Political Science

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.”

From here.

The Big Question

Following Stone’s indictment on Friday, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani scoffed, “Another false-statement case? God almighty.”

But it is unclear if the special counsel shares that view. While Mueller has not accused any American of criminally coordinating with Russia, the lies meticulously unspooled by his prosecutors over 20 months have not been mere quibbles.

They have documented various falsehoods by Trump advisers that masked efforts by people in his orbit to develop inroads with Russia and leverage that country’s hacking of Democratic emails.

The remaining question — for both Mueller’s team, as it works on a final investigative report, and for the American people — is why.

Did the president’s men lie to protect a still-hidden dark secret about the campaign’s interaction with Russia, engaging in a broad effort to obstruct the probe — one that included perhaps even Trump?

Did they lie to avoid diminishing Trump’s victory by acknowledging Russia played a role in his election?

Did they each lie for their own reasons, taking their cue from the president — who has told many whoppers of his own, including about Russia?

From here.

Ukip has selected former Tory Roger Helmer as parliamentary candidate to fight the Newark byelection, despite him arguing date rape victims can bear some responsibility for being assaulted, coming out in favour of the death penalty and comparing gay marriage to allowing incest.

On a related “WTF, UKIP” note.

According to the story, he “aired controversial views on other subjects, including questioning the existence of homophobia, suggesting that some people find same-sex relationships ‘distasteful if not viscerally repugnant’ and arguing that there are ‘different degrees of culpability’ in rape cases.”

Ukip has been accused of hypocrisy and double standards for paying Eastern Europeans to distribute their election leaflets, despite those leaflets warning that immigrants from the EU pose a threat to British jobs.

Andrew Spalis, partner at the door-to-door distribution firm Fast Leaflet, told the Huffington Post UK that his firm has been carrying out work for Ukip and that many of its employees are from Latvia, as well as other parts of Eastern Europe.

See, this would be funny if it wasn’t for the fact that the UK Independence Party is becoming a legitimate power in the United Kingdom these days (Well, in England for the most part, but you know what I mean).

Recently Read, Prose (3/2/13)


Yeah, I’m not quite sure what happened to my reading habits this month; I have the feeling that there are books that I’ve read and entirely forgotten in there, for some reason – I normally read more than this, even with the amount of work/stress and everything that’s been going on [UPDATE: I did, indeed, forget something: Sasha Issenberg’s Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns, which was more dry than I’d been looking for]. Admittedly, there’s the book I still haven’t finished yet – Hana Rosin’s wonderful The End of Men – that could kinda/sorta be counted, I guess? Otherwise, though, as you can tell, I’ve been leaning heavily on the “Decompression Pulp” this month – El Sombra by Al Ewing being some kind of genius example of the idea, and a ridiculously fun, intentionally trashy story of one man who has barely escaped certain death out for revenge against, essentially steampunk Nazis; it’s really rather great – and trying out Star Wars novels for the first time ever because the high concept of Scoundrels (Pretty much “Hey, it’s Ocean’s Eleven, but Han Solo is George Clooney!”) is somewhat irresistible (The novel is slightly more resistible, it has to be said; it’s not bad, but it’s also nowhere near as fun as it should be).

Supergods was a re-read for work, but also spun out of reading an ARC of Glen Weldon’s really great Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, which I loved when I read and find myself appreciating even more the more I think about it afterwards. It’s the tone, I think; it’s just so very right for something like this. The End of The Line book was a light read because I was in the mood for some good punchy political writing, which this… isn’t, really. It’s another “almost, but not quite” entry. Basically, I find it difficult to wait for the inevitable “Definitive Book of The 2012 Election” to come along. I mean, we’re due one soon, right…?

Recently Read, Prose (11/27/12)

It’s been a long time since I did this, so this is a list nowhere near complete. In fact, this is just the pile of recently-finished books on my bedside table right now (plus a couple that I Kindled; Why Romney Lost and 47 Percent are digital-only releases, I think); if I were to do a complete list, there’d be a couple more Star Trek books, at least, plus maybe some Jonathan Carroll and Alexander McCall Smith, perhaps? I can’t remember what I’ve been reading beyond these things, I admit it. As you can tell, post-election, I got into a mood for reading some politics, all of which were fun and instructive beyond telling me about their subject (I fancy writing some longform non-fiction at some point, if I can find an appropriate subject and a way to pay for it; reading longform political writing is like going to school for that kind of thing). The Gene Wilder and William Gibson books were both surprising, in their way; the Wilder one, surprising in how much I enjoyed it, and the Gibson in how much I didn’t.

Hopefully, I’ll have the time/brainspace to do these posts more often again. I like keeping track of things like this.

“Truth Prevailed”

Every four years, the race for the White House ends in accusations of deceit. Each side says the other spent millions of dollars to lie and skew the outcome. This year’s post-election accounts of backstage calculations and fateful turning points continue that tradition. But if you read these accounts carefully, you’ll find a happy surprise beneath the spin and recriminations: Lies failed. Truth prevailed.

From here.

Something that I’m becoming surprised by, in the inevitable post-game analysis of the Republican’s losses in Tuesday’s elections, is the quickly apparent sense that not only were the Republicans lying to us, but that they were apparently lying to themselves, too. There’s a CBS piece that puts it into perspective, somewhat, but the short version is, the Republicans appear to have entirely bought into their own narrative wholeheartedly, to the point where any contradictory information was immediately dismissed as biased and false. Let’s be honest, here; that’s kind of terrifying, because it sounds like something that would make you really worried about a friend, if they started doing it. It sounds paranoid and, yes, kind of insane, or at least dangerously delusional.

The question is, I guess, whether the Republican Party en masse can move back to reality in the wake of the loss, or stay in their persecuted alternate world, plotting and scheming to “take back America” by any means necessary. I hope for the former, but fear for the latter.

This seems appropriate, at this point: