Nov 23 2019

Another Edition of ‘What digby said’.

I don’t often talk about it, but every writer has their influences. It is frequently said, “If you want to be a Great Author, read them,” and it’s true enough. Among my most notorious pieces are my ‘Homage to Catalonia’, oops I mean ‘Hills Like White Elephants’, and ‘The Sound and the Fury’ which I consider spot on and have won me awards and 6 A+es (my mandatory class in American Literature 202, my brother, and an acquaintance who really, really liked them. When I say spot on what I mean is I feel like I captured the stylistic quirks of the presentation in that they were instantly recognizable, the equivalent of a comedic impression.

One can hardly avoid it after prolonged exposure. If I find I need to reset my compass I read some Twain. Among other things he was a Journalist and when people question my credentials I respond that I’m every bit as well qualified as he was.

Among Web Authors who have influenced my current style are Atrios and digby. As I set up as an independent featured contributor and Admin I found that certain types of presentation were much less effective than they were in another context.

Because my goals were volume and regularity I found myself writing much shorter than I was accustomed to, some of my early work is nearly 5,000 words long. Well, that takes a month of research and 2 or 3 days just putting it on paper. Don’t get me wrong, they were masterpieces, just not the masterpieces I needed.

Reading Atrios has taught me not to be afraid of brevity and wit, as well as making me more comfortable with sucking (he has admirable modesty and sometimes Meatspace intrudes).

Reading digby has taught me not to be afraid of putting it all out there.

Part One

This is actually a bone of some Meta contention between myself and others. digby adheres to the convention of no page breaks. Unless the piece is exceptionally long all you have to do is scroll to read it, no extra clicks unless you want to view the links.

The controversy is that this reduces your number of page hits, which reduces your ad revenue… you get the picture. Fortunately writing on the Internet is not my primary source of income otherwise I would have staved to death long ago. It’s the Carny Barker Technique- “See the mystical miracles inside including the fabulous Egress.”

Now you might rightly accuse me of being obsessed with metrics in the past and it’s true enough but with the transition to WordPress I completely lost my ability to do it. Well, I could pay but screw it- I don’t need to know that badly. Instead I get satisfaction out of being professional and consistent (at sucking) and the kind words of strangers, TMC assures me we tweet above our weight.

Part Two

Fair Use. What I want from people who quote me is recognition (I never said I didn’t have an Ego, just that it’s self sufficient), and a link back for context and to avoid misquotes. That’s it. Quote it all. I’ve given several other Site Admins access so they can lift it straight from the code, they don’t even have to tell me.

I consider The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma as a whole a work of Art, a Banksey painting in words, a collage like Matisse and Braque each piece a small part of the greater mural. How great? As of deadline 45,123 posts on DocuDharma for whom I have wr1tten 8,375 and 19,905 on The Stars Hollow Gazette of which I contributed 6,746.

Until I advanced my thinking I was concerned that extensive quotation might be considered less than original work. I came to realize that 90% or more of it is just processing the Firehose (and remember, I don’t even use Twitter) and the added value (besides any wrapper content) is that I brought it to your attention when it might be easily missed or I consider it a pivotal part of the Historic record.

Anyway, I should use her more often because while she’s sometimes wrong headed she’s usually insightful, the problem is that like me she often uses others voices to speak for her which makes it hard to format.

Keep the pressure on Dems. Ukraine is the tip of the iceberg.
by digby, Hullabaloo

It was even worse than we thought. The president wasn’t just conspiring with his lawyer and a couple of obscure factotums. He had many high-level members of his Cabinet and staff involved as well, including the vice president, the secretary of state, the White House chief of staff, the energy secretary and the national security adviser. If the whistleblower hadn’t come forward, there is every reason to believe the plot would have succeeded and we would never have known what happened. After all, half a dozen staffers went through the normal channels and reported their concerns to the National Security Council’s legal counsel, and the result was to hide the record of the president’s call in a top-secret vault to keep it from being leaked.

