Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Stuff (updates)

I guess it’s time that we take as much of a look as we can stomach at the cabinet nominees of Generalissimo Trump, and Chris Hayes talks to Sen. Ben Cardin about HHS Secretary nominee Tom Price, Repug (of course) congressman from Georgia (I have a lot of issues with Price, particularly since he has advocated for the utter destruction of the Affordable Care Law, but this is the proverbial cherry on the icing of the crap cake as far as I’m concerned, namely, the whole “hip stock” thing)…

…and Kyle K. discusses Bernie Sanders’s questioning of Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary Nominee (NSFW – Kyle’s last 4 minutes here are particularly awesome IMHO)…

…and Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks with a lady who got totally screwed over by Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary Nominee, when Mnuchin was at OneWest Bank (and this is a minor point I know, but Mnuchin was also executive producer for “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”…I tried to watch it, but it was boring and incoherent, so I shut it off)…

…and Sam Bee talks with Masha Gessen about what we can do in response (besides drink ourselves into a stupor, of course)…

…and I would say that our transition into “Amerika” is already underway based on stories like this (and here is more on the human garbage associated with the bill in question)…

…and Thom Hartmann tells us about Obama’s final speech – typically hitting the right notes as you might expect…

…also, Rachel Maddow reports on Number 44’s accomplishments (and boy, is she right at the very end)…

…and I’ve had this tune in mind for what is yet to come, mainly for the title (this video was also the subject of one of the funniest episodes of Beavis and Butthead that I ever saw).

Update 1: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing a lot of sunny optimism from people I work with and regularly interact with in my life along the lines of “let’s wish the new president luck” (and you can file my relative silence in response under the heading of not making waves with my employer, lest I be branded an “unfriendly” which could have an impact of my job and prospects for potential professional development).

These comments are coming from hard-working people who do a lot of commendable things in their lives I’m sure, and I’m grateful that a few of them are actually my friends. And I’d like to make sure it stays that way.

However, I don’t know exactly what it says about these individuals that they apparently think the prior political campaign for president was something approximating what you might consider to be normal.

I guess it’s fine with them that the eventual winner of the contest for president was openly supported by white supremacists, and his campaign rallies regularly featured incitements of violence (as well as actual incidents of violence), particularly against the Democratic opponent as well as anyone considered to be an “other” and not a member of the collective “hive” in support of President Donald Drumpf. And I guess it’s also fine with them that the eventual winner of this mess benefited to no small extent from Russian hacking, massive attacks on our voting process to invalidate the ballots of Democratic voters, subversion by a rogue FBI director and office in New York, sanitation of the thoroughly odious record of the Republican candidate by our completely compromised Beltway courtier media (featuring what likely translated into millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity), and what I would call the stupefying incompetence of the campaign of the Democratic candidate (as well as the mind-numbingly idiotic exercise on the part of the “Bernie or Bust” crowd on our side who, out of hand, discounted any move towards the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” as Dr. Dean once called it, by our party’s nominee for president).

Oh, and I guess it’s also fine with them that, if the roles were reversed and the Democrat had benefited from all of this at the expense of the Republican, the loser’s party would be rioting in the streets with their guns at this very moment.

In fewer words (and I know this is not an original observation), what we are seeing is not normal. It is wrong. It is NOT the way our political process is supposed to work – not even close. And if ANY ONE OF US act as if it is, then all we are doing is validating something that, if something approximating justice is eventually done, will surely one day lead to prison sentences or million-dollar fines against selected individuals at a minimum.

NO, this is not “normal” under even the loosest definition of the word. And anyone who acts as if it is somehow is either a mindless Pollyanna, a willful criminal or a craven liar.

Update 2: From here
Asked for his reaction to the address, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Trump’s remarks were “a continuation” of his campaign rhetoric. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had a nearly identical reaction, saying the new president’s message was “very consistent” with Trump’s pre-election pitch.

There will be no pivot. The Donald J. Trump we saw riding down an escalator in New York 19 months ago is the same Donald J. Trump who’s on his way to the Oval Office. The nuances of his personality don’t really exist. What we saw is what we have and we’ll get.

The result was an inaugural address intended for Trump’s base – and no one else. Those waiting for an uplifting message were left wanting. The expected olive branches were set on fire.

The speech was, to be sure, deeply and unapologetically populist, which was only surprising because I thought everyone knew better by now. Sure, Trump exploited populist anger throughout his campaign, but during the transition period, the new president appointed billionaires and Washington insiders to help lead his administration, started selling access to megadonors, and moved forward with an agenda built on tax cuts for the wealthy elite.

Isn’t it a little late for faux-populism about “giving [power] back to you, the American people”? Are there still people who heard this address and believed it?
Uh, yep.

Update 1/21/17: Heh.

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