Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down -- UPDATE

"David Brooks Talks To America's Kids About Manhood" Edition.

Oh my goodness.

From Think Progress:
New York Times’ David Brooks Says Obama Has ‘A Manhood Problem In The Middle East’
Sounds exactly like a guy who just had his balls sawed off and fed to the dogs in a divorce.

Of course, on the one hand, I'm just speculating wildly without any actual evidence to support my assertion (after all, we all know Mr. Brooks lost his balls in a tragic Jewels of Nuance dancing accident years ago.).  On the other hand, "speculating wildly without any actual evidence" makes me every bit as qualified as David Brooks to have a column-for-life in the New York Times and a chair held out for me in perpetuity on Meet the Press.  More qualified, actually, since unlike Mr. Brooks, I have not been completely fucking wrong about everything for the last 30 years.

But, as it turns out, I do not have a column in the NYT, or permanent seat at NBC or NPR or PBS where I am free to urinate my horrible opinions onto millions of people without the slightest risk of those horrible opinions ever be challenged in any serious way.  What I do have are two writing assignments that suddenly fell into my lap a few days ago after a long drought.  They're both technical, large and complex. Both have non-negotiable deadlines of tomorrow.  One is on-spec and might/maybe/could possibly lead to something; the other  is a contract gig where I will be paid a small quantity of actual money if I finish on time with every box checked, budgeted dollar nailed down, chart finished and so forth.  The people who hired me are already slammed and simply could not handle it in-house, so...
  1. Welcome to the new economy!  And, 
  2. I am extremely grateful for the work.
However before I vanish back into the cave with 20 gallon I.V. bag of coffee, let me just say that, over in the Better Universe, someone who shit the bed as publicly as David Brooks on the subjects of virility, Commander Codpiece and Operation Endless Clusterfuck -- someone who had so recently and unequivocally proven to know as little about war and peace and manhood as a two-ton block of lead knows about buoyancy -- would know enough to shut the fuck up about all of that forever.

But over in this Universe it is a well established fact that the penalty for Neocon pundits who get everything grotesquely and public wrong is precisely zero.  Well, zero plus the occasional promotion, TED talk and Award for Civility.

And until we find a reliable method of publicly shaming people like David Brooks, this is how we will continue to roll.

Back to the cave.
Wish me luck.

PS.  Thanks to Brother Charlie Pierce for the link!


I had not realized that the Conservative David Brooks had ditch-drowned yet another of his Movement's bastard children. (h/t Heather at Crooks and Liars):
David Brooks Calls Antigovernment Extremists At Bundy Ranch 'Politically Un-Ideological'

It looks like Bobo and Dana Milbank were reading the exact same set of talking points, with both of them claiming that this protest in no way is representative of a rebirth of the militia movement. Brooks wants us to believe these people only engaged in "pseudo-militia activity" and that they're "otherwise politically un-ideological." I would beg to differ.

Longtime readers know that this is not David Brooks' first after-hours trip to the political abortion clinic.

Not by a damn sight.

From me in 2011...
Well Into Their 117th Trimesters 
David Brooks and David Frum both suddenly decide they really don't want to keep Reagan's baby.

Earlier today Mr. Brooks placed his order for a political D&C through pursed-lips and a frowny face by rewriting Reality's Timeline so that he was somehow never a part of the 30-year lead-up to the Giant Pig Party Implosion at the end of the Empire we see bearing monstrous fruit all around us.

Mr. Frum, more comically, decided instead to pretend that the person most responsible for the Giant Pig Party Implosion at the end of the Empire...was the Reasonable-to-a-Fault Democratic President! Because he has so far failed to put Frum's Republican Party down like the sick animal that it is, and failed to clean up the toxic partisan sewer that David Frum helped create..despite Mr. Frum and every other Conservative douchebag in America being warned to beware just exactly these consequences for the last 30 years by two generations of Liberals...

