Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Reaction from the Right To President Obama's Speech

Was swift and predictable...

The Mercy Rule

 (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

A mercy rule -- also known by the terms slaughter rule, knockout rule and skunk rule -- brings a sports event to an early end when one team has a very large and presumably insurmountable lead over the other team. It is called the mercy rule because it spares the losing team the humiliation of suffering a loss by an even larger number of points.

-- Wikipedia 

By the time a hero astronaut had introduced his wife, a hero congresswoman, it was over.

By the time a Marine and a Navy man had both validated Hillary Clinton's Commander-in-Chief card, it was over.

But then came Uncle Joe Biden, roaring out on his Harley and red-white-and-blue jumpsuit, whipping his Ray Bans off and and leading the crowd in a rousing chorus of "USA!USA!".

And then the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace made itself manifest in the person of Michael "No Labels" Bloomberg.  And the Invisible Hand was swinging a 100 foot Vorpal Sword with which he proceeded to gleefully lay about the Terrible Orange Jabberwocky:
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.
Then came Tim "Martin Minivan Buren" Kaine who made us all scrambled eggs and cracked us up with his goofy-dad Donald J. Trump impressions while cheerfully name-checking...
Social Justice
The Nobility of public service
and the United States Marine Corps.
It was over.  It was over.  It was so over.

And then the sweetest, funniest, feistiest Gold Star Mom and school board member straight from Frank Capra central casting in the world walked up to the microphone to introduce her president.  The speech that President Obama delivered after her introduction is already being translated into every language on Earth, shared on every media site and will be studied by school kids on our Martian colonies a century from now, so since you can find it anywhere (and rightly so) let us instead give the floor of this tiny blog to Mrs. Sharon Belkofer of Rossford, Ohio:

It was over.  It was already so over.

And then President Obama delivered what I can best describe as the "Morning In America" speech Abraham Lincoln might have given at the end of his second term had a radical Christian white supremacist not cut him down in one of the greatest acts of domestic terrorism in American history.

Day Three of the DNC was, collectively, the most comprehensive political beat-down I have ever seen.

Will it budge Hillary Clinton's numbers?  Probably.  A little.  A few points.  But probably not more than that.  The election will still be a close thing because we are now an irrevocably riven country.  A House Divided, not between honestly-held contending philosophies which argue back and forth in good faith, but between a hateful, paranoid mob who have been reduced to mindless beasts by 20 years of Fox News/Hate Radio taking a dump in their skulls every single day...

...a contentious concatenation of Liberals and Progressives who work each in their own way to leave this country a little better than we found it and who have been warning that this day of reckoning would come for 20 years...

...and a timorous band of Both Siderist children, moral cowards and professional jellyfish whose only dogma is mindless fidelity to the delusion that what they see happening right in front of them cannot possibly be happening.  Who would travel 1,000 miles just to find a fence to straddle. Whose holy mantra is that somewhere under the gargantuan steaming pile of shit that is the Republican Party there must be a pony, and that somewhere in the Haight-Ashbury of their imagination, some Dirty Hippie is probably doing something right now that is somehow as equally and oppositely disqualifying as Paul Ryan or Mike Pence or Trey Gowdy or Donald J. Trump.

And this is the ground the Republican Party abandoned when they decided to give up on the very concept of self-government, and instead chase the Kenyan Usurper from Death Panel to Benghaaaazi, and give their base permission to let their racist freak flags fly.  

This middle place -- this small town, hard-hit-but-hopeful, church-going, duty, honor, country place -- is what the Republicans ceded so that they could build the Golden Calf of their dreams out of an Orange Con Man who has all the best words.

On Day Three of the DNC, the Democratic Party orchestrated an extremely effective land, sea and air invasion of this middle place.  They established a beachhead there, and unless they fuck up very badly, for the next three months the campaign will be slugging it out from hedgerow-to-hedgerow in a Battle for the (how it hurts me to say this) Sensible Center.  And that campaign will be fighting against the collective muscle memory and professional instincts of the Beltway Both Siderists who are desperate to turn this back into a mindless horse-race between equally flawed minions of the Corrupt Duopoly.  

Which is why the Mercy Rule cannot be invoked.  Because however soaring the rhetoric or overwhelmingly damning the evidence may be, at least 40% of our fellow citizens will be going to the polls in November to cast a vote for Donald J. Trump.  

