Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween -- Part II

Here is another of my small contributions to the literature of my favorite holiday.


From September, 2011:

While I Pondered, Weak and Weary 

Man you shoulda seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

Overall, my super-ooper-duper meta-opinion of the Reagan Debate was this: "Like I give a shit what these people think."

However, the pure moonshine being huffed the next day by those who have been cast out of Wingnut Paradise and now scamper alongside the cretinous Leviathan they helped create, kicking impotently at its ankles, is kind of hilarious.

A prime example (FrumForum):
Republican primary voters have in the past shown themselves very tolerant of candidates with less than perfect mastery of the facts. But those other candidates had something else going for them, even Sarah Palin. What did Perry have?

As the economic news gets worse, Republicans will realize: they are not merely choosing a nominee. They very well may be choosing the next president of the United States. What confidence can anybody have that Perry will come to work as president any better prepared than how he come to this debate or that he’ll show more insight and intelligence than he did in this first national outing ? Not much.
Witness the cask-strength wishful thinking of another weak, ivory tower Conservative on the outs with his Movement because the monster he helped build finally turned on him.

For 30 years we on the Left have watched facts bounce off of the Republican Base voters ever-thickening yahoo carapace like spitballs off of a Rhino Runner, so let me ask Mr. Frum: Where exactly are this hidden reserves of rationality supposed to come from? From what previously invisible treasure cave will physicians suddenly emerge carrying the healing medicines that will break the wingnuts' fever and cure them of the fatal Limbaugh-Hannity Syndrome with which they are so gleefully afflicted?

And once this miracle does occur and the lame are made to walk, the halt are make to speak and the Teabagger is made to see reason, wouldn't the second or third batch of rodents they would put up against the wall for screwing them so badly be goofs like you, Mr. Frum?

Sorry, but no.

No such anti-stupid vaccine is on its way to save us (and if there were, damn betcha the Teabaggers would opt out, because [as we learned last night] the True Blue Conservative solution to Famine and Pestilence [and, presumably War] to the is to leave them for pure laissez faire Capitalism to sort out because, y'know, Freedom!) Instead, these Golem that the GOP constructed to win elections are performing exactly as designed, and as a confirmed Liberal who long ago gave up on trying to convince people to see reason who are actually proud of how fact-resistant they are, there is a certain, gallows humor in hearing the squeal of clowns like Frum as they are eaten alive by their bastard children.

See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I'm crying

In fact...there I was...

Sitting on a cornflake

Waiting for the van to come

Corporation T-shirt

Stupid bloody Tuesday

Man, you've been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long

I am the Eggman
They are the Eggmen
I am the Walrus

Mister city policeman sitting

Pretty little policemen in a row

See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run

I'm crying
I'm cry-'-ng
I'm crying
I'm cry-'-

Yellow matter custard

Dripping from a dead dog's eye

Crabalocker fishwife
Pornographic priestess

I am the Eggman
They are the Eggmen
I am the Walrus
Goo goo g'joob

Sitting in an English garden
Waiting for the sun

If the sun don't come
You get a tan from

standing in the English rain

I am the Eggman
They are the Eggmen
I am the Walrus
Goo goo g'joob goo goo g'joob

Expert texpert,

choking smokers

Don't you think the joker
laughs at you?

See how they smile

like pigs in a sty
See how they schnied
I'm crying

Semolina Pilchard

Climbing up the Eiffel Tower

Elementary penguin

singing Hare Krishna

Man, you should've seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe...

Happy Halloween -- Part I

Here is one of my small contributions to the literature of my favorite holiday.

From October of 2005:

Quoth the Hammer


With all respect to Edgar Poe, who's work I love and admire without reserve...

Once upon a bender bleary, while I pondered, weak and beery,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

With my nod on, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
(Actually more like a serious bitch-slapping),

...smacking at my chamber door.
”WTF," I mumbled, "I’m on vacation! Ask Dick; he runs the nation.
Get off my ass and let Karl do it," I loud and soddenly swore.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak September,
And every fucktard, camp-following member had been given his sinecure.

Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
Chinese cash or some “Aw Shucks” Charisma from the the lost Gipp-er,.
For the Smilin’, Beguilin’ Monster who could sell our Republican Manure,
Dead and gone forevermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each voting booth curtain
Thrilled me---filled me electoral delirium tremens throughout all of 2004;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood bleating,
" 'Tis some Pioneer Contributor, or Halliburtoning Corporate whore
Or another dimwit frat rat trollop sporting a Santorum coiffure

...This it is, and nothing more."

The Stoli shooters grew stronger; and hesitating no longer,
"Dicky?" said I, "Condi? Or is that Turdblossom? I recognize the spoor...
But the fact is, I was drinkin’, getting good and stinkin’
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, snarling, sneering
Jerking off to Armageddon dreams no one ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken –- no Condi or other token --
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "2004?",
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word," 2004!"
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into my bottle turning, all the Jim Beam I’d guzzled burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, that is Rumsfled with a briefing.
That will disassemble that bitch Sheehan’s beefing.
Let my heart stop Cheneying a moment, and this mystery explore.
" 'Tis just old crazy Rummy, and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a hiss and splutter,
In there stepped a mangy Hammer, of the Mandate days of yore.
Not an ounce of sense made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with Death Skull grimance, perched above my chamber door.
Shat upon a bust of Nixon, just above my chamber door,
Shat, and sat, and nothing more.

This Sugarland turd was so badly freaking, into my pants I went leaking,
Shocked by the deranged and murderousness of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy Majorityhood be shorn and shave," I said, "you are still craven,
Ghastly, grim, and wretched Hammer, rampaging like a rabid boar.
What the fuck do I do now that my assassin's been shown the door?"
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled as this insanely ranting Dale Gribble spoke so plainly,
Though it’s answer little meaning, little veracity bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Would not projectile hurl upon seeing this two-legged offal above his chamber door,
A Christopathic beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
That can’t say shit but "Nevermore."

But the Hammer, a skulking minor demon, spoke only of his venom
Hissing that one word, as if his soul were stabbed with skewers.
Nothing further then he uttered; his heart was tightly shuttered;
Til I scarcely more than muttered, "How can I enjoy this Dewars?
Who shall ram my mandate now, through Congress' sewers?"
To which DeLay said, "Nevermore."

Like the thousand promises I’d broken, his word was oily spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store."
Bred from drooling Texas losers, friend of low-wattage crooks and boozers
Partied fast and kneecapped faster, till his lies one burden bore ---
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never---nevermore."

But the Hammer still berserking looked into my dank soul smirking,
So Karl broke it down for me in little words of two syllables, no more.
”Your polls are a’sinking, on ice your lies are stinking
Iraq and Katrina the public are finally a’linking, and now comes this loony Texas hoor -
This grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous Sugarland hoor
So guess what he means by "Nevermore"?”

And the media scrum grew denser, now fueled by a Grand Jury’s censure
Wrought by a righteous prosecutor who ain’t taking this shit no more.
"Wretch," I cried, "now it’s all for nothing. For nothing I cheated Albert Gore.
So get me three fingers of two-cents-plain that I may forget by apotheotic 2004!
Drink and drink and puke and drink and forget my apotheotic 2004!
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore!"

"You For-Profit, agenda-killing jag off" said I, "Faith-based pimp of Abramoff!
By that Dobson that bends us over -- by that God we both abhor--
Is there in the cushions where we shine our asses, even one dime of my political assets?
A whiff of my miracle Mandate year, which Pope Gregor named 2004 ---
My moment on the Mountain, COBOL programmers call Y2K-plus-four?
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore."

"Shut up you fucking loser!" I shrieked, upstarting --
"Go back to offing roaches you salad tossing, Albatrossing spore!
Leave no poo stripe as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my binginess unbroken! Leave me a political Debtor!
Take thy dick from out my mouth, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore."

But the Hammer, never quitting, still is sitting, still is shitting
Down the throat of my Dead Mandate, my ghost of 2004;
And his eyes still have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my Mandate from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Birthday Fundraiser Day Last

The Heartbreak of Maple-Pattern Baldness

Since today is my actual birthday, and it turns out I have to run all over hell and gone all day and since we're recording podcast tonight, posting will be light.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Birthday Fundraiser Day Five: Yeah Bitch! Magnets!

Birthday Fundraiser Day Five: The Day Matt Taibbi's Rare "First Look" Employee ID

Became the most collectible of all the early 21st Century Journalism trading cards.

Gem Mint condition.

Never swiped.

Only dropped once.

From the New York Times:
Matt Taibbi Is on Leave Only Months After Joining First Look Media


Matt Taibbi, who rose to fame at Rolling Stone magazine as a fierce critic of Wall Street before joining First Look Media to start his own publication, is on a leave of absence from the company after clashing with his bosses, according to people familiar with the matter.

The news of Mr. Taibbi’s leave was first reported by New York magazine, which said that it was prompted by “disagreements with higher-ups.”

Mr. Taibbi declined to answer questions on the matter, and messages for representatives of First Look Media, the company financed by the multibillionaire founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, went unreturned Tuesday. The people who confirmed the news were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
First, I hate to see a good writer lose a paying gig.  Hope you land on the balls of your feet, Matt, hauling ass towards fame and fortune.

Second, having produced nothing for months but breathless press releases about all its awesome tomorrows, it is obvious that something at First Look to stinks on ice.  I'm curious to see how the organization founded by the world's leading proponent of radical transparency and leaking organization secrets will handle this mess in his own house.

I'm guessing deflectors will be set to full, shiny objects will be waved, indignation will be marshaled, enough corporate double-speak and repetition will be deployed hard to make Mike Coffman wince --

-- and irony will pack up the RV and relocate to sunnier climes for the winter.

Meanwhile, whoever is in charge of First Look's front page needs to understand the hilarious power unintended juxtaposition has to make it look like your organization has no idea what it's doing:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Birthday Fundraiser Day Four: Against Vapidity The Blogs Themselves

Contend in vain.

You cannot budge the needle on anything until you find a means of influencing the influencers.

From The Twitter, here is a partial list:


Told ya: the Both Siderist zombie lie never dies.

And speaking of unholy things which refuse to stay in the ground no matter how hard you wallop 'em with the shovel...

...from The Wrap (h/t alert Tweeter @brendanl79)
David Gregory Joins Yahoo's Growing Editorial Bench Alongside Katie Couric

David Gregory is getting back in the news game, this time digitally.

The recently ousted “Meet the Press” moderator will join Yahoo's coverage of the midterm elections, the company announced Tuesday.

Gregory will join host Katie Couric and contributors Matt Bai, Mike Allen, and political commentator Grover Norquist for network's coverage on November 4th.

Since his departure, he's been at work on a book about his Jewish faith and been on the speaking circuit. He also moderated a panel discussion at an event held by non-partisan political group “No Labels.”
So...he's a blogger now?

Well great; there goes the fucking neighborhood.

Birthday Fundraiser Day Four: The Monster's Sweet Perfume Redux

Pope Of Capitalism 2

By request, this post from February, 2010.

What's it about?

