Friday, January 20, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #371


"Don't blame me, I'm an independent!"  -- Pontius Pilate, April 3, 33 AD


Links:
  • Twitter account of Daniel Dale, Toronto Star reporter who asked Trumpshirts "Why?"
  • Charlie Pierce writes real good.

David Brooks: The Excremental Things Apply As Time Goes By



Having observed Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times over some distance of ground, I can tell you a few things that are utterly consistent about his writing, and therefor are integral to the maintenance of the lies Beltway tells itself all day, every day.

First, when he predicts or speculates on any subject, he is always wrong about pretty much every element of it.  If David Brooks ever writes that chewing gum will be plentiful for the foreseeable future, immediately begin stockpiling Beemans (for your real friends) and Bazooka Joe (for your sham friends.)


Second, from his creepy, relentless priapism for a Grand Bargain to his scheme for a McCain/Lieberman Third Party that will fix everything, all of Mr. Brooks' Grand Plans to undo the catastrophic damage his party has inflicted on this country are uniformly ridiculous.  They remind me of my Dad's Grand Plans to Drive Us All To Disney World or Take A Houseboat Down The Platt River: concocted and explained in hazy but grandiose terms after he'd killed off the better part of a fifth of Wolfschmidt's, and then forgotten the next morning as he staggered back into the land of cause and effect.

And third, as a deacon of the High and Holy Cult of Both Siderism,  Mr. Brooks is contractually and theologically obligated to jam some Both Siderist bullshit sideways into virtually every column he writes.  Compulsively repeating The Big Lie of Both Siderism is such an absolutely consistent and blatantly ludicrous motif with pundits like David Brooks and Matthew Dowd and Ron Fournier and Mike Gerson and on and on and on -- and these Beltway evangelist of this Big Lie are so lavishly rewarded for their service and so thoroughly protected from any consequences of their lying -- that there is clearly a Higher Corporate Power at work.

Which brings us to the little loaf of poo that Mr. Brooks left on The New York Time's editorial page today.

First, a tepid glop-glop-glop of pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-sociological flibbertigibbet in which "gemeinschaft and gesellschaft" are ostentatiously mentioned repeatedly --
Many Americans think their families and their neighborhoods are being denuded by the impersonal forces of globalization, finance and technology. All the Republican establishment could offer was abstract paeans to the free market. All the Democrats could offer was Hillary Clinton, the ultimate cautious, remote, calculating, gesellschaft thinker.
-- but the calculated and devastating long-term effects of the Southern Strategy of Mr. Brooks' Republican Party, the effects of naked, leering racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and the effects of 20 relentless years of Fox New and Hate Radio are not mentioned at all.

Also, are you kinda getting the feeling that Mr. Brooks' intern wrote this slop using a "How To Write A David Brooks Column" checklist taped above their keyboard?  And that his intern just finished their Philosophy 101 midterms and wants to show mommy and daddy that their money wasn't wasted?  

Onward.

Then the Big Prediction:
Some on the left worry that we are seeing the rise of fascism, a new authoritarian age. That gets things exactly backward. The real fear in the Trump era should be that everything will become disorganized, chaotic, degenerate, clownish and incompetent.
Funny thing is, Mr. Brooks' Republican Party has been "degenerate, clownish and incompetent" for his entire adult life.  Kinda weird that he never noticed.  And since he foresees no rise in authoritarianism, I'd definitely start investing in companies that mass produce armbands, bad art and jackboot polish.

And you cannot fail to notice that Mr. Brooks singled out the Left as being worried that we are "seeing the rise of fascism".  This is because the Right isn't worried about such things.  Delighted?  Yes.  Ecstatic?  Yes.  But "worried"? Not one little bit.  

Then comes the Grand Plan:
For America to thrive, people across government will have to cooperate and build arrangements to quarantine and work around the president.

People in the defense, diplomatic and intelligence communities will have to build systems to prevent him from intentionally or unintentionally bumbling into a global crisis. People in his administration and in Congress will have to create systems so his ill-informed verbal spasms don’t derail coherent legislation.
Yes, Mr. David Brooks really is proposing that we solve the problem of The Bastard President by forming a Super Secret Shadow Government -- a clandestine League of Extraordinary Legislators -- which will operate behind the Bastard President's back. So for God's sake don't nobody spill the beans by printing it in America's Newspaper of Record or anything like that!

