How the Republicans Broke Congress

Republican leaders have been blunt about their motivation: to deliver on their promises to wealthy donors, and down the road, to use the leverage of huge deficits to cut and privatize Medicare and Social Security.

.. the unexpected and rapid nature of the decline in American national politics, and how one-sided its cause.

.. the Republican Party — as an institution, as a movement, as a collection of politicians — that has done unique, extensive and possibly irreparable damage to the American political system.

Even today, many people like to imagine that the damage has all been President Trump’s doing — that he took the Republican Party hostage. But the problem goes much deeper.

.. we can’t help seeing the Republican Party as the root cause of today’s political instability. Three major developments in the party required us to change our view.

.. First, beginning in the 1990s, the Republicans strategically demonized Congress and government more broadly and flouted the norms of lawmaking, fueling a significant decline of trust in government

.. House Republicans showed their colors when they first blocked passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Plan, despite the urgent pleas of their own president, George W. Bush, and the speaker of the House, John Boehner. The seeds of a (largely phony) populist reaction were planted.

.. Second, there was the “Obama effect.”

.. we saw a deliberate Republican strategy to oppose all of his initiatives and frame his attempts to compromise as weak or inauthentic. The Senate under the majority leader Mitch McConnell weaponized the filibuster to obstruct legislation, block judges and upend the policy process. The Obama effect had an ominous twist, an undercurrent of racism that was itself embodied in the “birther” movement led by Donald Trump.

.. repeatedly promised the impossible under divided party government: that if they won, Mr. Obama would be forced to his knees, his policies obliterated and government as we knew it demolished. Their subsequent failures to do so spurred even more rage

.. Third, we have seen the impact of significant changes in the news media, which had a far greater importance on the right than on the left. The development of the modern conservative media echo chamber began with the rise of Rush Limbaugh and talk radio in the late 1980s and ramped up with the birth of Fox News. Matt Drudge, his protégé Andrew Breitbart and Breitbart’s successor Steve Bannon leveraged the power of the internet to espouse their far-right views. And with the advent of social media, we saw the emergence of a radical “alt-right” media ecosystem able to create its own “facts” and build an audience around hostility to the establishment, anti-immigration sentiment and racial resentment. Nothing even close to comparable exists on the left.

Mr. Trump’s election and behavior during his first 10 months in office represent not a break with the past but an extreme acceleration of a process that was long underway in conservative politics.

.. The Republican Party is now rationalizing and enabling Mr. Trump’s autocratic, kleptocratic, dangerous and downright embarrassing behavior in

.. hopes of salvaging key elements of its ideological agenda: cutting taxes for the wealthy (as part of possibly the worst tax bill in American history), hobbling the regulatory regime, gutting core government functions and repealing Obamacare without any reasonable plan to replace it.

.. The failure of Republican members of Congress to resist the anti-democratic behavior of President Trump — including holding not a single hearing on his and his team’s kleptocracy

.. Only conservative intellectuals have acknowledged the bankruptcy of the Republican Party.

Phil Vischer: Episode 276: Media, Mars & Read Schuchardt

I saw it is the outsider that has a perception that the insider doesn’t has. The outsider advantage

(52 min)


10 kids, no TV, no cell phone, no internet.  Life with the Amish?  A zombie apocalypse?  Nope – just another day in the life of Read Schuchardt, a professor of media ecology who definitely practices what he preaches!  Plus, Phil and Skye discuss a new “giant sucking sound” in American demographics and Phil, yet again, attempts to convince us we really, REALLY don’t want to live on Mars.  

Donald Trump’s Obsession with Time Magazine Makes Almost Too Much Sense

The now-fading publication evokes a distinct 20th-century kind of wealth and influence—like the Plaza Hotel and Elaine’s on the Upper East Side.

In June, The Washington Post discovered that what looked like a back issue of Time magazine featuring Trump on the cover—and displayed in at least five of Trump’s clubs—was, in fact, doctored. The fake cover featured a serious looking Trump with twin, glowing assessments: “Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” and “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!” The real issue of Time magazine at the time featured the actress Kate Winslet on the cover.

.. Remember Newsweek? It once routinely determined the national conversation.

.. Donald Trump is a man whose concept of wealth is all Manhattan circa 1989. And in Manhattan in 1989, Timemagazine was the king of the newsstand.

.. Trump became a public figure and a celebrity at Time’s apex. But more than that, Time is the perfect manifestation of Trump’s attitude toward success.

.. In the 1980s, when Time was still a cash cow

.. the very public bankruptcy and surprising redemption.

.. Trump’s wealth—and the persona he built around it—has always been aspirational.

.. The superlatives that spill so easily from Trump’s lips—everything’s the biggest, and the best, and the most.

.. The magazine was founded by rich men playing with their fathers’ money—no member of the founding staff was more than three years out of college

.. In the early 1980s, as Trump was rising to fame, Time was absolutely flush with cash:

Want to Know Why Roy Moore Might Win? Blame the Media.

The anger against the mainstream media is deep-seated. And, as difficult it is for many to accept, much of the anger is justified.

..  the major networks, most major newspapers and cable news programs outside of Fox—has displayed a vexing double standard against conservatives
.. Remember all of the hostile press conferences and exchanges that Washington reporters routinely had with the Obama White House, or when Obama’s daily utterances were challenged every day on CNN?
.. Conservatives do remember, however, the endless attacks on Reagan’s mental abilities, on George H. W. Bush’s alleged out-of-touch elitism, and on his son’s various verbal miscues and alleged racial insensitivity.
..  if any prominent mainstream journalists ever doubted the president’s intentions or his commitment to helping improve the lives of his fellow Americans
  • .. Can the same be said of coverage of Reagan’s welfare reform program or
  • George W. Bush’s effort to respond to Hurricane Katrina or
  • the Republican Congress’ current tax cut plan?

.. Harvard’s, that showed 93 percent of Trump’s media coverage has been negative.

.. networks could end the customary two- or three- or four- on one panels

The Axe Files: 185: Karen Tumulty

David Axelrod: You said that Hillary Clinton is the most Establishment figure in America and when I’m out in the country, they’ve seen politicians in the last 3 elections say that they would

She was the avatar of the status quo and Trump was the pile-driver that would take the establishment out. (13:50)

Karen Tumulty:  They felt like he would shake things up and not get pushed around.  They felt like they had been pushed around.

Trump Loves ‘Fox & Friends.’ Here’s Why.

President Donald Trump is an avid viewer of Fox News and its morning program “Fox & Friends,” which is seen as offering more favorable coverage of the administration than other news outlets. His early morning tweets often reference coverage on the program.

The way each network covered the story – or avoided it – is a sign of how the media landscape has become ever more politicized in the Trump era. That is particularly true of Fox News.

.. Fox News aired 25 minutes of indictment coverage in the first hour after news of the charges broke around 8 a.m. – just as attention would have surged. CNN and MSNBC, in contrast, aired at least an hour of nearly uninterrupted and ad-free coverage.

.. In its morning coverage, Fox played down the indictment news in two ways. First, it cut away in the first few minutes to discuss a dossier, which was partly funded by the Democratic Party, that had leaked during the presidential campaign and included unverified allegations about Mr. Trump. They aired an interview that had already been shown half an hour earlier with the Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway in which she called for an investigation into the Hillary Clinton campaign.

.. Reporting on the indictment continued, with only the occasional ad break, for the next hour on CNN and MSNBC, while Fox reported on North Korea and allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor Kevin Spacey – news that had gained steam after Mr. Spacey issued a widely criticized apology the previous evening.

.. To right-leaning media observers, the coverage by the other networks might seem equally troubling: does the Manafort indictment deserve an hour or more of uninterrupted airtime?