And between now and then it will be our job to confront the children, moral cowards and professional jellyfish who want to go right on cowering in the Both Siderist spider hole hoping this will all blow over.  To whang away at them over and over again with brutal truth that Donald Trump is not merely a disaster because he is an unhinged racist lunatic -- he is a disaster because he is the manifestation of the unhinged racist lunacy that is at the very core of Republican Party as it exists today, here and now.

Our job is to leave them no place to hide. 

And to do it with a smile on our face, a song in our heart and a beer in our hand.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bernie In Heaven

Bernie: These people.  I love 'em, you know.  They have good hearts and they worked so hard.  But the minute I told them some hard truths they didn't want to hear --
"Any objective observer will conclude that -- based on her ideas and her leadership -- Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States," Sanders told delegates, spurring a cascade of cheers.

He spent the following morning meeting with individual state delegations to carry his message forward and continuing to counter resistance toward Clinton. Sanders chastened California delegates who booed his call for party unity Tuesday.

"Our job is to do two things -- to defeat Donald Trump and to elect Hillary Clinton," Sanders said, adding later, "It is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face if we are living under a Trump presidency."
-- a bunch of them basically kicked me out of a movement that they had named after me.

Jesus:  Tell me about it.

#NeverHillary In One Pic

Don the Con Talks To Murrica About Flags (And Other Scary Wingnut Bedtime Stories)

Among the many, many, many unhinged lies that issued forth from the lie-hole of Donald J. Trump this morning (including an open plea to the Russian government to hack the United States in order "to find the 30,000 'missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal email servers" on order to screw his political opponent) this was oddly my favorite:
“Despite the police platitudes, she’s been a mess,” Trump said. “They don’t have an American flag on the dais until we started complaining..."
Because nothing so clearly demonstrates the direct, main-line connection between the subterranean gibberings of the denizens of the dankest corners of the wingnuttia and the mind of the Republican nominee for president than this kind of throwaway claptrap that litters his ramblings. Because this particular lie exists nowhere except the open digital sewers where Don the Con goes shopping for his "news"(and in 100 future ALL CAPS emails from Crazy Uncle Liberty.)

From Snopes:
Several other right-wing web sites known as purveyors of misinformation, such as The Gateway Pundit, Barenaked Islam,and The Daily Caller also published articles reporting that no American flags were present at the DNC:
The Daily Caller is at the Democratic National Convention and it doesn’t look like there are any American flags.

The stage is bland and grey, with no red, white or blue present. A thorough look at the crowd present also turns up no American flags.
For the record, among the many, many other examples here was Bobby Hill singing the national anthem at the opening of the DNC:


Once again and for fuck's sake, will anyone who lists themselves as a "journalist" on their W2's and has access to this lunatic and isn't a hired quisling like Jeffrey Lord please bother to ask him just once where specifically he gets his claptrap.

And when he doesn't answer, ask him again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Update:  For the record, slandering the patriotism of Democrats by lying about flags has always been one of the go-to lies of the Party of Jefferson Davis.

From me, back in 2011:
The Republican's Patriotism Problem

As the Right made abundantly clear during the 2008 Presidential campaign, there is one and only one true test of a patriot -- one and only Shibboleth for loving the land of the Free and home of the Brave more than the common run of citizen,

Now, I don't pretend to understand all the "science" behind it, but apparently flag pins are to secret America-haters exactly like holy water is to a vampire, or silver is to a werewolf, or questions about what newspaper you read are to Caribou Barbie...

And of course in 2012, the hysterical twats at Fox News were furious that the American Olympics team wasn't nearly flag-wavey enough to meet their standards of patriotism.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Senator Al Would Pretty Please Like Journalists To Do Their Fucking Jobs

Conspicuously absent from this little colloquy were most of MSNBC's most egregious serial offenders against journalism.

But I'm sure once they get word that Senator Al would like them to quit shitting all over the basic principles of their profession, they'll give up their profitable sinecures --
In the rank sweat of an enseam├Ęd bed,
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty
—and get back to the business of bravely afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

I'll be over here, waiting.

