Monday, July 20, 2015

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

We begin this week by checking in on the Annual Gathering of the People's Front of Judea --

-- which is already in progress.

One year before the election, we find all top-tier Democratic candidates for president (minus one) gathered on a stage together at Netroots Nation for a moderated, lively and sometimes contentious exchange of ideas on the most pressing issues of the day...

Oh I am sorry.  My video archivist pulled up the tape of the candidates panel at Netroots Nation from 2007.

I assure you, those responsible have been sacked.

But as long as we're on the subject, for those of you who did not attend that gathering eight years ago in Chicago (full disclosure, I was) , here is the briefest of rundowns of  the 2007 event which was covered by hundreds of members of the press from all over the world:
The 2007 YearlyKos was held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois from August 2–5.

Seven of the eight major Democratic Presidential candidates attended the Convention in a debate moderated by bloggers. The candidates were Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson. The most memorable moment was when Hillary Clinton refused to join John Edwards and Barack Obama's pledge to stop taking money from Washington lobbyists.

Before and after the debate the candidates held their own break-out sessions...
Eight years later, this was the presidential town hall at Netroots Nation 2015:

It has been a very long time since Netroots Nation has garnered much media coverage at all beyond a couple of paragraphs mentioning its existence in the local papers, but this year they finally managed to make it back above the fold.
'Black Lives Matter' Activists Disrupt Presidential Forum at Netroots Event

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley arrived at the annual Netroots Nation convention hoping to impress some of the party's most influential liberal activists. Things didn't exactly go as planned.

Demonstrators protesting cases of police brutality and the treatment of black Americans by law enforcement disrupted a presidential forum Saturday as O'Malley, a former Maryland governor, was interviewed on stage. The group later heckled Sanders.

The raucous scene unfolded when a large group of protesters streamed into the convention hall chanting, "Black lives matter!" As O'Malley and interviewer Jose Antonio Vargas looked on, one of the group's leaders took over the stage and addressed the audience as the largely female group of demonstrators railed against police-involved shootings, the treatment of immigrants and Arizona's racial history.
Above the fold, over and over and over again:
Sanders, O'Malley face protesters at Netroots Nation conference (LA Times)

Protesters Confront Candidates on Race at Netroots Nation Conference (NYT)

Protests spill out at liberal convention during presidential forum with O'Malley, Sanders (U.S. News and World Report)

Demonstrators take over Dem candidate forum (CNN)

O'Malley, Sanders Shouted Down at Netroots by 'Black Lives Matter' Protest (National Journal)

Protests spill out at liberal convention during presidential forum with O'Malley, Sanders (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
In fact, if you are so inclined, you can also find variations of this one story in The Morning Journal, the Boston Herald, The Decatur Daily, the Greensboro News and Record and more than three dozen other news outlets from Al Jazeera and the Guardian to The Blaze and Politico.

Hell, they even made it onto Fox News --
O'Malley, Sanders heckled during presidential forum at Netroots convention
-- which takes some doing.

Of course, from the protester's point-of-view, the action was an unmitigated success.  They didn't just shout inaudibly from the cheap seats and hold up placards:  they took over the stage.  They got their message out.  They embarrassed the candidates.  And they made the news all over the world.

The activists did what they set out to do, so good on them.

For the organizers, OTOH, this was stepping-on-their-own-dick failure of historic proportions.  Honestly, I have never understood why the Netroots crew cannot seem to learn a single damn thing from outfits like CPAC, which draws huge crowds, big-time press coverage and which no first-tier (or second-tier... or third-tier...) Republican candidate would dare miss.  But for whatever reason, each year the Netroots' crew manages to make themselves less influential than the year before.  And this time -- as the moderator abandoned his duties entirely and turned the proceedings over to the protesters -- they may have hit Peak Irrelevance.

So why bring this up on a Gasbag Cavalcade review?

Bear with me a moment and I will explain.

Sunday is a special day in America.  It is the day when, as one, our Beltway overlords disclose to us peons what will be considered "news" by a great many of our fellow citizens for the next few days.  And since I have no interest in what David Brooks' son's employer has to say about the treaty with Iran,  I'll be skipping on over the Benjamin Netanyahu Likud Party road show portion of the Gasbag Cavalcade and instead focus in on a few of the important things our corporate media succeeded in not talking about, and how they managed to not talk about it.

For example, this week was a big week in Trump.

Specifically, a big week for genteel media Villagers to act very flamboyantly scandalized to the point of having to take to their divans and have the servants draw the shades because Donald Trump mocked John McCain's military record for a minute or so.

See, unbeknownst to us peons, very quietly and at some point after George Bush's road to the White House was cleared by the truly stomach-turning ratfucking of John McCain...

