Tuesday, October 25, 2016

And Here Come The Chicken Farmers, Ctd.

First, a little context (from me, from a couple of years ago):
Of course, once you gave up on actual governing and turned your Zombie Army of Wingnut Purity loose to wreck the country in the name of Rush Limbaugh's idea of ideological conformity, it was only a matter of time before they would begin picnicking on each other. Or, as one low-born, bootless blabbermouth once said about another Purity Cult:
...once purity itself becomes all you care about -- once  it becomes a distillery race to see who can get to 100% -- the chicken farmers are never far behind:
The main Islamist group in Algeria, the GIA, ended up being led by a Mr. Zouabri, a chicken farmer, who killed everyone who disagreed with him. He issued a final communiqué, declaring that the whole of Algerian society should be killed, with the exception of his tiny remaining band of Islamists. They were the only ones who understood the truth.
And now, a ringside seat for the crackup, as the clown car slams into the wall at 120 mph:

Everyone is in on it, man!


You know, on their worst day, the junkies in "A Scanner Darkly" were less fucked-in-the-head and conspiracy-happy than these heroes of the Party of Personal Responsibility.

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Operation Memory Hole: America's Elite Media Fires Up The Bagger 293

If you have followed the long, sickening collapse of American political media over the last 30 years, you know that after every Republican catastrophe there comes the most solemn and sacred ritual in the business:  the excavation of a memory hole big enough to bury the whole fucking fiasco, root and branch as fast as possible.  Dig the pit, dump the body, quicklime it, pour enough Chernobyl-grade bullshit over the site to sarcophagize the whole thing and then post signs warning future generations of the Dire Consequences of poking around anywhere near the truth:

With that accomplished, the American political media is then free to get back to the important business of mooning over Paul Ryan's abs and wondering why the Democrats refuse to deploy their magic Green Lantern powers to compel Republicans to stop wrecking the place and wallowing in deranged conspiracies and actually, y'know, grow the fuck up and govern.

And so here we find ourselves once again, at the very first stages of the next great act of national Strategic Forgettery, when the stink of desperation and failure blend with the odor of greasepaint and hair-spray.  The split second after the Big Bang when everything is hot and dangerous and the exact shape of the Next Big Lie has not emerged  yet.  It is a scary, frantic time during which members of our Elite Media will be seen across this Land of the Free flinging every bit of poo in their magic bag against every wall they can reach in order to achieve the most vital imperative of all:

Of course there will be a few, notable contrarians along the way (most of whom will not be anywhere near contrary enough to admit that the Left has been right about the Right all along) and they should be noted,  For example, this by Dana Milbank in the WaPo -- 
The lap dogs of democracy who didn’t bark at Trump 
is, among other things, one of the more unsparing beat-downs of Mark Halperin that I have seen outside of the Liberal blogosphere:
Consider Trump’s refusal at last week’s debate to say that he would respect the results of the election, a violation of the indispensable notion of the peaceful transfer of power.

But on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the next morning, the process journalists had a different view. “It’s the revenge of the elites,” Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics said. “Elites do not accept that that was an appropriate answer.”

Host Joe Scarborough agreed that the issue was only of concern to “people in newsrooms . . . with their soy lattes.”

Halperin (Harvard ’87) went on to say that “normal people won’t care about that answer.”

“Morning Joe” has come in for a large share of criticism for cheering on the rise of Trump. And contributor Halperin’s praise for Trump’s tactical genius has been particularly soulless...

But the real story that is even now starting to unfold is the story of the largest and most cynical media excavating machine ever built by the hand of man shaking itself fitfully awake to dig the largest memory hole you have ever seen.

Here are some of the early results.