And after eight years of Benghaaaazi and shutdowns and witchhunts and meaningless Obamacare votes, what the fuck does David Brooks even mean by "coherent legislation"?  (Spoiler: It means massive tax cuts for David Brooks.)

Men like Mr. David Brooks built this gun, loaded it and left it within grabbing distance of The Bastard President.  Now his Grand Plan is that I should link arms with the degenerates and monsters of his party who want to gut my mother's Medicare and Social Security and take my kid's health insurance away and suck up the bullets so that David Brooks can haz his cheezburger.
With Trump it’s not the ideology, it’s the disorder. Containing that could be the patriotic cause that brings us together.
Not in this lifetime, Mr. Brooks.

And, finally comes the obligatory,  loathsome Both Siderist Moment:
If Trump’s opponents behave as clownishly as he does — like the congressmen who are narcissistically boycotting the inaugural — the whole government will get further delegitimized. But if people redouble their commitment to constitutional norms and practices, to substance and dignity, this thing is survivable.
Yes, you read that right: pampered Beltway toadie David Brooks of the New York Times really did just call civil rights icon John Lewis a narcissistic clown.  Because if he didn't, then people might start to get the idea that our brand-new, wall-to-wall wingnut Federal government is a just a shitpile of demagogues, mercenaries, looters, grifters, bigots and inbred idiots who -- with the help of Vladimir Putin and James Comey -- have just installed their Goblin King. 

And we sure wouldn't want people to get that impression would we?  Because then maybe Mr. Davod Brooks can haz no tax-cut cheezburger.

For the record, exactly eight years ago on this very day as we swore in a new president who was facing a country mired in two wars that Mr. Brooks eagerly cheered on...groaning under the load of deficits which Mr. Brooks promised would never occur...and free-falling into an economic abyss which Mr, Brooks said would never happen...the  leaders of Mr. Brooks' Republican Party were busy plotting in secret to destroy the incoming Obama Administration my any means necessary.  

It is known as the Caucus Rooms Conspiracy -- 


-- and in the last eight years Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times has never written a single fucking word about it.  

Because I guess that would have been would be too clownish and narcissistic for Yale's one and only "professor of Humility".

UPDATE:

It is helpful to remember (since "Keepers of the National Memory" is our job as Liberals) that from the time he was five  --
My parents were professors in the ’60s, and when I was five years old they took me to a “be-in,” where hippies would go just to “be.”  It was in Central Park in New York City. As part of the be-in, they set a garbage can on fire and threw their wallets into it to demonstrate their liberation from money and material things. I was five years old and I saw a $5 bill on fire in the garbage can; I reached into it and grabbed the money and ran away. That was sort of my first step over to the Right.
until he was a full-grown, highly-paid stooge for the Bush Administration:
...
My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.

In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam's remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, "We were wrong. Bush was right." They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war's opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
-- David Brooks has always demonstrated a reflexive, bone-deep contempt for people who protest the existing power structure.

Except...

Except...

Except when those people were Teabaggers raving about the Kenyan Usurper.

He loved those guys ((h/t Crooks & Liars):


There are liberals who call conservatives racist as a matter of tactics, too. That happens, as well. Listen, I was out jogging, you wouldn't know it to look at me. I was out jogging (LAUGH) you wouldn’t know it to look at me, I was out jogging on the mall. I was at a Tea Party rally, Tea Party rally. Also there was a group called the Back-- Black Family Reunion, celebration of African American culture. I watched these two groups intermingle. Sitting at the same table, eating-- watching concerts together. Among most of those people, there was a fantastic atmosphere of just getting along on-- on a warm Sunday afternoon.

