A wee taste of the liberal mass media

A taste of the Grey Lady’s famous objectivity, from a piece entitled 

Democrats Fight Headwinds in Georgia and Beyond: ‘The Problem Is Reality’

Or as I read it:  Democrats likely fucked in Georgia, and elsewhere, with only selves to blame.

The piece stresses that Democrats, in disarray, its wide coalition unable to agree about anything (rather than clinging to the narrowest of majorities and unable to accomplish anything due to unified obstruction and the filibuster created to defend white supremacy and slavery), will probably lose the upcoming midterms, as so many pundits predict, as data from past midterm elections show almost always happens, because, you know, “reality” is against them (however you’d like to interpret that highly objective term). 

The battle being described is not between democracy and a robust debate about public good versus a drooling rush to American fascism, it’s, ya dig, radical socialist Democrats fighting centrists, yo, plus reality:

“The problem is not messaging — the problem is reality,” said Representative Ritchie Torres, Democrat of New York, citing inflation as the “greatest obstacle to retaining the majority.”

The reality that giant corporations, who profit much more handsomely from a corporately run government are able to drive prices as high as they like,  while reaping record profits, in order to oust a president whose party favors making them pay fair taxes?   While liberal media drives the obvious story about inflation being a heavy burden to citizens and harmful the incumbent president, no matter that no president is able to do much about it when it happens, particularly if the inflation is global. 

Plus, weak Democratic messaging is a huge part of the problem with famously meek Democrats who are clinging to a majority too slim to accomplish any change, no matter how urgently that change is needed, Ritchie.

The greatest hope for Democrats appears to be potential Republican acts of self-sabotage: the party nominating outside-the-mainstream candidates or failing to coalesce after divisive primaries.

In Washington, much of the Biden agenda is frozen in a congressional morass. The party’s left wing and centrists are busily blaming each other for the state of affairs and clashing over what to do next, with student loan forgiveness emerging as one divisive flashpoint.

Or, more accurately, much of Biden’s agenda is being obstructed by a lockstep reactionary party united in its fear of a vindictive former president and his angry, violence prone base, reluctant to possibly alienate their super generous corporate backers, and eager to weaken Biden and take back power, whatever harm they may do to millions of Americans, including their own voters, who favor large parts of Biden’s agenda.  With a one vote majority in the Senate, all you need to buy are two corrupt members of Biden’s party to see an enemy president’s agenda “frozen in a congressional morass”.   Ms. Synema, when she is voted out, will immediately settle into her comfortable five million dollar a year job for any of the industries whose interests she loyally protected by opposing any carve-outs to the filibuster, for any reason or, in the case of Ms. Symema, none but brazen selfinterest.

I don’t have the stomach to review all the ways this article sickened me, but it is as good an example of the trouble with “objective” “liberal” corporate media like the New York Times as any I’ve seen recently.  Of particular note, the confirmatory quote selected from Bernie Sanders himself, to wit:

“The Democratic base is quite demoralized at this moment,” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of the party’s leading progressive voices, put it bluntly.

Just one more:

Ms. Abrams has emerged as a national star among Democrats. But privately Democratic strategists fear that her high-water mark might have come in 2018, when she lost in a Democratic wave year.

In a state where her opponent, then Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, disenfranchised ,(purged) many times more likely Democratic voters than his 50,000 vote margin of victory over Abrams.  But, that has nothing to do with anything, Democratic strategists fear, in a state whose independent Republican state legislature has made it much harder for minorities to vote in the wake of Trump’s unsuccessful call to Georgia to just find him a stinkin’ 11,780 votes, one more than he needed to win.

Oh, yeah, just one more. This nice objective summary of the debate on student loan repayment (mine from a state law school is locked in at a historic low 3.75% interest rate)

The party’s left wing and centrists are busily blaming each other for the state of affairs and clashing over what to do next, with student loan forgiveness emerging as one divisive flashpoint. .

. . . That issue, in particular, has divided the White House into factions — including Mr. Biden himself who has both expressed opposition to perceived giveaways to college-educated elites and said he was considering wiping out some debts. Progressives have pushed for sweeping loan forgiveness to motivate the base.

