Posts Tagged ‘McConnell’
Overheard at the Widdershin water cooler this week – we are fed up with: (A) Anthropological stories about down-on-their-luck rural Trump voters; (B) Blind hypocrisy by Republicans; and (C) Craven, cowardly, chicken-hearted Democrats.
No can of Pepsi delivered by a Kardashian will cure these ills, but if you can tolerate the next 600 words, what’s say we start a conversation about it?
Everyone and their dog have written about the poor rural Trump voter. You’d think they are forgotten indigenous tribes being described by Sir Stanley as he plundered the jungles of Appalachia looking for Livingstone. The money-shot quotes are as cheap and unrevealing as assisted living porn.
Capturing a chronically ill Trump voter is crazy good copy, but it does nothing to explain the highest truth of political science: Humans are complex creatures.
Stories about individual voting patterns are useless. They are not actionable. People may vote on God, guns, or gays. They may vote based upon what they divine from chicken entrails. Who knows? You can’t divorce someone from their experiential data. You can try to expand it by education, but you can’t bleach an imprinted brain.
For instance, we can accurately say 2 out of 3 of these woebegone Trump voters believe “discrimination has become just as large a problem for white people as it has for blacks and other minorities.” We can also accurately say such a belief is highly correlated to bigotry and racism, but that doesn’t mean everyone who voted for Trump is a racist.
Keeping two competing truisms in one brain at the same time is impossible for many people. It can result in exploding heads, but realizing such complexity is just the beginning of trying to understand voting patterns.
I live amongst Trump voters. My county went 80% for Trump. They aren’t all unemployed ignorant hillbilly coal miners. While some are, if you asked the vast majority, they believe the “liberal media” portrays them that way. There is no chance of starting a conversation around those two data points.
Likewise, I catch myself in perpetual agony over Republican hypocrisy until I remind myself, “Those who ride high horses are always above hypocrisy.”
For instance, there is no Republican guilt over 78 filibusters in the first five years of the Obama administration compared to only 68 in the entire previous history of the country.
The most recent act of hypocrisy doesn’t even seem to register. During the Obama years, almost 100 Republican members of Congress threatened impeachment if he dared attack Syria. Then Dolt 45 chucks $80 Million in cruise missiles closing an abandoned airfield for about twelve hours and it is time for ticker tape and Mt. Rushmore sculpting. Obama was excoriated for following the Constitution and Dolt 45 basks in his glistening orangey-ness.
Which leads us to the feckless Democrats who always seem to find a chicken-hearted way to react? The Gorsuch debacle is a prime example.
Utah acne cream model and Senator Mike Lee implied that Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are wild-eyed liberals. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth, but this, like so many other issues, demonstrates how unanswered hyperbole sets the narrative.
Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have been so far to the right you can’t even see the center from where they are perched. Proof of this: Justice Kennedy is the swing vote and he’s one of the most conservative justices in the history of the court.
Mitch McConnell has broken the Senate in an ultimate power play after denying Merrick Garland so much as a hearing or a vote. Such an act will rank up there in all time political slime, but he did it because he could.
Democrats have made it easy for Republicans to beat them like rented mules. There is no punishment for a Manchin or Heitkamp other than the broken legs they get from jumping to the Republican side on issues. There is no punishment for a non-Democrat to waltz into a Democratic primary and harm the eventual nominee.
Because of this behavior voters see one party as definitive and the other as milquetoast. Republicans take incredibly asinine positions, but they stake out ground for their voters and never look back. Democrats bathe everything in lukewarm timidity. As my old boss once told me, “In politics if you try to get away with being half-assed, you aren’t even good at being an ass.” I wish more Democrats understood that.
This brings us full circle – when it comes to voters, you can’t replace catnip with broccoli and expect the same result. Democrats are coming to understand that, but the understanding is being driven by the grassroots. We need to keep it up. Call congressional offices. Write letters. It makes a difference.
What’s on your mind today?
