Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ignis Fatuus

Above the decomposing corpse of the Party of Personal Responsibility, conspiratorial apparitions are constantly fizzing in and out of existence.  They bubble up from ancient, rotting Hate Radio talking points and the unquiet graves of the Southern Strategy, flare feebly to life, and then fall apart and slide feebly back into the Great Wingnut Swamp.

While these fool's fires burn, the denizens of the Great Wingnut Swamp follow them wherever they lead as zealously as any Wise Man from the East following the Star of David.  They point to each new apparition of bullshit and Fox News vapor as proof that their idiotic ideology is, in fact, the One True Faith.

And then, inevitably, it gutters out and goes away --
Report: Darren Wilson's Key Witness Lied About Everything 
In a damning new report by the Smoking Gun, a crucial witness in the grand jury deciding whether to indict former Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson is revealed as having fabricated her eyewitness account of the altercation between Wilson and unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. "Witness 40," identified as 45-year-old Sandra McElroy, has a documented history of racist remarks, criminal behavior, and mental illness.
-- leaving behind the same stink of racism and willful ignorance that the last dozen, collapsed wingnut conspiracies left in their wake.

But here's the thing.  The real story here is not that -- surprise! -- the Right's entire narrative and the prosecutor's entire kangaroo court hinged on the unhinged ramblings of some mentally ill liar.

The real story here is that no matter how many times the Right's ridiculous fairy tales fall apart, it has no effect whatsoever on their disposition or their worldview.

They will go right on clinging to the lie du jour like a dog hanging on to the last bone on Earth right up until it disintegrates completely.  Then they will actively seek out the next, comforting lie and fall for it just as hard,

And the next.

And the next.

And the next.

The real story is that there is no point in this cycle at which the Right ever becomes amenable to reason -- no point at which they will look in the mirror and feel a flicker of shame or a twinge of remorse.

Like old junkies, they got hooked on a steady diet of lies long ago, and unless they are forced to quit, they will go right on feeding that monkey and destroying this country until they day they die.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down




"I saw Satan laughing with delight,

the day, the music, died." Edition *

No, I did not watch Richard Bruce "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter" Cheney on Luke Russert's Dad's Memorial Tree Fort today because there is no lead-infused nuclear blast goggles thick enough through which one can safely observe that rancid bag of flag-swaddled evil when his blood-drunk madness at full boil.

But the gist of it was, apparently, we want Dick Cheney on that wall.

We need Dick Cheney on that wall.



And Dick Cheney has neither the time nor the inclination to explain himself to you because:
Waterboarding is not torture.
And because:
[The Torture Report is] a cheap shot piece of political business that was not bipartisan nor was it involved any discussion of the people involved in the program.
And because:
I have little respect for the United Nations or for this individual who doesn't hear a clue and had absolutely no responsibility for safeguarding this nation and going after the bastards that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
And because:
There's no pardon needed. No crime was committed.
And because:
Saddam Hussein had previously had twice nuclear programs going. He produced and used weapons of mass destruction. And he had a ten-year relationship with Al Qaeda. All of things came into play... When it was time to get into the business of deciding the importance to go after Iraq, we did the right thing. I believe the it was, in fact, the right action then and I believe it now.
 Of course what should have happened, did not happen:


Because this isn't Hollywood.

This is the real world.

And here in this very real world -- in this country, at this time -- we give our monsters the run of the place. We let them have their own teevee networks, their own publishing houses and newspapers, their own churches, their own political party and to them is ceded around 70% of the on-camera real estate during what I took to calling The Mouse Circus 10 years ago when I started writing down what I was seeing on our national Sunday Morning Gasbag cavalcade.

