Monday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s media affairs show Reliable Sources which was cancelled last week after 30 years on air, used his final episode Sunday to make a pointed rebuke of the network’s new bosses and their intention to pursue a more “neutral voice” to its coverage.

    “It is not partisan to stand up for decency and democracy and dialogue,” Stelter said in his final monologue, which he stressed was unvetted by CNN management before he delivered it live. “It is not partisan to stand up to demagogues – it’s required, it’s patriotic.”

    He added: “We must make sure we do not give a platform to those who are lying to our faces.”

    CNN gave Stelter his marching orders last Wednesday, just four months after the network came under new leadership appointed by its owners, Warner Brothers Discovery. CNN head Chris Licht, who took over after the February departure of Jeff Zucker, has indicated that he wants to tone down the opinion quotient of its shows and “return” to an older, straighter and in his view less overtly leftwing style of reporting.

    It is perhaps predictable that Stelter was to become one of the first casualties among CNN’s stars under the new leadership. As NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik explained, Stelter was a thorn in the side of the Donald Trump White House, regularly exposing its lies and misinformation.

    As a result, he was “targeted for frequent criticism from conservatives for his coverage of the media during the Trump years”.

    Never saw his show, hell’s bells I don’t think I’d ever even heard of him but it is inevitable I guess that rich folks will just buy up any media that offends them.

    4
  2. CSK says:
  3. Kathy says:

    Coming back to work from vacation is a bit of a shock.

    And a bit dissonant, too. I feel like I’ve been away for a long time, but also that I’ve always been here (the last may be due to watching lots of Babylon 5 lately).

    1
  4. Jax says:
  5. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve been reading David McCollough’s Truman that last week or so. What is always so remarkable but shouldn’t be surprising is how little things change.

    Here are some excerpts from Truman’s Dec 20, 1937 Statesmanship in Financing speech:

    One of the difficulties, as I see it, is that we worship money instead of honor. A billionaire, in our estimation, is much greater in these days in the eyes of the people than the
    public servant who works for the public interest. It makes no difference if the billionaire rode to wealth on the sweat of little children and the blood of underpaid labor. No one ever considered Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of the Homestead steel workers, but they are. We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel & Iron do. and a dozen other similar performances. We worship mammon; and until we go back to ancient fundamentals and return to the Giver of the Tables of the Law and His teachings, these conditions are going to remain with us.

    It is a pity that Wall street, with its ability to control all the wealth of the Nation and to hire the best law brains in- the country, has not produced some financial statesmen some men who could see the dangers of bigness and of the concentration of the control of wealth. Instead of working
    to meet the situation, they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and selfish interest. People can stand only so much, and one of these days there will be a settlement. We shall have one receivership too many, and one unnecessary depression out of which we will not come with the power still in the same old hands.

    I believe the country would be better off if we did not have 60 percent of the assets of all the insurance companies concentrated in four companies. I believe that a thousand insurance companies, with $4,000,000 each in assets, would be just a thousand times better for the country than the Metropolitan Life, with $4,000,000,000 in assets. The average human brain is not built to deal with such astronomical figures. I also say that a thousand county-seat towns of 7,000 people each are a thousand times more important to this Republic than one city of 7,000,000 people. Our unemployment and our unrest are the result of the concentration of wealth, the concentration of population in industrial centers, mass production, and a lot of other so-called modern improvements.

    10
  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Vox this AM has an article up on the Reproductive Freedom for All Act, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2022/8/22/23306142/kaine-collins-codify-roe-abortion-congress

    Sponsored by Sens. Collins, Murkowski, Kaine and Sinema, the bill would codify Roe. Abortion rights supporters aren’t happy with the bill and feel they can do better, based on what evidence, I’m not sure. Frankly the bills biggest weakness is that there is nothing to indicate there is R support beyond Collins & Murkowski and no chance that the filibuster will be overridden. If support from 10 R’s should miraculously appear, Abortion rights supporters should take this, warts and all, and get it passed before year’s end.

    But they won’t. The chimera of perfection will again defeat the possible.

    7
  7. Scott says:

    Got a jury summons Saturday. Apparently Juvenile Court and it will be on line. Online screening questions ask about family violence. Felt a little cringe over the ramifications of those questions.

    Plus daughter tested positive for COVID. Very mild symptoms, thank goodness.

    2
  8. Kylopod says:

    @Jax: A lot of this is “Springtime for Hitler”-style grift, where the purpose is to make money off losing.

    3
  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..Kansas recount

    For those of us who are paywalled out of the Kansas City Star, a fine rag I am sure, here is the AP item on the matter.

    Kansas recount confirms results in favor of abortion rights
    OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A decisive statewide vote in favor of abortion rights in traditionally conservative Kansas was confirmed with a partial hand recount, with fewer than 100 votes changing after the last county reported results Sunday.

    3
  10. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A bill introduced earlier this month aims to do exactly that, writing into law the holdings of Supreme Court decisions that guaranteed the right to contraception and to abortion before fetal viability, usually in the 22nd to 24th week of pregnancy.

    This is why they are unhappy. Fetal viability here means that it CAN survive as a general rule, not that the specific fetus will. It means that women who have fetal abnormalities or issues that require termination after viability will be required to carry to term or face a forced labor. Both are painful, unnecessary, dangerous and expensive. A huge hospital bill, damaged reproductive capablities and trauma for a lifetime just because people get squeamish about the idea that not all pregnancies end happily.

    It also means we are encoding into law the idea that a woman does not have full autonomy of her body. Does it matter if that point is 15 weeks into pregnancy, 30 or even at conception? The law now says you don’t own the skin you walk around in because of a common condition that will happen to many women over the course of their lifetimes, often more then once. It’s a terrible concept to put into law, especially since it’s only as a compromise to get us back to a sh^tty status quo no one liked in the first place.

    It might be better then nothing but that’s damning with faint praise. We’ll take it if it’s all that can be done but my instinct is that we can get a better deal once R’s start seeing how unpopular their stances really are.

    6
  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @KM:

    I understand, but come Jan 1, 2023 when the new R, House majority is in place, even restoration of Roe will be off the table. If there is any chance to protect abortion rights this year, it should be adopted and deal with the other issues later.

    Yup, when the R state legislatures are through women will have even less control of their bodies than they would under a codified Roe.

    2
  12. CSK says:

    @Jax: @Kylopod: @Mister Bluster: @KM:

    Apparently, the Kansas anti-choice crew are planning to go door-to-door “canvassing” people to determine whether they actually, truly voted to keep abortion legal.

    Sounds like intimidation to me.

    7
  13. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: Sorry, didn’t realize it would be paywalled for you, I’d have quoted the important parts if I’d known! I don’t subscribe to it, but didn’t hit a paywall. I’ve noticed that about several different news sites lately.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    but it is inevitable I guess that rich folks will just buy up any media that offends them.

    Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. – A. J. Liebling

    I’ve been surprised the Billionaire Boys Club hasn’t more aggressively acquired media. Bezos owns WAPO, but doesn’t appear to be heavy handed. Murdoch bought WSJ, which didn’t move them all that much further right from where they already were. NYT is publicly held but controlled by the family. It sometimes smells like Kid Sultzberger is spiffing it up for sale. Last I heard the major network news shows were still the primary source for most people, although slipping. I don’t know who controls them. As you note, CNN is moving to the center, the new center between reality and far right looney tune. I use MSN as a homepage and their news feed seems to be slipping rightward. And if the BBC (Boys Club, not the Brits) wants to control news, they may be more interested in online sources where the Zuckerbergs of the world already seem to have little interest in esoteric concepts like journalistic ethics and reality.

    Margaret Sullivan had a farewell column in WAPO yesterday. She’s apparently going into semi-retirement to teach and write her book. She sees real progress in the press since 2016. They are now willing to call out lies. If only on the narrow subjects of COVID and election integrity. But she warns about the future and has advice for journalists. You may remember she was Public Editor, a sort of ombudsman, for NYT. She was apparently enough of a thorn in their side they eliminated the position. They’re excuse was that in the internet era they could rely on social media and comments for feedback. I’m pissed at them this morning over a “guest essay” by Rich Lowry. It’s a steaming heap of bothsides and whatabout and they don’t allow comments on their “guests”.

