blatant illogic and the people who have assumed authority are saying “get used to it.”

 

Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here.”  Well, it is happening here, but the Democratic leadership is saying: “It’s not happening here.”  “We must be prayerful.”  “It’s not happening here.”  They keep repeating it over and over thinking that it will become the truth if they say it enough times.

 

They abide by the norms, act with politeness, come to work every day (when they are not on recess) raise money, admonish the Trump administration, chat up donors, help fellow Republicans get unqualified judges appointed to the courts because their fellow Republicans helped them.  They talk about a return to normalcy when normalcy is what go us here.  It is mass delusion.

 

The leadership of the Democratic Party, the corporate media, and the moneyed elite want to pretend this country has not been taken over by a Russian asset and his enablers who are involved in varying degrees with an international crime syndicate and allied with a radical religious quest for power.

 

People like Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell have been waiting for, planning for a Donald Trump for decades.  They have their man and they are not going to give up.  They have cast their lot with Trump and they will tear the country apart to maintain and expand their power.

 

Meanwhile, nice people, good people, like Joyce Vance will continue to tell everyone that our institutions will hold, that dedicated professionals in government will assure that justice vanquishes all.

The time to be nice is over.  Those who don’t want to fight, who don’t understand that it  is essential to fight, need to get out of the way.

chris coons

Normalizing Genocide: The Corporate Media

Afternoon Notes: The Media

  • I still can’t believe that we have allowed a moron to displace 100,000 people and provoke what Richard Engels calls “ethnic cleansing” and corporate news commentators continue to laugh and joke and normalize the political situation.
  • I like Chris Hayes. I was delighted to see him come from the Nation Magazine to host a major MSNBC news program.  I cheered for him on his first night when he was so uncomfortable and anxious, he could barely stay in his seat. But, I am now ashamed of him and for him. The nightly news is not a game show.  It is not a celebrity event.  This is true any time, but especially at the moment when democracy hangs in the balance in this country.
  • This is not a game. There’s nothing funny about a president who provokes genocide and an “opposition party” that is too cowardly to respond.
  • Chris Hayes running onto the set like a stand-up comic, to wild applause is undignified, inappropriate and offensive.
  • hayes studio

Afternoon Notes: George W. Bush whipped for Kavanaugh, Turkey, Erdogan,Unnecessary Wars

TUESDAY 8 OCTOBER 2019

  • The Acting DHS Secretary walked out of a public appearance yesterday in D.C. He evidently didn’t like being asked difficult questions.  There are other questions about why he has not become the permanent Secretary.
  • Trump has invited Erdogan to the White House. The last time he was in Washington (2017), Erdogan’s thugs physically attacked protesters while Erdogan watched from his car. Trump did nothing about it.
  • Lest we forget this tweet from the President of the country: “…if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey…” (Random capitalization is the President’s).
  • Those demanding that Trump be allowed to “confront his accuser” (now accusers) are demanding the protections that the Constitution affords defendants in a criminal trial. This is not a criminal trial.  Trump has no such protections.  People who are busily trying to tear the Constitution to shreds are also claiming its protections for their guys not anybody else’s guys.
  • A little over a year ago, George W. Bush was whipping votes for Bret Kavanaugh (http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/09/george-w-bush-is-whipping-votes-for-brett-kavanaugh.html?utm_source=nym&utm_medium=f1&utm_campaign=feed-part
  • People who want regard Bush as some kind of genial nice guy should remember this along with the fact that he started an unnecessary war that cost an unknowable number of lives.

“What America was selling to the world used to be the rule of law.” Zelensky, Ukraine, Kolomoisky, Corruption.

  • Ihor Kolomoisky and Zelensky
  • Sylvie Kauffmann, the editorial director of Le Monde, writes (NYT) that for Europeans the most embarrassing revelation in the July 25 conversation was Ukrainian President Zelensky’s “servility.” The attempt to ingratiate himself to Trump, revealed in the “transcript” released by the White House, was truly disappointing.
  • In addition, Zelensky told Trump that the new prosecutor general would be “100 percent my person.”  We are left to wonder what in the hell that means.  Zelensky also happily joined Trump in the Euro-bashing.  So, the promising reformer, at least if you can believe the Trump version of the conversation, turned servile politician.  It’s not a pretty sight.
  • To add to the questions about Zelensky, prominent in the circle of people surrounding him is one Ihor Kolomoisky, whose PrivatBank was nationalized three years ago after financial regulators found that $5.5 billion was missing from its accounts.
  • Kolomoisky returned from self-imposed exile just after Zelensky took office. He is now appealing to the government for $2 billion in “compensation” for the loss of PrivatBank.  For foreign experts, whether the government gives in will be a test of President Zelensky’s political strength.
  • Anti-corruption activist, Daria Kaleniuk: “The U.S. push for good governance in Ukraine is seriously undermined. What America was selling to the world used to be the rule of law.”