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Wall Street Journal is reaching into the gutter to defend their man

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Donald Trump just tweeted praise on the Wall Street Journal’s rightwing columnist, Kimberley Strassel, for her hit piece on James Comey in the weekend’s paper. The Journal’s editorial page has been, of course, a locus for the anti-Comey movement, which also includes Fox “News” and most of the lunatic fringe of Republican talk radio. Their tactic isn’t to challenge the facts as we know them. No one (besides Trump) is plausibly denying any of the facts concerning collusion and obstruction of justice, because we don’t yet know what the facts are. Instead, the Republicans are using a familiar tactic: launching ad hominem attacks on Comey by besmirching his character.

This would be amusing, coming from anyone besides Republicans, who for the last 1-1/2 years have found themselves in the awkward position of having to defend a man whose moral character is repugnant. The serial adultery, the juvenile insults of anyone he doesn’t like, the perpetual lies, the vulgarity—well, you know the list as well as I do.

Strassel’s smear of Comey is from the Republican playbook, repeated by every GOP propagandist with a platform. Like the rest of her cohort, she lies when it’s convenient, and twists or withholds the truth when it suits her purpose.

For instance, she writes that the dossier was funded by a Democrat-aligned group.” LIE! It was paid for by “a conservative website funded by a major Republican donor” who was working on behalf of a different Republican primary candidate, according to Pulitzer Prize-reporting by the New York Times.

Incredibly,  Strassel writes, “Would it not have been in the public interest to make clear last year that the president was not under investigation?” WITHHELD TRUTH! This totally ignores the fact that Comey divulged the FBI’s renewal of the case of Hillary Clinton two weeks before the election, while withholding the information that Trump and his campaign also were under investigation!

Along the same lines, she demands that Comey “explain the extraordinary accommodations the FBI provided Team Clinton during the email investigation.” LIE!  Do you really believe Comey provided “extraordinary accommodations” to the Clinton campaign? Comey’s revelation of the renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton completely shocked her personally, immobilized her campaign, disgusted all Democrats, and cost Clinton the election! Rather than an “extraordinary accommodation,” Comey delivered the death blow to Team Hillary.

But for me, the most disgusting thing—the worst lie—in Strassel’s hit piece is her insinuation that Comey is avoiding answering questions that make him uncomfortable. If Strassel is so concerned with public figures being completely transparent, here are a couple questions that her man, Trump, refuses to truthfully  answer:

Why won’t you release your taxes?

How many women have you had sex with, besides whomever your wife was at the moment?

How much money is your company making by taking advantage of your presidency?

Why is it okay for a President of the United States to behave in such undignified ways as bullying Gold Star parents, college students, journalists?

Why are you denying that climate change is real?

Do you deny that Russia intervened in the 2016 election on your behalf?

What really happened at the Trump Tower meeting with Donald Jr. and Jared?

Why did you dictate the excuse about the meeting to Donald Jr. on Air Force One?

Why did you fire Comey?

Why did you demand loyalty from Comey?

Why have you allied so fiercely with the most rightwing elements in America, in violation of his promise to be a bipartisan president?

Well, this is another list that could go on and on, but wouldn’t it be nice to hear Trump provide these answers? He won’t, of course, and his Republican enablers won’t ask him to, which is why we need James Comey as Special Counsel to get to the bottom of these scandals.

In his pro-Strassel tweet, Trump called the Comey investigation “one of the weakest obstruction cases ever brought!” LIE! He is, of course, trying to influence the minds of his followers before any report has been issued, before the facts are known, and despite the accumulating evidence that a lot of wrong-doing seems to have occurred on his behalf. It makes me wonder if, when all is said and done, what he would do if Comey’s ultimate report says that there’s not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction or collusion—but there is plenty of evidence to charge his son, Donald Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with one or both of those crimes. Much speculation is currently underway concerning whether or not Michael Cohen will flip. The question may turn out to be, not if Donald Jr. or Jared flips, but if Trump flips on himself: admitting to crimes to prevent his elder son and his only daughter’s husband from going to jail.

