Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:
You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.
So what’s a boy to do?
It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?
He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?
Visine pitchman, former Comedy Central gameshow host, and ex-presidential speechwriter Ben Stein really wouldn’t hack me off, what, a couple times every five-six years or so? If he just wasn’t a pious hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe.
It isn’t the highest standard in the world. Many people have avoided being a hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe. He just isn’t living up to that standard, and I despair of his regular attempts at self-sabotage.
So, I point to an interview, which kind of turns on a thin dime so subtly that you might have to think a minute to realize that Stein is weaseling.
“Yes, the government designates many tens of millions as poor, but they almost always have indoor plumbing (which my mother did not have in her small town in the Catskills) and they are super nourished as opposed to mal-nourished,” he said. “They get food stamps. They get free medical care. They get vouchers for many of the needs of life.”
While he pities their plight, Stein pointed out that poverty was greatly reduced in scope and severity in the past century.
“In olden times, poverty was the common human condition,” Stein said. “In the USA, as recently as the Great Depression, poverty was commonplace. FDR might have exaggerated when he described one-third of the nation as ‘ill housed, ill fed and ill clad…’ But surely he was not far off.”
And his mother would be how old? I bet nobody had color tv’s in her day either. And his solution is?
“Maybe, just maybe, if we let God back into the public forum it would help. I have seen spiritual solutions work miracles.”
And in his mother’s day, way back when, when the poor folks were really poor, and not the kind of fake-ass poor we have today—is he saying things were less religious then? Because, unless I’m really mistaken, most conservatives envision the past as being a little less secularized and hippieficated , and way more squared-away, God-fearing, and role-knowing. And yet the really poor folks were back in the day, he says. And his momma did not have indoor plumbing, he also adds.
Thinking about that: Are you saying your momma was godless and self-sabotaging, then, Ben? Because I do not think that proves your point, and you shouldn’t even be talking that smack about your momma. That isn’t decent.
Well, it takes a genius like Jon Stewart to figure out a cure for terminal Koch-itis but, dang, he’s done it.
And it’s happening. It’s a Thing! Trending on Twitter . . . Enjoy that vacation, Jon. You earned it!
So far the reaction to #mcconnelling has been viral glee over a new art form to play with. Not that mashups and overdubbing are new, exactly, but this particular application has huge potential.
Just think about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are wasted, in this country, pumping out cheesy political ads that nobody cares about except the guys bankrolling them. Isn’t it possible that, if the public gets involved in disarming political ads, having fun with them and humanizing their subjects, politicians might have to find a better way of connecting with voters than posturing for a gang of video hacks? Ad funders might think twice about spending big bucks on producing a product that can be spun into less flattering images of their candidates.
Here’s hoping . . . in the meantime here are a few that I made myself, in the wee hours. And if you have some weekend freedom on your hands, Roasters, you should try it, you’ll like it. Oh. and be sure to put a link to your little gems in the comment thread.
The situation may well be dire for Dinesh D’Souza, conservative public intellectual, film-maker, and Christmas tree salesman. His recent indictment for charges of campaign finance fraud, for allegedly filtering $20K in campaign contributions to a long-time friend, Wendy Long, through “straw contributors”, could very well result in mandated jail time if he is found guilty. As in the picture above, you could say he’s up the creek on this one, but it’s a very odd thing, if you ask me.
Now, I don’t care for D’Souza, as might be evident by how I’ve written about him in the past. His claim that there is something un-American about being opposed to British colonialism, and selling that idea to people in tricorn hats waving stars and stripes, struck me as a tad incongruous and not without some racialist undertones when I first heard it, and I pretty much determined where his head was at when he quite recently made a tasteless tweet using a dead youth to malign the current president. His sensationalization of Barack Obama’s “hidden” life and times in his wingnut welfare hit (job) movie aimed low and didn’t miss hitting a low bar and stumbling right over, failing to actually be in any way a meaningful criticism of the President, even if a meaningful criticism based on policy from a conservative point of view could have potentially been made—but might not have been “sexy” enough for the president of a smallish Christian college who did not realize that not even being divorced from his current wife would look bad if he was kinda shacking up with some other lady.
But if anything, senationalist hot-button books and movies at least have some lucrative value, even if they don’t live up to what an actual intellectual dissection of the target might mean in actual effect. But this indictment is talking about a mere $20k (is that—“That they can prove” or what?) laundered (to use a term of art) through straw contributors (they had to have consented, yes?) to a campaign that lost so very, very considerably. I mean it wasn’t even close. Twenty large would have barely closed the deal on enough media time to make it remotely competitive. Not disrespecting whether he and the former Wendy Stone went way back—but what makes a guy risk jail time and at least four other suckers unindicted co-conspirators go in for the thing? Sheer ignorance of the FEC and laws thereabout? This is neither brain science nor rocket surgery, friends.
I get that some conspiracy-minded folks are saying this is a biased charge, but I find it hard to think there would be motion on this without any evidence at all. I’m thinking this is out there because the Feds are dead-to-rights on the 20G’s they know about. Anything they shake out besides that is gravy. I just can’t figure out why.
That’s disappointing. What did he think he was doing there? For a public intellectual, he could be more smart.
But let’s look for silver linings, shall we? Now that Liz Cheney has settled in the lovely state of Wyoming, she can spend time getting to know people and making herself some friends, possibly bonding over casting lines and hoisting brewskis. It might just be that she is what we would call an “acquired taste” and the good folks of Wyoming haven’t had ample enough opportunity to, um, acquire a taste for her. (I know I never have.)
Now admittedly, they might never warm to her (although pitchforks and torches may be involved at some point down the line) and taking up full-time residence in Wyoming may cut into her television appearances shilling for neoconservative foreign policy ideas she learned at daddy’s knee. I don’t see a downside there.
Well, it was bound to happen . . . Republicans have found a new way to distract America from Obamacare getting fixed by spreading the Too Stupid for Prime Time whopper that President Obama is closing the US embassy to the Vatican as retribution for Catholic resistance to certain employer mandates in the ACA.
Conservative media has lit up like a Hannukah bush. Drudge shrieks “Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics”; WND opines “OBAMA ‘INSULTS’ CATHOLICS IN VATICAN-EMBASSY SHUTDOWN”; and the ever thoughtful dead-heads at Breitbart, seeing right to the heart of the matter report:
. . . the Obama administration is trying to diminish and discredit the Vatican’s role in the world because it’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom values is at odds with the Regime’s pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage stance.
It looks like The Donald is being The Sued over a kind of “get-rich eventually” program that he was kindly enough calling a school. Trump is of the opinion that this suit against him is politically motivated, because…hm. He could be a somebody. He could be a contender. Instead of a bum, which is what everyone who notices that he is a bum makes of him on teh internets. But let’s hear what he has to say:
Oh. Wait. What does his spokesperson have to say?
“The attorney general has been angry because he felt that Mr. Trump and his various companies should have done much more for him in terms of fundraising,” Cohen said. “This entire investigation is politically motivated and it is a tremendous waste of taxpayers’ money.”
State Board of Elections records show Trump has spent more than $136,000 on New York campaigns since 2010. He contributed $12,500 to Schneiderman in October 2010, when Schneiderman was running for attorney general, records show. An outspoken conservative, Trump himself flirted with a presidential run last year.
“Donald Trump will not sit back and be extorted by anyone, including the attorney general,” Cohen said.
I am astonished that wealthy people in America donate to campaigns ever, or are concerned that their money bought them influence. Why do they even bother? It’s nonsense, is what it is. Clearly, extortion is that thing of when, you thought you bought protection, but oh no, You “bought” people who bring legal cases against things you might have done that were illegal like it was their job. Huh. Maybe attorney generals are not good investments if you are running a “get rich eventually” scheme.” Also not a good investment? The word “University”. Don’t bother copyrighting that one, you shan’t use it legally.
What I’m saying is, once (as in not) and future (as in not) Presidential Candidate Donald Trump is kind of a grifter. As in duh. But I bet he is still popular with the sort who likes his kind of…
Oh what the fuck—remember Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? (It was MTV Cribs for ‘80’s celebrities.) That’s all of his appeal. Otherwise seriously. Ask him about anything. Besides whether any politician is a legit citizen. And let the derp ensue. (Not that I think he won’t be faux elevated in the press again, because I do—which is why I point out his “duh”.)
You know who I’ve been seeing everywhere on the liberal blogs, lately? Markwayne Mullin. Now that the congress critters have returned to their districts, it’s always National Geographic-style fun to see them operating in their own habitats, but M-Squared is really giving great value for the attention. So far, he’s done climate science denial:
(May I direct Rep. Mullin to Ken Burn’s rather good take on the Dust Bowl—entirely worth anyone’s time, not least of all that of a representative from the great state of Oklahoma, where the wind does indeed come sweeping down the plains, all right.)
When Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign started to take a massive dump, I was kind of sympathetic but concerned. To my jaded eye, Michele Bachmann’s campaign always looked like a form of trolling rather than a serious effort, and deep in my guts, I always thought Ron Paul, as a kind of rear-guard Goldwater winger, was also doing his part to run a presidential campaign to score points and #profit. Which is why the problems with the Bachmann campaign starting with Sorenson struck me as weird. I was interested with the allegations that Kent Sorenson was “bought” by the Bachmann campaign. But the evidence and the Bachmann campaign’s own allegations suggested the obvious reason he didn’t “stay bought”. Iowa did not know they had a pimp.
He got a better offer. My immediate response was that the Paul campaign looked more viable, at the time—but the current story is that maybe there were reasons.
This whole affair is making me somewhat re-evaluate my estimation of both the Bachmann and Paul campaigns’ seriousness. Were these really a “straight shoot” and not “work” to make shit interesting for “Inevitable Mitt”? Did either of these candidates really think it was worth it to score points so much that they were violating campaign law in Iowa—up in the corn, feeling their oats? This makes me pre-emptively re-evaluate my estimation of Rand Paul’s obvious 2016 trolling. He could be for reals.
I don’t know if that scares me enough. I guess I won’t know until 2016. If anyone ever wonders where I go when I am not posting, I am recalibrating my cynicism, because sometimes I believe it must be broken.
You craved it. You begged for it. Parts of your brain stayed awake at night to call the Warner Brothers 1-800-FILMS-WE-NEED hotline.
Now, at last, it’s here: a Kryptonian strongman with no pants battles a Kryptnian villain with practically no history in the comic book world. PS: Russell Crowe appears as the first ever Jor-el with the dramatic star magnitude to bore us more intensely than Marlon Brando. This, truly, is the Superman epic we’ve all been waiting for. So, naturally, it’s no surprise that Superman’s not only from Krypton, he’s a Brit. Way to go, U.K.!
While the rest of us worry that our secret thoughts and fever dreams are being mined by the NSA, a few bold narcissists rise above all that and trot out the whole steamy enchilada for a national audience. So it is that subterranean screwball, Glenn Beck hosted Harvard’s least favorite son, Sen. Ted Cruz, on Thursday, to engage in an intellectual dissection of Mr Obama’s recent atrocities, including the appointments of Susan [Paybacks are a Bitch] Rice and Samantha Power.
While speaking to Glenn Beck earlier today, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) maintained that UN Ambassador nominee Samantha Power, best known for her human rights advocacy, “grovels” before dictators. Beck called Power, whom he referred to as “Powers,” as an “extraordinarily dangerous person” and accused her husband Cass Sunstein, who formerly led the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, of directing the IRS to target conservatives.
Cruz called Power “extreme” and “far outside of the mainstream,” and said that she and other “left-wing academics” appointed by Obama consistently “grovel before tyrants like Castro in Cuba and North Korea.”
In case you’re not up on your pop psychology, this “vision” is a classic misogynistic daydream of “dominating the dominatrix,” usually indicating some unresolved “Mommy issues.”
Happily, this sort of psychosexual BS is mostly consigned to the talking heads and icky forums of the far right. I mean, really, here we have a sociopathic nerd who believes that Congress and his alma mater are crawling with Communists, and an addled feral child talking past each other about nothing but their personal dysfunctions.
Beck is happy to have one more opportunity to dis Cass Sunstein and Cruz is trying to sound pompous and presidential before he slithers into Iowa.
Well fellas, UP YOURS! Those two women are twice the men that you’ll ever be. Oh, and, Sen Cruz? Des Moines is probably the closest you’ll ever get to the Oval Office . . .
As a special treat, take a few dramamine and watch this, if you dare:
May Robert Gibbs find solace someday, after the savaging he received at the wit of Bill Clinton’s ex-wife Maureen Dowd.
“I don’t normally read Maureen,” Gibbs, now an MSNBC contributor, said during an appearance on the network. “I don’t largely because it’s sort of largely the same column for the last, like, eight years.”
Yes, indeedy. Floyd The Barber, Gomer Pyle, Deputy Dimwit And Baalok the drunken alien nemesis in a futuristic chaise-longue. Ron Howard’s slightly older brother Clint returns after nearly sixty years to reprise his tiny tippling tyrant in the Star Trek episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver.”
Priceless, endless, thoroughly no-strings-attached thanks to Betty Cracker for the much-needed ST inspiration. I hadn’t thought much about America’s first dusty Western in outer space in a very long time, but now I can’t escape the feeling that I’m vibrating on a Barcalounger filled with Tribbles!
And by “THAT” I mean whatever it was three days ago that purported to be the annual comedy roast that mocks big government and the political press. I didn’t see it on the ‘Net, and nobody seems to be covering it…so forgive me for not believing it actually happened.
By “William Henry Pratt,” I mean the actual Christian name of Hollywood legend Boris Karloff. Early on in life, Pratt realized that no one named “Pratt” would ever be hired to zombie-walk through back-lot villages and papier-maché castles. Karloff made the most of his Potemkin name, his size 40 feet, and his ability to powerfully snarl the words “FIRE BAD!”
Steve Bell covers Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 (click to enlarge).
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I despaired this morning when I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher was dead at 87. Not because her passing upsets me. I’d already celebrated that in late 1990, when her party finally realized the old bat was potty, the wheels had long fallen off the Iron Lady, and she was growing even more unpopular than her historically record-breaking low approval ratings might have anticipated, and she needed to be removed from office for their own good before she took them down with her.
I recall walking round the streets of Greenock that day, in something of a daze, overhearing a couple of old guys on a street corner in conversation: “She’s gone, then.” “Aye.” It had been a long, difficult era from her election in 1979, when as a politically inexperienced 19-year-old I barely realized what she was about to usher in, through the horrible early 1980s, protesting against the Falklands War and the UK and US’s saber-rattling in the face of the “Soviet threat,” then the Middle East adventures that were a pale prologue to those of the 2000s, and being subjected to none too subtle state surveillance for my troubles, to standing on my doorstep one morning faced with a court official who was threatening to send the bailiffs round to confiscate what little property I had.
That last event happened because Ms YAFB and I had had the audacity to do as we’d been encouraged by the government and set up a small business in the teeth of a recession, our industry—publishing—was being more than decimated, work had dried up, we’d submitted accounts the local council needed to decide whether we were eligible for some benefit to help pay our Council Tax (a.k.a. Poll Tax), and they’d somehow lost the papers we’d sent in (not for the first time). No court date for a hearing. A sheriff somewhere had heard our case among a slew of others some time earlier. We were never offered the opportunity to attend and put forward our side of the case. The first we knew was a lunatic demand in the post for immediate payment of an absurd amount of money we had no prospect of finding. And so I stood there as this besuited, rather shifty guy threatened me with sending round the heavies.
That was Thatcher’s Britain. Or a small series of snapshots of it. And we got off lightly compared to many. We survived. Survived to see Thatcher leave office in tears.