Which way to the orgy?
News reports of the annually banal pardoning of the White House turkey triggered memories of that video where Sarah Palin blathers on about whatever Sarah Palin was blathering on about, word-salad-wise, while behind her a workman looks on while he slaughters a turkey.
Several of our current GOP presidential candidates thought it might look more dignified if the turkey they were mock-pardoning was in black tie:
Gotta say the hands visibly holding the turkey’s legs from underneath a velvet cushion are bit of a distraction, if not quite as Palinesque as a workman holding a turkey’s legs while bleeding it out into a trough.
Disturbing and unsurprising events are still unfolding in Minneapolis and Chicago.
In Chicago last night, police released a dash-cam video of the shooting last year of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by then-Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke. A judge’s order forced the release, which the department fought. The video is here. McDonald went down and Van Dyke just kept shooting until he’d emptied his gun. It’s sickening:
Hours after a Chicago police officer was ordered held without bond on a first-degree murder charge, the city released a shocking police dash-cam video that captured the white officer opening fire on an African American teen on a Southwest Side street, striking him 16 times and killing him.
The video is about six minutes long and appears to show 17-year-old Laquan McDonald running down the middle of Pulaski Road near 41st Street when Officer Jason Van Dyke, standing next to his SUV, opens fire.
It was released to the media after a late afternoon news conference by Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
That took over a year and multiple FOIA lawsuits.
When challenged, Trump doubles down, citing vague sources he fails to name. He has a “pretty good source.” He is “hearing … from other people” something no one else has heard. Trump got “hundreds of calls” from people who imagined they saw what he imagined he saw. James Downie writes at the Washington Post:
It’s all eerily similar to a claim made by a U.S. senator in Wheeling, W.Va., 65 years ago: “I have here a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party.” Sen. Joe McCarthy never revealed where he got that list; the number changed from 205 all the way down to seven, and he never provided any concrete evidence. But, as Trump knows, McCarthy’s lack of evidence was no hindrance to tapping into the fears of a portion of the U.S. electorate. In those days, communists were coming for you; now, Muslims and immigrants are, and in both cases, the U.S. government won’t stop them. The message remains: Be afraid. The more that people buy into the message, the worse off America is.
At an event Saturday night in eastern Tennessee, an organizer brought up the meme that poor people tend to “vote against their best interests,” for Republicans who vote to slash safety net programs that keep them afloat. This complaint, as I have written, is an old pet peeve. First, because it’s a lefty dog whistle for saying those voters are stupid — which they hear clearly even if we cannot. And second, as liberals do we really want our neighbors to go into the voting booth to vote what’s best for No. 1 rather than for an America that aspires to something better? But Saturday night, the same organizer offered a new twist from a New York Timesarticle by ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis:
In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.
This is perhaps a manifestation of the “last place aversion” I wrote about in February. It is the need to have someone to look down on so you do not see yourself on the bottom rung of life’s ladder: Read More→
Salon’s headline is more satisfying than the text, but Bill Curry’s prescription for Democrats not being Republican punching bags on foreign policy again after the Paris attacks cuts to the heart of it:
Democrats have been losing the national security debate for years. Most aren’t any good at it. Some don’t even try. Few have the courage or conviction to challenge failed doctrines. So they crouch in the cellar praying the storm will soon pass. If this one doesn’t, its blood-dimmed tide may sweep a Republican into the White House and the country into a limitless, trackless war. To keep that from happening Democrats must find the courage and skill to lay out a clear, credible alternative to the reflexive militarism of the past. As things stand, they aren’t even close.
A dose of sanity in a minute, I promise.
Donald Trump is America’s crazy, right-wing uncle—and he’s coming for Thanksgiving. His Thursday comments about creating a Muslim database had me fantasizing whether Trump isn’t secretly asking himself just how far he can go before his Real American fans balk. Is Trump wondering, “What if I slipped lines from Mussolini into my speeches? Would they still cheer? What if I called for putting Muslims in camps? Would they pump their fists in the air?” Finally, Trump would throw up his hands and say, “Look at you idiots! This is the United States of America we’re talking about. You would really do it. Whatta buncha losers!”
I know. Not gonna happen.
Even though Trump tried to walk back the “unconstitutional, morally repugnant” comments, it was a Kinsley gaffe. In response, Chris Hayes recalled President George W. Bush’s “Islam is peace” speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. days after the September 11 attacks, and Jeb Bush’s people pounced:
Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fasicm. Period. Nothing else to call it. https://t.co/XYee8dEgJr
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) November 20, 2015
Americans ought to be ashamed. We are not, of course. Shame is for losers.
We love to pledge allegiance to the flag, sing the Star Spangled Banner, and pat ourselves on the back for how much we love the home of the brave. Then we turn tail and run from our own values at the first sign of fear itself.
In the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday 242 Republicans and 47 Democrats voted to erect further barriers to Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States. President Obama threatens to veto the bill. This follows governors of at least 31 states “either opposing, refusing, or suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees into their state — either permanently or until after a security review.”
The Nation‘s Julianne Hing was not surprised:
Who else in the news betrayed American values this week?>