Thursday, May 24, 2018

In Case You Were Wondering Where All the Money That Could Be Going to Build a Liberal Media Infrastructure Is Actually Going

Behold, a Tip Jar!

I'm putting the Tip Jar at the top of this post instead of discretely at the bottom.

In a minute you'll understand why.

Concerned by Trump, Some Republicans Quietly Align With Democrats

...In the past year, however, influential liberal donors and operatives have gone from cheering these so-called Never Trump Republicans to quietly working with — and even funding — them. Through invitation-only emails and private, off-the-record meetings, they have formed a loose network of cross-partisan alliances...
In other words, the Repiublican rough beast we Liberals have been warning them about for decades has finally slouched all the way to White House to be born.

That's on the one hand.

On the other hand, they have gone all in on the Both Siderist lie and have all the money in the world to play with (with emphasis added):
...[Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein]added that there was a “sense of urgency and intellectual vitality animating these efforts” that could “challenge conventional political wisdoms, 20th century political alliances and the two major, internally fractious, parties.”
See, it has finally sunk in to Prince Prospero's revelers that the Red Death has breached their walled-city and that Donald J. Trump and his Republican party really are an existential threat to democracy.  But they are equally freaked out at the implications of admitting the terrifying truth that -- holy shit! the Left really has been right about the Right all along.  Because they they might get icky Libtard juice all over the bed ruffles and the good china.  And so...
The network — composed of overlapping groups led by Democrats such as the donor Rachel Pritzker and several veteran Obama administration operatives, as well as leading Never Trump Republicans like Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn and William Kristol — aims to chart a middle path between a Republican base falling in line behind Mr. Trump and a liberal resistance trying to pull the Democratic Party left.
Oh horrors!  The peasants might get affordable health care and a college education that won't sell their kids into debt bondage!

And the rest you already know, because the script and the players never changes:
The discussions at Patriots and Pragmatists meetings are intended to focus on big picture topics related to democracy, rather than elections or political funding...The group has held three two-day gatherings outside San Francisco, New York and Washington, to which Ms. Pritzker and her political adviser invited 20 to 40 people per meeting. Gatherings have drawn influential Democratic operatives like Mr. Bassin and the Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein. They have also attracted big-name Republican and conservative thinkers, writers and operatives including Mr. Taylor, the legal analyst Benjamin Wittes and the foreign policy hawks Mona Charen, David Frum, Robert Kagan, Mr. Kristol and Jennifer Rubin.
And the amount of money these people can raise never changes.
Perhaps most significantly, Patriots and Pragmatists gatherings have drawn major donors like William D. Budinger, a former Democracy Alliance board member, and representatives of deep-pocketed grant-writing foundations like Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund and Democracy Fund Voice, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Madison Initiative.

For the last few years, those foundations have been donating millions of dollars a year to bipartisan and nonpartisan groups advocating political reforms. But they redoubled their efforts after the 2016 election.

Stand Up Republic and Stand Up Ideas — founded by Mr. McMullin and Ms. Finn — have received a total of as much as $1.3 million from the Democracy Fund groups and the Madison Initiative. And Protect Democracy and the Protect Democracy Project — founded by Mr. Bassin — have received as much as $500,000 from those grant-writing foundations, according to financial information on their websites.
And is another paragraphs taken at randomly:
The Niskanen Center hosts a semimonthly invitation-only gathering of Trump critics called Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky and the Russian Provisional Government the Meeting of the Concerned, which attendees are asked to keep confidential. While it is attended primarily by a rotating cast of Never Trump Republicans — including the pundit Mr. Kristol and the former Representative Mickey Edwards — meetings sometimes include a Democrat or two presenting research or analysis on relevant issues.
And another:
Other Republicans have been wary to get involved, Mr. Bassin said. “There is a troubling dynamic happening where anytime a conservative expresses concerns, they get branded a Never Trumper and are excommunicated from the American right.”
And I'm done

For Impeccable Service To The Russian State

Behold, a Tip Jar!

