The corporate media has become such a vast wasteland it is impossible to watch. If you just lump together the nightly news on MSNBC alone, it is a collection of celebrity worship, quoting of rap lyrics as if they were great literature, political gossip, endless discussions of things that MIGHT happen on Capital Hill. Added to that are long winging narratives designed to demonstrate that the Republicans are hypocrites (we would have never guessed) and (I’m sure that will stop them). There is also the moaning and hand-wringing about how the Repubicans can be the authoritarians they are. In case you haven’t noticed, a great proportion of the nightly news is also composed of “breaking news” about investigations, or potential investigations. Then, after a few days, these investigations are dropped like hot potatoes and we never hear of them again.
I could go on for hundreds of words, but…podcasts are the only answer for those of us who are intensely interested in politics and see the corporate news for what it is – a means of “cooling out the mark.” The mark is us.
Heather Cox Richardson co-hosts a really good podcast covering various interesting subjects. The podcast is called “Now and Then.”
If you would like to listen to a discussion of the history of cults in the U.S. and the implications for the current cult we see developing, this podcast is really good.
Gaetz is certainly a subject of the investigation.
A target means that the prosecutor intends to indict.
Being a subject is not something you should feel good about. It means they’re trying to develop enough information to charge you.
The defense attorney can ask if his/her client is a subject or a target.
Sex trafficking statute. Drugs potentially can go to the coercion part of the law.
Drugs are at the very least a thing of value you can be exchanging for sex.
Mariotti is talking about the decisions that go into charging, whether there is enough evidence to win in court on a specific count.
Mariotti maintains that he would want to have the 17-year-old count. Juries will look at the defendant as such a sleaze they won’t be able to think of anything else.
The Mann Act is a “strange act.” Enacted over a century ago. Weird language in it.
It had been used to prosecute people for sex among adults. People questioned the use. Mariotti maintains that it is not a normal act for the federal government to charge under.
When there are federal Mann act cases, they usually involve child sex trafficking.
My note: Why was Bill Barr so determined to stay away from this case and Matt Gaetz? Why didn’t he quash the case?
There is the speculation that this case is larger than the underage girl question?
Mariotti argues that he would want a slam dunk charge like identity fraud or bank fraud. Then, he would introduce the other sex acts as context. The idea is to convict Gaetz on the fraud charges (the “slam-dunk”) and then tell the judge that the fraud was committed in the context of the sexual behavior which the judge would consider in sentencing.
My note: I don’t really understand this but it sounds sleazy as hell.
My note: Why is Mariotti even talking about Gaetz being charged for political reasons? Is he arguing that they should charge the “slam-dunk” instead of the sex charges because it can be argued that the sex charges are politically motivated? Why? What difference does that even make? Why are people so afraid of what some Republican might say about criminal behavior? If Gaetz has violated the law, he has violated the law.
My note: Mariotti is maintaining that one of the considerations in charging is: “How will this cause people to view the Justice Department differently?” So, what’s Mariotti’s actually saying is that the Justice Department itself is making political decisions (the politics of their own image) in charging.
My note: This is the type of attitude that led Comey to make some of the decisions he made that were so disastrous for the Democrats. He made decisions partly on the basis of what he thought was good for the Justice Department and its image, not on what DOJ policy was and had been when he announced they were not charging Clinton, but probably should have.
My Note: Gaetz was showing photographs of naked women to other men on the floor of the House and bragging that they were his conquests. I would like to know who he showed these photographs to and why they didn’t report him and have him censured? Who were they?
My Note: Matt Gaetz, a Republican, and his behavior with underage girls speaks to the repeated projection by the Republican party. They have spent years accusing Democrats of running a pedophile ring. Now that they have a pedophile in their midst and they are fine with it. It’s all projection. So, I keep thinking about the “baby eating” charge.
The interviewer asks, as a prosecutor would you bring in the fact that Gaetz showed these photos on the House floor? Mariotti says that if he were the judge he would not allow this evidence in because it would be too prejudicial. My note: Jesus Christ.
Mariotti argues that it would be too prejudicial because “Jurors would judge him (Gaetz).” My note: Well, hell yeah. Quite rightly.
Mariotti is talking about “streamlining” cases, what prosecutors do to “streamline” cases. My note: this is part of what’s wrong with the system.
My note: In what universe is Gaetz’s showing nude photos of women on the floor of the House not evidence of a pattern of exploitive behavior towards women?
Gaetz has chosen Mark Mukasey as his attorney. Mukasey’s father was at the Justice Department after Alberto Gonzalez. Mukasey’s a very good trial lawyer, according to Mariotti. He is very closely tied to Giuliani. Perhaps also representing the Trump Organization.
My note: So now we know that Mukasey is part of the club.
Gaetz still thinks he’s living in a world where Trump is president and can shield him.
My note: these men wouldn’t be behaving like this, like they were above the law, if they hadn’t been for their entire lives. The world Mariotti lives in has shielded these elite criminals for decades.
Just listened to a podcast, Skullduggery, hosted by Michael Isikoff. This episode was recorded before the coup attempt. He was talking with someone and they were saying that Trump was likely to just fade away. Why do we have journalists, not just celebrity “journalists”, people who should know better, dismissing Trump and his movement?
