Lemonade from the Media Squeeze

Never had much respect for Don Lemon, who often seems daft and clueless, but in this clip, he models the correct way to push back on the Trump regime’s “fake news” meme:

Lemon interrupts the GOP mouthpiece who invokes “fake news,” defines what “fake news” actually is (i.e., it is not any news the Trump people find inconvenient) and gives the GOP mouthpiece an opportunity to make his point without screeching about “fake news.” And when the flack says “fake news” again, Lemon cuts him off.

That’s what it’s going to take. The Trump people — including Trump himself — lie and dissemble without shame. Their purpose is to destroy the distinction between fact and fiction. It’s a technique common to conmen and authoritarians.

If the media want to avoid having their panels, interviews, press conferences, etc., flooded with so many lies that the whole process breaks down, as in a denial of service attack, they’ll have to be firm like Lemon was above.



Monday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s a beautiful photo of some clam-digging ibises from faithful reader cope:

Ibises aren’t strictly shore birds. I see them sweep the neighborhood frequently, moving from yard to yard in small groups while digging for bugs. They’re such a part of the daily landscape that I scarcely notice them anymore, but I’m going to pay more attention in the future.

Saw news alerts about that despicable Milo creature getting the boot from CPAC (the annual conservative circle-jerk that takes place soon). Just a couple of weeks ago, wingnuts were bewailing the abridging of his “First Amendment rights” after an appearance in Berkeley was met by protests and then black bloc rioting.

Now that video has emerged of the creep defending pederasty in no uncertain terms, the wingnuts have dumped him. Wonder if he’ll lose his book deal and perch at Breitbart? Maybe. He sure sounds worried in this Facebook post.

It’s comforting to know there are still lines someone who defames liberals for profit cannot cross. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc., are all well and good, but modern conservatives WILL draw the line at child molestation. Good to know.



Janitorial Duties

A member of the European press asks why leaders in the EU should believe Pence’s conciliatory remarks over Trump’s inflammatory ones:

Shorter Pence: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis had to do clean-up duty while visiting Iraq today:

As a part of his global tour to clean up after President Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis stopped in Baghdad Monday where he sought to reassure Iraqi’s feeling skittish about Trump’s continued insistence that the U.S. should have already taken Iraq’s oil and his suggestion that “we’ll have another chance.”

“We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” Mattis flatly told reporters. The secretary said his visit to Baghdad was to “get current on the situation there, the political situation, the enemy situation and the friendly situation.” But as with several of his recent stops in Europe, Mattis had to spend some of his time in the country smoothing over some of Trump’s more controversial remarks.

As noted in this space many times, everything Trump touches turns to shit, very much including the reputations of people who willingly associate with him, not that Dense Pence had much of a reputation to preserve. Interestingly, Pence seems to be defying gravity better than other Trump admin lackeys thus far, possibly because he started from such a low place — awaiting his firing by the state of Indiana — and because establishment Repubs have a vested interest in keeping Pence relatively unsullied in case Trump’s presidency implodes in scandal.

Speaking of scandal, Josh Marshall and others seem to believe this Felix Sater business is a BFD. I hope so, but it’s certainly looking like Congressional Republicans will countenance any malfeasance to secure tax cuts for billionaires and an opportunity to slash the social safety net.

Still, drip, drip, drip. The mop buckets are a’slosh, and we’re only a month in.



Splodey Mammal Open Thread

Axios, an online media outlet founded by Politico alums Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, manages to outdo its founders’ former employer in vapidity on a regular basis, and by God, that’s saying something. But sometimes, they publish something unintentionally amusing, such as this dramatic lede:

It made me laugh not because I give a shit about whether Bannon and Priebus are really friends despite reports to the contrary but rather because it reminded me of an exploding whale incident brought to my attention many months ago by valued commenter Aimai. The explosion occurred in 1970, and there is grainy footage:

It would have reminded me of this incident even if Priebus had been described as the exploder, BTW, so I am NOT fat-shaming anyone. Anyhoo, open thread.



Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

I saved a screenshot of this morning’s CNN home page the way my mother once squirreled away newspapers covering events like the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing and the Watergate denouement:

We’re not there yet. But to me, anyway, it feels like something historical is afoot, that I must not only bear witness but maybe save clippings for posterity. (At least my news pack-rattery won’t demand drawer space from my descendants!)