It's not the "Republican Party" that's to blame; it's "Trumpism" (from Crooks & Liars):
Morning Joe Down The Memory Hole: We're Calling It 'Trumpism'

"Box Turtle" Ben Domenech at "The Federalist" can find no fault with Conservativism:
The Failure Of American Institutions, Not Of Conservatism, Made Donald Trump Possible
While Warren Henry (also from "The Federalist" and retweeted approvingly by noted Conservative lunatic and New York Times contributor,  Erick Erickson) gets in on the ground floor of what I am sure will be a very profitable and entertaining "Blame the Dirty Hippies" campaign:
Liberals Adored Trump When He Was Winning The GOP Primary

Donald Trump’s rise was fueled in part by progressives who cried wolf about Republicans for years. During the so-called “invisible primary” and early contests in 2016, several liberal pundits entertained the idea that Donald Trump was not the worst possible GOP nominee, even if some ultimately changed their minds...
And speaking of noted Conservative lunatic and New York  Times contributor,  Erick Erickson, and the beginning of a what I am sure will be a very widespread and entertaining "Blame the Dirty Hippies" campaign, from his article in The Indulgent -- 
Breitbart and a Liberal Acitivist Coordinated to Advance the Clinton Agenda

By Erick Erickson  |  October 24, 2016, 09:58pm...
-- and from his Facebook page:
All along it seems more and more obvious that Donald Trump was working hand in glove with the Clinton machine. He called Bill Clinton before running. He drummed up Democrat turn out while building hype about Republican turn out. Turns out that Trump is not expanding the GOP and is not bringing in a wave of new voters. In fact, turn out this year is not a record high.
And of course, no matter what, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times will always be there in his reserved shy-box seat in, dispensing his brand of "Both Siderism"/"A Republican Renaissance is just around the corner" crank to grateful collaborators and co-conspirators.  

Sooner that you will believe possible, some or all of these (or some combination of them, or some entirely different Big Lie) will be mainstreamed into the American political bloodstream,  The Next Big Lie will be coming out of the mouths of Very Serious People on every cable teevee new show and every Sunday Morning Gasbag roundup.  Barrels of ink will be spilled by all the best newspapers to give the Next Big Lie as many column inches as possible.  It will spread quickly to NPR and PBS. And then, probably sometime in the Spring of next year, you will begin to see echos of the Next Big Lie intermingled with all the usual, rambling ALL CAP nonsense you get on Facebook or via email from your Crazy Uncle Liberty, when it will finally serve it's long-term purpose.  

Next Big Lie will be your Crazy Uncle Liberty's next alibi.  His next ouchless absolution.  His next, all-purpose, no-credit-limit "Get Out Of Personal Responsibility Free" card.

And the disease of Conservatism will go merrily along.  

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Today In Both Sides Do It: The Return of the Pope of the Church of Both Siderism

In which Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times returns once again to his factory default setting.

Once again Mr. Brooks finds New and Exciting Ways to indict Both Sides:
We’ve had a tutorial on worry this year. The election campaign isn’t really about policy proposals, issue solutions or even hope. It’s led by two candidates who arouse gargantuan anxieties, fear and hatred in their opponents.

Educated-class anxiety can often be characterized as a feeling overabundant of options without a core of convicting purpose...

This election has also presented members of the educated class with an awful possibility: that their pleasant social strata may rest on unstable molten layers of anger, bigotry and instability. How could this guy Trump get even 40 percent of the votes? America may be not quite the country we thought it was...

Among the less educated, anxiety flows from and inflames a growing sense that the structures of society are built for the exploitation of people like themselves. Everything is rigged; the rulers are malevolent and corrupt...

It is a well-established fact that people who experience social exclusion have a tendency to slide toward superstitious and conspiratorial thinking...
Once again Mr. Brooks memory-holes the shit out recent American political history to eradicate any mention of how Conservatives have treated the Left for years:
We’ve seen a level of thuggery this election cycle that is without precedent in recent American history. Some of the anti-Trump demonstrators seem more interested in violence than politics. Some of the Trumpians are savage.
Once again Mr. Brooks is overflowing with pious alarm and botheration over the Shocking Discovery that his Republican Party is full of beasts...

