Saturday, June 15, 2019

This Weeks' David Brooks Prize For Flabbergasting Lack of Self-Awareness Goes To...




Our ruling elite are clueless dopes.



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Friday, June 14, 2019

Professional Left Podcast #498


“In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.”
--  Milan Kundera, writer

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  • Republicans have cheated, are cheating and will continue to cheat.  Get ready for it.


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Iraq and Other Debacles



Q: How is George W. Bush's Iraqi Clusterfuck like the institution of marriage?

A: They're two subjects about which David Brooks should not say one more fucking word for the rest of his natural life.

And yet... 
Voters, Your Foreign Policy Views Stink!Rogue nations thrive when the good lose all conviction.
Seriously, The New York Times should have a big, loud, building-wide red-alert siren that goes off whenever their page-layout software detects David Brooks typing the words "marriage" or "Iraq".


At a minimum they should have assigned a couple of strapping young interns around-the-clock to body tackle him anytime he comes within a 100 yards of getting into any subject About Which He Should Keep His Pie Hole Shut Forever.

But because the Sulzberger family is too cheap to spring for these basic protections against such publicly humiliations, the public once again gets to watch Super-Humble, Sorta-Christian, Midlife-Crisis guy, trying really hard to squeeze into a conversation about Foreign Policy in the same way one might cyber-stalk an ex-girlfriend.

By pretending to be some other person entirely!

Not the guy who penned this cover-story for the Weekly Standard:



Certainly not the guy who leveraged his undistinguished career as a Weekly Standard wingnut hack into a New York Times brand on the strength of writing column after column after column slagging anyone who took issue issue with the Great Iraqi Clusterfuck.

Iraq and the Polls
By David Brooks 
There's a reason George Washington didn't take a poll at Valley Forge. There are times in the course of war when the outcome is simply unknowable. Victory is clearly not imminent, yet people haven't really thought through the consequences of defeat. Everybody just wants the miserable present to go away.

We're at one of those moments in the war against the insurgency in Iraq. The polls show rising disenchantment with the war. Sixty percent of Americans say they want to withdraw some or all troops.

Yet I can't believe majorities of Americans really want to pull out and accept defeat.


…one thing is for sure: since we don't have the evidence upon which to pass judgment on the overall trajectory of this war, it's important we don't pass judgment prematurely.
...

It's just wrong to seek withdrawal now, when the outcome of the war is unknowable and when the consequences of defeat are so vast.

Some of you will respond that this is easy for me to say, since I'm not over there. All I'd say is that we live in a democracy, where decisions are made by all. Besides, the vast majority of those serving in Iraq, and their families, said they voted to re-elect President Bush. They seem to want to finish the job.

Others will say we shouldn't be there in the first place. You may be right. Time will tell.

But right now, this isn't about your personal vindication…

No, this David Brooks really gets where you're coming from man!
We need a leader who can grapple with failures like Iraq...

America’s leaders made some terrible mistakes (Vietnam, Iraq)...

After Iraq and other debacles...

This David Brooks is Super-Humble, Sorta-Christian, Midlife-Crisis guy, who just wants to sit and rap with you  ... (wait for it) ... about ... (wait for it) ... how ... (you know what's coming) ... Both Sides (there it is!) ... are equally wrong when it comes to American foreign policy:
There are two types of low-trust voters. On the right there are the Trumpian America Firsters, who want to cut immigration and break alliances. On the left there are the New Doves...
Of course all variations David Brookses have one thing in common: they always have big-big plans for other people's children to jump on those gunboats and sail 'em up Yangtze River to bring Democracy to the heathens or whatever.

Postscript Fun Fact:  I was combing through my archives looking for the first time I referred to the Iraq War as a "debacle".  Turns out, one of the earliest example was from June of 2005 --
Where is the push from the sleek little GOP rodents that cheerled us into what is shaping up to be the Worst Foreign Policy Debacle in a Lifetime to pony up their own sons and daughters in the service of their Great Cause?
-- just a couple of months after I began blogging (shout-out to Haloscan 1.0 survivors!) and still was still figuring how to work the machinery.

It was from this post, in which I was responding to the very same New York Times column I reference above by you-know-who...
Private BoBo!  Let me see your war face!



Bullshit! You didn't convince me!

This is such a vile, little slice of tripe, that it’s hard to even know where to being.

Especially when you’re slogging though a summer cold, and can’t really tell if BoBo is actually this feculent, or if part of it is the DayQuil talking. Sadly, while the hacking cough of a cold goes away, coughing hacks like BoBo just trundle on and on and on. Which is why we must keep smacking their pointy headsies…
It's fourteen years later and it turns out that we on the Left were right about the Right all along.

And yet coughing hacks like David Brooks are bigger than ever, while we on the Left are still relegated to smacking their pointy headsies from the disreputable margins.

Funny old world.



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Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Bonfire of the Sanities



Warning:  This post is very long.  Much longer than anything else I have ever done on this blog, clocking in at just over 16,000 words.  It took me quite awhile to finish, but although I felt compelled to write it, you are not compelled to read it.  I'm also certain that if you do read it, you will find a typo or three that I missed since my Writer Brain has not yet had time too cool off and switch over to my Editor Brain.

Also if you would like to support work that I do here, please consider dropping something into my tip jar.

Thanks.  I'm going to sleep for a week now.

Your pal, driftglass



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So the Republican Party has finally reached the place towards which they have been marching with single-minded fervor for forty long and awful years, and everywhere the smoke from their Bonfire of the Sanities makes the day into a choking twilight, while the flames make the night a lurid hellscape as Trump and his wingnut mob put one civic institution to the torch after another.

The Liberal fire-brigade is out there too, as we have always been, passing buckets from hand-to-hand, frankly pissed off and exhausted from forty years of warning this day was coming and being slandered and ignored for our trouble.  Saying "Fuck these fucking fuckers!" as the wingnut mob capers from building to building, spreading the conflagration, while we try to focus on the immediate crisis -- saving what we can from the ravenous, racist malignancy of the Right -- and at the same time not lose sight of the long-term need to rebuild our civic institutions once the Trumpfire is brought under control.

And from the United States Constitution to the cemetery at Normandy to the steps of the Lincoln memorial, the leader of the mob -- the Arsonist-in-Chief -- goes right on lobbing incendiaries in every direction to the delight of the Republican Party.

The Trumpfire is even licking at the walled enclave of the American punditocracy.  There is no personal danger to any of the pundits therein, of course -- the ivory tower atop which their offices are located may be a little scorched and smoke damaged around the base, but it's a mile high and has been continuously upgraded with the latest fire-suppression technology -- but there is no longer any doubt that there really is a fire and it really does run from horizon to horizon.

Which brings us to the matter of Mr. Michael Gerson:  former George W. Bush chief speechwriter, senior Republican policy adviser and reliable Beltway Republican stalactite who now exists in a perpetual state of shock that his Republican Party is full of Republicans.  


What Have You Done to Its Eyes?




He has his Father's eyes.



As has been prophesied since ancient times, this, at last, is what the Cult of Both Sides Do It has done to us.

From ABC News (with emphasis added.)

'I think I’d take it': In exclusive interview, Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents

...
Trump disputed the idea that if a foreign government provided information on a political opponent, it would be considered interference in our election process.

"It's not an interference, they have information -- I think I'd take it," Trump said. "If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI -- if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, 'oh let's call the FBI.' The FBI doesn't have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that's the way it is. It's called oppo research."
If I ever get five minutes with corporate media middle management I will ask them what the fuck did they think was going to happen when, for the sake preserving the illusion of Fake Balance, they created a political climate in which Republicans were conditioned over and over again for decades to expect that whatever crimes against democracy they committed, the entire pundit caste would automatically leap to deflect and dissipate the responsibility for their escalating depravity as long as they spoke the Magic "Both Sides Do It/Everybody Does It" Conjure Words?

How did they think this was going to end?


Then, of course, I would be escorted from the building because you are absolutely not allowed to ask questions like that of the lords and ladies of the media.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Time For Steve Schmidt to Start Stealing Office Supplies...



...and planning his Triumphant Return to the perfumed bosom of cable teevee.

Maybe relaunch that awesome podcast of his!  From The Daily Beast:
Steve Schmidt Storms Off Own Podcast When Asked About Advising Howard Schultz 
“This is bullsh*t,” Schmidt exclaims. “I’m not doing this.”
Or maybe get in on some of that sweet-sweet Bulwark dinero now that his pal and fellow Howard Schulz aficionado, Charlie Sykes, is running that scam:
Whatever he chooses to do, I am confident that Mr. Schmidt will always find enough credulous chumps willing to throw enough money at him to keep in the style to which he has become accustomed.

Meanwhile, out here in the cornfields, I want to be clear, I'm not saying I fucking well told you so...

...except...

...wait...

...no...

...that is exactly what I am saying.
Steve Schmidt, Never Trumpers and "If Only Someone Had Warned Us"-- Part Infinity



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It's The Bonhomie, Stupid


Twenty-seven years ago, James Carville made "It's the economy, stupid." the most famous phrase of the 1992 presidential election.

It was the mantra of the Clinton campaign -- a mnemonic to remind them that, wherever they were and whatever was blowing up the news cycle that day, they needed to keep their attention sharply focused on the one issue which they believed would win them the White House.

Twenty-seven years later it is my dearest hope that more than one Democratic candidate for president will take the idea of "It's the bonhomie, stupid." to heart.
bon·ho·mie
/ˌbänəˈmē,ˈbänəmē/
noun: cheerful friendliness; geniality.
After decades of offering geniality, civility and compromise to the GOP and pulling back a bloody stump, "I drink your Libtard tears, snowflake!" and, finally, the election of the King of the Birthers, it is fucking well waaaaay past time to stop pretending you can reason with a rabid dog.

There can be no peace between us, which is a good thing because there should be no peace between up.  I mean, since there can no longer be any doubt that Trump is the Party and the Party is Trump, other than trying to win the David Brooks/Michael Gerson primary, why is any sane person still trying to bending themselves sideways pretending otherwise?

Who the hell still thinks compromising with fascists ever works? 

Who but a great fool wants peace with a baby-caging lynch mob?


So if you want my vote, quit insulting my intelligence.

Here is an example of a Democratic candidate insulting my intelligence:
Joe Biden: Republicans ‘Know Better,’ Will Change After Trump
Here is an example of a Democratic candidate respecting my intelligence:




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Friday, June 07, 2019

Professional Left Podcast #497


“Once more, we have survived.”
--  Kambei Shimada, Seven Samurai

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 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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Thursday, June 06, 2019

A Much, Much More Appropriate Venue...


...is readily available.

From the Washington Post:

Trump wants a starring role on July 4th. Jefferson settled for punch and cake.

On the morning of July 4, 1801, a bareheaded President Thomas Jefferson, his “grey locks waving in the air,” watched from the front steps of the White House as crowds celebrated America’s 25th birthday with a military parade, horse races and cockfights. At noon, the president opened the doors to greet guests including ordinary citizens, diplomats, military officers and five Cherokee chiefs.

The Marine Band played in the entrance hall. Inside, about 100 guests were served cakes, wine and punch. “All appeared to be cheerful, all happy. Mr. Jefferson mingled promiscuously with the citizens,” said a woman who attended the event.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s plans to insert himself into the celebration of Fourth of July by delivering a speech at the Lincoln Memorial came under attack by House Democrats, who warned it “could create the appearance of a televised, partisan campaign rally on the Mall at public expense.”
...
As the last president of the Confederacy, I think it only appropriate that President Stupid should address his army of bigots and imbeciles from the grave of the first president of the Confederacy.

I'm sure the crowds would be loud...


... and enthusiastic.


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What Both Siderism Hath Wrought



The mindless repletion of some variation Both Sides Do It lie has become the all-purpose, all-occasion excuse that every degenerate, every coward and every fascist-in-smiley-face tosses out every time they're cornered.  I still contend that Marco Rubio's sweaty, stumble-bum performance on The Daily Show in 2012 set a standard for Gish Galloping Both Siderism that very few will ever match:
Centrism Triumphant

In case you missed Jon Stewart's award-verging "interview" with Marco Rubio, here is your rush transcript of Senator Rubio's answer to Jon Stewart every single time Mr. Stewart tried very respectfully to point out that Senator Rubio was, um, lying, and that the relentless, pathological obstructiveness of the Republican Party was unmatched by anything Democrats have done in modern history.

"Both sides..."

"Well, you know, both sides..."

"Both Democrats and Republicans..."

"That's just politics..."

"The Democrats left us no choice..."

"Both sides..."

"Democrats and Republicans..."

"Both sides..."

"Both Democrats and Republicans..."

And so forth, to the point of being comical.

Like every other Republican culture war criminal, Senator Rubio has been conditioned within an inch of his life to always answer any question about the unique perfidy and hypocrisy of his political Party with the Big Lie of Centrism and to refuse to stop repeating the Big Lie of Centrism until the questions stop regardless of circumstances.
My point being that the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It is now so automatic that today even the most famous doddering, mush-brained fuck-up in the world knows to grab for it when Scary Facts start closing in.

From the WaPo:
Trump, pressed on the environment in U.K. visit, says climate change goes ‘both ways’

And now, President Trump, who has called global warming a “Chinese hoax” and pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, appears similarly unmoved by an appeal from British royalty.

The president left a 90-minute meeting this week with Charles, Prince of Wales, unconvinced that the climate is warming, which it is, according to overwhelming scientific consensus. The Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth-highest since 1880, when record-keeping began. That means that the past five years have been the warmest in recorded history.

But the president has other beliefs.

“I believe that there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on “Good Morning Britain” that aired Wednesday morning. “Don’t forget it used to be called global warming. That wasn’t working. Then it was called climate change. Now it’s actually called extreme weather, because with extreme weather, you can’t miss.”...
Like the Matrix ...


... the fascist-enabling poison of Both Siderism is everywhere now. 

In our political groundwater.  In the rain. On the breeze. 

And if you would like to take the matter up with the man who has done more than anyone else to spread this plague into every corner of of our political ecosystem -- the Pope of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It --



-- he can currently be reached on his book tour where he is busy monetizing his midlife crisis as a book of Moral Instruction for Our Parlous Times.



And so it goes.




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