Thursday, September 23, 2021

Professional Left Podcast #617

“We are kept keen on the grindstone of pain and necessity.” 
 -- H. G. Wells, The Time Machine

Don't forget to visit our website -- -- for all those sweet bells and whistles:  there are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as 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!

The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" and real listeners like you!

I Am Familiar With the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar but Until Today I Didn’t Know...

 ...about the Trumpian calendar

From Hill Reporter:

Kayleigh McEnany Deletes Murder Rate Post — After Realizing Trump Was President In 2020

Kayleigh McEnany blamed Joe Biden for the rising murder rate. Then she realized he wasn’t President yet in 2020. Now, she’s deleted that post. On the internet, though, screenshots are forever.

Burn The Lifeboats

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

UPDATED: Have You Noticed That Adam Kinzinger 2021 Sounds a Whole Lot Like Glenn Greenwald 2010?

Here is Spleenwald in 2010 insisting that Democrats should be willing to lose a few elections and cede complete control of the government to the GOP for who-knows-how-long because that'll show 'em!

Well we kinda ran that experiment in 2016 didn't we?  

Remember the endless think-pieces and screeds by prominent media figures about how it didn't matter whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump won because they were both equally terrible?  How the real enemy was the K'Rupt Duopoly?  How voters should never have to sully their Purity Skirts by ever voting for anyone who was not their first choice and perfectly aligned with them in every way?

Of course most of the prominent media persons who spent the 2016 campaign using their huge platforms to pitch the idea that voters should "send a message" by pissing away their franchise on Jill Stein or Evan McMullin or write-in Edmund Burke or just stay home have all, in various ways, conspired with each other and with the media corporations which own them to never mention it again.  Some, like David Brooks, get away with pretending it never happened because they never allow themselves to get caught in an unmediated venue where anyone might bring it up.  Whereas Matthew Dowd solved the problem of his toxic, craven past by nuking his entire Twitter archives and instantly blocking anyone who mentions it as he reinvents himself on camera as a Hero of the Resistance.  

Anyway, we ran that experiment in 2016 and got Trump.  But pining for imaginary third parties where they would be celebrated as heroes and who sweep them to power has always been the go-to masturbatory fantasy of the deluded, the cowardly and the con man. 

And with that in mind, here is Kinzinger today on The Bulwark podcast:

I think the problem is if you ever even talk about anything like a third party, what ends up happening is it gets right to the point of the election day and somebody looks and goes, "Golly I hate so-and-so so much that I'm not going to throw my vote away on a third party so I'm going to vote for the least of two deplorables."  And we are plugged into this matrix that says, "If you don't like Joe Biden then you've gotta like Donald Trump.  If you don't like Donald Trump then you like Joe Biden."  And there's a whole world outside the matrix of awesome possibilities that we have been told never existed.

This was after Kinzinger spent a goodly amount of time bitching that Democrats don't offer sufficiently delicious cookies and backrubs to dedicated wingnuts like Kinzinger who are no longer sufficiently wingnutty to remain in the GOP's good graces:

The Democrats are doing *nothing* to reach out and draw in those that have been disaffected by Republicanism.  I mean yesterday, for goodness sake, I *wanted* to vote for the this debt limit increase, but this ended up being... they ended up, like, pulling out a billion dollars for aid to Israel.  And I'll tell ya, the Progressive caucus doesn't give a crap about spending.  It's an Israel thing, so anyway..

And this was before Kinzinger spent a few more moments bitching that the Progressive caucus was exactly the same as the Freedom Caucus because Both Sides.

The Progressive caucus is the exactly same thing as the Freedom Caucus.  They're the same thing.

So a couple of things.

First, Israel hasn't been a ragged band of survivors hanging onto a sliver of land thanks to the protection of the U.S. military for a long, long time.  Israel is a very prosperous country whose own defense industry nets them billions of dollars a year, so they're not exactly crying poormouth.  And if they really, really need those missiles immediately, I'm sure they can scrape up the dough for it somewhere.

The defense industry of Israel is a strategically important sector and a large employer, as well as a major supplier of the Israel Defense Forces. Israel is one of the world's major exporters of military equipment, accounting for 10% of the world total in 2007.

Perhaps representative Kinzinger, who is very, very anti-choice, and very anti Socialized Medicine could persuade them to skimp a little on the free and legal abortion services which are covered under their national health care system and which our tax dollars underwrite?

Shhh! Don’t Tell Evangelical Supporters of Israel, but Abortion There Is Legal — and Often It’s Free

Neither religious conservatives nor liberal feminists are completely satisfied with the status quo in the Jewish state, but the current system allows some 40,000 women to have abortions annually.

...For an Israeli woman who wishes to end a pregnancy, the process is not only legal but is usually heavily subsidized or free, covered under Israel’s national health care system.

Second everyone involved in this fan-dance fucking well knows that Israel is going to get every dollar of that money down the road anyway.  From Bloomberg:

The $1 billion for the Israeli military will instead be included in a later bill funding the U.S. Defense Department that’s expected to get bipartisan support in the House and Senate

Republicans are lining up in opposition because of the debt ceiling provision, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can afford to lose no more than three Democrats if all GOP House members vote against the bill.

Rule Committee Chairman James McGovern said the progressive Democrats objected, arguing that there wasn’t an immediate need for the missiles. The Defense Department asked in a classified supplemental request for $1 billion to replace Iron Dome missiles used by Israel after rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in May.

Although some progressives have been critical of U.S. policy toward Israel and Israel’s handling of the Palestinians, New York Representative Jamaal Bowman said the issue was that the provision was added at the last minute without a chance for discussion.

“It’s not about Israel, it’s about, once again, leadership, throwing something on our table last minute and expecting us to decide in five minutes what to do with it, that’s the bigger problem,” Bowman said. 

UPDATE:  Well that didn't take long did it?

Finally, the real story here is the fallout from the lasting legacy of a party built on the politics of Newt Gingrich and the vocabulary of Rush Limbaugh.  A party where casually slagging the Left every single time they open their fucking mouths has been how Republicans punctuate sentences since before Adam Kinzinger's voice changed and he started getting hair in unusual places, and it's now so wired into their political DNA that they cannot function without it -- cannot address any Republican atrocity without greasing it up with some "But the Democrats..." Both Side Do It spin.  

So when you add to that the enormous sense of entitlement these former- and near-former Republicans possess, you end up with someone like Kinzinger:  a man who believes that taking even half-a-step outside of his own, openly racist, fascist party is such an act of unparalleled heroism that my party -- the not racist, not fascist party -- really owes it to them to remake ourselves into an Eric Cantor/Paul Ryan/John Boehner party just to make them feel more comfortable.  

And when we don't to that -- when we point out that we're already a tent so bag that it contains AOC and Joe Manchin -- they get really really pissed.

Burn The Lifeboats

What's The Opposite Of Apocalyptic Fiction?

Burn The Lifeboats

Sorry, We're All Out.

And we're not expecting any new shipments anytime soon.

Dance By The Light Of The Burning Lifeboats

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Centrists, Episode 1: The Dawn of Just Us

Narrator:  In a world where democracy hangs by a thread because of The Extremes on Both Sides, a small group of bland, ineffectual congress-critters unite to form a Mighty Team of Ineffectual Congress-Critters the world will come to know as The Centrists...

In this week's episode, The Dawn of Just Us, the Centrists leap into action -- Bam!  Pow!  Pundit! -- by explaining that the only way to save democracy is for Democrats to shut up and heed the inerrant wisdom of the same people who got run out of their own party because they refused to believe what had been happening right in front of them for decades.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

In Fact, Some Heroes Really Don't Do Anything At All Except Get Credulous Pundits to Write About All the Heroic Shit They Might Do in Some Imaginary Future.

David Frum Has Written a Very Long Article to Avoid Saying a Very Short Sentence

And that sentence is, "The Left was right about the Right all along." 

And I will stack those nine little words up against any article of any length by anyone in any publication who's goal is to write their way around that very simple fact so that they can get on to the important business of explaining the many way in which they believe the Left must bend a knee to the Never Trumpers.  

What the Never Trumpers Want Now

The former cultural core of the GOP is exiting the party. The Democrats should keep those voters in their corner. Here’s how to do it.

What our policies should be.  

What our priorities should be.  

But for me the real fun begins when, after 1,785 paragraphs, Mr. Frum goes full Tone Police, lecturing us what our vocabulary should be.  

Because as every mooching, Murrica-hating, terrorist-loving, dirty Commie libtard can tell you, all Republicans  -- current and former and nearly-former -- are known far and wide for the incredible delicacy of their fee-fees and their reverence for civility and respectful discourse.

From The Rolling Stone:

Rush Limbaugh Did His Best to Ruin America

How the right-wing talk radio icon corrupted the Republican Party, spread hate, racism, and lies, and laid the groundwork for Trumpism

Oops.  Sorry.  Wrong article.  

Here we go.

Oops.  Sorry.  I did it again.

Here we go.

Bill O’Reilly’s Dangerous War Against Dr. Tiller

O’Reilly waged an unflagging harassment campaign against the abortion provider before Tiller was murdered in 2009

Damn.  What is wrong with me this morning?  Probably the bad night's sleep I had, tossing and turning and worrying about how my +16 years of salty comments about the Party of Bigots and Imbeciles may have offended the sensibilities of our extremely fragile Republican fellow citizens.

So let's give this another try.  David Frum's stern rebuking of my wicked ways in  3...2...1...

 Is the horse dead yet...

Quick hit: Ann Coulter is the worst person in the world

...or should I go on...

...beating it?

The Politics of Slash and Burn

Published: September 20, 1990

'Sick.'' ''Traitors.'' ''Bizarre.'' ''Self-serving.'' ''Shallow.'' ''Corrupt.'' ''Pathetic.'' ''Shame.'' The group that urged political candidates to use these epithets has since regretted suggesting the word ''traitors,'' in response to inquiries from the press. But the others were allowed to stand; they appear in a glossary that a conservative Republican group recently mailed to Republican state legislative candidates.

The group is Gopac, the G.O.P. Political Action Committee. Its general chairman is Representative Newt Gingrich. With the pamphlet, ''Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,'' comes a letter from Mr. Gingrich himself. Its message to candidates: Step up invective. Use words like these to describe opponents. These words work.

Mr. Gingrich's injunction represents the worst of American political discourse...

The Gopac glossary may herald a descent into even lower levels of discourse. It comes blessed by a politician of some influence - the Republican whip in the House - and it is intended for candidates on the state level, many of them presumably running for the first time. Even though Mr. Gingrich himself may not have seen the list before it was mailed, this is a disturbing document...

Ok, Ok, having taxed your patience long enough, here, at last, is Mr. Frum uncovering the terrible truth that we Liberal bloggers have tried so hard and so successfully for so long to keep hidden from the public.

Here’s the warning for the future: The Democratic Party is also home to some abrasive loudmouths.

Honestly I never feel more seen than I do when some former Bush administration wordmonger struggles to find a way to call people like me "asshole Libtards" without saying "asshole Libtard".

And although none of those abrasive loudmouths has mounted a serious campaign for the presidency, some hold other high offices, and others occupy visible places in the media. Liberal communities tolerate and even approve of language about white men like Mike Baker [a fence-straddling Republican goof who is torn agonizingly between voting for fascists who promise to cut his taxes and turn women in to baby factories for the Fatherland...or voting for not-fascists] that they would never tolerate or approve of about anybody else.

Really? "language...that they would never tolerate or approve of about anybody else"? Have you ever read a Liberal blog Mr. Frum?

And please note that Mr. Frum takes enormous pains to not call out any "abrasive loudmouth" by name.  Which is passing strange, considering how free and easy Mr. Frum was with his language of allies and enemies back when he was helping Dubya lie us into the wrong war.  You'd thing that if this tiny handful of abrasive loudmouths really has the ability to single-handedly destroy the Biden administration, drive millions of waffling Republicans in the arms of Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott and plunge this country into a 1,000 years of fascist darkness, he'd feel that it was his urgent, patriotic duty to identify these dangerous malefactors:

That language exacts immense political costs.

An absolute majority of white Americans believe that white people face adverse discrimination in the United States. They are not reacting to personal experiences of mistreatment; only one-fifth to one-tenth of white Americans report anything like that. They seem instead to be reacting to a more generalized drumbeat of derision and hostility.

Fun Fact:  Generalized Drumbeat was the original working title of this blog.  Then for awhile I toyed around with calling it Cokie's Law.  Then Kathleen Turner Overdrive.   Then driftglass.

The influx of anti-Trump Republicans into the Biden coalition should highlight the importance of discouraging that kind of talk. 

And here Mr. Frum has uncovered the other half of the terrible truth that we Liberal bloggers have tried so hard and so successfully for so long to keep hidden from the public.  The terrible truth that we Liberal bloggers are just too damn powerful.  That we are Thanos-level beings who, with a snap of our Cheeto-stained fingers, could destroy American democracy on a whim.  

Obviously such power cannot be allowed to run wild and unchecked.  So if, for the good of the country, we Liberal bloggers must give up our dominant presence on cable news and our virtual monopoly of talk radio, then so be it.   If the cost of Democracy means surrendering our mighty, coast-to-coast radio empire, our book publishing corporations and our stranglehold on the op-ed pages of America's most respected newspapers, then so be it.  

Of course we'll all miss seeing Digby whipping the shit out of Joe Scarborough three hours every morning on MSNBC, as well as Atrios' hour's long conversations with Noam Chomsky, George Soros and the ghost of Eugene Debs about the merits of public transit every night on the 11th Hour.  And speaking selfishly, I'll miss the extra few dollars that come my way each month from my long-running New York Times column.... and my PBS gig... and my NPR gig... and my college lecture gigs... and my NBC contributor contract.

But damnit, it's a small price to pay when Freedom on the line.  

Science Fiction University Episode 8 -- Save The Timeline/Destroy The Timeline

All episodes available at our Science Fiction University website here .