Thursday, September 20, 2018

Today in Both Sides Do It: Charlies Sykes

Other than when he is on MSNBC promoting his book, "Holy Shit!  The Republican Party Is Full Of Republicans!" it is hard for me to know what my New Mandatory Republican Best Friend Charlie Sykes is thinking on an hour basis hour.

This is because my New Mandatory Republican Best Friend Charlie Sykes blocked me a long time ago for asking him impertinent questions about that Libtard four-letter word which we are never, ever supposed to mention in the presence of our new New Mandatory Republican Best Friends.

The P-A-S-T.

What was I thinking?!?!

Anyway, people still pass me notes in the hall.  Like this one:

The Republican rats are building themselves yet another mighty lifeboat.  And unless it is burned to the waterline, they will once again escape accountability for the ruin they have brought upon us all and go right back to breeding Republican monsters.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Metamorphosis II

Image result for erick erickson

(trigger warning)

One morning, when Erick Erickson woke from troubled dreams...
...he found himself transformed in his bed...
...into a destitute teenage girl...
...who was now six weeks pregnant... the man who had raped her.

A reminder that Republican Christopaths like Erick Erickson have permanent reserved seating at the national media table and you do not.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This is a Holy War Because They Made it a Holy War

In a strange way, I'm grateful to Conservatives like Mr. Erickson for the clarity of their fanaticism.  Thanks to their unstinting efforts over the course of many decades, I no longer feel constrained to see them as anything but enemy combatants in our very Cold Civil War.  Their opinions are irrelevant to me.  Their joys and sorrows are irrelevant.   The tenets of their creepy, cultish perversion of Christianity is irrelevant. 

They are not adult humans to be reasoned with so we can stop wasting our time pretending otherwise.

They are simply obstacles to be overcome.

Die With The Lie, Opie. Die With The Lie.

Of all the pieces of advice that Sheriff Andy Taylor would never offer his son, high on the list would be this:  If you are nominated for the high honor and rare privilege of serving on the United States Supreme Court, your best strategy is stick to your bullshit cover story no matter what, lie under oath as necessary, keep your head down and let Andy's goons and spinners clear your path, slander your accusers and strong-arm your nomination to a one-vote margin win.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Hugh Hewitt Will Not Open The Pod Pay Doors

Because Hugh Hewitt (the Cyborg Sent From the Future to Destroy America) is incapable of processing basic human emotions, he is confused and frustrated that anyone would allow a credible charge of attempted rape leveled against Brett Kavanaugh (or multiple charges of perjury, or a completely rigged review process, or the theft of Merrick Garland's seat) to derail or slow down his appointment to the supreme court in any way.

The Right's mission is to so irrevocably pack the Supreme Court with Federalist Society-groomed wingnuts that the Right can go right on methodically destroying the fundamental rights and protections of workers, women, minorities, children, immigrants, the uninsured, the disabled and the political opposition  under the color of law decades after inexorable demographic changes renders them unable to win at the polls.

And Hugh Hewitt's prime directive is that nothing can be allowed to interfere with that mission.

Plus bonus Magic Ruralism (tm)!

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Thrilling Tales of True Conservatism! Vol 24: Where Everybody Knows Your Game

This weekend, Mr. Andrew Sullivan went down to the basement to mix up a batch of every pundit's favorite popskull poteen: True Conservatism.

And queued up right next to the still, with money in-hand and positively shaking with the TCDTs (True Conservative Delirium Tremens) was Senator Ben Sasse:

True Conservatism (also known as "Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatism"*, as one wag once dubbed it or "Unicorn Piss", as one wag is dubbing it now) is eternal.  No matter what happens -- no matter if the bathtub still where True Conservatives are brewing up their latest iteration of Unicorn Piss explodes, or the entire building burns down, or they invade the wrong country, or nuke the global economy  -- none of that matters to them.  None of it counts.  Because as long as they have a copy of the original recipe and access to basic materials and collaborators in the media, they can always whomp up another batch, anywhere else, at any time.

So, before we plunge headlong into the woozy, boozy world of True Conservatism Unicorn Piss, lets get our facts straight.  From David Leonhardt in the NYT yesterday:

‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ Is a Myth

And the Democratic Party has not actually become a band of radical leftists.

Conventional wisdom says that the middle is disappearing from American politics: The Republicans have moved far to the right, the Democrats far to the left, and woe to any moderate voters looking for politicians to represent their views.

Well, the conventional wisdom is wrong. The Democrats have not actually become radical leftists, or anything close to it.

