The leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation are just the beginning. Obama and his loyalists in and outside government are working to undermine Trump.
“As the leaks keep flowing from our intelligence agencies and the tweets keep flying from former Obama officials, keep in mind that although we haven’t heard much from Obama himself yet, the Trump administration is going to keep feeling the disruptions of what amounts to a shadow government.”
There are exceptions, of course. Jimmy Carter threw himself into international diplomacy, mediating an agreement in 1994 to return exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti, and generally agitating for a Palestinian state.
Then there is Obama. Less than a month out of office, the broad contours of Obama’s post-presidency career are already taking shape. Obama and his loyalists, it seems, will remain in the center of the political fray, officially and unofficially, in an organized effort to undermine the Trump administration.
The bizarre scandal now unfolding over the resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn is a case in point. Flynn’s resignation was prompted by a series of coordinated and anonymous leaks from current and former Obama administration officials in our domestic intelligence agencies.
“Obama had eight years in the White House to secure his legacy. Any efforts on his part to undermine his successor aren’t just an affront to the principles of our democracy, they’re an admission that he and his acolytes never put much stock in democracy to begin with.”
Regardless of any valid criticism of Flynn, the leaks are part of a larger, loosely organized effort now underway to preserve Obama’s legacy. This effort involves Obama-era officials still inside the federal government, former Obama staffers working in the private sector, and Obama himself.
This isn’t some conspiracy theory. After the election, Obama indicated he intends to stay involved in the political fray. In an email to his supporters on his last day in office, Obama encouraged them to stay engaged, promising “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.” Less than two weeks later, he issued a statement saying he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests over the executive order on immigration.
But there’s more to all this than Obama issuing solidarity statements to Trump protestors. For one thing, the former president isn’t moving back to Chicago. The Obama family will remain in Washington DC, within a couple miles of the White House, for the next two years as Obama’s youngest daughter finishes high school. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] *SIGH* John King Whimpers Lovingly With The Thought of Hillary Clinton Running for Mayor of New York CityPosted: January 15, 2017
We, as the voting public, have demands as well, and we put them in video form, so our friends in the Entertainment Community can understand.
‘When It Comes To Donald Trump, I Hate Everyone‘
Mollie Hemingway writes:
We’re now in month eight or so of Trumpmania. He has a core of support, and the media can’t get enough of him. The effect he has on people is fascinating. But it’s also remarkably annoying. Every casual utterance by Trump leads the news cycle until the subsequent outrage. And everyone flips out. Trump flips out. His fans flip out. His enemies flip out. The media flip out.
It’s enough to make you hate everyone. In fact, it does make me hate everyone. That probably includes you. Here’s a list of everyone in the Trump saga who is awful….(read more)
Donald Trump Fans
…I know many of the people who say they’re voting for Trump are probably just normal people who don’t pay a ton of attention to politics and think he’s an entertaining fellow who is funny and candid. It’s not entirely surprising that a man who has been a household name for decades would enjoy the support he has. I’m a political junkie, and once a week I have to think really hard about who all the candidates running for president even are. And another portion of his voters are probably people who are just sick to death of Washington, D.C., even if they’re not particularly ideological.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) December 11, 2015
A Twitter user who goes by the name Political Math said of these people, and please excuse his French, “The world makes a lot of sense when you realize that the #1 priority of Trump supporters is to tell you to go [expletive deleted] yourself.” He added, “And I don’t mean this as a slur: Trump supporters are really just *more* sick of bull[deleted] out of DC than they care about Trump.”
Listen, I also hate the Republican Party and think it deserves to die in a fire (for reasons discussed here). This is a political party that has squandered majorities, favored the elite donor class over the base, and not only failed to thwart the creation and expansion of the administrative state, but in fact enabled it. It has shown disdain for conservative principles and people, even as it relied on them for victory. I’m sick of it, too.
So I get wanting to send a message. (And if you don’t get it, I commend this interview by Urbanophile’s Aaron Renn of his father, who is a Trump supporter.)
But don’t pretend that Trump has ideas, much less ideas that are good. Yes, he fights! Oh how he fights. And after years of Republican candidates sputtering and cowering in the face of stupid progressive questioning, that is an enjoyable thing to see. Although, it must be said that for someone who fights he sure does whine a hell of a lot. Just in the time I’ve written this, I’ve seen him whine about a half dozen different people. Trump’s support is based on his toughness. So why do he and his supporters cry like little babies anytime someone critiques him even slightly? I don’t get it.
