Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Triumphant Return of Young Bucks and Welfare Queens


It has been more than 35 years since Lee Atwater laid out exactly how and why his Republican Party was building a string of dog-whistle factories that would enable them to wear their racism out in public and drive Southern bigots into the arms of the Party of Lincoln without the High Hats and Snooty Liberal Brahmans getting wise.

...
In 1981, during the first year of Mr. Reagan’s presidency, the late Lee Atwater gave an interview to a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University, explaining the evolution of the Southern strategy:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger,’ ” said Atwater. “By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”
And as proof, anyone who bothers to take a look can plainly see the GOP running this same play out of this same racist playbook over and over again, decade after decade (from The Atlantic) --
The ‘Welfare Queen’ Is a Lie

At a campaign rally in 1976, Ronald Reagan introduced the welfare queen into the public conversation about poverty: “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.”

The perception of who benefits from a policy is of material consequence to how it is designed. For the past 40 years, U.S. welfare policy has been designed around Reagan’s mythical welfare queen—with very real consequences for actual families in need of support.

Though it was Reagan who gave her the most salient identity, the welfare queen emerged from a long and deeply racialized history of suspicion of and resentment toward families receiving welfare in the United States...
 -- getting, meaner and blunter and more smirkingly obvious with each iteration (from an entirely different article in the New York Times) --
When, in 1976, [Reagan] talked about working people angry about the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks at the grocery store, he didn’t mean to play into racial hostility. True, as The New York Times reported,
The ex-Governor has used the grocery-line illustration before, but in states like New Hampshire where there is scant black population, he has never used the expression “young buck,” which, to whites in the South, generally denotes a large black man.
But the appearance that Reagan was playing to Southern prejudice was just an innocent mistake.

Similarly, when Reagan declared in 1980 that the Voting Rights Act had been “humiliating to the South,” he didn’t mean to signal sympathy with segregationists. It was all an innocent mistake...
And then the first Black President was elected and all of that barely concealed racist bile -- the true mother's milk of Republican politics -- came spilling right out into the open in a tidal wave of slander like this --


-- which PolitiFact rated as a pants-on-fire lie back when pants-on-fire lies from Republicans were notable enough that you didn't need both hands and both feet to keep count of the just the new ones that were hatching out of the GOP midden pile every single day:
Our ruling

Santorum said that Obama "showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare."

The claim is a drastic distortion of what the Obama administration said it intends to do. By granting waivers to states, HHS is seeking to make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them. The waivers would apply to individually evaluated pilot programs -- HHS is not proposing a blanket, national change to welfare law. And there have been no comments by the Obama administration indicating such a dramatic shift in policy.

Santorum falsely claims that Obama has waived welfare’s work requirement entirely. The remark is inaccurate and it inflames old resentments about able-bodied adults sitting around collecting public assistance. Pants on Fire!
And now that the GOP has gotten tired of pretending it isn't a racist shitpile. burned down the dog-whistle factories and elected the Stormfront Comment Section That Walks Like a Man, guess what's baaaack baby!

From Real Clear Politics (emphasis added):
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And by the way, what happened, what happened, is Obama took a long time, years to get Obamacare, right? Again, 10 months. We've had two runs at it. We're coming closer, closer. I think now we have a plan that's going to be great. But we're not talking about it until after taxes, and then we'll take care of health care.

Then we will have done tax cuts, the biggest in history, health care, phenomenal health care. I know you don't want this -- welfare reform. Does anyone want welfare reform?
(APPLAUSE)

And infrastructure. But welfare reform, I see it, and I've talked to people. I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn't work at all. And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that's working his and her ass off. And it's not going to happen. Not going to happen.
President Stupid doesn't know anyone who works three jobs.

President Stupid doesn't know anyone who works their asses off doing anything other than looting the government and lying about it.

President Stupid doesn't know anyone on public assistance.

President Stupid doesn't know anyone who lives within a billion miles of social distance of anyone on public assistance.

President Stupid is a bitter, half-mad, pig-ignorant old bigot who keeps company with other bitter old bigots.  He gets his "news" straight from the from Fox and Friends Soft Serve Dung Machine, and sits on his golden shitter retweeting white supremacist filth and nutso conspiracies, picking fights with celebrities, calling for reporters and his political opponents to be locked up, yelling at uppity black people and trying to start World War Three.

When he gets bored with that, he hits the links for the umpteenth time.  Because he is a very, very lazy bitter old bigot. 

When he gets bored with that, he wanders around, grabbing random microphones and taking credit for anything that pops into his head.


He is a sick joke.

And the party that nominated him and the reprogrammable meatbags who elected people who elected him are in on that joke and think it is fucking hilarious.  

And together they are going to hurt an awful lot of people very badly before this nightmare comes to an end.



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We're (Locally) Famous!


Our local alternative weekly newspaper -- the venerable Illinois Times -- has done a really nice article on a Springfield-based Liberal podcast with which you may or may not be familiar.
...
“We give our listeners a vocabulary to understand the world that we live in,” Driftglass says. “When you turn on CNN, you see this nonsense. Every time you hear someone in the media say, reflexively, ‘It’s both sides, it’s both sides, it’s both sides,’ that’s an enabling mechanism for conservatives.”


