Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dumbkirk


You know what you never read about?

You never read about Binny's Beverage Depot managers who, after working at Binny's for, say, 11 years, suddenly freaking out because, OMFG!, Binny's sells booze.

You know what you also never read about?  Chick-fil-A franchise owners suddenly quitting and collapsing into a heap like Heston at the end of Soylent Green because --


-- OMFG, you mean we serve chicken here!

And yet just about every day damn day in the Land of the Free, along comes another life-long Republican pundit or politician or Respected Public Intellectual trying to cop a plea that, although they've spent their entire adult lives serving the Republican Party and going after anyone who dared speak against it, they now swear by Jebus, Mary, and Santa Claus that they had no fucking idea that the Republican Party is, OMFG, full of Republicans (fun starts at around the 3:10 mark):


This is a scam they repeat roughly every two to four years depending on which way the prevailing political winds are blowing, and which can be plotted along a 20 year time-line by simply following the public writings and comments of Mr. David Brooks -- America's greatest exemplar of the rot at the heart of the intellectual Right and the greatest beneficiary of this Long Conservative Con.

Here is Mr. David Brooks in 1999 explaining that the mistakes of the past were behind them and a glorious new Republican Party was right around the corner:
ONE NATION CONSERVATISM
How George W. Bush and John McCain -- without quite realizing it -- are creating a new Republican philosophy

...together, Bush's Compassionate Conservatism and McCain's New Patriotic Challenge are steps toward a fresh vision for the Republican party. Indeed, if you meld the core messages of the two campaigns, you get a coherent governing philosophy for the post-Clinton age.
And here is a link to Mr. Brooks in 2003 predicting that, now that the Iraq War is over and George W. Bush's genius can no longer be denied, we Libtards will no doubt start back-peddling and lying about all the foolish stands we took during the Age of Bush.

Here is Mr. Brooks in 2006 as his beloved Bush Administration was in full public collapse for exactly the reasons about which we Libtards been sounding the alarm.  Mr. Brooks' solution?  Bitterly complaining that America needed a Third Party!  A McCain/Lieberman Party!  Because Both Sides!
The McCain-Lieberman Party begins with a rejection of the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself. It rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism, and who believe the only way to get American voters to respond is through aggression and stridency. 
The flamers in the established parties tell themselves that their enemies are so vicious they have to be vicious too. They rationalize their behavior by insisting that circumstances have forced them to shelve their integrity for the good of the country. They imagine that once they have achieved victory through pulverizing rhetoric they will return to the moderate and nuanced sensibilities they think they still possess. 
But the experience of DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party amply demonstrates that means determine ends. Hyper-partisans may have started with subtle beliefs, but their beliefs led them to partisanship and their partisanship led to malice and malice made them extremist, and pretty soon they were no longer the same people.

Here is a link to Mr. Brooks in 2009 following the complete repudiation of his Republican Party and it's disastrous policies suddenly becoming really, really interested in all these brand-new "independents" who were suddenly appearing out of thin air.  And who had, as a group, according to Mr. David Brooks, taken a sharp turn to the right ever since the Kenyan Usurper was elected!

Here is a link to Mr. Brooks in 2010 -- right on schedule and caught on video shot by me -- back-peddling and lying about the foolish stands he took during Age of Bush.

Here is Mr. David Brooks in November of 2014 explaining that this time the mistakes of the past were definitely behind them and a glorious new Republican Party was really right around the corner.
The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. 
Here is a link to Mr. David Brooks in February of 2016 explaining that, however bad Donald Trump was, Bernie Sanders has to be just as bad because Both Sides.  

And anyway, no need to get one's pantaloons in a bunch, because Donald Trump will never be nominated because Marco Rubio has got this sucker in the bag!  After which...something something...glorious new Republican Party...right around the corner!
DAVID BROOKS: It's going to be Rubio. I'm telling you, it's going to be Rubio. Right now, you have the conflict between the conservative, the philosophical conservative wing, which is the National Review crowd, and the rogue wing, which is talk radio and Trump. And so it's interesting to see how that breaks down. 
Right now, Trump has the advantage in that, because the conservative movement is less conservative than it was ten years ago. The financial crisis has hit people hard, and they want a government that's on the side of the little guys, as long as it's not filled with liberal values. So Trump, in the short term, but we're prepping the establishment. Do not panic. There are going to be months of this. Wait for Rubio.
Here is Mr. David Brooks in April of 2016 just after Rubio got knocked off explaining that a magical Third Party inside the Republican Party -- a veritable League of Extraordinary Whig Gentlemen called the "Lincoln Caucus" -- could be put together to put things right again: 
This process would bring the Trump and Cruz campaigns back toward the Republican mainstream. It would create a road toward party unity after one deal or another was reached. It might go some way toward heading off a general election debacle. 
It would also create a democratic path toward a Republican nominee who is not Trump or Cruz...
Here is a link to Mr. David Brooks in September of 2016 explaining that, however bad Donald Trump was, Hillary Clinton has to be just as bad because Both Sides.  

Here is a link to Mr. David Brooks in just three weeks ago explaining that, however bad the "pro-Trump right" may be, the "woke activists, the angry Sanders socialists and social justice warriors" are just as bad because Both Sides.  

Here is a link to Mr. David Brooks in just two weeks ago telling the same blatant lies about the record of the Obama Administration twice in three days because, however bad Donald Trump might be, President Obama has to be bad too because Both Sides.  

This, in sum, is the history of the American Conservative intelligentsia.  A history of flagrant lies and fairy tales passed off as insight.  A history of failure after failure, all simply wished away or deflected into nothingness with massive, sustained barrages of Both Siderist false equivalence.  A history of getting pretty much every single fucking thing completely wrong, every time, decade after decade and never having to pay any price for any of it. 

A history which has now led them once again to disaster.  To a Dumbkirk entirely of their own making. 

