Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Cummings Maneuver

First, gather the Republican Hero Brigade together in one place.

Second, given them every chance in the fucking world not to conduct themselves like Jack Merridew from Lord of the Flies.

And when they default immediately to the level of the pettiest banana-republic thugs, lock them in their own fortress and drop grenades down the air ducts.

Dems on GOP’s Benghazi committee start to play hardball

10/05/15 12:46 PM—UPDATED 10/05/15 01:54 PM

By Steve Benen

It’s always interesting to see what happens when a charade ends. For quite a while, congressional Republicans tried to keep up appearances, pretending their Benghazi committee was a legitimate, non-partisan search for truth – a claim no one, anywhere, seriously believed – but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) accidental candor last week ripped off the mask.

There was brief discussion about whether Democrats would simply quit the taxpayer-funded, anti-Clinton fishing expedition in protest, a move Dems ultimately rejected, but that doesn’t mean they plan to sit idly by. The Washington Post reported this morning:

Democrats are taking the unprecedented step of releasing excerpts from a closed-session interview the House Benghazi committee conducted last month with Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, accusing the panel’s Republican Chairman Trey Gowdy (S.C.) of selectively leaking information to damage Clinton in the presidential race.

In a letter sent Monday morning, Democrats on the panel released statements made by Mills from the Sept. 3 interview that paint Clinton in a favorable light. The letter charges Gowdy with failing to provide a fair account of Mills’s interview, alleging that he orchestrated small press leaks designed to produce negative stories about the Democratic presidential front-runner.
In a letter signed by all five Democratic members of the panel, the lawmakers told Gowdy, “It has become obvious that the only way to adequately correct the public record is to release the complete transcript of the Committee’s interview with Ms. Mills…. [W]e plan to begin the process of correcting the public record by releasing the transcript of Ms. Mills’ interview. Since you have indicated your unwillingness to do this in a bipartisan manner, we plan to do so ourselves.”
And we all come out like it's Halloween.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Today In "Both Sides Do It": The American Prospect

Thanks to Alert Reader "Richard" for calling my attention to further evidence of how far into the political groundwater this poison has spread.

From The America Prospect:
The Politics of Frustration

Frustration is driving voters on both sides of the partisan divide toward radical make-believe

Republican primary voters, we are told, are furious about the failure of their party’s elected leaders to deliver on their promises. Despite controlling Congress, those leaders have done nothing about illegal immigration and have failed to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, or prevent the agreement with Iran from going through. Fed up with career politicians and fearing dire changes in American society, the party’s rank and file have instead gravitated to candidates who have never held public office—Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina. At least, that has been the story in the early going of the presidential race.

On the left, there is an analogous impatience. Just as Republicans are frustrated with the Republican Congress, so progressives are frustrated with the Obama presidency...
On and on Mr. Starr goes,
To some extent, both the conservative and progressive frustrations have the same origin—limited power in a divided government
backing up his little truck
But there is an additional parallel. Both conservatives and progressives say the parties’ agendas aren’t radical enough.
to fly dump one more load of toxic nonsense  on top of the reeking garbage heap of the Biggest Lie in American politics. 

 Until, way down in paragraph six, the author meekly blows up  his own fucking argument --
On the Democratic side, the candidates are unlikely to race to the left in a way that’s comparable to the Republican race to the right. But the idle talk about adopting single-payer health care and emulating a Scandinavian welfare state has a similar air of unreality about it.
-- and then spends the remainder of the article touting the successes of the Obama Administration and calling on Democrats to be "realistic".

If this Frankenstein dreck had been turned in to me as a writing assignment I would have asked Mr, Starr which story he wanted to write: a Both Siderist dirge or a paean to the Affordable Care Act and various other Obama Administration accomplishments.

If the latter, I would have given him a provisional "D", red penciled the first half of this paper and told him that to raise his grade he should quite trying to be David Brooks and just write the that article.  

If the former, I would have advised him to immediately drop my class and apply for a job with the New York Times, the Washington Post or (apparently, sadly) The American Prospect.  

Republican History Repeats Itself, First as Tragedy

Second as farce.

Third as genius campaign strategery!

From the New York Times:
A Conundrum for Jeb Bush: How to Use George W.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — With Jeb Bush struggling to connect with some Republican activists, his campaign has begun exploring whether to bring in the person it thinks may be best equipped to give him a boost with skeptical conservatives: his brother George W. Bush.

