Showing posts with label WHEN BUFFOONS WALKED THE EARTH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WHEN BUFFOONS WALKED THE EARTH. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Random Bark

The Leader Is A Liar

In the mainstream media, reports continually say that The Leader makes "misstatements," or that his speeches and social media comments contain "inaccuracies" or "misleading" information -- but (with few exceptions) the media does not often say, simply and clearly, Donald Trump is a liar.

That sentence is accurate. It is not a distortion. The evidence that Trump lies is plentiful. It is not a politically-motivated attack, or invented -- he says things that are not true, every single day. It is a statement of fact, as real as gravity and 2+2 = 4: Donald Trump is a liar.

So -- whenever the subject of The Leader comes up -- everyone in America should begin their side of the conversation by saying, Donald Trump is a liar. Then pause, then continue.

Members of Congress, when asked by reporters about The Leader's latest antics; Left talking heads, discussing Important Topics on Washington Week or 'Meet The Press'; or opinion writers composing their latest columns; all should begin with the same first sentence: Donald Trump is a liar.

It needs to be repeated, over and over and over -- because The Leader is a liar.  Donald Trump is a liar.  It should be said straight, and clear.

MEHR, MIT HUHN INS FOTO:  I just really like this graphic.

Big Fat Liar: Missy Sara, Shamed By The Chicken

Friday, September 28, 2018


(Win McNamee / Getty NorAm, via TPM)

The charm of the land 'South of the Mason-Dixon' is never on better display than in the gracious attitudes of its citizens, rooted in the values for which the 'Old South' is so widely known.
(--  Flying-A Gasoline Travel Guide, 1940)

(Michael Reynolds / Pool/AFP)

Almost instinctively, once a President appoints a judge to sit on the Supreme Court, the public earmarks the Justice as an incarnation of impartiality, neutrality, and trustworthiness ... It is a judge's neutrality, fair-mindedness, and integrity that once again label him a person of impartiality and fairness, a person who seeks justice, and a President's first choice to serve the nation.
(-- Melissa Loewenstern, 2003, "The Impartiality Paradox"; Yale Law & Policy Review)

His testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday was a howl of partisan rage. He said the behavior of Democrats on the committee was “an embarrassment” and “a good old-fashioned attempt at Borking.” He said they were “lying in wait” with “false, last-minute smears.”

The proceedings were, he said, “a national disgrace,” a “circus,” a “grotesque and coordinated character assassination” ... a “search and destroy” mission. He blamed Democrats for threats against his family, “to blow me up and take me down.”

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election . . [all for] revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups” ... Gone was the nominee who ... preached judicial modesty... [and] who on Monday spoke to Fox News about fairness and integrity and dignity and respect.
(-- Dana Milbank, "Brett Kavanaugh, Disrobed", Washington Post)

As Kavanaugh’s hearing ended, Trump asserted his pleasure with the performance. “Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him,” he tweeted. “His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”
(-- Gabriel Sherman, "This Was Why He Nominated Him", Vanity Fair)

Just after 5 P.M. on Wednesday, Trump went full Trump... [and] launched into a nearly 90-minute rant... Trump blasted the allegations against Kavanaugh ... incorrectly claimed that only “three or four” women had accused him of sexual misconduct; praised his handling of North Korea; boasted about his “very, very large brain”; and denounced all of the “fake” people at the press conference... Even by Trumpian standards, it was a stark display of the president’s uninhibited rhetorical style ...

More important, from the perspective of the [United Nations] General Assembly, was what Trump’s manic performance suggested about America’s diminished power on the world stage. The president of the United States... looked weak and small -- preoccupied ... insecure about his achievements, and fearful ...
(-- Abigail Tracy, "At The UN, Diplomats Grapple With A Diminished Trump", Vanity Fair)

[Regarding a 'rule-less' society,] economic disparity and political dysfunction have been exacerbated by the collapse of the judicial system, as Matt Taibbi writes in his book “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.” There is aggressive criminalization of the poor while the ruling elites are protected by high-priced lawyers and non-enforcement or rewriting of laws...

The elites, who sacrifice nothing for society and are not held accountable for their criminal behavior, live in what Taibbi calls a “stateless archipelago.” They are empowered to pillage the nation, amass obscene wealth and wield unchecked political and legal control. The result has been the obliteration of the primary social bonds that, however biased in favor of the white majority, held the nation together.
(-- Chris Hedges, "American Anomie", TruthDig)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Let Us Now Something Famous Men

You Know Where This Is Going
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing; September 27, 2018 (Osita Nwanevu / New Yorker)
As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford detailed her sexual assault accusation against Trump Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, a photo taken by New Yorker staff writer Osita Nwanevu shows that Ford was positioned directly in front of seven male GOP senators who have worked to ram through Kavanaugh's confirmation as quickly as possible without an FBI investigation. 
"This is what Christine Blasey Ford is looking at as she describes her sexual assault," Nwanevu noted. "I mean this literally. The Dems are there of course, but from her angle at the table, the GOP side of the semicircle is right in front of her."
--  Jake Johnson, Common Dreams; "As Christine Blasey Ford Details Sexual Assault Allegation Against Kavanaugh, This Is What She's Looking At"
Thursday's hearing will also raise fundamental questions of fairness. And perhaps the biggest risk is that despite its deeply divisive impact, it solves nothing... 
It's conceivable that at the end of the day, Republicans see one truth and Democrats another. If the GOP goes ahead under those circumstances the nomination could enflame the nation's blazing political culture even more.
--  Stephen Collinson, CNN; "A Day That Will Resonate In History"
President Trump and Congressional Republicans are not afraid to take unpopular actions in pursuit of their ideological goals. 
Last year, they spent many months trying and failing to pass a repeal of Obamacare, even though those efforts were extremely unpopular. And they passed a tax bill that was highly unpopular at the time of its passage, although its [popularity as shown in polling data has] since improved some. The Supreme Court is at least as much of a priority for Republicans.
--  Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight; "The GOP's Least-Worst Option Is If Kavanaugh Withdraws -- And Soon"
Then, late on Wednesday an anonymous fourth woman accuser emerged when NBC reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee was inquiring about at least one additional allegation of misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Republican Senate investigators asked Kavanaugh about an anonymous complaint alleging that he physically assaulted a woman in 1998, according to a transcript from that phone call...
--  Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge; "Fourth Woman Accuses Kavanaugh"
The New Aristocrats feel entitled to remain untouchable, regardless of the enormity of their crimes. People are starting to wake up to neofeudal realities of life in America, but the sexual privileges of this class are only the tip of the iceberg.
--  Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge; "Exposing The Neofuedal Privileges Of Class In America"

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Trumplandia Three

Bark Bark Bark Bark
You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? ... You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! ... There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immutable, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars... which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today... 
...There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only [ Apple], and [Google], and [Facebook], and [Microsoft], [Bayer, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Disney, AT&T] and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today... We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. 
--  Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), Paddy Chayefsky's "Network" (1976, with updates)

The current news regarding Mr Cohen and Manafort's convictions aren't necessarily as  significant as some (e.g., A Work Colleague) believe they are.
AWC:  (Walks up) Hey; how ya doin? I'm pumped.
DOG: Why?
AWC:  (Pause) You don't watch the news?
DOG:  A couple of scumbag fixers are being processed through our System Of Justice™. One got convicted, the other pled out. That's all that's happened. Unless aliens landed.
AWC:  Okay; I'm not even going to discuss it. This is the beginning of the end of Trump! You just want to shit all over it!
DOG: This is only the second half of the third inning. Two runners got retired trying to steal bases. Cohen and Manafort couldn't hit that well, but still got on base and then thought they'd cheat and got tagged out. They were puffed-up, small-time fixers who believed they were better Players than they were. They thought they were Ty Cobb and Ted Williams and they weren't.
AWC: Okay, I get it.
DOG:  No, you don't. Let me push this a little further: this is just the second half of the third inning -- in this game. There are like about eighty games left to play in the season! Trump is still in office. The GOP is still Führertreu and still runs the Congress, and Stevie Bannon is still hung over and shedding his facial skin all over Hungary. It's a little soon for the forces of Peace and Justice to be saying, "It's over! We're taking the Pennant!"
AWC: You're just saying this because I wanted a sane woman to be president.
DOG:  Not really -- but, hey; I've never successfully carried a baseball metaphor this far through a conversation before. I feel pretty proud of myself.
AWC: The BBC is reporting Cohen can give Mueller information on a conspiracy with the Russians.
DOG:  Uh-huh. It's still the bottom of the Third -- in one game -- and we're not even talking about the Democratic party, or international politics, or economics yet.
AWC: (Walks away)

I'm capable of being a selfish, venal Dog. The taste of Schadenfreude as Trump's lies twist around the axle of his public life is tempting and sweet: it's satisfying to watch that bloated punk flail and bellow as he becomes stuck in the Tar Pits. But -- as satisfying as that is, bigger things are at stake and Trump's hair and family and public antics have never been the real show.

The Right-wing media echo chamber -- the true fake news -- has spent over thirty years repeating, again and again, that America's central, federal government is a lying oppressor, a tool of liberal one-worlders out to steal our Rights. It's broken, unresponsive. Individual state governments could do a better job...

On the Left and the Right, people know Trump is an abusive boss, a Crap Daddy, a blowhard and a rich fuck-up. They expect him to behave like one. And everyone hopes this, uh, situation will just resolve itself -- somehow -- with the same dramatic arc as a network television program: the Bad Guy gets his way; then, eventually Hubris brings him low. Everything is resolved. And, most important of all, life goes back to normal.

Except, we don't live in a television program. Even so, the drama is entertaining.  And Trump feeds on it, hour by hour -- he's the center of all attention.

One thing about Manfort's conviction, and Cohen's guilty plea, both on multiple counts is the solidity, the concrete reality, of the events. They can't be denied, called 'fake', or lied about. They're a reminder to Trump that his control is an illusion.

Even so -- no matter what happens to Trump; or to Republicans, Democrats, the Alt-Right and Social Justice Warrior activists -- all the major issues in American politics and the society that were raised and on display during the 2016 election cycle have not been addressed.

And, our national problems are being played out against the backdrop of a global ideological struggle -- between 'Brexit', anti-immigrant nationalism and repressive quasi-fascism on the Right; Kumbayah-neoliberal-globalism, or Socialist-quasi-communism, on the Left.

Whatever happens to Trump in America may affect that debate (e.g., it might help discredit the myth of nationalist, strongman rule), but despite his trade tariffs, his jackass behavior with the UN, the EU and NATO; despite his bromance with Kim Jong Jong; Trump's downfall won't resolve it.

(Finally, even if the current situation develops into a question of Impeachment being raised -- I don't like quoting myself, but I've already barked about this:)

...any charges brought by a special prosecutor must be referred to the United States Congress. The House Judiciary committee would hold hearings to determine whether the charges against the president were impeachable offenses. 

Unless the November midterms change the balance in Congress, the Judiciary Committee may still be dominated by Republicans. 

Partisan politics may rule; the Right has run roughshod over the country to get what it wants, so they may shut down any inquiry and to hell with the media and the People. If they do, that's an end to it.

There will be CSPAN coverage of the committee sessions, and video clips of Democratic members crying that this is the darkest day in America since the Civil War -- that will be true, but it won't matter. Trump, vindicated, Tweets for days, strutting and preening. Ivanka goes shopping with Louise Linton and they have a 'Spa Day'.

But, let's say the Judiciary committee does hold full and transparent hearings. They vote to refer the matter to the full House (here, the Rules Committee would determine how debate and voting would proceed). A simple majority (218) is required when voting on Articles of Impeachment. This means 192 Democrats have to find twenty-six Republicans to join them. It's possible -- but if the vote falls strictly along party lines, it will fail.  That's the end of it.

Trump crows over his 'success', his 'win', in a never-ending series of press conferences, takes a full week off in New Jersey and golfs every day, making Impeachment jokes to the neutered press. President Vladimir Putin of Russia calls Trump to congratulate him.

So, let's assume Articles of Impeachment actually pass in the House and are referred to the Senate for the president to be tried. When Clinton was tried in the Senate, there were hours of debate and plenty of grandstanding; the same will happen here. The spectacle will 'consume the nation', but remember -- it's theater. Get some popcorn, but I wouldn't spend extra money for the really good kind.