The couple’s fans are nationwide, as became apparent when the New York Times recently ran a story on Pod Save America, a podcast produced by refugees from the Obama administration who have a reported 1.5 million listeners. Langum and Driftglass, who call their show The Professional Left, have considerably fewer, but a handful jumped in on the comment section accompanying the Times story, praising the Springfield couple. Graphics on their website, which features a cornfield and The Cornfield Resistance as a tagline, are top notch and came courtesy of a listener in Texas. Austin, naturally...
You should definitely check it out :-)  And yes, they have a comment section.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Today In Both Sides Do It: No End In Sight


Hey, here's a riddle for you.  How was George W. Bush's Iraqi Debacle exactly like Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act?

The answer?

Ha!  Trick question!  They are absolutely, diametrically opposite things that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

Well, OK, to be completely fair, they are absolutely, diametrically opposite things that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, everywhere in the known universe except one place.

And what is that one, obviously-deranged place in the known universe where Operation Endless Clusterfuck and Obamacare are virtually indistinguishable from one another?

On cable teevee of course.

Jesus, really?

Yep.

No!

Yes, it's true.

OK, so answer me this, smartass.  On what cable teevee shows could someone possibly get away with telling lies that enormous and ridiculous and now be overrun by packs of wild historians and political scientists and shoe-leather reporters who would tear them to bits with sharp, pointy facts?  The reboot of Jersey Shore?  Archer?  Black Mirror?  Reruns of Dog the Bounty Hunter?  Kim Possible?

First, don't even with Kim Possible.  Second -- and hold on to your crocs because you are not going to believe this -- these sorts of cartoonishly ridiculous lies are trotted out on cable teevee news programs  every single day.  Cable teevee news which attempt to lend credibility to these cartoonishly ridiculous lies by embedding this within these panels of wildly overpaid "journalists" who get paid a king's ransom to sit in semicircles agreeing with each other that Both Sides are terrible and always equally to blame for everything. 

Like this right here.


Here is my quick-and-dirty transcript of the important bits:
Peggy Noonan (At around 2:19):  Well it struck me yesterday as I watched the extraordinary White House meeting with the two empty chairs representing the Democrats who didn't come to the meeting, I just thought...Obamacare!   Was not...successful. The Obamacare reform.  The tax "thing" not success-- or the tax thing a struggle and we'll see how it goes...

Peggy Noonan (Around 3:29):  But I don't think, among many uh uh among many thoughts I suppose on this [ed. you can really see the Percocets and rise-n-shine Bloody Mary kick in here] I don't think we are living in the age where any major piece of legislation will be respected and accepted by The Murrican People unless two parties back it.  End of story.  And he's not there.

Joe Scarborough:  So let's look back...
And you damn well know what's coming next, don't you?

Or course you do.
Joe Scarborough:  So let's look back over the past 30 years.  And look what presidents got right and what presidents got wrong.  
Yadda yadda yadda George H. W. Bush!  So bipartisan it'd make your teeth hurt

Yadda yadda yadda Bill Clinton!  Helluva guy.
Joe Scarborough: You could impeach him on a Friday and go golfing with him on a Saturday...
At which point any honorable referee woulda benched Squint Scarborough for Aggravated Bullshittery.

But there are honorable referees here, are there?  Which is kinda the point.
Imaginary Libtard:  And what happens when one party -- your Republican Party --becomes so Wrath of Khan bugfuck crazy that it would rather let the world burn than give up its single-minded pursuit of destroying the other party with a relentless campaign of slander, obstruction, sedition and sabotage?  In that case,  Peggy, what moral obligation do people in your profession have to report the facts that that story in exactly that way.
Which is why we Libtards are not allowed to sit at tables such as these.

Onward.
Peggy Noonan:  [Bill Clinton] did welfare reform so brilliantly.  He allowed the Republicans to drag him kicking and screaming to that bill.  He tormented them...  and together they signed it and laughed and went on.  That's how you do it.  It's not good that we don't do it that way anymore -- I...I think Mr. Obama gets some responsibility here for how he bullied through Obamacare..
Further evidence that if you want to keep high schoolers from getting drunk and behaving irresponsibly, don't waste their time with "Alcohol is Dynamite". Just show them Peggers hazily reliving the cartoon version of glory days through a cloud of bad decisions three decades thick.

Because kiddies, this really how ol' Peggers "remembers" the Clinton Years.

And the Obama Years.

And whatever may or may not have happened in-between.
Joe Scarborough:  Again as we move forward I want to talk about George W. Bush and Iraq.  Yes he had Democratic votes, but it was his way or the highway and Democrats learned that pretty quickly.  So the Iraq War, when it went badly, was owned by George W. Bush.  [pause for effect]  Barack Obama passed Obamacare...everything... and yes you can blame the Republicans just like Donald Trump can blame the Democrats.  But anybody who knows Washington knows, there's always a deal to be made. 
This is also the answer to a second riddle that is implicit in the first: Why are those panels are routinely packed with compliant has-beens like Mike Barnicle and half-in-the-bag Bush Regime Dead Enders like Peggy Noonan and not historians or political scientists or shoe-leather reporters or just any Liberal anywhere who has a functional long-term memory?

