Friday, August 28, 2015

Professional Left Podcast #299

ProfessionalLeft

"Trump Trump Trump Trumpity Trump Trump Trump."
-- MSNBC introduces its new Fall lineup


Links:


Strategic Forgettery? You're Soaking In It!



Now that MSNBC has kicked Liberals and our ratings-killing obsession with facts 'n shit to the curb and gone into the Drudge Report content-generation business full-time, you can expect more and more of their extruded news-like teevee slop to be picked up and repeated enthusiastically by right-wing slop-houses like Newsbusters more and more often.

Like, for instance, today:
Halperin: ‘World Would Come to a Halt’ If GOP Said Dems Were Terrorists

On Friday’s Morning Joe, Bloomberg Politics managing editor Mark Halperin strongly condemned Hillary Clinton’s decision to compare Republican politicians to terrorists over the issue of abortion.

Halperin did not mince words when he repudiated the Democratic frontrunner's language and argued that “[i]f a Republican did this the world would come to a halt.”

Co-host Joe Scarborough was just as harsh on Mrs. Clinton and called her comments “disgusting." The Morning Joe host suggested Clinton "wanted us to talk about this. She wanted to throw a bright shiny object out there. So they don't -- so they don't talk about the e-mail scandal.”

After Scarborough listed off the numerous atrocities terrorists like ISIS commit against women on a daily basis he maintained that Hillary’s comments expose the “sick radicalism” of the Democratic Party:
Is this the radicalism, we've been talking about the craziness of the Republican Party. But is this the sick radicalism that is now infecting the Democratic Party that if you're Barack Obama you compare Chuck Schumer to people shouting death to America in Iran? And if you're Hillary Clinton, you compare pro-life Democrats and Republicans to ISIS? What happened here yesterday? This is so over the top. 
The MSNBC host went one step further and stressed that Clinton’s rhetoric was a “disgusting” “planned” strategy as she tries to distract from the FBI’s ongoing investigation into her private e-mail server containing classified information:
This is a strategy of her to be -- to engage in gutter politics to distract from the fact that the FBI is investigating her because she's been called a liar by the American people. So she's just going to try to change the subject. Democrats that are concerned about what's going on should just be more concerned this morning. 
After Mika Brzezinski played Clinton’s full comments once again she admitted that her remarks were clearly “written” and not merely off-the-cuff remarks. Halperin also made sure to point out the media double standard in its coverage of the 2016 campaign and how a Republican would have been swiftly condemned for invoking terrorists while talking about the Democratic Party:
The world would come to a halt. There would be editorials in every newspaper condemning him and demanding he apologize. 

Since over the years I have seen Mark Halperin on teevee yammering out his asinine Conservative talking points in his android monotone many times --


 -- and read about him jamming himself sideways into the stories he is "reporting" many times and heard him administering what may have been the loudest on-air blowjob in modern radio history, it is an objective fact that Mr. Halperin has been alive and at least minimally aware of his surroundings in this country for many years.

Therefor it is also objectively true that Mr. Halperin could not possibly have missed the fact that the entire fucking Conservative Hate Machine -- from its most elite power brokers and elected officials to its lowliest scut-working droolers -- have done nothing but bellow at the tops of their lungs (since before he was even elected) that Barack Obama is a dirty, Murrica-hating terrorist or a terrorist-sympathizer or a Commie Kenyan sleeper cell programmed by his foreign handlers to destroy Murrica by any means necessary.

In fact, other than periodically trying to destroy the country by crippling the economy, shutting the government down and holding daily ritual votes to get rid of health insurance for millions of Americans, pointing at Democrats and screaming "Traitor!  Terrorist!  Commie!" is pretty much all they do anymore.

Pretty much all they have done for the last 20 years.

Therefor it must also be objectively true that Mr. Halperin is a lying liar who lies for a living.

And we all know what happens to naughty lying liars who lie for a living, don't we?

They are praised and feted and paid vast sums of money to go on national teevee over and over again to share their wise counsel with millions of Americans forever and ever.

Sociopaths of Glory




If you ever wondered what would happen if you gave a mediocre Conservative toady an incredibly influential job for life, a shit-ton of money and 100% amnesty from any fucking accountability whatsoever, you're in luck!  The New York Times has been conducting just such an experiment for over 10 years now, and the results are impressive.

For example, while David Fucking Brooks is paid a princely sum to write something like this --
President Obama has said that ISIS stands for nothing but savagery. That’s clearly incorrect. Our military leaders speak of the struggle against ISIS as an attempt to kill as many ISIS leaders and soldiers as possible. But this is a war about a vision of history. ISIS ideas have legitimacy because it controls territory and has a place to enact them.

So far the response to ISIS has been pathetic. The U.S. pledged $500 million to train and equip Syrian moderates, hoping to create 15,000 fighters. After three years we turned out a grand total of 60 fighters, of whom a third were immediately captured.

It’s time to stop underestimating this force as some group of self-discrediting madmen. ISIS is a moral and political threat to the fragile and ugly stability that exists in what’s left in the Middle East. ISIS will thrive and spread its ideas for as long as it has its land.
-- the real perk that comes with the job of being David Brooks is an absolute, iron-clad Beltway guarantee that absolutely no one but few uppity commenters and disreputable bloggers will ask him any follow-up questions like...

Hey, David, how come you didn't mention George W. Bush, the author of this catastrophe, even once in this column?

And how come you didn't mention Dick Cheney?

And how come you didn't mention Paul Wolfowitz or Doug Feith or L. Paul Bremmer or Richard Perle or your former employer, Bill Kristol, or any of your other neocon fellow travelers who designed, built and defrauded the America public into buying George Bush's Iraqi clusterfuck?

And whatever happened to the billions of American taxpayer dollars and American taxpayer-funded materiel we already flushed down the rathole which President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney both solemnly promised us back in 2004 would be more than sufficient to meet the needs of keeping Iraq free and secure from just these kinds of threats?

And speaking of competing "visions of history" how do you keep getting away with constantly lying about the immediate past history of your Republican party and your Conservative movement? 

And as long as we're asking impossible questions which no one will ever ask and which you will never answer, do you even remember when you wrote shit like this back in the day?
The Collapse of the Dream Palaces
Mass destruction of mistaken ideas.
APR 28, 2003

...
Now that the war in Iraq is over, we'll find out how many people around the world are capable of facing unpleasant facts. For the events of recent months confirm that millions of human beings are living in dream palaces, to use Fouad Ajami's phrase. They are living with versions of reality that simply do not comport with the way things are. They circulate and recirculate conspiracy theories, myths, and allegations with little regard for whether or not these fantasies are true. And the events of the past month have exposed them as the falsehoods they are.

...
Finally, there is the dream palace of the American Bush haters. In this dream palace, there is so much contempt for Bush that none is left over for Saddam or for tyranny. Whatever the question, the answer is that Bush and his cronies are evil. What to do about Iraq? Bush is evil. What to do about the economy? Bush is venal. What to do about North Korea? Bush is a hypocrite.

In this dream palace, Bush, Cheney, and a junta of corporate oligarchs stole the presidential election, then declared war on Iraq to seize its oil and hand out the spoils to Halliburton and Bechtel. In this dream palace, the warmongering Likudniks in the administration sit around dreaming of conquests in Syria, Iran, and beyond. In this dream palace, the boy genius Karl Rove hatches schemes to use the Confederate flag issue to win more elections, John Ashcroft wages holy war on American liberties, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and his cabal of neoconservatives long for global empire. In this dream palace, every story of Republican villainy is believed, and all the windows are shuttered with hate.

My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as 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. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.

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.
...
The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media has conspired to liberate pundits like America's High Priest of Telling Other Journalists to Atone and Repent from the need to atone or repent of his own loathsome actions or even acknowledge that his own words exist.  This has enabled pundits like Mr. Brooks to build global brands and lucrative careers despite the mountains of easily-researched and publicly available evidence of their lies and hypocrisy.

And I find the sheer nakedness of that fact breathtaking.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Three Million and Counting


Many, many thanks to all of our listeners from all over the world.

After all this time it's still just Blue Gal and me, in a hobbit hole in the cornfield, with donated microphones, talking about culture, politics, media and our lives, once a week, every week, for the last 300 weeks and counting.

Apparently the key to keeping going is to keep going :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trump is the Tea Party




From The Week:
Trump crushes the rest of the GOP field in new nationwide poll

Donald Trump's lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination just reached an all-time high in a new national poll conducted by Gravis Marketing. The survey, released Tuesday by One American News Network, shows Trump leading the Republican field with a whopping 40 percent, up from 31 percent in Gravis' July poll.

Ben Carson, who placed second in the new poll, had just 13 percent — 27 points behind Trump. Jeb Bush came in third at 10 percent, followed by Ted Cruz at 7 percent, and John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio at 5 percent each...
The real, shocking news about Donald Trump's popularity with the Pig People is that our corporate media continues to pretend that Donald Trump's popularity among the Pig People is shocking news at all.  As I wrote way back in 2009 when these dregs of American democracy initially began quietly shredding their Bush/Cheney lawn signs and calling themselves "independents"...
...
And based on simple observation, guess who appears to be the largest group of late-blooming independents?

Those fucknozzles who, after giving Dubya the longest tongue bath in modern political history while calling everyone else a traitor, started gagging on the sheer tonnage of bullshit their creepy idolatry of George W. Bush was requiring them to swallow and obediently regurgitate every fucking day, that's who.

Most newly minted “independents” seem to be little more than Republicans who are fleeing the scene of their crime, but at the same time still desperately want believe in the inerrant wisdom of Rush Limbaugh. They are completely incapable of facing the horrifying reality that they have gotten every single major political opinion and decision of their adult lives completely wrong, so instead they double-down on their hatred of women and/or gays and/or brown people and/or Liberals, and blame them for the miserable fuckpit their leaders and their policies have made of their live and futures.

Like German soldiers after the fall of Berlin, they have stopped running away from the catastrophe they created only long enough to burn their uniforms.
...
They got away with eight years of Clinton witch-hunts.  Then they got away with eight years of incompetence and treason under Dubya,  And with the wild, reckless arrogance that comes from living on a perpetual holiday from accountability, they have been going ever more boldly and publicly insane, getting ever more knee-walking drunk on cask-strength Strategic Forgettery and scampering through the latest iteration of the Bush-Off Machine over and over again, faster and faster, like kids running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day.

Thirty years of being kicked in the balls by Demon Reality every day has taught the Pig People nothing except to band together tighter, amp their reality denial shield up higher and scream that much louder every time it looks like Demon Reality might kick some sense into them.  So don't expect anything on that front but more dangerous, shoutycrackers crazy every day.  

The media, for its part, is now suspended in a state of paralysis, stranded between being mesmerized by this monster they have created, and being repelled and terrified by it.  

And frankly, watching them drown in this cesspool of their own making is one of the few pleasures we peasants have left here at the ass end of the American Dream.   

Donald Trump Says The Truest Thing About Our Political Media


That you are likely to hear anywhere, from anyone.

I listened to part of this speech yesterday.  In between promising to restore Teutonic greatness and annex the Sudetenland (OK, I was only half listening) Trump also said a few very true things -- radically true things -- about how complicit our media has become and how completely money has warped the political process.  Obvious shit, which really does drive good people to despair, and which under normal circumstances would never, ever be talked about on nation teevee.  

In a sense Trump is running the campaign Rand Paul wanted to run -- say some sensible stuff before gobbling down a fistful of mescaline, dropping trou and letting your crazy off the leash.  But Trump is mixing the ingredients and proportions much more proficiently than anyone in the Paul family ever did. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Well, There's Trump, Egg, Sausage and Trump



That's not got much Trump in it.

From every god damn cable news outlet in Christendom:
Man: You sit here, dear.

Wife: All right.

Man: Morning!

Cable news: Morning!

Man: Well, what've you got?

Cable news: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and Trump; egg bacon and Trump; egg bacon sausage and Trump; Trump bacon sausage and Trump; Trump egg Trump Trump bacon and Trump; Trump sausage Trump Trump bacon Trump tomato and Trump;

Wingnut Chorus: Trump Trump Trump Trump...

Cable news: ...Trump Trump Trump egg and Trump; Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump baked beans Trump Trump Trump...

Wingnut Chorus: Trump! Lovely Trump! Lovely Trump!

Cable news: ...or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and Trump.
Wife: Have you got anything without Trump?

Cable news: Well, there's Trump egg sausage and Trump, that's not got much Trump in it.

Wife: I don't want ANY Trump!

Man: Why can't she have egg bacon Trump and sausage?

Wife: THAT'S got Trump in it!

Man: Hasn't got as much Trump in it as Trump egg sausage and Trump, has it?

Wingnut Chorus: Trump Trump Trump Trump... (Crescendo through next few lines...)

Wife: Could you do the egg bacon Trump and sausage without the Trump then?

Cable news: Urgghh!

Wife: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like Trump!

Wingnut Chorus: Lovely Trump! Wonderful Trump!

Cable news: Shut up!

Wingnut Chorus: Lovely Trump! Wonderful Trump!

Cable news: Shut up! Bloody wingnuts! You can't have egg bacon Trump and sausage without the Trump.

Wife: I don't like Trump!

Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your Trump. I love it. I'm having Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump beaked beans Trump Trump Trump and Trump!

Wingnut Chorus: Trump Trump Trump Trump. Lovely Trump! Wonderful Trump!

Cable news: Shut up!! Baked beans are off.

Man: Well could I have her Trump instead of the baked beans then?

Cable news: You mean Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump...

Wingnut Chorus: Trump Trump Trump Trump. Lovely Trump! Wonderful Trump! Trump Tru-u-u-u-u-mp Trump Tru-u-u-u-u-mp Trump. Lovely Trump! Lovely Trump! Lovely Trump! Lovely Trump! Lovely Trump! Trump Trump Trump Trump!

In Which The Donald Sends Roger Ailes a Sicilian Message


Khartoum. Khartoum.  

Remember the scene? Not the horse's head, but the one before that. The one where studio mogul Jack Woltz reveals his weakness by taking Tom Hagen down to his stables and showing him what he values most:
Hey, come on over here with me; I wanna show you something really beautiful. You do appreciate beauty, don't you? There you are, $600,000 on four hooves. I bet a Russian Czar never paid that kind of dough for a single horse. Khartoum. Khartoum.
Trump is a monster who thrives on conflict, disorientation and always pressing, pressing, pressing his advantage. Where there is no turmoil, he will manufacture some, and how better to do that than to publicly remind Ailes that Trump can fuck up the most valuable piece of horseflesh Ailes' owns, any time he feels like it.

After forcing Roger Ailes to sign a truce less than three weeks ago, it now appears that Donald has spent that time re-arming with the intent of forcing Ailes to renegotiate the terms of their non-aggression pact.

OMFG! 

It's Munich all over again!

David Brooks Multiple Choice



Five of these are delivered to you hot and stanky from America's Most Respected Moral Thought Leader, David Brooks, via a column in the New York Times for which he is paid large sums of real, American money.

One of them I just made up.

  1. Live life as a series of revelations.
  2. We’re social creatures.
  3. We’re historical creatures.
  4. We’re mystical creatures.
  5. We’re moral creatures.
  6. Have you ever looked at your hand, man? I mean really, really looked at it?
I currently hold the title of America's Leading Brooksologist and I have no fucking idea what he is prattling on about.

Did I mention that this --
Let’s say you had the chance to become a vampire.
-- is the opening sentence?

Is the New York Times paying him to creep on some co-ed who's into Twilight? Or is he barely sublimating his divorce into his column again? Or does he haz a sad that Donald Trump is making a picnic lunch out of the carefully constructed fascist political movement to which he has devoted his entire adult life?

No. Fucking. Clue.

Monday, August 24, 2015

David Brooks Endorses Donald Trump?

DFB3

Sure as hell sounds like it, because his famous National Greatness Manifesto from back in his Weekly Standard glory days --
A RETURN TO NATIONAL GREATNESS
A Manifesto for a Lost Creed
MAR 3, 1997, VOL. 2, NO. 24 • BY DAVID BROOKS
-- starts right out of the box by telling his readers that Buildings Are Important.

Especially, big, brassy buildings that wave their big, Murrican dicks around!
...
But the Jefferson Building is more than just a giant Faberge egg. When you get down to looking at the details, you find that the craftsmanship is actually mediocre: You can travel around Europe and find a hundred buildings with better paintings and better sculpture. Nonetheless, there is something about the energy of the building that makes it more than the sum of its parts, that makes it not so much an artistic wonder as a spiritual artifact. How did any group of builders muster so much vitality?

The answer is that this is an American building. For all its classical and Renaissance style, this 1897 building speaks to us in American. It embodies the optimism and brassy aspirations of Americans in the Gilded Age, their faith in the power of beauty to elevate, their confidence in America, their brash assertion that America was emerging as a world-historical force...
But since the glorious Gilded Age, everything as gone to pot.  Heck, even Murrica's greatest politicians are boring 'n shit:
For all that our current politicians take advantage of the library -- J. C. Watts delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union there, Bill Clinton signed the telecommunications bill there -- present-day leaders possess none of the library's confidence and sureness of purpose. American politicians show little evidence of the great national vigor that animates this building. They don't dare to make great plans or issue large challenges to themselves and their country. At a moment of world supremacy unlike any other, Americans are not asking big questions about their civilization, nor are they being asked anything but the sorts of things pollsters and marketers want to know. And so our politics has become degrading and boring. Political conflict appears trivial, vicious for no good reason.
Because the fucking hippies ruined everything!
For much of this century, liberals possessed high aspirations and a spirit of historical purpose. Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, the New Deal, John F. Kennedy's New Frontier -- these were efforts to aim high, to accomplish some grand national endeavor. Liberals tried to use American preeminence as a way to shape the world, fight communism, put a man on the moon. But then came the 1970s, and suddenly liberalism became a creed emphasizing limits. Small became beautiful. A radical egalitarianism transformed liberalism, destroying hierarchies and discrediting elitist aspirations. An easygoing nihilism swept through academia, carrying away any sense of a transcendent order. The civil- rights era turned into the affirmative-action era, and what had been a great national crusade for justice devolved into a series of petty squabbles over spoils.

Worse, under the influence of the New Left, the personal became political. Private concerns came to eclipse the larger public realm. At a time when a teenager's haircut was a political statement to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court, all the issues of the private realm -- smoking, methods of raising children, sexual preferences -- began to overshadow the traditional subjects of the public realm: subjects like order, justice, and the distribution of wealth. Americans have almost forgotten what the public realm is and how it differs from the sum of private concerns.
...

But cultural liberalism has smashed reticence, mistaking it for hypocrisy. Finally, the national-greatness ideal was based on iron discipline over the passions. But cultural liberalism mistook self-control for unhealthy repression.
...
But you know what? It's really Conservative who are to blame, because WTF people?  Why aren't you Reaganing the shit out of everything?
But it is primarily the fault of conservatives that America has lost a sense of national mission and national greatness. After all, this is a conservative era, and one shouldn't expect the Democrats to come up with the energy that animates a conservative era. But since Ronald Reagan returned to California, conservatism has shrunk.
And Both Sides, also too, because it comes with everything David Brooks writes.  Like shitty little plastic forks.  You can tell them at the drive-thru "No, thanks, I have one million forks at home and I do not need your shitty plastic cutlery" but damn if, when you open them bag, there it is, at the bottom, mocking you.  Same thing with David Brooks and Both Siderism, always forever:
Currently, American political philosophy has divided itself into the opposing principles of "order" and "freedom." Now, when liberals stand for one, conservatives stand for the other. Liberals want economic order; conservatives want economic freedom. Conservatives want social order; liberals want social freedom.
So now that you are sufficiently sad and paranoid and pissed off at the Dirty Hippies for messing up Murrica and at Conservatives for not punching those damn hippies with sufficient vigor, what's the solution?  How do we get on with the business of....  Restoring American Greatness?

It turns out, the answer is that you build something.  Build anything.  Because it literally doesn't matter what we build so long as it Yooooge!  And built by ambitious individuals, because the gummit is run by craven idiots.
The national mission can be carried out only by individuals and families -- not by collectives, as in socialism and communism. Instead, individual ambition and willpower are channeled into the cause of national greatness. And by making the nation great, individuals are able to join their narrow concerns to a larger national project.

Historically, national missions have included settling the West, building the highway system, creating the post-war science faculties, exploring space, waging the Cold War, and disseminating American culture throughout the world...

The most successful missions have set physical goals, rather than abstract ones: America in 1897 constructed the world's finest library. The library has had an important impact on culture, but its impact is the byproduct of a physical project. Sometimes the federal government has funded these efforts. Sometimes it has merely identified the new national cause. Sometimes it has eliminated barriers to ambition.

It almost doesn't matter what great task government sets for itself, as long as it does some tangible thing with energy and effectiveness. The first task of government is to convey a spirit of confidence and vigor that can then spill across the life of the nation. Stagnant government drains national morale. A government that fails to offer any vision merely feeds public cynicism and disenchantment.

But energetic government is good for its own sake. It raises the sights of the individual. It strengthens common bonds. It boosts national pride. It continues the great national project. It allows each generation to join the work of their parents. The quest for national greatness defines the word " American" and makes it new for every generation.
Which, taken all in all, sure sounds like one hell of an endorsement of a plan by the loudest, most ambitious New Gilded Age asshole in Murrica to build the yooogest, most beautiful wall ever on the face of the Earth.

And the cherry on top? The fact that now that the candidate of The Weekly Standard's wet dreams has finally arrived in the flesh, Bloody Bill Kristol (Mr. Brooks' former Weekly Standard employer and fellow National Greatness tub-thumper) is scuttling as fast as possible in the opposite direction:
Is It Time for Another GOP Candidate?

August 24, 2015
By Taegan Goddard

Bill Kristol says it may be time to encourage another candidate to enter the Republican presidential race.

“It may seem odd to suggest that the solution to an already unprecedentedly large field is to expand it further. But politics is full of oddities. And what would be truly odd would be to go into battle in 2016 with a candidate we settle on rather than a nominee the country can rally behind.”
...