Tag Archives: media

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.

Elizabeth Holtzman Deserves an Interview about her 2012 book “Cheating Justice.”

cheating

“Have we celebrated 220 years of our Constitution to reach a point where, like a banana republic, our highest elected leaders can engage in crimes of illegal surveillance, lying to take the nation into war, torture, disappearance and degradation with impunity?” (xi)

The Corporate Media and the Wet Dreams of a Man Who Controls the Nuclear Codes: We Can’t Let Them Get Away with it.

impeach mf

 

It’s been a bad few days, a shocking few days, a disorienting few days.

First, late last week, the story broke that Bill Barr had launched a criminal investigation into the 2016 FBI probe of Russian attacks on the election.  In doing so, the Justice Department became an authoritarian enforcement arm for the White House.  The clear purpose of this criminal inquiry is to harass and punish people in the FBI and the intelligence communities who dared to investigate a transnational criminal who was running for, and then became president, Donald Trump.

But, no sooner had the story broken than the corporate news normalizers (Chuck Rosenberg, et. al.) hit the air waves to tell us that this wasn’t what it was – the use of the Justice Department to prosecute Trump’s enemies.

“It’s only a diversion from the impeachment inquiry,” we were told.  “Barr’s co-conspirator John Durham is a man of integrity, an adult in the room. He would never be involved with anything improper.”  “The investigation is going nowhere.”  “They haven’t even said what crime they were investigating.”  “Let’s wait and see what they come up with.”

There’s a fundamental kind of disorientation you experience when what is right in front of your eyes is denied by others looking at the same thing.  I am used to it from the corporate media, but the past few days have just been crazy-making.

Sunday morning, I turned on the television and before I had a chance to take the first sip of coffee, I was confronted with Donald Trump’s ugly face staring out of the television screen, making some sort of announcement.  I felt like the deer in the headlights.  My partner and I sat propped up in bed, speechless, and listening first to a dead-toned reading of a prepared statement about Bathdadi’s death and then to a totally unhinged Trump wet dream about the actual killing.

When Trump talks about violence he does so with relish.  He draws out the phrases and words almost as if he were tasting them on his tongue.  Sunday, he was visibly savoring the details of Baghdadi’s death.  He was enjoying the video of the man’s humiliation, his crying, his whimpering, his terror.

I have listened to Trump enough to know when he’s pulling shit out of his ass.  I knew even then he was making this up.  What we were listening to was a violent wet dream inside the diseased head of a man who controls the nuclear codes.  I felt nauseous.

Donald Trump’s brain is filled with sick-making fantasies.  Some of these fantasies are of the terrorizing, humiliation and utter destruction – in slow motion and in technicolor – of his enemies.  What we were listening to Sunday morning was what he would like to do to anyone who opposes him.  What we were listening to was what he would do to anyone who opposes him if he thought he could get away with it.  What we were listening to was what he will do to anyone who opposes him if we don’t stop him.

By the time Trump finished and I got to the study to turn on the computer, the corporate media was doing its job.

I sat and stared with disbelief into the face of a young woman reporter who had listened to the same public statement I had.  “Trump” she said “is a vivid storyteller.”  He has an “unconventional style.”

What the corporate media then did throughout the day was transform an obscene display of crassness, mental illness and sadism into a question of style. Donald Trump is not a vivid storyteller. Donald Trump is not unconventional.  Donald Trump is a madman.

I tried to spend most of the day dealing with cats, Naan, and working on a seminar about the 1960 film, Elmer Gantry.

Monday morning, I hadn’t even turned on the television when my Twitter feed went wild.  Reaching over to get the Mini, I read a stream of comments that made me groan out loud.

The two worst people in the entire world (Joe Scarborough and the dreadful Mika) were evidently on air lecturing the rest of us and calling us “unAmerican” for booing Donald Trump and chanting “lock him up” at a ball game.  These two narcissistic, self-promoting, vacuous and disgusting examples of what this society has become had the audacity to scold and shame American citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.

These two people helped get Trump elected by giving him millions in free air time.  Trump himself referred to them as his “supporters.”  They got his permission before they asked him difficult questions in an interview, and they were partying at Mar-a-Lago after the election.  They saw themselves in the White House.  Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski turned on Trump only after he threatened to (and eventually did) out their adulterous affair.

Morning Joe is usually good fodder and provides such delicious examples of wretched corporate media coverage (not to mention obsequious butt kissing from the panel), but I couldn’t even turn on the television.  I knew I would throw something and I enjoy that television.

By mid-morning my Twitter feed was telling me that the most hypocritical, sanctimonious and compromised of all Democrats, Chris Coons, had joined the Joe and Mika team admonishing Americans for spontaneous political expression.  Coons, while presenting himself as being “bi-partisan” and oh such a good guy, helped arrange a sham “investigation” of Bret Kavnaugh that helped him get to the Supreme Court.

The one true point of all this is that the Club of Elites (including the corporate media and the political establishment) wants to handle the Trump fiasco itself.  They do not want the American people empowered.  They do not want legitimate outrage, protests, boos, chants, action.  They are terrified that people in this country might realize they have the power to throw the bastards out whenever they choose to.  They are terrified that people might realize that they have the power to provide themselves with adequate health care, good public schools, living wages and jobs, a fair criminal justice system.  They have the power to demand that the white collar, corporate and political criminals be put under the goddamn jail for their blatant thievery and gutting of the American economy.

