Monday, March 4, 2019

Last Call For Both Sides Against The Lady

Everyone is coming down hard on Rep. Ilhan Omar, who pretty much gets accused of being anti-Semitic if she gets up in the morning.  Apparently House Democrats, or the powers that be around them, are sick of her and Nancy Pelosi is giving her a stern warning.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats will take floor action Wednesday in response to controversial remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar about Israel, the second such rebuke of the freshman Democrat from party leaders in recent weeks.

Pelosi and other senior Democrats have drafted a resolution to address the controversy, which ballooned over the weekend following a public clash between Omar and senior Jewish lawmakers.

The resolution, which began circulating to members Monday night, comes after a backlash from top Democrats who accused Omar of anti-Semitism for referring to pro-Israel advocates’ “allegiance to a foreign country.”
The draft measure is four pages that largely details the history and recent rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. but does not specifically name Omar, which had been an internal dispute among Democrats.

Instead, it condemns the "myth of dual loyalty," using the same language as top Democrats, like House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, who have condemned Omar in recent days.

If the House moves ahead with the vote on Wednesday as planned, it would be an unprecedented public rebuke of Omar, who was sworn into office just over 60 days ago. Omar's office declined to comment about the Democratic resolution on Monday.

Yet these efforts by Pelosi and other Democratic leaders won't be enough for Republicans, who want a more serious punishment for Omar.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other senior Republicans are considering offering a censure motion against Omar, according to GOP sources. Republicans may also formally demand that Democrats strip Omar of her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, a move that Pelosi and other senior Democrats won't take at this point.

It's the "at this point" that gives the game away.   House Republicans saw Steve King stripped of his committee assignments six weeks ago for his decades-long white supremacist views, since Omar is a Muslim woman Democrat who wears a hijab, she gets about 1% of that time before she becomes the trade-off that Democrats have to accept for Steve King, and for doing far less.

The Washington Post of course immediately yells BOTH SIDES DO IT not just once from Henry Olsen...

Omar is right that it is entirely legitimate to criticize U.S. policy towards Israel, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is her repeated suggestion that support for the current policy toward Israel is the product of Jewish money buying support and/or Jews who are more loyal to Israel’s interests than they are to those of the United States. Those claims are false and bigoted.

Republicans learned the hard way with King that where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. His repeatedly bigoted statements about immigrants were condemned but otherwise ignored by House Republican leadership. Clearly, they hoped that they were aberrations, or that the congressman would come to his senses and keep whatever bigotry he harbored in his heart to himself.

But that approach proved too lenient. Earlier this year, King finally made indisputably clear what many had long suspected during an interview with the New York Times, in which he said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” He had finally crossed the line, and Republicans — who could not expel him from their caucus under party rules — removed him from all committee assignments. (King has argued that the quote was mischaracterized.)

Democrats need to do the same thing with Omar. They might hope that she will straighten up, but as the GOP learned with King, bigotry can be a deep-rooted plant.

...but twice, with Dana "Dick Whisperer" Milbank.

What does Rep. Ilhan Omar have in common with President Trump? Sadly, more than you would think.

The Democratic freshman from Minnesota is perhaps the most prominent victim of the anti-Muslim hatred that Trump spews. The president appeared to be referring to Omar, a Somali American, when he told a conservative audience Saturday that certain members of Congress “hate our country.” She has also been the target of regular death threats and vile displays such as a poster at a GOP-sponsored event in the West Virginia Capitol on Friday linking her to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Yet Omar herself is doing something akin to what her disgusting opponents are doing to her:
She has suggested that Americans who support Israel — by implication, Jews — are disloyal to the United States. At an event in Washington last week, Omar said, in the context of the pro-Israel lobby, that “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

The NY Times on the other hand asks the correct question, which is the exact point which has been lost in the screaming racist Islamophobia here: AIPAC does have a lot of influence in Congress in a way that almost no other lobbying organization has.

But the swirling debate not only around Ms. Omar but also around broader currents buffeting the Middle East has forced an uncomfortable re-examination of the questions that she has raised: Has Aipac — founded more than 50 years ago to “strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship” — become too powerful? And with that power, has Aipac warped the policy debate over Israel so drastically that dissenting voices are not even allowed to be heard?

Those questions have grown louder with the controversy around Ms. Omar and will grow louder still in the run-up to this month’s annual Aipac policy conference — a three-day Washington confab that is expected to draw more than 18,000 people, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and leaders of both parties in Congress. To critics, Ms. Omar had a point, even if it was expressed with unfortunate glibness. Aipac’s money does have an outsize influence.

And let's not forget that Israeli PM Netanyahu has been indicted on criminal charges and is currently facing his own massive scandal involving bribery and corruption back home.

Omar is being made an example of, and it pisses me off that the Democratic leadership is playing along.

Another Hat Lands In The Ring, Con't

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday announced he is running for president, launching a 2020 campaign in which he will lean on his Western roots and decades of executive experience. 
He made the announcement in a video titled "Standing Tall," which tracks Hickenlooper's life from laid-off geologist, to owner of a brew pub, to mayor of Denver and to governor, and touts the Democrat's experience in a variety of fields as a key reason he should be the person to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. 
Hickenlooper casts the President as a "bully" in the more than two-minute video. 
"I'm running for president because we're facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for," Hickenlooper says in the video as images of Trump play. "As a skinny kid with coke bottle glasses and a funny last name, I've stood up to my fair share of bullies." 
He adds: "I'm running for president because we need dreamers in Washington but we also need to get things done. I've proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver." 
Hickenlooper is the second governor to enter the crowded 2020 race after Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced a run last week. The field of Democrats is now at 14 candidates, including six senators. 
Hickenlooper will follow up the video with an appearance on Good Morning America on Monday. 
He will then headline a "hometown send-off" in Denver on Thursday at the city's Civic Center Park. Hickenlooper will be joined at the event by Colorado leaders throughout his time in the state, as well as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, a band based in Denver. 
Hickenlooper will then make his first post-announcement trip to Iowa on March 8 and March 9. He will then cap his announcement week with an appearance at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. 
Hickenlooper has been teasing a 2020 run for months, telling CNN in January that he would bet on the fact that he was going to run for President. 
"I've been known to play a little cards," Hickenlooper said during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. "Given that there is still uncertainty in the future, I probably would take the bet that I would run for President." 

Hickenlooper is pretty popular in Colorado, but outside Four Corners states, he's pretty much nobody. On top of that, we're waaaaaay past portraying Trump as a "bully" and not, you know, as an immediate threat to American democracy.

I mean I guess he's as welcome as any other Dem to make his case, but I don't see many of these recent entries even making it to 2020.

Catapulting The Propaganda

A bit of a Monday Long Read for you this morning, but it's a vital piece. New Yorker reporter Jane Meyer takes a hard look at FOX News and its parasitic relationship with the Trump regime as the network has shed any pretense of objectivity and comfortably settles into its role as state media.

The death of former FOX News head Roger Ailes and the White House hiring of Ailes's right-hand man, Bill Shine, as Communications Director has completed the network's transformation into the Trump Network, the kind of organ that you find in any autocrat's airwaves. The two have fed off each other to the point where they are inseparable.

In January, during the longest government shutdown in America’s history, President Donald Trump rode in a motorcade through Hidalgo County, Texas, eventually stopping on a grassy bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The White House wanted to dramatize what Trump was portraying as a national emergency: the need to build a wall along the Mexican border. The presence of armored vehicles, bales of confiscated marijuana, and federal agents in flak jackets underscored the message.

But the photo op dramatized something else about the Administration. After members of the press pool got out of vans and headed over to where the President was about to speak, they noticed that Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, was already on location. Unlike them, he hadn’t been confined by the Secret Service, and was mingling with Administration officials, at one point hugging Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security. The pool report noted that Hannity was seen “huddling” with the White House communications director, Bill Shine. After the photo op, Hannity had an exclusive on-air interview with Trump. Politico later reported that it was Hannity’s seventh interview with the President, and Fox’s forty-second. Since then, Trump has given Fox two more. He has granted only ten to the three other main television networks combined, and none to CNN, which he denounces as “fake news.”

Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Fox has long been a bane of liberals, but in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.”

Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead. All day long, Trump retweets claims made on the network; his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has largely stopped holding press conferences, but she has made some thirty appearances on such shows as “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.” Trump, Hemmer says, has “almost become a programmer.”

Fox’s defenders view such criticism as unfounded and politically biased. Ken LaCorte, who was in senior management at Fox News for nearly twenty years, until 2016, and recently started his own news service, told me, “The people at Fox said the same thing about the press and Obama.” Fox’s public-relations department offers numerous examples of its reporters and talk-show hosts challenging the Administration. Chris Wallace, a tough-minded and ecumenical interviewer, recently grilled Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser, on the need for a border wall, given that virtually all drugs seized at the border are discovered at checkpoints. Trump is not the first President to have a favorite media organization; James Madison and Andrew Jackson were each boosted by partisan newspapers. But many people who have watched and worked with Fox over the years, including some leading conservatives, regard Fox’s deepening Trump orthodoxy with alarm. Bill Kristol, who was a paid contributor to Fox News until 2012 and is a prominent Never Trumper, said of the network, “It’s changed a lot. Before, it was conservative, but it wasn’t crazy. Now it’s just propaganda.” Joe Peyronnin, a professor of journalism at N.Y.U., was an early president of Fox News, in the mid-nineties. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he says of Fox. “It’s as if the President had his own press organization. It’s not healthy.”

It's not healthy, but it's what FOX News was always destined to become in the post-Obama era.  I have no doubt that Trump would have his own nightly hour show on FOX News if Clinton had won, denouncing the same investigation as a witch hunt.  All of Manafort's campaign wrongdoing would still be sending him to jail, along with Roger Cohen and Roger Stone's dirty tricks, and Trump would be screaming for his followers to all but start shooting liberals.

It's what Trump expected after he lost.  He didn't, and the monster and the creator have become one.


Related Posts with Thumbnails