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Message: I Care (Or Maybe I Don't)
Have you been wondering about what major news stories you should care about? I got you covered.
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality. If you were sent this email or are a free subscriber and would like to become a paid subscriber, you can sign up here.
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Care or Don’t Care
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell which news stories are important and which can be safely ignored … so here’s my recap about what’s been happening in the world of politics and culture over the past few days and my take on how much psychic energy you should devote to them.
Lauren Boebert vaping, acting the fool, and grabbing her boyfriend’s schlong during a theater production of Beetlejuice: Don’t Care
Look, I get that this makes Boebert look like a giant hypocrite since she spends so much of her time in Congress going after trans kids and attacking drag performers. But ultimately, aside from the top-notch Twitter humor, who really cares? Boebert is a clown, a MAGA-head, and a legislator of no account. As the singer Jason Isbell put it on Twitter, “Ripping clouds and playing grabass during Beetlejuice is the coolest thing that awful lady has ever done.” On a positive note, this incident perhaps slightly increases the possibility that Boebert won’t win another congressional term in 2024 (she won in 2022 by 546 votes).
Kristen Welker Interviewed Donald Trump on Meet The Press: Don’t Care
As I said on Twitter, “If you are spending your Sunday morning getting upset about an interview with Donald Trump, I beg of you — for the good of yourself and your family — go touch grass.”
Of course, Welker was still subjected to a torrent of invective for interviewing Trump, like this from CNN’s Oliver Darcy.
It's arguable that, at this juncture, there is really no need to interview Trump. After years and years of seeing how he dishonestly operates, what exactly is there to glean from a sit-down? The near-certain result is that the outlet will record a stream of lies rushing out of his mouth, mixed in with absurd grievances about how supposedly unfair the system treats him. Does any of that really serve the public?
This gets to something that drives me crazy about the incessant criticisms from self-appointed protectors of democracy assailing journalists for covering Trump: the unmistakable whiff of arrogance. Underpinning these arguments is an elitist notion that the only way to protect democracy in America is to keep Americans away from Trump and avoid exposing them to his lies. It’s fundamentally anti-democratic — and assumes that Americans are too stupid to understand that Trump is an incessant liar. Surely, there are some Americans who don’t get it. They are the former president’s base. But many Americans do, and reminding them of Trump’s mania serves an essential civic purpose.
William Saletan says it better than I can.
IF YOU CAME TO THIS INTERVIEW hoping that Welker or NBC News would refute every lie Trump told, you’ll be disappointed. But I don’t think exhaustive refutation is what we need. In polls, Trump is running even with Biden because many Americans are unhappy with the economy, and most see Biden as old and tired.
These people need to be reacquainted with the reality of Trump. They need to be reminded how recklessly he makes decisions, how poorly he controls his impulses, how ruthlessly he lies, and how impervious he is to correction. They need to be reminded how callously he disregards his oath of office and how little he cares about anyone but himself. They need to be reminded what a psychopath he is.
That’s what Welker accomplished. She has done her job.
Exactly. Exposing lying liars and giving them the rope to hang themselves is crucial to what journalists do.
The looming government shutdown: Care and Don’t Care
Anytime there is a government shutdown, it’s a bad thing. It’s bad for federal employees, it’s bad for people’s confidence in their government, and it’s bad for the economy (for example, a shutdown in 2013 reduced fourth-quarter GDP by 0.3 percentage points).
However, as for the specific machinations of how Republicans screw the pooch so badly that it leads to a government shutdown … meh. Keeping tabs on the House GOP caucus is like watching monkeys throw feces at each other at the zoo. On a base level, I suppose I get the appeal, but all else being equal, I’d rather check out the hippopotamus. My heart goes out to the hundreds of reporters whose job is to cover Congress. They deserve better.
Hunter Biden’s indictment: Don’t Care
I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but while the Hunter Biden saga is a sad cautionary tale, it will likely have zero political impact. So other than prurient interest, I won’t be paying this story much mind — and I don’t think you should either.
Jann Wenner’s New York Times Interview: Don’t Care, Not Surprised
I don’t think it’s a huge surprise to anyone who has followed the career trajectory of former Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner that he’s kind of a schmuck who used the magazine to do favors for his musician friends, like Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger. He has a new book out that details seven of his favorite interviews … all of which are white men. When the New York Times’s David Marchese asked why he didn’t feature any women or people of color, he said this.
The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.
Oh, stop it. You’re telling me Joni Mitchell is not articulate enough on an intellectual level?
Hold on a second.
I’ll let you rephrase that.
All right, thank you. It’s not that they’re not creative geniuses. It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock.
Of Black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as “masters,” the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.
The best part is that Marchese threw him a lifeline … and Wenner proceeded to hang himself with it.
And it gets worse.
When asked about the infamous Rolling Stone piece about a woman gang raped at a University of Virginia frat party that turned out to be completely made up, Wenner said this.
“Other than this one key fact that the rape described actually was a fabrication of this woman, the rest of the story was bulletproof.”
Russell Brand, Serial Sexual Predator: Care (to a point), Not Surprised
Over the weekend, the Times of London published a blockbuster story outing Russell Brand as a serial sexual predator. Since Brand has become something of a star on the conspiratorial far right, people like Tucker Carlson and enfant terrible Elon Musk defended him. Neither of these events is surprising. Indeed, the Onion, in its infinite genius, captured my sentiments exactly.
Area Performer who gives off a rapey vibe turns out to be a rapey guy is about what we should expect. That Carlson and Musk are defending him is exactly what we should expect to happen.
Chuck Schumer changed the Senate dress code to allow Senator John Fetterman to vote on the floor wearing shorts and a hoodie, sparking howls of outrage from Republican members of Congress: Do you really have to ask whether I care?
The party that has spent seven years defending Donald “grab ‘em by the pussy” Trump should perhaps pump the brakes on complaints about lowered societal standards. Just saying.
Vivek Ramaswamy said he regrets taking the COVID-19 vaccine: Care
First of all, Ramaswamy doesn’t regret this. He’s almost certainly lying (I wonder if he regrets the dozen or so vaccines his kids have received since they were born … hint: he doesn’t). But Ramaswamy has cynically decided that the best way for him to finish second place in the Iowa caucus is by catering to the GOP’s mouth-breathing anti-vax wing. It’s the same calculation that has led Meatball Ron DeSantis to urge Floridians under 65 years of age not to get the latest COVID-19 booster. Both men are putting the lives of their supporters at risk. It’s cynical, disgusting, and evil. It’s also emblematic of the cynicism and sickness that defines the modern Republican Party.
Donald Trump is the world’s dumbest criminal: Care
I mean …
One of former President Donald Trump's long-time assistants told federal investigators that Trump repeatedly wrote to-do lists for her on documents from the White House that were marked classified, according to sources familiar with her statements.
As described to ABC News, the aide, Molly Michael, told investigators that -- more than once -- she received requests or taskings from Trump that were written on the back of notecards, and she later recognized those notecards as sensitive White House materials -- with visible classification markings -- used to brief Trump while he was still in office about phone calls with foreign leaders or other international-related matters.
I suppose there is a way for Jack Smith to lose this case … but it ain’t going to be easy.