David Brook’s Stupid Opinion in The New York Times

Is David Brooks suggesting we hold random twitter commenters, late night hosts and salad bar denizens to the same high standard that we hold the president? Or did he just rush to meet the deadline and come up with the most lavy BOTH SIDES argument ever?

Democratic leadership in the House have actually had really intelligent conversations about Iran. Left leaning media has done that as well. Even the mainstream media is doing a reasonable job. You paper is doing a good job. The facts and analysis are out there.

Is he imagining some rouges gallery echo chamber the rest of can’t see?

But the events of the past week have shown that the anti-Trump echo chamber is becoming a mirror image of Trump himself — overwrought, uncalibrated and incapable of having an intelligent conversation about any complex policy problem.

Source: Opinion | Trump Has Made Us All Stupid – The New York Times

Senate Republican blocks unanimous consent on resolution calling targeting cultural sites a war crime

Remember when Bush43’s administration argued for Waterboarding and everyone thought that was the rock bottom for the GOP? Or when all those people critical of Obama’s drone war were totally OK with Trump escalating it again? Well those same people are against calling out war crimes if it makes dear leader look like a war criminal.

 

The page-long resolution states that “attacks on cultural sites are war crimes.”

Source: Senate Republican blocks unanimous consent on resolution calling targeting cultural sites a war crime | TheHill

Understanding the Trump years by watching someone eating mayonnaise out of a jar with their fingers.

Conservatives do you really want to understand how liberals feel about Trump?

Imagine how you’d feel if you walked into your kitchen and saw someone eating mayonnaise from a jar with their fingers. Just standing there in front of an open fridge with a jar in one hand and the mayo being licked off the other hand. After they lick that greasy hand to their perverse satisfaction, they just dip it back into the jar and repeat the process. You stand there in shock as they repeat this over and over and over again.

Like any sane person would, you take a long calming breath and confront them by letting them know how just how gross it is to eat mayonnaise that way. This is simply not the way to eat mayo. In this home we have always consumed mayo by spreading it on out food, never to excess and always with proper utensils.

Rather than admit that it’s gross, or admitting it isn’t the customary way to consume mayo they loudly respond “but hey! you eat mayonnaise too!” with all the phony outrage they can muster. You respond that this is correct, you do in fact eat mayonnaise. In this home we all consume mayonnaise. But we all use silverware to spread some on a sandwich. We don’t eat it out of the jar with fingers. We don’t put those saliva dripping fingers back in the jar. In this home we eat mayo the way we have always eaten mayo, by spreading it on out food, never to excess and always with proper utensils.

They take another lick. Their greasy hand goes back into the jar. They turn to you and say “Well, you just admitted you eat mayonnaise too, you hypocrite. I’m not going to bow down to you and your condiment correctness. I am going to Make Mayo Great Again.”

The one difference from the W years

One thing has changed in the Trump years. Prior republican administrations could be shamed into not eating mayonnaise that way. This administration insists that mayo should always be eaten this way, because it drives liberals crazy. This is why they can not be shamed. When you caught Karl Rove eating mayo that way he would lie and say he was drinking a glass or water. After being caught in that lie he would lie again and say it was leftover potato salad. The Trump years are the years of proudly saying “fuck you, this how we eat mayonnaise now. Offended? Good!”

When you hear some MAGA uncle defend the Trump resorts kiddy concentration camps by saying “Obama built those facilities!” totally ignoring that those facilities were designed to hold kids traveling alone, not taken from their families, that those kids would be held for a few days, not several months. That uncle wants to eat mayonnaise out of a jar. With his fingers. And insist that he is right. That this is the correct way to consume mayo. And anyone saying we always used a knife to put mayo on a turkey club is fake news. All those pictures of people putting mayo on turkey clubs that way? Also fake news. George Soros took those pictures. He paid people to make those sandwiches.

Your MAGA Uncle is going to insist that it killing and Iranian Quds force commander without proper oversight, after tearing up the Iran treaty is basically the same as Obama having Bin Laden killed. Trump’s threat to commit war crimes is basically the same as Obama’s tough talk on deploying defensive missiles. What? You’re against killing bad guys? Mayo. Fingers. That’s how this works now.

This is how liberals feel about the Trump era. All the norms, conventions, basic decency and restraint we value are being shamelessly shattered. Those destroying them are dismissing any criticism with false equivalence, whataboutism and cries of fake news. You can not shame them anymore because they want this to be the disgusting new normal.

Liberals aren’t just angry, we are genuinely disgusted.

Take your fingers out of the jar already.

From The Atlantic: The Rust Belt Didn’t Have to Happen

Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana, thrived while other cities declined, because J. Irwin Miller, its wealthiest and most prominent industrialist, remained deeply rooted in and committed to his city. He used his clout, money, and a visionary progressive approach to build up Columbus for long-term success. A new biography of him called J. Irwin Miller: The Shaping of an American Town, by Nancy Kriplen, reveals not just the story of a city but one of a lost model of American leadership that the country badly needs to recover if many of its communities are to ever turn around.

Miller’s approach was superficially similar to many of today’s public-private partnerships. The difference is that his program invested in building up public goods and services, whereas all too many of today’s partnership’s are about enriching private parties at the public’s expense.

That moderation also helped Cummins and Columbus avoid the labor strife of other Midwest cities. When national unions attempted to organize Cummins, the employees instead elected to form their own, independent Diesel Workers Union, over the objections of the United Automobile Workers. The relationship between the Diesel Workers Union and firm was much warmer than usual, with Miller given honorary union membership. As he put it, “Unions are management’s mirror. They tell you things your own people won’t admit.”

