Friday, July 23, 2021

Professional Left Podcast #608

"Adjoining houses always burn."  -- Bantu proverb




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Maybe if They Listened to Some Allman Brothers? Updated

So the reviews are in and now we know.  Since we must now all just accept that Republicans are basically feral trolls who we should never expect to be held responsible for the evil that they do (from today's WaPo) --

Have Trump voters come down with a serious case of Snowflake Syndrome?

To hear some pundits and Republicans tell it, millions of people across the country who voted for Donald Trump are suffering from an affliction that you might call “Snowflake Syndrome.”

On numerous fronts in our politics — from voting rights to covid-19 to the legacy of Jan. 6 — we’re being told these voters are afflicted with a deeply fragile belief system that must be carefully ministered to and humored to an extraordinary degree.

We must pass voting restrictions everywhere to assuage these voters’ “belief” that the 2020 election was highly dubious or fraudulent. We must not argue too aggressively for coronavirus vaccines, lest they feel shamed and retreat into their anti-vax epistemological shells.

And we must allow Republicans to appoint some of the most deranged promoters of the stolen election myth to a committee examining the insurrection so they’ll feel like its findings are credible...

-- from now on the rest of us will now be required handle them like Dan Akroyd's Jimmy Carter handled Peter Elton of West Burke Oregon:  calmly talking to them as if they're freaked out 17-year-olds on acid and having a very bad bad trip.  

Except Republican aren't scared 17-year-olds who will fall asleep in a few hours and get over it. 

They're full-grown paranoid, racist and often violent adults, and their bad trip never, ever ends.


UPDATE:  Had to bring this comment from GrafZeppelin127 up from the comment section:

...lest they soil their nice clean "F*** YOUR FEELINGS" t-shirts with sad, sad tears.

This particular shoe is neverevereverever on the other foot.

 


No Half Measures

David Brooks Doesn't Know When To Sit Quietly And Say Nothing


Because he doesn't have to .

Because there is clearly no one at The New York Times with the clout to shut him down or put him out to pasture.  In this way, he is their Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson.  Bigger than the game...whatever game it is The New York Times is playing.

Today I glanced at The New York Times just long enough to notice that this  was one of those days when Mr. David Brooks decided it was his job to explain to American something about which he knows nothing.

This morning's subject?  

Racism, and how exactly we are measuring up.  

This latest in Mr. Brooks' ongoing series of "America: A Land of Contrasts" book reports has statistics and percentages and everything and in three little words, Twitter user Wii Spa summed up my reaction accurately:

Let's judge how accurately Mr. Brooks' instincts about race are calibrated by using two of clearest metrics from The Before Time:  The Fake Tea Party, and the wider Republican freak out over the nomination and election of Barack Obama, starting with a few note from post of mine from A Very Long Time Ago (2008) entitled "The Negrological Constant":

In this election, the predictive model we use to explain our cultural Universe is also deeply warped. Warped by race. Race is, yet again, the 17-ton mastodon in the room, but continues to scud and swirl quietly around the dark corners of American political discourse like errant dust bunnies.

And so the media develops a suite of “Negrological Constants” to explain what is happening in the polls without having to face the reality that we are not a post-racial society.

Not by a damn sight.

Better than we have been? Yes.

Getting better every generation? Yes.

But in 2008, to pretend that that all objects in motion in the American political system are not being acted on by racism is as silly as pretending that all objects on the face of the Earth are not being acted on by gravity.

I wrote that in reaction to Mr. Brooks' appearance on the now-defunct Charlie Rose Show where Brooks was completely befuddled as to why Barack Obama was clearly being held to different a standard than Jonh McCain.  From David Brooks during that 2008 round-table:

I think there is no doubt that Barack Obama is much more specific than John McCain. If this were about issues, Obama would be winning by 15 points. The mystery is, why he's not.

Except, of course, it was most definitely not a mystery to anyone who hadn't been a privileged, myopic, white Conservative living in the Beltway media bubble their entire adult lives.

Like Michele Norris appearing on the Charlie Rose Show over the past two nights:

"One thing we've only touched on lightly here is the issue of race, and the polling has shown that many of these voters when they say "he's not patriotic enough", "we just don’t know who he is", "we don’t know what he really stands for", if you dig down a little deeper there are suggestions that some of these issues are proxies for this issue of race."

Like Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, also appearing on the Charlie Rose Show over the past two nights:

“It hurts me to say, as the child of working class people, what these people were saying. When I get email from these people, there ain't a lot of nuance.”

And

Connie Schultz: I think Michele makes a very important point about race ... I've been writing about this because I come from the working class, and I am very troubled by some of the things I'm hearing from the working class. About race. And I said, you gotta go home and have the tough conversations with family members.
Rose: What do they say?
Schultz: (They say) "I will not vote for..."
Rose (because he is congenitally unable to stop interrupting people trying to finish their sentences): "...an African American?!?"
Schultz: Right. If they say it well. If they say it kindly. I think it's code when they say "Well we really don't know if he's a Muslim" and "we don't know if he's patriotic". That’s all code for race. And for us to pretend that isn't happening is irresponsible for us in the media.

Anyway, that was David Brooks -- The New York Times' senior Conservative political columnist -- in 2008 staring Republican racism square in the eye and swearing he didn't see a thing.

Here is David Brooks in 2009, cocking his ear at the deafening, racist primal scream of a Republican party reacting to the election of Barack Obama, shrugging, and swearing he can't hear a thing:

Well, I don’t have a machine for peering into the souls of Obama’s critics, so I can’t measure how much racism is in there. But my impression is that race is largely beside the point.

We next encounter David Brooks a year later, in 2010, flashing his PhD in Knowing Racism Stuff in 2010, on Meet the Press, when E.J. Dionne rolled out this inconvenient truth:

Dionne: Look, there is a concerted conservative campaign on part of the movement, a minority of the movement…to use race to split people. Glenn Beck says Obama has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." J. Christian Adams, a Republican activist pushing this new Black Panthers story, says the Obama Justice Department is motivated by a "lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law." Now, there are people playing with this racial politics out there. I am not saying, the NAACP certainly isn't saying that this is the whole conservative movement…or most of the conservative movement or most of the tea party. But it's a part of this strategy, and people should condemn it.

Well, it turned out that it was pretty much the whole Conservative movement -- and certainly the overwhelming majority of the GOP base  -- but we'll leave that aside for now and move on to Mr. Brooks' reaction to this inconvenient truth

First, he rolled out his trademark, "Liberals are just as bad in the opposite way" thing:

Brooks: There are liberals who call conservatives racist as a matter of tactics, too

And then, extrapolating from his single, jog-by observation of a Fake Tea Party Rally and a Black family reunion going on near each other that didn't result in a riot, that the Tea Baggers are the goddamn salt of the goddamn Earth.  The best kind of people.  And not at all racist!

Brooks: Listen, I was out jogging. You wouldn't know it to look at me. I was out jogging in the mall. I was at a tea party rally, tea party rally. Also there was a group called the back--Black Family Reunion, celebration of African-American culture. I watched these two groups intermingle, sitting at the same table, eating, watching concerts together. Among most of those people there was a fantastic atmosphere of just getting along on a, on a warm Sunday afternoon.


Four years later, we find David Brooks was reassuring his readers that whatever scary weirdness his party might have been up to, it was over now!  The GOP had detoxified it's brand and there was nothing but blue skies ahead.

Less than two years after that turned out to be utter bullshit, Mr. David Brooks was back on Meet the Press reassuring his reassuring his readers that "the governing wing of the Republican Party" would soon swing into action and save them from both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz by rocketing Marco Rubio to power.


And less than two years after all of that turned out to be utter bullshit, Mr. David Brooks was reassuring his readers that Trump winning was actually a good thing because it was definitely going to usher in a New Conservative Intellectual Renaissance -- a Conservative Intellectual Renaissance so powerful and catchy that it would sweep aside stodgy oldster political thinking and by next summer all the rock and roll kids would be dancing to it in their raves and discotheques and sock hops.

Just like in Footloose!

And then there was Brooks' brief non-confessional confession tour, launched during the 2016 campaign, when his job was clearly on the chopping block because he had fucked up so consistently and so very, very publicly on the pages of The New York Times.  Here is a particularly illuminating snippet from Brooks from the still-defunct Charlie Rose Show in 2016:

Rose:  So you think you were wrong?  That you had somehow been on the Acela too much and had not done what?

Brooks:  As I say, I'm out in the country ... every week I'm somewhere ... but somehow I didn't see it coming.  I'm...I'm...I'm...I was not alone in that. A lot of us didn't see it coming.

Rose:  Oh I don't know anybody that saw it coming.

Brooks (smirking):  Yeah, I'm sure now there are people claiming they did but...um...

And right here you can see the  Beltway Common Wisdom being set in concrete.  Since no one saw this coming, everyone failed equally so no one is guilty.  No one is to blame.  And as long as we all agree to pretend that all the lowliest Liberal bloggers -- who had been warning about these conditions within the GOP for decades -- simply do not exist ... and so as long as Brooks promises to do a little painless penance -- to sojourn into the heart of American darkness and compare notes on Edmund Burke with shit-shovelers in Nebraska and pawn brokers in Kansas -- everything will be cool.  Everyone could safely return to their default setting and no one would lose their job just because events had shown that they never had the slightest fucking idea what they were talking about.  

So, return now to July of 2021, in the grand scheme of things it it good that getting punched in the face by Reality over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again for decades has finally pried Mr. Brooks' eyes open enough to see some of the realities of race in these United States?  

Yes, in the grand scheme of things, that's good.

But are the standards at The New York Times op-ed page really so low that a 60 year old ultra-privileged, myopic white Conservative professional haver-of-opinions grudgingly coming to recognize that racism exists in the United States is a story worthy of publication and praise?

Yes, the Times' standards really are that low.



No Half Measures

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Go Ask Alice, When She's Ten Feet Tall

Listening to Michael Steele interview Alice Stewart is the weirdest, most dissociative "We're Still Republicans But Not The Bad Kind" audio experience you can have for free. 

For those of you who are late to the party, Michael Steele is the former RNC chair who swears that, sure, before he ran the party it was, indeed, full of racists. However, during the brief interregnum when he was party chair he drove all the racists out of the GOP just like Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland!  But once he had been cruelly deposed, all the racists came back.  Sad!  And thus, in his own mind, Michael Steele -- the black man who hired himself to front for a party defined by contempt for people of color -- bears no personal responsibility whatsoever for the GOP being what it is today.

And for his sins, Michael Steele is now a paid MSNBC contributor and was awarded a Senior fellowship at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

For her part, Ms. Stewart has spent her career working for the worst of the worst -- Santorum...



...Huckabee...

...Michele Bachmann...

New Bachmann press aide Alice Stewart was former news anchor and Huckabee aide

...Cruz...


...and so forth --  and is entirely unapologetic about every bit of it.  

And for her sins, Stewart is now a paid CNN contributor and was awarded a Harvard fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

And what's notable about these two prominent Republicans in conversation in July of 2021 is not just that they are delusional, but that each of them is delusional in their own distinct way that reflects their own, unique failings.   Like listening to two children arguing over whether Martians are three feet tall and blue or eleven feet tall and orange when, hate to break it to you kids, there are no fucking Martians.  But the way the respective delusions of these two adult professionals carom off of each other is what makes it weirdly entertaining and instructive.

First, their similarities.  They are bot still card-carrying members of the GOP.  They both despise Liberals like you and me.  They both like Joe Biden personally, but hate his agenda in which they see the hidden hand of AOC in "paying people not to work" and so forth.  They're both adamant that this is still a "Center/Right" country".  They both want to see Roe v. Wade overturned and abortion outlawed.  And they both clearly long for the glory days of their youth when Reagan bestrode the Earth like a colossus and there appeared to be no limit to the damage they could do in the name of Freedom.

But their differences are where the crazy really comes out.

Stewart wants the wind the clock back to 2015.  Of maybe just 2019. She is Terminator-focused on winning the congress back in 2022 and the White House back in 2024, and insists that returning unified control of the government over to the Ted Cruz/Rand Paul/Marjorie Taylor Greene/Mitch McConnell/ Paul Gosar/Jim Jordan GOP will somehow cure the party of its flaws and let it return to the good old days and values of [checks notes] Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.

The Republican Insurrection and the Republican Big Lie leave a bad taste in Stewarts's mouth, but she is 100% cool with everything else her party has done.  She would be delighted to keep Trump himself in the party if he would just chill out a little bit.  She definitely wants to keep the Trump base in the party and thinks if the party could just just move on all the, y'know, out-and-proud racism, insanity, violence and treason -- just put it all in the past -- that there are a millions of "rational Republicans" out there who are horny as hell to leap back in bed with the Party of Bigots and Imbeciles.  

Stewart's delusions about the existence of massive numbers of "rational Republicans" who she wants to add to the party without displacing the existing base of bigots and imbeciles reflect the profound depths of her sociopathy.  The fact the actual base of the GOP are Fox-drunk meatheads and white supremacists does not bother her at all, because in her mind you and me and everything we value are the real enemies.  And therefor the thought of keeping the existing Republican mob of racists and lunatics intact and in-harness as a tool for crushing the Evil Left once and for all is, to Stewart's way of thinking, a perfectly acceptable means to that noble end.

Steele believes the exact opposite: that the key to glorious Republican victory and the enactment of the despicable agenda that both he and Stewart believe in is to cut the base loose.  Just grab 'em by the Klan hood and chuck 'em out the door.  How exactly he would go about kicking them out of the party when, for all intents and purposes, they are the fucking party I have no idea -- but in response to Stewart's insistence that she still wants Trump around -- still wants him to be part of the party -- Steele says:

Steele:    But do we?  Do we?  Do we really still want him around?  I'll be honest with you, I don't.  I think he's an abomination.  I think he...I think he's an apostate to everything I grew up believing in the party, even in the face of some of the ugly stuff in the...recent history of the party.  I think Trump has been an avatar for a lot of that...really given a breath of fresh air to the Southern Strategy...

And in that confession, and in this one...

Steele: Like the worst cancer you could possibly have, cut that shit out of your body.  You need it gone.

..and this one...

Steele: To be honest with you, I don't want...I don't want a redneck white nationalist racist to be a Republican.  I don't want them in my party.

 ...you see Steele's delusions manifested.  

Until Trump ripped the mask off of his party, Steele could get away with the shuck that, hey man, the party wasn't this was when I joined up, when I rose in its ranks, or when I was its national chair.  Because to admit that would be to confess what everyone knows: that to succeed in Republican politics, either Mr. Steele had trained himself to not to see what his party truly was, or he knew that, as a black man willing to swallow his dignity and front for a racist party, his future was secure...as long as some fool didn't come along with a very big megaphone and give the game away.

And then along came this fool with a very big megaphone --


-- who gave the game away.

So the only way Mr. Steele can continue to keep his pathetic delusions intact (and continue his cable teevee viability) is to conjure into existence an entirely imaginary future Republican party full of so many rational, honorable humans (all of whom agree with the GOP's depraved agenda) that they can not only displace the entire Republican base, but will flock to Steele's banner in such numbers that they can sweep this New GOP to power and something something freedom.

When pressed on where exactly all these people are going to come from once he somehow managed to kicks 90% of Republicans out of "his" Republican party, Steele gets very metaphysical.  As if he were building a ballfield in the middle of an Iowa cornfield because a disembodied voice told him to.  

Except he's not.

Instead what he's proposing, in effect, is that Baskin-Robbins keep their name, but stop selling ice cream and instead offer the public what's left over -- empty cones, tiny spoons and napkins -- on the expectation that even bigger crowd will show up for that.  And when pressed even further for any example of such a thing ever happening anywhere, Mr. Steele had to go all the way back to the early 1990s when he was chairman of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee and he and a small band of Republicans managed to get a few reforms passed.  Property tax stuff.  Charter school stuff.  That sort of thing.

That's it.  That is the quarter-century-old weak reed on which Mr. Steele's whole fantasy future GOP rests.

And this really is all that remains of the mopes who think Trump is icky but continue to remain loyal Republican party members.  

One zombie-eyed, True Believer who wants to snuff out Liberalism so badly that she's perfectly happy keeping Trump and his brown shirts inside the party but thinks that cladding a layer of non-existent "rational Republicans" on top of that radioactive crazy will be enough to cure the party of its excesses (Translation:  Can just go back to not saying the quiet part out loud...) and win smashing victories forever.

And one life-long Republican hood ornament who believes that the key to the future success of his GOP consists of...
  1. Kicking 90% of the Republican party out of the Republican party and
  2. Replacing those tens millions of bigots and imbeciles with even more tens of millions of imaginary new Republicans who believe all the same horrible shit that current Republicans believe but minus the overt racism.
This is the sound of two drunks...
Leaning against each other for support...
Wandering down a dark road to nowhere...
Each complaining that the other one...
Doesn't know where they're going.



No Half Measures

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Trump Country: South/Central Illinois

I took this photo on a Sunday morning in a McDonald's parking lot in Effingham, Illinois, population 12,563.

And this was taken on the same Sunday morning while driving through Beecher City, Illinois, population 453.  The "McKinley" named on the sign apparently refers to a dog at the Donaldson’s Standard service station.  

And while I don't know what they manufacture in this Beecher City establishment besides entropy and despair -- 

-- it's a fair proxy for the state of soul of many of the South/Central Illinois towns we passed through.  Rusted out.  Neglected.  A large number of long-ago abandoned buildings and several buildings which had obviously been in the middle of some kind of Hail Mary, paint-and-pray renovation before they too had been abandoned.  "Abortion is Murder" billboards. "Guns Save Lives" signs like old Burma Shave signs that tell a little four-panel story about the importance of owning an  in-home arsenal planted out where the cornfields and soybean fields edge up to the road.   

We also passed (but did not photograph) a coal mine museum, but it was the Moweaqua, Illinois Coal Mine Museum and not the Christian County, Illinois Coal Mine Museum nor was it the Illinois Coal Mine Museum at Gillespie.  

Because while we did spy the top edge of a Pride flag peeking over the tall fence of someone's yard, this is Republican Trump Country.  This is where the battle for hearts and minds was lost decades ago as Hate Radio and Fox News and Republican ad-makers quietly invaded thousands of towns like this and set up shop, telling the rubes the same lies, over and over again, year after year, until it became part of their hardwiring.  That the reasons their lives were getting worse and their children left for the Big City and never came back were, in no particular order, the Gay Agenda, Welfare Queens, Feminazis, Abortionists and, of course, those dirty, Commie Libtards and their Soros-controlled media.  

And however obvious it may be to any objective observer that their lives have been and would continue be materially improved by the policies of the Democratic Party, they would no more consider abandoning the comforting, rage-fueled, white supremacist ideology of the Right than they would consider abandoning the ashes of their fathers and the temples of his Gods.


No Half Measures



Monday, July 19, 2021

Today In Incels In Cells: Nathan Wayne Entrekin

From The Washington Post: 

A man in a gladiator costume filmed the Jan. 6 mob for his mother, feds say: ‘Here comes the riot police, Mom’

When Nathan Wayne Entrekin joined a crowd of rioters that pushed its way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, he donned a Roman gladiator costume over jean shorts and a T-shirt despite the winter chill, federal investigators say. As the mob chanted, Entrekin allegedly filmed videos on his cellphone, narrating the action for his mother, who was back in Arizona.

“Wow, Mom. I wish you were here with me,” Entrekin said in one video, according to a criminal complaint. “It’s really exciting in here. It’s joyful and it’s sad at the same time. We can’t let Biden … be our president. We can’t … there’s no way.”

Federal prosecutors on Thursday arrested Entrekin, of Cottonwood, Ariz., for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, during which he allegedly defied police orders, entered the U.S. Capitol and witnessed people looting offices. During an interview, Entrekin told investigators that “the calls of former president Donald Trump inspired him to attend the rally,” the complaint states...

Narrator:  No one explained to Nathan the Patriot LARPer that gladiators existed to feed the Roman entertainment machine.  To be pitted against other gladiators, wild animals and condemned criminals for amused the mob.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be Cawthorns.


Burn The Lifeboats

Friday, July 16, 2021

Professional Left Podcast #607

"'When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his blogs were read.'"  
-- Hilaire Belloc (slightly modified), poet



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David Brooks and the Suborbital Right

Weekly Standard cover, October 2001

From Space.Com
Suborbital flight, in contrast [to orbital flight], requires much lower speeds. A suborbital rocket doesn't have the power to achieve orbit. Instead, it will fly up to a certain height that depends on its speed, and then come back down once its engines are shut off... At the top of their flight arc, passengers in a suborbital vehicle will still achieve a few minutes of weightlessness. They are, in fact, falling back toward Earth, but they are experiencing freefall, similar to an airplane completing parabolic maneuvers to simulate zero gravity.

During the Trump Years, altogether too many people who should have known better -- should have learned from the rapid Conservative recovery and retrenchment after the collapse of the Bush Administration -- became possessed of the belief that some of the more genteel, respectable, mainstream peddlers of Conservative drivel might have at last figured out that it was the flaws of American Conservatism itself that paved the way for Trump.  That without the diligent work of decades belt-feeding red meat to bigots and imbeciles (because that was the only way to whip up enough of an electoral mob to enact the Conservative agenda) --

-- there would never have been the rich soil of paranoia and rage on the Right from which a Trump could grow.  

That without the diligent work of decades relentlessly demonizing the Left for warning that playing footsie with fascism and white supremacy would lead to disaster, the malignant trajectory of the Right might have been diagnosed and arrested long before it became depraved enough to nominate, elect, and then re-nominated a monster like Trump. 

But that never happened, because even the most genteel, respectable, mainstream peddlers of Conservative drivel are still Conservatives and are incapable of facing the terrible truth that all that they have always held to be true is false, and that those shiftless, mooching, woke, America-hating, terrorist-loving Liberals were right about the Right all along.  

And because facing this terrible truth is beyond them, they take refuge in their own versions of what I referred to as David Brooks' Great Project several thousand posts ago::

...it is now painfully clear that Mr. Brooks is engaged in a long-term project to completely rewrite the history of American Conservatism: to flense it of all of the Conservative social, political  economic and foreign policy debacles that make Mr. Brooks wince and repackage the whole era as a fairy tale of noble Whigs being led through treacherous hippie country by the humble David Brooks.

Sure, the Trump administration was depraved and grotesque and many respectable, mainstream peddlers of Conservative drivel said so out loud.  And, yes, for a few, giddy years they called a Republican president a shithead, and rendered their garments and crushed their pearls demanding to know when the "real" Republicans and the "real" Conservatives would show up to save them.

But all that amounted to was a few, fleeting moments of ideological weightlessness before they began falling back to Earth.  Because in the end no Republican calamity will ever terrifying enough or crushing enough to lift them out of the deep gravity well of their own ideology.  

And so, this week in my local paper, we saw an avatar of the far-right Illinois Policy Institute named Scott Reeder, being given column inches to preach the gospel of the Evils of the Extremes on Both Sides, with nary a mention of Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell or the 01/06 Republican Insurrection or the Big Lie or the history of the GOP ("It's Brookses All The Way Down").

At the national level, this week we also saw Andrew Sullivan returning to exactly where he was 20 years ago -- ranting that the real danger to America was the decadent coastal elitist Left.  This time around, Mr. Sullivan's rant took the form of a Wake Up White People! Substack screed that was first reprinted in The New York Post and then re-reprinted on the Fox News site.  And once again, in Mr. Sullivan's telling, Donald Trump, the Insurrection, the Big Lie and the entire history of the GOP have simply vanished.  Instead, starting in 2015, all of our nation's problems have been caused by the ruthless and all-powerful woke Left forcing decent, God-fearing', real Murricans into a corner ("Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says: The Adventure Continues").

And today we find confirmation Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times has fully returned to pre-Trump status as the Pope of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Brooks was back to preaching that The Extremes on Both Sides were destoyin The Truth.  As I wrote then ("Every Weary River of David Brooks' Prose..."):

[David Brooks has returned to his] decaying cathedral of empty platitudes and false equivalence where, somehow, the Donald Trump and the entire Republican base, and "Some students at elite schools" are both such equally  dangerous threats to democracy that they need to be presented side-by-side in the same paragraph:

But Donald Trump doesn’t get away with lies because his followers flunked Epistemology 101. He gets away with his lies because he tells stories of dispossession that feel true to many of them. Some students at elite schools aren’t censorious and intolerant because they lack analytic skills. They feel entrapped by moral order that feels unsafe and unjust.

Where Conservatives and Progressives are just two equally poisonous sides of the same America-smashing cudgel:

Part of the blame goes to conservatives who try to whitewash history. Part goes to progressives who tell such a negative version of history that it destroys patriotism. 

This week he's in the same pulpit, preaching the same sermon, but this time has decided to wade straight into the one subject above all others that he should be barred for life from ever mentioning again.  From The New York Times:

For most of the past century, human dignity had a friend — the United States of America. We are a deeply flawed and error-prone nation, like any other, but America helped defeat fascism and communism and helped set the context for European peace, Asian prosperity and the spread of democracy.

Then came Iraq and Afghanistan, and America lost faith in itself and its global role — like a pitcher who has been shelled and no longer has confidence in his own stuff...

Yeah, you read that right.

This guy.



This fucking guy -- who was the Managing Editor of this now-defunct hippy-punching and war-porn rag when they ran this cover 19 years ago --

-- is actually gearing up to lecture Americans on the importance of staying in Afghanistan forever.  

But first comes the obligatory detour to you-know-where (emphasis added):

On the left, many now reject the idea that America can be or is a global champion of democracy, and they find phrases like “the indispensable nation” or the “last best hope of the earth” ridiculous.  On the right the wall-building caucus has given up on the idea that the rest of the world is even worth engaging...

What follows is just, well, wow.  Brooks' Great Project on stilts.  Inconvenient history rewritten.  American foreign policy reduced to single stupid and dangerously wrong baseball analogy.  And a profession of befuddlement that the Left has no appetite for Republican foreign policy debacles that men like David Brooks are always eager to champion, but not so eager to put their children on the firing line.  

I guess what befuddles me most is the behavior of the American left. I get why Donald Trump and other American authoritarians would be ambivalent about America’s role in the world. They were always suspicious of the progressive package that America has helped to promote.

But every day I see progressives defending women’s rights, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and racial justice at home and yet championing a foreign policy that cedes power to the Taliban, Hamas and other reactionary forces abroad.

I'm not sure, but I think David Brooks just told Joe Biden that he should not just roll out the full might of armed forces of the United States to "defend women's rights L.G.B.T.Q. rights and racial justice" here in the Land of the Free, but that we should keep the military on that task for as many decades as are necessary, at whatever cost in blood and treasure that may be required, to completely destroy the Republican party and establish a working democracy here in American.

 As the kids on the internet say, shocking if true.

But I suspect that Mr. Brooks isn't saying that at all.  I suspect that since his Republican party is now a   of bigots and imbeciles that no longer cares what David Brooks says about anything, he is actually trying, in his own painfully hamfisted way, to guilt us Liberals -- the same people he spent the bulk of his career slagging as decadent America-hating children, scheming academics, parochial morons and deluded hippies -- into backing his stillborn Neocon dreams of global American military hegemony. 

The good news is that, as of this writing Mr. Brooks is being thoroughly dragged, ass-backwards through the cactus patch that is Twitter.  

The disheartening news is that what wrote about Mr. Brooks more than 16 years ago --

It seem very clear to me that BoBo is many laughably obtuse things, but BoBo Don't Surf. He isn't simply misguided and there is little chance that he's ever going to see the light and change his mind: he reasons backwards from his ideology into his limp diatribes, instead of forward from the facts to a reasonable conclusion.

Instead (and in answer to those questions) I believe Brooks is a serious, committed Wingnut middleman -- sort of the Fundamentalist's pet PBS Mennonite -- which IMHO is much more dangerous than a fully outed DeLay.

Brooks' job is to sell the poison to the Center: to reassure the Moderates and “Reagan Democrats” and to coax the Undecideds into the Windowless Fundy Panel Truck by dandying their evil up in perfumed NYT-speak, and since the battle for the future of the country takes places in the middle, these wingnuts-in-sheeps-clothing are the ones that deserve extra-special beatings.

The good news is, BoBo obviously doesn't know he's an idjit. Instead, he thinks he's tricksey, which is why he keeps obligingly waddling into the thresher blades.

-- I could have written today with just a minor tweak or two.  

Because, except in a few, rare cases, Conservatives are fundamentally incapable of change.


Burn The Lifeboats

Professional Left Podcast #608

" Adjoining houses always burn. "   -- Bantu proverb  Don't forget to visit our website --  http://www.proleftp...