- A few weeks ago Andrew Sullivan wrote an essay about how Trump’s rise is a sign that we are suffering from too much democracy. Unsurprisingly, he was way off.
- Yes, Hillary is way better than Trump and we should do our best to get her elected. But that’s not permission to forget what she has in common with him . . .
- Yes You Should Still Vote for Her, Pt. 2: All those Bernie folks worried about Clinton’s hawkishness were probably justified.
- Yes You Should Still Vote for Her, Pt. 3: Speaking of foreign policy, remember those pesky death squads from Central America in the ’80s and ’90s? Well they’re back in Honduras, and they’re directly related to the 2009 coup that Hillary endorsed.
Archive for the GOP Category
- Elizabeth Warren continues being the best.
- We know that Democrats are likely to regain control of the Senate, but could they also win back the House of Representatives as well? Perhaps a more relevant question: as moderate as Hillary is, would it even matter, practically-speaking, to have Democrats in control of both houses?
- When Israeli Defense Forces kill civilians in a territory they are illegally occupying, it is legitimate. But when Palestinians attack those illegally occupying soldiers, it is “terrorism.” Seems like the definition of “terrorism” has basically become “When Muslims attack white Westerners.”
- What do the “Panama Papers” and the Snowden leaks have in common?
- Glenn Greenwald discusses what’s truly going on in Brazil right now, including important historical context and the U.S.’s responsibility for the current situation.
- A brilliant article by Eric Levitz of The New Yorker about why the GOP must answer for the disintegration of Kansas and Louisiana, the two states that have been laboratories of pure conservatism for the last several years.
- Jason Linkins explains just why Hillary is allowing a failed CEO to host her fundraiser.
- Kathryn Joyce reveals a deeply disturbing culture of male chauvinism and sexual harassment in U.S. national parks and forests.
This morning NPR interviewed Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) concerning the GOP’s unprecedented and shameful obstruction of Obama’s nominee to replace deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The interview went about as you expected, with Hatch predictably reiterating the GOP’s obstructionist position, proclaiming that “voters deserve a say” in who the new Justice will be while clearly neglecting that voters already had a say in 2012. . . unless he and the rest of his brigade are somehow implying that voters in 2012 were ignorant of the presidential term length, or perhaps that they voted for Obama but with the caveat that he only have power for three years instead of four.
There was mild news in the sense that Hatch left open the possibility of eventually confirming Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, but only after the elections in November. Clearly this would only happen if Hillary wins and if Republicans then calculate that she’s likely to nominate a more liberal candidate than Garland. I’m not sure what factors would go into such a calculation, and I’m personally skeptical they’d have anything to worry about given that Clinton is a Republican herself on every issue except for women’s rights and health care.
But all in all, nothing new. We knew all this already. People paying attention know how hypocritical it is of Hatch to block Garland (no matter what he wants to call it), since Hatch is on record as extolling Garland as essentially an ideal bipartisan nominee from a Democratic president. Reasonable people know that the Republicans are committing dereliction of duty for purely political motives.
The most interesting comment for me came at the very end, and it’s where NPR dropped the ball. Hatch, winding down, explicitly stated that Democrats would be doing the exact same thing if the positions were switched.
Now two questions immediately occurred to me upon hearing this, and the NPR interviewer asked neither of them. The first was simply, “How can you know that?” I mean, he stated this weird hypothetical so confidently that you’re tempted to believe it’s a statement of fact.
But if you think about it for even a second you realize that not only is there no way he could know that for sure, but his opinion doesn’t even follow logically, knowing how meek and cowardly Democrats typically act in the face of Republican belligerence. It’s almost impossible for me to even imagine the Democrats doing this. Which rabid Democratic senators would be leading the charge. Reid? I guess it’s possible. But who would support him? Hatch’s statement is simply and outrageously ignoring the huge disparity in extremism between the two parties.
Let’s say Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away suddenly at the end of a Republican administration. Democrats would most likely hem and haw a little bit about how they hoped the president would at least select a more moderate judge considering he was on the way out and was replacing a liberal stalwart. Then, after the president nominated the 2nd Coming of Scalia, they would whine a little bit about how unfair it is but then cave in once Republicans began berating them nonstop about how obstructionist they’re being.