Twitler was on a tear this morning. Maybe he has that “history in the making” feeling too. It might be wishful thinking, but I could swear I detected a faint whiff of flop sweat and desperation emanating from the pixels below:

Tell me that most recent tweet doesn’t sound like something Greenwald would say. And the fuck of it is, I would normally agree: We don’t want the intel community mucking around in our politics.

It was an outrage when Comey stuck his big, fat, morally upright thumb on the scales in the waning days of the election. So why cheer the intel community on now, hoping they dump enough dirt to bury the Trump admin?

Because this isn’t a normal administration. Trump referred to me and the 65 million other Americans who didn’t vote for him as “enemies” in his New Year “message.” He’s done nothing to reach out to anyone other than his rancid fan base. He’s stocked the government with racists, misogynists and bigoted kooks, and his top advisers are openly fomenting a global white nationalist effort to undermine Western democracies.

The Republicans who control Congress are willing to go along with Trump’s anti-American agenda if doing so will allow them to cut taxes for billionaires and take away people’s access to affordable healthcare. They’ve said so outright, so they can’t be trusted to do their job and keep our government from being controlled by a hostile foreign power.

The judicial branch is the last leg on the wobbly-ass stool of American democracy, but Trump is doing his best to saw that off too and has real power to shape it for the future. Anyone think he’ll ensure its independence?

So, spooks it is. No, I don’t trust them completely. No, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the intel community to manipulate domestic politics (and I wish we’d mind our own business abroad too).

But desperate times call for desperate measures. If it takes leaks to force the Republicans in Congress to work with the Democrats and do their goddamned jobs, then bring on the drip, drip, drip.

PS: The media is unanimously reporting that Dense Pence was in the dark about Flynn’s actions. Are y’all aware of any independent corroboration of that? I haven’t seen it.

It looks like they’re taking the administration’s word on that, and this administration lies constantly and shamelessly. On camera. All the fucking time. We shouldn’t take their word for anything.



Talking Point of the Day: “Move Forward” (Updated)

The embattled administration’s talking points have been distributed, with two words underlined in gold Sharpie: MOVE FORWARD. First up, Mouth of Shitgibbon Kellyanne Conway on the Today show:

Next up: GOP back-bencher Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) on CNN:

The tweeted summaries don’t do either segment justice. Lauer points out that Team Shitgibbon was told Flynn was compromised more than a month ago, and yet Flynn was functioning as the highest level adviser right up until yesterday — that’s the part that “makes no sense.” And Conway can’t and doesn’t even attempt to explain it.

Collins’ response is even weirder: After the “hoocoodanode” response didn’t pass the laugh test, Collins asserts an aggressively ignorant “50 First Dates” approach to governance, wherein every day is a new day, and treason that happened last month is treason under the bridge, damn it, so why dwell on such unpleasantness?

Both remain implacably focused on the future — move along, citizens, nothing to see here! Both (but especially Conway) maintain a flat affect when responding to their questioners’ rising incredulity, wearing expressions reminiscent of psychologically traumatized kidnap victims forced to read a denunciation of their captor’s enemy on camera. In this case, the enemy is truth.

Team Shitgibbon had all night to cobble together a media strategy to contain the damage of the Flynn implosion. That this was the best they could do is telling. Popcorn futures will skyrocket at the opening bell, and I hope one particular woman in Chappaqua has an inexhaustible supply of gourmet kettle corn laid aside.

ETA: I am calling my elected officials today — yes, even Lil’ Marco — to urge them to support a comprehensive, independent investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. I encourage y’all to do the same.

ETA II: And David Brooks’ favorite sun-kissed Son of the Prairie weighs in, repeating the MOVE FORWARD mantra:

Honest to dog, it’s like Rubio’s primary programmer installed a loop in their skulls! Spicer will probably seize up upon the 40th repetition and have to be tag-teamed by the Miller Ragebot.



If Candy Could Cure Crazy

A clever tweet inspired me to put this cartoon together:

Wouldn’t that be nice? Le sigh.

Open thread!