Lügenpresse Meets Hair Furor

From CNN Money (H/T to Kay):

Executives and anchors from the country’s five biggest television networks are meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Monday afternoon.

The meeting was organized by Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who is now a senior adviser to Trump.

NBC’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt; CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett; CBS’s Norah O’Donnell, Charlie Rose, John Dickerson, and Gayle King; and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos were some of the anchors who were seen entering Trump Tower shortly before 1 p.m.

A source said ABC’s David Muir and Martha Raddatz were expected to attend.

Sources said the meeting would involve Trump, Conway and representatives from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News. (NBC’s cable news channel MSNBC is included in the NBC invitation, Conway noted.)

The substance of the meeting is intended to be off the record, meaning the participants will not divulge what is said.

President Obama and other government officials occasionally hold similar off the record sessions with reporters, anchors and other media bigwigs. (Obama talked off the record with the reporters traveling with him on the way home from Peru on Sunday night.)

Those last sentences sound like an attempt to normalize this. President Obama complained about the media like every president has, and lord knows, so do we.

But as far as I know, PBO didn’t confine media representatives at his campaign events to a pen, rain abuse on them and urge his supporters to pillory the campaign press to the extent the Secret Service had to protect them. I don’t recall PBO’s supporters reviving an explicitly Nazi pejorative, “lügenpresse,” or “lying press,” to screech at the media.

What will they discuss, do you think?

Let’s Not Follow Sanders Off the Cliff

Remember last week when some folks were reassuring us that criticism of “identity politics” in the wake of the Democrats’ loss wasn’t code for throwing marginalized people under the bus? Here’s TPM’s report on a speech Bernie Sanders delivered in Boston yesterday:

In a speech Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) urged attendees to move away from “identity politics” and towards policies aimed at helping the working class.

Sanders spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 mostly young people at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, according to a report from WBUR.

“The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” Sanders said, according to the same report. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.”

Sanders also urged the crowd to move the party away from what he called “identity politics.”

“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That is not good enough,” he said, according to the same report. “What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

Let’s unpack some of the insulting, revisionist implications that follow from this speech. My first “Go Fuck Yourself, Sanders” goes to the implication that Clinton ever asked anyone to vote for her just because she’s a woman. She didn’t, so fuck that bullshit, and fuck Sanders for implying that she did.

The second goes to the wholesale purchase of the cherished and increasingly accepted in some circles wingnut-fomented meme that the Democrats don’t represent “real America” and got what was coming to them for turning their back on the working class in favor of embracing the elites. That’s a lie we believe at our peril.

The DLC is dead, and good riddance. I agree there has been too little attention paid to those hurt by globalization, too much happy talk about the jobs that would flow in from that process, too much eagerness on the part of some Democrats to curry favor with big donors. We’ve debated that endlessly here throughout PBO’s two terms; it was debated endlessly in the primaries, and that message was incorporated into the Democratic Party platform. Sanders didn’t invent it, and he doesn’t own it now.

But since we’re the reality-based party, supposedly capable of handling nuance and complexity, we can — in theory — simultaneously acknowledge the accomplishments of a highly successful two-term Democratic president who pulled us from the brink of a second Great Depression, got an additional 20 million people access to health care coverage, helped make sure marriage equality became the law of the land, turned a catastrophically high flood of job losses into a stable, less than 5% unemployment economy, etc.

During the primary, Sanders shit all over that, as did Trump in the general. But it doesn’t follow that a Sanders-like message — from anyone, including Sanders — would have been a winner. For every one WWC vote an “everything sucks after eight years of Obama” platform might have pulled in, how many votes would be lost from Democrats who believe in this president and have supported his agenda? Greater than Trump’s margins in the Rust Belt, is my guess.

And finally, what I find most infuriating about Sanders’ take is that he’s ignoring the people who actually DID embrace identity politics in this election cycle: That would be Donald J. Trump and the millions of voters who embraced WHITE identity politics. The Democrats ran on an inclusive message. Trump did the opposite. Again, for every WWC vote we’d gain by embracing a very specific kind of identity politics to chase Trump voters, how many would Democrats lose? Well, mine, for one.

Two final thoughts: the first is that politicians are running around trying to pound the round peg of this election loss into the square hole of their own agenda. Yes, we need to examine the causes and learn the appropriate lessons, but they are myriad. Any simple solution, such as turning the party’s soul over to a man who couldn’t win the Democratic primary, would be compounding the problem rather than solving it, IMO. Yes to sharpening the economic message to more loudly broadcast an appeal to ALL voters. Yes to making sure future candidates’ messages — and arguably the candidates themselves — excite people since we seem to be in the reality TV era of politics. But not just “no” but “FUCK NO” to the idea that the Democrats lost because of “identity politics.”

Second, so much of this intramural squabbling is crab bucket politics. We’ve got an unhinged, pathological liar, authoritarian conman poised to take office, and he is shaking out the KKK bedsheets and emptying the armoires where the brown shirts are stored to fill his administration with the very worst pricks imaginable. A man who is openly setting up a kleptocracy to funnel loot to the pack of parasites who are accompanying him to DC. A man who will rage-tweet all night about perceived disrespect shown at a Broadway show to his beady-eyed, bible-humping VP and remain utterly silent about the hundreds of hate crimes psychos nationwide are perpetrating in his name.

Perhaps we have more important things to focus on, is what I’m saying. And it’s flat-out unseemly for a politician with standing in the Democratic Party to focus elsewhere, even if he does have a book to flog.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Is Trump’s AG Pick

Today in bearing witness to things that are not normal, we note that outgoing US Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be replaced with a man deemed too racist to serve as a federal judge by the US Senate in 1986. Via TPM:

Sessions’ nomination will likely be met with opposition in the Senate. While serving as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986, but he was never confirmed due to past racist comments. He withdrew his name from consideration and went on to be the Alabama attorney general and later a senator.

During the 1986 hearings to consider Sessions, J. Gerald Hebert, a Justice Department prosecutor, testified about how Sessions talked about a lawyer representing a black client. Herbert said that he once told Sessions that a judge had called a white lawyer “a disgrace to his race” for representing black clients. In response, Sessions said, “maybe he is,” Herbert said. Herbert also told Congress at the time that Sessions had called the NAACP “un-American” because the group was “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people.”

An African-American prosecutor testified to Congress that Sessions had called him “boy” and once joked that he felt the Ku Klux Klan “was O.K. until I found out they smoked pot.” Sessions denied called the prosecutor “boy” but not the other comments.

Though Sessions is likely to meet opposition from Democratic senators, it’s not clear how Republicans will approach his nomination now that he is one of their colleagues.

Trump’s picks so far: a white nationalist for Chief Strategist, an Islamophobic nutjob for National Security Adviser, and a walking monument to the Confederacy in name and outlook as AG. He is who he said he was.

ETA: Appending my comment below: I don’t know what more Democrats need to know to conclude that the only proper response to the incoming administration is implacable resistance. They should have a convo with Rep. Lewis. He knows a little something about how to stare down racist goons.

Perhaps Someone Should Ask if He Wants to Be Minority Leader

Here’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, a member of the Seanad Éireann, telling that august body just what he thinks of the outcome of the recent US election. Given he is a Senator, maybe someone should ask if he wants to be Minority Leader. Or maybe DNC Chair?


Mass Unfriending Open Thread

Too busy for a long-form rant about the coming theft and oppression, but here are a couple of funnies from the Twitters:


Yeah, I feel ya, bro. Also, etiquette in the present age:


Yep. Also seen on the Twitters, a Long Island RNC / Trump campaign volunteer organization is holding a press conference to complain about anti-Trump “cyberbullying,” which includes mass unfriending — including from one of the complainer’s best man:

Boo-fucking-hoo. If you voted for a racist, misogynist, xenophobic demagogue, you’re no friend of mine either.

Now, you can’t choose family. I’m still steeling myself for my first post-election conversation with my father, who I am certain will be unable to resist breaking our “no politics” rule to gloat, just a little. Thought maybe I’d note the irony of his father fighting fascists in Europe only so his son could vote one in as president in America. That would soon get ugly. Any advice?

Open thread!

LTG Flynn: The Primer

Rumors are flying that President Elect Trump has chosen/selected/designated LTG (ret) Flynn as his National Security Advisor. This position does not require Senate confirmation. The only thing I’ve seen is the MSNBC crawl – nothing else. The National Security Advisor is basically the defense, foreign, security, and intelligence policy gatekeeper for the President. In many ways the position is a Chief of Staff position for these areas. When they do their jobs well, they deconflict disputes between the various principles and senior deputies from the defense, foreign affairs, security, and intelligence portions of the Interagency and manage the National Security Staff. The classic organizational document for this is National Security Council Paper 68 (NSC-68) issued under President Truman. Each President modifies and adapts the National Security Staff structure and processes to better suit their preferred leadership style. Here’s the link to President Obama’s orders restructuring the National Security Council System to fit the needs of his Administration.

If, indeed, LTG (ret) Flynn is the next National Security Advisor, it makes sense to get a better idea of how he understands the global system and the threats, challenges, and opportunities facing the US and how the US should approach them. Fortunately for us, al Jazeera English’s Mehdi Hasan got LTG (ret) Flynn to join him in committing an act of journalism and reporting. Hasan’s interview with Flynn is below.

Bearing Witness

bananarepThere’s some evidence that we’re facing a government headed by an outrageously unqualified shit-gibbon who will be controlled through flattery and gaslights by a cabal of bible-humping, social program-slashing, regressive tax cut-advocating Republican pols to enact a Kansas-like economic and social governing blueprint. That would be disastrous for obvious reasons.

There’s also some evidence that we’re facing a government headed by an outrageously unqualified shit-gibbon who will be controlled through flattery and gaslights to implement an authoritarian kleptocracy aligned with white nationalist movements in Europe and resembling Putin’s Russia. Even more disastrous.

Or maybe Team Shit-Gibbon will manage to exceed expectations and create a hybrid of the two — lord knows the Republicans in Congress won’t stop them, not with the prospect of adding federal levers of power to the state levers that have successfully suppressed millions of votes. Karl Rove’s dream of a permanent Republican majority could come true at last, with suppressing and smearing conducted via federal agencies ensuring that dumb-as-dirt, compliant cocksplats like Steve King and Louie Gohmert can enable Trump, his spawn and vile hangers-on to loot the Treasury in perpetuity in exchange for hereditary seats in Congress.

Regardless of which reality shakes out of the chaos of the shit-gibbon transition shit-show, it’s incumbent upon us to bear witness to things that are not normal. Joshua Foust, former security analyst and current national security fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, compiled a list of not normal things yesterday. It’s so long I’m going to put it below the fold. Read more