The deal which Conservative struck with the devil long ago was really very simple; in exchange for giving their leaders money and power and unswerving fealty, the rank-and-file were forever relieved of the burden on admitting error of any kind, ever.  They would never have to suffer pangs of conscience...because their conscience would be methodically cauterized.  By excising their basic humanity, they would never again be forced to apologize or atone for a fucking thing...and and never, ever have to own up to the fact that Liberals have been right about their filthy "movement" all along.   in exchange for the right to never, ever admit they were wrong about anything,

And so, with the perfect totalitarian logic, we arrive now at that place where, in order to protect the Big Lie by which they live, Conservatives must now actively celebrate sadism and torture,  They must cheerfully dance around the rack and the gibbet as they were maypoles, and they'd fucking well better mean it or the magic will not work,

Conservatives have made themselves into the perfect, mindless tools for the annihilation of everything they pretend to hold dear, and they did it voluntarily, with their eyes wide open.  They did it without one of them ever being waterboarded a hundred times or twisted and manacled to a dungeon ceiling for days on end.  

In the other hand, I would be willing to bet real money that if Dick Cheney were suspended naked and freezing from the ceiling in shackles, forced to shit himself, repeatedly waterboarded and occasionally beaten with, oh, say, a claw hammer, eventually he would sign a piece of paper making a very sincere and detailed confession reversing everything he just said on Meet the Press and, if told to do so by his torturers, take the blame for the assassination of John Lennon and a head of state to be named later.

Because forcing someone to say exactly what you want them to say is the only function of torture.

After Cheney slouched off in the general direction of Bethlehem the studio crew Febreezed the worst of the sulfur and brimstone out of the air, one of the Bush Administration's most accomplished sociopath -- Dan "Baghdad Bob" Senor -- was invited on camera to prove to viewers once more time that, in D.C., there really are no professional consequences whatsoever for Conservatives liars.

And just like David Brooks, Mr. Senor squared his shoulders and bulldozed right past the mountains of inconvenient facts -- right past the simple, self-evident horror of what the Bush Administration had done -- so that he could quickly plop every Conservative talking point onto the table, 1...2...3...

See, The Torture Program was actually awesome!
DAN SENOR: Well, look, I think the actual program, the integrity of the program, the report does not actually produce anything that undermines it.
However, even though The Torture Program was awesome, talking about it gravely imperils ourbravefightingmenandwomen! (about whom Mr. Senor never gave a single shit while the Bush Administration was getting them slaughtered in their hundreds during Operation Enduring Clusterfuck):
DAN SENOR: It's one thing to release the report. It's another thing to release those graphic details, those very vivid descriptions which I do think will have implications for American fighting men and women overseas in the battlefield to provide that fodder for our enemies that, you know.
And in flawless unison with every other Bush Regime dead-ender from David Brooks to Gretchen Carlson...What About The Droooooones?
DAN SENOR: No, you know what we have been doing? We've been using drones to blow up terror operatives--and their families at picnics and weddings...
The Citibank Reacharound Act of 2014 got virtually no coverage, and what there was amounted to nothing more than another absurd round of the Beltway's favorite decadent parlor game:  False Equivalence.   In this week's episode, the Citibank Reacharound Act of 2014 was used as a vehicle to demonstrate that Elizabeth Warren is really pretty much just the Left's version of Ted Cruz:

After which everyone jumped into Mrs. Alan Greenspan's vintage 1931 Isotta Fraschini and drove down to the track, where they all took turns drinking champagne from the hollow place where Dan Senor's should should be, while betting other people's money on presidential horses which do not exist yet, in a race which will not be run for two years.

Over at Crooks and Liars, they have irrefutable evidence that still more monsters roam unfettered, the Earth and are still able to get in front of an audience of millions whenever they feel like it.

And everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is drowned.

Because best lack all conviction, while the worst are still full of passionate intensity.

Because there is still a Club.

And you and I are most definitely not in it.


*If this sounds familiar, it's because I actually appropriated Mr. McLean's entire song back in 2005.  Which, when I looked it up, reminded me, jeez, I've been at this a long time.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

David Brooks: Conservatism's Red Right Hand



As more and more of Mr. Brooks' Conservative running buddies go full Hannibal Lecter in gleeful defense of torture as a vital tool in their Arsenal of Dumbocracy, Mr. Brooks continues to competently perform his specific role within the larger Conservative conspiracy: floating on a giant cloud of money far above every Conservative atrocity, deflecting the blame for it as efficiently as possible using whatever tactics are left in the Both Siderist' arsenal.

Before rolling up his sleeves to do Roger Ailes' dirty-work, however, Mr. Brooks had to first carefully insulate himself from any hint that he in a soulless, Conservative cipher who works the front parlor of the wingnut media whorehouse every bit as hard and profitably as Boss Limbaugh works its back alley. He does this by piously wrinkling his nose and speak briefly and in the most Blandly Passive Voice in America about the obvious horror of what was done by an administration which he had backed right to the hilt:
...this aroused the moral sensibility. It’s very hard to read this report and not be morally outraged. And so that does have — that had a great effect.
Having tagged that base, Mr. Brooks was then left free to wander the countryside, caressing every single wingnut talking point entirely unmolested by Mr. Mark Shields, the Alan Colmes of the tote-bag-and-Civil-War-DVD crowd.

First on the menu, a standard-issue "Mah oh mah, its all so deucedly paaaahtisan" fainting-couch gambit:
I do have some sympathy for those who say the document was too partisan. It was written by Democratic staffers. It was done in a partisan way. I’m a little bothered, as a reporter, that they didn’t interview as many people as they should have.
Except, of course, Mr. Brooks has not been a "reporter" in any sense of the word since Christ was a corporal. But we cannot tarry in the sad garden of imaginary partisanship too long, or we'll miss Mr. Brooks' masterful deployment the "So are they all, all honorable men" defense --
I think the people who were involved — and we know this from the report — the people who were involved were appalled at the time, but sometimes they thought, you know, they are doing the right thing.
-- not seen in these parts since the time Mr. Brooks went under the table to "report" on the nobility of Scooter Libby's junk.
DAVID BROOKS: I went to lunch with Scooter Libby twice when he was -- and he told me...

JIM LEHRER: What were the dates of those?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, what struck me was, A, he told me nothing. I didn't even know what he was ordering half the time.

DAVID BROOKS: And he was incredibly discrete. And the second thing that always struck me is, he would pay in cash. Usually, you can buy somebody lunch if it's up to $20. But he would insist on following the law to the stickler of the detail. He would always put down a $20 bill.
Third, the incredibly lazy Mr. Brooks just snatches a leftover "But The Droooones!" turd roll right off the plate of Fox News "reporter" and professional Megyn Kelly "before" photo, Gretchen Carlson. Here is  Ms. Carlson (from If You Only News):
"...instead of bringing in terrorism suspects for questioning, President Obama has simply kills them, with drones. So is that more humane than waterboarding?"
And here is Mr. Brooks:
We kill people with drones. We’re killing people all the time with drones. Killing is probably worse than torture.
And finally and inevitably, having never set one pink toe outside of his own gated suburb and never vetted anything more substantial than the lint from his own belly button, Mr. Both Sides states with utterly unearned confidence that he knows exactly who is really to blame for these atrocities.

Surprise!  It's everybody!
It wasn’t just the CIA. It was the whole country. There was a lot of people, and a lot of people up the political chain, a lot of people in Congress, a lot of people in the public. And so we’re trying to rediscover our moral center.
But honestly, my laugh-out-loud moment came courtesy of the closing remark from show moderator, Judy Woodruff:
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tough questions tonight.
Not by a million miles, Judy.

Not by a million miles.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Professional Left Podcast #262



Introduced again by Kevin's sweet promo video.
"A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody."
-- Thomas Paine




Links:
Da' money goes here:



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nononymous


In accordance with the Royal and Ancient Rules of Blogging, comments will, as always, remain open.  However we're going to try shutting off anonymous comments for awhile and see how that works.

So if you want to call me a douchbag, you're still free to do so, but you'll have to get yourself a fake ID.



Putsch*


If CIA and top White House goons and National Security officials really did conspire to create and execute torture policy while keeping the Commander-in-Chief in the dark for years, then what happened can only be described as the first coup d'etat in American history.

Of course the notion of "President Cheney" really running the country while Prezit Stupid kept the yokels distracted by talked about Freedumb and murdered the English language is by now a very old joke.  And it is a measure of what an abject failure Bush was as a leader and a man that the idea of him being operated like a finger puppet by a cabal of oligarchs and neocon ghouls is just sorta shrugged off as "Oh well..." these days.

But it is interesting that no one dares to put what happened in terms of a coup d'etat.

Because those terms are scary as Hell.

*Thanks for the catch

There Is A Time When The Operation Of The Machine Becomes So Odious...



From Mother Jones:
Dozens of Staffers Just Walked Out of Congress. This Powerful Picture Shows Why.


From Salon:
Torture report’s hidden fiasco: How Mark Udall revealed a little-noticed smoking gun 
Buried in the "Panetta Review" is proof that the CIA repeatedly lied to the top levels of government. Here's why




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Today In "Both Sides Do It", Ctd.


Today the Lieberman Prize for First Rate Backstabbing Bullshittery goes to Bob Kerrey for torturing the word "partisan" until it means whatever the fuck he wants it to mean:
Sen. Bob Kerrey: Partisan torture report failed America
The money quote (emphasis added):
I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.
And between the bellowing about Liberty from the fascist Right and the truckling about "partisanship" from the fascist-enabling Center, so shall another Conservative atrocity be folded gently up like Old Glory and shoved down the memory hole.  

Meanwhile, in Late!Breaking!Benghaaaaazi!News,

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If You Are Very Old



Or if you read history, you might be familiar with a time long ago when Presidents would fire insubordinate assholes who deliberately undercut their administration's policies, no matter how popular that asshole may be, or how much outrage that firing may ignite.

As Brother Charles Pierce points out, John Brennan is one such insubordinate asshole who needs publicly sacked by Barack Obama and walked out of the building by security immediately.

No Vegas odds-makers has yet crunched the numbers on the probability of this actually happening, but I'm guessing it's somewhere around the same as The Ghost of Reagan Past from the grave on Christmas Eve to remind a joint session of congress that he not only...
...fought for the passage of the U.N. Convention on Torture and made the U.S. a signatory to it in 1984. And not only did he push for each country to prosecute anyone in their leadership that engages in torture, he specifically called for the use of universal jurisdiction to prosecute leaders in other countries who do so. Here’s what he said when he signed the treaty:

“The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today. 

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called ‘universal jurisdiction.’ Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.”

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Because If They Screeeeeech Bullshit Loud Enough

UNITY

Eventually we'll all back down and everyone (but that same, exhausted platoon of dirty hippies) will return to our slow-motion lobotomy national default setting of Blaming Both Sides for Everything (from Raw Story):
...Watters suggested that Democrats had released the report to coincide with the testimony of economist Jonathan Gruber, who outrage conservatives when he said that health care reform was passed using the “stupidity” of the American people.

“They Senate Democrats, they’re just trying to get one last shot in at Bush before they go into the minority!” the correspondent opined. “And they didn’t even interview any of the CIA interrogators to do the report.”

“It’s kind of like how Rolling Stone does their reporting, they only get one side,” he added, referring to a controversial report about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. “You know, the Democrats didn’t care about transparency when they were destroying hard drives at the IRS.”

Out Numbered host Andrea Tantaros agreed that she didn’t need transparency at the CIA either.

“The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome,” she said. “But we’ve had this discussion. We’ve closed the book on it, and we’ve stopped doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.”

“They apologized for this country, they don’t like this country, they want us to look bad. And all this does is have our enemies laughing at us, that we are having this debate again,” Tantaros added. “Because they believe if we can just shame ourselves and convince the world how horrible we are, and put us on a moral equivalency with all these other countries then maybe they will stop beheading Americans and putting our heads on sticks. They’re fools.”
...
If the head of someone in the skybox tier of the Bush Regime power pyramid does not end up on a fucking pike for this, then Andrea Tantaros wins, and the only lesson to be learned from our years of state-sanctions, flag-draped depravity is that Senator Rourk was right: