Our Failed Meritocracy / Media: “OMGarosa!!!

(This was scheduled to pop up at 10am this morning, but FYWP… )


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This Is What You Do When You Don’t Have A Real Argument

Two of the key people in the Obama administration for the negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were investigated by an Israeli private intelligence agency trying to find dirt on them, The Guardian reported today.

The agency talked to reporters in order to find whether Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, advisors to President Obama, had shared sensitive information. Presumably they found nothing, or we would have heard about it.

This has been the modus operandi of the JCPOA opponents all along. On Twitter, they indulge in ad hominems and personal attacks rather than present a coherent argument. They set up straw men with views that misrepresent the case for the agreement. They all seem to have the same talking points and slogans (“sunset clauses,” “give Iran nuclear weapons”) in what I might have called an echo chamber if they hadn’t seized on that accusation first.

Back in the summer of 2015, they tried to set up a phony controversy about “secret side agreements.” Several of the supporters of the agreement, including me, responded strongly and, I think, managed to squash their propaganda before it fully bloomed. For that, we were attacked again and again on Twitter.

All the opponents have is lies and false accusations. This latest exposure of their dirty tactics is of a piece with the tactics they have used all along. It’s an indication that they have nothing else.

 

In case you were in doubt, Rudy says the quiet part out loud.

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.

 

 

 

 

 



Late Night Open Thread: (Probably) One Last Nerdprom Review

Keep in mind — Ana Navarro is a professional Republican. Jen Chaney, at NYMag Vulture blog:

It would have been easy for Wolf to take a cheap shot at either of these women for some superficial offense, like the way they dress or talk. As Nussbaum points out, that’s what Trump would have done, and has done on many occasions. But nothing about what Michelle Wolf did on Saturday night was easy. It was hard, harder even than the truthtelling that Stephen Colbert did to President George W. Bush’s face at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. True, Colbert was dressing down the commander in chief in his actual presence, something Wolf didn’t have the opportunity to do since Trump, for the second year in a row, couldn’t muster the courage to show up for this event. But Colbert could at least hide behind his alter ego as the conservative host of The Colbert Report. Wolf had to go out there as only the fourth female comedian to perform solo at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, drop a bunch of truth bombs, then sit back down with no shield to provide cover…

Not surprisingly, though, it’s the jabs that Wolf threw at Sanders and other Trump staffers that are getting criticized today, not just because some of them were funny but because they legitimately stung. To acknowledge what actually made the smoky eye line funny meant that some of the people in that ballroom had to reflect on the fact that they either lie, enable liars, or act nicely to liars because that’s what they sometimes have to do to get the information the public deserves to know. That’s the sort of situation that makes people itchy.

But here’s the thing: If the worst thing that happens to you while you’re working for Trump is that a woman from The Daily Show says a few mean things about you while you’re wearing a nice dress, eating a free meal, and drinking some wine, you are still having a better day than a hell of a lot of people in this country. Also, this is part of the job when you’re a public servant…
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Schadenfreude Open Thread: Nobody Loves A Loser, Donny…


 
… Except for the other losers! Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani represent everything Boston most loathes about NYC. So it’s not surprising the Boston Globe was happy to share:

[T]he lure of representing the most powerful man in the world isn’t appealing to this generation’s cadre of top white-collar criminal defense attorneys: Twelve partners from a total of seven firms have said no to President Trump’s entreaties to help him navigate the special counsel’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Being turned down time and again led Trump to pick former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani this week, turning to a former presidential candidate and one-time US attorney who was known for his at times imprecise but often effective advocacy of Trump on the campaign trail in 2016. Trump also brought on board a relatively obscure husband-and-wife team of former federal prosecutors with a white-collar criminal defense practice in South Florida.

It’s hard to call it a dream team.

“Rudy Giuliani has always been available,” said Roger Cossack, a former California prosecutor and legal analyst on TV. “Hiring Rudy Giuliani only underlines Trump’s dilemma in finding a lawyer who will work for him.”…

“What we’re seeing with President Trump is really unprecedented,” said Timothy Naftali, a historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. During the depths of Watergate, Nixon had a squadron of high-power lawyers to walk him through the process. “Nixon’s problem was that he wasn’t honest with his lawyers. And he didn’t really allow them to defend him,” he said…

Lawyers who’ve watched firms turn him down say it’s a combination of factors. There’s Trump’s reputation as a very difficult client who will undercut, change his mind, and publicly humiliate. Managing partners at top firms also fear Trump is so polarizing that their practice would lose clients and talent if they’re associated with him.

“Everyone who becomes associated with Trump becomes diminished,” explained one leading white-collar crime expert, who didn’t want to be named for fear of offending the president. “You come out with less of a reputation.”…

Another institutional worry at large firms is that Trump tends to ignore advice, even if it’s the best that money can buy. Some point to the president’s long history of civil litigation as a New York real estate developer and a casino owner, which gives Trump the confidence that he can be his own lawyer…

Firms also are worried that representing Trump could hurt recruitment of the best students coming out of law schools, particularly women, Bennett said…

(Also, he’s a notorious deadbeat.)

