Friday Morning Open Thread: Sometimes Small Things Are Big Enough

Teresa Vargas, in the Washington Post:

When I wrote about Alice’s Kids earlier this month, I did so with the hope of showing what child poverty in this nation looks like on a day-to-day level.

Many of the requests for short-term financial help that come into the Virginia nonprofit are for seemingly small items that make significant differences for children whose families can’t afford them. Among the things asked for are shoes that fit, instruments that soothe and new glasses for children who have relied on broken ones.

The organization has paid for band trips that wouldn’t have been attended otherwise, birthday parties that wouldn’t have been held and, in one case this month, funeral clothes for a teenager who unexpectedly lost her mother.

Most of that financial help, I noted in that column, benefited children in the D.C. region and some as far as California and Texas. But now, because of you, even more children, in states that previously had no connection to the organization, will find help.

After the column was published, so many of you contacted Alice’s Kids, offering donations, and in some cases your time, that the small nonprofit run out of an Alexandria home office is expanding its reach to other cities across the country and anticipates helping more children this year than it has ever had the capacity to do in its eight-year history…
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There was a lot of coverage of Pelosi’s comments on impeachment a few days ago, and if you read the quotes by Nadler and Schiff in this piece, they sure aren’t ruling it out. I’ve not been too hot on impeachment either, since there’s almost no chance that the Senate would convict and, unlike Nixon, Trump has no shame, so he won’t resign. But impeachment is just one of the institutions that Democrats need to reclaim, slowly but surely. Here are some others:

  • A functioning appropriations process, where bills funding the different departments are generated by committee and work their way through Congress. The current habit of funding the government by hostage taking and continuing resolution does not move the country forward.
  • Meaningful Congressional oversight of departments like the FAA, who need to be called to answer for the 737 MAX debacle.
  • Reforming the elections process, and rooting out voter suppression.

This list could be endless, so you can add on in the comments. Republicans have plundered this country’s institutions, and when Democrats control Congress and the Presidency, we can’t go slow or shy away from moving from the current broken status quo back to working institutions. Impeaching Trump, with a transparent process detailing just what a crook he is, would go a long way to reclaiming impeachment after it was weakened by the Clinton blowup. Hearings on Trump’s many different criminal schemes that are held without grandstanding, using committee counsel and well-briefed members (think AOC with Cohen as a model), whether or not they lead to impeachment, will go some distance to reclaiming Congressional oversight after the Benghazi horseshit crusade.

This post is boring, and a lot of the solution is somewhat technical and also boring. So we can’t count on the press – certainly not the DC press – to have the slightest interest in it. It’s going to be a long, tedious slog to make things right, but our survival as a country depends on it.

Breaking: The US Is Withdrawing From Syria (According To Trump)

We (the royal we) are declaring victory.

[I use screenshots of Trump’s tweets for two reasons: not to give him the clicks, and sometimes he deletes them.]

This is something of a surprise to everyone, although he attempted it some months back, only to be stopped by those in the administration who want a war against Iran or maybe Russia.

I tend to agree with the folks who say it’s the right policy decision, but badly executed. Additionally, it may well be reversed when those desiring a war with Iran or Russia get into the Oval Office for a friendly chat. Developing.

Open thread.

But Seriously: Stop Giving Liars A Platform!

Margaret Sullivan, former NYTimes Public Editor, subtweets the suits who eliminated her position rather than use the L-word:

Lies are coming at the American public in torrents — raining down on them everywhere they turn.

A report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and obtained by The Washington Post, made that breathtakingly clear over the weekend. The intentional spreading of disinformation on every platform — from Facebook all the way to PayPal — should frighten everyone who cares about democracy.

One place that truth can prevail is in the reality-based news media, where editorial judgment comes into play.

That means it’s more important than ever not to give falsehoods a megaphone there.

Which brings us to Chris Cuomo’s 39-minute interview Thursday with Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s top dissembler.

It should have been no surprise that Conway — who coined the immortal phrase “alternative facts” in early 2017 — blithely spun her way through the interview…

Perhaps most absurd among Conway’s declarations was her objection to Cuomo’s referring to Trump as a liar, although she wouldn’t repeat the term. “You’re saying he’s not telling the truth. That’s a slur. That’s a slur.”…

The news media continues — even now when it should know better — to be addicted to “both sides” journalism. In the name of fairness, objectivity and respect for the office of the presidency, it still seems to take Trump — along with his array of deceptive surrogates — at his word, while knowing full well that his word isn’t good.

When major news organizations publish tweets and news alerts that repeat falsehoods merely because the president uttered them, it’s the same kind of journalistic malpractice as offering a prime interview spot to Kellyanne Conway…

When news organizations hand a megaphone to lies — or liars — they do actual harm. What the president himself says must be reported, of course, but only within the context of what we know.

To state it without immediate, adjacent reference to factual reality is to enter the Kellyanne Zone.

In an era rife with disinformation — and American democracy teetering on a precipice — that’s the wrong place to be.

Current NYTimes TV critic, who should know:

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Aren’t They All Just Proud Boyz, Though?

Per the original story, in the Washington Post:

In an interview with a website associated with the party, King (R-Iowa) declared that “Western civilization is on the decline,” spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world.

King spoke to the Unzensuriert site Aug. 24 in Vienna, a day after concluding a five-day journey to Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in Poland, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The trip, including airfare to and from Europe, was financed by From the Depths, an international nonprofit group that seeks to educate lawmakers about the Holocaust.

Unzensuriert, which translates as “Uncensored,” is a publication associated with Austria’s Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer and is now led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi circles as a youth. While the party has distanced itself from those connections, it recently embraced a hard-line anti-immigration stance while seeking ties with other far-right parties and leaders abroad.

“What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?” King said in the interview. “Mexican food, Chinese food, those things — well, that’s fine. But what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price? We have a lot of diversity within the U.S. already.”…

In an interview Thursday, King… accused his “political opposition” of “ginning this up” ahead of the Nov. 6 election…
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