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    • The politics you’ve got
      MANDOS POST Take a look at Joe Biden—he appears to have, for now at least, considerable staying power in the Democratic primary opinion polls (although, of course, this may change as the actual primaries come through). If your model of political psychology can predict a strong core of popular support for Trump without also predicting […]
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Lighter Notes

Jaysus this week has been depressing. Let’s lighten things up around here.

For those of you who are Serial fans, Adnan Syed may be getting a new trial. Based on the evidence that was presented in a hearing a few months ago, his conviction was vacated. I think that’s a fancy way of saying, “technically, you’re innocent but we’re not done with you yet”. It’s hard to believe he could have been convicted in the first place based on such flimsy evidence -and that’s probably why I have never been selected as a juror. I’m just a f&*(ing pain in the ass with questions and not going along with the crowd. Anyway, hope he’s home soon.

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It’s hard to believe that anything about Hillary’s email can be considered light hearted but it always amuses me when I listen to Poltical Gabfest where David Plotz, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon twist themselves into knots over them. You can hear the frustration in their voices over the 8 years of a very secret presidency where the press that elected Obama has been fed nothing but eensy-weensy nuggets of nothing. It’s a bit ironic that the only person who we have any tinge of scandal about is Hillary and that only because the Republicans have been relentless over Benghazi. I’m sure everyone who is anyone in Washington has a private email account where they squirrel things away and it probably comes with a lot of encryption and poison pills these days.

Bazelon was uncharacteristically flummoxed over the legal reasoning why James Comey did not pursue Hillary for “gross negligence”. But I think we can all logic this out.

1.) There was no criminal intent and no evidence of any legal wrongdoing.

2.) Comey, knowing he was on the hook to deliver the goods, gives an unprecedented press conference to discuss his findings and why he isn’t going to indict. It’s the best he can do for Gowdy’s committee. There’s nothing to charge her with but he can smear her for carelessness and make her behavior look negligent and inexcusable.

3.) The problem is it wasn’t even gross negligence, which is why he was trying so hard to signal this to Gowdy et al during the hearing. He was telling them that the attack ad he gave in the press conference was as far as he could legally go. As I understand it, the State Department’s probe is going to pick up where it left off before it was so rudely interrupted and the truth about the emails is going to come out. Comey’s pronouncements were purely subjective statements that indicated the borders of his abilities to prosecute. He can’t get her for doing anything illegally with criminal intent AND he can’t get her for “gross negligence” because it doesn’t even make that threshhold either.

There’s nothing there.

Emily Bazelon, legal scholar, is smart enough to figure this out so I don’t know why she sounds so mystified about it. It’s staring her right in the face but she doesn’t want to admit it. The Comey press conference was a political hit job. It was a PERSONAL email server with nothing important on it and while the State department might have rules and guidelines, no laws were broken and no one even knew it existed until Benghazi went looking for gotcha emails.

Why do we need to see what’s in her personal email anyway, Emily? I mean, if there’s nothing classified in them of any interest, not even for the Chinese, why do we need to be snooping? I don’t think Emily has a good reason for this except that Hillary made it harder for them to do it and avoided FOIA requests. But then, the whole administration has been avoiding FOIA requests and has zipped it good and have left the media kicking the curb. They didn’t get any juicy scandal to report about for 8 long years. Later on in the podcast, they discuss a White House released description of Obama’s evening routines and note that there’s not even mention of Michelle and the girls in it. There are, however, details of exactly how many salted almonds Obama eats each evening. It’s exactly 7. It’s hillarious how the White House jerks the media’s chains especially after they were so extremely helpful getting him elected in the first place.

We tried to warn them but did they listen?

At one point, Bazelon likens Hillary’s behavior to that of Chelsea Manning’s. This shows just how disconnected the media has become over Clinton’s email. There’s no comparison between Manning and Clinton. Manning, regardless of how you feel about her motives, intentionally broke the law and leaked undeniably classified information of national importance. It’s not like apples and oranges, it’s like apples and platypuses. They’re not even in the same kingdoms.

Give it up, guys. If you pursue this, it’s going to depress your ratings. I guarantee that the only people who want this to come up in a debate between Trump and Clinton are the diehard Trump supporters and a small group of Bernie supporters experiencing a temporary psychogenic fugue state. The rest of us won’t watch the debates or will switch them off the minute the emails come up. There’s a resistant conspiracy culture growing around this issue that’s unhealthy and counterproductive going into the general election. The media has great power but it hasn’t been very responsible lately.