    1
  15. gVOR08 says:

    I apparently fat fingered my email address or something. I blame the iPad, whether that’s true or not. I’ll appreciate rescue.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..paywalled…

    No apology necessary.
    The internet is fickle. Some sites tell me that I have viewed my 3 free articles for the month when I am certain that I have not. Others that are commonly paywalled will occasionally display a complete item.
    My main source of information is OTB.

    1
  17. Kathy says:

    One thing I’d like to know is how effective the original Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines, without boosters, are now, today, at preventing infection from the original strain they were formulated against.

    The big part of the problem with COVID is that the strain that swept the word in 2020 is largely gone, or at least not circulating widely. It’s been replaced by variants, like Delta, which in turn get replaced by other variants, like Omicron.

    We know the vaccines and boosters offer very good protection against severe disease by these variants, but not against infection. But then, they did not target the variants.

    We hear a lot about waning antibodies, but that’s normal. think of how many times you’ve been sick or had some sort of infection, plus how many vaccines you’ve taken over the course of your life. All of these create antibodies, and the latter wane over time. Otherwise your body would be full of antibodies.

    The reason I ask is that eventually we may catch up with the variants, and have protection against the organism in circulation rather than a prior one. If we do, then how long after vaccination will we still be protected from infection?

    When Delta overtook the original strain, we lost the means to find out by experience.

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Still, as the original article clip said quite plainly, the likelihood of the bill passing is slim at best. The whole discussion seems to be about hypotheticals that won’t happen. I’m not sure it particularly matters which specific one doesn’t.

  19. Beth says:

    @Kathy:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kjVJi6RUchM

    Just a chance to share an awesome remix of a great song.

  20. Beth says:

    Because I’m bored, here’s the original:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kcsNrpnn5vM

  21. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “But they won’t. The chimera of perfection will again defeat the possible.”

    I know it’s always fun to attack one’s own side, but maybe we could wait to see if there are actually 10 Republicans who will support this before we start criticizing Democrats for potentially voting against it.

    7
  22. gVOR08 says:

    @wr: It occurs to me there might be a chance at a filibuster exception for reproductive rights. Sinemanchin might go along. As far as I’m aware there are no big money donors against repro rights available to buy them off.

    1
  23. Kathy says:

    @Beth:

    Would you believe my work PC has no speakers?

  24. Beth says:

    @Kathy:

    Sounds like your boss is the enemy of happiness.

  25. Kathy says:

    @Beth:

    Yes, but he has nothing to do with this. It’s a long, boring story involving a new, slower desktop PC with the monitor from hell.

    1
  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    @wr:

    The lack of R support is something I identified, but there is no reason for any R to indicate that they might support a bill, as long as Dem support isn’t guaranteed.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    A guy who has learned his lesson?

    The outspoken Russian ultranationalist Aleksandr Dugin called on Monday for revenge against Ukraine and for Russia to push on in its invasion, in his first comments since a car bombing killed his daughter.

    The Russian authorities on Monday blamed Ukraine for organizing the killing of his daughter, Daria Dugina, on Saturday on a highway in an affluent district outside of Moscow.

    Mr. Dugin, who Russian media reports said was driving in a separate car behind his daughter when the blast went off, said she had been “brutally killed by an explosion in front of my eyes.”

    He said the attack was an “act of terror” that had been “carried out by the Nazi Ukrainian regime,” repeating the Kremlin’s false description of Ukraine as a Nazi state.

    I guess that the separate car means either that whoever was in charge rigged the wrong one or that he wasn’t the target–except maybe indirectly.

    Maybe John SF will be able to comment on his demand that Ukraine be made to pay. Is he just a nutball? Was there “a lesson” for him to learn? Did Ukraine actually do this? There are no comparisons that I can make based on my non-Sicilian but Italian heritage. (Or from the Ulsterman side either, unless it’s really Ukraine. Then I get it.)