Probably not. As a sociopath, he doesn’t really care about anyone but himself.


Why evangelicals love Trump

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With all the sex scandals surrounding Trump, you’d think his “family-values” evangelical followers are losing faith in him. But no. “White evangelical support for President Trump [is] at an all-time high,” according to the respected PRRI survey, released on Wednesday. While Trump’s favorability rating among evangelicals never hit 50% during the primaries, it has now soared to 75%, an astonishingly high score given the avalanche of sordid news surrounding him.

Why do evangelicals, Pentecostals and other conservative Christians adore him? To answer this, it’s necessary to understand a few things about them.

Fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate compared with Jews at 1%, Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%.” That’s from a Fox News op-ed. I’m not picking on fat people, but obesity can have a serious impact on psychological health. The Psychiatric Times reports that ”overweight and obese persons are more likely than their normal-weight peers to have a variety of psychiatric disorders,” including depression, anxiety disorders, various phobias, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, alcohol addiction, paranoia and schizophrenia. These conditions may well interfere with evangelicals’ ability to think rationally.

Contributing to this intellectual confusion is the fact that evangelicals are the least educated of all religious groups in America. A Pew study found that, of America’s top 31 religious groups, Hindus, Unitarians and Jews have the highest percentage of college graduates (an average of 67.6%), while Baptists, the Church of God, the Assemblies of God, and the Churches of Christ have the lowest (average 13.5%).

This lack of education shows in the beliefs of evangelicals—beliefs based, not on science or fact, but on their interpretation of the bible. For example, By a wide margin, the evangelical leaders surveyed reject the idea that human beings and other living things have evolved over time due solely to natural processes,” according to another Pew Center study.

 It seems to me that evolution, as characterized by Darwin, is so established as scientific fact that anyone who disputes it is, in essence, declaring himself irrational and possibly, by some definitions, insane. I suppose evangelicals would disagree, but again, the non-belief in evolution in favor of a seven-days-of-creation theory is evidence of a lack of intellectual capacity. We have to take that into consideration when asking why evangelicals remain so stubbornly attached to Trump.

Additional factors come into play when we consider the mental stability of evangelicals. The most violent husbands in America are nominal evangelical Protestants,” states an article in—of all places—the religious publication Christianity Today. In many cases, it adds, religion is not protective against abuse.”

As if all the mental and physical health issues plaguing evangelicals weren’t enough, “The [U.S.] states in which evangelical Christians are most concentrated have the highest levels of poverty, unemployment, unwanted pregnancies, domestic violence, disease, and infant mortality [and] the lowest levels of academic achievement, household income, and life expectance,” according to The Economist magazine.

This dismal track record for evangelicals again strongly suggests that something is wrong with them: something unhealthy and certainly not good for American democracy.

My hunch is that the love affair between Trump and evangelicals is the result of the impairment of cerebral capacity among conservative Christians. People who cannot or will not think straight are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy—unable, that is, to recognize blatant lies of the kind Trump routinely tells. They are thus easier to mentally manipulate than healthy, well-educated people, who generally insist on facts and evidence when making up their minds.

There’s one final problem with evangelicals and Trump, and that is the evangelical tendency to accept authoritarianism as a legitimate structure of governance. Right wing Christians cede to God and Jesus their heavenly affairs; they apparently cede to Donald Trump their worldly ones. This plays right into Trump’s hands: he would cherish an America in which he is answerable to no one—not Congress, not the Supreme Court, certainly not the Fourth Estate.