Yes, Emily, John and David, I’m talking about YOU and your colleagues. Grow up already.

********************************************************

Joy Womack, principal dancer for the Kremlin Ballet, is going to the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Ballet fans know that Joy was one of the first American students to graduate from the Bolshoi ballet academy and then joined the Bolshoi itself as a soloist. But she never really got an opportunity to dance at the Bolshoi. She was in the company in the year when the director was splashed in the face with acid, an attack that was arranged by another dancer over the treatment of his girlfriend, an up and coming dancer. Joy herself was told that if she ever wanted to dance on stage, she would have to pay for the privilege. So, she left, and the Kremlin Ballet picked her up. In the last few years, she’s been working hard on classical repertoire, which bores me to tears, but whatever. She’s good at it. She’s gone through a lot of ups and downs, like alcoholic partners and unpleasant co-workers who take their anti-Americanism out on her. Plus, the pay sucks. She supports herself on her little company that makes Prima Bars.

Varna may change that. If she does well, it could give her more opportunities to dance as a guest artist for companies. I think that’s what she’s shooting for here.

Here’s one of her rehearsals for Varna with one of her more reliable and complementary partners, principal dancer Misha Martynuk and her ballet teacher, Zhanna. She’s the seated woman shouting corrections in Russian. They’re rehearsing the pas de deux for Le Corsaire first, followed by Diane and Acteon. Keep an eye out for the lift at about the 5:30 mark.  I’ve watched a lot of youtube videos of this pas and have never seen it done so effortlessly. Not even Vishneva and Acosta are this breathtaking.

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Charlotte Speaks

charlottes-webIf you aren’t a current listener of Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast, this latest edition, “Corey’s Gory Story” may not make you a faithful subscriber but it is very revealing.

The three panelists are David Plotz, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon. I hesitate to call them friends because I suspect that David Plotz, the “host”, is secretly hated (or not so secretly) by the other two. He has an odd habit of saying inappropriate things, insulting Emily, pissing off Dickerson and revealing himself to be one of those third wayers that doesn’t really have a defined set of beliefs. He just wants everyone to get along in a way that inconveniences him the least.

So, anyway, after going over the Trump crap on abortion and other recent news, they dive into Hillary vs Bernie and Bazelon says that Bernie is the wrong opponent for Hillary this year because all the “faux” revolutionary fervor is residing with Bernie and not with Hillary. They all agree that Hillary is just not exciting. She’ll never be revolutionary (someday we should discuss slow evolution vs punctuated evolution. I’ll take the latter). Right, like the first female president wouldn’t be a lot more revolutionary than all of the previous male candidates that came before. That’s as far as I’m going to go with the “historical precedent” argument for Hillary’s nomination and election. She’s simply the best candidate on either side of the aisle, she laps her opponents and if you can’t bring yourself to vote for her, you will necessarily have to vote for someone who is significanly less well qualified to be president, Bernie notwithstanding. These are facts. You might not like them but there they are.

But the Gabfest trio laments that she is not exciting. {{sigh}}.

And then, a rare moment of truth.

David Plotz moves on to some recent speech Obama gave where he criticized the press for giving Trump too much airtime and boosting his numbers unfairly. Well, get the smelling salts. Plotz was enraged. Why? Because, he says, Obama owes his nomination and presidency to them, the very same journalists that he is now criticizing. We were totally in the tank for him, Plotz says. In other words, he owes them. He has no right to criticize them. They MADE Obama.

Go to the 40 minute mark and you will be gob smacked by the angry truth. Plotz says that the worst example of presidential campaign coverage is not 2016. It was 2008 specifically because of what the media intentionally did to benefit Obama.  It’s refreshing to finally hear it but it’s also cold because we will never know how much of a difference it would have made if they had just done their jobs critically and honestly.

I think we can all agree that this is what we witnessed in 2008. Obama could do no wrong. Everything he did or didn’t do was covered favorably. Anything Hillary did was picked to pieces, made to look sinister and calculating, and was portrayed in the most negative light possible. So, thank you David Plotz for laying it all out so clearly.

Now, put this together with the podcast of Jill Abramson with Glenn Thrush at Politico last week. Glenn asks Jill, have you ever gotten the feeling that journalists aren’t allowed to say or write nice things about Hillary? Glenn says people who write about Hillary without being negative are criticized by their peers.

Ok, so here’s the scenario we are now facing: Donald Trump may have damaged himself this week because he blurted out what the right wing religious and proud penis wavers have been thinking all along. But there’s still a good chance that he can win the nomination. And if he wins the nomination, he’s probably going to go up against a candidate that the media has spent years flogging for no discernably good reason other than “everyone else is doing it”.