    1
  28. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: In my nastier moments, I would be tempted to post a sign on my front door: “Intrusions into my First Amendment rights may be met with a Second Amendment solution.”

    2
  29. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:
    To quote Donald Trump: “Many people are saying that.”

    1
  30. Kathy says:

    The GQP is chomping at the bit to investigate Dr. Fauci when they take the House.

    IMO, if they do, it’s Benito who will be splattered with mud. Sure, Fauci made mistakes (everyone did), but I doubt there was any incompetence or negligence on his part. Little Benito, on the other hand…

    Besides, Fauci’s sole “crime” in the eyes of the Herrenvolk is he disagreed with the Orange Clown when the latter was effing things up.

    The odd thing is that it’s usually the dictator who sets the purge rolling, not the apparatchiks.

    1
  31. Stormy Dragon says:

    Karen tries to call the manager on gay people:

    It really never occurred to me to report the gays who bother me to the local LGBT community center,but might have to give it a shot. pic.twitter.com/EeeqF1i7jx— Ari Cohn (@AriCohn) August 21, 2022

  32. Sleeping Dog says:
  33. charon says:
  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    54 years is along time to serve and especially with the BS he put up with during Covid and before that with HIV in the 80’s.

    Though this will take the wind out of the sails for the R’s if they take the house next year. Beating up on a retired octogenarian won’t nearly be as good TV as someone still serving.

    Thank you Dr. Fauci for your service.

    6
  35. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, as Sleeping Dog pointed out, Fauci is retiring in December, so good luck to the investigators.

  36. CSK says:

    From the Pennyslvania Capital-Star, via Raw Story:

    http://www.rawstory.com/for-americas-best-lawyers-trump-is-radioactive/

    Why would he think anyone halfway competent would work for him now?

    1
  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Why would anyone halfway competent have worked for him after he started stiffing his lawyers on legal fees? Lots of people are saying he’s been doing that for 20 or 30 years. Maybe more, who can tell?

    ETA: Looking at the bio, I’m surprised that FG was able to keep George Ross as in-house counsel. It would seem that he could have done better, but who can say?

    1
  38. Kathy says:

    I spent a part of my vacation binging The Boys on Amazon.

    I found it endlessly fascinating. Definitely it’s a take on “superheroes” I’ve never come across before.

    It’s hard to describe without some spoilers. That’s a shame, because it makes it hard to promote. So I’ll try minimal spoilers:

    Superheroes as marketing tools for a gigantic corporation.

    I think that leaves out enough.

    I should say I liked it enough that I’ve no desire to complain about things it gets wrong, like the CIA being involved in law enforcement (and other spoilerish tidbits).

    2
  39. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    His retirement doesn’t matter. He can still be investigated.

    Whether the GQP will make good on their threat is a different matter. They probably will, as they did the 1,001 Benghazi probes. But the results should be about the same.

  40. JohnSF says:

    Some good global economic news:
    In oil prices, both Brent and West Texas now trading at c. 96 and c. 90 $/barrel respectively.
    That is, back to levels last seen in February.
    Bloomberg futures showing as low as $86.84.

    Incidentally, below $70 is where Russian state budget his major problems.
    Due to loss of markets in the West, Russian sellers are being gouged by Indian and Chinese buyers.
    Hard figures difficult to come by, but most estimates for early July, when world price was considerably higher, were for trades around $78.

    Channeling SgtMaj.Williams: “Dearie me. What a shame. Never mind, eh.”

    Also, similar pattern for some other commodities, notably wheat and maize; prices falling back to late winter levels.

    Here’s hoping for good news on harvest coming in; European projections due to drought and heat estimate about 10% down on 2021.

    But what little I’ve seen of US figures looks not too bad; anyone know any more about this?

    But Europe, and UK in particular, are still looking at a massive natural gas-driven energy led price spike in winter.
    Latest estimate by Citi Bank is UK 18% early next year.
    Which is “oh shit!” territory.
    Even Bank of England estimates are now at 13%.