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
This is by far the best podcast out there. I know the corporate media is seductive, but your time would be better spent giving this a listen. Sam Seder puts together some of the most interesting and pertinent interviews available.
“Sam hosts writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton to discuss his new book, American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World But Failed Its People, and why the foundational myths of American Exceptionalism have such a hold on the populace.
Sam and Jared explore the stories Americans told themselves throughout the country’s history, from how the process behind writing the Constitution to how the “Mound Builders” stories helped justify indigenous Americans’ slaughter. The two consider how these stories have shaped the populace’s thinking and why it’s essential to reject politics as a spectacle.
“Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds. An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella.”
This is what Republicans stand for. There’s no reason to ask why Republicans “went along” with Trump. They didn’t go along, they happily colluded with him because he delivered policy changes that they had advocated for decades.
In the midst of an on-going coup attempt, the Washington Post is continuing to publish puff pieces about Trump staffers and family. The seemingly inexplicable nature of this has led some on Twitter to hypothesize that the puff pieces are pay back for individuals who previously provided access to Post reporters and/or who passed on information to them.
When I read this speculation from someone who is a journalist this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I know to some people this must sound naïve, but what kind of newspaper sells positive stories for information? The Washington Post unabashedly uses “Democracy dies in darkness” as a slogan. Democracy dies in darkness, but reporters are making back room deals selling positive coverage for information?
How exactly do these deals work? Is there an explicit negotiation? Does a reporter say to Ivanka Trump, we’ll give you five 3000 word totally positive personal write-ups in exchange for a hot piece of information?
If this kind of negotiation is going on, why isn’t that considered essential to disclose to the reader. After all, the reader is consuming the story as if it is independent journalism, not a glamour piece placed by Ivanka Trump’s agent.
Why is such a practice considered ethical? Why is such a practice not a scandal, not considered as what it is, a bribe?
When our local newspaper publishes a puff piece about a doctor and his practice which looks like an article, it is at least identified as such. I don’t even think that practice is ethical, but it at least involves disclosure for those who are interested enough to look, that the piece is bought and paid for, not independent journalism.
There is no such disclosure for these little fluff pieces churned out in exchange for “access.”
That would be one kind of disclosure, letting the reader know that the piece is paid for. But, another type of disclosure is also necessary.
The assumption is that publishing a paid-for personal ad as independent journalism is worth the “access” given the reporter. Well, I would like to be able to judge that for myself. If the Washington Post is going to allow itself to be bribed into publishing particular stories, what was the going price? I as a reader have a right to know.
There are a lot of problems with the current widespread practice of “access journalism.” First of all, it’s lazy. Reporters are too lazy to go out and establish sources for a story, so they tell themselves they have to spend endless hours socializing with powerful people at parties or retreats in the country to get information. Second, journalists are supposed to be keeping the powerful honest, not spending weekends with them in their country estates. No journalist is going to keep honest the people s/he is socializing with and on whom he is dependent for information. People in power are not supposed to be a reporter’s friends. Third, how much trust can you put in information that is intentionally leaked to you by the powerful. There have been countless instances where “access” has resulted in journalists being turned into stenographers for those in power. The powerful leak the stories they want to be published.
Now, evidently, we have to add to the problems of access journalism, other stories, published by other reporters that are part of some deal for access. To portray staffers and members of Trump’s family as glamorous, hard-working innocent bystanders with a promising political future in exchange for some undisclosed piece of information is unconscionable.
While corporate media pundits spend time interviewing each other about interviews they have done ( Lemon interviewing Tapper about his interview with Biden, dogs sniffing assholes) and touting their books (Maddow and Scarborough), Trump has dangerously upped the ante in the crime spree that has been the Trump/Republican administration. They are stealing billions from the American people and neither the corporate media nor the Democratic Party is screaming bloody murder as they should be.
As just one minor example of a story that should have been hammered for days, Trump, after getting rid of a top level of Pentagon officials, has appointed stooges (Lewandowski) who will facilitate the massive grifting of the federal government.
With this top layer of sycophants in place, it is being widely reported that (the devil himself) Erik Prince has been awarded a “classified contract” to take over military operations in Africa.
This move would help facilitate a long-pursued project of Prince’s to take over military operations for the U.S. government (he proposed doing so in Afghanistan) and for the Republicans to privatize the enormous defense budget every more than it’s already been farmed out to giant defense contractors.
It was reported that Prince proposed a take-over of the Afghanistan war to the Trump administration earlier in the year. It is not clear why he was turned down. He has come back with his hand out for part of the spoils being awarded by Trump and the Republicans.
In case you don’t remember, Erik Prince is the brother of Betsy de Vos. He was the founder of a mercenary contracting group that was unleashed in Iraq and wreaked so much uncontrolled, unfettered terror among the population, they finally had to prosecute Blackwater and some of his operatives.
Erik Prince is another of the multitude of people (Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump,Jr. Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, etc.) who would already have been in prison in 2016 if we had a functioning Justice Department which prosecuted white collar, corporate and political crimes (See “The Chickenshit Club” by Jesse Eisinger).
Also see Jeremy Skahill’s book about Blackwater and (the Devil) Erik Prince.