UPDATE II:  Welcome Esquire readers! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Short Story for Saturday

A quick introduction to the late Gabriel García Márquez courtesy of the University of Texas at Dallas
The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

THE FIRST CHILDREN who saw the dark and slinky bulge approaching through the sea let themselves think it was an enemy ship. Then they saw it had no flags or masts and they thought it was a whale. But when it washed up on the beach, they removed the clumps of seaweed, the jellyfish tentacles, and the remains of fish and flotsam, and only then did they see that it was a drowned man.

    They had been playing with him all afternoon, burying him in the sand and digging him up again, when someone chanced to see them and spread the alarm in the village. The men who carried him to the nearest house noticed that he weighed more than any dead man they had ever known, almost as much as a horse, and they said to each other that maybe he'd been floating too long and the water had got into his bones. When they laid him on the floor they said he'd been taller than all other men because there was barely enough room for him in the house, but they thought that maybe the ability to keep on growing after death was part of the nature of certain drowned men. He had the smell of the sea about him and only his shape gave one to suppose that it was the corpse of a human being, because the skin was covered with a crust of mud and scales.

    They did not even have to clean off his face to know that the dead man was a stranger. The village was made up of only twenty-odd wooden houses that had stone courtyards with no flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desert-like cape. There was so little land that mothers always went about with the fear that the wind would carry off their children and the few dead that the years had caused among them had to be thrown off the cliffs. But the sea was calm and bountiful and all the men fitted into seven boats. So when they found the drowned man they simply had to look at one another to see that they were all there.

    That night they did not go out to work at sea. While the men went to find out if anyone was missing in neighboring villages, the women stayed behind to care for the drowned man. They took the mud off with grass swabs, they removed the underwater stones entangled in his hair, and they scraped the crust off with tools used for scaling fish. As they were doing that they noticed that the vegetation on him came from faraway oceans and deep water and that his clothes were in tatters, as if he had sailed through labyrinths of coral. They noticed too that he bore his death with pride, for he did not have the lonely look of other drowned men who came out of the sea or that haggard, needy look of men who drowned in rivers. But only when they finished cleaning him off did they become aware of the kind of man he was and it left them breathless. Not only was he the tallest, strongest, most virile, and best built man they had ever seen, but even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their imagination.

    They could not find a bed in the village large enough to lay him on nor was there a table solid enough to use for his wake. The tallest men's holiday pants would not fit him, nor the fattest ones' Sunday shirts, nor the shoes of the one with the biggest feet. Fascinated by his huge size and his beauty, the women then decided to make him some pants from a large piece of sail and a shirt from some bridal brabant linen so that he could continue through his death with dignity. As they sewed, sitting in a circle and gazing at the corpse between stitches, it seemed to them that the wind had never been so steady nor the sea so restless as on that night and they supposed that the change had something to do with the dead man. They thought that if that magnificent man had lived in the village, his house would have had the widest doors, the highest ceiling, and the strongest floor, his bedstead would have been made from a midship frame held together by iron bolts, and his wife would have been the happiest woman. They thought that he would have had so much authority that he could have drawn fish out of the sea simply by calling their names and that he would have put so much work into his land that springs would have burst forth from among the rocks so that he would have been able to plant flowers on the cliffs. They secretly compared him to their own men, thinking that for all their lives theirs were incapable of doing what he could do in one night, and they ended up dismissing them deep in their hearts as the weakest, meanest and most useless creatures on earth. They were wandering through that maze of fantasy when the oldest woman, who as the oldest had looked upon the drowned man with more compassion than passion, sighed:

 'He has the face of someone called Esteban.'

