Friday, February 16, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #428


"No puppet, no puppet. You're the puppet."
-- President Puppet
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!


Links:


The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" -- 







-- and real listeners like you!




Eva Braun-Nose





Behold, a Tip Jar!


Both Sides Don't Versus Both Sides Dent


Both Sides Don't


Vs.


Both Sides Dent



One of these positions -- the Big Lie that somehow the blood-drunk barbarism, racism, and seditious insanity of the Republican Party which Mr. Dent and Mr., Scarborough have spent their lives serving is the fault of everyone or no one or Both Sides -- has been and remains the near-universal dogma of the Beltway Media for decades.

It seems that anyone, no matter how clownish they may be --


-- can mount an impressive TED-Talk/New York Times/NBC career by simply repeating this Big Lie over and over and over again.



While those of us who take the opposite position -- that it is self-evidently true that the Republican Party is killing this country, that they have been working on their Kill This Country project in plain sight for decades and that media Both Siderists are their enabling henchmen -- continue waging our lonely War on Pronouns as outcasts, held in Coventry by a corporate media system which would rather see the country burn than admit we have been right all along and then do something about it.

UPDATE:  Reader Andrew Johnston suggests that b/c I did not include every Tweet by Mr. Giridharadas I am misrepresenting his position.  Maybe so.  The Morning Joe video of him was not available when I wrote this up so I used his Tweets to convey the gist of what I though he was saying.

But now the video is available. So let's all jump to the 6:00 mark and let Mr. Giridharadas speak for himself outside of the constraints of Twitter.

You're clever people so I'll leave it for you to decide for yourselves.  



Behold, a Tip Jar!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Paul Krugman Calls For David Brooks To Be Fired


This all sounds eerily familiar.

From Paul Krugman in the NYT.

Budgets, Bad Faith and ‘Balance’

...
Looking at all of this should make you very angry; it certainly infuriates me. But my anger isn’t mostly directed at Republicans; it’s directed at their enablers, the professional centrists, both-sides pundits, and news organizations that spent years refusing to acknowledge that the modern G.O.P. is what it so clearly is.
...

Why have Republicans become so overwhelmingly the party of bad faith? (And not just about budgets, of course; remember when Republicans cared deeply about a president’s sexual morality?) The main answer is probably that the party’s true agenda, dictated by the interests of a handful of super-wealthy donors, would be very unpopular if the public understood it. So the party must consistently lie about its priorities and intentions.

Whatever the reasons for G.O.P. bad faith, however, its reality has been apparent for a long time...

Yet the gatekeepers of our public discourse spent years being willfully blind to this reality.

Meanwhile, many news organizations — which, by the way, gave Ryan years of adoring coverage — treat recent G.O.P. actions as if they are some kind of aberration, a departure from previous principles. They aren’t. Republicans are what they always were...

Now, there’s no mystery about why many people won’t face up to the reality of Republican bad faith. Washington is full of professional centrists, whose public personas are built around a carefully cultivated image of standing above the partisan fray, which means that they can’t admit that while there are dishonest politicians everywhere, one party basically lies about everything. News organizations are intimidated by accusations of liberal bias, which means that they try desperately to show “balance” by blaming both parties equally for all problems...

It is wrong to put a "Donate" button at the end of a post which basically just reprints Paul Krugman from today?

You might very well say that.



I could not possibly comment.


Behold, a Tip Jar!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

David Brooks is Sean Hannity. Really.



I have been writing about Mr. David Brooks since I started blogging.  Almost 13 years now.  And I can tell you one thing that is absolutely true:  David Brooks and Sean Hannity are in the exactly same business.

Seriously.  Exactly the same business.

Of course, Sean Hannity's customers are more "inbred trailer trash" --


-- while David Brooks' clientele are more Bert Cooper  --


-- but Mr. Brooks and Mr. Hannity are most assuredly in the same business.

The business of lying to groups of terrified Conservative mental shut-ins.

And business is good.

Really good.

And really profitable.

And really easy, because when you make your living lying to groups of terrified Conservative mental shut-ins, you never have to actually get better at your job.  You can just tell the same lies over and over again, no matter how tattered and ridiculous they get.  Sure, Terrifying Reality will come crashing into your Reality Denial Pup Tent every few days and expose you as the liar and fraud you are, but so what?  At this point, the terrified Conservative mental shut-ins inside your cult are so completely invested in your lies that they will actually help you reestablish the structural integrity of your Reality Denial Pup Tent after each collision with Terrifying Reality.

And as for critics who live outside of your Reality Denial Pup Tent?  Ha!  Fuck those guys!   By definition no one outside the cult matters because outside the cult is where Terrifying Reality lurks and obviously, anyone who is native to that strange and terrible place cannot be trusted.

