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Wall Street Journal can’t stop lying (just like their president)

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Of all the slanders that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s editorial pages, none is more offensive to truth than this statement, which led off yesterday’s paper concerning the NFL fiasco Trump engineered.

“The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick…”.

I honestly had to pause and take a deep breath when I read that. The sheer effrontery of blaming the divisiveness and rancor in which America finds itself on Colin Kaepernick!

Colin didn’t start this. Progressives didn’t start this. Democrats didn’t start this. There has been a single casus belli, the spark that ignited the passions that are tearing this country apart: Donald J. Trump.

Oh, sure, the proximate cause of Sunday’s historic “take a knee” explosion was Colin’s decision, in the summer of 2016, not to stand during the national anthem.

But few even noticed before the right decided to make this a do-or-die wedge issue, to rile up their base of resentful white men. For the Wall Street Journal to now allege that Colin “put partisanship above a symbol of nationhood” is neither historically accurate nor intellectually honest. Trump was the divider who began this current civil war. Trump was the racist birther who still has never apologized for his slur of Barack Obama. Trump was the pussy groper, the hater of Mexican immigrants, the mocker of disabled people, the insulter of Hillary Clinton, the disparager of everyone who doesn’t agree with him, the defender of the KKK, the heterosexual, three-times married hero of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, the inciter, the race-baiter, whose angry, fallacious invective ripped apart an already fraying consensus in America. It wasn’t Colin Kaepernick who started this, and for Rupert Murdoch’s paper to say it was is a fib of the highest order.

Among the other lies in their lead editorial is this: “Most Americans agree with Mr. Trump that they don’t want their flag disrespected, especially by millionaire athletes.” Let’s break that down, starting with the “millionaire athletes” quote. It’s odd, to the point of crazy, that the Wall Street Journal is suddenly whipping up class resentment against “millionaire athletes.” The Journal is, after all, the newspaper that regularly features a section called “Mansions” that celebrates the accumulation of wealth as the highest of all human ideals. Of course, most of the millionaires and billionaires routinely celebrated in the Wall Street Journal are white men; perhaps it’s the fact that most of the NFL players who are taking a knee are black is what is so galling to Murdoch & Co.

As to “most Americans” agreeing with Trump, first of all, we have no polls yet to support this statement; it’s wishful thinking. But we do have a poll, taken shortly before the NFL situation, in which an astonishing 66% of all Americans say that Trump is a divisive figure. That number can only go higher the next time the question is asked.

I would wager that “most Americans” support the right of NFL players to take a knee. Besides, the message from the players—which I believe is truthful—is that this has nothing to do with the flag, or the anthem, or first responders, or how many American soldiers have died in war, or any of those other smokescreens of patriotism. By refusing to stand during the anthem, the players are declaring their personal opposition to Donald J. Trump. The NFL has joined The Resistance.

About time.

ESPN, the leading sports network, is not known as a liberal mainstay. This is sports T.V., America in its purest essence: conservative, family-oriented, beyond politics. And yet, here’s ESPN the other day calling Kaepernick “the biggest winner” of Trump’s war on professional sports. “This [Sunday] show of solidarity was a blowout victory for Kaepernick,” the network declared, which means that it was also a blowout defeat for Trump.

(Some rightwingers will point out that ESPN is partly owned by Disney, which Breitbart will portray as a Jewish-liberal corporation; but the other co-owner is the Hearst Corp., a conservative media outlet. So that argument is just another way to deflect attention from the issue.)

Has Trump gone too far this time? I hope so. But so lost in their spleen of white supremacy and resentment are his followers that I no longer put any hope in their coming to reason. Even though they stand to inherit Pence—arguably far more rightwing than Trump—if Trump is overthrown, their fragile egos cannot abide a desertion from the cause. Like Hitler’s nazi stalwarts, who continued to believe even after the Chancellery was blown to bits and the fuhrer lay dead by his own hands—like the Japanese soldiers on Pacific atolls, who hunkered down in caves for decades after Japan surrendered, fighting a fantasy war which, for them, never ended—Trump’s militant fans will stand by their man. He will go down, for sure; they will not. This is going to be a problem.


TrumpCare: Once again a loser?

