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Q: What’s the worst thing on TV right now?

A: Those fuckin’ trailers for Lincoln that get shown three times every commercial break.

Q: What’s the worst thing about the trailers?

A: It’s not that it looks like Spielberg’s conception of Lincoln was that the yellow Sun of the Earth gave him moral powers far beyond the reach of ordinary men, which is a shame, because Daniel Day-Lewis, David Strathairn, and Gale Boetticher all look like they’re having a ball. It’s that it forces one to remember that Doris Kearns Goodwin exists, and Doris Kearns Goodwin is fucking awful.

Let us draw a merciful curtain across the nagging plagiarism details; not only have they clearly not affected her rise to a comfortable role as a prominent public intellectual, but it is a might unseemly for someone with those connections and fame to have to deal with subjects that crude.

For, verily, she has to keep herself nice and clean in order to spray the fucking shit that keeps coming out of her mouth on television.  Like this recent nugget about the 3rd presidential debate, in which she acknowledges that Romney lied his Byrlcreemed head off but still “did what he had to do to seem presidential”.  Debates are a reliable staple in Goodwin’s wheelhouse, who can always be counted on to counter any naysayers of those misleading and inconsequential snoozefests with “oh no you don’t understand these debates may be incredibly facile and staged more than Danny Boyle’s Olympic ceremonies but you need to keep watching because, uh, here are the greatest hits from the past debates” fluffpieces.

It’s not just that she uses the same model of trite cliche generator Friedman uses but sprung for the “erudition” upgrade, it’s that she knows better.  She has to know better.  Because even though standards have been slipping at Harvard ever since they stopped asking Jews to prove the Riemann Hypothesis as an entrance exam question, presumably they still teach the fundamental basics of academic disciplines.  And presumably Doris Kearns Goodwin, with both an undergraduate degree and PhD in political science, would have been taught enough to know just how much of her Meet The Press appearance yesterday was a big mouthful of donkey come: all of it.

[W]hat the president has to do to build his mandate is to play both an inside game and an outside game.  He should use that political White House as an asset, more than he has done before.  I would have the– I’d have a cocktail hour every night, you have forty Republicans there, forty Democrats there, night after night after night, do what LBJ did, do that more than he’s done.  But the outside game means he has to mobilize that base.  That base was energized on election night.  He said to them, your job is not done.  It’s not just voting.  It’s there to bring pressure on obstructionist if they don’t get a deal done from the outside in.

1) The parties have become so polarized among such a wide variety of policies (PDF in google docs) that the good ol’ boy methods of the past like building coalitions based on personal relationships that relied on significant ideological overlap and lax party discipline taint work no’ mo’.  2) If I hear one more goddamn thing taking the BULLY PULPIT at face value Imma take my frustration out on some innocent nebbish pulpit, and that wouldn’t be fair.  3) “Build his mandate.”  Jeeeeeeeeee-zus.

But the fundamental loss of this campaign probably took place in the Republican primaries when they put out a group of people who were so far off the political cliff on issues that mattered to Latinos, to women and to young people.  And that is the new governing coalition.  And perhaps the fact that the economy got a little bit better is another fundamental fact.  But all these other things preoccupied us for so much time, you can only, looking back, see that.

A necessarily partial list of outlets running stories in real-time which boldly defy Doris Kearns Goodwin’s pronouncement: Salon. Fox News. NPR. The American Foreign Press also somehow got ahold of the analysis no-one did and put this samizdat in papers worldwide.  And I guess when shares of Etch-a-Sketch went through the roof in March it wasn’t because a presidential campaign made a statement about how the extreme things their candidate had been forced to say in the primaries weren’t worrying them.

I think what the president needs to do is to bring some CEOs into his top positions, FDR did that.  He brought in the head of Chrysler.  He brought in the head of Sears and Roebuck.  What about bringing Romney in to deal with this whole problem of how do you keep manufacturing here rather than going abroad?  What incentives to use?  What sanctions to use against countries that are not dealing fairly?  I think you bring people in but you don’t lose your conviction.

I’m actually glad she said this because it lets me bring up my favorite thing in the entire world: when David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell and member of the Erskine-Bowles commission, said within a fifteen-second span both that companies are not hiring because of regulation and uncertainty, and that Honeywell wasn’t hiring because there was very little demand for their products.  I can understand why Doris Kearns Goodwin would not want to acknowledge the existence of such things.  Oyez, more of this please, for fuck’s sake.