And so, there are people, but I-- I was struck by a story of progress. A story of progress, that we're making some progress to this. And this whole week, that speech was about progress. We now have a gotcha culture that punishes people that say terrible things. So, I think overall, it's slow, steady--


Tom Waits Friday: Hold On


Good advice for a bad day:
Oh, you build it up, you wreck it down
Then you burn your mansion to the ground
Oh, there's nothing left to keep you here
But when you're falling behind in this big blue world
Oh, you've got to hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here, you gotta hold on

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thanks, Cap

Today in Both Sides Do It: Karma is a Wingnut Named Angie



As you all know, most of the expatriate members of the Republican the management and propaganda castes who scattered like rats once the Bush Administration went tits-up immediately set up shop right across the street where the started running a new and very profitable scam known around these parts as the High and Holy Cult (or Church) of Both Siderism. For all those poor Republican base voter refugees who were in danger of rotting in the desert of Taking Shit From Libtards Over Bush, the deacons of the High and Holy Cult of Both Siderism provided a valuable service.  

Both Siderism was their exit visa.

The deacons of this cult taught an entire generation of Conservative meatheads that "But Both Sides!" (plus an ouchless name-change from "Republican" to "Independent" or "True Conservative" or "Constitutional Conservative" or "Tea Party Patriot" or whatever) are Expelliarmus-grade Magic Conjure Words.  Whenever they find themselves at risk of having to admit to lying or hypocrisy or, worst of all, that maybe they and their favorite Fake News outlet were wrong about something and the Dirty Liberals were right, without batting an eye they know to bust out their laminated, "Get Out Of Taking Responsibility Free" and, with a wide, smirking leer, intone "But boooooooooth sides!"

"Both Side Do It" is their Letter of Transit:


So how grimly hilarious it is to see a genuine, bottle-fed Both Siderist wingnut rear up and sink her fangs into one of the hands that raised her, just as she's been taught to do:
You know, I don't mind a parasite.

I object to a cut-rate one being hired as ABC News' Chief Political Analyst.

Karma is also a wingnut named Darrell:



And Sandra:
And Susan:

Operation Memory Hole: The Douthatening


Between bong hits in the Andrew Sullivan Memorial True Conservative Dorm Room and Fanciful Speculatarium, the very-nearly always wrong Ross Douthat reposed on medium-sized pile of money, peered into the cracked and wine-dappled crystal ball he borrowed from Peggy Noonan and speculated about History and The Future.
But with that proviso, here are a few guesses as to how [President Obama's] legacy will ultimately be judged...  
What followed was mostly-harmless flapdoodle.  Another lazy, cosseted Conservative columnist padding out another column with sawdust and moonbeams and navel-gazing until it's nothing but sawdust and moonbeams and navel-gazing.

And then, suddenly, the bong breaks and the crystal ball falls, and down comes Ross Douthat, navel and all.

Because for all the sawdust and moonbeams and navel-gazing, at this moment in history the single most important task for trifling Conservative hacks with outsized megaphones like Mr. Douthat is to hang the blame for the Rise of The Bastard President somewhere far, far away from themselves. Somewhere far, far away from the sprawling, multi-media Conservative lie factory in which Mr. Douthat serves as a medium-sized cog.  The sprawling, multi-media Conservative lie factory which created a political breeding ground for The Bastard President by building a Republican base that was malignantly ignorant enough --
-- to fling themselves into the arms of a gibbering beast who sold them a supersized version of the same grotesque fairy tale that the sprawling, multi-media Conservative lie factory has been telling them for years -- that their paranoia is actually patriotism and their ignorance and bigotry is a mark of special grace.

And thus Mr. Douthat rolls out of his New York Times hammock and straight into the important business of blaming President Obama and his liberals cult (hey, I finally made it into the NYT!) for the Rise of the Bastard President
Not that this will prevent him from being a liberal icon, years or generations hence. If John F. Kennedy’s blundering imperilment of world peace was buried under hagiography, there will be a similar forgetting spread over Obama’s foreign policy setbacks. As the first black president, the politician who passed health care reform and the man who personally embodied upper-class liberalism’s cosmopolitan self-image, he will almost certainly regain, in what is sure to be an active post-presidency, some of the cult that surrounded him during his ascent.
...