You keep hearing this story partly because Republicans have an obvious interest in promoting it and partly because large parts of the news media find it irresistible. It’s a “both side do it” angle that allows us journalists to appear tough, knowing and above the partisan scrum. We love that image. But the facts don’t support the story in this case...
In truth, the facts have never supported the story, so a really obvious first question would be, why has the story persisted?

Well, in the case of Both Siderist and True Conservative pundits, the answer is obvious:  if the Both Siderist lie collapses, so do their careers and reputations. And so, for True Conservatives to pass their Unicorn Piss off as the enlightened middle between the Extremes on Both Sides, all problems must be amputated and rearranged on the bloody scales of false equivalence until they are perfectly divided between the Left and the Right.

From Mr. Andrew Sullivan:
America Desperately Needs a Healthy Conservatism

In these fetid times, it’s easy to know what you’re against. And I’ve spent many diaries assailing the dueling Trump and “social justice” cults on the illiberal right and left these past several months...

In today’s America, this conservatism is completely under siege. The left will increasingly tolerate nothing that gets in the way of what it calls “social justice,” which far too often reduces individuals to their racial or class or gender identities rather than their merits, or character, or talents...

But conservatism is more deeply besieged by the Republican Party, its alleged harbor. If you consider the themes I’ve emphasized above, it becomes clearer that the GOP is not only not conservative, but actually dedicated to destroying that tradition...

The elite indifference to mass immigration — especially the illegal kind — is an ugly pact between Republican elites, eager for cheap, exploitable labor, and Democratic elites, who cynically encourage it because they think it will give them a reliable voting bloc...

Without a healthy conservatism, liberalism will degenerate. Without liberalism, conservatism has no inheritance to defend. And both rich veins in Western moderation are now under assault from the ideological left and the authoritarian right. We have to brave this pincer attack, conservatives and liberals together, or we will die together...
The rest of the Mr. Sullivan's "diary" consists of him ranging up and down the history of Western Civilization and claiming that Virtually Every Good Thing That Ever Happened from the Magna Carta to the Tennessee Valley Authority to the Instant Replay is obviously the invisible hand of True Conservatism at work.

Like the Holy Spirit, True Conservatism bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth. This why the sellers of Unicorn Piss are always be guaranteed a profitable customer base of twitchy Centrists, deluded Independents and gutless Both Siderists, pantingly eager to buy whatever turpentine-and-crushed-up-dollar-store-peppermint sludge they're hawking as God's Own Water of Life this time around.

Because, in addition to Eye of Newt, bone of the father, unknowingly given and hemp, according to Mr. Sullivan, here is a partial list of  the unique and glorious virtues you the customer will find in every bottle of True Conservatism.

True Conservatism...
...abhors war as the ultimate change-maker and disrupter despises concepts of race or gender that eradicate the uniqueness of the individual; it defends high culture against philistinism and mediocrity

...cherishes norms.

...values the particular over the general

...prefers present laughter to utopian bliss

...relishes humor in all its forms

...defends art as an apolitical force

...respects religion as a separate avenue for the search for ultimate truth, and a critical component of the civil and moral society that enables government to be small and limited.

...can tackle soaring social and economic inequality as a way to save capitalism, restore the financial sector as an aid to free markets and not their corrupting parasite

...emphatically does not mean resistance to all change. In fact, it understands some change as critical to conservation.

...will end our unending wars

...[will] rid the criminal justice system of its racial blind spots

...[will] defend liberal education and high culture against the barbarians of postmodernism and the well-intentioned toxins of affirmative action

...[will] pay down the debt

...[will] reform the corruption of religious faith

...[will] protect our physical landscape

...[will] invest in non-carbon energy

...[will] begin at the local level to rebuild community and the spirit of American civil association.

And this is why the fairy tale of the perfect batch of  Unicorn Piss -- which has never existed outside of Mr. Sullivan's ideological dorm room -- persists.

Because, like smoking, sneering at Both Sides and extolling the glories of an Imaginary Center, is the perfect cynical pose for the young and foolish, which quickly becomes the unbreakable addiction of the old and cowardly who no longer dare to form their mouths to say that "The Left has been right about the Right all along".  And the deeper they sink into their Unicorn Piss cups, the more desperately they cling to the fantasy of the an Imaginary True Conservatism is their infinitely versatile answer to every inconvenient question.