Another Sweet $115 Payday For The Sad Clown of Centrism

As I mentioned back in May...
A random cabdriver told me that every time Ron Fournier uses the phrase "corrupt duopoly", Michael Bloomberg pays him $115.
That's pure journalism people, Pure journalism.  Bask in it.

And so, given what we know about the astronomical cost of hookers and tequila room service and bathing caps in conventions cities when the circus comes to town, and given that the end of the month is fast upon us, it is no surprise the Sad Clown of Centrism might be coming up a little short right now and need to hit that sweet, sweet Bloomberg ATM one more time before the "maid" comes with "fresh towels".

UPDATE (thanks to alert reader "RG"):

Not to be squeezed out of his place at the Both Siderist trough, the 173rd most redundant pundit in America, Matthew Dowd, weighs in...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Vlad the Inveigler

On one side of the Left blogosphere, it is at least worth mentioning that Vladinear Pootnum does, in fact, have a dog in our electoral fight.  From Digby, whose absence was keenly felt at this year's Netroots Nation:
The Don loves Vlad
One the other side of the Left blogosphere, it is not only unthinkable that "The DNC is a hot partisan mess" and "Edward Snowden's landlord/employer/overseer is meddling with our elections" might very well both be true statements, it is unalloyed McCarthyism to even suggest such a thing.  

So glad this is all above my pay-grade.

Every Day We Wrote The Book

Some sentences to ponder, randomly arranged:
The Republican Party, and the conservative movement that propped it up, is doomed...

For the entire history of modern conservatism, its ideals have been wedded to and marred by white supremacism...

I’ve read dozens of conservative intellectuals writing compellingly about non-racist conservative ideals. Writers like Andrew Sullivan, Ross Douthat, Reihan Salam, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and too many others to count have put forward visions of a conservative party quite different from the one we have.

But not one of these writers, smart as they are, has been able to explain what actual political constituency could bring about this pure conservatism in practice...

“...the conservative movement is fundamentally broken. Trump is not a random act. This election is not a random act.”...

Trump’s politics of aggrieved white nationalism — labeling black people criminals, Latinos rapists, and Muslims terrorists — succeeded because the party’s voting base was made up of the people who once opposed civil rights...

“[Trump] tapped into something that was latent in the Republican Party and conservative movement — but a lot of people in the conservative movement didn’t notice."...

Conservative intellectuals, for the most part, are horrified by racism. When they talk about believing in individual rights and equality, they really mean it. Because the Republican Party is the vehicle through which their ideas can be implemented, they need to believe that the party isn’t racist.

So they deny the party’s racist history, that its post-1964 success was a direct result of attracting whites disillusioned by the Democrats’ embrace of civil rights. And they deny that to this day, Republican voters are driven more by white resentment than by a principled commitment to the free market and individual liberty...

“[Conservative intellectuals and conservative politicians] had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.” ...

By refusing to admit the truth about their own party, they were powerless to stop the forces that led to Donald Trump’s rise. ...
These are not the grumblings of some despised, Liberal outsiders that I hauled up from the archives of the earliest days of the Left blogosphere -- despised, Liberal outsiders who could not get a call returned from Chuck Todd if they were holding his pet hamster, "Chew Chewitt", hostage.

These are the ruminations of Mr. Avik Roy, "Republican Intellectual" as reported in Vox today.

Today. (h/t alert reader "RF")

Longtime readers will remember Mr. Avik Roy from just a couple of years ago when he was regularly invited to appear on MSNBC's late, lamented "All in With Chris Hayes" and NBC's Wretched Thing That Wouldn't Die "Meet the Press" to lie about poverty, health care, and, well, just a whole buncha stuff:
For example, this Sunday when one of America's Most Respected Sunday Zombie Gasbags programs put on Avik Roy -- "...contributor to National Review Online, where he was described as a member of Mitt Romney's Health Care Policy Advisory Group" -- to talk about health care (right after having Rudy Ghouliana on to personally attest to the honor and integrity of Chris Christie) this first question I asked myself was whether or not he has, say, a record of Gish Galloping wingnut healthcare bullshit every time he gets is front of a camera.

Turns out, yeah, he does:
Premium Bullshit.

Forbes Tells The Truth, Then Lies About Obamacare.

Avik Roy has facts wrong on Arkansas "private option".

