self-inflicted wounds

Chairman Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC04), chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, speaks in an interview 16 October 2015.  (Detail of photo by Getty Images)

“I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life. Attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are 1,000-times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically―at least it is for me.”

Rep. Trey Gowedy (R-SC04)

The first point, to wonder what it is Mr. Gowdy, the chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, thinks he is doing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should meet resistance; set that urge aside. There is a lot going on, here. Rachel Bade of Politico hopes to explain:

Gowdy says the specifics of his rebuttals don’t matter; he feels he “just can’t win.

“I think that’s just [the Democrats’] MO: If you can’t attack the facts, you can attack the investigators … just attack, attack, attack and something will take hold,” he said. “[A]t some point, maybe something will stick, or maybe you get them off track or you get them to do or say something stupid, then you can seize on that.”

He also lays some blame at the media’s feet, arguing they’re too quick to report Democrats’ accusations without checking the merits, or the story of an ex-committee staffer who accused the panel of focusing on Clinton.

“You can work your entire career to have a reputation, and then someone you have no recollection of ever meeting sits down with a reporter and you’re immediately in a position of having to defend and it’s impossible to prove a negative,” he said.

This is a basic political maneuver very much associated with Karl Rove: Assign your greatest weakness to your opponent. With Republicans, it has pretty much become a tell: “I mean, honestly,” Gowdy complained of Huma Abedin’s testimony, “have you ever heard a more absurd critique than leaking the fact that one of the more recognizable people in the world was coming to Capitol Hill?”

This is a problematic complaint. Trey Gowdy is simply not an honest man.

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The Scott Walker Show (Quality of Life)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in January, 2015. Detail of photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

The Cowardly Badger wants another do-over, but this time for one of his policy achievements, lowering a worker’s quality of life. Paul Waldman explains Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s dubious presidential ambition:

Scott Walker wants to take his fight against organized labor national. Today he released a plan for a new war not just on union representation, but on worker rights in general.

It’s quite a document, one we might call Scott Walker’s Race to the Bottom.

I have no doubt that Walker is sincere in his desire to see every labor union crushed and every vestige of workers’ power banished — or, in his lingo, “flexibility.” I’d also be surprised if any of the other candidates objected to any part of it. So the plan is worth understanding if you want to grasp what today’s GOP is offering today’s workers.

While he doesn’t say so explicitly, what Walker seems to hope for is really a world without any labor unions at all, or at the very least a world where unions are so weakened that they are unable to advocate for anyone.

This is a fun one: You know how from time to time we hear from Republicans about public sector employees having opulent benefits? Hang on to that for a moment. Okay. So, you know how from time to time we hear reminders that real wages are stagnant, and have remained so for decades?

Right. Two and two. Put them together. The outcome really is that obvious.

There are those who will need your help to understand; thus, put as simply as possible: Those aren’t opulent contracts; other workers could have had them, too, if they had unions guarding their standard of living.

And then, before they get too confused, remind them: This is what voters wanted when Republicans pitched the better life of tomorrow without unions. Yes, this lesser quality of life.

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Waldman, Paul. “Scott Walker’s race to the bottom”. The Washington Post. 14 September 2015.

The Daa’ish Dildo Episode

"Isis flag spotted at gay pride parade": Real chyron from CNN, 27 June 2015, suggesting a Daa'ish protester was demonstrating at London's gay pride celebration.  The flag is an obvious parody, with drawings of sex toys in place of the sigil and script.

“The flag, I cannot stress this enough, was clearly covered with images of dildos and butt plugs. And was waving at a London gay pride rally.”

Max Fisher

This is CNN.

And, yes, this one takes some explaining, which noble endeavor Max Fisher undertook for Vox.

On Saturday, during coverage of a gay rights rally, CNN ran a segment with an alarming message. According to the chyron on the bottom of the screen, “ISIS FLAG SPOTTED AT GAY PRIDE PARADE.”

The supposed ISIS flag was in fact a parody, bearing outlined images of dildos and butt plugs in place of Arabic script.

Right.

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