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.


Part 1: The Set-Up

– One consequence of inhaling the fetid gases arising out of the DC centrist swamp is the uncontrollable urge to express support for the “Grand Bargain”, a wide-ranging budget deal that would fiddle with tax rates and cut social spending programs in order to lower the long-term deficit.  Here’s the mad cow pen at Kaplan Test Prep lowing at it’s necessity.  A failure to come to a “Grand Bargain” was in part what led to the stalled negotiations to raise the debt ceiling in 2011.

– A result of the debt ceiling fever-dream was that spending cuts to programs awkward to cut (ie, the military and social spending whose rescission is most likely to cause blood to flow in the street) are to be enacted at the start of 2013.  Ben Bernanke (hereafter: The Lorax) warned last February that the combination of those cuts and the expiration of the Frank Booth* Tax Cuts would create a “fiscal cliff”.  His point in invoking the metaphor was to emphasize that we shouldn’t be enacting these austerity policies, because they would kill the economy.  He said this forcefully.  When the Treasury Secretary says something like “I think you also have to protect the recovery in the near term,” it’s measured policy speak for “you fucking twats, don’t cause another recession by cutting spending.”

* ‘cuz he fucked everything that moves, get it?

Part 2: The Sting

Now.  Centrists think going over the “fiscal cliff” is bad.  Just ask Politico.  But they also think a “Grand Bargain” is good.  Just ask Politico.

Everybody say it with me: THAT DON’T MAKE NO FUCKING SENSE.

The economy will be destroyed if we don’t avoid spending cuts and tax increases, but we need to enact spending cuts and tax increases right away in order to save the economy.

You can’t possibly believe that statement, and worse, you can’t manipulate it somehow to get it to make sense without running into another moat of centrist bullshit.  It doesn’t make sense to consider both dismantling the “fiscal cliff” and reaching a “Grand Bargain” together, but ok, first we avoid catastrophe and then we phase in long-term deficit reduction over time, right?  WRONG says Erskine Bowles in his best McLaughlin voice, doing so would “show markets we can’t put our house in order”, both have to be done nownownow.  Why the prescription for saving the economy is the same as what we have to stop in order to avoid tanking it, or why interest rates in 2020 will give a shit whether a deal was hammered out in January or October of 2012, are left as exercises to the reader.

Well ok but at least then there will be deficit reduction, right, that’s the whole point of this exercise? WRONG says Peter Orszag, in his virile high-pitched voice, “the most promising approach may be to compromise on Social Security — even though it is not a significant driver of our long-term deficits.”  The “fiscal cliff” needs to be used as an opportunity for a “Grand Bargain” of deficit reduction, even if there’s no deficit reduction.

Part 3: The Highest Form of Patriotism is to Punch Veterans in the Mouth

“Austerity will harm the economy, so we need to avoid it, but in the process of avoiding it we need to do it in order save the economy.  And even if it won’t save the economy, we have to do it.”  How much clearer could it possibly be that the centrist braying for dealing with the “fiscal cliff” and in the process instituting a “Grand Bargain” does not come from sober or reasoned economic analysis, and that looking for a through-line of logic from centrists in their incessant neighing for austerity is like trying to follow a single trail of slime in a slug orgy.

The purpose is not deficit reduction, or economic stability.  It’s what it always is: the transfer of wealth and security from the public to the private, from the masses to the few, from the base to the top.

How these broken-down jackasses are able to whine so incessantly for their plutocratic nightmare while holding up as paragons of virtue and civic responsibility the very people that will be destroyed by their policies is beyond me.  Two things are certain, this Veterans Day: David Gregory will blither staggeringly through his list of talking points to obscure the above analysis as much as possible, and he will praise veterans as the highest form of humanity yet attained, and I will vomit.  Three things.

I won’t be able to top Jon Schwarz: “I guess when you spend all day at work blowing up weddings, it’s hard to know when to stop.”  Obviously.  But I can try.

Petraeus must have been incredibly conflicted.  The CIA is “the tip of the spear”, but he’s the architect of the Surge.

Conservatives are outraged, and trying to create a scandal by framing this as an excuse to avoid testifying about the Libyan consulate attack.  The name of the scandal? Bang-ghazi.

Drone surveillance or it didn’t happen.

O christ what is this, fucking Andrea Mitchell.  No, Petraeus didn’t do that, too, he’s not an objectivist so he doesn’t hate himself enough to stoop that low.  But, in the more general sense: fucking Andrea Mitchell.

Call it power-worship, call it the emotional response of an authoritarian when her hierarchy wobbles a bit, call it the pain of one Villager seeing another get cut down (which just is not supposed to happen), call it knowing Petraeus socially on a personal level, but that kind of simpering response is exactly the problem with the centrist media.  Petraeus is part of the club so when he fails, even if its entirely his own doing, it’s a “tragedy”. Christ on a crutch. It’s not just that only bad things involving the people Mitchell represents with stuffed animals at her imaginary tea parties with the pink pot and cups generate an emotional response. It’s the militaristic deep-throating. All the people he’s killed devising and enacting military strategies that increase the destruction of entire societies to make wars more politically palatable, well, a “life of valor” is measured by such deaths, and they certainly do not cause tears to spring to the eyes, and words to catch in the throat, of Andrea Mitchell.  That’s why she’s there.  That and because she lets Alan Greenspan do the same things to her with a clarinet that he did to Ayn Rand.  With the same clarinet, too.  And you can’t wash those things, not really.

