Thursday, November 23, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

Danger UXB


It seems that a small and selective percentage of the tons of unexploded ordnance left over from the 1990s are now being dug up and detonated here in 2017.

And various longtime pundits for whom loathing of the Clintons was always the very best career butter are finding that dusting off their old IBM Selectrics and banging out 800 words of copy on Bill "History's Greatest Villain" Clinton and Hillary "History's Other Greatest Villain" Clinton to once again be a rewarding and profitable enterprise.

A sampling.

Ross Cardinal Douthat:
What if Ken Starr Was Right?
Maureen Dowd:
The Hillary Effect
Andrew Sullivan:
But evangelical Republicans are not, of course, the only group susceptible to such corruption. Democrats are human as well, as we have so abundantly discovered. Many of them have also made their political struggle into a secular form of religion, and found myriad ways to defend the indefensible because the cause demanded it. I vividly remember Gloria Steinem’s op-ed defending Bill Clinton’s sex abuse at the time...
Many giddy, Jebus-lovin' meatbags have even taken to Twitter to demand that statues of Bill Clinton come down because adultery is definitely as bad or worse than sedition, secession and five years of bloody civil war in the name of preserving slavery.

Definitely.

But getting back to the men and women of our elite Beltway punditocracy who get paid to have opinions in public, I am not surprised in the least that Mr. Andrew Sullivan (for example) vividly remembers a Gloria Steinem op-ed from 20 years ago, because the 1990s is where these people all still live:



These were the high-cotton days of the Elite Pundiocracy -- relative peace, relative prosperity, the GOP giving itself over body and soul to Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, and a relatively popular, intelligent, charming anddeeply flawed triangulator-in-chief named Bill Clinton to beat on like a pinata with one faked-up scandal after another.  Then thrown in a special persecutor named Ken Starr who leaked like colander full of tomato soup, with an unlimited budget and a mandate from his GOP handlers to find anything which could be used to destroy the Clinton Administration and it's a three-year Tantric pundit orgasm the likes of which they haven't come close to having since.  

Which is why -- as I pointed out more than a decade ago -- the Pundiocracy and the GOP all got stuck there.  They all came down with a fatal case of collective Meme-nto: the inability to form any new political memories after 1997 -- 


-- and I am left asking the same question now that I asked all the way back then:
Why has the Fourth Estate – right before our eyes -- become a bunch of cowardly Fifth Columnists?

Why, when confronted with clear and overwhelming proof of their complicity and gutlessness -- when asked the simple question “Why?” -- do they go all squirmy and twitchy and outraged?

Why do Conservatives get to stand on desks with their hair on fire and shriek the most ludicrous, vile and mendacious hogwhiz – year after year after year after year after motherfucking year -- unchallenged? Why do these same howler monkeys -– who have been not just wrong but spectacularly, catastrophically wrong about everything, every time -- keep getting invited back in front of the cameras and onto the pages of major newspapers?

And when they rise from their crypts yet again to spackle yet another layer of Conservative lies on the wounded world – to send another wave of our kids off to die for no good reason, circle the wagons around another corporate monster, piss another precious pint of what’s left of our nation’s good name down the sewer, tax-cut-and-spend us further into debt – why do the same “journalists” who were ever eager to carve another slice out of Clinton’s ass over trivia, now piss themselves in like puppies in a thunderstorm and hide under the bed as Conservatives rape the truth two feet in front of them and them rub their noses in it?
But here's the deal.

For all of that -- in fact because of all of that -- I am absolutely up for re-litigating the past.

I'm all in, baby!

But if we're going to re-litigate the past 20 years, we're going to re-litigate all of it.  Every corner of it.  Every president.  Every political party.  Every media outlet.

All of it.

So let the war crimes trials of the Bush Administration commence.

And let the Caucus Room conspirators be dragged into the light for a much-too-long-delay ass-whippin'.

On Meet the Press every week, let Mr. David Brooks answer for all the shit he has been slinging for the last 20 years, and this time the prosecutor will not accept "I don't think I ever wrote those things" as an answer.



Let us firmly resolve to shove all the reprogrammable "independent" meatbags through the Bush Off Machine backwards and let them be tried in the public dock for all they said and did before they burned their Bush/Cheney lawn signs, put on their funny hats and swore they'd never heard of George W. Bush.  And let every "journalist" who let them get away with it stand in the dock with them.

And let us put these patriots under a microscope and find out just exactly how they got this fucked-in-the-head:

In this matter I am as one with Bethesda 1971 over at Daily Kos:
Let the Retroactive Reckonings Begin!
Because the pundits and political hacks who now want to haul their highly redacted memories of Bill Clinton circa 1998 into the spotlight are the same pundits and political hacks who have made a positive fetish out of what one wag once called "Strategic Forgettery".   And now is as good a time as any to make them pay the price for it.

So go ahead, lets unearth all of that which has been buried and is now hammering away beneath the nation's floorboards like the Tell-Tale Heart.

But I warn you, you may not like what you find:




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Kellyanne Conway Offers Her Daughter To The Mob



From the Bible verse that Roy Moore has been jerking it to for 50 years:
But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”  Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 

From Kellyanne Conway today:

Of course it was going to come to this.


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Friday, November 17, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #415


"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
-- Bill Shakespeare , writer
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In Case You Thought There Was Anything New Under The Sun


Many of my old comrades from The News Blog days have long since departed for Purity Angel Elysium.  Over the years (shit, I mean decades) I have heard from a few of them, them every now and again, mostly during the administration of Barack "Worse Than Boosh!" Obama, and almost exclusively to chastise me for being a bad and unworthy Libtard.

Ah well.  I've been thrown out of better places.  I've been called worse things.  They seem happy up there in paradise, secure in their own self-regard, surrounded by the like-minded and removed from this grimy, elbows-deep-in-the-imperfect world.  And what more should one want for old friends than they find a little happiness in this old universe?

And speaking of old friends long gone, I thought it might be time to trot out this ancient colloquy between the late Steve Gilliard and the retired-from-the-field Billmon.  This is done by way of a reminder that today's differences, which seem so manifest and present, actually long predate President Stupid.  And the Bernie Sanders campaign.  And Donna Brazille.  And the seemingly centuries-ago days of the Barack "Worse Than Boosh!" Obama Administration when the Purity Angels could luxuriate in their contempt and sneer at ol' Droneglass secure in the knowledge that, worst-case, they'd have President Hillary to gleefully beat like a pinata for four or eight years' worth of bitter candy and delicious self-righteousness.

But it didn't work out that way.  Instead, well, the K'rupt Duopoly was overthrown.  By a Man From Outside The System -- a man who is moving swiftly to smash every yucky, stale, old tradition and standard of behavior to bits.

It's Mission Accomplished, kids, so why the long faces?

From the late Steve Gilliard in August of 2006.  Take a close look at Billmon's language from 11 years ago.  See if you notice anything familiar.

It matters to some people

Billmon posted this up and it bugs the shit out of me.

A "Bad" Sign............................ 
I used to argue that progressives in this country had no choice but to support the Democrats -- even pathetic frauds like Howard Dean and inept Thurston Howell III clones like John Kerry. I used to quote Frederick Douglas's despairing comment about what the Republican Party of his day represented for African Americans: the rock; all else is the sea.

Maybe that was true, once. But I've finally come to realize that in modern-day America there is no rock -- just a vast, featureless expanse of reactionary ocean, like something from the set of Waterworld, except without a gilled Kevin Costner.

So here's my confession: At this point I really don't give a flying fuck whether the Democrats take the House or the Senate back. No, wait, that's not true. The truth is I hope they don't. It wouldn't save us from what's coming down the road, in the Middle East and elsewhere. It wouldn't force President Psychopath to change course or seek therapy. But it would make sure that the "left" (ha ha ha) gets more than its fair share of blame for the approaching debacle.

That may well be the natural role of the Democratic Party in our one-and-a-half party system, but I don't want any part of it any more. Which means that when I say it's a bad sign (consensus opinion always being wrong) that Charlie Cook now thinks the Republicans are likely to lose their House and/or Senate majorities in November, I just mean that it's a bad sign for the Democratic Party and its professional hangers on.

For the rest of us, and for whatever is left of this country's soul, it doesn't really matter. We've already lost.

You know, if you have a good job and a nice house, you can think this way.

If you're making minimum wage, you need a Democratic Congress, if you want to be treated with stem cells, if you want to get an abortion.

It's easy to sit back and say nothing will happen to Bush, because nothing will happen to you. But if you're fighting with the VA, it fucking matters. If your kid is in Iraq, it fucking matters. Fuck the shit which comes with Bush, there are people who need the help, even minimal help, a Democratic Congress can provide.

A lot of nice, middle class progressives forget that the fight isn't for them. You think for one second I believe Ned Lamont knows what it's like to be working class, much less working class and black, living in a New Haven housing project?

What I know is that Joe Lieberman turned his back on those people and put his foot on their necks in so many ways I've lost count. It's their kids dying in Iraq, coming home to a fucked up VA, not getting their benefits.

At least Lamont wants to listen and Lieberman stopped long ago.

You better remember that if you see a vast sea, there are some folks drowning and the question is whether you save them or leave them to their fate.

When those Coast Guard pilots and rescue swimmers flew over New Orleans, they could have said, shit, too many wires, too many unknowns, let's get some boats for them. Instead, they jumped in the water and started saving people.

Which is what we are tasked to do. We don't have time to worry about Bush, there are people who need a government not at their throats. They don't need it in theory, they don't need it in some undefined future, they need it today, and if not today, tomorrow. Those Wal Mart workers need real health insurance, and the GOP isn't going to give it to them.

There are real people who need what a Democratic Congress can provide and who need it as soon as they can get it.

For the record, a lot of those Wal Mart workers eventually got real health insurance.  So did tens of millions of other Americans who desperately needed it.

It was messy and complicated and most of the Red States opted for lying, sabotage and sadistic fuckery instead of Medicaid expansion, and Ted Kennedy died, and Scott Brown was elected, and it took longer for them to recount, certify and seat Al Franken than it takes Michael Apted to bring out an Up film and the Majyk Single Payer Fairy was too busy on some other plane of existence to put a horse-head in Joe Lieberman's bed, and a bunch of other maddening shit happened too.

And tens of millions of Americans who desperately needed health insurance got health insurance.  And they got it specifically because one of our two major political parties -- the Democrats -- managed to get something passed -- just barely -- over the unified, berserker opposition of the other one of our two major political parties.  The Republicans.

And for the last eight years, the central organizing principle of the Republicans has been undoing every single thing the Black President did, starting with stripping health insurance from tens of millions of Americans, so they they can give their donors trillions of dollars in tax cuts.

Right now, at this moment in history, there are two sides to this very ugly fight.

Pick one.



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Today In Both Sides Do It: Famous New York Times Columnist Sticks It To America's Clueless Elite



From the most cloistered and cosseted Beltway parvenu in America;
Our Elites Still Don’t Get It

David Brooks NOV. 16, 2017
Yeah, baby!  This is why people queue up at 12:30 in the morning at newsstands across American, waiting for the New York Times to hit the pavement! Just to read the fiery David "Eugene V. Debs" Brooks putting the fucking hammer to those clueless elitists! 

But sadly, there was once again no piercing insight to be found in the tepid pot of message delivered by America's Most Ubiqutious Conservative Public Intellectual today. 

Instead, Mr. Brooks one-hundred-dollars-a-word word-gruel just glopped ponderously down the same well-worn runnel which decades of writing the same wretchedly dishonest god damn column over and over and over again has eroded into the facade of American journalism:
Naked liberals of right and left assume that if you give people freedom they will use it to care for their neighbors, to have civil conversations, to form opinions after examining the evidence. But if you weaken family, faith, community and any sense of national obligation, where is that social, emotional and moral formation supposed to come from? How will the virtuous habits form?...

People can endure a lot if they have a secure base, but if you take away covenantal attachments they become fragile. Moreover, if you rob people of their good covenantal attachments, they will grab bad ones. First, they will identify themselves according to race. They will become the racial essentialists you see on left and right: The only people who can really know me are in my race. Life is a zero-sum contest between my race and your race, so get out...

Right-wingers wanted to maximize economic choice and left-wingers lifestyle choice. Anything that smacked of restraint came to seem like a bad thing to be eliminated...

There is a corporate hand that shapes our media
rough-hew them as we will.


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Orrin Hatch Was Born a Poor Black Child



Love it when yet another crusty superannuated guardian at the gates of the plutocracy goes full-blown Identity Politics when his grasp of basic arithmetic gets slapped out of his hands in public.

There Is No Peak Hypocrisy



Sorry, Ms. Reid. The we hit peak hypocrisy around the time the Newt Gingrich was thundering our pious jeremiads and leading torch-wielding mobs of wingnuts against Bill "History's Greatest Monster" Clinton by day...

...while cheating on his second wife with his third mistress by night.

After being run out of office thanks to a serendipitous alignment of ethics violation and a Republican Party that had learned the gastronomic pleasured of eating its own, Mr. Gingrich went on to a long and profitable career as a grifting, bomb-throwing, racist monster, excrete of unreadable slabs of prose, trusted Beltway Insider, perennial also-ran presidential candidate, adviser to President Stupid, altar at which Shelly Adelson periodically burns his walking-around-money, and, of course -- 
  • Advocate of civilization
  • Definer of civilization
  • Teacher of the rules of civilization
  • Arouser of those who form civilization
  • Organizer of the pro-civilization activists
  • Leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.
-- before landing as the First Gentleman of the American ambassador to the Vatican.

None of which would have been possible if American corporate media -- especially Ms. Reid's* employers at NBC -- had not made it its mission to rehabilitate Mr. Gingrich's public reputation after each public relations disaster, no matter what and no questions asked, over and over and over again.

From me, once upon a time in the Midwest...

*Thanks for the catch!
...
The fact that American corporate media was stakehorsing ("A financial backer who covers the gambling losses of a pool player in exchange for some percentage of the winnings.") this grifting fraud for the last 20 years --


-- became so obvious and the pattern of their collusion became so predictable that I started documenting it under the heading of "The Gingrich Rules".

You might have read about it once or twice :-)
In the game of professional punditry there also clearly exists a special set of rules designed with one person on mind.  Or, rather, one sort of person: Conservatism's parade of bomb-throwing, hate-mongering, race-baiting bottom feeders.  That breed which makes their daily bread from grifting the Pig People by generating an endless flood of books, magazine articles, broadcasts, speeches and videos all telling the GOP base over and over again that them their bigotries are noble and their paranoia is patriotic.

Of course, part of the downside of wallowing in the wingnut sewer and trafficking in slander and lies is that, sooner or later, you become a toxic mess.  Your stink becomes unacceptable to the general public, which s where the Sunday morning talk shows -- the Mouse Circus -- comes in.   Because despite having long ago devolved into a sinkhole of Beltway centrist twaddle, it is still viewed by altogether too many people as a bastion of Very Serious people -- it's the strip-mall of political opinion where casual shoppers go to feel smart and validated.

And so a bargain is struck; the bottom feeders deliver a temporary hike in the only thing these show's owners really care about -- audience share -- and, in exchange for being teevee friendly and keeping the worst of their batshit crazy on a leash for a few minutes, their Mouse Circus deburrs the bottom feeders' public image, replates and burnishes their credibility and temporarily transfuses them with Seriousness, which can then be redeemed at ten times its face value back among the Pig People.

And in the key to that bargain we find "The Gingrich Rules":  an agreement that the moderator will never, ever ask the bomb-throwing, hate-mongering, race-baiting goon sitting directly across from them a single question about their bomb-throwing, hate-mongering or race-baiting activities.  Instead they will be represented to the public merely as a Conservative commentator or talk radio host or pundit who, at worst, might be known for some "controversial" opinions, which the moderator will never bothers to explicate...

I see now that at least one of the reasons the American corporate media kept dunking Gingrich's career in the Lazarus Pit and bringing it back life over and over again was the same reason that doomsday preppers stockpile seeds and ammunition.  So if SHTF Day ever came and a racist halfwit orange Republican fire demon was ever elected president, Gingrich would be ready and waiting to be swept into his orbit, thus giving the American corporate media a ready-made "insider" who was already beholden to them and who would obligingly dispense quotable quotes on demand.