Must Read – David Leonhardt “Trump Derangement Syndrome is a Myth”

Conventional wisdom says that the middle is disappearing from American politics: The Republicans have moved far to the right, the Democrats far to the left, and woe to any moderate voters looking for politicians to represent their views.

Well, the conventional wisdom is wrong. The Democrats have not actually become radical leftists, or anything close to it.

David Leonhardt offers a very pithy rebuttal to the absurd bothsideism that says both sides are moving to polar opposites.  Anybody who can read should know by now that Democrats have not moved nearly left over the last 10, 20, 30 years as the right has moved right.  Starting with Reagan in 1980 Republicans nominated someone considered too right for the GOP just 4 years earlier.  They’ve been drifting further right ever since with big movements in 2010 and in the Trump era with actual fascists and racists being nominated.  Even with so called “socialists” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being nominated in dark blue places like New York, and a general left movement among Democrats, there is no commensurate left movement on the whole by Democrats to compare to how far right the Republicans have gone.

I write this as I’m listening to a debate on radio wherein someone tries to say that both sides have gone off the rails.  The speaker hates the right for the obvious reasons.  But also chides the left for… what for it… toxic PC culture.

Yep, toxic PC culture.  That’s how the bothsidesers justify their a pox on both houses.  It’s not a policy, not a plank in the party platform, not even something that can or should be attributed expressly to Democrats, progressives or liberals but “toxic PC culture”.   And what constitutes toxic PC culture?   Well, don’t you think Roseanne Barr got a raw deal?  No. How about Louis CK?  um, no.  Should we be treating Al Franken the same as Harvey Weinstein?  Of course not, WHO IS??

The citation of “toxic PC culture” as a left movement is bullshit.

Let’s stick with actual policies and the metrics that can judge where the public is and where the politicians are on said policies, because it’s tough enough to intellectually assess that in any concrete way without having the entire debate weighted with cultural issues that do not emanate from legislation.  If people are less accepting of asshole behavior, that’s not a right or left issue except that the assholes need someone to blame for their downfall and blaming themselves is not an option.

In the real world this still controls:

For the most part, though, the Democratic agenda remains decidedly center-left: Raise taxes on the rich, and use the money to help the middle class and poor. Protect civil rights. Expand educational access. Regulate Wall Street, and fight climate change. Expand health insurance using the current system. And compromise with Republicans when necessary.

The radical agenda is the Republican agenda: Make climate change worse, unlike almost every other conservative party in the world. Aggravate inequality. Sabotage health-insurance markets. Run up the deficit. Steal a Supreme Court seat. Keep dark-skinned citizens from voting. Protect Trump’s lawlessness.

If you consider yourself a moderate — whether you lean slightly right or slightly left — your choice in this year’s midterms is clear.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty clear.  If you think, as these bothsidesists do, that some people agree with Democrats on many of the above issues, but are turned off by the “me too” movement, so they will vote for Republicans instead, I can’t help you.  Nobody can. Medication likely can’t.  There is no Trump Derangement Syndrome because there is no unacceptable level of anger at the threat he and his party present to our democracy.  However, if you have “Toxic PC culture” derangement syndrome, the cure is to get your head out yer ass.

 

When you’ve got a tiger by the tail you don’t let him go for five minutes to go pen an op-ed about it for the NYT

Is the anonymous Senior WH Staffer a hero?  Or just another Republican asshole that has enabled a totally unfit maniac to wield more power than any other living human (of any color, including orange) and endanger us all.  They help him continue to endanger our lives, our freedom, our economy.   They help him continue to blow holes through our laws, our norms, our traditions – our cherished imperfect democracy itself.  The promise that they’re holding him back is pretty goddamn empty.

What’s the end game here for these people?  Is it to continue to restrain him through 2020, through re-election and then continue to do it for another 4 years?  Because those sweet sweet corporate tax cuts and deregulation of well, everything! is all worth it.

No.  You want to help, don’t help.  Go public in ways that force Republicans on the Hill if not in the hinterlands to recognize that this is unsustainable and the menace has to be put down.

More and more I’m looking at Trump and I see Enron – a corrupt, amoral, unethical, all decency be damned unrestrained id.  And the Republican Party plays the role of Arthur Anderson, the giant accounting firm that looked the other way, certified their financial chicanery before the IRS and the SEC and ultimately received the institutional death penalty for their abandonment of their duties to society.