Fucking objective, omniscient, elite New York Times, what don’t you understand about the destructiveness of this kind of seemingly objective, mealy mouthed reporting that plays so reasonably into the dominant right-wing narrative/reality? 

Enjoy your last few months of not being sued over and over again, and repeatedly subpoenaed to Congress, by powerful hate-filled maniacs with armies of lawyers paid by taxpayer dollars, literal fascists who will eventually send mobs to chase y’all with pitchforks, torches and guns.  Because you are, of course, in a sense often challenging to succinctly explain, real enemies of the People.

Side order of incoherence, anyone?

Take the two sides of the “controversy” over unaccountable police killings of unarmed civilians, disproportionately “minority” citizens, in avoidable confrontations that could be deescalated instead of ending in the death of the civilian. You can talk about what actually happened in each of these cases, or you can deny that these cases mean Jack shit, motherfucker.

If you have no worries about making a coherent, persuasive, evidence-based presentation of facts, if you don’t give a rat’s ass about what might be true or what might be demonstrably false and you agree with Mr. Hitler that effective political marketing is equal parts terror and rage, you can contest anything at all. When you do, your outraged fans will be wildly tickled, so it’s win-win, baby.

First, the tragic facts :

George Floyd was murdered, in public, on suspicion of passing a counterfeit twenty, by a policeman who was sentenced to a long prison term for his murder, after a trail that happened because a brave teenager captured the entire murder on her phone’s video camera.  We can see that the calm murderer cop was helped by three colleagues who kept the small crowd at bay and helped subdue the large “suspect” under their knees, while they choked the life out of a handcuffed, prone man who was gasping that he couldn’t breathe and finally calling for his mother, over the span of eight or nine minutes it took for them to kill him.   We know this because we watched George Floyd’s murder on a horrific video that captured every minute of the man’s agonizing slow death at the hands of those who vowed to protect and serve the rest of us. Under those unique conditions, with the filmed proof in hand for all to see, and credible eyewitnesses all telling the identical story under oath, one policeman who murdered one unarmed, non-resisting Black man was indicted, tried and convicted of murder.

Cue the gigantic multi-ethnic crowds, before the indictment, here and in cities all over the world, millions marching during a pandemic, protesting the deadly violence that is spmetimes a first resort for stressed out policemen armed to the teeth and protected by a unique legal immunity and one of the world’s most powerful labor unions.

The proposition of the protests was simple:  it is intolerable for those enforcing the law to routinely murder people (disproportionately Black and brown people) who pose no threat to them because … police have a dangerous and thankless job, or are badly trained, or are sometimes angry assholes who were bullied as kids.   It is never right to kill an innocent young woman in her bed because you suspect there may be a cache of illegal drugs in the apartment, after you break down her door in the dead of night pursuant to a “no knock” warrant.  Or to shoot into a car when the passenger informs the officer he has a legal gun and is producing a permit.   Or in a playground, seconds after arriving on the scene where a Black kid is seen waving a toy gun.  It is a sin that this long, bloody history of unaccountable, deadly state violence against non-threatening persons, going back to the original Slave Patrols, is allowed to continue in our democracy.  With the filibuster (nowhere enumerated in fucking Alito’s sacred constitution) no change is possible to any law that is arguably in controversy with at least 41% of the Senate!

The protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, though there were instances when some in those large crowds, confronted by heavily armed military style anti-riot squads usually only seen during violent civil wars, expressed outrage by breaking windows, overturning cars, burning stores, looting.   There was also probably some “unprovoked” destruction of property.   

The relative rarity of such violence by the George Floyd murder protesters was no problem for defenders of police violence, no matter how misguided, or, frankly (and God forbid we offend anyone) racist.  All you need are a couple of vignettes of “irrationally” angry crowds of Black “sons of bitches” (in the disgraced former president’s earthy language about protesting football players), and their guilty, conscience-stricken “woke” white allies burning cars and buildings, disrespecting the police.

Run the instances of violence on a loop, play them over and over to your frightened, angry audience, insist that no crowd has a right to such anger, except your crowd, because they’re absolutely right to feel rage against some fucking cheating liars who constantly claim your leader is lying — while they steal from you! — because not only are they liars, they are the living embodiment of Satan.  Fucking Satan, who loves the Child Tax Credit, for some reason understood only by old Beelzebub himself.

My favorite part (in the sense of “favorite” as a powerful emetic) is the “liberal” media jumping into the fray to be balanced and neutral.   The New York Times is one the greatest purveyors of this toxic, “objective” neutrality [1].   

Switzerland was neutral during Nazi military aggression, laundering money for the Third Reich and scrupulously not taking sides in the larger dispute known as .   As a young child I thought, fair enough, they were neutral.   But if you are neutral when one side is intent on exterminating the other, including all civilians and children who look like the other in any conquered land, and silencing anyone who has any complaint about the victorious army’s right to do whatever military might and fanaticism enable them to… well, probably by the time I was ten I understood that in World War Two Switzerland basically sided with Hitler by not taking sides.   The Pope, for his own reasons, made a deal with Hitler also, called the concordat, because the Pope is very fancy.

The incoherence of the reactionary counter narrative is bad, but the seemingly objective, normalizing reporting of the incoherence, as though there are equally good people, equally compelling arguments, on both sides, on every side, is even worse.  It gives a veneer of truth and an air of respectability to arguments that are not even arguments, treating something like “Birtherism” as a disproven or disputed theory rather than calling it what it actually was — a marketing slogan to galvanize racists behind an insane banner based on an angry, racist fantasy of kicking an illegitimate Black liar out of office. 

Propaganda is essential to the rise of any tyrant, and without media amplification of propaganda (with George Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed, the GOP company line is that the protesters were just violent “woke” assholes with no excuse for their outrage much worse than the peaceful Trump rioters of January 6th) the culture cannot be saturated with it and authoritarianism can never take root and flourish.

[1]   Never mind, this article needs its own post, to follow soon.    Meanwhile, here’s the “gift” link for you, if you have stomach acid to spare.  Democrats likely fucked in Georgia, and everywhere, with only selves to blame.

Why the voices of the “opposition” party are so consistently muted, timid and measured, while white racist violence and intimidation, even terrorism intended to ignite further killing and bigger, more consequential hate crimes (like that mass murdering young racist in Buffalo, New York the other day in his online Manifesto) continue unabated, with their promoters screaming around the clock that what you are seeing is not what you are seeing, that they know you are but what are they, that violence by white nationalists is not like violence by unarmed, angry, “woke” protesters, attacking police is “legitimate political discourse” because … and get ready for the unbearable bullshit that follows in a torrent, from a high pressure firehose.  Nazis [2]  never sleep, not a wink.   You going to be Switzerland, or pick a side?

[1]   Never mind, this illustrative article I’m thinking of needs its own post, to follow.    Meanwhile, here’s the “gift” link for you, if you have stomach acid to spare.  Democrats likely fucked in Georgia, and everywhere, with only selves to blame

[2]  Lest you take offense at my use of “Nazi” to describe unquestioning, ambitious followers of a deranged, compulsively lying, hate-filled, easily manipulable, revenge-driven maniac frontman for obscenely wealthy reactionaries (Mr. Trump), consider that the Nazis were around for years before they took power, doing the same street level bullying and public screaming the right wing militias and their elected Republican allies are doing now.   

It was five years after the Nazis took power, at first with the same 39% support that Trump enjoyed throughout his term, and purged leaders of their street fighters in “The Night of the Long Knives”, before the first night of nationally organized mob violence against Jews,Kristalnacht“, and eight long years until the “Final Solution,” the mass killing program for which the Nazis are so rightfully famous, or infamous, as the case may be.  Like the NY Times, I dread to seem one-sided… now back to my fabulous new place in the Hamptons with me!

The terror of inchoate rage defended incoherently

Long, deep talk with old friends the other day, reminding me of the healing power of being heard and of forcing yourself to hear things you may not like to hear because these are crucial perspectives you can’t come to on your own when you are impaired by pain. Good friends don’t always have to agree with you, though they often do, but they always treat you with care when you need care.   A walk through the experiences they share sheds light that can reveal important, difficult things impossible to see on your own.   

I forgot, in all the emotion of a long, complex talk about heartbreak and forgiveness, to make a point about my personal, visceral terror of an incoherent argument insisted on to the death.   

In worldwide politics this kind of incoherent argument is made every day, insisted on by partisans and, spreading via “social media” able to gain millions of enthusiastic adherents almost instantly.   

What is the argument against continuing to fund a program that very recently took millions of vulnerable little children, our fellow Americans, out of the living hell of poverty?   The program seems to have done a great deal of good, cost a tiny fraction of the world’s highest military budget. What is the argument against helping the neediest and weakest to avoid a life that nobody, particularly a tender young child, should ever be forced to experience?

The arguments are all variations on Democrats “tax and spend”, liberty means no government “coercion” (unless you’re planning to murder a zygote or embroyo), Makers versus Takers, the president is a doddering dotard puppet, the Democrats are communists, socialists, liberals, it’s a slippery slope from a Child Tax Credit to forcibly closing all the Christian churches and confiscating all firearms, we are under attack by powerful Jews with a plan to dilute our vote by brainwashing millions of imported brown idiots to vote Democrat, the most powerful Democrats, and smiling, false-faced monsters like Tom Hanks, are pedophiles, and child murderers, who drink the blood of the helpless kids they kidnap and rape, when they are not out aborting nine month old fetuses, looking them in their tiny eyes and sadistically slaughtering them in cold blood to prevent their baptisms.

The horror of such arguments, aside from the “argument” itself, is that they prevent agreement about anything you can actually talk about, let alone resolve, they preempt all reasonable discussion.  No compromise is possible between fervent followers of the Prince of Peace and Love and Satan.   Why Satan advocates for a program to take two year-olds out of poverty is a separate and complicated theological argument that no secular humanist could possibly understand.  God is infinitely mysterious in His infinite love and mercy.   Heathens, heretics and “humanists” simply lack any understanding of the higher realms of faith and divine justice. End of chat, have a blessed day.

It makes me sound old, I know, but there was a time, not long ago, when a president who was caught lying many times every day, and openly, angrily, disrespecting all law and democratic tradition, would be a villain who’d be turned out of office.   He would lose reelection not by 8,000,000 votes but many times that, and after he lost he would not be able to convince millions that he’d won in a landslide, his victory stolen by LGBTQ, hoards of angry, cheating urban Blacks and woke college students, Muslims, anti-fascist terrorists, dirty recent immigrants, disloyal Jews, etc.   

My biggest terror about the world today is that our lowest human impulse, to fight to the death for an insane cause when locked in righteous rage, has been monetized by people of infinite wealth and privilege who decide, strictly on the basis of how much more money they can make, that they will automate the process of spreading incoherent hatred that cannot be corrected by reasonable discussion.   The “invisible hand” of the Free Market, you understand, protects their absolute right to do this.

If you remove the ability of people to argue about issues of mutual and public interest, on the merits, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a government policy, and replace it with legally sanctioned partisan incoherence (unlimited spending by billionaires and legally created “persons” to influence elections is guaranteed by the First Amendment now), we are close to done as a free society.  It’s a coin toss whether we will soon stick a fork in our long, overcooked experiment in democracy, to protect, in perpetuity, the privileges our most privileged are entitled to.

That’s the piece I forgot to mention to my old friends the other day, not that it changes anything — how much it freaks me out trying to make a point to someone in my personal life who has closed their mind, insists I accept an incoherent narrative and stands on their demand to have me respect their right never to have the issue brought up again.   In a world with so much anger, shapeless, formless and deadly, loaded gun anger that can be pointed anywhere, the only small comfort I can take is in carefully taking in and analyzing what’s raging all around us, understanding it as clearly as I can and finding small signs of hope in the details that point toward decency, fairness and Lincoln’s better angels of our nature.  

With politics there is a widespread feeling of debility among those not in a rage toward authorianism, a learned, media-enforced helplessness and fatalism on the part of the great majority of our cynically, deliberately divided nation.  We have seen over and over that corrupt officials and powerful criminals are not punished, except once a decade or so when a particular powerful person is ceremonially held accountable for some particularly heinous crime and sent to prison, to prove that not every such person is above the law. 

In my personal life I have almost no tolerance for a senseless argument that I am expected to swallow without protest, an unappealable verdict I must never smart from the unfairness of or even refer to again. 

But there are other ways of looking at occasional insistent incoherence among close friends, and they must be looked at with love and a patience that may at times seem superhuman.    It is not superhuman if you are lucky enough to have kind, honest friends to help you understand the burden you are carrying and offer a way you can’t see in your hurt to take the impossibly heavy load off of your shoulders, off your heart.

In other news of corrupt lawyers

John Eastman’s lawyers argued that their client disagreed with the judge about the 2020 election, and that everything Eastman wants to be hidden from scrutiny should remain hidden from scrutiny, to protect Eastman and his “client”, the corrupt former president.

In their filing, Mr. Eastman’s lawyers wrote that their client disagreed with Judge Carter’s conclusion that he had undermined democracy, arguing that Mr. Eastman truly believed the election was stolen. The filing cited the work of conservative media figures — including the new film “2000 Mules” by Dinesh D’Souza, which fact checkers have described as misleading — as evidence that widespread fraud occurred in the election.

“If, as seemed clear to Dr. Eastman and his client at the time, there was illegality and fraud in the election of sufficient magnitude to have altered the outcome of the election, then far from ‘undermining’ democracy, Dr. Eastman’s actions and advice must be seen for what they were — a legitimate attempt to prevent a stolen election,” Mr. Eastman’s lawyers wrote. “Perhaps Dr. Eastman was wrong about that. But even if he was, being wrong about factual claims is not and never has been criminal.”

link below

If they believed this in spite of Trump’s former gunsel Bill Barr telling Trump on December 1st that the claims of electoral fraud had been investigated by DOJ and determined to have been “bullshit,” then the judge must, arguably rule for the rabid Doctor Eastman, Doctor Eastman’s lawyers argue.

Lawyer Says He Dealt Directly With Trump Over Jan. 6 Plans https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/20/us/politics/john-eastman-trump-jan-6.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuonUktbfqYhkTVUZAybIRp8_qRmHmfnE2_s-gX_4aSWcUipHxuJQH5Kd_l-IZ6NlIoV13yieQJUJFo4Tc8FI770VOV1xGU7vq4GYmZ8BLmI_893pAD89h9eTB-w2tGKzMmP8eLYjlfjm7kjfPjXpUPPa1iExNU0y98seAFKg3HICwq_AE_ckmYUtmKd8We0pAGsIdyKIvPL3ChlhO93gbx3U6Ac-WegxSiiE1JfHqOpGKFMOfAqAGHBv4m8868deP8cVOcv9Kx0hfsn_gdYBGxjgHn1jaf9jybCatGEEGVU

The LEAK was the problem, according to Clarence Thomas

New York Times:

Ginni Thomas Urged Arizona Lawmakers to Overturn Election

Ms. Thomas, known as Ginni, a right-wing political activist who became a close ally of Mr. Trump during his presidency, made the entreaties in emails to Russell Bowers, the Republican speaker, and Shawnna Bolick, a Republican state representative. Ms. Bolick’s husband, Clint, once worked with Justice Thomas and now sits on the Arizona Supreme Court.

Sam Alito would be furious!

Just take a look at this “woke” pro-witch brochure for the Salem Witch Museum that claims to have evidence that the witches legally executed by the pious Pilgrims who founded our Christian Nation were innocent! Alito would be furious to see this kind of leftist secular propaganda and historical revisionism disseminated to innocent tourists, presumably also to impressionable young children who would read things like19 innocent people were hanged in Salem in 1692″

The Puritans were a famously severe fundamentalist Protestant cult that fled from England because they were being persecuted and risked death sailing to the New World in search of religious freedom, the story goes. They were so strict and devout that they carefully rooted out any signs of devilry, dissent, heresy or Independence in their midst. Religious fundamentalists do not allow devilry, independence of thought or disobedience to God’s patriarchal will, all sinful.

So think about it, were these goddamn witches really so goddamned innocent? Sam Alito sure would give you an angry argument about it, based on the teachings of 17th century scholar of devilry, witches and jurisprudence Lord Hale (see repeated citations to this expert in the Alito draft opinion leaked the other day).