Trump’s tendency towards megalomania and autocracy is in my judgment a danger to us all, but evangelicals appear not to care. They’ve never been particularly fond of democracy; they prefer a top-down form of tyranny in which unquestioned obedience is expected. They’re getting a taste of it in Donald Trump, and they love what he’s feeding them.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 


From the personal diary of SEAN HANNITY

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I really thought Cohen would be able to invoke lawyer-client privilege—he promised me he could–and I still don’t exactly understand what went down in New York, except that that damned judge, Kimba Wood, obviously is an elite liberal. I checked her out on Wikipedia and wasn’t surprised to find out that Clinton—Bill, not Hillary—nominated her for Attorney-General, but she had to withdraw because she was involved in a nanny-scandal. Clearly she is prejudiced against Republicans and conservatives. I can’t attack her directly on my shows, but I can promise you, Diary, that my friends are going to tear her a new one. They’re already spreading the rumor that Wood presided over George Soros’s marriage! Mr. Murdoch even got his friend, George W. Bush’s attorney-general, Michael Mukasey, to write an op-ed piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal that was very clever in indirectly defending me by attacking Comey and Mueller. Mukasey owes Mr. Murdoch bigtime; he never would have gotten his job otherwise. It’s good to have someone like Mr. Murdoch in my corner!

That’s what I love about my peeps. They lie so adroitly and manipulate so brazenly. When I was a young journalist, I had a hard time lying with a straight face, but nowadays, it’s easy. The more you lie, the less problem you have with lying. What is “truth,” anyway?

Everybody wants to know what Cohen helped me with, Diary. Like I tweeted, “I never retained him, never received an invoice, or paid legal fees.” Of course, our agreement was that there be no paper trail. Cohen doesn’t leave paper trails behind, which is what his clients love about him. I did pay him—nearly $350,000 so far—but there’s no trail for that: the money went straight into one of Cohen’s offshore accounts, where it waits for him to use when the heat settles down, and no one will ever be able to trace it.

What did he advise me on? It wasn’t “advice” so much as help. You see, Diary, there was this chick I met at a hotel bar in Atlanta: tall, thirtyish, long curly blond hair, big boobs. Really hot—kinda like Stormy Daniels. She said she lived in Frisco and was in town for a convention. We got to chatting—she was drinking Margaritas, and I was drinking my favorite dry martinis. Yeah, we got a little tipsy, and next thing you know we’re in her room, making it. To make a long story short, about two weeks later my secretary at Fox gets an email asking me to call the woman in question, whose name is Desirée. So my secretary calls her, and Desirée tells her she needs some money, or else she’ll go public—and she claims she has secret tape recordings of our encounter.

Well, that’s when I called Donald, I mean, the President—this was shortly after he was sworn in—and told him, and he got me in touch with Cohen, who worked out the deal: $150,000 for her silence. I don’t know the details. I arranged for the money to go to the same offshore account; I assume that somehow he managed to get the money to Desirée, but I don’t know how, and I don’t want to know!

I have no idea what the Feds have on me. Did Cohen have tapes of our conversations? Videos? Emails? Texts? I honestly don’t remember much about our communication. Let me tell you, Diary, when you have a bimbo eruption that can threaten your reputation and career, you go into fight-or-flight mode. All I knew was that I needed to make this thing go away—and that’s exactly what Cohen is good at. He’s done it for Trump for years.

The thing people don’t understand about wealthy, powerful men like me is that we have needs that ordinary men don’t, and the means to realize them. The occasional fling isn’t a luxury for me, it’s a necessity. I mean, I’m under a lot of stress! I’ve talked about this with the President, and he feels exactly the same way. He once told me, “Sean, you and I know that a sexual affair is cathartic. We’re so busy that, every once in a while, we just need the peace and excitement of a roll in the hay with a woman who’s practically a stranger.” Amen to that!