In any case, there are real problems in this country and in this world, and don’t confuse message-sending support for Trump with actual support for Trump. And consider that you hate the Republican Party because of how poorly it has performed in service of the causes you care about; ask yourself whether the solution you’ve found yourself embracing is actually an improvement. Yes, it’s cathartic and you are scaring the hell out of the rest of the country, including those portions that have treated you with contempt for many years. But, again, there are serious governance issues that require a serious person who actually knows what in the hell he or she is doing. Get it together, you know?
Donald Trump Haters
OK, you people really annoy me. Ace of Spades put it well when he said you are like a divorced man who is obsessed with his ex-wife. He thinks everything she does is awful, and he can’t stop talking about her to other people to try to get them to agree. Yes, Trump is crazy and awful. Granted. But screaming about it constantly makes you seem crazy, too. Meghan Keane Graham once wrote anessay about how a crazy man on the subway picked a fight with her. After a few stops, she realized that nobody on the subway car had witnessed the original altercation and that meant that nobody on the subway knew that he was crazy and she was not. It was even odds, at that point, which one was crazy. Maybe both were. That’s what you people remind me of all the time.
…Later the Texas policy expert explained the competing liberal and conservative visions implicit in the King v. Burwell Supreme Court Case.
You can listen here
‘Louis CK’s SNL Opening Monologue Was Awesomely Offensive’
In a late-night post involving Louis CK, and Mollie Hemingway, we find ourselves in familiar territory. Testing the limits of good taste, defending freedom of expression, and witnessing fallout from violating powerful social taboos. In the current edition of The Federalist, it’s gratifying to see one of my favorite media writers stand up for one of my favorite comedians. As we see in the video above, Louis CK goes where few comedians would dare to tread.
“It was actually quite disgusting and completely offensive. I can not possibly characterize how tasteless it was. It was also hilarious.”
— Mollie Hemingway
If you’ve ever heard Louis C.K. talk about SNL preparation–as I did recently, listening to a recent radio an interview–you know he seeks out difficult audiences rather than easy ones. He described testing his SNL monologue material in unfavorable environments, on disinterested audiences, intentionally, in order to find weaknesses in the material, and win over tough crowds.
Unlike his usual hip New York audiences, he discovered, SNL audience are comprised mostly of non-New Yorkers. Tourists, regular folks from the heartland. Edgy material he might normally do doesn’t necessarily connect here. After one disappointing performance on SNL, he worked harder at it the next time—testing, calibrating, rehearsing more. And coming better prepared, in his subsequent appearance, he succeeded. (it’s a good interview, if I find the audio clip or transcript of it, I’ll link it) Which is why his recent appearance on SNL surprised me. Because even if the now-infamous controversial material seemed risky, or misguided, you can be sure that the choices made were not arrived at casually.
Likewise for Lorne Michaels. SNL is shot live, the material is vetted in advance. I can’t imagine anything was performed that wasn’t approved. (or at least not disapproved) Knowing Louis C.K.’s work habits (more disciplined than they appear) it’s likely that he rehearsed his monologue for weeks, in front of difficult audiences, in different settings. And then, on live TV, Louis said exactly what he wanted to say. Knowing the risks. Expecting to offend people. But reasonably confident that it was funny.
When asked, in the interview, about his willingness to make people uncomfortable, referring to his frequent run-ins with authority figures in childhood, Louis C.K. said, “I’m used to getting in trouble”. It doesn’t bother him, the experience of being in trouble. He’s often talked about the challenge, and joy, of taking audiences to uneasy places, to explore what’s there, and find what’s funny about it.
To me, this is classic Louis C.K. There’s something about his frankness, sincerity, and delivery, that allows him to get away with things other comics would get crucified for. There’s more here than meets the eye.
The social justice warriors are creating a culture where comedians can’t make most jokes about race, sex, sexual choices, or any of the things that used to be staples of the comedy circuit. One joke in a stand-up set bombs for being over the line and the social media mobs come forth with pitchforks and your career is over or your comedy is seriously proscribed. It’s a free country, though, which means, in these cases, that if a bunch of coddled children can’t handle transgressive comedy without losing their minds, they can make life for a comic a living hell. Just because you’re trying something out in an intimate setting with a particular group of people doesn’t keep them from blasting it on the internet for a global audience that couldn’t possibly understand what you were going for. Comedians such as Chris Rock say it’s just not fun any more….(more)
“It’s a free country, though, which means, in these cases, that if a bunch of coddled children can’t handle transgressive comedy without losing their minds, they can make life for a comic a living hell.”
— Mollie Hemingway
While not exactly endorsing the content of Louis C.K.’s queasy monologue, The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway defends it, describing it as “refreshing — and ballsy”, and links to an earlier article discussing the necessity of tolerance. Comedy will suffer if comics are threatened and stop taking risks. Enforcing current PC-orthodoxy with online shaming campaigns, social justice warriors provoke and exploit social media hysteria to keep violators in line. Thus, the idea of Comedy Speakeasies.
The problem with comedy is that people can share what happens in the club with anyone in the world. In the future, when comedy speakeasies are the only way for people to hear transgressive jokes about race and sex, people will have to have the password. But they’ll also have to be patted down for recording equipment. No phones. No audio recorders. No pens and pads. Any recitation of the bits will be fully denied…
In her current column, Mollie continues…
…Louis CK knew he’d be met with social justice warrior outrage — and he was — and he went ahead with the monologue anyway. Not in a speakeasy but on network television. No trigger warnings. No concerns about punching all the way down…
Mollie Hemingway writes: NBC News’ Brian Williams is taking a few days off from his anchor chair at the Nightly News. The Most Trusted Name In News (TM) is in a spot of trouble. He admits he lied when he claimed he was in a Chinook helicopter forced down by rocket-propelled grenade fire in Iraq in 2003.
There are also concerns about dramatic stories he told about gangs attacking his hotel in New Orleans during Katrina. Whether he saw a dead body floating by him in the French Quarter. Whether he got dysentery on that trip.
Or witnessed someone commit suicide in the Superdome. Also about whether he actually saved a puppywhile on duty as a voluntary firefighter. Whether he was really “looking up at a thug’s snub-nosed .38 while selling Christmas trees out of the back of a truck” in the 1970s. And whether a helicopter he was in during Israel’s war with the militant group Hezbollah in 2006 was nearly hit by Katyusha rockets.
I could go on. The point is that he’s beginning to resemble Jen from the IT Crowd:
[Check out Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” at Amazon]
If Brian Williams were just a dude at the bar, he’d probably be your favorite dude at the bar. He has great stories and tells them well. The loquacious Williams is just an obscenely well-paid news reader. As Neil Postman put it in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves To Death, “A news show, to put it plainly, is a format for entertainment, not for education, reflection or catharsis.” And that’s how we like it — here’s a promo for a new CNN game show featuring anchors competing against each other. (Show ‘em who’s boss, Tapper!)
A Far Worse Kind Of Exaggeration
Some journalists have responded to the Williams spectacle by running defenses they’d never imagine using on others — such as that Williams had ordinary false memory syndrome. Others are just waiting for him to be pushed out or quietly get back to work.
Williams lied. I’m not defending him. But in a world of serial exaggerators and distortion artists, he’s the least of mainstream media’s problems.
Exaggeration and distortion is de rigueur for many political journalists.
Exaggeration is kind of what our media do. Now, part of this is defensible. At one of my first newspaper jobs, I would write unbelievably spare copy that accurately described the event or situation I was reporting on. My editor used to take his big red pen and scrawl, “So what?” across my copy, double underlined. It was a great edit. I had to learn how to make a story interesting and how to pull out the parts a reader would actually care about.
Any time there was a cause in search of a narrative, Ben Trovato was there…
“For those who suspect that Ben Trovato is not a real, literal person, you’re right. But the whole point of old Ben’s influence is that it doesn’t matter whether he’s literally real. Or whether anything is literally real, for that matter…”
“…It has been a year full of things that were ‘non vero’, but which had really good narratives. Or at least really convenient narratives…”
2014: The Lady Parts Election Cycle
For The Federalist, Rich Cromwell writes:
Robin Williams joked that “God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.” When it comes to politics, the Lena Dunhams, Cosmopolitans, and ladypartsjustice.coms want to overlook the humor of that joke and make the female equivalent the focal point of their politicized lives. Lady Parts Justice lays out the skinny:
5 REASONS TO JOIN LADY PARTS JUSTICE
- Because women decide elections and if we get together, blow this shit up in a smart and funny way, we just may be able to get folks to sit up, take action and reverse this erosion of rights.
- Because neanderthal politicians are spending all their time making laws that put YOUR body squarely into THEIR hands.
- Because extremist goon squads exist in EVERY statehouse in America and are sneaking in tons of creepy legislation. We’re staying on top of this shit so you can stay on top this shit.
- Because you use birth control.
