Monday, October 22, 2018

The Monster Beneath The Mask


Dr. Wynn: Well, he's your patient, if you knew that the precautions weren't strong enough, you should have told somebody.

Loomis: I told everybody! Nobody listened.

-- Halloween, 1978

For the record (and Lord, how I hope there will be a record), your humble scrivener began writing about the rise of Trump less than 48 hours after he came slouching down the Escalator of Doom --
...in order to win elections and rake in vast fortunes, the Conservative brain caste has painstakingly created the perfect feeding-ground for con men and demagogues like Trump, the louder and more bombastic the better. And from David Brooks and the Wall Street Journal and "Meet the Press", to Ann Coulter and the Washington Free Beacon and the Breitbart Collective, in one way or another, virtually everyone in the media makes bank by flattering Conservative meatheads and pandering to their delusions.
-- and for the last three years, this tiny blog in the middle of Middle America  has been sounding one consistent alarm:
Donald Trump Is The GOP
A warning that Donald Trump was not some one-off, Black Swan event, but rather the logical and inevitable end-product of the Republican Party performing exactly as it had been designed and built over the last 40 years.

Every poll these days shows what Liberals have known and have been saying all along -- that Trump is the Party and the Party is Trump.  And yet our free press  -- that  venerable constitutionally-chartered American institution which is supposed to tell us the truth and shame the Devil -- not only failed repeatedly and catastrophically to take this threat seriously, but actively lied about the threat.  Downplayed it.  Jokes about it.  Deflected and diffused is into a fine mist of toxic Both Siderism which blew equally in all directions.

And this is the other, deeply depressing truth which we Liberals  had to come to terms with a long time ago.  The fact that our vaunted Fourth Estate more often than not acts as a Fifth Column. The fact that our corporate media simply does not live in the same world as the rest of us.

This is why the Beltway media was never going to admit that Trump is the GOP and the GOP is Trump no matter what.  It's why every Both Siderist hack in Christendom blithely went right on Both Sidering right through the nomination and the election (and blocked and insulted vituperative foul-mouthed bloggers of the Left like me who were jumping up and down on our tiny soapboxes screaming that, no Both Sides were NOT the same.)  It's why cable news made a corporate decision to run live coverage of empty podiums at Trump rallies over and over again rather than use those precious minutes to talk about anything substantive.  It's why the Never Trumpers carefully pre-positioned themselves as the "We Told You So" wing of the GOP who would sweep to power and rebuild their shattered party after Hillary Clinton's inevitable victory.

We on the Left knew going into the 2016 election cycle that the corporate media was not going to raise any fundamental questions about the depravity of the Republican Party, because the corporate media never raises any fundamental questions about the depravity of the Republican Party.  I know this because, as I wander through my archives (+8,600 posts and still going) if I squint my eyes slightly it becomes virtually impossible for me to tell the difference between what I was writing about the GOP last week, and what I was writing about the GOP more than a decade ago:
You know that if you really, actually flushed the scum of the Earth your Southern Strategists have so carefully cultivated down the drain, the Republican Party wouldn’t win another election – anywhere – for another generation...

You know it and, more importantly, they know it, which is why they own you.

They are the emergent and inevitable result of the hate-driven moral absolutism, racism and pathologically perverted variant of Christianity that is the bedrock of the Modern GOP. And as long as they are allowed to remain as the pillar of your Party, it will always end in tears…
And it is precisely because we on the Left have been right about the Right all along, that when I look at the loud, clanking, ludicrous, racist, lying, terrifying freak-show that is Donald Trump --


-- I no longer really see Donald Trump.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

It's Always 2004



The mighty birthday fundraiser continues...


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!


 ...with this quick retrospective.

This is the "Bad" Post-Trump Republican Party (from Vox, today)
The Trump administration reportedly wants the government to revoke civil rights protections from transgender people

They want to define gender at birth — and force DNA tests to prove otherwise.

And this is the "Good" Pre-Trump Republican Party (from The New York Times, 14 years ago):
'Moral Values' Carried Bush, Rove Says

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 - President Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, said Tuesday that opposition to gay marriage was one of the most powerful forces in American politics today and that politicians ignored it at their peril.

"This is an issue on which there is a broad consensus," Mr. Rove said, discussing a presidential election that took place as voters in 11 states backed constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriages.

"In all 11 states, it won by considerable margins," Mr. Rove said, adding, "People do not like the idea or the concept of marriage as being a union between a man and a woman being uprooted and overturned by a few activist judges or a couple of activist local officials."
...