I’m pretty sure I can beat this rap. The Murdochs are solidly behind me—hell, I’m their biggest earner, they damn well better be! So my job’s safe. Rush has been outstanding in his support. He has his own fixer—I don’t know the guy’s name, but he supposedly helped Rush with that little OxyContin problem, and I know for a fact that Rush has had bimbo eruptions too. Matter of fact, Jeanine Pirro told me Rush got involved with a cabana boy at a Mustique resort, back around 2012. She said he had to pay him $1 million to keep it on the Q.T. That’s a lot of dough, but Rush makes something like $30 million a year, so I guess he can afford it.

Next time I see the President, I’m gonna ask him how he manages to smuggle women into the White House, or Mar-a-Lago, or Bedminster, or overseas, wherever he’s at. I myself am going to have to cool it for a while, which pisses me off. I mean, I can always “take care of myself,” but you’d be amazed how many beautiful, hot ladies throw themselves at me, and it’d be a shame to have to say “No.” But I have no choice. This Cohen business has been embarrassing. I’m gonna have to watch my back for a while.

 

 


Trump and California: An uneasy mix

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Donald Trump is angry at California and our governor, Jerry Brown—again. The nation’s bluest state voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a wider margin (61.6%) than any other state besides Hawaii, and Trump’s approval rating in California currently stands at about 29%, lower than any other state besides Massachusetts. Trump knows he’s loathed in the Golden State; we don’t like him, his policies, and everything he stands for, and he doesn’t like us.

Republicans, an endangered species in California, love to slur Jerry Brown. Rush Limbaugh, the former drug addict, recently called him “anti-American,” which is funny, since Limbaugh’s hero, Trump, seems to have sold out America to the Russians. InfoWars, the white supremacist website of the rightwing agitator, Alex Jones, just broadcast, “Jerry Brown, you have destroyed the state of California!” This is arrant nonsense, of course, but most Trump lovers don’t live in California—we don’t want them here—and so they have no idea that Alex Jones and all the other California bashers are manipulative liars throwing red meat to their under-educated, provincial base. Among actual Californians—we who know and love Jerry, and understand how he has governed during his four terms—actually rate him highly, with a recent Fox poll (!!) giving him a 54% approval rating, which is quite good for a sitting governor.

The right wing’s latest complaint against Jerry Brown is that Brown has refused to comply with Trump’s request (actually a demand) to deploy California National Guard troops to the Mexican border in order to help round up undocumented immigrants. Gov. Brown rightly said “Hell, no” (I paraphrase), although he didn’t rule it out: he just asked for a little more information about what they would actually do.

But Trump, naturally, misrepresented Brown’s position, and took to his favorite propaganda outlet, Twitter, to rant, Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border. The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!”

This comment is typical of Trump in its unsubstantiated smears and lies (“not looking for safety and security”), misrepresentations (“high crime rate”) and deceptions (“cannot come to terms.”)

To insult Gov. Brown by stating he’s “not looking for safety” is McCarthyite, not surprising for a man, Trump, whose mentor was the notorious red baiter, smear artist and deeply closeted, albeit homophobic, homosexual, Roy Cohn. The border areas of California actually have “lower violent crime rates than other places,” according to the F.B.I.

As for that “cannot come to terms” crack, it deliberately and misleadingly implies that Gov. Brown is at odds with California National Guard he commands. That is a lie. Trump would have more accurately used the term if he had tweeted, “My wife, Melania, cannot come to terms with my sexual perversions and serial adultery.” The California National Guard itself, in a formal statement, insisted, “state officials have not rejected anything” when it comes to sending troops to the border, and they suggested instead that “the federal government”—Donald Trump’s government—has “not responded” to Brown’s request for further information on how the troops would be used.

CBS News quoted a spokesperson for Trump’s own Homeland Security department, Tyler Houghton, as saying “the federal government is committed to working with Gov. Brown.” Meanwhile, Brown himself, in remarks on Monday at the National Press Club, took the high road. “We want to be cooperative,” he insisted. “I think we can find common understanding here, there’s enough problems at the border and the interface between our countries, California will have plenty to do, and we’re willing to do it.”