...now that those beasts have finally shown up at the door of people like David Brooks:
David French wrote a shocking essay for National Review describing the appalling online abuse he suffered because of his anti-Trump stance.
And once again Mr. Brooks sings his plutocrat benefactors to sleep with a bedtime story about how, any day now, his Republican party will spontaneously grow opposable thumbs and climb down out of the Stupid Tree:
If you’re worrying, you’re spiraling into your own narcissistic pool. But concrete plans and actions thrust us into the daily fact of other people’s lives. This campaign will soon be over, and governing, thank God, will soon return.
Once again, our elite media is gearing up to drive this latest Republican atrocity out to the swamps and bury it in the same Memory Hole down which it has shoved every other Republican atrocity.

And once again, the same ragged line of dirty hippies will be the only ones standing athwart the roaring river of Strategic Forgettery coming our way, shouting "Stop!"

Just you wait and see.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

America's Offender-In-Chief Shoots Off His Lie-Hole Again

I have to admit, at this point I'm kinda looking forward to our national Dunning-Kruger census on November 8th.

It's been a long time since we've had a really accurate, precinct-by-precinct count of how many of our fellow citizens are irredeemably bent bigots and dumbfucks.

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Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"First They Came For The Dirty Hippies" Edition.

We on the Left are blessed and cursed with a long and functional memory.

For example, we actually remember what it has been like to be a Liberal in American over the last few decades.

We remember the Right dropping whole houses on anyone who spoke out against the Bush Administration during the run-up to the Iraq Debacle:

And we remember having to bury our most outspoken comrades in secret because of credible threats from Real Murricans.  From the "In Memoriam" column for Mr. Steven Gilliard, in the New York Times, December, 2007 (emphasis added):
It was a life both short and loud. What began with a bad cough just after Valentine’s Day became a spiraling infection that ravaged Gilliard’s vulnerable heart and kidneys, and he spent most of his last four months hospitalized. The identities he kept separate for most of his 42 years collided in the days after he died; the few dozen mostly white bloggers who came to Harlem for the funeral saw for the first time the stark urban setting of Gilliard’s childhood, while his parents and relatives groped to understand what kind of work he had been doing at that computer and why scores of people had come so far to see him off. They must have been confused when Gilly’s online pals, sickened by the way some right-wing bloggers were gloating over his death, advised them not to disclose where he was buried, out of fear that someone might deface the site. The grave, like Gilliard himself, is known only to a few.
We remember it all because stalking us, demonizing us, dehumanizing us has been the Conservative stock-in-trade for as long as many of us can remember.

We remember it all, in vivid detail because for decades, slandering the Left us has been the Comstock Lode -- the Banana Stand -- for the laziest, stupidest, most deeply dishonest and talent-free idiots and con men in America:

The Right -- carefully and deliberately -- turned the act of feeding, accelerating and amplifying the madness of the mob into a highly profitable, multi-platform media empire.  

They turned hate into a business and for a long time business was good.

But then the beast they invented to lead a mob they had created started speaking in the uncoded language of the mob, and that was not supposed to happen.  Trump began regurgitating their own bestial, unhinged, racist drivel out loud at 1000 decibels; so loud that even the Right's most craven media collaborators (Looking at you, Halperin) could no longer pretend that everything was OK.  

And as they started to slooowly sidle away from the monster they had made, the meathead mob they had created started to detect unauthorized movement at the periphery of the Glorious Cause!  Suddenly some of the Right's most successful slanderers and demonizers were tossing around words like "principle", but not to blast some dirty, commie pinko terrorist-loving Libtard, but to distance themselves from the Great and Powerful Trump.  

And then, just as one dirty, commie pinko terrorist-loving Libtard predicted would happen long ago, the Little Red State Fundy mob did exactly what they had been trained to:  Attack!Attack!Attack! anything that smelled like heresy.

This is where Nicole Belle from Crooks & Liars (Welcome back, Nicole.  We missed you! And thanks for the video, Heather!) picks up the action with just the sort of story I woulda written had I not been [Insert Your Own Damn Walking Dead Spoiler Here] last night with middle child.  

