setsuled: (Mouse Sailor)


Mitt Romney, many prominent Republican politicians, even both former presidents Bush (though not in as direct language), condemned Donald Trump's words and insensitivity. His failure to immediately condemn and distance himself from his white supremacist and neo-Nazi supporters seemed at best like a cynical calculation and at worst like an implicit endorsement of their views. Trump's tweets and statements were routinely laughably stupid or frightening and vulgar. All of the brightest, funniest, most intelligent, and respected voices in the media were united in condemning, ridiculing, and refuting Trump. It was September, 2016. Maybe some of you are old enough to remember.

To-day, what's different? Well, there's no looming presidential election. No chance to hit a day of revelation where we found out how impotent or possibly disingenuous those voices were.

Sites like 538.com gave the odds of Trump winning the election as slim to none. Hillary Clinton lacked charisma but she was obviously far more qualified for the job than Trump and her worst scandal, e-mails stored on a private server, paled in comparison to the mountains of scandal that had accumulated around Trump for decades, running the gamut from sexual assault to misappropriated charitable donations. Surely, anyone voting for him, even if they didn't approve of most or all of what Trump said, demonstrated they considered these things acceptable. Because Trump promised nothing that could possibly make up for that.

When you look at Breitbart.com, a leading voice of the alt-right, you don't see articles that explicitly endorse white supremacy. The general lack of articles analysing or condemning demonstrations of white supremacy ought to be a disturbing enough indicator. Instead, though, you see headlines like, "NEVER SATISFIED: PRESS DEMANDS MORE, BETTER CONDEMNATION OF CHARLOTTESVILLE". "DALLAS MAN PUSHES TO RE-BRAND FREEWAYS NAMED FOR DEMOCRAT KLANSMAN".

Who are these articles targeting? They're not stridently championing white supremacy. They don't seem to be advocating a philosophy of their own so much as punching holes in the left's rhetoric. Considering the left is busy condemning Nazis, making the left seem wrong or foolish ought to be a hard thing to do.

At the other end of the spectrum, to-day on Huffington Post there's an inconspicuous article about how Senator Al Franken is returning to appear on Bill Maher's HBO show. It was only a few months ago that social media was united in condemning Bill Maher for referring to himself as a "house nigger" in reply to a bizarre comment from a Republican politician suggesting Maher should work in the fields. I didn't think Maher ought to have used the word, but I was surprised when I saw how strident and universal the condemnation of Maher was on social media. Huffington Post ran an article called "Bill Maher is a Dangerous White Man".

Is he?

Maher, who seemed starstruck when he interviewed President Obama last year--Obama claiming at the time that he watched every episode of Maher's show. Maher, who not only routinely mocks Trump but whose show, long ago, brought to public attention the political savvy of the likes of Al Franken and Arianna Huffington, who once co-hosted a regular segment on Maher's show. When we have neo-Nazis marching in the streets, is this really the time to be calling Bill Maher a "dangerous white man"?

And that's exactly the left's problem.

Maybe you're saying I'm splitting hairs. Maybe you're saying I'm a curmudgeon who's still sore because Peter Davison was branded a sexist because he thought there might be some drawbacks to a female Doctor Who even as he enthusiastically supported Jodie Whittaker. But maybe you wouldn't be saying that if we had an election yesterday.

The idea in leftwing media seems to be if people don't take seriously a small problem of rhetoric or an imperfect understanding of civil rights then a bazooka needs to be applied. And that's what makes it all the easier for Trump to say to the millions of disenfranchised, "Look, they're trying to manipulate you and they're insulting you."

Trump is wrong when he says the left is just as bad as the right. Because the right's problem is institutionalised greed and bigotry while the problem with the left is that it's playing into Trump's hands.

A Comey Day

Jun. 8th, 2017 06:23 pm
setsuled: (Mouse Sailor)


Despite he and Trump having had a "thing", James Comey didn't do Trump any favours to-day. What was the "thing" Comey quotes Trump as alluding to in one of their now infamous private conversations? Comey speculated in his testimony to-day, at the insistence of John McCain, about the "thing": "I concluded at the time, in his memory, he was searching back to our encounter at the dinner and was preparing himself to say I offered loyalty to you, you promise loyalty to me. All of a sudden, I think his memory did not happen and he pulled up short." I guess this is different from a trial where a lawyer would stand up and say, "Objection--speculative!" Speculation is fair game, it seems. It's weird how often Comey was asked to speculate, anyway.

Now, if I were to speculate about "the thing", I'd say it was Comey's announcement about investigating Clinton's e-mails shortly before election night. At the time, that was widely seen as a show of Comey's loyalty to Trump and, wouldn't you know, Clinton's e-mails were made an important part of the committee testimony to-day by Republicans who continually, awkwardly tried to steer back to the issue. Most strikingly McCain, who was so incoherent as to seem physically unwell, insisted there was a double standard simply because Comey had concluded one investigation while another was ongoing.

Of course, now it doesn't seem likely Comey was being a Trump loyalist when he made the critical announcement about the investigation of Clinton's e-mails. But everyone at the time figured he was--certainly everyone on TV. We know Trump mainly keeps himself informed on everything through cable news, much to the consternation of his National Security Advisers. So the "thing", I believe, is this narrative that Trump bought into.



For those of us who don't want the country controlled by a dimwitted creep, Comey having previously seemed to be on Trump's side may be a blessing in disguise, and I think Republicans recognise that and that's why they're trying so hard to re-write history now. Because, with these two investigations, Comey really and truly does look impartial. You can see this is what Republicans are desperately afraid of and that's why they put out the hastily assembled, bizarrely campaign-like attack ads on Comey which seem to say little more than that Comey is politically biased. And has always been biased. Well, fortunately this isn't 1984 and you can't make people forget the narrative from six months ago with a hokey piece of propaganda. At least I hope not.

The Republican loyalty to Trump is really strange at this point. There's something more to it than partisanship. With all the Republicans who came out publicly against him before the election and what, one would think, is the more attractive prospect of a Pence presidency--and the political capital to be gained from pursuing criminal charges against Trump and thereby seeming bipartisan--you'd think all the Republicans on the committee wouldn't be so lock-step. Particularly McCain who's been insulted by Trump and who has expressed words against the orange man. It makes the incoherence of his questions this morning all the more intriguing. I feel like McCain is being blackmailed somehow, if it isn't a medical issue.

Without a proper president right now, it occurred to me that the U.S. feels sort of headless. Then I thought, like The Headless Horseman--and Trump's the pumpkin.

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