Documentation. Witnesses. Facts. Truth. That's what they're afraid of.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Closing Out 2020 and Looking Ahead (or, My Year Living with CNN)

So, I haven't been around here much for a number of reasons. For one thing, my professional life has been absurdly busy. Also, the avalanche of news has just been overwhelming and it's been easier to address it all in real time on Twitter. I'm thinking that if things do slow down this year, I might be able to talk about a single thing for more than five minutes before the next thing happens. I mean, in 2014 I used to grumble on a lot of weekends that the news was so boring... maybe we'll get there again. I had a few extra minutes this morning, and I figured I would put up some of my predictions for the coming year. Since I began sheltering at home in mid-March, my monitoring of trends among the talking heads on CNN has gone from checking out maybe an hour or two of CNN per night to not only having it on in the background about 12 hours a day, but DVRing it from like 10 AM Eastern until midnight. Basically, my lenses to the world for almost this whole year have been Twitter and CNN, so that's what you're getting here.

Addressing the biggest disaster... I think we're in trouble in terms of COVID. We haven't seen the worst, and this prediction might be conservative:

The slowdown in vaccinations is scaring me. The new mutation of COVID-19 might not be resistant to the vaccines, but the next one might be. If we don't get close to herd immunity by the time it starts to get cold again in late 2021, we may never see normal life again and that's a thought to horrific to contemplate, though not an implausiblity.

Turning to Trump's fate, I've been saying for quite some time that we haven't seen the real consequences of the Mueller Report. More specifically:

And the fate of the world could hinge on what happens in just the first week of the new year:
Today's the first time that if you put a gun to my head, I'd predict the Dems take the Senate. Which, after all the handwringing about November 8th, means we had a pretty good Election Day. We lost some seats that we only won in 2018 because we had an excellent year, but were hard to hold in a good year. I'll happily take the White House, an advantage-Dem tied Senate, and a narrow lead in the House after the last four years.

To close, I'll get a little meta here and talk about what CNN has been doing and where it might be going. Back in early 2018, I wrote: I've been watching cable news way too much lately. I'd gone almost a decade without viewing much of it going into the 2016 primary season. I became glued to it because I felt like Trump's campaign was a phenomenon that was fascinating from so many perspectives, and that once November 8th had passed, we'd never see anything like it again. Of course, it didn't go that way. I rarely turn to MSNBC. Scarborough is terrible, the mid-day programming is meh, and the prime time shows are preaching to the choir. When a big story is breaking, I make a point to watch Don Lemon, and also sometimes Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper. Back in 2016, Lemon seemed like a deer in the headlights, but now he's pretty masterful at managing the otherwise awful CNN panel format. Why do I bother? It's not like I'm going to learn anything there I'm not going to lean on the internet. In fact, cable news is, for the most part, months behind. I mean, it's been pretty apparent since late 2016 that Trump's campaign had colluded with Russia to steal the election, and we knew in October 2016 that the New York branch of the FBI was conspiring against Hillary. Most of the news hasn't even gotten that far. But that's why I watch CNN. I learn just how far the press has gotten in their willingness to call a particular spade a spade.


Things are changing now. Trump's attacks on Mueller, particularly the revelation that Trump tried to fire him, is starting to elicit talk of Trump actually covering up crimes, and sometimes, the TV personalities will even allude to those crimes being Russia related. Occasionally, they'll discuss whether or not a sitting President can be indicted. I don't know whether they'll get there, but I'd say the next steps are for the CNN types to acknowledge, on air, that Trump cheated. Then they'll need to discuss what the consequences should be for stealing an election. Finally, and I don't think this'll happen, CNN panelists and perhaps hosts will call for an overturning of the election. That's what I'm watching for. The fact that there's progress at all makes this situation different than in the past. During the Bush years, the press rarely acknowledged that the administration lied us into war in Iraq, or that the administration ignored pre-9/11 warnings. The mainstream press will just never be out ahead of these types of stories. I've been following it for 20 years, I'm nearly 40, and I know by now that I'll never be satisfied with what I'm watching.
They didn't quite get to the point where Trump's theft of the 2016 election made CNN's sirens blare 24/7, but Ukraine and impeachment, along with Trump's open hijacking of the Postal Service and his refusal to let go since November 8th have opened their eyes to him. It also took several of their on-air personalities getting coronavirus, Trump causing the deaths of 300,000+ people, and Trump gassing their own reporters to wake them up:


Since about May, I actually think they've been great from top to bottom. For one thing, in the spring, they basically served as Black Lives Matter's equivalent of what Fox News did with the Tea Party a decade ago. Then there's the fun of Kaitlan Collins and Jim Acosta sparring with the odious Kayleigh McEnany: 


With a few notable exceptions, like (ugh) Rick Santorum, most Trump supporting Republicans almost never show up and are not welcomed. I regularly hear "sedition" and "trying to overthrow a democratic election," and there's been the fun development of John Harwood competing with Mary Trump to see who can psychoanalyze Trump the most:
As well as Jim Sciutto snarking away:

And Brianna Keilar even anti-bothsidesing:

Not to mention Chris Cuomo saying what he really thinks...

CNN has, mostly because they haven't had much of a choice, become the liberal network they've been long accused of being, and never were. They've been on the side of the good guys. Will they stay there with Biden in office? I don't know, but I think they'll be better than they were before Trump threw bleach all over the White House Press Corps.


 Anyway, I'll let CNN have the last prediction: See you next year!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Why I'm Ridin' to Paris with Biden and Harris

(Sorry, I couldn't help it, but wouldn't you rather cast an absentee ballot from Europe right now anyway?)

I mostly agree with Kamala is with Joe and so am I (obviously, I am too!), but I think there's something to consider about what Fineman is saying.

Allison Floyd talks about a "group of certain voters" here:

There's really more than one group opposing Harris, and they all appear to have a decent amount of fury. The Sanders left actively worked to undermine Hillary in 2016, but it's not just them this time.  Misogynoir explains some of the additional opposition, but not all of it. Those people are comfortable enough trying to "I-want-a-black-woman-but-not-that-black-woman" her with Karen Bass and Susan Rice. So what makes her unique?

Well, Harris represents a shift in the Democratic coalition that no one else does. She's more prepared to run in 2024 or 2028 than anyone else Biden might pick. She makes other competitors for the White House, like Eric Garcetti, not "next up." On her own, she's a nearly total break from the past. Though she was a strong early supporter of Obama, she didn't work in his administration. She's not a Clinton. She doesn't just bring change, she cements change, and for all of these people, there may be no turning back after her.

Harris makes a whole lot of people, particularly old powerful old white men like Chris Dodd and Ed Rendell, who have fancied themselves power brokers for decades (Rendell, in particular, seems to always be vocal at VP selection time; the OK-but-boring-as-cottage-cheese-and-twice-as-white Dodd thought he could win the presidency in 2008), almost totally irrelevant. She won't need them going forward, and they know it.  She shuts down a lot of the Bernie "revolutionary" insurgency down ideologically, because she's just as progressive as they are but has the color-within-the-lines political strategy that they really abhor. While I'd like to say, "Fuck 'em!", it's to Biden's benefit that he takes all of this into account as he's looking not to just win, but to win by as much as possible and to have the strongest coattails he can.

I'm not saying that I think Biden has to give Sanders, or Dodd, or Rendell anything of much value. I'm really done with white men in the White House for the rest of my life after Biden, but I'm OK with him humoring them for a few weeks and including them in the conversation. Let them feel important one more time in their careers if it will minimize the infighting for the next three months. They're the past, and we won't need them after that.

I think Joe knows where he wants to go. This wasn't an accident:

Joe can read the polls:

In the meantime, I'm really glad Biden is our nominee in 2020, not just because we're in such tumultuous times and need someone that as many Americans are familiar with as possible, but also because he knows and is comfortable with being the bridge candidate to the future. You just can't do better than a well-liked former VP for that.

I'll be very surprised if our ticket isn't Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at the end of this month. Everything between now and then is basically a performance.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


This is just profound:

That red line represents REPUBLICANS. I did not think that that number could ever drop below 50 for Trump. But read it. 19. NINETEEN. And this was before the Afghanistan news came out.

Let's see what Trump's approval rating looks like in a month. Can he hit the Crazification Factor floor? This one: