Big Media Doesn’t Have to Know Flyover Country

If I read one more thinkpiece about how reporters/liberal think-tankers/big-money activists need to leave the NY/DC nest and come out and eat fried chicken with the rubes I will lose my mind.

Guys, there’s no reason to squander money setting your HQs up in southeastern Wisconsin, however cheap the rent is. 

There’s no reason to fly your reporters to Columbus and Kalamazoo.

You don’t have to go back to school for an anthropology degree so you can write boring-ass longform wanks about the ways of the hicks who are strange to us all.

You just have to pay, and listen to, and care about, the journalists and activists and human services workers who are ALREADY HERE, who know which kringle shop is the best one, and can tell you all about the local politics and how the watch factory closed and who that hurt and why. 

Read, and listen, to the voices in the Rust Belt, just as you should read and listen to people all over the world whose experience is other than yours. The irony is that people with the most education and worldly experience are often the most provincial, bragging, instead of being embarrassed, that “they have never been west of the Mississippi” or that they “always get Iowa and Ohio confused.”

So what’s the takeaway here? Why not work toward a “local writing” movement akin to the local foods one? Make it a priority to give money, or clicks, to writers who live in the region they are writing about. This is as much a plea to big media as it is to its readers.

Maybe we could have a “local media Saturday” akin to “small business Saturday,” and encourage people to subscribe or donate. Editors should hire writers living in the Midwest to write stories about their region, instead of flying in journalists from elsewhere. Meanwhile, readers could do the flying in, taking a trip to Detroit or southern Indiana, spending time getting to know the region and its vibrant, dynamic communities, contributing to the local economy as they do.

 

In the weeks since the election I keep reading “heartwarming” stories about people subscribing to the Times and the Post. That’s nice. Friends of mine work at those places and compared to the septic tank explosion that is CNN, the two big papers are fabulously deserving of your money and attention.

However, they are a) not in need of extra cash and b) not publicly guaranteeing that your six bucks a month or whatever is gonna directly pay David Farenthold to fuck Donald Trump up.

Whereas, if you send your media money to a local shop you can be sure it’s not going to pay to load the company up with debt and needless acquisitions of TV stations and sports teams and shit.

Here are some Midwest suggestions (add your own in the comments):

Belt, without which I really don’t think I would have survived this election.

The Chicago Reader, which regularly takes on stories the downtown dailies can’t/won’t touch, which needs petition support.

City Bureau.

Big Media, Big Liberal Policy, Big Thought-Leading doesn’t have to come get to know flyover country.

They just have to Google flyover country’s reporters and send them some goddamn checks. Hire the effective locals on contract or — gasp! — staff. Listen to what they say.

And once and for all stop acting like coming up through the farm system of exurban & neighborhood organizations is inferior to a graduate degree. Months and years on the ground in a place you know beats a fancy CV every time.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: The French Resistance

Since I’ve gone on about les Maquis, here’s a pretty good documentary about the French Resistance. It’s an episode of the Secrets of War series and is narrated by Charlton Heston:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Liar

It’s been another weird week in New Orleans. The weather has been yo-yo-ing to and fro. We reluctantly ran the AC on a particularly steamy day and we’re back to the heater right now. The kitties, of course, prefer the latter. So it goes.

There was a lethal shooting last weekend on Bourbon Street. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does the media, city government, and tourism establishment lose their collective minds. This time there are suggestions of metal detectors and limited access. That’s typical NOLA think: propose something that would be simultaneously costly and unenforceable. We live in a country and a state with an armed population and when you add booze and crowds to the mix, violence is not surprising. It’s difficult to prevent an asshole with a concealed weapon from discharging it. That may sound cold and harsh but “to live in this town, you must be tough, tough, tough, tough.” Thus spake Jagger and Richards. She-doo-be.

The mendacity theme here at First Draft continues with this week’s theme songs. That’s right, my obsession with different songs with the same title continues. We begin with Todd Rundgren’s 2004 tune Liar. It’s followed in quick succession by Queen, the Sex Pistols, Argent, and, of all people, Three Dog Night who covered the Argent tune.

I had no idea there were so many songs with liar in the title and that’s the truth. There will be more prevarication after the break, but first I need to find that lying sack of shit that we’ve heard so much about over the years.

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Doctor makes “monkey face” comment about Michelle Obama. Outraged? Yes. Shocked? Nope.

In the days after the presidential election, people have tried to parse the reasons for the rise of Trump and how racism will awaken from the dark, like it’s the Force or something.

The current narrative has gone in one of two directions, both of which seem to land on the same group: Rural, uneducated white people. In one version of this, it was an economic/culture issue that led rural whites to see Trump as a savior. This is something Trump has been playing up in Indiana this week, where he courageously threw money at Carrier to only lose some U.S. manufacturing jobs. In short, it’s about the work and the country mouse/city mouse divide.

The second version is racism, although it pretty much lands on the same basic group: Rural, uneducated white people. This narrative pushes out the concept that Trump tapped into that vein of racism that flows through the heartland like melted butter and stoked fears of Muslims, Mexicans and African-Americans. It was these simple-minded rubes who turned out in droves to “Make America Great Again” in hopes of getting back to that simpler time when all you needed to know about minorities is how many fifths of a person they counted for.