Couple that with the frenzy of feel good, overly emotional, “terrific”, “some pig!” coverage that Obama got in 2008 by a posse of upper middle class, ivy league, “journalists” who will never have to go on Obamacare or worry about whether they have enough money to retire on or whether they can pay for their kids’ educations. They pushed Obama on us with relentless pressure, called his supporters “creative class”, by which they intend to include themselves in the typical over estimation of their own abilities, and deliberately, and to this day, mischaracterize Hillary’s supporters as not just older but downright OLD, less well educated, less energetic, less technologically able.

Is it any wonder, Emily Bazelon, that Hillary’s campaign looks and feels post coital?*

You guys had better do something fast. Now that you freely admit that you have the power to make just about anyone look good, including the moderate, right of center, lackluster Democrat with very little practical experience that you got elected and, more importantly, protected for the last eight years, you know what you have to do. Start doing it. Quit the “Oh, woe is us, what can we do?” moaning about Trump.

*********************************************************************

On another note:

Richard Gannon of Spartan Life Coach did a video hypothesizing “what if Donald Trump is a psychopathic narcissist?” It’s just a bit of exploration and I’m sure he’s not the only one who’s tried to figure out if The Donald has Cluster B Anti-social personality traits.

Pay particular attention to what he says about narcissists projecting their fury on people who they perceive as weak. You might be living your life, minding your own business, have a nice career and nest egg, and think everything is fine and dandy. But if you have the bad luck to fall out of that for any reason, watch out. Narcissists will be the first ones to kick you when you’re down.

Is this Trump?

Do you really want to find out?

*********************************************************************

* To me, Hillary’s 2008 campaign was exciting. It had plenty of ups and downs and she started to really hit her stride and gave her best speeches when the Obots told her to drop out after she kept winning primaries in big states that I guess they felt Obama was entitled to.

This year, I get the feeling that she is playing it very safe and hewing so closely to Obama that she is turning off the people who supported her in 2008 and the people who did not benefit from the Obama years at. all.  They’ve had 8 long years of having Obama shoved down their throats and got nothing for it. They’re sick of it.

It seems to be the same journalists who perhaps feeling a bit like they bought the most expensive house in a bad neighborhood in 2008, that are forcing her to reassure them that they are still creative and amazing and young and beautiful. They want her to tell them that promoting Obama, not reporting on the skullduggery in the Democratic primary and convention process with any vigor, and gently lifting him over the threshold to the nomination in 2008 was the right thing to do.

This is forcing her to really crimp her style because she never was the kind of moderate, Reagan loving, “can’t we all get along?” guy that Obama was. If they want excitement, they’re going to have to stop applying the brake to her message and try to report on her honestly. Just because it’s truthy to portray her as a scheming, dishonest, collection of everything that is wrong with lady politicians (which means everything, from her hair to her pantsuits to her laugh to her wrinkles), doesn’t make you journalists. And I think we all see that now pretty clearly. We can’t lay the blame for this all on Rush Limbaugh, may he meet his own Charlotte someday.

I keep saying it over and over. What we are seeing today is a legacy of what happened in 2008 when the first party to implode was the Democrats who jettisoned their “old coalition” for a shiny new model. Big Mistake. YUGE.

 

Early Reviews Are In: This Show is Not Ready for Prime Time

flight-jacket3
“Spiffy new flight jacket”

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for our new President. Does the guy know anyone he can appoint to a position who isn’t a tax cheat?

Conservative pundits are having a field day with Obama’s recent “missteps.”

Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News:

It’s not easy to waste a mandate and a honeymoon at the same time, but President Obama seems determined to try. You know he’s off to a lousy start when his most favorable reviews came after he said, “I screwed up.”

Did he ever, and not just once. If he keeps going this way, America will be saying, “We screwed up.”

Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post begins with a quote from Obama, “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

Victor Davis Hanson, of the The Corner is openly ridiculing Obama for his lack of leadership in “The Impending Obama Meltdown.”

Some of us have been warning that it was not healthy for the U.S. media to have deified rather than questioned Obama, especially given that they tore apart Bush, ridiculed Palin, and caricatured Hillary. And now we can see the results of their two years of advocacy rather than scrutiny.

We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion—and with no Dick Morris to bail him out—brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.

First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson—with the relish of the Blago tapes still to come. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?).

Ouch! I know Hanson is a wing nut, but except for the part about Dick Morris, I really can’t disagree with him. Continue reading