Monday, January 23, 2017

Comedy Gold From Susan #NeverHillary Sarandon

Comedy.  Gold.

50 years ago George C. Scott was handing out free lessons on the inner workings of the Stein Party.

Too bad she didn't pay attention.

If You Have Something Terribly Important to Say to the EPA...

...I'd suggest you say it now.

Dribbled directly from the mouth of Propaganda Barbie an anonymous source into the lap of Mike "Payola Is Such A Disagreeable Word" Allen:

The 1 thing: Trump's first acts

We have been leaked a list of the top executive order priorities for the Trump administration. The Trump folks wanted to get these done immediately, but our Jonathan Swan is told the process is proving to be a little slower than some might have whimsically thought. Trump's team is working to clear the actions through legal counsel to get language right.

One of our best-wired GOP sources says Trump's early executive orders speak volumes about what to expect from his presidency. "What Peggy Noonan wrote about the inaugural speech was exactly right," our source says. "There will be not a shred of difference between campaign rhetoric and how he plans on governing."

​2. Big plans for EPA

Super Swan got his hands on the Trump team's "Agency Action" plan for the EPA. It's a tightly-held document that fleshes out Trump's campaign promises to gut the agency. It's the handiwork of Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment. Trump appointed Ebell, a prominent opponent of climate change activists, to lead the EPA transition.

Our takeaway: Environmental Protection Agency is set for an absolute hammering under Trump.

The deets:

—"Potential opportunities for budget reductions": A category that includes $513 million in cuts to the "states and tribal assistance grants" … $193 million in savings from terminating climate programs … $109 million in savings from "environment programs and management."
  • Listed as initiatives to stop: "Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulations for new (NSPS) and existing (ESPS or the 'Clean Power' Plan) coal and natural gas power plants … [CAFE] Standards … Clean Water Section 404: Waters of the U.S. Rule (wetlands) … TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for Chesapeake Bay.
  • "Key opportunities": "Issue an executive order barring EPA from overruling federal/state regulatory/permit decisions unless in clear violation of established law."
  • Changing the way the EPA uses science: "Unless major reforms of the agency's use of science and economics are achieved, EPA will be able to return to its bad old ways as soon as an establishment administration takes office."

Sixty-three million of our neighbors voted for this.

And seven million of our neighbors chose to tantrum-piss away their votes rather than stand against this.

We should really find just the right way to thank them.

Sunday Morning Party Line

Welcome to the Roark Administration.

About 15 years too late, Chuck Todd's gag reflex finally kicked in for two minutes on Sunday:

If Todd keeps this up (Spoiler: he won't) we can probably look forward Meet the Press hosted by Joe Scarborough or Hugh Hewitt, while Chuck Todd leaves to start his own podcast (Working title: "The Other David Gregory Podcast".)

Still, it was interesting to watch that vestigial journalism DNA kick in for a few moments.  As Murray Slaughter once famously noted at the end of another era of fictional teevee journalism...

And speaking of Hugh Hewitt, NBC's in-house cyborg sent from the future did exactly what he was programmed to do: try to Both Sides the whole Day One train-wreck into the background and let's just move along people!
HUGH HEWITT:  I believe a lot of it has to do -- and I believe in grace. Zeke Miller is a friend of mine from Time Magazine, he made a mistake. Sean Spicer made a mistake on the metro numbers yesterday. I believe in grace for both of them, and that we ought to move past this. 

HUGH HEWITT:  All right, but people make mistakes. And I just really believe that he was given bad data on the Metro. I just really believe that some poor staffer gave him a bad piece of data on the metro--

KRISTEN WELKER:  But what about the pictures?

ELIANA JOHNSON:  This wasn't a mistake. This is their intentional tactic and posture towards the media.

HUGH HEWITT:  I'm not defending it, It was wrong.

ELIANA JOHNSON:  But they don't think of it as a mistake.

HUGH HEWITT:  But let's give him a little bit of grace because it's your first day...
Meanwhile, down the dial on Face the Nation, Zombie Spice walked all over affable doormat John Dickerson, lying about everything from crowd size to health care to the speed of light.  Then it was time for Frank Luntz -- Republican grub worm and key player in destroying American civil society in order to advance the GOP's unholy agenda -- to weep into his beer over how uncivil Both Sides have become:
FRANK LUNTZ, CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There are three attributes that matter more than anything else in American life, respect, civility and tolerance. And we’re not seeing much of that from anyone right now. When Donald Trump delivered his speech, he had some very powerful lines and talked about the people getting their government back. And that’s to be applauded. But there was no respect for the previous president or any of the presidents. There was no respect for people who were up there on the podium. And the next day -- I got attacked the next day, not even at the rally, by someone who called me a fascist and I won’t use the language because I don’t want to get fired. But we now believe that we can say and do anything to anyone at any time. We have lost that sense of decency. And, frankly, I don’t know how we’re going to get it back.
And when Liexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more words to conquer.

Marginalizing and ignoring those who told the truth and filling their ranks with rank propagandists and grovelers like Luntz and Hewitt and Mark Halperin and Matthew Dowd and Joe Scarborough and on and on and on has been part of the Beltway's corporate strategy of feeding the monster in our midst in exchange for ratings and profits.

And now the monster has finally come to feast on them.

PS:  Shortly after getting back from the local Women's March was laid low by the flu and so I am writing while still abed and goofy with fever and meds.  And I can tell you, as seen through the filter of virus and narcotics, the first daze (spelling intentional) of The Bastard President and the stunned reaction of the media to behavior which should have been completely predictable to anyone with a functional memory felt like nothing so much as the fulfillment of a terrible Spice Vision from long, long ago.  From me, twelve years ago (for you young 'uns, this was back before YouTube took off so embedding video was not possible.):

When in doubt, deny, deny, deny.