Much more, including a list of refuseniks, at the link.



Farewell Ryan Open Thread: Requiem for A Heavyweight Fake


 
Nobody loves a quitter, but dayyum Paul Ryan has a lot of enemies! Of course, he’s taken credit for a budget bill that will explode the deficit while giving still more of our common wealth away to the least deserving plutocrats, while failing to rein in the worst impulses of the leaders of “his” party. And he’s abandoning ship just in time for an actual avowed white supremacist to take the lead in the GOP primary for his replacement, and guaranteeing that we’ll all get to watch at least two of the least appealing Repub congresscritters (Kevin McCarthy & Steve Scalise) fight like crazed weasels to take over his “throne”. Also, he’s the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver. But the Media Village Idiots always seemed to love him — yet the concensus of public comment right now seems to be GOOD RIDDANCE, at best. Of course the NYTimes is still slobbering over his “bravery”, and there may be television pundits still standing up for their Pauly Blue Eyes…


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Late Night Ugliness Open Thread: Wingnut Wurlitzers & the Pushers’ Dilemma

As with all junkies, a taste of the good stuff, the pure uncut hatred, leaves the consumers of right-wing media hatefests hungry for more and uglier “bumps” from their local pusher. But in order to stay nominally “legit”, the distributors at the top of the pyramid need to avoid public catastrophes that might expose their various enterprises to undue public scrutiny. Sinclair Media, having recently overstepped badly with a nationwide attempt to shut down honest journalism, did *not* need one of its street-level dealers to lose his shit in public, but…

A conservative commentator at a Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned television station in St. Louis has resigned after a statement he made threatening to sexually assault David Hogg drew harsh criticism and sparked the beginnings of an advertiser boycott.

Jamie Allman, who hosts a nightly news show on KDNL, a Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate in St. Louis, as well as a morning FM radio show, wrote on Twitter that he was “hanging out getting ready,” to sexually assault David Hogg with “a hot poker.”

“Busy working. Preparing,” read the March 26 tweet, which is too vulgar to print here in full, but was published as a screen shot by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as the remark began to draw more scrutiny in recent days.

Advertisers, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, St. Louis health center Palm Health, and local real estate office The Gellman Team, announced they would stop advertising on Allman’s shows, spurred on by activists who took to social media to highlight the commentator’s remarks, as well as Democratic state lawmaker Stacey Newman and others…

It represented the potential of yet another public relations crisis for Sinclair, which has come under harsh criticism in recent weeks after a video of dozens of its anchors reading the same mandated script about “fake stories” went viral.

Sinclair, the Maryland-based media company, is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with 173 stations in 81 broadcast markets. It has come under intense scrutiny, as it awaits federal approval for a takeover of another media company, for injecting what many feel is a conservative bias into local news coverage. Its proposed buyout of Tribune Media, for which it needs approval from the FCC and the Department of Justice, would bring its coverage into the homes of as many as 70 percent of American households…

Jamie Allman, gettin’ high on his own(ers’) supply. Even Breitbart’s gonna have trouble finding a warm place for this dude to seek refuge.



Russiagate Open Thread: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Finds Himself in A Tough Spot

On the one hand, Trump and his enablers are very angry that even Fox News is losing interest in HRC’s emails (now that the details of Trump kissing up to Putin are becoming much better click-bait). And Sessions doesn’t want Trump to fire him, when he still has so many dark-skinned people, poor people, and ‘sexually irregular’ people to abuse!

On the other hand, Robert Mueller just refuses to go away. Sessions is a bad man, but he’s not a stupid one, and he knows that his every word and action is being weighed and stored for future use. He doesn’t want to go to jail, or even to lose his profession… which looks to be the end result for anyone and everyone who gets too close to Donny Dollhands, Lord Smallgloves.

What’s an elderly, entitled, self-important bigot to do? Here, throw the rubes a Mormon!…

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejected calls from Republican lawmakers for a second special counsel to look into potential misconduct by the Justice Department and the FBI in past investigations of Hillary Clinton, saying that the issues were already under scrutiny.

In a letter to three Republican committee chairmen, Sessions disclosed Thursday that he has assigned John Huber, a U.S. attorney based in Utah, to conduct an internal probe into complaints of FBI bias and wrongdoing.

“I am confident that Mr. Huber’s review will include a full, complete and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and facts,” Sessions wrote to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy…

Gowdy and Goodlatte, in a joint statement released Thursday night, said that “while we continue to believe the appointment of a second special counsel is necessary, this is a step in the right direction.”

They added: “We expect that U.S. Attorney Huber, given his reputation, will conduct an independent and thorough investigation.”…

Goodlatte and Gowdy have both said they’re retiring when their current term ends — they probably have the same interest as Sessions: Dragging out this latest snipe hunt in the hope that Trump might implode, Mueller might indict, or the horse might talk something genuinely incriminating the Clinton campaign might turn up, after all this time and effort. Grassley’s immovably stupid, but he’s also old enough that the actuarial odds might turn against him at any moment.

Meanwhile, the Repubs will posture mightily in all their favorite media outlets!