    Response of Liz Truss, who now seems certain to be next PM: shoot the messenger, and keep on insisting that tax cuts are the sovereign remedy for all ills.
    We are so very, very screwed.

    OTOH, Truss may be stroking the Conservative membership till they purr, but the wider public not so impressed, it seems.

    Latest YouGov poll has Lab 43%; Con 28%; LibDem 11%.
    That’s stick a fork in ’em territory; and the dung has not yet collided with the fan.
    (Benefits of not having Jeremy expletive Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party 🙂 )

    3
  41. Stormy Dragon says:

    If you need to brighten your day, this whole thread is a beautiful story:

    https://twitter.com/electra_rhodes/status/1561349585397862400

    7
  42. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    I don’t know. He’s been complaining for years that his lawyers aren’t “loyal” to him. Even the fact that the RNC is paying his legal fees doesn’t seem to help. Maybe his reputation as a client has gotten so rancid that it’s not worth it, even if you get paid.

    @Kathy:
    They’re already gearing up to do that if they take the House.

  43. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    I meant the first item above to reply to @Just nutha ignint cracker:.

  44. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    The problem is the Cheeto doesn’t really speak English, but a pidgin of his own. You know, how “fake” means negative, and such. I’m guessing “loyal” in this tongue means something like “they should believe my lies which are true to begin with!”

    On a related note, I think in trumpish, “declassified” means “It’s MINE!!!1!”

  45. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Maybe John SF will be able to comment…

    As I said in the comment thread yesterday, I’m no fount of wisdom on this; in short, damfino.

    But, just on basic reasonableness, it just doesn’t make sense for Ukraine, if they had a hit team in Moscow to waste it on Dugin, who’s “small potatoes”, as they say.
    And Dugina was just a single spud.

    And the FSB tale is laughable:
    A supposedly known Azov Battalion soldier, with no known skills in special operations, turns up in Moscow, with her 12 year old daughter in tow.
    Surveilled Dugina(?) for days, planted a bomb under her car (not actually hers though!), and remotely detonated it.
    And then escaped, overland to Estonia, clean away, whoosh!
    Leaving behind her Ukrainian ID card!
    Oopsie!

    Oh, please, lads, at least put some effort in to it.

    I wonder if Natalya Vovk actually existed.
    Or (nasty speculation) maybe the real Natalya, and her daughter, are in unmarked graves in Donbas?

    Why the killing?
    Pure guessology, now:
    – purely false flag
    – Dugin and/or Dugina got involved with somebody who offended the Kremlin politically
    – or were involved in some money making scheme and failed to pay off the “roof”
    – or a combination of the above

    And Dugin probably knows this quite well, but is also aware that saying it publicly would be fatal.

    Then again, maybe I’m completely wrong, and it was a Ukrainian op.
    Heaven knows, the FSB have shown themselves to be pretty incompetent in the past.
    Time will tell.

    In any case, I won’t be sending flowers.

  46. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I’ve read that his lawyers won’t put him under oath, because they know he’ll lie. I assume that’s why they managed to persuade him to take the Fifth 440+ times when he was deposed in NY.

  47. Jen says:

    I find this highly disturbing.

    Dark money is one of the things that has negatively affected the strength of political parties. Giving a conservative lawyer, one who is connected to the Federalist Society, $1.6B is bad for democracy.

    5
  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    When did the Federalist Society care about democracy??

    3
  49. Jen says:

    @CSK: Is this why he’s filed pro se in SDFL?

  50. Sleeping Dog says:

    Biden bottoms out, pops back to 47% approval

    Rasmussen Reports, the sole pollster still conducting daily presidential approval ratings, said today that Biden’s average has moved up to 47% approval, the best the president has seen since September of last year. Some 52% said they disapprove of Biden.

    Rasmussen of all polling agencies.

    2
  51. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Maybe.

    1
  52. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Maybe John SF will be able to comment…

    Looks like my comment is offendeing the anti-spam demons, for some reason.
    Reposting with some links removed.

    As I said yesterday, I’m no fount of wisdom on this; in short, damfino.