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I put a question mark in my headline because, as I write this post on Sunday evening for publication Monday, we still didn’t know if Graham-Cassidy will pass. Things change so quickly that, for all I know, by Monday morning as you read this, Lindsay Graham may be denouncing his own bill. But right now, it looks like TrumpCare is, once again, dead.

Opponent need one more Republican defection. I watched the much-anticipated interview with Sen. Collins on Face the Nation Sunday morning, but she remained as coy as ever, saying she’s still waiting for a CBO analysis. But given Collins’ list of concerns about the bill, she seems likely to vote against it—thus killing TrumpCare 2.0.

All of which makes reading last Friday’s column in the Wall Street Journal by the rightwinger, Kimberley Strassel, so amusing. Strassel, an unwavering champion of Trump and strident antagonist to Democrats, got so much wrong in her op-ed piece that she ought to publish a Mea Culpa—not that she will, because it’s not her style. First of all, she said that the fate of Graham-Cassidy was “in the hands of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.” That was, of course, before John McCain famously repeated his previous thumbs-down and announced he’s resolutely against the bill.

So what did Strassel say about McCain? He “seems unlikely to repeat his performance and sandbag his BFF, Mr. Graham.”

Wow. If that’s the kind of political prognostication that passes muster these days at the Wall Street Journal, that paper is in deep doo doo. Sen. McCain did indeed “repeat his performance,” although both he and his Best Friend Forever, Sen. Graham, vowed that their bromance continues.

So Strassel got that wrong, bigtime. What else did she have to say? She blamed the attacks on Graham-Cassidy—which have ranged from the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society to all fifty State Medicaid directors—not on the bill’s substance, but on—guess who?—“the media and liberal analysts”!!! Isn’t that the typical Republican playbook? When you’re caught in a lie, blame Democrats! Then she wades further into the fever swamp by a faux-analysis of Murkowski’s political considerations. Well, none of that matters anymore, because Lisa Murkowski doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all about Susan Collins.

I know the State of Maine. Lived there, have a ton of friends there. And believe me, Mainers are flooding Susan Collins’s inbox with “Vote No on Graham-Cassidy.” Mainers are independent—just take a look at Angus King, Collins’ counterpart in the Senate. But they’re also fair-minded, with a flinty sense of justice. They behave according to a strict ethical code that includes hard work and respect for your neighbor, and they know when something is fundamentally wrong. And they’re seeing that, in spades, from this administration and its maniacal supporters, like Strassel. Maine is a white state, but they repudiate white supremacism of the kind that Rupert Murdoch’s media routinely support. People tend of think of Maine as a Republican state, but more people (31.5%) are registered as Democrats than as Republicans (27%), the remainder being scattered among various independent groups.

So Susan Collins’ opposition to Graham-Cassidy, and indeed to any bill that would throw tens of millions of people off healthcare, and virtually destroy Medicaid, is based on the ardent beliefs of her constituents.

When you think about it, Kimberley Strassel’s embarrassing misreading of the politics of healthcare is matched only by Donald Trump’s strategic mishandling of his own political health. This war against the NFL, and against pro sports in general, is one he cannot and will not win. #TakingTheKnee, as I write, is the number-one trending topic on Twitter. And, as we saw all day Sunday, more and more NFL players (and owners) are refusing to stand during the anthem, or are raising fists, or simply linking arms; and it’s not only football: here in Oakland, our beloved Warriors, including Steph Curry, were just disinvited to the White House to celebrate the NBA Championship. As their great Coach Steve Kerr observed, “He [Trump] was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.” This is no longer about the flag, or the national anthem: This is about Trump. These professional athletes are personally repudiating him.

Factor in the Jimmy Kimmel effect, and it’s clear that Trump’s coalition, already fraying seriously at the edges, is starting to come unglued, as even conservative Republicans see his mental derangement. Hashtag #BeginningOfTheEnd.


A stalwart of the Far Right warns Trump of “legal peril”

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It’s unusual for Fox’s right wing opinionators to say how much trouble Trump is in because of RussiaGate and the Mueller investigation. Instead, they whistle past the graveyard, pretending all is well and he’s doing a great job, ha ha, and when he does something so stupid that not even they can defend, they bait and switch to an attack on Hillary or Obama or Jimmy Kimmel. After all, given the gathering likelihood that Trump broke the law, Fox–which is not a real news station–wouldn’t want to upset their viewers, the same people, you’ll recall, about whom Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they wouldn’t care.

