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The Worst of Politics, w/o August 6, 2018

In Case You Missed It Over The Weekend

What Is It With The New York Times?

In another near-masterpiece of obtuseness, somehow not every reporter at the Times has gotten the memo that they’re being played by the Trump administration. Sunday’s front-page article about Brett Kavanaugh discusses his bromance with the Starr investigation into Bill Clinton’s sex life.

Meanshile it contains these howlers:

“Like many Americans at that time, I believed that the president should be required to shoulder the same obligations that we all carry,” he wrote in a 2009 law review article, about 10 years after the Starr investigations ended.

“But in retrospect,” he said, “that seems a mistake.”

Once upon a time, Mr. Kavanaugh had high moral standards and believed in personal accountability, no matter the office.

“If Monica Lewinsky says that you ejaculated into her mouth on two occasions in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?” was one of the questions Mr. Kavanaugh suggested.

So in the interest of a higher morality, Kavanaugh urged the Starr legal team to, um, probe … um … deeply into the President’s distasteful (though legal) activities.

But these days, shockingly, he doesn’t believe at all in restraints on the executive branch. By 2009, by sheer happenstance of eight years of a Republican president, he wrote, “I believe that the president should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office,” Kavanaugh wrote. “We should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions.”

But whether as a result of mature reflection or the expedient recognition that he should distance himself from the politically radioactive prosecution, Mr. Kavanaugh now argues more forcefully against criminal investigations of sitting presidents.

Here’s my real problem with this Times story: are those our only two choices? Mature reflection or expediency? How about, unreasoning partisanship? That’s the mode in D.C. these days, but our authors don’t even bring it up.

But to Democrats who objected to Mr. Starr’s investigation and are now the ones looking to a special counsel to find criminal activity in a president’s activities, there is more than a little irony in Mr. Kavanaugh’s shifting positions.

“It redefines flexibility,” said Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, who was a senior adviser to Mr. Clinton at the time.

Is that the limit of Democrats’ objects? That there’s more than a little irony? And than Rahm Emanuel quote, please. It was probably prefixed and suffixed with paragraphs’ worth of obscenities and expletives.


And it’s only Monday

LeBron James’ work in Ohio is superb and exemplary. No matter what Donald Trump says at midnight on a Friday. Plus: Trump threw his son under the bus.
And in California, if only they’d turned the forests into deserts, we wouldn’t be having these wildfire problems.


Grifters gonna grift

Remember when Al Gore got a huge amount of flak for making fundraising calls from his official office? This seems almost quaint today.

“This use of Air Force One would not only raise questions about readiness, security, and taxpayer cost, but it also violates the basic principle against using public office for private gain, and could constitute a violation of federal ethics rules… Moreover, federal ethics law prohibits the use of government property, including Air Force One, ‘for other than authorized purposes.'”

Constitutional fetishists still don’t understand the Constitution

Grifters, Keep On Grifting

If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.Capitalist Tool


Hooray For Me!

Setting aside the Alabama Senate seat for a moment and also setting aside the fact that (as of Wednesday) the Ohio House seat hasn’t been decided, let’s look at this chart from the data-viz wizzes at The New York Times:

Click to enlarge.

Wave schmave.


Spaaaace Foooorce Dah Dah Dah Spaaaayce Fooorce

I wasn’t sure I’d have anything new today. It had just been the tedious routine of everyday self-dealing, environmental degradation and nascent totalitarianism. Then this came in the in-box.

Click to enlarge. Do it!

Which one I like the best. I think it’s the emojis that are in the subject line. What’s your favorite Trump emoji?

Also, what’s with the tagline “TRUMP MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN COMMITTEE”? When, after he finishes hunting mastodons?

But I had to choose one. So here’s my click-through screen cap:

It reminds me of science books I read when I was a child. The same ones Trump reads today.
But he’s applauding! He likes my choice!


I’m not on speaking terms with Laura Ingraham right now, but

“massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people and they are changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.”—Laura Ingraham on Wednesday

“Despite what some may be contending, I made explicitly clear that my commentary had nothing to do with race or ethnicity,”—Laura Ingraham on Friday

In general, when David Duke endorses your statements about just about anything (he may have something worthwhile to say about southern cuisine, but that’s not his primary focus) chances are you yourself are a problem. Even then, if you’re Paula Deen you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

But I digress. If Laura and I were on speaking terms I would simply point out to her that they said the same things when our filthy, drunken Irish ancestors came over. Plus they weren’t very welcoming to my smelly German ancestors either.

Broken clock, right twice a day

Trump does something right. Would have been even better if it had come before the recent Turkish election.

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