Friday, June 23, 2017

In The Beginning...

"The junk [heroin] merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client."
-- William S. Burroughs, "Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness" with a big h/t to Neo Tuxedo for this quote.
For the record, I am perfectly aware that the roots of our long and tortured political history go back to Beringa, Eric the Red and Strom Thurmond quitting the Democratic Party in 1948 to form the segregationist States' Rights Democratic Party also known as the "Dixiecrats" (note:  The Dixiecrats were later dissolved and then gradually reconstituted into a much larger, more powerful and better-funded segregationist party called "The Republicans".)

But because this post will not be one billion words long, it will not cover anything like a territory that vast.  (I just told you that to trick you into reading this far! Insert Evil Laugh here!) So pedants and "whatabouters" take it elsewhere, preferably to Blogger or Wordpress where you can start your own blog and publish your own sweeping and comprehensive history of American politics.  Which I will gladly read and carp about :-)

Instead what you'll get for the price of admission is a simplified overview of  "How We Got Here" spanning roughly one human generation:
In population biology and demography, the generation time is the average time between two consecutive generations in the lineages of a population. In human populations, the generation time typically ranges from 22 to 32 years.
Let us begin.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan killed something called The Fairness Doctrine:
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was — in the Commission's view — honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC, which was believed to have been under pressure from then President Ronald Reagan, eliminated the Doctrine in 1987.
For the record, the two federal judges who helped Reagan kill the Fairness Doctrine were future-Supreme Court incubus Antonin Scalia, and disgraced Nixon henchman Robert Bork.  After helping to hold down the Fairness Doctrine while Reagan smothered it, both men went on to enjoy long and fruitful careers as wingnut icons and ruiners of American democracy.

Also in 1987, immediately after the Fall of the Fairness Doctrine came the Rise of Conservative Hate Radio:
Daniel Henninger wrote, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, "Ronald Reagan tore down this wall (the Fairness Doctrine) in 1987 ... and Rush Limbaugh was the first man to proclaim himself liberated from the East Germany of liberal media domination."
Then, in 1990, immediately after the Rise of Conservative Hate Radio began normalizing a Republican vocabulary of lies, slander, casual racism and hate-mongering via millions of AM radios and "Rush Rooms" across the country. an up-and-coming pervert named Newton Leroy Gingrich began teaching a cohort of ambitious sociopaths inside the Republican Party to relentlessly parrot exactly the same hate-speech coming from Limbaugh and his imitators outside the party.

Venerable, sclerotic institutions like The New York Times looked-with-alarm (as the kids say) --
The Politics of Slash and Burn
Published: September 20, 1990

'Sick.'' ''Traitors.'' ''Bizarre.'' ''Self-serving.'' ''Shallow.'' ''Corrupt.'' ''Pathetic.'' ''Shame.'' The group that urged political candidates to use these epithets has since regretted suggesting the word ''traitors,'' in response to inquiries from the press. But the others were allowed to stand; they appear in a glossary that a conservative Republican group recently mailed to Republican state legislative candidates.

The group is Gopac, the G.O.P. Political Action Committee. Its general chairman is Representative Newt Gingrich. With the pamphlet, ''Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,'' comes a letter from Mr. Gingrich himself. Its message to candidates: Step up invective. Use words like these to describe opponents. These words work.

Mr. Gingrich's injunction represents the worst of American political discourse...

The Gopac glossary may herald a descent into even lower levels of discourse. It comes blessed by a politician of some influence - the Republican whip in the House - and it is intended for candidates on the state level, many of them presumably running for the first time. Even though Mr. Gingrich himself may not have seen the list before it was mailed, this is a disturbing document.
-- but took no substantive action whatsoever to actually stop the Rise of Gingrich, because of their deeply inbred insularity and childlike faith that between the Wise American Voters and some other group of Sober Men of The Establishment. someone else would surely step in to put an end to such toxic and radical flapdoodle.  Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but sooner or later, those other heroes would get around to it:
The nakedness of the Gopac offering also makes it useful. There must be limits to the negative politics that voters will bear; the bald appeal to invective will certainly probe those limits. For now, it should be said that some adjectives in the glossary aptly describe the glossary itself: shallow, sensationalist and, yes, shame(ful).
Four years later, neither the Wise American Voters nor the Sober Men of The Establishment had shown up to save the day.


Sure those crazy Liberals had been jumping up and down screaming that the Party of Lincoln was dying and last remnants of Eisenhower/Rockefeller Republicans were being displaced by billionaire-backed ghouls and madmen, but really, who listens to Liberals anyway?