But lo and behold, someone at Fox just came out and said the emperor has no clothes—and it’s one of that “news” station’s most belligerently conservative talking heads, Andrew Napolitano, who has some pretense to understanding legal issues. The network calls him “Judge” Napolitano, which is technically correct: he was a Superior Court judge for eight years.

His history at Fox is checkered. In 2012, Fox fired him (according to InfoWars), but he continued to appear as an occasional commentator, only to be dropped from the network a second time, last March, for his claim that Obama wiretapped Trump at Trump Tower—an allegation for which proof has never been provided. Somehow, though, Napolitano keeps surfacing at Fox, Dracula-like. In his latest incarnation he has issued a stark and (for him) surprising warning to Trump: there is a tightening and frightening legal noose around him.”

Napolitano examines what is known of Mueller’s investigation (“very aggressive”), and Trump’s legal defense team (“incompetent”), and wonders if Trump grasps the gravity of the legal peril that is beginning to show up around him.”

If the rightwing intelligentsia, of which Napolitano is a part, that gave Trump a few shreds of intellectual credibility is afraid, that is very serious for him. It’s a slippery slope he greatly fears.

Still, Trump’s base stands by their man; in their eyes, he can do no wrong. If he’s indicted, we can expect them to fight back with all the strength at their disposal—which is considerable. Which leads to a thought experiment.

Let’s say the indictment comes sometime next year, before the midterm elections. Mueller issues his report; it is scathing, and accompanied by a Grand Jury indictment of Trump for, say, obstruction of justice. Democrats go wild with glee. Embarrassed Republicans vary in their reactions, with most withholding comment until they can figure out which way the wind is blowing.

But the base isn’t known for withholding comment. These people are not shy about expressing themselves (just read through their comments on any Breitbart article). They’re angry as hell and not gonna take it anymore. So here’s their Great Leader accused of serious crimes. The nation is in an uproar. What is that base going to do?

They’ll growl and snarl. They’ll demonstrate. They’ll write outraged letters to editors and post angry comments online. But that’s pretty much all they can do—just as the Left is pretty limited in its options when it’s up in arms over something. Neither side is ready or able to go beyond public expressions of outrage and complaining to pollsters. After all, what would such a “beyond” look like for the Right? Armed rebellion? Attacks on “fake news” companies or local Democratic offices? Political assassinations? General strikes? We’ve seen these things in faltering countries when there are political crises, but nothing of that sort here.

Not yet.

But I have a feeling we’re about to. The tea party/Breitbart/white supremacist Trumpites’ paranoia level is bursting through their skulls. And who knows what these crazies are capable of when they’re angry, organized and armed?

By the way, I give Trump credit for handling the North Korean problem pretty well. I know that Democrats aren’t supposed to give him credit for anything, but really, he’s been tough on them, as he should be. I like to think any Democratic president would have been tough on them, too. I don’t think Obama would have resorted to the bombast that Trump did, with “Rocket Man” and all that stupid stuff. But Obama would have been just as diligent–although the right will never admit that, because in their blind racist fury, they can’t give him credit for anything. Trump simply did what he had to do. Despite that, he remains a horrible, awful president, a deplorable role model for our children, a pathological liar who, it looks like, broke all kinds of laws. I continue to believe he will not legally last through his term.

Have a great weekend!


The wacko Right’s hottest hot-button issues, according to Breitbart

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To know what white supremacists are pissed off by on any given day, you need look no further than Breitbart’s Facebook page, which claims to have 45 million monthly droolers readers. We can start with the assumption that its editors wake up every morning with one thought in mind: “How can we rile our angry white male fans?” So they scour the Internet for stuff that’s guaranteed to make a hater’s head explode. Here are yesterday’s top muckraking stories. And, for an extra treat, I include the Funniest/Stupidest Comment on each post (with spelling and punctuation errors uncorrected):

Venezuela. It’s a socialist state, so that puts it squarely in Breitbart’s cross-hairs. Bannonites only like socialism when it’s Big Government telling people what they can and can’t do in their bedrooms!

