Things related to the 2012 Republican primary

Evil, scandalous and evil, most definitely

Establishment media demanded that Clinton resign for lying about getting a blowjob from an intern.

Establishment media demanded that Obama denounce and renounce Bill Ayers.

Will establishment media demand that Trump condemn white nationalism?

I know the answer is “no”.



Mmm sophisticated mama

You probably heard about this:

Early Saturday morning, President Trump tweeted his gratitude to a social-media super-fan, ­Nicole Mincey, magnifying her praise of him to his 35 million followers.

Here’s the problem: There is no evidence the Twitter feed belongs to someone named Nicole Mincey. And the account, according to experts, bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign.

On Sunday, Twitter suspended the Mincey account, known as @ProTrump45, after several other users revealed that it was probably a fake, created to amplify pro-Trump content.

The Post article I linked to goes on to say:

Even as the president has railed against multiple investigations into Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics, he may have become Exhibit A of the foreign government’s influence by elevating a suspected Russia-connected ­social-media user — part (of) a sophisticated campaign to exacerbate disputes in U.S. politics and gain the attention of the most powerful tweeter in the world.

I have one problem here: is it really all that sophisticated?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fascinating and a bit scary that Russian propaganda and right-wing media have merged into one (check out this site that tracks Russian twitter bots and how often they link to Breitbart and Gateway Pundit). But what they’re doing is quite simple. You create an account called DeplorableCindy or whatever and make your avatar a stock photo of a Hooter’s model. Then you rewteet whatever nonsense Sean Hannity or Jim Hoft is babbling about that hour. Sometimes you do something a little fancier than that (as with the Nicole Mincey fabrication described above). But it’s not string theory.

I doubt it has that much influence. The fact that it fooled Dolt45 doesn’t prove anything.








Big disgrace, somebody better put you back into your place

Gerard Baker, the head of the Wall Street Journal newsroom, is a disgrace, and I’m sorry that the story that he fellated Trump for an hour, then called it an interview, then forbade his “newspaper” to release the interview, isn’t getting more attention.

Columbia Journalism Review:

Given the criticisms that Editor in Chief Gerard Baker has faced for his paper’s coverage, and at a time when media transparency is more important than ever, the Journal’s decision to release only excerpts from the interview comes off as aloof. Why its editors made that decision is perhaps less surprising upon reading the full transcript, in which Baker talks with Ivanka Trump about parties in the Hamptons and spends part of his time in the Oval Office discussing, with Trump, Jordan Spieth’s final round at the British Open.

Poynter:

The paper is seen by many in the business as Trump-sympathetic during the campaign, more neutral since but clearly lagging behind competitors these days in breaking impactful stories. This won’t really help its image, at least in the media echo chamber, especially since Baker dominated the session and did so in solicitous fashion toward Trump.

He didn’t press him as he wandered or got facts wrong. He engaged in a mutually flattering back-and-forth with Ivanka Trump when she surfaced (as is her habit when dad is being interviewed) and mentioned seeing Baker at a party in the Hamptons.

Soon enough, the baby Hitler fantasies will be replaced by baby Rupert Murdoch fantasies.



Arizona, have another look at the world, my my

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, of all people:

It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us. It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a coequal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.

[….]

Under our constitution, there simply are not that many people who are in a position to do something about an executive branch in chaos. As the first branch of government (Article I), the Congress was designed expressly to assert itself at just such moments. It is what we talk about when we talk about “checks and balances.” Too often we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, “Someone should do something!” without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility.

I still bet he caves when the chips are down, after Trump fires Mueller in a few weeks or months.








As little as possible

I hate to keep beating this horse, but I’m wondering if maybe the Trump-Russia story is one of those things that establishment media just isn’t set up to cover. I don’t mean that they can’t cover individual pieces of the story but that they aren’t able to put it all together. I had the same feeling when Josh Marshall was breaking the Bush US Attorney story, which was also ignored by establishment media. I guess some stories have too many moving parts and say things that are too negative about powerful people for establishment media to handle.

We have an “All The President’s Men” press corps but we’re living in a “Chinatown” world.

So good on the Times for finding this fact out but shame on establishment media for being unwilling to think the whole thing through. Josh Marshall:

I don’t know how much attention it’s received. But the appearance of the name of Felix Sater in this new article in the Times is one of the biggest shoes I’ve seen drop on the Trump story in some time.

[…]

Having spent some time studying the matter, the biggest red flags about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and businessmen around Vladimir Putin have always been tied to the Trump SoHo building project in Lower Manhattan, from the first decade of this century. I base my knowledge of this on this rather cursory but still quite good April 2016 article from the Times and my own limited snooping around the Outer Boroughs Russian and Ukrainian emigre press. (I summarized the most salient details of the earlier Times article in Item #3 of this post.) This was a key project, perhaps the key project in the post-bankruptcy era in which Trump appeared heavily reliant on Russian funds to finance his projects. Sater was at the center of that project. The details only came to light after the project got bogged down in a complicated series of lawsuits.

After the lawyers got involved, Trump said he barely knew who Sater was. But there is voluminous evidence that Sater, a Russian emigrant, was key to channeling Russian capital to Trump for years. Sater is also a multiple felon and at least a one-time FBI informant.

I never know how seriously to take John Schindler, but this is interesting too:








You’ll be on some Sputnik, baby, I’ll be underground

I just read an absolutely brutal take-down of Putin’s useful idiots on the left. I’m not a hippie-puncher and I don’t think the number of Putin apologists on the left is very large. And of course it’s the Republican party that actually nominated a pro-Putin stooge, not the Democratic party. But Jill Stein, Assange, and some of the commentators at The Nation relation truly disgraced themselves during the last election cycle. There’s no way around that reality.

A lot of the #NeverTrump right is going in that direction too. Eli Lake, Damon Linker, Charles Lane, and others are now screaming about Deep State coups rather than worrying about the fact the White House is quite possibly being run by covert Russian effects.

I understand that there was a lot of paranoid red-baiting that went on in American politics in the past. I don’t see what that has to do with a right-wing dictator interfering in our elections.

I understand that Russia is different from other countries culturally. All the ethnically Russian emigres from Russia that I know revere Putin, even though all are educated, whereas I’ve never met an educated person from, say, Turkey or Iran or Zimbabwe who supported their country’s oppressive regime. And Russia has never had a middle-class, so it is probably generations away from having a western-style democracy.But that doesn’t mean anyone on any side of the political spectrum should we make excuses for a dictator who has had over four dozen journalists assassinated.

Hating the Democratic party is a hell of a drug. I’m surprised that there are democratic socialists who hate Hillary Clinton so much that they’re willing to get into bed with Trump and Putin. I wish I could say I’m surprised that #NeverTrump right hates Democrats so much they are too.

Update. I’m not trying to say that Stein or other pro-Putin stooges have much influence on liberalism in this country or that “Bernie bros” love Putin or something like that. I think that’s completely untrue. Likewise, I don’t think the #NeverTrump people have much influence within the Republican party. I just find the actions of both groups to be remarkably pathetic and transparent.








The four people you meet in hell

A few years ago I did a post about the three different kinds of conservatives in the media. I decided they were:

  1. “Atlas Shrugged” conservatives: Megan McArdle, the Reasonoids, Larry Kudlow, etc.
  2. “Chronicles Of Narnia” conservatives: Ross Douthat, Peggy Noonan, many other Catholic conservatives.
  3. “300” conservatives: Victor David Hanson, war bloggers, any neoconservatives.

I thought it might be time to revisit this classification in the age of Trump. Enough media conservatives have come out against Trump (and, not surprisingly, many even-the-liberals are busily enabling Trump) that I don’t want to make this about conservatives per se but about Trump supporters and enablers. The front page of Reason was almost all anti-Trump today, and Jen Rubin’s column these days could double as a Daily Kos diary, so to start, I’m not putting neoconservatives or Reasonoids on the list…but Megan McArdle will remain, in a different category. And Narnians will also stay in the classification.

Here we go:

  1. Narnians: Peggy Noonan, Rod Dreher (supporters); Ross Douthat (enabler). These are folks who believe that the United States is first and foremost a magical Christian nation. Therefore, Trump is at best Aslan and at worst a boob who was brought to power by left-wing excesses.
  2. Narcissists: Megan McArdle, Charles Lane, Frank Bruni, Nick Kristof. These self-styled centrists can’t let their beautiful minds be consumed by partisanship, so they have to spend as much or more criticizing impolite protesters and the Oberlin student council as they do criticizing Trump. Show business kids making movies of themself, you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else. It pains me to leave Ron Fournier off this list, but he’s been very tough on Trump.
  3. Nihilists: Bob Woodward, most Republican elected officials, everyone who works at Axios. The nihilists have no political convictions, they only care about access and power. If you haven’t noticed, B Dub is all the way in the tank for Trump. Republican elected officials would give Satan a rim job if it killed the Great Society. Axios has already run a great deal of Satan-sponsored content.
  4. Neo-Nazis: Marc Thiessen, everyone at Breitbart. Needs no explanation. Say what you want about their tenets…