Avik Roy and the wonk gap
06/03/13 04:31 PM—UPDATED 10/31/13 02:54 PM

...note that Roy was on “All In with Chris Hayes” last week, and as Kevin Drum noted, Roy “offered up a criticism of Social Security’s disability program that was so misleading that Michael Astrue, a former commissioner of the Social Security Administration appointed by George Bush, nearly had a heart attack on the air.”

Shortly thereafter, Roy weighed in on the latest report on California’s exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. While most of us saw the news from the Golden State as excellent news and proof that “Obamacare” implementation is proceeding apace, Roy published a remarkably dishonest piece arguing the opposite, deliberately omitting relevant details.

The always-mild-mannered Jonathan Cohn explained in detail why Roy is plainly, demonstrably wrong, but added an important point about the larger issue.

If you want to know why we can’t have an honest debate about Obamacare, all you have to do is pay attention to some recent news from California – and the way a highly distorted version of it, by one irresponsible writer, has rippled through the conservative press.

Right. Jon, Krugman, and Ezra, among others, have detailed reports explaining why Avik Roy’s analysis simply doesn’t make sense – I won’t recreate the wheel here – and I hope folks will follow the links to understand the underlying policy dispute. It’s not just of a gray area; Roy is simply wrong.

But it’s the point about “why we can’t have an honest debate” that resonates with me.

Indeed, it reinforces the “wonk gap” thesis I’ve been kicking around for a while.

Remember, Avik Roy isn’t just some guy who shows up on Fox to rant and rave about “death panels”; Roy is one of the conservatives who hopes to prove that serious policy scholarship still exists on the right. He publishes content with a credible tone; he doesn’t fly off the rhetorical rails; and he genuinely understands the policy details.

But when it comes to advancing a partisan/ideological agenda, Roy is nevertheless willing to publish “Obamacare” criticisms that are transparently ridiculous.

I believe this is yet another data point that highlights the wonk gap. As Republicans become a post-policy party, even their wonks – their sharpest and most knowledgeable minds – are producing shoddy work that crumbles quickly under mild scrutiny.
Run Everybody! Avik Roy is Coming!

ObamaCare in California – Reuters Rehashes Avik Roy’s Lie

They Can't Stop Lying About Obamacare

What is fascinating about this slow disintegration of the GOP is how perfectly it reveals the parallel catastrophe we dirty hippies have also been on about for years. Specifically, just how completely the degenerate Right has beaten the media into letting them control the frame of every public policy debate.

Of course Mr. Avik Roy was deployed by the Right as a professional liar to prop up their depraved policies.  They have an endless army of such interchangeable, well-funded drones, perpetually gassed up and ready to be crashed into any serious discussion of any public policy that might threaten to veer off into the subject of how the government might be used to, y'know, actually help the citizens of the United States.  I know it, you know it, Chris Hayes knew it, and presumably at least someone on Chuck Todd's staff knows it.

And yet it didn't matter.

Likewise and on a much grander and more tragic scale, of course "the conservative movement is fundamentally broken" and has been for decades.  Of course "the entire history of modern conservatism, its ideals have been wedded to and marred by white supremacism" as any averagely bright citizen who could read at a fifth grade level and was not it catatonic denial about reality could have told you -- and has been trying to tell you -- for decades.  

And yet this particular story -- this long-running, monumental tragedy of immediate and critical importance to every American citizen -- has been explicitly ignored for decades by the people whose constitutionally-protected job it is to report to the American people, stories of all kinds -- from water-skiing squirrels to baseball scores -- but most especially stories of monumental and consequential importance to our lives and our futures.  

We have reached a place where simply telling an important and observable truth in the media is now so dangerous to the entire corporate media structure that even the tiniest splinter of that truth is only allowed on camera under heavy sedation and carefully muffled and battened on all sides by the best Gingriches and Hewitts and Fourners money can buy.  

I'm glad the prevailing political wind has shifted enough so that an opportunist like Mr. Roy now sees acknowledging some fragment of the truth as his best career move.   

I am deeply disturbed that it has taken a Category Five shitstorm named Trump -- a shitstorm which has been bearing down on this country for decades and to which people like Mr. Roy have been actively contributing -- to finally nudge professional wind-socks like Mr. Roy in the general direction of not-lying,