The results speak for themselves. Cummins has remained a successful global enterprise. And Columbus has prospered, never experiencing a major period of decline. Today it’s still growing in population and adding jobs faster than the nation as a whole. It’s more educated than the country at large and boasts a GDP per capita higher than Portland, Minneapolis, and Houston.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/the-rust-belt-didnt-have-to-happen/603523/

Worth reading.

The key take away is that Columbus Indiana’s story is not one of laissez faire tax cuts and deregulation. It’s one of the private sector making use of public goods and then funding those public goods. It is one of human capital development, trade and shared prosperity.

Sadly there is no sign Pence learned anything from his home town.

We already know they are willing to abuse national security for partisan politics.

Since long before he was a politician, he’s lied frequently and even written in multiple books about his profound belief in the value of lying as a means to get ahead. And he’s good at it. After his Atlantic City casinos went bust, he successfully duped a bunch of mom-and-pop equity investors out of their money to get out of debt and had them pay him a salary for the privilege. He then got himself elected president and immediately started bullshitting about everything from the size of his inaugural crowds to the way NATO works to Chinese currency manipulation.When someone has proven over and over again that they are not trustworthy, you can, and in important situations should, stop trusting them

Matt Yglesias is right here but the bigger point is that they have shown themselves willing to make this exact kind of lie, as so has the Republican party. The GOP has made it clear they are OK with abusing national security for partisan politics when they lied us into a disastrous Iraq war. They outed Valerie Plame. They lied about the Iran treaty. They pardoned everyone involved in Iran Contra. It just keeps happening.

You can’t trust Trump not to abuse national security for partisan gain because you can not trust the Republican party not to abuse national security for partisan gain.

Source: Trump and Pompeo are untrustworthy on Iran – Vox

Jeff Flake doesn't understand the Republican Party

“The former senator, who was a frequent critic of Trump, called on his former colleagues to put themselves through a “simple test.” And that involves asking, “What if President Barack Obama had engaged in precisely the same behavior?” 

From: slate.com

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/12/jeff-flake-urges-senate-republicans-put-country-over-party-impeachment-trial.html

Jeff, they would reverse themselves. You should know, you were there. You watched your party reverse itself on executive oversight. The deficit. Golfing. Impeachment. On the issue of character in the executive. Free trade.

Quoting Paul Krugman from last year:

the real test came after 2016. A complete cynic might have expected economists who denounced budget deficits and easy money under a Democrat to suddenly reverse position under a Republican president.

And that total cynic would have been exactly right. After years of hysteria about the evils of debt, establishment Republican economists enthusiastically endorsed a budget-busting tax cut. After denouncing easy-money policies when unemployment was sky-high, some echoed Trump’s demands for low interest rates with unemployment under 4 percent — and the rest remained conspicuously silent.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/27/opinion/republican-economists-bad-faith.html

Jeff, if you don’t know that your party acts in bad faith, on almost everything, no one should listen to you.

Giuliani Claims He Kept Texts From State Dept. To ‘Protect’ Himself

Remember in 2016 when the GOP thought that the threat that Hillary might have State Department communications on private devices was enough to disqualify her and the possibility that they might end up outside to control of the State Department was enough to justify red faced screaming “lock her up”? Some people might start to think those concerns about cyber security in 2016 were not in good faith. 

So how did Rudy get those? Who sent them? Will there be an investigation? Will the GOP show even the slightest concern about private devices being used for State Department communications? Of course not. They never cared.

“Giuliani also repeated his claim that the State Department had approved of all his communications with Ukraine–and that he had five or six more texts in his back pocket as proof.

“I’m going to use them to protect myself if and when I need them,” he told CNN.”

From: talkingpointsmemo.com https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/giuliani-texts-state-department-ukraine-protect

The president who is escaping indictment appointed the guy escaping 83 ethics charges.

The story not being told here is that Brett was facing 83 ethics charges and they went away when he became a Justice of the Supreme Court.  This was brought up during his confirmation hearing and somehow the story was all about the he-said she-said allegation and not the mountain of ethical problems that Brett had. The mystery mortgage payments? His role in the Brook’s Brothers riot in Florida? He public meltdown and unhinges ranting about conspiracies targeting him went mostly unremarked. The president who is escaping indictment appointed the guy escaping 83 ethics charges.

100k pages of his time in the Bush white house were withheld from congress. Somehow that wasn’t a story. Even while the NY Times covered it.

The bulk of the records being withheld “reflect deliberations and candid advice concerning the selection and nomination of judicial candidates, the confidentiality of which is critical to any president’s ability to carry out this core constitutional executive function,” wrote Mr. Bush’s lawyer, William A. Burck.

Looking at the WaPo fact check of the reasons why the Republicans didn’t care about those documents reveals some odd excuses.

Kavanaugh was a trusted adviser to Bush, said Paul C. Light, a New York University professor and expert on the White House

 

“Both groups concluded that Kavanaugh is no longer subject to the federal judiciary’s internal ethics review process because he is now a member of the Supreme Court. He became immune the moment he was confirmed on Oct. 6, a process that followed a congressional testimony about sexual misconduct allegations against him.”

The president who is escaping indictment appointed the guy escaping 83 ethics charges

From: huffpost.com

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-ethics-complaints-dismissed_n_5d4442a1e4b0acb57fcb6356

Mueller Was Right: Read the New Senate Report on Russian Technology Meddling in US Elections

““Throughout 2016 and for several years before, Russian intelligence services and government personnel conducted a number of intelligence-related activities targeting the voting process … the Committee found ample evidence to suggest that the Russian government was developing and implementing capabilities to interfere in the 2016 elections, including undermining confidence in U.S. democratic institutions and voting processes.””

That’s the key quote. This is going on and Moscow Mitch is doing all he can to block election security.

From: forbes.com

https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveandriole/2019/08/01/mueller-was-right-read-the-new-senate-report-on-russian-technology-meddling-in-us-elections/