It must never be lost for one second that the GOP was supposed to be the gatekeeper that would protect the public from a despicable and irresponsible nominee for president.  The party always stood aside waiting to see what would happen when the dust cleared as the contenders tried lamely to stop him.  The party offered only a half-hearted non-endorsement, not the full strength of its derision.  They of course created this monster by populating the countryside with rabid, deluded, torch wielding idiots ready to burn it all down.  Then when it was clear that the mob had chosen him as their glorious leader, they succumbed, grabbed tikis and got behind him.  They too deserve the institutional death penalty.

The New Socialists

Corey Robin is one of the better translators of the movement.  It would confound conservatives and libertarians to learn that socialism is about freedom and they’re the ones selling being yoked to and reliant upon systems that actually consider your needs last.

I personally like the definition that freedom is when if you lose your job your kid doesn’t lose their health insurance over the conservative version of freedom which so often means freedom for some to do what they please and freedom for others to work for less, to starve, to suffer at the whim of the first guy.

The New Socialists – Corey Robin

Under capitalism, we’re forced to enter the market just to live. The libertarian sees the market as synonymous with freedom. But socialists hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy. Under capitalism, we’re forced to submit to the boss. Terrified of getting on his bad side, we bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse — just to get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.

The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination.

As FDR declared in the Second Bill of Rights “[N]ecessitous men are not free men.”  Socialism rose and waned based on the common conception of how fair our society was.  As inequality reaches levels not seen since the Gilded Age, that teeth grinding and grumbling over how much the 1% have and how much of a struggle the working class are enduring is fueling this new generation of economic warriors who are just looking to use our wealth to relieve some of the rampant anxiety Americans are feeling.

Still, today’s socialism is just getting started. It took Lincoln a decade — plus a civil war, and the decision of black slaves to defy their masters, rushing to join advancing Union troops — to come to the position that free labor meant immediate abolition.

In magazines and on websites, in reading groups and party chapters, socialists are debating the next steps: state ownership of certain industries, worker councils and economic cooperatives, sovereign wealth funds. Once upon a time, such conversations were the subject of academic satire and science fiction. Now they’re getting out the vote and driving campaigns. It’s too soon to tell whether they’ll spill over into Congress, but events have a way of converting barroom chatter into legislative debate.

Let’s debate.

Sexual Abuse at Fox News is Absolutely Gender Neutral

#SheToo!! Kimberly Guilfoyle, late of Fox News, current Don Jr. boo,  was pushed out because #SheToo engaged in some pretty awful abusive acts of a sexual nature.

Sources who spoke to HuffPost said Guilfoyle was emotionally abusive toward hair and makeup artists; regularly talked about sexual matters with an assistant who was uninterested in having those conversations; and showed colleagues pictures of male genitalia at work, often identifying whose genitalia she was showing them.

If you show people pictures of your male junk, you go.  If you show people pictures of other people’s male junk, you go.  I’m beginning to really feel bad about my junk here, apparently everybody thinks penises are just unatttractive and a firing offense around the office, even the circumcized ones! I think we can all agree that the uncircumcized ones are disgusting, sure!

Even if you make it a fun game, like Guess Whose Junk This Is, my understanding (from HR presentations I’ve had to run on my computer while chatting up attractive colleagues) is that it’s still a no go.  Too bad because a nice game can boost office morale as your bosses are being shown the door for screwing your female colleagues and paying them off to the tune of millions of dollars.  I remember doing a scavenger hunt in an office years ago, it was super fun.  If we had to find pictures of each others junk and identify them, a sure fire HOOT!

I must say I have more respect for people of any gender who show their own junk.  Showing pictures of other people’s junk invades their privacy.  It’s uncool.  Be cool and show people YOUR junk Kimberly!!

P.S. I do understand her abuse of the hair and makeup people.  Look at her, they’re not doing her any favors.  So harsh, like her pesonality.  Which they’re supposed to be softening, at least on the outside.  The female equivalent of an uncircumcized penis.

Bob Beckel Rejoins "The Five"

Her boyfriend in happier times.

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I swear to God those two boys should have been the sons of a minor Minnesota trucking magnate with mob ties that gets murdered  in the first season of Fargo.

 

Never Mind Trump’s Base Already, His Support is as Soft as His Head

Constant talk about his Republican base who just didn’t even need to take his advice to not believe what they read and hear (except from him), they’ve been doing that already for years.  Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh or Fox News or Breitbart, they’ve been deaf, dumb and blind to anything but the insane blatherings of right wing nutjobs forever.

But they do not matter!  Write that 100 times (Nixon said on his tapes to write that “The press is the enemy” 100 times.)

His high 30% to low 40% approval ratings are shallow polling.  Go deeper and his re-elect number dips to the low 30s and even lower!   A not insignificant segment of the minority who say they approve say they do not want him reelected.

The proviso with this is that while he suffers when you take away the Hillary figure to compare him against, there will be a Democrat in 2020 and yes, some of those that regret his election may come back to him in comparison to whatever Democrat is the nominee.  But 30% reelect is exceptionally soft.

And this is redounding to 2018 as well.  The Marist poll shows this.

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The poll indicated that 28 per cent of registered voters in Michigan, a state Mr Trump flipped from his Democrat rivals in the 2016 presidential election, said he deserved a second term…. In Minnesota, a state Mr Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by fewer than two percentage points in 2016, roughly 30 per cent of voters surveyed said the US leader deserved another go-around in the Oval Office… Thirty-one per cent of voters in Wisconsin are in favour of a second term for Mr Trump…

His under water national approval ratings are actually buoyed by the south and every really red state where he’s still very popular.  But in bluer and yes, purpler places where independents make the difference, he’s decidedly unpopular.  This rejection of his persistent dishonesty and asinine policies will help Democrats move district after district to a couple of points better performance than they would have.  This is likely just a continuation of the 20-30 point blue swing we’ve seen in special elections since Nov. 2016.

Trump’s even bigger betrayal than his full embrace of Putin’s proto-fascism is his Orwellian abandonment of those forgotten Midwestern working people.

Trump campaigned on “Make America Great Again” but he’s already pivoted to calling America great now.  And his 2020 campaign slogan is ‘Keep America Great”.  Now if you ask those unemployed or underemployed people who thought he was going to save their factories, their towns, their farms, etc. and have seen the status quo remain very quo, if not actually get worse, they’d be pretty puzzled to hear that America is already great.

During the campaign he derided the pretty good unemployment statistics from the Labor Dept. as fake news.  Now he claims to take credit because they’ve continued their 8 year trend towards full employment.  Most people not in his blinkered base see this.

They see the Chinese workers already making his reelection swag. How is this not  a bigger story for a president in a trade war??

Workers make flags for U.S. President Donald Trump's "Keep America Great!" 2020 re-election campaign at Jiahao flag factory in Fuyang

The people who gave him the benefit of the doubt are feeling betrayed.  They’ve heard the lies, seen things get worse, seen his dismal trade war and the shake down he’s proposing to pay them or their neighbors off.  It’s pretty reminiscent of Mafia tactics to create a problem with your trade war and then propose to step in and help like some two-bit leg breaker promising protection after smashing your windows.

 

The Lack of Civility is… a little amusing

I’ve been a sucky blogger lately, as if someone took a pickax to this blog, but no…

Seeing the antipathy out there to Trumpers leaves me uneasy… about giggling so much.

Cruella DeVos’ $40 Million Yacht Set Adrift by Bad People

A $40 million yacht owned by the family of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was set adrift by vandals at a dock in Ohio last weekend, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to the vessel, according to the Toledo Blade.

The 163-foot yacht is one of 10 boats owned by the DeVos family, the Blade reported. Betsy DeVos is one of the Trump administration’s wealthiest officials, with an estimated net worth of around $1 billion, according to Forbes. Her father founded Prince Corporation, a successful automotive business, and her father-in-law co-founded Amway marketing company.

Having a yacht on the Ohio shore is an oxymoron, isn’t it?  I’d feel sorry for the DeVos-Princes except that I’m sure some of those massive boats are in more exotic locales… like Michigan.  It’s not like the vandals set the damn boat on fire leaving them with just 9  boats!!  Who with a cutting implement wouldn’t set a $40 million yacht owned by some of the worst people in the country adrift?

Someone took a pickax to Trump’s star in the Hollywood Walk of Sham Fame

Since the 2016 election, Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been subject to spit, kisses, dog feces, selfies and urine. It’s been Sharpied, graffitied, walled in and sledge-hammered.

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You think they’d get the message already.  I mean the guy who cancelled Star Trek doesn’t even get treated this badly.

Sean Spicer is having trouble selling his books without being called “a garbage person” or being called out by a BBC interviewer for corrupting discourse all over the world.

