It's my birthday this week.
Also too, thanks to Governor Hedgefund's draconian budget cuts, I no longer have the part-time gig I had (and enjoyed and at which I was very good) a few months ago.
So it seemed like a really good time for my traditional birthday week fundraiser :-) The link to my tip jar is at the bottom of the post. Now, on with the show...
"Beware The Space Senility!" Edition
Bova walked off the series the week after Trumbull left, because of scientific illiteracies he’d warned them against, such as “radiation virus” (which is an impossibility...radiation is a matter of atoms, viruses are biological entities, even as you and I and Kline and Davidson, I presume), “space senility” (which, I guess means old, feeble, blathering vacuum), and “solar star” (which is a terrific illiterate redundancy like saying “I live in a big house home”).-- Harlan Ellison, Stalking The Nightmare
Having covered the Mouse Circus/Sunday Gasbag Cavalcade for over 10 years now, I can say that "old, feeble, blathering vacuum" is probably the most accidentally wonderful description of the awful political kabuki which our Village elders put on each week to prop up their own self-regard and investment portfolios.
The same old players shambled from set to set, declaiming the same Beltway common wisdom within the frame of the same 2-3 "stories" which the networks have decided will constitute "news" this week. As a source of informed analysis you can use to add to your stock of knowledge about how our country works, the Gasbag Cavalcade is entirely useless; as a topographic map of the Beltway's own political agenda, the Gasbag Cavalcade is unerringly accurate.
This week, for example,according the Beltway the major political "stories" were not....
- Look! At the hyped-by-the-Right-like-a-The-Force-Awakens Pillory Clinton Committee! It's the Party of Lincoln throwing acid in its own face and dying of Rovine spongiform encephalopathy ™ on live teevee.
- Holy Jebus Hephaestus Christ, god of salvation and anvils, if that lonely strand of brittle Barbie hair which tethers Ben Carson to our reality ever breaks, he really will just float away to wingnut Neverland.
- On Left, substantive, respectful debates over issues. On the Right, a knife fight at Arkham Asylum.
Instead we learned that...
The Republican Establishment (the zillionaires who own the GOP clown car and who never show up on-camera) are genuinely freaking over the fact that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are not merely strap-hangers on their clown car, but have tossed the driver out the window and are fighting over the steering wheel. Meanwhile their thoroughbred -- Jebulon! -- it turning out to be less of a plucky mudder who will come from behind to save them, and more of a rotting mackerel with a sell-by date of January, 2002.
And so the Republican Establishment has been burning up the phone lines to turn the "Donald Trump and Ben Carson" story into (take it away Jake Tapper and every other talking head)...
Marco Rubio, dumb as a loaf of toast and running third or worse everywhere. Some say he's the man to beat! We'll talk with him next.
Ross Cardinal Douthat in the NYT:
Marco Rubio, the Unusual Front-Runner
Even Trump (on the Jake Tapper show) knows enough to stop bouncing the Jeb! rubble around and start spreading his fire everywhere...
Trump: SuperPACS are a scam. A big fat scam. They're raising all this money. Nobody knows who they are. I hear that Ben Carson's SuperPACs are basically running his campaign in Iowa. Same with Jeb, who is now hiding used his bed while Mommy and Daddy huddle with the rest of the Bush Family consiglieres tot try and figure out how to same his doomed ass.I'm calling on all candidates to disavow their SuperPACs.Low energy people can't stop the people who are beheading people in Syria and other places!Rubio wanted to give the country away. He was part of the Gang of Eight who wanted to give the country away. Then he got in trouble and ran away from it.
We also learned that the "GOP Is Nuts/Democrats Are Not" story remains 100% terrifying to the Both Siderist teacup poodles who staff the Gasbag Cavalcade. And so, instead of reporting that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton simply are not taking out after each other in the same way that Republicans routinely slash and slander each other. Beltway goofs are so desperate for a slap-fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders they are combing the litter box for anything they can gin up into a story that does not involve public policy -- which is boring and which they are, frankly, too stupid to understand -- or the Hindenberg-ing of the GOP :
Jake Tapper: Senator Sanders, some appreciate your high tone in this campaign, but Hillary thinks you're a sexist.(Plays clip which in no way says that at all)So, do you wanna fight her over it? Huh? Do ya do ya do ya? Huh old man? Are are you gonna let an old lady push you around?
Bernie declined the bait.
Over on "Meet the Press", Shuck Todd brings all of his his of experience to bear on the problem of not laughing in Ben Carson's face, tossing his notes in the air, and walking out of the studio with a loud "Oh, just fuck this."
Todd: What's with the Nazi references all the time?Carson: A lot of rabbis love me. They say I'm spot on. And really, this is caused mostly by people in your business who try to cause a ruckus and stir things up.Todd: Should nutty people be able to have surface-to-air missile?Carson: We have laws against owning surface-to-air missiles.Todd: But doesn't the whole Republican gun-fetish point that any restriction on any weapon is just a hop-skip-and-goosestep away from the Holocaust?Carson: Speaking of Nazis, ideally, mothers should not think of their babies as their enemy. We have allowed Liberals to convince women that babies are like, oh, let's say Nazis. Also too. termination any unwanted is just like slavery! I know it's not politically correct, but I'm gonna tell you, Roe v. Wade will end under my reign and all abortions will illegal.Todd: Any exceptions at all.Carson: I'm a reasonable person. If a Nazi liberal fascist can come up with a good reason to murder a baby, I'll listen.Todd: Any exception for rape?Carson: Rape babies are beautiful and women were put on Earth as brood mares for men.Todd: And you want to get rid of Obamacare?Carson: Yes. People should have health savings accounts. Also Medicaid should be de-Nazified and turned into money for people who get very sick. It'll all work out. Unless you're in favor of slavery!Todd: You would never hire a doctor who had no medical experience. Why would anyone hire a president with no political experience?Carson: Political experience is stupid. Solomon was never a senator or a Nazi, but hired a lot of good people. I'll be like Solomon! I will go through Angie's List and find the best roofers and plumbers and diplomats. I will be a magician and an exorcist. I will have 700 wives and 300 concubines. David will name me as his successor and I will kill all the generals. Also many amulets and medallion will bear my name.