The sheer fact of the matter is that the Joe Scarboroughs, Mika Brzezinski’s, the Chris Coons, the Nancy Pelosis, the Ellens, the Danny Deutschs of the world have more in common with each other than they do with us.

They want Trump out because he’s upsetting the game, but they want to handle it themselves.  That way, the polite in-house corruption, cheating, self-dealing and graft can continue.

The corporate media is not even remotely on our side.  They will debate minutiae, trivialize political division, suppress radical expression, flood the air waves with normalizers. They will never, unless they are forced to by the American people, admit that what we are experiencing is a disaster, a terrifying crisis, the transformation of a once proud democratic country into an authoritarian state.  For as long as they can get away with it, they will tell us to “move along.”  “Don’t freak out.”  Go enjoy yourselves, look the other way.

We must not let them get away with it.

“I trust him.” Famous last words about Durham and Barr

barr

  • The Bill Barr’s DOJ has initiated a criminal investigation into its own Russia investigation, clearly sending a message that there is reason to believe crimes were committed when the original investigation of the Russia connection was started.
  • This is exactly what Trump promised Hillary Clinton he would do, i.e., start criminal investigation and prosecution of his political enemies.
  • But, the usual corporate news media “our institutions will hold” chorus shrugs it off.
  • Barbara McCabe said it’s a “distraction” from the impeachment inquiry, a stunt.
  • Several commentators (including Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY) dismissed the inquiry in interviews by saying who cares, there’s nothing to find. Chuck Rosenberg, interviewed on Rachael Maddow, said: “I have a feeling that this is going nowhere.”
  • In taking this position, these pundits ignore (n tot for the first time) the clear fact that this is a serious step towards authoritarianism.
  • The chorus of “our institutions will save us” commentators, including chief normalizer Chuck Rosenberg, are praising John Durham, Barr’s co-conspirator who is traveling the world trying not to “find evidence” as corporate media pundits describe it, but to find people who will manufacture evidence to fit their investigation.
  • In an interview Thursday night on Rachael Maddow, Rosenberg said of Durham: “I know, I like, and I admire John Durham. I trust him.”
  • You will remember that Rosenberg (whose podcast MSNBC advertises) also said that William Barr was an institutionalist, implying that Barr would never allow partisan politics to enter the hallowed halls of the Justice Department.
  • He was outrageously wrong then and he is wrong now.
  • Rosenberg pointed out that perhaps there were “discordant” notes sounded by the initiation of a criminal investigation. Dear, dear, discordant notes.
  • Rosenberg continued that if we want John Durham to “get to the bottom of this” we should welcome a grand jury. So, according to the “institutionalist chorus” we should just shrug our shoulders and wait and see.  Just like they advised us to do with Barr.
  • “John,” Rosenberg stressed to reassure, “needs some factual basis in order to open a grand jury.” When Maddow pointed out that Bill Barr was the official deciding what “factual basis” met the threshold, Rosenberg had no answer.  But, his faith in the integrity of the Justice Department was still there.
  • Mine is not.
  • In a ridiculously contradictory set of statements, Rosenberg pointed out that he worried about the “chilling effect” that the initiation of such an investigation would have. But, Durham, he said, was “a credible prosecutor.”
  • Interestingly, Rosenberg noted that Durham “has been asked to do things like this before and…has closed…investigations after several years without bringing charges.”
  • That makes Durham the perfect stooge to investigate, feed into the Republican narrative that it was the Trump Campaign that was wronged in the 2016 election, and then after two years of harassment, quietly drop the investigation.
  • Later in Thursday night’s Rachael Maddow show, David Lohfman, former head of the counterintelligence section inside the Justice Department said, “I have high regard for John Durham.” He is “a distinguished prosecutor.”  “It’s hard for me to imagine that John Durham would associate himself with the frivolous initiation of a criminal investigation.”
  • But, then a few seconds later, Lohfman noted that the people in the Justice department would have been “derelict if we had not pursued that line of investigation.” They would have been derelict not to pursue it, therefore there was no question in his mind that the investigation was appropriate.  But, the “distinguished prosecutor” is perfectly reasonable to lend his credibility to the initiation of an investigation that clearly targets those who started the initial investigation.  There are no people of courage any more.
  • Lohfman ended the interview by saying: “I have every confidence that John Durham will withstand any pressures that may buffet him to go down a road that he thinks is not supported by the facts and law.” But, he has just done that by joining this new criminal investigation.
  • If the investigation is unwarranted, and also will contribute to chilling future investigations, why didn’t Durham if he is such a hero, refuse to take part in it.
  • The job of a prosecutor is not to expend taxpayer money and harass people pursuing frivolous investigations when s/he thinks there’s nothing there. That is an abuse of office.
  • But none of the “our institutions will save us” chorus will say that. No, they just assure us that Bill Barr or Durham are great people of integrity.
  • Let’s not take too seriously the initiation of a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s political opponents. The institutions will save us.
  • I agree with people who have argued that Bill Barr is the most dangerous bull in the heard. He must be impeached, now.

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