Grey Lady– don’t get your hopes up on curbing gun massacres, nonMAGAs

You might be hoping at this point, with 20+ mass muders since Uvalde, that people are against the slaughter of elementary school children that has become so regular in this country, but as the Grey Lady helpfully points out “broad public support on the issue may not be as broad as polling shows or Democrats hope.” Good to know.

Where can I get a fabulous second vacation home with only an $800,000 budget, Grey Lady?

Mass media and the soul of America

From progressive media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the opening of their most recent podcast, Counterspin:

Ten human beings were killed and three wounded in Buffalo, New York. By the killer’s own admission, he sought to kill Black people because they are Black, and he is a white supremacist who believes there’s a plot to “replace” white people with Black and brown people, a plot run by the Jews. If you’re news media, you could go all in on media outlets and pundits and political figures whose repeated invocations to this white replacement theory are the obvious spurs for this horrendous crime. Or you could be the Washington Post, and tweet that Joe Biden “ran for president pledging to ‘restore the soul of America.’ A racist massacre raises questions about that promise.”

A press corps that wanted to go down in history as doing better than pretending to raise questions about the “soul of America” would be busy interrogating the structural, economic, political relationships that promote and platform white supremacy. They’d be using their immense and specific influence to interrupt business as usual, to demand—not just today, but tomorrow and the next day—meaningful response from powerful people. They would not be accepting that mass murder in the name of white supremacy and antisemitism is just another news story to report in 2022 America, film at 11.

Leave it to The Washington Post to put everything into perspective in a tweet. Of course, in our profit-driven, corporate advertising-driven mass media, the 18 year-old avowed racist’s racially motivated mass murder spree in Buffalo a few days ago is old news, wiped off the front page as pundits and politicians argue about whether it was right or wrong for Texas law enforcement not to intervene for an hour while another enraged 18 year-old mass shooter used his brand new legally acquired military assault weapon to shoot his grandmother in the face and massacre children and teachers in a Texas elementary school.

And the GOP’s united, incoherent talking point is always the same, cannibal socialist pedophiles are trying to politicize this terrible, horribly regular (27th school mass murder in 2022 so far) tragedy that can’t be avoided in the greatest country in the world has ever known. And that Biden, like slippery, illegitimate Obama before him, is too weak to make good on his promise to fix hundreds of years of racist custom and practice in this country and bring everybody together as he lyingly promised.

But tip of the yarmulke to Jeff Bezos and the influential liberal media outlet he owns, for the helpful framing of the ineptly managed ‘fight for America’s soul’. Good job, Jeff!

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 pragmatic 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 to 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 slim 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, borrowed to pay 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? 

If what you predict is inevitable, 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 trial 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 World War Two.   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!

Come on, “liberal media”

I’ve got a lot of bones to pick with the NY Times, though they do excellent and important investigative work from time to time.  Their default position seems to be that whatever benefits Wall Street is more or less good for our well-educated readers and there’s no point to seem one-sided in balancing the grim and desperate needs of the oppressed and the ongoing bright prospects of the perpetually challenged well-to-do. 

The Grey Lady often does this balancing in a somewhat subtle manner, which makes it look like cranky caviling to take issue with it much of the time, though once a while something obvious jumps out and punches me.  Like the headlines they post, amplifying right wing talking points, on the same day government reports come out highlighting the success of any one of Biden’s several major economic initiatives. On the same day the US economy reported another record month for job growth, the Grey Lady offered this on page one:

Nobody at the NY Times has access to google?   Five seconds with that arcane search engine and you discover that Biden, in spite of cheery jobs numbers, low unemployment numbers, infrastructure repair jobs booming and other good things he has done against determined, sometimes insane opposition, may not have all that much to do with Worldwide inflation.

Read the Times headline, against the backdrop of brutal anti-Biden propganda in the FOX infotainment universe and you come away thinking not only has Biden jeopardized the economy of the US with run away inflation, he’s fucked just about every other wealthy country too!   Check out the damage he’s done!

A few seconds on Google, and you have the beginning of a more nuanced, realistic picture of global inflation

Belgium 8.3%

Brazil 11.3%

Canada 6.7%

European Union 7.8%

Germany 7.4%

Hungary 8.5%

India 6.95%

Mexico 7.68%

Netherlands 9.7%

Poland 12.3%

Spain 8.4%

UK 7%


There are lower inflation numbers in Scandinavia and other places, Japan 1.2%, Afghanistan is doing fantastic (relative to inflation, that is), with only 1.56%, and higher ones, 16.7% in Russia, 13.7% in Ukraine, 69.97% in Turkey, but the US numbers are not out of line with inflation in other wealthy nations in the aftermath of a massive global disruption due to a deadly pandemic.   We are also aware of the unimaginably gigantic windfall profits the richest individuals and corporations raked in during that same deadly period.   Oh, well.  Biden may be doing some things right, against tremendous odds, but… look at that fucking record inflation he is causing!  Everywhere!!!

An insightful exchange about healthier “social media”

Gail is Gail Collins. Bret is Bret Stephens. They write for the New York Times. As the Gray Lady styles it:

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

Gail: Lord help us. Even if Twitter tanked, wouldn’t there be some new post-Twitter communications system coming around the bend soon? You’re 10 times smarter than me about this stuff, so tell me what you think, and I’ll adopt it as my theory. At least for the spring.

Bret: Maybe in the distant future a big media company will create a platform in which non-unhinged adults can exchange ideas, air their disagreements without rancor, make a few jokes, have their claims fact-checked before they are published and then go out for a friendly drink.

I’m sympathetic to the idea that social-media companies should try to honor the spirit of the First Amendment, even if they aren’t legally bound by it. But the idea that Twitter is a good forum for speech is silly. Trying to communicate a thought in 280 characters isn’t speaking. It’s blurting. You don’t use Twitter for persuasion. You use it for insults and virtue signaling.

A healthy free-speech environment depends on people talking with each other. Twitter is a medium for people to talk at others. The best thing that could happen to Twitter isn’t an acquisition, by Musk or anyone else. It’s bankruptcy.

Gail: Wow, I’ve always pretty much avoided Twitter, but it was mainly out of laziness. Now I’m cloaked in righteousness and am deferring to you on all Twitter topics.

This Is Not the Year of the Optimist

Whataboutism, April 19th edition

In the tit for tat, kick ’em hard, anywhere you can get a boot on ’em, marketing-driven world that is American politics, the advertising hungry corporate media still plays along, faithful as a terrier to the idea that fairness means presenting both sides of everything as having a more or less equal argument. It plays beautifully into a prevalent technique, persuasive to masses who already believe, hammered eternally by one side that is actively much worse than the other: whataboutism. 

On one side, you have a long, well-funded multifarious plot culminating in a Hail Mary riot to stop the certification of Trump’s loss in Congress, after a “stolen election”.  You have the wife of a staunchly conservative Supreme Court justice urging the outgoing president’s chief of staff to take action, in the name of Jesus Christ and all that is holy, to overturn the election results to keep Trump in office, somehow.  We’ve read Donald Trump Jr’s seditious texts, starting a couple of days after the election his father was about to officially lose, about keeping his father in power no matter what, using the leverage of his massive government power.   You have pinhead real estate fortune heir Jared Kushner, months after leaving his appointment as Trump’s minister with a dozen portfolios (Covid, peace in the Middle East, ending the Opioid epidemic, rooting out government corruption, making business deals with wealthy sheiks. etc.) getting two billion dollars from the murderer of a journalist, Muhammad bin Salman, a close friend of his he met as his father-in-law’s informal Saudi envoy.   

On the other side, you have a shady character named Hunter Biden, son of the current president, and some shady consulting deals he made for large amounts of money.   When Giuliani was making wild, unfounded claims about fraud that wasn’t actually fraud, your Honor, and lunatics like Sidney Powell were threatening to release a Kraken she later claimed (as defendant in a defamation case) no reasonable person could have believed existed, one GOP talking point that was out there, after Trump failed to get Ukrainian president Zelensky to announce a fake investigation into Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption, was that Hunter Biden forgot a laptop at a repair shop that was loaded with incriminating details (including, of course, the now ubiquitous Republican charge of sexual deviance) about him and his criminal father, Trump’s 2020 opponent in the presidential election. Giuliani announced on FOX that, along with proof of a stolen election, he had the incriminating laptop, or knew someone who had it, or had seen it, or heard about it. Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post pushed the theoretically devastating Hunter Biden story too, the story was Murdoch’s exclusive, claiming they had the laptop, or had seen it, or knew somebody who claimed to have seen it and did a thorough unbiased forensic study of its highly incriminating (for Joe Biden) contents.

What has been the Republican party’s corporate media-abetted answer to the many serious allegations against their top officials, the trove of devastating new evidence we see every other day, the proof of multiple crimes committed in the name of party loyalty? The loud, childish but effective (with corporate media dutifully playing along) GOP response to the mounting evidence that many of them participated eagerly in Trump’s mad plan to stay in power was “what about fucking Hunter fucking Laptop fucking Biden?!! What are the Democrats hiding and why?”

As stories about  the insurrection culminating in the January 6, 2021 Trump riot at the Capitol (and continuing energetically since) continue to come out, as damning details create an increasingly gigantic mountain of evidence of a frenzied, sometimes insane, many-pronged plan, involving many prominent elected Republicans, to keep the losing candidate in power, the NY Times and the Washington Post both ran front page stories asking why Democrats had not believed or seriously investigated the sketchy Hunter Biden laptop story.  Serious journalism, 2022, Tucker Carlson style — why did Democrats not seriously investigate this implausible story about a cunning criminal, son of their president, too stupid to cover his tracks?  Just asking…

Read this post mortem from the Washington Post and see what you can make of this obvious horseshit story about a seeming scumbag who has, significantly for any intelligent analysis of this instance of Whataboutism, never worked in the US government, not for his father or anybody else. Thank God, say Republicans under their collective breath, that intelligent analysis is no longer even a thing when it comes to US politics!

Now warning about Hunter Biden laptop disinfo: guy who leaked it.


You want a scary story? The money you have in your pocket is losing value!

The pandemic seems to be winding down, and now with a centrist non-authoritarian in the White House, one who has shown a willingness to impose modest taxes on the wealthiest 0.01% of our finest citizens, human and corporate alike, the corporate media’s story seems unable to focus on the steady economic recovery in the USA, it must be on a crisis — and the failure of a reasonably competent Democratic president to fix things beyond any president’s control and against a united party determined to see him fail. Here’s the Grey Lady the other day, hammering a familiar corporate theme:

Gasoline weighed heavily in the increases, hmmm, oil company profits hit all-time highs. Hmmmm… maybe there’s another explanation for corporate leaders using Biden as a punching bag for this worldwide rise in gasoline prices and worldwide inflation…

Here’s Robert Reich:

people, just like you and me! For the love of God, haven’t they and their billionaire human counterparts been crucified enough by class and social justice warriors? Will the vicious attacks on our greatest never cease?

Probably not.

Not that they have any reason to care about that very much…