But it is precisely this once-and-future cult that’s crucial to understanding Obama’s greatest failure, and the part he played in delivering us to Trumpism...
And now, boys and girls, we are well and truly off to the races.  Because it wasn't the sprawling, multi-media Conservative lie factory which Mr. Douthat serves so obediently that dumbed-down and angered up the wingnuts to the point of voting the country off a cliff.  No, it was President "transformational-bordering-on-messianic" style and embrace of "the imperial presidency" which created the "perfervid fears" within the widdle hearts of Real Murricans.
The fears helped give us both the zeal of the Tea Party and the alienation of the Trumpistas.
Mr. Douthat, put down the bong for two minutes and heed to your betters. As certain dirty hippies have been saying since 2009,  There. Is. No. Tea. Party.

There never was a Tea Party.

There was only ever a rebranding scam for gutless Republicans base voters who were desperate to get on with the important business of hating the first black president because deficits! and czars!  and tyranny!  and stuff! before he had even unpacked...
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... without having to answer any tricky questions about why they had spent the previous eight years cheering on President Dumbass as he did exactly those things that they had suddenly decided were insuperably evil.

So much easier to put on a stupid hat, wave a little Koch Brothers funded flag, step into the Bush-Off Machine and pop out the other side pretending that you'd never even heard of George W. Bush...especially since America's major media outlets were so damned eager to aid and abet that Big Lie.

But the ruse is long dead.  Zombie-dead to be sure since every dime-store wingnut poo-flinger resurrects it whenever they need a weasel-worded synonym for "the same old, dumbfuck Republican base", but higher up the food chain Douthat's fellow useless New York Times Conservative tool, David Fucking Brooks, finally admitted that there is no Tea Party.  Hell, even Joe Fucking Scarborough finally admitted that there is no Tea Party.

I guess the older kids are not sharing their communiques from True Conservative Central Command with support staff like Mr. Douthat.  Sad!

Of course being a loyal pray-pay-and-obey member of the Beltway's High and Holy Cult of Both Siderism, Mr. Douthat is contractually obligated to briefly double-back and try to soften his vile "blame Obama" claptrap with a dose of equally idiotic "blame everybody"claptrap:
I would blame a lot of people — Republican leaders and conservative media personalities and the liberal cultural establishment and Hillary Clinton’s campaign team and Angela Merkel and more — for Trump’s rise more than I would blame Obama.
And yet...
But I still suspect that the Trumpening might have been prevented had Obama promised less grandly, eschewed imperial temptations when stymied in his ambitions, and dressed his technocratic liberalism in less arc-of-history nonsense.
See, if only President Obama had been more flexible, probably none of this woulda happened!

If only President Obama woulda been more like, say, Bill Clinton --
"...a man of more modest promises and somewhat more Bill Clintonian flexibility..."
-- probably everyone woulda gotten along fine!

Surely under that scenario,  Mr. Douthat's Republican Party would never have devolved into a horde of hateful, deluded scumbags addicted to political demagogues and Conservative media liars (from the NYT in December of 1994):
Republicans Get a Pep Talk From Rush Limbaugh
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE,
Published: December 12, 1994

BALTIMORE, Dec. 10— To all the advice for the new Republicans coming to Congress, add this from Rush Limbaugh: A hostile press corps lurks inside the Beltway.

"You will never ever be their friends," the talk-show host warned most of the 73 Republican freshmen at a dinner here tonight. "They don't want to be your friends. Some female reporter will come up to one of you and start batting her eyes and ask you to go to lunch. And you'll think, 'Wow! I'm only a freshman. Cokie Roberts wants to take me to lunch. I've really made it!' " The audience laughed.

"Seriously," he added. "Don't fall for this. This is not the time to get moderate. This is not the time to start trying to be liked."

The freshman class, which included not a single "femi-Nazi," one of Mr. Limbaugh's favorite epithets for supporters of women's rights, whooped and applauded, proving itself one big fan club of the man it believes was primarily responsible for the Republican avalanche in November...