But Discommendation is Still Permitted

The inherent flaw in the reasoning of tyrants and their stooges who resort to banning one, specific gesture of protest --

“The N.F.L. owners did the right thing if that’s what they’ve done,” he told Fox & Friends’s Brian Kilmeade during an exclusive interview Thursday morning. “I think that’s good, I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. . . . You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there—maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”...
-- is that they simultaneously reveal just how weak and craven they are, and they remind everyone that are so many other very public ways to tell those tyrants and their stooges to fuck right off.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

The #Shitcoin Bubble Bursts

From CNN:
Trump cancels Singapore summit in letter to Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump will not meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month for what would have been a historic diplomatic summit, he announced in a letter to Kim released by the White House Thursday morning...

So President Stupid just got pantsed in front of the whole world by a blood-drunk, half-bright adolescent lunatic who rules a third world shitpile.

Well I have worn the soles out of my last pair of "We Fucking Told You So" dancing shoes, so let's just stipulate that A) this will not make the slightest difference to the reprogrammable meatbags of the Republican base because, B) by next week it will be completely forgotten by them because, C)  Spygate/Benghaaaazi/Emails/Seth Rich/!
Behold, a Tip Jar!

Today In Both Sides Do It: Pity The Poor Bush Regime Dead-Enders

They haz no homez!

You are politically homeless because what you believe is ridiculous and awful, but the ridiculous, awful, lying, racist avatar for those beliefs which which your party nominated and elected makes you feel icky.

You are politically homeless because the idea of ever admitting that the Left has been right about the Right all along also makes you feel icky and -- let's face it -- would also be professional suicide.


Behold, a Tip Jar!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Grand Compendium Delusion

A couple of days ago I posted a call-and-response style post in which our humble narrator keeps interrupting Michael Gerson's latest, ludicrous whitewashing of Republican party history with significant events from the actual history of the Republican party which make Mr. Gerson look either remarkably stupid or like a pathological liar.

Anyway, a few of my more literal-minded readers responded to the final paragraphs of this post -- 
Excuse me, Mr. Gerson, but Jesus Christ on a UPS truck, you are not going to believe what happened!  

Funny story, actually.  

It seems that some Liberal asshole bundled together the record of your entire Republican party during the Obama Administration.  You know, long before Donald Trump ever oozed down the escalator and into the hearts of the reprogrammable meatbags who always have been the base of your party...
-- with a request for the link to which I was referring.

Well, see, there is no link.  There was nothing wrong in asking, but the the point I was attempting to make was that the actions of Mr. Gerson's Republican party every single day of the eight years of the Obama Administration all irrefutably damn Mr. Gerson's Republican party.  That the evidence of their sabotage and sedition was all so clear-cut, so right-out-in-the-open and of such recent vintage that no compendium of each of the hundreds of individual acts of betrayal should be necessary.

But it did get me to thinking about this.

See, over the years I have noticed a very specific form of wishful thinking among my fellow Libtards that it really is long past time that we outgrow.  And that is the fantasy that if we just had at our disposal some Grand Comendium of all modern Republican crimes against this country -- complete with tables of contents and footnotes and links and ibids and passims and vols -- that this would somehow begin to turn the tide.

That somehow, if we just had an exhaustively researched Indignity Gauntlet outfitted with all six Indignity Stones we would finally have a tool powerful enough to haul the Republican party down out of the Stupid Tree and force them to see reason.  Hell, maybe even just the Time Stone and with it the power to drag them back a day or a week or a month and watch themselves loudly swearing by the exact opposite of what they are swearing by today, and then jaunt them into the future so they can watch themselves swearing by the exact opposite of what they are swearing by today.

But the thing is, even if I had the luxury of taking off a year or so to compile such a thing, I wouldn't.  Because it is a fool's errand.  Because the problem is not that Republicans lack access to the same facts you and I and every other person with a computer has at our fingertips at all times.  Quite the opposite: they're drowning in humiliating, irrfutable rebuttals to everything they believe, which is why they have welded themselves inside the Hate Radio/Fox News bunker. 

They cannot be reached, because they have chosen not to be reachable.  They cannot be reasoned with because they reject reason itself.

Of course there will come a moment when the administration of President Stupid finally cracks down to the keel and slides beneath the waves, and in that moment these fuckers will try to flee down every available rat-line in their millions.  But don't expect them to acknowledge any personal responsibility for any of the madness they made possible.  Instead, expect to see a massive uptick in self-identified "independents" who will all swear that never really supported Donald  Trump at all with the same fervor that they now swear that all negative information about Trump is Fake News by the Deep State.

Expect to see them scurry around madly, loudly blaming Both Sides, to the delight of all the Beltway Both Siderists, who will be more than happy to tell these newly-minted "independents" the fanwing, flattering lies they wish to believe...

...even as they scan the horizon for the next lying Republican demagogue into whose arms they can fling themselves.

Why do I fully expect that, unless we on the Left mount a sustained and coordinated campaign to prevent this from happening, that this is what our future looks like?

Because we have been here before.  Several times.  And this is always how it goes.

For example, nine years ago -- long before Donald Trump oozed down the Escalator of Fate and into the hearts of the GOP's racist asshole base -- a guy named  Russell King compiled an abridged version of exactly the sort of Grand Compendium of Republican atrocities that way too many of my Liberals brothers and sisters still believe can be used to open Conservative minds.

It was a huge hit.  It went viral.  Bigly.  Traveled around and around Teh Internets a zillion times while many a good-hearted Liberal emailed it to their own Crazy Uncle Liberty with with "PLEASE READ" in the the subject line.

And in the end it simply faded away, having made little or no difference whatsoever.

Here, for the benefit of future generations, is Mr. King's epic work from nine years ago reposted in its entirety.  And no, I have not checked to make sure each individual like is still active.  And no, I do not intend to.

An open letter to conservatives

March 22, 2010, 3:16PM

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: Come back to us.

Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you're going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you'll have to start by draining this swamp:


You can't flip out -- and threaten impeachment - when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that's centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can't vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it's done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) -- 114 of you (at last count) did just that -- and it's even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can't fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can't call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they "unlawful enemy combatants" or are they "prisoners of war" at Gitmo? You can't have it both ways.

You can't carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can't refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn't meet with you.

You can't rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can't rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can't be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can't enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can't flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can't complain that the president hasn't closed Gitmo yet when you've campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can't flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn't even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed (on the mouth) leaders of countries that are not on "kissing terms" with the US.

You can't complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt -- the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can't attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn't issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can't throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when -- in fact -- only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can't condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attempted terror attack on his.

You can't mount a boycott against singers who say they're ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he's ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Maoist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can't cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it's too short.

You can't support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can't demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can't praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it "treasonous" under a Dem president.

You can't propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can't be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can't damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you've paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can't condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president's party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can't be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can't vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of 'open debate'.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it's 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you're taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God's stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can't send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can't criticize Dems for not doing something you didn't do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can't decry "name calling" when you've been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can't spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can't praise the Congressional Budget Office when it's analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it's unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don't.

You can't vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don't. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can't call a reconciliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can't spend taxpayer money on ads against spending taxpayer money.

You can't condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the mandates were your idea.

You can't demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don't.

You can't whine that it's unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party's former leader admits you've been doing it for decades.

You can't portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can't complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you've routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain -- threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented -- and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can't question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn't object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can't preach and try to legislate "Family Values" when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer's wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coerce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife's mother;


You really need to disassociate with those among you who:

assert that people making a quarter-million dollars a year can barely make ends meet or that $1 million "isn't a lot of money";

say that "Comrade" Obama is a "Bolshevik" who is "taking cues from Lenin";

ignore the many times your buddies use a term that offends you and complain only when a Dem says it;

liken political opponents to murderers, rapists, and "this Muslim guy" that "offed his wife's head" or call then "un-American";

say Obama "wants his plan to that he can make the case for bank nationalization and vindicate his dream of a socialist economy";

equate putting the good of the people ahead of your personal fortunes with terrorism;
smear an entire major religion with the actions of a few fanatics;

say that the president wants to "annihilate us";

compare health care reform with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a Bolshevik plot the attack on 9/11,or reviving the ghosts of communist dictators (update: it's also not Armageddon);