A two-thirds vote is required in the Senate to convict a president on any charge. 67 Senators voting 'Aye' on any charge results in a conviction, which also means a vote to remove the president from office.

If Trump were tried in the Senate, it's probable that, like Clinton, the number of Senators voting to convict would not reach 67. Trump would be "shamed", as Clinton was -- but he remains in office, and that's the end of it. 

The thing about public shaming:  the person being punished has to feel as if the penalty actually means anything. Trump would care less about being disgraced as the third president in history to actually be tried for Impeachment in the Senate. For him, "not getting a two-thirds vote" and remaining in office equals "winning".  

Perversely, Trump would feed on a 24-by-7 news cycle being focused on him, for months on end. After the vote(s) fail, he will bellow, preen, strut, and celebrate with an all-night party at More-Lego, attended by all the bottom-feeding, alt-Right and white supremacist glitterati, flown in at government expense -- and with a manly, affectionate embrace from surprise guest, Stevie Bannon. President Vladimir Putin of Russia will send flowers to Melania.


If I'm going to be self-referential, might as well trowel it on. From the wayback machine:
[Trump's] campaign depends on tapping the kind of inchoate rage that we see or experience on the street, or at work. If Trump were to win, it would mean a period of social and political dislocation in America which no one in memory has experienced. I could make a joke about a similarity with H.P. Lovecraft's return of Chtulu and the Old Ones, but in fact nobody knows where it would all lead. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Reprint Heaven: Edge Of The Volcano Edition


(Originally From 2016)
Cousin Ignatz, Asleep At Princip's Post: Sarajevo, 2014 (Matthew Fisher / Postmedia News)

Roughly twelve hours and 104 years ago, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the Grand Duchess Sophie, were shot by Gavrillo Princip, a member of an assassination team sent to the Bosnian city by the government of Serbia.

Collectively, the team was the gang which couldn't shoot straight: armed with crude grenades, a few pistols, and carrying some form of suicide pill, they waited along the route Franz Ferdinand's car would take as it drove beside the Miljacka river, which cuts through Sarajevo (local Austro-Hungarian authorities had helpfully published the Archduke's route beforehand).

Most of the team either was poorly positioned, or chickened out at the last moment.  One conspirator did throw a bomb at the Archduke's car, which bounced off its folded-back fabric top and exploded near a second car traveling just behind. Several people in the car had minor injuries and it continued on to a local hospital.

The Archduke's driver, Leopold Lojka, continued to Sarajevo city hall. When Franz Ferdinand arrived, he effectively unloaded on the hapless administrators about the state of their local security ("I come to your city and am greeted with bombs!"). Meanwhile, back at the river, the would-be bomber had jumped into the Miljacka and swallowed his suicide pill -- which he promptly threw up. The police arrested him, barely managing to keep him from being lynched a mob of pro-Austro-Hungarian citizens, and so save him for later trial and execution.

At approximately 12:30 PM, having finally accepted the thanks of the Sarajevo city fathers, Franz Ferdinand and his wife got back into their car, planning to go to the local hospital to see those wounded in the bomb attack that morning. They used the same route, in reverse, that they had taken into the city, driving along the river. But when the Chauffeur, Lojka, came to a particular intersection -- to his left, a street; to the right, a bridge over the Miljacka river -- he was confused.

 The Royal Couple (Seated, At Rear) Leaving City Hall: Fifteen Minutes Left

Believing it to be the route he needed to take to drive to the hospital, Lojka slowed and turned left into the street.  Almost immediately, he realized he'd made a mistake and stepped on the brakes. The car came to a stop a few yards into the street, and Lojka moved to put it in reverse gear.

 The Intersection, 2014: The Archduke's Car Turned Left, Into This Street;
The Restaurant Where Princip Bought Lunch, Now A Museum (Photo: CNN)

At that same intersection was a small restaurant. Gavrillo Princip, last member of the Serbian assassination squad, had gone inside to buy a sandwich, angry and dejected after the team's failure that morning. Standing on the sidewalk outside the cafe, he saw a large, dark-green automobile turn out of the boulevard and come to a stop directly in front of him. In the very rear seat were the Archduke and his wife.

The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne had been delivered, less than ten feet away, from an armed assassin who had come to the city specifically to kill him. If you were writing a novel or screenplay, anything that coincidental would be branded as implausible. No one's gonna believe that.

Princip didn't hesitate. He dropped his sandwich, pulled a pistol out of his jacket and stepped towards the car, firing several shots, managing to mortally wound both the Archduke and his wife. Lojka, the driver, was ordered to rushed the royal couple to the local military governor's residence. Sophie died on the way. A military officer in the car, checking on the Archduke's condition, asked the wounded man how he was; Ferdinand said, "Nichts (It's nothing)", and died.

Just over a month later, Europe was at war. Over the next four-plus years, the entire social fabric of the continent and much of the world changed irrevocably. Monarchies ended; millions died; the map of the world changed as the victors annexed territory from Germany and Austria Hungary, and new countries were created. New technology was developed -- and, in the Versailles Treaty, the groundwork was laid for a second, even more horrible war to begin by 1939.

(And, in 1918-19, the Spanish Influenza infected 500 million people, killing 40 million, worldwide. It was the largest number of fatalities due to pandemic disease since the 'Black Death': the coming of  Bubonic Plague to Europe in the 14th century [which killed an estimated 200 million].  In the U.S., millions were made sick, and 675,000 died [0.6-plus per cent of America's population at the time, 103 million]. It's often referred to as the "forgotten epidemic" -- just one more terrible event in an ocean of violence and atrocity.)

 Cousin Ignatz, Worn Out By All The History

Why the history lesson? We're living through history. When we read about events in Europe during the Interwar Years (1918 - 1933 or so), there's a feeling of being slowly pulled down into a drain of inevitability -- revolving-door failures of parliamentary governments in France; Britian's declining empire; the manic Totentanz of global capital leading to 1929; the rise and fall of Weimar; Italian, German and Japanese fascism. Regional war and civil war. 

Like the story of the Titanic or the Hindenburg, you know where the story is going. You know it will end in Nanking, Kristalnacht, Dunkirk; Auschwitz; Stalingrad; the Warsaw Ghetto; D-Day; the Führerbunker; Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But you read about the years leading up to all that with a mounting sense of horror, because we all know how it ends.