    But, just on basic reasonableness, it just doesn’t make sense for Ukraine, if they had a hit team in Moscow to waste it on Dugin, who’s “small potatoes”, as they say.
    And Dugina was just a single spud.

    And the FSB tale is laughable: a supposedly known Azov Battalion soldier, with no known skills in special operations, turns up in Moscow, with her 12 year old daughter in tow, surveilled Dugina(?) for days, planted a bomb under her car (not actually hers though!), remotely detonated it, and then escaped, overland to Estonia, clean away. Leaving behind her Ukrainian ID card!

    Oh, please, lads, put some effort in to it.

    I wonder if Natalya Vovk actually existed.
    Or (nasty speculation) maybe the real Natalya, and her daughter, are in unmarked graves in Donbas?

    Why the killing?
    Pure guessology, now:
    – purely false flag
    – Dugin and/or Dugina got involved with somebody who offended the Kremlin politically
    – or were involved in some money making scheme and failed to pay off the “roof”
    – or a combination of the above

    And Dugin probably knows this quite well, but is also aware that saying it publicly would be fatal.

    Then again, maybe I’m completely wrong, and it was a Ukrainian op.
    Heaven knows, the FSB have shown themselves to be pretty incompetent in the past.
    Time will tell.

    In any case, I won’t be sending flowers.

    2
  53. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Rasmussen has actually been showing some of the better Biden approval ratings for a while now, compared with other pollsters. Why is a good question. We all know it’s a crap right-wing pollster, but the question is why. If you believe they’re an outright fraudulent push pollster who deliberately cook up whatever numbers they think suits the narrative they favor, then you’re going to just assume that for whatever reason, at this moment, they want to be known as one of the more Biden-friendly pollsters. My belief, though, is that they do make some attempt at producing legit polls, they’re just extremely biased and have created a methodology that usually leads to conclusions they favor, and in this case, for whatever reason, that methodology has led to more favorable approval ratings for Biden.

    1
  54. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF:

    Incidentally, below $70 is where Russian state budget his major problems.

    You know more than me, but I wonder if this is still true? I assume at this point a) they are so desperate for hard currency they will take it anyway they can, and b) all their domestic costs have shrunk due to inflation.

    Wait, that second one is wildly out of date. I just googled and saw the ruble has rebounded above where it was pre-invasion. WTF is up with that?

  55. becca says:

    @Jen: Overturning Citizen’s United would go a long way in reducing the Grifter Madness that infects our politics. Would tfg have had a chance , if not for dark money? Would tfg have even considered running without the possibility of all that dark, dirty money finding its way into his pockets?

    2
  56. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Think about it. An individual just gave control over $1.6B to the man responsible for picking the 4 of the last 5 Supremes. Can there be any more blatant corruption outside of Saudi Arabia?

    4
  57. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    Whether the GQP will make good on their threat is a different matter. They probably will, as they did the 1,001 Benghazi probes. But the results should be about the same.

    The BENGHAZI!!! probes were incredibly successful. They dragged Clinton’s positives way down and her negatives way up. A lot of the low information voters think that where there is smoke there is fire, and the BENGHAZI!!! hearings were a whole lot of smoke bombs being lobbed in her direction.

    2
  58. Jay L Gischer says:

    @MarkedMan: There’s so little trade in rubles these days, I would be very suspicious of their price.

    2
  59. Jay L Gischer says:

    As regards Fauci hearings, it’s intended to feed the “Right All Along” caucus and keep their own voters from doubting as much as anything.

    Republicans are not especially held together by policy ideas. It’s much more about emotion – generally “Liberals are terrible!” also “Government is bad!”

    This way you try to collect anyone with a beef of some kind against Liberals or Government. But, as I said, it takes a lot of energy to do that. Thus endless hearings on Benghazi or Fauci, etc. The Big Lie takes an enormous amount of energy. It has to be repeated constantly for anyone at all to believe it.

    2
  60. Jen says:

    @CSK: Turns out, listing Trump as representing himself was one of the most amusing administrative errors ever. Attorneys are now listed.