Surely under that scenario,  Mr. Douthat's Republican Party would never have turned into a mob of seditious goons who would shut the entire government down in a fit of pique:



Surely under that scenario,  Mr. Douthat's Republican Party would never have morphed into gang of rage-drunk thugs who would use any means at their disposal to cripple the Democratic president's ability to simply govern as he was elected to do:


Yes, of only President Obama had been more like Bill Clinton, then surely his successor would not have been a wildly unqualified dolt who lost the popular vote but "won" anyway thanks to our electoral process being tampered with by people I would not trust to cat-sit for five minutes (from New York Magazine, in June of 2012):
Yes, Bush v. Gore Did Steal the Election
By Jonathan Chait

The general topic of wildly partisan Supreme Court rulings is on everybody’s mind right now for some reason. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney wants everybody to know that the Supreme Court really, truly did not hand the presidential election to George W. Bush. “You can disagree with the ruling in Bush v. Gore,” writes Carney, “but you can’t honestly argue that it decided the election.”

Well, yes, you can. In fact we know nearly for certain that the recount stopped by the Supreme Court would have given Gore the lead. (Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Republican-controlled Florida legislature would have simply overridden the results of the count and handed the state to Bush, as it threatened to do.) But Carney is repeating a common misconception.
...

Now, the actual effect of the recount is obviously something of a side issue when assessing the actions of the Court. Nobody knew the outcome of the recount, only that it threatened to make Al Gore president, and stopping it would guarantee Bush’s victory. That is the environment in which five Republican-appointed justices essentially invented a one-time-only ruling to stop the recount...

And obviously under that scenario,  Mr. Douthat's Republican Party would never have gotten the stone cold Orwellian nerve to launch a massive, multi-media Memory Hole campaign to pretend that none of this ever happened.

See, this is the problem when you hire creatures like Ross Douthat who dare not remember the past as it actually happened to Opine Gassily In Public.  Your paper ends up looking like the people who run it are liars.

Or collaborators.

Or rich, inbred idiots.

Or all of the above.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rick Perry: Stupid Is As Stupid Nominates


The Bastard President has nominated someone even stupider than he is to safeguard our nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.  Which takes some doing.

‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood

WASHINGTON — When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

Two-thirds of the agency’s annual $30 billion budget is devoted to maintaining, refurbishing and keeping safe the nation’s nuclear stockpile; thwarting nuclear proliferation; cleaning up and rebuilding an aging constellation of nuclear production facilities; and overseeing national laboratories that are considered the crown jewels of government science...

Next Up On Your New MSNBC...



Literally Any Conservative Crackpot Can Get a Column in "The Hill"



Literally.

Today we find that The Hill clearing space for Ms. Teresa Mull, who is a woman of Many!Ludicrous !Opinions!
How left-wing and racist radicals are infiltrating our children’s minds
You know you're in for a roller-coaster ride of fake nostalgia, fake Christianity and fake patriotism when a wingnut column begins..
Once upon a time in America...
Wheee!  And we're off!  Here's a sample platter:
A radical progressive political agenda has replaced the pursuit of truth and objectivity in our nation’s classrooms...

At New Trier High School, a public school in Winnetka, Illinois, students will be subjected in February to an “All-School Seminar Day” aimed at “understanding today’s struggles for racial civil rights.” The entire day is chock-full of race-baiting discussion topics, left-wing speakers, and one-sided, indoctrinating ideologies...

What is happening at New Trier is an obvious, systematic brainwashing, going so far as to goad students who don’t observe racism in their daily lives into believing they do...

They are the same folks who rally against prayer in school and any mention of the Bible while they inject one-sided, liberal-fueled propaganda...

New Trier is an extreme example, of course, but this type of shameless indoctrination is happening in government schools all across the country.

Teaching “just the facts” goes against the nature of government schools and their employees, because it is in their best interests to produce wards of the state who love big government as much as they do...
Yadda, yadda and also yadda.

You may well ask yourself where in the real world does an obviously unhinged goober like this go to make their daily bread?

Where else but Illinois' most well-known ExxonMobile/Koch Brothers/OtherHorribles funded "think tank"!

Of course The Heartland Alliance is most infamous for its tireless, species-betraying, rear-guard action on climate change denial, and as whelping box for the next generation of morally bankrupt wingnut killbots like Box Turtle Ben Domenech, but it's pretty uniformly loathsome at everything it does

You know, once upon a time in America any sensible person would have moved to a different car on the El to get away from the obviously unnhinged ravings of goobers like Ms. Mull.

Now they're gearing up to take over the Department of Education

There's probably a lesson in there somewhere.