How many of you honestly believe Hatch’s version is more realistic than mine?
In any case, the second question that occurred to me would have been more useful, though it wasn’t as instinctual as the first so I don’t necessarily blame the interviewer for not asking. It was, “Granting your hypothetical, if Democrats were blocking a Republican nominee as you claim, what would your reaction be?”
And I would have sincerely loved to hear his response to this one.
But yeah, NPR failed to challenge Hatch on his illogical closing argument, and they missed a wonderful opportunity to further expose GOP hypocrisy on this issue. In a political and media age where truth is becoming increasingly scorned, and hypocrisy increasingly met with impunity, it is all the more incumbent upon our media members that they hold public servants’ feet to the flames. Please get on your game, NPR.
Help us, non-corporate media — you’re our only hope.
When you hear the phrase “calculated lie,” the connotation is usually reserved for some piece of misinformation that is deliberately, carefully and cynically crafted in order to delude a gullible audience. But this is not at all the sense in which Donald Drumpf’s lies are “calculated.”
Drumpf’s lies meet the “cynical” criterion but fail the other two by a wide margin. His lies are utterly casual and careless, almost in a way that leads one to believe they’ve become reflexive. But this does not negate the notion that his lies are calculated; it merely reorients us as to the way in which they’re calculated. The calculation of Drumpf’s lies do not apply to one specific lie, as we normally understand the term “calculated lie,” but rather to his general principle of truth, which is: it matters not one bit.
The calculation of Drumpf’s lies refer to the moment many decades ago when he consciously realized that he could say whatever he wanted with impunity. He is not a brilliant man but he’s shrewd, and it must have occurred to him at a fairly young age that with his essentially unlimited resources and corresponding insulation from criticism (via either the media or the common citizenry), he could fabricate reality at will and never face any repercussions that he couldn’t buy his way out of. With enough shamelessness he probably wouldn’t have to pay at all.
And it is the results of that calculation — you could call it the “Original Calculation” — that we see today in his brazen, breathtaking disregard for truth or reality.
You see it when he says the man who rushed his stage in Ohio was Isis and that he was dragging a U.S. flag on the ground, maintaining this fiction even in an interview where the journalist pointedly rebutted each facet of his statement. You see it several months ago when he claimed to see broadcast video of New Jersey Muslims celebrating on the streets after 9/11. You see it in the recent debate when he clearly stated he has been audited by the IRS for the last 12 consecutive years (and that’s why he can’t release his tax documents). You see it when he calls into a show and states, for example, that John Oliver has invited him onto his show “four or five times,” when it simply hasn’t happened.
He does this because he has long since “calculated” that brazenly lying results in scant penalties and virtually unlimited rewards. He crafts a fictional, emotionally appealing narrative that will attract loyal followers while building his own status, and he does it secure in the knowledge that fact-checkers will rarely get as much media attention. Even if they do, the first, outrageous claim is usually the one that sticks.
And based on this calculation, Drumpf has effectively straitjacketed his honesty and can now confidently state literally whatever he pleases. It’s not so much whether he knows or not that he’s lying anymore, it’s actually that he no longer cares and probably hasn’t for decades. He doesn’t care because it’s in his brand’s best interest not to. It’s analogous to sociopathy, where we don’t so much call the perpetrator “immoral” as “amoral” — they just don’t care about morality.
Similarly, Drumpf isn’t “not truthful,” he’s “a-truthful.” It’s a no-lose situation for him, especially since he has long since lost both his integrity and dignity.
Interestingly, once you begin to listen to Drumpf through this filter, you can spot exactly when he’s lying. He’s blustering and rambling, and amidst the bluster he spews some ridiculous factoid that simply sounds ludicrous. You can almost hear in his voice that he doesn’t believe it. Pay close attention to his facial expressions at these moments as you may be treated to a rare glimpse of the endangered species known scientifically as Conscientius drumpfanacus.
Unfortunately it is up to the national media to consistently and relentlessly expose these lies and hold him accountable, and I’m skeptical that they’re up to the task. Honestly, at this point there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t still win the public relations battle anyway.
The future of politics is here and it’s a shit-show.