Thursday, August 16, 2018

American Epitaph



Behold, a Tip Jar!

Matthew Dowd is a Fundamentally Ridiculous Person


Remember this guy?

ABC News' chief political analyst?

Built himself a whole career out of Both Sidering the shit out of everything and would get really, really pissed when certain disreputable Libtard bloggers pointed out that Both Siderism was not only patently false and an insult to honest journalist, but was actively enabling the rise of Deranged Right?



Funny old world.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hero Journalist Begins To Notice That Shit Might Actually Draw Flies



The last time that inexplicably still-employed Matthew Mitochondrion Lewis came to our attention was back in 2015 when he ordered Rush Limbaugh to "sack up" and drive Donald J. trump out of Mr. Lewis' beloved Conservative movement ("Matt Lewis Calls For Table Manners at the Donner Party").

Which history quickly proved had roughly the same effect as a vole ordering a velociraptor to bite its own shadow.

You see (he said, trying to break this to his readers as gently as possible) Mr. Lewis is whatchacall a "Conservative meathead".

"How big a meathead?" you ask.

A big enough meathead that he was was selected as a "Rising Star of Politics" by Politics Magazine in 2002 and by the American Conservative Union as "Blogger of the Year" in 2012 and has pulled a steady paycheck since (pausing to check my notes) approximately the age of three alternately writing about the glories of his Party of Bigots and Imbeciles and his shock at discovering that his Party of Bigots and Imbeciles was full of bigots and imbeciles.

A big enough meathead that he jumped on the Never Trump scam with both feet with "Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots)" which Wikipedia notes was "receiving attention from The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, and other publications."  Which -- spoiler -- is just not that hard.  In fact, anyone with a dozen rotten eggs and a decent pitching arm can receive attention from The New York Times or The Weekly Standard if they don't mind paying the fine.

Anyway, what brings us here today is your constant clamor to find out what in the heck is ol' Mighty Mitochondrion Matt being paid real American money to write about today.

Well here you go.  Mr. Lewis in the The Daily Beast:
Did I Join a Movement That Naturally Attracts Extremists and Kooks?

When I rooted for Reagan in the 1980s, it was a movement with intellectual heft. Back then, I thought that was the new conservative normal. But what if it was an aberration?
Mr. Lewis follow his revelation that his Party of Bigots and Imbeciles had somehow filled up with bigots and imbeciles with the same litany of horribles which everyone with an IQ above room temperature already knows, all of which is anchored firmly anchored by the predictable Both Siderist alibi that every one of these Shocked!Shocked! Conservative grifters now flashes at every occasion (emphasis added):
Now, I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t weird people on the left; there are (see Anthony Weiner). And I’m not going to say they don’t have some horrifically stupid ideas (a new survey shows Dems prefer socialism to capitalism) I’m just saying that, in recent years, the balance has gotten out of whack.
The alert reader not fail ti also notice how Mr. Lewis repeatedly forces the phrase "in recent years" --
I grew up with (and signed on for) Reagan’s version of conservatism. In recent years, I have become disenchanted—not with the intellectual philosophy of Edmund Burke or the governing philosophy of Ronald Reagan—but with what passes for conservatism today.
-- to lift so much more more than OSHA guidelines allow --
In recent years, the worst trends seem to have disproportionately hit the American right.
-- for safety in the workplace.

This is because Mr. Lewis can only continue to get paid to commit his meathead thoughts to paper if he operates within a carefully controlled temporal Never Trump Safe Zone.  A Safe Zone in which everyone agrees to pretend (as one dirty Liberal blogger who operates far outside the Safe Zone recently wrote ) that the only people who never had the slighted fucking clue about what has been going on inside the Republican party over the past 50 years are the professional Republican pollsters, analysts, focus-group testers, campaign managers, message-crafters, elected leaders, think tankers, op-ed writers, Big Thinking panelists, magazine publishers, radio and teevee radio hosts who have literally only ever had one job: to advance the fortunes of the Republican party.

Nixon's Southern Strategy?  Reagan's obsession with "welfare queens" who drive Cadillacs and "young bucks" who eat T-bone steaks with money mooched from hard-working white people?  George H.W. Bush?  Lee Atwater?  "Willie Horton"?

Mr. Lewis doesn't know about any of that.

He is just a humble man.

A simple, single-celled organism of a man who would sincerely like you to believe that he never had the slightest inkling what was really going on inside his own party, and so would sincerely like you to buy his book full of insights into what is really going on inside his party.

