Monday, October 24, 2016

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"First They Came For The Dirty Hippies" Edition.

We on the Left are blessed and cursed with a long and functional memory.

For example, we actually remember what it has been like to be a Liberal in American over the last few decades.

We remember the Right dropping whole houses on anyone who spoke out against the Bush Administration during the run-up to the Iraq Debacle:

And we remember having to bury our most outspoken comrades in secret because of credible threats from Real Murricans.  From the "In Memoriam" column for Mr. Steven Gilliard, in the New York Times, December, 2007 (emphasis added):
It was a life both short and loud. What began with a bad cough just after Valentine’s Day became a spiraling infection that ravaged Gilliard’s vulnerable heart and kidneys, and he spent most of his last four months hospitalized. The identities he kept separate for most of his 42 years collided in the days after he died; the few dozen mostly white bloggers who came to Harlem for the funeral saw for the first time the stark urban setting of Gilliard’s childhood, while his parents and relatives groped to understand what kind of work he had been doing at that computer and why scores of people had come so far to see him off. They must have been confused when Gilly’s online pals, sickened by the way some right-wing bloggers were gloating over his death, advised them not to disclose where he was buried, out of fear that someone might deface the site. The grave, like Gilliard himself, is known only to a few.
We remember it all because stalking us, demonizing us, dehumanizing us has been the Conservative stock-in-trade for as long as many of us can remember.

We remember it all, in vivid detail because for decades, slandering the Left us has been the Comstock Lode -- the Banana Stand -- for the laziest, stupidest, most deeply dishonest and talent-free idiots and con men in America:

The Right -- carefully and deliberately -- turned the act of feeding, accelerating and amplifying the madness of the mob into a highly profitable, multi-platform media empire.  

They turned hate into a business and for a long time business was good.

But then the beast they invented to lead a mob they had created started speaking in the uncoded language of the mob, and that was not supposed to happen.  Trump began regurgitating their own bestial, unhinged, racist drivel out loud at 1000 decibels; so loud that even the Right's most craven media collaborators (Looking at you, Halperin) could no longer pretend that everything was OK.  

And as they started to slooowly sidle away from the monster they had made, the meathead mob they had created started to detect unauthorized movement at the periphery of the Glorious Cause!  Suddenly some of the Right's most successful slanderers and demonizers were tossing around words like "principle", but not to blast some dirty, commie pinko terrorist-loving Libtard, but to distance themselves from the Great and Powerful Trump.  

And then, just as one dirty, commie pinko terrorist-loving Libtard predicted would happen long ago, the Little Red State Fundy mob did exactly what they had been trained to:  Attack!Attack!Attack! anything that smelled like heresy.

This is where Nicole Belle from Crooks & Liars (Welcome back, Nicole.  We missed you! And thanks for the video, Heather!) picks up the action with just the sort of story I woulda written had I not been [Insert Your Own Damn Walking Dead Spoiler Here] last night with middle child.  

Conservative Figures Out Libs Were Right All Along: The Alt-Right Is Scary 
By Nicole Belle

Back in June of this year, alleged Republican "kingmaker" Bill Kristol (the man responsible for inflicting Sarah Palin on the national dialog) was horrified at Donald Trump's march to the Republican nomination and toyed with launching an independent run to challenge Trump as the head of the party he's been manipulating behind the scenes for decades. His candidate of choice? David French, a senior fellow with the National Review and an Iraq War vet. The Trump campaign took very little time to try to intimidate him out of such a run and within a few days, French bowed out.
But Trump's alt-right minions weren't satisfied with just eliminating the potential rival candidacy. French needed to be punished for daring to consider the possibility at all and continuing to be a vocal #NeverTrump proponent. The harassment he received is not at all unfamiliar to those of us on the left who have come across these alt-righters on social media...
That is legitimately fricking terrifying and I don't want to sound callous about it at all. NO ONE should be subjected to that kind of treatment, full stop.
But I do want to point out that the left HAS been warning people of this kind of treatment. Women have routinely spoken to how unsafe social media is to them. Ask People of Color how the right has responded to "Black Lives Matter". Ask Muslims and Hispanics how they've been treated during this primary season. Even Jewish journalists feel assaulted by Trump supporters...
The monster the Right made can never be destroyed until the necromancers, poisoners and other dark conjurers are brought to book for the crime of bringing it to life in the first place.

Meanwhile, in "Hillary will not have a mandate because [Fill In The Blank]" news, professional Centrist bromide extruder, Matthew Dowd, is so desperate to straddle the hell out of every fence in Christendom that he manages to argue himself to a draw on network teevee.

First, Hillary will not have a mandate because so many people don't like her (emphasis strewn about to amuse myself):
DOWD: Well, I -- you know, this is the thing. This, as I mentioned earlier she's going to be re-elected on Election Day where half of her voters aren't voting for her. They're voting against Donald Trump that she's disliked and distrusted by the country. There's not a mandate on a series of issues because this hasn't been argued over issues in this...
And then some incomprehensible, Both Siderist shit about "the moon", because hey, why not show up to work drunk?
DOWD: I think Donald Trump, for all the things that we've said about Donald Trump and the buffoonery nature of it, he is like the guy that's pointing at the moon, and you look at the guy until you see the moon, right? Donald Trump is pointing at the moon which is a very frustrated working class part of the country, the same thing that Bernie Sanders pointed at in the Democratic primary...
Like, have you ever looked at your hand, man.  I mean, really looked at it!?