It is a gallon jug of All Good Things and No Bad Things that never runs dry.  It pairs well with fish, tofu and gator meat.  It is self-lubricating and water absorbent and water resistant.  It conflicts with nothing except those terrible Extremes on Both Sides.  It's a floor wax.  It's a dessert topping.  It takes the shape of whatever container you pour it into and will solve whatever problem happens to be vexing you at this moment.  It'll grow your hair back, lose you 30 pounds, get you laid like a rock star and runs on sunshine and mindfulness.

At least that's what it says on the label.

On fact, it is an addiction cycle being maintained by pushers who have nothing but to Unicorn Piss left to sell, and users who are terrified of stopping.  A scam that depends entirely selling cowards and quislings a new batch of True Conservatism as the whiz-bang, never-fail, sure-fire cure to --

-- the savage hangover from their last True Conservatism bender.

*Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatism:
If Mr. Sullivan suddenly developed a taste for pineapple ice cream, within a week he would be penning columns about how "Liking Pineapple Ice Cream" is a cardinal Conservative value because of something something Edmund Burke. If he got sick on bad Thai food, we would suddenly see a spate of columns discussing bad Thai food and how it is something that only extreme Christianists or Left Liberal would ever put in their mouths.

He is, at best, a flighty dilettante with a wealth patron and does not have the slightest fucking clue about how his adopted country works.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

What is it about Rightwing Killbots Named "Ben"?

Who write propaganda for skeevy foreign interests?

From this morning:
Which puts your's truly in mind of Ben Domenech's relentless climb to media celebrity and respectability despite the fact that he merits neither: 
Believe it or not, his climb back up the mountain of respectability wasn’t without further stumbles. In 2013, Domenech swan-dived back into hot water after it was revealed he took $36,000 from a lobbyist to write propaganda for the government of Malaysia. Those pieces, written for a number of publications, including the Washington Times and Huffington Post, were subsequently removed and added to the remarkably expansive graveyard of Domenech retractions.
Since fifty years of failure, corruption and devolution has shown the Conservative ideology to be a hollow, bankrupt sham, it makes perfect sense that the intellectual vanguard coming out of the movement's whelping boxes these days would be a "spindly, ricket-ridden, milky, wizened, dim-eyed, gammy-handed, limpy line of things".

And yet it has clearly been decided high up and far away that the Right shall be given a wildly disproportionate claim on the public square no matter how deep into bared-fanged lunacy they descend.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #458

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” 
-- Douglas Adams

Don't forget to visit our new website -- -- for all of the sweet bells and whistles:  there are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as links to our swingin' Zazzle merch store,  our respective blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Kittehs! and much more. Many thanks once again to @theologop for building it all for us!


The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" 
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The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of the Bridgeport Empire?


Me, a week ago:

From the Chicago Sun-Times 12 minutes ago:

When Richie Daley left office, he left a shambles behind.

The mighty Daley clout machine which Richard II had inherited from Richard I had been retooled for the modern age to run on a rubber-stamp City Council and contracting authority money instead of a rubber-stamp City Council and city jobs, but once the Great Recession hit and the city's revenues took a massive nose-dive, the whole machine seized irreparably up. There were city-wide upper management buyouts, which is how your 'umble scrivener accidentally ended up running an entire city department for nearly a year, and pulling some amazing moves and running some groundbreaking projects that ended up being incorporated into the vocabulary of the Obama campaign.

Then there were city-wide layoffs, which is how your 'umble scrivener ended unemployed and unemployable in the teeth of the Great Recession.   And the layoffs didn't end with drones and technocrats likeme who had no political protection, but of men and women with clout er Chrissakes!  Which threw the whole clout system -- which ran on absolute loyalty in exchange for permanent job security -- into chaos.

To stave off the coming collapse, Daley sold off the Skyway for pennies on the dollars, and then sold off the parking meters for a quick cash infusion.  Both were rammed through City Council as long-term, rain-day funds when everyone fucking well knew Daley was gonna spend every nickle of it fast and stupid, like Paul Manafort at the Ostrich Apparel Center.  But none of it was enough and so Daley decided it was time to exit as a legend before the villagers drove him out with pitchforks.

And so it came to pass that da city hired themselves dis guy, Rahmses, to run a caretaker government and say "No" to anyone who asked for anything.  And now that Rahmses has decided to exit as an asterisk before before the villagers drive him out with pitchforks, the question then becomes, does the heir presumptive of the Bridgeport Empire still have the juice to reclaim the ancient throne of the Daleys up on the 5th floor of City Hall.