Instead, Limbaugh's brand of self-pitying white-grievance peddling, misogyny, gay-bashing and rancid bigotry became the hottest thing on AM radio, being carried on hundreds of stations across the country and spawning dozens and dozens of wretched little imitators, while Limbaugh's shitty books shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list, ushering in a whole new era in ways for unscrupulous Conservative rage-hustlers to get rich telling morons the lies they desperately wish to believe.

Instead, Republicans led by the "shallow, sensationalist and, yes, shame(ful)" Newt Gingrich took control of both the Senate and, crucially, the House of Representatives, which the GOP had not held in 40 years. And in his new role as Speaker of the House, Gingrich went to work immediately on an ambitious program of sabotaging the government, adultery and trying to topple the Clinton Administration by any means necessary.

Instead, this happened.  From The New York Times, December 1994:
Republicans Get a Pep Talk From Rush Limbaugh

BALTIMORE, Dec. 10— To all the advice for the new Republicans coming to Congress, add this from Rush Limbaugh: A hostile press corps lurks inside the Beltway.

"You will never ever be their friends," the talk-show host warned most of the 73 Republican freshmen at a dinner here tonight. "They don't want to be your friends. Some female reporter will come up to one of you and start batting her eyes and ask you to go to lunch. And you'll think, 'Wow! I'm only a freshman. Cokie Roberts wants to take me to lunch. I've really made it!' " The audience laughed.

"Seriously," he added. "Don't fall for this. This is not the time to get moderate. This is not the time to start trying to be liked."

The freshman class, which included not a single "femi-Nazi," one of Mr. Limbaugh's favorite epithets for supporters of women's rights, whooped and applauded, proving itself one big fan club of the man it believes was primarily responsible for the Republican avalanche in November.

Mr. Limbaugh was made an honorary member of the class as its members tonight finished a three-day orientation here sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and Empower America, two conservative Washington research organizations.

Barbara Cubin, an incoming freshman from Wyoming, told Mr. Limbaugh that because 74 percent of the nation's newspapers had endorsed Democrats, "talk radio, with you in the lead, is what turned the tide." On behalf of the women in the class, she gave him a plaque that said, "Rush Was Right." He also received a pin like the ones the freshmen wore, saying, "Majority Maker."

"Rush is as responsible for what happened here as much as anyone," said Vin Weber, a former Representative from Minnesota, now of Empower America. Citing a poll taken after the election by Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, Mr. Weber said that people who listened to 10 hours or more a week of talk radio voted Republican by a 3-to-1 margin. "Those are the people who elected the new Congress," he said...
In September of 1995, while Australian fascist media mogul Rupert Murdoch was on one of his periodic American media property buying sprees, he gave Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes a big sack of wingnut welfare cash to create The Weekly Standard and staff it with the dregs of every Conservative think tank in D.C.  The first Managing Editor of this "redoubt of neoconservatism" was a gentleman named David Brooks.  (At the time, Mr, Brooks' talents had led him to the position of op-ed page editor of the Wall Street Journal where his job consisted of not reading or understanding things that his employees were printing on his op-ed page.)  From Brother Charlie Pierce:
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. Note the shabby, silly alibi that leads us off.
Now I confess I couldn't follow all the actual allegations made in those essays.
You were the editor, fool. It was your job to follow the actual allegations, because a lot of them were crazy tales from Arkansas con-men who looked at the national press and saw a battalion of easy marks.
They were six jungles deep in the weeds.
And hip-deep in pure bullshit, but do go on.
A series of bombshell revelations came out in the media, which seemed monumental at the time.
Some of those were contained in a series of "investigative essays" that helped drive Vince Foster to kill himself. We know this because the WSJ was specifically mentioned in his suicide note. I'm surprised a copy of it isn't hanging in the editorial department.
A special prosecutor was appointed and indictments were expected.
Actually, two special prosecutors were appointed. The first one, Robert Fiske, concluded that there was no crime involving the Clintons in regard to Whitewater and its attendant fiscal shenanigans. That's why Republican judges fired Fiske and we ended up with Ken Starr.
As you can see, Mr. Brooks has always sucked at both the "fact" thingies and the "editing" thingies, which is why he was perfect for the job of Weekly Standard Managing Editor.

And now, with the ground sufficiently prepared by a cohort of Gingrich clones running the House backed up by a well-financed army of Conservative radio talkers, think tanks, prestige magazines, book publishers and TV preachers,  Roger Ailes was finally able to realize his life-long dream of creating a Republican propaganda television network and sexual predator petting zoo when he and Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News in October of 1996.

From this moment on -- from the moment the Party of Lincoln chose to turn itself into the Party of Jefferson Davis in order to win elections -- the GOP set itself on a direct path to eventually nominating and electing a monster like Trump.

And still the mainstream Beltway media went right along with it, rubbing their magic Beltway lamps and reassuring the public that sooner or later the Wise American Voters or the Sober Men of The Establishment would swing into action.  And still the ever-more dire warnings from the Left were completely ignored by the respectable media as the shrill ravings of a few Liberal cranks. (Spoiler: They still are.)

And I have written literally hundreds of times, once the Republican party learned that neither the media, nor the Wise American Voters, nor the Sober Men of The Establishment were ever going to make them pay a price for their campaign of ginned up hysteria, fake scandals, government shut downs, witch hunts and endless lying during the Clinton Administration, that kind of cynical, overt political thuggery became their go-to playbook, and a dress rehearsal for the outright seditious vandalism they carried out during the Obama Administration.
From "The American Prospect":'s worth remembering just how virulent the opposition to Clinton's presidency was. Republicans began plotting to impeach Clinton long before anyone had ever heard the name "Lewinsky," and many on the right simply refused to accept that he legitimately occupied the office he held. Then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, when talking to Democrats, used to refer to Clinton as "your president."
It was a warped, hysterical campaign funded by wealthy Right Wing thugs like Richard Mellon Scaife

and propagated by wealthy Right Wing thugs like Rupert Murdoch who made sure the lies were jack-hammered into the headlines day after day, year after year.

And judging by its objectives, it was also a very successful campaign: it legitimized and metastasized Hate Radio; killed the credibility of the "objective" media once and for all; made the overt mass-slander of political opposition by the Right acceptable; moved radicals, militia nuts, bigots, Creationists and Limbaugh zombies to the center of the Republican Party; accelerated the exodus of reasonable moderates the hell out of the Republican Party; destroyed the possibility of public discourse; and kicked the door open to the use of Congressional hearings as instruments of political vendetta...
By the end of the Clinton Administration, all the pieces of the Right's Pretty Hate Machine -- the Rove Rods, the Propaganda Pumps, the Radioactive Base, and the Liquid Bobo Koolant -- were in place and firing smoothly on all cylinders.

So let us pause and consider this important fact.

More than twenty years ago it was already abundantly clear what was sort of beasts were incubating inside the dead chrysalis of Republican Party, just as it was perfectly obvious that the craven, enabling, Beltway media had decided that its collective future lay in an aggressive program of going-along-to-get-along.  

This is why we on the Left have always maintained that those who have profited over these past two decades either by knowingly pandering to the paranoia and racism of the wingnut horde (Charlie Sykes, Rick Wilson, Hugh Hewitt, Joe Scarborough, Greta Van Susteren, Bill Kristol and Megyn Kelly just to randomly name a few of the NBC employees who are guilty as fuck) or by knowingly propping up the lie that none of it was happening (denial) or the even bigger lie that Both Sides were equally to blame (deflection-by-false-equivalence, and I'm looking at you David Brooks and David Frum and Andrew Sullivan and Michael Gerson and George Will and Jennifer Rubin and Matthew Dowd and Ron Fournier and ... and... and ...) 

... have no business whatsoever being paid to proffer their opinions in the media.  Period.  Full stop.

And yet these Conservative talking-point-dispensing sociopaths, myopic bumblefucks and blood-stained goons increasingly dominate the media, while the Left -- we who were right about the Right all along -- are increasingly shoved ever deeper into the corner.

So (he said in a continuing kind of way) for example, by 1998 Newt Gingrich had repeatedly and publicly disgraced himself to the point where he was run out of office.  But so what?  By that time, the spawn of Limbaugh and Gingrich had conspired to obliterate the line between the Conservative political office holders and Conservative propaganda apparatchiks. And so while Gingrich's grifting, slandering, racist ass may have been tossed out of the "political" door, he was welcomed right back to the table through the "media" door like a long lost lodge brother.

In fact, this process of Gingrich's Perpetual Reputation Rehabilitation by the craven, enabling, Beltway media has gotten so nauseatingly predictable that a certain, dirty-hippie outcast gave it its own name -- The Gingrich Rules: a backroom Beltway media protocol which will continue to be in effect until it is destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged:
Until then, the stewards of that tiny sliver of our airwaves which are contractually obligated to discuss "public affairs" for an hour a week will continue to take turns setting out free publicity buffets for disgraced, bomb-throwing, race-baiting grifter Newt Gingrich
The most popular ‘MTP’ guest of the year

THE MOST POPULAR ‘MTP’ GUEST OF THE YEAR…. In the previous post, I mentioned what disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on “Meet the Press” yesterday. I neglected to ask a relevant question: why on earth was Newt Gingrich on “Meet the Press” yesterday?

