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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.

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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

SO WHAT IF THIS IS THE WAY THINGS ARE USUALLY DONE YOU FUCKING DOLT

THIRTY MILLION PEOPLE WATCH THIS FUCKING SHIT AND DON’T REALIZE THEY’RE BEING LIED TO

IT’S HARMFUL, IT SHOULDN’T BE ACCEPTABLE, AND PEOPLE IN YOUR POSITION ARE AMONG THE FEW WHO CAN CHANGE IT.  STOP WALLOWING IN THE CULTURE OF POLITICAL OPERATIVES AND DEFENDING THE PRACTICES OF PEOPLE YOU SOCIALIZE WITH.  DO WHAT FUCKING TEENAGERS KNOW IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

– 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.

Too cool for school which teaches difference between "objective journalist" and "lickspittle stenographer"

It’s hard to steer, because when you think you’re going straight you always veer right

Pete Kasperowicz writes for The Hill, a DC paper concerned with objectively defining issues and tracking how political power, lobbying efforts, and the institutional and social milieu in which political operatives exist shape those issues.  Of course their working definition of the term “centrist” is “someone with a large intellect and kind soul”.

PK wrote on legislation which the House recently passed that prohibits the Census Bureau from continuing to conduct an annual study called the American Community Survey.  It provides more geographically-precise, more timely, and more fine-grained data than the Census, and is used by all levels of government to make thousands of policy decisions every week which direct $400 billion worth of funds each year.

PK acknowledges this when he lets us know that “supporters of the program argue the survey provides information.”  Thanks, Petey.

To balance out that extremely provocative and telling piece of information, Peter-the-Awesome provides seventeen other paragraphs attacking the survey, in the process quoting three Republicans extensively.  Who of course are the only people quoted.  Three of those paragraphs are a House member mockingly quoting some of the questions asked, including “do you have a flush toilet” and “because of mental, physical or emotional conditions, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions?”  This is followed by a quote from another House member asking what use is legislation protecting citizens from government spying on their internet use, since they already know everything.  Five years of determining the basic economic and health needs of the populace to determine where budgeted money should be spent has already resulted in an Orwellian nightmare, which no-one noticed until Peter Peter Bullshit Eater’s intrepid stenography of Republican talking points pulled back the curtain on Big Data.

Centrism means shamelessly defending objectively insane policy proposals.

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