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,  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Great Trumptator

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

Dial "M" For "Media" Edition.

After Chuck Todd proved that he could "Um" and "Uh" like a pro while Donald J. Trump used his face for an ice skating rink --

CHUCK TODD:  What would you say to that?

CHUCK TODD:  Do you think it was a little dark?

CHUCK TODD:  What makes it optimistic in your view?

CHUCK TODD:  Right, I understand that. But explain the consequences--

CHUCK TODD:  What would it be?

CHUCK TODD:  What kind of tax are you thinking?

CHUCK TODD:  You know the concern on some of this--

CHUCK TODD:  Now you--

CHUCK TODD:  Economic--

CHUCK TODD:  So what you're saying is all this stuff is good for America, even if it's not good for Europe?

CHUCK TODD:  Should it be interpreted--

CHUCK TODD:  Well I was just going to say--

CHUCK TODD:  I was just going to ask that. Will this limit --

CHUCK TODD:  New York Times--
And after Chuck Todd was literally reduced to playing Jackie Rogers Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad (Special Wingnut Edition) with the Yam in the High Castle because "we had a limited amount of time" --
CHUCK TODD:  I'm just going to literally throw out a name and you'll know the question I'm asking. Bernie Sanders...
This caught my eye:
CHUCK TODD:    Welcome back, panelists here. Before we jump to Trump, the DNC email leaks ... I'm in one of the emails just-- I'm the complaint department here sometimes at NBC. Somebody was complaining about coverage. And I said, "Okay, let's talk on the phone," or whatever. But we didn't do anything about it, because I get complaints about coverage every hour, every day.
First, I had to dry my tears for poor Chuck Todd, what with getting complaints "every hour, every day." about how much he sucks at his job.  And while I'd be willing to bet that 70% of those complaints come from Trumpshirts who want to bitch about how Hugh Hewitt and Joe Scarborough and Ann Coulter don't get enough face time and how the Librul Media Conspiracy won't give Alec Jones and Mark Levin their own show...that doesn't mean Chuck Todd doesn't suck at his job.

Because  Chuck Todd really does suck at his job.

And second... hold the horses, Hoss!  You mean there exists a class of American citizens out there, somewhere, who can raise a ruckus about how much Chuck Todd sucks at his job and his response is, "Okay, let's talk on the phone."?

Man, I want to hear more about that story!

But sadly, no, because we're all out of time!

Ed Schultz: Populist Birthday Clown For Hire

Well this is disappointing.  Predictable, but disappointing.

From Politico:
Back when he hosted a prime-time talk show on MSNBC, Ed Schultz divided the world into heroes and villains. The heroes usually included Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The villains were most Republicans, and especially Donald J. Trump. When Trump obsessed over Obama’s birth certificate and academic credentials in 2011, Schultz branded him “a racist.” When Trump flirted with running for president the next year, Schultz ridiculed him. “Who has shown any interest in Donald Trump being the next president of the United States other than Donald Trump?” he fumed. “Mr. Trump, stop embarrassing yourself!”

Another bad guy was Russian President Vladimir Putin. Schultz delighted in ripping conservatives for what he called their “love affair” with the Russian leader and his ability to make Obama look weak on the world stage...
And then...
That was all before last July, when MSNBC abruptly canceled The Ed Show after a six-year run and dumped the 62-year-old prairie populist from the network. By the time Schultz resurfaced this January, he had been reincarnated in a very different journalistic form: as a prime-time host, reporter and political analyst for RT America, the U.S. branch of the global cable network formerly known as Russia Today, funded by the Russian government...
Gone is the praise for Obama and Clinton. Gone, too, are the mocking references to “Putie.” And gone are the judgments about others’ patriotism. Schultz’s 8 p.m. RT show, The News with Ed Schultz, now features Putin-friendly discussions about the failings of U.S. policy in the Middle East, America’s “bloated” defense budget and the futility of NATO strategy.

Even Trump is getting a new look from Schultz. Speaking at various points on RT in recent months, Schultz has said that Trump “has tapped into an anger among working people,” is “talking about things the people care about,” and even, as Schultz recently declared, that Trump “would easily be able to function” as president...
Othello, Act 3, Scene 3,

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
Of course no one "stole" Big Ed's name did they?

He just rents it to the highest bidder.

And if that bidder happens to be a foreign oligarchy bent on meddling meddling with the United States elections, well, Bid Big Ed's got bills to pay people, and that's how unfettered capitalism works.

Metastasizing Cultural Cancer Says What?

It would be easy to note that since, at 54, Ann Coulter is no longer the "It Girl" of White Pride Worldwide, she has to hate ever harder and louder to get her ghastly, dead-eyed mug on camera.

But that would be wrong.

You could also argue that, as author Steven Beschloss does that, Trump has opened the door for this kind of despicable talk:

And while that is true, it is not at all sufficient.

As Liberals bloggers and media sites have documented for years and in excruciating detail, this kind of "despicable talk" has been the lingua franca of Hate Radio/Fox News for decades now. Decades.

And yet tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, she'll still be syndicated in newspapers coast-to-coast.  And  next week or the week after that she'll be back on MSNBC, yucking it up with Chris Matthews. 

It is long past time when anyone can honestly say that Ann Coulter, or Sean Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh are the problem.

No, the problem is the mainstream media that normalizes their bigotry and lies.

I imagine Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC termination letter mounted on a pike outside the MSNBC cafeteria as a cautionary tale to anyone MSNBC employee who might be thinking of challenging Comcast's corporate decisions in any way.

I imagine Joe Scarborough rubbing it every time he walks by -- like it was his own, personal Apollo Theater “Tree of Hope” stump -- and laughing and laughing and laughing all the way to the bank.

Friday, July 22, 2016

You Really Don't Want To Go For A Beer With Donald J. Trump

Because Trump really is the volatile, batshit Candy Colored Clown who needs to be constantly flattered and deferred to...(Not Safe For Work)

Today In Both Sides Do It: Andrew Sullivan Gives Ross Douthat a Reacharound

Thanks to alert reader "pr" for bringing to my attention this valuable example to the pernicious indestructibility of the Big Lie of Both Siderism.  As long as Both Siderism remains a safe harbor from which America's most insufferable professional Conservative twats can ply their filthy trade with impunity, we will never be rid of them.

From Andrew Sullivan in NY Magazine, live-blogging the night of Trump's "Ein Volk.  Ein Reich.  Ein Con Man" speech has many true things to say.

And then, inevitably...
8:18 p.m. We have to answer this core question: how is it that liberal democracy in America is now flirting with strongman, ethno-nationalist authoritarianism? What happened to the democratic center?

It seems to me that the right bears the hefty majority of responsibility, moving from principled opposition to outright nullification of a presidency, trashing every important neutral institution, and now bad-mouthing the country they hope to “govern.” But the left’s abandonment of empiricism and liberalism – its rapid descent into neo-Marxist dogma, its portrayal of American history as a long unending story of white supremacy, its coarse impugning of political compromise and incrementalism, its facile equation of disagreement with bigotry – has also played a part. Liberal democracy needs liberal norms and manners to survive. Which is why it is now on life-support.

In between, moderate Christianity, once a unifying cultural fabric creating a fragile civil discourse, has evaporated into disparate spirituality on one side and fundamentalist dogma on the other, leaving us with little in the center to hold us morally together. I look out at this wasteland and see, in part, what Ross Douthat sees:

Honestly I cannot remember the last time I saw a real Liberal and a real Conservative square off for 15 rounds.

Probably because, unless the fight were rigged and the refs were bribed, such a contest wouldn't last thee minutes,

Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatives* like Sullivan and Douthat have already had their opium den fantasies of True Conservatism ruined by their own Person from Porlock in the guise of unhappy reality, and they have already been dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the basic Liberal critique of Conservatism (without, of course, ever daring to use the dreaded "L" word) as we have preached and practiced for decades,  

Sadly, it is the nature of Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatives that they are simply too deeply bent to accept those facts at their obvious face value which is why, in order to salvage their self-image and maintain their economic viability, they need to keep inventing reasons why they should not be making a living selling oranges on highway on-ramps.  And the easiest, laziest way to do that it to keep slandering people like us by constantly yoking us to the rolling Conservative fiasco which they helped to create and blaming the horror of it all on the Extremes on Both Side.  

*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.