Yesterday was Gingrich’s fifth appearance on “MTP” just this year. In fact, Newt Gingrich, despite not having held any position in government for over a decade, was the single most frequent guest on “Meet the Press” in 2009 of any political figure in the United States. Literally.

From March to December, Gingrich appeared on “MTP,” on average, every other month. No one else in American politics was on the show this often...
Another example which will not come as a surprise to anyone who reads my blog is Mr. David Brooks, who took a different but parallel route to media fame, fortune, influence and respect.  As I wrote a long time ago:
The only real difference between what Mr. Brooks does and what Rush Limbaugh does is that Our Mr. Brooks works his ass-for-rent/tell-you-any-lie-you-wanna-hear end of the business for high-income-bracket-types and with a courtesan's blush, while Limbaugh grinds out his living giving fast, unromantic ten-dollar political handjobs to white trash.
Like a high-end, concierge version of the sewage that Fox and hate Radio pump into the amygdalae of the Pig People, Bobo provides his clients with a form of specialized fetish fulfillment.
Put simply, Limbaugh and Gingrich make their live whipping the Pig People up into politically targetable frenzies, while Brooks makes his living telling his rarefied audience of Aspen Institute thought leaders, college presidents, CEOs and insulated plutocrats that neither the Limbaugh nor Gingrich nor the Pig People really exist at all.  Because...
...Mr. Brooks is engaged in a long-term project to completely rewrite the history of American Conservatism: to flense it of all of the Conservative social, political  economic and foreign policy debacles that make Mr. Brooks wince and repackage the whole era as a fairy tale of noble Whigs being led through treacherous hippie country by the humble David Brooks.
But like virtually every other Conservative propagandists of his species, there is a very clear line of demarcation between the lies Mr. Brooks told during his Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard days, and the lies he has been telling since the Sulzberger family gave him a job-for-life lying on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

And that line run straight through the Iraq War.

You see during the Age of Bush, Mr, Brooks (still at The Weekly Standard) wrote many, many columns full of authoritative assertions about the brilliance of  the economic and foreign policies of George W. Bush and the stupidity and insanity of the dumbass Liberals (which were always "on stilts" for some reason) who questioned or opposed them.  All of those assertions turned out to be catastrophically wrong, which I documented the hell out of several years ago, when I still held out hope that if enough of us took the time to "document the atrocities" every day, and publish them and pass them around, the media would eventually have to stop elevating obvious nitwits and fabulists at the expense of experts and genuine thinkers.

Obviously I was wrong.

One of Mr. Brooks most infamous anti-Liberal hit pieces is from April of 2003 in which he writes "... Now that the war in Iraq is over" and proceeds to wonder how those stupid, crazy Liberals are ever gonna hide from the righteous judgement of history now that "Bush haters" like them have been proven wrong, wrong, wrong!  Because, after all, Liberals were really never anything more than a tribe of dupes and imbeciles anyway! many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics.
Brooks concluded that since we on the Left are just belligerent, deluded haters, we would sustain our stupid, deluded selves and stave off Reality by concocting bigger and more deluded lies:
In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam's remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, "We were wrong. Bush was right." They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war's opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
Ironically, in that one paragraph, Mr, David Brooks -- who has never been right about anything of any importance -- predicted with eerie accuracy the road to Hell and madness down which the entire Right -- from David Brooks to Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh -- has traveled from those heady, consequence-free days of "... Now that the war in Iraq is over"  until now.

And the final fork in that road was the collapse of the Bush Administration and the disastrous failure of the Iraq War.   Because the Right had gone all-in with Dubya, who they worshiped as their semi-divine Deliverer.  Karl Rove swaggered about town predicting a "permanent Republican majority" and you were either with them...or they would drop a fucking house on you.

For those of you who are too young to remember it not a lot of fun being a Liberal during the Age of Bush:

Then then it all fell apart.  For those of you who are too young to remember, Google "Hurricane Katrina".  Google "Terri Schiavo".  Google "Iraq Insurgency"  Google "Abu Ghraib".  Google "The Great Recession".

This presented an immediate and existential threat to the entire Republican Party.  You see, Republicans -- The Party of Personal Responsibility -- had spent seven years robbing the graves of those who died on 9/11 and using that national tragedy as a bottomless political ATM machine: 
 ... the political equivalent of the Blood of Christ -- as a means to absolve themselves of their personal responsibility for eight years of malice and derangement -- for them September 11, 2001 stopped being a moment of shared, national anguish and started being a suit of cultural body-armor which magically deflected any criticism of their lies and their hypocrisy.

An impervious sniper's nest from which they could cynically escalate --
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.
-- their war on the Left.
But the high cotton days were over.  Under Republican governance, the military had been wrecked. The economy was in free fall.  We were hemorrhaging 400,000 jobs a month.  The auto industry was on the brink of complete collapse. Two wars were still burning out of control.  We had pissed away the Clinton Surplus and racked up the highest deficit in history (which David Brooks had repeatedly sworn was impossible.)  And our international reputations was in tatters.  

Taken together, this should have been an extinction-level event for the Republican Party.  But it was not, for two very important reasons.

First, because by now the Right had built a fully-functional and totally impervious Reality Bubble complete with its own think tanks, magazines, newspapers, book publishing houses, preachers, politicians, one and a half cable news networks and, most importantly, 60 million meatheads who were not about to take one iota of Personal Responsibility for the misery and ruin they had cheered on.  

And second, the craven, enabling, Beltway media was not about the admit this one, terrible truth: that the Left had been right about the Right all along, and that they -- the craven, enabling, Beltway media -- had been deeply complicit in every, single Republican debacle.

And so the Beltway media and the Republican Party made common cause against the common threat of being held accountable.  Their efforts took four, interrelated and co-dependent paths.

First, in the greatest missing persons case in American history, the base of the Republican Party suddenly just up and disappeared.  Poof.  Gone, like a fart in a warp engine, just as certain dirty hippies had predicted.  And in their place, millions of newly-minted "independents" suddenly appeared.  

Like Mandrake the Magician I tell you!  

And you know who found this fresh crop of "independents" utterly fascinating?  

David Brooks!

Man, that guy just couldn't get enough of them!  In November of 2009 he wrote a long paean to these brave new arrivals to our plane of existence and, by making a tasty tossed salad out of a grab-bag of different polls and "trends" that were a scant seven months long, decided that the country was now being driven by "independents", and -- surprise! -- these independents had suddenly made a massive lurch to the Right. 

Later, millions of these same "independents" would avail themselves of further refinements to their fake identities offered by the fabulous "Bush Off" machine and emerge as full-fledged members of the "Tea Party" who had never had an opinion about anything in their lives and had never even heard of George W. Bush.  And thus they were taught the most important Conservative lesson of all:  If you just willfully forget hard enough, you can get away with murder (See also, The Memory Hole,  Meme-nto, Strategic Forgettery, Lethe Beach Party and "We Control Matter Because We Control The Mind".)

Once again. many disreputable persons of the Liberal persuasion would waste their time and energy pointing out over and over again that There. Is. No. Tea. Party. 

But once again, who the Hell listens to the Liberals anyway? 

Several years later, both David Brooks and Joe Scarborough would finally get around to admitting that, yeah, they knew it was just the same old racist, imbecile Republican base all along and everyone had a big laugh at how they're all going straight to Hell, but at least they're getting there in really nice cars.  

Second (four steps, remember?), the leaders of the Republican Party decided before Barack Obama had even been sworn into office that their only priory would be sabotaging anything he tried to accomplish by any means necessary. Screw the wars, the economy, the unemployed and the uninsured: literally all they cared about was destroying the black guy.  From Time Magazine, August of 2012:
TIME just published “The Party of No,” an article adapted from my new book, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. It reveals some of my reporting on the Republican plot to obstruct President Obama before he even took office, including secret meetings led by House GOP whip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) in which they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular President-elect during an economic emergency. “If he was for it,” former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, “we had to be against it.” 
Third, the same traitors who would spend the next eight years dynamiting anything Obama tried to do including filibustering their own bills (a sample from TPM, December, 2012) -- 
McConnell Filibusters His Own Bill To Lift Debt Ceiling
-- would then run on a platform of bitching about how it's a damn shame that nothing gets done in Washington D.C.

I know, future generations of historians, this all seem too ludicrous to be true (See "In Search of Historic Bobo").  It could not possibly have been this bad, right?

Oh yes, I assure you, it really was this bad.  And by leaps and bounds it kept getting worse because of...

...Fourth -- and of paramount importance, so pay attention because it will be on the final exam -- is the cement that holds this whole demented juggernaut together.

The Biggest of all the Big Lies.  

Say it with me now...

Both Sides Do It.

"Both Sides Do It" is the Alpha and the Omega of political lies in modern America.  It is the first falsehood that David Brooks has turned to to prop up virtually every one of his shitty columns since the collapse of the Bush Administration...

...and it is the final, desperate, excuse-of-last-resort that every single wingnut in Christendom turns to when they the get themselves cornered in another otherwise inescapable pit of their own bullshit.

It is the fraud that launched a thousand media careers, several ridiculous political "movements" and one entire radio network.  It is...
...[a] parasite-cult that empowers the Right by deflecting and diffusing its opponents. and without which the demise of the Right would be greatly accelerated.

I am speaking, of course, of The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism.

The God of The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism has ruled the American political media for most of our lives, and its deacons and cardinals and popes have made themselves wealthy and influential by spreading it doctrine everywhere.  It has smothered every honest attempt at healing what is broken in our culture, and provided the Right with a permanent alibi for every atrocity they commit. Like the Matrix, it is everywhere,  all around us. You can see it when you turn on your television.  You can hear it on the radio and read it in the paper. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes.

It is the comforting, asphyxiating fairy tale that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us to the truth.

Unlike the Gods of the Right which demand absolute fealty to a thick catechism of warped and wicked beliefs, the God of The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism only asks its adherents to believe nothing.  To render no judgement of any kind on any act of Conservative barbarism...because out there somewhere there is probably some Dirty Hippie doing something equally terrible.   To affix "No Label" to anything, because the worst profanity against the God of The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism is the partisan wish to distinguish between apple juice and battery acid.  Between Liberals and Conservatives.

The God of The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism demands only that its acolytes sit on the sidelines and bitch incessantly about everyone equally -- to face the Beltway and whine five times a day about how equally awful and equally partisan and equally steeped in sin Both Sides are.

It is a God of the lazy and the cowardly and meretricious, all of which suits the depraved, anti-life agenda of the Right just fine, because every single time they burn down another democratic institution, they can rely on the deacons of The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism to be first on the scene. blaming the arsonists and the fire department equally.

But unlike the pantheon of the Gods of the Right, The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism has a fatal flaw, because The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism cannot exist on it' own.  It can only exist as a mathematical function -- a point midway between two extremes, one of which is wholly fictional and one of which is lethally real...
One inevitable characteristic of every Both Siderist fraud is an obsession with the Magical Power of a Perfect Third Party.  In fact, when they're not scrounging around for imaginary hippies to blame for 51% of our nation's problems, they can almost always be found in the Men's Room (center stall) pleasuring themselves loudly to dog-eared copies of "Hot Third Party Action!" magazine.

Exhibit A:  Just as George Bush was laying clear title to Worst President Ever, guess who suddenly decided that Both Sides were a dead loss and that what Murrica really needed was a new party?

A Third Party.

A McCain/Lieberman Party! (with emphasis added for entertainment value.)
Party No. 3 
David Brooks 
AUG. 10, 2006
Yep.  That guy.  
There are two major parties on the ballot, but there are three major parties in America. There is the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the McCain-Lieberman Party.

All were on display Tuesday night.

The Democratic Party was represented by its rising force — Ned Lamont on a victory platform with the net roots exulting before him and Al Sharpton smiling just behind.

The Republican Party was represented by its collapsing old guard — scandal-tainted Tom DeLay trying to get his name removed from the November ballot. And the McCain-Lieberman Party was represented by Joe Lieberman himself, giving a concession speech that explained why polarized primary voters shouldn’t be allowed to define the choices in American politics.

The McCain-Lieberman Party begins with a rejection of the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself. It rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism, and who believe the only way to get American voters to respond is through aggression and stridency.

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.

The McCain-Lieberman Party counters with constant reminders that country comes before party, that in politics a little passion energizes but unmarshaled passion corrupts, and that more people want to vote for civility than for venom.
Both Sides Do It was and is a transparently ridiculous and easily debunked scam...

...on which the professional lives and fortunes of virtually every skeevy creative typist in the Beltway now hangs.

And once the Both Sides Do It lie took root, it became clear what the game would be from now on: to borrow a sentiment from Nick Harkaway's brilliant "Gone Away World", we are required to be perfect, while they only need to be persistent.

And brother and sisters, they are nothing if not persistent.

Practically speaking, this means that no matter how often the Left is proven to be right about the Right the media will never acknowledge it because, like apartment buildings put up by The Amazing Mystico and Janet, the structural integrity of the The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism depends entirely on its members continuing to act at all times as if the illusion were true:

And conversely, no matter how fucked-in-the-head depraved the Right becomes, before they dare to look-with-alarm at, say, the unhinged ravings of a senile racist con-man like Donald Trump, the media must always find a Liberal straw man to sacrifice to the God of Both Siderism lest they lose the lease on their temple that way.

One sterling example among thousands from David Brooks in February of 2016
If this seems like a rerun, it's because it is.   Recycling his own, shitty column from just three weeks ago, David Brooks once again brings the full weight of his status as Beltway Very Serious Pundit Number One to bear on the task of making sure that everyone one Earth believes that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are basically the same person.
Because for the political establishment's most reliable hand-towel, unprincipled political myopia is not just a river in Egypt!

Hillary, for you the whirlwind is Bernie Sanders. For the rest of you it’s Donald Trump...

Trump has no actual policies and Sanders has little chance of getting his passed.

And yet the supporters don’t care. Sanders and Trump...

...the Trump and Sanders phenomena.

In debates Sanders is uninhibited by the constraints of reality, so his answers are always bolder. Trump speaks from the id, not from any policy paper, so his answers are always more vivid.

Many Americans feel like they are the victims of a slow-moving natural disaster. Sanders and Trump...

I’d love to see one of you counter the Trump and Sanders emotional tones with a bold shift in psychology...

Let Trump and Sanders shout, harangue and lecture...

Let them [Trump and Sanders] deliver long, repetitive and uninterrupted lectures...

Let them [Trump and Sanders] stand angry and solitary. You run as part of a team, a band of brothers...

Let them [Trump and Sanders] assert that all our problems can be solved if other people sacrifice...

Let them [Trump and Sanders] emphasize the cold relations of business (Trump) or of the state (Sanders)...

Let them [Trump and Sanders] preach pessimism...

Sanders and Trump have adopted emotional tones that are going to offend and exhaust people over time.
A quarter of a century after laboring to set this cataclysm in motion, there is now an entire generation of Americans who have never known a life unpolluted by Conservative Hate Media:  and enterprise which has metastasized to become a multi-billion dollar, multi-media behemoth with its fascist tentacles everywhere.  

A quarter of a century later, Newt Gingrich is still a degenerate and a charlatan, who still enjoys full Friends With Benefits privileges at all the major networks, and who now sits at the right hand of a senile lunatic with nuclear weapons.

A quarter of a century later, and far from delivered us from evil, the Wise American Voters have instead delivered us into the hands of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and President Stupid.

A quarter of a century later, and the Sober Men of The Establishment now hide out in their cathedral of false equivalence and prattle about the K'rupt Duopoly, the Culture of Washington and how awful it is that Both Sides have let things get so out of hand.

And lo these many years later, a few us us still sit an a keyboard and write things like this.  But really, who the Hell listens to us Liberals anyway? 


Behold, a Tip Jar!


Robt said...

They Live...........!

It seems we need more people that come to chew bubble gum or kick some ass.
With more folks forgetting to bring the bubble gum. Leaving only on option.

Ten Bears said...

Fascism creeps, sneaks in the backdoor.

That measurement of generations is obsolete.

JHB said...

Who's a good voter! (cartoon by Barry Deutch)

proverbialleadballoon said...

@Thomas Ten Bears: I don't want to speak for driftglass here, but what I believe he is illustrating is not a delineation of generations, but rather showing just how long it has been that Hate Radio has been fouling our political discourse. A person could have been born in 1990, and lived their entire life under these circumstances, without knowing a) what political discourse was like with the Fairness Doctrine, and b) that this is an entirely fucked situation. Someone born in 1990 would be 27 years old now, maybe he is married and having kids. ergo, an entire generation has passed without the Fairness Doctrine.

Which is something that I have discussed here, driftglass has expanded and supported and beefed up this notion. Not taking credit for it; in fact, through the fog of memory, I believe that it came to me from reading 1984... and driftglass, back circa the beginning of Obama's presidency. driftglass has been on top of this for that long. Perhaps reading this blog, and his identifying of the Strategic Forgettery of the right, convinced me to re-read 1984. Doublethink. Newspeak. The ability to hold two opposing thoughts in one's head, and to use either, whenever convenient. I was re-reading Orwell, and thinking 'holy shit!', I see the right employing doublethink, every single day!

Which is frightening enough. And the two-minutes hate. We are Goldstein. Liberals are the characature that is the target of hate, every single day. Even more frightening. The Memory Hole. Somehow the media skips from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. What happened in the 8 years in between? Apparently nothing happened, apparently there weren't 8 years in between.

And then you get towards the end of the book, when O'Brien lays it all out for Winston. driftglass has quoted the passage here before. To summarize and to bring it back to Generations: the fascists cleanse the resistance. Opposing viewpoints are eliminated. But there are still those who remember the past. Although they may employ doublethink, somewhere in their brain are the memories of what it was like before. And here is the 'oh fuck' moment. The next generation, they are born and raised under fascism. They don't remember what it was like before. All this is simply the way it is. What they are taught must be the truth. Brainwashing this younger generation is not necessary, they simply need to be conditioned.

And that is what we are seeing today. 30 years without the Fairness Doctrine. An entire generation simply conditioned to hate. Not questioning, because why should they. They've gone their entire lives having this drilled into their heads. And the next generation after this, the children of the 27-year old who has gone his whole life being conditioned to hate, will be taught the same thing.

Long story short: it only takes two generations for the memory of the past to be completely erased. If the children, and the children of the children, don't even know of the past, how could they remember it? The past only exists in human memory. And we've already passed one generation. The next generation after that will be being born right now.

Unknown said...

As proverbialleadballoon stated above i agree 100%. I was born in the seventies and remember the decade quite well as the last decade when the economy was still working for most of us. My dad actually had a company car.. let that sink in. What I am getting at is this, if all you have known is a shitsandwhich day in day out how would you know any better?? I call it the shitsandwich theory and i wish that all it was...

Pablo in the Gazebo said...

Here's a plan: Bring back the draft. You want to make a new generation think about what the fuck is going on here? You want to make them ask questions? Bring back the draft, that will get their attention. It worked for me.

Robt said...

Bringing back the draft will result iin more special treatment of special more deserving people.
-The Vietnam War 5 deferment war hero Vice President Dick Cheney.
-The reserves and Gaurd used as safe deepositories for the elite 's chileren to serve without facing any reality. President GW Bush. Who protected the skies of Texas against the Cong when he did show up for attendence and wasn't excused to go work on GOP campaigns instead.

0The GOP president candidate as the r4 religious dererments of Mitt Romney to recruit Mormons in France.

Our presesent "so called president with his 4 vietnem War deferments because of bone spur in a foot he does not remenber which one it was while boasting of the sports and activities he was so GREAT at all those years.
A President with deferments that could tell Americans that he doesn't like sodiers that get captured. The likes to believe his bad bou school for unruly kids his dad placed him in for dicipline was like military training.

Ted Nugent if you know his story of getting deferments from Vietnam and how he is now some sort of Rambo?

The Draft would help like you say. Do you really think a Senators son is going to serve ? Or that he will not be provided with a safe position? So he can say he served?

If this is eliminated with NO EXEMPTIONS as I described then I would agree with the Draft.
Ass I faced the draft and its lotto numbers and exemptions during Vietnam myself and I do recall all the changes to date that many have no idea because of those changes.

Most important on any question of a draft.
Why doesn't Congress perform their constitutional duty of Declaring war or not?
Any congress that skirts this duty to a president. Those congressmen (no matter what political poke a dots they wear) must be relieved of their representative duty and removed from congress.

Keep in mind, there are some humans. That are not suited to perform what the military demands. Plain and simple. And they will get themselves killed and those around them.
This doesn't make them weak and useless. It is simply like how some can handle the math but not the sports. As some can excel at sports and not the math.

Just a thought from one who remembers the draft and faced it. There was a lot of talk from folks at the time who thought Canadian living could be what the doctor ordered.

Dan Kleiner said...

spot on: i've made that argument OFTEN during the 2016 campaign, mostly in response to sandernistas effortlessly spouting right-wing talking points-

people who were not politically aware before '96, pre-fox have NO fucking clue that they've been SATURATED by and marinating in BULLSHIT.

as hard as explaining to fish about water.

Dan Kleiner said...

yeah. this is spot-on.

pretty much EXACTLYhow i remember things.

Unknown said...

Well, there's reading, writing and thinking. Teach your kids that there's something beyond the magic media screen.

darrow said...

This was excellent. Reminiscent of the great Bartcop. Thanks Driftglass!

Milayna said...


28 year old here. Hi!

I have never personally known the Fairness Doctrine. But by reading articles like this I come to...not understand the past as you do, but understand that it WAS different in the past. That, and my personal commitment to being a Good Person and watching the the final descent of the Republican Party into overt evil, watch it throw off the thin shroud of dogwhistles, has allowed me to resist conditioning. There are quite a few like me, still, though I also have ex-friends of my generation who have given into madness and hatred...

Unfortunately as much as I like to analyze and strategize, I have no idea what to do about all of this...even if we do take power in 2018 and 2020, the steps needed to eliminate the poisoners are themselves fascist, and even if we try a Progressive cultural renaissance, I'm not sure we can hold onto power long enough to dominate Hate Culture out of existence.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I get it. Republicans, Gingrich, David Brooks, Limbaugh, etc. but what about your neighbours? What about people that eat at the same fast food joint or, perhaps, maybe (just maybe) the people that buy at the same local organic farm? What about the parents of the kids that go to school with your kids? What about all the local business people, from the slime-ball used car salesman to the righteous new-born real-estate agent? All of whom are supposed to be part of this so-called democracy. When something is rotten at its core, maybe one should look more at the rot--not the cream of the rot.
Just sayin.
Dig your podcast.

barney said...

This history of the last 25 years of Republican douchery is not propagated nearly enough. Progressives and Dems need to do a better job of packaging and propagating this history to voters.