The Friday Files: What We Learned This Week

The Government is still shut down because Donald Trump is a terrible negotiator. (Paul Waldman, The Washington Post)

The shut down will last at least until Monday, meanwhile National Parks are a mess, airplanes aren’t being inspected and the folks paid to get them on the ground safely aren’t being paid. Oh, and a mere month after all the romaine lettuce in the country was raptured away due to an e coli scare, the FDA is going to continue to cancel “high risk inspections” due to lack of funds. (Ben Mathis-Lilley at Slate.)

While there is serious debate over the correct way to proceed as the Democrats take over the House and gain control of it’s powers of oversight, at least two representatives have already filed articles of impeachment against the Cheeto Tinted Tyrant. (Sean Illing, Vox)

Senator Elizabeth Warren has declared her intent to challenge for the Presidency and freshman representative Alexndria Ocasio Cortez has declared her intent to shake things up on Capitol Hill. Both women have received pushback, with both the GOP and pearl clutching centrist Dems describing them as “extremists” their ideas as “too radical.” Interestingly, the American public seems to like these ladies ideas just fine. (Margery Eagan, Boston Globe.

Hillary Clinton had to wade through a lot of sexism in her two runs at the US Presidency. A lot of that ugliness came from her being all alone out there. With Warren declared and California Senator Kamala Harris, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Clinton protege and Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand all booking flights to Iowa, the 2020 Democratic Primary already promises to have more Girl Power than any race in history. Amanda Marcotte at Salon describes how that is great news for all women in politics.

Sexism is a legitimate concern in 2020, and only a fool would say otherwise. But that’s all the more reason for multiple women to run for the Democratic nomination. It’s the surest path to get past all the sexism that helped sink Clinton.
For one thing, with multiple women in the race, no single candidate will have the burden of standing in for all women. Clinton suffered from being the repository for all manner of gender anxiety on the part of not just voters but political pundits who were projecting all their hostility about the growing power of women in their lives onto Clinton’s 5’4″ frame. With several women in the race, it will be easier to see each candidate as an individual, not as a stand-in for an entire gender of humanity, which should  make it easier to judge each candidate on her (or his) merits.
On the flipside, having multiple female candidates will also make it much harder for sexists to hide behind the claim that they oppose a female candidate for individual reasons and not for her gender. In 2016, a lot of people who clearly had some antipathy toward Clinton deflected criticism by claiming they would be happy to vote for some other woman — on the left, Warren’s name was typically floated — but not for this particular one.

Amanda Marcotte, Slate

Families of victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting have won a victory in court this week in their defamation lawsuit against conspiracy monger Alex Jones, who has accused the families of being “crisis actors,” who participated in an elaborate scheme to fake the tragedy. The case will now move to discovery, and a judge will soon hopefully rule whether Jones can be deposed himself. Good… Fuck that guy. (Chris Mills Rodrigo, The Hill)

Rant of the Week: Matt Iglesias, Vox.
No commentator has captured the shear ludicrousness of the Trump Escapade than Matthew Iglesias at Vox. This morning he eviscerated the Donald’s pathetic performance in his live interview at the border with Fox News’ Sean “Slow Pitch” Hannity tossing him batting practice, 

He can’t explain what he’s trying to do or why.

A Sean Hannity interview with President Donald Trump is always a curious spectacle: The interviewer has disavowed journalistic ethics, and the subject has no compunction about lying, so the entire affair has the atmospherics of a news program but the substance of a partially improvised drama. And what was so striking about the Thursday night Trump–Hannity interview at the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas, is how perfunctory the script and the performance is. 

Even when faced with some of the most egregious softball questions of all time, Trump is barely coherent — unable to describe in any detail what exactly it is that he wants, unable to cite any specific legal authority for a potential emergency declaration option, and unable to describe what such an operation would actually let him achieve. 
The one subject on which Trump displays any actual passion is the perfidy of the “fake news” media — perfidy that he tells Hannity he learned about by watching an earlier episode of Hannity’s show.

Late Night of the Week

Featured Image from Geologists on the impossible logistics of the 1,000-mile Great Wall of Trump. at Boing Boing.


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