Shoot Matt Lauer

I was appalled by Matt Lauer’s performance last evening.

Lauer is not a journalist by any stretch of the imagination, but last night it became obvious he’s an overt shill for the Trump campaign; take him out behind the barn and put two in his head. Okay okay okay – that would be illegal (notice I didn’t say “wrong”), but the moron should be banned forever from covering anything more serious than the insipid drivel he usually presents early mornings. I mean, WTF – was Maddow not available? 1

It was so bad I wondered at exactly how much money was Lauer paid to fix the forum for Trump? Seriously, someone should be checking Lauer’s bank accounts right now…

Obviously I am not alone in my assessment of Lauer’s lack of adult judgement:

I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major party candidates. Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking. The shock, for me, was the realization that most Americans inhabit a very different news environment than professional journalists. I not only consume a lot of news, since it’s my job, I also tend to focus on elite print news sources. Most voters, and all the more so undecided voters, subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.

Lauer focused a third of his questioning time on Clinton’s private email server. Her decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice is a legitimate blot on her record. But Lauer did not move the ball forward on the question in any meaningful way . . .

Lauer followed up with four more email-related questions. The impression an uninformed or even moderately informed viewer would receive from this interview is that the email issue represents a sinister crime, perhaps completely disqualifying from office, rather than an unjustifiable but routine act of government non-transparency.

The email exchange would not by itself be so alarming except when viewed in juxtaposition with Lauer’s hapless interview of Trump. Trump began the interview by boldly insisting, “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that.” This is a lie. Trump has been quoted supporting the invasion beforehand and even afterward. Nobody has produced any evidence of Trump contradicting his support for the war before it started. His line to Lauer was transparently ridiculous – how could a 2004 interview supply evidence of having opposed a war that began in 2003? But Lauer did not try even a single follow-up.

Trump went on to make a series of wild and dangerous statements. He praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong, effective, and popular leader. Lauer did press him on this point, and when he did, Trump offered the astonishing rebuttal, saying President Obama had done equivalently brutish things. Lauer did not press Trump on his claim that the president of the United States behaves in a fundamentally similar way to a dictator who imprisons and kills political critics and journalists. Trump likewise reiterated his belief that “to the victor go the spoils” is the proper basis for American foreign policy, specifically with regard to his longstanding lament that the United States failed to steal Iraq’s oil after the 2003 invasion.

Lauer’s attempt to press Trump was the completely ineffectual technique of asking repeatedly if he is ready to serve as commander-in-chief. Lauer probably believes the answer is no, but nothing about this question would drive home Trump’s extraordinary lack of knowledge. Instead it allowed him to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male reality show character as a prospective chief executive.

Both of these beliefs stun and appall foreign policy experts in both parties, as readers of the Washington Post or the New York Times know. But the average undecided voter isn’t reading those newspapers. The average undecided voter is getting snippets of news from television personalities like Lauer, who are failing to convey the fact that the election pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian…

Is it just me, or is this presidential election starting to feel a lot like 2000 redux?

When the Times and the WaPo go out of their way to spike any stories that present Trump as he is, no embellishments mind you, just Trump’s unabashed self, and have instead decided Hillary’s emails have damned her to Hell, well…perhaps the powers-behind-the-Iron-Throne may not have to call in Florida and SCOTUS to rig the vote (again.)

Wake up, people.

Shoot Matt Lauer

Show 1 footnote

  1. And don’t get me started on the Times of the WaPo – both papers have been less than honest concerning Trump.


Why Trump went to Mexico is easy: He needed to do something, anything that appeared vaguely statesmanship-like toward all those raping beaners. 1

How the meeting came off is both easier and trickier: Trump undoubtedly paid Peña Nieto.

Don’t roll your eyes at me, corruption is endemic in Mexico. Yes, all the way up to the presidency; the United States’ endless War On Drugs has made sure of that. 2

One wonders at the ultimate price…



Show 2 footnotes

  1. Although? Total whale fail.
  2. Remedial reading

Gawd He Can’t Be Right…Can He?

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”

I can see what you’re doing right now. You’re shaking your head wildly – “No, Mike, this won’t happen!” Unfortunately, you are living in a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president. You alternate between being appalled at him and laughing at him because of his latest crazy comment or his embarrassingly narcissistic stance on everything because everything is about him. And then you listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy because that is what the American people clearly want! Yes! Four more years of this!

You need to exit that bubble right now. You need to stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real. Trying to soothe yourself with the facts – “77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump cant win a majority of any of them!” – or logic – “people aren’t going to vote for a buffoon or against their own best interests!” – is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from trauma. Like when you hear a loud noise on the street and you think, “oh, a tire just blew out,” or, “wow, who’s playing with firecrackers?” because you don’t want to think you just heard someone being shot with a gun. It’s the same reason why all the initial news and eyewitness reports on 9/11 said “a small plane accidentally flew into the World Trade Center.” We want to – we need to – hope for the best because, frankly, life is already a shit show and it’s hard enough struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. We can’t handle much more bad news. So our mental state goes to default when something scary is actually, truly happening. The first people plowed down by the truck in Nice spent their final moments on earth waving at the driver whom they thought had simply lost control of his truck, trying to tell him that he jumped the curb: “Watch out!,” they shouted. “There are people on the sidewalk!”

Well, folks, this isn’t an accident. It is happening. And if you believe Hillary Clinton is going to beat Trump with facts and smarts and logic, then you obviously missed the past year of 56 primaries and caucuses where 16 Republican candidates tried that and every kitchen sink they could throw at Trump and nothing could stop his juggernaut. As of today, as things stand now, I believe this is going to happen – and in order to deal with it, I need you first to acknowledge it, and then maybe, just maybe, we can find a way out of the mess we’re in.

Moore’s logic is, unfortunately, unassailable.

As it stands right now more than a third of the manufacturing jobs that disappeared before the Great Recession took place in these states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. And those jobs haven’t come back; nor will they, Trump’s bluster aside. But people in those states sure want them back. And when they compare their anemic job growth with this area, they feel a profound sense of unfairness and buy into Trump’s obvious lies.

Add to that the fact the Bernie Bros (and Bras) are (rightly) convinced Hillary gamed the Democratic nomination because “it was her turn”, and you can write off the Millennial vote. Bernie was the Dems last hope, and that’s been dashed. There just aren’t the votes. 1

I agree with Moore – Trump will win, probably by the electoral college margins all the pundits say Clinton will win by. I’m having a hell of a time wrapping my mind around that fact –it’s fucking depressing– but there it is.

I will still vote for Clinton, and urge those who are politically active to do so as well. I will probably get all irrationally exuberant as election day nears, letting my groundless optimism get the better of me, to the point I’ll claim no way Trump will win, that Clinton will sweep it all! Yay!!

Should I do that, please please please point me back to this post.

But right now, right here, in the cold, logical dawn of a new day, I understand we’re in for four years of…well, who the hell knows?

I doubt even Trump does.

Gawd He Can't Be Right...Can He?

Show 1 footnote

  1. How incredibly selfish does that make Clinton?