Conservative Figures Out Libs Were Right All Along: The Alt-Right Is Scary 
By Nicole Belle

Back in June of this year, alleged Republican "kingmaker" Bill Kristol (the man responsible for inflicting Sarah Palin on the national dialog) was horrified at Donald Trump's march to the Republican nomination and toyed with launching an independent run to challenge Trump as the head of the party he's been manipulating behind the scenes for decades. His candidate of choice? David French, a senior fellow with the National Review and an Iraq War vet. The Trump campaign took very little time to try to intimidate him out of such a run and within a few days, French bowed out.
But Trump's alt-right minions weren't satisfied with just eliminating the potential rival candidacy. French needed to be punished for daring to consider the possibility at all and continuing to be a vocal #NeverTrump proponent. The harassment he received is not at all unfamiliar to those of us on the left who have come across these alt-righters on social media...
That is legitimately fricking terrifying and I don't want to sound callous about it at all. NO ONE should be subjected to that kind of treatment, full stop.
But I do want to point out that the left HAS been warning people of this kind of treatment. Women have routinely spoken to how unsafe social media is to them. Ask People of Color how the right has responded to "Black Lives Matter". Ask Muslims and Hispanics how they've been treated during this primary season. Even Jewish journalists feel assaulted by Trump supporters...
The monster the Right made can never be destroyed until the necromancers, poisoners and other dark conjurers are brought to book for the crime of bringing it to life in the first place.

Meanwhile, in "Hillary will not have a mandate because [Fill In The Blank]" news, professional Centrist bromide extruder, Matthew Dowd, is so desperate to straddle the hell out of every fence in Christendom that he manages to argue himself to a draw on network teevee.

First, Hillary will not have a mandate because so many people don't like her (emphasis strewn about to amuse myself):
DOWD: Well, I -- you know, this is the thing. This, as I mentioned earlier she's going to be re-elected on Election Day where half of her voters aren't voting for her. They're voting against Donald Trump that she's disliked and distrusted by the country. There's not a mandate on a series of issues because this hasn't been argued over issues in this...
And then some incomprehensible, Both Siderist shit about "the moon", because hey, why not show up to work drunk?
DOWD: I think Donald Trump, for all the things that we've said about Donald Trump and the buffoonery nature of it, he is like the guy that's pointing at the moon, and you look at the guy until you see the moon, right? Donald Trump is pointing at the moon which is a very frustrated working class part of the country, the same thing that Bernie Sanders pointed at in the Democratic primary...
Like, have you ever looked at your hand, man.  I mean, really looked at it!?

OK, cowboy, time for you to have a lie-down.

In fact, the only way Hillary Clinton will ever be able to claim anything like a mandate is if she personally unites the entire country:
DOWD:  Hillary Clinton has to figure out in a very divided country in a very demographic diverse country and a country that doesn't like her. What -- is she a transformational leader and does she do that? The final two weeks in this, she has an opportunity to become her as well just like Donald Trump didn't do to become something that people perceive as not, which is a transformational leader that can speak to the whole country. 
But -- at this is where it all breaks orbit and becomes high comedy -- because Mr. Dowd is desperate not to get sucked out of his teevee gig and onto the unemployment line by disagreeing today's iteration of Beltway Received Wisdom, just moments later Mr. Dowd is forced to admit that the Trumpkins are unhinged goons who Hillary Clinton should not even bother to talk to:

DOWD: I think the issue is -- I think the issue is, is Paul Ryan is going to have to make a decision, Republican leaders is going to have to make a decision on election night. And that's what I think the moment they -- they should have and could have been principled much more principle to try to grasp a hold of where the country is. But I think one of them has to stand up on election night and be the designated driver and take the car key as way from Donald Trump and concede and on his behalf and say enough is enough. It's time that we --

DOWD: I don't think she should go and talk to Republicans actually.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with Matt.

DOWD: Because I think they're -- I think they're all tainted with this. Donald Trump is not the cause of this. Donald Trump is a symptom of this.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely.
So, to recap, Hillary Clinton cannot have a mandate unless she unites the country, but she cannot unite the country because the Republican Party to which Mr. Dowd devoted most of his adult life is fucking de-ranged.