Or you could just kick a few bucks into the tip jar of one of the dirty Libtards who has been right about the Right all along.



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Remember When Serious People Took This Goof Seriously?



So seriously that his internet sugar daddy gave him a quarter of a billion dollars to play with?  So seriously that both his celebrity fanboys and his loyal Spleenwald mob rained hammer and sickles down on anyone who dared to question his inerrant wisdom?

Well come at me bro.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Face Facts: The GOP Base Flew Past Their Fail-Safe Point Years Ago



And they are, by God, going to deliver their payload no matter what.

It doesn't matter that there is no war.

It doesn't matter that they will leave nothing but a legacy of death and ruin in their wake.

And it most especially doesn't matter what the Never Trumper say or do now.  If they want to get out, raise money and organize for Democratic candidates, great! 

But when it comes to working their mouths, they can flap their arms, wail and rend their garments, and can rip off 40 years' of Liberal critique of the Right, file the serial numbers off and monetize it in book-form, and then march their plagarized outrage (Note to self:  "plagarage" might be something.  Better trademark it just to be sure) all over cable news.  But other than profiteering from the theft of our authentic and hard-won Liberal vocabulary and making a great, public show of their synthetic piety it will make absolutely no difference at all.

No difference to the Left because our sweat and blood built the vehicle they are now taking for a joy ride.

No difference to the Beltway media, who are already happily re-calibrating the parameters of their branded version of "public discourse" to "debates" between Conservatives, moderated by Conservatives or Both Siderists, with nary a Liberal nor an inconvenient mention of political history prior to 2016 anywhere in sight. 

But most importantly, it will make absolutely no difference to that mob of reprogrammable bigots and imbeciles who are the actual source of the problem: the Republican Base.

It doesn't matter that they heeded you in 2012.  Adored you in 2014.  Cheered you in 2015.  As the Never Trumpers discovered, if you cross the Pig People's wires even slightly, they will cast you out like the dirtiest of dirty Libtards.

And why?

Because the only source of trust or authority which anyone on the Right ever had came from telling that mob of reprogrammable bigots and imbeciles exactly what they want to hear.  By pandering to their ignorance and racism.  By telling them that the voices in their head were real and that their paranoia was patriotism.   By telling them that over and over again, decade after decade.  And, to keep the whole, reeking farrago of Republican lies and madness propped up and delivering voted, by training them to reflexively ignore anyone who tells them anything that contradicts their prime directive.

From Fail-Safe:

President:  Turkey One, can you hear me?  This is Ultimate One.

Colonel Grady:  This is Turkey One. I am not authorized to receive messages.

President:  Colonel Grady, this is the president of the United States.  The mission you are flying has been triggered by a mechanical failure.  It is a mistake. I order you and the other planes to return at once. Do you hear? At once!

President:  Colonel Grady, I repeat. This is the president.

Colonel Grady: I can no longer receive tactical alterations by voice.

President: I know that, but...

Colonel Grady: What you're telling me, I've been specifically ordered not to do!

President: Damn it, Grady, this is the president!
The reason the Republican base will never listen to reason is because they have been specifically ordered not to.

And who trained them to be such perfectly reprogrammable meatbags?

The Never Trumpers did.

And who spent the past few decades courting threats, derision and professional exile by trying to warn the Never Trumpers that training up an army of paranoid, racist golem would end very badly for everyone?

The dirty Libtards did.

So if you find the story of professional Conservative political havers-of-opinions belated discovering that their Republican party was full of Republicans to be uplifting or compelling, well good for you. 

But ask yourself this: would you would find these same journeys of self-discovery as inspiring if they were about, say, Charlie Sykes finally mastering addition and subtraction right around the same time he began to collect Social Security?  Or Rick Wilson learning how to tie his shoelaces all by himself at the tender age of 54?

And that instead of soliciting actual mathematicians or master knitters on the subject of math or knots, the media had not only collectively decided to go right on letting Messers Sykes and Wilson claim those seats at the national media table, but to let them use that unearned privilege to promote their new books, "Everybody Maths!" and "Oh The Laces You'll Go!", as groundbreaking epiphanies.


Behold, a Tip Jar!


Monday, August 13, 2018

More Thrilling Tales of True Conservatism! Vol 23: The Many Faces of True Conservatism


(Mr. Jonah Goldberg shown above leading a National Review staff meeting)

Ahem!