- Because you like sex and it’s not all about having babies. Think about it, if it were there would be no room to stand.
“[Voting] is how you keep sexist health care policies from happening.” What is sexist health care? It’s comparable to pornography—difficult to define, but they know it when they see it. Dunham also took to Instagram, with the help of friends, to talk about Planned Parenthood. Cosmo, meanwhile, is less focused on lady parts and more focused on Latinas and how sexist policies affect their lady parts. They also have a party bus, which is somehow related. No word on whether it will offer alcohol and affirmative consent forms.
“As a man, I’m probably not supposed to have an opinion on this, but I totally do. As a father of daughters, I’m actually quite opinionated on the matter. Whereas I get to make decisions based on a whole raft of factors, apparently I’m supposed to teach my daughters to ask only one question: How will this affect your vagina?”
When we mash all these things together, I’m reminded of a useful literary tool.
Synecdoche—noun \sə-ˈnek-də-(ˌ)kē\: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage).
Despite its uses in writing and storytelling, though, it’s no way to live life. And that’s why the Robin Williams’ joke came to mind. Sure, it’s all about rallying female voters, but it seems women have forgotten they have other organs; that the only one that matters is the vagina and how they get to use it. Don’t get me wrong—I love the vagina, too. It’s definitely high on my unwritten list of favorite organs.
With Defeat Looming, Democrats Retreat Into Fantasy
One of the unfortunate things about being addicted to reading news about politics is that it doesn’t take long to become overexposed to the parallel hypocrisy and predictable self-delusions of each side’s columnists and loyalist OP-ED writers. One longs for relief. One thing I like about The Federalist is their media coverage of media coverage. Media criticism and analysis isn’t exactly in short supply in the blogosphere, especially in the run-up to the 2014 election. But finding good sources of media commentary (about media commentary) that are revealing, on-target, and reliably entertaining isn’t easy. The Federalist delivers. Particularly when conducted at the savage keyboard of virtuoso ego-slayer Mollie Z. Hemingway. But you know who else has a good aim? David Harsanyi. Here’s a sample of Harsanyi’s latest column, from which I borrow liberally in the following post. To enjoy the full text, go here.
David Harsanyi writes: With prospects of Republicans recapturing the Senate a chilling reality—though certainly not a given—I’ve noticed a number of pundits, including, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, embrace some conventional self-soothing myths about our political situation. Each one means to reaffirm liberal intellectual and moral superiority and rationalize events that aren’t exactly going according to plan.
“Maybe Obamacare killed for decades the idea of big centralized governance? I find the prospect heartening.”
It is inconceivable voters could be unhappy with Democrats’ recent body of work or the content of their message. A GOP victory will sit atop a mandate-free edifice of anxiety, hate, rage, and lies. “Republicans are conducting a campaign of atmospherics,” Robinson explains. “Be afraid, they tell voters. Be unhappy. Be angry.”
“Parties often fool themselves after setbacks. The GOP will, as well. No doubt, we’ll soon have a barrage of post-election autopsies that will get to the heart of the matter. You know the drill…”
Is Robinson referring to the campaign to persuade voters that plutocrats have the ability to steal democracy by drilling into the collective subconscious of America and forcing all of us vote for Republicans? That kind of atmospheric? Or is he talking about the condom-thieving vote-stealing white men whose detestation of entire genders and races is so fervent that it leads them to a career in reactionary politics? You know the type. The kind of scum that still supports slavery. Or maybe, when Minnesota becomes a desert because we haven’t pumped enough subsidies into windmills conservatives will be happy? After all…
“Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.”
…says the rational, idea-driven leader of the House Democrats.
“…what if people aren’t interested in being governed in such dramatic ways any longer? Maybe Americans are increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of politicians planning so much of their future.”
Sure, only one party has a laser-focus on the issues that matter.
Only One Party Is Irrationally Rigid
In a recent POLITICO piece sifting through potential bipartisanship measures after the midterms, Norm Ornstein ascertains that trade policy (please retard your excitement) is the most feasible low-key legislation Washington can hope to pass, because Republican “activists will not go ballistic over a signing ceremony conducted by the Socialist Kenyan president.”
So biting! You hear this sort of thing often, of course. I’d say believing GOP obstinacy is driven exclusively by fantasies and bigotry is almost as inane as believing in a Manchurian candidate. But if you think there’s gridlock now, wait until Republicans are driving policy. Should Republicans win, I do look forward to a slew of Ornstein columns lamenting the Democrat minority’s filibustering and sabotage…