Monday, August 31, 2015

Today In "Both Sides Do It": Ron Fournier

Because whatever the hell the disaster is, and however many Conservatives you find gathered at the crime scene, covered in blood with machetes and broken bottles in their hands screaming "Hell yes we did it!", some disreputable hippie somewhere must always, always, always be blamed for at least half of the mayhem.

Or, as one disreputable hippie somewhere wrote a long, long time ago:
...In your weird fetish to be “objective”, the Republicans learned the little trick that makes you dance like organ grinder monkeys. Whatever goofy-assed idea they came up with, you’d reflexively cede them half the distance between the truth and their goal.

There was a book I loved when I was a little driftglass called, “Half Magic” by Edgar Eager, about a talisman that granted the user exactly half of what they asked for. Wish to be ten times stronger that Lancelot, you’ll get five. Wish for a million in cash, you get 500K. In the Mainstream Media, the Right Wing of the Republican Party found their Half Magic Charm. And each time you met them halfway, they moved the goalposts another twenty yards again...and you jogged right on along behind them, ten yards at a time.

The “compromise” between the truth and a lie...is a lie. The “compromise” between science and superstition...is superstition. Now, would you care to guess what the compromise between tolerance and bigotry is? Between knowledge and ignorance? Between Ann Coulter and Paul Krugman?
...

For over 20 years, the Right Wing has gotten fat and rich and powerful running the same scam on you buffoons over and over again. No matter how batshit crazy their position is, you’ll concede half the stage, half the clock and give them the benefit of the doubt. Which give them an automatic victory. They showed up at the table with little more that bad-acid delusions, and now the control 50% of the battlefield because you defaulted it right into their laps.

And when you don’t completely capitulate to 100% of their insanity, they turn right around and feed that into their own Pravada Media as Further Proof of the evil left wing media conspiracy.

“Victim,” they shriek. “Anti-religious Bigot!” They rant this from the rooftops because of the tiny bit of sane ground you did not surrender...and you jellied eels dependably cave in even more.

And thus they have led you – and the rest of the nation you whose common interests you were supposed to be serving -- by these half measures, right into the foyer of your own slaughterhouse.

It’s really quite an amazing story. Too bad we don’t have a press anymore to report it.

The only thing that has changed in the last 10 years is that any remnant of the myth of Beltway media's ignorant complicity is now completely gone.  By now it is clear that deliberately flogging the Big Lie of Both Siderism no matter what has been their business model all along.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Morning Comin' Down



We've secretly replaced America's "news media" with corporate-extruded news-like infoslurry.

 Let's see if they can tell the difference!

Also on "No Follow-up Questions, We Swear to God!" with Shuck Todd, quite a bit of network time and money was spent carefully placing softballs on the Beltway Media tee-ball apparatus so that little Scotty Walker could keep taking batting practice until his time was up.  For example, on the subject of foreign policy, Scotty promised, among other things, to tirelessly fight the keep Murrica safe from the Freedonian menace --



 -- and got a big, shiny participation ribbon for his effort, because on Meet the Press, every Conservative is a winner!

Scotty's money mommy and money daddy --



-- must be very proud of their brave little cipher!

And while Persistent Vegetative Station MSNBC (Motto: "Remember when we used to not actively hate Liberals") is still being kept alive by machines so that at some point Phil Griffin can harvest it's organs, there were tiny sparkles of the old days this weekend as Steve "Chuck Todd Lite" Kornacki took a vacation and let Jonathan Capehart run the place for a few days. And either by accident or design, when the Obligatory Heritage Foundation Stooge was wheeled in to barf up Conservative talking points, this time around he was not deferred to like the éminence grise of a powerful cartel, but was instead treated like a rusting derelict left over from three wars ago which has been towed into the harbor for target practice.

The truth is, it is absurdly easy to whip virtually any Conservative any day of the week on virtually any issue. The Republican's glass jaws runs right down to their Achilles heels, which is why they depend on corrupt media referees like Shuck Todd to keep their candidates and talking heads propped up enough to simulate sentience.

We have finally arrived at a place where Republicans have declared war on reality itself because reality won't stop punching them in the balls. This has made them frantic to lay their hands on enough unfettered power to finally stomp objective reality to death and bury it in an unmarked grave. At the same time, our political media has arrived at a place where it simply will not report on any political story that cannot be hammered into the mold of a horse-race between two roughly equal and evenly matched contenders. Which is why, for tawdriest of ideological, psychological and financial motives, the Right and the Beltway media now collaborate tirelessly to maintain the illusion that the GOP is something other than the unhinged mutant whelpling of the incomprehensibly wealthy, the insufferably ignorant and the irredeemably racist.

And...as always:
"No one's talking about it. It's like it's not real."  -- Fear The Walking Dead

Saturday, August 29, 2015

10 Years After: 2005 -- Which One's Pink?



This one went around the world and back in September, 2005.

Damn but I really did do a lot of writing that first year.

Oh by the way, which one's Pink? *



* (I will rarely do a modification to an existing post, but this seemed too sadly appropriate not to add.)

This is a graphic-intensive post, and be advised the last few images are rather strong.

They are tragically nothing you won't see on your local news, but some people may find them disturbing, and my intention is not to be gratuitous.

I'm simply furious.


("Us and Them", from "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd, 1973)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Us



and Them



And after all we're only ordinary men



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!