And with that, more jokes:

Proposed names of the Petraeus biography rejected in favor of All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

Humping It: The Rise of General David Petraeus, In and Out of the Military

The Hard Thrust: How General David Petraeus Bucks Convention

A Commitment to Honor: General David Petraeus and Restoring Honesty to Military Strategy

David Does Dawlatābād

Petraeus is extremely competitive and his career aspirations know no bounds.  How fucking attracted must he have been to Broadwell to put all that at risk? There must have been some *very* dark psycho-sexual stuff going on between them, like Broadwell putting on brown body paint and Petraeus fucking her using a robotic dildo he controls from three thousand miles away.

Petraeus’ pet names for his and Broadwell’s genitalia are “the military-industrial complex” and “America”, respectively.

It’s hard to know how many times Broadwell came, because Petraeus counted every time she moaned as an orgasm.  Amnesty International is attempting to compile a complete list of Petraeus’ ejactulations, although there are obstacles to collecting data.

Those aren’t as funny though as these actual lines Broadwell wrote in the biography:

I took full advantage of [Petraeus’] open-door policy

Petraeus progressively increased the pace until the talk turned to heavy breathing

But it just starts to get weird with this NYTimes Ethicist column from July in which Chuck Klosterman gives advice to someone whose letter begins “My wife is having an affair with a government executive.  His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.)”  Probably a coincidence, but still . . . I agree with this Slate guy (damn you, Petraeus, how many lives must you ruin) that in any event Klosterman says some insightful stuff about the letter-writer probably having ulterior motives and wants some specific people to read about the scenario and deduce what’s going on.  He better hope it’s just a coincidence, otherwise he’ll be getting a one-way flight to Diego Garcia where someone will enact a clear, hold and build strategy on his rectum.

And my stars, this Daily Show interview of Broadwell from January.  She talks about her husband, and . . . it is too obscene, knowing what we know now, I cannot embed or discuss it, there are limits.

In all seriousness the announcement of the affair and the resignation (on a Friday, no less) are intended to encourage jokes like this and a tittering focus on naughty bits that obscure the enormous institutional faults that took place, and the extremely messy issues that crop up when the federal domestic criminal investigation branch is snooping on the foreign intelligence service. Try to focus on the important stuff.  And keep Holly Petraeus in mind, David’s wife, not only for the personal cost she’s paying for someone else’s mistake but because she’s has been doing yeoman’s work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It might turn out that she’s the vector for the largest damage to American political institutions that this incident causes, and there’s no strategy David should be able to implement that can win back our hearts and minds after that kind of collateral damage.

First: Wonkette and Charlie Pierce.  Read them now and always.  They get it.

Second: I have to piss at all times.  Such is my reaction to alcohol.  But I endure it, because I believe in swearing at centrists.  WOLVERINES!

Third: It is abundantly obvious that every single person on the TV knows that Obama is going to win, but no-one is saying it.  We will soon see who I will not want to play poker with, if I were ever invited to a poker tournament at David Gregory’s house.

10:05 Fox News: their panel talking about how a hypothetical President Romney will negotiate the fiscal cliff is sadder than all the puppies ever born drowned in a river of radioactive sludge.  To their credit: one of the blonde anchor dolls says that the Republican party was never interested in crafting policy that both parties could agree on, both in past sessions and in the future.  Although Y-delivery-system Megyn Kelly immediately says, “Well so what, even given that, doesn’t that mean Barack Obama will not be able to govern from the center in his second term.”  It’s evil, but it’s the kind of evil that I’m glad is being given airtime tonight.

10:12 MSNBC: Calls it for Obama by calling Ohio.  So did Fox News.  CNN is still clueless. I love it.  No one needs to pay attention to CNN ever again.  THERE ARE FIREWORKS BEING SET OFF IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, and John King is still saying that “Virginia could still put Obama over the top.”  Fuck CNN.  This is the exact moment when it dies.

10:19 Fox News: the rapid reaction spin is that “Obama’s campaign did a good enough job campaigning to keep it’s job.”  Megyn Kelly: “Obama’s campaign defined Romeny as a venture capitalist, and didn’t let people see the person who spent his life helping others.”  They’re also expressing their profound disbelief that the polls turned out to be right.

I’m concerned.  There was lots of discussion of whether Romney would be blamed for a loss, or whether conservatism as a philosophy would be blamed.  Steven Heyes is giving the “Romney didn’t push the contrasts enough; the exit polls says that ‘53% of the exit polls say that the government is doing too much of what could be done by private business” line, but every other person on Fox is giving the “Romney’s a pussy” line.  The Token Blonde says “maybe voters haven’t realized things like . . . maybe I shouldn’t complete that thought”.

The conservative response might be to game the media EVEN MORE THAN lying in every clause and muddying the very boundaries of what is campaign apparatus and what is a news division.

But those are concerns to take up in at least a few hours.  Right now everyone needs to get as drunk as possible and fuck someone they care about.

10:35 PBS: Ok, chicks and cocks, I was wrong.  We can’t take off a fucking second.  Because this is the moment when the deficit hawks are going to start dominating every stray electron available to get their message out to the public that DA FISCAL CRISIS must be addressed.  PBS is doing it’s part by having David Brooks and Mark Shields agree, more in sorrow than in anger, of course, that Obama’s election means that the nation is much more likely to go over the “fiscal cliff” in the coming months.

What is the fiscal cliff?  Naked Capitalism’s got your back.  It’s a set of policies whose internal triggers all trip at once, so it looks like we’re going to be hit by the Bush Tax Cuts expiring at the same time that the trillion dollar sequestration cuts are due to come into effect, along with a few other inconsiquential measures.  IT’S THE SCARIEST THING EVER.  Except agreeing to stop the sequestration cuts is the easiest thing ever, since no-one wants them, and everything else is an unalloyed good.  (Rich people have more cash they’re hoarding now than at any other point in human history; it would be much more efficient for the state to deploy it through tax-n-spend programs than having the rich park it in stocks and bonds).

Despite the fact that the “fiscal cliff” has an obvious-to-all path to follow in order to benefit the nation, it will be used as an excuse to institute austerity, tax cuts, budget cuts, pain for the hoi polloi and free money for the top .1%.  DO NOT LET THEM DO THIS.  CALL YOUR HOUSE AND SENATE REPRESENTATIVES, AND LET THEM KNOW YOU WILL NOT STAND FOR AUSTERITY OR CUTS. 

Voting is an incredibly crude tool for letting the powers-that-be know your preferences for how the country should be run.  If you voted, you should also call your representatives, at all levels of government, letting them know that you will not stand for further budget cuts in the name of austerity.  We are the ones we have been waiting for, and we have been given a republic, if we can keep it, and future generations will wonder what you did in order to stop the thieves and petty thugs from stealing economic wealth away from you.  Whatever cliche touches your heart, repeat that to yourself as you dial your congressman, demanding she fight for you.

11:10 CNN: They’re still talking about how county-level results might affect the election, even as they acknowledge the outcome won’t be changed.  IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER, DIPSHITS, TALK ABOUT OTHER RACES, BALLOT INITIATIVES, ETC.  This is yet another indication that CNN doesn’t understand the age they are operating in, that news networks are portraying policy positions and possible future paths as much as facts, and that it is inevitable they will whither and die if they don’t change their outlook.  Fox News and MSNBC were talking about future policy and political implications in the same sentence that they were announcing Obama won.

11:13 I have drunk all my wine.  Judged it pretty good, if I say so myself.

11:27 PBS: This is completely epiphenomenal but there is a huge slapfight among presidential historians (read: there is vocab like “i strenuously disagree”!) about concession speeches in the past forty years.  Even in matters where it completely does not fucking matter, there is a “both sides do it” ethos among network news coverage.  I need a drink.


First, I don’t want to worry anyone about the title: I’m about a bottle in.

Second, you shouldn’t be reading this, you should be reading Charles Pierce and Wonkette instead, both of who have been talking about voter suppression much more than any television coverage in the last few weeks and who will be posting commentary throughout the night.

Third, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Grape or Grain, but ne’er the Twain; Vine with Corn, Beware the Morn.

Let’s Go!

5:47 MSNBC: The graphic for the Republican candidate for Senate in Montana is wearing a flannel shirt.  I’m not sure this portends good omens for his chances.

5:58 Just a reminder: as they start reporting results, New Hampshire is likely to have its outcome known fairly soon, and if Obama wins the Old Man State or whatever the hell it is, Romney’s path to 270 shrinks to basically “win everything except Iowa and Colorado”

6:00 AAAAAAAAND we’re off! Wolfie is pretending he can’t call Indiana yet.  Integrity!

6:01 CNN: Wolfie is going to have an aneurism if he keeps screaming “LOOK AT THIS” at exit poll results.  Saying that Virginia is going to be close is not worth killing yourself, Wolfie.  Actually, strike that.

6:02 Sorry, that was mean. I hope Wolfie doesn’t hurt himself.

6:10 My local Fox affiliate isn’t starting its coverage until a half-hour after all the other networks, choosing to air an episode of The Simpsons instead.  The episode is from 2011, and obviously that’s good news for John McCain.

6:15 Actually John King is making a persuasive case that Indiana shouldn’t be called, with 80% of the vote counted and the margin between the candidates so far is only a few hundred. MSNBC already called it though.  Either way: I wish everyone talked like James Carville.  He just sounds so sincere. There would be no hipsters, if everyone talked like James Carville.

6:22 It’ll be interesting to see which network first calls Virginia, since if Obama wins it’ll basically mean the election’s over.

6:28 Every network is skeeting about Ohio.  IF OBAMA WINS VIRGINIA MITT HAS TO WIN EVERYTHING ELSE, WHICH WON’T HAPPEN.  Th’ fuck?  Actually it’s pretty clear race is the problem there.  Jeezum crepes, motherfalconing sons of birds.  And as I’m typing that CNN gives the “estimates” for North Carolina and Ohio. It’s a stupid thing to do since their methodology for determining it is as shit as the exit polls, but they have Obama tied with Romney in North Carolina, which is very encouraging.

6:35 Both Fox News and MSNBC are not doing the “estimate” thing CNN is doing, preferring to just say “too close to call” and reporting results as they come in.  CNN is so fucking awful.