From Anne Rice’s book, The Witching Hour:
Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a very dangerous enemy indeed.
Our White House is chocked full of dangerous enemies. I doubt Dolt 45 has ever read a book. Of the two power brokers, Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, or Steve Squared, Bannon has undoubtedly cracked more books than the dead-eyed, zombified Miller, but their coming of age is almost identical.
According to acquaintances, Bannon changed after 2001. He came to embrace eras of historical significance divvied-up into 20-year increments of “highs, awakenings, unraveling, and crises.” To quote one of Bannon’s 2008 films, “History is seasonal, and winter is coming.”
The Miller part of Steve Squared was an enfant terrible calling into conservative talk radio while still in high school in the early aughts. He bragged to conservative audiences of cracking the whip on laggardly high school janitorial staff. A graduate of U.S. Senator and ambulatory garden gnome Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ tutelage, there is no better description of Miller than this:
In any other Republican administration, Miller would have been lucky to land a second-tier job at a third-tier agency. But in the Trump White House, Miller stands out: He’s one of the few people in the president’s inner orbit who has actually worked in government.
And that my friends is the high water mark of what constitutes a policy shop for a petulant 70-year old who might or might not have successfully graduated from the Trump University of Potty Training given the reports of vodka-swilling, borscht-loving prostitutes.
Bannon and Miller are zealots. They are true believers – not of Trumpism for whatever that may turn out to be. They have spawned an apocalyptic philosophy of white national populism – the schizophrenic belief of a Judeo-Christian right to a 21st Century modernity of gadgets and gizmos nestled safely in a 1950’s culture where we are all employed by jobs last worked by our grandparents.
Empty vessels are the easiest filled. Barely 40-days in and this truism is proved by Flynn resigning due to canoodling with the Russians, a Secretary of the Navy, a Secretary of the Army, a Secretary of Labor, a Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and at least six White House staffers biting the curb because of non-existent vetting. Hundreds of offices are unfilled without any hint of nominees.
We have a rolling disclosure of Russians leaping like Baryshnikov to meet with campaign Trumpets. As of this writing, Flynn, Kushner, fruitcake Carter Page, J.D. Gordon, Walid Phares, and His Gnomeness Sessions, all met with the Russian ambassador Kislyak.
Then there is Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, who is so squirrely his bushy tail twitches when he someone says, “nuts.” Add to that Paul Manafort and you just need one more to field a baseball team, maybe the Chernobyl Reds who can play in the majorly radioactive league. The nagging question is this: Why the concerted effort to conceal these meetings?
Given these people’s intellectual challenges, they would be safer if they ate their meals with sporks since they are absolutely unfettered by their cluelessness of what they don’t know. The two people who are dancing on Occam’s razor, hoping against hope that Dolt 45’s signing pen doesn’t run out of ink are McTurtle and the doe-eyed Granny starver Ryan.
These two who worship power above all else are hoping that when the dust settles, their treasonous tryst will go unnoticed. And even if they are suspected of nefarious collusion, they will have accomplished their goal – tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. The 400 highest income earners in the country will get an average tax cut of about $7.0 Million a year for the low, low price tag of depriving health care to 21 Million.
Of course this pas de deux of the vacuous and the treasonous will culminate in a virtuoso of viperous Republican retribution. All in an effort to make good on the promise to the reliably hateful Republican/Tea Party voters to hurt those with less.
Overwhelming the already anemic media is part of the Steve Squared’s plan – not that overwhelming the media requires much effort. At least it appears that the Democrats are heeding the message to fight. It seems as if they finally understand there were no rewards for working with Dubya or no punishment for eight years of Republican obstruction.
It seems as if the Intelligence Community is our last bastion of protection. I follow a few former intelligence officers on Twitter and I perked right up when one said quite unequivocally that Dolt 45 will spend his last years in prison. They use sporks there too.
What’s on your mind today?
