You slow down to an appropriate speed, and make a silent resolution not to look, but you see a rolling head out of the corner of your eye, hear the keening wail of a trapped child, something to require your glance. You slow down even more than you need to, without realizing it.
There are two ways this administration can go now -- chastened impotence or flat-out tyranny. There is no longer a middle ground, nor any "debate" among honest brokers about whether these people respect not just hoary norms of decorum, but the basic rule of law and the importance of long-standing institutions. (Hint: they don't.)
In the space of, what, seventy-two hours, the FBI Director was fired in the most ham-fisted, classless way imaginable, the usual hacks flooded the zone with various lies that were instantly debunked, and Clownstick openly threatened Jim Comey in an interview and on Twitter. As always, if you put this in a spec script, it wouldn't make it past the interns.
Much to my chagrin and embarrassment, I have actually been watching a bit of MSNBC and CNN at night the past couple weeks, while I work on various laptop projects. I have no idea why I'm paying twenty bucks a month to HBO anymore (aside from Silicon Valley), and my wife and daughter are in bed by 10:00 most nights. So it's background noise, but like the aforementioned wreck (a metaphor which, yes, has multiple applications), I can't help but pick up a few patterns.
What the media have become collectively, for the most part, is an accumulation of "commentators" and "analysts" who play verbal hacky-sack with whatever's floating across the chyron in a given half-hour. Even if I happen to agree with them on something, why the fuck would I care what career hacks such as Harold Ford or John Heilemann think about anything?
Such "commentary" is ensconced within a framework, to use MSNBC as just one example, of hosts passing the ball from one program to the next, generally with an assortment of "breaking alert" notices and such like. Maddow to O'Donnell to Williams, the modern mediot version of Tinker to Evers to Chance. But behind the breathless jabber, one gets the sense that corporate media of all stripes are mostly just mortified that things have gotten ugly, as if there were any other path with this gang of morons and thugs in charge, for however long that continues.
If they investigated these allegations as thoroughly as they clutch the proverbial pearls, we might get somewhere. But the demands of the 24-hour news cycle and the viral news item work at cross purposes with such "slow news" efforts as investigation. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with this Russia thing, yet all you see is dozens of talking heads yammering about what we already know, trying to divine meaning from chicken entrails. That or "press conferences" or "interviews" with people the journamalists know with absolute certainty are LYING to them.
What exactly is the point of sitting there and letting professional flunkies like Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway lob falsehoods at you? What a fucking waste of everyone's time. I have never been able to figure that one out. Who gives a shit whether these assholes cancel their worthless "press briefings"?
They act surprised, yet near as I can tell, there has been only one real surprise so far: Clownstick is even stupider than I had thought, and that is saying something. Read this "interview" with The Economist, and try to tell yourself that you're not reading, say, a transcript from an upcoming episode of Drunk History.
I mean, Jesus H. Christ, what the fuck is wrong with this guy? Seriously. How does someone born into wealth, had every resource at his (tiny) fingertips his whole life, manage to remain this ignorant at the age of seventy? In the space of a few weeks, we've gone from "nobody knew health care was so complicated" to "most people don't know Lincoln was a Republican" to "Andrew Jackson could have prevented the Civil War with his deal-making skills" and now he, Clownstick, asserts that he coined the phrase "prime the pump," a phrase that even casual students know has been used routinely by economists since Keynes, back in the 1930s.
Additionally, and what is more of a problem, the Economist reinforces the fact that Clownstick has no clue how trade deficits and tariffs work as part of a comprehensive trade policy. A few times recently (and it is in the Economist interview), Clownstick has asserted that there are "nations where....they'll get as much as 100% of a tax or a tariff for a certain product and for the same product we get nothing....".
At no point in any of these assertions has Clownstick bothered to identify or even hint at what the other nations or products are, or what amount of revenue it amounts to. Maybe the next chump he floats that one to could respond by asking for an example. Given his track record, it is safe to assume that this assertion is just another LIE. This assumption is reinforced by Clownstick repeated contextual assertions that zeroing out trade imbalances with China and Mexico are not only desirable, but doable. It doesn't seem to occur to him that trade deficits with these countries simply means that we buy more from them than we sell to them. This is primarily because the preponderance of cheap labor in those countries makes it much more efficient and cost-effective for American consumers.