OK, cowboy, time for you to have a lie-down.

In fact, the only way Hillary Clinton will ever be able to claim anything like a mandate is if she personally unites the entire country:
DOWD:  Hillary Clinton has to figure out in a very divided country in a very demographic diverse country and a country that doesn't like her. What -- is she a transformational leader and does she do that? The final two weeks in this, she has an opportunity to become her as well just like Donald Trump didn't do to become something that people perceive as not, which is a transformational leader that can speak to the whole country. 
But -- at this is where it all breaks orbit and becomes high comedy -- because Mr. Dowd is desperate not to get sucked out of his teevee gig and onto the unemployment line by disagreeing today's iteration of Beltway Received Wisdom, just moments later Mr. Dowd is forced to admit that the Trumpkins are unhinged goons who Hillary Clinton should not even bother to talk to:

DOWD: I think the issue is -- I think the issue is, is Paul Ryan is going to have to make a decision, Republican leaders is going to have to make a decision on election night. And that's what I think the moment they -- they should have and could have been principled much more principle to try to grasp a hold of where the country is. But I think one of them has to stand up on election night and be the designated driver and take the car key as way from Donald Trump and concede and on his behalf and say enough is enough. It's time that we --

DOWD: I don't think she should go and talk to Republicans actually.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with Matt.

DOWD: Because I think they're -- I think they're all tainted with this. Donald Trump is not the cause of this. Donald Trump is a symptom of this.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely.
So, to recap, Hillary Clinton cannot have a mandate unless she unites the country, but she cannot unite the country because the Republican Party to which Mr. Dowd devoted most of his adult life is fucking de-ranged.

So how in the world can Hillary Clinton ever hope to accomplish a task which Mr. Dowd himself has said is impossible?

DOWD: Donald Trump arrived -- and she has to address the symptom. I think she needs to talk to independents, talk to independent leaders around the country and build something new.
Yeah, screw those Republicans.

If Hillary Clinton wants to fix a broken country and get her mandate on, her only hope is to take the wise counsel of "independents".

Like, say, Matt "Why won't anyone believe I'm an Independent?" Dowd.

The mighty Athenae (wise and good) at First Draft succinctly sums up my own feelings:
All due respect Madam President, but no, you don’t have to heal shit.

You and your party were not the ones out there screaming about locking up political opponents.

You and your party were not the ones tongue-kissing Putin and talking about the upsides of Saddam Hussein.

You and your party were not calling for the murder of journalists, using Nazi terminology or the word “cunt” as a comma.

You don’t have to heal nothin’.

Once and for all time, the onus of political healing is on THE PEOPLE WHO FUCKED UP. This country did not “become” divided because of “both sides” doing it. This country did not naturally develop a culture of political obstruction like a cold front rolling in, with nothing to be done but bundle up, and no one to blame but the gods.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fundraiser Day Seven: Hugh Hewitt Racks Up More Wingnut Good Boy Points

After the third and final presidential "debate" last Wednesday, the inexplicably-still-employed Hugh Hewitt showed up to debate the debate looking sad.  Well, not "sad" exactly: "sad" is one of those human emotional states which Mr. Hewitt has not yet figured out how to simulate.

So let's just say he showed up looking like a superannuated Sears Menswear mannequin that had been worked over with a bag of doorknobs.

His mission:  Jam the words "Project Veritas" into the conversation as hard and as often as possible before Joy Ann Reid and Chris Hayes' sheer incredulity forces him to power down.  (Loyal Republican wind-sock Michael Steele takes it a step further by insinuating that it was really Sekrit Democrats masquerading as Republicans who got Trump nominated in the first place, )

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

Because, according to Mr. Hewitt, if you don't get right down in the pig-shit and rassle with scum like O'Keefe every time he sharts in public, the you "[play] into rigged media" narrative.

If this sounds familiar, it's because this is exactly the same "reasoning" you find with every unhinged Alt-Right twitter egg and ALL CAPS Conservative emailer in Christendom:  the infantile and idiotic insistence that if you don't let them set the terms of the "debate" and if you don't take the time to individually rebut every single one of the infinite number of shit-dipped lies and conspiracies they Gish Gallop around every single day, then they "win"!  


In case you were unfamiliar, "Project Veritas" is the for-profit Conservative ratfucking racket run by seedy wingnut hatchet man, James O'Keefe:
Trump neglected, however, to mention his own connection to the videos, released by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas tax-exempt group. According to a list of charitable donations made by Trump‘s controversial foundation (provided to the Washington Post in April by Trump’s campaign), on May 13, 2015, it gave $10,000 to Project Veritas.

What’s more, there is a great deal of reason to be skeptical of the videos themselves. O’Keefe has a long history of selectively editing videos to present a false impression to the viewer. His most famous video, an attack on the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, supposedly showed employees agreeing to help him smuggle underage prostitutes into the country. It turned out the employees later had called the police and O’Keefe eventually paid $100,000 in a settlement after being sued for surreptitious recording of someone’s voice and image. 
Even Glenn Beck’s conservative The Blaze slammed O’Keefe over a selectively-edited video purporting to show unethical action on the part of National Public Radio executives, faulting “ editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented...
Again, on Twitter, Mr. Hewitt brags to his owners that he done good!

In case you missed it, America's Most Humble and Respected Conservative Public Intellectual -- Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times -- has also gone into the business of mainstreaming seedy wingnut hatchet man, James O'Keefe.

Which might make the more vividly imaginative among you speculate as to just exactly what kind of sordid, badly-edited, "2 AM and drunk on the Lido deck at the National Review Cruise"  footage of Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Brooks might be on-file with "Project Veritas"?

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Fundraiser Day Seven: The Gettysburg Abscess

The dark carnival that is the Trump Campaign continues to limp onto the ash heap of history by butt-scooting it's crackpot theories and racist demagoguery all over the hallowed ground of Gettysburg. I'm not sure which Trump brain-wizard decided that the sight of a doomed racist cause making a suicidal charge into the teeth of overwhelming force was the very best metaphor on which to begin the final chapter of the campaign of their unhinged orange fire demon, but I hope they got their money up front.

I was such a demented ramble of Trump's angry, random notions, disjointed conspiracies, tangentially related grievances and physically, financially, temporally and constitutionally impossible claptrap tarted up to sound like "policy" that I could not track it all, but here are my notes, such as they are...
  • Trump is doubling down on every batshit lie he has been running all along.  Go, lemmings, go!
  • Dead Man Ranting

  • Remember how Lincoln kept barking "Believe me! Believe me!" after the dozens and dozens of outrageous lies he told on this hallowed ground?

  • I will direct my Secretary of Commerce & Legitimate Businessman, Charles Ponzi, to do many amazing things.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Imaginary Science, Trofim Lysenko, to pull "Clean Coal" out of his ass.  Burn it all now, people!  Without the Commie EPA who shall stop us!  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Homeland Security, Crazy Joe Arpaio, to arrest my political enemies.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Deregulationism, Jack T. Ripper, to hit the Undo Obama button eight million times on my first day in office.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Trump Math, my son Uday, to make 2+2 equal whatever I damn well say it is.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Propaganda, Steve Bannon, to bring the fucking hammer down on the free press.  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Doubletalk, Hugh Hewitt, to follow me around with a pooper-scooper and a giant shit-eating grin.  Bigly!  Believe me!

  • I will direct my Secretary of Illegals to protect us from the cybers by only letting in people who love us.  With talents this is possible ("Talents"?  like "Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred three score and six talents of gold") Believe me!

  • Apparently Trump's end-game strategy is to flummox SNL writers by overloading them with material.  

  • Let the media race to find the last "Undecided" voter in America begin!
As grotesque and horrifying as all of this is, don't let any of your Conservative friends or colleagues get away with feigning shock or surprise or that Trump is some freakish Black Swan event.

Here is what I wrote just 36 hours after Donald J. Trump glided down the escalator and began his takeover of the Republican Party:

The Premium Leads

In case you missed it, Squint and the Meat Puppet handed the MSNBC camera over to Donald Trump this morning for a relaxing, 30-minute handjob. While Trump rambled lazily from one pinnacle of bullshit and narcissism to the next, Morning Joe crack house regulars Mark Halperin (Glenn Beck's favorite mainstream media enabler) and the pickled remains of Mike Barnacle looked on, smirking and giggling. All that it lacked to complete the creepy, peep-show effect were trench-coats and bad lighting.

But of course, the story of the Trump candidacy has very little to do with Donald Trump. 

As I wrote a few years ago,the brain-caste of the GOP spent a 40 years and billions of dollars carefully breeding an army of reliably angry, paranoid, racists chumps. And they have been so successful at completely re-engineering the Right's ideological digestive system that they can no longer process any information which does not come to them in the form of Fox-approved Benghaaaazi goo.  

In other words, in order to win elections and rake in vast fortunes, the Conservative brain caste has painstakingly created the perfect feeding-ground for con men and demagogues like Trump, the louder and more bombastic the better. And from David Brooks and the Wall Street Journal and "Meet the Press", to Ann Coulter and the Washington Free Beacon and the Breitbart Collective, in one way or another, virtually everyone in the media makes bank by flattering Conservative meatheads and pandering to their delusions.

They are the GOP's premium leads, but however abundant and renewable a resource the Conservative meatheads may be, come Presidential election time, there is never enough room at the trough for every rapacious Republican hog.  Thisis why every few years we have these Little Red State Fundy moments; that delicate time when the knives come out and the various species of Conservative con men start cutting each other's balls over who gets to pluck the wingnut pigeons...

...while trying desperately not to call attention to the fact that their entire political system depends on pandering to the army of reliably angry, paranoid, racists chumps which the GOP has worked so long and hard to cultivate.

Fortunately for the Right, now that the "respectable" media has as much to lose by cracking out of turn as Hate Radio and Fox News, we can all look forward to another campaign season of the American mainstream media looking stoically the other way.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Fundraiser Day Seven: At The Final Trump Rally

Then, on November 9th, the meathead crowds suddenly became much less congenial...

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Professional Left Podcast #359

"There is no dignity in wickedness, whether in purple or rags; and hell is a democracy of devils, where all are equals."
--   Herman Melville, writer


Fundraiser Day Six: Defender of the Faith

No sacred American institution has taken more of a beating from the Rise of Trump than the high and holy Both Siderist Church of Lyin'tology.

As future scholars of Beltway theology will note, by the turn of the 21st century, Both Siderism had been a toxin in the veins of American political reporting for decades.  In a healthy democracy, the Mr. Yuk poison sign that Hunter Thompson nailed up on the occasion of the death of Richard Nixon would have been sufficient warning to future ink-stained wretches of the perils of trying to remain "Objective" in the face of an obvious monster:
Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism -- which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.
Sadly we do not live in a healthy democracy, and despite the dire warnings of their betters, pundits around the Washington Beltway and up and down the Acela Corridor went right on making a comfortable living by performing the ritual sacrifice of journalism to the gods of False Equivalence.  

Then came the collapse of the Bush Administration, and everything changed.

Future scholars of Beltway theology will point to the complete collapse of the Bush Administration as the precipitating catastrophe that turned Both Siderism from a prominent and prosperous denomination into the Official State Religion of the America's political media.  And it's not that hard to figure out why.

 After the collapse of the Bush Administration, America's political media was suddenly, wildly overstocked with Bush regime former speechwriters, cheerleaders, apologists and go-along-to-get-along capitulators and collaborates which cruel reality has stripped naked before the world with nary a narrative fig-leaf to protect them.

And while I am but a low and perverse driftglass living on the raggedy edge of our free and fair press, it has always been my understanding that Republicans and their capitulators and collaborates value nothing more highly than the ruthless efficiency of the free market.  A system which noted neoconservative, crackpot "freedom scholar" and all-around pile of human offal, Michael Ledeen, describes as:
"Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law." 
Sure, it was superfuckingawesome to making a fine, fat living by mocking capitalism's losers and casualties as moochers and takers from the comfort of your Bethesda mansion...but what happens when the bubble bursts?

What happens when those legions of Bush Administration former speechwriters, cheerleaders, apologists and go-along-to-get-along capitulators and collaborates -- who have gotten every single fucking thing loudly and catastrophically wrong -- suddenly find themselves sliding down into the "creative destruction" of the free market's Sarlac Pit?  What happens when you are the "old order" and the terrible hand of the free market arrives to tear down your cozy little sinecure?

The answer is obvious.

Since you and your cronies already dominate the media, you simply declare the Year Zero of a New Faith with a new Creed.  A faith in which no atonement for the horrible shit you and your cronies did yesterday is required and no forgiveness is necessary because discussing the past is forbidden.  A faith in which no Bush Administration former speechwriter, cheerleader, apologist or go-along-to-get-along capitulator or collaborate will ever be held specifically and individually responsible for anything, because Both Sides/All Sides/Society In General are always to blame for everything.

And upon this foundation, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times and a few others built their Church of Lyin'tology and turned public proclamation of the Both Siderist creed into the official signifier of imperial legitimacy and identity.

Which bring us to Mr. David Brooks' column in the New York Times today.

As America's leading Brooksologist, I don't read a David Brooks column like a normal person because I already know what I'm looking for.  Mr. Brooks is a maudlin and dishonest writer with a severely limited repertoire and only 800 words twice a week to push his shitty product, so it's easy for me to sweep through any given column and find the inevitable, Both Sideist "razor in the apple" because it's always there somewhere.

But today, in his desperation to keep his temple propped up and in the black, Mr. Brooks did something that took me by surprise.

First, after a couple of paragraphs praising Hillary Clinton's speaking style,  in accordance with the Creed of Both Siderism. Mr. Brooks first radically widened his condemnation of Donald Trump to indict the entire country --
It’s becoming ever clearer that the nation’s moral capital is being decimated, and the urgent challenge is to name that decimation and reverse it.
-- and then radically narrowed the temporal scope of that condemnation to imply that Trump's demagogic awfulness is somehow a brand new thing under the sun, and not the predictable (and predicted) end-product of a depraved and deliberate strategy which has been cooking along inside Mr. Brooks' Republican party for the last 40 years:
This year Trump is dismantling those restraints one by one. By savagely attacking Carly Fiorina’s looks and Ted Cruz’s wife he dismantled the codes of etiquette that prevent politics from becoming an unmodulated screaming match. 
So...Mr. Brooks has never heard of Newt Gingrich?
 Listened to By lying more or less all the time, he dismantles the fealty to truth without which conversation is impossible. 
So....Mr. Brooks has also never heard of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Ralph Reed?  Mary Matalin?  Jerry Falwell, Junior or Senior?  Laura Ingraham?   Never caught a glimpse of something called "Fox News" while waiting for the mechanic to tally up the bill for his oil change?  Never caught a whiff of Conservative Hate Radio on some vagrant summer breeze while whisking from one Aspen Institute panel to another?
By refusing to automatically respect the election results he corrodes confidence in our common institutions and risks turning public life into a never-ending dogfight.
And finally, Mr. Brooks has apparently never met Mr. Ken Starr, of Clinton-era $40M witch-hunting fame.  Nor has Mr. Brooks ever met Senator John McCain, whose 2008 campaign accused ACORN:
...a community activist group that operates nationwide, of perpetrating "massive voter fraud." It says Obama has "long and deep" ties to the group.
Nor does Mr. Brooks read Brother Charles Pierce like all good little do-bees do:
Why Are You Surprised Trump Won't Respect the Results of the Election?
It's been the Republican way for 25 years.
Mr. Brooks is also apparently completely unfamiliar with the "The Caucus Room Conspiracy": an ongoing Republican plot to neutralize the legitimate election of Barack Obama by sabotage. Amazingly, he also appears to have never heard of the "Birther" movement: a parallel, racist Republican conspiracy to delegitimize the Obama Administration outright.

In fact, one might get the impression that Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times doesn't really know shit about anything, but as America's leading Brooksologist I can assure you that this is all par for the course. Nothing unusual here -- just the the kind of standard-issue Brooksian claptrap that delights the handful of deluded plutocrat shut-ins who underwrite his career.  

No, what really put me back on my heels was this (emphasis added):
Clinton has contributed to the degradation too. As the James O’Keefe videos remind us, wherever Hillary Clinton has gone in her career, a cloud of unsavory people and unsavory behavior has traveled alongside. 
In his desperation to find some way to hang Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with the same rope, today Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times used his column to mainstream James Fucking O'Keefe.

And that is a line which cannot be uncrossed.

The rest of it is more hollow mewling and hand-wringing about the moral decay of society and how the whole god damn country has personally let David Brooks down  --
We are now in a country in which major presidential candidates can gibe about the menstrual cycles of their interviewers and the penis size of their opponents...

We are now in a society in which the childish desires of a reality-TV narcissist can insult the inheritance that Washington and Hamilton risked their lives to bequeath...

We are now in a society in which serial insults to basic decency aren’t automatically disqualifying...
-- from the man who just used his New York Times column to mainstream James Fucking O'Keefe.

I don't know whether to laugh at that kind of craven mendacity or cry.

I do know that I'll ask you to kick in to the tip jar during this fundraiser if you find the services I provide here of value.  (If times are tight, don't sweat it.  At all.  Believe me, I know how that is :-)


Behold, a Tip Jar!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fundraiser Day Five: Joe Scarborough and Bill Kristol -- Cannibals Fighting Over The Place Settings

“I didn't have cancer. I had something inside me that had cancer in it and it was removed."

-- Ronald Reagan, 1986
Of all the toxic brainworms Ronald Reagan passed down to his acolytes and imitators, almost none has proven more ineradicable and ruinous than his pathologically dissociative behavior when confronted with any information that threatened to impede his world-view.  Only when threatened with the loss of his presidency was he ever forced to concede -- in the most dysfunctional, denialist language available -- that he might have done something wrong
"[Regarding the Iran/Contra treason] My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not."

-- Ronald Reagan, March 1987
If you'd like to read more about it. the inimitable Rick Perlstein has written several hundred scintillating pages on the subject.

Today, virtually every Conservative carries this ideological retrovirus in its most lethal, full-blown, late-stage form.  As I wrote back in 2008:
It Is Now 28 Years Later
and the Conservative Hate Virus that hijacked
a political party,
a religion,
and the national media
and turned them into disease vectors
still rages merrily along.
As I wrote back in 2012:
The Conservatism Retrovirus left us open to infection from a whole suite of opportunistic wingnut disease, and from Falwell to Limbaugh to Beck, Conservatism has permitted each of them and all of their mutant imitators to breeze past democracy's natural antibodies -- an educated electorate, an honest press, a respectful politics -- and settle in for a nice, long parasite feast.

Andrew Breitbart was just such an opportunistic disease: another ratfucking bastard child of Lee Atwater and Roy Cohn who took a sociopath's glee in the wide, pestilential path he carved through America's political media. He destroyed people and pissed on their graves for fun and profit and prospered because he completely understood and embraced what a collection of monsters and meatsticks the Right truly is.
Of the four distinct characteristics which the Conservative Retrovirus always presents, characteristic number three  -- "Depends for ideological and political cohesion on a massive, ongoing and self-reinforcing regime of historical revisionism and "doublethink" -- always shows up with a couple of interrelated symptoms:  Strategic Forgettery (the past simply never happened. Example: The Great Project of David Brooks) and Republican Detachment Disorder (even if the past did happen, I had nothing to do with it.  Example:  Reliable Beltway stalactite Michael Gerson), 

And now, with the Rise of Trump, we begin to see what happens when those incurably carriers of the Conservative Retrovirus -- 

-- begin to turn on each other.  

Like just this morning, on Morning Joe (h/t Blue Gal at Crooks & Liars)  where we find the remnants of the GOP Donner Party squabbling bitterly over whose turn it is to wash the dishes and bury the bones (emphasis added to more easily guide your eye to the hilarity):

JOE SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Kristol, it's all about changing the dynamics. Did anything happen last night that would have made anybody change their mind and go back to Donald Trump? 
BILL KRISTOL:  No, but I think something happened that would make some people leave Donald Trump. I don't like -- yes, on style points style was a little better in the first 30 minutes and he had a couple clever insults but that's not the point. The headline out of this debate is obviously the failure to say ahead of time that you will accept the results of the democratic election in America. Pretty unprecedented. Doesn't mean that there's going to be violence in the streets, certainly not if others now say who cares what Donald Trump says. -- 

Republican Detachment Disorder going pneumonic in 3..2...1...

BILL KRISTOL:  -- He's going to be a failed fluke presidential candidate and he should be ignored on election night and Republicans need so say that. 

MIKA BREZINSKI:  Failed fluke? 

KRISTOL:  Yes. He won the nomination in a flukey way. 

BREZINSKI:  Your people nominated him. That's not a fluke. 

KRISTOL:   I hope it was a fluke. 

BREZINSKI:  He beat 16 people! The Republican Party nominated him!

KRISTOL:  I agree!  Some Republicans refuse to support him and he's going to lose the general election. 

BREZINSKI:  It's not a fluke. 

KRISTOL:   I think it was a fluke in some ways. And in other ways he tapped into some deep anxieties...

BREZINSKI:  A fluke is something no one expected. 

KRISTOL:  Okay, fine!  The Republican Party -- does that make you feel better about it? 


KRISTOL:  You feel great because the Republican Party nominated a guy who is really a bad guy as President and you think it's funny and amusing. 
Man, Kristol is quite the bilious little viper once you smack that death's-head smirk off his face:

BREZINSKI:  No, I actually think Republicans need to come clean on themselves. 

KRISTOL:  What is come clean on themselves?

BREZINSKI:  Just be honest about what's right and wrong. 

KRISTOL:  What's wrong is Donald Trump. (sarcastically) This show -- this show was very tough -- this show was really tough on Trump in late 2015 and early 2016. 

And here comes the Strategic Forgettery in 3...2...1...
BREZINSKI:  We were. 


KRISTOL:  Are you going to pretend that?


KRISTOL:  If that's your way -- 

BREZINSKI:   Joe hung up on him when he wouldn't answer a question. Do you mean when we peppered him -- 

KRISTOL:  A lot of people accommodated Donald Trump at different times. I'm not going to get into it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You just did! You lied!  Please don't come on my air and lie. You said in late '15 early December --  I can't even believe you are doing this, I don't know why you are so bitter 
And now that his precious delusions are being threatened from inside his own perimeter, it's time for Joe Scarborough's barely sublimated inner meathead thug fratboy to roaring come out:
KRISTOL:  I'm not bitter. I'm trying to say that Republicans -- 

SCARBOROUGH:  You're practically crying! You're practically crying. 

KRISTOL:   I am upset about this election. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Early December -- in early December 2015 we compared it to Germany 1933 what he was doing.

KRISTOL:  Really? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really. He called in, is that right? 

BREZINSKI:  We treated him tough. 

KRISTOL:  You asked the most tough questions?  


KRISTOL:  We don't need to get into this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It's too late. You're bitter -- you come on here practically crying, we have it on tape, you're screaming at Mika. You don't even know what she's going to say, which is the same thing you're going to say.  

KRISTOL:  I'm fine.
Oops.  Suddenly our Beltway finger-puppets seem to remember that they're all cannibals, and that they're all on-camera.

Quick, shift the focus away!  Onto those bad Republicans.  The ones waaay over there.  And cue the ham-handed pivot back to Republican Detachment Disorder in 3...2...1...

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is Paul Ryan?!? why are Mitch McConnell?!? 

KRISTOL:  That's what I was going to say. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That's what Mika was going to say. 

KRISTOL:  Well, then, we are in agreement.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well then, don't attack us! 

KRISTOL:  I'm not attacking you guys!  

SCARBOROUGH:  The question is, Why is Paul Ryan still endorsing, why does Mitch McConnell still endorse him. By the way, while you are attacking me personally, I said from the beginning I would never vote for him. 

KRISTOL:  You and I -- 

SCARBOROUGH:  I said I was voting for Jeb Bush and I said I was voting for John Kasich. Then we said after the Muslim ban that this is what Germany looked like in 1933. So I don't know -- 

BREZINSKI:  Sorry if we were easy on him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I'm sorry we were easy on him? If comparing him to Hitler in 1933 is going easy on him -- that was three months before anybody voted. Then we were easy on him. 

KRISTOL:  Good on you. If you behaved in a great way more power to you. 

SCARBOROUGH We did. If you want to answer the question now -- let's start with Paul Ryan because we've been asking that question -- 

KRISTOL:  He should say he does not support Donald Trump. Every Republican...

SCARBOROUGH:  And what if he doesn't? 

BREZINSKI:  It's not a fluke. 

KRISTOL:  What does that mean, "it's not a fluke."

SCARBOROUGH:  What it means is the most powerful Republicans in America are still endorsing him. 

KRISTOL:  Yes, well, I'm very unhappy about this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is Paul Ryan is legitimate contender for President in 2020 if he does not withdraw his endorsement of Donald Trump? 

KRISTOL:  That's honestly hard to say. I would have trouble supporting somebody in 2020 that has rationalized Trump. Now Ryan has gone pretty far in distancing himself from Trump, to be fair, compared to others.  

SCARBOROUGH:  He's still endorsing him. 

KRISTOL:  It is not a judgment I agree with, a judgment you two agree with, it's not a judgment most Americans are going to agree with. Practically speaking in the next two and a half weeks Republicans need to say that the election is democratic. The people who support Trump need to say this because Trump will get 40 million votes or something like that, 50 million votes and there can be danger if those voters think the election -- 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about Mike Pence? Is Mike Pence disqualifying? 

KRISTOL:  Yes, I think so. I think so. And I think Chris Christie and Rudy Guiliani and Mike Pence and all these Republicans who have run for office who have won and lost need to say you need to say ahead of time -- you need to say -- we need to say as a country that the election is legitimate and we need to abide by the election results. If Donald Trump wants to be a sore loser on November 8th he can be a sore loser. 

BREZINSKI:  He didn't say he was going to do that -- 

KRISTOL:  The key is to ignore him.  

BREZINSKI:  He didn't say he was going to do that -- 

KRISTOL:  He was going to leave it up in the air. What, he going to wait and see? 

BREZINSKI:  I don't know. I mean, I'm just saying -- 

KRISTOL:  You can challenge elections -- I mean -- 

SCARBOROUGH:  2000, 2004 -- 

KRISTOL:  You do it by the rules.  You challenge the rules. Adrian Gonzales was probably safe at home plate in the second inning last night, there is a photo showing that and he is complaining about that but the Dodgers accepted the result of the game and ahead of time they said they would accept the results of the game. ...

SCARBOROUGH:  As will everybody else...

To misquote that president everyone agreed to forget about, "Rarely is the question asked: Is our pundits learning?"

The answer is "Oh hell no".

But even more rarely is the question asked: Why are these lying, Conservative Retrovirus-riddled hobgoblins on teevee at all?

Great question!   Perhaps you'd like to contribute to the race for the cure?

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Fundraiser Day Five: Neutron Don Delivers His Payload Right On Schedule

So the racist orange fire demon who one outcast Liberal loser described back in May as a "political WMD designed to take out the Republican party, but leave their laptops and office space intact" has finally dropped the big one.

All over radio and print this AM and teevee last night, there was widespread pundit Shock! And Horror! And Even More Shock!

Trump refuses to say he will accept election results; Clinton calls it 'horrifying'

Threatening a fundamental pillar of American democracy, Donald Trump refused to say Wednesday night that he will accept the results of next month's election if he loses to Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee declared Trump's resistance "horrifying."...
Over here in my tiny Liberal outpost in the middle of Middle America, all I saw was the latest poisonous harvest from the toxic seeds the Republican Party has been carefully cultivating for decades.

Perhaps those very highly paid pundits would have been less Shock! And Horror! And Even More Shock! if they had been paying the slightest attention to what Liberals have been saying all along. 

Here, untouched and intact from 2005, is one of the first posts I ever wrote.  I would change a few details if I were putting it together today, but overall it still stands up as a solid B+ in a world where virtually every paid Beltway media professional has been pulling straight F's since Christ was a corporal:

Little Red State Fundy sez...

Whatever will we tell the children?

One day we will have to explain to the children what happened when Thurston Howell III lost his right mind and decided that for the sake of some tax cuts to make him incrementally more comfortable, his very bestest buddies in the whole, wide world were the Ultra Right Wing Gorgons down in Jesusland.

May I suggest the following?

The Story of Little Red State Fundy

Little Red State Fundy found a grain of hate.

"Who will help me plant the hate?" she asked.

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she buried the hate in the bloody ground of the Old Confederacy. After a while it grew up paranoid and ignorant and violent.

"The hate is ripe now," said Little Red State Fundy. "Who will do the mass mailings and preach bigotry from the Pulpit?"

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she licked envelopes until her bill was cracked and dry and stood up into the House of God and crowed to her flocks in their millions that God Loved Them for hating and killing creatures who were not like them.

Then she asked, "Who will help me focus this hatred politically?"

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she made databases and phone banks, and walked door-to-door with petitions that talked of Gods Great Hatred of Gays, and Gods Great Hatred of Judges that did not worship the Hate God in exactly the way the Little Red State Fundy told them to.

Then she carried the hate to steps of the Congress and the White House.

"Who will make a mandate from this hate?" she asked.

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she got on the phone with her very good friend Karl Rove and with his help organized carpools to the polls, and get-out-the-vote drives, anti-gay marriage amendments and smear campaigns. For Jesus.

And Little Red State Fundy delivered the margin of victory and was featured in many, many magazines: without Little Red State Fundy, the Republican Party could never, ever, ever win anything.

And now everybody knew it.

Then she said, "Now who shall help me Rule the Earth."

"We will!" said Moderate Republicans, Undecideds, and Libertarians.

"I am quite sure you would," said Little Red State Fundy, "but see, now you are all my bitches."

Then she called Randall Terry and Tom DeLay and Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson, and they and the rest of the Shining Path Republicans used what was left of the Constitution as ass-floss.
And judges were terrorized into silence.
And those deemed ungodly were beaten in the streets.
And they invaded whoever the fuck they felt like, for whatever fucking reason they chose.
And the very idea of a Free and Fair press died.

And to people who had been very clear all along that they genuinely believed in a Theocratic Nanny State and thought that precipitating Armageddon and triggering the Second Coming should be the highest calling of any worldly government, were handed over the police, courts, government, treasury and nuclear weapons stockpiles of the United States of America.

And in the end -- just as they had been warned for the past twenty years -- there was nothing whatsoever left at all for Moderate Republicans, Undecideds, and Libertarians.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Fundraiser Day Four: #Debatenight -- Leslie Knope vs Dinsdale Piranha

"Phone-bank" Ted Cruz, tonight, somewhere.

In addition to custom graphics, obscure words, too many literary/cinematic/science fiction/pop-culture references, one of the services we provide here at the driftglass blog is Live!Nude!Coverage! of various events like debates, public hearings of particular interest ("At The Pillory Clinton Hearing"), and so forth.

At tonight's debate, two moments -- Trump rejecting the most fundamental predicate of American democracy and Trump [who respects women more than any other human being on Earth] calling Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" during the course of this third debate meltdown in a row -- are overwhelming everything else.

But for the sake of the historical record (oh please don't let there be a historical record) here are my vagrant thoughts on the "debate" as the happened, corrected for windage and any egregious spelling errors that my tired eyes can still see:
  • Fox employee Chris Wallace views himself as a serious newsman?  Great.  I view myself as the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV.  

  • No booze?  WTF man!  Oh.  No "boos".  Never mind.

  • Clinton gives a coherent, sensible answer to "Whither the Supremes".

  • Trump: The Supreme Court hurt my fee fees.  Hillary will use her magic lady powers to eliminate the 2nd amendment.

  • Clinton: How about some reasonable restrictions on gun ownership?  And now I shall demonstrate my wonkpower!

  • Trump: Hillary is an angry lady.  Angry angry lady.  I am strong.  Strong like bull.

  • Trump: Rocket launchers for everyone!

  • And The Sniff is Back!

  • Trump: Hell yes, I'll overturn Roe v Wade.  And then I'll arm the shit out of our precious fetus-Americans!

  • Trump: Hillary wants to kill babies.  She does.  Rip that baby out of there. She'll do it!  She's crazy!

  • Hillary wants the government out of your vagina.  Trump wants the gummint in there.  Waaay in there, grabbing, grabbing, grabbing just like Donald Trump.

  • Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama personally mule smack into New Hampshire.  Sniff!  They do it!  Sniff!  Mmmm. Sniff!  Delicious heroin.

  • Bad hombre?  Really?  We're going there?  Of course we're going there.  

  • Trump: Believe me.  Sniff. Believe me.  Sniff.  Believe me.  Sniff.  Believe me.  Sniff.  Believe me.  Sniff.  Believe me...

  • Clinton: Donald hates illegal immigrants so much that he hires them to build his shitty buildings.

  • Clinton: The Ghost of Reagan loves my immigration policy.  Also Bush.

  • Trump: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in nuclear Sniff! Syrian terror babies Sniff!

  • Trump: No you're the puppet!  You are!  Vlad told me so!  Sniff!

  • Trump: According to many many reports.  Sniff!  Many, many reports I have seen. Sniff!  Putin has taken over the Middle East.

  • Can't wait for Hugh Hewitt to dress this pile of orange shit up and try to sell it as Belgian chocolate.

  • Obama's regime?  Regime?

  • Trump: I personally saved NATO.  Many people  Sniff! have told me that.  Sniff.  Many, many people,  Sniff!

  • Trump: Math Schmath.  Math is for jerks.  I'm going to grow the shit out of everything so bigly you won't believe it.

  • Trump: Remember that one time I was right about thing?  I do.  I take that moment out and pet it at night. I am so fucking awesome.

  • Trump: Why didn't you use your magic first lady of Arkansas power to stop scum like me from fucking up this country?  Huh?  Huh?

  • Trump: Everything has been debunked.  Sniff!  Obama hired thugs!  Sniff!  Watch James O'Keefe's bigly video! I never met anyone, I never knew anyone.  Sniiiiiff!

  • Trump: Hillary hired all of these horrible women who accused me of that stuff.  They have all been debunked .  Everything is a lie.  I'm sure of it, just as I'm sure Obama is a Kenyan Commie from space!

  • They're not laughing at you, Donald.  They're laughing at you.

  • Trump:  I'm going to -- Sniff! -- change the subject now --  Sniff!  -- because I'm looking like  -- Sniff!  --  like a lying pervert  --  Sniff!

  • Trump: Quit talking about my creepy, deviant business, Chris.  I've broken bigger man than you and I'll tell you what questions you should be asking me!

  • Trump: Why didn't Hillary use her magic lady senator powers to single-handedly stop me from being such a shitty monster?  Huh?  Huh?

  • Trump: Hillary Clinton should never have been allowed to run for President.  She's a criminal.   Because of emails and (sing it with me now) so many other things. Sniff!

  • Paranoid madman just madeit clear he will not accept the legitimacy of the election unless Murrica meets his demands. Game Over.

  • Trump: About three months ago I started reading.  Hey, it's a start.

  • Trump thinks a massive army can prep for a major battle, sneak up on Mosul and attack during reruns of the "The Apprentice".  

  • Watching this racist orange fire demon unravel in front of 80M people is stunning.

  • Knowing that 50M meatheads will still vote for this racist lunatic is nauseating.

  • Trump: I will not let any company leave this country.  They'll hit my wall and -- boom! -- back they'll bounce. Bigly. Sniff.

  • Trump: I will repeal everything and replace it all with pure awesome.

  • Trump:  See!  I didn't forget the coloreds!  Ha!  Take that Nasty Lady!

  • Had the GOP nominated the empty chair Clint Eastwood yelled at in 2012, their party would be in better shape than it is tonight.

  • Hillary Clinton kept bringing it back to women, children and your family's future.  Focused and prepared.  

  • Trump's utter contempt for our democracy almost overshadowed the sheer tonnage of lies that came vomiting out of his mouth.

  • "The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand." -- David Brooks, November, 2014.  Bwahahaha!

  • Hugh Hewitt trying to mainstream James O'Keefe now.  Jesus, these people.

  • I don't care about Trump's taxes as much Kellyanne Conway's.   Dying to know what the going rate for a human soul is these day.

  • "The Trump Base" is the Republican party, and the Republican party has turned the legacy of Abraham Lincoln to excrement.

  • Hugh Hewitt watched his dream of being Minister of Public Enlightenment Propaganda in the Trump regime go up in flames tonight.

  • Hugh Hewitt did it for me.  Why did MSNBC hire this degenerate conspiracy monger.  WTF is wrong with you people?

Meanwhile, at Clinton campaign headquarters...

Behold, a Tip Jar!