What brings us to this place today is Mr. David Brooks writing an op-ed column in The New York Times that is so fucking perfect in its unalloyed David Brooksness that the Rise and Fall of American Journalism textbooks of tomorrow will reprint and dissect it over and over again.

So to set the scene I will borrow from my own archives yet, this time from the Year of Our Lord 2007.  Eleven years ago.

Or maybe it was a thousand years ago.

The fuck if I can tell anymore.

The Big Lie

...
Whatever explicitly Republican high crimes, scandals, lie or treasons are under discussion, Something Very Bad will happen to me if I don’t automatically and doctrinally butt in with no evidence whatsoever and assert that, somehow, Democrats are equally bad.

This is GOP Talking Point Number One, repeated so incessantly and so ubiquitously that it has reached the point of reflex.

Everyone is equally partisan.

Equally to blame.

Equally unreasonable.

Everybody knows that…except for some mysterious reason no one can lay hands on a single metric that shows this to be true.

And why? Why this persistent, voluntary blindness?

Well, for the GOP the answer is obvious. I mean, since they can now force the bar to be lowered and the ire to be raised uniformly and robotically for everyone every time they and only they are caught naked, in the apse, fisting the Easter Bunny, they can start every national race no worse than dead-even with any competitor.

But with others – with those who do not follow anything political very closely at all – I think the answer is really very simple. They want to believe it because to believe otherwise is terrifying...

And now we are faced with another grim reality with frightening implications: That millions of our fellow citizens are either hateful morons or clinically insane and that they are almost all packed into the same political Party.

A Party/Media/Corporate Empire which now survives solely by keeping its base ignorant, frightened and berserk with rage.

And the implications that flow from this unhappy revelation that we are two, distinct Americas now -- and that while one is certainly flawed and squabbling and timorous, the other America – the Red/Fox America -- has become so existentially monstrous that it is now inimical to every value we claim to cherish -- are so terrifying to normal citizens that they will not accept it.

And so with the eager help of Hate Radio, Fox News and the Mainstream Media, they invent a bedtime story to help them hide the ugly truth. An opium dream that is now faithfully parroted by every Broder and Brooks and Friedman and Neal Conan in the land. This lie that no matter how low the GOP sinks, somehow, some way the Democrats are equally and oppositely terrible.

Equally steeped in sin and intolerance.

Equally to blame for every bad thing...

Well, it's now eleven years later a million miles further down the road to Republican fascism than we were even in the depths of the Age of Bush.

Eleven years since Mr. David Brooks wished a mighty wish for a "Party No. 3" -- a "McCain-Lieberman Party" -- to comfort his terrified Conservative mental shut-in readers after he had thrilled them with lurid tales of the terrible threats to American Democracy coming from...

...Both Sides!
The flamers in the established parties tell themselves that their enemies are so vicious they have to be vicious too. They rationalize their behavior by insisting that circumstances have forced them to shelve their integrity for the good of the country. They imagine that once they have achieved victory through pulverizing rhetoric they will return to the moderate and nuanced sensibilities they think they still possess.

But the experience of DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party amply demonstrates that means determine ends. Hyper-partisans may have started with subtle beliefs, but their beliefs led them to partisanship and their partisanship led to malice and malice made them extremist, and pretty soon they were no longer the same people.
Then, yadda yadda Barack Obama.

Yadda yadda Tea Party bigots.

Yadda yadda Birtherism!

Yadda yadda Death Panels!

Yadda yadda the Kenyan Usurper Is Coming For Your Guns!

Yadda yadda BenghaziBengazhiBanghazi!

And yadda yadda a thousand other direct, frontal assaults to our democracy by Mr. Brooks' Republican Party of bigots, traitors, and imbeciles, all of which has now been excised from the collective memory of the Right.  

And now it is eleven years later, and what was once a frightening implication of "...millions of our fellow citizens are either hateful morons or clinically insane and that they are almost all packed into the same political Party" has metastasized into the horrifying reality of Mr. Brooks' Republican Party nominating and electing President Stupid.

Eleven years later but Mr. David Brooks hasn't changed the basic motifs of the toxic fairy tale one iota.  Eleven years later and he is still selling the same ludicrous bullshit to the same privileged cloistered fence-straddling man-babies except this time around the track ("The End of the Two-Party System")  Mr. Brooks offers the Great Recession as his excuse du jour for why his Republican Party is fucked-in-the-head.
Today, after the financial crisis, the shrinking of the middle class, the partisan warfare, a scarcity mind-set is dominant...
An excuse which Martin Longman notes here, is utterly absurd even for the barrel-scrapings of David Brooks.

But from my long perspective on the Big Lie which The New York Times pays Mr. Brooks to repeat over and over again, decade after decade, the villain of any given iteration of that Big Lie is almost beside the point. Over the years Mr. Brooks has grabbed virtually every passing headline to use as the inciting incident to kick start this week's episode of Both Sides Do It. 

Examples of inciting incidents are:
One of Joe Mannix's buddies from Vietnam drops by unexpectedly.  Trouble follows.  

A race-horse disappears right off the track.  Can Thomas Banacek figure out what happened and collect the reward from Amalgamated Insurance, Ltd.?

A student's father is accused of murder.  Can master illusionist Tony "The Magician" Blake use the flying dollar bill trick to clear his name?

Ned Lamont beats David Brooks' spirit animal, Holy Joe Lieberman, in the Connecticut Democratic primary.  Is this the end of American democracy as we know it?
As with any predictable, long-running series, the inciting incident for any David Brooks Both Sides Do It column is never more than a cardboard villain which exists solely to set in motion the umpteenth enactment of the same Big Lie Mr. Brooks repeats to his readers every week.

First, there must be The Flagrant Denial Of History.  Specifically, that everything was jim fucking dandy with Mr. Brooks' Republican Party until the Very Recent Bad Thing happened:
[Trump] insists on perpetual warfare -- against all comers. Stuck fighting his wars with him, Republican politicians have had to say goodbye to most of the pillars of conservatism: rule of law, fiscal discipline, global engagement, moral decency, the idea that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

In theory, the G.O.P. restrictionist position on immigration is perfectly legitimate. But Trump has fatally entwined it with his constant race baiting. Republican politicians could have denounced the race baiting but remained silent. They allowed themselves to become fellow travelers to bigotry, and spoiled their own cause...
During my entire adult life the Republican Party -- the Party of Whitewater witch-hunts and Willie Horton and Birtherism and Death Panels and Jerry Falwell and Lying Us Into The Iraq War --  has never shown the slightest fucking interest in to rule of law or fiscal discipline or sane global engagement or moral decency or the idea that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.  But Mr. Brooks' privileged cloistered fence-straddling man-baby readers desperately want to believe that it has been all of these things -- desperately want to believe that they have not been complicit in the ruin and madness they see all around them -- and they are willing to pay premium prices to hire shit-spinners like Mr. Brooks to tell them soothing nostalgic nonsense about an imaginary noble Republican past which never was.

And so Trump and Trump alone becomes Patient Zero of the wingnut plague.  Trump becomes the Original Sin.  And Mr. Brooks' Republican Party which nominated and elected Trump and solidly supports him to this day somehow had very little to do with Trump.  They're simply "stuck" with him now.  Tainted by his racism.  Swept away from their noble mission in the wake of his bigotry.

Well shit, then it seems pretty obvious what anyone in their right mind should do, right?  Run like hell towards the Democrats.  I mean, whatever your beef with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, they weren't lunatics leading a mob of unhinged bigots and looters and freaks, right?

Wrong.  Because you're thinking like a rational human being and not one of the Conservative mental shut-ins who pay Mr. Brooks to keep their Reality Denial Pup Tent inflated.  For them, no matter what is going on out here in the Real World, no matter how indisputable the nation's problems can be laid at the feet of Mr. Brooks' irredeemably fucked-in-the-head Republican Party, no episode of  Mr. Brooks shitty, long-running soap opera can end without Mr. Brooks definitively declaring that the threats to American Democracy are coming from the inevitable Second Act of this Nauseating Farce.

From...

...Both Sides!  (with emphasis added):
Under the influence of this mentality, evangelicalism turns from a faith into a siege-mentality interest group that reveres a pagan immoralist. Under the influence of this mentality, liberalism goes from a creed that values individual rights and deliberation to one that values group separatism and intellectual intolerance...

 Moreover, the warrior mentality builds on itself. As the right pulverizes the left, the left feels the need to pulverize back, and on and on. This is a generational challenge. Trump will be succeeded by some other warrior.

Eventually, conservatives will realize: If we want to preserve conservatism, we can’t be in the same party as the clan warriors. Liberals will realize: If we want to preserve liberalism, we can’t be in the same party as the clan warriors...
And just like that, to service the pusillanimous fantasies of his privileged cloistered fence-straddling man-baby readers, Mr. Brooks makes the entire Clinton Administration disappear.

The Obama Administration disappear

The entire Democratic Party disappear.

Well fuck you, you sniveling little shit.  The Left Remembers!

But our drama is not yet over.  Because having dismissed everyone who is not David Brooks (and his privileged cloistered fence-straddling man-baby readers) as politically and morally unfit to govern the United States, as his Final Act Mr. Brooks must conjure a brand-new, multi-party political establishment into existence out of whole cloth, populated by the citizens of Mr. Brooks' Imaginary Reasonable Center.  

Like so:
Eventually, those who cherish the democratic way of life will realize they have to make a much more radical break than any they ever imagined. When this realization dawns the realignment begins. Even with all the structural barriers, we could end up with a European-style multiparty system.

The scarcity mentality is eventually incompatible with the philosophies that have come down through the centuries. Decent liberals and conservatives will eventually decide they need to break from it structurally. They will realize it’s time to start something new.
Except there are no decent Conservatives anymore, Mr. Brooks.

Thanks to the hard work and billions of dollars spent by Mr. Brooks' Republican Party and Conservative Movement over the past 50 years to engineer a political machine that could not only nominate and elect a degenerate monster like Donald Trump but cheer him on, there are now only two kinds of Conservatives.

Those who pay Sean Hannity to lie to them.

And those who pay David Brooks to lie to them.



Behold, a Tip Jar!

Monday, February 12, 2018

David Brooks' Latest Both Siderist Abomination Is Currently Being Processed



Please stand by.

Mind Like a Steele Trap



Former RNC chair Michael Steele nine years ago:
Steele to Rush: I'm sorry

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.”

“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”...

Former RNC chair Michael Steele today:
‘I don’t know what the hell happened’: Michael Steele on the GOP under Trump

By Jonathan Capehart*

Given the state of American politics and the Republican Party, I had one question for Michael Steele: Why shouldn’t we blame him for the current condition of the country? After all, he was the chairman of the Republican National Committee who helped the tea party revolution take over the House in 2010.

“That’s right, baby, I built that bad boy out of steel,” Steele told me in the latest episode of “Cape Up.” “Now, having done that, I can’t help it if they went inside and started tearing up the floorboards and knocking out the windows, and crapping all over the house.”...
Mr. Steele's second career as a David Brooks imitator on various teevee, radio and print media outlets is working out very well for him.

Behold, a Tip Jar!



*In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that Mr. Capehart blocked me on Twitter a few years ago for pointing out to him (pointedly) that Both Siderism is bullshit.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

How Do You Write About The New York Times So Well?



I think of an old-fashioned, shoe-leather, "If your mother says she loves you, check it out" newspaper.

And I take away reason and accountability. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Both Siderism Uber Alles


In today's episode, former Wall Street Journal employee and Obvious New York Times Merit Hire (h/t Brother Charlie Pierce), Bari Weiss, uses her magical New York Times powers to Both Sides the shit out of the #MeToo movement:
Not to be outdone, former Wall Street Journal employee and New York Times in-house climate change denier, Bret Stephens, uses his magical New York Times powers to dispense Mulligans for child sexual assault commited under certain, very specific circumstance:


Sensing a rising tide, America's most prominent Gay Tory Catholic True Conservative Public Intellectual Internet Quitter, Andrew Sullivan, swiftely took one more massive bong hit to steel himself for the work ahead, peered owlishly from the slit window of his palatial dorm room high atop the tallest ivory tower in Washington D.C. to see what he could see, and quickly got to work writing a Column of Urgent Warning on the Dangers of the Dirty Commie Liberal menace lurking on every college campus in American.

Or rather re-writing the same bullshit Column of Urgent Warning on the dirty Commie Liberal menace which has already written a dozen, dozen times.

This time Mr. Sullivan was prompted by some African-American woman somewhere who finally told him to shut the fuck up and peddle his myopic privileged twaddle elsewhere:
I was at an event earlier this week — not on a campus — when I made what I thought was the commonplace observation that Jim Crow laws no longer exist. Uncomprehending stares came back at me. What planet was I on? Not only does Jim Crow still exist, but slavery itself never went away! When I questioned this assertion by an African-American woman, I was told it was “not my place” to question her reality. After all, I’m white.
Of course, Mr. Sullivan doesn't doubt that our nation's child-like wimmin and the colored folk are well-intentioned --
Look: I don’t doubt the good intentions of the new identity politics — to expand the opportunities for people previously excluded. 
but Marxism! 
But what we have now is far more than the liberal project of integrating minorities. It comes close to an attack on the liberal project itself. Marxism with a patina of liberalism on top is still Marxism
Which is according to Mr. Sullivan just as bad (here it comes) as the authoritarian racism and misogyny of President Stupid and his party of bigots and imbeciles who now run the entire federal government:
...and it’s as hostile to the idea of a free society as white nationalism is.
And he sticks the landing!

So just how knee-walking stupid was this iteration of Mr. Sullivan's go-to "Campus Marxist Speech Codes are the Real Danger" screed?

So stupid that Joe Scarborough raised up Andrew Sullivan as a Man For Our Times.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what money and media inbreeding has done to our national discourse.


Behold, a Tip Jar!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #427


"Don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals, Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system."
-- Al Capone
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!


Links:


The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" -- 







-- and real listeners like you!