It's about 844 words long.

Which clocks it in at around a paragraph or two longer than the pricey birdcage lining which the New York Times pays Mr, David Brooks to crank out twice a week.

Enjoy, and I'll shake my tin cup at you by the exit:
The Monster's Sweet Perfume

One of the reasons I can ably take apart Randite twaddle without breaking much of a sweat is that I've read just about everything Ayn Rand ever wrote. Biographies (both the authorized ones and the true ones.) The frightfully bad newsletter. The fearfully bad collections of essays. The Very Big, Frightfully Bad Science Fiction robot bible, the svelte, frightfully bad post-apocalyptic science fiction, and almost everything in-between.

And then I hit puberty :-)

It all happened centuries ago, and while Rand’s economic and philosophical offerings are pure, self-serving, laissez-faire gangsterism, if you don’t understand the powerful allure of it’s meritorcratic siren’s song, you will always miss the point.

Looking back over my professional life -- from delivering papers in the pre-dawn cold to today, writing this -- I see a landscape littered with lessons. I see the remnants of lost jobs and aborted careers; some small or predictable (say, working for a company that went out of business), but a disturbing number times the end came when dimwits with power let hucksters con then into playing with the lives and fortunes of the people who worked for them like Gomez Addams

playing with toy trains.

Most of my adult life I have been playing dime-store Cassandra at one organization or another, arguing for intelligent solutions based on realistic expectations and built on a boring, methodical, data-tested implementation strategy that pays close attention to the negative feedback loop.

Hideously unsexy stuff, but it works.

In virtually every fucking case, I found myself completely outgunned by people who were more connected, more ruthless, completely unfettered by conscience and more willing to promise a credulous, frightened, inept boss magical, transformative, quantum-leapy results, packed deep inside sleek, focus-group-tested adjectives.

Then came the next recession or funding cut or management fad, some functionary hands me my walking papers, and I find myself back on the road -- broke, screwed, angry, scared, forced to start all over again, and watching as the party boat sails on over the horizon without me.

Then in 3…2…1…


Organizational shrapnel flying into the sky. Distant screams. The smell of burning PowerPoints and flipcharts. A flood of emails from friends still aboard the doomed vessel hinting at new, unspeakably Caligulan outrages. Having bet the farm on the Latest Crackpot Idiocy and having driven out of the monkey house everyone who tried to warn them that the Latest Crackpot Idiocy wouldn't work, management can no longer back out of its Faustian bargain without a fatal loss of face.

So they go all-in and give the douchbags the keys to the kingdom; the weasels can have anything they want – they can eat the organization alive and dance in its skin – as long they promise to save the necks of the goofs who steered the ship into disaster in the first place.

And they do: the great, smothering arms of the Confederacy of Dunces reach out to enfold and protect another one of their own.

And it all begins again.

And you know what? Some morning I get up, looking in the mirror and my first coherent thought is that I am fucking tired of it.

Politically and professionally, I am heartily tired of being right, and losing, over and over and over again.

I’m tired of warning people not to give the keys to the shitwhistles, then watching them do it, then watching my nightmares come true, then watching them lie about it.

I am tired of drowning in a flood of other people’s self-absolving bullshit.

Tired of being a head smarter than primates who tell me to shut up and sit down while they fuck things up beyond repair.

Tired going broke while I watch people who have been wrong forever about everything prosper.

Tired of finding out – always too late – that there was another, secret rule book. Another, secret, organization chart. Another, secret list of the Clout Protected. Another, secret clique of insiders or brothers-in-law or made-media-men or A-lister’s who had already held their own Yalta Conference behind closed doors and have already divvied up the Brave New World I thought I was fighting for long before the battle was over.

Tired of finding out that while I was sweating my ass off, the game had been rigged against me by people who I thought were on my team.

Tired of finding out that the two ironclad rules of Illinois politics (Rule One: There is a club. Rule Two: You are not in it.) also apply to virtually every other institution.

Tired of finding out, yet again, that in the Valley of the Blind, the One-eyed Man gets fired.

And in that exhausted, angry moment when I can see so clearly how the world could be if it weren’t being driven to ruin by thieves and hacks and aldermen, I understand the appeal of Going Galt.

The attraction of once and for all turning my back, stepping aside and letting it burn.

In that moment I once again understand the adolescent allure of Ayn Rand.


And as a final bonus, from God's own gag reel, here is the Pope of All Capitalism sayin' "oops".

Monday, October 27, 2014

Birthday Fundraiser Day Four: How To Lose Friends And Alienate People


Alert reader casimir points out why certain precincts of the Democratic Party need a swift and brutal purge,  Because when Bivalve Democrats (no head, no spine, bottom feeder) like Representative Collin Peterson are pushed to stand up for their party and its principles, they will unhesitatingly fling people like me straight under the bus while sucking the Great Satan's Both Sider Cock right down to the root.  

From the Minneapolis Post:
In the debate, this ignited a discussion about the intensity of the candidates’ partisanship. Westrom blamed Democrats for a host of problems: Obamacare was “passed by Democratic leadership,” and the Keystone pipeline is “still not built, because of President Obama’s administration.” Peterson highlighted studies that show him among the most moderate House lawmakers, but Westrom said if that was the case, he wouldn't have backed Pelosi, whose “agenda does not match the District 7 agenda. When you have leaders like that so far to the side, to the left, it’s hard to get things done.”

But Peterson said it’s a matter of working with the members send to Congress with you, and that Democrats aren’t alone in sending partisans to Washington.

“You can find people on your side of the aisle in Washington who are just as out of the mainstream as people on my side,” he said. “You’ve got the Tea Party folks on one side, and the liberal Democrats on the other, and that’s part of why we have the gridlock in Washington.”
As long as our public discourse remains hostage to the lie that the daunting problems facing this country can only be solved by ritually denouncing people like me so as to better curry the favor of nonexistent "Independents" and the denizens of the posher exurbs of Sisterfuck, Arkansas, we are quite thoroughly fucked.

BTW, minutes ago, the undisputed king of this brand of corrosive bullshit -- the New York Time's inexplicably unfireable Mr. David Brooks -- pinched off another steaming loaf of untreated Both Siderism.  Which, lets face it, it pretty much the only column David Brooks writes anymore.

It seems that something called political "partyism" is a teddible, teddible blight upon the land.

The problem is that hyper-moralization destroys politics. Most of the time, politics is a battle between competing interests or an attempt to balance partial truths. But in this fervent state, it turns into a Manichaean struggle of light and darkness. To compromise is to betray your very identity. When schools, community groups and workplaces get defined by political membership, when speakers get disinvited from campus because they are beyond the pale, then every community gets dumber because they can’t reap the benefits of diverging viewpoints and competing thought. 
This mentality also ruins human interaction. There is a tremendous variety of human beings within each political party. To judge human beings on political labels is to deny and ignore what is most important about them. It is to profoundly devalue them. That is the core sin of prejudice, whether it is racism or partyism.
Predictably the Conservative Mr. Brooks goes for the entire length of this column denouncing "partyism" without actually identifying any specific political party or any specific overarching, ratfucking strategy that one of our two major political parties may have been up to for, say, the last 30 years  which may have caused things to get so teddibly, teddibly bad.  This is because Mr. Brooks is an arrant coward.

A very well-paid arrant coward.

Normally I would spend a lot of time and viscera carefully taking Mr. Brooks' words apart molecule by molecule, but I'm short on minutes and sleep and viscera right now, so I will just note the following:
  1. Mr. Brooks sure as shit never gave one tiny damn about "partyism" back when the Bush Administration was in high cotton and Butcher's Bill Kristol was paying Mr. Brooks' mortgage.  In fact, framing every fucking issue as a "Manichean struggle" between noble Republicans and "stupid", "crazy" Liberals and Democrats who are so "brainless [and] self-destructive" perhaps because they "suckled on the 'Marx-Engels Reader'" was Mr. Brooks' entire stock-in-trade.  See, there was gold in pistol-pistol whipping hippies back in the Good Old Days of George Bush and Operation Endless Clusterfuck.  Solid, six-figure salary and amazing perks gold.  And so -- surprise! -- not very long ago, David Brooks was one of the most ardent and relentless hippie pistol-whippers in all the land.  Then all the policies David Brooks advocated so avidly back then turned to shit, at which time the Elite Media Money quickly and awkwardly shifted being a Bush Boosterism machine to being a "Well, uh, y'know, really, um, everybody is pretty much equally to blame" And so -- surprise! -- David Brooks quickly and awkwardly became the most ardent and relentless Both Siderist in all the land!

  2. By this time tomorrow Mr, Brooks's column will have been read by more people than my blog will reach in three years.  Also on Twitter there will there will be upwards of 100 tweets and who-knows-how-manyretweets and "favorites" lauding the Mr. Brooks sensibility and sagacity on this "important" subject,
Quite thoroughly fucked.

Birthday Fundraiser Day Three: I Buried Paul...

...under an avalanche of praise today, despite being far, far away from my computer since early this morning.

And I did so because what he said sounded so familiar. So very, very familiar.
Ideology and Investment
OCT. 26, 2014
Paul Krugman

America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.

But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party...
There are only so many ways for an amateur like me to run through the digital streets yelling that our modern house divided against itself cannot stand. That we cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free.

After awhile it really starts to feel as of you are going mad, or you're asleep and dreaming the whole thing. Or maybe you have fallen into a Philip K. Dick novel where you shout into a void which is not merely indifferent, but actively hostile to any attempt to point out these blindingly obvious truths.

I mean, who the fuck are all these millions of zombies gibbering insane bullshit at you as they smash everything around them flat? How the fuck can they even function day-to-day at the level of pathological denial necessary to remain a modern Conservative? And who are these smirking, billionaire sociopaths who underwrite and direct this vast, brain-dead mob? And how the fuck do the Very Serious People in our media continue getting away with expending such enormous effort denying that both the zombie horde and their wingnut paymasters even exist?

And then, every so often, having beaten your fists to a pulp against the Slow Tide Of Arrogant Stupid which is killing this country, someone like Krugman will pop up and say, "Don't worry. You're not crazy. I see them too."

And for a moment, even though the Slow Tide Of Arrogant Stupid is still advancing, you know for sure you are not alone. 

For that I am very grateful.

Birthday Fundraiser Day Three: Don't Go No Further -- UPDATE

Over at The Brookings Institute, Robert G. Kaiser has a long essay on the death of the News Industry.

It has charts and graphs. Quotes. Cool vintage photographs. It has s zazzy word-cloud-looking headline. It has interesting anecdotes about how the News Industry refused to understand the business it was actually in until long after shovels-full of digital dirt were landing with very loud thuds on the lid of its coffin.

Of course it is pretty much the same, hand-wringing "Newspaper Publishes Newspaper's Obit" story we have all been reading for over a decade now, but longer, and with lots of earnest bells and whistles.

You want to know the moment at which I stopped reading?