Mr. Rove appeared to stifle a grin when asked whether he was "indebted" to Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, who opened his City Hall to gay marriages until he was blocked by a court, and to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, for ruling that gay couples have a right to marriage.

"If you look at things that intrude into American politics through a nontraditional method -- through a judicial vein -- they tend to have a huge impact," he said...
In the Republican Party, it's always 2004.

And 2001.


And 1994.




And 1990.


And 1988.


And the entire Obama Administration



And on and on and on.

This is who they are.

This is who they have always been.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or is an imbecile, and either way is probably trying to sell you a book.

As a bonus, Matthew Gertz as pulled onto Twitter this Media Matters collection of Hot Takes By Prominent Pundits who were all tingly about how pro-LGBT Trump was gonna be.

My favorite?

 Oh please don't make me choose.

But if you stuffed by tip jar full of doubloons and said I absolutely had to (from the July 22, 2016 edition of Morning Joe)...
JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): You don't want to overstate anything, but I think culturally, I think that was a significant landmark for this country, culturally, and the party that has been seen as the most reactionary to the rights of many, many Americans and many different groups, responded that way to Peter's declaration.

MARK HALPERIN: In the history of the Republican Party and gay rights, last night was one of the biggest days ever...


Saturday, October 20, 2018

He Was Lifting Weights with PJ and Squee





Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!

In Honor of This National Day on Writing...



...my birthday fundraiser continues :-)

Meanwhile, as my coffers fill with gold, I'll be out on a neighborhood street cleanup on the west side of town (early AM) and door-knocking for the Londrigan campaign through the afternoon wherever they need me.

If you're out there too, say "hey".


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!


“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.” -- William S. Burroughs

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”-- Robert Benchley

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”-- Samuel Johnson

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”-- Allegra Goodman

“Style means the right word. The rest matters little.”-- Jules Renard

“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.”-- Joyce Carol Oates

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”-- Ernest Hemingway

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”-- Jack Kerouac

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”-- Ray Bradbury

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”-- Elmore Leonard

“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”-- Margaret Laurence

"Writers live twice." -- Natalie Goldberg

Friday, October 19, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #463


“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps."
-- Robert Benchley

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!




And Nobody Said Nuthin'...



Meanwhile...


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!



Upon This Rock...











...Republicans built their church.


To win elections, Republicans built themselves a temple of rage and paranoia and racism and a depraved perversion of Christianity.  They did it proudly, loudly and right out in the open where everyone could see.

Now that temple is on fire and some of the cleverer rats are starting to scurry for the doors.  Swearing that nothing all that bad was going on inside the GOP before Trump...or if there was, they personally never knew about it...or if they knew about it, well, so what, because Both Sides are equally terrible.

No sale, fuckers.  I don't know whether you're lying or you're an imbecile, and I don't really care.

You built it, you burn in it.  (Not Safe For Work)




Meanwhile, my birthday-fundraiser continues...


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!



Thursday, October 18, 2018

Today on "Asked and Answered!"


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!



In his Washington Post column today, Former George W. Bush chief speechwriter, senior Republican policy adviser and reliable Beltway Republican stalactite, Michael Gerson, asks:
What does Trump’s ascendance mean about America?
And here is your answer, Mr. Gerson:
It means the Left has been right about the Right all along, you complicit clown.
Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of  "Asked and Answered!"

Never Turn Your Back on a Never Trumper. Continued


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!



A few months ago as many of my allies were co-signing ideological third mortgages for their new Never Trump friends, I remember saying ...
Repeat after me:   There is no such thing as a "former" hard-core Republican.

A causal, occasional Republican voter?  Sure.  They can kick the habit.  Over the course of many years I've voted for Republicans once or twice on down-ticket races or in board elections where I knew the person and they were extraordinarily well-qualified.  Hell, in my misspent youth I also voted for John Anderson, because Reagan was clearly dangerous, but Carter wasn't pure enough for my noble and rarefied political tastes.

But this it not so for the hard-core Republican.  The party activist, campaign coordinator, door knocker, serious donor, straight-party ticket voter, pundit, elected official, analyst or pollster.  Anyone who has evidenced a keen and active interest in advancing the Republican party's depraved agenda over any length of time.

They've been in the life too long.  They have been too conditioned.  Too bent.  Their brains and political pleasure centers have been permanently rewired.  And so, like any other kind of toxic, lifestyle addiction, the best you can ever hope for with your hard-core Republican is a state of recovery that they can maintain one-day-at-a-time until they shuffle off this mortal coil

But until they join Ronald Reagan in Republican Heaven, they will always be junkies who, given the slightest opportunity to rationalize themselves into just one more little taste, will backslide right back into their bad habits every fucking time...
Since then, I've gotten quite a number of cold shoulders from some of my Liberal brothers and sisters, and some blunt feedback, which is fine.  I went through a somewhat similar cycle when I was one of the only people in the Liberal blogosphere who bothered to kick the tires on Glenn Greenwald's shtick and notice that there was something drastically wrong going on.

And boy howdy, lots of Liberal "friends" did not want to hear anything like that.  They either got very, very angry with "droneglass" (which was kinda hilarious coming as it often did from people who were barely aware of my existence before then) or timidly stood aside while the Spleenwald Horde slagged me on a daily basis.  I had done the unforgivable.  I was voted off Liberal Island, and I lost a lot of traffic and big chunk of supporters.  Which was fine.  You do you, and I'll do me, and if it occasionally costs me dearly to write what I please, unbought and unbossed, well that's part of the deal.

Eventually the slow grind of time and events revealed that my bead on Mr. Greenwald was essentially correct.   There was no "Welcome back to our good graces"party with balloons and a giant novelty check.  I was never officially voted back onto Liberal Island.  Things just gradually got quieter and quieter, and by the time Mr. Greenwald started showing up on Fox News as Tucker Carlson's smirking side-kick, I got the very clear impression that my once very loud Liberal critics would really rather forget the whole thing and never speak of it again.

I don't really care either way, but the experience did reinforce a valuable lesson about how quickly and imprudently many of my Liberal brothers and sisters will rally to the flag of anyone who tells them pretty things that they very much want to hear, even (as in the case of Never Trumpers) when the person whispering sweet political nothings to then has built a career out of calling them a traitor and stomping on their values.  Even when their half-assed apology reeks of expedience and desperation. 

It also reinforced a corollary lesson about how reluctant those same Liberal people can be to bury the hatchet with someone who generally supports their values and enthusiastically sides with them most of the time, but also dared to tell them something they did not wish to believe that later turned out to be true.

Which brings me to this very timely post on alicublog:
ALL THE WAY DOWN. 
As I've said before (and it's not just me and the leprechaun who tells me to burn things saying so, either, but also credentialed bigbrains at major publications) that the Kavanaugh nomination has basically blown the whole NeverTrump and KindaTrump and JustTheTipInTrump phenomenon, making it obvious that Trumpism is conservatism and vice-versa. And it's had the knock-on effect of making rightwing authors who were previously pitched as prim-and-proper True Conservatives into something more suitable to Trump Time -- that is, trolls.

Take David French, one-time NeverTrump Presidential contender, who has gone on since the dawn of Trump about how real conservatives like him were fighting for the True Cause despite, not enabled by, the vandal Trump; last year he was blubbering over "O’Reilly, Ailes, and the Toxic Conservative-Celebrity Culture," in which he lamented that conservatives' reflexive defense of Fox News "knifework" had "reached its apex in the person and personality of Donald Trump."

But now French is juiced that Trump has with Kavanaugh brought America one step closer to Gilead, and hardly ever bothers to wring his hands anymore. Just recently he defended Trump calling for his opponents to be jailed. But as the example of his cabinet shows, you're not totally in the tank for Trump until you've humiliated yourself as French does here...
For me this is actually pretty simple.

I don't believe in being stupid, or credulous, especially when it comes to trusting the good intentions of life-time repeat offenders.

On the other hand,  I do genuinely believe in redemption, but in the case of the Never Trumpers, it would be insane for anyone to settle for anything less than redemption though restorative justice, which emphasizes accountability, making amends, and repairing the profound harm the offender has done.

And frankly, if you're coming right out of the gate swearing that there was nothing all that bad going on inside the GOP before Trump...or if there was, you personally just never knew about it...or if you knew about it, well. so what, because Both Sides are equally terrible...then you're either lying or your an imbecile.

And in either case, there is no reason on Earth why anyone should trust you.


Because This Is the National Conversation on Race We Deserve...

...but not the one we need right now.

At this rate, by next week Congressman Hill will have a spot up featuring Uncle Ruckus telling us all about the glories of White Heaven.



Still, he's gonna have to let his spurs all the way out if he wants to beat the sheer, unhinged lunacy of the director's cut of Carly Fiorina's Demon Sheep.


Meanwhile, my birthday-fundraiser continues...


Behold, a Birthday Fundraiser!