 Here’s the truth, although it’s not likely Republicans can accept it. Jerry Brown remains wildly popular in California. After all, we’ve elected him a historic four times, and would probably do so again were he to remain healthy and run for re-election (he isn’t). California is by far the richest, most powerful, most job-producing, most educated, most technologically advanced, most diverse and most innovative state in the country, and we’ve gotten there under Jerry Brown’s historic leadership. One can’t help but suspect that those rural Red State Trump supporters who are hating on California and Jerry Brown are just jealous, as well they should be!


From the Personal Diary of MICHAEL COHEN

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Dear Diary,

What the hell do they expect me to do, lay down and let ‘em fuck me over? That’s not how I roll! If the Feds think they’ve won the war, they are wrong! They won a skirmish. Now, I’m gearing up for battle!

Look, so what if I did go to Prague? I never testified under oath that I didn’t. I tweeted it, for chrissake. Everybody lies on Twitter. But even if Mueller can prove I was there, he has no idea what I did. At least, I don’t think he does. Of course, you know, Dear Diary, and I know that I was there as Mister Trump’s bag man, to arrange for the release of the Hillary and DNC emails on Wikileaks, in exchange for Donald dropping the Russian sanctions. And let’s just say some money passed hands. But let Mueller try to prove that! Bwahahaha, he can’t.

As for the Stormy Daniels crap, that’s gonna be a little harder. Fortunately, that damn Judge ruled that I have to see the stuff they seized in the raid, and then the Southern District can negotiate with me about what gets out and what doesn’t. You better believe the notes I made about my conversations with the President, about the $130,000, are something I’m going to protect as much as I can. I mean, if that gets out—well, it wouldn’t be the end, but it would be pretty bad. But I’m confident I’ll win that one.

I gotta hand it to Stormy’s lawyer, Avenatti. He’s a tough bitch. Reminds me of me, in a way. What he doesn’t know is that I am not a loser and neither is President Trump. We will fight, fight, fight until he’s broke and exhausted. Eventually he’ll give up. They always do. Besides, with the President’s poll numbers rising, the public mood is turning. People are starting to realize that Trump is making America great again. They don’t care about an aging porn star who just wants free publicity.

And now, this report about my client, Sean Hannity! Look, anyone who’s caught up in sexual scandal and blackmail, the way poor Sean was, deserves legal protection! Besides, the women in question all initiated the sex, not Sean. They came onto him—he’s a good Catholic and believes in the sanctity of marriage!!! If anything, he’s the victim! They took advantage of his goodness. So what if he paid them a little money to shut the hell up? That’s what money’s for.

Besides, President Trump and Mr. Hannity are very busy men, and these kinds of men need the occasional divertissement in order to amuse themselves and get their minds off business. So what if Donald or Sean Hannity consorts with porn stars and prostitutes? Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone, I always say.

Anyhow, I just saw that clip from Saturday Night Live that had Ben Stiller playing me and De Niro playing Mueller. What a load of horseshit. I can’t say I’ve ever been a Ben Stiller fan—hell, I couldn’t tell you any of his movies. I used to be a big De Niro fan but no more! That loser hasn’t made a good movie since Raging Bull. He’s just a washed up old has been. Typical Hollywood elite libtard snowflake.

So the battle is on! I’ll tell you this, Dear Diary, I will go down for President Trump! No way I’ll roll. Sure, I could guarantee his impeachment and probably even being sent to jail, if I told everything I know. But I won’t! The guy’s been good to me. On the other hand, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let me see what the Southern District and Mueller have on me. I mean, I love Trump more than my own father—but, hell, forty years in the pokey? I don’t think so.


Yes, he wagged the dog

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People are asking about the point of Trump’s missile attack on Syria. Aside from bragging rights about what a tough, masculine guy he is, what did it really do for America?

