Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Here Comes Mr. Wolf. Again.


As readers of this little blog are already aware, the Beltway media's most indispensable function in our fatally polluted political ecosystem is to make sure that the Republican Party is never, ever held responsible for the havoc they wreak on this country.

Everything else is yadda, yadda, yadda.  Weather, sports and water-skiing squirrels.

It doesn't matter how many different ways the Republicans fucked things up last time, or in how many different disguises they show up at the Fuck Everything Up Parade next time. When the last HUD house is shuttered and the last public school is sold off to golf course developers, our Beltway media will still be there, making sure the Republican Atrocity Memory Hole is open 24/7/365.  Making sure that the same gorgons and hobgoblins and cyborgs who helped midwife the previous Republican catastrophe are quietly shriven, re-upholstered and given another well-remunerated seat at Very Serious Media table in time to grease the skids of the next Republican catastrophe

Over and over again.  Around and around.  Wreck a government.  Build a lifeboat.  Sail in a circle. Come back to the scene of your old crime dressed in new threads.  Wreck the government again. Build another lifeboat.  

Mr. Wolf is always on the job. *

Which brings us to Ms. Kathleen Parker, who, for awhile seemed to have been so stunned with poison from the collective wingnut venom sac back she dared to suggest that the Scintilla from Wasilla was maybe not up to the job of vice president of the United States that it seems just barely possible Ms. Parker might stop being a reliable Republican-enabling Beltway Both Siderist stooge.

But mortgages must be paid, and wet bars must be restocked.  And actually breaking with the doctrine of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It to ride off and tilt at wingnut windmills is still professional suicide.  And so, inevitably, Mr. Parker has shaken off her encounter with the nekkid Id of the GOP and gone back to what she does best:  being a reliable Beltway Both Siderist stooge.

And while her Friday headline was a good example of pissy Villager trolling (h/t Alert Reader WA for sending it my way) -- 
How Democrats won the presidency
-- and the article atop which it perches is as fine a slice of Republican Detachment Disorder as I have seen, it is her follow-on article from yesterday that is the real winner:
Can centrism be a movement?
It's so thick and rich with Both Siderist awful that it goes down...and then comes right back up again...like an ipecac milkshake.

Here are a few of the gooier nuggets:
While Manhattan’s already snarled streets filled beyond capacity with limos toting dignitaries, a quieter, less-theatrical group of thinkers and leaders was meeting to discuss strategies for a rising new political center...

The Sunday event was the inaugural “Ideas Summit” of the New Center, the policy arm of No Labels, an organization dedicated to restoring bipartisanship and a centrist governing philosophy in Washington...”

And about 100 politicians, financial backers and others convened to hear former British prime minister Tony Blair in a conversation with Joe Lieberman,a former U.S. senator from Connecticut and a No Labels co-chair..

Contrary to early criticism of No Labels as a front for right-leaning 1-percenters, and its predicted failure, the group’s composition and much of what it proposes are very much in the middle of the muddle. Successful by most measures, the organization has about 15 staffers and, importantly, a group of committed financiers who can underwrite political campaigns in the absence of party support...
Because there will always, always, always be money in the banana shack for anyone who will boldly blame Both Sides for Republican perfidy and treason.

And, finally...
But, I asked, can centrism really become a movement? Does it need a party?

Said Lieberman: “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says we have to have a two-party system. We can do whatever we want.”

Indeed, we can.

In other words...




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* Fixed.  Thanks for the catch.

Wildly-Overpaid Teevee Opinion Man Does Not Understand How Free Speech Works



For a man who is paid (at last report) $77K a week, every week, to spout inane Conservative bullshit on MSNBC three hours a day, every day, Joey Joe Joe Junior Scarborough clearly has no fucking idea how this "free speech" thing works.
Well, as leader of all liberal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.  So allow me to explain.

Slowly.

So even Joey can understand.

