Monday, July 18, 2016

Notes From The Underground

I was reminded this weekend at Netroots Nation that I have somehow become one of the last of the old school bloggers.  Single-shingle, long-form, comment section still open for business, no advertising, no byline in a respectable publication, doing my own PhotoShopping when the occasion calls for it. swearing when the occasion calls for it and posting (almost) every day for over 11 years now.

So as an éminence grise of a nearly-defunct genre, I figure I probably owe it to future generation to sing the old songs and perform the old rituals every now and then.

One such tradition was from time to time bringing comments up from from the comment section (remember comment sections?) to the main page for a wider view. So let's do that again today...

...right after we play another round of "Who said it, driftglass or Krugman?"


  1. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, has a reputation as a policy wonk, committed to fiscal responsibility, that is utterly incomprehensible if you look at the slapdash, fundamentally dishonest policy documents he actually puts out. But the cult of balance requires that someone on the Republican side be portrayed as a serious, honest fiscal expert, so Mr. Ryan gets slotted into that role no matter how much a con man he may be in reality. Still, there are con men, and then there are con men. 

  2. You might think that Donald Trump, who lies so much that fact-checkers have a hard time keeping up, who keeps repeating falsehoods even after they’ve been proved wrong, and who combines all of this with a general level of thuggishness aimed in part at the press, would be too much even for the balance cultists to excuse. But you would be wrong.

  3. And in the last few days we’ve seen a spectacular demonstration of bothsidesism in action: an op-ed article from the incoming and outgoing heads of the White House Correspondents’ Association, with the headline “Trump, Clinton both threaten free press.”

  4. Stung by criticism, the authors of the op-ed issued a statement denying that they had engaged in “false equivalency” — I guess saying that the candidates are acting “similarly” doesn’t mean saying that they are acting similarly. And they once again refused to indicate which candidate was behaving worse.

  5. ...bothsidesism isn’t new, and it has always been an evasion of responsibility. But taking the position that “both sides do it” now, in the face of this campaign and this candidate, is an act of mind-boggling irresponsibility.
Pencils down.

And the answers are:
  1. Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. 

  2. Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. 

  3. Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. 

  4. Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. 

  5. Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. 
Weird, huh?

And now, having unfairly used Professor Krugman to pre-slant the argument in my direction, here is "banker puppy" from the comment section yesterday:

banker puppy said...
trgahan is right.

It doesn't matter if liberals have been right all along.

Driftglass, I love you, but please, to paraphrase the Bill Clinton 1992 campaign mantra

Print that and paste it to the screen of your computer. Make bigger versions for your refrigerator and bathroom mirror.

You think the GOP is really focusing on the 2016 presidential race? No, it's doing what trgahan describes, across all three branches of government. If bloggers like you aren't covering that, who will?

Forget Brooks and both-siderism and liberals were right all along. That's where the GOP wants you to wallow while they build powerful political farm systems under the radar.
Thing is, I don't disagree with the need for long game planning.  In fact, it is exactly what I recommend with all the authority that a disreputable outsider writing in a nearly-defunct genre from the middle of a cornfield can muster.

But here is where we part company.

That "powerful political farm system" the Right is clearly building?  They are not in any way trying to hide their intentions or build it "under the radar".

In fact, they're building it right out in the open, where you and I and anyone else who cares to look can see it, plain as day.

Which leads me to the next, logical question: How is it possible for them to construct this monstrosity in public without interruption?  What institutional protection are these ghouls and hobgoblins receiving that permit this to go on right in front of everyone, unimpeded?

And my answer is, a corrupt and complicit  media which categorically refuses to report any story of Conservative treachery and perfidy unless it is tied to the minor (and usually imaginary) antics of someone on the Left in a pretty, Both Siderist bow.

So when future electoral battles are joined, what do you suppose the margin of victory be for the Right once they get their war-wagon running on high test again?  My guess is that the margin will be the usual cohort of herd-following, know-nothing voters in the middle who figure that they might as well give the GOP a shot because everybody knows there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

And how in the hell did those herd-following, know-nothings ever get that stupid idea stuck in their heads?  They got it from -- surprise! -- exactly same poisoned well where Crazy Uncle Liberty gets that "Well, Libtards are just as bad!" alibi he whips out every time another one of his bigoted, idiotic lies blows up in his face.

They get it from hearing this same Big Lie of Both Siderism, repeated by serious, respectable and highly-paid media professionals in an infinite, closed, propaganda loop, from every direction, by virtually every media corporation, year after year after year.

You want to stop the Conservative tank corps that is rolling in our direction?

So do I.

And as a disreputable single-shingle blogger writing in a nearly-defunct genre from the middle of a cornfield, I can either spend my limited time and energy plinking away with my pea-shooter at the 12-inch-thick, sloped, explosive reactive armor with which the Right's battle-wagons are plated from muzzle to tail-pipe...

,,,or I can do my damnedest to use what little I've got to disable their Beltway media distributor caps


Unknown said...

Thanks for responding, driftglass.

By "the radar" I meant the media's paying little attention, which makes it harder for those not tightly following politics to grasp the impact of their actions. Bad on me for not clarifying and good on you for calling me on it.

My question for Krugman is this: Given that your excellent calling out of all the things included in the op/ed, -topics you've covered many times in the past- has had little-to-no impact on what the GOP is actively up to downstream, and assuming you (Krugman) want to reduce that downstream activity, why are you still writing in the same manner and on the same topics?

Now Krugman, if he's honest, would admit that part of the reason is there's money to be made writing as he does for the NY Times.

Such is not the case for you, driftglass. But now I know why you write as you do. Thank you for that. I disagree with your (and Krugman's) reasoning, but you must obviously follow your calling. May you succeed where others have failed.

trgahan said...


You linked the wrong thing I was right about, Banker Puppy was responded to what I said on Saturday, not Sunday. Though I believe your overall point of attack is a correct one on a multi-front conflict.

As another commenter on the Sunday post pointed out, there are large numbers of conservatives who despise Trumps (and the Crazy Uncle Liberties) of the party, but have been successfully conditioned to hate anything progressive or liberal more. A complacent Both Sider media provides the "intellectual" cover so they never have to turn on Boss Limbaugh since he got kicked from primetime in the 90's and can sleep at night.

Thanks for letting me yell stuff from the backbench.

Yastreblyansky said...

Thanks from me too. This is a hard argument to make and all too often I end up with nothing but the equivalent of "Fuck you I'm good at it."

With Krugman I have a very clear sense of what he's up to, which is on the high-stakes scale and connected with his specialty, truly trying to build a constituency for his Keynesian views on economic management. These little columns where he just reinvents stuff you've written are side gambits to maintain interest and to show he's paying attention, particularly now when the presidential is all most of us can think about.

Incidentally I knew right away he wasn't literally stealing from you because he spelled "bothsiderism" wrong. It's just a question of Great Minds thinking in tandem.

bt1138 said...

Under the Radar,

as in Antonin Scalia going duck hunting with Dick Cheney.

Nothing to see there folks.

Jimbo said...

Krugman doesn't need the money; he's a friggin' Nobel Laureate and doesn't need any corporate media subsidy. In fact, he loves the fight, which is one reason his internet nickname is Krugthula (after the Lovecraft monster). Krugman periodically craps all over DFB, his Op/Ed colleague and is an excellent TV debater, which is precisely why he rarely gets invited on the TV MSM and almost never on the Sunday Showz. Driftglass and Krugman are both doing good work on different sides of the same subject: the GOP's long-term project to destroy American democracy.

Mike Lumish said...

"Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate."


Twenty years ago, people like me were all excited about this newfangled blogging jawn: expanding upon USENET, we were going to set up a two way nation wide conversation that would change America forever.

Twenty years on it's not at all clear that we accomplished anything positive. Most of the good ones have dropped out, our Host being a most admirable exception, and the institutions we established are pretty much as corrupt as the ones we endeavored so long to replace. The Greeks had something to say about this, 2500 years ago.

Unknown said...

Many liberals and progressives can cite facts and examples to demonstrate that both-siderism (to name but one media talking point) is a sham. And they’ve been doing just that for a while.

Given that these shams are still alive and well, would it not make sense for at least some of those talented writers and minds on the left to find niches where their skills would provide a more tangible sense of accomplishment?

I’ve asked versions of this question (under different aliases) of a number of left-side writers. Of those who responded, driftglass’ was the most complete and comprehensive. And I admire and respect the support of his readers.

The Kraken said...

As a former army tanker I have to throw in that, though always impressive, tanks are very prone to breaking down. The old adage about the more moving parts a system has. Our tracks broke down just sitting in the motorpool, in combat doubly so and the amount of effort needed to keep them going was immense.

The same really holds for the fascist machine. It burns a lot of fuel in the form of boomer hate. But that's running out. And the money that powers this thing? A couple tweaks of the tax code can cut that down pretty quick. Then the machine breaks down and one by one a critical mass of extinction bursts expose the whole rotten project as farce, not worthy of the pig people's allegiance.

So keep fighting the good fight! It will work in the end!

Professional Left Podcast #690

"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."    --  Louis D. Brandeis   Don't ...