If you really want to learn something about politics and the coming “election,” I suggest you start listening to podcasts. The corporate media is useless. They are intellectually masturbating on top of a pile of verbal garbage waiting to catch fire.
This is a particularly fascinating episode of the Majority Report, where Sam Seder interviews Stuart Stevens who has just come out with a book entitled “It was All a Lie” about the Republican party.
Stevens maintains that the party was not hijacked by Trump, but then goes on to try to defend policies of the Republicans that have been a standard feature of party theory for decades.
Stevens also uses the standard Republican device of oversimplification and magnification of the position of the other side to try to make his points. Example, I don’t think people in this country support open borders. Seder never says this and the Democrats never advocated “open borders.” This is much like the current “abolish the police” characterization of the de-funding movement.
Stevens has written a book called “It was all a Lie” but demonstrates so well in this interview that he hasn’t learned anything. Trump is the extension of Republican policy that has been a part of the party ideology for over half a century.
- According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, (8/13/20) even the administration’s coronavirus task force is warning that Georgia continues to see a “widespread and expanding community viral spread.” And, the task force warns that the state’s current policies aren’t enough to curtail the spread of the virus.
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in August signed into law a new measure providing additional legal protections to police officers, a step that critics say is flawed and out of step with nationwide efforts to make officers more accountable for their actions.
From The Root: “Georgia governor and unofficial Donald Trump butt-wiper Brian Kemp signed a proposal into law Wednesday that basically treats police officers as a protected class because white conservatives have convinced themselves that “blue” people are actually an oppressed minority. What’s worse is that the bill was pushed by state Senate Republicans as an ultimatum demanding it be signed into law otherwise they wouldn’t approve a hate-crime bill that had finally gained overwhelming support and approval after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.” https://www.theroot.com/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-signs-police-protection-bill-in-1844634019
Sam Seder interviews Julian Zelizer, author of Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.
Bill Barr, after being threatened with a subpoena by Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee, appeared before the House on July 28, 2020. There was no reason for anybody who has watched Barr with increasing outrage and fury, as he has politicized the administration of justice in this country, to hold out much hope that these hearings would reveal much.
Democrats are hopeless at taking on people with even moderate intelligence in a hearing setting. They refuse to adopt an aggressive approach to Republican authoritarians. They are so concerned with being “nice” or “polite” or “well mannered,” they never anticipate the depths of obfuscation and bad behavior to which the Republicans are willing to sink.
When I switched channels over to MSNBC from TCM where I had been contemplating hiding in escapism for the duration, there was nothing but noise, loud, irritating, obnoxious noise. Then, the camera switched to a screen inside the committee hearing. On this screen was a video, displaying images of protesters, tear gas, confrontation, people pounding at fences. What? Isn’t this the Barr hearing?
It was the Barr hearing. What was going on was that bad-boy Jim Jordan, the crazed ex-wrestler who refused to report his colleague for sexual abuse, had introduced as an “opening statement” a long, selectively edited campaign video purporting to give an accurate representation of the protests occurring in various cities in the United States. The video employed one of the right’s main strategies, fear, creating fear and therefore anger in their base. That’s what Fox News does 24/7.
If you watched the video divorced from any other news, you would think the country was descending into total chaos and violent anarchy. That is exactly what the Republicans wanted to portray. They spent the rest of the hearing, pounding home the point and punching the key words over and over – protest, chaos, anarchists, violence, crime, hate…”my constituents are afraid.” As usual, the Republicans had all been briefed on the key words to use during the hearing to drive home the point. Like faithful soldiers, they complied.
This is a strategy they have used for decades. Even years ago, ten or fifteen Republicans would be interviewed independently on television. All of them would use the same words and phrases to describe a situation, to get their point across, to insert their frame on the news. They are good little soldiers, obedient and loyal and willing to do and say anything. That’s one of the many reasons we need to fear them and fight them.
But, even though, Jerry Nadler scolded Jordan for violating Committee rules by not notifying committee of the intent to show the video, the damage was done.
Why are Democrats always like Charlie Brown with the football? Every time, they stand around and watch Lucy put the ball on the ground, suspecting nothing. Then, they watch Lucy yank the ball out from under them. Then, they issue a scolding after the fact, or ignore the behavior with dignified silence.
Why didn’t Jerry Nadler know the Republicans were going to play this video? Why didn’t he review it? There had to be people in the hearing room, setting this up. If I had been burned as many times as the Democrats in hearings, I would have informants everywhere and somebody watching that room from the minute the doors were unlocked.
And, if you want to argue that Nadler couldn’t have known about the video, why didn’t he stop it? If showing the video violated the rules, why didn’t Nadler stop the video? Why didn’t he demand it be stopped when he saw that it was – a propaganda campaign ad that grossly misrepresented the situation? Nadler can’t walk but somebody could have been told to go and stop that video if it violated Committee rules. But, Jerry Nadler (and other corporate Democrats) refuse to enforce the rules?
