Open Thread Feb. 17: The Winning Continues Unabated

Filed in National, Open Thread by on February 17, 2018

Trump-despising Republican TV fixture Rick Wilson best nailed Trumpworld’s response to Robert Mueller’s Friday indictment-palooza in a tweetstorm of invective:

Sweet Jesus the MAGAS, the clickservatives, and Gentry Breitbart think he’s exonerated. It’s freaking spectacular. SPEC-TAC-ULAR. No. Really. Their level of self-delusion, day-drinking, head trauma, and lead-paint chip ingestion is a miracle of medical science….His fans often say Trump is playing x-dimensional chess, projecting order on the stochastic lunacy of his dementia, lack of moral compass, world-class narcissist personality disorder, white-hot ignorance, and dry-drunk lashing-out.

Yes, reality-dwellers, Friday’s indictment of more than a dozen Russians for trying to rig American elections proves — in Trumpworld — that TRUMP IS INNOCENT! Don’t try to figure it out. It’s sort of like how, for Christians, the Trinity is proof that there’s one God. Once you kiss logic goodbye, anything is possible.

I pointed out the media’s complicity in keeping America mass-shooting obsessed the other day. I’m not the only person who finds this a problem. Here are some suggestions for how TV could help tamp this down instead of pump it up. I don’t agree with them all, but it’s past time TV execs stopped thinking with their pleasure centers. If they can ignore activity on the football field in the name of discouraging it, they can downplay this tendency to make famous every mass killer. No, this isn’t a substitute for gun control, but it’s something that can be addressed immediately. Gun control will take years.

Trying to capitalize on mass shootings never ends, though. Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants FBI director Christopher Wray to resign because the FBI didn’t follow up a tip about the Florida school shooter. Yeah, right. Just the way Scott did when the feds busted his hospital company for Medicare fraud — though of course, that was because he risked losing everything had he stayed on. Now Scott risks being exposed as just another treasonous Republican if Wray stays on.

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  1. puck says:

    So as if you didn’t already know: The undercurrent of racism and misogyny in the Bernie Hillary primary that sent our blogging friends scurrying away to where they could clutch their pearls safely on their fainting couch – it was coming from Russian bots and troll farms, not their liberal Democratic friends.

    I could never figure out why it seemed like they were blaming me/us for that shit. Turns out they were slurping it up on Facebook and projecting onto the closest liberal men they knew. I don’t do Facebook, so it just dawned on me recently.

    The ridiculous premise was that there were liberal men who supported Bernie, but when Bernie’s prospects dimmed they were so misogynistic they would switch to Trump instead of Hillary. And racist too. There were no such Democrats in America – they were Russians, and most of them weren’t even people. Russian bots played our white upper middle class liberals like violins.

  2. Alby says:

    For the win.

    You make a point that really resonates with me: I didn’t know any of these Bernie supporters who supposedly were so misogynistic they preferred Trump to Hillary. I saw a few people make the case that Trump would be a change agent and Hillary wouldn’t, but that’s not misogyny. The other reason it never added up was that most Bernie people also like Elizabeth Warren, another, y’know, woman, but that cut no ice with the folks you’re talking about.

    Cults of personality are a bad idea no matter which political philosophy the personality espouses. This is why I get dismayed when people say the Democrats should run Oprah or someone similar in 2020. This whole white-knight-on-a-noble-steed line of thinking needs to be buried.

  3. bamboozer says:

    Know one “can’t have Bernie voted for Trump” type, it’s my oldest step son and he’s not stupid. But he is a macho man, a watch football and beat the couch to death when his team is losing type. He also bought the “crooked Hilary” lies. Good example of American political ignorance, not misogyny in this case. The Russians worked the Bernie angle to the max, claiming the primaries were rigged and that Bernie was forced out. Some fools bought it but the shear volume of the posts made it obvious the trolls were working a full time job. Probably got benefits too.

  4. Alby says:

    On the Bernie-was-forced-out front, the Russians had the benefit of DNC emails that indicated such was actually the case.

