Democrats: 'Let's Do the Time Warp Again'

Looking back on the week's events, it occurs to me that the Democrats' new theme song should be "Let's Do the Time Warp Again" as they reprise the demagogic lies and smear tactics that once worked for them but are now failing for anyone with a memory longer than a week or two.  On the other hand, watching the Russian collusion fizzle, it might be "I'm Waiting for Ships that Never Come In."

Let's start with Hurricane Florence.  It's doing a lot of damage, and we naturally share concern for the well-being of those in its path.  But it was no sooner announced than the usual demagogues claimed falsely that it was the result of climate change and somehow pulling us out of the economically devastating and factually pointless Paris Accords made the president responsible for the devastation.  In any event, Florence quickly dropped from a Category 5 hurricane to a Category 1.  I'm waiting for these same critics to credit Trump for that turn of events.

Perhaps in recognition of the storm's force downturn, they sprang a new lie, this time claiming that 3,000 people had died in Puerto Rico because the president's response to that hurricane was inadequate.  In fact, the number was about a fifty times too great, the hawkers of this tale counting every death for any reason there for months afterward.

Doubtless, some frail people died because of lack of supplies and transport, but it's not that FEMA failed.  It's that a collapsing infrastructure and grossly corrupt local government failed its duty in the face of a hurricane.

I'm reminded of the gross exaggerations when Katrina hit New Orleans while G.W. Bush was president and the mayor and governor did not do their jobs.  It's not the only comparison between the two incidents that fits.  This week, we learned that a raid on the local power company revealed that equipment delivered there to rebuild the plant and get the island up and running had been hoarded and never distributed or put into service.  Once again, the media ignored that competent federal efforts to relieve suffering were hampered by a corrupt, incompetent local Democratic establishment.

While we're on the subject, television coverage of these storms is again exposed as comedic.  In this case, the Weather Channel shot a scene of a reporter seeming to struggle to retain his balance in the face of strong winds – a shot undermined by casual passersby strolling nonchalantly behind him. 

It reminds me of earlier storm coverage on the Today Show in which a reporter sat in a canoe paddling through what we were supposed to believe were high waters.  Behind her walked some people in what was about an ankle-deep stream.   

That's the problem with TV news.  It's visual, so reporters need visual effects and most of them are cropped, staged, and acted and often – more often than not – utter baloney.

Speaking of baloney, the Russian collusion story has completely fizzled out.  Even Bob Woodward, who apparently can interview a comatose witness (William Casey), says he studied this for two years and found no evidence at all of such collusion. 

But the press, so deeply wedded to the idea of collusion, had a hard time honestly reporting on Paul Manafort's plea deal this week.  In fact, Manafort's plea implicated Greg Craig, Barack Obama's former White House counsel; Tony Podesta (brother of Hillary's campaign chairman John Podesta); the law firm Skadden Arps; and former congressman Vin Weber's Mercury Group.  In any event, in a sign that Mueller is about to shut down the witch hunt, Manafort has agreed to testify before the grand juries in D.C. and elsewhere about the activities of these people and outfits.  The inquiries into Podesta, Mercury Public Affairs, and Skadden Arps are being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, not by the Mueller team.

Politico reported (probably through tears) that as part of his pro-Ukraine campaign (which, like Tony Podesta, he'd failed to properly register), Manafort's group met with President Obama; Vice President Biden; and, as had been previously reported, "dozens of members of Congress, congressional staffers, and Obama administration officials."

The cooperation agreement Manafort entered into won't be about the Trump campaign, which even NPR concedes.

Rob Reiner, Hollywood's resident political genius, jumped the gun and tweeted:

Sorry, Rob. Foiled by facts again.

Over at Powerline blog, Steve Hayward has more weather news for the Democrats:

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall, which means it's but a puny thing compared to Hurricane Trump, the Category 5 storm that hit Washington DC on January 20, 2017, and whose wind speed hasn't abated yet.  Talk about a stalled-out storm system!  The winds of change can be like that sometimes.  (Pssst, liberals: I've got more heavy weather news for you.  Hurricane Kavanaugh will make landfall at the Supreme Court next week.  Definitely a Cat 5.)

In a Hail Mary play so transparent that it will forever tarnish her reputation, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she'd received a concerning anonymous report about Brett Kavanaugh's conduct in high school, which she was referring to the FBI.  The account was preposterous.  Let me satirize it and apply it to her:

I have a letter sent to me by an anonymous person, which he received, from someone unnamed about a witness who will refuse to come forward about some peccadillo involving DiFi, her husband, and a Chinese spy when they were in high school.  Should I publicly announce that I'm sending it to the FBI?

Clearly, she hoped the announcement would help her in her tough nomination fight against someone farther to the left than she, or maybe it might persuade some weak-kneed Republican to agree to further hearings and delay Kavanaugh's confirmation until after the midterms, when – with the same religious intensity with which they believed in Russian collusion – they might retake Congress and kill it altogether.

Those at the FBI responded that they weren't investigating it and would put it in the file for the president's consideration. 

Her eleventh-hour smear attempt (she had the letter in July) fell flat and didn't seem to assuage the left's bloodlust.

At The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky either missed the point of her ploy or is feeding stale candy to his readers. 

Did she think she'd be able to sit on this letter forever and not even refer it to the FBI?  Hot documents have a way of getting out in this town.  At the very least, when her colleagues started asking her about it, she should have owned up and told them the truth and shared it with them and asked their advice.

And now where are we?  She's made an absolute disaster of things.  It got out anyway.  If anything, by holding it so long, she has helped facilitate the discrediting of the woman who is accusing Kavanaugh here, because it looks desperate and eleventh-hour, whereas if she'd made this public before, people would have had time to process it and Republicans couldn't have made that accusation.

Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denounced the "highly partisan show" that these confirmation hearings have become since she was confirmed, though she wasn't asked about the outrageous Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas hearings, which preceded it and were certainly of a piece. 

Elections have consequences, and so does judicial overreach.  When the Supreme Court decisions are based on the text of the law, not subjective emotion ("emanations " and "penumbras"), these confirmation hearings will be less irksome, confined to the question of competence.  And when Democrats decide to abide by the election results, they and we will be better off by far.

Speaking of which, it looks as though Congress will appropriate $5 billion to build the wall right after the midterms, and the Senate has already locked in $1.6 billion in construction funding. 

Why after the election?  Because otherwise, the Democrats would use this as a budget bargaining chip for their latest extravagant funding notions.

Looking back on the week's events, it occurs to me that the Democrats' new theme song should be "Let's Do the Time Warp Again" as they reprise the demagogic lies and smear tactics that once worked for them but are now failing for anyone with a memory longer than a week or two.  On the other hand, watching the Russian collusion fizzle, it might be "I'm Waiting for Ships that Never Come In."

Let's start with Hurricane Florence.  It's doing a lot of damage, and we naturally share concern for the well-being of those in its path.  But it was no sooner announced than the usual demagogues claimed falsely that it was the result of climate change and somehow pulling us out of the economically devastating and factually pointless Paris Accords made the president responsible for the devastation.  In any event, Florence quickly dropped from a Category 5 hurricane to a Category 1.  I'm waiting for these same critics to credit Trump for that turn of events.

Perhaps in recognition of the storm's force downturn, they sprang a new lie, this time claiming that 3,000 people had died in Puerto Rico because the president's response to that hurricane was inadequate.  In fact, the number was about a fifty times too great, the hawkers of this tale counting every death for any reason there for months afterward.

Doubtless, some frail people died because of lack of supplies and transport, but it's not that FEMA failed.  It's that a collapsing infrastructure and grossly corrupt local government failed its duty in the face of a hurricane.

I'm reminded of the gross exaggerations when Katrina hit New Orleans while G.W. Bush was president and the mayor and governor did not do their jobs.  It's not the only comparison between the two incidents that fits.  This week, we learned that a raid on the local power company revealed that equipment delivered there to rebuild the plant and get the island up and running had been hoarded and never distributed or put into service.  Once again, the media ignored that competent federal efforts to relieve suffering were hampered by a corrupt, incompetent local Democratic establishment.

While we're on the subject, television coverage of these storms is again exposed as comedic.  In this case, the Weather Channel shot a scene of a reporter seeming to struggle to retain his balance in the face of strong winds – a shot undermined by casual passersby strolling nonchalantly behind him. 

It reminds me of earlier storm coverage on the Today Show in which a reporter sat in a canoe paddling through what we were supposed to believe were high waters.  Behind her walked some people in what was about an ankle-deep stream.   

