Sunday, September 04, 2011

Voice of Empire, Ctd

Special "'s too late to lose the weight you used to need

to throw around" Edition.

Rather than one more straight vivisection of the chin-deep hot-tub-full-of-offal that is The Mouse Circus, instead let us consider a case that is currently whipping around the internet: the case of Mike Lofgren -- a lifelong Republican button-man -- who has acknowledged in print ("Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult") everything you have ever suspected about the Party of God. (h/t Edward for the head's up.)

Yes, they really are just a bunch of treacherous, lying nihilists:
The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that? - in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care.

Yes, it is orchestrated from on-high:
A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

Yes, it is on-purpose:
Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic.

Yes, it is dependent on the abysmal stupidity of the average American voter:
This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News.

Yes, our hugely overpaid Villager Media Overlords ignore it.
Malignantly and on-purpose.
The media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable "hard news" segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the "respectable" media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the "centrist cop-out." "I joked long ago," he says, "that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read 'Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'"

Inside-the-Beltway wise guy Chris Cillizza merely proves Krugman right in his Washington Post analysis of "winners and losers" in the debt ceiling impasse.

Yes, the Right really is using every means at hand to suppress the votes of those who do pay attention:

Ever since Republicans captured the majority in a number of state legislatures last November, they have systematically attempted to make it more difficult to vote...

Yes, they are composed of the bigoted, xenophobic dregs of American culture:
As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn't look, think, or talk like the GOP base. This must account, at least to some degree, for their extraordinarily vitriolic hatred of President Obama. I have joked in the past that the main administration policy that Republicans object to is Obama's policy of being black.[2] Among the GOP base, there is constant harping about somebody else, some "other," who is deliberately, assiduously and with malice aforethought subverting the Good, the True and the Beautiful: Subversives. Commies. Socialists. Ragheads. Secular humanists. Blacks. Fags. Feminazis. The list may change with the political needs of the moment, but they always seem to need a scapegoat to hate and fear.

In other words, "Yes! Yes! Yes!", to everything Liberals have been shunned and slandered for saying for the last 30 years.

I do not see this as vindication or validation anything at all...any more than I see dropping the one millionth egg on the sidewalk and watching it break "validates" the theory of gravity. I don't need some fucking GOP henchman on a pension to ratify the evidence of my own sense for me because as Senator Sam Ervin famously told John Ehrlichmann's lawyer during the Watergate Hearings: "...I can understand the English language. It's my mother's tongue."

Of course we have been right all along.

Of course they have been wrong and lying about it all along.

And of course none of this really matters because there is no one left on the sidelines to convince: the Right has devolved to the point of being the bastard children of George Orwell

(doublethink is) the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
and a Far Side cartoon:

  • What Liberals say: "The 100,000th column restating the same, obvious, terrifying realities."
  • What Conservatives hear: "Blah, blah,blah, Socialism!"
the Center are the same will-o-the-wisp cowards and grifters they have always been, and the Left has grown hoarse shouting truth into a vacuum

decade after decade.

No, for me the most salient sections of this piece are as follows (emphasis added by me):
..the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis.

I left because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans, like Gadarene swine, to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country's future; and contemptuous of the feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in their half-hearted attempts to stop them. And, in truth, I left as an act of rational self-interest. Having gutted private-sector pensions and health benefits as a result of their embrace of outsourcing, union busting and "shareholder value," the GOP now thinks it is only fair that public-sector workers give up their pensions and benefits, too.

So to sum up, the author was the willing stooge of evil men.

He spent 30 years helping filth to slander people like me and destroy my country.

And he did it for money.

And now that the traitors and thugs who hired him are threatening to come after his 30 pieces of silver, he has decided to speak out.

Also, long after it is all far too late, he wants his victims to know he's sorry.

To which what can one say (with a much Christian charity as one can muster) except:


Mr. Lofgren has committed the worst crimes against honor imaginable: he has shamed his ancestors and knowingly betrayed his country into the hands of its destroyers for money. In a culture that actually valued integrity, Mr. Lofgren would find only one path open to him

if he truly wanted to make amends and begin to remove the giant, bloody stain his actions have left on his family name.

