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Crickets. What’s going on?

This photo was in Google images and was sourced to Twitter. The photo was marked as having been taken at 11:43 a.m. on Sept. 16. The “Mother of all rallies” started at 11 a.m.

Have you noticed how dull and unfocused the media have been of late? At first I thought that hurricanes Harvey and Irma were crowding out other agendas. But now that the hurricanes have aged out of the news, the media are still drifting and befuddled about what story to lead with. What’s going on?

Normally there is a keen competition for setting the agenda, and someone somewhere is staging a big show to direct the media’s attention to where they want it. That’s what we saw when the Congress was mucking around with health care bills a few weeks ago. And there was Charlottesville. But for most of September, it’s been crickets. Back in August, we were told that September would feature mighty battles in Congress over the debt ceiling and tax “reform.” I believe that warfare in Congress was scheduled to lead the media agenda this month. But it fell apart.

At the moment, there’s just nothing going on keep us peasants angry and at each other’s throats. That’s pretty strange, given that whipping up political rage has been at the top of the agenda for more than a year now. We’re told that Trump invited the congressional Democratic leadership to the table. What’s that about?

Yesterday, some of the leadership of Trump’s so-called base scheduled “the mother of all rallies” (MOAR) on the Mall in Washington. They hoped for a million people. They wrote on the rally’s web site: “MOAR will send a message to the world that the voices of mainstream Americans must be heard. We are coming together to send a direct message to Congress, the media and the world that we stand united not divided to protect and preserve American Culture.”

Barely a thousand people came. A clown group outnumbered the MOAR attendees. The right-wing media seem to be as becalmed and befuddled as the mainstream media. At this moment, Drudge Report is leading with an acid attack in France.

Trump is said to be holed up at one of his resorts in New Jersey, and the White House wasn’t releasing any information about what Trump was doing. The media were isolated in a media container 18 miles away with nothing to do.

All this makes me nervous. To a dot-connector like me, it appears that something has disrupted the agenda and media scripts of the powerful, as though there is some kind of stalemate. It’s as though something new — and big — has derailed the September schedule for agenda-setting and media management.

Obviously I know nothing. All I can do is speculate and try to connect dots. Wishful thinking is always a trap to be avoided. But it’s almost as though Donald Trump has been fatally nailed by Mueller, and the lords of Washington are in retreat to write the script on how it will all play out. We know from a little Associated Press piece, mostly ignored by the media, that Mueller had a bipartisan meeting on Thursday with the leaders of the House judiciary committee. That’s the committee that is responsible for initiating impeachment proceedings.

Have I fallen into the trap of wishful thinking? Sure, I want Trump and his entire criminal syndicate gone and in prison, the sooner the better. Trump is clearly mentally ill, and in a dangerous way. But I also know that, when impeachment happens, the collateral damage to this country is going to be a terrible thing. When it happens, whether soon or next year, we the peasants won’t know about it until the powers that be have gone into hiding and worked out a reasonably responsible plan for managing the American people as the trauma unfolds.


  1. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    Have you seen this mornings tweet on the news, via your Mac?

    Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    I’m sure you meet the golf gif, which I have not seen. It probably wouldn’t be good for my blood pressure.

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  3. DCS wrote:

    Here is a very succinct update on the Mueller investigation out today on Politico and written by a former federal prosecutor. He gives a very helpful point-by-point breakdown of what Mueller likely has nailed down at this point and who is in legal jeopardy:


    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  4. daltoni wrote:

    Thanks, DCS. That’s a good summary of what’s known so far.

    I’m convinced that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg so far. New pieces keep coming to light — for example the Facebook piece.

    Also, nothing was said about the Steele dossier, the hacking not only of the DNC but also of state elections systems, or Russian kompromat. I certainly understand how investigations like Mueller’s must proceed, what’s involved in convicting the culprits, and the political and constitutional angles of impeachment. But I think we already know enough to see a clear-enough outline of the worst and most dangerous crimes and scandal in American history: Russian interference in the election, the cooperation and collusion of the Trump campaign in stealing the election, the actual theft of the U.S. presidency by a criminal syndicate both here and abroad, and media (including social media) malpractice beyond anything we’ve ever imagined.

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  5. DCS wrote:

    Oh, Lord Jesus, will it never end? We are definitely headed into uncharted waters. Clinton said on NPR today that she would not rule out challenging the election results if Mueller’s investigation proves collusion, etc.

    What does that mean, exactly? There is no constitutional procedure for “challenging” and election result. Would we have to amend the Constitution to allow such a challenge? And then what — do-over national elections? So it would become more like a parliamentary system that allows for snap elections or no-confidence votes?

    No wonder there’s an opioid epidemic. Please pass the Oxycontin.


    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  6. daltoni wrote:

    DCS: Yes. The NPR interview with Clinton is very important. Here’s a link to the transcript:

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  7. daltoni wrote:

    DCS: P.S.: Increasingly I am seeing the benefits of parliamentary systems, not least because third parties, in the government-forming process, actually provide great benefits, rather than throwing elections in the opposite direction as third parties do under our system.

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
  8. daltoni wrote:

    DCS: P.P.S. You are well qualified to write a book on why the U.S. should amend its Constitution to change to a parliamentary system. The need for it is like a slap in the face after the 2016 election.

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  9. DCS wrote:

    It’s already been done by my betters. For example:

    Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It)
    by Sanford Levinson

    Available at:


    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  10. DCS wrote:

    And on the subject of media malfeasance, this excellent column by Heather Diby Parton at Salon:

    This is one of the reasons I got out of the journalism business 11 years ago. We were complicit in the election of George W. Bush. We were complicit in the bogus coverage of 9/11. We were complicit in the illegal invasion, destruction and occupation of Iraq. We were complicit.


    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink
  11. DCS wrote:

    Here is the Amazon blurb describing Sandy Levinson’s 2008(!) book referenced above. Please note the second sentence:

    Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution’s provisions promote either unjust or ineffective government. Under the existing blueprint, we can neither rid ourselves of incompetent presidents nor assure continuity of government following catastrophic attacks. Less important, perhaps, but certainly problematic, is the appointment of Supreme Court judges for life. Adding insult to injury, the United States Constitution is the most difficult to amend or update of any constitution currently existing in the world today. Democratic debate leaves few stones unturned, but we tend to take our basic constitutional structures for granted. Levinson boldly challenges the American people to undertake a long overdue public discussion on how they might best reform this most hallowed document and construct a constitution adequate to our democratic values.

    “Admirably gutsy and unfashionable.”
    –Michael Kinsley, The New York Times

    “Bold, bracingly unromantic, and filled with illuminating insights. He accomplishes an unlikely feat, which is to make a really serious argument for a new constitutional convention, one that is founded squarely on democratic ideals.”
    –Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic

    “Everyone who cares about how our government works should read this thoughtful book.”
    –Washington Lawyer

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  12. daltoni wrote:

    Thank you, DCS. You’re such an amazing resource. I’ve ordered the Levinson book. It’s even from my favorite publisher — Oxford.

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
  13. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    I read the label on a container of Indica, and chew one slice, all problems resolved.

    Monday, September 18, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

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