    It was true. Most of them had only to take another look at him to see that he could not have any other name. The more stubborn among them, who were the youngest, still lived for a few hours with the illusion that when they put his clothes on and he lay among the flowers in patent leather shoes his name might be Lautaro. But it was a vain illusion. There had not been enough canvas, the poorly cut and worse sewn pants were too tight, and the hidden strength of his heart popped the buttons on his shirt. After midnight the whistling of the wind died down and the sea fell into its Wednesday drowsiness. The silence put an end to any last doubts: he was Esteban. The women who had dressed him, who had combed his hair, had cut his nails and shaved him were unable to hold back a shudder of pity when they had to resign themselves to his being dragged along the ground. It was then that they understood how unhappy he must have been with that huge body since it bothered him even after death. They could see him in life, condemned to going through doors sideways, cracking his head on crossbeams, remaining on his feet during visits, not knowing what to do with his soft, pink, sea lion hands while the lady of the house looked for her most resistant chair and begged him, frightened to death, sit here, Esteban, please, and he, leaning against the wall, smiling, don't bother, ma'am, I'm fine where I am, his heels raw and his back roasted from having done the same thing so many times whenever he paid a visit, don't bother, ma'am, I'm fine where I am, just to avoid the embarrassment of breaking up the chair, and never knowing perhaps that the ones who said don't go, Esteban, at least wait till the coffee's ready, were the ones who later on would whisper the big boob finally left, how nice, the handsome fool has gone. That was what the women were thinking beside the body a little before dawn. Later, when they covered his face with a handkerchief so that the light would not bother him, he looked so forever dead, so defenseless, so much like their men that the first furrows of tears opened in their hearts. It was one of the younger ones who began the weeping. The others, coming to, went from sighs to wails, and the more they sobbed the more they felt like weeping, because the drowned man was becoming all the more Esteban for them, and so they wept so much, for he was the more destitute, most peaceful, and most obliging man on earth, poor Esteban. So when the men returned with the news that the drowned man was not from the neighboring villages either, the women felt an opening of jubilation in the midst of their tears.

'Praise the Lord,' they sighed, 'he's ours!'

    The men thought the fuss was only womanish frivolity. Fatigued because of the difficult nighttime inquiries, all they wanted was to get rid of the bother of the newcomer once and for all before the sun grew strong on that arid, windless day. They improvised a litter with the remains of foremasts and gaffs, tying it together with rigging so that it would bear the weight of the body until they reached the cliffs. They wanted to tie the anchor from a cargo ship to him so that he would sink easily into the deepest waves, where fish are blind and divers die of nostalgia, and bad currents would not bring him back to shore, as had happened with other bodies. But the more they hurried, the more the women thought of ways to waste time. They walked about like startled hens, pecking with the sea charms on their breasts, some interfering on one side to put a scapular of the good wind on the drowned man, some on the other side to put a wrist compass on him , and after a great deal of get away from there, woman, stay out of the way, look, you almost made me fall on top of the dead man, the men began to feel mistrust in their livers and started grumbling about why so many main-altar decorations for a stranger, because no matter how many nails and holy-water jars he had on him, the sharks would chew him all the same, but the women kept piling on their junk relics, running back and forth, stumbling, while they released in sighs what they did not in tears, so that the men finally exploded with since when has there ever been such a fuss over a drifting corpse, a drowned nobody, a piece of cold Wednesday meat. One of the women, mortified by so much lack of care, then removed the handkerchief from the dead man's face and the men were left breathless too.

    He was Esteban. It was not necessary to repeat it for them to recognize him. If they had been told Sir Walter Raleigh, even they might have been impressed with his gringo accent, the macaw on his shoulder, his cannibal-killing blunderbuss, but there could be only one Esteban in the world and there he was, stretched out like a sperm whale, shoeless, wearing the pants of an undersized child, and with those stony nails that had to be cut with a knife. They only had to take the handkerchief off his face to see that he was ashamed, that it was not his fault that he was so big or so heavy or so handsome, and if he had known that this was going to happen, he would have looked for a more discreet place to drown in, seriously, I even would have tied the anchor off a galleon around my nick and staggered off a cliff like someone who doesn't like things in order not to be upsetting people now with this Wednesday dead body, as you people say, in order not to be bothering anyone with this filthy piece of cold meat that doesn't have anything to do with me. There was so much truth in his manner that even the most mistrustful men, the ones who felt the bitterness of endless nights at sea fearing that their women would tire of dreaming about them and begin to dream of drowned men, even they and others who were harder still shuddered in the marrow of their bones at Esteban's sincerity.

    That was how they came to hold the most splendid funeral they could ever conceive of for an abandoned drowned man. Some women who had gone to get flowers in the neighboring villages returned with other women who could not believe what they had been told, and those women went back for more flowers when they saw the dead man, and they brought more and more until there were so many flowers and so many people that it was hard to walk about. At the final moment it pained them to return him to the waters as an orphan and they chose a father and mother from among the best people, and aunts and uncles and cousins, so that through him all the inhabitants of the village became kinsmen. Some sailors who heard the weeping from a distance went off course and people heard of one who had himself tied to the mainmast, remembering ancient fables about sirens. While they fought for the privilege of carrying him on their shoulders along the steep escarpment by the cliffs, men and women became aware for the first time of the desolation of their streets, the dryness of their courtyards, the narrowness of their dreams as they faced the splendor and beauty of their drowned man. They let him go without an anchor so that he could come back if he wished and whenever he wished, and they all held their breath for the fraction of centuries the body took to fall into the abyss. They did not need to look at one another to realize that they were no longer all present, that they would never be. But they also knew that everything would be different from then on, that their houses would have wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger floors so that Esteban's memory could go everywhere without bumping into beams and so that no one in the future would dare whisper the big boob finally died, too bad, the handsome fool has finally died, because they were going to paint their house fronts gay colors to make Esteban's memory eternal and they were going to break their backs digging for springs among the stones and planting flowers on the cliffs so that in future years at dawn the passengers on great liners would awaken, suffocated by the smell of gardens on the high seas, and the captain would have to come down from the bridge in his dress uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star, and his row of war medals and, pointing to the promontory of roses on the horizon, he would say in fourteen languages, look there, where the wind is so peaceful now that it's gone to sleep beneath the beds, over there, where the sun's so bright that the sunflowers don't know which way to turn, yes, over there, that's Esteban's village.

Professional Left Podcast #228

"If God hadn't rested on Sunday, He would have had time to finish the world.”

– Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • Are coming...

Da' money goes here:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Age of Miracles and Wonders

I live for stuff like this:
Scientists find an ‘Earth twin,’ or maybe a cousin

It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced Thursday.

The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth. Its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.

“Kepler 186f is the first validated, Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star,” Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., said at a news conference Thursday. “It has the right size and is at the right distance to have properties similar to our home planet.”

Quintana is the lead author of a scientific paper describing the findings in this week’s issue of the journal Science. Kepler 186f is the latest planet to be sifted out of the voluminous data collected by Kepler, which kept watch over 150,000 stars, looking for slight drops in brightness when a planet passed in front.

This follows the announcement last year that another star, Kepler 62, has two planets in its habitable zone, but those two were “super Earths,” with masses probably several times that of Earth. The gravity of those planets might be strong enough to pull in helium and hydrogen gases, making them more like mini-Neptunes than large Earths.

With its smaller size, Kepler 186f is more likely to have an Earth-like rocky surface, another step in astronomers’ quest for what might be called Earth 2.0.

“It’s a progression,” said another member of the discovery team, Thomas S. Barclay of the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. “This planet really reminds us of Earth.”
And just like that -- just for a moment -- I'm seven years old again, and The Future is a wondrous place I can hardly wait to visit.

Our species figured this out, so go ahead and cheer.  Just a little.  All the banal horrors of the quotidian world will still be there when you're done, so indulge yourself.
Just for a moment.
No one's looking and you'll feel like a million.

Why We Cannot Coexist


The redoubtable Digby looks upon a vast Wingnut Welfare radio kickback scheme and sees a system that is rotting, broken and in complete moral free-fall:
The Wingnut Welfare Monarchy

by digby

Can you believe this?  It's not as if Limbaugh and company wouldn't do this for free. Or that they aren't already millionaires hundreds of times over. They're just giving them money because ... well, because:
A POLITICO review of filings with the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission, as well as interviews and reviews of radio shows, found that conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers including Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh between the first talk radio deals in 2008 and the end of 2012. Since then, the sponsorship deals have grown more lucrative and tea party-oriented, with legacy groups like The Heritage Foundation ending their sponsorships and groups like the Tea Party Patriots placing big ad buys.
It's the sheer amount of money they have that always astounds me.
But a true-believing Randite Libertarian will look upon this same run amok payola scheme and see nothing but the fulfillment of holy capitalist prophecy:
"If you want to gauge collectivist's theory's distance from reality, ask yourself: by what inconceivable standard can it be claimed that the broadcast airwaves are the property of some illiterate sharecropper who will never be able to grasp the concept of electronics, or some hillbilly whose engineering capacity is not quite sufficient to cope with a corn liquor still -- and that broadcasting, the product of an incalculable amount of scientific genius, is to be ruled by such owners?
"There is only one solution to this problem and it has to start at its base: nothing less will do. The airways should be turned over to private ownership. The only way to do it now is to sell radio and television frequencies over to the highest bidders...-- and thus put an end to the gruesome fiction of 'public property'."