Instead, as things stand now, I fully expect him to be taken to the bosom of the Conservative Expatriate Corps, where a lucrative book deal will be put together for him, after which some sinecure will be found for him at "The Daily Beast", "FrumForum", The New York Times, or on "Morning Joe", putting a high gloss on Harold Ford, Junior's shoes.

All of which leads us to Sunday's Mouse Circus.

Project against the scrim of Mr. Lofgren's confession of his complicity in arguably the longest and most destructive campaign of lies, slander and sabotage in American history -- a confession that underscores
A) Anyone making false-equivalency claims about the Right and Left are flat-out lying and,

B) They fucking well know they are lying
-- note how extra-extra-hollow the usual, flaccid gasbag lies ring now.

How absurd Republican Paul Gigot sounds when he suggests that the best way to blow the Republican's collective minds is to "confound" them by basically giving them everything they want.

How nakedly ridiculous Republican Mark McKinnon sounds when he flogs his idiotic "No Lables" scam,

founded on the very "Both sides do it" premise that Republican Mark McKinnon full well knows is a complete lie.

How fatuous and grotesque Tom Friedman sounds
pimping one more of his godawful books and blatting on about salvation at the hands of a Centrist third party.

How either sneeringly cynical or criminally insane Douglas Holtz-Eakin (the former economic adviser to Sen. John McCain) sounds when he insists that the only way out of our current disastrous political cul-de-sac is for President Obama to "show some more ideological flexibility".

Christiane Amanpour: WTF are you even talking about? Hasn't he already given the Right virtually everything they wanted.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: Fuck you, I'm reading my American Enterprise Institute talking points.

On second thought, it's pretty clear that Douglas Holtz-Eakin is just a straight-up liar.

And how miserably crooked the King of the Mouse Circus Fucknozzles -- David Gregory -- sounds...every time he opens his bibble spigot:

Gregory: People were not opposed to the Iraq War: they were opposed to incompetence.

Gregory: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, you said mean things about those nice Tea Party people. Doesn't that make you a monster, unfit for human society?

Gregory: There's populism in the Left and populism on the Right. But what about the fucking Middle! Huh? Huh?

The most honest man on teevee was, once again, Paul Krugman, who opined that no substantive action on jobs whatsoever would pass Congress (actual quote):

"If Obama called for endorsing motherhood, Republicans in the House would oppose it.”
Once again, Krugman must carry the whole weight of speaking the ugly tired truth about the Destroyer Right on teevee; a Destroyer Right that Liberals have been warning about for decades; a Destroyer Right meticulously bred, cultivated and harvested by thousands of professional cultural Quislings like Mike Lofgren.

A Destroyer Right that is only going to get exponentially worse until the gated Centrist stronghold where our Villager Media Overlords ply their trade

is rendered professionally uninhabitable.


Suzan said...

Come on, Dg.

It's already professionally uninhabitable.

They only allow Krugman to visit to confuse first-time viewers.

And I'm with you, baby!

(And everybody you've ever been affiliated with.)




Sad Iron said...

This is just straight up word.

RockDots said...

Yes to every word. I read that Truthout article today and while I didn't learn anything that was really new or earth-shattering, it's still a pretty good summation of the current depressing state of affairs. A good primer for the low-information citizen who's still got an open mind and is willing to listen to reason. (Hahahahahhahaha.)

And perhaps Lofgren will be willing to Testify on TV, a la
Wendell Potter, and provide more people with an insider's view of the rotten, shameful beast that the Republican party has become.

In fact, I'd say that he owes it to us.

RobSPL said...

The NYT is at war with itself.

K-Thug finally goes after David Brooks by name.

Len said...

Dean Baker had the best description for David Brooks - "David Brooks shows that American can still produce high paying jobs for low skill workers" (not sure if that is an exact quote, but it captures Dean's idea). I am afraid Dean is proven right twice a week in the Times.