It was
Fox News's determination to ridicule the Affordable Care Act—”Obamacare”—had nothing to do with traditional journalistic truth-seeking. Rather, it was part of a propaganda campaign. The MSNBC cable network, part of NBC, which used to be a serious news organization, saw a business opportunity in making itself a liberal alternative to Fox, the most profitable cable news network, and now unabashedly propagates a liberal view of the news. Fox and MSNBC have both decided to cater to their audiences not with original reporting of the news (which is expensive), but with commentary on the news interspersed with broadcasts of set-piece events...
I was unaware that MSNBC's longest single non-prison-based block of programming -- Squint and The Meat Puppet's Three-Hour Beltway Groveling and Wingnut Talking Point Jamboree -- was considered to be an exercise in the propagation of Liberalism, unabashed or otherwise.

Also too, based on my own unscientific assay of it programming, most of MSNBC's evening hours are usually  devoted to debunking the daily output of the Roger Ailes Lie Machine.  Like, say, for example, that very same ”Obamacare” ridicule propaganda campaign which the author himself mention above.

For all you young 'uns out there who might not know this, the nasty and often professionally-risky task of challenging nation-crippling Right Wing propaganda used to be the job of Genuinely Serious Newspersons like Edward R. Murrow.  

Then, right around the time the Corporate media started putting up monuments to Edward R. Murrow, Hero Newsman, they unceremoniously went out of the businesses of doing the work which make Edward R. Murrow worth memorializing.  And before you could say "If It's Sunday, It's Meet the Profit-Center..." Murrowism was as dead as disco and replaced by High Broderism.  Before you could say "Great news for John McCain!!pointing cameras at Conservative liars and lunatics and asking "What the Fuck?" stopped being celebrated as the noble duty of crusading servants of the First Amendment and became something shameful and rude; something to laughed off and shunned as the toe-picking province of those "vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left" and a handful of potty-mouth jesters on basic cable.

Of course, these days when you need a to level up your Serious Journalism Cred fast and cheap, you can never go wrong punching imaginary hippies.  And the whole, lazy, ridiculous "Both Sides" lie is now so woven into the media's DNA that it's probably impossible to remove it short of burning the whole thing down and starting over from "Who", "What", "When", "Where", "How", and "Why".

But I don't have to reward that lie with my silence.

And when I come across that lie in my reading, I no longer feel any compunction about shit-canning the entire piece and letting the author know what a huge disappointment it was to find one more Serious Person who feels compelled to prove their Beltway bona fides by dropping that turd in the punch-bowl one more time.  

This is the part where I ask you for dough:

UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader Frank for pointing out that Olbermann had plowed this field long ago.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down -- Birthday Fundraiser Edition

Today on "Meet the Press", war, plague, misery and the aristocracy of money.

Not actual war, plague, etc. , mind you, because that would make people's brains hurt.  Instead Murrica gets a rundown of how various horsemen of the apocalypse will run in various political spin claiming races to be run on November 4th this year in exotic locales like Kansas and Iowa and Isengard.

Also it turns out, in politics as in every other aspect of life in the Land of the Free, money is, y'know, a big, hairy deal. No. Really. Big, hairy deal. (Not Safe For Work)

And how better to explain this largeness and hairiness of this deal long after it is too late to do anything about it than in a manner best summed up as follows:

From the Meet the Press transcript:

Well, we're America, and it'd be fair to say we do most things bigger in this country. And that's certainly true when it comes to elections and campaign spending. My man Luke Russert is here to talk about this. You've been crunching some numbers.




This stat’s unbelievable.


It's wild, Chuck. Remarkably, you could pay for 80 British general election campaigns with what's being spent on this year's midterms alone. And there's real concern about the role money is playing in our politics with some even going as far to argue our democracy is being bought and sold.
Wild indeed, oh poster child for wholly unearned privilege.

But this is a fundraising day after all, and I'm sure that Charlie Pierce will do the rounds and count the toe-tags sometime tomorrow. So just for for today, let us go back and back to my very first Sunday Morning Comin' Down. Back when Young Luke Russert was still the Kegger King of Boston College, and long before Brother Charles Pierce discovered Andrew Sullivan, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, David Gregory or the many other slithery denizens of the Sunday Morning Mouse Circus.

The first SMCD post I ever did went up in April, 2005.  Since I did not know at the time if I was going to keep doing this, I had not yet picked out a title for the feature.  To show you how much has changed, the subject of the original Sunday show post was my take on the fascistic stylings of George Will.  You can still read it here, where it remains frozen in bloggy amber and encrusted with all of it's original, vintage 2005 spambot droppings.

But for today, I'll be reposting this from Christmas Eve, 2006.  (Yes, I write all the time in all kinds of weather.)

After which I will ask you for money.
Christmas (Eve) Morning Comin’ Down.

"How high is the bullshit, Momma?"

"Five feet high and risin'."

In which virtually every angstrom of the broadcast spectra is given over to GOP SpokesMommies. Because that’s what Baby Jesus would do!

And so we strap on our hollyhock codpiece and sugarplum cleats and run screaming into the gooey, smelly slack-water at the low ebb of a Mouse Circus Yule Tide.

So once more unto the Dearth, dear friends, once more…

On "Fox News Sunday" -- Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney; Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl; Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham.

Where Chris Wallace continues the proud Fox tradition of never “askin’” no Republican of the First Water nuthin’ that ain’t a softball or a teabag, allowing First Lady Macbeth to open her hellmouth and let the bats (vampire and brick) come winging out unchallenged.

Lynne Cheney: Our sense of mission has been there since the start. September 11th. Long Struggle. Children and grandchildren safe.

Wallace: Iraq? Rethink?

Cheney: Dick wakes up every morning committed to doing this important job. Well, first he has a fresh mug of virgin’s blood, reseats his heart plugs, and then leaps into the fray.

Wallace: And this damnable Democratic Congress?

Cheney: Well, we’ll “cooperate” so long as Dems dutifully bend over and grab their ankles. I personally have the sense there are bright lines. Torture Detainee policy. Police State v 2.1 Domestic Spying. Patriot Act. Freedom-hating Democrats consistently batter these programs and argue against them. Oh, if only they loved this country! The Preznit will not let any “group” strip those important Imperial Perks away.

“Groups” like…80% of the American people.

Wallace: The Midterm Thumpin’?

Cheney: I blame extraordinary ethical failures. Bipartisan of course, but in the 6th year of any Imperial Reign this was to be expected.

Wallace: And Scooter Libby?

Cheney: Fine man and a pal ‘o Dick. In fact, they’re going hunting together! I think it’s bizarre that po’ Scooter is the only one going under the bus for the Valerie Plame dealie.

Wallace (batting his eyelashes and making kissy noises): Oh, Mommy, tell us all why historical education is important?

Because we – and the media particularly – spend so much time flailing our country and finding faults, that we need to teach the Little Ones the really really real true story of our unalloyed wonderfulness.

Wallace (braiding her hair and sighing coquettishly over her wonderfulness): But Mommy, how do you make it fun?

Wallace (treading so lightly that his tiny hooves leave nary a crease on the rice paper): What about the Mary Cheney kerfuffle? The new Grandcheney?

Cheney: We like being grandparents. Mary’ll be a great mother. Period.

Wallace: But what about this horrible, horrible War on Christmas?

Cheney: There IS a war on Christmas! There is!

Cheney: But we should be considerate of all the non-saved, hellbound heathens out there, so, for example, we had a menorah at our Christmas Party. In fact, some of my Best Ornaments are Jewish!

Cheney: And a big shout out to the troops! Thanks for putting your ass on the line for my husband’s delusions of grandeur!

Then onto the God Squad...

Mrs. Lotz: Our spirituality in America ignores the One True God. What is wrong is the object of our faith. We make Gods up. That’s the problem.

Archbishop: We are where we have always been. Our struggle is to not let the spirit get overwhelmed by the commercial/material world.


Preach to ‘em.

Stem Cell research?

Every blastocyst is sacred.
Every blastocyst is great.
If a blastocyst is wasted, God gets quite irate.

And so we get 15 minutes of the Good Hair Good News Conservative evangelizing in the guise of news.

Not exactly a shock on Jebus’s Fake Birthday on God’s Favorite network.

On "Meet the Press" -- Rev. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life"; Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham.

Whither Jebus?

Americans like Faithy Leaders.

Both sides wrong. Both sides bad. Both sides rude. Both side uncivil.

If only both side would take a breathe and treat the other with respect.

With all due respect, fuck that.

We tried that for 30 years.

The Right adopted Hate Radio and Christopathology as a curative to its paranoid White Southern fantasies of persecuted minorityhood. The GOP took every crossburning freak and Bible-banging bigot into the fold to win elections.


Preaching that the problem with our nation is that I need to continue to be civil to a people and party that have carefully cultivated blind, boundless, self-satesfied hatred of everyone I care about and everything I believe in ain't gonna fly anymore.

We tried it. For 30 years. It. Doesn't. Work.

When the Right disarms and lays down their weaponized Scriptures, Liberals will disarm and go back to being the open, tolerant people we are by nature.

Until then, fuck these people. Sideways.

Rick Warren: The 20th Century saw the death of millions and millions of people at the hands of atheists – far more than Christians ever killed. Godless Communism. Nazism…

Which is where Godwin's Law pops up like a Bouncing Betty and one must loudly call “bullshit”.

Saving for another day the argument that the Infallible and Omnipotent Dear Leader cults of Stalinism and Maoism were anything but “godless”, it is simply ridiculous to assert that Hitler would have been possible without Germany’s long, rich history of unadulterated, Christian hatred.

To make the preposterous inference that Nazism was not (and is not) Christian right down to the shiny tips of its jackboots because it’s oppressive or anti-Democratic and authoritarian ignores oh, say, the last 1,700 years of the Catholic Church.

Pretending Teutonic fascism doesn’t have everything to do with a deep, Protestant taproot that goes all the way to Martin Luther’s second-and-now-scrupulously-underreported best seller, “On the Jews and Their Lies” is both ludicrous and dangerous, and in doing so, Rick Warren – whatever his other virtues – demonstrates the terrible rot that threatens the marrow of all faiths: That willingness to wish away unhappy reality when it does not conform to our pretty, shiny theology.

And thus do men of faith ignore the wide-gauge tracks as they are laid right up the gut of the transept, out the narthex and into the death house.

Now was Nazism a terrible perversion of Christianity?


So is Fundamentalism.

So is Roman Catholicism.

So is the Westboro Baptist Church.

So is Bob Jones University.

So was the predicate for Slavery.

So is the 700 Club.

So is Focus on the Family

So was the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

So what was your point again?

On "This Week" -- Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C; U.N. Secretary-General-designate Ban Ki-moon; former President Bush and his wife, Barbara.

Whither Syria?

Of visiting Syria, the White House sez, “Bad, Senators! Bad!”

Dodd: Screw that. Ignoring a major regional player is stupid. You don’t have to love them, like them or want to dine with them, but your do have to talk to them.

Graham: No. Talking to dictators is bad. “The world” should hold Syria accountable.

