Friends don’t let friends fall for the Lincoln Project’s lying tricks

I’ve been seeing this excerpt of a video interview with Republican Steve Schmidt in which he thoroughly tears into Trump’s incompetence and failures — and don’t get me wrong, that’s good to see, but it’s the omissions that grate. Schmidt is one of the architects of the modern Republican party, just like Rick Wilson and the other Lincoln Project hypocrites, and when he howls about how bad Trump is, he’s concealing the fact that he wants an autocratic conservative government, just one with not that figurehead. He’s not looking for a more moderate leader, he wants someone who is far right, but good at it, so don’t listen to these guys thinking they want to improve our country, they want to make it worse.

Driftglass explains the dishonesty of the Lincoln Project with a telling example.

Once again, good ol’ Steve’s feigning ignorance of basic American political history is almost comical.

See, we had an eight year experiment in compromise with Republicans. It was called the Clinton Administration: Clinton actually delivered on lots of things Republicans had screeching about for years and they reacted by shutting down the government, launching a four year witch hunt and impeaching him over trivia.

Then we had another eight year experiment in trying to work with Republicans when Democrats elected an intelligent, humane, scandal-free constitutional law professor to fix the multiple, crippling catastrophes Steve Schmidt’s Republican Party had left in their wake after eight years of George W. Bush. Barack Obama was exactly the sort of incrementalist/accommodationist leader that Steve Schmidt now dreams of and Steve Schmidt’s Republican Party reacted to his election with eight relentless years of sabotage, sedition, unhinged racism, Birtherism and, finally, Trump.

Exactly. Obama was a moderate centrist (or in many ways, a conservative Democrat), and Schmidt and Wilson and all their fellow travelers hated him and fought him every step of the way. They don’t want a good leader, they want a Trump without the baggage.

Or, I suppose, the most charitable (not really) interpretation is that maybe they want a white Obama who they can push around. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

We just have to find the right numbers, and the problems go away!

I’m busy grading exams and quizzes today, and I’m grateful that none of my students have stumbled on the McEnany solution, which is to justify wrong answers by saying they just used different numbers than I gave them.

It is a kind of universal answer, though.

“I asked you what 2 + 2 is, and you said 3.14! That’s wrong!”

Nah, I just added two different numbers than the ones you used.

Republicans: Still creating their own reality, even down to using different math.

We need to get rid of Bill Barr, too

We’ve got some real winners in this administration. Bill Barr keeps earning a star for his standout performance, though.

You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history, Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd.

How dare he. As we all know, the orders that we not go play on the freeway is a greater intrusion on civil liberties. The law that requires that we wear a seatbelt is a greater intrusion. Traffic laws in general are a greater intrusion — who are these authoritarians who insist that I need a license to drive and have to respect the rules of the road? The state even has hired thugs in cars to enforce those!

Doesn’t the government tell people to stay safe inside when there is a tornado? Public safety isn’t an intrusion on civil liberties, other than your liberty to do stupid things and die.

Then he goes on to accuse the Justice Department of being full of preschoolers.

It might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,

You know, he’s in charge of the Justice Department. I guess he wants to run it all by himself?

Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates stole my money!

I want it back! I want everyone to get their fair share!

This new report explains that the rich have been robbing us blind since the 1970s, at least. That’s 50 years of cash I want in my pocket right now.

Just how far has the working class been left behind by the winner-take-all economy? A new analysis by the RAND Corporation examines what rising inequality has cost Americans in lost income—and the results are stunning.

A full-time worker whose taxable income is at the median—with half the population making more and half making less—now pulls in about $50,000 a year. Yet had the fruits of the nation’s economic output been shared over the past 45 years as broadly as they were from the end of World War II until the early 1970s, that worker would instead be making $92,000 to $102,000. (The exact figures vary slightly depending on how inflation is calculated.)

There was a transfer of $2.5 trillion in wealth from those who could actually use it to the über-rich. You might be wondering who to blame, who engineered this massive heist…I can think of a few crooks who’ve benefitted, but it’s also partly our own fault. We let this happen by electing lazy, greedy looters to high office.

They say the blame lies, in large measure, with decades of failed federal policy decisions—allowing the minimum wage to deteriorate, overtime coverage to dwindle, and the effectiveness of labor law to decline, undermining union power. They also cite a shift in corporate culture that has elevated the interests of shareholders over those of workers, an ethos that took root 50 years ago this week with the publication of an essay by University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman.

Many of these developments, Rolf points out, have been driven by the belief that an unfettered free market would generate wealth for everyone. Thanks to the RAND study, he says, “we now have the proof that this theory was wrong.”

Oh god. Friedman. Advisor to Reagan and Thatcher, libertarian, neo-liberal monster. So much of blame for the decline of the United States can be plopped onto his too-influential shoulders. Where’s his grave? We ought to all go piss on it, at the very least.

After the symbolic desecration party, though, we should pass laws that rip the ill-gotten wealth out of the hands of the 1%.

“the most shameful moment in the history of U.S. science policy”

In this week’s Science magazine, H. Holden Thorp damns the president of the USA.

When President Donald Trump began talking to the public about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in February and March, scientists were stunned at his seeming lack of understanding of the threat. We assumed that he either refused to listen to the White House briefings that must have been occurring or that he was being deliberately sheltered from information to create plausible deniability for federal inaction. Now, because famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward recorded him, we can hear Trump’s own voice saying that he understood precisely that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was deadly and spread through the air. As he was playing down the virus to the public, Trump was not confused or inadequately briefed: He flat-out lied, repeatedly, about science to the American people. These lies demoralized the scientific community and cost countless lives in the United States.

Over the years, this page has commented on the scientific foibles of U.S. presidents. Inadequate action on climate change and environmental degradation during both Republican and Democratic administrations have been criticized frequently. Editorials have bemoaned endorsements by presidents on teaching intelligent design, creationism, and other antiscience in public schools. These matters are still important. But now, a U.S. president has deliberately lied about science in a way that was imminently dangerous to human health and directly led to widespread deaths of Americans.

Congress needs to throw the asshole out now, and the American people need to elect a better human being to the office in November.

We’ve got to break out of the binary

I’m not enthusiastic about getting a slap in the face in November, but it beats getting a chainsaw to the crotch, for sure.

Now waiting for all of us to realize that we’re being herded into this duality to accept our punishment when maybe there’s a third way that doesn’t involve either slapping or chainsaws. We just have to figure out how to get there.

The sad thing is that faced with what should be an obvious choice, there are lots of people who will welcome the chainsaw.

Have you had enough yet? Five questions about our future

I’ve gotten so jaded with all the unseemly revelations from our federal administration that I kind of ignored the latest horror story. Besides, everyone was saying it was based on “anonymous” tips, so his base was just going to call it “fake news” and ignore it. But now I learn the source was 45 himself, that he’d sat down and let himself be recorded on video saying it all.

Jesus. Did he learn nothing from Nixon? He outright gave an interview to Bob Woodward spilling the beans. There he is in February, declaring that he knew the coronavirus was going to be serious, that it was not just the flu, that it was going to kill a lot of people, and he didn’t act. That little video kills a lot of the excuses that people are using even now to minimize their response to the pandemic.

(It also makes me wonder about Bob Woodward’s ethics, since he sat on such serious information for 6 months while the disease ramped up.)

Now I have questions for everyone, though.

  1. On a scale of A to Z, where A is “do nothing, business as usual” and Z is “set their hair on fire, run around screeching, submit articles of impeachment every day, dispatch cops to arrest the motherfucker, and throw the whole damn corrupt family into jail to sort out the crimes”, what should the American people and the Democrats do?
    My answer is a fervent Z.
  2. On a scale of A to Z, what will the Democrat leadership do?
    My answer is A. Definitely A.
  3. The election is less than two months away. Do you think the asshole will get voted out of office?
    My answer is a tentative probably. I’d like to think we’ve had enough, but I also think the result will be closer than we’d like — the deplorables have been emboldened in this country — and it’s also clear that the Republican party is ready and willing to steal the election.
  4. What will you do if 45 gets re-elected?
    I can’t think about that possibility without feeling a deep despair. The United States of America would be dead. More death, more incompetence, more looting of the public, more racist discrimination, more inequality. I don’t know what I’d do. I’m getting old, and might just fold inward and resign myself to fading away in a dying state. I’d probably encourage my kids to emigrate, though — it’s not too late for them, personally.
  5. What will you do if 45 is defeated?
    In that case, there’s a feeble glow of hope, but it’s only going to grow if we fan it ferociously. I have no confidence that Biden will lead in a way that would produce the substantial structural change we need, so at that point we all have to work ten times harder to get the Democratic party off its lazy butt. We’ve got to get rid of the electoral college, overly influential lobbyists, and the deadwood of the party; we have to get a government that is sane about working for the people, rather than billionaires.
    Either outcome in the election ought to leave us terrified.

But look on the bright side: 45 has so thoroughly wrecked confidence in the country and killed so many people with neglect, ignorance, and corruption, that maybe your choices don’t matter at all anymore! Just sit back and enjoy your ride into history as part of the Fall of the American Republic! People of the future will be surprised at how quickly it all disintegrated, and we’ll be featured in many pseudo-historical romances and adventure stories and melodramas. Usually as the villain, of course, but the villains always get the tastiest roles.