...and after Saxby Chambliss dirty-bombed his way into the senate with a relentless, Rovian campaign of ruthlessly slander against Max Cleland...
Dirty-Bomb Politics
By Mary McGrory
Thursday, June 20, 2002; Page A23

If the mugging of Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia is a fair indicator of what is to come, the fall elections will be ugly. Cleland, a decorated veteran and triple amputee, was attacked by his Republican opponent, Rep. Saxby Chambliss, "for breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution."
...and after George Bush's road to re-election was cleared in no small part by the stomach-turning ratfucking of John Kerry's record of honorable military service...

... the GOP apparently got vewy, vewy touchy about anyone saying mean things about John McCain, and especially touchy about saying mean things about his record of military service.

Well, since Donald Trump wipes his maid's dog's ass with the various codes of conduct memos the RNC cranks out as it tries to keep the remnants of their riot-in-a-stupid-factory party all marching in a straight line, he was not aware of these brand new "No Touchy The Service Record" rules the GOP just invented, and so a house fell on him after he called McCain a chump for being captured by the Viet Cong.

Granted, it was tiny doll house full of very tiny, impotent Republican finger-puppets, but still, the sight of so many spineless globs of human gelatin standing up on their wobbly hind legs for any reason other than to call the President a dirty, dirty Kenyan Commie was a sight to see, and so it made news on all the Sunday Gasbag Shows.

What's more, the corporate employees who populated these program were clearly given just enough latitude to ask why GOP was willing to get so exercised about this particular outrage when they have all been perfectly sanguine about taking Trump's money and endorsements and looking the other way as 1001 other offenses against common decency have flow like a river of raw sewage every time Donald Trump opens his Trump-hole.

Here is Ruth Marcus on "Face the Nation":
MARCUS: ... It also is another one of these hurdles that's in front of the more, let's call them credible candidates, and how they respond to Trump, not just this one, which was really a no-brainer in how to respond to his outrageous comments about John McCain, but in terms of the -- the lag that they've had in responding to his previous comments about Mexican rapist, about whether -- where President Obama was born. Even yesterday, we didn't pay attention to it because of what he said about McCain was so outrageous, he was asked by Frank Luntz whether he thought the president loved America, and he said he didn't know. Come on.
Here is ESPN's LZ Granderson who for some reason was on "This Week With Whoever Is Sitting In For George Stephanopoulos":
RADDATZ: But has [Trump] gone too far this time?

GRANDERSON: Well, I'm amazed that we think this is the moment that he's gone too far. I mean, he -- on television and literally (INAUDIBLE) an entire race of people. Why wasn’t that the shark that got jumped? Why did it take the attack of John McCain to get people to get so upset that Republicans start tweeting and denouncing? When he went there and said, well, I like some of the Mexicans but the rest of them are a bunch of rapists and criminals?

I mean, that, to me, was a shark jumping moment.
Here is Shuck Todd on "Meet the Press":
CHUCK TODD: Is this a reap-what-you-sow issue here for the Republican Party? There was an ... the party embraced Donald Trump four years ago. Mitt Romney sought his endorsement. A lot of you did one-on-one meetings courting Donald Trump back in 2011 after he dropped out -- during his whole birther craze at the time and you actively reached out for him. In hindsight was that a mistake for the party in general to embrace Trump four years ago?
But of course, while that kind of talk is fun and all, it is way too threatening to the whole "Both Sides Do It" scam that keeps the lights on at NBC, ABC and CBS to be permitted to hang in the air long enough for anyone to start thinking about it's appalling implications.  Which is why, after asking Governor Rick Perry (R-LensCrafters) why the finger-waggers in the Party of Personal Responsibility sat on their collective hands for so long as Trump yawped his way from one spectacular public embarrassment to the next...

...Shuck Todd immediately reversed field and ran the other way, casting the blame for all of this unseemly poo-flingery on, well, everyone.

And who better to hold America's hair as we puke into the Toilet of Political Regret and lecture us on how terribly the media has all equally failed to something something Reality Teevee than the Mustache of Understanding himself!
TODD: Let me bring Tom [Friedman] in here because Tom, you write about this larger sometimes narrative about the state of American politics. And I put the question to Rick Perry, did the Republican Party reap what they sow, but are we reaping what we sow? The reality show atmosphere of how politics gets covered, where we have made it easier for Donald Trump to blow up our campaign process?

FRIEDMAN: Well, we've turned politics into sports, Chuck. It's PSPN. Politics Sports Network. Not just ESPN.  And when you do that, someone takes it to its logical conclusion—

TODD: That’s what you just did.

FRIEDMAN: And that's what Trump is doing. The tragedy is it's happening at a time when we're in an incredible high speed in terms of a change and the pace of change.

TODD: Globally...Millennials...generationally. This is all over the place!
Corporate teevee will issue the GOP a citation for littering on from time to time, but only when such a citation is accompanied by some mitigating excuses about how it's not really all their fault after all. And this week, the land-speed record for cravenly hauling ass back to safe, Both Siderist territory after putting a toe into the scary "No, It's Really Just The Republicans" zone must go to Ruth Marcus

And roll the film from Netroots Nation (with emphasis added) in 3...2...1...
MARCUS: There's one other thing that happened this week that I think we should talk about, which is this really bizarre encounter that Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley had, the two other Democratic -- (CROSSTALK)

MARCUS: -- Democratic candidates at Net Roots Nation (ph), where so you have this segment of the Republican Party that seems to be semi-large that's supporting Trump.

But then you had on the other side also folks who are not going to get the nomination being shouted down while they were denouncing billionaires, while they were calling for an increase --


MARCUS: -- by the Black Lives Matter folks. And that was just the sort of outburst of unreasonableness on the Left side of the party.

IFILL: -- handled terribly well --

MARCUS: And I think --

DICKERSON: -- which would explain the nature of their complaint, though. This is at the base of the Democratic Party.

MARCUS: And they are saying things that the base should be cheering. But there is a group that is shouting them down during their speech because they are not talking only about Black Lives Matter and --


IFILL: -- to be fair --

MARCUS: -- but they might have gotten to it on their own. But it seemed to me, watching this week, it was like the extremes of both parties had some kind of secret meeting, where they got together and said, how can we most alienate normal voters? And they did a pretty good job.
In 2007, the Netroots had enough clarity and clout to get Markos Moulitsas invited onto "Meet the Press", where he spent 15 delightful minutes running circles around David Gregory and Harold Fraud Junior.  After eight years, the Netroots finally made back into the Sunday Morning lineup as a punchline.  As 30 seconds worth of ready-mix wacky Liberal concrete for Ruth Marcus to use to bury the real horror of the Trump story under a nice, safe layer or Both Siderism.

Someone needs to be fired.

By my count, on the three main non-Roger Ailes broadcast network shows combined, there was not a single whisper of "Max Cleland", "Swiftboats", "Manchurian McCain", "Rove". "Ralph Reed" or "illegitimate black babies" to be found anywhere.  Because frankly no one but a few dirty hippies sees any upside to digging around in that lime pit of Republican fuckery and colossal media FAIL.

Well, almost no one.

This week I have to give Mr. Jake Tapper his props for firing the word "Swiftboat" straight at a real live elected Republican government official on Sunday (h/t Crooks and Liars):

Sure, that elected official -- Texas Representative Will Hurd -- coped by doing exactly what every other member of the Party of Personal Responsibility does when faced with a hideously damning fact cannot be denied or deflected:  he went completely flat-faced two-dimensional, slowly repeated the approved party-line a second time and waited for the unpleasantness to end.   And then -- in the blink of an eye -- they moved on to other things.  But respect must be paid to Mr, Tapper for doing what no one else in his profession had the balls to do: ask a Republican a real question.

In other Sunday news, after lighting up the MSNBC studio with his award-winning personality on Friday, The Weekly Standard's Bloody Bill Kristol was back at ABC, where he was made to squirm for 30 seconds before they gave him back his key to the executive cafeteria:
RADDATZ: And, Bill Kristol, I think it was just yesterday you did a brief interview with ABC News, calling him older, wiser, richer Donald Trump would be better than Hillary.

Still think that?

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I think he's still older and richer than Hillary Clinton.


KRISTOL: Though if she gives a few more speeches maybe she'll catch up. But, no, I don't think that anymore actually. I think it's one thing, he was a controversial character who said some useful things, I think, and brought some people into the Republican tent. But he jumped the shark (ph) yesterday.

He said to me -- no, seriously --

RADDATZ: -- to you --

KRISTOL: -- yes, seriously, no. I mean, he insulted every veteran, every -- certainly every veteran who's a POW, which is -- with these insane statements about how it's your fault that you're captured or shot down. And with total lack of respect for not just John McCain -- that I think other people made this point, Jim Webb, made this point -- for other people's military service and sacrifice.

So I'm finished with Donald Trump. And I don’t think it's going to -- he'll -- and I don't think -- I don't think he'll stay up in the polls, incidentally. Republican primary voters are pro-respect the military. And he showed disrespect for the military.
As has long been established, for reasons that no one in the teevee industry dares to say out loud, Kristol is protected from on high by the prince of darkness, so he will not be seeing the ass-end of the unemployment line anytime soon.

And finally, at the confluence of the spawn of The Weekly Standard and subjects the Gasbag Cavalcade will not touch with a barge pole we find ... David Brooks.  The most ubiquitous and influential Conservative in America who shit the bed in spec-tac-ular fashion whitesplaining American History to Ta-Nehisi Coates just two days ago in the op-ed page pf the Friday New York Times.