6:44 The coverage across networks when they have time to fill is fairly similar.  “We’re receiving reports, ALL ANECDOTAL, of this one county in this one swing state whose results so far, WHILE WE ONLY HAVE A FEW PERCENT IN SO FAR, are off by 2008 by a couple hundred.”  Thanks, guys.  It’s not like anyone’s listening, you could talk about structural issues like first-past-the-post or our shameful “let every method of counting votes bloom” electoral system and actually serve the public discourse.  But I suppose that wouldn’t involve a huge monitor with a fancy touchscreen, would it.

6:54 PBS has a woodworking show on, which I respect.  CSPAN has it’s regularly scheduled programming but with the results running across the bottom of the screen.  Work that wood, PBS.

7:22 CNN: David Gergen is expressing surprise that the exit polls are shifting momentum from one candidate to another.  I wonder why he hasn’t been replaced by a talking dog hologram.  Wolfie throws it to commercial with a shot of the Empire State Building, whose spire is colored on different sides based on how many electoral votes each candidate has.  Literally not a single person on Earth gives a shit about that; I wonder how many people who are going hungry tonight could have been fed with the money which changed hands to make that happen.

7:29 PBS: Going from the network coverage with more graphics than a NASCAR race to PBS, which has 1980s graphics, is like going to one of those historical re-enactment sites where people in bonnets try and make candles.  Mark Shields is talking about how much pride folks from Jersey take in the Shore, because why not.

7:35 Al Jazeera: Why aren’t you watching Al Jazeera’s coverage.  The clause in which the anchor announced Arkansas went to Romney mainly dealt with polling methodology.

7:46 MSNBC: Ken Blackwell is, well, a black Republican who was a former Secretary of State in Ohio.  He has being interviewed on the MSNBC cable news network, and he has been saying that “of course the voting procedures in Ohio are fair, and they couldn’t have been run any better in this election.”  “There were long lines in 2008.  Elections have long lines.”  Ken Blackwell is a fucking liar.  Ken Blackwell knows damn well that the current Secretary of State in Ohio, a Republican, is intentionally making it harder for people to vote in this election.  Ken Blackwell knows damn well that efforts put in place after 2008 to alleviate long election lines were rescinded in the past few months for the 2012 election once Republicans controlled the Ohio state government.  And to MSNBC’s credit, every. single. person. on their panel immediately challenged Ken Blackwell’s lies and conveyed the immense stench of the bullshit Ken Blackwell was slinging.  Hope you sleep at night on a pile of money with many beautiful ladies, Ken Blackwell; I don’t know how you would get to sleep any other way.

7:57 CNN: James Carville turned the conversation on the panel from voter suppression to how people “feel” about the chances of each person being elected.  Fuck James Carville.  And Ken Blackwell.

8:09 I’m really kind of surprised no network is even mentioning the ballot initiatives.  Exit polls don’t go into those but they can mention the polling at least.  They’re saying fuck else.

8:23 All the networks are at commercial.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT.  We’re through the looking-glass here, people.

8:25 As you can probably tell the coverage just kind of alternates between inane county-level reports with 15% of the vote counted and inane interviews with campaign operatives where everyone’s confident their employer will win.  This might be the most persuasive evidence possible that network news is a sort of club that follows its own norms.  Why not talk about structural issues that affect turnout or the issues at stake in the campaign, or the ballot initiatives at stake at the different states, or the issues at stake in judicial elections, or the various merits of different kinds of voting methods besides first past the post, or the national popular vote initiative that a fair number of states have signed up for that would get rid of the electoral college, or the issues that haven’t been discussed in the campaign like the drug war and the fact that we imprison more people at a higher rate than any other country, or or or or . . . ?  Because, obviously, everyone making those decisions is recurited from the same small pool of people, and they’re looking at what everyone else is doing and just trying to not stand out.  Like NFL coaches, or people who just got their first pubs in middle-school.

8:37 I’m surprised but not surprised at how big of a deal the networks are making of calling New Hampshire and Wisconsin for Obama.  Romney’s paths to victory focus much more now on the larger electoral votes of Florida and Ohio and Virginia, and if they lose Colorado they can’t lose Iowa or else they lose. This is a Tipping Point, as Malcolm Gladwell might arrogantly say, and no-one is treating it as such.  I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but it’s another data point to throw on the humungous fucking pile of data points that news coverage serves their corporate interests first and foremost.

9:04 MSNBC: Chris Hayes is shouting about Senate filibuster reform.  If MSNBC can somhow de-politicize the “good government” ethos it’s been pushing tonight it will make a trillion dollars.  Of course if they try they will be politicized by Rush et al, which will filter up to Fox News and from there to CNN and Bob Schieffer  and so forth.

9:15 PBS: Austan Goolsbee has lost an immense amount of hair in the past three months.  Poor guy.  Not really.  I’m commenting on Austen Goolsbee’s hair because everything else is pretty much set: Obama’s gon’ win, Senate and House retain their previous party control, too early too call anything else like ballot initiatives.  And instead of talking about important things the networks are talking about . . . nothing.  PBS has some historian about how Reagan offered a model for Obama about “running on an economic record that was not objectively good, but getting better”.  WHY NO TALKEE ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS, is my question.

9:21 CNN: It’s really weird listening to these pundits talk, since they all switch from “who’s gon’ win” to “why Romney lost” without acknowledging that Romney lost.  Like that scene from 1984 in the public square where thousands of people are gnashing their teeth about how awful their enemy Eastasia is, and they switch on a dime to hating Eurasia.  There are so many little artifacts littering the media landscape indicating how in-step they all are without telling the public what’s going on.