Funniest/stupidest comment: This is the ultimate goal of the deranged left. To rip the constitution, make a new one in their dictatorial eutopia. They’re using the illegals, minorities, and when they’ve achieved their ultimate goal they’ll cast them out and say, yeah u guys get in line with the rest of them too.

Mike Pence talking at the U.N. Breitbart’s been making nice to him because they know he’s likely to be President sooner or later.

Funniest/stupidest comment: No Muslim in our government. Get them out America first no Sharia law in the USA”

Obama. Would a day at Breitbart be complete without new attacks and insults to the 44th President?

Funniest/stupidest comment: THE DEMOCRATS CORRUPTED ALL OUR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR THEIR POLITICAL BENEFIT.”

Benedict Cumberbatch. Why is the handsome young movie star on Breitbart’s attack list? It has to do with Syrian refugees, whom he’s expressed sympathy for. Breitbart never heard of a refugee they didn’t despise. Hence, the hating on Cumberbatch.

Funniest/stupidest comment: Yeah bring ’em in, so that they’ll be able to plot the next bombing, just like they do in England! Don’t put the cat among the pigeons!!”

An eight-year old who “took a knee” at a youth football game. Breitbart has led the war on Colin Kaepernick. Now that “taking a knee” is spreading across the country and support for Colin is mounting, Breitbart’s editors are frothing at the mouth with indignation. How dare that child! His parents must be snowflake libtards!

Funniest/stupidest comment: This is country is in trouble. We are teaching these kids disrespect. I hope you can speak russian. We will see how they will handle disrespect.”

Children’s cartoons. Somebody claims to have seen “a penis” in a cartoon on Netflix, and the prurient Right is having conniptions! God forbid they should get half as upset by their president’s sexual predations on women.

Funniest/stupidest comment: The comments on this page are proof this culture has gone to hell…..a clear and obvious penis on a children’s show and it’s okay with you. These are the same people who think its okay for all these female teachers to sleep with 15yr old boys.”

Chris Christie. Does anyone care about him anymore? Breitbart does. The Governor said something nasty about Steve Bannon, so Breitbart is spitting back.

Funniest/stupidest comment: This fucktards was the darling of the Washington establishment rinos need I say anymore than that . Shut your face fat fuck , YOU ARE THE PROBLEM …”

Transgendered people. The Pentagon is backing off Trump’s stupid ban on Trans folks in the military, with the military stating they’ll continue to pay for reassignment surgery for the time being. Which, predictably, outrages Breitbart’s white males, who are hairy chest-beaters and approve of one of their own who likes to grab women’s genitals.

Funniest/stupidest comment:I do not believe this…if its true…Obama did that shit…don’t try to make it look like Trump and Mad Dog [i.e. Mattis] are for this Shit..”

Leonardo DiCaprio. Another libtard Hollywood star the Right loves to bash, even as they line up to see his movies. What did Leo do to earn Bannon’s wrath? He donated $20 million of his own money to eco-friendly projects.

Funniest/stupidest comment:How about all that eco damage that DOUCHE boy does with his life style ?? DOUCHE boy needs to get over himself – get a life and get out of our lives !!!”

John Kerry. The former Secretary of State had the lésé majesté to criticize Trump’s bellicose “Rocket Man” speech at the U.N. and what does he get for it? Breitbart accuses him of “making America last.”

Funniest/stupidest comment: You were stupid before Trump was elected and you still are! Sit down and shut up! You have nothing to say that makes a difference to anyone in America!Trump 2020🇺🇸 MAGA”

Gov. Jerry Brown. My governor, the most successful California governor in history, is leading the national effort to protect Dreamers. So it’s inevitable the xenophobes at Breitbart are hating on him.

Funniest/stupidest comment:Now this clown🤡and his staff are suing Trump for the border wall! Hey Brown, WHY don’t you take care of ALL the homeless in California first before you WASTE taxpayers money are frivolous lawsuits???😡👎👎👎👎

And—it wouldn’t be a new day without an assault on Hillary Clinton! Yesterday it was for—well, who the hell cares what it was for? The misogynists can always invent some new lie.