And two days later, as predicted but ahead of schedule, that story is gone, gone, gone.

Not a word of whispered by anyone, anywhere on any Sunday show.  A pie-fight at Netroot Nation made nation news this weekend, but not this, which is now as one with Max Cleland and Karl Rove's South Carolina ratfucking brigade.

And so down the memory hole it goes, like Charlie on the M.T.A., never to return.

And I assure you, those responsible will not been sacked.


Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

"But he jumped the shark (ph) yesterday."
---William Kristol

Let's see here. From the "Even Evil Has Standards" quotes page...

"I am The God Of War. The God Of Slaughter. Even The God Of Murder. But I am NOT the god of sadism!"
---Ares, Dark Avengers: Ares #3

"We've done a lot of things we're not proud of... robbing graves, plundering tombs, double-parking... but nobody ever got hurt. Well, maybe somebody got hurt... but nobody we knew."
---Vinny, Atlantis The Lost Empire

"This craziness, it's too much."
---Sal Maroni on The Joker, The Dark Knight


Be seeing you.
---Kevin Holsinger

Paul Wartenberg said...

the only way this weekend really burns the Republicans is if Trump's polling numbers go up, even by a percent. That would be a huge sign they have lost - not losing or about to lose, but LOST - the rage-driven wingnut base they'd been feeding since 1964.

if Trump's polling does go down, then that means there's still a sizable Vietnam vet base the GOP can rely on. But I really think Trump's Id of Outrage has touched enough Far Right voters to where they'll trust him over the Sunday show talking heads.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

H/T for the Kingston Trio shout out. They inspired me to take up folk music in my high school years, which enabled me to have some memorable experiences (including political campaigns in Minnesota in the days of Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey and yes dad gummit I'm old). If you all are really nice to me I'll bore you with my Chubby Checker complimented my voice story.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

I'm still recovering from seeing Chuck Todd, Thomas Friedman and Andrea Mitchell together at the same time. Unfortunately I do not drink.

Dave McCarthy said...

"Rick Perry (R-Lens Crafters)" very nearly resulted in my Danny Thomasing my morning coffee laptopward.

SPY magazine did a savage (I know, redundant) piece on the brat pack in hollywood suddenly all sporting serious black-rimmed eyeglasses, entitled "The Importance of Looking Earnest". That's the FIRST thing I thought the minute I saw mr oooops! wearing 'em...

Unknown said...

Well, Trump just got a huge boost towards the nomination. Bloody Bill WRONG Kristol offered a prediction that he was about to flame out. So, unless the immutable law of nature that Kristol is always wrong unexpectedly gives out on us, it follows that Trump will be a contender for the long haul.

Mike Lumish said...

Regarding Netroots Nation, 2007 was a key year. That was the high point of the original Daily Kos, that band of brothers who survived the BushCo Political Shock and Awe - when only 5% of Americans would stand up in public and say "The Afghan War is a bad idea, don't do it" - and came together in 2002 to seek solace and fight back. By 2006 we could knock Lieberman out of the Connecticut primary - but not by ourselves, we were just an important part of the coalition.

Then the bullshit started to pile up. By 2008 it was clear that the winner of the D primary would most likely be president, and a lot of people started to sign up in anticipation of easy killing. So now your median kossack feels horribly cheated, hates the Democrats more than he hates the Republicans, and resents being told to shut up and vote for the party because it's going to be terrible if the Republicans come into power.

Which answers one of your questions up above: NN never learns, never organizes, because - with Markos largely booted from the scene - NN now caters to malcontents and bombthrowers who use intimidation rather than intelligent organization to advance their agenda.

Thus there is no small irony in this spectacle of BLM acting up, in classic activist fashion, to put pressure on folks who are accustomed to applying pressure - and these folks find the taste oh so bitter. Look at the cries indignation, "how could you attack your true friends like this?" and "Don't you understand how wonderful Bermie is? He is your only hope!" Well, yeah, I think they understand perfectly well: it turns out you guys have an authoritarian streak a mile wide, after all, and BLM plays the game a whole lot better than you.

dinthebeast said...

So now we have another chance to see who really calls the shots (as if we needed another...) as Very Serious Republicans sound the death knell for Trump's campaign and Boss Limbaugh says otherwise...

-Doug in Oakland

Kathleen O'Neill said...

@Doug in Oakland

You know it's serious when NBC (via the Today Show) provided actual context around Trump's comments, i.e., while McCain was in the Hanoi Hilton Trump was exercising student deferment option. Yes. They actually went there.

But I shouldn't be surprised. After all, during the Kerry Swift Boat travesty they reported on Kerry's side of the story and noted that Bush was AWOL during his stint in the National Guard and...oh, wait. Never mind.