Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Sorcerer's Apprentice


From the "capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them" (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin) department, I see that the Beast that Zucker Created is making a meal out of the hand that fed it.

The White House Just Declared War on CNN

Your move, Jeff Zucker.

...
In case you missed it, the White House just declared war on CNN. (Odd, because, if it weren't for executives seeking to spike ratings, Donald Trump would be back haunting dressing rooms at the Miss Universe pageant and Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be on the 700 Club, hawking Jesus by the pound.) Moreover, it did so by having the White House officially endorse James O'Keefe's latest preposterous ratfcking project. What's next? Sarah Huckabee Sanders beginning the next briefing with, "But first, a word about Alex Jones and his magical brain pills"?

It's CNN's obligation to fight back on this, hard. Time to cut loose Jeffrey Lord. Time for Jeff Zucker to stop worrying about what the president* and the White House think of him. Time for the network to be as cutthroat as the administration that is trying to destroy it.

James O'Keefe, shilled from the White House podium.

I may have lived too long.
If I were forced to quote from noted Radical Liberal Lefty Commie Bill Shakespeare here, it would probably be something like:
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great?
But of course in this brave new world (The Tempest) where books aren't even judged by their covers (George Eliot) but by what Fox & Fiends (typo intentional) interprets their covers to mean, that would be terribly wrong.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunday Morning Comin' Down



"There's No Time Like the Present" Edition.

In which Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times dines out on moldy pizza from the back of the fridge, so why shouldn't I?

Specifically. America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual took time out from his many side gigs gassing on about "Whither Conservatism?"* for PBS, NPR, TED Talks, the college lecture circuit and Meet the Press to appear on Fareed Zakaria's GPS this Sunday to gas on about "Whither Conservatism?"

And here's a fun fact: it was all leftovers.


From Sunday:
There was a book that was really useful to read -- a short book -- called the Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.
If this sounds mighty familiar, it should.  This was the crutch on which Mr. Brooks was leaning hard over a year ago ( NYT, March 25, 2016"The Post-Trump Era"):
According to Kuhn, intellectual progress is not steady and gradual. It’s marked by sudden paradigm shifts. There’s a period of normal science when everybody embraces a paradigm that seems to be working. Then there’s a period of model drift: As years go by, anomalies accumulate and the model begins to seem creaky and flawed. 
Then there’s a model crisis, when the whole thing collapses. Attempts to patch up the model fail. Everybody is in anguish, but nobody knows what to do.
This was back when Mr. Brooks was doing what Mr. Brooks always does when faced nose-to-nose with the ugly reality that his Republican Party is every bit as monstrous as those terrible Liberals always said it was: skipping right over the Grim and Inconvenient Present and moving on to giddy predictions about the Glorious Future!
This is a wonderful moment to be a conservative. For decades now the Republican Party has been groaning under the Reagan orthodoxy, which was right for the 1980s but has become increasingly obsolete. The Reagan worldview was based on the idea that a rising economic tide would lift all boats. But that’s clearly no longer true.
...

That’s where the G.O.P. is heading. So this is a moment of anticipation. The great question is not, Should I vote for Hillary or sit out this campaign? The great question is, How do I prepare now for the post-Trump era?

The first step clearly is mental purging: casting aside many existing mental categories and presuppositions, to shift your identity from one with a fixed mind-set to one in which you are a seeker and open to anything. The second step is probably embedding: going out and seeing America again with fresh eyes and listening to American voices with fresh ears, paying special attention to that nexus where the struggles of Trump supporters overlap with the struggles of immigrants and African-Americans.
...
Of course a year ago Mr. Brooks was 99.7% certain that Hillary Clinton would win, which meant that after the election he could slip off to the Aspen Institute to facilitate Exciting Round-tables on the Exciting Future of Conservatism with his fellow Serious Conservatives, while dashing off the occasional, disappointed "Why Won't President Hillary Unite Us?" column to meet his New York Times contractual obligations.

Because for Mr. Brooks, it is literally true in a perverse, Opposite World way that "There's No Time Like the Present".

But Hillary did not win. And for has last 157 days and counting, President Stupid and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and +60 million Republican voters have proven over and over again  beyond any doubt whatsoever that the Left has been right about the Right all along.

Or, as I wrote on the occasion of Mr. Brooks first gavotte down this ridiculous goat path (David Brooks: The Great Project, Volume II -- The Panglossing):
You see, Mr. Brooks' relationship with the actual here-and-now here in America has always been a lot like Mr. Brooks' marriage:  a disaster Mr. Brooks which has been trying to get as far away from as humanly possible, because it is the graveyard of all his ridiculous postulating and pontificating about Man and God and Culture.  This is why Mr. Brooks has always reserved his biggest, gassiest lies for long paeans on the subject of Conservatism's amazing imaginary past -- which is always juuust out of sight in the Republican rear-view mirror -- and Conservatism's awesome imaginary future -- which is always juuust over the Republican horizon.

And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling Republican voters...

...who showed all of the wealthy chumps who have underwritten Mr. Brooks' Great Project exactly what Conservatism's awesome future actually looks like:



But Mr. Brooks is a resourceful parasite who learned long ago that by using the right combination of lies he can keep a profitable scam going long after it is readily apparent to virtually everyone (except the chumps) that he is full of shit.  This is because, however freaked out the wealthy chumps who have underwritten his claptrap for all these years may be by the utter collapse of everything David Brooks has ever promised them about the Bright Conservative Future That Is Just Around The Corner --
The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase. 
--  David Brooks, November 5, 2014.
-- they are so completely hostage to the Sunk Cost Fallacy that they have no choice but to go right on buying what David Brooks is selling:



And what gallon-jugs of high-end wingnut rotgut is David Brooks peddling to his desperate, Whig-drunk clientele today?

What else but another gargantuan time-jump in which we fly-fly-fly right over the inconveniently incriminating here-and-now and into that Bright Conservative Future which David Brooks swears, by God and Emile Durkheim, is still Just Around The Corner...
Well, that was over a year ago, and now that our country is sliding into the Saarlac Pit of the Stupid Administration while virtually the entire Republican Party cheers it on as progress, Mr. Brooks' evergreen "The Coming Conservative Renaissance" knuckle-ball is no longer getting the job done.  Which is why he has to go to his most reliable backup junk:  the split-finger Both Siderist pitch.  

In this case, with a bit of ham-handed prestidigitation aided by the fawning Fareed Zakaria, Mr. Brooks magically turns the obvious, unhinged lunacy and scalding racism of his Republican Party...

...into an elite dismissal of "parties" plural.

According to Mr. Brooks (at the 4:13 mark of the video), "parties" are "not ideological anymore". which is going to come as a huge shock to the tens of millions Democrats who have squared off to fight -- however imperfectly -- for the principle of "Heath Care for All" (and public education as a civic necessity, and worker safety, and reproductive choice, and consumer protection, and mitigating climate change, and a living wage, and affordable college, and... and... and...) against the tens of millions Republicans who have sworn eternal fealty to the proposition that, if the Kenyan Usurper did it, it must be destroyed.

But Mr. Brooks sees none of this because Mr. Brooks lives in a sumptuously appointed, New York Times-funded Beltway cocoon from which he can can float high above the petty concerns of actual people in the real world, and make Laputan pronouncements like this:
What parties are these days are cultural signifiers.  Social identity markers.  And just (frown) teams. 
People think "What team has people like me on it? What fits my social identity?"
And yet strangely, the only evidence Mr. Brooks can bring to the table of people stumbling blindly into a political marriage that no amount of treachery, fraud, batshit lies, racism and treason by President Stupid can put asunder are white Republican women from the white Republican suburbs of Missouri who fell hard for a crazy white Republican lady from Alaska who got famous for calling a black guy a terrorist.  
A lot of suburban women in Missouri looked around and said, "Sarah Palin.  She's kinda like me."  And whether Sarah Palin believed in high tax rates or low tax rates or health insurance markets or, uh, some other health care policy. that's not what they were thinking about.  
Because, really, who in America is more dialed-in to the deepest, innermost thoughts of suburban women in Missouri than David Brooks, amirite?
They were thinking about "Who's white like me?" And for a lot of people in the Republican Party which is older, whiter and less educated at the core. Trump was like that.
No moral here. other than the usual:  The Sunday Shows are a wasteland of intellectually destitute relics of a bygone age who all know each other, are all bought into the same Beltway Both Siderist fairy tale about American culture and politics, and all keep their careers afloat by hanging onto each other like a roller rink full of flailing drunks trying to maintain their collective balance.  

*Thanks for the catch

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Matthew Dowd is a Fundamentally Ridiculous Person



Over in The Better Universe it would be a shocking and shameful thing to learn that ABC News' chief political analyst does not have the faintest idea how a bill is drafted and introduced in either the United States House or Senate.

Over in this universe, it's just par for the course.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Many Thanks To Noted Ridiculous Person Matthew Dowd For My New Blog Header


Couldn't have done it without you, Matty-boy!

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.

Professional Left Podcast #394

"What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds."
-- Eric Hoffer


Links:
  • "‘That White Boy ’Bout to Lose’: The Inescapable Racial Politics of the Ga. 6th Special Election” by Jason Johnson
The Professional Left is "sponsored" by...





...and, of course, listeners like you!



Thursday, June 22, 2017

And I Looked, and Behold a Pale Whore...



And his name that sat on him was Derp.

And Hell followed with him.

In fulfillment of prophecy, Andy Lack has finally given America's most famous Cyborg Sent From The Future To Destroy America his own show.

Hugh Hewitt to Host Show on MSNBC

MSNBC is expanding weekend news with live programming until 9 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday nights, TVNewser has learned.

As part of the expansion, conservative radio talk show host and MSNBC contributor Hugh Hewitt is getting a half hour show, airing Saturdays at 8 a.m. ET...

Hewitt’s first show, which will air live, is this Saturday morning. Expanding news programming has long been the goal of NBC News chairman Andy Lack, who created MSNBC 21 years ago...
America's most famous Cyborg Sent From The Future To Destroy America generates a lot of byproducts.

Most of them are toxic.

None of them are "news".

Let's go to the tape!  (h/t Crooks & Liars)


Never forget that your lives and your concerns mean absolutely nothing to the corporate hobgoblins who own and operate the American media.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

This Is Pretty Perfect

Matthew Dowd And The Bro-Mide Party




The Bro-Mide Party believes in good stuff and not bad stuff.

The Bro-Mide Party believes in Country over Party.

The Bro-Mide Party believes that the Murrican People stand with them in being in favor of positive things and against negative things.

The Bro-Mide Party believes in Civility n' shit.

The Bro-Mide Party believes the K'rupt Duopoly is behind all of our problems.

The Bro-Mide Party believes in compromise, except, of course, with the K'rupt Duopoly.

The Bro-Mide Party believes that since Both Sides Are Equally Awful, the Bro-Mide Party will inevitably sweep to power and enact lots of good stuff and no bad stuff (Bromide Party math:  Your K'rupt 65 million votes plus my 10,000 votes ... will give me 65,010,000 votes!)

The Bro-Mide Party believes that once they sweep to power they can swiftly and directly translate the sentiments found on vapid motivational posters fading away on the walls of middle management offices across America into concrete economic policy, climate change policy, foreign policy, health care regulatory policy, education policy, housing policy, public lands policy, energy policy, judicial policy, etc.

And lastly, the Bro-Mide Party proves P.T. Barnum was right: there's a sucker born every minute, and two to take him.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Don't You Dare Call It "Trumpism"



Or, as the lovely and talented Blue Gal wrote over at Crooks & Liars back in August of 2016:
Don't You Dare Call It 'Trump-ism'
I swear, imma marry that woman!

Lost in the long and ponderous shadows cast by the stupidest David Brooks column in a very long time was this little gem of stupid denialism in today's column by former George W. Bush chief speechwriter, senior Republican policy adviser and reliable Beltway Republican stalactite, Michael Gerson.
The GOP’s hard, messy options for destroying Trumpism
There is no such thing as "Trumpism", Mr. Gerson.  There is just "Republicanism" as all of us out here in the real world have experienced it for decades.
Trump has been ruled by compulsions, obsessions and vindictiveness...
Just like the base of the Republican Party.
He has demonstrated an egotism that borders on solipsism. 
Just like the base of the Republican Party.
His White House is divided, incompetent and chaotic...
Just like the minds of the base of the Republican Party.
He has told constant, childish, refuted, uncorrected lies...
Just like the base of the Republican Party.
[He has] ... demanded and habituated deception among his underlings. 
Just like the "Fair and Balanced" sewer from which the base of the Republican Party get their opinions.
He has promoted self-serving conspiracy theories
Christ on a chemtrail, Gerson, have you ever in whole your life actually met a member of the base of your Republican Party?  Or does your GOP come out of the same hokum hookah where David Brooks finds his?
He has displayed pathetic, even frightening, ignorance on policy matters foreign and domestic. 
Just like the base of the Republican Party.
He is dead to the poetry of language and to the nobility of the political enterprise, viewing politics as conquest rather than as service.
Just like the base of the Republican Party.  See also, "Any comment section of any Conservative website any time, day or night".
Trump has made consistent appeals to prejudice based on religion and ethnicity...
Just like the base of the Republican Party.
[He has] ... associated the Republican Party with bias. 
Honestly, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this level of infantile self-deception from a grown-ass man.
He has stoked tribal hostilities. He has carelessly fractured our national unity. He has attempted to undermine respect for any institution that opposes or limits him — be it the responsible press, the courts or the intelligence community. 
You have just articulated the basic building blocks -- the Guanine and Adenine -- of the political DNA of the base of the Republican Party.
For many Republicans and conservatives, there is apparently no last straw, with offenses mounting bale by bale. 
And halfway through his column, Mr. Gerson's gives up on his own ridiculous thesis, because here is no such thing as "Trumpism".  There never has been, just as there never was a "Tea Party".  There is just raw, thuggish, nihilistic"Republicanism" as it has always existed behind the thin veneer of Beltway respectability that people like Michael Gerson were paid to applique onto the true face of the Party of Jefferson Davis.

And so Mr. Gerson asks the only question that is left for the Right to ask:
So what is the proper objective for Republicans and conservatives? It is the defeat of Trumpism, preferably without the destruction of the GOP itself. And how does that happen?
And his answer?  He has none.  He only has terrible alternatives, one of which is
Creating a conservative third party — as some have proposed — would have the effect of delivering national victories to a uniformly liberal and unreformed Democratic Party. A bad idea.
Fuck you and your fucking Both Siderism you knee-biter.  But in the spirit of unity, let us end on a note of agreement.
Whatever option is chosen, it will not be easy or pretty. And any comfort for Republicans will be cold because they brought this fate on themselves and the country.
They didn't bring this fate on themselves and the country. Mr, Gerson.

You did.  

You brought this fate on yourself and our country.

And we will never let you forget it.