    A girl can dream. 😀

    1
  61. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Damn! I was so hoping…

  62. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    The BENGHAZI!!! probes were incredibly successful. They dragged Clinton’s positives way down and her negatives way up.

    This is a common belief I’ve heard many times, and I do not believe the evidence backs it up. First of all, in the immediate aftermath of the attack itself, Hillary’s favorability ratings shot up to the highest level of her entire career as a national figure, from her days as First Lady to the present. I’m not claiming a causal connection; I’m simply pointing out that at the time the attack was most fresh in the public’s mind, it didn’t appear to make a dent in her popularity. That strikes me as pretty strong evidence it didn’t have any salience outside the right-wing echo chamber.

    Now, it’s true that her favorability ratings gradually declined over the next several years, which coincided with the Republicans’ lengthy probe into the attack. But that definitely doesn’t prove a causal connection. The initial decline in her ratings can be explained by her stepping down from her Sec. of State role and gearing up for a presidential run, triggering normal partisan sorting to return. (I think Clinton hatred in general took a backseat during the Obama years. But it was like something that lay dormant and was ready to come back to life as soon as she became a candidate for office again.) The total collapse of her ratings in late 2015 could be attributed to the Benghazi hearings, but given that polls suggested the majority of the public didn’t care about the matter, there are probably better explanations. The email and Clinton Foundation controversies got way more attention at the time than Benghazi, and were the fulcrum of the social media attacks on her coming from the Russian government.

    Hillary was always a polarizing figure, but before 2015 she was never unpopular–all the “gates” she went through from her time as First Lady onward only made her hated by a substantial minority of the country who were tuned to media that told them to think this way; most other Americans had a positive view of her. It wasn’t until 2015 that the hatred and negativity which had animated Republicans for decades but up to that point impressed no one else began to percolate beyond their world and come to be accepted by many Democratic-leaning voters. That’s the main reason her ratings went down to such an unprecedented level, and Benghazi had very little to do with it.

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  63. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    54 years is along time to serve and especially with the BS he put up with during Covid and before that with HIV in the 80’s.

    Fauci deserved most of the BS he got in the 80s. The government was slowing walking everything with AIDS, partly because the government moves slow, partly because there were a lot of safeguards that make sense in normal times but not in a crisis, and partly because AIDS was just killing dirty little faggots.

    Fauci should get credit for the streamlining with compassionate care exemptions for drugs, and pushing the beauracracy to start moving faster with experimental treatments, but he needed to be dragged kicking and creaming to the point where he became an effective ally.

    I’m not going to say he didn’t do great things in the 90s, but he had a long learning curve to get to the spot where he understood the urgency and the need to streamline things (and even then he was pushing back against the activists with a desire to slow things down to collect better data rather than good enough data)

    He had great PR. He was good, overall, but not as good as his PR, And he is a complete media whore, which is honestly a good thing for someone in his position that is generally good at everything else.

    I think we do a disservice to his legacy, and to everyone else, by pretending he was better than he was. He screwed up a lot and was in the way, and then turned a corner. He wasn’t amazing, and the next dude who isn’t amazing should know that and that there are corners they will need to turn.

    This is all a link to my belief that we should be teaching the racist beliefs of Abraham Lincoln. Heroes should be torn down to a human level so the rest of us know that we can reach those heights.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: A while later, there’s a black edged card in the mail. Tom’s heart finally did for him.
    Tim says, we got almost 30 years, because you learned CPR on a first aid at work course, that your boss made you do.
    Thanks, El, he writes, for saving all our lives.

    Beautiful indeed. Thanx.

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  65. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Wait, does this mean he doesn’t know more about the law than the lawyers? Surely this cannot be right.

    Or, far less likely, maybe the check cleared.

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  66. Gustopher says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The gravitar is right, so I didn’t fat finger the email… did I use a naughty word? Did it start with w? Or f?

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: There’s a difference between Clinton and Fauci. Clinton was going to run for Pres, Fauci is done. I have my doubts they can make the attacks tar Biden very much.