-- Ayn Rand, "The Objectivist Newsletter", April 1964
As one disreputable old crank once said, we as a nation simply cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free.

Who's Your Daddy? Ctd.

Now that he has begun positioning the his army to complete the conquest of Ukraine, and now that the United States has taken a  very public stand against such action, Russian President Vladimir Putin needs something sharp and pointy and very public with which to poke President Obama in the eye.

 Cue Uncle Vlad allowing Ed Snowden to "interview" him on Russian state teevee!

And by "interview" I mean he was permitted one softball question with no follow up. Eerily similar to the way David Gregory "interviews" every Republican who has ever been on on Meet the Press...except, of course, Greggers* is not living under the surveillance and protection of the person he is questioning -- a person who has a long record of locking up or killing dissidents and journalists and is middle of the slow-motion military invasion of a neighboring country.

Mr. Snowden's sock-puppet question was introduced by one of the programs co-hosts as follows:
"We've got really sensational, really outrageous video message from a person who revolutionized the world by leaking information about American secret services."
Let's see how that worked out, shall we?
Putin replied by stating Russia did not carry out mass surveillance on its population, and that its intelligence operations were strictly regulated by court orders.

"Mr Snowden, you are a former agent, a spy, I used to work for the intelligence service, we are going to talk one professional language," Putin said, according to translation by state-run broadcaster Russia Today.

"Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law have to get a court permission to stalk that particular person.

"We don't have as much money as they have in the States and we don't have these technical devices that they have in the States. Our special services, thank God, are strictly controlled by society and the law and regulated by the law."
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Greenwald took to Twitter to explain this development to his 347,000 followers in the same calm, reasonable and evenhanded tones for which he is legendary:
Once again, if you are one of those people who believe strongly that neither Mr. Greenwald nor Mr. Snowden are the story I strongly urge you to send your comments to:
President Vladimir Putin
23, Ilyinka Street
Moscow, 103132, Russia.
Or use this handy link to forward them to Uncle Vlad using electronic mail.

If you have anything constructive to add -- pro or con -- as always, the comment section is yours.  However to save myself the time and trouble of individually approving each of the approaching torrent of comments about my jackbooted fascistic hatred of all things freedom-related, let us just stipulate that I am a terrible person who obsessively refuses to post anything but long, anti-free-press, pro-dronekill screeds (while drooling, also too) and you should steer clear of my horrid little sellout blog at all costs.

*Commenter gratuitous is quite right that I screwed up my analogy.  And once I repaired my dumb mistake, it's clear that comparisons with Gregory -- who also depends entirely on pleasing and serving the interests of many of the people he is "interviewing" -- is is actually closer than I thought.  

You Can't Say You Weren't Warned

Crackpot billionaires and fascist front groups shoveling bales of shady cash into the campaigns of eager, dimwit ciphers who will do their insane bidding?

20 years ago, Stuart Best was comedic fiction.

20 years later, he is the GOP's default setting and the Republican Supreme Court's vision of the American political ideal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Music by Ayn Rand -- Lyrics by Lloyd Blankfein

Another one of our plutocrat overlords would like you to know how completely awesome he is, in both this life and the next:
Mr. [Michael] Bloomberg was introspective as he spoke, and seemed both restless and wistful. When he sat down for the interview, it was a few days before his 50th college reunion. His mortality has started dawning on him, at 72. And he admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter.

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
One of the little-known perks of vast wealth is that no matter how many times you break your arm patting yourself on the back --

Blankfein Says He’s Just Doing ‘God’s Work’


The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, which has attracted widespread media attention over the size of its staff bonuses, says he believes banks serve a social purpose and are “doing God’s work.”