So how in the world can Hillary Clinton ever hope to accomplish a task which Mr. Dowd himself has said is impossible?

DOWD: Donald Trump arrived -- and she has to address the symptom. I think she needs to talk to independents, talk to independent leaders around the country and build something new.
Yeah, screw those Republicans.

If Hillary Clinton wants to fix a broken country and get her mandate on, her only hope is to take the wise counsel of "independents".

Like, say, Matt "Why won't anyone believe I'm an Independent?" Dowd.

The mighty Athenae (wise and good) at First Draft succinctly sums up my own feelings:
All due respect Madam President, but no, you don’t have to heal shit.

You and your party were not the ones out there screaming about locking up political opponents.

You and your party were not the ones tongue-kissing Putin and talking about the upsides of Saddam Hussein.

You and your party were not calling for the murder of journalists, using Nazi terminology or the word “cunt” as a comma.

You don’t have to heal nothin’.

Once and for all time, the onus of political healing is on THE PEOPLE WHO FUCKED UP. This country did not “become” divided because of “both sides” doing it. This country did not naturally develop a culture of political obstruction like a cold front rolling in, with nothing to be done but bundle up, and no one to blame but the gods.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fundraiser Day Seven: Hugh Hewitt Racks Up More Wingnut Good Boy Points

After the third and final presidential "debate" last Wednesday, the inexplicably-still-employed Hugh Hewitt showed up to debate the debate looking sad.  Well, not "sad" exactly: "sad" is one of those human emotional states which Mr. Hewitt has not yet figured out how to simulate.

So let's just say he showed up looking like a superannuated Sears Menswear mannequin that had been worked over with a bag of doorknobs.

His mission:  Jam the words "Project Veritas" into the conversation as hard and as often as possible before Joy Ann Reid and Chris Hayes' sheer incredulity forces him to power down.  (Loyal Republican wind-sock Michael Steele takes it a step further by insinuating that it was really Sekrit Democrats masquerading as Republicans who got Trump nominated in the first place, )

Let's go to the tape!  (h/t Crooks & Liars)

Because, according to Mr. Hewitt, if you don't get right down in the pig-shit and rassle with scum like O'Keefe every time he sharts in public, the you "[play] into rigged media" narrative.

If this sounds familiar, it's because this is exactly the same "reasoning" you find with every unhinged Alt-Right twitter egg and ALL CAPS Conservative emailer in Christendom:  the infantile and idiotic insistence that if you don't let them set the terms of the "debate" and if you don't take the time to individually rebut every single one of the infinite number of shit-dipped lies and conspiracies they Gish Gallop around every single day, then they "win"!  


In case you were unfamiliar, "Project Veritas" is the for-profit Conservative ratfucking racket run by seedy wingnut hatchet man, James O'Keefe:
Trump neglected, however, to mention his own connection to the videos, released by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas tax-exempt group. According to a list of charitable donations made by Trump‘s controversial foundation (provided to the Washington Post in April by Trump’s campaign), on May 13, 2015, it gave $10,000 to Project Veritas.

What’s more, there is a great deal of reason to be skeptical of the videos themselves. O’Keefe has a long history of selectively editing videos to present a false impression to the viewer. His most famous video, an attack on the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, supposedly showed employees agreeing to help him smuggle underage prostitutes into the country. It turned out the employees later had called the police and O’Keefe eventually paid $100,000 in a settlement after being sued for surreptitious recording of someone’s voice and image. 
Even Glenn Beck’s conservative The Blaze slammed O’Keefe over a selectively-edited video purporting to show unethical action on the part of National Public Radio executives, faulting “ editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented...
Again, on Twitter, Mr. Hewitt brags to his owners that he done good!

In case you missed it, America's Most Humble and Respected Conservative Public Intellectual -- Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times -- has also gone into the business of mainstreaming seedy wingnut hatchet man, James O'Keefe.

Which might make the more vividly imaginative among you speculate as to just exactly what kind of sordid, badly-edited, "2 AM and drunk on the Lido deck at the National Review Cruise"  footage of Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Brooks might be on-file with "Project Veritas"?

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Fundraiser Day Seven: The Gettysburg Abscess

The dark carnival that is the Trump Campaign continues to limp onto the ash heap of history by butt-scooting it's crackpot theories and racist demagoguery all over the hallowed ground of Gettysburg. I'm not sure which Trump brain-wizard decided that the sight of a doomed racist cause making a suicidal charge into the teeth of overwhelming force was the very best metaphor on which to begin the final chapter of the campaign of their unhinged orange fire demon, but I hope they got their money up front.

I was such a demented ramble of Trump's angry, random notions, disjointed conspiracies, tangentially related grievances and physically, financially, temporally and constitutionally impossible claptrap tarted up to sound like "policy" that I could not track it all, but here are my notes, such as they are...
  • Trump is doubling down on every batshit lie he has been running all along.  Go, lemmings, go!
  • Dead Man Ranting

  • Remember how Lincoln kept barking "Believe me! Believe me!" after the dozens and dozens of outrageous lies he told on this hallowed ground?

  • I will direct my Secretary of Commerce & Legitimate Businessman, Charles Ponzi, to do many amazing things.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Imaginary Science, Trofim Lysenko, to pull "Clean Coal" out of his ass.  Burn it all now, people!  Without the Commie EPA who shall stop us!  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Homeland Security, Crazy Joe Arpaio, to arrest my political enemies.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Deregulationism, Jack T. Ripper, to hit the Undo Obama button eight million times on my first day in office.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Trump Math, my son Uday, to make 2+2 equal whatever I damn well say it is.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Propaganda, Steve Bannon, to bring the fucking hammer down on the free press.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Doubletalk, Hugh Hewitt, to follow me around with a pooper-scooper and a giant shit-eating grin.  Bigly!  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Illegals to protect us from the cybers by only letting in people who love us.  With talents this is possible ("Talents"?  like "Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred three score and six talents of gold") Believe me!

  • Apparently Trump's end-game strategy is to flummox SNL writers by overloading them with material.  

  • Let the media race to find the last "Undecided" voter in America begin!
As grotesque and horrifying as all of this is, don't let any of your Conservative friends or colleagues get away with feigning shock or surprise or that Trump is some freakish Black Swan event.

Here is what I wrote just 36 hours after Donald J. Trump glided down the escalator and began his takeover of the Republican Party:

The Premium Leads

In case you missed it, Squint and the Meat Puppet handed the MSNBC camera over to Donald Trump this morning for a relaxing, 30-minute handjob. While Trump rambled lazily from one pinnacle of bullshit and narcissism to the next, Morning Joe crack house regulars Mark Halperin (Glenn Beck's favorite mainstream media enabler) and the pickled remains of Mike Barnacle looked on, smirking and giggling. All that it lacked to complete the creepy, peep-show effect were trench-coats and bad lighting.

But of course, the story of the Trump candidacy has very little to do with Donald Trump. 

As I wrote a few years ago,the brain-caste of the GOP spent a 40 years and billions of dollars carefully breeding an army of reliably angry, paranoid, racists chumps. And they have been so successful at completely re-engineering the Right's ideological digestive system that they can no longer process any information which does not come to them in the form of Fox-approved Benghaaaazi goo.  

In other words, in order to win elections and rake in vast fortunes, the Conservative brain caste has painstakingly created the perfect feeding-ground for con men and demagogues like Trump, the louder and more bombastic the better. And from David Brooks and the Wall Street Journal and "Meet the Press", to Ann Coulter and the Washington Free Beacon and the Breitbart Collective, in one way or another, virtually everyone in the media makes bank by flattering Conservative meatheads and pandering to their delusions.

They are the GOP's premium leads, but however abundant and renewable a resource the Conservative meatheads may be, come Presidential election time, there is never enough room at the trough for every rapacious Republican hog.  Thisis why every few years we have these Little Red State Fundy moments; that delicate time when the knives come out and the various species of Conservative con men start cutting each other's balls over who gets to pluck the wingnut pigeons...

...while trying desperately not to call attention to the fact that their entire political system depends on pandering to the army of reliably angry, paranoid, racists chumps which the GOP has worked so long and hard to cultivate.

Fortunately for the Right, now that the "respectable" media has as much to lose by cracking out of turn as Hate Radio and Fox News, we can all look forward to another campaign season of the American mainstream media looking stoically the other way.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Fundraiser Day Seven: At The Final Trump Rally

Then, on November 9th, the meathead crowds suddenly became much less congenial...

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Professional Left Podcast #359

"There is no dignity in wickedness, whether in purple or rags; and hell is a democracy of devils, where all are equals."
--   Herman Melville, writer


Fundraiser Day Six: Defender of the Faith

No sacred American institution has taken more of a beating from the Rise of Trump than the high and holy Both Siderist Church of Lyin'tology.

As future scholars of Beltway theology will note, by the turn of the 21st century, Both Siderism had been a toxin in the veins of American political reporting for decades.  In a healthy democracy, the Mr. Yuk poison sign that Hunter Thompson nailed up on the occasion of the death of Richard Nixon would have been sufficient warning to future ink-stained wretches of the perils of trying to remain "Objective" in the face of an obvious monster:
Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism -- which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.
Sadly we do not live in a healthy democracy, and despite the dire warnings of their betters, pundits around the Washington Beltway and up and down the Acela Corridor went right on making a comfortable living by performing the ritual sacrifice of journalism to the gods of False Equivalence.  

Then came the collapse of the Bush Administration, and everything changed.

Future scholars of Beltway theology will point to the complete collapse of the Bush Administration as the precipitating catastrophe that turned Both Siderism from a prominent and prosperous denomination into the Official State Religion of the America's political media.  And it's not that hard to figure out why.

 After the collapse of the Bush Administration, America's political media was suddenly, wildly overstocked with Bush regime former speechwriters, cheerleaders, apologists and go-along-to-get-along capitulators and collaborates which cruel reality has stripped naked before the world with nary a narrative fig-leaf to protect them.

And while I am but a low and perverse driftglass living on the raggedy edge of our free and fair press, it has always been my understanding that Republicans and their capitulators and collaborates value nothing more highly than the ruthless efficiency of the free market.  A system which noted neoconservative, crackpot "freedom scholar" and all-around pile of human offal, Michael Ledeen, describes as:
"Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law." 
Sure, it was superfuckingawesome to making a fine, fat living by mocking capitalism's losers and casualties as moochers and takers from the comfort of your Bethesda mansion...but what happens when the bubble bursts?

What happens when those legions of Bush Administration former speechwriters, cheerleaders, apologists and go-along-to-get-along capitulators and collaborates -- who have gotten every single fucking thing loudly and catastrophically wrong -- suddenly find themselves sliding down into the "creative destruction" of the free market's Sarlac Pit?  What happens when you are the "old order" and the terrible hand of the free market arrives to tear down your cozy little sinecure?

The answer is obvious.

Since you and your cronies already dominate the media, you simply declare the Year Zero of a New Faith with a new Creed.  A faith in which no atonement for the horrible shit you and your cronies did yesterday is required and no forgiveness is necessary because discussing the past is forbidden.  A faith in which no Bush Administration former speechwriter, cheerleader, apologist or go-along-to-get-along capitulator or collaborate will ever be held specifically and individually responsible for anything, because Both Sides/All Sides/Society In General are always to blame for everything.

And upon this foundation, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times and a few others built their Church of Lyin'tology and turned public proclamation of the Both Siderist creed into the official signifier of imperial legitimacy and identity.

Which bring us to Mr. David Brooks' column in the New York Times today.

As America's leading Brooksologist, I don't read a David Brooks column like a normal person because I already know what I'm looking for.  Mr. Brooks is a maudlin and dishonest writer with a severely limited repertoire and only 800 words twice a week to push his shitty product, so it's easy for me to sweep through any given column and find the inevitable, Both Sideist "razor in the apple" because it's always there somewhere.