I watch a lot of politics. I have spent most of my adult life reading about, watching, writing about, studying politics, specifically politics and crime. But, now, when one of these big hearings is scheduled, I start feeling queasy in the morning. I feel obligated to watch, to witness this descent into authoritarianism. But I don’t want to watch. As someone said yesterday on Twitter, how can these hearings always end up being a loss for both sides?
I know corporate Democrats are largely cowards, feckless cowards who will not fight, or enforce the rules even when enforcing the rules would be to their advantage. But, how did we end up with such a sorry lot? And, what are they afraid of?
I think part of the answer lies in the fact that Democrats are living in a culture in Washington that no longer exists. They can’t seem to accept, acknowledge, understand, that they are facing ruthless authoritarians who will resort to anything, anything to win. They act like if they just stand erect, stare directly ahead of them and behave in a dignified manner (watch Adam Schiff), this ruthless, gutter fight for power on the part of the Republicans will disappear.
In fact, Joe Biden has said just that. He has stated that when we get rid of Trump, all his Republican friends are just going to go back to “normal” and we can return to a bipartisan Kumbaya that hasn’t existed for decades. Republicans haven’t been “normal,” haven’t participated in this gentleman’s club of bipartisanship for decades. And, they aren’t going to do so now. People keep saying we need somebody who can “unite us.” No, that’s not what we need. We need somebody who can marginalize and neuter these rabid authoritarians, see them for what they are, and push them as far away from power as we can get them.
An interesting “tell” here is the ability of the “squad” and some of the other recently elected Democrats to run circles around these career corporate Democrats in hearings. They are not still living in a culture that doesn’t exist.
First, they aren’t afraid. They aren’t afraid to use their common sense and ask questions that make Republicans squirm. They ask the sort of questions that these career corporate Democrats would rather die than ask. Secondly, these women come prepared. They generally don’t just read a prepared statement like they’ve never seen it before, stumbling over what are supposed to be their own words. Third, they usually actually show up and listen to the hearings. They don’t just appear and read a series of questions like bad third-grade actors. They know what has gone on in the hearing and are capable of adapting to the situation. Fourth, these women were by-and-large elected in an upset. They have not been groomed by the DNC. They were elected with a skill set that was larger than just being able to raise money and kiss butt. When I watch people who have been on capitol hill for decades perform at a committee hearing, stumbling through the text of canned questions written by their staff, I always think: They are there because they can raise money, lots of money. That’s the only reason they are there. The DNC supports these types of candidates over other candidates that are more qualified because they can raise money and will behave.
The DNC has worked tirelessly to keep new candidates from emerging in the Democratic party and has created a blacklist for consulting businesses who work for candidates challenging incumbents. The Congressional Black Caucus actually supported an incumbent, Elliott Engels, over a progressive black challenger. This tells you how institutionalized these Democrats have become. The DNC is actively working to keep people in Congress who will play ball, who will not enforce the rules, who will not fight, and who will not ask the tough questions.
Recently, I read an interview of somebody in the music industry. She said: “Oh, they don’t look for talent anymore. They look for somebody with the right look and a compliant personality.” That’s what the DNC looks for and they are selling us down the drain by doing so. That’s why an important hearing makes my stomach hurt.
Well, it seems that advisors around the White House were not able to keep Trump from having the disgusting and embarrassing pressers every day. He was out there again reading meaningless statistics, not wearing a mask, and becoming incensed when reporters asked him innocuous questions.
I have come to despise that sing-song voice he uses when he reads aloud. And, he read aloud today. I am sure his staff tried to get him to confine himself to reading aloud, but of course he couldn’t do that. And, like usual, he made an ass out of himself attacking a female reporter.
The female reporters in these White House briefings could provoke a total melt down from Trump if they just persisted in asking relevant questions and refused to back down. Or if one of them, just one of them, asked Trump if he realized that their job was to ask questions and his was to answer them. But, as it stands now, none of them are prepared to do this.
When I complained once about the servility of the White House press on Twitter, I received multiple replies explaining to me that reporters couldn’t ask pointed questions because they might lose the positions they had worked so hard to attain. This line of reasoning drives me crazy.
We have evidently become a society in which people simply assume that it is normal to abase themselves in order to keep a job. I cannot count the number of times I have heard political pundits state in a matter-of-fact manner that members of Congress can’t do this or that because they might then have an opponent in a primary, or God-forbid lose an election.
When did we become a country in which it was assumed that everybody would just do what they were told, sacrifice any standard, abandoned any integrity, kiss any ass just to hold a job? When did this become normal?
I’m sorry, but what ever happened to doing what is right? I know, it went out of fashion. I miss it.
Other notes from the News:
- The Supreme Court will tomorrow take up whether Trump is going to be forced (like every other person) to turn over his tax returns. He is the first president since Nixon to refuse to do so. Trump’s lawyers have argued that this request for the tax returns is designed to “torment the president.”
- Trump’s attorneys are arguing that he enjoys total immunity as long as he is in the White House.
- In a friend of the court brief, lawyers argued that if the Supreme court rules for Trump and his lawyers “it will fundamentally alter the basic principles of accountability on which our democracy depends.”’
- There are a lot of people who are still maintaining that our “institutions are holding.” I am not one of them.
Trudo, Hanna and Hunter Woodall (5/11/20) Daily Beast
In an interview on April 30, Joe Biden revealed that “…there’s some major Republicans who are already forming ‘Republicans for Biden.” He then specified that they were “major officeholders.”
- “You don’t want something like this out on the street before it needs to be,” a GOP source said. “It just makes it much harder to do.”
- Names that are being bandied about apparently include Jeff Flake, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt, David Jolly and Mona Charen and John Kasich. .
- Reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign said, in part, “Vice President Biden is running for president to unite our country and rebuild the soul of the nation, and to accomplish that we need to bring together Americans from across the political spectrum to build the broadest possible coalition to defeat Donald Trump.”
- At one point in late 2019, Biden even floated the prospect of selecting a Republican running mate.
- In late April, Biden stated that he would consider naming Republicans to his Cabinet.
Derysh, Igor (Salon, 6/19/19).
- In June of 2019, Biden assured rich donors at a New York fundraiser that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he is elected.
- He promised not to “demonize” the rich and that “no one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.”
- This was just after Biden appeared at the Poor People’s Campaign Presidential Forum where he said that poverty “was the one thing that can bring this country down.” “We have,” he stated “all the money we need to do it.”
- Biden went on to say that the rich should not be blamed for income inequality, pleading to the donors, “I need you very badly.”
- For the rich donors in New York: “I hope if I win this nomination, I won’t let you down. I promise you,” he added.
- Biden also complained that some Democrats criticized his eagerness to work with Republicans after Republicans spent years blocking President Obama’s agenda and moving further right.
- Biden pointed out that his ability to work with segregationists like former Mississippi Sen. James O. Eastland and Georgia Sen. Herman Talmadge showed that he could “bring people together,”
- “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.'”
- “At least there was some civility,” he said. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition — the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
I hate to tell Joe Biden, but the problem here is not that we don’t talk to Republicans. The problem is that we have listened to Republicans. They want to establish a one-party Christian Nationalist state that has no room for democracy.
You cannot compromise, bring together, be civil to people who are trying to destroy democracy. You either fight them or you let them win. Joe Biden will let them win. He has done it his entire career.
- In September, Mitch McConnell announced that he would block a bill to lower prescription drug costs.
- By the end of December McConnell had raked in more than $50,000 in contributions from political action committees and individuals tied to the pharmaceutical industry.
- The bill that would have allow the federal government to negotiate prices for Medicare, restrict price hikes and limit out-of-picket costs.
- McConnell called this “socialist price controls.”
- 80% of Americans believe that it is only right to have the federal government negotiate prices with the Drug Companies.
- Mitch McConnell says no.
- “On Oct. 16, McConnell received a $2,500 check from Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ political action committee, according to McConnell’s reports to the Federal Election Commission.
- The same campaign finance filings show that a few weeks after that, multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis’ PAC also sent $2,500 to McConnell. Then, a PAC for another pharma company, Emergent BioSolutions, kicked in $2,500.
- By the end of December, McConnell’s campaign reported, he had received at least $30,000 more from the corporate political action committees of Bluebird Bio ($2,500), Boehringer Ingelheim ($5,000), Greenwich Biosciences ($2,500), Teva USA ($10,000), and UCB ($2,500).
- According to filings from his Bluegrass Committee leadership PAC, Merck & Co. also contributed $5,000 to support McConnell and Sanofi donated $2,500.
- Over that time period, McConnell’s campaign also received $5,000 from Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day, $2,000 from Amgen lobbyist Helen Rhee, and $5,600 from his former policy director and current Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America registered lobbyist Hazen Marshall
- Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead Sciences, Merck, Novartis, Sanofi, Takeda, Teva, and UCB are all members of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which has said the bill would have a “devastating effect on the industry” and would cause fewer treatments to be developed.”
But, least you all be consumed by CONSPIRACY THEORIES, all claim that there is no connection between the donations to McConnell and “positions taken on specific legislation.”
Please, don’t be a fool. Vote Republicans out of office. We have to end this government by corporations. And, just another plea: don’t let the words: “I don’t believe in conspiracy theories” come out of your mouth. Do you know how much money these corporations and the right have spent to have that scripted statement come out of our mouths?
the American Independent (2/18/20) https://americanindependent.com/mitch-mcconnell-pharmaceutical-industry-donations-prescription-drug-costs-senate-gop-republicans/