Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Workacrosstheaisle" is the Beltway Speakeasy Password



And not just "in the age of Trump".  In fact, the entire Republican party -- the party of the Iraq War Katrina, torture, the Great recession, Birtherism, Death panels, Fake Tea Parties and government shutdowns -- has conducted a decades-long exercise in aggressive violating any concept of "working across the aisle" in the most flagrant and openly seditious ways imaginable.  Hell, Mitch McConnell says it all the time.  He never means it, literally everyone knows he is lying every time he says it, and he acts in violent opposition to it in conceivable way.  But because he incants these Beltway Magic Conjure Words, his ass is as slick with Chuck Todd's lip gloss as anyone's.

"Work across the aisle" is now part and parcel with the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It: a phrase rendered both meaningless and ludicrous by the premeditated vandalism of the Republican party, but you don't get past the Beltway gatekeepers unless you whisper it in their little, furry ears.


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Friday, November 16, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #467


“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realized I never had one."
-- Anonymous

Don't forget to visit our new website -- http://www.proleftpod.com -- 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!


Links:

The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" and real listeners like you!




Your Never-Trump Friends Really Appreciate You Letting Them Crash On Your Liberal Sofa During These Difficult Times



From HuffPo:

What Did ‘Pod Save America’ Expect? 
Don’t put professional Republican smear men on your liberal podcast.

Until Wednesday night, at least, Tim Miller was known — if he was known at all outside Beltway circles — as the token Republican pet of Crooked Media, the distributor of the wildly popular “Pod Save America.” Crooked is a podcast group founded by Obama administration alums Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, and the role of Miller, a former Jeb Bush spokesman, is occasionally to play the heel but mostly to assure liberal listeners that Good Republicans do exist. He has a segment, called “The Cuck Zone,” in which he often criticizes the Trumpier segments of the GOP.

Accepting Miller as a friendly face in liberal circles required a certain transient amnesia about what the Republican Party is and how Miller has served it. The effort of not knowing became a lot harder on Wednesday, when The New York Times published a blockbuster report that, among other unseemly details, revealed that Facebook had hired an opposition research firm to push back against anti-Facebook groups. The campaign exploited the anti-Semitism on the right, encouraging reporters “to explore the financial connections between [George] Soros’s family or philanthropies and groups that were members of Freedom from Facebook.”

The Republican operative behind the campaign was none other than Miller...

We at the Professional Left Podcast take no position on the hiring practices of other Liberal podcasts -- especially ones that have gown so huge so quickly they are not even aware of our existence.

I will say that when we began The Professional Left we considered hiring one of those jocular Republican "former" smear-merchant for, y'know, balance.  Which, I am told, is so important in these trying times! But of course, back when when we started our little podcast in the middle of Middle America nine years ago, none of our Brand New Never Trump Bestest Buddies were in any way "former" anything.  They were just Republicans.  Exactly the same sleazy, Republican tub thumpers they have been for decades.  Out there, getting paid to do active harm to our country and only too happy to slander us Libtards stupid or crazy or alarmist or traitors.

And then boom!  Overnight they all simultaneously discovered that there was gold in marketing a fairy tale about how shocked and horrified they were to discover that the Republican Party they had served their entire lives was ... Full of Republicans!!!

Now, of course,  those jocular Republican "former" smear-merchant are either waaaaay out of the price range of our little podcast, or have all been too busy promoting their books on Liberal Teevee and on other Liberal podcasts --



-- to return our calls.

Funny old world.


Behold, a Tip Jar!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Blocker Awards: Day Four -- The Mocker Blocker Award


Twitter is city dump -- while you might find gold there, don't plan your retirement.  Its full of lunatics and salesmen, which is why occasionally blocking someone on Twitter has become just a matter of good grooming.  Except when the context of doing so is itself such a delightful window onto the soul of the blocker that it deserves special mention.

And thus the Blocker Awards were born.

Monday we handed out the award for Both Sniderism:  those delicate souls who built careers flogging the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It, blocked me for pointing out pointedly that Both Siderism was bullshit, and who then reversed their position entirely without ever acknowledging that they had ever believed otherwise.

Tuesday we handed out the award in the How Greenwald Was My Valley category: hardy Greenwald myrmidons and fair weather "friends" who flipped out when I started writing about Mr. Greenwald's flaws, lies and hypocrisies.

Wednesday we handed out the award in the Never Trumper Historical Revisionism category:  that band of Conservative entrepreneurs who ruthlessly dismember and misrepresent the past for profit and professional advancement and who cannot abide anyone who shows up to their Lethe Orgy with a buzz-killing sack full of inconvenient history.

And today we hand-recount your ballots -- even from people who went around the block and changed hat just so they could vote twice! -- to determine the winner in the Blocker Award in the Mocker Blockers category.

A Mocker Blocker is someone who mocks people who block others on Twitter as feeble and pusillanimous while at virtually the same time blocking someone (in this case me) on Twitter for making them look stupid.   The Mocker Blocker is such a rare and special creature that only two were nominated this year, and since each case is compelling in its own, shabby way, the judges have ruled it a tie.  So --
Professional Republican poo-flinger Rick Wilson and ... 
Noted Hollywood character actor who is just plain off his fucking wingnut rocker Nick Searcy 
-- come on down and claim your joint Blocker Award!

For story behind each nominee's award-winning performance see "Rick Wilson is a Delicate Little Wisp of a Man" and "Nick and Me".

Of course under the "Two men enter!  One man leaves!" rules of combat under which we now operate, this means that eventually Messrs. Searcy and Wilson will have to enter Wingnut Thunderdome and fight to the death.

Sad!

Tomorrow: The Blocker Award for The Roll of Honor.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Remember When The Women's March Was an Indulgent, Frivolous Waste of Time?


Last week, as some of you recall, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times boldly threw his cap over the wall of What Worker's Want...

...and then sent an intern to fetch it back because it's a damn expensive cap and, let's face it, David Brooks knows fuck-all about the hopes and fears of the American working class.

He was, rightly and properly and for the 1,000th time, mocked across the Interwebs as a cossetted embarrassment to American journalism, which he surely is.   But none of that really matters, because the House of Sulzberger does not pay Mr. David Brooks to be a journalist.  To write in the style of planting one's feet and telling the truth.

The House of Sulzberger pays Mr. David Brooks dress up and pretend to be a journalist while spinning fables that reflect how a handful of wealthy, sclerotic plutocrats wish the world to be.  And when it turns out that the world is manifestly not as Mr. Brooks has told them it was -- when the toxic, racist sludge the GOP has been running through the veins of the American body politic erupts in an electoral embolism so monstrous that it cannot be ignored...

... Mr. David Brooks' feeble-minded acolytes turn to him not to tell them the truth -- never that -- but to tell them bigger, better comforting lies.

For example, with the issues and results of the 2018 midterms still fresh in our minds, let's set the Wayback Machine for a very short hop to "Literally Just Last Year" to find out how Mr. Brooks interpreted the Women's March for his wealthy, simpleton benefactors:
After the Women’s March
According to Mr. Brooks, sure, the march was a lot of fun for the ladies:
The women’s marches were a phenomenal success and an important cultural moment. Most everybody came back uplifted and empowered. Many said they felt hopeful for the first time since Election Day. 
But tactically, it was a silly waste of time:
But these marches can never be an effective opposition to Donald Trump.
Why?  Because these coastal elite ladies don't understand politics
In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues. 
Silly ladies!

Now put on your Imagination Caps and pretend you are hearing the following in the most insufferably condescending tone of voice that human vocal cords can produce.
Of course, many marchers came with broad anti-Trump agendas, but they were marching under the conventional structure in which the central issues were clear. As The Washington Post reported, they were “reproductive rights, equal pay, affordable health care, action on climate change.”

These are all important matters, and they tend to be voting issues for many upper-middle-class voters in university towns and coastal cities. But this is 2017...
That was the sound of David Brooks patting tens of millions of women on the head and telling them, "Look toots, all this stuff may make the girls at your San Fran Cisco sewing circle swoon, but ain't nobody gonna organize and vote around it."  

And according to Mr. Brooks, what would move humans to the polls in numbers large enough to pry power out of the hand of the America Fascist Party?   Big issues.  Sweeping, abstract issues. Manly  issues.
...globalization, capitalism, adherence to the Constitution, the American-led global order. If you’re not engaging these issues first, you’re not going to be in the main arena of national life.
And what did the Women's March offer instead?
Instead, the marches offered the pink hats, an anti-Trump movement built, oddly, around Planned Parenthood, and lots of signs with the word “pussy” in them...
"Pussy" obviously confuses the hell out of David Brooks, which explains an enormous amount.

Mr. Brooks continues, explaining to the ladies that the central threat is certainly not the patriarchy.
The central threat is not the patriarchy. 
See?  (Translation:  Get your socialist lady-hands off of my wholly unearned and undeserved privilege.)

So what is the central challenge to Murrica?
The central challenge is to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea.
Wow.  That is a lot of words that don't add up to a damn thing.  Would you care to rephrase that?
If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.
Uh huh.

Well as it turned out, rather than adopting Mr. Brooks'a bold agenda of rebinding biblical capitalism in a functioning morality of balanced dynamism or whateverthefuck he was trying to say, Democrats instead went with that Scary Vagina-Based agenda of health care, clean water, clean air, decent schools and not being racist or a misogynist.  You know, all those elements that were present right there in the DNA of that frivolous, indulgent Women's March back in January of 2017.

And based on the results as they stand today and where they look like they are headed in the days to come, the Democrat's Scary Vagina-Based agenda stomped the holy hell out of the Republican Party virtually everywhere they were within a mile of winning, up and down the ticket, at every level of government, in a year when the electoral map was brutally slanted in the Republican's direction.

And so, having had his hot-take on the Women's March stress tested and smashed to atoms out here in the Real World -- shown to be just one more slice of David Brooks-Brand Clueless Claptrap --  wouldn't it be hilarious if Mr. Brooks still just could not leave it alone?  Wouldn't it be hilarious is he was so pathetically desperate to hang onto yet another David Brooks-Brand Ludicrous Theory that, in the face of unequivocal proof that he'd been dead wrong, he would still try to cook up some equivocating alibi about how "midterms" really don't count? 

Hey guess what!

Welcome at last Sunday's Meet the Press with the petty, supercilious bit emphasized:
DAVID BROOKS: ... The question to me is do [Democrats] have an agenda for the future? Running on pre-existing conditions, something that passed eight years ago, is not exactly a vision for the future. Do they have an affirmative vision for how a diverse country should work? How work should work? How moral integrity should be reintroduced? These are the big issues that are happening in countries all around the world. Democrats have been running on a very small set of issues, maybe excusable for the midterm, not going forward.
"Excusable"?  Really?

And this right here is what truly marks David Brooks as a True Conservative.  His pathological and bizarrely patronizing inability to ever admit that he has been wrong about anything in the face of overwhelming evidence that he has almost always been wrong about almost everything. 


Behold, a Tip Jar!

The Blocker Awards: Day Three -- Never Trumper Historical Revisionism Award


Twitter is sewer -- useful, just don't drink out of it.  And blocking someone on Twitter is such a mundane, garden-weeding affair that it barely merits mentioning.  Except when the context of doing so is itself such a delightful window onto the soul of the blocker that it deserves special mention.

And thus the Blocker Awards were born.

Monday we handed out the award for Both Sniderism:  those delicate souls who built careers flogging the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It, blocked me for pointing out pointedly that Both Siderism was bullshit, and who then reversed their position entirely without ever acknowledging that they had ever believed otherwise.

Tuesday we handed out the award in the How Greenwald Was My Valley category: hardy Greenwald myrmidons and fair weather "friends" who flipped out when I started writing about Mr. Greenwald's crippling lies, flaws and hypocrisies.

And today we hand-count your ballots -- even those from our fighting men and women overseas and those found at the post office under a pile of expired Sears catalogs -- to determine the winner of the Blocker Award in the Never Trumper Historical Revisionism category.  To qualify for this category, nominees must have accomplished the following:
  1. Spent their entire adult lives building the GOP monster machine from which Trump was birthed.

  2. Spent the last three years pretending that the last 30 years of GOP history never happened. That everything was just fine with their Republican Party right up until Donald Trump descended the Escalator of Doom.

  3. Have used various synonyms for magical trickery (hypnotized, mesmerized, bamboozled) or force (hijacked) the explain how Donald Trump won the nomination of their racist shitpile party when literally all Trump did was talk just like the base of their party talks, act just like the base of their party acts, and promised to deliver on the same crazy, racist claptrap they had been teased with on Fox News and Hate Radio for decades.

  4. Have gone right on pretending that no one could have foreseen that their Party of Reagan could have come to this.

  5. Have gone right on on pretending that we on the Left do not exist and have not been warning of precisely this danger for decades ... while at the same time ripping off the Liberal critique of the Right and profiting materially by filing off the serial number and re-selling it as some kind of brilliant epiphany.

  6. Blocked me for pointing this out.

Of course, pretty much every Never Trumper is now making a tidy income running some kind of Historical Revisionist side hustle based on sticking to points 1-5 -- 


-- but these three gentleman have all gone the extra mile by blocked me for making them look stupid on the Twitter, and so our nominees are:
Charlie Sykes
Rick Wilson
Jonah Goldberg 
And the winner is ... Fredrick G. "Rick" Wilson.  Because his timing was so fucking perfect.

Literally moments after Joe Scarborough finally decided to admit on live teevee that "Holy Shit, the Left really was right about the Right all along" -- and then dropped that piping-hot turd into Rick Wilson's lap (thus gutting Mr. Wilson's "I knew nothing!  I saw nothing!" alibi that is the foundation on which he built his book) -- Mr. Wilson took time out of his busy day to block me for pointing out to him, over and over again, that "The Left really was right about the Right all along".

For the sheer nekkidness of his mercenary motives, today we award Fredrick G. "Rick" Wilson the Blocker award for Never Trumper Historical Revisionism.

Tomorrow: The Blocker Award for The Mocker Blockers.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Blocker Awards: Day Two


Blocking people on Twitter is usually a trivial thing and often a necessary thing.  I do it all the time -- it almost always involves 10-follower MAGA whatabots (whatabout + bot) (tm) who want to shart Republican talking points at me.  Hardly worth mentioning.

But sometimes the context of the act is itself so hilariously revealing that it deserves special mention.

Hence the Blocker Awards.

Today, we brave all eleven members of the Broward County wingnut mob to count your ballots and determine the winner in the Blocker Award How Greenwald Was My Valley category.

Several years ago -- as Glenn Greenwald was alternating his weekly hot oil massages on MSNBC with screeds about what a dump MSNBC was and how the Obot-stooge media refused to give him a platform to express his opinion -- a non-trivial fraction of Mr. Greenwald's orthodoxy enforcement squad (dubbed by one wag as the Spleenwald Horde) lost their shit when I started pointing out that Glenn Greenwald sometimes flat-out lied, frequently argued in excruciatingly bad faith, bent any tragedy he could lay his hands on to serve his political agenda and routinely went from zero to spittle-flecked ad hominem attack mode in under four seconds.

They also did not like me pointing out that his habit of reacting to any criticism from anyone with full nuclear hysterics was having the effect of taking attention away from (translation: shitting on) whatever actual story he was trying to report.  I was practically ordered to recant my heresies and ignore Mr. Greenwald's hysterics if I wanted to stay on good paper with some in the Liberal High Command.

I have never been to Liberal High Command, nor materially supported by them in any way, nor have I ever been invited to take part in any of their rituals or festivals, so the threat was somewhat barren.

As this was happening, many of my former dear Liberals fair-weather allies either dove for cover and/or blocked me and/or hunkered down in my comment section to tell me what a bad Liberal I was.  At several once-prominent-now-extinct "Obama Is Worse Than Boosh!" Liberal blogs which had never before acknowledged my existence in any way, I was suddenly a poster boy for Jackbooted, Obot Traitors to Greenwald's Glorious Revolution.

It was, taken all in all, hilarious, and provided an ample field of nominees for the How Greenwald Was My Valley category.

But then a funny thing happened.

As the Rise of Donald Trump and Trump/Russia blew all of his Purity bullshit to flinders, Glenn did what Glenn was bound to do all along.  He damn near Thelma and Louised the fancy, quarter-billion-dollar media supercar that Pete Omidyar bought him. 


He crawled right into Putin's snuggle sack.  He started making regular guest appearances on Fox News as Tucker Carlson's wacky "Liberal" sidekick.  All while escalating his endless fusillade of  mad tirades directed at anyone who questioned the inerrancy of his wisdom.

And then he noticed  me tap dancing in my "I Told You So" shoes just long enough to block me.

Then ol' Glenn -- who boldly called people "cowards" for deleting their past Tweets -- deleted 27,000 of his past Tweets lest they ever be used by his drooling, jackbooted critics to point out that driftglass was right about Glenn and his Spleenwald Horde all along.

So today, with all the ballots counted, the winner of the Blocker Award in the How Greenwald Was My Valley category is the man for whom the category was named:  Glenn Greenwald.  Who is shown here telling Democrats that the only honorable way to advance a progressive agenda is to deliberately let Republican Party stab them in the heart, over and over again.


Spoken like a man whose never needs to worry about health care because all of his expenses are being picked up an internet billionaire.

Tomorrow: The Blocker Award for the Never Trump Historical Revisionist Society


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David Brooks: Sociopaths of Glory


It turns out that Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times finally got around to watching Stanley Kubrick's classic Paths of Glory over the weekend.  And thank God too, because it gave him one more cultural icon that he could claim is "weirdly relevant today" and wring another shitty op-ed column therefrom:
The Struggle to Stay Human Amid the Fight 
World War I and the adversarial mentality.
Actually, there are two points on which Mr, Brooks and I agree.

First, that the central conflict of the movie is located in the struggle between a front line colonel names Dax and his superior officers:
Kirk Douglas plays a French colonel named Dax who lives in the trenches and leads his men in battle. Far away in the palaces, pampered French generals order his exhausted men to take a nearly impregnable German position. One general hopes the assault will help him score political points. Another is promised a promotion. Something like 4,000 men are expected to die or be wounded for these objectives.

When the assault catastrophically fails, the generals look for scapegoats and decide to execute three enlisted men, more or less chosen at random, for alleged cowardice.
Second, that it is "weirdly relevant today" but not for the reasons Mr. Brooks thinks it is -- as an aid to his personal meditations:

As luck would have it, your lazy blog proprietor wrote an entire, three-part essay about politics, the Republican Party and Paths of Glory 12 years ago.  It was during the run up to the 2006 midterms, as the Bush administration was beginning to collapse from the weight of its own incompetence, corruption and hubris.  So allow me to plunder my own work from that dim and distant past in aid of explaining why this movie is indeed relevant today, starting with the climatic exchange near the end of the movie. 

Spoiler Alert!

The corrupt, glory-seeking General Mireau had ordered an artillery attack on his own men to drive them out of the trenches and into the face of certain death trying to take an impregnable German fortress.   Colonel Dax, who had been charged with defending three random soldiers who had been single out for execution for the failure of the hopeless attack, has come to a cocktail party at the estate of the (we shall soon learn) even more corrupt and cynical General Broulard to report General Mireau's actions.

General Mireau -- who had been perfectly willing to slaughter his men to advance his career, and to threaten to Colonel Dax with court marshal in order to cover up the crime -- is shocked to discover that his good friend General Broulard is every bit as willing to sacrifice him to save his career as Mireau had been willing to sacrifice Dax.
General Mireau: So that's it. You're making me the goat. The only completely innocent man in this whole affair. I have only one last thing to say to you, George. The man you stabbed in the back is a soldier.
And then, with his immediate problem solved, Mireau turns to Dax and -- wait for it -- offers him a job.
General Broulard: Well...it had to be done. France cannot afford to have fools guiding her military destiny. I'm grateful to you for having brought this matter to my attention. Colonel, how would you like General Mireau's job?

Colonel Dax: His what?

General Broulard: His job.

Colonel Dax: Let me get this straight, sir. You're offering me General Mireau's command?
Dax refuses, which completely flummoxes Broulard.  Although they wear the same uniform and serve in the same army, ethically and ideologically they might as well be from two completely different species.  Mr. Brooks drains this whole exchange of its true meaning and impact by boiling it down to two sentences that he can jam into his contractually obligated New York Times column, but to understand the real stakes in this scene -- which is the last main-character dialogue in the movie -- you need to let it breath.
General Broulard: Come, come, Colonel Dax. Don't overdo the surprise. You've been after the job from the start. We all know that, my boy.

Colonel Dax: I may be many things, sir, but I am not your boy.

General Broulard: Well, I certainly didn't mean to imply any biological relationship.

Colonel Dax: I'm not your boy in any sense.

General Broulard: Are you trying to provoke me, Colonel?

Colonel Dax: Why should I want to do that?

General Broulard: Exactly. It would be a pity...to lose your promotion before you get it. A promotion you have so very carefully planned for.

Colonel Dax: Sir, would you like me to suggest what you can do with that promotion?

General Broulard: Colonel, you will apologize at once or shall be placed under arrest!

Colonel Dax: I apologize for not being entirely honest with you. I apologize for not revealing my true feelings. I apologize for not telling you sooner...that you're a degenerate, sadistic old man. And you can go to hell before I apologize to you now or ever again!

General Broulard: Colonel Dax, you're a disappointment to me. You've spoiled the keenness of your mind by wallowing in sentimentality. You really did want to save those men...and you were not angling for Mireau's command. You're an idealist, and I pity you as I would the village idiot. We're fighting a war, a war that we've got to win. Those men didn't fight, so they were shot. You bring charges against General Mireau, so I insist he answer them. Wherein have I done wrong?

Colonel Dax: Because you don't know the answer to that question...I pity you.

And here is what I wrote back in 2006:
These men – the fictional ones, and those that currently run our country – simply do not comprehend the notion of right and wrong.

They are creatures of craft and tactics, feign and betrayal, boot-licking and back-stabbing…all to advance their position, station and power.

Bushworld is a world of presumed monarchical privilege. People who rule based on no principle other than their inbred belief that it is their Divine Right to do so, and in that domain the reason for everything is power for power’s sake. Sometimes they choose – for brief interludes – to act as benevolent tyrants. At other times they lapse back into their natural, Bushie state: Peevish, feeble-minded autocrats.

In either state, their worldview remains absolutely anathema to Democracy. And in either state they do not know what to make of anyone who acts out of a sense of compassion or justice or sense of concern for the common good, except to mock and slander them.

We will never be rid of such morally stillborn monsters, but the least we can do is never, ever let them anywhere near positions of unchecked authority.
But did not do "the least we can do" because do not have accountability in either Republican politics or in the media.

Instead we have an incestuous, co-dependent media/political mutual protection society.

Instead we have a Club.  A Club that operates under a secret but clearly understood compact in which Club member are never held accountable for anything they say or do.

This is why virtually all of the "creatures of craft and tactics, feign and betrayal, boot-licking and back-stabbing" that conspired to lie us into the Iraq debacle -- creatures like Bloody Bill Kristol, David Frum, Michael Gerson, Max Boot, Marc Theissen, and of course David Brooks -- we're all given a fucking promotion.  It's why the Bush Administration has now almost entirely vanished from history.  It's why the media allowed the Republican Party itself -- the party that openly reveled in our Liberal tears as it went all-in on every Bush Administration catastrophe -- to collectively disappear into the Bush-Off Machine like a fart in a firestorm. 
One day they were there, braying about how they had won and we had lost so "Shaddap!" and yapping loudly and patriotically about how deficits don't matter anymore and besides, anyone who doesn't pay reverent deference to President Cuckoobananas during war-time was a traitor because Freedom and also 9/11 Changed Everything...

...and then they were gone.  Just gone.  Leaving nothing behind but the disasters they had championed, the failures they had authored, the institutions they had torched and moldering mountains of "Bush/Cheney 2000", "Bush/Cheney 2004" and "McCain/Palin 2008" buttons and tee-shirts and bumper stickers and yard signs stretching from one end of the country to the other.
This is the same Republican Party which Mr. David Brooks said was doing just fine (and Harry Reid was  a tantrum throwing baby) back in 2005.

This is the same Republican Party which Mr. David Brooks declared had completely "detoxified their brand" back in 2014.

This is the same Republican Party which Mr. David Brooks declared in 2016 was in no danger of nominating Donald Trump because "It's going to be Rubio. I'm telling you, it's going to be Rubio."

So why does this this myopic fraud and unreconstructed Iraq War pimp still have a job?

Because once it became clear that the Bush Administration was doomed, the Beltway media made the collective decision that holding Republicans specifically and personally accountable for anything -- including war, economic catastrophe, criminal incompetence and sedition -- was not in their financial interest. That however diligently Colonel Dax might document the atrocities on his shitty little blog, the Beltway Media was fucking well going to reward the lying, blood-soaked Mireaus and Broulards of the Republican Party with privileged positions on every influential op-ed page and at every elite political panel in America.

And once that decision was made -- once the Beltway media chose to abdicate their responsibility to protect our democracy from a raving, racist, out-of-control Republican political juggernaut in favor of protecting their own perks and privileges -- the rise of a monster like Trump that spoke the same language as that raving, racist political juggernaut and promised to lead them exactly where they always wanted to go became inevitable.


 Behold a Tip Jar!


Fun Fact:  This 2006 series was where I first predicted that "In five years, having voted for Bush will have become the parachute pants of this decade." 
In five years, having voted for Bush will have become the parachute pants of this decade.

It will become the “Oh my GOD. What the fuck was I thinking?” shameful secret people will occasionally and elliptically allude to by piping up with, “well, he did good after 9/11” as schoolchildren are taught what a disaster on every front and by every measure he was, and as adults who now have to pay and pay dearly for the myriad lies and crimes and follies of George W. Bush recount his Top 100 Fuckups and bitterly laugh and laugh and laugh.

So that’s where we are now.
Turns out I overshot it by three years.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Blocker Awards: Day One

(Photo of the late Dan Blocker)

Blocking people on Twitter is usually a trivial thing and often a necessary thing.  I do it all the time -- it almost always involves 10-follower MAGA whatabots (whatabout + bot) (tm) who want to shart Republican talking points at me.  Hardly worth mentioning.

But sometimes the context of the act is itself so hilariously revealing that it deserves special mention.

Hence the Blocker Awards.

Today, we count up your ballots, recount them because we believe that all votes should be counted, factor in the envelopes full of untraceable cash some of you have sent our way, and hand out the Blocker Awards in the Both Sniderist category.

The Both Sniderists category is reserved for influential media personages who built their careers as absolutely relentless peddlers of Both Siderism, who have blocked your humble scrivener for suggesting -- repeatedly -- that Both Siderism was bullshit.  Of the dozens of nominees in this category, the finalists were:
Matthew Dowd
Ron Fournier
Jonathan Capehart
And the Blocker award goes to...  Mr. Matthew Dowd.  

It really had to be Mr. Dowd.


Ron Fournier has more-or-less checked out of the business of lying about politics under the color of journalism, and now writes drivel for his marketing company.  And Jonathan Capehart has only slightly more "influence" in the media than your average Liberal blogger.  On the other hand, as ABC News' chief political analyst, Matthew Dowd can actually affect the scope and trajectory of our public political discourse.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, no one was fatuous, thin-skinned and self-righteous in his Both Siderism than Mattew Dowd.  And no one was more aggressively insulting to anyone who brought receipts to his Beltway's Both Siderist orgy.  And after the election of President Stupid, no one took that wild, careening 180-degree pivot to "OMFG Both Siderism is bullshit!" while at the same time using his position in the media to indignantly insist that he never believed otherwise harder that Matthew Dowd (including deleting inconvenient Tweets to the contrary.)

Plus he went out of his way to personally insult me as a purveyor of fiction and my readers at fools for believing it.

Congratulations, Mr. Dowd, on being the very first recipient of the soon-to-be-prestigious Blocker Award.

Tomorrow:  The How Greenwald Was My Valley Blocker Award.


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And now, a delightful and disturbing story about television and Dan Blocker as told by the late Harlan Ellison from "Revealed At Last! What Killed The Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Good Yourself" :
...
I used to know Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on Bonanza. He was a wise and kind man, and there are tens of dozens of people I would much rather see dead than Dan. One time, around lunch-break at Paramount, when I was goofing off writing a treatment for a Joe Levine film that never got made, and Dan was resting his ass from some dumb horsey number he'd been reshooting all morning, we sat on the steps of the weathered that probably in no way resembled any saloon that had ever existed in Virginia City, Nevada, and we talked about reality versus fantasy. The reality of getting up at five in the morning to get to the studio in time for makeup call and the reality of how bloody much FICA tax they took out of our paychecks and the reality of one of his kids being down with something or other...and the fantasy of not being Dan Blocker, but of being Hoss Cartwright.

And he told me a scary story. He laughed about it, but it was the laugh of butchers in a slaughterhouse who have to swing the mauls that brain the beeves; who then go home to wash the stink out of their hair from the spattering.

He told me—and he said this happened all the time, not just in isolated cases—that he had been approached by a little old woman during one of his personal appearances at a rodeo, and the woman had said to him, dead seriously, "Now listen to me, Hoss: when you get home tonight, I want you to tell your daddy, Ben, to get rid of that Chinese fella who cooks for you all. What you need is to get yourself a good woman there can cook up some decent food for you and your family."

So Dan said to her, very politely (because he was one of the most courteous people I've ever met),"Excuse me, ma'am, but my name is Dan Blocker. Hoss is just the character I play. When I go home I'll be going to my house in Los Angeles and my wife and children will be waiting."

And she went right on, just a bit affronted because she knew all that, what was the matter with him, did he think she was simple or something, "Yes, I know...but when you go back to the Ponderosa, you just tell your daddy Ben that I said..."

For her, fantasy and reality were one and the same...

Friday, November 09, 2018

Matthew Whitaker: Hot Tub Crime Machine



From Slate:
Trump Already Throwing His Possibly Illegal Hot Tub–Scam Attorney General Under the Bus

From the mighty Tengrain at Crooks & Liars:
Matthew Whitaker As Good A Grifter As Trump So There 

Turns out Whitaker's "patent business" got a $25 million-plus fine very similar to the Trump University scam.

Let us speak for a moment of Matthew Whitaker, our new interim attorney general appointed by Prznint Stupid after he fired Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, you know, for not ending the Little Kremlin-on-the-Potomac investigation. No obstruction or collusion there, you haters!

In addition to Whitaker’s work as a US Attorney and as a private-practice attorney, in 2014 Whitaker became a member of the board of a company called World Patent Marketing.

From a WPM press 
“As a former U.S. attorney, I would only align myself with a first-class organization. World Patent Marketing goes beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translates them into 
Golly, doesn’t that sound like Comrade Stupid? You know like that time that he said that he would hire the very best people, only “top-of-the-line professionals.”...
Honestly, once this title popped into my head, it became impossible not to do the graphic and thence this post.

The Muse can be a real hellion.


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