That’s how many seconds we have survived under the Trump/Putin Administration. Thinking of it like that gives the illusion of something longer than just a week, but that’s all it has been. There are 207 more weeks to go in this first four-year installment of, “Government by basic cable.”
While the Women’s March gave me hope, I have fallen into a pall. I’ll save the reason for the end of this post.
Last August I wrote about the Yam’s psychological composition. It’s time to revisit those for a starting point to today’s discussion. I went into much more detail back in August, but I wanted to mention the high points.
Der Trumpenfuhrer exhibits the traits of an Executive Sales consultant. You won’t find these people under every rock you turn over, but they aren’t an endangered species. Predominant are his traits of Significance, Competition, and Command.
The Significance means he receives every ounce of his self-esteem from the way other people see him. In short, he is an empty vessel of perpetual need. Emotional fragility is his default position. No amount of positive feedback will quench his constant thirst to be told he is a person of value.
Competition explains his fixation on the inaugural crowd and the popular vote. As I said back in August, it isn’t so much about winning as it is about everyone else losing. There’s a darkness and mean-spiritedness prevalent in this characteristic. It’s about wishing ill to befall everyone standing in the way of conquest. Numbers are measurements and everything is about measurement.
Then you have the third leg of the stool – Command. People who have Command must be in charge. They are essentially rhetorical bulldozers without a reverse gear. Emotions and feelings are merely weaknesses giving those with Command something at which to aim. Command is the trait that erases the Yam’s shame and embarrassment genes.
I mention these characteristics again for a simple reason. The clamorous Yam is not going to change. The only change is this: When he is tired or under pressure, these proclivities will be stronger. These are his default settings. We will see more of this behavior, not less.
These characteristics have not been lost on those around the Yamster. The devious ones are attempting to harness these characteristics as best they can. The others are leaking like incontinent sieves.
In my humble opinion, the true evil behind the madness is hiding in plain sight – Bannon. It takes a certain kind of discerning evil to play to Trump’s character by publicly humiliating Mitt Romney. It takes a keen hand to play to the base by parading Al Gore through the Trump lobby and then appointing his antithesis to head the EPA the very next day.
Bannon’s fingerprints are all over this first week like overwhelming the press by chewing paper and crapping Executive Orders. Such are the actions of a two-bit dictator. The number of full democracies in the world was reduced by one this year – from 20 to 19. The one falling to the “flawed democracy” category was the U.S.
This is merely the tip of the great orange turdberg into which we are sailing. Pence and Ryan have conspired to erase the New Deal and surrender human rights within our foreign policy. Eighty years of progressive policy will die in some Ayn Randian polemic mirroring the dystopian carnage the Yam barked about in his inaugural address.
From transferring the corporate tax burden to the middle class, from starting a trade war to inadvertently conferring superpower status on China, from increasing infant mortality to accelerating climate change, the future is indeed dark. To summarily cede the largest trading bloc to China will haunt us for generations.
This is what I know. The harm will be quickly legislatively engineered. The effects will metastasize at a slower pace. Pence, Ryan, and Bannon will fray the social safety net and the damage will not be undone for generations. In these hyper-partisan times, re-engineering Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid is incomprehensible.
This clown show is currently booked for 4 years. The fools lured into Cabinet posts won’t have comparable longevity. They will be expected to fall on their swords like a Jonestown dance team to protect the dear Supine Leader’s emotional fragility.
If these people have their way, corporate profits will win over regulation. To speed up making the world a more dangerous place, the House has passed legislation allowing regulations to be rolled back without the protections of normal rule-making. We will soon be living in the “regulation-free jungle” where food, water, air, voting rights, and any number of basic human needs are a roll of the dice.
All of this is sad, but my despondence is deeper. For me it is this simple: I have always believed in the goodness of my fellow citizens — their better angels. We are embarking on an era where such optimism is misplaced.
Trump is ushering in an era where the vindictive nature of the Tea Party/Trumpists will reign supreme. It isn’t about a wall or health care – it is about causing pain. Whether the enemies are Mexicans or people of color or the libruls or gays or immigrants, someone has to hurt in the goofy belief it will be a balm for generational economic transition.