If the president had put people other than the far too garrulous Sondland and the out-of-control Rudy Giuliani in charge, it’s likely this would have been handled much more discreetly. One cannot help but wonder how many other such “irregular” activities have been successfully covered up. Jared Kushner, for instance, has an expansive portfolio and has been involved with some of the most important foreign policy issues, many of which have had serious consequences in the Middle East and Turkey. Attorney General Bill Barr’s single-minded mission to hamstring the FBI and the intelligence community appears even more sinister in this light. Trump’s own inexplicable behavior with Russia comes to mind as well.

The fact that they almost got away with this crude and badly executed plot argues for the idea that it was not a one-off.

It is a given at this point that the president will be impeached. The talk among analysts and pundits in the wake of all this naturally turns to whether or not any of this has changed the underlying political dynamic that governs whether or not Trump will actually be convicted in the Senate and removed from office. The consensus is that it will not. Judging by the defiant, unhinged performance by the Republicans during the House Intelligence Committee hearings, in which they used their time to spread bogus conspiracy theories and insult the witnesses, that consensus is probably correct.

There was some hope for a time that a few of the Republicans who have already decided to retire might wish to preserve some shred of integrity on their way out the door, but that does not appear to be something they care about. The one considered most likely to break from the pack, Rep. Will Hurd of Texas — who is now the only black Republican in the House — lugubriously declared at the end of Thursday’s hearing that he had not been convinced: “An impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear and unambiguous. And it’s not something to be rushed or taken lightly. I have not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.”

Hurd also said that he would like to hear from Hunter Biden, so any notion that Hurd has been acting in good faith must be taken with a grain of salt. But he does raise a good question. If Democrats believe that there’s no serious prospect of Republicans changing their minds in the face of such clear evidence — and it appears they are correct — why are they so intent upon rushing through this process? Why not take their time and try to get as much as possible before the public and into the record?

The Mueller investigation took two years and uncovered massive evidence of obstruction of justice. The Republicans had 10 investigations into the Benghazi attack over the course of three years. The Republican National Convention even featured a Benghazi night! House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted they had done it all for political purposes to damage Hillary Clinton in the election — and it worked. In the course of one of those investigations, it was discovered that Clinton had used a personal email server for non-classified State Department business. I don’t think I need to tell you how that affected the campaign in 2016.

So it seems counterproductive for the Democrats to be so anxious to close this impeachment inquiry when we now know that the highest levels of the administration were involved. Without hearing from Giuliani, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (who reportedly wants to resign because this scandal is damaging his reputation) — all of whom have been heavily implicated, and all of whom appear to have further political ambitions — this case doesn’t accurately convey what happened and continues to happen in this White House. You’d think they’d at least want to hear from Rudy Giuliani’s accomplice Lev Parnas, who has signaled a willingness to talk. Who knows what he might have to say?

I realize that Democrats like the idea of having this staid, formal, very tight case, with unimpeachable experts and patriotic public servants as the only witnesses. It leaves less room for them to be called partisan. But in this polarized environment, the whole thing is partisan whether they like it or not. That doesn’t make it unethical, dishonest or biased. It’s just a function of how politics is organized at the moment.

Since the Republicans are acting as Trump’s accomplices, oversight of this corrupt administration requires that the House keeps the pressure on to prevent them from continuing to engage in criminal behavior and abusing their power. An early Senate acquittal is likely to have the opposite effect. If the Democrats aren’t doing all this to stop Trump’s outrageous criminality and expose the massive corruption of this White House, why are they doing it at all?

why are they doing it at all?

Good question. One of my minor beefs with digby is she is entirely too credulous about the Institutional Democratic Party. They are not fundamentally distinct from Republicans in their desire to maintain the status quo, they’re simply marginally more interested in bribing voters with Social Programs and still, on rare occasions, demonstrate a sense of shame.

If we did not have overwhelming grassroots pressure for it Impeachment would not be happening. Principles? Show me or shut up.