Mr. Jonah Jacob Goldberg, son of  Lucianne and Sidney Goldberg, would like everyone to know that his rag -- the National Review -- has always been a bulwark against the rising tide of depravity on the Right:
From the very beginning, NR has stood against the ‘irresponsible Right.’
Jonah "proves" his point by first noting that, more than a decade before Jonah was born, William Buckley, Jr. made a great public show of casting the Birchers out of the Conservative movement through the front door...

...after which the Conservative movement quietly let them right back in through the side door. A fact which Jonah chose not to share with his readers.

From Rick Perlstein's "Before The Storm":
The attendees fell into two camps. Buckley and Kirk said they were ready to write the Birchers out of the conservative movement altogether. Goldwater and others counseled accommodation. He thought there were a lot of 'nice guys' in the Society and not just 'kooks' and that it wasn't time to precipitate breaks in the conservatives' fragile movement.

They settled on a compromise. National Review would attack Robert Welch, not the John Birch Society. Goldwater would take the line that Welch was a crazy extremist, but that the Society itself was full of 'fine, upstanding citizens' working hard and well for the cause of Americanism.

From Rod Serling, November 1966:



Jonah then leaps over pretty much the entire history of American Conservatism's steady devolution into a smarmy wingnut-welfare racket and lands boldly on the side of tsk-tsking Alex Jones.  But not his good friends and supporters on Fox News:
The same goes for cynical psychopaths such as Alex Jones. It was outrageous for Donald Trump to go on his show and praise him. It is outrageous and irresponsible that mainstream outlets blithely give airtime to clickbait hucksters and racist rabble-rousers.

The other day, I saw Candace Owens on several Fox News shows. I am not a fan of Owens, but my objection is not that she appeared on Fox or that Fox invited her to appear. My objection is that she has been a guest on Alex Jones’s Infowars...
Alex Jones, who cites Fox News' Tucker Carlson and Fox News' Laura Ingraham as two of his chief allies in his forever war against the monsters under his bed and the bugs under his skin

Yes indeedy, the author of "Liberal Fascism" --



--wants to make it perfectly clear that however far from grace Conservatism may have fallen, that was all Fake Conservatism which certainly wasn't the fault of True Conservatives like Jonah Goldberg.  Which, needless to say, mets with the hearty approval of fellow travelers running this same scam:
Meanwhile, at almost exactly the same moment, at the other end of the Acela corridor, yet another True Conservative -- Mr. David Frum --  took up exactly the same subject by zooming in on the career of disgraced Conservative lunatic Dinesh D’Souza --
Dinesh D’Souza and the Decline of Conservatism

Under President Trump, the most outrageous and aggrieved polemicists are thriving.
-- as a symptom of what Mr. Frum insists is an inexplicable malady which has turned so many of his Conservative peers into raving, racist zombies:
...
Now, as the saying goes, D’Souza is back—and bigger than ever. He has reinvented himself as something like the court intellectual of the age of Trump. Trump pardoned D’Souza on May 31, 2018. At the beginning of August, Donald Trump Jr. cohosted the premier of D’Souza’s latest movie, Death of a Nation. The movie compares Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln and his Democratic opponents to Nazis. Afterward, Trump Jr. delivered a memorable summation of what he had learned from the film. “You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there ... and you look at it compared to like the DNC platform of today, and you're saying, man, those things are awfully similar, to a point where it's actually scary.” 

If you need a historian’s point-by-point refutation of D’Souza’s grotesque and absurd abuse of history, Princeton’s Kevin Kruse has posted a useful recapitulation.

I find myself pondering a different question as I watch so many people I have known and admired subordinate their talents and their integrity to Trumpism: How has my political generation of conservatives and Republicans laid itself so intellectually and morally low?

Dinesh D’Souza and I have moved in the same circles for close to three decades. He has been a guest at my dinner table; the back cover of my first book published back in 1994 carries a blurb from him. I’ve been disturbed by his evolution over the past decade and have sometimes said so publicly. Yet there is no denying his influence and success...
So, we find there are at least three things which big-thinking, professional Conservative Havers-of-Opinions agree on.

First, a Very Bad Thing happened to Conservatism at some point in the past.

Second, despite being big-thinking, professional Conservative Havers-of-Opinion, they have no idea what exactly the Very Bad Thing was (Spoiler: I guarantee that, sooner that you will believe possible, somehow, some way, Conservative dogma will settle on blaming the Libtards.)

Third, whatever the Very Bad Thing was, it was definitely not their fault.

This is truly the very best perk of being a subsidized big-thinking, professional Conservative Haver-of-Opinion: getting paid actual money to write long, gassy musings about the sad state of American Conservatism without ever having to bother mentioning the actual, ugly history of American Conservatism.

Ah well, what do I know?

After all  I have no offices in New York or Washington D.C.  I have no reserved seat at the national media table.  I have no billion-dollar media corporation or wealthy benefactors subsidizing my every vagrant ideological fart and scratch.  I'm just a Libtard blogger waaay out here in the cornfield, with same access to the same information as other citizen with a public library card.  But I know enough to tell Messers Frum and Goldberg and Sykes this with perfect confidence.

What happened to your Conservative movement and to your Republican party is neither mysterious nor inexplicable. It's actually very straightforward.  Over the last 40 years, your Conservative movement and your Republican party have gotten hard-core, junkie addicted to saying and doing ever more inexcusably horrid shit, and then having it blow up in their faces, and then lying about it.

And because your Conservative movement and your Republican party are addicted to denial -- to never being held accountable for its reckless, racist claptrap -- no  course correction is possible.  And because you have locked yourselves into a closed feedback loop where "Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed" the ruinous consequence of this reckless, racist claptrap just keep increasing exponentially.  And as the ruinous consequence of its reckless, racist claptrap have grown, so too has the crudeness and decibel level of the lies which Conservatives tell to continue to evade and deny their accountability.

And on and on the cycle goes, until at last we find ourselves watching Mr. Jonah Goldberg -- one of the National Review stalwarts who has always "stood against the ‘irresponsible Right.’" -- not only appearing in  Dinesh D’Souza 's 2016 freak-show, "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party" but stepping out onto the Regnery Press red carpet to personally pimp D’Souza's wingnut conspiracy-porn.


You train a dog this way and you create a snarling beast that demands ever-larger helpings of Beggin' Strips every time it shits on the rug.

You train an ideology and a political party this way and you create a Trump.



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Paul Ryan: Funeral For a Very Important Chimp



If they'd asked Paul Krugman, he'd have told them:

The Paul Ryan Story: From Flimflam to Fascism

...
On the other hand, I do have some insight into how Ryan — who has always been an obvious con man, to anyone willing to see — came to become speaker of the House. And that’s a story that reflects badly not just on Ryan himself, not just on his party, but also on self-proclaimed centrists and the news media, who boosted his career through their malfeasance. Furthermore, the forces that brought Ryan to a position of power are the same forces that have brought America to the edge of a constitutional crisis.

About Ryan: Incredibly, I’m seeing some news reports about his exit that portray him as a serious policy wonk and fiscal hawk who, sadly, found himself unable to fulfill his mission in the Trump era. Unbelievable.

Look, the single animating principle of everything Ryan did and proposed was to comfort the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted. Can anyone name a single instance in which his supposed concern about the deficit made him willing to impose any burden on the wealthy, in which his supposed compassion made him willing to improve the lives of the poor? Remember, he voted against the Simpson-Bowles debt commission proposal not because of its real flaws, but because it would raise taxes and fail to repeal Obamacare.

And his “deficit reduction” proposals were always frauds. The revenue loss from tax cuts always exceeded any explicit spending cuts, so the pretense of fiscal responsibility came entirely from “magic asterisks”: extra revenue from closing unspecified loopholes, reduced spending from cutting unspecified programs. I called him a flimflam man back in 2010, and nothing he has done since has called that judgment into question.

So how did such an obvious con artist get a reputation for seriousness and fiscal probity? Basically, he was the beneficiary of ideological affirmative action...

If they'd asked Brother Charlie Pierce, he'd have told them:
Once Upon A Time, There Was A Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver

I swear, it is harder to get the members of our courtier press to give up their fairy tales than it is to get someone off smack. By all reasonable measures, Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin and first runner-up in the most recent vice-presidential pageant, should be a spent force in our politics. Every time he produces a "budget," actual economists collapse in helpless laughter and other Republicans hide behind the drapes. As a vice-presidential candidate, Joe Biden made him look like a child, and Ryan was unable even to carry his own precinct for the Republican ticket. However, that is not to reckon with his army of Beltway acolytes from both sides of the aisle -- And, yes, young Ezra Klein, I am looking at you -- and their undying desire to rehabilitate their imaginary friends.

Hell, if they'd asked me I would have told them that ever since Paul Ryan came on the scene still glossy with the albumen from his Koch Brothers birthing chamber, has been a soulless, lying Randite killbot.

But the Very Serious men and women of the Beltway simply would not hear of it for the simple reason that if Ryan really was the very best GOP could field, and if he really was nothing more than a bunco artist whose basic arithmetic never fooled anyone but the rubes and the pundits, then all the scary thing the Left had been saying about the Right all along -- about the GOP being a dungheap of con-men, racists, imbeciles and lunatics coated with a thing lacquer of respectability -- might actually be...

No!No!No!No!No!   So much better and safer to chew David Brooks columns into a fine pulp --
The country lacked that leadership until today. Today, Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, is scheduled to release the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes. Ryan is expected to leap into the vacuum left by the president’s passivity. The Ryan budget will not be enacted this year, but it will immediately reframe the domestic policy debate.

His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion. It will become the 2012 Republican platform, no matter who is the nominee. Any candidate hoping to win that nomination will have to be able to talk about government programs with this degree of specificity, so it will improve the G.O.P. primary race.
-- stuff their ears with it, and run in circles intoning the Magic Conjure Words "Grand Bargain!" than to entertain such career-threatening heresies.

Thus is has finally, hilariously come to pass that Ryan's former hype-men --
When Ryan appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," he was interrupted several times to accept more praise. "Let us stop right now and commend him," said host Joe Scarborough, who served with Ryan in the House from 1999 to 2001. "He's in a leadership position," said New York Times financial reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin. "He's come out with a plan, which is more than the Democrats can say."
-- who have aided and abetting him every step along the way --
“He was the great budget reformer,” Charlie Sykes, a former Wisconsin radio host and friend of Ryan’s who broke with him over the election of Donald Trump, said. “He was the guy that got the Republican Party to take entitlement reform and debt reduction seriously.”
-- have now been jammed so far into a corner of their own making that they're now making a cottage industry out of staring into the middle distance and wondering aloud --
Morning Joe rips Paul Ryan for standing by while his GOP sets fire to the Constitution for Trump
-- whatever happened to their Medicare-gutting wunderkind.
Counterposed against [Peter] Wehner’s belief that Ryan is justifiably compromising his values to support Trump is the opinion by former supporter Charlie Sykes that Ryan is infuriatingly compromising his values to support Trump. “I always imagined that there was room for an alternative conservative vision to Trumpism, and Paul Ryan was ideally suited to be that leader of a non-Trumpist conservative Republican Party, but he’s chosen not to assume that role,” Sykes tells the Times. “It’s very disappointing to see he’s become so comfortable as an ally and an enabler of Trump.” 
And so, with all the bizarre solemnity of the chimpanzee funeral in Sunset Boulevard --


-- we find those same Very Serious Beltway pundits who have been wrong all along about everything  forced to sit a very uncomfortable shiva for one more Big Lie they had all agreed to pretend was true.
This Is the Way Paul Ryan’s Speakership Ends
The Republican leader is walking away. Don’t ask him about Trump anymore.

...Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, told me that Trump and Ryan are “just wired differently, like most people are.” McCarthy, a strategic-minded operator with pillowy hair, has forged a genuine bond with Trump — arguably more so than any other lawmaker. Still, like most elected Republicans, McCarthy treads carefully, wary of poking the orange bear. It’s hard to overemphasize the degree to which Trump lives in the heads of elected Republicans. You get a sense of everyone on edge, waiting for the next tweet to drop — as if a tornado siren should accompany its arrival. When I visited McCarthy at the Capitol, the majority leader kept toggling between on and off the record. I asked McCarthy if he thought Ryan wished he could speak out more forcefully on some things the president does that might offend him.

“On the record or off the record?” McCarthy asked me.

On, I would prefer.

McCarthy paused and proceeded with care. “I think history will say that Paul spoke his own mind,” he said...
At any moment I expect to see a weepy, half-in-the-bag Peggy Noonan show up late and try to throw herself onto the casket.

He must have been a very important chimp indeed.


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Friday, August 10, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #453


“The mob is the mother of tyrants." 
-- Diogenes, big thinker

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

This Is Supposed to Be a Happy Occasion


Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.

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American Sakoku



Sakoku ("closed country") was the isolationist foreign policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate (aka Bakufu) under which relations and trade between Japan and other countries were severely limited, nearly all foreigners were barred from entering Japan and common Japanese people were kept from leaving the country for a period of over 220 years. (from Wikipedia)