equate our disease-fighting stem cell research with "what the Nazis did";

call a bill passed by the majority of both houses of Congress, by members of Congress each elected by a majority in their districts, an unconscionable abuse of power, a violation of the presidential oath or "the end of representative government";

shout "baby killer" at a member of Congress on the floor of the House, especially one who so fought against abortion rights that he nearly killed health care reform (in fact, a little decorum, a little respect for our national institutions and the people and the values they represent, would be refreshing -- cut out the shouting, the swearing and the obscenities);

prove your machismo by claiming your going to "crash a party" to which you're officially invited
claim that Obama is pushing America's "submission to Shariah";

question the patriotism of people upholding cherished American values and the rule of law;

claim the president is making us less safe without a hint of evidence;

call a majority vote the "tyranny of the minority," even if you meant to call it tyranny of the majority -- it's democracy, not tyranny;

call the president's support of a criminal trial for a terror suspect "treasonous" (especially when you supported the same thing when the president shared your party);

call the Pope the anti-Christ;

assert that the constitutionally mandated census is an attempt to enslave us;

accuse opponents of being backed by Arab slave-drivers or of being drunk and suicidal;

equate family planning with eugenics or Nazism;

accuse the president of changing the missile defense program's logo to match his campaign logo and reflect what you say is his secret Muslim identity;

accuse political opponents of being totalitarians, socialists, communists, fascists, Marxists; terrorist sympathizers, McCarthy-like, Nazis or drug pushers; and

advocate a traitorous act like secession, violent revolution , military coup or civil war (just so we're clear: sedition is a bad thing).


If you're going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they're NOT synonymous!)

You can't cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you've decided you don't like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word "terrorism" or say we're at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you're going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can't just pretend historical events didn't happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn't make it better.)

You can't say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from "socialist utopia"; health care reform is not "reparations"; nor does health care reform create "death panels".


You have to condemn those among you who:

call members of Congress n*gger and f*ggot;

elected leaders who say "I'm a proud racist";

state that America has been built by white people;

say that poor people are poor because they're rotten people, call them "parasitic garbage" or say they shouldn't be allowed to vote;

call women bitches and prostitutes just because you don't like their politics ( re - pea -ted - ly );

assert that the women who are serving our nation in uniform are hookers;

mock and celebrate the death of a grandmother because you disagree with her son's politics;

declare that those who disagree with you are shown by that disagreement to be not just "Marxist radicals" but also monsters and a deadly disease killing the nation (this would fit in the hyperbole and history categories, too);

joke about blindness;

advocate euthanizing the wife of your political opponent;

taunt people with incurable, life-threatening diseases -- especially if you do it on a syndicated broadcast;

equate gay love with bestiality -- involving horses or dogs or turtles or ducks -- or polygamy, child molestation, pedophilia;

casually assume that only white males look "like a real American";

assert presidential power to authorize torture, torture a child by having his testicles crushed in front of his parents to get them to talk, order the massacre of a civilian village and launch a nuclear attack without the consent of Congress;

attack children whose mothers have died;

call people racists without producing a shred of evidence that they've said or done something that would even smell like racism -- same for invoking racially charged "dog whistle" words (repeatedly);
condemn the one thing that every major religion agrees on;

complain that we no longer employ the tactics we once used to disenfranchise millions of Americans because of their race;

blame the victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks for their suffering and losses;

celebrate violence , joke about violence, prepare for violence or use violent imagery, "fun" political violence, hints of violence, threats of violence (this one is rather explicit), suggestions of violence or actual violence (and, really, suggesting anal rape with a hot piece of metal is beyond the pale); and
incite insurrection telling people to get their guns ready for a "bloody battle" with the president of the United States.

Oh, and I'm not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we'll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)

Written by Russell King

Update: removed the mouth kissing reference and tried to clean up spelling

Behold, a Tip Jar!

The Declaration of Independents

Image result for driftglass independent

This guy's an Independent because of the, y'know, K'rupt Duopoly!
Hey, so is this guy!  Because that damn K'rupt Duopoly obviously isn't Right enough!
Experts: Door could be open for Blankenship to pursue independent Senate run

While it would likely require a legal challenge, some experts say there may be room for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to pursue an independent run for the U.S. Senate.