First, "free speech" is indeed a cardinal American value.   A pillar of our democracy, so important that we enshrined it in the very first amendment to our Constitution.  So important we even tolerate it being abused to the point where clowns like Joe Scarborough are paid vast sums of money to spout inane Conservative bullshit on MSNBC three hours a day, every day.  Because that's how we roll here in the U S of A.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
But the thing is, Congress has made no law abridging the freedom of speech of skinheads or Nazis or even basic meatheads like Joe so no ones actual free speech rights are being trampled on in any way that the Constitution would recognize as unconstitutional.

Second, protest is speech you fucking idiot.

Remember these assholes, Joe?  Bulldozing their way through town halls?  Shouting down anyone who didn't agree that Barack Obama was a dirty, dirty Kenyan commie who was going to take away your tiny penis compensators and  kill your sainted white granny with Death Panels?



Packing public parks, shrieking about the blood of tyrants...


...threatening "Second Amendment solutions"* if their unhinged paranoid claptrap wasn't taken seriously?



Funny, but I can't seem to find a single column by Joe Scarborough during the rise of the Fake Tea Party in which he gets up on his hind legs about their shoutycracker tactics.  

Instead I found this:
The truth about the tea party

By JOE SCARBOROUGH 10/21/2012 12:57 PM EDT

...let’s not get bogged down by history. Instead, we can blow apart this fanciful meme by reviewing the tea party’s short history. Let’s simply review how terrible the tea party has been for the GOP.

— They energized a conservative movement battered by eight years of bloated Republicanism,

— they shocked the political world by taking Ted Kennedy’s seat,

— they put Obama Democrats in a constant defensive crouch,

— they led the resistance against “Obamacare,”

— they helped bring about the largest legislative landslide in U.S. history in 2010,

— they grabbed six seats in the U.S. Senate that year,

— they helped elect six governors,

— they helped win 700 seats in state legislatures, and

— they helped elect a Republican majority that included the largest number of Republicans elected since 1946.

With a track record like that, the Republican Party had better watch their backs. If this trend keeps up, they might just win the White House and the Senate.

Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, the general theme that the tea party has been bad for the GOP is pure malarkey.
Finally, and burying the Ridiculousness Needle in the red, considering that the Right has their own teevee network (Fox), and another teevee network  (Sinclair), and their own religion with its own megachurches and media platforms, and half of MSNBC and half of CNN, more than half of the seats on every god damn panel on every god damn Sunday show (which are then padded out with Conservative enablers known in the business as "Cillizzae"), half the op-ed pages in major American newspapers, their own book publishing houses, their own magazines,  god-knows how many think-tanks, foundations, white-paper generators, advocacy groups and myriad wingnut welfare funded websites...

...and their own stable of crackpot plutocrat billionaires footing the bill for any little thing their fascist movement might need...

...and they control the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court...

...and you can't turn on terrestrial radio anywhere in America without Rush or Sean or Laura or Mark or The Lesser Reagan puking out toxic Conservative hatespeech 24/7/365...

... tell me Joe, how exactly is Conservative speech under dire threat by a few universities that choose not to give platforms to a few fucking Nazis, or by protesters raising their voices loud enough to momentarily drown out the tidal wave of poisonous Conservative bile in which we are drowning? 


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*Thank you for the catch.  I wrote this at ramming speed and with no rear-view mirror :-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Podcasts? How Do They Work?


When I saw this headline in The Week, I was confused --
How a new generation of left-wing podcasters are dethroning Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio
-- because I don't remember anyone from The Week dropping by our hobbit hole to interview the cast and crew of The Professional Left Podcast.  Or even calling us on the "telephone" machine now that we have regular, party-line service here in the middle of Middle America,

At any rate, at first I was excited, because apparently "we" are 'sploding!  And who doesn't like to be 'sploding!
...Starting with Rush Limbaugh in the late 1980s, influential personalities have projected their grievances and biases onto millions of listeners, who have rewarded these hosts with wealth and incredible influence in Republican politics. Efforts to deliberately build an alternative network of left-wing radio shows have all ended in the same way: with failure, none more spectacular than the 2010 implosion of Air America.

Suddenly, though, Limbaugh has company.

Since the election, subscribership to a series of left-leaning podcasts has exploded...
Then I read a little further and became a little less excited:
The most prominent is Pod Save America, the brainchild of former Obama administration speechwriters Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett, as well as former Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. Episodes draw anywhere from 800,000 to 1.4 million listeners. Those numbers rival major cable programs, and in some cases eclipse household name shows like Morning Joe and Anderson Cooper 360.

The Pod Save empire also includes programs like Pod Save the World and Pod Save the People, all of which have strong numbers. Vox's podcasts, including The Weeds and The Ezra Klein Show, are also extremely popular...
...
The left's new stars are actual experts in public policy — people like former Obama strategist David Axelrod (of The Axe Files) — more than people who are famous for being famous.
It appears that as long as you're a former Obama speechwriter ... or you can get Jeff Bezos to finance your new media platform ... or you're a former Obama speechwriter ... or you're a former Obama spokesperson ... or a former Obama political chieftain ... or a former Obama speechwriter ... this new "podcast" thingie may open a door into a whole new future.

Because it is indeed undeniably true that the Left needs a reliable way to reach a broad and diverse audience as inexpensively and effectively as the Right used talk radio:
Conservative dominance of the airwaves allowed the right to do one of the most important things in public life: "agenda-setting." By communicating to conservative listeners what is important and what they should care about, Limbaugh and his fellow movement conservatives were able to direct which issues their listeners would feel most passionately about. Not only that, but they also engaged in "framing," which means they were not just setting the agenda but also offering a set of preferred options about how to achieve it.

In a 2000 study, David Barker and Kathleen Knight found that Limbaugh was able to move the needle on the issues he was most hopping mad about at any given time, and that his listeners showed "hostility toward those items beyond what can be accounted for by ideology, party identification, exposure to other conservative messages, affect for Limbaugh, or a host of other factors." Limbaugh's withering attacks on "the beautiful people," as well as "feminazis" (a disgusting term he helped popularize on the right), for example, were so effective that this year the scholar Robert Brown deemed him the "president of talk radio."

That is incredible influence for someone who possesses no meaningful advanced background in politics or policy....
And with the ubiquity of smartphones, this new "podcast" doohicky may  finally begin to do for the Left what talk radio did for the Right: defeat the limits of geography and allow us to reach people wherever they are, from wherever we are.
Right-wing radio's success was partly geographic. Republicans, who, very broadly speaking, tend to live outside of major cities and prefer the car-centric lifestyle of ranch houses, strip malls, and sprawl, spend more time driving to work than the average Democrat, making them available in huge numbers for over-the-air or satellite radio programs piped directly into their cars. By contrast, many urban-dwelling liberals walk, bike, or take public transit to work, and in many major cities, radio signals as well as the internet are unavailable on trains. Podcasts resolve this issue by downloading automatically onto smartphones for all subscribers, who can listen to the show even when they are being shunted to work 50 feet underground.
Provided "wherever we are" is Los Angeles.
Or New York.
Or Washington D.C. :-)




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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Morning Comin' Down: So Say We All Edition




What is there to add but...

If you need a little more, head on over to Jay Rosen's house for a brief, intense course is how journalism's own code has created a closed loop that has become a noose:
Normalizing Trump: An incredibly brief explainer 
A conflict in the journalist's code was created by a president wholly unfit for the job.




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Coates vs Brooks

franklin3



In case you were wondering why we as a country are not having that long-overdue NCAR (national conversation about race) take a look at how differently these two men view the election of Donald Trump.

Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times is the apotheosis of undeserved elite white privilege.  He is one of the media's most influential Very Serious Persons and a gatekeeper of the terms and limits of every national political debate.  And he visibly cringes at the thought of any serious nation political conversation that gets anywhere near the subject of race, racism and -- surprise! -- white privilege:



Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most insightful and unflinchingly honest writers about race in American politics and culture.  His take on the centrality of race in election of Donald J. Trump is true and tragic and irrefutable (NBC killed the previous link due to copyright issues.  Here is a new one that looks durable):



You might recall that just two years ago, Mr. Brooks took it upon himself to publicly scold Mr. Coates' for "dissolving the [American] dream under the acid of an excessive realism". Mr. Brooks then his ass sawed off and handed to him on the good china up one side of the internet and down the other:

#RichWhiteLivesMatterToo  -- Update

Mr. Brooks has written a column today.

It is entitled:
Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White
And it is quite possible that the word "entitled" has never more comprehensively encompassed both of its definitions:
en·ti·tled

inˈtīdld,enˈtīdld/

transitive verb
to give a title to : designate

adjective
believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
As The Twitter has already noted, Mr. Brooks is in for a very long day...

Well Mr. Brooks, the acid of excessive realism that dissolves the American Dream has finally arrived. It arrived leading a cheering mob of bigots and imbeciles formerly known as the Party of Lincoln and it looks like this.



And while I do not think that even Mr. Brooks is stupid enough to publicly cross swords with Mr. Coates again any time soon, in the black-and-white contrast between their reactions to the election of President Stupid you can see the fatal flaw in our media laid bare.

Our media is in the hands of gatekeepers who are determined to abort any discussion about anything that threatens their privilege, their status as gatekeeper or the Both Sides Do It narrative that keeps their whole world propped up.  And until that changes -- until talking openly about our real problems becomes something the media works hard to accomplish and not avoid -- nothing else will change.




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Friday, September 15, 2017

Professional Left Podcast #406


"Vanity is the quicksand of reason."
-- George Sand
This week in addition to posting this week's here for you're listening pleasure, I'm once again asking everyone to go to our NEW website -- http://www.proleftpod.com -- to listen to the show.

There are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as a links to our swingin' Zazzle merch store,  our respective blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Kittehs! and much more. Many thanks once again to @theologop for setting us up so beautifully


Links:

The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" -- 







-- and real listeners like you!



David Brooks Is a Monster


"What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds." -- Eric Hoffer

As I believe I have mentioned once or twice before, at the apex of American punditocracy there sits a monster name Mr. David Brooks.

Yes he is a five-foot tall, slightly stooped myopic dope.  Yes, he writes and speaks almost exclusively in exasperated sighs, marmish scolds and saccharine suck-ups to wealth and power.  Yes, he is the love child of Uriah Heep and Ellsworth Toohey, and when he is not sighing and scolding he is making plaintive, thinly-disguised pleas for the pretty girls at the party to recognize his whinging moral superiority as sexy and cool.

And he is also a monster.

He is a monster who has been employed at heavy expense by The New York Times for the past 14 years.  And based on his output over the past 14 years, it is absolute certain that his longevity has nothing whatsoever to do with any unique insight into our politics, because Mr. David Brooks sucks at politics.  And his extended stay in the penthouse of the Wingnut Welfare state is also not because he is a gifted predictor or explainer of cultural shifts, because Mr. David Brooks sucks at that too.  In fact, he doesn't even pass muster as a barely-competent cub reporter, even when speaking on the one god damn thing about which he should actually have some passing knowledge -- the internal state and direction of his own political party and his own Conservative Movement.  Even on those topics he has been consistently and wildly wrong since forever.

So, the obvious question:  how has Mr. David Brook -- who sucks so comprehensively at even the most minimal standards any normal person would set for America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual -- continued to enjoy lavishly compensated and utterly unsupervised employment by The New York Times for the past 14 years?  

And why are there so legions just like him who have opinion-having jobs-for-life even though they clearly suck at what they do?

Because insightfully predicting or decoding or reporting on the state of our nation is not Mr. Brooks' job.  Mr. Brooks' job is to maintain the bubble in which the Beltway lives by telling them the same lies they desperately wish to believe over and over again. He and his hundreds of imitators are paid to spin happy horseshit fairy tales to comfort their patrons and fellow travelers.  To tell the revelers inside the sealed gates  of Prince Prospero's palace that all is well; that the plague raging outside isn't really that bad.

And even if it is, well it certainly wasn't caused by the revelers themselves, but by the Extremes On Both Sides.

And anyway, whatever is going on out there in flyover country, they and theirs are still perfectly safe inside the bubble.  Perfectly safe, as long as they agree never to question whether the plague was actually caused by the Extremes On Both Sides or not.  Perfectly safe, as long as they agree never to question their own role in helping to create and spread the plague.

This is why Mr. David Brooks receives near-universal acclaim from the rest of the American pundit ecosystem.  Because he has achieved what most of the rest of the American punditocracy can only aspire to:  being paid a king's ransom to write the same shitty column over and over and over again, year after year after year.   

This is also how Mr. Brooks accidentally provides one invaluable service to those of us on the Left who are keenly interested in breaking the corrupt monopoly of the Beltway punditocracy.  Because despite the fact that Mr. Brooks has a long history of being dead-wrong about virtually everything, Mr. Brooks is also a dead-on accurate harbinger of where the rest of the Beltway is, and where it is going.

And where are the Beltway revelers going these days?

The same place they always go -- down to the boat-yard to build yet another ark on which they can once again sail away from another disaster they helped to create.

Another ark made of the same relentless Both Siderism has already poisoned the well of honest public discourse.  The same relentless Both Siderism that has made Mr. David Brooks wealth as one of America's leading well-poisoners.

Where did you think your Crazy Uncle Liberty learned to say "yeahwellbothsidesdoit!" every time you debunk another one of his insane, racist conspiracy theories?

How do you think a two-bit hack like Matthew Dowd managed to build an entire second career for himself as ABC New's chief political analysis slinging bullshit like reporting on Donald Trump's record of sexual predation must always be accompanied by reporting on Hillary Clinton's emails because Both Sides.  Mr. Dowd's original tweet was deleted because Mr. Dowd is a weenie --
-- but he did leave his pissy little rejoinder intact for all of history to see.
How do you think our public discourse became so debased that yet another two-bit hack like Chuck Todd could build yet another lucrative career on yet another major American teevee network slinging shit like this on the air week after week after week?


It is because powerful public media corporations long ago chose to hire genteel monsters like Mr. David Brooks to sit at the apex of the American punditocracy and repeat the same, toxic lie over and over and over and over again until that lie became the indestructible context in which every other toxic Conservative lie could flourish.

Which brings us to Mr. Brooks' column in today's New York Times.

And what is the subject of that column?  It literally doesn't matter, because as I have also pointed out once or twice, irrespective of the putative topic of any given column, the purpose of every column is always the same.  To maintain bubble in which the Beltway lives and build the lifeboat on which they will escape retribution for their corrupt complicity by exhorting everyone to blame everything on the Extremes on Both Sides.

So, as demonstration for the rest of the class, let's strip the transient bunting and doodads off of Mr. Brooks column and get a clear look at what's really going on under the hood:
The Economy Isn’t Broken
Translation:  Don't Touch My Stuff



Mr.  Brooks continues:
This account of reality, which I’ve certainly repeated, explains why the Democratic Party has moved from the Bill Clinton neoliberal center to the Bernie Sanders left. It explains why the Republicans have moved from the pro-market Mitt Romney right to the populist Donald Trump right...

On both left and right, movements have arisen...

(Bernie) or ... (Trump).

The news was especially good for the poor. The share of overall income that went to the poorest fifth increased by 3 percent, while the share that went to the affluent groups did not change. In that year, the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1999.

Today politics is polarizing to the populist left and the populist right. But if productivity is the problem, what we actually need is a resurgence of the moderates.

The moderate-left policies of Barack Obama must have had something to do with the middle-income gains of the last two years. Moderate Democrats can plausibly argue...

Moderate Republicans can argue...

Right now moderates are in retreat. The populist extremes are on the march. But the fact is they are basing their economic and political agendas on a story that is fundamentally untrue.
Mr. David Brooks is a monster The New York Times hired to sit at the very pinnacle of the American opinion-making machine and repeat the most corrosive and dangerous Big Lie of all again and again, year after year after year.

And by that measure, he is the very best at what he does.

UPDATE:  Finally, what about the subject matter that Mr. Brooks used today to flesh out yet another shitty Both Sides Do It column?  

This from Center for Economic and Policy Research should surprise no one:

David Brooks Gets Story on Wage Growth and Productivity Completely Wrong





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Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Malleable To The Point of Innocence" is NYT-Speak for "Reprogrammable Meatheads"*

UNITY


After reading Thomas Edsall's column today, The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage reportedly got knee-walking drunk, downed a whole bottle of prescription Oxford commas and then threw itself off of a precipitously high dangling participle.

Because like pretty much every other Nerf Ball column about partisanship and politics the Beltway generates these days, Mr. Edsall's contribution to the genre is an exercise in attempting to write about why the GOP is a reeking shitpile of bigots and imbeciles without actually, y'know, talking about why the GOP is a reeking shitpile of bigots and imbeciles.

Right off the bat he tries to clear the very first hurdle from the wrong foot.
In the Trump era, Republicans have been revising their views on right and wrong.
No, Mr. Edsall, this is not some exotic new plague that arrived on our shores with the advent of Stupid Administration.

In fact, for decades the Republican party has depended entirely on it's reprogrammable, bigoted, brain-dead base to win elections -- a base that has eagerly and radically revised their views on right and wrong over and over again depending on whether or not their party occupies the White House. And they have gotten away with it so often thanks to the invaluable assistance of the Conservative media and the Beltway media that by now they have been conditioned to believe that it is their inalienable right to just doublethink all contradictions out of existence -- to wish, wish, wish away their own, inconvenient past as though it had simply never happened.

And it is this corrupt bargain between the media and the Republican Party to never, ever hold the bigoted, brain-dead Republican voters responsible for the disastrous policies and cartoonishly incompetent demagogues and con men they vote for that resulted in the election of President Stupid.

But please, do go on.
...“In a head-spinning reversal,” Robert P. Jones, the C.E.O. of P.R.R.I., wrote in the July 2017 issue of The Atlantic,
white evangelicals went from being the least likely to the most likely group to agree that a candidate’s personal immorality has no bearing on his performance in public office.
What happened in the interim? The answer is obvious: the advent of Donald Trump.
No, no and no again.  The depravity of the Republican base, especially its white conservative evangelicals, is a long-standing pre-existing condition that has manifested itself in many, horrifying ways, the latest and ugliest of which the Trump/Pence administration.

Jesus Syllogism Christ, am I the only who watched the West Wing does the fucking homework?


But please, by all means proceed, Mr. Edsall.
There is more to this phenomenon than evangelical hypocrisy. Many Republican voters, including self-identified strong conservatives, are ready and willing to shift to the left if they’re told that that’s the direction Trump is moving.

Michael Barber and Jeremy C. Pope, political scientists at Brigham Young University, reported in their recent paper “Does Party Trump Ideology? Disentangling Party and Ideology in America,” that many Republican voters are:
malleable to the point of innocence, and self-reported expressions of ideological fealty are quickly abandoned for policies that — once endorsed by a well-known party leader — run contrary to that expressed ideology.
Those most willing to adjust their positions on ten issues ranging from abortion to guns to taxes are firm Republicans, Trump loyalists, self-identified conservatives and low information Republicans.
This is straight-up, cask-strength, Orwell stuff.  The nightmare scenario about which the dirty hippies have been warning for 30 years (and for which we have been slandered, mocked and roundly ignored by the Very Serious men and women of the mainstream media.)

I have nothing to dispute here.  I just wanted to give you a moment to pause before plunging again to our next stop:  watching as the authors of the cited study -- Messers Barber and Pope -- avoid having their academic funding pulled for being too partisan by abusing the word "may" way past the point of decency (emphasis added.)
Many partisans are, in effect, more aligned with the leader of their party than with the principles of the party. (Although Barber and Pope confined their study to Republicans, they note that Democrats may “react in similar ways given the right set of circumstances.”)
Most of the rest of the column is (as I mentioned at the start) an extended exercise in attempting to write about why the GOP is a reeking shitpile without actually talking about why the GOP is a reeking shitpile.  Most glaringly, there is no whisper to be found anywhere about how the modern Republican Party spent decades methodically reorganizing itself on a foundation of racism.

There is no mention of the Southern Strategy.  No talk of the GOP's 40 year project to create a safe space for bigots and imbeciles.  No discussion of the Fox News.  No mention of the decisive and fatal role played by the rise Hate Radio and of Newt Gingrich's GOPAC a quarter of a century ago.  And above all, no judgement exercised about things like facts or the truth or falsity of the positions of the two parties.  For example. the word "science" does not appear anywhere in this report.  Nor does the word "climate".  Health care?  Nope.  Obama?  Nope.  

Birth certificate?  Benghazi?  emails?  

Nope, nope and nope.

Apparently this Great Sorting all just...sorta...happened.

Because Trump!

And even though apparently no one know how any of this came to be,  golly, it sure is a damn shame that it did.
...
Third, and most significant, if the Barber-Pope, Broockman-Daniels and Achen-Bartels conclusions are right, American politics is less a competition of ideas and more a struggle between two teams.

In other words, insofar as elections have become primal struggles, and political competition has devolved into an atavistic spectacle, the prospect for a return to a politics of compromise and consensus approaches zero, no matter what temporary accommodations professional politicians make.
Oh no, Mr. Edsall, American politics is definitely a competition of ideas.

They're just ideas that you would rather not talk about in the good, gray pages of The New York Times.  

 * (Title of this post shamelessly stolen from @WattleOfBits from the Twitter machine.)



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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Today In Both Sides Do It: The Pseudo-Rabbinical Argle Bargle Of Mr. David Brooks



Here is what The New York Times paid Mr. David Brooks a large pile of money to write today:
Atlantis: A Land of Contrasts.

Noah.

Noah.

Noah.

Noah.

Noah. 
Noah. 
Noah. 
Both Sides!

Why won't Obama lead?

What?  You think I'm kidding?

From Mr. David Brooks in The New York Times today
Harvey, Irma, Jose … and Noah.
And we're off...
Is there anything we can learn from hurricanes, storms and floods?

People have been asking that question for thousands of years, and telling stories that try to make sense of natural disasters. These flood myths are remarkably similar to one another...

The most famous story, of course, is the biblical story of Noah. As the story begins, the human race is living without law, and as a result is living violently and badly. But there was one righteous man, Noah...

 God tells Noah to build an ark...

What does Noah say when he hears this?

Rabbis and scholars have often judged Noah harshly for this...

“Noah was righteous but not a leader,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observes...

Noah and his family get on the ark and Noah gently cares for the animals...

What does Noah do now? Once again, Noah is silent...

Once again, the rabbis are critical of Noah’s passivity...

Now God gives Noah a covenant...

Noah is a good man, but his story is a lesson in the dangers of blind obedience...
And here is the key paragraph: the razor in the apple of virtually every single thing The New York Times pays Mr. David Brooks to write:
..That’s because we have trouble thinking about authority. Everybody seems to have an outsider mentality. Social distrust is at record highs. Many seem to swerve between cheap, antiestablishment cynicism, on the one hand, and a lemming-like partisan obedience on the other.

Floods are invitations to recreate the world. That only happens successfully when strong individuals are willing to yoke themselves to collective institutions...
In other words, floods, boy, I don't know.

The one salvageable metaphor from this puddle of awful is the image the ark.

Because once again that is exactly what David Brooks and the rest of the Beltway media drivel-mongers are building for themselves and their friends, right out in the open where everyone can see. Another great big Both Siderist lifeboat -- just like the one they built after President Cheney lied us into the wrong war, just like the one they built after the Bush Administration collapsed, just like the one they built after the GOP chose to deal with the election of the first black president with a relentless, unified campaign of slander and sedition -- on which they plan to once again sail away unscathed from yet another catastrophe for which they bear a huge amount of responsibility.

This is what we're up against:

And without massive and concerted push-back, they will absolutely get away with it once again.



Behold, a Tip Jar!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Why Journalism Is Dying



Because it is a profession which is theoretically dedicated to holding power accountable, but which absolutely refuses to police its grotesque excesses and hold its own wormy con men accountable.

Behold, a Tip Jar!