The 43rd president is a very popular figure among Republican voters and could deliver a needed jolt to his brother’s sluggish campaign.

Because as the Bush Family crest reads: "Cum te radices producunt atque iterum ad maiorem gente consilium optimum telum."

Or, in English, "When you shoot yourself in the foot over and over again, the best possible strategy is to reach for a larger caliber weapon."

Also, I cannot over-emphasize how awesome it is that the people who have been frantically flinging themselves through the Magical Teabagger/Bush-Off Machine over and over again for the last seven years like children running through a sprinkler on a hot day are the same people who we are being told regard Dubya as a "very popular figure".

But what bumps this from awesome to perfect is where one of the recommendations is coming from:
“I do think he’s an asset, and we need him down here — and Barbara, too,” said Sally Atwater, a Republican activist here, referring to the brothers’ mother. 

Ms. Atwater, the widow of Lee Atwater, a strategist for the first President Bush, added of the family: “Folks have a relationship with these people already. That’s important. And you need to play off of that.”
With no John McCain to slander this time around, I'm not sure what Commander Cuckoobananas can add to the mix, but you gotta respect the effort.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"And Truth Shall Have No Dominion" Edition

Take one, well-greased Donald Trump.

Add Bush Administration sock-puppet Stephen "Yellow Cakes" Hadley --
The C.I.A. faxed a memo to Hadley and the speechwriters telling them to delete the sentence on uranium, “because the amount is in dispute and it is debatable whether it can be acquired from the source. We told Congress that the Brits have exaggerated this issue. Finally, the Iraqis already have 550 metric tons of uranium oxide in their inventory.” Iraq’s supply of yellowcake dated back to the 1980s, when it had imported hundreds of tons of uranium ore from Niger and mined the rest itself. The C.I.A. felt that if Saddam was trying to revive his nuclear program he would be more likely to use his own stockpile than risk exposure in an illegal international deal.

But the White House refused to let go. Later that day, Hadley’s staff sent over another draft of the Cincinnati speech, which stated, “The regime has been caught attempting to purchase substantial amounts of uranium oxide from sources in Africa.”

This time, George Tenet himself interceded to keep the president from making false statements. According to his Senate testimony, he told Hadley that the “president should not be a fact witness on this issue,” because the “reporting was weak.” The C.I.A. even put it in writing and faxed it to the N.S.C.

-- to balm the fee-fees of Bush Regime dead-enders.

Toss in a Rich Lowrey for the high-end bigots...

An Amy Holmes (of Glenn Beck's The Blaze) to bring in the unhinged, the shut-in and the doomsday preppers...

A Ruth Marcus, because when you can't get David Brooks, David-Brooks-in-a-dress-will-do...

...and Shuck "Facts are not my Profession" Todd to read meaningless poll numbers at you and protect the Both Siderist party line with a solid barrage of "Who the fuck cares if BenghaaaazEmail is bullshit?  How will it play politically?"

Add them up and you have NBC's flagship political public interest program.  What was once the crowned jewel of the network:  now a Fox-lite chop shop trolling for viewers in the shallow end of the American gene pool.

55 years ago, in October 1960, this is what Meet the Press looked like:

In October 2015, here is the state of the art in "serious" political reporting in Murrica:

Shuck Todd explicitly announcing that the facts do not fucking matter is what makes it Meet the Press.

A clip of Jason "Imaginary Baby Parts" Chaffetz taking a break from his own filthy little wingnut kangaroo court long enough to scuttle down the hall and throw his support behind Trey Gowdy's filthy little wingnut witch-hunt --

And, boy, Republicans didn't like it. Jason Chaffetz, by the way, who just announced today he's officially going to challenge McCarthy for the speakership, he went after McCarthy hard for the comment.


To suggest that there was any sort of political motivation is absolutely-- it's not fair to Mr. Gowdy, it's not fair to myself, and most importantly, it's not fair to those four families who lost those loved ones. That's not why we're doing this.

I think he should withdraw that statement. I think he needs to express how wrong it was. And it was never the intention, it's not what we're doing. And I think the statement is totally wrong.
-- is what makes it Art.

Sure, under David Gregory, Meet the Press was an running joke and a weekly hacktacular trainwreck. But given the furious speed at which Shuck Todd is augering that wreck into the ground, it looks as if the reign of David Gregory will soon become something to be looked back on with fondness.

Jebus, we are so screwed.

So Stay Gold, Ponyboy!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Great Moments In Journihilism*: David Brooks Pulls a McCarthy

This weekend's crime against journalism is brought to you by Mr. David Brooks.

Mr. Brooks is a journalist in the employ of the New York Times who also frequently appears as an honored guest on PBS, NPR and Meet the Press. He also teaches Humility at Yale University and lectures at various think tanks around the world on the importance of humility and good character.

Friday, while on The News Hour mocking the affable, cow-dumb callowness of Kevin McCarthy, Mr. Brooks boldly pulled a rather spectacular McCarthy himself (a "McCarthy" hereafter is defined as when a Member of the Tribe That Rubs Shit In It's Hair spills some horrible secret of the Temple in front of an open microphone and is too institutionally inbred to realize that they just said something awful.)

Mr. Brooks shows his ass McCarthy-fashion at around the 5:50 mark in the video above. For those of you who have better sense that to waste a moment of you life watching this idiot, here's the transcript (emphasis added):

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about something, big news that happened a week ago today, and that was Speaker John Boehner announcing he’s stepping down.

David, it’s been assumed that the majority leader, his number two, Kevin McCarthy, had a lock on this, but then he did an interview this week where he said flat out that the investigation by Republicans into Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi incident was politically motivated, that you could measure the success of it by her dropping poll numbers.

What does it say about him as a prospective speaker?


Well, there are a couple of things we know about him. First, he’s a very social guy, a very friendly guy. I still think he has a lock on it because he’s so likable. And these races tend to be very personal.

Second, he’s not anybody’s idea of a ideological firebrand. He’s not particularly philosophical. He’s social. He’s a nice guy. He’s a good political creature. And so a lot of people are wondering, will he be ideological enough? Because he’s not particularly — that’s not in his nature.

And, third, he’s not used to being near the top job. And he said something true and stupid, which was true, that the attack, the investigation into the Democratic nominee, potential nominee, is a political act and they’re trying to bring her down. Of course. But you’re not supposed to say that.

And, third, he is an embodiment of what’s wrong with Washington with that statement, which is the gap between campaigning and governing, which used to be something that was honorably upheld, has now been erased. And so governing is the same as campaigning, or, actually, more precisely, campaigning is everything.

And so congressional investigations have become political tools.
The deliberate Beltway elisions -- that reflexive conflation of the despicable things Republicans do when they their hands on real power with "what’s wrong with Washington" -- is to be expected, That just Mr. Brooks where he is almost all of the time; on Both Siderist autopilot. 

No, the real gem is his eye-rolling dismissal of the revelation that the BenghaaaazEmail kabuki was every bit the politically motivated witch-hunt that Liberals have always said it was.

If I were Mr. Brooks' editor, I would want him in my office five minutes after the show aired and I would want him to explain to me in very small words how it was possible that he, as a paid journalist, was obviously aware of the fact that the Republican Party was using a congressional investigation as nothing more than a political bludgeon to destroy a Democratic candidate for president, but it never occurred to him to do any, y'know, actual journalism stuff with that information,  

Never asked any questions.  

Never tapped even one of that army of secret sources with whom you are so chummy for something on background.  

Never filed a single story,  

Never took all that you already knew and went on, say, The News Hour to speculate as freely about this incredibly important story as you have about every other fucking subject under the political sun,  

Never did any reporting.  

And then I realized that no editor would ever ask Mr. Brooks any such questions because Mr. Brooks doesn't have editors.

Mr. Brooks only has enablers, financiers and co-conspirators.

*Not a term I invented, but definitely one I endorse.

Even Among Fictional Bushes, Jeb Is The Dumb One

Fictional Bush, Robert Ritchie, after a fictional Secret Service agent is gunned down during a robbery:
"Crime. Boy. I don't know"
Actual Bush, John Ellis "Jeb", after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College:
"Look, stuff happens and the impulse is always to do something and it's not necessarily the right thing to do."
Compared to Jebulon, Fred Thompson was an unstoppable force of nature.

Compared to Jebulon, Dan Quayle was William Jennings Bryan.*

I can fix a comma.
Jebulon can't fix being a Bush.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Professional Left Podcast Episode #304

"It showed a crowd of freaks bending over a dying fat man on a dark and lonely road, looking at a tattoo on his back which illustrated a crowd of freaks bending over a dying fat man on a..."
-- Ray Bradbury, writer


Hello Dickless My Old Friend: Part II -- The Repropheting

Two weeks ago I made a simple prediction about America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Thought Leader, Mr. David Brooks:

This was the headline David Brooks column in America's newspaper of record the very next day:
The Marco Rubio-Carly Fiorina Option
Two weeks later, and this is the headline of Mr.  Brooks' column in America's newspaper of record today:
Carly Fiorina: The Marketing Genius
Mr. Brooks remains deeply  impressed by Ms. Fiorina's skills with the most important weapon in the Conservative arsenal:  lying.  

And you can sort of understand why.  

After all, Mr. Brooks' career is just as dependent as Ms. Fiorina's on selling the public one flimsy fraud after another.  But where Brooks protects his fragile bullshit by various acts of poltroonery -- cowering behind his column and his fellow Both Siderist co-conspirators and staying the hell away from any venue where there is even the remotest chance anyone would ever challenge his twaddle -- Fiorina marches right in to the arena, look straight into the camera and lies ferociously and relentlessly   

For someone as fundamentally chickenshit as Brooks, Fiornia's performances are electrifying:
Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign has been built on confrontational moments. With impregnable self-confidence and a fearless intensity, she has out-Trumped Trump and landed the most telling and quotable blows on Hillary Clinton.

In such a giant field of candidates what matters most is the ability to grab the spotlight. The era of YouTube and FaceTime video links has further magnified the power of a candidate who can create significant moments. Fiorina is great at it, perfectly suited to this environment. 

She can go on MSNBC or some other outlet and bludgeon a host with a barrage of forcefully delivered bullet points, which then goes viral...
Of course, now that he is all nekkid and thrilled with a lil' stiffy which hasn't flown at more than half mast since the good old days when Mr, Brooks gleefully hammered the shit out of Dirty Hippies from the safety of Dubya's swaggering codpiece,  Brooks has to pour vinegar on the moment by offering the candidate some of his famously horrible political wisdom.

Predictably, the most obvious piece of soul-saving advice which one would think the author of "The Road to Character" would be giving to a pathological liar like Fiorina -- namely "Stop Fucking Lying!" -- is an area which Mr. Brooks rockets right on past (emphasis added because Mr. Brooks bending himself across seven dimension to avoid stating the simple truth is hilarious):
In contrast to Clinton, Fiorina simply refused to adopt a defensive posture. She ignored the challenges and just hit Planned Parenthood harder. The factual issue sort of got lost in her torrent. She was stylistically indomitable even if she didn’t address the substance of the critique.
Again, this is not hard to understand.  Since Mr. Brooks' career is every bit as dependent on a farrago of fabrication and fairy tales as every other Conservative bunco artist including La Fiorina, Mr, Brooks knows full well that if he and his fellow grifters suddenly start calling each other out on their fidelity to the truth, everybody loses.

Even Nice Guy David.

Instead, Mr. Brooks opts to fuss about Ms. Fiorina's lack of nuts-and-bolts policy proposals to address the problems of the American middle class:
Most tellingly, she made the classic marketer’s error, letting her promises get far out in front of reality...


But history teaches that parties invariably nominate government officials. Sooner or later, voters want a candidate rooted in something more than a marketing strategy. They want someone authentically connected to middle-class concerns and with strategies for their specific challenges, like wage stagnation.
This is where I must lay my pencil down and move on to other things, like continuing to hunt for a full-time job in spite of the increasingly depressing odds. Because for the moment I lack the words to adequately express my total fucking awe at the sheer scope and grandeur of Mr. Brooks' mendacity.  Once again Mr. Brooks of the New York Times, PBS, "Meet the Press", TED Talks, The Aspen Institute, Yale University and NPR has walled himself up inside his Whig Happy Place to write about the behavior of an entirely fictional Republican Party which suddenly cares deeply about the concerns of the middle-class and which punishes candidates for letting their promises get far out in front of reality.

Once again, for the purpose of selling one more bullshit fairy tale, Mr. Brooks has simply zapped the entire, inconvenient history of his Republican Party out of existence.

And once again, no one but a handful of disreputable bloggers scraping by in the media badlands is going to say a word about it.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

At The Smarmy McCarthy Hearings

I Learned It By Watching You!

Ever mindful of the Gingrich Rules, return briefly with me to last weekends' most overlooked gob of pure, media slovenliness to be found anywhere in the Seven Kingdoms -- this exchange between Martha Raddatz and Newton Leroy Gingrich.

Let's pour it out again and let it b-r-e-a-t-h-e:
RADDATZ: You, of course, resigned the speakership in '99. What's different here?

GINGRICH: I'm not sure a lot is different. John and I both faced the fact that there was a hardcore group, sort of a minority of the party, who were prepared to cause total chaos. In my case, they had announced they would never vote for me for speaker, and I'd never get to win a smaller majority, I'd never get to the 218. And so you just have chaos in the House...
At this moment, literally the easiest thing in the world for Ms. Raddatz to do would have been to simply take Murrica by the hand and go for a little stroll down memory lane.

So of course she did no such thing.

But if we lived in a Better Universe.  A Universe where journalists did such things...

The year was 1990, and night after night in a corner office at the Center for Advanced Wingnut Studies, two up-and-coming Republican sociopaths work diligently to synthesize a magic formula that would help them take power. And after months of research, they discover the secret to making all of their dreams come true: lying all the time in front of every microphone and camera you can lay your grubby paws on.
In 1990, after consulting focus groups[37] with the help of pollster Frank Luntz,[38] GOPAC distributed a memo with a cover letter signed by Gingrich titled "Language, a Key Mechanism of Control", that encouraged Republicans to "speak like Newt" and contained lists of "contrasting words"—words with negative connotations such as "radical", "sick," and "traitors"—and "optimistic positive governing words" such as "opportunity", "courage", and "principled", that Gingrich recommended for use in describing Democrats and Republicans, respectively.[37]
And so, with the help of a ceaseless stream of slander and the powerful new medium of Hate Radio, Gingrich and a horde of radical, bomb-throwing lunatics swept to power.  Over the next several years, Gingrich would become famous for deploy every filthy, ratfucking dodge in the book to destroy his political opponents -- from ginning up fake Congressional show trials to shutting down the federal government -- but to wage berserker attacks on all fronts every day he needed to install a team of hard-core, corrupt, fellow-travelling fanatics who were as committed to wrecking America's capacity for self-governance as he was.

And so, Newt Gingrich's Team of Heroes was born; each one destined to fuck the country up a little further in their own, unique way before leaving office under their own, unique palls of humiliation:
From 1995 to 1999, [John] Boehner served as House Republican Conference Chairman which is the party caucus for Republicans in the United States House of Representatives. In this post, he was the fourth-ranking House Republican, behind Gingrich, Majority Leader Dick Armey and Majority Whip Tom DeLay.
And thus did Gingrich and Conservative talk radio begat the Modern Republican Hate Machine, which only turned on its creator when his promise that Murrica would rally to his Impeachment banner collapsed:
In 1998 Republicans lost five seats in the House—the worst midterm performance in 64 years by a party not holding the presidency. Gingrich, who won his reelection, was held largely responsible for Republican losses in the House. His private polls had given his fellow Republican Congressmen a false impression that pushing the Lewinsky scandal would damage Clinton's popularity and result in the party winning a net total of six to thirty seats in the US House of Representatives in this election.[86] The day after the election, a Republican caucus ready to rebel against him prompted his resignation of the speakership. He also announced his intended and eventual full departure from the House in January 1999.[87] When relinquishing the speakership, Gingrich said he was "not willing to preside over people who are cannibals"...
And thus the Modern Republican Hate Machine continued to roll merrily along.  Lurching violently and constantly Right, fueled by increasingly toxic doses of paranoia, rage and bigotry and crushing anyone who gets in its way or who doesn't qualify as "Conservative enough" as measured by the machine's demented barometer, but still running the same basic software it had back when Gingrich wound it up and set it in motion:  shutdowns, show trials and a never-ending torrent of absolutely insane lies, repeated as holy scripture to and by the Base over and over again.

Until, finally, the Modern Republican Hate Machine arrives at the present day and begets a Kevin McCarthy:  an empty-headed party apparatchik so thoroughly conditioned to think like a thug and brag like a pimp that he has no concept of a wider world where what comes out of his face hole may be considered horrifying.

And where did lil' Kevin learn such bad habits?

He learned them by watching you!

Because Tomorrow Is A Day Ending In "Y"

Fellating Trump, beating the dead horse of Benghaaaaaazemail, reading meaningless poll numbers at you and whining about Both Sides is now all that Squint and the Meat Puppet do, every day, five days a week.