1 . You know I can’t let this pass: New Age guru and cool Democratic Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson tweeted out both fake news and, given her number of followers and <cough> far more effective disinformation for the kind of idiots who believe Russian bots than any foreign mischief-maker on Facebook:
She only could believe this absurd “report” if a) she was so ready to believe anything bad about this President that literally nothing could be too absurd to swallow, and b) if she was so irresponsible that she would tweet it to her gazillion followers without checking. It seems that she read a phony article published on Nov. 16 by MoronMajority.com. by the light of her lava lamp, after itwas then picked up by the Daily Kos, which could easily use the name “MoronMajority.” After pulling down the tweet, Williamson had the chutzpa to write she wrote that we had to be vigilant against “big lies” in the coming campaign….you know, like hers.
2. Then there is this from Rep. Al Green, who was calling for Trump’s impeachment, and entered resolutions to that effect, long, long before there was any Ukraaine phone call:
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) said on Saturday during an interview on MSNBC that President Donald Trump needed to be impeached “to deal with slavery.”Green, who has previously stated that Trump must be impeached or else “he will get reelected,” said this week that there is “no limit” to the number of times that Democrats can try to impeach the president.
In other words, he is just like every other House Democrat, just not as subtle. And perhaps a little bit more stupid. Asked to explain what slavery has to do with impeachment, Green replied,
I do believe, ma’am, that we have to deal with the original sin. We have to deal with slavery. Slavery was the thing that put all of what President Trump has done lately into motion.We cannot overlook what happened when he came down the escalator and just demeaned people of color when he talked about the s-hole countries. It’s insidious … racism, the president has played on racism and he’s used that as a weapon to galvanize a base of support to mobilize people.So, I appreciate whatever we will do, but until we deal with the issue of invidious discrimination as a relates to [the] LGBTQ community, the anti-Semitism, the racism, the Islamophobia, the transphobia, and also the misogyny that he has exemplified, I don’t think our work is done.
Ah! Now he sounds more typical. This is, of course, Big Lie #4, “Trump is a racist.” John Hinderaker correctly notes on his blog:
Green’s rant is valuable, not because it makes any sense, but because it gives us a window into the Democrats’ real motive for wanting to impeach the president–sheer hatred over political differences. Combined, of course, with the realization that in all probability, he will be re-elected next year if they do not succeed in evicting him from office.
How long can the news media and the public fail to acknowledge this?
3. Ann Althouse did a masterful job analyzing Ted Cruz’s uncomfortably easy defenestrating of “Meet the Press” hack Chuck Todd. He makes me feel old: I remember when that show was the gold standard of Sunday Morning public affairs programming, with the brilliant, left-biased but almost always fair host Tim Russert making the show trustworthy and stimulating. Here’s Ann, with the transcript:
CHUCK TODD: What I don’t understand is, why do you believe that, if an American is committing corruption, we should ask a foreign government to announce an investigation? Is that appropriate? Or do you go to American authorities?
SEN. TED CRUZ: So I believe any president, any Justice Department, has the authority to investigate corruption. In this case, there was serious evidence, on the face, of corruption. The reason Hunter Biden got that position is because his daddy was Vice President of the United States.
CHUCK TODD: So you believe Ukraine meddled?… Do you believe Ukraine meddled in the American election in 2016?
SEN. TED CRUZ: I do. And I think there’s considerable evidence of that.
CHUCK TODD [with intensity]: You do? You do?
Ann writes: “Laughter can be heard in the studio. At this point, I really want to hear the details on how Ukraine supposedly interfered in the election. I’ve avoided reading up on this story, but now I really want to know because I’m so irritated by Chuck Todd trying to crush it immediately. Todd immediately changes the subject to reasons why Ted Cruz should have a personal animus against Trump”:
CHUCK TODD: He launched a birtherism campaign against you. He went after your faith. He threatened to, quote, “spill the beans,” about your wife about something…
This is me, not Ann: here Todd shows his stupidity, pettiness, lack of ethics comprehension, and also he and his colleagues thought there was nothing wrong with Senator John McCain setting out to get back at Trump for his insulting comments, rather than doing his job, being professional, and keeping emotions from warping his judgment.
Althouse: “I wish Cruz had said: Don’t change the subject. I just said there is considerable evidence that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election and you very intensely and reflexively tried to block that subject. But Cruz just sarcastically said:”
SEN. TED CRUZ: … I appreciate you dragging up all that garbage. That’s very kind of you, go ahead.
Ann: “And that allowed Todd to avoid the subject he wanted to avoid. Todd’s next question is…”
CHUCK TODD: Is it not possible that this president is capable of creating a false narrative about somebody, in order to help him, politically?
SEN. TED CRUZ: Except that’s not what happened. The president released the transcript of the phone call. You can read what was said on the phone call. And let me point out —
CHUCK TODD: Yeah and the Bidens. And you, yourself, thought the Biden part was troubling.
SEN. TED CRUZ: Chuck, Chuck, let me point out a game that the media is playing. You know, a question that you’ve asked a number of people is you’ve said to senators, sort of aghast, “Do you believe that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the election?” Now, that, that, in a court of law, would be struck as a misleading question. Of course Russia interfered in our election. Nobody looking at the evidence disputes that….
Ann: “This is important, and this is what has been bothering me. Those who reject the assertion that Ukraine meddled in the election restate the issue as whether Ukraine and not Russia meddled in the election. That’s a rhetorical trick that can make lazy or inattentive thinkers believe that they have to deny that Russia meddled in order to consider whether Ukraine meddled.”
Me: Fortunately, lazy and inattentive thinkers are just a small min…who am I kidding? The Democrats impeachment push is depending on the public’s lazy and inattentive thinkers...