And yet, with their backs against the sea, facing an enemy of their own creation who cannot be reasoned with or bargained with (because reason and compromise are for Libtard snowflake pussies and not Real Freedom Lovin', God Fearin' Murricans), and with each new day arriving with another avalanche of proof that the Left has been right about the Right all along, instead of being laughed off the stage and drummed out of public life once and for all, the elite members of the Conservative Brain Caste are still invariably treated with the utmost deference and respect. 

Here are a few selected shorts from "On The Front Lines Of The GOP's Civil War" in which we learn, among other things, that Andrew Sullivan is now a "liberal journalist" --
Some of the guests were liberal journalists whose faces were as familiar as their bylines: Jane Mayer and Elizabeth Drew, Andrew Sullivan and David Corn.
-- which is definitely exciting news for anyone who has actually followed Mr. Sullivan's checkered career.

If you read the entire article (or any article of this genre...or half of what I've written over the last couple of years) you will not fail to notice that, right down the line, the men and women who have profited mightily from being the public faces and voices of the Republican Party and movement Conservatism for decades now almost uniformly draw a clear, sharp distinction between everything that has happened since the Spring of 2016 and All That Went Before (emphasis added):

ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE GOP'S CIVIL WAR

In 2016, a group of Republicans broke ranks with their party to try to stop Donald Trump from winning the presidency. Now they’re rallying once more to keep him from destroying the country...

Call them Republicans with a conscience, conservatives without a party, or simply, as most do, the Never Trumpers...

As the party got under way, [David] Frum and his wife, the author Danielle Crittenden—he in a dark-blue suit and white shirt; she in black pants and a sleeveless blouse—greeted their guests. With his broad forehead and Tory accent (“agaynst”), Frum still has the manner of the Toronto gentry in which he was reared. Standing near a pair of museum-quality African sculptures, he gently urged his guests down a small flight of stairs to the backyard, which was getting crowded and buzzy in the fading light.

This is not the sort of thing Frum said in his former life, as a wunderkind of the American Right. But for him, as for many of the guests at his party, the rise of Trump changed the old refrain “It can happen here” into something more dire and pressing: “It’s happening now and must be stopped.” One guest, the affable conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, has called Trump a “European-style blood-and-soil nationalist.”

One august figure on the Right, the Post columnist George Will, renounced the Republican party in June 2016, declaring himself unable to witness its submission to Trump.

Others, such as longtime GOP operatives Mike Murphy and Rick Wilson, began appearing on MSNBC, where they swung hard at nominee and party alike...

“There wasn’t a single conservative I talked with at the beginning of 2016 who thought Donald Trump was a remotely acceptable candidate for president,” says Max Boot, a neoconservative foreign-policy writer who served as an advisor to John McCain in 2008 and Marco Rubio eight years later...

In March 2016, as Trump closed in on the nomination, another neocon, William Kristol, a founding editor of The Weekly Standard, tried to engineer a third-party escape hatch. It went nowhere...

A group that includes Boot and Applebaum is creating a centrist sanctuary and talk shop, the Renew Democracy Initiative. They’re polishing up a manifesto and plan to bring out a book, “a kind of Federalist 2.0,” says one contributor, the columnist Bret Stephens, a Never Trumper exile from The Wall Street Journal. In April of last year, Stephens went to the Times and hasn’t looked back, except to toss grenades at Sean Hannity, Steve Bannon, and the rest of what he calls “the bigoted, dipshit wing of the Republican party.”...

Conservative opponents of the ACA were well aware of the bill’s provenance. But since attacking Obamacare worked at election time, they pretended otherwise, inventing the fiction of “repeal and replace.” The same dishonesty explains why they couldn’t come up with a workable substitute: Obamacare was the GOP plan. “The Republicans never had a health-care alternative,” says Ross Douthat, the New York Times op-ed columnist who counts himself among the Never Trumpers...

“Conservatives have decided they are a tribe,” says Jennifer Rubin, the conservative Washington Post writer who has declared war on both Trump and his GOP. “They’re not Americans first. They’re Trump defenders first.”..

But in truth, “Conservatism, Inc.” was never the luxury gravy train its critics depicted. It was closer to a Soviet-style nomenklatura, with a good deal of ideological policing. “I had the president of a small conservative think tank tell me he admires my anti-Trump position but he just can’t be identified that way because his donors would cut him off,” says Boot. Even now, the Never Trumpers I talked to, though freed from the grip of the old dogma, were constantly going off the record or pleading, “Protect me.” Who can blame them? For all their resources, they are indeed outnumbered—unwanted and unloved...
Just like the base of the party they blindly served their entire professional lives, these elite, intellectual enablers of the most horrendous political crime in modern history are completely incapable of facing the horrifying reality that they have gotten every single major political opinion and decision of their adult lives completely wrong.  So, like German soldiers after the fall of Berlin, they have stopped running away from the catastrophe they created only long enough to burn their uniforms and deny that any of it had anything to do with them.

And yet they are lauded by their cronies in the press as men and women of conscience.  For example, here is Conor Friedersdorf laying on the plaudits with a trowel in The Atlantic -- a magazine at which, coincidentally and for no explicable reason, David Frum (majordomo of the Never Trump crew) is now a Senior Editor:
'Never Trump' Will Be the Only Faction Still Standing When He's Gone

When the Republican Party’s current coalition falls apart, those who stood up to bigotry will be the only ones with the credibility to rebuild
...

And the most important and damning traits that distinguish Trump from his predecessors are his willingness to stoke animus against minority groups for political gain; the energy he has given to white supremacists; the indiscipline of his public statements; the frequency with which he blatantly lies to the public; and the unsavory characters that he brought with him into the federal government—including Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, for starters.

Only Never Trumpers can credibly claim to stand against the moral abominations that suffused Trump’s political rise and the first year of his presidency. They alone are conserving a faction on the right that stands against deplorability in the face of a president who remains a cruel, mendacious egomaniac. They alone can credibly claim to oppose racial demagoguery...
Over and over again, places are reserved for them at the head table of our national political conversation (from The Hill with emphasis added) --
NYT conservative columnist: I'm still 'never Trump' after first year

New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens revealed he still sees himself as a "never Trumper" after a year of President Trump's term in the White House, despite agreeing with many of Trump's policy moves.

In an op-ed in the newspaper Saturday, Stephens wrote, "I still wish Hillary Clinton were president."

"[C]haracter does count, and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily," Stephens writes. "This is the fatal mistake of conservatives who’ve decided the best way to deal with Trump’s personality — the lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness — is to pretend it doesn’t matter."

“'Character Doesn’t Count' has become a de facto GOP motto," Stephens adds. “'Virtue Doesn’t Matter' might be another."

Stephens joined The New York Times in April 2017, leaving The Wall Street Journal to join the more liberal ranks of the Times opinion page, and at the time was a vocal member of the #NeverTrump movement of conservatives that had sought to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination the year before...
-- while the people who have been right about the Right all along never make it past the rope line.

As they stand on the beach of this Dumbkirk of their own doing, with the tide of history licking at their heels  and a mob of reprogrammable Republican meatbags breathing down their necks, for reasons that no one will explain, the owners of the Beltway media are once again handing them a sweetheart Han-Landa-in-Inglourious Basterds deal --


-- with nothing being asked of them in return.  They are not offering to share the plans to the Republican Death Star, or even the names of the hotels where GOP goons stash their mistresses.  

They and their whole, filthy ideology are simply being let off the hook without so much as a slap on the wrist.


Because in the end, making sure the elite D.C. book party scene is never disrupted --
But in D. C., book parties are social occasions, even when they involve business, which is to say politics, the only business that matters. One Saturday evening in late October, some of the brightest figures in Washington’s media elite streamed into a splendid Colonial Revival house on Foxhall Road in Wesley Heights. “Outer Georgetown,” someone clarified: The phrase implied more than it said, like so much else in this surreal time in American politics. Some of the guests were liberal journalists whose faces were as familiar as their bylines: Jane Mayer and Elizabeth Drew, Andrew Sullivan and David Corn. But among them, too, was a cadre of the uprooted and displaced, writers, intellectuals, and pundits who, had they gathered in Paris or London—well, Ottawa, anyway—might have worn the haunted glamour of émigrés and exiles, though in this case they are strangers in the same precincts where they once felt very much at home. Call them Republicans with a conscience, conservatives without a party, or simply, as most do, the Never Trumpers.


Liberals and conservatives have always commingled easily in Washington, but a year into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, old lines are blurring and new alliances are forming in remarkable ways. Exhibit A is the owner of the grand house on Foxhall Road: David Frum, a former hardcore conservative and speechwriter for George W. Bush. It was Frum who, with another Never Trumper, Michael Gerson (now a Washington Post columnist), coined the phrase “axis of evil” in 2002 and promptly entered the annals of liberal infamy. These days, however, Frum is better known as a heretic and outcast, primus inter pares of the Never Trumpers.
 -- will always be vastly more important to the Power That Be than bringing these maker-of-monsters to book.





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Friday, December 29, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #421


"Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love..."
-- Leonard Cohen, writer
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Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017: The Year In Journalisming




The four most consistently promoted types of stories in the American political media this year show exactly how irreparably broken the American political media is.

First, OMFG can you believe what an unhinged, racist, con man President Stupid turned out to be? (from my local paper):
Michael Gerson: As the year ends, the moral authority of the presidency is in tatters
Second, OMFG can you believe how quickly and completely the entire Republican party has capitulated to this unhinged, racist, con man?  (From Brother Charlie Pierce):
The Republican Party Has Bowed, Completely, to the Mad King
They're now running interference in the Russia probe and kissing the Trumpian ring.
Third,  OMFG can you believe how completely the meathead Republican base have invested themselves in this unhinged, racist, con man?  How flatly and automatically they reject factual reality, causality and even their own past as "fake news"? (from Politico):
Trump voters: We'd do it again

Among those who voted for the president, there are few regrets. But there are questions about whether he'll even finish his four-year term.

One year after the 2016 presidential election, the vast majority of Donald Trump voters have no regrets.

According to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted on the eve of the first anniversary of Trump's historic election, 82 percent of those who say they supported Trump last year would vote for him again if they had to do it over...

And finally, fourth, OMFG, why do The Extremes On Both Sides refuse to compromise?

Yep.

Because despite the self-evident truth of items one, two and three -- despite the fact that it is ontologically and epistemologically impossible to simultaneously believe that the Right has gone completely mad and that the Left is somehow equally to blame because it won't meet madness halfway -- the Beltway will not stop flogging this long-dead horse.  Which is why any two-bit has-been with a lump of inedible prose to pimp can make it to the Big Time if they tart it up as scripture from the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It. 


Same mope, same book, asked back to the same network two and a half months later to be dry humped by Peggy Noonan and Mike Barnacle over the same Big Lie.


Rush transcript:
NOONAN:  When I was a little girl, I'll never forget about drinking reading about Daniel Webster.  The Great Compromiser.  That was a compliment.  His portrait is in the U. S. Senate gallery because we know to this day he was a great man.  He was a great man because he forced people who disagreed terribly to buy him cocktails before the Civil War to come together and keep the Union going.  Keep the nation going... 
MIKE BARNICLE:  A little more than 50 years ago we had life-altering culture changing legislation. Medicare, Medicaid, voting rights, civil rights. We all realize in reality none of that could happen today, but today in the Congress that you served in, how much of a negative influence, forget the extremes, how much of a negative influence with things like Twitter and Facebook?

JASON ALTMIRE:   I have a lot in the book about social media and the impact that that has had. It's had a positive impact for some in that you could have people who in the US Senate, in particular, would have been backbenchers for many years and have been able to promote themselves. Both parties have seen this. You also have the negativity and the worst of America, and the introduction to my book I talk about the pulse shooting in Orlando and the response. you saw the best of America with the first responders and the people lining up to give blood and giving more money than they were capable of giving. You also saw the worst in the response. in casting blame and pointing fingers and trying to gain political advantage and figuring out a way to use a tragedy to gain political advantage. Unfortunately, social media is where that plays out.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:   All right. Thank you so much for being with us. The book is "Dead Center".
Whoever is in charge if keeping Nooners out of the minibar until after the taping is over needs to up their game.  Hey Peggers, Henry Clay was the Great Compromiser.   Daniel Webster was the Great Orator.  

So, in addition to everything else we must do, it will be the job of the Left in 2018 to make Both Siderism like the Great Tosspot was hawking into a public joke.

To make it a shameful thing to have in your mouth.

To make Chuck Todd wince and gag on it every time Phil Griffin yanks on his leash, reminds him of what happened to David "I Haz a Podcast Now!" Gregory and whispers "Say it. Say it, goddamn it, or Hugh Fucking Hewitt will be in that chair next week" into his earpiece.

Because right now, the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It and its army well-heeled media evangelists is the only thing keeping the Right from keeling over dead:  once that lie falls, the Party of Trump falls with it.

Which is why job of the Left in 2018 must be to relentlessly challenge Both Siderism everywhere, all the time.

I'm up for it.

How about you?




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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Glenn Greenwald: Still Putting The "Id" In Useful Idiot



I've worn the soles out of my "I Told You So" shoes a dozens times already this year.



Nobody works harder at bad faith than Mr. Spleenwald.

And nobody fights harder not to see it than his horde of Purity Chumps.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #420


"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri, 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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The Red Skull Comes To The Heart Of Blue Chicago



From the Chicago Tribune:
Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones' show to be beamed from Chicago's Trump Tower

Prominent conspiracy theorist and Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones will soon be broadcast on FM radio from downtown Chicago, according to a radio station owner who has won FCC approval to place a transmitter on the roof of Trump Tower.

WCKG station owner Matt Dubiel went on the Texan’s “Infowars” show on Monday to announce his plans to install an FM transmitter at Trump Tower in January.

“We’ve worked out an arrangement with the Trump Tower,” to lease space on the top of the tower, Dubiel told Jones, praising the Trump Organization for “having their act together.”
...

The Trump Organization did not respond to questions about any deal with Dubiel on Thursday, but public records show Dubiel received FCC approval in July to move his FM translator — a transmitter that allows him to simultaneously broadcast an AM show on FM — to the Trump Tower. Most Chicago FM broadcasters use the older Willis and Hancock towers, and Dubiel told Inc. on Thursday that he believes he has the first English language station to broadcast from Trump Tower.

He told Inc. he has aired Jones for “nearly a decade.” He currently broadcasts Jones in AM on 1530 and on higher-quality FM on 102.3, but the 5-mile range of his weak FM transmitter reaches a far smaller audience in suburban Elmhurst than it would from the center of downtown Chicago...

This is happening because the Right continues to do the thing the Left inexplicably refuses to do -- invest real money to grow and maintain a vast, integrated media machine to spread their poison everywhere.

And now they've come to Chicago:


Meanwhile, in a cornfield a few hours outside Chicago, smack in the middle of Trump country, two plucky Liberal podcasters have continued to stay on the air every week for the last seven years thanks to a rowdy group of small contributors from all over the world.

And as much as I find these odds bracing, there is no getting around the fact that we on the Left are currently (to quote Nick Fury) hopelessly, hilariously, outgunned when it comes to getting our words out into the world.

The good news is that this is a fixable problem.

The bad new is, the fix involves Liberals with deep pockets finally getting the hell off the sidelines.

And in a world where Tucker Carlson's new sidekick can get an internet billionaire to write him a $250M check to build a media empire, and Jill Stein can find enough credulous sarandons to kick in $3.7M for her "Hillary Is Worse Than Trump!" campaign and then another $5M for her recount scam, and Tom Steyer has enough loose, sofa-cushion cash laying around to lend Time Square a cheery holiday glow by burning enormous piles of it, then clearly a lack of money is not the problem.

So what is the problem?




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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Half-Fox and Half-Free, Ctd.


This is what the interior monologue of the Fox half of America looks like.

This is what kind of simpering, brain-dead automatons humans can be reduced to when they let Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity take a shit in their skulls for 20 years.

These are the Republicans we Libtards here in the middle of Middle America have known and been warning about for decades.

These are the Republicans who paid professional Republican Brain Wizards like Bloody Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes and David Brooks swear they had no idea existed until they marched to the polls in their millions and elected President Stupid.


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Rip Van Brokaw Bestirs Himself



Over the past several years MSNBC has been economizing (and passing the savings along to you, ya damn ingrates!) by raiding the anchorman catacombs to bring its viewers the mortal remains of  luminaries of the 1990s such as Tom Brokaw.  Up until today, Mr. Brokaw's task has been to sit upright alongside other members of the Elite Beltway Insiders Club and cluck his tongue at the awful awfulness of Both Sides Doing It!

Here he is just last September sharing a fainting couch with Chuck Todd and David Fucking Brooks:


And here he is last November whinging on about, well, you know:
...that creaking noise you heard during the rest of  "Meet the Press" That was the sound of Both Siderist wagons being circled as all the Very Best People agreed that is was just terrible what Both Sides had done this election year:

Nicolle Wallace posts up a decent assessment of what's going on with her party:
NICOLLE WALLACE:  ... the real work, I think is on the Republican side to really go and understand why the base of our party selected him. They chose him over 16 other people. And if we try -- if he should come up short and we try to move on, business as usual, let's get back to our free trade agenda, you know and strong vote-- it'll be a disaster for a generation. I mean, the work at least, on the right, has to be in piecing back together this coalition.
But Tweety just has to jump in with "Sure, but if we lived in an alternate universe where everything was different then the other party might have done better, so Both Sides!"
CHRIS MATTHEWS:  I think that the Democrats have to listen, too. I mean, if this election goes as your polls showing it going with Hillary winning, there's still a huge minority of the country, almost 50-50 and probably more that would've voted for Trump if it weren't for Trump. His issues were powerful. He tapped into anger.
And now we are off to the races... (emphasis added):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It was trade. It was uncontrolled immigration. Wars we probably shouldn't have fought. And he put it all together in this perfect storm of anger. And he addressed it. He didn't create it. I don't even know if he believes it, you know? The monkey typed Merry Christmas. I don't know. But the fact is the Democrats ought to recognize that they didn't win this argument. They didn't win the argument if they win the election. And they better be careful about that.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: ... And I think that what we're seeing on the one side, a caudillo-type attitude and on the other side you have allegations or at least a lot of people who believe there's corruption and impunity. Those are things that we see in other countries. We shouldn't see in this country.

TOM BROKAW:   One other thing is, we're not talking about the monster in the closet. We're not talking about social media. What happens the day after? With all of the site out there who are dedicated and, in many instances, left and right to the destruction of the opposition, by whatever means necessary and they have an enormous reach...

CHUCK TODD:  We're going to see the "I" word no matter who wins, impeachment proceedings. I mean, we sort of laugh it off but they may begin no matter who wins, right Nicolle?

And now, one year later, here is the Dean of American Journalism suddenly discovering that -- OMFG! -- Fox News is Teh suX0rz (as the beatniks say) and Newt Gingrich is a wretched, lying pig.

Next up from Rip Van Brokaw: 
Enron:  Capitalism's Bright Future or Too Good To Be True?
Because nothing gets past this guy.

Nothing.

Except the last couple of decades of American political history.

Just go back to sleep, Tom.  Your network will decant you again when there's a Democrat in the White House for you to yell at for not comporting themselves with sufficient deference and reaching across the aisle with sufficient humility.




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And at no additional charge to you the reader, here is my murky recollection of Tom Brokaw's turn at the head of the Big Table way back in July of 2008...

On “Meet the Press”

Tom Brokaw "interviews" Al Gore. Then David Gregory (Chief White House Correspondent, NBC News) and Chuck Todd (Political Director, NBC News) dance their way into our hearts.

Brokaw: Isn’t T. Boone Pickens a douche?

Gore: No.

Brokaw: Shouldn’t you be Vice President? Or some kind of Czar?

Gore: Meh.

Brokaw: Aren’t congressional Democrats sucky losers?

Gore: No.

Brokaw: Isn’t Hillary Clinton nine kinds of bad crazy?

Gore: No.

Brokaw: Why can’t we do more drilling for oil to save us all from the terrible terribleness of changing anything ever? Huh? Huh?

Gore: We’ve already leased out enough land to start a whole ‘nother country.

Brokaw: But won’t there be pain? Won’t it be hard work? Won’t truck drivers hate you? Won’t children suffer and widdle puppies cry?

Gore: This is not a debate anymore, Tom, so why are you still asking me retarded questions?

Brokaw nods toward the camera and mouths “a-u-d-i-e-n-c-e o-f s-t-o-o-p-i-d-s”.

Gore: Oh. Yeah.

Brokaw: Besides, I din’t say the climate thingy isn't real! I din’t! I said there are debates over emphasis and timing.

Brokaw: If we set a timetable for getting off of carbon-based fuel, won’t carbon-based fuel just wait until we have left and then WHAMMO! The terrorists win?

Gore: Whammo? Really?

Brokaw: Have you called the Clintons recently?

Gore: I tried, but they were having a thing. And then they called back when I was calling them, and we missed each other. Then my phone’s base unit freaked out. Then I was in the shower. Then I forgot to turn off call forwarding. Then there was the time difference. Then my rates changed. Then...

Brokaw: Were you aware that Hillary Clinton is…a woman?

Gore: Yes. Also, Barack Obama is black, and Bill Richardson is Hispanic.

Brokaw: Isn’t “Hispanic” a derogatory terms, combining…as it…does (carefully reads notes) the sexist term “His” and the hysterical-lady word “panic”?

Gore: No.

Brokaw: How about your former testicle-cozy, Joe Lieberman?

Gore: Who?

Brokaw: Thank you, former Vice Pwesident, Ow Gohhw.

Gore: That’s “Al Gore”. “Vice President Al Gore”

Brokaw: Aww Goo.

Gore: “Al Gore”

Brokaw: Ladies and gentlemen, Ahh Glllh.

Gore: Ok this is how you end, Brokaw!

Gore Power Go!

Form of my Carbon Footprint

Up your ass!

Then, later, NBC’s Tom Brokaw asks NBC’s David Gregory and NBC’s Chuck Todd if it possible for NBC’s “Meet the Press” to be any more incestuous than it already is.

Brokaw: Isn’t it true that Al Gore is radioactive!

Gregory: Yes. And fat. And Orson Welles was also fat. And by the Generally Accepted Punditry Transitive Nanny-Nanny Boo-Boo rule, that means Gore is trying to take credit for “Citizen Kane” and “Touch of Evil”. Also that he died in 1985.

Brokaw: Having to talk about Teh Iraq and Teh Economy is confusing. Can we maybe have something big, single issue called “Teh Iraqonomy”? Because that would be both cool.

Brokaw (actual quote): If Obama buys a latte this week and listens to the barista…

Makes my kinda wonder what would happen if Brokaw had said "If McSame sends Lieberman to the drug store to buy him the August issue of Juggs and a palette truck of Depends, and listens to the cashier…"

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mitch McConnell Explains To Susan Collins How Things Work In The GOP


(Caution: trigger warning)

She'll be a good earner now.
A real good earner.



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Everybody Knows



Today, having expended every pfennig of political capital he had to strong-arm through his pet Fuck The Middle Class and Kill Obamacare Act, Wisconsin's own zombie-eyed granny starver (h/t Brother Charlie Pierce) shrugged and said he had no fucking idea if this bill would actually do the one thing he swore on the lives of America's children it would do:

Of course it won't.  It will do nothing of the kind, because is was never intended to do anything of the kind.

So what was it intended to do?

Everybody knows...


Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes

Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose

Everybody knows...



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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Paul Ryan Is Visited By The Ghost Of Duplicity Past



From the Office of Speaker Paul Ryan, October 27, 2009:

"Secrecy No More"

As Dems Plot Gov't Takeover of Health Care Behind Closed Doors, Freshmen Republicans Leading Charge of Openness

While Democrats continue to plot a government takeover of health care behind closed doors, Republicans are leading an unprecedented effort to bring much-needed sunlight and transparency to the process by which bills become laws.  A group of freshmen House Republicans held a news conference yesterday to highlight GOP transparency initiatives, including “read the bill" reform that would require all bills to be posted online for a minimum of 72 hours before they are brought to a vote.  “We want to help foster a more open and transparent and accountable debate in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH) said at the event.  For his part, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) stated yesterday that “all of these open government and transparency issues that we’re offering are rules we will live by once we’re in the majority.” 

FOX NEWS ANCHOR BILL HEMMER: “We may see a final version of the House health care reform bill by the end of the week. That’s according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. This coming as a group of the freshmen Republican congressman holding a news conference yesterday calling for greater transparency and more time to read the bill. How novel.” 
REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R-CO): “What the freshmen Republicans here want is what the American people want, and that is more transparency and a more deliberate process.” 
REP. LYNN JENKINS (R-KS): “Speaker Pelosi promised the ‘most open’ Congress in history, but the reality is anything but.” 
REP. CHRIS LEE (R-NY): “At the end of the day, the American public who is cheated when we do not have an opportunity to review what’s in given legislation.”
They never meant a word of it.  Not a single word.

Which is why it is entirely possible that the Ghost of Duplicity Present will be showing Paul Ryan a mob burning him in effigy in the Janesville, Wisconsin town square.

And. with a few lucky breaks, the Ghost of Duplicity Yet To come will be previewing Ryan's future in 2018:  sobbing uncontrollably and handing his gavel over to a Democrat.


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Simpleton Who Pissed His Vote Away On A Third Party Purity Tantrum Says What?



Sorry. "Simpleton" is not quite fair.

 ABC News chief political simpleton is much more descriptive.




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Meanwhile, in Illinois ...

collection_plate_gimmie


... Governor Hedgefund is now apparently running for Winnetka village trustee.

I mean, he must be.

Because while shit like this --
-- plays very well among his wealthy North Shore neighbors who hate Chicago, love tax cuts, are "concerned" about "the blacks" but also want to make sure their darling little Harpers and Imogenes have legal access to the best family planning care money can buy should they show up one day pregnant by some gardener or stable boy...

...the Teabagger Caucus who now make up the majority the Illinois Republican Party are definitely not cool with it.

Soon-to-be-not-a-state-senator Sam McCann expresses the sentiment of many Illinois wingnuts:
While representing the men and women of the 50th District has been one of the great honors and privileges of my life, it is clear that the Illinois Republican Party, including several of the county party organizations, has lost its way under Governor Rauner. I am unable to continue on with a party or a governor who continually attack working people; who support forcing taxpayers to fund abortions; who have turned Illinois into a sanctuary state; who have advanced the most liberal standards in the nation giving transgender individuals the ability to alter their birth certificates; and who have destroyed Illinois’ Right of Conscience Act so as to force pro-life doctors, nurses and other providers to violate their consciences and be denied their Constitutional Rights. This is no longer a Republican Party that is recognizable to me...
I have to say, this is hilarious to watch.  On the one hand, the meatheads are in a tizzy.  On the other hand, most of the meatheads' Republican elected representatives depend on allowance money from Governor Hedgefund to finance their political futures.

It's the best and cheapest show in town.



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David Brooks: Oops He Did It Again



Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times has one job.  And I mean that literally.  One job.  The job of defending the Beltway's most important institution -- the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It.


Just one job.   And that one job keeps the Sulzberger dynasty passing him down, generation after generation, like a family heirloom or some genetic defect brought on by ideological inbreeding.  It keeps him in print, on teevee, on the radio and on the Respected Public Intellectual lecture circuit.

And since Mr. Brooks' one job is defending a flagrant and easily debunked lie, it is equally important that Mr. Brooks Both Siderist collaborators and fellow travelers in the media never, ever let Mr. Brooks or any other Defender of the Faith appear in any venue where anyone who is not of the body --


-- might drop by and start throwing inconvenient facts around. 

Both Siderism is a team effort, because the lords and ladies of the Beltway are all keenly aware of the disastrous professional and financial consequences that would come crashing down on their collective heads should their mighty and powerful and ridiculous and incredibly fragile enterprise ever collapse.

Which is why I though Mr. Mark Sheilds' little insurgency on The News Hour last Friday was worthy of special note.  You can read the whole thing here (part of my award-ready, Crisis on Infinite Conservatisms series), but put as succinctly as a wordy son-of-a-bitch like me can manage, Mr. David Brooks performed his one job by floating the lie that income inequality in America has gone unaddressed lo these many years because...

...Both Sides!

Because "the two last administration’ and political establishment going on 12 years now".  Because Republicans something something and because Barack Obama wasted all of his time on a relatively trivial problem like health care.  
David Brooks: ... And so, the Obama administration, given this big problem, decided to spend their entire administration talking about the health insurance markets, which is really related to but tangential...
It was not at all remarkable that Mr. Brooks would lie this baldly on national teevee, because constantly lying in defense of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It is his one job.  No, what was remarkable was that his normally harmless, jowly sidekick actually pushed back on this particular lie in real-time.
Mark Shields:  Not to be prickly, but I just point out that Barack Obama confronted the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. I mean, getting out of that was the prime concern. He brought us back from the precipice. I agree with you on the expanding inequality, but it was’t comparable in any way of 105 sustained months of job growth and economic growth under Barack Obama that was inherited by Donald Trump and is about to be squandered in this giveaway.
Thus embarrassed on national teevee, Mr. Brooks retreated to a completely incoherent, emergency backup lie.  OK, sure, the Great Recession was pretty bad for Little People Who Are Not David Brooks, but once President Obama fixed that, he refused to pivot to "the Michigans, the Pennsylvanias, the Ohios, and either done infrastructure".

And Holy Fact Check Jesus, Mark Shields actually pushed right back on that lie too.
Mark Shields:  You’re right, but I just point out one thing, and that is saving the United States automobile industry, Ohio and Michigan, were not minor accomplishments and they were opposed by the Republicans and the Republican standard-bearer.
So having been publicly schooled on the difference between actual, American political history and the particular brand of Both Siderist bullshit he was slinging, you would think Mr. Brooks would lay off telling that particular lie at least for a little while.

But you, dear reader, would be wrong.

From his impregnable Both Siderist sniper's nest high atop The New York Times, here is Mr. David Brooks today:
The central problem of our time is the stagnation of middle-class wages, the disintegration of working-class communities and the ensuing fragmentation of American society.

Our political leadership has shown an amazing ability to look the other way. George W. Bush fought a war on terror. Obama devoted his presidency to expanding health insurance. Donald Trump is all talk and no policy.
For the benefit of future generation who might are sifting through the rubble of our civilization looking for answers, it it worth mentioning that the balance of Mr. David Brooks' column is devoted to pimping the magazine of his friend and acolyte, Yuval Levin, as "a foundry of ideas to enhance social mobility".

It is also worth mentioning that many of the bold, new ideas for social mobility that Mr. Brooks bulletted in his column -- Labor Force Participation, Ex-Offender Policies, Career Pathways -- were, in fact, championed by the Obama Administration.

For example, here is Senator Barack Obama touting innovative programs like Austin Polytech High school, which is based on building career pathways and training to industry certification standards in manufacturing and engineering:


And here is my own, partial list of the Obama Administration's dozens and dozens of programs specifically targeting manufacturing career training and promotion.

But somehow, less than a year after President Obama left office, Mr.  David Brooks cannot remember a single fucking detail about any of the Obama Administration's myriad initiatives to tackle the problem of social mobility.  Nor does Mr. Brooks ever even hint at the real reason why virtually none of these program were ever scaled up into amply funded, national policies.

Senate blocks new Obama jobs bill
Senate blocks $60 billion infrastructure plan, another part of Obama jobs bill
Also from November 2011:
Third Obama jobs bill blocked in Senate
Mr. Brooks dare not mention any of this because it would be ideologically and professionally catastrophic to the cause of Both Siderism to be forced to admit that President Obama was, in fact, striving mightily to enact exactly the kinds of policies that David Brooks is now touting.  And that the only reason those things remain undone is because of the intractable, lockstep obstruction and sabotage of Mr. Brooks' entire Republican party --
Republicans’ mindless obstruction has helped create something far worse
-- which they adopted as a premeditated electoral strategy the very day Barack Obama was inaugurated.

And because he is not merely a highly paid professional liar, but a very lazy highly paid professional liar, Mr. Brooks could not even be bothered to whip up some brand new fairy tale to pad out his shitty column once his old line of bullshit was shot full of holes.

Instead he just laid in the cut and waited until Mark Shields was gone, and went right back to recycling his now-thoroughly-debunked old lies on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

And the truly sad and scary part?

This is not Mr. David Brook failing at his job.  

This is Mr. David Brooks doing his job.

His one and only job



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Monday, December 18, 2017

The Prediction Business Is Not For The Faint Of Heart



This is me, in September of 2016:

This is Jeanine Pirro -- Donald Trump toady and informal adviser, and likely nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- last week.
Jeanine Pirro Doubles Down FBI ‘Cleansing’: People Should Be Led Out ‘In Cuffs’
Having a vivid imagination and a clear understanding of exactly what the GOP is, how they got that way and where they are going gives me no comfort at all.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Crisis on Infinite Conservatisms: 
The Unending Reign of the RetCon Men



Subtitle: That Time David Brooks Pretended To Forget Everything That Happened In The Last Twenty Years

As I have documented to the point of (almost) running out of swears, one of the four characteristics common to all Conservatives from Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to Michael Gerson and David Brooks, is a dependence on "a massive, ongoing and self-reinforcing regime of historical revisionism and 'doublethink'" for ideological and political cohesion.

And for the last few decades (and picking up speed as the Bush Administration fell apart) they have all been retconning the shit out of the history of American Conservatism and their various roles within it.

For the uninitiated (from the DC Wiki:
retcon is a turn of phrase used by comic readers and industry professionals to describe alterations in the existing internal history of a particular comic character or series of events. Short for retroactive continuity, the term can be applied as either an acting verb or a noun and is only recognized in the external environment of comic book creation...

Purposes of a Retcon
As a writing convention, a retcon serves the function of revising older material, which may be deemed unpalatable to modern readers by altering specific details...

Canon vs. Non-Canon
As a retcon basically recreates a comic book's internal reality, there is often great debate between which material should be considered authoritative (canon), and which material is outdated, and no longer part of the modern history (non-canon).
And today is one of those very rare days when I can actually point to someone publicly pushing back on David Brooks' ongoing, noxious, real-time retconning of extremely recent and well-documented political history in order to prop us the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It upon which his career and his psychological infrastructure depends.

Today I get to give Mark Shields a solid "B", which is a rare thing because usually Mr. Sheilds' role on The News Hour is to shake his jowls jovially at David Brooks constant lying, emphasize how much he agrees with his good friend David almost entirely, drop in one or two relatively benign Democratic talking points and then divert the conversation into some amiable reminiscence about Howell Heflin or Claude Pepper or Darius II.

Friday Mr. Shields shied away from delivering the simple and obvious conversational kill-shot, so we cannot give him an "A", but given that he is essentially a side-kick operating on the teevee equivalent of an assisted living center day room where any controversy or disagreement is sternly discouraged, he gets a "B".

First up, here is Mr. David Brooks on The News Hour blatantly lying for the umpteenth time about another piece of America's well-documented, recent political history:
David Brooks: ... The big issue facing American domestic politics is widening inequality and the collapse of the working class. And so, the Obama administration, given this big problem, decided to spend their entire administration talking about the health insurance markets, which is really related to but tangential...
And why is he telling this specific very big lie?  For the same reason that NPR and PBS and The New York Times and Meet the Press have each given Conservatism's Urial Heep a permanent and wholly unearned venue from which to reach as many Americans as possible.

Because all of them depend on the ongoing maintenance of the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It for their survival.  If that lies collapses, so do they.  And so -- in this specific instance -- the Great Republican Tax Bust-Out must somehow be framed as a Failure Of Both Sides.  And since framing Republican atrocities as a Failure Of Both Sides is literally the only thing Mr. David Brooks does for a living...
David Brooks: ... The Republicans have decided to lose their majority on the corporate tax rates which really has nothing to do with the central problem.


So, what’s mystifying to me is that the two last administration’ and political establishment going on 12 years now is ignoring the big problem and tackling other problems...
Now please understand, this lie is no more blatant than any of the other hundreds of lies which Mr. Brooks gets away with peddling every year, year in and year out, decade after decade.  In this way, the way the lords and ladies of the Beltway media like Mr. Brooks are treated eerily parallels the pathology of powerful men abusing their position and privilege to prey on women. 

Consider that. everyone in his business knows that people like Mr. Brooks use their position and privilege to flagrantly abuse the truth.  They do it shamelessly, repeatedly, even off-handedly.   They treat it as just another perk of the job, like an on-call car and driver, or an unlimited travel budget.  And although everyone knows about it, no one  in the industry calls them out.  In fact, no one ever says a word. They just look away and pretend it isn't happening, because they know what happens to people who rock the boat. 

And that, as Sin Cty's Senator Roark once astutely noted, is how real power works:


It is also why Mr. Shields gets a "B" this week:
Mark Shields:  Not to be prickly, but I just point out that Barack Obama confronted the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. I mean, getting out of that was the prime concern. He brought us back from the precipice. I agree with you on the expanding inequality, but it was’t comparable in any way of 105 sustained months of job growth and economic growth under Barack Obama that was inherited by Donald Trump and is about to be squandered in this giveaway.
This actually rocked Mr. Brooks back on his round heels a bit.  Who told Mark Shields he would bring a bag of facts to this puppet show!   And Mr. Brooks has grown so soft and lazy from a lifetime to having his bullshit go unchallenged, that with even the slightest push-back he begins to flail.

Watch here as he lies about the importance of the Affordable Care Act as only a privileged douchbag who has never had to worry a day in his life about being able to afford the very best medical care for his entire family.  And lies about the timeline along which actual events actually happened.  And the passage of the bill. And a bunch of other stuff that's I'll get to in a minute.

My point here is, when challenged, Mr. Brooks immediate and automatic response is to lie and lie and lie again and then pivot hard back to the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It.  
David Brooks:  I’ll give you that, getting over the 2008, 2007 recession was big accomplishment early in the administration, but it still remains the fact that once they got over that, they could then turned to these — the Michigans, the Pennsylvanias, the Ohios, and either done infrastructure. They could have done a bunch of things, which are always on the table and everybody says they’re in favor of, and nobody actually does because it doesn’t go — and the Republicans, the donor base. And the Democrats, they have to have a thing about health insurance.
And the insurance markets, they were right to do that. There was just a small thing they did to help people get a lot more people get insured, but it did not — what mystifies me is our inability to even frontally address the main problem of the day...
But  bless his heart, Mark Shield was not quite ready to let go of this bone:
Mark Shields:  You’re right, but I just point out one thing, and that is saving the United States automobile industry, Ohio and Michigan, were not minor accomplishments and they were opposed by the Republicans and the Republican standard-bearer.
Thinking quickly, Judy Woodruff deployed the emergency fainting couches, evacuated the studio and had everyone run through a decontamination shower veered away from the dangerous subject of Stuff That Happened Not Very Long Ago and on to Doug Jones and Alabama.

But here's the thing: the events of not very long actually matter.  And the fact that Mr. David Brooks' reflex action is to just keep lying when confronted with historical facts that debunk the fairy tales he spins for a living actually matters. 

Given that he had Mr. Brooks on the ropes. over in the Better Universe Mr. Shields would have finished him off with clean hands and a clear conscience by walloping Mr. Brooks upside the head with this from October of 2011:
Senate blocks new Obama jobs bill
And this from November 2011:
Senate blocks $60 billion infrastructure plan, another part of Obama jobs bill
And this, also from November 2011:
Third Obama jobs bill blocked in Senate
Or, if he wished to decapitate Mr. Brooks more efficiently, the Better Universe's Mark Shields could have subsumed the myriad examples of President Obama trying to do exactly what David Brooks said he should do by reminding Mr. Brooks that the only reason those things remain undone is because of the intractable, lockstep obstruction and sabotage of Mr. Brooks' entire Republican party --
Republicans’ mindless obstruction has helped create something far worse
-- which they adopted as a premeditated electoral strategy the very day Barack Obama was inaugurated.

In other words, the was never any hope of getting any of Mr. Brooks' "bunch of things" passed during the Obama Administration because Mr. Brooks' Republican party is run by thugs, vandals, demagogues, con men and outright traitors.

And every single one of the lords and ladies of the Beltway including Mr. Brooks god damn well knows it.  But no one says a word because every one of these know what happens to people who speak these terrible truths aloud.

Still, over in this Universe, for a moment Mark Shields came a little closer to speaking the truth out than most people in his position do.

And for that he gets a solid "B".


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