A $50 Billion great wall will never satiate people who fought to deny water to Katrina victims. Who fight funding for health care to children and the elderly. Trump and his pack of jackals bragged about harnessing the anger of the electorate, I never believed our national morality would be the first victim.
If our collective goal in the American experiment was building the Utopian “shining city on the hill,” by surrendering our institutions to this callous cabal we have forsaken that dream, embraced the malevolence, and forever altered the course of our shared history. This moralistic void chills the soul – hopefully our better angels will reawaken. Last weekend’s march was a great start.
What’s on your mind today?
It seems to have gone unnoticed, but Mitch McConnell continues blocking the confirmation of Merrick Garland. Judge Garland, by all accounts, is a magnificent judge. McConnell is blocking Judge Garland in order to allow Donald L’Orange Trump to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice. Think about that.
The same Trump who believes melanin precludes a judge from understanding what massive fraud looks like in terms of bilking unsuspecting poor people into crippling credit card debt for attending bogus real estate courses.
The same human/meerkat hybrid who thinks when he’s President he can just switch out Judges like he does groundskeepers on his golf courses.
So Sen. McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have the dubious honor of supporting a “textbook racist” in order for him to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court.
Does irony even register with these people? Before now, even racist-lite comments were an absolute bar to election. Now you have the Republican Party nominating a person hurling racist comments over a civil fraud case in which he, the candidate, is the defendant. When Trump says he wants to “Make America Great Again,” there is no doubt that is a typographical error meant to say, “Make America White Again.”
Trump’s stubby little fingers pointed toward a teaser in his scripted speech Tuesday night. Given his penchant for “fraud for profit” (most popular major at Trump U.), he’s going to traffic in lies and innuendo by using Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash as his source material for next week’s attack on Hillary.
Peter Schweizer is a piece of work. He’s has long toiled in the vineyards where the grapes of Clinton wrath are stored. He’s clever in his approach. He claims to only report the facts and allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. Here’s the rub: Factual errors, dribs and drabs of incomplete rumors are strung together, and rumors copied off the bathroom walls of filthy internet conspiracy sites are the currency of Schweizer’s work.
For future reference, here is a compendium of how reviewers have urinated on Clinton Cash.
If you want to have some fun, here is a Vice President generator. You can slice and dice potential candidates to your personal liking.
All too often we get all absorbed in the process of politics. The game of what sociological segment will react in which way resulting in a particular effect to the vote totals. This is little more than a strategic parlor game. That is the fun part.
Focusing on the game ignores the reality of governance. What’s more, it fails to appreciate the costs of ignoring that reality.
Here’s an article that brings home the reality. You probably haven’t seen it. It is from the Justice Harry Blackmun’s papers. It is entitled: The Day Roe v. Wade Was Overruled.
The recounted events are in April through June of 1992. The all-consuming central goal of Chief Justice Rehnquist was to overrule Roe before the election. He almost did. In fact, for a few days he had. If not for Justice Anthony Kennedy he would have ultimately succeeded.
This is worth the read. It is not the easiest read, but it reminds us of the reality as to what is at stake in real world terms.
Finally, there have been lots of things written about Hillary’s “herstoric” victory. Here are two articles, here and here, worthy of reading. The underlying premise of both, they both get to the same conclusion in different ways, are these two conclusive statements:
Hillary Clinton is a generationally talented politician — albeit across a different set of dimensions than men tend to be talented politicians.
Over the past 30 years, no American political figure has absorbed as many blows as Clinton. And none has responded with more tenacity and grit. Trump talks endlessly about strength. Clinton embodies it.
As always, we are lovers of free-range opinions. What’s on your mind today?
Afternoon Widdershins. It is a wee bit chilly in these parts today — sorry, I had a wee bit of an Al Roker moment there. In any event, a happy Tuesday to you.