SEN. TED CRUZ: Look, on the evidence, Russia clearly interfered in our election. But here’s the game the media is playing. Because Russia interfered, the media pretends nobody else did. Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election. The sitting ambassador from Ukraine wrote an op-ed blasting Donald Trump —
Ann: “All right. I know this piece of evidence and how it will be minimized, but is this all there is — the op-ed? Todd immediately interrupts (and he’s super-excited in a way that undermines confidence in his professionalism)”:
Me: This highlights a central weirdness about all of the Russian interference hysteria, and several commenters pick up on it: Never mind op-eds, why were Facebook ads considered such devastating and illicit influencers of public opinion? And…wait, WHAT “professionalism”?
CHUCK TODD: Do you know why… Do you know why he did that?… What did Donald Trump, what did Donald Trump, as a candidate, say about Ukraine and Crimea during the election that might’ve inspired the ambassador?
SEN. TED CRUZ: So you’re saying they had disagreements with Donald Trump —
CHUCK TODD: No, I’m just saying —
SEN. TED CRUZ: — and they wanted Hillary Clinton to get elected.
CHUCK TODD: Okay, so they wrote an op-ed —
SEN. TED CRUZ: I’ll tell you a Ukrainian parliamentarian —
Me: A foreign ambassador expressing his support of a Presidential candidate in the pages of an American media organ is “interference” by definition. Cruz backed Todd into a corner, but this is like watching Max Scherzer strike out Charlie Brown…
Ann: “Todd interrupts again. He really seems as though he’s trying to prevent Cruz from laying out his point. If it’s such a bad point, why doesn’t he sit back and let Cruz make his own mess?”
CHUCK TODD: They wrote an op-ed. That is the difference — what you’re saying is, you’re saying a pickpocket, which essentially is a Hill op-ed, compared to Bernie Madoff and Vladimir Putin. You’re trying to make — you’re trying to equal — make them both seem equal. I don’t understand that.
Ann: “Todd was so excited he couldn’t think of the word “equate.” He’s offering his own colorful analogy — the Ukrainian op-ed was the equivalent of pickpocketing compared to the Madoff-level fraud ascribed to the Russians. Notice that’s admitting that the Ukrainians did interfere.* Todd has conceded that the Ukrainians had a preference in the election and tried to influence how Americans thought about the candidates.”
Me: And absurdly claimed that the Russian interference is fairly analogized to a massive crime like what Madoff did.I have never seen a single credible assessment that the Russian interference had any material effect, other than providing Hillary, the “resistance” and the mainstream media with an excuse to call Trump an illegitimate President. I’m sure this was better than Putin could have hoped for.
SEN. TED CRUZ: Chuck, Chuck, I understand that you want to dismiss Ukrainian interference, because, A) they were trying to get Hillary Clinton elected, which is what the vast majority of the media wanted, anyway. And B) it’s inconvenient for the narrative. You know, it’s hysterical. Two years ago, there was article after article after article, in the mainstream media, about Ukrainian interference in the elections. But now, the Democrats have no evidence of a crime, no evidence of violating the law. And so suddenly, Ukrainian interference is treated as the media clutches their pearls. “Oh, my goodness. You can’t say that.”…
Ann: “Todd tries to recenter the issue as either/or — Russia or Ukraine:”
CHUCK TODD: Okay, so did you get the briefing, from the intel community, that said, the Russian intelligence services are trying to actively use this Ukraine story to frame Ukraine for the Russian — for the interference in 2016?
Ann: “Cruz — in what turns out to be his last chance to talk in this interview — switches to the general topic of how there are always a lot of countries trying to interfere in all of our elections:”
SEN. TED CRUZ: I have been in multiple briefings. I have been in multiple briefings, year after year after year, about foreign interference in our election. Russia has tried to interfere in our elections. China’s tried to interfere in our elections. North Korea’s tried to interfere in our elections. Ukraine has tried to interfere in our elections. This is not new. 2016’s not the first year they did it. And they’re going to keep trying. And so we need to be strong in dealing with it. But the media needs to actually report facts.
Althouse: “And I still don’t know if the accusation that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election is about anything more than that op-ed. Ted Cruz had a little more time in that last word, but not only did he ascend to a high level of generality about interference in elections, he swapped in a preferred topic and ended with:”
SEN. TED CRUZ: This is a kangaroo court in the House. They’re going to impeach, not because they have the evidence, but because they hate the president, want to do the election. But it’s going to go to the Senate. It’s going to go nowhere. I think the American people know this is a waste of time. And this is Democrats putting on a circus.
Althouse: “Okay. Fine. But I’m going to assume the Ukrainian interference was nothing but an op-ed, and I don’t see the problem with other countries having preferences in American elections and explaining their reasons in published essays in American newspapers. If there’s some U.S. law against that, it violates our right to receive information.”
Me: The Democratic position throughout has been that U.S. voters had no right to learn about Clinton’s pay-to-play machinations, the Clinton Foundation scam, and the DNC’s cheating on behalf of Hillary if Russia had anything to do with hacking DNC computers and letting ugly cats out of the bag. Sure, it’s moral luck, but it turned out that the hackers did the voters a favor.
Ann: “That said, I wish Chuck Todd would act more dignified and quit stepping on his guests and laughing at them. It makes it seem like he’s trying to censor the other side. I think Cruz did get out what he wanted to say about Ukrainian “interference,” but Todd made it look like there could have been more! If I’m wrong and there is more, please tell me what it is.”
Me: “It makes it seems like he’s trying to censor the other side”?????? Is Ann being coy here, or is she that naive?
Meanwhile, add Ted Cruz to the list of smart analysts with strong legal scholarship credentials who don’t especially like Donald Trump but who also don’t find the evidence for his impeachment “overwhelming,” as David Brooks and Mark Shields breezily concluded, or even persuasive.