The stats bear out a lot of both of those elements, although more of the first than the second. Of course, the main problem is that you don’t get to take your alleged job creator without his side order of racism, something many people overlooked in their race to the bottom.

The second problem is that when it comes to racism, sexism and other “isms,” it’s not as simple as population density or if you’ve ever seen a building taller than three stories before.

Dr. Michelle Herren, an anesthesiologist and University of Colorado professor, came under fire this week for posting racist comments about Michelle Obama. Herren called the First Lady a “monkey face” said she spoke in “poor ebonic English.” Naturally, she followed that up with “There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!”

I don’t know what was supposed to convince readers more that she wasn’t racist, the heavy use of exclamation points or the “calling it like it is” thing. The person who turned her in to Denver Health and the board of regents said she was shocked and outraged by Herren’s comments. Herren is now on a leave of some kind until the hospital can figure out what to do with her/the fervor dies down and she can slink back to work.

The media reporting on this has listed her title, her salary ($363,000 a year) and her education, in what I’m assuming is a way to let people know, “Wow, look at this! This really SMART and RICH lady is even saying shit like this.”

I was outraged as well to see comments like this, but shocked? Not a chance.

I’m uncertain as to what people think makes someone who has a medical degree less of an asshole on any front. I guess we could hope that people with higher levels of finance and education are more likely to become cultured and worldly, thus giving them a better perspective on race and class.

A few recent media pieces have demonstrated that, no matter who you are or where you are, racism lives among us. John Oliver’s look at gentrified schools shows that these dividing lines in the North were given a pass when the Civil Rights Act was passed.

Trevor Noah and Tomi Lahren went at it this week about racism and Trump. Although the media notes that Noah “owns” her or whatever, if you watch the whole interview, he really didn’t. It reminded me of the Hagler-Leonard fight in which you saw Hagler punching hard, but for some reason, Leonard kept holding his own on the scorecards. (She’s got a college degree from UNLV, which obviously isn’t the reason she’s such a YouTube star. She might be the first woman a Republican jerked off to on a computer without turning the sound down.)

Christopher Caldwell’s piece on what I’d like to call the Control-Alt-Delete-Right showcases the spectrum of education and nuance in this scary-as-shit movement:

There are many such groups, varying along a spectrum of couth and intellect. Mr. Spencer, who dropped out of a doctoral program at Duke and worked, briefly, as an editor for The American Conservative, has his own online review, Radix Journal. The eloquent Yale-educated author Jared Taylor, who hosts the American Renaissance website and magazine, was at the conference, too. Kevin MacDonald, a retired psychology professor whose trilogy on Jewish influence is a touchstone for the movement, also came.

None of this excuses the bigger picture of people who spray paint swastikas on kids’ lockers or do the “hail Trump” salute. However, there’s enough shitty behavior to cover the people with Stars N Bars bumper stickers on their rusty truck and those who take a Lexus to the hospital, but won’t take an elevator with a black orderly.

Or as my father, a man with a tech-school degree, was fond of saying: “Educated doesn’t necessarily mean smart.”

Friday Catblogging: Della Street’s Faustian Box Bargain

This week’s post combines two classic catblogging themes: boxes and Devil-eyed Della. Who could ask for anything more?

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I’m fresh out of devil songs, so I’ll make a bargain with the Who instead.

Louisiana Politics: A Terrible Candidate For Terrible Times

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I swore I wouldn’t write about the Gret Stet Senate run-off since I prefer not to take shots at my own side. BUT a pro-Foster Campbell super PAC ran an ad that can be interpreted as flipping off part of the Democratic base. Here’s how Tyler Bridges described it in the Advocate:

A super PAC supporting Foster Campbell, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, is airing an unlikely television ad on the highly-charged issue of abortion.

The pro-Campbell ad attacks John N. Kennedy, his Republican opponent, from the right — even though Kennedy has the endorsement of National Right to Life, a prominent anti-abortion group.

The ad alleges that Kennedy supported abortion from 1988 to 2004 and, as viewers hear a beating heart, posts the number 22,581,040 on the screen.

 “That’s how many children were aborted during John Kennedy’s career as a pro-choice politician,” the announcer says, citing figures from National Right to Life.

“Foster Campbell worked with us to protect the unborn,” the announcer adds.

I understand that one reason for the ad is to accurately paint John Neely Kennedy as an opportunistic weasel. But the sub-text for people like me is that we have nowhere else to go, so they don’t care what we think. So much for this run-off tag line: Straight Talk with Foster Campbell.

Here’s the deal. I have voted many times for Blue Dog Democrats and I’m sure I will in the future, but Foster’s populist pose really riles me up as they say in the piney woods. He’s also running an ad wherein he states that he will work with Trump when he’s right; not exactly an uplifting message for a blogger whose slogan is Vive les Maquis. He has said he’d oppose Trump on Social Security and Medicare, which is why I’m holding my nose and voting for Foster.

I realize that the Insult Comedian got 58% while winning Louisiana but if Foster were a genuine populist he’d run against all the wealthy plutocrats appointed to the Trump cabinet. The DeVos, Mnuchin, and Ross appointments clearly establish Trump as the phony populist 49% of the people believe him to be. Instead of indulging in me-tooism, Campbell should indict Trump as a lying fake populist who appointed the “foreclosure king” as Treasury Secretary while forgetting the forgotten man. I’d also like to point out that Huey Long, the patron saint of Gret Stet populism, was willing to attack a popular President of his own party. And Trump ain’t no FDR.

Running a scorched earth campaign would also allow the doomed candidate to lose with some dignity instead of trying to out hick Neely. I considered calling this post Hick vs. Hick but I’m sick of the hick shtick so I didn’t. In the end, Foster is a candidate who reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn. I say, I say.

My dislike of Foster Campbell dates to the 2007 Gret Stet Goober Race. He was allegedly the leading Democratic candidate in a race that Bobby Jindal was destined to win. Foster barely had a pulse during that election. He ended up with 12.45% finishing in fourth place behind a guy who had been a Democrat for five minutes and independent John Georges, the dullest Greek tycoon in recorded history. I have a friend who told Campbell he could build a name for himself even in defeat if he ran a spirited campaign. He did not and he lost. Badly.

Campbell *is* running a better campaign than in 2007. His team includes many of the same people who helped elect John Bel Edwards Governor in 2015. The problem is that Edwards was a better candidate than Foster and Bitter Vitter was a weaker candidate than Neely. That race featured a West Pointer versus Diaper Dave. The 2016 Senate race is more like Foghorn Leghorn versus Colonel Corpone. In the end, Senate races are a different beast altogether: they’re about national, not state politics. If the opposite were true, Mary Landrieu would have won a fourth term in 2014,

I am planning to vote for Foster Campbell in the run-off. It will be a clothes pin vote. There’s been some debate among my friends as to what kind of clothes pin it should be. One friend advocates a strong spring clamp, another a cast iron clothes pin. I’m sticking with the old-fashioned pinewood clothes pin since we’re having a hick vs. hick run-off. Or perhaps I should go Claes Oldenburg on their asses:

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Foster closes one of his teevee spots by shooting a shotgun, Joe Manchin-style. At least he isn’t running an ad with this closing line: “I believe that love is the answer but you oughta own a handgun just in case.”

As an antidote to that Neelyism, I’ll give Todd Rundgren and Utopia the last word:

Malaka Of The Week: Konni Burton

A lot of things have fallen through the cracks of my mind lately because of the electoral college disaster. There’s a backlash brewing across the country against the progress that has been made on civil rights issues in recent years. To be more specific, against the remarkable gains made since 2008 on LGBTQ issues. One might even call it a lavender backlash. Yeah, I know, the term is retro but so is the backlash itself. You won’t be surprised to hear that one locus of the backlash is Texas. And that is why Texas State Senator Konni Burton is malaka of the week.

I was blissfully unaware of what was brewing in Austin until a tweet from Tim Peacock hit my timeline, which led me to a post at his blog, Peacock Panache:

As the state legislative session in Texas begins, state Senator Konni Burton (R) just filed legislation that would force schools to out LGBTQ students to their parents. SB242 takes aim at “the right of a child ’s parent to public school records and information concerning the child” on the surface. Under that veneer, however, Burton’s explicit intentions in filing the legislation are clear.

The bill was filed with the intention of subverting rules proposed by the Fort Worth Independent School District aimed at protecting the privacy rights of LGBTQ teens, especially transgender kids. It’s trickier than that so take a deeper dive into Tim Peacock’s piece.

Senator Burton claims that the intent of her bill is to provide parents with information about their children. It is, of course, a smokescreen (Konni job?) as is typical of so much discriminatory legislation. Haters not only have to hate, they have to hide behind family values rhetoric. Burton’s bill will effectively out LBGTQ students and that is what matters, not her increasingly strident disclaimers.

The implications of Malaka Konni’s bill are ominous and clearly stated by Tim Peacock:

As any LGBTQ person can confirm, keeping sexual orientation and gender identity/expression a secret from parents may literally be a matter of life or death. While society has made significant leaps forward in ensuring families with LGBTQ children are at a minimum tolerant, many areas of the and many belief systems still view being LGBTQ as wrong or criminal. Unwittingly outing a LGBTQ child or teenager to his or her parents can have devastating and sometimes lethal consequences.

If a student is transgender the chances of harm based on outing grow exponentially. A 2011 survey found that transgender people attempted to commit suicide at rates over 30 times the general population. And the causation behind that more often than not was discrimination, violence and/or rejection by those close to them.

While suicide is at the far end of the spectrum, LGBTQ students face a myriad of other consequence in having their identities unwittingly exposed to their parents including verbal and physical abuse, homelessness (after being kicked out) and involuntary conversation therapy (a practice condemned by the medical and psychological community though it’s still popular among anti-LGBTQ conservatives).

A quick reminder that Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire has been a leading advocate of conversion therapy.

I recall reading some articles earlier this year about how our side had won the culture war. Since I live in a blue dot in a deep red state, I’m always skeptical of such claims. In the Gret Stet of Louisiana, socially conservative Catholics have an unholy alliance on such issues with Protestant biblethumpers. Like the people in Texas, we’re always on the lookout for crazy, retrograde legislation from our lege. It’s going to get worse after Trump’s electoral college victory. I eagerly await the backlash to the backlash. Now I’m feeling whiplashed, he said snidely.

I’d never heard of Senator Burton before her attempted Konni job. I hope to rarely hear of her in the future. If the people of Texas are lucky, she’s merely a malakatudinous comet streaking across the sky before crashing and burning. BTW, Burton was elected to replace Wendy Davis in the Texas Senate. That seat has gone from pink sneakers to lavender backlash in two years. And that is why Konni Burton is malaka of the week.

Dollars And Pence

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First, good for those employees at Carrier who didn’t lose their jobs. At this point in my  middle-aged life, I’m well aware of just how frightening the prospect of getting laid off is.

Second, I’m also aware that tax incentives and other financial/political considerations are all in the business playbook nowadays. Hell, my local downtown is getting rebuilt via a combination of direct state government spending, TIFs and lord knows what else (a good bit of it done by GOPers Mike Foster and PBJ…go figure). So, on a practical level, I won’t holler — too loud — at the “solution” Trump/Pence offered, which, in so many words, is Throw Money At It.

However, this is an excellent example of the hypocrisy of alleged conservative free-market ideology. Turns out, they’re as eager to spend tax dollars as anyone else. They just want the money to go to their donors and contributors (but not necessarily their voter base or the greater public good).

Oh, and again, while I’m glad some Carrier employees will remain employed, some won’t. So, not exactly saving the day. More like glass half full. Plus, think of how other businesses might react. It’s a whole new source of revenue to exploit.

Finally, saving a few jobs still doesn’t change my mind about Trump/Pence. Nothing can take the taint off of either/both/the whole incoming administration. Sleaze is sleaze.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Billy Liar

I’ve had mendacity on my mind this week. That brings me to Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar. Billy is a British “post-war babe” fantasist. He’s Walter Mitty for his time and place. Like Mitty, he’s more benign than the Trump Tower liar.

Billy Liar was a huge success when it came out in 1959 and remains in print to this very day. Below are two paperback editions:

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Quite naturally, the book was adapted for the stage. The original West End production starred the great Albert Finney as Billy.

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The 1963 film version of Billy Liar was helmed by John Schlesinger who later won an Oscar for Midnight Cowboy. Finney was otherwise engaged so Tom Courtenay played Billy. It’s a must-see movie classic.

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The property had legs as it was made into a Teevee series and the West End musical, Billy.

Here’s the trailer:

Finally, Billy Liar has provided the inspiration for some pretty darn good rock bands.

 

He Who Sups With The Devil Should Have A Long Spoon

The expression may date from the late 14th Century, but it perfectly describes Willard Mittbot Romney’s dinner with the Insult Comedian, and the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver’s creature Reince Priebus. It’s a pity that neither of the principals drink: I would have needed at least 2 stiff belts of Bourbon to cope with Trump and his lackey.

It will be interesting to see if this leads anywhere. The submission ritual seems to be underway:  Trump has gotten Romney to say vaguely nice things about him after this blistering March speech:

Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

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Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. We have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired.

And now Willard is reconsidering Trump’s attributes. Pitiful but typical. It’s what happens when you sell your soul to that old devil called power.

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I’m not sure if Willard still has a soul. I’ve been advised that bots don’t have souls but Mr. Data did. You say bot, I say android. Let’s call the whole thing off, but first some music:

 

 

Tweets & Circuses

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Image by Michael F.

The outlines of Trump’s online propaganda operation become clearer by the day. Sometimes the Insult Comedian will lose his shit and tweet without thinking. Other times, he will use his favorite social media platform as a way to distract attention from his latest scandal or terrible personnel choices. Along with the Hamilton tirade, the flag burning tweet falls into the latter category:

Trump wanted people to stop talking about the lease of his Washington DC hotel, the NYT article about the inevitable conflicts of interest caused by his empire, and the appointment of wingnut Congressman Tom Price to head HHS. I may start calling the department Health and Inhuman Services now that Price has been nominated. He not only favors repealing the ACA, he’s a rabid frothing at the mouth Medicare privatizer. I don’t recall the TP ticket running to phase out Medicare. Their elderly supporters are in for a rude awakening. It’s not exactly unexpected: Trump is the rudest man in America, after all.

If Trump’s plan was to change the subject from health care policy-an important but somewhat dry topic-to flag burning, it worked. It’s much easier to discuss threats against flag burners than to delve into the details of Medicare. It’s also the nature of the twitter beast: instant analysis of superficial topics is the bread and butter of the Tweeter Tube.

I am not advocating that we stop paying attention to Trump’s twitter addiction, far from it. Instead, I believe that we should take a deep breath and think our responses through. Not everything requires a response within 3 minutes. We can take up to 20 or 30 whole minutes, which will let us prioritize the effluvia tweeted out in the middle of the night from Trump Tower. Here’s one rule of thumb: if Trump tweets something irrelevant out-of-the-blue, there’s a good chance it’s a distraction. That’s the flag burning tweet in a wingnut shell.

Twitter is the perfect medium for the Insult Comedian. It’s full of ignoramuses with short attention spans who personalize, and feel obliged to comment on, everything. Sound familiar?Twitter is Trump to a T. Any time Trump feels unloved or persecuted, a tweet storm ensues. Some have said that his people should call twitter’s people and pull the plug on the mad  tweeter. I prefer to know what my enemy is up to. I just think we need to try harder to discern what is important and what is a diversion. Both the twitteratti and the MSM have failed miserably at that so far. It’s what happens when you’re a conclusion jumper. I hate them almost as much as close talkers, y’all.

We’re navigating uncharted, shark infested waters. The electoral college winner is a mentally unstable showman with a short attention span. Twitter will play a depressingly important role in how this fake populist deals with the populace.

Michael F came up with the I Claudius style featured image for a post called If Caligula Means Little Boots as opposed to, say, little hands. The term “bread and circuses” was coined by the delinquent Roman wag Juvenal during the reign of Augustus; the man who finished off the Roman Republic. Unlike Trump, Augustus was a competent, intelligent man. The Insult Comedian is more reminiscent of that imperial pussy grabber, Tiberius who tried and failed to fill his stepfather’s strappy sandals. But Tiberius *was* able to provide bread and circuses for the masses. All the Insult Comedian/Sideshow Barker is likely to provide is tweets and circuses.

The next time anyone falls for one of Trump’s diversions, you could do worse than ponder the  following question posed by Pete Townshend, Why Did I Fall For That?

Repeat after me: tweets and circuses. Why did I fall for that?

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Liar

The Jesus Lizard’s kind of noise rock is not my cup of tea. I do, however, dig this cover by painter Malcolm Bucknall. The painting is called Allegory of Death and the album is Liar.

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All I have to say about the music is leapin’ Jesus Lizards. I’m not sure what that means but it has a nice Little Orphan Annie feel to it. It beats the hell out of listening to Jesus Jones.

No One’s Coming

One more time, because I keep saying this, because nobody’s hearing it:

People who should KNOW BETTER keep asking when the noble heroes who surely, SURELY must lurk among the GOP will rise up and restrain the madman they nominated for president, reassert Genuine Strong Daddy Party authority, and return us to the glory days of polite racism and understated economic violence.

And … I get it, okay? This is in fact the GOP’s mess. They chained this feral critter in their basement and fed it rotten meat and lies about Islamo-fascism for 15 years, beat it occasionally, and now they’ve let it out of its cage and it’s mauling the wedding guests. We shouldn’t have to tranq it for them. They should clean this up. Guess what? THEY’RE NOT GOING TO.

These are people, okay? Human beings. Maybe you’ve met some of them in your travels. They like cold beer and warm beds and chocolate covered pretzels. They ain’t complicated. They tend to act in ways that will benefit them.

They sucked up to George W. Bush when he was a powerful War President and they ran away from him when his numbers tanked, because those were the actions that resulted in them either holding onto the power they had or increasing that power. These same jackholes spent eight years demonizing a pretty harmless middle-of-the-road upper manager for the crime of trying to give people health insurance, because that kind of behavior made them look sexy to the people who voted in the midterms.

Those that didn’t look to their base? That said maybe we could work with Obama, or not be gratuitously nasty to women and poor people, or at least try to read the Constitution now and again and confirm a judge once in a while? They wound up NOT HERE ANYMORE, because the Tea Party primaried them out of existence and replaced them with the likes of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. (Who, lest we forget, make Donald Trump look like Winston Churchill, albeit after his six afternoon highballs.)

So what was the lesson there? Hold onto whatever you’ve got, however you have to, and during this past election that’s exactly what they did. They endorsed and un-endorsed and re-endorsed depending on the pussy-grab of the day, and they suffered exactly no consequences for their dithering. Why would they abandon that dithering now, take a stand for which they could be attacked, and … potentially save the Republic? What is in it for them?

All the aforementioned is not, by the way, a knock on the GOP or the creatures that inhabit it. It’s not good or bad so much as it’s average. You and I both do stuff because we’ll be rewarded for it. This is basic human shit, and I’m not annoyed at the GOP’s fascists and fools for being exactly what they need to be.

I AM righteously cheesed off I have to keep explaining basic human shit to people who want fairy tales so they can let themselves off the hook. Nobody within the GOP is going to stand up and tell Trump to get fucked. Our elite institutions are busy finding new euphemisms for “white power” lest they seem too brave or something. There is no way around doing this ourselves, every one. It’s annoying. Like I said, this is their mess.

But it’s our country.

A.

Trump’s Thanksgiving Toddler Tantrum

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In confronting the biggest liar in American political history, I claim the right to dramatic license, especially when alliteration is involved. At least that claim isn’t false like this one:

It turns out that the only “news site” that’s pushing this ludicrous story about “illegal aliens” voting is Alex Jones’ Info Wars:

Donald Trump’s campaign has yet to provide any evidence for the President-elect’s new claim that “millions” of votes cast by undocumented immigrants cost him the popular vote.

While elections officials and fact-checking websites have adamantly denied that any such widespread voter fraud occurred, one national news site has pushed this myth: conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars.

A widely-shared November 14 article from the site that alleged that “Trump may have won the popular vote” claims that “more than three million” votes were cast by non-citizens. As PolitiFact documented, the story is based off tweets from Gregg Phillips, a GOP operative who claims to be the founder of VoteStand.org, a voter fraud reporting app. It also cites a report from VoteFraud.org, though no such report exists.

Phillips told PolitiFact he was still analyzing and verifying data and refused to offer any additional information about how he arrived at the three million figure.

The whole thing is based on some tweets and a big lie, just like the Trump campaign itself. The problem is that some people believe this shit; in part, because the MSM continues to treat Trump as if  he occasionally tells the truth when he NEVER does so.

The latest twitter tantrum started as a way to divert attention from stories of conflicts of interest and internal staff strife. The claim that he won the popular vote turned a phony controversy into a real one over phony numbers. Autocrats love phony numbers.

In other Big Lie news, it looks like the Trumpers are setting up Willard Mittbot Romney for a fall. I was always skeptical that he was a serious contender for Secretary of State absent humiliating terms. I agree with Josh Marshall’s take on this:

But the current drama over Mitt Romney’s possible nomination to be Secretary of State points to something quite different: the ritual humiliation of opponents, critics and all who have resisted that Trump yoke that is central to the Trump world. We saw it repeatedly during the campaign and it continues into the transition.

If you haven’t kept up on this little sub-drama in the Trump mega-drama, Trump staffers have been floating word for days that Trump will require Romney to publicly apologize if he wants to be Secretary of State – almost literally a ritual humiliation to enter the Trump inner circle. More pointedly, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway – now some sort of senior advisor to the transition – has repeatedly said in public that if Trump chooses Romney it would be a betrayal of Trump’s supporters. She said this most recently and floridly this morning on the CNN Sunday morning show.

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Dignity is the kryptonite of the Trump world. The dignity wraiths who have bowed down to Trump and given him their all instinctively look to destroy anyone who hasn’t. Like a mob capos who appear more eager to defend the boss’s honor and power than the boss himself but this mystery is beside the point.

A willingness to accept humiliation is part of the deal made by anyone who enters Trump World. Total submission is required, especially for those like Romney who have told the truth about the Insult Comedian in the past. I suspect he’s trying to convince himself that taking on this job would be an act of selfless patriotism instead of a journey into humiliation. I’m convinced he’s being set up for a different form of humiliation: being bypassed for a Trump loyalist. Willard should not take the bait. Instead, he should tell the world he does not want the job. Will he do it? Beats the hell out of me, but if he wants to keep his dignity he will. Look what happened to Chris Christie. He was demoted from butler to footman after the election.

I cannot believe I just gave sincere advice to a man I’ve mocked for years. It’s another example of what Trump hath wrought and why I will continue to treat the electoral college winner with the same respect that Republicans showed Barack Obama: NONE.

Vive les Maquis.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “be careful what you wish for” edition

Well, good people, the Freeperati have gotten everything they’ve always wanted.

Or have they?

Remember Mitt Romney? The Mitt Romney that could get your thrown off Free Republic if you supported him? The Mitt Romney you Freepers hate with every fiber of your twisted beings?

Mitt Romney Is Preparing Apology to Trump – Is Very Interested in Secretary of State Job
TheGatewayPundit.com ^ | November 24,2016 | Jim Hoft

Posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎33‎:‎16‎ ‎PM by Hojczyk

Former Governor Romney was one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics during the election. He assisted his opponents and was essentially working to get Hillary Clinton elected.

Donald Trump met with Mitt Romney in New Jersey last week. Sources said he was interviewing for the Secretary of State position with the Trump administration.

Trump supporters HATE the idea.

Now this… Transition Team sources told Ed Henry from FOX News that Mitt Romney is preparing a public apology. Mitt Romney is reportedly very interested in the Secretary of State job.

1 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎33‎:‎16‎ ‎PM by Hojczyk
artejohnsongermaninterested
To: Hojczyk

 

I hope Trump doesn’t fall for this RINO bait.

2 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎34‎:‎58‎ ‎PM by Blue Highway

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rhinobait
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Too late!!
To: Hojczyk

 

No RINO spies in the administration

4 posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎36‎:‎01‎ ‎PM by jsanders2001

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trumprino
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And no – I didn’t make that one up.

 

To: Hojczyk 

Can’t have someone in there who is likely to make it about self gain and profits.

wtfdidyoujustsay

So much of the Federal government needs to be fumigated.

20 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎40‎:‎09‎ ‎PM by Bayard

“plain talk” sees an upside:
To: Hojczyk

 

Romney must grovel and beg …

42 posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎52‎:‎38‎ ‎PM by plain talk

Several Freeperati think that The Darnold is just getting ready to go all Lucy Van Pelt on Mittens:

 

To: Hojczyk

 

Trump should make a sincere apology from Romney a requisite for the job…wait until Romney apologizes, then don’t give him the job.

45 posted on 11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎5‎:‎53‎:‎34‎ ‎PM by mac_truck (aide toi et dieu t’aidera)

Did any of you jerkoffs ever actually READ “The Art Of The Deal”?
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“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do.”
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And now – the post of the thread!!
To: Hojczyk

 

I really can’t believe Romney is being considered in the least. He degraded Mr. Trump continuously.

Does the nation lack good leaders to the extent that Romney is even an option?

228 posted on ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2016‎ ‎9‎:‎32‎:‎56‎ ‎PM by Cedar

Guys – the spare Irony Meters are on backorder.
More “what the fuck have we done??” below…

Continue reading

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At Some Point Don’t You Want to Be About Something?

The cowardice on display here is truly amazing:

Jesus TITS. If enough people are talking about a thing, that means they deserve a story about a thing, even if that thing doesn’t exist, isn’t remotely what they’re talking about, is mostly or entirely bullshit, or is otherwise something any good editor should kill with a kitchen knife. This is garbage: 

Seems worthwhile to look into allegations that have currency over readers, voters- and present the facts as we find them.

I HAVE LOTS OF QUESTIONS.

Starters: What’s this “currency” certain “allegations” have? How is the amount determined? Is it in the number of unhinged subreddit posts? Frequency of calls to the editor? Editor’s spouse bringing it up at the dinner table? Posts on the paper’s Facebook page accusing it of COVERING ALL THIS UP?

What is the worth of that currency? Who is in charge of counting it? How is it insured? Given the sources for this trash fire of a story, should we really be abandoning the gold standard here?

Why do certain allegations garner “currency” and others do not? If “lots of people being pissed about something” is the going rate independent of any other consideration, I must have missed all those stories about the very legitimate gripes Americans have against illegal spying, the never-ending war on terror and the presence of literal Nazis in the White House. Those things are, in addition to having hella currency, actually real.

This is all just so stupid and sad. Journalists are going to sit around at conferences for the next year talking about what they could have done differently in this election, come to the sad but inevitable conclusion that NOTHING, lament that kids don’t read anymore and all anyone cares about are Kardashians, and cower in fear of Breitbart. They’ll wax nostalgic for some imaginary time, maybe during the Murrow or Cronkite era, when they could have done real shit, taken real stands, effected real change.

And it will just goddamn escape them that their chance is right fucking now today, that they don’t have to be beholden to whatever wingnut newsletter cause is filling up their inbox, that they do in fact have choices and can choose to be grownups.

God, nothing bothers me more than self-imposed helplessness. Do you know how many people don’t have the CHOICE to be helpless? Especially here, especially now, with deportations and international hissyfits and everybody arming up for the coming apocalypse? Like how dare reporters whine about how awkward it is to just suggest that maybe we not do stories about things that are crap?

You don’t even have to get into political bias to get here. All you need is cowardice and a healthy dose of stupidity.

Via John McQuaid.

A.

Abandon All Hope of Trump’s Improvement

Peggy Noonan still thinks someone is coming to save her: 

The press does not believe, not for a second, and Democrats do not believe, not for a second, that Mr. Trump will be able to change the habits of a lifetime. They are relying on it.

Mr. Trump shocked them by winning. He should shock them now with rectitude.

HE’S NOT GOING TO DO THAT. God, everyone with a functioning keyboard told you a hundred thousand times he was like this, and HE told you he was like this, and you said over and over that maybe he wasn’t going to be like this, and you’re still counting on salvation from above?

Grow the fuck up, Pegs, there is no Easter Bunny. I know it hurts your head to think filthy hippies might have a point here, but the pivot’s not coming.

I keep reading these stories: 

What happens next to the American republic will depend on whether Trump chooses to abide by, or can be restrained within, legal and bureaucratic limits—or whether his fellow partisans, seeking their own immediate political objectives, instead empower and enable him.

Yeah, this is in doubt. Whether the Republican establishment is going to restrain Trump.

The same Republican establishment that threw everything it had at him during the primaries and barely mussed his stupid muppet fur.

The same Republican establishment that spent the general election dithering and hedging and trying to figure out how to kiss HALF of Trump’s ass, in case this whole thing went south or in case it didn’t.

The same Republican establishment that was so enamored of small-d democratic principles that it shut down the government in protest of giving people health care? That spent eight years screaming about seekrit Muslims and gay marriage and refusing to confirm a goddamn Supreme Court nominee?

That’s the institution you’re thinking is going to grow a pair? That’s what you’re counting on? You might as well be praying to the Tooth Fairy. It would be just as effective and slightly less embarrassing.

Just stop it.

Nobody’s coming to save us from Trump.

Not the politicians who are trying to figure out how to cooperate with him while still yelling at him enough to make money. Not the news hairdos already running stories about what the Trump family Thanksgiving looked like. Not the electoral college or Jill Stein’s recount or Hillary contesting the results of the election.

Certainly not the Republican party which faced so few consequences for nominating a SERIAL SEX PREDATOR that they won the entire White House and larger majorities in Congress.

Why should they save the country from Trump? Why are we asking them to do what is not in their interest?

I said it right after the election and I’ll keep saying it: All we do now is save as many as we can. Keep giving me your suggestions for how we do that because that’s all that’s important now.

Nobody’s coming to save us. Certainly not from the GOP side of the aisle.

A.

Sunday Morning Video: The Most Dangerous Game

the-most-dangerous-game-1932-602x356

You’re not seeing double. This is not my post-election piece, The Most Dangerous Game, it’s the 1932 movie that inspired that post. This atmospheric black and white horror flick involved many of the same people who went on to make King Kong the next year.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Broken Arrow

rightandleft

Right and Left by Winslow Homer, 1909.

I’m black and blue from pinching myself to prove that the Insult Comedian’s electoral college victory really happened. It’s a real life nightmare but at least we had our first cold front of the season. My colleagues in Chicago and Madison would call it mildly chilly but it’s cold by New Orleans standards. Cold enough to plug-in the space heaters and turn on the central. I’m not crazy about the smell of burning dust on the vents but it ends fairly quickly. The cats, of course, love bathing in the rays of the space heaters.

We’ve all been so focused on the electoral disaster that not enough attention has been paid to the South Dakota pipeline controversy. I plead guilty myself but I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux. If you’re like me and feel the need to be educated on the dispute, here’s a link to a FAQ about the situation.

It’s a much better way to spend your time than thinking about the December 10th Gret Stet Senate run-off. Here’s my position on the Neely-Foghorn Leghorn race in two tweets:

I forgot about two earlier ones, so make that four tweets:

Let’s move on to this week theme song. Make that theme songs as they’re two different tunes with the same title. The first Broken Arrow comes from Robbie Robertson’s eponymous first solo album. The second is a Neil Young/Buffalo Springfield numbah that shows how influential Sgt. Pepper was even with roots rockers.

We’ll put the broken arrow back in the quiver when we get the chance but it’s time for our first segment. Hint: it has something to do with a songwriter of Native-American heritage.

Robbie Robertson’s Testimony: The former Band guitarist has long been one of rock music’s best storytellers. He recently published his memoirs, Testimony. He sat down with Esquire’s Jeff Slate to discuss the book, Bob Dylan, the 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz and his often rocky relationship with his former band mates of whom only keyboard wizard Garth Hudson still survives.

As a writer, I found this passage of particular interest:

Did you find similarities in the way you write music and the way you wrote the book?

Yeah, I think for me the voice is quite similar. The process is extremely different and writing this book was maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This isn’t just slamming down a bunch of words. This is writing a book! The detail! Writing songs is where we’re giving you an impression of a story. When you’re writing a book, you’re writing the story. There’s no skipping over stuff like you can in a song. It’s an art to be able to boil things down, and convey things with a sound and a mood. I love both things, but now, after writing this, I have the fever and I’m gonna write the next volume to it. In fact, it might be a trilogy!

I’m looking forward to reading the book. I wonder how deep Robbie goes into his issues with Levon Helm. I hope he clears the air, but since the major problem was money I have my doubts. I regret they never worked things out but as John Lennon said: “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Before moving on, here’s one of Robbie’s lesser known masterpieces.

In the interview, Robbie mentioned working on music for the new Scorsese film, let’s move on to a story from tomorrow’s NYT Magazine.

The Passion of Martin Scorsese: It turns out that Marty’s passion project has been to bring The Silence, a novel about Catholic missionaries in Japan by Shusako Endo, to the big screen. It may sound like an odd project to those of you who think of Scorsese as a guy who makes gangster films but religion has always played a role in his films. It sounds like an interesting project. Paul Elie has the details.

I’m keeping it brief this holiday weekend so let’s dive into our next piece, which is about Scorsese’s fellow Italian-American filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola. I’ll let the NYT’s link icon thing herald the next segment:

I’ve seen The Godfather more times than I care to admit. Actually, I lost count long ago. The first two installments are close to perfect, and 3 would have been much better if Winona Ryder had played Michael Corleone’s doomed daughter. Winona’s fall from grace happened right before shooting and Sofia Coppola stepped in. It’s a pity, there’s much to like about the movie but, let’s just say, Sofia is a better director than actress.

Coppola sat down with Timesman Jacob Bernstein to talk about his Godfather book. Here’s a slice of the pie:

When was the last time you watched “The Godfather”?

Oh, I don’t know, years ago. For me, the memory of “The Godfather” brings great unhappiness. That movie took 60 days, and it was miserable, not to mention the months after of jockeying over the cut. So my reaction is usually of panic and nausea, but that has nothing to do with how it is for the audience.

Something I liked about reading your book was finding out how methodical you were. There’s a presumption that all great art is the result of a boundless imagination. This book shows that it’s a slog.

It was insecurity. I was so young. I was hired because I was young. A lot of important directors turned it down. Elia Kazan turned it down. Costa-Gavras turned it down, a whole bunch of important directors. So the philosophy was, let’s get someone young, who could presumably be pushed around. Also, I was Italian-American, and that was good, because it meant if the studio got flak they could simply say, “But it was an Italian-American director.”

It’s a pity that Coppola has been the Orson Welles of his generation instead of thriving like Scorsese. If you asked me back in the day who would have been more successful, my money would have been on Coppola. Sorry, Marty. It’s another thing I’ve been wrong about. Francis is a helluva winemaker though.

I’ve already done a list of my favorite Scorsese movies, so we’ll try something different. My ten favorite supporting characters in The Godfather trilogy in no particular order. I’ve excluded the males in the Corleone family from consideration. Sorry, Fredo.

  1. Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi.
  2. Abe Vigoda as Tessio.
  3. Richard Castellano as Clemenza
  4. Michael Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli in 2.
  5. Lee Strasberg Hyman Roth in 2.
  6. Eli Wallach as Don Altobello in 3.
  7. GD Spradlin as Senator Geary in 2
  8. Richard Conte as Don Barzini.
  9. Sterling Hayden as Capt. McCluskey.
  10. Gastone Moschin as Fanucci in 2.

One flaw of the Godfather movies is the paucity of interesting female characters. David Chase did better in that regard in The Sopranos. Come on down, Janis Soprano and Dr. Melfi.

It’s time to make an offer you can’t refuse, and move on to our final segment.

Saturday Classic: I usually post albums in this space but I had never seen this half-hour Kinks set before. It’s Kinktastic, especially the Kick horns who have nothing to do with Athenae’s kiddo as far as I know.

That’s it for this week. I’ll give the greatest Gret Stet populists of them all the last word:

uncle-earl-meme

Friday Catblogging: Throw Bag Della

Della Street refuses to go shopping on Black Friday or any other day for that mater Why fight the crowds when one can contemplate the glories of Carnival past and future in a purple throw bag?

Throw Bag Della