How little self-awareness do you need in order to participate in a gun show while the flag outside is at half-mast in tribute to lives lost in mass shootings?
We know they were punk patriots, but now we also know that a good portion of the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 were gullible patsies, too. It turns out that 90 of the 311 people indicted on charges for their acts that day contributed to Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee or a Trump-related PAC after the Grifter-In-Chief became an ex-president, reported NBC News.
We know that a number of the rioters were out to overturn an election they didn’t even vote in, but finding out that many contributed to the $207.5 million Trump and related entities collected in the weeks after the electionputs the events of Jan. 6 in a whole new light.
“We looked at data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to see whether there’s a ‘crisis’ — or even a ‘surge,’ as many news outlets have characterized it. We analyzed monthly CBP data from 2012 to now and found no crisis or surge that can be attributed to Biden administration policies. … Rather, the current increase in apprehensions fits a predictable pattern of seasonal changes in undocumented immigration combined with a backlog of demand because of 2020’s coronavirus border closure.”
— Washington Post
Joe Biden has been president for nearly two months, and it would seem his honeymoon with the media (if there is such a thing) has ended, with criticism coming from all quarters for his lack of press conferences and for his staying on the sidelines of the trainwreck that is Andrew Cuomo’s gubernatorial career.
First, the fact is Biden held two town halls since the election where the questions from regular people were thoughtful and meaningful — a refreshing contrast to the White House press corps’ attempts to illicit a gotcha. He also regularly responds to questions hollered at him by journalists as he passes from one place to another.
Finally, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds regular press conferences where she handles media queries with poise, skill and little prevaricating, if not some expected deflection. That’s a far cry from her predecessors in the same position in the Trump administration who, when they did give a rare press conference, mainly just repeated their boss’ lies and took questions only from friendly representatives of conservative media outlets.
On the Cuomo question, Biden and his team have been consistent in witholding judgement pending a complete investigation of the allegations against New York’s governor. The attempt to paint Biden into a corner as the only person who can prevent a damaging rift between the Democratic Party and Cuomo is ludicrous. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have already done that — with Gillibrand’s trigger finger being only slightly less itchy than when she called for Sen. Al Franken’s resignation BEFORE an investigation of sexual harrassment allegations. Cuomo is only hurting Cuomo, not the Democratic Party, and his political party is in no greater danger from his truculence and intractability than the Knights of Columbus are from his Italian lineage.
But think for a moment — what if Donald Trump were still president.
If you guessed the former Grifter-In-Chief and Biggest Sore Loser of Them All — the 45th President of the United States of America — you’d be right.
Vox has an interesting piece on the future of QAnon as described by journalists and researchers who have covered and studied the group. While the entire article makes fascinating reading, here is a crystallization of the experts’ thinking:
- QAnon should be thought of as a religion, not a political movement.
- Its religiosity enables it to survive, despite its prophesies failing to materialize.
- To the QAnon devout, Q’s true identity does not matter.
- The recent purging of QAnon believers from mainstream social media has reinforced their self-perception as persecuted renegades.
- Democratic lawmakers should be careful about framing the GOP as the “QAnon party” because it could drive the GOP deeper into the fringes.
- Violent extremists are actively working to radicalize QAnon believers for their own purposes.
- Even in the absence of Trump and regular messages from Q, the tagalong theories — 5G, vaccines and alternative medicine — represent significant risks to the public.
Dear Dr. Democrat,
I have very mixed feelings about cheering on the end of the Republican party. Not because I don’t want to see it shrunken and changed, but because I don’t see encouraging signs of declining power. I think the country is experiencing what we in Florida have gone through for years, which is minority rule based on gaming the system.
Republicans have gotten so good at this that it’s all they need to stay in power. They don’t need to convince the electorate of their rightness, they don’t need to win hearts or minds, they just need to keep suppressing the vote that would go against them and playing to their base. And if they all stick together, as McConnell has trained them to do, they not only win, they keep all the power and make all the decisions.
We got rid of Trump, maybe, but we are still in trouble. The work we still need to do is crushing and I don’t know if it’s even possible to succeed at it.
Please give me some encouragement that all is not lost.
Worried in Wakulla
I think you’re right on all counts, but I also see the Republican Party as weak and crumbling, which may be a product of my learned environment. But it’s difficult to operate politically for very long based on lies, which was the point of Tom Nichols’ recent piece in The Atlantic.
One of their biggest runs before now were the GOP’s anticommunist witch hunts. They started in the House around 1947-48, moved to the Senate in 1950 and then were obliterated with the “Have you no sense of decency?” episode in June 1954. A tremendous amount of damage was done in those few years – even though the lies were not promoted from the White House, either by Truman or Eisenhower (unlike Trump). And they didn’t have Fox News.
My point is, something will happen that will expose them or pop the bubble, but it’s going to have to be something irrefutable that even Fox, et. al., can’t ignore or spin – something like a Bush-Katrina moment that brings them down.
Crushing them at the polls would be a start. I thought we were going to do it last year, but … SOCIALISM! Thanks, Bernie and AOC.
I might sound like Paul E. Anna here, but I really believe it can’t last.
It’s a common refrain from Democrats and progressives that they can’t compete on a level playing field with conservative and right-wing media. The reason? They’re just too nice and don’t play hardball the way righties do. They can’t imagine launching a Fox News or OANN for the left.
But there’s a movement afoot to counteract that sentiment, with a planned $65 million behind the effort, according to Vox’s Recode.
The organization, whose formation hasn’t previously been reported, is called the Project for Good Information (PGI). It’s being created by Tara McGowan, a Democratic strategist who has spent the last few years at her current organization, Acronym, trying to encourage her party to counter far-right media with liberal content. She has fans among influential Democrats and donors but has also attracted controversy from journalism groups concerned that her advocacy efforts masquerade as unbiased media, as well as from some fellow Democrats who worry that she can push the envelope too far.
McGowan, who declined to be quoted for the Recode story, has explained that the current effort, dubbed Courier Newsroom, differs from former attempts by disengaging the media effort from obvious linkages to political entities.
“In order for Courier to be really successful, it is very important that over time it is not affiliated with a political organization or entity. We haven’t made any decisions related to that yet, but I think that there is a lot of fair criticism that we are reflecting on and thinking about,” McGowan said in an interview with Fast Company published in December.
“We need new business models,” McGowan said with regard to what a revamp of Courier would look like.
For our part, we wish McGowan good fortune in her pursuit of Good Information.
Just because Trump is out of office, it’s too soon to stop hating him. Especially when we keep finding out more about how incompetent and self-absorbed he was as a president, including when it mattered most, toward the end. That was when the pandemic was out of control, thanks to his mismanagement.
A new report from the Century Foundation shows that by playing golf on Christmas Eve 2020 instead of signing the bill to extend pandemic relief to out of work Americans, he cost them — and all of us — about $17.6 billion.
One month after the law’s enactment, nearly a quarter of the states have not resumed paying out federal pandemic aid. Moreover, an additional twelve states took three weeks or more to start up the payment of PUA, and fifteen states needed three weeks or more to reup PEUC.
By our calculations, these delays have resulted in shortchanging jobless workers by about $17.6 billion in benefits for the first four weeks in January 2021—38 percent less than these workers were due to receive. This is money that these workers and their families needed to pay rent, put food on the table, stay out of poverty, and keep America’s economy running while they looked for work.
You probably remember Trump’s grandstanding about signing the bill. […]