“The World” should do a lot of stuff. Like rain chocolate on my birthday, and voluntarily cool down, spontaneously sweep the air and water clean, and cough up some more oil - preferable in stable places like Nebraska or Disneyland -- so that we can drive Space Shuttle-sized SUVs everywhere on $0.32/gallon gas forever.

But that’s not going to happen either.

"Face the Nation" Guests: -- First Lady Laura Bush.

Why bother?

“The Chris Matthews Show” -- Dan Rather, Clarence Page, Katty Kay, Norah O’Donnell

A Laundry List of best, worst, most, least, wankiest, wackiest, wickedest, and so forth.

All head and no beer.

Except for this little sip of Noron’s weeping, self-serving, faux-center bilge: “In America, you can’t be moderate or objective anymore! Now you have to be either Democratic or Republican!”

Nurse! 5,000 cc’s of fainting couch! Stat!

Oh, the horror. That to take a position on anything or in opposition to anything –- global warming, evolution, slavery, the Holocaust, the shape of the Earth -- means that you are, by Big Giant Head Media definition, immoderate and irrational.

Then Noron immediately violates her own idiot, “objective” catechism and says flatly that Iraq is getting worse!

But…but…Noron, there are people living in bunkers and basement and blogs all over this fair land that assert that Iraq is getting better.

That we’re winning!

That it’s all the fault of the traitor media for not reporting the Good News that positively flows through the streets of Baghdad like Peeps sailing on a river of mulled wine.

In other words, Noron Takes a Position, thereby giving up her Big Media journalistic maidenhead and making her, by definition, immoderate and irrational and no longer worthy of our attention.

So take a biiiig pull off that bottle of Ol’ Doc Friedman’s Ersatz Centrist Patent Medicine you’re so hot to hawk to everyone else, Noron.

Mmmm. Brackish!

This is the part where I ask you for dough:

PS (and repeat). I'm trying to put together a series of "Best Of" posts for this fundraiser, and would like your suggestions as to what I should haul out of storage and repost this week. I am away from the computer for longer and longer stretches these days so please be patient when posting comments -- I will approve/publish them as fast as I can.

PSS (and repeat).  If you are one of the small group who donates to this blog on a monthly basis, this fundraising appeal is not directed at you. You bastids are already more than generous and I appreciate it more than I can say.


Your pal,


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Driftglass Birthday Fundraiser: Day One

Meet Andrew Rosenthal.

He is the editorial page editor of The New York Times and the son of former New York Times executive editor, A.M. Rosenthal.

He is also David Brooks' boss at the New York Times.

As the video above explains, Mr. Rosenthal has seven basic rules for writing a good editorial.   They are as follows:
  1. Know your bottom line.  Know what you want to say.

  2. Be concise.  Get to the point fast.

  3. Give an opinion or a solution.

  4. Do your research.   There is nothing that screws up an editorial faster that getting a fact wrong that you could have easily

  5. Write clearly.  Good writing is important.

  6. Every writer needs an editor.  After you've written your editorial, give it to someone you trust to read and listen to what they say.

  7. Be prepared for a reaction.  If someone writes you a letter, write them back.  Be prepared to defend your position.  Don't get defensive.
What is hilarious is that David Brooks -- an editorial writer an reports directly to Mr. Rosenthal -- routinely breaks several of his employer's own fundamental rules for writing editorials pretty much every time he puts pen to paper, as I have documented to the point of exhaustion on this blog over the last 10 years.
  1. Know your bottom line.  Mr. Brooks' bottom line is that Conservatives are never to blame for anything,  Ever.  Period.

  2. Be concise.    Mr. Brooks' usually spends half of his 800 words meandering ponderously through the hills and dells of some study or book before getting on with reiterating that Conservatives are very definitely not to blame for whatever it is that is on fire today. His perambulations almost never have a thing to do with his thesis.  

  3. Give an opinion or a solution.  Since Mr. Brooks' bottom line is that Conservatives are never to blame for anything, and since this is so flagrantly and veritably untrue, week after week Mr. Brooks must make up Tall Tales to cover up his Very Big Lie.  His go-to fairy tale is always Both Sides Do It: whatever Conservatives have blowed up real good this time. according to Mr. Brooks, Dirty Hippies or Both Sides or "everyone" is blame.  Mr. Brooks' "solutions" to whatever Conservatives have blowed up real good this time is always "something-something culture" or Simpson-Bowles.

  4. Do your research.   Since Mr. Brooks writes Whig Alternate History Fan Fiction, Mr. Brooks does not concern himself too much with research,

  5. Write clearly.  Since Mr. Brooks is in the obfuscation business, clear writing is not his friend.

  6. Every writer needs an editor.  You must be kidding me.

  7. Be prepared for a reaction.  If someone writes you a letter, write them back.  Be prepared to defend your position.  Don't get defensive.   In several interviews Mr. Brooks has repeated that he does not read emails and ignores all of the comments his columns generate.  He does not defend his positions because he is very carefully avoids any venue where anyone would ever challenges his positions.
It does not matter how many hundreds of whoppers and fairy tales Mr. Brooks tells or how many times he takes a meat cleaver to history to amputate all the inconvenient parts which do not fit his Procrustean ideological bed. 

It also does not matter how many times other sentient being point this out -- whether they be pedantic fringe bloggers like yours truly, or the NYT commentariat which routinely destroy pretty much every David Brooks column by the hundred.

And it turns out it also does not matter that he routinely blows off his own employers basic rules for doing the job which they hired him to do.  

Which brings us to another of Mr. Rosenthal's employees -- Dr. Paul Krugman.