“We’re very important,” Lloyd C. Blankfein said in an interview with The Times of London. “We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle.”

The dominant Wall Street bank posted third-quarter earnings of $3 billion and plans to hand out more than $16 billion in year-end bonuses.

He said that he understood, however, that people were angry with bankers’ actions: “I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer.”

But he is, he told The Times, just a banker “doing God’s work.”
-- you always have a team of top-notch concierge medical specialists waiting on standby to instantly rebuild your shattered humerus even better than it was before.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Possibly The Most Stunningly Delusional Speech

I have ever seen anyone give.

Mind you, it would make for a pleasant, forgettable sermon coming from, say, a pastor or a rabbi.  But when you slip on the Google Glass of memory and overlay his TED Talk with Mr. Brooks' long, loathsome, unpaid butcher's bill of fraud, revisionist claptrap, obsessive Fake Centrism, hippie-punching and just plain getting-every-fucking-thing-wrong, it is genuinely unnerving how radically Mr. Brooks has dissociated himself from his own past and his own words.

But the creepiest part?   Not a single member of our mainstream media ever dares to mention that he is doing this.

And that is power.

Trouble With The Curve


From Reason Magazine today:
David Brooks Vying for Ellsworth Toohey's Column Space in the Banner With a Passover Song of Praise for Compulsion 
Brian Doherty|Apr. 15, 2014 12:02 pm...
From me in a 2010 post about David Brooks:
Dear New York Times,

I know a guy, can write you da sweetest little algorithm you ever seen. Twice a week, it'll poop out identical, perfect, steaming, 800-word-long logs guaranteed indistinguishable from the run-down, played out, vanilla-infused-excreta you're slinging now -- forever -- and for about 1/10,000th the cost.

If you order in the next 24 hours and mention offer code "Ellsworth Toohey" --
"Don’t set out to raze all shrines—you’ll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity, and the shrines are razed."
-- I can get him to throw in a subroutine that will periodically crap out a random, gushy paean to Ronald Reagan, John Thune, Scooter Libby or any of two dozen other bilaterally symmetrical Conservative Authoritarian Daddy figures of your choice, no extra charge.

Again in 2011
Tomorrow, next month, next year Ellsworth Monkton Bobo will still be there collecting princely sums for filling the world with his soft, mealy, razor-concealing road-apples of common wisdom.

And just how is that possible?

Because Bobo is a very senior member of a very special, very selective union -- Pundits Local 183.

A union whose chief innovation was boldly and irrevocably severing all "relationship between excellence and reward" years and years ago.
"Peter, you’ve heard all this. You’ve seen me practising it for ten years. You see it being practised all over the world. Why are you disgusted ? You have no right to sit there and stare at me with the virtuous superiority of being shocked. You’re in on it. You’ve taken your share and you’ve got to go along. You’re afraid to see where it’s leading. I’m not. I’ll tell you.

Judgement, Peter ! Not judgement, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeroes – since no individuality will be permitted. A world with its motor cut off and a single heart, pumped by hand. My hand – and the hands of a few, a very few other men like me. Those who know what makes you tick – you great, wonderful average, you who have not risen in fury when we called you the average, the little, the common, you who’ve liked and accepted these names. You’ll sit enthroned and enshrined, you, the little people, the absolute ruler to make all past rulers squirm with envy, the absolute, the unlimited, God and Prophet and King combined. Vox populi. The average, the common, the general.
A union whose members haven't missed a meal since.

And again in 2011
Brooks: We're sinful! And ignorant!

Noonan: And not humble enough.

And then, lacking anything else to say or do, they broke into song:

Load up on guns and
Fox Family
Bring your friends

It's fun to lose
And to pretend

She's over bored

And self assured

Oh no, I know
A dirty word

With the lights out

it's less dangerous

Here we are now
Entertain us

I feel stupid
and contagious

Here we are now

Entertain us

A mulatto

An albino

A mosquito

My Libido

Brooks: I'm for a quota system. If you talk to a Conservative, talk to a Liberal. If you read a Liberal, you should read a Conservative. If you find yourself feeling good, hit yourself in the wrist with a hammer. If you notice you're getting too smart, huff some paint until Tom Friedman starts to sound like Stephen Hawkings. Are you above average height? How about hacking off a few obtruding inches if leg bone?