9:34 Fox News: EVERYONE, HUSH! Peggy Noonan has the floor.  “We won’t know what’s happening until everything’s done, and, goodness, two billion dollars spent and we end up with the same government!” Peggy Noonan, recall, used to be the most important person in the world: Reagan’s speechwriter, a young woman, guaranteed a top post in the next Republican administration where she gave George H.W. Bush the best speech he ever gave.  She grew up hearing her words echoed down the corridors of power, still just a child in some ways when the words she came up with, solely the product of her own imagination and drive, helped change the course of the world.  And know she’s reliable filler that bridges two hundred seconds of dead air between the commercial break and Dick Morris.  Peggy Noonan is the true loser tonight, and she should be in your prayers.

9:42 Al Jazeera: They’re talking about the politics of the timing of Romney’s concession speech while CNN is running a graphic saying Romney has more electoral votes than Obama.  Jus’ sayin’.

10:00 I made a new post,  before I deal with the dietetic effects of alcohol on the human genus.  Thank Christ Obama won, if Romney were president nerdy jokes would not be tolerated.

There’s no God, honey is taking on the metallic taste of radioactivity, and Major Garrett has a job.  Clearly nothing matters, so fuck it, let’s go.

3:16 MSNBC: Dana Milbank’s head has more bulges than Christina Hendriks’ body, my stars.  He looks like Peter Sarsgaard in Green Lantern.

3:24 CNN: Wolfie’s talking about long lines in Florida.  Will there be a mention of Governor Luthor’s conscious decisions to increase those lines?

3:26 CNN: No.  But there’s a shortage of pens at a random polling place in Miami!  Thanks Wolfie.  I’d suggest a drinking game every time obstacles to voting are mentioned without talking about conscious policies deliberately undertaken to depress voter turnout and make it harder for votes to be cast and counted, but there is not enough grain in the world to make that much alcohol.

3:32 MSNBC: Ana Marie Cox!  Her outfit looks like it was chosen by the costume designer on Girls.  (How’s it feel, Ana Marie Cox, now that the shoe is on the other foot)

3:37 CNN: oh my god Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is wearing an electric rainbow dream bolo tie.  And Van Jones says long lines are like a “poll tax” but attributes them to “structural causes”.  One of these is funny and one of these is sad.

3:52 CNN: Another drinking game that the categorical imperative insists should not be undertaken: take a drink every time someone talks about “increased turnout from 2008” without talking about the increase in population in the last four years.  Fer instance saying Virginia’s showing “more turnout than 2008” without mentioning there are half a million more people in Virginia now is, uhm, silly.

3:59 CNN: They’re talking about the Mitt Romney vote vending machine in Pennsylvania!  And they have a second confirmed case!  Oh but wait they’re “fixed” now.  Thank goodness, I’m relieved.  But what was wrong with the machine?  Was it software, hardware?  Was it one from Josh Romney’s company? Wolfie: “Hard to believe this could happen, in the United States of America.”  Only if you watch CNN, Wolfie.

4:06 whoops it’s Tagg Romney that has the shady ties with the investment firm that owns the voting machine company.  Of course Glenn Kessler’s outfit says there’s no need to worry.  Hey Kessler should go on CNN, it’d be a good home for him to piss out fires caused by plutocratic voting processes.

4:15 CNN: Mary Matalin is literally gritting her teeth when her husband the Cajun Lizard King is talking.  Have some more Maker’s Mark, Mary.

4:22 MSNBC: Chris Matthews you fucking idiot.  Joy Reid’s been doing the hard work at whatever the hell NBC thinks The Grio is, documenting the day-to-day voter suppression stuff and doing it in a way that names names, and when you interview her and she’s preaching the Good Stuff you cap it off with “That’s what I tell young people, whenever I talk to them, the act is voting, that’s the actual event, it’s not watching it on TV, you have to get out there and do it.”  Thank Christ America is lucky enough to have Chris Matthews be the guardian of the flame of conscience for young people, and that he focuses on it with such fervor.

4:26 CNN There’s a cute little fat kid in a bomber jacket in a polling place some dickhead correspondent is at in New Hampshire.  God speed, cute little fat kid.  Don’t fill up on civic pride, you’re eating dinner soon.

4:41 CNN Wolfie’s been teasing these first exit poll results like they show Michelle Obama saying “whitey”.

4:49 Fox News: Both Sides Do It Department: apparently there’s an elementary school that has a mural of Barack Obama in the room that’s serving as a polling place.  Voter intimidation!  I want to drink some Coors Light with someone who is concerned about this.

4:53 MSNBC: these guys are actually doing a fairly good job of talking about voter suppression.  Matthews is a cack but everyone he’s interviewing is bringing it up.  The slow transition from “objective” media to ones that are not controlled by those dynamics will not be without its upsides.

5:01 CNN: Holy shit Encyclopedia Brown is relevant to this election! Apparently Obama wiped away “three tears” at an Iowa rally on Monday night.  But in “The Case of Hilbert’s Song”, a chapter from Encyclopedia Brown Sets the Pace, Encyclopedia Brown deduces a little girl must be lying about something because she cries multiple tears from an outer duct, and multiple tears induced from sadness always fall from an inner duct.  And guess what you guys! Obama’s multiple tears all fell from his outer duct.  They must have been due to the cold, or the wind.  Thanks, Encyclopedia Brown, you have officially been more useful to analysis of this election than John King.

