Friday, February 05, 2016

Professional Left Podcast #322

"The world is still a weird place, despite my efforts to make clear and perfect sense of it."

-- Hunter S. Thompson, writer

Happy #Blogrollamnestyday Citizens

Yes, as Skippy the Bush Kangaroo reminds us all, it is that day once again.  The day when we wee bloggers celebrate being officially cast out by the Big Bloggers because you can't get to heaven in a rocking chair, 'cause a rocking chair won't get you there.

Or something.

Let the late and sorely-missed "Jon Swift" explain.

...The idea that links are the capital of the blogosphere seems so obvious that you would think an economist like Atrios of Eschaton would have realized it long ago. And as he is a progressive who has accumulated quite a bit of link wealth, you might also think he would be in favor of redistributing some of that wealth instead of just letting it trickle down. So when heannounced last year that he was declaring February 3 Blogroll Amnesty Day, and other bloggers followed suit, I assumed he meant that he was opening his blogroll up to the masses. I sent him a polite email pointing out that his blog was on my blogroll and I would really appreciate it if he would add my blog to his. I never heard back from him. 
When February 3 rolled around, many bloggers discovered to their horror that instead of adding new blogs to his blogroll he was throwing many off, including some bloggers who were his longtime friends. Blogroll Amnesty Day, it turned out, was a very Orwellian concept. Instead of granting amnesty to others he was granting amnesty to himself not to feel bad for hurting others feelings. Though Atrios has stubbornly refused to acknowledge that he made a mistake, some bloggers who initially joined him, backtracked...
And so once a year we field-gleaners "Look up! Link down!"

and remember that there are no small blogs, only small font sizes.

Or something.

So please treat yourself by visiting these fine blogs today!

Chicago Guy's Blog

The Rectification of Names.

Vixen Strangely.

Mock, Paper, Scissors

Suburban Guerrilla

The Beachwood Reporter


The Gazetteer

Everyone's favorite Vagabond Scholar

The Galloping Beaver

And, of course, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo!

David Brooks: A Question of Moral Relativism

Six days a week, Mr. David Brooks make a very good living hauling water for the worst political regime in modern America history.  

He does it by lying about the history and direction of his Republican party.  He does it by pretending that any outward evidence of the depravity of his Republican party is merely a transient, surface nuisance.  He does this by deflecting any honest discussion of the unique, toxic madness and malice of his Republican party by relentlessly playing Both Siderist games.

Week after week, month after month, year after year Mr. Brooks plies his deeply dishonest craft in the service of the worst political regime in modern America history.

And then, on the seventh day Mr. Brooks ("A Question of Moral Radicalism"):
Yet I don’t want to let us off the hook. There’s a continuum of moral radicalism. Most of us are too far on the comfortable end and too far from the altruistic one. It could be that you or I will only really feel fulfilled after a daring and concrete leap in the direction of moral radicalism.
To clarify, when Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times calls for "you or I" to make a "daring and concrete leap in the direction of moral radicalism", he clearly means just you and he clearly would like you to leap in some direction other than one that lands you in the middle of the battle to save this country from the madness and malice of David Brooks' Republican party.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Two Of The Five People You Meet in Liberal Nerd Heaven

The #DemDebate : Short and Sweet

At the Democratic debate, both candidates fought hard and like grownups over real issues that matter to real people.  And rather than taking that long and lethal Al Gore walk away from the record of the man who they are fighting to succeed, to different degrees the both hugged the Obama Legacy tight.  

So if I had to pick a "winner", it say it was Bernie Sanders, but not because Hillary Clinton screwed up in any fatal way.  She did very well and should be damn proud of how she handled herself,  I would give the win tonight first to the Democratic base who have every reason to be proud of our candidates and, second, to Sanders simply because he step into the ring with the party's Muhammed Ali, went the full 15 with her, toe to toe, with no shot below the belt and fought it to a draw.  Which means Sanders comes away from this arena as a legitimate contender and not merely a curiosity.  

For her part, Secretary Clinton comes away undamaged (Note to Hillary:  Drop the reference to Henry Kissinger's approving comments.  Democrats who don't remember him...don't remember him and Democrats who do remember him look forward to the day when we can piss on his grave.) cheerful and passionate.  

Democratic debates:  I respect my opponent's passion but disagree with their methods and priorities.

Republican debates:  You're a smelly pirate whore!

The best summary of the night goes to Bernie Sanders:
“On our worst days, I think it’s safe to say we are a hundred times better than any Republican candidate running today.”
Yes.  Yes they are.  

Looks Like Freedom But it Feels Like Death

It's something in between, I guess.

It's closing time.

And finally 2:00 AM comes, as it always does.

Behind the bar, Micky has flipped the light once already and there you are, full of the J├Ągerbombs you've been pounding all night. once again stranded somewhere between Grandiose and Bellicose with no place to park your junk for the night.  So it's time to either stagger over to Tammy's 4 AM and try your luck among the gang bangers, water-heads and other pre-dawn human rounding errors that wash up there between two and four, or finally pick one of the lovelies who have been flashing you their wares since midnight,

Sure. one of them is a dead ringer for Edna Krabbappel, and the other one may be a dude, but what the Hell, it's late.  So very late.  Almost too late. And only a loser walks out of a place like this in the dead of night alone.  And there is just enough booze thundering in your ears to convince you that maybe this time you won't wake up in a puddle of your own sick with both your wallet and the last remnants of your dignity gone.

And that, boys and girls, is not the opening of a second-rate Raymond Carver story contest entry. No, it is the psych profile of the average Trump voter as translated from the original douchbag by professional tin pusher, beer-goggle Colin Farrell and Trump supporter, Ernie Boch, Jr. 

Transcript courtesy of Mediaite:
Boch: It’s 2:00 in the morning and there’s a few girls at the bar, you have to go home with one of ’em. So you have to pick who you’re with, and I think Mr. Trump is the best qualified.

Cuomo: Hold on a second. Ernie. Your analogy for what makes you the right guy when you get the bad call at 2:00 in the morning is what to do in the bar when you have two women there and you have to decide which one? This is how your head works?

Boch: No. You’re misunderstanding. If you’re single, you understand this. It’s the end of the night, you want to go home with somebody. The bar’s about to close. You have to pick somebody. You have to pick somebody. you have to stand behind somebody. If you line up all of the candidates with their positives and negatives, I think Mr. Trump is the man.
Which, as creepy as it may sound, it is also a dead-on accurate thumbnail of the mind of the Republican base voter.  In the past I have described the Republican base as a junkie crawling through a dumpster desperate to recapture their first, Perfect Reagan High.
Listen to any aging wingnut sighing and jerking sadly off to a tattered photo of Saint Ronnie -- despite the fact that the catastrophes we are now reaping were sown by his ruinous ideology -- and you can hear every addict who ever lived pining for that first Perfect High. The one they spend the rest of their days chasing, regardless of the size of the debts they run up or the ruined lives they leave in their wake.
And that the whole appeal of the GOP to it's loyal rank-and-file was that they...
...could go on bareback fucking diseased monsters in the alley all night long, every night, forever and wake up each morning miraculously clean, virginal and still beloved in the eyes of God.
So what a delightful surprise that a Trump true believer would lock on to the image of a d-bag trolling for strange at bar as the perfect metaphor for Donald Trump.

And right now is the wild time.  The anything-goes time.  When...

all the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it's partner found, it's partner lost...
When everyone is red-faced, roaring like lions and straining like mad to pretend that there won't be hell to pay when the fiddler stops.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The #DemTownHall : Please Understand, I Hold You In The Highest Respect

The Democratic Town Hall did not require the same, shot-by-shot translation I usually mete out to GOP contests.

Both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton acquitted themselves honorably and well.

The agree on a lot, clashed over the ideas and methods where they differed and overall it was substantive, strong, decent, lively and policy-based.

Sorta like "Up" used to be before MSNBC gutted it like a trout.

Proud to be a Democrat tonight.

Rand Paul Running Away From Things: Epilogue

Over the past 73 years, we here at the driftglass blog have had a lot of fun watching the Junior Senator from Kentucky run away from many things including Ayn Rand, history, civil rights, voting rights, science and his own father.

Sadly, the Running Man of Galt's Gulch has finally found the last thing away from which to run: his own, doomed campaign for president.  From ABC News:
Rand Paul Suspends 2016 Presidential Campaign

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said today he is suspending his 2016 campaign for president.

"It's been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House," Paul said in a statement. "Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of liberty.

Paul finished fifth in Monday's Iowa caucuses with 4.5 percent of the vote, behind rivals Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson...

But this is not farewell.  Now that we have established that neither openly crackpot ideas nor Dr. Seuss-inspired hair configurations are a barrier to making it into the Final Four in the Donald Trump Party, I'm sure we can look forward to Rand Paul making headlines running away from many new and exciting things during presidential campaigns yet to come.

Seems Like Old Times

One of the joys of being a tiny single-shingle blogger who plies his trade completely outside of the range of respectable company is that when I see someone like, say, Glenn Greenwald showing his ass in public, I get to point at it and say "Oh lookie!  A man showing his ass in public!" and not worry about someone putting the squeeze on me.

The “Bernie Bros” Narrative: a Cheap Campaign Tactic Masquerading as Journalism and Social Activism

Glenn Greenwald

Jan. 31 2016, 7:42 a.m.

The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior. Needless to say, a crucial tactical prong of this innuendo is that any attempt to refute it is itself proof of insensitivity to sexism if not sexism itself (as the accusatory reactions to this article will instantly illustrate).
Even if I had the firepower to do so, I would never in any way wish to interfere with Mr. Greenwald's constitutionally-protected and really, really well-financed right to call Hillary Clinton a monster and her supporters dishonorable political guttersnipes.  I do not agree with those characterizations in any way, but Mr. Greenwald's right to say such things is inalienable.

On the other hand, for the same guy who spent much of the Obama Administration going absolutely hammer-and-tongs after anyone who disagreed with him to the slightest degree -- who took giddy delight in relentlessly firehosing anyone who did not measure up to his standards of  purity with an endless stream of drooling/jackbooted/boot-licking/O-bot/servant-of-fascism invective  --
-- to use his brand-new media empire to bitch that someone else's use of a mean neologism is a...disgrace to journalism?

I tell you, I haven't laughed this hard in weeks.

And speaking of disgraces to journalism, if you decide to go into business as the Archbishop of Impugning Everyone Else's Integrity, best be damn sure that your cathedral isn't made of glass (from the NYT):

The Intercept Says Reporter Falsified Quotations


The news website The Intercept said on Tuesday that a former reporter had fabricated quotations in some of his articles and impersonated other people by using email accounts in their names.

Betsy Reed, the news organization’s editor in chief, said that the first evidence appeared in late December and that the reporter, Juan Thompson, was fired on Jan. 4. In an online note to readers, she listed four articles that had been corrected and one that had been retracted...
The Intercept was founded in 2014 with the financial backing of Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay. Its best-known writer is the Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald, who most prominently covers national security issues...

Today In Both Sides Do It: Ron Fournier, The Sad Clown of Centrism

For you latecomers, listen up: this season's Authorized Beltway Electoral Narrative, "Trump-'n-Sanders (an sometimes Cruz)"!  Every season has an Authorized Beltway Electoral Narrative and this one is yours so cherish it.  You have already seen and heard "Trump-n-Sanders" from several of your favorite Beltway celebrities, and I promise you will continue will hear it blaring from every telescreen every day with the regularity and ferocity of Two Minutes Hate.

Trump-'n-Sanders is an easily-digestible variation of the long-established Standard Beltway Both-Siderist Narrative and will continue to be pumped into the body politic intravenously until it no longer serves the interests of the Beltway media, at which point it will abandoned, re-branded and re-marketed as something else.

Take it away, "Trump-'n-Sanders" salesman of the month, Ron Fournier, trying way too hard sound like Moses coming down off Sinai carrying the 10 Commandments instead of the Willie Loman of debased Beltway cliches:
This is where I extinguish the political establishment’s last ray of hope. With these words, I warn career Republicans that their enemy is not Donald Trump or even Ted Cruz, and I remind Clinton Democrats that Bernie Sanders isn’t their gravest threat.

I say to these duo­pol­ists: Beware of angry voters. They’re not going away...
Woe unto thee, oh Israel! See what I mean? Waaaay too hard.
Should Trump and Sanders be denied...

In fact, I’m already hear­ing it in conversations with establishments Democrats and Republicans...
This particular bold assertion is followed by three, unattributed sentence fragments which could have come from the Tom Friedman Magic Cabdriver Quote Generator just as easily as from the Sekrit Insider Beltway Schemer's Club where Ron Fournier is the mint-and-hot-towel men's room attendant apparently.

Mr. Fournier continues:
Trump or Sanders...

Trump or Sanders...

Sanders is a 74-year-old so­cial­ist call­ing for a re­volu­tion. Trump is a 69-year-old billionaire and bully with no co­her­ent or con­sist­ent policies.

Trump and Sanders...

...ap­prov­al rat­ings for the Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an parties

Trump and Sanders...

Sanders: “We the people are go­ing to have..."

Trump: “This coun­try is run by losers…"

On the Far Left and Far Right...
But what really takes this laundry list of false Both Siderist parallel construction up a notch is how far Mr. Fournier is willing to go to commit to the bullshit.
[T]here is one thing scar­i­er to me than Trump win­ning the pres­id­ency. It’s Trump los­ing the White House to an es­tab­lish­ment can­did­ate who de­fends the status quo for an­oth­er four years, a feck­less Demo­crat or Re­pub­lic­an who ca­pit­u­lates to the cul­ture of Washing­ton.
Yes, Ron Fournier would prefer President Donald Trump to another four years of President Barack Obama.

Way to die with the lie, Moses.  Way to die with the lie.