  68. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: You may be mostly right, but the wonderful thing about her extraordinarily narrow defeat is that literally every plausible explanation was likely determinative.

    I will say this rather definitively: the Republicans learned a lesson from BENGHAZI!!! — they will pay no price from throwing the most absurd shit at the wall, and will only benefit.

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  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: More to the point, if his lawyers know/suspect that he will lie/doesn’t understand what truth is, they can’t allow him to testify. If I understand correctly, it’s connected to suborning perjury and is the basis for the old joke where Dan Hedaya or some other seedy looking guy portraying the lawyer sticks his fingers and begins singing “I’m not listening, naaaahhht listening, I caaaaaaaannnn’t hear you ’cause I’m not listening” at the top of his lungs.

  70. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Stormy Dragon: I’m not crying, you’re crying. Maybe it’s the dust in here. 😉

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  71. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    More to the point, if his lawyers know/suspect that he will lie/doesn’t understand what truth is, they can’t allow him to testify.

    Not quite right. If they KNOW he will lie then they have to withdraw from representation. That’s a non-waive-able conflict between the atty and client. If they SUSPECT he’s going to lie, they don’t have to do anything other than what the client directs until such time as they get actual knowledge. If they have knowledge that the client doesn’t actually know what truth is, they would probably have a duty to disclose that the client is not competent to testify and possibly withdraw from representation if the client objects to the disclosure.

    It’s the suspect part that can get tricky. You can suspect your client is gonna lie all you want. You don’t even have to investigate. The problem is you have to maintain a very careful line. You don’t have to investigate but you can’t ignore.

    It’s all a balancing act between a lawyer’s duty to their client and their duty to the court. If Trump’s attorneys don’t understand that, they’ll end up disbarred. The reason he can’t get representation is probably a combination of suspected lying/lack of understanding of objective truth and failure to pay. That’s too many headaches for not enough money.

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  72. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    You may be mostly right, but the wonderful thing about her extraordinarily narrow defeat is that literally every plausible explanation was likely determinative.

    Well, no–just because it’s plausible doesn’t make it true. I mean, sure, there’s no way to know definitively that Benghazi didn’t swing at least a few voters away from her, but if that’s the case, that doesn’t mean it was worth the level of time and investment Republicans put into it–time they could have used finding more effective ways to reach voters beyond their base.

    I will say this rather definitively: the Republicans learned a lesson from BENGHAZI!!! — they will pay no price from throwing the most absurd shit at the wall, and will only benefit.

    I don’t know that that’s true. There’s an extent to which they get lost in their own obsessions, as we see from the Hunter Biden stuff, which I don’t think has had any negative impact on Biden, as it’s only salient to true believers. And the right-wing media world has some perverse incentives, since some of the grift comes from a need to feed an audience, which is actually easier to do when they aren’t in power. There are no doubt Republicans (including some political operatives) who believe they pay no price and even benefit from the anti-Democrat smear industry they’ve kept going since the ’90s, but that doesn’t mean they’re correct in that assessment. I think it’s been a mixed bag for them.

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  73. Jax says:

    @Beth: This really struck me.

    lack of understanding of objective truth

    My youngest daughter’s dad is the same flavor of narcissist. His truth is the only truth, everybody else else is lying.

    I’m not sure how we’ve sunken so low to have a person like that elected to the most powerful office in the world. I don’t even trust my ex with one human’s life, let alone 330 odd million, plus everybody else on the planet.

  74. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer: But themRussians have also insisted that those who buy their gas and oil do so in rubles. Perhaps that worked?

  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Your ex must be a brother by another mother to my ex.

  76. Kathy says:

    Good news. Pfizer/BioNTech have also come up with a polyvalent COVID booster shot that targets Omicron BA.4 and .5 sub-variants. It could be available by Fall if the FDA approves it.

  77. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I thought all the bivalents approved for the US were supposed to be approved by fall? Pfizer and Moderna, right? No more having to go through human trials, first? I’ve been holding off on getting a booster because I’d rather have the new one, right alongside my flu shot!

  78. Beth says:

    @Jax:

    Not only elected, but adored.

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