While the Brexit may be not have been a "shot heard 'round the world", the Tories are hanging on by their fingernails in the UK; the Scots still wonder about independence; the Greek, French and Italian economies are still at risk. Putinland, the Great Bear, still pushes the envelope here and there -- Ukraine and Syria. As IS loses on battlefields in the continuing slow-motion atrocity that is the Middle East, suddenly they appear in a Philippine city, on a London street. Disproportionate numbers of Black people are shot in major American cities on a routine basis. Climate change is not fake news.

America, ruled by Babbitry, greed and illusion, retreats from the world stage; its leader is Bloated, Sick, and Raving, surrounded by car-wash dilettantes. Other nation-state players, great and small, are happy to rush into the vacuum we leave behind, and any of them could easily start a larger conflict -- India, Pakistan; Kim Jong Fat Boy's Fun People's Republic Of Chuckles, and South Korea; Iran and Saudi Arabia.  

And no matter how you want to characterize it, there's a confrontation -- between those who want a globalist, centralized world (unfortunately, organized around the goals of international finance and business principals, together with the most powerful nation-state actors), and those who don't. The balances in the old alliances created after WWII have all but unraveled.  Kleiner Mann; Was Nun?

Hope you're not looking for an answer. I am, after all, only a Dog, and no one listens to me.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

Chutulu Makes To Bellow And To Squirm
Wonderboy's "administration" is not an actual government. It's a convoluted, dysfunctional psychodrama. It doesn't bear much relation to the actual world -- though events in the psychodrama have real effect on large numbers of human beings in that actual world.

The principal reason the United States hasn't come apart at the seams more than it already has is the continuity being provided by the bureaucracy of the U.S. government -- which Wonderboy and the alt-Right refer to as the 'Deep State'.

< breaking Godwin's Law >
After Hitler came to power in January, 1933, a new nazi government relied on the old Weimar bureaucratic structure -- not only to support radical change, but to keep the mundane aspects of daily government running -- just as Weimar had used the old Kaiserzeit government to usher in a Republic.

The nazis began a campaign in 1933-34 to push out and replace mid- and high-level members of government bureaucracies -- Jews, those too politically "Red", or otherwise unwilling to cooperate with the New Order. This program was instituted across the board, but particularly true in the Arts, Finance, and The Police. Also, those in government who had secretly (or not so secretly) been early nazi party members settled scores with personal rivals in their departments by denouncing them.

In the lower ranks, there was similar culling and denunciation -- but most government functionaries only saw themselves as serving the legally established order, carrying out their jobs as, duty bound, they always had.

As Chancellor, Hitler disliked the details of running a government or making decisions he saw as beneath him, delegating day-to-day governance -- to his Ministers, and party control to the district Gauleiters.

Nazi control of Germany and the daily life of its citizens was defined by the principles of the nazi party, and backed by new laws in 1934 and 35, primarily against Jews, and government functionaries ensured they were carried out.  The success (albeit limited) of the nazi government's social and financial plans between 1933 and 1938 were in part due to the effort of a government whose structure was rooted in the Hohenzollern era.

After 1933, even if the German version of the Deep State had tried to slow or circumvent Hitler's directives, when the Second World War began, Germany's focus as a military-political state shifted towards 'national security'. Any attempt to throw sand in the gears would be met with the harshest penalties.

Ultimately, Hitler's method of governing -- based more on delusion than reality -- and the toadying obeisance of his direct reports as they squabbled for power and influence, even at the end, overshadowed the government bureaucracies which helped make his grip on power a reality.
< /breaking Godwin's Law >

 Just Coincidence In The Psychodrama (Digby's Hullabaloo)
[P.S.: Read From Bottom To Top]

MEHR, MIT EINE KLEINES BETRACHTUNG:  Just a thought -- I expect there will be a chorus of support for release of "The Paper" "The Post", a film extolling the courage of the New York Times'  Washington Post's publishing of 'The Pentagon Papers', which detailed how the U.S. government (i.e., several Presidential administrations, the Defense Department and the Military) had lied to Congress and the public about the scope of and reasons behind America's involvement in the Vietnam War.

There is still little support for Edward Snowden's whistleblowing of the massive violation of privacy of Americans through surveillance of digital communications, among other things. 

Worse, I don't think many people today remember how important the release of those secret documents was, or the context of the era within which they appeared. Between 1961 and 1971 (when the Papers were published), the Bay Of Pigs took place; the U.S. began increasing its involvement in Southeast Asia; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred; the assassination of JFK; the Gulf Of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which prompted a massive deployment of U.S. troops to Vietnam; the assassination of MLK, Jr., and RFK; the 1968 Tet Offensive; the election of Richard Nixon;  the Cointelpro and Phoenix programs, And the War ground on.

(One reason people may not consider the impact of the Papers' release: our current culture is dominated by digital information and digital storage -- easy to access, if you have system permissions.  But handling information in 1971 was as it had always been -- paper documents, stored in files -- and obtaining copies of it took more time, subterfuge and planning than simply copying files to a thumb drive.)

Worse still, I don't believe many people understand or even care about the programs and capabilities Snowden revealed, or the reasons behind his decision to do so.

Even more worse, I couldn't identify the actual name of the film, and the fact that the Pre-Jeffy WaPo was the original venue for publishing the Papers.  The Dog grows old.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Idiot Wind

Clown-Car Government

General John Kelly, White House Chief Of Staff,
Watches Political Sepuku News Conference At Trump Tower (Business Insider)

.. And after things in downtown Charlottesville looked like Weimar Berlin in the Twenties and Thirties, Wonderboy marched down from Cloud Koo-koo Land in Trump Tower to vomit on the national teevee, and to prove that America is not Weimar. It's a Monty Python sketch.

Question to consider: After his performance around issues of race and white supremacy and lovin' him some o' that Hitler -- has Trump increased the process of de-legitimizing himself as a figurehead leader for those who hold the true balance of power and authority in America?

REPORTER: Why are the CEOs leaving your manufacturing council?

TRUMP: Because they are not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. ...