This man is leading by double-digits in Iowa. In case you were wonder why this man in
CNN's Inside Politics lets you in on a little secret (h/t Blue Gal! -- emphasis added):
CNN's Inside Politics lets you in on a little secret (h/t Blue Gal! -- emphasis added):
BERMAN: What does Ben Carson do about this all of a sudden now that he's winning somewhere?From Brother Charlie Pierce:
PACE: Well, that's going to be a fascinating question because Ben Carson actually hasn't been campaigning very often. We haven't seen him on the campaign trail very much.
TALEV: He's on a book tour.
PACE: He's on a book tour. And a lot of his support is grassroots built up from people who have followed him throughout his career. Now there's going to be a lot of focus on him when he's in the debate next week. He's going to be getting more time, more questions on policy which has not been a strength of his. But again, this is a cycle where some of these standard things that we expect candidates to rise and fall on have just not mattered....
I will grant you that the question, "I'm sorry, sir, but have you wandered into my studio from the Chronic ward?" might be considered impolite in such circumstances, but, honest to blog, isn't that the only possible follow-up to a guy who is running a heretofore successful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on the basis of not holding back on undistilled political Jesus juice? (By the way, later in the show, the entire panel agreed that nasty old Donald Trump was out of bounds in taking a shot at Carson's Seventh Day Adventist beliefs. Considering that Carson is running almost primarily on the theory that Jesus wrote the Constitution, this seems to me to be a legitimate issue.) And isn't there something to be asked that concerns why this codswallop sells to the voters of one of the only two political parties our system allows itself to have? Doesn't the current mental state of the Republican Party make it a danger to itself and others? Is there any point in even asking these questions anymore?
Finally, it was absolutely critical to the Beltway Both Siderist narrative that the Pillory Clinton Committee not be read as an indictment of the absolute hollowness, madness and jaw-dropping perfidy of the Republican Party, but merely as a political story in which Hillary Clinton used superior sitting-and-gesturing tactics to win the news cycle. Which was why Shuck Todd interviewed Gowdy Doody in the gentlest manner possible --
Todd: Chairman Gowdy, let me show you a clip of you stepping on your own dick.Gowdy: Jesus, does my head really look like that?Todd: I'm afraid so. The most charitable description we have heard was "bevel-headed hill person" and "malformed
coalcold chisel". The second one was by the American Council of CoalCold Chisel Manufacturers.Gowdy: I would like to share an exciting word with your viewers. "Traunch". As in "traunch traunch traunch". Hillary said many things, but I don't know how we're going to be prepared for the next Benghazi if Hillary Clinton refuses to admit that the night of the attack, instead of doing her job, she was having lesbian scissor-sex with Huma Abedin while Sidney Blumenthal live-texted the whole thing. And as soon as we find the email that proves it...Todd: Here's a word-cloud of you stepping on your own dick.Gowdy: But Sidney Blumenthal really did email Hillary Clinton. Many times. And as soon as we figure out how email works we'll nail that lesbian scissor-sexing monster.Todd: You seemed freakishly obsessed with Blumanthal.Gowdy: But the piles, Chuck. Didn't you see the piles?Todd: Some people have said that your hearing made chimps having a poo fight look like the Algonquin Round Table.Gowdy: Trust me, we're awesome when you can't see us. We always do better when we can do things behind closed doors and then leak misleading fragments to the public.
-- Shuck Todd went on to feign bafflement as to why Elijah Cummings declined to join in the Hillary Clinton tar-and-feather party and instead turned his attention to breaking up the mob carrying the tar and feathers.
Todd: Why didn't you ask Hillary Clinton a shitpile of stupid, vicious questions like the Republicans did?Cummings: Because it was a fucking sham, Chuck. We promised the families of the victims not to let this be turned into another wingnut inquisition and believe me, Chuck, that's a god damned full time job.Todd: But what about...the video.Cummings (bangs head on desk): What about it, Chuck. In the first, chaotic hours and days people were trying to sort this out. We decided to stay on the committee because can you imagine what kind of Kafkaesque nightmare if no one was there to call "bullshit" on the bullshitters?
Or, to quote Mark Twain, ",,,no mob has any sand in the presence of a man known to be splendidly brave."
Later, gentle butterfly Doris Kearns Goodwin expressed concern that mean words may hurt the process. Because Adlai Stevenson.
And why on this planet of Earth is Jennifer Rubin on "Meet the Press"?
Sorry, rhetorical question. Not a week goes by that one cannot ask the "WTF?" question of more than half the guests and panelists on every Sunday show at the Gasbag Cavalcade.
But seriously, why on this planet of Earth is Jennifer Rubin on "Meet the Press"?
Old, feeble, blathering vacuum indeed.