But Maitlis did not let up, pointing to Spicer’s attempt to turn that particular incident into a joke, which he did while presenting the 2017 Emmy Awards after leaving the White House.

“It became a joke,” she said. “It became something that defined you … but it wasn’t a joke. It was the start of the most corrosive culture. You played with the truth. You led us down a dangerous path. You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies.”

Hey at least he can get served in most restaurants unlike his successor.  To think someone is trying to set this guy up with a TV show.   Who do they imagine would watch him?  I predict my colonoscopy will have more viewers than any show he hosts.

The Trumps and their minions are not popular.  They are in fact reviled because they are deplorable people.

I should be tut tutting the destruction of  property, if not rudeness.  But I can’t actually be bothered to give a shit.

America’s Disturbing Anti-Democratic Tendencies Were Lead by the Supreme Court

Not anything new here for people who have been paying attention, but Ezra Klein lays it out concisely – It’s the Supreme Court vs. Democracy.  Of course the Supreme Court is political, it always has been.  If the 5 conservative justices that have been taking us further down a road to a minority running roughshod over our supposed democracy are really following the “strict construction” of the Constitution,  then the Constitution is an ass.

Spoiler alert, they’re not “strict constructionists” or “originalists”.  Two total bullshit terms created by conservative think tanks to paper over their partisan hackery.  Everyone in the media should push back on those conservative conceits.

Even more frustrating is the press coverage of the naming of justices.  When interviewing conservatives who are applauding these ultra-right justices, ask them exactly what they’re applauding.  What rulings are you giddy over?  Taking limits off money in politics?  Creating limits on voting rights?  How does any perspective on the Constitution or American history guide that more money and fewer voters is a good thing?  Bush v. Gore was a bullshit, one time, unabashedly pure Red v. Blue ruling.  With Citizen’s United, Janus, the rulings allowing racial gerrymandering, etc., are you admitting it’s ALL Red v. Blue.

Do conservatives really want Roe gone?  Or Griswald, which granted a right to privacy and struck down laws prohibiting birth control (duh)?  Are they saying they really want Gilead?  What’s next after that, mandatory Church participation?  There’s nothing here defensible on any Constitutional grounds.  You would have to have completely ignored the writings of the Founding Father’s to promulgate a pro-religious construction.  This fight isn’t even Red v. Blue, it’s pure antedeluvian theocratic conservatism.  The GOP does not want this because Roe  gave them an issue and a rallying cry for 40 years.  You strike down the precedent of Roe and you further empower a women-led Democratic base that is already spitting mad.  So you go right ahead and be my guest.

The Court is a problem.  But it’s only exacerbating a growing anti-democratic trend that is natural to our growth patterns and the design of the Constitution.  The last two cycles it’s become pretty obvious that the Senate, like the Electoral College, has become an anti-democratic anachronism.

Demographers project American politics will become even less democratic in the coming years. By 2040, 70 percent of Americans are expected to be represented by a mere 30 senators, which means 30 percent of the population will control a 70-vote supermajority in the Senate.

The Supreme Court is meant to be insulated from democracy. It’s not meant to be a partisan tool for undermining democracy. What’s emerging now is a dangerous loop, in which Republicans barely holding onto power manage to keep control of the Supreme Court by any means necessary, and in return, the Supreme Court’s Republican appointees issue rulings to help their party cling to political power.

Wyoming has the same two votes in the Senate that California does.  And no matter how much you think about the more balanced representation in the House, that ludicrous Senate balance decides Supreme Court seats, the House does not.

The Founder’s were so focused on protecting minorities that they set up a system that could be exploited by unscrupulous partisans to create minority rule, clearly given the numbers today this scenario has taken place.  So you hear about different plans if Democrats can get control of the WH, House and Senate in order to level things.

  • Court packing plans sound pretty reasonable these days to overcome the 5-4 conservative majority.
  • Or plans to make D.C. or Puerto Rico states (with supposedly 2 more Dem Senators, each).  Lord knows those two paces have suffered without real representation for too long.
  • Or splitting California into 2 or more states (more Dems. likely, depending of course on the split).

It may seem fanciful, but the situation of a Democratic majority being stymied by the ideological rulings of a Republican minority will force hands to either modernize the Constitution or use the anachronisms and loop holes in their favor to avoid the tyranny of the minority.

We are reminded that we have precedent on democratic government taking action to reverse disastrously out of touch court decisions.