REPORTER: Why did you wait so long to denounce neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: I didn't wait long. I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don't make statements that direct, unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don't know the facts. And it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement... If you go back to my statement -- in fact, I brought it. I brought it [Takes folded paper out of inside coat pocket].

As I said on -- remember this, Saturday -- "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America," and then I went on from there; now -- here is the thing -- Excuse me! Excuse me! Take it nice and easy.

Here is the thing: when I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. A lot of the event didn't happen yet as we were speaking. This event just happened. Before I make a statement, I need the facts, so I don't want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent.

... Honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice -- Excuse me! -- Unlike you, and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

 (L to R) Secretary Of Health & Inhuman Services Burwell; Secretary Of Oil State Tillerson;
Secretary of Goldman-Saks Treasure Mnuchin, and Educated Secretary DeVos
Prepare To Attend Impromptu News Conference At Trump Tower

REPORTER: The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity to help bring the country together. Did you?

TRUMP: Not at all. I think the country -- look; you take a look. I've created over a million jobs since I have been president. The country is booming, the stock market is setting records; we have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had in the history of our country. We are doing record business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm, so the head of Walmart, who I know, who’s a very nice guy, was making a political statement. I mean, I would do it the same way.

You know why? Because I want to make sure when I make a statement that the statement is correct. And there was no way – no way – of making a correct statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters; unlike a lot of reporters.

I didn't know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well-stated. In fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good. I couldn't have made it sooner, because I didn't know all of the facts.

Frankly, people still don't know all of the facts. It was very important – Excuse me! Excuse me! -- it was very important to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a fast statement and the first statement was made without knowing much other than what we were seeing. 

The second statement was made after it with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things – Excuse me! -- There are still things that people don't know. I want to make a statement with knowledge, I wanted to know the facts, okay.

General John Kelly, Former White House Chief Of Staff, 
Not Watching News Conference At Trump Tower (Al Dragen / New York Times)

REPORTER: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those that perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I can't tell you. I'm sure Senator McCain must know what he's talking about, but when you say the 'alt-right' -- define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead. Define it for me, come on, let's go.

REPORTER: Senator McCain defined them as the same group.

TRUMP: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at [garbled] – Excuse me! – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

What about this? What about the fact that they came charging – they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.

As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day -- wait a minute, I'm not finished. I'm not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day.

I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you had, you had a group on one side that was bad. And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

REPORTER: Do you think what you call the alt left is the same as neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: Those people, all of those people -- excuse me! I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.

REPORTER: Well, white nationalists –

TRUMP: Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee. So -– Excuse me! –- and you take a look at some of the groups and you see, and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not; many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee; I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

REPORTER: On race relations in America, do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office with regard to race relationships?

TRUMP: I think they’ve gotten better or the same – look – they have been frayed for a long time, and you can ask President Obama about that, because he’d make speeches about it. I believe that the fact that I brought in, it will be soon, millions of jobs, you see where companies are moving back into our country. I think that's going to have a tremendous positive impact on race relations ... 

I think that's going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It's jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay. And when they have that, you watch how race relations will be. And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities – we are fixing the inner cities – we are doing far more than anybody has done with respect to the inner cities. It is a priority for me, and it’s very important.

REPORTER: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

TRUMP: I am not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible, and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that's the way it is.

REPORTER: You said there was hatred and violence on both sides?

TRUMP: I do think there is blame – yes, I think there is blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides -- and I have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it either. And -- and -- and -- and, if you reported it accurately, you would say [that].

REPORTER: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn't put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – Excuse me! Excuse me! -- I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

REPORTER: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.

TRUMP: Oh no, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – Excuse me! -- Are we going to take down -- are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Okay, good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue? 

You know what? It’s fine; you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.

REPORTER: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?

TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ‘em. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don't know if you know, but they had a permit. The other group didn't have a permit. 

So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.

REPORTER: What do you think needs to overcome the racial divide?

TRUMP: Well, I really think jobs are going to have a big impact. If we continue to create jobs ... at levels that I'm creating jobs, I think that's going to have a tremendous impact – positive impact – on race relations...

Because the people are going to be working and making a lot of money, much more than they ever thought possible. That's going to happen. And the other thing, very important, I believe wages will start going up. They haven't gone up for a long time. I believe wages now, because the economy is doing so well, with respect to employment and unemployment, I believe wages will start to go up. I think that’ll have a tremendously positive impact on race relations. Thank you. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Prisoners Of The Bloated, Raving Clown

You Shall Inherit The Debasement Of The Nation

Abschaum-Saugen Schweinhund *
>> We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets [sic] come together as one!  10:19 AM  8/12/17

>> Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better - but Charlottesville sad!  11:00 AM  8/12/17

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence -- on many sides -- on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country -- not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.

... Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record -- just absolute, record unemployment, the lowest it's been in almost 17 years. we have companies, and so many others; they're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker. We have so many incredible things happening in our country. So when I watch Charlottesville, to me, it's very, very sad.
--  Statement Made At Bedminster (Questions From The Press Were Ignored).

>> What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.  1:23 PM  8/12/17

>> We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.  2:19 PM  8/12/17

>> We will continue to follow developments in Charlottesville, and will provide whatever assistance is needed. We are ready, willing and able.  2:49 PM  8/12/17

>> Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died [in a helicopter crash] today. You're all among the best this nation produces.  3:50 PM  8/12/17

>> Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best rgards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!  4:25 PM  8/12/17
This bloated, raving clown is happy to shove the country down a road of bloody division in order to appease the very Alt-Right Brownshirts who rallied in Charlottesville. He will not disown them; he wants them. It is the behavior of an opportunistic, depraved, corrupt bigot.

... And in weeks to come, he'll blow apart any backchannel negotiation with North Korea in a ten-second, bombastic, sputtering performance in front of the media, pushing the country into war just to divert attention from criminal wrongdoing, and his complete insufficiency as a national leader.

* Scum-Sucking Pig-Dog.


>>  Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be truly satisfied ... truly bad people!  3:29 PM  8/14/17

Scum-Sucking Pig-Dog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Random Barking: The Daze Of Wonderboy

And A Child Shall Lead Them
Being President doesn't change who you are. Being President reveals who you are.
-- Michelle Obama; September, 2012 Speech, Democratic Nominating Convention
Yesterday they were ruffians; today they control our lives. Tomorrow they will wind up as keepers of the public lavatories.
-- Juvenal, The Satires; 2nd Century, A.D. 
These days, consistent with the magnitude of the Ruh-Roh, it's easy to gravitate between an addled hope and a bitter apathy.  And somewhere in there one must labor, and eat Kibble; look at art; read other things, sniff other Dogs.

1.)  What Atrios (And Others) Said

“This is now a consistent pattern of obstruction [of justice] by the President,” said Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent ... “The loyalty oath dinner, the request to squash the Flynn investigation and Comey’s firing over Russia all point to a President Trump who has no respect for the rule of law, and doesn’t realize that he should not run the country the way he ran his businesses.”

--  Markay, Suebsaeng, Winter; Daily Beast, May 16, 2017:  "Trump Officials On Comey Memo: 'Don't See How Trump Isn't Completely F*cked' 

 2.)  What Digby Said:
For me, none of what he has said or done over the past four months as president comes as a surprise. The way he has behaved over the past week — firing FBI Director James B. Comey, undercutting his own aides as they tried to explain the decision and then disclosing sensitive information to Russian officials — is also entirely predictable...

Early on, I recognized that Trump’s sense of self-worth is forever at risk. When he feels aggrieved, he reacts impulsively and defensively, constructing a self-justifying story that doesn’t depend on facts and always directs the blame to others.

To survive... Trump felt compelled to go to war with the world. It was a binary, zero-sum choice for him: You either dominated or you submitted. You either created and exploited fear or you succumbed to it — as he thought his older brother had. This narrow, defensive worldview took hold at a very early age, and it never evolved. “When I look at myself today and I look at myself in the first grade,” he told a recent biographer, “I’m basically the same.”
--  Tony Schwarz (Trump's [Co-]Author of  'Art Of The Deal'), "I Wrote 'The Art Of The Deal' With Trump. His Self-Sabotage Is Rooted In His Past," The Washington Post, May 16, 2017
(Quoted by Digby)
3.)  Little Davy Brooks Has A Sad
 At base, Trump is an infantalist... Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif... Trump seems to need perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he is perpetually desperate for approval, telling heroic fabulist tales about himself.

...Other people are black boxes that supply either affirmation or disapproval. As a result, he is weirdly transparent. He wants people to love him, so he is constantly telling interviewers that he is widely loved. In Trump’s telling, every meeting was scheduled for 15 minutes but his guests stayed two hours because they liked him so much.

...We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

--  David ("Bucky The Beaver") Brooks; The New York Times, May 15, 2017; "The World Is Led By A Child" (Column)
4.) Führertreu In The Bunker
The president’s appetite for chaos, coupled with his disregard for the self-protective conventions of the presidency, has left his staff confused and squabbling. And his own mood, according to two advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has become sour and dark, and he has turned against most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — describing them in a fury as “incompetent,” according to one of those advisers...

... Late Monday, reporters could hear senior aides shouting from behind closed doors as they discussed how to respond after Washington Post reporters informed them of an article they were writing that first reported the news about the president’s divulging of intelligence.
--  Thrush, Haberman; "At A Besieged White House, Tempers Flare And Confusion Swirls"; The New York Times, May 16, 2017
5.)  Nasty Penguin's Friend Breaks It Down For You

Right in public and everything, where people can see.

6.)  What Chris Hedges Said:
Forget the firing of James Comey. Forget the paralysis in Congress. Forget the idiocy of a press that covers our descent into tyranny as if it were a sports contest between corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats or a reality show starring our maniacal president and the idiots that surround him. Forget the noise. 

The crisis we face is not embodied in the public images of the politicians that run our dysfunctional government. The crisis we face is the result of a four-decade-long, slow-motion corporate coup that has rendered the citizen impotent, left us without any authentic democratic institutions and allowed corporate and military power to become omnipotent. 

This crisis has spawned a corrupt electoral system of legalized bribery and empowered those public figures that master the arts of entertainment and artifice. And if we do not overthrow the neoliberal, corporate forces that have destroyed our democracy we will continue to vomit up more monstrosities as dangerous as Donald Trump. Trump is the symptom, not the disease. 

-- Chris Hedges, "Trump Is The Symptom, Not The Disease", TruthDig, May 14, 2017
7.)  Then, There Is That Odd Resemblance

Between Wonderboy and Slim Pickens as Major "King" Kong, in Stanley Kubrick's 1963 Doctor Strangelove.  You will of course recall Maj. Kong's actions in the last five minutes of the film, and what that led to.

The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.  [Note: This was April 13, 2017; two guided-missile frigates were in the South China Sea at the time. Chinese officials were apparently able to dissuade the North Koreans from conducting the test.] -- NBC News
Any questions?

MEHR, AUSSER DEM HUND-TRAINER:  My Dog Trainer is a Red-Diaper Baby. He's (apparently) Buddhist-leaning, but hasn't forgotten where he came from; ironically, he makes a more than comfortable living helping HNWIs deal with serious emotional issues -- he believes it's a responsibility to do this, even for the rich, and he's very good at it.

I'm not a HNWI; part of his practice are people like myself, a financial lightweight managing 48-year-old PTSD that Group at the VA didn't budge very much. Intrigued enough with my individual circumstances, he accepted me a a client, charges me about a third his normal rate, and I owe him a debt I can't repay.

Some days, we just talk, as two Old Guys headed down La Chute will do; this week, looking at the current bread-and-circuses Clown Car Government, I asked him for a professional appraisal of Wonderboy.

He'd read the Brooks' column quoted upstream in this post, and the Schwarz article (where he'd recalled Trump claiming not to have changed much from the boy he was in First Grade). "[Brooks'] description of Trump, like a child desperate for approval to stabilize his sense of self, is right. But, all children are like that. The difference is, Trump is a 70-year-old man still behaving like a six-year-old boy. And that comment about First Grade is right in line with that.

"How does it end? Resignation is always a possibility, but not likely. You heard him speak to the Coast Guard academy graduates today?  'You have to keep fighting; you can't give in' -- all very familiar stuff for someone with his pathology. 