Devils and darkness!

Rare show of bipartisanship

Certain things are known as the third rail in American politics.  The train runs on two tracks, the third rail provides the massive amount of electricity that powers the train.   If you touch the third rail, you die a horrible death by electrocution.   If you touch a third rail in American politics, like the scope of the comma sprinkled Second Amendment, which reads:  A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,  you risk causing violence.  

A riot, Martin Luther King Jr. observed, is the despairing voice of those who have no other voice to express their anger and desperation.  Such was the swarming of the Capitol building on January 6, at the moment Trump’s electoral loss was about to become official.  The rioters, and Trumpie himself, had no other voice at that moment but violence.   Imagine if the gun absolutists had their way, and the insane fuckers who stormed the People’s House in support of an unhinged, endlessly repeated lie had been legally allowed to carry, under a federal right to carry law, as much military-grade fire power as they claim the Constitution allows.   A bloodbath hardly imaginable in the most over-the-top Hollywood terrorist shoot ’em up, an actual violent revolution with shootings, hangings, perhaps even beheadings.  Having superior fire power in a fight turned violent literally means you get to call the shots. 

Can’t touch guns, reactionary genius Antonin Scalia said the Second Amendment confers an enumerated right to arm yourself with any sort of gun you want, as long as you are of legal age.   Guns are a third rail of American politics and an unimaginably gigantic mountain of money has been spent to make sure this false, violent, ugly controversy rages hot as the fires of hell in an impassioned televangelist’s sermon. 

On one side of the raging debate are gun manufacturers and people who own literally hundreds of millions of firearms.  There are more legally owned guns in the USA than there are citizens.   On the other side are people who believe gun ownership should be carefully regulated to cut down on America’s ever worsening mass killing sprees by enraged, murderous idiots the media insists on calling “gunmen”.  Imagine who wins the gun debate in a state like Michigan where protesters can lawfully bring their guns right into the hall where it’s being debated.

So, an eighteen year old asshole with a perfectly legal gun can drive miles to his selected target and spray bullets into people he hates, in this case Black people who he fervently believes are trying to replace the white race, whatever the fuck the white race is supposed to be.  People who look like this self-righteous young mass murderer, I suppose.   Nothing Congress can do about it, the Second Amendment, we are told, could not be more sacrosanct if Jesus Himself had written it with His own hand.

On the other hand, we had a moment of rare bipartisanship in the Senate earlier this month.   A draft of an incendiary Alito opinion, citing thirteenth and seventeenth century theologians and jurists to support his majority opinion that since many religious Christians believe abortion at any stage is murder (probably as many as believe Trump had his landslide victory stolen from him) the super-precedent of Roe v. Wade, conferring a constitutional right to bodily autonomy on pregnant women, must be overturned.   If any draft opinion was written to provoke outrage, it was Alito’s.  It is the seemingly polite, quietly seething ones you have to watch out for, they’re the most dangerously provocatively enemies.

After the leak, most likely by a right wing activist trying to ensure there’d be no backing down from Alito’s extreme view about the Supreme Court’s right to take away “unenumerated rights” not originally specified in 1789, there were protests outside the homes of several justices in the majority.  They were peaceful protests, angry people with signs.  Outside of Kavanaugh’s house neighbors served the protesters wine and cheese, we are told (and, in fairness to those neighbors, would you want to live next door to that pugnacious, self-righteous, reactionary piece of shit?).   

The Senate immediately leaped into action with a law to protect Supreme Court justices from this outrage.  They can’t make a carve out to the filibuster to protect the right to vote, can’t curb police violence against unarmed, disproportionately “nonwhite” citizens, can’t stop fighting about citizens’ right to health care, or a living federal minimum wage, but they leap, quickly and unanimously,  to protect the most privileged nine judges in the United States of America from peaceful protesters exercising a fundamental right enumerated in the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights.   Here’s Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal with the story:

Senate passes bill to protect supreme court justices families

Here’s Jamelle Bouie writing in the New York Times with a more nuanced treatment of the same story:

The Push to Silence Protesters Over the Roe Decision