This is normally the place in the blog where I would once again comprehensively and uselessly vivisect Mr. Brooks' latest column.  There would be swearing.  There would be links to relevant columns I have written over the last 10 years.  There would be adjectives.  And, for the most part, on my way to honing my 1,000th sharp point about the sheer ludicrousness of Mr. Brooks' 1000th assertion of Both Siderism, I would abide by the spirit (if not the letter) of Mr. Rosenthal's rules for writing.

But today I don't have to do that because -- surprise! -- Dr. Krugman has done it for me:
The Invisible Moderate
OCTOBER 24, 2014 11:19 AM

I actually agree with a lot of what David Brooks says today. But — you know there has to be a “but” — so does a guy named Barack Obama. Which brings me to one of the enduringly weird aspects of our current pundit discourse: constant calls for a moderate, sensible path that supposedly lies between the extremes of the two parties, but is in fact exactly what Obama has been proposing.

So, David says that
The federal government should borrow money at current interest rates to build infrastructure, including better bus networks so workers can get to distant jobs. The fact that the federal government has not passed major infrastructure legislation is mind-boggling, considering how much support there is from both parties.
Well, the Obama administration would love to spend more on infrastructure; the problem is that a major spending bill has no chance of passing the House. And that’s not a problem of “both parties” — it’s the GOP blocking it. Exactly how many Republicans would be willing to engage in deficit spending to expand bus networks? (Remember, these are the people who consider making rental bicycles available an example of “totalitarian” rule.)...
Dr. Krugman goes on a a bit longer (sans swearing) and concludes, generously:
It’s an amazing thing: Obama is essentially what we used to call a liberal Republican, who faces implacable opposition from a very hard right. But Obama’s moderation is hidden in plain sight, apparently invisible to the commentariat.
I say "generously" because President Obama's moderation is a matter plain fact and not "invisible" to anyone -- certainly not anyone who heeds Mr. Rosenthal's advice to "Write clearly" and "Do your research".

No, the facts here are not being  "hidden" from Mr. Brooks.  Mr. Brooks is simply a liar and an arrant coward who uses the featherbed Mr. Rosenthal has given him to both perpetuate the same fraud week after week and hide from reader's reaction to his fraud.

Of course, Dr, Krugman cannot come right out and call Mr. Brooks a liar.

But I can.

And I can also ask you to hit my tip jar on this first day of my Birthday Fundraiser.

So I am.

PS. I'm trying to put together a series of "Best Of" posts for this fundraiser, and would like your suggestions as to what I should haul out of storage and repost this week. I am away from the computer for longer and longer stretches these days so please be patient when posting comments -- I will approve/publish them as fast as I can.

PSS. If you are one of the small group who donates to this blog on a monthly basis, this fundraising appeal is not directed at you. You bastids are already more than generous and I appreciate it more than I can say.


Your pal,


Friday, October 24, 2014

Scariest Headline This Week

From the NYT:
John Heilemann and Mark Halperin Promise Washington the Program It Deserves
Washington does not need another anything with Mark Halperin's stink on it.

What does it need?

I think we all know the answer to that:

Professional Left Podcast #255 -- Correction Issued

“...It is for us, my countrymen, to show by our bearing under reverses how wretched has been the self-deception of those who have believed us less able to endure misfortune with fortitude than to encounter danger with courage. We have now entered upon a new phase of a struggle the memory of which is to endure for all ages and to shed an increasing luster upon our country.

...If by stress of numbers we should ever be compelled to a temporary withdrawal from her limits, or those of any other border State, again and again will we return, until the baffled and exhausted enemy shall abandon in despair his endless and impossible task of making slaves of a people resolved to be free.”
-- Jefferson Davis, April 4, 1865,
as his Confederacy was being
pounded out of existence.


Da' money goes here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

David Brooks' Big Red Car

Question of the Day:
What Would Edmund Burke Say?
OCTOBER 21, 2014 9:26 PM
October 21, 2014 9:26 pm...

Oh!  Oh!  Call on me!  Because I'd be willing to bet that Edmund Burke would approve of David Brooks being  fed through a wood chipper.

Toes first.

But hey, that's just me speculating.

What I am certain of is that, other than serving as intellectual camouflage behind which Conservatives could further their long-range project of destroying America's capacity for self governance, Edmund Burke has never had a single fucking thing to do with the actual modern Conservative Movement in whose vanguard David Brooks has loyally and profitably served for the last 30 years.

And for you aficionados out there, it is always mildly entertaining to watch Mr. Brooks react like a bump-n-go toy every gad damn time he brushes up against even the slightest attempt trick him into leaving his Both Sider fetish dungeon and get him to fault the people running his Republican Party -- exclusively and by name -- for any of the horrid things the people running his Republican Party do every single day.
Gail: I suspect you may be right about the outcome. The Democrats are in trouble in states where a large number of people either live in empty places or tell themselves they do. There’s a lot of delusion in this game – we’ve all seen the guy who lives on Social Security and depends on Medicare for his visits to the doctor, yelling that he wants government off his back.

David: I’m not sure either party has an agenda.

Gail: You don’t think announcing that terrorists are infecting themselves with Ebola and crossing the Mexican border is an agenda?

David: As you know I’ve been depressed by the vacuousness of the campaign.
So first comes the denial/deflection/avoidance.

Which is then always and automatically followed by a big, steaming helping of completely unsubstantiated Bother Siderism:
David: ...I sort of agree that Republican proposals on what to do about all this [chronic high poverty and crippling income and opportunity inequality] are less than, er, fully developed, and have not been fully explained. But isn’t it an indictment of the Obama administration that it has made so little progress even on, say, reducing the poverty rate?

Toes first.

Because I'm reasonably certain the person who said "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." would have wanted it that way.