"When you equate behaving in a certain way with survival, and that's linked to very old, deep stuff -- then he'd rather die than give up. In fact, to do so would be capitulation -- in his case, to his father, who from all accounts was not a very nice guy."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

All This, All Of It, Cannot End Well

Abrupt Termination

Our Leader: Stark, Stoltz u. Richtig, On The Day Of His Ascension To Power
Three figures stand out prominently among all those whom Trump has fired since appearing in Washington. While The Leader has fired many lesser figures, these three are particularly deserving of attention for what they appear to have in common.

Sally Yates (fired Jan. 30, 2017): Acting Attorney General. Ordered the DOJ not to defend Trump's travel ban, issued within days of his taking office. As acting AG, Yates was a principal figure in the investigation into Trump's circle and potential connections to Russia; she was investigating the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and members of the Trump campaign team he had been in contact with. Yates warned the White House and was ignored, then fired -- ostensibly for her refusal to carry out Trump's travel ban order. 

Preet Bharara (fired March 11, 2017): U.S. Attorney for the District Of Manhattan. While Bharara had been criticized for not more aggressively pursuing 2008-Crash-era financial oligarchs, he was still a capable and respected prosecutor. He refused to resign after Trump announced he wanted all U.S. attorneys to do so, and demanded to be fired; Trump fired him. At the time, Bharara was investigating Trump's HHS Secretary Tom Price's financial investments. He was also investigating corrupt Russian businessmen and officials. A Russian attorney in one of the cases Bharara investigated fell or was pushed from a window the day before he was set to testify in another matter.

James Comey (fired May 9, 2017): FBI Director. Comey revealed on March 20th that there are ongoing, multiple criminal investigations in connection with Russian government officials' tampering with or attempting to influence the 2016 election.

...[Understand events in the context of] the Family, Brand-driven, Kleptocratic nature of the Trump White House. The core aim is for the President to be popular, to succeed, a goal in key ways even more important to the thirty-something Kushner/Trumps than the 70 year old President.

Politics or policy and ideology, whatever you want to call it, is changeable and secondary, just as Trump can shift from authoritarian isolationist to faux values driven internationalist in a day and a half.  This is precisely what you’d expect from people who [execute political and policy about-faces] ... Words and policy have no meaning.

What matters is protecting and maximizing the value of the new family acquisition: the presidency.

Chas Danner, In The Intelligencer, New York Magazine, April 2017; "Fragile Peace Accord Reached In The White House's Bannon-Kushner War" [Paragraphing added]

(Courtesy of Soul Of America)
There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.
-- Herman Mellville / "Moby-Dick, or, The Whale"

Yesterday, some 24 hours after the compelling testimony of Sally Yates and James Clapper made his shady Russia ties impossible to deny, Donald Trump fired James Comey, the FBI director leading the investigation into said ties. Today, Trump will meet with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian diplomat who the Steele dossier claims is his handler for Russian intelligence...

Firing Comey was, simply put, the stuff of banana republics. If this is allowed to stand, if Republicans in Congress laugh this off, it means that we no longer live in a functioning democracy. Yesterday, a journalist was arrested in West Virginia for shouting questions to Trump’s odious HHS secretary, Tom Price. Stephen Colbert was attacked via the FCC, a fancy federal way of threatening his First Amendment rights. Laws are being written to criminalize protest, and paid alt-right goons are appearing at events to stir up trouble and create the impetus for doing so. Oh, and the New York Fucking Times now has a feature in which we’re supposed to write nice things about our Great Leader.

This is Fascism, guys. As some of us said months ago. ...
Multiple sources have reported that there are tapes, audio tapes, of the Russian ambassador offering money and help to Trump, to Jeff Sessions, and to Paul Ryan. I’ve heard there is also audio of multiple Trump family members engaging in illicit conversations, recorded by foreign intelligence services. If these tapes exist, will they be leaked? ...

...This is going to be the end of Trump, or the end of democracy in this country. This is not a hyperbole and not a joke. This is the gravest threat to our way of life since the Civil War.

Greg Olear / The Weeklings, May 10,2017; "After Comey: Will Democracy Die In Darkness?"
 (Also courtesy of Soul Of America. All links in the original)

MEHR, MIT ZEITGEIST: I have been asked to explain what the Blog Category, "Kicking The Baby", means. It's a 2011 reference to then-Senator Jon Kyl of (aber natürlich) Nebraska, a fool and a poltroon, who made public comments in the Senate about "90% of all funding for Planned Parenthood" being used to provide abortion services -- what we once called a gross and distorted lie, but now refer to as "alternate facts". 

[Note: Poltroon -- 1. An abject or contemptible coward. adjective. 2. a rare word for cowardly.]

Herr Kyl later said his remarks were not intended to be "factual", but only to emphasize and illustrate his point. Not too sure what that point was, now, but I'll bet it was a real Corker.

But: Kicking The Baby. As seen on South Park, Kyle has fun by "Kicking The Baby" -- booting his little brother, Ike, through a window. Ike -- not Kyle -- is then scolded by their mother for breaking the window.

Kicking The Baby makes it appear as if Ike was to blame. It is ascribing qualities or behavior to Ike that were not accurate, in order to portray The Baby in the worst possible light -- or, if you prefer, it's Lying In Order To Defame And Demonize Ike The Baby. Or, Planned Parenthood.

Almost any position can be made to appear defensible -- so long as you grossly distort and lie, and later state you only did so to illustrate and underline your main point. Whatever it was.
MONGO: You know, [Fill In Blank With Name Of Anyone You Dislike] is an unindicted pederast who continues to be one of the largest distributors of child pornography in North America.

NOT MONGO: Are you insane?? There isn't a shred of truth in any of that! Everything you just said is a lie !!!

MONGO: Oh, I'm sorry. That wasn't intended to be a factual statement.
Do I need to explain further?  No? Ausgezeichnet, Kinder.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Oops; My Bad

Glenn Beck, Voice Of Reason

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo With Outdated Technology

You will pray for the time when I was only on the air for one hour per day.
-- Glenn Beck, To His Critics Upon Leaving Fox For, uh, 'Other Opportunities' In 2011

"I could give a flying crap about the political process [Beck said]".  Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. "We [i.e., Fox] are an entertainment company," Beck says. He has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth.
-- Lacy Rose, "Glenn Beck, Inc.", Forbes Magazine (online), April, 2010

According to a brief interview in the Paper Of Record, Glen Beck is sorry.

I assumed he would be sorry for his part in the right-wing echo chamber which poisons any hope of a national debate that isn't polarized; for wearing lederhosen on Murdoch Teevee; for making up his own facts; for smearing a Holocaust survivor (even if it was George Soros) with the innuendo that he was a nazi collaborator; and for being a self-aggrandizing bully.

Glenny is a not very talented talk-radio broadcaster -- an ambitious Limbaugh-wannabe who, for a time, was able to get Fox to hire him as a teevee commentator, and then bankroll him with his own, hour-long daily program. An opportunist, Beck followed the model of self-marketing: he sold CDs on investments in uncertain times (always, buy gold), on political analysis; books with his name on them -- even novels; speaking engagements. And, product endorsements -- most notably, for Goldline International, a bullion sales operation which was eventually forced to refund $45 million to defrauded customers.

Estimated by Forbes to have grossed $34 million in 2008 alone, Glenn was being spoken of as a player, part of the reptile-house lowlights like Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly, Lard Boy and Mikey (Savage) Wiener. The high-water mark was Beck's appearance as the keynote speaker at a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial in support of "Restoring America's Honor", with an audience of several hundred thousand Tea Partei supporters.

Then, Beck began inserting more religion into his broadcasts, and his viewership on Fox began to slip -- 30% in little more than a year. In 2011, after nearly three years in his own slot, Fox fired him (Speaking at a Ted Cruz rally in February 2016, he claimed he had been fired after being "told [by Fox executives] to stop talking about god").

Beck continued trying to milk the All-American gravy train he had tapped into, and attempted to create his own cable channel, The Blaze, an enterprise which has run into financial difficulties and staff issues, and has had declining viewership for some time. All signs point to Beck as the ultimate cause of whatever trouble there may be.
Colleagues and underlings interviewed by The Daily Beast -- on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution -- describe Beck’s irresistible personal magnetism and undeniable brilliance that one called “mad genius,” mixed with a colossal streak of narcissism, neediness and, above all, capriciousness that have left them feeling whipsawed and, in many cases, betrayed... Beck, who turned 52 this week, was not available for an interview.
Perhaps Beck has an urgent need to appear more relevant than a washed-up, right-wing trash talker -- why he needs to appear the voice of calm and rationality in a deeply divided and polarized country; one he helped to divide and polarize. It's a little like listening to a former broadcaster in Joseph Goebbels' propaganda ministry, minimizing his behavior as a public figure in the Third Reich:
I could excuse [statements he had made], to some degree — I won’t — but I could excuse some of it by saying that I was trying to, in some ways, accomplish what Jon Stewart can accomplish: draw huge crowds, make points and then encourage you to do your own homework. I know I wouldn’t believe me if I heard myself apologizing, so I’m telling you now: Don’t take my word for it. Watch my actions. I don’t care what you think about me. All I care about is saying, Please, don’t make the mistake I made.
When asked about his role in 'mainstreaming a conspiratorial way of thinking about our politics' for the American right-wing echo chamber, Beck replied, "I don’t think that’s fair."
We both play that game; we’ve done, on the right, the same thing that we accuse the left of doing. You have to know what’s true and what’s not, and quite honestly that’s where the media is supposed to come in and fill the gap.
"Quite honestly."  So... it's fine for someone like Beck to scramble or invent things they broadcast -- then, it's up to the media (such as the New York Times), a liberal conspiracy, to "fill the gap".  And, of course, Beck always accepted any fact-checking: Oops; my bad! I was wrong; you were right! Sure he did.

But, let's not focus on what he may or may not have said or done; that's all in the past. The world has moved on; can't you? And, Glenn appears to ask -- weren't we all part of the problem, Left and Right? Oh, we all did the same things. Isn't everyone responsible for where we are now?

It isn't me, Beck seems to say -- not anymore. I'm different. I'm not the issue -- look over there; look at Trump, he says -- there's a crazy man (when campaigning for Ted Cruz, Beck referred to Trump as "a wack job").  He's our real problem, now.

In what appears to be a Mea Culpa, Beck insinuates that he's changed. He's willing to (almost) apologize, let bygones, and be an object lesson to the Left on how not to conduct themselves in future. Beck just wants to find a solution to bring together a divided nation.
Please be better than I was. Please learn from my mistakes. Let’s just take it from 2000: George W. Bush was called an idiot, among other things. It got so bad that Republicans and conservatives just stopped listening to the media, because we made everything about jingoism. And so what happened? The pendulum swung back so far the other way that ... [t]hey stopped listening to people on the left. Now we’re here in crazy town. What we need now is for reasonable people to sit down with each other and say: O.K., your guy wasn’t the end of the world. My guy wasn’t the end of the world. How can we talk to each other?
... only, his apologies really aren't about making an apology. They're about temporizing, and trying to reinvent himself as a relevant figure in any national discussion or debate (and possibly serve his own financial interests). In short, they're about amnesia -- which frankly, we can't afford.

We can't afford useless blame and vengeful arguments, either. But we need institutional memory, not expedient recollection. We need to separate the opportunistic leeches and time-wasting divas from the credible and serious people -- now, more than ever. And we need to remember who made a profit pushing lies and intolerance. We need to remember who made Trump possible, who helped bring America to the point in recent history we are today. 

Beck was happy to be incendiary, to provoke, to bully, when it paid to do so. And he's done so well as a bully -- Beck's net worth was once estimated by Forbes at $100 million -- the total lifetime earnings of between one and two hundred working-class Americans; all the money they will see in their entire lives, every nickel and dime. And, like every bully ever born, when it's possible they could be blamed for their behavior, or when it might be better for their cash flow, they suddenly become subdued, polite.

If there's a possibility that behavior might result in real punishment (or bad press), people like Beck don't claim to be 'news commentators', or 'journalists'. They're not even savvy businesspersons. Suddenly, they claim only to be simple entertainers -- and surely, entertainers can't be held accountable if what they say is taken seriously. It's the fault of crazy persons, the ones who do terrible things; it's really someone else's fault. Always someone else's fault.