Back in 1973, Mike Royko, the mighty chronicler of all things Chicago, peered into the the murky bottom of a Billy Goat beer stein and divined the future of the city thus:
Daley has already ruled Chicago for longer than most kings reigned in their countries. At this point, many of his loyal subjects view him as more a monarch than an elected official. It seems obvious that he intends to pass the entire city on to his sons, which is a gesture worthy of a king.
And after an interregnum that spanned the clueless (Bilandic) the hapless (Byrne) and thesaurus (Harold!) that is exactly how history unfolded. And so now the real question is, does the Chicago Machine still have enough functional gears and cams and fuel in the tank to put one more Daley back in charge?

If I had to bet, I would bet against it.  If I had to bet, I would bet the next Mare of Chicago will be named Dorothy or Chuy.  Hell, if the vote is sufficiently splintered, maybe even Paul Vallas gets through this time.  But I am far away from Chicago these days -- no longer within earshot of the boys and girls who work the dark magic of big city politics.  So instead of prophecy, let me share a little history, in the form of the last, large-scale post I did on the reign of Richard M. Daley.

Sun Sets on the Bridgeport Empire: Finale

The corrupt dealings and authoritarian follies of Da Mare's long rule has provided Chicago writers with a treasure trove of material over the years. because however often the bureaucratic deck chairs were reshuffled (about every 18 months) and however much good was done (a lot), under the hood, the instrumentalities of Chicago Cityguv always operated according to two imperatives:

1. Eliminate all potential rivals to Richard M. Daley.
2. Keep the Clout Club intact.

Obedience to these directives inevitably resulted in an Administration characterized by both a high-handed dictatorial approach to government, and a strain of malignant neglect that Da Mare allowed to spread throughout his political domain.

Splashy headline-generating promises were routinely made to about the Great No-Cost/Low-Cost Things that were going to be entrepreneurially unleashed for da good people of da city a' Chicago dat we all love so much... 
... that were later quietly reneged upon in private ("Wireless Perversity In Chicago").

Regulations ostentatiously unveiled to show how reformed and squeaky-clean and not-at-all-like-the-bad-old-days-of-two-weeks-ago things were now...were publicly broken without so much as a peep from the press ("The First Rule of Clout Club").

Public assets were frantically sold off at pawn-shop prices to provide Hizzoner with enough quick cash to prop up the Final Days of his administration...after which all those lovely, lavish assurances about how the proceeds would be carefully set aside as a rainy-day fund were promptly ignored once Daley got his hands on the dough ("The Clout Burglars").

These were the sorts of things about which some of us -- too damn few of us -- ot up in Hizzoner grill about over the years.

Did he care?


I mean, yes, Richie Daley was a bully -- charming as long as he got 100% of his way 100% of the time, but with a mile-wide vengeful streak in him and skin thin enough to read the fine print on a dodgy, nephew-enriching leasing deal through ("Layoffs, Nephews and Da Family Bidness")..on a moonless night...under a bridge -- but with a supine press at his feet, the tremendous machineries of the Chicago, Cook County and State governments at his command, a government press corps at his beck and call (including full-time Public Information Officers and Shakman-exempt [did you even know there was such a thing?] political enforcers at the elbow of every city commissioner and director), friends operating at the highest levels of Communist China
(never thought I'd live long enough to construct that sentence), the White House on speed-dial and his brother literally behind the throne, and virtually every civic, charitable and commercial board in the city stacked high with still-loyal formers executives and chiefs of staff...there was never any real chance of serious opposition to his Imperial reign.

Which did not relieve us from the moral obligation to speak out.

And now it is over -- a mayoralty never to be repeated or surpassed ...
daleymandias longevity, reach or power, that leaves behind it a demoralized and exhausted government that is heading off a financial cliff... 
("Nothing Left to Steal").

And as the Age of R2D2 passes into history, I cannot help but recall how Hizzoner used to handle the shouters who routinely showed up at the city's public budget hearings and demanded answers from Himself.

Da Mare and his crew -- as was his custom -- would sit there stone-faced and let whoever it was yell for his or her allotted two minutes or longer. Then, as the troublemaker's jeremiad started to run long (or as they were escorted away from the microphone) every once in a while Daley would lean into his own mic and drown them out by loudly repeating "Go wit God. Go wit God." until they were well out of earshot. 

And so, in that spirit, go wit God, Mr. Mayor. 
Go wit God.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Third Party Pity Party Is In Now Full Swing

Napoleon and his crew are always only too happy to sacrifice Boxer -- 

 -- for the sake of their glorious revolution.

Behold, a Tip Jar!