Literally the only thing I haven’t quoted is her saying she’s sad that important people can’t fuck anyone they fancy to their heart’s content without their careers suffering consequences for it.  So, 1 for 4?  If we’re using pity points?

And Christ maybe if she were actually deserving of the laurels heaped at her feet the constant centrist mist spritzed from her face would be more tolerable.  But the court intellectuals are always hacks, for some reason.  Her annoyance factor is not even about the plagiarism, it’s about the fact that her stuff doesn’t hang together academically, and that she isn’t afraid to do something like soft-pedal the immense racial hypocrisy of her subject in a work partially about his innate moral goodness if it makes for a good story.

Plus if Lincoln turns out to be horrible for that reason, the blame can’t all lie with Senior Spielbergo.  Some of it’s on the source material.  Some of it’s on Doris Kearns Goodwin.

All my circuits are blown on this one I can’t even swear at it.  It is proof that God has abandoned the up-keep of his creation.

The AP “fact checks” Clinton’s convention speech.  I’ll ruin the surprise: no actual facts are checked.

Before the Fisking it’s important to just count the number of claims about politics that are presented as obvious truths without any repeat any evidence or argument to back them up. 1. “The inflexibility of both parties is to blame for much of the gridlock.” 2. “The problem with compromising in Washington is that there are few true moderates left in either party.” 3. is a little more abstract, but the piece faults Obama for “ensur[ing] the tough compromises would not get made” on Social Security and the debt.  Why are “tough compromises” necessary on these things at this time?  I dunno.  Neither does the AP.

As always, the centrist scam is to hide a very particular political agenda behind “objective” analysis.  If the parties aren’t working to enact the corporate consensus, they are inflexible partisans.  Amazingly, this consensus can be found on every corporate media entity.  What an astounding coincidence.

Enough sarcasm. ThinkProgress did its best on this turd but only got to about 15% of what’s wrong with it.  Not good enough.  Prepare to Fisk.

Clinton Claim: Obama be compromisin’ Republicans be obstructin’.

AP Fact Check: 1. The first “fact” is that Rahm Emanuel exists.  No mention of anything he did.  Just that he exists.

                          2. The “grand bargain” didn’t happen because Boehner couldn’t get Republicans to vote for it and Obama     was criticized by some Democrats.  CRITICIZED.  BY SOME DEMOCRATS.  Clearly a party is holding up legislation if some of its members are criticizing it.

                         3. Simpson-Bowles wasn’t enacted in legislation, even though the Republicans torpedoed the actual commission, and even though Obama adopted most of it for his own proposal.  The AP acknowledges these things.

Good job, AP.  Your fact check of the claim that Democrats compromise and Republicans are obstructing the machinery of government only ignores all the instances in which Republicans have been doing so to an historic extent.  Recite it with me: record Senate filibusters debt ceiling ransoming record number of executive agency confirmations denied.

Now I’m just a simple country lawyer, but it seems to me that evaluating a claim that a party has been obstructionist needs to grapple with the objective ways in which that party has been historically obstructionist.

Clinton Claim: Health care spending has increased at a lower rate since Obamacare has been enacted.

AP Fact Check: 1. It’s mainly the economy

                          2. The two main cost-saving measures have yet to kick in

                          3. Anyway who gives a shit people still pay a lot for health care amirite

The only “fact check” here that has any logical connection at all to Clinton’s statement is the point about the economy.  Interesting that the article can’t even keep it’s claims straight across paragraphs; first it’s due to “uncertainty”, then it’s about the economy being “lackluster”, which suggest two completely different mechanisms in how health care spending is affected.  Either way though both should have been even more prevalent in 2009, when the rate of spending increased, than in 2010 and 2011, when it decreased.

Goddammit is there one fucking thing in here that isn’t undone with elementary logic.

Clinton Claim: Romney’s campaign said “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”  Remember that, America.

AP Fact Check: We remember when Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky so it’s hypocritical for him to call out a campaign basically stating it will lie as much as it possible can.

Guess not.  As logically insane it is for a “fact check” operation to be running political smears, THIS ISN’T EVEN A FUCKING CLAIM TO FACT CHECK IT’S JUST A FUCKING TRANSCRIPT OF-

Y’know let’s just move on to the last one.  Because there is no larger order to which we are beholden and we all die alone, let’s just do it for kicks.  Just to see if there’s one goddamn thing of value in this fucking thing.

Clinton Claim: Voter’s anger at the economy is understandable, but a political reaction to them wouldn’t be prudent.  Voters were angry about the economy in ’94 and ’95, right before a huge economic expansion.