One would think that someone who attended the vaunted Wharton School of Business would understand the most fundamental principles of Ricardian economic theory and competitive advantage. One would, of course, be wrong, so fucking wrong. Even Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin, who were in the room for the Economist interview and presumably spoon-fed him the secret "priming the pump" econ phrase, apparently couldn't get through to him that if flat-screens were made in 'murka, they'd cost two grand and burn out the day after the one-year warranty expired.
Again, with the moves Clownstick is making, there are only two outcomes to be had now: failure or dictatorship. In the end, as I've consistently stated for so many months, what ultimately saves us from sliding too far down the second path is Clownstick himself. It's not the horserace media, it's not the Vichy Goopers who need to be first up against the wall when this fucker is finally run out of office.
No, it's the stupidity of a man who suffers from terminal levels of Dunning-Kruger, and is too arrogant to recognize it. I mean, Fredo Arbusto was as dumb as a bag of manure with a hole in it, but he was at least just smart enough to understand that there was much he didn't know, and that he needed the help of other, smarter people who had expertise and experience. Clownstick has no such baseline, and this is why he's a fucking failure as a businessman, and an even worse human being.
This is not snark or schtick or me being a dick -- he's an awful fucking excuse for a human being. He has no inner life at all, no empathy for anyone else. He has an outlook on the world that is generally reserved for petulant children and borderline personalities. I could almost respect his lifetime of grifting if he did something cool with it. Look at Richard Branson or Mark Cuban, two guys who actually earned an honest buck, and enjoy some spotlight. Branson jet-skis and paraglides with nude supermodels and throws huge parties in the Bahamas, and he famously treats his employees generously.
These guys build businesses and help people; they read books and surround themselves with smart, interesting people, because that's what normal people with a butt-load of cash would do. Clownstick scarfs cheeseburgers, decorates his house like Saddam Hussein, and surrounds himself with ass-kissers and morons. However much money he really has or has had over the years, every fucking dime of it has been wasted on a pissy little man-baby.
We all knew that this clown was completely unqualified for the job he lucked into, but it turns out that he's unqualified for just about any job, at least a normal job. His one skill really does seem to be the ability to liberate suckers from their money. If he hadn't been born to wealth, he'd be on the county fair circuit, talking townies into cracking one more roll of dimes to win that giant Zeppelin coke mirror.
One thing the media can do is to clarify the issue of the admin inner circle colluding with the Russkies. The "hacked the election" story needs to drop; the extent to which the Russians propagandized our electoral process does not appear to be significantly greater or different from anything we have done routinely around the world for generations. (Now, if the Clownstick crew were involved or had direct knowledge of the hacking -- and there's every reason to believe they did -- that's another issue.)
The real story is in the active collusion between officials in the Russian government, and people who are or were in the upper tiers of this greedy, inept gang. The object is to get sanctions on Russia repealed, open up the oil fields for exploration and drilling, and reap an estimated $500 billion to $1 trillion.
This is all about money, bribery, probably blackmail, and lying and trying to cover up the whole lot of it. This is a moth-eaten sweater just needing someone to pull the thread and unravel the whole thing. Don't settle for some lame "obstruction of justice" dodge; these motherfuckers are up to their asses in alligators and we all know it. And we all know that if But Her Emails had one-hundredth of this baggage, the marching morons would be coming un-fucking-glued.
Once again, three things just about every one of us can do:
- Boycott every company that has anything to do with any of these lowlife assholes -- and more importantly, make sure those companies know why.
- Call and/or write your elected representatives. If they're Democratic, express your encouragement and support for any efforts to bring these traitors (and that is what every single one of them is, from Clownstick himself on down to rented enabler peons like Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks) to justice. If they're Republican, make sure they understand your vote is completely predicated on whether they put party before country, and that history will remember them for what they do here, if for nothing else.
- Vote. That doesn't just mean showing up on the appointed date, that means making you sure you can vote. Do you need to present an ID to vote in your state? You have seventeen months to make sure you have that ID. Don't whine about the unfairness; scrounge up the twenty bucks to get the card and then get some people in who will repeal those laws. Make a good-faith effort to convince the people in your life that can be swayed; change the subject with those who can't. Register to vote by mail if you can, then you don't have to worry about long lines, "broken" machines, etc. Seriously, none of those things are terribly difficult.