5:08 CNN: Candy Crowley is at the Romney campaign headquarters!  Awwwkwwwaaaaaarrrrrrrrrd.

5:17 Exit poll results are starting to trickle in.  Don’t trust exit polls, about anything.  CNN has a hologram of what Romney and Obama’s baby would look like clicking through how “satisfied” exit polls show Virginia voters to be with Obama.  MSNBC is not mentioning them at all.  Advantage: MSNBC.

5:23 CNN: YESYESYES As if on cue CNN is starting to break out it’s “virtual” graphics.  Right now they have some guy talking in front of a “virtual Senate”, which is a green screen that looks like a 3-D model of the Senate chamber.  Keep in mind: this is just a green screen that happens to have a 3-D perspective, the guy talking is not moving or anything.  Hopefully CNN will break out true AI later as results start to trickle in.

5:26 CNN: WAIT the guy talking in the “virtual Senate” just rested his arm on one of the 3-D “virtual desks” in the “virtual Senate”.  Their technology is more impressive than appears at first glance.  I think this indicates CNN will inaugurate the Singularity once the Nevada polls close.

5:45 Made a new post for the actual results, here

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?


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.

Scumbag asshole Glenn Kessler writes a column called “The Fact Checker” for the Washington Establishment Stooge Subsidized by Shady Education Materials Company.  Why is he a scumbag asshole?

Glenn Kessler convention

Just kidding. I *do* always rape the public discourse. I do save equines for a special occasion though.















The occasion for the column, of course, is the recently concluded Lies-a-thon of a convention the Republicans held between marathon lap dances in Tampa.  Every single substantive claim or reference to policy made by Paul Ryan was completely empirically false, fer instance.  So of course someone who writes a column called “The Fact Checker” in the second most important newspaper in the country says that it doesn’t matter.

The Washington Post’s political coverage cannot induce embarrassment in its proprietors at this point, but let’s look at what would embarrass another paper should this piece have appeared anywhere else:

– It’s always like this! Because Zell Miller made a few claims about Kerry’s agenda in a speech at the ’04 Republican convention that extrapolated too much on old votes or statements.  And that crazy Sarah Palin and her on-again off-again relationship with that bridge to nowhere.  And Obama referenced McCain voting 90% of the time with Republicans while remaining silent about his 97% rate voting with Democrats.

Let’s start with that Obama thing first, because it illustrates just how goddamn mendacious this whole exercise is.  Ask me if the next fucking sentence in that 2008 speech after the 90% reference makes Kessler look like a gaping asshole.  Because I have the answer.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

A C-average 8th-grader would be expected to understand the mistake Kessler’s making.  How can you argue with such a person?  They’re either too stupid to understand what they’re doing, too dishonest to care, or too lazy to give a fuck about it. Who the fuck thinks Kessler has any credibility or integrity after doing something like that?

Zell Miller was making claims about Kerry’s approach to the world.  His Weltanschauung.  This last convention lied non-stop about facts. Picking two among dozens of others, Romney said Obama raised taxes on the middle-class, when Obama lowered taxes on the middle class.  Ryan contradicted the stated reasons of credit agencies for downgrading US credit.  In a CBS interview afterward, he contradicted the words of the report as they were read to him.  You should watch the clip of that interview if you want to see a sort of nightmare vision of a political figure’s refusal to acknowledge reality.

Doghouse Riley, The Best Pundit In America, makes a similar point about the Palin stuff.

Palin’s comments underlined a personal dishonesty so thorough that no one would trust her to make the proper change. This was a subject the Press, naturally, stayed the hell away from; her wardrobe grifting got some play, but also the required faux-balance pushback. When she told Katie Couric she read “all” newspapers it was taken as evidence that she couldn’t name any (possibly true, extemporaneously, anyway), but not so much as evidence that she’d lie to anyone about breakfast, if she felt she needed to (“C’mon. She’s a politician!”).

Ryan, on the other hand, simply misrepresents inconvenient facts in order to push his apodictic Randian certainties on the rest of us, and those certainties collapse the moment facts are applied. That’s an exponentially greater lie than Palin’s fictional bio (or Marco Rubio’s), and several orders of magnitude more consequential.

Bieberdamnit I wish I could write like that.

But really the only point that needs to be made here is




– Tone is more important! Bob Dole’s ’96 speech was much more acerbic.  And Romney didn’t include in his speech all the lies that his campaign uses in their commercials.  And anyway these things are just giant commercials, no need really for nitty-gritty details to intrude in them.

I summon Thers and Whiskey Fire’s many years of archives about tone and civility in politics.  The big guns.  Concern about tone is a cudgel centrists resort to when there’s no other argument to make.  Because what effect does tone have?  When Dole said that Clinton was taking money away from families so they couldn’t afford to pay the bills, what were the negative consequences?  Mm-hmm.  Meanwhile the negative effects of the kind of lying about facts the Republicans just spent three days doing prevents democracy from functioning in a competent manner.  Why the fuck should tone matter instead of lying about facts?  Kessler doesn’t say, for some reason.  And why the fuck should it matter what tone anyone takes when they lie their fucking heads off?  Kessler doesn’t say, for some reason.

In the meantime all this gibberish about not including the maximal amount of lying and lying being ok in this format because I said so that’s why is so fucking stupid and obsequious I can’t even force myself to type a response to it.

Really this is a prime example of maybe the biggest centrist media crime: confusing their role with being a political player.  If the centrist media person’s job is part of the professional political establishment, it’s their responsibility to defend political institutional practices adopted for their own interests against scrutiny.  If the centrist media person’s job is to report the facts about the professional political establishment in a way that serves the public good, it’s their responsibility to scrutinize political institutional practices and critique them when they’re deficient.  Kessler’s irrational toadying makes it clear where he falls.

(explanation which somewhat justifies title)

These are golden times for media centrists.  Sinecures as far as the eye can see in multiple mediums, and the only thing you’re accountable to is how well you vomit the conventional wisdom.  Easy peesy lemon squeezy.

Seeing this stuff for what it is and calling it out with inappropriate cussing and sexual imagery, on the other hand, is difficult difficult lemon difficult.  You have to show how language choice and emphasis and tone and all these weird amorphous concepts conspire to advance a specific political effect or vision.  Tough stuff.

But lo, like a Lady in the Lake clad in shimmering samite, fate has thrown a gift from her inscrutable depths: Republicans which are just balls-out crazy and no longer give a fuck about hiding their sociopathy.  And when this unstoppable force meets the moist quivering sponge of centrist journalism, the latter can’t help but get swept away, exposing itself in the process.

Case in point, Time’s Michael Crowley, whose schtick is so obvious in response to Paul Ryan lying on every substantive point in his convention speech I can just quote individual words and phrases.  From the first few paragraphs:

most famous                       cutting prosecutor

master                                 cultural beacon for the middle class

[WHO GREW UP IN A 6,000 SQ. FT. MANSION – sorry]

grand ideas                         attention-grabbing address

drew rhetorical blood         vivid fillip [JEEEEEEE-SUHS]

These meaningless fluff words from the first few paragraphs do not belong in a story recounting the most mendacious American political speech given in at least the past five years, and they were written from a place of cowardice.

The fact that a few more paragraphs down the actual lies were recounted with “fudged facts” language, in a manner that makes it seem like typical political practice, becomes much easier to discern and almost beside the point.

Mmmmm does my regular pre-capitulation to authority get you wet baby seems like it

Mmmmm does my regular pre-capitulation to authority get you wet baby seems like it










The centrist pundit cannot stop, of course, it’s a compulsion, a dark passenger borne of insecurity and ego, so last night after Romney’s speech Crowley went on Greta’s House of Pain.  After a speech which featured snide jokes with literal lip-curls and birther shout-outs and a fucking call-and-response section where a stadium full of assdicks chanted “no” in unison, Crowley had this to say about Romney accepting the nomination:

It was more sorrow than anger . . . not an angry message, we’ve talked so much in that last few years about the anger out there, in the tea party and the primaries, yknow, all of us were at primary events were voters were just furious and they wanted to just stand up and yell and give speeches. 

But the tone tonight was sorrow, not anger, “let’s do something that we don’t feel great about doing but the time has come, we gave the guy a chance . . . but it’s over”

Fuck you, Michael Crowley.  Crichton might have given you a small dick in one of his books for petty reasons, but you deserve a far worse fictional fate:

Greta underneath that early-90s haircut is a fucking dumb mind . . . it's irresistible.  Let's make tonight special and pull out the bloody gloves.

Greta underneath that early-90s haircut is a fucking dumb mind . . . it’s irresistible. Let’s make tonight special and pull out the bloody gloves.

The perfect image of the modern Republican party: an old white man smugly confronting an imaginary black man.

High Convention Rambler.

“That 82-year-old American cinema icon doesn’t deserve to be made fun of.” “Deserve’s got nothin to do with it.”

This whole thing happened because, ironically, no-one in the Romney campaign was brave enough to stand up to Clint Eastwood.  That’s like will.i.am bombing at the DNC convention because no-one in the Obama campaign was willing to blast horrible music at him that he couldn’t escape.

Every Which Way But Lucid.

The IMDB message boards are going to be pretty nuts after this, I expect.

Maybe this is Eastwood’s way of getting to be called “chair-man of the bored”.

Update: Oh thank Christ I finally found someone who did it I was getting worried

Kinda surprised Eastwood didn't have an onion on his belt

Eastwood went a little long. He had to cut out, “There are too many states nowadays. We need to eliminate three. I am not a crackpot.”














Update II: In Eastwood’s new movie Baseball Family Drama #32, American treasure Amy Adams says to Eastwood, very loudly and in a brash All-American Girl way that can’t possibly be doubted, “You’re crazy!!!”

Then Eastwood claims he’s not a pole-dancer.

It’s like he made a movie of a character he created for a one-man show that he performed, once, at the 2012 Republican convention.

What takes it from kinda-meh to sublime is that other trailers make it clear that the above trailer cuts together two different scenes.  Amy Adams doesn’t actually call Eastwood a senile old coot in the movie.  (She’s platonically flirting with Chaste Sex Symbol Justin Timberlake.) So it’s like the universe is conspiring, in the form of myopic consultants who mess up their convention order and harried trailer assemblers, to make Eastwood look crazy.

Whatever Unforgiven is fucking great Eastwood coulda murdered puppies up there and I’d probably half-heartedly defend him.

The best, of course, is Fox News’ reaction:

Twitter was instantly ablaze with reaction.

Minutes after Eastwood began his speech, someone created the @InvisibleObama account on Twitter. It already has 17,000 followers and counting.

“Clint Eastwood is now backstage arguing with a vending machine,” joked Canadian comedian Daryn Jones.

Film critic Roger Ebert didn’t give the speech two thumbs up.

“Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic,” tweeted Ebert. “He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”

Comedian Roseanne Barr put it simply: “clint eastwood is CRAY” — a slang reference to being crazy.

Not everyone agreed.

“Clint Eastwood made my day,” tweeted Southern rocker Charlie Daniels. The Hollywood trades gave it positive marks, perhaps a reflection of the movie world’s appreciation for genuineness.

Eastwood, a fiscal conservative who leans left on social issues, has confounded the political world. He starred in Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” Super Bowl ad earlier this year even though he opposes government bailouts. The commercial angered conservatives.

Talk about a fucking beat that would sap anyone’s strength . . .

Had you caught Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican convention last night (and if you missed it figuring you were all full up on egocentric monsters luxuriating in their own righteousness, more sympathetic I could not be), had you braved the speech you could not fail to notice Paul Ryan flatout lying on every substantive point he brought up.

Not errors of omission, either, like how a half hour earlier Cloud of mushroom with a side of Rice had just kinda not mentioned Iraq or how Osama Bin Laden has not been livin’ for the past year.  No.  Ryan told straight-up fuckin’ lies.  A sample:

– The “Obama took $715 billion from Medicare” chestnut that Michelle Bachmann got called crazy for peddling in 2010, and which cuts in any case Ryan put into his own Granny-starving plan.

– A GM plant in Ryan’s hometown was closed, AFTER Obama said that “if government helps [this situation] out, this factory will stay open for another hundred years.”  GOODNESS.  But uh the plant closed in 2008 so uh yeah.

– Trashing Obama for failing to follow the Simpson-Bowles commission, a commission which did not actually issue a final recommendation because it was blown up by a certain zombie-eyed House member from Wisconsin.

– Trashing Obama for getting US debt downgraded by a few agencies.  Oh if only the agencies issued reports specifying in detail why they downgraded that debt why they might have specified that their decision was because of the Republicans’ willingness to treat the debt ceiling like the Lindbergh Baby which would eliminate any excuse for a barely sentient person to avoid calling this stinky bullshitty lie what it is.

Prudence demands drawing the curtain on the freak show at this point, but rest assured there are plenty more where those came from.  Those links are all compendiums of lies, by the way, and they don’t overlap very much.

(Update – Can’t believe I forgot this: aside from the fucking lies, Ryan just flat-out contradicts himself within a few sentences.

Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now.  And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you . . .

When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life.  I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.  That’s what we do in this country.  That’s the American Dream.  That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.

In other words, “it’s Obama’s fault that you’re such a fucking moocher.”)


At this point the only sane, rational, honest response to Ryan taking out his cheddar cheese dick and slapping every American in the face with it is the one of Timothy Bryce, the only interesting person I know:

Paul Ryan: American Psycho

The voice of reason. Boy next door.











This, of course, is a character from the cinema movie film American Psycho, expressing similar sentiments toward Mr. Ryan that he expressed toward a speech in which Ronald Reagan was lying in said movie film.

Does the reaction of centrist media types meet the lofty standards of a character from American Psycho? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Dixon remembers the Tale Emerson lov’d to tell, of Galileo before the Cardinals, creaking to his feet after being forc’d to recant, muttering, “Nonetheless, it moves.”  Watch, patiently as before the Minute-Hand of a Clock, become still enough, and ‘twould all begin to move. . . .  This, Dixon understands, is what Galileo was risking so much for, – this majestick Dawn Heresy.  ” ‘Twas seeing not only our Creator about his Work,” he tells Mason later, “but Newton and Kepler, too, confirm’d in theirs.  The Arrival, perfectly as calculated, the three bodies sliding into a single Line. . . . Eeh, it put me in a Daze for fair.”  Whatever the cause, the times he records are two to four seconds ahead of Mason’s.

– Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon

Stay thirsty, my friends.  Although,

This, or odd behavior like it, is going on all over the World all day long that fifth and sixth of June, in Latin, in Chinese, in Polish, in Silence,- upon Roof-Tops and Mountain Peaks, out of Bed-chamber windows, close together in the naked sunlight whilst the Wife minds the Beats of the Clock,- thro’ Gregorians and Newtonians, achromatick and rainbow-smear’d, brand-new Reflectors made for the occasion, and ancient Refractors of presposterous French focal lengths,- Observers lie, they sit, they kneel,- and witness something in the Sky. Among those attending Snouts Earth-wide, the moment of first contact produces a collective brain-pang, as if for something lost and already unclaimable,- after Years of preparation, the long and at best queasy voyaging, the Station arriv’d at, the Lattitude and Longitude well-secur’d, – the Week of the Transit,- the Day,- the Hour,- the Minute,- and at last ’tis, “Eh? where am I?”

– Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon, previous page

Try not to let the force of rational knowledge riptide you away from the other kinds.  Nearly impossible.  But not quite.


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