Funniest/stupidest comment:Oh Hillary is much worse than that I hear she smells like rotten cabbage and urine because she refuses to bath everyday!”

And there you have it, Breitbart’s editors’ top stories, and the funniest, stupidest comments from their classy, articulate readers. These people are clearly running scared of the impeachment train that’s heading towards their president, and cheap, garbage nonsense is all they have to stop it.

 


Why don’t the most privileged of white men understand the concept of white privilege?

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I’m a white male, but I never bought into those charges of white male privilege you hear, with increasing frequency, bandied about on the Left. While I understood that the history of America—and, indeed, of the Western world—is one of the domination of other races, ethnicities and of women by white men, I never felt particularly privileged because

  1. I wasn’t. My parents had no money, and I never had any money.
  2. Besides, even as a white man, I was way, way down on the totem pole. I was short, in a country and culture that has negative views of short men, and I was gay. Being gay, in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when I was growing up and before I came out, was very difficult. One certainly didn’t feel “privileged’ in any sense of the word. Hated, yes. Feared and loathed. Discriminated against. Those are hardly feelings that would foster a sense of privilege.

Still, the concept of white privilege has become almost incessant these days. You hear it broached whenever a question of race arises, which is pretty much every day. The theory, as I understand it, is that even if a white person, and particularly a white male, doesn’t feel especially privileged, he or she actually is, because the system is greased towards white people, and against people of color. I will concede that I have struggled with this theory, and continue to struggle with it. And yet, the argument concerning white privilege always strikes a certain resonance in my mind. Part of it is irrefutable: I know from history that white men conquered most of the known world and then ruled it in such a way as to ensure their continued dominance. Who could deny that? Still, in the end, I always look at my own life, which has been so challenging to me in so many ways, and I think: Man, if I’m privileged, I’d hate to experience being un-privileged!

So I’m a little confused. But one thing that helps me put all this into perspective is when I come across another white man who seems so clueless, so ornery and devoid of feeling for under-privileged people, that it allows me to see actual white privilege demonstrated in a stark, brazen manner. I frequently have that sense when reading or hearing denizens of the Right who support this current president. Often, I see it in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, which is a bastion of white malehood; and for the epitome, or rather, the nadir of this expression of white privilege, you need look no further than yesterday’s op-ed piece by William McGurn.

These rightwing Trumpists have lately been flailing away at the anti-Confederate statue movement, which is right in their wheelhouse, and while it’s already old news, McGurn resurrects it to lash out at what he calls “the Democratic left” which “hunts for hate” by “railing at dead white hateful males,” the word “hateful” obviously used sarcastically. McGurn creates a false narrative: he blames New York Mayor de Blasio for wanting to remove the vestiges of Confederacy worship, while castigating him for every problem New York has: the public schools, the minimum wage, welfare—as if a Mayor can’t deal with social issues on the one hand and also be in favor of removing Confederate statues. But rightwingers like McGurn rejoice in throwing up smokescreens to deflect attention from real issues. Trump does it all the time.

So I look at a guy like McGurn, a bespectacled Baby Boomer like me, white, a New Yorker, and all I see, to tell you the truth, is a guy who just can’t let himself feel what Black people (and many others) feel when they see a statue or monument to Lee, or Stonewall Jackson, or any of the other heroes of the never-say-die white supremacists, who have nursed their grievance at losing the Civil War for 150 years, and show no signs of accepting the final verdict. And I wonder: What the hell is wrong with William McGurn? Does he not have an ounce of empathy? Is he so sure of himself—that Democrats like Mayor de Blasio are “dunces” who are “grandstanding” when they question the public display of these monuments? Surely this is an issue worth talking about. Surely, when so many of our friends and neighbors feel so strongly, we ought to listen to them. Yes, it can be a difficult conversation–but you have to have these tough talks if you don’t want to live in an echo chamber, and I don’t.

If white men like McGurn would get as upset with Trump for his sexual predation, his lies, his sullying of the presidency, his misogyny (which is getting worse every day), and, yes, his likely collusion with the Russians, I might keep an open mind when he argues in favor of Confederate symbols. But his outrage is selective, his insults are too predictable, and so his credibility is pretty much zero.


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