But today, in his desperation to keep his temple propped up and in the black, Mr. Brooks did something that took me by surprise.

First, after a couple of paragraphs praising Hillary Clinton's speaking style,  in accordance with the Creed of Both Siderism. Mr. Brooks first radically widened his condemnation of Donald Trump to indict the entire country --
It’s becoming ever clearer that the nation’s moral capital is being decimated, and the urgent challenge is to name that decimation and reverse it.
-- and then radically narrowed the temporal scope of that condemnation to imply that Trump's demagogic awfulness is somehow a brand new thing under the sun, and not the predictable (and predicted) end-product of a depraved and deliberate strategy which has been cooking along inside Mr. Brooks' Republican party for the last 40 years:
This year Trump is dismantling those restraints one by one. By savagely attacking Carly Fiorina’s looks and Ted Cruz’s wife he dismantled the codes of etiquette that prevent politics from becoming an unmodulated screaming match. 
So...Mr. Brooks has never heard of Newt Gingrich?
 Listened to By lying more or less all the time, he dismantles the fealty to truth without which conversation is impossible. 
So....Mr. Brooks has also never heard of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Ralph Reed?  Mary Matalin?  Jerry Falwell, Junior or Senior?  Laura Ingraham?   Never caught a glimpse of something called "Fox News" while waiting for the mechanic to tally up the bill for his oil change?  Never caught a whiff of Conservative Hate Radio on some vagrant summer breeze while whisking from one Aspen Institute panel to another?
By refusing to automatically respect the election results he corrodes confidence in our common institutions and risks turning public life into a never-ending dogfight.
And finally, Mr. Brooks has apparently never met Mr. Ken Starr, of Clinton-era $40M witch-hunting fame.  Nor has Mr. Brooks ever met Senator John McCain, whose 2008 campaign accused ACORN:
...a community activist group that operates nationwide, of perpetrating "massive voter fraud." It says Obama has "long and deep" ties to the group.
Nor does Mr. Brooks read Brother Charles Pierce like all good little do-bees do:
Why Are You Surprised Trump Won't Respect the Results of the Election?
It's been the Republican way for 25 years.
Mr. Brooks is also apparently completely unfamiliar with the "The Caucus Room Conspiracy": an ongoing Republican plot to neutralize the legitimate election of Barack Obama by sabotage. Amazingly, he also appears to have never heard of the "Birther" movement: a parallel, racist Republican conspiracy to delegitimize the Obama Administration outright.

In fact, one might get the impression that Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times doesn't really know shit about anything, but as America's leading Brooksologist I can assure you that this is all par for the course. Nothing unusual here -- just the the kind of standard-issue Brooksian claptrap that delights the handful of deluded plutocrat shut-ins who underwrite his career.  

No, what really put me back on my heels was this (emphasis added):
Clinton has contributed to the degradation too. As the James O’Keefe videos remind us, wherever Hillary Clinton has gone in her career, a cloud of unsavory people and unsavory behavior has traveled alongside. 
In his desperation to find some way to hang Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with the same rope, today Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times used his column to mainstream James Fucking O'Keefe.

And that is a line which cannot be uncrossed.

The rest of it is more hollow mewling and hand-wringing about the moral decay of society and how the whole god damn country has personally let David Brooks down  --
We are now in a country in which major presidential candidates can gibe about the menstrual cycles of their interviewers and the penis size of their opponents...

We are now in a society in which the childish desires of a reality-TV narcissist can insult the inheritance that Washington and Hamilton risked their lives to bequeath...

We are now in a society in which serial insults to basic decency aren’t automatically disqualifying...
-- from the man who just used his New York Times column to mainstream James Fucking O'Keefe.

I don't know whether to laugh at that kind of craven mendacity or cry.

I do know that I'll ask you to kick in to the tip jar during this fundraiser if you find the services I provide here of value.  (If times are tight, don't sweat it.  At all.  Believe me, I know how that is :-)


Behold, a Tip Jar!