Maybe if Dems had Been a Little Less Civil About a Stolen Supreme Court Seat We Wouldn’t be in Such a Sorry State

We’re debating civility in the media because a few people who are deliberately malfeasant in their taxpayer funded jobs each day got some push back from pissed off people.  Children have been kidnapped in our names, by our government, but it’s poor form to disrupt a Trumper’s meal or call them out for their lies in public.  It’s just politics.

No it’s not.  I said that we were in a cold civil war years ago.  Now I’m seeing those words in print on the intertubes on a regular basis.  People were being way too civil then, really doing nothing in the face of the wrecking of the Constitution, the more than unsportsmanlike accretion of advantage.

In a corollary debate on civility I heard two Republicans, who are anti-Trump, deride Democrats for calling George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and John McCain “Nazis” and “indecent”.  Well, I’m not sure I recall Romney and McCain being called ‘Nazis”.  I do recall some people being angry about the very indecent actions of George W. Bush in Florida in 2000, Iraq in 2002 and Louisiana in 2005, politicizing the U.S. Attorneys Office, etc.  These Republicans were blaming the actions of the deplorables in part on that purported (and supposedly inappropriate) name calling.  Well, that’s some bullshit there.

George W. Bush was not a decent person.  Or if he was, he let the rampantly indecent around him like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney have too much say in how his decency would be exploited for indecent purposes.  At the very least.

The indecent and thuggish actions of Republicans to ignore norms did not actually start with Trump.  They didn’t even start with McConnell’s theft of a Supreme Court seat that is paying off for them in diamond encrusted spades now.  It didn’t even start in 2000 with the unleashing of every rat fucking dirty trickster in the GOP Rolodex to ensure a Bush presidency, voting notwithstanding. The Tea Party was not decent.  The toxic gerrymandering that ensued was not decent.  The rolling over of norms all over the country in order to disenfranchise votes was not decent.

But I digress.  In a series of 5-4 votes our esteemed Supreme Court has approved toxic gerrymandering, Trump’s travel ban, and supported phony anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers”.  One doesn’t need a fevered imagination to know that Justice Merrick Garland would have flipped that tally to 5-4 against those and other historically ridiculous decisions.  We know the Supreme Court is not really a court and the justices are not judges and the body is intensely political.  Which is why making sure those robes only go to people who truly do read and respect the Constitution and precedent, rather than rationalize ideological or party first rulings, is kind of an important thing.

We could have used some people screaming outside Mitch McConnell’s house in 2016.  Maybe a restaurant owner or two denying him a meal.  Some civil disobedience in his offices and marches in front of the Capitol, along with some uncivil language from elected Democrats might have been appropriate then.

We can’t turn back the clock to undo the injustices of a supine Democratic Party bringing a proverbial butter knife to a nuclear war, but we can sure toughen up now and make the correct argument that civility, like respect is earned.

If you shit on people, shit on norms, shit on democracy, you might get some push back from angry people.  And no one should apologize for that.

Another Thing the Koch Brothers Hate, So We Can’t Have It

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country

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It makes sense though that they’d hate mass transit – mass transit is a democratizing tool that makes society work better and is difficult to be privately held – everything they despise.  Even before you get to the fact that they own holdings in gasoline and asphalt (natch!) as radical libertarians they almost certainly fetishize the automobile as a symbol of freedom, yada yada yada, so mass transit must die.

Public transit, Americans for Prosperity says, goes against the liberties that Americans hold dear. “If someone has the freedom to go where they want, do what they want,” Ms. Venable said, “they’re not going to choose public transit.”

The Kochs’ opposition to transit spending stems from their longstanding free-market, libertarian philosophy. It also dovetails with their financial interests, which benefit from automobiles and highways.

The lesson is that, like many other situations, bad actors like the Koch Brothers put out astroturf money to pay for deluded volunteers (poor people working for “Americans for Prosperity”) spreading lies that support the agendas of the richest people in the world, against themselves and their neighbors in order to kill local projects.  In a country with low, low, low turnout it’s easy to defeat even the best intended transport modernizing project.  Just scream “they’re going to raise your taxes” and old people and cranks will vote against anything.

These Americans for Prosperity fucks are trying to sell the idea that the future of mass transit isn’t mass transit at all but driverless cars.  How the fuck does that help people who can’t afford a car?  Even assuming all these cars are electric, which the Kochs are not assuming, how do more cars, driverless or not, help pollution, traffic, overcrowding?  They don’t.  As usual it makes no sense for anybody who lives in a region bedeviled by a lack of mass transit, or aging infrastructure to support.

But one of the major malfunctions of democracy is that it’s always easier to get people to vote against something than for it.  And when you spread out a bunch of dark money to willing whores who will sell out their neighbors, it’s shooting fish in a Koch Brothers Barrel Co. owned barrel.

 

Amazing What Arrogant Know-Nothing Racists Will Do

I can’t help thinking about the last worst president in American history who was surrounded by creepy, arrogant people with their own nefarious agenda that blinds them to the horrendous consequences of their apocalyptically stupid actions.

Trump, Miller, Sessions, Kelly, Neilsen and the rest of the alt-right blood and soil gang push forward an agenda to slow the browning of America by making immigration nearly impossible and sending  a message around the world that America does not want you if you’re black or brown.  They’re proud of a cruel, inhumane policy that they describe as “tough” because toughness is so needed to deal with a difficult situation.  Thoughtfulness and care are not needed, according to them, in much the same way that a plumber will use a c-wrench awkwardly to hammer a nail because a hammer is just not in their tool box.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Perle, Wolfowitz, Bolton and a previous generation of arrogant war hawks had such a hard-on for war in the Middle East they looked at Iraq and saw easy pickins.  Not one of them gave the slightest thought to the people of Iraq and the consequences of removing a long standing strong man leader.  They were completely taken by surprise by the enmity between Sunnis and Shiites, but how could they have known that when they thought all Muslims were the same?

In both cases people were given power that should never, ever be trusted with any more responsibility than holding the remote control when something unimportant is on the TV.  But the American people in both cases, with warning, chose to put them in powerful positions.  The establishment political parties to some extent or another looked the other way and allowed provably irresponsible people to run cabinet level agencies.  The beltway media acted as if the individuals in question, and their actions, were unexceptional choices imbuing them with levels of  credibility that they had not come anywhere close to earning.

Until things broke bad.  And then all of a sudden a massive fuck up that was completely avoidable came to light followed by denials of reality and then self-serving deflection.

Republicans do not change.  The media does not change.  So lives will be destroyed callously on schedule every few years or so as we keep letting morally repugnant people have the remote.

Is There Any Question That Trump and Gang are Authoritarian Thugs?

That want to align us with Russia, China, Syria, North Korea… the new axis of evil… and we’d be in it!  Bush and Frum could not have imagined that twist when they trotted out that manipulative trope back in those halcyon days for democracy in 2002.

The only bad actor they don’t identify with is Iran but that’s because they’re adverse to Israel and Saudi Arabia.  I’m sure Pence appreciates the Mullah’s religiously based authority on the populace.  If you watch this administration horror show concurrently with The Handmaid’s Tale it’s even more terrifying because you can see it.  Trump would bring the authoritarian nightmare and Pence would make it a Bible twisting theocracy.

The grotesque denouncements of the press and anybody that crosses them as enemies of the state.

The concentration camps and separation of families.

The constant lying and use of anybody or anything as a prop to exalt themselves.

The nods to strongmen and the not even veiled wishes that Trump could do what they do.  Trump Really Wishes He Were a Dictator.

In March, Trump praised China’s President Xi Jinping for consolidating his power, saying, “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

“He’s the head of a country. And I mean, he is the strong head,” Trump said of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday morning.

“He speaks, and people sit up at attention,” he added. “I want my people to do the same.”

Hard to imagine that there’s anybody alive today that doesn’t see what’s wrong with all of this, other than the 20% or so who have always thought authoritarianism was a good idea, which, disturbingly, may be growing.

Which makes it all the more galling when the tsk-tsk crowd like the wholly execrable Frank Bruni clutch their pearls and shame Robert DeNiro and Sam Bee for using untoward language towards the wannabe dictator and his family.  Really?  Like there are people who would like to save democracy but a movie star cursed so let’s give Trump a lifetime presidency with Ivanka as his heir!

Seriously?  Everyone is held to a higher standard than the Trumps and their spokespeople?  Well, yes, almost everyone does hold themselves to higher standards than the Trump crime family, most of us have not sloughed off laws, norms and democratic traditions, and that’s the real standard Mr. Bruni.  If you call law enforcement “scum” because they’re not arresting your enemies and insulting the press because they’re pushing back against your bullshit you are not fit to lead.  All else is irrelevant.

But there’s a reason our entire political class and media fear Republicans and laugh at Democrats.  Until that equation gets some balance our democracy is in question.  Some cursing is not only appropriate, it may be required.  Dems have to stop letting the media and the small cadre of so-called “sane” Republicans carry all the water.  They have to be as forceful and angry as Nicole Wallace and Rick Wilson.  Kick, scream, yell and curse at these awful people!  Make the case for better policy as you denounce their goddawful policies based on dishonest metrics, racism, xenophobia and illiberal nonsense.

Like Maddow said yesterday, Republicans work the refs and win.  That’s why Comey killed Clinton and said zilch about the Trump investigations.  Democrats have to stop being so timid that no one cares whether they’re outraged.  We have all the outraged pussy hat wearing women.  We have the Black Lives Matter people.  We have the LGBTQ community.  All groups fighting back against histories of abuse.  How is it that the party, the political faction that has so many aggrieved factions is so flaccid in its politics in the macro?

Legit question.

Just a Reminder as the Two Dictators Meet

1. This is all a show, a photo op, a Potemkin Village, a pantomime. Both of these dishonorable leaders need to burnish their bona fides at any cost. South Korea is the only honest broker in the show.

2.  The Libya model makes it impossible for Kim to denuclearize. Virtually no chance whatever that he’ll do anything substantive to disarm.

3. The Soviet model is kind of forgotten, but it’s remembered by the leaders of every prison camp country.  Kim will never loosen his grip, relax anything, open anything or allow the Korean version of glasnost. The very survival of his dynastic rule depends on the absolute subjugation of the North Korean people. Even minor exchanges of citizens or sporting competitions are dangerous to nations like Kim’s. Actual free and open internet would destroy the walls and fences three generations of Kim’s have constructed. North Koreans are kept hungry, not just because of a lack of food, but as a way of keeping them weak and dependent. Such a leader isn’t negotiating even an inch of barbed wire away.

So no i’m not optimistic. Optimism here would constitute insanity.

Continuing the Unmasking of the Crank Funders of Conservative Causes

Unlike Soros, who gives some money to causes he believes in supporting democracy at home and abroad, but is given way, way, way more credit/blame by conservative conspiracy mongers than warranted, there’s a legitimate cadre of conservative billionaires that really truly do fund much of the right wing/libertarian think tanks and astroturf lobbying firms in the wingnuttosphere.

It’s hard to believe now but 10 years ago very few people knew who the Koch Brothers were and how many political pies they had their fingers in.  Now thanks to Jane Meyer in the New Yorker, Alex Kotch in the Nation, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, and other reporters, almost everybody knows about the brothers and their influence on American politics.  The Ricketts, the Bradleys, Adelson, the Mercer’s, etc.  are all well known to people who pay attention to such things now.

The NY Times peals back the mask on another wealthy family trying to influence your life that you’ve probably not heard of.

 

 

 

Soros Unmasked to be Behind All Liberal Horse Breeding Horrors

HA!  The conspiracy mongers who blame George Soros for all ills as they quote Saul Alinski to liberals who have heard of neither of these people, will now likely boycott the Saratoga Stakes.  A group of Soros Fund Management employees have a stake in the race horse breeding industry, including the very happy (for them) prospects of having a potential Triple Crown winner for breeding stock.  That’s gonna be some very remunerative humping that horse will do!

The next step, the newspaper reports, is that Justify’s equine descendants will form an underground horse alliance that will eventually impose Jewish-influenced horse Marxism on the United States by force.

Roseanne thinks he bred horses for the Nazis.