    Most of what the Russians are doing wouldn’t work if Americans didn’t hate each other’s guts.

  5. RE Vanella says:

    Rather than face the moral and political rot of neoliberalism we play 21st century Red Scare internet game.


    You think the Ruskies brought us this mess or maybe the Crime Bill, Welfare to Work, NAFTA, Drug War, real war and corporate bailouts?


  6. 00elainesmith says:

    I like this idea, but let’s not limit donation recipients to the GOP.

  7. Alby says:

    @REV: All of the above, plus the Russkies.

    I think the end game is going to be that the Russians gave tens of millions to the NRA, which injected it into elections all over the country thanks to the opacity of donations under Citizens United.

    Neoliberalism can suck and the Russians can be motherfuckers, all at the same time. One doesn’t have to be false for the others to be true, and because they’re both true they reinforce each other.

    The Republican “experiment,” if we can call it that, is seeing how long a party that represents a minority of not just public opinion but votes can seize power in a system set up to reward the majority of both. That they need outside help to maintain this hold on power should neither surprise us nor go unpunished.

    Red Scare my ass. These people aren’t communists. They’re mafiosi, and our oligarchs are eager as fuck to do business with their oligarchs. They’re siphoning money out of their economy into ours, and our bankers love it. They are part of the problem, not a distraction.

  8. puck says:

    “He also bought the “crooked Hilary” lies. Good example of American political ignorance…”

    A heavy Facebook user?

  9. RE Vanella says:

    Whatever weight allocated to Russian mob shit versus all the other political things re: I “what brought us Trump?” we can only do something about the political. I see no other way.

    I’m not dismissing it. I just don’t see what it does winning back political power. Waste of scare resources.

  10. Alby says:

    Not my resources. I’d rather have the FBI tracking down traitors than terrorists. I know which one poses a greater danger to me.

  11. Liberal Elite says:

    @A “On the Bernie-was-forced-out front, the Russians had the benefit of DNC emails that indicated such was actually the case.”

    That just isn’t true. That’s a false narrative based on emails, but that’s not what really happened. Sure there were DNC players who much preferred Hillary, but Bernie lost his races on his own, and not because of these players.

  12. Alby says:

    Whether he lost the races on his own is immaterial to whether they did what they could to ensure he lost.

    You’re really going to have to stop trying to get the lipstick on the pig.

  13. Liberal Elite says:

    No. It’s stupid to say he was “forced out”. Nothing of the kind ever happened.
    What do you think they did? Messed with debate schedules? Wow… forced out!!

  14. RE Vanella says:

    Spread this around. Every chance to get in the street is an opportunity to do something important.

    We’re going to have to start coming together and getting in the street. No other choice. Walk the talk.

    Saturday, 15 March, Washington D.C., Audere est facere.

  15. Phil says:

    Well, if the russian indictments actually hold water, then the hillary campaign is guilty as well. They hired an unregistered foreign agent to create a dossier to influence an election. Then tried to hide the trail through lawyers and shell companies.

  16. Liberal Elite says:

    Hey Phil bot… That’s just stupid. Really stupid.

  17. Delawarelefty says:

    Phil, you are pulling Putin’s pud….

  18. Alby says:

    The Russians are out in force.

    LE: Cult of personality, dearie. Look into it. Just being better than Trump does not make Hillary Clinton less of a piece of shit.

    She’s shit, and the Democratic Party is shit, and the sooner you realize both the better off you’ll be.

  19. RE Vanella says:

    Who’s still with her?! Hooray! Who cares…

    The “lock her up” crowd and the wine-mom set and the Jill Stein people need to, with all due respect, fucking grow up.

    We have work to do. Russiagate is dumb. Medicare for All. $15 minimum wage. Address homelessness and addiction. Right now. For the many not the few. Oligarchy must fall or we’re done.

    See you at the anti-gun demonstration in DC next month, right?

  20. Delawarelefty says:

    Wow Rev, Russiagate is all about the oligarchy.

  21. Alby says:

    To each his own. You don’t get to set my priorities for me, just as I don’t get to set yours for you.

    No disrespect, but none of the issues you listed will topple the oligarchy. At best you’ll get the oligarchy to fund those issues better, which it easily can afford to do, but none of them will cause people to overthrow the corporate hegemony over most of the planet.

    We might not topple it if we show how crooked it is, either, but I like those chances better. YMMV.

  22. RE Vanella says:

    You’re right. None alone will be the death blow. But higher taxes, $15 dollar minimum wage & universal single payer are huge punches landed.

    The idea that a Kushner money laundering indictment or Manafort bank fraud conviction does anything for the left to get back political power is not correct.

    It can be your priority. That’s fine. Just understand that the daily Russiagate rumor round-up helps nothing. You just find it interesting or something.

    It’s self evident. Even if it’s all true (which much of it likely is!) it does zero to scratch back any political power.

    You really think exposing Russiagate will draw everyone’s attention to global oligarchy? It won’t. We have to organize, take back political power and govern for the many not the few.

    Now feel free to continue the Boris & Natasha cartoon. I’m going to smoke a joint and go to the museum.

  23. Alby says:

    I think we differ in strategy.

    The Republican Party is the greatest threat to future life on Earth. I am not exaggerating. If Russians are propping them up, then I will attack the Russians, too.

    See if you agree with this: If we demonstrate that the Russians injected multi-millions into the presidential race, we can use it to overthrow Citizens United; anyone who opposes that will be in effect saying it’s OK for foreign money to influence our elections. It’s not — that’s blatantly illegal, which is what has the GOP scurrying about like rats.

    It’s all about leverage. You take what you have and try to leverage it into an advantage.

    I confess nothing has surprised me more than the Republican embrace of Russia, their erstwhile mortal enemy. But it all makes sense once you realize that all these people — plutocrats, oligarchs, call them what you want — just want to get their hands on the money. Their complaint with the Soviets wasn’t the brutality of their regime — obviously so, since they’d be thrilled to install exactly that sort of regime here — but that Communists wouldn’t allow capitalists to come in and fleece their flock. Now that they can, they love the Russians.

    I don’t deny that the changes you seek will improve life for the lower classes. I’m not a member of the lower classes and, while I’m willing to fight for them, I don’t mistake their cause for my own.

    You didn’t even mention Black Lives Matter, which I consider a greater priority than any of the issues you listed, for the simple reason that the police state is how autocrats enforce their power. That power must be opposed.

  24. Dave says:

    “It’s all about leverage. You take what you have and try to leverage it into an advantage. ”

    True. Democrats and liberals always think that a full frontal assault is the best strategy. I’m not sure where they got that from. Maybe it’s an ancient memory of D-Day or Waterloo or something. Marching and demonstrating does have its place, but as a strategy it is unsustainable since the pace of change is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. People have jobs, they have to buy groceries, pick up the kids from school – you know life. Maybe they are always arguing revolution because they recognize that it’s unsustainable.

    Marching is invigorating however. It gets the juices flowing. Even so, adrenaline rushes themselves are unsustainable. Eventually there is the plodding and grinding to do, along with a strategy that uses the enemy’s tactics against themselves.

    Leverage means using the anti-abortion movement as a means to promote reducing unwanted pregnancy through contraception or making the economic argument that SNAP is good for the economy and capitalism. Things like that. Leverage means taking a cold hard look at the landscape and developing a strategy that recognizes that environment (the world as it is and not how we want it to be) and works within it. But, strategic planning does not appear to be the Democrats strong suit. I wonder if it’s because the passion and outrage gets in the way?

  25. Alby says:

    No, it’s mainly because the Democrats by their nature don’t follow orders the way Republicans do. Republicans tend toward autocracy because strict adherence to hierarchy is extremely important to them. Just as it is to baboons.

  26. jason330 says:

    The proof of that is how quickly Republicans can swap out villains when directed to.