Mister Roboto said...

What allows this insane state of affairs to continue is the capacity of USAmericans to deceive themselves with pretty stories. And that's just sad, not funny. :-(

Fiddlin' Bill said...

Lofgren will surely show up on MSNBC. But Driftglass is right--that's just a kind of cashing-in, and at a very late date. Moreover, Lofgren will in some sense end up a Democrat (since we have but a two-party system), and in that guise will further dilute what used to be the fundamental character of the Democratic Party--that they had a deep concern for ordinary citizens.

Distributorcap said...

i want to know - is gregory practicing for London 2012

the deafness of the fourth estate never ever ceases to amaze me

HelenBleedingHeart said...

I picked a good day to check in with driftglass.. . . great piece. Perhaps the White House should hire Mike Lofgren.

Bustednuckles said...

When I grow up, I want to be able to write like Driftglass.

Home run son, home run.

Run the bases, you own 'em.

satch said...

Greggers earned his kibble last Sunday when, as Maxine Waters was starting to point out that at least half of the jobs created in Rick Perry's Texas Wonderland were government jobs, he bulled right in to shut her down. Lamestream media indeed.

Anonymous said...

Subject: This email will offend you (Jim Messina, Obama's Campaign Manager)

Hi Jim;

Yes, I am offended by the amount of money needed to get someone elected. I do find the election process out of control and the Koch brothers have taken advantage of it. I am offended that President Obama has not tried to reform the election rules.

But now that you are asking me for money, let me tell you what I am more offended about. I contributed three times to President Obama's election campaign. I thought he was bringing change and hope to Washington?

1) I am offended that he is behaving like a moderate Republican, rather than a centrist Democrat.

2) I am offended that our Democratic president has failed to establish a leadership narrative about what is happening to our economy, to our federal government, and to our society. President Obama has not created any simple monthly speech to bring the American people up to speed. He should be talking about the Koch brothers and about the erosion of our political process to the wealthiest 1% of our society.

3) I am offended that our Democratic president has not stood up to the Republican party's zeal to enhance big business at the expense of the middle class.

4) I am offended that our Democratic president just shelved the clean air standards recommended from the EPA.

5) I am offended that our Democratic president has not stood up to the Republicans and told them no drastic cuts to government and yes we will tax the wealthiest 1% of the Americans -- Bill Clinton did it and he ended with a surplus.

6) I am offended that the president has not created several jobs programs in his first term. Certainly he has heard of FDR's WPA in 1939. Why wasn't that on the president's agenda for his first term?

7) I am offended that the president is not representing my interests. He seems to be representing the interests of the top 1% of society, and of the interests of corporations, and of political donors.

I could go on. But yes I agree with you that I am offended by your email. I plan to give the Obama campaign no more money since he does not represent me or my goals.

Yes, I am offended.


Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 23:11:18 -0400
Subject: This email will offend you

Rick --

Here's something you and I weren't supposed to find out:

At a private function at a Colorado resort, oil billionaire Charles Koch stood in front of hundreds of conservative millionaires and said the 2012 election will be, in the words of Saddam Hussein -- yes, he decided to quote Saddam Hussein -- "the mother of all wars."

He then read through a list of 32 contributors who gave more than a million dollars each to bankroll the network of corporate special-interest groups that aim to tear down President Obama.

If that offends you, it absolutely should. But it should also motivate you, because you are the only thing that can stop them.

Can you make a donation of $25 or more right now?

I'd rather not spend time talking about this kind of gutter politics, but one simple fact makes it impossible to brush aside: special-interest groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads Super PAC have already pledged to pour nearly $200 million into attacking the President in the coming months -- and more shadowy groups file paperwork and start running ads every week.

Right now, the President is ...

The Koch brothers and the front groups they fund have decided on the tone they want the election to take in the coming months -- and we should expect these kinds of smears to only get worse.

But we still have a say about the kind of race we want to run and the kind of political climate we want to create. Take a stand now to support it.

Donate $25 or more today:



Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America