That's the problem with TV news.  It's visual, so reporters need visual effects and most of them are cropped, staged, and acted and often – more often than not – utter baloney.

Speaking of baloney, the Russian collusion story has completely fizzled out.  Even Bob Woodward, who apparently can interview a comatose witness (William Casey), says he studied this for two years and found no evidence at all of such collusion. 

But the press, so deeply wedded to the idea of collusion, had a hard time honestly reporting on Paul Manafort's plea deal this week.  In fact, Manafort's plea implicated Greg Craig, Barack Obama's former White House counsel; Tony Podesta (brother of Hillary's campaign chairman John Podesta); the law firm Skadden Arps; and former congressman Vin Weber's Mercury Group.  In any event, in a sign that Mueller is about to shut down the witch hunt, Manafort has agreed to testify before the grand juries in D.C. and elsewhere about the activities of these people and outfits.  The inquiries into Podesta, Mercury Public Affairs, and Skadden Arps are being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, not by the Mueller team.

Politico reported (probably through tears) that as part of his pro-Ukraine campaign (which, like Tony Podesta, he'd failed to properly register), Manafort's group met with President Obama; Vice President Biden; and, as had been previously reported, "dozens of members of Congress, congressional staffers, and Obama administration officials."

The cooperation agreement Manafort entered into won't be about the Trump campaign, which even NPR concedes.

Rob Reiner, Hollywood's resident political genius, jumped the gun and tweeted:

Sorry, Rob. Foiled by facts again.

Over at Powerline blog, Steve Hayward has more weather news for the Democrats:

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall, which means it's but a puny thing compared to Hurricane Trump, the Category 5 storm that hit Washington DC on January 20, 2017, and whose wind speed hasn't abated yet.  Talk about a stalled-out storm system!  The winds of change can be like that sometimes.  (Pssst, liberals: I've got more heavy weather news for you.  Hurricane Kavanaugh will make landfall at the Supreme Court next week.  Definitely a Cat 5.)

In a Hail Mary play so transparent that it will forever tarnish her reputation, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she'd received a concerning anonymous report about Brett Kavanaugh's conduct in high school, which she was referring to the FBI.  The account was preposterous.  Let me satirize it and apply it to her:

I have a letter sent to me by an anonymous person, which he received, from someone unnamed about a witness who will refuse to come forward about some peccadillo involving DiFi, her husband, and a Chinese spy when they were in high school.  Should I publicly announce that I'm sending it to the FBI?

Clearly, she hoped the announcement would help her in her tough nomination fight against someone farther to the left than she, or maybe it might persuade some weak-kneed Republican to agree to further hearings and delay Kavanaugh's confirmation until after the midterms, when – with the same religious intensity with which they believed in Russian collusion – they might retake Congress and kill it altogether.

Those at the FBI responded that they weren't investigating it and would put it in the file for the president's consideration. 

Her eleventh-hour smear attempt (she had the letter in July) fell flat and didn't seem to assuage the left's bloodlust.

At The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky either missed the point of her ploy or is feeding stale candy to his readers. 

Did she think she'd be able to sit on this letter forever and not even refer it to the FBI?  Hot documents have a way of getting out in this town.  At the very least, when her colleagues started asking her about it, she should have owned up and told them the truth and shared it with them and asked their advice.

And now where are we?  She's made an absolute disaster of things.  It got out anyway.  If anything, by holding it so long, she has helped facilitate the discrediting of the woman who is accusing Kavanaugh here, because it looks desperate and eleventh-hour, whereas if she'd made this public before, people would have had time to process it and Republicans couldn't have made that accusation.

Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denounced the "highly partisan show" that these confirmation hearings have become since she was confirmed, though she wasn't asked about the outrageous Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas hearings, which preceded it and were certainly of a piece. 

Elections have consequences, and so does judicial overreach.  When the Supreme Court decisions are based on the text of the law, not subjective emotion ("emanations " and "penumbras"), these confirmation hearings will be less irksome, confined to the question of competence.  And when Democrats decide to abide by the election results, they and we will be better off by far.

Speaking of which, it looks as though Congress will appropriate $5 billion to build the wall right after the midterms, and the Senate has already locked in $1.6 billion in construction funding. 

Why after the election?  Because otherwise, the Democrats would use this as a budget bargaining chip for their latest extravagant funding notions.