Blankenship, who was released in 2017 from a yearlong prison sentence following a conviction of conspiring to violate mine health and safety laws at the Upper Big Branch mine, finished third in the May 8 Senate Republican primary election...

And this guy!  Because that cursed K'rupt Duopoly clearly isn't Left enough!
Sanders to run as a Democrat — but not accept nomination

The Vermont senator announces his complicated reelection plans for another term.

Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination in Vermont — but he won’t accept it if he wins.

The famously independent senator, who briefly joined the Democratic Party to run in the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary only to un-enroll later, officially announced Monday that he would seek a third term in the Senate this fall. He also said that he’ll pull the same maneuver that he did in his 2006 and 2012 Senate races: Running as a Democrat, declining the nomination when he wins and then running as an independent.

The move makes it virtually impossible for another Democrat to seek the party’s nod. And it allows Sanders to loom large in the party primary in August, but still preserve his independence...
And this guy!  Because in the teevee pundit game, "redolent with Republican stank" has become a professional liability.  Also something something K'rupt Duopoly!
Scarborough formally leaves GOP, registers as independent

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough announced in a tweet on Thursday that he had officially registered as an independent, roughly three months after he said he was leaving the Republican Party.
You know, call me crazy, but it's almost like "independent" is nothing but a hollow, meaningless political slogan and that the people who suit up under those colors are mostly whiners, grifters, or frantic to avoid being held responsible for their shitty behavior.

And I would write a long post examining this all in greater detail...

...if I hadn't already written a long post examining this all in greater detail nine years ago.

The "Independent" Granfalloon

In which I play a little game with myself trying to predict what piffle David Fucking Brooks will be trafficking tomorrow on MTP as Rachael Maddow puts her Keds up his ass.

I'm guessing Bobo will be Speaking With Authority about "Independents"; after all he wrote a whole, dumb column about it on Thursday, and has been dining out on that dumb column on radio and teevee for the last two days, so why not make a Sunday brunch out of the leftovers too?...

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Monday, May 21, 2018


Rather than deconstruct yet another suffocating David Brooks sermonette on morality --
What Moral Heroes Are Made Of
-- it seemed an appropriate occasion to initiate you into one of the exotic pleasures of living in Chicago during the 1990s.


I consider Bobwatch to be the boozy, disreputable uncle of my own, long-running David Brooks project for reasons that I hope will be obvious in 3...2...1...

The Reader helped you survive Bob Greene, and it will help you survive the super blue blood moon

The thing that made me fall in love with the Reader way back in my bright college years of the mid-90s—1995 and 1996, to be precise—was the monthly "Bobwatch" column. Its tagline was "We read him so you don't have to," which pretty much said it all, but at the same time conveyed so little of the column's brilliance: how expertly the pseudonymous Ed Gold tore apart Bob Greene's daily columns on the front page of the Tribune's Tempo section, the detail and incisiveness with which he analyzed what made Greene so awful.

Gold delivered a mission statement of sorts in his inaugural column on January 26, 1995:

We pick up [Greene's] column with a tingle of anticipation—how awful will it be? Will he content himself with another effortless sputtering of baby talk, lavished over one of his pitiful handful of themes and interests? Or will he reach some new benchmark of idiocy?
Over the next two years, he would pick out every bit of sentimentality and sanctimony and skewer it mercilessly and brilliantly in a way that most of us (especially if we were still college students slogging away at the campus daily) could only aspire to.

What was really impressive was his stamina. Did you ever try to read a Bob Greene column in the 80s or 90s? Nobody could tolerate that many newspaper inches about the long and bitter and extremely boring custody battle over Baby Richard (also pseudonymous). But Ed Gold could! He made it a joy to get in touch with our worst selves:

Bob Greene's sympathy carries the same corrosive effect as praise from the Daily Worker did in the 1950s. Readers who would normally sympathize at the tragic unfolding of the Baby Richard case find themselves hating the child, based solely on the endless sweaty jig Bob insists on performing on his behalf.
And now a little "flava" (as the kids once used to say) of Bobwatch itself:
Running on Empty 

Bob Greene speaks for a generation, but which one? He disgorges thoughts so weird, so wrong, that I believe they are so unique in the history of the world.

By Ed Gold

Sorry. I've just finished reading Bob Greene's latest book, The 50 Year Dash: The Feelings, Foibles, and Fears of Being Half a Century Old, and his thought patterns are still infecting my brain.

Give me a moment to recover. Breathe. Think of something positive that has happened in the past 25 years: the worldwide eradication of smallpox.

There, I feel better. The fog is lifting. How can this still come as a surprise? It's Bob's 16th book. Just as scenes of London are expected in the work of Charles Dickens, there are certain elements common to every Bob product: the terrible writing; the muddy thinking; the suffocating, relentless nostalgia.

But my God, Bob really tops himself here. Let's begin with the writing. It is the worst he's ever published--perhaps the worst anybody has ever published. You think I'm kidding? Read the following sentence: "Like the father who sits in a ballpark with his son, looking at the boy but also seeing himself as a boy, looking at his boy looking at the ball game and being both the father who is there today and the son who used to be there with his own father forty years before, being the father and the child all at once, and that fact being so much more important than the game out on the diamond..."

Those are his ellipses. On page 97. Second full paragraph. Ellipses. As if at that point he had to break off the sentence to wiggle his fingers against his lips and go, "Ah-bee-bahdee-bahdee-bahdee."

The book is written in all three persons--first person for Bob's own cherished history, third person for real life glimpsed while shuffling through airport walkways, and second person so he can backpedal away from his own thoughts while trying to fob them off as universal experience...
There is something reassuring in the knowledge that the practice of handing big bags of cash to shitty writers with outsized reputations on the back nine of their careers to crank out banal, brain-stunting piffle is nothing new. 

Greene's career came crashing down when the details of a previous sexual liaison with an underage girl leaked. 

At the time Greene was on a promotional tour for his 21st book and being lauded by Time magazine as a chronicler “for people hungry for moral clarity.”

And so it goes. 
Behold, a Tip Jar!

A Truth and Reconciliation Fairy Tale

Since the Liberal Superpower is memory, I thought I'd take mine out for a spin and remind my readers of the last time people of good will decided that the depravity of the GOP could be best handled with genteel half-measures.

This is a video from February 2009 of Senator Patrick Leahy proposing an American version of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee as a reasonable middle ground between doing absolutely nothing about eight years of  Bush Administration crimes and criminal-incompetence, and spending a decade doing nothing but picking through the ruins the Reign of Dumbses and prosecuting the shit out of its every mastermind, middleman and stooge.

It was a fairy tale because Senator Leahy made the colossal misjudgment of presuming that a substantial number of leaders in the GOP and a  large number of Republican party base voters were interested in Truth or Reconciliation.

They weren't.

They were exclusively interested in running the hell away from the disasters they had created as fast as their Medicare-funded Hoverounds could carry them.  They were interested in burning their Bush/Cheney laws signs and merch and pretending they has never heard of Dubya and had never troubled their beautiful minds with thoughts of politics or parties.  They were interested in putting on funny hats, calling themselves "independents" and gathering in public parks to scream about how the Kenyan Usurper was gonna take all their guns, Death Panel granny and make their kids gay.

And so, nine years after far too many misguided, well-intentioned souls still believed that the solution to the GOP's 50-year-long march into madness was clemency and forbearance, here we are (from Brother Charlie Pierce):
The American Republic Is Fighting for Its Life

Trump has set in motion a constitutional crisis, having sold American foreign policy to the highest bidder.
The time for kidding ourselves about who these people really are and what they and their enablers in the media are willing to do to destroy our country and remake it into something alien and monstrous is over.

You see, it's not that I have given up on the idea of sort of Truth and Reconciliation Committee eventually.

It's just that I also believe that, en route to that commission, Republicans and their media enablers must first have their heads shaved and be marched though the streets wearing signs that say "I Collaborated".

Behold, a Tip Jar!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #441

"Don't ever say anything you don't want played back to you someday."
-- John Gotti, mobster

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