The republican majority’s U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee site:
The chair of the committee:
A colossal waste of time.
Republican Justin Amash stands by position to start impeachment proceedings despite criticism
The Michigan lawmaker is the only Republican member of Congress who has said he supports impeachment proceedings.
May 28, 2019, 10:25 PM CDT / Updated May 28, 2019, 10:36 PM CDT
By Leigh Ann Caldwell and Alex Moe
…a Republican who supported Amash and the president said she was upset about Amash’s position but wanted to hear his reasoning. She said that she will definitely support Trump in 2020 but that Tuesday night was the first time she had heard that the Mueller report didn’t completely exonerate the president.
“I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump. I hadn’t heard that before,” she said. “I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated….”
Because she couldn’t be bothered to find the easily available report on-line and actually read it.
Missouri’s junior senator, Republican Roy Blunt, has finally deigned to give us, via the GOP House organ, Fox News, his version of their Kavanaugh talking points:
The key comments here are his claims that “unfair” and “unrealistic” Democrats sat on Dr. Blasey-Ford’s story until late in the process and then declared Kavanaugh “guilty until proven innocent.” Since Fox’s Maria Bartiromo didn’t seem to want to push back on these assertions, I would like to offer the following observations:
— Although evidence indicates that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s account of the reasons for the late timing is accurate, the entire question amounts to little more than a red herring. The real issue is whether credible claims of serious wrong-doing should be ignored and not be fully investigated because they didn’t emerge earlier during more general routine vetting; innocent until proven guilty presupposes that a fair and transparent effort to secure proof will take place.
— One might also note that whether or not Kavanaugh is, as Senator Blunt asserts, one of the “most vetted candidate in the history of confirmations” is not a real answer to credible claims by his Democratic colleagues that the very curtailed and limited investigation into this specific allegation was inadequate.
Sen. Blunt is to be commended for not picking up on the shameless GOP whine about how Blasey-Ford’s credible accusations endanger those poor, quivering, white males who might be falsely accused of sexual assault. Yes, false accusations of rape are made – in, it is estimated, only 2 – 10% of cases. It follows that that 90%+ rape allegations are verified. And, of course, the way to verify the truth of any allegation of sexual assault is a full and unbiased investigation of the sort that the GOP-controlled senate and the White House did not allow to take place in the Kavanaugh case. Wonder why, anyone?
Finally, Blunt, riding high on the results of a Marist poll from last week, that found GOP enthusiasm for voting heightened after the Kavanaugh hearings, predicts that if Democrats continue to raise issues about the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s appointment, the “strategy” will backfire. In other words, the GOP wants to put down a potential on-going firestorm before it blows their narrative out of the water – and they’re counting on past Democratic spinelessness in the face of conservative attacks to do the job.
However, today a CNN poll which, unlike the Marist poll, was taken after the confirmation of Kavanaugh, should give Senator Blunt pause when it comes to trying to scare Democrats out of demonstrating their anger about a stolen Supreme Court appointment: in response to a question about voting enthusiasm, 62% of Democrats say they are “extremely or very enthusiastic to vote, up seven points since September.” In contrast, 52% of Republicans reported enthusiasm about voting in November, a result that is only 2% higher than in September.
Maybe Senator Blunt ought to help his senate leadership cronies retool some of that nasty, Trumpian Kavanaugh spin they’re spewing. It’s possible that even a few Republicans are embarrassed to belong to a party that elevates misogynistic, biased, lying, judicial hacks to positions of power and prominence.
*Edited slightly for clarity (6:20 pm, 10/9/2018)
Part one of Putin’s Revenge, a PBS Frontline investigation into the role Russia’s Vladimir Putin played in influencing the 2016 U.S. election, explores the rise of the Russian dictator and the events that determined his behavior toward the U.S. In the process it tells us how almost the first action that Putin took after assuming the role of Prime Minister was to engineer the takeover of independent TV broadcasting stations by rich “friends” of the Russian state apparatus personified by Putin. Since more than 90% of all Russians get their news from TV, this was an important step toward imposing an authoritarian state under Putin’s control.