And if you've gotten pretty much everything wrong for the past few decades, considered getting a permanent column in the New York Times to balance it out.

David Brooks may not be Peggy Noonan, but he sure as shit is the perfect Centrist-Mediocrity-as-Virtue love child of Diana Moon Glampers.
and Ellsworth Toohey:

Our little group has always been

And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, how low? 
I spend most of my writing time at a keyboard, in front of a screen, alone, tap-tap-tapping away.  Sprinting  along, checking what I need to check to finish the next thing (or what I need to half-finish the dozen under-construction posts I always have strewn around the workshop in various states of unreadiness) hitting "publish" and moving on, never sure if I am behind a crowd, ahead of a crowd,  in the thick of a crowd, or if I've run my way down a cow path that has led to another planet altogether.

Since I don't report to anyone and have no standards but the ones I set for myself, I don't really give it a lot of though, but every now and then I stop and look around catch sight of others who do report to other people and are catching up with where I was a long time ago.

And I smile for a second.

And then I get back on the road.

The Dread Pirate Draper

Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. He took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts' he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Dread Pirate Roberts either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.'
-- The Princess Bride

Whoever wears the uniform is the man.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why It Is Impossible To Communicate With Conservatives, Ctd

Exhibit #187,656:  Ron Christie --
Cynical Race-Baiting Will Fail to Save the Democrats

...the Democrats marked the 50th anniversary of passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not by hailing the progress we have made as a nation but by resorting to the despicable act of accusing their political opponents of racism to preserve their hold on power in Washington, D.C. Late last week in these pages, I discussed how lack of political civility is destroying the ability of the political process to function in our nation’s Capitol.

Less than a week has passed since that post and it appears clear, now more than ever, that the men and women who call themselves leaders of the Democrat Party will stop at nothing to consolidate their perks and power while they tear the social fabric of our country apart in the process by smearing Republicans as being racist.

This November I predict the American voters will render judgment on Democrat attempts to divide the country on racial lines in a cynical attempt to cling to power. We were promised by Democrats years ago that they would heal old wounds and bring us closer together. By seeking to exploit our ugly past with racial bigotry for political advantage, Democrats should be prepared to have their proverbial chickens come home to roost—the American people are tired of craven political leaders who seek to divide us...
Long ago Conservatism degenerated into little more than a mob of gibbering, always-wrong-but-never-in-doubt lunatics running in circles with their fingers in their ears shrieking "I know you are but what am I!  I know you are but what am I!" at exactly the same time our media decided that it wasn't its job to report this fact.  Under any circumstances.  Ever.

But speaking for all Liberals everywhere, we don't care how many more times MSNBC props this muppet up in front of a camera and lets him run his mouth, we have given up pretending that there is any way for us to usefully interact with people as corrupt, self-deluded and mercenary as this.  Instead our limited time and energy could be more usefully spent making the professional lives of those who give trolls like Christie a platform in the first place unbearably unpleasant.

Also, it's the "Democratic Party" party you fucking child.

Congratulations to The Guardian and The Washington Post

On their Public Service Pulitzer prizes.

They broke a large and consequential story and it would have been nuts for the Pulitzer committee to overlook them.

Moochers of the Purple Sage

Now that Real Americans (tm)  have a new wingnut woobie to lather over, Brother Charles Pierce worries that one of these days the professional hysteria mongers of Right Wing Nut Job, Incorporated are gonna get somebody killed:
Over the weekend, Hannity, and a lot of someones just like him, were at it again.
This time, it concerned a Minutemannish crank in Nevada named Cliven Bundy, who had been grazing his cattle on federal land, and who had declined to pay the grazing fees for more than 20 years. A year ago, a federal judge told Bundy to stop grazing his cattle on the federal land. He ignored the judge as thoroughly as he had ignored the grazing fees. So the Bureau of Land Management started seizing his cattle. Which is about when everybody went crazy. In the interest of balance, here's the case for the other side; Ms. Loesch has been promoting the Bundy cause with conspicuous enthusiasm. Here's a less temperate view, in which Cliven Bundy is Crazy Horse.
As the invaluable Dave Neiwert points out, Bundy apparently has marinated himself in the various "Patriot" and Posse Comitatus ideologies -- the appeal to the local sheriff is the giveaway on the latter --  that have been blowing through the west since the Sagebrush Rebellion days of the late 1970's and early 1980's. (Basically, the philosophy is that these people can do pretty much anything they want on land that we all own in common. Life, or at least the rest of us, owe them a living.)
As we watch all the usual moon-faced anti-government lunatics twitchdance around the bonfire to the usual round of Wingnut Freakout Top 40 Hits brought to you by all the usual Conservative sedition-slingers, it is useful to remember that, 19 years ago, another moon-faced anti-government lunatic murdered 168 American citizens in the name of the Tree of Liberty! and Tyranny! and Freedumb! and all the rest of the usual Evil Government sewage you can once again hear roaring from the Hate Media Machine 24/7/365.

From me back in 2005:

First they came for the File Clerks

Then they came for the Family Planning Clinics. Posted by Hello

Then they came for the “activist” judges.

Happy Anniversary, Moderate Republicans!

It’s been 10 years to the day that Ultra Right Wing Hero First Class Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 Americans in your name.

After a decade of a booming, non-stop torrent of “Government Is Evil and Must Be Annihilated!” rhetoric vomiting out of the mouths of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, Jerry Falwell, Bob Doren...McVeigh decided to take them at their word...

...and you fucktards threw up your hands in horror at the blank, White, zombie, unremarkable face of tax-hatin’, Clinton-hatin’, government hatin’ Tim McVeigh and shouted, “Not Us!”

Shame, shame. To get your tax cuts you eagerly hiked your skirt up and let the Right Wing fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you and fuck you...and then, when your Love Child showed up at your door, wrapped it bloody arms around you and said, “I wuuuv you Mommy!” you gave the poor thing the back of your hand?

Where’s all that sassy talk of “Personal Responsibility” now?

Sure it’s grotesque. Hell, we’ve been telling you that it’s downright terrifying for 15-20 years now. What do you expect? It takes after its Father...but it sure as shit has your eyes.

Now a decade is a long time. A VERY long time. Hell, whole governments come and go in intervals shorter than that, so one must assume that to be taken seriously, you've must have used the last decade to aggressively purge your party of the radical lunatics that found such a big, expensive Welcome Wagon basket waiting for them at GOP Central Command. That bigotry and aggressively ignorant Fundamentalism is no longer synonymous with “Republican”. So as a proffer of your good faith – that you really aren’t the$2 Blowjob Whore of the Right Wing – tell me...

...has Tom DeLay been banished yet?
Falwell shunned?
Has Limbaugh lost so many dittoheads that he has to sell used RVs to support his hillbilly heroin monkey?
Dobson’s gone?
Is Creationism buried under Homophobia on the ash-heap of history? And those that spout that hateful nonsense, laughingstocks?
Robertson and Wildmont, kicked to the curb?
Randall Terry has been disavowed?
And no one would ever, ever think to threaten, say, judges, if you disagree with them on a ruling here or there?

On April 20, 1995 it became unambiguously clear where the demagogues and swine were leading your party, and the terribly price tag came with it. You've had a decade to excise the cancer that you and only you allowed to grow inside your party, and you didn't do it. Instead you chose to water it. Feed it. Cultivate it. Harvest it.

You encouraged the carcenoma to blossom and metastasize and because you voluntarily chose to do this, you have accepted Tim McVeigh as your child.

And Eric Rudolph as your child.
And Randall Terry as your child.
And Fred Phelps as your child.
And Ann Coulter as your child.
And so many more. So many, many more.

You are obviously very proud of what your children have accomplished: if not, you would have acted otherwise.

So embrace them.

Your Mad Man / Game Of Thrones Crossover Post

(Original photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning...
And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas