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The Kochs want to "help" fix the criminal justice system. For the little guy, of course.

Let me tell you a story. The story of how the Kochs became so committed to reform.

Once upon a time in Texas, in the year 2000, a federal grand jury in Corpus Christi was pretty much ruining all the Koch Brothers "yearning for the Dubya era" fun. This grand jury indicted Koch Industries/Koch Petroleum on some 97 counts of violating environmental protection laws. The Kochs had already been nursing a grudge against the EPA and environmental regulators, regulations, and laws for some time. They had previously agreed to pay out multimillion dollar civil fines for blatantly violating the Clean Water Act. On top of that? There were payouts for settled lawsuits accusing Koch Industries of spilling millions of gallons of oil from its pipelines into waters and wetlands in six states. That was a $35 million settlement that resolved suits regarding spills in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Funny thing. When you become well-known for doing bad, people who seek indictments keep tabs on you.

A key part of the indictment contended that the Kochs had dishonestly won a waiver from the Clean Air Act limits on benzene back in 1995, allegedly either because they had never tried to comply, or never actually intended to comply. The company had approximately 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its waste streams. Which they were made aware of, and knew was far, far more than the limit of six metric tons that applied to the agreed-upon waiver agreement for the refinery in question. They neither reported it to the proper authorities, nor tried to solve the crisis for the public good. Besides the huge gap between what the waiver allowed for, and what was actually produced, and the actions taken in the wake of this, all making it hard to argue that this was just an explainable misunderstanding, there were other troubling issues that raised new questions not only about non-compliance but about the companies basic intentions to comply in the first place.

Nobody got jacked up here.

Well. Except the poor people who lived near that chemical plant.

The indictment alleges that in 1995, Koch Industries and Koch Petroleum were informed by an employee that the Corpus Christi refinery had at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams, some 15 times greater than the facility's permitted six metric ton limit.                                                                                                                
The indictment charges Koch Industries and Koch Petroleum with violating the Clean Air Act by, among other things, failing to install required emission control devices in 1995 on certain waste management units, such as its oil-water separators, wastewater sewers, and oil and wastewater tanks.
In addition?
In addition, the indictment alleges that a device that Koch Petroleum installed in January 1995 to destroy benzene fumes from two oil-water separators, the Thermatrix Thermal Oxidizer, could not handle the high levels of benzene routed to it, and would often shut down for extended periods of time.

When the Thermatrix shut down, the West Plant continued to operate and Koch Industries and Koch Petroleum intentionally vented large amounts of untreated benzene fumes directly to the atmosphere through a bypass stack, the indictment charges. Koch Industries and Koch Petroleum did not report these releases to the National Response Center.

As a result, Koch Industries and Koch Petroleum were charged with violating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act for failing to immediately report the discharge of a hazardous substance.

The government contends that Koch and its employees conspired to violate the federal Clean Air Act by making false statements about its benzene emissions to officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).

Koch Industries Indicted for Hazardous Waste Violations
-Brian Hansen, Environmental News Service 10.2.2000 Via CorpWatch

With that, both Koch Industries, and the Brothers Koch, now faced down a maximum statutory penalty of $48.5 million, or, the corporate entity could actually be fined with a levy that was twice what it had gained in profits and benefits from the criminal offenses that had been committed... and, most important of all, people in high places could go to jail for some of the shit that went down. But that didn't end up happening. Because when you are rich and powerful, you can afford an army of lawyers and you can field a fiefdom of friends in high places. The powers that be eventually dropped all but one of the charges six years later. Ultimately, Koch Petroleum Group agreed to pay a $10 million settlement. Chump change when you are billionaires. But. The Brothers were so, so stressed out by the whole affair. By the notion that they, or their people, could actually have been jailed.

The lesson learned here? Not "be a good corporate citizen" or "do not illegally pollute the environment for fun and profit" or "put people before the bottom line" for public safety. Oh, no. The big lesson that the Koch Brothers learned was... that they had been jacked up by the Man.

“It was a really, really torturous experience,” said Mark Holden, Koch’s chief counsel. “We learned first-hand what happens when anyone gets into the criminal justice system.” Holden said Charles Koch wondered afterward “how the little guy who doesn’t have Koch’s resources deals with prosecutions like that.”

No one at Koch wants to re-litigate the Corpus Christi case, Holden said. But it prompted Charles Koch to study the justice system – both federal and state – wondering whether it has been over-criminalized with too many laws and too many prosecutions of nonviolent offenders, not only for him but for everybody.

His conclusion: Yes, it has.

No one at Koch wants to re-litigate the Corpus Christi case.... Yeah, I wonder why.

Do you see a close kinship between this, and, say, a poor African-American being blatantly overcharged for some relatively minor crime? A teen with a baggie getting charged like a dealer?

That's the real reason why nobody wants to "re-litigate" what happened in Corpus Christi.  

But it prompted Charles Koch to study the justice system – both federal and state – wondering whether it has been over-criminalized with too many laws and too many prosecutions of nonviolent offenders, not only for him but for everybody.
Yes. How does the little guy deal with the gross injustice of his being criminally indicted on 97 specific counts of knowingly polluting the environment and breaking environmental laws when he happens to misinform about his activities and then go on to dump untold volumes of toxic and cancer-causing benzene directly into the atmosphere from a secondary diversion pipe in his massive chemical processing plant? At this point? I'm shocked that Charles Koch hasn't made a point of being seen holding up a single black-gloved fist with his crisp black "I Can't Breathe" T-Shirt visible for the whole world to see. "Not only for him but for everybody." That was rich. Not as rich as a Koch Brother, but pretty rich. Ask someone who lives anywhere near a plant or facility processing benzene about the inherent non-violence of the alleged offense. Just Saying.

Still. The royal injustice of it all? It being an issue? Well, that shit just lingers like an angry scar.

“Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country,” Koch said. “And that would be freedom of speech, cronyism, and how that relates to opportunities for the disadvantaged.”

The nation’s criminal justice system needs reform, “especially for the disadvantaged,” Koch said, “making it fair and making (criminal) sentences more appropriate to the crime that has been committed.”

Charles Koch's Views On Crime May Surprise You! -The Wichitah Eagle 12/29/14

And thus, with the great benzene caper growing smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror of the limo, the Koch Brothers as 21rst Century Fightin' Men For The Jammed Up Little Guy was born.

Like a damn tumor.

Holden said Charles Koch wondered afterward “how the little guy who doesn’t have Koch’s resources deals with prosecutions like that.
Seriously. Remember this the next time you get stopped by the cops and he finds a half roach on the floor, or, you randomly find yourself out dumping tons of benzene into the air. Either one.

Sometimes, people tell you what they really think of you, and their assessment of your intelligence, via the audacity and boldness of stunts that they try to pull off at your expense. This is an intelligence check about reputation laundering. Folks, while the Kochs talk about freedom, and about the poor, poor non-violent offenders who get jammed up just like they themselves might have been? Think about this the way a neighbor of the plant might think of that one Thermatrix thingamabobadoodle. This plant wasn't out in the middle of nowhere with nobody around. There were neighborhoods, communities of completely unaware people, children playing and elderly people walking out and about in the area. Trust me. You do not want to live anywhere near a source of large amounts of vented benzene. Neither dumped in a river, buried in barrels beneath your feet, or as fumes being pumped into the air you breathe.

I believe the government in this matter. Why? I'm sure a Movement Conservative would say that it is because I'm not a conservative, so, I'm out to get the Kochs. The real reason? The Kochs, and their family petrochemical empire, have a track record. A history. One that is not imagined. Nor or trumped up. Or the product of liberal bias or anyone's imagination. They have the ledger of massive fines and settlements to prove it. You lose the benefit of the doubt when you have set, and broken your own, records for paying out fines and settling lawsuits. The Kochs want to be kingmakers as well as meddlesome captains of industry without having to deal with the downsides of being wanna-be kings or meddlesome captains of industry. Joining hands with them requires you disregard who they are, and what they do, and have done, and will continue to do, willfully, to chase another bipartisanship fetish mirage.

If you wanted to engage in a massive and profoundly useful reputation laundering scheme, getting the very people you have spent your life trying to screw over the most, and in every way you can think of, to cheer at the sound of your name, in any context, is a total coup. I don't care how much they bring to the table. You partner up with that? Then you own a part in helping them re-write history and pull off one of the greatest acts of undeserved reputation laundering in the history of robber barons and grifters alike. Yes. They have a lot of money. It might be intoxicating to think of all the good things you can do. If you just overlook the stomach-churning notion they are pushing here. I can't. It seems to me to be very unwise to equate, or to help equate, what the Kochs did via their chemical plant and its unconscionable release of a cancerous toxin, and the American everyman-on-the-rocks getting screwed over.

Which is unabashedly their take on what it was that brought them to this very "reform" point.

The government contends that Koch and its employees conspired to violate the federal Clean Air Act by making false statements about its benzene emissions to officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).
Yep. Because that's just like facing ten years for having a tiny bag of weed in the backseat.
“It was a really, really torturous experience,” said Mark Holden, Koch’s chief counsel. “We learned first-hand what happens when anyone gets into the criminal justice system.”
Anyone? The gall of what is being equated here, in terms of parity, is simply staggering.

You can see the cynical implication that both the Koch Industries polluters, and the court-fee or fine nonpayer put in jail for basically being broke, or the grossly overcharged for basic possession with no resources to fight the charges, as both basically being the same creature. Both cut from the same fundamental cloth. Both being your run-of-the-mill screwed-over everyman non-violent offenders. It's just that one is rich, and the other is not.

Again, tell somebody who lived near that chemical plant about how non-violent they find the scot-free offenders who, back in the day, released benzene near their kids and their grand kids. Yes. They got off. That's what billions and billions of dollars will do for you as a shameless family of petrochemical barons in post-Reagan America. What they (allegedly) did (or did not do) is not, remotely, like the very real and very troubling reasons why our prisons and jails are overfilled with non-violent and grossly overcharged lost souls. You get in bed with that, telling yourself whatever 'for the greater good' delusional bullshit you have to bamboozle yourself with to successfully buy it, at your peril. There will be a price to be paid down the line you probably don't see either as possible or coming.

Discuss

Fri Mar 27, 2015 at 02:26 AM PDT

Tying My Father's Shoes

by LeftHandedMan

My father scared the hell out of me the other day. He appeared like a little elderly ninja. Poof.

Most times I hear him before I see him. I hear a familiar hesitant shuffling. I hear him moving in fits and starts. The cautious sound of unsure and timid feet. Checking every nook and cranny of the house. Like a small child looking semi-anxiously in the towering and numerous aisles of a large store to find his unexpectedly misplaced mother or father. He doesn't like it when people call out to him. He thinks everyone is just looking for an excuse to yell at him. It's best to just sit and let him find you. My mother says sometimes it's like watching a person re-live a day.

When he finds me he moves like he's on a mission. He stands right beside me in the chair. He just stares down at me for a second. "Shoes," he says. Pointing down at his feet. White laces dangling besides both of the navy blue sneakers we both stare down at. "Tie my shoes." He says like he's going to be five in a few more months. Like he is going out to play, the other kids are all waiting, but for these infernal knots that elude and torment him. Then he steps back. One step. Two. Staring at you, staring back down at his feet, staring back up at you.

Not this time. This time he nearly gave me a heart attack as he suddenly said "Shoes."  

His solemn and unsettlingly pale blue eyes are more watery now. Sad. The years of exposure to sun, wind, and the elements from the icy dark seas of his childhood Norway to the wicked cold gales of my youth on the South Shore of Massachusetts have all left their marks. His lids are heavy, almost hooded, peering out at the world like he's waiting for something elusive. He always seems like he is looking at something a thousand miles away. But not now. Now he wants me to please hurry up and get down on my knees and tie his shoes. Which I do.

The iron hands. The ones hardened from years and years of hauling and tying ropes as a Merchant Marine and from swinging a carpenter's hammer when he became an American have passed into myth and legend. The hands I see now dangling just about at my eye level as I get to work making the loops and tucking the laces up and under. They are strangers to me now. Almost like the film prop versions of those terrifyingly strong hands that I always will remember from decades past. "Good," he says as I finish the left one. "Now do the other one."

Ten anxious fingers begin to wave side-to-side to stop me cold in mid-movement.

"Not too tight," he says. Warily. Like I sounded at five, fearful of onions snuck in the sauce.

He is eighty five now. Eighty five. He can tell you about the SS officers he saw in the early 1940's, or about his memories of going to shore in Rio in the 1950's, or about living in Brooklyn in the early 1960's at the drop of a dime. But sometimes its a coin-flip if he will remember something that happened in the last twenty years. He is a full three inches shorter than his official height measurement on his treasured US Citizenship forms from 1964. He insists that his shoe trouble is entirely due to the aches and pains of bending over or kneeling down.

But I have seen him. When he thinks he is alone and nobody is watching. I have watched him with my own eyes. Staring intensely at a single upheld shoe. Slowly, meticulously, like he's disarming an unstable bomb, as he fiddles around with the two laces. Intent to get it right. This time. This time for sure. Only to toss it down on the floor after a barrage of attempts. Exhaling in exasperation and impotent anger. Pride dissolved to shame cruelly cutting him like invisible thorns. Wondering if maybe forgetting these bits is a tiny odd mercy. Only he doesn't.

That? That he remembers. Like humiliation and shame is recorded on sterner stuff.  

My mother pulled me aside one day I was visiting to say that he is only allowed to use the stove to boil water. In the tea kettle. But casually, keeping back so he doesn't feel like people are smothering him, make a note to check on him even then. His older sister died in rural Norway last Summer. At Christmas time she wandered out at night in her night clothes, alone into a swirling snow, apparently to see that her cousin had properly shuttered her home. This cousin who had died thirty years ago. Her granddaughter found her half-frozen at sunlight.

By mid-July they got the call that she passed away due to complications from that night. 89.

After that, my father going off alone for walks without telling anyone he was going out in the southern Nevada desert heat became an even bigger hypothetical nightmare for my mother.

My father gets on the telephone with his still-living brothers and sisters in Norway. He speaks Norwegian for hours on the phone. Then, when he hangs up, he sometimes forgets to switch back to English. Or he doesn't realize he's not speaking English. A nightmare for a man whose memory is fading. Being greeted with baffled and bewildered stares as he repeats himself, loudly, in Norwegian to people who don't understand the strange sounds coming out of his mouth. Like an ugly American tourist having a "DO YOU SPEAK ANY ENGLISH" moment abroad.  

"Bind min sko." He might randomly say matter-of-factly.

"What?" I might hesitantly reply in bumfuzzled surprise.

"BIND. MIN. SKO." He retorts, holding out his arms in exasperation with a 'duh' look on his face. "Min SKETCHY. Min Sko. Min Sko. Min TENNY Sko." I'm just staring at this point. I'm staring at him like he just told me that he had no internal organs, because maybe he did.  

(My dad has been American too long, and yet not long enough. As this is the point where the rude American tourist in Paris or Tokyo begins angrily spelling out the English words slowly at the top of his lungs to the baffled foreign soul who doesn't understand him at any volume or speed. I'm literally staring at him and waiting for S!... K!... O!...)

People who are aware that they are slowly or rapidly losing their memories sometimes have anger, or even rage, issues. They often feel picked on. Persecuted. Set up to be yelled at. They wonder if people are moving things around they can't find for their own sick amusement. There can be suspicion issues and mistrust that is hard to unwind or unpack once you get in the habit of responding negatively or with anger. When I get pissed off at my dad, I don't vent it on him, back at him, but away from him. I choose not to make things worse whenever I can.

My grandfather, deeply scarred by the rise and rule of Quisling and the Nazis that came with, was loathe to have any of his sons wear the military uniform of a nation that so easily went fascist in his eyes. Even just debating mandatory military service after the war enraged him. One day he dragged my dad and his brother down to a busy dock in Molde, he was seventeen and his brother was nineteen, he put one on a Danish ship, one on a Swedish ship, and sent them away. My father to America, my uncle to Australia. Neither ever saw his parents again. So. I don't speak Norwegian. The language of being sent into exile "for your own good" in 1947.

"Dad. You're speaking in Norwegian." (And it's like Archie Bunker Borat. Which I might share with Mom, but with you? That I won't share, as you hate both.)

"Oh. Oh. Oh. The English. Shoes. Tie my tennis shoes. The sketchy sneakers. The Sketchers."

Okay. So. For future reference... Bind min sko. "Bind/Tie My Shoes."

Anyone who has ever served as a caretaker will tell you that if you didn't laugh at some of the absurd things that arise from dealing with a loved one in crisis or decline, you'd go insane.

Tying my father's shoes is a sobering ritual. This man who is fading and fraying like his old denim work clothes did in my memories of him from when I was young. He has developed a fascination with watching previously loathed television game shows as he navigates through his later years. "They never change," my mother says, "they stay the same. Wheel of Fortune in 1985? Or 2005? Or 2015? Three contestants. A Wheel. A Word or Sentence. A smarmy host. A smiling letter-turner. Spin. Bankrupt. Buy a vowel. Bonus round. Prizes." The Elysium Fields of knowing.

The once derided becomes the friendly familiar. Even with many changes its still all the same.

"I'm finished. You're good to go." He is suddenly far less child-like. He rises up a wee bit taller.

"Good," he says. He picks up one foot, then the other, and jangles them until he can see the laces are tied. Then he confidently thanks me by my brother's name as he shuffle-strides away. A second later he freezes. He turns around. "I mean, thank you..." and then he sheepishly says my actual name before nodding once. Then turning around and returning to muscling his way towards the copper-clad cane he keeps leaning besides the front door. I can tell that he's profoundly proud that he caught himself. As I said. The Elysium Fields of knowing.

 
Discuss
When was the last time you heard a specific indictment of the failures of modern Conservatism?

Not on a liberal blog. Nor in a progressive magazine. But bluntly before low-information America. A scathing point-by-point indictment of Conservatism absolutely unambiguously 'naming names'.

It's actually kind of amazing how mind-meltingly easy Conservatism has it considering the mess.

Legions of very intelligent people outside of the American Right have been predicting that perpetually malignant Republican behavior would eventually lead to an inevitable tipping point. The idea was that there would be a fundamentally self-inflicted political reckoning for the GOP. 'One day, the Republicans will go too far! Then the American people will make them all pay!' Sadly, this great comeuppance via rolling ball of their own garbage has never ever materialized. If anything? The false hope that low-information voters will magically act as high information voters, all thanks to the GOP finally finding that line that is their fatal one to cross, is a mirage.

The ACA is under fire, again, by bad faith-fueled wingnut zealots. RW Robes and Suits edition. Only more is at stake than just another impotent House GOP Repeal-No Replace waste of time. This time? Real and lasting structural damage could be done to the ACA if the Scalito gang takes a 5-4 bite at the bad faith apple. Maybe we dodge this bullet. But maybe not. As we leave the DHS funding manufactured crisis behind, one could be forgiven for needing a program to keep track of all of the Conservative political terrorism going on at any given time to dread. No organized crime outfit on Earth enjoys Conservatism's utterly consequences-free existence.

Besides the pushback about the "fatal four words" attack on the ACA itself, something else should catch and hold your attention. Some familiar organizations helped to make this possible.

Shortly after the A.C.A. passed, in 2010, a group of conservative lawyers met at a conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, and scoured the nine-hundred-page text of the law, looking for grist for possible lawsuits. Michael Greve, a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian outfit funded by, among others, the Koch brothers, said, of the law, “This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it.” In time, lawyers hired by the C.E.I. discovered four words buried in Section 36B, which refers to the exchanges—now known as marketplaces—where people can buy health-insurance policies. The A.C.A. created federal tax subsidies for those earning less than a certain income to help pay for their premiums and other expenses, and, in describing who is eligible, Section 36B refers to exchanges “established by the State.” However, thirty-four states, most of them under Republican control, refused to create exchanges; for residents of such states, the law had established a federal exchange. But, according to the conjurings of the C.E.I. attorneys, the subsidies should be granted only to people who bought policies on the state exchanges, because of those four words in Section 36B. The lawyers recruited plaintiffs and filed a lawsuit; their goal is to revoke the subsidies provided to the roughly seven and a half million people who were left no choice by the states where they live but to buy on the federal exchange.

                    Hard Cases By Jeffrey Toobin The New Yorker March 9, 2015 Issue

Wow.

Those lovely folks who gave us the Iraq War, and whose ideology set the stage for a Second Great Depression? They may have found a way to strip millions of their affordable care. At last. Which, of course, brings around the dire predictions about how this time the Right, if they do this, or this happens, wow, they are so screwed. This time? This is the one that is too much! Too far! This time! This is the time they pay a price for their actions. This? People will get this. Low-information will be as high-information voter. Odds are? Nope. Low-info Joe has not a clue.

It's 2015.

Movement Conservatism? Conservatism itself? It all should be about as credible as Communism.

Instead, as a brand, an ideology, it is as crisp and as clean as a brand new white cotton sheet.

Which is remarkable, really.

If you can think of a dead-wrong assumption that can be made in the realms of governance (town, city, state, or federal), economics (local, regional, national, or global), education (public and private, K-12 to College), foreign policy (in times of war and peace), or in the mechanics of how a society evolves and responds? Be it about basic maintenance, or disaster relief, or any manner or form of security crisis, opportunity, or growth? Movement Conservatism has gotten it wrong. Not just wrong, epically wrong, dangerously wrong, tragically and lingeringly wrong. Wrong on grand levels of scope and scale that require their messes to be cleaned-up after for years and years to come. And yet, here we are. Again. And again. And again. And again.

Hearing the words "The American Enterprise Institute" should elicit a thermonuclear glare.

Nope. No matter how big the messes? No matter how deep or how low lasting the crises?

The brand, the ideology, and the organizational tools of Movement Conservatism are never singled-out for blame. Conservatism is a widely tried and hugely failed disaster. But to the average low-information Joe? If he hears "Conservative Think Tank" he thinks of a place where smart people think up new and novel ideas. It's never driven home, again and again and again, just how great a factor modern Conservatism is in our paralyzed public culture of mainstreamed hostage taking, nomination blackmailing, manufactured governance crises, and crippling planned obstructionism. At some point? It is an entirely faith-based idea that the Right will self-implode.

Yes, they have access to lots and lots of money. But they also don't have to use that ocean of money to defend Conservatism, or their track record, so they are both hugely funded and fully free to use all of it to keep on offense and do more harm. Conservatism, like 'The Dude', abides.

This matters. It all plays a direct roll in how we keep ending up sabotaged or screwed.

Conservatism has no ownership over anything that it has ever done to do Americans harm. Republican politicians, RW pundits, and culture war celebrities are all completely disposable syringes. Human delivery devices. They aren't important. That drug they deliver is, and its fine.

That's amazing, really.

Movement Conservative policy will kill, injure, and sicken more innocent Americans than every terrorist attack ever committed by any terrorist group that has ever tried to attack this nation in its entire history combined. By a massive margin. ISIS cannot take millions of Americans and unceremoniously dump them into crisis-level poverty over time with the wave of a pen. Al Qaida cannot deny millions of Americans who are in desperate need of healthcare access to that care with a hammered-down gavel or a bad faith-fueled appeal to another zealot in robes. Boko Haram cannot take desperately needed food away from millions and millions of hungry American children with a position paper and an unscheduled late night vote. Movement Conservatism can. If a foreign power did to Kansas what Brownback's cult of origin did to it, we'd likely be at war.

If people were going to get it on their own? The shift would have happened a long time ago.

Nothing that the Movement Conservative Right does is at all self-discrediting in current politics. No failure. No overreach. No blackmail forced shutdown. No political hostage crisis. No economic disaster. No own goal. No war without end. No cheat, ratfuck, scam, or lie. The GOP doesn't own any of those assumed to be blatantly obvious as to be self-discrediting failures non-Conservatives assume that they own, and neither does Conservatism as a tried and failed governing philosophy. The proof? Look around at our country. At the town, state, and national level. Autopsy the saga of the ACA, up to and including the "fatal four words" threat that has it before the Supreme Court today. Big Tobacco wants to know where it can sign up for this deal.

The ACA ordeal, every minute of it, has been one constant and painful lesson in both seeing the Right as it is, not as you might wish they would be, and tactically acting accordingly, from start to finish but in stopping giving the low-information voter any undue credit at all. Now this.

“This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it.”
Four words. Seven million people. For a malicious hope to catastrophically strip innocent legions of their new access to affordable care. Why? Well, its simple. It's 'a matter of political hygiene.'

What are the odds that anyone you might randomly stop tomorrow knows this is how they roll? Right now? It's "hyperbolic" and "beyond the pale" to quote it, but not for them to have said it. How's that working out? We get told to be less divisive, while they turn America into Kochistan. I don't think 'outlast it' is any more viable than waiting for erosion to dissolve away a rock wall.

The only thing the American Right truly understands is the politics of the political bloody nose. They do what they do, until you force them to finally stop. The only way to make them stop is by making whatever it is that they are doing exceed their (rather surprisingly, and very gallingly considering how respectfully they've been treated as a threat, limited) political pain threshold.  

At this point I would strongly advocate for a low-information voters variation of this brutal rule.

The only thing that the low-information voter obviously understands is the political bloody nose. If you don't bloody the GOP's nose? The low-information voter concludes you are admitting they are right, else you wouldn't take it. If you don't blame their failed ideology? Specifically? This matters too. It's like the adult version of the law of the school yard. If you do nothing, say nothing? Leave it alone assuming the truth is obvious to see? Its taken as a default admission that you admit it's all true. No indictment of Conservatism? That is taken as a tacit admission that Conservatism is right. An admission of defeat, guilt, and conceding the argument. If this weren't so? The Democratic Party would be the most dominant force in American public life, and the GOP would be a marginalized joke the Kochs kept on life support.

The Great Bamboozled aren't going to blame the Right if their ideology doesn't ever get a fight.

Discuss
Fellow Democrats, after an extremely demoralizing off-year election cycle for our Party, in a time where there have been so many issues and arguments that have divided the Party into bickering factions and niches, a line has been drawn in the sand that should unite Democrats of all stripes to a common rallying cause. Protecting Social Security from those who would destroy it. Social Security is under deliberate and malignant assault. The deranged extremist fringe far-Rightwing ideological zealots of the House Republican caucus have decided to deliberately engineer a Social Security crisis. No matter what your issues with the Democratic Party, now is the time to set aside other matters and begin to come together for the greater public good.  

A huge number of Social Security beneficiaries are disabled Americans and other non-Retirees who would be in dire crisis without the aid of a vital part of the most important program within the American Social Safety Net. On Tuesday, the Republicans in the US House acted like the predatory cowards and gutless worms that they are and created a rule that would prevent clean reallocations to fund the nation's Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This, like the deliberate sabotaging of the US Postal Service by creating forces that no other agency or arm of the US Government has to deal with, is the kind of cancer you get from Conservative Republican reigns of error and terror. This is a wake-up call to rally. All of us. United together.

Let us be clear. "Reformers" are never people acting in blatant bad faith and with malice of intent to their actions. Damn the Village, and Social Security Saboteurs, and walk a wall for the sick, the poor, the eldery, and the disabled. There is no "good" Social Security and "bad" Social Security, there is only Social Security. The Republicans are not interested in "reforming" Social Security, they want to destroy it and use the lazy "both siderisms" of the Village news media to obfuscate their actions and their agenda. This is a manufactured crisis. Pure and simple. It is also a challenge to Americans of good faith who support the Safety Net. Time to stand up.

Here we have an act of deliberate political terrorism and social sabotage that is being carried out to disrupt the lives of Americans in crisis and on the margins. We must all say "HELL NO!"  

“Today, House Republicans are trying to change rules that have been in place for decades as a way to attack social insurance,” Brown said. “Rather than solve the short-term problems facing the Social Security Disability program as we have in the past, Republicans want to set the stage to cut benefits for seniors and disabled Americans.”

Reallocation is a simple procedure used by Congress to rebalance how Social Security payroll tax revenues are apportioned between the two trust funds - the equivalent of transferring money from a checking to a savings account.  Reallocation is commonsense, bipartisan policy that has been utilized by both parties 11 times since 1957– most recently in 1994. At that time, it was projected that reallocation would keep the trust fund solvent until 2016.

“Reallocation has never been controversial, but detractors working to privatize Social Security will do anything to manufacture a crisis out of a routine administrative function,” Brown continued. “Reallocation is a routine housekeeping matter that has been used 11 times, including four times under Ronald Reagan. Modest reallocation of payroll taxes would ensure solvency of both trust funds until 2033. But if House Republicans block reallocation, insurance for disabled Americans, veterans, and children could face severe cuts once the trust fund is exhausted in 2016.”

United States Senator Sherrod Brown Condemns Dangerous Move That Would Undermine Social Security by Attacking Disability Insurance

This is an unprecedented rule change that would prevent the House of Representatives from passing clean reallocations of the Social Security Trust Fund in the future. It's bad policy, bad politics, bad governance, and it must not go unanswered or unchallenged. We have all had our issues, with our Party, with each other, with low-information voters whose actions and non-actions confound and frustrate us to the cores of our beings. This is a matter that everyone can and should be made to understand. The GOP is attempting to sabotage Social Security, and do it while trying to present themselves as being deeply concerned about the future of the Social Security program. Remember what they did to the Post Office in the name of "concern".

Stand with Sherrod Brown. Stand with Elizabeth Warren. On Social Security? We are all united.  

The GOP is inventing a Social Security crisis that will threaten benefits for millions & put our most vulnerable at risk.

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 6, 2015

Social Security Privatization was a disaster, so, they'll just have to do what they do best. Take hostages. Do what we say, or the poors and the sicks get it. They didn't even have the guts to be all up front about it, because they know how ugly things could get for them if they didn't act like cockroaches when a light goes on. When the House set down its parliamentary rules for the new House, they snuck in the change blocking Congress from shifting funds to stop a 2016 shortfall in Social Security's disability insurance program. This is something that has been done for decades. Any crisis is a man-made crisis. It's like filling up the fire department with arsonists. We should say so. It's time for a fight. They picked it. So. Let's give them all hell.

Let no one distract you from the real agenda here, neither in the media or in DC. Nobody who cares about the solvency or stability of Social Security would do this. Ever. It is irresponsible and stupid and bold-faced in bad outcomes being a feature and not a bug of the act. You cannot trust a Movement Conservative Republican to protect Social Security, and you must not assume that low-information voters are aware of what is going on, and who is, and who is not, on their side and on the right side of history. They want a war? We should give them one. Think of every frustration and heartache that American politics has dished out to you since the 2012 election. Since the 2008 election. Here is a cause for which you can freely take the gloves off.    

From Social Security Works:

The New Republican Attack on Social Security Starts Now!

(Washington, DC) Republican opponents of Social Security have not wasted even a single day in their plan to dismantle Social Security brick by brick.  What should be a dry, mundane exercise — the adoption of new rules by the newly convening House of Representatives — has turned into a stealth attack on America’s working families.

A technical amendment, known as “reallocation” — something that has been done many times over the history of Social Security, something that few persons other than actuaries and other Social Security experts ever know about — must be enacted in the current Congress to ensure that all Social Security benefits continue to be paid in full and on time.  The change is analogous to what investors do when they rebalance their accounts, but in the case of Social Security, a failure to rebalance will result in an unnecessary and completely avoidable cut in benefits paid to workers who have serious and permanent disabilities and to their families.

Like other stealth attacks against the American people’s Social Security, the groundwork is being laid in advance.  It will suddenly explode sometime in the next two years.  The rule change would prohibit a simple reallocation! It will require more significant and complex changes to Social Security.  In other words, the Republican rule will allow Social Security to be held hostage – something we anticipated and warned about in our new book, Social Security Works!  Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It will Help Us All (The New Press, 2015)

This is no way for elected officials, who are supposed to be servants of the people, to treat American citizens. Hostage-taking to force changes that the American people do not want to a vital program like Social Security is no way to run the United States of America.

New Republican Attack On Social Security Starts Now

###

Social Security Works is the lead group in the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, a coalition comprised of more than 320 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations.

I was asked in the comments by War on Error to add this information a link to an article that expands on the idea:
17% of the deficit, $$Trillions has been borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund, an inconvenient truth Congress Sweeps under the rug.
Pay Back the Money Borrowed From Social Security

Throughout its 75 year history, Social Security has provided critical economic security to millions of retirees, families, children and the disabled. Social Security is paid for by the dedicated contributions of workers and their employers, has administrative costs of less than one percent, and since it cannot borrow to fund its operations, Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. No wonder that Americans from all walks of life consistently and overwhelmingly support our nation's most successful social insurance program -- a level of support that is not achieved by other governmental programs.

Social Security currently has a $2.6 trillion surplus which has been building up since the 1983 amendments and is intended to help absorb the retirement of the baby boomers. This surplus is invested in US Treasury securities that are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government. According to the Social Security Trustees 2010 report, Social Security can pay full benefits until 2037, at which time, if nothing were done to strengthen its financing, Social Security would still be able to pay about 78 percent of benefits. This quarter of a century means there is time to strengthen its financing without cutting benefits for future beneficiaries. The American people will insist that Congress do what is needed for the program to pay full benefits and protect these benefits they were promised and have earned.

Pay Back the Money Borrowed From Social Security
Discuss
If there was something shitty simmering on the political stove, TNR was there to stir the pot.
Michael Kelly's Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Betsy McCaughey's awful "No Exit". Marty Peretz. Bring on The Bell Curve. What the Democrats Really Need to do is... Run/Flee from the Left. Very Serious People! Very Unserious People! Andrew Sullivan. Mickey Kaus. Michael Kinsley. Charles Krauthammer. Fred Barnes. Morton Kondracke. Stephen Glass "fact checker". Charles Lane. Peter Beinart. Humanitarian Hawkery. Simpson-Bowles Worship. Deficit Fetishism. The Hillary Mystique. Neoliberal Contrarianism. Joe Lieberman Worship. Iraq War Pimps. "Baghdad Diaries". Hippy Punching. Occupy Bashing. Austerity Cult. Gotta Look Forward and Not Backism. Grand Bargaineering. Skin in the Game Cheerleading. No Labels Pushing. Elizabeth Warren and Bill DeBlasio Sneering. Worrying About Civility Meta while America's Middle Class Declines.
Sorry? You expect some mourning for the possible passing of this shambling animated shitpile?

I'm more likely to cry over Michelle Rhee getting in a "root for injuries" feud with Students First.

The Very Serious few seem to see Superman lying in a rapidly spreading pool of noble blood. Look around. Do you see the America we live in today? The one where the Movement Conservative Right dominates the lives of every American as never before? Where the Democratic Party is defanged and riddled with political malpractice in the face of the most bad faith-fueled malignant force for public dysfunction since the Gilded Age? This, in part, owes a great deal of thanks to the hard work and constant drive of the "intellectuals" who work at, and who subscribe to, TNR. A land where it's a bigger sin to call somebody a liar than to be a liar. The America with the fainting couch rules. Where it is better to lose and be noble in the ashes that to be uncivil and partisan and win. Where you can always bomb your way to peace.

We'd have all been better off if the New Republic had disappeared ages ago. Cry me a river.

All this serf can see is a force for bad and worse lying in a paste-like puddle of wet pablum.

"Even the liberal New Republic..." indeed.

Maybe, if America is really, really lucky, the boy genius who did your Daddy in can distract himself from all the Tweeted wailing and Facebook-based rending of meta-garments by taking the time to offer young master Jeffy Bezos some advice for what he can do next for the WaPo.

Discuss
I have never lived a day in the mythical America that is immortal and above decline or reproach. That is one of the few gifts of being born poor in a nation that so celebrates wealth and power. But I am white. So I have lived in the America where oblivious white people comfortably think of racism that they will never face as something both puzzlingly abstract and largely overblown. An enigma lying between the Other's "exaggerations" and a truly nasty thing that is dismissed as a long-gone relic of the past. The America where millions sleepwalk around in a life of imagined safety living inside a couch-cushion fort of assumed societal stability because the perceive themselves as safe. The surreality where "we fixed racism, that's why that school my kids don't go to is named after Martin Luther King" is an actual, and not all that odd, sentiment.

It's a dire evil to have any cultural, political, or institutional tolerance for lynching by badge. But you don't get to the point where you have a national crisis from that without some pretty highly placed enablers and gatekeepers in elite places. Malignant tumors benefit from a well-suppressed immune system, and a nation that has a nagging sickness in its body is no different. I find it a breathtaking compounding of injustice to have a man like Bob McCulloch at the wheel at the exact time that you fundamentally needed his opposite. At a point when our nation needed to cement the vitally important message to everyone in the land that, yes, you can have full faith in the rule of law. What this nation needed was clear. Here. Look. Justice is possible. The system works. But that is not the message that was sent out in this dark time.

On some deep and fundamental level a disaster like MucCulloch will always fail to grasp how institutionally and systemically malignant his pathetic performance has been for our nation. People are going to die because of this man. People are going to be hurt as a direct result of his willful and ignorant negligence and neglect. Because he had priorities other than justice. Worst of all? He's not alone. America's interests are truly threatened by "public servants" who serve a thin and very narrow slice of the public's good, and who do so in so smugly and so overtly a fashion. This was a dark day in this nation's history, mistaken by a fool for a triumph. His rambling, self-congratulatory babbling brings my blood to a boil whenever I think of it. He tried harder to put Twitter on trial than a murderer who gunned down an unarmed man.

No enemy of this nation has the ability to lay America low this way. From the inside. Hacking and chopping away at the foundation like it's repairing a crumbling road or bridge to do structural damage to it. Here. This. This is what you get. This is how things are versus how you might imagine or with things could or should be. Stop complaining. This is the deal. Suck it up. It is very possible that, someday, a cop is going to be shot and bleeding, and somebody who could help him, who once might have helped him, is just going to mind his or her own business and walk away. "Live by the sword, die by the sword". Like the cop and the drug dealer are just mirror sides of the same coin. That's what a performance like McCulloch's gets you as a nation over time. A nation where people who have to buy in, don't bother. They don't believe.

This is a force multiplier for really bad outcomes. This compounding of evil just cannot stand. Recently, an impatient driver plowed into a large crowd of protesters in Minnesota. Nothing came of it. Now, if you are a person who is already out in the streets over the free-pass murder of Michael Brown, do you have any good will towards the authorities to give out any benefit of the doubt here? Or. Does this compound what is already in your heart and mind and take you to an even darker place? Everything in context. Everything in the context of the moment. Certain people can kill a person of color whenever they claimed to feel threatened. Now? Some can even mow down a crowd of protesters for the sin of being inconvenienced. Everything just feeding negative energy into the great puke funnel that is drowning a dream.

He was questioned by police, but the latest reports say he has not been arrested. Surprised?

The whole process has been such a blatant scourging of the notion that you can have faith in the institutions of justice. Osama Bin Ladin and Timothy McVie must both be laughing their evil asses off in Hell right now. First a monstrosity. Then an orchestrated travesty. Headlined by a performance that was clearly based around a cynically predetermined agenda to blatantly and overtly act as a defense attorney for a man who has done a great wrong than to adequately and competently protect the public. An agenda always meant to hand a golden ticket out of the consequences of being a reckless criminal with a gun and a badge. Because he's special. He's in "the" club. He's one of "ours" in that club. All for a cretin, somehow viewed as a brother and peer rather than as a defendant. Timed for the shitshow to end in angry blowback.

You can almost hear the ripping of the very fabric of the rule of, and the respect and belief in, the rule of law as you mull it over. The worst possible outcome. Treated as if it was all justice. Which is exactly why it sows the seeds for discord and future chaos. It's like prioritizing a piece of shit on the sidewalk over your community and country as a whole. It will get people hurt. Some of them cops, good cops, who are trying to do their job while they are being undermined by those with a misguided notion of what the public good really is, and what narrow and unequal outcomes are the ones that best serve that public good. I look at a Jay Nixon, and a Bob McCulloch, and I can't imagine how their minds work. How can you not see the peril in focusing on excusing yourself, or celebrating your good deeds and great leadership.  

Yes. There are higher principles and philosophical reasons for why the rule of law, and respect and belief in the system, must be maintained. But there are also crude and base reasons. There is a reason the phrase "no justice, no peace" exists. It's not a mindless threat. It's an urgent and dire warning. You undermine the public's investment and faith in institutions, you grossly undermine the public's trust, at your peril. It's about more than what you learn in a civics class. Sometimes you have to be smart enough to see that you do the right thing not just because it is the right thing, but because a system that works is insurance against chaos and rioting in the streets. People who are not ignored don't riot. Sometimes I see politicians and pundits talking about civil unrest as if the streets are utterly divorced from the events that flood them.

At some point, reactionary and regressive people conclude that America is the first immortal nation. Eternal. Beyond erosion and collapse. It's one of the reasons why I look at modern Movement Conservatism, the tool of elites who see themselves as the natural ruling order and logical heirs to the royal families of past ages, as a national security threat. You can, in fact, break this country. It's justice system. It's economy. It's middle class. America did not fall out of the sky from Olympus. I feel as much rage and disgust about a Bob McCulloch as I do about a Darren Wilson. The Bob McCulloch's are why you can have a thousand Officer Wilson's above the law and consequences. The grease and the glue of regression and slidebacks when it comes to maintaining what has been achieved, and advancing those gains in the future.

No terrorist group could do to America what gross injury is done by establishing in millions of people's minds that harsh standards and applications of the law are really for the little people. If you have connections. If you belong to the right group, occupation, class, or club, then the rules are not only more flexible, but they might not even apply at all. I think every person who is not one of America's elite understands that there are obvious imbalances and inequities in America. Like 'the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer', there are some ugly and lingering realities that are just a part of American life. The difference is that a truly decent person sees them and fundamentally wants to deal with them. Seeing truly systemic bad things and seeing them like infections that have to be treated and not ignored? It only bolsters a nation.

But the repugnant pride and vain arrogance with these disgusting displays of "justice for me, but not for thee" are a significant, and significantly provocative, bar lowering in a nation with lots of unaddressed ills. A low-water mark in a nation that has been diving at low-water marks in fits and spurts. A cycle that is not something that is easy to repair because it involves a loss of faith in, and, as a direct consequence of that loss of faith, a lowering in the willingness of those who are the short end of the stick to let the system work and take care of injustices. Ultimately, Mr. McCulloch's America has to be abandoned, because his America can't stand. There has to be justice for all, and not some, because the alternative can and will kill. Nations and men. It's a form of sepsis. People who are asleep will wake up to it. One way or another.

What happened in Ferguson could happen to a person of color anywhere in America. It's a fact. You can legally murder a young black man if you also wear a badge and a gun and you can gin-up a bad movie plot of a backstory. Just babble your illogical gibberish after the victim can no longer speak in his or her or their own defense anymore. What could possibly be worse? That being followed by a meandering tortured begging line for justice where the victim is on trial, and then a prolonged and self-congratulatory backslap from the miserable mite of a man who actively insured that the worst outcome was the only possible outcome. Rubbing and grinding salt in an already weeping gash with a pride that defies decency. This screams 'Don't be invested in the possibility that justice is obtainable via peaceful means'. Don't you dare believe.

Don't you dare believe in the very things that are the bedrock beneath order and institutions.

And that? That is a national security threat to America. A lingering and sobering state of affairs that is made all the worse by the tortured plights of America's underclasses, of its unfavored sons and daughters, and all its other marginalized groups all being the favorite reality tv show of America's privileged classes and wealthy elites. Pop your popcorn and watch the riots on tv! For a long time now, I have thought that I knew all along why so many white people, especially white wealthy elites, fear living in a minority majority America so desperately. I concluded that all they can think about is that, when people of color are in charge, there will then be mass reprisals. Revenge. A great doing to them what they have done to others once those 'Others' get a chance. Sometimes? That's the only way Movement Conservatism makes sense as well.

I wonder if anyone like this realizes they are, in a way, kind of demanding their feared outcome, if all of this overlooked, minimalized, and rationalized evil doesn't simply tear America apart first. Thankfully, so far, regressive and reactionary people have been very blessed by the people that they oppress, marginalize, and hurt being better than that. Than them. When it comes to that.

But as America didn't fall out of Olympus, nothing can be torn and worn down like this forever.

Discuss
When you are a leader in a political party that has been mainstreaming offensive fringe beliefs? The last thing that you want to see is an actual journalist with a camera and a live microphone. If you are an individual who proudly holds extremist views? Nothing freaks you out more than a reporter putting your vile in-house nonsense on the record for everyone else to see and hear. All of America's various deranged and/or cynical politicians and pundits who thrive on, or who pander to, extremism have that in common. Well, that and their common radical resentment, perpetual bad faith, and an absolutely craven sense of greed and entitlement being righteously noble and just. The last thing in the world that any of them want is to be widely quoted.

At Heritage? Sure. On a National Review Online booze cruise to nowhere? Yes, sir. But that's it.

Thus, we have that sanctimonious and completely unbowed fever swamper's favorite lament.

For the greater good of the State of Nevada and the cause I support it is necessary for me to withdraw as Speaker Designee. The tens of thousands of people who both read my columns and listened to my radio shows through two decades in the media know this has been a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government. The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record. Ultimately, this whole attack has very little to do with my views. The powers that be are planning a massive, more than one billion dollar, tax increase and I stood in the way as Speaker. I have already served two terms as an Assemblyman without any of these vicious attacks. It was only when I had risen to leadership that this smear campaign occurred. That is the real reason for this and it is vital the public understands that.

                                                           -Nevada State Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)

Ira Hansen, as you can see, will not be the new Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly.

Why?

Well, Ira has spent years writing down, and saying out loud, some pretty vile nasty nonsense. Let me spitball it for you. Okay. In the 21rst century? He still calls African-Americans "Negroes". At least when he's got his gumption on and his intellectual iron is really glowing white hot when it comes to his sharing the most profound and innermost thoughts. He treats dropping the term "darkies" like it's akin to a shoulder shrug. Something that runs the gambit from being a thing that he should be overtly proud of, to it merely being a slightly iffy kind of rhetorical tick. Eh. No Rush. What's the hurry? Like he should probably phase that out. One of these days. Maybe. If he really feels like it. But. No quotes. People who don't know him might... misunderstand.

And by 'misunderstand' him? What Ira actually means is 'totally understand him completely'.

Yes. That's right. Quoting him, you see, is smearing him. From his pity party press release:

The politics of personal destruction wins, and I need to step down. I hope that you all know that the Ira that you have known through these years and weeks is the real Ira and not what the media is painting me to be."
In the end, the real Ira was ultimately exposed by... the real Ira. Over a dozen years of columns printed in a tiny local newspaper called the Sparks Tribune that previously had no online archives to search. But then, all that changed. That teeny tiny little outlet up and decided to go digital and put their old and new material up online. This allowed the Reno News & Review to review that content for anything interesting or important that might, who knows, somehow have an effect on the rest of the state. Including the offensive dreck in the head and heart of the almost-to-be future Speaker of the incoming Nevada State Assembly. Something that probably never even occurred to Ira while he was busy practicing his gavel swing.    

So now he is whining and grousing about how he's being done wrong. I'm the real victim here.

Ah, yes. The second-to-last refuge of a scoundrel. The "Politics of Personal Destruction" saw. The whole "deliberate character assassination" has "totally distorted my views and my record" gag. Yeah. That's it. That's why you had to step aside. You just happened to spend years and years obscurely spouting racist, sexist, and derpy nonsense to your commiserating federation of fellow travelers out in the comfy confines of talk radio, friendly small-to-tiny conservative outlets, and Bundyville. But its reporting what you said that is the real dark alley here. Even better? This howler. "Ultimately, this whole attack has very little to do with my views." Um. How about we just sample just a few of these views?

"The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to."

"The shrewd and calculating [black] 'leaders' are willing to sacrifice the children of their own race to gratify their lust for power and position."

"The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies."

"Locally, gangs and their associated criminal activity are obviously dominated by immigrants, especially Hispanic immigrants."

"You cannot read a story about criminals or watch a news report locally without noticing a grossly disproportionate amount of Hispanic involvement."

"Male homosexuals are grossly disproportionate in child molestation cases, and the youth orientation of male homosexuality drives this trend."

"I've been keeping a rough tally on homosexual/heterosexual molesters as reported locally, and roughly half of all molestations involve homosexual men preying on boys."

The Reno News and Review

Yeah.

Two things. One? No. You do not get to play the victim here. Two? Cripes, who's next up?

Because this fetid shit is really not all that rare or outlier behavior inside the current GOP.

Let's get real. It's not just Indignant Ira at the corner of Resentment Pander and I'm The Real Victim Here rolling this way. Lots of Movement Conservatives with wingnut welfare gigs, talk radio shows, even RW speechifying rackets play this game. First the dreck, and then the 'quoting me is smearing me' parachute. As a non-Conservative, no matter of what stripe or persuasion inside the tent, it has been clear for quite some time that the only thing the American Right understands, and fears, is the politics of the political bloody nose. They fear consequences like a cartoon slug fears a giant shaker of salt.

So you take a page out of the 'calling somebody a liar a bigger sin that being a liar' playbook.

It's a travesty that sometimes all that has to be done to make this kind of outrage go away is for those trying to point it out to also be members of the Democratic Party as well as outraged. Because a lot of pretty extreme people running for both the US House and the US Senate were given an outrageous free pass on views that are not all that far off from this kind of rot. What made them unserious issues to be raised? A (D). Which is exactly why somebody like this is able to convince himself that a "quoting me is smearing me" defense is something an extremist thinks might be a viable way to get out of a jam, if not mitigate the longterm damage to a career in public office. If this had been raised by a (D) in a race, are these ugly matters any less serious?

In some 2014 contests in this cycle, the shameful answer to that fully valid question was 'yes'.  

Discuss
Senator Mary Landrieu is likely about to lose her powerful political job in a crushing defeat.

Because of how the Senator operated while she was in a position to do that important job.

Not because of Hippies. Or Purity Trolls. Or The Media. Or Somebody Wanting a Pony. Or Hollywood Elites. Or anyone's Favorite Liberal Fenemy Online. No. Not at all. Mary Landrieu is to blame for Mary Landrieu's upcoming likely blow-out loss. Yes, it sucks that we are about to lose another Democratic Senator. So be mad at her.

Because it's her own fault.

Hers.

Not mine. Not yours. Not her Peers in the Senate. Or the DSCC who pulled the plug on pissing away millions for nothing. Not environmentalists. Or Native American activists. Or MSNBC hosts. Nope. It's all on the Senator. She has spend a long time working hard to earn a lonely political end in a humiliating blow-out by how she governed and what she thought was smart and persuasive politics.

I'm sorry so many Democrats have lost this last cycle.

I did as much as I could to get a cannon fodder Democratic candidate, Erin Bilbray, elected in my home state. I made sure that every Democrat I could knew Joe Heck's opponent's name. I made sure than I ran as many people I knew to be Democratic voters to vote for Erin Bilbray. She got crushed. I'm not beating myself up for an institutional failure. Or political malpractice. I did my part. Many of you did too.

In the end, your party earns the outcomes that it enjoys, or suffers, at the polls.

Mary Landrieu is going to lose because she's going to get the loyalty she's accrued.

Nobody is going to war for her in her home state, because she hasn't earned that kind of loyalty, trust, and sacrifice. She wasn't betrayed. She wasn't abandoned. She wasn't left hanging out to dry. She worked very, very hard to make people who were always going to get a better deal from a freakshow wingnut Republican happy. They are repaying her for her service by helping her opponent bury her, and all the people she held in contempt are not to blame for what comes next.

"A Republican will be worse."

Yep. True. A Republican will be worse.

But she has meticulously laid the groundwork for a mind-bogglingly shitty wingnut of a US Senator to be crowned in a straight-up laugher. An ultimately friendless political failure, out in the weeds tangled and matted in briars, and utterly surrounded by hostile forces who serve the very people she used to pander and cater to the most to get ahead in DC. Whose fault is that? Easy. When a pol goes out this way? It's earned. That's on her. Nobody else.

Harry Reid gave her her XL Pipeline Shitshow, and she paid him back by stabbing him in the back in the minority leadership vote. Making her look like a vile, petty, and cowardly backstabbing opportunist you trust like you trust a snake.

You could send her 40 million dollars right now, and she'd still get crushed.

The XL Pipeline vote could have gone her way, and she'd still get drubbed.

What Mary Landrieu has been robbed of, in the end, is the ability to blame Barack Obama vetoing her sad XL Pipeline pander for her defeat at the polls when it comes.

Because Mary Landrieu, in the end, found herself alone, on an island, doing desperate and stupid things to save her job, because this was always where she was going to end up in the end. This is the ending that Blanche Lincoln earned. This is the ending that Evan Bayh ducked in Indiana, and Ben Nelson ducked in Nebraska. Both having learned that going out like this is an ignoble, but earned, political epitaph.

When somebody like Mary Landrieu goes down in flames, there are always attempts to spread the blame to those who had nothing to do with the crash. This isn't about anything other than specious nonsense being revealed to be specious nonsense yet again. This way of behaving in office ultimately doesn't save you from the GOP. It is a party completely governed by bad faith.

To think you can pander Rightward, and inoculate yourself from the GOP, is based on the beltway fantasy that the GOP is, somehow, handicapped by your ultimately self-defeating vaccination actions. Inoculation presumes that a bad faith movement is governed by good faith. Like rules. Facts. Decorum. Respect for institutions.

Wrong. You vote like Mary Landrieu, and they damn you as if you voted like Bernie Sanders. The letter (D). That's it. That's what makes you a Socialist, Big Government, Radical Leftist. A (D). Mary Landrieu is learning the lesson that Blanche Lincoln should have been a posterperson for. You can be as Rightwing a Democrat as you can. Oopsie. There's that magic (D) after your name. That magic letter that makes you born in Kenya and baptized in goats blood by Saul Alinsky and the ghost of Joseph Stalin if you are the first black President. The one that makes you for death panels, re-education camps in the desert, and UN black helicopter aided gun confiscation. Be you Elizabeth Warren, or be you Mary Landrieu.

You can be a moderate, or even a conservative Democrat, and not act this way.

Governing this way was a premeditated choice to believe you would be handsomely rewarded for being a bad political friend and a mediocre ally. As much so as being a ride or die partisan rock that others could always rely on. You find out who your friends are when you are in the place like this. You also find out who has been taking and eating your shit with a smile for as long as they could remember, and they aren't really all that sorry or sad to see you go. It's not their fault. They know it. They tried to give you what you said you needed. No AG push. No. The XL Pipeline Panderfest. It turned into a shitshow, as I bet many knew it would, because they are better than a Mary Landrieu. They took a hit for "the team" that wasn't about "the team" at all.  

So, ultimately, it's Mary Landrieu's fault she's about to get run out of town by a 20+ point margin. That's who should ultimately get the blame when she loses her run-off election by a blow-out. The blame lies with the people who chased likely Republican voters, and thought that an echo was an argument. For decades, Democrats have been told, over and over and over and over again, that this political behavior inoculates you from the GOP.

It doesn't.

Anymore than the DLC playbook made the GOP extinct because "they have no place to go".

No. Move the middle Rightward? So what? They shrugged, gave the Democratic Party the finger for a thank you, and gleefully moved farther Right. Bad faith means you can lie, cheat, steal, and make shit up if your opponent bends over backwards to be the worst Democratic politician in the party. The (D). That's it. That's what makes you a Commie. The lessons were there to be heeded. The political gravestones of others who had done the same thing, and fallen the same way Mary Landrieu just tried to save her job, by saying she would help pass her opponent's agenda too.

And she thought this was a brilliant idea that undermined her opponent and gave her an opening to win. Which is like thinking scoring own-goals is how you win the World Cup. Or Throwing interceptions is how you win the Superbowl. This is all her fault. She earned this outcome. This XL Pipeline Theater should be an object lesson in thinking that rank stupidity is how you get into MENSA.

It sucks that another Democratic Senate seat is about to be lost.

But from the moment the election results came in, and Senator Landrieu had to run in and win a run-off election, she did everything in her power to highlight and emphasize that she was a cynical, self-centered, self-serving, grandstanding, backstabbing, petroleum industry lobbyist in a Senate seat. Nobody made her do that. She thought that was the way to go. You couldn't have saved her from what comes next after that wildly embarrassing debacle if you tried.

Who thinks that saying you will fight for your GOP opponent's bill is an argument against that GOP opponent and in favor of themselves? Nobody with a clue.

In the end, she clearly wanted to go out furiously blaming President Obama for her sucking air through your teeth it's so bad run-off loss. For a veto. A veto that, thanks to one colleagues vote, never had to be delivered. What does it say about how respected soon-to-be Ex Senator Mary Landrieu was when it was Indy Senator Angus King, no liberal he, who took a brief look ahead at what was to come next and ended up voting 'No'.  

“Congress is not – nor should it be – in the business of legislating the approval or disapproval of a construction project,” King said in a statement. “And while I am frustrated that the President has refused to make a decision on the future of the pipeline, I don’t believe that short-circuiting the process to circumvent his administration is in the best interest of the American people. I urge the President to make a decision soon, and, if he doesn’t, I look forward to working with Congress to put a time frame on this decision.”
That's what a "sucks to be you" blow-off looks like, delivered to a desperate and floundering Senate colleague who has framed this entire event around saving her job, when it's delivered by a guy like Angus King. Who is exactly the sort of Senator that this entire episode was targeted towards. The veto was clearly coming. So, this was all about going out bitterly lamenting how Obama had tossed her under the bus. Twice. CYA to the very end.

When an Angus King throws you an anchor, shrugs, and walks away nodding 'no' very slowly?

You've earned that kind of last ignominious look of blatant disrespect from that kind of a peer.

This is how you go out when you have spent years courting exactly this kind of political end.

Perhaps she will be a much better lobbyist when he can do the job more directly.

Discuss
To wash down all the lovely news.

Some 12 year old Scotch, Hell, make it a double, to go along with the Warren promotion and the President's "Fail Mary" Landrieu and immigration reform defiance, and the usual bucket-sized Prestone chaser to go along with just about everything else that arrived around those nuggets.

Tester settled for the DCSS? Himes, maybe, destined to be helming the DCCC? Lesson learned?

A fitting end note for the week. Rather than confirm Loretta Lynch as AG with 51 votes during the lame duck sesson, her nomination will be put off until the GOP is in charge of the Senate. Because the additional weeks and months of smears, jeers, insults, attacks, and abuse of Loretta Lynch making the GOP look bad if they refuse to confirm her is more important than getting the new AG in when it can be more easily done. I'll hope Loretta Lynch has iron skin. Her benefactors and champions have voluntarily put her on a DC spit-roast set to "slow" on advice you could get from somebody who still considers Lanny Davis and Al From wise generals.

Maybe the (D) should change its icon from a Donkey to Rahm Emmanuel or a huge Horse's Ass.

But I repeat myself.

If you, as a political party, want to impress millions of voters, and millions of them voters of color, by purposefully choosing a qualified woman of color to make another historic choice for an AG, don't then put her over the creaky extra-slow rotisserie, set to very well-done, because... there is no way that this is not an act of genius! No matter how much this woman has to endure and sacrifice, even if she is ultimately humiliated and run off, we look good and they look bad. Win-Win. 100% Hey Dems? What would you remember most? The nominations, or all the unnecessary misery, sometimes grossly enabled by their own team, heaped on those who proudly stood up and said 'yes' when they were called? Everything counts. All of it.

Obama has submitted her name for confirmation. He has eaten a lot of shit, a ton of it, over the mid-terms. For nothing. All because it was "the smart thing for all considered to do". Right. According to all of those brilliant people like the ones who were wiped out for all of their trouble, and the experts who advised them on how to lose expertly? Just schedule it and do it.

If you have time for Mary Landrieu Theater, you have time to make sure the nation has an AG, a Surgeon General, and as many judges as you can get in place. The 2010 lame duck session was extended to 26 days. 26. Because the sitting (D) Senate majority wanted it to be so. If time is a factor, it is because you choose to help make it so.

Oh, but no worries. Worst case? Why the current AG, who clearly has had more than enough and overtly wants out of the job, who's going to be under even more withering assault from both Houses of Congress if he stays, can stick around to be abused while he walks a big new wall. Fort Impeachment. For two years. For a ploy with blatantly obvious flaws if it goes wrong.

But wait, there's more. There's Mary Landrieu. Mary "Obama Who?" Landrieu. She's got a plan!

The DSCC has cut her off, and made a show of doing it. Before her run-off even got started. So. How do you hammer home "desperate loser" competely? First, float a fling spaghetti at the wall trial balloon, in Politico, by nameless Senate staffers. Putting it out there that no, we have no plan, no details, and no, we don't even know when we'd vote. But. We're gonna have a Hail Mary for Mary XL Pipeline vote in the lame duck. The one that is too full for an AG vote. When both she and her freakshow opponent are already on book as being pro-Pipeline. Then you rush a vote, begging for unanimous consent, so nobody opposed has a chance to get organized, and you can cast the member, likely of your own caucus, who objects as the no-good bad guy/gal.

Will this save her seat? No. Will the Democrats gain anything in the process? No.

So your most likely outcome is you put your already beleaguered but defiant President on the spot, over a totally self-inflicted and tactically useless debacle, ending with a predictable veto. When he desperately wants you to pass his nominees instead of fucking around. Bonus fail? You just royally pissed off your sacred rich and powerful donor class, all for a smarmy Ex-Senator Walking, the rest of the Three Stooges who Heath Shulered Reid with Fail Mary after Reid let her play reindeer games, all to the delight of the GOP, who were handed a win by debacle for no good reason. Remember all this the next time somebody tells you that you shouldn't focus on all the fail because all of these people are all so, so much smarter than you are.

No wonder Harry Reid just arbitrarily promoted Elizabeth Warren to a Leadership job invented for her without consulting the rest of the (D) Senate caucus. Why would he? After the post-election fail-fest we've seen since beatdown day? It's like staring at a pack of frightened little toy dogs who just shake and quiver mixed with a few distinctively robotic plastic toy dogs covered in a sea of little corporate logos like a NASCAR driver's racing suit. Nobody say 'boo!' Please. We will never ever get the awful smell of pee out of the very expensive Senate carpets.

Think about all the glorious reverse-MENSA just bubbling up in front of America right now.

Ultimately, Mary Landrieu's "thank you" to President Obama (for his disasterous immigration reform gambit advocated by idiot "experts" insisting that this is the thing that you do to help her, and others like her) is a completely self-serving "fuck you" that enrages your sacred donor class and party ranks rather than accomplishes anything and then casts her seat likely being lost as being a double-dip of "his" fault on the way out the door. Fail Mary's "thank you" to Harry Reid, for letting her play Fail Mary XL Pipeline Theater, was to immediately turn around and stab him in the back in the Democratic Senate Caucus minority leadership vote, and make sure the news got out almost immediately that it had gone down. Oh, look. There's new DSCC chair Jon Tester standing behind Ex-Senator Walking, because nothing says "I want a Democratic wave in 2016" like helping to prop up a Caucus political suicide bomber. As long as she can conceive of it saving her own backstabbing backside? First No limits. Then? No Labels!

What a closing act. The perfect exclamation point to cap off the two years since 2012.

Steve Israel at the DCCC and his "off limits" Republicans. Democratic Leaders who tolerate, and even reward, incompetence at the DCCC and DSCC. Say, Israel being offered a third (!?!) crack at the DCCC by Nancy Pelosi before he turned it down. The President of the United States being talked into "putting off" immigration reform until after the election, to save Hagen. Pryor. Landrieu. Grimes. Nunn. Begich. Udall. Only to have it blow up in his face, and all of those Senators lose their seats anyway. Democratic consultants and advisers who give absolutely awful advice and get more work and stay viable win or lose. The fetid "ChristieCrats" in NJ who enabled corrupt Chris Christie his whole career. Andrew Cuomo as Governor of NY with what went down with the New York Senate and his secret deal not to help Democrats win after promising he would do so. Fail Mary. Who now has made it known to her home state that she and her Republican opponent still both agree 100% on the XL. To draw a job-saving distinction.

You can have a demoted and diminished minority caucus Senator who prizes the XL Pipeline and who will sneer at Obama to pander to white resentment to save her job, which is to be like a craven corporate lobbyist with a Senate seat. Or. You can have a majority caucus Senator who prizes the XL Pipeline and sneers at Obama as a fundamental passion in his wingnut political life. Only a ConservaDem would be tactically and strategically dimwitted enough to think that strongly agreeing with her Republican opponent on an issue was drawing a sharp and winning distinction with that opponent. She might as well take it to it's illogical conclusion and declare that she will switch parties if she's re-elected. Aha! Gotcha! Confused Republican opponent.    

Low-information voters miss a lot of things. So. The Democratic Party is helpfully doing a lot of idiotic and unhelpful things all over the place. So that even the most clueless of Americans have an example or two come across their bow that lets them know that the current Democrats are very easily startled and weirdly gravitate towards the corrupt and the inept. People who no longer believe that the political process works and who think they cannot make a difference are coming to that conclusion based on what they see staring at them.

Good luck to Loretta Lynch. Good luck to the President. Hope he's already lawyering up for the non-stop 'It's like they cloned Issa' shit show. Here's to preparing a fine tall stack of really infuriating executive orders. Good Riddance Fail Mary full of Disgrace. Oh, Here's also to all of the people who I convinced to turn out to early vote or vote on election day who now pissed off at me. I didn't lie to you. I swear. This party could still stand up and do great things. There is no greater force for public good than Democrats who are not ashamed of their legacy brand.

I believe in our ideas and our policies. I believe in our legacy brand. I believe those ideas, those policies, and that brand should be dominating American politics based on Movement Conservatism's proven track record of total failure, their bad faith, and their inability to lead, govern, or keep America safe in this world. I don't believe in the current top Congressional leadership of the Democratic Party, or the people who are in charge of the party machinery. There are good people, at every level of the party, great people, but the party itself is in the weeds and desperately needs a reboot.  

Something is just very, very wrong with the political party we see staring back at us right now.

Discuss
I am reminded of the first time I'd ever heard Bill O'Reily describe quoting him as smearing him.  
Meanwhile, the Des Moines Register has come under strong criticism from Iowa Democrats and liberals for its coverage of the Senate race, which has featured strikingly scant scrutiny of Ernst's aforementioned remarks and positions. Just two Register articles about Ernst's impeachment comments; zero articles about her comments attacking the social safety net (one editorial mentioned them); zero articles about her pledge to take up her Smith & Wesson against an overweening government; zero articles about her Agenda 21 warnings; one article about her support for nullification of federal laws; and zero mentions of her comments at a summit organized by the Koch Brothers in which she thanked them and their financial backers for having "really started my trajectory" in politics. By contrast, there were five Register articles featuring Braley's comments about Grassley not having a law degree alone.
                                                                                             - The New Republic
In a truly awful cycle, an off-year election that was bad for the entire party at every level of governance, a contest filled with built-in and grossly unfair advantages for the other side to begin with, an already pitifully low bar was lowered in a significant way. I suspect lastingly.

No amount of previously established extremism, on any issue, area of American politics, rhetoric, or public policy, was deemed extreme enough to make the perfectly legitimate act of pointing that extremism out acceptable for a Democratic candidate in this brutal election.  

This was the year that Democrats were told that "compare and contrast" was beyond the pale.

Both local and national news media had the same impossibly unfair standard. If you wanted to run against a Republican as an extremist, no matter how much evidence you could gather to back up your claims/argument, you could not do so unless your opponent had a new "Legitimate Rape" or "I'm not a witch" or "2nd Amendment Remedies" bed shitting.

Short of that, you were ruled to be grossly out of bounds for even daring to suggest it.

A development timed perfectly to bookend with this development inside of conservatism.  

Little was left to chance: Republican operatives sent fake campaign trackers -- interns and staff members brandishing video cameras to record every utterance and move -- to trail their own candidates. In media training sessions, candidates were forced to sit through a reel of the most self-destructive moments of 2012, when Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock's comments on rape and pregnancy helped sink the party.

... in the end, the disciplined approach worked: no Republican imploded with the kind of fatal campaign gaffe that crushed the party's hopes in the last two elections. Every establish candidate prevailed in the primaries. Republicans credited this to their rigorous training program. The fake trackers would even surprise candidates at the curb outside the airport when they flew into Washington to meet with NRSC officials, who then forced candidates to sit down and watch themselves on film.
                                                                                          -The New York Times

Since there were few incidents where GOP extremists dropped rhetorical suicide bombs on themselves ala 2010, because a lot of time, money, and effort went into to coaching the biggest idiots about keeping their idiocy at least somewhat in check, Democrats had to make the Sharron Angle is Nuts case based on raising concerns rather than gift GOP mega-gaffes.

How do you do this, practically, if making such a case is essentially off limits barring epic fail?

This is, for lack of a better term, the "compare and constrast" era in Democratic Party politics.

But this has implications beyond the debate over the merits and shortfalls of "compare and contrast" as a tactic. If you strongly believe that the Democratic Party has a messaging problem, for example, the same forces that ruled making an issue of a GOPer being an anti-UN Agenda 21 conspiracy theorist "unfair" can also rule anything more partisan or nuanced "unfair".

The Village essentially barred the heart of the establishment Democratic playbook in this cycle. Something potentially obscured by ugly outcome of this election. Worse, this nasty development was largely unprompted by GOP complaints. Various outlets and agencies around the US did this sort of thing on their own. Ernst. Gardener. Cotton. All were aided by this shift.

Previously, calling a liar out for being a liar was a bigger sin in DC than actually being a liar.

Now?

A Democratic candidate, anywhere in the nation, saying an Agenda 21 conspiracy theorist was an Agenda 21 conspiracy theorist was more unserious and disqualifying than actually being one.

That's worse than where we were before, it's just that the GOP didn't really need it this time. As with voter disenfranchisement efforts, it can be a much more decisive in a less overtly hostile year. Say in a Presidential cycle, like 2016, where down-ticket coattails will likely be required to allow any Democrat winning the Presidency to be able to govern once sworn in.

Overhauling the Party, and how it approaches partisan politics, has to include overhauling how the Party deals with the growing role the media plays in how the Republican Party can not only be viable, but thrive, after periods of great obstructionism, bad faith, dirty tricks, and a sustained track record of catastrophic epic failure. The bar? It can always go down a bit lower.

 
Discuss
It's probably late at night where you are, I doubt that this will be read by very many people, but I just had to get this nagging.... thing off of my chest. I gave it a day to fade away, but it just didn't want to go away on its own.

So a funny thing happened the other day. Professional conspiracy theorist and serial goldbug-for-hire Glenn Beck "admitted" that liberals were right about Iraq. Now does he get a Cookie? Setting aside (for the moment) that Beck "admitted" that liberals were right about Iraq not because invading Iraq was a bad idea sold by a bunch of liars with premeditated bullshit as that was the case that they (we, us?) made, but basically because he has come to the racist conclusion that Iraqis, in his estimation, are basically just incomprehensible savages that are incapable of appreciating freedom. What if. What if it was just "liberals were right about Iraq"?

No.

No Cookie for Glenn Beck.

If he offers you a Cookie?

Assume there is nice crunchy glass in it.

As far as I am concerned, even if he wasn't just "crediting" Liberals by way of dismissing millions of people with a conservative meme about Muslims as if that was a part of the liberal rationale for not invading Iraq. No Cookie. You don't get a Cookie for being the last person to admit reality is reality. That's as much a part of being a dead-ender as anything that John Bolton has done since Bush left office. Glenn Beck will be saying climate change scientists were right, I'm sure, after half of Florida is underwater and it means absolutely nothing. But what really just got me was that there were smart people who were, well, kinda pumped up, "pumped and jacked" as Pete Carroll used to say when he was the just-passing-through coach of the post-Parcells pre-Belichick New England Patriots, like this was a real thing.

It was... surprising. And a little sad. It bothered me. Not in a white-hot fly into a rage and get yourself in a comment-thread flame war and chase the Hidden Comments Hall of Fame kind of way, but in a weary sort of way. Like it was a wave of intellectual humidity that was just suddenly hanging in the memory palace where you think.

I have this (apparently) weird-ass rule about US politics 'you only have to call me Hitler once'.

The age of hoping the legions of bad faith "wake up" or "find shame" is over for me. Done.

One thing I will never, ever, ever understand is being grateful and thankful for crumbs from bad faith operators dropped off of the table years after everybody else on the planet is up to speed as if it's profound. Wanting to believe so badly that a sociopathic conman for cash can be lipbiting because he's being legit or feeling shame if you just have faith and hope long enough. Say it was a straight admission. Why is this worthy of "credit"? At all? Why? What is the basic compulsion of good and decent people to suspend their disbelief and give a conman credit for good faith?  A mugger. He mails you back your empty wallet ten year after the crime, oh, and at some point he slit the wallet open so it has no bottom so it's just a ruined empty wallet. But the gesture. The gesture. Somebody vile might be redeemable.

What gesture?

Because it makes you feel good? For a minute. Until he then says that you are America-hating cancerous scum for a new more pressing reason that isn't true or vomits up some new horseshit about how you hate America because you think the Kochs should pay taxes? His premise was couched in a racist notion about Muslims basically being somehow ethnically unworthy of Operation Bomb Iraq until They Love Us, Israel, and it's Dayton Ohio and he couldn't even get through this tall glass of swamp water and goat's piss without tacking on some bad faith bullshit at the end about liberals and Bush. Why would any liberal hearing things that should have been said a decade ago even if they had been said in good faith make them feel good enough to give credit?

I don't understand. They are destroying this country with each inch they overtake.

They look for signs of weakness as a sign to tell them who and where to attack. They try to get you to navel-gaze so they know who to run down and smash to bits first.

Yay! I have to Glenn Beck credit! Even if I don't wanna. He made non-Crazy face hole sounds.

Why? 2014. Why do you? At all?  

He's just going to say that Malia and Sasha or Michelle Obama look fat or frumpy tomorrow. He's gonna tee up a story about how Obama knew Benghazi was going to go down, premeditated murder by neglect, and he let it happen. Wait. I know. Obama always knew where the mastermind of Benghazi was all along, but he didn't go get him until he had to take Bowe Bergdahl off the front page. It's just a stunt to change the narrative about the 5 for 1 "treason". This is just setting up something else. I've been swimming in liberal waters for the last decade or so. I still don't get the urge to overlook bad faith for feel-good wishful thinking.

Lucy. Football. Aaaaaaaagh!!!!!

What does it change?

Besides spark a Politico column where Dylan Byers demands that liberals all must give Glenn Beck credit for doing this the next time he says that the Obama administration is planning on doing something crazybatshit and so he should be impeached. It rings so hollow. Wingnut says "Okay, Bill Clinton didn't have Vince Foster murdered. Okay? I said it. Okay?" or "Hey, remember me, from the 1990's, I'm real sorry I shot that pumpkin or watermelon or whatever it was and said it was just like how you shot Vince Foster in the head. You didn't kill him. I can admit that now. Friends?" Cookie? In 2014? You want a Cookie for saying you were so, so, wrong back in the late 90's now? No. No cookie. No 'thank you for standing up'. No way. No how. This is my way of clearly indicating to the universe than I am not going to automatically answer "sucker say what?" with "what?" because that is what some folks think of as being hopeful.

I think about all the sons and daughters and mothers and fathers who have died in Iraq.

Beck can take his "admission", with or without qualifiers, and stick it where the sun don't shine.

If his mouth is moving, bad faith is oozing out, and it should not be considered a possible source of some refreshing hope and feel-good spring water. Assume there's a con or an angle if he stays something that sounds decent or fair or magnanimous. "Liberals were right about Iraq"? You take that as anything profound at your peril. It's not real. Worse, it's something not real that sets you up for another con. There's still plenty of time for an impeachment that has no chance to succeeding except to say that it means that Obama has a black mark on his record. Beck will be right there with them.

I don't know. Maybe politics is just getting to me. It's almost been a decade and a half since Florida 2000 and the bad guys started a trillion dollar war and still can do the vile shit that they do. Sometimes I think everything in non-Conservative politics is always going to be a lot harder or take a lot longer than it should be because it's just tradition. This is how we roll.

Why are those motherfuckers so goddamned enabled. They have a shitload of money. They are pretty much unburdened by consciences or shame. The Village lets them do whatever the fuck they want or say whatever they want to say, because, "both sides". Why lower the gloves because some wingnut says something you want to hear?

At one time, he was fine with floating the notion that we, basically, were building FEMA (or whatever government acronymie-thingie sounded more ominous to serially bedwetting rich white guys) death camps in the desert. When we weren't busy putting old people to death with our Barry Che Mao Soweto ObummerCare Death Panels. Nope. No Cookie for the Beckster.

I thought it would pass if I slept on it. It didn't. I guess maybe it bothers me as much as it does because I don't want to find out how bad it has to get before everybody is on the same page about the universal role of pure bad faith and the advancement of Movement Conservatism. There is no way that in 2014 any member of the Movement Conservative commentariat should be able to hold up a shiny object and get a single "oooh, shiny! Pretty!" even for a hot minute.

UPDATE: I quoted this analysis from Hullabaloo in the comments because I think it's important, and upon reflection I think that it's important enough to place in the diary so that others can go and read it themselves. Beck is tacking on a very offensive notion that has absolutely nothing to do with his attention porn trolling of the Left and Center Left with any "Liberals were right" declarations. This: "we shouldn’t nation-build and there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free" is Frank Gaffneyan racist poppycock that Beck, with what I feel to be malicious premeditation, tacks on as if this white nationalist 'they were unworthy of us taking up the white man's burden' garbage was a liberal notion or progressive argument against the invasion of Iraq.

Glenn Beck falls back on the racist failure condition of the neoconservative

by David Atkins

Glenn Beck has come to the conclusion that liberals were right about Iraq because those damned Iraqi savages just don't want freedom, after all:

   “In spite of the things I felt at the time when we went into war, liberals said, ‘We shouldn’t get involved, we shouldn’t nation-build and there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free,’” Beck said. “I thought that was insulting at the time. Everybody wants to be free.”

    On Tuesday, Beck admitted, “You cannot force democracy on the Iraqis or anybody else, it doesn’t work. They don’t understand it or even really want it.”

As Naomi Klein discussed at length in the Shock Doctrine, this is the standard modern imperial playbook: smash and grab for resources and corporate gain, pretend it's about freedom, and then when the locals get angry and everything turns to chaos, claim that there's something culturally wrong with the people that they just don't understand freedom. The same playbook was run after American corporate-backed intervention led to fascist juntas in South America. The same rhetorical games were played after the fall of the Soviet Union--those Ruskies just didn't appreciate freedom, it was said. And now we see the same game in Iraq.

Glenn Beck falls back on the racist failure condition of the neoconservative

Discuss

Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:57 PM PDT

Very Serious People

by LeftHandedMan

Have I mentioned I hate Fred Hiatt? And fwiw, the WaPo editorial board over the last two decades has done more damage to this nation than 1000 Edward Snowdens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                -John Cole, Balloon Juice
I imagine a Village where "Woodward" is the name, but everything else stays entirely the same.

So, we go from Michael Kinsley being a total stooge for the Powers that Be, and Jonathan Alter giving him a Twitter reach-around as a reward for the belief that serial liars like Hayden and Cheney deciding what is worthy of being kept secret should actually trump journalism itself, especially if you really hate the guy who beat you to the scoop (and that is exactly what you are backing when you back 'let the government always decide what we have a right to know or don't, and, man, I'm so cool with all of this reactionary bullshit because I really hate that goddamned Glenn Greenwald'), to Jeffrey Goldberg saying that if the NYT decided not to run Michael Kinsley's snide high school slam book take on Glenn Greenwald’s book, that would be an act of censorship on par with not reporting on the substance of Snowden's NSA leaks, to Andrew Sullivan deliberately misreading Kinsley to attack the NYT's public represtantative for daring to be critical of Michael Kinsley's book review, while Fred Hiatt goes seething at President Obama for, after epic fails in Iraq and Afghanistan, refusing to be President McCain. Seriously. Is there any wonder why schools wither, but the Benghazi Industrial Complex thrives?

Not a single solitary member of the Village elite who are rending their garments and gnashing their teeth about the NSA leak story and its various players would be doing any of what they are doing now if somebody that they liked had been the catalyst to bringing Edward Snowden into the public eye and revealing his NSA leaks as their story. Many of those most vociferous voices of condemnation would be saying the exact opposite of what they are saying now if somebody else was the tip of the sword. This matters. The ability to see that this is so, and understand why it is so, is precious and important to ending this lingering age of incompetence excused and capricious cabals who are above the law as much as they are above reproach. Nothing changes, no matter how bad things get, because something stays fundamentally the same no matter what in our country today. The Very Serious People. Their rules. Their in-house exceptions to their rules. Their foibles. Their feuds. Their fetishes and fixations. There is something that I want to put out there, as Eric Shinseki's resignation from the VA is feted like one part low-information voter public policy fix meets one part firing the manager of the Cubs.

If Barbara Starr, or Bob Woodward, had broken the NSA leak story, and they had broken it in the exact same way but just in all the right beltway places and with all the right blessings of all the right beltway players, everything would be totally cool in the Village. Hell, if lil' Luke Russert in his crisp new boat shoes, navy blue yacht clubbers jacket, and gleaming white men's capri pants had been the one to do everything by the Glenn Greenwald dance card, why, it would still be totally okay. We would all be looking at a media that was entirely on the same page. Pentagon Papers 2.0 and demands that the Pulitzer people not drop the ball on attaboys on this one. Nobody in the Kewl Kidz Klub would be personally asking Woodward, Starr, or even poor lil' Luke if they should really be in jail, and the crush of those autopsying the personalities involved first would be digging through the pages of data looking for stories of their own to bring them some cheddar from the good cheese. Maybe Snowden would still be the controversial figure that his is now, but certainly the personality on the reporting side wouldn't be nearly as pivotal. Kinsley would be buying Woodward a drink. So would Alter, Sullivan, Goldberg, Hiatt, and Bai.

The intellectual center of a Mr. Michael Kinsley is that if he thinks you are a jerk, or if he finds you to be unserious, or uncouth, or if his friends think you are a jerk, or unserious, or uncouth, then you don't count. We're all equal, it's just that some folks are just more equal than others. You are serious if they think you are serious. Michael Kinsley. Jonathan Alter. Joe Klein. Ron Fournier. Fred Hiatt. Tom Friedman. The late David Broder. Matt Bai. What do they all have in common? Boiled down to their very professional essence, what is the common universal standard? You are as serious, or unserious, as they think of you at this moment. Non-Conservative punditry, and by extension, the non-Conservative conventional wisdom, has been dominated by such voices for decades. They gave us the cult of the eternally swooning towards to running to the fainting couch. The idea that "both parties do everything equally" even while they might angrily claim that they completely reject that standard. For under the 'you are serious/unserious if we say you are' standard, mulligans may be freely applied. America is being slowly bled by bad faith and bad actors, but God Bless And Keep Our Fainting Couch.

In America, in 2014, it is a vastly bigger sin to call a liar a liar than for a liar to actually be one.

Because of this mindset, how negatively or positively conservatives will react to a story that is about them or relates to them is now a co-consideration to the facts behind the story. Because of this reality being baked into the everyday of how our politics is practiced and covered on every level of our society, facts and opinions become blurred easily by those who benefit from there being no facts just differing opinions. It means having to interview a talk radio shock jock alongside a professor who is a climate change expert as if they have the same level of credibility and expertise. It means that a College Republican Intern at the Heritage Foundation and an Economist with a Nobel Prize in Economics can share podiums in a debate on the economy. It means that you cannot confront bad faith as bad faith because the concept of bad faith is treated as if it is a myth, and the raising of the subject or of the instances of it are always unfair partisan attacks. This fundamentally effects every aspect of our lives as citizens of the United States of America in a profoundly negative way. Every single awful thing about why Americans today are not better off than their parents is abetted by the media culture.

If Very UnSerious Person A breaks the story, our betters twist up their faces and furrow their brows and ponder the possibilities of a rogue journalist being deserving of prison time or not, and of journalism itself needing to defer to the Great Bedwetting Overreaching Powers That Be. But. If Very Serious Person B does it, breaks the exact same story with the exact same players and in the exact same way? The story would be the story. No detail would be eclipsed by petty scoresettling. This is Peak Serious. As Very Serious as 'We have to look forward, and not back'.

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