Why is this interesting?
Almost as many Americans as Russians are dependent on TV for their news. Sinclair Broadcasting controls much of that news – and Sinclair, known for its conservative tilt, seems to be happily cavorting in Donald Trump’s grimy bed, perhaps even conspiring to make sure that the only news Americans get to see is friendly to Trumpland denizens
What does Sinclair get out of this relationship? First off, the proposed merger between Tribune News and Sinclair, which has been in danger of flunking the monopoly tests that the FCC uses to evaluate such mergers – precisely so that no company can take total control of American news sources – will come up for a vote in November. Wanna bet how Trump’s FCC, headed by a new chairman, Mitch McConnel’s boy, Ajit Pai, will vote? If the merger goes through – likely a foregone conclusion – seven out of ten Americans will potentially be getting their news from Sinclair. Second, the FCC just voted to relax long-standing rules that mandated that news outlets own and operate a station in the locale where they broadcast, moving us one step closer to content controlled, remotely distributed “news reports” that Sinclair has specialized in producing.
Sinclair is already a media player in Missouri. In the St. Louis area where I live, it owns ABC affiliate KDNL (broadcast channel 30). The merger would put two more stations in St. Louis under Sinclair’s thumb, KPLR and KTVU (broadcast channels 11 (CW) and 2 (Fox)). That’s three out of the four major St. Louis broadcast stations, folks. And broadcast is where many, often older, citizens get their local news.
And just consider what Sinclair has done with local news reports on KDNL: it’s gotten rid of them. And what have they put on in place of local news? Are you familiar with the rightwing radio noisemaker, Jamie Allman? If Sinclair dominates the local TV environment, I suspect
folks in and around St. Louis will become more familiar than they like.
That’s because, instead of the local news programs that are traditionally broadcast at 5:00 and 10:00 pm, KDNL currently airs the Allman Report, a half hour blitz of honest-to-God fake news (the real thing, not Trump-labeled fake news.). To be fair, when challenged, Allman calls it “commentary,” not news, but it still occupies the niche we associate with local news broadcasts and, in the absence of any real local reporting, seems to be intended to fill that void.
This given, I thought I’d check out the Allman Report, so I watched the program all the way through last Wednesday. Here’s some of the highlights of what watchers learned in a single half-hour:
In case this partial resume of Wednesday’s program hasn’t properly horrified you, bear in mind that the disgraced sex-offender and rightwing rage-machine, Bill O’Reilly, is currently in negotiations with Sinclair for a two-hour show to run on the broadcaster’s local stations starting at either 6:00 or 7:00 pm.
It looks like Putin’s favorite puppet has got the playbook – American version – down cold.
They keep sending these mail pieces to a Union household.
By the way, who’s paying for this crap?
Right wingnut millionaires or billionares don’t fund propaganda mail pieces to your household telling you…
…which church you should join or support.
…which charity you should join or support.
…which YMCA (seriously, WTF?) you should join or support.
If they were truly concerned about the welfare of working people and their families in Missouri you’d think they would, right?
Nah, they just believe that peeple in misooree our stoopit.
Astroturf propaganda (August 1, 2017)
Astroturf. You know, fake grassroots.
They sent this to a union household:
“Union bosses” are elected by their members. Are billionaires? Just asking. Yeah, right, billionaires and multi-millionaires are going to choose to pay working people higher wages.
Astroturf propaganda (August 3, 2017)
No, Americans aren’t ‘fine with torture.’ They strongly reject it.
By Paul Gronke, Darius Rejali and Peter Miller December 11
What it’s called matters – a fact not lost on the Bush Administration, which coined new phrases to call practices “not-torture.” It redefined the meaning of legal words and concepts, and described specific interrogation techniques as vaguely as possible….
EITs it is, then.
A picket sign from around 2002.
As if anything has changed in the last decade.
A Small Clique Of Legal Extremists… (February 24, 2008)
We have already determined what we are… (December 9, 2014)
“…to otherwise commit moral and national suicide by euphemism.” (December 10, 2014)
The world remains the same (December 11, 2014)
Remember when GOPer Roy Blunt ran for the Senate by harping on the “failed” stimulus?
Remember when Rep. Todd Akin (R-2) took to the floor of the U.S. House to denounce the Recovery Act (i.e., the stimulus) as a failure, and Obama and the Democrats for turning the Bush recession into a depression?
Remember when Rep. Billy Long (R-6) demanded that Congress “admit they made a mistake and vote to repeal the Stimulus Act in order to reduce our deficit”?
These examples offer a very small subset of the disrespect that our GOP delegation lobbed at the Recovery Act. Almost every Missouri GOPer has a small archive of similar statements. They are usually accompanied by recipes for budget cuts, deficit reduction and similar austerity measures.
Which is what makes this chart (h/t Maddow blog) so sweet (for those of us in the U.S. at least). Look at what happened to Great Britain and the Eurozone countries that took the austerity message so deeply to heart:
Britain, whose austerity policies many GOPers urged the administration to emulate, has officially entered a “double-dip” recession, while the U.S., where our President and his Democratic allies managed to push a small stimulus past GOP obstructionists, shows slow but consistent growth ever since the stimulus package began to take effect in the second half of 2009.
Don’t forget, either, that many economists have faulted the Recovery act only for being too small. Most realize, though, that a larger stimulus would have been impossible given the Republican’s hide-bound, seemingly ideological opposition to the Keynesian approach that proved so effective in the 1930s and 40s.
Ed Kilgore, reporting on Robert Draper’s new book on the 111th Congress, quotes several passages that indicate that the GOP war on the stimulus may have been motivated by political considerations as much or even more than ideological concerns. Draper recounts the almost immediate mobilization of key Republican policy makers, at a dinner on the night of the Obama inauguration no less, to devise ways to “submarine” the Obama presidency. Kilgore summarizes the strategy they devised:
In Draper’s account, these schemers decided on three very immediate steps: a campaign of villification [sic] aimed at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, an effort to obtain a unanimous vote in the House against economic stimulus legislation, and an early initiation of attack ads.
So political has the attack on the stimulus been and so divorced from fact, that I doubt whether the dire effects of the austerity crash across the Atlantic will penetrate GOP rhetoric in the slightest degree. I predict we’ll continue to hear the same tired canards about the “failed” stimulus” from the same cast of characters from now until November. Maybe then, if we’re lucky, the players will change for the better – in a few cases at least.
First: I know this is supposed to be a blog about Missouri politics and politicians, but on the grounds that, judging from polls and the virulence of local Tea Party crowds, lots of Missourians form their views of the political firmament based on Fox reporting and opining, this report by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters is, if not exactly enlightening, at least validating. It is based on interviews with a former Fox News employee and is worth reading in its entirety.
Second: My apologies for offering little or no commentary, but the following highlights from Boehlert’s article say it all:
– On Fox’s Republican bias:
It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.
– On Fox’s political role:
The real story, and the real danger posed by the cable outlet, is that over time Fox News stopped simply leaning to the right and instead became an open and active political player, sort of one-part character assassin and one-part propagandist, depending on which party was in power. And that the operation thrives on fabrications and falsehoods
– On employee attitudes:
My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead,” the source explains. “You could never error [sic] on the side of not being intolerant enough.
– On the Bush years:
We were a Stalin-esque mouthpiece. It was just what Bush says goes on our channel. And by that point it was just totally dangerous. Hopefully most people understand how dangerous it is for a media outfit to be a straight, unfiltered mouthpiece for an unchecked president.
– On the Fox news strategy:
… If one controversy faded, goddamn it they would find another one. They were in search of these points of friction real or imagined. And most of them were imagined or fabricated. You always have to seem to be under siege. You always have to seem like your values are under attack. The brain trust just knew instinctively which stories to do, like the War on Christmas.
And best of all:
The former insider admits to being perplexed in late 2009 when the Obama White House called out Murdoch’s operation as not being a legitimate new source, only to have major Beltway media players rush to the aid of Fox News and admonish the White House for daring to criticize the cable channel.
You don’t say.