I don’t know about where you live, but around these parts the very-salacious-for-its-time, “A Guide for a Married Man” hasn’t been re-run on teevee for a long while. I only have vague, naughty memories of it myself. A half-dozen vignettes or so. Howitzer-shell-breasted 60’s hotties in their underthings. Rampant sexism. The plot itself was pretty simple: Walter Matthau wants to cheat on his wife (the incredibly sexy Inge Stevens, which immediately destroyed any “willing suspension of disbelief” on my part) and Robert Morse teaches him how. Tactics and “strategery” both.

An odd little time capsule of a movie, but one that accidentally let slip the Secret Republican Strategy for holding power.

In the flick Matthau asks Morse what to do if his wife nails him with another woman.

Morse says those three little words at the heart of all that is black in the Republican soul:

“Deny, deny, deny.”

“But what if…?”

“But suppose she walks right in and finds…?”

“Right there. In her bed. Right in front of her…?”


Deny everything. As your wife stands over your marriage bed, deny that the woman she is staring at even exists. When your wife demanded to know who this woman is as she (and you) get hurriedly dressed two feet away, just repeat “What? What are you talking about? What woman?”

To finally catch Clinton, the GOP had to set the bar for presidential behavior almost surrealistically high and then climb a mountain of bibles and crucifixes higher still and hector the American public from their aerie perched on the apex of the very tippy-topmost peak of Sanctimonious Self-Righteousness mountain range.

So from this penthouse window of the Castle of High Dudgeon, if a President even looks at you funny, he should be wired up to a Special Prosecutor. And after using every thuggish tactic in the book up to and including blackmail, illegal video leaks and a 24/7 Rightwing Press Blitzkrieg, if the Special Prosecutor can’t find a fucking thing, well screw that: give him another ten million, another suitcase full of subpoenas and let him go on another fishing expedition.

It made the American public sick, by wide margins. They wanted it all to stop. They wanted the Ultras to for God’s sake, stop already.

But the core of the Brave, New GOP – the NeoConfederates, the brownshirts and curb stomper, the hucksters and Fundys – they don’t “do” moderation. The bitch of this litter was Newt Gingrich; they leanred at his teat, in their political mother’s milk, that compromise and collegiality are either tantamount to cowardice and weakness…of that they are simply clever, Rovian tactics to get your opponent to turn his back while you sink the knife in.

So to run their grotesque farce out to its bitter end, Republicans had to pile the hubris higher still. It didn’t matter if the offense was small. It didn’t matter that the public was roundly sick of it and saw it as the all-out, rage-fueled GOP coup attempt it really was.

None of that mattered, we were told. Nothing but holding the President to the highest possible standards would suffice, we were told. And it was ugly, and ruinous and divisive…so what? The GOP answered only to the noble trumpet of holding the President to the very highest possible standards of Truth, Honor and the Dignity of that high office.

Nothing less would do.

Fuck the filibuster: Impeachment was the REAL nuclear option…and the GOP showed absolutely no hesitation using it for short-term, partisan political advantage. But oh my, what a very dangerous game they have created.

They’ve created a massive, unstable ammunition dump of their own toxic words, their own Procrustian standards of faultlessness, and now they don’t dare admit that any one of them has ever made a mistake. And to maintain the sham that they are not a Confederacy of Liars on a scale that makes Clinton on his worst day look like a candidate for sainthood, the dogma of their own perfection and infallibility has utterly supplanted fact and reason, which you must admit does fit very neatly with the preexisting Fundamentalist Delusionalism of their base.

The only thing that keeps the rice-paper thin wall between their own Clinton-era rhetoric and their own Bush-era actions is sheer, brazen, unremitting denial. To even whisper the possibility that Dear Leader might be wrong about something – about anything – is to risk that the whole filthy Ponsi scheme falling apart beneath them.

They can’t go back or even slow down without risking that moment of honest reflection with they fear worse than Death itself, so the are condemned to going on and on, running faster and faster, hoping somehow that they can stay ahead of the tsunami of blood and sorrow that their lies have set loose in the world.

Their once proud political Party -- the Party of Lincoln for fuck's sake -- is now just another torchlit mob led by the likes of James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. And flanked by Tom Delay and Bill Frist and their pustulent ilk on one side and a craven and neutered propaganda machine masquerading as a “Free Press” on the other, they plunge madly on, dragging all of us along deeper and deeper into darkness, shouting out their battle cry. 

Deny! Deny! Deny!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

You Will Never Understand the Perspective of the Trump Voter...

Unless you wear the special glasses.

ABC News' Chief Political Analyst Tells Media to Pay No Attention to the 75% of Trump Voters Who Are Racist or Crazy

And instead focus instead on the 25% that are suicidally stupid.

Did I mention that Mr. Dowd is ABC News' Chief Political Analyst? And that he was insturmental in building the wingnut orc army that he now pleads with his colleagues to ignore.

He also vows to keep his Twitter TL "Hate Free"

And then goes right on Twitterbating with Ann Coulter

Seems oddly selective.

Every Press Briefing with Sean Spicer for the next Two Years

Friday, January 20, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #371

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

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

David Brooks: The Excremental Things Apply As Time Goes By

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is known as the Caucus Rooms Conspiracy -- 

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

Tom Waits Friday: Hold On

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