Because everyone on this panel knows they are lying.  Of course they do.  And we know they're lying.  And they know that we know they're lying.  And so forth.  From NYMag:
Every Republican Lie About Passing Obamacare Is True About Repealing It

...
Conservatives made a part of the last sentence — “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” — famous, possibly the most famous line from the entire health-care debate. Conservatives turned that sentence fragment into an emblem for their claim that Obamacare was passed in the dead of night through a secretive, rushed, undemocratic process. They claim this even now. Just today, Andrew Ferguson attacks that he calls “[t]he creepy, authoritarian manner in which the legislation was passed,” and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel claims, “Senior Democrats crafted ObamaCare in lobbyist-filled backrooms, forgoing hearings, markups, even input from their own colleagues—much less Republicans.”

This is a bizarre description of a bill that spent a year working through Congress, eventually passing numerous committees, two full House majority votes, one Senate supermajority vote and, in fact, many, many, many hearings. While the law did use a budget-reconciliation bill to enact minor fiscal adjustments, a maneuver that Republicans decried as akin to a death blow to the Republic, in fact its major provisions all received 60 votes in the Senate. The bill was evaluated by the independent Congressional Budget Office, and the projected premium levels in the new exchanges turned out to be accurate, and its predictions of overall federal health spending turned out to be too pessimistic, as the federal government is now spending less on health care with Obamacare than it was projected to spend without it. The bill was enacted in a democratic, deliberate, transparent, and excruciatingly slow fashion.
...
But none of that matters to any of these "journalists", because the corporations which they serve and which own the cameras and the microphones and make all personnel decision have made it perfectly clear that their careers depend 100% on never wavering one millimeter from the Establishment Party Line that Both Sides are equally to blame for everything, including the Rise of Trump.

This is Republican lifeboat building at its most frantic.  This is Joe Scarborough desperately trying to burnish his freshly-minted Fake Independent credentials as fast as possible.

And the thing it, it'll probably work.  But while you're thinking on that, think on this as well.  Think how enormously powerful we lowly Libtards must be that these gilded teevee turds are so terrified of us that we're not allowed anywhere near their sandbox while they're promulgating this toxic filth.

So why are they so terrified of us?

Because the Big Lie on which their careers depend is so terribly fragile -- so transparently false and so easily debunked -- that any Liberal with a functional memory could absolutely level these fuckers in less than a minute.  


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Art of the Deal


What neither the Right nor the Beltway media seem to understand is that we here on the Left are not exactly quaking in our boots at the thought of re-litigating the Clinton Era.

In fact, quite the opposite.  We would be delighted to both revisit the Clinton Era in it's entirety*, and apply the exactly the same standards to President Stupid that the GOP insisted be applied to President Clinton.  Namely, that any crackpot rumor from any source no matter how clearly partisan and sketchy is grounds to trigger a fully Congressional investigation, complete with subpoena power and public hearings.  That a Special Prosecutor be appointed and if that Special Prosecutor comes back with a conclusion that we don't like, then we can invoke the Fiske Rule and appoint an openly partisan hit-man who will just keep trawling for wrongdoing until he finds something or provokes something. 

None of which the Right apparently remembers, even though on the Right, the Clinton Era never ended.  

They have built whole castles and condos and strip malls in the air out of their various warped and wishful fairy tales about that time.  And now that they completely brain dead and have absolutely no true memory of what the actual Clinton Administration  (or the Dubya Administration, or the Obama Administration) was actually like, I'm quite sure they believe that "re-litigating" that period in our history would be nothing more than them regurgitating their favorite crackpot, long-debunked conspiracies into one, big, gooey, public pile around which they would dance their Dance of Triumph while we Libtards curled up and cried.

Bwahahaha!

You wanna drag the last quarter century -- from Gingrich and Limbaugh to Trump and Brietbart -- into the public dock?  On a level playing field?  Where each side gets to wield the same set of cutlery using the same standards and rules?

Bring in on, baby.

Bring.  It.  On.

*Thanks for the catch


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Monday, November 27, 2017

Today In Both Sides Do It: Reliable Beltway Stalactite Michael Gerson


From the The Washington Post:
America is currently cursed, not only with tribal politics, but with tribal morality. Some liberals tend to minimize or excuse offenses against a few women in the broader cause of women’s rights. What is a politician’s wandering hand in comparison to maintaining legal abortion? Some conservatives tend to minimize or excuse offenses against women in the cause of conservative governance. What are a few old accusations compared to cementing a conservative Supreme Court or passing tax reform?

Both sides...
It has been said that too much Wingnut Welfare leads to slothful, crappy writing.

Which is not to say that to motivate Michael Gerson to write in a less shamelessly dishonest manner he should be pelted with dog poop whenever he shows his face in public.

Because that would be wrong.

So very wrong.

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Looking Forward To President Stupid's Remarks To The Organization of Chinese Americans



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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Today In Both Sides Do It: Mindy Finn

Mindy Finn is the co-founder StandUpRepublic with -- surprise! -- Evan_McMullin. and a former Independent VP candidate.

She also represents the kind of thinking that got President Stupid elected.

And it never ends with these people.

It never fucking ends.
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

David Brooks: Controlling The Future By Butchering The Past



You're going to want to pay particular attention to the definition of this word.  "Ellipsis".  It'll become important a little ways down the road.
el·lip·sis
əˈlipsis -- noun -- the omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues.
Got it?

Good.

Onward.

As I have mentioned once or twice, the last and most impregnable stronghold of the cabal of Republican-enabling knaves and toadies who have helped kill American journalism and politics by slow poison is the High and Holy Church of Both Siderism.

During the Age of Trump. no Beltway institution has taken (and deserved) more incoming fire than Both Siderism, and no clique has fought more tenaciously to preserve the ablative shielding their cult provides than America's Both Siderists.  They are grim and fanatical in their faith, because they have to be.  Because they know that, however objectively shitty and ridiculous their creed may be, if it falters even in the slightest, there is no place on this Earth left for them to hide.  If Both Siderism cracks and the truth starts pouring in, the structure of our media and politics would radically shift overnight.  The very language we use to talk about ourselves and our country would undergo a swift and tectonic change, and since, in the end, control over public words are all the Both Siderists really have, their careers and reputations, their perks and privileges, would all be over.

Which is why, as long as they are permitted to occupy the commanding heights of the American media unmolested -- as long as they hang on to the power to amplify their own lies a million times, and to silence their critics -- they are going to go right on abusing that power every day to prop up their cult in way that are both subtle and gross.

Friday, in Thew New York Times, was one of the "gross" days.

First you had to get past The Mustache of Understanding deciding that what the world needs most of all at this exact moment is him weighing in once again on a subject about which he hasn't been anywhere close to right once in living memory:
Then you had to make it through the fire swamps, and past an inexplicable puff piece on a Conservative Rodent of Unusual Size named Ben Shapiro:
Which led you, at last, to this stunningly awful tub of revisionist grue by David Fucking Brooks --
America: The Redeemer Nation
-- in which the administration of Abraham Lincoln is re-imagined as extended exercise in Both Siderism as filtered through a highly redacted version of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

From Mr. Brooks:
Slavery, Lincoln says, was not a Southern institution, it was an American institution, weaving through our common history for 250 years. The scourge of war, which purges this sin, falls on both sides. Lincoln fought any sense of self-righteous superiority the Northerners might harbor.
What Mr. Brooks doesn't bother to mention is that Lincoln had the freedom and flexibility to be generous and speak of reconciliation precisely because he had spent the previous four years destroying the Confederacy.  Killing their armies.  Sinking their ships.  Burning their crops.  Laying waste to their cities.  This is the central fact of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln besides which all others recede into footnotes.

Less than two months after Mr. Lincoln was elected, the secession of the South and the formation of the traitor Confederacy had begun over the issue of slavery.

A month after Mr. Lincoln was sworn into office, Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor over the issue of slavery.

And four years later, on the day Mr. Lincoln delivered his stirring Second Inaugural, the bloodiest war in American history was slowly drawing to a close.  The Confederacy had been smashed, what remained of its shattered armies were in a state of endless, slogging retreat.  And one month after Mr. Lincoln delivered his Second Inaugural, Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate Army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Less than a week later, Mr. Lincoln would be assassinated by Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth.

And yet, in Mr. Brooks' Both Siderist version of America history, the explicit causes of the Civil War and its aftermath hardly exist at all.  The are reduced to "divisions and disappointments" which "fall on both sides" and which seem to exist on some weird, parallel track that runs alongside the Lincoln Administration but barely intersect with it:
The speech is a great reconciling speech. The words recurring through it are “we” and “all.” “All thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it … Both parties deprecated war.”  
Except, no.  Because unlike Mr. Brooks, who it desperate to race right on past the cause and cost of the Civil War on his way to oth Siderist sermonette, Mr. Lincoln knew exactly how he had finally arrived on that particular platform in March of 1865.

Remember the definition of ellipses from just up the way a little?  The "omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous"?

Compare Mr. Brooks amputated interpretation of the Second Inaugural -- 
“All thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it … Both parties deprecated war.”  
-- with Mr. Lincoln's words in their full and original form --
 ...all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to 'saving' the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to 'destroy' it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would 'make' war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would 'accept' war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
--  to see for yourself what Mr. Brooks' considers "superfluous".

That's right.  To serve his political agenda, Mr. Brooks has very deliberately omitted the entire context for one of the greatest speeches in American history:  the fact that there were two sides to the Civil War -- one which was dedicate to destroying the nation in order to preserve the institution of slavery, and another -- led by Abraham Lincoln -- which was determined not to let that happen.

And as to Mr. Brooks' claim that "Slavery, Lincoln says, was not a Southern institution, it was an American institution, weaving through our common history for 250 years."?   Well for fuck's sake, David, just read the very next god damn paragraph of the speech you are god damn quoting:
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
In Mr. Brooks' Both Siderist version of America history, Lincoln is transformed into a disembodied specter who somehow just floats above all of this, hand-in-hand with Mr. David Brooks, as together they survey the sad and petty squabbles of the wretched Extremes on Both Sides, both in 1865 and 2017. 

And why?  What could possibly justify the editors of The New York Times giving Mr. Brooks a free hand to mutilate history and lie about Lincoln so publicly and flagrantly?

Well thank you for indulging me by asking, since I have a strong feeling that you already know the answer...

...because here comes the utterly predictable Both Siderist razor in the apple which you will find in virtually every single fucking column written by Mr. David Brooks for The New York Times in the past 14 years (emphasis added):
In his speech, Lincoln realistically acknowledges the divisions and disappointments that plague the nation. But he does not accept the inevitability of a house divided. He combines Christian redemption with the multiculturalist’s love of diversity. In one brilliant stroke, Lincoln deprives Christian politics of the chauvinism and white identitarianism that we see now on the evangelical right.  He fills the vacuum of moral vision that we see now on the relativist left.
Yes, by the simple act of ignoring every single critical element of the most consequential event in American history (other than the American revolution), Mr. Brooks' strips Mr. Lincoln of his role as the president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the Union army --


-- and creates a more pliant and ideologically useful fictional Lincoln whom he elevates the exalted role of Patron Saint of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It. 

Lincoln as a Centrist angel with a flaming sword who will stand beside Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times as they do righteous battle with the "of the chauvinism and white identitarianism that we see now on the evangelical right" and  "the vacuum of moral vision that we see now on the relativist left."

Finally,  I have one more little rabbit to pull out of my beat up, old hat and for that trick I need you to dwell on the short phrase which Mr. Brooks has taken great care to repeat back-to-back so as to mortal one more brick into the facade of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It.

"the chauvinism and white identitarianism that we see now on the evangelical right" and "the vacuum of moral vision that we see now on the relativist left."

"that we see now".

"that we see now".

Now here's a funny thing.  Because I have been doing this for going on 13 years, I've accumulated a helluva deep archive, and a pretty accurate if eclectic memory of what I have written over the years.

So indulge me for just one more minute as I take us back in time.  Back to my earliest pioneer days of blogging.  Before the Rise of Trump.  Before the election of Barack Obama caused the barely subterranean racism and depravity of the GOP to burst out of the political sewers in which it usually stayed hidden and come roaring into the open.  Back to 2005, when it was starting to become so horribly clear that the Left had been Right about George W. Bush all along that even staunch Republican stooges like Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times were starting to look for lifeboats.

And you'll never guess what shape  Mr. Brooks' lifeboat was beginning to take 12 long years ago?

Yep.
Stuck in Lincoln's Land
Yes, even before the drywall had been hung at the High and Holy Church of Both Siderism, all the way back to the Year of Our Lord 2005 Mr. David Brooks' of The New York Times was trying to furnish his new digs with the bones of Honest Abe.

Using exactly the same despicable false equivalences back then --
...
Today, a lot of us are stuck in Lincoln's land. We reject the bland relativism of the militant secularists. We reject the smug ignorance of, say, a Robert Kuttner, who recently argued that the culture war is a contest between enlightened reason and dogmatic absolutism. But neither can we share the conviction of the orthodox believers, like the new pope, who find maximum freedom in obedience to eternal truth. We're a little nervous about the perfectionism that often infects evangelical politics... 
-- that he employs today:
Lincoln deprives Christian politics of the chauvinism and white identitarianism that we see now on the evangelical right.  He fills the vacuum of moral vision that we see now on the relativist left.
Because while times change, and circumstances change and the basic character of presidents and their administrations radically change, the financial and psychological imperatives that drive Both Siderists like Mr. Brooks to protect their careers and reputations at any cost remain absolutely constant and fiercely immune to objective reality.

Which is why what I wrote all those years ago, remains sadly and perfectly applicable today:
...
BoBo asks, given these two equipoised and equally distasteful alternatives, whatever shall I do? And we ask how oh how did BoBo the Hutt get so Orca-fat feeding on such empty Straw Men?

The predictable part is BoBo snaking around in the weeds, reductively and absurdly positing the world into two bad camps and then trying to stake out some heroic middle ground where all the reasonable people live. And hoping someone, somewhere will step into this asinine bear-trap.

Sorry, mon petit overpaid and underpowered slice of NYT bourgoise headcheese, but no. No, no, no, yet again no and yet again your toxic little opinion need to be fumigated lest some poor child accidentally swallow it and end up at Ontological Poison Control having to get their frontal lobes pumped.

And yet again, New York Times, is this month-old slice of room-temperature trichenosis-laced pork the very best you can off the American public when it comes to incisive thinking? Jesus Haploid Christ. What happened to you, man? I remember when it used to be about the music…and real, actual jour-nal-ism.

Yes, BoBo, the world is divided, but between reasonable people – of all religious persuasions and of none at all – and irrational, superstitious, Armageddon-luvin’, Fundamentalists. The political party who’s ass you oil and lave and snuggle is owned and operated by the latter types, so how about a quick test to see which one of us if chock so full of shit that it’s squirting out of our tear-ducts like feculent Play-Doh Fun Factory logs…and which one of us isn’t?

Name me 15 influential leaders of the Democratic Party that by any reasonable definition fall into this absurd silo you have spun out of whole cloth called “militant secularists.” And not obscure academics, but people who command real electoral power. People who move voters to the polls. People who give platform speeches and show up on the short list of Democratic Leaders when Charlie Rose or George Stefanopoulis are booking guests.

15 Democratic Party leaders, in other words, who are enemies of “People of Faith.”

And while you’re making that list, I’ll name 15 leaders of your party who are intolerant, hate-mongering theocrats. Superstition-touting extremists. Your opinion leaders. The ones who get out the vote for your candidates and without which you cocksucking Cocktail Party Republicans would never win anything.

And also while were at it, exactly how many “militant secularists” think-tanks are there cranking out Democratic policy papers and talking points?

What exactly is the “militant secularists” Progressive equivalent of the 700 Club? Of Bob Jones University? Of Hate Radio? Of Jesus-Hate-Radio? Of Jerry Falwell’s Lynchburg Church? Or hadn’t you noticed that the last two Democratic Presidents could out-quote most any pastor when it came to citing scripture.

Jesus Hammersack Christ, BoBo, even according to a Fox News poll from last year, “Fully 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God, 85 percent in heaven and 82 percent in miracles.” So exactly where is this army of secular immoderation hiding?

Yet again, BoBo The Hutt has pulled a fantasy of a menacing, aggressively secular, God-hostile goon-squad entirely out of his ass in order to pretend that there are two sides to the issue of “Intolerance”, so that he can drag the “middle ground” another thousand miles in the direction of the Middle Ages.

Yes, BoBo, there are people like me who want to keep the public square secular for the same reason that the Chicago Park District may give a permit to use the same space to a bunch of cops on Friday, a Gay's for Genome Research Fun Run on Saturday, and the Church of Mary, Queen of the Universe Pancake breakfast Sunday morning. That’s why it’s called the “Public Square.” If you want a space dedicated solely to one religious point of view or one interpretation of scripture…I believe they call those places “Churches”. And Synagogues, and Ashrams, and Temples.

There did used to be a time when the public square was indeed non-secular; when it was owned and operated by one faith, one dogma, one creed. Those days are usually depicted in wood block illustrations along with the Black Death and The Inquisition: A global, religious totalitarian state that no sane person of any faith would want us to return to.

In other words, Jerry Falwell’s idea of Heaven on Earth. And Pat Robertson. And Bob Jones. And Randall Terry. And Tom DeLay. And Don Wildmont. And James Dobson. And Rick Santorum. And Sam Brownback. And Peggy Noonan. And Alan Keyes. And, Jiminey Christmas BoBo, did’ja ever notice that each and every one of these Heroes of Ignorance and Intolerance are all in the same political party?

So how’s your list coming along anyway…?

Lastly, how dare you conflate Martin Luther King with the theological Lepers that lead your political party? Seriously, how fucking dare you?

The direct spiritual forebears of the likes of Jerry Falwell were preaching pro-slavery, pro-Jim Crow while the forebears of MLK were chattel of those people. Being beaten, raped, murdered and sold at will by those people.

The direct spiritual forebears of the likes of Pat Robertson chanted and stoned the followers of MLK as they tried to exercise their rights to eat and live and learn as free citizens.

The Virginia trial judge in Loving v. Virginia who, like his modern-day brethren, used God to shield intense, inbred bigotry, wrote this about interracial marriage: “"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

Substitute “gay” for “race” and tell me with a straight face (OK, small pun intended) that any religion that is as fanatically preoccupied with the bedroom habits of consenting adults as Conservative Fundamentism, is not by its very nature an insult to the idea of Civil Rights. Second verse, always the same as the first.

So refresh my memory. When exactly was it that Conservative Evangelicals were slaves?
Or an oppressed minority?
Or lynched by the hundreds?
Or denied the right to vote? Or own property? Or marry whom they chose? Or read and write?
Or were denied access to every other civic institution by law, so that they literally had no other place to rally than in the church?

Are you actually comparing the fake “victimhood” of this NeoConfederate Theological Claptrap that was created out of the violent White Male Privilege backlash against the Civil Rights movement, with Martin Luther King? A multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt empire built on a virulently hateful, defiantly ignorant ideology that has its own media, its own satellites, its own sophisticated technological infrastructure, its own political party, a substantial number of judges and now owns the Federal Fucking Government…with SNCC? With Rosa Parks? With Emmett Till?

Unless you have completely overdosed on the kind of Moral Relativism that your ilk is supposed to abhor, saying that a Segregationist thug in the pulpit preaching hate is somehow comparable to an Honorable man in the pulpit preaching peace is beyond contemptible. Conflating those whose perversion of the Gospel all-but-explicitly advocates the bombing of Women’s Health Clinics with the memory of those who had their churches and children bombed for daring to vote is beyond contemptible.

And doing it on the pages of the NYT?

How do you live with yourself?



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Friday, November 24, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #416


"The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool."
-- Stephen King, writer
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Matthew Dowd Is a Fundamentally Ridiculous Person




To be clear, my problem is not with the sentiment Mr. Dowd expresses although I would have written it much, much better.

No, what I found hilarious in this case is not Mr. Dowd's statement, but the overwhelming reaction online to his halting, tortured attempt to say that, in this case, under these very rarefied circumstances, with the planets in this exact and never-to-be-repeated configuration, just maybe Both Side of this issue are not equally horrible or symmetrically to blame.

For which Right and the Both Siderists positively swarmed him (here is a typical example):


Someone forgot to tell Mr. Dowd that in addition to being a highly profitable scam, the Both Siderism on which he has built his career is also a cult and a trap. The Hotel California of dishonest political dodges. And once you set up shop there, any deviation whatsoever -- any attempt to step outside, even for a minute -- will get you eaten alive by the mob of meatheads for whom Both Siderism is the last line of defense between them and the righteous judgement of history.




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

Danger UXB


It seems that a small and selective percentage of the tons of unexploded ordnance left over from the 1990s are now being dug up and detonated here in 2017.

And various longtime pundits for whom loathing of the Clintons was always the very best career butter are finding that dusting off their old IBM Selectrics and banging out 800 words of copy on Bill "History's Greatest Villain" Clinton and Hillary "History's Other Greatest Villain" Clinton to once again be a rewarding and profitable enterprise.

A sampling.

Ross Cardinal Douthat:
What if Ken Starr Was Right?
Maureen Dowd:
The Hillary Effect
Andrew Sullivan:
But evangelical Republicans are not, of course, the only group susceptible to such corruption. Democrats are human as well, as we have so abundantly discovered. Many of them have also made their political struggle into a secular form of religion, and found myriad ways to defend the indefensible because the cause demanded it. I vividly remember Gloria Steinem’s op-ed defending Bill Clinton’s sex abuse at the time...
Many giddy, Jebus-lovin' meatbags have even taken to Twitter to demand that statues of Bill Clinton come down because adultery is definitely as bad or worse than sedition, secession and five years of bloody civil war in the name of preserving slavery.

Definitely.

But getting back to the men and women of our elite Beltway punditocracy who get paid to have opinions in public, I am not surprised in the least that Mr. Andrew Sullivan (for example) vividly remembers a Gloria Steinem op-ed from 20 years ago, because the 1990s is where these people all still live:



These were the high-cotton days of the Elite Pundiocracy -- relative peace, relative prosperity, the GOP giving itself over body and soul to Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, and a relatively popular, intelligent, charming anddeeply flawed triangulator-in-chief named Bill Clinton to beat on like a pinata with one faked-up scandal after another.  Then thrown in a special persecutor named Ken Starr who leaked like colander full of tomato soup, with an unlimited budget and a mandate from his GOP handlers to find anything which could be used to destroy the Clinton Administration and it's a three-year Tantric pundit orgasm the likes of which they haven't come close to having since.  

Which is why -- as I pointed out more than a decade ago -- the Pundiocracy and the GOP all got stuck there.  They all came down with a fatal case of collective Meme-nto: the inability to form any new political memories after 1997 -- 


-- and I am left asking the same question now that I asked all the way back then:
Why has the Fourth Estate – right before our eyes -- become a bunch of cowardly Fifth Columnists?

Why, when confronted with clear and overwhelming proof of their complicity and gutlessness -- when asked the simple question “Why?” -- do they go all squirmy and twitchy and outraged?

Why do Conservatives get to stand on desks with their hair on fire and shriek the most ludicrous, vile and mendacious hogwhiz – year after year after year after year after motherfucking year -- unchallenged? Why do these same howler monkeys -– who have been not just wrong but spectacularly, catastrophically wrong about everything, every time -- keep getting invited back in front of the cameras and onto the pages of major newspapers?

And when they rise from their crypts yet again to spackle yet another layer of Conservative lies on the wounded world – to send another wave of our kids off to die for no good reason, circle the wagons around another corporate monster, piss another precious pint of what’s left of our nation’s good name down the sewer, tax-cut-and-spend us further into debt – why do the same “journalists” who were ever eager to carve another slice out of Clinton’s ass over trivia, now piss themselves in like puppies in a thunderstorm and hide under the bed as Conservatives rape the truth two feet in front of them and them rub their noses in it?
But here's the deal.

For all of that -- in fact because of all of that -- I am absolutely up for re-litigating the past.

I'm all in, baby!

But if we're going to re-litigate the past 20 years, we're going to re-litigate all of it.  Every corner of it.  Every president.  Every political party.  Every media outlet.

All of it.

So let the war crimes trials of the Bush Administration commence.

And let the Caucus Room conspirators be dragged into the light for a much-too-long-delay ass-whippin'.

On Meet the Press every week, let Mr. David Brooks answer for all the shit he has been slinging for the last 20 years, and this time the prosecutor will not accept "I don't think I ever wrote those things" as an answer.



Let us firmly resolve to shove all the reprogrammable "independent" meatbags through the Bush Off Machine backwards and let them be tried in the public dock for all they said and did before they burned their Bush/Cheney lawn signs, put on their funny hats and swore they'd never heard of George W. Bush.  And let every "journalist" who let them get away with it stand in the dock with them.

And let us put these patriots under a microscope and find out just exactly how they got this fucked-in-the-head:

In this matter I am as one with Bethesda 1971 over at Daily Kos:
Let the Retroactive Reckonings Begin!
Because the pundits and political hacks who now want to haul their highly redacted memories of Bill Clinton circa 1998 into the spotlight are the same pundits and political hacks who have made a positive fetish out of what one wag once called "Strategic Forgettery".   And now is as good a time as any to make them pay the price for it.

So go ahead, lets unearth all of that which has been buried and is now hammering away beneath the nation's floorboards like the Tell-Tale Heart.

But I warn you, you may not like what you find:




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Kellyanne Conway Offers Her Daughter To The Mob



From the Bible verse that Roy Moore has been jerking it to for 50 years:
But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”  Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 

From Kellyanne Conway today:

Of course it was going to come to this.


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Friday, November 17, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #415


"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
-- Bill Shakespeare , writer
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 a 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!


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In Case You Thought There Was Anything New Under The Sun


Many of my old comrades from The News Blog days have long since departed for Purity Angel Elysium.  Over the years (shit, I mean decades) I have heard from a few of them, them every now and again, mostly during the administration of Barack "Worse Than Boosh!" Obama, and almost exclusively to chastise me for being a bad and unworthy Libtard.

Ah well.  I've been thrown out of better places.  I've been called worse things.  They seem happy up there in paradise, secure in their own self-regard, surrounded by the like-minded and removed from this grimy, elbows-deep-in-the-imperfect world.  And what more should one want for old friends than they find a little happiness in this old universe?

And speaking of old friends long gone, I thought it might be time to trot out this ancient colloquy between the late Steve Gilliard and the retired-from-the-field Billmon.  This is done by way of a reminder that today's differences, which seem so manifest and present, actually long predate President Stupid.  And the Bernie Sanders campaign.  And Donna Brazille.  And the seemingly centuries-ago days of the Barack "Worse Than Boosh!" Obama Administration when the Purity Angels could luxuriate in their contempt and sneer at ol' Droneglass secure in the knowledge that, worst-case, they'd have President Hillary to gleefully beat like a pinata for four or eight years' worth of bitter candy and delicious self-righteousness.

But it didn't work out that way.  Instead, well, the K'rupt Duopoly was overthrown.  By a Man From Outside The System -- a man who is moving swiftly to smash every yucky, stale, old tradition and standard of behavior to bits.

It's Mission Accomplished, kids, so why the long faces?

From the late Steve Gilliard in August of 2006.  Take a close look at Billmon's language from 11 years ago.  See if you notice anything familiar.

It matters to some people

Billmon posted this up and it bugs the shit out of me.

A "Bad" Sign............................ 
I used to argue that progressives in this country had no choice but to support the Democrats -- even pathetic frauds like Howard Dean and inept Thurston Howell III clones like John Kerry. I used to quote Frederick Douglas's despairing comment about what the Republican Party of his day represented for African Americans: the rock; all else is the sea.

Maybe that was true, once. But I've finally come to realize that in modern-day America there is no rock -- just a vast, featureless expanse of reactionary ocean, like something from the set of Waterworld, except without a gilled Kevin Costner.

So here's my confession: At this point I really don't give a flying fuck whether the Democrats take the House or the Senate back. No, wait, that's not true. The truth is I hope they don't. It wouldn't save us from what's coming down the road, in the Middle East and elsewhere. It wouldn't force President Psychopath to change course or seek therapy. But it would make sure that the "left" (ha ha ha) gets more than its fair share of blame for the approaching debacle.

That may well be the natural role of the Democratic Party in our one-and-a-half party system, but I don't want any part of it any more. Which means that when I say it's a bad sign (consensus opinion always being wrong) that Charlie Cook now thinks the Republicans are likely to lose their House and/or Senate majorities in November, I just mean that it's a bad sign for the Democratic Party and its professional hangers on.

For the rest of us, and for whatever is left of this country's soul, it doesn't really matter. We've already lost.

You know, if you have a good job and a nice house, you can think this way.

If you're making minimum wage, you need a Democratic Congress, if you want to be treated with stem cells, if you want to get an abortion.

It's easy to sit back and say nothing will happen to Bush, because nothing will happen to you. But if you're fighting with the VA, it fucking matters. If your kid is in Iraq, it fucking matters. Fuck the shit which comes with Bush, there are people who need the help, even minimal help, a Democratic Congress can provide.

A lot of nice, middle class progressives forget that the fight isn't for them. You think for one second I believe Ned Lamont knows what it's like to be working class, much less working class and black, living in a New Haven housing project?

What I know is that Joe Lieberman turned his back on those people and put his foot on their necks in so many ways I've lost count. It's their kids dying in Iraq, coming home to a fucked up VA, not getting their benefits.

At least Lamont wants to listen and Lieberman stopped long ago.

You better remember that if you see a vast sea, there are some folks drowning and the question is whether you save them or leave them to their fate.

When those Coast Guard pilots and rescue swimmers flew over New Orleans, they could have said, shit, too many wires, too many unknowns, let's get some boats for them. Instead, they jumped in the water and started saving people.

Which is what we are tasked to do. We don't have time to worry about Bush, there are people who need a government not at their throats. They don't need it in theory, they don't need it in some undefined future, they need it today, and if not today, tomorrow. Those Wal Mart workers need real health insurance, and the GOP isn't going to give it to them.

There are real people who need what a Democratic Congress can provide and who need it as soon as they can get it.

For the record, a lot of those Wal Mart workers eventually got real health insurance.  So did tens of millions of other Americans who desperately needed it.

It was messy and complicated and most of the Red States opted for lying, sabotage and sadistic fuckery instead of Medicaid expansion, and Ted Kennedy died, and Scott Brown was elected, and it took longer for them to recount, certify and seat Al Franken than it takes Michael Apted to bring out an Up film and the Majyk Single Payer Fairy was too busy on some other plane of existence to put a horse-head in Joe Lieberman's bed, and a bunch of other maddening shit happened too.

And tens of millions of Americans who desperately needed health insurance got health insurance.  And they got it specifically because one of our two major political parties -- the Democrats -- managed to get something passed -- just barely -- over the unified, berserker opposition of the other one of our two major political parties.  The Republicans.

And for the last eight years, the central organizing principle of the Republicans has been undoing every single thing the Black President did, starting with stripping health insurance from tens of millions of Americans, so they they can give their donors trillions of dollars in tax cuts.

Right now, at this moment in history, there are two sides to this very ugly fight.

Pick one.



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