Trump assures us it’s “mission accomplished” (odd choice of words, given George W. Bush’s embarrassing statement), which leaves us to wonder what exactly the mission was. Meanwhile Assad, “casually walking” to work “briefcase in hand,” blows it off as a nothingburger,

We, the American people, have no way of knowing if the strike was effective, or what “effective” even means. A few buildings were blown up: so what? Assad remains in power, but even the tea party has no idea if they like him or hate him, since he’s anti-ISIS. So it’s a puzzle. What we can and do know is that Trump has succeeded, for the moment, in one thing: distracting attention away from his scandals, after one of his worst weeks yet.

Let’s face it, Trump wagged the dog, as Rachel Maddow reminded us on Friday night. Under the most intense pressure yet following the raid on his lawyer, Michael Cohen, and reports that Cohen really did meet with Russian agents in Prague, not to mention the gathering storm of the sexual affairs, Trump waved the shiniest shiny object in his arsenal: B-1 bombers and 105 cruise missiles. Nothing like huge explosions to distract attention! It worked. All the major cable news networks, even MSNBC and CNN, interrupted their virtually nonstop coverage of the Trump scandals to report nonstop on the attack.

Oddly, Trump himself still is obsessed with the Special Counsel’s investigation. Even as the bombs were falling on Damascus and Homs, he was tweeting: “No collusion! All made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!” Lowlifes? Hmm. Pussy grabbing, anyone?

We’ll see, Mister President. We’ll see.

Democrats seemed momentarily off-balance. Most of their senior Congressional leadership is criticizing the attack, but only obliquely; they seem puzzled how to respond more fully. Pelosi called it “no substitute for a coherent strategy,” but then, Obama didn’t have a coherent strategy either. Chuck Schumer called it “appropriate,” but added, “the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria,” a vanilla statement bland as milquetoast. These are contortions. If Democrats outrightly condemn the attack, they seem to be condoning the use of chemical weapons. If they praise it, they alienate their base, which loathes everything Trump does. So they have to thread the needle.

What do the few remaining independents think? They’re the ones that will either swing the Congress to Democrats this November, or allow Republicans to retain it. This is why I think Rachel—the most popular news anchor on cable T.V.—did such a smart thing. Before people could really absorb the news about Syria, Rachel planted in their minds the “wag the dog” scenario. That’s really smart. It now becomes part of the narrative—not “Was the attack successful?” but “Did Trump do it to help himself?”

Look, does anyone think Donald Trump gives a damn about 40 Syrians dying in a chemical attack? This is a man who in his entire life has never indicated a shred of compassion or concern for another human being, except, possibly, his children (certainly not his serial wives, upon whom he routinely cheats). Just two weeks ago, he promised to get out of Syria altogether; now, we’re involved over there up to our necks.

Who knows what really happened with those chemicals? Assad, the Russians, the Iranians and many others insist it didn’t happen, or was staged, or, even if it did happen, it wasn’t Assad, but someone else. Think about it: this chemical attack was a godsend to Trump. He needed something to buy him a little time and click his approvals up a point or two.

But can you, in the privacy of your heart and the honesty of your mind, really say you wouldn’t put it past Trump to orchestrate the chemical attack in the first place, so that he could say Assad did it and then bomb? Do you doubt that Trump has people who could make it happen and completely cover their tracks?

What Democrats and The Resistance should do now is to be silent on this, to the extent they can; if they have to comment because the media is besieging them, then give Trump faint praise, change the subject to RussiaGate and tax cuts for billionaires, and always, always remind people that this could be a case of wagging the dog.

Most of America already believes Trump is a dishonest, manipulative, amoral liar. From a political point of view, reinforcing that suspicion should be the first thing every Democrat does. I believe he wagged the dog. For that matter, I believe his current act, of getting tough on Russia, is fake. No doubt he’s already told Putin he has to pretend to be tough, for domestic political considerations, but assured Putin not to take it seriously. This is all part of Trump’s wagging the dog: Democrats should accuse him of risking nuclear war, and of killing people, for the sake of advancing his own personal interests. Putting Trump on the defensive is not only good politics, it pisses the hell out of him—and that’s a good feeling for Democrats weary of him and his regime.


The Right is freaking out over Trump’s lies

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The Wall Street Journal is scared out of their minds about Trump’s impending collapse, and Daniel Henninger’s latest foolishness proves it.

In politics, when your side has done something horrifyingly stupid, the usual tactic is to shift the blame onto someone or something else. You don’t have to be particularly adept at this: even if your lie is utterly transparent, it at least changes the conversation, and may put your political opponents off balance.

All politicians do this, but Trump is the undisputed master. Nearly every lie he’s ever told—more than 2,000 by last January, according to the Washington Post, “about small things and large,” in Jim Comey’s words—was designed as a smokescreen to shift the public’s attention away from his administration’s, and his own, misdeeds. Fox “News” does this a lot: whenever there’s a particularly devastating development in any of the various Trump scandals (porn stars, RussiaGate), Rupert Murdoch’s Republican propaganda machine can be counted on to ignore it in favor of peddling some wacky Hillary conspiracy theory that will get the Breitbart yahoos all in a tizzy.

Trump’s sycophants follow the same course, the latest being the Wall Street Journal’s hysterical columnist, Daniel Henninger. He can always be counted on to stretch the truth to its breaking point, as he did yesterday in his opinion piece, The Zuckerberg Collusion.

Henninger’s conflates many Republican lies into a single hatchet job on—who else?—Obama! His topic is ostensibly about Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress about Facebook’s misuse. But, of course, there was nothing helpful to the Trump cause in Zuckerberg’s testimony, which was essentially non-political, and that presents Henninger with a problem: he has to write about it because it’s big news, and he wants to write about it because the country is fixated on it; but he can’t address the real story—Russian collusion on behalf of Trump—because his job is to defend Trump, not do real journalism. So he has to make something up.

So what does Henninger do? Turn Zuckerberg’s testimony, and indeed the entire Facebook scandal, into an attack on Obama. How’s that again? Here’s Henninger’s B.S. spin: Why didn’t the Obama administration alert the American people in 2015 or earlier to the threat of Russian political subversion? Protecting us from Russian bots wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg’s responsibility.”

You can easily see the problem. It’s always possible, after the fact, to ask why someone didn’t do something sooner. This is a very easy line of attack: no one can defend not doing something to stop a potentially harmful attack. Someone could have done something sooner about Sept. 11, or about the California Wine Country fires, or any of a million other stories. Such questions can be turned usefully into formulating future strategies, but for Henninger to pretend that Barack Obama is somehow responsible for Facebook’s fake posts is scurrilous. One might just as easily blame Trump for the Parkland shootings: Why didn’t the president alert the American people to the threat from assault weapons? I doubt if Henninger would like that very much, and if in fact a liberal columnist wrote it, Henninger’s would damn the liberal to the depths of Hell.

It’s also weird that Henninger claims “Protecting us from Russian bots wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg’s responsibility.” Really? Then whose job was it? As Zuckerberg pointed out in his testimony, he runs Facebook. It is his responsibility to manage it in a transparent way, and to let us, the American people, know when and if Facebook was harming us. That’s what product liability laws are for—and Mark Zuckerberg is probably going to be facing his share of them by users whose data was given to Cambridge Analytica.

But of course Henninger doesn’t give a damn about protecting Facebook users’ personal data, or about the fake news that got his candidate elected. What he cares about (besides keeping his job) is diverting attention away from Trump’s mounting problems, and the fastest way to do that is by slurring Obama, or Hillary, or Pocahontas, or Oprah, or Daniel Hogg, or some other convenient rightwing bête noir. It’s what all those rightwing smear-meisters do: it’s all they can do, because the horse they’re backing, Donald Trump, is failing, and they just can’t, or won’t, bring themselves to admit it.

Have a lovely weekend!


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