Before I wade into my epistolary drivel, I need to announce a programming change here at TW. As Fredster announced last week, real life has demanded his attention on a few matters in the coming months. These things happen. In keeping with Fredster’s preternatural aplomb he will quickly tame these pesky issues, but until then we will see him around the neighborhood commenting while we anxiously await his return to writing regularly.
We are changing up the schedule for posting. MB will continue to post Mondays, Chat will continue posting on Friday and every other weekend while I’ll post on Wednesdays and every other weekend. Or at least that is the plan for now.
It’s the first day of 114th Congress — can I get a collective yippekiya? You will undoubtedly hear about how it is the most diverse in history, blah, blah, blah. That observation depends upon which way the media windjammers are blowing at the moment.
This Congress is 80% male, 80% white, and 92% Christian. If that is progress then our past contains much for which to be ashamed. Of course the numbers of women and representatives of color have moved in the right direction, but there is still much to do to accomplish a representative body that is truly representative.
Senator Mitch McConnell becomes the Majority Leader today. By all reports, it is his lifelong dream. Now if you had spent seven decades in an unceasing march toward a personal goal, you would think assuming the reins of power would bring with it a resounding offering of wisdom — words to live by describing lofty goals from which we could all be inspired. Or you would think wouldn’t you?
Instead, McConnell’s words to his Senate sisters and brothers, “Don’t be scary.” Nothing about the traversing the growing economic chasm between the “don’t haves” and the ultra-rich “have it alls”. Nothing about climate change other than hamstringing the EPA. Nothing about ISIL, terrorism, Guantanamo Bay, foreign policy, torture, Ebola — you get the picture, just “don’t be scary”.
The reason he wants his acolytes to fall into a regular order on the non-scary side is that he wants to demonstrate the election of a Republican President in 2016 wouldn’t be traumatizing to the electorate. In short, it isn’t about governing, it is about consolidating power. It isn’t about good policy, but what makes good politics. It isn’t about public service, but political optics.
His comments were a thinly veiled slap at Sen. Ted Cruz, the anti-Spock who believes with all his being that the “good of the one outweighs the needs of the many.” It is my best guess that McConnell’s time on the Senate mountaintop will be short-lived. The election calendar doesn’t bode well for continued Republican control past 2016 when 24 Republican senators are up for reelection.
There has been a thematic undercurrent from the Republican party over the holidays in the lead up to today. It has been the same tired old harangue about taxes, Obamacare, and government regulation. The only difference is that it is in whispered tones and not on the usual bullhorn frequency. This in the face of the economy growing at a resounding 5% last quarter.
Paul Krugman in a great essay entitled, “Leave the Economic Weapon on the Ground,” put it like this:
You know the spiel: that the U.S. economy is ailing because Obamacare is a job-killer and the president is a redistributionist, that Obama’s anti-business speeches (he hasn’t actually made any, but never mind) have hurt entrepreneurs’ feelings, inducing them to take their marbles and go home.
This storyline never made much sense. The truth is that the private sector has done surprisingly well under Obama, adding 6.7 million jobs since he took office, compared with just 3.1 million at this point under President George W. Bush. Corporate profits have soared, as have stock prices. What held us back was unprecedented public-sector austerity. At this point in the Bush years, government employment was up by 1.2 million, but under Obama it’s down by 600,000. Sure enough, now that this de facto austerity is easing, the economy is perking up.
We shouldn’t worry though — facts won’t get in the way of confusing the new Congress critters. In that facts haven’t confused them about global warming or foreign policy, you can be sure facts won’t sow confusion about something so arcane as the economy. Conversely, what I find scary is that there seems to be no satiating the “have it all” class of the one-percenters. You would think at some point even they would become embarrassed by their accumulation of wealth.
There is reason for optimism though. With every turn of the calendar we are one day closer to 2016 when Mitch McConnell and his merry band of Halloweenies can once again be as scary as they were meant to be.
Take the conversation in any direction you might like and stay warm.