AP Fact Check: Clinton’s comments ignore the role his policies had in later economic troubles.  The tech bubble eventually popped, and Glass-Steagall repeal set the stage for the ’08 collapse.

Those things did happen, AP, which have what to do with anything?  Clinton makes a point about the political timetable moving too quickly to adequately judge economic progress and you bring up the bad parts of Clinton’s economic record? Is your point that voters should look five to ten years into the future to look at the economic effects of who gets elected, and then compare that to what they think would have happened under the other guy?  But wait: if they’re looking into the future, then how can they change what’s going to happen?  Unless it’s only a possible future . . .

That’s right.  The only way to read the AP fact check article in a way that doesn’t make it out to be completely mendacious is to imagine the intended audience is a nation of Kwisatz Haderachs.  Centrism at its finest.

Soonergrunt at Balloon Juice points to the author, Matt Apuzzo, and his high-larious defenses of his work on the twitter box.  LolCentrists for everybody!  Oh wait just for Matt Apuzzo.

Matt Abuzzo fact checks Clinton brings up Monica

Matt Abuzzo can’t fact check the colors in a four crayon box they give him at Olive Garden

Matt Bai is living proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  His parents figured out how to bone and unleashed dangerous centrist spawn on the world nine months later.

Seriously though, over at Balloon Juice Annie Laurie picks up on the infantile characterization of politics Bai loosed on the world yesterday.  Not that it’s all that subtle.

Matt Bai infant

Gimme that corporate titty! Imma chafe it til it bleeds and suck it dry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In truth, though, Mr. Clinton and Ms. Warren speak to different audiences and reflect inescapably divergent perspectives on how to confront the epic challenges of globalization and inequality.

Mr. Clinton is the president who made the sustained case to Democrats that they had to be pro-growth and pro-Wall Street, not just to get elected, but also to build a more modern economy. He was the one, as spokesman for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, who told Democrats again and again that they couldn’t succeed as a party that loved jobs but disdained the businesses that create them. Mr. Clinton transformed welfare, balanced the budget and declared an end to the liberal era of government, which is why a lot of conservative-leaning independent voters would re-elect him if they could.

As a Harvard law professor during the Bush years, Ms. Warren, who is now a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, came to represent a rebuke of such Clintonian expedience. Her indictment against the excesses of Wall Street and the abdication of centrist Democrats became popular among a new generation of old-style economic populists (most notably John Edwards and then Mr. Obama), who often cited Ms. Warren’s arguments in making the case that the party had to reverse course from the Clinton years and rein in a business community that was prospering at the expense of the middle class.

HOLY BALLS ARE THESE NOT CONTRADICTORY.  Bill Clinton is not for a fucking financial collapse.  Elizabeth Warren is not for incontinent irresponsible spending.  Clinton is not in favor of letting credit card companies fuck over their customers.  Warren is not for cutting off business from financing and capital.

THESE APPROACHES ARE, IN FACT, COMPLEMENTARY.  Without strong oversight and strict rules, the financial system just doesn’t fucking work, does it.  And if the ability of the financial system to provide capital to businesses is shunted, the economy doesn’t fucking work, does it.  But I’m sure Clinton wants the former outcome and Warren wants the latter.

THESE APPROACHES ARE COMPLEMENTARY BECAUSE THEY ARE RESPONDING TO DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS, LIKE ADULTS.  Would Warren have opposed balancing the budget and paying down debt in the late nineties?  Is Clinton opposed to expanding food stamps and unemployment insurance right now?  Is there anything contradictory in any of this?

THERE’S A GHOST OF A POINT HERE, BUT BAI FUCKS IT UP BY TRYING TO BE DAVID BROOKS AND INFANTILIZING IT.  And it’s not one he spends a full clause on.  “Mr. Clinton is the president who made the sustained case to Democrats that they had to be pro-growth and pro-Wall Street, not just to get elected,” end quote.  Hmm that’s an interesting point maybe the Democrats have to take finance cash in order to win what are the causes of this situation what are the consequences Mr. Bai?  Mr. Bai?  Why are you putting that brightly colored plastic block in your mouth?  Why won’t you tell me about the powerful structural factors that determine the political phenomenon you’re talking about?  Why are you talking this bullshit about “competing worldviews” that you know is so abstract it isn’t even a gross oversimplification?

BAI’S INFANTILIZATION RESTS ON A CENTRIST POLITICAL AGENDA THAT IS NEVER EXPLORED IN THE PIECE ITSELF.

A. Making up a fight among Clinton and Warren makes it seem like “don’t fix the financial sector” is a viable political position within the Democratic Party, which puffs it up as a mainstream opinion instead of its actual existence as a whispy ghost on the fringes of acceptability.

B. By making up a huge fissure in the Democratic Party, it allows an implicit comparison to the Republicans, whose central story since Palin has been its war between moderates and looney tunes.  Both Sides Do It!  Partisan politics is tumultuous and eventful and exciting!  The fact that Bai can’t find actual disagreements to make his point, the fact that he has to make shit up to make the point that politics is working out large disagreements with huge stakes,  means that he’s a . . . big poopy head.

C. The mask slips at the very end and Bai starts to reveal his political preferences.  In the guise of objective analysis, of course.  “Is Mr. Obama, at bottom, the Clintonian candidate who tried to hammer out a “grand bargain” on the budget with Republicans, or is he the more traditional Democrat who skewers Wall Street bankers as “fat cats” and pretends he can fix inequality with gimmicks like “the Buffett rule?” ”  The use of pejorative terms for one side of that “objective” question indicates where Bai stands, of course, but it goes even deeper.  By ridiculing the perfectly-sensible-on-both-policy-and-moral-grounds Buffett rule for not single-handedly fixing income inequality, he denigrates the very idea of both the sensible rule and treating income inequality as a complex problem which will need a toolkit to take apart instead of a hammer.  In other words, he’s denigrating the idea of being an adult about solving important problems.

How Bai has avoided SIDS this long I have no idea.

 

Of all the cheap little tropes these centrists use to obscure their moral and intellectual vapidity the absolute fucking worst (well maybe a tie with the self-absorbed circle-jerk that is the concern about “tone” and “civility”) is humor.  Not quite humor, I think we can all agree; maybe parody.  Hell it’s not even that.  It’s just mean-spirited empty sarcasm.  Tina Fey Mean Girls style.  Always.

And lo how the examples stack up when reality presents them with a situation that no amount of quibbling and hair-splitting can keep them from claiming that “both sides do it” and to plead for “civility”.

Like now.  For instance, dafuq is Brooks doing in this column?  It’s a series of exaggerations of Romney’s biography, hitting the main points of Romney’s narrative: his childhood, teenage boarding school years, the dog on the car, the Olympics, the governorship.  Bain is given short shrift, comparatively.  The details are so outlandish (Mitt converted to being Amish but left after he found out about the ban on hair cream, nyuk nyuk nyuk) that such venerable writers as Susan and Doug mistook it at first as satire about Romney, or didn’t understand the fuck it was trying to do.  Letters to the editor also share that interpretation.

You need eyes attuned to the absolute black pitch of centrist thought to be able to parse what’s going on here.

Wait'll you see him beat up a queer.  <i>Hilarious.</i>

Bill Buckley told me I had wit and style that means I have them everyone agrees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because Brooks thinks he’s making fun of the rest of the media and Democrats.

He’s saying, “Oh my goodness gosh, the insane things people are saying about Romney.  Look at how insane they are.  This insane!”  But take two seconds to think about it.  What is the actual content of the critique he is satirizing?  “Romney doesn’t care about people who have little or no wealth.  He doesn’t know how they live, he doesn’t care, and he doesn’t care if they get hurt.  His immense family wealth bought him the ability to lead a different life than most anyone else, and to not care about what happens to most anyone else.”

Is there any doubt this is the case?  At all?  How many different senses do you need to lose before you start doubting those propositions?  His preferred policies are an economic holocaust for people without stocks, capital or car garages.  In every single instance they favor increasing the wealth of the wealthy instead of the economic, health, environmental, or any other concerns of any other group.

Brooks could be using his column to be shedding light on under-reported issues, or to rally support to address specific issues of injustice, or to brag about his shitty kids.  Anything would be better than this too-confused-to-even-call-it “satire” whose targets are complaints that a nominee for president wants to dick over everyone without money.

So you see the basic format: there is a proposition or a practice that is as clearly against the sensibilities of the centrist pundit as it is true, which puts the centrist pundit in a quandary.  What to do, what to do.  Incoherent sarcasm is the answer.  Especially when it’s being applied in defense of other centrist pundits.

go chug ass, Crook

This’ll show ’em you need arguments and facts, not childish name-calling, to carry an argument

Glenn Kessler, as discussed, is a gaping scumbag asshole who needs to be fired for incompetence at discussing politics in a national forum.  Clive Crook disagrees with that statement, but cannot provide any reasons for disagreement, so he lapses into ohp you guessed it:

Of course I could criticize Kessler without calling him the filthy liar that he is. You know, exercise a little “restraint”. On the one hand, on the other hand, all that crap. But leading scholars have taught us that in politics things aren’t complicated, and when somebody builds a career on a lie, we need to say so . . .

Some of you may find that distinction hard to grasp. It’s Two Spocks difficult. Paul Krugman helped me see that people are divided into three groups: the ones who know I’m right (I call these “excellent”), fools and knaves. Possibly, you’re a fool, so let me spell it out for you. When a fact is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong . . .

Angry? You bet I’m angry. I’m crying tears of rage right now. We don’t tolerate people who torture small children and we shouldn’t tolerate atrocities like this. I can’t think of a penalty too severe . . . And I know calling him a brazen liar and wishing him to be set upon by ravening dogs isn’t going to open any channels of communication between us. Good. That’s just how I want it. You can be “civil” and have your nice debates, and that’s all fine and dandy if you want to be a filthy traitor in the war of ideas. But when you engage with liars, you validate their lies–lies, lies, lies–and you’re no better than they are.

I guess there are “reasons” in there, that certain ages of child might accept.  I don’t really see how claiming “politics is difficult” is a defense of Kessler’s refusal to condemn what he admits are lies.  I don’t see the value in a type of nuance that says “this consistent series of political stances based on an incoherent budget plan may enrich every millionaire at the expense of every non-millionaire, but really, every politician fudges things a little.”  And I don’t see why getting angry at people who refuse to acknowledge that the consistent actions and stated intent of a segment of elites are to enrich themselves as much as possible by making life as desperate for as many other people as possible is a vice.

The “channels of communication” thing is the biggest crock of shit.  “Yeah, these guys want to take away your pension and medical support and basically force everyone to live paycheck to paycheck shackled to debt their entire lives, and are lying about it, but it’s not that important.”

“Hey, fuck you too, buddy, it is important.”

“HOW DARE YOU CLOSE THE CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION. I don’t see how I can discuss, IN THIS HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, how fucking you and your kids and your parents over isn’t important.”

So fuck you, Clive Crook, with a rusty spoon, right in the eye.  You’re defending someone who’s saying, “I acknowledge these politicians are lying about fucking people over for decades.  It isn’t a big deal.”  And your only defense is childish sarcasm and meaningless buzzwords.  Who’s fucking blocking the lines of communication, here, dickwad?

Oh plus Clive Crook defends Mickey “I am literally the worst thinker Slate has ever published” Kaus.  ‘Nuff said.

The best development in the field of punditry in the past, oh, three or fours years at least is the application by Charles P. Pierce of his considerable powers to political analysis.

He is much less susceptible to the institutional careerism which is the Original Sin responsible for centrist bullshit, and he could give a fuck about civility or the social mores which act as regulating mechanisms if a centrist should slip here or there.  A bright spot in a bleak landscape.

He fucking gets it:

But what I’ve come to realize is that, from the first moment the first protester stepped onto the lawn of the capitol in Madison 16 months ago until the polls close tonight, the Great Wisconsin Recall has been an extended argument against narcotic centrism and anesthetic civility […] What we have here is a fight, out in the open, without nuance or euphemism, between two ideas of what self-government should look like, who it should serve, and how, and how wide the parameters of participation will be. That is serious business. It ought to be contested fiercely and to the last and without cosmetic conciliation. Scott Walker made a firm stand against public-employee unions, and did so in a way that ran contrary to a proud tradition of progressive politics in a state that takes those politics very, very seriously

As opposed to, say, this fucker:  Read the rest of this entry »

via LGM

I am the Cameron Frye to Rebecca Elliott’s Ferris Bueller: she’s my hero.

She compiled a nice little list of pundits making grandiose claims about the centrist equivalent of seasteading, Americans Elect, which after delaying their schedule of implementation by several planting seasons features a front-runner who is a mere 9,700 votes shy of getting the 10,000 votes needed to become the Americans Elect candidate.  Frye did little summarizing of the pundits’ views toward Americans Elect and just let the their words speak for themselves beneath tasteful photos.

Several of those characteristics will be kept in this post and several will not.

Dammit! Works every time

I love the way they use that word “if.
It’s like the centrist catechism: repeat it enough times and all your sins will be wiped clean.

As the sailor said to the native girl, there’s much more below:  Read the rest of this entry »

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